Ladies of London

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LADIES OF LONDON. AKA and see "Advice to the Ladies (2)," "London Ladies." English, Air (6/8 time). E Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The air appears in John Playford's Dancing Master [1] (beginning with the second supplement to the 7th edition of 1688, and every edition thereafter, through the 18th and final of 1728) and his Apollo's Banquet (1690), Thomas D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719 all subsequent editions), and "many of the ballad operas" (Chappell). It was included by Walsh & Hare in The Compleat Country Dancing Master (1718), and in later editions of that work in 1731 and 1754. See also London Ladies for the Beggar's Opera (1729) version.

Chappell (1859) notes that several songs were written to the tune, including "Advice to the Ladies of London in the choice of their husbands" (Roxburghe Collection), "Advice to the Ladies of London to forsake their fantastical topknots, since they are become so common with Billingsgate women, and the wenches that cry kitchen stuff" (Douce Collection), "The Country Maiden's Lamentation" (Douce Collection), and "The Witty Maid of the West; or, The Miller well thrash'd by Robin the Plowman; : for which service he received a sum of money, which bought a ring and paid for the marriage betwixt him and his beloved Nancy." The song ("Advice to the Ladies") in Pills to Purge Melanchonly begins:

Ladies of London both wealthy and fair,
whom every Town Fop is pursuing,
Still of your Persons and Purses take care
the greatest deceit lies in Wooing:
From the first rank of the bonny brisk sparks
their Vices I here will discover
Down to the basest mechanic Degree
that so you may choose out your Lover.


Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barlow (Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 287, p. 73. Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 2), 1859; p. 64.

Recorded sources:




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