The National Music of America - online book

The Sources & Factors Influential In Forming America's Music.

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84 The National Music of America.
of the appointment. Thomas, Lord Whar­ton (1640-1715), a prominent Whig, took the occasion to write a set of jingly verses about the matter, which he entitled " Lilli-burlero." He fitted his rhymes to a pretty quickstep, written by Henry Purcell (the greatest of English composers), in 1678. It is impossible to exaggerate the effect of the song. Bishop Burnet says :
" A foolish ballad was made at that time, treating the Papists, and chiefly the Irish, in a very ridiculous manner, which had a burden, said to be Irish words, 'Lero, lero, lilliburlero,' that made an impression on the army that cannot be imagined by those who saw it not. The whole army, and at last the people, both in city and country, were singing it perpetually. And perhaps never had so slight a thing so great an effect."
Lord Wharton, after the change of dy­nasty, made the boast that he had rhymed James out of three kingdoms, but he does not take account of the fact that the music played a most important part in the popu-
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III