Yorkshire Wassail

Program Notes:

The practice of “wassailing” in old England was to go from house to house singing carols, hoping to be invited in to indulge in plenty of wassail (hot punch).

Conductor Notes:

This arrangement for SSAA a cappella has become a favourite of Elektra’s. Set in Eb, the arrangement has lots of energy, alternating between the cheerful 6/8 verses and the broader duple of the refrain. Each verse is set differently, and the second alto line is very low in a couple of them, which will likely prevent children’s choirs from adopting this arrangement.


This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.





We’ve been the while a-wandering
Among the leaves so green,
And now we come a-wassailing
So plainly to be seen.
For ’tis Christmas time,
And we travel far and near.
May God bless you and send you
A happy new year.

We are not daily beggars that beg from door to door.
We are your neighbours’ children
Whom you have seen before.

Good master and good mistress
While you’re sitting by the fire,
Pray think of us poor children
A-wand’ring in the mire.

We have a little purse
Made of stretching leather skin.
A little of your money
Would line it well within.

Pray bring us out a table
And spread it with a cloth.
And bring us out some mouldy cheese
And some of your Christmas loaf.

God bless the master of this house,
Likewise the mistress too,
And all the little children
That round the table go.