|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
FROM HENRY VII. TO MARY.
JOHN DORY. This celebrated old song is inserted among the Freemen's Songs of three voices in Deuteromelia, 1609. It is also to be found in Playford's Musical Companion, 1687, and for one voice in Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy, vofTi., 1698 and 1707. It is, however, much older than any of these books. - Carew, in his Survey of Cornwall, 1602, p. 135, says, " 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 one John Dory (a Genowey, as I conjecture), set forth by John, the French King, and after much blood shed on both sides, took and slew him," &c. Carew was born in 1555. The only King John of France died a prisoner in England, in 1364. In the play of Crammer Grurton's Needle there is a song, "I cannot eat but little meat," which was sung to the tune of John Dory. The play was printed in 1575, but the song appears to be older. (See page 72). Bishop Corbet thus mentions John Dory, with others, in his "Journey to Fraunce:"
*' But woe is me ! the guard, those, men of warre,
Who but two weapons use, beef and the barre,
Begun to gripe me, knowing not the truth,
That I had sung John Dory in my youth ;
Or that I knew the day when I could chaunt,
Chevy, and Arthur, or The Siege of Gaunt." Bishop Barle, in his " Character of a Poor Fiddler," says, "Hunger is the greatest pains he takes, except a broken head sometimes, and labouring John Dory." In Fletcher's comedy The Chances, Antonio, a humourous old man, receives a wound, which he will only suffer to be dressed on condition that the song of John Dory be sung the while, and he gives 10s. to the singers. It is again mentioned by Fletcher in Tfie Knight of the Burning Pestle; by Brathwayte in Drunken Barndby's Journal; in Vox Borealis, or the Northern Discoverie, 1641; in some verses on the Duke of Buckingham, 1628 :
" Then Viscount Slego telleth a long storie Of the supplies, as if he sung John Dorie;" and twice by Gayton, in his Pleasant Notes upon Don Quixote, 1654.
A parody was made upon it by Sir John Mennis, on the occasion of Sir John Suckling's troop of horse, which he raised for Charles L, running away in the civil war, and it was much sung by the Parliamentarians at the time. In will be found in Wit Restored, 1658, entitled " Upon Sir John Suckling's most warlike preparation for the Scottish War," and beginsó
" Sir John got him an ambling nag." In the epilogue to a farce called the Empress of Morocco, 1674, intended to ridicule a tragedy of the same name by Elk. Settle, and Sir "W. Davenant's alteration of Macbeth (which had been lately revived with the addition of music by Mathew Locke), " the most renowned and melodious song of John Dory was to he heard in the air, sung in parts by spirits, to raise the expectation and charm the audience with thoughts sublime and worthy of the heroic scene which follows." It is quoted in Folly in print, 1667 ; in Merry Drollery complete, 1670; and in