Category Archives: Music

Entertainment Music

The Dancing Master

A widely popular book published repeatedly during the 17th Century was John Playford’s wonderfully charming The Dancing Master, a collection of dances set to tunes which people could learn at home. In its introduction the author states:

The Art of Dancing is a commendable and rare Quality fit for young Gentlemen, if opportunely and civilly used. And Plato, that Famous Philosopher thought it meet that young ingenious Children be Taught to Dance’. And he cites ‘The Gentlemen of the Inns of Court, whose sweet and airy Activity has crowned their Grand Solemnities with admiration to all Spectators.

Dances in Playford’s book include – Step Stately, What You Please, Thomas You Cannot, Huddle-Duddle, Put On Thy Smock on Monday, Oranges and Limons, Gossips Frolick, and the wonderfully entitled Jog on my Honey.

Below are some images from the book, which give instructions on how to perform each dance.








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Booze Entertainment Men Music Women

The delights of the bottle

These rather charming snippets, on the delights of women and booze, come from a song entitled The Delights of the bottle, or, The town-galants declaration for women and wine being a description of a town-bred gentleman with all his intrigues, pleasure, company, humor, and conversation … : to a most admirable new tune, every where much in request (1675)

The Delights of the Bottle, & charms of good wine,
To the pow’r & the pleasures of love must resign,
Though the night in the joys of good drinking be past,
The debauches but still the next morning doth last;
But loves great debauch is more lasting and strong,
For that often lasts a man all his life long.
Love, and Wine, are the bonds that fasten us all,
The world, but for this, to confusion would fall;
Were it not for the pleasures of love and good wine,
Man-kind, for each trifle, their lives would resign;
they’d not value dull life, or wou’d live without thinking
Nor Kings rule the world, but for love & good drinking.

For the Drabe, and the Dull, by sobriety curs’d,

That would ne’r take a glass, but for quenching his thirst
He that once in a Month takes a touch of the Smock ,
And poor Nature up-holds with a bit and a knock.
What-ever the ignorant Rabble may say,
Tho’ he breaths till a hundred, he lives but a day.
Let the Puritan preach against wenches, and drink,
He may prate out his Lungs, but I know what I think;
When the Lecture is done, he’ll a Sister entice;
Not a Letcher in Town can Out-do him at Vice;
Tho’ beneath his Religion, he stifles his joys,
And becomes a Debauch without clamour or noise.
‘Twixt the Vices of both, little difference lyes,
But that one is more open, the other precize:
Though he drinks like a chick, with his eye-balls lift up,
Yet I’ll warrant thee boy, he shall take off his cup:
His Religious debauch, does the gallants out-match,
For a Saint is his Wench, and a Psalm is; his Catch.

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Entertainment Music

The sublime, the grand, and the tender

Having recently attended a production of Handel’s Messiah, this snippet is a little background to one of the world’s most famous and recognisable oratorios.

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) wrote his Messiah in just 24 days, between 22nd August and 14th September 1741. It’s first performance was in Dublin on 13th April 1742. The venues was Neal’s Music Hall on Fishamble Street, a room which was designed to hold 600 people. However, anticipating the performance’s popularity, the announcement in Faulkner’s Dublin Journal ran:

The stewards of the Charitable Musical Society request the favour of the Ladies not to come with Hoops this day,’ and that ‘Gentlemen are desired to come without their swords.’

On 17th April, the Faulkner’s Dublin Journal printed the following:

On Tuesday last Mr Handel’s Sacred Grand Oratorio, the MESSIAH, was performed at the New Musick-Hall in Fishamble Street; the best judges allowed it to be the most finished piece of Musick. Words are wanting to express the exquisite Delight it afforded in the admiring crowded Auditorum. The Sublime, the Grand and the Tender; adapted to the most elevated, majestic and moving Words, conspired to transport and charm the ravished Heart and Ear. It is but Justice to Mr Handel, that the World should know, he generously gave the Money arising from this Grand Performance to be equally shared by the Society for relieving Prisoners, the Charitable Infirmary, and Mercer’s Hospital, for which they will ever gratefully remember his name.

The Messiah was performed over 56 times in England between 1743 and Handel’s death in 1759. King George II, who attended one performance, was so moved by the Hallelujah Chorus that he rose to his feet with the surrounding audience following suit. A tradition which persists in England to this day.

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