Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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ILLUSTRATING SHAKESPEARE.                                         223
English proverb;" but he uses the word " proverb" also in the sense of song, for in his Old Wives' Tale, 1595, Antick says, " Let us rehearse the old proverb— ' Three merry men and three merry men, And three merry men be we,' " &c. Shakespeare puts the following four lines into the mouth of Justice Silence when in his cups :— " Be merry, be merry, my wife has all,
For women are shrews, both short and tall ; ' Tis merry in hall, when beards wag all, And welcome merry Shrovetide." See also Ben Jonson, v. 235, and note; and vii. 273, Gilford's edit.
Other burdens were mere nonsense words that went glibly off the tongue, giving the accent of the music, such as hey nonny, nonny no; hey derry down, &c. The "foot" of the first song in Tlie pleasant Comedy of Patient Grissil is— " Work apace, apace, apace, apace, Honest labour bears a lovely face; Then hey noney, noney; bey noney, noney." I am aware that " Hey down, down, derry down," has been said to be " a modern version of' Hai .down, ir deri danno,' the burden of an old song of the Druids, signifying, * Come, let us hasten to the oaken grove' (Jones' Welsh Bards, i. 128); but I believe this to be mere conjecture, and that it would now be impossible to prove that the Druids had such a song.
The last comment I have to make upon the passage from Shakespeare is on the word mean. The mean in music was the intermediate part between the tenor and treble; not tho tenor itself, as explained by Steevens. Descant has already been explained at p. 15.
Reverting to Light o'Love: it is also quoted as a tune by Fletcher in The Two Noble Kinsmen, The air was found by Sir J. Hawkins in an " ancient manu­script ;" it is also contained in William Ballet's MS. Lute Book, and in MttsicKs Delight on the Cithren, 1666.
In the volume of transcripts made by Sir John Hawkins there is a tune entitled Fair Maid are you walking, the first four bars of which are identical with Light o'Love; and in the Music School, Oxford, one of the manuscripts presented by Bishop Fell, with a date 1620, has Light o'Love under the name of Sicke and sicke and very siclce; but this must be a mistake, as that ballad could not be sung to it. See Captain Car in Ritson's Ancient Songs, 1790, p. 139.
In A Gorgious Gallery of Gallant Inventions, 1578, the lovCr exhorteth his lady to be constant: to the tune of Attend thee, go play thee;a and begins with the line, "Not Light o'Love, lady." The ballad, "The Banishment of Lord Mal-travers and Sir Thomas Gurney," in Deloney's Strange Histories, &c, 1607, and of " A song of the wooing of Queen Catherine by Owen Tudor, a young gentleman of Wales" are also to the tune of Light o'Love. See Old Ballads, 1727, iii. 32; or Evans, ii. 356.
The following is the ballad by Leonard Gybson, a copy of which is in Mr. George Daniel's Collection.
• "Attend thee, go play thee," is a song in A Handefull by Wantonness in the interlude of The Marriage of Wit af Pleasant Deities, 1584, and is also the tunc of one sung and Wisdom. See Shakespeare Society's Reprint, p. 20.