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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Origins of Favorite Christmas Carols: Greensleeves (VIDEO - This is soo touching)

 
Greensleeves


 
What Child Is This?


The tune "Greensleeves" has a long history extending at least as far back as the 16th century, but its association with the Christmas carol "What Child Is This?" is relatively late. It wasn’t until the 19th century when three stanzas of a poem (called “The Manger Throne”) by William Chatterton Dix were set to the Greensleeves melody.
Dix’s text was only one of many set to the famous tune; the original text begins with the words, “Alas, my love, you do me wrong / To cast me off discourteously…” That Henry VIII wrote the song as a lover’s lament for Anne Boleyn is a good but unfounded story.
Shakespeare referred to the tune in his 1602 play the Merry Wives of Windsor when Falstaff exclaims, “Let the sky rain potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of Green Sleeves!” Over a hundred years later, in John Gay’s Beggars Opera, a prisoner awaits his execution on the Tyburn tree, and sings yet another version of Greensleeves.

(poss. Henry VIII of England, 1500's.)

Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.

Chorus:
Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

Your vows you've broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity.

chorus

I have been ready at your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave,
I have both wagered life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.

chorus

If you intend thus to disdain,
It does the more enrapture me,
And even so, I still remain
A lover in captivity.

chorus

My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.

chorus

Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
but still thou hadst it readily.
Thy music still to play and sing;
And yet thou wouldst not love me.

chorus

Well, I will pray to God on high,
that thou my constancy mayst see,
And that yet once before I die,
Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me.

chorus

Ah, Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
To God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me.

chorus


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