A PEPYSIAN GARLAND - online book

Black-letter Broadside Ballads Of The years 1595-1639

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Sir Walter Raleigh's lamentation
Pepys, i, in, B.L., one poor woodcut of a ship, four columns. A fac­simile reproduction of this ballad, with a brief introductory note by Pro­fessor C. H. Firth, of Oxford, was issued in 1919.
The ballad is correct enough in dates and places, but misrepresents Raleigh's words and actions on the scaffold. For this misrepresentation, censorship of the press rather than personal animosity of the author is, no doubt, responsible. For although in 1601 Raleigh's supposed responsibility for the execution of the Earl of Essex aroused much hostile feeling against him, by 1618 this feeling had largely changed to sympathy for his own misfortunes. No ballads on Raleigh were entered in the Stationers' Register for 1618, but many were in fact printed. On November 21, 1618, John Chamberlain wrote: "We are so full still of Sir Walter Raleigh that almost every day brings forth somewhat in this kind, besides divers ballets, wherof some are called in, and the rest such poore stuffe as are not worth the overlooking" {Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1611-18, p. 597; C. H. Firth, Royal Historical Society Transactions, 3rd Series, v, 40). Of this "poore stuffe" the Pepysian ballad is the sole surviving printed specimen. Years later (in 1644) appeared a prose and verse pam­phlet called To day a man, To morrow none: Or, Sir Walter Rawleighs Farewell to his Lady, The night before hee was beheaded: Together with his advice concerning HER, and her SONNE (reprinted in Charles Hindley's Old Book Collector's Miscellany, vol. in).
For the tune see Chappell's Popular Music, 1, 174.
i COurteous kind Gallants all, pittie me, pittie me, My time is now but small, here to continue:
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