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Anonymous Olde English


A Song Bewailing The Time Of Christmas, So Much Decayed In England


Christmas is my name, for have I gone, have I gone, have I gone,
Have I gone without regard;
Whereas great men by flocks they be flown to Londonward
Where in pomp and pleasure do waste
That which Christmas had wont to feast,
Welladay!
Houses where music was wonted to ring,
Nothing but bats and owls now do sing.
Welladay, welladay, welladay, where should I stay?

Christmas bread and beef is turned into stones, into stones, into stones,
Into stones and silken rags.
And Lady Money, it doth sleep, it doth sleep, it doth sleep,
It doth sleep in misers' bags.
Where many gallants once abound,
Nought but a dog and shepherd is found,
Welladay!
Places where Christmas revels did keep
Are now become habitations for sheep.
Welladay, welladay, welladay, where should I stay?

Pan, the shepherds' god, doth deface, doth deface, doth deface,
Doth deface Lady Ceres' crown;
And tillages doth decay, doth decay, doth decay,
Doth decay in every town;
Landlords their rents so highly enhance
That Piers the ploughman barefoot doth dance,
Welladay!
Farmers that Christmas would entertain
Hath scarcely withal themselves to maintain.
Welladay, welladay, welladay, where should I stay?

Go to the Protestant, he'll protest, he'll protest, he'll protest,
He will protest and boldly boast;
And to the Puritan, he is so hot, he is so hot, he is so hot,
He is so hot he will burn the roast.
The Catholic good deeds will not scorn,
Nor will he see poor Christmas forlorn,
Welladay!
Since holiness no good deeds will do,
Protestants had best turn Papists too.
Welladay, welladay, welladay, where should I stay?

Pride and luxury doth devour, doth devour, doth devour,
Doth devour housekeeping quite,
And beggary doth beget, doth beget, doth beget,
Doth beget in many a knight.
Madam, forsooth, in coach must she reel
Although she wear her hose out at heel,
Welladay!
And on her back were that for her weed
That would both me and many other feed,
Welladay, welladay, welladay, where should I stay?

Briefly for to end, here I find, here I find, here I find,
Here I find such great vacation
That some great houses do seem to have, seem to have, seem to have,
For to have some great purgation:
With purging pills such effects they have showed
That out of doors their owners they have spewed.
Welladay!
And when Christmas goes by and calls,
Nothing but solitude and naked walls.
Welladay, welladay, welladay, where should I stay?

Philomel's cottages are turned into gold, into gold,
Into gold for harboring Joan;
And great men's houses up for to hold, up for to hold,
Up for to hold, make great men moan;
But in the city they say they do live
Where gold by handfuls away they do give,
Welladay!
And, therefore, thither I purpose to pass,
Hoping at London to find the Golden Ass.
I'll away, I'll away, I'll away, I'll no longer stay.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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