Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
Some songs of our times
Here's a Health unto His Majesty
I pass all my hours
Fain I would have a Pretie thing
A Carol I
A Carol II
A Carol III
A Carol IV
Ceremonies for Christmas
Pepys published a collection of songs in several categories.
Pepys collection: Marriage, Cockholdry
This section contained a range of cautions for those men and women choosing a spouse: from admonitions to stay single as long as possible to “strike while the iron is hot.” In the second subcategory, Pepys includes both ballads that praise commendable wives and husbands and ballads that criticize those who lack virtue. The ballads in the last of Pepys’s subcategories, “Cuckoldry,” tell stories of reconciliation and forgiveness after an infidelity.
Pepys collection: Devotion & Morality
these ballads consist primarily of moralistic tales from which the heated political and religious debates of the period are conspicuously absent. The notable exceptions are the “popery” ballads
Pepys collection: Tragedy
doing evil will result in punishment, usually death. Women who kill their husbands, tradesmen who abuse their apprentices, thieves and robbers who ply their trade with unusual ferocity, even a group of witches who plague an earl and his family are all brought to justice and sentence to die for their actions.
Pepys collection: Love Unfortunate
the ballads that comprise it cover a wide array of topics that range from protecting a woman’s virginity to dying for love. Despite the variety of content, the ballads in this category share a concern with expressing equilibrium in the universe: people’s actions have consequences and no one is immune to those consequences. These ballads especially caution people against committing acts that will result in tragedy.
Pepys collection: Love Pleasant
the “pleasant” nature of the ballads in “Love Pleasant” stems not necessarily from their depiction of successful, happy, or, even pleasing love, but rather from the rather amiable and good-humored tone of the majority of these ballads, even in cases when the ballads depict love—or in many cases, lust—gone awry. Although a significant number of the ballads in this category do consist of extended mediations on love—whether through almost Petrarchan terms, descriptions of exemplary beloved women, or delineations of relationships that are “successful” (in as much as they end in marriage and, frequently, the birth of a son)—many of the ballads describe fundamentally lonely or unhappy people who in many ways are, in fact, unlucky in love. These unlucky examples, however, serve as just that: comic emblems of how in the dicey world of love and lust one must choose wisely, ever aware of the seduction of vices.