A "wassail" song - that is, a song for door to door carol singing. The term wassail comes from an Anglo Saxon toast meaning "be in good health", and this is quite simply a song wishing good health to the people of the house you're knocking the door of (and then trying to extract a small amount of money from them). This song was collected by Janet Blunt from Mrs Haigh and Miss Kelk of Birkenhead in 1921. (Those who've been following my blog for a while may recall Mrs Haigh as the source of the Birkenhead version of The Bitter Withy.) This was one of the songs they remembered carol singers performing in their youth. I got the words and tune off the English Folk Dance and Song Society's "Take Six" site.
Matthew Edwards (now resident on the Wirral and a fount of knowledge about all manner of songs) has done a bit of additional detective work:
I've managed to trace the two sisters who gave this song, and two others (The Bitter Withy and Christ Was Born In Bethlehem), to Janet Blunt in 1921. They were Annie Beatrice Haigh and Rosamond Kelk, daughters of a bank accountant, who lived in Claughton, Birkenhead in the 1870's. Their father, John William Kelk, was originally from Brigg in Lincolnshire, but both daughters were born in the Wirral.
They told Janet Blunt that they remembered the songs being sung by child waits at Christmas in the streets of Birkenhead 30 or 40 years earlier. Where the songs might have originated is now almost impossible to tell since the population of Birkenhead at that time had grown very rapidly in a short time with the new inhabitants coming from many different parts.
The photo is of carol singers on the wirral from the Bay TV Liverpool site. Haven't heard any carol singers coming to the door in Bootle for a few years - is carol singing door to door something that's been discouraged these days? If so, it's a bit of a shame.
The Roud folksong index lumps this in with other Wassail songs as #209