Christmas Day V

An Invitation to the Revels

Come follow, follow me,
Those that good fellows be,
Into the buttery
Our manhood for to try;
The master keeps a bounteous house,
And gives leave freely to carouse.

Then wherefore should we fear,
Seeing here is store of cheer?
It shows but cowardice
At this time to be nice.
Then boldly draw your blades and fight,
For we shall have a merry night.

When we have done this fray,
Then we will go to play
At cards or else at dice,
And be rich in a trice;
Then let the knaves go round apace,
I hope each time to have an ace.

Come, maids, let’s want no beer
After our Christmas cheer,
And I will duly crave
Good husbands you may have,
And that you may good houses keep,
When we may drink carouses deep.

And when that’s spent the day
We’ll Christmas gambols play,
At hot cockles beside
And then go to all-hide,
With many other pretty toys,
Men, women, youths, maids, girls, and boys.

Come, let’s dance round the hall,
And let’s for liquor call;
Put apples in the fire,
Sweet maids, I you desire;
And let a bowl be spiced well
Of happy stuff that doth excel.

Twelve days we now have spent
In mirth and merriment,
And daintily did fare,
For which we took no care:
But now I sadly call to mind
What days of sorrow are behind.

We must leave off to play,
To-morrow’s working-day;
According to each calling
Each man must now be falling,
And ply his business all the year
Next Christmas for to make good cheer.

Now of my master kind
Good welcome I did find,
And of my loving mistress
This merry time of Christmas;
For which to them great thanks I give,
God grant they long together live.

— Anon.

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