Honi soit qui mal y pense (Morel)

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  • (Posted 2020-08-21)  CPDL #60248:     
Editor: Adrian Wall (submitted 2020-08-21).   Score information: A4, 1 page, 6.61 MB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Transposed up a minor 3rd. Note values halved.

General Information

Title: Honi soit qui mal y pense
Composer: Morel

Number of voices: 9vv   Voicing: AAAAAABBB
Genre: SecularCanon

Language: French
Instruments: A cappella

 Manuscript 1544 in British Library MS Royal 8 G. vii, no. 1


A canon 9 in 2 on the motto of the Order of the Garter which appears on a page inserted into a book of motets once owned by Henry VIII. The page originally came from the library of Nonsuch Palace, and dates from the investiture of Henry Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundell, into the Order of the Garter in 1544. It is listed in a 1609 inventory of the Nonsuch library as A songe of the Garter.

It is presented as a garter on which is written the upper 6-voice canon, surrounding a scene of St George and the dragon, with the lower 3-voice canon written on St George's lance. It bears the inscription Morel viro praeclariss' D comiti de Arundell. ("Morel to a most famous man, the Earl of Arundell"). The composer is believed to have been a musician of the Arundell household.

The page describes the piece as being for octo partib' and only shows 4 entry points (in addition to the beginning) in the upper canon rather than 5; as there are 30 bars, with entries at 5-bar intervals, it follows that there may be 6 voices in the upper canon, so 9 voices in total.

External websites:

Original text and translations

French.png French text

Honi soit qui mal y pense.

English.png English translation

Shame on him who thinks evil of it.