A Carol for the Eve of St. Mary’s Day
The Feast Day for Mary, The Mother Of Jesus, is January 1
Source: William Hone, Ancient Mysteries Described (1823)
This is the season, when, agreeably to custom,
That it was an honour to send wassail
By the old people who were happy
In their time, and loved pleasure;
And we are now purposing
To be like them, every one merry:
Merry and foolish, youths are wont to be,
Being reproached for squandering abroad.
I know that every mirth will end
Too soon of itself;
Before it is ended, here comes
The wassail of Mary, for the sake of the time:
Name1 place the maid immediately
In the chair before us;
And let every body in the house be content that we
May drink wassail to virginity,
To remember the time, in faithfulness,
When fair Mary was at the sacrifice,
After the birth to her of a son,
Who delivered every one, through his good will,
From their sins, without doubt.
Should there be an inquiry who made the carol,
He is a man whose trust is fully on God,
That he shall go to heaven to the effulgent Mary,
Towards filling the orders where she also is.
1. Here the master or mistress of the house was called on by name to officiate. Return
Additional note from William Hone:
With the above translation of a Welsh Wassail song, the observer of manners will, perhaps, be pleased. In Welsh, the lines of each couplet, repeated inversely, still keep the same sense.
Editor's Note: See Wassailing! - Notes On The Songs And Traditions.
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