For cinematography’s sake, this was the spot. I realize it gets really windy toward the end, which is a shame because it was going really rather well.
It was great to be able to return to a Church for Proteus’ newest soliloquy debating his own guilt. The last one, the big one, II;vi, was done inside Notre Dame dancing between the buttresses. We start this back in Proteus’s familiarly pensive place, then go outside for the song. This gorgeous little town in the Cotwolds, Guiting Power, provided the most idyllic setting we could have imagined. What a gorgeous lovely church and beautiful grounds. The town was apparently resurrected from financial ruin by a rich resident who created a trust to preserve the major buildings and infrastructure. Consequently, this pastoral dream of an English town will be long preserved.
As far as my reading is concerned, I miss some big moments with the verse – stressing in the wrong places and behind on some thoughts, but alas.
Stay through to the end of the video to see a lovely pan of the church exterior and landscape. My mother is filming – this is Ashley Hunt and her mother Christie and husband Rich Gingrich.
Proteus launches into this speech and scene with a somersaulting rhythm
1 Already have I been false to Valentine
Significantly, the first four syllables, ‘Already have’ are all included in the first foot of the line, normally two beats and not infrequently three. But four is strange. The first syllable is an upbeat, the next three form a triplet. This propels the thought directly into ‘false’ and ‘Valentine’ with unique energy.
Now this scene is all about the music, featuring the Big Song and only song of the play, ‘Who is Silvia?’ So we’re going to trace all its lines that discuss it.
PROTEUS… And give some evening music to her ear.
[Enter THURIO and Musicians]
THURIO How now, Sir Proteus, are you crept before us?
PROTEUS Ay, gentle Thurio: for you know that love
20 Will creep in service where it cannot go.
THURIO Ay, but I hope, sir, that you love not here.
PROTEUS Sir, but I do; or else I would be hence.
THURIO Who? Silvia?
PROTEUS Ay, Silvia; for your sake.
THURIO I thank you for your own. Now, gentlemen,
25 Let’s tune, and to it lustily awhile.
[Enter, at a distance, Host, and JULIA in boy’s clothes]
Host Now, my young guest, methinks you’re allycholly: I
27 pray you, why is it?
JULIA Marry, mine host, because I cannot be merry.
Host Come, we’ll have you merry: I’ll bring you where
30 you shall hear music and see the gentleman that you asked for.
JULIA But shall I hear him speak?
Host Ay, that you shall.
JULIA That will be music.
Host Hark, hark!
JULIA Is he among these?
Host Ay: but, peace! let’s hear ’em.
38 Who is Silvia? what is she,
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admired be.
43 Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness.
Love doth to her eyes repair,
To help him of his blindness,
And, being help’d, inhabits there.
48 Then to Silvia let us sing,
That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.
Host How now! are you sadder than you were before? How
54 do you, man? the music likes you not.
JULIA You mistake; the musician likes me not.
Host Why, my pretty youth?
JULIA He plays false, father.
Host How? out of tune on the strings?
JULIA Not so; but yet so false that he grieves my very
Host You have a quick ear.
JULIA Ay, I would I were deaf; it makes me have a slow heart.
Host I perceive you delight not in music.
JULIA Not a whit, when it jars so.
Host Hark, what fine change is in the music!
JULIA Ay, that change is the spite.
Host You would have them always play but one thing?
JULIA I would always have one play but one thing.
[Exeunt THURIO and Musicians]
[Enter SILVIA above]
82 Madam, good even to your ladyship.
SILVIA I thank you for your music, gentlemen.
Once again, as in earlier with Lucetta and Julia, when he really gets going with the metaphor he doesn’t hold back. It’s pretty extensive, buttressing the song with lots of discussion of music, and ensuring that the song is a real event between the characters. Recordings of this may sound sweet, and some are rather beautiful as it’s set a great deal. However, my gut tells me this is time for a funny scene, and there are various ways a company might achieve that delightfully.
The Host’s ‘Hark what fine change is in the music’ is a vague thing to say. ‘Change’ probably meant musical variability or even fickleness or quickness – regardless, it probably carried more specificity than the word would connote today, but done now, its vagueness could be a comically polite cover today for its very poor musical qualities.
My gut also tells me that the last two lines from this selection, the brief discussion of playing ‘one thing,’ probably means a lot of different things. There is a musical meaning, there is also the meaning of her character playing two sexes, even the likelihood of the Host being double cast. There is, no doubt, a sexual meaning as well.
These added lines relating to the music are padding this play’s percentage of having a noticeable number of lines related to music, proportionally speaking.
Some little things:
The shared line:
SILVIA What’s your will?
PROTEUS That I may compass yours.
Can really propel the scene into the next beat if observed. What’s more, Proteus and Silvia just have both had half-lines that weren’t shared. There is a bit of business that can warrant those pauses. In other words, stop/start energy gives way to people who suddenly have the courage to tell each other what they think and feel.
This is a fabulous example of a trochaic line really helping the thought, and coming at the very end of the speech (‘Even for this time…’):
SILVIA I am so far from granting thy request
99 That I despise thee for thy wrongful suit,
100 And by and by intend to chide myself
101 Even for this time I spend in talking to thee.