1690 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Orlando Gibbons

Anthony Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (1690-91) ed. Bliss (1815) 5:i 406.



On the 17th of May, ORLANDO GIBBONS, one of the organists of his majesty's chappel, did supplicate the venerable congregation that he might accumulate the degrees in music; but whether he was admitted to the one, or licensed to proceed in the other, it appears not. However the song of 6 parts or more, which was performed in the act for Will. Heather, was composed by him, as one or more eminent musicians then living have several times told me. This Orlando, who was accounted one of the rarest musicians and organists of his time, hath extant A Set of Madrigals of five Parts for Voices and Viols, had also a hand in Parthenia, mention'd before, under the year 1592, and composed Several Divine Services and Anthems; the words of which are in Jam. Clifford's book before-mention'd, besides admirable compositions that are printed in several books of music. At length being commanded to Canterbury to attend the solemnity of the nuptials between K. Ch. I. and Henrietta Maria a daughter of the king of France (in order to which he had made vocal and instrumental compositions) died there of the small-pox to the great reluctancy of the court, on the day of Pentacost, an. 1625. Afterwards was a monument erected over his grave in the body of the cathedral there, with an inscription theron, beginning thus: Orlando Gibbonion Cantabrigiae inter musas & musicae nato, sacrae R. capellae organistae, sphaerarumque harmoniae digitorum pulsu aemulo, cantionum complurium quaeque dum non canunt minus quam canuntur conditori, &c. From which monument, set upon at the charge of Elizabeth his widow, who gave instructions what to be inscrib'd thereon, but not the time of his age, we are given to understand that the said Orlando Gibbons was born at Cambridge, yet the reader is to know that one Orlando Gibbons was baptized in St. Martin's parish in the city of Oxford 25 Dec. 1583, which some have been pleased to take to be the same that was afterwards the famous organist; who, as those that knew him have told me, was not quite 45 years of age when he died. But to let these scruples pass, as also another Orlando Gibbons M.A. of Cambridge, who was incorporated at Oxon. an. 1607, I shall go forward.