School of Music
University of Nebraska--Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0100
(phone: [402] 472-2507; Internet: plefferts1@unl.edu)

Data entry: Jonathan Haupt
Checked by: Peter Slemon
Approved by: Peter M. Lefferts

Author: Cornysh, William
Title: A Treatise between Information and Truth
Source: Sir John Hawkins, A General History of the Science and Practice of Music, 2 vols. [1776] (London: Novello, 1853), 1:353-54.

[-353-] In the Fleete made by me William Cornishe, otherwise called Nyshewete, chapelman with the most famose and noble king Henry the VII. his reyne the xix yere the moneth of July. A treatise betwene Trouth and Informacion; [ . . . ]

A parable betwen Informacion and Musike.

The examples.

Musike in his melody requireth true soundes,
Who setteth a song should geue him to armony;
Who kepeth true his tuenes may not passe his sonds,
His alteracions and prolacions must be pricked treuly,
For musike is trew though minstrels makith maystry,
The harper careth nothing but reward for his song,
Merily soundith his mouth when his tong goth all of wrong.

The Harpe.

A Harpe geueth sounde as it is sette,
The harper may wrest it untunablye,
Yf he play wrong good tunes he doth lette,
Or by mystunyng the very trew armonye;
A harpe well playde on shewyth swete melody,
A harper with his wrest may tune the harpe wrong,
Mystuning of an instrument shal hurt a true songe.

A Songe.

A songe that is trewe and ful of swetnes,
May be euyll songe and tunyd amyse,
The songe of hymselfe yet neuer the les
Is true and tunable, and syng it as it is:
Then blame not the song, but marke wel this,
He that hath spit at another man's songe,
Will do what he can to haue it songe wronge.

A Claricorde.

The claricorde hath a tunely kynde,
As the wyre is wrested hye and lowe,
So it tuenyth to the players mynde,
For as it is wrested so must it nedes showe,
As by this reson ye may well know,
Any instrument mystunyd shall hurt a trew song,
Yet blame not the claricord the wrester doth wrong.

A Trompet.

A trompet blowen hye with to harde a blast,
Shal cause him to vary from the tunable kynde,
But he that bloweth to hard must suage at the last,
And fayne to fall lower with a temperate wynde,
And then the trompet the true tune shall fynde,
For an instrument ouer wynded is tuned wrong,
Blame none but the blower, on him it is longe.

True Counsell.

Who plaieth on the harpe he should play trew,
Who syngeth a songe, let his voice be tunable,
Who wresteth the claricorde mystunyng eschew,
Who bloweth a trompet let his wynd be mesurable,
For instruments in them self be ferme and stable,
And of trouth, wold trouth to euery manes songe,
Tune them then truly for in them is no wronge.

[-354-] Colours of Musyke.

In Musike I haue learned iiij colours, as this,
Blake, ful blake, uerte, and in lykewise redde,
By these colours many subtill alteracions ther is,
That wil begile one tho in cuning he be wel sped,
With a prike of Indicion from a body that is dede,
He shal try so his nombre with swetnes of his song,
That the ear shal be pleased, and yet he al wrong.

The Practiser.

I pore man, unable of this science to skyll,
Save litel practise I have by experience,
I mean but trouth and of good will,
To remembre the doers that useth such offence,
Not one sole, but generally in sentence,
By cause I can skyll of a little songe,
To try the true corde to be knowen from the wrong.


Yet trouth was not drownde ne sanke,
But still dyd fleete aboue the water,
Informacion had played him such a pranke,
That with power the pore had lost his mater,
Bycause that trouthe began to clater,
Informacion hath taught hym to solfe his songe,
Paciens parforce, content you with wronge.


I assayde theis tunes me thought them not swete,
The concordes were nothynge musicall,
I called Masters of Musike cnnyng and discrete;
And the first prynciple, whose name was Tuballe,
Guido Boice, John de Murris, Vitryaco and them al,
I prayed them of helpe of this combrous songe,
Priked with force and lettred with wronge.

True Answere.

They sayd I was horce I might not synge,
My voice is to pore it is not awdyble,
Informacion is so curyous in his chauntynge,
That to bere the trew plainsong, it is not posible:
His proporcions be so hard with so highe a quatrible,
And the playn song in the margyn so craftely bound,
That the true tunes of Tuball cannot have the right sounde.


Well quod trueth, yet ones I trust verely,
To have my voyce and synge agayne,
And to flete out trueth and clarify truly,
And ete suger candy adaye or twayne,
And then to the deske to synge true and playn,
Informacion shal not alwaye entune hys song,
My parts shal be true when his countreuers shall be wrong.


Informacion hym enbolded of the monacorde,
From consonaunts to concordes he musyd his maystry,
I assayde the musyke both knyght and lord,
But none would speke, the sounde bord was to hye,
Then kept I the plain keyes the marred al my melody,
Enformacion drave a crochet that past al my song
With proporcion parforce dreuen on to longe


Sufferance came in to syng a parte,
Go to, quod trouth, I pray you begyne,
Nay soft quod he, the gise of my parte
Is to rest a long rest or I set in,
Nay by long restyng ye shal nothing wynne,
For informacion is so crafty and so hye in his songe,
That yf ye fal to resting in fayth it will be wrong.


Informacion wil teche a doctor his game,
From superacute to the noble dyapason,
I asayde to acute, and when I came
Enformacion was mete for a noble dyatessaron,
He song by a Pothome that hath two kyndes in one,
With many subtel semetunes most met for this song,
Pacience parforce, content you with wronge.


I kepe be rounde and he be square,
The one is bemole, and the other bequare,
If I myght make tryall as I could and dare,
I should show why these ij kyndes do varye,
But God knowyth al, so doth not kyng Harry,
For yf he dydde than chaunge shold this iiij song,
Pytye for patience, and conscience for wronge.

Neuysswhete Parabolam.

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