Gower Wassail

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The Gower Wassail is a wassail song from Gower in Wales, UK. It is printed in A.L. Lloyd's book Folk Song in England (1967), having been heard from Phil Tanner. The song takes its tune and structure from the Irish traditional song Here's A Health, in the same vein as The Liberty Song.[citation needed]

Lyrics[edit]

The majority of versions of the song begin with the same two stanzas, although pronouns (i.e. you, we, your, our, etc.) vary. Following the second verse and chorus, the number of stanzas and their order vary from version to version. The primary difference between the lyrics that appear here is that one version is a dialogue between the wassailers and the master and mistress they are appealing to for hospitality. The other version is sung from the wassailers’ perspective alone. All the known stanzas are included below.

Chorus A Chorus B
Fol de dol fol de dol de dol

Fol de dol de dol fol de dol de de
Fol de da ro fol de da di
Sing tu re lye do

Al dal di dal di dal

Dal di dal di dal
Dal di dal di dee
Sing deero, sing daddy
Sing too ral di do

Opening Stanzas
A-wassail, a-wassail throughout all the town
Our cup it is white and our ale it is brown
Our wassail is made of the good ale and cake (too)
Some nutmeg and ginger, the best you can bake (do)

Our wassail is made of the elderberry bough
And so my good neighbors we'll drink unto thou
Besides all on earth, you have apples in store
Pray let us come in for it's cold by the door

Dialogue Version Standard Version
Carolers

Now master and mistress let your company forbear
To fill up our wassail with you cider and beer
We want none of your pale beer, nor none of your small
But a drop of your kilderkin, that's next to the wall

Now master and mistress if you are within
Pray send out your maid with her lily-white skin
For to open the door without more delay
For our time it is precious and we cannot stay

Master & Mistress
You've brought your wassail, which is very well known
But I can assure you we've as good of our own
As for your jolly wassail, we care not one pin
But its for your good company we'll let you come in

Together
Here's a health to our Cooley and her croo'ed horn
May God send her Master a good crop of corn
Of barley and wheat and all sorts of grain
May God send her Mistress a long life to reign

Carolers
Now Master and Mistress, know you will give
Unto our jolly wassail as long as you live
And if we do life to another new year
We'll call in again just to see who lives here

There's a master and a mistress sitting down by the fire

While we poor wassail boys stand out in the mire
Come you pretty maid with your silver headed pin
Pray open the door and let us come in

It's we poor wassail boys so weary and cold
Please drop some small silver into our bowl
And if we survive for another new year
Perhaps we may call and see who does live here

We know by the moon that we are not too soon
And we know by the sky that we are not too high
And we know by the stars that we are not too far
And we know by the ground that we are within sound

We hope that your apple trees prosper and bear
So that we may have cider when we call next year
And where you have one barrel we hope you'll have ten
So that we may have cider when we call again

There is another version called the Kentucky Wassail.

Chorus

Wassail, wassail all over the town! Our cup it is white and our ale it is brown.
Our cup is made from the old oak tree and our ale is made in Kentucky!
So it’s joy be to you and a jolly wassail!

Verses O good man and good wife, are you within? Pray lift the latch and let us come in.
We see you a-sitting at the boot o’ the fire, not a-thinkin’ of us in the mud and the mire!
So it’s joy be to you and a jolly wassail!

O, where is the servant with the silly little pin to open the latch and let us come in?
For here in the draught it is our desire to nibble on a cheese and a toast by the fire!
So it’s joy be to you and a jolly wassail!

There was an old maid and she lived in a house, and she had for a pet a tiny wee mouse.
O, the house had a stove and the house was warm, and a little bit of liquor won’t do no harm!
So it’s joy be to you and a jolly wassail!

Oh a man in York drank his sack from a pail, but all we ask is a wee wassail.
O, husband and wife, alack, we part. God bless this house from the bottom of our heart!
So it’s joy be to you and a jolly wassail!

Main references[edit]

Versions[edit]