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Joan to the Maypole

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JOAN TO THE MAYPOLE. English, Air (2/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The tune appears in Pills to Purge Melancholy (1707 & 1719) under this title and also as the tune to "The Disappointment" (1707). Chappell (1859) finds this ballad in the Roxburghe and Douce Collections where it is entitled "May-day Country Mirth; or, The Young Lads and Lasses' Innocent Recreation, which is to be prized before courtly pomp and pastime: to an excellent new tune." In Pepys it is called "Rural Recreation; or, The Young Men and Maids' Merriment at their Dancing around a Country May-pole." The oldest printing is perhaps 1630, and Chappell reports that one of Richard Brathwaite's Shepherd's Tales (1621) is "The Shepherd's Holiday, reduced in apt measures to Hobbinall's Galliard, or John (Joan) to the Maypole."

Joan to the maypole away let us on,
The time is swift, and will be gone.
There go the lasses away to the green,
Where their beauties may be seen;
Bess, Moll, Kate, Doll,
All the brave lasses have lads to attend 'em,
Hodge, Nick, Tom, Dick,
Jolly brave dancers, and who can ammend 'em.
Joan to the maypole away let us on,
The time is swift and must be gone,
There go the lasses away to the Green,
Where their beauties may be seen.


Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Times), vol. 2, 1859; pp. 100-101.

Recorded sources:




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