A PEPYSIAN GARLAND - online book

Black-letter Broadside Ballads Of The years 1595-1639

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A pleasant new ballad
Pepys, i, 376, B.L., five woodcuts, four columns. There is a coarse refacimento of the ballad in Westminster Drollery, Part I, 1671 (ed. J. W. Ebsworth, pp. 44-47), called "The kind Husband, but imperious Wife. The first part of the Tune his, and the latter part her's." It is almost identical with the version called "The Patient Man, and the Scolding Wife" in Grammatical Drollery, 1682, pp. 109-110, by W.H. (i.e. Captain William Hicks).
Coarse as the language is, there is a boisterous mirth about this jig that must have given it great appeal in the theatre. With good actors and singers in the roles of Husband and Wife and with emphasis on stage business—which is suggested but not expressed—even to-day the jig would be more comic than are many vaudeville performances. Shrewish wives were often chastened by being forced to light the wrong ends of candles and by "pinning the basket." Those who are interested in the latter pro­cedure may enjoy reading an early Elizabethan ballad by T. Rider, "A merie newe Ballad intituled, the Pinnyng of the Basket" {A Collection of Seventy-Nine Black-Letter Ballads and Broadsides, London, 1867, p. 105), one stanza of which runs:
Her housebande, sore insenste, did sweare
By stockes and stones, She should, or els he would prepare
To baste her bones,— Tantara, tara, tantara;—
Quoth he, He tame your tongue, And make you pinne the basket to,
Doubt not, ere it be long.
The tune of How shall we, good husband, live comes from the first line of a ballad (for which no tune is indicated) registered under that title on December 14, 1624 (Arber's Transcript, iv, 131; Roxburghe Ballads, 1, 122). The jig, then, dates about 1625.
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