19  A Pleasant Ballad of Tobias, wherein is shewed/ what wonderful things chanced to him in his Youth [Euing 270]

Author: Anonymous

Death - diabolical Disability - physical Economy - money Emotions - anxiety Emotions - joy Environment - animals Family - children/parents Gender - courtship Gender - marriage History - ancient/mythological Places - extra-European Places - travel/transport Recreation - weddings Religion - Bible Religion - Judaism Religion - angels Religion - divine intervention Religion - ghosts/spirits Society - old/young

Song History

A Pleasant Ballad of Tobias was a favourite for two centuries from the date of its initial registration in 1568-69 (see Editions). For ballad-lovers, it seems to have been the must-have single-sheet version of a famous Biblical story. The Book of ‘Tobit’ or ‘Tobias’ appeared in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Bibles as one of the Apocrypha, texts that were included despite not being considered part of the accepted Scriptural canon. The contents were clearly very well-known and the life of Tobias was referenced in numerous early-modern books, particularly but not only religious works (see Brass, Hall, Taylor and, on this website, Save a Theefe from the Gallowes and hee’l hang thee if he can).

The ballad focuses on one particular story from the Book of Tobias (see Related texts). Old Toby of Nineveh sends his son, Young Toby, away to reclaim a debt. God provides a more-than-capable guide in the form of a disguised Angel, and the two individuals have a set of adventures involving a giant fish, a marriage for Young Toby, successful collection of the debt and, eventually, a triumphant return to Nineveh (in the Bible account, Young Toby is accompanied the whole time by his trusty dog but the ballad-makers made the inexplicable decision to drop this memorable detail).

The ballad was sufficiently well-known in its own right for the playwright, Thomas D’Urfey, to attempt a joke about it in 1678. In Trick for trick, a ‘fiddler’ lists the ballads that he can sing, including ‘a merry Song, how Blind Toby and his Dog fell in love with a Fair Lady, by seeing her play upon a Cymbal’. If this worked on the stage, it probably did so because members of the audience knew that the fiddler was undermining his own credibility by misremembering the details of the song (most obviously, he confuses Old Toby and Young Toby).

An explanation for the song’s popularity might be sought in a number of its features: it connected listeners and readers with the divinity of the Biblical story (see also Related texts); it blended several themes that characterised many successful ballads, including dramatic romance, history, the supernatural, religion, morality and sociability; and the specially designed woodcuts that appeared on most editions (though not our featured sheet) allowed ‘ordinary’ people to own and display artworks that bore more than a passing resemblance to the many Renaissance paintings that were inspired by the story (an internet search for ‘Toby and the angel’ will bring up examples).

On this point, Tessa Watt has shown that images of Tobias were extremely desirable in early-modern England. Examples were displayed on painted cloths, samplers and in domestic wall-paintings. When the owners of a tavern in Stratford-on-Avon decided on a make-over in c. 1570, for example, they chose to decorate their establishment with a series of scenes from the story of Tobias. A century later, London auction catalogues regularly listed images of ‘Toby and the Angel’, some of them painted in imitation of works by the great continental masters. The ballad is therefore to be understood in terms of a cultural familiarity with Toby’s tale that involved several different media and a high proportion of the population.

Christopher Marsh


Anon, A collection of curious pictures (1690), item no. 487.

Anon, A continuation of the curious collection (1692), item no. 322.

The Bible and Holy Scripture (Geneva, 1560), Apocrypha, ‘Tobit’, chs. 4-11,  fos. 405r-408r.

Samuel Brasse, A ship of arms (1653), pp. 72-81.

Broadside ballads from the Bodleian Libraries: http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/

Thomas D’Urfey, Trick for trick (1678), p. 40.

English Broadside Ballad Archive: https://ebba.english.ucsb.edu/

Joseph Hall, An holy panegyrick a sermon (1615), p. 105.

Tessa Watt, Cheap print and popular piety 1550-1640 (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 202 and 209-10.

Hyder E. Rollins, An analytical index to the ballad-entries (1557-1709) in the Registers of the Company of Stationers of London (1924; Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1967), nos. 2588, 2652 and 2653.

John Taylor, A seasonable lecture (1642).

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Featured Tune History

‘To a pleasant New tune’ (unidentified)

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 variations

Unfortunately, it has not been possible to identify the ‘pleasant New tune’ to which this ballad was sung and there is therefore no recording.

Echoes (an overview)

Without an identifiable tune, we cannot provide information on other ballads that used the same music.

Songs and Summaries

A Pleasant Ballad of Tobias, wherein is shewed what wonderful things chanced to him in his Youth... To a pleasant New tune (registered 1624; A. M., 1695-1708). Euing 270; EBBA 31883. Religion – angels/devils, Bible, divine intervention, Judaism; History – ancient/mythological; Family – children/parents; Environment – animals; Gender – courtship, marriage; Death – diabolical; Emotions – anxiety, joy; Economy – money; Disability – physical; Recreation – weddings; Places – travel/trasnsport, extra-European; Society – old/young. This tells the Biblical story of Tobias’ son, who is guided on his travels by a mysterious angel in human guise and by the powerfully protective entrails of a giant fish.

Christopher Marsh

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Featured Woodcut History

Standard woodcut name: Two men talking

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 image was used regularly in the last third of the seventeenth century, and there were at least two subtly different woodblocks in existence. Many different publishers put their names to ballads that displayed it. The woodcut was often used to signify topical and controversial content about which people, whether on the sheet or in the street, might be expected to converse. In this way, discussion that was described in the texts  – about the state of the economy or moral corruption, for example – was also represented pictorially in the hope of attracting attention and stimulating audience engagement.

Sometimes, dialogue between men was explicitly described in the text.  At other times, it was implied, and the woodcut often served as a key instrument of this implication. The Wonder of Wonders, for example, sets us a riddle, and the two men in the woodcut are, we imagine, discussing it for themselves. In some cases, the image has a more direct relevance to the text, as in The Great Boobee, which describes a countryman visting London only to be mocked and humiliated in his interactions with sophisticated citizens.

On A Pleasant Ballad of Tobias the image also seems to have been placed deliberately, illustrating the conversation between old Tobias and young Tobias that is described in the first column of text (‘he call’d his Son to him with speed’). It was not, however, deployed on other surviving editions of the song; most publishers used a series of four narrative woodcuts that were clearly designed specifically for the tale of Tobias. For reasons that are not yet fully understood, the publisher of our featured edition, Alexander Milbourn, apparently did not have access to the usual woodcuts during this solo phase of his career and was having to improvise (a pattern that can be observed on many of his ballads). None of the images he used are to be found on other editions of the song, and his customers therefore faced the common challenge of finding specific meaning in generic images.

Songs and summaries

The Tradesman's Complaint Upon the Hardness of the Times, Deadness of Trade, and scarcity of Money (J. Conniers, 1661-92).  Roxburghe 2.454; EBBA 30928.  Economy – hardship/prosperity, livings, prices/wages, rural/urban, money, taxation; Employment – crafts/trades; History – recent; Morality – social/economic; Religion – charity, prayer; Emotions – sorrow; Recreation – hospitality; Society – neighbour, rich/poor.  A complaint about the hardship being suffered by poor tradesmen and about the decay of charity and moral dealing (picture placement: they appear on the right, next to two craftsmen at work).

London Miss well fitted, OR AN ANSWER To the Four-pence-Halfpenny Farthing (J. Deacon, 1671-99).  Pepys 3.238; EBBA 21252.  Crime – robbery; Emotions – anger; Gender – femininity, masculinity; Morality – general; Society – urban life, rural life. Several men, all of whom have been tricked by a young woman, travel to London to ensure that justice is done (picture placement: they appear alongside a How-de-do-man).

The Sorrowful Complaint Of Conscience and Plain-Dealing. Against Millers, Userers, Taylors, and Hostises (J. Deacon, 1671-99).  Roxburghe 2.412; EBBA 30854.  Morality – social/economic; Economy – extortion, money, hardship/prosperity; Employment – crafts/trades, female/male, alehouses/inns; Recreation – alcohol, hospitality, food; Emotions – sorrow; Bodies – clothing; Religion – charity; Society – old/young. Conscience and Plain-Dealing tour the country but find that immoral men and women of all sorts refuse to offer them hospitality (picture placement: they appear beneath the title, next to an altercation outside a windmill).

The ANSWER to the Buxome VIRGIN. OR, The Farmer well-fitted, for slighting his first Love Honest Joan (J. Deacon, 1671-99).  Pepys 3.189; EBBA 21202.  Gender – marriage, adultery/cuckoldry, femininity, masculinity, sex; Family – children/parents, pregnancy/childbirth; Emotions – anxiety; Humour – deceit/disguise, bawdry, domestic/familial; Employmnet – crafts/trades, female/male; Morality – familial, romantic/sexual; Bodies – health/sickness.  Composed as a sequel to The Country Farmer, this imagines a young man cuckolded by his wife and left with no option but to raise a child that is not his own (picture placement: they appear beneath the title and alongside an image of women socialising in a townscape).

The Good Christians Admonition to all Young-Men, Not to Forget their State of Mortality (J. Deacon, 1671-99).  Pepys 2.35; EBBA 20659.  Morality – general; Religion – moral rules, body and soul; Society – old and young, rich and poor; Death – general.  A forceful reminder, aimed at young men, that it is irresponsible and short-sighted to love the things of this world (picture placement: they stand on the right side of the sheet, next to Turning man with staff in hand).

The Clothiers Delight: OR, The Rich Mens Joy, and the Poor Mens Sorrow (F. Coles, T. Vere, I. Wright, and I. Clarke, 1675-80).  Roxburghe 4.35; EBBA 31146.  Economy – livings, prices/wages, extortion; Employment – crafts/trades; History – nostalgia; Morality – social/economic; Society – rich and poor; Emotions – joy.  Clothiers sing happily of their wealth, which is generated by the economic exploitation of their workers (picture placement: they appear alongside a How-de-do-man).

THE Inn-keeper's Complaint; OR, THE Country Victuallor's Lamentation for the Dearness of MALT (J. Blare, 1682-1706).  Pepys 4.330; EBBA 21993.  Employment – crafts/trades; Economy – hardship, prices/wages, taxation; Politics – foreign affairs, domestic, controversy; Recreation – alcohol, good fellowship, food; Emotions – anxiety.  England’s inn-keepers complain that the high price of malt is forcing them to abandon the generous measures and other benefits that they were previously able to offer their customers (picture placement: they appear beneath the title, approached from the left by Respectful man with tufts of grass).

The Plow-mans Prophesie: OR, The Country-mans Calculation (I. Blare, 1682-1706).  Pepys 4.297; EBBA 21959.  Humour – satire, extreme situations; Society – criticism, general; Employment – general; Economy – extortion; Religion – prophecy; Morality – general.  The singer predicts that covetousness will leave England when a variety of (impossible) happenings come to pass (picture placement: they appear in between an urban scene and a man with his hand in his pocket).

God speed the Plow, And bless the Corn-Mow (J. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T. Passinger, 1684-86).  Pepys 4.272; EBBA 21933.   Employment – agrarian, apprenticeship/service; Society – rural life; Bodies – clothing; Nature – animals, crops; Recreation – food, hunting.  A serving-man tries to persuade a ploughman to abandon his calling and seek employment in a fine household but the ploughman is having none of it (picture placement: they appear beneath the title and there are no other woodcuts).

Jack Had-Lands Lamentation, That sold and made away his 'State, And spent his money early and late (P. Brooksby, 1685-88).  Pepys 2.93; EBBA 20716.  Recreation – alcohol, good fellowship, hospitality; Gender - marriageFamily – children/parents; Emotions – sorrow; Economy – household, hardship. A man tells a cautionary tale about the damage that his love of ale has done to his fortunes, and he commends his wife for her unflagging support (picture scheme: they appear on the right side of the sheet, alongside a woman who reaches out towards them – in another edition by the same publisher, EBBA 30689, she is replaced by a couple holding hands).

The Wonder of Wonders: OR, An Excellent SONG of a / Six-Legged Creature (James Bissel, 1685-88).  Pepys 4.281; EBBA 21942.  Humour – deceit/disguise, misunderstanding, satire; Nature – animals.  A riddling ballad that commends the loyalty and courage of a well-known parasite (picture placement: a new-looking version of the woodcut appears on the right side ot the sheet, alongside another that depicts a man with a stick).

The West-Country MISER: OR, AN Unconscionable Farmer's Miserable End (J. Wolrah 1688-89).  Pepys 4.236; EBBA 21896.  Economy – hardship, prices/wages; Emotions – anger; Employment – agrarian; Morality – social/economic; Religion – church, moral rules, angels/Devils; Society – neighbours; Death – result of immorality.  Two men meet for a heated conversation about the morality of grain-hoarding and, later on, the less charitable of the two receives a visit from the Devil and dies (picture placement: they appear alongside a church and over the opening verse, which includes lines about two farmers meeting at the church gate after hearing a sermon).

The Chimney-Men's Grief; OR, The poor Subjects Joyful Expectation of the Downfall of that Terrible Tax which so long has been their Yearly Vexation (J. Deacon, 1689).  Pepys 4.309; EBBA 21971.  Economy – taxation, hardship; Politics – controversy, domestic; Royalty – praise; Emotions – hope; Morality – social/economic; Society – rich/poor; Employment – agrarian.  This praises William III and then hovers between predicting and hoping that the king, in his wisdom, will abolish the hated hearth-tax (picture placement: they appear beneath the title, in between two men in conversation and a single man who holds out his hand).

A NEW SONG Made in the Praise of the West of England (T. R., 1689).  Pepys 2.291; EBBA 20907.  Politics – celebration domestic, plots; Religion – Catholic/Protestant; Royalty – praise; Violence – between states, civil war, punitive; Death – execution; Places – English.  This welcomes King William to England while commending the Protestants of the west-country for their role in opposing the Catholic policies of James II (picture placement: they stand beneath the title, in between a man near a town and another who holds out a document).

The Great Boobee (W. Thackeray, I. M., and A. M., 1690-92).  Pepys 4.232; EBBA 21892.  Society – rural life, urban life; Humour – misunderstanding, mockery; Emotions – confusion; Employment – agrarian, urban; Places – English, travel; Recreation – alcohol, sight-seeing; Family – children/parents; Crime – robbery. A country fool travels to London and is widely laughed at on account of his inability to understand the ways of the city (picture placement: they stand beneath the title and there are no other woodcuts).

A Pleasant Ballad of Tobias, wherein is shewed what wonderful things chanced to him in his Youth (A. M., 1695-1708). Euing 270; EBBA 31883. Religion – angels/devils, Bible, divine intervention, Judaism; History – ancient/mythological; Family – children/parents; Environment – animals; Gender – courtship, marriage; Death – diabolical; Emotions – anxiety, joy; Economy – money; Disability – physical; Recreation – weddings; Places – travel/trasnsport, extra-European; Society – old/young. This tells the Biblical story of Tobias’ son, who is guided on his travels by a mysterious angel in human guise and by the powerfully protective entrails of a giant fish (picture placement: they stand beneath the title, to the left of a man who sits at a desk while other individuals stand around him).

Christopher Marsh

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Related Texts

The ballad’s key relationship was with chapters 4-11 in the Book of Tobit or Tobias, part of the Apocrypha in all Bibles of the period. It seems most likely that the anonymous ballad-makers based their efforts primarily on the version from the Geneva Bible, first published in 1560. Several terms occur both in this Bible and in the ballad but not – or not altogether – in either the Great Bible (edition of 1569) or the King James Bible (1611). Examples include: the use of the name ‘Gabael’, rather than ‘Gabelus’; the reference to the Tigris as a ‘flood’ rather than a ‘river’; and the description of young Toby’s wedding festivities as having lasted ‘fourtene days’ rather than ‘two weeks’.

It is notable that the ballad-makers stuck very closely to the Biblical narrative. They clearly designed their song as a metrical and singable summary of Young Toby’s story, and most of the changes were made in order to reduce radically the length of the original. The ballad adds nothing new or extraneous to the story and includes as much of the source-text’s content as can realistically be squeezed onto a single sheet.

Only occasionally does this render sections somewhat cryptic; the four lines at the top of the final column of text in our featured edition are a little hard to follow if one has not read the Bible story, for example. Given the high levels of familiarity with Toby’s tale in this period, however, it is arguable that very few readers or listeners would have found this section challenging; they already knew what was going on. As in other cases, we must remember that ballad-makers regularly called upon invisible knowledge when condensing well-known stories.

With this in mind, Tessa Watt’s argument that this ballad is so reduced in content that it can hardly be considered Biblical may need some revision. She points out that the ballad-makers emphasise the magical aspects of the story, rendering Old Toby’s relationship with God subsidiary. Watt concludes that ‘There is little to distinguish this “biblical” ballad from “Lady Isabel and the elf-knight [a secular folk-song]”’. While it is true that the lengthy prayers found in the Biblical account are cut, and that God is mentioned rather sparingly in the ballad, it is surely pushing the point too hard to question the status of A Pleasant Ballad of Tobias as a fundamentally Scriptural song. People knew the story from multiple sources and did not need to be told explicitly that it came from the Bible and was designed not only to entertain them but to encourage moral and religious reflection.

In any case, the ballad actually does place explicit emphasis on godly education, virtue, obedience to God, divine intervention (in the form of the angel) and the dangers posed by wicked spirits. Even when sung in an alehouse, this was a religious song. After all, it was probably the song first registered with the Stationers in 1568-69 as ‘a godly ballet taken out of the iiiith chapeter of Tobias’.

The same story was told in many other literary works but the main source in such cases is invariably (and appropriately) the Bible, rather than the ballad. See, for example, Thomas Bentley’s Sixt lampe of virginitie (1582) and Samuel Brasse’s Ship of arms (1653).

Christopher Marsh

Texts (in chronological order)

The Bible in Englishe (1539; edition of 1569), Apocrypha, ‘The Boke of Tobias’, chs. 4-11, fos. 367v-70v.

The Bible and holy Scriptures (Geneva, 1560), Apocrypha, ‘Tobit’, chs. 4-11, fos. 405r-408r.

A Pleasant Ballad of Tobias... To a pleasant New Tune (registered 1568-69).

The Holy Bible... appointed to be read in churches (1611), Apocrypha, 'Tobit', ch. 4-11.


Tessa Watt, Cheap print and popular piety 1550-1640 (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 118-19.

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A Pleasant Ballad of Tobias, wherein is shewed/ what wonderful things chanced to him in his Youth, and how he wedded a young/ Damsel that had had several Husbands, but never enjoyed their Company, be-/ing all slain by an evil Spirit.  To a pleasant New tune.

[We have not recorded this song because the tune is unknown]


IN Ninivie old Toby dwelt,

an aged man, and blind was he,

And much affliction he had felt,

which brought him unto misery:

He had by Anna, his true wife,

one only Son, and eke no more,

Which was the comfort of his life,

and he by him did set great store.

He brought him up so vertuously

in true obedience, and in awe,

And every day he did apply,

to fear the Lord and keep his law:

Upon a time it came to pass,

he call’d his Son to him with speed,

And thus to him these words did frame:

My Son (qd. he) thou know’st my need,

Thou must unto Gabael go,

to Raguels house in Media Land:

For I did send him long ago

ten Talents on his only band.

My Father (dear Tobias said)

at your command strait will I go,

How shall I get the money paid?

seeing the man I ne’er did know.

Take then the writings here with thee,

which is sufficient to be seen;

And get a guide to go with thee,

since thou the way hast never been.

A Guide Tobias soon had got,

An Angel in the shape of man,

Which things he did not know God wot,

the Lord had so appointed then.

Tobias with his blessed Guide,

went on his journey thus with speed,

Until they came to Tigris side,

at the fair Flood they did abide:


Tobias he did go wash him there,

by reason of the Summers heat,

A mighty Fish put him to fear,

which leapt out of the waters deep.

Cut up the Fish, the Angel said,

and keep the liver, heart, and gall,

to do the same be not afraid,

great cures there shall be done withal,

When this was done away they went,

and coming near their journeys end,

We’ll lodge to night, the Angel said,

with Raguel thy Father’s friend.

He hath a Daughter fair of face,

and also of a vertuous life,

And when we come unto that place,

i’ll speak that she may be thy wife:

Why Azarius (then quoth he,

for so they did the angel call)

I wis she is no wife for me,

swift death doth all her Lovers fall.

Seven Men to her have marry’d been,

which in her love did take delight:

When her bed-chamber they had seen,

they had not lived half the night.

A wicked Spirit loves her so,

he will not suffer any man

With her into the bed to go,

but works his death do what they can.

The Angel said, Good Courage take,

for so it shall not be with thee,

For such perfumes I will thee make,

the wicked Spirit away shall flee.

To Raguels home away they run,

where Sarah met them fair and bright,

And after Salutations done,

she brought them to her Fathers sight.


GReat cheer there was, & down they sat,

and all for young Tobias sake,

And after long and pleasant chat,

between them two a match they make,

By Moses law they married were,

the brides bed=chamber prepared likewise,

When young Tobias came in there,

the tears fell down from Sarahs eyes.

A Pan of Coals he brought with him,

the Fishes heart and liver there;

Within the fire he did cast in,

which cast a savour every where;

And by that sweet and pleasant smell

the wicked Spirit was displac’d,

Within that room he could not dwell,

but out he went in haste.

In bed they laid the beauteous Bride,

the Chamber-door was shut therefore;

Young Toby lying by her side,

whom he did think to see no more,

And therefore Raguel in the night

for him before had made a Grave:

And to his wife he went and said,

there is no means his life to save.

One of the Maidens send, quoth he,

to see how all the matters stands,

And if so be that dead he be

he shall be buried by my hands.

This Maiden joyful news did bring,

Tobias is alive (quoth she)

When Raguel heard of this thing,

he did rejoyce exceedingly.

For joy he made a solemn feast,

the bridal fourteen days they kept,

There came many a friendly Guest,

in sorrow now no more they slept.


Azarius went straight way,

unto the feast Gabael brought;

Rejoycing at his marriage day,

and paid the money that he ought.

But yet old Toby and his wife,

did all this while in sorrow dwell,

They thought their Son had lost his life,

and nothing could their grief expell,

His aged mother every day

did watch the High=way side,

And for his welfare oft did pray.

no meat nor drink she could abide.

But when the wedding ended was,

young Toby with his lovely bride,

To Ninivie dide homewards pass,

with Goods and Chattels on each side,

But Toby and his angel bright

before his wife made haste to go:

For to prepare all things aright,

his lovely bride to welcome ho.

His mother watching in the way,

full soon espied her tender Son:

Rejoycing at that happy day,

she told her Husband he was come:

Whereat old Toby tumbled out,

for he was blind and could not see,

Young Toby with the Fishes Gall,

rub’d both his eyes immediatly.

Whereat the whiteness of his eyes

incontinent did fall out quite:

So that before he did arise,

he had again his perfect sight:

Great joy there was and down they sat,

young Toby told his Father all:

Who went to meet his lovely bride,

with joy and mirth that was not small.

Printed by and for A. M. and sold by the Booksellers of London.

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

Shirburn ballads: not included.

Appearances on Ballad Partners' lists: Pavier and partners, 1624 (as 'Tobias of Ninive'); Coles, Vere, Wright and Clarke, 1675; and Thackeray, 1689 ('Old Toby').

Other registrations with Stationers' Company: none.

No. of known editions c.1560-1711: 14

No. of extant copies: 12

New tune-titles generated: 'In Nineveh old Tobit dwelt' (1 ballad).

Specially-commissioned woodcuts: Tobias composite 1 on EBBA 33280 (and other editions); and Tobias composite 2 on EBBA 33280 (and other editions).

Vaughan Williams Memorial Library databases: 13 references, with no evidence of later collection as a folk-song (Roud no. V4771).

POINTS: 0 + 30 + 0 + 28 + 12 + 2 + 10 + 1 = 83

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

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