Lady Greensleeves

King Henry VIII - Lady Greensleeves

Picture of King Henry VIII

 

Lady Greensleeves

  • Interesting Facts and information about the Tudor song Lady Greensleeves
  • Sixteenth Century lyrics to Lady Greensleeves
  • Original Tudor Wording to the Lyrics of Lady Greensleeves
  • King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
  • Tudor Words and Lyrics of Lady Greensleeves

Lady Greensleeves

Lady Greensleeves
The Greensleeves is a traditional English folk song, and often referred to as Lady Greensleeves, taken from the last line of the chorus "And who but my Lady Greensleeves". Just for interest and info, the sleeves of ladies clothing worn during the Tudor era were held on with laces and could be detached. Many believe that the words were written by King Henry VIII for Anne Boleyn and that she was the Lady Greenslleves refered to in the lyrics of the song. This story has never been proved however, the melody and lyrics were most certainly written during the Tudor period. The similarities between the words of the song and the relationship between Anne Boleyn and King Henry can be accessed by clicking the following link.

Greensleeves

Modern and Original Lyrics of Lady Greensleeves
The following link provides access to the modern lyrics of the Lady Greensleeves song
Greensleeves Lyrics. But the old Tudor lyrics of Lady Greensleeves are detailed below. This original version was called "A new Courtly Sonet, of the Lady Greensleeues". It was published in 1584 when a printer called Richard Jones printed his final version of the words, lyrics and music to Lady Greensleeves which appeared in a collection of songs called "A Handful of Pleasant Delights". But there were other versions of the lyrics to the Lady Greensleeves song and the version detailed on this page have different verses to the modern version of the lyrics.

Original Tudor Wording to the Lyrics of Lady Greensleeves
The following lyrics to Lady Greensleeves contain the original spelling of words which were used during the Tudor period. They are considerable different to our modern version of the song.  Why were words spelt differently in the Tudor language?

  • The Tudor alphabet contained 24 letters, as opposed to the present day alphabet of 26 letters
  • In the Tudor alphabet the letters "u" and "v" were the same letters as were and "i" and "j"
  • The "j" was usually used as the capital form of the letter "i" in the Tudor alphabet
  • The letter "u" was used only in the middle of a word, and the "v" was used at the beginning!

Tudor Language and Wording to the Lyrics of Lady Greensleeves
Once the Tudor alphabet has been explained it is easy to understand the spellings of the old words and lyrics to Lady Greensleeves:

  • Greensleeves is spelt as Greensleeues ( the letter 'v' did not exist, it was the same as the letter 'u' )
  • Joy is spelt as 'ioy' as the "j" was usually used as the letter "i" in the Tudor alphabet
  • Love is spelt as 'loue' and so on

Lady Greensleeves Tudor Lyrics
The old Tudor spellings, words and lyrics of Lady Greensleeves are detailed below:

Lady Greensleeves Tudor Lyrics

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 ioy, &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 ioy, &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 ioy, &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.

Finis.

Lady Greensleeves Tudor Lyrics

Lady Greensleeves
Each section of this Tudors website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about Lady Greensleeves. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of the Tudors!

Lady Greensleeves

  • Interesting Facts and information about the Tudor song Lady Greensleeves
  • Sixteenth Century lyrics to Lady Greensleeves
  • Original Tudor Wording to the Lyrics of Lady Greensleeves
  • King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
  • Tudor Words and Lyrics of Lady Greensleeves

Lady Greensleeves

Lady Greensleeves - History of Tudor Music - Sixteenth century - 16th Century - Information and Facts - GreEn sleaves - sleeves - Lady Lady Greensleeves - King Henry Viii - Song - Words - Lyrics - Era - Tudor Life - Tudors - Tudor Times - Music - Musicians - Composers - Folk Song - Lady Greensleeves - Lady Greensleeves - History of Tudor Music - Information and Facts - Sixteenth century - Lady Greensleeves - 16th Century - Green sleaves - sleeves - Lady Lady Greensleeves - King Henry Viii - Song - Lady Greensleeves - Words - Lyrics - Era - Tudor Life - Tudors - Tudor Times - Music - Musicians - Composers - Sixteenth century - Lady Greensleeves - 16th Century - Folk Song - Lady Greensleeves - Written By Linda Alchin

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