Bryd one brere (Anonymous)

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  • (Posted 2007-10-01)  CPDL #15110:      (ABC)
Editor: Kitty Briton (submitted 2007-09-28).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 82 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: ABC file zipped.

General Information

Title: Bryd one brere
Composer: Anonymous

Number of voices: 1v   Voicing: T
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: Middle English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: c. 1300
Description: The First English Love Song. Once upon a time, a bored English cleric flipped over a papal bull which was already a hundred years old and began to write down a song. That song today is recognized as being the oldest extant English love song. Bryd one Brere is an honest confession of undying love (from the poet to a bird in a tree), devotion, and :praise of a lady. It eloquently conveys the very heart of amor courtoise. Its soaring melody is one of the most beautiful melodies ever written, yet it conveys some element of bittersweetness.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Bird on a briar, bird on a briar, mankind has come of love, love to crave.
Blissful bird, rue thou on me, or ready, love, ready thou me my grave.
I am so blithe, so blithe, bird on a briar, When I see that maid in the hall.
She is white of limb, lovely, :true, She is fair and the flower of all.
Might her I have at my will, steadfast of love, lovely, and true,
Of my sorrow she might me save, Joy and bliss were ever new to me.