Twelfth Night Festivities

Twelfe Night, or King and Queene

Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Now, now the mirth comes
With the cake full of plums
Where Beane’s the King of the sport here;
Besides we must know,
The Pea also
Must revell, as Queene, in the Court here.

Begin then to chuse,
(This night as ye use)
Who shall for the present delight here,
Be a King by the lot,
And who shall not
Be Twelfe-Day Queene for the night here.

Which knowne, let us make
Joy-sops with the cake
And let not a man then be seen here,
Who unurg’d will not drinke
To the base from the brink
A health to the King and the Queene here.

Next crowne the bowle full
With gentle lambs-wooll;
Adde sugar, nutmeg and ginger,
With store of ale too;
And thus ye must doe
To make the wassaile a singer.

Give ye then to the King
And Queene wassailing;
And though with ale ye be whet here;
Yet part ye from hence,
As free from offense,
As when ye innocent met here.


Collected in “Earth, Air, Fire, Water: Pre-Christian and Pagan Elements in British Songs, Rhymes and Ballads” (Skelton and Blackwood, Arkana, 1990). Image credit: Unsplash.

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