The Lyrics of Henry VIII/If love now reynyd as it hath bene, Henry VIII
|← La season||Gentyl prince de renom →|
The Kynge .H.viij
|Early Modern English||Modern English|
|If loue now reynyd as it hath bene:||If love now reigned as it has been|
|And war rewardit as it hath sene:||And were rewarded as it has seen,|
|Nobyll men then wold suer enserch:||Noble men then would surely ensearch|
|All ways wher by that myght it rech:||All ways whereby they might it reach.|
|Butt enuy reynyth with such dysdayne:||But envy reigns with such disdain|
|And causith louers owt wardly to refrayne:||And causes lovers outwardly to refrain,|
|Which putt them to more and more:||Which puts them to more and more,|
|In wardly most greuous and sore:||Inwardly, most grievous and sore:|
|The faut in whome I can not sett:||The fault in whom I cannot set,|
|But let them tell which loue doth gett:||But let them tell who loves does get.|
|To louers I put now suer this cace:||To lovers I put now sure this case:|
|Which of ther loues doth them them grace:||Which of their loves does get them grace?|
|And vnto them which doth it know:||And unto them which does it know|
|Better than do I. I thynk it so.||Better than do I, I think it so.|
Akin to other proclamations of love’s doctrine, this lyric idealizes a past where love governed the actions of noble men and contrasts it with the present, where forces of envy hinder the pursuits of true lovers. The lyric ends in a riddle with possible courtly application: which of a lover’s loves grants them grace? Those who are envious and frustrate the desires of the lover, clearly, have no chance at grace (the reward of the lover), but those who do love, and who focus on the right object of their love, find love’s reward.
- 2 And war rewardit as it hath sene And were rewarded it had been since (OED “sene” adv 2); alternatively, and were rewarded as it is evident (OED “sene” a) it should be.
- 3 enserch Search it out.
- 5 enuy. . . dysdayne While “dysdayne” is a historical editorial emendation—given to correct the seeming scribal error of repeating the word “enuy” twice in the line, but keeping with the intended rhyme of the lyric—the two are frequently used together in the sense as they appear here; cf., for example, the anonymous Jousts of June, where “Some of enuy dysdeynously wolde” speak ill of the jousts (l. 264). dysdayne Cf. Henry’s “Whoso that wyll all feattes optayne” (H 28.2,4,8,11,14) and elsewhere; see the note to line 2 of the aforementioned lyric.
- 9 faut Fault, deficiency, lack; a defect, imperfection, blameable quality or feature in moral character, expressing a milder censure than “vice” (OED n 3.a).
- 12 which of ther loues doth gett them grace One answer to this riddle, if we acknowledge the very real world of the court in the courtly love tradition, is “the king.” grace Cf. similar actions associated with grace (suing, purchasing, &c.) in the context of love in Henry’s “Thow that men do call it dotage” (H 44.17), his “Whoso that wyll for grace sew” (H 57.1), his “Withowt dyscord” (H 49.19–20), his “Lusti yough shuld vs ensue” (H 61; in which “dysdaynars . . . sew to get them grace” [ll. 14–15]), and the unattributed “Hey nony nony nony nony no” (H 26.24).
- 14 I thynk it so I.e. “I am conscious of speaking to experts” (Stevens M&P 403).
The text of “If love now reynyd as it hath bene” is not underlaid, as in the typical fashion, and appears at the end of of the music, in three voices. A longer version of the music alone is repeated on ff. 52v–53r.
This piece is indexed in Robbins Index & Suppl. 1420.5, Boffey, Ringler MS TM729, and Crum I879. It is reprinted in Chappell Account 377, Flügel Anglia 240–1, Stevens M&P 403, Stevens MCH8 35, and Trefusis 17.
H1 (ff. 48v–49r).
- 5 dysdayne:] enuy: H1 [emendation from Chappell Account 377; adopted Stevens M&P 403 and elsewhere]