Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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

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164                                  ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
The other name is derived from—
" An excellent song, wherein you shall finde Great consolation for a troubled mind. To the tune of Fortune my foe." Commencing thus:
"Ayme not too Me in things above thy reach; Be not too foolish in thine owne conceit,' As thou hast wit and worldly wealth at will, So give Him thanks that shall encrease it still," &c. This ballad is also in the Roxburghe Collection, i. 106., printed by the "Assignes of Thomas Symcocke :" and, in the same, others to the tune of Aim net too high will be found, viz., in vol. i., at pages 70, 78, 82,106,132, and 482; in vol. ii., at pages 128,130,189, 202, 283, 482, and 562, &c.
In the Douce Collection there is a ballad of "The manner of the King's" [Charles the First's] " Trial at Westminster Hall," &c.; " the tune is Aim not too high."
Death and the Lady is one of a series of popular ballads which had their rise from the celebrated Dance of Death. A Dance of Death seems to be alluded to in The Vision of Pierce Plowman, written about 1350:
" Death came driving after, and al[l] to dust pashed Kyngs and Kaisars, Knights and Popes;"
but the subject was rendered especially popular in England by Lydgate's free translation from a French version of the celebrated German one by Machaber.
Eepresentations of The Dance of Death were frequently depicted upon the walls of cloisters and cathedrals. Sir Thomas More speaks of one " pictured in Paules," of which Stow, in his Survey of London, gives the following account:— " John Carpenter, town clerk of London in the reign of Henry "VI., caused, with great expense, to be curiously painted upon board, about the north cloister of Paul's, a monument of Death leading all estates, with the speeches of Death, and answer of every state. This cloister was pulled down in 1549."
On the walls of the Hungerford Chapel in Salisbury Cathedral was a painting executed about 1460, representing Death holding conversation with a young gallant, attired in the fullest fashion, who thus addresses him:— " Alasse, Dethe, alasse! a blessful thing thou were If thou woldyst spare us in our lustynesse, And cum to wretches that bethe of he[a]vy chere, When they thee clepe [call] to slake their dystresse. But, owte alasse ! thyne owne sely self-willdnesse Crewelly we[a]rieth them that sighe, wayle, and weepe, To close their eyen that after thee doth clepe." To which Death gloomily replies:
" Graceles Gallante, in all thy luste and pryde Remembyr that thou ones schalte dye; De[a]th shold fro' thy body thy soule devyde, Thou mayst him not escape, certaynty.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III