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Sugar Wassail

[ Roud 209 ; VWML RoudFS/S224854 ; Mudcat 116651 ; trad.]

Waterson:Carthy recorded the Sugar Wassail for their 2006 album Holy Heathens and the Old Green Man. Martin Carthy commented in the album's sleeve notes:

Sugar Wassail was handed to us about fifteen years ago by Vic Gammon: it's one of the myriad songs of the sort found in the body of traditional music making and sung between Christmas Eve and Twelfth Night. This particular one is from the small Sussex collection from the 1840s by the pioneer in the field Rev. John Broadwood [VWML RoudFS/S224854] and we took to calling it by this name.

The Teacups sang the Sugar Wassail in 2020 on their third and final album, In Which…. They noted:

This is a traditional Wassailing song collected by Rev. John Broadwood in the 1840s. Will [Finn] and Rosie [Calvert] arranged it for a songbook, and we decided to add it to our repertoire as well.

Lyrics

A Wassail, a Wassail collected by John Broadwood

A wassail, a wassail, a wassail we begin,
With sugar plums and cinnamon, and other spices in;
    With a wassail, a wassail, a jolly wassail,
    And may joy come to you and to our wassail.

Good master and good mistress, as you sit by the fire,
Consider us poor wassailers, who travel thro’ the mire;
    With a wassail …

Good master and good mistress, if you will be but willing,
Come, send us out your eldest son with sixpence or a shilling.

Good master and good mistress, if thus it should you please,
Come, send us out your white loaf, likewise your Christmas cheese.

Good master and good mistress, if you w ill so incline,
Come, send us out your roast beef, likewise your Christmas chine.

If you’ve any maids within your house, as I suppose you've none,
They'd not let us stand a wassailing so long on this cold stone.

For we've wassailed all this day long, and nothing could we find,
But an owl in an ivy-bush, and her we left behind.

We'll cut a toast all round the loaf, and set it by the fire,
We'll wassail bees, and apple-trees, unto your hearts' desire.

Our purses they are empty, our purses they are thin,
They lack a little silver to line them well within.

Hang out your silver tankard upon your golden spear,
We'll come no more a-wassailing, until another year.

Waterson:Carthy sing the Sugar Wassail

A wassail, a wassail, a wassail we begin
With sugar strands and cinnamon and all the treasures in;
    With a wassail, a wassail, a jolly wassail,
    And may joy come to you and to our wassail.

And if you any maids within your house as I suppose you've done,
They'd not let us stand a-wassailing so long on this cold stone;
    With a wassail …

We'll cut a toast from off the log and sat it by the fire,
We'll wassail bees, and apple trees, unto your hearts' desire.

Bring out your silver tankard, likewise you kissing sphere,
We'll come no more a-wassailing until another year.