The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Hath Made An End

Words: English Traditional

Music to the tune of "Well-a-day!"

Source: A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), p. 244-245.

1. Christmas hath made an end,
  Well-a-day! well-a-day!
Which was my dearest friend,
  More is the pity!
For with an heavy heart
    Must I from thee depart,
To follow plow and cart
    All the year after.

2. Lent is fast coming on,
  Well-a-day! well-a-day!
That loves not anyone,
  More is the pity!
For I doubt both my cheeks
    Will look thin from eating leeks;
Wise is he then that seeks
    For a friend in a corner.

3. And our good cheer is gone,
  Well-a-day! well-a-day!
And turned to a bone,
  More is the pity!
In my good master's house
    I shall eat no more souse,1
Then give me one carouse,
    Gentle kind butler!

4. It grieves me to the heart,
  Well-a-day! well-a-day!
From my friend to depart,
  More is the pity!
Christmas, I fear 'tis thee
    That thus forsaketh me:
Yet till one hour I see,
    Will I be merry.

1. Souse is pickled meat or fish. Return

Keyte and Parrott, The New Oxford Book of Carols, note that in the 17th century, there was little work to be done in the fields during winter, and that the Christmas-tide was, by nature, an extended holiday which could be lengthened to Candlemas (as in this carol), although rarely beyond Epiphany (January 6th).

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