Pert as a Pearmonger
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PERT AS A PEARMONGER. English, Jig (6/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The alliterative phrase pert as a pearmonger dates to at least 1565, when it appeared in print in Thomas Harding's A Confutation of a booke by Bishop Jewel, in the line "Here pricketh forth this hasty Defender, as peart as a peare-monger." Pert, or peart, signified not 'pert' as we know it today, but 'sharp' or 'alert'; "The proverb is a mere piece of alliteration, without any special significance" [William Hazliett, English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases, 1869]. A pearmonger was a pear dealer.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: T. Skillern (Twenty-Four Country Dances for the Year 1782), p. 3.