The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

My Master and Dame, I Well Perceive

Words: English Traditional, Seventeenth Century
From New Christmas Carols (Oxford, undated)

See generally Wassailing - Notes On The Songs

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 248-9.

My master and dame, I well perceive,
    Are purposed to be merry to-night,
And willingly hath given me leave
    To combat with a Christmas knight.
Sir Pig, I see, comes prancing in
    And bids me draw if that I dare;
I care not for his valour a pin,
    For Jack of him will have a share.

My Lady Goose among the rest
    Upon the table takes her place,
And piping-hot bids do my best,
    And bravely looks me in the face;
For pigs and geese are gallant cheer,
    God bless my master and dame therefore!
I trust before the next New Year
    To eat my part of half a score.

I likewise see good minced-pie
    Here standing swaggering on the table;
The lofty walls so large and high
    I'll level down if I be able;
For they be furnished with good plums,
    And spiced well with pepper and salt,
Every prune as big as both my thumbs
    To drive down bravely the juice of malt.

Fill me some of your Christmas beer,
    Your pepper sets my mouth on heat,
And Jack's a-dry with your good cheer,
    Give me some good ale to my meat.
And then again my stomach I'll show,
    For good roast-beef here stoutly stands;
I'll make it stoop before I go,
    Or I'll be no man of my hands.

And for the plenty of this house
    God keep it thus well-stored alway;
Come, butler, fill me a good carouse,
    And so we'll end our Christmas day.

Also found in A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), pp. 197-8, to the tune of "Green Sleeves;" from "New Christmas Carols" (no date).

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