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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THE EVOLUTION OF THE BALLAD 13
Hold up the helm, look up, and let God steer!
I would be merry, what wind that ever blow :
Heave and ho ! rumbelow, row the boat, Norman, row.
With regard to " Nowell," a Christmas Carol, there appear to have been two versions of the words, sacred and secular, an arrangement which was apparently quite common in those days.
From about this period dates the old ballad of "Chevy Chase," which was above all the ballad of the English people, and was set to many different airs. It was originally sung to the tune of "When Flying Fame," and later to that of "The Two Children in the Wood."
There is little further to record in the way of ballads till we come to the reign of Henry VIII, under whose patronage music flourished abun­dantly. Henry was passionately devoted to the art, and no mean performer on the lute and virginals, besides being a composer of some dis­tinction. It was during his reign that the word "ballad" (or "ballet," as it was then often written) came into general use as a name for narrative pieces in rhyme set to music, and indeed for songs of all kinds. In this reign, too, the first song-book was printed in England, in 1530, by Wynken de Worde. This book contained nine songs, but gave the bass part only of the songs. Of Henry's own compositions the best remem­bered is his " Pastime with good company," also
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