See a perusal copy of the music.
Hear a synthesized rendering
The custom of wassailing had medieval roots and continued into the 20th century. Groups of wassailers would go from door to door in the Christmas season, singing and offering a drink from a communal wassail cup or bowl in exchange for food, money or other gifts. The word ‘wassail’ derives from the Anglo-Saxon expression for ‘good health to you’ and the original wassail drink was a hot mulled cider. Wassail songs were also performed in orchards and addressed to the trees, in a ritual invocation of a good harvest.
The tune of this particular wassail song was transcribed by Vaughan Williams from singers in Yorkshire in the early 20th century. The words are an amalgam of a couple of different Yorkshire wassail songs. The arrangement is strong and simple, with a short section between verses that can be taught to the audience beforehand.
We’ve been a while a-wandering Amongst the leaves so green, But now we come a-wassailing, 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, But we are [name of choir] Whom you may have heard before:
We’ve got a little purse Made of stretching leather skin; We want a little money To line it well within:
Call up the butler of this house, Put on his golden ring, Let him bring us up a glass of beer, The better we shall sing:
Good master and good mistress, While you’re sitting by the fire, Pray think of us poor singers And please support the choir!
Traditional English (adapted)
Purchase – 4084: We’ve been a while a-wandering
Before you click the "buy" button, please enter the name of your group and select the appropriate size.
The price depends on the number of singers in your group.
This is a single payment for a licence to make as many copies as you
need for your group to rehearse and perform the song. You can also re-print
- for instance, to replace copies that get lost or worn out.
Copies must not be given, lent, hired or sold to any other group.
Orders are normally despatched within 24 hours - not
instantly, because each PDF file is created specially
for the purchaser.
Canasg sales are processed via Paypal. Paypal lets you pay with a simple
credit or debit card if you don't have a Paypal account.
Your Paypal transaction will be in
sterling and it will be converted automatically if
your credit card draws on a different currency.
Paypal passes none of your secure information to Canasg.
If you would like us to send an invoice before you pay, or if you would like your order priced in $US or Euros,
then please e-mail your order to us instead of using the form above.
Canasg sells sheet music for choirs …
… in PDF format, delivered by e-mail, with a licence to print as many
copies, and as often, as you like. The copies are for the exclusive use
of one ensemble, and the licence doesn't let you give, lend, hire or sell
them to anybody else. Please read the detail before
Copying permitted (terms and conditions apply!)
When you buy from us, you can make as many copies as
you need of the music, and as often as you need - so you can replace lost
or worn copies.
Free perusal copies
You can download
a sample PDF from this site, and make a printed copy for your own use. It
will be overprinted “sample”. It isn't licensed for rehearsal
You can bookmark this page to help you find it again. For new releases, seasonal suggestions, and other news, we invite you
to opt in to our occasional mailing list. Opting out is easy, whenever you want to.