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English Love Songs

Synopsis

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Sung by THE WIRELESS SINGERS
Conducted by LESLIE WOODGATE Now what is love, I pray thee tell f
It is that fountain and that well,
Where pleasure and repentance dwell. It is perhaps the sauncing bell
That tolls us into heaven or hell, And this is love, as I hear tell.
These twelve Love Songs range over four centuries of English poetry, and reveal Elizabethans, lovers of Stuart England, Victorians and moderns prostrate before the blind god, in postures angry, plaintive, defiant, cynical or enraptured. The first song, Edmund Waller 's Go, Lovely Rose,' is the frank, impatient cry of the seventeenth century, elegant but insistent. Samuel Daniels 's ' Love is a Sickness ' is a modish Elizabethan plaint. Then comes Sir Walter Raleigh 's plea for the tongue-tied lover : ' Silence in love bewrays more woe, Than words, though ne'er so witty.' Sir Courtenay Mansel 's ' In Caelia's Face My Heaven Is' is a sentiment of the golden age, but a tell-tale accent marks the pretty conceit as modem in origin. William Morris 's ' A Love Song ' is heavy with emotion recolleeted in tranquillity : no true lover ever sang in such immaculate metre, and one detects the veritable pre-Raphaelite fall in ' dear rain of thy weeping.' ' She is Not Fair to Outward View ' is a jolly little mock-lament by Hartley Coleridge , in which the poet ' ceases not to behold the love-light in her eye.' M. E. Colderidge 's ' Plighted ' reveals another sturdy Romantic wooer, very, very sure of himself: ‘... I shall come back to you by-and-by, And you will come to me.' ' A Dilemma,' from John Wilbey 's ' First Set of Madrigals ' (1598), is another problem piece, laden with euphuisms, but, by some magic, alive beneath its conceits. In ' When I was One and Twenty,' the Lucretian sadness of A. E. Housman cuts like a sword through the roses and raptures, and contrasts amusingly with ' You Stole My Love, fy upon you, fy,' in which Antony Munday , one of the earliest English lyric poets, complains of an ancient wrong, vehemently. In ' Fain would I change that note,' from Captain Tobias Hume 's 'The First Part of Airs, etc.,' (1605), the singer is tired of an age-long cant, ' 0 Love, they wrong thee much, that say thy sweet is bitter ' : matter here for a modern moralist. But the plaintive touch recurs in ' Love's Tempest.' One takes refuge in the Russian origin of the words— they are by Maikov-and agrees with Hume, or his contributor, that the melancholy note is sounded too often always to be sincere.
Hear, ye ladies that despise,
What the mighty love has done : Fear examples and be wise /
(Continued overleaf.)

Contributors

Conducted By: Leslie Woodgate
Song: Edmund Waller
Unknown: Samuel Daniels
Unknown: Sir Walter Raleigh
Unknown: Sir Courtenay Mansel
Unknown: William Morris
Unknown: Hartley Coleridge
Unknown: M. E. Colderidge
Unknown: John Wilbey
Unknown: A. E. Housman
Unknown: Antony Munday
Unknown: Captain Tobias Hume

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Feedback about English Love Songs, National Programme Daventry, 19.30, 1 September 1933
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