Haste to the Wedding, a jig, has Irish, Scottish, and English origins at least dating back to 1767 when it appears in the pantomime, The Elopement, staged in London. The first verse of the song is:
Come haste to the wedding, ye friends and ye neighbours,
The lovers their bliss can no longer delay;
Forget all your sorrows, your care, and your labours,
And let ev’ry heart beat with rapture to-day:
Ye votaries all, attend to my call,
Come revel in pleasures that never can cloy:
Come, see rural felicity,
Which love and innocence ever enjoy.1
The tune is found in America in the late 18 th century music copybooks (handwritten sheet music books) of Henry Livingston, a Major in the 3 rd New York Regiment that participated in the failed attempt to take Montreal from British control in 1775.2 It appears in Elias Howe’s publications, Musician’s Omnibus (Boston, 1850) and School of Fife (Boston, 1851),2 and was used on both sides of the American Civil War as a military quickstep (brisk music played during marching).3 Perhaps because of its military history, the tune became especially popular in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia in the early 20 th Century.4 Haste to the Wedding can be heard in Old Time Jams, Contradances, and Irish and Scottish Sessions everywhere.
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