Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
Two Carols
I. Bringing in the Boar’s Head
 Caput Apri Defero,
Reddens Laudes Domino!

THE BOAR’S HEAD 1 in hand bring I,
With garlands gay and rosemary!
I pray you all, sing merrily,
    Qui estis in convivio.
The Boar’s Head, I understand,        5
Is the chief Service in this land!
Look, wherever it be found,
    Servite cum cantico!
Be glad, Lordes, both more and less!
  For this hath ordained our Steward,        10
To cheer you all this Christmas,
  The Boar’s Head with mustard!
Note 1. From Ritson’s Ancient Songs, where it is said to be from Wynkyn de Worde’s Christmasse Carolles, 1521. In Mr. Bullen’s Carols and Poems, p. 171, he prints “a modern version of the previous Carol (The Boar’s Head, etc.) from Dibdin’s Typog. Antiq. ii. 252,” which I give below:

The Boar’s Head Carol
(Sung at Queen’s College, Oxford.)
The Boar’s head in hand bear I,
Bedecked with bays and rosemary;
And I pray you, my masters, be merry,
    Quot estis in convivio.
        Caput apri defero
        Reddens laudes domino.
The Boar’s head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all the land,
Which thus bedecked with a garland
    Let us servire cantico.
        Caput apri defero
        Reddens laudes domino.
Our steward hath provided this,
In honour of the King of bliss;
Which on this day to be served is
    In Reginensi atrio.
        Caput apri defero
        Reddens laudes domino.

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