The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Christmas Carroll
by George Wither

from A Miscelany of Epigrams, Sonnets, Epitaphs, and such other Verses, as were found written, with the Poeme, aforegoing, being Faire-Virtve: Or, The Mistress of Phil'arete, 1622.

SO, now is come our ioyfulst Feast;
Let euery man be iolly.
Each Roome, with Yuie leaues is drest,
And euery Post, with Holly.
Though some Churles at our mirth repine,
Round your forheads Garlands twine,
Drowne sorrow in a Cup of Wine.
And let vs all be merry.

Now, all our Neighbours Chimneys smoke,
And Christmas blocks are burning;
The, Ouens, they with bakt meats choke,
And all their Spits are turning.
Without the doore, let sorrow lie:
And, if for cold, it hap to die,
Weele bury't in a Christmas Pye.
And euermore be merry.

Now, euery Lad is wondrous trimm,
And no man minds his Labour.
Our Lasses haue prouided them,
A Bag-pipe, and a Tabor.
Young men, and Mayds, and Girles & Boyes,
Ciue life, to one ano [...] hers Ioyes:
And, you anon shall by their noyse,
Perceiue that they are merry.

Ranke Misers now, doe sparing shun:
Their Hall of Musicke soundeth:
And, Dogs, thence with whole shoulders run,
So, all things there aboundeth.
The Countrey-folke, themselues aduance;
For Crowdy-Mutton's come out of France:
And Iack shall pipe, and Iyll shall daunce,
And all the Towne be merry.

Ned Swash hath fetcht his Bands from pawne,
And all his best Apparell.
Brisk Nell hath bought a Ruffe of Lawne,
With droppings of the Barrell.
And those that hardly all the yeare
Had Bread to eat, or Raggs to weare,
Will haue both Clothes, and daintie fare:
And all the day be merry.

Now poore men to the Iustices,
With Capons make their arrants,
And if they hap to faile of these,
They plague them with their Warrants.
But now they feed them with good cheere,
And what they want, they take in Beere:
For, Christmas comes but once a yeare:
And then they shall be merry.

Good Farmours, in the Countrey, nurse
The poore, that else were vndone.
Some Land-lords, spend their money worse,
On Lust, and Pride at London.
There, the Roysters they doe play;
Drabb and Dice their Landt away,
Which may be ours, another day:
And therefore lets be merry.

The Clyent now his suit forbeares,
The Prisoners heart is eased.
The Debtor drinks away his cares,
And, for the time is pleased.
Though others Purses be more fat,
Why should we pine or grieue at that?
Hang sorrow, care will kill a Cat.
And therefore lets be merry.

Harke, how the Wagges, abrode doe call
Each other foorth to rambling.
Anon, youle see them in the Hall,
For Nutts, and Apples scambling.
Harke, how the Roofes with laughters sound!
Annon they'l thinke the house goes round:
For, they the Sellars depth haue found.
And, there they will be merry.

The VVenches with their Wassell-Bowles,
About the Streets are singing:
The Boyes are come to catch the Owles,
The Wild-mare, in is bringing.
Our Kitchin-Boy hath broke his Boxe,
And, to the dealing of the Oxe,
Our honest neighbours come by flocks,
And, here, they will be merry.

Now Kings and Queenes, poore Sheep-cotes haue,
And mate with euery body:
The honest, now, may play the knaue,
And wise men play at Noddy.
Some Youths will now a Mumming goe;
Some others play at Rowland-hoe,
And, twenty other Gameboyes moe:
Because they will be merry.

Then wherefore in these merry daies,
Should we I pray, be duller?
No; let vs sing some Roundelayes,
To make our mirth the fuller.
And, wh [...]lest thus inspir'd we sing,
Let all the Streets with ecchoes ring:
Woods, and Hills, and euery thing,
Beare witnesse we are merry.


As is often the case, notable poems become carols; see: So, Now Is Come Our Joyful'st Feast. And see George Wither's Hymns of the Christmas-tide.

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