Queen Bess’s Dame of Honour

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QUEEN BESS'S DAME OF HONOUR. AKA - "Queen Besse's Dame of Honour." AKA and see "Dame of Honour (The)." English, Country Dance Tune (6/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The tune was published in all four editions of John Young's Second Volume of the Dancing Master [1] (1710-1728), and in rival London publishers Walsh and Randall's The New Country Dancing Master, Second Book (1710). London musician Thomas Hammersley entered it into his music manuscript copybook of 1790.

Kidson (1890) finds that the original song "Dame of Honour" was by Thomas D'Urfey and appeared (sung by Mrs. Willis) in the opera The Kingdom of the Birds, although it was also printed in vol. 1 of his Pills to Purge Melancholy [2] (1719). The air proved popular and was used for several subsequent ballad operas such as Polly (1729), Fashionable Lady [3] (1730), The Lottery (1731), The Devil to Pay (1731), and Jovial Crew (1732). The song, here from The Weekly Amusement; or, the Universal Magazine (1735, p. 660, Song II) begins:

Since now the world's turned upside down,
And all things chang'd in nature;
As if a doubt were newly grown,
We had the same creator:
Of ancient modes, and former ways,
I'll teach you, sirs, the manner;
In good Queen Bess's golden days
When I was a dame of honour.

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