14. Call George Again - John Hilton (1599-1657)
Also known as John Hilton the younger, this is the earliest born composer we’ll be getting to know. Cambridge born, but Westminster based, Hilton was organist at St Margaret’s, and later lutenist to Charles I. While also composing small-scale oratorios and operas, he is best known for his catches. His collection Catch That Catch Can published by John Playford, was particularly successful (Pepys owned a copy) and is in fact likely the very publication which initiated the popularity of catches in the first place. Each time it was reprinted, more songs were added until the late 17th century edition where those of Mr Purcell were added to the bunch.
The Swan could refer to a number of such named taverns that exist or have previously existed in London. Samuel Pepys famously frequented several with this name. It’s another great snapshot of everyday 17th century life.
“Call George againe, boy, And for the love of Bacchus, call George againe. George is a good boy and drawes us good wine, Then fill us more claret our wits to refine. George is a brave lad, and an honest man, If you will know him he dwels at the Swan.”