The Lyrics of Henry VIII/Ffors solemant (de Févin, after Ockeghem / Incipit)

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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

Pray we to god that all may gyde And I war a maydyn

[ff. 103v-104r]

ffors solemant

Textual Commentary[edit | edit source]

“ffors solemant” appears as an incipit in H in only the second of three voices. No initial capital is provided, no space is left for one in any of the voices, and there is no room left in most of the piece for lyrics. This piece is not listed in the manuscript’s table of contents.

“ffors solemant” is a piece that saw a wide dispersal, and is here adapted by Anthoine de Févin, after Ockeghem. Of the thirty separate sub-traditions of this piece documented by Picker (Fors Seulement xxii), that appearing in H is representative of the twenty-eighth, which appears also in C1848 (102–103), CaP1760 (ff. 58v–60r), Mu1516 (#29), Pa9822/3 (ff. 23r–24r), PBCha (ff. 4r–v, ff. 52v–53r), PBP504 (3, #51), PBPre (ff. 12v–13r), PBFm (#31), PBTie (#11), PBTri (#73), and SG463 (#46); of these, PBCha and Pa9822/3 are without text. This version is a parody of others in the larger tradition, particularly that attributed to Matthaeus Pipelare—found extant in Br228 (ff. 17v–18r), T/Br (ff. 22r–v / ff. 22v–23r), P1597 (ff. 60v–61r), PBP504 (1, #31), SAM (f. 92r), and SG461 (8–9)—and the anonymous version found extant in L35087 (ff. 80v–81r), PBCha (ff. 10v–11r, ff. 60r–v), PBFm (#46).

The text most popularly attached to the tradition represented by HPBPre, PBTie, SG463, and PBCha (ff. 4r–v, ff. 52v–53r)—is suggested by Picker (Fors xxii, xxx) to be that best found in PBCha (ff. 4r–v, ff. 52v–53r):[1]

Fors seullement la mort, sans nul autre attente
De reconfort, souz douloureuse tante,
Ay pris se jour despiteuse demeure,
Comme celuy qui desolé demeure,
Prochain d’ennuy et loing de son attente.

An adaptation of the refrain from the larger tradition—which itself is found in LLa380 (f. 251r), P1597 (ff. 36v–37r), P1719 (f. 34r), SG461 (2–3), and WLab (ff. 99v–100r), among others—this text also parodies that refrain. Alternatively, there is that found in CaP1760, which gestures towards the parodic text, but reverts to the text of the original refrain (Picker [Fors xxx]), it reads (first voice only):[2]

FOrs seullement … la mort sans aultre lactente que ie meure
En mon las cueur Nul espoir ne demeure
Car mon malheur si tresfort me tourmente
Qui nest douleur que pour vous ie ne sente
pour ce que suys de vous perdre bien seure

Not related to that of H, another text for the larger tradition of the music is suggested by RG27 (ff. 97v–98r / ff. 104v–105r), which contains the incipit “Frayres y dexedes me” (“brothers, leave me here”).

“ffors solemant” is reprinted in Stevens, Wolf (ed. Obrecht vii.90), Picker (Fors xxii, xxx), and Geneti (Seay, ed. 1.150), among others.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Translated by Picker as: “Without any other expectation, except death, / Of comfort, under much sorrow, / I have today taken a position of scorn, / As one who, desolate, remains / Near to woe and far from his goal.”
  2. Translated by Picker as: “Without any other expectation, save death, / There dwells in my faint heart no hope, / For my misfortune torments me so greatly / That there is no pain I do not feel on your account / Because I am quite certain to lose you.”