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Lyr Add: When Silly Bees Could Speake

MMario 09 Jan 03 - 03:27 PM
vectis 09 Jan 03 - 06:30 PM
Amos 09 Jan 03 - 07:31 PM
masato sakurai 09 Jan 03 - 08:33 PM
MMario 10 Jan 03 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,ClaireBear 10 Jan 03 - 11:15 AM
vectis 12 Jan 03 - 06:59 PM
masato sakurai 12 Jan 03 - 07:24 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 12 Jan 03 - 07:35 PM
masato sakurai 12 Jan 03 - 08:13 PM
GUEST,leeneia 13 Jan 03 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,ClaireBear 13 Jan 03 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Raedwulf 13 Jan 03 - 06:26 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 13 Jan 03 - 07:08 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 13 Jan 03 - 07:40 PM
GUEST,Raedwulf 13 Jan 03 - 07:48 PM
Raedwulf 14 Jan 03 - 04:52 AM
masato sakurai 14 Jan 03 - 06:27 AM
Malcolm Douglas 14 Jan 03 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 14 Jan 03 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,Malcolm 14 Jan 03 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Raedwulf 14 Jan 03 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 14 Jan 03 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Reinier Post 14 Nov 18 - 08:32 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: WHEN SILLY BEES COULD SPEAKE
From: MMario
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 03:27 PM

WHEN SILLY BEES COULD SPEAKE
(Shakespeare?/Jown Dowland)

It was a time when silly Bees could speake,
And in that time I was a sillie Bee.
Who fed on Time until my heart gan break,
Yet never found the time would favour mee.
Of all the swarme I onely did not thrive,
Yet brought I waxe and honey to the hive.

Then thus I buzd, when time no sap would give,
Why should this blessed time to me be drie,
sith by this Time the lazie drone doth live,
The waspe, the worme, the gnat, the butterflie,
Mated with griefe, I kneel-ed on my knees,
And thus complained unto the king of Bees.

My liege, gods grant thy time may never end,
And yet vouchsafe to heare my pliant of Time,
Which fruiltlesse Flies have found to have a friend,
And I cast downe when Aromies do clime.
The king replied but thus, Peace peevish Bee,
Th'art bound to serve the time, the time not thee.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: vectis
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 06:30 PM

Dunno about the song. It looks interesting, any chance of the tune?

Down here in Sussex people believe that if you keep bees you have to talk to them and keep them informed about all the gossip of the area. If you don't (I don't know what they do or don't do).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 07:31 PM

The king replied but thus, Peace peevish Bee,
Th'art bound to serve the time, the time not thee.


Like, wow man....that is very cool indeed, like as poetry, man, ya dig. I mean metaphysically its probably like capitalist propaganda, like,like BS, ya know?... but man, could that cat twine them phonemes, or what?

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: masato sakurai
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:33 PM

Sheet music is HERE.
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: MMario
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 10:49 AM

Thanks Masato!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 11:15 AM

Specifically, re: What do the bees do?

My beloved "Encyclopedia of Superstition" (Philosophical Library, 1949? -- an educated guess as to date and publisher) states that if you keep bees, you must advise them immediately of any births, deaths, or marriages in your household or they will take offense, swarm, and set up housekeeping elsewhere.

I'm stating this from memory (as I child I memorized nearly every entry in the book -- I did mention I was odd, didn't I?) as the book is packed, so unfortunately don't know whether this belief comes from Sussex -- from the UK/Ireland certainly, as every entry in the book is attributed to some region or other of the British Isles.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: vectis
Date: 12 Jan 03 - 06:59 PM

Thanks. Now I know why I talk to honey bees.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: masato sakurai
Date: 12 Jan 03 - 07:24 PM

The book ClaireBear mentioned above, I think, is A Treasury of American Superstitions, by Claudia de Lys (Philosophical Library, 1948). "Bee" superstitions are discussed on pp. 46-50.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 12 Jan 03 - 07:35 PM

No, honest, it was "the Encyclopedia of Superstition" and everything in it was English, not American. I may have the publisher wrong, but I found a listing for that title on ABEBooks with the publisher and date I quoted, and I know the date is about right.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: masato sakurai
Date: 12 Jan 03 - 08:13 PM

This must be the one: Edwin & Mona A. Radford, Encyclopaedia of Superstitions (Philosophical Library, 1949, 269 pp.), which I haven't seen.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 11:15 AM

"And I cast downe when Aromies do clime."

Anybody know what this means? Thanks, MMario, for an interesting post. I like this old stuff.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 01:14 PM

Never willing to let a subject go before its time, I recommend to the beekeepers out there a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier called "Telling the Bees ," which is based on the bit of bee folklore I mentioned above. The entry in the enclyclopedia I mentioned was, as I recall, also "Telling the bees."

Claire


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: GUEST,Raedwulf
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 06:26 PM

Corrections to lyrics - MMario (or his source) has got a little confused 'twixt "Time" & "Thyme"... Off the top off my head I can't remember all of them, but (I think!) V1/L3, V2/L1, V2/L3, V3/L2, & the first occurence in V3/L6 should all read "thyme".

Also "aromies" is a typo & should read "atomies". I forget the exact meaning, but little flying insects, a la butterflies & moths is about right, I think!

I've sung this. It's a bit of a peculiar tune & rhythm, even for an English Air! I'll look it up tomorrow (UK "thyme" *g*) & confirm the lyrics, if I get time.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 07:08 PM

And "pliant" should be "plaint," talking of typos.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 07:40 PM

I'm all excited to find out what Dowland did with this poem!!! I've been listening to a cd of his compositions lately called "In Darkness Let Me Dwell"... in which he seems to be to be 'exploring' the depths of despair with fastidious exuberance... I wonder if he goes glib... ? ttr


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: GUEST,Raedwulf
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 07:48 PM

Ah, yes, "In Darkness..." - one of his more cheerful ones! *bg* English Airs, on the whole, tend to be melancholy, more so in lyric than tune (some of which are quite lively whilst still complaining of lover's inconstancies, etc). You'll no doubt be relieved to know that Dowland (one the finest English composers ever, IMHO) doesn't do 'glib'!


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Subject: Lyr Add: IT WAS A TIME WHEN SILLY BEES
From: Raedwulf
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 04:52 AM

CORRECTED LYRICS (and modernized spellings)

It Was A Time When Silly Bees
(Words ascribed to Robert, Earl of Essex)

It was a Time when silly Bees could speak,
And in that Time I was a silly Bee.
Who fed on Thyme until my heart 'gan break,
Yet never found the Time would favour me.
Of all the swarm I only did not thrive,
Yet brought I wax and honey to the hive.

Then thus I buzz'd, when Thyme no sap would give,
Why should this blessed Thyme to me be dry,
Sith by this Thyme the lazy drone doth live,
The wasp, the worm, the gnat, the butterfly,
Mated with grief, I kneel-ed on my knees,
And thus complained unto the King of bees.

'My liege, gods grant thy Time may never end,
And yet vouchsafe to hear my plaint of Thyme,
Which fruiltlesse flies have found to have a friend,
And I cast down when atomies do climb.'
The King replied but thus, 'Peace peevish bee,
Thou'rt bound to serve the Time, the Thyme not thee.'

A dcitionary provides "tiny being" as one definition for 'atomy'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: masato sakurai
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 06:27 AM

Atomies (from HERE)

Atomies are the Faerie expression of fireflies. As adults, they are amoungst[sic] the smallest of the Faerie Races, never exceeding seven inches. They spend their thirty year larval stage as oversized but otherwise unremarkable firefly grubs. They look like dusky black wingless humanoids with long antennae. At will they can cause their entire body to pulse with varying intensities of light. Atomies can glow a variety of soft colors, but seem to prefer yellows and cyans so long as they're not excited. Atomies cannot speak, but can communicate amoungst themselves by flashing patterns and aerial dances. Atomies are Golden Faeries and delight in doing Good Deeds, especially leading those lost in the Darkness home again. During the day they sleep under rotting logs. Adult atomies do not eat. They mate during in late Evening, after a long season of courting dances. The female lays her clutch of five to ten eggs in damp soil, and they hatch the following year. Very, very few larvae reach adulthood.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 04:25 PM

Cute; but a fairly recent invention, I suspect! An atomy meant just any very small creature; a mite or pigmy. Shakespeare and others used it in its contemptuous sense as applied to a person who is worthless or of no account; which I think is intended here. It was also used it to mean a skeleton or someone skeletally thin, but that won't be the meaning in this case.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 04:58 PM

But of course Shakespeare also used it in the context of fairies, as in Mercutio's Queen Mab speech in R&J:

"O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep"

Claire


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: GUEST,Malcolm
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 05:14 PM

So he did; I had forgotten that. And a use not in the perjorative sense, either; but still only in the sense of "tiny creatures".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: GUEST,Raedwulf
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 05:58 PM

As previously noted & given the fact that it's in context with bees, wasps, worms & butterflies, I think you'd probably best take it as being small flying things. Fireflies, in fact, (but not fairy fireflies of any description!) is a pretty fair image!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees could Speake
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 06:15 PM

Despite my defense of Masato's fairies, I think Malcolm is right that there's a pejorative cast on these particular "atomies."

So I dunno about fireflies -- they are positive images, poetically speaking, while these "atomies" whereof we speak seem to be pesky creatures whose exaltation the poor bee cannot begin to comprehend in view of her self-perceived superior worth.

If I had to guess, I'd venture that they're what my dear old Dad used to call "no-see-ums": tiny annoying creatures that fly up your nose into your eyes, seemingly on purpose. In which case, no wonder she's upset!

Does "fruitless flies" make anyone besides me roll on the floor clutching my sides laughing?

Claire


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When Silly Bees Could Speake
From: GUEST,Reinier Post
Date: 14 Nov 18 - 08:32 AM

We've attempted thios song with our quartet. It wasn't as easy as it first seemed.

Very interesting to read about the allusions to fairy tales and superstitions; I wasn't aware of them. I've always interpreted this song as a courtier's complaint of not being treated fairly by the king: his loyal services aren't rewarded, while others, who shine more brightly but offer nothing of value, are treated more favourably. He complains to to the king, and receives a sarcastic reply. I'm not sure whether "time doesn't serve you, but you are to serve time" means what I think it does, but it seems something the king might actually have said.

If these words are really by Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (Wikipedia), the king in question is actually a queen, Elizabeth I of England, and this poem describes how he felt prior to rebelling against her (for which he was beheaded in 1601). To what extent this is historical and based on real events is of course hard to tell; the song was only published in 1603, the year Elizabeth died.


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