A Pleasant Countrey New Ditty: Merrily Shewing How to Drive the Cold Winter Away

This ballad is drawn from the Roxburghe Collection. A present there are only about 2/3 of the verses included here. I will be adding the rest in the near future.

A pleasant Countrey new Ditty:

Merrily shewing how to drive the cold Winter away.
To the tune of; Drive the Cold Winter Away or When Pheobus did Rest
All hayle to the days that merite more praise then all the rest of the year; 
& 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 Carrols and Songs to drive the cold winter away. 
The Court all in state now opens her gate an bids a free welcome to most; 
The City likewise tho' somewhat precise doth willingly part with her cost; 
And yet, by report from City to Court the Countrey gets the day: 
More Liquor is spent, and better content, to drive the cold winter away. 
Thus none will allow of solitude now, but merrily greets the time, 
To make it appeare of all the whole yeare that this is accounted the Prime, 
December is seene apparel'd in greene and January, fresh as May, 
Comes dancing along with a cup or a Song to drive the cold winter away. 
This time of the yeare is spent in good cheare, kind neighbours together to meet 
To sit by the fire, with friendly desire each other in love to greet: 
Old grudges forgot are put in a pot, all sorrows aside they lay; 
The old and the young doth carrol this Song, to drive the cold winter away. 
To maske and to mum kind neighbours will come with Wassels of nut-browne Ale, 
To drinke and carouse to all in this house, as merry as buck in the pale; 
Where cake, bread and cheese, is brought for yr fees to make you the longer stay; 
The fire to warme will do you no harme, to drive the cold winter away. 
When Christmas tide comes in like a Bride, with Holly and Ivy clad, -- 
Twelve dayes in the yeare much mirth and good cheare in every household is had: 
The Countrey guise is then to devise some gambols of Christmas play; 
Whereas the yong men do best that they can to drive the cold winter away. 
When white-bearded Frost hath threatened his worst, & fallen from Branch & Bryer, 
& time away cals from husbandry hals, & from the good countryman's fire, 
Together to go to Plow and to sow, to get us both food and array: 
And thus with content the time we have spent to drive the cold winter away. 

Return to the Blackletter Ballad Page.