The Lyrics of Henry VIII/Departure is my chef payne, Henry VIII

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Lyrics  |  Manuscript  |  Authors and Composers
The Lyrics of Henry VIII
Appendix 1: Lyrics by Occasion/Theme  |  Appendix 2: Textual/Musical Witnesses  |  Appendix 3: Bibliography

Thow that men do call it dotage It is to me a ryght gret Ioy

[f. 60v]

Early Modern English                                     Modern English
Departure is my chef payne Departure is my chief pain
I trust ryght wel of retorn agane I trust right well of return again.

Textual Commentary

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Robbins, perhaps tongue in cheek, notes that “Departure is my chef payne” is “a late love song.” As the bass part suggests, this song of departure—the lyrics of which are in keeping with contemporary proverbial expression—may be intended as a musical representation of the words “retorn agane” (Stevens M&P 408). Proverbial sayings suggest that Henry’s is a variation upon a common theme.

1–2 Cf. “Parting is a privye payne, But old friends cannot be called againe!” (Eger and Grime, ed. Caldwell, ll. 1341–42); “Departyt y aim with mekill payn, / And went till Ingland hame again” (Barbour, Barbour’s Bruce 7.633–34); the sections of Barclay’s Eclogues wherein the miseries of courtiers are recounted (l. 468), and wherein Coridon takes leave of Cornix: “Adewe swete Cornix, departing is a payne, / But mirth reneweth when louers mete againe” (ll. 823–24); and Wyatt’s “Absens absenting causithe me to complaine”: “And departing most pryvie increasithe my paine” (l. 3; LDev f. 81r); see also Tilley (P82).

This three-part round is built musically above a bass part of “Departure is my chef payne.” “Departure is my chef payne” is listed in H’s table of contents as the ninety-sixth work.

This piece is indexed in Robbins Index & Suppl. 676.5, Boffey, and Ringler MS TM349. Reprinted in Flügel Anglia 243, Flügel Neuengl 136, Stevens M&P 408, Stevens MCH8 44, and Trefusis 23–24.

Textual Notes

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Texts Collated

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H1,2,3 (f. 60v).

2 agane] agayne De parture H3