Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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

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ILLUSTRATING SHAKESPEARE.                                         221
LIGHT O'LOVE.
Light of Love is so frequently mentioned by writers of the sixteenth century, that it is much to be regretted that the words of the original song arc still undiscovered. When played slowly and with expression the air is beautiful. In the collection of Mr. George Daniel, of Canonbury, is " A very proper dittie: to the tune Lightie Love;" which was printed in 1570. The original may not have been quite so " proper," if " Light o'Love " was used in a sense in which it was occasionally employed, instead of its more poetical meaning:—
" One of your London Light o'Loves, a right one, Come over in thin pumps, and half a petticoat."
Fletcher's Wild Goose Chase, act iv., sc. 2.
Or in the passage quoted by Douce: " There be wealthy housewives and good housekeepers that use no starch, but fair water; their linen is as white, and they look more Christian-like in small ruffs than Light of Love looks in her great starched ruffs, look she never so high, with her eye-lids awry."—The G-lasse of Man's Follie, 1615.
Shakespeare alludes twice to the tune. Firstly in Tlie Two Gentlemen of Verona, act i.,*ac. 2—
" Julia. Some love of yours hath writ to you in rhime. Lucetta. That I might sing it, madam, to a tune: Give me a note:—your ladyship can set. Jul. As little by such toys as may be possible :
Best sing it to the tune of Light o'Love. Imc. It is too heavy for so light a tune. Jul. Heavy ? belike it hath some burden then. Luc. Ay; and melodious were it would you sing it. Jul. And why not you ? Luc. I cannot reach so high. Jul. Let's see your song:—How now, minion ?' Imc. Keep tuue there still, so you will sing it out:
And yet, methinks, I do not like this tune. Jul. You do not ? Luc. No, madam; 'tis too sharp. Jul. You, minion, are too saucy. Imc. Nay, now you are too flat,
And mar the concord with too harsh a descant: There wanteth but a mean to fill your song. Jul. The mean is drown'd with your unruly base." I have quoted this passage in extenso as bearing upon the state of music at the time, beyond the mere mention of the tune. Firstly, when Lucetta says, " Give me a note [to sing it to] : your ladyship can set" [a song to music,] it adds one more to the many proofs of the superior cultivation of the science in those days. Wc should not now readily attribute to ladies, even to those who are gene­rally considered to be well educated and accomplished, enough knowledge of