As ever I saw (Anonymous)

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Editors: Mick Swithinbank and Jonathan Goodliffe (submitted 2020-09-23).   Score information: A4, 7 pages, 291 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: As ever I saw
Composer: Anonymous
Lyricist: Anonymous

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularFolksong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: Not known

Description: The Soprano voice is preserved in British Library Harleian MS 7578. Mick Swithinbank has reconstructed the other 3 voices. The same text was also set to music by Peter Warlock.

External websites:

Original text and translations

Text in Early Modern English

My lady is a prety on, a prety, prety, prety on
My lady is a prety on, as ever I saw.

She is gentyll and also wysse
Of all other she berith the price

that ever I saw.

To here hir syng, to se her dance
she wyll the best herself advance

that ever I saw.

To se her fyngers that be so small,
In my consait she passeth all

that euer I saw.

Nature in her hath wonderly wroght,
Crist never sych a nother bowght

that ever I saw.

I haue sene many that have bowty.
Yet is ther non like to my lady,

that euer I saw.

therefor I dare this boldly say,
I shall have the best and farest may.*

that ever I saw.

My lady is a prety on, etc.

  • "may" = “mate"