Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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

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250                                   ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
"make bon gayte" at every chamber door; but Morley's" Consort Lessons] as before mentioned, required six instruments to play them,8, and the city bands are commonly quoted as playing in six parts.*
After the act of the 39th year of Elizabeth, which rendered all "minstrels ■wandering abroad" liable to punishment as "rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars," all itinerant musicians were obliged to war cloaks and badges, with the arms of some nobleman, gentleman, or corporate body, to denote in whose service they were engaged, being thereby excepted from the operation of the act. So in Bam Alley, 1611, Sir Oliver says—
" Musicians, on [ Lightly, lightly, and by my knighthood's spurs This year you shall have my 'protection, And yet not buy your livery coats yourselves " And as late as 1699, we find in JUstoria Histrionica, " It is not unlikely that the lords in those days, and persons of eminent quality, had their several gangs of players, as some have now of fiddlers, to whom they give cloaks and badges."
Musicians in the service of noblemen and gentlemen seem to have held a prescriptive right to go and perform to the friends and acquaintances of their masters, whenever they wanted money: such visits were received as compliments, and the musicians were rewarded in proportion to the rank of their masters. Innumerable instances of this will be found in early books of household expen­diture ; but, in James* reign, musicians not actually in employ presumed so far upon the license, that their intrusion into all companies, and at all times, became a constant subject of rebuke. Ben Jonson's Club, the Apollo, which met at the Devil tavern, chiefly for conversation, was obliged to make a law that no fiddler should enter, unless requested.0 Nevertheless, they were generally welcome, and generally well paid; more especially, at merry-makings where their services were ever required. In those days a wedding was of a much gayer character than now. There was first 9the hunt?s-up, or morning song, to awake the bride; then
* A few specimens of the tunes of the waits of different towns will be given under the reign of Charles II.
b So in Heywood's The Englil Traveller, last scene of act i., 1633—
" Riot. Fear not, you shall have a full table. Young L. "What, and music? Riot, The best consort in tbe city for six parts. Young L. We shall have songs, then 1" c The rules of this club, in Latin, will be found in Ben Jonson's Works. The following translation is by one of his adopted poetical sons :—
" Let none but guests, or clubbers, hither come; Let dunces, fools, sad sordid men, keep home, Let learned, civil, merry men b'invlted, And modest, too ; nor be choice ladies slighted. Let nothing in the treat offend the guests; More for delight than cost, prepare the feasts. The cook and purvey'r must our palates know, And none contend who shall sit high or low. Our waiters must quick-sighted be, and dumb, And let the drawers quickly hear and come. Let not our wine be mix'd, but brisk and neat, Or else the drinkers may the vintners beat,
And let our only emulation be,
Not drinking much, but talking wittily.
Let it be voted lawful to stir up
Each other with a moderate chirping cup;
Let not our company be, or talk too much ;
On serious things, or sacred, let's not touch
With sated heads and bellies. Neither may
Fiddlers unask'd obtrude themselves to play.
With laughing, leaping, dancing, jests and songs,
And whate'er else to grateful mirth belongs,
Let's celebrate our feasts; and let us see
That all our jests without reflection be.
Insipid poems let no man rehearse,
Nor any be compelled to write a verse.
All noise of vain disputes must be forborn,
And let no lover in a corner mourn.
To fight and brawl, like Hectors, let none dare,
Glasses or windows break, or hangings tear.
Whoe'er shall publish what's here done or said,
From our society must be banished.
Let none by drinking do or suffer harm,
And, while we stay, let us be always warm."
Poem* and Songs by Alexander Brumet 8vo., 1661.