A new Courtly Sonet, of the Lady Greensleeues. To the new tune of Greensleeues by Unknown

Greensleeues was all my ioy,
  Greensleeues was my delight:
Greensleeues was my hart of gold,
  And who but Ladie Greensleeues.

Alas my loue, ye do me wrong,
  to cast me off discurteously:
And I haue loued you so long
  Delighting in your companie.
Greensleeues was all my ioy,
  Greensleeues was my delight:
Greensleeues was my heart of gold,
  And who but Ladie Greensleeues.

I haue been readie at your hand,
  to grant what euer you would craue.
I haue both waged life and land,
  your loue and good will for to haue.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

I bought three kerchers to thy head,
  that were wrought fine and gallantly:
I kept thee both boord and bed,
  Which cost my purse wel fauouredly,
    Greensleeues was all my ioie, &c.

I bought thee peticotes of the best,
  the cloth so fine as might be:
I gaue thee iewels for thy chest,
  and all this cost I spent on thee.
    Greensleeues was all my ioie, &c.

Thy smock of silk, both faire and white,
  with gold embrodered gorgeously:
Thy peticote of Sendall right:
  and thus I bought thee gladly.
    Greensleeues was all my ioie, &c.

Thy girdle of gold so red,
  with pearles bedecked sumptuously:
The like no other lasses had,
  and yet thou wouldst not loue me,
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Thy purse and eke thy gay guilt kniues,
  thy pincase gallant to the eie:
No better wore the Burgesse wiues,
  and yet thou wouldst not loue me.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Thy crimson stockings all of silk,
  with golde all wrought aboue the knee,
Thy pumps as white as was the milk,
  and yet thou wouldst not loue me.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Thy gown was of the grossie green,
  thy sleeues of Satten hanging by:
Which made thee be our haruest Queen,
  and yet thou wouldst not loue me.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Thy garters fringed with the golde,
  And siluer aglets hanging by,
Which made thee blithe for to beholde,
  And yet thou wouldst not loue me.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

My gayest gelding I thee gaue,
  To ride where euer liked thee,
No Ladie euer was so braue,
  And yet thou wouldst not loue me.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

My men were clothed all in green,
  And they did euer wait on thee:
Al this was gallant to be seen,
  and yet thou wouldst not loue me.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

They set thee vp, they took thee downe,
  they serued thee with humilitie,
Thy foote might not once touch the ground,
  and yet thou wouldst not loue me.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

For euerie morning when thou rose,
  I sent thee dainties orderly:
To cheare thy stomack from all woes,
  and yet thou wouldst not loue me.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Thou couldst desire no earthly thing.
  But stil thou hadst it readily:
Thy musicke still to play and sing,
  And yet thou wouldst not loue me.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

And who did pay for all this geare,
  that thou didst spend when pleased thee?
Euen I that am reiected here,
  and thou disdainst to loue me.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Wel, I wil pray to God on hie,
  that thou my constancie maist see:
And that yet once before I die,
  thou wilt vouchsafe to loue me.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

Greensleeues now farewel adue,
  God I pray to prosper thee:
For I am stil thy louer true,
  come once againe and loue me.
    Greensleeues was all my ioy, &c.

From: http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/ballads/handful.html#green

Date: 1584

By: Unknown

4 Comments to “A new Courtly Sonet, of the Lady Greensleeues. To the new tune of Greensleeues by Unknown”

  1. Sometimes attributed to King Henry VIII of England.

    M
    __________
    Marie Marshall
    author/poet/editor
    Scotland

    • Henry VIII died in 1547 so, although this is often attributed to him (both lyrics and tune), it is actually pretty unlikely that he was the creator of either as the form in which the tune is written is a form that reached England after his death and the first records of the lyrics of “Greensleeves” don’t occur until 1580 (when it was registered by the publisher Richard Jones). This particular version was published (by Richard Jones) in 1584 in a book of ballads edited by Clement Robinson. It is one of about 25 ballads in the book not attributed to a specific author which is really frustrating!

      • Which is why I said ‘sometimes’. 🙂

      • Serves me right for showing off! I only found out about all that when I was investigating the lyrics – I almost attributed it to Clement Robinson until I investigated a bit further. What really caught my attention was that the wearing of green at that time was supposed to signify a woman of uncertain virtue – I’ve been trying to remember all my Tudor portraits ever since to see who was portrayed in green.

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