A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missus, a soul-cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him who made us all.
God bless the master of this house,
The misteress also,
And all the little children
That round the table grow.
Likewise young men and maidens,
Your cattle and your store;
And all that dwell within your gates,
We wish you ten times more
A soul, etc.
Down into the cellar,
And see what you can find,
If your barrels are not empty,
We hope you will prove kind.
(We hope you will prove kind,
With your apples and strong beer,
And we'll come no more a-souling
Till this time next year.)
A soul, etc.
The lanes are very dirty,
My shoes are very thin,
I've got a little pocket
To put a penny in.
If you haven't got a penny
A ha'penny will do;
If you haven't got a ha'penny,
It's God bless you!
A soul, etc
abc | midi | pdf
Source: Lucy Broadwood and J A Fuller Maitland. 1893, English County Songs, London, Leadenhall Press
Lucy Broadwoods' notes:
Words and Tune from Rev. M. P. Holme, Tattenhall, Cheshire.
The latter part of the second stanza is restored from Miss Burne's Shropshire Folk Lore, p 385. The rest of the song was sung exactly as it stands by a little girl in Tattenhall School in October, 1891. A full account of the custom of "souling" is given by Miss Burne, Shropshire Folk Lore, pp 378-390. It is still practised on All-Souls' Day in the district referred to, and traces of the custom are to be found in many parts of England. See also Halliwell's Popular Rhymes, pp 238 and 249.
A further description is given by Clement A. Miles, Christmas Customs and Traditions: Their History and Significance (originally published as Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan, 1921; Dover, 1976, p. 193). Notes on this, and other souling traditions can be found in the discussion thread.
Roud: 304 (Search Roud index at VWML)
Related Songs: The Wassail Bough [Here we come a-wassailing] (thematic)