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Origins: Boar's Head Carol Info.

DigiTrad:
BOAR'S HEAD CAROL


Related threads:
Lyr Req: 'Kebab' parody on The Boar's Head (11)
What's a Boars Head Festival ? (33)


L R Mole 10 Nov 00 - 02:17 PM
GUEST 10 Nov 00 - 03:11 PM
Liz the Squeak 10 Nov 00 - 07:43 PM
Greyeyes 10 Nov 00 - 08:13 PM
Naemanson 10 Nov 00 - 09:34 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 11 Nov 00 - 07:53 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 11 Nov 00 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Sanilac 11 Nov 00 - 11:19 AM
DougR 11 Nov 00 - 03:25 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 11 Nov 00 - 03:35 PM
CarolC 11 Nov 00 - 04:07 PM
Greyeyes 11 Nov 00 - 05:39 PM
Liz the Squeak 12 Nov 00 - 09:30 AM
Liz the Squeak 12 Nov 00 - 06:23 PM
Greyeyes 12 Nov 00 - 06:31 PM
DougR 12 Nov 00 - 06:34 PM
Hotspur 12 Nov 00 - 10:16 PM
Liz the Squeak 13 Nov 00 - 06:36 PM
Peg 14 Nov 00 - 11:43 AM
L R Mole 14 Nov 00 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,9deaneje@richuish.ac.uk 14 Nov 00 - 03:16 PM
GeorgeH 15 Nov 00 - 10:48 AM
Liz the Squeak 15 Nov 00 - 07:35 PM
LR Mole 16 Nov 00 - 10:54 AM
CarolC 16 Nov 00 - 11:05 AM
selby 16 Nov 00 - 01:53 PM
selby 16 Nov 00 - 02:01 PM
masato sakurai 31 Oct 02 - 07:01 AM
greg stephens 31 Oct 02 - 07:13 AM
CarolC 31 Oct 02 - 11:08 AM
GUEST,Q 31 Oct 02 - 11:28 AM
GUEST 31 Oct 02 - 01:00 PM
MMario 31 Oct 02 - 01:14 PM
greg stephens 31 Oct 02 - 01:55 PM
MMario 31 Oct 02 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Q 31 Oct 02 - 02:58 PM
RolyH 31 Oct 02 - 03:38 PM
Madam Gashee 31 Oct 02 - 04:37 PM
Hecate 01 Nov 02 - 06:29 AM
masato sakurai 01 Nov 02 - 07:32 AM
Nigel Parsons 01 Nov 02 - 11:02 AM
greg stephens 01 Nov 02 - 11:11 AM
masato sakurai 01 Nov 02 - 11:25 AM
greg stephens 01 Nov 02 - 12:00 PM
Joe Offer 09 Dec 10 - 02:00 AM
Joe Offer 09 Dec 10 - 02:34 AM
Darowyn 09 Dec 10 - 05:37 AM
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Subject: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: L R Mole
Date: 10 Nov 00 - 02:17 PM

Being an RC raised in the US, I had never heard "The Boar's Head Carol" until I heard "Bells of Dublin". Great tune. Enlighten me: is there some sort of student/chapel voodoo that's supposed to go on with it? Do boars' heads go on sale around the yule? Does one fabricate it out of Jell-o or Spam? Can the rosemary (rosemur-eye) be overdone? I think it's time to use the same tune to write the Mudcat Carol, mispronounced Latin and all.Adeste per Horatio!


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Nov 00 - 03:11 PM

There are 4 "Boar's Head" songs or carols in A. H. Robbins' 'Secular Lyrics of the 14th and 15th Centuries', and 3 in A. H. Bullen's 'Carols and Poems', and one in Chappell's PMOT. See also 'The Oxford Book of Carols'. The head had to be that of a wild boar, which has been extinct in England since the 17th century, so all such songs are presumeably older.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 10 Nov 00 - 07:43 PM

It can be substituted by the head of a dead pig, but it doesn't have as much hair and isn't quite so gamey in taste. Bay and rosemary are evergreen herbs, so likely to be around practically everthing that wasn't still grazing..... Traditionally it would have an apple or an orange in its mouth. Yum.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Greyeyes
Date: 10 Nov 00 - 08:13 PM

I might be making this up but I think a stuffed boar's head might be linked to the pagan feast of Michaelmas.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 Nov 00 - 09:34 PM

The story as I have it, in the Life Book of Christmas, is that the boar's head tradition dates back to Elizabethan England. It supposedly is based on far older Anglo Saxon custom.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 07:53 AM

I have a lovely old book from England that was given to me for my first Christmas by my godmother, for future reference. It's entitled "Christmas" by Christina Hole. She says:

"...Chief over all, the boar's head.
This ...has a long lineage. It was eaten during the Scandinavian Yule in honor of the Sun-Boar. The heroes of Valhalla were believed to feast continually on boar's flesh, and the animal itself was sacred to Celt and Norseman alike. At the great medieval Christmas banquets the head was garlanded with rosemary and bay, and an orange or an apple was thrust between its teeth. It was brought in with ceremony to the sound of trumpets, slowly borne in upon a gold or silver dish by the chief cook, and accompanied by a procession of minstrels and servants. This custom is still observed at the Queen's College, Oxford, where the decorated head is carried on a silver basin by four men, preceded by the chief singer, and followed by a choir singing the refrain of the ancient Boar's Head Carol. Three times the procession halts, while a verse of the carol is sung by the chief singer, and finally the head is placed upon the high table, where the orange from its mouth is presented to the chief singer, and the sprigs of rosemary and bay are distributed amongst the guests."

The book gives no date, but her bibliography includes books published in 1954, so it was sometime between 54 and 1960 (my first Christmas!). My godmother's name, by the way, was Rosemary!


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 07:55 AM

BTW, I've seen re-enactments of the Queen's college procession many times here in the US. Click here: BOAR'S HEAD CAROL for the version of the song that started this thread, which is the song used for the procession.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: GUEST,Sanilac
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 11:19 AM

There's a recorded version of the song using the lyrics you listed at Mp3.com--performed by a local caroling group.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: DougR
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 03:25 PM

Roger Wagner included this song on his Christmas LP back in the early 1960s. I'd be a bit surprised if it is not on a Robert Shaw Christmas album too. I have two or three and I'll check it out.

I assume one bakes a Boar's head. Anyone know how one is cooked?


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 03:35 PM

In this neck of the woods, it's an elegantly sculpted chocolate cake!


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: CarolC
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 04:07 PM

I vote for L R Mole to write the Mudcat Carol.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Greyeyes
Date: 11 Nov 00 - 05:39 PM

I think it's stuffed and roasted. Not sure about the boar's head!


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 09:30 AM

Michelmas isn't pagan, it is the mass of St Michael and All Angels, September 29th. The only festival that would tie in with would be the various harvest festivals and the autumnal equinox around the 21st-23rd. There would be plenty of other food around then.

The boars head ceremony celebrated on the Saturday before Christmas commemorates a student of Queen's college, Oxford, who was charged by a boar whilst walking in the nearby forest of Shotover. He was studying Aristotle, when the boar rushed him. The student thrust his copy of Aristotle down the beast's throat, shouting 'Graecum Est!!' (it's in Greek) and escaped.

Boar was traditionally eaten at Yule in Scandanavia, in honor of the sun-boar, and the Celts believed it was an agent of evil, a belief encouraged by the early church. Psalm 80 mentions a vine (the Jewish nation) being brought from Egypt and planted (in Israel) and then uprooted by the wild boar (persecution of the children of God) so the boar stayed as a baddie, and the boars head eating continued.

LTS, quoting Frank Muir.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 06:23 PM

The orange in his mouth is given to the chief singer, the bays and rosemary to the people who carried it in.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Greyeyes
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 06:31 PM

Quite right LTS, don't know what I was thinking of.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: DougR
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 06:34 PM

Yep, Boar's Head Carol is included on the "Songs of Angels," CD with Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Chamber Singers. Telarc label. CD80377.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Hotspur
Date: 12 Nov 00 - 10:16 PM

My foks adapted the words, since we can't get boar's head --or pigs' heads--around here...they serve a crown roast of pork (which takes two to carry), and sing

"Th boar's head in hand bear we Bedecked with glaze and cranberry--"


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 13 Nov 00 - 06:36 PM

What do vegetarian sing then?

The nut roast in hand bear I,
Bedecked with beans and soya slice..... NAh, not the same is it....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Peg
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 11:43 AM

hey, y'all check this out:

http://www.dowell.com/dondowell/boarshd/bhindex.htm

peg (whose totem is the wild boar and who owns a few choice statues, jewelry bits, etc. to proclaim this fact, heh heh heh)


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: L R Mole
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 12:31 PM

I'm on it, though I haven't fooled with Latin since I flunked it three times in High School. "The Mudcat in hand bear I..."


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: GUEST,9deaneje@richuish.ac.uk
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 03:16 PM

This festival, pagan, deep in the darkest depths of the pagan new year, Samhain anyone?


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: GeorgeH
Date: 15 Nov 00 - 10:48 AM

Liz, in my experience the Boar's Head tends to be papier-mache and so poses no problem to vegetarians!

I believe Queens College Oxford still celebrate this. University of Reading had a similar "event", no doubt modeled on the Oxford one (as Reading started life as a peripheral college of Oxford) with a modified version of the song . . Don't know whether that still survives.

G


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 15 Nov 00 - 07:35 PM

Papier Mache - philistines!!

The cardboard head in hand bear I,
Bedecked with glue of PVA
And I pray you my lady, carefull be
With flames, or flambe'd all we'll be.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: LR Mole
Date: 16 Nov 00 - 10:54 AM

This mudcat on this tray contains Some tiny bits of mudcat brains With melody and rhyme remains, Opere in medio. ("In the midst of work", says my Latin, which is where people think I am right now.)


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: CarolC
Date: 16 Nov 00 - 11:05 AM

Braveaux, Mr. Mole!


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: selby
Date: 16 Nov 00 - 01:53 PM

There is a fine recording of Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band performing the Boars Head Carol on a CD called CAROLS & CAPERS the sleeve notes attribute it to 16 Century English and they perform it with shawms curtal mandolin guitar bass tabor and it is magnificent


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: selby
Date: 16 Nov 00 - 02:01 PM

There is a fine recording of Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band performing the Boars Head Carol on a CD called CAROLS & CAPERS the sleeve notes attribute it to 16 Century English and they perform it with shawms curtal mandolin guitar bass tabor and it is magnificent


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: masato sakurai
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 07:01 AM

Backgound information is also under the section Old English Christmas Fare in CHAMBERS'S BOOK of DAYS (1879, p. 754).

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: greg stephens
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 07:13 AM

Well Christmas must be coming if an old Boar's Head thread resurfaces. So I shall add my favourite bit off pedantry, it's not "Queen's College", it's THE Queen's College Oxford. The college specialised in students from the north (particularly Cumberland and Westmorland) and transport being a bit slow in the old days, they didnt go home for Christmas at Queen's, unlike the other Oxford Colleges. So they always had a big Christmas Gaudy(Oxford for Feast). And they still do, though it's shifted to just before Christmas. And the boar's head is real all right, and the choir still sing the old carol as they carry it in.And I went to that dinner a few years back (Queeen's being my old college) and disgraced myself by snowballing people during the dinner...very felicitously there was a heavy fall of snow actually while we were dining.(Not actually in the hall, the buildings are a bit old but they are adequately roofed) And I have some gold painted bay and rosemary leaves as a souvenir, which are used to decorate the head.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: CarolC
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 11:08 AM

Happy Holidays, Mole! Give ljc a poke for me if you see him. We miss you both.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 11:28 AM

Question for Greg. The carol is in the DT, listed from Queen's College, but it reads like a late version ("The boar's head, as I understand" doesn't sound right to me). Is it the one used at Queen's College? Do you have an older version?

Boars are being raised on reserves in Canada for the gourmet trade. Some escaped in Manitoba, and, breeding, according to the paper a couple of weeks ago, are causing damage. I understand they are hunted on the Big Island in Hawaii, but I have seen only pigs on the loose there.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 01:00 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: MMario
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 01:14 PM

there is a rewrite in pdf format here


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: greg stephens
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 01:55 PM

Sorry, cant get into the DT, for some reason, cant check version. The verse quoted is currently sung at Queen's as:

The boars head as I understand
Is the rarest dish in all the land
Which thus bedecked with a gay garland
Let us servire cantico.

I think this is pretty old, though the spelling is modernised. Cant give you chapter and verse for how old, the language looks around 1600??


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: MMario
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 02:07 PM

the i879 version (see link above) inn the book of Days is a bit different


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 02:58 PM

Greg, The DT version (and yours) is the oldest that I can find (Queen's, 1521).
In googling, I found a site that also had some other, seldom-heard carols. folkwales
Has anyone heard Maddy Prior sing it on her "Ballads and Candles" disc? Her notes says it is a Steeleye Span and Carnival Band cross.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: RolyH
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 03:38 PM

Sleeleye Span released as a 45 in 1977 (CHS 2192) and it was also recorded by The Druids on 'Burnt Offering' in 1971 (ZFB 22)


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Madam Gashee
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 04:37 PM

Baggyrinkle are performing a traditional carol set for a couple of gigs and the local city christmas market in December.
We include this one and love it.
Although it is Baggyrinkle, their normal sweatshirts are out and all get dressed up in traditional Victorian dress!
Of course we couldn't let them have all the fun and a couple of doxies joined them last year (Lizzie & myself)
this year there will be 4 ladies joining them, but judging by the costumes I use the term "ladies" very loosely!


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Hecate
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 06:29 AM

Some wonderful students in York came up with this version.... bit of spoonerism required

The Whore's bed as I understand
Is the finest bed in all the land,
We pray our master be merry,
For she has whips and dairylee.


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Subject: ADD Versions: BOAR'S HEAD CAROL
From: masato sakurai
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 07:32 AM

Several versions are known. The following are from Richard Leighton Greene, The Early Engish Carols, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 1977, pp. 80-82; without music).

BOAR'S HEAD CAROL

132
A. Balliol College, Oxford. MS. 354 XVI cent.

f. 228r

 Caput apri refero,
 Resonens laudes Domino.

[1]
The boris hed in hondes I brynge,
With garlondes gay and byrdes syngynge;
I pray you all, helpe me to synge,
 Qui estis in conviuio.

[2]
The boris hede, I vnderstond,
Ys cheff seruyce in all this londe;
Whersoever it may be fonde,
 Seruitur cum sinapio.

[3]
The boris hede, I dare well say,
Anon after the Twelfth Day
He taketh his leve and goth away,
 Exiuit tunc de patria.

MS. marks burden: fote.
stza. 3, l. 2. Twelfth] MS. xiith.




B. Bodleian Library. Rawlinson 4to. 598 (10) (Wynkyn de Worde) 1521

verso

 Caput apri differo,
 Reddens laudes Domino.

[1]
The bores heed in hande bring I,
With garlans gay and rosemary;
I pray you all, synge merely,
 Qui estis in conuiuio.

[2]
The bores heed, I vnderstande,
Is the chefe seruyce in this lande;
Loke, where euer it be fande,
 Seruite cum cantico.

[3]
Be gladde, lordes, bothe more and lasse,
 For this hath ordeyned our stewarde
To chere you all this Christmasse,
 The bores heed with mustarde.

Heading in original: A caroll bringyng in the bores heed.
burden, l. 2. laudes] Orig. laudens.
stza. 2, l. 2. chefe] Orig. thefe.
At end: Finis.
A MS. note at the head (XVI cent.) reads: a carrol to syng. The same hand has written after the Finis: Roger . . y . . e (surname illegible).




C a. Queen's College, Oxford. Traditional version 1921

 Caput apri defero,
 Reddens laudes Domino.

[1]
The Boar's head in hand bear I,
Bedeck'd with bays and rosemary.
And I pray you, masters, be merry,
 Quot estis in convivio.

[2]
The Boar's head, as I understand,
Is the bravest dish in all the land,
When thus bedeck'd with a gay garland.
 Let us servire cantico.

[3]
Our steward hath provided this,
In honour of the King of Bliss,
Which on this day to be served is,
 In Reginensi Atrio.

b. Queen's College, Oxford. Traditional version, 1811

stza. 1, l. 3. masters] my masters.
stza. 2, l. 2. bravest] rarest. the (2)] this.
l. 3. When thus bedeck'd] Which thus bedeck'd.
The following readings are supplied from MS. notes in the Bodleian Library's copy of Dibdin's Typographical Antiquities (London, 1812) 'from a MS. in the handwriting of T. Hearne, anno 1718':
stza. 1, l. 3. you] ye. be merry] merry be.
stza. 2, l. 2. rarest] bravest.
stza. 3, l. 1. hath] has.




133
British Museum. MS. Addit. 5665 XVI cent.

f. 7v

 Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell,
 Tydynges gode Y thyng[ke] to telle.
 Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell,
 Tydynges gode Y thyngke *to telle. [*f. 8r

[1]
The borys hede that we bryng here
Betokeneth a Prince withowte pere
Ys born this day to bye vs dere;
 Nowell, nowelle.

[2]
A bore ys a souerayn beste [f. 7v
And acceptab[l]e in euery feste;
So mote thys Lord be to moste and leste;
 Nowell, [nowelle.]

[3]
This borys hede we bryng with song
In worchyp of hym that thus sprang
Of a virgine to redresse all wrong;
 Nowell, [nowelle.]

MS. heading: In die natiuitatis.
stza. 1, l. 3. vs] MS. vus.
Signature: Smert.




134
Bodleian Library. MS. Eng. poet. e. I XV cent.

f. 29v

 Po, po, po, po,
 Loue brane and so do mo.

[I]
At the begynnyng of the mete
Of a borys hed ye schal hete,
And in the mustard ye xal wete,
 And ye xal syngyn or ye gon.

[2]
Wolcum be ye that ben here,
And ye xal haue ryth gud chere,
And also a ryth gud fare,
 And ye xal syngyn or ye gon.

[3]
Welcum be ye euerychon,
For ye xal syngyn ryth anon;
Hey yow fast, that ye had don,
 And ye xal syngyn or ye gon.




135
Lord Harlech, National Library of Wales. MS. Porkington 10 XV cent.

f. 202r

 Hey, hey, hey, hey!
 The borrys hede is armyd gay.

[1]
The boris hede in hond I bryng,
With garlond gay in porttoryng;
I pray yow all with me to synge, [f. 202v
 With hay!

[2]
Lordys, knyghttus and skyers,
Persons, prystis, and wycars,
The boris hede ys the fur[s]t mes,
 With hay!

[3]
The boris hede, as I yow say,
He takis his leyfe and gothe his way
Son after the Tweylffyt Day,
 With hay!

[4]
Then commys in the secund kowrs with mykyll pryd,
The crannus and the heyrronus, the bytteris by ther syde,
The pertrychys and the plowers, the wodcokus and the snyt,
 With hay!

[5]
Larkys in hoot schow, ladys for to pyk,
Good drynk therto, lycyvs and fynn,
Blwet of allmaynn, romnay and wyin,
 With hay!

[6]
Gud bred, alle, and wyin, dare I well say,
The boris hede with musterd armyd soo gay.

[7]
Furmante to potdtage, with wennissun fynn,
And the hombuls of the dow, and all that euer commis in.

[8]
Cappons ibake, with the pesys of the roow,
Reysons of corrans, with odyre spysis moo.

stza. 1, l. 2. With] MS. Wtt (so throughout).
stza. 3, 1. 3. Tweylffyt] MS. xii theylffyt.

~Masato


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Subject: ADD Version: BOAR'S HEAD CAROL
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 11:02 AM

Possibly worth at this stage quoting the notes accompanying the version in "Carols for Choirs" by the Oxford University Press (ISBN 0-19-353222-0)
"The tune, and the words of verses 1, 2, and 5, are as sung at Queen's College, Oxford. To provide an optional extension of the Oxford carol, two verses have been incorporated (nos. 3 & 4), fitted to the Oxford line, from a Boar's Head carol of BM MS Addit. 5665, c. 1500, bearing the signature Smert, and probably from the West Country, where Richard Smert was rector of Plymtree near Exeter, 1435- 1477."
The 3 verses claimed as being from the original are:

BOAR'S HEAD CAROL

The boar's head in hand bear I
Bedecked with bays and rosemary
I pray you, my masters, be merry
Quot estis in convivio (so many as are in the feast)

CHORUS: Caput apri defero, Reddens laudes domino (the boar's head I bring, giving praises to God)

The boar's head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all this land,
Which thus bedecked with a gay garland
Let us servire cantico. (serve with a song)

Our steward hath provided this
In honor of the King of bliss
Which, on this day to be served is
In Reginensi atrio: (in the Queen's hall)

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 11:11 AM

At the dinner at Queen's. you not only get to hear the old carol, but if you're lucky you get a drink out of the Black Prince's Hunting Horn. Three horns are brought out, of which the Black Prince's is one, and passed round the tables to drink the health of your neighbours with. I had a squint in the college safe once, where they keep the horn and various other nick-nacks. Talk about Aladdin's cave!
   Queen's was lucky in the civil war: unlike most Oxford Colleges, it was able (by astute side-changing at appropriate times) to avoid having the college gold and silver appropriated either by King Charles or Cromwell. And it's still sitting in that big cupboard. What a sight.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: masato sakurai
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 11:25 AM

"The Boar's Head Carol" is performed by the King's Choir HERE.


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Subject: RE: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 12:00 PM

Helpful as Masato's information always is, I should point out his previous link is to a choir from Cambridge University. How anybody could expect them to know how to sing an Oxford carol I can't imagine.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 02:00 AM

The online Traditional Ballad Index has an indexing flaw that stopped me from locating this entry online. Here's the entry from the downloaded version of the Ballad Index:
    ​​​​​

    Boar's Head Carol, The

    DESCRIPTION: The singer brings in the boar's head, "bedecked with bays and rosemary," to help celebrate Christmas. Chorus: Caput apri defero, Redens laudes domino."

    AUTHOR: unknown

    EARLIEST DATE: 1790 (Ritson); earliest versions c. 1500 (Hill MS., Balliol Coll. Oxf. 354; Wales National Library Porkington 10)

    KEYWORDS: carol Christmas food party nonballad foreignlanguage

    FOUND IN: Britain(England)

    REFERENCES (3 citations):

    OBC 19, "The Boar's Head Carol" (1 text, 1 tune)
    ADDITIONAL: Brown/Robbins, _Index of Middle English Verse_, #3313, 3314
    Ian Bradley, _The Penguin Book of Carols_ (1999), #75, "The Boar's Head in Hand Bear I" (1 text)

    Notes: The Latin chorus translates as "[The] head of [the] boar I bring, giving praises to God."
    This is said to be the "earliest English carol to appear in print"; Ian Bradley's Penguin Book of Carols reports it to have appeared in van Wynken's Christmase Carolls Newly Emprynted at London (1521). Since I have not seen the latter book, though, and no one else mentions that publication, I haven't listed that as an earliest date.

    Folklore also has a rather fantastic account of the origin of the song: An Oxford student named Copcot was on his way to mass when attacked by a boar. He allegedly killed it by stuffing a volume of Aristotle down his throat (an act, it seems to me, more likely to kill a lazy student than a boar), then took the head to the cooks. - RBW

    File: OBC172​​​​​


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Subject: RE: Origins: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 02:34 AM

This is the song for December 9 in Jon Boden's A Fold Song a Day project, so I thought I'd add a little more to the research we have on the song.

The version in the Digital Tradition is a good transcription of #19 in the Oxford Book of Carols (1928, 1964). The song text is the same in The New Oxford Book of Carols (1992); and in Chappell, Popular Music of the Olden Time 2 (1859) pp.757-758. Chappell got the song from Dr. Rimbault's Little Book of Christmas Carols.

I found a nice summary of the lengthy notes from the Oxford Book of Carols at www.nsmt.org
    The Boar’s Head Carol. English traditional. This carol is sung every Christmas at Queen’s College, Oxford. The Provost and Fellows enter after the usual trumpet call that announces dinner each evening during Full Term. The Provost having then said grace, the boar’s head is carried in by three chefs on its silver charger, surrounded by rosemary and gilded springs of bay, stuck with flags, and magnificently crowned. One either side are torch-bearers, and in front walks the solo singer and (proceeding backwards) the choir. The procession halts for each verse, moving forward during the refrains. When the charger is set down on the high table, the Provost distributes the herbs among the choristers and presents the solo singer with the orange from the boar’s mouth. An early version of the text is ‘A carol bringyng in the bores heed’ in Christmasse Carolles Newly Emprynted at London in the flete strete…by Wynkyn de Worde (1521) No early musical setting survives, and the tune to which it has been sung from at least the eighteenth century probably derives from a Restoration bass pattern. The version we use was printed in William Wallace Fyfe’s Christmas, its Customs and Carols (1863) and Husk’s Songs of the Nativity (1864), except for the refrain, for which we use the 1901 revision, the arrangement now sung at Queen’s College. Boar’s head feasts were particularly popular at Christmas – in Edward II’s time the open season for boar hunting ran from Christmas to Candlemas (Feb. 2). Wild boar have been extinct in England since the middle of the eighteenth century.

There's not much in the Roud Index this time....but there's fascinating information at www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: Darowyn
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 05:37 AM

There was a TV programme recently in which a butcher recreating the Victorian era prepared a Boars Head.
The first thing he do was to burn off the hair, then take out the skull, and most of the contents and fill the skin with mincemeat and stuffing. The outside was then decorated with sweet icing.
I don't know how far back that process goes, but it might explain why what might otherwise have been a lump of bone, hair and gristle could be described as "the finest dish in all the land", being stuffed with expensive fruit and spices.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Origins: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: GUEST,Jane Ann Liston
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 05:39 PM

Interesting that the carol is macaronic, like 'In dulce jubilo'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Aug 17 - 12:28 PM

I understood that the incident involving the wild boar attack on the student occurred in Hampshire on a common.
any more info on this would be appreciated, Ican confirm that i read about this incident many years ago, so it would seem joe offer is right.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Boar's Head Carol Info.
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Aug 17 - 12:46 PM

an amusing tradition formerly current in Oxford concerning the boar's head custom, which represented that usage as a commemoration of an act of valour performed by a student of the college, who, while walking in the neighbouring forest of Shotover and reading Aristotle, was suddenly attacked by a wild boar. The furious beast came open-mouthed upon the youth, who, however, very courageously, and with a happy presence of mind, thrust the volume he was reading down the boar's throat, crying, "Græcum est," and fairly choked the savage with the sage


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