Joseph Woodfall Ebsworth.

Merry drollery compleat, being jovial poems, merry songs, &c. online

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Yours truly,
To Mr. R. Roberts. J. O. PHILLIPPS."

From F. J. Furnivall, Esq.

"3, St. George's Square, Primrose Hill, London, N.W.,

2nd February, 1875.

I have received the handsome large paper
copy of your "Westminster Drolleries." I am very glad
to see that the book is really edited, and that well, by a
man so thoroughly up in the subject as Mr. Ebsworth.

Truly yours,

F. J. F."


From the Editor of the "Fuller's Worthies Library"
"Wordsworth's Prose Works," &c.
" Park View, Blackburn,

Lancashire, I3th July, 1875.

I got the "Westminster Drolleries" at
tonce, and I will see after the " Merry Drollery " when

Go on and prosper. Mr. Ebsworth is a splendid fellow,
jevidently. Yours,


J. P. COLLIER, Esqre., has also written warmly com-
j mending the work, in private letters to the Editor, which
he holds in especial honour.

From the "Academy" July iQth, 1875.

" It would be a curious though perhaps an unprofitable
speculation, how far the ' Conservative reaction ' has been
{reflected in our literature Reprints are an impor-
tant part of modern literature, and in them there is a
perceptible relaxation of severity. Their interest is no
longer mainly philological. Of late, the Restoration has
been the favourite period for revival. Its dramatists are
marching down upon us from Edinburgh, and the invasion
is seconded by a royalist movement in Lincolnshire. A
Boston publisher has begun a series of drolleries in-
tended, not for the general public, but for those students
who can afford to pay handsomely for their predilection
for the byways of letters.

" The Introduction is delightful reading, with quaint
fancies here and there, as in the * imagined limbo of un-
finished books/ .... There is truth and pathos in his
excuses for the royalist versifiers who * snatched hastily,
recklessly, at such pleasures as came within their reach,
heedless of price or consequences.' We may not admit
that they were f outcasts without degradation,' but we can
hardly help allowing that 'there is a manhood visible in
their failures, a generosity in their profusion and unrest.
They are not stainless, but they affect no concealment of
faults. Our heart goes to the losing side, even when the


loss has been in great part deserved.' .... The fact is, j
that in his contemplation of the follies and vices of ' that
very distant time ' he loses all apprehension of their
grosser elements, and retains only an appreciation of their
wit, their elegance, and their vivacity. Without offence
be it said, in Lancelot's phrase, 'he does something
smack, something grow to ; he has a kind of taste,' and
so have we too, as we read him. These trite and ticklish
themes he touches with so charming a liberality that his
generous allowance is contagious. We feel in thoroughly
honest company, and are ready to be heartily charitable
along with him. For his is no unworthy tolerance of vice,
still less any desire to polish its hardness into such facti-
tious brilliancy as glistens in Grammont. It is a manly
pity for human weakness, and an unwillingness to see,
much less to pry into, human depravity. ' It would have
been a joy for us to know that these songs were wholly
unobjectionable ; but he who waits to eat of fruit without
speck must go hungry through many an orchard, even
past the apples of the Hesperides.' .... The little book
is well worth the attention of any one desirous to have a i
bird's-eye view of the Restoration ' Society.' Its scope is
far wider than its title would indicate. The ' Drolleries '
include not only the rollicking rouse of the staggering
blades who ' love their humour well, boys,' the burlesque
of the Olympian revels in ' Hunting the Hare,' the wild
vagary of Tom of Bedlam, and the gibes of the Benedicks
of that day against the holy estate, but lays of a delicate
and airy beauty, a dirge or two of exquisite pathos, homely
ditties awaking patriotic memories of the Armada and the
Low Country wars, and 'loyal cantons' sung to the
praise and glory of King Charles. The ' late and true
story of a furious scold ' might have enriched the budget
of Autolycus, and Feste would have found here a store of
'love-songs,' and a few s songs of good life.' The collec-
tion is of course highly miscellaneous. After the stately
measure may come a jig with homely 'duck and nod,' or
even a dissonant strain from the 'riot and ill-managed
merriment ' of Comus,

* Midnight shout, and revelry,
Tipsy dance, and jollity.*"


From the "Bookseller" March, 1875.

" If we wish to read the history of public opinion we
must read the songs of the times : and those who help us
:o do this confer a real favour. Mr. Thomas Wright has
done enormous service in this way by his collections of
political songs. Mr. Chappell has done better by giving
us the music with them; but much remains to be done.
3n examining the volume before us, we are surprised to
: ind so many really beautiful pieces, and so few of the
:oarse and vulgar. Even the latter will compare favour-
ably with the songs in vogue amongst the fast men in the
early part of the present century.

The " Westminster Drolleries" consist of two collections
of poems and songs sung at Court and theatres, the first
published in 1671, and the second in 1672. Now for the
: irst time reprinted. The editor, Mr. J. Woodfall
Ebsworth, has prefaced the volume with an interesting
ntroduction . . . and, in an appendix of nearly eighty
sages at the end, has collected a considerable amount of
Bibliographical and anecdotical literature. Altogether,
~LV e think this may be pronounced the best edited of all the
reprints of old literature, which are now pretty numerous.
A word of commendation must also be given to Mr.
Roberts, of Boston, the publisher and printer the volume
is a credit to his press, and could have been produced in
its all but perfect condition only by the most careful atten-
tion and watchful oversight."

From the " Athen&um" April loth, 1875.
" Mr. Ebsworth has, we think, made out a fair case in
his Introduction for reprinting the volume without exci-
sion. The book is not intended 'virginibus puerisque, but
to convey to grown men a sufficient idea of the manners
and ideas which pervaded all classes in society at the

time of the reaction from the Puritan domination

Mr. Ebsworth's Introduction is well written. He speaks
with zest of the pleasant aspects of the Restoration
period, and has some words of praise to bestow upon the
* Merry Monarch' himself. ... Let us add that his own
" Prelude," "Entr' Acte," and "Finale" are fair speci-
mens of versification."



Of the 1564 Edition of this fine old book is now
the press, and will shortly be ready.


Printed in the Old Style,



Limited to 250 Copies, at 2 is. each to Subscribers

RE-PRINTS of other Rare and Valuable Bool!
are in progress, of which fuller particulars will be give:
in due time, by Robert Roberts, Boston, Lincolnshire



This book is due on the last date stamped below, or c

date to which renewed.
Renewed books are subject to immediate recall,



MOV 2 3 1966 68

DEC 15 '66 -9






AUG 6 1987



MAY ?, 5 fe^







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Online LibraryJoseph Woodfall EbsworthMerry drollery compleat, being jovial poems, merry songs, &c. → online text (page 20 of 20)