The Lyrics of Henry VIII/Let not vs that yongmen be (Unattributed)
|Early Modern English||Modern English|
|Let not vs that yongmen be||Let not us that young men be|
|frome venus ways banysht to be||From Venus' ways banished to be,|
|thow that age with gret dysdayne||Though that Age with great disdain|
|wold haue yough loue to refrayn||Would have Youth love to refrain,|
|In ther myndes consyder thei must||In their minds consider they must|
|how thay dyd in ther most lust.||How they did in their most lust.|
|For yf thay war in lyk case.||For, if they were in like case|
|And wold then haue goten grace.||And would then have gotten grace,|
|Thay may not now than gaynesay.||They may not now than gainsay|
|That which then was most their Ioy.||That which then was most their joy.|
|Wherfor indede the trouth to say.||Where for indeed, the truth to say,|
|It ys for yough the metest play.||It is for Youth the metest play.|
Textual Commentary[edit | edit source]
Very definitely in the style of Henry VIII’s lyrics of doctrine, chivalric and otherwise, this lyric draws upon figures common to Henry—Youth, Age, and Disdain—in its encouragement of young men to follow the amorous ways of their age.
- 2 venus Cf. Henry’s “Thow that men do call it dotage” (H 44.4).
- 3 age See other of Henry’s lyrics. 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.
- 4 yough See other of Henry’s lyrics. loue to refrayn Cf. Henry’s “Lusti yough shuld vs ensue” (H 61.5).
- 5–6 Cf. the lines “I pray you all that aged be. / How well dyd ye yor yough carry. / I thynk sum wars of ych degre” from Henry’s “Though sum saith that yough rulyth me” (H 51.6–8).
- 6 most lust Greatest vigor.
- 7–8 case . . . grace Cf. the riddle in Henry’s “If love now reynyd as it hath bene” (H 38.11–2; see also note).
- 9 than Then.
- 12 metest Most suitable (OED “meet” a 3).
The first stanza is through-set, with the remaining text underlaid. In each witness, the final two lines of each stanza are represented as being repeated after the second line of each stanza as well. The first letter of the fourth voice, “L,” is not treated with a block capital. While not attributed in H, it is exactly in Henry VIII’s manner and contains many echoes to his own lyrics; as Stevens notes, it contains “the self-justifying tone in other songs of chivalric ‘doctrine’” (Stevens M&P 415; see also Robbins Index & Suppl. 1866.5). “Let not vs that yongmen be” is listed in H’s table of contents as the ninety-seventh work.
This piece is indexed in Robbins Index & Suppl. 1866.5, Boffey, and Ringler MS TM886. Reprinted in Chappell Acount 375, Chambers Lyrics 68, Chambers Verse 42–3, Flügel Anglia 248, Stevens M&P 415, and Stevens MCH8 63.
Textual Notes[edit | edit source]
Texts Collated[edit | edit source]
H1,2,3,4 (ff. 87v–88r, ll. 1–6 H2,3,4).
- 1 not vs] vs H3
- 2 banysht to be] banysht to be banysht to be. H1,2, banysht to be banysht to be H3,4
- 4 loue to refrayn] loue to refrayn loue to refrayn. H1,, loue to refrayne loue to refrayne. H2, loue to refrayne. loue to refrayne. H3, loue to refrayne. H4
- 6 lust^] lost. H4