20 September 2019

We Need Minstrels

Percival Pollard, Masks and Minstrels of New Germany (Boston: J. W. Luce and Co., 1911), p. 26:
We need minstrels, not mechanics. The latter, like weeds, will always flourish. But minstrels — we pretend their day is done, forgetting that some of their songs will live when all our towers of stone and steel are in the likeness of what once was Baalbek. For there is no more wonderful mystery in the world than the handing down from generation to generation, from folk to folk, of songs, of ballads, often even without aid of writing. The singers die; the streets and towns that knew them may be leveled to the dust; only the song survives.
Of course when Pollard speaks of minstrels he is referring to the wandering musicians of medieval Europe, not the other kind...

Lucas van Leyden, The Musicians (1524)