Hurlothrumbo

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HURLOTHRUMBO. English, Country Dance Tune (2/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. In addition to Daniel Wright's 1740 country dance collection (printed in London by John Johnson), the tune appears in John Walsh's Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing Master, 3rd Edition (London, 1735, p. 94, and the subsequent edition of 1749, p. 94).

Wikipedia gives that Hurlothrumbo was an 18th century English nonsense play written by the dancing-master Samuel Johnson (1691 - 1773, not the famous literary Dr. Samuel Johnson) of Cheshire, and published in 1729 [1]. Johnson's pseudonym was 'Lord Flame', and he was also known as the 'Gawsworth Jester', and 'Maggoty' Johnson (from the name given to a number of tunes, or 'maggots' (from the Italian word for 'trifle'), just as tunes are named a 'whim', 'fancy' or 'humour'). "He was one of the last professional jesters in England as well as being an actor and a playwright. 'Lord Flame' was also the main character in Hurlothrumbo, which ran for 30 nights at the Haymarket in London. Towards the end of his life he helped to finance the founding of the now famous firm of Justerini and Brooks, wine-merchants. Johnson was buried in Maggoty Wood, Maggoty Lane, Gawsworth, Cheshire. The original inscription on his stone reads:

Under this Stone Rest the Remains of Mr SAMUEL JOHNSON Afterwards ennobled with the grander Title of LORD FLAME
Who after having been in his Life distinct from other Men
By the Eccentricities of his Genius
Chose to retain the same Character after his Death
And was, at his own Desire, buried here May 5th
A.D. MDCCLXXIII aged 82.

Stay, thou whom Chance directs or ease persuades,
To seek the Quiet of these Sylvan shades,
Here, undesturbed and hid from Vulgar Eyes,
A Wit, Musician, Poet, Player, lies
A Dancing master too in Grace he shone,
And all the arts of Opera were his own,
In Comedy well skilled he drew Lord Flame,
Acted the Part and gaind himself the Name,
Averse to Strife how oft he'd gravely say,
These peaceful Groves should shade his breathless Clay,
That, when he rose again, laid here alone,
No friend and he should quarrel for a Bone,
Thinking that were some old lame Gossip nigh,
She possibly might take his Leg or Thigh.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Wright (Wright's Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances), 1740; p. 83.

Recorded sources:




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