We Wish You a Merry Christmas

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"We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is a popular English carol from the West Country of England.

Origin[edit]

In 1935, Arthur Warrell[1] published an arrangement under the title "A Merry Christmas", describing the piece as a "Traditional (West Country) carol";[2] this arrangement was subsequently included in Carols for Choirs (1961). The carol is absent from earlier collections such as those of west-countrymen Davies Gilbert (1822 and 1823)[3] and William Sandys (1833),[4] and also from The Oxford Book of Carols (1928). In the comprehensive New Oxford Book of Carols (1992), editors Hugh Keyte and Andrew Parrott describe it as "English traditional" and "The remnant of an envoie much used by wassailers and other luck visitors"; no source or date is given.[5] Various print and online sources date the carol to the sixteenth-century, without giving a source.[6][7][8]

The origin of this Christmas carol lies in the English tradition wherein wealthy people of the community gave Christmas treats to the carolers on Christmas Eve, such as "figgy pudding" that was very much like modern-day Christmas puddings.[6][7][8] A variety of nineteenth-century sources state that, in the West Country of England, "figgy pudding" referred to a raisin or plum pudding, not necessarily one containing figs.[9][10][11]

Lyrics[edit]

In Warrell's 1935 publication, the wording is first given as "I wish you a merry Christmas", with "we" as an alternative in parentheses.[2] Nevertheless, the carol is almost always sung as "we".

From Warrell (1935)[edit]

1
I* wish you a merry Christmas,
I* wish you a merry Christmas,
I* wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year.
Good tidings I* bring
To you and your kin;
I* wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year.
2
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
And bring some out here.
Good tidings I* bring
To you and your kin;
I* wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year.
3
For we all like figgy pudding,
We all like figgy pudding,
For we all like figgy pudding,
So bring some out here.
Good tidings I* bring
To you and your kin;
I* wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year.
4
And we won't go till we've got some,
We won't go till we've got some,
And we won't go till we've got some,
So bring some out here.
Good tidings I* bring
To you and your kin;
I* wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year.[2]

* or We

Version 2[edit]

We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
And a happy New Year

REFRAIN
Good tidings we bring
To you and your kin;
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year.

Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
And bring some out here

REFRAIN

For we all like figgy pudding,
We all like figgy pudding,
For we all like figgy pudding,
So bring some out here

REFRAIN

And we won't go until we've got some
We won't go until we've got some
We won't go until we've got some
So bring some out here

REFRAIN

Version 3[edit]

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year.

REFRAIN
Good tidings we bring for you and your kin,
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

O bring us some figgy pudding (x3)
and bring it right here.

REFRAIN

And we won't go until we've got some (x3)
so bring some out here.

REFRAIN
It's a season for music (x3)
and a time of good Cheer.

REFRAIN

Version 4[edit]

We wish you a Merry Christmas (x3)
and a Happy New Year.

REFRAIN
Good tidings to you, where ever you are
Good Tidings at Christmas and a Happy New Year

(The first line of the refrain can also be rendered as "Good tidings we bring, to you of good cheer")

Now bring us some figgy pudding (x3)
and bring it right here

REFRAIN

now bring some tea and breakfast(x3)
and bring it right here

REFRAIN

Christmastime is coming, (x3)
It soon will be here

REFRAIN

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arthur Sydney Warrell, born Farmborough, 1883, died Bristol, 1939. Served as organist and choirmaster and several Bristol churches. Subsequently taught music at Bristol University and founded the Bristol University Choir, Orchestra, and Madrigal Singers. See Humphreys, Maggie; Robert Evans (1997). Dictionary of Composers for the Church in Great Britain and Ireland. London: Mansell. p. 351. ISBN 0720123305. 
  2. ^ a b c Warrell, Arthur (arr.) (1935). A Merry Christmas. Oxford University Press. 
  3. ^ Gilbert, Davies (1822). Some ancient Christmas Carols, with the Tunes to which they were formerly sung in the West of England (PDF). London: J. Nichols and Son. 
  4. ^ Sandys, William (1833). Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern. London: Richard Beckley. 
  5. ^ Keyte, Hugh; Andrew Parrott (eds) (1992). The New Oxford Book of Carols. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 529. 
  6. ^ a b Brech, Lewis (2010). "Storybook Advent Carols Collection Songbook". p. 48. Couples Company, Inc,
  7. ^ a b Lester, Meera (2007). "Why Does Santa Wear Red?: And 100 Other Christmas Curiousities Unwrapped" p.146. Adams Media,
  8. ^ a b "We Wish You a Merry Christmas! - Christmas Songs of England". Retrieved December 11, 2010
  9. ^ "A 'figgy pudding'; a pudding with raisins in it; a plum pudding", from "Devonshire and Cornwall Vocabulary", The Monthly Magazine vol. 29/6, no. 199, June 1, 1810. p. 435
  10. ^ "Plum-pudding and plum-cake are universally called figgy pudding and figgy cake in Devonshire", from Lady, A (1837). A dialogue in the Devonshire dialect, by a lady: to which is added a glossary, by J.F. Palmer. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman. p. 46. 
  11. ^ "Figgy Pudding ... the ordinary name for plum-pudding. Also a baked batter pudding with raisins in it", Elworthy, Frederic Thomas (1875). The Dialect of West Somerset. London: Trübner & Co. p. 252.