CHAPTER 3: History to 1800 > Later Renaissance - 16th century
Literature: - General indications of the dulcimer's currency: 1 of 3
The first three references to dulcimers in the 16th century are all English:
In 1502, at a pageant in Westminster Hall, a twelve-piece ladies' orchestra "made music on clarycordis, dusymers, clarisymballs and such other" (49),
Stephen Hawes mentioned a dulcimer in his chivalric allegory The Passetyme of Pleasure (1509 and reprints until 1555): the hero, Graunde Amoure, searching for his fair lady La Bell Pucell, passes through the Tower of Doctrine to be instructed in the seven sciences; Dame Doctrine guides him to Lady Grammar, Logic, Lady Rhetoric and Arithmetic, before he finds La Bell Pucell in the Tower of Music. He hesitates to address her:
(lines 1520-1533) (50)
Hawes' poem "embodies the mediaeval spirit of chivalry long after its principal flowering", and his instruments similarly seem to combine the distinct flavours of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the old rebeckes and crouddes juxtaposed with the newer clarycymbales and clarycordes.
A few years later, in 1512, Helyas wrote of the "Pipes, taborins, doucimers, fidles, organs, psaltries, clavicordes, and mani other instrumentes there was in great nombre sowning al songes of armony" (156).