Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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

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THE KING'S JIG. The dancing of jigs is now in a great measure confined to Ireland; but they were formerly equally common in England and Scotland. The word " jig " is said to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon, and in old English literature its application extended, beyond the tune itself, to any jigging rhymes that might be sung to such tunes. The songs sung by clowns after plays (which, like those of Tarleton, were often extempore,) and any other merry ditties, were called jigs. " Nay, sit down by my side, and I will sing thee one of my countrey jigges to make thee merry," says Deloney, in his Thomas of Heading.
Pepys speaks of .his wife's maid, Mary Mercer, as dancing a jig, " the best he ever saw, she having the most natural way of it, and keeping time most perfectly." Heywood includes jig3 among the dances of the country people, in the following passage from A Woman killed with kindness:— " Now, gallants, while the town musicians Finger their frets * within, and the mad lads And country lasses, every mother's child; With nosegays and bride-laces in their hats, Dance all their country measures, rounds, and jigs, What shall we do ?—Hark! they're all on the hoigh;b They toil like mill-horses, and turn as round— Marry, not on the toe. Aye, and they caper— But not without cutting; you shall see to-morrow The hall floor peck'd and dinted like a millstone, Made with their high shoes : though their skill be small, Yet they tread heavy where their hobnails fall."
Jigs, however, were danced by persons of all ranks during the latter half of the seventeenth century; and this having been published as the The King's Jig, during the life of Charles II., we may suppose it to be one of the tunes to which his majesty danced. The jigs of the Inner Temple, the Middle Temple, Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn, and many others, are to be found in the editions of Apollo's Banquet for the Treble Violin, printed in this, and the following reign. j D'Urfey wrote a descriptive song called " The Winchester Wedding; set to The King's Jigg, a Country Dance;" and it was published, with the tune, among " Several new Songs by Tho. D'Urfey, Gent., set to as many new tunes by the best masters in music," fol., 1684. It became very popular, was printed as a penny ballad, and the tune became better known as The Winchester Wedding than as Tlie King's Jig. It is to be found, under the one name or the other, in The Dancing Master of 1686, and every subsequent edition; in Pills to purge Melancholy; and in many of the ballad-operas. The copies in the Pills, and some others, are very incorrectly printed.
Among the ballads that were sung to the tune, I have already quoted one, printed in July, 1685, " On the Virgins of Taunton Dean, who ript open their
» i. «., Play instrurnents that have frets, like viols and          >' Quart " dancing the Hey."
lutes, or such as guitars stiil hare.

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