ROUND ABOUT RYE 89
Having thus adjured the company, Balger in a low mellow voice began to sing that carol which Grizzlebeard (in Belloc's " The Four Men ") put down as a definite, unrepentant expression of heterodoxy :
"Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel! A Catholic tale have I to tell; And a Christian song have I to sing While all the bells in Arundel ring.
I pray good beef and I pray good beer This holy night of all the year, But I pray detestable drink for them That give no honour to Bethlehem."
When Balger came to the third verse, he said that he would sing it very slowly, as he wished us to catch up the words as he went along. He sang that verse twice, with simple craft, and the words beat like blows upon the company :
" May all good fellows that here agree Drink audit ale in heaven with me, And may all my enemies go to hell! Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel! May all my enemies go to hell! Noel! Noel!
The mood was on us, and to the lilt of some old-world music, we bellowed out that third verse