the Pipe and Tabor compendium

the Pipe and Tabor compendium

essays on the three-hole pipe

England: history of the pipe and tabor

Victorian Literature (1830 - 1900)


The pipe and tabor were known throughout Victorian times.


1859 The Atlas - Saturday 21 May

1859 newspaper cutting

1827 Opera

1827 opera A1827 opera BStar (London) - Wednesday 03 January 1827

1830 poem1830 poem

1830 Sir Walter Scott1830 poem

1832 poem

1832 poemClonmel Herald - Saturday 17 November 1832

1841 satire in a newspaper commentry:

1841 satire


1842 'The Pied Piper of Hamelin'
by Robert Browning in 'Dramatic Lyrics'

 XIV The place of the children's last retreat,
They called it the Pied Piper's Street,
Where any one playing on pipe or tabor
Was sure for the future to lose his labor.

1840's illustrating Shakespeare 1840's The TempestThe Tempest, Ariel

1843 story

1843 story

1843 Play at Haymarket Theatre, London:

‘The pipe and tabor summon to
the amusements all...’


‘The Trumpeter’s Wedding’ at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London

“The parties march to the church to the sound of pipe and tabor”

Globe - Thursday 22 March 1849

1850 Derby Day:1850Illustrated London News - Saturday 01 June 1850

Durham Chronicle - Friday 03 January 1851

Stanzas written on New Year’s Eve
“Wake then, ye minstrels, pipe and tabor,
And flutes and cymbals – softly-softly
Bid men arose to manly labour
And in its scabbard sheathe his sabre
And love his God, and love his neighbour.”

1851 A Christmas Garland 1851 poemBolton Chronicle - Saturday 20 December 1851

1851 story about a bear: 1851Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 15 March 1851
1851 essay: 1851Leamington Advertiser, and Beck's List of Visitors - Thursday 24 July 1851
1851 poem' Illustrated Proverbs' by John Wade Clinton1851Worcestershire Chronicle - Wednesday 22 October 1851
1851 Christmas Rhyme 1851Portsmouth Times and Naval Gazette - Saturday 27 December 1851

1852 poem' The Love of Song' by John B Pedler1852North Wales Chronicle - Friday 06 August 1852

1853 The Fancy Ball

1853Coleraine Chronicle - Saturday 07 May 1853

1854 poem 'Song for Holmfirth feast'

1854 poemHuddersfield Chronicle - Saturday 27 May 1854

1854 newspaper article:
"In truth there is no end to the vanity of some men.1854Leamington Spa Courier - Saturday 24 June 1854

1854 Song 1854Manchester Times - Wednesday 28 June 1854

Review of the 1855 edition of Bentley's Miscellany: 1855Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser - Wednesday 07 February 1855

1855: The newspaper reviewer is bewildered by versification
as incoherent as the following:

1855 poem


The Witches Sabbath
 “They dance to the sound of the tabor and flute, and
sometimes with the long instrument they carry at the neck,
and thence stretching to near the girdle, which they beat
with a little stick”


1856 Christmas Song 1856Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 27 December 1856
1858 Criticism of hymn: 1858Cheltenham Examiner - Wednesday 29 September 1858
1859 Mythological Reception - newspaper story: 1859Nottinghamshire Guardian - Thursday 31 March 1859
1859 report on a religious ceremony in Italy: 1859Globe - Tuesday 27 September 1859
1860 ‘Spring Flowers’ poem by Sidney Dobell1860Gloucestershire Chronicle - Saturday 21 April 1860 1860 ‘Lord Haddo and the Morality of Art’1860Brighton Gazette - Thursday 24 May 1860
1860 song from ‘The May Queen’1860Worcester Journal - Saturday 15 September 1860

1861 Prologue  at the Princes Theatre, Glasgow:

1861 play


“in the retirement of his own apartment had spent his evening
as calmly among his books as if the sound of pipe and tabor 
had fallen on a deafened ear.”

Richmond Times Dispatch, November 1862

1862 Hymn 'Those Eternal Bowers' , verse 3:

"...Shame upon you, legions of the heav’nly King,
Citizens of regions past imagining!
What! with pipe and tabor dream away the light,
When He bids you labor, when He tells you, “Fight”?...

18621862 poem


1862 hymn from: 'Those eternal bowers'

"What! with pipe and tabor
Fool away the light,
When He bids you labour,—
When He tells you,—‘Fight!’ "

1862 'Autumn' 1862Coventry Standard - Saturday 25 October 1862

1863 - 'Ode' by John Holland

1863 Ode

1864 At the Assembly Room in the Guildhall, Worcester,
in aid of the distressed weavers of Coventry:  Prologue:1864Worcestershire Chronicle - Wednesday 03 February 1864
1864 sermon reported in Birmingham Daily Gazette 
- Tuesday 01 November 18641864 sermon

1864 Ode toWinter

1864Leamington Spa Courier - Saturday 24 December 1864

1865 The Poets Pilgrimage by Tom Hood

1865 poemSoulby's Ulverston Advertiser and General Intelligencer - Thursday 20 April 1865

1865 West Middlesex Herald - Saturday 09 September 1865
1865 ‘A Game of Romps with my Boys’ by Charles Kent1865Sun (London) - Thursday 09 March 1865

Amateur Concert in aid of the Cathedral Restoration Fund 1865Chichester Express and West Sussex Journal - Tuesday 25 April 1865

1865 ‘Confessions of a Wanderer’1865Blackburn Times - Saturday 29 April 1865


18681868Oxford Times - Saturday 10 October 1868

1869 'April Fancies'1869Exeter and Plymouth Gazette Daily Telegrams - Thursday 01 April 1869

1869 story: ‘A Legend of the Wansbeck’ by W H Short1869Morpeth Herald - Saturday 21 August 1869
18701870 part of poemGlossop Record - Saturday 19 February 1870 Verse II
1872 poem entitled 'The Sewing Machine' 1872 poemCounty Advertiser & Herald for Staffordshire and Worcestershire - Saturday 15 June 1872

In a Special Entertainment called 'A Comical Ballet Extraordinary', with a pipe and tabor, was performed at Crystal Palace
Great Stage as advertised in 'Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle' - Saturday 13 April 1872

1872 description of a painting featuring two wandering minstrels: 1872Daily News (London) - Thursday 31 October 1872
1873 story ‘Lost Heir of Lynwood’ 1873Essex Newsman - Saturday 14 June 1873

1874 ‘To a Dejected One’

1874Barnsley Independent - Saturday 05 September 1874

1875 poem ‘King’s Delight’1875Thanet Advertiser - Saturday 14 August 1875
1877 political satire: 1877Truth - Thursday 06 September 1877

1878 poem 'Sweet Peace'

1878 poemWilts and Gloucestershire Standard - Saturday 27 July 1878

1878 poem 'Old Knowles Has Flit'1878Preston Chronicle - Saturday 28 September 1878
1878 song 'The Barrel Organ' 1878Truth - Thursday 17 October 1878  
1879 poem 1879The Referee - Sunday 29 June 1879
1879 story - ‘The Red House in Blank Street by Geo.Manville Fenn’1879Pateley Bridge & Nidderdale Herald - Saturday 27 December 1879

1880 a poem about peace:

1880 poem about peaceHartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Tuesday 21 September 1880

1880 - ‘Merrie Men of Sherwood Forest’ an operetta composed by W H Birch

“We’ll dance we’ll sing to the pipe and tabor
We’ll sing and dance neath the trysting tree”

Derbyshire Courier - Saturday 17 April 1880

1880 Congregational Schools Concert, St Helens; the first part of the concert consisted of the ‘May Queen’ written in 1858.1880Runcorn Examiner - Saturday 18 December 1880

1882 Gilbert, Iolanthe, first night

"I'm very much pained to refuse,
But I'll stick to my pipes and my tabors;
I can spell all the words that I use,
And my grammar's as good as my neighbours".

1884 poem called ' The Roll-Call of the Ages'1884 poemJustice - Saturday 02 August 1884

1886 the pipe and tabor are used as a metaphor in a review of the play ' Bric a Brac':

1886 quote1

1886 quote 2

1887 poem

Cavalier Lyrics by  J.W. Ebsworth
“Voila Ma Vie

To him who mildest toil seems play
Since well he loves his labour
Life gives continual holiday
While Time plays pipe and tabor ...”

Newcastle Courant - Friday 24 June 1887

1891 poem for May 1st:

chorus1891 poemReynolds's Newspaper - Sunday 03 May 1891

18911891 poemYork Herald - Friday 06 March 1891
1896 poem in the newspaper after a discussion regarding amateur/professional sportspeople: 1896 poem

'Pipe and tabor' were sometimes used as titles to romantic poetry, tunes and songs:

The Merry Pipe and Tabor, by A Lee, pub 1826

White Magic a two-act comic opera at the Haymarket Theatre, reviewed in the Illustrated London News - Saturday 20 March 1852:
“The chorus ‘Let pipe and tabor’ with its double subjects, is ingenious and effective...”

1858 at a concert in Dublin, Republic of Ireland:1858 song

1872 "We'll dance, we'll sing to the Pipe and Tabor", from Robin Hood

Pipe and Tabor, a polka, by Dufresne, 1875

1877 during ‘May Day Celebration at Knutsford’the song ‘Come Sound the Merry Tabor’ was sung by children

'Tabor Melodies' a book of Canadian poetry, published in Toronto 1878

Song  ‘The Pipe and Tabor1889

the New York Times 1892, a notice under literary notes: "a volume of poems by W. J. Henderson under the title of
" Pipe and Tabor. ...will soon be published"

Grace B Stuart (born c.1854-?) wrote: 'With Pipe and Tabor' in 1897

Sound the Pipe and Tabor by Karel Beudl, 1899

Pipe and Tabor by Roger Quilter, a piano solo

Pipe and Tabor by Barri (organ music)

Sound Up the Pipe and Tabor, Peppercorn 1904 for choir



The pipe and tabor were often used to recall the romance of the past in images and the written word:

1827 part of a poem:

1827 poem

18341834 romantic song

1834 The birds are all singing - a Duet (Upton)

"He Sweetly, sweetly, the birds are all singing
She - Merrily, Merrily, the bells are all ringing
While the pipe and tabor in harmony play,
He - For Edward and Phillis are married today."

1840's story 1840's story  
1842, Robert Browning: 'Dramatic Lyrics' 


"Who thinks Hugues wrote for the deaf,
Proved a mere mountain in labour?
Better submit; try again; what's the clef?
'Faith, 'tis no trifle for pipe and for tabor---
Four flats, the minor in F."

1844 Political report:

1844 quote


"leafless trees, has a music of its own — a music that sets the spirit within us dancing, 
as surely as the sound of pipe and tabor.


"But rude hands rent the vail in twain, 
And rushing in, a motley crew
Profaned the sacred, golden fane,
And as the orgies louder grew,
The footstep of the past withdrew.
And festive rites beneath the moon
Were held, and like to concords sweet,
The pipe and tabor played in tune,
And round and round the jewelled feet
Of dancing girls the marbles beat;"

'Judith and other poems' Castle Bulding


"Ring, ring, village bells,
Cheerily, cheerily!
In their best
All are dressed,
Hastening to the green.
Merrily, merrily !
Sound the pipe and tabor,
Twinkling feet
Measures beat,
Garlands crown the queen".


Dorset County Chronicle - Thursday 19 March 1863 reporting on the Prince of Wales wedding celebrations in a Dorset village:

pipe and tabor would have matched the dark rafters better [than the fiddle and tambourine that were actually there] .....”

1889 Floral Fete at the Albert Hall, London 1889

Henry VIII at the Lyceum Theatre as reported in the Hendon & Finchley Times - Friday 19 February 1892
Mr Irving has arranged that “a band of fantastically attired Mummers, with pipe and tabor, press through the throng”

1898 At Dalys Theatre, London : 'A Greek Slave A Musical Comedy in Two Acts'

"Opening Chorus:  ...                    Though delaying
                          From our labour,
                                We must soon awake,
                     Touching, playing,
                          Pipe and tabor,
                                For our master's sake."

1905 Dorset, Sherborne Pageant:
“ a rustic musician, perched on a barrel, keeps time with pipe and tabor to the old English melody
sung by a Dramatic Chorus in Lincoln green”

1907 in a play 'The Parish Clerk' (1907) Ditchfield, P. H. wrote:

“Robert Smyth ... accusing the vicar of being a companion of tipplers and fooling away his time
with pipe and tabor, and finally bringing an accusation against him, on account of which the poor
man was cited before the High Commission Court. The charge came to nothing”

In a newspaper report ‘Notes of the Week’, the reporter opines, of morris dancing:

"a pipe and tabor should be used for making ther music in order that the picture of
old-world merriment might be complete in every detail"


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