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Open Access 'A Vile And Scandalous Ditty': Popular Song And Public Opinion In A Seventeenth-Century Dutch Village Conflict

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'A Vile And Scandalous Ditty': Popular Song And Public Opinion In A Seventeenth-Century Dutch Village Conflict

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Chapter Summary

A popular song was heard in the taverns in and around Alphen during the Hazerswoude Fair in October 1686. Carpenters at work at the Gouda Lock, halfway between Alphen and Hazerswoude, sang it as a shanty. According to the song, seventeen couplets long, those responsible for the church, and from whom integrity was most required, had seriously disturbed the peace in Alphen. The last couplets in particular seriously offended the authorities, and earned the song the epithet 'a vile and scandalous ditty'. This chapter addresses the wider questions: If texts critical of the powers that be are produced and circulated, does that always count as public opinion? How did political songs like this one function in early modern society? It then looks at the context in which vile and scandalous ditty was made and sung and at the effect it had on the local conflict in Alphen.

Keywords: Alphen; early modern society; Hazerswoude; political songs; public opinion; vile and scandalous ditty



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