jump to navigation

Rose Without A Thorn October 16, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Music & Dance, People.
32 comments

Wikipedia ~ King Henry VIII (in Public Domain)

Every rose has its thorns . . . except that, if you had asked King Henry VIII, on a good day, he might have referred to his fifth wife, the lovely Catherine Howard, as his rose without a thorn.

Aww . . . how romantic.

Of course, Henry and Catherine’s  marriage lasted only two years before they parted ways and Catherine parted with her head.

What do you know about King Henry VIII (1491-1547)?

Tyrant?  Iron-fisted ruler? Fickle husband? Womanizer? Hearty eater?

Accomplished musician? Talented composer?

Guilty as charged . . . on all counts.

When Henry VIII assumed the throne, his court had six musicians on the payroll.

In the first 20 years of his reign, he multiplied that number ten-fold.

Wikipedia ~ King Henry VIII (in Public Domain)

And, at times, he provided the lively compositions they played:

* It is to me a right good joy
* Pastime with good company
* Adieu! Madame, et ma maistresse
* Taunder Naken
* Departure is my chief pain
* En vray amoure

Henry VIII’s compositions are still performed today by orchestras, symphonies, chamber groups, choirs, recorders, lutes, brass quintets, and even rock musicians.

Pastime with good company, written by Henry in the early years of the 16th century, shortly after being crowned, is also known as “The King’s Ballad.”

Or “The Kynges Balade.”

The oldest known version is part of the Henry VIII Manuscript (c. 1513), a collection of 14 works of his authorship currently preserved at the British Library.

Signed, “By the King’s Hand.”

A popular song during the Renaissance, it has a lovely madrigal flair to it.

Exuberance and extravagance marked the English court in the early years of Henry VIII’s reign, made possible by the political stability of the kingdom and wealth of the state’s finances.

Royal banquets and feasts celebrated the night, while outdoor sports and pastimes (hunting, hawking, jousting and archery tournaments) filled the days.  Young Henry, a skilled sportsman, excelled at riding, archery, wrestling and real tennis.

King Henry’s Madrigal, Pastime with good company, penned during this period, praises all the entertainments, diversions, and leisure activities  prevalent in the royal court at the time.

The lyrics offer a moral justification for all this merriment: company is preferable to idleness, for the latter breeds vice.

Perhaps Henry’s “rose without a thorn” would have kept her head a bit longer had she passed time with “good company.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  The Firework Dragon (Kate Shrewsday) * A Box of Bones (Kate Shrewsday) * The King Who Missed A Bit (Kate Shrewsday) * ‘Enery The Hateth and Greensleeves (Col’s Blog)