Here We Come A-Wassailing

DESCRIPTION: "Here we come a-wassailing Among the leaves so green." Chorus: "Love and joy come to you And to you your wassail too, And God bless you and send you a happy new year." The singers remind the listeners that they are not beggars, and bless them
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1868 (Husk)
KEYWORDS: request ritual drink food begging nonballad wassail
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North)) US(Ap,MW)
REFERENCES (12 citations):
Broadwood/Maitland-EnglishCountySongs, pp. 14-15, "The Wassail Bough" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gardham-EastRidingSongster 4, "Here We Come A Wassailing" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ritchie-SingingFamilyOfTheCumberlands, p. 166, "Wassail Song" (1 fragmentary text, 1 tune)
Peters-FolkSongsOutOfWisconsin, pp. 68-69, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Rickert-AncientEnglishChristmasCarols, pp. 253-255, "The Wassailer's Carol"; :"Here we Come A-Whistling" (2 texts)
Dearmer/VaughnWilliams/Shaw-OxfordBookOfCarols 15+16, "Wassail Song" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Fireside-Book-of-Folk-Songs, p. 270, "Wassail Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 379, "Wassail Song" (1 text)
Tobitt-TheDittyBag, p. 112, "Wassail Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Charlotte Sophia Burne, editor, Shropshire Folk-Lore (London, 1883 ("Digitized by Google")), pp. 568,655, "The Wessel Cup Hymn" or "Wassail Cup Carol" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ian Bradley, _The Penguin Book of Carols_ (1999), #33, "Here We Come A Wassailing" (1 text)

Roud #209
NOTES [141 words]: Burne (1883): "Commonly sung in Shrewsbury twenty years ago." - BS
The custom of "wassailing" (going from house to house, usually on January 5, begging food, drink and hospitality) is mentioned as far back as the 12th century in England; similar rituals are found across the continent of Europe and in the United States. - (PJS)
"Wassail," incidentally, is from Old English "Wes hael," "Be hale/whole," i.e. "Be in good health."
To tell this wassail song from all the others (most if not all of which are lumped by Roud), consider either the first verse:
Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a-wassailing
So fairly to be seen,
or the chorus, not met with in all versions:
Love and joy come to you
And to you your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you a happy new year,
(And God send you a happy new year)
Last updated in version 6.3
File: JRDF166

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