Chapter of Fashions (The)

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CHAPTER OF FASHIONS, THE. English, Air (6/8 time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. "Chapter of Fashions" was a song written by Thomas John Dibdin (1771-1841), a playwright, illegitimate son of dramatist Charles Dibdin (1745-1814) and brother of songwriter Charles Dibdin (1768-1833). It is thought to have been written soon after the turn of the 19th century, as there is a reference to the Peace of Amiens (1802-1803), as the seventh stanza mentions that "Peace is the fashion." The song contains witty references to the fashion for hunting boots and crops, New Bond Street, Tudor and Stuart clothing, Whigs and Tories. The poem was much anthologized in the early 19th century and appears, for example, in Ulverston's Thespian Gleanings (1805), The Theatrical Banquet (London, 1809), The Syren (1816) and The Roundelay. In Oxberry's The Actor's Budget (1811) the poem appears in a section of comic songs and is directed to be sung to the air "Chapter of Kings." It begins:

Fashion was form'd when the world began,
And Adam, I'm told was a very smart man;
As for Eve, I shall say nothing more nor less,
But that ladies of fashion now copy her dress:
So barring all pother, of this, that, or t'other,
We all bow to fashion in turn.

The fashion next came to hunting poor brutes,
And Nimrod invented the fashion of boots,
For he was a buck, tho' he hadn't a wife,
And never saw Bond-street perhaps in his life.
But barring all pother, &c.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Manson (Hamilton’s Universal Tune Book, vol. 2), 1846; p. 15.

Recorded sources:

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