The Lyrics of Henry VIII

HenryVIII 1509.jpg

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.[2] 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,[3] 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.[4] 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[5]—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[edit]


The Lyrics[edit]

Listing of Lyrics
Lyric Folio
Benedictus [Isaac] (Incipit) 3v-4r
Fortune esperee [Busnois] (Incipit) 4v-5r
Alles regretz uuidez dema presece [van Ghizeghem / Jean II of Bourbon] (Incipit) 5v-6r
En frolyk weson [Barbireau] (Incipit) 6v-7r
Pastyme with good companye, Henry VIII 14v-15r
Adew mes amours et mon desyre, Cornish 15v-17r
Adew madam et ma mastress, Henry VIII 17v-18r
HElas madam cel que ie metant, Henry VIII 18v-19r
Alas what shall I do for love, Henry VIII 20v-21r
Hey nowe nowe, Kempe (Incipit) 21v
Alone I leffe alone, Cooper 22r
O my hart and o my hart, Henry VIII 22v-23r
Adew adew my hartis lust, Cornish 23v-24r
Aboffe all thynge, Farthing 24v
Downbery down, Daggere 25r
Hey now now, Farthing 25v
In might that lusty sesoun, Farthing 26r
Whoso that wyll hym selff applye, Rysby 27v-28r
The tyme of youthe is to be spent, Henry VIII 28v-29r
The thowghtes inside my brest, Farthing 29v-30r
My loue sche morneth for me, Cornish 30v-31r
A the syghes that cum fro my hart, Cornish 32v-33r
With sorowfull syghs and greuos payne, Farthing 33v-34r
If I had wytt for to endyght [Unattributed] 34v-35r
Alac alac what shall I do, Henry VIII 35v
Hey nony nony nony nony no [Unattributed] (Incipit) 36r
Grene growith the holy, Henry VIII 37v-38r
Whoso that wyll all feattes optayne, Henry VIII 38v-39r
Blow thi hornne hunter, Cornish 39v-40r
De tous bien airplane [van Ghizeghem] (Incipit) 40v-41r
Iay pryse amours [Unattributed] (Incipit) 41v-42r
Adew corage adew, Cornish 42v
Trolly lolly loly lo, Cornish 43v-44r
I really like trewly withowt feynyng, Farthing 44v-45r
Yow and I and amyas, Cornish 45v-46r
Ough warder mount [Unattributed] (Incipit) 46v-47r
La season [Compère / Agricola] (Incipit) 47v-48r
If love now reynyd because it hath bene, Henry VIII 48v-49r
Gentyl prince de renom, Henry VIII (Incipit) 49v-50r
Sy fortune mace bien buy [Unattributed] 50v-51r
Wherto shuld I expresse, Henry VIII 51v-52r
A robyn gentyl robyn, Cornish [Wyatt] 53v-54r
Whilles lyue or breth is in my brest, Cornish 54v-55r
Thow that males do name it dotage, Henry VIII 55v-56r
Departure is my chef payne, Henry VIII 60v
It’s to me a ryght gret Ioy, Henry VIII (Incipit) 61r
I haue bene a foster, Cooper 65v-66r
Fare effectively my Ioy and my swete hart, Cooper 66v-68r
Withowt dyscord, Henry VIII 68v-69r
I’m a joly foster [Unattributed] 69v-71r
Although sum saith that yough rulyth me [Henry VIII] 71v-73r
MAdame damours [Unattributed] 73v-74r
Adew adew le firm [Unattributed] 74v-75r
Deme the very best of euery dowt, Lloyd 79v
Hey troly loly loly [Unattributed] 80r
Taunder Naken, Henry VIII (Incipit) 82v-84r
Whoso that wyll for grace sew, Henry VIII 84v-85r
En vray Amoure, Henry VIII 86v-87r
Let not vs that yongmen be [Unattributed] 87v-88r
Dulcis amica [Prioris] (Incipit) 88v-89r
Lusti yough shuld vs ensue, Henry VIII 94v-97r
Now [Unattributed] 98r
Belle sur tautes [Agricola] (Incipit) 99v-100r
ENglond be glad pluk vp thy lusty hart [Unattributed] 100v-102r
Pray we to god that every one might gyde [Unattributed] 103r
Ffors solemant, [de Févin, after Ockeghem] (Incipit) 104v-105r
And I warfare a maydyn [Unattributed] 106v-107r
Why shall not I [Unattributed] 107v-108r
What treatment what treatment [Unattributed] 108v-110r
Wher be ye [Unattributed] 110v-112r
QUid petis o fily, Pygott 112v-116r
My thought oppressed my mynd in bother [Unattributed] 116v-120r
Svmwhat musyng [Fayrfax / Woodville] 120v-122r
I loue vnloued suche is myn aduenture [Unattributed] 122v-124r
Hey troly loly lo [Unattributed] 124v-128r

The Manuscript[edit]

Authors and Composers Represented[edit]


  1. 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.
  2. See Frances Yates’ Astrea (29-87).
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. See OED (“accoutrement”).


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