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The word wassail derives from an old expression for “good health”, and wassailing was the custom of going door to door in the holiday season, asking for food and drink in return for singing.
In this lively and rhythmic arrangement, the verses are passed around different voices and accompanied by instrumental style tums and tas, building to an over-the-top final chorus in which the Alto 2s are invited to sweep everyone else away with trumpet-like flourishes.
For other SSA(A) Christmas songs in the Canasg catalogue, see the unique set of 15 Ukrainian Christmas Carols, Frances Cockburn's I sing of a maiden, and David Johnson's charming canons for equal voices, Christmas Canon a 6 voci and Christmas Round a 4 voci.
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 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 who 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 up a glass of beer, and better we shall sing.
Bring us out a table, and spread it with a cloth. Bring us out some 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.
Traditional English (published in 1864)
Purchase – 4071: Here we come a-wassailing (SSAA)
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