|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
Round, boys, indeed
Pepys, i, 442, B.L., four woodcuts, four columns.
A pretty, musical ditty by Laurence Price on the favourite topic of shoemakers. Evidently it was the ballad called "A Merry Round &c." which John Wright, Jr, registered on June 24, 1637 (Arber's Transcript, iv, 386). Price, the chief rival of Martin Parker, wrote very many ballads of equal merit to Parker's, but has left behind him almost no biographical record. There is a meagre sketch of his life in the Dictionary of National Biography, and a few other facts about him are given in my "Martin Parker, Ballad-Monger," Modern Philology, xvi (1919), 120. Of the friendly rivalry that, at least for a time, existed between Price and Parker many evidences remain (cf. No. 71); such as the habit each had of writing ballads to tunes named for a ballad by the other and of answering each other's productions. Price, furthermore, contributed complimentary verses to Parker's pamphlet, Harry White's Humour (1637), and mentions him by name in his Map of Merry Conceits, 1656, sig. A 2 (originally issued in 1639).
In striking contrast, however, to the numerous references to Parker, I have found,—after covering the period with some care,—only three allusions to Price. In a broadside in the Luttrell Collection (11, 22) called "On Bugbear Black-Monday, March 29. 1652. Or, The London-Fright at the Eclipse proceeding from a Natural cause," astrological pamphlets by him and by Will Lilly are thus sneered at:
Was 't Laurence Price's Shepherd's Gnostication With cunning Will's wise Astrologization, That put ye in distemper, and such fits, As if their folly practis'd on your wits?
Mercurius Democritus for April 13-20, 1653 (p. 416), after a scurrilous tale, breaks off with the remark: "but more of this the next week; because you shall then have the true relation in a Ballad, to the Tune of the 7 Champions of the Pens in Smithfield, written by Lawrenc\e\ Price" He is also classed as one of the "glorious three of poetry"—along with the equally prominent ballad-writers Samuel Smithson and Humphrey Crouch —in S. F.'s Death in a New Dress, or Sportive Funeral Elegies (1656), sig. A 2V. S. F., writing a comic elegy on Robin, the Annyseed-water seller, expresses his astonishment that this celebrated personage (an hermaphro-