A PEPYSIAN GARLAND - online book

Black-letter Broadside Ballads Of The years 1595-1639

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73
Gallants, to Bohemia
Pepys, i, 102, B.L., two woodcuts, four columns.
This musical ballad, dating about 1632, urges England to participate in the conquests and spoils of Gustavus Adolphus in Germany, and laments the apparent military decadence of England since the glorious days of Sir John Norris, George, Earl of Cumberland, Thomas Cavendish, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Frobisher, Lord Grey de Wilton, and Lord Willoughby de Eresby. The writer's chief regret seems to be for the gold and precious stones in which, on account of her neutrality, England has no share; though he professes, also, an eagerness to help to defeat Popery. The ballad is valuable evidence of the feelings and the attitude of a man of the streets towards the German wars. Every important incident of the Thirty Years' War was, as soon as the news reached London, at once put into ballads for circulation. See, for example, Arber's Transcript, iv, 144, 268, 271, 274, 282, 299.
The "pleasant warlike tune" can be identified, thanks to a badly muti­lated ballad in the Manchester Collection (1, 48) of "England's Monthly Predictions" to the tune of Let us to the Wars Again; or, The Maying Time; for the music of Maying Time was included by Chappell in his Popular Music (1, 377). Another ballad in the same collection (1, 2), "The Great Turk's Challenge, this Year 1640," is to be sung to My bleeding heart [a tune often referred to], or, Lets to the wars again. Martin Parker's own ballad of "News from Newcastle," 1640 {ibid. 11, 1), is sung to Lets to the wars again.
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