A Christmas Carol
Words and Music: Unknown
God bless the master of this house,
The mistress, also,
And all the little children,
That round the table go:
And all your kin and kinfolk
That dwell both far and near;
I wish you a merry Christmas,
And a happy new year.
This brief effusion was printed by Ritson in his “Ancient Songs and Ballads.” It is placed third in the class of pieces produced during the reigns of the four Stuart kings, whence we may presume that Ritson conceived it to belong to the period of either James [1566-1625] or Charles I [1600-1649]. The source from which it was obtained is not stated. It may possibly be a short salutation sung by the waits at the conclusion of their nocturnal instrumental performance to the occupants of the house before which they were playing.
Ritson's version is the same as given above in the edition of 1829, vol. 2, p. 241. The punctuation and spelling follow Ritson.
Also found in Joshua Sylvester, A Garland of Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern (London: John Camden Hotten, 1861), who has this note:
Note that Hugh Keyte, an editor of The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) believes that "Joshua Sylvester" is a pseudonym for a collaboration between William Sandys (1792-1874) and William Henry Husk (1814-1887). See Appendix 4.
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