X:1 T:Twelfth Eve M:C| L:1/8 R:Country Dance N:”From a Collection published about 1703.” B:Elias Howe – Musician’s Omnibus Nos. 6 & 7 (Boston, 1880-1882, p. 611) B: http://ks4.imslp.net/files/imglnks/usimg/c/c7/IMSLP601433-PMLP562790-ONeill_Rare_Medium_M40_M8_v6.7_text.pdf Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Gmin FE|D2G4A2|BABc Bc d2|c2Ac2f2|A4 A2 FE| D2G4A2|BABc Bc d2|gfed cBAG|G6|| GA|B2B2B2F2|B2d2d2f2|f2d2 cdcB|A6 Bc| Bc d2d2 cB|cd e2 e2 dc|d2g2 ^fgaf|g6||
William Hone, in his The Every-Day Book of 1825, has this entry for the fifth of January:
This is the eve of the Epiphany, or Twelfth-night eve, arid is a night of preparation in some parts of England for the merriments which, to the present hour, distinguish Twelfth-day. Dr. Drake mentions that it was a practice formerly for itinerant minstrels to bear a bowl of spiced-wine to the houses of the gentry and others, from whom they expected a hospitable reception, and, calling their bowl a wassail-bowl, to drink wassail to their entertainers. These merry sounds of mirth and music are not extinct. There are still places wherein the wandering blower of a clarionet, and the poor scraper of as poor a fiddle, will this evening strain their instruments, to charm forth the rustic from his dwelling, and drink to him from a jug of warm ale, spiced with a race of ginger, in the hope of a pittance for their melody, and their wish of wassail.