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Reminiscences

Music and Singing.



MUSIC and singing were a great source of amusement to the somewhat primitive inhabitants of a Sussex country village, and though the music consisted very much of solos on the flute, violin or clarionet, and the singing of songs without any accompaniment, the performance gave great pleasure to these simple people, though it would scarcely be appreciated by a fashionable London audience; and probably these country people would not appreciate an orchestra, and would regard it as a confused mass of sound, though they would thoroughly enjoy the sound of a flute in the open air on a still summer night. I well recollect my experience at the Italian Opera. I was spending the evening with Mr. Arthur Willett, who was then a student at St. Bartholomew's, to which Hospital he afterwards became Surgeon, and I was a student at Guy's. We agreed to go to the Italian Opera, and as students, went into the cheapest seats. So far from enjoying it I am afraid we compared it to some lunatics dressed up and jumping about the stage screaming at the top of their voices. I recollect, also, we left and consoled ourselves with an oyster supper.

The following old songs were among those which were popular in the country in bygone days :—

WHEN THE MORN STANDS ON TIPTOE.

When the morn stands on tiptoe
   'Twixt mountain and sky,
How sweet 'tis to follow
   The hounds in full cry;
When the bright sparkling dewdrops
   The meadows adorn,
How sweet 'tis to follow
   The echoing horn.

Yet greater the pleasure,
   When love leads the way,
A nymph to pursue
   That's more bright than the day,
Yet those joys are divine
   When pursuing we find
The nymph that's o'ertaken
   The fair one proves kind.


Another is :—

THE ECHOING HORN.         

The echoing horn
Sounds well in the morn,
    And calls the bright sportsman away:
The cry of the hounds
With pleasure resounds,
    And greatly enlivens the day.

Away to the shaws
With hearty brave noise,
    Our hounds they do open their throats;
The fox, he breaks cover,
Hark forward! Hie over!
    We'll follow their musical notes.

Hedge, gate and stile
Cause us no denial,
    Our horses they leap them so well;
Our fox we will follow,
And bravely we'll halloo
    What pleasure can hunting excel?

With bottle and friend
The evening we'll spend,
    To crown the bright sport of the day;
Our wives will at night
Give us great delight,
    And soothe all our sorrows away.


THE BEGGAR GIRL.Over the mountain and ov

Over the mountain and over the moor,
   Hungry and barefoot I wander forlorn;
My father is dead and my mother is poor,
   And she mourns for the day that will never return.

Over the mountain Pity, kind gentlemen, friends of humanity,
Over the mountain    Cold blows the wind, and the night's coming on;
Over the mountain Give me some food for my mother, in charity,
Over the mountain    Give me some food, and I will be gone.

Call me not "lazy-back beggar" and "bold enough,"
   Fain would I learn to both knit and to sew;
I've two little brothers at home, when they're old enough
   They will work hard for the gifts you bestow.

Over the mountain Pity, kind gentlemen, etc.

O, think, while you revel, so careless and free,
   Secure from the wind, and well clothed and fed;
Should fortune so change it, how hard it would be
   To beg at the door for a morsel of bread.

Over the mountain Pity, kind gentlemen, etc.


SUSSEX FARMER'S OLD WIFE.      

There was an old farmer in Sussex did dwell
There was an old farmer in Sussex (whistling chorus)

And he had a bad wife, as many knew well,
There was an old farmer in Sussex (whistling chorus)

Then Satan came to the old man at the plough —
"One of your family I must have now."

"It is not your eldest son that I do crave,
But 'tis your old wife, and she I will have."

"Oh! welcome, good Satan, with all my heart;
I hope you and she will never more part!"

Now Satan he got the old wife on his back,
And he lugged her along like a pedlar's pack.

He trudged away till he came to his gate,
Says he, "Here, take an old Sussex man's mate."

"Oh ! then she did kick all the young imps about;
Says one to the other, "Let's try turn her out!"

She spied seven devils, all dancing in chains,
She up with her pattens and knocked out their brains.

She knocked old Satan against the wall—
"Let's try turn her out or she'll murder us all."

Now he's bundled her up on his back amain,
And to her husband he's took her again;

"I've been a tormentor the whole of my life,
But I ne'er was tormented till I took your wife."


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