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'So to the Wood Went I': Politicizing the Greenwood in Two Songs by John Dowland

Kirsten Gibson
Journal of the Royal Musical Association
Vol. 132, No. 2 (2007), pp. 221-251
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Royal Musical Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30161408
Page Count: 31
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'So to the Wood Went I': Politicizing the Greenwood in Two Songs by John Dowland
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Abstract

Figurations of woods as sites of solitude, political exile and authenticity are drawn upon in a number of John Dowland's songs. 'Can she excuse' quotes from the ballad tune Woods so wild, while 'O sweet woods' makes reference to Wanstead woods, associated with both Philip Sidney and Robert Devereux during their lifetimes. This article examines how courtly experiences of political withdrawal and exile are articulated through musical and literary references to woods in these songs.

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