The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Husbandly Fare

Words: Thomas Tusser (ca. 1515-1580)
Five Hundred Points Of Good Husbandry

Source: Henry Vizetelly, Christmas With The Poets (London: David Bogue, 1851).

Good husband and housewife, now chiefly be glad
Things handsome to have, as they ought to be had,
They both do provide against Christmas do come,
To welcome their neighbour, good cheer to have some;
Good bread and good drink, a good fire in the hall,
Brawn pudding and souse, and good mustard withal.

Beef, mutton, and pork, shred pies of the best,
Pig, veal, goose, and capon, and turkey well dressed;
Cheese, apples, and nuts, jolly carols to hear,
As then in the country is counted good cheer.

What cost to good husband is any of this,
Good household provision only it is;
Of other the like I do leave out a many,
That costeth the husbandman never a penny.


Vizetelly provides the following description of Tusser:

    Thomas Tusser, a georgical poet of great popularity in his own and the succeeding age, was born about 1515, and died in 1580. He was chorister and agriculturist by turns. He great merit consists in his poems being faithful pictures of the manners, customs, and domestic life of the English farmer of that day; and in the morality piety, and benevolent simplicity which pervade all that he has written.

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