TWO BOOKES OF AYRES|
TO THE Reader.
OVT of many Songs which,
partly at the request of friends, partly for my owne recreation, were by
mee long since composed, I haue now enfranchised a few, sending them forth
diuided, according to their different subiect, into seuerall Bookes.
The first are graue and pious ; the second amorous and light.
For hee that in publishing any worke, hath a desire to content all palates,
must cater for them accordingly.
These Ayres were for the most part framed at first for
one voyce with the Lute, or Violl, but upon occasion, they have since beene
filled with more parts, which who so please may vse, who like not may leaue.
Yet doe wee daily obserue, that when any shall sing a Treble to an Instrument,
the standers by will be offring at an inward part out of their own nature
; and, true or false, out it must, though to the peruerting of the
whole harmonie. Also, if we consider well, the Treble tunes,
which are with vs commonly called Ayres, are but Tenors mounted eight Notes
higher, and therefore an an inward part must needes well become them, such
as may take vp the whole distance of the Diapason, and fill vp the
gaping betweene the two extreame parts ; whereby though they are
not three parts in perfection, yet they yeeld a sweetnesse and content
both the eare and minde, which is the ayme and perfection of Musicke.
Short Ayres, if they be skilfully framed, and naturally exprest, are like
quicke and good Epigrammes in Poesie, many of them shewing as much artifice,
and breeding as great difficultie as a larger Poeme. Non
omnia possumus omnes, said the Romane Epick Poet. But
some there are who admit onely French or Italian Ayres, as
if euery Country had not his proper Ayre, which the people thereof naturally
vsurpe in their Musicke. Others taste nothing that comes forth in
Print, as if Catullus or Martials Epigrammes were the worse
for being published. In these English Ayres, I haue chiefly
aymed to couple my Words and Notes louingly together, which will be much
for him to doe that hath not power ouer both. The light of
this will best appeare to him who hath paysd our Monasyllables and Syllables
combined, both of which, are so loaded with Consonants, as that they will
hardly keepe company with swift Notes, or giue the Vowell conuenient liberty.
To conclude ; mine owne opinion of these Songs I deliuer thus :
——Non omnibus vnum est
Quod placet, hic Spinas colligit, ille Rosas.
Omnia nec nostris bona sunt, sed nec mala libris ;
Sic placet hac cantes, hac quoque lege legas.
Campion, Thomas. Campion's Works. Percival Vivian, Ed.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909. 114-115.
||to Works of Thomas Campion|
Site copyright ©1996-2007 Anniina Jokinen. All rights reserved.
Created by Anniina Jokinen on October 18, 2001. Last updated March 6, 2007.