John Skelton - A REPLICATION AGAINST CERTAIN YOUNG SCHOLARS ABJURED OF LATE

A REPLICATION AGAINST CERTAIN YOUNG SCHOLARS ABJURED OF LATE

<1>

Honorificatissimo, amplissimo, longeque reverendissimo in Christo patri, ac Domino, domino Thomae, &c., tituli sanctae Ceciliae, sacrosanctae Romanae ecclesiae presbytero, Cardinali meritissimo, et apostolicae sedis legato, a latereque legato superillustri, &c., Skeltonis laureatus, ora. reg., humillimum dicit obsequium cum omni debita reverentia, tanto tamque magnifico digna principe sacerdotum, totiusque justitiae aequabilissimo moderatore, necnon praesentis opusculi fautore excellentissimo, &c., ad cujus auspicatissimam contemplationem, sub memorabili prelo gloriosae immortalitatis, praesens pagella felicitatur, &c. <2>

ARGUMENTUM

Crassantes nimium, nimium sterilesque labruscas,
Vinea quas Domini Sabaot non sustinet ultra
Laxius expandi, nostra est resecare voluntas
<3>

Cum privilegio a rege indulto.<4>

Protestation alway canonically prepensed, professed, and with good deliberation made, that this little pamphlet, called The Replication of Skelton Laureate, ora. reg., remording divers recrayed and much unreasonable errors of certain sophisticate scholars and reckless young heretics lately abjured, &c., shall evermore be, with all obsequious readiness, humbly submitted unto the right discreet reformation of the reverend prelates and much noble doctors of our Mother Holy Church, &c.

Ad almam Universitatem Cantabrigensem.<5>

Eulogium Consolationis.<6>

Alma parens, O Cantabrigensis,
Cur lacrymaris? Esto, tui sint
Degeneres hi filioli, sed
Non ob inertes, O pia mater,
Insciolos vel decolor esto.
Progenies non nobilis omnis,
Quam tua forsan mamma fovebat.
Tu tamen esto Palladis almae
Gloria pollens plena Minervae,
Dum radiabunt astra polorum:
jamque valeto, meque foveto,
Namque tibi quondam carus alumnus eram.<7">
7>

How young scholars nowadays enbolned with the fly-blown blast of the much vainglorious pippling wind, when they have delectably licked a little of the licorous electuary of lusty learning, in the much studious school-house of scrupulous Philology, counting themselves clerks excellently informed and transcendingly sped in much high conning, and when they have once superciliously caught

A little rag of rhetoric,
A less lump of logic,
A piece or a patch of philosophy,
Then forthwith by and by
They tumble so in theology,
Drowned in dregs of divinity,
That they judge themself able to be
Doctors of the chair in the Vintry
At the Three Cranes,<8>
To magnify their names:                                                                                10
But madly it frames,
For all that they preach and teach
Is further than their wit will reach.
Thus by demerits of their
abusion,
Finally they fall to careful confusion
To bear a faggot, or to be enflamed:
Thus are they undone and utterly shamed.

Ergo:
Licet non enclitice,
Tamen enthymematice,
Notandum imprimis,
Ut ne quid nimis.
Tantum pro primo.
<9>

Over this, for a more ample process to be further delated and continued, and of every true Christian man laudably to be employed, justified, and constantly maintained; as touching the tetrical theologisation of these demi-divines, and stoical students, and friskajolly<10> younkerkins, much better bained than brained, basked and bathed in their wild burbling and boiling blood, fervently reboiled with the infatuate flames of their reckless youth and witless wantonness, embraced and interlaced with a much fantastical frenzy of their insensate sensuality, surmised unsurely in their perihermenial principles<11>, to prate and to preach proudly and lewdly, and loudly to lie; and yet they were but feebly informed in Master Porphyry's<12> problems, and have waded but weakly in his three manner of clerkly works, analytical, topical, and logical: howbeit they were puffed so full of vainglorious pomp and surcudant elation, that pope-holy<13> and peevish presumption provoked them to publish and to preach to people imprudent perilously, how it was idolatry to offer to images of our Blessed Lady, or to pray and go on pilgrimages, or to make oblations to any images of saints in churches or elsewhere.

Against which erroneous errors, odious, orgulous, and fly-blown opinions, &c.,

To the honour of our Blessed Lady,
And her most Blessed Baby,
I purpose for to reply                                                                                    20
Against this horrible heresy
Of these young heretics, that stink
unbrent,
Whom I now summon and content,<14>
That lewdly have their time spent
In their study abominable,
Our glorious Lady to disable,
And heinously on her to babble
With language detestable;
With your lips polluted
Against Her Grace disputed,                                                                        30
Which is the most clear crystal
Of all pure cleanness virginal,
That our Saviour bare,
Which us redeemed from care.

I say, thou mad March hare,
I wonder how ye dare
Open your jangling jaws,
To preach in any clause,
Like prating popping
daws,<15>
Against her excellence,                                                                                 40
Against her reverence,
Against her pre-eminence,
Against her magnificence,
That never did offence.

Ye heretics recrayed,
Wot ye what ye said
Of Mary, mother and maid?
With bawdry at her ye brayed;
With bawdy words unmeet
Your tongues were too fleet;                                                                        50
Your sermon was not sweet;
Ye were nothing discreet;
Ye were in a drunken heat.
Like heretics
confettered,
Ye count yourselves well-lettered:
Your learning is stark nought,
For shamefully ye have wrought,
And to shame yourself have brought.

Because ye her misnamed,
And would have her defamed,                                                                     60
Your madness she
attamed;
For ye were worldly shamed
At Paul's Cross openly,
All men can testify.
There, like a sort of sots,
Ye were fain to bear faggots;
At the feast of her Conception
Ye suffered such correction.

Sive per aequivocum,
Sive per univocum,
                                                                                        70
Sive sic, sive
not so,<
16>
Ye are brought to, Lo, lo, lo!
See where the heretics go,
Witless, wandering to and fro!
With Te he, ta ha, bo ho, bo ho!<17>
And such wanderings many mo.
Helas, ye wretches, ye may be woe!
Ye may sing well-a-way,
And curse both night and day
When ye were bred and born,                                                                       80
And when ye were priests shorn,
Thus to be laughed to scorn,
Thus tattered and thus torn,
Thorough your own folly,
Ye be blown with the fly
Of horrible heresy.
Fain ye were to
reny,
And mercy for to cry,
Or be brent by and by,
Confessing how ye did lie                                                                            90
In preaching shamefully.

Yourself thus ye discured
As clerkes unassured,
With ignorance obscured.
Ye are unhappily ured.
In your dialectical<18>

And principles syllogistical,
If ye to remembrance call
How syllogisari
Non est ex particulari,
                                                                                   100
Neque negativis,
Recte concludere si vis,
Et caetera, id genus?
<
19>
Ye could not corde tenus,<20>
Nor answer verbo tenus,<21>
When prelacy you opposed;
Your hearts then were hosed,<22>
Your relations reposed;
And yet ye supposed
Respondere ad quantum.<23>                                                                      110
But ye were confuse tantum,<
24>
Surrendering your suppositions,
For there ye missed your cushions.

Would God, for your own ease,
That wise Harpocrates<25>
Had your mouths stopped,
And your tongues cropped,
When ye logic chopped,
And in the pulpit hopped,
And foolishly there fopped,                                                                          120
And
porishly forth popped
Your schismaticate saws
Against God's laws,
And showed yourselves daws!
Ye argued arguments,
As it were upon the elenches,
De rebus apparentibus
Et non existentibus;
<26>
And ye would appear wise,
But ye were foolish nice:                                                                              130
Yet by means of that vice
Ye did provoke and 'tice,
Oftener than once or twice,
Many a good man
And many a good woman,
By way of their devotion
To help you to promotion,
Whose charity well regarded
Cannot be unrewarded.

I say it for no sedition,                                                                                  140
But under patient tuition,
It is half a superstition
To give you
exhibition
To maintains with your schools,
And to prove yourself such fools.

Some of you had ten pound,
Therewith for to be found
At the university,
Employed which might have be
Much better other ways.                                                                               150
But, as the man says,
The blind eateth many a fly:
What may be meant hereby
Ye may soon make construction
With right little instruction;
For it is an ancient
bruit,
Such apple-tree, such fruit.
What should I prosecute,
Or more of this to clatter?
Return we to our matter.                                                                               160

Ye soared over-high
In the hierarchy
Of Jovenian's heresy,
Your names to magnify,
Among the scabbed skies
Of Wycliff's flesh-flies;
Ye stringed so Luther's lute
That ye dance all in a suit
The heretics' ragged ray,
That brings you out of the way                                                                    
170
Of Holy Church's lay;
Ye
shail inter enigmata
And inter paradigmata,<27>
Marked in your cradles
To bear faggots for baubles.

And yet some men say
How ye are this day,
And be now as ill,
And so ye will be still,
As ye were before.                                                                                        180
What should I reckon more?

Men have you in suspicion
How ye have small contrition
Of that ye have miswrought:
For, if it were well sought,
One of you there was
That laughed when he did pass
With his faggot in procession;
He counted it for no correction,
But with scornful affection                                                                          
190
Took it for a sport,
His heresy to support;
Whereat a thousand gazed,
As people half-amazed,
And thought in him small grace
His folly so to face.

Some judged in this case
Your penance took no place,
Your penance was too light;
And thought, if ye had right,                                                                       
200
Ye should take further pain
To resort again
To places where ye have preached,
And your lollardy learning teached,
And there to make relation
In open predication,
And knowledge your offence
Before open audience,
How falsely ye had surmised,
And devilishly devised                                                                                
210
The people to seduce,
And chase them through the
mews
Of your naughty counsel,
To hunt them into hell
With blowing out your horns,
Full of mockish scorns,
With chating and recheating,<28>
And your busy prating.
Of the gospel and the 'pistles
Ye pick out many thistles,                                                                             220
And
brimly with your bristles
Ye cobble and ye clout
Holy Scripture so about
That people are in doubt
And fear lest they be out
Of all good Christian order.
Thus all thing ye disorder
Throughout every border.

It had been much better
Ye had never learned letter,                                                                          230
For your ignorance is greater,
I make you fast and sure,
Than all your literature.
Ye are but
lither logici,<29>
But much worse isagogici,<30>
For ye have induced a sect
With heresy all infect;
Wherefore ye are well checked,
And by Holy Church correct,
And in manner as abject,                                                                               240
For evermore suspect,
And banished in effect
From all honest company,
Because ye have eaten a fly,
To your great villany,
That never more may die.

Come forth, ye pope-holy,
Full of melancholy;
Your mad hypocrisy,
And your idiocy,                                                                                           250
And your vainglory,
Have made you eat the fly,
Puffed full of heresy,
To preach it idolatry
Whoso doth magnify
That glorious maid Mary;
That glorious maid and mother,
So was there never another
But that princess alone,
To whom we are bound each one                                                                
260
The image of her grace
To reverence in every place.

I say, ye brainless beasts,
Why jangle you such jests,
In your divinity
Of Luther's affinity,
To the people of lay fee,<
31>
Railing in your rages
To worship none images,
Nor do pilgrimages?                                                                                      270
I say, ye devilish pages,
Full of such
dotages,
Count ye yourself good clerks,
And snapper in such works?

Saint Gregory and Saint Ambrose,
Ye have read them, I suppose,
Saint Jerome and Saint Austen,
With other many holy men,
Saint Thomas de Aquino,
With other doctors many mo,                                                                       280
Which de latria<
32> do treat;
They say how latria is an honour great
Belonging to the Deity:
To this ye needs must agree.

But, I trow, yourself ye oversee
What longeth to Christ's humanity.
If ye have read de hyperdulia,
Then ye know what betokeneth dulia:<33>
Then shall ye find it firm and stable,
And to our faith much agreeable,                                                                 290
To worship images of saints.
Wherefore make ye no more restraints,
But mend your minds that are mazed;
Or else doubtless ye shall be blazed,
And be
brent at a stake,
If further business that ye make.
Therefore I advise you to forsake
Of heresy the devilish schools,
And cry Godmercy, like frantic fools.

Tantum pro secundo. <34>

Peroratio ad nuper abjuratos quosdam hypotheticos hereticos, &c.<35>

Audite, viri Ismaelitae, non dico Israelitae;
Audite, inquam, viri Madianitae, Ascalonitae ;
Ammonitae, Gabaonitae, audite verba que loquar.
<36>

Opus evangelii est cibus perfectorum;
Sed quia non estis de genere bonorum,
Qui caterisatis categorias cacodaemoniorum,

Ergo

Et reliqua vestra problemata, schemata,
Dilemmata, sinto anathemata!
Ineluctabile argumentum est.
<37>

A confutation responsive, or an inevitably prepensed answer to all wayward or froward altercations that can or may be made or objected against Skelton Laureate, deviser of this Replication, &c.

Why fall ye at debate                                                                                    300
With Skelton Laureate,
Reputing him unable
To gainsay replicable
Opinions detestable
Of heresy execrable?

Ye say that poetry
May not fly so high
In theology,
Nor analogy,
Nor philology,                                                                                              
310
Nor philosophy,
To answer or reply
Against such heresy?

Wherefore by and by,
Now consequently,
I call to this reckoning
David, that royal king,
Whom Hieronymus,
That doctor glorious,
Doth both write and call                                                                              
320
Poet of poets all,
And prophet principal.

This may not be remorded,
For it is well recorded
In his epistle ad Paulinum,
Presbyterium divinum
,<38>
Where word for word ye may
Read what Jerome there doth say:

David, inquit, Simonides noster, Pindarus, et Alcaeus, Flaccus quoque, Catullus, atque Serenus, Christum lyra personat, et in decachordo psalterio ab inferis excitat resurgentem. Haec Hier. <39>

THE ENGLISH

King David the prophet, of prophets principal,
Of poets chief poet, Saint Jerome doth write,                                              330
Resembled to Simonides, that poet lyrical
Among the Greeks most relucent of light,
In that faculty which shined as Phoebus bright:
Like to Pindarus in glorious poetry,
Like unto Alcaeus, he doth him magnify.
Flaccus nor Catullus with him may not compare,
Nor solemn Serenus,<
40> for all his harmony
In metrical muses, his harping we may spare;
For David, our poet, harped so melodiously
Of our Saviour Christ in his decachord psaltery,                                          340
That at his resurrection he harped out of hell
Old patriarchs and prophets in heaven with him to dwell.

Return we to our former process.

Then, if this noble king
Thus can harp and sing
With his harp of prophecy
And spiritual poetry,
As Saint Jerome saith,
To whom we must give faith,
Warbling with his strings
Of such theological things,                                                                           350
Why have ye then disdain
At poets, and complain
How poets do but feign?

Ye do much great outrage,
For to disparage
And to discourage
The fame
matriculate
Of poets laureate.

For if ye sadly look,
And wisely read the Book                                                                            360
Of Good Advertisement,
With me ye must consent<
41>
And infallibly agree
Of necessity,
How there is a spiritual,
And a mysterial,
And a mystical
Effect energial,
As Greekes do it call,
Of such an industry,                                                                                      370
And such a pregnancy,
Of heavenly inspiration
In laureate creation,
Of poets commendation,
That of divine miseration
God maketh his habitation
In poets which excels,
And sojourns with them and dwells.

By whose inflammation
Of spiritual instigation                                                                                 
380
And divine inspiration
We are kindled in such fashion
With heat of the Holy Ghost
Which is God of mights most,
That he our pen doth lead,
And maketh in us such speed
That forthwith we must need
With pen and ink proceed,
Sometime for affection,
Sometime for sad direction,                                                                         
380
Sometime for correction,
Sometime under protection
Of patient sufferance,
With sober circumstance,
Our minds to advance
To no man's annoyance;
Therefore no grievance,
I pray you, for to take
In this that I do make
Against these frenetics,                                                                                
400
Against these lunatics,
Against these schismatics,
Against these heretics,
Now of late abjured,
Most unhappily
ured:
For be ye well-assured
That frenzy, nor jealously,
Nor heresy will never die.

Dixi
iniquis, Nolite inique agere; et delinquentibus, Nolite exaltare cornu.
<42>

Tantum pro tertio. <43>

De raritate poetarum, deque gymnosophistarum, philosophorum, theologorum, caeterorumque, eruditorum infinita numerositate, Skel. L. epitoma. <44>

Sunt infiniti, sunt innumerique sophistae,
Sunt infiniti, sunt innumerique logistae,
Innumeri sunt philosophi, sunt theologique,
Sunt infiniti doctores, suntque magistri
Innumeri; sed sunt pauci rarique poetae.
Hinc omne est rarum carum: reor ergo poetas
Ante alios omnes divino flamine flatos.
Sic Plato divinat, divinat sicque Socrates;
Sic magnus Macedo, sic Caesar, maximus heros
Romanus, celebres semper coluere poetas.
<45>

Thus endeth the Replication of Skel. L. &c.

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