Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fol the diddle dol..., The Essential 18th Century Playlist

The Penny Wedding by David Allan
Her shoes were bright
Her stockings white
Her buckles shone like silver
She had a black and roving eye
And her hair hung down her shoulder
With my rue dum day
Fol the diddle dol
Fol the dol th diddle dum the day
(From "I'm Seventeen Come Sunday")

Pretty catchy lyrics, eh? Songs of the 18th century mirrored the human condition of the times and, just like today, were filled with stories of love, jealousy, humor, politics, and partying. Many songs were made for dancing and as long as they "had a good beat and easy to dance to," to quote American Bandstand sages of the 1950's, they were a hit. Dancing was a very important part of colonial American entertainment. According to the Irish physician, John Brickell, who lived in Edenton, NC about 1731 and wrote a book entitled The Natural History of North Carolina: 

"Dancing they are all fond of, especially when they can get a Fiddle or a Bagpipe; at this they will continue Hours together, nay, so attach'd are they to this darling Amusement, that if they can't procure Musick, they will sing for themselves." 

An 18th century Musick lover's Playlist would surely include the following: (Thanks to for these examples and lyrics.)

 An early lawyer joke rears its sarcastic head in:
"A Fox May Steal Your Hens, Sir"

A fox may steal your hens, Sir,
A Whore your health and Pence, Sir,
Your daughter rob your Chest, Sir,
Your Wife may steal your Rest, Sir,
A Thief your Goods and Plate.
But this is all but picking,
With Rest, Pence, Chest, and Chicken,
If ever was decreed, Sir,
If Lawyer's Hand is fee'd, Sir.
He steals your whole Estate.

Ah, sweet love from:
"Enraptured I Gaze"

Enraptured I Gaze, when my Delia is by,
And drink the sweet poison of love from her eye;
I feel the soft passion pervade ev'ry part,
And pleasures unusual play round my fond heart.

What's a woman compared to a good stiff drink? From:
"The Women All Tell Me"

My Chloe had dimples and smiles I must own;
But, though, she could smile, yet in truth she could frown,
But tell me, ye lovers of liquor divine,
Did you e'er see a frown in a bumper of wine?

I could go on but my novel writing calls so I shall bid you adieu for now, Fol the dol th diddle dum the day...

Have a good week, dear Reader. Thanks for stopping by...Y'all come back now!


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