Dame of Honour (The)
X:1 T:Dame of Honour, The M:6/4 L:1/8 S:Frank Kidson - Old English Country Dances (1890) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Bb B,2|D4 F2 B4d2|B4 F2 B4 A2|G3 FED C4 F2|D2 (B,4 B,4) B,2| D2E2F2 G4B2|A3B c2 G4c2|c3d c2 G4B2|A2 (F4 F4):| |:c2|f4e2 d4c2|B4A2 G4d2|e3d e2 G4B2|A2 (F4 F4)E2| D2E2F2 G4 B2|A3B c2 F4 e2|d3e f2 F4e2|d2 (B4 B4):||
DAME OF HONOUR, THE. AKA and see "Queen Bess’s Dame of Honour." English, Country Dance Tune (6/4 time). B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Kidson (1890) finds that the original song "Dame of Honour" was by Thomas D'Urfey and appeared (sung by Mrs. Willis) in the opera The Kingdom of the Birds, although it was also printed in vol. 1 of his Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719). However, the melody, set as a country dance/jig, was earlier published by both John Young in the Second Book of the Dancing Master (1st edition, London, 1710), and by Walsh and Randall in their New Country Dancing Master, Second Book (London, 1710) as "Queen Bess's Dame of Honour." The air proved popular and was used for several subsequent ballad operas such as Polly (1729), Fashionable Lady (1730), The Lottery (1731), The Devil to Pay (1731), and Jovial Crew (1732).
Since now the world's turned upside down,
And all things changed in Nature;
As if a doubt were newly grown,
We had the same Creator
Of ancient modes and former ways,
I'll teach you sirs, the manner
In good Queen Bess' golden days,
When I was dame of honour.
The tune was printed in Thomas & Leeder's Singin' Gathering (1939) under the title "Lincolnshire Dance." The authors say that it "survived in the Kentucky mountains and in England alike," but it was likely imported to a festival to demonstrate English origins for Kentucky mountain culture.