Beggars and Ballad Singers
DESCRIPTION: The singer proclaims the advantages of begging and singing. He describes how he begs disguised as a "sailor from the wars," scarred and with a missing leg, or as a blind man with a dog, or a man with a hump on his back and mashed nose.
AUTHOR: Tom Dibdin? (source: see note quoting Ebsworth)
EARLIEST DATE: c.1807 (W.M.Martin, _The Songster Museum_, according to Ebsworth)
KEYWORDS: disguise drink music begging nonballad royalty
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
GreigDuncan3 486, "A King Canna Swagger" (1 fragment)
ADDITIONAL: "The Beggars' Chorus" in Joseph Woodfall Ebsworth, editor, The Bagford Ballads: Illustrating the Last Years of the Stuarts (Hertford, 1878 ("Digitized by Google")), First Division, p. 214, "Vocal and Rhetorical Imitations of Beggars and Ballad-singers"
"In the March Sunshine," April 1859" in The Eclectic Review 1859 January to June (London, 1859 ("Digitized by Google")), p. 370, ("The king cannot swagger, or get drunk like a beggar") (fragment)
Bodleian, Harding B 11(223), "Beggars and Ballad Singers" ("There's a difference to be seen, 'twixt a beggar and a queen"), W. Armstrong (Liverpool), 1820-1824
cf. "A-Begging I Will Go" (theme : "who would be a king, When beggars live so well?")
NOTES: The broadside has an explanation after each verse. For example, while the queen must concern herself with "her own dignity, likewise other people's dignity," he has no such concern. After a verse about Proteus, the shape changer, he says that beggars "change shapes as often as a player." After the last verse, about "Dolly and I" singing ballads - "while she bawls aloud And I take my fiddle in hand" -- he goes into his ballad singer patter.
Ebsworth: "In 1807, if not earlier, a merry singer (probably Tom Dibdin) ... indulged society with what he called 'Vocal and rhetorical imitations of Beggars and Ballad-singers." Ebsworth's text is from The Songster's Museum with an additional verse from The Lyre in 1824. Ebsworth's text omits the prose patter between verses included in broadside Bodleian Harding B 11(223). The GreigDuncan3 and Eclectic Review fragments have it that "a king cannot swagger"; the other texts say "a queen cannot swagger." - BS
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