The trees they're all bare, not one green leaf to be seen,
And those meadows their beauty hath lost;
As for the leaves, they are fallen from the trees
And those streams are fast,
And those streams are fast, fast bound by the frost.
The poor little small birds to the barn doors fly for food,
Silent the restle on the spray;
The innocent hares search the woods for all their food,
Lest their footsteps should,
Lest their footsteps should their innocence betray.
The poor little pigeons sit shivering on the barn,
Coldly the north winds do blow;
The innocent sheep run the downs unto their fold,
With their fleeces all
With their fleeces all quite cover-ed with snow.
The poor little oxen in the yard all fother'd on straw
Sends forth their breath like the steam;
The sweet-looking milkmaid she finds that she must go
Flakes of ice finds she
Flakes of ice finds she, she finds all on her cream.
Now Christmas is come and our song we have sung,
Soon will come the Springtime of the year;
Come hand to me the glass and I'll drink your health all round,
For I wish you all
For I wish you all a bright and happy New Year.
Stubbs, K, 1970, The Life of a Man
, EFDS, London
Collected by Ken Stubbs from George Townshend, Lewes, Sussex in 1960. The word 'restle' Ken suggests might be 'nestle'.
This song is mostly associated with the Copper Family of Rottingdean in Sussex, though occasionally found in tradition elsewhere. (Lewes and Rottingdean are only about 7 miles apart.)
Two broadside editions by Bebbington of Manchester can be seen at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads
:The Timid Hare
(Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six