1330 R. Mannyng Chron. Wace (Rolls) 4024 After Sysilly com Glegabret, A syngere of þe beste get. 1386 G. Chaucer Pardoner’s Tale 17 And right anon thanne comen Tombesteres,..Syngeres with harpes. 1440 Promptorium Parvulorum 456/1 Synggare, cantor. 1486 in H. Littlehales Medieval Rec. London City Church (1905) 5 Namely, that he..help the Syngers after his cunnyng in the honour of our blessed lady. 1538 T. Starkey Dial. Pole & Lupset (1989) 102 Marchauntys therof [sc. pleasures] & craftys men, syngarys & playarys apon instrumentys. 1602 W. Shakespeare Merry Wives of Windsor i. iii. 24 His filching was like An vnskilfull singer, he kept not time. 1652 R. Brome City Wit iii. i. sig. C7v, in Five New Playes (1653) He..has been..one of the sweet singers to the City Funeralls. 1757 tr. J. G. Keyssler Trav. IV. 208 The vocal musicians, or singers,..perform even in private houses for money. 1781 E. Gibbon Decline & Fall III. xxxi. 216 Three thousand singers, with the masters of the respective chorusses. 1828 W. Scott Fair Maid of Perth x, in Chron. Canongate 2nd Ser. I. 268 My judgment is not deep, my lord; but the singer may dispense with my approbation. 1843 W. Hammond tr. Def. Faith Œcumen. Councils 183 If a Subdeacon, Reader, or Singer commits the same things.
1880 ‘V. Lee’ Stud. 18th Cent. Italy iii. ii. 113 Farinelli..was proud of being a singer and afraid of being a political agent. 1626 F. Bacon Sylua Syluarum §239 We see also, that Cock-birds, among Singing-birds, are ever the better singers. 1849 J. Craig New Universal Dict. (at cited word) The canary is a fine singer. 1896 J. W. Kirkaldy & E. C. Pollard tr. J. E. V. Boas Text Bk. Zool. 462 Singers (Sylviadæ)… Some of them noted singers. 1935 Amer. Speech 10 20/2 Singer, a stool pigeon or trusty who carries tales to the administration. (Obs.) 1961 John o’ London’s 30 Nov. 610/3 An informer, then a squealer, is now more often referred to..as a singer. 1560 Bible (Geneva) 2 Sam. xxiii. 1 Dauid.., the swete singer of Israel. 1652 (title) Herbert’s Remains, or, sundry Pieces of that sweet Singer of the Temple. 1704 T. Brown Presbyt. Proposals in Wks. (1711) IV. 126 Quakers, Muggletonians and Sweet-Singers of Israel. 1874 J. R. Green Short Hist. Eng. People vii. §7. 423 Amidst the throng in Elizabeth’s antechamber the noblest form is that of the singer who lays the ‘Faerie Queen’ at her feet. 1880 S. Lanier Sci. Eng. Verse Pref. Wyatt, Surrey, Sackville, and a host of less known or unknown singers. 1843 T. Carlyle Hist. Sketches (1898) 74 A sterling man, a true Singer-heart.
OE (Mercian) Vespasian Psalter (1965) xxxii. 3 Cantate ei canticum nouum, bene psallite in iubilatione : singað him song neowne wel singað in wynsumnisse. OE Beowulf 787 Þara þe of wealle wop gehyrdon, gryreleoð galan Godes andsacan, sigeleasne sang. OE Beowulf 1063 Þær wæs sang ond sweg samod ætgædere fore Healfdenes hildewisan, gomenwudu greted, gid oft wrecen. OE Beowulf 2447 Þonne he gyd wrece, sarigne sang, þonne his sunu hangað hrefne to hroðre. OE Crist III 1649 Ðær is engla song, eadigra blis. OE Cynewulf Elene 112 Wulf sang ahof, holtes gehleða. OE King Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Otho) (2009) I. xii. 435 [Þa he þa] þis leoð asungen hæ[fde, þ]a forlet he þone sang. OE King Ælfred tr. Gregory Pastoral Care (Hatton) (1871) lii. 409 Ða singað ðone sang [L. canticum] ðe nan mon elles singan ne mæg. OE Lindisf. Gospels: Luke xv. 25 Cum ueniret et appropinquaret domui audiuit simphoniam et chorum : miððy gecuome & geneolecde to huse geherde huislung..& þæt song. OE Metres of Boethius (partly from transcript of damaged MS) (2009) xiii. 50 Þonne hi geherað hleoðrum brægdan oðre fugelas, hi heora agne stefne styriað. Stunað eal geador welwynsum sanc. OE Riddle 24 6 Hwilum gielle swa hafoc, hwilum ic onhyrge þone haswan earn, guðfugles hleoþor, hwilum glidan reorde muþe gemæne, hwilum mæwes song. OE St. Neot (Vesp.) in R. D.-N. Warner Early Eng. Homilies (1917) 129 He dæighwamlice to his Drihtene clypode æfter Dauides sange þuss cweðende, Drihten [etc.]. OE tr. Felix St. Guthlac (Vercelli) (1909) ii. 108 Ne he mistlice fugelas [read fugela] sangas ne wurþode, swa oft swa cnihtlicu yldo begæð. OE Widsith 100 Þonne ic be songe secgan sceolde hwær ic..selast wisse goldhrodene cwen giefe bryttian. 1175 Ælfric Let. to Sigeweard (De Veteri et Novo Test.) (Bodl.) 30 Heo up comen ealle isunde, herigende mid sangum [OE Laud mid sange] ðone heofenlice God. 1175 Homily (Bodl. 343) in S. Irvine Old Eng. Homilies (1993) 202 Þær is feȝer englæ werod, & apostola song. 1175 Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 3374 Þeȝȝ alle sungenn ænne sang Drihhtin to lofe. & wurrþe. 1175 Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 7931 Wop wass uss bitacnedd wel Þurrh cullfre. & turrtle baþe. Forr þeȝȝre sang iss lic wiþþ wop. 1225 MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 63 Godes songes beoð alle gode; to þere saule heo senden fode. 1225 Vices & Virtues (1888) 15 Ða aingles of heuene..sunge ðane derewurðe sang, Gloria in exselsis deo. 1275 Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 15282 Þer wes blisse & muche song. 1275 Owl & Nightingale (Calig.) (1935) 221 Þu miȝt mid þine songe afere Alle þat ihereþ þine ibere. 1275 Owl & Nightingale (Calig.) (1935) 722 Vor þi me singþ in holi chirche, An clerkes ginneþ songes wirche. 1300 Floris & Blauncheflur (Vitell.) (1966) l. 250 (MED) Þer is fowelene song. 1300 Poema Morale (Jesus Oxf.) 347 in R. Morris Old Eng. Misc. (1872) 70 Þer is alre Murehþe mest myd englene songe. 1325 Gen. & Exod. (1968) l. 699 (MED) Of ðis kinge wil we leden song. 1330 Arthour & Merlin (Auch.) (1973) l. 3535 (MED) In euerich toun fram Portesmouþe To Londen..Men made song and hopinges. 1330 Sir Tristrem (1886) l. 2654 Of ysonde he made a song. 1340 Ayenbite (1866) 60 Þe dyeules noriches þet..doþ ham slepe ine hare zenne be hare uayre zang. 1340 Ayenbite (1866) 68 Þe holi gost..makeþ his ychosene zinge ine hare herten þe zuete zonges of heuene. 1382 Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Job xxx. 9 Now forsothe I am turned in to the song [L. canticum] of hem. 1382 Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Lament. iii. 14 Y am mad in to scorne to al puple, the song [L. canticum] of them al dai. 1387 J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John’s Cambr.) (1865) I. 317 (MED) Þerfore herdes of þat lond byhedeþ hem [sc. grasshoppers] forto haue þe swetter song. 1390 MS Vernon Homilies in Archiv f. das Studium der Neueren Sprachen (1877) 57 277 Þe brid song..so Murie..þat þenne to ryse mihte he nouht Til þat song weore i brouht to ende. 1393 J. Gower Confessio Amantis (Fairf.) ii. l. 3012 (MED) Now schalt thou singe an other song. 1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) I. xii. xiv. 625 There is a maner grashoppere þat hatte cicada and haþ þat name of canendo ‘syngynge’, for wiþ a ful litil throte he[o] schapiþ a wondirful song.
1400 Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 23 Sanges sere of selcuth rime, Inglis, frankys, and latine. 1400 Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 1030 Þar sune es soft and suet sang. 1400 Psalter (Vesp.) cxxxvi. 5 in C. Horstmann Yorkshire Writers (1896) II. 264 Hou sal we singe sange wið blisse Ofe lauerd in outen land þat isse? 1400 R. Mannyng Chron. (Petyt) (1996) i. 3994 Of song & of mynstralcie of alle men gaf him maistrie. 1405 G. Chaucer Manciple’s Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 201 To the Crowe he stirte..And made hym blak and refte hym al his song. 1405 G. Chaucer Reeve’s Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 250 Herd thow euere slyk a sang er now. 1425 Laud Troy-bk. l. 18127 Thei halpe hit In with mochel sang. 1440 Promptorium Parvulorum (Harl. 221) 464 Songe, cantus. 1450 Castle Perseverance (1969) l. 2335 Thre mens songys to syngyn lowde. 1450 Jacob’s Well (1900) 155 Þe feend makyth his men to synge þe song of helle, þat is, ‘allas & welleaway’. 1450 Siege Calais (Rome) in PMLA (1952) 67 893 At the southwest corner, Of gonnes he had a songe; That anoon he left his place. 1450 York Plays (1885) 157 Of sorowes sere schal be my sang. 1470 T. Malory Morte Darthur (Winch. Coll. 13) (1990) II. 626 The harper had sunge his songe to the ende. 1484 W. Caxton tr. Subtyl Historyes & Fables Esope iv. iv. f. lxix The goddes..haue gyuen..to the nyghtyngale fayr & playsaunt songe. 1500 Andrew of Wyntoun Oryg. Cron. Scotl. (Nero) vi. l. 1981 Off al his thoucht he made na sange [a1530 Royal mad na sang], Bot prewaly out of þe thrange Withe slycht he gat. 1500 Bevis of Hampton (Chetham) l. 1232 For sone thy songe shall be: welawey! 1500 R. Rolle Psalter (Univ. Oxf. 64) (1884) Prol. 3 (MED) Grete haboundance of gastly comfort..comes in the hertes of thaim at says or synges deuotly the psalmes..the sange of psalmes chases fendis, excites aungels til oure help. 1500 tr. Secreta Secret. (Rawl.) (1977) 8 (MED) He may beholde beauteuous parsonis and delectabil bookis, and here pleasaunt songis. 1525 R. Holland Bk. Howlat l. 943 in W. A. Craigie Asloan MS (1925) II. 124 Thar with dame natur has to ye hevin..Ascendit sone..with solace & sang. 1532 T. More Confut. Tyndales Answere i. p. xiii When we tell Tyndale and Luther all this yet fare they as though they herde vs not, and styll they synge vs on theyr olde songe that it is ydolatrye to serue god wyth any good workes. 1533 J. Gau tr. C. Pedersen Richt Vay 16 Thay that prouokis ony ewil desir..with sangis or wordis or foul takine. 1540 Gest Historiale Destr. Troy (2002) f. 54v Why fare ye thus now With..sunges of myrthe. 1548 Hall’s Vnion: Henry VIII f. ccxiiiiv And in the toppe was meruailous swete armony both of song & instrument. 1548 N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus Paraphr. Newe Test. I. Mark vii. 52 The foresayed songe was songen in vaine to the deafe Phariseis. 1552 T. Wilson Rule of Reason (rev. ed.) sig. Xvij Self willed folke..vse oft the cuckowes song. 1560 J. Daus tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. cccxciijv It is the self same song, that hath ben songen now many yeres. 1560 J. Daus tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. ccxxxviijv Dyuerse Songes beesydes accustomed in churches doe instructe vs of the benefite of Chryst. 1577 R. Holinshed Hist. Eng. 181/2 in Chron. I He..wente aboute in Mercia to teach song. 1586 G. Whitney Choice of Emblemes 175 The ante..harde the grashopper to cease, And all her songes, shee nowe with sighing rues. 1590 E. Spenser Faerie Queene ii. vi. sig. R3v No bird, but did her shrill notes sweetely sing; No song but did containe a louely ditt. 1591 J. Harington tr. L. Ariosto Orlando Furioso xxxiiii. lxxvi. 286 Then hard he crickets songs like to the verses, The seruant in his masters prayse reherses. 1596 E. Topsell Reward of Relig. xii. 232 By the neglect of this pointe it commeth to passe, that great lyuinges are done away for a songe, as the prouerbe is. 1596 J. Dalrymple tr. J. Leslie Hist. Scotl. (1888) I. 74 To sing sangs of joy and blythnes. 1597 G. Phillips Embassage Gods Angell sig. A.6 For had they regarded Gods true religion, then should not a company of vnworthy men, haue caried awaie the churches reuenues for an olde song. 1597 W. Shakespeare Richard III iv. iv. 438 Out on you owles, nothing but songs off death. 1598 R. Barnfield Encomion Lady Pecunia iii. sig. A4v And adde some Musique, to a merry Songue. 1603 P. Holland tr. Plutarch Morals 708 No man is able so well to judge of song and harmonicall measures, as the best and most experienced musician.
1616 W. Shakespeare All’s Well that ends Well (1623) iii. ii. 9 I know a man that had this tricke of melancholy hold a goodly Mannor for a song . 1618 R. Brathwait Good Wife sig. G The Souldier greiu’d; And swore since warre would doe no good, He now would change his sang. 1621 T. W. tr. S. Goulart Wise Vieillard 76 The ordinarie burthen of their song is, that all the world is naught. 1639 W. Whately Prototypes (1640) ii. xxvi. 25 To have so little esteem of the outward means of salvation, as to part with them for a song as we say. 1649 F. Roberts Clavis Bibliorum (ed. 2) 384 Songs being choice succinct pieces gratefull to the eare, helpfull to the memory and delightful to the heart. 1650 H. More Observ. in Enthusiasmus Triumphatus (1656) 78 Truth is not to be had of God Almighty for an old Song. 1652 Humple Remonstr. (title page) With a fery brave new Ballacks or Sangs, made py..a fery exshellent cood Welsh-Poet. 1653 H. Binning Serm. (1845) 597 Many listen to the Song of Justification, but they will not abide to hear out all the Song. 1667 J. Milton Paradise Lost i. 13 My adventrous Song . 1667 J. Milton Paradise Lost ix. 25 This Subject for Heroic Song Pleas’d me. 1667 J. Milton Paradise Lost v. 41 The night-warbling Bird, that now awake Tunes sweetest his love-labor’d song . 1673 T. Horton 100 Select Serm. (1679) xxxvi. 343/2 To be always treating of one and the same argument, and still upon the same song. 1686 E. Arwaker tr. H. Hugo Pia Desideria i. xiii. 68 The Insects then might lengthen too their Song. 1686 G. Stuart Joco-serious Disc. 27 She sang light sangs, read leud Romances. 1698 England’s Glory 7 The Free holders had but an old Song for their Money. 1705 Philos. Trans. 1704–05 (Royal Soc.) 24 1997 An old Book might be bought for an old Song, (as we say). 1706 tr. J. B. Morvan de Bellegarde Refl. upon Ridicule 270 He retrenches the number of his Servants or their Wages, and would have them serve as they say, for a Song. 1707 E. Ward Wooden World Dissected 97 It’s the same old Song of Stark Love and Kindness, which they have pip’d to each other these many Years. 1707 in Lockhart Papers (1817) I. 223 He returned it to the clerk..with this despising and contemning remark, ‘Now there’s ane end of ane old song’. 1718 Free-thinker No. 69. 2 Much of the same Nature with our Song of Britons strike Home. 1724 A. Ramsay Tea-table Misc. (new ed.) I. 44 If the World my Passion wrang, And say ye only live in Sang. 1724 A. Ramsay Tea-table Misc. (new ed.) I. Ded. vi Their sangs may ward ye frae the sour, And gaily vacant minutes pass. 1725 R. Bradley Chomel’s Dictionaire Œconomique at Canary-Bird To make a right choice of this Bird, and to know when he has a good Song. 1728 Label without being Libel against Truth 38 Some Folks in Grandeur us’d to move along, Now in Thread-bare Coats are seen, not worth a Song. 1745 E. Young Consolation 2 Song sooths our Pains; and age has Pains to sooth. 1751 H. Walpole Lett. (1846) II. 395 The whole-length Vandykes went for a song! 1774 O. Goldsmith Hist. Earth VII. 332 The little hissing note also of our grasshopper is very different from the song of the cicada, which was louder and far more musical. 1774 Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 63 290 What is called the song of the Canary bird. 1776 E. Gibbon Decline & Fall I. x. 244 On the faith of ancient songs, the uncertain..memorials of barbarians. 1778 R. Alves Odes 29 Where the chiming song Of babbling brook is heard. 1781 W. Cowper Truth 458 The soul..Weeps tears of joy, and bursts into a song. 1785 W. Cowper Task vi. 792 One song employs all nations, and all cry, ‘Worthy the Lamb, for He was slain for us!’ 1786 R. Burns Poems 34 She’ll teach you, wi’ a reekan whittle, Anither sang. 1786 R. Burns Poems 196 There was ae sang, amang the rest, Aboon them a’ it pleas’d me best. 1786 R. Burns Twa Dogs iv, in Poems 11 After some dog in Highland sang. 1788 J. Skinner Christmass Bawing in Caledonian Mag. Sept. 499 The Gilpy glowr’d and leuk’d fell blate, To see’r in sic a sang. 1791 W. Cowper Judgm. Poets 17 To poets of renown in song, The nymphs referr’d the cause. 1796 Grose’s Classical Dict. Vulgar Tongue (ed. 3) (at cited word) It was bought for an old song, i.e. very cheap. 1798 W. Sotheby tr. C. M. Wieland Oberon ii. xxix. 53 Oh, fly, Sir! or your life’s not worth a song! 1808 Z. M. Pike Acct. Exped. Sources Mississippi i. App. 10 You will perceive that we have obtained about 100000 acres for a song. 1812 J. Bell Rhymes Northern Bards 166 Wold you please to hear of a sang of dule, Of yea sad chance and pittifow case, Makes the peur man powt through many a pule. 1816 J. K. Tuckey Narr. Exped. River Zaire (1818) i. 31 A very small warbler, the only one that appeared to have any song. 1820 P. B. Shelley To Skylark in Prometheus Unbound 205 Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought. 1822 P. B. Shelley Triumph of Life in Posthumous Poems (1824) 92 That falling stream’s Lethean song. 1822 W. Scott Fortunes of Nigel I. ii. 43 Let me catch ye in Barford’s Park, I could gar some of ye sing another sang. 1824 Ld. Byron Don Juan: Canto XVI lix. 93 The cost would be a trifle—an ‘old song’ Set to some thousands. 1829 A. Cunningham Anniversary 109 With thee I’d list, the live day long, The green grasshopper’s churming song. 1834 J. Galt Lit. Life & Misc. III. ix. 29 He was..speaking with as little pleasantrie to us as the sang of a peacock. 1839 J. Ballantine in Whistle-Binkie 2nd Ser. 5 There’s nae Carritch question, nor auld Scottish sang, But the loun screeds ye aff in the true lowlant twang. 1840 Penny Cycl. XVI. 22/1 Handel’s song, ‘Sweet Bird’, from Il Penseroso, always has been, and most likely always will be, admired as music. 1843 Cracks about Kirk II. 9 Thae convocation chiels that are makin’ sic a sang aboot their sufferings. 1849 T. B. Macaulay Hist. Eng. I. i. 30 As eloquence exists before syntax, and song before prosody. 1854 ‘M. Harland’ Alone xxvi Some care, some responsibility—that is a mere song, though. 1860 J. Crawford Doric Lays 2nd Ser. 210 To glory in thy boundless fame, And praise in sang thy deathless name. 1863 C. E. L. Riddell World in Church II. 157 She had foreborne likewise and no one made a song about it. 1867 W. H. Smyth & E. Belcher Sailor’s Word-bk. 638 Song, the call of soundings by the leadsman in the channels. 1872 A. T. de Vere Legends St. Patrick 124 Shall I lengthen out my days Toothless,..Some losel’s song? 1876 J. Stainer & W. A. Barrett Dict. Musical Terms 406/1 The second subject of a sonata is sometimes called the ‘Song’. 1877 Daily News 3 Nov. 6 New troops without a military history, who have never heard the song of an enemy’s bullets. 1878 E. J. Trelawny Rec. Shelley, Byron ix. 109 Inspiring it towards songs and other poetry. 1878 in G. P. Lathrop Masque of Poets 11 Sing! Sing of what? The world is full of song! 1879 ‘H. Stretton’ Through Needle’s Eye II. 208 It was a pretty place once, but now it’s hardly worth an old song. 1886 Voice June 93/1 The highest vocalization, although generated in the syrinx, is made into song, in a large degree, by the bird’s tongue, its posterior mouth-walls, and the upper extremity of the trachea. 1889 T. A. Trollope What I Remember III. 32 They were acquired ‘for an old song’. 1890 A. Jessopp Trials Country Parson iv. 173 A brief report was published, and may be purchased now for a song. 1898 J. Teit Trad. Thompson River Indians 40 The Coyote then changed his song, and tried water; but their powers over the water were also equal. 1899 Shetland News 23 Dec. in Sc. National Dict. at Sang Da wab wisna ta mak’ a sang aboot.