The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Wassail

Words: "Ainsworth's Magazine," 1848

See: Wassailing! - Notes On The Songs And Traditions

Source: Henry Vizetelly, Christmas With The Poets (London: David Bogue, 1851).

Wassail! wassail! Ye merry men, hail,
    Who brightened the days of old;
What brave conceits, and humoursome feats,
    Are sung of our fathers bold.
From morning chime, unto vesper time,
    They revelled in careless glee,
And danced at night with spirits as light
    As the notes of their minstrelsy.

Wassail! wassail! At the knight's regale
    'Twas the signal for deep carouse,
Nor there alone, for the joyous tone
    Shook many a priestly house;
The monks forgot their bachelor's lot,
    Surrounded by goodly cheer,
And raised the cup, in its brim full up,
    To the utter contempt of care.

Wassail! wassail! cried the yoeman hale,
    As he shouldered his quarter-staff,
And homeward rode where the spiced ale stood
    Awaiting his hearty quaff;
The cot meanwhile lit up by the smile
    Of a frank good-hearted mirth,
And free to all who might chance to call,
    Was the happiest place on earth.

Also found in Christmas In Art And Song: A Collection of Songs, Carols and Descriptive Poems, Relating To The Festival of Christmas (New York: The Arundel Printing and Publishing Co., 1879).

Artwork by John A. Hows from Christmas In Art And Song. New York: The Arundel Printing and Publishing Company, 1879.

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