X:1 T:Packington's Pound M:3/4 L:1/8 S:Chappell – Popular Music of the Olden Times Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Gdor G3 ^FG2 | A2^F2D2 | G3^FG2 | A4A2 | B3cd2 | c2A2F2 | G2B2A2 | G6 :||: d2f2e2 | d6 | d2f2e2 | d6 | defd aa | d2f2e2 | defd e2 | d6 :|| d3cd2 | c2A2F2 | G3^FG2 | A2^F2D2 | d3cd2 | c2A2F2 | G2B2A2 | G6 ||
PACKINGTON'S POUND. AKA - "Cut Purse (The)." English, Country Dance Tune (3/4 time). A Minor (Johnson, Raven, Watson): G Dorian (Chappell). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Johnson, Raven, Watson): AABBC (Chappell). The air appears in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, Barley's New Book of Tabliture (1596), Friesche Lust-Hof (1621), Select Ayres (1659), 180 Loyal Songs (1685), Playford's Pleasant Musical Companion (1687), D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719, several times), John Gay's Beggar's Opera (1729, where it appears as "Thus gamesters united in friendship are found", Air XLIII), and John Watts' Musical Miscellany (1731). The air was originally composed as a courante and has been credited to the Elizabethan composer Michael Praetorius (1571-1621), and also to lutenist Francis Cutting, although there is no substantiated evidence for either assertion. It was popular as a dance tune and song air for over two hundred years, and the melody was the vehicle for an astonishing number of broadside ballads. Claude Simpson (1966) says, “This is the most popular single tune associated with ballads before 1700.” In addition to Gay's Beggar's Opera, the melody was used for songs in Fox Uncas'd (1733), Lord Blunder's (1733), Sequal to Flora (1732), and Mock Lawyer (1733).
Chappell (1859) and Kidson (1922) believe the tune takes its name from Sir John Packington (1549-1625, "lusty Packington"), one of Queen Elizabeth’s Privy Councilors, whom she had knighted. Packington wagered (for the sum of £3,000) that he could swim down the Thames from the bridge at Whitehall, Westminster, to the one at Greenwich. However, when she heard of it, Elizabeth, "who had a particular tenderness for handsome fellows," would not allow one of her favourites to risk himself. Packington’s Pound referred to a pond (“pound”) that he had built near his house at Westwood (Worcester) which was ordered removed when it was found to encroach on a public highway. Packington cut through the walls and allowed the water to flood the countryside. Naunton, rather cryptically, said of him:
Sir John Packington was a Gentleman of no meane family, and of forme and feature, no waies disabled, for he was a brave Gentleman, and a very fine Courtier; and for the time which he stayed there, which was not hasting, very high in her [Queen Elizabeth I] grace, but he came in and went out, through disasidutie, drew the curtaine betweene himselfe and the light of her Grace, and then Death overwhelmed the remnant, and utterly deprived him of recovery, and they say of him that had hee brought lesse to her Court than he did, he might have carried away more than he brought, for he had a time on it, but an ill husband of opportunitie.
The title may also refer to Sir John's great uncle, Sir Thomas Pakington (who was instrumental in walling up the fourth side of the Inner Temple Gardens), or to Thomas Paginton, a court musician who died in 1586.