Christmas Goose, The

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The Christmas Goose

Roud Number 3204

as sung by Arthur Howard, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire

and also by Will Noble Listen


It was at an inn in Manchester, the Cornstalk was the sign,

A famous public where commercials used to sleep and dine;

A traveller one Christmas Eve, so long had been 'is use,

Called in to spend 'is holiday and choose 'is Christmas goose.

Chorus: All around the greenwood, so earlye in the morn,

The merry, merry huntsman blows his silver bugle horn.


He drank'is pint of sherry wine and smoked 'is mild cigar

And chatted with the customers and people in the bar;

But not a thought of wickedness here entered in 'is 'ead

Until the chambermaid appeared to light him up to bed.

Chorus


At length he grew so amorous, he squeezed her in the stairs;

He kissed her at the chamber door before 'e said 'is prayers.

He gave to 'er a guinea to prevent 'er being vexed

And then he blew the candle out and you can guess the next!

Chorus


Next morning this gay Luthero discharged 'is little bill;

He tipped the boots and tossed the landlord for a parting gill;

But where he went to afterwards, it's not for me to say;

Suffice he came to choose his goose the very next Christmas Day.

Chorus


Next Christmas time came round again which filled 'is'eart with glee,

He wandered round from town to town and strange sights did he see;

Till he ended up in Manchester and put up for the night

At the Cornstalks which twelve months before had filled 'im with delight.

Chorus


He walked into the coffee room as jaunty as could be,

Where many a rooster like 'imself was waiting for'is tea.

He ordered of the very best the landlord could perduce [produce],

And called the waiter back to say, 'Now don't forget the goose!'

Chorus


Right speedily a tray was brought with eatables galore

And by the self-same chambermaid he'd kissed twelve months before;

But nothing loth he raised the cloth whereon a heap was piled,

Instead of eatables thereon was a big fat bumping child.

Chorus


Enraged at seeing others laugh, 'What is this 'ere?' said 'e.

'Come sit you down beside me and I'll tell you, Sir,' said she.

'Last Christmas you so generous was--Nay, do not look so strange

You gave to me a guinea and I've brought you back your change!'

Chorus


Arthur: 'We allus have that at Christmas, that and "Mistletoe Bough"'.


Arthur was regularly called on to perform this favourite during the hunt supper that follows the Boxing Day Meet of the Holme Valley Beagles. This delightful tale of the cocksure commercial traveller who gets his come-uppance at the hands of the crafty chambermaid has an almost contemporary feel with its references to 'mild cigar', 'public', and 'bar'. Roy Palmer notes that 'gay Luthero' in the fourth verse is almost certainly Gay Lothario, a character from a play by Rowe entitled The Fair Penitent. The combination of a deft turn of phrase and a beautiful, lingering chorus helps to explain the song's immense popularity in Arthur's district, the Pennines near to Holmfirth. (A related song that shares the same motif of 'the change' is Alfred Scannell's The Brisk Young Butcher', see Marrowbones.)


  • Elizabethan Goose Sauce

1 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons (or more according to taste) cider vinegar

1 teaspoon mustard, preferably Dijon style

1 17 cups stewed apples

salt

pepper

sugar to taste

1 . In a saucepan, combine stock, vinegar and mustard. Stir to blend.

2. Bring to boil and add apples.

3. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

4. Check seasoning. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

Gives 1 1/2 cups of sauce to pour over hot or cold goose.