Old Hob

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OLD HOB. AKA and see "Mousetrap (1) (The)," "Marriage or the Mouse Trap," "Of all the simple things we do," "Maid is like the golden ore (A)." English, Jig. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The tune appears under this title in John Young's Second Volume of the Dancing Master [1] (third edition), printed in London in 1718, and, in a fourth edition, in 1728, and in John Walsh's Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing-Master (London, 1719, and later editions of 1735 and 1749). Thomas D'Urfey included it as a song in his Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy (vol. 1, 1719, as "The Mousetrap, or Old Hob"), as did Watts in his Musical Miscellany (1731, as "The Marriage"). The lyric was written by Thomas D'Urfey, "made to a comical tune in The Country Wake," referring to a play written by Thomas Doggett (c. 1640-1721), and printed in 1696 (Chappell, vol. 2, p. 111; "Doggert was an actor, who bequeathed the annual coat and badge to the Thames watermen," notes Chappell. The race for the badge, from London Bridge to Cadogan Pier, has been held since 1715 and is said to be the oldest rowing race in the world). A country dance in the play is interrupted by Old Hob. The air "Old Hob" was the vehicle for a song in John Gay's Beggar's Opera (1729) and was frequently employed in later ballad operas such as The Generous Freemason (1731), The Patron (1729() and An Old Man Taught Wisdom (1735), to name a few.

Of all the simple things we do,
To rub over a whimsical life,
There's no one folly is so true,
As that very bad bargain, a wife.
We're just like a mouse in a trap,
Or rat that is caught in a gin;
We start and fret, and try to escape,
And rue the sad hour we came in.

See also "Mousetrap (1) (The)", the name of a song to the air in The Merry Musician.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 97. Chappell (Old English Popular Music, vol. 2), 1858; p. 111. Christian (A Playford Assembly), 2015; p. 82.

Recorded sources: Wildgoose Records WGS 310CD, Belshazzar's Feast - "Mr. Kynaston's Famous Dance, vol. 2" (2002).




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