At least half this play is the work of John Fletcher and has not until recently been considered as part of the Shakespeare canon (Stanley Wells The Cambridge Companion Shakespeare studies, 2nd ed. 2005 and OS22 provide a convenient attribution list, scene by scene). William Montgomery and Stanley Wells include the play in The Complete works of W. S. 2nd ed., OUP 2005, pp. 1279-1310. Introductions and Appendices as well as the Notes to particular passages are given in AS3 (ed. by Lois Potter 1997) and in OS (ed. Eugene M. Waith 1989). Note especially AS App. 5 pp. 356-9 ‘The *morris dance in TNK’ and App. 6 ‘The Music’ is concerned with the songs, pp 360-3 and OS 215-7 App. A ‘The Morris dance in Act 3 scene 5’ which indicate that the dance performed in the play is borrowed from the second antimasque of Beaumont’s ‘Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn’ performed before James I on 20th February 1613 (see SA p. 613) which may also possibly have been the source for the song snatches sung by the Jailer’s Daughter. This Masque may have been composed for the *Wedding of Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine, Prince Frederick of Heidelberg in 1613 for which Robert JOHNSON would probably have provided dances, later published in Brade’s 1617 collection in arrangements as consorts à 5 (BN). Lois Potter notes the brazen din in Acts I and IV. The music is treated in NV 7th ed. (1898) 1926, pp. 387-9.

An article by Julian Pilling ‘The wild morisco or the historical morris’ (English Dance and Song 1984, 26-9) describes the main dance formation in the play as appearing to be ‘a movement in a circle, with dancers weaving in and out, perhaps criss-crossing ribbons round a maypole, in the shape of a wreath’ (AS108). It might be of interest to note that in the fifteen British and seven American performances of the play between 1928 and 1987 as noted in SQ, four British presentations in the ’70s omitted the morris.

See also B. Olson. The morris dance in drama before 1640. Quarterly Journal of the University of North Dakota, ix (190) 422-35, and ‘The performance of the May Morris’ in the Skeat edition of the play (1875) p. 131-2. See also Charles Frey Shakespeare, Fletcher and The Two Noble Kinsmen. Columbia University of Missouri press, 1989. Philip Edwards ‘On the design of TNK ‘ in Review of English literature V (1964) pp. 89-105.

The Child ballads are to be found in H. C. Sargent and G. L. Kittredge. English and Scottish popular ballads, edited from the Collection of F.J. Child. Boston & New York, 1904. The Boy, The Jailer’s daughter and The Schoolmaster need competence in singing.

It has been noted that the New Globe production in 2000 ‘has gone further to date in the integration of acting and music’ (SM12) and that the 1994 Oregon Shakespeare Festival production included a remarkably authentic morris dance complete with hobby horse (AS3 87). Cutts indicates the need for cornett, horn, pipe or recorder, viol and violin.

act scene line Click here to find out more about suggested song
Prologue 0, 32 *Flourish; Flourish AS137/ OS79 fanfare of trumpets or cornetts
I i 0 Music. Enter Hymen with a torch burning, a Boy in a white robe before, singing… 374A
{Boy Sings during procession} cf AS26, 140
1-24 Roses, their sharp spines being gone. PS175 No music appears to have survived? 375
uDO346-7 set to ‘O sweet Oliver’ (Hunt’s up) after Thysius lute book version; as song with cittern ۞DO i 51 (notation evened out by omission of dotted motif) (18)
233 {Flourish}
iii 74-8 [Had mine ear Stol’n some new air or at adventure hummed one From musical coinage, why, it was a note Whereon her spirits would sojourn—rather dwell on And sing it in her slumbers].
iv 0; 49 *Cornetts. A battle struck within. Then a retreat. Flourish; Flourish
v 0 Music. Enter the three Queens …in a *funeral solemnity 376
‘The dirge’ AS177: possibly just recited. AS85-6 mentions a New York performance in which the three Queens sing in chorus
1-10 Song. Urns and odours, uDO420-1 set to ‘Goddesses’; as lute song ۞DO i 63 (193) 377
II ii 274-7 [I’ll clap more irons on you./ Do good keeper. I’ll shake ’em so, ye shall not sleep; I’ll make ye a new *morris.]
iii 37 [Do we all hold against the maying?] cf III i
40-47 […thee better lads ne’er danced under green tree…she must dance too.]
51 {He dances} OS123 the rest of the speech seems to call for this action. OS131 relating to the *May Day celebrations – the games and Maypole dance (DLC) The Maypole dance (*May games) (353a) 378
60-61 [let’s rehearse…before the ladies see us]
iv 18-20 [To hear him Sing in an evening, what a heaven it is! And yet his songs are sad ones.] cf IV iii 81-2
23-25 [‘Fair gentle maid, good morrow…’] DO75 ‘Patient Grissell’ (‘The Bride’s good- morrow’) Shirburn ms. tune with 13 verses (288) 379
v 0; 65 Short flourish of cornets and shouts within; Flourish
vi 14-15 [Some wenches, Some honest-hearted maids will sing my dirge]
III i 0 *Cornetts in sundry places. Noise and hollering as of people a-*Maying omit? 380
OS131 quotes from Henry Bourne ‘the juvenile part of both sexes are wont to rise a little after midnight and walk to some neighbouring wood, accompanied with music and blowing of horns…’
96-7 Wind *horns within {Cornetts sounded} [You hear the horns–]
107, 109-110 Wind *horns within [Hark sir, they call the scattered to the banquet]
iii 33-4 [She met him in the arbour– What did she there, coz? Play o’th’ *virginals?]
iv 19-24 {She sings} For I’ll cut my green coat a foot above my knee…Hey nonny, nonny, 381
a) (OS 143/ AS361) relates the first two lines of this text to the ballad ‘Childe Waters’ Child 63A/ CS122/ CS40. Skeat (p.128) considers this to be part of an old ballad which resembles stanza 19 of ‘Nut brown maid’
b) uDO150 set to ‘Go from my window’; as lute song ۞DO i 24 (354f)
v 0 Enter Gerald {a schoolmaster}, five Countrymen, one of whom is dressed as a Babion, five Wenches, and Timothy, a taborer. All are attired as morris dancers OS144 probably the taborer also had a pipe held endways, fingered with one hand, the other beating tabor.
9-10 [Have I said, ‘thus let be’, and ‘there let be’, And ‘then let it be,’ and no man understand me?] AS230 probably dance drill terms
23. {24} [Where’s the taborer?/ Why, Timothy!] {Enter Taborer}
28-30 [Where be your ribbons, maids? Swim with your bodies And carry it sweetly and deliverly, And now and then a favour and a frisk.]
31-2 [Where’s the rest o’ th’ music?/ Dispersed, as you commanded.] AS232 musical sounds coming from various locations
33 [Couple then, And see what’s wanting. Where’s the babion?]
60-67 {sings} The George Alow came from the south, AS234, 361: ballad of 1611 382
a) (OS 147) Fragment of a ballad similar to Child 285 ‘The George Aloe and the Good Swiftstake’. CS285/
b) PD68 Diana Poulton relates this allusion to the DOWLAND lute piece ‘Aloe’ D68; ۞CmD viii 22/ ۞LD iv 12/ ۞OD ii 14; DO162-3 tune with 17 verses; ۞DO ii 18
c) uDO160-2 set to version of ‘The lustie gallant’ tune; ۞DO i 27 as song with cittern (64d)
68 [There was three fools, fell out about an owlet]
69-72 {sings} The one he said it was an owl 383
(OS 147) The earliest known version of a nursery rhyme whose text is included in I. & P. Opie Oxford Dictionary of Nursery rhymes, 1952, p. 422 (No 525) uDO392-4 set to ‘Rowland’, melody and 11 verses reconstructed; as song with cittern ‘There was three fools’; ۞DO i 58 (203a)
75-6, 82 [If we can get her dance…she’ll do the rarest gambol…Shall we dance, ho?]
86-7 [Raise me a devil now and let him play Qui passa o’ th’ bells and bones.]{Taborer plays} 384
AZZAIUOLO ‘Chi passa per ’sta strada’ Villotta alla padoana 1557, in 6 Villotte à 4 (ATTB) LPM TM50. voices, violin and lute ۞MsE i 15. The tune became popular in England as ‘Kapascie’ WH21 (p.166)/ WN34; ۞Ci 13, ۞OL9 and used in instrumental versions: cittern (CC f31) MB i 7; ۞BroP17; HOLBORNE Chi passa [J138] HC15; lute (Th 131) SB65 (DY16)/ WM ii 67e; keyboard BYRD ‘Qui passe, for My Lady Nevell’ MB xxvii 19/ BY2/ BYa; ۞Mo vi 1/ ۞RoR 14; John JOHNSON Chi passa, lute (EIRE-Dm Z3 2 13, p. 151A); 2 lutes LR 19;۞BaL2; DO95-6 ‘The famous prince of Macedon’ 3 verses; DO 95; ۞DO ii 7
89 [Strike up, and lead her in] Taborer plays
91-2 [Come, lass, let’s trip it./ I’ll lead] {Dances}/ Do, do/ Persuasively and cunningly] 385
93 Wind *horns within [away, boys, I hear the horns]`
110 [That fore thy dignity will dance a *morris] cf AS App.5 p.359 ‘The rebus’
120-2 [Upon this mighty ‘Moor’– of mickle weight– ‘Ice’ now comes in, which, being glued together, Makes ‘morris’]
137 {knocks for the dance} [Intrate filii, come forth and foot it.] cf. AS126 for background and interpretation of the following dance episode
138 (He flings up his cap.) Music. {The Schoolmaster ushers in
139-148 [Ladies, if we have been merry, And have pleased ye with a derry, And a derry and a down] AS361: This final doggerel was set by the compositor as if it were a song.
150 [’Twas an excellent dance, And for a preface, I never heard better.]
153 [And here’s something to paint your pole withal.] He gives them money
158, 160 Wind *horns within [Ye have danced rarely, wenches.]
IV i 56-68 [I heard a voice – a shrill one– and attentive I gave my ear, when I might well perceive ’Twas one that sung, and, by the smallness of it A boy or woman. I then left my angle To his own skill, came near, but yet perceived not Who made the sound… I laid me down And listened to the words she sung…She sung much, but no sense; only I heard her Repeat this often–‘Palamon is gone…’]
75 [And we’ll all dance an antic fore the Duke…]
79-82 [Then she sang Nothing but ‘willow, willow, willow’ and between (251a) 387
Ever was ‘Palamon, fair Palamon’, And ‘Palamon was a tall young man.’ (142a) 388
allusion to ‘When Samson was a tall young man’ cf. LLL I ii 180 AS362 probably adaptations of traditional songs. Lois Potter cites also ‘Robin Hood was a tall young man.’ Child 330 (142c)
103-8 {sings} ‘May you never more enjoy the light…’ AS266, 362: unidentified song 389
[Is not this a fine song?/ O, a very fine one./ I can sing twenty more./ I you can./ Yes, truly can I–I can sing ‘The Broom’] 390
‘Broome, the Bonny Bonny Broome’ tune: E74/ Eb11/ CW458-61/ RE44 viii/ SC iii 19/ SCt vi 1/ SCg v 5/ SB45; ۞KnK 11; (folk song opens ‘O the Broom’ C458-461); cf AS362; DO80-83 ‘The lovely Northern lass’ 13 verses; ۞DO ii 4
[And ‘Bonny Robin’] DO72-74 ‘Robin is to the greenwood gone’ (48) 391
113 {Sings} O fair, O sweet (etc) [AS362 continues ‘when I do look on thee In whom all joys so well agree’ which is the 7th song in Sydney’s Certaine Sonnets included at the end of his Arcadia, 1598, p. 474] 392
129-132 [all these must be boys…and at ten years old They must be all gelt for musicians And sing the wars of Theseus]
151 {Sings} ‘When Cynthia with her borrowed light’ AS270, 362/ OS173 song unknown G.R. Proudfoot (Arnold ed, 1970) notes that the line ‘And pale Cynthia with her borrowed light’ occurs in Sackville’s Tragedy of Henry Duke of Buckingham 1563 393
ii [The lark that tirra-lirra sings] cf Notes under ‘birdsong and calls’ 393A (554A)
iii 10-11 [I have forgot it quite–the *burden on’t was ‘*Down-a, down-a’] (176) 394
27-28 […sometime we go to barley-break,…] DO 58 melody (62d) 395
54 {Sings} I will be true, my stars, my fate (etc). AS284 song unidentified 396
78-83 [Sing to her such green songs of love as she says Palamon hath sung in prison… for Palamon can sing]
V i (AS360) The Temple scene has elaborate musical effects. Cf. SS iv (2001) 17
0; 6 Flourish; Flourish of cornetts
87-9 [at seventy thou canst catch, And make him, to the scorn of his hoarse throat, Abuse young lays of love.]
ii 61 Here music is heard 397
iii 0 Still music of *recorders; AS296 soft music in contrast to preceding martial music (21) 398
32 Here is heard a sudden twang of instruments AS298 compares Tem IV i 138
iv 47-52 [You never saw him dance?/ No? /… He dances very finely, very comely, And, for a *jig…He turns ye like a top./ That’s fine, indeed./ He’ll dance the *morris twenty mile an hour, And that will founder the best *hobbyhorse,…]
DO197-8 ‘The hobbyhorse’ (‘Since Robin Hood, maid Marion…) (39a) 399
53 [And gallops to the tune of ‘Light o’ love’.] DO253-5 melody and 13 verses (236) 400
116 Exeunt. Solemn music 400A
v 0 Flourish (AS360) notes trumpets specified only here (off stage) the intention to make this scene, in decibels at least, the play’s climax.
55; 64 Cornetts. Trumpets sound as to a charge cf AS 312; Cornetts.
71; 75; 88, 91 Shout and cornetts; Another cry and shout within and cornetts; Cornetts;
93-94 [The combat’s consummation is proclaimed By the wind instruments] SA314 announcing the end of the fight; the servant is explaining the musical code to Emilia]
104; 137 Cornetts; Flourish cf AS 317
vi 59-61 [dancing, as ’twere, to th’ music his own hooves made–for, as they say, from iron Came music’s origin]
137 Flourish (AS360) solemn music probably accompanied the final exeunt
Epilogue 18 Flourish


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