Annotation:Parson among the Peas (The)

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X:1 T:Parson among the Peas (The). A New Song. M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Air B:D'Urfey - Pills to Purge Melancholy vol. 1 (London, 1716, p. 38) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G d3e3|d2c BdG|GgG GgG|F2G AFD|d3e3| d2c BdG|GgG GgG|f>ef g3|d3e3|d2c BdG| GgG GgG|F2G AFD|d3e3|d2c BdG|GgG GgG| f>ef g3||A3B3|A2G FAD|DdD DdD|Ddc B3| B3c3|B2A GBE|EeE EeE|Ee^d e3|e3g3|B2c dDD| E3c3|F2G AFD|d3e3|d2c BdG|GgG GgG|f>ef g3||

PARSON AMONG THE PEAS, THE. AKA - "One long Whitsun holiday." English, Air and Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The risque song appears in Thomas D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy, vol. 1 (editions of 1714 and 1719-20, p. 38), whose lyric was set to music by English composer Henry Purcell. Purcell seems to have found the rugged lines a challenge, as he confessed it cost him more trouble than the compostion of a Te Deum. The tune was also published by John Young in the Dancing Master [1] (1719, as "Whitsun-holidays"). It was also the vehicle for a song in the ballad opera of Love in a Riddle (1729).

D'Urfey's song begins:

One long Whitson Holliday,
Holliday, Holliday, 'twas a Jolly day;
Young Ralph, Buxom Phillida, Phillida, a welladay,
Met in the Peas;
They long hand community,
He lov'd her, she lov'd him,
Joyful Unity, nought but Opportunity,
scanting was wanting their bosoms to Ease;
But now Fortunes Cruelty, Cruelty,
You will see, for as they lye,
In close Hugg, Sir Domine Gemini, Gomini,
chanc'd to come by;
He read Prayers i' th' Family,
No way now to frame a Lie,
They scar'd at old Homily, Homily, Homily,
both away fly.

Purcell's tune was reworked by Italian cellist, viola da gambist, and composer Lorenzo Bocchi in a piece entitled "English Aire Improv'd after an Italian manner." It appears as part of his Sonata No. 12, "arranged with contrapuntal entries between the gamba and the bass and with rising and falling modulating sequences between the statements of the tune in the manner of a concerto" [Peter Holman].

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Watson (A Rollick of Recorders or Other Instruments), 1975; No. 2, pp. 2-3. Wilson (A Companion to the Ball Room), London, 1816; p. 107. David Young (A Collection of Scotch Airs with the latest Variations, AKA - The McFarlane Manuscript), c. 1741; No. 219, p. 268.

Recorded sources : - Topic Records ‎12TS241, Bernard Wrigley ‎– "Rough & Wrigley" (1974).

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