An Anthem for St Ives Medieval Faire, or, It Raineth Everie Daye

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man’s estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
‘Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that’s all one, our play is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) , from Twelfth Night, or, What You Will Act V.

Being an catch with subtle humour wasted on no-one, Not even the boneheaded.

Here are the words of the catch, a simple song intended to be sung in rounds by drunken make-merry types, often with humourous intent. It was once sung by a certain Swedish Cultural Ensemble at the XAMC bardic competition to rapturous applause, appreciation and much appropriate mirth and joy. It probably would have won if not for the fact that the ensemble contained two of the judges who, in truth, contributed much of its talent, and thus disqualified itself.

When Celia was learning on the Spinnet to play,
her Tutor stood by her to show her
to show her
to show her, to show her the way.

She shook not the note, which anger’d him much,
and made him cry “Zounds!
’tis a long prick,
a long prick,
a long prick’d note you touch,”

Surprised was the Lady to hear him complain,
and said it and said and said,
I will shake it
I will shake it when I come to’t again.

A catch, a simple song intended to be sung in rounds by drunken make-merry types, this one to be sung in a four Voice round, for as many times as will.

‘Tis Women makes us Love,
‘Tis Love that makes us sad,
‘Tis sadness makes us Drink,
And Drinking makes us Mad.

Robert Monro, a Scottish soldier quoted this song in an account of the German campaigns written in 1637. The tune existed at least by 1624.

Soldiers with swords in hands, to the walls coming
Horsemen about the streets, riding and running
Sentinels on the walls, arm, arm, a-crying
Petards against the ports, wild fire a-flying
When Cannons are roaring
and bullets are flying
He that would honour win
must not fear dying!
Trumpets on turrets high, these are a-sounding
Drums beating out aloud, echoes resounding
Alarm bells in each place, they are a-ringing
Women with stones in laps, to the walls bringing.
When Cannons are roaring, etc.
Captains in open fields, on their foes rushing
Gentlemen second them, with their pikes pushing
Engineers in the trench, earth, earth uprearing
Gunpowder in the mines, pagans upblowing
When Cannons are roaring, etc.
Portcullis in the ports, they are down-letting
Berghers come flocking by, too their hands setting
Ladders against the walls, they are uprearing
Women great timber logs, to the walls bearing
When Cannons are roaring, etc.

Of all the fair birds that e’er I did see
The owl is the fairest in her degree,
For all the day long she sits in a tree
And when night comes, away flies she.

To-wit, To-woo, to whom drinks now,
My song is well sung, I’ll make thee a vow
And knave is he who drinketh now…

Nose.. Nose… Nose… Nose…
And what gave ye that jolly red nose?
Cinnamon and ginger, nutmeg and cloves
And that gave me this jolly red nose.

Traditional 17th Century drinking song

How stands the glass around?
For shame ye take no care me boys
How stands the glass around?
Let mirth and wine abound.

The trumpet sounds…
The colours they are flying, boys
To fight, kill or wound.
May we still be found,
Content with our hard fare me boys
On the cold, cold ground.

Why soldiers why?
Should we be melancholy, boys?
Why soldiers why?
Whose lot is but to die…

Well, sighing’s fine,
But here drink on, me jolly boys
Tis you, he or I,
Cold, hot, wet or dry,
We’re always bound to follow, boys
And scorn to fly.

Oh, tis but in vain!
I mean not to afright ye boys.
Oh, tis but in vain!
For soldiers to complain.
Should next campaign
Send us to Him who made us, boys
We’re free from pain.
But should we remain,
A bottle and kind landlady
Cures all again…

Traditional 17th Century soldiers’ song

An authentic 17th Century soldiers’ song, resurrected by Mr Hande just in time for the 93 Convention. Somewhat mournful, it is chillingly real in its mention of the “cold, cold ground”, and the eternal optimism of the soldier, insomuch as, should they survive, a few basic comforts will make them feel well again.