John Skelton - NOTES TO DIVERS BALLADS AND DITTIES SOLACIOUS

NOTES TO DIVERS BALLADS AND DITTIES SOLACIOUS

1. With ba, ba, ba, and bas, bas, bas] i e. With kissings,—with, kiss me.

2. She cherished him both cheek and chin]

"Come near my spouse,: and let me ba thy cheek"
Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Prol. v. 6015. ed. Tyr.

"I would him chuck, cheek and chin, and cherish him so mickle."
Dunbar's Tale of The Two Married Women and the Widow,—Poems, i. 71. ed. Laing.

3. He had forgotten all deadly sin] Compare our author's Philip Sparow, v. 1081.

4. pray] Qy. "pay"?

5. waters wan] Many passages of our early poetry might be cited where this epithet is applied to water: see note 115 to Why come ye not to Court, where a wrong reading has misled H. Tooke and. Richardson.

6. lust and liking] i.e pleasure and delight. This somewhat pleonastic expression (used again more than once by Skelton) is not uncommon in our old writers: "Alas! my sweet sons, then she said, for your sakes I shall lose my liking and lust." Morte d'Arthur, B. xi. c. x. vol. ii. 174. ed. Southey. Nay, in the interlude of The World and the Child, 1522, one of the characters bears the name of Lust and Liking.

7. blow-bowl] i.e. drunkard.

"To blow in a bowl, and for to pill a platter," &c.
Barclay's First Egloge, sig. A iiii. ed. 1570.

"Farewell! Peter blow-bowl I may well call thee."
Interlude of King Darius, 1565. sig. B.

8. pole hatchet] "An opprobrious appellation" (OED). So again in our author's Garland of Laurel;

"Pole hatchets, that prate will at every ale pole."
v. 613

9. bleared thine eye] i e. imposed on, put a cheat on you.

10. Menolope] In a "ballade" entitled The IX Ladies Worthy, printed among Chaucer's Works, the writer, after celebrating the eighth, "Queen Semiramis," concludes thus;

"Also the lady Menalip thy sister dear,
Whose martial power no man could withstand,
Through the world was not found her peer,
The famous duke Theseus she had in hand,
She chastised him and [conquered] all his land,
The proud Greeks mightily she did assail,
Overcame and vanquished them in battle."
fol. 324. ed. 1602.

[Menalippe was a sister of Antiope, queen of the Amazons, and was so far from subduing Theseus that she was taken prisoner by Hercules. Penelope is a more probable reading.]

11. Gup, morel, gup!
With, Joyst ye,
]
Gup [go up?] and joyst [stand still?] are exclamations applied to horses; compare our author's Elynour Rummyng, v. 390, and his third Poem against Garnesche, v. 13 So too in Camelles Rejoinder to Churchyarde (fol. broadside);

"Then gip fellow ass, then joist fellow lurdan."

12. hags] I know not in what sense Skelton uses this word: [Qy. youth, hero, gallant?] so again in his Colyn Cloute;

"I purpose to shake out
All my cunning bag,
Like a clerkly hag."
v. 50.

and in his poem The Doughty Duke of Albany;

"For thou can not but brag,
Like a Scottish hag."
v. 294

13. Have in sergeant farrier] i.e. Bring in sergeant farrier. The title sergeant belongs properly to certain of the king's servants: so in an unpublished Liber Excerpt. Temp. Hen. vii. et Hen. viii. in the Chapter-house, Westminster;

(xix. of Hen. vii) "Item paid to the sergeant plumber and Bartram upon their indentures for Greenwich – xx li."

14. all to-broken] A writer in the new ed. Of Boucher's. Gloss. (in v. All) justly observes that it is a mistake to "suppose that in such expressions all is coupled with to, and that it becomes equivalent to omnino from being thus conjoined. The augmentative to is connected with the following word as a prefix, and often occurs without being preceded by all: so in our author's Bowge of Courte,

"A rusty gallant, to-ragged and to-rent."—
v. 345.

15. to leap the hatch] i.e., to run away (hatch—the fastened half or part of the door, the half-door).

"I pretend [i.e. intend] therefore to leap over the hatch.",
The Trial of Treasure, 1567. sig..E ii.

16. It can be no counsel that is cried at the cross] i.e. It can be no secret that is proclaimed at the market-place.

17. Of thoughtful hearts plunged in distress] Skelton borrowed this line from Lydgate, whose Life of our Lady begins

"O thoughtful heart plunged in distress."

Thoughtful is anxious, heavy, sad.

18. Sapphire of sadness]—sadness, i.e. steadiness, constancy:

"For it is writ and said how the sapphire
Doth token truth
."
Poems by C. Duke of Orleans,—MS. Hart. 682. fol. 44.

19. Indy] "Inde. Fr., Azure-coloured." Tyrwhitt's Gloss. to Chaucer's Cant. Tales. "Inde, ynde: coleur de bleu foncé, d'azur, indicum." Roquefort's Gloss. De la Lang. Rom. So again our author in his Magnificence;

"The strings of her veins as azure indy blue."
v. 1571.

See too his Garland of Laurel, v. 478. and Nevil, son of Lord Latimer, in a poem of great rarity;

"On the gates two scriptures I espied,
Them for to rede my mind then I applied
Writen in gold and indy blue for folks' furtherance."
The Castle of pleasure, sig. A v. 1518.

Sir John Mandeville says that the beak of the Phoenix "is coloured blue as inde." Voyage and Travel, &c., p. 58. ed. 1725.

20. the emerald commendable;
Relucent smaragd
,] Emerald and smaragd are generally considered as synonymous; but here Skelton makes a distinction between them. So too Drayton in his Muses Elizium, 1630. p. 78; and Chamberlayne in his Pharonnida, 1659. B. ii. c. 4. p. 150. And so R. Holme "The Emerald is green."—"The Smaragd is of an excellent fresh green, far passing any Leaf." Ac. of Armory, 1688. B. ii. pp. 39, 41.

21. perspective] Which generally signifies a glass to look through, seems here, from the context, to mean some sort of reflecting glass.

22. Remorse] Means commonly in early writers,—pity; but that sense is unsuited to the present passage: it seems to be used here for—[a painful] recollection.

23. CUNCTA licet, &c.] The lines following in English are a translation of the Latin.

24. lizard] In the Latin above, the corresponding word is anguis: long after Skelton's time, the poor harmless lizard was reckoned venomous; so in Shakespeare's Third Part of Henry VI., act ii. sc. 2., "lizards dreadful stings."

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