Military Music And Its Story - online book

The Rise & Development Of Military Music

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6                   MILITARY MUSIC AND ITS STORY.
Britons. The horn was the chief warlike instrument of the Saxon. The reference to it in the poem, "Beowulf," is sufficient evidence of its use in the fifth century.
They away hurried bitter and angry
The instant they heard the war-horn sing.
It is also mentioned in later Anglo-Saxon glossaries, so that we may come to the conclusion that although Tacitus tells us that they marched to battle to the sound of their own voices, yet they were collected in the first instance by the sound of the horn. There is a drawing in the MS. of Prudentius which seems to represent a sort of military dance or sham fight, two warriors being engaged in combat to the music of the horn.9 " Besides the horn," says Strutt, " they had a trumpet," an example of which he shows from an old manuscript, and on the side of it is written—"When the trumpet ceases to sound, the sword is returned to the scabbard."10 We may take this as the climax to Kipling's line:
Blow the bugle, draw the sword.
—"Ford o'Cabul River."
With the Danes, also, the call to arms was by the sound of the trumpet or horn. The ancient ballad, " Hardyknute,"1 refers to the horn that " ne'er sounds
•Strutt, "Sports and Pastimes," 1833.
" Strutt, " Manners and Customs, etc., of England," 1775.
'Percy, "Relics of Ancient Poetry."
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