Grey Goose Fair

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GREY GOOSE FAIR, THE. AKA and see "Solomon's Jigg." English, Country Dance Tune (6/4 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The melody first appears in John Playford's Dancing Master, 2nd edition of 1652, with the primary title of "Solomon's Jigg." Later editions gave the alternate title "Green Goose Fair," and in still later editions it was included with only the "Green Goose" title. Charles Villiers Stanford suggests it is cognate to "Lillibulero."

There was a Green Goose fair, held in what is now the East End of greater London, on the Thursday after Pentecost. Wikipedia notes:

A Green Goose was a young, or mid-summer goose, but it was also a slang term for a cuckold or a 'low' woman. In 1630, John Taylor, a poet wrote "At Bow, the Thursday after Pentecost, There is a fair of green geese ready rost, Where, as a goose is ever dog cheap there, The sauce is over somewhat sharp and deare.", taking advantage of the double entendre and continuing with other verses describing the drunken rowdy behaviour of the crowds. By the mid-19th century, the authorities had had enough and the fair was suppressed.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barlow (Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 109, p. 38. Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 504, p. 128.

Recorded sources:

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