Once we consider exemplary fashions illustrative of the character of courtly literature and tradition in Renaissance England, the early courtroom of Henry VIII just isn’t at all times the primary to come back to thoughts. By sheer drive of voluminous scholarship alone, one is perhaps extra drawn to that of his daughter Elizabeth I and, as soon as there, persuaded to contemplate those that assisted within the technique of shaping the literary lifetime of her courtroom in a mannequin suited to its monarch, and literary representations of that monarch in phrases appropriate to the courtroom. Of this, there are a lot of illustrations, amongst them the Cynthia of Edmund Spenser’s Colin Clout; the Britomart, Glorianna, and Belphoebe of The Faerie Queene; Sir Philip Sidney’s considered choose on the centre of his Girl of Could; and the determine—constructed and interpreted by Spenser, Mary Sidney, William Shakespeare, George Peele, John Davies, and others—of Astrea. What emerges from consideration in such a vein is the character of the social fiction that’s constructed and elaborated in literary phrases by these literati and, when seen within the bigger context of courtroom exercise, the way in which through which literary constructions are mirrored in (and, themselves, replicate) themes and developments within the bigger cloth of courtroom life.
Such processes are equally at work within the earlier Tudor courtroom, particularly that of Elizabeth’s father Henry within the first years of his reign, however there are far fewer literary figures of such prominence to recount—except, in fact, one is keen to contemplate the king straight amongst these literary figures who participated within the building of courtly social fictions. The Henry VIII Manuscript (BL Further MS 31,922; hereafter known as H), considered one of solely three massive songbooks surviving from the interval, is notable for a lot of causes, however chief amongst them is its intimate reference to Henry’s early courtroom and, inside, its exemplification of the social fictions developed and elaborated by Henry and his early contemporaries, particularly that of courtly love and the weather of spectacle and regal energy that Henry dropped at it. It offers a uncommon witness to the fictions the early Tudor courtroom literati constructed and upheld, and the even rarer alternative of analyzing the sunshine, earlier lyrical works of a determine higher recognized for his later reforms, secular and non secular alike. In permitting one to view the courtroom, and its monarch, via the quick poetical works which graced them, the lyrics of the Henry VIII MS are themselves exemplary of the literary accoutrement—the attire or apparel supposed for particular functions—of the early Tudor courtroom and of the king himself.
Hitherto unedited in a kind supposed for a literary viewers, the lyrics of the Henry VIII MS thus represent a doc that contributes significantly to our crucial understanding of the connections between music, poetry and energy in early Renaissance society—due to the prominence of its chief creator and composer, the King himself, and in addition due to its literary reflection of the social and political components of the early Tudor courtroom. The lyrics themselves will seem quickly in an version printed by the Renaissance English Textual content Society, however the matter of the textual content itself and its relation to the bigger context of the literary and musicological examine of this manuscript won’t be addressed at size in that version; this notice makes an attempt to supply that materials, bringing ahead elements of our understanding of the textual content of the manuscript from the earlier era of students to the present one, towards a larger understanding of the social, cultural, literary and musicological understanding of the textual content of H.
Desk of Contents
|Listing of Lyrics|
Authors and Composers Represented
- This prolonged notice incorporates supplies which won’t be handled – besides in closely condensed kind – in Siemens’ version of the lyrics of the Henry VIII Manuscript for the Renaissance English Textual content Society, obtainable from the Arizona Middle for Medieval and Renaissance Research and Google Books.
- See Frances Yates’ Astrea (29-87).
- See, for instance, research within the literature of the Henrician courtroom carried out by Alistair Fox, in his Politics and Literature within the Reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII, and Greg Walker, in his Performs of Persuasion, amongst others.
- On the character of the fiction of courtly love, see the fourth chapter of R.F. Inexperienced’s Poets and Princepleasers, “The Courtroom of Cupid” (101-134); additionally the chapters in Stevens M&P: “The ‘Sport of Love’” (154-202) and “The Courtly Makers from Chaucer to Wyatt” (203-232). On the dynamic of political energy inherent to such “fictions,” see Anglo (Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Coverage).
- See OED (“accoutrement”).