1. Vilitissimus Scotus Dundas allegat caudas contra angligenas] So, perhaps, Skelton wrote; but qy. "Vilissimus?" ("The most worthless Scot Dundas alleged that the English race had tails")
2. Dundas] "Georgius Dundas, Graece Latineque doctissimus habitus, Equitum Hierosolymitanorum intra Regnum Scotiae praefectus, sed prius Aberdonim Professor. Scripsit diligenter, et laboriose. Historiam Equitum Hierosolymitanorum, lib. ii. Claruit anno MDXX." Dempsteri Hist. Eccles. Gentis Scotorum, &c. 1627. p. 234. ("George Dundas, greatly learned in Latin and Greek, prefect of the Knights of
3. Caudatos Anglos, spurcissime Scote, quid effers?
Effrons es, quoque sons, mendax, tua spurcaque bucca est] "'English with tails,' you foulest Scot, what do you say? You are criminal and shameless, a liar, and your mouth is full of filth."
4. Anglicus a tergo
est canis ergo.
ne cadat a te.
Ex causa caudae
gens sine laude.] "The Englishman has a tail behind, and is therefore a dog. Tailed Englishman, grab your tail so it does not fall off. Because of the tails, the English remain a people without praise." These three hexameters, are, it would seem, the composition of
5. Diffamas patriam, qua non
est melior usquam.
Cum cauda plaudis dum
possis, ad ostia pultas
Mendicans; mendicus eris,
Scabidus, horribilis, quem
vermes sexque pedales
Corrodunt misere; miseris
genus est maledictum.] "You slander our country, than which none is better. While you can lash your tail, lash yourself out the door to beg; you will be a beggar, a two-tongued liar, scabby, horrible, miserably infested with worms six feet long, your wretched clan accursed."
6. nobilis poeta.] "noble poet." (you knew that, didn't you?)
Caudate,] "Praise ye those with tails"
8. That Englishmen have tails] "After this Saint Austin entered in to Dorsetshire, and came in to a town where as were wicked people & refused his doctrine and preaching utterly & drove him out of the town casting on him the tails of thornback or like fishes, wherefore he besought almighty god to show his judgement on them, and god sent to them a shameful token, for the children that were born after in that place had tails as it is said, till they had repented them. It is said commonly that this fell at Stroud in
On the proverbial expression Kentish Long-Tails, Fuller has the following remarks. "Let me premise, that those are much mistaken who first found this Proverb on a Miracle of Austin the Monk . . . I say they are much mistaken, for the Scene of this Lying Wonder was not laid in any Part of Kent, but pretended many miles off, nigh Cerne in Dorsetshire. To come closer to the sense of this Proverb, I conceive it first of outlandish extraction, and cast by foreigners as a note of disgrace on all the English, though it chanceth to stick only on the Kentish at this Day. For when there happened in
That the English were nicked by this speech appears by the reply of the Earl of Salisbury following still the metaphor; The son of my father shall press thither to day, whither you shall not dare to approach his horse tail: Some, will have the English so called from wearing a pouch or poke, (a bag to carry their baggage in) behind their backs, whilst probably the Proud Monsieurs had their Lacqueys for that purpose. In proof whereof they produce ancient pictures of the English Drapery and Armory, wherein such conveyances do appear. If so, it was neither sin nor shame for the common sort of people to carry their own necessaries, and it matters not much whether the pocket be made on either side, or wholly behind. If any demand how this nick-name (cut off from the rest of
9. Skeltonus laureatus,
Vapide potum] "Skelton the Laureate, an Englishman born, calls on the Muses against Dundas, that filthiest Scot, who is well known to be full of boorish drunkenness and hot air."
10. Go shake thy dog, hey] In our author's Magnificence is,
"Go, shake the dog, hay, sith ye will needs."
and had the expression occurred only in these two passages of Skelton, I should have felt confident that in the present one "thy" was a misprint for "thee," and that both were to be explained—"Go shake thee, dog," &c.; but again, in his poem The Doughty Duke of Albany we find,
"Twit, Scot, shake thy dog, hey"
11. A toolman to blot] A friend queries "tal man?" but toolman is, I believe, pen-man: compare our author's third poem Against Garnesche;
"Had ye gone with me to school,
And occupied no better your tool [i.e. pen]," &c.
also the commencement of the present piece,
12. Huntley Banks] See note 25 to Against the Scots