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.
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
|Al dal di dal di dal
Dal di dal di dal
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|
Now master and mistress let your company forbear
|There's a master and a mistress sitting down by the fire
While we poor wassail boys stand out in the mire
There is another version called the Kentucky Wassail.
Wassail, wassail all over the town! Our cup it is white and our ale it is brown.
Verses O good man and good wife, are you within? Pray lift the latch and let us come in.
O, where is the servant with the silly little pin to open the latch and let us come in?
There was an old maid and she lived in a house, and she had for a pet a tiny wee mouse.
Oh a man in York drank his sack from a pail, but all we ask is a wee wassail.
- Shirley Collins on Anthems in Eden
- Steeleye Span on the album Ten Man Mop, or Mr. Reservoir Butler Rides Again and on The Journey
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