The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Here We Come A-Whistling

Words: English Traditional

 

Music: Traditional English Wassail Song
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

See generally Wassailing - Notes On The Songs

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 254-5.

Compare: The Wassail Song - Version 1

1. Here we come a-whistling, through the fields of so green;
Here we come a-singing, so fair to be seen.
    God send you happy, God send you happy,
    Pray God send you a Happy New Year!

2. The roads are very dirty, my boots are very thin,
I have a little pocket to put a penny in.
    God send you happy, God send you happy,
    Pray God send you a Happy New Year!

3. Bring out your little table and spread it with a cloth,
Bring out some of your old ale, likewise your Christmas loaf.
    God send you happy, God send you happy,
    Pray God send you a Happy New Year!

4. God bless the master of this house, likewise the mistress too;
And all the little children that round the table strew.
    God send you happy, God send you happy,
    Pray God send you a Happy New Year!

Also found in A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), pp. 185-6. Bullen adds an additional verse:

The cock sat up in the yew tree,
    The hen came chuckling by,
I wish you a merry Christmas
    And a good fat pig in the sky.

Bullen adds the following note at page 268:

"Another correspondent of Notes and Queries mentions that at Harrington in Worcestershire it was customary for children on St. Thomas’s Day (December 21) to go round the village begging for apples, and singing—

Wassail, wassail through the town,
If you’ve got any apples throw them down;
Up with the stocking and down with the shoe,
If you’ve got no apples money will do;
The jug is white and the ale is brown,
This is the best house in the town.”

"An Oxfordshire lady tells me that at her house near Witney the village children sing on Christmas-eve—

Holly and ivy, tickle my toe,
Give me a red apple and let me go;
Give me another for my little brother,
And I’ll go home to my father and my mother.”

"A writer in Current Notes for January 1856 gives the following verses :—

I wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year,
A pocket full of money,
And a cellar full of beer,
And a good fat pig to serve you all the year.
Ladies and gentlemen, sat by the fire,
Pity we poor boys out in the mire.”

"In Oxfordshire the children sing the first four lines of this piece, and then proceed :—

All the roads are very dirty,
My boots are very thin;
I’ve got a little pocket,
Will you put a penny in?”

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