A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

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3o              A CENTURY OF BALLADS
which it is said he arranged from a still older melody.
Undoubtedly the most famous composer of the seventeenth century was Henry Purcell, who has been called the " Father of English Song." It is with his songs only that I have to do here, and of these possibly none has been more endur-ingly popular than his beautiful little rondo " I attempt from love's sickness to fly," originally composed for Dryden's Indian Queen. Of this song Dr. Burney, writing in 1789, says: "It is an elegant little ballad which, though it has been many years dead, would soon be recalled into existence and fashion by the voice of some favourite singer who would think it worth anima­tion." It is doubtful whether this song was ever really dead ; certainly to-day it remains with its beauty and freshness as unimpaired as ever.
Of Purcell's settings of the songs in Shake­speare's Tempest, the writer in Grove says : "Two of the songs, 'Come unto these yellow sands' and ' Full fathom five,' have re­tained uninterrupted possession of the stage from the time they were composed till this day." An­other of Purcell's dramatic compositions, "Come if you dare," the martial song of the Britons in Dryden's King Arthur, is still well known to-day.
Turning to the more purely popular side of
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