The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

At The Begynnyng Of The Mete

For Christmas

Words and Music: Traditional English

Source: Thomas Wright, Songs and Carols Now First Printed, From a Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (London: The Percy Society, 1847), Song #38, , pp. 42-43, printed verbatim from a manuscript probably owned by a professional musician, and apparently written in the latter half of the fifteenth century, circa 1471-1485.

Compare: At The Beginning Of The Meat
See generally: The Boar's Head Carols

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See notes in

Po. po, po, po, love brane and so do me.

At the begynnyng of the mete
Of a borys hed 3e schal hete,
And in the mustard 3e xal wete;
            And 3e xal wyngyn or 3e gon.

Wolcum be 3e that ben here,
And 3e xal have ryth gud chere,
And also a ryth gud fare;
            And 3e xal wyngyn or 3e gon.

Welcum be 3e everychon,
For 3e xal syngyn ryth anon;
Hey 3ow fast that 3e had don,
            And 3e xal wyngyn or 3e gon.

Note from Wright:
This one [Tydynges I Bryng 3ow For To Tell] and the one given on p. 42 [At The Begynnyng Of The Mete], are two new specimens of the curious songs for the ancient ceremony of bringing in the boar's head at Christmas. Others were printed by Ritson in his Ancient Songs, and a very curious one will be found in the Reliquiae Antiquae, vol. ii, p. 30.

Editor's Note.

The two versions printed by Ritson were  The Bores Heed In Hand Bring I and The Borys Hede That We Bryng Here. The version printed in Reliquiae Antiquae was The boris hede in hond I bryng; it was also printed in Wright's Specimens of Old Christmas Carols.

At a couple of locations, I've read that the phrase "Po. po, po, po," was a barnyard call for the pigs.

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