Soldier and a Sailor (A)

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X:1 T:Soldier and a Sailor, A M:6/4 L:1/8 N:”Longways for as many as will.” B:John Walsh – Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth B: (London, 1740, No. 174) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Bb D2|(D2F2)B2 (B2c2)d2|B6 F4A2|B2c2d2 d2e2f2|d6 B4c2| d2e2f2f2e2d2|g6G4A2|B2c2d2 d2c2B2|f6F4G2| A2B2c2 c4A2|(F6F4)G2|A2B2c2 c4^e2|(f6f4)|| c2|c3dc2 c4d2|(e6 e4)f2|g3_ag2f4e2|(d6d4)e2| f3gf2e4d2|c6 d2e2f2|g2f2e2 e2c2B2|A6 F4f2| g2a2b2 a4b2|(b6b4)c2|d3ef2 c4B2|(B6B4)||



SOLDIER AND A SAILOR, A. English, Air and Country Dance Tune (6/4 time). B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The setting of the melody, with instructions for a country dance, was published in the Dancing Master, 14th edition (1709), and was retained in the long-running dancing master series through the 18th and final edition of 1728 (then published by John Young, heir to the Playford publishing concerns). It was also printed by John Walsh in his Compleat Country Dancing Master, editions of 1718, 1731, and 1754, and in Walsh's Compleat Country Dancing Master, Volume the Fourth (c. 1740).

However, versions of the melody as an air predate the country dance versions. It was first used as a song in Act III of William Congreave's (1670-1729) comedy Love for Love (1695) by William Congreve, set to music composed by John Eccles (1668-1735). The song begins:

A Soldier and a Sailor,
A Tinker and a Tailor,
Had once a doubtful Strife, Sir,
To make a Maid a Wife, Sir,
Whose Name was Buxom Joan,
Whose Name was Buxom Joan.
For now the Time is ended
When she no more intended
To lick her Chops at Men, Sir,
And gnaw the Sheets in vain, Sir.
And lie o' Nights alone,
And lie o' Nights alone.

The song was printed on song sheets, in Thesaurus Musicus, Book 4 (1695, p. 27), and by Thomas D'Urfey in his Pills to Purge Melancholy (1699, p. 186) and in vol. III of the 1719-1720 edition (p. 220). Later, the melody of "Soldier and a Sailor" became the vehicle for a number of songs in various ballad operas of the first half of the 18th century. It can be heard in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1729) in the song "A fox may steal your hens, sir; in Edward Phillips' The Mock Lawyer (1733); The State Juggler, or Sir Politick Ribband (1733), Scriblerus Secundus' The Welsh Opera, or the Grey Mare the Better Horse (1731), The Wanton Jesuit, or Innocence Seduced (1731), The Fox Uncas'd, or Robin's Art of Money-Catching (1733), and William Goodall's False Guardians Outwitted (1740). Thomas D'Urfey published the song in his Pills to Purge Melancholy, vol. III (1719-20, p. 220-21) as "A soldier and a sailor, a tinker and a taylor."

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 53.

Recorded sources: -Saydisc ‎CD-SDL 382, The City Waits - "Thomas D'Urfey's Pills To Purge Melancholy - Lewd Songs And Low Ballads From The 18th Century" (1990).



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