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REIGNS OF JAMES I. AND CHARLES I.
THE MERRY MILKMAIDS IN GREEN.
This is evidently the same air as And will he not come again, one of the snatches sung by Ophelia in Samlet, but in a different form (see p. 237). It is contained in every edition of The Dancing Master. In the eighteenth edition it is entitled "The merry Milkmaids in green" to distinguish it from another air of similar name.
In Sir Thomas Overbury's Character of a Milkmaid, he says, " She dares go alone, and unfold her sheep in the night, and fears no manner of ill, because she means none: yet, to say truth, she is never alone, she is still accompanied with old songs, honest thoughts, and prayers, but short ones."
In the " Character of a Ballad-monger," in Whimzies, or a new Cast of Characters, 12mo., 1631, we find, " Stale ballad news, cashiered the city, must now ride post for the country, where it is no less admired than a giant in a pageant: till at last it grows so common there too, as every poor milkmaid can chant and chirp it under her cow, which she usetb, as a harmless charm, to make her let down her milk."
Maudlin, the milkmaid, in Walton's Angler, sings (among others) portions of two ballads by Martin Parker, a well-known ballad-writer of the latter part of the reign of James I., and during that of Charles and the Protectorate, and both are to this tune. The first isó -" The Milkemaid's Life ; oró
A pretty new ditty, composed and pen'd The praiae of the milking paile to defend: to a curious new tune, called The Milkemaid's Dumps." (Roxburghe Coll., i. 244, or Collier's Roxburghe Ballads, 243.) Mr. Payne Collier remarks that the last stanza but one proves it to have been written before " the downfall of May-games " under the Puritans.
You rural goddesses, ' Their courages never quail;
That woods and fields possess, In wet and dry,
Assist me with your Bkill, Though winds be high,
That may direct, my quill And dark's the sky,
More jocundly to express . They ne'er deny
The mirth and delight, To carry the milking pail.
Both morning and night, On mountain or in dale, Their hearts are free from care,
Of those who choose They never will despair;
This trade to use, Whatever may befall,
And through cold dews They bravely hear out all,
Do never refuse And Fortune's frowns out-dare.
To carry the milking pail. They pleasantly sing
The bravest lasses gay To welcome the Spring-
Live not so merry as they; " 'Gainst heaven they never rail;
In honest civil sort . If grass well grow,
They make each other sport, Their thanks they show;
As they trudge on their way. And, frost or snow,
Come fair or foul weather, They merrily go
They're fearful of neitheró Along with the milking pail.