The Lyrics of Henry VIII/In may that lusty sesoun, Farthing

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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

Hey now now Whoso that wyll hym selff applye

[f. 26r]

In may that lusty sesoun
To geder the flours downn
by the medows grene

The byrdys sang onn euery syde
so meryly it ioyed my hart                                       5
they toyned so clene

the nyghtyngale sang on hie
ioyfully so merely
among the thornys kene

T. ffaredyng

Textual Commentary

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“In may that lusty sesoun” is a song in celebration of spring, perhaps associated with the tradition of maying.

1 lusty Young, vibrant, full of healthy vigour (OED a 5).
2 geder Gather.
6 toyned Sang, issued forth in musical tones (OED “tone” v 1, 2).
7 nyghtyngale Cf. Liberty’s love lyric in Skelton’s Magnificence, which ends “So merely syngeth the nyghtyngale!” (l. 2078); also Lydgate’s Reson and Sensuallyte, in which the character Gladness, who associates with Venus and Cupid, says “as any nyghtyngale / She sange that Ioye was to here, / That the lusty nootys clere / Of Sirenes in the see / Ne wer nat lyke, in no degre, / To the soote, sugryd song / Whiche they songen euer a mong / Of Ioye, myrthe, and lustyhede” (5254–61); Lydgate’s “A Sayenge of the Nyghtyngale,” wherein the call of the bird is interpreted first, to be associated with earthly love—”And in hir ledne, Venus to take vengeaunce / On false lovers whiche that bien vntriewe, / Ay ful of chaunge and of variaunce, / And can in oone to have no plesaunce” (Minor Poems 2. ll. 16–9)—and, later, when she is “Vpon a thorn” (l. 356 ff.), the call also hearkens spiritual rejuvination.
8 thornys see Lydgate’s use of the association, “A Sayenge of the Nyghtyngale,” of the nightingale and the thorn, note to l. 7, above; the association is proverbial (Whiting N112).

This piece is indexed in Robbins Index & Suppl. 1504.5 and Ringler MS TM776. It is reprinted in Flügel Anglia 232, Briggs 6–7, Stevens M&P 391, and Stevens MCH8 19.