Come Let's be Merry
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COME LET'S BE MERRY. English, Country Dance Tune (3/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The melody originally appeared in London publisher John Young's Third Volume of the Dancing Master, 2nd edition (1726, p. 127), and Walsh & Hare's New Country Dancing Master (3rd book, London, 1728), reprinted in Walsh's Compleat Country Dancing Master vol. 3 (London, 1749). The tune was employed as the air to a song called "Advice to the Melancholy" or "Come let's be merry" (from the first line) which had staying power, being reprinted in its original and derivative versions into the next century. For example, a version was the vehicle for a song by the same name in The Sailor's Opera, or a Trip to Jamaica staged in London in 1745:
Come let's be merry, drink sack and sherry,
Why should we then now repine?
Since we are arrived in 'India's' soil,
Free from all care and toil?
The original "Advice to the Melancholy/Come let's be merry" song, however, began (as printed, for example, in John Watt's Musical Miscellany of 1730 (pp. 120-121) and on song-sheets:
Come, let's be merry, let's be airy,
'Tis folly to be sad;
For since the World's grown mad,
Why should we alone be wise,
And like dull Fools gaze on other Men's Joys?
Let not to-morrow bring your Sorrow,
While the Stream of Time flows on;
But whenthe blissful Day is past,
Still endeavour that the next
Be full as gay, and as little perplex'd.
Graham Christian (2015) remarks: "In the 19th century and onward, with somewhat diluted lyrics, it remained popular as a choral and solo piece, appearing on the recital programs of the likes of Lotte Lehmann and Kathleen Ferrier.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Christian (The Playford Assembly), 2015; p. 20.