The Lyrics of Henry VIII/Wherto shuld I expresse, Henry VIII

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The Lyrics of Henry VIII
Appendix 1: Lyrics by Occasion/Theme  |  Appendix 2: Textual/Musical Witnesses  |  Appendix 3: Bibliography

Sy fortune mace bien purchase A robyn gentyl robyn

[ff. 51v-52r]

The Kynge .H.viij.

Early Modern English                         Modern English
Wherto shuld I expresse Whereto should I express
my inward heuynes My inward heaviness?
no myrth can make me fayn No mirth can make me fain,
tyl that we mete Agayne 'Till that we meet again.
Do way dere hart not so Do way, dear heart, not so,
let no thought yow dysmaye Let no thought you dismay.
Thow ye now parte me fro: Though you now part me from,
we shall mete when we may. We shall meet when we may.
when I remembyr me: When I remember me
of yor most gentyll mynde. Of your most gentle mind,
It may in no wyse agre: It may in no wise agree
that I shuld be vnkynde. That I should be unkind.
The daise delectale: The daisy delectable,
the violett wan and blo. The violet waning and blue,
Ye ar not varable: You are not variable --
I loue you and no mo. I love you and no more.
I make you fast and sure: I make you fast and sure;
it ys to me gret payne. It is to me great pain
Thus longe to endure: Thus long to endure
tyll that we mete agayne. 'Till that we meet again.

Textual Commentary[edit | edit source]

“Wherto shuld I expresse” is a song of departure, with two speakers. The first stanza laments the lover’s leaving. In what follows, his lady answers by soothing him and assuring him of her devotion and the pain she will share with him until they reunite.

3 fayn Glad, rejoiced, well-pleased (OED a A.1).
13 delectale Delectable.
14 wan and blo Pale (pale [OED a 4.e]) and blue (blackish blue, livid, leaden-coloured [OED a]); perhaps associated with the pale complexion of the steretypical lover, suffering in the throes of love’s pain; cf., also, the words of Magnificence in Skelton’s drama of the same name, who comments with the realisation of his fall that “For worldy shame I wax both wan and blo” (l. 2055).
15 not varyable See Henry’s “Grene growith the holy” (H 27.5–8) for a similar application of natural attributes to the qualities of the lover.

“Whereto shuld I expresse” is in three voices, with the text of the first two couplets underlaid and the remaining text appearing at the end of the music.

Indexed in Robbins Index & Suppl. 4070.5, Boffey, Ringler MS TM1931, Crum W1781. Reprinted in Chambers Lyrics 55, Chambers Verse 35, Chappell Music 45–6, Flügel Anglia 241, Flügel Neuengl 135, Stevens M&P 404, Stevens MCH8 50–1, and Trefusis 20.