Pastyme With Good Company (The Kynges Ballade)

by Henry VIII, c. 1548


This example of "Pastyme With Good Company (The Kynges Ballade)" is performed by  Andrew Scarhart
Please refer to Cantaria's Copyright information

This song is preserved in a manuscript now residing at the British Museum (B.M. Addl. MSS. 31,922; Addl. MSS. 5,665; MSS. Reg. Appendix 58). Both words and music are almost certainly written by Henry VIII of England, the royal tyrant. In the work The Complaynt of Scotland, 1548, the author mentions "Pastance with gude companye" as being among the popular songs of Scotland, in the early part of the sixteenth century.
The Complaynt of Scotland is downloadable as a free ebook from Oxford  University
See the Wikipedia article about The Complaynt of Scotland
Collected songs of Henry VIII at

Middle English:

Passetyme with good companye
I love, and shall until I dye;
Grugge who wyll, but none deny,
So God be pleeyd, this lyfe wyll I:
For my pastaunce,
Hunt, syng, and daunce,
My hert ys sett;
All godely sport,
To my comfort,
Who shall me lett?

Youth wyll have nedes dalyaunce,
Of good or yll some pastaunce,
Companye me thynketh them best,
All thouts and fantasyes to dygest.
For ydleness,
Ys chef mastres
Of vices all:
Then who can say,
But passe the day
Ys best of all.

Company with honeste,
Ys vertu and vyce to flee;
Company ys gode or yll,
But ev'ry man hath hys frewylle;
The best I sew,
The worst eschew,
My mynd shall be:
Vertue to use,
Vyce to refuse,
I shall use me.

Modern English:

Pastime with good company
I love and shall unto I die;
Grudge who will, but none deny,
So God be pleased, thus live will I.
For my pastance
Hunt, song, and dance.
My heart is set,
All goodly sport
To my comfort,
Who shall me let?

Youth must have some dalliance,
Of good or ill, some pastance;
Company methink them best
All thoughts and fancies to dejest:
For idleness
Is chief mistress
Of vices all
Then who can say
But pass the day  (alt: mirth and play)
Is best of all?

Company with honesty
Is virtue and vice 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,
Shall I use me