The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The New Year Is Begun

The Shepherd's Carol To Be Sung On New Year's Day

For New Year's Day

From New Christmas Carols (Oxford, Undated)

Words: English Traditional, Seventeenth Century

Music: "Humming of the Drone"

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 231-33.

1. The New Year is begun,
        Good morrow, my masters all!
    The cheerful rising sun
        Now shining in this hall,
            Brings mirth and joy
            To man and boy
With all that here do dwell;
            Whom Jesus bless
            With love's increase
So all things shall prosper well.

2.  A New Year's gift I bring
        Unto my master here,
    Which is a welcome thing
        Of mirth and merry cheer.
            A new Year's lamb
            Come from thy dam
An hour before daybreak;
            Your noted ewe
            Doth this bestow,
Good master, for your sake.

3. And to my dame so king
        This New Year's gift I bring;
    I'll bear an honest mind
        Unto her whilst I live.
            Your white-wooled sheep
            I'll safely keep
From harm of brush or briar,
            That garments gay
            For your array
May clothe you the next New Year.

4. And all your children all,
        These New Year's gifts I bring;
    And though the price be small,
        They're fit for queen or king:
            Fair pippins red
            Kept in my bed
A-mellowing since last year,
            Whose beauty bright
            So clear of sight
Their hearts will glad and cheer.

5. And to your maids and men
        I bring both points and pins;
    Come bid me welcome then,
        The good New Year begins;
            And for my love
            Let me approve
The friendship of your maid,
            Whose nappy ale
            So good and stale
Will make my wits afraid.

6. I dare now with it deal
        But in a sober diet.
    If I, poor shepherd, steal
        A draught to be unquiet,
            And lose my way
            This New Year's day
As I go to my fold,
            You'll surely think
            My love of drink
This following year will hold.

7. Here stands my bottle and hook,
        Good kitchen-maid, draw near;
    Thou art an honest cook,
        And canst brew ale and beer;
            Thy office show
            Before I go,
My bottle and bag come fill;
            And for thy sake
            I'll merry make
Upon the next green hill.

Also found in A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), pp. 205-8.

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