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Black Almain

Source: Inns of Court manuscripts.

Setting: A processional line of couples.

Version: 1.1

 1- 8  4 doubles forward.
 9-12  Face partner and drop hands. Double backwards away from partner, double
        forward towards partner.
13-16  Quarter-turn left (men face up the hall, women face down the
        hall), double forward up or down the hall, turn around over your right shoulder,
        double back to place.
17-20  Face partner; men set and turn in place.
21-24  Women do the same.
25-26  Take both hands, turn halfway using one double into partner's place,
27-28   4 slip steps up hall.
29-32  Turn halfway back to your own side, 4 slip steps down hall.
33-36  Drop hands, double backward away from partner, double forward towards partner.

 1-36 Repeat with the women setting and turning in place first,
       followed by the men.


Honour. Fowre doubles forward, part handes with a .d. backe, meete
again with a .d., A .d. on your lefte hand, a nother on your right
hand, the man doe .2. .S. & a .d. rounde, the woman as much,
take both handes, change places with a double & slide upwardes
.4., Into your own place with a .d., Slyde downe .4., backe a .d. one
from another, meet againe. The same againe.

Bodleian Library MS Douce 280 (c. 1605/6), transcribed by Wilson


A comment in one of the Inns of Court manuscripts, mentioned by Wilson, says that the dance was one of `the newest tunes that are now in vse' in 1584. However, this ballad to the tune is reprinted in Collmann's Ballads and Broadsides chiefly Of the Elizabethan Period; this ballad can be dated to 1570-1 via the Stationers' Register.

A proper new balade expressyng the fames,
Concerning a warning to al London dames.

To the tune of the blacke Almaine.

You London dames, whose passyng fames
 Through out the world is spread,
In to the skye, ascendyng hye
 To euery place is fled :
For thorow each land and place,
For beauties kyndely grace :
 You are renowmed ouer all,
 You haue the prayse and euer shall.
What wight on earth that can beholde
More dearer and fayrer dames than you?
 Therefore to extoll you I may be bolde,
 Your pace and graces so gay to vieu.