Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino (eds), Thomas Middleton, Vol. 2: Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works

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pg 119MIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCEGary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer

  • Music! thou modest servant to this place,
  • Raise chaste delight to do this season grace.
  • Honourable Entertainments 7.71–2

In 1597 Thomas Middleton's name appeared for the first time on London bookstalls, fronting a verse paraphrase that interpolated canzons, choristers, dirges, madrigals, roundelays, and interlined song into the biblical Wisdom of Solomon.1 In the same year, John Dowland published The First Booke of Songes or Ayres (STC 7091) and Thomas Morley published A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (STC 18133). By contrast with Middleton's unremarkable quarto, Dowland's and Morley's books were expensive, typographically complex folios with engraved title-pages. Morley's was printed in black and red ink; Dowland's was a physically innovative table-book, one of the first ever published, designed to be read and played simultaneously by four musicians, standing around a table, with the type on each opening of the book facing in three different directions.2. Beyond their technical sophistication as printed texts, the two folios signaled the increasing importance of music in English society. Dowland had travelled to France, Italy, and Germany; Morley 'was the first English composer to have assimilated thoroughly the Italian idioms of his day' (Caldwell 404). Dowland's folio, despite its size and expense, was his most popular book, reprinted in 1600, 1603, 1606, and 1613; it is still being reinterpreted and recorded today. Morley's folio was also reprinted, and it provides a particularly impressive gauge for the varied part music could play in the life of the average Englishman in the closing years of Elizabeth I's reign. By the turn of the century Morley had composed a rich array of works, including madrigals, balletts, canzonets, lute songs, and keyboard pieces, as well as a remarkable collection of items arranged for a small mixed consort of instrumentalists. This, The First Booke of Consort Lessons (1599; STC 18131), in its own time and since, has been treated as an exceptional landmark. Both Dowland and Morley inspired, and were influenced by, a distinguished and exceptional company of contemporary composers that included William Byrd, Thomas Campion, and Orlando Gibbons.

But Byrd and Morley differed from Dowland, Campion, and Gibbons in one important respect: unlike the others, Byrd and his pupil Morley were both monopolists. They made a profit not only from their own music, but from the music of other people. For instance, in 1600 Morley was paid four pounds and fifteen shillings for granting permission for the printing of John Dowland's Second Book of Ayres (item 1)—and also received two free copies of the book. This may not seem an extortionate sum, by modern standards, but Morley was one of two patentees, so the total cost of the monopoly was nine pounds, ten shillings; by contrast, the printer of Dowland's volume received only ten pounds for all the work of manufacturing it. Morley must have received a similar payment for the 1600 reprinting of Dowland's First Booke.

Morley received this cut because he had been granted, in 1598, a twenty-one-year monopoly on printed music. Morley's was not the first such patent. In 1559 the printer John Day had been given a monopoly on the single most widely used English musical text of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the authorized Book of Psalms by Sternhold and Hopkins, printed 'with apt notes to sing them withal'. Day's patent was renewed in 1567 and 1577, and his son sold it for £9000 to the Stationers' Company, which in 1603 received the new patent, the single most valuable asset in the collective portfolio called 'the English Stock'. Secular song had also been monopolized before Middleton's birth. In 1575 Thomas Tallis and William Byrd were given a monopoly for twenty-one years to 'imprint any and so many as they will of set songe or songes in partes, either in English, Latine, French, Italian, or any other tongues that may serve for musicke either in Church or chamber,' and others were forbidden to import 'any songe or songes made and printed in any forren countrie'. That patent extended to 'the printing of all ruled paper, for the pricking of any song to the lute, virginals or other instrumente'; this was, for some time, the most profitable part of the monopoly, and many examples of printed music paper survive from the sixteenth century. Their patent expired in January 1596, and Morley's Plaine and Easie Introduction was printed in the interim between its expiration and Morley's new patent. In fact, the unregulated year 1597 was the high-water mark of English pg 120music publishing in the sixteenth century.3

Music could be more easily monopolized than other genres of print because it required special fonts of type, complicated routines of setting, and specialist proofreading. Beginning in about 1473, printers used woodcuts to represent music, and Wynkyn de Worde produced the first known English example in 1495. But this method required a new woodcut for every piece of music. The first music book printed using movable type was produced in Venice in 1501, and Venice dominated music publishing for most of the sixteenth century. Although in the mid-1520s an Englishman, John Rastell, was apparently the first European printer to use the single-impression method that revolutionized continental music printing in the 1530s, Rastell's innovative song sheets, play texts with scores, and musical collections did not inspire other English stationers to follow his lead. During the middle of the sixteenth century, great music publishing firms, sustained by monopoly patents, were established in Venice (Gardano and Scotto) and Paris (Attaingnant), but English music printing languished until Day began publishing the psalms. English secular music had a much smaller, less secure market than psalms, and secular music publishing did not take off until 1588, when the monopolist and composer William Byrd teamed up with the printer Thomas East to issue a historic series of music books, beginning with Italian madrigals set to English texts. That flourishing of native music was the fruit of decades of royal and aristocratic patronage, and of the increasing concentration of English musical resources, performances, and audiences in London. Although it could not compare with Venice, Florence, or Paris, London in 1597 offered Middleton a more varied, cosmopolitan and sophisticated musical culture than England had hosted in any earlier period of its history.4 Indeed, Middleton's lifetime (1580–1627) almost exactly coincides with the 'golden age' of English lute music (1580–1625), when English composers enjoyed an international reputation.5

Whether or not Middleton played the lute, as a gentleman born he should have received some introduction to 'practicall musicke'. More than one London grammar school included music in its curriculum.6 In 1600 he identified himself as 'Thomas Medius & Gravis Tonus' (Ghost 20–21), a masquerade name of a kind found in many Renaissance authors.7 'Medius … Tonus' puns on the surname 'Middleton,' and the phrase has many meanings; it can be taken to articulate commitment to a poetics of neutrality, ambivalence, the middle, the middle class, the centre, the ordinary, the common good. But since the whole phrase governs the verb vociferat ('cries out, speaks with strong emotion'), at its most basic Middleton's self-description refers to the sound of his voice. In the classical Latin of authors that Middleton certainly would have studied in grammar school and university, all three words have musical meanings: tonus is tune, note, accent, pitch or timbre, medius is neither high nor low, gravis is low-pitched, deep.8 Medius tonus might also have been

Marbecke and Palmer coat of arms

1. Mary (Magdalen) Middleton inherited the arms both of her father's (Morbecke) and mother's (Palmer) families. This gave her the same social status as the two 'gentlewomen ' to whom George Kirbye dedicated, in 1597, The first set of English madrigalls to 4. 5. & 6. voices.

punning on another early musical meaning, 'semitone'.9 The phrase might be telling us that Middleton had a typical male voice, probably what we would now call baritone (the mean pitch-range for males), here speaking sadly (because the story of Lucrece is tragic), or that he had an 'ordinary, commonplace' (medius) 'bass' (gravis) voice. Whatever the exact interpretation, the phrase defines Middleton's art in terms of a musical voice rather than a written text.

Middleton's wife probably shared his interest in music. Mary (Magdalen) Marbeck was descended from two established gentry families (the Marbecks and the Palmers), and her father was much wealthier than Middleton's (Illus. 1). Moreover, her paternal grandfather John Marbeck was a royal musician and composer, still alive when she was pg 121born.10 In Women, Beware Women Fabritio brags that his daughter 'has the full qualities of a gentlewoman. | I have brought her up to music, dancing, what not | That may commend her sex and stir her husband,' and then talks about the money he has spent on training her 'voice' and having her taught to read 'pricksong' precociously (3.2.110–25). Within a year or so of his own marriage, Middleton described 'some unthrifty gentleman's daughter' who, as evidence of 'her bringing up, ' could 'run upon the lute very well, ' and 'had likewise the gift of singing very deliciously, able to charm the hearer, which so bewitched away our young master's money that he might have kept seven noise of musicians for less charges ' (Father Hubburd's Tales 602–12). This passage epitomizes the clash between the ideals articulated in conduct-books like Castiglione's European bestseller Il Libro del Cortegiano, which particularly commended an ability to play and 'sing to the lute ' (M4), and the western tradition that imagined singing women as sirens luring men to their destruction (Austern 1989).11 We can be sure that the Middleton home did not boast the 'double-gilt ' organs or 'the consort of mine own household ' of which Sir Bounteous is so proud in A Mad World, My Masters (2.1.119, 2.2.160), or all the instruments—'lute, bandora, gittern, | Viol, virginals, and cithern'—that entertain Katherine in Your Five Gallants (5.2.9–10). But music and dancing were the chief pleasures of leisure in Middleton's England, and if Thomas and Mary were like other people of their time, place and class they would have wanted to make music. Certainly, as a playwright Middleton was constantly collaborating with musicians.


Most of the fruit of those collaborations has perished. We often have texts without scores, and sometimes scores without texts, or scores that we cannot confidently connect to their texts. Of course, even when the music is lost, we can sometimes sense its importance. In the Roaring Girl, when Moll sits with a viol between her legs, plays the instrument and sings an autoerotic song, the scene (4.1) 'maximizes the viol's sexual connotations, without demeaning the player ' (Seligmann 2005, 207). Readers who cannot hear the instrumental accompaniment or see the dance can nevertheless appreciate that 'the masque gone awry ' in Women, Beware Women 'satirizes the self-mythologizing practices of the elite', and that 'the dancing lesson that fails ' in More Dissemblers Besides Women 'targets the urban aspirants who supported court power by aping its cultural practices ' (Howard, 137). Though we no longer know what music Harmony and her choir sang to the words 'Move on, move on, be still the same ' (Masque of Heroes 307–22), we can recognize that, like other songs that follow the first dance of a masque, it serves 'the practical function of allowing the dancers a few minutes' rest ' (Walls, 107).

Though they are only a small fraction of the music that once accompanied Middleton's texts, the scores that do remain represent almost all the textual varieties of early modern secular music. They include the first song printed in the text of a civic pageant (item 7) and the most popular song written for the commercial theatres before 1642 (item 23).12 But they also include much music that originated outside dramatic scripts: sung (item 2) and hummed (item 8) snatches of traditional ballads, one traditional dance tune (item 5) and dance tunes by John Dowland (item 21) and William Byrd (item 24), a lute song by Dowland, sampled and sung by a character in a play (item 1), and another lute tune for which Middleton wrote new words (item 6). They include songs that originated in one play, and were later transferred to another (items 12 and 22), music for a masque later transferred to a play (items 9, 10, 13, 14), and a new tune set to Middleton's words for a theatrical revival twenty years after the original performances (item 11). They include music written for a company of adolescent singing actors by one of those choristers (item 3). They include music for twelve dances (items 4, 13–21, 24, 25), though theatrical instrumental music was seldom preserved or identified. They even include—something extraordinarily rare in the period—both music and choreography for two theatre dances, both extraordinarily popular (items 4 and 25).13 They include songs printed in collections of work by a single composer (items 1, 3, 6, 20) and songs printed in musical anthologies (items 4, 13, 16, 17, 23, 25). They include songs printed using music type fonts designed and manufactured in France and Germany, songs printed from engravings on special rolling presses, and songs circulating in many different kinds of manuscript (a composer's official collection, a musician's working repertory manuscript, a pedagogical manuscript, a woman's private miscellany of favourite songs, a knight's anthology of masque music, etc.). They include manuscript songs written on music paper printed in England, songs printed on special music paper mass-produced and exported from Angoulême for the English market, and one song preserved in a manuscript that used a rare luxury paper imported from Troyes.14

The textual reproduction of music 'has long been neglected by historians of the book ' (Chartier 325). The textual reproduction of the moving body, what Jacques

Thomas Sternhold and John Hopkins, The Whole Booke of Psalmes: collected into English meeter

2. Church music, and particularly psalm singing, would have been the most universal and regular experience of music during Middleton's lifetime. The Sternhold and Hopkins psalm book was the most frequently reprinted text of poetry or music in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 'As a result British printers probably used more music type faces than all of the Protestant printers of the Continent together ' (Krummel 1975, 64). Like all editions after 1603, this folio edition (1612) was printed for 'the Company of Stationers'.

LeCoq called le corps poétique, and the belated evolution of dance notation, has been paid even less attention. 'For thirty thousand years, the memory of culture has been distorted by the uneven development of technologies for making artificial representations of the past ' (Taylor 1996, 164). Music and dance notation operate, in part, as boundary markers, calling attention to the limits and anomalies of text technologies, reminding us that they reproduce a mere fraction of the larger culture. Indeed, texts reproduce a mere fraction even of the object of aesthetic desire. Although they are a representative sample of the increasing importance and variety of written music and choreographed dance in early modern textual culture, the pg 122twenty-five song and dance texts printed here—the first collection of music associated with the Middleton canon— represent less than an hour of playing time, distributed across seventeen different scripts and more than twenty years of dramatic writing. Nevertheless, these scattered fragments do emphasize an element of Middleton's work that has been obscured by the critical tradition. They illustrate the historical interactions, in his work and in the early modern period generally, of three forms of potentially textualized performance art: theatre, music, and dance.15 Middleton, after all, described his own activity as a writer with the same word musicians used: he 'composed ' his plays.16 In its analysis of Middleton's 'realism', of his psychological acuity, theological depth, and political daring, of the thematic architecture of his plotting and the layered ironies of his language, twentieth-century criticism resurrected his reputation. But it also described his work in terms that were almost entirely cognitive and mimetic. That academic Aristotelian bias—what Lyotard calls 'textual thinking'—flattens and empties Middleton's art by reducing it to conceptual propositions. Music and dance, in different ways, resist that flattening. Even philosophy now acknowledges that 'the mind is inherently embodied ' (Lakoff and Johnson, 3), and dance has always foregrounded that corporeal experience of space, time, and relationships. Music may be invisible but it is never immaterial. Its union of 'feeling and form ' links embodied emotional experience to mathematical distributions of frequencies and decibels through time.17 Thus, music and dance both force us to imagine Middleton through the medium of 'feeling bodies ' (Taylor 1998).

Every textual embodiment of music in Middleton's lifetime, and for centuries before and after, depended on notation.18 Early in the seventh century, Archbishop Isidore of Seville wrote that 'unless sounds are remembered by man, they perish, for they cannot be written down ' (Etymologiarum, chapter iii, 15). We now know more than Isidore about the history of music notation: late in the twentieth century the musical text of a Hurrian love-song dating from c.1800 BCE was transcribed and performed (Wulstan). The ancient Greeks, too, had a notational system. But the musical texts of early modern England belonged to a post-classical western European system that originated in the ninth century, with plainchant. England did not play an important part in the creation of European notation, or its medieval and Renaissance development; like its music fonts, its notation systems were imported. pg 123The centuries-long evolution of competing and overlapping systems was driven by many factors.19 In general, notation evolved to show an increasing number of musical parameters more and more precisely. Nevertheless, early modern musical texts provide much less information than modern staff notation (Illus. 2). Consequently, even when we possess a score, it does not permit us to reconstruct exactly a particular musical performance or musical intention. Much of the detail of the music depended then, and depends now, upon each performer's interpretation, improvisation, and virtuosity, and upon the harmonious collaborative interaction of more than one performer. (This is also true, of course, of early modern dramatic scripts, including Middleton's.)

Dance notation developed even later than music notation. A French manuscript containing seven basse danses, conjecturally dated 1445, is probably the earliest known document to record choreographies (Crane). About a decade later, the first treatise on music that included dance descriptions and dance music was written in Ferrara, and in the next few decades Italy produced another eight such treatises, plus fragments (Sparti). The earliest surviving English choreographies—full of Italian and French terminology—occur in a small pocket book miscellany, among the papers of a Derbyshire family, produced c.1500 (Fallows, Nevile). From then until Middleton's death in 1627, only half a dozen English choreographies have been identified, and only one of those was printed (a translated three-column appendix in a teach-yourself-French book, published in 1521).20 Not surprisingly, scholarship on sixteenth and seventeenth century dance has been slow to develop, and it has intersected with literary studies chiefly in discussion of dances in Shakespeare's plays or Jonson's masques.21 However, we do not possess original scores or choreographies for any Shakespearean dance, or choreographies for any of Jonson's. For Middleton, by contrast, we possess at least two choreographies (items 4 and 25), and at least twelve dance scores.

The paucity of written choreographies does not indicate a dearth of dance; dance generously punctuated early modern culture and the Middleton canon. We cannot statistically measure its ubiquity in the everyday world, but within the canon variants of the word dance appear 142 times (not counting stage directions); one mayoral pageant, two masques, and sixteen plays explicitly require one or more dances. The variety of these dances is suggested by Middleton's technical vocabulary, which includes canaries, caper, change, cinquepace, coranto, double, galliard, hey, honour, hop, hornpipe, jig, kick, lavolta, leg, measures, morris, pace, round, sides, single, stand, sword-dance, and trick. Even these statistics underestimate the extent to which dance saturated drama. Until 1612, some or all of Middleton's plays would have ended with a 'jig', a short song-and-dance drama unrelated to the fiction of the play itself (Baskervill). Where there was no concluding jig, closure was probably signaled by a formal dance, like that witnessed by a Swiss tourist in 1599. Thomas Platter visited a theatre on the south bank, saw a tragedy about Julius Caesar, and remembered that, 'zu endt der Comedien dantzeten sie ihrem gebauch nach gar v̈berausz zierlich, ye zwen in mannes vndt 2 in weiber kleideren angethan, wunderbahrlich mitt einanderen ' ('at the end of the play they danced according to their custom with extreme elegance, two in men's clothes and two in women's, in wonderful combination with each other').22. Moreover, all but six of Middleton's extant plays would have been performed, originally, with four intervals between the five acts, and one or more of those intervals routinely included some form of dancing—like the 'Country dance, by the Actors in their Vizards to a new footing ' inserted between the end of Act 2 and the beginning of Act 3 in the 1640 edition of A Mad World, My Masters.23 Since all six exceptions predate the legal prohibition on jigs, extra-dramatic dances probably accompanied the original performances of every single Middleton play. Likewise, although the young East Asian 'Indians' who 'dance about the trees ' in The Triumphs of Honour and Industry are the only dancers specified in any of his Lord Mayor shows, the Jacobean budgets for such shows routinely called for 'greenemen wth fireworkMIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer', 'Divells', 'one that went on stiltMIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer', drummers, fifers, trumpeters, ensign-bearers, and 'ye fencer … and his 25 men'.24 All parades are, in one sense, ritualized street dances.

The concluding jigs are never, and the entr'acte performances rarely, acknowledged in stage directions. Which is to say, most dances remained totally outside textual culture. Even when texts indicate that a dance took place, they seldom tell us anything specific about it.25 In such cases, dance has only minimally crossed the boundary into textual culture; text gestures deictically toward pg 124a domain outside itself. Like the bare word 'song ' (which tells us that non-song is the normative form of verbal utterance in plays, but doesn't indicate which song or what music), 'dance ' tells us that non-dance is the normative form of stage movement, but the word tells us nothing about which steps are danced, in what pattern, to which music, for how long, at what tempo, or even by how many or whom. Moreover, although many early modern text-directions for 'Song ' include lyrics and/or music, early modern directions for dramatic dance never—with one exception, discussed below—include choreographies.

In Middleton's lifetime, almost all dancing remained textless. Specific dances were learned—as, for the most part, dancing continues to be learned—atextually, mimetically, by observing and then attempting to duplicate the bodily movements of someone else. Dancing was 'practiced', and it required 'room to practice in': although a text might usefully be read once, and only once, by a reader confined to a chair or a bed, dancing demanded physical repetition and physical space. The dancing lesson in More Dissemblers Besides Women dramatizes this form of teaching. The scene acknowledges that pupils must learn to read written music—'prick-song ' (5.1.95)— but it does not consider the possibility of written choreographies. Indeed, Ben Jonson ridicules the very idea of textualizing dance through the character of a Fencer in the antimasque of Pan's Anniversary (1620). Like the fencers who performed routinely in Lord Mayor's shows, Jonson's Braggart 'Sonne of the sword' performs the role of usher, whiffler, and presenter, describing himself as a specialist in 'Fencing, Wrestling, Leaping, Dauncing'. He announces that 'a great Clerke, who (they say) can write, and it is shrewdly suspected but he can read too,' will 'make a memoriall' or 'map ' of all the dances 'by Brachygraphie ' (51–6, 141–5). That last word—a Greek compound for 'short writing'—had first been used in English in the title of Peter Bales ' shorthand manual The arte of brachygraphie (1590, 1597; STC 1311, 1312), which promised to teach its users 'to write as fast as a man speaketh'. But Jonson might have noticed it in another book, published in the same year that Pans Anniversarie was performed, and written by a surveyor named Folkington. His Art of Brachygraphy promised 'a speedy dispatch in taking of speeches' (1620, 1622; STC 11122, 11122.5). Whether or not the shorthand systems of Bales and Folkington worked as advertised, their authors presupposed a desire to turn spontaneous speech into text. Jonson's Fencer transforms 'Brachygraphie ' into an instrument for turning dance into text. Jonson probably was mocking the ambitious ignorance of the Fencer, but choreography does resemble shorthand, and both are attempts to expand the empire of text. They capture and freeze-frame moving sound-waves and moving feet.

The empire of text was more immediately successful in appropriating two other forms of moving art: the folk tale and the ballad. The early Tudor printer Robert Copland (fl. 1505–47) advertised for performers of stories and songs to come to his shop, so that he could write down their words and print them (87). 'At the founding moment of English print culture, ' Linda Woodbridge argues, 'the swashbuckling privateers of print colonized the realm of popular storytelling. ' Stories that had once circulated orally and anonymously were collected, reshaped, signed, and printed: 'a privatization of what had been collective, a middle-class appropriation of a plebeian art form, a city appropriation of a rural art form, literacy's colonization of the oral … a male appropriation of a female art form ' (13–14). It is hard to quantify the extent of this expropriation of storytelling because folk tales were not labelled as such, and were usually woven into the texture of legitimated literary genres. But ballads are easier to identify. Although only about 260 specimens survive, it has been estimated that about 4000 single-sheet broadside ballads were printed in the sixteenth century (Livingston 32; Rollins 1919, 281–2). In the registers of the Stationers ' Company from its founding in 1557 to the Parliamentary ban of 1642, ballads outnumber books and plays (Rollins 1924, 1). To this massive project of data-capture we owe most of our current knowledge of popular oral culture. Nevertheless, the text technology that made this data-capture possible also created a new regime of intellectual property. 'The Commons of England made this Song', Thomas Deloney recorded; but when he wrote out that ballad and sold it to a printer, the song became the private property of the London stationer Humphrey Lownes, who published the first edition of Deloney's Jack of Newbury (1597; STC 6559), and who still owned it when the tenth edition was published in 1626. Like English landowners who enclosed commons land, 'the London book industry took into its private ownership much of the traditional common culture of England, and then charged a rent for using it ' (St Clair 50). Indeed, ballads were such a profitable and specialized trade that a broadside cartel was created in the 1620s (Watt 257–95).

The broadside ballads were so profitable because they did not attempt to textualize the music. Instead, they relied upon popular familiarity with existing tunes, or upon balladmongers who sang the ballads they retailed, simultaneously attracting customers and teaching them the melody (Wutzbach 21–3). Thus the printed ballad trade piggybacked on the oral circulation of tunes. We can reconstruct the music for popular songs only if, at some point, someone wrote it down. But anyone capable of transforming a singing voice into written notation was also capable of writing variations on the original tune. Thus, for the sixteenth-century ballad 'Loath to depart ' (item 8) we possess musical transcriptions of arrangements by three composers: John Dowland, Giles Farnaby, and Thomas Ravenscroft. Each composer is almost certainly appropriating a tune made by the Commons of England, and modifying it in ways that demonstrate his own musical talent: listeners familiar with the original will appreciate how each composer riffs on his material. For anyone trying to recover an authentic folk tune, or to reconstruct the tune used in Middleton and Rowley's play, this combination of filtering and variation is frustrating. pg 125But the initial fluidity is itself characteristic of folk tale and folk music, with their proliferation of types and versions (Atkinson 1–38), and the foundational 'untextuality ' of an oral tradition (Foley 27) will inevitably be altered whenever a text technology captures it. In relation to the original oral performances, it makes little difference whether the music is written down in a private manuscript anthology (Farnaby), printed in a composer's book of songs (Ravenscroft), or both (Dowland).

But this example also demonstrates that the Stationers ' Company did not have a monopoly on the commodification of song. The chief early modern institution for the commercial appropriation, transformation, and reproduction, for private profit, of other people's music was not the print trade, but the theatre. Indeed, as Bruce Smith has convincingly argued, a theatre like the Globe was 'the largest, airiest, loudest, subtlest sound-making device fabricated by the culture of early modern England ' (1999, 207–8).


In the anonymous interlude called The Triall of Treasure (1567; STC 24271), for every didactic song sung by the estimable trio of Just, Trust, and Contentation praising those who 'walk upright and just', dozens of additional songs provided the popular Vice figure with a ready means to celebrate the carefree way of life which he espoused. He appeared in various roles—as pedlar, ballad-hawker, thief, or fool—and his repertory, consisting chiefly of verses sung to ballad tunes, three-man's songs, and catches, was richly varied. Wager's interlude called the longer thou liuest the more foole thou art (c.1569; STC 24935) includes a character named 'Moros ' (from the Greek word meaning 'foolish'), who enters the play 'synging the foot ' [= refrain] 'of many Songes, as fooles were wont'; his first speech consists of fragments of eight separate songs (sig. A3). Similar characters show up in Robert Wilson's Three Lords and Three Ladies of London (Simplicity), Beaumont's The Knight of the Burning Pestle (Merrythought), and Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (Autolycus). In The Patient Man and the Honest Whore, Dekker and Middleton assume that the character, or role, is so familiar to actors and audiences that it requires only a single stage direction at the beginning of Scene 6:

  • Enter Roger with a stool, cushion, looking-glass,
  • and chafing-dish; those being set down, he pulls
  • out of his pocket a vial with white colour in it, and
  • two boxes, one with white, another red, painting.
  • He places all things in order and a candle by them,
  • singing with the ends of old ballads as he does it.
The playwrights here simply invite the actor to improvise, to sample and mix old ballads however he pleases, as long as he pleases the audience. We could, on the basis of this stage direction, include in the following anthology of music associated with the Middleton canon the tunes of a dozen popular old ballads, like those that Duffin uses to flesh out 'Shakespeare's Songbook'. The verbal content of the songs Roger sings matters less, dramatically, than their genre (ballads), their age (old), their reduction to the simplest and most familiar verbal units (ends), which can then be creatively re-mixed. The playwrights characterize Roger through the old-fashioned, plebeian songs he sings, and by contrasting him with his employer, the upmarket courtesan Bellafront. Bellafront also, later in the scene, sings snatches of songs, but the verbal content of those songs does matter, and is specified in the script.26 One of the songs she samples in this scene is a fashionable new lute song by John Dowland (item 1). The contrast between the musical tastes of Bellafront and her servant resembles the contrast in Father Hubburd's Tales, written the same year, between the regal Nightingale, singing her 'canzonet ' (756), and the rustic male Ant, who remembers 'dancing of Sellinger's Round in moonshine nights about Maypoles ' (639).

This allusive sampling of popular songs depends on three things. First, the familiarity of the song gives audiences (or readers) the pleasure of instant, shared recognition, and lets the playwright convey a lot of information in a few moments of stage time. Second, the lack of musical copyright allows playwrights and acting companies to appropriate, without fee, the compositional talents both of famous individual composers like Dowland and of the ballad-making Commons of England. Third, the only musical instrument required is the human voice. The scene from Honest Whore is typical of the musical structure of most plays written for adult companies performing in outdoor amphitheatres: it contrasts the bass adult male voice (Roger) with the treble adolescent male voice impersonating a woman (Bellafront).27 Until the 1590s, those companies and theatres seem to have counted on actors to double as musicians (Chan 1980, 32–3).

But if we conceptualize the theatre building itself as 'an instrument to be played upon', then London offered Middleton more than one kind of instrument, and more than one kind of player. The Globe, like other outdoor amphitheatres, 'fostered a broad sound produced by sound waves moving primarily from side to side', by contrast with rectilinear indoor spaces like the Blackfriars theatre and the Middle Temple hall, which 'produced a more rounded sound that was especially suited to ensemble acting, the treble voices of boy actors, and music ' (Smith 2004, 137). The mid-sixteenth century formation of acting companies composed largely of 'boy ' (adolescent) actors, whose main activity was to serve as choristers for divine service, capitalized on their extraordinary vocal talents. Known variously as the Children of the Chapel Royal, the Boys of St Paul's, or the Children of Windsor, these companies were the most prominent of several shorter-lived additional groups, and the sophisticated song pg 126which they performed implies at once composers writing for the stage, trained voices to sing their compositions, and a cultivated audience capable of understanding and appreciating their work. It was for these groups that dramatists such as Richard Edwards, John Lyly, and George Peele wrote plays richly studded with stage songs of a demanding variety, usually to be sung to the accompaniment of a quartet of viols. Peele's The araygnement of Paris (1584), for instance, contains fourteen music numbers, among which are bird-calls mimicked by the high-pitched voices of boys to produce the 'artificial charm of birds'; an antiphonal chorus of gods and muses, the first singing 'within ' and the second 'without'; singers taking part in a circular dance; a piper providing accompaniment to his singing companions; a forsaken heroine singing a dramatic lament; a group of knights in armour 'treading a warlike almain, by drum and fife'; a popular catch followed soon after by a sophisticated song in Italian about the goddess Diana; and a concluding chorus in Latin.

At about 1600, the chief choirboy groups were revived, after an intermission of a decade. Ben Jonson, John Marston, and Thomas Middleton made full use of the musical resources of the new companies. Many of their musical offerings featured comic items performed by small groups singing in ensemble. Although their dramatic music repertory was composed largely of solo songs set for small instrumental consorts, usually of viols, it also included dialogue songs for duos and trios to be sung in alternation as well as choral numbers in three or four parts whose variety added special prominence to company scenes. Choirboy plays also offered music before the play began, and during the four intervals between the five acts. A German visitor to the Blackfriars in 1602 reported that 'For a whole hour before, a delightful performance of musicam instrumentalem is given on organs, lutes, pandores, mandolins, violins, and flutes ' (Gerschow, 29). In the choirboy theatres, music came first—and not just literally. Moreover, the music before, during, and after the play might change from one performance to the next. There was no fixed relationship between the verbal script and the music concert taking place in the same building before the same audience. Music was portable—as we have already seen, in the case of old ballads and Dowland lute songs imported into plays. But this portability also applied to the music specifically composed for particular plays, which would always have been written (if it was written down at all) on separate, loose sheets of paper. Those loose sheets could easily migrate from one playscript to another. Thus, a song first associated with John Lyly's Campaspe—'Oh, for a bowl of fat canary'—also shows up in the 1640 edition of A Mad World, My Masters; it may have migrated from performance by Lyly's company of boys to the boy company that first performed Middleton's play, at Paul's, or to later revivals at Salisbury Court, but in either case it moved from one play to another. The 'play', as a textual entity, was always a collection of papers, more or less loosely connected, which might at any point break down into its constituent elements, or absorb new elements to replace the old ones (Stern). Middleton began play-patching early in his career, with the commission to write a new Prologue and Epilogue for Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, and he was still doing so two decades later, when he imported 'Take oh take those lips away ' into Measure for Measure (item 22).

Most of the incidental stage songs that have been identified from the repertory of the professional acting troupes in early Stuart London—companies like the King's Men, the Children of Paul's, Prince Henry's, and the Lady Elizabeth's—were supplied by a small number of composers whose main activities were carried on in other areas of music, sometimes tangential and sometimes not. Three, in particular, stand out, because they form a natural succession: they were the three chief composers of songs for the King's Men from the accession of James I to the closing of the theatres.

Robert Johnson (c.1588–1633) was a well-known contributor to many surviving theatre songs, including, probably, the famous dialogue song in The Witch (item 12). Johnson's first patron had been Sir George Carey, who was also the patron of the King's Men. Perhaps that connection inspired his attention to theatrical music. He entered the royal service as lutenist to the King in 1604, and throughout the early years of the century he was much in demand as a performer as well as a composer. His contributions to masque productions were extensive, and about two dozen masque and antimasque dances as well as songs for various masques have been preserved. After his death many of his stage songs were rescued from oblivion by his fellow composer John Wilson, who printed several of them in his Cheerful Ayres and Ballads of 1660, the first book of music printed at Oxford.

Wilson, born in 1595, was apprenticed on 11 February 1611 to the actor John Heminges, one of the leaders of the King's Men, for eight years (Kathman). He might have played in the first performances of The Lady's Tragedy, later that year; he certainly performed in a late Jacobean revival of Shakespeare's Much Ado. His first known musical composition was for The Masque of Flowers, in January 1614, and over the next fifteen years he wrote songs for plays by Fletcher, Ford, Brome, and Middleton (items 10 and 22). On 21 October 1622 he was appointed to the London Waits. As Morley had recorded, in dedicating his Consort Lessons to the Lord Mayor and Alderman, the City retained and maintained 'excellent and expert musicians to adorn ' their 'favours, feasts, and solemn meetings. ' In that capacity, Wilson might have composed material for Middleton's mayoral pageants of 1622, 1623, and 1626, or for the abortive London pageant celebrating the accession of Charles I.28 In 1635, Wilson was appointed as a musician 'for the lutes, viols and voices ' to Charles I; pg 127he accompanied the King to Oxford in 1642, staying on to become Doctor of Music and then Professor of Music. His first work to appear after the conferring of his degree was the Devotions of His Sacred Majesty in his Solitudes and Sufferings, rendered in verse (four part-books, 1657).29

No less significant is the dramatic music of William Lawes, born in 1582, whose music was not published in print during his lifetime, and whose reputation was overshadowed until very recently by that of his illustrious brother Henry. It is only within the past few decades that William's score for James Shirley's Triumph of Peace (1634) as well as those for William Davenant's The Triumphs of the Prince d'Amour (1636) and Britannia Triumphans (1638) have been made available to establish him as a gifted and far more innovative composer than most of his contemporaries. His fame rests chiefly on his sustained vocal and instrumental scores for these masques, which consist of extended sequences of alternating dialogue passages, arias, and choruses, as well as dances, climactically arranged. But William was also an accomplished composer of music for the commercial theatres, writing twenty-five known settings for twenty-one different plays between 1634 and 1641. In the early 1630s he took over from Wilson as chief composer for the King's Men at the Blackfriars, but he also wrote music for Beeston's Boys at the Phoenix (Wood). Just as playwrights like Middleton wrote new material for old plays, so composers wrote fashionable new music for revivals, and William's setting of a song from The Widow is an example (item 11).30 In 1645, at the siege of Chester, a random shot resulted in William's premature death in mid-career, publicly mourned by the King and many royalists, including his friends and fellow composers John Wilson and John Hinton (item 23) and the music publisher John Playford (1623–87).

Although Playford was not a composer, he is the last important figure in this succession of Stuart musicians associated with Middleton (items 2, 4, 23, 25). 'The first great capitalist of music history ' (Krummel 112), Playford probably got his musical education at the cathedral choir school in Norfolk, before taking up an apprenticeship in the London print trade in 1640. After seven years he became a freeman of the Stationers ' Company, and from 1647 to 1651 he published twenty-six books, none of them having anything to do with music; twenty-five were political, and 'by 1650 Playford had established himself as a figure of Royalist credentials and sympathies. ' Then, from 1651 to 1659, twenty-four of his twenty-seven publications were music books. This seemingly abrupt shift in his business conceals an underlying continuity: the musicians Playford published, and the poets whose lyrics they set to music, were almost all associated with the Stuart court in the years before the outbreak of the Civil War. Like Humphrey Moseley, who catered to the consumer demand for dramatic texts no longer performable, Playford nostalgically sustained a royalist musical tradition, publishing the work of unemployed musicians for 'a now disempowered and disenfranchised audience and clientele ' (Lindenbaum).


The Civil War, which put an end to the music-making of William Lawes, re-directed the career of John Wilson, and laid the foundations for the music publishing of John Playford, reflected divisions in English culture which go back to the Elizabethan period, and which affected attitudes toward music throughout Middleton's lifetime. As early as 1586, John Case—a Fellow of St John's College at Oxford, and author of Latin philosophical treatises—felt obliged to publish The Praise of Musicke (STC 20184) in answer to truculent attacks, made principally by Puritans. The very titles of some of his individual chapters— 'The Dignity of Music proved both by the rewards and practice of many and most excellent men', 'The Effects and Operation of Music', and 'The Necessity of Music'—resonate with a strong commitment to the art for its use in the general course of life—not only in civil activities, in war-like matters, in the church, but even on the stage. Case responds systematically—and effectively— to Puritan objections that complicated music makes it impossible for all men to sing together, that too much repetition in music makes understanding difficult, and that 'cunning music pleaseth more with the note than the matter ' (Boyd, App. C).

This division of opinion about the merits of music can also be traced in Middleton's work. On the negative side, in Your Five Gallants, a music school is a front for a brothel, where (punning lewdly) 'musica est ars'; in Wit at Several Weapons, a band of musicians is actually a band of thieves; in The Witch, 'there is no villainy but is a tune'. On the positive side, in The Triumphs of Truth the Lord Mayor will hear 'Truth's celestial harmony ' at St Paul's (485); pg 128one of the Honourable Entertainments celebrates 'Music and archery', the gifts of Apollo; and in The Triumphs of Love and Antiquity, 'the musical Orpheus, great master both in poesy and harmony, who by his excellent music drew after him wild beasts, woods, and mountains ' epitomizes 'Harmonious government ' which can charm and tame the wildness of human and animal nature.

The musical form most strongly associated with the representation of 'Harmonious government ' was the masque, a genre of dance drama developed from the mummers ' plays of the medieval period and the disguisings so commonly presented at the early Tudor court. Middleton is known to have written three masques. The libretto of Masque of Cupids, the first, has been lost, but Jowett (1994) has convincingly identified two songs from the masque (items 9 and 10). By contrast, the libretto of the third masque, The World Tossed at Tennis, was printed in 1620, but all the music is apparently lost (or unidentified). Only for the Masque of Heroes do we possess both the printed libretto (1619) and a manuscript containing much of the dance music (items 15–20). This difference in the sources—print for the dramatic text, manuscript for the associated music—reflects a more general pattern of textual segregation. Both scripts and scores were used to create dramatic performances, and both might be owned by the same theatre company; Prince Charles's Men performed both the Masque of Heroes and The World Tossed at Tennis, and in order to do so they would have needed both words and music. But the two types of text were generally produced by different agents (writers v. composers), used by different performers (actors v. musicians), and reproduced by and for different readers. The potential post-performance market for scripts was large enough to warrant the capital investment necessary to produce printed editions of hundreds of copies; the number of people who could read musical notation—and therefore the maximum potential market—was much smaller, and the appetite of that boutique market was more efficiently served by manuscript copying. Actually, the market for musical texts of even a single masque was further divided between those interested in vocal song and those interested in instrumental consorts. Thus, we possess scores for two vocal songs from Masque of Cupids, but no known instrumental music; we possess scores for six pieces of instrumental music for Masque of Heroes, but nothing for the vocal songs. This segregation of music from libretto, and of instrumental from vocal music, often makes it impossible to identify which music belongs with which dramatic text. Almost certainly, the items that we identify and reproduce here are only a fraction of the extant music from the period that was once associated with the Middleton canon.

Although Sabol has identified six pieces of instrumental dance music from The Masque of Heroes, even for that masque we lack choreographies. That gap is not peculiar to Middleton; we lack choreographies for all English masques before 1650. Given the fact that 'at heart the masque is an entertainment of dancing ' (Daye 5), their systematic non-survival is not only unfortunate but remarkable. It demonstrates that anyone interested in reproducing a dance would have done so by imitating a dancer who already knew the steps, rather than by copying or reading a choreography. But it also suggests that the dances may never have been written down, even by the dancing masters who designed them.

James Knowles, in his critical introduction, rightly emphasizes that The Masque of Heroes 'challenges Jonsonian models ' of court masque. Nevertheless, Middleton retained the classic sequence of dances that the participants in the masque would have expected. 'The masque is a dance drama whose meaning is conveyed primarily through patterned movements and gestures rather than the vocal expression of ideas and ideals ' (Sabol 7). The standard dance sequence, outlined by Sabol, can be illustrated by Heroes.

  1. 1. Dances and songs of the antimasquers: Heroes 141.1 (item 15), 231.1–2 (item 16), 266.1 (item 17)

  2. 2. Loud music and the discovery of the scene of the masque: 278.1–3

  3. 3. Song 1: 279–306

  4. 4. Entry dance of the masquers: 306.1–2 (item 18)

  5. 5. Song 2: 307–22

  6. 6. Main dance of the masquers: 322.1 (item 19)

  7. 7. Song 3: 323–31

  8. 8. The measures and the revels: 331.1–2

  9. 9. Song 4: 332–7

  10. 10 Exit dance of the masquers: 337.1 (item 20)

The odd-numbered phases (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) were performed by professional actors, in this case Prince Henry's Men. The word normally used to describe the first phase, 'antimasque', possessed several meanings. As an 'anti-masque ' (Jonson's preferred term), it illustrated the obverse of the chief virtues represented by the masquers themselves. As an 'ante-masque ' (Middleton's preferred term), it consisted of an episode vividly performed before the masquers appeared, a sequence that might have many different meanings. As an 'antic ' masque the term defined the comic or satiric content of its actors ' display; as an 'antique ' masque it underscored on occasion old-fashioned manners and abandoned customs. The music entitled 'The New Year's Gift ' (item 15) was apparently associated with the entry of the presenter figure named New Year. Doctor Almanac chides New Year for goading a sextet of holidays to sin by wilfully causing them to misunderstand their charges rather than by urging them to proceed in a manner to mend their ways. The music for the first antic dance which they perform (item 16) consists of four sections of varying tempo and metre, each of which may be repeated; and each of these four sections varies the measure for a particular individualized display, which (like antic presentations in other Jacobean masques) would more likely be used to support various pantomimic rather than actual formalized dance routines. In each of these sections, one or two of the sextet could successively provide a very short pg 129episode distinguishing the nature of his inability to face, let alone comprehend, his charge. The presence of fermatas, or holds, over various notes in the treble parts indicates a musical means of emphasizing a 'stand', in which an actor/dance could assume and accentuate a telling pose.

The principal masquers (appearing in the even-numbered phases 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10) were 'masked', or disguised, typically as historical or allegorical figures; this disguising contributed to the game-like nature of the occasion. In Masque of Heroes, the masquers represent the Nine Worthies, and were probably the older and more eminent leaders of the legal profession in the Inner Temple (although sometimes masquers were chosen for their exceptional dancing skills, rather than their social pre-eminence). Their formal dances (items 18, 19, 20) would have been specially choreographed by dancing masters. In this masque Middleton celebrates the legal profession by fashioning masquing roles for the benchers and barristers of the legal societies as heroes who are 'deified for their virtues ' (in stark contrast to the sly absurdities advanced by legal professionals in Old Law, written at about the same time).

The eighth phase in the structural sequence outlined above, the measures and the revels, is—typically—only minimally represented by the printed text, but in performance it was the most extended and important part of the occasion. 'The measures, formal and grave, and the revels, spirited and energetic, were the popular social dances of the day ' (Sabol 15). This part of the masque is, effectively, a formal ball, and it always began with a sequence of 'old measures', invariable in Middleton's lifetime (Payne 8). Middleton did not specify these dances in the printed edition of Masque of Heroes, but informed readers of the text would all have known that, when the stage direction calls for the masquers of the Inner Temple to 'make choice of their ladies, and dance ' (331.1–2), they would have begun with these familiar dances in this familiar order. (The parenthetical numbers, below, refer to Ian Payne's transcriptions of the music for these dances, which for six of the eight can be confidently identified from early modern sources.)

  1. 1. The Quadran Pavan (139–40)

  2. 2. Turkeyloney (144–5)

  3. 3. The Earl of Essex's Measures (146)

  4. 4. Tinternel (153–4)

  5. 5. The Old Almain

  6. 6. The Queen's Almain (188)

  7. 7. Cecilia Almain

  8. 8. Black Almain (201)

It could be argued that these dances, which were certainly performed, should be included in our transcriptions of music for Masque of Heroes; doing so would double the number of extant musical texts associated with Middleton's 1619 script, and add eight choreographies. In addition to these guaranteed favourites, manuscript accounts of the 'measures ' danced at the Inns of Court also include a less predictable selection of several newer dances: New Almain, Lorayne Almain, New Cecilia Almain, Brunswick's Almain (182–3), and the Long Pavan. Although these dances appear more haphazardly in the manuscripts, it is likely that one or more of them was danced at this point in Middleton's masque.

As every modern DJ knows, it helps to begin with music and dances that the participants already recognize. This pragmatic logic was formalized in the social dancing of the masque, best described by dance historian Anne Daye. 'Simple dances, well-known to participants, with terre-a-terre steps are the ideal repertoire to start a ball. Participants are comfortable intellectually because they either know the dances or can make a decent showing in them if partnered well. They are also comfortable physically with movements that ease the legs and body gently into action ' (17). These were followed by galliards, corantoes, lavoltas, canaries, passamezzi and spagnolette, 'the proving ground of the serious dancers', requiring a great deal of improvisation and 'either a constant rebounding motion or marked elevation in jumps and lifts. These dances are for one couple at a time to show their mastery, while others watched ' (18).

None of these ballroom dances—the measures or the revels—are danced in the extant text of The World Tossed at Tennis, which represents a text of the masque transformed for performance in a public theatre. The Prologue and Epilogue were certainly added for the new venue; the Prologue's admission that 'we break the stage's laws today | Of acts and scenes ' recognizes, among other things, that the continuous action of the masque does not permit a division into five acts, or the performance of four regularly spaced entr'actes. But the printed text also significantly departs from the normal structure of the masque. It is difficult to tell how much of that difference results from adaptation for the public stage, and how much reflects experimentation with the court form. The masque does contain three songs (267–80, 484–95, and 673–81) and at least four dances (297.1, 374.1/406.1, 681.1–3, 811.1–2); it does distinguish between mute, 'discovered ' noble dancers (the Nine Worthies) and non-noble dancers who also speak or sing (the Five Starches, the Mariners, the world-tossers). It includes speaking deities that descend on machines, and mute roles for the pages who, at indoor nocturnal masques, functioned as torchbearers (the Nine Muses). All these elements must have originated in the masque libretto. And when the Nine Worthies 'dance ' (297.1), they almost certainly recycle one of the three choreographies performed, only a few months before, by the Nine Worthies in the Middleton/Prince's Men Masque of Heroes (items 18, 19, 20). But the printed text entirely lacks the crucial eighth element of the sequence: the ballroom dancing of the measures and the revels—which could not be performed in the public theatre, but would certainly have been expected at Denmark House.

We cannot determine whether, or how, the structure of the original court masque was transformed for staging in the public theatres, but the indubitable historical fact of that transfer is more significant than the conjectural pg 130detail. Plays had been poaching details of masques for a decade: the dance of satyrs in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale may have been transferred from Jonson's Oberon (1611), the morris dance in Shakespeare and Fletcher's The Two Noble Kinsmen from Beaumont's Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray's Inn (1613); one or more of the witches ' dances in Middleton's adaptation of Macbeth (1616) may have been recycled from Jonson's Masque of Queen's (items 13 and 14). The one constant in these transfers is not the playwright but the acting company: here, the King's Men, who had probably danced all those antimasque roles, and wanted to recycle the dances they had been paid to learn for a single court performance into a theatrical spectacle that could attract paying customers. Neither Jonson nor Beaumont had created, or owned, either the music or the choreography for those dances. If anybody 'owned ' the dances, it was the dancers who had danced them, corporealizing them as a series of muscle memories. Like Sellenger's Round, an antimasque dance belonged to anyone who could dance it, as a song belonged to anyone who could sing it, a tune to anyone who could play (or hum) it.

Middleton wrote more masques within plays than any of his contemporaries.31As early as Timon of Athens (1605–6), Middleton had introduced a masque into a play for the public theatres. His Masque of Amazons in Sc. 2, which begins with their entrance 'with lutes in their hands, dancing and playing, ' ends with a representation of the measures/revels, as 'The Lordseach single out an Amazon, and all dance, men with women'. Partly through the deliberate 'rupture of court masquing conventions, ' Middleton positions himself 'in a consciously extramural and critical fashion, ' so that 'the masque offers the audience a satirical commentary on Timon himself—and, by way of the allusion to court masque, on the vices of extravagant consumption and gift-giving embodied in King James ' (Jowett 2006). A similarly critical stance seems evident in the double masque of The Revenger's Tragedy, probably written a few months later (1606), which begins soon after 'a reveling night, | When torch-light made an artificial noon About the court', when 'some courtiers in the masque, Putting on better faces than their own … Singled out ' Antonio's wife. That final verb suggests the normal action of the revels, when noblemen in the masque invited individual women in the audience to dance with them; but in this case 'in the height of all the revels, When music was heard loudest', she was raped, 'amidst a throng', seemingly on the dance floor itself (1.4.26–42). This masque takes place offstage, but Act Five stages two court masques that combine banqueting, music and murder. The wooing masque in Your Five Gallants (1607), the wedding masque of the four elements in No Wit/Help like a Woman's (1611), the masque of old women in Old Law (1619), the rehearsed masque-dance of fools and madmen in The Changeling (1622) are all equally ironic. No texts survive which identify themselves as the scores and choreographies for these masques-within-the-play, but any of them might have appropriated music or dance routines from actual masques, and/or the familiar 'old measures ' of the revels repertory. Indeed, why should new music have been specially created for these texts, when the recycling of existing masque music would have added allusively to both the realism and the irony of the play?

But The World Tossed at Tennis represents something different: not the usual free circulation of independent units of music and dance, but the wholesale appropriation of an elite form for common consumption. It marks a key transition in the musicalization of the public stage, which will culminate in the eighteenth-century 'whole show', The Beggar's Opera, and the rise of melodrama. Before 1600 the adult acting companies made little use of instrumental music, and probably did not have a permanent band of musicians; when they needed extra musical resources, they probably hired some or all of the City Waits (Chan 1980, 32–3). In 1608 the King's Men acquired the Blackfriars theatre and its music consort; 'the new music consort brought the largest single alteration to the King's Men's practices, ' leading them among other things to modify the Globe to provide it with a music room (Gurr 368). Between 1608 and 1616 all the adult companies adopted the practice of entr'acte music and dance, which had originated in the small, high-priced venues of the chorister companies (Taylor 1993). In October 1612 'Jigges att the ende of Playes ' were banned by the Middlesex authorities (Baskervill 116), inspiring playwrights to begin embedding jigs within plays (Mooney).32 Coincidentally, a year after jigs were suppressed Middleton wrote his first Lord Mayor's show, The Triumphs of Truth, and two months later wrote his first masque, the lost Masque of Cupids.

In the remaining decade of his career, from 1614 to 1624, Middleton increasingly transformed plays into a de-privatized, 'commons ' equivalent of court masques. He did so, in part, by reviving the dumb show. The presence of this seemingly old-fashioned device in such sophisticated late Jacobean plays as Hengist, King of Kent (1620), The Changeling (1622), and A Game at Chess (1624) has seemed odd to many critics. But 'dumb show ' is simply a generic label for a carefully choreographed sequence of speechless, stylized movement accompanied by music (Austern 1992, 91–4). In other words, the dumb show is an inset dance drama. We do not think of the Jacobean masque as a form of 'dumb show', but by convention the main masquers did not speak or sing; they participated in a carefully choreographed sequence of speechless, stylized movement accompanied by music, pg 131described in elaborate stage directions like those in Hengist, King of Kent:

  • Oboes. Dumb Show: enter two villains, enter to
  • them Vortiger, seeming to solicit them; gives
  • them gold, then swears them; exit Vortiger.
  • Enter to them Constantius in private meditation,
  • they rudely come to him, strike down his book
  • and draw their swords upon him. He fairly
  • spreads his arms, and yields to their furies; at
  • which they seem to be overcome with pity, but
  • looking on the gold, kill him as he turns his
  • back, and hurry away his body. Enter Vortiger,
  • Devonshire, Stafford in private conference. To
  • them enter the murderers presenting the head
  • to Vortiger; he seems to express much sorrow,
  • and before the astonished lords makes officers
  • lay hold on 'em, who, offering to come towards
  • Vortiger, are commanded to be hurried away as
  • to execution. Then the lords, all seeming respect,
  • crown Vortiger, then bring in Castiza, who seems
  • to be brought in unwillingly, [by] Devonshire
  • and Stafford, who crown her and then give her
  • to Vortiger, she going forth with him with a kind
  • of a constrained consent. Then enter Aurelius and
  • Uther, the two brothers, who, much astonished,
  • seem to fly for their safety
This long choreographic stage direction, at the beginning of 2.2, precedes (in the texts) or perhaps accompanies (in performance) a rhyming speech by the presenter Raynulph—in the same metre as the rhyming song that accompanies the long stage direction introducing the Nine Worthies in The World Tossed at Tennis (267–80). Raynulph, moreover, is a medieval monk, and it would be entirely appropriate for him to chant his lines, here and elsewhere. The distribution of the dumb shows in Hengist does not articulate the play's five-act structure, as do the choruses in Shakespeare's Henry V and Pericles; in Hengist, that structure is already established by four intervals of entr'acte music. Each dumb show occurs, instead, in the middle of an act (1.2, 2.2, and 4.3). Moreover, although only three long stage directions are labelled dumb shows, several other directions call for music and action without speech:

  • Music. Enter certain monkssinging as at procession. (–3)
  • Alarums and Skirmish (
  • Oboes. [Enter] the King and his train, met by Hengist and Hersus; they salute and exeunt, while the banquet is brought forth. Music plays. Enter Vortiger … (–5)
No music has been identified for any of these passages. But the last example is immediately preceded by Simon's lines 'And when that pie is new cut up by some rare cunning pieman, | They shall all lamentably sing, "Put up thy dagger, Simon"' (4.1.24–5). Modern scholars do not note the fact, but the original audiences would have recognized the last five words as a parody of the words of a popular jig, 'Put up thy dagger, Jimmy,' for which an early tune by Giles Farnaby survives.33 It certainly would have been ironically and comically appropriate if the instrumental music that plays during the preparation of the banquet—presumably by the commoners in Simon's train—were 'Put up thy dagger'. Indeed, the dramaturgy here resembles the use of 'Wigmore's Galliard' in Your Five Gallants (item 5), where the words that cue the stage direction for music are themselves the name of a well-known tune. But in Hengist the musical echo serves a more complex, structural function, linking the comic plebeian plot (which serves many of the functions of an antimasque) to the tragic royal plot (which contains all six of these episodes of mime accompanied by music).

Hengist dramatizes not the march but the dance of history. But none of these dumb shows or dance shows occurs in Act 5. The play does, however, end with carefully staged movements that uncannily echo the climactic sequence of many court masques: the initial spectacular appearance of a group of royal and aristocratic masquers above, followed by their gracious descent to the main stage. In the last scene, King Vortiger, Queen Roxana, and the King's favourite (Hersus) all appear 'above', on the battlements of a burning castle—and then in succession each 'falls' into the flames. Like the danced climax of the Jonsonian masque, this spectacularly choreographed ending creates collective 'wonder' (5.2.125), 'astonishment' (127) and 'joy' (208, 219, 221, 222) in the audience, offering the final prospect of 'a fair peaceful kingdom' (225). The final stage direction is for 'music' (Epilogue.10.1).

The long, complex concluding masque in Women, Beware Women is even more spectacular, even more carefully choreographed, and even more comprehensively destructive than the final scene of Hengist; recent critics have recognized that it represents 'a radical reinterpretation of the symbolic court ceremonies that Middleton relentlessly deconstructs' (Tricomi 127). But this final masque with its mythological and pastoral characters is preceded by another scene of dancing, also performed before the Duke and Duchess. 'By means of the discourses of dancing,' Skiles Howard notes, 3.2 'deconstructs inherited assumptions of all sorts about women, value, and dancing … As no subject-position in the play is untainted, neither are any discourses of dancing' (141). But Howard's critical analysis of dance discourse pays little attention to the actual dancing. Structurally, the earlier 3.2 should be the antemasque or antimasque to the masque presented in 5.1, and indeed the earlier scene contains no mythological figures; instead, it mixes dialogue with song, and includes dancing by the grotesque comic figure of the Ward, a stereotypical antimasquer. Moreover, 3.2 reproduces a structure common in folk dance and jigs, pg 132the dance-contest between rival suitors (Baskervill 247–88). Middleton had already staged an explicit dance-duel in Old Law (item 21); here, both the urbane gentleman Hippolito and the foolish Ward dance with Isabella, in succession. This recognizable jig convention would also have encouraged perception of 3.2 as an antimasque.

But Middleton complicates the expected binary structure. First, the final masque contains no social dancing; it never reaches the final phases of the entertainment, in which male masquers single out female members of the audience and lead them into the revels. By contrast, the 'antimasque' of 3.2 consists entirely of social dancing by guests at the ducal banquet: Hippolito—described as 'a fine-timbered reveler' (3.2.183)—leads out Isabella (a typical move), who changes partners in the second dance (another typical move). Thus, although the play preserves the grounded-clown-antimasque/flying-deities-masque binary, it reverses the normal sequence of dancing: it begins with revels, and ends with a systematically anti-social (indeed, sociopathic) main masque, a climax of discord rather than harmony. Secondly, 3.2 itself reverses the normal order of the masque: it begins with elegant courtly dancing, and is immediately followed by grotesque clown dancing. Thirdly, the Fool normally defeats the Gentleman in dancing-contest jigs, but here the Gentleman has beaten his rival before the dancing even begins; Hippolito is already Isabella's lover, though the Ward is her fiancé. The Ward's clowning probably endears him to at least a significant portion of the audience, which can also be expected to disapprove, morally, of the incestuous extramarital relationship between Isabella and Hippolito. Nevertheless, these allegiances must compete with our actual experience of the dancing.

  • Music. [Hippolito and Isabella] dance, making honours to the Duke and curtsey to themselves both before and after (–3)

The perfect symmetrical formality of the etiquette here points to what must be the most noticeable effect of the dance: Hippolito and Isabella dance beautifully together. They embody what Sir Thomas Elyot famously praised as the 'associating of man and woman in dancing, they both observing one number and time in their movings' (77). We know this, despite the absence of a choreography or report of their dance, because the surrounding dramatic script tells us a great deal about these two dancers. Both characters are young and beautiful; both are trained dancers who have been praised, before they begin, for their ability; their long friendship, followed by their more recent experience as lovers, makes them sensitive and responsive to each other's movements, united in what Ravelhofer describes as the 'muscular and acoustic bonding' of social dancing (64). They communicate silently and interactively through what the Renaissance dancing master Fabritio Caroso in 1600 called a 'pedalogue', or 'foot conversation' between a gentleman and lady (164). No one speaks during their dance; they have the undivided attention of the audience, on stage and off, and their performance is immediately followed by the Duke's praise. The aesthetic and emotional effect of this dance—the most perfect romantic couples dance in Middleton, or indeed anywhere in the drama of his time—is at least as powerful as the ironic discourse that surrounds it.

Ironic critical readings of this dance (and others) presuppose an audience's emotional distance from the dance. They ignore what the influential twentieth-century dancer and dance theorist John Martin called 'kinetic empathy' ('the inherent contagion of bodily movement which makes the onlooker feel sympathetically in his own musculature the exertions he sees in somebody else's musculature'). Martin also wrote of 'metakinesis' ('muscular and kinesthetic sympathy linking the dancer's intention to the viewer's perception of it') and 'motor responsiveness'. Roger Copeland called it 'kinetic responsiveness' ('the brand of empathy that most directly unites the dancer and his or her audience'); Adolphe Appia used the phrase 'rhythmic discipline' ('the experience of rhythm in the body by the audience as well as the performer').34 This process of mimetic contagion is also obviously relevant to the history and sociology of 'dance frenzy' (the tarantella, St Vitus ' dance, the Ghost Dance), and to Peggy Phelan's analysis of the relationship between dance and hysteria. Whatever we call it, anyone who regularly attends dance performances will recognize the phenomenon. Indeed, the same 'resonance effect' has been described by film theorists and musicologists.35

But this audience echo of the proprioception of the performer takes different historical and social forms, depending on the form of the performance itself. As dance anthropologist Cynthia Jean Cohen Bull argued, spectators are less likely to 'identify physically and kinaesthetically with the dancers' in proscenium arch theatres with very large auditoriums, but more likely to do so if spectators are 'in close proximity to the performance space,' able to 'hear the sound of the dancers' footsteps and breathing.' The effect will also be enhanced by 'the mutual experience of touch', and it will propagate more easily in cultures where dance is a regular part of everyday life. Although Bull did not relate these remarks to the ethnography of early modern London or the architecture of its playhouses, anyone familiar with those field conditions will immediately realize that the early modern theatres were perfect echo chambers for generating kinetic empathy, and that early modern spectators were perfect receptors and transmitters of metakinsesis. The wooden platform stage, with an empty space beneath it, was effectively an enormous drum, which dancers could use as a percussion instrument, played with the feet. Moreover, unlike classical dance, the early modern commercial theatre pg 133did not attract passive, well-behaved, physically inhibited ('tight-assed') spectators: it was notorious for the kind of 'participating audience' that Robert Harrold wanted for modern dance, 'taking part in the dance event as a spectator by clapping, singing, shouting encouragement' (Monthland 555). These architectural and social condition help to explain why the jig was so prominent in the history of the early commercial theatre. Middleton himself provides evidence of the importance of kinetic empathy in what are probably his earliest memories of the theatre: in two of his early pamphlets he wrote of the 'lamentable action of one arm' in Titus Andronicus (Father Hubburd's Tales 936–7) and compared the 'stalking' of Tamburlaine to 'spindle-shank spiders' (Black Book 415–18). What stood out in his recollection of those two enormously popular, high-impact plays, first performed when he was between the ages of eight and fourteen, was not ideas, or even sound, but the movement of arms and legs.

These theatrical conditions also affect an audience's experience of the second dance in this scene from Women, Beware Women.

  • Music. Ward and Isabella dance; he ridiculously imitates Hippolito (–2)
The Duke and Bianca speak during this dance, and apparently interrupt it before its conclusion; it lacks both the intensity of focus and the formal symmetry of the first dance. Nevertheless, although the Ward as a character is clearly no match for Hippolito, the actor playing the Ward may be the company's best dancer: it takes extraordinary skill and precision to convincingly perform a specimen of bad dancing, in a way that signals to the audience that the ineptitude is the character's rather than the performer's. Indeed, that is why professional actor/dancers performed the antimasques at court. The Ward's ridiculous dance was almost certainly more athletic than Hippolito's. Like other aspects of such clown roles, it stands half-in and half-out of the fiction: the dance simultaneously displays the ineptitude of the Ward and the tour-de-force charisma of the actor.

Within this context, 'ridiculously imitates' has multiple meanings. First, it demonstrates the potential of what Ravelhofer calls 'dramatic characterization by movement: mimesis by kinesis' (64). This is how all dancing was taught: one dancer imitating the movements of another, more accomplished dancer. This reverses the dynamic of the court masque, because in this normal pedagogical situation the better dancer always dances first. In this sense, the imitation is ridiculous because the act of mimesis so obviously fails. It stages the failure of our impulse to kinetic empathy, an impulse that we as spectators share with the Ward. But in so far as the professional performer perfectly imitates the ridiculous dancing of an untaught amateur, the imitation will be ridiculous, will make the audience laugh, because it succeeds in its characterization of a fool like the Ward. Finally, the performer who 'ridiculously imitates' might mimic, or mis-mimic, Hippolito's dancing so astutely that he makes the audience laugh at Hippolito, rather than—or in addition to—the Ward.

The Ward's dance must have been specific to Women, Beware Women; it could not have been imported from elsewhere, because its function and meaning entirely depend on imitation of Hippolito's dance. Nice Valour (1622) also requires a dance that must have been choreographed specifically for that play. But whereas the Ward's dance was probably created by the actor who played the character, and could easily have varied in each performance, the dance specific to Valour was apparently choreographed by Middleton (–5.1.86):

  •      Enter Lepet and Clown, and four other like fools,
  •      dancing, the Cupid leading, and bearing his Table,
  •      and holding it up to Lepet at every strain, and
  •      acting the postures
  •      [First strain]
  • LEPET Twinge all, now; twinge, I say.
  •      Second strain
  •   Souse upon souse.
  •      Third strain
  •   Douses single.
  •      Fourth strain
  •   Jostle sides.
  •      Fifth strain
  •   Knee belly.
  •      Sixth strain
  •   Kicksy buttock.
  •      Seventh strain
  •   Down derry.
This passage reminds us that choreographies are simply stage directions. This sequence of stage directions provides the most specific set of dance moves in any early modern English play, and it duplicates the form and some of the vocabulary of the surviving manuscript choreographies. It links specific moves to successive strains of music. 'Douses single' transfers to the douse one of the most common dance moves of the period, the 'single' (usually two steps forward or two steps back, closing the feet). 'Jostle sides' parodies the normal abbreviation 'sides' (indicating that dancers stand side by side). 'Twinge', indicating a sharp pain, often in the abdomen, might suggest a contorted doubling over, in place of the elegant bow normal at the beginning of dances. Knees were used when lifting a partner (Brissenden plate 6a)—though, of course, the joke here depends on the fact that a knee to the belly is not a normal dance move. Kicks are common enough in dances, but 'Kicksy buttock' seems to allude more specifically to kicksey-winsey, a word of uncertain meaning and etymology, variously spelled, that the Oxford English Dictionary records between 1599 and 1650, associated with galliards, Italian tricks, with something that 'starts up … and goes out again', or something 'here, and there, and here again, and all at once', or something 'overthrown'. Likewise, the phrase 'hey down' occurs in many traditional ballads, and may be related to a specific dance step; alternatively, 'down' pg 134is used in choreographies to indicate the opposite of 'up' (closer to the presence); here, 'down' may indicate that the dancers all fall to the floor.

That we cannot recover the exact moves indicated by these instructions is not surprising; the same can be said of most early choreographies. The exceptional feature of this dance is the mere fact of its textualization: the dancers respond to formulaic verbal commands ('Twinge all'), but they also mimic the steps/postures described in Lepet's 'table'. That table is a stage property, a material text that governs everyone's performance. Indeed, Lepet's table epitomizes what Susan Leigh Foster calls 'choreographies of gender': the instructions governing a dance resemble the set of social codes that individuals internalize and interpret in order to construct their own idiosyncratic performance of sexual identity. Specifically, Lepet choreographs masculinity as farcically heroic masochism. A body is male, as James Casey would say, only in so far as it offers itself up for destruction. Moreover, because Lepet is a courtier, whose dance has been specially commissioned, Nice Valour mimics, here, the rehearsals for court masques, with a dancing master training courtiers in an original, specially-choreographed series of predetermined moves. Within the fiction, these dancers are not actors, but courtiers; therefore, within the fiction Lepet's dance (near the end of the play) belongs to the masquers. But it clearly belongs to the genre of antimasque dances—just as the earlier dance, led by Cupid in 2.1, apparently belonged to the genre of main masques. Middleton again inverts, in a politically significant way, the normal sequence of the Jonsonian masque. But it also seems clear that the earlier dance was not particularly remarkable, formally or musically; it does not need to be, and indeed if it were too interesting it would disrupt the scene. Middleton saves the most dramatic and memorable masquing for the end.

Unfortunately, the music for Lepet's choreography either does not survive or has not been identified—though the music does survive for the extraordinarily popular song 'Hence, all you vain delights' (item 23). By contrast, for Spanish Gypsy (1623) we do possess what seems to be an original choreography combined with its original music (item 25). That does not mean that all the play's music was original; indeed, its first dance seems to be sung to an earlier tune by William Byrd (item 24). And others might have appropriated music and moves from Jonson's 1621 masque, Gypsies Metamorphosed. Only one piece of music from that masque has survived, and its tune does not fit any of the lyrics in Gypsy. However, it—or any of the other dance tunes used in the masque—could have been played to accompany the wordless dance(s) that the Gypsies dance at and Certainly, the middle of 3.2 creatively appropriates the main action of Jonson's masque, in which each Gypsy tells the fortune of one of the noble spectators in a variety of lyric metres. More generally, the play duplicates the structure of the court masque, with a series of exoticized Gypsy dances in Acts 3 and 4 followed, in the final moments of Act 5, by a heterosexual social dance that duplicates many of the features of the revels. But this structure does not simply mirror the masque in order to ape or appropriate élite culture. As Suzanne Gossett emphasizes in her critical introduction, the Gypsy performances mediate and enable the play's emotional trajectory from rape to rejoicing.

The Spanish Gypsy contains more songs and dances than any other play in the Middleton canon. By contrast, A Game at Chess is usually read as a political text, not a musical or dance drama. But our initial introduction to the chess game is a dance. 'Music' accompanies the mute, symmetrical entrance of both the White and Black Houses 'in order' (Induction.52.1–2); they do not speak or sing or do anything until 'as in a dance, they glide away' (76). Middleton's image of chess ballet was almost certainly inspired by the dancing chessmen of Rabelais or Colonna (Yachnin); it may have extended beyond the introductory dance to affect the movement of all the characters, which could have been systematically stylized. Certainly, this initial dumb show was followed, in early performances, by four entr'actes, which might also have featured dancing, and by another musical dumb show of symmetrically moving chess pieces (4.3). But Middleton reserved the play's most spectacular choreography for Act 5. The climax of the arrival of the White Knight and Duke in the Black House—mimicking the arrival of Prince Charles and Buckingham in Madrid, eighteen months before—is 'Music' played by invisible musicians (, followed by the discovery of 'an altarrichly adorned, with tapers on it, and divers statues standing on each side' (33.1–2), followed by a song beginning with the word 'Wonder' (37). During the song, the 'tapers set themselves on fire' (42), then the 'brazen statues move' (44) and finally 'dance' (46.1). These spectacular effects clearly characterize the Catholicism of the Black House as idolatrous (Taylor 2001). But they also unmistakably recall two other court masques associated with a Stuart royal marriage. Francis Beaumont's The Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray's Inn (1613), which celebrated the wedding of Elizabeth Stuart to the Elector Palatine, included 'Jupiters Altar gilt, with three great Tapers vpon golden Candlesticks burning vpon it: and the foure Statuaes, two of gold, and two of siluer, as supporters' (my italics). A song promises us that the statues 'Shall daunce for ioy of these great Nuptialls,' and they do so:

These Statuaes were attired in cases of gold and siluer close to their bodie, faces, hands and feete, nothing seene but gold and siluer, as if they had been solid Images of mettall, Tresses of haire as they had been of mettall imbossed, girdles and small aprons of oaken leaues, as if they likewise had been carued or molded out of the mettall: at their comming the Musicke changed from Violins to Hoboyes, Cornets, &c. And the ayre of the Musicke was vtterly turned into a soft time, with drawing notes, excellently expressing their natures, and the Measure likewise was fitted vnto the same, and the Statuaes placed in such seuerall pg 135postures, sometimes all together in the Center of the daunce, and sometimes in the foure vtmost Angles, as was very gracefull besides the noueltie: and so concluded the first Anti-masque.

This dance was so effective that, after the masque had finished, King James asked for it to be danced again. The dance in Game cannot have been identical, because Middleton's statues are 'brazen' rather than gold or silver. But everything else could have been transferred from the masque. Indeed, the music (Sabol 402) might also have been used in Game. This recycling of material from the masque would not only have been characteristic of the King's Men's appropriation of music, spectacle, and dance from court entertainments. It would also, for anyone who recognized the allusion, have contrasted the proposed (brazen) marriage of Prince Charles to a Spanish Catholic with the earlier (gold and silver) marriage of Princess Elizabeth to a German Protestant. Indeed, this scene from A Game at Chess might have borrowed from two different masques which celebrated the 1613 wedding: The Lords ' Masque, written by Thomas Campion and designed by Inigo Jones, also contains 'foure Noble women-statues of siluer' who are 'transformed' into living women during a 'full song' written in the same tetrameters as Middleton's song.36

But the spectacular metamorphosis and dance in 5.1 were themselves trumped by the carefully choreographed ending of the play, in which the captured Black pieces are thrown into the bag. That is not a dance. But its formal symmetry mimics the beginning of the revels, as each White aristocrat selects a corresponding Black aristocrat and leads him or her across the stage: the White King the Black King, the White Queen the Black Queen, the White Knight the Black Knight, the White Duke the Black Duke (5.3.200–213). Though it lacks music, this ending duplicates the dance at the end of Spanish Gypsy (item 25), a 'longways' dance of four couples.

According to one contemporary witness, the White Knight 'kicked' the Black Knight into the bag ( Kicks are, of course, potential dance steps, and Lepet's masochistic dance apparently involves being kicked: in another scene Lepet is 'beaten to a tune' (3.4.52), rhythmically pounded to the beat of the music. We normally do not equate dancing with fighting. But if we take an ethnographic approach to dance, if we conceptualize dance studies as performance studies, then we should immediately recognize the overlap between the two forms of early modern movement. The twentieth century defined fencing as a sport and dancing as an art, but 'dancesport' versions of ballroom dancing now aspire to the same Olympic status as fencing, ice-skating and gymnastics (Picart). We have already noted the easy slippage, in masques and Lord Mayor's shows, between dancers and fencers. In Middleton's London, Italians taught fencing as well as dancing. Hippolito, the 'fine-timbered reveler' who out-dances and cuckolds the amateur Ward in 3.2 of Women, Beware Women, is also the expert swordsman who out-duels and murders the amateur Leantio in 4.2. The Nine Worthies of Masque of Heroes and World Tossed at Tennis are all soldiers; sword-dances and warlike dances are a regular part of the early modern repertoire, popular and courtly. Pre-modern wars were fought to instrumental accompaniment: in such a military regime, soldiers are 'musical', and 'strike … to a consort of drum, trumps, and fife' (Quarrel 1.1.97–9). Then as now, staged fights are as carefully choreographed as staged dances; indeed, sometimes more carefully choreographed, because unrehearsed swordplay can be more dangerous (Edelman). Moreover, the modern Anglo-American gendering of dance distorts our perception of its relationship to dueling. The stereotype of the 'effeminate' male dancer does not develop until decades after Middleton's death (Jordan). The precision and athleticism of dance aligns it, instead, with early modern martial arts. So does the fact that most dancing, from the morris to the Inns of Court, was all-male. All the dancers in Middleton's plays and masques were males. Whereas postmodern dance studies naturally emphasize the 'male gaze' focused upon the dancing female body, Middleton's spectators (male and female alike) were gazing at, and kinetically empathizing with, male bodies.

Schoenbaum argued that The Revenger's Tragedy is a dance of death. Certainly, the first scene, with a skull-wielding presenter and a dumb-show procession of courtiers, supports that reading. Certainly also, Middleton knew the medieval ballad of 'the shaking of the sheets'.37But the dance of death was a gender-neutral equal-opportunity dance 'for as many as may be'. Middleton transform the dance of death into something less traditional, less processional, more sudden, violent, elegant, and exclusively male.

  • The revengers dance; at the end, steal out their
  • swords, and these four kill the four at the table in
  • their chairs.
Jacobean masquers, at the beginning of the revels, stepped out of the frame to select individuals from the audience, inviting them to join the dance. These revengers, likewise, step out of the frame, each choosing a single individual from the audience, and, in a single synchronized movement, each pushes a blade into the startled body of his chosen partner.

The dissolution of the distinction between dancing and fencing can still be seen in southern Italy, especially Puglia, in the traditional danza scherma (Monaco). This is an all-male version of a popular folk dance called the pizzica, in which a man dances around a woman, trying to seduce her without ever touching her; in the danza scherma, two men dance around each other, trying to kill pg 136each other. It was originally a knife-dance. Antonio Gramsci acknowledged that, when the two men really hated each other—as Sicilians and Calabrians normally do— 'even a practice session turns into something serious and cruel.' In the prison competition Gramsci witnessed, 'the weapons were simple ones: spoons rubbed against a wall in order to leave whitewash marks on clothing'. Unlike the pizzica (which has become a major tourist attraction), the danza scherma is not often publicly performed, or taught, and the only example I have seen was not advertised, and took place away from the main piazza. But the dance is, as Gramsci claimed, a 'grandiose, unforgettable scene for everyone, actors and spectators alike' (11 April 1927). I found it more intimate than any heterosexual dance I have ever watched, or performed. Though the men were not using knives, each watched and responded to the other as though his life depended on anticipating the next split-second move, flicker, feint, orbiting each other like binary stars with a shared centre of gravity, orbits sometimes circular, sometimes elliptical, closer, farther, the tension relaxing and tightening, the feet constantly moving as though of their own volition, neither man daring to monitor his own footwork because neither could afford to take his eyes off his partner/rival, and the witnesses (witnesses to a performance, which might one felt at any moment become a crime), the witnesses too could not afford to take their eyes off the dancers, aware as we were, aware as they were, that it could all be over in a heartbeat, the heartbeat that stopped a heart from beating, beating to the relentless rhythm of that tamburella, the round tamburella governing the round dance, the men beating the tamburella so violently, repetitively, remorselessly that it left blood on the stretched skin of the instrument. The dancer who won, who ended the dance by a lightning lunge through the other man's defences, the man who if they had been dancing with knives would have cut the other man's throat, never stopped smiling. I had never realized how aggressive, how unnerving, a smile could be. I now imagine Hippolito smiling, in just that way, as he dances with, and deftly skewers, Leantio.

In his adaptation of Macbeth, Middleton apparently added the stage direction that requires Macduff to duel and kill Macbeth on stage ( He scripted the duel between Captain Ager and the Colonel in Fair Quarrel (3.1), and the final scene of Hengist, where Vortiger and Hersus rhythmically and repeatedly stab each other over the course of fifty lines of dialogue (5.2.86–136). None of these choreographed duets is set to music. But neither is the Old Knight's dance in Wit at Several Weapons; as he insists, 'I can dance without music' (5.2.147–8). Dance requires only a body or bodies in rhythmical motion. Academic representations of early modern theatre and culture tend to privilege stillness over motion, the fixed over the ephemeral, the stable text over the moving body (Skantze). The text, after all, is still with us; the moving body has moved on. But we must nevertheless remember, and attempt to describe, 'the phenomenological experience of movement in early modern theatre' (Smith 2004). After all, it was the moving body, not the dead text, which moved early modern spectators. Middleton wrote texts to move bodies.

Editorial Note on the Music

The following transcripts have been modified to the extent that standard modern notation is used: the C clef has been replaced by the G and F clefs, bar lines have been added or rearranged when necessary, and the original key signatures have been replaced by their modern 'equivalents' when the modal colour of a piece is not obscured by that treatment. The original notations of emended passages are given in the individual notes to the music. Editorial accidentals have been used sparingly. Accidentals obviously required by the context are silently added before the notes they affect. Superscript trills are all editorial. Ornaments have been included very rarely, chiefly because the use of appoggiaturas as well as trills was determined largely by the individual performer rather than the composer, as variants between early texts indicate. Fermatas occurring in the middle of an item are retained, but those placed routinely at the end of a piece have been omitted. No indications of tempo or dynamics have been supplied since the dramatic context for each song and the character of the music will be found to be the surest guides to interpretation. Lute tablatures have been transcribed for keyboard. The words that appear with stage songs are taken from the text of The Collected Works, unless otherwise noted; full collations of verbal variants are given in the Textual Notes to each passage, elsewhere in this Companion.

pg 137

1-34 A - las, I am condemned, a - las, I am condemned, I am condemned A - las, I am condem - ned, condemned ev - er, con-demned ev - er, condemned ev - er. I am con- ev - er, No hope, no help there doth re-main, but__down, down, down, down I fall, down, demned ev - er. No hope, no help there doth re-main, but down, down, down, down, down I fall, but down, down, down, down I fall down and a - rise__ down and a - rise________ I nev - er down, down, down, down, down, down I fall, down and a - rise, down and a - rise, a rise I nev - er shall, but down, down,__ down, down, I fall, but down, down, down, down I fall, down shall, but down, down, down, down, down I fall, but down, down, down, down, down, down I fall, and a - rise, down and a - rise__________________ I nev - er shall. down and a - rise, down and a - rise, a - rise, a rise, a - rise, a - rise, a - rise I nev - er shall.

1. Sorrow, Sorrow, Stay

with the words "down, down, down I fall"

John Dowland

Middleton text.

Sung by Bellafront, the female protagonist and leading boy actor for the Prince's Men, in The Patient Man and the Honest Whore (1604), 6.32–3 (Works, p. 297).

Musical copy-text.

The Second Book of Songs and Ayres of 2, 4, and 5 with Tablature for the Lute and Orpharion, with the Violl da Gamba (1600; STC 7095), C1v–C2, No. 3, entitled 'Sorrow, sorrow, stay'. The present edition of this dramatic lament includes only the refrain as it appears in both the Canto and viol da gamba parts, the former with pg 138text underlay, omitting the first 34 measures. A modern edition of the complete text with specified accompaniment may be found in Fellowes (1922), vol. 5, Part I.

Its use in The Patient Man and The Honest Whore is limited to the Canto part, and only to its refrain, beginning in the latter part of the piece with the words 'down, down, down I fall'. We have printed the whole refrain here on the assumption that at least some members of the audience would be familiar with the larger musical and textual context of one of Dowland's most famous melancholy songs, which clearly establishes that Bellafront is contemplating damnation and repentance. See Jorgens, vol. 12, p. 500, for notes on mid-century arrangements of 'Sorrow, sorrow, stay' for solo voice and viols appearing in British Library Add. 17780, ff. 4v–5v and in Add. 37402, ff. 58v–59; these attest to its continuing appeal in the ensuing decades. It may be of interest to note that Middleton mentions Dowland's Lachrimae in No Wit/Help like a Woman's, 1.229.

This song first appeared in a book that provoked a series of lawsuits (summarized by Dowling), which reveal a great deal about the routines of music printing and publishing in this period. Dowland had been appointed lutenist to Christian IV of Denmark in 1599, and his dedication was written from Elsinore and dated 1 June 1600. On July 15, the book was registered at Stationers' Hall under the name of the music printer Thomas East; by August 2, printing was finished and the books were ready for sale. In the two months between manuscript dedication and printed books, the manuscript had been transported from Denmark to London, and had then been the subject of a series of complicated transactions and transformations. Dowland's wife was paid for his manuscript, which passed from her to George Eastland (who was promised half of any money that the dedication might elicit). Eastland was a gentleman, not a publisher or printer, but he effectively acted the part of a publisher: he acquired and owned the manuscript, paid for the printing, announced on the title-page that copies were to be sold at his house, and supplied members of the Stationers' Company with copies they sold retail. Nevertheless, because he was not a Stationer, Eastland could not register his copyright in the book; East therefore had to act as his proxy. But East himself was acting as a proxy for the holders of the music patent, the composer Thomas Morley and the otherwise unknown Christopher Heybourn. Eastland contacted East, in the first place, because he 'had the name for the true imprintinge of musicke'. They initially drafted a written contract, but East changed his mind about the terms, and the final contract was an oral agreement.

The publisher Eastland paid £20 to Mrs. Dowland for the manuscript; £10 to the printer East, nine pounds and fifteen shillings to the holders of the patent, and two shillings to East's servants in the print shop. Eastland paid 7 pounds 6 shillings 6 pence for the paper, and another shilling for waste paper. Finally, to East and his servants Eastland paid 2 shillings and sixpence for 'almost A whole weekMIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer worke', according to East: 'for gatheringe collacōninge and mendinge foure faltMIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer in the copie booke & not knowne of till the booke was fully finished for the mendinge of wch faltMIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer this defendt' and his servantMIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer did MIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Kettereruse over foure Thowsand sheetMIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer or thereaboutMIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer'.

East agreed to print a thousand copies of Dowland's book, and in addition one quire of paper to every heap of two reams used therein. The book was a folio and contained twelve and a half sheets; therefore twenty-five reams would be required to print a thousand copies, and from those extra reams could be printed an additional twenty-five copies. The extra copies were to be used 'for proofes & sutch Copie bookMIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer as were accustomably to be allowed to one Mr Morly and Mr Heyborne and sutch as did worke in printing of the same'. Unfortunately for Eastland, two of East's apprentices surreptitiously printed thirty-three extra copies, presumably because the success of Dowland's First Booke led them to expect a lot of demand for the sequel. Since they legitimately acquired three copies from East and Eastland (their part of the extra twenty-five, explicitly contracted), the two apprentices had thirty-six illicit copies, which they could and did sell for their own profit. Normally, the publisher would not have noticed these black market copies; after all, they represented less than four per cent of the copies he had for sale. But Eastland did not plan to sell any copies until Michaelmas Term: he wanted to distribute presentation copies to music patrons in advance of general publication, hoping to be rewarded for such 'gifts' with more than the retail price. The circulation of the illicit copies therefore spoiled his efforts to maximize his profit by controlling the timing of publication. Moreover, the illicit copies undercut his intended price.

East complained that, although the books cost Eastland only about twelve pence a piece, he 'doth sell the sayd bookMIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer for foure shillingMIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer six pence a peece in quires, the booke contayninge but twelue sheetMIDDLETON, MUSIC, AND DANCE Gary Taylor and Andrew J. Sabol assisted by John Jowett and Lizz Ketterer and a halfe, to the Companie of Statōners, Albeit other musicke of as greate skill or knowledge is sould for two pence the sheete or vnder'. East was not complaining about the retail price, but about the wholesale price at which Eastland sold copies to stationers; those retailers would normally expect to increase the retail price by one-third of the wholesale price, making their own profit from that difference.

The book sold at that price contained only twenty-two short songs. The two folio pages dedicated to 'Sorrow, sorrow, stay' included only sixty words of verse. That is part of the reason music publishers were working for a very specialized market. Like Dowland's First Booke, the second was printed in tablature, with different parts facing in different directions on any given opening: the format was designed for performers. For that reason, 'one cannot say that there was a reading public for musical printing, but only a using public' (Boorman, 227).

pg 139

O, brave Arthur of Brad ley, then shall he! O, brave Arthur of Brad ley, then shall he! O, brave Arthur of Brad ley, then shall he!

2. O brave Arthur of Bradley!

Middleton text.

Patient Man and Honest Whore, 15.448 (Works, p. 326). Bellafront, who is pretending to be mad, says 'O, brave Arthur of Bradley then, shall he!' Her first five words are a quotation from the refrain of a ballad, which is repeated several times at the end of each of its eleven stanzas. Though the ballad dates from the sixteenth century, its words were first printed in Sportive Wit: The Muses Merriment (1656; Wing P2113), pp. 81–7, and An Antidote against Melancholy (1661; Wing D66A), pp. 16–19. The ballad is all about Arthur's wedding, so it is clearly relevant to the context. Singing scraps of old songs is a standard way of indicating madness (most famously exemplified by Ophelia).

Musical copy-text.

Chappell points out (2:539–40) that the ballad seems to have been sung to the traditional tune of 'Roger de Coverley', which has been used for many different sets of lyrics. The earliest extant notation for the 'Roger de Coverley' tune was included as one of the additional items (p. 167) in the ninth edition of John Playford's The Dancing Master (1695; Wing P2499), printed in oblong duodecimo format. Barlow provides a critically edited modern transcription (item 341, p. 82); the ballad-tune websites of Foxley and Robinson also provide modern versions.

Thomas Ravenscroft, Melismata

3. For the convenience of musicians this setting distributes the four parts across a single opening of the book. (Compare Triumphs of Truth.) The rectangular notes and the absence of bar lines are typical.

My ma - steris so wise, sowise, that he's pro-ceed-ed wit-tol, My Mis-tressis a fool, a fool, and yet 'tis the most get-all. Let the U - surer cram him in interest that ex - cel, There's pits, there's pits enough to damn him be - fore he goes to hell. In Holborn some, in Fleet Street some: Where e'er he come, there's

3. My master is so wise

Thomas Ravenscroft

pg 140 pg 141
some, there's some. Where e'er he come, where e'er he come, where e'er he come, There's some, there's some.

Middleton text.

Sung by Audrey, a younger boy performing for the Children of Paul's, in A Trick to Catch the Old One (1605), 4.5.1–4 (Works, p. 406).

Musical copy-text.

Thomas Ravenscroft's Melismata Musicall phansies. Fitting the court, citie, and countrey humours. To 3, 4, and 5. voices, printed by William Stansby for Thomas Adams (1611; STC 20758), item '12.', sig. C3v–D1, entitled 'The Scriueners seruants Song of Holborne'. (See Illus. 3.) In this title the word 'seruants' is ambiguous, and could be modernized as a singular possessive (servant's) or a plural possessive (servants'). The title of Ravenscroft's book insists on multiple voices, and the music to this song specifies '4.Voc.', identified as Medius, Treble, Tenor, and Bassus. In Middleton's play it is sung by one character, and it is here transcribed as a solo setting to be accompanied by an instrumental consort presumably of viols, for treble, medius, tenor and bassus, the vocal part doubling the instrumental medius part. It is unlikely that the song was sung by four voices in 4.5 of Trick, but a four-voice version might have been performed during one of the entr'actes, or Ravenscroft might simply have treated the instrumental material as vocal in order to accommodate the song to the others in Melismata.

Original readings.

The setting includes two lines of the lyric which do not appear in the quarto of A Trick to Catch the Old One, licensed for printing in 1607 and published in 1608. That quarto was apparently set from an authorial manuscript, not fully prepared for performance or publication. (See the Textual Introduction in this volume, p. 562.) Middleton, or Middleton and Ravenscroft together, might have expanded the song, in the course of rehearsing and preparing the play for performance.

Ravenscroft was a composer as well as an active musician performing in several plays of the Children of Paul's in the early years of the seventeenth century. In his dedicatory epistles he often signs himself T. R. B. M., proud of his bachelor of music degree. A full transcript of this setting appears in Sabol (1959), 3–9, and its opening measures also in Austern (1992), 253. Several items sung in choirboy plays appear not only in Melismata, but also in A Brief Discourse (1614). His earlier collections— Pammelia (1609) and Deuteromelia (1609)—consist largely of rounds, catches, and three-men's songs of the day.

pg 142

4. The Slip

4. The Slip

Choreography from Playford.

Longways for as many as will









  • A. Honour to the presence all. A strain played once. Honour to your own. A strain played twice.

  • B. The two first men take hands, and the two first women take hands, and fall back from each other, men and women open, close again and changes places each with his own. A strain played once. Fall back again, open, close, and change places as before. A strain played twice.

  • A. First man lead his woman down half way and honour to her. A strain played once. Lead her to the bottom, and honour to her. A strain played twice.

  • B. Then take hands with the last man, his woman taking hands with the last woman, fall back from each other, open, close, and changes places as before, the four uppermost doing the like at the same time. A strain played once. That again as at first. The strain played twice.

  • A. The second man lead down his woman as before. A strain played twice.

  • B. This as before, the rest following in order.

Middleton text.

A Mad World, My Masters (1605), 5.2.316.1 (Works, p. 450). The first edition (1608) does not indicate a final exeunt; the second edition (1640) advertises that the play 'hath been often acted' at the Salisbury Court theatre, and adds a stage direction after the final line, 'The end of the fifth and last Act: marching over the Stage hand in hand'. Both Whitlocke and Kiek identify this final march/dance as 'The Slip'. The title phrase appears seven times in the last scene of Middleton's play; elsewhere in the period it never appears more than twice in any scene, play, or masque, and never elsewhere as a title. The first production would normally have concluded with a dance, and this might have been it: see item 3 for another example of original musical material not present in Middleton's manuscript of a play for Paul's Boys. Alternatively, this particular dance might have been added in Caroline revivals. (Compare item 11.) In either case, 'The Slip' transforms the conventional final jig/dance into something relevant to the fiction. (Compare item 25.)

Musical copy-text.

John Playford's The English Dancing Master (1651), item 104 (sig. O4v). The second edition (1652) altered the music, principally by transposing it down a tone from D major to C major. This score was then retained in all subsequent editions. Barlow gives a modernized critical edition of both scores (item 93, p. 35). For a more detailed discussion of Playford, see item 25 below.


'This dance, with its ceremonial tune,' Dean-Smith observes, 'is not so much a "dance" in the social sense as a formal departure … No man dances with a woman other than his own—and as in each repetition the diminished company "honours the Presence", the last couple in the set withdraws from the scene' (88). This is the last dance in Playford's book, and is, as she says, 'a proper conclusion'—but it would also for that reason make a proper conclusion to Middleton's play. Playford imposes heterosexual pairings on all his choreographies, reflecting the norms of mid-century social dancing; but in theatrical dances men often formed couples, so Playford's 'as many as will' could include the entire on-stage cast.

pg 143

5. Wigmore's Galliard

5. Wigmore's Galliard

Middleton text.

Your Five Gallants (1607), from the last speech of Interim 1 to the opening stage direction of Interim 2 (Works, p. 615):

This will make my maister leape out of the bed for ioy, and dance Wigmors galliard in his shirt about the chamber?

The Musicke plaies on a while, then enter; Taylbie his man after trussing him.

For the interpretation of these two short scenes as interim scenes, see Jowett (1999) and the Textual Introduction to Gallants in this Companion (p. 575). The instrumental music demanded by the stage direction was not played by any character on stage, but by the Blackfriars consort in the music room. The direction does not specify which music plays on, but the preceding speech certainly seems to cue that particular tune. Chappell noted (1:72) that it was common enough to sing old songs, or to play old tunes, at the beginning or end of an Act: in Summer's Last Will and Testament (written for indoor 'private' performance at the Archbishop of Canterbury's residence in Croydon, 1592), the Prologue directs the actors to begin the play with 'an old song first', and Barry's Ram Alley (1611; STC 1502a), acted by the Children of the Kings' Revels perhaps as early as 1607, ends with 'Strike vp Musick, lets haue an old song' (sig. I4). Chappell also cites Peele's Araygnement of Paris (1584), where Venus 'singeth an old songe called the woing of Colman' (3.5), and Marston's Antonio and Mellida (1600), where Feliche sings the old ballad, 'And was not good king Solomon' near end of act 3; but neither of these examples occur exactly at the end of an act, or a marked interval. The more significant point is that all plays of the period made use of what they called 'old songs' or 'old ballads' (phrases that occur at least twenty-one times in plays written between 1580 and 1642). Austern identified more than twenty ballad lyrics with extant broadside tunes in the extant repertoire of the early seventeenth-century children's companies (1992, 231). The anthologies published by Ravenscroft (item 3) also suggest that the children mixed folk and ballad tunes with new compositions (212–19).

Musical copy-text.

Trinity College Dublin MS 408/2, p. 112. (See Illus. 4.) The music dates from before 1584, when a 'joyful' broadside ballad called for its tune (STC

Lute tablature, MS 408/2, p. 112

4. Wigmore's Galliard (the third item on this manuscript page) is notated in the style of lute tablature most commonly used in England after 1500. There is a six line 'staff' which represents the six courses of the lute, with the top line corresponding to the highest pitched course on the instrument.The frets of the lute are not numbered, but rather lettered, using a specially designed alphabet which helps the player differentiate between similarly shaped letters. The rhythm of the piece is notated above the 'staff' to which it refers.

12798). This portion of the manuscript, in upright folio format, includes music paper apparently printed by Thomas East (Fenlon and Milsom, 155). Craig-McFeely (408) dates the manuscript c.1605, but notes that most pg 144of the pieces it contains are at least a decade earlier than that; she classifies it as a pedagogical manuscript. Ward (1967, 85) identified several other early transcriptions: the 'Dallis' lute book, an oblong quarto pedagogical manuscript, compiled by a Cambridge pupil of Thomas Dallis (c.1583–5), Trinity College Dublin MS 410/1 (formerly 'D.3.30'), p. 20 ('Wigorns gayliarde'), p. 36 ('a gailliard'), p. 47 (first strain only, titled 'Le Bride Ale'), and Cambridge University Library MS Dd.v.20 (one of a set of part-books copied by Matthew Holmes), fol. 6 ('Wigmoors Galliarde', a bass viol part). In her discussion of Dallis, Craig-McFeely distinguishes the first example from the latter two, which she instead links to the 'Marsh' lute book in the Dublin Library of Archbishop Narcissus Marsh, Ms Z3.2.13 (c.1595), pp. 420–22. For a facsimile of Marsh see Spencer 1981. Simpson (521), Livingston (210), and various ballad websites reproduce only a portion of the melody from 408/2.

pg 145

Weep, eyes, weep, eyes, Break heart, break, break, break heart, My love and I must part, and I must part. Cru - el fates true love do soon est sever, O, I shall see thee nev-er, nev - er, never, O, happy is the maid whose life takes end Ere it knows par - ents' frown or loss of friend.

6. Weep eyes, break heart

Middleton text.

Moll—played by a boy actor with Lady Elizabeth's Men in 1613—'sings herself to death' with this song in A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, 5.2.38–45 (Works, p. 952).

Musical copy-text.

Michael Cavendish's 14.Ayres in tabletorie to the lute expressed with two voyces and the base pg 146violl or the voice & lute only. 6.more to 4.voyces and in tabletorie. And 8.madrigalles to 5.voices (1598, STC 4878), printed by Peter Short. Cavendish—whose original was transcribed by Fellowes—includes two versions of the song 'Fair are those eyes whose shine must give me life', whose closing burden is 'Weep eyes, weep eyes, break heart, break, break, break heart, and end this restless pain, this restless pain'. The settings are:

  • Item x: Cantus with lute tablature and Bassus for bass viol or voice.

  • Item xvi: Cantus with lute tablature and with Altus, Tenor, and Bassus parts.

Middleton, presumably attracted by this verbal outburst, retains only this segment of Cavendish's lyric text, supplanting the rest with his own words, which form an alternative to the end of the burden and the opening section of Cavendish's setting. The editorial Dal Segno allows for the repeat of the refrain that is stipulated in the text of the play. Cutts (1969) was the first scholar to provide a transcript containing Middleton's version of the lyric text. Middleton's impressive realignment of various segments of Cavendish's music text to suit the lyric that he has composed is ingenious, revealing him to be a subtle adapter and rearranger of a music text to suit his lyric creation.

The Triumphs of Truth

5. Okes printed fifteen mayoral pageants, but the only other festival book he printed with music was John Squire's Triumphs of Peace, for the Haberdashers (1620), where a song is embedded in the middle of the pageant (B1v–B2). He is not known to have printed any music books. The words of the song appear to be set in the same roman text font as the rest of the book, though with such a small sample of types it's impossible to be certain. 'The eleven staves and their notes could have been set in another shop, tied around, and carried to Okes's shop; then Okes would simply have set the text lines, done the appropriate vertical spacing, and printed the music' (Weiss, private communication).

pg 147
Mo - ther of man-y honour-a - ble sons,-- Think not thy glass too slow - lyruns, That in Time's hand is set, be-cause What greater comfort to a mother's heart,-- Than to be hold her son's de-sert, Go hand in hand with love, re - spect, --Thy worthy son ap - pears not yet. La-dy, be pleas'd the hour grows on; Thy joys will be com-plete anon. Thou shalt be - --And honour (bless.ings from above). It is of power all griefs to kill, and with a flood of joy to fill. Thy a - ged hold The man en - roll'd In hon - our's book whom vir - tue rais - es, Love cir - cl'd eyes, To see him rise With glo - ry deck'd, where ex - pec - ta - tion, Grace, truth, and round, His tri - umphs crown'd, With all good wish - es, prayers--_ and prais - es. fame, Met in his name, At-tends his Hon - our's con - fir - ma - tion.

7. Mother of many honourable sons

Middleton text.

Sung by an unidentified 'sweet voice' at Sop Lane End in Triumphs of Truth (1613), 90–113 (Works, p. 969). The Grocers paid six shillings eight pence for 'the boy who sang in the ship' (Robertson and Gordon 86), part of the water show not described in Middleton's text; a separate payment is recorded for 'the singing boye and alsoe to mr Godfrey whoe did sing at sop lane end' (88).

Musical copy-text.

Triumphs of Truth, a quarto printed by Nicholas Okes for the Company of Grocers (1613; STC 17904), sig. D3v–D4. This is the first pageant ever printed with a score (see Illus. 5).

The 'musicians' who 'sit playing' for this song were presumably the City Waits, to whom the Grocers paid two pounds, ten shillings (Robertson and Gordon, 86); one of them may also have composed the tune and supplied Middleton or Okes with its score. The City Waits were routinely paid similar sums, whenever detailed accounts for the Jacobean pageants survive. Other musical expenses for the pageant include twenty-five pounds for trumpeters, and more than sixteen pounds for drummers, fifes, ensigns, and flourishers; non-verbal parade music was clearly much more extensive than the song.

It is very likely that its cantus was intended as a solo song, the bassus serving as an unfigured basso continuo upon which various kinds of instrumental accompaniments could be devised.

pg 148

8. Loath to depart

8. Loath to depart

Middleton text.

The Clown Pompey Doodle, probably played by William Rowley, in Wit at Several Weapons (Works, p. 997), exits humming 'Loath to depart'.

Musical copy-text.

The ballad existed by 1571; beyond the phrase 'loath to depart', none of its original words have survived, but Middleton and Rowley assume that the tune itself would be so familiar to audiences that they would recognize its title (and the relevance of that title) simply from hearing the tune hummed. John Dowland's setting for lute survives in five manuscripts: Cambridge University MS Dd.ii.11 (professional book in large upright folio, transcribed by Matthew Holmes c.1585–95), fol. 9; Dd.ix.33 (professional book in upright folio, transcribed by Matthew Holmes c.1600–1605), fol. 68v–69v; Glasgow University Library, MS Euing 25 (a personal anthology in oblong folio format, c.1610), fol. 28 and fol. 31; British Library Egerton 2046 (Jane Pickeringe's pedagogical lute book in upright folio format, signed 1616, bound in the reign of James I), fol. 33; and Royal Academy of Music MS603 (Margaret Board's pedagogical lute book in upright folio format, more recently in the collection of Robert Spencer), fol. 7v (c.1620–25). Craig-McFeely gives detailed descriptions of all five manuscripts. For facsimiles of Board (which contains some manuscript alterations by Dowland, presumably Margaret's teacher) and Pickeringe, see Spencer (1976, 1985). Giles Farnaby's keyboard variations are contained in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (Cambridge Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 168); for modern transcriptions see Maitland and Squire, 2:317–19 and Marlow, item 41. Thomas Ravenscroft's Deuteromelia, printed by Thomas Snodham (1609; STC 20757), contains a round or catch for four voices (item 28, sig. F2), incorporating the words 'loath to depart'. Duffin (256) gives a modern transcription of Ravenscroft's tune, apparently because Ravenscroft provides words. However, Ravenscroft's version can hardly be the original: 'sing loath to depart… sing once again' presumes that 'loath to depart' already exists and is familiar.

Since humming provides limited opportunities for harmony (which in any case is not characteristic of sixteenth-century ballad tunes), we have, like Simpson (B288), transcribed only the melody, based on the earliest Dowland source, Dd.ii.11.

pg 149

[1] Cu - pid is Ven - us' on - ly joy,____ But he is a wanton boy, A ver-y, ver - y wan-ton boy. He [2] Why should not Ven - us chide her son,____ For the tricks that he hath done, The wanton tricks that he hath done? He shoots at la - dies' na - ked breasts. He is the cause of most men's crests, I mean up on the____ fore-head, In- shoots his fier - y dartsso thick They wound poor la - dies to the quick, Ay me, with cru - el____wounding, His vis - i-ble, but hor - id. 'Twas he first thought up on the way To keep a la - dy's lips___ in play. darts areso con - founding That life and strength would soon de - cay. But that it keeps their lips___ in play.

9. Cupid is Venus' only joy

Cantus and Bassus with Lute Tablature Transcribed for Keyboard

pg 150

Middleton texts.

Probably originally written for Masque of Cupids (January 1614), First Song (Works, p. 1033), then sung by the male actor Dondolo in More Dissemblers Besides Women (1614?), 1.4.89–99 (Works, p. 1045), then substituted for the original Welsh song and performed by a boy actor playing the Welsh Gentlewoman in a revival of A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (originally 1613, date and venue of revival unknown), 4.1.167–93 (Works, p. 943). For this history of the song see Jowett 1994.

Musical copy-text.

(A) New York Public Library, MS Drexel 4175, no. xxiv, contains an anonymous vocal setting, the cantus with verse 1 appearing in underlay with verse 2 placed in stanzaic form beneath the cantus, together with an unfigured basso continuo. This version is transcribed in the present edition, and to it is added a transcript of the lute tablature described below.

Cognate versions.

(B) New York Public Library, MS Drexel 4175, no. lvi, contains an anonymous cantus with lute tablature. The hand of both cantus and underlay of this version differs from the hand of the preceding version, and a marginal note at its close directs one to 'See no. 24.' An identical and also anonymous version of the cantus, it appears with an unfigured basso continuo, and here verse 1 only is presented in the underlay.

(C) British Library Add. MS 29481, f. 6v, anonymous: cantus only with underlay of verse 1, and with verse 2 placed beneath in stanzaic form. There are no substantive verbal variants in the lyric text.

Original readings.

In m. 15 of the cantus of (A) and (C) the first two quavers read E and C; in (B) they are E and D. In m. 22, in each of the three versions of the cantus the placement of the underlay shows clearly that the word 'lips' is to be sung to three successive quavers and 'in' to only one.

A repeat sign appearing only in (B) for the final couplet of verse 1 at beat 3 of m. 16 provides an ad hoc solution for setting the additional couplet of that verse appearing in the lyric text of More Dissemblers Besides Women to virtually the same music as that provided for the final couplet.

Beal in MiT 9–11 lists (A), (B), and (C) as manuscript settings of the mid-seventeenth century, and provides notes on the owners of the manuscripts. He suggests the composer Adrian Batten as one possible owner of (B). Batten is not known to have composed any secular music, and was living in Winchester when Masque of Cupids was performed, but he supplemented his church income with work as a music copyist, so he was probably not the setting's composer but might have been its copyist. Jorgens provides photofacsimiles of these three settings in vol. 11 for (A) and (B) and vol. 1 for (C). Cutts (1971) presents diplomatic transcripts of (A) and (B), pp. 46–48. In his transcripts in the vocal part of both (A) and (B) in m. 6, the insertion of a natural before the second quaver on the second syllable of 'very' is editorial and not so noted in his annotations.

pg 151

In a maid en time pro - fessed Then we say that life is best. Tast - ing once the mar-riage life Cu - pid is an i - dle toy; Nev-er was there such a boy. If there are let an - y show Whilst the world con - tin - ued good Peo-ple loved for flesh and blood. Men a bout them bore the dart Then we on - ly praise the wife. There's but one state more to try Which makes wom - en laugh or Or his quiv - er or his bow, Or a wound by him they got, Or a bro - ken ar - row That would catch a wom - an's heart. Wom - en like - wise great and small With a pret - ty thing they cry. Widow, wid-ow, of these three The mid - dle's best,______ and that give me. shot. Money, mon-ey, makes us bow. There is no o - - ther Cu - pid now. call Cun ny, cun-ny, won the men, And this was all________ the Cu - pid then.

10. In a maiden time professed

John Wilson

Middleton text.

The second and third stanzas were probably originally written for Masque of Cupids (January 1614), Second Song (Works, p. 1033); the first stanza is sung, to the same music, by Isabella, a boy actor performing with the King's Men, in The Witch (1616), 2.1.131–8 (Works, p. 1141). For the song's history see Jowett 1994.

Musical copy-text.

(A) Bodleian MS mus. b. 1., f. 21, contains a three-strophe setting for cantus and bassus attributed to John Wilson. Verse 1 only in underlay; verses 2 and 3 in stanzaic form beneath the setting. This item appears in Wilson's autograph (?) song-book, c.1656. Facsimile in Jorgens, vol. 7.

Cognate versions.

(B) New York Public Library, MS Drexel 4257 (composer John Gamble's manuscript song-book of the mid-seventeenth century), No. 32, is a three-strophe anonymous setting for cantus and bassus. Verse 1 only in underlay; verses 2 and 3 in stanzaic form beneath the setting. Facsimile in Jorgens, vol. 10. This cognate provides the following alternate readings in the underlay to those in the copy text (A) cited above:

  • 1. a maidentime possessed
  • 6. which makes women laugh or cry
  • 13. Or a wound by him begot.,
  • 20. That will win a woman's heart.
  • 24. He was the only Cupid then.
(In the text reproduced in this edition of the setting, the 'women' of l. 6 replaces the copy text's 'woman'.)

See Beal, MiT 29–31; Jorgens, vol. 12, p. 447, and Cutts, No. 5 on p. 7. Spink includes an edition of this item on p. 45, and on pp. 189–90 he briefly characterizes the two manuscripts as noted above.

The lyrics admirably display Middleton's resourceful use of homonyms to achieve unexpected and subtle 152

I keep my horse, I keep mywhore, I take no rent yet am not poor. I travel all the land a bout, And yet was With partridge plump and woodcock fine, I of ten do at midnight dine; And if my whore be not in case, My hostess' born to ne'er a foot. The maids sit up and take their turns; If I stay long the tapster mourns. The cook- maid daughter takes her place. has no mind to sin, Though tempt-ed by the cham-berlain; But if I knock, O, how they bus-tle! The-ost-ler yawns, _ the geldings guz-zle. If the maid but sleep, O, howIcurse her! And all this comes of de - liv - eryour purse, Sir.

11. I keep my horse, I keep my whore William Lawes

Middleton text.

Sung by Latrocinio, an adult male actor in the King's Men, in The Widow (1615?), 3.1.22–37 (Works, p. 1098). I have preserved the wording of the music manuscript (which differs in a few respects from the text printed in Collected Works), because it may represent the text sung in the revival. For variants in all extant texts see Textual Notes.

Musical copy-text.

British Library Add. MS 29396, ff. 77v–78 for cantus and unfigured basso continuo, where it is attributed to William Lawes. Spink (1971, 190) describes the manuscript as containing songs in the hand of Edward Lowe, c.1661–1680. This score must have been written for a revival, because Lawes is not known to have written theatre music before 1634; the song's appearance in Bodleian Ashmolean MS 38, p. 127, and its attribution there to the play, suggests that it had been revived between 1636 and 1638 (Wood, 16). According to Chan (1979), Add. 29396 is strongly linked to theatrical drolls performed during the Civil Wars and Restoration, which suggests that this song and its scene formed part of such a playlet.

Cognate versions.

See Beal, MiT 24–7, for other verse copies; Jorgens, vol. 5, for photofacsimile of the Add. 29396 setting, and vol. 12, p. 435, for notes; Day and Murrie, no. 1536, for its appearance in printed song-books from 1686 (which attribute it to Shakespeare's 1 Henry IV); and Cutts (1971), p. 57, for a diplomatic transcript. pg 153

Come a - way,____ come a-way, Hecate, Hecate, O come a - way. I come, Icome, I come, Icome With all the speedI may, With all the speed I may. Where's Stadlin? Here! Where's Puckle? Here! And Hop-po too, and Helway too. We lack but you, we lack but you. Come a-way, makeup the count, I will but 'noint, and then I mount. I will but ‘noint, and then I mount. Here comes one down to fetch his dues, A kiss, a coll, a sip of blood. And why thou stay'stso long I muse, I muse, Since the air's so fresh and good. O, art thou come? What news, what news? All goes well to our de - light. Ei - ther come, or else re - fuse, re-fuse. Now I am furnished

12a. Come Away, Hecate, Come Away

Setting 1

Robert Johnson (?)

pg 154
for the flight, Now I go, O now I fly. Mal-kin, my sweet sprite, and I O what a dain - typleasure is this To ride in the air When the moon shines fair And laugh, and sing, and toy, and kiss. O - ver woods, high rocks, and mountains, O - ver seas and cry - stal fountains, O - ver steeples, towers, and turrets, We fly by night 'mongst troops of spir-its. No ring of bells to our ears sounds, No howl of wolves, nor yelps of hounds, No nor the noise of______ wa - ter breach, Nor can - nons' throat our height can reach.

Middleton text.

Sung by Hecate, Cat, and witch voices, originally in The Witch, performed by the King's Men (1616), 3.3.39–72 (Works, p. 1152), then in Middleton's adaptation of Macbeth, performed by the King's Men at the Blackfriars (1616), 3.5.34–73 (Works, p. 1185). The position of the other voices is ambiguous; therefore in The Collected Works, they are editorially imagined offstage or above in Witch and onstage in Macbeth. Here, in addition to Hecate and the Cat we identify the other party to the song simply as 'Voice', not specifying the number of voices singing, whether they are visible to the audience, or whether they are above. The division of voices is not indicated in the extant music texts. For a detailed discussion of verbal variants in all early texts see this volume, pp. 695, 1002.

Musical copy-text.

New York Public Library, MS Drexel 4175, No. liiii, fol. 11; Beal describes this manuscript as once owned by a certain Anne Twice, c.1620, and Spink (1971, p. 190) notes that it contains songs, some with lute accompaniment, possibly before 1620. Because of the Shakespeare connection, the music for this Middleton song has been widely discussed and reproduced: see Long 193–5, Jorgens XI, Brooke 225–33, and Gooch 2:705–83. Austern (1990) situates it within a larger convention of male magicians and female witches as 'impresarios of music and spectacle'; Seligmann (1997) and Henze analyse, from a feminist and musicological perspective, how the triumphant, celebratory, hymn-like music contributes to the characterization of Middleton's witches. No seventeenth-century source attributes the music to Johnson, but Spink (1961) regards the editorial attribution as 'fairly certain' (74), and Henze points out pg 155that 'the final portion of the song, representing bells, is highly similar to the final ringing section of Johnson's "Full Fathom Five"' (86). Song type: Dialogue with basso continuo.

Original music readings in fol. 11:

  • Cantus: m. 27: the natural on B on word 'of' is omitted
  • Cantus, m. 27: the first minim is a D
'Come away, Hecate, come away', in Anne Twice's songbook

6. Unlike the mass-produced anonymity of printed texts, this manuscript represents the personal taste of an individual (Anne Twice), who presumably wrote it with her own hand and also on occasion performed it. The multiple voices of the dramatic score are here transcribed for a single voice, singing to itself (or its selves). It is hard to resist the assumption that the female owner/creator/user of this manuscript identified in some way with the song's 'I' and its triumphant evocation of female power, pleasure, and flight.

pg 156
Come a - way, come a-way, Hecate, Hecate, O come a - way. I come, I come, I come, I come With all the speed I may, With all the speed I may. Where's Stadlin? Here! Where's Puckle? Here! And Hoppo too,___ and Helway too. We lack but you, we lack but you. Come a way, make up the count, I will but 'noint, and then I mount. I will but 'noint, and then I mount. Here comes one to fetch his dues, A kiss, a coll, a sip of blood. And why thou stay'st so long I muse, I muse, Since the air's so sweet and good.___ O, art thou come with news, with news? All goes still to our de - light. Ei - ther come, or else re - fuse, refuse. Now I am furnished for the flight. Now I go, and now I fly.

12b. Come Away, Hecate, Come Away

Setting 2

Robert Johnson (?)

pg 157
Malkin, my sweet spirit, and I O,_what a dain-ty pleasure's this, To ride in the air when the moon shines fair, And feast and sing and toy and kiss.__ O - ver woods, high rocks, and mountains, O - ver seas and mis - ty fountains, O - ver steeples, towers, and turrets, We fly by night 'mongst troops of spirits. No ring of bells to our ears sounds, No noise of wolves or yelps of hounds, No nor the noise of_____ wa - ter's breach, Nor can-nons' throat our height can reach.

Middleton text.

See 12a.

Musical copy-text.

Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, Mus. 52.D.25, f. 107v–8. Anonymous dialogue song with basso continuo. Beal describes this manuscript as one owned (in 1659) and partly compiled by John Gamble, c.1630s–50s. The assignment of voice parts is editorial. Original music readings in ff. 107v–8:

  • Cantus, m. 16: last note is an F (a quaver)
  • Cantus, m. 35: note for '-light' is a crotchet, followed by a crotchet rest.
  • Bassus, m. 53: last note in the measure is B, a minim
  • Bassus, m. 7: a flat is omitted before the first note, an E which is a breve

The musical differences in the two versions are very slight. The variants occur principally in the rests separating the change of singers in this dialogue, and they are not haphazard. The cognate strikes one as an edited version arranged by a prompter, if not by singers themselves, to ensure precise entries, and on occasion rests between sections to permit stage movement of 158

13. The First Witches' Dance
Robert Johnson (?)

13. The First Witches' Dance

Robert Johnson (?)

Middleton Texts.

This or the following item was probably danced in The Witch, performed by the King's Men at the Blackfriars (1616), (Works, p. 1162); then probably incorporated in Middleton's adaptation of Macbeth, performed by the King's Men at the Blackfriars (1616). It could be used at 1.3.30 or 4.1.44–60 or–2 (Works, pp. 1172, 1188, 1189).

Musical copy-text.

Robert Dowland, Varietie of Lute-lessonsSelected out of the best approued Authors, as well beyond the Seas as of our owne Country (1610; STC 7100), P2v, the first of several harmonized versions entitled 'The Witches daunce in the Queenes Maske'. This is a setting for solo lute, here transcribed for keyboard. The elegant folio was printed by Thomas Snodham, who had inherited the business (and the musical type-fonts) of Thomas East. (See item 1.) Cutts (1954, 1956) supports the traditional attribution of this music to Robert Johnson, but acknowledges that it is curiously lacking in unusual rhythmic movement.

Cognate versions.

British Library Add. 10444, treble, f. 21, 'The first witches dance', bassus, f. 74v, 'The first of the witches dance'; British Library Add. 17786–91, item 5 'The wyche': consort in five parts for superius, medius, contratenor, tenor, and bassus; British Library Add. 38539, f. 4, 'the wiches Daunce', for lute; Trinity College, Dub. D.1.21, p. 65, for lute. Wilhelm Brade, Newe Ausserlesene liebliche Branden, item 49, 'Der Hexen Tantz', consort in five parts. Board Lute Book, f. 26. 'The witches Daunce', for lute. Of these, the Add. 10444 and the Add. 17786–91 versions are transcribed in Sabol (1982), items 76 and 247, as well as in Cutts (1971), pp. 14–16, Notes, pp. 125–26. Both the First and Second Witches' Dances appear in Add. 10444 as two of 138 Jacobean masque dances for treble and bassus alone, gathered together (presumably in the 1620s) by Sir Nicholas LeStrange, a music buff with some Inns of Court connections. All of these 138, together with many cognate versions, are included in Sabol 1982.

pg 159This music was originally written, by Robert Johnson or some other court musician, for Ben Jonson's fantastically expensive Masque of Queens, danced at Whitehall on 2 February 1609; the text of the masque was entered in the Stationers' Register on 22 February, and published soon after in a quarto dated 1609, printed by Nicholas Okes. (See item 7.). The text also survives in a manuscript in Jonson's own handwriting. Dowland's folio includes the music among 'Almaines' (modern 'allemandes'). Allegedly typical of Germans, the allemande was one of the most popular instrumental dance forms in Baroque music, and the basis of much social dancing at the Inns of Court and elsewhere (Payne). Jonson does not name the choreographer for this first, interrupted entry dance, but it was probably Jerome Herne (credited by Jonson with the second antemasque dance, item 14 below) or Thomas Giles (credited with the final dance). The surviving beautiful drawings of masquers, costumes and scenery (by the masque's designer, Inigo Jones) do not include any that represent the witches. In his masque libretto Jonson describes their activities thus:

These Witches, wth a kind of hollow and infernall musique, came forth from thence [Hell]. First one, then two, and three, and more, till theyr number encreased to Eleuen; all differently attir'd; some, wth ratts on theyr heads; some, on theyr shoulders; others wth oyntment-potts at theyr girdles; All wth spindells, timbrells, rattles, or other veneficall instruments, making a confused noyse, wth strange gestures … These eleuen Witches begiñing to daunce (wch is an vsuall ceremony at theyr Convents, or meetings, Where, sometimes, also they are vizarded, and masqu'd) on the sodayne one of them miss'd theyr Cheife [Até], and interrupted the rest. (Herford and Simpson, Jonson, 7:283)

Middleton in The Witch and Macbeth does not give any such detailed directions (or annotate the text, as Jonson does, explaining his learned sources for witch-lore). Although Middleton could have read the printed text of Jonson's masque, he would not have seen the single, private court performance. By contrast, the witches in Jonson's antimasque had probably been performed by members of the King's Men. Therefore, if the King's Men recycled the masque music and the dance in later performances of The Witch or Macbeth, the channel of appropriation was probably the acting company, rather than Middleton. On the other hand, it is also possible that the dancing of Middleton's witches deliberately differed from Jonson's, in a way that underlined the differences in their dramatic conception and characterization—in which case, the later plays were adapting and responding to the collaborative Masque of Queens, rather than merely copying it.

pg 160

14. The Second Witches' Dance
Robert Johnson (?)

14. The Second Witches' Dance

Robert Johnson (?)

Middleton texts.

See First Witches' Dance.

Musical copy-text.

Christ Church MS 92r, f. 15, 'The Wiches'. This keyboard version resettles the dance in a slightly different metrical scheme from British Library Add. 10444, which is presumably a version whose bald treble and bassus parts may be somewhat closer to the setting used in Jonson's Queens (1609).

Cognate version.

British Library Add. 10444, treble f. 21v, 'The second witches Dance'; bassus, f. 75, 'The second witches Dance'. This version, for treble and bassus alone, appears together with the setting for the first witches ' dance described above.

In the libretto of Queens, the ninth charm urges that music sound for their dance thus:

At wch, wth a strange and sodayne Musique, they fell into a magicall Daunce, full of praeposterous change, and gesticulation, but most applying to theyr property: who, at theyr meetings, do all thinges contrary to the custome of Men, dauncing, back to back, hip to hip, theyr handes ioyn'd, and making theyr circles backward, to the left hand, wth strange phantastique motions of theyr heads, and bodyes. All wch were excellently imitated by the Maker of the Daunce, Mr. Hierome Herne … In the heate of theyr Daunce, on the sodayne, was heard a sound of loud Musique, as if many Instruments had giuen one blast. Wth wch, not only the Hagges themselues, but theyr Hell, into wch they ranne, quite vanishd; and the whole face of the Scene alterd; scarce suffring the memory of any such thing. (Herford and Simpson, Jonson, 7:301)

pg 161

15. The New Year's Gift

15. The New Year's Gift

Middleton text.

Masque of Heroes, performed by the Prince's Men at the Inner Temple (1619), 141.1 (Works, p. 1326).

Musical copy-text.

British Library Add. 10444, treble, f. 48, 'The new yeares gift'; bassus, ff. 97v–98, 'The New yeares gift'. This dance is transcribed in Sabol (1982) as item 166 on pp. 256–7.

Original readings.

In m. 14 of the treble, notes 4–7 read C D D F, all quavers.

Used as an entry or exit (or both) in Masque of Heroes when Doctor Almanac, the presenter, announces the arrival of New Year, of whom the antic bystander Plumporridge says, 'I have ne'er a gift to give him.' The music could therefore cover the dancing entrance of New Year (played by Hugh Atwell, a notoriously skinny actor) and/ or the dancing exit of Plumporridge (played by William Rowley, a notoriously chubby actor). Most of the Jacobean court masques included two antimasque dances and three masque dances (the entry, the main, and the withdrawing dances). The men of the Middle and Inner temples performed masques—and sometimes in their own precincts—in 1613 (by Chapman), 1615 (by Browne), 1619 (by Middleton), and 1621. Since virtually all the other dances for the antics and the masquers of the 1613 and 1615 Inns of Court masques have been identified, the masque dances appearing in Add. 10444—Nos. 175–79 (as numbered in Sabol) comprise a group of two antic and three masque dances for an additional Temple masque, and Nos. 57 and 58 and Nos. 140–42 together comprise a similar group for a different Temple masque. Either of these two groups of five dances may well be considered possible dance tunes for the antimasquers and the masquers of Masque of Heroes, although a stronger case may be made for the former not only since the five numbered 175–79 appear in sequence in Add. 10444, but also because the first two appear in cognate versions in John Adson's 1621 Courtly Masquing Ayres just two years after the performance of Masque of Heroes. See also McGee and Meagher, pp. 70–71.

The source of the 138 dances in Add. 10444 may, as John Ward suggests, have been the dancing masters them who doubtless composed them in the process of teaching their dancing charges their special choreographies, each master with his fiddle in hand. In most cases their simple treble and bassus presentations—perhaps preserved in various notebooks—were later provided with full consort arrangements, usually for four- and five-part strings, by professional composers. While Sir Nicholas also may have derived his two-part versions from manuscript part-books used by consort members in performance, what emerges clearly is that he is not copying from published collections of masque tunes like those of Wilhelm Brade, John Adson, or Thomas Simpson.

pg 162

16. The First of the Temple Antic

16. The First of the Temple Antic

Middleton text.

Masque of Heroes, performed by the Prince's Men at the Inner Temple (1619), 231.1–2 (Works, p. 1328).

Musical copy-text.

British Library Add. 10444, treble, f. 50v, 'The first of the Temple anticke'; bassus, f. 100, 'The first of the Temple Anticke'. This dance is transcribed in Sabol (1982) as item 175 on pp. 263–4.

Original readings.

The key signature presented for the first strain, which clearly is in D major, is one sharp in the treble and no sharp in the bassus. Such imprecision is quite commonplace in the amateurish transcripts of Sir Nicholas LeStrange. Fortunately the cognate version noted below clarifies and corrects the score.


  • Key signature of one sharp for the first strain.
  • In m. 7 the fifth note is not preceded by a sharp.
  • In m. 9 the key signature of one flat replaces naturals at F and at C.
  • In m. 16, the fifth note is not preceded by a sharp.
  • In m. 17, the first note is not preceded by a sharp nor is the fourth notes preceded by a natural.
  • In m. 18, the key signature changes to one sharp.


  • In m. 9, there is no key signature provided.
  • In m. 12 the second note is a crotchet—a D—augmented editorially by a crotchet D (tied) in m. 13.
  • In m. 18 no key signature is provided.

Cognate version.

John Adson, Courtly Masquing Ayres (1621; STC 153), item 9, untitled; consort in five parts for cantus, medius, altus, tenor, and bassus. Adson's book, dedicated to George Villiers, Marquis of Buckingham (who was famous for his dancing) consists of six separate partbooks, printed in quarto by Thomas Snodham (who also printed item 13).

pg 163

17. The Second of the Temple Antic

17. The Second of the Temple Antic

Middleton text.

Masque of Heroes, performed by the Prince's Men at the Inner Temple (1619), 266.1 (Works, p. 1328).

Musical copy-text.

British Library Add. 10444, treble, f. 51, 'The Second'; bassus, f. 100, 'The second'. This dance is transcribed in Sabol (1982) as item 176 on pp. 264–5.

Original readings.


  • No accidentals.
  • In m. 25, the second note is a crotchet G not tied to the following G.
  • In m. 26, beats 1–3 consist of the following four notes: a crotchet G and four quavers, A, B, C, D


  • In m. 14, the second note is preceded by a sharp.
  • In m. 25, the first note is preceded by a sharp.

Cognate version.

John Adson, Courtly Masquing Ayres, item 8, untitled; consort in five parts for cantus, medius, altus, tenor, and bassus.

pg 164

18. The First of the Temple Masques

18. The First of the Temple Masques

19. The Second of the Temple Masques

19. The Second of the Temple Masques

20. The Third of the Temple Masques

20. The Third of the Temple Masques

Middleton text.

Masque of Heroes, performed by gentlemen at the Inner Temple (1619), 306.1–2, 322.1–2, 331.1–2 (Works, pp. 1329, 1329, 1330).

Musical copy-text (First).

British Library Add. 10444, f. 51, 'The first of the Temple Masques'; bassus, f. 100v, 'The first of the Temple Masques'. This dance is transcribed in Sabol (1982) as item 177 on p. 265.

Original readings.


  • In m. 14, the second note, a minim F, has been omitted.
  • In m. 17, the fourth note, a semiquaver, is a B.

pg 165 Bassus

  • In m. 16, the first two notes are a minim B and a crotchet C. Here the time values of the notes are reversed.

Musical copy-text (Second).

British Library Add. 10444, f. 51v, 'The Second'; bassus, f 100v, 'The second'. This dance is transcribed in Sabol 1982 as item 178 on p. 266.

Original readings.


  • In m. 4, the third note is preceded by a flat.
  • In m. 6, the fourth note is preceded by a sharp.

Musical copy-text (Third).

British Library Add. 10444, f. 51v, 'The third'; bassus f. 100v, 'The third'. This dance is transcribed in Sabol (1982) as item 179 on pp. 266–7.

Original readings.

Add. MS 10444, fol. 100v

7. The bassus part for all three of the main masque dances. The diminishing vertical lines eventually joining up and fading to an upstroke, at the end of each tune, are elaborate versions of repeat marks; the number of lines of dots may indicate the number of times the section is repeated. The layout of the manuscript in this way (separating parts of the same tune in different sections) suggests that it was copied from separate manuscript parts for the different instruments. Thus, not only were the manuscripts containing dramatic music normally separated from the manuscripts containing dramatic text, but the music for a single song might itself be contained in several separate manuscripts.


  • In m. 4, the fourth, fifth, and sixth notes are a crotchet G, a quaver F, and a quaver E.
pg 166

21. La Mignard
John Dowland

21. La Mignard

John Dowland

Middleton text.

Old Law (Works, p. 1367) calls for 'A galliard La miniard', to which both the young First Courtier and old Lisander dance.

Musical copy-text.

The dance is present in four extant manuscripts: as 'Migniarde' in Cambridge University Library Dd.ii.11.77, fol. 2 (c.1585–95); as 'J.D.' in Dd. iii.78.3, fol. 31v (c.1595–1600); as 'Mignarda Jo Dowlande' in Dd xi.33, fol. 29 (c.1595–1601), written on music paper printed by Thomas East (Fenlon and Milsom, 151); as 'la miniard' in Cambridge, Trinity College, 0.16.2 (c.1620–30). The tune is now usually called 'Mignarda', but that title occurs in only one of the manuscripts; the other two are closer to the form in Old Law. The tune is also known as 'M. Henry Noel his Galiard', its title in Dowland's Lachrimae (1604; STC 7097), item 14, sig. I1v–I2 (a table-book format for lute and four instruments such as viols). Since Dowland's music is a galliard, and since Middleton refers elsewhere to Lachrimae, the identification seems clear (though it has not been noticed by Middleton's editors). Like other works by Dowland, this one has been very widely transcribed and recorded in modern times. In the play, the tune is evidently played on the viol by the 'Dancer' alone, and so the present score is confined to the cantus of the highly elaborate setting in Lachrimae.

pg 167

Take,__ O take those lips__ a - way_That so sweetly were forsworn_And those eyes, the break of day, Lights that do mislead the morn; But_my kisses bring a - gain, bring a - gain,_Seals of love____though sealed in vain,_sealed in vain.

22. Take O take those lips away

John Wilson

Middleton text.

Sung by a Boy in Middleton's adaptation of Measure for Measure, performed by the King's Men (1621), 4.1.1–6 (Works, p. 1570).

For evidence of Middleton's adaptation of the play, including addition of this song to Shakespeare's original, see Taylor and Jowett, 107–236, Works, p. 1542, and this volume, p. 417.

Musical copy-text.

Bodleian, Mus. b. 1, f. 19v, the composer John Wilson's songbook, compiled c.1656 ('MS 6' in Jowett's stemma, below).

Original readings.

The MS adds a second stanza, as follows:

  • Hide o hide those hills of snow
  • that thy froazen bosom beares
  • on whose topps the Pinkes yt grow
  • are yet of those yt Aprill weares
  •   But first sett my poore heart free
  •   bound in those Icye chaines by thee

This second stanza belongs to the version of the song in 5.2 of The Tragedy of Rollo, Duke of Normandy; or, The Bloody Brother, a play written for the King's Men by Fletcher and Massinger, probably with the assistance of Nathan Field and perhaps another dramatist, between mid-1617 and 1620. Wilson's music indicates a repeat for the last two metrical lines ('But my kisses … sealed in vain'), rather than repeating the final three syllables only of the penultimate line ('bring again') and the final line ('sealed in vain'). The verbal repetitions printed here come from the 1623 text of Measure for Measure. The musical text given here for those repetitions is editorial, since no early music text is keyed to the version of the song in Measure.

Cognate versions.

Other music MSS are British Library, Add. MS 11,608, f. 56 (c.1656–9); Christ Church, Oxford, MS 434, f. 1 (before c.1650); New York Public Library, MS Drexel 4041, no. 44 (c.1640); New York Public Library, MS Drexel 4257, no. 16 (c.1659); the song was printed in a series of songbooks issued by John Playford between 1652 and 1669. The first two Playford printings (Select Musicall Ayres, and Dialogues, 1652 and 1653) were printed using movable type; but the third (Select Ayres and Dialogues, 1659) and fourth (Treasury of Musick, 1669) used the same engraved plate. The song is thus reproduced in all three significant seventeenth-century technologies for the textual reproduction of music (manuscript, single-impression movable type, and engraving). Few of the variants in the music texts result from error; almost all represent deliberate alteration to the music. No two manuscripts share even the same positioning of barlines. John Hilton's manuscript (Add. 11,608) freely adds ornamentation, clearly as an after-thought to the original transcription; this is characteristic of the entire manuscript, which seems to have been linked to a group of performers with which Hilton was associated in the 1640s and 1650s (Chan 1979). All manuscripts have incidental variation such as dotted and half notes instead of equal notes, or crotchets split into quavers. In some versions the bass is simplified; in others a phrase in the bass is raised or lowered by an octave. These changes may be dictated by practical circumstance—the capacities of instrument or player. The two manuscripts now in New York transpose the entire song a tone lower, presumably to bring it more comfortably within a singer's range. It seems that anyone who undertook to transcribe the music was competent and perhaps even expected to embellish, simplify, rearrange, or transpose it.

Verbal variants, by contrast, are less frequent and less flamboyant. In the first stanza, the Christ Church MS reads 'that breake the' for 'the break of'; the Playford books have 'that breake of' for the same phrase, 'days, light' for 'day, lights', and 'seals' for 'sealed'. These are the only substantive verbal variants in the music texts of this pg 168stanza. Nearly all MS songbooks and verse miscellanies, and early printed texts of both Rollo and the song, differ from the Shakespeare Folios in reading 'though' rather than 'but' in the final line; the exception is a MS copied from F4. Numerous other verbal variants occur in stanza 1, as found in texts of the words without the music, and in stanza 2 generally.

General comments.

The composer John Wilson (1595–1674) appears to have supplied music for the King's Men, and probably wrote this setting of 'Take, O take' for the company. The song would originally have been performed in Rollo, Duke of Normandy, and would later have been lifted from this context to Measure for Measure as part of the Middletonian revision. Here it helps break up the continuity of action in the Shakespearean script, providing a theatrically effective opening to the new fourth Act.

John Jowett's stemma illustrating the relationship of the extant texts of 'Take oh take those lips away'

8. John Jowett's summary of the stemma of transmission of twenty-three extant versions of 'Take, O take those lips away', based on his meticulous analysis of text and music variants in Appendix IV of Taylor and Jowett, 272–95. (This stemma slightly modifies and corrects Figure 10 on p. 295.) Notice that the music was not physically contained in any of the manuscript or print versions of either play; this is typical of early modern theatrical practice, which separated musical scores from the acting company's licensed playbook. All the music texts, and all but one very late manuscript, reproduce the form of the song found in Rollo, Duke of Normandy, rather than the adaptation of it in Measure for Measure.

The second stanza is entirely inappropriate to the new dramatic setting, as the song's implied addressee is no longer a woman (Edith in Rollo) but a man (Angelo in Measure). Hence the song as it stands in Measure has only one stanza, and the new repetitions in the fifth and sixth lines were no doubt thought to offset the abruption by giving the stanza a stronger close.

The Act probably begins with a discovery; a curtain is drawn back to reveal the jilted Mariana listening to her boy-servant singing a plaintive song in which an abandoned woman addresses her former lover. Both singer and Mariana would therefore be boy-actors. The boy probably accompanied himself on the lute or a similar instrument; the simple bassus of the music gives no more than the key notes for what must have been a fuller accompaniment.

pg 169

Hence, hence,__ all ye vain de - lights,_______ as short as are the nights where-in you spend your fol-ly. There's nought in this life sweet, if men were wise to see't, but on - ly Mel - anchol-y. O sweet-est Mel-ancholy! O sweet-est Mel-ancholy! Welcome fold-ed arms and fix - ed eyes, a sigh that pierc-ing mor - ti - fies, A look that's fas-ten'd to the ground, A tongue chain'd up, without a sound, Foun - tain heads and path less groves, Pla - ces which pale pas - sion loves, Moon - light walks, where all the fowls Are warmly hous'd save bats and owls, A mid-night bell, a part-ing groan: These are the sounds we feed up - on! Then stretch our bones, then stretch our

23a. Hence, all ye vain delights

Setting 1

John Hilton (?)

pg 170
bones in a still gloom-y val-ley. There's noth - ing dain-ty sweet, there's noth-ing dain-ty sweet, but Mel-an-choly.

Middleton text.

Sung by the Passionate Madman, an adult actor, in The Nice Valour, performed by an unknown company (1622), 3.3.36–54 (Works, p. 1698). On Middleton's authorship of the song see this volume, p. 423.

For the many extant texts of the song, see Beal, B&F 125–53 and John Jowett's discussion of Middleton's early readers in this volume, p. 296. For a collation of all verbal variants, see this volume, pp. 1071, 1076.

Musical copy-text.

British Library Egerton MS 2013, f. 3v–4v; setting for full lyric text for cantus and bassus attributed to John Hilton. The cognate version in Christ Church MS 350 includes a setting of the treble only.

The attribution to Hilton (1599–1657) is dubious. He graduated from Trinity College on 1 July 1626, having spent a decade in Cambridge; he could not have composed the score for the first performance, and is not known to have written original music for any London theatres. Chan notes the songs in Egerton 2013 'appear to have been very carelessly entered and therefore to be unreliable sources' (1990, p. 237). Moreover, the composers' names 'have been added in a different, later hand, and some of the ascriptions are open to question' (Jorgens, 2:vi).

Perhaps this setting or the next may have been sung in different productions of The Nice Valour, which was revived at some time between its first performances and the closing of the theatres. Photofacsimiles of each music manuscript are reproduced in Jorgens, vol. 2 and vol. 6; for diplomatic transcripts of each of these two settings see Cutts (1971), pp. 106–9. See also Spink (1971), who on p. 189 describes Bodleian Music School F. 575 as containing 'Mostly lyra-viol music, but also including songs for lute and voice: c.1630 or later'. That an incomplete setting of the song survives in Christ Church MS 350 is noted in J. P. Cutts.

Egerton MS 2013, fol. 3v

9. Note the copyist scribbling out notes and replacing them. This suggests he may be transcribing the music from a memory of its performance.

pg 171

Hence, all ye vain delights, As short, as short as___ are the nights, Where - in__ you__ spend____ your fol-ly. There's nought in this life sweet,__ If men were wise__ to see't, But on - - ly mel - an - chol-y. Welcome fold - ed arms and fix - ed eyes, A sigh that pierc - ing mor - ti-fies, A look that's fasten'd to the ground, a tongue____ chain'd up____ with - out a sound.

23b. Hence, all ye vain delights

Setting 2

Middleton text.

See preceding item 23a.

Musical copy-text.

Bodleian Music School F. 575, f. 7v, is a different anonymous setting omitting the concluding lines of the lyric for cantus and lute tablature.

pg 172

Trip it, Gyp - sies, trip it fine, Show tricks and lof - ty ca - pers! At thread - ing need-les we re - pine, And Ov - er high-ways,ov - er low, And ov - er stones and grav-el Though we trip it on the toe And O that all the world were mad Then should we have fine danc-ing. Hob - by-hor - ses would be had And Wel - come, po - et, to our ging! Make rhymes; we'll give thee rea - son. Can - ar - y bees thy brains shall sting; Mulled lea - ping o - ver ra - piers: Pin - dy- pan - dy ras - cal toys! We scorn cut - ting pur - ses. Though we thus for sil - ver trav - el, Though our dan - ces waste our backs At night fat cap - ons mend 'em; Eggs (well brave girls keep a - pran-cing; Begg - ars would on cock - horse ride And boob - ies fall a- roar - ing And cuck-olds sack did ne'er speak trea - son. Pe - ter- see-me shall wash thy noll And mala - ga glass - es fox 'ee. If, poet, thou live by ma - king noise, For chea - ting none can curse us. brewed in butt - ered sack), Our wen - ches say, be - friend 'em. (though no horns be spied) Be one an - oth- er gor - ing. toss not bowl for bowl, Thou shalt not kiss a dox - y.

24. The Gypsies' Round

pg 173

Middleton text.

Sung and danced by a group of male and female Gypsies in The Spanish Gypsy (1623), 3.1.107–38 (Works, p. 1742). Chappell (2:772) conjectured 'Perhaps the words of this round are in Middleton's play … They fit the tune.' It would be more accurate to say that the song seems to have been composed to fit the existing Byrd music. (This is a very widespread practice in the period: witness all the ballads 'to the tune of' X.) This first song and dance is clearly meant to establish an exotic musical and choreographic identity, which would be more easily done if they adapted a familiar tune already long associated with Gypsies.

Musical copy-text.

The only known source is the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, Music MS 32.G.29), p. 321 [item 216], where the tune is attributed to Byrd. The attribution is accepted by modern scholars, and in the standard numeration is 'BK 80'. The manuscript was compiled by the younger Francis Tregian during his imprisonment in the Fleet, 1609–19. It contains over seventy pieces by Byrd, and is thus the largest single source of Byrd's keyboard music. 'On the whole, Tregian's texts are inferior to those of the primary source' (Brown, 2:192), but Tregian is the only source for thirteen pieces, including this one. There are several modern transcriptions: Maitland and Squire, 2:292–6, and Brown, 2:116 (the only edition with a full textual apparatus). Modern recordings are also available.

Byrd's Round is a series of six variations, an elaborate musical art-work that is unlikely to have been played in full in the theatre. We assume instead that the opening section would have been repeated for the four stanzas. The rhythm and tune accord well with the song as printed in Gypsy. The words take up most but not all of the first section; the remaining bars could have been played while the Gypsies exeunt dancing.

The present text follows Maitland and Squire's bar divisions, which are based on the MS except that M5–6 are 'divided unequally into three' in the MS. Maitland and Squire add the initial time signature; this edition adds the time signature at M8 and the repeat sign. Maitland and Squire make one notational emendation: in M4 the second bass note, a crotchet, is altered from E to G.

In this edition notes for the following words have been divided from single notes in the MS where two or three syllables are required: M1 'Trip it', M2 'capers! At', M3 'treading', M4 'toys! We', M5 'purses'.

pg 174

25. The Spanish Gypsy

25. The Spanish Gypsy

Choreography from Playford.

Longways for eight









[Honour.] Lead up forwards and back. A strain played once. That again. A strain played twice. Turn all back-to-back; faces again; go all about your women, not turning your faces. That again the t'other way. A strain played once. First and last couple meet, a Double back again; turn all back-to-back; faces again; go about each other, not turning your faces; the other way as much. A strain played twice. The other four as much. A strain played thrice.

Sides all. A strain played once. That again. A strain played twice. Turn back-to-back. Faces again; go about your own [woman] as before. A strain played once. First and last couple meet and go back; turn back-to-back; faces again; take hands and go round; back again. A strain played twice. Then the other four [do] as much. A strain played thrice.

Arms all. A strain played once. That again. A strain played twice. Turn back to back; faces again; go about your own [woman] as before. A strain played once. First and last couple meet; back again; turn back-to-back; faces again; right hands across and go round; then left [hands across and go] round. A strain played twice. The other four [do] as much. A strain played thrice. [Honour.]

Middleton text.

The Spanish Gypsy (1623). Chappell (1:272–3) proposed that this dance was performed in conjunction with the song 'Come, follow your leader, follow' (3.2.82–113; Works, p. 1744). However, the dance seems more appropriate at (Works, p. 1765). See 'Interpretation' below.

Musical copy-text.

The English Dancing Master: or, Plaine and easie Rules for the Dancing of Country Dances, with the Tune to each Danceprinted by Thomas Harper, and are to be sold by John Playford, at his Shop in the Inner Temple neere the Church doore (1651; Wing P2477), sig. D4 (item 23). Playford entered the book in the Stationers' Register on 7 November 1650; the British Library copy is annotated by Thomason, indicating that he purchased it on March 19, 1651 ('1650' old style). No instruments are specified, but in Playford's A Musicall Banquet (1651) he advertised The English Dancing Master as 'to be played on the Treble Violl or Violin'; the 1652 title-page also specifies 'to be playd on the Treble Violin'.

The original composer of 'The Spanish Gypsy' is unknown. The compilation and editing of The English Dancing Master is normally attributed to its publisher Playford, who signed the preface 'To the Ingenious Reader', which states that 'The Art of Dancing …is a quality that has been formerly honoured in the Courts of Princes, when performed by the most Noble Heroes of the Times! The Gentlemen of the Innes of Court, whose sweet and ayry Activity has crowned their Grand Solemnities with Admiration to all Spectators.' This punctuation is confusing: either it distinguishes two venues ('Courts of Princes' and 'Innes of Court') or, more probably, 'the most noble Heroes' are glossed as 'The Gentlemen of the Innes of Court'. Dean-Smith (1957) provides a bibliography of all eighteen early editions, through c.1728 (xxi–xxxi); Barlow updates her list of known copies of each edition (13), describes differences in their presentation of the music (5–8), collates the music in all editions and provides a critical modernized text of the music for all the items that he considers 'country dances', which fortunately includes 'The Spanish pg 175Gypsy' (35). Barlow's edition of the music is much more scholarly than the earlier work of Mellor and Bridgewater.

The music was altered in the second edition: The Dancing MasterThe second Edition Enlarged and Corrected from many grosse Errors which were in the former Edition (1652; Wing P2468A), sig. I3 (item 89). The revised title of the book (omitting 'English') was repeated in all subsequent editions; so was the altered music. It was also printed in Playford's Musick's Delight on the Cithren (1666; Wing P2491), sig. C7v (item 35). The random order of dances in 1651 was changed to alphabetical (by first letter of title) in 1652, and then items were grouped by dance type in 1670 and all subsequent editions.


The dance steps are printed, in all Playford's editions, on the same page as, and immediately below, the music. Playford's system for describing dances— the only widely disseminated European dance notation in the seventeenth century—keys formulaic language to a musical score and a brief bird's-eye view of the initial position of the dancers. (See Illus. 10.) His sources for the choreographies are not known, but in form they closely resemble eight English manuscript choreographies from c.1563 to 1675, the majority associated with the Inns of Court. 'Country dances' were social dances, incorporated in the 'revels' part of masques at court and elsewhere, where dance partners from the audience joined the performers; unlike the specially designed and choreographed dances of the antimasque and main masque (which often required a week of rehearsal), country dances were 'short and easy'. Playford's dance manual reached a very wide audience: even today, 'students with average dancing talents and no previous experience in early repertoire can easily learn one in less than one hour' (Ravelhofer, 44). The best way to make sense of Playford's instructions is not to read them but to act them out, physically.

Though Cecil Sharp published many influential verbal and diagrammatic elucidations of Playford's dance directions (Keller and Shimer), he did not include 'The Spanish Gypsy', presumably because he accepted Chappell's attribution of it to the play, and therefore did not regard it as a genuine folk dance. No modern scholar or dancer has attempted an interpretation of the choreography. Our edited transcription modernizes the spelling and punctuation of Playford, and interpolates a few words in square brackets to clarify the intended sense. The only substantive interpolation is the word 'Honour' at the beginning and end of the dance; most choreographies from the period do not specify this, because it was taken for granted that each dance began and ended with this standard gesture of courtesy, described by Payne: 'The man removes his hat with his hand and carries it gracefully to the side with the inside of the hat towards the thigh. At the same time he

John Playford, The English Dancing Master

10. The oblong quarto format of Playford's English Dancing Master was popular for music printing. The earliest editions devoted entirely to musical notation, printed by Ottaviano dei Petrucci between 1501 and 1520, are oblong quartos. Krummel (1971) estimates that 'about two thousand oblong quarto part-book editions were printed in sixteenth-century Europe' (312). But this format was old-fashioned by 1651, and was changed in all Playford's subsequent editions. The music typeface used by the printer, Thomas Harper, had been inherited from Thomas East (item 1). Playford used special symbols, explained in his introductory Table, to indicate male and female (upper right); but he reversed the usual meaning of the symbols, so that men rather than women were represented by the changeable (quarter) moon, and women by the perfect circle. The four symbols directly above the musical score indicate pauses. Symbols within the choreography are explained in the introductory Table, and translated in our transcript.

pg 176draws back either the Left or Right foot, bending the knees of the withdrawn leg as it takes the weight. At the same time he inclines the body forwards (i.e. bow) … trying to maintain eye contact with her throughout. This should be one continuous movement and last for two minim pulses.' He then returns to his opening position 'by repeating these movements in reverse.' The woman, for her part, 'keeps her feet together, bends both knees equally keeping them well turned out, and rises smoothly, in accordance with her partner' (125–6). In English social dancing the honour often also included an embrace.

Only a few items in Playford's choreography require a technical gloss. He assumes, throughout, that the Directions are addressed to a male dancer: hence the verb 'Lead' means that each male dancer leads his female partner. The adverbs 'forward' and 'back' refer to the line of the dance, not the orientation of each dancer to his partner. Although the verb 'go' may seem like an unspecific direction for locomotion, its primary early modern sense was 'walk'—which may be relevant to the vexed question of whether steps should be executed on the flat of the foot or on the toe, or whether they should include hopping or kicking movements. Playford's introductory Table explains that a 'Double' (a very common step in social dances of the period) is 'four steps forward or back, closing both feet'. The phrase 'Arms all', a contemporary explains, 'is to take hands, or by the Arms, and so to turn about and change places; or else go in a single, etc.' (Holme III, 169).


Chappell connected the tune and dance to 'Come, follow your leader, follow' because the metre of that lyric was 'suitable to the air'. There is also a black-letter ballad (STC 10412; Roxburghe 1:544) entitled The brave English Jipsie, directed to be sung 'to the tune of The Spanish Jipsie', which begins 'Come, follow, follow all, | The English Jipsies call'. The broadside is undated, but it was published by John Trundle (1603–26). The ballad publisher John Wright had entered 'the Spanish Jepsiy' in the Stationers' Register on 28 June 1624; no copy of any text by him with that title is extant, but an exceptionally large proportion of early broadside ballads is lost. It would make sense to assume that the demonstrable success of the play, beginning in the summer of 1623 and extending through court performance in November (and probably beyond), led to composition and publication of a ballad (1624), which in turn led to publication of a response-ballad before Trundle's burial on 12 December 1626 (Johnson 180). Chappell also quotes another ballad, The Three Merry Cobblers, written by Martin Parker (Roxburghe 1:408), which begins 'Come, follow, follow me, | To the alehouse we'll march all three'; Chappel seems unaware of the fact that this song is sung entirely by men, whereas Playford's dance calls for mixed couples. Chappell also quotes the first two lines of what he calls 'the most popular song to this tune,' beginning 'Come follow, follow me, Ye fairy elves that be'. This lyric was first printed in A Description of the King and Queene of Fayries (1635; STC 21513), which specifies that it should be 'Sung like to the Spanish Gipsie' (unpaginated, immediately preceding a text of Middleton's 'Hence all you vaine delights', from Nice Valour). However, Chappell does not quote the third and fifth lines of the first stanza ('And circle round this greene … Hand in hand lets dance a round'), which demand a round dance, rather than the 'longways' dance specified by Playford.

Chappell also cites songs in The Boys' Opera (1730) and The Fashionable Lady (1730), which both begin 'Come follow, follow me'. In all these five texts, the sung begins with an iambic trimeter: 'Come, follow, follow me' (or 'all'). That line does not occur in the extant texts of the play. Moreover, the metre of that first line does not match the lilting metre of the first line of 'Come, follow your leader, follow!' (3.2.82), a rhythm exactly repeated in the next line. Other texts 'To the Tune of the Spanish Gypsie' also begin with iambic trimetre: Gilchrist (280) cites Robert Coster's 'The Digger's Christmass-Caroll' in The Diggers Mirth (1650; Wing C6366A): 'You people which be wise, | Will freedom highly prize' (sig. A2). Wells (200) cites one additional ballad, Cuckold's Haven (1638; STC 6101, Roxburghe 1.148), which begins 'Come neighbours follow me | That cuckoldizèd be'. All these citations establish the popularity of the tune; but they do not clearly link the ballad tune to 'Come, follow your leader, follow!'

Beginning with Chappell, all these investigations pay attention to the tune, but ignore the dance. The nature of the song in 3.2 does not fit the nature of the dance Playford describes. Armies are normally all male (like the three merry cobblers), and all-male dancing was common at the Inns of Court and elsewhere; although Eugenia and Preciosa enter in 3.2, nothing in the lyric suggests that the women dance. (If they did dance, they would not dance in couples, but as part of the 'Gypsy army'.) By contrast, nothing in the dance corresponds in any way to the military metaphors or language of the lyric. Playford's dance is not a leader dance, nor an entrance dance, nor an introductory dance, nor an explicitly ethnic dance; it is above all a dance of heterosexual couples—which is not the subject of the song or dance in 3.2.

Nevertheless, the dance must, as Chappell realized, be in some way related to the play. Broadside ballads do not spontaneously generate dances; the play, by contrast, is very explicitly full of dances. Moreover, there was nothing to prompt a song, ballad or dance about one or more Spanish Gypsies until the success of the play. The play took that subject from texts by Cervantes that had not been translated into English; outside the play, the collocation 'Spanish Gypsy' does not appear in Literature Online until 1659, or in EEBO-TCP until 1685. Those databases are not complete, of course, but they do suggest the rarity of the combination, outside this play and a tune that first shows up in an extant ballad text at about the same time.

If we do not assume that the dance described by Playford was danced to accompany 'Come, follow your leader, follow!', then where else in the play might it belong? The Gypsies dance and exit to 'Trip it, Gypsies, trip it fine' (3.1.107–38), but that song does not fit the ballad metre either. (See preceding item.) Nor does 'Dance, pg 177sing, and in a well-mixed border' (4.1.42–55), or 'Brave Don, cast your eyes | On our Gypsy fashions' (4.1.86–116), or 'Hence merrily fine to get money' (4.1.138–48). Thus, the Playford tune and dance do not seem to fit the metre or the circumstances of any of the song lyrics in the printed play. But the play's Gypsies also sometimes dance without words. They sing at 3.2.197–217, but only after the song does Preciosa tell her father and the others to 'fall to your dancing' (3.2.218)—a speech immediately followed by the stage direction 'Dance'. Later, the Gypsies exit 'dancing', wordlessly, at Finally, at the end of the play they bid farewell to their life as Gypsies in another 'Dance' without words ( Thus, in two scenes the Gypsies dance to instrumental music but no vocal accompaniment. Moreover, the same thing happens in John Leanerd's The Counterfeits (1679), where at the end of 5.2 'the Spanish Gipsies' are brought on stage for no reason except to perform 'A DANCE' and exit. The tune and dance in Leanerd's play were almost certainly those already familiar to audiences—and they were not accompanied by lyrics.

Of the two scenes in The Spanish Gypsy, only 5.3 would fit Playford's instructions for the dance. Four heterosexual couples are on stage: Alvarez and Eugenia (leaders of the Gypsies), the Gypsy Pretiosa and Don Juan (who briefly became a Gypsy), Clara and Roderigo (who briefly became a Gypsy), Cardochia and Diego (who both spent time among the Gypsies). The play's final couplet, spoken immediately after the dance, begins, 'On, brides and bridegrooms!', and indeed three of the four couples are bridal pairs; the fourth (the Father and Mother of the Gypsies) are already married. Thus, at—and nowhere else—the play provides an arrangement of characters that fits Playford's description of a longways dance for four cross-gender couples.

Moreover, the most remarkable feature of the dance is the direction 'turn back-to-back', which is repeated six times. That is, the couples keep turning their backs to each other. This back-to-back move is compounded with another recurrent move, 'go about each other not turning your faces', which each couple does four times in the first of the dance's three sections: that is, the individual men and women are directed to dance around their partners, without looking at them. The dance thus re-enacts the central action of the play's romantic plots: Roderigo rapes Clara without letting her see him, Don Juan repeatedly 'offers to kiss' Pretiosa but she turns away or otherwise prevents the kiss, Cardochia holds Diego at arm's length while she pursues another man (Don Juan, who turns his back on her). This turning away or turning aside also would have enacted, for the play's first audiences, their political ambivalence about the Spanish Match (Taylor 2008). But although the couples keep turning their backs on each other, this rhythmic rejection oscillates with rhythmic attraction: 'faces again'. The dance embodies a ritual of resisted courtship: the first section begins with the men leading, the second with the couples side by side, the third with them arm-in-arm. In the middle of the second section the couples hold hands; in the final section their hands intertwine, twice.

This final dance would also differ significantly from all the play's previous dances. The first dance introduces and emphasizes the acrobatic agility of the dancers: 'Trip it, Gypsies, trip it fine! Show tricks and lofty capers! … we trip it on the toe … our dances waste our backs …' The lyrics call for the high kicks ('lofty capers') and intricate moves associated with Italian and Spanish dance fashions. It explicitly scorns old-fashioned folk dances ('threading needles … leaping over rapiers'). The only words repeated in the chorus of the second dance (three times) are 'our knackers', foregrounding their exotic castanets; the rest of the lyric ('Follow your leader') implies a specially choreographed mime-dance, imitating a battle, and thereby associating the Spanish Gypsies with Spanish armies. In 4.1 Gypsy dancing is explicitly described as 'antic' (88), and compared to rope-dancing (93–5); it is twice praised as an opportunity 'To show a pretty foot' (146, 148). All these characterizations of the early dances emphasize their exceptional character; they resemble the antic dancing of an antimasque, and/or the specially choreographed displays of the main masque. Theatrically, in order to succeed those dances must impress an audience as spectacular. Notably, these early Gypsy scenes require three characters—Antonio, Carlo, and Christiana—who between them speak only 24 lines, but who cannot be doubled with any other characters; one suspects that these roles were designed to be played by spectacularly fine dancers who were not necessarily fine actors. Notably, these three characters do not appear in the final scene, though the performers were available offstage; apparently, their particular dance talents were not needed here, and the playwrights did not want to raise audience expectations by bringing them back on stage. By contrast with these earlier dances, the choreography Playford labels 'Spanish Gypsy' is, like his 'country dances', not beyond the powers of anyone in the audience. Like the 'revels' or 'measures', it is a social dance, which establishes community. After the dance, the final couplet commands the dancers to 'bend' to the audience, thus explicitly acknowledging their participation. The dance thus ends the play—and the flirtation with Gypsy life temporarily indulged by the characters and the audience. What is apparently the first extant reference to the play in performance refers to 'Gypsy jigs' (see Critical Introduction); this final dance serves many of the functions of the old jigs, but integrates those functions into the play's fictional narrative. It gives the actors a kind of choreographed curtain call; at the same time, like the final number in a modern musical, it is designed to send spectators out of the theatre humming, or whistling, with a rhythm in their steps. It invites imitation—and, to judge by the enduring popularity of Playford's instructions, the invitation was accepted.

How then did this dance, originally wordless, become associated with a broadside ballad? The popularity of the tune and the dance, which like a detachable jig ended the play, invited a ballad-maker to take advantage of pg 178both, by providing a simple verbal text that satisfied the conventions of the ballad genre. That text is lost, but we can discern its verbal structure from subsequent ballads that invoked its tune, and especially from the first reply it provoked. That evidence suggests that the original ballad almost certainly began 'Come, follow, follow all'. Clearly, this opening paraphrases the opening of the song in 3.2. The ballad-maker thus seems to have combined the country-dance tune of The Spanish Gypsy's final dance with a paraphrase of elements from the danced song that the Spanish Gypsies use to introduce themselves to a paying audience in 3.2.


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1 17.104, 164–7, 19.176, 181.

2 For an example see 'Order of Persons ' in this volume, p. 57.

3 On the music patents see Steele, Krummel, and Smith. For printed music paper see Fenlon and Milsom. Milsom (1999) and Chan (2002) provide useful introductions to the sixteenth and seventeenth century music trade in England more generally.

4 For music printing to 1600 see Agee, Bernstein (1998, 2001), Carter, Cusick, Fenlon, Krummel and Sadie, Pogue; for Rastell, see Milsom (1997) and King; for Elizabethan patronage, see Price.

5 For 'golden age ' see Newton (the first to use the phrase) and Spring, 96–289.

6 Merchant Taylor's School (whose headmaster, Richard Mulcaster, also composed music), Westminster School, and Christ's Hospital (a charity school, possibly relevant because Middleton was an orphan). See Price, 37–8.

7 Williams includes it, in the form 'Medius … Tonus', in a list of facetious names (p. 318), but he omits 'et Gravis ' and gives no definitions, musical or otherwise.

8 For classical Latin see the definitions and citations in Glare: medius (a. 8), '(of musical notes) neither high nor low ' (1091), grauis (a. 9) '(of a sound) Low in pitch, deep ' (775), and tonus (n. 2) 'the pitch of a sound … a tone, note ' (1949). Elizabethan Latin dictionaries defined tonus as 'tune, note, accent' (Lancashire). As this range of definitions suggests, Latin tonus would be better translated, in contemporary musical vocabulary, as 'timbre, ' a more complex attribute than pitch, representing a synthesis of several factors (Campbell).

9 See 'Semitonus est medius tonus ' and similar phrases in Mathiessen. The fact that Dowland and others defined a 'semitone ' as an 'imperfect ' tone would also be relevant to Middleton's conviction that 'nothing is perfect born': see Dowland's translation of Andreas Ornithoparcus his Micrologus, or Introduction: containing the art of singing (1609), pp. 17–18.

10 For John Marbeck see Leaver. His surname is variously spelled by different scholars (Morbeck, Merbecke). Lepet says his wife is entitled to gentry status because she was 'a harper's grand-child ' (Valour 4.1.294).

11 Chan (1980) notes that Hoby consistently translates Castiglione's 'uiola ' as 'lute ' (130).

12 The popularity of 'Hence, all you vain delights ' is measured by the uniquely high number of separate textual sources, especially manuscripts, and especially sources from the first half of the seventeenth century. The two popular dance tunes (items 3 and 25), which appear in every edition of Playford, were printed and distributed in many more copies, but Playford is the only source for both, and those copies all postdate 1650.

13 Both 'The Slip ' and 'The Spanish Gypsy ' are among the thirty dances included in all editions of Playford's Dancing Master; among those thirty, the only others clearly related to the theatre are 'Kemp's Jig ' (from the 1580s) and 'An Old Man's Bones ' (sung in Shirley's Constant Maid).

14 For printed music paper (items 4, 20) see Fenlon and Milsom. On the Angoulême trade and Playford's Restoration music books (items 2, 4, 23, 25) see Thompson 1988 and 1995. On the Troyes watermark in Bodleian Mus Sch F.575 (item 23) see Thompson 1998, 146–7.

15 John Rastell was not only an innovator in music printing, but published plays (and probably wrote them), and constructed London's earliest commercial stage (Plomer).

16 See Taylor 1994, and the title-pages of Mad World (1608), Honourable Entertainments (1621), and A Game at Chess (Rosenbach manuscript, autograph).

17 'Feeling and form ' is Langer's phrase, but all philosophical accounts of music, beginning with Plato, wrestle with similar conceptualizations: see Bowman and Budd.

18 Rastell defines notation as 'The written symbols (which may include verbal instructions) by which musical ideas are represented and preserved for future performance or study ' (2).

19 About 1420, the solid black notes of medieval music gave way to hollow notes, not because of any change in musical theory or practice, but because paper was replacing parchment as Europe's dominant writing surface, and the concentration of ink in a black note tended to eat through the paper too quickly (Pryer, 1257).

20 For English sources before 1700 see Ravenhofer, 36–49. I do not count the French manuscript choreographies on the flyleaf of a Latin book printed in Venice in 1497, bequeathed to Salisbury Cathedral eight decades later (shelfmark Y.2.12). I do count 'Here foloweth the maner of dauncynge of bace daūces after the use of fraunce & other places translated out of frenche in englyshe by Robert coplande', appended to Alexander Barclay's Here begynneth the introductory to wryte, and to pronounce frenche, printed by Coplande (1521; STC 1386), sig. C4–C4v. I also include Cambridge University Library MS Ll.1.11 (early 16th century), and four of the seven so-called 'Inns of Court ' manuscripts edited by Payne: those associated with Edward Gunther (1563–6), John Willoughby (1594), John Ramsey (1609), and John Stow (1611–21?). Three seventeenth-century manuscripts, all in the British Library—Lansdowne 1115 (fols. 35–8), Sloane 3858 (fols. 15–18), and Add. 41996 (fol. 18)—are not securely dated, but are probably mid-century.

21 For Shakespeare see Brissenden (academic) and Hoskins (practical). For Jonson see especially Daye and Ravelhofer.

22 For the original German see Chambers 2:364–5; my translation combines elements from Chambers and Schanzer.

23 For entr'acte dancing see Austern 1992, 83–92. The six exceptions are Patient Man and Honest Whore, Yorkshire Tragedy, Timon of Athens, Revenger's Tragedy, Roaring Girl, and No Wit/Help like a Woman's, all first performed in theatres that had not yet adopted the convention of entr'acte music; however, subsequent revivals of those plays probably incorporated act intervals.

24 Robertson and Gordon, 64, 65, 88, 102.

25 Dessen and Thomson note that, of the 'almost 350 ' examples of the direction 'dance ' in English professional plays from 1580–1642, the 'most common ' occurrence is the single word without elaboration (64).

26 Four stanzas of 'Pretty wantons warble ' are given in the anonymous The Fayre Mayde of the Exchange, probably written c.1602, printed in 1607 (STC 13317), sig. E1. This song source is not noted by Hoy (2:28).

27 For early modern plays as musical compositions scored for these different voices see Smith 1999, 222–45.

28 Payments to the City Waits were specified in the itemized budgets for Middleton's pageants of 1613, 1617, 1623, and 1626 (Robertson and Gordon). On mayoral pageants and the City Waits more generally, see Burden and Palmer; the latter came to my attention too late to be consulted for item 7.

29 On Wilson's life and musical career see Ashbee and Lasocki, 1157–9, Henderson, and Spink 1974.

30 Lefkowitz claimed that Lawes also wrote instrumental music for a revival of The Phoenix (203), but he did not give a source for the music or the attribution. Wood identifies 'The Phenix ' in British Library Add. MS 31429, fol. 40v; it is not attributed, but she notes that 'the attributions that do appear in this set of partbooks ' may 'also apply to the following pieces; Lawes is mentioned on f. 33v and the next attribution does not appear until f. 42 ' (59). There is also a keyboard version, not noticed by Wood: 'The ffinex ' appears in 'Elizabeth Rogers hir virginall booke', BL Add. MS 10337, fol. 34–33v (inverted), transcribed by Cofone, p. 68. The Rogers manuscript does not attribute its contents, but it does contain other items by William Lawes and does contain a good deal of theatrical music. These two tunes are quite distinct, but both use the same title and come from approximately the same period. Wood, aware of only the one tune, doubts its association with the play, primarily because 'No records of a revival of Middleton's play during the period when Lawes was writing have been located ' (59). But the play was reprinted in 1630, and is quoted repeatedly in Cotgrave's 1655 anthology of passages from plays (see 'Lives and Afterlives', this volume, p. 452); both documents suggest that The Phoenix remained popular in the Caroline period, and it would have made sense for a play with such a title to be revived in the theatre with that name. The text explicitly calls for music between scenes 9 and 10: 'Toward the close of the music, the Justice's three men prepare for a robbery'. This suggests that Middleton was imagining entr'acte music, though none is marked elsewhere in the printed text. Certainly, any 1630s revival would have required entr'acte music. Middleton also probably intended the play to end with music (Austern 1992, 94): the music is not specified in a stage direction, but it would make sense for it to accompany or conclude the climactic cure of Tangle, who finds 'peace's music', which also seems to be acknowledged in the play's last lines, spoken by Phoenix: 'Thus, when all hearts are tuned to honour's strings, There is no music to the choir of kings ' (15.344, 349–60). But the fact that 'Phoenix ' could refer to the theatre makes attribution of these two pieces to the play very uncertain.

31 Sutherland 89–90; her tabulation is based on the Bullen canon, and does not include Timon, Revenger, Weapons, or Valour.

32 Mooney cites Fair Quarrel as the earliest example, not recognizing Wit at Several Weapons as a Middleton/Rowley play written within a year of the ban. He attributes this technique to Rowley alone (307), but that assumption is based on earlier attribution studies, which tidily divided the vulgarity of Rowley from the sophistication of Middleton: see the singing, dancing comic material in Dissemblers, Widow, Heroes, and Valour, and the clown roles in Hengist and Game at Chess; Rowley does not seem to have contributed any of the 'Gypsy jigs ' to Spanish Gypsy.

33 Baskervill 56 (not citing Hengist); Maitland and Squire, CXXVII. Baskervill cites a 1641 pamphlet in which this is one of two 'Scotch jigges', which 'The Fidler he flings out his heels and Dances and Sings'.

34 For all these terms, and others, see Monthland, 553–6.

35 For film, see Kracauer, 158 ('Movement is the alpha and omega of the medium … it seems to have a "resonance" effect, provoking in the spectator such kinesthetic responses as muscular reflexes, motor impulses and the like. Objective movement acts as a physiological stimulus … representations of movement do cause a stir in deep bodily layers'). For music, see Cone's notion of 'vicarious performance' (21).

36 Sabol identifies two pieces of music associated with the Lords' entrance dance (items 73, 191), which immediately follows the transformation of the statues; it is not clear from the text whether the statues/women join in this dance.

37 In The Meeting of Gallants at an Ordinary, 'this youngster daunced the shaking of one sheete within a few daies after' (397) refers to the text of the traditional ballad 'The Dance of Death', which begins 'Can you dance the shaking of the sheets?' Schoenbaum was unaware of this Middleton parallel.

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