The Lyrics of Henry VIII/Whoso that wyll for grace sew
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The Kynge. H. viij
|Early Modern English||Modern English|
|Whoso that wyll for grace sew.||Who so that will for grace sue,|
|hys entent must nedys be trew.||His intent must needs be true,|
|and loue her in hart and dede||And love her in heart and deed,|
|els it war pyte that he shuld spede||Else it were pity that he should speed.|
|Many oone sayth that loue ys yll||Many one says that love is ill,|
|but those be that which can no skyll.||But those be they which know no skill.|
|Or els because thay may not opteyne.||Or else, because they may not obtain,|
|They wold that other shuld yt dysdayne.||They would that others should it disdain.|
|But loue ys a thyng geuyn by god.||But love is a thing given by God:|
|In that ther for can be nonn odde.||In that, therefore, can be none odd,|
|But perfite indede and betwene two.||But perfect in deed, and between two.|
|wherfor then shuld we yt excho.||Where fore, then, should we it eschew?|
As with others of Henry’s lyrics, “Whoso that wyll for grace sew” is an expression of chivalric doctrine. The lyric propounds the quality of truthful intent in love and the value of love itself as a thing given by God. Simultaneously, “Whoso that wyll for grace sew” presents an argument of justification against those who “can no skyll” (l. 6) and therefore “yt dysdayne” (l. 8).
- 1 grace sew Make suit; legal (courtly allusion); see also the comment to Henry’s “If love now reynyd as it hath bene” (H 38.12).
- 4 spede Succeed, meet with good fortune, attain one’s purpose or desire (OED “speed” v I.1.a).
- 6 can Know or have learned, have practical knowledge of (OED v.1 B.I.1.b).
- 8 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.
- 11 perfite Perfect, in the state of complete excellence, free from any flaw or imperfection of quality, faultless (OED a B.I.4.a); also, marked by moral perfection (OED a B.I.4.c).
- 12 excho Eschew, abstain carefully from, avoid, shun (OED v.1 1.c).
“Whoso that wyll for grace sew” is in a strophic setting. The piece is listed in H’s table of contents as the ninety-sixth work.
“Whose that wyll for grace sew” is indexed in Robbins Index & Suppl. 4143.5, Boffey, and Ringler MS TM1977. It is reprinted in Flügel Anglia 248, Stevens M&P 414, Stevens MCH8 60, and Trefusis 32–3.
H1,2,3 (ff. 84v–85r, ll. 1–6 H2,3).
- 6 those] thes H2