Greensleeves is a traditional English song written in honor of a “lady with green sleeves” ( green : “green” and sleeve : “sleeve”). According to a popular legend, it was composed by King Henry VIII (1491-1547) in honor of Anne Boleyn (1501 or 1507-1536). It is based on the passamezzo Antico , an ostinato bass or progression agreements popular during the Italian Renaissance and known throughout Europe in the xvi th century.
It probably circulated in the form of a manuscript , that is, a “handwritten copy”, like most popular music of that time, long before it was finally printed . The first known version is 1580 , under the title A New Northern Ditty of the Lady Greene Sleeves 1 , without any copy of this impression survived, so we do not know who composed this piece.
Later, the Christmas Carol What Child Is This? (en) , translated into French by Quel est l’enfant , resumes the air of Greensleeves , adding Christian words , as well as the song of angelus : Here is the Angel Gabriel .
This song, whose melody is recognized by many, has been used in several works, and is for example the main theme of the film The Conquest of the West , where it is notably interpreted by Debbie Reynolds under the title A Home in the Meadow . It is also found in some video games, including the series King’s Quest 2 , Overlord (released in 2007) ( The Seventh Heaven Inn in The City of the Peak of Paradise ), Anno 1602 , Pilgrim , Heroes of Might and Magic II where it is found in the theme of the castle of the witchand earlier in Jimmy Business released in 1985 on Amstrad platform which he is the main theme.
The film A Violent Poison by Katell Quillévéré, released in 2010, also features this song performed by Barbara Dane .
Greensleeves was also the theme of the Quebec soap opera Le Survenant , between 1954 and 1960.