Jolly Wat

DESCRIPTION: Jolly Wat, a shepherd, sits on a hill and plays his pipes. He is awakened by an angel announcing the birth of Jesus. He finds the baby and offers him all he has. Mary and Joseph send him back to his flocks with their blessing
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1537 (Richard Hill MS., Balliol Coll. Oxf. 354)
KEYWORDS: Jesus religious
FOUND IN:
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Rickert, pp. 99-102, "The Jolly Shepherd Wat" (1 text)
OBB 103, "Jolly Wat" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Roman Dyboski, _Songs, Carols, and Other Miscellaneous Poems from the Balliol Ms. 354, Richard Hill's Commonplace Book_, Kegan Paul, 1907 (there are now multiple print-on-demand reprints), #30, pp. 16-18, "[The Jolly Shepherd Wat]" (1 text)
Richard Greene, editor, _A Selection of English Carols_, Clarendon Medieval and Tudor Series, Oxford/Clarendon Press, 1962, #16, pp. 69-71, "(Can I not syng but hoy)" (1 text)
Brown/Robbins, _Index of Middle English Verse_, #3460
Digital Index of Middle English Verse #5459

ST OBB103 (Partial)
NOTES: The tale of the shepherds is found in the Bible in Luke 2:8-20. Greene, p. 196, declares, "The carol of Wat is justly famous for its gaiety and realism. Its similarity in conception and tone to the shepherd scenes in the mystery plays is striking." Rickert, pp. 154-155, also sees similarity to the mystery plays, where the shepherds offer humble gifts such as a pipe (the musical type, not for smoking), a hat, and mittens; in the carol, it is a pipe, scrip, tar-box, and skirt. Greene suggests, based on several small clues in the language, that this probably originated in Yorkshire or somewhere else in the north of England. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: OBB103

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