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
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
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
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
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,
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
This merry Christmas time,
Content myself perforce to rest my careful corse,
And so I end my rhyme.
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