God rest ye merry gentlemen
Posted by TheFallen on November 29, 2004
In Reply to: God rest ye merry gentlemen posted by keith rennie on November 29, 2004
: : "God rest ye", what does this mean exactly? "Don't worry?". "Calm down?". Just pondering because I was singing the song and realised I'm not actually sure at all what it means.
: Surely it's "God rest ye merry, Gentlemen" meaning God keep you happy. The rest of the song supports this interpretation. The choir sings this to the men of the house (in return for a spot of "good cheer", i.e. free ale on the house.) Pity about the ladies, they were in the kitchen getting the food, and had to be content with a surreptitious nip of sherry or brandy from the bottle.
: now satisfy my curiosity, why word camel?
My father used to tell an almost certainly apocryphal story. It concerned a secure lunatic asylum in England during the Second World War, where shell-shocked and generally unstable German prisoners of war were incarcerated. Apparently local schoolboys used to gather outside the gates during the winter and sing "God rest ye Jerry mental men..."