Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

Ancient Songs, Ballads, & Dance Tunes, Sheet Music & Lyrics - online book

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THE COMMONWEALTH.                                           459
ancient; as Broom, broom, on hill," &c, which are mentioned in Laneham's Letter from Kenilworth, 1575; also the lines sung by Moros, in Wager's The longer thou livest the more fool thou art,—an interlude which appears to have been written soon after Elizabeth came to the throne. In that, Moros enters, " counterfeiting a vaine gesture and a foolish countenance, synging the foote of many songes, as fooles were wont;" the first of which is—
Brome, brome on hill,                              Brome, brome on Hive hill,
The gentle brome on hill, hill:                 The brome stands on Hive hill-a."
This repetition does not give the metre or the correct words of the song. The tune, or upper part, was to be sung by one person, while others sang a foot, or burden, to make harmony. So, in the same play, Idlenesse says— " Thou hast songes good stoare, sing one, And we three ihejbote will beare." In The Dancing Master, from 1650 to 1698, and in Mustek's Delight on the Oithren, 1666, is a tune entitled Broom, the bonny, bonny broom. I believe this to be the tune of The new broome on hill, as well as of another ballad in the same metre, and issued by the same printer, entitled " The lovely Northern Lasse— Who in the ditty here complaining shewes What harme she got milking her daddies ewes." To a pleasant Scotch tune, called The broom of Oowdon Knowes." London, printed for Fr. Coles, in the Old Bayly (Mr. Halliwell's Collection). This is the English ballad of The broom of Cowdenowes, and the tune is here said to be Scotch. I believe it not to be Scotch, for the following reasons:—Firstly, the tune is not in the Scottish scale, and is to be found as a three-part song in Addit. MSS., No. 11,608 British Museum (the same that contains Vive le Hoy, before quoted, and written at the end of Charles the First's reign). Secondly, because English tunes or songs were frequently entitled " Scotch," if they related to Scottish subjects, or the words were written in imitation of the Scottish dialect; (so with Lilliburlero, Purcell's tune is called "a new Irish tune" in Mustek's Handmaid, not because it is an imitation of Irish music, nor even a new tune, but because a new song on Irish affairs); and I rely the more upon this evidence from having found many other ballads to the tune of The broom, the bonny, bonny broom, but it is nowhere else entitled Scotch, even in ballads issued by the same printer. Thirdly, Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, quotes it as a common English country tune. Under the head of " Love Melancholy—Symptoms of Love" (edit, of 1652), he says, " The very rusticks and hog-rubbers . . . have thoir Wakes, Whitson-ales, Shepheard's feasts, meetings on holidays, Country Dances, Roundelays, writing their names on trees, true lovers'knots, pretty gifts. . . . Instead of Odes, Epigrams and Elegies, &c, they have their Ballads, Country tunes, 0 the broom, the bonny, bonny broom ; Ditties and Songs, Bess a Bell she doth excel: they must write likewise, and indite all in rhime." Fourthly, because 1650 is too early a date for Scotch tunes to have been popular among the lower classes in England:—I do not think one can be traced before the reign of Charles II. It is a common modern error to suppose that England was inun­dated with Scotch tunes at the union of the two crowns. The first effect was

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