Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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"Dargason." a In Ritson's Ancient Songs, class 4 (from the reign of Edward VI. to Elizabeth) is " A merry ballad of the Hawthorn tree," to be sung to the tunc of Donkin Dargeson. This curiosity is copied from a miscellaneous collection in the Cotton Library (Vespasian A. 25), and Ritson remarks, "This tune, whatever it was, appears to have been in use till after the Restoration." I have found several copies of the tune; one is in the Public Library, Cambridge, among Dowland's manuscripts. The copy here given is from the Dancing Master, 1650-51, where it is called Dargason, or the Sedany. The Sedany was a country dance, the figure of which is described in the The Triumph of Wit, or Ingenuity displayed, p. 206. In Ben Jonson's Tale of a Tub, we find, " But if you get the lass from Dargison, what will you do with her ? " Gifford, in a note upon this passage, says, " In some childish book of knight-errantry, which I formerly read, but which I cannot now recall to mind, there is a dwarf of this name (Dargison), who accompanies a lady, of great beauty and virtue, through many perilous adventures, as her guard and guide." In the Isle of Chills, played by the children of the Revels, in the Black Fryars, 1606, may be found the following scrap, possibly of the original ballad :                    " An ambling nag, and a-down, a-down,
We have borne her away to Dargison'' See also " Oft have I ridden upon my grey nag," page 63. In the Douce collec­tion of Ballads (fol. 207), Bodleian Library, as well as in the Pepysian, is a song called " The Shropshire Wakes, or hey for Christmas, being the delightful sports of most countries, to the tune of Dargason" It begins thus: " Come Robin, Balph, and little Harry,
And merry Thomas to our green; Where we shall meet with Bridget and Sary,
And the finest girls that e'er were seen. Then hey for Christmas a once year,
When we have cakes, with ale and beer, For at Christmas ' every day,'
Young men and maids ' may dance away,'" &c.
* This tnne is inserted in Jones' Musical and Poetical Relict of the Welsh Bards, p. 129, under the name of "The melody of Cynwyd;" and some other curious coincidences occur in the same work. At page 172, the tune called "The Welcome of the Hostess " is evidently our " Mitter Rant." At page 176, the tune called " Flaunting two," is the country dance of " The Hemp Dresser, or the Lon­don Gentlewoman." At page 129, " The Delight of the men of Dovey," appears to be an inferior copy of " Green Sleeves." At page 174, is " Hunting the Hare," which we also claim. At page 162, " The Monks' March " (of which Jones says, " Probably the tune of the Monks of Bangor, when they marched to Chester, about the year 603,") is " General Monk's March," published by Play-ford, and the quick part, " The Rummer;" and at page 142, the air calleu "White Locks" is evidently Lord Commissioner JVhilelocke's coranto, an account of which. with the tune, is contained in Sir J. Hawkins' History of Music, vol. iv. page 51, and in Burney's History of Music, vol. iii. page 378. In several of these, particularly in the last, which Is identified by the second part of the tnne
(and especially by a very different version, under the same name, in Parry's Cambrian Harmony, published about fifty years ago), there is considerable variation, as maybe expected in tunes traditionally preserved for so long a time, but their identity admits of little question. In vol. ii., at p. 25, [' The Willow Hymn " is, " By the osiers so dank." At p. 44, "The first Of August" is, "Come, jolly Bacchus," with a little admixture of " In my cottage near a wood." At page 33, a tune called "The Britons," which is in The Dancing Master of 1696, is claimed. At p. 45, " Mopsy's Tune, the old way," is "The Barking Barher," and "Prestwich Bells" is "Talk no more of Whig or Tory," contained in many collections. At vol.lii., p. 15, " The Heiress of Montgomery" is another version of "As down in the meadows." At p. 16, "Captain Corbett "is " Of all comforts I miscarried; " and at p. 49, "If love's a sweet passion," is claimed." In addition to these, Mr. Jones has himself noticed a coincidence between the tune called "The King's Note," (vol. iii.) and " Pastyme with good Company." Such mistakes will always occur when an editor relies solely on tradition.

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