Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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Minstrelsy from the Saxon Period to the Reign of Edward I.
Music and Poetry are, in every country, so closely connected, during the infancy of their cultivation, that it is scarcely possible to speak of the one without the other. The industry and learning that have been devoted to the subject of English Minstrelsy, and more especially in relation to its Poetry, by Percy, Warton, and Ritson, have left an almost exhausted field to their successors. But, while endeavouring to combine in a compressed form the various curious and interesting notices that have been collected by their researches, or which the labours of more recent writers have placed within my reach, I hope I may not prove altogether-unsuccessful in my endeavour to throw a few additional rays of light upon the subject, when contemplated, chiefly, in a musical point of view.
" The Minstrels," says Percy, " were the successors of the ancient Bards, who under different names were admired and revered, from the earliest ages, among the people of Gaul, Britain, Ireland, and the North; and indeed by almost all the first inhabitants of Europe, whether of Celtic or Gothic race; but by none more than by our own Teutonic ancestors, particularly by all the Danish tribes. Among these, they were distinguished by the name of Scalds, a word which denotes ' smoothers and polishers of language.' The origin of their art was attributed to Odin or Wodin, the father of their Gods; and the professors of it were held in the highest estimation. Their skill was considered as something divine; their persons were deemed sacred; their attendance was solicited by kings; and they were everywhere loaded with honours and rewards. ...... As these
honours were paid to Poetry and Song, from the earliest times, in those countries which our Anglo-Saxon ancestors inhabited before their removal into Britain, we may reasonably conclude that they would not lay aside all their regard for men of this sort, immediately on quitting their German forests. At least, so long as they retained their ancient manners and opinions, they .would still hold them in high estimation. But as the Saxons, soon after their establishment in this island, were converted to Christianity, in proportion as literature prevailed among them, this rude admiration would begin to abate, and poetry would no longer be a

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