Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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Thjs song, in its present form, was first printed in Allan Ramsay's " Tea-Table Miscel­lany," in 1724, but its origin cannot bt, settled beyond a doubt. It is greatly in favor of a Scottish paternity that Bishop Percy admits such a probability, although he inserts in his " Keliques of Ancient Poetry" an extra stanz*. found by him in a copy of the song written in old English. This stanza, the second in the version following, introduces the dialogue which forms the peculiarity and the spiciness of the poem. The song was known in Eng-laud in Shakespeare's time. Iago, in the drinking scene- in the second act of " Othello," delights the company with—
*' King Stephen was a worthy peer,
His breeches cost him but a crown, Ho held them sixpence all too dear;
With that he called the tailor clown. He was a wight of high renown,
And thou art but of low degree; Tis pride that duIIs the country down,
Then take thine auia woak about thee."
The air is known to be much older than the words,—indeed, it is conced / a great antiquity.