The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Green Groweth The Holly, So Doth The Ivy

For Christmas

Words: "Grene growith þe holy," Attributed to King Henry VIII. from Additional Ms. 31922, f. 37v-38r, British Library, London

Green Grow'th The Holly
Grene Growith The Holy (Greene)
See Notes Under The Holly And The Ivy

Music: Not Stated but is available at the British Library, Additional Ms. 31922, f. 37v.

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #XXIII, p. 54.

Green groweth the holly ; so doth the ivy.
Though winter blastes blow never so high,
Green groweth the holly.

AS the holly groweth green,
    And never changeth hue, 5
So I am, ever hath been
    Unto my lady true ;

As the holly groweth green
    With ivy all alone,
When floweres can not be seen 10
    And green wood leaves be gone.

Now unto my lady
    Promise to her I make,
From all other only
    To her I me betake. 15 .

Adieu, mine own lady,
    Adieu, my special,
Who hath my heart truly,
    And shall be sure, ever

Note to #XXIII, p. 336.

Addl. 31922. Printed Anglia, xii. 237; Flügel, N.L., 135 ; facsimile in Briggs, Musical Notation, plate XX.

6. hath ; so in MS.

As a composer, Henry VIII is severely criticised in O.H.M., ii. 322; 'Absence of talent and of musical individuality can alone account for [his songs'] extreme dullness.' On the ' Holly and Ivy ' theme, see note to No. CXXXVIII, Ivy Chefe Of Treis It Is.

Extended Citations

Addl. 31,922.
Additional 31,922. Parchment, 12 x 8 1/2. Music throughout, with and without words of lyrics. The composers include Henry VIII, W. Cornish, T. Farding, Cowper, Fluyd, W. Daggere, Rysbye, Pygott. At least one of the poems is by Sir Thomas Wyatt ; this may be dated 1518-1528. Another poem can be exactly dated Jan. 1-Feb. 22, 1511. The MS. is said to have belonged to Henry VIII ; it is certainly well decorated. In the XVI cent, it appears to have belonged to several families in the parish of Benenden, in Kent (perhaps that of Sir H. Guildford among others); it bears bookplates of Thomas Fuller, M.D., and Archibald, 11th Earl of Eglinton ; a later owner was Sir Charles Montolieu Lamb. It was lent by Mrs. Lamb, of Beauport Park, Sussex, to William Chappell, who described it in Archaeologia, xli. 371, in 1867. The British Museum purchased it in 1882. Also described in Briggs, Songs and Madrigals, Introduction xvi. Edited by Flugel in Anglia, xii. 226; he also prints extracts in N.L. [Nos. XXIII-XXVIII, XXX, CXXIII, CXLV.]

Printed Anglia, xii. 237;
Ewald Flügel, "Liedersammlungen des XVI. Jahrhunderts, Besonders Aus Der Zeit Heinrich's VIII. I. 1. Die lieder des Add. Ms. 31922," in Anglia ; Zeitschrift für englische Philologie enthaltend Beitrage zur Geschlicht der englischen Sprache und Literatur. Volume xii. (Halle a.S.), p. 237.

Flügel, N.L., 135 ;
Ewald Flügel, Neuenglisches Lesebuch (Herausgegeben von Ewald Flugel: Band I, 1695), p. 135.

Facsimile in Briggs, Musical Notation, plate XX.
H. B. Briggs, The Musical Notation of the Middle Ages Exemplified by Facsimiles of Manuscripts Written Between the Tenth and Sixteenth Centuries Inclusive. (London: Plainsong and Mediaeval Music Society, 1890).

O.H.M., ii. 322
W. H. Hadow, ed., The Oxford History of Music. Volume 2 of 6 Volumes, p. 322. First two vols. are Parts I (1901) and II (1905) of The Polyphonic Period by H. Ellis Wooldridge.

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