Friday Poem
© 11 May 2012 Luther Tychonievich
Licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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Friday Poem

An effort to modernize an old canon.


In 1609 Thomas Ravenscroft published a book entitled Pammelia which contained sheet music for many vocal canons or rounds. One of them, “‍Sing we now merrily‍”, was arranged for 10 voices. Lyrically, it ran as follows:

Sing we now merrily,
our purposes be empty,
  hey ho.
Let them take care
that list to spare
  for I will not do so.
Who can sing so merry a note
as he that cannot change a groat,
  hey ho?
  Trolly loly, trolly lolly lo.

I’m afraid the average listener wouldn’t grasp the idea behind those lyrics, so I decided to pen my own modernized take on the message.

Here’s an audio file of me trying to sing the canon with myself.

Paupers Singing Merrily

Sing we now merrily,
and thus let our happi-
  ness grow.
What should you care
what words we share?
  We sing for fun, you know.
Who can sing so cheerful and free
as those who lack e’en one penny
  to show?
  Paupers, sing it merrily, like so.

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