Miser thus a shilling sees (The)

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MISER THUS A SHILLING SEES, THE. AKA and see "Broom the Bonny Bonny Broom," "O the broom." English, Air. The tune appears under this title in Gay's Beggar's Opera (Air 18, 1729), where it is sung in Act I by McHeath and Polly.

Macheath:
The Miser thus a Shilling sees,
Which he's oblig'd to pay,
With sighs resigns it by degrees,
And fears 'tis gone for aye.

Polly:
The Miser thus a Shilling sees,
Which he's oblig'd to pay,
With sighs resigns it by degrees,
And fears 'tis gone for aye.

In a chapter entitled "Miss Paton" from The Biography of the British Stage: Being Correct Narratives of the Lives of all the principal Actors & Actresses (1824) the song in mentioned in an anecdote:

Miss Paton was the occasion, during the last Season, of Mr. [Charles] Dibdin, of the Haymarket Theatre, perpetrating a pun, which, considering how scarce wit is at the present day, is certainly worthy of being preserved. During the rehearsal of the Beggars' Opera, she intimated to the stage-manager (Mr. D.) that she should like to sing the air "The Miser thus a shilling sees," a note higher; to which Mr. Dibdin wittily replied, 'then, Miss, you must sing "The Miser thus a GUINEA sees." [p. 217)

The air to the song dates to the end of the 16th century and was a favorite and familiar melody. It appears in Orpheus Caledonius (1725-6) and Allan Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany (p. 419, Song X).

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