The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Come Follow, Follow Me

Words: From New Christmas Carols, 1688

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 239-41.

1. Come follow, follow me,
Those that good fellows be,
    Into the battery
    Our manhood for to try;
The master keeps a bounteous house,
And gives leave freely to carouse.

2. Then wherefore should we fear,
Seeing here is store of cheer?
    It shows but cowardice
    At this time to be nice.
Then boldly draw your blades and fight,
For we shall have a merry night.

3. When we have done this fray,
Then we will go to play
    At cards or else at dice,
    And be rich in a trice;
Then let the knaves go round apace,
I hope each time to have an ace.

4. Come, maids, let's waste no beer
After our Christmas cheer,
    And I will duly crave
    Good husbands you may have,
And that you may good houses keep,
Where we may drink carouses deep.

5. And when that('s) spent the day,
We'll Christmas gambols play,
    At hot cockles beside,
    And then go to all-hide,
With many other pretty toys,
Men, women, youths, maids, girls and boys.

6. Come, let's dance round the hall,
And let's for liquor call;
    Put apples in the fire,
    Sweet maids, I you desire;
And let a bowl be spiced well,
Of happy stuff that doth excel.

7. Twelve days we now have spent
In mirth and merriment
    And daintily did fare,
    For which we took no care;
But now I sadly call to mind
What days of sorrow are behind.

8. We must leave off to play,
To-morrow's working day;
    According to each calling
    Each man must now be falling,
And ply his business all the year,
Next Christmas for to make good cheer.

9. Now of my master kind,
Good welcome I did find,
    And of my loving mistress,
    This merry time of Christmas;
For which to them great thanks I give,
God grant they long together live.

Also found in A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), pp. 189-91, to the tune of the "Spanish Gipsies," with the note "This and the three following pieces are from New Christmas Carols, 1642." See index.

Concerning the reference to "hot cockles" in the fifth verse, Bullen adds the following:

"In the game of hot cockles one of the players, after being blindfolded, laid his head in another’s lap. The rest proceeded in turn to strike the blindfolded victim, until he was released from his position by guessing the name of the person who struck him. In Strutt’s “Sports and Pastimes” (ed. 1801, p. 293) there is an illustration of this ancient sport from a fifteenth-century illuminated MS."

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