The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Now Christmas Draweth Near

Words: Nicholas Breton, 1558-1626

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 221-2.

1. Now Christmas draweth near, and most men make good cheer,
    With Heigh-ho, care away!
I, like a sickly mome, in drawsy dumps at home,
    Will naught but fast and pray.

2. Some sing and dance for life, some card and dice as rife,
    Some use old Christmas games;
But I, oh wretched wight! in dole both day and night,
    Must dwell; the world so frames.

3. In Court, what pretty toys, what fine and pleasant joys,
    To pass the time away!
In country naught but care; sour cheese-curds, chiefest fare;
    For wine, a bowl of whey.

4. For every dainty dish, of flesh or else of fish,
    And for your drink in Court,
A disk of young fried frogs, sod houghs of meazled hogs,
    A cup of small tap wort.

5. And for each courtly sight, each show that may delight
    The eye or else the mind;
In country thorns and brakes, and many miry lakes,
    Is all the good you find.

6. And for fine enteries, halls, chambers, galleries,
    And lodgings many mo;
Here dessert woods and plains, where no delight remains,
    To walk in to and fro.

7. In Court, for to be short, for every pretty sport
    That may the heart delight;
In country many a grief, and small or no relief,
    To aid the wounded wight.

8. And in this desert place, I, wretch! in woeful case,
    This merry Christmas time,
Content myself perforce to rest my careful corse,
    And so I end my rhyme.

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.

Related Hymns and Carols