The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Wassailing Song

Words: English Traditional

See: Wassailing! - Notes On The Songs And Traditions


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

We wish you merry Christmas, also a glad New Year;
We come to bring you tidings to all mankind so dear;
We come to tell that Jesus was born in Bethl'em town,
And now he's gone to glory and pityingly looks down

    On us poor wassailers,
    As wassailing we go;
    With footsteps sore
    From door to door
We trudge through sleet and snow.

A manger was his cradle, the straw it was his bed,
The oxen were around him within that lowly shed;
No servants waited on him with lords and ladies gay;
But now he's gone to glory and unto him we pray.

    Us poor wassailers, &c.

His mother loved and tended him and nursed him at her breast,
And good old Joseph watched them both the while they took their rest;
And wicked Herod vainly sought to rob them of their child,
By slaughtering the Innocents in Bethlehem undefiled.

    Us poor wassailers, &c.

Now, all good Christian people, with great concern we sing
These tidings of your Jesus, the Saviour, Lord and King;
In poverty he passed his days that riches we might share,
And of your wealth he bids you give and of your portion spare.

    Us poor wassailers, &c.

Your wife shall be a fruitful vine, a hus'sif good and able;
Your child like the olive branches round about your table;
Your barns shall burse with plenty and your crops shall be secure
If you will give your charity to us who are so poor.

    Us poor wassailers, &c.

And now no more we'll sing to you because the hour is late,
And we must trudge and sing our song at many another gate;
And so we'll wish you once again a merry Christmas time,
And pray God bless you while you give good silver for our rhyme.

    Us poor wassailers, &c.

Note from Bullen:

"This piece and the next [Here We Come A-Whistling] were communicated to Notes and Queries (4th series, ii. 551) by Cuthbert Bede."

Bullen also adds this illustration from Henry G. Wells.

"With footsteps sore
From door to door
We trudge through sleet and snow."

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