1. Sheriff-Hutton Castle "is situated in the Wapentake of Bulmer, and is distant ten miles north-east from York . . . The slender accounts of it that have reached our times, ascribe its origin to Bertram de Bulmer, an English Baron, who is recorded by Camden to have built it in the reign of King Stephen, A. D. 1140 . . . From the Bulmers it descended by marriage to the noble family of the Nevilles, and continued in their possession upwards of 300 years, through a regular series of reigns, until seized by Edward IV. in 1471, who soon after gave the Castle and Manor to his brother the Duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III. In 1485, in consequence of the death of Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field, it became the property of King Henry VII., and continued in the hands of the Crown, until James the First granted it to his son, Prince Charles, about 1616. The Castle and Manor were subsequently granted (also by King James, according to
Leland (who says, erroneously it would seem, that
"Report asserts, that during the civil wars in the time of Charles the First, it [the Castle] was dismantled, and the greater part of its walls taken down, by order of the Parliament. But this is certainly not the fact, as will be seen by reference to the 'Royal Survey' made in 1624 . . . From this Survey it will appear evident, that the Castle was dismantled and almost in total ruin in the time of James I.,—how long it had been so, previous to the Survey alluded to, is now difficult to say. From the present appearance of the ruins, it is plain that the Castle was purposely demolished and taken down by workmen, (probably under an order from the Crown, in whatever reign it might happen,) and not destroyed by violence of war. However, since this devastation by human hands, the yet more powerful and corroding hand of Time has still further contributed to its destruction. The Castle stands upon a rising bank or eminence in front of the village, and its ruins may be seen on every side at a great distance." Some Account, &c. (already cited), pp. 5, 6. The vast
When Skelton wrote the present poem,
2. Eterno mansura die dum sidera fulgent,
Aequora dumque tument, haec laurea nostra virebit:
Hinc nostrum celebre et nomen referetur ad astra,
Undique Skeltonis memorabitur alter Adonis.] "While the stars shine with eternal day, and while the seas swell, these our laurels shall be green; our illustrious name shall be translated to the sky, and everywhere shall Skelton be renowned as another Adonis." (PH)
3. Encrampished] i.e. encramped. Skelton's fondness for compounds of this kind has been already noticed. The simple word occurs in other writers:
"Crampisheth her limbs crookedly."
Chaucer's Annel. and Ar.,—Works, fol. 244. ed 1602.
"As marble cold her limbs crampishing."
Lydgate's Wars of
4. Thus stood I in the frithy
Ensoaked with silt of the miry moss] The
5. harts bellowing] In the Book of
"An hart belloweth and a buck groaneth, I finde."
Sig. d ii.
6. the hind calf] "Ceruula. a hind calf." Ortus Vocab. fol. ed. W. de Worde, n. d. In the Book of Saint Albans we are told;
"And for to speak of the harte if ye will it lere:
Ye shall him a Calf call at the first yere."
Sig. C vi.
7. superflue] i.e. superfluous.
"Ye blabbering fools superflue of language."
Barclay's Ship of Fools, fol. 38. ed. 1570.
8. disguised] i.e. decked out in an unusual manner.
"Of his strange array marvelled I sore
. . . .
Me thought he was gaily disguised at that feast."
Lydgate's Assemble de dyeus, sig. b ii. n. d. 4to.
9. Garnished fresh after my fantasy
Enhatched with pearl, &c.] fresh i.e. elegantly; enhatched i.e. inlaid, adorned with pearl, &c. Our author in his Phillip Sparrow tells us that a lady had a wart (or as he also calls it, a scar) "enhatched on her fair skin," v. 1078. Gifford observes that "literally, to hatch is to inlay [originally, I believe, to cut, engrave, mark with. lines]; metaphorically, it is to adorn, to beautify, with silver, gold, &c." Note on Shirley's Works, ii. 301. "The ladies' apparel was after the fashion of Inde, with kerchiefs of pleasance, hatched with fine gold." Holinshed's Chron. (Hen. viii.) vol. iii. 849. ed. 1587. "Hatching, is to Silver or gild the Hilt and Pommel of a Sword or Hanger." R. Holme's Ac. of Armory. 1688. B. iii. p.91.
10. The ground engrosed and bet with bourne gold]—ground, i.e. (not floor, but) ground work; as in Lydgate's verses entitled For the better abide;
"I see a ribbon rich and new
. . . . .
The ground was all of brent gold bright."
MS. Cott. Calig. A ii. fol. 65.
Bet has here the same meaning as in Le Bone Florence of Rome;
"Her clothes with beasts and birds were bet."
Met. Rom. iii. 9. ed. Ritson,
who somewhat copiously explains it "beaten, plaited, inlay'd, embroider'd:"
11. To whom supplied the royal Queen of Fame] Opposite this line MS. has a marginal note, partly illegible, and partly cut off, "Egida concussit p . . . dea pectore porta . . " (too fragmentary to attempt a translation).
12. of very congruence] i.e. of very fitness.
"Such ought of duty and very congruence," &c
Barclay's Ship of Fools, fol. 188. ed. 1570
Page 173. v. 54.
13. comprised] i.e orne in mind. Compare our author in L'envoy to Wolsey, appended to The Doughty Duke of Albany.
"And him most lowly pray,
In his mind to comprise
Those words," &c.
14. pardie, for to kill] i.e. par dieu, verily, for to be killed.
15. the grey] i.e. the badger. Juliana Berners says;
That beast a bauson hight: a brock or a grey:
These three names he hath the sooth for to say."
The Book of
16. diffuse is to expound] i.e. is difficult to expound: see note 101 to Philip Sparrow.
17. motive] i.e. motion. So in the next line but one is "promotive," i.e. promotion: and so Lydgate has "imaginative" for–imagination. Fall of Princes, B. v. leaf cxvii. ed. Wayland.
18. Aeschines] Aeschines (389 – 314 BC) was a Greek statesman and orator. He and Demosthenes had a long-standing rivalry which was expressed in several speeches which have survived; in the end Demosthenes was victorious and Aeschines was forced into exile in 330 BC.
19. apposal] i.e. question.
"And to Poverty she put this apposal."
Lydgate's Fall of Princes, B. leaf lxvi. ed. Wayland.
"Made unto her this uncouth apposal:
Why weep ye so;" &c. Id. B. v. leaf. cxxviii.
well inferred—i.e. well brought in.
20. quickly it is
Touched] i.e. it is lively, subtly expressed: compare v. 592 and v. 1161, where the words are applied to visible objects.
21. debarred] See note 9 to Magnificence; and compare Gentleness and Nobility (attributed without grounds to Heywood) n.d.;
"That reason is so great no man can debarr."
Sig. C iii.
22. freshly] i.e. elegantly: "Fresh, gorgeous, gay." Palsgrave, p.313–which I ought to have cited earlier for the meaning of this word.
23. outray] i.e. vanquish. See note 10 to Philip Sparrow where this passage is examined.
24. Jerome, in his preamble Frater Ambrosius, &c.] The Epistle of Jerome to Paulinus, prefixed to the Vulgate, begins, "Frater Ambrosius tua mihi munuscula perferens," ("Brother Ambrosius bringing to me your little gifts") &c., and contains this passage: "Unde et Aeschines, cum Rhodi exularet, et legeretur illa Demosthenis oratio, quam adversus eum habuerat, mirantibus cunctis atque laudantibus, suspirans ait, Quid, si ipsam audissetis bestiam sua verba resonantem?" ("When the speech of Demosthenes against Aeschines was recited before the latter during his exile at
25. Some facers, some bracers, some make great cracks] See note 4 to Against the Scots.
26. court-rolls].—Warton cites this and the next two verses as "nervous and manly lines." Hist. of E. P. ii. 354. ed. 4to.
27. a mumming] See note 9 to Colyn Cloute.
28. Jack-a-thrum's bible] See note 57 to Poems against Garnesche.
29. clarioner] Is used here for—trumpeter: but the words properly are not synonymous;
"Of trumpeters and eke of clarioners."
Lydgate's Wars of
and Skelton himself has afterwards in the present poem, "trumpets and clarions." v. 1507.
30. Aeolus, your trumpet] i.e. Aeolus, your trumpeter.
"A trumpet stood and proudly gan to blow,
Which slain was and from the tree down throw."
Lydgate's Fall of Princes, B. v. leaf cxxx. ed. Wayland.
So Chaucer makes Aeolus trumpeter to Fame: see House of Fame, B. iii.
31. plump] i.e. cluster, mass. "Stood still as it had been a plump of wood." Morte d'Arthur, B. i. cap. xvi. vol. i. 27. ed. Southey. Dryden has the word; and the first writer perhaps after his time who used it was Sir W. Scott.
32. A murmur of minstrels] So in many of our early English dramas "a noise of musicians" is used for a company or band of musicians.
33. hairs encrisped] i.e. hairs formed into curls, curling.
34. Daphnes] i.e. Daphne. So our early poets wrote the name;
"A maiden whilom there was one
Which Daphnes hight."
Gower's Conf. Am. B. iii. fol. lvi. ed. 1554.
"Her name was Daphnes which was devoid of love."
The Castle of pleasure, (by Nevil, son of Lord Latimer), sig. A iii. 1518.
So afterwards in the present poem we find Cidippes for Cydippe, v. 885; and see note 9 to Philip Sparrow.
35. the dart of lead] From Ovid, Met. i. 471.
36. O thoughtful heart] See note 17 to Divers Ballads and Ditties Solcaious.
37. the tree as he did take
Between his arms, he felt her body quake] From Ovid, Met. i. 553.
38. he assurded into this exclamation]—assurded, i.e. broke forth—a word which I have not elsewhere met with, but evidently formed from the not uncommon verb sourd, to rise. "There within sourdeth and springeth a fontain or well." Caxton's Mirror of the world, 1480, sig. e. v. : in that work, a few lines after, occurs "resourdeth."
39. Why have the gods showed me this cruelty, &c.] This stanza ia also imitated from Ovid, Met. i. 521.
40. rayest] i.e. arrayest:—to array is to put into a condition or plight: see note 1 to Woefully Arrayed.
41. But sith I have lost, &c.] Again from Ovid, Met. i. 557.
42. poets laureate, &c.] It must be remembered that formerly a poet laureate meant a person who had taken a degree in grammar, including rhetoric and versification: and that the word poet was applied to a writer of prose as well as of verse; "Poet, a conning man." Palsgrave, p. 256.
"And poets to proven it. Porfirie and Plato
Aristotle. Ovidius," &c.
Piers Plowman, p. 210. ed. Whit.
"Nor sugared deties [ditties] of Tullius Cicero."
Lydgate's Life and passion of Saint Albon, sig. B ii. ed. 1534.
43. Esiodus, the iconomicar] i.e. Hesiod, the writer on husbandry (the eds. by a misprint have "icononucar,"—which Warton says he "cannot decipher." Hist. of E. P., ii. 352 (note), ed. 4to. Among MSS. Dig. Bod. 147. is "Carmen Domini Walteri de Henleye quod vocatur Yconomia sive Housbundria:" ("A song of Lord Walter of Henley which is called Ecomonia, that is, husbandry") compare
44. Aulus Gellius] A Latin author and grammarian (c. 125 – after 180 AD). He is famous for his Attic Nights, a commonplace book, or compilation of notes on grammar, philosophy, history, antiquarianism and other subjects, preserving fragments of many authors and works who otherwise might be unknown today (Wikipedia)
45. Horace also with his new poetry] "That is, Horace's Art of Poetry. Vinesauf wrote De Nova Poetria. Horace's Art is frequently mentioned under this title." Warton's Hist. of E. P., ii. 353 (note), ed. 4to.
46. Boyce] i.e. Boethius, author of the Consolation of Philosophy.
47. And Maximian, with his mad ditties,
How doting age would jape with young folly.] The Elegiarum Liber of Maximianus, which has been often printed as the production of Cornelius Gallus, may be found, with all that can be told concerning its author, in Wernsdorf's Poetae Latini Minores, tomi sexti pars prior.("Minor Latin Poets, Volume 6 part 12) In these six elegies, Maximianus deplores the evils of old age, relates the pursuits and loves of his youth, &c. &c. Perhaps the line "How doting age would jape with young folly" (in which case jape would have the same meaning here as in our author's Mannerly Margery Milk and Ale, v. 20. is a particular allusion to Elegy v. , where Maximianus informs us, that, having been sent on an embassy, at an advanced period of life, he became enamoured of a "Graia puella," ("Greek girl"), the adventure being described in the grossest terms.
48. Johan Bochas with his volumes great]. Johan Bochas i.e. Giovanni Boccaccio. In Skelton's time, the De Genealogia Deorum, the De Casibus Virorum et Feminarum Illustrium, and other now-forgotten works of Boccaccio, were highly esteemed,—more, perhaps, than the Decamerone.
49. Quintus Curtius Rufus] was a Roman historian, probably of the 1st century AD, author of his only known and only surviving work, Historiae Alexandri Magni, "Histories of Alexander the Great," (Wikipedia).
50. Macrobius] Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius, commonly referred to as Macrobius, was a Roman who flourished during the early fifth century. He is primarily known for his writings, which include the Commentarii in Somnium Scipionis ("Commentary on the Dream of Scipio"), which was an important source for Platonism in the Latin West during the Middle Ages (Wikipedia)
51. probate] i.e. proof, meaning, or, perhaps, interpretation. See note 2 to Magnificence.
52. Poggeus ... with many a mad tale] When this poem was written, the Facetiae of Poggio enjoyed the highest popularity. In The Palace of Honour, Gawen Douglas, enumerating the illustrious writers at the Court of the Muses, says,
"There was Plautus, Poggius, and Persius."
p. 27. ed. Ban. 1827.
53. a friar of
54. boot is of all bale] i.e. remedy of all evil. See note 176 to Magnificence.
55. Lucilius] Gaius Ennius Lucilius (c. 180 – 103/2 BC), the earliest Roman satirist, of whose writings only fragments remain (Wikipedia).
56. Valerius, Maximus by name] i.e. Valerius who has the name Maximus (to distinguish him from Valerius Flaccus). Valerius Maximus was a Latin writer and author of a collection of historical anecdotes. He worked during the reign of Tiberius (14 AD to 37 AD)
57. Vincentius in Speculo, that wrote noble works] The Speculum Majus of Vincentius Bellovacensis (naturale, morale, doctrinale, et historiale), a vast treatise in ten volumes folio, usually bound in four, was first printed in 1473. See the Biog. Univ. , and Hallam's Introd. to the Lit. of
58. Pisandros] "Our author," says Warton, "got the name of Pisander, a Greek poet, from Macrobius, who cites a few of his verses." Hist. of E. P., ii. 353 (note), ed. 4to. A mistake: Macrobius (Sat. v. 2.) mentions, but does not cite, Pisander.
59. these English poets three] "That only these three English poets [Gower, Chaucer, Lydgate] are here mentioned, may be considered as a proof that only these three were yet thought to deserve the name." Warton's Hist. of E. P., ii. 354. ed. 4to. So the Scottish poets of Skelton's time invariably selected these three as most worthy of praise: see Laing's note on
60. Together in arms, as brethren, embraced] So Lydgate;
"Embraced in arms as they had been knit
Together with a girdle."
Le Assemble de dyeus, sig. d iii. n. d.
61. They wanted nothing but the laurel] Meaning,—that they were not poets laureate: see note 42 above.
62. The bruited Britons of Brutus
"Rejoice ye folks that born be in
Called otherwise Brutus Albion."
Fall of Princes, B. viii. fol. viii. ed. Wayland.
Brutus Albion was the mythical founder of
63. I made it strange] i.e. I made it a matter of nicety, scruple.
64. Enlozenged with many goodly plates
Of gold, entached with many a precious stone;] i.e. Having many goodly plates of gold shaped like lozenges (quadrilateral figures of equal sides, but unequal angles). Entached may be used in the sense of—tacked on; but qy. is the right reading "enhatched?" as in v. 40 of the present poem, "Enhatched with pearl," &c. (see note 9 above), and v. 1078 of Phillip Sparrow.
65. whale's bone] In our early poetry "white as whale's bone" is a common simile; and there is reason to believe that some of our ancient writers supposed the ivory then in use (which was made from the teeth of the horse-whale, morse, or walrus) to be part of the bones of a whale. Skelton, however, makes a distinction between "whale's bone" and the real ivory (see v. 468). The latter was still scarce in the reign of Henry the Eighth; but, before that period, Caxton had told his readers that "the tooth of an elephant is ivory." Mirror of the world, 1480. sig. f i.
66. The carpets within and tapets of pall]—tapets of pall, i.e. coverings of rich or fine stuff (perhaps table-covers): that tapets does not here mean tapestry, is proved by the next line; and compare v. 787,
"With that the tapets and carpets were laId,
Whereon these ladies softly might rest,
The sampler to sew on," &c.
In an unpublished book of King's Payments, in the Chapter-House, we find, under the first year of Henry 8; "Item to Corneles Vanderstrete upon his warrant for xv Tapets made for Windows at the tower—ix s."
67. cloths of
68. Floorth] i.e. floor. Planché, the florthe of any thing that is boarded." Palsgrave, p. 49. "Floorth of a house, astre."
69. false quarter] "The false quarters is a soreness on the inside of the hoofs, which are commonly called quarters, which is as much as to say, crazed unsound quarters, which comes.from evil shoeing and paring the hoof." R. Holme's Ac. of Armory, 1688. B. ii. p. 152.
70. I pray you, a little tine stand back] So Heywood;
"For when provender pricked them a little tine," &c.
Dialogue, &c. sig D,—Works, ed. 1598.
71. the bailiffs of the v ports] i.e. the bailiffs of the
72. ere it be prime] I have my doubts about what hour is here, meant by prime. Concerning that word see Du Cange's Gloss. in Prima and Horae Canonicae, Tyrwhitt's Gloss. to Chaucer's Cant. Tales, Sibbald's Gloss. to Chron. of Scot. Poetry, and Sir F. Madden's Gloss. to Sir Gawayne, &c.
73. the port salu] See note 155 to Colyn Cloute.
74. As quickly touched] i.e. touched, executed, as much to the life.
75. Formidanda nimis Jovis &c] MS. Side note here: "Cacosinthicon (properly Cacosyntheton) ex industria." "Badly made".
The whole of this passage is beyond my comprehension.
Unguibus ire parat loca singula livida curvis: Here Skelton has an eye to Juvenal;
"Nec per conventus nec cuncta per oppida curvis
Unguibus ire parat nummos raptura Celaeno."
("Not to use the courts in every town to snatch money, like Celaeno with her hooked talons")
Satires. viii. 129
Spreto spineto cedat saliunca roseto: Here he was thinking of Virgil;
"Lenta salix quantum pallenti cedit olivae
Puniceis humilis quantum saliunca rosetis."
("The supple willow yields to the pale olive and the lowly Celtic reed to the rose")
Eclogues. v. 16.
76. haskards] "Haskards went in the quest: not honest men. Proletarii & capite censi: non classici rem transegerunt." Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. n ed. 1530.
"Wine was not made for every haskard."
– who in the Gloss. queries if haskard mean "dirty fellow? from the Scotch hasky." [Rough, rude fellows. See Halliwell's Dict. where "hastarddis," (p. 8. v. 24.) is referred to this word.]
77. Furtherers of love] i.e. pimps, pandars.
78. blow at the coal] A friend suggests that there is an allusion here to alchemists; but I believe he is mistaken. It is a proverbial expression. So our author again;
"We may blow at the coal."
Why come ye not to Court, v. 81.
The proverb given by Davies of Hereford;
"Let them that be cold, blow at the coal.
So may a man do, and yet play the fool."
Scourge of Folly,—Proverbes, p. 171.
and by Ray, Proverbs, p. 90. ed. 1768, seems to have a quite different meaning.
79. gold and whole] Heywood also has this expression;
"In words gold and whole, as men by wit could wish,
She will [lie] as fast as a dog will lick a dish."
Dialogue, &c.—Works, sig H2, ed. 1598.
80. Pole-hatchets] See note 8 to Divers Ballads and Ditties Solacious.
81. With alleys ensanded about in compass] i.e. "it was surrounded with sand-walks." Warton's Hist. of E. P., 350 (note), ed. 4to. So the garden, in which Chaucer describes Cressid walking, was "sanded all the ways." Troilus and Creseide, B. ii. fol. 152, Works, ed. 1602: and compare Lydgate;
"All the alleys were made plain with sand."
The Churl and the Bird,—MS. Harl. 116. fol. 147.
82. with singular solace] i.e. in a particularly pleasant manner
83. beat up a fire] i.e. made a fire, (properly, mended).
84. Side note here: Oliva speciosa in campis "An olive tree in the plains"
85. flagrant flower]-flagrant, i.e. fragrant. Compare v. 978. So Hawes;
"Strewed with flowers flagrant of air."
The Pastime of pleasure, sig. A a iiii. ed. 1555.
86. Side note here: Nota excellentiam virtutis in oliva "Note the excellence of virtue in the olive."
87. the nine Muses, Pierides by name] So Chaucer;
"Muses, that men clepe Pierides."
The Man of Law's Prol. v. 4512 (but. see Tyrwhitt's note).
88. Testalis] i.e. Thestylis. So Barclay;
"Neera, Malkin, or lusty Testalis."
Second Egloge, sig. B ii. ed. 1570.
Thestylis (like Phyllis) was a conventional name for a woman in pastoral poetry. See Theocritus Idyll 2; also Ametas and Thestylis Making Hay-ropes by Andrew Marvell and L'Allegro by John Milton.
89. twinkling upon his harp strings]—twinkling, i.e. tinkling. So, at a much later period, Dekker; "Thou (most clear throated singing man,) with thy Harp, (to the twinkling of which inferior Spirits skipped like Goats over the Welsh mountains)," &c. A Knight's Conjuring, 1607. sig. D 2.
90. And Iopas, &c.] Here, and in the next two stanzas, Skelton has an eye to Virgil;
"Cithara crinitus Iopas
Personat aurata, docuit quae maxumus Atlas.
Hic canit errantem lunam, solisque labores;
Unde hominum genus, et pecudes; unde imber, et ignes;
Arcturum, pluviasque Hyadas, geminosque Triones;
Quid tantum Oceano properent se tinguere soles
Hiberni, vel quae tardis mora noctibus obstet."
Aen. i. 740
("Long-haired Iopas on his gilded lyre fills the chamber with songs ancient Atlas taught; he sings of the wandering moon and the sun's travails; whence is the human race and the brute, whence water and fire; of Arcturus, the rainy Hyades, and the twin Oxen; why wintry suns make such haste to dip in ocean, or what delay makes the nights drag lingeringly." (J.W. Mackail).
91. dropping dry] Qy. mistake for dropping eye?
92. Trions] the stars of the Plough.
93. I am not laden of litherness with lumps] i.e. I am not weighed down by lumps of laziness.
94. Interpolata, que industriosum postulat interpretem, satira in vatis adversarium]. "An interpolated satire against the poet's adversary, which demands an industrious interpreter." (PH)
95. Tressis agasonis species &c.] "The first kind is a three-halfpenny ostler, the second a Davus. He strains at a gnat, turning his eye aslant and, look, he seizes, snatches at flies! Whatever Maia cherishes, or Jupiter, or cold Saturn, Sun, Mars, Venus, and the chill Moon, if you chance to put it in words or writing, how soon the heart begins to sweat with silent guilt! Hence he bursts into flames, stirs up this one and that, egging them on, yet only kindles ineffectual fires, muttering in silence—let Codrus burst his lungs!" (PH).
96. Tressis agasonis] "Hic Dama est non tressis agaso." ("This ostler Dama is not worth three coppers") Persius, Sat. v. 76. Davus is a slave's name in Plautus, Terence, &c.
97. Side note here: Nota Alchimiam et 7 metalla. ("Note Alchemy and the seven metals")
98. tacita sudant praecordia culpa] "Sweating from the guilt hidden in his breast" From Juvenal, Sat. i. 167.
99. Labra movens tacitus] "Labra moves tacitus." ("You move your lips silently") Persius, Sat. v. 184.
100. rumpantur ut ilia Codro] "That Codrus' guts may burst" From Virgil, Ecl. vii. 26.
101. 17. 4. 7. 2. 17. 5. 18.
18. 19. 1. 19. 8. 5. 12.] This can be decoded to Rogerus Stathum. See note 44 to Ware the Hawk.
102. Countess of Surrey] Was Elizabeth Stafford, eldest daughter of Edward Duke of Buckingham, and second wife of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, who afterwards (on the death of his father in 1524) became the third Duke of Norfolk. She had previously been attached and engaged to the Earl of Westmoreland with the consent of both families; but her father, having broken off the intended match, compelled her to accept the hand of Lord Thomas Howard in 1513. She was twenty years younger than her husband. After many domestic quarrels, they separated about 1533. Of their five children, one was Henry Howard, the illustrious poet. She died in 1558. See Memorials of the Howard Family, &c. by H. Howard, 1834, folio.
The Countess of Surrey appears to have been fond of literature; and, as she calls Skelton her "clerk," we may suppose that she particularly patronised him. The probability is, that the present poem was really composed at
103. tapets and carpets] See note 66 above.
104. To weave in the stool] So Chaucer;
"And weaven in stool the radevore."
Leg. of Philomene, fol. 195.—Works, ed. 1602.
and Hall; "On their heads bonnets of Damask silver flat woven in the stool, and therupon wrought with gold," &c. Chron. (Hen. viii.) fol. vii. ed. 1548.—Mr. Albert Way observes to me that in Prompt. Parv. MS. Harl. 221, is "Lyncent, working instrument for silkwomen. Liniarium," while the ed. of 1499 has " Lyncet, a working stool and he supposes the stool to have been a kind of frame, much like what is still used for worsted work, but, instead of being arranged like a cheval glass, that it was made like a stool,—the top being merely a frame or stretcher for the work.
105. With sleys, with tavells, with hiddles well dressed] sleys, weavers' reeds; tavels, bobbins used in silk-weaving; "Heddles, Hedeles, Hiddles, The small cords through which the warp is passed in a loom, after going through the reed." Et. Dict. of Scot. Lang. by Jamieson, who cites from G. Douglas's Aeneid;
"With subtle sleys, and her hiddles slee,
Rich lenze webs neatly weaved she."
B. vii. p. 204. 45. ed. Rudd.
106. to embroider put them in press] i.e. put themselves in press (applied themselves earnestly) to embroider.
107. glowtonn] Does it mean—ball, clue? or, as
108. pirling] "I pirl wire of gold or silver, I wind it upon a wheel as silk women do." Palsgrave, p. 658.
109. tuly silk]
110. bottom] "I can make no bottoms of this thread ... glomera." Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. t i. ed. 1530.
111. captations of benevolence] Todd gives "Captation (old Fr. captation, ruse, artifice). The practice of catching favour or applause; courtship; flattery." Johnson's Dict. Richardson, after noticing the use of the verb captive "with a subaudition of gentle, attractive, persuasive means or qualities," adds that in the present passage of Skelton captation is used with that subaudition. Dict. in v.
112. Sith ye must needs aforce it by pretence
Of your profession unto humanity] i.e. Since you must needs attempt, undertake, it by your claim to the profession of humanity,—humaniores literae, polite literature.
113. Polimites] i.e. Polynices;
" . . his fellow dan Polimites,
Of which the brother dan Ethiocles," &c.
Chaucer's Troilus and Creseide, B. v. fol. 180, Works, ed. 1602,
"Let Polymyte rejoice his heritage."
Lydgate's Story of
In Greek mythology, Polynices was the son of Oedipus and Jocasta. Because of a curse put on them by their father Oedipus, the sons Polynices and Eteocles did not share the rule peacefully and died as a result by killing each other in a battle for the control of
114. Pamphila, queen of the Greeks' land] "Telas araneorum modo texunt ad vestem luxumque foeminarum, qua bombycina appellatur. Prima eas redordiri, rursusque texere invenit in Ceo mulier Pamphila, Latoi filia, non fraudanda gloria excogitatae rationis ut denudet foeminas vestis." Plinii Nat. Hist. lib. xi. 26 ("These insects weave webs similar to those of the spider, the material of which is used for making the more costly and luxurious garments of females, known as " bombycina." Pamphile, a woman of
115. Thamer also wrought with her goodly hand
Many devices passing curiously] It is plain that Skelton, while writing these complimentary stanzas, consulted Boccaccio De Claris Mulieribus: there this lady is called Thamyris (see, in that work, "De Thamyri Pictrice," cap. liiii. ed. 1539). Her name is properly Timarete; she was daughter to Mycon the painter; vide Plinii Nat. Hist.
116. Agrippina] There were several eminent Roman ladies called Agrippina; it is not clear which one Skelton meant but it can hardly have been the best-known one, wife of the Emperor Claudius, who, amongst other crimes, poisoned Claudius and committed incest with her son Nero. He may have meant the wife of Germanicus, brother of the Emperor Claudius.
117. lady Elisabeth Howard] Was the third daughter of the second Duke of Norfolk by his second wife, Agnes Tylney, daughter of Sir Hugh Tylney, and sister and heir to Sir Philip Tylney of Boston, Lincolnshire, knight (I follow Howard's Memorials of the Howard Family,&c.; Collins says "daughter of Hugh Tilney"). Lady Elizabeth married Henry Ratcliff, Earl of Sussex.
118. Aryna] i.e. perhaps—Irene. In the work of' Boccaccio just referred to is a portion "De Hyrene C[r]atini filia," ("Of Irene daughter of Cratinus") cap. lvii.; and Pliny notices her together with the above-mentioned Timarete.
119. Good Creisseid, fairer than Polexene] See Chaucer's Troilus and Creseide. Polexene—i.e. Polyxena, the daughter of Priam.
120. lady Mirriell Howard] Could not have been Muriel, daughter of the second Duke of Norfolk; for she, after having been twice married, died in 1512, anterior to the composition of the present poem. Qy. was the Muriel here celebrated the Duke's grandchild,—one of those children of the Earl and Countess of
121. Whom Fortune and Fate plainly have discussed]—discussed, i.e. determined. So again our author in Why come ye not to Court;
"Almighty God, I trust,
Hath for him discussed," &c.
"But if thou judge amiss, then shall Eacus
(As Poets sayeth) hell thy just reward discuss."
The Ship of Fools, fol. 4. ed. 1570.
"In vain was valour, and in vain was fear,
In vain to fight, in vain it was to yield,
In vain to fly; for destiny, discussed,
By their own hands or others' die they must."
The Miseries of Queen Margaret, p. 115. ed. 1627.
122. pleasure, delight, and lust] One of Skelton's pleonastic expressions.
123. to Cydippes, the maid,
That of Acontius, when she found the bill, &c.]—Cydippes; see note 34 above): the bill; i.e. the writing,—the verses which Acontius had written on the apple.
124. lady Anne Dakers of the South] The wife of Thomas Lord Dacre, was daughter of Sir Humphrey Bourchier, son of John Lord Berners and of Elizabeth Tylney, who afterwards became the first wife of the second Duke of Norfolk.
125. his craft were to seek] i.e. his skill were at a loss.
126. mistress Margery Wentworth] Perhaps the second daughter of Sir Richard Wentworth, afterwards married to Christopher Glemham of Glemham in
127. mistress Margaret Tylney] A sister in-law, most probably, of the second Duke of Norfolk. His first wife was Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir Frederick Tylney of Ashwell-Thorpe,
128. As Machareus
Fair Canace] Their tale is told in the Conf. Am. by Gower; he expresses no horror at their incestuous passion, but remarks on the cruelty of their father, who
"for he was to love strange,
He wold not his heart change
To be benign and favourable
To love, but unmerciable!"
B. iii. fol. xlviii. ed. 1554.
(and see the lines cited in note 137 below). Lydgate (Fall of Princes, B. i. leaf xxxv. ed. Wayland) relates the story with a somewhat better moral feeling.
129. Pearl orient] In allusion to her Christian name just mentioned, "Margaret."
130. Mistress Jane Blennerhasset] Perhaps a daughter of Sir Thomas Blennerhasset, who was executor (in conjunction with the Duchess) to the second Duke of Norfolk: see Sir H. Nicolas's Test. Vet. ii. 604.
131. Laodomi] i.e. Laodamia. She was the wife of Protesilaus, a Greek warrior in the Trojan War. After Protesilaus was killed in the war he was allowed to return to his wife for only three hours before returning to the underworld because they had only just married. Thereafter Laodamia committed suicide by stabbing herself, rather than be without him.
132. Gentle as falcon] The Falcon gentle, says Turbervile, is so called "for her gentle and courteous condition and fashions." The Book of Falconry, &c. p. 26. ed. 1611.
133. hawk of the tower] See note 79 to Magnificence.
134. fair Isaphill] The Hypsipyle of the ancients. She was queen of
. . . .
She that did in fairness so excel."
Lydgate's Fall of Princes, B. i. leaf xviii. ed. Wayland.
She figures in the Story of Thebes by the same indefatigable versifier, who there says,
"But to know the adventures all
Of this lady, Isyphyle the fayre,"
(Pars tert. sig. h iiii. n. d. 4to.)
We must have recourse to Boccaccio De Claris Mulieribus (see that work, cap. xv. ed. 1539).
135. pomander] Was a composition of perfumes, wrought into the shape of a ball, or other form, and worn in the pocket, or about the neck (Fr. pomme d'ambre). In the following entry from an unpublished Book of King's Paymentis from i to ix of Henry viii, preserved in the Chapter-House,
"Item to the french queen's servant, that brought a pomander of gold to the princes, in Re[ward]: xx.s."
(9th year of reign.
136. cassander] Cassia, a spice resembling cinnamon
137. Pasiphae] Lest the reader should be surprised at finding Skelton compare Mistress Statham to Pasiphae, I cite the following lines from Feylde's Controversy between a Lover and a Jay (printed by W. de Worde), n. d., in which she and Taurus are mentioned as examples of true love;
"Phedra and Theseus,
Progne and Thereus,
Pasiphae and Taurus,
Who liketh to prove,
Canace and Machareus,
Galathea and Pamphylus,
Was never more dolorous,
And all for true love." Sig. B
I may add too a passage from Caxton's Book of Eneidos, &c. (translated from the French), 1490; "The wife of king Minos of Crete was named Pasiphae that was a great lady and a fair above all other ladies of the realm . . . . The queen Pasiphae was with child by king Minos, and when her time was come she was delivered of a creature that was half a man and half a bull." Sig. h 6.
138. By Maro] i.e. Virgil, vide Ecl. i. and iii.
139. estate] meaning here—state, raised chair or throne with a canopy: compare v. 484.
140. There was among them no word then but mum] See note 9 to Colyn Cloute.
141. byse] Hearne in his Gloss. to Langtoft's Chron. has "bis, grey, black," [the original signification of the word: see Ducange, Bisa, and, Gloss. Franc., Bis] with an eye, no doubt, to the line at p. 230.
"In a marble bis of him is made story."
and Sir F. Madden explains the word "white or grey" in his Gloss. to Sir Gawain, &c., referring to the line "Of gold, azure, and byse" in Sir Gawain and The Carle of Carlyle, p. 204. But we also find "Byce, a colour, azur." Palsgrave, p. 198. "Scriveners write with black, red, purple, green, blue or byce, and such other." Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. Q ed. 1530. "Bize, Blue, Byze, a delicate Blue." Hohne's Acad. of Arm., 1688. B. p. 145.
142. Envived pictures well touched and quickly] quickly i.e. to the life; a somewhat pleonastic line, as before, see note 147 to Magnificence
143. garnished and bound,
Encovered over with gold of tissue fine;
The clasps and bullions &c.] "I had lever have my book sowed in a forel [in cuculli involucro] than bound in boards, and covered and clasped, and garnyshed with bullions [umbilicis]." Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. Q iiii. ed. 1530: bullions, i.e. bosses, studs.
144. worth a thousand pound] An expression found in other early poets;
"And every boss of bridle and paytral
That they had, was worth, as I would ween,
A thousand pound."
Chaucer's Flower and Leaf,—Works, fol. 345. ed. 1602.
145. balasses] Tyrwhitt (Gloss. to Chaucer's Cant. Tales) explains Balass to be "a sort of bastard Ruby." Du Cange (Gloss.) has "Balascus, Carbunculus, cujus rubor et fulgor dilutiores sunt . . . a Balascia India regione ... dicti ejusmodi lapides pretiosi." (Balass, A carbuncle with less redness and sparkle . . . they are from Balascia in
146. aurum musicum] i.e. aurum musaicum or musivum,—mosaic gold.
147. Side note here: Honor est benefactivae operationis signum: Pso. Nobilis est ille quem nobilitat sua virtus: Cassianus. Proximus ille Deo qui scit ratione tacere: Cato. Mors ultima linea rerum: Horat] "Honor is a sign of the operation of doing good: Psalms. Noble is he who ennobles his own character: Cassian. He is next to God, who knows the reason to be silent: Cato. Death is the end of all things: Horace."
148. in primis] "First"
149. Book of Honorous Estate] i.e. Book of Honourable Estate. Like many other of the pieces which Skelton proceeds to enumerate, it is not known to exist.
150. to learn you to die when ye will] A version probably of the same piece which was translated and published by Caxton under the title of A little treatise short and abridged speaking of the art and craft to know well to die, 1490, folio. Caxton translated it from the French: the original Latin was a work of great celebrity.
151. Side note here: Virtuti omnia parent: Salust. Nusquam tuta fides: Virgilius. Res est soliciti plena timoris amor: Ovid. Si volet usus, quem penes, &c.: Horat.] "Everything depends on talent. Sallust. Faith is safe nowhere. Virgil. Love is a thing full of anxious fears. Ovid. If custom wishes, in whose power &c. Horace"
152. Prince Arthur's Creation] Arthur, the eldest son of King Henry the Seventh, was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, 1st Oct. 1489: see Sandford's Geneal. Hist. p. 475. ed. 1707.
153. Antomedon] qy. "Automedon"? Automedon was an ancient Greek poet known from his poems in the Greek Anthology. Twelve epigrams of his are still extant and he is mentioned by Philippus of Thessalonica in the proem of his anthology Garland of Philippus. He is placed from the 1st century B.C to the 1st century A.D (Wikipedia)
154. Bowge of Court] See above.
155. Side note here: Non est timor ante Dei oculos eorum: Psalmo. Concedat laurea lingua: Tullius. Fac cum consilio, et in Aeternum non peccabis: Salomon. "They do not have the fear of God in their eyes. Psalms. Let laurels yield to eloquence.
156. Of Tully's Familiars the translation] Is noticed with praise in Caxton's Preface to The Book of Eneydos, &c. 1490; see the passage cited in Account of Skelton and his Writings.
157. The Recule against Gaguin of the French nation]—Recule, Fr. recueil, is properly—a collection of several writings: it occurs again in v. 1390; and in Speak, Parrot, v. 232. Concerning Gaguin, see Account of Skelton and his Writings.
158. Item, the Popinjay, that hath in commendation
Ladies and gentlewomen such as deserved,
And such as be counterfeits they be reserved]—Popinjay, i.e. Parrot: "Reserved, excepte, sauf." Palsgrave, p. 322.—No part of Speak, Parrot, answers to this description: but "the Popinjay" is certainly only another name for Speak, Parrot (see v. 280.); and Skelton must allude here to some portion, now lost, of that composition.
159. Side note here: Non mihi sit modulo rustici papilio: Vates. Dominare in virtuta tua: Pso. Magnificavit eum in conspectu regum: Sapient. Fugere pudor, verumque, fidesque: In quorum subiere locum fraudesque, dolique, Insidiaeque, et vis, et amor scleratus habendi: Ovid. Filia babylonis misera: Psalmo. "Let no country butterfly serve me as a model. Prophets. He exalted me in the sight of the king. Wisdom. In the place of which comes fraud, deceit, treachery, force, and the hateful love of possessions. Ovid. O daughter of
160. Magnificence] See above.
161. Mannerly Mistress Margery Milk and Ale] See above for one of the "many matters of mirth" which Skelton here says that he "wrote to her."
162. Side note here: De nihilo nihil fit: Aristotiles: Le plus displeysant plieser puent. "Nothing can come from nothing. Aristotle. The most displeasing pleasure stinks(?)."
163. should not craze] i.e. that it should not break.
164. It may well rhyme, but shrewdly it doth accord] shrewdly, i.e. badly. A copy of verses on Inconsistency by Lydgate has for its burden,
"It may well rhyme, but it accordeth nought."
MS. Harl. 2251. fol. 26.
165. Patet per versus] "It is clearly shown by the opposite"
166. Hinc puer hic natus, &c.] "Hence, this boy was born, hence the man's bed was robbed of his lawful spouse; The child was born of the blood of
Side note here: Nota. ("Note")
167. Et reliquae omelia de diversis tractatibus] "And the rest of the homily from various treatises."
168. 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] my lady means perhaps the mother of Henry the Seventh, the Countess of Derby. This illustrious and excellent lady, on whose death Skelton wrote an elegy in Latin (not reproduced here), was Margaret Beaufort, born in 1441, the only child of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset. Her first husband was Edmund, Earl of Richmond, who died in 1456, a little more than a year after their marriage, the sole issue of which was Henry, afterwards King Henry the Seventh. Her seconf husband was Sir Henry Stafford, second son of Humphrey, the great Duke of Buckingham. Her third husband was Lord Thomas Stanley, afterwards the first Earl of Derby of his name. Having survived him, as also her son King Henry, she died June 29, 1509, in her 69th year, and was buried in the magnificent chapel then lately erected in Westminster Abbey.
Warton says that this piece was "from the French, perhaps, of Guillaume [de Guilleville] prior of Chalis. But it should be observed that Pynson printed Peregrinatio humani generis, 1508, 4to." Hist. of E. P., ii. 337 (note), ed. 4to. The Pilgrimage of the Soul translated out of French into English with somwhat of additions, the year of our lord m.cccc & thirteen, and endeth in the Vigil of saint Bartholomew Imprinted at
169. The Treatise of the Red Rose] Side note here: Apostolus: Non habemus hic civitatem manentem, sed futurum perquaerimus. Notat bellum Cornubiense quod in campestribus et in patentioribus vastisque solitudinibus prope Grenewiche gestum est. "The apostle: for we have not here a lasting city: but we seek one that is to come. (Heb. 13:14) This refers to the Cornish war which was fought openly in the fields and in the great wasteland almost as far as
170. Speculum Principis] "Mirror of the Prince". This was a common title for books of advice to rulers in the Renaissance period. A piece by Skelton entitled Methodos Skeltonidis Laureati, sc. Praecepta quaedam moralia Henrico principi, postea Hen. viii. missa. Dat. apud Eltham. A.D. MDI. was once among the MSS. in the Library of Lincoln Cathedral, but is now marked as missing in the Catalogue of that collection, and has been sought for in vain. Whether it was the same work as that mentioned in the present passage, I am unable to determine.
Side note here: Erudimini qui judicatis terram: Pso. "Receive instruction, you that judge the earth. Psalms"
171. The Tunning of Elynour Rumming] See above. Side note here: Quis stabit mecum adversus operantes iniquitatem? Pso. Arrident melius seria picta jocis: In fabulis Aesopi. "Who shall stand with me against the workers of iniquity? Psalms. They smile more at the serious depiction of a jest. In Aesop's Fables."
172. Colyn Cloute] See above.
173. John Ive, with Ioforth, Jack] In 1511, a woman being indicted for heresy, "her husband deposed, that in the end of the reign of King Edward the Fourth, one John Ive had persuaded her into these opinions, in which she had persisted ever since." Burnet's Hist. of the Reform., i. 51. ed. 1816. The words "with Ioforth, Jack," were perhaps a portion of Skelton's poem concerning this John Ive: ioforth is an exclamation used in driving horses;
"Harrer, Morelle, ioforth, hyte."
Mactacio Abel,-Towneley Mysteries, p. 9.
174. conveyance] See the long speech of Crafty Conveyance in our author's Magnificence, v. 1343
175. the Welshman's hose] See note 92 to Colyn Cloute.
176. The umbles of venison, the bottle of wine,
To fair Mistress Anne that should have been sent] Umbles i.e. parts of the innards of a deer. "Umbles of a deer or beast, entrailles." Palsgrave, p. 248. And see Sir F. Madden's note, Syr Gawain, &c. p. 322. A present of wine seems to have been not uncommon;
"Beds, brooches, and bottles of wine he to the lady sent."
Lydgate's Ballad of A Prioress and her three Wooers,—MS. Harl. 78. fol. 74.
The "mistress Anne" here mentioned is doubtless the lady to whom the lines in Womanhood, Wanton, Ye Want are addressed.
Side note here: Implentur veteris Bacchae pinguisque ferinae: Virgilius. Aut prodesse volunt aut delectare poetae: Horace. "They refreshed themselves with wine and succulent game. Virgil. Poets wish either to profit or to please. Horace"
177. Of one Adam all a knave &c.] i.e. Epitaph for John Clerk and Adam Udersall. (see above). Side note here: Adam, Adam, ubi es? Genesis. Resp. Ubi nulla requies, ubi nullus ordo, sed sempiternus horror inhabitat: Job. "Adam, Adam, where are you? Genesis. Reply. Where there is no rest, and no order, but everlasting horror dwelleth. Job"
178. Dormiat in pace] "May he sleep in peace"
179. Phillip Sparrow] See above.
180. Side note here: Etenim passer invenit sibi domum: Psalmo. "For the sparrow hath found herself a house. Psalms."
181. At this point are inserted the lines known as The Addition to Philip Sparrow, which are printed at the end of that poem.
182. The grunting and the groigning of the groaning swine] See note 21 to Poems against Garnesche. Side Note here: Porcus se ingurgitat caeno, et luto se immergit: Guarinus Veronens. Et sicut opertorium mutabis eos, et mutabuntur: Pso. c. Exaltabuntur cornua justi: Psalmo. "The pig gorges itself on filth, and wallows in muck. Guarino da Verona. And as a vesture thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed. Psalm 100 (sic, actually 101). The horns of the just shall be exalted. Psalms."
183. Mourning of the Maple-Root] In Ravenscroft's Panonelia, 1609, part of a nonsensical song (No. 31) is as follows;
"My Lady's gone to
S. Thomas be her boot.
She met with Kate of Malmsbury,
Why weepst thou maple root?"
a recollection perhaps of Skelton's lost ballad.
184. Moses' horns] So Lydgate;
". . . . Moses
With golden horns like Phoebus' beams bright."
"Cumque descenderet Moses de monte Sinai . . . ignorabat quod cornuta esset facies sua ex consortio sermonis Domini." ("And when Moses came down from
185. Of pageants that were played in Joyous Garde] Bale, in his enumeration of Skelton's writings, alluding to this line (as is evident from his arrangement of the pieces), gives "Theatrales ludos." ("Theatrical plays") Script. Illust. Bryt. p. 652. ed. 1557: and Mr. J. P. Collier states that "one of Skelton's earlier works had been a series of pageants, 'played in Joyous Garde,' or Arthur's Castle." Hist. of
"The first that was ready to Joust was sir Palomydes and sir Kaynus le Strange a knight of the table round. And so they two encountered together, but sir Palomydes smote sir Kaynus so hard that he smote him quite over his horse's croupe (crupper), and forthwithal sir Palomydes smote down another knight and brake then his spear & pulled out his sword and did wonderly well. And then the noise began greatly upon sir Palomydes. Lo said King Arthur yonder Palomydes beginneth to play his pageant. So God me help said Arthur he is a passing good knight. And right as they stood talking thus, in came sir Tristram as thunder, and he encountered with sir Kay the Seneschal, and there he smote him down quite from his horse, and with that same spear sir Tristram smote down three knights mo, and then he pulled out his sword and did marvellously. Then the noise and cry changed from sir Palomydes and turned to sir Tristram and all the people cried O Tristram, O Tristram. And then was sir Palomydes clean forgotten. How now said Launcelot unto Arthur, yonder rideth a knight that playeth his pageants." Morte d' Arthur, B. x. cap. lxxix. vol. ii. 140. ed. Southey.
Side note here: Tanquam parieti inclinato et maceriae depulsae: Psalmo. Militat omnis amans, et habet sua castra Cupido: Ovid. "As if you were thrusting down a leaning wall, and a tottering fence. Psalms. Every lover is a soldier, and Cupid has his own camp." Ovid.
186. Castle Angel the fenestral] Castle Angel: i.e. the Castel Sant' Angelo, in
187. Side note here: Introduxit me in cubiculum suam: Cant. Os fatuae ebullit stultitiam. Cant. "He brought me into his chamber. Song of Solomon. The mouth of a fool bubbleth out folly. Song of Solomon ("fatuae" (of a fool) altered purposely by Skelton from "fatuorum" (of fools) of the Vulgate Prov. xv. 2 – not Song of Solomon.)
188. Mock there lost her shoe] A proverbial expression, which occurs again in our author's Why come ye not to Court, v. 83. In his Colyn Cloute
"shoe the mockish mare."
189. barbican] "A Barbican, antemurale, promurale, tormentorun bellicorum sedes, locus." "A bulwark, outwork, Station or place of artillery." Coles's Dict. "It was generally," says Nares (referring to King on Anc. Castles, Archael.), "a small round tower, for the station of an advanced guard, placed just before the outward gate of the castle yard, or ballium." Gloss. in v. And see
Side note Here: Audaces fortuna juvat: Virgilius. Nescia mens hominum sortis fatique futuri: Virgilius "Fortune favours the bold. Virgil. Men will never know their future fate. Virgil. ("sortis fatique futuri" from "fati sortisque futurae" Aen. x 501)
190. Of Exione, her lambs, &c.] Marshe's ed. has "lamb is"–which may be the right reading. MS. defective here. If the reader understands the line, it is more than I do.
191 How dame Minerva first found the olive tree &c.] The words printed in italics destroy both sense and metre. But they are found in both eds. MS. defective here.
Side note here: Olaeque Minerva inventrix: Gorgicorum. Atque agmina cervi pulverulenta [fuga] glomerant: Aenid. iv. "And Minerva the dicoverer of the olive. Georgics. The deer gather their column in a cloud of dust. Aeneid book 4."
192. to yearn and to quest] Coles renders both these hunting terms by the same word, "nicto" (i.e. open, give tongue). Dict. Turbervile, enumerating "the sundry noises of hounds," tells us that "when they are earnest either in the chase or in the earth, we say They yearn." Noble Art of Venery, &c. p. 242. ed. 1611. "Quest, united cry of the hounds." Sir F. Madden's Gloss. to Sir Gawaine, &c.
193. With little business standeth much rest]:
"Great rest standeth in little business."
Good Counsel,—Chaucer's Works, fol. 319, ed. 1602.
194. Side note here: Duae molentes in pistrino, una assumetur, altera relinquetur: Isaias Foris vastabit eum timor, et intus pavor: Pso. "Two women shall be grinding at the mill: one shall be taken, and one shall be left. Isiah. Without, fear shall lay him waste, and terror within. Psalms". (The first quotation is actually from Matt. xxiv. 41; the second derived from Deut xxxii. 25, which reads Foris vastabit eos gladius, et &c. "The sword shall lay them waste.")
195. Woefully arrayed] See above. Side note here: Opera quae ego facio ipsa perhibent testimonium de me: In Evang. &c. "The works themselves, which I do, give testimony of me. In the Gospel, &c." (John v. 36)
196. Vexilla regis] i.e. Now Sing We, &c. (see above)
197. Sacris solemniis] As the still-extant piece mentioned in the preceding line, and headed Vexilla regis, &c., is not a translation of that hymn, so we may with probability conclude that this was not a version of the hymn beginning "Sacris solemniis juncta sint gaudia," ("At this our solemn feast let holy joys abound" John David Chambers) which may be found in Hymni Ecclesia; Breviario Parisiensi, 1838. p. 94.
198. Side note here: Honora medicum; propter necessitatem creavit eum altissimus &c. Superiores constellationes influent in corpora subjecta et deposita, &c. Nota. "Honour the physician for the need thou hast of him: for the most High hath created him &c. (Sirach) The higher constellations influence higher and lower bodies. Note."
199. Ipocras and Master Avycen] Ipocras i.e. Hippocrates.
"Old Hippocras, Hali, and Gallien."
Chaucer's Prol. to Cant. Tales, v. 433. ed. Tyr.
"For Ipocras nor yet Galien."
Poems by C. Duke of
Avycen i.e. Avicenna, An Arabian physician of the tenth century.
200. Albumasar] A famous Arabian astrologer, of the ninth century
201. ken] i.e. instruct (pleonastically coupled with "inform," as in v. 825.
202. Side note here: Spectatum admisse, risis teneatur amor? Horace. Nota.—A misquotation of Horace Art of Poetry. line 5: "Spectatum admissi, risum teneatis, amice?" ("Asked to a viewing, could you stifle laughter, my friends?" A.S. Kline). Qy. Is the barbarous alteration of this line only a mistake of the printer?
203. Dun is in the mire] A proverbial expression, which occurs in Chaucer's Manciples Prol. v. 16954. ed. Tyrwhitt, and is common in writers long after the time of Skelton. Gifford was the first to show that the allusion is to a Christmas gambol, in which Dun (the cart-horse) is supposed to be stuck in the mire; see his note on Jonson's Works, vii. 283.
204. lucerne] i.e. lamp. So in the Lenvoye to Chaucer's Cuckoo and Nightingale;
Works, fol. 318, ed. 1602.
Side note here: Lumen ad revelationem gentium: Pso. clxxv (sic, actually Luc. xi. 32) "A light to the revelation of the Gentiles".
205. Grand juir] "Great rejoicing"
206. Side note here: Velut rosa vel lillium, o pulcherrima mulierum, &c. Cantat ecclesia. "Like unto a rose or a lily, O most beautiful of women. The Church sings."
207. But who may have a more ungracious life
Than a child's bird and a knave's wife?]
This proverbial expression occurs in Lydgate;
"Unto purpose this proverb is full rife
Read and reported by old remembrance;
A child's bird and a knave's wife
Have often seen great sorrow and mischance."
The Churl and the Bird,—MS. Harl. 116. fol. 151.
208. Side note here: Notate verba, signate mysteria: Gregori." Consider the word, mark the mystery. Pope Gregory I.
209. By Mary Gipsy] In much later writers we find, as an interjection, marry gep, marry gip, marry guep, marry gap.
210. Quad scripsi, scripsi] "What I have written, I have written" (John xix. 22)
211] Uxor tua, sicut vitis,
Habetis in custodiam,
Custodite sicut scitis,
Secundum Lucam, etc.]
"Your wife, as a fruitful vine,
You have in your care,
guard her as well as you know how,
according to Luke, etc.".
Thy wife, as a fruitful vine—Ps. cxxvii. 3.
according to Luke—Skelton seems here to allude to the Vulgate "et uxor tua Elisabeth, &c." ("And your wife Elizabeth, &c" Luke i. 13)
212. Of the Bonhams of Ashridge beside Berkhamstead,
. . . .
Where the sank royal is, Christ's blood so red] The college of the Bonhommes, completed in 1285, was founded by Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, son and heir of Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who was King of the Romans and brother of Henry the Third, for a rector and twenty brethren or canons, of whom thirteen were to be priests. It was founded expressly in honour of the blood of Jesus, ("the sank royal"), which had once formed part of the precious relics belonging to the German emperors, and which Edmund had brought over from
The pretended blood of Christ drew to Ashridge many persons of all ranks, greatly to the enrichment of the society. "But," Speed tells us, "when the sun-shine of the Gospel had pierced through such clouds of darkness, it was perceived apparently to be only honey clarified and coloured with saffron, as was openly showed at Paul's Cross by the Bishop of Rochester, the twenty four of February, and year of Christ 1538." A Prospect of The Most Famous Parts of the World, 1631, (in Buck. p. 43).
213. Fraxinus in clivo frondetque viret sine rivo,
Non est sub divo similis sine flumine vivo; "The ash-tree on the ridge blooms and flourishes without a brook, there is not another like it under the sky without a living stream." (PH)
"As to the name Ashridge," says Kennett, "it is no doubt from a hill set with Ashes; the old word was Aescrugge, Rugge, as after Ridge, signifying a hill or steep place, and the Ashen-tree being first Aesc, as after Ashche, &c." Parochial Antiquities, p. 302. ed. 1695.
Side note here: Nota penurium aquae, nam canes ibi hauriunt ex puteo altissimo. ("Consider the shortage of water, for the dogs(?) draw it there from the highest well.")
214. The Nation of Fools] Most probably The Book of Three Fools, (see above)
Side note here: Stultorum infinitus est numerus, &c. Ecclesia. Factum est cum Apollo essit Corinthi: Actus Apostolorum. Stimulos sub pectore vertit Apollo: Virgilius. "The number of fools is infinite. Ecclesiastes. And it came to pass, while Apollo was at
215. Apollo that whirled up his chair] Concerning the piece, of which these were the initial words, a particular notice will be found in Some Account of Skelton and his Writings: chair, i.e. chariot; compare the first of the two lines, which in the old eds. and some MSS. of Chaucer stand as the commencement of a third part of The Squire's Tale;
"Apollo whirleth up his chair so high."
Works, fol. 25. ed. 1602.
and the opening of The Flower and the Leaf;
"When that Phoebus his chair of gold so high
Had whirled up the starry sky aloft."
See also Poems by C. Duke of
216. Side note here: Fama repleta
217. Side note here: Ego quidem sum Pauli, ego Apollo: Corn. "I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo: Corinthians."
218. ragman rolls] i.e. lists. The collection of deeds in which the Scottish nobility and gentry were compelled to subscribe allegiance to Edward I. of England in 1296, and which were more particularly recorded in four large rolls of parchment, &c., was known by the name of Ragman's Roll: but what has been written on the origin of this expression appears to be so unsatisfactory that I shall merely refer the reader to Cowel's Law Dictionary, &c., ed. 1727, in v. , Jamieson's Et. Dict. of Scot. Lang. in v. , Nares's Gloss in v. , Gloss. to The Towneley Myst. in v. , Todd's Johnson's Dict. in v. Rigmarole, [See also Wright's Anecdota Literaria, and his Glossary to Piers Plowman.]
219. Of the Maiden of
220. how Iollas loved goodly Phyllis] Iollas and Phyllis, conventional names for characters in Pastoral poetry–See Virgil Eclogues.
Side note here: Malo me Galatea petit, lasciva puella; Virgilius. Nec, si muneribus certes, concedat Iollas: 2. Bucol. "Galatea, the wanton girl, throws an apple at me. Virgil. Nor if you fought with gifts would Iollas yield. Eclogue 2."
221. Diodorus Siculus of my translation
Out of fresh Latin, &c.] fresh, i.e. elegant: see note 22 above. This translation from the Latin of Poggio is mentioned with praise in Caxton's Preface to The Book of Eneydos, &c. 1490, and is still preserved in MS. among Parker's Collection, in
222. Side note here: Mille hominum species, et rerum discolor usus: Horace, Persius v. 52. "Countless the various species of mankind, and countless the shades which separtate mind from mind. Horace Persius. v. 52" (William Gifford).
223. Side note here: Millia millium et decies millies centena millia, &c.: Apocalipsis. Virtute senatum laureati possedent: Ecclesiastica. Cavit. "Thousands of thousands and tens of thousands times a hundred thousand, &c. Revelations. Garlanded virtue occupies the senate. Church Fathers. He is wary." Faukes's ed., which alone has these marginal notes, has vite for virtute. The reference "Cauit" ("He is wary") I do not understand.
224. the noise went to
"And there came out so great a noise,
That had it stand upon Oise,
Men might have heard it easily
To Rome, I trow sickerly."
House of Fame, B. iii.—Works, fol. 270. ed. 1602.
225. He turned his tirikkis, his volvelle ran fast:] What is meant by tirikkis, I know not: it occurs again in our author's Speak, Parrot;
"Some treat of their tirikkis, some of astrology."
Volvelle– For the following note I am indebted to W. H. Black, Esq. "The volvell is an instrument, called volvella or volvellum in the Latin of the middle age, consisting of graduated and figured circles drawn on the leaf of a book, to the centre of which is attached one movable circle or more, in the form of what is called a geographical clock. There is a very fine one, of the fourteenth century, in the Ashmolean MS. 789. f. 363, and others exist in that collection, which affords likewise, in an Introduction to the Knowledge of the Calendar, (in the MS. 191. iv. art. 2. f. 199,) written in old English of the fifteenth century, a curious description of the volvell, with directions for its use. The passage is entitled The Rule of the Volvell:—Now followeth here the volvelle, that some men clepen a lunarie; and thus must ye govern you therin. First take the greatest circle that is made in the leaf, for that showeth the 24 hours of the day natural, that is of the night and day, of the which the first hour is at noon between 12 and one. Then above him is another circle, that hath writ in hem the 12 months with her days, and 12 signs with her degrees; and within that, there is writen a rule to know when the sun ariseth and the moon both; if ye behold well these numbers writen in red, 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. +. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.' The rule proceeds to show that there is another row of the same figures in black, and that the red cross stands in the place of Cancer, the black at Capricorn: the red figures were used to show the rising of the sun and moon, the black for their set ting. Over this is 'another circle that hath a tongue,' (or projecting angle to point with,) the figure of the sun on it, and 29½ days figured, for the age of the moon. Upon this is the least circle, 'which hath a tongue with the figure of the moon on it, and within it is an hole, the which showeth by similitude how the moon waxeth and waneth.' It was used by setting 'the tongue of the moon' to the moon's age, and 'the tongue of the sun' to the day of the month, then moving the circle of months and signs to bring the hour of the day to the last named tongue, 'whereby might be found' in what sign he' (the moon, masculine in Anglo-Saxon) 'sitteth and the sun also, and in what time of the day they arisen, any of hem, either gone down, and what it is of the water, whether it be flood or ebb.' The rule concludes by observing that the wind sometimes alters the time of the tide 'at
226. Mens tibi sit consulta, &c.] "Your mind must be consulted, you say? Well, consult your mind; Let it emulate Janus, looking behind and before." (PH)
Side note here: Vates. "The prophet"
227. Skeltonis alloquitur librum suum] "Skelton addresses his own book."
228. Ite, Britannorum lux, &c.] "Go, radiant light of the Britons, make known our songs, your worthy British Catullus. Say Skelton was your Adonis; say Skelton was your Homer; though foreign, you now run an equal race with Latin verse. And though the greater part is woven of British words, our Thalia is not too uncouth, nor my Calliope too unlearned. Nor should you be sorry to receive wounds from spears or endure the attacks of mad dogs; for great Virgil bore the brunt of similar threats, and Ovid's muse was not exempt." (PH—mostly; he omits the line Nec vos poeniteat livoris tela subire " Nor should you be sorry to receive wounds from spears").
229. Any word defaced] i.e. Any disfigured, deformed, unseemly word.
230. Ad serenissimam Majestatem Regiam, pariter cum Domino
Cardinali, Legato a latere honorificatissimo, &c.] "To His Most Serene Royal Majesty, together with the Lord Cardinal, the most honourable Legate a latere &c."
231. L'autre Envoy] Concerning this curious Envoy, see Account of Skelton and his Writings.
232. Perge, liber, &c.] "Go, book, fall before the great King Henry VIII and worship him, re-echoing his glories. Greet likewise, with reverence, the great Cardinal, legate a Latere, and may he be mindful to sue for the prebend which he promised to entrust to me some day, and give me grounds to hope for his protection—between hope and fear." (PH).
233. ADMONET SKELTONIS &c.]
"SKELTON EXHORTS ALL TREES, ACCORDING TO THEIR KIND, TO GIVE THEIR FOLIAGE TO THE
"The ash in the wood, the rowan high on the mountain, the poplar by the river, the fir, the farthest-spreading beech, the pliable willow, the plane, the fig-tree bearing its plump fruit, the oak, the pear-tree with its edible fruit, the lofty pine oozing balsam, the oleaster, Minerva's olive-tree, the juniper, the box, the spiny flexible mastic-tree, the grape-vine, king of trees, which we have from the generosity of lord Bacchus, the wild vine, barren and hated by the countryman, the Sabaean frankincense tree oozing its sweet-smelling incense, as also does the most famous Arabian myrrh-tree, and you, O fragile hazel, and the low-growing tamarisk, and you, O fragrant cedar, and also you, the myrtle, trees of every kind, give your foliage to the laurel!
Take this in good part. The
These Latin lines, with the copy of French verses which follow them, and the translations of it into Latin and English, are from Faukes's ed.—where, though they have really no connexion with The Garland of Laurel, they are considered as a portion of that poem, see the colophon; collated with Marshe's ed. of Skelton's Works, 1568,—where they occur towards the end of the vol., the last three placed together, and the first a few pages after.—Marshe's ed. "Admonito Skeltonis ut omnes Arbores viridi Laureo concedant."
234. Gone to seek hallows]—hallows, i.e. saints.
"On pilgrimage then must they go,
To Wilsdon, Barking, or to some hallows."
The School House of Women, 1572,—Utterson's Early Pop. Poetry, ii. 66.
But "to seek hallows "seems to have been a proverbial expression;
"O many woman hath caught be in a train,
By going out such hallows for to seek."
Lydgate's Wars of Troy, B. ii. sig. I ii. ed. 1555.
235. A grant tort,
Foy dort.] "Slept through great wrongs"