Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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

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Some of the ballads written to the tune have the following burden, which appears to be the original:—
" Says old Simon the king, Says old Simon the king, With his ale-dropt hose, and his malmsey nose, Sing, hey ding, ding a ding, ding." From its last line, Kitson conjectured that the "Hey ding a ding" mentioned in Laneham's Letter from Kenilworth, 15T5, as one of the ballads "all ancient," then in the possession of Captain Cox, the Coventry mason, was Old Sir Simon under another name. So far as internal evidence can weigh, the tune may'be of even much greater antiquity, but we have no direct proof.
Mr. Payne Collier is of opinion that the ballad entitled Magged and tarn and true, was " first published while Elizabeth was still on the throne." (See Collier's Roxburghe Ballads, p. 26.) As it was sung to the tune of Old Simon the King, the latter necessarily preceded it. This adds to the probability of Ritson's con­jecture. But, although we have ballads printed during the reign of James I., to the tune of Old Simon, I have not succeeded in discovering one of earlier date.
Sir John Hawkins, in the additional notes to his History of Music, says, " It is conjectured that the subject of the song was Simon Wadloe, who kept the Devil (and St. Dunstan) Tavern, at the time when Ben Jonson's Club, called the Apollo Club,-* met there." The conjecture rests upon two lines of the inscription over the door of the Apollo room—
" Hang up all the poor hop-drinkers, Cries Old Sym, the King of Skinkers." A skinker meaning one who serves drink. Sir John quotes the song in Pills to purge Melancholy, iii. 144. It has but one line of burden,—
" Says old Simon the King;" and instead of the Devil tavern, the Crown is the tavern named in it. It appears to be of too late a date for the original song. The Simon Wadloeb whom Ben Jonson dubbed "King of Skinkers," was buried in March, 1627,c and more probably owed his title to having the same Christian name as the Simon of the. earlier song.
As there are two tunes, which differ considerably, it seems desirable, in the case of a song once so popular, to print both. The first is from MusicMs Recreation on the Lyra Viol, 1652; and the viol was tuned to what was termed the " bagpipe tuning," to play it. To this I have adapted the song quoted by Hawkins, but completing the burden as the music requires. I have no doubt that "Old Simon the King" was changed to '.' Old Sir Simon the King," from the want of another syllable to correspond with accent of the tune.
» For the excellent rules of this Club, s.ee Note, p. 250.    Jacob Henry Burn, 8vo.,1855. From the same book we learn
b A Latin "Epitaph upon Simon Wadloe, vintner,   that John Wallow was proprietor of the Devil Tavern at
dwelling at the Signe of the Devil and St. Dunstan," will   the Restoration. He is mentioned twice in Pepys' Diary
be found in MS. Ashmole, No. 38 fol., art. 328; and in   (22nd April, 1661, and 25th Feb., 1664-5}. The second
Camden's Remains. It commences thus:— .       time as having made a fortune—gone to live like a prince
" Apollo et cohors Musarum                          In the country,—there spent almost all he had got, and
Bacchus vlni et uvarum," &c.                      finally returned to his old trade again.
• See Descriptive Catalogue of the Beaufoy Tokens, by

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