Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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THE COMMONWEALTH.                                           417
iii his Flagellum (4th edit., 1669):—" Cromwell would shew his skill in driving six great German horses in Hyde Park (sent him as a present by the court of Oldenburgh), but they no sooner heard the lash of the whip, but away they ran, with'Thurloe sitting trembling in it for fear of his neck, over hill, over dale, and at last threw down their inexpert governor from the box into the traces. Of this some ingenious songs were made, and one called The Jolt, by Sir John Birkenhead, ^hich being in print in a history, in the Rump Songs, though the author is mistaken, is purposely forborn." (p. 152.)
In 1642, the first ordinances were issued for the suppression of stage plays; and in 1643, a tract was printed, with the title of " The Actor's Remonstrance or Complaint for the silencing of their Profession;" which shews, among other things, the distress to which the musicians of the theatres were thereby re­duced. The writer says, " Our musike that was held so delectable and precious that they scorned to come to a tavern under twenty shillings salary for two houres, now wander with their instruments under their cloaks (I mean such as have any), to all houses of good fellowship, saluting every room where there is company with, Will you have any musike, gentlemen ? " (Note to Dodsley's Old I'lays, v. 432.) Some of the shops in London were kept open on Christmas-day in 1643, the people being fearful of " a popish observance of the day." The Puritans gradually prevailed, and in 1647 some of the parish officers of St. Margaret's, Westminster, were committed to prison for permitting ministers to preach on Christmas-day, and for adorning the church. On the 3rd of June, 1647, it was ordained by Lords and Commons in Parliament that the Feast of the Kativity of Christ should no longer be observed.
The final ordinance for suppressing all stage plays and interludes, as " condemned by ancient heathens, and by no means to be tolerated among professors of the Christian religion," was enacted Feb. 13, 1647-8; and on Dec. 13, 1648, Captain Betham was appointed Provost-Martial, " with power to seize upon all ballad-singers, and to suppress stage plays." (Whitelock's Memorials, p. 332.) From this time we may safely assume that no more ballads were written in their favour, and that the majority, at least, had long been against them. Loyal songs were printed secretly, in spite of this ordinance; and, in one by Sir Francis Wortley, Bart, (to the tune of Torn of Bedlam), printed a.d. 1648, are the following concluding lines:—
" Bless the printer from the searcher           Those who have writ for the King, for
And from the Houses' takers.                         the good King,
Bless Tom from the slash ; from Bride-        Be it rhime or reason,
well's lash,                                   If they please hut to look through Jenkins
Bless all poor ballad-makers.                          his book," {Lex Terra, 1647)
" They'll hardly find it treason." In 1649, while the King was still in prison, Marchamont Needham wrote these lines, but did not then dare to print them :—
" Here's a health to the King in sack,          In vinegar to the crabbed pack
To the Houses in small beer,                    Of priests at Westminster."
The last is an allusion to the " synod of divines.'.'

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III