Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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

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516
ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
halting, a tired, justifiable runaway, and resting on a stone at Holloway, while Bow-bells merrily sounded to his hearing—
" Turn again Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London," has no other origin than a flourish of fancy created by some poetical brain." (Catalogue of the Beaufoy Tokens, p. 161.)
The earliest notice I have observed of Turn again, Whittington, as a tune (if a mere change upon bells may come under that denomination), is in Shirley's Constant Maid, act ii., sc. 2, 4to., 1640, where the niece says— " Faith, how many churches do you mean to build
Before you die ? six bells in every steeple,
And let them all go to the city tune,
Turn again, Whittington,—who, they say,
Grew rich, and let his land out for nine lives,
'Cause all came in by a cat." Mr. Burn points out various earlier notices of Whittington and his cat, as in Eastward Hoe (printed in 1605), where Touchstone assures Golding he hopes to see him reckoned one of the worthies of the city of London, " when the famous fable of Whittington and his puss shall be forgotten."
The story of the cat is, perhaps, immediately derived from Arlotto's " Novella delle Gatte," contained in his Facetiae, which were printed soon after his death in 1483. The story is there told of a merchant of Genoa, but it is probably of Eastern origin. The late Sir William Gore Ouseley, in his travels, speaking of an island in the Persian Gulf, relates, on the authority of a Persian MS., that, " in the tenth century, one Keis, the son of a poor widow in Siraf, embarked for India with a cat, his only property. There he fortunately arrived at a time when the palace was so infested by mice or rats, that they invaded the king's food, and persons were employed to drive them from the royal banquet. Keis produced his cat; the noxious animals soon disappeared, and magnificent rewards were bestowed on the adventurer of- Siraf, who returned to that city, and after­wards, with his mother and brothers, settled on the island, which from him has been denominated Keis, or according to the Persians, Keish."
The numerous charities, and the public works, with which his name was asso­ciated, would justly transmit the name of Sir Richard Whittington to posterity. " Amongst others, he founded a house of prayer, with an allowance for a master, fellows, choristers, clerks, &c, and an alms-house for thirteen poor men, called Whittington College. He entirely rebuilt the loathsome prison, which was then standing at the west gate of the city, and called it Newgate. He built the better half of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, in West Smithfield; and the fine library in Grey Friars, now called Christ's Hospital; as also a great part of the east end of Guildhall, with a chapel and a library, in which the records of the city might be kept." Grafton, in his Chronicle, relates an anecdote of him, which is not else­where recorded. In a codicil to his will, he commanded his executors, as they should one day answer before God, to look diligently over the list of the persons indebted to him, and if they found any who was not clearly possessed of three times as much as would fully satisfy all the claim, they were freely to forgive