Who liveth so merry

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WHO LIVETH SO MERRY. English, Ballad Air (3/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA. This late sixteenth century air appears in Deuteromelia (1609) and Pills to Purge Melancholy (1698). Kines (1964) notes it was an early song built on occupations, which must have proved popular, for many other such songs are found later in the 17th century in Pills to Purge Melancholy. The first two stanzas of the ballad go:

Who liveth so merry in all this land,
As doth the poor widow who selleth the sand;
And ever she sings as I can guess,
Will you buy any sand, any sand mistress.

The broomsman he makes his living most sweet,
With selling his brooms from street to street;
Who could imagine a pleasanter thing,
Than all the day long doing nothing but sing.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Times, vol. 1), 1859; p. 137. Kines (Songs From Shakespeare's Plays and Popular Songs of Shakespeare's Time), 1964; p. 90.

Recorded sources: Hyperion Records CDH55013, The City Waits - "How the World Wags" (1981). Trailor LER 2026, Barry & Robin Dransfield - "Lord of All I Behold" ().

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