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Please to See the King

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Please to See the King

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Please to See the King

  Joy, health, love, and peace be all here in this place
  By your leave, we will sing concerning our King

Our King is well dressed, in silks of the best
In ribbons so rare, no king can compare

We have traveled many miles, over hedges and stiles
In search of our King, unto you we bring

Old Christmas is past, Twelfth Night is the last
And we bid you adieu, great joy to the new
The king was the wren.  The wren was the king of the birds.  In
ancient religions the king was sacrificed every seven years for
the fertility and good of the tribe.  In some places (Ireland)
the queen was royal and married new consorts to be sacrificed.
The consort was treated well for seven years (or one year) and
then sacrificed by the new consort.  A wren was killed and
dressed up in ribbons, etc. and carried around the village.  This
is from Pembrokeshire in South Wales, commemorating the wren-
killing on St. Steven's Day, Dec 26.  Old Christmas, still
celebrated rather than December 25, is Twelfth Night.

Recorded by Steeleye Span on Please to See the King; by Carthy and
    Swarbrick on Prince Heathen
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