Find traditional instrumental music

Back to Well-a-Day

WELL A DAY. AKA and see "Essex's Last Goodnight." Irish, English; Ballad Air (3/4 time). G Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. This sixteenth, or perhaps fifteenth, century air appears in Sir John Hawkins' transcripts of virginal music. The original ballad is lost, though the air was used for many others, as was the convention of the time. The tune appears in William Ballet's Lute Book of 1594, though Grattan Flood (1906) also dates from the early part of the 16th century. It obtained the title "Essex's Last Goodnight" in 1576 when new words were set to it upon the death of the "unfortunate" Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, in Dublin. Somewhat confusingly, another Earl of Essex, Walter, was similarly lamented in a different set of lyrics to the same air after his beheading on Ash Wednesday, 1601; this second Anglo Irish song was printed by Margaret Allde in 1603 (Flood, 1906).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 1), 1859; p. 130.

Recorded sources:

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]

Back to Well-a-Day