Billeder på siden



the Company; an old half-length of Henry VIII., and a very fine picture of his late Royal Highness Frederick, Duke of York, as Commander-in-Chief, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, which was completed in June 1827, and for which the artist was paid £500. independently of the cost of the frame.

It appears from the minute books of this Company, that a short time prior to the entertainment given to James I. on the 16th of July, 1607, a meeting was held “ to advise and consult howe every thir ge may be performed for the reputacion and creditt of the Company, and to give His Majesty best lykeing and contentments,” and “Sir John Swynnerton (alderman] is entreated to conferr with Mr. Beniamyn Johnson, the poet, about a speech to be made to welcome His Majesty, and for musique and other inventions which may give liking and delight to His Majesty, by reason that the Company doubt that there scholemaster and schollers be not acquainted with suche kind of Entertaynements." The master and wardens, also, were o intreated to cause discreet men to make special search in and about the house and hall, and all the rooms adjoining, to prevent all villany and dangers, from all which we do most humbly beseech Almighty God to bless and defend His Majesty. God save the King."

The account of the entertainment itself, as recorded in the Company's books, is as follows :

“ At the upper end of the Hall there was sat a chair of estate, where His Majesty sat and viewed the Hall; and

[ocr errors]

a very proper childe, well spoken, being clothed like an Angel of Gladness, with a taper of frankincense burning in his hand, delivered a short speech, containing xviii verses, devised by Mr. Ben. Johnson, which pleased His Majesty marvelously well; and upon either side of the Hall, in the windows near the upper end, were galleries or seats, made for music, in either of which were seven singular choice musicians, playing on their lutes, and in the Ship which did hang aloft in the Hall, three rare men and very skilful, who song to His Majesty; and over the King sonnetts and loude musique, wherein it is to be remembered that the multitude and noyse was so great that the lutes nor songs could hardly be heard nor understood. And then his Majesty went up into the King's chamber, where he dined alone at a table which was provided only for His Majesty and the Queen, (but the Queen came not), in which chamber were placed a very rich pair of organs, whereupon Mr. John Bull,* doctor of music, and a brother of this Company, did play all the dinner-time; and Mr. Nathaniel Gyles, Master of

* Dr. Bull and Mr. N. Gyles were soon afterwards admitted to the freedom, and into the livery, of the Company, without paying any fees, in reward for "their paynes when the King and Prince dined at the Hall, and their love and kindness in bestowing the musique which was performed by them, their associates and children, in the King's chamber, gratis ; whereas the musicians in the great Hall, exacted unreasonable sums of the Company for the same." Vide Minute Books.-Howes, in his additions to Stow's "Annals," after mentioning the lutanists in the windows, and "in the ayre between them a gallant shippe triumphant, wherein were three rare menne like saylors," says, "there was also in the Hall the musique of the city."

the children of the King's chapel, together with Dr. Montague, Bishop of Bath and Wells, and dean of His Majesty's chapel, Lenard Davis, sub-dean, and divers synging men, Robert Stone, William Byrde, Richard Granwell, Crie: Sharpe, Edmund Browne, Thos. Woodson, Henrie Eveseede, Robert Allison, Jo. Hewlett Richard Plumley, Thos. Goold, William Laws, Elway Bevin, and Orlando Gibbons, Gen. extraordinary, and the children of the said chapel, did sing melodious songs at the said dinner; after all which His Majesty came down to the great Hall, and sitting in his chair of estate, did hear a melodious song of farewell by the three rare men in the shippe, being apparelled in watchet silk, like seamen, which song so pleased His Majesty, that he caused the same to be sung three times over.”


EPITAPH ON SAL, PAVY. In Mr. Richard Clarke's industrious, but certainly unsuccessful attempt to trace the origin of our “ National Anthem, entiiled God save the King," it is stated that the words were written by Ben Jonson, and the music composed by Dr. Bull, for the entertainment given to King James in Merchant Taylors' Hall, as described in the preceding article. He affirms, also, that the Grace which, as appears from Howes, was sung at the King's table, by the children of His Majesty's chapel, was no other than Non nobis Domine, and that it was composed on the same occasion, by William Byrde, one of the " singing men,” mentioned in the above extract from the Company's records.

The general argument by which Mr. Clarke endeavours to substantiate his opinion is, that the words both of the Anthem and of the Grace have an imme. diate reference to the then recent discovery of the gunpowder plot, and to the particular form of prayer and thanksgiving ordained by Parliament to commemorate that discovery. But all this is mere inference, and the words in question might as well be referred to the Restoration of Charles II. as to the preservation of James I. Not any of the poetry written by Ben Jonson for the Merchant Taylors is known to be extant, and the verses of the anthem cannot be traced to his time. In respect to the music, Mr. Clarke corroborates his argument by adducing the contents or index of a manuscript volume of Dr. Bull's composition (afterwards in the collection of Dr. Pepusch), as printed in Ward's “ Lives of the Professors of Gresham College,” in which the fifth piece is called “ God save the King,” and this he considers to be “a positive, incontrovertible, and undeniable claim, by Dr. Bull, to that tune, as composed by him, in honour of James I."* Unfortunately, however, for this hypothesis, the identical volume to which the index relates, and which was recently in the possession of the late Dr. Kitchiner, furnishes an incontestable proof that there is not the least similitude between the National Anthem and the “God save the King,” composed by Dr. Bull. On that point Dr. Kitchiner's words are

* See Clarke's “ Account of the National Anthem,” &c. p. 72.

remarkably strong, for instance, "Dr. Bull's composition is a sort of ground or voluntary for the organ, of the four notes C, G, F, E, with twenty-six different bases, and is no more like the Anthem now sung than a frog is to an ox.”*

Whatever the presumption may be, and even that is not particularly strong, Mr. Clarke has advanced no proof that the Non nobis Domine was either composed by Byrde, or first sung at King James's table.-His supposition that the "child well spoken, and clothed like an Angel of Gladness," was the Sal. Pavy, on whom Ben. Jonson wrote the following epitaph, is altogether untenable.†

* Vide" Loyal and National Songs of England," Intro. p. 6. In the same work, Dr. Kitchiner has given an accurate copy of Dr. Bull's piece, which, he says, was transcribed for him by Mr. Edward Jones, bard to the King, who at the same time "put it into our modern notation. Dr. Bull's being on six-line staves, with a multiplicity of cleffs, in its original form was illegible, except by a musical antiquary, and too complicated to be playable without such an arrangement."—Ibid.

+ Had the youth, commemorated by Ben Jonson, been living at the period of the entertainment given to King James in 1607, which was four years after that monarch's accession, he would unquestionably have been styled "of the King's chapel," instead of "Queen Elizabeth's," as in the epitaph. There can hardly, indeed, be a doubt but that he died before the Queen, for his name appears as a "principal comedian" in Jonson's" Cynthia's Revels," when first acted in 1600, and again in the "Poetaster," as acted in 1601. Now, admitting the former year to be that in which his reputation as an actor became established, we may

« ForrigeFortsæt »