1. This poem appears to have been produced (at intervals perhaps) during 1522 and part of the following year.
2. ALL noble men, &c.] These twenty-eight introductory lines, which are found in all the eds. of this poem, are also printed, as a distinct piece, in the various editions of Certain books compiled by Master Skelton, &c., n.d., and in Marshe's ed. of Skelton's Works, 1568.
3. Haec vates ille,
De quo loquuntur mille.] "This (is) the poet thousands are talking about."
4. overage] Seems here to be—over-age (excessive age); while, again, in our author's poem The Doughty Duke of Albany, it appears to be—over-rage (excessive rage);
"It is a reckless rage,
And a lunatic overage."
5. A grande dommage] "A great pity" (Fr.)
6. In faith, deacon, thou crew] See note 38 to The Bowge of Court.
7. The countering at Cales] countering does not, I apprehend, mean—encountering, but is a musical term (see note 1 to Against a Comely Custron) used here metaphorically, as in other parts of Skelton's works. The allusion seems to be to the meeting between Henry the Eighth and Francis in 1520, when (as perhaps few readers need be informed) Henry went over to
8. We may blow at the coal] See note 78 to The Garland of Laurel.
9. Mock hath lost her shoe] See note 188 to The Garland of Laurel
10. As right as a ram's horn] See note 129 to Colyn Cloute.
11. all to-torn] i.e. torn to pieces. See note 14 to Divers Ballads and Ditties Solacious
12. Favell] i.e. Flattery. See note 10 to The Bowge of Court.
13. Javell] See note 192 to Magnificence.
14. Havell] Which occurs again in v. 604, is a term of reproach found less frequently than javel in our early writers: whether it be connected with haveril,—one who havers (see the Gloss. to The Towneley Myst. in v. Hawvelle), I cannot pretend to determine.
15. Harvy Hafter] See note 14 to The Bowge of Court.
16. Jack Travell] Among payments made in the year 1428 (in the reign of Hen. vi.), Jack Travel occurs as the name of a real person; "Et a Iakke Travaill et ses compaignons, feisans diverses Jeues et Enterludes, dedeins le Feste de Noell, devant nostre dit Sire le Roi," &c. ("And to Jack Travel and his companions, making various plays and interludes before our lord the King") Rymer's Foed. T. iv. p. 133.
17. reason and . . . skill] See note 14 to Magnificence.
18. roast a stone] So Heywood;
"I do but roast a stone
In warming her."
Dialogue; &c. sig. F 2,—Works, ed. 1598.
19. no man but one] i.e. Wolsey.
20. This bill well over-looked] i.e. This writing being well overlooked, examined.
21. There went the hare away] A proverbial expression:
"Man. By my faith, a little season
I followed the counsel and diet of reason
Gloto. There went the hare away;
His diet quod-a," &c.
Medwall's Interlude of Nature, n. d., sig. g ii
". . . here's the King, nay stay
And here, ay, here: there goes the Hare away."
The Spanish Tragedy (by Kyd), sig. G 3. ed. 1618.
22. the buck] Qy. does Skelton, under these names of animals, allude to certain persons? If he does, "the buck" must mean Edward Duke of Buckingham, who, according to the popular belief, was impeached and brought to the block by Wolsey's means in 1521: so in an unprinted poem against the Cardinal;
"Wherefore never look their mouths to be stopped
Till ther money be restored, though some heads be off chopped
As thou did serve the Buck;
For as men say, by thee that was done
That since had this land no good luck."
MS. Harl. 2252. fol. 158.
23. tot quot] See note 74 to Colyn Cloute. "A general dispensation." Halliwell.
24. linsey-woolsey] A cloth made from a mixture of wool and linen. Here, an evident play on the Cardinal's name.
25. Opus male dulce] "Sweet evil work."
26. Bothombar] I know not what place is meant here.
27. gup, level suse!] level suse, or level-sice, (levez sus?) is the same as level-coil (levez cul?), a noisy Christmas game, in which one player hunted another from his seat; hence applied to any riot or disturbance. Level-coil was also applied to games of skill, when, three persons playing, two at a time, the loser gave up his place and sat out. See Halliwell's Dict.
28. not worth a fly] A common expression in our early poetry.;
"The goose said then all this
Chaucer's Ass. of Fowls,—Works, fol. 235. Ed.1602
29. Yet the good Earl of
The French men he doth fray, &c.] This nobleman (before mentioned, see note 102 to The Garland of Laurel), Thomas Howard (afterwards third Duke of Norfolk), commanded, in 1522, the English force which was sent against
30. mated] i.e. confounded I may just observe that Palsgrave, besides "I Mate at the chesses, Je matte," gives "I Mate or overcome, Je amatte." p. 633.
31. scutus] "Scutum, Moneta Regum Francorum, ita appellata quod in ea descripta essent Franciae insignia in scuto." ("Scutum, a coin of the kingdom of France, so called because it had the arms of France in a shield") Du Cange's Gloss. (Ital. scudo, Fr. écu).
32. They shot at him with crowns, &c.] On the immense gifts and annuities which Wolsey received from foreign powers, see Turner's Hist. of Reign of Hen. the Eighth, i. 236. ed. 8vo.
33. his eyen so dazed]—dazed, i.e. dazzled, or, according to Skelton's distinction—dulled; for in his Garland of Laurel we find "eye dazzled and dazed." v. 1389.
34. ne see can] i.e. can not see.
35. the Chamber of Stars] i.e. the Star-Chamber, a special court used for trying political cases.
36. Good even, good Robin Hood] This was, as Ritson observes, a proverbial expression; "the allusion is to civility extorted by fear." Robin Hood, i. lxxxvii. Warton mistook the meaning of this line, as is proved by his mode of pointing it: see Hist. of E. P., ii. 346. ed. 4to.
37. thwarting over them] i.e. overthwarting them, perversely controlling them.
38. With, Trump up, Alleluia] i.e. says Warton, " the pomp in which he celebrates divine service." Hist. of E. P., ii. 346 (note), ed. 4to. Compare Wager's Mary Magdalene, 1567;
"Ite Missa est, with pipe up, Alleluia."
Sig. A iii.
Ite missa est—the last words of the Mass.
39. Philargyria] i.e. φιλαργυρία, argenti amor, pecuniae cupiditas.("Love of money") She was one of the characters in Skelton's lost drama, The Necromancer.
40. Asmodeus] The name of the evil spirit in the Book of Tobit.
41 Dalyda] i.e. Delilah.
"Unto his lemman Dalida he told,
That in his hairs all his strength lay."
Chaucer's Monk's Tale, v. 14069. ed. Tyr.
See too Gower's Conf. Am., Lib. viii. fol. clxxxix. ed. 1554, and Lydgate's Fall of Princes, B. i. leaf xxxiii. ed. Wayland.
42. Castrimergia] "The true reading is CASTRIMARGIA, or Gulae concupiscentia, Gluttony. From the Greek, Γαστριμαργία, ingluvies, Hellvatio. Not an uncommon word in the monkish latinity. Du Cange cites an old Litany of the tenth century, A spiritu CASTRIMARGIAE Libera nos, domine!' ("Free us from the demon of gluttony, Lord!") Lat. Gloss. i. p. 398. Carpentier adds, among other examples, from the statutes of the Cistercian order, 1375 , 'Item, cum propter detestabile CASTRIMARGIAE vitium in labyrinthum vitiorum descendatur, &c: ("Item, because of the detestable vice of gluttony, he would be brought down into the labyrinth of vice.") Suppl. tom. i. p. 862: Warton's Hist. of E. P., ii. 346 (note), ed 4to.
43. In Lent for a repast, &c.] So Roy in his satire against Wolsey, Read me, and be not wroth, &c.;
"Wat. What abstinence useth he to take?
Jeff. In Lent all fish he doth forsake,
Fed with partriges and plovers.
Wat. He leadeth then a Lutheran's life?
Jeff. O nay, for he hath no wife,
But whores that be his lovers."
Harl. Miscel. ix. 32. ed. Park.
44. partridge mewed]—mewed, i.e. cooped up. "I keep partridges in a mew against your coming." Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. e ii. ed. 1530.
45. The sign of the Cardinal Hat] "These allowed Stewhouses [in Southwark] had Signs on their Fronts, towards the Thames, not hanged out, but painted on the Walls, as a Boar's-Head, the Cross Keys, the Gun, the Castle, the Crane, the Cardinal's Hat," &c. Stow's Survey, B. iv. 7. ed. 1720.
46. Will ye bear no coals] Steevens, in his note on the opening of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, cites the present line among the examples which he gives of the expression to bear or carry coals, i.e. to bear insults, to submit to degradation. In the royal residences and great houses the lowest drudges appear to have been selected to carry coals to the kitchens, halls, &c.; see note on Jonson's Works, ii. 169, by Gifford, who afterwards (p. 179) observes, "From the mean nature of this occupation it seems to have been somewhat hastily concluded, that a man who would carry coals would submit to any indignity."
47. A meiny of mare foals] i.e. (as appears from the expressions applied to horses four lines above) a set of marefoals, fillies.
48. Huntley banks] See note 25 to Against the Scots.
49. Lord Dacres] Thomas Lord Dacre (of Gillesland, or of the North) was warden of the West Marches. The accusation here thrown out against him (because, perhaps, he was on the best terms with Wolsey) of "agreeing too well with the Scots" is altogether unfounded. He was for many years the able and active agent of Henry in corrupting by gold and intrigues the nobles of Scotland, and in exciting ceaseless commotions in that kingdom, to the destruction of its tranquillity and good government. He died in 1525. And see notes 52 and 60 below.
50. Jack Rakers] See note 43 to Poems Against Garnesche.
51. the red hat] i.e. Wolsey.
52. Lord Rose] i.e. Thomas Manners, Lord Roos. In 14 Henry viii. he was constituted warden of the East Marches towards Scotland; and by letters patent in 17 Henry viii. he was created Earl of Rutland. He died in 1543. See Collins's Peerage, i. 465. sqq. ed. Brydges. Hall makes the following mention of him: "In this summer [xiiii year of Henry the viii] the lord Ross and the lord Dacres of the North which were appointed to keep the borders against Scotland did so valiantly that they burned the good town of Kelso and lxxx. villages and overthrew xviii. towers of stone with all their Barnkyns or Bulwarks." Chron. fol. ci. ed. 1548.
53. a cockly fose] A term which I do not understand. (Cockly means wrinkled, but what a fose is, is more than I can tell).
54. Their hearts be in their hose] See note 52 to A Replication.
55. The Earl of Northumberland, &c.] i.e. Henry Algernon Percy, fifth Earl of Northumberland. In 14 Henry viii. he was made warden of the whole Marches, a charge which for some reason or other he soon after resigned: vide Collins's Peerage, ii. 305. ed. Brydges. That he found himself obliged to pay great deference to the Cardinal, is evident from Cavendish's Life of Wolsey, where (pp. 120-128. ed. 1827) see the account of his being summoned from the north, &c. when his son Lord Percy, (who was then, according to the custom of the age, a "servitor" in Wolsey's house) had become enamoured of Anne Boleyn. This nobleman, who encouraged literature, and appears to have patronised our poet (see Some Account of Skelton and his Writings), died in 1527.
56. Mastiff cur . . . butcher's dog] i.e. Wolsey: see note 153 to Speak, Parrot.
57. Serjeants of the coife] The Serjeants-at-Law were an order of barristers at the English bar. The Serjeants had for many centuries exclusive jurisdiction over the Court of Common Pleas, being the only lawyers allowed to argue a case there. At the same time they had rights of audience in the other central common law courts (the Court of King's Bench and Exchequer of Pleas) and precedence over all other lawyers. Only Serjeants-at-Law could become judges of these courts right up into the 19th century. Serjeants wore a special and distinctive dress, the chief feature of which was the coif, a white lawn or silk skullcap, afterwards represented by a round piece of white lace at the top of the wig. (Wikipedia)
58. well thewed] i.e. well mannered.
59. the Scottish king] i.e. James the Fifth.
60. There goeth many a lie
Of the Duke of Albany] This passage relates to the various rumours which were afloat concerning the Scottish affairs in 1522, during the regency of John Duke of Albany. (The last and disastrous expedition of
61. The mountenaunce of two hours] "Mowntenaunce. Quantitas. Estimata mensura." ("Quntity, measured amount") Prompt. Parv. ed. 1499.
"And largely the mountenaunce of an hour
They gone on it to read and to pore."
Chaucer's Troil. and Cress., B. ii. fol. 157. Works, ed. 1602.
"Racing and foining to the mountenaunce of an hour." Morte d'Arthur, B. vii. cap. iiii. vol. i. 191. ed. Southey.
62. What hear ye of Mutrell?]—Mutrell is Montreuil; and the allusion must be to some attack intended or actual on that town, of which I can find no account agreeing with the date of the present poem. To suppose that the reference is to the siege of Montreuil in 1544, would be equivalent to pronouncing that the passage is an interpolation by some writer posterior to the time of Skelton.
63. For dread of the red hat
Take pepper in the nose] i.e. For dread that the Cardinal, Wolsey, take offence.
"He taketh pepper in the nose, that I complain
Upon his faults."
Heywood's Dialogue, &c. sig. G.,—Works, ed. 1598.
64. Off by the hard arse] Compare the Interlude of the iiii Elementes, n. d.;
"Yea but yet I served another worse:
I smote off his leg by the hard arse
As soon as I met him there."
Sig. E i.
65. makes our sire to glum.] i.e. makes our lord (Wolsey) have a gloomy or sour look.
66. go or ride] i.e. walk or ride. See note 19 to Philip Sparrow.
67. Hampton Court] The palace of Wolsey; which he afterwards, with all its magnificent furniture, presented to the King.
68. York's Place] The palace of Wolsey, as Archbishop of York, which he had furnished in the most sumptuous manner: after his disgrace, it became a royal residence, under the name of Whitehall.
69. To whose magnificence, &c. . . .
Embassades of all nations]—Embassades, i.e. Embassies. "All ambassadors of foreign potentates were always dispatched by his discretion, to whom they had always access for their dispatch. His house was always resorted and furnished with noblemen, gentlemen, and other persons, with going and coming in and out, feasting and banqueting all ambassadors diverse times, and other strangers right nobly." Cavendish's Life of Wolsey, p. 112. ed. 1827.
70. Sanz aulter remedy] i.e Without any remedy.
71. He beareth the king on hand]—beareth on hand, i.e. leads on to a belief, persuades.
"Lordings, right thus, as ye han understood,
Bare I stiffly mine old husbands on hand,
That thus they saiden in hir drunkenness."
Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Prol., 5961. ed. Tyr.
"He is my countryman: as he beareth me on hand,–uti mihi vult persuasum." ("As he wishes me to be persuaded") Hormanni Vulgaria, sig. X viii. ed. 1530. The expression occurs in a somewhat different sense in our author's Magnificence, see note 31 to that work.
72. a caeciam] "Caecia, σκοτοδινία [a vertigo with loss of sight]." Du Cange's Gloss. The editions give Acisiam. Qy. is "accidiam" ("sloth") the right reading? ("Acedia, accidia . . . taedium . . . tristitia, molestia, anxietas" &c. (Greek ακηδία): see Du Cange)? See also v. 472.
73. A caecitate cordis, . . Libera nos, Domine!] "From blindness of heart, deliver us, O Lord!" PH
74. a Mamelek] i.e. a Mameluke, a member of a Muslim warrior caste in the Middle East. They drove out the Crusaders, and subsequently became rulers of Egypt 1254-1517.
"And crafty inquisitors,
Worse than Mamalokes."
The Image of Hypocrisy, Part Four.
75. God to record] i.e. God to witness.
76. the primordial
Of his wretched original] primordial, i.e. first beginning.
77. sank royal] i.e. royal blood.
78. quadrivials . . . trivials] See note 74 to Speak, Parrot. This depreciation of' Wolsey's acquirements is very unjust: his learning, there is reason to believe, was far from contemptible.
79. Haly . . Albumasar] See notes 57 and 58 to Philip Sparrow.
80. conceit] i.e. good opinion, favour.
81. exemplifying] i.e. following the example of.
82. A wretched poor man, &c.] i.e. Abdalonimus (or Abdolonimus) whom Alexander made king of Sidon: see Justin, xi. 10. Cowley touches on the story at the commencement of Plant. Lib. iv. ; and in his English version of that commencement, under the title of The Country Life, he has greatly improved the passage.
83. occupied a showell] i.e. used a shovel: see note 8 to The Death of King Edward IV
84. with lewd conditions quoted] i.e. quoted, noted, marked, with evil qualities.
85. a great estate] i.e. a person of great estate, or rank.
86. play checkmate] In allusion to the king's being put in check at the game of chess.
87. Like Mahound in a play] In none of the early miracle-plays which have come down to us is Mahound (Mahomet) a character, though he is mentioned and sworn by.
89. peevish pie] i.e. silly magpie.
90. Jack-breech] i.e. Jack-ass (-arse).
91. My Lord is not at leisure!
Sir, ye must tarry a stound] a stound, i.e. a time, a while. Compare A Character of the insolent behaviour of Cardinal Wolsey, as given by Thomas Allen, Priest and Chaplain to the Earl of Shrewsbury, in a Letter to his Lordship about Apr. 1517, among Kenett's Collections,—MS. Lansd. 978. fol. 213. "Pleaseth your Lordship to understand upon Monday was sennight last past I delivered your Letter with the examination to my Lord Cardinal at Guilford, whence he commanded me to wait on him to the Court. I followed him and there gave attendance and could have no Answer. Upon Friday last he came from thence to Hampton Court, where he lieth. The morrow after I besought his Grace I might know his pleasure; I could have no Answer. Upon Monday last as he walked in the Park at Hampton Court, I besought his Grace I might know if he would command me any service. He was not content with me that I spoke to him. So that who shall be a Suitor to him may have no other business but give attendance upon his pleasure. He that shall so do, it is needful should be a wiser man then I am. I saw no remedy, but came without Answer, except I would have done as my Lord Dacre's Servant doth, who came with Letters for the King's service five months since and yet hath no Answer. And another Servant of the Deputy of Calais likewise who came before the other to Walsingham, I heard, when he answered them, 'If ye be not content to tarry my leisure, depart when ye will.' This is truth, I had rather your Lordship commanded me to Rome than deliver him Letters, and bring Answers to the same. When he walketh in the Park he will suffer no Servant to come nigh him, but commands them away as far as one might shoot an arrow."
92. never the near] near, i.e. nearer.
"That they were early up, and never the near."
Heywood's Dialogue, &c. sig. A 3,—Works, ed. 1598.
93. dangerous dowsypere] Dangerous i.e. arrogant, difficult to please. "He hath a dangerous look: Atollit supercilium, adducit, contrahit supercilia."—"I can not away with such dangerous fellows: Ferre non possum horum supercilium, vel superciliosos, arrogantes, fastuosos, vel arrogantiam, aut fastum talium." Hormanni Vulgaria, sigs. L, I, P iiii. ed. 1530:—dowsypere, i.e. lord, noble (properly,one of the Douze-Pairs of France);
"Earl, duke, and douch-spere."
Golagros and Gawain, p. 182,—Sir Gawain, &c. ed. Madden.
See too Spenser's Faerie Queene, iii. x. 31.
94. With a poor knight] "He [Wolsey] fell in acquaintance with one Sir John Nanphant, a very grave and ancient knight, who had a great room in Calais under King Henry the Seventh. This knight he served, and behaved him so discreetly and justly, that he obtained the special favour of his said master; inso much that for his wit, gravity, and just behaviour, he committed all the charge of his office unto his chaplain. And, as I understand, the office was the treasurership of Calais, who was, in consideration of his great age, discharged of his chargeable room, and returned again into England, intending to live more at quiet. And through his instant labour and especial favour his chaplain was promoted to the king's service, and made his chaplain." Cavendish's Life cf Wolsey, p. 70. ed. 1827. According to Nash, it was Sir Richard Nanfan (father of Sir John) who was "captain of Calais, made a knight, and esquire of the body to Henry vii." Hist. of Worcestershire, i. 85.
95. bedlam] i.e. bedlamite, an inmate of Bethlem madhouse.
96. For he will tear it asunder] So Roy, in his satire against Wolsey, Read me, and be not wroth,
"His power he doth so extend,
That the King's letters to rend
He will not forbear in his rage."
Harl. Miscell., ix. 69. ed. Park.
97. And sets not by it a mite] i.e. values it not at a mite, cares not a mite for it.
98. How Francis Petrarch, &c.] (Translation below) "Vidi Aquensem Caroli sedem, & in templo marmoreo verendum barbaris gentibus illius principis sepulchrum, ubi fabellam audivi, non inamoenam cognitu, a quibusdam templi sacerdotibus, quam scriptam mihi ostenderunt, & postea apud modernos scriptores accuratius etiam tractatam legi, quam tibi quoque ut referam incidit animus: ita tamen, ut rei fides non apud me quaeratur, sed (ut aiunt) penes auctores maneat. Carolum Regem quem Magni nomine [ed Bas. cognomine] aequare Pompeio & Alexandro audent, mulierculam quandam perdite & efflictim amasse memorant, eius blanditiis enervatum, neglecta fama (cui plurimum inservire consueverat) & posthabitis regni curis, aliarum rerum omnium & postremo suiipsius oblitum, diu nulla prorsus in re nisi illius amplexibus acquievisse, summa cum indignatione suorum ac dolore. Tandem cum iam spei nihil superesset (quoniam aures regias salutaribus consiliis insanus amor obstruxerat), foeminam ipsam malorum causam insperata mors abstulit, cuius rei indigens primum in regia sed latens gaudium fuit: deinde dolore tantum priore graviore, quantum foediori morbo correptum regis animum videbant, cuius nec ruorte lenitus furor, sed in ipsum obscoenum cadaver & exangue translatus est, quod balsamo & aromatibus conditum, onustum gemmis, & velatum purpura, diebus ac noctibus tam miserabili quam cupido fovebat amplexu. Dici nequit quam discors & quam male se compassura conditio est amantis ac regis: nunquam profecto contraria sine lite iunguntur. Quid est autem regnum, nisi iusta & gloriosa dominatio? Contra quid est amor, nisi foeda servitus & iniusta? Itaque cum certatim ad amantem (seu rectius ad amentem) Regem, pro summis regni negotiis legationes gentium, praefectique & provinciarum praesides convenirent, is in lectulo suo miser, omnibus exclusis & obseratis foribus, amato corpusculo cohaerebat, amicam suam crebro, velut spirantem responsuramque compellans, illi curas laboresque suos narrabat, illi blandum murmur & nocturna suspiria, illi semper amoris comites lachrymas instillabat, horrendum miseria solamen, sed quod unum ex omnibus Rex alioquin (ut aiunt) sapientissimus elegisset. Addunt fabula quod ego nec fieri potuisse nec narrari debere arbitror. Erat ea tempestate in aula Coloniensis Antistes vir, ut memorant, sanctitate & sapientia clarus, necnon comis, et consilii Regii prima vox, qui domini sui statum miseratus, ubi animadvertit humanis remediis nihil agi, ad Deum versus, ilium assidue precari, in illo spem reponere, ab eo finem mali poscere multo cum gemitu: quod cum diu fecisset, nec desiturus videretur, die quodam illustri miraculo recreatus est: siquidem ex more sacrificanti, & post devotissimas preces pectus & aram lachryrmis implenti, de coelo vox insonuit, Sub extinctae mulieris lingua furoris Regii causam latere. Quo laetior, mox peracto sacrificio, ad locum vbi corpus erat se proripuit, & iure notissimae familiaritatis regiae introgressus, os digito clam scrutatus, gemmam perexiguo annulo inclusam sub gelida rigentique lingua repertam festinabundus avexit. Nec multo post rediens Carolus, & ex consuetudine ad optatum mortua congressum properans, repente aridi cadaveris spectaculo concussus, obriguit, exhorruitque contactum, auferri eam quantocius ac sepeliri iubens. Inde totus in Antistitem conversus, ilium amare, ilium colere, ilium
99. Acon] Aachen, (Aix la Chapelle); "Acon in Almayne which is a much fair city, where as King Charles had made his palace much fair & rich and a right devout chapel in th'onour of our lady, wherin himself is buried." Caxton's History and Life of Charles the Great, &c. 1485. sig. b 7.
100. But I will make further relation
Of this isagogical collation]—isagogical collation seems to be equivalent here to—comparison introduced, or discourse introduced for the sake of comparison.
101. How master Gaguine, &c.] Concerning Gaguin see Some Account of Skelton and his Writings. The passage here alluded to, will be found in Roberti Gaguini ordinis sanctae trinitatis ministri generalis de origine et gestis francorum perquamutile compendium," ("A very useful compilation of the origin and deeds of the French, by Robert Gaugin, minister-general of the Order of the Holy Trinity") A lib. x. fol. cxiiii. (where the marginal note is "Balluae cardinalis iniquitas" ("The wickedness of Cardinal Ballua")), ed. 1497. Cardinal Balue (whom the reader will probably recollect as a character in Sir W. Scott's Quentin Durward) was confined by order of Louis XI in an iron cage at the
102. a great estate] i.e. a person of great estate, or rank.
103. And to rule as him list] And might perhaps be thrown out. See also v. 1062. As him list—i.e. as pleased him.
104. checked at the fist] Seems to be equivalent here to—attacked, turned against the hand which fed him. "Check is when Crows, Rooks, Pies, or other birds coming in the view of the Hawk, she forsaketh her natural flight to fly at them." Latham's Falconry (Explan. of Words of Art), 1658.
105. And against his lord sovereign] And perhaps ought to be thrown out. Compare v. 1062.
106. Yet it is a wily mouse
That can build his dwelling house
Within the cat's ear] This proverbial saying occurs in a poem attributed to Lydgate;
"An hardy mouse that is bold to breed
In cats' ears."
The Order of Fools,—MS. Harl. 2251. fol. 304.
And so Heywood;
"I have heard tell, it had need to be
A wily mouse that should breed in the cat's ear."
Dialogue, &c. sig. G 4,—Works, ed. 1598.
107. that mastiff . . .
Let him never confound
The gentle greyhound] See note 153 to Speak, Parrot.
108. Master Meautis] John Meautis was secretary for the French language to Henry the Seventh and Henry the Eighth. It appears from Rymer's Foedera that he was allowed, in consideration of his services, to import Gascon wine and to dispose of it to the best advantage, T. v. P. iv. p. 78 (anno 1494), T. vi. P. i. p. 146 (anno 1518), ed. Hagae; and that he was occasionally employed on business with foreign powers, T. v. P. iv. pp. 110, 113 (anno 1497). Among some, says Ashmole, who became Poor Knights of Windsor "probably out of devotion, rather than cause of poverty," was "John Mewtes Secretary of the French Tongue (Pat. 18. H. 7. p. 1)." Order of the Garter, p. 161. Several unimportant entries concerning this person occur in the unpublished Books of Payments preserved in the Chapter House, Westminster.
109. a bull under lead] lead, i.e. a leaden seal.
110. Dimmings Dale] So in Thersytes, n. d.;
"Mother Bryce of Oxford, and great Gyb of Hynxey,
Also Maud of Thrutton, and Mabel of Chartesey,
And all other witches that walk in Dimmings dale,
Clittering and clattering there your pots with ale."
p. 68. Roxb. ed.
111. Ultra Sauromatas] "Beyond the Sammatians"—a people who lived in the steppes south-west of the Urals.
112. Mark me that chase
In the tennis play] See the latter part of note 7 to Ware the Hawk, "Marquez bien cette chasse. Heed well that passage, mark well the point, whereof I have informed you." Cotgrave's Dict. in v. Chasse.
113. cinque quater trey] "Five four three".
114. Hey, the gye and the gan] In one of his copies of verses Against Venomous Tongues, Skelton has,
"Nothing to write, but hey the guy of three."
where there seems to be some allusion to the dance called heydeguies. In the present passage probably there is a play on words: gye may mean—goose and gan gander.
115. The waters wax wan] Home Tooke in his Div. of Purley, Part ii. p.179. ed. 1805, citing this line from the ed. of Skelton's Works, 1736, thus, "The waters were wan," considers "wan"as the past participle of the verb "wane,"—wand, decreased; and he is followed by Richardson, Dict. in v. Wan. But "were" is merely a misprint of ed. 1736; and that "wan "is here an adjective expressing the colour of the water, is not to be doubted. So Skelton elsewhere;
"For worldly shame I wax both wan and blo."
Magnificence, v. 2080.
"The rivers rowth, the waters wan."
Divers Ballads and Ditties Solacious, v. 15.
So too in Henry's Wallace;
"Both rochis heich, and water deep and wan."
B. vii. 814. ed. Jam.
116. De tribu Dan] "Of the tribe of Dan"
117. Palam et clam] "(both) openly and secretly"
118. cupboard] "Cupboard of plate, or to set plate upon, buffet." Palsgrave, p. 211. It had a succession of "desks" or stages, on which the plate was displayed: see the description of a magnificent entertainment in Cavendish's Life. of Wolsey, p. 195. ed. 1827, and the editor's note.
119. A goldsmith your mayor] "A.D. 1522 . . . Mayor, Sir John Mundy, Goldsmith, Son to William Mundy of Wycombe in Buckinghamshire." Stow's Survey, B. v. 129. ed. 1720.
120. sir Tristram] See note 83 to Philip Sparrow. The name is, of course, used here for a person of rank generally.
121. With, laugh and lay down] A punning allusion to the game at cards so called.
122. Spring of Langham] Langham is in Essex. In the Expenses of Sir John Howard, first Duke of Norfolk, we find, under the year 1463, "Item, Appleton and Spring of Langham oweth my master, as James Hoberd and young Appleton knoweth well [a blank left for the sum]." Manners and Household Expenses of England, &c. p. 180. ed. Roxb. It seems probable, however, from the early date, that the person mentioned in the entry just cited was the father (or some near relative) of the Spring noticed by Skelton. But Stow certainly alludes to the clothier of our text, where he records that, during the disturbances which followed the attempt to levy money for the king's use in 1525, when the Duke of Norfolk inquired of the rebellious party in Suffolk "what was the cause of their disquiet, and who was their captain? . .. one John Green a man of fifty years old answered, that poverty was both cause and captain. For the rich clothiers Spring of Langham and other had given over occupying, whereby they were put from their ordinary work and living." Annales, p. 525. ed. 1615. Neither Hall nor Holinshed, when relating the same circumstance, make any mention of Spring.
123. He must tax for his wool] i.e. He must pay tax for his wool.
124. quia non satisfacit] "because it is not satisfactory (or sufficient)"
125. straits of Marock] i.e. the straits of Gibraltar.
"Throughout the sea of Greece, unto the strait
Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale, v. 4884. ed. Tyr.
126. the gibbet of Baldock] See note 37 to Speak, Parrot
127. That he would then make
The devils to quake] So Roy in his satire against Wolsey, Read me, and be not wroth, &c.;
"If he be as thou hast here said,
I ween the devils will be afraid
To have him as a companion;
For what with his execrations,
And with his terrible fulminations,
He wold handle them so,
That for very dread and fear,
All the devils that be there
Will be glad to let him go."
Harl. Miscell. ix. 29. ed. Park.
128. Bruise them on a brake] brake (which has occurred before in a different sense, see note 44 to The Tunning of Elynour Rumming) means here an engine of torture: "I Brake on a brake or pain bank, as men do misdoers to confess the trouth." Palsgrave, p. 463. In the Tower was a celebrated brake known by the nick-name of the Duke of Exeter's Daughter: see the wood-cut in Steevens's note on Measure for Measure,—Shakespeare (by Malone and Boswell), ix. 44.
129. a grim sire] sire i.e lord.
"Right a grim sire at doomsday shall he be."
Coventry Mysteries,—MS. Cott. Vesp. D viii. fol. 37.
130. bright and sheen] Are synonymous: yet Spenser also has;
"Her garment was so bright and wondrous sheen," &c.
The Faerie Queene,—Mutability, vii. 7.
131. The devil speed whit] See note 88 to Magnificence.
132. And with words of violence] And perhaps ought to be thrown out. Compare v. 735.
133. For all privileged places, &c.] See note 52 to Speak, Parrot.
134. Saint Alban's to record.] Wolsey, at that time Archbishop of York and Cardinal, was appointed to hold the abbacy of St. Alban's in commendam; and is supposed to have applied its revenues to the expensive public works in which he was then engaged, the building of his colleges at Oxford and Ipswich, &c.,-a great infraction, it was considered, of the canon law.
135. legacy] i.e. legatine power.
136. He is perjured himself, &c.] "And York [Wolsey] perceiving the obedience that Canterbury [Warham] claimed to have of York, intended to provide some such means that he would be superior in dignity to Canterbury than to be either obedient or equal to him. Wherefore he obtained first to be made Priest Cardinal, and Legatus de Latere; unto whom the Pope sent a Cardinal's hat, with certain bulls for his authority in that behalf. . . . Obtaining this dignity [he] thought himself meet to encounter with Canterbury in, his high jurisdiction before expressed; and that also he was as meet to bear authority among the temporal powers, as among the spiritual jurisdictions. Wherefore remembering as well the taunts and checks before sustained of Canterbury, which he intended to redress, having a respect to the advancement of worldly honour, promotion, and great benefits, [he] found the means with the king, that he was made Chancellor of England; and Canterbury thereof dismissed, who had continued in that honourable room and office, since long before the death of King Henry the Seventh." Cavendish's Life of Wolsey, pp. 90, 92, ed. 1827. It appears, however, from the contemporary testimonies of Sir Thomas More and Ammonius, that this statement was founded on false information, and that Wolsey did not employ any unfair means to supersede Warham. The latter had often requested permission to give up the chancellorship before the king would receive his resignation. When the seals were tendered to the Cardinal, either from affected modesty, or because he thought the office incompatible with his other duties, he declined the offer, and only accepted it after the king's repeated solicitations. See Singer's note on Cavendish, ubi supra, and Lingard's Hist. of Engl. vi. 57. ed. 8vo.
137. he setteth never a deal
By his former oath] i.e. he values not a bit, regards not a bit, his former oath.
138. Ecce, sacerdos magnus]"Behold, the great priest"
139. That will head us and hang us, . . . an he may fang us!]—fang, i.e. catch, lay hold of. Compare Sir D. Lyndsay's Satire of the Three Estates, Part ii.;
"Some says ane king is come amang us,
That purposes to head and hang us:
There is no grace, if he may fang us,
But on an pin."
Works, ii. 81. ed. Chalmers.
140. in causa sanguinis] "in a case of blood" i.e. in a criminal case which could result in a death sentence. Ecclesiastics were not supposed to sentence a man to death.
141. Naman Sirus] i.e. Naaman the Syrian (in Luke iv. 27)
"And Naaman Sirus thou purgedest of a leprosy."
Bale's Promises of God, &c. 1538. sig. E i.
142. pocky] i.e. poxy, infected with syphilis. So Roy in his satire against Wolsey, Read me, and be not wroth, &c.;
"He had the pox, without fail,
Wherefore people on him did rail
With many opprobrious mocks."
Hart. Miscell. ix. 32. ed. Park.
This was one of the charges afterwards brought against Wolsey in parliament.
143. manus Domini] "The hand of God."
144. Balthazar] "Balthazar de Geurcis was Chirurgeon to Queen Catharine of Arragon, and received letters of naturalization, dated 16 March, 13 Hen. 8. [1521-2]. See Rymer's Collect. ined. MS. Add. Brit. Mus. 4621.10." Sir F. Madden's additional note on Privy Purse Expenses of the Princess Mary, p. 281. He is mentioned in a letter from Wolsey's physician, Dr. Augustine (Augustinus de Augustinis, a Venetian), to Thomas Cromwell, requiring medical assistance for the Cardinal. MS. Cott. Tit. B i. fol. 365.
145. Domingo Lomelin, &c.] In The Privy Purse Expenses of King Henry the Eighth are several entries, relating to payments of money won by this Lombard from the King at cards and dice, amounting, in less than three years, to above 620l.: see pp. 17, 32, 33, 37, 190, 204, 205, 267, 270 of that work, edited by Sir H. Nicolas, who observes (p. 316) that Domingo "was, like Palmer and others, one of Henry's 'diverting vagabonds,' and seems to have accompanied His Majesty wherever he went, for we find that he was with him at Calais in October, 1532."
146. Quia difficile est
Satiram non scribere] "Because it is difficult not to write satire" (Juvenal, Sat. i. 30)
147. Omne animi vitium, &c.] "Every vice of the soul &c." (Juvenal, Sat. viii. x 40).
148.smegma non est cinnamonum] "Soap is not cinnamon"
149. de absentibus nil nisi bonum.] "(speak) nothing but good of the absent"