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But, dear father, grant me one request,
That I may go to the wilderness,
And let there be,
A Robyn, Jolly Robyn. In his Twelfth Night, Shakspeare introduces the Clown, singing part of the two first stanzas of the following song; which has been recovered from an ancient MS. of
Dr. Harrington's, at Bath, preserved among the many literary treasures transmitted to the ingenious and worthy possessor by a long line of most respectable ancestors. Of these, only a small part hath been printed in the Nuge Antiquæ, 3 vols. 12mo. ; a work which the public impatiently wishes to see continued.
The song is thus given by Shakspeare, act. iv. sc. 2, (Malone's edit. iv. 93.) Clown. “Hey Robin, jolly Robin, (singing.]
Tell me how thy lady does. Malvolio. Fooi. Clown. My lady is unkind perdy. Mal. Fool.Clown. Alas, why is she so? Mal. Fool, I say.Clown. She loves another. Who calls, ha ?" Dr. Farmer has conjectured that the song should begin
Hey, jolly Robin, tell to me
How does thy lady do ?
Alas! why is she so ?” But this emendation is now superseded by the proper readings of the old song itself, which is here printed from what appears the most ancient of Dr. Harrington's poetical MSS., and which has, therefore, been marked No. I. (scil. p. 68.) That volume seems to have been written in the reign of King Henry VIII., and as it contains many of the poems of Sir Thomas Wyat, hath had almost all the contents attributed to him by marginal directions, written with an old but later hand, and not always rightly, as, I think, might be made appear by other good authorities. Among the rest, this song is there attributed to Sir Thomas Wyat also; but the discerning reader will probably judge it to belong to a more obsolete writer.
In the old MS. to the third and fifth stanzas is prefixed this title, Responce, and to the fourth and sixth, Le Plain
tif: but in the last instance so evidently wrong, that it was thought better to omit these titles, and to mark the changes of the dialogue by inverted commas. In other respects the MS. is strictly followed, except where noted in the margin. Yet the first stanza appears to be defective, and it should seem that a line is wanting, unless the four first words were lengthened in the tune.
And thou shalt knowe of myn.
“ My lady is unkynde perde.”
Alack! why is she so ?
And yet she will say no.”
I fynde no such doublenes ;
I fynde women true:
And will change for no newe.
“ Thou art happy while that doeth last;
But I say, as I fynde,
And torneth with the wynde.”.
Suche folkes can take no harme by love,
That can abide their torn;
Ver. 4, shall. MS.
But I alas can no way prove
In love, but lake and morne.”
But if thou wilt avoyde thy harme,
Lerne this lessen of me,
And let them warme with the.
A Song to the Lute in Musicke. This sonnet (which is ascribed to Richard Edwards * in the “ Paradise of Daintie Devises,” fo. 31, b.) is by Shakspeare made the subject of some pleasant ridicule in his Romeo and Juliet, act iv. sc. 5, where he introduces Peter putting this question to the Musicians : Peter. "
Why 'Silver Sound ?' why “Musické with her silver sound ?' what say you, Simon Catling ?
1st. Musician. Marry, sir, because silver hath a sweet sound. Pet. Pretty! what say you, Hugh Rebecke?
2nd. Mus. I say, silver sound, because Musicians sound for silver.
Pet. Pretty too! what say you, James Sound-post. 3rd. Mus. Faith, I know not what to say.
Pet. ... I will say for you: It is ‘Musicke with her silver sound,' because Musicians have no gold for sounding.”
Edit. 1793, vol. xiv. p. 529. This ridicule is not so much levelled at the song itself, (which for the time it was written is not inelegant,) as at those forced and unnatural explanations often given by us painful editors and expositors of ancient authors.
* See Wood's Athen., Tanner's Biblioth., and llawkins' Hist. of Music.
This copy is printed from an old quarto MS. in the Cotton Library, [Vesp. A. 25,] entitled “Divers things of Hen. viij's time:" with some corrections from The Paradise of Dainty Devises, 1596.
WHERE gripinge grefes the hart would wounde,
And dolefulle dumps the mynde oppresse,
With spede is wont to send redresse:
In joye yt maks our mirthe abounde,
In woe yt cheres our hevy sprites;
By musickes pleasaunt swete delightes :
The Gods by musicke have theire prayse;
The lyfe, the soul therein doth joye:
In seas, whom pyrats would destroy,
O heavenly gyft, that rules the mynd,
Even as the sterne dothe rule the shippe ! 20 O musicke, whom the gods assinde
To comforte manne, whom cares would nippe!