The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

On Saint John's Day

Anonymous, From New Christmas Carols, A.D. 1661

Source: Harrison S. Morris, ed., In The Yule-Log Glow--Book 3; Christmas Poems from 'round the World. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1900, pp. 191-192. Project Gutenberg eText # 20586.

In honor of Saint John we thus
Do keep good Christmas cheer;
And he that comes to dine with us,
I think he need not spare.
The butcher he hath killed good beef,
The caterer brings it in;
But Christmas pies are still the chief,
If that I durst begin.

Our bacon-hogs are full and fat
To make us brawn and souse;
Full well may I rejoice thereat
To see them in the house.
But yet the minced-pie it is
That sets my teeth on water;
Good mistress, let me have a bit,
For I do long thereafter.

And I will fetch you water in
To brew and bake withal,
Your love and favor still to win
When as you please to call.
Then grant me, dame, your love and leave
To taste your pie-meat here;
It is the best, in my conceit,
Of all your Christmas-cheer.

The cloves, and mace, and gallant plums
That here on heaps do lie,
And prunes as big as both my thumbs,
Enticeth much mine eye.
Oh, let me eat my belly-full
Of your good Christmas-pie;
Except thereat I have a pull,
I think I sure shall die.

Good master, stand my loving friend,
For Christmas-time is short,
And when it comes unto an end
I may no longer sport;
Then while it doth continue here,
Let me such labor find
To eat my fill of that good cheer
That best doth please my mind.

Then I shall thank my dame therefore,
That gives her kind consent
That Jack, your boy, with others more,
May have this Christmas spent
In pleasant mirth and merry glee,
As young men most delight;
For that's the only sport for me,
And so God give you all good-night.


For more hymns and poems honoring St. John, whose feast day is celebrated December 27, see Hymns To St. John The Evangelist.

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