Sunday Poetry – New Year

This 17th century carol is one of my favourites, even though we never have to drive the cold winter away here in Australia. This version by the Rose Ensemble is just lovely (even though there’s only two minutes of it). The original meaning of the word carol is from the French word for dance & this song with its jaunty rhythm always makes me want to dance, imagining that I’m sweeping the winter out the door although at this time of year it’s more sweeping the old year out & welcoming the new year in. Happy New Year everyone.

All hail to the days that merit more praise
    Than all the rest of the year,
And welcome the nights that double delights
    As well for the poor as the peer!
Good fortune attend each merry man’s friend,
    That doth but the best that he may;
Forgetting old wrongs, with carols and songs,
    To drive the cold winter away.

 Let Misery pack, with a whip at his back,
    To the deep Tantalian flood;
In Lethe profound let envy be drown’d,
    That pines at another man’s good;
Let Sorrow’s expense be banded from hence,
    All payments have greater delay,
We’ll spend the long nights in cheerful delights
    To drive the cold winter away.

 ‘Tis ill for a mind to anger inclined
    To think of small injuries now;
If wrath be to seek do not lend her thy cheek
    Nor let her inhabit thy brow.
Cross out of thy books malevolent looks,
    Both beauty and youth’s decay,
And wholly consort with mirth and with sport
    To drive the cold winter away.

 The court in all state now opens her gate
    And gives a free welcome to most;
The city likewise, tho’ somewhat precise,
    Doth willingly part with her roast:
But yet by report from city and court
    The country will e’er gain the day;
More liquor is spent and with better content
    To drive the cold winter away.

 Our good gentry there for costs do not spare,
    The yeomanry fast not till Lent;1
The farmers and such think nothing too much,
    If they keep but to pay for their rent.
The poorest of all now do merrily call,
    When at a fit place they can stay,
For a song or a tale or a cup of good ale
    To drive the cold winter away.

 Thus none will allow of solitude now
    But merrily greets the time,
To make it appear of all the whole year
    That this is accounted the prime:
December is seen apparel’s in green,
    And January fresh as May
Comes dancing along with a cup and a song
    To drive the cold winter away.

 This time of the year is spent in good cheer,
    And neighbours together do meet
To sit by the fire, with friendly desire,
    Each other in love to greet;
Old grudges forgot are put in the pot,
    All sorrows aside they lay;
The old and the young doth carol this song
    To drive the cold winter away.

 Sisley and Nanny, more jocund than any,
    As blithe as the month of June,
Do carol and sing like birds of the spring,
    No nightingale sweeter in tune;
To bring in content, when summer is spend,
    In pleasant delight and play,
With mirth and good cheer to end the whole year,
    And drive the cold winter away.

 The shepherd, the swain do highly disdain
    To waste out their time in care,
And Clim of the Clough2 hath plenty enough
    If he but a penny can spare
To spend at the night, in joy and delight,

   Now after his labour all day;
For better than lands is the help of his hands
    To drive the cold winter away.

 To mask and to mum kind neighbours will come
    With wassails of nut-brown ale,
To drink and carouse to all in the house
    As merry as bucks in the dale;
Where cake, bread, and cheese is brought for your fees
    To make you the longer stay;
At the fire to warm ’twill do you no harm,
    To drive the cold winter away.

 When Christmas’s tide come in like a bride
    With holly and ivy clad,
Twelve days in the year much mirth and good cheer
    In every household is had;
The country guise is then to devise
    Some gambols of Christmas play,
Whereat the young men do best that they can
    To drive the cold winter away.

 When white-bearded frost hath threatened his worse,
    And fallen from branch and briar,
Then time away calls from husbandry halls
    And from the good countryman’s fire,
Together to go, to plough and to sow
    To get us both food and array,
And thus will content the time we have spend
    To drive the cold winter away.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Poetry – New Year

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s