Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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426                                   ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
The clean contrary way is a very old," and was a very popular burden to songs. Some of the songs, however, like that on the Duke of Buckingham, reprinted by Mr. Fairholt for the Percy Society (No. 90, p. 10) are in another metre, and were therefore written to other tunes.
It appears, from some lines in Choyce Poems, £c., by the Wits of both Univer­sities (printed for Henry Brome, 1661), that some ballad-singers had been committed to prison, and threatened to be whipped through the town, for singing one of these songs.
" The fiddlers must be wliipt, the people say, Because tliey sung The clean contrary may; Which, if they be, a crown I dare to lay, They then will sing, the clean contrary way. And he that did those merry knaves betray, Wise men will praise (the clean contrary way); Tor whipping them no envy can allay, Unless it be the clean contrary way; Then, if they went the people's tongues to stay, Doubtless they went the clean contrary way."
One of the songs was remembered in Walpole's time, for in a letter to Sir Horace Mann, dated October 1, 1742, he says, " As to German news, it is all so simple that I am peevish: the raising of the siege of Prague, and Prince Charles and Marechal Maillebois playing at Hunt the Squirrel, have disgusted me from. enquiry about the war. The Earl laughs in his great chair, and sings a bit of an old ballad:              ' They both did fight, they both did beat,
They both did run away ; They both did strive again to meet—
The clean contrary may.' "
Walpole's Letters, 1840, i. 231.
Among the numerous songs and ballads to this air the following may be named:—
1. " A Health to the Royal Family; or, The Tories' Delight: To the tune of Hey, boys, up go we." (Pepys Coll., ii. 217.) Commencing—
" Come, give's a brimmer, fill it up,             Let rebels plot, 'tis all in vain,
'Tis to great Charles our King,                 They plot themselves but woe,
And merrily let it go round,                    Come, loyal lads, unto the Queen,
Whilst we rejoice and sing.                      And briskly let it go."
The clean contrary way, as a burden, may be traced,      liol College, Oxford (No. 105, p. 250). Among the com-
in Latin, to the fifteenth century, if not earlier, as, for      plimentary verses prefixed to The Wife, by Sir Thomas
instance, in a highly popular song—                                     Overbury, 1616, one set is " To the clean contrary wife;"
*' Of all creatures women be best,                         and the clean contrary way occurs among lines, signed
Cujus contrarlum verum at."                              W. S., upon the death of Overbury, prefixed to his
Copies of that are contained in the Minstrels' Book, re-      Characters, 1616.
printed by Mr. Wright for the Percy Society (Songs and         There are many ballads to the tune, as " Half a dozen
Carols, p. 88), and in a Collection of Romances, Songs,       of good Wives, all for a Penny,'* &c. Roxburgh, i. 152;
Carols, &c, in the hand writing of Richard Hill, merchant,      another, ii. 5M ; &c. of London, from 1483 to 1535, now in the Library of Bal







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