The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Provide For Christmas

Words from Poor Robin's Almanac, 1664


Source: A. H. Bullen, A Christmas Garland (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), p. 214.

Provide for Christmas ere that it do come
To feast thy neighbour good cheer to have some;
Good bread and drink, a fire in the hall,
Brawn, pudding, souse and good mustard withal;
beef, mutton, pork, and shred pies of the best,
Pig, veal, goose, capon, and turkey well drest;
Apples and nuts to throw about the hall,
That boys and girls may scramble for them all.
Sing jolly carols, make the fiddlers play,
Let scrupulous fanatics keep away;
For oftentimes seen no arranter knave
Than some who do counterfeit most to be grave.

Note from Bullen:

"Poor Robin’s Almanac, from which this and other pieces are taken, began in 1663 and ended in 1776. No public or private library, so far as I know, possesses a complete set of these very interesting almanacs. It has been stated that Robert Herrick was the original projector of the series, but I believe there is no authority for the statement. “Poor Robin” was the nom de plume of Robert Winstanley of Saffron Walden, a list of whose publications is given by Mr. H. Eckroyd. Smith in Notes and Queries, ser. vi. vol. 7, pp. 325-3. More information about Poor Robin is very much needed."

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