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. Many newspapers had
literature or poetry columns. Sometimes advertisements were placed in newspapers
advertising amusements to take place locally.


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

1840 story ‘The Recollections of a Hackney Coach’1840The Odd Fellow - Saturday 28 March 1840

1841 satire in a newspaper commentry: 1841 satire

1841 ‘The Pope’s Promise’ a story set in Italy: 1841The Odd Fellow - Saturday 30 January 1841
1841 ‘Ode for April’1841Worcester Journal - Thursday 08 April 1841
1841 ‘All Right to the tune of Packington Pound’1841Bucks Herald - Saturday 21 August 1841
1841 ‘The Comic Annual for 1842’ by T Hood1841Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser - Wednesday 24 November 1841


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 ‘Adolphe and Annette or a Tale of Langudoc’1843Lloyd's Companion to the Penny Sunday Times and Peoples' Police Gazette - Sunday 06 August 1843
1843 poem: 1843Derbyshire Courier - Saturday 14 October 1843

1843 story1843

1843 story

1843 Play at Haymarket Theatre, London:

‘The pipe and tabor summon to
the amusements all...’
Pictorial Times - Saturday 26 August 1843

1845 ‘Rodenhurst or the Church and the Manor’1845Morning Chronicle - Monday 06 January 1845
1846 poem ‘Solution of the Enigma‘1846Western Times - Saturday 14 November 1846
1847 'Stanzas' 1847Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper - Sunday 15 August 1847

1848 ‘The White Lady of Avenel’
‘The opera commences with a chorus: "So gaily, so gaily the pipe and tabor sound," sung by; the peasantry, who are about to celebrate the christening of Dickson's (Mr. O'Donnell) child, an exceedingly animated and sprightly composition.’

Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper - Sunday 13 August 1848

1848 ‘An Uninvited Guest’; report of a Court Hearing:
‘passionate love for music and dancing. was going home through the Hotwell-Road when ” The sound of minstrelsy; The pipe and tabor and the tinkling cymbal struck on his ear." He could not resist the temptation; the sounds evidently issued from a window some fifteen feet above him ; but. in such cause, difficulties were as nothing, and so, hoping that the window might be connected with a tavern, he began to clamber the wall, and attained the required elevation. His appearance through the aperture was differently hailed—one cried. Come in. drink and be merry,” while others shouted, Peck him over,” Down with the window and chop his head off,” and fearing that one or other of the threats against him might put into execution, he made his way into the room....’

Bristol Mercury - Saturday 01 January 1848

1848 poem ‘A Voice of Encouragement A New Year’s Lay’1848Dublin Weekly Nation - Saturday 01 January 1848

1849 ‘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

1849 ‘The True Workman’ verse 11849Nottingham and Newark Mercury - Friday 27 July 1849
1849 At Theatre Royal, Haymarket – play The Brigand: 1849Globe - 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


1852 'Amateur Theatricals - ‘A Wonderful Woman’ at Bath Theatre'1852Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 15 January 1852

1852 produced at the Haymarket:
‘White Magic’, a two-act comic operetta

‘the chorus Let pipe and tabor,” with its double subjects,
is ingenious and effective.’
Illustrated London News - Saturday 20 March 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 1856 ‘The Death of the Old Year’1856Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser - Tuesday 30 December 1856
1856 ‘Celebrated Women No. 3 Fair Rosamund’1856Commercial Journal - Saturday 19 July 1856


"Who knows how he may have been disturbed? A pretty milliner may have attracted Harry’s attention out of window—
a dancing bear with pipe and tabor may have passed along the common—a jockey come under his windows to show off a horse there?
There are some days when any of us may be ungrammatical and spell ill. "

 'The Virginians' William Makepeace Thackeray

“The air resounds with the pipe and tabor, and the drums and trumpets of the showmen shouting at the doors of their caravans,
over which tremendous pictures of the wonders to be seen within hang temptingly; while through all rises the shrill "root-too-too-too"
of Mr. Punch, and the unceasing pan-pipe of his satellite.”

1857 'Tom Brown’s School-days' Thomas Hughes

1857 'A Song for Christmas': 1857Birmingham Journal - Saturday 03 January 1857
1857 ‘Anticipation of Spring’ 1857Longford Journal - Saturday 07 February 1857
1858 poem ‘Roger Merryweather’1858Durham County Advertiser - Friday 08 January 1858
1858 Criticism of hymn: 1858Cheltenham Examiner - Wednesday 29 September 1858
1858 'Behind the Scenes’ 1858Hampshire Advertiser - Saturday 18 December 1858
1859 Mythological Reception - newspaper story: 1859Nottinghamshire Guardian - Thursday 31 March 1859

In 1859, at  nine o'clock in the evening:
“a fife and tabour announce the advent of a little dancing boy and girl, with a careworn mother, in the street below. I look from
my window, and see the little painted people capering in their spangles and fleshings and short calico drawers.”

‘Twice Round the Clock, or The Hours of the Day and Night in London’, by George Augustus Sala


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

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


1881 Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Patience:

‘Once more enters the graceful procession,
to the sound of the pipe and tabor’

Daily Telegraph & Courier (London) - Monday 25 April 1881

1881 poem 1881Woolwich Gazette - Saturday 13 August 1881

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 'The Roll-Call of the Ages'1884Justice - Saturday 02 August 1884
1884,Twelth Night was performed at the Lyceum Theatre, London, 1884reported in The Stage - Friday 11 July 1884
1884 poem ‘The Cry of the Girls’1884 Isle of Wight Observer - Saturday 04 October 1884
18841884Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News - Saturday 06 December 1884
1884 poem 1884Western Daily Press - Wednesday 24 December 1884 1885 Comic sketches by Mr Corney Grain called ‘Election Notes’
at St Georges Hall1885London Evening Standard - Friday 13 November 1885

In 1885, 'Cries of London, A History', the following is reported:

 "Holloway cheese-cakes" was once one of the London cries; they were sold by a man on horseback; and in
"A Drum's Entertainment," a Comedy, I600, in a random song, the festive character of this district is denoted:

"Skip it and trip it nimbly, nimbly,
Tickle it, tickle it, lustily,
Strike up the tabor for the wenches favour,
Tickle it, tickle it, lustily.
Let us be seene on Hygate-Greene,
To dance for the honour of Holloway.
Since we are come hither, let's spare for no leather,
To dance for the honour of Holloway."

1885 A Carol for Christmas1885Leicester Journal - Friday 25 December 1885

pipe and tabor used as a metaphor

1844 ‘Young Englandism’ a political essay

1844Liverpool Albion - Monday 17 June 1844

1886 in a review of the play ' Bric a Brac':

1886 quote1

1886 quote 2

1886 poem: 1886Civil & Military Gazette (Lahore, Pakistan) - Monday 26 April 1886
1886 story: 1886North Devon Journal - Thursday 10 June 1886

1887 poem ‘The Roll Call of the Ages’1887St. Christopher Gazette - Friday 04 March 1887
Saint Kitts, Saint Kitts and Nevis

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

1887 ‘Talkers Compared to Musical Instruments’1887Northern Weekly Gazette - Saturday 25 June 1887
1888 ‘A Play Upon Local Surnames'1888Lowestoft Journal - Saturday 17 March 1888
1887 At Maidstone Assizes:1887Gloucester Citizen - Wednesday 26 October 1887
18881888Gloucester Citizen - Thursday 01 March 1888 ‘Topic of the Day’
1889 comment on an Address to the Bloomsbury Rifles:1889Gloucester Citizen - Monday 18 February 1889
1889 Newspaper review of the life of Rossini, Italian composer: 1889Gloucester Journal - Saturday 07 September 1889
1889 Book review: 1889Gloucester Journal - Saturday 23 November 1889
1895 ‘Topics of the Day’1895Gloucester Citizen - Thursday 28 March 1895
1888 story ‘The Outlaws of Tunstall Forest’ 1888Hampshire Telegraph - Saturday 16 June 1888
1888 story 'For Faith and Freedom'1888Illustrated London News - Saturday 21 July 1888
1889 Chough Musical Society concert: 1889Sporting Life - Tuesday 22 January 1889
1890 story ‘Reviews and Magazines for April – King and Minister a Midnight Conversation’1890Home News for India, China and the Colonies - Friday 04 April 1890
1890 ‘Robin Hood or the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest’ presented by Grasmere Choral Society:1890Lakes Herald - Friday 04 April 1890
1891 Enfield Musical Society's concert included 'The May Queen':1891Middlesex Gazette - Saturday 11 April 1891

1891 poem for May 1st:

chorus1891 poemReynolds's Newspaper - Sunday 03 May 1891

18911891 poemYork Herald - Friday 06 March 1891
1891 ‘Special Double Acrostic’1891The Queen - Saturday 02 May 1891 1891 Christmas newspaper criticism:1891Empire News & The Umpire - Sunday 13 December 1891
1892 Henry VIII at the Lyceum Theatre1892Hendon & Finchley Times - Friday 19 February 1892
1892 Advertisement: ‘London’ by Walter Besant1892Truth - Thursday 15 September 1892
1892 ‘Original Sayings of Children’1892Newcastle Chronicle - Saturday 17 September 1892
1892 story regarding 16th century church: 1892Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Tuesday 18 October 1892
1895 review of ‘Much Ado about Nothing performed by the Athenaeum Club ‘ London 1895Norwood News - Saturday 18 May 1895
1895 ‘Happy Arcadia written by W S Gilbert’ at St George's Hall 1895The Stage - Thursday 18 July 1895
1895 poem ‘The Farmer’s Family’ 1895East Anglian Daily Times - Wednesday 16 October 1895
1896 poem in the newspaper after a discussion regarding amateur/professional sportspeople: 1896 poem
1896 ‘The Birmingham Trilby’ 1896Truth - Thursday 16 April 1896
1896 story 1896Southern Reporter - Thursday 16 July 1896
1896 commentary on politics: ‘The Congress’1896Clarion - Saturday 08 August 1896

1896 political poem 1896Globe - Monday 03 August 1896

1896 Christmas poem ‘Christmas Carillons’ 1896Leeds Times - Saturday 12 December 1896
1897 ‘Song for Labour Day’1897Justice - Saturday 01 May 1897
1897 ‘The I.L.P.’1897Hull Daily News - Thursday 11 February 1897

1897 The Tempest at Steinway Hall, London
‘The tabor and pipes were also employed.’

The Stage - Thursday 10 June 1897

1897London Evening Standard - Saturday 05 June 1897


'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"

1893 ‘New Music The Leadenhall Press – Seven Songs to Sing’
“Very funny and humorous are the words of ‘The Pipe and Tabor’ composed by J L Roeckel 1893Birmingham Daily Post - Monday 14 August 1893

Grace B Stuart (born c.1854-?) wrote: 'With Pipe and Tabor' in 1897
1897Sheffield Independent - Friday 21 May 18971897Perthshire Advertiser - Friday 28 May 1897

Sound the Pipe and Tabor by Karel Beudl, 1899

Pipe and Tabor by Barri (organ music)

Sound Up the Pipe and Tabor, Peppercorn 1904 for choir

Pipe and Tabor by Roger Quilter, a piano solo, 1923



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] .....”

1887 song: 1887Buckingham Express - Saturday 08 October 1887
1888 Said to come from Poor Robin’s Almanac of 1695 – ‘So Now is come our Joyful Feast’1888Denton and Haughton Examiner - Saturday 22 December 1888
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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