🎶 “Lady Jane” 🎶 “(1. Lyrics, introduction & translation)

My sweet lady Jane
When I see you again
Your servant am I
And will humbly remain.
Just heed this plea, my love
On bended knees my love
I pledge myself to lady Jane

My dear lady Anne
I’ve done what I can
I must take my leave
For promised I am.
This play is run, my love
Your time has come, my love
I pledge my troth to lady Jane

Oh, my sweet Marie
I wait at your ease
The sands have run out
For your lady and me.
Wedlock is nigh my love
Her station’s right my love
Life is secure with Lady Jane

“Lady Jane” is a song by The Rolling Stones, featured on their 1966 album “Aftermath.”

It was written during the period of musical collaboration of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, considered the group’s chief songwriters, just after Jagger had read “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”. This is an alternative version of the story told in the novel “John Thomas and Lady Jane”, published by D. H. Lawrence a year before, in 1927. The names in the title do not refer to a real man and a woman, but are the nicknames used by the two lovers, who always call each other by John Thomas and Lady Jane. They are pet-names for their private parts, therefore, from a linguistic point of view, they may be considered a synecdoche (a literary technique in which the name of a part is used to stand for the whole) or a euphemism (a mild or pleasant word or phrase that is used instead of one that is unpleasant or offensive).

Brian Jones, the group’s guitarist until his death in 1969, was at the time integrating different instruments into their repertoire and trying to incorporate baroque pop into their music. In this song he played an electric Appalachian dulcimer, a string instrument of the zither family with a sounding board or box, over which some strings of graduated length are stretched. It is generally played on the lap by plucking or strumming its strings with the right hand, while fretting with the left.
It had its origins in the Appalachian Mountains of the United States in the early 19th century, among Scotch-Irish immigrants, even though it seemed unknown in Ireland or in Scotland.
“Lady Jane” is a beautiful love ballad which treats women with respect, in contrast to the usual approach of the band in 1965-1966, when women were primarily viewed as arrogant, neurotic bitches.

The mix of Appalachian folk music, dulcimer, and harpsichord creates an atmosphere that Keith Richards defined Elizabethan, adding: “There are a few places in England where people still speak that way, Chaucer English.” The influences of author Geoffrey Chaucer are evident particularly in Jagger’s vocal delivery and diction. Here the singer, far from his usual macho posturing, gently declaims the lyrics so as to seem reciting a sort of madrigal and explains to a series of lovers that he has made his choice and given his love to Lady Jane.

Jagger said that the names in the song are historical, “but it was really unconscious that they should fit together from the same period.” At the time, however, he had met a girl called Jane (Jane Ormsby-Gore, daughter of the former British ambassador in Washington), who is often cited as the inspiration for this song.

More probably, Lady Jane refers to Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII, who died at childbirth while bearing his only son, who reigned as King Edward VI. She had been a maid-of-honour to Queen Catherine, the king’s first wife, and Queen Anne, the second. Jane was gentle, peaceful, compassionate, and showed deep sympathy for Queen Catherine’s daughter, Lady Mary.

Mia dolce Lady Jane
ogni volta che ti vedo
divento il tuo servitore
E umilmente lo resterò
Solo presta attenzione a questa dichiarazione, amore mio,
in ginocchio amore mio
mi offro in pegno a Lady Jane,

Mia cara Lady Anne
ho fatto quello che potevo
Devo prendere congedo
perché ho fatto una promessa
Il gioco è finito, amore mio,
la tua ora è giunta amore mio,
io ho giurato fedeltà a Lady Jane

Oh mia dolce Marie
aspetto che tu ti senta a tuo agio (per fartene una ragione,)
La clessidra si è svuotata (La sabbia è defluita)
per la tua signora e per me.
Il matrimonio è vicino amore mio,
il suo rango è giusto amore mio,
la vita è al sicuro con Lady Jane.”
(L.Z.)

21 thoughts on “🎶 “Lady Jane” 🎶 “(1. Lyrics, introduction & translation)

  1. A beautiful song. I wonder how much of the characters named here are related to the beheadings of Lady Jane (beheaded by her sister Queen Mary) Queen Anne was beheaded by her husband, and Marie is Queen Marie Antoinette, who was also beheaded. A possible coincidence?

    Liked by 3 people

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