> Louis Killen > Songs > Carol for Twelfth Day

Carol for Twelfth Day / Cornish Wassail Song

[ Roud 3312 ; Ballad Index Gund018 ; Cornish trad.]

The Cornish composer Inglis Gundry wrote in Canow Kernow: Songs and Dances from Cornwall, ed. Inglis Gundry, The Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, 1966, pp. 18-19, about the Carol for Twelfth Day:

From a MS of Cornish Carols compiled for Davies Gilbert by John Hutchens about 1826. This is No. 37 from the MS, which belongs to Miss Minnie Davies Gilbert and Mrs. Patience Harding, great granddaughters of the original collector. Most of the carols included in this MS are now published by the Oxford University Press, under the same editorship as the present volume.

See also the chapter on Cornish Carols in Inglis Gundry's autobiography.

Bob Lewis sang the Carol for the Twelfth Day at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2009. This recording was published a year later on his Festival CD Drive Sorrows Away. The liner notes commented:

A wassailing song from Cornwall. Bob put this song together from various sources, but the only person he ever heard sing it was his father who remembered it being sung by the wassailers in his youth as they travelled from door to door near his home in Cornwall.

Louis Killen sang the Carol for Twelfth Day in 1978 on his Front Hall album Old Songs, Old Friends. He noted:

Last, but far from least, from Bob Lewis of Chichester comes Carol for Twelfth Day. Though the harmonic possibilities of the melody fascinate me, it is the demands (Pray, let us have it NOW!) of this Cornish wassail that appeal most to me.

Jon Boden learnt this this carol from Louis Killen and sang it as the Cornish Wassail Song as the New Year's Eve 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Lyrics

Carol for Twelfth Day in Canow Kernow

Sweet master of this habitation
With our mistress be so kind,
As to grant an invitation
If we may this favour find
To be now invited in.
Then with mirth we will begin
Happy, sweet and pleasant songs
Which unto this time belongs.
    Let every loyal, honest soul
    Contribute to the wasel bowl.

So may you still enjoy the blessing
Of a loving, virtuous wife,
Riches, honour still possessing
With a long and happy life,
Living in prosperity.
Then let generosity
Always be maintain'd, I pray,
Don’t forget the good old way.
    Let every loyal, honest soul
    Contribute to the wasel bowl.

Before the season is departed
In your presence we appear,
Therefore soon be noble-hearted
To afford some dainty cheer.
Freely let us have it now
Since the season doth allow,
What the house doth now afford
Should be plac'd upon the board.
    Whether it be roast-beef or fowl
    And liquor well our wasel bowl.

For now it is a time of leisure,
Then to those who kindness show,
May they have wealth, peace and pleasure
And the spring of bounty flow,
To enrich them while they live
That they may afford to give,
To maintain the good old way
Many a long and happy day.
    Let every loyal, honest soul
    Contribute to the wasel bowl.

You worthy you are to be commended
If in this you will not fail.
Now our song is almost ended,
fill our bowl with nappy ale.
Then we’ll drink a full carouse
To the master of this house,
Aye and to our mistress dear,
wishing both a happy year
    In peace and love without control
    Who brought joy to our wasel bowl.

Bob Lewis sings the Carol for the Twelfth Day

Sweet master of this habitation
With our mistress be so kind,
As to grant an invitation
That we may this favour find;
To be now invited in,
Then with mirth we will begin,
Happy, sweet and pleasant songs
Which unto this time belongs.
    Let every loyal, honest soul,
    Contribute to the wassail bowl.

So may you still enjoy the blessing
Of a loving, virtuous wife,
Riches, honour still possessing
And a long and happy life;
Living in prosperity
Then let generosity,
Always be maintained I pray,
Don’t forget the good old way.
    Let every loyal, honest soul,
    Contribute to the wassail bowl.

So now before the season is departed
In your presence we appear,
Therefore then be noble-hearted
And afford some dainty cheer;
Freely let us have it now
What the season doth allow,
What the house may now afford
Should be placed upon the board.
    Whether it be roast beef or fowl,
    And liquor well the wassail bowl.

For it is a time of leisure then
To those that kindness show,
May they have wealth, peace and pleasure
And the spring of bounty flow,
To enrich them while they live
That they may afford to give,
To maintain the good old way,
Many a long and happy day.
    Let every loyal, honest soul,
    Contribute to the wassail bowl.

You worthy are to be commended
If in this you will not fail,
Now our song is almost ended
Fill our bowl with nappy ale;
Then we’ll drink a full carouse
To the master of this house,
Aye and to our mistress dear,
Wishing both a happy year.
    In peace and love without control,
    Who brought joy to our wassail bowl.

Louis Killen sings the Carol for the Twelfth Day

Good master of this habitation
With our mistress be so kind,
As to grant an invitation
That we may this favour find.
To be now invited in,
Then with joy and mirth begin,
Happy, sweet and pleasant songs,
which unto this time belong.
    Let every loyal, honest soul
    Contribute to the wassail bowl.

So now may you enjoy the pleasure
Of a loving, virtuous wife,
Riches, honour now possessing,
And a long and happy life;
Living in prosperity, endless generosity
Always be maintained, I pray,
Don’t forget the good old way.
    Let every loyal, honest soul
    Contribute to the wassail bowl.

Now that the season is departed
In your presence we appear.
Therefore then be noble-hearted
And afford some dainty cheer.
Pray, let us have it now,
What the season doth allow,
What the house may now afford
Should be placed upon the board.
    Whether it be roast-beef, or fowl;
    And liquor well the wassail bowl.

For now it is the season of leisure,
Then to those who kindness show.
May they have wealth, and peace, and pleasure,
And the spring of bounty flow
To enrich them while they live
That they may afford to give,
To maintain the good old way
Many a long and happy day.
    Let every loyal, honest soul
    Contribute to the wassail bowl.

Therefore you are to be commended,
If in this you do not fail.
Now our song is almost ended
Fill our bowl with nappy ale;
Then we’ll drink a full carouse
To the master of this house,
Aye and to our mistress dear,
Wishing both a happy year
    In peace and love, without control,
    Who liquored well our wassail bowl.