The Lyrics of Henry VIII/Thow that men do call it dotage, Henry VIII

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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

Whilles lyue or breth is in my brest Departure is my chef payne

[ff. 55v - 56r]

Early Modern English                                           Modern English
Thow that men do call it dotage. Though that men do call it dotage,
who louyth not wantith corage. Who loves not wants courage.
And who so euer may loue gete. And whosoever may love get
Frome venus sure he must it fett. From Venus surely he must it fetch,
Or elles from her which is her hayre. Or else from her which is her heir.
And she to hym most seme most fayre. And she to him must seem most fair.
Wyth ee and mynd doth both agre. Where eye and mind do both agree;
There is no bote. ther must it be. There is no but -- there must it be!
The ee doth loke and represent. The eye does look and represent,
But mynd afformyth with full consent. But mind affirms with full consent.
Thus I am fyxed with owt gruge, Thus am I fixed without grudge:
Myne ey with hart doth me so Iuge. My eye with heart doesme so judge.
loue maynteynyth all noble courage. Love maintains all noble courage;
who loue dysdaynyth ys all of the village. Who love disdains is all of the village
Soch louers though thay take payne. Such lovers, though they take pain,
It were pete thay shuld optayne. It were pity they should obtain.
For often tymes wher they do sewe. For often times where they do sue
Thay hynder louers that wolde be trew. They hinder lovers that would be true.
For who so louith shuld loue butt oone. For who so loves should love but one.
Chaunge who so wyll I wyll be none. Change who so will, I will be none.

Textual Commentary[edit | edit source]

“Thow that men do call it dotage” is a lyric urging constancy in love while denigrating those who do not love (and those who hinder the activities of the lover) as being cowardly and unsophisticated. At the same time, the text puts forward a neo-platonic theory of love’s reception by the lover akin to that outlined by Bembo in the fourth book of the Courtier (337); love is received from Venus, or the woman who is heir to Venus, and the object of love is perceived to be fair by the lover both visually and mentally/emotionally—first appreciated by the eye, and then by the mind and heart. Underlying these concerns is that of the author with unsophisticated lovers (those, presumably, who do not love properly) who hinder the activities of true lovers.

1 Thow Though.
2 corage Sexual vigour and inclination, the desire to love, the amorous spirit; see Henry’s “The tyme of youthe is to be spent” (H 19.10, note), and l. 10, below.
4 venus Note also the words ascribed to Henry, at his death, by Cavendish (Metrical Visions): “Whan Venus veneryall of me had domynacion, / And blynd Cupido my purpose did avaunce, / Than willfull lust thoroughe indiscression, / Was chosyn juge to hold my balaunce” (ll. 1245–48). fett Fetch, gain (OED “fet” v. obs.).
5 hayre Heir.
7 Wyth Read “when.” ee Eye.
8 bote Remedy, help.
10 afformyth Affirms, confirms.
13 courage Perhaps, here, a combination of the two senses of the word “corage” (as outlined in the note to Henry’s “The tyme of youthe is to be spent” [H 19.10]); the “corage” of bravery, as noted in other lyrics in H, is facilitated by the type of love that Henry here urges, as evidenced by discussions in Castiglione’s Courtier (as noted in the commentary to this lyric).
14 dysdaynyth Cf. Henry’s “Whoso that wyll all feattes optayne” (H 28.2,4,8,11,14) and elsewhere; see the note to H 28.2. of the village Uncourtly, perhaps bucolic; cf. Youth’s sentiments “Were thou born in Trumpington / And brought up in Hogs Norton?” (Lancashire, Two Tudor Interludes [Youth] 141 ll. 603–4). who . . . village Cf. “loue enforcyth all nobyle kynd. / And dysdayne dyscorages all gentyl mynd” (Henry’s “Whoso that wyll all feattes optayne” [H 28.3–4]).
17 sewe Make suit; legal (courtly allusion); see also the comment to Henry’s “If love now reynyd as it hath bene” (H 38.12).

“Thow that men do call it dotage” is in three voices, with the text of the first couplet underlaid and the remaining text appearing after the music.

This lyric is indexed in Robbins Index & Suppl. 3706.7, Boffey, and Ringler MS TM1708. Reprinted in Chappell Account 377, Flügel Anglia 246–47, Flügel Neuengl 137, Greene 297, Stevens M&P 411–12, Stevens MCH8 xviii, 52, and Trefusis 28–31.

Textual Notes[edit | edit source]

Texts Collated[edit | edit source]

H1,2,3 (ff. 55v–56r, ll. 1–2 H2,3).

2 not] no H1, not H2,3