Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Notes For February 12th, 2014

This Day In Writing History

On February 12th, 1567, the famous English poet, songwriter, and playwright Thomas Campion was born in London, England. He enrolled at Peterhouse, Cambridge, but left to study law in 1586.

He graduated, but by 1595, he hadn't been called to the bar to practice law, so he enrolled at the University of Caen to study medicine. He received his medical degree and became a physician.

Campion's poetry was first published in 1591, when several of his verses appeared in Sir Philip Sidney's sonnet sequence, Astrophel and Stella.

He continued to write and publish poetry, and in 1602, he wrote a book on the subject called Observations in the Art of English Poesie (1602) where he criticized the use of rhyming in poetry.

Despite his dislike of rhyme in poetry, Campion had no problem using rhymes in his song lyrics. He wrote over a hundred lute songs - lyrics sung by a singer accompanying himself on the lute. Some of Campion's songs were quite bawdy, such as Beauty, Since You So Much Desire.

In November of 1612, Britain was rocked by the sudden death of Prince Henry. So, Campion wrote a collection of songs in tribute to the fallen monarch. The Songs of Mourning: Bewailing the Untimely Death of Prince Henry appeared in 1613, set to music by composer John Cooper.

Campion also wrote masques, which were not operas, but plays with music and dancing - the precursor of modern musical theater. His popular masques included Lord Hay's Masque (1607) and The Lord's Masque, which premiered in 1613.

That year, Campion found himself accused of being a conspirator in the plot to murder poet and essayist Sir Thomas Overbury, but was eventually exonerated of the charge.

Thomas Campion died on March 1st, 1620, at the age of 53, most likely from the bubonic plague that was ravaging Europe at the time.

Quote Of The Day

"Time's fatal wings do ever forward fly; to every day we live, a day we die." - Thomas Campion

Vanguard Video

Today's video features a performance of Thomas Campion's lute song What If A Day, performed by tenor Mario Ivan Martinez. Enjoy!

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