1. This powerful and original poem must have been circulated in MS., probably for a considerable time, before it was given to the press; for from a passage towards the conclusion, v. 1239, we learn that those against whom its satire was directed would not "suffer it to be printed." In Colyn Cloute, Skelton appears to have commenced his attacks on Wolsey.
"I could never conceive, Mr. Warton, to what Drayton alludes, in the preface to his Eclogues, where he says, that 'the Colyn Cloute of SCOGAN, under Henry the Seventh, is pretty.' He is speaking of pastoral poetry; and adds that Barklays ship of fools hath twenty wiser in it.' You somewhere say [Hist. of E. P. iii. 76, note, ed. 4to], 'he must mean SKELTON; but what PASTORAL did HE write?" Ritson's Obs. on Warton's Hist. of E. P., p. 20 (note); see too his Bibl. Poet., p. 99. I believe that Drayton did mean Skelton. Colyn Cloute is surely as much a pastoral as Barclay's Ship of Fooles,—as much perhaps as even Barclay's Egloges.
2. Quis consurget mecum adversus malignantes? Aut quis stabit mecum adversus operantes iniquitatem? Nemo, Domine!] "Who will rise up with me against evil-doers? or who will stand up with me against the workers of iniquity? No one, O Lord!" Vulg. Psal. xciii. 16.
3. What can it avail
To drive forth a snail] So in Gentleness and Nobility, n. d. (attributed without grounds to Heywood);
"In effect it shall no more avail
Than with a whip to drive a snail."
Sig. C ii.
4. He prieth and he peeketh] "I peek or I pry." Palsgrave p.655. So Gascoigne;
"That other pries and peeks in every place."
The Steel Glass, fol. 301,—Works, ed. 1587.
5. The devil, they say, is dead] Heywood has six Epigrams on this proverbial expression,—Works, sig. N 2. ed. 1598. Ray gives, "Heigh ho, the Devil is dead." Proverbs, p. 55. ed. 1768.
6. conning bag] i.e. bag, store, of knowledge or learning.
7. hag] See note 12 to Divers Ballads and Ditties Solacious.
8. though my rhyme be ragged] So Sir D. Lynd say; "my rural ragged verse." Prol. to Monarchy,—Works, ii. 330 ed Chalmers; and Spenser, "My ragged rhymes." F. Queene, xii. 23.
9. a mumming] Compare our author elsewhere;
"Men of such matters make but a mumming."
Garland of Laurel, v. 200.
"There was among them no word then but mum."
Id. v. 1118
"But play silence and glum,
Can say nothing but mum."
v. 906 of the present poem.
10. the forked cap] i.e. the mitre.
"No wise man is desirous to obtain
The forked cap without he worthy be."
Barclay's Ship of Fools, fol. 236. ed. 1570.
11. For other men's skill]—skill, i.e. reason: the line seems to mean—Notwithstanding other men's reasons.
12. ire and venire] "come and go."
13. solfa so alamire]—alamire is the lowest note but one in Guido Aretine's scale of music: Gayton, in his Notes upon Don Quixote, 1654, says (metaphorically) that Maritornes "played her part so well, that she run through all the keys from A-la-mi-re to double Gammut," &c. p. 83.
14. But thus the people bark;] So MS. Eds. have "carke." Qy. "carp?" Compare v 542.
15. A great part is for sloth,
But the greatest part
Is they have little art
And right slender conning
Within their heads wonning.] slender conning, i.e. slender knowledge, learning: wonning, i. e dwelling. The meaning of the passage is—a great part of this is owing to their laziness, but it is chiefly to be attributed to their ignorance, &c.
16. Ure] i.e. Uriah.
17. loth to hang the bell
About the cat's neck] So Heywood;
"And I will hang the bell about the cat's neck:
For I will first break and jeopard the first check."
Dialogue, &c. sig. D 3,—Works, ed. 1598.
See Piers Plowman, where one of the rats proposes that a bell should be hung about the cat's neck. Sig. A ed. 1561; and Ray's Proverbs, p. 85. ed. 1768.
18. to play deuz deck] An allusion, I suppose, to some game.
19. for the beck] i.e. to obey the nod of command.
20. manum mittit ad fortia,
Spernit damna, spernit opprobria,
Nulla Thomam frangit injuria.] "He puts his hand to braver things, spurns loss, spurns dishonour, no damage can break Thomas."
21. Shoe the mockish mare] So in our author's Why come ye not to Court;
"And Mock hath lost her shoe."
22. not worth a leek] An expression not uncommon in our early poetry:
No fellow worth ane leek."
G. Douglas's King Hart—Pinkerton's An. Scot. Poems from Maitl. MSS. i. 42.
"Such love I price not at a leek."
23. Amend whan ye may,
For, usque ad montem Sare,
Men say ye can not appare] usque ad montem Sare, i.e. "even as far as
24. hawk on hobby larks] i.e. catch larks (i.e. girls) like hobbies, or hawks. See also notes 124 and 151 to Magnificence.
25. The gray gose for to shoe] Hoccleve uses this proverbial expression;
"Ye meddle of all thing, ye mote shoe the goose."
Poems, p. 13. ed. 1796.
and Heywood has the following Epigram;
"Of common meddlers.
He that meddleth with all thing, may shoe the gosling.
If all such meddlers were set to goose shoeing,
No goose need go barefoot between this and
For so we should have as many goose shoers as geese."
Sig. P 2,—Works, ed. 1598.
See also Davies's Scourge of Folly (Proverbs), n. d. p. 175.
26. Your gorge not endewed
Without a capon &c.] Equivalent to—You not digesting any thing except, &c. "She (the hawk) endueth when her meat in her bowels falleth to digestion."—Book of St. Albans, by Juliana Berners, sig. C. iii. "The gorge is that part of the hawk which first receiveth the meat, and is called the Craw or Crop in other fowls."—Latham's Falconry (Explan. of words of art,) 1658.
27. a stewed cock] Compare the following passage in the Interlude of the iiii Elements, n. d.;
"Taverner. Though all capons be gone, what then?
Yet I can get you a stewed hen
That is ready dight.
Humanity. If she be fat it will do well.
Taverner. Fat or lean I cannot tell,
But as for this, I wot well
She lay at the stews all night."
Sig. B. vi.
28. To know what is o'clock
Under her surfled smock] Compare Heywood's Dialogue, &c.;
"Howbeit suddenly she minded on a day,
To pick the chest lock, wherein this bagge lay:
. . . .
But straight as she had forthwith opened the lock,
And looked in the bag, what it was o'clock," &c.
Sig. K 3,—Works, ed. 1598.
In our author's Garland of Laurel we find,
"With burrs rough and buttons surfling."
which is cited (Dict. in v. Surfel) by Richardson, who, after quoting from Gifford that "To surphule or surfel the cheeks, is to wash them with mercurial or sulphur water," &c., adds that Gifford's "explanation does not extend to the passage from Skelton." The fact seems to be that Skelton uses surfle for purfle, i.e. border, embroider: and I may notice that Brathwait, on the other hand, seems to employ purfle for surfle;
"With painting, purfling, and a face of Art."
A Strappado for the Devil, 1615, p. 150.
29. And how when ye give orders
In your provincial borders,
As at Sitientes,
Some are insufficientes,
Some parum sapientes,
Some nihil intelligentes,
Some valde negligentes,
Some nullum sensum habentes,] Sitientes ("those who thirst") is the first word of the Introit of the Mass for Passion Sunday —"Sitientes, venite ad aquas, dicit Dominus," &c., ("All you that thirst, come to the waters") Isaiah lv. 1. For this note I am indebted to W. Dyce, Esq., who further observes that Sitientes Saturday was of old, and is now abroad, the Saturday before Passion Sunday.
insufficientes i.e. "defective"
parum sapientes i.e. "having little wisdom"
nihil intelligentes i.e. "no intelligence"
valde negligentes i.e. "very negligent"
nullum sensum habentes i.e. "having no sense"
30. But when they have once caught
Dominus vobiscum by the head] Dominus vobiscum i.e. "The Lord be with you", a phrase from the
31. run they in every stead] i.e. run they in every place.
32. primes and hours] i.e. the devotions so named
33. vagabundus] i.e. vagabonds.
34. Totus Mundus] "All the world"
35. Laetabundus] The Sequence from the Mass for Christmas Day.
36. welcome hake and make] An expression which I have not elsewhere met with. Ray gives among
"With Bess and Nell we love to dwell,
In kissing and in haking."
—make is common in the sense of—mate, companion
37. Cum ipsis vel illis
Qui manent in villis
Est uxor vel ancilla] "With those very people (i.e. bishops) who live in villas is a wife or a maid."
38. Dominus vobiscum] "The Lord be with you"
39. Tom a thrum] See note 57 to Poems against Garnesche.
40 There shall no clergy appose
A mitre nor a crose,
But a full purse:]—clergy, i.e. erudition.
"Androgeus by king Mynos was sent,
For he should profit in clergy,
Lydgate's Fall of Princes, B. i. leaf xii. ed. Wayland.
Appose seems to be used in a different sense from that in which we have just had it (v. 267), and to be equivalent to—procure.
41. Over this, the foresaid lay] i.e besides this, the above-mentioned laity.
42. To ride upon a mule
With gold all betrapped] Perhaps, as Warton thinks (note on Hist. of E. P., ii. 347. ed. 4to), an allusion to Wolsey: afterwards in this poem, the Cardinal appears to be pointed at more plainly.
43. purple and pall] An expression which frequently occurs, more particularly in ballad poetry (considered by Percy and others as equivalent to—purple robe):
44. Tabards] Jackets or coats, without sleeves, close before and behind, and open at the sides, are still worn by heralds: but those mentioned in the text were longer,—a sort of riding-cloaks. "Tabard, a garment, manteau." Palsgrave, p. 278. And see Du Cange's Gloss. in v. Tabartum: Roquefort's Gloss. in v. Tabar; and Strutt's Dress and Habits, &c, ii. 301.
45. Their stirrups of mixed gold begared] The line, I suspect, ought to stand,—
"Their stirrups with gold begared."
46. What care they though Gil sweat,
Or Jack of the Noke] So afterwards, v. 857, the same terms are used to signify the labouring poor of both sexes. Jack of the Noke, i.e. (I suppose) Jack of the Nook: see "Nocata terrae" in Cowel's Law Dictionary, &c. ed. 1727.
47. Ware] MS "wasa".
48. Like princes aquilonis] i.e. like so many Lucifers.
49. For prests and for loans]—prests, i.e. sums in advance. "Prest and loan," Sir H. Nicolas observes to me, "seem to have been used in nearly, if not precisely, the same sense in the 16th century. Perhaps, strictly, prest meant a compulsory advance. In fiscal records it has much the meaning of charge or imprest."
50. Tenure par service de sottage,
And not par service de socage,] "held for being dolts and not as payment for labour done." (PH)
52. In secula seculorum] "For ever and ever"
53. vagabundare per forum] "To wander through the market-place."
54. And take a fine meritorum,
Contra regulam morum,
Aut black monachorum,
Aut crucifixorum] "To beg, or work for money, contrary to the rule of the order, either of the black friars (Dominicans), or of the (Augustinian) Canons, or of the Benedictines, or of the Cistercians."
55. fuck-sails] So in a copy of verses attributed to
"The dust upscales, many fillock with fuck sails."
Poems, ii. 27. ed. Laing.
and in another by Sir R. Maitland;
"Of finest cambric their fuck sails."
Anc. Scot. Poems from Maitland MSS., ii. 326. ed. Pink.
Focksegel, a foresail, German. In the Expenses of Sir John Howard, first Duke of Norfolk, we find, "Item, the same day my master paid to the said Clayson, for a fuck mast for the said caravel, iijs. iiijd." Manners and Household Expenses of England, &c., p.206. ed. Roxb.
56. The lay fee people] i.e. the laity: see note 31 to A Replication, &c.
57. titivils] This word occurs not unfrequently, and with some variety of spelling, in our early writers. So Lydgate;
"Tytyvylles tyrants with tormentors."
Le Assemble de dyeus, sig. c i. n. d. 4to.
"There is no mo such titifyls in
To hold with the hare, and run with the hound."
Dialogue, &c. sig. C,—Works, ed. 1598.
Some have considered the word as derived from the Latin, titivilitium, a thing of no worth. Jamieson "suspects that it is a personal designation," Et. Dict. of Scot. Lang. in v. Tutivillaris. In Juditium, Towneley Mysteries, p. 310, Tutivillus is a fiend; and in the Moral Play of Mankind he represents the sin of the flesh, Hist. of
58. Of an abbey ye make a grange] A proverbial expression.
"Our changes are such that an abbey turneth to a grange."
Bale's King John, p. 23. Camd. ed.
"To bring an Abbey to a Grange." Ray's Proverbs, p. 174. ed. 1768.
59. in deliciis,
In gloria et divitiis,
In admirabili honore,
In gloria et splendore
Viventes parum caste:] "in luxury, in glory and riches, in amazing state, in glory and the brightness of a glittering spear, living unchastely." splendore Fulgurantis hastae - From the Vulgate. "Ibunt in splendore fulgurantis hastae tuae." ("They shall go in the brightness of thy glittering spear") Habac. iii. 11. "Et micantis gladii, et fulgurantis hastae." ("And of the shining sword, and of the glittering spear") Nahum, iii. 3.
60. Gloria, laus] "Glory, praise."
61. Hippocras] Was a favourite medicated drink, composed of wine (usually red), with spices and sugar. It is generally supposed to have been so named from Hippocrates; perhaps because it was strained,—the woollen bag used by apothecaries to strain syrups and decoctions for clarification being termed Hippocrates's sleeve.
62. Let the cat wink] See note 41 to The Tunning of Elynour Rumming.
63. per assimile] "Similarly"
64. In Ariete] in the astrological house of Aries.
65. Ascendant a degree] This passage seems to be corrupted. MS. "Assendente a dextre:" (and compare the Lansdown MS quoted below, note 65.)
66 A fatal fall of one] Here Skelton seems to allude to Wolsey; and from these lines (called in the Lansdown MS., "The prophecy of Skelton" perhaps originated the story of our poet having prophesied the downfall of the Cardinal.
67. And let Colyn Cloute have none] MS. has "alone;" and omits the seventy-eight lines which follow. Among the Lansdown MSS. (762. Fol. 75) I find the subjoined fragment:
Some men think that ye
Shall have penalty
For your iniquity
Note well what to say
If it please thee not only
It is good for astrology
For Ptolemy told me
The sun sometime to be
In a sign called Ariotte [i.e. Aries]
Assendam ad dextram ["rising in the east"]
When Scorpio is descending
Effectual fall of one [i.e Wolsey]
That sits now on throne
And rules all thing alone.
Your teeth whet on this bone
Among you everichon
And let Colyn Cloute alone
The Prophecy of Skelton*
(*The name originally written "Skylton.")
68. foretop] i.e. (as the context shows) simply,—head, pate.
69. But their malignities] Qy. by their malignities?
70. And some have a smack
Of Luther's sack] Concerning the wine called sack (about which so much has been written) see
71. Called Wicliffista] Followers of John Wycliffe.
72. Hussians] i.e. Hussites, followers of Jan Huss.
73. How the Church hath too mickle &c.] This passage in MS. stands thus:
"Some say holy church have too mickle
Some say the have trialities
And some say they bring pluralities
And qualify qualities
and also tot-quot
They talk like sots
Making many outcries
That they cannot keep their wives
and thus the losels strives."
74. tot-quot] A tot-quot is a dispensation to hold any number of benefices. So Barclay;
"Then if this lord have in him favour, he hath hope
To have another benefice of greater dignity,
And so maketh a false suggestion to the pope
For a tot-quot, or else a plurality."
Ship of Fools, fol. 60. ed. 1570.
75. dykes] i.e. ditches.
"Where the blind leadeth the blind, both fall in the dyke."
Heywood's Dialogue, &c.-Works, ed. 1598, sig. G 2.
76. De Terra] "Of the land of"
77. Many one ye have untwined] The reading of the MS., which at least gives a sense to the line; untwined, i.e. destroyed; see note 27 to Philip Sparrow.
78. qui se existimat stare] "Who thinketh he standeth" (1 Cor. x. 12)
79. in the devil way] A common expression in our early writers.
"Our Host answerd; Tell on a devil way."
Chaucer's Miller's Prol., v. 3136. ed. Tyr.
"In the twenty devil way, Au nom du grant diable." Palsgrave, p. 838. "What reason is that, in the twenty devil way, that he should bear such a rule? Quaenam (malum) ratio est," &c. Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. dd iii. ed. 1530.
80. aures patentes] "open ears"
81. parum intendentes] "Too little hearing"
82. Adulator] "Sycophant"
83. Assentator] "Yes-man"
84. Blandior blandiris] "I flatter, you flatter"
85. Mentior mentiris] "I lie, you lie"
86. Ye bishops of estates]—of estates, i.e. of great estate, rank, dignity.
87. The Church's high estates] i.e. the dignitaries of the Church.
88. res certa] A certain fact.
89. of the order
Called Observance] The statement that Edward the Third founded a religious house at
90. Babwell beside Bury] When by an order of Pope Urban the Fourth, the Grey Friars were removed out of the town and jurisdiction of Bury St. Edmund, in 1263, "they retired to a place just without the bounds, beyond the north gate, called Babwell, now the Toll-gate, which the abbot and convent generously gave them to build on; and here, they continued till the dissolution." Tanner's Not. Mon. p. 527. ed. 1744.
91) To postil upon a Kyrie] i.e. to comment upon a Kyrie eleison ("Lord, have mercy", a prayer in the Mass) A postil is a short gloss or note.
92. And make a Welshman's hose
Of the text and of the glose] So again our author in his Garland of Laurel;
"And after conveyance as the world goes,
It is no folly to use the Welshman's hose."
Compare The Legend of the Bishop of St. Andrew's;
"Of omnigatherene now his glose,
He made it like a Welshman's hose."
Scot. Poems of the Sixteenth Century, (by Dalzell), p. 332.
"WELSHMAN'S HOSE. Equivalent, I imagine, to the breeches of a Highlander, or the dress of a naked Pict; upon the presumption that Welshmen had no hose." Nares's Gloss. in v. Unfortunately, however, for this ingenious conjecture, the expression is found varied to "shipman's hose,"—which certainly cannot be considered as a non-entity. "Hereunto they add also a Similitude not very agreeable, how the Scriptures be like to a Nose of Wax, or a Shipman's Hose: how they may be fashioned, and plied all manner of ways, and serve all men's turn's." Jewel's Defence of the Apology, &c. p. 465. ed. 1567. "And not made as a shipman's hose to serve for every leg."
93. Parum litteratus,
Dominus doctoratus] "Professor with a doctorate, little literate."
94. the Broad Gatus] Means, perhaps, Broadgates Hall,
95. Dawpatus] i.e. Simple-pate: see note 25 to The Bowge of Court.
96. Drunken as a mouse] So Chaucer;
"We faren as he that drunk is as a mouse."
The Knight's Tale, v. 1263. ed. Tyr.
97. his pillion and his cap] pillion, from Lat. Pileus ("A brimless felt hat or cap"). "Hic pilleus est ornamentum capitis sacerdotis vel graduati, Anglice a hure or a pillion." ("This pilleus is an ornamental headdress of priests and graduates, called in English a hure or pillion.") Halliwell, Dict. Compare Barclay;
"Mercury shall give thee gifts manifold,
His pillion, scepter, his wings, and his harp."
Fourth Egloge, sig. C iiii. ed. 1570.
98. As wise as
"And think me as wise as Walthams calf, to talk," &c.
Dialogue, &c. sig. F 3,—Works, ed. 1598.
Ray gives, "As wise as
99. a God's half] i.e. for God's sake. See note 64 to The Tunning of Elynour Rumming.
100. syllogisare] "Argue by syllogism"
101. enthymemare] "Construct an enthymeme (i.e. A rhetorical and impressive (but perhaps dubious) argument)
102. Semper protestando
De non impugnando] "Always protesting about not attacking"
103. Flattering, &c.] Compare Barclay;
We give wool and cheese, our wives coin and eggs,
When friars flatter and praise their proper legs."
Fifth Egloge, sig. D v. ed. 1570.
104. their tongues file]—file, i.e. smooth, polish: the expression occurs in earlier and in much later writers.
105. To Margery and to Maud,
How they have no fraud] As we find the name "Mawte" in our author's Elynour Rumming, v. 159 , and as in the second of these lines the MS. has "fawte "(i.e. fault), the right reading is probably,
"To Margery and to Maud,
How they have no fault
106. Jill and Jack at Noke] See note 46 above.
107. Some walk about in melottes] "Circuierunt in melotis." Vulgate,—Heb. xi. 37. "Melotes," as
108. in remotes] i.e. in retired places.
109. Sed libera nos a malo] "but deliver us from evil"–from the Lord's Prayer
110. And by Dudum, their Clementine,
Against curates they repine;
And say properly they are sacerdotes,
To shrive, assoile, and release
Dame Margery's soul out of hell] sacerdotes, i.e. priests. "On a de Clement V une compilation nouvelle, tant des décrets du concile général de
. . . .
Statuimus etiam & ordinamus auctoritate praedicta, ut in singulis civitatibus & diocesibus, in quibus loca fratrum ipsorum consistere dignoscuntur, vel in civitatibus & diocesibus locis ipsis vicinis, in quibus loca huiusmodi non habentur, Magistri, Priores provinciales Praedicatorum, aut eorum Vicarii & Generales, et Provinciales Ministri & custodes Minorum & ordinum dictorum ad praesentiam Praelatorum eorundem locorum se conferant per se, vel per fratres, quos ad hoc idoneos fore putaverint, humiliter petituri, ut fratres, qui ad hoc electi fuerint, in eorum civitatibus & diocesibus confessiones subditorum suorum confiteri sibi volentium audire libere valeant, & huiusmodi confitentibus (prout secundam Deum expedire cognoverint) penitentias imponere salutares, atque eisdem absolutionis beneficium impendere de licentia, gratia, & beneplacito eorundem: Ac deinde praefati Magistri, Priores, Provinciales, & Ministri ordinum praedictorum eligere studeant personas sufficientes, idoneas, vita probatas, discretas, modestas, atque peritas, ad tam salubre min isterium et officiurn exequendum: quas sic ab ipsis electas repraesentent, vel faciant praesentari Praelatis, ut de eorum licentia, gratia, & beneplacito in civitatibus & diocesibus eorundem huiusmodi personae sic electae confessiones confiteri sibi volentium audiant, imponant penitentias salutares, & beneficium absolutionis (in posterum) impendant, prout superius est expressum: extra civitates & dioceses, in quibus fuerint deputatae, per quas eas volumus & non per provincias deputari, confessiones nullatenus auditurae. Numerus autem personarum assumendarum ad huiusmodi officium exercendum esse debet, prout universitas cleri & populi, ac multitudo vel paucitas exigit eorundem. Et si iidem Praelati petitam licentiam confessionum huius modi audiendarum concesserint: illam praefati Magistri, Ministri, & alii cum gratiarum recipiant actione, dictaeque personae sic electae commissum sibi officium exequantur. Quod si forte iam dicti Praelati quenquam ex dictis fratribus prasentatis eisdem ad huiusmodi officium nollent habere, vel non ducerent admittendum: eo amoto, vel subtracto loco ipsius similiter eisdem prasentandus Praelatis possit, & debeat alius surrogari. Si vero iidem Praelati praefatis fratribus ad confessiones (ut praemittitur) audiendas electis, huius modi exhibere licentiam recusarint, nos ex nunc ipsis, ut confessiones sibi confiteri volentium libere liciteque audire valeant, & eisdem penitentias imponere salutares, atque eisdem beneficium absolutionis impertiri, gratiose concedimus de plenitudine Apostolica potestatis. Per huiusmodi autem concessionem nequaquam intendimus personis, seu fratribus ipsis ad id taliter deputatis, potestatem in hoc impendere ampliorem quam in eo curatis vel parochialibus Sacerdotibus est a iure concessa: nisi forsan eis Ecclesiarum Praelati uberiorem in hac parte gratiam specialiter ducerent faciendam." Pp. 184-190. (Decret. tom. iii. ed. 1600.)
111. But when the friar fell in the well,
He could not sing himself thereout
But by the help of Christian Clout] The name "Christian Clout" has occurred before in our author's Mannerly Margery Milk and Ale, v. 6. The story alluded to in this passage appears to be nearly the same as that which is related in a comparatively modern ballad, entitled,
"The Friar Well fitted: or, A Pretty Jest that once befel,
How a Maid put a Friar to cool in the Well.
To a merry new Tune. Licens'd and Enter'd according to Order."
The Friar wishes to seduce the Maid;
"But she denied his Desire,
And told him, that she feared Hell-fire;
fa, la, &c.
Tush, (quoth the Friar) thou needst not doubt,
fa, la, &c.
If thou wert in Hell, I could sing thee out;
fa, la, &c.
The Maid then tells him that he "shall have his request," but only on condition that be brings her "an angel of money." While he is absent, "She hung a Cloth before the Well;" and, when he has returned, and given her the angel,—
"Oh stay, (quoth she) some Respite make,
My Father comes, he will me take;
fa, la, &c.
Alas, (quoth the Friar) where shall I run,
fa, la, &c.
To hide me till that he be gone?
fa, la, &c.
Behind the Cloth run thou (quoth she),
And there my Father cannot thee see;
fa, la, &c.
Behind the Cloth the Friar crept,
fa, la, &c.
And into the Well on sudden he leapt,
fa, la, &c.
Alas, (quoth he) I am in the Well;
No matter, (quoth she) if thou wert in Hell;
fa, la, &c.
Thou say'st thou could'st sing me out of Hell,
fa, la, &c.
Now prithee sing thyself out of the Well,
fa, la, &c."
The Maid at last helps him out, and bids him be gone; but when he asks her to give him back the angel,—
"Good Sir, (said she) there's no such matter,
I'll make you pay for fouling my Water;
fa, la, &c.
The Friar went along the Street,
fa, la, &c.
Dripping wet, like a new-wash'd Sheep,
fa, la, &c.
Both Old and Young commended the Maid,
That such a witty Prank had played;
fa, la, la, la, la,
fa, la, la, lang-tree down-dilly."
Ballads, Brit. Mus. 643. m.
112. Another Clementine also,
How friar Fabian, with other mo,
Exivit de Paradiso;] Exivit de Paradiso – "Went out from
"Another Clementine how friar faby and mo
There seems to be an allusion to Clement. lib. v. tit. xi. cap. i., which begins, "Exivi de paradiso, dixi, rigabo hortum plantationum, ait ille coelestis agricola," ("'I came out from paradise,' he said; 'I will water the plants in the garden,' said that heavenly farmer.") &c. p. 313. (Decret. tom. iii. ed. 1600).
113. De hoc petimus consilium] "Of this we seek counsel."
114. Dirige and Placebo] The first words respectively of the Matins and Vespers services for the dead.
115. play silence and glum
Can say nothing but mum.] See note 9 above.
116. paints] i.e. feigns. See note 70 to The Tunning of Elynour Rumming.
117. cross] i.e. coin. See note 40 to The Bowge of Court.
118. palls] See note 43 above
120. tirly tirlow] This passage was strangely misunderstood by the late Mr. Douce, who thought that "tirly tirlow" alluded to the note of the crow, that bird being mentioned in the preceding line! Illust. of Shakespeare, i. 353. The expression has occurred before, in our author's Elynour Rumming, v. 292; here it is equivalent to the modern fa, la, la, which is often used with a sly or wanton allusion,-as, for instance, at the end of each stanza of Pope's court-ballad, The Challenge.
121. a lege de moy] See note 71 to The Tunning of Elynour Rumming.
122. With such stories bedene]–bedene, that is, "by the dozen," says Warton, erroneously, quoting this passage, Hist. of E. P., ii. 343. ed. 4to (note). The word occurs frequently in our early poetry, with different significations: here it may be explained—together—(with a collection of such stories); so in The World and the Child, 1522;
"Now Christ . . .
Save all this company that is gathered here bedene."
Sig. C iiii.
123. Their chambers well beseen]—well beseen, i.e. of a good appearance,—well-furnished, or adorned.
124. Now all the world stares, &c.] "This is still," as Warton observes (Hist. of E. P., ii. 343. ed. 4to, note), "a description of tapestry."
125. estate] i.e. high rank, dignity.
126. Their chambers thus to dress
With such parfitness]—parfitness, i.e. perfectness. "We should observe," says Warton, after citing the passage, "that the satire is here pointed at the subject of these tapestries. The graver ecclesiastics, who did not follow the levities of the world, were contented with religious subjects, or such as were merely historical." Hist. of E. P., ii. 344. ed. 4to.
127. For one man to rule a king] An allusion, I apprehend, to Wolsey's influence over Henry the Eighth: so again our author speaking of Wolsey, in some Latin lines at the end of Why Come ye not to Court, "Qui regnum regemque regit." ("Who rules the realm and the king") (Not in this edition). I may observe too, in further confirmation of the reading "King" instead of "ging" [Kele's ed.], that we have had, in an earlier passage of the present poem,
"To rule both king and kayser."
128. Cum regibus amicare,
Et omnibus dominari,
Et supra te pravare.] "To be friendly with kings, and to rule all things, and to tyrannise." "Amico, to befriend." Medulla Gramatice, MS. (now in the possession of Mr. Rodd.). Pravare–In Ortus Vocab. fol. ed. W. de Worde, n. d., is "Pravo . . . pravum facere, or to shrew," and "Tirannus. shrew or tyrant." The meaning therefore of pravare in our text may be—to play the tyrant.
129. eure] "Eur, hap or luck, with his compounds bonheur and malheur," &c. Palsgrave, p. 166.
"My goddess bright, my fortune, and my eure."
Chaucer's Court of Loue, fol. 330, Works, ed. 1602.
"The grace and eure and hap of old fortune."
Lydgate's Wars of
"But wait his death & his fatal eure."
"And fortune which hath the such eure y-sent."
Poems by C. Duke of
130. played so checkmate] In allusion to the king's being put in cheek at the game of chess.
131. at the pleasure of one, &c.] Meaning, surely, Wolsey.
132. not so hardy on his head] An elliptical expression; compare "Not so hardy on their pates!" v. 1154. In the Morte d'Arthur when Bors is on the point of slaying King Arthur, "Not so hardy, said Sir Launcelot, upon pain of thy head, &c." B. xx. c. xiii. vol. ii. 411. ed. Southey.
133. To look on God in form of bread] A not unfrequent expression in our early writers.
"When I sacred our Lord's body,
Christ Jesu in form of bread."
The Life of Saint Gregory's Mother, n. d. sig. A v.
See too Ritson's An. Pop. Poetry, p. 84; and Hartshorne's An. Met. Tales, p. 134.
134. this] Perhaps for—thus; Skelton, elsewhere, like many of our old poets, uses this for thus; as in Ware the Hawk;
Where Christ's precious blood
Daily offered is,
To be polluted this"
135. debetis scire] "You ought to know."
136. audire] "To hear."
137. convenire] "To confer together."
138. mooting] "Certamen . . . anglice flyting chiding or mooting." Ortus Vocab. fol. ed. IV. de Worde, n. d.
139. to be gramed] i.e. to be angered: gramed is doubtless the right reading here, though the eds. have "greued" and the MS. "grevyd"—(grame has already occurred in Magnificence, v. 1864.
140. Not so hardy on their pates] See note 132 above.
141. Sir Guy of Gaunt] See note 81 to Philip Sparrow
142. doctor Deuce-ace] See note 12 to Against a Comely Custron
143. Saint Mary Spital] In Bishopsgate Ward: see
144. set not by us a whistle] i.e. value us not at a whistle, care not a whistle for us. Compare Lydgate;
"For he set not by his wrath a whistle."
The prohemy of a marriage, &c.,—MS. Harl. 372. fol. 45.
147. reason or skill] See note 14 to Magnificence.
148. the right of a ram's horn] An expression which our author has again in Speak, Parrot, v. 498. So in a metrical fragment, temp. Edward ii.;
"As right as ram's horn."
Reliquae Antiquae (by Wright and Halliwell), ii. 19.
And Lydgate has a copy of verses, the burden of which is,
"Conveyed by line right as a ram's horn."
MS. Harl. 172. fol. 71.
See too Ray's Proverbs, p. 225. ed. 1768.
149. Isaias] According to a Jewish tradition, Isaiah was cut in two with a wooden saw by order of King Manasseh.
150. cough, rough, or snivel]—rough, i.e., perhaps, rout, snore, snort. I may just observe that Palsgrave not only gives "rowte" in that sense, but also "I Rowte, I belch as one doth that voideth wind out of his stomach, Je roucte," (p. 695.) and that Coles has "To rout, Crepo, pedo." (to belch, fart") Dict.
151. set not a nut-shell] i.e. value not at a nut-shell, care not a nut-shell for.
152. said sayne] A sort of pleonastic expression,—equivalent to—called commonly or proverbially. See also in v. 864 "an old said saw".
153. great estates] i.e. persons of great estate, or rank.
154. far] i.e. farther:
"I will no far mell."
Gentleness and Nobility, n. d. (attributed without grounds to Heywood) sig C.
155. the porte salu] i.e. the safe port. Skelton has the term again in his Garland of Laurel, v. 541. Compare Hoccleve;
"whether our taill
Shall soon make us with our ships sail
To port salu." Poems, p. 61. ed. 1796,—
where the editor observes, "Port salut was a kind of proverbial expression, and so used in the translation of
156. In opere imperfecto,
In opere semper perfecto,
Et in opere plusquam perfecto] "In an imperfect work, in a work always perfect, and in a work more than perfect." (PH)
157. Colinus Cloutus &c.] "Colyn Cloute, though many of my songs . . . [second and third lines unintelligible (but see below)] Whence it concerns me so much the less, although the envious tongue prepares to hurt, because, although I sing of rustic things, yet I shall be sung about on all sides, and everywhere shall be celebrated, so long as the glorious nglish race remains. The laurel of honour, once the queen of possessions and the glory of kings, alas! now decays and rots and grows languid and torpid! Ah, the shame! ah, the pity! Here I am forbidden, for groaning and tears, to speak more. I pray the rewards may exceed the punishment." (PH)
These verses, not in eds., follow the poem of Colyn Cloute in the Harleian MS. The corruptions in the second and third lines (distinguished by Roman letter) have baffled the ingenuity of the several scholars to whom I submitted them.
A reviewer in the Gentleman's Magazine (Sept. 1844, p.246,) would cure this corrupted passage as follows:
Colinus Cloutus, quanquam mea carmina multis
Sordescunt stultus, sed paucis sunt data cultis,
Paucis ante alios divino flamine flatis.
("Colyn Cloute, though many of my songs seem filthy to fools, it is given however to a few cultivated persons, to tell the few inspired words from the farts")