North Staffordshire Souling Song

I’ve had a go at putting the North Staffordshire Souling Song c.1894 into a more singable form, added a rhyme back in on the fourth line, and stripped out the clunky Christianising of the end lines…

“Soul, soul, an apple or two
If y’ave non apples, pears u’ll do ;
Up wi’ your kettles, down with y’ pans,
Pray, good missus, a soul-cake, do!

Souling-day comes once a year
When it comes, it finds us here.
The cock sits up in t’ yew-tree,
The hens came cackling by,
I wish you a merry Christmas,
And a good fat pig i’ the stye.

All us stand at yonder gate
A’ waiting for a soul-cake ;
One for sorrow, two for joy,
Three for a swan to fly o’er all.”


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