Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/276

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220
THE ELIZABETHAN PEOPLE

the barber shop. They had music at dinner; music at supper; music at weddings; music at funerals; music at dawn; music at night. … He who felt not, in some degree, its soothing influences, was viewed as a morose, unsocial being, whose converse ought to be shunned and regarded with suspicion and distrust."

An interesting collection of songs, edited by William Byrd, and printed in 1588, has the following introduction:

"Reasons briefly set down by the author, to persuade everyone to learn to sing.

"1. First it is a knowledge easily taught, and quickly learned; where there is a good master and an apt scholar.

"2. The exercise of singing is delightful to Nature, and good to preserve the health of man.

"3. It doth strengthen all parts of the breast, and doth open the pipes.

"4. It is a singular good remedy for a stutt[er]ing and stammering in the speech.

"5. It is the best means to procure a perfect pronunciation, and to make a good orator.

"6. It is the only way to know where Nature hath bestowed the benefit of a good voice; which gift is so rare, as there is not one among a thousand that hath it: and in many, that excellent gift is lost, because they want Art to express Nature.