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
REIGNS or JAMES I. AND CHARLES I.                               381
Let not their oaths, by volleys shot,                  Then if by fraud or by consent,
Make any breach at all,                                     To ruin thou shouldst come,
Nor smoothness of their language plot             I'll sound no trumpet as of wont,
A way to scale the wall;                                    Nor march by beat of drum ;
No balls of wild-fire-love consume                    But fold my arms, like ensigns, up,
The shrine which I adore ;                                 Thy falsehood to deplore,
For, if such smoke about it fume,                      And, after such a bitter cup,
I'll never love thee more.                                   I'll never love thee more.
THE MERCHANTMAN.
The ballad of the Merchantman and the Fiddler's Wife is in the list of those printed by Thackeray, in the reign of Charles II. It is also printed in Pills to purge Melancholy, iii. 153,1707, to the following "pleasant Northern tune."
It commences with the line, " It was a rich Merchantman," and the ballad of " George Barnwell" was to be sung to the tune of Tlie rich Merchantman. (See Roxburghe Collection, iii. 26.) Percy prints it from another copy in the Ash-mole Collection, where the tune is entitled " The Merchant."
There must either be another tune called A rich Merchantman, or else only half the air is printed in Pills to purge Melancholy; for, although eight bars of music suffice for the above-named, which are in short stanzas of four lines, sixteen, at least, are required for other ballads, which are in stanzas of eight, and have occasionally a burden of four more. It is not unusual to find only the half of a tune printed in the Pills (see, for instance, Tom of Bedlam, Green Sleeves, &c), but I know of no other version of this tune, and therefore have not the means of testing it.
" A song of the strange Lives of two young Princes of England, who became shepherds on Salisbury Plain, and were afterwards restored to their former estates : To the tune of The Merchant Man"—is contained in Tlie Golden Garland of Princely Delights, 3rd edit., 1620, as well as in Old Ballads, 2nd edit., iii. 5, 1738. It is in stanzas of eight lines (commencing, " In kingly Stephen's reign"), and reprinted, omitting the name of the tune, in Evans' Old Ballads, ii. 53, 1810.
"A most sweet song of an English Merchant, bom at Chichester: To an excellent new tune"—has the additional burden of four lines, and is probably the earliest. It commences thus:—
" A rich merchant man there was,                And for this fact the merchant man
That was both grave and wise,            Was judg'd to lose his head.
Did kill a man at Embden towne                   A sweet thing is love,
Through quarrels that did rise.                      It rules both heart and mind,
Through quarrels that did rise,                   There is no comfort in this world
The German he was dead,                                ' Like' women that are kind."
Of this various copies are extant, and all apparently very corrupt. One in the Roxburghe Collection, i. 104, is " Printed at London for Francis Coules;" a second, in the Bagford Collection, printed for A. P.; a third, in the Pepys Collection, by Clarke, Thackeray, and Passinger. Evans reprints from the last.