Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Alas My Love You Do Me Wrong...

At Christmas time most of the public, unbeknownst to them, are bombarded with at least one 16th century song. The myth behind its composition has become an accepted truth and its origins are lost amongst a reset of lyrics. I speak of "Greensleeves", one of my favorite Tudor era songs.

Can we get something out the way? Yes? Ok:

Whew, I feel better. Greensleeves is composed in an Italian style which did not hit England until the Elizabethan period. Henry was already dead for at least thirty years. And thus, Greensleeves was not written for Anne Boleyn either. The actual meaning behind the word greensleeves is still unknown. Green was the color love but it could also represent sexual abandon. Other lyrical interpretations take us in many different directions. Personally, I think the lyrics are pretty straightforward given other song examples. Greensleeves simply refers to a lady who wears (surprise, surprise) a green sleeved gown. Perhaps she was the writer's muse or inspiration.

Here is Greensleeves with its original lyrics:
And Greensleeves in one of the best Snickers commercials ever:

"What Child Is This" is a Christmas carol written by William Dix in 1865. It was set to the tune of Greensleeves and is now a commonly played song in churches, stores and e-cards.


No comments:

Post a Comment