The Lyrics of King Henry VIII – Primary Sources

Henry VIII seated beneath a tapestry cloth of state

King Henry VIII, his son and heir Edward VI and his third wife, Jane Seymour 

British school, “The Family of Henry VIII” (detail), ca. 1545. Oil on canvas. The Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 405796

Pastime with good company

I love and shall until I die.

Grudge who likes, but none deny,

So God be pleased, thus live will I.

For my pastance:

Hunt, sing, and dance.

My heart is set!

All goodly sport

For my comfort.

Who shall me let?

Youth must have some dalliance,

Of good or ill some pastance.

Company I think then best —

All thoughts and fantasies to digest.

For idleness

Is chief mistress

Of vices all.

Then who can say

But mirth and play

Is best of all?

Company with honesty

Is virtue — vices to flee.

Company is good and ill,

But every man has his free will.

The best ensue.

The worst eschew.

My mind shall be.

Virtue to use.

Vice to refuse.

Thus shall I use me!

Alas, what shall I do for love?

Alas, what shall I do for love?

For love, alas, what shall I do?

Since now so kind

I do you find

To kepe you me unto.


Oh my heart

Oh my heart, and oh my heart,

My hart it is so sore.

Since I must from my love depart,

And know no cause wherefore.

The time of youth is to be spent

The time of youth is to be spent,

But vice in it should be forfent.

Pastimes there be I note truly

Which one may use and vice deny.

And they be pleasant to God and man:

Those should we covet when we can.

As feats of arms, and such other

Wherby activeness one may utter.

Comparisons in them may lawfully be set,

For, thereby, courage is surely out fet.

Vertue it is, then, youth for to spend

In good disports which it does fend.

Some background information to the writing of the period in history.

Some interesting trivia though not so trivial !

Palace of Placentia now Greenwich Palace where Henry was born on 28th June 1491

Here you find a true portrait of King Henry VIII. 

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