A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

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26               A CENTURY OF BALLADS
Another very popular ballad of the day was "To all You Ladies now at Land," the words of which are by the Earl of Dorset, and were written when he was at sea during the first Dutch War, 1664-5. It was popularly supposed that he wrote them on the night before an engagement with the enemy, but, according to Dr. Johnson, " Lord Dorset had been a week employed upon it, and only retouched or finished it on the memorable evening." But even the worthy Doctor seems to have been caught napping on this occasion, as the only engagement with the enemy took place in June, 1665, and the song would appear to be referred to in an entry in Pepys' Diary in January, 1665, six months before the engagement took place, where he says: "To my Lord Brouncker's by appointment, in the Piazza, Covent Garden ; where I occasioned much mirth with a ballet I brought with me, made from the seamen at sea to the ladies in town."
The words were set as a glee by Dr. Calcott, but were generally sung to an old English melody.
"The Buff Coat has no Fellow' is a song which probably dates from this period, as the buff coat was a distinguishing mark of the soldier of the seventeenth century, but its origin is wrapped in mystery. Another song of a different kind, about whose date and origin also nothing is
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