Monday, 5 April 2021

Grampound Wassail Song


Wassail, wassail, wassail, wassail

And joy come to our jolly wassail

Now here at this house we first will be seen

To drink the king's health such a custom has been

Now unto the master we'll drink his good health

We hope he may prosper in virtue and wealth

With our wassail, etc.

In a friendly manner this house we salute,

For it is an old custom, you need not dispute;

Ask not the reason from where it did spring,

For you know very well it's an old ancient thing.

Now here at your door we orderly stand

With our jolly wassail and our hats in our hand

We do wish you good health unto master and dame,

To children and servants we do wish the same

It has been the custom, as I've been told

By ancient housekeepers in days of old,

When young men and maidens together draw near

They fill up our bowls with cider or beer

Come fill up our wassail bowl full to the brim,

See, harnessed and garnished so neat and so trim

Sometimes with laurel and sometimes with bays

According to custom to keep the old ways

(Pause for drink)

Methinks I do smile to see the bowl full,

Which just now was empty and now filled do grow

By the hands of good people, long may they remain

And love to continue the same to maintain

Now neighbours and strangers we always do find

And hope we shall be courteous, obliging and kind;

And hope your civility to us will be proved

As a piece of small silver in token of love

(Pause for collection)

We wish you great plenty and long time to live

Because you were so willing and freely to give

To our jolly wassail most cheerful and bold,

Long may you be happy, long may you live bold

We hope your new apple trees prosper and bear,

That we shall have cider again next year;

For where you've a hogshead we hope you'll have ten,

That you will have cider when we come again

We hope all your barley will prosper and grow,

That you may have barley and beer to bestow;

For where you've a bushel we hope you'll have ten,

That you will have beer when we come again

Now for this good liquor to us you do bring,

We'll lift up our voices and merrily sing,

That all good householders may continue still

And provide some good liquor our bowl for to fill

Now for this good liquor, your cider or beer,

Now for the great kindness that we have had here,

We'll return our thanks, and shall still bear in mind

How you have been bountiful, loving and kind

Now for the great kindness that we have received

We return you our thanks and shall take our leave;

From this present time we shall bid you adieu

Until the next year when the time do ensue

Now jolly old Christmas is passing away;

According to custom this is the last day

That we shall enjoy along with you to bide

So farewell old Christmas, this merry old tide

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Storm Woman of Dozmary Pool

The lonely and isolated Dozmary Pool has many mysterious tales to tell. But there is one which is truly remarkable. In the murky depths of the pool a powerful vortex is rumoured to exist, like an underground waterfall. This strange watery realm is reputed to be presided over by the Old Storm Woman, a ghostly moor-land mermaid, who dwells in the cool peaty waters below the still surface of the lake. It is she who creates the winds which rip across the moor from the centre of the lake, as she gathers the power of the aqueous vortex; she blows the winds across eastern Cornwall from the dramatic cliffs of the north coast, across the granite tors to the lush river valleys in the south. Maybe the strange and seemingly out-of-place ancient carving of a mermaid, which resides in the parish church at nearby Linkinhorne, is an old half-forgotten reminder of her story? 

Above: Linkinhorne church mermaid by Paul Atlas-Saunders

Enys Tregarthen retold this tale in her children’s story entitled The House of the Sleeping Winds originally published in 1911. The most famous legend associated with Dozmary Pool is that of Sir Bedevere casting Excalibur into the lake, where the Lady of the Lake receives Arthur’s sword for safe keeping. Maybe the Old Storm Woman Mermaid and the Lady of the Lake are one and the same? 

Friday, 12 October 2018

Ghost-ship of Porthcurno

Onward came the ill-omened craft 
passing ominously through the breakers, 
up over the sands, steadily pursuing its 
ghost-path over the dry land.

Illustration copyright Paul Atlas-Saunders

The tale from Robert Hunt's "Popular Romances"