Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Shopping Discounts



Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
286                                  ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
ST. GEORGE FOR ENGLAND.
There are .black-letter copies of this ballad in the Pepys and Bagford Collec­tions. It is also in An Antidote to Melancholy, 1661; in part ii. of Merry Drollery Complete, 1661 and 1670; in Wit and Drollery, 1682; Pills to purge Melancholy, 1707 and 1719; &c.
It is one of those offered for sale by the ballad-singer in Ben Jonson's comedy of Bartholomew Fair.
Pepys, in his Diary, tells us of " reading a ridiculous ballad, made in praise of the Duke of Albemarle, to the tune of St. George—the tune being printed too;" and adds, " I observe that people have great encouragement to make ballads of him, of this kind. There are so many, that hereafter he -will sound like Guy of Warwick." (6th March, 1667.)
Fielding, in his novel of Tom Jones, speaks of St. George he was for England as one of Squire Western's favorite tunes.
The ballad- in the Pepys Collection (i. 87) is entitled " Saint George's Com­mendation to all Souldiers; or Saint George's Alarum to all that profess martiall discipline, with a memoriall of the Worthies who have been borne so high on the wings of Fame for their brave adventures, as they cannot be buried in the pit of oblivion: to a pleasant new tune." It was " imprinted at London, by W. W.," in 1612, and is the copy from which Percy printed, in his Reliques of Ancient Poetry. It begins—" Why do we boast of Arthur and his Knightes."
In Anthony Wood's Collection, at Oxford, No. 401, there is a modernization of this ballad, entitled—
" St. George for England, and St. Dennis for France; 0 hony soite qui mal y pance: to an excellent new tune." (Wood's Ballads, ii. 118.) It is subscribed S. S., and " printed for W. Gilbertson, in Giltspur Street;" from which it may be dated about-1659.
As a specimen of the comparative modernization, I give the first stanza:—. " What need we brag or boast at all                Sir Tarquin, that great giant,
..Of Arthur and his Knights,                         His vassal did remain; ■
Knowing how many gallant men                  But St. George, St. George,
They have subdued in fights.                       The Dragon he hath slain.
For bold Sir Launcelot du Lake                  St. George he was for England,
Was of the table round;                              St. Dennis was for France ;
And fighting for a lady's sake,                        0 hony soite qui mal y pance."
His sword with fame was crown'd ;
A copy of the old ballad in the Bagford Collection is entitled " A new ballad of St. George and the Dragon," but there is also another of St. George and the Dragon, which Percy has printed in the Reliques.
In 180 Loyal Songs, 1685 and 1694, there is " a new song on the instalment of Sir John Moor, Lord Mayor of London: tune, St. George for England." And in Pills to purge Melancholy, iii. 20 (1707), "A new ballad of King Edward and Jane Shore," to the same.