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Old Song Books

Lyrics from the
Old Song Books

Collected and Edited by

Edmonstoune Duncan


George Routledge & Sons, Ltd.

Broadway House: 68-74 Carter Lane, London, E.C.


Made and Printed in Great Britain at

The Mayflower Press, Plymouth. William Brendon & Son, Ltd.





the title suggests, this is essentially a collection of singable songs. All of them have been sung at one time or another. Love-ditty, pastoral, merry ballad or mere catch-they all go to some pleasant or characteristic tune, which by means of the annotations can be traced from its source to some handy modern edition.

While offering most of the finest songs in the English language, no special regard has been paid to maintaining anything of a purist ideal. Cheek by jowl will be found melodies of Marlow and Milton, rough ballad-rhymes of Skelton and Martin Parker, inspirations of Blake and those strange D'Urfey medleys from Pills to Purge Melancholy.

The inexhaustible wealth, variety and magnificent range of English poetical songs can best be displayed by drawing from widely divergent sources. We admit to our assembly both courtier and clown, scholar and rustic. Our one stipulation is that they shall sing us of their best.

Our programme is rich with Elizabethan inspiration. Dowland and Campion have been given almost a free hand Nor have we overlooked grotesque, lively, humourous treasures in an attempt to deal with a graver kind of melody.

It is no idle thought that verse which has passed the crucible of musicians' brains has gathered lustre and melody. Even such a poet as Ben Jonson gains a new

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