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Mus. 439

Manuscript. Ayres, masque songs, songs from choirboy plays, consort songs, canzonets and sacred songs, all here presented in versions for solo voice and unfigured bass; also works in tablature for lyra viol, and basses or grounds for bass viol, added on previously unused staves; English, probably c.1610. (Various dates for the copying of this manuscript have been proposed; on p. 114 of the MS itself the date '1634' has been added, but not obviously by a hand that copied any of the musical contents.) The first song in the collection has been numbered '3' by the copyist, implying that at least one and probably two leaves are missing from the front of the volume. Leaves appear also to be missing after pp. 96 and 100.

The repertory of songs in Mus. 439, assembled by several copyists, has been tentatively linked with a choir school, possibly that of the Chapel Royal (see Chan in Bibliography below). The following additions to this principal repertory can be discerned:

  • Songs by Robert Taylor, added to previously unused staves: items 8 and 14.
  • Tablature for lyra viol: items 25, 43, 53, 85, 93, 100-3 and 110-13.
  • Basses or grounds for bass viol: items 79-80, 82-3, 97-9 and 105-9.
Table of titles and composers in modern form. Display form found in manuscript.
The first column gives the modern numbering of the pieces; the second shows numbering used by the copyist(s).
1 3 Thomas Morley? Sleep, slumb'ring eyes pp. 1-2
2 4 Thomas Campion? Tarry, sweet love p. 3
3 5 Robert Jones Fie, fie, fie, what a coil is here! pp. 4-5
4 6 John Dowland Flow, my tears pp. 6-7
5   John Dowland Flow, my tears (bass only, transposed) p. 7
6 7 Thomas Weelkes Four arms, two necks, one wreathing p. 8
7 8   O mortal man, how long wilt thou remain (opening strain only) p. 9
8   Robert Taylor I never laid me down to rest p. 9
9 9 Philip Rosseter Sweet, come again p. 10
10 10 Thomas Campion Though you are young and I am old p. 11
11 11   There was a frog swum in the lake pp. 12-13
12 12   My mistress loves no woodcocks pp. 14-15
13 13   John, you're my husband's man, you know pp. 16-17
14   Robert Taylor Go, my flock, go, go you hence p. 17
15   Leonard Woodson The marigold of golden hue pp. 18-19
16     Dear, my dear, why are you cruel? p. 20
17   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) Fain I would, but O I dare not p. 21
18   Thomas Lupo? Daphnis came on a summer's day p. 22
19     Go thou my soul to thy desired rest p. 23
20     Shepherd, in faith tell me how much p. 24
21   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) With what new thoughts p. 25
22   Thomas Campion Though your strangeness p. 26
23     Hark, all you ladies that do sleep pp. 26-27
24     But if you let your lovers moan (part 2 of no. 23 above) p. 27
25     unidentified piece for lyra viol (VdGS 8316) p. 27
26     Intruding hopes ('Dialogue of Hope and Joy', part 1) p. 28
27     Mistaking joy ('Dialogue of Hope and Joy', part 2) p. 28
28   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) I am a lover, yet was never loved p. 29
29     Ay me, can love and beauty so conspire pp. 30-31
30   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) Come away, come away p. 31
31     Farewell, dear infant pp. 32-33
32     Sitting down to her repast p. 34
33   Robert Jones Now what is love, I pray thee tell? p. 35
34   Thomas Campion? Art thou that she p. 36
35   Thomas Morley With my love my life was nestled p. 37
36     O the joys that soon should waste (from 'Cynthia's Revels' (Ben Jonson)) pp. 38-39
37     Here's none but only I p. 39
38     Fair eyes, regard my love (opening only) p. 40
39     This merry pleasant spring pp. 42-43
40     If I seek t'enjoy the fruits p. 44
41   John Dowland Now, O now, I needs must part p. 45
42   John Dowland Sleep, wayward thoughts p. 46
43   John Dowland Sleep, wayward thoughts (lyra viol accompaniment) p. 46
44   John Dowland Come, ye heavy states of night p. 47
45   Thomas Weelkes Late is my rash accounting p. 48
46   Thomas Weelkes Ha ha! this world doth pass p. 49
47   Thomas Weelkes The nightingale, the organ of delight p. 50
48   Nathaniel Giles Hey nonny no p. 51
49   John Dowland If my complaints could passions move pp. 52-53
50   William Byrd In fields abroad p. 54
51     Come, lusty ladies pp. 56-57
52   William Byrd Constant Penelope pp. 58-59
53     All in a garden green (VdGS 8304) p. 59
54   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) Why stays the bridegroom pp. 60-61
55     I must complain she doth enjoy my love (= no. 59 below) pp. 62-63
56   Nathaniel Giles O hear my prayer pp. 64-65
57     Sweet wanton wag p. 66
58   Robert Jones What if I sped where I least expected p. 67
59     I must complain she doth enjoy my love (= no. 55 above) pp. 68-69
60   John Dowland Sorrow, stay (opening only, deleted) p. 70
61   Michael Cavendish Every bush new springing [II] pp. 70-71
62     Eyes lie awake in hope of happy seeing p. 72
63   Robert Jones Dreams and imaginations p. 73
64     Hold, lingel, hold pp. 74-75
65     You that have that dainty ear pp. 76-77
66   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) O eyes, o mortal stars p. 78
67   Thomas Morley? Will you buy a fine dog pp. 80-81
68   William Byrd Lullaby, my sweet little baby pp. 82-84
69   William Byrd Lord, in thy wrath reprove me not pp. 84-85
70   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) Young and simple though I am p. 86
71   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) Drown not my tears pp. 88-89
72   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) Sing the nobless of his race (from 'Sing we then heroic grace') p. 90
73   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) Shall I seek to ease my grief? p. 91
74   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) Fly from the world, O fly p. 92
75   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) If all these Cupids now were blind (part 1) p. 93
76   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) It was no policy of court (part 2 of no. 75 above) p. 94
77   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) If all the ages of the earth p. 95
78   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) Yes, were the Loves or false or straying (part 3 of no. 75 above; lacks ending) p. 96
79   James Harding Galliard in d (bass only) p. 97
80   Hugh Facy Woodecock (bass only) p. 97
81     treble air, unidentified p. 97
82     Passing measures galliard (bass only) p. 98
83     unidentified bass or ground in g p. 98
84   Robert Jones Farewell, dear love (bass only) p. 98
85     Fragment in G for lyra viol (VdGS 6638) p. 100
86   Robert Jones Arise, arise, my thoughts (lacks ending) p. 100
87   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) Unconstant love p. 101
88   William Byrd My mind to me a kingdom is p. 102
89   John Bennet (i) Venus birds, whose mournful tunes p. 103
90   William Byrd My soul, oppressed with care and grief pp. 104-105
91   William Byrd Though Amaryllis dance in green p. 105
92   William Byrd O Lord, how long wilt thou forget pp. 106-107
93     Galliard in A (lyra viol) p. 107
94   Richard Allison My prime of youth (part 1) pp. 108-109
95   Richard Allison The spring is past (part 2 of no. 94 above) pp. 109-110
96     The stately stag that seems so stout p. 111
97     Fragment in g for bass viol p. 112
98     Ground in g for bass viol p. 112
99     Coranto in a (bass only) p. 112
100     Galliard in f (lyra viol, VdGS 8317) p. 112inv
101   Joseph Sherley Prelude in a (lyra viol) p. 113
102   Alfonso Ferrabosco (ii) Coranto in a (lyra viol) p. 113
103     Jenny (lyra viol; VdGS 9140) pp. 114-116R
104     What if a day or a night or a year p. 115
105     Ground in d, bass only p. 117inv
106     Ground in g, bass only p. 117inv
107     Ground in G, bass only p. 117inv
108     Ground in G, bass only p. 117inv
109     Ground in G, bass only p. 117inv
110   Joseph Sherley Pavan in a (lyra viol) p. 118
111   Joseph Sherley Galliard in a (lyra viol) p. 119
112   Joseph Sherley Coranto in a (lyra viol) p. 120
113     A toy (in a, for lyra viol, VdGS 9195b) p. 120

Upright format, 275 x 190 mm. 60 folios, paginated in 19th-century pencil. A significant number of leaves are mounted on guards, giving rise to the following collation: A14 (pp. 1-28), B8 (pp. 29-44), C12 (pp. 45-68), D12 (pp. 69-92), E6 (pp. 93-104), probably F8 (pp. 105-120). Unused ruled staves on pp. 41, 55, 79, 87 and 99. There are pastedown cancels on pp. 77 and 105; these have not been lifted. Late 17th-century 'Aldrich binding' (Type 1); no trace remains of any earlier binding or wrappers. Bookplate 2. Annotation by Malchair on p. 68 (item 59): 'this Music is of the flurishing age of Eliz[abeth I]'. Some composer attributions have been added by Havergal and later hands. 19th-century shelfmark: I.5.49.

Provenance: from the Aldrich bequest (on the evidence of the binding). Presumably the volume listed in Archives 1717, position E16, as 'English Songs', and in Burney (f. 7r) as 'Vol. of old English Songs, Treble & Base, of the last Century'.

Microfilm: manuscript music, reel 18. See also the facsimile edition listed in the Bibliography below.

Select bibliography

  • Mary Chan, 'Cynthia's Revels and Music for a Choir School: Christ Church Manuscript Mus 439', Studies in the Renaissance, 18 (1971), 134-72. Find in a Library
  • English Song 1600-1675: Facsimiles of Twenty-Six Manuscripts and an Edition of the Texts, ed. Elise Bickford Jorgens, vol. 6: Manuscripts at Oxford, Part I (New York and London, 1987): includes a complete facsimile of Mus. 439, with commentary. Find in a Library
  • Elizabeth Kenny, 'The Uses of Lute Song: Texts, Contexts and Pretexts for "Historically Informed" Performance', Early Music, 36 (2008), 285-99. Find in a Library