[Milton-L] Lawes' Comus: "just accent" in musical settings and inreading aloud

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Thu Sep 14 17:05:09 EDT 2006

carl bellinger wrote:
>     Lawes' settings are "through composed:"  the accentuation follows the
> sense of the text, the rhetoric, rather than the bar structure of the music.
> All good musical settings, of course, will frame the sense of the words
> nicely, but in Lawes the placement of accent is so rigorously determined by
> verbal expression that the musical bar structure seems radically submerged
> at times. 

The wonderful "libretto" in Canto 81 contains a bow to Lawes in its

Ere the season died a-cold
Borne upon a zephyr's shoulder
I rose through the aureate sky
		_Lawes and Jenkyns guard thy rest
		Dolmetsch ever be thy guest,_
Has he tempered the viol's wood
To enforce    both the grave    and the acute?
Has he curved us the bowl of the lute?
		_Lawes and Jenkyns guard thy rest
		Dolmetsch ever be thy guest,_
Hast 'ou fashioned so airy a mood
    To draw up leaf from the root?
Hast 'ou found    a cloud    so light
    As seemed neither mist nor shade?

		Then resolve me, tell me aright
		If Waller sang or Dowland played.


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