Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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

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REIGNS OF JAMES I. AND CHAELE6 I.
281
The following is the version of the same tune, which is entitled The Merry Milk­maids in the second volume of The Dancing Master. It was formerly the custom for milkmaids to dance before the houses of their customers in the month of May, to obtain a small gratuity; and probably this tune, and The Merry Milkmaids in green, were especial favorites, and therefore named after them. To be a milkmaid and to be merry were almost synonymous in the olden time. Sir Thomas Overbury's Oliaracter of a Milkmaid, and some allusions to their songs, will be found with the tune entitled The Merry Milkmaids in green. The following quotations relate to their music and dancing.
In Beaumont and Fletcher's play, The Coxcomb, Nan, the milkmaid, says— " Come, you shall e'en home with us, and be our fellow; Our house is so honest!
And we serve a very good woman, and a gentlewoman; And we live as merrily, and dance o' good days After even-song. Our wake shall be on Sunday: Do you know what a wake is ?—we have mighty cheer then," &c. Pepys, in his Diary, 13th Oct., 1662, says, " With my father took a melan­choly walk to Portholme, seeing the country-maids, milking their cows there, they being there now at grass; and to see with what mirth they come all home
tncfithor in nnmn with thoir milt nnrT cnmA+imos fhfiv lin.vfi music, CO heforfi thpm "