King's Delight (The)

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KING'S DELIGHT, THE. AKA and see "When once I lay with another man's wife," "Gamesters and Lawyers." English, Air and Country Dance Tune (6/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The tune appears in Playford's Apollo's Banquet: Select tunes and Jiggs for the Treble Violin (1670), Musick's Handmaid (1678), Introduction to the Skill of Musick (14th edition, 1700) and other of the Playford Restoration-era publications. "The King's Delight" was entered into the music manuscript collection of Northumbrian musician Henry Atkinson [1] (1694-95, p. 107), and a manuscript collection dated 1704 known as "Agnes Humes' MS" (at one time kept in the Advocate's Library, Edinburgh) also contains the piece. John Gay adapted it for a song in his ballad opera The Beggar's Opera (1728) where it is known by it's first line: "The gamesters and lawyers are jugglers alike." Frank Kidson finds it had been previously used as a air for a "not over refined song" (Kidson puriently refuses to print even the first line of that ribald piece, but mentions it is given in the early editions of Gay's opera as the original name of the air--he is referring to "When once I lay with another man's wife"). Arnold made further use of the melody in his opera Two to One (1784).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Kidson (Old English Country Dances), 1890; p. 2.

Recorded sources: Harmonia Mundi 907101, The King's Delight - "17c. Ballads for Voice and Violin Band" (1992).




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