Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/303

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241
TOM D'URFEY

and Dr. John Blow; but a good many were adapted to folk airs. In 1683, he brought out his New Collection of Songs and Poems, in which was "The Night her Blackest Sables Wore," which was afterwards claimed for Francis Semple, of Beltrees. D'Urfey wrote a good many songs in fancy Scottish dialect, as a taste for North-country songs came in after James, Duke of York, afterwards James II, was sent to govern Scotland in 1679 and 1680. Although there can be no doubt whatever as to the authorship of "The Night her Blackest Sables Wore," about fifty years after its first publication the song and tune in a corrupt form appear in Thomson's Orpheus Caledonicus (1733), with some change in the words so as to make it appear to be Scottish, as "She rose and let me in," altered to "She raise and loot me in." Mr. Chappell says: "It is a common error to suppose that England was inundated with Scotch tunes at the union of the two Crowns. The first effect was directly the reverse." In fact, a stream of English popular melodies flowed into Scotland, and this in a flood in the reign of Charles II, carrying with them the English words, which Scottish compilers adapted and appropriated, and these have come back to us as "made in Scotland," whereas they are genuine English songs, words and music and all.

Tom Brown, venomous and scurrilous as Tom D'Urfey was not, lampooned the latter, and called him "Thou cur, half French, half English breed," and mocked him regarding a duel at Epsom, in 1689, with one Bell, a musician.

 
I sing of a Duel, in Epsom befell
'Twixt Fa-so-la D'Urfey and Sol-la-mi Bell.

Tom took it in good part. It was only by Jeremy Collier that he could be prevailed to reply, and even then it was chiefly in a song.