116  Love and Honour: Or,/ The Lovers Farewel to Calista [Roxburghe 2.306]

Author: Anonymous, Dryden, John (1631-1700)

Recording: Love and Honour

Bodies - health/sickness Death - grief Death - heartbreak Death - suicide Death - tragedy Death - warfare Emotions - disdain Emotions - guilt Emotions - love Emotions - sorrow Employment - sailors/soldiers Gender - courtship Gender - femininity Gender - masculinity History - ancient/mythological Morality - romantic/sexual Politics - Royalist Politics - court Politics - foreign affairs Politics - war Royalty - authority Violence - between states

Song History

Love and Honour: Or,/ The Lovers Farewel to Calista was first published by Philip Brooksby in 1672.

Historical Context

Love and Honour was written in the context of the deeply unpopular Third Anglo-Dutch War. Charles II entered the war because he was bound by the terms of the Treaty of Dover, a secret agreement reached with Louis XIV of France in 1670. The treaty obliged Charles to support Louis XIV's attacks on the Dutch Republic in return for secret payments that Charles hoped would give him financial independence from parliament.

The war began on 27 March 1672, but it went badly from the first. There was little public support for the war in England and it became increasingly difficult to recruit or retain sufficient men. By 7 June, the Engish fleet had been badly damaged by the Dutch at the Battle of Solebay and many notable officers died, including the earl of Sandwich and Sir Edward Spragg, whose elegies filled the shops. Domestic opposition ultimately forced Charles to withdraw and agree to the Treaty of Westminster on 19 February 1674.


The ballad trade's customers loved a naval song. They loved it all the better if it was tinged with the tragedy of unrequited love and better still if was about real people (however they might be allegorised). Love and Honour adopted classical aliases and literary allusions to imagine the final farewell of Captain Francis Digby (killed in the Battle of Solebay), to Frances Stuart, Duchess of Richmond, with whom he was passionately but hopelessly in love. Love songs in which a jilted lover goes away to sea and hopes to die were not uncommon but after 1672, the tune 'Digby's Farewell'  (perhaps the 'new sad air' referred to as an alternative melody on the ballad sheet) began to be used for such songs. Our recording, however, uses the named tune, 'Now the Tyrant hath stolen'.


The first two verses of Love and Honour were taken from a song often attributed to John Dryden, entitled ‘Farewell, fair Armida’ (see Related texts). Ballads were often extensions of theatre songs, and sometimes the original author may have aided in the conversion, but this was certainly not the case for Dryden, who was outraged at being 'hacked' by the ballad trade. However, there was very little that playwrights or poets could do if their work was plagiarised, since there was no law of copyright for authors.

Publishing History and Popularity

This ballad was one of Philip Brooksby's earliest known productions after being made 'free' of the Stationer's Company on completion of his apprenticeship in 1670 and setting up independently as a bookseller. Brooksby often sold his best-selling titles on to the Ballad Partners, but he kept this song in print for the rest of his career, as did his widow, after his death in 1698, and her successor, their old apprentice and journeyman, John Foster. Five editions survive but we have no information on contemporaries who bought the song.

Angela McShane


C. H. Firth, Naval Songs and Ballads (Navy Records Society, vol. 33, 1894)p. xxxv

Angela McShane, 'Recruiting Citizens for Soldiers in Seventeenth-Century English Ballads’, Journal of Early Modern History, 15:1-2 (2011), pp. 105-37.

Angela McShane, The Ballad Trade and its Politics in Seventeenth Century Britain (Woodbridge, forthcoming), ch. 8.

Back to contents

Featured Tune History

To the tune of ‘Now the Tyrant hath stolen’ (standard name: Bonny sweet Robin)

The purpose of this section is to provide brief notes on the melody followed by detailed evidence relating to  its career, paying particular attention to the ‘echoes’ (inter-song associations and connections) that may have been set up if it was nominated for the singing of more than one ballad. In the list presented in the ‘Songs and Summaries’ section below, we have endeavoured to include as many of the black-letter ballads that used the tune as possible, under any of its variant names. Titles from our chart of best-sellers are presented in bold type (these are also in colour when there is a link to the relevant ballad page on the website). It should be noted that it is extremely difficult to date many ballads precisely and the chronological order in which the songs are listed is therefore very approximate (we have drawn on previous attempts to date the ballads, making adjustments when additional evidence can be brought into play).  In most cases, we list the earliest surviving edition of a ballad, though in many instances there may have been earlier versions, now lost.

Versions and variation

This was a very well-known tune and was written down in dozens of sources, both printed and manuscript. It drew the attention of many composers, particularly during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and there are versions for virginals, lute, viol and mixed ensembles. Examples can be found in the following sources, though there are many others (a fuller list can be found in Simpson’s The British broadside ballad and its music): William Ballet’s lute book (c. 1590); Anthony Holborne, The Cittharn Schoole (1597); and Thomas Robinson, The Schoole of Musicke (1603). Our recording is based on one of the two arrangements that appear in the Fitzwilliam virginal book.

In these instrumental sources, the tune is generally called either ‘Bonny Sweet Robin’ or ‘Robin is to the greenwood gone’ (with variants in both cases). The contours and details of the melody are remarkably stable in most of the known versions, though considerable variety is of course introduced through the composition of variations. Numerous recordings have been made of these instrumental compositions but renditions of our hit song are much harder to find. 

Ballads of the period called for the tune by a remarkable variety of titles, in addition to the two already mentioned: ‘[Now] The tyrant [hath stolen my dearest away]’; ‘Fair Angel of England’; ‘Farewell fair Armeda’; ‘Farewell my Calista’ (from the opening line of the song under discussion here); 'Love and honour' (from the title of the same song); ‘The poor man’s comfort’; ‘The poor man’s counsellor’; ‘Dick and Nan’; ‘Laugh and lie down’; and ‘My life and my death’.

Echoes (an overview)

This tune originated in the Elizabethan period when it was possibly associated with a lost ballad about Robin Hood. In the ballad world, it remained popular until the late seventeenth century and came to be strongly associated with courtship. The hit song, A Courtly new ballad of the Princely wooing of the fair Maid of London by King Edward was particularly influential in this regard, and several other songs followed it in featuring women who were either resistant to male advances or somewhat unsympathetic to tortured sweethearts.

Love and Honour: Or, The Lovers Farewel to Calista is an excellent example of the latter possibility; the eponymous maiden reacts to the death of her sweetheart not only by expressing sadness but also by insisting that she bears no responsibility. In other songs of this sort, romantic problems are related to the fact that the man is old and the woman young (see, for example, The Constant Maidens Resolution, which also anticipates a famous Beatles hit with its subtitle, Silver and Gold cant buy true Love).

Other ballads depict courtship in a much more positive light, featuring men and women whose love is strong and lasting (examples include Joy and HONOUR and Love and Constancy). The melody may therefore be thought of as representing the fine line that existed between successful and unsuccessful relationships.

Three further ballads carry the romantic theme through into marriage, and each of these presents a wise wife who offers firm and constructive advice to a husband whose lifestyle is irresponsible (see, for example, The Poore Mans Comfort). These strong and morally upright wives have something in common with the resolute single women portrayed in Love and Honour (see also A Courtly new Ballad).

Their sound advice also connects with yet another group of ballads in which moral and/or religious guidelines are directed primarily at male listeners (examples include A Looking-Glass for a Bad Husband and The poor Mans Counsellor, OR, The marryed mans Guide). The list therefore includes numerous songs in which men are instructed, sometimes by women and sometimes by anonymous narrators. There are moral overtones, too, in a couple of mid-century ballads that feature astrological prognostications for the twelve months ahead (the first is Englands Monthly Predictions for this present yeare 1649). 

Overall, it is apparent that this tune was chosen for a variety of interconnected themes, led by gender relations but extending into other areas as well. The opportunities for listeners to forge their own melodic meanings in relation to the specific associations that the melody carried for them were clearly numerous.

The songs are connected not only by their shared melody but by a number of direct verbal echoes, only a few of which can be presented here. Compare, for example, the following couplets, all sung to the final two lines of the tune:

  • ‘A King may command her to lye by his side,/ Whose feature deserveth to be a Kings Bride’ (A Courtly new Ballad).
  • ‘She made me a promise she would be my Bride,/ But I have lost her and my Mony beside’ (The Cloath-worker caught in a Trap).
  • ‘He furnisht his pockets,/ his back and his side,/ and gained him a Damosel/ to make him a Bride’ (The Couragious Plow-man).

Similarly, ‘wife’ and ‘life’ are rhymed in at least six of the listed ballads, including The Poore Mans Comfort and The Sea-mans Compass. The phrases ‘my joy and delight’ and ‘be ruled by me’ occur more than once, and the first lines of Love and Honour (‘Farewel my Calista my joy and my grief’) are echoed at the opening of Love and Gallantry (‘Farewel my Clarinda my life and my soul’).

[See 'Postscript', below, for additional notes on this melody].

Songs and Summaries

[Doleful adewe to the last Erle of Darby. to the tune of Bonny sweete Robin (John Danter, registered 1594). A lost ballad, clearly a eulogy, that named the tune].

A Courtly new Ballad of the Princely wooing of the faire Maid of London, by King Edward. To the tune of, Bonny sweet Robbin (Henry Gosson, 1601-40). Roxburghe 1.58; EBBA 30042. Emotions – longing; Gender – sex, masculinity, femininity; History – medieval, romance; Morality – romantic/sexual; Politics – court; Royalty – authority, criticism; Family – children/parents. The king attempts to persuade a beautiful London maiden to become his concubine, promising her all measure of pleasure and treasure, but she utterly refuses to compromise her virtue.

Loves fierce desire, and hopes of Recovery... To an excellent new Tune; Or, Fair Angel of England (‘Printed for T. V. and are to be sold by F. Coles’, 1624-62) Roxburghe 3.130-1; EBBA 30440. Gender – courtship; Emotions – love, longing, sorrow. Two sweethearts, forcibly separated, declare their mutual love and longing.

The Sea-mans Compass... To the Tune of, The Tyrant hath stoln (F. G., 1624-62). Euing 325; EBBA 31990. Employment – sailors/soldiers, crafts/trades; Gender – courtship; Economy – livings, trade, hardship/prosperity; Environment – sea; Society – rich/poor; Religion – prayer. A maiden is overheard singing in praise of sailors and declaring repeatedly ‘There’s none but a Sea-man/ shall marry with me’.

The Young-womans Complaint... The Tune is, What should a young woman do with an old man. Or the Tyran[t] (William Gilbertson, 1647-65). Bodleian Wood E 25(37). Gender – marriage, masculinity, femininity; Bodies – looks/physique; Disability – physical; Emotions – frustration, longing; Humour – domestic/familial, extreme situations/surprises, mockery, bawdry; Family – pregnancy/childbirth. A young woman, forced to marry an old man, lists his mental and physical failings (‘and short is his Thing’) before resolving to cuckold him with a lusty and youthful replacement.

The two Jeering Lovers:, Or, A pleasant New Dialogue between Dick Down-Right of the Country, and pretty witty Nancy of the Citie... To a dainty new tune, called, Now the tyrant hath stolen, &c (William Gilbertson, 1647-65). British Library, Book of Fortune, C.20.f.14.2; EBBA 36423. Gender – courtship, femininity, masculinity; Humour – mockery; Bodies  - looks/physique, clothing, adornment; Emotions – disdain, contentment; Recreation – weddings. Nancy initially rejects Dick’s advances in very forthright terms but then changes her mind abruptly as he prepares to depart.

Englands Monthly Predictions for this present yeare 1649... To the Tune of Faire Angell of England. Or, Bonny sweet Robin (no imprint, 1649). Manchester Central Library Blackletter Ballads 2.44; EBBA 36091. Politics – domestic, foreign affairs; Religion – astrology, Christ/God, sin/repentance, prayer; Death – execution, warfare; Violence – civil war, between states, punitive, political; Emotions – fear; Morality – general; Environment – weather; Society – rich/poor. This summarises the predictions of ‘the prime Astrologian of our Nation’ and urges England to prepare for a year of warfare, wild weather and misery.

Englands Monethly Observations and Predictions, for the Yeare of our Blessed Saviour, 1653... The Tune is. Faire Angel of England (W. Gilbertson, c.1652). Roxburghe 3.237; EBBA 30880. Politics – domestic, foreign affairs, obedience; Economy – taxation, trade; Emotions – anxiety, hope; Employment – agrarian, sailors/soldiers, professions; Religion – astrology, prayer; Society – rich/poor. This summarises the predictions of astrologers, Lilly and Culpepper, and promises a year of very mixed fortunes for the English.

The Cloath-worker caught in a Trap: Or, A Fool and his Mony soon parted... The Tune is, How now Jocky whither away. Or the Tyrant (imprint missing, 1660-80?). Roxburghe 2.62; EBBA 30551. Gender – courtship, femininity, masculinity; Crime – robbery; Emotions – anger, sorrow; Humour – deceit/disguise, mockery; Employment – crafts/trades Bodies – clothing; Society – neighbours. An innocent man, keen to marry, is tricked out of his money by a maiden and an old woman, apparently working in cahoots.

A dainty new Dialogue between HENRY and ELIZABETH. Being the good Wives Vindication, and the bad Husbands Reformation... The Tune is, The Tyrant (imprint missing, 1660-80?). Roxburghe 2.100; EBBA 30566. Gender – marriage, masculinity, femininity; Recreation – good fellowship, alcohol, games/sports; Morality – familial, romantic/sexual; Economy – hardship/prosperity, household, money; Emotions – anxiety, contentment; Employment – alehouses/inns, prostitution; Crime – prison; Family – children/parents; Bodies – clothing, adornment. Bess warns Harry that his revelling ways are hurting the household, and Harry, after initial attempts at self-justification, assures Bess that he will reform his conduct.

The Lovers final Farwel. To his Faithless false Mistress... The Tune Love and honour or Digbys farwell (Eliz. Andrews, 1662-68). Bodleian 4o Rawl. 566(147). Gender – courtship, masculinity, femininity; Morality – romantic/sexual; Emotions – love, anger. A man blames an inconstant woman for the failure of their relationship, and she responds by arguing that the fault lies with him.

CUPID'S POWER... To the Tune of Dick and Nan: Or, The Tyrant (Charles Tyus, 1664). Crawford 1186; EBBA 34037. Gender – Cupid, courtship; Environment – birds, flowers/trees, wonders, landscape; Recreation – music; Religion – ancient Gods; Violence – interpersonal; Bodies – looks/physique; Employment – crafts/trades, female, apprenticeship/service. A man witnesses the arrival of Cupid and his love-sick entourage, and then overhears him boasting of his power over people of all sorts.

The Poore Mans Comfort... Tune is, Fair Angel of England (F. Coles, T. Vere, and J. Wright, 1665-74). Bodleian 4o Rawl. 566(39). Gender – marriage, femininity, masculinity; Economy – livings, hardship, household, prices/wages, trade; Employment –general, female; Family – children and parents; Emotions – anxiety; Religion – faith; Society – rich/poor; Bodies - nourishment. A poor man in despair is counselled and comforted by his wise wife (who urges him to ‘be ruled by me’).

Good Admonitions, or Wholesome Counsel... To the Tune of,  Bonny sweet Robin, Or, Fair Angel of England (W. Thackeray, T. Passenger, and W. Whitwood, 1666-79). Bodleian Douce 1(89a). Religion – moral rules, church, Bible, Christ/God, divine intervention, atheism, charity; Morality – general; Family – children/parents; Gender – sex; Recreation – alcohol; Society – neighbours. A set of moral and religious instructions, urging all listeners to worship God, turn from sin and treat one another with love.

A Looking-Glass for a Bad Husband: Or, / A Caveat for a Spend-thrift. To the Tune of, The Poor Man's Comfort: Or, Digby (W. Thackeray, T. Passenger, and W. Whitwood, 1666-79). Crawford 1422; EBBA 34086. Morality – familial, social/economic, general; Recreation – alcohol, good fellowship, games/sports; Economy – hardship/prosperity, money, livings; Employment – general; Gender – marriage; Family – general; Bodies – clothing. Male listeners are advised to avoid drunkenness and whoredom, concentrating instead on hard work, family duty and saving money for hard times ahead.

A Looking-glass for a covetous Miser: OR, Comfort to a Contented minde... to the tune of, the Fair Angel of England; or, the Tyrant (W. Thackeray, T. Passinger and W. Whitwood, 1666-79). Crawford 259; EBBA 33461. Economy – hardship/poverty, prices/wages, money; Employment – agrarian; Morality – social/economic; Environment – crops, seasons; Religion – Bible, Christ/God; News – domestic. A tense conversation between an honest husbandman and a greedy miser about the price of grain and the ethics of hoarding (by a beautiful irony, the miser’s house is burgled while he is chatting).

Joy and HONOUR, the Seamans delight... To a pleasant new Tune: Or, The Tyrant have stolen my dearest away (John Williamson, 1670-78). Bodleian 4o Rawl. 566(138). Gender – courtship; Emotions – love, joy; Employment – sailors/soldiers; Politics – foreign affairs; Family – children/parents; Recreation – music, weddings. A seaman returns from the wars and is joyously reunited with a sweetheart who had abandoned all hope of seeing him again.

The Faithful Shepherdess... To a very new Tune: or, Farewel fair Armeda: or, Captain Digby’s Farewel (Phillip Brooksby, 1670-98). Bodleian Douce 1(75a). Gender – courtship, femininity, masculinity; Morality – romantic/sexual; Emotion – love, sorrow, shame, joy. Amintas has broken his vow to a lovely shepherdess but, on overhearing an expression of her sorrow, mends his ways and returns to her for good.

The poor Mans Counsellor, OR, The marryed mans Guide... Tune of, The Poor Man's Comfort (P. Brooksby, 1670-98). Crawford 241; EBBA 33306. Gender – marriage; Religion – moral rules; Morality – general; Recreation – alcohol, games, good fellowship; Employment – general; Society - friendship.  A friendly narrator instructs a poor man on how to live thriftily, honestly and contentedly.

Love and Constancy OR The true Lovers welcome home from France... Tune of, Digby's farewell, or the Tyrant, etc (John Hose, 1672-90). Roxburghe 4.19; EBBA 30920. Gender – courtship; Emotions – love, joy; Employment – sailors/soldiers; Bodies – clothing; Recreation – weddings, alcohol, music, dance. A woman is overjoyed that her sweetheart is home from the wars in France, and together they resolve to be married.

The Couragious Plow-man, or, The Citizens Misfortune... To the Tune of, Dick and Nan, Or, The Tyrant (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clark, 1675-80). Roxburghe 2.83; EBBA 30557. Gender – courtship, masculinity; Violence – interpersonal; Humour – extreme situations/surprises, mockery; Employment – agrarian; Emotions – anger, fear; Family – children/parents; Places – English, travel/transport; Recreation – games/sports. A citizen of London travels to Nottingham in search of a wife, but the woman whom he chooses is already engaged to a ploughman, and the ploughman beats him in a fight.

The Shepherds Delight. Both by Day and by Night. To a delightful tune, Sung at the Dukes Play-house to the King, and all the Nobility: Or, Now the Tyrant has stoln my dearest away, &c (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clarke, 1675-80). Pepys 3.55; EBBA 21052. Gender – courtship, marriage, sex; Employment – agrarian; Recreation – games/sports, dance, music, food, fairs/festivals, hunting; Bodies – clothing; Economy – livings; Emotions – contentment; Environment – landscape, animals, buildings, weather; Family – children/parents; Politics – obedience. Merry shepherds sing of their carefree country lives, filled with mirth, music and good, honest sex.

Love and Honour: Or, The Lovers Farewel to Calista... To a New sad Air much in request; Or, Tune of, Now the Tyrant hath stolen (P. Brooksby, 1677-84). Roxburghe 2.306; EBBA 30758. Gender – courtship, masculinity, femininity; Death – warfare, heartbreak; Emotions – love, disdain, sorrow; Employment – sailors/soldiers; Violence – between states; Bodies – health/sickness; Royalty – authority; Politics – foreign affairs, Royalist. A dying soldier accuses his sweetheart of inflicting wounds more severe than those obtained in battle, and she delivers a not entirely sympathetic response.

Love and Gallantry: OR, A Noble Seaman's last adieu to his Mistris... To the Tune of, Farewel my Calista (Phillip Brooksby, 1677-98). Roxburghe 3.236; EBBA 30877. Gender – courtship; Death – warfare, heartbreak; Emotions – sorrow; Nature – sea; Politics – foreign affairs, Royalist; Royalty – praise, authority; Violence – at sea. A seaman bids farewell to his mistress when he is drowned in combat, and she responds with tears and a desire to join him beyond the grave.

The True Lovers Glory: Or, An amorus meeting betwixt Thomas and Mary... To a West-country Tune, or, The Tyrant, &c (P. Brooksby, 1685). Bodleian Douce 2(223a). Gender – courtship, sex; Emotions – longing, love; Bodies – clothing, adornment; Recreation – music, walking; Environment – flowers/trees, animals. A young man declares his love for a woman, promising her her wealth and happiness; she, after initial caution, agrees to be his sweetheart.

The bad Husbands Reformation, OR, The Ale-Wives daily Deceit... To the Tune of, My Life and my Death; Or, The poor mans Counsellour (P. Brooksby, 1685-88). Crawford 618; EBBA 33179. Gender – marriage; Morality – social/economic, familial; Recreation – alcohol, games/sports; Bodies – health/sickness; Economy – money; Emotions – anxiety, sorrow; Employment – general. A man explains how he let himself down by spending his money ‘In Gaming and Drinking’ while ignoring the advice of his wife, and he now resolves to mend his ways.

The wonderful Praise of a Good Husband Or, The Kind and Careful Mothers Counsel to her Daughter... To the Tune of, My Life and my Death; Or, The Poor Man's Counsellor (no imprint, 1685-88). Roxburghe 2.532; EBBA 31035. Family – children/parents; Gender – courtship, masculinity; Recreation – good fellowship; Bodies - clothing.  A mother advises her daughter on choosing between the two main varieties of man.

The Young mans Rambles, Or The Batchellors shifts... To a new Tune, or Laugh and Lye down (imprint missing, no date). 4o Rawl. 566(153). Gender – sex, singles, courtship; Bodies – clothing; Economy – money; Family – inheritance, pregnancy/childbirth. A boastful young man explains how he tricks women into believing he is wealthy, then cavorts with them at their own expense until they become pregnant, at which point he moves on.

The Constant Maidens Resolution: Or Silver and Gold cant buy true Love... To the Tune of, laugh and lye down (imprint missing, no date). Bodleian Douce 1(32a). Gender – courtship; Humour – mockery; Society – old/young, friendship; Bodies – clothing, adornment; Emotions – longing, disdain, love; Economy – money, hardship/prosperity; Family – children/parents, kin; Environment – animals. A dialogue between an old man and a young woman in which she refuses to marry him and resolutely rejects his promises of gold, silver and fine clothing.


This tune was also nominated in various song-books of the period. In The Royal Garland of Love and Delight (1674), for example, ‘The delicate wooing between two Royal Lovers’ is set to the ‘Tune of Robin Hood is to the Greenwood gone’. Here, the courtship theme dominates and there are several echoes of the original ballad, though in this case the initially reluctant woman agrees to marry the man at the end.

The tune’s supplementary moral and religious overtones can also be detected in William Slatyer’s controversial Psalmes, or songs of Sion (1631), several of which called for it, and also in a celebratory Christmas carol published in the chapbook, Good and True, Fresh and New (1642). Perhaps the melody conveyed a serious sort of love that felt appropriate for such songs.

Christopher Marsh


William Ballet’s lute book (c. 1590), Trinity College Dublin, MS 408, pp. 27, 113.

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, ed. J. A. Fuller Maitland and W. Barclay Squire, 2 vols (Leipzig, 1894-99), vol. 1, p. 66 (see also vol. 2, p. 77).

Good and True, Fresh and New (1642), A5r-v.

Anthony Holborne, The Cittharn Schoole (1597), D2r.

Richard Johnson, Golden Garland of Princely Pleasures (1620), D8v-E2v.

Thomas Robinson, The Schoole of Musicke (1603), I4v.

The Royal Garland of Love and Delight (1674), B4r-v.

Claude Simpson, The British broadside ballad and its music (New Brunswick, 1966), pp. 59-64.

John M. Ward, ‘Apropos The British broadside ballad and its music’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 20.1 (Spring 1967), p. 31.

Back to contents

Featured Woodcut History

Standard woodcut name: Two female heads

The purpose of this section is to provide evidence relating to  the career of the image under discussion, paying particular attention to the ‘reflections’ (inter-song associations and connections) that may have been set up if it was chosen to illustrate more than one ballad. The list given below includes all ballads from the Pepys and Roxburghe collections that feature this woodcut or a close variant (these are the two largest collections, including approximately 3300 sheets, in total). References to ballads from other collections occur only when the featured edition of the song under consideration here (or the featured edition of another song from our list) comes from such a source. Ballads from our chart of best-sellers are presented in bold type, and they also appear in colour where there is a link to another song in the database. Please note, however, that the editions of hit songs listed below are not necessarily those for which digital images are presented on this website. Cross-references to other examples of our featured woodcuts are also presented in bold. It is extremely difficult to date many ballads precisely and the chronological order in which the songs are listed is therefore very approximate (we have drawn on previous attempts to date the ballads, making adjustments when additional evidence can be brought into play).

Reflections (an overview)

This combination of small woodcuts was unusual in presenting human figures on their sides, rather than upright. The curious arrangement may have been related to shortage of space on the page, rather than to any more stimulating purpose. Perhaps not surprisingly, the pictures did not catch on, and a search of the two largest ballad collections has proved fruitless. Clearly, the women with ringlets are chosen to represent Calista in this ballad, but they do not appear to have carried significant associations. The woodcuts were not used on other editions of the ballad, though in some cases the replacement pictures continued to be displayed sideways.

Songs and summaries

Love and Honour: Or, The Lovers Farewel to Calista (P. Brooksby, 1677-84).  Roxburghe 2.306; EBBA 30758.  Gender – courtship, masculinity, femininity; Death – warfare, heartbreak; Emotions – love, disdain, sorrow; Employment – sailors/soldiers; Violence – between states; Bodies – health/sickness; Royalty – authority; Politics – foreign affairs, Royalist.  A dying soldier accuses his sweetheart of inflicting wounds more severe than those obtained in battle, and she delivers a not entirely sympathetic response (picture placement: they appear over the second half of the song, in which Calista delivers her answer).

Christopher Marsh

Back to contents

Related Texts

The song on which Love and Honour is based was far shorter than the ballad but contained all the same ingredients:

Farewell, fair Armida, my joy and my grief!
In vain I have loved you, and hope no relief;
Undone by your virtue, too strict and severe,
Your eyes gave me love, and you gave me despair:
Now called by my honour, I seek with content
The fate which in pity you would not prevent:
To languish in love were to find, by delay,
A death that's more welcome the speediest way.
On seas and in battles, in bullets and fire,
The danger is less than in hopeless desire;
My death's wound you give me, though far off I bear
My fall from your sight—not to cost you a tear:
But if the kind flood on a wave should convey,
And under your window my body should lay,
The wound on my breast when you happen to see,
You'll say with a sigh—it was given by me.

Dryden's authorship of the poem has long been disputed. See for example: V. de Sola Pinto, 'Seventeenth Century Lyrics from the Original Texts by Norman Ault', The Review of English Studies, Vol. 5, No. 17 (Jan., 1929), pp. 112-114 . It was printed without attribution in Choice Ayres, Songs, & Dialogues  (London:, 1676) p. 9, while 'Captain Digby's Farewell' was printed on p. 10 (see also Song history).

Angela McShane 

Back to contents

Love and Honour: Or,/ The Lovers Farewel to Calista./ Being sent from Sea in the late Enngagemet against the Dutch, to his Mistris, under the/ Name of Calista. With the Ladies deploring and ingenious Answer.

To a New sad Air much in request; Or, Tune of, Now the Tyrant hath stolen.

[Play each verse by clicking anywhere within its text]


FArewel my Calista my joy and my grief,

In vain have I lov'd thee, and found no relief;

Undone by your Virtues so strict and severe,

Your eyes gave me love, but you gave me despair.

Now cal'd by my honour, I seek with content,

That fate which in pitty you would not prevent:

To languish in love were to find by delay,

A death that's more welcome the speediest way.


On Seas, and in Battails, mongst bullets and fire

The danger is less then in hopeless desire.

The deaths wound you gave me, though far off, I bear

My fall from your sight's not to cost you a tear.

But if the kind flood on a wave should convey,

And under your window my body should lay,

The wound on my breast, when you happen to see

you would say with a sigh, It was given by me,


When Suitors are wounded with stabs of disdain

'Tis happiness to be put out of their pain:

The grave is a place to bid torment farewel,

But Lovers are tortur'd 'twixt Heaven and Hell

When frowns of a Mistriss do turn a man o're,

'Tis safer on Ship=board then 'tis on the shore:

 I find by experience, though with loss of breath

‘Tis worse to encounter with Cupid then Death


What strength hath a Lady with cast of her eye,

To make a man live, or compel him to dye:

Such power had Calista with smile and with frown

She'd raise me to heaven, then tumble me down.

But dearest take care how you put faith in men,

For I fear you will never be lov'd so agen.

You needs must acknowledge, whilst I could draw breath

I was your unchangeable servant till death.


Once more my last farewel I breath in a blast

The cloud on my vitals is much over=cast:

I faint, fail, I perish, and suddenly dye,

Yet sure should recover if thou wert but by:

That I nere enjoy'd thee I do not repine,

Thou liv[']st with thy honour, and I dye with mine:

For to after ages this story will prove,

I dyed in the war for my King and my Love.


The Ladies Answer.


BLame not your Calista, nor call her your grief

'Twas Honour, not she, that deny'd you relief:

Abuse not her vertues, nor term them severe,

Who loves without honour, must look for despair.

Now prompted by pitty I truly lament,

The force of your fate, which I could not prevent:

And languish to think that your blood should defray

The expence of your love, though so noble a way.


On Seas and in Battails that you did expire,

Was caus'd by your Valour, not hopeless desire;

Of your Fame, there acquired, I greedily hear,

And grieve when I think that it cost you so dear:

But when your sad friends shall your body convey

By my window your funeral duties to pay,

I'le sigh that your fate then I could not reve[rse]

And all my kind wishes I'le strew on your Her[se.]


When Suitors petition and run upon shelves,

Or shot, if deny'd, they do murder themselves:

The grave is a couch where the vertuous rema[in,]

Without expectation of sorrow or pain.

If the frowns of a Mistriss can rule a mans fat[e,]

He values his life at a pitiful rate:

Though now she look cloudy, when she draws t[he] scea[ne]

Who knows but the day-light may clear up again.


The looks of a Lady you falsely do scan,

'Tis not strength in the woman, but weakness [in] M[an]

When men set up Idols of flesh, blood, and bo[ne]

And bow down to worship, the fault is their ow[n.]

I hope I shall ne'r be deceived by Men:

For your sake I never shall trust them agen:

‘Tis fatal when Lovers do suffer such strife,

That one must lose honour, or th' other lose life


My mind never can your last farewel forget,

My tears shall confess I'le not dye in your debt:

I heartily wish I had been by your side,

That you might recover, or I might have dyed.

Then both to Elezium we had been convey'd,

Where Ladies by Lovers are never betray'd

But in future ages in sonets they'l sing,

Twas long of your love that you dy'd for yo[ur] Kin[g.]

Printed for P. Brooksby, at the Goldenball, in West-smithfield, neer the Hospital-gate.

Back to contents

This ballad is included according to the criteria for List B (see Methodology). The evidence presented here is accurate, to the best of our knowledge, as of 1st January 2024.

No. of known editions c. 1560-1711: 5

No. of extant copies: 8

Appearances on publishers' lists: none.

Other registrations with Stationers' Company: none.

3-year periods that produced multiple editions: none firmly established. 10-year periods that produced multiple editions: 1672-82 (3).

New tune titles generated: 'Farewell my Calista' (1 ballad).

Specially-commissioned woodcuts: none known.

Pre-1640 bonus: no.

POINTS: 10 + 8 + 0 + 0 + 12 + 2 + 0 + 0 = 32

[On this ballad, see also Angela McShane, Political Broadside Ballads of Seventeenth-Century England, no. 451].

Back to contents

This box will be used to highlight any new information on this song that might come to light after the launch of the website.

Back to contents