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Words and music (scored for solo voice and viols) by William Byrd

My mistress had a little dog whose name was Pretty Royal,
Who neither hunted sheep nor hog, but was without denial
A tumbler fine, that might be seen to wait upon a fairy queen.
Upon his mistress he would wait in courteous wise and humble,
And with his craft and false deceit, when she would have him tumble,
Of coneys in the pleasant prime, he would kill twenty at a time.

The goddess which Diana hight among her beagles dainty
Had not a hound so fair and white, nor graced with such beauty;
And yet his beauty was not such, but his conditions were as rich.

But out, alas? I'll speak no more. My heart with grief doth shake;
This pretty dog was wounded sore e'en for his mistress sake:
A beastly man or manly beast knock'd out his brains and so I rest.

A trial royal, royal a trial, a trial! O yes!
Ye hounds and beagles all, if ye sat in Appleton Hall:
Would you not judge that out of doubt Tyburn were fit for such a lout?


Commentary: this song was written during the time of Queen Elizabeth I's reign. I would not have wanted to have been the poor lout who offed her dog.

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