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Saturday morning quote #1: The lute and ageing gracefully

May 21, 2011

We thought we would initiate a little Saturday morning quote from historical sources, something thought-provoking or novel in a retro kind of way.

This quote is from a manuscript of lute instructions copied in the late 17th century by Mary Burwell.

CHAPTER XIV:
Of The Enthusiasms And Ravishments Of The Lute

from Miss Mary Burwell’s Instruction Book for the Lute, c. 1668

When old age has made us incapable to relish the pleasure of this life, so that everybody loathes our company because of our infirmities, when the sight fails us for reading of books, the legs for walking, and the teeth for discoursing, the fingers and the ears remain still in a capacity to play on the lute and to charm melodiously as the swans the assault and apprehensions of death.

For it is an admirable thing, and much experimented, that the gout never seizes upon the fingers of those that play the lute. And this wholesome harmony dissipates and subtilizes so well the gross humours that are the cause of deafness, that one never becomes deaf as long as the body is in health and able to touch the lute. Those admirable effects make men so much in love with the lute that when those that play of it do hear a lesson that they like, they are never quiet till they have it, and think no money better bestowed than in purchasing this precious acquisition.

By the way, as people who are interested in preserving the character of our heritage and our language, we are preserving the “e” in the word ageing.  In this case, more is better.

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