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: Anonymous
Title: Leconfield Proverbs
Source: Francis Grose et al., eds., The Antiquarian Repertory, rev. ed., 4 vols. (London: Edward Jeffery, 1807-1809), 4:405-9.


WHEN the philosophers Patagoras and Tuball,
From the poure sympill hammer and stethe substanciall,
The celestiall soundes of musyk first made and dyd expres,
They fet them not from curiosite nor grete riches.

Oute of the trewe playne songe the judgyde the melody,
Curius conveyinge hydithe muche armonye,
Therfore of the playne nottis to sett a sure grounde,
Makithe a modulacion of moste pfyte sounde,
In curiosite oftyme trowthe slippithe by,
And in the playne trew nottis all the swetenes dothe lye.

A song myssowndithe yf the prickynge be not right,
So marryd is the melody for lac of fore syght,
The sownde of a trew songe makithe trew concorde,
But subtill prickynge mystymthe and causith grete discorde.

[-406-] A naturall breste is goode with sowndes of moderacion,
A glorifiede beste is to curyus withe notis of alteracion,
But he that syngithe a trewe songe mesurithe in the meane,
And he that rechithe to hye a trebill his tewyns is not clene.

Perfite vowellynge of a songe to the eere is delectable,
He that quadribilithe to hy his voice is variable,
But he is no goode judge whiche disalowith the songe,
When the ere of parcialite judgithe it to wronge.

He that settithe a songe and makithe it new,
If his warbellis be more curius than trew,
Or his songe be songe greate faute shall be founde,
In the dyvers proporciones of the mystonyde sownde.

A breste to audible mowntithe to affexion,
He that mesurithe in the meane causithe more devocion,
And he that caryethe more crochettes than his connynge can prove,
Makithe more discorde of doblenes than melody of love.

He that hathe a brym breste and litill inspexion withe all,
Ought to be advisede twyse of his notis musicall,
For he whiche hathe a voice exaltynge to hy,
For lac of goode knowlege marrithe muche melody.

He that lyst to sett a goode trew songe,
May not make his brevys to short nor his largs to longe,
He that triethe his tewnes tretabilly upon a trew grownde,
If connynge be smale the trouthe may make a plesande sounde.

The HARPE is an instrumente of swete melodye,
Rude intelligens of the sounde conceyveth no armonye,
But whoso in that instrumente hathe no speculacion,
What restithe withyn the sownde bord hath but smale relacion.

He that fyngerithe well the keyes of the CLARICORDIS makithe a goode songe,
For in the meane is the melodye withe a rest longe,
If the tewnys be not plesant to hym that hathe no skyll,
Yet no lac to the Claricorde for he doith his goode will.

He that is a pfyte musicion,
Pceyvithe the LUTE tewnes and the goode pporcion,
In myddest of the body the stryngis sowndith best,
For stoppide in the freytes they abydeth the pynnes wrest.

[-407-] Many a swete refrect the musycion dothe synge,
Whiche is letill conceyvide of light herynge,
For whos sownde is applyede allway to discorde,
Can never deserve the tewnes of a trew monacorde.

How may mysmovede tymee judge a trew instrument,
For in tunabill tewnys he hathe non experyment,
And he that hath an ere oblyving and febill stomake of affexion,
The tewnys of Tuball sholde not prayse to judge wherof he lacke discretion.

A slac strynge in a VIRGYNALL soundithe not aright,
It dothe abyde no wrestinge it is so louse and light,
The sounde borde crasede forsith the instrumente,
Throw mysgovernaunce to make notis whiche was not his intente.

He that covytithe in CLARISYMBALLIS to make goode concordaunce,
Ought to fynger the keyes withe discrete temperaunce,
To myche wyndinge of the pipis is not the best,
Whiche may cause them to sypher wher armoney shulde rest.

Immoderate wyndes in a CLARION causithe it for to rage,
Soft wynde and moderate makithe the sounde to asswage,
Therfore he whiche in that instrument wolde have swete modulation,
Bustuis wyndes must leve and use moderacion.

A SHAWME makithe a swete sounde for he tunyth basse,
It mountithe not to hy but kepithe rule and space,
Yet yf it be blowne withe to a vehemet wynde,
It makithe it to mysgoverne oute of his kynde.

The swete ORGANE PIPIS comfortith a stedfast mynde,
Wronge handlynge of the stoppis may cause yem sipher fro ye kynde,
But he that playethe of pipes wher so grete nowmber is,
Must handill the keyes all lyke that by mysgovernance yey sounde amysse.

The RECORDER of his kynde the meane dothe desyre,
Manyfolde fyngerynge and stoppes bryngith hy from his tunes clere,
Who so lyst to handill an instrumente so goode,
Must se in his many fyngerynge that he kepe tyme, stop and moode.

[-408-] A perfyte modulatour makithe his songe trew,
He mesurithe in the meane withe proporcion dew,
But whose penne is to swift in prickinge of a songe,
He markithe so his mynnyms fro the square that it shall sownde wronge.

All theys musycalls well handilled and orderide in ther kynde,
Gevithe soundes of swetnes to every goode mynde,
Yet racionalis lingua expellit instrumentis all,
Wel tymede and tewnede for it is a master of all.

Musyke hathe her coloures of dyversites,
Blake voyde, blake full, alteracions of curiosite,
But the white is more comely, and to clennes dothe accorde,
For purenes in the margent makithe a trew monacorde.

Blake coler moste comely in armys the sylver shene,
Of virginall purence whiche is fairest seane,
In musyke makithe melody soundynge from all blame,
Of the whiche shynythe the clere voce of a pure name,
The margent sylver and the notis sabill,
Shulde move us to remembrance of the joyes intermynabill.

The notis pretendynge sabillis of sownde moste melodyus,
Must make a meane in oure musyke that we be not oblyvius,
But to remember thende of oure fynal cantare,
When for right we shall haue right and payne for sinistre indicare.

If thou a musicion a judge shal be,
Pric not thy notis in the lyne of perversite,
For that shall cause thy notis to have a wronge sounde,
And as thou makest thy sounde so to the it will rebounde.

As in the alteraciones thou mayst pric curiously,
So may trouthe try the in thy noumbre made peruersly,
For yf the sounde lene not to a goode proporcion,
Thou maist be judged by a crochet of wronge notynge in thy presumcion.

If thou pric a songe make no obliteracione,
But se thy margent be clene withoute contaminacion,
For yf thy notis be pricked with to muche alteracion,
It shall cause thy dytty lac of melody his goode opacion.

[-409-] And yf thy melody be marrede and the swete sownde,
By thy pervers pryckinge which concordes dothe confounde,
For perversite of thy prickinge and myssoundynge of thy songe,
And for thy sophisticall solphynge ite maladicte take it forthe.

Musyke is a science and one of the sevyn,
Withe swete sowndes to prays the plasmator of hevyn,
They that of protervite will not tewne well,
Ve, ve, ve, theyre songe shal be in hell.

He that lystithe his notis to tune welle and tyme,
Muste measure in Melpomene one of the musys ix,
If he meddyll withe Magera infernall is the sounde,
Ibi erit fletus Malange to confounde.

The modulacion of musyke is swete and celestiall,
In the Speris of the planettis makynge sownde armonical,
If we moder oure musyke as the trewe tune is,
In hevyn we shall synge Osanna in excelsis.

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