A PEPYSIAN GARLAND - online book

Black-letter Broadside Ballads Of The years 1595-1639

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
47
Every man's condition
Pepys, i, 220, B.L., four woodcuts, four columns.
Ll[ewellyn] Morg[an] is a name new to English balladry: I have found no further trace of his name or his ballads, unless he was the L.M. whose initials are signed to "An excellent Ditty, both merry and witty,Expressing the love of the Youthes of the City.. . .To a pleasant new tune, or the two lovely Lovers," printed by John Grismond (Pepys, i, 242). Similar in theme to "Every Man's Condition" is "A Merry Catch of All Trades" (No. 34). Compare also Dekker and Webster's Northward Ho, Act 1: "the Northerne man loues white-meates, the Southery man Sallades, the Essex man a Calfe, the Kentishman a Wag-taile, the Lancashire man an Egg-pie, the Welshman Leekes and Cheese, and your Londoners rawe Mutton." Such characterizations enjoyed an extraordinary vogue among seventeenth-century Englishmen.
The ballad dates after March 5, 1627 (Arber's Transcript, iv, 173), the day on which Francis Grove registered ballads called "2 slippes for a Teston" (whence the tune) and "3 slips for a Teston." The latter is extant: it is called "A Quip for a scornfull Lasse. Or, Three slips for a Tester. To the tune of Two slips for a Tester" (Pepys, 1, 234).
"Three slips for a testern" (i.e. three counterfeit twopenny coins for a sixpence) was a more or less proverbial expression with the same meaning as the Elizabethan slang phrase "to give him the slip," that is, to elude, to get away. Thus the Faithful Post for September 7-14, 1655, in telling of a criminal who escaped from the gallows as the noose was being adjusted around his neck, ran out into the crowd, but was recaptured, says: "He wanted agility of body to give them three slips for a Tester." Cf. also the ballad of "The Forlorn Lover; Declaring How a Lass Gave Her Love Three Slips for a Tester" {Roxburghe Ballads, vi, 233).
270
Previous Contents Next






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III