minstrel: Packington's Pound

Lisa and Ken Theriot Lnktheriot at satx.rr.com
Wed Sep 10 15:03:58 PDT 2008


Stephen wrote:

[I have two versions of Packington's Pound for lute, both supposedly
from 
Cambridge Nn.6.36... Does anyone have a facsimile of this piece that
they could send so I can figure out what it is really supposed to be?]

I could e-mail you the version from Chappell if you like, which is
fairly spare.  The problem is that everybody who writes down the melody
feels the need to write down the variations which were not part of the
original melody.  Like a singer putting in trills that are not truly
part of the melody, instrumentalists can't resist showing off, and the
poor scribe who doesn't recognize what is theme and what is variation
takes it all down as Holy Writ.

Here's two YouTube versions, one on guitar and the other on lute.  Pay
particular attention to the lute player; his rendition tends to play the
clean line first, then load it up with frills and trills on the next
pass:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMM-sQ3q2Zw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZiiCu4GHw8&feature=related

Paul O'Dette's version is sick (in a good way), audio only:
http://www.amazon.com/Ballad-Tunes-Pakingtons-Grimstock-Greensleeves/dp/
B00122PEWE


Packington's Pound was a wildly popular tune to filk, so we have a
number of examples of how it was SUNG, which gives, I think, a better
idea of how the true underlying melody line went (and changed).  In 1614
(Bartholomew Fair) it went:

My masters and friends and good people draw near...

Circa 1670:
Stand firm to your vices and have a great care...

In 1697, plus one syllable:
I sing of no heretic Turk, or a Tartar...

In 1740, plus another syllable:
When the Knights of the Bath by King George were created...

In 1782, back to the original scansion:
Ye maidens and wives and young widows rejoice...

Interesting how pick-ups entered the lyrical line based on (one assumes)
how instrumentalists were ornamenting the line, and even more
interesting that the original line wasn't entirely lost.  The version
Chappell gives (which also references Camb, Lute MSS. Nn. Vi. 36, as
well as the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and several other sources) doesn't
have any pick-ups at all, and in fact even the BF piece wouldn't have
enough notes to match the syllables.  The first complete verse goes:

My masters and friends and good people draw near
And look to your purses for that I do say
And though little money in them you do bear
It cost more to get than to lose in a day
You oft have been told, both the young and the old
And bidden be ware of the cutpurse so bold
Then if you take heed not, free me from the cu-urse
Who both give you warning for and the cutpurse.
Youth, youth, thou hadst better been starved by thy nu-urse
Than live to be han-ged for cutting a purse.

If I sang only (and every) note in Chappell's transcription, I'd sing:

Masters and friends and good people draw near
And look to your purses for that I do say
Though little money in them you do bear
It cost more to get than to lose in a day.
Oft have been told, young and the old
Bi-hi-de-hen be-he ware of the cu-hut-pur-hurse so bold
If you take heed not, free me from the cu-urse
Who both give you warning for and the cut-purse.
Youth, thou hadst better been starved by thy nu-urse
Than live to be han-ged for cutting a purse.

That one line is heavily eighth-note-ridden, but no other, so whether
that is "original" or simply an addition from one of Chappell's sources
is a matter for speculation, though that is how it appears in my (sadly,
modern edited) copy of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.  I don't have a
facsimile of any period manuscript source, nor have I found one online.
Remember to look for the period spelling Pakington's Pownde, which is
how it appears in FVB.


Adelaide



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