The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Old Christmas Returned

For Christmas

Words and Music: English Traditional

Source: R. H. Evans, ed., Old Ballads, Historical and Narrative by Thomas Evans. A New Edition By His Son. (London: Printed for R. H. Evans, Pall-Mall, by W. Bulmer and Co., 1810), #35, pp. 146-150.

XXXV.

OLD CHRISTMAS RETURNED,
OR,
HOSPITALITY REVIVED;

Being a Looking-glass for rich Misers, wherein they
may see (if they be not blind) how much they
are to blame for their penurious house-keeping,
and likewise an encouragement to those nobleminded
gentry, who lay out a great part of their
estates in hospitality, relieving such persons as
have need thereof:
Who feasts the poor, a true reward shall find.
Or helps the old, the feeble, lame and blind."

To the tune of—The Delights of the Bottle.
At the EBBA site, there is an MP3 recording of the entire 15 verses ("Right Click" and select "Save")

All you that to feasting and mirth are inclin'd,
Come here is good news for to pleasure your mind,
Old Christmas is come for to keep open house,
He scorns to be guilty of starving a mouse :
Then come boys, and welcome for diet the chief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

A long time together he hath been forgot,
They scarce could afford for to hang on the pot ;
Such miserly sneaking in England hath been,
As by our forefathers ne'er us'd to be seen ;
But now he's returned you shall have in brief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

The times were ne'er good since Old Christmas was fled,
And all hospitality hath been so dead,
No mirth at our festivals late did appear,
They scarcely would part with a cup of March beer ;
But now you shall have for the ease of your grief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

The butler and baker, they now may be glad,
The times they are mended, though they have been bad ;
The brewer, he likewise may be of good cheer,
He shall have good trading for ale and strong beer,
All trades shall be jolly, and have for relief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

The holly and ivy about the walls wind,
And show that we ought to our neighbours be kind,
Inviting each other for pastime and sport,
And where we best fare, there we most do resort,
We fail not of victuals, and that of the chief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

The cooks shall be busied by day and by night,
In roasting and boiling, for taste and delight ;
Their senses in liquour that's nappy they'll steep
Though they be afforded to have little sleep ;
They still are employed for to dress us in brief
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

Although the cold weather doth hunger provoke,
'Tis a comfort to see how the chimneys do smoke,
Provision is making for beer, ale and wine ;
For all that are willing or ready to dine,
Then haste to the kitchen, for diet the chief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

All travellers as they do pass on their way,
At gentlemen's halls are invited to stay
Themselves to refresh, and their horses to rest,
Since that he must be Old Christmas's guest,
Nay, the poor shall not want, but have for relief
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

Now Mock-beggar-hall it no more shall stand empty,
But all shall be furnisht with freedom and plenty,
The hoarding old misers who us'd to preserve
The gold in their coffers, and see the poor starve,
Must now spread their tables, and give them in brief
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

The court and the city, and country are glad,
Old Christmas is come to cheer up the sad,
Broad pieces and guineas about now shall fly,
And hundreds be losers by cogging a die,
Wliilst others are feasting with diet the chief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

Those that have no coin at the cards for to play,
May sit by the fire, and pass time away,
And drink off their moisture contented and free,
" My honest good fellow, come, here is to thee,"
And when they are hungry, fall to their relief
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

Young gallants and ladies shall foot it along,
Each room in the house to the musick shall throng,
Whilst jolly carouses about they shall pass,
And each country swain trip about with his lass ;
Meantime goes the caterer to fetch in the chief
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

The cooks and the scullion, who toil in their frocks,
Their hopes do depend upon their Christmas box :
There is very few that do live on the earth,
But enjoy at this time either profit or mirth ;
Yea those that are charged to find all relief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

Then well may we welcome Old Christmas to town,
Who brings us good cheer, and good liquor so brown,
To pass the cold winter away with dehght,
We feast it all day, and we frolick all night,
Both hunger and cold we keep out with relief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

Then let all curmudgeons who dote on their wealth,
And value their treasure much more than their health,
Go hang themselves up, if they will be so kind,
Old Christmas with them but small welcome shall find,
They will not afford to themselves without grief,
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast-beef.

Editor's Note:

Concerning the reference to "Mock-beggar-hall" in verse 9, see The Map of Mock Beggar Hall Roxb 1.252-253 and Mock Beggers Hall Rox 3 218-219.

Editor's Note: There are a number of carols on this website with similar titles or lyrical themes, and some of which are derived from a single source.

Old Christmas Returned, which occurs under three different titles:

A similar title, but a very different carol is All You That Are To Mirth Inclined (often under the title of "The Sinner's Redemption"), and with slight changes, especially to just the first line of the first verse (and hence sold as "a new Christmas carol"). See: All You That Are To Mirth Inclined - Notes.

See also:

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.