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Psallite felices
M. Sampson


Transcription by Theodor Dumitrescu

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Sources listed in database

Source Loc. Title Voices Attribution
PSalite felices
".M. Sampson"


LonBLR 11 E.xi
Psallite felices incipit: LonBLR 11 E.xi


Psallite felices protecti culmine rose

Purpuree. celo quam dedit ipse deus

Anglicolis. et quam pax distulit prodere tellus

Aduentu rose protinus orta fuit

Cuius et in foliis radiantia lilia crescunt

Distinctos flores hic parit una radix

Albis et rubeis respersa coloribus Intus

In numero florum micuit rosa rubens

Altior exsuperans flores spectamine cunctos

Pulchrior hac vix est visa colore prior

Corpora fortificans sic membra debilia curans

Dulcis odorifera pellit et omne malum

Affert leticiam. mox tristia visa repellit

Cunctis est morbis distribuenda dosis

Est rex henricus bis quartus sanguine clarus

Anglorum virtus purpura rosa micans

Huius se merito studeat quis sudere votis

Et vultu placido dicere Rosa vale

Aspectu pulcher verbis affamine dulcis

Omnibus acceptus gratis et ipse suis

Bella gerens hostes vincit nam hector in armis

Fera leonis Iram sic fugiunt emuli

Est et pacificus constans moderamine plenus

Magnanimus Justus hostibus atque gravis

Magnificus dives largus pietate redundans

Munera pro meritis distribuens omnibus

Singula quis referet rose est inmensa potestas

Que nullo claudi carmine tanta potest.

Psallite fideles protecti culmine rose

Cuius odoratu tristia cuncta cedunt

Rex eterne deus qui mundi sceptra gubernas

Cuius et ex gremio funditur omnis honos

Quesumus ut regi des tempora longa videre

Et post hoc sedeat rector in arce dei
Sing, happy ones covered by the summit of the scarlet rose, which God Himself gave from the heavens to the English; and the land which Peace tarried to bring forth rose up at once at the coming of the rose, in whose leaves shining lilies grow. A single root here bears different flowers, besprinkled within with white and red colors. Reckoned among flowers the red rose has gleamed, rising higher above all flowers in proof. More beauteous than this in color has scarcely been seen before; strengthening bodies, indeed healing crippled members; sweet, fragrant, it drives away every evil, brings happiness, thereupon repulses sorrowful visions; a dose is to be distributed for all maladies. The gleaming scarlet rose is the king Henry twice the fourth, celebrated in bloodline, virtue of the English. Through vows to him, let anyone be eager worthily to subject himself and to say with a peaceful face: Rose, fare well. Beauteous in appearance, sweet in verbal address, he is received by all and welcome to his own. Waging war he conquers enemies, a Hector in arms; his rivals flee like a wild beast from the wrath of the lion. He is a peacemaker, firm and abounding in governing, great-souled, just to enemies and serious, magnificent, rich, generous, overflowing with piety, distributing gifts to all according to their merits; who could tell of them individually? The rose has boundless power which can be enclosed in no song. Sing, happy ones covered by the summit of the rose, through whose fragrance all sorrows withdraw. Oh God, eternal king who rule the dominions of the world, and from whose bosom all honor is poured, we beseech you to grant that the king see long seasons, and after this sit as governor in the citadel of God.

Editor's Commentary

A rare example of a continental motet composed in honor of an English monarch, in this case Henry VIII. This lengthy work and Salve radix together form the dedicatory first gathering of the 1516 book LonBLR 11 E.xi, along with a full-page illustration containing texts from both pieces. The interpretation of the iconography of the illustration and its relation to the text of the present work are discussed in the Introduction to A Choirbook for Henry VIII and his Sisters.

Psallite felices has long been attributed to Richard Sampson, an English diplomat in the Low Countries during the 1510s, and later a holder of important ecclesiastical posts, but the evidence for this identification rests on shaky ground. The ascription entered by the manuscript's (undoubtedly Flemish) scribe is to "M. Sampson", with a slight flourish above the "M" which in an English source would probably be interpreted as an abbreviation for "Magister" or "Master" - in any case an inappropriate title for Richard Sampson, who had already obtained his first doctorate in 1513. There is no evidence that Richard Sampson had any musical skill (although a significant amount of his writings survives), and all of the music surviving under the name "Sampson" is in an accomplished and professional continental style. Altogether, a connection between Richard Sampson and the works in LonBLR 11 E.xi will remain an unfounded and unlikely hypothesis until more concrete evidence arises.

The textual incipit is undoubtedly a reference to Bruhier's Vivite felices, written for the 1515 meeting of Francis I and Pope Leo X.

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