Anne Boleyn Songs

Legend has it that Henry VIII wrote the famous Tudor ballad, “Greensleeves”, for Anne Boleyn but it actually did not appear until after Henry VIII’s reign and is based on an Italian style which did not reach England until the reign of Elizabeth I. However, it is a beautiful Tudor song and could be said to “sum up” the relationship between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn!

Greensleeves by Anon

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.

Alas, my love, that you should own
A heart of wanton vanity,
So must I meditate alone
Upon your insincerity.

(Chorus)

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)

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

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)

I bought thee kerchiefs for thy head,
That were wrought fine and gallantly;
I kept thee at both board and bed,
Which cost my purse well-favoredly.

(Chorus)

I bought thee petticoats of the best,
The cloth so fine as it might be;
I gave thee jewels for thy chest,
And all this cost I spent on thee.

(Chorus)

Thy smock of silk, both fair and white,
With gold embroidered gorgeously;
Thy petticoat of sendal right,
And these I bought thee gladly.

(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)

They set thee up, they took thee down,
They served thee with humility;
Thy foot might not once touch the ground,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.

(Chorus)

‘Tis, 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.

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

You can hear an MP3 of this famous English song at http://www.heavenlyharpist.com/mp3/greensleeves.mp3

Here’s another song about Anne Bolyn and her ghost:-

And we can’t miss out Henry VIII can we? Here’s the famous “I’m Henery the Eighth I am” song:-

8 Responses to “Anne Boleyn Songs”

  1. There are several classical art songs written about her. One, in particular, is her execution speech & love letters from HenryVIII put to music. The song is a part of a song cycle called “Try Me, Good King” by American 20th composer, Libby Larsen. The song is simply titled “Anne Boleyn”. It is meant to be a monodrama. The song cycle includes 5 of the six wives of Henry VIII & the texts are all taken from their letters & speeches. I sang 3 of them this year for my collegiate recital. Please feel free to email me for more info.
    Also…I think Richard Hundley composed a song “Ballad on Queen Anne”. Not sure of the title exactly though.

    Also, Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti, composed an opera in Italian called “Anna Bolena” about her. It was a tradgedy.

    Sincerely,
    Allison

    [Reply]

    Claire Reply:

    Thanks for all that information, Allison, I’ll be in touch.

    [Reply]

  2. Mary Ellithorpe says:

    I Found this song (O, Death, Rock me to sleep) not too long ago, I don’t know how historically accurate it is, but I thought it was lovely…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCuOWP3vtQA

    [Reply]

  3. Catherine says:

    Thank you Claire for publishing these lyrics!

    Greensleeves is a personal favouriteof mine and I have been looking for the whole song but not been able to find them…

    [Reply]

  4. Liv says:

    Thanks this really helped me with my research!!! :)

    [Reply]

  5. Liv says:

    I’ve always loved Greensleeves, I am really pleased that I have now found all of the words to the English version, thanks again! ;)

    [Reply]

  6. Zoe says:

    There is no remedy <3
    O Death, rock me asleep

    LOVE that song…written by AB herself! :)

    [Reply]

  7. DiLited says:

    I was told that Greensleeves was not written by Henry VIII and is in fact a song written about a prostitute which would put a whole new meaning to the words!

    [Reply]

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