"I thinke that all good minstrells, sober and chast musitions
(speaking of suche dronken sockettes,
and baudie parasites as raunge the countries,
rimyng and singyng of uncleane, corrupte, and filthie songes,
in tavernes, ale-houses, innes, and other publique assemblies),
maie daunce the wilde Moris through a needle's eye."
Philip Stubbe ("The Anatomie of Abuses", 1585)
"Neither is there anie tune or stroke which may be sung
or plaide on instruments, which hath not some poetical ditties
framed according to the numbers thereof.."
William Webbe, English writer (Discourse of English Poetry, 1586)
"..idle youths [...] loathing honest labour and dispising lawfull trades,
betakes themselves to a vagrant and viscious life,
in every corner of cities and market townes
in the realme singing and selling ballads."
Henry Chettle, (1592)
"Give me the making of the songs of a nation,
and I care not who makes its laws."
Andrew Fletcher, English political writer (1704)
"... an ordinary ballad or song that is the delight of the common people
cannot fail to please all such readers as are not unqualified
for the entertainment by their affectation or ignorance."
Addison (The Spectator, no.70, 21 May 1711)
"Let not the ballad singer's thrilling strain
Amid the swarm thy lis'ning ear detain
Guard well thy pocket, for these syrens stand
To aid the labours of the diving hand
Confed'rate in the cheat, they draw the throng;
And cambrick handkerchiefs reward the song."
John Gay, poet (1716)
"The very Prince of Poets, old Homer, if we may trust ancient Records,
was nothing more than a blind Ballad-singer,
who wrote Songs of the siege of Troy; and the Adventures of Ulysses;
and playing the Tunes upon his Harp, sung from Door to Door,
till at his Death somebody thought fit to collect all his ballads,
and by a little connecting 'em gave us the Iliad and Odysses."
Anonymous, (A Collection of Old Ballads, 1721)
"Strait to some market place or alley
And sitting down judiciously
Begin to sing. The people soon
Gather about, to hear the tune -
One stretches out his hand and cries
Come let me have it, what's the price?"
Anonymous (The Weekly Register, January 9, 1731)
"No new musical discovery;
believe all the good Irish tunes are already written. "
Theobald Wolfe Tone, Irish nationalist, (Comments on the Belfast Harpers Festival, July 11th 1792)
"I myself have lately seen a couple of ballads sung through the streets of Dumfries
with my name at the head of them as the author though
it was the first time I had ever seen them."
Robert Burns, Scottish poet, fiddle player, song writer and song collector,
(letter to George Thomson, November 1794)
"Those who wish to sing will always find a song."
Old Swedish proverb