Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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110                                   ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
to sew but Nares quotes four authorities to prove it to mean a cobbler. In Beaumont and Fletcher's Coxcomb we find— ■
" Where were the Watch the while ? Good sober gentlemen, They were, like careful members of the city, Drawing in diligent ale, and singing Catches." In A Declaration of egregious Impostures, 1604, by Samuel Harsnet (afterwards Archbishop of York), he speaks of " the master setter of Catches, or Rounds, used to be sung by tinkers as they sit by the fire, with a pot of good ale between their legs."
Sometimes the names of these Catches are given, as, for instance, " Three blue beans in a blue bladder, rattle, bladder, rattle," mentioned in Pole's Old Wive's Tale, in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, and in Dekker's Old Fortunatus; or " Whoop, Barnaby," which is also frequently named. But whoever will read the words of those in Pammelia, Deuteromelia, Hilton's Catch that catch can, or Play-ford's Musical Companion, will not doubt that many of the Catches were intended for the ale-house and its frequenters; but not so generally, the Rounds or Rounde­lays. Singing in parts was, by no means, confined to the meridian of London; Carew, in his Survey of Cornwall, 1602, says the same of Cornishmen: " Pastimes to delight the mind, the Cornishmen have guary miracles [miracle plays] and three-men''s songs, cunningly contrived for the ditty, and pleasantly for the note."
Catches seem to have increased in use towards the latter part of the seven­teenth century, for, although I cannot cite an instance of one composed by a celebrated musician of Elizabeth's reign, in that of Charles II. such cases were abundant.
Some of the dances in favour in the reign of Elizabeth will be mentioned as the tunes occur; the Queen herself danced galliards in her sixty-ninth year, and, when given up by her physicians in her last illness, refusing to take medicine, she sent for her band to play to her; upon which Beaumont, the French Ambassador, remarks, in the despatch to his court, that he believed " she meant to die as cheerfully as she had lived." Her singing and playing upon the lute and virginals have been so often mentioned, that I will not further allude to them here.
By the Registers of the Stationers' Company we find that in 1565 William Pickering had a license to print " A Ballett intituled All in a garden grene, between two lovers;" and in 1568-9, William Griffith had a similar license. In 1584, "an excellent song of an outcast lover," beginning "My fancie did I fire in faithful form and frame," to the tune of All in a garden ■ grene, appeared in A Handeful of Pleasant Delites.
In the rare tract called " Westward for smelts, or the Waterman's fare of mad merry Western Wenches," quarto, 1603, the boatman, finding his fare sleeping, sprinkles a little cool water on them with his oar, and, to "keep them from melan­choly sleep," promises " to strain the best voice he has, and not to cloy their ears

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