The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Wassail Song

For the Christmas-tide.

Words and Music: English Traditional Sung by Mr. William Bayliss at Buckland, Gloucestershire, and by Mr. Isaac Bennett of Little Sodbury, Gloucestershire.

Eighth Version of "Wassail, wassail, all over the town."
Compare: Wassail! Wassail! All Over The Town - Version 1

Alternate Title: Gloucestershire Wassail

See generally Wassailing - Notes On The Songs

Source: Cecil J. Sharp, English Folk-Carols (London: Novello & Co., Ltd., 1911), pp. 55-7.

1. Wassail, wassail, all over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree,
With the wassailing bowl we値l drink to thee,
Drink to thee, drink to thee,
With the wassailing bowl we値l drink to thee.

2. Here is to Cherry* and to his right cheek,
Pray God send my master a good piece of beef,
And a good piece of beef that may we all see;
With the wassailing bowl we値l drink to thee.
Drink to thee, drink to thee,
With the wassailing bowl we値l drink to thee.

* The name of a favourite horse.

3. Here is to Cherry and to his right eye,
Pray God send my master a good Christmas pie,
And a good Christmas pie that may we all see
With our wassailing bowl we値l drink to thee.
Drink to thee, drink to thee,
With our wassailing bowl we値l drink to thee.

4. Here is to Cherry and to his right arm,
May God send my master a good crop of corn,
And a good crop of corn that may we all see
With the wassailing bowl we値l drink to thee.
Drink to thee, drink to thee,
With the wassailing bowl we値l drink to thee.

5. Here is to Cherry and to his left ear,
Pray God send my master a barrel of beer,
And a barrel of beer that may we all see
With our wassailing bowl we値l drink to thee,
Drink to thee, drink to thee,
With our wassailing bowl we値l drink to thee.

6. Here痴 to our cow and to her long tail
Pray God send our master he never may fail
A bowl of strong beer; I pray you draw near,
And our jolly wassail it痴 then you shall hear.
We値l drink to thee, drink to thee,
And our jolly wassail it痴 then you shall hear.

7. Come, butler, come fill us a bowl of the best,
Then I hope that your soul in heaven may rest;
But if you do draw us a bowl of the small,
Then down fall butler, bowl and all!
We値l drink to thee, drink to thee,
With the wassailing bowl we値l drink to thee.

8. Where is the maid with the lily white smock,
That do trip to the door and draw back the lock?
o let us all in and seek how you do,
Saying : Nan, if you will, we will welcome you too,
We値l drink to thee, drink to thee,
With the wassailing bowl we値l drink to thee.

Sheet Music From Sharp, English-Folk Carols (1911)
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Sheet Music From Cecil J. Sharp, Folk-Song Carols (London: Novello and Company, Ltd., 1913), No. 1183, pp. 20-21. Novello's School Songs, Book #245, edited by W. G. McNaught.

wassail_song-01-folk_song_carols-20-1913.jpg (76282 bytes) wassail_song-02-folk_song_carols-21-1913.jpg (83434 bytes)

Notes from Sharp:

Sung by Mr. William Bayliss at Buckland (Gloucestershire).

The first six stanzas in the text are those that Mr. Bayliss gave me; they are printed without any alteration. The last three stanzas are from a variant sung to me by Mr. Isaac Bennett of Little Sodbury (Gloucestershire). The words are very similar to, but not identical with, those of 典he Gloucestershire Wassailer痴 Song quoted by Bell (Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England, p. 183).

Three Somerset variants of the Wassail Song are published in Folk-Songs from Somerset (Nos. 128-30) with explanatory notes, to which the reader is referred. The Gloucestershire Wassail song, of which Mr. Bayliss痴 version is I think a typical example, materially differs from that of Somerset and, I believe, from that of other counties as well.

Editor's Note:

Moreso than most, it seems, each village has created its own, unique version of the Wassail Song. See: Wassailing - Notes On The Songs

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