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ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC
White had a license to print, "A ballad, being the Ladie Greene Sleeves Ansioere to Donkyn his frende." Also Ed-ward Guilpin in his Skialethia, or a Shadow of Truth, 1598, says: " Yet like th' olde ballad of the Lord of Lome,
Whose last line1 in King Harries days was borne." As the ballad of TJie Lord of Lome and the False Steward, -which was entered on the 6th October, 1580, was sung to the tune of Green Sleeves, it would appear that Green Sleeves must be a tune of Henry's reign. Copies of The Lord of Lome are in the Pepys Collection (i. 494), and the Roxburghe (i. 222).
Within twelve days of the first entry of Green Sleeves it was converted to a pious use, and we have, " Greene Sieves moralised to the Scripture, declaring the manifold benefices and blessings of God bestowed on sinful man;" and on the fifteenth day Edward White had " tollerated unto him by Mr. Watkins, si ballad intituled Greene Sleeves and Countenance, in Countenance is Greene Sleeves." By the expression " tolerated " instead of " licensed," we may infer it to have been of questionable propriety.
Great, therefore, was the popularity of the ballad immediately after its publication, and this may be attributed rather to the merry swing of the tune, than to the words, which are neither remarkable for novelty of subject, nor for its treatment.
An attempt was speedily made to improve upon them, or to supply others of more attractive character, for in December of the same year, Jones, the original publisher, had " tolerated to him A merry newe Northern Songe of Greene Sleeves" beginning, The bonniest lass in all the land. This was probably the ballad that excited William Elderton to write his "Reprehension against Greene Sleeves" in the following February, for there appears nothing in the original song to have caused it. The seventh entry within the year was on the 24th of August, 1581, when Edward White had licensed " a ballad intituled— " Greene Sleeves is worne awaie, Yellow Sleeves come to decaie. Blacke Sleeves I holde in despite, But White Sleeves is my delight."
Nashe, speaking of Barnes' Divine Centurie of Sonets, says they are " such another device as the goodly ballet of John Careless, or the song of Green Sleeves Moralized." Fletcher says, "And, by my Lady Greensleeves, am I grown so tame after all my triumphs ? " and Dr. Rainoldes, in his Overthrow of Stage Plays, 1599, says, "Now if this were lawfully done because he did it, then William, Bishop of Ely, who, to save his honour and wealth, became a Green Sleeves, going in women's raiment from Dover Castle to the sea-side, did therein like a man;—although the women of Dover, when they found it out, by plucking down his muffler and seeing his new shaven beard, called him a monster for it."
In Mr. Payne Collier's Collection, and in that of the Society of Antiquaries, are copies of " A Warning to false Traitors, by example of fourteen; whereof six were executed in divers places neere about London, and two near Braintford, the
» The last lines of the Lord of Lome are— For God may suffer for a time,
" Let Rebels therefore warned be, But will disclose it at the end."
How mischief once tbey do pretend; Perhaps Guilpin may mean that this formed part of an