Drive the cold Winter away: the meaning of a 17th century seasonal song

Drive the cold Winter away is a 17th century broadside ballad which appeals to its readers, singers and listeners to put aside differences, forget old wrongs, and to sing, dance, eat, drink and play together.

As this article outlines, there was good reason for this appeal for a Christmas truce in the 17th century, a time of bitterly cold winters, religious division and civil war. After describing what a 17th century Christmas feast consisted of, we explore the two distinct melodies the song was sung to and outline its long-lived popularity.

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