Posted by Ken on November 19, 1997 at 13:58:51:
In response to Dating Songs, written by P. Bingham on November 17, 1997 at 22:53:21
] Were any of those Christmas songs known to the Regency? I understood that most of the Christmas carols we know today were written after the Regency. I don't know why but I have that image in my mind.
Some carols should have been, certainly. I looked through my collection--meager--of Christmas music last night, in fact. While a number of pieces, perhaps half, were clearly 19th century or later, quite a few were 18th century & almost certainly known in England. The clearest example I found would be "Adeste Fideles", which is late 18th century in lyric & music. However, I can't really believe that "Greensleeves" ever dropped currency, and there were more than one version of Christmas/holiday lyrics set to it. "Good Christian Men Rejoice" has 19th century lyrics, but the tune is the 14th century "In Dulce Jubilo".
A side note: a carol can be, and originally was, more than a Christmas piece. Carols originally accompanied round dances in, oh, 14th century or so--in fact, that is how the word derives--and had no special seasonal link as a genre. That association developed over time.
On the "Lillibulero" front: my edition of the complete Playford shows that entering in 1690--the 8th or 9th edition, I forget which. The collection went through 18 editions & a number of supplements from 1651-1728, BTW. The amazing thing is that it got published at all, given the virulence of the Puritan cultural takeover. Someone has already mentioned Sterne (um, 1768 for TS, if memory serves, as it often does not!); Lillibulero figures in a number of places throughout the 8 books, so I agree that that had to be pretty well known, at least among the kinds of people likely to buy & read books.
What I don't know now, though, is what the dickens a magot is, and what sort of dance(s) work with "Drive the Cold Winter Away", my favorite Playford (-:
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