Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/605

This page needs to be proofread.


12 S.X.JUNE 24, i922.i NOTES AND QUERIES. 499 , may see the birth^of a^new community in the English village." Mr. Peake, discussing the causes of the migration from the villages to the towns, thinks that the most potent factor was the dullness of the country and the desire for a fuller life. He has his dream of the ideal villages. They " must contain a population sufficiently large to enable them to supply some of these needs, and to command transport facilities to enable their inhabitants quickly and cheaply to reach some large centre where they can find institutions of a more advanced and complex order." He goes into detail, and continues : " But above all it is important that all the members of our village should realize that they are members of one and the same community; the agriculturist and the craftsman, the artisan and the professional man would meet on common ground at the village club, their young people would share the recreation grounds, and the artificial barriers of caste would by degrees be broken down. In the ideal village it should be possible for everyone to know everyone else, not only by sight, but to speak to, not that every old gentleman could be expected to recognize every baby at a glance, but that all the men would know one another and all the women likewise, while all the young people and all the children, of whatever class, would have been to some extent brought up together." A village based on individualism strongly tempered with the cooperative principle this is what Mr. Peake wants, and he says in his last paragraph, " Now is the time to act." A Pepysian Garland : Black-letter Broadside Battads of the Years 1595-1639. Chiefly from the Collection of Samuel Pepys. Edited by Hyder E. Rollins. Ph.D. New York University. (Cambridge University Press. 21s. net.) IT may seem strange that Pepys's collection of broadside ballads, which is preserved in the library that bears his name in his college at Cam- bridge, should have had to wait until now for an editor, and that the editor should not be an English scholar but an American one, Dr. Hyder E. Rollins, of New York University, who here gives us in this Garland " the most interesting seventeenth-century ballads in Pepys's first volume." They make eighty altogether, including seven which the editor has added from other sources ; and the way in which they are printed with reproductions of many of the original woodcuts, editorial notes and index leaves nothing to be desired. Pepys's collection is preserved in five folio volumes, and we are told that of the 1671 distinct ballads in it 964 are unique. Of these many are said by the editor to be accessible in one way or another " if one searches diligently " ; but nothing like a systematic edition has ever been attempted ; nor is this edition itself more than an anthology, but it is of peculiar interest because the period from which these specimens are taken, 1595-1639, represents the heyday of the black- letter broadside ballad, and presumably, there- fore, the pick of Pepys's volumes. A little later, under the Commonwealth, the ballad fell into decay ; ballad-singing was forbidden by law, and street singers were liable to be flogged ; and though ballads continued to be printed they were beginning also to be affected by the beginnings of journalism proper in the shape of news- pamphlets. " In authorship, in typography, and in subject-matter," says the editor, " Restoration ballads can seldom compare in interest with those of the reigns of the Tudors and early Stuarts." To read these pages is to obtain a rich idea of the thoughts and manners of the London of the time of London before the fire, when Shake- speare, who must have known many ballads by heart, was working, and when the youthful Milton was a student in his father's house in the heart of the City. As poetry we must not over- rate them, nor seek to compare them with some of the finer ballads of the Scottish border, which have before now been held as the nearest equiva- lent in Britain to the Homeric poems ; but in reading them we must not forget that they were meant to be sung to well-known airs, like the songs in * The Beggar's Opera.' The air must have often made amends for a certain rudeness of rhyme and diction. As for the subjects, no ballad- monger ever lacked, as Thomas Middleton said, " a subject to write of " ; and his words, which are cited by the editor as being in themselves a description of his Garland, may be given here, for no language could be more appropriate. " One hangs himself to-day," he says, " another drowns himself to-morrow, a sergeant stabbed next day ; here a pettifogger a' the pillory ; a bawd in the cart's nose, and a pander in the tail ; hie mulier, haec vir, fashions, fictions, felonies, fooleries ; a hundred havens has the ballad- monger to traffic at, and new ones still daily dis- covered." Such then are the subjects of the ballads, though there are also others which treat of historical events, like the assassination of Henry IV. of France ; the execution of Sir Walter Raleigh, the burning of Cork in 1622, the Amboyna Massacre, the battle between the Dutch and Spanish fleets in 1639 ; but most of them are sentimental or journalistic, such as the hanging ballads, often like the entries in the ' Newgate Calendar,' with a strong moral intention, or religious, as they reflect the frame of mind of citizens more unanimous than now on matters of theology and on impending divine judgment. This aspect of the psychology of Stuart London can never be neglected by those who would try to imagine what life in London was like. The most important single ballad in this volume, according to Dr. Rollins, is the first, which is dated 1595, and is entitled * Francis' New Jig.' The jig was a " miniature comedy or farce, written in ballad measure, which at the end of a play was sung and danced on the stage to ball ad -tunes." By 1590, jigs, says the editor, were thoroughly established in the London theatres as the usual conclusion to plays. At least two characters were required for the dia- logue ; and thus the humblest jig, whether theatrical or not, connects itself with Horace's Donee grains eram tibi, Gay's * Were I laid on Greerland's coast,' and that beautiful product of the fifteenth century ' The Nut-brown Maid,' through the beats of which the music can be dis- tinctly heard. ' The County New Jig between Simon and Susan ' in this volume reminds ua of