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ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
The original of the following harvest-song is to be found in the fifth act of Dryden's opera of King Arthur. It there forms part of the incantations of Merlin, and is sung by Comus and three peasants to Arthur and Emmeline. Coram. " Your hay it is mow'd, and your corn is reap'd;
Your barns will be full, and your hovels heap'd : Come, boys, come; come, boys, come ; And merrily roar out Harvest Home. Chorus. Come, boys, come; come, boys, come;-And merrily roar out Harvest Home. 1st Man. We've, cheated the parson, we'll cheat him again, For why should a blockhead have one in ten ?
One in ten, one in ten, For why should a blockhead have one in ten ? Chorus. One in ten, one in ten,
For why should a blockhead have one in ten ? 2nd Man. For prating so long like a book-learn'd sot,
'Till pudding and dumpling do burn to th' pot ?
Burn to pot; burn to pot; 'Till pudding and dumpling burn to pot ? Chorus. Burn to pot; burn to pot;
'Till pudding and dumpling burn to pot. Zrd Man. We'll toss off our ale till we cannot stand, And hoigh for the honour of Old England,
Old England, Old England, And hoigh for the honour of Old England. Clwrus. Old England, Old England,
And hoigh for the honour of Old England."
It appears that the actors were to dance and sing at the same time, for at the end is a stage direction: " The dance varied into a round country dance."
Dryden tells us, in his dedication of King Arthur, that the writing of the " poem" was " the last piece of service he had the honour to do for King Charles II," who died before its performance on the stage. The music was composed by Purcell, but this song is not included in any extant manuscript, even in those which contain the other music of the incantation scene. The Hon. Roger North tells us that Purcell's score was " unhappily lost" within a few years after the opera was produced, and all the manuscripts now remaining are more or less imperfect. However, the tune and words are found in Pills to purge Melancholy, and the former in at least a dozen ballad-operas, under the name of We've cheated the Parson. Purcell, no doubt, composed a part-song, and this was probably extracted from it.
When transformed into a ballad, the words underwent some modification, and a second part was added as an antidote to the first. Dryden's introduction of Comus to sing with three peasants about cheating the parson of his tithes, among the incantations of Merlin, is rather anomalous.
The ballad-printers entitled it " The Country Farmer's Vain-Glory, in a new