The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Song

Source: Brand's Popular Antiquities Of Great Britain

W. Carew Hazlitt, Faith and Folklore: A Dictionary of National Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs, Past and Current, With Their Classical and Foreign Analogues, Described and Illustrated.

Forming A New Edition of "The Popular Antiquities of Great Britain" By Brand and Ellis, Largely Extended, Corrected, Brought Down To The Present Time, and Now First Alphabetically Arranged.

In Two Volumes

London: Reeves and Turner, 1905.

Vol. 1, p. 125

"Poor Robin" for 1695, has the following:

"Now thrice welcome, Christmas,
    Which brings us good cheer,
Minc’d pies and plumb-porridge,
    Good ale and strong beer;
With pig, goose, and capon,
    The best that may be,
So well doth the weather
    And our stomachs agree.

Observe how the chimneys
    Do smoak all about,
The cooks are providing
    For dinner, no doubt;
But those on whose tables
    No victuals appear,
O may they keep Lent
    All the rest of the year!

With holly and ivy
    So green and so gay;
We deck up our houses
    As fresh as the day,
With bays and rosemary,
    And lawrel compleat
And every one now
    Is a king in conceit.

*     *     *     *     *

But as for curmudgeons,
Who will not be free,
I wish they may die
On the three-legged tree."

Note: No explanation was given concerning the nature of a "three-legged tree." William Henry Husk, however, explains:

"The 'three-legged tree' was the creation at Tyburn on which malefactors suffered the extreme penalty of the law. It consisted of three horizontal beams joined together in the form of a triangle, and supported by three upright posts."

See: Now Thrice Welcome Christmas

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