Monday, December 17, 2007

A Sixteenth-Century Wassail

If Wikipedia is to be believed (although the article is inconsistent with itself on a number of points) this is one of the oldest Christmas wassail-songs:

Wassail, wassail, sing we
In worship of Christ’s nativity.

Now joy be to the Trinity,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
That one God is in Trinity,
Father of heaven, of mightes most.

And joy to the Virgin pure
That ever kept her undefiled
Grounded in grace, in heart full sure,
And bare a child as maiden mild.

Bethlehem and the star so shen,
That shone three kinges for to guide,
Bear witness of this maiden clean;
The kinges three offered that tide.

And shepherds heard, as written is,
The joyful song that there was sung:
Gloria in excelsis!
With angel’s voice it was out rung.

Now joy be to the blessedful child,
And joy be to his mother dear;
Joy we all of that maiden mild,
And joy have they that make good cheer.

Wassail, wassail, wassail, sing we
In worship of Christ’s nativity.