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Elizabethan Songs

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Elizabethan Music - Elizabethan Songs

This page provides the lyrics of some famous songs from the Tudor and Elizabethan era. The most famous song associated with this period is undoubtedly Greensleeves. This song has been attributed to King Henry VIII who was believed to have composed this song for his second wife, and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn.

A highly romantic notion but there is no proof that King Henry really did compose this famous Elizabethan song.


Alas my love, ye do me wrong
to cast me off discurteously:
And I have loved you so long,
Delighting in your companie.

Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight:
Greensleees was my heart of gold,
And who but my Ladie Greensleeves.
I have been readie at your hand,
to grant what ever you would crave
I have both waged life and land,
your love and good will for to have


Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
But still thou hadst it readily,
Thy musicke still to play and sing,
And yet thou wuldst not love me.


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


Now Is the Month of Maying by Thomas Morley
Thomas Morley wrote music for the liturgy of the Church of England. Morley was employed at St. Paul's in London and became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1592. He was famous for writing Madrigals such as 'Now is the Month of Maying'.

Now is the Month of Maying

Now is the month of maying,
When merry lads are playing, fa la,
Each with his bonny lass
Upon the greeny grass. Fa la.

The Spring, clad all in gladness,
Doth laugh at Winter's sadness, fa la,
And to the bagpipe's sound
The nymphs tread out their ground. Fa la.

Fie then. why sit we musing,
Youth's sweet delight refusing? Fa la.
Say, dainty nymphs, and speak,
Shall we play at barley-break? Fa la.

This Sweet and Merry Month of May by William Byrd
William Byrd was Queen Elizabeth's favourite composer  who wrote church, consort and vocal music. Byrd and Thomas Tallis were granted an exclusive license to print and publish music by Elizabeth I and this madrigal was written in hoor of Queen Elizabeth .

This Sweet and Merry Month of May

This sweet and merry month of May,
While Nature wantons in her prime,
And birds do sing, and beasts do play
For pleasure of the joyful time

I choose the first for holiday,
And greet Eliza with a rhyme:
O beauteous Queen of second Troy,
Take well in worth a simple toy.

Elizabethan Music
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