The Lyrics of Henry VIII/Iff I had wytt for to endyght (Unattributed)
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Iff I had wytt for to endyght.
of my lady both fayre and fre
of her godnes than wold I wryght
shall no man know her name for me
shall no man know her name for me. 5
I loue her well with hart and mynd.
she ys right trew I do it se.
My hart to haue she doth me bynd.
shall no mane know her name for me.
She doth no wauer as the wynde 10
nor for no new me chaung doth she.
But all way trew I do her fynd.
shall no man know her name for me.
Yf I to her than war vnkynd.
pytte it war that shuld se. 15
for she to me ys all way kynd.
shall no man know her name for me.
lernyng it war for women all.
vnto ther louers trew for to be.
Promyse I mak that know non shall. 20
whill I leue. her name for me.
My hart she hath and euer shall
to deth departed we be.
Happe what wyll happ fall what shall,
shall no man know her name for me. 25
This lyric presents a celebration of a lover’s lady. With echoes in Cornish/Wyatt’s “A robyn gentyl robyn” (H 42) and other lyrics of this tradition, the lover expresses his love and devotion, and praises her beauty and constancy to him. See also “If I had space now for to write” (PRO State Paper Office 1/246 f. 28r), which shares the same rhyme yoking (“write” [l. 1] and “endite” [l. 3]).
- 1–3 endyght . . . godnes Cf. Christopher Goodwyn’s Dolorous Louer: “Of all her goodnes what sholde I more endyght” (l. 218).
- 1 endyght Put into words, compose, give a literary or rhetorical form to, express or describe in a literary composition (OED “indite” v 3).
- 10 She doth not wauer as the wynde Cf. lines 14–15 in Wyatt’s later handling of “A robyn gentyl robyn,” “that wommens lou ys but ablast / and tornyth as the wynd” (LDev f. 24r; also LEge f. 37v).
- 11 for no new me chaung doth she Cf. Cornish/Wyatt’s “A robyn gentyl robyn” (H 42.11).
- 12 trew I do her fynd Cf. Cornish/Wyatt’s “A robyn gentyl robyn” (H 42.9).
- 18 lernyng it war for women all “it would be, if known, a lesson to all women” (Stevens M&P 396).
- 23 departed Separated.
- 24 Happe what wyll happ In reference to the changes of fortune the future may bring; cf. “Spite of thy hap, hap hath wel happed” (ll. 7, 14, 21) in Wyatt’s “In faith I not well what to say” (LEge f.19r).
The first stanza is through-set in three voices and the remaining text is underlaid. “Iff I had wytt for to endyght” is unattributed in H. In L18752 (f. 58v) (an adjacent text not collated here), the initials “J I” appear underneath.
This lyric is indexed in Robbins Index & Suppl. 1414.8, Boffey, Ringler MS TM721, and Crum I822. It is reprinted in Chambers Lyrics 57, Chambers Verse 41–42, Flügel Anglia 235, 260, Flügel Neuengl 134, 138, Padelford 78, Reed 350–51, Stevens M&P 396, and Stevens MCH8 26.
H1,2,3 (ff. 34v–35r, ll. 1–5 H2,3), LR58 (f. 5v), LDev (f. 58v).
- 5 omit LDev
- 11 doth] woll LDev
- 12 all way trew] trew and faythfull LDev
- 14 vnkynd.] vnkende^ LR58
- 14–21 omit LDev substitute sore y am that y ne may / to tell yon her fydelyte / that all men myght good of her saye / shall no man kno her nam for me LDev
- 15 se.] the^ LR58
- 17 know her name for me.] know hur name for me^ LR58
- 18 women] young men LR58
- 20 mak] made LR58; non] noman LR58
- 21 whill] whyllye LR58; I] that I LR58
- 23 to deth] tyll by dethe LR58, that by dethe LDev
- 24 substitute bade and goodes y gyue her all LDev wyll] shall LR58; fall what shall,] wylbe fall LR58
- 25 know her name for me.] know hur name for me^ LR58, know her nam for me^ LDev