The Lyrics of Henry VIII/In may that lusty sesoun, Farthing
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
Textual Commentary[edit | edit source]
“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.