Back to Dumps (The)
DUMPS, THE. English, Country Dance Tune (6/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'BB. The tune was first printed in Henry Playford's Dancing Master, 10th edition (1698). It was retained in the long-running Dancing Master in all subsequent editions, through the 18th and final edition of 1728 (then published by John Young, heir to the Playford publishing concerns). It was also published by John Walsh in his The Compleat Country Dancing Master (1718), and editions of 1731 and 1754.
Dance researcher and reconstructionist Cecil J. Sharp, in an article called "Old English Dances" in (Replies, Vol. II, No. 41, Jan. 10, 1880, p. 233) explains:
The English people, who sometimes 'take their pleasure sadly', enjoyed their melancholy dances as much as those which, in modern, polite phraseology, would be termed 'jolly.' 'The Dumps' was a slow, doleful dance, performed, according to Playford (1651) as follows: THE DUMPS--Longways for as many as will--The men put their hats over their eyes, and all lead up four steps forward, nod, and four steps back atain, that over again; the first couple cross over below the second, and cross over below the third, and so to the bottom; the rest do the like to the bottom; the rest do the like to the bottom.
That the 'quality folks' of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries enjoyed their 'doleful dumps' as much as their more humble fellow countrymen and women, is proved by the celebrity attained by 'The Duke of Somerset's Dompe', 'Queen Mary's Dompe', and 'My Lady Carey's Dompe.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Barlow (Complete Country Dances from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 402, p. 94. Walsh (Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth), London, 1740; No. 66.