Annotation:Reading made Easy (1) (The)

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X:1 T:Reading made Easy [1], The M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Air S:Stanford/Petrie (1905), No. 672 Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D A/>G/ | Ad=c (BA).B | =cAF GFG | AFD EDE | D3 D2 A/G/ | Add/c/ B2d | =cAF G2B | AFD EDE | D3 D2 || A/G/ | Add/e/ fef | gfe/d/ cAG | Adf ed{f}e | d2e f2 A/G/ | Ad=c BAB | =cAF GFG | AFD EDE | D3 D2 ||

READING MADE EASY [1], THE. AKA and see “Billy McCormick's Jig,” “New Lesson (The)," "Tumbling down Teady's Acre.” Irish, Air (6/8 time). D Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The melody is a variant of "Spailpín Rúin/Spailpín a Rúin (A)," itself a variant of "Blackbird (1) (The)." See also O'Neill's version "New Lesson (The)." "Billy McCormick's" is sometimes given as an alternate title, but the jig of that name printed in O'Neill's DMI (1907, No. 341) bears no resemblance.

The air may belong to a song of seduction called "The Turf and Reading-made-easy," printed in a chapbook dated 1788 from County Monaghan. One of the characters in the street ballad is a hedge schoolmaster, poor and in ragged clothes, and the other his protegee, a student with the popular 18th century primer Reading Made Easy (the 'turf' in the song title refers to the piece of turf every pupil was expected to bring to help provide fuel for the day). It begins:

You lads of the nation of high and low station,
Attend to my humourous ditty,
Believe me 'tis new, and certainly is true,
Perhaps you may say it is pretty;
It happen'd in spring when the small birds did sing;
And field were enambled with daisey's,
I met with my jewel a going to school,
With her turf and her Reading Made Easy.

I rov'd up and down, thro' both country and town,
And was by my trade a poor scholar,
My earning I beg'd and likewise my bread,
My cloaths were not worth half a dollar;
As I carelessly straid I did meet this fair maid,
With a smile and a low courtsey said she,
I'll give you my blessing and teach me a lesson,
She opene'd her Reading Made Easy.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - “From Father Walsh’s MS” [Stanford/Petrie].

Printed sources : - Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 672, p. 169.

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