The Lyrics of Henry VIII/What remedy what remedy (Unattributed)

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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

Why shall not I Wher be ye

[ff. 108v-110r]

What remedy what remedy
such is fortune what remedy
such is fortune what remedy.

A thorne hath percyd my hart ryght sore.
Which daly encressith more and more.                                      5
thus withowt comfort I am forlore
what remedy what remedy
such is fortun what remedy

Bewayll I may myn aduenture.
To se the paynes that I endure                                                 10
Insaciently withowt recure
what remedy what remedy
such is fortune what remedy.

O my swet hart whome I loue best
whos vnkyndnes hat me opprest                                              15
for whih my hart ys lyk to brest
what remedy what remedy
such is fortune what remedy

Textual Commentary[edit | edit source]

“What remedy what remedy” is a complaint of love bewailing the lack of remedy for the pain the courtly lover feels (following the tradition). While the phrase “what remedy” has some resonance in the early Tudor lyric, at a tournament held 2 March 1522—two days before the Schatew Vert entertainment, and thematically related to it by the common focus of amorous desire (see Hall 631; Streitberger, Court Revels, 112–13)—a close variant of it, “sance remedy,” saw courtly application in the motto of Anthony Browne. Elements of Browne’s device on that day, broken spears set over a broken heart, has parallel in lines 4–5 of this lyric, as does that of Henry VIII.[1] For the details of the Schatew Vert entertainment and its relation to lyrics in H, see the commentary to Cornish’s “Yow and I and amyas” (H 35).

1 What remedy See the commentary, above, and cf. Henry’s “Withowt dyscord” (H 49.23) and Cornish’s “My loue sche morneth for me” (H 21.26); echoed below (l. 11).
4 percyd my hart See the device of Browne, in the commentary, above, and note. thorne . . . hart Cf. Sidney’s “The Nightingale so soone as Aprill bringeth” (Englands Helicon; also Palgrave’s Golden Treasury 1.XLVII): “my thorne my hart inuadeth” (ll. 12, 24).
5 encressith Increases.
11 Insaciently In an insatiate or unsatisfied manner (OED “insatiately” adv ). withowt recure without remedy; cf. the unattributed “My thought oppressed my mynd in trouble” (H 72.14).
16 brest Burst.

The unattributed “What remedy what remedy” is through-set for three voices. Illuminated capitals are provided for the final stanza only.

This piece is indexed in Robbins Index & Suppl. 98.5, Boffey, and Ringler MS TM42. It is reprinted in Flügel Anglia 251, Stevens M&P 419–20, and Stevens MCH8 80.

Textual Notes[edit | edit source]

Texts Collated[edit | edit source]

H1,2,3 (ff. 108v–110r).

4 ryght] so H3
12 what(1)] what what H1, what H2,3
17–18 what ~ remedy.] in H1,2,3 the text is jointly underlaid stanzas 3 and 4.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The full description of Browne’s device is as follows: “a bard of siluer full of speeres of the world broken, set on hartes broken al of gold” (Hall 631). Henry’s device was of the “hart of a manne wounded…in whiche was written, mon nauera, put together it is, ell mon ceur a nauera, she hat wounded my harte” (Hall 630; see also LP Henry VIII III[ii] 1558). On 5 June of that year, Henry would joust with a device featuring, among other things, a lady coming out of a cloud, casting a dart at a knight (LP Henry VIII III[ii] 976).