Green Groweth the Holly

Original Text: 
British Library Add. MS 31922, fols. 37v-38 (attributed to Henry VIII); John Stevens, Music & Poetry in the Early Tudor Court (London: Methuen, 1961): 398-99.
2So doth the ivy.
4Green groweth the holly.
5As the holly groweth green
6And never changeth hue,
7So I am, ever hath been,
8Unto my lady true.
9As the holly groweth green
10With ivy all alone
11When flowers cannot be seen
13Now unto my lady
14Promise to her I make,
15From all other only
17Adieu, mine own lady,
19Who hath my heart truly
20Be sure, and ever shall.


1] holly: aquifolia, "the holm tree," having berries without juice and pricking leaves. Back to Line
3] winter: ametrical and possibly an interpolation by someone other than the poet. Back to Line
12] greenwood: ever-young, fresh, not yet matured wood. Back to Line
16] betake: entrust. Back to Line
18] my special: my own one, my private possession. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997.