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That satyrical tune of 'Amarillis'

The 17th-century vogue for lampooning has left us with thousands of libellous personal satires, many of which were written to broadside ballad and dance tunes and intended for singing. Mostly preserved in manuscript sources, they constitute a largely unstudied extension of the repertory catalogued in Claude Simpson's The British broadside ballad and its music. One tune, 'Amarillis', was particularly associated with lampooning. Originally composed by John Banister the elder for a dance-song in Thomas Porter's tragedy The Villain (1662), it is cited as the tune for a lampoon text in a later play, Thomas Rawlins's Tunbridge Wells: or a Day's Courtship (1678). Its distinctive melodic contour also allows it to be linked to other scribally transmitted lampoons from 1663 onward. Its popularity for this purpose seems to have arisen from the ease with which it could be used for the social improvisation of mocking songs in which the singer, having given out a first line, had to invent a second to rhyme with it. The melody's popularity is confirmed by appearances in Playford's Dancing Master and Musick's Delight on the Cithren and in an arrangement for flageolet by Thomas Greeting.