A note on Copyright.

Although all the songs are traditional, the versions of the lyrics presented here have been researched from various sources and adapted for IONA's arrangements. If you are going to reprint any of these lyrics please include:
© 1996 Barnaby Productions Inc.
If you use them in performance, please acknowledge the source. If you use them in a money making venture, please talk to us first. We are not greedy!

1. Please to see the King/Gower Wassail

A-wassail, a-wassail, throughout all the town.
Our cup it is white and our ale it is brown.
Our wassail is made of the good ale and true,
Some nutmeg and ginger, it’s the best we can do.
   Fol the dol, the dol-de-dol,
   Fol the dol-de-dol, fol the dol-de-dee,
   Fol the dero, fol the daddy,
   Sing tu-re-lye-do!

Our wassail is made of the elderberry bough
And so, my good neighbour, we’ll drink unto thou;
Besides all of that, you’ll have apples in store,
Pray let us come in for its cold by the door.
   Fol the dol, . . . &c.

There’s a master and a mistress sitting down by the fire,
While we poor wassailers do wait in the mire,
And if we’re alive for another new year,
Perhaps we may call and see who doth live here.
   Fol the dol, . . . &c.

We know by the moon that we are not too soon,
We know by the sky that we are not too high,
We know by the stars that we are not too far,
We know by the ground that we are within sound.
   Fol the dol, . . . &c.
© 1996 Barnaby Productions Inc.

2. The Christ Child’s Lullaby (Taladh Chriosta)

My love my pride my treasure, oh
My wonder new and pleasure, oh,
My son my beauty ever you,
Who am I to bear you here

The cause of talk and tale am I,
The cause of greatest fame am I,
The cause of proudest care on high
To have for mine the King of all.

And though you are the King of all,
They sent you to the manger stall,
When at your feet they all  should fall
And glorify my child the King.

There shone a star above three kings
To guide them to the King of Kings,
They held you in their humble arms
And knelt before you until dawn.

They gave you myrrh, They gave you gold,
Frankincense and gifts untold,
They traveled far these gifts to bring,
And kneel before their newborn King.

© 1996 Barnaby Productions Inc.

3. 'Ma Grun War ‛N Gelynen(The Holly Bears a Berry)/
Ton Garol/The Holly & The Ivy

‘Ma grün war ’n gelynen, ‘ga lyü-ÿ lëthwyn
Ha Jësus ö maylyes yn dyllas owrlyn
    Ha Mam ö an Vaghteth, Marÿa Mam Dew
    Ha gwedhen an gwella, an gelynen yü
    Kelyn, kelyn
    Ha gwedhen an gwella, an gelynen yü

‘Ma grün war ’n gelynen, ‘ga lyü-ÿ gwelswer
Ha Jësus ö croswys, ÿ Vam yn awhër

‘Ma grün war ’n gelynen, ‘ga lyü-ÿ gosruth
Ha Jësus yü ‘gan Sylw’as, y vermans mar drüth

‘Ma grün war ’n gelynen, ‘ga lyü-ÿ glowdhü
Ha Jësus ö marrow, dredho nÿ a vew
Now the holly bears a berry as white as any milk
And Mary bore Jesus who was wrapped up in silk.
    And Mary bore Jesus Christ, our Saviour for to be
    And the first tree of the greenwood, it was the holly
    Holly, holly
    And the first tree of the greenwood, it was the holly

Now the holly bears a berry as green as the grass
And Mary bore Jesus who died on the cross

Now the holly bears a berry as red as the blood
And Mary bore Jesus who died on the rood

Now the holly bears a berry as black as the coal
And Mary bore Jesus who dies for us all.

The holly and the ivy
The holly and the ivy,
Are both now well Full grown.
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown.
    O the rising of the sun,
    The running of the deer,
    The playing of the merry organ,
    Sweet singing in the choir.

Green-o growth the holly,
So doth the ivy,
Though winter blasts blow ne’er so high,
Green growth the holly
    O the rising etc..

Fast now fall the shed leaves,
Russet and yellow
But nesting buds are snug and safe
Where swing the dead leaves-o
    O the rising etc..

Green-o growth the holly,
So doth the ivy,
The God of life can never die.
“Hope!” saith the holly
© 1996 Barnaby Productions Inc.

4. J’Ai Vu Le Loup (I Saw the Wolf)

J’ai vû le loup, le r’nard, le lièvre
J’ai vû le loup, le r’nard, cheuler.
C’est moi-même qui les ai r’beuillés

J’ai ouï le loup, le r’nard, le lièvre
J’ai ouï le loup, le r’nard chanter.
C’est moi-même qui les ai r’chignés

J’ai vû le loup, le r’nard, le lièvre
J’ai vû le loup, le r’nard, danser.
C’est moi-même qui les ai r’virés
I saw the wolf, the fox, the hare,
I saw the wolf, the fox getting drunk.
And I myself bellowed back at them.

I heard the wolf, the fox, the hare,
I heard  the wolf, the fox sing
And I myself scowled back at them.

I saw the wolf, the fox, the hare,
I saw the wolf, the fox getting drunk.
And I myself spun them around.
© 1996 Barnaby Productions Inc.

5. Little Red Bird (Ushag Veg Ruy)

    Little red bird on the lonely moor,
    Lonely moor, lonely moor
    Little red bird on the lonely moor,
    Where did you sleep in the night?

Out in the gorse bush dark and wide,
Dark and wide, dark and wide,
Swift rain was falling on every side,
Hard was my sleep in the night.
    Little red bird..

Did I not sleep on the swaying briar,
swaying briar , swaying briar,
Tossing about as the wind grew higher,
How little I slept in the night.
    Little red bird..

Did I not sleep on the cold wave’s crest,
Cold wave’s crest, cold wave’s crest,
Where many a young man has taken his rest,
Light was my sleep in the night.
    Little red bird..

Wrapped in two leaves I lay at ease,
Lay at ease, lay at ease,
As sleeps the young babe on his mother’s knees,
Sweet was my sleep in the night.
© 1996 Barnaby Productions Inc.

6. Can Y Fari Lwyd(Song of the Mari Lwyd)/
Cwrw Da(Fine Ale)/Y Wassael(The Wassail)

Wel, dyma ni’n dywad,
Gyfeillion diniwad,
I ofyn (o)sciawn gannad(x 3)
I gianu.

Os na chawn ni gannad,
R(h)owch glywad ar ganiad
Pa fodd ma’r ‘madawiad (x 3)
Nos (h)eno.

Ni dorson ein crimpa
Wrth groesh’r sticila
I ddyfod t(u)ag yma (x 3)
Nos (h)eno

Os o(e)s yno ddynion
All dorri anglynion,
R(h)owch glywad yn union (x 3)
Nos (h)eno.

Os aethoch r(h)y gynnar
I’r gwely’n ddialgar
O, codwch yn (h)awddgar (x 3)
Nos (h)eno.

Y dishan fras felys
 phob sort o sbeisys,
O, torrwch (h)i’n r(h)atus (x 3)
Y Gwyla.

O, tapwch y baril
A ‘llengwch a’n r(h)ugul;
Na rannwch a’n gynnil (x 3)
Y Gwyla.
Well here we come,
Innocent friends
To ask for permission (x 3)
To sing

If we don’t get permission,
Let us hear out the song.
What kind of leaving (x 3)

We bruised our shins
Crossing over the style.
To come here (x 3)

If there are men
Who can write poetry,
Let us hear them now (x 3)

If you went too early
To bed in an angry mood,
Oh, get up nicely (x 3)

The fat, sweet dish
And all sorts of spices
O cut it in portions
(For) the holidays.

Oh, tap the barrel
[Which the lads deserve] (?)
Don’t divide it so miserly (x 3)
(On) the holidays.

    Y Wassael
O dyma enw’r feinwen
Sydd yn codi gyda’r seren
A hon yw’r Wassael fawr ei chlod
Sydd yn caru bod yn llawen

Dymunwn ich’ lawennydd
I gynnal blwydden newydd
Tra paro’r gŵr yn tincian cloch
Well, well y boch chwi beunydd.

Ffarwel ich’, foneddigion
Mi gawsom groeso ddigon
Bendith Duw fo ar eich tai,
A phob rhyw rai o’ch dynion.

Oh, here’s the name of the maiden
 Who gets up with the star
 And this is the Wassail, greatly to be praised,
Who loves to be merry.

I wish you joy
In having a New Year.
As long as the man rings the bell
May it keep getting better for you.

Farewell to you, gentlemen,
We had welcome enough.
God’s blessing on your houses
And to every one of your men.
© 1996 Barnaby Productions Inc.

7. Don Oiche Ud I mBeithil (I Sing of a Night in Bethlehem)

I sing of a night in Bethlehem
A night as bright as dawn
I sing of that night in Bethlehem
The night the word was born
The skies are glowing gaily
The Earth in white is dressed
See Jesus in His cradle
Drink deep at His Mother's breast

And there on a lonely hillside
The shepherds bow down in fear
When the heavens open brightly
And God's message rings out so clear.
Glory now to the Father
In all the heavens high
And peace to His friends on Earth below
Is all the angels cry.
    - translated by Seán MacRéamoinn

8. There Was a Pig/We’ve Been Awhile

There was a Pig went out to dig
Chris-I-mas Day, Chris-I-mas Day
There was a Pig went out to dig
On Chris-I-mas Day in the morning!

There was a Cow went out to plough,
    . . .  &c.
There was a Sparrow went out to harrow,
    . . .  &c.
There was a Crow went out to sow,
    . . .  &c.
There was s Sheep went out to reap,
    . . .  &c.
There was a Drake went out to rake,
    . . .  &c.
There was a Minnow went out to winnow,
    . . .  &c.

We’ve been awhile a-wandering
Amongst the leaves so green
But now we come awassailing
So plainly to be seen
    For it’s Christmas time,
    When 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 neighbors’ children,
That you have seen before;
    For it’s Christmas time....etc.

Good master and good mistress,
While you’re sitting by the fire,
Pray think of us poor wassailers
A-wand’ring in the mire;
    For it’s Christmas time....etc.

Bring us out a table
And cover it with a cloth,
Bring us out a moldy cheese
And some of your Christmas loaf;
    For it’s Christmas time....etc.

Call up the butler of this house,
Likewise the mistress too,
And all the little children
That round the table go;
    For it’s Christmas time....etc
© 1996 Barnaby Productions Inc.

9. Péh trouz zou ar en doar (What Noise On Earth)

Péh trouz zou ar en doar
Péh kan a gleúan me
Na kaeret er boehieú e za lein eun né
Eled, lavaret d’emb eit petra e kannet?
Peneú éted ar zé e zou arriú er bed?

Arnet eúe genemb kannet pobl ag en doar?
Ewan de laret d’ho eun né úèted hemb par
Eur mabig beniget roué a Jerusalem
E zo gannet eit-ho ér gér a vethléem
What noise on earth?
who is singing for me and who I am hearing
how much I like these voices who sing in the skies
and what do they say in their song?
what is new that happened on earth?

we hear the people sing on earth
I come to tell you that in the sky there is something beyond compare
a small child blessed, king of Jerusalem
and who was born for them (the people) in the town of Bethlehem
     - translated by Nolwenn Monjarret
© 1996 Barnaby Productions Inc.

10. Nos Galan(New Years)/../Deck The Halls

Oer yw’r gŵr sy’n methu cary
Hen fynyddoedd annwyl Cymru
Iddo ef a’u câr cynhesaf
Gwyliau llawen flwyddyn nesaf.

I’r helbulus oer yw’r biliau
Sydd yn dyfod yn y Gwyliau
Gwrando begeth mewn un pennill
Byth na waria fwy na’th ennill.

Oer yw’r eira ar Eryi
Er fod gwrthban gwlanen arni
Oer yw’r bobol na ofalan’
Gwrdd a’u gilydd ar Nos Galan..
Cold is the man who does not love
The old mountains of dear Wales.
To him and his warmest love
Happy holidays next year.

To the worried one, bills are “cold”,
The bills that come during the holidays.
Listen to the sermon in one line -
Don’t spend more than you earn!

Cold is the snow on Snowdon
Even though there is a wool blanket on it.
Cold are the people who do not care
To meet each other on New Year’s Eve.

Deck The Halls
Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
   Fa la la la la la la la la.
'Tis the season to be jolly,
   Fa la etc...
Don we now our gay apparel,
   Fa la etc..
Troll the ancient Yuletide carol,
   Fa la etc..

See the blazing yule before us,
   Fa la etc..
Strike the harp and join the chorus.
   Fa la etc..
Follow me in merry measure,
   Fa la etc..
While I tell of Yuletide treasure,
   Fa la etc..

Fast away the old year passes,
   Fa la etc..
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses!
   Fa la etc..
Sing we joyous all together,
   Fa la etc..
Heedless of the wind and weather,
   Fa la etc..
© 1996 Barnaby Productions Inc.

11. Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And  auld lang syne!
    For auld lang syne, ma dear,
    For auld lang syne,
    We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
    For auld lang syne!

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I’ll be mine,
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne!
    For auld etc.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine,
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit
Sin  auld lang syne.
    For auld etc.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin  auld lang syne.
    For auld etc.

And here’s a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o’thine
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught
For  auld lang syne!
    For auld etc.

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Document last modified on June 21, 2013 - IONA.