Thomas Morley

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Thomas Morley, (1557-1603), English Elizabethan composer, had a relatively successful life. He was a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, organist at St. Pauls, London, the writer of “Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke” (which was popular for two centuries and is still a major source of information about Elizabethan music making), held for a period the royal monopoly on music publishing, and probably knew Shakespeare as he wrote music for various of the Bard’s plays.

He was one of the greatest of the English madrigalists, wrote much fine instrumental and church music and is known for his light and lilting lute songs of the ballett style; including perhaps the most well-known song of the age, and the standard bearer for its type: Shakespeare’s “It was a lover and his lass” from "As you Like it"

"It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o'er the green corn-field did pass,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.
Between the acres of the rye,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country folks would lie,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding
Sweet lovers love the spring.
This carol they began that hour,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that life was but a flower
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.
And, therefore, take the present time
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crownèd with the prime
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring."

References:

“The Grove Concise Dictionary of Music”

Shakespeare: "As You Like It" Act 5, Scene 3 I think. What page? Why both of them - two Pages "...and both in tune, like two gipsies on a horse".


See also

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