Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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106                                   ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
Elizabeth may be formed from the fact that seven hundred and ninety-six ballads, left for entry at Stationers' Hall, remained in the cupboard of the council chamber of the company at the end of the year 1560, to be transferred to the new Wardens, and only forty-four books." As to the latter part of her reign, see Bishop Hall, 1597.
" Some drunken rhymer thinks his time well spent If he can live to see his name in print ; Who, when he once is fleshed to the press, And sees his handsell have such fair success, Sung to the wheel, and sung unto the pail,b He sends forth thravesc of ballads to the sale." And to the same purport, in Martin Mar-sixtus, 1592 : " I lothe to speak it, every red-nosed rhymester is an author ; every drunken man's dream is a book; and he, whose talent of little wit is hardly worth a farthing, yet layeth about him so outrageously as if all Helicon had run through his pen: in a word, scarce a cat can look out of a gutter, but out starts a halfpenny chronicler, and presently a proper new ballet of a strange sight is indited."
Henry Chettle, in his pamphlet entitled Kind Hart's Dream, 1592, speaks of idle youths singing and selling ballads in every corner of cities and market towns, and especially at fairs, markets, and such like public meetings. Contrasting that time with the simplicity of former days, he says, "What hath there not, contrary to order, been printed ? Now ballads are abusively chanted in every street; and from London this evil has overspread Essex and the adjoining counties. There is many a tradesman of a worshipful trade, yet no stationer, who after a little bring­ing up apprentices to smging brokery, takes into his shop some fresh men, and trusts his servants of two months' standing with a dozen groatsworth of ballads. In which, if they prove thrifty, he makes them pretty chapmen, able to spread more pamphlets by the state forbidden, than all the booksellers in London." He particularly mentions the sons of one Barnes, most frequenting Bishop's Stortford, the one with a squeaking treble, the other with an ale-blown base, as bragging that they earned twenty shillings a day; whilst others, horse and man, the man with many a hard meal, and the horse pinched for want of provender, have together hardly taken ten shillings in a week.
In a pamphlet intended to ridicule the follies of the times, printed in 1591, the writer says, that if men that are studious would " read that which is good, a poor man may be able"—not to obtain bread the cheaper, butas the most desirable of all results, he would be able " to buy three ballets for a halfpenny."*1 " And tell prose writers, stories are so stale, That penny ballads make a better sale."
Pasquill's Madness, 1600. The words of the ballads were written by such men as Elderton, " with his ale-crammed nose," and Thomas Deloney, " the balleting silk-weaver of Norwich."
■ See Collier's Extracts from the Registers of the Sta-         c " Thrave " signifies a number of sheaves of corn set
timers* Company; vol. L, p. 28.                                             up together; metaphorically, an indefinite number of any-
b " Sung to the wheel," i.e., to the spinning wheel; and      thing.—Nares' Glossary.
"sung to the pail," sung by milk-maids, of whose love of         d Fearefull and lamentable effects oftwo dangerous Comets
ballads further proofs will be adduced.                                 that shall appeare, Src, 4to, 1591.