Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Shopping Discounts



Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
REIGN OF JAMES I.                                             251
the music to conduct her to church (young maids and bachelors following, with garlands in their hands) ; the same from church; the music at dinner; and singing, dancing, and merry-making throughout the evening. For those who had no talent to write a hunt's-up, there were songs ready printed (like " The Bride's Good-morrow," in the Roxburghe Collection), but the hunt's-up was not confined to weddings, it was a usual compliment to young ladies, especially upon their birthdays. The custom seems now to be continued only with princesses, and on the last birthday of the Princess Royal, the court newsman, at a loss how to describe this old English custom, gave it the name of a " Matinale." As to music at weddings, see the following allusions:—
" Then was there a fair bride-cup of silver and gilt carried before her [the bride], wherein was a goodly braunch of rosemarie gilded very faire, hung about with silken ribbonds of all colours; next there was a noyse* of musitians, that played all the ivay lefore her; after her came all the chiefest maydens of the countrie, some bearing great bride-cakes, and some garlands of wheat finely gilded, and so she past unto the church."—Deloney's Pleasant History of John Winchcomb, in his younger years called Jacke of Newberie.
" Come, come, we'll to church presently. Prythee, Jarvis, whilst the musick plays just upon the delicious close, usher in the brides."—Rowley's A Match at Midnight, 1633.
In Ben Jonson's. Tale of a Tub, Turfe, the constable, " will let no music go afore his child to church," and says to his wife—
" Because yon have entertained [musicians] all from Highgate,
To shew your pomp, you'd have your daughters and maids
Dance o'er the fields like faies to church this frost.
I'll have no rondels, I, in the queen's paths!
Let them scrape the gut at home, where they have fill'd it." And again, where Dame Turfe insists on having them to play at dinner, Clench adds— " She is in the right, sir, vor your wedding dinner
Is starv'd without the music." Even at funerals musicians were in request: dirges were sung, and recorders the instruments usually employed. It appears that the Blue-coat boys sang at City Funerals ;b being then taught music, as they should be now. Music was not less esteemed as a solace for grief, than as an excitement to merriment. Peacham says, " the physicians will tell you that the exercise of music is a great length en er of life, by stirring and reviving the spirits, holding a secret sympathy with them; besides it is an enemy to melancholy and dejection of mind; yea, a curer of some dis­eases." (Compleat Grentleman, 1622.) And Burton," But I leave all declamatory speeches in praise of divine music, I will confine myself to my proper subject: besides that excellent power it hath to expel many other diseases, it is a sovereign remedy against despair and melancholy, and will drive away the devil himself." (Anatomy of Melancholy.) So, in Henry IV., Shakespeare says—
* A noise of musicians means a company of musicians. It is an expression frequently occurring : " those terrible noyses, with threadbare cloakes, that live by red lattices and ivy-bushes" [that is by ale-houses and taverns],
"having authority to thrust into any man's room, only speaking but this—' Will you have any musicke V "— Dekker's Bc'man of London, 1608. * See Brome's City Wit, act iii. sc. 1.