1. These were Thomas Bilney and Thomas Arthur,
2. Honorificatissimo &c.] "To the most honourable, most mighty, and by far the most reverend father in Christ and in the Lord, Lord Thomas, &c., of the title of the sacred Cecilian, presbyter of the Holy Roman Church, the most deserving cardinal, Legate of the Apostolic See, and the most illustrious legate a latere, &c., Skelton Laureate, ora. reg., declares humble allegiance with all fit reverence due to such a great and magnificent Chief of Priests, most equitable moderator of all justice, and moreover the most excellent patron of the present little book, &c., at whose most auspicious contemplation, under the memorable seal of a glorious immortality, the present little treatise is commended [or devised]." (PH). This passage forms the title-page of the original edition by Pynson, n.d.
3. Crassantes nimium, nimium sterilesque labruscas,
Vinea quas Domini Sabaot non sustinet ultra
Laxius expandi, nostra est resecare voluntas.] "The Lord of hosts will no longer tolerate these bitter fruited vines, which are growing too thickly and spreading openly; we will cut them off."
4. Cum privilegio a rege indulto.] "By leave of the King"
5. Ad almam Universitatem Cantabrigensem.] "To the nurturing
6. Eulogium Consolationis.] "A consolatory poem."
8. in the Vintry
At the Three Cranes] Here the tavern with the sign of the Three Cranes is meant: the three cranes were originally three strong cranes of timber, placed on the Vintry-wharf, for lifting from the ships the vessels of foreign wine which were landed there.
Licet non enclitice,
Ut ne quid nimis.
Tantum pro primo.] "Therefore: It must be noted in the first place that nothing may be in excess. So much for the first (part)." (PH)
10. friskajolly] So in the Interlude of the iiii Elements, n.d.;
"Sing fryska Jolly with hey troly loly."
Sig. B ii
11. perihermenial principles] i.e. principles of interpretation.
12. Master Porphyry] Porphyry of
13. pope-holy] Occurs again several times in our author's writings. In Piers Plowman we find,
"And now so singular by himself, nor so pope holy."
Sig. T ed 1561.
In Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose is the following description;
"Another thing was done there write,
That seemed like an hypocrite,
And it was cleped pope holy,
That ilke is she that privily
Ne spared never a wicked deed
When men of her taken none heed,
And maketh her outward precious,
With pale visage and piteous,
And seemeth a simple creature," &c.
Works, fol. 111. ed. 1602,
The original French of the preceding passage is,
"Une autre imaige estoit escripte,
Qui sembloit bien estre ypocrite,
Papelardie est appellee," &c.
Le Rom. de la Rose, vol. i. 15. ed. 1735,
Roquefort (Gloss. de la Langue Romaine) cites these lines under "Papelardie, papelardise: Hypocrisie, tromperie, subtilité, mauvaise foi. ('Hypocrisy, deceit, subtlety, bad faith')" See too Du Cange's Gloss. in vv. Papelardia, Papelardus. Compare also Lydgate;
"And for popeholy and vice look well about."
The Prohemy of a marriage, &c., MS. Hart. 372. fol. 51.
"Over sad or proud, deceitful and pope holy."
The Ship of Fools, fol. 57. ed. 1570.
and the Interlude of the iiii Elements, n. d.
"For rather than I would use such folly
To pray, to study, or be pope holy,
I had as lief be dead."
Sig. B II.
14. content,] Qy. "convent" i.e. to call together?
15. popping daws] Compare our author's Why come ye not to Court;
"Popping foolish daws."
and v. 121 of the present piece;
"And porishly forth popped
Your schismaticate saws."
"Popping, blabbing, like a popinjay or parrot." Gloss. to Exmoor Scolding: daws, i.e. simpletons.
16. Sive per aequivocum,
Sive per univocum,
Sive sic, sive not so] "Either through the equivocal, Or through the unequivocal, Or so or not so."
17. Te he, &c.] Expressions of laughter;
"Te he, quod she, and clapped the window to."
Chaucer's Miller's Tale, v. 3738. ed. Tyr.
18. Ye are unhappily ured.
In your dialectical, &c.] The old (and unique) copy is without punctuation in this passage; but that the first line closes the sense, and that Skelton did not mean that these heretics were unhappily ured in their dialectical, &c. would appear from a comparison of other passages:
"Against these heretics,
Now of late abjured,
Most unhappily ured:
For be ye well assured,"
v. 403 of the present piece.
"But men nowadays so unhappily be ured,
That nothing than wealth may worse be endured."
Magnificence, v. 6.
"O Scots perjured,
Ye may be assured," &c.
The Doughty Duke of Albany, v. 125.
In our author's Colyn Cloute we find,
"Wherefore he hath good ure," &c.
in the note on which line I have cited various examples of ure in the sense of—hap, luck; and in his poem Against the Scots,
"Maleured was your false intent,"
which surely means—Ill-fortuned, &c. (Fr. malheur). Is unhappily ured to be considered as nearly synonymous with maleured, or is it to be explained,—unhappily (evilly) used, practised, habituated?
Non est ex particulari,
Recte concludere si vis,
Et caetera, id genus?] "If you want to conclude rightly in a case like this, you cannot argue from a particular case, or from negatives."
20. corde tenus] "In your heart."
21. verbo tenus] "In your name."
22. Your hearts then were hosed] i.e. Your hearts were in your hose (breeches): so again our author in his Why come ye not to Court;
"Their hearts be in their hose."
See too Ray's Proverbs, (Scottish), p. 292. ed. 1768.
23. Respondere ad quantum] "To give your opinion."
24. confuse tantum] "So much confounded."
25. Harpocrates] The Egyptian God of Silence.
26 De rebus apparentibus
Et non existentibus] "Concerning things apparent and non-existent."
27. inter enigmata
And inter paradigmata] "Amongst riddles and amongst paradigms."
28. With blowing out your horns,
Full of mockish scorns,
With chating and recheating]. Whatever Skelton may have meant by "chating," (perhaps he uses it for chatting,—in the next line we have "prating"),—recheating is properly a hunting term, and signifies sounding the rechate or recheat (Fr.), a certain set of notes blown with the horn to recall the dogs.
29. Logici] "Logicians."
30. Isagogici] "Beginners in theological studies"
31. the people of lay fee] i.e. the laity; as again in our author's Colyn Cloute;
"The lay fee people rails."
fee, i.e. possessions; see Tyrwhitt's Gloss. to Chaucer's Cant. Tales, Jamieson's Et. Dict. of Scot. Lang., and Todd's Johnson's Dict. in v.
32. latria] "The worship due to God only."
33. But, I trow, yourself ye oversee
What longeth to Christ's humanity.
If ye have read de hyperdulia,
Then ye know what betokeneth dulia]—oversee i.e. overlook: longeth, i.e. belongeth. "L'adoration de Superdulie est
34. Tantum pro Secundo] "So much for the second (part)".
35. Peroratio ad nuper abjuratos quosdam hypotheticos hereticos] "The peroration against certain recently abjured hypothetical heretics." (PH)
36. Audite, viri Ismaelitae, non dico Israelitae;
Audite, inquam, viri Madianitae, Ascalonitae ;
Ammonitae, Gabaonitae, audite verba que loquar.] "Hear, men of Ishmael, I do not say
37. Opus evangelii &c.] "The Book of the Gospel is the food of the elect; but, because you are not of the race of the good, you who caterize (make improper use of) the categories of evil spirits, therefore also the rest of your problems, schemata, dilemmas, may they be anathema. It is an inescapable argument."
38. his epistle ad Paulinum] i.e. his (St. Jerome's) Epistle ad Paulinum presbyterum de omnibus divine historiae libris, ("To Paul the priest about all the books of divine history") prefixed to the Vulgate: the passage quoted by Skelton is also to be found in Hieronymi Opera, I. 1011. ed. 1609.
39. 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] " David, who is our Simonides, Pindar, and Alcæus, our Horace, our Catullus, and our Serenus all in one, sings of Christ to his lyre; and on a psaltery with ten strings calls him from the lower world to rise again " (W.H. Freemantle).
40. Serenus] The Scholium on this name in Hieronymi Opera is; "Aulus Serenus lyricus ipse etiam fuit, et, ut Terentianus est auctor, eleganti ac facili ingenio, et ad jocos amoresque describendos accommodate: Martianus Capella ac Nonius saepius ejus carmina citant." ("Aulus Serenus himself wrote poems, and as were those of Terentius, they were in an elegant and smooth style, appropriate for amusing tales of love"),
41. For if ye sadly look,
And wisely read the Book
Of Good Advertisement,
With, me ye must consent, &c.] sadly look, i.e. seriously look, consider. In the
Item Good Advisement, that brainless doth blame.
Qy. does he allude to it here ?
42. Dixi iniquis, Nolite inique agere; et delinquentibus, Nolite exaltare cornu.] "I said to the wicked, be not stubborn; and to evil-doers, lift not up the horn. (PH)"
43. Tantum pro tertio] "So much for the third (part)."
44. De raritate poetarum, deque gymnosophistarum, philosophorum, theologorum, caeterorumque, eruditorum infinita numerositate, Skel. L. epitoma.] "About the rarity of poets, and the infinite abundance of gymnosophists, philosophers, theologians, and the rest of the learned, this is Skelton Laureate's epitome." (PH)
45. Sunt infiniti &c.] "Infinite, innumerable are the sophists, infinite, innumerable are the logicians, innumerable are the philosophers and the theologians, infinite in number are doctors, and masters; but poets are few and rare. Hence all that is precious is rare. I think, then, that poets before all others are filled with the divine afflatus. So Plato thinks and so Socrates; so the great Macedonian, so Caesar, the greatest of Roman heroes, always honoured the renowned poets." (PH)