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A Song of Byrds

Language: English

        all which isn't singing is mere talking
        and all talking's talking to oneself
           (E E Cummings: from poem 32 of '73 poems')

Reasons briefly set down by the author, to perswade every
one to learn to sing.

First, it is a knowledge safely taught and quickly learned,
where there is a good Master, and an apt Scholler.

        To shallow rivers, to whose falls
        Melodious birds sing madrigals
        There will we make our beds of roses
        And a thousand fragrant posies
        (William Shakespeare: The Merry Wives of Windsor Act 3, Scene 1)

The exercise of singing is delightfull to Nature, and good to
preserve the health of Man.

It doth strengthen all parts of the brest and doth open up the
pipes.

It is a singular good remedie for stuttering and stammering in
the speech.

        The ousel cock, so black of hue,
        With orange-tawny bill,
        The throstle with his note so true,
        The wren with little quill.
        The finch, the sparrow, and the lark,
        The plain-song cuckoo grey,
        Whose note full many a man doth mark,
        And dares not answer nay.
        (William Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 3, Scene 1)

It is the best means to procure a perfect pronunciation and to
make a good Orator.

It is the only way to know where Nature hath bestowed the
benefit of a good voice: which gift is so rare, as there is not
one among a thousand, that hath it.

        christ but they're few
        all (beyond win
        or lose) good true
        beautiful things
        god how he sings
        the robin (who
        'll be silent in
        a moon or two)
        (E E Cummings: poem 33 from '73 poems')

And in many, that excellent gift is lost because they want Art
to express Nature.

There is not any musicke of instruments whatsoever,
comparable to that which is made of the voices of men,
where the voices are good, and the same well sorted and
ordered.

The better the voice is, the meeter it is to honour and
serve God there-with: and the voice of man is chiefly to be
employed to that end.

"Omnes Spiritus Laudes Dominum"

Since Singing is so good a thing,
I wish all men would learn to sing.

(William Byrd: Preface to "Psalms, Sonets, and Songs of Sadnes and Pietie" 1588)


This text is made up of selections from the following poems and texts:


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)


Text added to the website: 2010-04-10.
Last modified: 2017-10-11 12:39:24
Line count: 54
Word count: 382

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