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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16              A CENTURY OF BALLADS
When Elizabeth came to the throne this perse­cution ceased, and the art of balladry began to flourish again. "But," says Chappell, " the educated classes did not again bestow their patronage upon this kind of amusement, and henceforward the ballad became the exclusive property of the lower orders of the people, both song and tune being in future provided for them by persons little if at all removed in social posi­tion from themselves."
The number of ballads that were printed during the reign of Elizabeth was something enormous, and the country was overrun with itinerant ballad-singers, idle youths who reaped a golden harvest by "singing and selling ballads in every corner of cities and market-towns, and especially at fairs, markets, and such-like public meetings."
Henry Chettle, in a strange publication entitled Kind Hart's Dreame, first published in 1592, has given an account of these ballad singers and sellers, in which he contrasts that time with the simplicity of former days. The ghost of Anthony Now-Now, alias Anthony Munday, an old ballad-writer and itinerant fiddler, is supposed to be speaking, when he says: "When I was liked there was no thought of that idle upstart genera­tion of ballad-singers, neither was there a printer so lewd that would set his finger to a lascivious line. But now ballads are abusively chanted in
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