Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

Ancient Songs, Ballads, & Dance Tunes, Sheet Music & Lyrics - online book

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REIGN OF ELIZABETH.                                                159
Pepys, in his diary, 25th June, 1663, speaks of going with Sir William and Lady Batten, and Sir J. Minnes, to Sir W. Eider's, at Bednall Green, to dinner, "a fine place;" and adds, "This very house was built by the blind Beggar.of Bednall Green, so much talked of and sang in ballads ; but they say it was only some outhouses of it." The house was called Kirby Castle, then the property of Sir William Ryder, Knight, who died there in 1669.
" This popular old ballad," says Percy, " was written in the reign of Elizabeth, as appears not only from verse 23, where the arms of England are called the 'Queenes armes;' but from its tune being quoted in other old pieces written in her time. See the ballad on Mary Arribree" &c.
In a black-letter book called The World's Folly, we read that " a dapper fellow, that in his youth had spent more than he got, on his person, fell to singing The blind Beggar, to the tune of Heigh ho! "(Brit. Bibliographer, ii. 560.)
In the "Collection of Loyal Songs written against the Rump Parliament," and in " Rats rhimed to death, or the Rump Parliament hang'd up in the shambles " (1660), are many songs to the tune of The blind Beggar, as well as in the King's Pamphlets, Brit. Museum.
Among them, "A Hymn to the gentle craft, or Hewson's lamentation" (a satire on Lord Hewson, one of Cromwell's lords, who had been a cobbler, and had but one eye), and " The second Martyrdom of the Rump."
The tune was sometimes called Pretty Bessy, and a ballad to be sung to it, under that name, is in the Roxburghe Collection, i. 142.