Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

Ancient Songs, Ballads, & Dance Tunes, Sheet Music & Lyrics - online book

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100
ENGLISH SONG AHD BALLAD MUSIC.
some whispered to others, demanding how I was brought up, so that upon shame of mine ignorance, I go now to seek out mine old friend, Master Gnorimus, to make myself his scholar."
Laneham, to whom we are indebted for the description of the pageants at Kenil-worth in 1575, thus describes his own evening amusements. " Sometimes I foot it with dancing; now with my gittern, and else with my cittern, then at the virginals (ye know nothing comes amiss to me): then carol I up a song withal; that by and by they come flocking about me like bees to honey; and ever they cry, ' Another, good Laneham, another.'" He who thus speaks of his playing upon three instruments and singing, had been promoted from a situation in the royal stables, through the favour of the Earl of Leicester, to the duty of keeping eaves-droppers from the council-chamber door.
Dekker, in The GulPs Horn-book, tells us that the usual routine of a young gentlewoman's education was " to read and write; to play upon the virginals, lute, and cittern ; and to read prick-song (i.e., music written or pricked down) at first sight." Whenever a lady was highly commended by a writer of that age, her skill in music was sure to be included; as—
" Her own tongue speaks all tongues, and her own hand Can teach all strings to speak in their best grace."
Haywood's A Woman hill'd with kindness. " Observe," says Lazarillo, who is instructing the ladies how to render them­selves most attractive, "it shall be your first and finest praise to sing the note of every new fashion at first sight.—(Middleton's Blurt, Master Constable, 1602.) Gosson, in his Schoole of Abuse, 1579, alluding to the custom of serenading, recommends young ladies to be careful not to "flee to inchaunting," and says, "if assaulted with music in the night, close up your eyes, stop your ears, tie up your tongues; when they speak, answer them not; when they halloo, stoop not; when they sigh, laugh at them; when they sue, scorn them." He admits that "these are hard lessons," but advises them " nevertheless to drink up the potion, though it like not [please not] your taste." In those days, however, the " serenate, which the starv'd lover sings to his proud fair," was not quite so customary in England as the Morning song or Hunts-up ; such as—
" Fain would I wake you, sweet, but fear I should invite you to worse cheer; . . . I'd wish my life no better play, Your dream by night, your thought by day : Wake, gently wake, Part softly from your dreams ! The Morning Jlies To your fair eyes, To guide her special beams." As to the custom of having a base-viol (or viol da gamba) hanging up in draw­ing rooms for visitors to play on, one quotation from Ben Jonson may suffice: " In making love to her, never fear to be out, for... a base viol shall hang o' the wall, of purpose, shall put you in presently.—(Clifford's Edit. vol. ii., p. 162.)