Wednesday, 7 December 2011

First Wednesday in December......

...time for The Boar's Head Carol...

'Caput apri defero'

Traditionally sung at Hurstpierpoint College on the first Wednesday in December to accompany none other than a Boar's Head on a platter with creamed potato tusks, glace cherry eyes and an apple in its mouth!

A nightmare for vegetarians!

and the words.....

The boar's head in hand bear I
Bedecked with bays and rosemary
I pray you, my masters, be merry
Quot estis in convivio.       [howsoever many are at the feast]
Caput apri defero,       [I bring the boar's head]
Reddens laudes Domino       [rendering praises to the Lord]

 The boar's head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all the land,
Which thus bedecked with a gay garland
Servitur cum sinapio.       [it is served with mustard]
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino

Our steward hath provided this
In honour of the King of bliss
Which on this day to be served is
In Reginensi Atrio:       [in the Queen's hall]
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino

The boar's head, I dare well say,
Anon after the eleventh day,
He takes his leave and goes away,
Exivit tum de patria.       [he has then left the fatherland]
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino

Anon 1521 


  1. A great favourite, and it was or still is performed at Queen's College Oxford. Nice performance, too.

    Plenty of wild boar here, complete with tusks, and in some towns they forage for food in the street.

    Must try to get hold of a boar's head, and cook it for my students.

  2. Fantastic! I had never heard this before. I enjoy Steeleye Span. Especially their version of Gaudete. Thank you for sharing it here.