Also known as "The Kynges Balade", this song is one of the most famous compositions of King Henry VIII of England. Written shortly after his coronation near the beginning of the 16th century, the oldest known version of it in print dates to 1513 ad, where it is included in the 'Henry VIII Manuscript', a collection of 14 of his works.
The song is a celebration of royal banquets and outdoor sports such as hunting, hawking, jousting, and archery. Henry's early reign coincided with a period of exuberance and extravagance in the English royal court, largely due to the nation's political stability and wealth at the time. 'Pastime in Good Company' seeks to justify the abundance (and even excess) of this lifestyle by stating that activity and good company is preferable to idleness, which encourages vice.
Henry VIII: As kings go, not the best husband. But an excellent songwriter. ;)
"PASTIME WITH GOOD COMPANY" - Written by King Henry VIII
Pastime with good company
I love and shall until I die.
Grudge, who lust but none deny
So God be pleased thus live will I.
For my pastense hunt, sing & dance
My heart is set,
All goodly sport, for my comfort
Who shall me let.
Youth must have some daliance
Of good or ill, some pastance
Company me thinks then best
All thoughts and fancies to digest.
For idleness is chief mistress
of vices all
And who can say, but mirth & play
Is best of all.
Company with honesty
is virtue, vices to flee.
Company is good and ill,
but every man hath his free will.
The best ensue.
The worst eschew.
My mind shall be:
virtue to use,
vice to refuse.
Thus shall I use me.