Chapter of Kings

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CHAPTER OF KINGS. AKA and see "Chapter of Fashions (The)." English, Air (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The "celebrated historical" song appeared in The Ladies Pocket-Book for the Year 1794, and was published in London on a song sheets by Humphrey Hime and Son and by Henry Thompson (75 Saint Paul's Church Yard), "Written and sung with universal applause by Mr. [John] Collins, author of The Brush." Collins sang the song in the character of an Irish schoolmaster. It begins:

The Romans, in England, they once did sway,
And the Saxons they after them led the way,
And they tugg'd with the Danes 'till an overthrow
They both of the got by the Norman bow.
Yet, barring all pother, the one and the other,
Were all of them Kings in their turn.

Collins [1] (1742-1808) also published the song in his book Scripscrapolgia: Or, Collins's Doggeral Dish of All Sorts (1804), acknowledging his song's popularity (and noting the tune had already been disseminated among fiddlers) with the note:

From this Song, with the help of its Tune, the Chapter of Admirals, Alderman, &c. have been fudg'dAuntor up in the full vein of Four and Twenty Fiddlers all in a Row!--And the Author himself has been induced, by the reception it has met with from the intelligent part of the public, to follow it up with the Chapter of Letters and Chapter of War, which the reader will find hereafter.

The melody was entered into the c. 1780-1804 music manuscript of fifer or violinist John Fife, who was probably from Perthshire, although there are references to battles in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean and he may have also been at sea. See also Thomas Dibdin's comic song set to the air, "Chapter of Fashions (The)."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 5), Glasgow, 1797; No. 61, p. 25.

Recorded sources:




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