Begging We Will Go (A-)
BEGGING WE WILL GO, A. English, Scottish; Air (4/4 time). C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. Chappell (1859) states that this tune was the prototype of several "A...we will go" titles, including "A Hunting we will go," "A fishing we will go," "A bowling we will go", and "A hawking we will go." The song was introduced in Brome's comedy The Jovial Crew or The Merry Beggers performed in the Cockpit in Drury Lane, in 1641. It is printed in Playford's Choice Ayres (1685), Loyal Songs (1685), and Pills to Purge Melancholy, and appears in several ballad operas including The Quaker's Opera. Verses were collected in the tradition in England in modern times that are nearly identical to those in Choice Ayres. They begin:
There was a jolly beggar, he had a wooden leg;
Lame from his cradle, and he was forced to beg.
Peter Kennedy, in Folksongs of Britain and Ireland (p. 497), gives a later verse to the tune, thought to reference the habit of James V of Scotland travelling in disguise:
I fear no plots against me, I live in open cell;
Then who would be a King, when beggars live so well.
A Scottish verse describes a typical beggar of the times:
Afore that I do gang awa, I'll let my beard grow strang,
And for my nails I winna pare, for beggars wear them lang.
I'll gang to some greasy cook and buy frae her a hat,
Wi' twa-three inches o the rim, a-glitterin' ower wi' fat.
Printed source: Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time), vol. 2, 1859; pg. 42.
X:1 T:A-Begging we will go S:via BBBM, form 'Choice Ayres', 5th bk, 1684 L:1/4 M:C| K:D d|d/2A/2 A/2G/2 F E/2D/2|D/2E/2 F/2G/2 A2| d d/2d/2 dd/2d/2|e/2f/2 g/2e/2 f e/2d/2| e3/2 d/2 c (B/2c/2)|d c/2B/2 A/2A/2 G/2F/2|(G/2A/2) Bc3/2 d/2|d3|]