The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Cornish Wassail

Version 3-A

From the Baring Gould Collection
A. Cornish Wassail - Version 3a (Now here at this house we first shall begin)
B. Cornish Wassail - Version 3b (Wassail, wassail all round the town)
C. Cornish Wassail - Version 3c (We stand at your door and we first shall begin)
A Wassail (Gude Maister and Missus a zittin by the fire)

Sent by Jno Barrett, 30, Lemon St, Truro. "At last I am able to send you the Cornish Wassail song, which I promised you a twelvemonth a gone. Mr. J. J. Mountford, the organist of St John's church has got the two versions of the music, one from the old man from whom I got the words, but I do not know from whence he obtained the other. Michael Nancarrow from whom air and words were taken is a native of Grampound and is now 73 years old. He has been singing the song for fifty years, and learnt it from Wm Griffin and Rd Darker, old men who have been dead near twenty years. The words I send have been known in this neighbourhood as the 'Grampound 'song, being distinct from the 'Tregoney' and other versions. The first three verses are usually sung outside the house and, before the fourth verse is sung, some liquor is supplied. The singers carry a bowl into which all liquor given is poured, and when they leave the home they usually carry some away in case they should meet anyone on their way to the next house. Should they do so the ninth verse is sung; verses 10 and 11 are only sung on Twelfth Day.

See generally Wassailing - Notes On The Songs

1. Now here at this house we first shall begin
To drink the King's health which a custom has been
Now unto the Master we'll drink his good health
We hope he may prosper in virtue and wealth

With our wassail! Wassail! Wassail
Wassail and joy come to our jolly wassail

2. Now here at your door we do orderly stand
Our jolly wassail and our hats in our hand
We do wish a good health to the master and dame
To the children and servants we wish it the same

3. In the friendliest manner this house we salute
That it is an old custom we need not dispute
O ask not the reason from hence it did spring
For we very well know 'tis an ancient old thing

4. Now for this good liquor to us that you bring
We lift up our voices we merrily sing
That all good householders may continue still
To provide the brown liquor our bowl for to fill

5. We hope that your barley will prosper and grow
That you may have barley and beer to bestow
And where you have one bushel we hope you'll have ten
That you may have beer against we come again

6. We hope that your orchards may blossom and bear
That you may have cider against the next year
That where you've one hogshead we hope you'll have ten
That you may have cider when we come again

7. We wish you great plenty and long may you live
Because you are willing and free for to give
To our wassail so cheerful, our wassail so bold
Long may you live happy, be lusty and old

8. Now neighbours and strangers you ever shall find
The wassailers courteous, obliging and kind
We hope our civility you will approve
With a piece of small silver in token of love

9. A welcome kind Sir as we merrily meet
With our jolly wassail as we pass up the street
O welcome kind Sir, if it please you to stop
A piece of small silver in our bowl for to drop

10. Now jolly old Christmas is passing away
He's posting off from us, and this the last day
That we shall enjoy long 'o you to abide
So farewell, Old Christmas, a merry good tide

11. Now jolly old Christmas, thou welcomest guest
Thou from us are parting which makes us look wisht
For all the twelve days are now come to their end
And this the last day of the season we spend

12. Now for this good liquor, your cider, your beer
And for the fair kindness that we have had here
We return you our thanks and shall still bear in mind
How you have been bountiful, loving and kind

13. Now for the great kindness that we did receive
We return you our thanks, and we now take our leave
From this present evening we bid you adieu
Until the next year and same season ensue

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