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RAVENSCROFT'S MELISMATA.

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favourers of Musicke and all vertue, Mr. Thomas Ravenscroft and Mr. William Ravenscroft, Esquires, to whom he subscribes himself their affectionate kinseman, T. R." The second dedication is a general one, being addressed "To the noblest of the Court, liberallest of the Countrey, and freest of the Citie," wherein he states, "that, being little or much beholden to some of each rank [in selecting materials for this work], I study and strive to please you in your own elements."

The most of the pieces contained in the "Melismata," may be ascribed to a much older date than the time of Ravenscroft. We believe that this worthy musician has availed himself, by culling a few lays here and there, as best suited his purpose, from the floating song literature of the day, thereby diversifying and rendering more valuable his selection than it otherwise would have been, had he composed the poetry for his airs, as Byrd and a few others about this period seem to have done.

THE COURTIER'S GOOD-MORROW TO HIS MISTRESS,

FROM COURT VARIETIES.

CANST thou love and lie alone?

Love is so disgraced!
Pleasure is best wherein is rest
In a heart embraced.
Rise, rise, rise,

Daylight do not burn out,

Bells do ring and birds do sing,
Only I that mourn out.

Morning star doth now appear,
Wind is hush'd, and sky is clear;
Come, come away, come, come away,
Canst thou love and burn out day?
Rise, rise, rise, &c.

THE CROWNING OF BELPHEBE.

Now flowers your odours breathe,
And all the air perfume;
Grow in this honour'd wreath,
And with no storms consume.

Hail, hail, and welcome her,

Thou glory of our green;
Receive this flowery sphere,
And be the shepherd's queen.

Oh kneel, and do her homage now,
That calls our hearts like fate;

Now rise, your humble bosoms bow,
And lead her to her state.

MERCURY'S SONG, THE MESSENGER OF THE GODS.

HASTE, haste, post-haste, make haste, and away,
The tide tarrieth no man, it makes no delay;
Trudge, trudge, for thy life, for virtue must fly,
These journeys are rife with thee, poor Mercury.

RAVENSCROFT'S MELISMATA.

SERVANTS OUT OF SERVICE

ARE GOING TO THE CITY TO LOOK FOR NEW.

HEIGH-HO, away the mare,
Let us set aside all care;

If any man be dispos'd to try,
Lo, here comes a lusty crew,

That are enforc'd to cry, a new master, a new!

Hey now, we'll take small pains,
And yet we'll thrive, hey now;
We neither mind to beg nor starve,
We will have more than we deserve,
We'll cut their throats that are alive.

THE YOUNG NURSE'S REQUEST.

FROM CITY ROUNDS.

I pray you, good mother, give me leave
To play with little John,

To make his bed, and comb his head,
And come again anon.

Or else beat me as you think good,
For I love John alone.

THE PAINTER'S SONG OF LONDON.
FROM CITY CONCEITS.

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WHERE are you, fair maids, that have need of our trades? I'll sell you a rare confection;

Will

you have your faces spread, either with white or red; Will you buy any fair complexion?

G

My drugs are no dregs, for I have whites of eggs,
Made in a rare confection,

Red leather and surflet water, scarlet colour or staves-aker; Will you buy any fair complexion?

A BELLMAN'S SONG.

MAIDS to bed, and cover coal,
Let the mouse out of her hole;
Crickets, crickets in the chimney sing,
Whilst the little bell doth ring,
If fast asleep, who can tell
When the clapper hits the bell.

THE THREE RAVENS.

FROM COUNTRY PASTIMES.

THERE were three ravens sat on a tree,
Down a down, hey down;

There were three ravens sat on a tree,
With a down;

There were three ravens sat on a tree,

They were as black as they might be,

With a down, derry, derry, derry, down, down.

The one of them said to his mate,

Where shall we our breakfast take?

Down in yonder green field,
There lies a knight slain under his shield.

RAVENSCROFT'S MELISMATA.

His hounds they lie down at his feet,
So well they can their master keep.

His hawks they fly so eagerly,
There's no fowl dare him come nigh.

Down there comes a fallow doe,
As great with young as she might go;

She lifted up his bloody head,
And kiss'd his wounds that were so red;

She got him up upon her back,
And carried him to earthen lake;

She buried him before the prime;

She was dead herself ere even-song time.

God send every gentleman

Such hawks, such hounds, and such a leman.

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From internal evidence, the "Three Ravens" appears to have been an old Ballad when Ravenscroft introduced it into his "Melismata," written, perhaps, in or about the reign of Henry the Eighth. He has passed over the history of this rich and sublimely wild production, as other collators of his period were wont to do, consequently, we remain ignorant of the circumstance which erst called forth its composition. The "Two Ravens," although poetical and descriptive, is evidently a more recent composition, built upon the former; we subjoin this version in illustration of what we now have stated.

THE TWO RAVENS.

There were two ravens sat on a tree,
Large and black, as black may be;

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