|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
618 ANGLO-SCOTTISH SONGS.
SAWNEY WAS TALL AND OF NOBLE RACE.
This is one of Tom D'Urfey's songs, in his comedy of The Virtuous Wife, 4to., 1680. I have not seen any copy bearing the name of a composer; but, as other music in this play (such as " Let traitors plot on," and the chorus, " Let Csesar live long") was composed by Farmer, this may also be reasonably attributed to him.
Playford printed it, in 1681, in the third book of his Choice Ayres, as " a Northern song;" but he also printed She rose and let me in, in the fourth book of the same collection, as a Northern song, although the music was undoubtedly composed by Farmer, and D'Urfey was, as in this case, the author of the words. The fact of their appearing in that collection is sufficient to prove that they were compositions of the time, for not only are the Choice Ayres professedly " the newest ayres and songs, sung at Court and at the publick theatres, composed by several gentlemen of his Majesty's musick, and others," but, also, Playford, in reference to this very third book, expresses great indignation that any of the songs should be thought to be ballad-tunes. That they became so subsequently, was beyond his control.
Two of Farmer's airs have already been printed in this volume; and others which became popular on the stage, may yet be traced to him. Farmer was an excellent musician and particularly successful as a melodist. He was originally one of the waits of London, which may account for his having paid more attention to rhythmical tune than others who were educated in the Chapels Royal, or the Cathedral schools. In 1684, after having attained some repute as a composer for the theatres, he was admitted to the degree of Bachelor in Music at the University of Cambridge. He died at an early age, and the estimation in which he was held by his contemporaries may be judged by the elegy which was written upon his death by Tate, to which Purcell composed the music.B
Sawney teas tall soon became popular as a penny ballad, and some other ballads and political squibs were written to the tune.
In the Roxburghe Collection, ii. 223, is a sequel to Sawney was tall, entitled "Jenny's Answer to Sawny, Wherein Love's cruelty is requited; or, The inconstant Lover justly despised. Being a relation how Sawney being disabled and turn'd out of doors by the Miss of London, is likewise scorned and rejected by his Country Lass, and forced to wander where he may," &c. " To the tune of Sawney will ne'er he my love again." Printed for P. Brooksby, at the Golden Ball, &c. It begins— "When Sawney left me he had store of gilt, He's come for another sark and band,
Bnt he hath spent it in London town, And coakses me for more of my coin,
And now is return'd to his sun-burn'd face, Bnt Ise, guid faith, shall hold my hand, His own dear joy in a russet gown: For Sawney shall never more be mine."
» The " Elegy upou the death of Mr. Thomas Farmer, Whose artful strains and tuneful lyre
B.M.," is printed in the second volume of the Orpheus Made the spring bloom, and did the groves inspire.
Britannicus. As Dr. Bumey most strangely omits all What can the drooping sons of art
mention of Farmer, it is here subjoined :— From this sad hour impart
" Young Thirsis* fate, ye hills and groves, deplore ! To charm the cares of life and ease the lover's smart ?
Thirsis, the pride of all the plains, While thus in dismal notes we mourn
The joy of nymphs and envy of the swains, The skilful shepherd's urn,
The gentle Thirsis is no more I To the glad skies his harmony he bears,
What makes the spring retire, and groves their songs And as he charmed earth, transports the spheres." Nature for her lov'dThirsis seems to pine; [decline?