Gloucestershire Wassailers' Song
DESCRIPTION: "Wassail! wassail! all over the town, Our (pledge/toast) it is white, our ale it is brown." Health to the master's (animal's) body parts that he be sent a good present. Butler, "bring us a bowl of the best" else "down fall butler, and bowl and all"
EARLIEST DATE: 1822 (_Time's Telescope for 1814_)
KEYWORDS: request drink nonballad wassail animal horse sheep
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South,West))
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames, pp. 116-117, "Thames Head Wassailers' Song" (1 text) (also Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO WT 367, "Cricklade Wassailers' Song"; Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 367, "Thames Head Wassailers' Song")
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Mi 755.2, "Thames Head Wassailers' Song" (1 text)
Palmer-FolkSongsCollectedBy-Ralph-VaughanWilliams, #51, "Wassail Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Dixon-AncientPoemsBalladsSongsOfThePeasantryOfEngland, Song #18, pp. 199-200, "Gloucestershire Wassailers' Song" (1 text)
Bell-Combined-EarlyBallads-CustomsBalladsSongsPeasantryEngland, pp. 403-404, "Gloucestershire Wassailers' Song" (2 text)
Rickert-AncientEnglishChristmasCarols, 55. 251-253, ""Wassail, Wassail, all over the Town" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Time's Telescope for 1814 (London, 1822 (3rd edition, "Digitized by Google")), p. 3, ("Wassail! wassail! all over the town") (1 text)
Ian Bradley, _The Penguin Book of Carols_ (1999), #92, "Wassail, Wassail, All Over the Town [The Gloucester Wassail]" (1 composite text)
ADDITIONAL: Jon Raven, _The Urban and Industrial Songs of the Black Country and Birmingham_, Broadside, 1977, pp. 23-25, "(no title)" (3 short texts, which could be souling or wassailing songs or something else)
Billy Buckingham, "The Waysailing Bowl" (on Voice16)
cf. "Somerset Wassail" (subject, one verse) and references there
NOTES [373 words]: The opening verse seems common to "Somerset Wassail" and "Gloucestershire Wassailers' Song." The rest of the text seems distinct enough to warrant splitting the two.
The Billy Buckingham version on Voice16 includes verses of which this is a typical example:
Now here's a health to my master and to his right eye.
Pray God send our master a good Xmas pies,
And a good Xmas pie that we may all see.
To my wassailing bowl I'll bring unto thee.
The "right eye" is replaced by "right ear," "right arm," "right hip" and "right leg" with gifts of "happy New Year," "good crop of corn," "good flock of sheep" and "a good fatted pig."
Dixon's "Gloucestershire Wassailers' Song" ("Wassail! wassail! all over the town"), which was copied by Bell, is like Buckingham's except that the body parts belong to named animals rather than "master." For example, "Here's to our mare, and to her right eye, God send our mistress a good Christmas pie." Bell's footnote 46: "the name of the horse is generally inserted by the singer [for 'our mare']; and 'Filpail' is often substituted for 'the cow' in a subsequent verse." (source: Robert Bell, editor, [The Project Gutenberg EBook (1996) of] Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England (1857)).
Bell 1857, as is so often the case, takes his text from Dixon 1846 without attribution. In this case, Note 46 is Bell's own.
From Time's Telescope for 1814: "In Gloucestershire [on New Year's Eve], the wassailers still carry about a great bowl, dressed up with garlands and ribbons, and sing the following verses: ...."
Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames: "I have named this the 'Thames Head Wassailer's Song' because I have not heard it except around the Thames source. It has been called 'The Gloucestershire Wassailing Song,' though it seems to have been quite as popular in North Wilts as in Gloucestershire ...."
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO "manuscript Wt 367 includes two songs, one identified as the 'Thames Head Wassailers Song', is in Williams' own hand. The second is a typescript which uses the same number but is identified as the 'Cricklade Wassail Song'. The Thames Head version lacks Verse 9 in the published edition on pages 116, 117 while the Cricklade version lacks Verse 5." - BS
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