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Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy

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Wit and Mirth: Or Pills to Purge Melancholy is the title of a large collection of songs by Thomas d'Urfey, published between 1698 and 1720, which in its final, six-volume edition held over 1,000 songs and poems. The collection started as a single book compiled and published by Henry Playford who had succeeded his father John Playford as the leading music publisher of the period. Over the next two decades, Pills went through various editions and expanded into five volumes; in 1719 Thomas D'Urfey reordered and added to the work to produce a new edition (also in 5 volumes) with the title Songs Compleat, Pleasant and Divertive, published by Jacob Tonson. Volumes I and II now consisted entirely of songs (words, not tunes) by D'Urfey. The edition sold out quickly and in the second printing D'Urfey reverted to the Pills title. He added Volume 6 in 1720. The title itself may derive from a 1599 pamphlet "A Pil to Purge Melancholie".
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date of publication: 1698

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