John Skelton - THE DOUGHTY DUKE OF ALBANY

THE DOUGHTY DUKE OF ALBANY

[From Marshe's ed. of Skelton's Works, 1568.]

HOW THE DOUGHTY DUKE OF ALBANY, LIKE A COWARD KNIGHT, RAN AWAY SHAMEFULLY, WITH AN HUNDRED THOUSAND TRATTLING SCOTS AND FAINT-HEARTED FRENCHMEN, BESIDE THE WATER OF TWEED.

<1>

Rejoice, England,
And understand
These tidings new,
Which be as true
As the gospel:
This duke so fell
Of Albany,
So cowardly,
With all his host
Of the Scottish coast, 10
For all their boast,
Fled like a beast;
Wherefore to jest
Is my delight
Of this coward knight,
And for to write
In the despite
Of the Scots' rank
Of Huntley bank,<
>
Of Lothian, 20
Of Loch Ryan,
And the ragged
ray<3>
Of Galloway.

Dunbar, Dundee,
Ye shall trow me,
False Scots are ye:
Your hearts sore fainted,
And so attainted,<4>
Like cowards stark,
At the castle of Wark, 30
By the water of Tweed,
Ye had evil speed;
Like cankered curs,
Ye lost your spurs,
For in that fray
Ye ran away,
With, hey, dog, hey!<
5>
For Sir William Lyle<6>
Within short while,
That valiant knight, 40
Put you to flight;
By his valiance
Two thousand of France
There he put back,
To your great
lack,
And utter shame
Of your Scottish name.
Your chief chieftain,
Void of all brain,
Duke of all Albany, 50
Then shamefully
He
reculed back,
To his great lack,
When he heard tell
That my Lord Admiral<7>
Was coming down
To make him frown
And to make him lour,
With the noble power
Of my lord cardinal, 60
As an host royal,
After the ancient manner,
With Saint Cuthbert's banner,<
8>
And Saint William's also;
Your captain ran to go,
To go, to go, to go,
And brake up all his host;
For all his crake and boast,
Like a coward knight
He fled and durst not fight, 70
He ran away by night.

But now must I
Your Duke
ascry
Of Albany
With a word or twain
In sentence plain.

Ye duke so doughty,
So stern, so stouty,
In short sentence, 80
Of your pretence
What is the ground,
Briefly and round
To me expound,
Or else will I
Evidently
Shew as it is;
For the cause is this,
How ye pretend
For to defend
The young Scottish king,
90
But ye mean a thing,<
9>
An ye could bring
The matter about,
To put his eyes out
And put him down,
And set his crown
On your own head
When he were dead.
Such treachery
And traitory 100
Is all your
cast;
Thus ye have compassed
With the French king
A false reckoning
To invade England,
As I understand:
But our king royall,
Whose name over all,
Noble Henry the Eight,
Shall cast a bight,<10> 110
And set such a snare
That shall cast you in care,
Both King Francis and thee,
That know ye shall be
For the most
recrayed
Cowards afraid,
And falsest forsworn,
That ever were born.

O ye wretched Scots,
Ye puant piss pots, 120
It shall be your lots
To be knit up with knots
Of halters and ropes
About your traitors' throats!
O Scots perjured,
Unhappy
ured,
Ye may be assured
Your falsehood discured
It is and shall be
From the Scottish sea 130
Unto Gabione!
For ye be false each one,
False and false again,
Never true nor plain,
But
fleer, flatter, and feign,
And ever to remain
In wretched beggary
And mangy misery,
In lousy loathsomeness
And scabbed surfiness, 140
And in abomination
Of all manner of nation,
Nation most in hate,
Proud and poor of state.
Twit, Scot, go keep thy den,
Mell not with English men;
Thou did nothing but bark
At the castle of Wark.
Twit, Scot, yet again once,
We shall break thy bones, 150
And hang you upon poles,
And burn you all to coals;
With, twit Scot, twit Scot, twit,
Walk, Scot, go beg a bit
Of bread at
ilka man's heck!
The fiend, Scot, break thy neck!
Twit, Scot, again I say,
Twit, Scot of Galloway,
Twit, Scot, shake thy dog, hey!<11>
Twit, Scot, thou ran away. 160

We set not a fly
By your Duke of Albany;<
12>
We set not a prawn
By such a drunken drone;
We set not a mite
By such a coward knight,
Such a proud palliard,
Such a skyrgaliard,
Such a stark coward,
Such a proud poltroon, 170
Such a foul
custron,
Such a doughty dagswane;<13>
Send him to France again,
To bring with him more brain
From King Francis of France:
God send them both mischance!

Ye Scots all the rabble,
Ye shall never be able
With us for to compare;
What though ye stamp and stare? 180
God send you sorrow and care!
With us whenever ye
mell,
Yet we bear away the bell,
When ye cankered knaves
Must creep into your caves
Your heads for to hide,
For ye dare not abide.

Sir Duke of Albany,
Right inconveniently
Ye rage and ye rave, 190
And your worship deprave:<
14>
Not like Duke Hamilcar,
With the Romans that made war,
Nor like his son Hanibal,
Nor like Duke Hasdrubal<15>
Of Carthage in Afric;
Yet somewhat ye be like
In some of their conditions,
And their false seditions,
And their dealing double, 200
And their wayward trouble:
But yet they were bold,
And manly manifold,
Their enemies to assail
In plain field and battle;
But ye and your host,
Full of brag and boast,
And full of waste wind,
How ye will bears bind,<
16>
And the devil down ding, 210
Yet ye dare do nothing
But leap away like frogs,
And hide you under logs,
Like pigs and like hogs,
And like mangy dogs.

What an army were ye?
Or what activity
Is in you, beggars' brawls,
Full of scabs and scawls,
Of vermin and of lice,
220
And of all manner vice?

Sir Duke, nay, Sir Duck,
Sir Drake of the Lake, Sir Duck
Of the Dunghill, for small luck
Ye have in feats of war;
Ye make nought but ye mar;
Ye are a false
intruser,<17>
And a false abuser,
And an untrue knight;
Thou hast too little might 230
Against England to fight.
Thou art a graceless wight
To put thyself to flight:
A vengeance and despite
On thee must needs light,
That durst not bide the sight
Of my Lord Admiral,
Of chivalry the well,
Of knighthood the flower
In every martial shower,
240
The noble Earl of Surrey,
That put thee in such fray;
Thou durst no field
derain,
Nor no battle maintain
Against our strong captain,
But thou ran home again
For fear thou should be slain,
Like a Scottish cateran
That durst abide no reckoning;
Thy heart would not serve thee: 250
The fiend of hell
mote starve thee!<18>

No man hath heard
Of such a coward,
And such a mad image
Carried in a cage,<19>
As it were a cottage;
Or of such a maumet
Carried in a tent;
In a tent! nay, nay,
But in a mountain gay, 260
Like a great hill
For a windmill,
Therein to couch still,
That no man him kill;
As it were a goat
In a sheep-cote,
About him a park
Of a mad
wark,
Men call it a toil;
Therein, like a roil, 270
Sir Duncan, ye
dared,<20>
And thus ye prepared
Your carcass to keep,
Like a silly sheep,
A sheep of Cotswold,
From rain and from cold,
And from raining of raps,
And such after-claps;
Thus in your cowardly castle
Ye decked you to dwell: 280
Such a captain of horse,
It made no great force
If that ye had ta'en
Your last deadly bane
With a
gun-stone,
To make you to groan.
But hide thee, Sir Topias,<21>
Now into the castle of Bass,<22>
And lurk there, like an ass,
With some Scottish lass<23> 290
With dugs, dugs, dugs:
I
shrew thy Scottish lugs,
Thy munpyns,<24> and thy crag,
For thou cannot but brag,
Like a Scottish hag:
Adieu now, Sir Wrig-wrag,
Adieu, Sir Dalyrag!<25>
Thy melling is but mocking;
Thou mayst give up thy cocking,
Give it up, and cry creak, 300
Like an
hoddypeak.

Whereto should I more speak
Of such a farly freke,
Of such an hornkeck,
Of such a bold captain,
That dare not turn again,
Nor durst not crack a word,
Nor durst not draw his sword
Against the Lion White,<26>
But ran away quite? 310
He ran away by night,
In the owl flight,
Like a coward knight.
Adieu, coward, adieu,
False knight, and most untrue!
I render thee, false rebel,
To the
flingande fiend<27> of hell.

Hark yet, Sir Duke, a word,
In earnest or in bourd:
What, have ye, villain, forged, 320
And virulently disgorged,
As though ye would
parbrake,
Your avaunts<28> to make,
With words embossed,
Ungraciously engrossed,
How ye will undertake
Our royal king to make
His own realm to forsake?
Such lewd language ye spake.
Sir Duncan, in the devil way, 330
Be well ware what ye say:
Ye say that he and ye,
Which he and ye? let see;
Ye mean Francis, French king,
Should bring about this thing.
I say, thou lewd
lurdain,
That neither of you twain
So hardy nor so bold
His countenance to behold:
If our most royal Harry 340
List with you to
warray,
Full soon ye should miscarry,
For ye durst not tarry
With him to strive a stound;
If he on you but frowned,
Not for a thousand pound,
Ye durst bide on the ground,
Ye would run away round,
And cowardly turn your backs,
For all your comely cracks, 350
And, for fear
percase
To look him in the face
Ye would defile the place,
And run your way apace.
Though I trim you this trace
With English somewhat base,
Yet, save voster grace,<29>
Thereby I shall purchase
No displeasant reward,
If ye well can regard 360
Your cankered cowardness
And your shameful doubleness.

Are ye not frantic mad,
And wretchedly
bestad,
To rail against his grace,
That shall bring you full base,
And set you in such case
That between you twain
There shall be drawn a train
That shall be to your pain? 370
To fly ye shall be fain.
And never turn again.

What, would Francis, our friar,
Be such a false liar,
So mad a
cordelier,
So mad a murmurer?
Ye muse somewhat too far;
All out of joint ye jar:
God let you never thrive!
Ween ye, dawcocks, to drive 380
Our king out of his realm?
Gae hame, rank Scot, gae hame,<
30>
With fond Francis, French king:
Our master shall you bring
I trust, to low estate,
And mate you with checkmate.<31>

Your brains are idle;
It is time for you to bridle,
And pipe in a quibible;<32>
For it is impossible 390
For you to bring about,
Our king for to drive out
Of this his realm royal
And land imperial;
So noble a prince as he
In all activity
Of hardy martial acts,
Fortunate in all his
facts.

And now I will me dress
His valiance to express, 400
Though insufficient am I
His Grace to magnify
And laud equivalently;
Howbeit, loyally,
After mine allegiance,
My pen I will advance
To extol his noble Grace,
In spite of thy coward's face,
In spite of King Francis,
Devoid of all noblesse,
410
Devoid of good courage,
Devoid of wisdom sage,
Mad, frantic, and savage;
Thus he doth disparage
His blood with fond dotage.
A prince to play the page
It is reckless rage,
And a lunatic overage. <
33
>
What though my style be rude?
With truth it is ennewed: 420
Truth ought to be rescued,
Truth should not be subdued.

But now will I expound
What nobleness doth abound,
And what honour is found,
And what virtues be resident
In our royal regent,
Our peerless president,
Our king most excellent:

In martial prowess 430
Like unto Hercules;<
34>
In prudence and wisdom
Like unto Solomon;
In his goodly person
Like unto Absolon;
In loyalty and foy
Like to Hector of Troy;
And his glory to increase,
Like to Scipiades;<35>
In royal majesty 440
Like unto Ptolemy,
Like to Duke Josue,<
36>
And the valiant Machube;<37>
That if I would report
All the royal sort
Of his nobility,
His magnanimity,
His animosity,
His frugality,
His liberality, 450
His affability,
His humanity,
His stability,
His humility,
His benignity,
His royal dignity,
My learning is too small
For to recount them all.

What losels then are ye,
Like cowards as ye be, 460
To rail on his estate,
With words inordinate!

He rules his commonalty
With all benignity;
His noble baronage,
He putteth them in courage
To exploit deeds of arms,
To the damage and harms
Of such as be his foes;
Wherever he rides or goes,
470
His subjects he doth support,
Maintain them with comfort
Of his most princely port,
As all men can report.

Then ye be a knappish sort,<38>
Et faitez a luy grant torte,<39>
With your enbosed jaws
To rail on him like daws;
The fiend scratch out your maws!

All his subjects and he 480
Most lovingly agree
With whole heart and true mind,
They find his Grace so kind;
Wherewith he doth them bind
At all hours to be ready
With him to live and die,
And to spende their heart-blood,
Their bodies and their good,
With him in all distress,
Alway in readiness
490
To assist his noble Grace;
In spite of thy coward's face,
Most false attainted traitor,
And false foresworn
faitor.

Avaunt, coward recrayed!
Thy pride shall be allayed;
With Sir Francis of France
We shall pipe you a dance,
Shall turn you to mischance.

I rede you, look about; 500
For ye shall be driven out
Of your land in short space:
We will so follow in the chase
That ye shall have no grace
For to turn your face;
And thus, Saint George to borrow,<
40>
Ye shall have shame and sorrow.

L'ENVOY

Go, little quaire, quickly;
Show them that shall you read
How that ye are likely 510
Over all the world to spread.
The false Scots for dread,
With the Duke of Albany,
Beside the water of Tweed
They fled full cowardly.
Though your English be rude,
Barren of eloquence,
Yet, briefly to conclude,
Grounded is your sentence
On truth, under defence
520
Of all true Englishmen,
This matter to credence
That I wrote with my pen.

SKELTON LAUREATE, OBSEQUIOUS ET LOYAL.
TO MY LORD CARDINAL'S RIGHT NOBLE GRACE, ETC.
<
41>

L'ENVOY

Go, little quaire, apace,
In most humble wise,
Before his noble grace,
That caused you to devise
This little enterprise;
And him most lowly pray,
In his mind to comprise 530
Those words his grace did say
Of an
amice gray.

Je foy enterment en sa bone grace.<42>

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