Hark! The Herald Banjo Rings
"The Wassail Song" is also known as "Here We Come A-Wassailing" and "Here We Come A-Caroling," and is one of the best known wassail songs. The history of wassailing is worth reading about. This song was interesting to play on the banjo because it changes time signatures in the middle from 6/8 to 4/4. If I see you this Christmas, I'll play you this song, and you can give me a glass of beer.
The Wassail Song
Words: English traditional
Music: English traditional
Here we come a wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a wandering So fair to be seen:
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you a happy New Year.
And God send you a happy New Year.
Our wassail cup is made
Of the rosemary tree,
And so is your beer Of the best barley:
We are not daily beggars
That beg from door to door,
But we are neighbours' children Whom you have seen before:
Call up the butler of this house,
Put on his golden ring;
Let him bring us a glass of beer, And the better we shall sing:
We have a little purse
Of stretching leather skin;
We want a little of your money To line it well within:
Bring us out a table,
And spread it with a cloth;
Bring us out a mouldy cheese, And some of your Christmas loaf:
God bless the master of this house,
Likewise the mistress too;
And all the little children That round the table go.
Good master and good mistress,
While you're sitting by the fire,
Pray think of us poor children Who are wand'ring in the mire.
Sources and more information
- Oxford Book of Carols, 1964.
- Hymns and Carols of Christmas
- Hymns and Carols of Christmas - Notes on Wassailing