Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Eliza is the Fairest Queen - Epideictic

Listen to "Eliza is the Fairest Queen". To download, right click and choose "Save Target As" (Windows).

While you're reading some of the poetry and speeches written by Queen Elizabeth I, I thought you might like to hear a bit of music in praise of her. This song is epideictic in form - "epideictic" is a type of oratory or rhetoric. Literally, "epideictic" translates from the Greek as "fit for display". An epidiectic poem is written for the purpose of praising or blaming the subject. Obviously Johnson's song lyrics are praising Queen Elizabeth. (You really only ever want to blame royalty from a distance.)

You can read more about epideictic here.

The music is by Pantagruel. If you're at all interested in Renaissance music that's got a bit of a kick to it, I highly recommend them. The original lyrics to Eliza is the Fairest Queen, below, are interlaced with lyrics from another song in this piece.

Eliza is the Fairest Queen ~ Edward Johnson 1572-1601

Eliza is the fairest Queen
That ever trod upon the green.
Eliza's eyes are blessed stars,
Inducing peace, subduing wars.
O blessed be each day and hour
Where sweet Eliza builds her bower.

Eliza's hand is crystal bright,
Her words are balm, her looks are light.
Eliza's breast is that fair hill,
Where virtue dwells, and sacred skill.
O blessed be each day and hour
Where sweet Eliza builds her bower.

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