Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

bed with his Wife, 'Tis time to get him a - way.

song, called "aubade" by the French composers and "alba" by the ancient troubadours, was actly the opposite of the pensive and soothing serenade. Fynes Moryson, in his "Itinerary" published in 1617, says that it was a custom peculiar to England, that if a gentleman had company at a highway inn, he would be offered music (which he might freely take or refuse), and, if solitary, the musicians would give him the good-day with music in the morning. It is such a morning-song that Cloten brings to Imogen in the third scene of the second act of "Cymbeline." The song is, as usual, set in a framework of comment.

"Cloten. It's almost morning, is't not?

First Lord. Day, my lord.

Cloten. I would this music would come: I am advised to give her music o' mornings; they say, it will penetrate. —

Enter Musicians

Come, on; tune: . . . First a very excellent good-conceited thing; after a wonderful sweet air, with admirable rich words to it, and then let her consider.

'Quoted by Chappell, “Old English Ditties."

SONG.

'Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings.
And Phoebus 'gins arise,

His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin

To ope their golden eyes;
With every thing that pretty bin:'
My lady sweet, arise;
Arise, arise.'

So, get you gone: if this penetrate, I will consider your music
the better if it do not, it is a vice in her ears, which horse-
hairs, and cat-guts, nor the voice of unpaved eunuch to boot,
can never amend.
[Exeunt Musicians."

The original musical setting of this poem is lost, but it has received a setting worthy of Shakespeare by one of the greatest of German masters, - Schubert. Of this musical setting and of the circumstances of its production, we shall speak in a later chapter.

'Much controversy has arisen about the word "lies," in this connection. The use of this instead of its nominative was common enough in Shakespeare's time. The word "bin," substituted for "is" by Hanmer, has also caused comment both favourable and otherwise. Shakespeare unquestionably wrote “is,” and the forced rhyme, old-fashioned term, and grammatic license seem unnecessary, yet "bin" will probably be used in many editions in sæcula sæculorum.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER XI.

The Ballads of Shakespeare — Antiquity of English Ballads Antique Examples - Ophelia's Ballads The Pathology of the Mad-scene - Edgar's Music in "King Lear" - Mad-songs in This Epoch Autolycus and His Ballads in "Winter's Tale"Plots of Shakespearian Plays as Found in Ballads — “Greensleeves," as Cited by Shakespeare.

--

[ocr errors]

THE ballad is the peculiar artistic heritage of the Northern nations. Wherever the theatre was well developed the ballad languished, for it had no mission to perform in national literature which could not be as adequately, or even more thoroughly, accomplished by means of the drama. Even ancient Greece, with all its literary and musical activity, possessed no ballads, the epos being the nearest approach to this form. In later days, Italy and France cared little for this vein of musical narrative, while Germany, Scandinavia, and England presented the deeds of national heroes to the public which craved the recital, in the shape of ballad or saga.

If the terms are used strictly, there should be a strong discrimination between "ballad" and "song,' for the ballad was a tale of events, set to music,

while the song dealt with emotions only. Of course, there are many instances where the one form goes into the domain of the other, temporarily. The old English chroniclers were often glad to incorporate the legendary information received through a ballad, into their histories. The "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle " contains at least two complete historical ballads, and fragments of nearly a dozen more are incorporated into the body of the work, and William of Malmesbury frankly acknowledges his indebtedness to the traditional ballads of the countryside, in his history of King Edward (the son of Alfred the Great), a confession which many of his brother chroniclers would have been obliged to make, had they been as honest as he.

A royal ballad was composed as early as 1017, when King Canute burst into song, upon the river Ely, upon a summer evening. The pious chronicler of Ely gives the words of the first stanza of this ballad, but the music has disappeared. The English bears the mark of the twelfth, rather than of the eleventh century.

"Merie sungen the muneches binnen Ely,
Tha Cnut ching reu ther by:
Roweth, cnites, noer the land,
And here we thes muneches saeng.

"Merry sang the monks by Ely,
As Canute, King, rowed thereby.
Row knights, near the land,
And hear we these monks sing."

We present a facsimile of one of the black-letter ballads of the fifteenth century, from a manuscript in the Sloane collection in the British Museum. Mr. Thos. Wright has added to it a short glossary, which is also appended. The reader will note an allusion to the "division" of melody as explained in Chapter VI.

rr

Kyrie, so kyrie, Lankyn syngyt merie, with aleyson. As I went on zol day in owre profeflyon, Know I joly Jankyn be his mery ton Jankyn be-gan the offys

on the zol day And zyt me thynkyt it dos me good

fo merie gan he fay /

kyrieleylon.

Jankyn red the pystyl ful fayre and ful wel / Andzyt me thinkyt it dos me good/ as euere haue I fel.

« AnteriorContinuar »