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REIGNS OF JAMES I. AND CHARLES I.
THE COUNTRY LASS.
This is the tune to which, with slight alteration, Sally in our Alley is now sung. Henry Carey, the author of that song, composed other music for it, which is introduced four times in hia Musical Century. Carey's tune is the Sally in our Alley of the ballad-operas that were printed from 1728 to 1760; but from the latter period its popularity seems to have waned, and, at length, his music was. entirely superseded by this older ballad-tune.
The Oountrey Lasse, from which it derives its name, was to be sung to " a dainty new note;" but, if unacquainted with that, the singer had the option of another tune—The mother beguil'd the daughter. In Pills to purge Melancholy, ii. 165, 1700 and 1707, it is printed (in an abbreviated form) to the.one; and in The Merry Musician, or a Cure for the Spleen,11 iii. 9, to the other.
In The Devil to pay, 8vo., 1731, where Carey's tune is printed at p. 35, as Charming Sally, this will be found, as What tho' I am a Country Lass, at p. 50. Being unfit for dancing, the air is not contained in The Dancing Master.
I have quoted the full title of the ballad of The Country Lass at p. 306. The copy in the Roxburghe Collection, i. 52, being printed by the assigns of Thomas Symcocke, would date in or after 1620, the year of that assignment. The copy in the Pepys Collection, i. 268, is, perhaps, an original copy. It bears the initials of Martin Parker, the famous ballad-writer, and is evidently more correctly printed.
The versions in Pills to purge Melancholy, and in The Merry Musician, have each had " the rust of antiquity filed from them," and, as usual, without any improvement. The two first stanzas are nearly the same as in the old ballad; but the three remaining have been re-written. The older balkd is reprinted by Evans, i. 41, from the Roxburghe copy.
The "a" at the end of each alternate line is a very old expedient of the ballad-maker for fitting his words to music, when an extra syllable was required. The reader may have observed it already in John Dory, Jog on the footpath way, Good fellows must go learn to dance, and others. The custom is thus reproved in "A Discourse of English Poetrie, by William "Webbe, graduate," 1586:—" If I let passe the nn-countable rabble of ryming ballet-makers, cud ccmpylers of sencelesse sonets (who be most busy to stuffe every 3tall Ml of grcsse devises and unlearned pamphlets), I trust I shall, with the best sort, be held excused. For though many such can frame an alehouse song of £ve or six score verses, hobbling uppon some tune of a Northern Jygge, cr Bobyn Soode, or La Lubber, &c.: and perhappes observe just number of Billables, eight in one line, sixe in an other, and therewithall an ' a' to make a jercke in the ende: yet if these might be accounted poets (as it is sayde some of them make meanes to be promoted to the Lawrell), surely we shall shortly have whole swarmes of poets; and every one that can frame a booke in ryme, though, for want of matter, it be but in commendations of copper noses or bottle ale, wyll catch at the garlande due to poets—whose potticall (poeticall, I should say) heades,
■ The first volume of The Merry Musician is dated not set up in type like the first, bear no dates. 1716; but the second, third, and fourth, being engraved,