1. That the extant portions of this very obscure production were written at intervals, is not to be doubted; and that we do not possess all that Skelton composed under the title of Speak, Parrot, is proved by the following passage of the Garland of Laurel, where, enumerating his various works, he mentions
"the Popinjay, that hath in commendation
Ladies and gentlewomen such as deserved,
And such as be counterfeits they be reserved."
a description which, as it answers to no part of the existing poem (or poems), must apply to some portion which has perished, and which, I apprehend, was of an earlier date. "The Popinjay" is assuredly only another name for Speak, Parrot;
"Go, little quaire, named the Popinjay."
Speak, Parrot, v. 280.
2. Lectoribus auctor recipit &c.] "By his readers an author receives an amplification of his short poem. The present book will grow greatly while I am alive; thence will the golden reputation of Skelton be proclaimed." (SP) For "recipit" MS has "recepit." The next two lines are given very inaccurately here in MS., but are repeated (with a slight variation) more correctly at the end of the poem. The Latin portions of the MS. are generally of ludictrous incorrectness, the transcriber evidently not having understood that language.
3. Parrot, a bird of paradise] So Lydgate (in a poem, entitled in the Catalogue, Advices for people to keep a guard over their tongues);
"Popinjays from paradise comen all green."
MS. Harl. 2255. fol. 133.
"Then spake the popinjay of paradise."
Parliament of Birds, sig. A ii. n. d.
4. Side note here: Lucanus. Tigris et
5. Then Parrot must have an almond] In Jonson's Magnetic Lady, act v. se. 5, we find,–
"Poll is a fine bird! O fine lady Poll!
Almond for Parrot, Parrot's a brave bird;"
and Gifford, citing the last line (he ought rather to have cited v. 50), observes that Jonson was indebted to Skelton for "most of this jargon." Works, vi. 109.
6. Side note here: Topographia, quam habet haec avicula in deliciis. "A description of the delightful home of this little bird."
7.Side note here: Delectatur in factura sua, tamen res est forma fugax. "He is delighted with his own work, despite his show of modesty."
8. My feathers fresh as is the emerald green] So Ovid in his charming verses on Corinna's parrot;
"Tu poteras virides pennis hebetare smaragdos."
(You couild outshine emeralds with your green feathers)
Am. lib. ii. vi. 21.
9. My proper Parrot, my little pretty fool]—proper, i.e. pretty, handsome (elsewhere Skelton uses "proper "and "pretty "as synonyms: see Philip Sparrow, v. 127.
"I pray thee what hath ere the Parrot got,
And yet they say he talks in great men's bowers?
. . . . . . . . . .
A good fool call'd with pain perhaps may be."
10. Side note here: Psittacus a vobis aliorum nomina disco: Hoc per me didici dicere, Caesar, ave. "I, a parrot, am taught by you the names of others; I have learned of myself to say, 'Hail! Caesar!'" (tr. Bohn) Martial xiv. 73.
11. Quis expedivit psittaco suum chaire?] "Who taught Parrot to say Hallo?" (chaire = Greek χαιρε) (PH).
12. Douce French of Paris] Douce, i.e. sweet, soft. Chaucer's Prioress spoke French
For French of Paris was to her unknow."
Prol. to Cant. Tales, v. 125. ed. Tyr.
Side note here: Docibilem se pandit in omni idiomate. Polichronitudino Baliseos. "He expresses himself sweetly in every language. Kings Chronicle."
13. after my property] i.e. in the way that I can best do; Property in the sense of a special characteristic or talent.
14. Parlez bien, Parrot, ou parlez rien!] "Say well, Parrot, or say nothing!"
15. Side note here: Katerina universalis vitii ruina, Graecum est. Fidasso de cosso .i. habeto fidem in temet ipso. Auctoritate[m] inconsultam taxat hic. Lege Flaccum, et observa plantatum diabolum. This is very obscure. It seems to mean "Katherine (brings about) the destruction of every kind of vice, it is Greek. To trust in oneself, that is, have faith in your own convictions. This examines an unconsulted authority. Read Flaccus, and see the devil planted." Katerina universalis vitii ruina, Graecum est is an allusion to the Greek word from which Katherine is derived, i.e. καθαριζω (katharizo) or καθαρος (catharos), meaning "clean" or "pure".
16. Parrot, saves habler Castiliano] "Parrot, can you speak Castilian?" – this is a question which Spanish boys at the present day frequently address to that bird.
Saves–So MS. Eds. "saiues:"–"habler" ought to be "hablar;" but throughout this work I have not altered the spelling of quotations in modern languages, because Skelton probably wrote them inaccurately.
17. With fidasso de cosso in
19. Soventez foys, Parrot, en souvenante] "Many times, Parrot, within memory." (PH)
20. Side note here: Saepenumero haec pensitans psittacus ego pronuntio. Aphorismo, quia paranomasia certe incomprehensibilis. ("I very often declare this to be the parrot thinking. This I say as an aphorism because a pun would certainly be incomprehensible.") Pronuntio (I declare) is probably not the right reading. The MS. seems to have either "pô sio" or "pô fio".
21. An almond now for Parrot] I know not if these words occur in any writer anterior to the time of Skelton; but they afterwards became a sort of proverbial expression. See note 5 above.
22. Salve festa dies, toto] "On holiday it is best to go the whole hog. (PH)" Skelton has two copies of verses, which begin "Salve, festa dies, toto," &c.
23. Moderata juvant] "Moderation delights us (PH)". Side note here: Aptius hic loquitur animus quam lingua. Notum adagium et exasperans. "The imagination speaks more fittingly of this than the tongue. A well-known and exasperating proverb."
24. Myden agan] i.e. Greek Μηδεν αγαν "Not too much" .
25. Haec res acu tangitur, Parrot, par ma foy] "This thing is sharply touched, parrot, by my faith!"
26. Ticez-vous, Parrot, tenez vous coye!] Shut up, Parrot; be quiet!
27. Que pensez-vous] "What do you think?"
28. Vitulus] A calf.
29. cum sensu maturato] "With a mature perception."
30. Ne tropo sanno, ne tropo mato.] "Not too sane, not too mad."
31. Jobab was brought up in the land of Hus] "Verisimile est Jobum eumdem esse cum Jobabo, qui quartus est ab Esau ... Duces in ista opinione sequimur omnes fere antiques Patres quos persuasit, ut ita sentirent, additamentum in exemplaribus Gracis, Arabicis et in antiqua Vulgata Latina appositum: 'Job vero habitabat in terra Hus, inter terminos Edom et Arabia, et antea vocabatur Jobab,'" &c. "Truly Job is the same as Jobab, who was the fourth from Esau . . . In this opinion we follow the lead of every old Patristic writer, in addition to Greek and Arabic exemplars, and also in the old Latin Vulgate: 'Job truly lived in the land of Hus, between the border of Edom and Arabia, and was formerly called Jobab'" Concord antic; Bibl. Sacr. Vulg. Ed. by Dutripon, in v. Job. ii.
32. Ebrius] Drunk
33. Howst thee, lyver god van hemrik, ich seg] Howst thee is (I suppose) Hist thee: what follows is German,—lieber Gott von Himmelreich, ich sage—Dear God of heaven's kingdom, I say,—spoken by way of oath.
34. In Popering grew pears] From Popering, a parish in the Marches of Calais (see Tyrwhitt's note on Chaucer's Cant. Tales, v. 13650), the poprin, poperin, or popperin pear, frequently mentioned in our early dramas, was introduced into this country.
35. Over in a whinny Meg] The initial words of a ballad or song. Laneham (or Langham) in his strange Letter concerning the entertainment to Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth Castle in 1575, mentions it as extant in the collection of Captain Cox, who figured in the shows on that occasion: "What should I rehearse here what a bunch of Ballets and songs all ancient: As Broom broom on hill, So woe is me begone, Trolly lo, Over a whinny Meg," &c. See Collier's Bridgewater-House Catalogue, p. 164.
36. Hop Lobyn of Lowdeon] See note 7 to Against the Scots.
37. The gibbet of Baldock] Is mentioned again in our author's Why come ye not to Court, v. 953. "And in Caldee the chief City is Baldock." Voyage and Travel of Sir J. Mandeville, p. 51. ed. 1725.
38. Ich dien] "I serve."
39. Beme] i.e.
40. byrsa] An allusion to Virgil;
"Mercatique solum, facti de nomine Byrsam,
Taurino quantum possent circumdare tergo."
"And bought ground, called thence Byrsa,
As much as a bull's hide would encircle" (J.W.Mackail)
Aen. i. 367.
Perhaps too Skelton recollected a passage in Lydgate's Fall of Princes, B. ii. leaf xlviii. ed. Wayland.
41. Colostrum] i.e. the beestings,—the first milk after the birth given by a cow (or other milch animal). This form of the word occurs in the title of an epigram by Martial, lib. xiii. 38, and in Servius's commentary on Virgil, Ecl. ii. 22.
42. Moryshe mine own shelf! the costermonger sayeth] From the next line it would seem that "Moryshe "is meant for the Irish correction of some English word; but of what word I know not.
43. Fate, fate, fate, ye Irish waterlag] Waterlag is a water carrier. Mr. Crofton Croker obligingly observes to me that he has no doubt of "fate" being intended for the Irish pronunciation of the word water.—"There is risen a fray among the water laggers. Coorta est rixa inter amphorarios." Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. q vi. ed. 1530.
44. Let Sir Wrig-wrag wrestle with Sir Delarag] See note 53 to Poems against Garnesche.
45. Pawbe une arver] Welsh–either Paub un arver, Every one his manner, or Paub yn ei arver, Every one in his manner.
46. unde depromo
Dilemmata docta in paedagogio
Sacro vatem] "Whence I produce learned arguments in the poet's sacred school." (PH)
47. solace, pleasure, disport, and play] One of Skelton's pleonasms.
48. Caesar, ave] "Hail, Caesar." "Ut plurimum docebantur hae aves salutationis verba . . . interdum etiam plurium vocum versus aut sententias docebantur: ut corvi, qui admirationi fuerunt Augusto ex Actiaca victoria revertenti, quorum alter institutus fuerat dicere, Ave Caesar, &c." "Generally these birds were taught words of salutation . . . sometimes they were even taught lines of poetry or sentences: so that to show the admiration in which Augustus was held after his return from Actium, a crow was taught to say Hail, Caesar &c." Casaubonus ad Persii Prol. v. 8.
49. Esebon] The chief city of the Ammonites. Judith. v. 15.
50. of Judicum read the book] i.e. read the Book of Judges.
"In Iudicum the story ye may read."
Lydgate's Fall of Princes, B. i. leaf xiv. ed. Wayland.
51. 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] coistronus Cananaeorum –i.e. Caananite villain.—coistronus is a Latinised form of custron, see note 1 to Upon a Comely Custron. Though in an earlier part of Speak, Parrot, we find "Christ save King Henry the viii, our royal king," &c. v. 36, yet it would almost seem that he is alluded to here under the name of Seon. Og must mean Wolsey. This portion of the poem is not found in MS. Harl, and there can be no doubt that Speak, Parrot is made up of pieces composed at various times. After Skelton's anger had been kindled against Wolsey, perhaps the monarch came in for a share of his indignation.
52. asylum, whilom refugium miserorum, &c.] "Sanctuary, formerly the refuge of the unfortunate". So afterwards in this piece, v. 496, among the evils which Skelton attributes to Wolsey, mention is made of "much sanctuary breaking;" and in Why come ye not to Court? he says of the Cardinal that "all privileged places He breaks and defaces," &c. v. 1086.
53. Non fanum, sed profanum] "Not sacred, but profane"
54. trim-tram] See note 11 to The Tunning of Elynour Rumming.
55. Scarpary] In
56. Quod magnus est dominus Judas Iscariot] "How mighty is lord Judas Iscariot." (PH)
57. Haly] See note 50 to Philip Sparrow.
58. the Volvelle . . . tirikkis. . ] See note 25 to The Garland of Laurel.
59. Monon calon agaton
In Graeco.] "The only beauty is goodness, said the Parrot in Greek." Monon calon agaton—Μονον καλον αγαθον.
60. aurea lingua Graeca] "The Golden Greek Language"
61. As lingua
62. a syllogism in phrisesomorum] "Sic [indirecte] in prima figura concludunt quinque illi modi, qui ab interpretibus fere omnibus (excepto Zabarella) pro legitimis agnoscuntur, quique hoc versu comprehendi solent, Celantes, Baralip, Dabilis, Fapesmo, Frisesom." ("Thus the first figure includes these five moods, which are acknowledged as legitimate by all authorities (except Zabarella) which are usually understood by the names Celantes, Baralip, Dabilis, Fapesmo, Frisesom" Crakanthorp's Logicae Libri Quinque, 1622. p. 275.
63. Formaliter et Graece, cum medio termino. "Formally in the Greek fashion, with a middle term"
64. the wash-bowl Argolicorum] i.e the springs of the Erasinos, where sacrifices were made to the god Pan.
65. They] Qy. "ye" here–or "they" in the three preceding lines?
66. secundum quid ad simpliciter] "[what is true] in a certain respect and [what is true] absolutely", a type of informal fallacy that occurs when the arguer fails to recognize the difference between rules of thumb (soft generalizations, heuristics that hold true as a general rule but leave room for exceptions) and categorical propositions, rules that hold true universally" (Wikipedia)
67. pro Areopagita] "For the Areopagus", the site of the highest courts in ancient
68. make distinctions multiplicita] i.e. argue at length over trivial distinctions.
69. sophia] "Wisdom."
70. Jack Raker] See note 43 to Poems against Garnesche.
71. Graece fari] "Speaking Greek"
72. Latinum fari] "Speaking Latin"
73. And syllogisari was drowned at Stourbridge Fair] syllogisari "to argue logically". Stourbridge Fair was kept annually in the neighbourhood of
74. Trivials and quatrivials] The trivials were the first three sciences taught in the schools, viz. Grammar, Rhetoric, and Logic; the quatrivials were the higher set, viz, Astrology (or Astronomy), Geometry, Arithmetic, and Music. See Du Cange's Gloss. in vv. Trivium, Quadrivium; and Hallam's Introd. to the Lit. of
75. Albertus de modo significandi] "Albertus," says Warton, after citing this stanza, "is the author of the Margarita Poetica, a collection of
76. Donatus] i.e. the work attributed to Aelius Donatus, the Roman grammarian: see the Bibliog. Dictionary of Dr. Clarke (iii. 144), who observes; "It has been printed with several titles, such as Donatus; Donatus Minor; Donatus pro puerulis, Donati Ars, &c., but the work is the same, viz. Elements of the Latin Language for the Use of Children." See too Warton's Hist. of E. P., i. 281 (note), ed. 4to.
77. Inter didascolos] "Interdidascolos is the name of an old grammar." Warton's Hist. of E. P., ii. 347 (note), ed. 4to. Warton may be right; but I have never met with any grammar that bears such a title.
78. Alexander] i.e. Alexander de Villa Dei, "author of the Doctrinale Puerorum, which for some centuries continued to be the most favourite manual of grammar used in schools, and was first printed at Venice in the year 1473 [at Treviso, in 1472; see Typ. Ant., ii. 116. ed. Dibdin]. It is compiled from Priscian, and in Leonine verse. See Henr. Gandav. Scriptor. Eccles. cap. lix. This admired system has been loaded with glosses and lucubrations; but, on the authority of an ecclesiastical synod, it was superseded by the Commentarii Grammatici of Despauterius, in 1512. It was printed in
79. Menander's pool] See note 42 to Philip Sparrow.
80. Da Cansales] "He perhaps means Concilia, or the canon law." Warton's Hist. of E. P., ii. 347 (note), ed. 4to.
81. Da Racionales] "He seems to intend Logic."
82. Petty Caton] Cato Parvus (a sort of supplement to Cato Magnus, i.e. Dionysii Catonis Disticha de Moribus) was written by Daniel Churche, or Ecclesiensis, a domestic in the court of Henry the Second; see Warton's Hist. of E. P., ii. 170, and Dibdin's ed. of Typ. Ant., i. 120.
83. Aveto in Graeco] "Good morning in Greek"
84. whole sentence] i.e. whole meaning.
85. cum gariopholo] "With a clove". So, I believe, Skelton wrote, though the classical form of the word is garyophyllo.
86. pleris cum musco] "An ointment with musk." Ed. of Kynge and
87. quasi diaphanum] "as though transparent" (PH)
88. Vel quasi speculum, in aenigmate] "Like a mirror, in a riddle" (PH)
89. Elencticum, or else enthymematicum] "an elenchus or else an enthymeme (PH)"–these are terms in logic; elenchus is a method of eliciting truth by question and answer, as used by Socrates; enthymeme is a rehtorical argument.
90. fresh humanity] i.e. elegant literature; see notes 9 and 221 to The Garland of Laurel
91. confuse tantum] "so much confusion" (PH)
92. Confuse distributive] "Methodical confusion" (PH)
93. Psittacus, ecce, cano; nec sunt mea carmina Phoebo
Digna scio; tamen est plena camena deo. "Behold Parrot, I sing; I know my songs are not worthy of Phoebus; yet the inspiration comes from the god" (PH).
94. Secundum Skeltonida famigeratum,
In Piereorum catalogo numeratum.] "Here continues the work of the famous Skelton, numbered in the catalogue of the Muses"
95. Itaque consolamini invicem in verbis istis &c.] "Wherefore comfort one another with these words." From the Vulgate, 1 Thess. iv. 17.
96. Candidi lectores, callide callete; vestrum fovete Psittacum, &c.] "Fair readers, shrewdly cherish your Parrot" (PH)
97. Side note here: Hic occurrat memoriae Pamphilus de amore Galatheae. "Here is a reference to the love of Pamphilus and Galathea."
98. when Pamphylus lost his make]—make, i.e. mate. As the heading "Galathea" precedes this couplet, there is an allusion to a once popular poem concerning the loves of Pamphilus and Galathea,—Pamphili Mauriliani Pamphilus, sive De Arte Amandi Elegiae. It is of considerable length, and though written in barbarous Latin, was by some attributed to Ovid. It may be found in a little volume edited by Goldastus, Ovidii Nasonis Pelignensis Erotica et Amatoria Opuscula, &c. 1610. See too the lines cited in note 137 to The Garland of Laurel.
99. Side note here: In ista cantilena ore stilla plena abjectis frangibulis et aperit. (Seems to mean "In this old song the mouth full of drops opens by a wretched breaker"—which makes no sense.) Grossly corrupted. The Rev. J. Mitford proposes "ore stillanti." ("dribbling mouth") MS has "eperit."
100. Side note here: Quid quaeritis tot capita, tot census? "What do you look for, so many heads, so many counted?"
101. Side note here: Maro: Malo me Galatea petit, lasciva puella, et fugit ad salices, &c. "Virgil: Galatea, the wanton girl, threw an apple at me and fled into the willows." Eclogues, iii. 64.
102. Martialis cecinit carmen, fit mihi scutum
Est mihi lasciva pagina, vita proba.] "Martial sang a song, which makes a shield for me. It is 'My poems are naughty, but my life is pure'"–Martial, Ep. i. 5.
103. Vita et anima,
Zoe kai psyche.] "Life and soul" in Latin and Greek respectively. Side note here: Non omnes capiunt verbum istud, sed quibus datum est desuper. "Not everyone understands these words, but those to whom it is given from above."
104. Concumbunt Graece. Non est hic sermo pudicus.] "They will lie together in Greek. This is not obscene talk." (PH). Side note here: Aquinates. ("The man from Aquinum") This has crept into the text in eds. and is not clearly distinguished from the text in MS. But it is certainly a marginal note–meaning Juvenal, from whom "Concumbunt Graece, &c." is quoted. Sat. vi. 291.
Sunt plumbi lamina,
Vel spuria vitulamina:
Avertat haec Urania!] "Therefore the Attic sayings are sheets of lead (i.e. the Greek language is a shield) or, if you prefer, bastard slips: May Urania prevent this!" Spuria vitulamina is from the Vulgate, Spuria vitulamina non dabunt radices altas. "bastard slips shall not take deep root." Wisdom iv. 3
Side note here. "Sua consequentia magni aestimatur momenti
106. Cum caeteris paribus] "With the other like things" (PH)
107. From this Lenvoy primere inclusive to the end of Speak, Parrot, with the exception of a few stanzas, the satire is directed wholly against Wolsey. The very obscure allusions to the Cardinal's being employed in some negotiation abroad are to be referred probably to his mission in 1521. That Speak, Parrot consists of pieces written at various periods has been already noticed: and "Pope Julius," v. 425, means, I apprehend, (not Julius ii., for he died in 1513, but) Clement vii., Julius de Medici, who was elected Pope in 1523. With respect to the dates which occur after the present Lenuoy,—"Penultimo die Octobris, 33°," "in diebus Novembris, 34," &c., if "33" and "34 "stand for 1533 and 1534 (when both Skelton and the Cardinal were dead), they must have been added by the transcriber; and yet in the volume from which these portions of Speak, Parrot are now printed (MS. Harl. 2252) we find, only a few pages before, the name "John Colyn mercer of
108. Jerubbesheth] i.e. Wolsey
109. Le tonsan de Jason] "Jason's (golden) fleece."
110. Lyacon] Occurs again in v. 393: is it Lycaon?
111. But lewdly are they lettered that your learning lacks] i.e. badly, meanly, are they lettered that find fault with your learning.
112. curs of kind] i.e. curs by nature.
113. Again all remords] i.e. Against all blamings, censures, carpings: see note 77 to Poems against Garnesche: but as in v. 368, where MS. has "remordes," the sense absolutely requires "remorders," there is perhaps the same error here.
114. Monostichon] A single verse of poetry.
115. Ipse sagax aequi ceu verax nuntius ito.
Morda puros mal desires. Portugues.
Penultimo die Octobris, 33°] Morda puros mal desires–This strange gibberish (which occurs twice afterwards) seems to mean,—"To bite the pure, is an evil desire". The whole, therefore, can be translated as—"Himself fair-minded, let him go like a truthful messenger. To bite the pure is an evil desire. Portuguese. The 30th of October, 33"
116. Our sullen seigneur Sadoc] in applying the name Sadoc to Wolsey, Skelton alludes to the high-priest of Scripture (2 Samuel viii. 17) not to the knight of the Round Table.
117. nostre dame de Crome] So in A Merry Play between Johan the Husband, Tyb his Wife, and Sir Jehan the Priest, 1533, attributed to Heywood;
"But, by gog's blood, were she come home
Unto this my house, by our lady of Crome,
I wold beat her ere that I drynke."
p. 1. reprint.
118. to exploit the man out of the moon] i.e. to achieve the feat of driving the man out of the moon.
119. Psittace, perge volans, fatuorum tela retundas.
Morda puros mal desires. Portugues.
In diebus Novembris,
34.] "Parrot, go on flying, turn back the shafts of fatuity.(PH) To bite the pure is an evil desire. Portuguese. In the November days, 34"
120. DEREYN] "Last"
121. Sydrake] So Wolsey is termed here in allusion to a romance (characterised by Warton as "rather a romance of Arabian philosophy than of chivalry," Hist. of E. P., i. 143. ed. 4to), which was translated from the French by Hugh of Caumpeden, and printed in 1510, under the title of The History of King Boccus and Sydracke, &c.
122. a cherry-stone pit] An allusion to a game played with cherry-stones;
"I can play at the cherry pit,
And I can whistle you a fit,
Sires, in a willow rind.
The World and the Child, 1522. sig. A iii.
123. Non sine postica sanna] "Not without a grimace behind his back" (PH). Persius Satires i. 65.
124. I, properans Parrote, malas sic corripe linguas.
Morda puros mal desires. Portugues.
15 Kalendis Decembris,
34.] "Go in haste, Parrot, and thus reprove the evil tongues. To bite the pure is an evil desire. Portuguese. 15th December, 34." Parrote must be here considered as a Latin word, and a trisyllable (long-long-short)
125. DISTICHON MISERABILE] "a wretched couplet" (PH).
126. Altior, heu, cedro, crudelior, heu, leopardo!
Heu, vitulus bubali fit dominus Priami!] "Higher, alas, than the cedar, more cruel, alas, than the leopard! Alas, the calf of the wild ox become the lord of Priam!" (PH)
127. Tetrastichon-Unde species Priami est digna imperio. "A quatrain–Whence the race of Priam is worthy to rule"
128. Non annis licet et Priamus sed honore voceris:
Dum foveas vitulum, rex, regeris, Britonum;
Rex, regeris, non ipse regis: rex inclyte, calle;
Subde tibi vitulum, ne fatuet nimium.] "It is not because of your age but because of your rank that you are called Priam. While you cherish the calf, king of
129. Kalendis Decembris "1st December"
130. DISTICHON] "Couplet"
131. I, volitans, Parrote, tuam moderare Minervam:
Vix tua percipient, qui tua teque legent.] "Go, flying Parrot, moderate your wit: scarce will they understand you who read you and your writings." (PH). For "volitans" MS has utilans ("useful"): not, I think, a mistake for "rutilans:" ("reddening") compare above, "Psittace, perge, volans," and "I, properans, Parrot."
132. Psittacus hi notus seu Persius est puto notus,
Nec reor est nec erit licet est erit.] Thus corrected by a reviewer in
Psittacus hic notus seu Persius est puto notus,
Nec reor est, nec erit, nec licet est, nec erit
"This Parrot, alas, is known, as Persius is, I think, known. Nor, I believe, is he (i.e. the Parrot) nor will he be everywhere known, though he (i.e. Persius) is and will be everywhere known." (SP)
133. Maledite soit bouche malheureuse!] "Cursed be the evil mouth!"
134. O unice dilecte, votorum meorum
Omnis lapis, lapis pretiosus operimentum tuum!] "O only loved one, the whole jewel of my prayers, every precious stone is thy covering (PH)" From the Vulgate, "Omnis lapis pretiosus operimentum tuum." "every precious stone is thy covering" Ezech. xxviii. 13.
135. Sicut Aaron populumque, sic bubali vitulus, sic bubali vitulus, sic bubali vitulus. "As Aaron and the people, so the calf of the wild ox, so the calf of the wild ox, so the calf of the wild ox" (PH)
136. Le Popinjay s'en va complaindre:] "The parrot begins to lament."
137. pluck the crow] i.e. enter into a quarrel.
138. C'est chose malheureuse,
Que mall bouche.] "It is an unfortunate thing, an evil mouth."
139. Jupiter ut nitido deus est veneratus Olympo;
Hic coliturque deus.
Sunt data thura Jovi, rutilo solio residenti;
Cum Jove thura capit.
Jupiter astrorum rector dominusque polorum,
Anglica sceptra regit.] "As Jove is venerated in shining
140. For pass a pace apace is gone to catch a moll] Qy. is there an allusion here to Secretary Pace?
141. Scarpary mala vi] Scarpary—in
142. To lour] Qy. "Lout?"
143. to play couch quail] i.e. to cower, crouch down, to hide as a quail does in long grass. So in Thersytes, n. d.;
"How I have made the knaves for to play couch quail."
p. 42. Roxb. ed.
"And thou shalt make him couch as doth a quail."
The Clerk's Tale, v. 9082. ed. Tyr.
144. He faceth out at a flush] flush, i.e. a hand of cards all of a sort. Compare The Bowge of Court, v. 315.
"And so outface him with a card of ten."
145. Skirgalliard, proud palliard, vauntparler, ye prate!] Skirgalliard-see note15 to Against the Scots; proud palliard–so, afterwards, the Duke of Albany is termed by Skelton in his tirade against that nobleman, v. 168; Paillard–A lecher, wencher, whoremonger, whorehunter; also, a knave, rascal, varlet, scoundrel, filthy fellow." Cotgrave's Dict.; vauntparler—"Avant-parleur. A forespeaker; or one that is too forward to speak." Cotgrave's Dict.; "Which be the vauntparlers and heads of their faction." Letter of Bedyll to Cromwell,—State Papers (1830), i. 424.
146. ex qua vi,
Patet per versus, quod ex vi bolte harvi] "from which power, it is plain from my verse, he said that from strength . . . " (SP)–the meaning of bolte harvi is unknown.
147. Great raisins with reasons be now reprobitant,
For raisins are no reasons, but reasons currant.] Perhaps this is the earliest instance of a quibble between raisins and reasons. The same pun is used by Shakespeare in Much Ado about Nothing, act v. sc. 1, and (though Steevens thinks not) in Troilus and Cressida, act ii. sc. 2: compare also Dekker; "Raisons will be much asked for especially in an action of injury." The Owl's Almanack, 1618. p. 36.
148. So many moral matters, &c.] There is a considerable resemblance between this concluding portion of Speak, Parrot, and a piece attributed to Dunbar, entitled A General Satire; see his Poems, ii. 24. ed. Laing
149. So much new making] i.e. so much new composing of poetry etc.
150. doubtful danger] i.e. danger that ought to cause dread
151. not worth an haw] See note 179 to Magnificence.
152. So much papers wearing for right a small excess]—excess, i.e offence. "And for a truth he [the Cardinal] so punished perjury with open punishment & open papers wearing, that in his time it was less used." Hall's Chron. (Hen. viii) fol. lix. ed. 1548. Criminals were obliged to wear a paper detailing their crimes.
153. So bold a bragging butcher, . .
. . . .
So mangy a mastiff cur, the great greyhound's peer;] Again, in his Why come ye not to Court, Skelton alludes to the report that Wolsey was the son of a butcher, vv. 295 and 491. Compare too
"The mastiff cur, bred in
. . . .
Wat. He commeth then of some noble stock?
Jeff. His father could snatch a bullock,
A butcher by his occupation."
Harl. Miscell. ix. 3. 31.
and a poem Of the Cardinal Wolsey;
"To see a churl a Butcher's cur,
To reign & rule in such honour," &c.
MS. Harl. 2252. fol. 156.
Cavendish says that Wolsey "was an honest poor man's son;" and the will of his father (printed by Fiddes) shows that he possessed some property: but, as Mr. Sharon Turner observes, that Wolsey was the son of a butcher "was reported and believed while he lived." Hist. of Reign. of Hen. the Eighth, i. 167. ed. 8 vo.
With the second line of the present passage compare our author's Why come ye not to Court, where he wishes that "that mastiff" Wolsey, may
. . . "never confound
The gentle greyhound."
By the greyhound seems to be meant Henry viii., in allusion to the royal arms.
154. So big a bulk of brow-antlers cabbaged that year] "Cabusser. To cabbage; to grow to a head," &c.—"The Cabbage of the Deer's head. Meule de cerf." Cotgrave's Dict. "I cabbage a deer, Je cabaiche . . . I will cabbage my deer and go with you: Je cabacheray," &c. Palsgrave, p. 596.
155. such pilling and polling] i.e. such stripping and plundering (by exactions of various kinds).
156. sanctuary-breaking] see note 52 above.
157. ruling] MS has "reveling" – meant for "ruelyng"
158. Such pole-axes and pillars, such mules trapped with gold] So Roy in his satire against Wolsey, Read Me, and be not wroth, &c.;
"Wat. Doth he use then on mules to ride?
Jeff. Ye; and that with so shamful pride
That to tell it is not possible:
More like a god celestial
Than any creature mortal,
With worldly pomp incredible.
Before him rideth two priests strong,
And they bear two crosses right long,
Gaping in every man's face:
After them follow two lay-men secular,
And each of them holding a pillar
In their hands, stead of a mace.
Then followeth my lord on his mule,
Trapped with gold under her cule,
In every point most curiously;
On each side a pole-axe is borne,
Which in none other use are worn,
Pretending some hid mystery.
Then hath he servants five or six score,
Some behind and some before,
A marvellous great company:
Of which are lords and gentlemen,
With many grooms and yeomen,
And also knaves among.
Thus daily he proceedeth forth," &c.
Harl. Miscell. ix. 29.
"Then," says Cavendish, "had he two great crosses of silver, whereof one of them was for his Archbishopric, and the other for his Legacy (i.e. his office as a legate), borne always before him whither soever he went or rode, by two of the most tallest and comeliest priests that he could get within all this realm." Life of Wolsey, 94. ed. 1827. "And as soon as he was entered into his chamber of presence, where there was attending his coming to await upon him to Westminster Hall, as well noble men and other worthy gentlemen, as noblemen and gentlemen of his own family; thus passing forth with two great crosses of silver borne before him; with also two great pillars of silver, and his pursuivant at arms with a great mace of silver gilt: Then his gentlemen ushers cried, and said, 'On, my lords and masters, on before; make way for my Lord's Grace!' Thus passed he down from the chamber through the hall; and when he came to the hall door, there was attendant for him his mule, trapped all together [altogether] in crimson velvet, and gilt stirrups. When he was mounted, with his cross bearers, and pillar bearers, also upon great horses trapped with [fine] scarlet: Then marched he forward, with his train and furniture in manner as I have declared, having about him four footmen, with gilt pole-axes in their hands; and thus he went until he came to Westminster Hall door."
159. Crescet in immensum me vivo Psittacus iste;
Hinc mea dicetur Skeltonidis inclita fama] "This Parrot will grow immensely in my lifetime; hence my glorious Skeltonian fame will be celebrated." (PH)