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December 17

Boar's Head Carol

Performed by Greg Barlow on banjo

Words and music: English traditional

"The Boar's Head Carol" is a macaronic carol from England. The inclusion of a boar's head at a Yuletide feast probably comes from pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon traditions. There are still places where this tradition is celebrated, most notably Queen's College, Oxford, from where this version of the carol comes.


The boar's head in hand bear I,
Bedecked with bays and rosemary;
And I pray you, my masters, be merry,
Quot estis in convivio:
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino

The boar's head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all this land,
Which thus bedecked with a gay garland,
Let us servire cantico:
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino

Our steward hath provided this,
In honour of the King of bliss,
Which on this day to be served is,
In Reginensi atrio:
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino

Downloads: mp3 ogg

Sources and more information

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