Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday Poem - 'Greensleeves'

I'm watching 'The Tudors' - sort of like Game of Thrones without dragons, wolves or eunuchs (well, certainly no actual dragons...). Hence this posting! I've always loved this folk song and particularly so when I discovered that it was attributed to Henry VIII. As a youngster, I became fascinated by the Tudors after reading Jean Plaidy's account of Elizabeth - and I've only just realised this very minute (thank you Wiki)  that Plaidy was the pseudonym  of Eleanor Hibbert who also wrote as Victoria Holt and Phillipa Carr - my goodness, what a prolific output! I believe the attribution to Henry VIII has been discredited but I still associate 'Greensleeves' with Henry and the doomed Anne Boleyn.


Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.

Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

Your vows you've broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity.


I have been ready at your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave,
I have both wagered life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.


If you intend thus to disdain,
It does the more enrapture me,
And even so, I still remain
A lover in captivity.


My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.


Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
but still thou hadst it readily.
Thy music still to play and sing;
And yet thou wouldst not love me.


Well, I will pray to God on high,
that thou my constancy mayst see,
And that yet once before I die,
Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me.


Ah, Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
To God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me.

When you've done a little pavane here - trip the light fantastic over here where Tim Jones is this week's editor, bringing a poem, 'A whimper after the bang',  by Melbourne-based poet, Emily Manger.  If you'd like to hear more of Manger's work, click here.

1 comment:

Ben Hur said...

I like "Greensleeves" too and I like to think Henry VIII composed it in between wives and dying of syphilis. Also, as a child it is indelibly etched into your brain because it announces the arrival of the Mr Whippy van in your street.