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JULIET." O, now be gone: more light and light it grows."
(ROMEO AND JULIET, Act iii. Sc. 5.) From the painting by Frank Dicksee.
Charming your blood with pleasing heaviness,
Mortimer. With all my heart I'll sit, and hear her sing;
By that time will our book, I think, be drawn.
Glendower. Do so:
And those musicians, that shall play to you,
[Glendower speaks some Welsh words, and then the music plays. Hotspur. Now I perceive, the devil understands Welsh ; And 'tis no marvel, he's so humourous.
By'r lady, he's a good musician.
Lady Percy. Then should you be nothing but musical: for you are altogether governed by humours. Lie still, ye thief, and hear the lady sing in Welsh.
Hotspur. I had rather hear Lady, my brach, howl in
Lady Percy. Wouldst thou have thy head broken?
Then be still."
The notes of music are often spoken of by Shakepeare in a technical manner. The American reader must bear in mind that the English nomenclature is derived from the medieval system which was used before the division of music into measure; thus the semibreve (meaning half of a short note) is the whole note, the minim (meaning the smallest note,
which it was, in the old monastic manuscripts) is the half-note, the crotchet is the quarter, the quaver the eighth. We have seen Don Pedro, in " Much Ado About Nothing," sneer at the "crotchets" of Balthazar, Mercutio allude to Tybalt's counting a minim while fencing (in "Romeo and Juliet)", and in "The Merry Wives of Windsor" we find Falstaff saying of Bardolph,
"His thefts were too open; his filching was like an unskilful singer, he kept not time,
whereupon Nym responds:
"The good humour is to steal at a minim's rest.”
The Folio gives this as a "minute's rest," but there is not much doubt that "minim" was intended.
To give all the quotations concerning tune and time, in which our poet has made some pun, play of words, or musical jest, would be to write a small concordance. Suffice it to say that in each case, not above mentioned, the meaning is obvious, and the words used in their modern sense.
The Dances of Shakespeare
Many Dances Sung- The Dump – Other Dances. - England Fond of Lively Dances. - The Morrisdance. — Masques — These Preceded Operas in England.
THE English were a dancing people, in the Elizabethan times, far more so than at present, yet there was a great difference between them and the nations of continental Europe in Terpsichorean matters.
Most of the old dances had their origin in Spain, where the Moors introduced the Arabic love of pantomime combined with music, and gave rise to a music that was graphic and well contrasted. The majority of the stately dances came from this source. While the aristocracy of Europe, with a partial exception of the English, gave their adhesion to the slow dances, the people took up only those that were jovial and rapid. The jig, for example, was to be found among the peasantry from Spain to Ireland, while pavanes and sarabandes were much more restricted in their use.
It may be necessary to state at the threshold of this subject that many of the so-called "dances" of the European courts were rather processionals than