Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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

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720
ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
See how she comes to give surprise, With joy and pleasure in her eyes; To give delight she always tries, So means my Nancy Dawson, &c.
THE TIGHT LITTLE ISLAND.
This tune is a vocal version of The Rogues' March (ante p. 711), and several popular songs have been sung to it. Among these are The tight little Island and Abraham Newland.
If it could be ascertained to be of the time of James II., I should imagine that the old song of which Sir Wilfull sings a snatch in Congreve's Way of the World, act iv., sc. 10, was also sung to it; but I am unable to adduce evidence of so early a date. The lines are—
" Prithee, fill me a glass,                               He that pines for a lass
Till it laugh in my face,                             Is an ignorant ass,
. Of ale that is potent and mellow;               For a bumper has not its fellow;"
and they seem to trip to the measure.
The tight little Island was included in several collections of songs published towards the close of the last century, with the tune.
Abraham Newland was written by Charles Dibdin, jun., on the cashier of the Bank of England, whose name was formerly attached to bank-notes. It commences—
" Ne'er yet was a name                            Oh! Abraham Newland!
So bandied by Fame,                            Notified Abraham Newland!
Through air, through ocean, and through         I've heard people say,
As one that is wrote             [land,         Sham Abraham you may,
Upon every bank-note,—               But you must not sham Abraham Newland."
You all must know Abraham Newland.
" Shamming Abraham " means feigning madness as an excuse for begging; but a short extract from an old black-letter pamphlet will more fully explain the term: " These Abraham-men be those that faine themselves to have been mad, and have been kept either in Bethlehem, or in some other prison, a good time; and not one amongst twenty that ever came in prison for any such cause: yet will they say how piteously and most extreamly they have been beaten and dealt withall. Some of these be merry and very pleasant; they will daunce and sing." (The G-roundworh of Conny-catching.) Dekker, in his English Villanies, also says: " Of these Abraham-men some be exceeding merry, and doe nothing but sing songs fashioned out of their owne braines," &c. I suspect they succeeded much better than the whining beggars of the present day.
Percy says that the English have more mad songs than any of their neigh­bours. True,—but at least half of these were written for, or in burlesque of, Abraham-men.
The first stanza of The tight little Island is here adapted to this tune.







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