Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 686 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LILLIBULLERO, or LILLIBURLERO, the name of a song popular at the end of the 17th century, especially among the army and supporters of William III. in the war in Ireland during the revolution of 1688. The tune appears to have been much older, and was sung to an Irish nursery song at the beginning of the 17th century, and the attribution of Henry Purcell is based on the very slight ground that it was published in Music's Handmaid, 1689, as " A new Irish Tune " by Henry Purcell. It was also a marching tune familiar to soldiers. The doggerel verses have generally been assigned to Thomas Wharton, and deal with the administration of Talbot, earl of Tyrconnel, appointed by James as his lieutenant in Ireland in 1687. The refrain of the song lilliburllero bullen a la gave the title of the song. Macaulay says of the song " The verses and the tune caught the fancy of the nation. From one end of England to the other all classes were singing this idle rhyme." Though Wharton claimed he had " sung a king out of three kingdoms " and Burnet says " perhaps never had so slight a thing so great an effect " the success of the song was " the effect, and not the cause of that excited state of public feeling which produced the revolution " (Macaulay, Hist. of Eng. chap. ix.).
GEORGE LILLO (1693-1739)

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