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“Songes of the Doeinges of Their Auncestors”: Aspects of Welsh and English Musical Traditions

  • Sally Harper
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

An imaginary juxtaposition of the contrasting soundscapes that might have characterized Wales and England during the 1430s is found in an anonymous dialogue ballad of the early seventeenth century.1 Purportedly a translation from a Welsh original, this fanciful recreation of the courtship of the future grandparents of Henry VII—Owain Tudor of Anglesey (ca. 1400–1461) and the widow of Henry V, Catherine de Valois (1401–37)—has Owain attempting to woo the aristocratic Catherine by laying before her the charms of his homeland. Wales is defined by a series of pastoral delights; among them the “murmuring musick” of its clear fountains, the “musicall moanes” of its harps, tabors and “sweet humming drones,” its Whitsuntide maypoles and dancing on the village green, and the serenading of a bride with bagpipes as she makes her way to church. Catherine, accustomed to tilting and tournaments, masques and revels, inevitably has very different expectations. For her the music of courtship requires a soothing “silver-like melody” that “rocks up” the senses; Welsh music, to her refined ear, is “clownish,” for it “soundeth not sweet.”

Keywords

Sixteenth Century Fifteenth Century Oxford Dictionary National Biography Henry Versus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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    “A New Song of the Wooing of Queene Katherine, by a Gallant Yong Gentleman of Wales Named Owen Tudor: Lately Translated Out of Welch into Our English Phrase. To the Tune of Light in Love Ladies,” in The Golden Garland of Princely Pleasures and Delicate Delights, ed. Richard Johnson, 3rd edn. (London: By A. M[athewes] for Thomas Langley, and are to be sold at his shop ouer against the Sarazens Head without Newgate, 1620 [STC 14674]), A6. The ballad was probably inspired by Shakespeare’s courtship scene between Catherine and Henry at the end of Henry V. See also Michael Drayton, “Owen Tudor to Queen Katherine,” Englands Heroicall Epistles (London: printed by I[ames] R[oberts] for N. Ling, and are to be sold at his shop at the vvest doore of Poules, 1597 [STC 7193]), and Hugh Holland, Pancharis the First Booke. Containing the Preparation of the Loue betweene Ovven Tudyr, and the Queene, Long since Intended to Her Maiden Maiestie (London: By V. S[immes] for Clement Knight, M D CIII, 1603 [STC 13592]).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Ruth Kennedy and Simon Meecham-Jones 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sally Harper

There are no affiliations available

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