1. That this piece was composed subsequently to the year 1515 seems evident from the mention made in one place [v. 283] of "King Lewis of France," as an example of liberality [and as dead]; and this could only mean Louis XII who died in that year, as his immediate predecessor of that name [who died in 1483] was the most niggardly of wretches." MS. note by Ritson in a transcript of' Magnificence.
2. probate] In our author's Garland of Laurel mention is made of
"Macrobius that did trete
Of Scipions dream what was the true probate."
where probate is proof, meaning, or, perhaps, interpretation: but in what sense Skelton uses the word here I cannot determine [Qy. trial, touchstone ?], the greater part of this speech being beyond my comprehension.
3. The amends thereof is far to call again] i.e. apparently, the amends, cure, is far to seek.
4. made to the lure] See note 12 to Ware the Hawk
5. Mary] i.e. By the Virgin Mary.
6. Ye, to knacking earnest what an it preve] i.e. Yea, what if it prove mocking earnest: compare the preceding line, and see Jamieson's Et. Dict. of Scott. Lang. in v. Knack.
7. in the mew] i.e. in confinement,—properly, the place in which hawks were kept, or in which fowls were fattened.
8. a cue] i.e. half a farthing. "Cu, half a farthing, or q., Calcus." Prompt. Parvul. ed. Way. p. 106. Q. should seem to stand for quadrans, a farthing; but Minshow, who finished his first edition in Oxford, says it was only half that sum, and thus particularly explains it: "Because they set down in the battling or buttery books in Oxford and Cam bridge, the letter q. for half a farthing, and in Oxford, when they make that cue or q. a farthing, they say, cap my q., and make it a farthing thus a/q" Nares's Glossary.
It seems possible that cue or q. may have been an abreviation of "calcus, quarta pars oboli." Way's note in v.
9. Somewhat I could infer
Your conceit to debar] i.e. I could bring in somewhat to hinder, contravene, your conception of the subject. So again in our author's Garland of
"Madame, your apposal is well inferred,
And at your advantage quickly it is
Touched, and hard for to be debarred."
10. the surplus of my saw] i.e. the remainder of my saying.
11. wonder] I may observe that the Roxburgh reprint, without authority, and against the sense, has "no wonder."
12. To you I arret it, and cast
Thereof the reformation] So Skelton again;
"Sith unto me foremost this process is aretted."
v. 2507 of the present drama.
"Arreting unto your wise examination
How all that I do is under reformation."
Garland of Laurel, v. 410.
He has also,
"Arreting my sight toward the zodiac." Id. v. 1.
"My supplication to you I arret." Id. v. 55.
Arret in our early writers frequently signifies—impute, a meaning foreign to the present passages: in the two last cited, there can be no doubt that it is used in the sense of—raise: in the others it seems to mean—offer, refer.
13. Come off, therefore, let see] Compare Chaucer;
-- let see, come off, and say."
Court of Love—Works, fol. 331. ed. 1602.
and Reynard the Fox; "Why tarry ye thus long, come off." Sig. b 7. ed. 1481: and Morte d'Arthur; "Come off then said they all, and do hit." Book xx. cap. iiii. vol. ii. 394. ed. Southey.
14. reason and skill] An expression which Skelton has elsewhere; but the words are nearly synonymous. "Skill. Racio." Prompt. Parv. ed. 1499.
15. Horatius to record] i.e. Horace to witness. See Odes, Bk II, X.
16. Measure is treasure] Lydgate mentions this as "an old proverb: "see his verses on Moderation, MS. Harl. 2251. fol. 29, and his poem beginning "Men writ of old how measure is treasure."
17. All trebles and tenors be ruled by a mean] "Intercentus, a mean of a song." Ortus Vocab. fol. ed. W. de Worde, n. d. In the notes on Shakespeare, in Todd's Johnson's Dict. &c., mean is wrongly explained—tenor: what the mean was, depended entirely on the nature of the composition.
18. it is no mastery] i.e. what you say requires no masterly skill.
"So me help God! quoth Bevis tho,
It were no mastery me to slo,
For this is the fourth day agone
Meat ne drink ne bit I none."
Sir Bevis of
"That is little mastery said Sir Launcelot, to slay mine horse." Morte d' Arthur, B. xix. c. iiii. vol. ii. 369. ed. Southey.
19. sitting] i.e. proper, becoming,—a word very common in our early poetry (altered unnecessarily to "fitting" in the Roxburgh reprint of this piece).
20. Had I wist!] i.e. of a mistake which you may have cause to repent. See note 7 to The Death of King Edward IV.
21. a popping fool] "He is a popped fool or a stark fool for the nonce. Homo fatuitate monstrabilis." Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. P iii. ed. 1530. And see note 15 to A Replication, &c.
22. Here is none forceth whether you float or sink] So Chaucer;
"Him recketh never whether she float or sink."
Annel. and Ar.,—Works, fol. 244. ed. 1602.
23. benedicite] "Bless you"
24. King Lewis] i.e. King Louis the Twelfth: see note 1.
25. Jack shall have Jill] So Heywood;
"Come chat at home, all is well, Jack shall have Jill."
Dialogue, sig. F 3.—Works, ed. 1598.
26. Doncaster cuts] i.e.
27. Go, shake the dog, hey] See note 10 to Verses Against Dundas
28. your noble estate] Equivalent to—your noble lordship.
29. Pountesse]i.e Pointoise, near
30. Magn. By your sooth?] Ed. prefixes "Fancy" to these words, and omits the prefix to the next speech.
31. They bare me in hand that I was a spy] i.e. They accused me, laid to my charge, that, &c.
"This false knight, that hath this treason wrought,
Bereth her in hand that she hath done this thing."
Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale, v. 5039. ed. Tyr.
"What crime or evil mayest thou bear me in hand of: Quel crime ou mal me peulx tu mettre sus." Palsgrave, p. 450. "Many be borne in hand of a fault, and punished therefor, that were never guilty. Plerique facinoris insimulantur," &c. Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. m i.i. ed. 1530. This expression occurs with a different shade of meaning in our author's Why come ye not to Court,—
"He beareth the king on hand,
That he must pill his land" &c.
32. And would have made me Friar Tuck,
To preach out of the pillory hole] An allusion to the punishment called collistrigium, a kind of pillory in which the head (or the head and hands) was confined in holes, so that the prisoner would bear a ludicrous resemblance to a preacher bending over his pulpit.
33. antetheme] So in the absurd story of Skelton's preaching, Merry Tales, Tale vii "I say, as I said before in my antetheme, vos estis."
34. made largesse as I hight] i.e. made donation of money according to my name (Fancy's assumed name being Largesse, see v. 272)
35. great estates] i.e. persons of great estate or rank.
36. measure is a merry mean] Heywood in his Epigrams upon Proverbs has ten on "Measure is a merry mean." Sig. N --Works, ed. 1598.
37. Hic descedat &c.] This stage-direction is not quite correct, for C. Count. enters as Fancy is going off, and detains him for the next few lines
38. blundering] i.e. disturbance. "I Blunder, Je perturbe." Palsgrave, p. 458.
39. to putt the stone] i.e. to throw the stone above hand, from the uplifted hand, for trial of strength.
40. to fight] Qy. "to flyte"–scold (a word used elsewhere by Skelton), or "to sight"—see next line but two.
41. at all assays] i.e. in all sorts of trials or enterprises. Occurs again in v. 2303. "At all assays, En tous poynts, or a tous poynts." Palsgrave, p. 831. "He is a friend at all assays. Omnium horarum amicus est." Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. Y ed. 1530.
42. I counterfeit sugar that is but found] This line seems to be corrupt.
43. fayty bone geyte] Perhaps corrupted French—fait a bon get or geste. ("Makes a good story").
44. The courtly guise of the new jet] A somewhat pleonastic expression,—the courtly guise of the new fashion. "Jet, a custom, guise nouvelle." Palsgrave, p. 224.
"Yet a point of the new jet to tell will I not blyn."
Juditium,—Towneley Mysteries, p 312.
45. Margery Milk Duck] See note 55 to The Tunning of Elynour Rumming.
46. knuckleboneyard] i, e. a rude clown. Compare Palsgrave's Acolastus, 1540; "Do I reign here on this fashion, being a swineherd amongst swine of Boeatia. .i. amongst a meiny of Jack-hold-my-staves, or knuckleboneyards, being but of late a king," &c. Sig. Y iiii.; and Heywood's Dialogue, &c.,–
He is a knuckleboneyard very meet
To match a minion neither fair nor sweet."
Sig. D 4.,—Works, ed. 1598.
47. Sure Surveyance I named me] Ed. gives this line to C. Count., and the next speech to Cr.Con. Compare v. 652
48. For, like as mustard is sharp of taste] Qy. A line wanting to rhyme with this?
49. the iurde hayt.] Words (French perhaps) which I do not understand
50. Here is a leash of ratches to run a hare] The ratch hunted by scent and was useless against hares.
51. a captivity] "a" is rather, I suspect, a misprint for, than used in the sense of "in": compare v. 2543.
52. Sir, the plainness you tell me.] Ed. prefixes Crafty. Con. to these words, and omits the prefix to the next line.–Qy. for the rhyme,–"you me tell?" The plainness = the plain fact.
53. By the arms of Calais] The same exclamation occurs in The Bowge of Court:
"The arms of
54. Huffa, huffa] See note 25 to Poems Against Garnesche
55. Rutty bully] "The initial words of some old song." Hawkins' History of Music, iii. 41. Also occurs in Against a Comely Custron;
"He lumb'reth on a lewd lute Rutty bully joys."
56. jolly rutterkyn, heyda] Occurs in a song preserved in the Fairfax MS. which once belonged to Ralph Thoresby, and is now among the Additional MSS. in the British Museum (5465, fol. 114):
"Hoyda, jolly rutterkin, hoyda,
Like a rutterkin, hoyda!
Rutterkin is come unto our town,
In a cloak, without coat or gown,
Save a ragged hood to cover his crown,
Like a rutter, hoyda!
Rutterkin can speak no English,
His tongue runneth all on buttered fish,
Besmeared with grease about his dish,
Like a rutter, hoyda!
Rutterkin shall bring you all good luck,
A stoup of beer up at a pluck,
Till his brain be as wise as a duck,
Like a rutter, hoyda!
When rutterkin from board will rise,
He will piss a gallon pot full at twice,
And the overplus under the table, of the new guise,
Like a rutter, hoyda!"
Sir John Hawkins printed the above song (with the music) and tells us that it "is supposed to be a satire on those drunken Flemings who came into
"My robe rusheth
Rutter, which properly means—a rider, a trooper (Germ. reiter, reuter), came to be employed, like its diminutive rutterkin, as a cant term, and with various significations, (see Hormanni Vulgaria, sig q iii. ed. 1530; Drant's Horace His Art of Poetry, pistles, &c. sig. D ii. ed. 1567). When Court. Ab. asks "am not I a jolly rutter?" he evidently uses the word in the sense of—dashing fellow, gallant, alluding to his dress, on which he afterwards enlarges in a soliloquy. In v. 805 Cr. Con. terms him "this jolly jetter." Compare the following passage of Medwall's Interlude of Nature, n. d;
"And when he is in such array,
There goeth a rutter, men will say,
a rutter, huff a gallant." Sig. d ii
57. De que pays estes vous?] Fr. "From what country are you?"
58. Et faciat tanquam exiat beretrum cornice] Qy. "exuat (or rather, exueret) barretrum (i.e. pileum) ironice?"–which would = "With an ironical air he makes as if to doff his hat."
59. Say vous chanter, Venter tre dawce?.] i.e. Savez vous chanter (Fr. "Do you know how to sing"), &c.: the last three words of the line seem to be the beginning of some French song.
60. Wyda] i.e. Oui da! (Fr. "Yes indeed!")
61. stand utter] i.e. stand out, back.
62. a beetle, or a batowe or a buskin laced] In Ortus Vocab. fol. ed. W. de Worde, n. d., besides "Feritorium. anglice a batting staff, a battledore or a beetle," we find "Porticulus. anglice a little hand staff or a beetle." For "batowe" I have proposed "batone" (baton), a conjecture which is somewhat supported by the preceding word; but it seems more probable that the right reading is "botowe," i.e. boot, for the work above cited has "Ocree . . . anglice boots or botwes [ed. 1514—botowes]," and Prompt. Parv. ed. 1499 gives "Botewe. Coturnus. (A buskin boot)"
63. Jack Hare] See note 51 to Ware the Hawk.
64. By God's foot, &c.] Here the prefixes to the speeches are surely wrong, but as I am doubtful how they ought to be assigned, I have not ventured to alter them. Qy.
"Court. Ab. By God's foot, an I dare well fight, for I will not start.
Cl. Col. Nay, thou art a man good enough but for thy false heart.
Court. Ab. Well, an I be a coward, there is more than I.
Cl. Col. Yea, in faith a bold man and a hardy;
A bold man in a bowl of new ale in corns!
Court. Ab. Will ye see," &c.
65. ale in corns] i.e. just drawn off the malt: see note 53 to the Tunning of Elynour Rumming.
66. bark] qy. crake?
67. Bearest thou any room?] i.e. Do you hold any office?
68. for the arms of the dice] Some cant exclamation.
69. thou wouldest] Qy, for the rhyme, "thou wouldest, ye?"
70. we will be advised twice] i.e. we will consider of it twice.
71. My hair busheth] So Barclay, alluding to the "new fashions and disguised garments" of the time;
"To Ship, gallants, come near, I say again,
With your set bushes curling as men of Inde."
The Ship of Fools, fol. 8. ed. 1570.
72. To dance delight] So afterwards, Magnificence, exulting in his prosperity, says, "I dance all in delight," v. 1510.
73. My sleeve is wide] So Barclay describes the young gallants of the time with "Their sleeves blazing like to a Crane's wings." The Ship of Fools, fol. 8. ed. 1570. Wide sleeves are also mentioned in the following curious passage of Medwall's Interlude of Nature, n. d. (written before the year 1500); the speaker is Pride:
"Behold the bonnet upon my head,
a staring colour of scarlet red;
I promise you a fine thread,
and a soft wool.
It cost me a noble at one pitch,
The scald capper swore sythyche
That it cost him even as much,
But there Pride had a pull.
I love it well to have side here
Half a wote beneath mine ear;
For ever more I stand in fear
That mine neck should take cold.
I knit it up all the night,
and the day time comb it down right,
And then it crispeth and shineth as bright
as any pirled gold.
My doublet is unlaced before
A stomacher of satin and no more.
Rain it, snow it, never so sore,
Me thinketh I am too hot.
Then have I such a short gown,
With wide sleeves that hang adown,
They would make some lad in this town
a doublet and a coat.
Some men would think that this were pride;
But it is not so; ho, ho, abide,
I have a dagger by my side,
yet thereof spake not I.
I bought this dagger at the mart,
A sharp point and a tart,
He that had it in his hart
Were as good to die.
Than have I a sword or twain;
To bear them my self it were a pain;
They are so heavy that I am fain
to purvey such a lad;
Though I say it, a pretty boy,
It is half my life's joy;
He maketh me laugh with many a toy,
The urchin is so mad." Sig. c ii
74. to to] So in v. 2121;
"Too flattering, too smattering, too too out of harre."
Compare Harry Whobal's moan to M. Camell, &c. (folio broadside among the "flytings" of Churchyard and Camell;)
"My master Harry Whoball, sir, is too too shameful wroth.
. . . .
. . . for drink is too too nappy."
Ray gives "Too too will in two. Chesh." Proverbs, p. 163. ed. 1768.
75. Each man take a fee] there seems to be some corruption of the text here. Qy."Each man to accuse.?"
76. From out of
"Reduce courtiers clearly unto your remembrance,
From whence this disguising was brought wherin ye go,
As I remember it was brought out of
The Ship of Fooles, fol. 9. ed. 1570.
Borde, in his Boke of knowledge, introduces a French man saying,
"I am full of new inventions,
And daily I do make new toys and fashions:
All nations of me example do take,
When any garment they go about to make."
Sig. T. reprint.
77. A Tyburn check] i.e. a hangman's rope.
78. out of harre] i.e. out of hinge, out of order: see Jamieson's Et. Dict. of Scot. Lang. and Suppl. in v. Har.
"There nas no door that he nolde heave of harre."
("There was no door that he could not lift off its hinges")
Cant. Tales. v. 552. ed. Wright.
The expression occurs again in v. 2121; and is found in the Towneley Myst. and G. Douglas's Virgil's Aen.
79. an hawk of the tower] So again our author in the Garland of Laurel;
"Genteel as falcon
Or hawk of the tower."
i.e., says Warton, "in the King's mews in the Tower," Hist. of E. P. ii. 355. ed. 4to: and the following lines occur in a poem called Harmony of Birds, n. d. (attributed without authority to Skelton), reprinted entire in Typograph. Antiq. iv. 380. ed. Dibdin;
"The Hawks did sing,
Their bells did ring,
They said they came fro the tower.
We hold with the king
And will for him sing
To God, day, night, and hour."
But I apprehend that by a hawk of the tower Skelton means—a hawk that towers aloft, takes a station high in the air, and thence swoops upon her prey. Juliana Berners mentions certain hawks which "ben hawks of the tower." Book of St. Albans, sig. c. v. : and Turbervile says; "She [the hobby] is of the number of those Hawkes that are high flying and tower Hawks." Book of Falconry, p. 53. ed. 1611.
80. in the devil's date] See note 44 to The Bowge of Court.
81. he playeth the state] i.e. he playeth the person of consequence.
82. thou jettest it of height] i.e. thou struttest it in high style.
83. let us be wise] Equivalent to—let us understand.
84. come off, it were done] The expression "come off" has occurred before; see note 13 above. Compare Mary Magdalene;
"Come off, ye harlots that it were done."
An. Mysteries from the Digby MSS. p. 97. ed. Abbotsf.
"Hence now go your way that ye were there."
Townley Mysteries, p. 147.
Still's Gammer Gurton's Needle;
"Sir knave, make haste Diccon were here."
Sig. E 3. ed. 1575.
See too our author's Garland of Laurel, v. 243.
85. There is many evil favoured, an thou be foul] i.e. There is many a one ill-looking, if thou be ugly: see note 44 to Philip Sparrow.
86. Barbed like a nun] "The feathers under the beak [of a hawk] ben called the Barb feathers." Book of
87. I rede, we cease] i.e. I advise that we cease.
88. The devil speed whit!] i.e. The devil speed it not at all. So again in our author's Why come ye not to Court;
"For as for wit,
The devil speed whit!
89. a pear] used frequently by our early writers for a thing of no value. "Vain glory of the world, the which is not worth a pear." Morte d'Arthur, B. xv. cap. vi. vol. ii. 254. ed. Southey.
90. Make a windmill of a mat] Compare Against venomous Tongues, v. 14
91. blunder] See note 38 above.
92. thy lips hangs in thine eye] So in Th'interlude of Youth, n. d.;
"Fain of him I would have a sight,
But my lips hang in my light."
Sig. A iiii.
See too Heywood's Dialogue, &c. sig. F 4,—Works, ed. 1598.
93. pilled] i.e. bald—mangy: see note 39 to Poems against Garnesche.
94. Mackemurre] A proper name, (McMurrough) though not printed as such in the old copy:
The great O'Neill, and Makmurre also,
And all the lords and kings of Ireland."
Harding's Chronicle, fol. cxlix. ed. 1543.
95. budge fur] "Budge or Lamb's fur." Minsheu's Guide into Tongues. In an order respecting the scholastic habit in the
96. thou wilt cough me a daw] daw, i.e. simpleton. So in the fourth line after this, "ye shall cough me a fool:" and in Lilly's Mother Bombie, 1594; "I know he will cough for anger that I yield not, but he shall cough me a fool for his labour." Sig. B 2.
97. so high fro me doth spring] i.e. doth grow so much taller than I.
98. there is mine] Qy., for the rhyme, "my purse?"
99. For God's cope] So we find as an oath, "By God's blue hood." Tom Tyler and his Wife, p. 5. ed. 1661.
100. Now take thou my dog, and give me thy fowl.] Qy. A line wanting to rhyme with this?
101. Aungey] Does it mean
102. cattle] i.e. beast.
103. Nil, nihilum, nihil anglice, nifles] "Nothing, nothing, nothing, in English, nifles." Nifles is a word sufficiently explained by the context, and of frequent occurrence. So in A Merry Play between Johan the Husband, Tyb his Wife, and Sir John the Priest, 1533, attributed to Heywood;
"By God, I would ye had hawk the trifles,
The toys, the mocks, the fables, and the nifles,
That I made thy husband to believe and think."
p. 21. reprint.
104. vilis imago.] "a cheap picture." Between this line and the next, ed. has "Versus".
105. play well at the hoddypeak]—hoddypeak is a common term of contempt or reproach (as in our author's Why come ye not to Court, v. 326.), and is generally equivalent to—fool. The original meaning of the word is altogether uncertain. Steevens note on Gammer Gurton's Needle (explains it—hodmandod (shell-snail); and Nares (Gloss. in v. ) is inclined to agree with him. [Qy. compounded of hoddy, i.e. doddy, stupid, and peke, fool ?] In a passage of
106. In a coat thou can play well the disour] Disour i.e. a low jester, tale-teller, mimic. Ang. Sax. dysig, foolish, dizzy, &c. "Disour, that cannot be sad (i.e. serious). Bomolochus." Prompt. Parvul. Way. "Disour, a scoffer, saigefol." Palsgrave, p. 214. "He can play the disour with a counterfeit face properly. Morionem scite representat." Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. bb iiii. ed. 1530. "One that were skilled in the crafti of disour or scoffing fellows." Palsgrave's Acolastus, 1540. sig. H ii.
107. how put he you?] Qy. for the rhyme, "you there?"
108. Sir John] A contemptuous name for a priest; here, for a simpleton in general.
109. cockwat] See note 12 to The Bowge of Court.
110. regardez, voyez.] "Look, see"
111. thou hast lost] Qy. for the rhyme, "for thou hast lost now?"
112. John a Bonam] One of the persons who figure in the old metrical tale, The Hunting of the Hare, is called "Jac of Bonam:" see Weber's Met. Rom. iii. 279.
113. theft and bribery]—bribery, i.e. pilfering. "I Bribe, I pull, I pyll, Je bribe, (Romani) Je derobbe. Palsgrave, p. 465. "Bribors, Cometh of the French Bribeur, i.e. Mendicus. It seemeth in a legal Signification one that pilfereth other Men's Goods, as Clothes out of a Window, or the like. Anno 28 Ed. 2 Stat. 1. cap. unico." Cowel's Law Dictionary, or The interpreter, &c. augmented and improved, &c. ed. 1727. So again our author;
"Theft also and petty bribery."
v. 1370 of the present drama.
"Some have a name for theft and bribery."
Garland of Laurel, v. 183.
So too in The
"Bribe, and convey, from master and mistress."
Utterson's Early Pop. Poet. ii. 37.
and in Gentleness and Nobility, n. d. (attributed without reason to Heywood);
"For bribe and steal every thing they will,
If they may secretly come thereuntil."
"Divide me like a brib'd buck, each a haunch."
Merry W. of W. v. 5. (Cited by Halliwell.)
Other passages might be cited from various poets. And see Tyrwhitt's Gloss. to Chaucer's Cant. Tales, and
114. He frowneth fiercely, brimly browed,
The knave would make it coy, an he could]—fiercely and brimly are nearly synonymous: make it coy means here-affect (not merely reserve, but) haughtiness;—and so in our author's Bowge of Court,—
"He bote the lip, he looked passing coy."
115. I make him lose much of their strength] "Him" should be them. Compare l. 427 above. Perhaps these inconsistencies may have arisen from contractions in the MS.
116. Simkin Titivell] See note 57 to Colyn Cloute.
117. Howe] i.e. ho! stop!
"Ye shall have ay quhill you cry ho."
Philotus, sig. B. ed. 1612.
"Great God defend I should be one of tho
Quhilk of their feud and malice never ho."
118. Qui fuit, Qui fuit aliquid] Literally "Who has done, Who has done to some extent"–Phrases used in legal documents depriving someone of his property. (ref. Bradin Cormack, A Power to do Justice.
119. to sheer shaking nought] i.e. to sheer nothing. So in our author's Elynour Rumming, (v. 466), that lady pronounces a couple of stunted goslings to be "sheer shaking nought," i.e. sheer worthless.
120. a sleight.] Ed. "Shift" Compare v. 687 & v. 964 where "sleight" is the rhyme to "conceit".
121. Away the mare!] See note 18 to The Tunning of Elynour Rumming.
122. a room . . in every rout] i.e. a place in every crowd, assembly.
123. doth face and brace;] See note 4 to Against the Scots.
124. an hobby can make larks to dare]—to dare, i.e. to lurk, lie hid. So in the poem The Doughty Duke of Albany;
"Therein, like a roil,
Sir Duncan, ye dared."
". . . let his grace go forward,
And dare us with his cap, like larks."
Henry VIII. Act. III. Sc. 2.
To dare larks was an expression applied to the catching of larks by terrifying them; and there were several modes of daring them. When the hobby (a small hawk, see note 70 to Philip Sparrow) was employed for that purpose, the larks lay still in terror till a net was thrown over them.—On the word dare, see Notes & Queries, vol. vii. p. 542.
125. That I crave] Qy., for the rhyme "craved?"
126. hooks unhappy] i.e. knavish chaps.—hooks, a word frequently applied to persons as a term of reproach. "Unhappy of manners, maulvays." Palsgrave, p. 328. So in Jack Juggler, n.d.;
"Lo, yonder cometh that unhappy hook."
p. 26. Roxb. ed.
and in Heywood's Dialogue, &c.;
"Since thou art cross sailed, avale, unhappy hook."
Sig. E,—Works, ed. 1598.
127. Had I wist] i.e. repenting too late. See note 7 to The Death of King Edward IV.
128. Ye have eaten sauce] Compare our author's Bowge of Court, v. 72.
129. bear a brain] i.e. look out, take heed.
130. What, can ye agree thus and appose?]—and appose, i.e. and yet keep questioning, disputing: "He was apposed, or examined of his belief. De religione apellatus est." Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. D ii. Ed. 1530.
131. Jack-a-Thrum's bible] See note 57 to Poems against Garnesche.
132. Take it in worth] i.e. Be satisfied with it. See note 16 to Against a Comely Custron.
133. And get thou] Qy. "You?", see note 115 above.
134. And the other another await] Qy. "Another time"?
135. For now, sirs, I am like as a prince should be &c.] This speech of Magnificence is very much in the style of Herod in the old miracle-plays: see, for instance, the
136. abandon] i.e. subject completely.
"For abandoned will he not be to berne that is born."
(i.e. "For he will not be subject to any man born")
Golagros and Gawain, p. 142,
– Sir Gawaine, &c.
"Till all to you abandoned be."
Barbour's Bruce, B. iii. v. 883. ed.
137. may be seen] Qy. "May beseem?"
138. Basian the bold, for all his bribance] Basian is, I suppose, Antoninus Bassianus Caracalla (he is called "Basian" in Robert of Gloucester's Chron. p. 76. sqq.); bribance would seem to mean—plundering (properly, pilfering); see note 113 above.
139. the Gothiaunce] i.e. the Goths.
140. on mould] i.e. on the earth.
141. Galba, whom his gallants garred for to gasp] i.e. (I suppose) the Roman Emperor Galba, whom his gallants (soldiers) made to gasp:—they assassinated him.
142. Vespasian, that bore in his nose a wasp] This passage is explained by the following lines of a poem never printed, entitled The Siege of Jerusalem:
"His father Vespasian ferly betide;
A byke of wasps bred in his nose,
Hived up in his head he had hem of thought,
And Vespasian is called by cause of his wasps."
MS. Cott. Calig. A. ii. fol. 109.
143. I shall frounce them on the foretop] To frounce is—to wrinkle, ruffle up, &c. In our author's Phillip Sparrow, v. 1340, Charon is described as having a "frounced foretop; "and in his Colyn Cloute, v. 533, "fore top "means simply—head, pate.
144. take it in degree] Seems equivalent here to—take it in gree (which occurs in v. 2005), i.e. take it kindly: see note 14 to Against a Comely Custron.
145. elect utterance] i.e. choice expression.
146. fieffed and seised] i.e. enfeoffed and seised,—law-terms.
147. That quickly is envived with ruddies of the rose] i.e. That is quickly enlivened with hues, or complexion, of the rose. This somewhat pleonastic expression is found again in our author's Garland of Laurel;
"Envived pictures well touched and quickly."
148. The strains of her veins] i.e. The runnings of her veins.
"Rills rising out of every bank,
In wild meanders strain."
Drayton's Muses Elizium, p. 2. ed. 1630.
149. by Him that hell did harrow] i.e. by our Saviour: see note 145 to Philip Sparrow.
150. whilst my head did wark] i.e. until my head did ache. "Headwark, sickness. Cephalia." Prompt. Parv. ed. 1499. "Wark, to ache." Hunter's Hallam. Gloss. "But I may not stand, mine head warks so." Morte d' Arthur, B. xxi. c. v. vol. ii. 440. ed. Southey.
151. hobby for such a lusty lark] See note 124 above. The same metaphorical use of this expression occurs in our author's Colyn Cloute, v. 194.
152. to be sped] i.e. to be made successful.
153. make such one to the call] A metaphor from falconry.
154. omnis mulier meretrix, si celari potest.] "Every woman is a whore, if she can do it in secret."
155. cast up your gorge] i.e. vomit up what you have swallowed.
156. blist] i.e. wounded,—thumped.
"Your lazy bones I pretend so to bliss,
That you shall have small lust to prate any more."
The Trial of Treasure, 1567. sig. A. iiii.
157. at the contemplation] i.e. at the request of. Thus in The Garland of Laurel:
"Of my Lady's grace at the contemplation,
Out of French into English prose,
Of Man's Life the Peregrination,
He did translate, interpret, and disclose."
Compare also Holinshed; "At the contemplation of this Cardinal, the King lent to the Emperor a great sum of money." Chron (Hen viii) vol iii. 839 ed. 1587.
158. I will have him reheted and despised] Our early poets frequently use rehete in the sense of—revive, cheer; a meaning foreign to the present passage. In the Towneley Mysteries, we find "rehett" and "rehete," pp. 143, 198, which the Gloss. explains "to threaten;" qy. if rightly? In some copies of Chaucer's Troilus and Creseide, B. iii. 350, is "reheting;" of which, says Tyrwhitt (Gloss. to Cant. Tales), "I can make no sense." In G. Douglas's Virgil's Aeneidos, B.xiii. p.467. l.53 ed. Rudd., and in the Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy,
[Transcriber's Note: OED gives two meanings for rehete: "to cheer, comfort or encourage" and "to attack, persecute", which latter is clearly the meaning here.]
159. for to speed] i.e. to advance his affairs.
160. But for all that he is like to have a glent] Glent is frequently found in the sense of—glance; but its meaning here, as would seem from the context, is—slip, fall: and in our author's Garland of Laurel we find,
"Go softly, she said, the stones be full glint [i. e, slippery]."
161. set a gnat by] i.e. value at a gnat, care a gnat for.
162. such masteries gan make]—such masteries, i.e. such disturbances from the consequence which you assumed; and see note 18 above.
163. let see, for yourself] Qy. for the rhyme, "for yourself let see?"—unless "for yourself" was intended to form the commencement of the next verse.
164. my hawk is ramage] "Ramage is when a Hawk is wild, coy, or disdainful to the man, and contrary to be reclamed." Latham's Falconry (Explan. of Words of Art), 1658.
165. Thy words hang together as feathers in the wind.] An expression which occurs again in our author's Speak, Parrot, v. 295. So too in a comedy, The longer thou livest, the more fool thou art, &c. Newly compiled by W. Wager, n. d.;
"A song much like th'authour of the same,
It hangeth together like feathers in the wind."
Sig. D. ii.
166. other men have] qy. "man?"
167. I shall give you a gaud of a gosling that I gave] Gaud is found in the sense of—jest, trick, toy, &c.: but the line (perhaps corrupted) is beyond my comprehension.
168. Dawcock] See note 25 to The Bowge of Court.
169. your surveyor] Ed. "Supervisor:" compare v. 1414; v. 652, &c. Cl.Col has just been made "supervisor", see v. 1808.
170. Some with the marmoll to halt I them make]—marmoll, i.e. old sore, ulcer, gangrene. "Marmoll, a sore, loup." Palsgrave, p. 243. Skelton recollected Chaucer;
"But great harm was it, as it thought me,
That on his shin a mormal had he."
Prol. to Cant. Tales, v. 387.
on which passage see Tyrwhitt's note.
171. And some I visit to battle, war, and murder,] for to, qy. "with?" Compare lines 1927, 1934 or rather change the manuscript vysyte, "visit" to yncyte, "incite".
172. Behold, how Fortune of him hath frowned] for "of," qy. "on?"
173. unliking] i.e. in poor condition of body. "The strength and lustiness, or well liking of my body." Palsgrave's Acolastus, 1540. sig. U iiii. "I am withered," says Falstaff, "like an old apple-john. Well, I'll repent, and that suddenly, while I am in some liking." Shakespeare's Henry IV.
174. they run in manus tuas quick] i.e. they quickly come to be hanged, when they say In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum. "Into your hands, Lord, I commend my soul."
175. dance on the lea] A fragment, it would seem, of some song.
176. the boot of all my bale] i.e. the remedy or help of all my evil or sorrow.
"God send every good man boot of his bale."
Chaucer's Canon's Yeoman's Tale, v. 16949. ed. Tyr.
177. I am president of princes, I prick them with pride] Qy. A line wanting to rhyme with this?
178. totum in toto] "all in all"
179. not worth an haw] A common expression in our early poetry;
"Your woe appease which is not worth an haw."
Lydgate's Wars of Troy, B. ii. sig. I iiii. ed. 1555.
(A haw is the edible but uninteresting fruit of the whitethorn bush)
180. Too free of the daw] Equivalent, I suppose, to—too much fooling: see note 25 to The Bowge of Court.
181. brothel] Was formerly applied as a term of reproach to the worthless of either sex:
"Of this day glad was many a brothel
That might have an oar with Cock Laurel."
Cock Laurel's Boat, n. d. sig. C
182. c. s.] i.e. a hundred shillings ,or five pounds, an enormous sum in Skelton's time.
183. occupied] Though our author, according to his occasionally pleonastic style, has in the next line but one "occupied and used," the words are synonymous: see note 8 to The Death of King Edward IV.
184. some fall preaching at the Tower Hill] Qy. "fall to preaching"? So in Th'interlude of Youth, n. d.;
"By our Lady he did promote thee
To make thee preach at the gallows tree."
Sig. B i.
185. spew and cast] One of Skelton's pleonasms.
186. a dagswain] i.e. a rough sort of coverlet. "Dagswain. Lodex." Prompt. Parv. ed. 1499. "My bedde is cowered with a dagswain and a quilt . . . gausape . . . "—"Some dagswains have long thrums & jags on both sides: some but on one." Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. g iii. ed. 1530.
187. meetly well] i.e. well enough. "Meetly: Moyennement, Assez ... Passablement." Palsgrave, p. 839. "He is meetly learned. Mediocriter doctus est." Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. R viii. ed. 1530.
188. in the devil's date] See note 44 to The Bowge of Court
189. ding the devil]—ding, i.e. strike, knock. So again in our author's poem The Doughty Duke of Albany;
"And the devil down ding."
Compare The Droichis Part of the Play, attributed to
"That dang the devil, and gart him yowl."
190. wring thy be in a brake] Some cant expression: brake, see note 44 to The Tunning of Elynour Rumming and note 128 to Why come ye not to Court.
191. cavell] "Kevil, Kephyl, A horse, contemptuously applied to a person, 'Thou girt (i.e. great) kevil.'" The Dialect of Craven, &c. Compare Lydgate's verses, entitled in the Catalogue, Advices for people to keep a guard over their tongues;
"I saw a kevell corpulent of stature,
Like a mattress raddled was his coat," &c.
MS. Harl. 2255. fol. 132.
192. javel] "Javel. Ioppus." Prompt. Parv. ed. 1499. Of this common term of contempt (which Skelton uses in other passages) the meaning and etymology are uncertain. Todd (Johnson's Dict. in v. ) explains it "A wandering or dirty fellow;" shows that it is sometimes written jabel; and would derive it from the verb, javel, jable, or jarble, to bemire, to bedew. Nares (Gloss. in v. ) refers it to the French javelle, which sometimes means "a faggot of brushwood or other worthless materials." The compiler of the Gloss. to The Towneley Mysteries (under Hawvelle) considers it equivalent to—jabberer. [It has not been suggested that this word may be only a shortened form of javelonne, jevellone, jailer. The Lieutenant of the Tower, advising Sir Thos. More to put on worse clothes at his execution, gave this reason, "because he that is to have them is but a Javel" Halliwell's Dict.]
193. Here cometh in COUNTERFEIT COUNTENANCE] Ed., besides omitting this stage direction, leaves the two following lines unappropriated.
194. gardeviance] In a note on Dunbar's Friar of Tungland, Lord Hailes observes that gardyvians is "literally garde de viande, or cupboard; but there it implies his cabinet;" and Mr. D. Laing adds, "rather, a portable cabinet."
195. Your trimming and tramming by me must be tanged] The reader will hardly expect that I should attempt any precise explanation of this line.
196. When we with Magnificence goods made chevisaunce]—chevisaunce, i.e. booty. Compare Gower;
"Right as a thief makes his chevisaunce,
And robbeth men's goods about," &c.
Conf. Am. B. v. fol. cxvi. ed. 1554.
197. ban and warray] "I warray, I ban or curse. Je mauldis." Palsgrave, p. 772. Barclay is even more pleonastic than Skelton;
"And your unkindness warray, ban and curse."
The Ship of Fools, fol. 22. ed. 1570.
198. gaure] i.e. stare: see Tyrwhitt's Gloss. to Chaucer's Cant. Tales. Yet Palsgrave has " I Gaure, I cry, Je hue. Howe he gaureth after his hawk: Comment il heue apres son oiseau." p. 561.
199. requiem aeternam groweth forth of his nose] requiem aeternam = "eternal rest" i.e. death. Heywood has a similar expression;
"Hunger droppeth even out of both their noses."
Dialogue, &c. sig. D 4.—Works, ed. 1598.
And Cotgrave; "Chishe-face . . . one out of whose nose hunger drops." Dict.
200. the half street] On the Bank-side, Southwark,—where the stews (i.e. brothels) were: it is mentioned in the following curious passage of Cock Laurel's Boat, n. d. (where the "wind from Winchester" alludes to the temporary suppression of the Southwark stews at the intercession of the Bishop of Winchester);
"Sir this pardon is new found
Beside London Bridge, in a holy ground
Late called the Stews Bank.
Ye know well all that there was
Some religious women in that place,
To whom men offered many a franc,
And because they were so kind and liberal,
A marvellous adventure there is befall.
If ye list to hear how,
There came such a wind from Winchester,
That blew these women over the river,
In wherry, as I will you tell,
Some at saint Katherine's struck aground,
And many in Holborn were found.
Some at saint Giles, I trow,
Also in Ave Maria Alley, and at Westminster,
And some in Shoreditch drew thither,
With great lamentation;
And by cause they have lost that fair place,
They will build at Colman Hedge in space
Another noble mansion,
Fairer and ever the Half Street was.
For every house new paved is with grass,
Shall be full of fair flowers;
The walls shall be of hawthorn, wot well,
And hanged with white motley it sweet doth smell;
Green shall be the colours,
And as for this old place, these wenches holy
They will not have it called the stews for folly,
But maketh it Strawberry Bank." Sig. B iv.
201. mutton] Long after Skelton's time, as the readers of our early dramatists will recollect, mutton was a favourite cant term for a prostitute.
202. queasy meat] "Queasy as meat or drink is, dangereux." Palsgrave, p. 321. Compare Jill of Braintford's Testament, n. d.;
"I pray you fill you not to much of the mutton;
I promise you that it is very queasy." Sig. A.
203. For the passion of God, let us go thither!] Qy. A line wanting to rhyme with this?
204. throat boll] i.e. larynx, Adam's apple. "Throat gole or throat boll, neu de la gorge, gosier." Palsgrave, p. 281. In Ortus Vocab. fol. ed. W. de Worde, n. d. is "Epiglotum, a throat boll."—"It is not impossible," says Warton, alluding to this passage, "that Despair [Mischief] offering the knife and the halter, might give a distant hint to Spenser." Hist. of E. P. (Em. and Ad. to p. 363 of vol. ii.) ed. 4to. See The Faerie Queene, i. ix. 50.
205. Mis. Alarum, alarum! too long we abide!] Ed. Magn.
206. Out, harrow]—harrow (variously spelt) is common in our early poetry as an exclamation of alarm or sudden distress, or an outcry for help. "Interjections of outcry: Haro, as Haro, alarm, trahy, trahy." Palsgrave, p. 888. On the origin of the word see Du Cange's Gloss. in vv. Haro, Haroep; Tyrwhitt's note on v. 3286 of Chaucer's Cant. Tales; Jamieson's Et. Dict. of Scot. Lang. in v. Harro; and Roquefort's Gloss. to La Lang.
207. Prosperity to Him] Qy. "by Him?"
208. negligence] Qy., did Skelton write, for the rhyme, "neglygesse?"
209. Red. First, I say, with mind firm and stable] Ed. leaves this speech unappropriated.
210. to account you the continue of my conceit] i.e. to tell you the continuation, the rest, of my conceit, conception.
211. that is no nay] i.e. that is not to be denied.
212. inhateth] Skelton's fondness for compound words has been already noticed (see note 2 to The Bowge of Court) and here most probably inhateth was not intended to convey a stronger meaning than—hateth.
213. from you I received a letter] Qy. for the rhyme, "a letter sent?"
214. Red. What this man hath said, perceive ye his sentence?] Qy. Some corruption? This line ought to rhyme with the preceding line but one. Qy. "conceit?"
215. I will refrain you further, ere we flit] i.e. I will question you farther before we remove (refrain being here, it would seem, according to Skelton's use of such compounds, equivalent to the simple, and not uncommon word,—frayne).
216. this process] i.e. this drama of Magnificence: (so presently, "this interlude" v. 2548, "this treatyse" v. 2562, "this matter" v. 2576: see also v. 2506)
217. Pressly purposed] i.e. Briefly discoursed.
218. the terrestre rechery] If "rechery" be the right reading, I know not what it means. Qy. "treachery? "as before, v. 2046.
"Fie on this world, full of treachery."
219. Ensorded] Could only, I presume, mean–defiled; but qy. As the context seems to require, "Ensorbed," i.e. sucked in, swallowed?