29.2.08

Pastime With Good Company (Henry VIII)

Henry VIII was a true renaissance prince. He was educated in the classics, and spoke and wrote several languages fluently, including the prerequisite Latin. He studied philosophy, and religion and often had heated debates with the learned thinkers of the age. He was an athlete and he was skilled in the arts of war. He wrote prose and poetry. But his real passion was always music.

Henry VIII composed masses (which are now lost) and ballads. He played several instruments. And he amassed a considerable collection of them over his lifetime. As a matter of fact, when he died he left a collection that included: 5 Bagpipes, 78 Recorders and 78 Flutes, A Mechanical Virginal (a forerunner of the piano which was an elogated box with one note per key).

Pastime with Good Company lyrics
by Henry VIII.

1 Pastime with good company
2 I love and shall unto I die.
3 Grudge whoso will (who list), but none deny,
4 So God be pleased, thus live will I.
5 For my pastance
6 Hunt, sing, and dance.
7 My heart is set
8 All goodly sport
9 For my comfort.
10 Who shall me let?
11 Youth must have some dalliance,
12 Of good or ill some pastance.
13 Company me thinketh then best
14 All thoftes and fantasies (fancies) to digest.
15 For idleness
16 Is chief mistress
17 Of vices all.
18 Then who can say
19 But "pass the day" (But mirth and play)
20 Is best of all?
21 Company with honesty
22 Is virtue, and vice to flee.
23 Company is good or ill
24 But every man hath his free will.
25 The best ensue,
26 The worst eschew,
27 My mind shall be.
28 Virtue to use,
29 Vice to refuse,
30 I shall use me.

de Brantigny

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