John Skelton - NOTES TO EPITAPH FOR JOHN CLARKE AND ADAM UDERSALL

NOTES TO EPITAPH FOR JOHN CLARKE AND ADAM UDERSALL

1. trental] i.e. properly, a service of thirty masses for the dead, usually celebrated on as many different days.

2. que Acheronta boando tonaret, &c] Perhaps these passages ought to be arranged thus for the sake of the rhyme:

"que Acheronta boando
tonaret. Nunquam sincere," &c
. . . . . .
"que dicax mendax-
que, fuere et mores tales," &c

But from the rest of the poem it seems that Skelton intended each hexameter to be cut only into two parts

3. Lanigerum caput aut ovis] Ed. "caput caput". I give the conjectural reading of the Rev. J. Mitford. The rhyme suggests (but the metre will not allow) "bidentis."

4. I faith, deacon thou crew!] See note 38 to The Bowge of Court.

5. With, hey, ho, rumbelow] See note 18 to The Bowge of Court.

6. Adam Uddersall &c.] In this passage I have followed the arrangement followed by the Rev. J. Mitford.—ED. thus:

Adam Uddersale, alias dictus
Adam all. A knave his Epitaph.
followeth devoutly
He was sometime the holy
baillyve of Dis."

7. Dis, tibi, &c. ] The emendation of the Rev. J. Mitford: compare above, "baillyve of Dis."—Ed.

"Sis tibi baccatus
Bailans praedominatus."

8. Crudelisque Cacus
barathro, peto, sit tumulatus
] To readers of Skelton's days Cacus was known not so much from the 8th book of Virgil's Aeneid, as from The Recuel of the Histories of Troy, (a translation by Caxton from the French of Raoul le Fevre), where his story is related at considerable length, and with great variation from the classical fable: "In the city of Cartagena, a king and giant reigned, named Cacus which was passing evil and full of tyranny, and had slain by his cursedness the kings of Aragon and of Navarre, their wives and their children and possessed
her seignouries and also held in subjection all the country into Italy," &c. Book ii. ed. 1471—about the middle of the volume, which is printed without paging or signatures. His death is afterwards thus described: "But Hercules ran after and retained him and enbraced him in his arms so hard that he might not move and brought him again and bore him unto a deep pit that was in the cave where he had cast in all ordures and filth. Hercules came unto this foul pit that the Greeks had founden and planted Cacus therein, his head downward from on high unto the ordure beneath. Then the Italians came about the pit and cast so many stones upon him that he died there miserably. Such was the end of the power[ful] king Cacus. He died in an hole full of ordure and of stinking filth."

9. Apud Trumpinton scriptum, per Curatum ejusdem, &c.] A passage wrongly understood by Skelton's biographers: see Account of Skelton and his Writings.

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