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BALLAD OPERAS AND BALLADS 37
Queen Anne. No one seems to know who wrote the words of "The British Grenadiers" ; the tune is an old English melody. "Down among the Dead Men " is supposed to have been written by a Mr. Dyer, and was first sung at the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. The composer is anonymous. It may be worth while recalling the first verse of this curious old song, in which the phrase "dead men " of course refers to the empty bottles, which, as they were emptied—and our ancestors of that period thoroughly understood the art of emptying them—were thrown under the table.
Here's a health to the Queen, and a lasting peace,
To faction an end, to wealth increase :
Come, let's drink it while we have breath,
For there's no drinking after death,
And he that will this toast deny
Down among the dead men let him lie.
From about the same period, or perhaps a little earlier, dates the famous "Vicar of Bray." This song was sung to an old melody known as "The Country Garden." There has been a good deal of controversy about the authorship of the words, and also about the particular Vicar around whom they were written. Nichols in his Select Poems says that the words were by a soldier in Colonel Fuller's troop of dragoons in the reign of George I, but this has been refuted