A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

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12
A CENTURY OF BALLADS
Nowell," and the still more famous " Heave and ho Rumbelow."
Heave and ho rumbelow, Row the boat, Norman row, Row to the haven.
Norman was Mayor of London in this reign, and Ritson in his Ancient Songs and Ballads, quoting the historian Fabian, gives the following account of the song, the authorship of which is credited to the Thames watermen :—
"John Norman, Mayre of London, upon the morrowe of Symon and Judes daye, the accus­tomed daye when the new mayre used yearly to ryde with great pompe to Westminster to take his charge, this mayre, first of all mayres, brake that ancient and olde continued custom, and was rowed thyther by water, for the which the water­men made of hym a roundell or song to hys great prayse, the which began," etc. Playford after­wards substituted " Whittington " for " Norman." It is interesting to note that DTsraeli, in his Curi­osities of Literature, mentions hearing the sailors at Newcastle, when heaving anchors, singing " Heave and ho ! rumbelow ! "
Skelton, in his poem " Bowge of Court," has a reference to this old ballad.
His throat was clear, and lustily could feign, And ever he sang, sith I am nothing plain To keep him from piking it was a great pain :
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