A PEPYSIAN GARLAND - online book

Black-letter Broadside Ballads Of The years 1595-1639

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than the play. Says Thrift, in Thomas Goffe's Careless Shepherdessx (about 1620):
I will hasten to the money Box, And take my shilling out again, for now I have considered that it is too much; I'le go to th' Bull, or Fortune, and there see A Play for two pense, with a Jig to boot.
A document of the highest importance,—not quoted, I be­lieve, in any work on the drama,—that shows the attitude both of the common people and of the civil authorities towards jigs is printed in J. C. Jeaffreson's Middlesex County Records (11, 83). It is "An Order for suppressinge of Jigges att the ende of Playes" passed at the General Sessions of the Peace on October 1, 1612, which runs as follows :
Whereas Complaynte have [sic] beene made at this last Generall Sessions that by reason of certayne lewde Jigges songes and daunces vsed and accustomed at the play-house called the Fortune in Gouldinglane divers cutt-purses and other lewde and ill disposed persons in greate multitudes doe resorte thither at th' end of euerye playe many tymes causinge tumultes and outrages. . . Itt was here-uppon expresselye commaunded and ordered by the Justices of the said benche That all Actors of euerye playehouse within this cittye and liberties thereof and in the Countye of Middlesex that they and euerie of them utterlye abolishe all Jigges Rymes and Daunces after their playes And not to tollerate permitt or suffer anye of them to be used vpon payne of ymprisonment and puttinge downe and suppressinge of theire playes, And such further punishment to be inflicted upon them as their offences shall deserve. . .
As a result of this order, the comedian John Shank ceased "to sing his rhymes," as William Turner (cf. p. 3$) phrased it: no doubt other jig-dancers suffered a like eclipse; but the effect of the order was temporary, and jigs continued to be sung regularly down to 1642.
At least two characters were required in all jigs for the sake of dialogue, and the number often, perhaps usually, was three or four. Jigs were never improvised: instead they were composed by professional ballad-writers or jig-
1 1654 ed., sig. B 4V {Praeludium).
xvii                                         b
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