John Skelton - AGAINST VENOMOUS TONGUES

AGAINST VENOMOUS TONGUES

AGAINST VENOMOUS TONGUES ENPOISONED WITH SLANDER AND FALSE DETRACTIONS

[From Marsh's ed. Of Skelton's Works, 1568.]

SKELTON LAUREATE,
ORATORIS REGIUS TERTIUS<1>

Quid detur tibi, aut quid apponatur tibi ad linguam dolosam?<2>

Deus destruet te in finem; evellet te, et emigrabit te de tabernacula tuo, et radicem tuam de terra viventium.<3>

All matters well pondered and well to be regarded,
How should a false lying tongue then be rewarded?
Such tongues should be torn out by the hard roots,
Hoining<4> like hogges that groins and roots.

Dilexisti omnia verba praecipitationis, lingua dolosa.Ubi s, &c.<5>

For, as I have read in volumes old,
A false lying tongue is hard to withhold;
A slanderous tongue, a tongue of a scold,
Worketh more mischief than can be told;
That, if I wist not to be controlled,
Yet somewhat to say I dare well be bold,                                                   10
How some delight for to lie thick and threefold,

Ad sannam hominem redigit comice et graphice.<6>

For ye said, that he said, that I said, wot ye what?
I made, he said, a windmill of an old mat:
If there be none other matter but that
Then ye may commend me to gentle Cockwat.

Hic notat purpuraria arte intextas literas Romanas in amictibus post ambulonum ante et retro.<7>

For before on your breast, and behind on your back,
In Roman letters I never found lack;<8>
In your cross row nor Christ cross you speed,<9>
Your Paternoster, your Ave, nor your Creed.
Whosoever that tale unto you told,                                                             20
He saith untruly, to say that I would
Control the cognisance of noble men
Either by language or with my pen.

Paedagogium meum de sublimiori Minerva constat esse: ergo, etc.<10.>

My school is more solemn and somewhat more haut
Than to be found in any such fault.

Paedagogium meum male sanos maledicos sibilis complosisque manibus explodit, &c. <11.>

My schools are not for unthrifts untaught,
For frantic faitours half mad and half straught;
But my learning is of another degree
To taunt them like lidderons, lewd as they be.

Laxent ergo antennam elationis suae inflatem vento vanitatis. li. ille, &c.<12>

For though some be lither, and list for to rail,                                             30
Yet to lie upon me they cannot prevail:
Then let them vale a bonnet of their proud sail,<
13>
And of their taunting toys rest with ill-hail.

Nobilitati ignobilis cedat vilitas, etc.<14>

There is no noble man will judge in me
Any such folly to rest or to be:
I care much the less whatever they say,
For tongues untied be running astray;
But yet I may say safely, so many well-lettered,
Embroidered, enlaced together, and fettered,
And so little learning, so lewdly allowed,                                                   40
What fault find ye herein but may be avowed?
But ye are so full of
vertibility,
And of frantic folability,
And of melancholy mutability,
That ye would coerce and enforce me
Nothing to write, but hey the guy of three,<15>
And I to suffer you lewdly to lie
Of me with your language full of villany!

Sicut novacula acuta fecisti dolum. Ubi s.<16>

Malicious tongues, though they have no bones,                                          50
Are sharper than swords, sturdier than stones.

Lege Philostratum de vita Tyanaei.<17>

Sharper than razors that shave and cut throates,
More stinging than scorpions that stung Pharaotis.<18>

Venenum aspidum sub labiis eorum.Ps. <19>

More venomous and much more virulent
Than any poisoned toad or any serpent.

Quid peregrinis egemus exemplis? ad domestica recurramus, &c. li. ille.<20>

Such tongues unhappy hath made great division
In realms, in cities, by such false abusion;
Of false fickle tongues such cloaked collusion
Hath brought noble princes to extreme confusion.

Quicquid loquantur, ut effeminantur, ita effantur, &c.<21>

Sometime women were put in great blame,                                                 60
Men said they could not their tongues atame;
But men take upon them now all the shame,
With scolding and slandering make their tongues lame.

Novarum rerum cupidissimi, captatores, delatores, adulatores, invigilatores, deliratores, etc., id genus li. ille.<22>

For men be now trattlers and tellers of tales;
What tidings at Tottenham, what news in Wales,
What ships are sailing to Scalis Malis?<23>
And all is not worth a couple of nut-shells:
But leering and lurking here and there like spies;
The devil tear their tongues and pick out their eyes!
Then run they with lesings and blow them about,                                       70
With, He wrote such a
bill without a doubt;
With, I can tell you what such a man said;
An you knew all, ye would be ill-apayed.

De more vulpine, gannientes ad aurem, fictas fabellas fabricant, il. ille. <24>

Inauspicatum, male ominatum, infortunatum se fateatur habuisse horoscopum, quicunque maledixerit vati Pieria, S[keltonidi] L[aureato], &c.<25>

But if that I knew what his name hight,
For clattering of me I would him soon quite;
For his false lying, of that I spake never,
I could make him shortly repent him for ever:
Although he made it never so tough,<26>
He might be sure to have shame enough.

Cerberus horrendo barathri latrando sub antro
Te rodatque voret, lingua dolosa, precor.
<27>

A false double tongue is more fierce and fell                                              80
Than Cerberus the cur couching in the kennel of hell;
Whereof hereafter I think for to write,
Of false double tongues in the despite.

Recipit se scripturum opus sanctum, laudabile, acceptabile, memorabileque, et nimis honorificandum.<28>.

Disperdat Dominus universa labia dolosa et linguam magniloquam!<29>

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