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X:1 % T:Row dow dow M:2/4 L:1/8 Q:"With Spirit" R:Air B:James Aird – Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 3 (Glasgow, 1788, No. 584, p. 223) N:”Humbly dedicated to the Volunteers and Defensive Bands of Great Britain and Ireland” Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G G2|d2d2|d2 B>c|d2d2|d2 dd|e3 e|(d>c)B>A| (G>A) (B>c) |d2 DD|G2D2|B2G2|d2B2| g3d|B2dd|g2 dc|B2G2|G2z2|| !Cho! B2B2|B2z2|d2d2|d3d|B2 d>d|g2 d>c|B2 G2|G2||

ROW, DOW, DOW. English, Air (2/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The melody is to a song called "Row dow dow, or The Drum" sung by Mr. Bannister in Thomas Linley's stage production The Camp (1778). ‘Row, dow, dow’ is meant to signify the beat of a drum. The song goes:

Great Ceasar once renowned in fame
For a mighty arm and a laurelled brow,
With his “veni, vidi, vici,” came
And conquered the world with his row dow dow.
Row, dow, dow, row, dow, dow,
And conquered the world with his row, dow, dow.

Thus should our vaunting Enemies come,
And winds and waves their course allow,
In freedom’s cause we’ll beat our Drum,
And they’ll fly at the sound of our row dow dow.
Row dow dow &c.

Then come my lads our glory share,
Whole honest hearts British valor avow,
At honor’s call to Camp repair,
And follow the beat of my row dow dow.
Row dow dow &c.

This annecdote was told in W.T. Parke's Musical memoirs; comprising an account of the general state of music in England, from the first commemoration of Handel, in 1784, etc. (1830, Introduction pp. 12-13).

A camp having been formed at Coxheath, in the summer of the year 1778, attracted all ranks from the metropolis to view it. Mr. Sheridan, on the spur of the moment, wrote a musical piece in two acts, called ' The Camp,' produced at Drury Lane Theatre, on the 15th of October, 1778. This agreeable piece, which had an uncommon run, dis- played a variety of military evolutions, very beautiful scenery designed by J. P. Loutherburg, and some pretty music composed by Mr. Linley. At one of the rehearsals Bannister, as Serjeant Drill, sung a song to the rustics to induce them to list, beginning,

Great Caesar, once renown'd in Fame,
For a mighty arm and a laurel'd brow,
With his Veni, vidi, vici, came,
And conquer'd the world with his row dow dow.

The song ended : Bannister, as a further inducement,' had to go through the manual exercise, giving the word himself, which he did in plain intelligible terms, thus : " Shoulder your arms ! — Present your arms !" and was proceeding, when Sheridan, running up to him, exclaimed, " That won't do at all, Mr. Bannister ; it is very unsoldier-like — you speak to be understood ; they never do that on the parade."

The version in the Hardy manuscripts is from Geminiani's The Entire New and Compleat Tutor for the Violin; there are a number of different editions of that popular text, containing different tunes.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 3), 1788; p. 223. Thompson (Compleat Instructions for the Fife), 1786; p. 26. Trim (The Musical Legacy of Thomas Hardy), 1990; No. 91.

Recorded sources: -

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