Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/275

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


When one surveys the great field of Elizabethan Literature he finds that the body of lyric poetry produced in that age is scarcely less remarkable than the body of dramatic literature. The lyric note was in the air. Every one of any pretension to cultivation could write verses, generally with a fair degree of proficiency. Instead of a note to accompany a trivial gift, the sender would write a sonnet. Love lyrics were as frequent as love. And with it all went a popular pleasure and skill in music that has utterly passed away. Relative to this universal knowledge of music is the following paragraph in Chappell's Old English Popular Music (i. 59):

"During the reign of Elizabeth, music seems to have been in universal cultivation, as well as universal esteem. Not only was it a necessary qualification for ladies and gentlemen, but even the city of London advertised the musical abilities of boys educated in Bridewell and Christ's Hospital, as a mode of recommending them as servants, apprentices, or husbandmen. ... Tinkers sang catches; milkmaids sang ballads; carters whistled; each trade, and even the beggars, had their special songs; the base viol hung in the drawing room for the amusement of waiting visitors; the lute, cittern and virginals, for the amusement of waiting customers, were the necessary furniture of