Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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

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626
ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
likens it to the delight which the Portuguese or Spaniards have in riding great horses, the French in courteous behaviour, or " the dancing English in carrying a fair presence." In 1581, according to Bamaby Rich, the dances in vogue were measures/ galliards, jigs, brauls, rounds, and hornpipes. In 1602, the Earl of Worcester writes to the Earl of Shrewsbury, " We are frolic here in Court; much dancing in the Privy Chamber of country dances before the Queen's Majesty, who is exceedingly pleased therewith." (Lodge's Illustrations of British History, ii. 578.) In the reign of James I., Weldon, sneering at Buckingham's kindred, observes, that it was easier to put on fine clothes than to learn the French dances, and therefore that " none but country dances " must be used at Court. This was not quite correct, for although country dances were most in fashion, others were not excluded. At Christmas, 1622-3, after the masque, " the Prince " (after­wards Charles I.) " did lead the measures with the French Embassador's wife. The measures, braules, corrantos, and galliards, being ended, the masquers with the ladies did daunce two country dances, where the French Embassador's wife and Mademoysal St. Luke did daunce." (Malone, from a MS. in Dulwich College.) In the reigns of Charles II. and James II., country dances continued in much the same use. They were the merriment after the first formalities of the evening had worn off. In The Mysteries of Love and Eloquence, or The Arte of Wooing and Complimenting, by Edward Philips (Milton's nephew), there is a chapter on " The Mode of Balls," which opens with the following speech from the dancing master:—" Come, stir yourselves, maidens, 'twill bring a fresh colour into your cheeks; rub hard, and let the ladies see their faces in the boards," &c.; to which Bess, who has not yet been properly tutored, replies, " And, by the mass, that will I do, and make such fine drops and curtsies in my best wastecoat, that they shall not chuse but take notice of me; and Sarah shall dance a North-country jigg before 'em, too: I warrant.it will please the ladies better than all your French whisks and frisks. I had rather see one freak of jolly milkmaids than all that will be here to-night." After some directions as to what-should be done, the dancing master says, " Ladies, will you be pleased to dance a country dance or two, for 'tis that which makes you truly sociable, and us truly happy; being like the chorus of a song, where all the parts sing together."
I have mentioned more particularly the subject of country dances, because the fashion of dancing our national dance, has extended, at various times, to every court in Europe. Yet we English have so great a mania for catching at the first foreign word that resembles our own, and immediately settling that ours must have been derived from it, that, let but one person propose such a derivation, there will always be plenty to follow, and to vouch for it upon their own responsi­bility. From this the country dance has not escaped.
I cannot tell to whom the brilliant anachronism of deriving it from " Contre-danse " is due, for, although asserted very positively by three contemporaneous
■ The measure was a grave and solemn dance, with. John Davies says,— slow and measured steps, like the minuet. To tread a            " Yet all the feet whereon these measures go
measure was the usual term, like to walk a minuet. Sir               Are only spondees, solemn, grave, and slow.







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III