Bards - French Song from "Lion in Winter"

Larry E. Bishop LucaisduBelier at
Thu Mar 2 15:47:45 PST 2000

Regarding the request for information about the song Alais sings in the
"Lion in Winter", sorry I misplaced your private e-mail so I am posting to
the list.

Here's what I have found out:

This information is from the script of the March, 1966 New York City
production of the play presented at the Ambassador Theater, directed by Noel
William (with Suzanne Grossmann playing the King of France's sister, Alais
Capet).  This version is somewhat different from the film version.  The song
is from Act II, Scene 1.  The script is very brief and is untitled in the

"The Christmas wine is in the pot,
The Christmas coals are red.
I'll spend the day the lovers' way
Unwrapping all my gifts in bed.
The Christmas Goose is on the spit,
The Christmas..."

The script ends here.

My hunch is that this is not a period song, but rather written for the play.
While the "Lion in Winter" is an all time favorite of mine, it has many
historical shortcomings, especially regarding Christmas traditions.  The
time of this play is circa 1183, Chinon, France.  During this period it
would not have been referred to as "Christmas", but rather the 12 nights of
epiphany.  Christmas, or Christ's Mass, was actually the first of the 12
days.   The term "Christmas" used as the name of the holiday season did not
occur until a few centuries later.  Also, feasting for Christmas and family
dinners did not occur until the 17th and 18th century in England (closer and
more accurately portrayed in Dickens "A Christmas Carol," but hardly the
practice in 1183 France).

For further information, you may wish to track down a copy of the shooting
script for the film version.  I understand from Mistress Rosalynde that
there are extensive preface notes with much historical data.

Some further trivia...the writer of the play, William Goldman, also wrote
"Lord of the Flies" and "the Princess Bride".

Hope this is useful,


Baron Lucais du Belier, OL, OP
mka Larry E. Bishop
1119 SW 66th Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73139-1505
(405) 631-2301
LucaisduBelier at

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