Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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

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a comedy by Edward Ravenscroft, published in 1.672, the citizen is told that, in order to appear like a person of consequence, it is necessary for him " to have a music-club once a week at his house." Glees, Rounds, and Catches were the favorite vocal music, but the words of some of the Catches were more fitted for the tavern than for good society. The readers of Macaulay's History will recollect the passage in which he speaks of Judge Jeffreys singing Catches in his nightly revels with his boon companions; and it can scarcely be considered a digression that one specimen should be offered, as Rounds and Catches certainly come under the definition of Popular Music of the olden time.
Among those most in favour in the reign of Charles II. (as well as long after), wero Dr. Aldrich's Hark! the bonny Christchurch Bells, and Mr. Fishburn's Me, nay, prithee^ John.*
Dr. Aldrich's "was composed in the quiet retirement of Oxford, about sixteen years before he became Dean of Christchurch, and was first printed in Playford's Musical Companion, 1673.
Although particularly unsuitable for a ballad tune, from its requiring a voice of great compass, and from its length, it even became popular in that form. There is scarcely one of the great collections which does not contain one or more ballads to be sung to it. Of these I will cite but two: the first, a psean of triumph on Ihe execution of Lord William Russell, which, though in the vilest taste, may be thought to possess historical interest; and the second, on the cries of London about the commencement of the last century, which may deserve the notice of the local historian.
The first is " Russell's Farewell," and commences— " Oh ! the mighty innocence Of Russell, Bedford's son." It is printed in the 120 Loyal Sungs, by N. T[hompson], \684, and again in the enlarged edition of 1686. It was even retained in the edition of 1694, five years after the attainder had been reversed.11
Copies of the second ballad are contained in the Roxburghe (iii. 466) and Douce (p. 7) Collections. They commence—
" Hark ! how the cries in every street Mate lanes and alleys ring."
The music of Dean Aldrich's "Catch" is still in print, and therefore the republication becomes unnecessary. It is also contained in The Dancing Master, and many ballad-operas.
Mr. Fishburn's " Fie, nay, prithee, John," is to depict two persons quarrelling in a tavern, at the top of their voices, and a third endeavouring to soothe them, each voice taking the three parts alternately, as in all Catches. It is found in Tha Delightful Companion for the Recorder, 1686 ; in Apollo's Banquet, 1690 and 16M3;, and in The Dancing Master. I have not seen any printed ballads to be sung to it, but it was frequently introduced in the ballad operas, with other words. The author seems to have been a student of the Middle Temple.
■ Although these were commonly termed " Catches," they are, strictly speaking, Rounds, as there is no catch in tie words of either. The latter, however, requires to be a :ted, like a true Catch.
b Another of similar character, hut not so offensively
triumphant, has been reprinted by Evans, ni., 203, 1810. It is entitled " Lord Russell's Farewell," &x. to the tune of Tender hearts of London city. This is more like the genuine production of the ballad-monger.

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