[From the ed. by Lant of Certain books compiled by master skelton, &c. n.d., collated with the same work ed. Kynge and
THE BOOK COMPILED BY MASTER SKELTON, POET LAUREATE, CALLED SPEAK, PARROT.
[Lectoribus auctor recipit opusculi hujus auxesim.
Cresecet in immensum me vivo pagina praesens;
Hinc mea dicetur Skeltonidis aurea fama.<2>
MY name is Parrot, a bird of Paradise,<3>
By nature devised of a wondrous kind,
Daintily dieted with divers delicate spice,
Till Euphrates, that flood, driveth me into Inde;<4>
Where men of that country by fortune me find,
And send me to great ladies of estate;
Then Parrot must have an almond<5> or a date:
A cage curiously carven, with silver pin,<6> 10
Properly painted, to be my coverture;
A mirror of glass, that I may toot therein;
These, maidens full meekly with many a diverse flower;
Freshly they dress, and make sweet my bower,
With Speak, Parrot, I pray you! full curteously they say:
Parrot is a goodly bird, a pretty popinjay!
With my beak bent my little wanton eye,<7>
My feathers fresh as is the emerald green,<8>
About my neck a circlet like the rich ruby,
My little legs, my feet both feat and clean, 20
I am a minion to wait upon a queen;
My proper Parrot, my little pretty fool;<9>
With ladies I learn, and go with them to school.
Ha, ha, ha, Parrot, ye can laugh prettily!
Parrot hath not dined all this long day:
Like your puss cat, Parrot can mute and cry
In Latin, Hebrew, Araby and Chaldy;<10>
In Greek tongue Parrot can both speak and say,
As Persius, that poet, doth report of me,
Quis expedivit psittaco suum chaire?<11> 30
Douce French of Paris Parrot can learn,<12>
Pronouncing my purpose after my property<13>,
With Parlez bien, Parrot, ou parlez rien;<14>
With Dutch, with Spanish, my tongue can agree;
In English to God Parrot can supply,
Christ save King Henry viii, our royal king,
The red rose in honour to flourish and spring!
With Katherine incomparable, our royal queen also,<15>
That peerless pomegranate, Christ save her noble grace!
Parrot, saves habler Castiliano, <16> 40
With fidasso di cosso in Turkey and in Thrace;<17>
Vis consilii expers, as teacheth me Horace,
Mole ruit sua,<18> whose dicts are pregnant,
Soventez foys, Parrot, en souvenante.<19>
My lady mistress, Dame Philology,<20>
Gave me a gift, in my nest when I lay,
To learn all language, and it to speak aptly:
Now pandez mory, wax frantic, some men say,
Phronesis for phrenesis may not hold her way.
An almond now for Parrot,<21> delicately dressed; 50
In Salve festa dies, toto <22> there doth best.
Moderata juvant,<23> but toto doth exceed;
Discretion is mother of noble virtues all;
Myden agan<24> in Greek tongue we read;
But reason and wit wanteth their provincial
When wilfulness is vicar general.
Haec res acu tangitur, Parrot, par ma foy:<25>
Ticez vous, Parrot, tenez vous coye.<26>
Busy, busy, busy, and business again!
Que pensez voz,<27> Parrot? what meaneth this business? 60
Vitulus<28> in Horeb troubled Aaron's brain,
Melchizedek merciful made Moloch merciless;
Too wise is no virtue, too meddling, too restless;
In measure is treasure, cum sensu maturato;<29>
Ne tropo sanno, ne tropo mato.<30>
Jobab was brought up in the
The lineage of
Jereboseth is Hebrew, who list the cause discuss.
Peace, Parrot, ye prate as ye were ebrius:<32> 70
Howst thee, lyver god van hemrik, ich seg;<33>
In Popering grew pears <34> when Parrot was an egg.
What is this to purpose? Over in a whinny Meg!<35>
Hob Lobin of Lowdeon<36> would have a bit of bread;
The gibbet of Baldock<37> was made for Jack Leg;
An arrow unfeathered and without an head,
A bagpipe without blowing standeth in no stead:
Some run too far before, some run too far behind,
Some be too churlish, and some be too kind.
Ich dien<38> serveth for the ostrich feather, 80
Ich dien is the language of the
In Afric tongue byrsa<40> is a thong of leather;
In Palestina there is
Colostrum<41> now for Parrot, white bread and sweet cream!
Our Thomasen she doth trip, our jennet she doth shale:
Parrot hath a black beard and a fair green tail.
Moryshe mine own shelf!<42> the costermonger sayeth,
Fate, fate, fate, ye Irish waterlag;<43>
In flattering fables men find but little faith,
But moveatur terra, let the world wag; 90
Let Sir Wrigwrag wrestle with Sir Delarag;<44>
Every man after his manner of ways,
Pawbe une arver,<45> so the Welchman says.
Such shreds of sentence, strewed in the shop
Of ancient Aristippus and such other mo,
I gather together and close in my crop,
Of my wanton conceit, unde depromo
Dilemmata docta in paedagogio
Sacro vatem,<46> whereof to you I break:
I pray you, let Parrot have liberty to speak. 100
But ware the cat, Parrot, ware the false cat!
With Who is there? a maid? Nay, nay, I trow:
Ware riot, Parro,! ware riot, ware that!
Meat, meat for Parrot, meat I say, how!
Thus diverse of language by learning I grow:
With Buss me, sweet Parrot, buss me, sweet sweet:
To dwell among ladies Parrot is meet.
Parrot, Parrot, Parrot, pretty popinjay!
With my beak I can pick my little pretty toe.
My delight is solace, pleasure, disport, and play;<47> 110
Like a wanton, when I will, I reel to and fro:
Parrot can say Caesar, ave <48> also;
But Parrot hath no favour to Esebon:<49>
Above all other birds, set Parrot alone.
Ulula, Esebon, for Jeremy doth weep!
Sion is in sadness, Rachel ruely doth look;
Madionita Jethro, our Moses keepeth his sheep;
Gideon is gone, that Zalmane undertook,
Horeb et Zeb, of Judicum read the book.<50>
Now Geball, Ammon, and Amaloch—hark, hark! 120
Parrot pretendeth to be a Bible clerk.
O Esebon, Esebon! to thee is come again
Seon, the regent Amorraeorum,
And Og, that fat hog of Bashan, doth retain
The crafty coistronus Cananaeorum:<51>
And asylum, whilom refugium miserorum,<52>
Non fanum, sed profanum,<53> standeth in little stead:
Ulula, Esebon, for Jephthah is stark dead!
Esebon, Marylebone, Whetstone next Barnet;
A trim-tram<54> for an horse-mill it were a nice thing; 130
Dainties for damoiselles, chaffer far-fet:
Bo ho doth bark well, but Hough ho he ruleth the ring;
From Scarpary<55> to Tartary renown therein doth spring,
With He said, and We said, ich wot now what ich wot,
Quod magnus est dominus Judas Iscariot.<56>
Ptolemy and Haly<57> were cunning and wise
In the volvelle, in the quadrant, and in the astroloby,
To prognosticate truly the chance of Fortune's dice;
Some treat of their tirrikis, some of astrology,<58>
Some pseudo-propheta with chiromancy: 140
If Fortune be friendly, and grace be the guide,
Honour with renown will run on that side.
Monon calon agaton,
Let Parrot, I pray you, have liberty to prate,
For aurea lingua Graeca<60> ought to be magnified,
If it were conned perfectly, and after the rate,
As lingua Latina, in school matter occupied,<61>
But our Greeks their Greek so well have applied, 150
That they cannot say in Greek, riding by the way,
Ho, hostler, fetch my horse a bottle of hay!
Neither frame a syllogism in phrisesomorum,<62>
Formaliter et Graece, cum medio termino:<63>
Our Greeks wallow in the wash-bowl Argolicorum;<64>
For though ye can tell in Greek what is phormio,
Yet ye seek out your Greek in Capricornio;
For they<65> scrape out good scripture, and set in a gall,
Ye go about to amende, and ye mar all.
Some argue secundum quid ad simpliciter,<66> 160
And yet he would be reckoned pro Areopagita;<67>
And some make distinctions multiplicita,<68>
Whether ita were before non, or non before ita,
Neither wise nor well-learned, but like hermaphrodita:
Set sophia<69> aside, for every Jack Raker<70>
And every mad meddler must now be a maker.
In Academia Parrot dare no problem keep,
For Graece fari<71> so occupieth the chair
That Latinum fari<72> may fall to rest and sleep,
And syllogisari was drowned at Stourbridge Fair;<73> 170
Trivials and quatrivials<74> so sore now they appair,
That Parrot the popinjay hath pity to behold
How the rest of good learning is roufled up and trolled.
Albertus de modo significandi,<75>
And Donatus<76> be driven out of school;
Priscian's head broken now handy-dandy,
And Inter didascolos<77> is reckoned for a fool;
Alexander,<78> a gander of Menander's pool,<79>
With Da Cansales,<80> is cast out of the gate,
And Da Racionales<81> dare not shew his pate. 180
Plauti in his comedies a child shall now rehearse,
And meddle with Quintilian in his Declamations,
That Petty Caton<82> can scantly construe a verse,
With Aveto in Graeco,<83> and such solemn salutations,
Can scantly the tenses of his conjugations;
Setting their minds so much on eloquence,
That of their school matters lost is the whole sentence.<84>
Now a nutmeg, a nutmeg, cum gariopholo,<85>
For Parrot to pick upon, his brain for to stable, 190
Sweet cinnamon-sticks and pleris cum musco.<86>
The progeny of Parrots were fair and favourable;
Now in valle Hebron Parrot is fain to feed:
Christ-Cross and Saint Nicholas, Parrot, be your good speed!
The mirror that I toot in, quasi diaphanum,<87>
Vel quasi speculum, in aenigmate,<88>
Elencticum, or else enthymematicum,<89>
For logicians to look on, somewhat sophistice:
Rhetoricians and orators in fresh humanity,<90>
Support Parrot, I pray you, with your suffrage ornate, 200
Of confuse tantum<91> avoiding the checkmate.
But of this supposition that called is art,
Confuse distributive,<92> as Parrot hath devised,
Let every man after his merit take his part,
For in this process Parrot nothing hath surmised,
No matter pretended, nor nothing enterprised,
But that metaphora, allegoria with all,
Shall be his protection, his pavis, and his wall.
For Parrot is no churlish chough, nor no flecked pie,
Parrot is no pendugum, that men call a carling,
Parrot is no woodcock, nor no butterfly, 210
Parrot is no stammering stare, that men call a starling;
But Parrot is my own dear heart and my dear darling;
Melpomene, that fair maid, she burnished his beak:
I pray you, let Parrot have liberty to speak.
Parrot is a fair bird for a lady;
God of His goodness him framed and wrought;
When Parrot is dead, she doth not putrefy:
Yea, all things mortal shall turn unto nought,
Except man's soul, that Christ so dear bought; 220
That never may die, nor never die shall:
Make much of Parrot, the popinjay royal.
For that peerless Prince that Parrot did create,
He made you of nothing by his majesty:
Point well this problem that Parrot doth prate,
And remember among how Parrot and ye
Shall leap from this life, as merry as we be;
Pomp, pride, honour, riches, and worldly lust,
Parrot sayeth plainly, shall turn all to dust.
Thus Parrot doth pray you, 230
With heart most tender,
To reckon with this recueil now,
And it to remember.
Psittacus, ecce, cano; nec sunt mea carmina Phoebo
Digna scio; tamen est plena camena deo.<93>
Secundum Skeltonida famigeratum,
In Piereorum catalogo numeratum.<94>
Itaque consolamini invicem in verbis istis &c.<95>
Candidi lectores, callide callete; vestrum fovete Psittacum, &c.<96>
Speak, Parrot, I pray you, for Mary's sake,
What moan he made when Pamphilus lost his make.<98>
My proper Bess, 240
My pretty Bess,
Turn once again to me:<99>
For sleepest thou, Bess,
Or wakest thou, Bess,
Mine heart it is with thee.
My daisy delectable,
My primrose commendable,
My violet amiable,<100>
My joy inexplicable,
Now turn again to me. 250
I will be firm and stable,
And to you serviceable,
And also profitable,
If ye be agreeable
To turn again to me,
My proper Bess.
Alas, I am disdained,<101>
And as a man half maimed,
My heart is so sore pained!
I pray thee, Bess, unfeigned, 260
Yet come again to me!
By love I am constrained
To be with you retained,
It will not be refrained:
I pray you, be reclaimed,
And turn again to me,
My proper Bess.
Quod Parrot, the popinjay royal.
Martialis cecinit carmen, fit mihi scutum
Est mihi lasciva pagina, vita proba.<102>]
Now kus me, Parrot, kus me, kus, kus, kus:
God's blessing light on thy sweet little mus! 270
Vita et anima,
Zoe kai psyche. <103>
Concumbunt Graece. Non est hic sermo pudicus.<104>
Sunt plumbi lamina,
Vel spuria vitulamina:
Avertat haec Urania! <105>
And set to a D,
And then it is Amend
Our new found A.B.C.
Cum caeteris paribus.<106>
Go, little quaire, named the Popinjay, 280
Home to resort Jerubbesheth <108> persuade;
For the cliffs of Scalop they roar wellaway,
And the sands of Cefas begin to waste and fade,
For replication restless that he of late there made;
Now Neptune and Aeolus are agreed of likelihood,
For Titus at Dover abideth in the road;
Lucina she wadeth among the watery floods,
And the cocks begin to crow against the day;
Le tonsan de Jason <109> is lodged among the shrouds,
Of Argus revenged, recover when he may; 290
Lyacon<110> of Libyk and Lydy hath caught his prey:
Go, little quaire, pray them that you behold
In their remembrance ye may be enrolled.
Yet some fools say that ye are furnished with knacks,
That hang together as feathers in the wind;
But lewdly are they lettered that your learning lacks,<111>
Barking and whining, like churlish curs of kind,<112>
For who looketh wisely in your Works may find
Much fruitful matter: but now, for your defence
Again all remords,<113> arm you with patience. 300
Ipse sagax aequi ceu verax nuntius ito.
Morda puros mal desires. Portugues.
Penultimo die Octobris, 33°. <115>
Pass forth, Parrot, towards some passenger,
Require him to convey you over the salt foam;
Addressing yourself, like a sad messenger,
To our sullen seigneur Sadoc<116>, desire him to come home,
Making his pilgrimage by Nostre Dame de Crome.<117>
For Jerico and Jersey shall meet together as soon
As he to exploit the man out of the moon.<118>
With porpoise and grampus he may feed him fat,
Though he pamper not his paunch with the great seal: 310
We have longed and looked long time for that,
Which causeth poor suitors have many a hungry meal:
As president and regent he ruleth every deal.
Now pass forth, good Parrot, our Lord be your steed,
In this your journey to prosper and speed!
And though some disdain you, and say how ye prate,
And how your poems are barren of polished eloquence,
There is none that your name will abrogate
Than noddypolls and gramatolls of small intelligence;
Too rude is their reason to reach to your sentence: 320
Such melancholy mastiffs and mangy cur dogs
Are meet for a swineherd to hunt after hogs.
Psittace, perge volans, fatuorum tela retundas.
Morda puros mal desires. Portugues.
In diebus Novembris,
LE DEREYN<120> LENVOY
Prepare you, Parrot, bravely your passage to take,
Of Mercury under the trinal aspect,
And sadly salute our sullen sire Sydrake,<121>
And show him that all the world doth conject,
How the matters he mells in come to small effect;
For he wanteth of his wits that all would rule alone;
It is no little burden to bear a great mill-stone: 330
To bring all the sea into a cherry-stone pit,<122>
To number all the stars in the firmament,
To rule ix. realms by one man's wit,
To such things impossible reason cannot consent:
Much money, men say, there madly he hath spent—
Parrot, ye may prate this under protestation,
Was never such a senator since Christ's incarnation.
Wherefore he may now come again as he went,
Non sine postica sanna,<123> as I trow,
From Calais to Dover, to Canterbury in Kent, 340
To make reckoning in the resset how Robin lost his bow,
To sow corn in the sea-sand, there will no crop grow.
Though he be taunted, Parrot, with tongues attainted,
Yet your problems are pregnant, and with loyalty acquainted.
I, properans Parrote, malas sic corripe linguas.
Morda puros mal desires. Portugues.
15 Kalendis Decembris,
DISTICHON MISERABILE <125>
Altior, heu, cedro, crudelior, heu, leopardo!
Heu, vitulus bubali fit dominus Priami! <126>
Tetrastichon-Unde species Priami est digna imperio.<127>
Non annis licet et Priamus sed honore voceris:
Dum foveas vitulum, rex, regeris, Britonum;
Rex, regeris, non ipse regis: rex inclyte, calle; 350
Subde tibi vitulum, ne fatuet nimium.<128>
God amend all,
That all amend may!
Amen, quoth Parrot,
The royal popinjay.
Go, proper Parrot, my popinjay,
That lords and ladies this pamphlet may behold,
With notable clerkes: supply to them, I pray,
Your rudeness to pardon, and also that they wold
Vouchsafe to defend you against the brawling scold, 360
Called Detraction, encankered with envy,
Whose tongue is attainted with slanderous obloquy.
For truth in parable ye wantonly pronounce,
Languages divers, yet under that doth rest
Matter more precious than the rich jacounce,
Diamonde, or ruby, or balass of the best,
Or Indy sapphire with orient pearls dressed:
Wherefore your remorders are mad, or else stark blind,
You to remord erst ere they know your mind.
I, volitans, Parrote, tuam moderare Minervam: 370
Vix tua percipient, qui tua teque legent.<131>
Psittacus hi notus seu Persius est puto notus,
Nec reor est nec erit licet est erit.<132>
Maledite soit bouche malheureuse!<133>
LAUCTURE DE PARROT
O my Parrot, O unice dilecte, votorum meorum
Omnis lapis, lapis pretiosus operimentum tuum!<134>
Sicut Aaron populumque, sic bubali vitulus, sic bubali vitulus, sic bubali vitulus.<135>
Thus much Parrot hath openly expressed:
Let see who dare make up the rest.
Le Popinjay s'en va complaindre:<136>
Helas! I lament the dull abused brain,
The infatuate fantasies, the witless wilfulness
Of one and other at me that have disdain:
Some say, they cannot my parables express;
Some say, I rail at riot reckless; 380
Some say but little, and think more in their thought,
How this process I prate of, it is not all for nought.
O causeless cowards, O heartless hardiness!
O manless manhood, enfainted all with fear!
O cunning clergy, where is your readiness
To practise or postil this process here and there?
For dread ye dare not meddle with such gear,
Or else ye pinch courtesy, truly as I trow,
Which of you first dare boldly pluck the crow.<137>
The sky is cloudy, the coast is nothing clear; 390
Titan hath trussed up his tresses of fine gold;
Jupiter for Saturn dare make no royal cheer;
Lyacon laugheth thereat, and beareth him more bold;
Rachel, ruely ragged, she is like to catch cold;
Moloch, that maumet, there dare no man withsay;
The rest of such reckoning may make a foul fray.
Dixit, quod Parrot, the royal popinjay.
C'est chose malheureuse,
Que mall bouche.<138>
Jupiter ut nitido deus est veneratus Olympo;
Hic coliturque deus. 400
Sunt data thura Jovi, rutilo solio residenti;
Cum Jove thura capit.
Jupiter astrorum rector dominusque polorum,
Anglica sceptra regit. <139>
I compass the conveyance unto the capital
Of our clerk Cleros, whither, thither, and why not hither?
For pass a pace apace is gone to catch a moll,<140>
Over Scarpary mala vi,<141> Monsire Cy and slither:
What sequel shall follow when pendugums meet together?
Speak, Parrot, my sweet bird, and ye shall have a date, 410
Of franticness and foolishness which is the great state?
Difficile it is to answer this demand:
Yet, after the sagacity of a popinjay,—
Franticness doth rule and all thing command;
Wilfulness and brainless now rule all the ray;
Again frantic frenzy there dare no man say nay,
For franticness and wilfulness, and brainless ensemble,
The nebs of a lion they make to treat and tremble;
To jumble, to stumble, to tumble down like fools,
To lour,<142> to droop, to kneel, to stoop, and to play couch quail,<143> 420
To fish afore the net and to draw pools;
He maketh them to bear baubles, and to bear a low sail;
He carrieth a king in his sleeve, if all the world fail;
He faceth out at a flush,<144> with Show, take all!
Of Pope Julius' cards he is chief cardinall.
He triumpheth, he trumpeth, he turned all up and down,
With Skyrgaliard, proud palliard, vauntparler, ye prate!<145>
His wolf's head, wan, blo as lead, gapeth over the crown;
It is to fear lest he would wear the garland on his pate,
Paregal with all princes far passing his estate; 430
For of our regent the regiment he hath, ex qua vi,
Patet per versus, quod ex vi bolte harvi.<146>
Now, Galathea, let Parrot, I pray you, have his date;
Yet dates now are dainty, and wax very scant,
For grocers were grudged at and groined at but late;
Great raisins with reasons be now reprobitant,
For raisins are no reasons, but reasons currant.<147>
Run God, run Devil! yet the date of our Lord
And the date of the Devil doth shrewdly accord.
Dixit, quod Parrot, the popinjay royal.
Now, Parrot, my sweet bird, speak out yet once again, 440
Set aside all sophisms, and speak now true and plain.
So many moral matters, and so little used;<148>
So much new making,<149>and so mad time spent;
So much translation into English confused;
So much noble preaching, and so little amendment;
So much consultation, almost to none intent;
So much provision, and so little wit at need;—
Since Deucalion's flood there can no clerks rede.
So little discretion, and so much reasoning;
So much hardy dardy, and so little manliness; 450
So prodigal expense, and so shameful reckoning;
So gorgeous garments, and so much wretchedness;
So much portly pride, with purses penniless;
So much spent before, and so much unpaid behind;—
Since Deucalion's flood there can no clerks find.
So much forecasting, and so far an after deal;
So much politic prating, and so little standeth in stead;
So little secretness, and so much great counsel;
So many bold barons, their hearts as dull as lead;
So many noble bodies under a daw's head; 460
So royal a king as reigneth upon us all;—
Since Deucalion's flood was never seen nor shall.
So many complaints, and so small redress;
So much calling on, and so small taking heed;
So much loss of merchandise, and so remediless;
So little care for the common weal, and so much need;
So much doubtful danger,<150> and so little dread;
So much pride of prelates, so cruel and so keen;—
Since Deucalion's flood, I trow, was never seen.
So many thieves hanged, and thieves never the less; 470
So much 'prisonment for matters not worth an haw;<151>
So much papers wearing for right a small excess;<152>
So much pillory-pageants under colour of good law;
So much turning on the cuck-stool for every gee-gaw;
So much mockish making of statutes of array;—
Since Deucalion's flood was never, I dare say.
So brainless calves' heads, so many sheeps' tails;
So bold a bragging butcher, and flesh sold so dear;
So many plucked partridges, and so fat quails;
So mangy a mastiff cur, the great greyhound's peer;<153> 480
So big a bulk of brow-antlers cabbaged that year;<154>
So many swans dead, and so small revel;—
Since Deucalion's flood, I trow, no man can tell.
So many truces taken, and so little perfect truth;
So much belly-joy, and so wasteful banqueting;
So pinching and sparing, and so little profit groweth;
So many huge houses building, and so small householding;
Such statutes upon diets, such pilling and polling;<155>
So is all thing wrought wilfully without reason and skill;— 490
Since Deucalion's flood, the world was never so ill.
So many vagabonds, so many beggars bold;
So much decay of monasteries and of religious places;
So hot hatred against the Church, and charity so cold;
So much of 'my Lord's Grace,' and in him no graces;
So many hollow hearts, and so double faces;
So much sanctuary-breaking,<156> and privilege barred;—
Since Deucalion's flood was never seen nor lyerd.
So much ragged right of a ram's horn;
So rigorous ruling<157> in a prelate specially;
So bold and so bragging, and was so basely born; 500
So lordly in his looks and so disdainously;
So fat a maggot, bred of a flesh-fly;
Was never such a filthy Gorgon, nor such an epicure,
Since Deucalion's flood, I make thee fast and sure.
So much privy watching in cold winters' nights;
So much searching of losels, and is himself so lewd;
So much conjurations for elfish mid-day sprites;
So many bulls of pardon published and shewed;
So much crossing and blessing, and him all beshrewed;
Such pole-axes and pillars, such mules trapped with gold<158> 510
Since Deucalion's flood in no chronicle is told.
Dixit, quod Parrot.
Crescet in immensum me vivo Psittacus iste;
Hinc mea dicetur Skeltonidis inclita fama.<159>
Quod Skelton Laureat,