The Old Wren Song
The wran, the wran,the king of all birds,
St. Stephen's Day was cot in the furze
Although he is little his family's grate,
Put yer hand in yer pocket and give us a trate.
Sing holly,sing ivy-sing ivy,sing holly,
A drop ust to drink it would drown melancholy
And if you dhraw it ov the best,
I hope in heven yer sowl will rest,
But if you dhraw it ov the small
It won't agree wid de wran boys at all.
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
On St. Stephen's Day was caught in the furze,
Although he is little, his family is great,
I pray you, good landlady, give us a treat.
My box would speak, if it had but a tongue,
And two or three shillings, would do it not wrong,
Sing holly, sing ivy--sing ivy, sing holly,
A drop just to drink, it would drown melancholy.
And if you draw it of the best,
I hope in heaven your soul will rest;
But if you draw it of the small,
It won't agree with these wren boys at all.
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds
St. Stephen's Day was caught in the firs
Although he was little, his honor was great
Jump up me lads and give us a treat
We followed the wren three miles or more
Three miles of more, three miles or more
Through hedges and ditches and heaps of snow
At six o'clock in the morning
Rolley, Rolley, where is your nest?
It's in the bush that I love best
It's in the bush, the holly tree
Where all the boys do follow me
As I went out to hunt and all
I met a wren upon the wall
Up with me wattle and gave him a fall
And brought him here to show you all
I have a little box under me arm
A tuppence or penny will do it no harm
For we are the boys who came your way
To bring in the wren on St. Stephen's Day
We'll hunt the wren, says Robin to Bobin
We'll hunt the wren, says Richie the Robin
We'll hunt the wren, says Jack of the land
We'll hunt the wren says everyone
The wren, the wren is king of the birds
St. Stephen's Day he's caught in the furze
Although he is little, his family is great
We pray you, good people to give us a trate
Where, oh where? says Robin to Bobin
In yonder green bush
How get him down? ...
With sticks and stones
How get him home?
The brewer's big cart
How'll we ate him?
With knives and forks
Who'll come to the dinner?
The king and the queen
Eyes to the blind, says Robin to Bobbin
Legs to the lame, says Richie the robin
(Pluck) to the poor, says Jack of the land
Bones to the dogs, says everyone.
The wren was the symbol of the old year, killed by the robin, the new year, in Celtic myth. In Ireland, the men would hunt the wren on St. Stephen's Day, the day after Christmas. Christian legend said that the wren gave away St. Stephen as he hid in the furze from the Jews. The wren was said to be king of birds in this way: When the birds held a parliment to decide on their king, they decided on the bird who could fly the highest. All the birds tried, but the wren was clever enough to hide on the eagle's back. When the eagle, though the highest, had tired, the wren then proceded to fly even higher. For his cleverness he was made king.