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VENETIAN AMBASSADORS—ERASMUS. 51
he did for a long while, both on the virginals and organ, and says that he bore himself bravely, and was listened to with great attention. The prelates told him that the king would certainly wish to hear him, for he practised.on these instruments day and night.
Pasqualigo, the ambassador-extraordinary, gives a similar account at the same time. Of Henry he says: " He speaks French, English, and Latin, and a little Italian, plays well on the lute and virginals, sings from book at sight, draws the bow with greater strength than any man in England, and jousts marvellously. Believe me he is in every respect a most accomplished prince; and I, who have now seen all the sovereigns in Christendom, and last of all these two of France and England, might well rest content," &c. Of the chapel service, Pasqualigo says : " "We attended High Mass, which was chaunted by the bishop of Durham, with a superb and noble descant choir "a (Capella di Discanto); and Sagudino says: " High Mass was chaunted, and it was sung by his majesty's choristers, whose voices are really rather divine than human; they did not chaunt, but sung like angels (non cantavano, ma jubilavano); and as for the deep bass voices, .1 don't think they have their equals in the world." b (Vol. i., p. 77.)
Upon these despatches the editor remarks: "As Pasqualigo had been ambassador at the courts of Spain, Portugal, Hungary, France, and of the Emperor, he was enabled to form comparisons between the state of the science in those kingdoms and our own; and, indeed, it is the universal experience of the Venetian ambassadors, and their peculiar freedom from prejudice or partiality (no jealousy or rivalry existing between them and England), that makes their comments on our country so valuable." (Vol. 1, p. 89.)
Erasmus, speaking of the English, said that they challenge the prerogative of having the most handsome women, of keeping the best tables, and of being most accomplished in the skill of music of any people;c and it is certain that the beginning of the sixteenth century produced in England a race of musicians equal to the best in foreign countries, and in point of secular music decidedly in advance of them. When Thomas Cromwell, afterwards Earl of Essex, went from Antwerp to Rome, in 1510, to obtain from Pope Julius H. the renewal of the " greater and lesser pardon" d for the town of Boston, for the maintenance of their decayed port,
» Descant choir is not a proper term, because the Music Hu.—" Peace, man, prick-song may not he despised,
of the King's Chapel was not extempore descant, hut in For therewith God is well pleased,
written counterpoint of four parts. Several of the manu- Honoured, praised, and served
scripts in use about this period, are preserved in the In the Church oft-times among."
King's Library, British Museum, and some were Henry's Ig. — " 15 God well pleased, trow'st thou, thereby f
own books. They are beautifully written manuscripts Nay, nay! for there is no reason why:
on parchment, bearing the King's arms. In one a Canon For is it not as good to say plainly
in eight parts is inserted on the words " lloni soit qui * Give me a spade,'
mal y pense." The references to these manuscripts As ' give me a spa-ve-va, ve-va-ve-vade?'
will he found in Mr. Oliphant's Catalogue of Musical But if thou wilt have a song that is good,
MSS., British Museum, towards the commencement. I have one of Robin Hood," &c.
See Nos. 12, 13, 21, See. • "Britanni, prater alia, formam, musicam, et lautas
» The florid character of the counterpoint in use in mensas ProPri5 sibi vlndicent." - Erasmu, Enconium
churches in those days is slyly reproved in a dialogue be- *T5«. pardons, says Fose, gave them the power to
tween Humanity and Ignorance, in the Interlude of The ieceiye fuU remissioIlj ,. a pa,na et culpa; « ais0 pardon
four Elements, printed about 1510. (Prick-song meant for8ouls in purgatory, on payment of 6». id. for the first
harmony written or pricked down, in opposition to plain- year, and 12cf. for every year after, to the Church of St.
song, where the descant rested with the will of the singer.) Botolph's, Boston-: