The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Wassail

Words: Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

See: Wassailing! - Notes On The Songs And Traditions

Source: Francis Turner Palgrave, ed., The Lyrical Poems Of Robert Herrick, Circa 1876
Project Gutenberg Etext #1211

Give way, give way, ye gates, and win
An easy blessing to your bin
And basket, by our entering in.

May both with manchet stand replete;
Your larders, too, so hung with meat,
That though a thousand, thousand eat,

Yet, ere twelve moons shall whirl about
Their silv'ry spheres, there's none may doubt
But more's sent in than was served out.

Next, may your dairies prosper so,
As that your pans no ebb may know;
But if they do, the more to flow,

Like to a solemn sober stream,
Bank'd all with lilies, and the cream
Of sweetest cowslips filling them.

Then may your plants be press'd with fruit,
Nor bee or hive you have be mute,
But sweetly sounding like a lute.

Last, may your harrows, shares, and ploughs,
Your stacks, your stocks, your sweetest mows,
All prosper by your virgin-vows.

--Alas! we bless, but see none here,
That brings us either ale or beer;
In a dry-house all things are near.

Let's leave a longer time to wait,
Where rust and cobwebs bind the gate;
And all live here with needy fate;

Where chimneys do for ever weep
For want of warmth, and stomachs keep
With noise the servants' eyes from sleep.

It is in vain to sing, or stay
Our free feet here, but we'll away:
Yet to the Lares this we'll say:

'The time will come when you'll be sad,
'And reckon this for fortune bad,
'T'ave lost the good ye might have had.'

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