Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 7 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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This ballad, formerly a very great favorite, and continually alluded to in works of the 16th and 17th centuries, is found among the " Freemen's Songs of three voices" in Deuteromelia, 1609 ; also in Play-ford's Musical Companion, 1687, and for one voice in Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy, vol. i. 1698 and 1707. It is, however, much older than any of these books.
Carew, in his Survey of Cornwall, 1602, p. 135, writes: " Moreover, the prowess of one Nicholas, son to a widow near Foy, is descanted upon in an old three-man's song, namely, how he fought bravely at sea with John Dory, (a Genowey, as I conjecture,) set forth by John, the French King, and, after much bloodshed on both sides, took, and slew him, in revenge of the great ravine and cruelty which he had fore committed upon the Englishmen's goods and bodies." The only King John that could be meant here is of course John II. the Good, (see v. 10,) who was taken prisoner at Poitiers, and died in 1364. No John Doria is mentioned as being in the service of John the Good. — Ritson's Ancient Songs, ii. 57, and Chappell's Pop­ular Musk, p. 67.
As it fell on a holy-day,
And upon 'a' holy-tide-a, John Dory bought him an ambling nag,
To Paris for to ride-a.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III