Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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IN ITS EFFECTS UPON MUSIC, ETC.                                . 407
will take occasion hereby to vex, persuading them that no honest mirth or recreation is lawfully tolerable in our religion." Such sports as " bear and bull-buiting, and interludes," were still held to be unlawful on Sundays.*
A similar " Declaration to his Subjects, concerning lawful sports to be used," wis published by Charles I., in 1633.
These sports, except, perhaps, archery, leaping, and vaulting, were condemned by the Puritans, not only as unlawful on Sundays, but as altogether abominable. I nave quoted Philip Stubbes on the abomination of May-games (ante p. 133), and subjoin an extract from Prynne's Histriomastix, on dancing.
" Dancing is for the most part attended with many amorous smiles, wanton com-pl'ments, unchaste kisses, scurrilous songs and sonnets, effeminate music, lust-provoking attire, ridiculous love-pranks; all which savour only of sensuality, of racing fleshly lusts. Therefore it is wholly to be abandoned of all good Christians. Dancing serves no necessary use, no profitable, laudable, or pious end at all: it issues on y from the inbred pravity, vanity, wantonness, incontinency, pride, profaneness, or madness of men's depraved natures. Therefore it must needs be unlawful unto Christians. The way to heaven is too steep, too narrow, for men to dance in and keep revel-rout: No way is large or smooth enough for capering roisters, for jumr> ing, skipping, dancing dames, but that broad, beaten, pleasant road that leads to hell. The gate of heaven is too narroyv for whole rounds, whole troops, of dancers to march in together: Men never went as yet by multitudes, much less by morrice-dancing troops, to heaven : Alas, they scarce go two together; and these few, what are they? Not dancers, but mourners, whose tune is Laclirymw; whose music is sighs for sin; who know no other Cinque-pace but this to heaven; to go mourning all the day long for their iniquities; to mourn in secret like doves; to chatter like cranes for their own and others sins."(p. 253.)
Another custom to which the Puritans had a real or pretended aversion was that of kissing. Prynne alludes to it in the above extract. It was not only cusoomary to salute a partner at the commencement and end of a dance (and there were many dances in which there was much more kissing), but also on first meeting a fair friend in the morning, or on taking leave of her.
" Kiss in the ring " still holds a place among the pastimes of the lower orders; but; until the Puritans gained the upper hand, the custom'of kissing was universal, and (at least, for two centuries before) peculiarly English.
Without entering upon the question as to whether it originated, like the custom of drinking healths, from the introduction of Rowena to Vortigern, when she "pressed the beaker with her little lips, and saluted the amorous Yortigern with a little kiss," it can, at least, be shewn to have been general in Chaucer's time. He alludes to the custom frequently, and in the picture of the friar, in the Sompnour's Tale, he touches on the zeal and activity with which the holy father perf irmed this act of gallantry. As soon as the mistress of the house enters the
room,                    ------" he riseth up full courti'sly
And her embraceth in his armes narrow,
And kisseth her sweet, and chirketh as a sparrow
"With his lippes."
A c >py of the proclamation of James I. is in the library 1817, by G. Stneeton. That of Charles I.-is reprinted in of the Society of Antiauaries. It was also reitrinteri' in Harleian Miscellany, vol. 5. D. 70. 4to.







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