William Brand

A Timeline of Period Songs

18 posts in this topic

In the interest of cataloging songs which speak of sailors, life at sea, taverns, etc., I'm going to keep a running list by year, name and citation. Other specific information about a song, such as the composer, origin, etc., will be listed in posts that follow. Early songs are often recorded in books without tunes or sheet music, and generally bereft of notes on the original author of the lyrics and little or no citation, so finding songs for the period can be frustrating, but we hope this growing list will serve to help further research about music of the Golden Age and before.

Songs are listed by the year of their earliest citation. If you should find an earlier reference than the one listed, please cite the reference and year of publication and we will correct the list. I will cite songs later than the Golden Age for those wishing to know if it's period.

Early Songs

1585:

In Prais of Seafarings Men, In Hope of Good Fortune - MS. Sloane, 2497, fol. 47 (manuscript)

1636:

A Song from "The Tragedy of the Rape of Lucrece" by Thomas Heywood - Printed by R. Raworth, and are to be sold by James Becket, at his shop in the Inner Temple Gate, 1636

1672:

A Song on the Duke's Late Glorious Success Over the Dutch - Broadside, 1672

1688:

The Seamens Wives Frolick - Pepys Ballads, Vol 4, page 184

1691:

England's Triumph at Sea - MS. Harl. 7526, fol. 65, MS. addit. 2715, fol. 79

1719:

With Full Double Cups - D'Urfey's "Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy," edit. 1719, vol. iii. p. 304. The tune is " by Mr. Barincloth

1732:
The Jolly Sailor - A Collection of the Most Celebrated Songs In Four Volumes, Vol. 4

Later songs

1750:

"Cheerily Man" or "Nancy Dawson" - Johnson's Caledonian country dances, with a through bass for ye harpsichord, 1750, 3rd. edition.

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The Jolly Sailor - A Collection of the Most Celebrated Songs In Four Volumes, Vol. 4, 1732



Haul, haul away, haul away,
Let your anchors be weighing,

Haul, haul away, and be steering.
Ere the wind shall be veering;


Time and tide will admit no delaying.

Abroad with your flags, your streamers display,
While the full swelling sea shall befriend ye:


Not a storm by the sea, nor a rock by the way,
Not a storm nor a rock mail offend ye,


Whilst we fathom and sound.


Let our glass then go round,
Let us drink, let us revel and roar;


Whilst the coast is in view,


Our mirth shall renew,

And give the boon lads their kind welcome ashore.

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Maid of Amsterdam - This is the long version which was first noted in 'Rape of Lucrece' by Robert Heywood in 1608. Citation needed. As it was pointed out in later posts, there is no obvious evidence that the songs of maids in the play have any connection to this version. Any assistance would be appreciated.

In Amsterdam there lived a maid
Mark you well what I say!
In Amsterdam there lives a maid,
And this fair maid my trust betrayed.

Chorus
I'll go no more a rovin, with you fair maid.
A roving, A roving, since roving's been my ru-i-in,
I'll go no more a roving, with you fair maid.

Her eyes are like two stars so bright
Mark you well what I say
Her eyes are like two stars so bright,
Her face is fair, her step is light.

Chorus
I'll go no more a rovin, with you fair maid.
A roving, A roving, since roving's been my ru-i-in,
I'll go no more a roving, with you fair maid.

I asked this fair maid to take a walk,
Mark well what I do say
I asked this maid out for a walk
That we might have some private talk.

Chorus
I'll go no more a rovin, with you fair maid.
A roving, A roving, since roving's been my ru-i-in,
I'll go no more a roving, with you fair maid.

Then I took this fair maid's lily white hand,
Mark well what I do say
I took this fair maid's lily white hand
In mine as we walked along the strand.

Chorus
I'll go no more a rovin, with you fair maid.
A roving, A roving, since roving's been my ru-i-in,
I'll go no more a roving, with you fair maid.

Then I put my arm around her waist
Mark well what I do say!
For I put my arm around her waist
And from her lips snatched a kiss in haste!

Chorus
I'll go no more a rovin, with you fair maid.
A roving, A roving, since roving's been my ru-i-in,
I'll go no more a roving, with you fair maid.

Then a great big Dutchman rammed my bow
Mark well what I do say
For a great big Dutchman rammed my bow,
And said, "Young man, dis bin mein vrow!"

Chorus
I'll go no more a rovin, with you fair maid.
A roving, A roving, since roving's been my ru-i-in,
I'll go no more a roving, with you fair maid.

Then take warning boys, from me,
Mark well what I do say!
So take a warning, boys, from me,
With other men's wives don't make too free.

Chorus
I'll go no more a rovin, with you fair maid.
A roving, A roving, since roving's been my ru-i-in,
I'll go no more a roving, with you fair maid.

For if you do you will surely rue
Mark well what I do say!
For if you do you will surely rue
Your act, and find my words come true.

==Sea shanty==
In Amsterdam there dwells a maid,
Mark well what I do say;
In Amsterdam there dwells a maid,
And she is mistress of her trade.
I'll go no more a-roving with you, fair maid,

CHORUS:
A-roving, a-roving, Since roving's been my ru-I-n,
I'll go no more a-roving with you, fair maid!

I took the maiden for a walk
And sweet and loving was her talk.
I put my arm around her waist,
Says she, "Young man, you're in some haste."

I took that girl upon my knee,
Says she, "Young man, you're rather free."
I put my hand upon her thigh
Sez she, "Young man you're rather high!"

She swore that she'd be true to me,
But spent my money both fast and free.
In three weeks' time I was badly bent
Then off to sea I sadly went.

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"Cheerily Man" or "Nancy Dawson" - Johnson's Caledonian country dances, with a through bass for ye harpsichord, 1750, 3rd. edition.

First verse:

Of all the girls in our town,
The red, the black, the fair, the brown,
That dance and prance it up and down,
There's none like Nancy Dawson. etc.

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"The Holy Ground" is descended from "Sweet lovely Nancy" that can be traced back to at least 1680. Citation needed.

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http://chivalry.com/cantaria/

The above link has a good number of traditional songs (some with references/dates). They have a pre-1600's section with a handful of songs, as well as a section for 'traditional' songs, though that ranges from the 1600's to the 1920's, so it's a bit of a chore going through them one by one to look at what references they might have. There are also are contemporary songs written in traditional style (Stan Rogers' Barrett's Privateers comes to mind here) that are often heard at maritime festivals, but are obviously not authentic. Many of the songs have sound clips for at least a verse or two of the songs if you don't know them. So, a random assortment of traditional, traditional out of period, traditional WAY oop, contemporary, and just plain goofy. And no, they aren't all sea shanties, sailor songs, etc., but I'd imagine that popular ones would have been known to sailors and thus would conceivably be sung in taverns, on ships, etc.

Coastie

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I can't remember a song unless I hear 50 times in succession, so I am practically useless when it comes to shanties, but I stumbled across this which I thought was fun.

http://ebba.english.ucsb.edu/ballad/21846/image

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IN PRAIS OF SEAFARINGS MEN, IN HOPE OF GOOD FORTUNE.

This ballad is taken from MS. Sloane, 2497, fol. 47, a manuscript in the British Museum of the time of Queen Elizabeth. The note at the end of this ballad enables us to determine its date, for it can scarcely refer to any other " farewell" than that of Sir Richard Greenville, who fitted out a squadron for foreign discovery in the spring of the year 1585. As usual in the manuscript documents of the time of Queen Elizabeth, the orthography of the gallant officer's name is strangely metamorphosed; and, were I induced to follow the example of many writers of the present day, I might reasonably take to myself the credit of having discovered the proper mode of writing it, and be the first to commence an innovation, which, on account of its novelty alone, would be certain of meeting with a numerous body of supporters.

WHOE siekes the waie to win renowne,
Or flies with whinges of hie desarte,
Whoe seikes to wear the lawrea crouen,
Or hath the mind that would espire,
Lett him his native soylle eschew,
Lett him go rainge and seeke a newe.

Eche hawtie harte is well contente,
With everie chance that shal betyde ;
No hap can hinder his entente ;
He steadfast standes, though fortune slide.
The sunn, quoth he, doth shine as well
Abrod, as earst where I did dwell.

In chaynge of streames each fish can live,
Eche foule content with everie ayre,
Eche hautie hart remainethe still,
And not be dround in depe dispaire :
Wherfor I judg all landes alicke,
To hautie hartes whom fortune sicke.

Too pas the seaes som thinkes a toillc,
Sum thinkes it strange abrod to rome,
Sum thinkes it a grefe to leave their soylle,
Their parents, cynfolke, and their whome.
Thinke soe who list, I like it nott ;
I must abrod to trie my lott.

Whoe list at whome at carte to drudge,
And carke and care for worldlie trishe,
With buckled sheoes let him goe trudge,
Instead of launce a whip to slishe ;
A mynd that base his kind will show,
Of caronn sweete to feed a crowe.

If Jasonn of that mynd had bine,
The Gresions when thay cam to Troye,
Had never so the Trogian's foylde,
Nor never put them to such anoye :
Wherfore who lust to live at whome,
To purchas fame I will go rpme.

Finis, Sur Richard Grinfilldes farewell.

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1719:

With Full Double Cups - D'Urfey's "Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy," edit. 1719, vol. iii. p. 304. The tune is " by Mr. Barincloth

ALL hands up aloft,

Swab the coach fore and aft,

For the punch clubbers straight will be sitting ;

For fear the ship rowl

Sling off a full bowl,

For our honour let all things be fitting :

In an ocean of punch

We to-night will all sail,

I'th' bowl we're in sea-room

Enough, we ne'er fear :

Here's to thee, messmate.

Thanks, honest Tom,

'Tis a health to the king,

Whilst the larboard-man drinks,

Let the starboard-man sing.

With full double cups

We'll liquor our chops,

And then we'll turn out

With a Who up, who, who ;

But let's drink e'er we go,

But let's drink e'er we go.

The wind's veering aft,

Then loose ev'ry sail,

She'll bear all her topsails a-trip ;

Heave the logg from the poop,

It blows a fresh gale,

And a just account on the board keep ;

She runs the eight knots,

And eight cups, to my thinking,

That's a cup for each knot,

Must be fill'd for our drinking.

Here's to thee, skipper.

Thanks, honest John,

'Tis a health to the king,

Whilst the one is a drinking,

The other shall fill.

With full double cups,

We'll liquor our chops, &c.

The quartier must cun,

Whilst the foremast-man steers,

Here's a health to each port where e'er bound

Who delays, 'tis a bumper,

Shall be drub'd at the geers,

The depth of each cup therefore sound :

To our noble commander,

To his honour and wealth ;

May he drown and be damn'd

That refuses the health.

Here's to thee, honest Harry.

Thanks, honest Will,

Old true penny still ;

Whilst the one is a drinking,

The other shall fill.

With full double cups,

We'll liquor our chops, &c.

What news on the deck, ho ?

It blows a meer storm ;

She lies a try under her mizon,

Why, what tho* she does ?

Will it do any harm ?

If a bumper more does us all reason :

The bowl must be fill'd, boys,

In spight of the weather ;

Yea, yea, huzza let's howl all together.

Here's to thee, Peter.

Thanks, honest Joe,

About let it go ;

In the bowl still a calm is,

Where e'er the winds blow.

With full double cups,

We'll liquor our chops, &c.

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1691:

England's Triumph at Sea - FROM MS. Harl. 7526, fol. 65. At the end of the ballad is the following note: "To Mr. Harley, atone of the Commissioners of Accounts, in Buckingham Street, York Buildings." Another copy is in MS. addit. 2715, fol. 79. It was written on the fleet, in 1691. E. F. R.

A MIGHTY great fleet, the like was nere seen

Since the reign of K. W. and Mary his queen,

Design'd the destruction of France to have been,

which nobody can deny.

This fleet was compos'd of English and Dutch,

For ships, guns, and men, there never were such,

Nor so little done when expected so much,

which nobody can deny.

Eighty-six ships of war, which we capitall call,

Besides frigats end tenders, and yachts that are small,

Sayl'd out and did little or nothing at all,

which nobody can deny.

Thirty-nine thousand and five hundred brave men,

Had they chanc'd to have met the French fleet, O then,

As they beat 'em last year, they'd have beat 'em agen,

which nobody can deny.

Six thousand great guns, and seventy-eight more,

As great and as good as ever did roar,

It had been the same thing had they left 'em ashore,

which nobody can deny.

Torrington now must command 'em no more,

For we try'd what mettal he was made on before,

And 'tis better for him on land for to whore,

which nobody can deny.

For a bullet, perhaps, from a rude cannon's breach,

Which makes no distinction betwixt poor and rich,

Instead of his dog might have tane off his bitch,

which nobody can deny.

But Russell, the cherry-cheekt Russell, is chose

His fine self and his fleet at sea to expose ;

But he will take care how he meets with his foes,

which nobody can deny.

We had sea-collonells o'th' nature of otter,

Which either might serve by land or by water,

Tho' of what they have done we hear no great matter,

which nobody can deny,

In the midst of May last they sail'd on the inayn,

And in September are come back again,

With the loss of some ships, but in battle none slain,

which nobody can deny.

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1672:


A Song on the Duke's Late Glorious Success Over the Dutch - Broadside, 1672 It was evidently written soon after a most obstinate engagement, which took place in Southwold Bay, on the 20th May, 1672, between the combined fleets of England and France on the one side, and that of the Dutch on the other.



ONE day, as I was sitting still,



Upon the side of Dunvvich-hill,


And looking on the ocean,



By chance I saw De Kuyter's fleet



With royal James's squadron meet ;



In sooth it was a noble treat


To see that brave commotion.



I cannot stay to name the names



Of all the ships that fought with James,


Their number or their tonnage ;



But this I say, the noble host



Right gallantly did take its post,



And covered all the hollow coast


From Walderswyck to Dunwich.



The French, who should have join'd the Duke,


Full far astern did lag and look,


Although their hulls were lighter ;



But nobly faced the Duke of York,


Tho' some may wink and some may talk,


Right stoutly did his vessel stalk,


To buffet with De Ruyter.



Well might you hear their guns, I guess,



From Sizewell-gap to Easton Ness,


The show was rare and sightly :



They batter'd without let or stay



Until the evening of that day,



Twas then the Dutchmen run away,


The Duke had beat them tightly.



Of all the battles gain'd at sea,


This was the rarest victory



Since Philip's grand armado.


I will not name the rebel Blake,


He fought for horson Cromwell's sake,


And yet was forced three days to take,



To quell the Dutch bravado.



So now we've seen them take to flight,


This way, and that, where'er they might,



To windard or to leeward ;



Here's to King Charles, and here's to James,


And here's to all the captains' names,


And here's to all the Suffolk dames,



And here's to the house of Stuart.


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Have you checked the Rape of Lucrece? I couldn't find any reference to Maid of Amsterdam when I looked.

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Have you checked the Rape of Lucrece? I couldn't find any reference to Maid of Amsterdam when I looked.

You're right. I took the citation at it's word (which one never should do). Now, having read a 1636 edition right through I can't find it either. There are two songs which specifically mention maids, but are altogether different than the lyrics of the well know version. There is also a 'Dutch song' which talks about an 'egg man' and a daughter, but again, no corresponding lyrics. There may be a version that contains a more similar set of lyrics, but if scholars think these are truly connected, I'm not seeing it.

However, the reading of the play yielded this short little fishing song, which I will add.

1636:

A Song from "The Tragedy of the Rape of Lucrece" by Thomas Heywood - Printed by R. Raworth, and are to be sold by James Becket, at his shop in the Inner Temple Gate, 1636

Though the weather jangles

With our hooks, and our angles,

Our nets be shaken and no fish taken:

Though fresh Cod and Whitting,

Are not this day biting,

Gurnet, nor Conger, to satisfy hunger,

Yet look to our draught.

Hale the maine bowling,

The seas have left their rowling,

The waves their huffing, the winds their puffing,

Up to the top-mast Boy,

And bring us news of joy,

Heres no demurring, no fish is stirring.

Yet some thing we have caught.

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I've recently been digging into shanty's and trying to learn a few on guitar. I stumbled across this page which has a few good ones as well as a bit of history on shanty's. http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/09/23/the-10-manliest-sea-shanties/

I like Coast of High Barbary written in 1595 according to Wikipedia but the lyrics varied and the common lyrics likely come from 18th century. Some what anti pirate but still fun.

Also and the rendition of Roll the old Chariot Along is incredible. I think this song came way after the GAOP though. Common lyrics have references to whaling and Trafalgar. What's fun about it though is the lyrics are easily changed to fit what ever you want it to. It can be given a little pirate flare in less than a minute. I couldn't find the guitar chords to the song so I messed around with it and found some that work.

Em

A drop of Nelsons Blood wouldn't do us any harm.

G

A drop of Nelsons Blood wouldn't do us any harm.

Em

A drop of Nelsons Blood wouldn't do us any harm.

G D Em

And we all hang on behind

Same chords for the chorus.

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I'm pretty sure that one 'scholar' attributed Maid of Amsterdam to Heywood and nobody else bothered to check until recently.

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I'm sure, but your question lead to that other song and a handful of others I'll be posting at some point. Great stuff.

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Jack Hall, folk song of 1707

Jack Hall was a criminal who, as a young boy, was sold to a chimney sweep for a guinea. In later life he became a notorious highwayman. In 1707 he was arrested along with Stephen Bunce and Dick Low for a burglary committed at the house of Captain Guyon, near Stepney.[1] All three were convicted and hanged at Tyburn on December 7, 1707

Oh my name it is Jack Hall,
Chimney sweep, chimney sweep,
Oh my name it is Jack Hall, chimney sweep.
Oh my name it is Jack Hall,
And I've robbed both great and small,
And my neck shall pay for all
When I die, when I die
And my neck shall pay for all when I die.

I have one hundred pounds in store,
that's no joke, that's no joke,
I have one hundred pounds in store, that's no joke.
I have one hundred pounds in store
And I'll rob for four hundred more,
And my neck shall pay for all
When I die, when I die
And my neck shall pay for all when I die.

Oh the judge he did tell me,
"You shall die; you shall die."
Oh the judge he did tell me,
"You shall die."
And they threw me into jail
where I'll drink no more strong ale
And my neck shall pay for all
When I die, when I die
And my neck shall pay for all when I die.

They drove me up Tyburn Hill
In a cart, in a cart
They drove me up Tyburn Hill in a cart.
They drove me up Tyburn Hill,
and 'twas there I made my will,
Saying, "The best of friends must part,
Fare thee well, fare thee well."
Saying, "The best of friends must part
Fare thee well."

Up the ladder I did grope,
that's no joke, that's no joke
Up the ladder I did grope, that's no joke.
Up the ladder I did grope,
and the hangman fetched his rope,
O but never a word I spoke,
coming down, coming down,
O never a word I spoke coming down.

There are numerous youtube versions of this song. Here's a nice one...

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Be there sheet music somewhere of the music prior to 1720? Would LOVE to learn these on my viola and play them at events.

~Lady B

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