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Title: The Poetical Works of Skelton, Volume 1 (of 2)

Author: Alexander Dyce

Release Date: July 28, 2019 [EBook #59997]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Jonathan Ingram and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at

Transcriber’s Note: Volume II is available as PG ebook #59998.




Great New Street, Fetter Lane.











The very incomplete and inaccurate volume of 1736, and the reprint of it in Chalmers’s English Poets,[1] 1810, have hitherto been the only editions of Skelton accessible to the general reader.

In 1814, the Quarterly Reviewer,—after censuring Chalmers for having merely reprinted the volume of 1736, with all its errors, and without the addition of those other pieces by Skelton which were known to be extant,—observed, that “an editor who should be competent to the task could[vi] not more worthily employ himself than by giving a good and complete edition of his works.”[2] Prompted by this remark, I commenced the present edition,—perhaps with too much self-confidence, and certainly without having duly estimated the difficulties which awaited me. After all the attention which I have given to the writings of Skelton, they still contain corruptions which defy my power of emendation, and passages which I am unable to illustrate; nor is it, therefore, without a feeling of reluctance that I now offer these volumes to the very limited class of readers for whom they are intended. In revising my Notes for press, I struck out a considerable portion of conjectures and explanations which I had originally hazarded, being unwilling to receive from any one that equivocal commendation which Joseph Scaliger bestowed on a literary labourer of old; “Laudo tamen studium tuum; quia in rebus obscuris ut errare necesse est, ita fortuitum non errare.”[3]

Having heard that Ritson had made some collections[vii] for an edition of our author, I requested the use of those papers from his nephew, the late Joseph Frank, Esq., who most obligingly put them into my hands: they proved, however, to be only a transcript of Vox Populi, vox Dei (from the Harleian MS.), and a few memoranda concerning Skelton from very obvious sources.

The individual to whom I have been the most indebted for assistance and encouragement in this undertaking has not survived to receive my acknowledgments; I mean the late Mr. Heber, who not only lent me his whole collection of Skelton’s works, but also took a pleasure in communicating to me from time to time whatever information he supposed might be serviceable. Indeed, without such liberality on the part of Mr. Heber, a complete edition of the poet’s extant writings could not have been produced; for his incomparable library (now unfortunately dispersed) contained some pieces by Skelton, of which copies were not elsewhere to be found.

To Miss Richardson Currer; the Right Hon. Thomas Grenville; the Hon. and Rev. G. N. Grenville, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge; Sir Harris Nicolas; Sir Francis Palgrave; Rev. Dr. Bandinel; Rev. Dr. Bliss; Rev. John[viii] Mitford; Rev. J. J. Smith of Caius College, Cambridge; Rev. Joseph Hunter; Rev. Joseph Stevenson; W. H. Black, Esq.; Thomas Amyot, Esq.; J. P. Collier, Esq.; Thomas Wright, Esq.; J. O. Halliwell, Esq.; Albert Way, Esq.; and David Laing, Esq.;—I have to return my grateful thanks for the important aid of various kinds which they so readily and courteously afforded me.


London, Gray’s Inn,
Nov. 1st, 1843.

[1] “Mr. A. Chalmers,” says Haslewood, “has since given place [sic] to Skelton’s name among the English poets [vol. ii. p. 227]: and having had an opportunity to compare the original edition [that of Marshe, 1568] with Mr. Chalmers’s volume, I can pronounce the text verbally accurate, although taken from the reprint of 1736.” Brit. Bibliogr. iv. 389. As Haslewood was generally a careful collator, I am greatly surprised at the above assertion: the truth is, that the reprint of 1736 (every word of which I have compared with Marshe’s edition—itself replete with errors) is in not a few places grossly inaccurate.—The said reprint is without the editor’s name; but I have seen a copy of it in which Gifford had written with a pencil, “Edited by J. Bowle, the stupidest of all two-legged animals.”

[2] Q. Rev. xi. 485. The critique in question was written by Mr. Southey,—who, let me add, took a kind interest in the progress of the present edition.

[3] Joanni Isacio Pontano—Epist. p. 490. ed. 1627.

The preceding Preface was already in type, when Mr. W. H. Black discovered, among the Public Records, an undoubted poem by Skelton (hitherto unprinted), which I now subjoin.



Candida, punica, &c.
The Rose both White and Rede
In one Rose now dothe grow;
Thus thorow every stede[5]
Thereof the fame dothe blow:
Grace the sede did sow:
England, now gaddir flowris,
Exclude now all dolowrs.
Nobilis Henricus, &c.
Noble Henry the eight,
Thy loving souereine lorde,
Of kingis line moost streight,
His titille dothe recorde:
In whome dothe wele acorde
Alexis yonge of age,
Adrastus wise and sage.
Sedibus ætheriis, &c.
Astrea, Justice hight,
That from the starry sky
Shall now com and do right,
This hunderd yere scantly
A man kowd not aspy
That Right dwelt vs among,
And that was the more wrong:
Arcebit vulpes, &c.
Right shall the foxis chare,[6]
The wolvis, the beris also,
That wrowght have moche care,
And browght Englond in wo:
They shall wirry no mo,[7]
Nor wrote[8] the Rosary[9]
By extort trechery:
Ne tanti regis, &c.
Of this our noble king
The law they shall not breke;
They shall com to rekening;
No man for them wil speke:
The pepil durst not creke
Theire grevis to complaine,
They browght them in soche paine:
Ecce Platonis secla, &c.
Therfor no more they shall
The commouns ouerbace,
That wont wer ouer all
Both lorde and knight to face;[10]
For now the yeris of grace
And welthe ar com agayne,
That maketh England faine.[11]
Rediit jam pulcher Adonis, &c.
Adonis of freshe colour,
Of yowthe the godely flour,
Our prince of high honour,
Our paves,[12] our succour,
Our king, our emperour,
Our Priamus of Troy,
Our welth, our worldly joy;
Anglorum radians, &c.
Vpon vs he doth reigne,
That makith our hartis glad,
As king moost soueraine
That ever Englond had;
Demure, sober, and sad,[13]
And Martis lusty knight;
God save him in his right!

Bien men souient.[14]

Per me laurigerum Britonum Skeltonida vatem.

[4] A lawde and prayse made for our souereigne lord the kyng] Such (in a different handwriting from that of the poem) is the endorsement of the MS., which consists of two leaves, bound up in the volume marked B. 2. 8 (pp. 67-69), among the Records of the Treasury of the Receipt of the Exchequer, now at the Rolls House.—Qy. is this poem the piece which, in the catalogue of his own writings, Skelton calls “The Boke of the Rosiar,” Garlande of Laurell, v. 1178, vol. i. 408?

[5] stede] i. e. place.

[6] chare] i. e. chase, drive away (see Prompt. Parv. i. 70. Camden Soc. ed.).

[7] mo] i. e. more.

[8] wrote] i. e. root.

[9] Rosary] i. e. Rose-bush.

[10] face] See Notes, vol. ii. 216.

[11] faine] i. e. glad.

[12] paves] i. e. shield (properly, a large shield covering the body).

[13] sad] i. e. grave—discreet.

[14] Bien men souient] These words are followed in the MS. by a sort of flourished device, which might perhaps be read—“Deo (21ͦ) gratias.”



Some Account of Skelton and his Writings v
Appendix I. Merie Tales of Skelton, and Notices of Skelton from various sources liii
Appendix II. List of Editions, &c. lxxxix
Appendix III. Extracts from pieces which are written in, or which contain examples of, the metre called Skeltonical cv
Of the death of the noble prince, Kynge Edwarde the Forth 1
Poeta Skelton laureatus libellum suum metrice alloquitur 6
Vpon the doulourus dethe and muche lamentable chaunce of the most honorable Erle of Northumberlande 6
Tetrastichon ad Magistrum Rukshaw 14
Agaynste a comely coystrowne, that curyowsly chawntyd, and curryshly cowntred, &c. 15
Contra alium cantitantem et organisantem asinum, &c. 17
Vppon a deedmans hed, that was sent to hym from an honorable jentyllwoman for a token, &c. 18
“Womanhod, wanton, ye want,” &c. 20
Dyuers Balettys and Dyties solacyous:—
“My darlyng dere, my daysy floure,” &c. 22
“The auncient acquaintance, madam, betwen vs twayn,” &c. 23
“Knolege, aquayntance, resort, fauour with grace,” &c. 25
Cuncta licet cecidisse putas discrimina rerum,” &c. 26
“Though ye suppose all jeperdys ar paste,” &c. 26
“Go, pytyous hart, rasyd with dedly wo,” &c. 27
[ii]Manerly Margery Mylk and Ale 28
The Bowge of Courte 30
Phyllyp Sparowe 51
The tunnyng of Elynour Rummyng 95
Poems against Garnesche 116
Against venemous tongues, &c. 132
How euery thing must haue a tyme 137
Prayer to the Father of Heauen 139
To the Seconde Parson 139
To the Holy Gooste 140
“Woffully araid,” &c. 141
“Now synge we, as we were wont,” &c. 144
I, liber, et propera, regem tu pronus adora,” &c. 147
The maner of the world now a dayes 148
Ware the Hauke 155
Epithaphe. A Deuoute Trentale for old John Clarke, &c. 168
Diligo rustincum cum portant,” &c. 174
Lamentatio urbis Norvicen 174
In Bedel, &c. 175
Hanc volo transcribas,” &c. 175
Igitur quia sunt qui mala cuncta fremunt,” &c. 176
Salve plus decies quam sunt momenta dierum,” &c. 177
Henrici Septimi Epitaphium 178
Eulogium pro suorum temporum conditione, tantis principibus non indignum 179
Tetrastichon veritatis 181
Against the Scottes 182
Vnto diuers people that remord this rymynge, &c. 188
Chorus de Dis contra Scottos, &c. 190
Chorus de Dis, &c. super triumphali victoria contra Gallos, &c. 191
Vilitissimus Scotus Dundas allegat caudas contra Angligenas 192
Elegia in Margaretæ nuper comitissæ de Derby funebre ministerium 195
Why were ye Calliope embrawdred with letters of golde? 197
[iii]Cur tibi contexta est aurea Calliope? 198
The Boke of Three Fooles 199
A replycacion agaynst certayne yong scolers abiured of late, &c. 206
Magnyfycence, a goodly interlude and a mery 225
Colyn Cloute 311
A ryght delectable tratyse vpon a goodly Garlande or Chapelet of Laurell, &c. 361
Admonet Skeltonis omnes arbores dare locum viridi lauro juxta genus suum 425
En Parlament a Paris 426
Out of Frenshe into Latyn 426
Owt of Latyne into Englysshe 426



Speke, Parrot 1
Why come ye nat to Courte 26
Howe the douty Duke of Albany, lyke a cowarde knyght, ran awaye shamfully, &c. 68
Notes to Volume I. 85
Notes to Volume II. 338
Verses presented to King Henry the Seventh at the feast of St. George, &c. 387
The Epitaffe of the moste noble and valyaunt Jaspar late Duke of Beddeforde 388
Elegy on King Henry the Seventh 399
Vox populi, vox Dei 400
The Image of Ipocrysy 413
Corrigenda and Addenda 449
Index to the Notes 457



John Skelton[15] is generally said to have been descended from the Skeltons of Cumberland;[16] but there is some reason to believe that Norfolk was his native county. The time of his birth, which is left to conjecture, cannot well be carried back to an earlier year than 1460.


The statement of his biographers, that he was educated at Oxford,[17] I am not prepared to contradict: but if he studied there, it was at least after he had gone through an academical course at the sister university; for he has himself expressly declared,

“Alma parens O Cantabrigensis,
...tibi quondam carus alumnus eram;”

adding in a marginal note, “Cantabrigia Skeltonidi laureato primam mammam eruditionis pientissime propinavit.”[18] Hence it is probable that the poet was the “one Scheklton,” who, according to Cole, became M.A. at Cambridge in 1484.[19]

Of almost all Skelton’s writings which have descended[vii] to our times, the first editions[20] have perished; and it is impossible to determine either at what period he commenced his career as a poet, or at what dates his various pieces were originally printed. That he was the author of many compositions which are no longer extant, we learn from the pompous enumeration of their titles in the Garlande of Laurell[21]. The lines Of the death of the noble prince,[viii] ynge Edwarde the forth[22], who deceased in 1483, were probably among his earliest attempts in verse.

In 1489 Skelton produced an elegy Vpon the doulourus dethe and muche lamentable chaunce of the most honorable[ix] Erle of Northumberlande,[23] who was slain during a popular insurrection in Yorkshire. His son Henry Algernon Percy, the fifth earl, who is there mentioned as the “yonge lyon, but tender yet of age,”[24] appears to have[x] afterwards extended his patronage to the poet:[25] at a time when persons of the highest rank were in general grossly illiterate, this nobleman was both a lover and a liberal encourager of letters.


Skelton had acquired great reputation as a scholar, and had recently been laureated at Oxford,[26] when Caxton, in 1490, published The boke of Eneydos compyled by Vyrgyle,[27] in the Preface to which is the following passage: “But I praye mayster John Skelton, late created poete laureate in the vnyuersite of oxenforde, to ouersee and correcte this sayd booke, And taddresse and expowne where as shalle be founde faulte to theym that shall requyre it. For hym I knowe for suffycyent to expowne and englysshe euery dyffyculte that is therin. For he hath late translated the epystlys of Tulle,[28] and the boke of dyodorus syculus,[29] and[xii] diuerse other werkes oute of latyn in to englysshe, not in rude and olde langage, but in polysshed and ornate termes craftely, as he that hath redde vyrgyle, ouyde, tullye, and all the other noble poetes and oratours, to me vnknowen: And also he hath redde the ix. muses and vnderstande theyr musicalle scyences, and to whom of theym eche scyence is appropred. I suppose he hath dronken of Elycons well. Then I praye hym & suche other to correcte adde or mynysshe where as he or they shall fynde faulte,”[30] &c. The laureatship in question, however, was not the office of poet laureat according to the modern acceptation of the term: it was a degree in grammar, including rhetoric and versification, taken at the university, on which occasion the graduate was presented with a wreath of laurel.[31] To this academical honour Skelton proudly alludes in his fourth poem Against Garnesche;

“A kyng to me myn habyte gaue:
At Oxforth, the vniversyte,
Auaunsid I was to that degre;
By hole consent of theyr senate,
I was made poete lawreate.”[32]

Our laureat, a few years after, was admitted ad eundem at Cambridge: “An. Dom. 1493, et Hen. 7 nono. Conceditur Johī Skelton Poete in partibus transmarinis atque Oxon. Laurea ornato, ut apud nos eadem decoraretur;” again, “An. 1504-5, Conceditur Johi Skelton, Poetæ Laureat. quod possit stare eodem gradu hic, quo stetit Oxoniis, et quod possit uti habitu sibi concesso a Principe.” Warton, who cites both these entries,[33] remarks, “the latter clause, I believe, relates to some distinction of habit, perhaps of fur or velvet, granted him by the king.” There can be no doubt that Skelton speaks of this peculiar apparel in the lines just quoted, as also in his third poem Against Garnesche, where he says,

“Your sworde ye swere, I wene,
So tranchaunt and so kene,
Xall kyt both wyght and grene:
Your foly ys to grett
The kynges colours to threte;”[34]

from which we may infer that he wore, as laureat, a dress of white and green, or, perhaps, a white dress with a wreath of laurel. It was most probably on some part of the same habit that the word Calliope was embroidered in letters of silk and gold:


As ye may se,
Regent is she
Of poetes al,
Whiche gaue to me
The high degre
Laureat to be
Of fame royall;
Whose name enrolde
With silke and golde
I dare be bolde
Thus for to were,”[35] &c.

In the following passage Barclay perhaps glances at Skelton, with whom (as will afterwards be shewn) he was on unfriendly terms;

“But of their writing though I ensue the rate,
No name I chalenge of Poete laureate:
That name vnto them is mete and doth agree
Which writeth matters with curiositee.
Mine habite blacke accordeth not with grene,
Blacke betokeneth death as it is dayly sene;
The grene is pleasour, freshe lust and iolite;
These two in nature hath great diuersitie.
Then who would ascribe, except he were a foole,
The pleasaunt laurer vnto the mourning cowle?”[36]

Warton has remarked, that some of Skelton’s Latin verses, which are subscribed—“Hæc laureatus Skeltonis, regius orator”—“Per Skeltonida laureatum, oratorem regium,”—seem to have been written in the character of royal laureate;[37] and perhaps the expression “of fame royall” in Skelton’s lines on Calliope already cited, may be[xv] considered as strengthening this supposition. There would, indeed, be no doubt that Skelton was not only a poet laureated at the universities, but also poet laureat or court poet to Henry the Eighth, if the authenticity of the following statement were established; “la patente qui declare Skelton poète laureat d’Henry viii. est datée de la cinquième année de son règne, ce qui tombe en 1512 ou 1513:” so (after giving correctly the second entry concerning Skelton’s laureation at Cambridge) writes the Abbé du Resnel in an essay already mentioned; having received, it would seem, both these statements concerning Skelton from Carte the historian,[38] who, while he communicated to Du Resnel one real document, was not likely to have forged another for the purpose of misleading the learned Frenchman. On this subject I can only add, that no proof has been discovered of Skelton’s having enjoyed an annual salary from the crown in consequence of such an office.

The reader will have observed that in the first entry given above from the Cambridge Univ. Regist., Skelton is described as having been laureated not only at Oxford but also “transmarinis partibus.” That the foreign seat of learning at which he received this honour was the university of Louvaine,[39] may be inferred from the title of a poem which I subjoin entire, not only because it occurs in a volume of the greatest rarity, but because it evinces the celebrity which Skelton had attained.



Quum terra omnifero lætissima risit amictu,
Plena novo fœtu quælibet arbor erat;
Vertice purpurei vultus incepit honores
Extensis valvis pandere pulchra rosa;
Et segetum tenero sub cortice grana tumescunt,
Flavescens curvat pendula spica caput.
Vix Cancri tropicos æstus lustravit anhelans
Pythius, et Nemeæ vertit ad ora feræ,
Vesper solis equos oriens dum clausit Olympo,
Agmina stellarum surgere cuncta jubet:
Hic primo aspiceres ut Cynthia vecta sereno
Extulerat surgens cornua clara polo;
Inde Hydram cernas, stravit quam clava trinodis
Alcidæ, nitidis emicuisse comis;
Tum[40] Procyon subiit, præpes Lepus, hinc Jovis ales,
Arctos, et Engonasus, sidus et Eridani;
Ignivomis retinet radiis quæ stellifer orbis
(Quid multis remorer?) sidera cuncta micant.
Nutat Atlanteum convexum pondus, ocellis
Dum lustro hæc ægris, vergit et oceano.
Tum furtim alma quies repens mihi membra soporat,
Curaque Lethæo flumine mersa jacet:
O mihi quam placidis Icelos tulit aurea somnis
Somnia, musiphilis non caritura fide!
Nuncia percelebris Polyhymnia blanda salutans
Me Clarii ut visam numina sacra citat.
Ut sequar hanc lætus, mihi visus amœna vireta
Et nemorum umbrosos præteriisse sinus:
Scilicet hæc montes monstraverat inter eundum
Et fontes Musæ quos coluere sacros;
Castalios latices, Aganippidos atque Medusei
Vidimus alipedis flumina rupta pede;
Antra hinc Libethri monstrat Pimpleidos undas,
Post vada Cephisi, Phocidos atque lacus;
Nubifer assurgit mons Pierus atque Cithæron,
Gryneumque nemus dehinc Heliconque sacer;
Inde et Parnasi bifidi secreta subimus,
Tota ubi Mnemosynes sancta propago manet.
Turba pudica novem dulce hic cecinere sororum;
Delius in medio plectra chelynque sonat:
Aurifluis laudat modulis monumenta suorum
Vatum, quos dignos censet honore poli:
De quo certarunt Salamin, Cumæ, vel Athenæ,
Smyrna, Chios, Colophon, primus Homerus erat;
Laudat et Orpheum, domuit qui voce leones,
Eurydicen Stygiis qui rapuitque rogis;
Antiquum meminit Musæum Eumolpide natum,
Te nec Aristophanes Euripidesque tacet;
Vel canit illustrem genuit quem Teia tellus,
Quemque fovit dulci Coa camena sinu;
Deinde cothurnatum celebrem dat laude Sophoclem,
Et quam Lesbides pavit amore Phaon;
Æschylus, Amphion, Thespis nec honore carebant,
Pindarus, Alcæus, quem tuleratque Paros;
Sunt alii plures genuit quos terra Pelasga,
Daphnæum cecinit quos meruisse decus:
Tersa Latinorum dehinc multa poemata texit,
Laude nec Argivis inferiora probat;
Insignem tollit ter vatem, cui dedit Andes
Cunas urbs, clarum Parthenopæa taphum;
Blanda Corinna, tui Ponto religatus amore,
Sulmoni natus Naso secundus erat;
Inde nitore fluens lyricus genere Appulus ille
Qui Latiis primus mordica metra tulit;
Statius Æacidem sequitur Thebaida pingens,
Emathio hinc scribens prælia gesta solo;
Cui Verona parens hinc mollis scriptor amorum,
Tu nec in obscuro, culte Tibulle, lates;
Haud reticendus erat cui patria Bilbilis, atque
Persius hinc mordax crimina spurca notans;
Eximius pollet vel Seneca luce tragœdus,
Comicus et Latii bellica præda ducis;
Laudat et hinc alios quos sæcula prisca fovebant;
Hos omnes longum jam meminisse foret.
Tum[41] Smintheus, paulo spirans, ait, ecce, sorores,
Quæ clausa oceano terra Britanna nitet!
Oxoniam claram Pataræa ut regna videtis,
Aut Tenedos, Delos, qua mea fama viret:
Nonne fluunt istic nitidæ ut Permessidos undæ,
Istic et Aoniæ sunt juga visa mihi?
Alma fovet vates nobis hæc terra ministros,
Inter quos Schelton jure canendus adest:
Numina nostra colit; canit hic vel carmina cedro
Digna, Palatinis et socianda sacris;
Grande decus nobis addunt sua scripta, linenda
Auratis, digna ut posteritate, notis;
Laudiflua excurrit serie sua culta poesis,
Certatim palmam lectaque verba petunt;
Ora lepore fluunt, sicuti dives fagus auro,
Aut pressa Hyblæis dulcia mella favis;
Rhetoricus sermo riguo fecundior horto,
Pulchrior est multo puniceisque rosis,
Unda limpidior, Parioque politior albo,
Splendidior vitro, candidiorque nive,
Mitior Alcinois pomis, fragrantior ipso
Thureque Pantheo, gratior et violis;
Vincit te, suavi Demosthene, vincit Ulyxim
Eloquio, atque senem quem tulit ipse Pylos;
Ad fera bella trahat verbis, nequiit quod Atrides
Aut Brisis, rigidum te licet, Æacides;
Tantum ejus verbis tribuit Suadela Venusque
Et Charites, animos quolibet ille ut agat,
Vel Lacedæmonios quo Tyrtæus pede claudo
Pieriis vincens martia tela modis,
Magnus Alexander quo belliger actus ab illa
Mæonii vatis grandisonante tuba;
Gratia tanta suis virtusque est diva camenis,
Ut revocet manes ex Acheronte citos;
Leniat hic plectro vel pectora sæva leonum,
Hic strepitu condat mœnia vasta lyræ;
Omnimodos animi possit depellere morbos,
Vel Niobes luctus Heliadumque truces;
Reprimat his rabidi Saulis sedetque furores,
Inter delphinas alter Arion erit;
Ire Cupidineos quovis hic cogat amores,
Atque diu assuetos hic abolere queat;
Auspice me tripodas sentit, me inflante calores
Concipit æthereos, mystica diva canit;
Stellarum cursus, naturam vasti et Olympi,
Aeris et vires hic aperire potest,
Vel quid cunctiparens gremio tellus fovet almo,
Gurgite quid teneat velivolumque mare;
Monstratur digito phœnice ut rarior uno,
Ecce virum de quo splendida fama volat!
Ergo decus nostrum quo fulget honorque, sorores,
Heroas laudes accumulate viro;
Laudes accumulent Satyri, juga densa Lycæi,
Pindi, vel Rhodopes, Mænala quique colunt;
Ingeminent plausus Dryades facilesque Napææ,
Oreadum celebris turba et Hamadryadum;
Blandisonum vatem, vos Oceanitidesque atque
Naiades, innumeris tollite præconiis;
Æterno vireat quo vos celebravit honore,
Illius ac astris fama perennis eat:
Nunc maduere satis vestro, nunc prata liquore
Flumina, Pierides, sistite, Phœbus ait.
Sat cecinisse tuum sit, mi Schelton, tibi laudi
Hæc Whitintonum: culte poeta, vale.

Ex capitalibus hexametrorum litteris solerter compositis emergit hoc distichon;

Quæ Whitintonus canit ad laudes tibi, Schelton,
Anglorum vatum gloria, sume libens.”[42]


Another laudatory notice of Skelton by a contemporary writer will not here be out of place;

“To all auncient poetes, litell boke, submytte the,
Whilom flouryng in eloquence facundious,
And to all other whiche present nowe be;
Fyrst to maister Chaucer and Ludgate sentencious,
Also to preignaunt Barkley nowe beying religious,
To inuentiue Skelton and poet laureate;
Praye them all of pardon both erly and late.”[43]

Skelton frequently styles himself “orator regius;”[44] but the nature of the office from which he derived the title is not, I believe, understood. The lines in which, as we have just seen, Whittington so lavishly praises his “rhetoricus sermo,” allude most probably to his performances in the capacity of royal orator.

In 1498 Skelton took holy orders. The days on which, during that year, he was ordained successively subdeacon, deacon, and priest, are ascertained by the following entries:

“[In ecclesia conuentuali domus siue hospitalis sancti Thome martiris de Acon ciuitatis London. per Thomam Rothlucensem episcopum vltimo die mensis Marcii]

M. Johannes Skelton London, dioc. ad titulum Mon. beate Marie de Graciis iuxta Turrim London.”

“[In cathedra sancti Pauli London. apud summum altare eiusdem per Thomam permissione diuina London, episcopum in sabbato sancto viz. xiiii die mensis Aprilis]


Johannes Skelton poete [sic] laureatus Lond. dioc. ad titulum Mon. de Graciis juxta turrim London.”

“[In ecclesia conuentuali hospitalis beate Marie de Elsyng per Thomam Rothlucensem episcopum ix die mensis Iunii]

M. Johannes Skelton poeta lureatus [sic] London. dioc. ad titulum Mon. de Graciis iuxta turrim London.”[45]

When Arthur, the eldest son of Henry the Seventh, was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, in 1489,[46] Skelton celebrated the event in a composition (probably poetical) called Prince Arturis Creacyoun,[47] of which the title alone remains; and when Prince Henry, afterwards Henry the Eighth, was created Duke of York, in 1494,[48] he was hailed by our author in some Latin verses—Carmen ad principem, quando insignitus erat ducis Ebor. titulo,—a copy of which (not to be found at present) was once among the MSS. in the Library of Lincoln Cathedral, having been seen by Tanner, who cites the initial words,—“Si quid habes, mea Musa.”[49]

As at the last-mentioned date Prince Henry was a mere infant, there can be no doubt that the care of his education had not yet been entrusted to our poet. It must have been several years after 1494 that Skelton was appointed tutor to that prince,—an appointment which affords a striking proof of the high opinion entertained of his talents and learning, as well as of the respectability of his character. He has himself recorded that he held this important situation:


“The honor of Englond I lernyd to spelle,
In dygnyte roialle that doth excelle:
Note and marke wyl[50] thys parcele;
I yaue hym drynke of the sugryd welle
Of Eliconys waters crystallyne,
Aqueintyng hym with the Musys nyne.
Yt commyth thé wele me to remorde,
That creaunser[51] was to thy sofre[yne] lorde:
It plesyth that noble prince roialle
Me as hys master for to calle
In hys lernyng primordialle.”[52]

And in another poem he informs us that he composed a treatise for the edification of his royal pupil:

“The Duke of Yorkis creauncer whan Skelton was,
Now Henry the viii. Kyng of Englonde,
A tratyse he deuysid and browght it to pas,
Callid Speculum Principis, to here in his honde,
Therin to rede, and to vnderstande
All the demenour of princely astate,
To be our Kyng, of God preordinate.”[53]


The Speculum Principis has perished: we are unable to determine whether it was the same work as that entitled Methodos Skeltonidis laureati, sc. Præcepta quædam moralia Henrico principi, postea Henr. viii, missa. Dat. apud Eltham A.D. MDI., which in Tanner’s days[54] was extant (mutilated at the beginning) among the MSS. in the Lincoln-Cathedral Library, but which (like the Latin verses mentioned in a preceding page) has since been allowed to wander away from that ill-guarded collection.

When Prince Henry was a boy of nine years old, Erasmus dedicated to him an ode De Laudibus Britanniæ, Regisque Henrici Septimi ac Regiorum Liberorum. The Dedication contains the following memorable encomium on Skelton; “Et hæc quidem interea tamquam ludicra munuscula tuæ pueritiæ dicavimus, uberiora largituri ubi tua virtus una cum ætate accrescens uberiorem carminum materiam suppeditabit. Ad quod equidem te adhortarer, nisi et ipse jamdudum sponte tua velis remisque (ut aiunt) eo tenderes, et domi haberes Skeltonum, unum Britannicarum literarum lumen ac decus, qui tua studia possit, non solum accendere, sed etiam consummare;” and in the Ode are these lines;

“Jam puer Henricus, genitoris nomine lætus,
Monstrante fonteis vate Skeltono sacros,
Palladias teneris meditatur ab unguibus arteis.”[55]


The circumstances which led to the production of this Ode are related by Erasmus in the following curious passage: “Is erat labor tridui, et tamen labor, quod jam annos aliquot nec legeram nec scripseram ullum carmen. Id partim pudor a nobis extorsit, partim dolor. Pertraxerat me Thomas Morus,[56] qui tum me in prædio Montjoii[57] agentem inviserat, ut animi causa in proximum vicum[58] expatiaremur. Nam illic educabantur omnes liberi regii, uno Arcturo excepto, qui tum erat natu maximus. Ubi ventum est in aulam, convenit tota pompa, non solum domus illius, verum etiam Montjoiicæ. Stabat in medio Henricus annos natus novem, jam tum indolem quandam[xxv] regiam præ se ferens, h. e. animi celsitudinem cum singulari quadam humanitate conjunctam. A dextris erat Margareta, undecim ferme annos nata, quæ post nupsit Jacobo Scotorum Regi. A sinistris, Maria lusitans, annos nata quatuor. Nam Edmondus adhuc infans, in ulnis gestabatur. Morus cum Arnoldo sodali salutato puero Henrico, quo rege nunc floret Britannia, nescio quid scriptorum obtulit. Ego, quoniam hujusmodi nihil expectabam, nihil habens quod exhiberem, pollicitus sum aliquo pacto meum erga ipsum studium aliquando declaraturum. Interim subirascebar Moro, quod non præmonuisset; et eo magis, quod puer Epistolio inter prandendum ad me misso, meum calamum provocaret. Abii domum, ac vel invitis Musis, cum quibus jam longum fuerat divortium, Carmen intra triduum absolvi. Sic et ultus sum dolorem meum, et pudorem sarsi.”[59]

The mother of Henry the Seventh, the Countess of Richmond and Derby, is well known to have used her utmost exertions for the advancement of literature: she herself translated some pieces from the French; and, under her patronage, several works (chiefly works of piety) were rendered into English by the most competent scholars of the time. It is to her, I apprehend, that Skelton alludes in the following passage of the Garlande of Laurell, where he mentions one of his lost performances;

“Of my ladys grace at the contemplacyoun,
Owt of Frenshe into Englysshe prose,
Of Mannes Lyfe the Peregrynacioun,
He did translate, enterprete, and disclose.”[60]


According to Churchyard, Skelton was “seldom out of princis grace:”[61] yet among the Actes, Orders, and Decrees made by the King and his Counsell, remaining amongst the Records of the Court, now commonly called the Court of Requests, we find, under anno 17. Henry vii.; “10 Junii apud Westminster Jo. Skelton commissus carceribus Janitoris Domini Regis.”[62] What could have occasioned this restraint, I cannot even conjecture: but in those days of extra-judicial imprisonments he might have been incarcerated for a very slight offence. It is, however, by no means certain that the “Jo. Skelton” of the above entry was the individual who forms the subject of the present essay;[63] and it is equally doubtful whether or not the following entry, dated the same year, relates to the mother of the poet;

(Easter term, 17. Henry vii.) Johanne Skelton vidue de regard. Domini Regis[64] iij. li. vj. s. viij. d.

It has been already shewn that Skelton took holy orders in 1498.[65] How soon after that period he became rector of[xxvii] Diss in Norfolk, or what portion of his life was spent there in the exercise of his duties, cannot be ascertained. He certainly resided there in 1504 and 1511,[66] and, as it would seem from some of his compositions,[67] in 1506, 1507, and 1513; in the year of his decease he was, at least nominally, the rector of Diss.[68]

We are told[69] that for keeping, under the title of a concubine,[xxviii] a woman whom he had secretly married, Skelton was called to account, and suspended from his ministerial functions by his diocesan, the bloody-minded and impure Richard Nykke (or Nix),[70] at the instigation of the friars, chiefly the Dominicans, whom the poet had severely handled[xxix] in his writings. It is said, too, that by this woman he had several children, and that on his death-bed he declared that he conscientiously regarded her as his wife, but that such had been his cowardliness, that he chose rather to confess adultery (concubinage) than what was then reckoned more criminal in an ecclesiastic,—marriage.

It has been supposed that Skelton was curate of Trumpington near Cambridge[71] (celebrated as the scene of Chaucer’s Milleres Tale), because at the end of one of his smaller poems are the following words:

“Auctore Skelton, rectore de Dis.

Finis, &c. Apud Trumpinton scriptum[72] per Curatum ejusdem, quinto die Januarii Anno Domini, secundum computat. Angliæ, MDVII.”[73]

But the meaning evidently is, that the curate of Trumpington had written out the verses composed by the rector of Diss; and that the former had borrowed them from the latter for the purpose of transcription, is rendered probable by two lines which occur soon after among some minor pieces of our author;


“Hanc volo transcribas, transcriptam moxque remittas
Pagellam; quia sunt qui mea scripta sciunt.”[74]

Anthony Wood affirms that “at Disse and in the diocese” Skelton “was esteemed more fit for the stage than the pew or pulpit.”[75] It is at least certain that anecdotes of the irregularity of his life, of his buffoonery as a preacher, &c. &c. were current long after his decease, and gave rise to that tissue of extravagant figments which was put together for the amusement of the vulgar, and entitled the Merie Tales of Skelton.[76]

Churchyard informs us that Skelton’s “talke was as he wraet [wrote];”[77] and in this propensity to satire, as well in conversation as in writing, originated perhaps those quarrels with Garnesche, Barclay, Gaguin, and Lily, which I have now to notice.

As the four poems Against Garnesche were composed “by the kynges most noble commaundement,” we may conclude that the monarch found amusement in the angry rhymes with which Skelton overwhelmed his opponent. Garnesche, it appears, was the challenger in this contest;[78] and it is to be regretted that his verses have perished, because in all probability they would have thrown some light on the private history of Skelton. The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy[79] bears a considerable resemblance[xxxi] to the verses against Garnesche; but the two Scottish poets are supposed to have carried on a sportive warfare of rude raillery, while a real animosity seems to have existed between our author and his adversary.[80] At the time of this quarrel (the exact date of which cannot be determined) Christopher Garnesche was gentleman-usher to Henry the Eighth, and dignified with knighthood;[81] and (if Skelton may be credited) had risen from the performance of very menial offices to the station which he then occupied. As he had no claims on the remembrance of posterity, little is known concerning him; but since we have evidence that his services were called for on more than one occasion of importance, he must have been a person of considerable note. He is twice incidentally mentioned in connexion with the royal sisters of Henry the Eighth. In 1514, when the Princess Mary embarked for France, in order to join her decrepit bridegroom Louis the Twelfth, Garnesche formed one of the numerous retinue selected to[xxxii] attend her, and had an opportunity of particularly distinguishing himself during that perilous voyage: “The ii. daye of October at the hower of foure of the clocke in the morenynge thys fayre ladye tooke her ship with all her noble compaignie: and when they had sayled a quarter of the see, the wynde rose and seuered some of the shyppes to Caleys, and some in Flaunders, and her shippe with greate difficultie was brought to Bulleyn, and with great ieopardy at the entryng of the hauen, for the master ran the ship hard on shore, but the botes were redy and receyued this noble lady, and at the landyng Sir Christopher Garnyshe stode in the water, and toke her in his armes, and so caryed her to land, where the Duke of Vandosme and a Cardynall with many estates receyued her and her ladyes,”[82] &c. Again, in a letter, dated Harbottle 18th Oct. 1515, from Lord Dacre of Gillesland and T. Magnus to Henry the Eighth, concerning the confinement in childbed of Margaret widow of James the Fourth, &c. we find; “Sir Christofer Garneis came to Morpeth immediatly vpon the queneis delyueraunce, and by our aduice hath contynued there with suche stuff as your grace hath sent to the said quene your suster till Sondaye laste paste, whiche daye he delyuered your letter and disclosed your credence, gretely to the quenes comforte. And for somiche as the quene lieth as yet in childe bedde, and shall kepe her chambre these thre wookes at the leiste, we haue aduised the said sir Christofer Garneis to remaigne at Morpeth till the queneis comyng thidder, and then her grace may order and prepare euery parte of the said stuf after her pleasure and as her grace semeth moste conuenient,” &c.[83] A few particulars concerning Garnesche[xxxiii] may be gleaned from the Books in the Public Record Office:

(Easter Term, 18 Hen. vii.) “Cristofero Garneys de regardo de denariis per Johannem Crawford et al. per manuc. for.[84] xl. li.

(i. e. in reward out of moneys forfeited by John Crawford and another upon bail-bond.)

(1st Henry viii.) “Item to Christofer Garnisshe for the kinges offring at S. Edwardes shiryne the next day after the Coronacion[85] vj. s. viij. d.
(Easter Term, 1-2 Henry viii.) “Cristofero Garneys vni generosorum hostiariorum regis [one of the king’s gentlemen-ushers] de annuitate sua durante regis beneplacito per annum x. li.
Eidem Cristofero de feodo suo ad xx. li. per annum pro termino vite sue[86] xx. li.

and we find that afterwards by letters patent dated 21st May, 7th Henry viii., in consideration of his services the king granted him an annuity of thirty pounds for life, payable half-yearly at the Exchequer.[87]

(11th Henry viii.) “Item to Sir Christofer Garnisshe knight opon a warraunt for the hyre of his howse at Grenewyche[88] at x. li. by the yere for one half a yere due at Ester last and so after half yerely [xxxiv]during x yeres[89] c. s.
(20th Henry viii.) “Cristofero Garnyshe militi de annuitate sua ad xxx l. per annum per breve currens Rec. den. pro festo Michīs ult. pret. viz. pro vno anno integro per manus Ricardi Alen[90] xxx. li.

see above: this entry is several times repeated, and occurs for the last time in 26th Henry viii.[91]

Bale mentions among the writings of Alexander Barclay a piece “against Skelton.”[92] It has not come down[xxxv] to us; but the extant works of Barclay bear testimony to the hearty dislike with which he regarded our author. At the conclusion of The Ship of Fooles is this contemptuous notice of one of Skelton’s most celebrated poems;

“Holde me excused, for why my will is good,
Men to induce vnto vertue and goodnes;
I write no ieste ne tale of Robin Hood,
Nor sowe no sparkles ne sede of viciousnes;
Wise men loue vertue, wilde people wantonnes;
It longeth not to my science nor cunning,
For Philip the Sparow the Dirige to singe:”[93]

a sneer to which Skelton most probably alludes, when, enumerating his own productions in the Garlande of Laurell, he mentions,

“Of Phillip Sparow the lamentable fate,
The dolefull desteny, and the carefull chaunce,
Dyuysed by Skelton after the funerall rate;
Yet sum there be therewith that take greuaunce,
And grudge therat with frownyng countenaunce;
But what of that? hard it is to please all men;
Who list amende it, let hym set to his penne.”[94]


That a portion of the following passage in Barclay’s Fourth Egloge was levelled at Skelton, appears highly probable;

“Another thing yet is greatly more damnable:
Of rascolde poetes yet is a shamfull rable,
Which voyde of wisedome presumeth to indite,
Though they haue scantly the cunning of a snite;[95]
And to what vices that princes moste intende,
Those dare these fooles solemnize and commende.
Then is he decked as Poete laureate,
When stinking Thais made him her graduate:
When Muses rested, she did her season note,
And she with Bacchus her camous[96] did promote.
Such rascolde drames, promoted by Thais,
Bacchus, Licoris, or yet by Testalis,
Or by suche other newe forged Muses nine,
Thinke in their mindes for to haue wit diuine;
They laude their verses, they boast, they vaunt and iet,
Though all their cunning be scantly worth a pet:
If they haue smelled the artes triuiall,
They count them Poetes hye and heroicall.
Such is their foly, so foolishly they dote,
Thinking that none can their playne errour note:
Yet be they foolishe, auoyde of honestie,
Nothing seasoned with spice of grauitie,
Auoyde of pleasure, auoyde of eloquence,
With many wordes, and fruitlesse of sentence;
Unapt to learne, disdayning to be taught,
Their priuate pleasure in snare hath them so caught;
And worst yet of all, they count them excellent,
Though they be fruitlesse, rashe and improuident.
To such ambages who doth their minde incline,
They count all other as priuate[97] of doctrine,
And that the faultes which be in them alone,
Also be common in other men eche one.”[98]


In the Garlande of Laurell we are told by Skelton, that among the famous writers of all ages and nations, whom he beheld in his vision, was

“a frere of Fraunce men call sir Gagwyne,
That frownyd on me full angerly and pale;”[99]

and in the catalogue of his own writings which is subsequently given in the same poem, he mentions a piece which he had composed against this personage,

The Recule ageinst Gaguyne of the Frenshe nacyoun.”[100]

Robert Gaguin was minister-general of the Maturines, and enjoyed great reputation for abilities and learning.[101] He wrote various works; the most important of which is his Compendium supra Francorum gestis from the time of Pharamond to the author’s age. In 1490 he was sent by Charles the Eighth as ambassador to England, where he probably became personally acquainted with Skelton.

That Skelton composed certain Latin verses against the celebrated grammarian William Lily, we are informed by Bale,[102] who has preserved the initial words, viz.

“Urgeor impulsus tibi, Lilli, retundere:”


and that Lily repaid our poet in kind, we have the following proof;

“Lilii Hendecasyllabi in Scheltonum ejus
carmina calumniantem.

“Quid me, Scheltone, fronte sic aperta
Carpis, vipereo potens veneno?
Quid versus trutina meos iniqua
Libras? dicere vera num licebit?
Doctrinæ tibi dum parare famam
Et doctus fieri studes poeta,
Doctrinam nec habes, nec es poeta.”

It would seem that Skelton occasionally repented of the severity of his compositions, and longed to recall them; for in the Garlande of Laurell, after many of them have been enumerated, we meet with the following curious passage;

“Item Apollo that whirllid up his chare,
That made sum to snurre and snuf in the wynde;
It made them to skip, to stampe, and to stare,
Whiche, if they be happy, haue cause to beware
In ryming and raylyng with hym for to mell,
For drede that he lerne them there A, B, C, to spell.
With that I stode vp, halfe sodenly afrayd;
Suppleyng to Fame, I besought her grace,
And that it wolde please her, full tenderly I prayd,
Owt of her bokis Apollo to rase.
Nay, sir, she sayd, what so in this place
Of our noble courte is ones spoken owte,
It must nedes after rin all the worlde aboute.
God wote, theis wordes made me full sad;
And when that I sawe it wolde no better be,
But that my peticyon wolde not be had,
What shulde I do but take it in gre?
For, by Juppiter and his high mageste,
I did what I cowde to scrape out the scrollis,
Apollo to rase out of her ragman rollis.”[104]

The piece which commenced with the words “Apollo that whirllid vp his chare,” and which gave such high displeasure to some of Skelton’s contemporaries, has long ago perished,—in spite of Fame’s refusal to erase it from her books!

The title-page of the Garlande of Laurell,[105] ed. 1523, sets forth that it was “studyously dyuysed at Sheryfhotton Castell,” in Yorkshire; and there seems no reason to doubt that it was written by Skelton during a residence at that mansion. The date of its composition is unknown; but it was certainly produced at an advanced period of his life;[106] and the Countess of Surrey, who figures in it so conspicuously as his patroness, must have been Elizabeth Stafford, daughter of Edward Duke of Buckingham, second wife of Thomas Howard Earl of Surrey, and mother of that illustrious Surrey “whose fame for aye endures.” Sheriff-Hutton Castle was then in the possession of her father-in-law, the Duke of Norfolk,[107] the victor of Flodden Field; and she was probably there as his guest, having[xl] brought Skelton in her train. Of this poem, unparalleled for its egotism, the greater part is allegorical; but the incident from which it derives its name,—the weaving of a garland for the author by a party of ladies, at the desire of the Countess, seems to have had some foundation in fact.

From a passage in the poem just mentioned, we may presume that Skelton used sometimes to reside at the ancient college of the Bonhommes at Ashridge;

“Of the Bonehoms of Ashrige besyde Barkamstede,
That goodly place to Skelton moost kynde,
Where the sank royall is, Crystes blode so rede,
Whervpon he metrefyde after his mynde;
A pleasaunter place than Ashrige is, harde were to fynde,” &c.[108]

That Skelton once enjoyed the patronage of Wolsey, at whose desire he occasionally exercised his pen, and from whose powerful influence he expected preferment in the church, we learn from the following passages in his works:

“Honorificatissimo, amplissimo, longeque reverendissimo in Christo patri, ac domino, domino Thomæ, &c. tituli sanctæ Ceciliæ, sacrosanctæ Romanæ ecclesiæ presbytero, Cardinali meritissimo, et apostolicæ sedis legato, a latereque legato superillustri, &c. Skeltonis laureatus, ora. reg., humillimum dicit obsequium cum omni debita reverentia, tanto tamque magnifico digna principe sacerdotum, totiusque justitiæ æquabilissimo moderatore, necnon præsentis opusculi fautore excellentissimo, &c., ad cujus auspicatissimam contemplationem, sub memorabili prelo gloriosæ immortalitatis, præsens pagella felicitatur, &c.”[109]


“Ad serenissimam Majestatem Regiam, pariter cum Domino Cardinali, Legato a latere honorificatissimo, &c.

Lautre Enuoy.

Perge, liber, celebrem pronus regem venerare
Henricum octavum, resonans sua præmia laudis.
Cardineum dominum pariter venerando salutes,
Legatum a latere, et fiat memor ipse precare
Prebendæ, quam promisit mihi credere quondam,
Meque suum referas pignus sperare salutis
Inter spemque metum.
Twene hope and drede
My lyfe I lede,
But of my spede
Small sekernes;
Howe be it I rede
Both worde and dede
Should be agrede
In noblenes:
Or els, &c.”[110]

“To my Lorde Cardynals right noble grace, &c.


Go, lytell quayre, apace,
In moost humble wyse,
Before his noble grace,
That caused you to deuise
This lytel enterprise;
And hym moost lowly pray,
In his mynde to comprise
Those wordes his grace dyd saye
Of an ammas gray.
Ie foy enterment en sa bone grace.”[111]


We also find that Skelton “gaue to my lord Cardynall” The Boke of Three Fooles.[112]

What were the circumstances which afterwards alienated the poet from his powerful patron, cannot now be discovered: we only know that Skelton assailed the full-blown pride of Wolsey with a boldness which is astonishing, and with a fierceness of invective which has seldom been surpassed. Perhaps, it would have been better for the poet’s memory, if the passages just quoted had never reached us; but nothing unfavourable to his character ought to be hastily inferred from the alteration in his feelings towards Wolsey while the cause of their quarrel is buried in obscurity. The provocation must have been extraordinary, which transformed the humble client of the Cardinal into his “dearest foe.”

We are told by Francis Thynne, that Wolsey was his father’s “olde enymye, for manye causes, but mostly for that my father had furthered Skelton to publishe his Collin Cloute againste the Cardinall, the moste parte of whiche Booke was compiled in my fathers howse at Erithe in Kente.”[113] But though Colyn Cloute contains passages which manifestly point at Wolsey, it cannot be termed a piece “againste the Cardinall:” and I have no doubt that the poem which Thynne had in view, and which by mistake he has mentioned under a wrong title, was our[xliii] author’s Why come ye nat to Courte. In Colyn Cloute Skelton ventured to aim only a few shafts at Wolsey: in Why come ye nat to Courte, and in Speke, Parrot, he let loose against him the full asperity of reproach.

The bull appointing Wolsey and Campeggio to be Legates a latere jointly, is dated July 27th, 1518, that appointing Wolsey to be sole Legate a latere, 10th June, 1519;[114] and from the first two passages which I have cited above (pp. xl, xli) we ascertain the fact, that Wolsey continued to be the patron of Skelton for at least some time after he had been invested with the dignity of papal legate. If the third passage cited above (p. xli), “Go, lytell quayre, apace,” &c. really belong to the poem How the douty Duke of Albany, &c., to which it is appended in Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568, our author must have been soliciting Wolsey for preferment as late as November 1523: but his most direct satire on the Cardinal, Why come ye nat to Courte, was evidently composed anterior to that period; and his Speke, Parrot (which would require the scholia of a Tzetzes to render it intelligible) contains seeming allusions to events of a still earlier date. The probability (or rather certainty) is, that the L’Envoy, “Go, lytell quayre,” &c. has no connexion with the poem on the Duke of Albany: in Marshe’s volume the various pieces are thrown together without any attempt at arrangement; and it ought to be particularly noticed that between[xliv] the poem against Albany and the L’Envoy in question, another L’Envoy is interposed.[115] Wolsey might have forgiven the allusions made to him in Colyn Cloute; but it would be absurd to imagine that, in 1523, he continued to patronise the man who had written Why come ye nat to Courte.

The following anecdote is subjoined from Hall: “And in this season [15 Henry viii.], the Cardinall by his power legantine dissolued the Conuocacion at Paules, called by the Archebishop of Cantorbury [Warham], and called hym and all the clergie to his conuocacion to Westminster, which was neuer seen before in Englande, wherof master Skelron, a mery Poet, wrote,

Gentle Paule, laie doune thy sweard,[116]
For Peter of Westminster hath shauen thy beard.”[117]

From the vengeance of the Cardinal,[118] who had sent[xlv] out officers to apprehend him, Skelton took sanctuary at Westminster, where he was kindly received and protected by the abbot Islip,[119] with whom he had been long acquainted. In this asylum he appears to have remained till his death, which happened June 21st, 1529. What he is reported to have declared on his death-bed concerning the woman whom he had secretly married, and by whom he left several children, has been already mentioned:[120] he is[xlvi] said also to have uttered at the same time a prophecy concerning the downfal of Wolsey.[121] He was buried in the chancel of the neighbouring church of St. Margaret’s; and, soon after, this inscription was placed over his grave,

Joannes Skeltonus, vates Pierius, hic situs est.[122]

Concerning the personal appearance of Skelton we are left in ignorance;[123] for the portraits which are prefixed to[xlvii] the old editions of several of his poems must certainly not be received as authentic representations of the author.[124]

The chief satirical productions of Skelton (and the bent of his genius was decidedly towards satire) are The Bowge of Courte, Colyn Cloute, and Why come ye nat to Courte.—In the first of these, an allegorical poem of considerable invention, he introduces a series of characters delineated with a boldness and discrimination which no preceding poet had displayed since the days of Chaucer, and which none of his contemporaries (with the sole exception of the brilliant Dunbar) were able to attain: the merit of those personifications has been allowed even by Warton, whose ample critique on Skelton deals but little in praise;[125] and I am somewhat surprised that Mr. D’Israeli, who has lately come forward as the warm eulogist of our author,[126] should have passed over The Bowge of Courte without the slightest notice.—Colyn Cloute is a general satire on the corruptions of the Church, the friars and the bishops being attacked alike unsparingly; nor, when Skelton himself pronounced of this[xlviii] piece that “though his ryme be ragged, it hath in it some pyth,”[127] did he overrate its vigour and its weighty truth: Colyn Cloute not only shews that fearlessness which on all occasions distinguished him, but evinces a superiority to the prejudices of his age, in assailing abuses, which, if manifest to his more enlightened contemporaries, few at least had as yet presumed to censure.—In Why come ye nat to Courte the satire is entirely personal, and aimed at the all-powerful minister to whom the author had once humbly sued for preferment. While, throughout this remarkable poem, Skelton either overlooks or denies the better qualities, the commanding talents, and the great attainments of Wolsey, and even ungenerously taunts him with the meanness of his origin; he fails not to attack his character and conduct in those particulars against which a satirist might justly declaim, and with the certainty that invectives so directed would find an echo among the people. The regal pomp and luxury of the Cardinal, his insatiate ambition, his insolent bearing at the council-board, his inaccessibility to suitors, &c. &c. are dwelt on with an intensity of scornful bitterness, and occasionally give rise to vivid descriptions which history assures us are but little exaggerated. Some readers may perhaps object, that in this poem the satire of Skelton too much resembles the “oyster-knife that hacks and hews” (to which that of Pope was so unfairly likened[128]); but all must confess that[xlix] he wields his weapon with prodigious force and skill; and we know that Wolsey writhed under the wounds which it inflicted.

When Catullus bewailed the death of Lesbia’s bird, he confined himself to eighteen lines (and truly golden lines); but Skelton, while lamenting for the sparrow that was “slayn at Carowe,” has engrafted on the subject so many far-sought and whimsical embellishments, that his epicede is really what the old editions term it,—a “boke.” Phyllyp Sparowe exhibits such fertility and delicacy of fancy, such graceful sportiveness, and such ease of expression, that it might well be characterised by Coleridge as “an exquisite and original poem.”[129]

In The Tunnyng of Elynour Rummyng, which would seem to have been one of Skelton’s most popular performances, we have a specimen of his talent for the low burlesque;—a description of a real ale-wife, and of the various gossips who keep thronging to her for liquor, as if under the influence of a spell. If few compositions of the kind have more coarseness or extravagance, there are few which have greater animation or a richer humour.

The Garlands of Laurell, one of Skelton’s longest and most elaborate pieces, cannot also be reckoned among his best. It contains, however, several passages of no mean beauty, which shew that he possessed powers for the higher kind of poetry, if he had chosen to exercise them; and is interspersed with some lyrical addresses to the ladies who weave his chaplet, which are very happily versified. In one respect the Garlande of Laurell stands without a parallel: the history of literature affords no second example of a poet having deliberately written sixteen hundred lines in honour of himself.


Skelton is to be regarded as one of the fathers of the English drama. His Enterlude of Vertue[130] and his Comedy callyd Achademios[131] have perished; so perhaps has his Nigramansir;[132] but his Magnyfycence is still extant. To those who carry their acquaintance with our early play-wrights no farther back than the period of Peele, Greene, and Marlowe, this “goodly interlude” by Skelton will doubtless appear heavy and inartificial; its superiority, however, to the similar efforts of his contemporaries, is, I apprehend, unquestionable.[133]

If our author did not invent the metre which he uses in the greater portion of his writings, and which is now known by the name Skeltonical, he was certainly the first who adopted it in poems of any length; and he employed it with a skill, which, after he had rendered it popular, was beyond the reach of his numerous imitators.[134] “The Skeltonical short verse,” observes Mr. D’Israeli, speaking of Skelton’s own productions, “contracted into five or six, and even four syllables, is wild and airy. In the quick-returning rhymes, the playfulness of the diction, and the pungency of new words, usually ludicrous, often expressive, and sometimes felicitous, there is a stirring spirit which will be best felt in an audible reading. The[li] velocity of his verse has a carol of its own. The chimes ring in the ear, and the thoughts are flung about like coruscations.”[135]

Skelton has been frequently termed a Macaronic poet, but it may be doubted if with strict propriety; for the passages in which he introduces snatches of Latin and French are thinly scattered through his works. “This anomalous and motley mode of versification,” says Warton, “is, I believe, supposed to be peculiar to our author. I am not, however, quite certain that it originated with Skelton.”[136] He ought to have been “quite certain” that it did not.[lii][137]

[15] Sometimes written Schelton: and Blomefield says, “That his Name was Shelton or Skelton, appears from his Successor’s Institution, viz. ‘1529, 17 July, Thomas Clerk, instituted on the Death of John Shelton, last Rector [Lib. Inst. No. 18].’” Hist. of Norfolk, i. 20. ed. 1739.

[16] “John Skelton was a younger branch of the Skeltons of Skelton in this County [Cumberland]. I crave leave of the Reader, (hitherto not having full instructions, and) preserving the undoubted Title of this County unto him, to defer his character to Norfolk, where he was Beneficed at Diss therein.” Fuller’s Worthies, p. 221 (Cumberland), ed. 1662. “John Skelton is placed in this County [Norfolk] on a double probability. First, because an ancient family of his name is eminently known long fixed therein. Secondly, because he was beneficed at Dis,” &c. Id. p. 257 (Norfolk).—“John Skelton ... was originally, if not nearly, descended from the Skeltons of Cumberland.” Wood’s Ath. Oxon. i. 49. ed. Bliss. See also Tanner’s Biblioth. p. 675. ed. 1748.—“I take it, that Skelton was not only Rector, but a Native of this Place [Diss], being son of William Skelton, and Margaret his Wife, whose Will was proved at Norwich, Nov. 7, 1512 [Regr. Johnson].” Blomefield’s Hist. of Norfolk, i. 20. ed. 1739. Through the active kindness of Mr. Amyot, I have received a copy of the Will of William Skelton (or Shelton), who, though perhaps a relation, was surely not the father of the poet; for in this full and explicit document the name of John Skelton does not once occur.—From an entry which will be afterwards cited, it would seem that the Christian name of Skelton’s mother was Johanna.—In Skelton’s Latin lines on the city of Norwich (see vol. i. 174) we find,

“Ah decus, ah patriæ specie pulcherrima dudum!
Urbs Norvicensis,” &c.

Does “patriæ” mean his native county?

[17] “Having been educated in this university, as Joh. Baleus attests.” Wood’s Ath. Oxon. i. 50. ed. Bliss. Wood’s reference in the note is “In lib. De Scriptoribus Anglicis, MS. inter cod. MSS. Selden, in bib. Bodl. p. 69 b.” The printed copy of Bale’s work contains no mention of the place of Skelton’s education. Part of Bale’s information concerning Skelton, as appears from the still extant MS. collections for his Script. Illust. Brit., was received “Ex Guilhelmo Horman,” the author of the Vulgaria.—See also Tanner’s Biblioth. p. 675. ed. 1748.—Warton says that Skelton “studied in both our universities.” Hist. of E. P. ii. 336. ed. 4to.

[18] A Replycacion, &c. vol. i. 207.

[19] “Wood reckons him of Ox. on the author. of Bale in a MS. in the Bodleian Libr., but with much better reason he may be called ours; for I find one Scheklton M.A. in the year 1484, at which time allowing him to be 24 years of age, he must be at his death A.D. 1529, 68 or 69 years old, which ’tis probable he might be. v. Bale 653.” Cole’s Collections,—Add. MSS. (Brit. Mus.) 5880, p. 199.

[20] I suspect that, during Skelton’s lifetime, two of his most celebrated pieces, Colyn Cloute (see v. 1239, vol. i. 359), and Why come ye nat to Courte, were not committed to the press, but wandered about in manuscript among hundreds of eager readers. A portion of Speke, Parrot, and the Poems Against Garnesche, are now for the first time printed.

[21] Vol. i. 408 sqq. No poetical antiquary can read the titles of some of the lighter pieces mentioned in that catalogue,—such as The Balade of the Mustarde Tarte, The Murnyng of the mapely rote (see Notes, vol. ii. 330), &c.—without regretting their loss. “Many of the songs or popular ballads of this time,” observes Sir John Hawkins, “appear to have been written by Skelton.” Hist. of Music, iii. 39.

I take the present opportunity of giving from a MS. in my possession a much fuller copy than has hitherto appeared of the celebrated song which opens the second act of Gammer Gurtons Nedle, and which Warton calls “the first chanson à boire or drinking-ballad, of any merit, in our language.” Hist. of E. P. iii. 206. ed. 4to. The comedy was first printed in 1575: the manuscript copy of the song, as follows, is certainly of an earlier date:

“backe & syde goo bare goo bare
bothe hande & fote goo colde
but belly god sende the good ale inowghe
whether hyt be newe or olde.
but yf that I
maye have trwly
goode ale my belly full
I shall looke lyke one
by swete sainte Johnn
were shoron agaynste the woole
thowthe I goo bare
take yow no care
I am nothynge colde
I stuffe my skynne
so full within
of joly goode ale & olde.
I cannot eate
but lytyll meate
my stomacke ys not goode
but sure I thyncke
that I cowde dryncke
with hym that werythe an hoode
dryncke ys my lyfe
althowgthe my wyfe
some tyme do chyde & scolde
yete spare I not
to plye the potte
of joly goode ale & olde.
backe & syde, &c.
I love noo roste
but a browne toste
or a crabbe in the fyer
a lytyll breade
shall do me steade
mooche breade I neuer desyer
Nor froste nor snowe
Nor wynde I trow
Canne hurte me yf hyt wolde
I am so wrapped
within & lapped
with joly goode ale & olde.
backe & syde, &c.
I care ryte nowghte
I take no thowte
for clothes to kepe me warme
have I goode dryncke
I surely thyncke
nothynge canne do me harme
for trwly than
I feare noman
be he neuer so bolde
when I am armed
& throwly warmed
with joly good ale & olde.
backe & syde, &c.
but nowe & than
I curse & banne
they make ther ale so small
god geve them care
& evill to faare
they strye the malte & all
sooche pevisshe pewe
I tell yowe trwe
not for a c[r]ovne of golde
ther commethe one syppe
within my lyppe
whether hyt be newe or olde.
backe & syde, &c.
good ale & stronge
makethe me amonge
full joconde & full lyte
that ofte I slepe
& take no kepe
frome mornynge vntyll nyte
then starte I vppe
& fle to the cuppe
the ryte waye on I holde
my thurste to staunche
I fyll my paynche
with joly goode ale & olde.
backe & syde, &c.
and kytte my wyfe
that as her lyfe
lovethe well good ale to seke
full ofte drynkythe she
that ye maye se
the tears ronne downe her cheke
then dothe she troule
to me the bolle
as a goode malte worme sholde
& saye swete harte
I have take my parte
of joly goode ale & olde.
backe & syde, &c.
They that do dryncke
tyll they nodde & wyncke
even as good fellowes shulde do
they shall notte mysse
to have the blysse
that good ale hathe browghte them to
& all poore soules
that skowre blacke bolles
& them hathe lustely trowlde
god save the lyves
Of them & ther wyves
wether they be yonge or olde.
backe & syde,” &c.

[22] Vol. i. 1.

[23] Vol. i. 6: see Notes, vol. ii. 89.

[24] He was only eleven years old at his father’s death. See more concerning the fifth earl in Percy’s Preface to The Northumberland Household Book, 1770, in Warton’s Hist. of E. P. ii. 338. ed. 4to, and in Collins’s Peerage, ii. 304. ed. Brydges.—Warton says that the Earl “encouraged Skelton to write this Elegy,” an assertion grounded, I suppose, on the Latin lines prefixed to it.

[25] A splendid MS. volume, consisting of poems (chiefly by Lydgate), finely written on vellum, and richly illuminated, which formerly belonged to the fifth earl, is still preserved in the British Museum, MS. Reg. 18. D ii.: at fol. 165 is Skelton’s Elegy on the earl’s father.

[26] For a notice of Skelton’s laureation at Oxford, the Rev. Dr. Bliss obligingly searched the archives of that university, but without success: “no records,” he informs me, “remain between 1463 and 1498 that will give a correct list of degrees.”

[27] This work (a thin folio), translated by Caxton from the French, is a prose romance founded on the Æneid. It consists of 65 chapters, the first entitled “How the ryght puyssant kynge pryamus edyfyed the grete Cyte of Troye,” the last, “How Ascanyus helde the royalme of Ytalye after the dethe of Eneas hys fader.” Gawin Douglas, in the Preface to his translation of Virgil’s poem, makes a long and elaborate attack on Caxton’s performance;

“Wylliame Caxtoun had no compatioun
Of Virgill in that buk he preȳt in prois,
Clepand it Virgill in Eneados,
Quhilk that he sayis of Frensche he did translate;
It has na thing ado therwith, God wate,
Nor na mare like than the Deuil and sanct Austin,” &c.
Sig. B iii. ed. 1553.

[28] A work probably never printed, and now lost: it is mentioned by Skelton in the Garlande of Laurell;

“Of Tullis Familiars the translacyoun.”
vol. i. 409.

[29] A work mentioned in the same poem;

Diodorus Siculus of my translacyon
Out of fresshe Latine into owre Englysshe playne,
Recountyng commoditis of many a straunge nacyon;
Who redyth it ones wolde rede it agayne;
Sex volumis engrosid together it doth containe.”
vol. i. 420.

It is preserved in MS. at Cambridge: see Appendix II. to this Memoir.

[30] Sig. A ii.

[31] For more about poet laureat, both in the ancient and modern acceptation, see Selden’s Titles of Honor, p. 405. ed. 1631; the Abbé du Resnel’s Recherches sur les Poètes Couronnez,—Hist. de l’Acad. des Inscript. (Mém. de Littérature), x. 507; Warton’s Hist. of E. P. ii. 129. ed. 4to; Malone’s Life of Dryden (Prose Works), p. 78; Devon’s Introd. to Issue Roll of Thomas de Brantingham, p. xxix., and his Introd. to Issues of the Exchequer, &c., p. xiii.—Churchyard in his verses prefixed to Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568, says,

“Nay, Skelton wore the lawrell wreath,
And past in schoels, ye knoe.”

see Appendix I. to this Memoir.

[32] Vol. i. 128.

[33] Hist. of E. P. ii. 130 (note), ed. 4to.—The second entry was printed in 1736 by the Abbé du Resnel (who received it from Carte the historian) in Recherches sur les Poètes Couronnez,—Hist. de l’Acad. des Inscript. (Mém. de Littérature), x. 522. Both entries were given in 1767 by Farmer in the second edition of his Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare, p. 50.—The Rev. Joseph Romilly, registrar of the University of Cambridge, has obligingly ascertained for me their correctness.

[34] Vol. i. 124.

[35] Vol. i. 197.

[36] Prologe to Egloges, sig. A 1. ed. 1570.

[37] Hist. of E. P. ii. 132 (note), ed. 4to, where Warton gives the subscription of the former as the title of the latter poem: his mistake was occasioned by the reprint of Skelton’s Works, 1736. See the present edition, vol. i. 190, 191.

[38] Du Resnel expressly says that he was made acquainted with the Cambridge entry by “M. Carte, autrement M. Phillips.” Recherches sur les Poètes Couronnez,—Hist. de l’Acad. des Inscript. (Mém. de Littérature), x. 522.—Carte assumed the name of Phillips when he took refuge in France.

[39] A gentleman resident at Louvaine obligingly examined for me the registers of that university, but could find in them no mention of Skelton.

[40] The original has “Cum:” but the initial letters of the lines were intended to form a distich; see the conclusion of the poem.

[41] Here again the original has “Cum.”

[42] From the 4to volume entitled Opusculum Roberti Whittintoni in florentissima Oxoniensi achademia Laureati. At the end, Expliciūt Roberti Whitintoni Oxonie Protouatis Epygrammata: una cū quibusdā Panegyricis. Impressa Lōdini per me wynandū de worde. Anno post virgineū partū. M. ccccc xix. decimo vero kalēdas Maii.

[43] Henry Bradshaw’s Lyfe of Saynt Werburghe, l. ii. c. 24. printed by Pynson 1521, 4to.

[44] See the two subscriptions already cited, p. xiv.; and vol. i. 132, 206, vol. ii. 25.—“Clarus & facundus in utroque scribendi genere, prosa atque metro, habebatur.” Bale, Script. Illust. Brit. &c. p. 651. ed. 1559. “Inter Rhetores regius orator factus.” Pits, De Illust. Angl. Script. p. 701. ed. 1619. “With regard to the Orator Regius,” says Warton, “I find one John Mallard in that office to Henry the eighth, and his epistolary secretary,” &c. Hist. of E. P. ii. 132 (note), ed. 4to.

[45] Register Hill 1489-1505, belonging to the Diocese of London.

[46] 1st Octr.: see Sandford’s Geneal. Hist. p. 475. ed. 1707.

[47] See the Garlande of Laurell, vol. i. 408.

[48] Henry was created Duke of York 31st Octr. an. 10. Hen. vii. [1494]; see Sandford’s Geneal. Hist. p. 480. ed. 1707. See also The Creation of Henry Duke of Yorke, &c. (from a Cottonian MS.) in Lord Somers’s Tracts, i. 24. ed. Scott.

[49] Biblioth. p. 676. ed. 1748.

[50] i. e. well.

[51] i. e. tutor: see Notes, vol. ii. 193.—When ladies attempt to write history, they sometimes say odd things: e. g. “It is affirmed that Skelton had been tutor to Henry [viii.] in some department of his education. How probable it is that the corruption imparted by this ribald and ill-living wretch laid the foundation for his royal pupil’s grossest crimes!” Lives of the Queens of England by Agnes Strickland, vol. iv. 104.

[52] Fourth Poem Against Garnesche, vol. i. 129.

[53] Garlande of Laurell, vol. i. 410.—After noticing that while Arthur was yet alive, Henry was destined by his father to be archbishop of Canterbury, “it has been remarked,” says Mrs. Thomson, “that the instructions bestowed upon Prince Henry by his preceptor, Skelton, were calculated to render him a scholar and a churchman, rather than an enlightened legislator.” Mem. of the Court of Henry the Eighth, i. 2. But the description of the Speculum Principis, quoted above, is somewhat at variance with such a conclusion. The same lady observes in another part of her work, “To Skelton, who in conjunction with Giles Dewes, clerk of the library to Henry the Seventh, had the honour of being tutor to Henry the Eighth, this king evinced his approbation,” ii. 590, and cites in a note the Epistle to Henry the Eighth prefixed to Palsgrave’s Lesclarcissement de la Langue Francoyse, 1530, where mention is made of “the synguler clerke maister Gyles Dewes somtyme instructour to your noble grace in this selfe tong.” Though Dewes taught French to Henry, surely it by no means follows that he was “his tutor in conjunction with Skelton:” a teacher of French and a tutor are very different.

[54] Biblioth. p. 676. ed. 1748.

[55] Erasmi Opera, i. 1214, 1216, ed. 1703.—The Ode is appended to Erasmus’s Latin version of the Hecuba and Iphigenia in Aulide of Euripides, printed by Aldus in 1507; and in that edition the second line which I have quoted is found with the following variation,

“Monstrante fonteis vate Laurigero sacros.”

“It is probable,” says Granger, “that if that great and good man [Erasmus] had read and perfectly understood his [Skelton’s] ‘pithy, pleasaunt, and profitable works,’ as they were lately reprinted, he would have spoken of him in less honourable terms.” Biog. Hist. of Engl. i. 102. ed. 1775. The remark is sufficiently foolish: in Skelton’s works there are not a few passages which Erasmus, himself a writer of admirable wit, must have relished and admired; and it was not without reason that he and our poet have been classed together as satirists, in the following passage; “By what meanes could Skelton that laureat poet, or Erasmus that great and learned clarke, have vttered their mindes so well at large, as thorowe their clokes of mery conceytes in wryting of toyes and foolish theames: as Skelton did by Speake parrot, Ware the hauke, the Tunning of Elynour Rumming, Why come ye not to the Courte? Philip Sparrowe, and such like: yet what greater sense or better matter can be, than is in this ragged ryme contayned? Or who would haue hearde his fault so playnely tolde him, if not in such gibyng sorte? Also Erasmus, vnder his prayse of Folly, what matters hath he touched therein?” &c. The Golden Aphroditis, &c. by John Grange, 1577 (I quote from Censura Liter. vol. i. 382. ed. 1815).

[56] Then a student of Lincoln’s Inn.

[57] The country-seat of Lord Mountjoy.

[58] Probably Eltham.

[59] Catal. (Primus) Lucubrationum, p. 2. prefixed to the above-cited vol. of Erasmi Opera.—In Turner’s Hist. of the Reign of Henry the Eighth, it is erroneously stated that Erasmus “had the interview which he thus describes, at the residence of Lord Mounjoy,” i. 11. ed. 8vo.

[60] Vol. i. 410.

[61] Lines prefixed to Marsh’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568: see Appendix I. to this Memoir.

[62] p. 30,—1592, 4to.

[63] According to the xivᵗʰ of the Merie Tales of Skelton (see Appendix I. to the present Memoir), he was “long confined in prison at Westminster by the command of the cardinal:” but the tract is of such a nature that we must hesitate about believing a single statement which it contains. Even supposing that at some period or other Skelton was really imprisoned by Wolsey, that imprisonment could hardly have taken place so early as 1502. As far as I can gather from his writings, Skelton first offended Wolsey by glancing at him in certain passages of Colyn Cloute, and in those passages the cardinal is alluded to as being in the fulness of pomp and power.

[64] By Writ of Privy Seal—Auditor’s Calendar of Files from 1485 to 1522, fol. 101 (b.), in the Public Record Office.

[65] Ritson (Bibliog. Poet. p. 102) says that Skelton was “chaplain to king Henry the eighth:” qy. on what authority?

[66] “He ... was Rector and lived here [at Diss] in 1504 and in 1511, as I find by his being Witness to several Wills in this year. (Note) 1504, The Will of Mary Cowper of Disse, ‘Witnesses Master John Skelton, Laureat, Parson of Disse, &c.’ And among the Evidences of Mr. Thomas Coggeshall, I find the House in the Tenure of Master Skelton, Laureat ... Mr. Le-Neve says, that his [Skelton’s] Institution does not appear in the Books, which is true, for often those that were collated by the Pope, had no Institution from the Bishop, many Instances of which in those Books occur; but it is certain from abundance of Records and Evidences that I have seen, that he was Rector several years.” Blomefield’s Hist. of Norfolk, i. 20. ed. 1739.—The parish-register of Diss affords no information concerning Skelton; for the earliest date which it contains is long posterior to his death.

[67] See A deuoute trentale for old John Clarke, who died in 1506, vol. i. 168; Lamentatio urbis Norvicen., written in 1507, p. 174; and Chorus de Dis, &c. in 1513, p. 190.

[68] I may notice here, that in an Assessment for a Subsidy, temp. Henry viii., we find, under “Sancte Helenes Parishe within Bisshoppisgate,”—

Mr Skelton in goodes xl. li.

Books of the Treasury of the Exchequer, B. 4. 15, fol. 7,—Public Record Office. Qy. was this our author?

[69] “Cum quibusdam blateronibus fraterculis, præcipue Dominicanis, bellum gerebat continuum. Sub pseudopontifice Nordouicensi Ricardo Nixo, mulierem illam, quam sibi secreto ob Antichristi metum desponsauerat, sub concubinæ titulo custodiebat. In ultimo tamen uitæ articulo super ea re interrogatus, respondit, se nusquam illam in conscientia coram Deo nisi pro uxore legitima tenuisse ... animam egit ... relictis liberis.” Bale, Script. Illust. Brit. pp. 651, 2. ed. 1559.—“In Monachos præsertim Prædicatores S. Dominici sæpe stylum acuit, & terminos prætergressus modestiæ, contra eos scommatibus acerbius egit. Quo facto suum exasperauit Episcopum Richardum Nixum, qui habito de vita & moribus eius examine, deprehendit hominem votam Deo castitatem violasse, imo concubinam domi suæ diu tenuisse.” Pits, De Illust. Angl. Script. p. 701. ed. 1619.—“The Dominican Friars were the next he contested with, whose vitiousness lay pat enough for his hand; but such foul Lubbers fell heavy on all which found fault with them. These instigated Nix, Bishop of Norwich, to call him to account for keeping a Concubine, which cost him (as it seems) a suspension from his benefice.... We must not forget, how being charged by some on his death-bed for begetting many children on the aforesaid Concubine, he protested, that in his Conscience he kept her in the notion of a wife, though such his cowardliness that he would rather confess adultery (then accounted but a venial) than own marriage esteemed a capital crime in that age.” Fuller’s Worthies, p. 257 (Norfolk), ed. 1662.—Anthony Wood, with his usual want of charity towards the sons of genius, says that Skelton “having been guilty of certain crimes, (as most poets are,) at least not agreeable to his coat, fell under the heavy censure of Rich. Nykke bishop of Norwich his diocesan; especially for his scoffs and ill language against the monks and dominicans in his writings.” Ath. Oxon. i. 50. ed. Bliss, who adds in a note, “Mr. Thomas Delafield in his MS. Collection of Poets Laureate, &c. among Gough’s MSS. in the Bodleian, says it was in return for his being married, an equal crime in the ecclesiastics of those days, bishop Nykke suspended him from his church.”—Tanner gives as one of the reasons for Skelton’s taking sanctuary at Westminster towards the close of his life, “propter quod uxorem habuit.” Biblioth. p. 675. ed. 1748.—In the xiiiᵗʰ of the Merie Tales (see Appendix I. to the present Memoir) Skelton’s wife is mentioned.

[70] “Cui [Nixo] utcunque a nive nomen videatur inditum, adeo nihil erat nivei in pectore, luxuriosis cogitationibus plurimum æstuante, ut atro carbone libidines ejus notandæ videantur, si vera sunt quæ de illo a Nevillo perhibentur.” Godwin De Præsul. Angl. p. 440. ed. 1743.

[71] “In the Edition of his Workes in 8vo. Lond. 1736, which I have, at p. 272 he mentions Trumpinton, and seems to have been Curate there, 5. Jan. 1507. At p. 54 he also mentions Swafham and Soham, 2 Towns in Cambridgeshire, in The Crowne of Lawrell.” Cole’s Collections,—Add. MSS. (Brit. Mus.) 5880, p. 199. To conclude from the mention of these towns that Skelton resided in Cambridgeshire is the height of absurdity, as the reader will immediately perceive on turning to the passage in question, Garlande of Laurell, v. 1416, vol. i. 417.—Chalmers, on the authority of a MS. note by Kennet, a transcript of which had been sent to him, states that “in 1512, Skelton was presented by Richard, abbot of Glastonbury, to the vicarage of Daltyng.” Biog. Dict. xxviii. 45: if Chalmers had consulted Wood’s account of the poet, he might have learned that the rector of Diss and the vicar of Dultyng were different persons.

[72] The old ed. has “scripter.”

[73] vol. i. 173.

[74] vol. i. 175.

[75] Ath. Oxon. i. 50. ed. Bliss.

[76] Reprinted in Appendix I. to this Memoir; where see also the extracts from A C mery Talys, &c.—The biographer of Skelton, in Eminent Lit. and Scient. Men of Great Britain, &c. (Lardner’s Cyclop.), asserts that “he composed his Merie Tales for the king and nobles”!!! i. 279.

[77] Lines prefixed to Marsh’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568: see Appendix I. to this Memoir.

[78] “Sithe ye haue me chalyngyd, M[aster] Garnesche,” &c.; see vol. i. 116.

[79] In the Notes on the poems Against Garnesche I have cited several parallel expressions from The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy. That curious production may be found in the valuable edition of Dunbar’s Poems (ii. 65) by Mr. D. Laing, who supposes it to have been written between 1492 and 1497 (ii. 420). It therefore preceded the “flyting” of Skelton and Garnesche. I may add, that the last portion of our author’s Speke, Parrot bears a considerable resemblance to a copy of verses attributed to Dunbar, and entitled A General Satyre (Poems, ii. 24); and that as the great Scottish poet visited England more than once, it is probable that he and Skelton were personally acquainted.

[80] At a later period there was a poetical “flyting” between Churchyard and a person named Camel, who had attacked a publication of the former called Davie Dicars Dreame; and some other writers took a part in the controversy: these rare pieces (known only by their titles to Ritson, Bibliog. Poet. p. 151, and to Chalmers, Life of Churchyard, p. 53) are very dull and pointless, but were evidently put forth in earnest.

[81] In the first poem Against Garnesche he is called “Master:” but see Notes, vol. ii. 177.

[82] Hall’s Chron. (vi. yere Hen. viii.), fol. xlviii. ed. 1548.

[83] MS. Cott. Calig. B. vi. fol. 112.

[84] Auditor’s Calendar of Files from 1485 to 1522, fol. 108 (b).

[85] Privy Purse Accounts, A. 5. 16. p. 21.

[86] Auditor’s Calendar, &c. fol. 162 (b).

[87] Auditor’s Patent Book, No. 1. fol. 6 (b).

[88] In an account of the visit of the Emperor Charles the Fifth to England in June 1522, among the lodgings which were occupied on that occasion at Greenwich we find mention of “Master Garnyshe house.” See Rutland Papers, p. 82 (printed for the Camden Society). That a knight was frequently called “Master,” I have shewn in Notes, vol. ii. 178.

[89] Privy Purse Accounts, A. 5. 17. p. 175.

[90] Teller’s Book, A. 3. 24. p. 293.

[91] To these notices of Garnesche I may add the following letter, the original of which is in the possession of Mr. J. P. Collier:

“Pleas it your grace, We haue Receyued the Kyngs most graciouse letres dated at his manour of grenwich the xᵗʰ day of Aprill, Wherby we perceyue his high pleasour is that we shulde take some substanciall direccion for the preparacion and furnyshing of all maner of vitailles aswell for man as for horse, to bee had in Redynesse against the commyng of his grace, his nobles with ther trayn; Like it your grace, so it is We haue not been in tymes past so greatly and sore destitute this many yeres past of all maner of vitailles both for man and beist as we be now, not oonly by reason of a gret murryn of catall which hath ben in thies partes, but also for that the Kings takers, lieng about the borders of the see coste next adionyng vnto vs, haue takyn and made provision therof contrarie to the olde ordnannce, so that we be vtterly destitute by reason of the same, and can in no wise make any substanciall provision for his highnes nor his trayn in thies partes, for all the bochers in this toun haue not substaunce of beoffs and motones to serue vs, as we be accompanyed at this day, for the space of iii wekes att the most. And also as now ther is not within this toun of Calais fewell sufficient to serue vs oon hole weke, the which is the great daunger and vnsuretie of this the Kings toun. Wherfore we most humbly besuch your grace, the premisses considered, that we by your gracious and fauorable helpe may haue not oonly Remedy for our beiffs and motones with other vitailles, but also that all maner of vitaillers of this toun may repair and resorte with ther shippes from tyme to tyme to make ther purueyance of all maner of fewell from hensfurth for this toun oonly, without any let or Interrupcionn of the kings officers or takers, any commandment hertofore giffen to the contrarie not withstanding, for without that both the Kings Highnes, your grace, and all this toun shalbe vtterly disappoynted and disceyved both of vitailles and fewell, which god defend. At Calais, the xviiiᵗʰ day of Aprill,

By your seruants,

  • John Peache,
  • Wyllm Sandys,
  • Robert Wotton,
  • Edward Guldeferd,
  • Crystoffyr Garneys.

To my Lorde cardynalls grace,
Legate a Latere and chanceler
of England.”

In Proceed. and Ordin. of the Privy Council (vol. vii. 183, 196), 1541, mention is made of a Lady Garnishe (probably the widow of Sir Christopher) having had a house at Calais; and in Privy Purse Expenses of the Princess Mary (p. 120) we find under June 1543,

“Item my lady garnyshe seruaunt for bringing cherys xii d.

[92]Contra Skeltonum, Lib. i.” Script. Illust. Brit. p. 723. ed. 1559.

[93] fol. 259. ed. 1570.

[94] vol. i. 411.

[95] i. e. snipe.

[96] See Notes, vol. ii. 159. If this line alludes to Skelton, it preserves a trait of his personal appearance.

[97] i. e. deprived, devoid.

[98] sig. c. v. ed. 1570.

[99] Vol. i. 376.

[100] Vol. i. 409.

[101] In a volume of various pieces by Gaguin, dated 1498, is a treatise on metre, which shews no mean acquaintance with the subject.

[102]Inuectiuam In Guil. Lilium, Lib. i.” Script. Illust. Brit., &c. p. 652. ed. 1559. The reader must not suppose from the description, “Lib. i.,” that the invective in question extended to a volume: it was, I presume, no more than a copy of verses. Wood mentions that this piece was “written in verse and very carping.” Ath. Ox. i. 52. ed. Bliss: but most probably he was acquainted with it only through Bale. He also informs us (i. 34) that Lily wrote a tract entitled

Apologia ad { Joh. Skeltonum.
{ Rob. Whittington.

for a copy of which I have sought in vain.

[103] See Weever’s Fun. Monum. p. 498. ed. 1631; Stowe’s Collections, MS. Harl. 540. fol. 57; and Fuller’s Worthies (Norfolk), p. 257. ed. 1662. “And this,” says Fuller, “I will do for W. Lilly, (though often beaten for his sake,) endeavour to translate his answer:

“With face so bold, and teeth so sharp,
Of viper’s venome, why dost carp?
Why are my verses by thee weigh’d
In a false scale? may truth be said?
Whilst thou to get the more esteem
A learned Poet fain wouldst seem,
Skelton, thou art, let all men know it,
Neither learned, nor a Poet.”

[104] Vol. i. 419.

[105] See vol. i. 361.

[106] See Notes, vol. ii. 318.

[107] It was granted to him by the king for life.

[108] Vol. i. 419. Concerning this college, see Notes, vol. ii. 334.

[109] A Replycacion agaynst certayne yong scolers abiured of late, &c. vol. i. 206. In Typograph. Antiq. ii. 539. ed. Dibdin, where the Replycacion is described and quoted from Heber’s copy, we are told that it has “a Latin address to Thomas —— who [sic] he [Skelton] calls an excellent patron,” &c. That the editor should have read the address without discovering that the said Thomas was Cardinal Wolsey, is truly marvellous.

[110] Garlande of Laurell, vol. i. 424.

[111] See vol. ii. 83, where this Lenuoy (which will be more particularly noticed presently) is appended to the poem Howe the douty Duke of Albany, &c.

[112] Vol. i. 199.

[113] Animadversions vppon the annotacions and correctōns of some imperfectōns of impressōnes of Chaucers Workes, &c. p. 13,—in Todd’s Illust. of Gower and Chaucer.

I may notice here, that among the Harleian MSS. (2252, fols. 156, 158) are two poems on the Cardinal, which in the Catalogue of that collection Wanley has described as “Skelton’s libels;” but they are evidently not by him.

[114] Wolsey had previously been named a Cardinal in 1515.—Fiddes (Life of Wolsey, p. 99. ed. 1726) says that he became Legate a latere in 1516: but see State Papers (1830), i. 9 (note). Lingard’s Hist. of Engl. vi. 57. ed. 8vo, &c.—Hoping to ascertain the exact date of the Replycacion, &c. (which contains the first of the passages now under consideration), I have consulted various books for some mention of the “young hereticks” against whom that piece was written; but without success.

[115] We cannot settle this point by a comparison of old editions, the poem against Albany and the two L’Envoys which follow it being extant only in the ed. of Marshe.—It may be doubted, too, if the L’Envoy which I have cited at p. xli, “Perge, liber,” &c. belongs to the Garlande of Laurell, to which it is affixed in Marshe’s edition as a second L’Envoy: in Faukes’s edition of that poem, which I conceive to be the first that was printed, it is not found: the Cott. MS. of the Garlande is unfortunately imperfect at the end.

[116] i. e. sword.

[117] Chron. (Hen. viii.) fol. cx. ed. 1548.

[118] “Ob literas quasdam in Cardinalem Vuolsium inuectiuas, ad Vuestmonasteriense tandem asylum confugere, pro uita seruanda, coactus fuit: ubi nihilominus sub abbate Islepo fauorem inuenit.” Bale, Script. Illust. Brit. p. 651. ed. 1559.—“Vbi licet Abbatis Islepi fauore protegeretur, tamen vitam ibi, quantumuis antea iucunde actam, tristi exitu conclusit.” Pits, De Illust. Angl. Script. p. 701. ed. 1619.—“But Cardinal Wolsey (impar congressus, betwixt a poor Poet and so potent a Prelate) being inveighed against by his pen, and charged with too much truth, so persecuted him, that he was forced to take Sanctuary at Westminster, where Abbot Islip used him with much respect,” &c. Fuller’s Worthies (Norfolk), p. 257. ed. 1662.—“He [Skelton] was so closely pursued by his [Wolsey’s] officers, that he was forced to take sanctuary at Westminster, where he was kindly entertained by John Islipp the abbat, and continued there to the time of his death.” Wood’s Ath. Oxon. i. 51. ed. Bliss, who adds in a note; “The original MS. register of this sanctuary, which must have been a great curiosity, was in Sir Henry Spelman’s library, and was purchased at the sale of that collection by Wanley for Lord Weymouth. MS. note in Wanley’s copy of Nicholson’s Historical Library in the Bodleian.”

[119] John Islip was elected abbot in 1500, and died in 1532: see Widmore’s Hist. of West. Abbey, 119, 123. “John Skelton ... is said by the late learned Bishop of Derry, Nicholson (Hist. Lib. chap. 2.) to have first collected the Epitaphs of our Kings, Princes, and Nobles, that lie buried at the Abbey Church of Westminster: but I apprehend this to be no otherwise true, than that, when he, to avoid the anger of Cardinal Wolsey, had taken sanctuary at Westminster, to recommend himself to Islip, the Abbot at that time, he made some copies of verses to the memories of King Henry the Seventh and his Queen, and his mother the Countess of Richmond, and perhaps some other persons buried in this church.” Account of Writers, &c., p. 5, appended to Widmore’s Enquiry into the time of the found. of West. Abbey.—Widmore is mistaken: neither in Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568, nor in the Reges, Reginæ, Nobiles, &c., 1603, is there any copy of verses by our author on the Queen of Henry the Seventh: see in vol. i. 178, 179, 195, the three pieces which I have given from those sources: two of them at least were composed before the poet had sought refuge at Westminster, for one (written at Islip’s request) is dated 1512, and another, 1516; the third has no date.

[120] See p. xxix.

[121] “De morte Cardinalis uaticinium edidit: & eius ueritatem euentus declarauit.” Bale, Script. Illust. Brit. p. 652. ed. 1559.—“The word Vates being Poet or Prophet, minds me of this dying Skeltons prediction, foretelling the ruine of Cardinal Wolsey. Surely, one unskilled in prophecies, if well versed in Solomons Proverbs, might have prognosticated as much, that Pride goeth before a fall.” Fuller’s Worthies (Norfolk), p. 257. ed. 1662.—Did not this anecdote originate in certain verses of Cotyn Cloute? See the fragment from Lansdown MSS., vol. i. 329, note.

[122] “Vuestmonasterii tandem, captiuitatis suæ tempore, mortuus est: & in D. Margaritæ sacello sepultus, cum hac inscriptione alabastrica: Johannes Skeltonus, uates Pierius, hic situs est. Animam egit 21 die Junii, anno Dn̄i 1529, relictis liberis.” Bale, Script. Illust. Brit., p. 652. ed. 1559. See also Pits (De Illust. Angl. Script., p. 703. ed. 1619) and Fuller (Worthies, Norfolk, p. 257. ed. 1662), who give Joannes Sceltonus vates Pierius hic situs est as the whole of Skelton’s epitaph. Weever, however (Fun. Momum., p. 497. ed. 1631), makes “animam egit, 21 Junii 1529” a portion of it, and in a marginal note substitutes “ejicit” for “egit,” as if correcting the Latinity!! So too Wood (Ath. Oxon. i. 52. ed. Bliss.), who places “ejicit” between brackets after “egit,” and states (what the other writers do not mention) that the inscription was put on the tomb “soon after” Skelton’s death.

In the Church-Wardens Accompts of St. Margaret’s, Westminster (Nichols’s Illust. of Manners and Expences, &c. 4to. p. 9), we find this entry;

£. s. d.
“1529. Item, of Mr. Skelton for viii tapers 0 2 8”

The institution of the person who succeeded Skelton as rector of Diss is dated 17th July: see first note on the present Memoir.

[123] See note, p. xxxvi.

[124] e. g. the portrait on the title-page of Dyuers Balettys and Dyties solacyous (evidently from the press of Pynson; see Appendix II. to this Memoir) is given as a portrait of “Doctor Boorde” in the Boke of Knowledge (see reprint, sig. I); and (as Mr. F. R. Atkinson of Manchester obligingly informed me by letter some years ago) the strange fantastic figure on the reverse of the title-page of Faukes’s ed. of the Garlande of Laurell, 1523 (poorly imitated in The Brit. Bibliogr. iv. 389) is a copy of an early French print.

[125] “Warton has undervalued him [Skelton]; which is the more remarkable, because Warton was a generous as well as a competent critic. He seems to have been disgusted with buffooneries, which, like those of Rabelais, were thrown out as a tub for the whale; for unless Skelton had written thus for the coarsest palates, he could not have poured forth his bitter and undaunted satire in such perilous times.” Southey,—Select Works of Brit. Poets (1831), p. 61.

[126] Amen. of Lit. ii. 69.

[127] Vol. i. 313.


“Satire should, like a polish’d razor, keen,
Wound with a touch that’s scarcely felt or seen:
Thine is an oyster-knife that hacks and hews,” &c.
Verses addressed to the imitator of the First Satire of the Second Book of Horace (the joint-composition of Lord Hervey and Lady M. W. Montagu).

[129] Remains, ii. 163.


Of Vertu also the souerayne enterlude.”
Garlande of Laurell, vol. i. 408.


His commedy, Achademios callyd by name.”
Id. p. 409.

[132] See Appendix II. to this Memoir.—Mr. Collier is mistaken in supposing Skelton’s “paiauntis that were played in Ioyows Garde” to have been dramatic compositions: see Notes, vol. ii. 330.

[133] A writer, of whose stupendous ignorance a specimen has been already cited (p. xxx, note 3), informs us that Magnyfycence “is one of the dullest plays in our language.” Eminent Lit. and Scient. Men of Great Britain, &c. (Lardner’s Cyclop.), i. 281.

[134] See Appendix III. to this Memoir, and Poems attributed to Skelton, vol. ii. 385.

[135] Amen. of Lit. ii. 69.

[136] Hist. of E. P. ii. 356.


“In hevyn blyse ye xalle wyn to be
Amonge the blyssyd company omnium supernorum
Ther as is alle merth joye and glee
Inter agmina angelorum
In blyse to abyde.”
Coventry Mysteries,—MS. Cott. Vesp. D. viii. fol. 112.

A reprint of Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes having appeared in 1736, Pope took occasion, during the next year, to mention them in the following terms,—casting a blight on our poet’s reputation, from which it has hardly yet recovered;

“Chaucer’s worst ribaldry is learn’d by rote,
And beastly Skelton Heads of Houses quote”—

Note—“Skelton, Poet Laureat to Hen. 8. a Volume of whose Verses has been lately reprinted, consisting almost wholly of Ribaldry, Obscenity, and Billingsgate Language.” The First Epistle of the Second Book of Horace imitated, 1737. But Pope was unjust to Skelton; for, though expressions of decided grossness occur in his writings, they are comparatively few; and during his own time, so far were such expressions from being regarded as offensive to decency, that in all probability his royal pupil would not have scrupled to employ them in the presence of Anne Bulleyn and her maids of honour.

Since the Memoir of Skelton was sent to press, Mr. W. H. Black (with his usual kindness) has pointed out to me the following entry;

23d Feb. 12 Edw. iv. [1473]. “Tribus subclericis, videlicet Roberto Lane, Nicholao Neubold, et Johanni Skelton, videlicet prædicto Roberto l.s. et prædictis Nicholao et Johanni cuilibet eorum xl.s.” (A like payment was made to John Skelton on the 9th of Dec. preceding, when he is mentioned with others under the general denomination of clerks.) Books of the Treasury of the Receipt of the Exchequer,—A 4. 38. fols. 26, 27. (Public Record Office).

There is, Mr. Black thinks, a possibility that Skelton had been employed, while a youth, as an under-clerk in the Receipt of the Exchequer; and observes, that it would seem to have been a temporary occupation, as there is no trace of any person of that name among the admissions to offices in the Black Book.


(see Memoir, p. xxx.);



Newly Imprinted
& made by Master

¶ Imprinted at London
in Fleetstreat beneath the
Conduit at the signe of S.
John Euangelist,
by Thomas

[12ᵐᵒ. n. d.]



Here begynneth certayne merye tales of Skelton, Poet Lauriat.

¶ How Skelten came late home to Oxford from Abington. Tale i.

Skelton was an Englysheman borne as Skogyn was, and hee was educated & broughte vp in Oxfoorde: and there was he made a poete lauriat. And on a tyme he had ben at Abbington to make mery, wher that he had eate salte meates, and hee did com late home to Oxforde, and he did lye in an ine named yᵉ Tabere whyche is now the Angell, and hee dyd drynke, & went to bed. About midnight he was so thyrstie or drye that hee was constrained to call to the tapster for drynke, & the tapster harde him not. Then hee cryed to hys oste & hys ostes, and to the ostler, for drinke; and no man wold here hym: alacke, sayd Skelton, I shall peryshe for lacke of drynke! what reamedye? At the last he dyd crie out and sayd, Fyer, fyer, fyer! When Skelton hard euery man bustled hymselfe vpward, & some of them were naked, & some were halfe asleepe and amased, and Skelton dyd crye, Fier, fier, styll, that euerye man knewe not whether to resorte; Skelton did go to bed, and the oste and ostis, & the tapster with the ostler, dyd runne to Skeltons chamber with candles lyghted in theyr handes, saying, Where, where, where is the fyer? Here, here, here, said Skelton, & poynted hys fynger to hys moouth, saying, Fetch me some drynke to quenche the fyer and the heate and the drinesse in my mouthe: & so they dyd. Wherfore it is good for euerye man to helpe hys owne selfe in tyme of neede wythe some policie or crafte, so bee it there bee no deceit nor falshed vsed.

¶ How Skelton drest the Kendallman in the sweat time. [Tale ii.]

On a time Skelton rode from Oxforde to London with a Kendalman, and at Uxbridge they beyted. The Kendallman layd[lviii] hys cap vpon the borde in the hall, and he went to serue hys horse. Skelton tooke yᵉ Kendalmans cappe, and dyd put betwixte the linyng & the vtter syde a dishe of butter: and when the Kendalman had drest hys horse, hee dyd come in to diner, and dyd put on hys cappe (that tyme the sweating sycknes was in all Englande); at the last, when the butter had take heate of the Kendallmans heade, it dyd begynne to run ouer hys face and aboute hys cheekes. Skelton sayde, Syr, you sweate soore: beware yᵗ you haue not the sweatynge sycknesse. The Kendalman sayde, By the mysse, Ise wrang; I bus goe tyll bed. Skelton sayd, I am skild on phisicke, & specially in the sweatynge sycknesse, that I wyll warant any man. In gewd faith, saith the Kendallman, do see, and Ise bay for your skott to London. Then sayde Skelton, Get you a kerchiefe, and I wyll bryng you abed: the whiche was donne. Skelton caused the capp to bee sod in hoat lee, & dryed it: in the mornyng Skelton and the Kendalman dyd ride merely to London.

¶ Howe Skelton tolde the man that Chryst was very busye in the woodes with them that made fagots. Tale iii.

When Skelton did cum to London, ther were manye men at the table at diner. Amongest all other there was one sayde to Skelton, Be you of Oxforde or of Cambridge a scoler? Skelton sayd, I am of Oxford. Syr, sayde the man, I will put you a question: you do know wel that after Christ dyd rise from death to life, it was xl. days after ere he dyd ascend into heauen, and hee was but certaine times wyth hys discyples, and when that he did appeare to them, hee dyd neuer tary longe amongest them, but sodainely vanished from them; I wold fayne know (saith the man to Skelton) where Chryste was all these xl. dayes. Where hee was, saythe Skelton, God knoweth; he was verye busye in the woods among hys labourers, that dyd make fagottes to burne heretickes, & such as thou art the whych doest aske such diffuse questions: but nowe I wyll tell thee more; when hee was not with hys mother & hys disciples, hee was in Paradyce, to comforte the holye patriarches and prophets soules, the which before he had fet out of hell. And at the daye of hys ascencion, hee tooke them all vp wyth him into heauen.


¶ Howe the Welshman dyd desyre Skelton to ayde hym in hys sute to the kynge for a patent to sell drynke. The iiii. Tale.

Skelton, when he was in London, went to the kynges courte, where there did come to hym a Welshman, saying, Syr, it is so, that manye dooth come vpp of my country to the kyngs court, and some doth get of the kyng by patent a castell, and some a parke, & some a forest, and some one fee and some another, and they dooe lyue lyke honest men; and I shoulde lyue as honestly as the best, if I myght haue a patyne for good dryncke: wherefore I dooe praye you to write a fewe woords for mee in a lytle byll to geue the same to the kynges handes, and I wil geue you well for your laboure. I am contented, sayde Skelton. Syt downe then, sayde the Welshman, and write. What shall I wryte? sayde Skelton. The Welshman sayde, Wryte, dryncke. Nowe, sayd the Welshman, wryte, more dryncke. What now? sayde Skelton. Wryte nowe, a great deale of dryncke. Nowe, sayd the Welshman, putte to all thys dryncke a littell crome of breade, and a great deale of drynke to it, and reade once agayne. Skelton dyd reade, Dryncke, more dryncke, & a great deale of dryncke, and a lytle crome of breade, and a great deale of dryncke to it. Then the Welsheman sayde, Put out the litle crome of breade, and sett in, all dryncke, and no breade: and if I myght haue thys sygned of the kynge, sayde the Welsheman, I care for no more as longe as I dooe lyue. Well then, sayde Skelton, when you haue thys signed of the kyng, then wyll I labour for a patent to haue bread, that you wyth your drynke, and I with the bread, may fare well, and seeke our liuinge with bagge and staffe.

¶ Of Swanborne the knaue, that was buried vnder Saint Peters wall in Oxford. [Tale v.]

There was dwelling in Oxford a stark knaue, whose name was Swanborn; and he was such a notable knaue that, if any scoler had fallen out thone wyth thother, the one woulde call thother Swanborn, the whyche they dyd take for a worser woorde then knaue. Hys wife woulde diuers tymes in the weeke kimbe his head with a iii. footed stoole: then hee woulde runne out of the doores wepinge, and if anye man had asked hym what he dyd[lx] aile, other whyle he woulde saye hee had the megrym in hys head, or ells, there was a great smoke wythin the house: & if the doores were shut, hys wyfe woulde beate him vnder the bed, or into the bench hole, and then he woulde looke out at the cat hole; then woulde his wife saye, Lookest thou out, whoreson? Yea, woulde he saye, thou shalt neuer let me of my manly lookes. Then with her distaff she would poore in at hym. I knewe him when that he was a boye in Oxforde; hee was a littell olde fellowe, and woulde lye as fast as a horse woulde trotte. At last hee dyed, and was buried vnder the wall of S. Peters church. Then Skelton was desyred to make an epitaphe vppon the churche wall, & dyd wryte wyth a role, saying, Belsabub his soule saue, Qui iacet hic hec a knaue: Jam scio[138] mortuus est, Et iacet hic hec a beast: Sepultus[139] est amonge the weedes: God forgiue him his misdeedes!

¶ Howe Skelton was complayned on to the bishop of Norwich. Tale vi.

Skelton dyd keepe a musket at Dys, vpon the which he was complayned on to the bishop of Norwych. The byshoppe sent for Skelton. Skelton dyd take two capons, to geue theym for a presente to the byshop. And as soone as hee had saluted the byshopp, hee sayde, My lorde, here I haue brought you a couple of capons. The byshop was blynde, and sayde, Who bee you? I am Skelton, sayd Skelton. The byshop sayd, A hoare head! I will none of thy capons: thou keepest vnhappye rule in thy house, for the whyche thou shalt be punished. What, sayde Skelton, is the winde at that doore? and sayd, God be with you, my lorde! and Skelton with his capons went hys way. The byshop sent after Skelton to come agayne. Skelton sayde, What, shal I come[140] agayne to speake wythe a madde man? At last hee retourned to the byshop, whyche sayde to hym, I would, sayd the byshop, that you shoulde not lyue suche a sclaunderouse lyfe, that all your parisshe shoulde not wonder & complaine on[lxi] you as they dooe; I pray you amende, and hereafter lyue honestlye, that I heare no more suche woordes of you; and if you wyll tarye dynner, you shall be welcome; and I thanke you, sayde the byshoppe, for your capons. Skelton sayde, My lord, my capons haue proper names; the one is named Alpha, the other is named Omega: my lorde, sayd Skelton, this capon is named Alpha, thys is the fyrst capon that I dyd euer geue to you; and this capon is named Omega, and this is the last capon that euer I wil giue you: & so fare you well, sayd Skelton.

¶ Howe Skelton, when hee came from the bishop, made a sermon. Tale vii.

Skelton the nexte Sondaye after wente into the pulpet to prech, and sayde, Vos estis, vos estis, that is to saye, You be, you be. And what be you? sayd Skelton: I saye, that you bee a sorte of knaues, yea, and a man might saye worse then knaues; and why, I shall shew you. You haue complayned of mee to the bysop that I doo keepe a fayre wench in my house: I dooe tell you, if you had any fayre wiues, it were some what to helpe me at neede; I am a man as you be: you haue foule wyues, and I haue a faire wenche, of the whyche I haue begotten a fayre boye, as I doe thinke, and as you all shall see. Thou wyfe, sayde Skelton, that hast my childe, be not afraid; bring me hither my childe to me: the whyche was doone. And he, shewynge his childe naked to all the parishe, sayde, How saye you, neibours all? is not this child as fayre as is the beste of all yours? It hathe nose, eyes, handes, and feete, as well as any of your: it is not lyke a pygge, nor a calfe, nor like no foule nor no monstruous beast. If I had, sayde Skelton, broughte forthe thys chylde without armes or legges, or that it wer deformed, being a monstruous thyng, I woulde neuer haue blamed you to haue complayned to the bishop of me; but to complain without a cause, I say, as I said before in my antethem, vos estis, you be, and haue be, & wyll and shall be knaues, to complayne of me wythout a cause resonable. For you be presumptuous, & dooe exalte yourselues, and therefore you shall be made low: as I shall shewe you a famyller example of a parish priest, the whiche dyd make a sermon in Rome. And he dyd take that for hys antethem, the which of late dayes is named a theme, and sayde, Qui se exaltat humiliabitur,[lxii] et qui se[141] humiliat exaltabitur, that is to say, he that doth exalte himselfe or dothe extoll hymselfe shalbe made meke, & he that doth humble hymselfe or is meke, shalbe exalted, extoulled, or eleuated, or sublimated, or such lyke: and that I will shewe you by this my cap. This cappe was fyrste my hoode, when that I was studente in Jucalico, & then it was so proude that it woulde not bee contented, but it woulde slippe and fall from my shoulders. I perceyuynge thys that he was proude, what then dyd I? shortly to conclude, I dyd make of hym a payre of breches to my hose, to brynge hym lowe. And when that I dyd see, knowe, or perceyue that he was in that case, and allmoste worne cleane oute, what dyd I then to extoll hym vppe agayne? you all may see that this my cap was made of it that was my breches. Therefore, sayde Skelton, vos estis, therfore you bee, as I dyd saye before: if that you exalte yourselfe, and cannot be contented that I haue my wenche still, some of you shall weare hornes; and therfore vos estis: and so farewell. It is merye in the hall, when beardes wagge all.

¶ How the fryer asked leaue of Skelton to preach at Dys, which Skelton wold not grant. Tale viii.

There was a fryer yᵉ whych dydde come to Skelton to haue licence to preach at Dys. What woulde you preache there? sayde Skelton: dooe not you thynke that I am sufficiente to preache there in myne owne cure? Syr, sayde the freere, I am the limyter of Norwych, and once a yeare one of our place dothe vse to preache wyth you, to take the deuocion of the people; and if I may haue your good wil, so bee it, or els I will come and preach against your will, by the authoritie of the byshope of Rome, for I haue hys bulles to preache in euerye place, and therfore I wyll be there on Sondaye nexte cummyng. Come not there, freere, I dooe counsell thee, sayd Skelton. The Sundaye nexte followynge Skelton layde watch for the comynge of the frere: and as sone as Skelton had knowledge of the freere, he went into the pulpet to preache. At last the freere dyd come into the churche with the bishoppe of Romes bulles in hys hande.[lxiii] Skelton then sayd to all hys parishe, See, see, see, and poynted to thee fryere. All the parish gased on the frere. Then sayde Skelton, Maisters, here is as wonderfull a thynge as euer was seene: you all dooe knowe that it is a thynge daylye seene, a bulle dothe begette a calfe; but here, contrarye to all nature, a calfe hathe gotten a bulle; for thys fryere, beeynge a calfe, hath gotten a bulle of the byshoppe of Rome. The fryere, beynge ashamed, woulde neuer after that time presume to preach at Dys.

¶ How Skelton handled the fryer that woulde needes lye with him in his inne. Tale ix.

As Skelton ryd into yᵉ countre, there was a frere that hapened in at an alehouse wheras Skelton was lodged, and there the frere dyd desire to haue lodgyng. The alewife sayd, Syr, I haue but one bed whereas master Skelton doth lye. Syr, sayd the frere, I pray you that I maye lye with you. Skelton said, Master freere, I doo vse to haue no man to lye with me. Sir, sayd the frere, I haue lyne with as good men as you, and for my money I doo looke to haue lodgynge as well as you. Well, sayde Skelton, I dooe see than that you wyll lye with me. Yea, syr, sayd the frere. Skelton did fill all the cuppes in the house, and whitled the frere, that at the last, the frere was in myne eames peason. Then sayde Skelton, Mayster freere, get you to bed, and I wyll come to bed within a while. The frere went, and dyd lye vpright, and snorted lyke a sowe. Skelton wente to the chaumber, and dyd see that the freere dyd lye soe; sayd to the wyfe, Geue me a washyng betle. Skelton then caste downe the clothes, and the freere dyd lye starke naked: then Skelton dyd shite vpon the freeres nauil and bellye; and then he did take the washyng betle, and dyd strike an harde stroke vppon the nauill & bellye of the freere, and dyd put out the candell, and went out of the chaumber. The freere felt hys bellye, & smelt a foule sauour, had thought hee had ben gored, and cried out and sayde, Helpe, helpe, helpe, I am kylled! They of the house with Skelton wente into the chaumber, and asked what the freere dyd ayle. The freere sayde, I am kylled, one hathe thrust me in the bellye. Fo, sayde Skelton, thou dronken soule, thou doost lye;[lxiv] thou haste beshytten thyselfe. Fo, sayde Skelton, let vs goe oute of the chaumber, for the knaue doothe stynke. The freere was ashamed, and cryed for water. Out with the whoreson, sayd Skelton, and wrap the sheetes togyther, and putte the freere in the hogge stye, or in the barne. The freere said, geue me some water into the barne: and there the freere dyd wasshe himselfe, and dydde lye there all the nyght longe. The chaumber and the bedde was dressed, and the sheetes shyfted; and then Skelton went to bed.

¶ Howe the cardynall desyred Skelton to make an epitaphe vpon his graue. Tale x.

Thomas Wolsey, cardynall and archbyshop of Yorke, had made a regall tombe to lye in after hee was deade: and he desyred Master Skelton to make for his tombe an epytaphe, whyche is a memoriall to shewe the lyfe with the actes of a noble man. Skelton sayde, If it dooe lyke your grace, I canne not make an epytaphe vnlesse that I do se your tombe. The cardynall sayde, I dooe praye you to meete wyth mee to morowe at the West Monesterye, and there shall you se my tombe a makynge. The pointment kept, and Skelton, seyng the sumptuous coste, more pertaynyng for an emperoure or a maxymyous kynge, then for suche a man as he was (although cardynals wyll compare wyth kyngs), Well, sayd Skelton, if it shall like your grace to creepe into thys tombe whiles you be alyue, I can make an epitaphe; for I am sure that when that you be dead you shall neuer haue it. The whyche was verifyed of truthe.

¶ Howe the hostler dyd byte Skeltons mare vnder the tale, for biting him by the arme. Tale xi.

Skelton vsed muche to ryde on a mare; and on a tyme hee happened into an inne, wher there was a folish ostler. Skelton said, Ostler, hast thou any mares bread? No, syr, sayd the ostler: I haue good horse bread, but I haue no mares bread. Skelton saide, I must haue mares bread. Syr, sayde the ostler, there is no mares bred to get in all the towne. Well, sayd Skelton, for this once, serue my mare wyth horse bread. In the meane time Skelton commaunded the ostler to sadle his mare; &[lxv] the hosteler dyd gyrde the mare hard, and the hostler was in hys ierkyn, and hys shirte sleues wer aboue his elbowes, and in the girding of the mare hard the mare bitte the hostler by the arme, and bitte him sore. The hostler was angry, and dyd bite the mare vnder the tayle, saying, A whore, is it good byting by the bare arme? Skelton sayde then, Why, fellowe, haste thou hurt my mare? Yea, sayde the hostler, ka me, ka thee: yf she dooe hurte me, I wyll displease her.

¶ Howe the cobler tolde maister Skelton, it is good sleeping in a whole skinne. Tale xii.

In the parysshe of Dys, whereas Skelton was person, there dwelled a cobler, beyng halfe a souter, which was a tall man and a greate slouen, otherwyse named a slouche. The kynges maiestye hauynge warres byyonde the sea, Skelton sayd to thys aforsayd doughtie man, Neybour, you be a tall man, and in the kynges warres you must bere a standard. A standerd! said the cobler, what a thing is that? Skelton saide, It is a great banner, such a one as thou dooest vse to beare in Rogacyon weeke; and a lordes, or a knyghtes, or a gentlemannes armes shall bee vpon it; and the souldiers that be vnder the aforesayde persons fayghtynge vnder thy banner. Fayghtynge! sayde the cobbeler; I can no skil in faighting. No, said Skelton, thou shalte not fayght, but holde vp, and aduaunce the banner. By my fay, sayd the cobler, I can no skill in the matter. Well, sayd Skelton, there is no reamedie but thou shalte forthe to dooe the kynges seruice in hys warres, for in all this countrey theare is not a more likelier manne to dooe suche a[142] feate as thou arte. Syr, sayde the cobbeler, I wyll geue you a fatte capon, that I maye bee at home. No, sayde Skelton, I wyll not haue none of thy capons; for thou shalte doe the kyng seruice in his wars. Why, sayd the cobler, what shuld I doo? wyll you haue me to goe in the kynges warres, and to bee killed for my labour? then I shall be well at ease, for I shall haue my mendes in my nown handes. What, knaue, sayd Skelton, art thou a cowarde, hauyng so great bones? No, sayde the cobler, I am not afearde: it is good to slepe in a whole skinne. Why, said Skelton, thou shalte bee harnessed to keepe away the[lxvi] strokes from thy skynne. By my fay, sayde the cobler, if I must needes forthe, I will see howe yehe shall bee ordered. Skelton dyd harnesse the doughtye squirell, and dyd put an helmet on his head; and when the helmet was on the coblers heade, the cobler sayde, What shall those hoales serue for? Skelton sayd, Holes to looke out to see thy enemyes. Yea, sayde the cobler, then am I in worser case then euer I was; for then one may come and thrust a nayle into one of the holes, and prycke out myne eye. Therfore, said the cobler to Master Skelton, I wyll not goe to warre: my wyfe shall goe in my steade, for she can fyghte and playe the deuell wyth her distaffe, and with stole, staffe, cuppe, or candlesticke; for, by my fay, I cham sicke; I chill go home to bed; I thinke I shall dye.

¶ How Master Skeltons miller deceyued hym manye times by playinge the theefe, and howe he was pardoned by Master Skelton, after the stealinge awaye of a preest oute of his bed at midnight. Tale xiii.

When Maister Skelton dyd dwell in the countrey, hee was agreede with a miller to haue hys corne grounde tolle free; and manye tymes when hys mayden[s] shoulde bake, they wanted of their mele, and complained to their mystres that they could not make their stint of breade. Mystres Skelton, beeynge verye angrye, tolde her husbande of it. Then Master Skelton sent for his miller, and asked hym howe it chansed that hee deceyued hym of his corne. I! saide John miller; nay, surely I neuer deceyued you; if that you can proue that by mee, do with mee as you lyste. Surely, sayd Skelton, if I doe fynde thee false anye more, thou shalt be hanged up by the necke. So Skelton apoynted one of hys seruauntes to stand at the mill whyle the corne was a grindyng. John myller, beyng a notable theefe, would feyn haue deceued him as he had don before, but beyng afrayd of Skeltons seruaunte, caused his wyfe to put one of her chyldren into yᵉ myll dam, and to crye, Help, help, my childe is drowned! With that, John myller and all went out of the myll; & Skeltons seruaunte, being dilygent to helpe the chylde, thought not of the meale, and the while the myllers boye was redy wyth a sacke, and stole awaye the corne; so, when they had taken vp the childe, and all was safe, they came in agayne; & so the seruaunt,[lxvii] hauynge hys gryste, went home mistrustyng nothynge; and when the maydes came to bake againe, as they dyd before, so they lacked of theyr meale agayne. Master Skelton calde for hys man, and asked him howe it chaunced that he was deceaued; & hee sayd that hee coulde not tell, For I dyd your commaundement. And then Master Skelton sent for the myller, and sayde, Thou hast not vsed mee well, for I want of my mele. Why, what wold you haue me do? sayde the miller; you haue set your own man to watche mee. Well, then, sayd Skelton, if thou doest not tell me whych waye thou hast played the theefe wyth mee, thou shalt be hanged. I praye you be good master vnto me, & I wyll tell you the trutthe: your seruaunt wold not from my myll, & when I sawe none other remedye, I caused my wyfe to put one of my chyldren into the water, & to crie that it was drowned; and whiles wee were helpyng of the chylde out, one of my boyes dyd steale your corne. Yea, sayde Skelton, if thou haue suche pretie fetchis, you can dooe more then thys; and therfore, if thou dooeste not one thynge that I shall tell thee, I wyll folow the lawe on thee. What is that? sayd the myller. If that thou dooest not steale my cuppe of the table, when I am sette at meate, thou shalt not eskape my handes. O good master, sayd John miller, I pray you forgeue me, and let me not dooe thys; I am not able to dooe it. Thou shalt neuer be forgeuen, sayde Skelton, withoute thou dooest it. When the miller saw no remedye, he went & charged one of hys boyes, in an euenyng (when that Skelton was at supper) to sette fyre in one of hys hogges sties, farre from any house, for doyng any harme. And it chaunced, that one of Skeltons seruauntes came oute, and spied the fire, and hee cryede, Helpe, helpe! for all that my master hath is lyke to be burnt. Hys master, hearing this, rose from hys supper with all the companie, and went to quenche the fyre; and the while John miller came in, and stole away hys cuppe, & went hys way. The fire being quickly slaked, Skelton cam in with his frendes, and reasoned wyth hys frendes which way they thought the fyre shoulde come; and euerye man made answer as thei thought good. And as they wer resonyng, Skelton called for a cup of beare; and in no wise his cuppe whyche hee vsed to drynke in woulde not be founde. Skelton was verye angrie that[lxviii] his cup was mysynge, and asked whiche waye it shoulde bee gone; and no manne coulde tell hym of it. At last he bethought him of the miller, & sayd, Surely, he, that theefe, hath done this deede, and he is worthye to be hanged. And hee sent for the miller: so the miller tolde hym all howe hee had done. Truely, sayd Skelton, thou art a notable knaue; and withoute thou canste do me one other feate, thou shalte dye. O good master, sayde the miller, you promised to pardon me, and wil you now breake your promise? I, sayd Skelton; wythout thou canste steale the sheetes of my bed, when my wyfe and I am aslepe, thou shalte be hanged, that all suche knaues shall take ensample by thee. Alas, sayd the miller, whych waye shall I dooe this thinge? it is vnpossible for me to get theym while you bee there. Well, sayde Skelton, withoute thou dooe it, thou knowest the daunger. The myller went hys way, beyng very heauy, & studyed whiche waye he myght doo thys deede. He hauynge a little boy, whyche knewe all the corners of Skeltons house & where hee lay, vpon a night when they were all busie, the boie crepte in vnder his bed, wyth a potte of yeste; and when Skelton & hys wyfe were fast aslepe, hee all to noynted the sheetes with yeste, as farre as hee coulde reache. At last Skelton awaked, & felt the sheetes all wete; waked his wife, and sayd, What, hast thou beshitten the bed? and she sayd, Naye, it is you that haue doone it, I thynke, for I am sure it is not I. And so theare fel a great strife betweene Skelton and his wyfe, thinkyng that the bedd had ben beshitten; and called for the mayde to geue them a cleane payre of shetes. And so they arose, & the mayde tooke the foule sheetes and threw them vnderneath the bed, thinkynge the nexte morning to haue fetched them away. The next time the maydes shuld goe to washynge, they looked all about, and coulde not fynde the sheetes; for Jacke the myllers boy had stollen them awaye. Then the myller was sent for agayne, to knowe where the sheetes were become: & the myller tolde Mayster Skelton all how he deuised to steale the sheetes. Howe say ye? sayde Skelton to hys frendes; is not this a notable theef? is he not worthy to be hanged that canne dooe these deedes? O good maister, quoth the miller, nowe forgeue mee accordynge to youre promyse; for I haue done all that you haue commaunded[lxix] mee, and I trust now you wyll pardon me. Naye, quoth Skelton, thou shalt doo yet one other feate, and that shall bee thys; thou shalte steale maister person out of hys bed at midnight, that he shall not know where he is become. The miller made great mone and lamented, saying, I can not tel in the world howe I shall dooe, for I am neuer able to dooe this feate. Well, sayde Skelton, thou shalt dooe it, or els thou shalt fynde no fauour at my hands; and therfore go thy way. The miller, beynge sorye, deuysed with himselfe which way he might bryng this thing to passe. And ii. or iii. nyghtes after, gathered a number of snailes, & greed with the sexten of the churche to haue the key of the churche dore, and went into the churche betwene the houres of a xi. and xii. in the night, & tooke the snayles, and lyghted a sorte of little waxe candles, & set vppon euerie snayle one, & the snayles crepte about the churche wyth the same candels vpon their backes; and then he went into the vestrey, and put a cope vppon hys backe, & stoode very solemnely at the hye alter with a booke in hys hand; and afterwarde tolled the bell, that the preest lyinge in the churche yard might heare hym. The preest, hearyng the bell tolle, starte oute of his slepe, and looked out of hys windowe, and sawe suche a lyght in the church, was very muche amased, and thought surely that the churche had ben on fire, and wente for to see what wonder it shoulde be. And when he came there, he founde the church dore open, and went vp into the quier; and see the miller standyng in hys vestementes, and a booke in hys hand, praying deuoutly, & all the lyghtes in the church, thought surely with hymselfe it was some angeil come downe from heauen, or some other great miracle, blessed hymselfe and sayde, In the name of the Father, the Sonne, and the Holy Ghoste, what arte thou that standest here in thys hollye place? O, sayde the myller, I am saynt Peter, whych kepe[143] the keyes of heauen gate, and thou knowest that none can enter into heauen excepte I let hym in; and I am sent oute from heauen for thee. For mee! quoth the preest: good saynt Peter, worship maye thou be! I am glad to heare that newes. Because thou hast done good deedes, sayd the myller, and serued God, hee hath sent for thee afore domes day come, that thou shalt not knowe the[lxx] troubles of yᵉ worlde. O, blessed be God! sayde the preest; I am very well contented for to goe: yet if it woulde please God to let me go home and distrybute such things as I haue to the poore, I woulde bee verye glad. No, sayde the miller; if thou dooest delite more in thy goodes then in the joyes of heauen, thou art not for God; therefore prepare thyselfe, and goe into this bagge which I have brought for thee. The miller hauyng a great quarter sacke, the poore priest wente into it, thynkyng verylye hee had gon to heauen, yet was very sory to parte from hys goodes; asked saynt Peter how long it wold be ere he came there. The miller sayd he should be there quickly; and in he got the priest, and tied vp the sacke, and put out the lightes, & layed euery thynge in their place, and tooke the preest on his backe, & locked the church dores, & to go: and when he came to go ouer the church stile, the preest was verye heauye, and the miller caste hym ouer the stile that the priest cryed oh. O good seint Peter, sayde the preeste, whyther goe I nowe? O, sayde the myller, these bee the panges that ye must abyde before you come to heauen. O, quoth the preest, I would I were there once! Vp he got the priest agayn, & caried hym tyll hee came to the toppe of an hye hyll, a litle from hys house, and caste hym downe the hyll, that hys head had many shrewde rappes, that hys necke was almost burst. O good saynt Peter, said the priest, where am I nowe? You are almost nowe at heauen; & caried hym with much a doo, tyll hee came to hys owne house, and then the miller threwe him ouer the thresholde. O good saynte Peter, sayde the preeste, where am I nowe? thys is the soreste pange that euer I bydde. O, sayd the[144] myller, geue God thankes that thou haste had pacience to abide all thys payne, for nowe thou arte goyng vppe into heauen; and tyed a rope aboute the sacke, and drewe hym vppe to the toppe of the chymnye, and there let him hange. O good S. Peter, tell me nowe where I am, sayde the preest. Marye, sayd he, thou art now in the tope of John millers chimney. A vengeaunce on thee, knaue! sayde the preeste: hast thou made me beleue al this while that I was goyng vp into heauen? well, nowe I am here, & ever I come downe again, I wil make thee to repent it. But John myller was gladd that[lxxi] he had brought hym there. And in the mornyng the sexten rang all in to seruise; & when the people were come to churche, the preest was lackynge. The parish asked the sexten wher the preest was; and the sexten sayd, I can not tell: then the parrishe sent to master Skelton, and tolde howe their prieste was lacking to saye them seruice. Mayster Skelton meruayled at that, and bethought hym of the crafty dooyng of the miller, sent for John myller; and when the miller was come, Skelton sayd to the miller, Canst thou tell wher the parish preest is? The myller vp and told him all togither how he had doone. Maister Skelton, considering the matter, sayde to the miller, Why, thou vnreuerent knaue, hast thou hanled the poore preest on this fashion, and putte on the holy ornaments vpon a knaues backe? thou shalte be hanged, & it coste me all the good I haue. John miller fell vppon his knees, and desyred maister Skelton to pardon hym; For I dyd nothynge, sayd the miller, but that you sayd you woulde forgeue me. Nay, not so, sayd Skelton; but if thou canst steale my gelding out of my stable, my two men watching him, I will pardon thee; and if they take thee, they shall strike of thy heade; for Skelton thoughte it better that such a false knaue shoulde lose hys head then to liue. Then John miller was very sad, & bethought him how to bring it to passe. Then he remembred that ther was a man left hangyng vppon the galowes the day before, went preuely in the nyght and tooke him downe, and cut of his head, and put it vpon a pole, & brake a hole into the stable, and put in a candle lighted, thrustyng in the head a lytle & a lytle. The men watching the stable, seynge that, got them selues neare to the hole (thinkinge that it was his head), & one of them wyth hys sworde cutte it of. Then they for gladnesse presented it vnto theyr master, leauynge the stable doore open: then John miller went in, and stole away the gelding. Master Skelton, lookyng vppon the head, sawe it was the theues head that was left hangyng vpon the galowes, sayd, Alas, how ofte hath this false knaue deceiued vs! Go quickly to the stable agayne, for I thinke my geldyng is gone. Hys men, goyng backe agayn, found it euen so. Then they came agayn, and told their maister hys horse was gone. Ah, I thought so, you doltish knaues! said Skelton; but if I had sent wise men about it,[lxxii] it had not ben so. Then Skelton sent for the miller, and asked hym if hee coulde tell where hys horse was. Safe ynough, maister, sayde the miller: for hee tolde Skelton all the matter how hee had done. Well, sayd Skelton, consyderyng hys tale, sayd, that he was worthie to bee hanged, For thou doost excell all the theeues that euer I knew or heard of; but for my promise sake I forgeue thee, vpon condition thou wilte become an honest man, & leaue all thy crafte & false dealyng. And thus John miller skaped vnpunished.

¶ How Skelton was in prison at the commaundement of the cardinall. [Tale xiv.]

On a tyme Skelton did meete with certain frendes of hys at Charyng crosse, after that hee was in prison at my lord cardynals commaundement: & his frende sayd, I am glad you bee abrode amonge your frendes, for you haue ben long pent in. Skelton sayd, By the masse, I am glad I am out indeede, for I haue ben pent in, like a roche or fissh, at Westminster in prison. The cardinal, hearing of those words, sent for him agayne. Skelton kneling of hys knees before hym, after long communication to Skelton had, Skelton desyred the cardinall to graunte hym[145] a boun. Thou shalt haue none, sayd the cardynall. Thassistence desirid that he might haue it graunted, for they thought it should be some merye pastime that he wyll shewe your grace. Say on, thou hore head, sayd the cardynall to Skelton. I pray your grace to let me lye doune and wallow, for I can kneele no longer.

¶ Howe the vinteners wife put water into Skeltons wine. Tale xv.

Skelton did loue wel a cup of good wyne. And on a daye he dyd make merye in a tauerne in London: and the morow after hee sent to the same place againe for a quart of yᵉ same wine he drunke of before; the whiche was clene chaunged & brued again. Skelton perceiuing this, he went to the tauerne, & dyd sytte down in a chaire, & dyd sygh very sore, and made great lamentacion. The wife of the house, perceiuinge this, said to master Skelton, Howe is it with you, master Skelton? He answered[lxxiii] and said, I dyd neuer so euill; and then he dyd reache another greate syghe, sayinge, I am afraide that I shal neuer be saued, nor cum to heauen. Why, said the wife, shuld you dispaire so much in Goddes mercy? Nay, said he, it is past all remedye. Then said the wife, I dooe praye you breake your mind vnto mee. O, sayd Skelton, I would gladlye shewe you the cause of my dolour, if that I wist that you would keepe my counsell. Sir, said shee, I haue ben made of councel of greater matters then you can shew me. Naye, nay, said Skelton, my matter passeth all other matters, for I think I shal sinke to hell for my great offences; for I sent thys daye to you for wyne to saye masse withall; and wee haue a stronge lawe that euery priest is bounde to put into hys chalice, when hee doth singe or saye masse, some wyne and water; the which dothe signifye the water & bloude that dyd runne oute of Chrystes syde, when Longeous the blynde knyght dyd thrust a speare to Christes harte; & thys daye I dyd put no water into my wyne, when that I did put wine into my chalys. Then sayd the vintiners wife, Be mery, maister Skelton, and keepe my counsell, for, by my faythe, I dyd put into the vessell of wyne that I did send you of to day x. gallandes of water; and therfore take no thought, master Skelton, for I warraunt you. Then said Skelton, Dame, I dooe beshrewe thee for thy laboure, for I thought so muche before; for throughe such vses & brewyng of wyne maye men be deceyued, and be hurte by drynkinge of suche euell wyne; for all wines must be strong, and fayre, and well coloured; it must haue a redolent sauoure; it must be colde, and sprinkclynge in the peece or in the glasse.

¶ Thus endeth the merie Tales of Maister Skelton, very pleasaunt for the recreacion of the minde.

[138] scio] Old ed. “sci.”

[139] Sepultus] Old ed. “Sepuitus.”—This epitaph is made up from portions of Skelton’s verses on John Clarke and Adam Uddersal: see vol. i. 169, 172.

[140] shal I come] Old ed. “shall I I come.”

[141] Qui se exaltat humiliabitur, et qui se] Old ed. “Que se exaltat humilabitui, et quese.”

[142] a] Old ed. “as.”

[143] kepe] Old ed. “kepte.”

[144] the] Old ed. “that.”

[145] hym] Old ed. “gym.”



From the imperfect copy of A C. Mery Talys, small fol., printed by John Rastell. (See Singer’s reprint, p. 55.)

“Of mayster Skelton that broughte the bysshop of Norwiche ii fesauntys. xl.

It fortuned ther was a great varyance bitwen the bysshop of Norwych and one mayster Skelton a poyet lauryat; in so much that the bysshop commaundyd hym that he shuld not come in his gatys. Thys mayster Skelton dyd absent hymselfe for a long seson. But at the laste he thought to do hys dewty to hym, and studyed weys how he myght obtayne the bysshopys fauour, and determynyd hemself that he wold come to hym wyth some present, and humble hymself to the byshop; and gat a cople of fesantes, and cam to the bysshuppys place, and requyryd the porter he myghte come in to speke wyth my lord. This porter, knowyng his lordys pleasure, wold not suffer him to come in at the gatys; wherfor thys mayster Skelton went on the baksyde to seke some other way to come in to the place. But the place was motyd that he cowlde se no way to come ouer, except in one place where there lay a long tree ouer the motte in maner of a brydge, that was fallyn down wyth wynd; wherfore thys mayster Skelton went along vpon the tree to come ouer, and whan he was almost ouer, hys fote slyppyd for lak of sure fotyng, and fel into the mote vp to myddyll; but at the last he recoueryd hymself, and, as well as he coud, dryed hymself ageyne, and sodenly cam to the byshop, beyng in hys hall, than lately rysen from dyner: whyche, whan he saw Skelton commyng sodenly, sayd to hym, Why, thow caytyfe, I warnyd the thow shuldys neuer come in at my gatys, and chargyd my porter to kepe the out. Forsoth, my lorde, quod Skelton, though ye gaue suche charge, and though your gatys by neuer so suerly kept, yet yt ys no more possible to kepe me out of your dorys than to kepe out crowes or pyes; for I cam not in at your gatys, but I cam ouer the mote, that I haue ben almost drownyd for my labour. And shewyd hys clothys how[lxxv] euyll he was arayed, whych causyd many that stode therby to laughe apace. Than quod Skelton, Yf it lyke your lordeshyp, I haue brought you a dyshe to your super, a cople of fesantes. Nay, quod the byshop, I defy the and thy fesauntys also, and, wrech as thou art, pyke the out of my howse, for I wyll none of thy gyft how [something lost here] Skelton than, consyderynge that the bysshoppe called hym fole so ofte, sayd to one of hys famylyers thereby, that thoughe it were euyll to be christened a fole, yet it was moche worse to be confyrmyd a fole of suche a bysshoppe, for the name of confyrmacyon muste nedes abyde. Therfore he ymagened howe he myghte auoyde that confyrmacyon, and mused a whyle, and at the laste sayde to the bysshope thus, If your lordeshype knewe the names of these fesantes, ye wold [be] contente to take them. Why, caytefe, quod the bisshoppe hastly and angrey, [what] be theyr names? Ywys, my lorde, quod Skelton, this fesante is called Alpha, which is, in primys the fyrst, and this is called O, that is, novissimus the last; and for the more playne vnderstandynge of my mynde, if it plese your lordeshype to take them, I promyse you, this Alpha is the fyrste that euer I gaue you, and this O is the laste that euer I wyll gyue you whyle I lyue. At which answere all that were by made great laughter, and they all de[sired the bishoppe] to be good lorde vnto him for his merye conceytes: at which [earnest entrety, as it] wente, the bysshope was contente to take hym vnto his fauer agayne.

By thys tale ye may se that mery conceytes dothe [a man more] good than to frete hymselfe with a[nger] and melancholy.”

From Tales, and quicke answeres, very mery, and pleasant to rede. 4to. n. d., printed by Thomas Berthelet. (See Singer’s reprint, p. 9.)

“Of the beggers answere to M. Skelton the poete. xiii.

A poure begger, that was foule, blacke, and lothlye to beholde, cam vpon a tyme vnto mayster Skelton the poete, and asked him his almes. To whom mayster Skelton sayde, I praye the gette the awaye fro me, for thou lokeste as though thou camest out of helle. The poure man, perceyuing he wolde gyue him no thynge,[lxxvi] answerd, For soth, syr, ye say trouth; I came oute of helle. Why dyddest thou nat tary styl there? quod mayster Skelton. Mary, syr, quod the begger, there is no roume for suche poure beggers as I am; all is kepte for suche gentyl men as ye be.”

Prefixed to Pithy pleasaunt and profitable workes of maister Skelton, Poete Laureate. Nowe collected and newly published. Anno 1568. 12mo.

“If slouth and tract of time
(That wears eche thing away)
Should rust and canker worthy artes,
Good works would soen decay.
If suche as present are
Forgoeth the people past,
Our selu[e]s should soen in silence slepe,
And loes renom at last.
No soyll nor land so rude
But som odd men can shoe:
Than should the learned pas unknowne,
Whoes pen & skill did floe?
God sheeld our slouth[146] wear sutch,
Or world so simple nowe,
That knowledge scaept without reward,
Who sercheth vertue throwe,
And paints forth vyce aright,
And blames abues of men,
And shoes what lief desarues rebuke,
And who the prayes of pen.
You see howe forrayn realms
Aduance their poets all;
And ours are drowned in the dust,
Or flong against the wall.
In Fraunce did Marrot raigne;
And neighbour thear vnto
Was Petrark, marching full with Dantte,
Who erst did wonders do;
Among the noble Grekes
Was Homere full of skill;
And where that Ouid norisht was
The soyll did florish still
With letters hie of style;
But Virgill wan the fraes,[147]
And past them all for deep engyen,
And made them all to gaes
Upon the bookes he made:
Thus eche of them, you see,
Wan prayse and fame, and honor had,
Eche one in their degree.
I pray you, then, my friendes,
Disdaine not for to vewe
The workes and sugred verses fine
Of our raer poetes newe;
Whoes barborus language rued
Perhaps ye may mislike;
But blame them not that ruedly playes
If they the ball do strike,
Nor skorne not mother tunge,
O babes of Englishe breed!
I haue of other language seen,
And you at full may reed
Fine verses trimly wrought,
And coutcht in comly sort;
But neuer I nor you, I troe,
In sentence plaine and short
Did yet beholde with eye,
In any forraine tonge,
A higher verse, a staetly[er] style,
That may be read or song,
Than is this daye indeede
Our Englishe verse and ryme,
The grace wherof doth touch yᵉ gods,
And reatch the cloudes somtime.
Thorow earth and waters deepe
The pen by skill doth passe,
And featly nyps the worldes abuse,
And shoes vs in a glasse
The vertu and the vice
Of eury wyght alyue:
The hony combe that bee doth make
Is not so sweete in hyue
As are the golden leues
That drops from poets head,
Which doth surmount our common talke
As farre as dros doth lead:
The flowre is sifted cleane,
The bran is cast aside,
And so good corne is knowen from chaffe,
And each fine graine is spide.
Peers Plowman was full plaine,
And Chausers spreet was great;
Earle Surry had a goodly vayne;
Lord Vaus the marke did beat,
And Phaer did hit the pricke
In thinges he did translate,
And Edwards had a special gift;
And diuers men of late
Hath helpt our Englishe toung,
That first was baes and brute:—
Ohe, shall I leaue out Skeltons name,
The blossome of my frute,
The tree wheron indeed
My branchis all might groe?
Nay, Skelton wore the lawrell wreath,
And past in schoels, ye knoe;
A poet for his arte,
Whoes iudgment suer was hie,
And had great practies of the pen,
His works they will not lie;
His terms to taunts did lean,
His talke was as he wraet,
Full quick of witte, right sharp of words,
And skilfull of the staet;
Of reason riep and good,
And to the haetfull mynd,
That did disdain his doings still,
A skornar of his kynd;
Most pleasant euery way,
As poets ought to be,
And seldom out of princis grace,
And great with eche degre.
Thus haue you heard at full
What Skelton was indeed;
A further knowledge shall you haue,
If you his bookes do reed.
I haue of meer good will
Theas verses written heer,
To honour vertue as I ought,
And make his fame apeer,
That whan the garland gay
Of lawrel leaues but laet:
Small is my pain, great is his prayes,
That thus sutch honour gaet.
Finis quod Churchyarde.

[146] slouth] Old ed. “sloulth.”

[147] fraes] i. e. phrase.—In the Muses Library, 1737, p. 138, this word is altered to “bayes.”

From Johannis Parkhvrsti Ludicra siue Epigrammata Juuenilia. 1573, 4to.

“De Skeltono vate & sacerdote.

Skeltonus grauidam reddebat forte puellam,
Insigni forma quæ peperit puerum.
Illico multorum fama hæc pervenit ad aures,
Esse patrem nato sacrificum puero.
Skeltonum facti non pœnitet aut pudet; ædes
Ad sacras festo sed venit ipse die:
Pulpita conscendit facturus verba popello;
Inque hæc prorupit dicta vir ille bonus;
Quid vos, O scurræ, capit admiratio tanta?
Non sunt eunuchi, credite, sacrifici:
O stolidi, vitulum num me genuisse putatis?
Non genui vitulum, sed lepidum puerum;
Sique meis verbis non creditis, en puer, inquit;
Atque e suggesto protulit, ac abiit.”
p. 103.

From A Treatise Against Jvdicial Astrologie. Dedicated to the Right Honorable Sir Thomas Egerton Knight, Lord Keeper of the Great Seale, and one of her Maiesties most honorable priuie Councell. Written by John Chamber, one of the Prebendaries of her Maiesties free Chappell of Windsor, and Fellow of Eaton College. 1601. 4to.

“Not much vnlike to merrie Skelton, who thrust his wife out at the doore, and receiued her in againe at the window. The storie is well known how the bishop had charged him to thrust his wife out of the doore: but that which was but a meriment in Skelton,” &c. p. 99.

“So that the leape yeare, for any thing I see, might well vse the defence of merie Skelton, who being a priest, and hauing a child by his wife, euerie one cryed out, Oh, Skelton hath a child, fie on him, &c. Their mouthes at that time he could not stop: but on a holy day, in a mery mood, he brought the child to church with him, and in the pulpit stript it naked, and held it out, saying, See this child: is it not a pretie child, as other children be, euen as any of yours? hath it not legs, armes, head, feet, limbes, proportioned euery way as it shuld be? If Skelton had begot a monster, as a calfe, or such like, what a life should poore Skelton haue had then? So we say for the leape yeare, if it had changed the nature of things, as it is charged, how should it haue done then to defende itselfe?” p. 113.


From The Life of Long Meg of Westminster: containing the mad merry prankes she played in her life time, not onely in performing sundry quarrels with diuers ruffians about London: But also how valiantly she behaued her selfe in the warres of Bolloingne. 1635. 4to. (Of this tract there is said to have been a much earlier edition. I quote from the reprint in Miscellanea Antiqua Anglicana, 1816.)

Chap. II.

Containing how he [the carrier] placed her in Westminster, and what shee did at her placing.

After the carrier had set vp his horse, and dispatcht his lading, hee remembred his oath, and therefore bethought him how he might place these three maides: with that hee called to minde that the mistresse at the Eagle in Westminster had spoken diuers times to him for a seruant; he with his carriage passed ouer the fields to her house, where he found her sitting and drinking with a Spanish knight called sir James of Castile, doctor Skelton, and Will Sommers; told her how hee had brought vp to London three Lancashire lasses, and seeing she was oft desirous to haue a maid, now she should take her choyce which of them she would haue. Marry, quoth shee (being a very merry and a pleasant woman), carrier, thou commest in good time; for not onely I want a maid, but heere bee three gentlemen that shall giue me their opinions, which of them I shall haue. With that the maids were bidden come in, and she intreated them to giue their verdict. Streight as soone as they saw Long Meg, they began to smile; and doctor Skelton in his mad merry veine, blessing himselfe, began thus:

Domine, Domine, vnde hoc?
What is she in the gray cassock?
Me thinkes she is of a large length,
Of a tall pitch, and a good strength,
With strong armes and stiffe bones;
This is a wench for the nones:
Her lookes are bonny and blithe,
She seemes neither lither nor lithe,
But young of age,
And of a merry visage,
Neither beastly nor bowsie,
Sleepy nor drowsie,
But faire fac’d and of a good size;
Therefore, hostesse, if you be wise,
Once be ruled by me,
Take this wench to thee;
For this is plaine,
Shee’l doe more worke than these twaine:
I tell thee, hostesse, I doe not mocke;
Take her in the gray cassocke.

What is your opinion? quoth the hostesse to sir James of Castile. Question with her, quoth he, what she can do, and then Ile giue you mine opinion: and yet first, hostesse, aske Will Sommers opinion. Will smiled, and swore that his hostesse should not haue her, but king Harry should buy her. Why so, Will? quoth doctor Skelton. Because, quoth Will Sommers, that she shall be kept for breed; for if the king would marry her to long Sanders of the court, they would bring forth none but souldiers. Well, the hostesse demanded what her name was. Margaret, forsooth, quoth she. And what worke can you doe? Faith, little, mistresse, quoth she, but handy labour, as to wash and wring, to make cleane a house, to brew, bake, or any such drudgery: for my needle, to that I haue beene little vsed to. Thou art, quoth the hostesse, a good lusty wench, and therefore I like thee the better: I haue here a great charge, for I keepe a victualling house, and diuers times there come in swaggering fellowes, that, when they haue eat and dranke, will not pay what they call for: yet if thou take the charge of my drinke, I must be answered out of your wages. Content, mistresse, quoth she; for while I serue you, if any stale cutter comes in, and thinkes to pay the shot with swearing, hey, gogs wounds, let me alone! Ile not onely (if his clothes be worth it) make him pay ere hee passe, but lend him as many bats as his crag will carry, and then throw him out of doores. At this they all smiled. Nay, mistresse, quoth the carrier, ’tis true, for my poore pilch here is able with a paire of blew shoulders to sweare as much; and with that he told them how she had vsed him at her comming to London. I cannot thinke, quoth sir James of Castile, that she is so strong. Try her, quoth Skelton, for I haue heard that Spaniards are of wonderfull strength. Sir James in a brauery would needs make[lxxxiii] experience, and therefore askt the maide if she durst change a box on the eare with him. I, sir, quoth she, that I dare, if my mistresse will giue me leaue. Yes, Meg, quoth she; doe thy best. And with that it was a question who should stand first: Marry, that I will, sir, quoth she; and so stood to abide sir James his blow; who, forcing himselfe with all his might, gaue her such a box that she could scarcely stand, yet shee stirred no more than a post. Then sir James he stood, and the hostesse willed her not spare her strength. No, quoth Skelton; and if she fell him downe, Ile giue her a paire of new hose and shoone. Mistresse, quoth Meg (and with that she strooke vp her sleeue), here is a foule fist, and it hath past much drudgery, but, trust me, I thinke it will giue a good blow: and with that she raught at him so strongly, that downe fell sir James at her feet. By my faith, quoth Will Sommers, she strikes a blow like an oxe, for she hath strooke down an asse. At this they all laught. Sir James was ashamed, and Meg was entertained into seruice.”

Chap. IV.

Containing the merry skirmish that was betweene her and sir James of Castile, a Spanish knight, and what was the end of their combat.

There was a great suter to Meg’s mistresse, called sir James of Castile, to winne her loue: but her affection was set on doctor Skelton; so that sir James could get no grant of any fauour. Whereupon he swore, if hee knew who were her paramour, hee would runne him thorow with his rapier. The mistresse (who had a great delight to bee pleasant) made a match betweene her and Long Meg, that she should goe drest in gentlemans apparell, and with her sword and buckler goe and meet sir James in Saint Georges field[s]; if she beat him, she should for her labour haue a new petticote. Let me alone, quoth Meg; the deuill take me if I lose a petticote. And with that her mistris deliuered her a suit of white sattin, that was one of the guards that lay at her house. Meg put it on, and tooke her whinyard by her side, and away she went into Saint Georges fields to meet sir James. Presently after came sir James, and found his mistris very melancholy, as women haue faces that are fit for all fancies. What aile you, sweetheart? quoth he; tell me; hath any man wronged you? if[lxxxiv] he hath, be he the proudest champion in London, Ile haue him by the eares, and teach him to know, sir James of Castile can chastise whom he list. Now, quoth she, shall I know if you loue me: a squaring long knaue, in a white sattin doublet, hath this day monstrously misused me in words, and I haue no body to reuenge it; and in a brauery went out of doores, and bad the proudest champion I had come into Saint Georges fields and quit my wrong, if they durst: now, sir James, if euer you loued mee, learne the knaue to know how he hath wronged me, and I will grant whatsoeuer you will request at my hands. Marry, that I will, quoth he; and for that you may see how I will vse the knaue, goe with me, you and master doctor Skelton, and be eye-witnesses of my manhood. To this they agreed; and all three went into Saint Georges fields, where Long Meg was walking by the wind-mils. Yonder, quoth she, walkes the villain that abused me. Follow me, hostesse, quoth sir James; Ile goe to him. As soone as hee drew nigh, Meg began to settle herselfe, and so did sir James: but Meg past on as though she would haue gone by. Nay, sirrah, stay, quoth sir James; you and I part not so, we must haue a bout ere we passe; for I am this gentlewomans champion, and flatly for her sake will haue you by the eares. Meg replied not a word; but only out with her sword: and to it they went. At the first bout Meg hit him on the hand, and hurt him a little, but endangered him diuers times, and made him giue ground, following so hotly, that shee strucke sir James’ weapon out of his hand; then when she saw him disarm’d, shee stept within him, and, drawing her ponyard, swore all the world should not saue him. Oh, saue mee, sir! quoth hee; I am a knight, and ’tis but for a womans matter; spill not my blood. Wert thou twenty knights, quoth Meg, and were the king himselfe heere, hee should not saue thy life, vnlesse thou grant mee one thing. Whatsoeuer it bee, quoth sir James. Marry, quoth shee, that is, that this night thou wait on my trencher at supper at this womans house; and when supper is done, then confesse me to be thy better at weapon in any ground in England. I will do it, sir, quoth he, as I am a true knight. With this they departed, and sir James went home with his hostesse sorrowfull and ashamed, swearing that his adversary was the stoutest man in England. Well, supper was prouided,[lxxxv] and sir Thomas Moore and diuers other gentlemen bidden thither by Skeltons means, to make vp the jest; which when sir James saw inuited, hee put a good face on the matter, and thought to make a slight matter of it, and therefore beforehand told sir Thomas Moore what had befallen him, how entring in a quarrell of his hostesse, hee fought with a desperate gentleman of the court, who had foiled him, and giuen him in charge to wait on his trencher that night. Sir Thomas Moore answered sir James, that it was no dishonour to be foyled by a gentleman [of England?], sith Cæsar himselfe was beaten backe by their valour. As thus they were discanting of the valour of Englishmen, in came Meg marching in her mans attire: euen as shee entered in at the doore, This, sir Thomas Moore, quoth sir James, is that English gentleman whose prowesse I so highly commend, and to whom in all valour I account myselfe so inferiour. And, sir, quoth shee, pulling off her hat, and her haire falling about her eares, hee that so hurt him to day is none other but Long Meg of Westminster; and so you are all welcome. At this all the company fell in a great laughing, and sir James was amazed that a woman should so wap him in a whinyard: well, hee as the rest was faine to laugh at the matter, and all that supper time to wait on her trencher, who had leaue of her mistris that shee might be master of the feast; where with a good laughter they made good cheere, sir James playing the proper page, and Meg sitting in her maiesty. Thus was sir James disgraced for his loue, and Meg after counted for a proper woman.”

Scogan and Skelton, 1600, a play by Richard Hathwaye and William Rankins, is mentioned in Henslowe’s MSS.: see Malone’s Shakespeare (by Boswell), iii. 324.

Notices of Skelton may also be found in:—

A Dialogue bothe pleasaunt and pietifull, wherein is a godlie regiment against the Feuer Pestilence, with a consolation and comforte againste death. Newlie corrected by William Bullein, the authour thereof. 1573, 8vo. Of this piece I have seen only the above ed.: but it appeared originally in 1564. It contains notices[lxxxvi] of several poets, introduced by way of interlude or diversion in the midst of a serious dialogue; and (at p. 17) Skelton is described as sitting “in the corner of a Piller, with a frostie bitten face, frownyng,” and “writyng many a sharpe Disticons” against Wolsey—

“How the Cardinall came of nought,
And his Prelacie solde and bought,” &c.

(15 verses chiefly made up from Skelton’s works).—The Rewarde of Wickednesse, discoursing the sundrye monstrous abuses of wicked and vngodly Wordelings, &c. Newly compiled by Richard Robinson, seruaunt in householde to the right honorable Earle of Shrewsbury, &c. 4to, n. d. (The Address to the Reader dated 1574), at sig. Q 2.—A Discourse of English Poetrie, &c., By William Webbe, Graduate, 1586, 4to, at sig. c iii.—The Arte of English Poesie, &c. (attributed to one Puttenham: but see D’Israeli’s Amen. of Lit. ii. 278, sqq.), 1589, 4to, at pp. 48, 50, 69.—Fovre Letters, and certaine Sonnets: Especially touching Robert Greene, &c. (by Gabriell Harvey), 1592, 4to, at p. 7.—Pierces Supererogation or a New Prayse of the Old Asse, &c. [by] Gabriell Haruey, 1593, 4to, at p. 75.—Palladis Tamia. Wits Treasvry Being the Second part of Wits Commonwealth. By Francis Meres, &c., 1598, 12mo, at p. 279.—Virgidemiarvm. The three last Bookes. Of byting Satyres (by Joseph Hall), 1598, 12mo, at p. 83.—The Downfall of Robert Earle of Huntington, Afterward called Robin Hood of merrie Sherwodde, &c. (by Anthony Munday), 1601, 4to. In this play, which is supposed to be a rehearsal previous to its performance before Henry the Eighth, Skelton acts the part of Friar Tuck.—In The Death of Robert, Earle of Hvntington, &c. (by Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle), 1601, 4to, which forms a Second Part to the drama just described, Skelton, though his name is not mentioned throughout it, is still supposed to act the Friar.—Miscellanea, written out by “Joħnes Mauritius” between 1604 and 1605—MS. Reg. 12. B. v.—contains (at fol. 14), and attributes to Skelton, a well-known indelicate jeu d’esprit.Pimlyco, or Runne Red-Cap. Tis a mad world at Hogsdon, 1609, 4to. Besides a notice of Skelton, this poem contains two long quotations from his Elynour Rummyng.—Cornv-copiæ. Pasquils Night-Cap: Or Antidot for the Head-ache (by Samuel Rowlands), 1612, 4[lxxxvii]to, at sig. O 2 and sig. Q 3. The second notice of Skelton in this poem is as follows;

“And such a wondrous troupe the Hornpipe treads,
One cannot passe another for their heads,
That shortly we shall haue (as Skelton iests)
A greater sort of horned men than beasts:”

but I recollect nothing in his works to which the allusion can be applied.—An Halfe-pennyworth of Wit, in a Penny-worth of Paper. Or, The Hermites Tale. The third Impression. 1613, 4to. At p. 16 of this poem is a tale said to be “in Skeltons rime”—to which, however, it bears no resemblance.—The Shepheards Pipe (by Browne and Withers), 1614, 12mo, in Eglogue i., at sig. C 7.—Hypercritica; or A Rule of Judgment for writing, or reading our History’s, &c. By Edmund Bolton, Author of Nero Cæsar (published by Dr. Anthony Hall together with Nicolai Triveti Annalium Continuatio, &c.), 1722, 8vo, at p. 235. At what period Bolton wrote this treatise is uncertain: he probably completed it about 1618; see Haslewood’s Preface to Anc. Crit. Essays, &c. ii. xvi.—Poems: By Michael Drayton Esqvire, n. d. folio, at p. 283.—The Golden Fleece Diuided into three Parts, &c., by Orpheus Junior [Sir William Vaughan], 1626, 4to, at pp. 83, 88, 93, of the Third Part. In this piece “Scogin and Skelton” figure as “the chiefe Aduocates for the Dogrel Rimers by the procurement of Zoilus, Momus, and others of the Popish Sect.”—The Fortunate Isles, and their Union. Celebrated in a Masque designed for the Court, on the Twelfth-night, 1626, by Ben Jonson. In this masque are introduced “Skogan and Skelton, in like habits as they lived:” see Jonson’s Works, viii. ed. Gifford: see also his Tale of a Tub (licensed 1633), Works, vi. 231.—Wit and Fancy In a Maze. Or the Incomparable Champion of Love and Beautie. A Mock-Romance, &c. Written originally in the British Tongue, and made English by a person of much Honor. Si foret in terris rideret Democritus.[148] 1656, 12mo. In this romance (p. 101) we are told that “[In[lxxxviii] Elysium] the Brittish Bards (forsooth) were also ingaged in quarrel for Superiority; and who think you threw the Apple of Discord amongst them, but Ben Johnson, who had openly vaunted himself the first and best of English Poets ... Skelton, Gower, and the Monk of Bury were at Daggers-drawing for Chawcer:” and a marginal note on “Skelton” informs us that he was “Henry 4. his Poet Lawreat, who wrote disguises for the young Princes”!

[148] Such is the title-page of the copy now before me: but some copies (see Restituta, iv. 196) are entitled Don Zara del Fogo, &c. 1656; and others Romancio-Mastix, or a Romance of Romances, &c. By Samuel Holland. Gent. 166[lxxxix]0.




Here begynneth a lytell treatyse named the bowge of courte.


Thus endeth the Bowge of courte. Enprynted at Westmynster By me Wynkyn the Worde. 4to, n. d.

On the title-page is a woodcut of a fox and a bear.

Here begynneth a lytell treatyse named the bowge of courte.


Thus endeth the Bowge of courte Enprynted at London By Wynken de Worde in flete strete, at the sygne of the sonne. 4to, n. d.

On the title-page is a woodcut of three men and a woman.

Here folowythe dyuers Balettys and dyties solacyous deuysyd by Master Skelton Laureat.


Cum priuilegio.

4to, n. d., and without printer’s name, but evidently from the press of Pynson. (Consisting of 4 leaves.)

On the title-page is a woodcut representing Skelton seated in his study, crowned with a laurel wreath, and over his head, “Arboris omne genus viridi concedite lauro” (see Memoir, p. xlvi. note).

It contains—

The ballad, “My darlyng dere, my daysy floure,” &c.

The verses, “The auncient acquaintance, madam, betwen vs twayne,” &c.

The verses, “Knolege, acquayntance, resort, fauour with grace,” &c.

The Latin verses, “Cuncta licet cecidisse putas,” &c., with an English translation, “Though ye suppose,” &c.

The verses, “Go, pytyous hart, rasyd with dedly wo,” &c.


Skelton Laureate agaynste a comely Coystrowne that curyowsly chawntyd And curryshly cowntred, And madly in hys Musykkys mokkyshly made, Agaynste the .ix. Musys of polytyke Poems & Poettys matryculat.


Cum priuilegio.

4to, n. d., and without printer’s name, but evidently from the press of Pynson. (Consisting of 4 leaves.)

On the title-page is a woodcut, the same as in the last mentioned tract, but with a different border.

It contains—

The verses mentioned in the title-page.

“Contra aliū Cātitātē & Organisantē Asinum, qui impugnabat Skeltonida pierium Sarcasmos.”

“Skelton Laureat uppon a deedmans hed yᵗ was sent to hym from an honorable Jētyllwoman for a token Deuysyd this gostly medytacyon in Englysh Couenable in sentence Comēdable, Lamētable, Lacrymable, Profytable for the soule.”

The verses, “Womanhod, wanton, ye want,” &c.

Honorificatissimo, Amplissimo, longeque reuerendissimo in Christo patri: Ac domino, domino Thomæ &c. Tituli sanctæ Ceciliæ, sacrosanctæ; Romanæ ecclesiæ presbytero Cardinali meritissimo, et Apostolicæ sedis legato. A latereque legato superillustri &c. Skeltonis laureatus Ora, reg. Humillimum, dicit obsequium cum omni debita reuerentia, tanto tamque magnifico digna principe sacerdotum, totiusque iustitiæ equabilissimo moderatore. Necnon presentis opusculi fautore excellentissimo &c. Ad cuius auspicatissimam contemplationem, sub memorabili prelo gloriose immortalitatis presens pagella felicitatur &c.

A replycacion agaynst certayne yong scolers, abiured of late &c.


Crassantes nimium, Nimium sterilesque labruscas
(Vinea quas domini sabaot non sustinet ultra
Laxius expandi) nostra est resecare uoluntas.

Cum priuilegio a rege indulto.


Thus endeth the Replicacyon of Skel. L. &c. Imprinted by Richard Pynson, printer to the kynges most noble grace. 4to, n. d.


A ryght delectable tratyse vpon a goodly Garlande or Chapelet of Laurell by mayster Skelton Poete laureat studyously dyuysed at Sheryfhotton Castell. In yᵉ foreste of galtres, wher in ar cōprysyde many & dyuers solacyons & ryght pregnant allectyues of syngular pleasure, as more at large it doth apere in yᵉ proces folowynge.


Here endith a ryght delectable tratyse vpon a goodly garlonde or chapelet of laurell dyuysed by mayster Skelton Poete laureat.

Inpryntyd by me Rycharde faukes dwellydg [sic] in durā rent or els in Powlis chyrche yarde at the sygne of the A.B.C. The yere of our lorde god .M.CCCCC.XXIII. The .iii. day of Octobre, 4to.

On the title-page is a woodcut representing Skelton seated in his study, and on the reverse of the title-page a woodcut (copied from a French print—see Memoir, p. xlvii. note),—a whole-length figure of a man holding a branch in one hand and a flower in the other,—having at top the words “Skelton Poeta,” and at bottom the following verses;

Eterno mansura die dum sidera fulgent
Equora dumq; tument hec laurea nostra virebit.
Hinc nostrum celebre et nomē referetur ad astra
Vndiq; Skeltonis memorabitur altera donis [alter Adonis].

On the reverse of A ii. are small woodcuts of “The quene of Fame” and “Dame Pallas.” After the colophon is the device of the printer, “Richard Fakes.”

Magnyfycence, A goodly interlude and a mery deuysed and made by mayster Skelton poet laureate late deceasyd.


Cum priuilegio.

folio, n. d., and without printer’s name.

In a note, vol. i. 225, I have (following Ritson and others) stated positively that this ed. was “printed by Rastell:” I ought to have said, that in all probability it was from Rastell’s press.

Here after foloweth the boke of Phyllyp Sparowe compyled by mayster Skelton Poete Laureate.


Prynted at London at the poultry by Rychard Kele[xciv].

12mo, n. d. On reverse of the last leaf is a woodcut representing Phyllyp Sparowe’s tomb.

An edition by Kele, 4to, n. d., is mentioned in Typogr. Antiq. iv. 305, ed. Dibdin: but qy.?

Here after foloweth a litle booke of Phillyp Sparow, compiled by Mayster Skeltō Poete Laureate.


Imprynted at London in paules churche yerde by Robert Toy.

12mo, n. d. On reverse of the last leaf is the same woodcut as in the ed. last described.

Here after foloweth a litle boke of Phillip sparow. Compyled by mayster Skelton Poete Laureate.


Imprinted at London in poules churchyard, at the sygne of the Sunne, by Antony Kitson.

Colophon in some copies,

Imprinted at London in poules churchyard at the sygne of the Lamb, by Abraham Weale [sic].

Colophon in some other copies,

Imprinted at London in Foster-lane by Ihon Walley.

12mo, n. d.

An edition Imprinted at London in paules churche yerde by John Wyght, with a woodcut of “Phyllyp Sparowes tomb” on the last page, is mentioned in Typogr. Antiq. iv. 379. ed. Dibdin.

Here after foloweth certaine bokes cōpyled by mayster Skeltō, Poet Laureat, whose names here after shall appere.


Thus endeth these lytle workes compyled by maister Skelton Poet Laureat.[xcv]

Imprynted at London, in Crede Lane, by John Kynge and Thomas Marche.

12mo, n. d.

Heare after foloweth certain bokes Compiled by Master Skelton, Poet Laureat, whose names here after doth appere.

(Enumeration of pieces as above.)

Imprynted at London by Ihon Day.


Thus endeth these litle works compiled by maister Skelton Poet Laureat.

12mo, n. d.

Here after foloweth certayne bokes, cōpyled by mayster Skelton, Poet Laureat, whose names here after shall appere.

(Enumeration of pieces as above.)

Printed at London by Richard Lant, for Henry Tab, dwelling in Pauls churchyard, at the sygne of Judith.


Thus endethe these lytell workes compyled by mayster Skelton Poet Laureat. And prynted by Richard Lant, for Henry Tab, dwellyng in Poules churche yard at the sygne of Judith.

12mo, n. d. On the fly-leaf of the copy which I used, but perhaps not belonging to it, was pasted a woodcut representing the author, with the words “Skelton Poet” (copied from Pynson’s ed. of Dyuers Balettys, &c., and the same as that on the reverse of the last leaf of Kele’s ed. of Why come ye nat to Courte).

An edition printed for W. Bonham, 1547, 12mo, is mentioned by Warton, Hist. of E.P. ii. 336 (note), ed. 4to.

The various editions of these “certaine bokes” contain, besides the pieces specified on the title-page, the following poems—


Here after foloweth a litel boke called Colyn Cloute compyled by mayster Skelton poete Laureate.

Quis cōsurgat mecū adversus malignantes, aut quis stabit mecū adversus operantes iniquitatem. Nemo domine.


Imprinted at London by me Rycharde Kele dwellyng in the powltry at the long shop vnder saynt Myldredes chyrche.

12mo, n. d.

An edition by Kele, 4to, n. d., is mentioned in Typogr. Antiq. iv. 305. ed. Dibdin: but qy.?

Here after foloweth a litle booke called Colyn Clout compiled by master Skelton Poete Laureate.

Quis cōsurgat, &c. (as above.)


Inprinted at London in Paules Churche yarde at the Sygne of the Rose by Iohn Wyghte.

12mo, n. d.

Here after foloweth a litle boke called Colyn Clout compiled by master Skelton Poete Laureate.

Quis consurgat, &c. (as above.)


Imprynted at London in Paules Churche yarde at the Sygne of the Sunne by Anthony Kytson.

Colophon in some copies,

Imprynted at London in Paules Churche yarde at the Sygne of the Lambe by Abraham Veale.

12mo, n. d.

An edition Imprynted at London by —— [Thomas Godfray]. Cum priuilegio regali, is mentioned in Typogr. Antiq. iii. 71. ed. Dibdin.

Here after foloweth a lytell boke, whiche hath to name, Why come ye nat to courte, compyled by mayster Skelton poete Laureate.


Imprinted at london by me Richard kele dwellīg in the powltry at the longe shop vnder saynt myldredes chyrch.

12mo, n. d. On the reverse of the title-page is a woodcut representing two figures, one of them perhaps meant for Wolsey,[xcvii] the other headed “Skelton;” and on the reverse of the last leaf is a woodcut (copied from Pynson’s ed. of Dyuers Balettys, &c.) with the words “Skylton poyet.”

An edition by Kele, 4to, n. d., is mentioned in Typogr. Antiq. iv. 305. ed. Dibdin: but qy.?

Here after foloweth a little booke, whiche hath to name Whi come ye not to courte, compiled by mayster Skeltō Poete Laureate.


Imprynted at London in Paules churche yarde at the Sygne of the Rose by John Wyght.

12mo, n. d. On the reverse of the title-page is a woodcut, which I am unable to describe, because in the copy used by me it was much damaged as well as pasted over.

Here after foloweth a litle boke whyche hathe to name, whye come ye not to Courte. Compyled by mayster Skelton Poete Laureate.


Imprynted at London in Poules church yard at the syne of the sunne by Anthony Kytson.

Colophon in some copies,

Imprynted at London in Poules church yard at the syne of the Lamb by Abraham Veale.

Colophon in some other copies,

Imprynted at London in Foster lane by John Wallye.

12mo, n. d.

An edition, Imprynted at London, in Paules church yarde at the Sygne of the Bell by Robert Toy, is mentioned in Typogr. Antiq. iii. 576. ed. Dibdin.

Pithy pleasaunt and profitable workes of maister Skelton, Poete Laureate. Nowe collected and newly published. Anno 1568. Imprinted at London in Fletestreate, neare vnto saint Dunstones churche by Thomas Marshe. 12mo.

On the reverse of the title-page are the Latin lines, “Salve, plus decies,” &c. (see vol. i. 177); next, Churchyard’s verses, “If slouth and tract of time,” &c. (see Appendix I. p. lxxvi.); and then the contents of the volume are thus enumerated;


Workes of Skelton newly collected by I.S. as foloweth.

How the very dull poem (31) by William Cornishe came to be inserted in this collection, I know not: but I may just observe that it is found (with a better text) in MS. Reg. 18. D ii. where it immediately precedes Skelton’s verses on the Death of the Earl of Northumberland.

“Now synge we, as we were wont,” &c.—in an imperfect volume (or fragments of volumes) of black-letter Christmas Carolles,—Bibliograph. Miscell. (edited by the Rev. Dr. Bliss), 1813, 4to, p. 48.


The Maner of the World now a dayes—Imprinted at London in Flete Strete at the signe of the Rose Garland by W. Copland, n. d.—known to me only from Old Ballads, 1840, edited by Mr. J.P. Collier for the Percy Society.

I now greatly doubt if this copy of verses be by Skelton: see Notes, vol. ii. 199.

Concerning the comparatively modern edition of Elynour Rummynge, 1624, 4to (celebrated for the imaginary portrait of Elynour), see Notes, vol. ii. 152 sqq.

Wood mentions as by Skelton (Ath. Oxon. i. 52. ed. Bliss)—

Poetical Fancies and Satyrs, Lond. 1512, oct.

Tanner mentions (Biblioth. p. 676)—

Miseries of England under Henry vii. Lond.... 4to. [Qy. is it the same piece as Vox Populi, Vox Dei?]

Warton mentions (Hist. of E.P. ii. 336, note, ed. 4to)—

A collection of Skelton’s pieces printed for A. Scolocker, 1582, 12mo.

Bliss mentions (add. to Wood’s Ath. Oxon. i. 53)—

A collection of Skelton’s pieces printed in 12mo by A. Scholoker, n. d., and

Another by John Wight in 8vo, 1588.

Of Skelton’s drama, The Nigramansir, the following account is given by Warton:—

“I cannot quit Skelton, of whom I yet fear too much has been already said, without restoring to the public notice a play, or Morality, written by him, not recited in any catalogue of his works, or annals of English typography; and, I believe, at present totally unknown to the antiquarians in this sort of literature. It is, The Nigramansir, a moral Enterlude and a pithie written by Maister Skelton laureate and plaid before the king and other estatys at Woodstoke on Palme Sunday. It was printed by Wynkin de Worde in a thin quarto, in the year 1504.[149] It must have[c] been presented before king Henry the seventh, at the royal manor or palace, at Woodstock in Oxfordshire, now destroyed. The characters are a Necromancer or conjuror, the devil, a notary public, Simonie, and Philargyria or Avarice. It is partly a satire on some abuses in the church; yet not without a due regard to decency, and an apparent respect for the dignity of the audience. The story, or plot, is the tryal of Simony and Avarice: the devil is the judge, and the notary public acts as an assessor or scribe. The prisoners, as we may suppose, are found guilty, and ordered into hell immediately. There is no sort of propriety in calling this play the Necromancer: for the only business and use of this character, is to open the subject in a long prologue, to evoke the devil, and summon the court. The devil kicks the necromancer, for waking him so soon in the morning: a proof that this drama was performed in the morning, perhaps in the chapel of the palace. A variety of measures, with shreds of Latin and French, is used: but the devil speaks in the octave stanza. One of the stage-directions is, Enter Balsebub with a Berde. To make him both frightful and ridiculous, the devil was most commonly introduced on the stage wearing a visard with an immense beard. Philargyria quotes Seneca and saint Austin: and Simony offers the devil a bribe. The devil rejects her offer with much indignation: and swears by the foule Eumenides, and the hoary beard of Charon, that she shall be well fried and roasted in the unfathomable sulphur of Cocytus, together with Mahomet, Pontius Pilate, the traitor Judas, and king Herod. The last scene is closed with a view of hell, and a dance between the devil and the necromancer. The dance ended, the devil trips up the necromancer’s heels, and disappears in fire and smoke.” Hist. of E.P. ii. 360. ed. 4to.

[149] “My lamented friend Mr. William Collins, whose Odes will be remembered while any taste for true poetry remains, shewed me this piece at Chichester, not many months before his death: and he pointed it out as a veryrare and valuable curiosity. He intended to write the HISTORY OF THE RESTORATION OF LEARNING UNDER LEO THE TENTH, and with a view to that design, had collected many scarce books. Some few of these fell into my hands at his death. The rest, among which, I suppose, was this INTERLUDE, were dispersed.”

In the Garlande of Laurell (vol. i. 408, sqq.) Skelton enumerates many of his compositions which are no longer extant.



Verses presented to King Henry the Seventh at the feast of St. George celebrated at Windsor in the third year of his reign—first printed by Ashmole (see vol. ii. 387 of the present work).

The Epitaffe of the moste noble and valyaunt Jaspar late Duke of Beddeforde, printed by Pynson, 4to, n. d. (see vol. ii. 388.)

Elegy on King Henry the Seventh—an imperfect broadside (see vol. ii. 399).

Merie Tales Newly Imprinted & made by Master Skelton Poet Laureat. Imprinted at London in Fleetstreat beneath the Conduit at the signe of S. John Euangelist, by Thomas Colwell, 12mo, n. d. (see the preceding Appendix.) Warton, Hist. of E.P. ii. 336 (note), gives the date 1575 to these Tales,—on what authority I know not.

Other pieces might be mentioned.


Of the death of the noble prince, Kynge Edwarde the forth. In a vol. belonging to Miss Richardson Currer, which has furnished a stanza hitherto unprinted (vol. i. 1).

Vpon the doulourus dethe and muche lamentable chaunce of the most honorable Erle of Northumberlande. MS. Reg. 18 D ii. fol. 165 (vol. i. 6).

Manerly Margery Mylk and Ale. Fairfax MS.,—Add. MSS. (Brit. Mus.) 5465, fol. 109 (vol. i. 28).

Poems against Garnesche. MS. Harl. 367, fol. 101. Now for the first time printed (vol. i. 116).

Wofully araid,” &c. Fairfax MS.,—Add. MSS. 5465, fol. 76 and fol. 86 (Brit. Mus.): and MS. copy in a very old hand on the fly-leaves of Boetius de Discip. Schol. cum notabili commento, Daventrie, 1496, 4to (in the collection of the late Mr. Heber), which has supplied several stanzas hitherto unprinted (vol. i. 141).

I, liber, et propera, regem tu pronus adora,” &c. MS. C.C.C.—No. ccccxxxii. of Nasmith’s Catal. p. 400 (vol. i. 147).

Salve plus decies quam sunt momenta dierum,” &c. Add. MSS. (Brit. Mus.) 4787, fol. 224 (vol. i. 177).


Colyn Cloute. MS. Harl. 2252, fol. 147 (vol. i. 311).—In MS. Lansdown 762, fol. 75, is a fragment of this poem, “The profecy of Skelton” (vol. i. 329).

Garlande of Laurell. MS. Cott. Vit. E X. fol. 200; very imperfect (vol. i. 361).

Speke, Parrot. MS. Harl. 2252, fol. 133, which has supplied much now for the first time printed (vol. ii. 1).

Diodorus Siculus translated into English [by Skelton poet-laureat]. MS. C.C.C.—No. ccclvii. of Nasmith’s Catal. p. 362.

For the following account of this MS. I am indebted to Mr. Thomas Wright:—

“MS. Corp. Chr. Camb. No. 357.

At the head of the first folio—‘Interpretatio Skeltoni poetæ Laureati,’ written in a different hand from the MS. (by Nasmith said to be by Archb. Parker himself) over something which has been erased, but which seems to have been ‘Prohemye of Poggius.’

At the end of this preface is written in the same hand as MS. ‘Thus endeth the prohemye of Poggius.’ fol. 2 verso.

At fol. 3 begins ‘The prohemy of Diodorus thauctour.’ This ends at fol. 7 thus,—

¶ ‘Now we wyll enforce to begynne our processe historyall. quod Skelton.

¶ Here endeth the prohemy of all the hole processe.’

The words ‘quod Skelton’ are written in rather a different hand, and with different ink, but apparently contemporary. I think it not impossible that they may have been added by the original hand at another time.

It is imperfect at the end: but on a leaf bound up with it is written in a much later hand (perhaps by Parker), ‘Hec charta de industria vacua relicta est, ut occasio daretur juveni in litteris exercitato aggrediendi translationem historiæ que hic diminuta est, ut sic humeri sui vires experiatur quid ferre valeant, quidve recusent, tum cognoscet quid hic translator prestiterit, fortassis non ita facile in hoc genere a multis superandus.’”

Tanner (Biblioth. p. 676. ed. 1748) mentions the following two pieces as extant in his day among the MSS. of Lincoln Cathedral Library (see Memoir, pp. xxi, xxiii.)—


Methodos Skeltonidis laureati, sc. Præcepta quædam moralia Henrico principi, postea Henr. viii, missa, Dat. apud Eltham A.D. MDI. Principium deest.

Carmen ad principem, quando insignitus erat ducis Ebor. titulo. Pr. “Si quid habes, mea Musa.”


Vox Populi, vox Dei. MS. 2567 Cambridge Public Library. MS. Harl. 367. fol. 130 (see vol. ii. 400).

The Image of Ipocrysy. MS. Lansdown 794 (see vol. ii. 413).

Other pieces might be mentioned.







The Genealogye of Heresye. Compyled by Ponce Pantolabus. Imprynted at London In Pater noster rowe. At the signe of our ladye pytye [some copies, our fadyr Pyte] By Johan Redman. Ad imprimendum solum, 1542: another edition was printed by Robert Wyer: vide Typograph. Antiq. iii. 59, 182. ed. Dibdin (the size of them not mentioned). The author was John Huntingdon.

These editions I have not seen: the whole of the tract, however, seems to be quoted in A mysterye of inyquyte contayned within the heretycall Genealogye of Ponce Pantolabus, is here both dysclosed & confuted By Johan Bale An. M.D.XLII. 12mo, Geneva, 1545, from which I subjoin the following passages:

“Blynde obstynacye
Begate heresye,
By a myschaunce,
Of dame ignoraunce.
Heresye begate
Stryfe and debate.
Debate and ambycyon
Begate supersticyon.
Supersticion playne
Begate disdayne.
Dysdayne of trowthe
Begate slowthe.
Slowthe & sluggyshnesse
Begate wylfulnesse.
Wylfulnesse, verelye
Nygh cosyne to heresye,
Begate myschefe,
Father of Wyclefe,
Which ded bringe inne
His grandfather synne.
After this brother
Came forth an other;
His name to discusse,
Menne called him Husse;
He and his cumpanye
Began in Germanye.
And after that
Came in a gnat
Of the same kynde,
Whose sowle is blynde;
His name you shall here,
Menne call him Luthere.
He by his meane
Hath bannyshed cleane
Out of that coste
The Holye Ghoste,
And hath brought inne
Lyberte and synne.
Next after him,
Is his chefe lym
One Melanchtonus,
Nequaquam bonus.
Next after this whelpe
Came in to helpe
One Oecolampadius,
With his brother Zuinglius.
And for this tyme
Here endeth my ryme,
The Genealogye
Of stynkynge heresye:
Wherin I requyre
And humblye desyre
All menne ywys
That shall rede this,
Aboue all thinge
To praye for our kynge,
And the quene also
Where so euer she go,
And for the sauegarde
Of our prince Edwarde,
Whom I praye Jesu
Longe to contynewe!

From A pore helpe.

The bukler and defence
Of mother holy kyrke,
And weapē to driue hence
Al that against her wircke.

12mo, without date or printer’s name.

“Wyll none in all this lande
Step forth, and take in hande
These felowes to withstande,
In nombre lyke the sande,
That with the Gospell melles,
And wyll do nothynge elles
But tratlynge tales telles
Agaynst our holy prelacie
And holy churches dygnitie,
Sayinge it is but papistrie,
Yea, fayned and hipocrisy,
Erronious and heresye,
And taketh theyr aucthoritie
Out of the holy Euangelie,
All customes ceremoniall
And rytes ecclesiasticall,
Not grounded on Scripture,
No longer to endure?
And thus, ye maye be sure,
The people they alure
And drawe them from your lore,
The whiche wyll greve you sore;
Take hede, I saye, therfore,
Your nede was neuer more.
But sens ye be so slacke,
It greueth me, alacke,
To heare behynde your backe
Howe they wyll carpe and cracke,
And none of you that dare
With[150] one of them compare.
Yet some there be that are
So bolde to shewe theyr ware,
And is no priest nor deacon,
And yet wyll fyre his becone
Agaynst suche fellowes frayle,
Make out with tothe and nayle,
And hoyste vp meyne sayle,
And manfully to fyght,
In holy prelates ryght,
With penne and ynke and paper,
And lyke no triflynge iaper
To touche these felowes indede
With all expedient spede,
And not before it nede:
And I indede am he
That wayteth for to se
Who dare so hardy be
To encounter here with me;
I stande here in defence
Of some that be far hence,
And can both blysse and sence,
And also vndertake
Ryght holy thynges to make,
Yea, God within a cake;
And who so that forsake
His breade shall be dowe bake;
I openly professe
The holy blyssed masse
Of strength to be no lesse
Then it was at the fyrst:
But I wolde se who durst
Set that amonge the worst,
For he shulde be accurst
With boke, bell, and candell,
And so I wolde hym handell
That he shulde ryght well knowe
Howe to escape, I trowe,
So hardy on his heade,
Depraue our holy breade,
Or els to prate or patter
Agaynst our holy watter.
This is a playne matter,
It nedeth not to flatter:
They be suche holy thynges
As hath ben vsed with kynges;
And yet these lewde loselles,
That bragge vpon theyr Gospelles,
At ceremonies swelles,
And at our christined belles,
And at our longe gownes,
And at your shauen crownes,
And at your typ[i]ttes fyne,
The iauelles wyll repyne.
They saye ye leade euyll lyues
With other mennes wyues,
And wyll none of your owne,
And so your sede is sowne
In other mennes grounde,
True wedlocke to confounde:
Thus do they rayle and raue,
Callynge euery priest knaue,
That loueth messe to saye,
And after ydle all daye:
They wolde not haue you playe
To dryue the tyme awaye,
But brabble on the Byble,
Whiche is but impossible
To be learned in all your lyfe;
Yet therin be they ryfe,
Whiche maketh all this stryfe,” &c.

From The Vpcheringe of the Messe: Inprinted at Lōdon by John Daye and Willyam Seres, 12mo, n. d.

“Who hath not knowen or herd
How we were made afeard
That, magre of our beard,
Our messe shulde cleane awaye,
That we did dayly saye,
And vtterly decaye
For euer and for aye?
So were we brought in doubte
That all that are deuout
Were like to go withoute
The messe that hath no peere,
Which longe hath taried here,
Yea, many an hundreth yere,
And to be destitute
Of that whiche constitute
Was of the highe depute
Of Christe and his apostles;
Althoughe none of the Gospels
No mention maketh or tells,
We must beleue (what ells?)
Of things done by councells,
Wherein the high professours,
Apostlique successours,
Take holde to be possessours;
And some were made confessours;
Some of them were no startars,
But were made holi marters:
Yet plowmen, smythes, & cartars,
With such as be their hartars,
Will enterprise to taxe
Thes auncyent mens actes
And holy fathers factes.
Thoughe messe were made bi men,
As popes nyne or ten,
Or many more, what then?
Or not of Scripture grounded,
Is yt therfore confounded
To be a supersticion?
Nay, nay, they mysse the quission:
Make better inquyssicion;
Ye haue an euyll condicion
To make suche exposicion;
Ye thinke nothing but Scripture
Is only clene and pure;
Yes, yes, I you ensure,
The messe shalbe hir better,
As light as ye do set hir.
The Scripture hath nothing
Wherby profyte to bryng,
But a lytyll preaching,
With tattling and teaching;
And nothing can ye espie
Nor se with outwarde eye,
But must your ears applie
To learnyng inwardlye;
And who so it will folowe,
In goods though he may walow,
If Scripture once him swalowe,
She wyll vndo him holowe;
Wherfore no good mes singers
Will come within hir fyngers,
But are hir vnder styngers,
For she wolde fayne vndo
All such as lyueth so.
To the messe she is an enymye,
And wolde distroye hir vtterlye,
Wer not for sum that frendfully
In time of nede will stand hir by.
Yet is the messe and she as lyke
As a Christian to an heretike:
The messe hath holy vestures,
And many gay gestures,
And decked with clothe of golde,
And vessells many folde,
Right galaunt to beholde,
More then may well be tolde,
With basen, ewer, and towell,
And many a prety jwelle,
With goodly candellstyckes,
And many proper tryckys,
With cruetts gilt and chalys,
Wherat some men haue malice,
With sensers, and with pax,
And many other knackys,
With patent, and with corporas,
The fynest thing that euer was.
Alasse, is it not pitie
That men be no more wittye
But on the messe to iest,
Of all suche thinge the best?
For if she were supprest,
A pyn for all the rest.
A, good mestres Missa,
Shal ye go from vs thissa?
Wel, yet I muste ye kissa:
Alacke, for payne I pyssa,
To se the mone here issa,
Because ye muste departe!
It greueth many an herte
That ye should from them start:
But what then? tushe, a farte!
Sins other shifte is none,
But she must neades be gone,
Nowe let vs synge eche one,
Boeth Jak and Gyll and Jone,
Requiem eternam,
Lest penam sempiternam
For vitam supernam,
And vmbram infernam
For veram lucernam,
She chaunce to enherite,
According to hir merite.
Pro cuius memoria
Ye maye wel be soria;
Full smale maye be your gloria,
When ye shal heare thys storia;
Then wil ye crie and roria,
We shal se[151] hir no moria:
Et dicam vobis quare
She may no longer stare,
Nor here with you regnare,
But trudge ad vltra mare,
And after habitare
In regno Plutonico
Et euo acronyco,
Cum cetu Babilonico
Et cantu diabolico,
With pollers and piller[s],
And al hir well willers,
And ther to dwel euer:
And thus wil I leaue hir.”

From Phylogamus, 12mo, without date or printer’s name—of which the title-page and five leaves are preserved in a volume of Ballads and Fragments in the British Museum. The late Mr. Douce has written below the title-page “Probably by Skelton;” but it is certainly not his.

“Gyue place, ye poetes fine,
Bow doune now & encline;
For nowe yᵉ Muses nyne,
So sacred and diuine,
In Parnase holy hyll
Haue wrought theyr worthy wyll.
And by theyr goodly skyll
Vppon that myghty mountayne
In Hellycons fountayne, &c.
O poete so impudent,
Whyche neuer yet was studente,
To thee the goddes prudente
Minerua is illudente!
Thou wrytest thynges dyffuse,
Incongrue and confuse,
Obfuscate and obtuse;
No man the lyke doth use
Among the Turckes or Jewes;
Alwayes inuentyng newes
That are incomparable,
They be so fyrme and stable:
Lyke as a shyppe is able,
Wythout ancre and cable,
Roother, maste, or sayle,
Pully, rope, or nayle,
In wynde, weather, or hayle,
To guyde both top and tayle,
And not the course to fayle;
So thys our poet maye,
Wythout a stopp or staye,
In cunnynge wend the way,
As wel by darke as day,
And neuer go astray,
Yf yt be as they saye.
O poet rare and recent,
Dedecorate and indecent,
Insolent and insensate,
Contendyng and condensate,
Obtused and obturate,
Obumbylate, obdurate,
Sparyng no priest or curate,
Cyuylyan or rurate,
That be alredy marryed,
And from theyr vow bene varyed,
Wherto the Scrypture them caried!
They myght as wel haue taryed;
I sweare by the north doore rood,
That stowte was whyle he stood,
That they had bene as good
To haue solde theyr best blew hood;
For I am in suche a moode,
That for my power and parte,
Wyth al my wyt and arte,
Wyth whole intent and harte,
I wyl so at them darte,” &c.

The Copye of a letter, sent by John Bradford to the right honorable lordes the Erles of Arundel, Darbie, Shrewsbury, & Penbroke, declarīg the nature of spaniardes, and discouering the most detestable treasons, whiche they haue pretended moste falselye againste oure moste noble kyngdome of Englande. Whereunto is added a tragical blast of the papisticall trōpet for mayntenaunce of the Popes kingdome in Englande. by. T.E. If ye beleue the trueth, ye saue your liues, &c. 12mo, and without date or printer’s name on the title-page: the copy now before me is imperfect at the end, where perhaps both are given. According to Herbert’s Ames’s Typ. Antiq. iii. 1582, this piece was printed in 1555.

In the two subjoined passages (perhaps in more) of this tract, the author adopts the Skeltonic metre, though the whole is printed as prose:—

“There be many other noble menne [among the Spaniards, besides the duke of Medena-zelie] vndoubtedly very wise and politik, which can throughe their wisdome binde themselues for a time from their nature, and applye their condicions to the maners of those menne with whom they would gladlye bee frended; whose mischeuouse maners a man shal neuer knowe, till he come vnder their subiection. But then shall ye perceiue perfectly their puffed pride, with many mischeffes beside, their prowling and poling, their bribinge and shauing, their most deceitfull dealing, their braging and bosting, their flatteringe and faininge, their[cxviii] abominable whorehuntynge, with most rufull ruling, | their doings vniust, | with insaciate lust, | their stout stubbernnes, | croked crabbednes, | and vnmeasurable madnes, | in enui, pride, and lecherie, | which, thei saie, God loueth hartelie, | vaineglorie and hipocrisie, | with al other vilanie | of what kinde soeuer it be; | supersticion, desolacion, extorcion, adulacion, dissimulacion, exaltacion, suppression, inuocacion, and all abominacion; with innumerable moe mischeues, whiche I coulde plainlie declare, that no nacion in the world can suffer. Their masking and mumbling | in the holi time of lent | maketh many wiues brente, | the king being present, | nighte after nighte, | as a prince of moste mighte, | which hath power in his hande | that no man dare withstande: | yet if that were the greatest euil, | we might suffer it wel, | for there is no man liuing | but would suffer the king | to haue wife, sister, doughter, maide and all, | bothe great & smal, | so many as he liste, | no man would him resist; | but the worst of all the companie | muste haue my wife priuelie, | when I am present bi; | this is more vilanie, | that one muste kepe the dore; | will not that greue you sore? | & dare not speake for your life, | when another hath youre wife,” | &c. Sig. B i.

“Ye wil say, the Spaniards kepe their olde rentaking: how can that be, when euery poore man must pay yerely for euery chimney in his house, and euery other place that is to make fire in, as ouen, fornes, and smithes forge, a Frenche crowne? wil Englishmen, or can thei, suffer to be poled and pilled moste miserably, in payeng continually suche poling pence and intollerable tollages for all maner graine and breade, befe, beare and mutton, goose, pigge and capone, henne, mallard and chicken, milk, butter and chese, egges, apples & peares, | wine white and reade, | with all other wines beside, | salt white and graye? | al thinges must pay; | small nuttes and wallnuttes, | cheries and chestnuttes, | plumbes, damassens, philbeardes, and al | both gret & smal, | whatsoeuer thei maye se, | to fede the pore commenalte; | salmon and hearing; | this is a shamefull thing; | tench, ele or conger; | this shall kepe vs vnder, | and make vs die for hunger; | flounders, floucke, plaice or carpe; | here is a miserable warke | that Englande must abide | to maintaine Spanishe pride,” &c. Sig. F ii.


From Doctour Doubble Ale,—12mo, without printer’s name or date.

“Although I lacke intelligence,
And can not skyll of eloquence,
Yet wyll I do my diligence
To say sumthing or I go hence,
Wherein I may demonstrate
The figure, gesture, and estate
Of one that is a curate,
That harde is and endurate,
And ernest in the cause
Of piuish popish lawes,
That are not worth two strawes,
Except it be with dawes,
That knoweth not good from euels,
Nor Gods worde from the deuels,
Nor wyll in no wise heare
The worde of God so cleare,
But popishnes vpreare,
And make the pope Gods peare.
Now let vs go about
To tell the tale out
Of this good felow stout,
That for no man wyll dout,
But kepe his olde condicions
For all the newe comyssions,
And vse his supersticions,
And also mens tradycions,
And syng for dead folkes soules,
And reade hys beaderolles,
And all such thinges wyll vse
As honest men refuse:
But take hym for a cruse,
And ye wyll tell me newes;
For if he ons begyn,
He leaueth nought therin;
He careth not a pyn
How much ther be wythin,
So he the pot may wyn,
He wyll it make full thyn;
And wher the drinke doth please
There wyll he take his ease,
And drinke therof his fyll,
Tyll ruddy be his byll;
And fyll both cup and can,
Who is so glad a man
As is our curate than?
I wolde ye knewe it, a curate
Not far without Newgate;
Of a parysh large
The man hath mikle charge,
And none within this border
That kepeth such order,
Nor one a this syde Nauerne
Louyth better the ale tauerne:
But if the drinke be small,
He may not well withall;
Tush, cast it on the wall!
It fretteth out his gall;
Then seke an other house,
This is not worth a louse,
As dronken as a mouse,
Monsyre gybet a vous!
And ther wyll byb and bouse,
Tyll heuy be his brouse.
Thus may ye beholde
This man is very bolde,
And in his learning olde
Intendeth for to syt:
I blame hym not a whyt,
For it wolde vexe his wyt,
And cleane agaynst his earning,
To folow such learning
As now a dayes is taught;
It wolde sone bryng to naught
His olde popish brayne,
For then he must agayne
Apply hym to the schole,
And come away a fole,
For nothing shulde he get,
His brayne hath bene to het
And with good ale so wet;
Wherefore he may now set
In feldes and in medes,
And pray vpon his beades,
For yet he hath a payre
Of beades that be right fayre,
Of corall, gete, or ambre,
At home within his chambre;
For in matins or masse
Primar and portas,
And pottes and beades,
His lyfe he leades:
But this I wota,
That if ye nota
How this idiota
Doth folow the pota,
I holde you a grota
Ye wyll rede by rota
That he may were a cota
In Cocke Lorels[152] bota.
Thus the durty doctour,
The popes oune proctour,
Wyll bragge and boost
Wyth ale and a toost,
And lyke a rutter
Hys Latin wyll vtter,
And turne and tosse hym,
Wyth tu non possum
Loquere Latinum;
This alum finum
Is bonus then vinum;
Ego volo quare
Cum tu drinkare
Pro tuum caput,
Quia apud
Te propiciacio,
Tu non potes facio
Tot quam ego;
Quam librum tu lego,
Caue de me
Apponere te:
Juro per Deum
Hoc est lifum meum,
Quia drinkum stalum
Non facere malum.
Thus our dominus dodkin
Wyth ita vera bodkin
Doth leade his lyfe,
Which to the ale wife
Is very profitable:
It is pytie he is not able
To mayntayne a table
For beggers and tinkers
And all lusty drinkers,
Or captayne or beddle
Wyth dronkardes to meddle.
Ye cannot, I am sure,
For keping of a cure
Fynde such a one well,
If ye shulde rake hell:
And therefore nowe
No more to you,
Sed perlegas ista,
Si velis, papista;
Farewell and adewe,
With a whirlary whewe,
And a tirlary typpe;
Beware of the whyppe.”

[150] With] Old ed. “Whiche.”

[151] se] Old ed. “so.”

[152] Lorels] Old ed. “losels.”

From A Commemoration or Dirige of Bastarde Edmonde Boner, alias Sauage, vsurped Bisshoppe of London. Compiled by Lemeke Auale. Episcopatum eius accipiet alter. Anno Domini. 1569. Imprinted by P. O. 8vo (a tract, chiefly in verse and of various metres: see Notes, vol. ii. 121.)

The fifte lesson.

Homo natus.

Homo natus
Came to heauen gatus.
Sir, you doe come to latus,
With your shorne patus:
Frequentia falsa Euangelii,
For the loue of your bealie,
Cum auro & argento,
You loued the rules of Lento,
Whiche the Pope did inuento:
You are spurius de muliere.
Not legittimate nor lawful here:
O quam[153] venenosa pestis,
Fur, periurus, latro, mechus,
Homicidis[154] tantum decus!
De salute animarum,
Of Christes flocke thou hadest small carum:
Thou art filius populi:
Go, go to Constantinopoli,
To your maister the Turke;
There shall you lurke
Emong the heathen soules.
Somtyme your shorne brethren of Poules
Were as blacke as moules,
With their cappes fower forked,
Their shoes warme corked;
Nosed like redde grapes,
Constant as she apes,
In nature like blacke monkes,
And shoote in sparowes trunkes,
And boule when thei haue dinde,
And kepe them from the winde;
And thei whiche are not able
Doe sitte still at the table,
With colour scarlet pale,
So small is their good ale:
Thus from God thei did tourne,
Long before their church did burne.
Then when riche men wer sicke,
Either dedde or quicke,
Valde diligenter notant
Vbi diuites egrotant;
Ibi currunt, nec cessabunt
Donec ipsos tumilabunt;
Oues alienas tondunt,
Et perochias confundunt.
These felowes pilde as ganders,
Muche like the friers of Flanders,
Whiche serue Sathan about the cloisters,
Thei loue red wine and oisters.
Qui vult Satanæ seruire,
Claustrum debet introire,
And euer haue suche an hedde
As bastarde Boner that is dedde.
He would for the Pope take pain;
Therfore help, you friers of Spain,
You enquisiters, take paine:
It is a greate maine
Vnto the Pope, your hedde,
That Boner is thus dedde,
And buried in a misers graue,
Like a common k[naue].
Lo, lo, now is he dedde,
That was so well fedde,
And had a softe bedde!
Estote fortis in bello,
Good Hardyng and thy fellowe;
If you be papistes right,
Come steale hym awaie by night,
And put hym in a shrine;
He was the Popes deuine;
Why, shall he be forgotten,
And lye still and rotten?
Come on, and doe not fainte;
Translate with spede your sainct,
And put hym in a tombe:
His harte is now at Rome.
Come forth, you loughtes of Louen,
And steale awaie this slouen:
You are so full of ire,
And popishe desire,
And Romishe derision,
And hellishe deuision,
Therefore I am sure
Your kyngdome will not dure.”
Sig. B iii.
Ne recorderis peccata,
But open heauen gata,
Sainct Peter, with your kaies;
Shewe my lorde the right waies:
He dwelt ones at Poules,
And had cure of our soules:
I wisse, he was not a baste,
But holie, meke, and chaste;
It is a greate pitie
That he is gone from our citie;
A man of greate honor;
O holy sainct Boner!
You blessed friers
That neuer wer liers,
And you holy nunnes
That neuer had sonnes,
Set this child of grace
In some angelles place.”
Sig. B vii.

[153] O quam, &c.] A line which ought to have rhymed with this one is wanting.

[154] Homicidis] Old ed. “Homicidus.”


A Skeltonicall Salutation,
Or condigne gratulation,
And iust vexation
Of the Spanish Nation,
That in a bravado,
Spent many a Crusado,
In setting forth an Armado
England to invado.

Imprinted at London for Toby Cooke. 1589, 4to.

“O king of Spaine,
Is it not a paine
To thy heart and braine
And euery vaine,
To see thy traine
For to sustaine,
Withouten gaine,
The worlds disdaine,
Which doth dispise
As toies and lies,
With shoutes and cries,
Thy enterprise,
As fitter for pies
And butter-flies,
Then men so wise?
O waspish king,
Wheres now thy sting,
Thy dart or sling,
Or strong bow-string,
That should vs wring,
And vnderbring,
Who euery way
Thee vexe and pay,
And beare the sway
By night and day,
To thy dismay,
In battle aray,
And every fray?
O pufte with pride,
What foolish guide
Made thee provide
To over-ride
This land so wide
From side to side,
And then, vntride,
Away to slide,
And not to abide,
But all in a ring
Away to fling?
O conquering,
O vanquishing,
With fast flying,
And no replying,
For feare of frying!
But who but Philippus,
That seeketh to nip vs,
To rob vs, and strip vs,
And then for to whip vs,
Would ever haue ment,
Or had intent,
Or hither sent
Such ships of charge,
So strong and so large,
Nay, the worst barge,
Trusting to treason,
And not to reason,
Which at that season
To him was geson,
As doth appeare
Both plaine and cleare
To far and neere,
To his confusion,
By this conclusion,
Which thus is framed,
And must be named
Argumentum a minore,
Cum horrore et timore?
If one Drake o,
One poore snake o,
Make vs shake o,
Tremble and quake o,
Were it not, trow yee,
A madnes for me
To vndertake
A warre to make
With such a lande,
That is so mande,
Wherein there be
Of certaintie
As hungrie as he
Many a thousand more,
That long full sore
For Indian golde,
Which makes men bolde?” &c.

See also—Jacke of the Northe, &c. printed (most incorrectly) from C.C.C. MS. in Hartshorne’s Anc. Met. Tales, p. 288.—A recantation of famous Pasquin of Rome. An. 1570. Imprinted at London by John Daye, 8vo, which (known to me only from Brit. Bibliog. ii. 289) contains Skeltonical passages.—The Riddles of Heraclitus and Democritus. Printed at London by Ann Hatfield for John Norton, 1598, 4to, which (known to me only from Restituta, i. 175) has Skeltonical rhymes on the back of the title-page.—The Wisdome of Doctor Dodypoll. As it hath bene sundrie times Acted[cxxix] by the Children of Powles, 1600, 4to, which has some Skeltonical lines at sig. C 4.—The Downfall of Robert Earle of Huntington, &c. (by Anthony Munday), 1601, 4to, and The Death of Robert, Earle of Hvntington, &c. (by Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle), 1601, 4to, (two plays already noticed, p. lxxxvi.), in which are various Skeltonical passages.—Hobson’s Horse-load of Letters, or a President for Epistles. The First Part, 1617, 4to, which concludes with three epistles in verse, the last entitled “A merry-mad Letter in Skeltons rime,” &c.—Poems: By Michael Drayton Esqvire, &c., n. d., folio, which contains at p. 301 a copy of verses entitled “A Skeltoniad.”—The Fortunate Isles, &c. 1626, a masque by Ben Jonson (already noticed, p. lxxxvii.), in which are imitations of Skelton’s style.—All The Workes of John Taylor The Water-poet, &c. 1630, folio, which contains, at p. 245, “A Skeltonicall salutation to those that know how to reade, and not marre the sense with hacking or mis-construction” (printed as prose).—Hesperides: or, The Works Both Humane & Divine of Robert Herrick Esq., 1648, 8vo, among which, at pp. 10, 97, 268, are verses in Skelton’s favourite metre.—The Works of Mr. John Cleveland, Containing his Poems, Orations, Epistles, Collected into One Volume, 1687, 8vo, in which may be found, at p. 306, a piece of disgusting grossness (suggested by Skelton’s Elynour Rummynge), entitled “The Old Gill.”

A poem called Philargyrie of greate Britayne, 1551, printed (and no doubt written) by Robert Crowly, has been frequently mentioned as a “Skeltonic” composition, but improperly, as the following lines will shew;

“Geue eare awhyle,
And marke my style,
You that hath wyt in store;
For wyth wordes bare
I wyll declare
Thyngs done long tyme before.
Sometyme certayne
Into Britayne,
A lande full of plentie,
A gyaunte greate
Came to seke meate,
Whose name was Philargyrie,” &c.

“See also,” says Warton (Hist. of E. P. ii. 358, note, ed. [cxxx]4to), “a doggrel piece of this kind, in imitation of Skelton, introduced into Browne’s Sheperd’s Pipe,”—a mistake; for the poem of Hoccleve (inserted in Eglogue i.), to which Warton evidently alludes, is neither doggrel nor in Skelton’s manner.




Miseremini mei, ye that be my frendis!
This world[156] hath formed me downe to fall:
How may[157] I endure, when that eueri thyng endis?
What creature is borne to be eternall?
Now there[158] is no more but pray for me all:
Thus say I Edward, that late was youre kynge,
And twenty two[159] yeres ruled this imperyall,
Some vnto pleasure, and some to no lykynge:
Mercy I aske of my mysdoynge;
What auayleth it,[160] frendes, to be my foo, 10
Sith I can not resyst, nor amend your complaining?
Quia, ecce, nunc in pulvere dormio!
I slepe now in molde, as it is naturall
That[161] erth vnto erth hath his reuerture:
What ordeyned God to be terestryall,
Without recours to the erth[162] of nature?
Who to lyue euer may himselfe assure?[163]
What is it[164] to trust on mutabilyte,
Sith that in this world nothing may indure?
For now am I gone, that late was in prosperyte: 20
To presume thervppon, it is but a vanyte,
Not certayne, but as a cheryfayre[165] full of wo:
Reygned not I of late in greate felycite?
Et, ecce, nunc in pulvere dormio!
Where was in my lyfe such one as I,
Whyle lady Fortune with me had continuaunce?
Graunted not she me to haue victory,
In England to rayne, and to contribute Fraunce?
She toke me by the hand and led me a daunce,
And with her sugred lyppes on me she smyled; 30
But, what for her dissembled countenaunce,
I coud not beware tyl I was begyled:
Now from this world she hath me excyled,
When I was lothyst hens for to go,
And I am in age but, as who sayth, a chylde,
Et, ecce, nunc in pulvere dormio!
I se wyll,[166] they leve that doble my ȝeris:
This[167] dealid this world with me as it lyst,[168]
And hathe me made, to ȝow that be my perys,
Example to thynke on Had I wyst: 40
I storyd my cofers and allso my chest[169]
With taskys takynge of the comenalte;
I toke ther tresure, but of ther prayȝeris mist;
Whom I beseche with pure humylyte
For to forgeve and have on me pety;
I was ȝour kynge, and kept ȝow from ȝowr foo:
I wold now amend, but that wull not be,
[Quia,] ecce, nunc in pulvere dormio!
I had ynough, I held me not content,
Without remembraunce that I should dye; 50
And more euer to incroche[170] redy was I bent,
I knew not how longe I should it occupy:
I made the Tower stronge, I wyst not why;
I knew not to whom I purchased Tetersall;
I amendid Douer on the mountayne hye,
And London I prouoked to fortify the wall;
I made Notingam a place full[171] royall,
Wyndsore, Eltam,[172] and many other mo:
Yet at the last I went from them all,
Et, ecce, nunc in pulvere dormio! 60
Where is now my conquest and victory?
Where is my riches and my royal aray?
Wher be my coursers and my horses hye?
Where is my myrth, my solas, and my[173] play?
As vanyte, to nought al is wandred[174] away.
O lady Bes, longe for me may ye call!
For I[175] am departed tyl domis day;
But loue ye that Lorde that is soueraygne of all.
Where be my castels and buyldynges royall?
But Windsore alone, now I haue no mo, 70
And of Eton the prayers perpetuall,
Et, ecce, nunc in pulvere dormio!
Why should a man be proude or presume hye?
Sainct Bernard therof nobly doth trete,
Seyth a man is but[176] a sacke of stercorry,
And shall returne vnto wormis mete.
Why, what cam of Alexander the greate?
Or els of stronge Sampson, who can tell?
Were not[177] wormes ordeyned theyr flesh to frete?
And of Salomon, that was of wyt the well? 80
Absolon profferyd his heare for to sell,
Yet for al his bewte wormys ete him also;
And I but late in honour dyd excel,
Et, ecce, nunc in pulvere dormio!
I haue played my pageyond, now am I past;
Ye wot well all I was of no great yeld:
This[178] al thing concluded shalbe at the last,
When death approchyth, then lost is the felde:
Then sythen this world me no longer vphelde,
Nor nought[179] would conserue me here in my place, 90
In manus tuas, Domine, my spirite vp I yelde,
Humbly[180] beseching thé, God, of thy[181] grace!
O ye curtes commyns, your hertis vnbrace
Benyngly now to pray for me also;
For ryght wel you know your kyng I was,
Et, ecce, nunc in pulvere dormio!

[155] Of the death, &c.] From the ed. by Kynge and Marche of Certaine bokes compyled by Mayster Skelton, n. d.—collated with the same work, ed. Day, n. d., and ed. Lant, n. d.; with Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568; occasionally with the Mirrour for Magistrates, 1587 (in the earlier eds. of which the poem was incorporated), and with a contemporary MS. in the possession of Miss Richardson Currer, which last has furnished a stanza hitherto unprinted.

[156] This world, &c.] MS.:

“For the world hathe conformid me to fall.”

[157] may] MS. “myzt.”

[158] Now there, &c.] MS.:

Now is ther no helpe but pray for my sovle.”

[159] twenty-two] So MS. and Mir. for Mag. Eds. “xxiii.;” see notes.

[160] it] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “hit.”

[161] That] So MS. Eds. “As.”

[162] the erth] MS. “dethe.”

[163] himselfe assure] So Mir. for Mag. Eds. and MS., “be sure.”

[164] What is it, &c.] MS.:

What ys it to trust the mutabylyte
Of this world whan no thyng may endure.”

[165] cheryfayre] MS. “cheyfeyre.”

[166] I se wyll, &c.] This stanza only found in MS.

[167] This] See notes.

[168] lyst] MS. “lust”—against the rhyme.

[169] chest] MS. “chestys”—against the rhyme.

[170] euer to incroche] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “ouer to,” &c. MS. gives this line and the next thus:

And more to encrese was myne entent
And not beynge ware who shuld it ocupye.”

[171] full] So Mir. for Mag. Not in eds. or MS.

[172] Wyndsore, Eltam, &c.] This line and the next given thus in MS.:

Wynsore and eton and many oder mo
As Westmynster Eltham and sone went I from all.”

And so, with slight variation, in Nash’s Quaternio: see notes.

[173] my] So Mir. for Mag. Not in eds. or MS.

[174] wandred] Mir. for Mag. “wythered.”

[175] For I, &c.] MS.:

“Now are we departid [i. e. parted] onto domys day.”

[176] Seyth a man is but, &c.] Day’s ed. “Seeth a man is nothing but,” &c. Marshe’s ed. “Sythe a man is nothing but,” &c. Mir. for Mag. “Saying a man is but,” &c. MS. “Seinge a man ys a sak of sterqueryte.”

[177] Were not] So Lant’s ed. and Mir. for Mag. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “Where no.” Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “Wher no.” MS. “Was not.”

[178] This] Mir. for Mag. “Thus;” but see note.

[179] Nor nought, &c.] Mir. for Mag.:

“For nought would conserue mee here in this place.”


“Ne nougt wold concerue me my place.”

[180] Humbly] So other eds. Kynge and Marche’s ed. “Humble.”

[181] thy] Other eds. “his.”



Ad dominum properato meum, mea pagina, Percy,
Qui Northumbrorum jura paterna gerit;
Ad nutum celebris tu prona repone leonis
Quæque suo patri tristia justa cano.[183]
Ast ubi perlegit, dubiam sub mente volutet
Fortunam, cuncta quæ malefida rotat.
Qui leo sit felix, et Nestoris occupet annos;
Ad libitum, cujus ipse paratus ero.

[182] Poeta Skelton, &c.] From Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568, collated with a copy of the poem in a MS. vol now in the British Museum (MS. Reg. 18. D ii. fol. 165), which formerly belonged to the fifth Earl of Northumberland, son of the nobleman whose fate is here lamented: vide Account of Skelton, &c. This elegy was printed by Percy in his Reliques of An. Engl. Poet. (i. 95, ed. 1794), from the MS. just mentioned.

[183] cano] So MS. Not in Marshe’s ed.


I wayle, I wepe, I sobbe, I sigh ful sore
The dedely fate, the dolefulle desteny
Of hym that is gone, alas, without restore,
Of the bloud royall descending nobelly;
Whose lordshyp doutles was slayne lamentably
Thorow treson, again him compassed and wrought,
Trew to his prince in word, in dede, and thought.
Of heuenly poems, O Clyo, calde by name
In the colege of Musis goddes hystoriall,
Adres thé to me, whiche am both halt and lame 10
In elect vteraunce to make memoryall!
To thé for souccour, to thé for helpe I call,
Mine homely rudnes and dryghnes to expell
With the freshe waters of Elyconys well.
Of noble actes aunciently enrolde
Of famous pryncis and lordes of astate,
By thy report ar wont to be extold,
Regestringe trewly euery formare date;
Of thy bountie after the vsuall rate
Kyndell in me suche plenty of thy nobles, 20
These sorowfulle dites that I may shew expres.
In sesons past, who hath herde or sene
Of formar writyng by any presidente
That vilane hastarddis in their furious tene,
Fulfylled with malice of froward entente,
Confetered togeder of commonn[184] concente
Falsly to slee[185] theyr moste singuler good lord?
It may be regestrede of shamefull recorde.
So noble a man, so valiaunt lord and knyght,
Fulfilled with honor, as all the world[186] doth ken; 30
At his commaundement which had both day and nyght
Knyghtes and squyers, at euery season when
He calde vpon them, as meniall houshold men:
Were not[187] these commons vncurteis karlis of kind
To slo their owne lord? God was not in their mynd.
And were not they to blame, I say, also,
That were aboute him, his o[w]ne[188] seruants of trust,
To suffre him slayn of his mortall fo?
Fled away from hym, let hym ly in the dust;
They bode not till the reckenyng were discust: 40
What shuld I flatter? what shuld I glose or paint?
Fy, fy for shame, their hartes were to faint.
In England and Fraunce which gretly was redouted,
Of whom both Flaunders and Scotland stode in drede,
To whom great estates obeyed and lowted,
A mayny of rude villayns made hym for to blede;
Unkyndly they slew him, that holp[189] them oft at nede:
He was their bulwark, their paues, and their wall,
Yet shamfully they slew hym; that shame mot them befal!
I say, ye comoners, why wer ye so stark mad? 50
What frantyk frensy fyll in your brayne?
Where was your wit and reson ye should haue had?
What wilful foly made yow to ryse agayne
Your naturall lord? alas, I can not fayne:
Ye armyd you with will, and left your wit behynd;
Well may you[190] be called comones most vnkynd.
He was your chefteyne, your shelde, your chef defence,
Redy to assyst you in euery time of nede;
Your worshyp depended of his excellence:
Alas, ye mad men, to far ye did excede; 60
Your hap was vnhappy, to ill was your spede:
What moued you againe him to war or to fyght?
What alyde you to sle[191] your lord again all ryght?
The ground of his quarel was for his souerain lord,
The well concerning of all the hole lande,
Demandyng suche duties as nedes most acord
To the ryght of his prince, which shold not be withstand;
For whose cause ye slew him with your owne hand:
But had his noble men done wel that day,
Ye had not bene able to haue sayd hym nay. 70
But ther was fals packing, or els I am begylde;
How be it the mater was euydent and playne,
For if they had occupied their spere and their shilde,
This noble man doutles had not bene[192] slayne.
But men say they wer lynked with a double chaine,
And held with the comones vnder a cloke,
Which kindeled the wild fyr that made al this smoke.
The commons renyed ther taxes to pay,
Of them demaunded and asked by the kynge;
With one voice importune they plainly sayd nay; 80
They buskt them on a bushment themselfe in baile to bring,
Againe the kyngs plesure to wrestle or to wring;
Bluntly as bestis with boste and with crye
They sayd they forsed not, nor carede not to dy.
The nobelnes of the north, this valiant lord and knight,
As man that was innocent of trechery or traine,
Presed forth boldly to withstand the myght,
And, lyke marciall Hector, he faught them agayne,
Vygorously vpon them with might and with maine,
Trustyng in noble men that were with him there; 90
But al they fled from hym for falshode or fere.
Barones, knyghtes, squiers, one[193] and all,
Together with seruauntes of his famuly,
Turned their backis,[194] and let their master fal,
Of whos [life] they[195] counted not a flye;
Take vp whose wold, for ther[196] they let him ly.
Alas, his gold, his fee, his annual rent
Upon suche a sort was ille bestowd and spent!
He was enuirond aboute on euery syde
With his enemyes, that wer starke mad and wode; 100
Yet[197] while[198] he stode he gaue them woundes wyde:
Allas for ruth! what thoughe his mynd wer gode,
His corage manly, yet ther he shed his blode:
Al left alone, alas, he foughte in vayne!
For cruelly[199] among them ther he was slayne.
Alas for pite! that Percy thus was spylt,
The famous Erle of Northumberland;
Of knyghtly prowes the sword, pomel, and hylt,
The myghty lyon doutted by se and lande;[200]
O dolorus chaunce of Fortunes froward hande! 110
What man, remembryng howe shamfully he was slaine,
From bitter weping himself can restrain?
O cruell Mars, thou dedly god of war!
O dolorous tewisday, dedicate to thy name,
When thou shoke thy sworde so noble a man to mar!
O ground vngracious, vnhappy be thy fame,
Which wert endyed with rede bloud of the same
Most noble erle! O foule mysuryd ground,
Whereon he gat his finall dedely wounde!
O Atropos, of the fatall systers iii 120
Goddes most cruel vnto the lyfe of man,
All merciles, in thé is no pite!
O homicide, which sleest all that thou can,
So forcibly vpon this erle thou ran,
That with thy sword, enharpit of mortall drede,
Thou kit asonder his perfight vitall threde!
My wordes vnpullysht be, nakide and playne,
Of aureat poems they want ellumynynge;
But by them to knowlege ye may attayne
Of this lordes dethe and of his murdrynge; 130
Which whils he lyued had fuyson of euery thing,
Of knights, of squyers, chyf lord of toure and towne,
Tyl fykkell Fortune began on hym to frowne:
Paregall to dukes, with kynges he might compare,
Surmountinge in honor al erlis he did excede;
To all countreis aboute hym reporte me I dare;
Lyke to Eneas benigne in worde and dede,
Valiant as Hector in euery marciall nede,
Prouydent,[201] discrete, circumspect, and wyse,
Tyll the chaunce ran agayne hym of Fortunes duble dyse. 140
What nedeth me for to extoll his fame
With my rude pen enkankered all with rust,
Whose noble actes show worshiply his name,
Transendyng far[202] myne homly Muse, that muste
Yet somwhat wright supprised with herty[203] lust,
Truly reportyng his right noble estate,
Immortally whiche is immaculate?
His noble blode neuer destayned was,
Trew to his prince for to defend his ryght,
Doblenes hatyng fals maters to compas, 150
Treytory and treason he banysht out of syght,
With truth to medle was al his holl delyght,
As all his countrey can testyfy the same:
To sle[204] suche a lorde, alas, it was great shame!
If the hole quere of the Musis nyne
In me all onely wer set and comprysed,
Enbrethed with the blast of influence deuyne,
As perfytly as could be thought or deuised;
To me also allthough it were promised
Of laureat Phebus holy the eloquence, 160
All were to lytell for his magnificence.
O yonge lyon, but tender yet of age,
Grow and encrese, remembre thyn estate;
God thé assyst unto thyn herytage,
And geue thé grace to be more fortunate!
Agayn rebellyones arme thé[205] to make debate;
And, as the lyone, whiche is of bestes kynge,
Unto thy subiectes be curteis and benygne.
I pray God sende thé prosperous lyfe and long,
Stable thy mynde constant to be and fast, 170
Ryght to mayntayn, and to resyst all wronge:
All flateryng faytors abhor and from thé cast;
Of foule detraction God kepe thé from the blast!
Let double delyng in thé haue no place,
And be not lyght of credence in no case.
With heuy chere, with dolorous hart and mynd,
Eche man may sorow in his inward thought
This lordes[206] death, whose pere is hard to fynd,
Algife Englond and Fraunce were thorow saught.
Al kynges, all princes, al dukes, well they ought, 180
Both temporall and spiritual, for to complayne
This noble man, that crewelly was slayne:
More specially barons, and those knygtes bold,
And al other gentilmen with him enterteyned
In fee, as menyall men of his housold,
Whom he as lord worshyply mainteyned;
To sorowful weping they ought to be constreined,
As oft as they call to theyr remembraunce
Of ther good lord the fate and dedely chaunce.
O[207] perlese Prince of heuen emperyall! 190
That with one word formed al thing of noughte;
Heuen, hell, and erthe obey unto thy call;
Which to thy resemblaunce wondersly hast wrought
All mankynd, whom thou full dere hast bought,
With thy bloud precious our finaunce thou did pay,
And vs redemed from the fendys pray;
To thé pray we, as Prince incomparable,
As thou art of mercy and pyte the well,
Thou bring unto thy joye eterminable
The soull of this lorde from all daunger of hell, 200
In endles blys with thé to byde and dwell
In thy palace aboue the orient,
Where thou art Lord and God omnipotent.
O quene of mercy, O lady full of grace,
Mayden most pure, and Goddes moder dere,
To sorowful hartes chef comfort and solace,
Of all women O flowre withouten[208] pere!
Pray to thy Son aboue the sterris clere,
He to vouchesaf, by thy mediacion,
To pardon thy seruaunt, and brynge to saluacion. 210
In joy triumphaunt the heuenly yerarchy,[209]
With all the hole sorte of that glorious place,
His soull mot receyue into theyr company,
Thorow bounty of Hym that formed all solace;
Wel of pite, of mercy, and of grace,
The Father, the Sonn, and the Holy Ghost,
In Trinitate one God of myghtes[210] moste!
Non sapit, humanis qui certam ponere rebus
Spem cupit: est hominum raraque ficta fides.

[184] commonn] So MS. Marshe’s ed. “cominion.”

[185] slee] MS. “slo,”—as in v. 35 (yet both Marshe’s ed. and MS. have “sleest” in v. 123).

[186] world] So MS. Marshe’s ed. “wold.”

[187] not] MS. “no.”

[188] o[w]ne] MS. “awne” (yet Percy gives “owne”).

[189] holp] MS. “help” (yet Percy gives “holp”).

[190] you] MS. “ye” (yet Percy gives “you”).

[191] sle] MS. “slo.”

[192] bene] MS. “be.”

[193] one] So MS. Not in Marshe’s ed.

[194] backis] So MS. Marshe’s ed. “backe.”

[195] Of whos [life] they, &c.] So Percy. Marshe’s ed. “Of whome they,” &c. MS.Of whos they,” &c.

[196] ther] So both Marshe’s ed. and MS. Percy printed the line thus;

“Take up whos wolde for them, they let hym ly.”

[197] Yet] So MS. Marshe’s ed. “Ye.”

[198] while] MS. “whils.”

[199] cruelly] MS. “cruell” (yet Percy gives “cruelly”).

[200] lande] MS. “sande” (yet Percy gives “lande”).

[201] Prouydent] So MS. Marshe’s ed. “Prudent.”

[202] far] So Percy. MS. and Marshe’s ed. “for.”

[203] herty] MS. “hartly.”

[204] sle] MS. “slo.”

[205] the] Omitted by Percy, though both in MS. and Marshe’s ed.

[206] lordes] So MS. rightly, making the word a dissyllable (yet Percy prints “lords”). Marshe’s ed. “lords.”

[207] O] So MS. Not in Marshe’s ed.

[208] withouten] So MS. Marshe’s ed. “without.”

[209] yerarchy] So Percy. Both Marshe’s ed. and MS. “gerarchy.”

[210] myghtes] So MS. (yet Percy prints “myghts”). Marshe’s ed. “myghts.”


Accipe nunc demum, doctor celeberrime Rukshaw,
Carmina, de calamo quæ cecidere[212] meo;
Et quanquam[213] placidis non sunt modulata camenis,[214]
Sunt tamen ex nostro pectore prompta pio.
Vale feliciter, virorum laudatissime.

[211] Tetrastichon, &c.] Follows the elegy on the Earl of Northumberland both in Marshe’s ed. and in the MS.

[212] cecidere] Marshe’s ed. and MS. “occidere.”

[213] quanquam] Marshe’s ed. and MS. “quaqua.”

[214] camenis] So MS. Marshe’s ed. “carmenis.”


A comely coystrowne, that curyowsly chawntyd, and curryshly cowntred, and madly in hys musykkys mokkyshly made agaynste the ix Musys of polytyke poems and poettys matryculat.

Of all nacyons vnder the heuyn,
These frantyke foolys I hate most of all;
For though they stumble in the synnys seuyn,
In peuyshnes yet they[216] snapper and fall,
Which men the viii dedly syn[217] call.
This peuysh proud, thys prendergest,
When he is well, yet can he not rest.
A swete suger lofe and sowre bayardys bun
Be sumdele lyke in forme and shap,
The one for a duke, the other for dun, 10
A maunchet for morell theron to snap.
Hys hart is to hy to haue any hap;
But for in his gamut carp that he can,
Lo, Jak wold be a jentylman!
Wyth, Hey, troly, loly, lo, whip here, Jak,
Alumbek sodyldym syllorym ben!
Curyowsly he can both counter and knak
Of Martyn Swart and all hys mery men.
Lord, how Perkyn is proud of hys pohen!
But ask wher he fyndyth among hys monacordys 20
An holy water clarke a ruler of lordys.
He can not fynd it in rule nor in space:
He solfyth to haute, hys trybyll is to hy;
He braggyth of his byrth, that borne was full bace;
Hys musyk withoute mesure, to sharp is hys my;
He trymmyth in hys tenor to counter pyrdewy;
His dyscant is besy, it is withoute a mene;
To fat is hys fantsy, hys wyt is to lene.
He lumbryth on a lewde lewte, Roty bully joyse,
Rumbyll downe, tumbyll downe, hey go, now, now! 30
He fumblyth in hys fyngeryng an vgly good noyse,
It semyth the sobbyng of an old sow:
He wold be made moch of, and he wyst how;
Wele sped in spyndels and turnyng of tauellys;
A bungler, a brawler, a pyker of quarellys.
Comely he clappyth a payre of clauycordys;
He whystelyth so swetely, he makyth me to swete;
His descant is dasshed full of dyscordes;
A red angry man, but easy to intrete:
An vssher of the hall fayn wold I get, 40
To poynte this proude page a place and a rome,
For Jak wold be a jentylman, that late was a grome.
Jak wold jet, and yet Jyll sayd nay;
He counteth in his countenaunce to checke with the best:
A malaperte medler that pryeth for his pray,
In a dysh dare he rush at the rypest;
Dremyng in dumpys to wrangyll and to wrest:
He fyndeth a proporcyon in his prycke songe,
To drynk at a draught a larg and a long.
Nay, iape not with hym, he is no small fole, 50
It is a solemnpne syre and a solayne;
For lordes and ladyes lerne at his scole;
He techyth them so wysely to solf and to fayne,
That neyther they synge wel prycke songe nor playne:
Thys docter Deuyas[218] commensyd in a cart,
A master, a mynstrell, a fydler, a farte.
What though ye can cownter Custodi nos?
As well it becomyth yow, a parysh towne clarke,
To syng Sospitati[219] dedit ægros:
Yet bere ye not to bold, to braule ne to bark 60
At me, that medeled nothyng with youre wark:
Correct fyrst thy self; walk, and be nought!
Deme what thou lyst, thou knowyst not my thought.
A prouerbe of old, say well or be styll:
Ye are to vnhappy occasyons[220] to fynde
Vppon me to clater, or els to say yll.
Now haue I shewyd you part of your proud mynde;
Take thys in worth, the best is behynde.
Wryten at Croydon by Crowland in the Clay,
On Candelmas euyn, the Kalendas of May. 70

[215] Skelton Laureate, &c.] This poem, and the three pieces which follow it, are given from a tract of four leaves, n. d., and without printer’s name (but evidently from the press of Pynson), collated with Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568.

[216] they] So Marshe’s ed. Pynson’s ed. “the.”

[217] syn] Marshe’s ed. “sins.”

[218] Deuyas] Marshe’s ed. “dellias.”

[219] Sospitati] Pynson’s ed. “suspirari.” Marshe’s ed. “Supitati,” which the editor of 1736 changed into “supinitati.”

[220] occasyons] Marshe’s ed. “occasion.”


Præponenda meis non sunt tua plectra camenis,
Nec quantum nostra fistula clara tua est:
Sæpe licet lyricos modularis arundine psalmos,
Et tremulos calamis concinis ipse modos;
Quamvis mille tuus digitus dat carmine plausus,
Nam tua quam tua vox est mage docta manus;
Quamvis cuncta facis tumida sub mente superbus,
Gratior est Phæbo fistula nostra tamen.
Ergo tuum studeas animo deponere fastum,
Et violare sacrum desine, stulte, virum.
Qd[221] Skelton, laureat.

[221] Qd, &c.] Not in Marshe’s ed.

Vppon a deedmans hed, that was sent to hym from an honorable jentyllwoman for a token, deuysyd this gostly medytacyon in Englysh, couenable in sentence, comendable, lamentable, lacrymable, profytable for the soule.

Youre vgly tokyn
My mynd hath brokyn
From worldly lust;
For I haue dyscust
We ar but dust,
And dy we must.
It is generall
To be mortall:
I haue well espyde
No man may hym hyde 10
From Deth holow eyed,
With synnews wyderyd,
With bonys shyderyd,
With hys worme etyn maw,
And his gastly jaw
Gaspyng asyde,
Nakyd of hyde,
Neyther flesh nor[222] fell.
Then, by my councell,
Loke that ye spell 20
Well thys gospell:
For wher so we dwell
Deth wyll us qwell,
And with us mell.
For all oure pamperde paunchys,
Ther may no fraunchys,
Nor worldly blys,
Redeme vs from this:
Oure days be datyd,
To be chekmatyd 30
With drawttys of deth,
Stoppyng oure breth;
Oure eyen synkyng,
Oure bodys stynkyng,
Oure gummys grynnyng,
Oure soulys brynnyng.
To whom, then, shall we sew,
For to haue rescew,
But to swete Jesu,
On vs then for to rew? 40
O goodly chyld
Of Mary mylde,
Then be oure shylde!
That we be not exyld[223]
To the dyne dale
Of boteles[224] bale,
Nor to the lake
Of fendys blake.
But graunt vs grace
To se thy face, 50
And to purchace
Thyne heuenly place,
And thy palace,
Full of solace,
Aboue the sky,
That is so hy;
To beholde and se
The Trynyte!
Amen. 60
Myrres vous y.

[222] nor] Marshe’s ed. “not.”

[223] exyld] So Marshe’s ed. Pynson’s ed. “exylyd.”

[224] boteles] Marshe’s ed. “botemles.”

Womanhod, wanton, ye want;
Youre medelyng, mastres, is manerles;
Plente of yll, of goodnes skant,
Ye rayll at ryot, recheles:
To prayse youre porte it is nedeles;
For all your draffe yet and youre dreggys,
As well borne as ye full oft tyme beggys.
Why so koy and full of skorne?
Myne horse is sold, I wene, you say;
My new furryd gowne, when it is worne, 10
Put vp youre purs, ye shall non pay.
By crede, I trust to se the day,
As proud a pohen as ye sprede,
Of me and other ye may haue nede.
Though angelyk be youre smylyng,
Yet is youre tong an adders tayle,
Full lyke a scorpyon styngyng
All those by whom ye haue auayle:
Good mastres Anne, there ye do shayle:
What prate ye, praty pyggysny? 20
I truste to quyte you or I dy.
Youre key is mete for euery lok,
Youre key is commen and hangyth owte;
Youre key is redy, we nede not knok,
Nor stand long wrestyng there aboute;
Of youre doregate ye haue no doute:
But one thyng is, that ye be lewde:
Holde youre tong now, all beshrewde!
To mastres Anne, that farly swete,
That wonnes at the Key in Temmys strete. 30


Here folowythe dyuers Balettys[225] and Dyties solacyous, deuysyd by Master Skelton, Laureat.

With, Lullay, lullay, lyke a chylde,
Thou slepyst to long, thou art begylde.
My darlyng dere, my daysy floure,
Let me, quod he, ly in your lap.
Ly styll, quod she, my paramoure,
Ly styll hardely, and take a nap.
Hys bed was heuy, such was his hap,
All drowsy dremyng, dround in slepe,
That of hys loue he toke no kepe,
With, Hey, lullay, &c.
With ba, ba, ba, and bas, bas, bas,
She cheryshed hym both cheke and chyn,
That he wyst neuer where he was; 10
He had forgoten all dedely syn.
He wantyd wyt her loue to wyn:
He trusted her payment, and lost all hys pray:[226]
She left hym slepyng, and stale away,
Wyth, Hey, lullay, &c.
The ryuers rowth, the waters wan;
She sparyd not to wete her fete;
She wadyd ouer, she found a man
That halsyd her hartely and kyst her swete:
Thus after her cold she cought a hete.
My lefe, she sayd, rowtyth in hys bed; 20
I wys he hath an heuy bed,
Wyth, Hey, lullay, &c.
What dremyst thou, drunchard, drousy pate!
Thy lust and lykyng is from thé gone;
Thou blynkerd blowboll, thou wakyst to late,
Behold, thou lyeste, luggard, alone!
Well may thou sygh, well may thou grone,
To dele wyth her so cowardly:
I wys, powle hachet, she bleryd thyne I.
Qd Skelton, laureate.

The auncient acquaintance, madam, betwen vs twayn,
The famylyaryte, the formar dalyaunce,
Causyth me that I can not myself refrayne
But that I must wryte for my plesaunt pastaunce:
Remembryng your passyng goodly countenaunce,
Your goodly port, your bewteous visage,
Ye may be countyd comfort of all corage.
Of all your feturs fauorable to make tru discripcion,
I am insuffycyent to make such enterpryse;
For thus dare I say, without [con]tradiccyon, 10
That dame Menolope was neuer half so wyse:
Yet so it is that a rumer begynnyth for to ryse,
How in good horsmen ye set your hole delyght,
And haue forgoten your old trew louyng knyght.
Wyth bound and rebound, bounsyngly take vp
Hys jentyll curtoyl,[227] and set nowght by small naggys!
Spur vp at the hynder gyrth, with, Gup, morell, gup!
With, Jayst ye, jenet of Spayne, for your tayll waggys!
Ye cast all your corage vppon such courtly haggys.
Haue in sergeaunt ferrour, myne horse behynde is bare; 20
He rydeth well the horse, but he rydeth better the mare.
Ware, ware, the mare wynsyth wyth her wanton hele!
She kykyth with her kalkyns and keylyth with a clench;
She goyth wyde behynde, and hewyth neuer a dele:
Ware gallyng in the widders, ware of that wrenche!
It is perlous for a horseman to dyg in the trenche.
Thys greuyth your husband, that ryght jentyll knyght,
And so with youre seruantys he fersly doth fyght.
So fersly he fytyth, hys mynde is so fell,
That he dryuyth them doune with dyntes on ther day wach; 30
He bresyth theyr braynpannys and makyth them to swell,
Theyre browys all to-brokyn, such clappys they cach;
Whose jalawsy malycyous makyth them to lepe the hach;
By theyr conusaunce knowing how they serue a wily py:
Ask all your neybours whether that I ly.
It can be no counsell that is cryed at the cros:
For your jentyll husband sorowfull am I;
How be it,[228] he is not furst hath had a los:
Aduertysyng you, madame, to warke more secretly,
Let not all the world make an owtcry; 40
Play fayre play, madame, and loke ye play clene,
Or ells with gret shame your game wylbe sene.
Qd Skelton, laureat.


Knolege, aquayntance, resort, fauour with grace;
Delyte, desyre, respyte wyth lyberte;
Corage wyth lust, conuenient tyme and space;
Dysdayns, dystres, exylyd cruelte;
Wordys well set with good habylyte;
Demure demenaunce, womanly of porte;
Transendyng plesure, surmountyng all dysporte;
Allectuary arrectyd to redres
These feuerous axys, the dedely wo and payne
Of thoughtfull hertys plungyd in dystres; 10
Refresshyng myndys the Aprell shoure of rayne;
Condute of comforte, and well most souerayne;
Herber enverduryd, contynuall fressh and grene;
Of lusty somer the passyng goodly quene;
The topas rych and precyouse in vertew;
Your ruddys wyth ruddy rubys may compare;
Saphyre of sadnes, enuayned wyth indy blew;
The pullyshed perle youre whytenes doth declare;
Dyamand poyntyd to rase oute hartly care;
Geyne surfetous suspecte the emeraud comendable; 20
Relucent smaragd, obiecte imcomperable;
Encleryd myrroure and perspectyue most bryght,
Illumynyd wyth feturys far passyng my reporte;
Radyent Esperus, star of the clowdy nyght,
Lode star to lyght these louers to theyr porte,
Gayne dangerous stormys theyr anker of supporte,
Theyr sayll of solace most comfortably clad,
Whych to behold makyth heuy hartys glad:
Remorse haue I of youre most goodlyhod,
Of youre behauoure curtes and benynge, 30
Of your bownte and of youre womanhod,
Which makyth my hart oft to lepe and sprynge,
And to remember many a praty thynge;
But absens, alas, wyth tremelyng fere and drede
Abashyth me, albeit I haue no nede.
You I assure, absens is my fo,
My dedely wo, my paynfull heuynes;
And if ye lyst to know the cause why so,
Open myne hart, beholde my mynde expres:
I wold ye coud! then shuld ye se, mastres, 40
How there nys thynge that I couet so fayne
As to enbrace you in myne armys twayne.
Nothynge yerthly to me more desyrous
Than to beholde youre bewteouse countenaunce:
But, hatefull absens, to me so enuyous,
Though thou withdraw me from her by long dystaunce,
Yet shall she neuer oute of remembraunce;
For I haue grauyd her wythin the secret wall
Of my trew hart, to loue her best of all!
Qd Skelton, laureat.

Cuncta licet cecidisse putas discrimina rerum,
Et prius incerta nunc tibi certa manent,
Consiliis usure meis tamen aspice caute,
Subdola non fallat te dea fraude sua:
Sæpe solet placido mortales fallere vultu,
Et cute sub placida tabida sæpe dolent;
Ut quando secura putas et cuncta serena,[229]
Anguis sub viridi gramine sæpe latet.
Though ye suppose all jeperdys ar paste,
And all is done that ye lokyd for before, 10
Ware yet, I rede you, of Fortunes dowble cast,
For one fals poynt she is wont to kepe in store,
And vnder the fell oft festerd is the sore:
That when ye thynke all daunger for to pas,
Ware of the lesard lyeth lurkyng in the gras.
Qd Skelton, laureat.

Go, pytyous hart, rasyd with dedly wo,
Persyd with payn, bleding with wondes smart,
Bewayle thy fortune, with vaynys wan and blo.
O Fortune vnfrendly, Fortune vnkynde thow art,
To be so cruell and so ouerthwart,
To suffer me so carefull to endure,
That wher I loue best I dare not dyscure!
One ther is, and euer one shalbe,
For whose sake my hart is sore dyseasyd;
For whose loue, welcom dysease to me! 10
I am content so all partys be pleasyd:
Yet, and God wold, I wold my payne were easyd!
But Fortune enforsyth me so carefully to endure,
That where I loue best I dare not dyscure.
Skelton, laureat, At the instance of a nobyll lady.

[225] Here folowythe dyuers Balettys, &c.] A tract so entitled, of four leaves, n. d. and without printer’s name, but evidently from the press of Pynson, consists of the five following pieces.

[226] pray] Qy. “pay?”

[227] curtoyl] Ed. “curtoyt.”

[228] it] Ed. “is.”

[229] serena] Ed. “serenas.”



Ay, besherewe yow, be my fay,
This wanton clarkes be nyse all way;
Avent, avent, my popagay!
What, will ye do no thyng but play?
Tully valy, strawe, let be, I say!
Gup, Cristian Clowte, gup, Jak of the vale!
With, Manerly Margery Mylk and Ale.
Be God, ye be a praty pode,
And I loue you an hole cart lode.
Strawe, Jamys foder, ye play the fode, 10
I am no hakney for your rode;
Go watch a bole, your bak is brode:
Gup, Cristian Clowte, gup, Jak of the vale!
With, Manerly Margery Mylk and Ale.
I wiss ye dele vncurtesly;
What wolde ye frompill me? now, fy!
What, and ye shalbe my piggesnye?
Be Crist, ye shall not, no hardely;
I will not be japed bodely: 20
Gup, Cristian Clowte, gup, Jake of the vale!
With, Manerly Margery Mylk and Ale.
Walke forth your way, ye cost me nought;
Now haue I fownd that I haue sought,
The best chepe flessh that euyr I bought.
Yet, for His loue that all hath wrought,
Wed me, or els I dye for thought!
Gup, Cristian Clowte, your breth[231] is stale!
Go, Manerly Margery Mylk and Ale!
Gup, Cristian Clowte, gup, Jak of the vale! 30
With, Manerly Margery Mylk and Ale.

[230] Manerly Margery, &c.] From the Fairfax MS., which formerly belonged to Ralph Thoresby, and now forms part of the Additional MSS. (5465. fol. 109) in the British Museum. It was printed (together with the music), by Hawkins, Hist. of Music, iii. 2. This song was inserted also in the first edition of Ancient Songs, 1790, p. 100, by Ritson, who observes,—“Since Sir J. Hawkins’s transcript was made, the ms. appears to have received certain alterations, occasioned, as it should seem, but certainly not authorised, by the over-scrupulous delicacy of its late or present possessor.” p. 102.

[231] breth] Hawkins and Ritson print “broth.”





In autumpne, whan the sonne in Virgine
By radyante hete enryped hath our corne;
Whan Luna, full of mutabylyte,
As emperes the dyademe hath worne
Of our pole artyke, smylynge halfe in scorne
At our foly and our vnstedfastnesse;
The tyme whan Mars to werre hym dyde dres;
I, callynge to mynde the greate auctoryte
Of poetes olde, whyche full craftely,
Vnder as couerte termes as coude be, 10
Can touche a trouth[233] and cloke it[234] subtylly
Wyth fresshe vtteraunce full sentencyously;
Dyuerse in style, some spared not vyce to wryte,[235]
Some of moralyte[236] nobly dyde endyte;
Wherby I rede theyr renome and theyr fame
Maye neuer dye, bute euermore endure:
I was sore moued to aforce the same,
But Ignoraunce full soone dyde me dyscure,[237]
And shewed that in this arte I[238] was not sure;
For to illumyne, she sayde, I was to dulle, 20
Auysynge[239] me my penne awaye to pulle,
And not to wryte;[240] for he so wyll atteyne
Excedynge ferther than his connynge is,
His hede maye be harde, but feble is his[241] brayne,
Yet haue I knowen suche er this;
But of reproche surely he maye not mys,
That clymmeth hyer than he may fotynge haue;
What and he slyde downe, who shall hym saue?
Thus vp and down my mynde was drawen and cast,
That I ne wyste what to do was[242] beste; 30
So sore enwered, that I was at the laste
Enforsed to slepe and for to take some reste:
And to lye downe as soone as I me[243] dreste,
At Harwyche Porte slumbrynge as I laye,
In myne hostes house, called Powers Keye,
Methoughte I sawe a shyppe, goodly of sayle,
Come saylynge forth into that hauen brood,
Her takelynge ryche and of hye apparayle:
She kyste[244] an anker, and there she laye at rode.
Marchauntes her borded to see what she had lode:[245] 40
Therein they founde royall marchaundyse,
Fraghted with plesure of what ye coude deuyse.
But than I thoughte I wolde not dwell behynde;
Amonge all other I put myselfe in prece.
Than there coude I none aquentaunce fynde:
There was moche noyse; anone one cryed, Cese!
Sharpely commaundynge eche man holde hys pece:
Maysters, he sayde, the shyp that ye here see,
The Bowge of Courte it hyghte for certeynte:[246]
The owner[247] therof is lady of estate, 50
Whoos name to tell is dame Saunce-pere;
Her[248] marchaundyse is ryche and fortunate,
But who wyll haue it muste paye therfore dere;
This royall chaffre that is shypped here
Is called Fauore, to stonde in her good grace.
Than sholde ye see there pressynge in a pace
Of one and other that wolde this lady see;
Whiche sat behynde a traues[249] of sylke fyne,
Of golde of tessew the fynest that myghte be,
In a trone whiche fer clerer[250] dyde shyne 60
Than Phebus in his spere celestyne;
Whoos beaute, honoure, goodly porte,
I haue to lytyll connynge to reporte.
But, of eche thynge there as I toke hede,
Amonge all other was wrytten in her trone,
In golde letters, this worde, whiche I dyde rede,
Garder[251] le fortune, que est mauelz et bone!
And, as I stode redynge this verse myselfe allone,
Her chyef gentylwoman, Daunger by her name,
Gaue me a taunte, and sayde I was to blame 70
To be so perte to prese so proudly vppe:
She sayde she trowed that I had[252] eten sause;
She asked yf euer I dranke of saucys cuppe.
And I than softly answered to that clause,
That, so to saye, I had gyuen her no cause.
Than asked she me, Syr, so God thé spede,
What is thy name? and I sayde, it was Drede.
What mouyd thé, quod she, hydder to come?
Forsoth, quod I, to bye some of youre ware.
And with that worde on me she gaue a glome 80
With browes bente, and gan on me to stare
Full daynnously, and fro me she dyde fare,
Leuynge me stondynge as a mased man:
To whome there came an other gentylwoman;
Desyre her name was, and so she me tolde,
Sayenge to me, Broder,[253] be of good chere,
Abasshe you not, but hardely be bolde,
Auaunce yourselfe to aproche and come nere:
What though our chaffer be neuer so dere,
Yet I auyse you to speke, for ony drede: 90
Who spareth to speke, in fayth he spareth to spede.[254]
Maystres, quod I, I haue none aquentaunce,
That wyll for me be medyatoure and mene;
And[255] this an other, I haue but smale substaunce.
Pece, quod Desyre, ye speke not worth a bene:
Yf ye haue not, in fayth I wyll you lene
A precyous jewell, no rycher in this londe;
Bone Auenture haue here now in your honde.
Shyfte now therwith, let see, as ye can,
In Bowge of Courte cheuysaunce to make; 100
For I dare saye that there nys erthly man
But, an[256] he can Bone Auenture take,
There can no fauour nor frendshyp hym forsake;
Bone Auenture may brynge you in suche case
That ye shall stonde in fauoure and in grace.
But of one thynge I werne[257] you er[258] I goo,
She that styreth the shyp, make her your frende.
Maystres, quod I, I praye you tell me why soo,
And how I maye that waye and meanes fynde.
Forsothe, quod she, how euer blowe the wynde, 110
Fortune gydeth and ruleth all oure shyppe:
Whome she hateth shall ouer the see boorde[259] skyp;
Whome she loueth, of all plesyre[260] is ryche,
Whyles she laugheth[261] and hath luste for to playe;
Whome she hateth,[262] she casteth in the dyche,
For whan she frouneth,[263] she thynketh to make a fray;
She cheryssheth[264] him, and hym she casseth[265] awaye.
Alas, quod I, how myghte I haue her sure?
In fayth, quod she, by Bone Auenture.
Thus, in a rowe, of martchauntes a grete route 120
Suwed to Fortune that she wold be theyre frynde:
They thronge in fast, and flocked her aboute;
And I with them prayed her to haue in mynde.
She promysed to vs all she wolde be kynde:
Of Bowge of Court she asketh what we wold haue;
And we asked Fauoure, and Fauour she vs gaue.

Thus endeth the Prologue; and begynneth the Bowge of Courte breuely compyled.[266]


The sayle is vp, Fortune ruleth our helme,
We wante no wynde to passe now ouer all;
Fauoure we haue tougher[267] than ony[268] elme,
That wyll abyde and neuer from vs fall: 130
But vnder hony ofte tyme lyeth bytter gall;
For, as me thoughte, in our shyppe I dyde see
Full subtyll persones, in nombre foure and thre.
The fyrste was Fauell, full of flatery,
Wyth fables false that well coude fayne a tale;
The seconde was Suspecte, whiche that dayly
Mysdempte eche man, with face deedly and pale;
And Haruy Hafter,[269] that well coude picke a male;
With other foure of theyr affynyte,
Dysdayne, Ryotte, Dyssymuler, Subtylte. 140
Fortune theyr frende, with whome oft she dyde daunce;
They coude not faile, thei thought, they were so sure;
And oftentymes I wolde myselfe auaunce
With them to make solace and pleasure;
But my dysporte they coude not well endure;
They sayde they hated for to dele with Drede.
Than Fauell gan wyth fayre speche me to fede.


Noo thynge erthely that I wonder so sore
As of your connynge, that is so excellent;
Deynte to haue with vs suche one in store, 150
So vertuously that hath his dayes spente;
Fortune to you gyftes of grace hath lente:
Loo, what it is a man to haue connynge!
All erthly tresoure it is surmountynge.
Ye be an apte man, as ony can be founde,
To dwell with vs, and serue my ladyes grace;
Ye be to her yea worth a thousande pounde;
I herde her speke of you within shorte[270] space,
Whan there were dyuerse that sore dyde you manace;
And, though I say it, I was myselfe your frende, 160
For here be dyuerse to you that be vnkynde.
But this one thynge ye maye be sure of me;
For, by that Lorde that bought dere all mankynde,
I can not flater, I muste be playne to thé;
And ye nede ought, man, shewe to me your mynde,
For ye haue me whome faythfull ye shall fynde;
Whyles I haue ought, by God, thou shalt not lacke,
And yf nede be, a bolde worde I dare cracke.
Nay, naye, be sure, whyles I am on your syde,
Ye maye not fall, truste me, ye maye not fayle; 170
Ye stonde[271] in fauoure, and Fortune is your gyde,
And, as she wyll, so shall our grete shyppe sayle:
Thyse lewde cok wattes[272] shall neuermore preuayle
Ageynste you hardely, therfore be not afrayde:
Farewell tyll soone; but no worde that I sayde.


Than thanked I hym for his grete gentylnes:
But, as me thoughte, he ware on hym a cloke,
That lyned was with doubtfull doublenes;
Me thoughte, of wordes that he had full a poke;
His stomak stuffed ofte tymes dyde reboke: 180
Suspycyon, me thoughte, mette hym at a brayde,
And I drewe nere to herke what they two sayde.
In faythe, quod Suspecte, spake Drede no worde of me?
Why, what than? wylte thou lete men to speke?
He sayth, he can not well accorde with thé.
Twyst,[273] quod Suspecte, goo playe, hym I ne reke.
By Cryste, quod Fauell, Drede is soleyne freke:
What lete vs holde him vp, man, for a whyle?
Ye soo, quod Suspecte, he maye vs bothe begyle.
And whan he came walkynge soberly, 190
Wyth whom and ha, and with a croked loke,
Me thoughte, his hede was full of gelousy,
His eyen rollynge, his hondes faste they quoke;
And to me warde the strayte waye he toke:
God spede, broder![274] to me quod he than;
And thus to talke with me he began.


Ye remembre the gentylman ryghte nowe
That commaunde[275] with you, me thought, a party space?[276]
Beware of him, for, I make God auowe,
He wyll begyle you and speke fayre to your face: 200
Ye neuer dwelte in suche an other place,
For here is none that dare well other truste;
But I wolde telle you a thynge, and I durste.
Spake he a fayth no worde to you of me?
I wote, and he dyde, ye wolde me telle.
I haue a fauoure to you, wherof it be
That I muste shewe you moche[277] of my counselle:
But I wonder what the deuyll of helle
He sayde of me, whan he with you dyde talke:
By myne auyse[278] vse not with him to walke. 210
The soueraynst thynge that ony[279] man maye haue,
Is lytyll to saye, and moche[280] to here and see;
For, but I trusted you, so God me saue,
I wolde noo thynge so playne be;
To you oonly, me thynke, I durste shryue me
For now am I plenarely dysposed
To shewe you thynges that may not be disclosed.


Than I assured hym my fydelyte,
His counseyle secrete neuer to dyscure,[281]
Yf he coude fynde in herte to truste me; 220
Els I prayed hym, with all my besy cure,
To kepe it hymselfe, for than he myghte be sure
That noo man[282] erthly coude hym bewreye,
Whyles of his mynde it were lockte with the keye.
By God, quod he, this and thus it is;
And of his mynde he shewed me all and some.
Farewell, quod he, we wyll talke more of this:
Soo he departed there he wolde be come.
I dare not speke, I promysed to be dome:
But, as I stode musynge in my mynde, 230
Haruy Hafter[283] came lepynge, lyghte as lynde.
Vpon his breste he bare a versynge boxe;
His throte was clere, and lustely coude fayne;
Me[284] thoughte, his gowne was all furred wyth foxe;
And euer he sange, Sythe I am no thynge playne.
To kepe him frome pykynge it was a grete payne:
He gased on me with his gotyshe berde;
Whan I loked on hym, my[285] purse was half aferde.


Syr, God you saue! why loke ye so sadde?
What thynge is that I maye do for you? 240
A wonder thynge that ye waxe not madde!
For, and I studye sholde as ye doo nowe,
My wytte wolde waste, I make God auowe.
Tell me your mynde: me thynke, ye make a verse;
I coude it skan,[287] and ye wolde it[288] reherse.
But to the poynte shortely to procede,
Where hathe your dwellynge ben, er ye cam here?
For, as I trowe, I haue sene you indede
Er this, whan that ye made me royall chere.
Holde vp the helme, loke vp, and lete God stere: 250
I wolde be mery, what wynde that euer blowe,
Heue and how rombelow, row the bote, Norman, rowe!
Prynces of yougthe[289] can ye synge by rote?
Or shall I sayle wyth you a felashyp assaye;
For on the booke I[290] can not synge a note.
Wolde to God, it wolde please you some daye
A balade boke before me for to laye,
And lerne me to synge, Re, my, fa, sol!
And, whan I fayle, bobbe me on the noll.
Loo, what is to you a pleasure grete, 260
To haue that connynge and wayes that ye haue!
By Goddis soule, I wonder how ye gete
Soo greate pleasyre,[291] or who to you it gaue:
Syr, pardone me, I am an homely knaue,
To be with you thus perte and thus bolde;
But ye be welcome to our housholde.
And, I dare saye, there is no man here inne
But wolde be glad of your company:
I wyste neuer man that so soone coude wynne
The fauoure that ye haue with my lady; 270
I praye to God that it maye neuer dy:
It is your fortune for to haue that grace;
As I be saued, it is a wonder case.
For, as for me, I serued here many a daye,
And yet vnneth I can haue my lyuynge:
But I requyre you no worde that I saye;
For, and I knowe ony erthly thynge
That is agayne you, ye shall haue wetynge:
And ye be welcome, syr, so God me saue:
I hope here after a frende of you to haue. 280


Wyth that, as he departed soo fro me,
Anone ther mette with him, as me thoughte,
A man, but wonderly besene was he;
He loked hawte,[292] he sette eche man at noughte;
His gawdy garment with scornnys[293] was all wrought;
With indygnacyon lyned was his hode;
He frowned, as he wolde swere by Cockes blode;
He bote the[294] lyppe, he loked passynge coye;
His face was belymmed, as byes had him stounge:
It was no tyme with him to jape nor toye; 290
Enuye hathe wasted his lyuer and his lounge,
Hatred by the herte so had hym wrounge,
That he loked pale as asshes to my syghte:
Dysdayne, I wene, this comerous crabes hyghte.[295]
To Heruy Hafter[296] than he spake of me,
And I drewe nere to harke what they two sayde.
Now, quod Dysdayne, as I shall saued be,
I haue grete scorne, and am ryghte euyll apayed.
Than quod Heruy, why arte thou so dysmayde?
By Cryste, quod he, for it is shame to saye; 300
To see Johan Dawes, that came but yester daye,
How he is now taken in conceyte,
This doctour Dawcocke, Drede, I wene, he hyghte:
By Goddis bones, but yf we haue som sleyte,
It is lyke he wyll stonde in our[297] lyghte.
By God, quod Heruy, and it so happen myghte;
Lete vs therfore shortely at a worde
Fynde some mene to caste him ouer the borde.
By Him that me boughte, than quod Dysdayne,
I wonder sore he is in suche conceyte. 310
Turde, quod Hafter,[298] I wyll thé no thynge layne,[299]
There muste for hym be layde some prety beyte;
We tweyne, I trowe, be not withoute dysceyte:
Fyrste pycke a quarell, and fall oute with hym then,
And soo outface hym with a carde of ten.
Forthwith he made on me a prowde assawte,
With scornfull[300] loke meuyd all in moode;
He wente aboute to take me in a fawte;
He frounde, he stared, he stampped where he stoode.
I lokyd on hym, I wende he had be woode. 320
He set the arme proudly vnder the syde,
And in this wyse he gan with me to chyde.


Remembrest thou what thou sayd yester nyght?
Wylt thou abyde by the wordes agayne?
By God, I haue of thé now grete dyspyte;
I shall thé angre ones in euery vayne:
It is greate scorne to see suche an hayne
As thou arte, one that cam but yesterdaye,
With vs olde seruauntes suche maysters to playe.
I tell thé, I am of countenaunce: 330
What weneste I were? I trowe, thou knowe not me.
By Goddis woundes, but for dysplesaunce,
Of my querell soone wolde I venged be:
But no force, I shall ones mete with thé;
Come whan it wyll, oppose thé I shall,
What someuer auenture therof fall.
Trowest thou, dreuyll, I saye, thou gawdy knaue,
That I haue deynte to see thé cherysshed thus?
By Goddis syde, my sworde thy berde shall shaue;
Well, ones thou shalte be chermed, I wus: 340
Naye, strawe for tales, thou shalte not rule vs;
We be thy betters, and so thou shalte vs take,
Or we shall thé oute of thy clothes shake.


Wyth that came Ryotte, russhynge all at ones,
A rusty gallande, to-ragged and to-rente;
And on the borde he whyrled a payre of bones,
Quater treye dews he clatered as he wente;
Now haue at all, by saynte Thomas of Kente!
And euer he threwe and kyst[301] I wote nere what:
His here was growen thorowe oute his hat. 350
Thenne I behelde how he dysgysed was:
His hede was heuy for watchynge ouer nyghte,
His eyen blereed, his face shone lyke a glas;
His gowne so shorte that it ne couer myghte
His rumpe, he wente so all for somer lyghte;
His hose was garded wyth a lyste of grene,
Yet at the knee they were broken, I wene.
His cote was checked[302] with patches rede and blewe;
Of Kyrkeby Kendall was his shorte demye;
And ay he sange, In fayth, decon thou crewe; 360
His elbowe bare, he ware his gere so nye;
His nose a[303] droppynge, his lyppes were full drye;
And by his syde his whynarde and his pouche,
The deuyll myghte daunce therin for ony[304] crowche.
Counter he coude O lux vpon a potte;
An[305] eestryche fedder of a capons tayle
He set vp fresshely vpon his hat alofte:
What reuell route! quod he, and gan to rayle
How ofte he hadde[306] hit Jenet on the tayle,
Of Felyce fetewse, and lytell prety Cate, 370
How ofte he knocked at her klycked gate.
What sholde I tell more of his rebaudrye?
I was ashamed so to here hym prate:
He had no pleasure but in harlotrye.
Ay, quod he, in the deuylles date,
What arte thou? I sawe thé nowe but late.
Forsothe, quod I, in this courte I dwell nowe.
Welcome, quod Ryote, I make God auowe.[307]


And, syr, in fayth why comste not vs amonge,
To make thé mery, as other felowes done? 380
Thou muste swere and stare, man, al daye longe,
And wake all nyghte, and slepe tyll it be none;
Thou mayste not studye, or muse on the mone;
This worlde is nothynge but ete, drynke, and slepe,
And thus with vs good company to kepe.
Plucke vp thyne herte vpon a mery pyne,
And lete vs laugh a placke[308] or tweyne at nale:
What the deuyll, man, myrthe was neuer one![309]
What, loo, man, see here of dyce a bale!
A brydelynge caste for that is in thy male! 390
Now haue at all that lyeth vpon the burde!
Fye on this dyce, they be not worth a turde!
Haue at the hasarde, or at the dosen browne,
Or els I[310] pas a peny to a pounde!
Now, wolde to God, thou wolde leye money downe!
Lorde, how that I wolde caste it full rounde!
Ay, in my pouche a buckell I haue founde;
The armes of Calyce, I haue no coyne nor crosse!
I am not happy, I renne ay on the losse.
Now renne muste I to the stewys syde, 400
To wete yf Malkyn, my lemman, haue gete oughte:
I lete her to hyre, that men maye on her ryde,
Her armes[311] easy ferre and nere is soughte:
By Goddis sydes; syns I her thyder broughte,
She hath gote me more money with her tayle
Than hath some shyppe that into Bordews sayle.
Had I as good an hors as she is a mare,
I durst auenture to iourney thorugh[312] Fraunce;
Who rydeth on her, he nedeth not to care,
For she is trussed for to breke a launce; 410
It is a curtel[313] that well can wynche and praunce:
To her wyll I nowe all my pouerte lege;
And, tyll I come, haue here is[314] myne hat to plege.


Gone is this knaue, this rybaude foule and leude;
He ran as fast as euer that he myghte:
Vnthryftynes[315] in hym may well be shewed,
For whome[316] Tyborne groneth both daye and nyghte.
And, as I stode and kyste[317] asyde my syghte,
Dysdayne I sawe with Dyssymulacyon
Standynge in sadde communicacion. 420
But there was poyntynge and noddynge with the hede,
And many wordes sayde in secrete wyse;
They wandred ay, and stode styll in no stede:
Me thoughte, alwaye Dyscymular dyde deuyse;
Me passynge sore myne herte than gan agryse,[318]
I dempte and drede theyr talkynge was not good.
Anone Dyscymular came where I stode.
Than in his hode I sawe there faces tweyne;
That one was lene and lyke a pyned goost,
That other loked as he wolde me haue[319] slayne; 430
And to me warde as he gan for to coost,
Whan that he was euen at me almoost,
I sawe a knyfe hyd in his one sleue,
Wheron was wryten this worde, Myscheue.
And in his other sleue, me thought, I sawe
A spone of golde, full of hony swete,
To fede a fole, and for to preue a dawe;[320]
And on that sleue these wordes were wrete,
A false abstracte cometh from a fals concrete:
His hode was syde, his cope was roset graye: 440
Thyse were the wordes that[321] he to me dyde saye.


How do ye, mayster? ye loke so soberly:
As I be saued at the dredefull daye,
It is a perylous vyce, this enuy:
Alas, a connynge man ne dwelle maye
In no place well, but foles with hym[322] fraye!
But as for that, connynge hath no foo
Saue hym that nought can, Scrypture sayth soo.
I knowe your vertu and your lytterature[323]
By that lytel connynge that I haue: 450
Ye be malygned sore, I you ensure;
But ye haue crafte your selfe alwaye to saue:
It is grete scorne to se a mysproude knaue
With a clerke that connynge is to prate:
Lete theym go lowse theym, in the deuylles date!
For all be it that this longe not to me,
Yet on my backe I bere suche lewde delynge:
Ryghte now I spake with one, I trowe, I see;
But, what, a strawe! I maye not tell all thynge.
By God, I saye there is grete herte brennynge 460
Betwene the persone ye wote of, you;[324]
Alas, I coude not dele so with a Jew![325]
I wolde eche man were as playne as I;
It is a worlde, I saye, to[326] here of some:
I hate this faynynge, fye vpon it, fye!
A man can not wote where to be come:
I wys I coude tell,[327]—but humlery, home;
I dare not speke, we be so layde awayte,
For all our courte is full of dysceyte.
Now, by saynte Fraunceys, that holy man and frere, 470
I hate these[328] wayes agayne you that they take:
Were I as you, I wolde ryde them full nere;
And, by my trouthe, but yf an ende they make,
Yet wyll I saye some wordes for your sake,
That shall them angre, I holde thereon a grote;
For some shall wene be hanged by the throte.
I haue a stoppynge oyster in my poke,
Truste me, and yf it come to a nede:
But I am lothe for to reyse a smoke,
Yf ye coude be otherwyse agrede; 480
And so I wolde it were, so God me spede,
For this maye brede to a confusyon,
Withoute God make a good conclusyon.
Naye, see where yonder stondeth the teder man!
A flaterynge knaue and false he is, God wote;
The dreuyll stondeth to herken, and he can:
It were more thryft, he boughte him a newe cote;
It will not be, his purse is not on flote:
All that he wereth, it is borowed ware;
His wytte is thynne, his hode is threde bare. 490
More coude I saye, but what this is ynowe:
Adewe tyll soone, we shall speke more of this:
Ye muste be ruled as I shall tell you howe;
Amendis maye be of that is now amys;
And I am your, syr, so haue I blys,
In[329] euery poynte that I can do or saye:
Gyue me your honde, farewell, and haue good daye.


Sodaynly, as he departed me fro,
Came pressynge in one in a wonder araye:
Er I was ware, behynde me he sayde, Bo! 500
Thenne I, astonyed of that sodeyne fraye,
Sterte all at ones, I lyked no thynge his playe;
For, yf I had not quyckely fledde the touche,
He had plucte oute the nobles of my pouche.
He was trussed in a garmente strayte:
I haue not sene suche an others page;
For he coude well vpon a casket wayte;
His hode[330] all pounsed and garded lyke a cage;
Lyghte lyme fynger, he toke none other wage.
Harken, quod he, loo here myne honde in thyne; 510
To vs welcome thou arte, by saynte Quyntyne.


But, by that Lorde that is one, two, and thre,
I haue an errande to rounde in your ere:
He tolde me so, by God, ye maye truste me,
Parte[331] remembre whan ye were there,
There I wynked on you,—wote ye not where?
In A loco, I mene juxta B:
Woo is hym that is blynde and maye not see!
But to here the subtylte and the crafte,
As I shall tell you, yf ye wyll harke agayne; 520
And, whan I sawe the horsons wolde you hafte,
To holde myne honde, by God, I had grete payne;
For forthwyth there I had him slayne,
But that I drede[332] mordre wolde come oute:
Who deleth with shrewes hath nede to loke aboute.


And as he rounded[333] thus in myne ere
Of false collusyon confetryd by assente,
Me thoughte, I see lewde felawes here and there
Came for to slee me of mortall entente;
And, as they came, the shypborde faste I hente, 530
And thoughte to lepe; and euen with that woke,
Caughte penne and ynke, and wrote[334] this lytyll boke.
I wolde therwith no man were myscontente;
Besechynge you that shall it see or rede,
In euery poynte to be indyfferente,
Syth all in substaunce of slumbrynge doth procede:
I wyll not saye it is mater in dede,
But yet oftyme suche dremes be founde trewe:
Now constrewe ye what is the resydewe.

Thus endeth the Bowge of Courte.

[232] The Bowge of Courte] From the ed. of Wynkyn de Worde, n. d., in the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh, collated with another ed. by Wynkyn de Worde, n. d., in the Public Library, Cambridge, and with Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568.

[233] trouth] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “troughte.”

[234] it] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[235] wryte] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E. “wrythe.”—Qy. “wyte” (i. e. blame)?

[236] moralyte] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C. Other eds. “mortalyte,” and “mortalitie.”

[237] dyscure] Both eds. of W. de Worde, “dysture.” Marshe’s ed, “dyscur.”

[238] I] So Marshe’s ed. Not in eds. of W. de Worde.

[239] Auysynge] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. “Aduysynge.”

[240] wryte] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “wrythe.”

[241] his] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[242] was] Marshe’s ed. “waa.”

[243] me] Eds. “my.”

[244] kyste] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., “keste.” Marshe’s ed. “kast.”

[245] lode] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[246] certeynte] So Marshe’s ed. Eds. of W. de Worde, “certeynet” and “certayne.”

[247] owner] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “awnner;” and so, perhaps, Skelton wrote: compare Elynour Rummyng, v. 609.

[248] Her] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “Here.”

[249] traues] Eds. “tranes.”

[250] clerer] Marshe’s ed. “clere.”

[251] Garder] Marshe’s ed. “Garde.” (Qy. “Gardez?”)

[252] had] So Marshe’s ed. Not in W. de Worde’s eds.

[253] Broder] Marshe’s ed. “brother.”

[254] spede] Marshe’s ed. “sped.”

[255] And] Marshe’s ed. “But.”

[256] an] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. “and.”

[257] werne] Marshe’s ed. “warne.”

[258] er] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., “or.”

[259] see boorde] Marshe’s ed. “shyp borde.”

[260] plesyre] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. “pleasure.”

[261] laugheth] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “laughed.”

[262] hateth] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “hateh.”

[263] frouneth] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “fronneth.”

[264] cherysseth] Eds. “cherysshed.”

[265] casseth] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., “casteth.” Marshe’s ed. “chasseth.”

[266] and begynneth ... compyled] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[267] tougher] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “toughther.”

[268] ony] Marshe’s ed. “any.”

[269] Hafter] Eds. “Haster.” See notes.

[270] shorte] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., “a shorte.”

[271] stonde] Marshe’s ed. “stande.”

[272] Thyse lewde cok wattes] Marshe’s ed. “These lewd cok witts.”

[273] Twyst] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., “Whist.” Marshe’s ed. “Twysshē.”

[274] spede, broder] Marshe’s ed. “sped, brother.”

[275] commaunde] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., “commened.”

[276] a party space] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C. Other eds. “a party spake.” Qy. “a praty (pretty) space?”

[277] moche] Marshe’s ed. “muche.”

[278] auyse] Marshe’s ed. “aduyse.”

[279] ony] Marshe’s ed. “any.”

[280] moche] Marshe’s ed. “muche.”

[281] dyscure] So Marshe’s ed. Eds. of W. de Worde, “dysture.”

[282] man] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “wan.”

[283] Hafter] Eds. “Haster.”

[284] Me] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “My.”

[285] my] Marshe’s ed. “me.”

[286] Hafter] Eds. “Haster.”

[287] skan] So Marshe’s ed. Eds. of W. de Worde, “stan.”

[288] it] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[289] yougthe] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C. Other eds. “youghte.”

[290] I] So Marshe’s ed. Not in eds. of W. de Worde.

[291] pleasyre] Marshe’s ed. “pleasure.”

[292] hawte] Marshe’s ed. “hawtie.”

[293] scornnys] Eds. of W. de Worde, “storunys.” Marshe’s ed. “scornes.”

[294] the] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., “his.”

[295] this comerous crabes hyghte] Eds. of W. de Worde, “his comerous carbes hyghte.” Marshe’s ed. “his comerous crabes hyghte.”

[296] Hafter] Eds. “Haster.”

[297] our] Marshe’s ed. “your.”

[298] Hafter] Eds. “Haster.”

[299] layne] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C. Other eds. “sayne.”

[300] scornfull] Marshe’s ed. “scorfull.”

[301] kyst] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., “kest.”

[302] checked] Marshe’s ed. “checkerd.”

[303] a] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[304] ony] Marshe’s ed. “any.”

[305] An] Marshe’s ed. “And.”

[306] hadde] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[307] auowe] So Marshe’s ed. Eds. of W. de Worde, “auwe.”

[308] placke] Marshe’s ed. “plucke,”—perhaps, the right reading.

[309] was neuer one] Marshe’s ed. “is here within.”

[310] I] Not in W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C.

[311] armes] So Marshe’s ed. Eds. of W. de Worde, “harmes.”

[312] thorugh] Marshe’s ed. “through.”

[313] curtel] So Marshe’s ed. Eds of W. de Worde, “curtet.”

[314] is] Not in Marshe’s ed.; but see notes.

[315] Vnthryftynes] So Marshe’s ed. Eds. of W. de Worde, “Vnthryftnes.”

[316] whome] So Marshe’s ed. Other eds. “home.”

[317] kyste] Marshe’s ed. “caste.”

[318] agryse] Eds. “aryse.” See notes.

[319] me haue] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., “haue me.”

[320] preue a dawe] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C. Other eds. “preye a dawe.”

[321] that] So Marshe’s ed. Not in other eds.

[322] hym] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C. Not in other eds.

[323] lytterature] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C. Other eds. “lytterkture.”

[324] you] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C. Other eds. “Iou.”

[325] a Jew] W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “a yew.” W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., and Marshe’s ed., “an yew.”

[326] to] So other eds. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “te.”

[327] tell] W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C., “not tell.”

[328] these] So W. de Worde’s ed. P. L. C. Other eds. “this.”

[329] In] Marshe’s ed. “To.”

[330] hode] Marshe’s ed. “body.”

[331] Parte] Qy. “Parde” (Par dieu—in sooth)?

[332] drede] So other eds. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “drde.”

[333] rounded] So other eds. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “roynded.”

[334] wrote] So other eds. W. de Worde’s ed. A. L. E., “wroth.”



Pla ce bo,
Who is there, who?
Di le xi,
Dame Margery;
Fa, re, my, my,
Wherfore and why, why?
For the sowle of Philip Sparowe,
That was late slayn at Carowe,
Among the Nones Blake,
For that swete soules sake, 10
And for all sparowes soules,
Set in our bederolles,
Pater noster qui,
With an Ave Mari,
And with the corner of a Crede,
The more shalbe your mede.
Whan I remembre agayn
How mi Philyp was slayn,
Neuer halfe the payne
Was betwene you twayne, 20
Pyramus and Thesbe,
As than befell to me:
I wept and I wayled,
The tearys downe hayled;
But nothynge it auayled
To call Phylyp agayne,
Whom Gyb our cat hath slayne.
Gib, I saye, our cat
Worrowyd her on that
Which I loued best: 30
It can not be exprest
My sorowfull heuynesse,
But all without redresse;
For within that stounde,
Halfe slumbrynge, in a sounde
I fell downe to the grounde.
Vnneth I kest myne eyes
Towarde the cloudy skyes:
But whan I dyd beholde
My sparow dead and colde, 40
No creatuer but that wolde
Haue rewed vpon me,
To behold and se
What heuynesse dyd me pange;
Wherewith my handes I wrange,
That my senaws cracked,
As though I had ben racked,
So payned and so strayned,
That no lyfe wellnye remayned.
I syghed and I sobbed, 50
For that I was robbed
Of my sparowes lyfe.
O mayden, wydow, and wyfe,
Of what estate ye be,
Of hye or lowe degre,
Great sorowe than ye myght se,
And lerne to wepe at me!
Such paynes dyd me frete,
That myne hert dyd bete,
My vysage pale and dead, 60
Wanne, and blewe as lead;
The panges of hatefull death
Wellnye had[336] stopped my breath.
Heu, heu, me,
That I am wo for thé!
Ad Dominum, cum tribularer, clamavi:
Of God nothynge els craue I
But Phyllypes soule to kepe
From the marees deepe
Of Acherontes well, 70
That is a flode of hell;
And from the great Pluto,
The prynce of endles wo;
And from foule Alecto,
With vysage blacke and blo;
And from Medusa, that mare,
That lyke a fende doth stare;
And from Megeras edders,
For[337] rufflynge of Phillips fethers,
And from her fyry sparklynges, 80
For burnynge of his wynges;
And from the smokes sowre
Of Proserpinas bowre;
And from the dennes darke,
Wher Cerberus doth barke,
Whom Theseus dyd afraye,
Whom Hercules dyd outraye,
As famous poetes say;
From[338] that hell hounde,
That lyeth in cheynes bounde, 90
With gastly hedes thre,
To Jupyter pray we
That Phyllyp preserued may be!
Amen, say ye with me!
Do mi nus,
Helpe nowe, swete Jesus!
Levavi oculos meos in montes:[339]
Wolde God I had Zenophontes,[340]
Or Socrates the wyse,
To shew me their deuyse, 100
Moderatly to take
This sorow that I make
For Phyllip Sparowes sake!
So feruently I shake,
I fele my body quake;
So vrgently I am brought
Into carefull thought.
Like Andromach,[341] Hectors wyfe,
Was wery of her lyfe,
Whan she had lost her ioye, 110
Noble Hector of Troye;
In lyke maner also
Encreaseth my dedly wo,
For my sparowe is go.
It was so prety a fole,
It wold syt[342] on a stole,
And lerned after my scole
For to kepe his cut,
With, Phyllyp, kepe your cut!
It had a veluet cap, 120
And wold syt vpon my lap,
And seke after small wormes,
And somtyme white bred crommes;
And many tymes and ofte
Betwene my brestes softe
It wolde lye and rest;
It was propre and prest.
Somtyme he wolde gaspe
Whan he sawe a waspe;
A fly or a gnat, 130
He wolde flye at that;
And prytely he wold pant
Whan he saw an ant;
Lord, how he wolde pry
After the butterfly!
Lorde, how he wolde hop
After the gressop!
And whan I sayd, Phyp, Phyp,
Than he wold lepe and skyp,
And take me by the lyp. 140
Alas, it wyll me slo,
That Phillyp is gone me fro!
Si in i qui ta tes,
Alas, I was euyll at ease!
De pro fun dis cla ma vi,
Whan I sawe my sparowe dye!
Nowe, after my dome,
Dame Sulpicia[343] at Rome,
Whose name regystred was
For euer in tables of bras, 150
Because that[344] she dyd pas
In poesy to endyte,
And eloquently[345] to wryte,
Though she wolde pretende
My sparowe to commende,
I trowe she coude not amende
Reportynge the vertues all
Of my sparowe royall.
For it wold come and go,
And fly[346] so to and fro; 160
And on me it wolde lepe
Whan I was aslepe,
And his fethers[347] shake,
Wherewith he wolde make
Me often for to wake,
And for to take him in
Vpon my naked skyn;
God wot, we thought no syn:
What though[348] he crept so lowe?
It was no hurt, I trowe, 170
He dyd nothynge perde
But syt vpon my kne:
Phyllyp, though he were nyse,
In him it was no vyse;
Phyllyp had leue to go
To pyke my lytell too;
Phillip myght be bolde
And do what he wolde;
Phillip wolde seke and take
All the flees blake 180
That he coulde there espye
With his wanton eye.
O pe ra,
La, soll, fa, fa,
Confitebor tibi, Domine, in[349] toto corde meo.
Alas, I wold ryde and go
A thousand myle of grounde!
If any such might be found,
It were worth an hundreth pound
Of kynge Cresus golde, 190
Or of Attalus[350] the olde,
The ryche prynce of Pargame,
Who so lyst the story to se.
Cadmus, that his syster sought,
And he shold be bought
For golde and fee,
He shuld ouer the see,
To wete if he coulde brynge
Any of the ofsprynge,[351]
Or any of the blode. 200
But whoso vnderstode
Of Medeas arte,
I wolde I had a parte
Of her crafty magyke!
My sparowe than shuld be quycke
With a charme or twayne,
And playe with me agayne.
But all this is in vayne
Thus for to complayne.
I toke my sampler ones, 210
Of purpose, for the nones,
To sowe with stytchis of sylke
My sparow whyte as mylke,
That by representacyon
Of his image and facyon,
To me it myght importe
Some pleasure and comforte
For my solas and sporte:
But whan I was sowing his beke,
Methought, my sparow did speke, 220
And opened[352] his prety byll,
Saynge, Mayd, ye are in wyll
Agayne me for to kyll,
Ye prycke me in the head!
With that my nedle waxed[353] red,
Methought, of Phyllyps blode;
Myne hear ryght vpstode,
And was in suche a fray,
My speche was taken away.
I kest downe that there was, 230
And sayd, Alas, alas,
How commeth this to pas?
My fyngers, dead and colde,
Coude not my sampler holde;
My nedle and threde
I threwe away for drede.
The best now that I maye,
Is for his soule to pray:
A porta inferi,
Good Lorde, haue mercy 240
Vpon my sparowes soule,
Wryten in my bederoule!
Au di vi vo cem,
Japhet, Cam, and Sem,
Ma gni fi cat,
Shewe me the ryght path
To the hylles of Armony,
Wherfore the birdes[354] yet cry
Of your fathers bote,
That was sometyme aflote, 250
And nowe they lye and rote;
Let some poetes wryte
Deucalyons flode it hyght:
But as verely as ye be
The naturall sonnes thre
Of Noe the patryarke,
That made that great arke,
Wherin he had apes and owles,
Beestes, byrdes, and foules,
That if ye can fynde 260
Any of my sparowes kynde,
God sende the soule good rest!
I wolde haue yet[355] a nest
As prety and as prest
As my sparowe was.
But my sparowe dyd pas
All sparowes of the wode
That were syns Noes flode,
Was neuer none so good;
Kynge Phylyp of Macedony 270
Had no such Phylyp as I,
No, no, syr, hardely.
That vengeaunce I aske and crye,
By way of exclamacyon,
On all the hole nacyon
Of cattes wylde and tame;
God send them sorowe and shame!
That cat specyally
That slew so cruelly
My lytell prety sparowe 280
That I brought vp at Carowe.
O cat of carlyshe[356] kynde,
The fynde was in thy mynde
Whan thou my byrde vntwynde!
I wold thou haddest ben blynde!
The leopardes sauage,
The lyons in theyr rage,
Myght catche thé in theyr pawes,
And gnawe thé in theyr iawes!
The[357] serpentes[358] of Lybany 290
Myght stynge thé venymously!
The dragones with their tonges
Might poyson thy lyuer and longes!
The mantycors of the montaynes
Myght fede them on thy braynes!
Melanchates, that hounde
That plucked Acteon to the grounde,
Gaue hym his mortall wounde,
Chaunged to a dere,
The story doth appere, 300
Was chaunged to an harte:
So thou, foule cat that thou arte,
The selfe same hounde
Myght thé confounde,
That his owne lord bote,
Myght byte asondre thy throte!
Of Inde the gredy grypes
Myght tere out all thy trypes!
Of Arcady the beares
Might plucke awaye thyne eares! 310
The wylde wolfe Lycaon
Byte asondre thy backe bone!
Of Ethna the brennynge hyll,
That day and night brenneth styl,
Set in thy tayle a blase,
That all the world may gase
And wonder vpon thé,
From Occyan the greate se
Vnto the Iles of Orchady,
From Tyllbery fery 320
To the playne of Salysbery!
So trayterously my byrde to kyll
That neuer ought thé euyll wyll!
Was neuer byrde in cage
More gentle of corage
In doynge his homage
Vnto his souerayne.
Alas, I say agayne,
Deth hath departed vs twayne!
The false cat hath thé slayne: 330
Farewell, Phyllyp, adew!
Our Lorde thy soule reskew!
Farewell without restore,
Farewell for euermore!
And it were[359] a Jewe,
It wolde make one rew,
To se my sorow new.
These vylanous false cattes
Were made for myse and rattes,
And not for byrdes smale. 340
Alas, my face waxeth pale,
Tellynge this pyteyus tale,
How my byrde so fayre,
That was wont to repayre,
And go in at my spayre,
And crepe in at my gore[360]
Of my gowne before,
Flyckerynge with his wynges!
Alas, my hert it stynges,
Remembrynge prety thynges! 350
Alas, myne hert it sleth
My Phyllyppes dolefull deth,
Whan I remembre it,
How pretely it wolde syt,
Many tymes and ofte,
Vpon my fynger aloft!
I played with him tyttell tattyll,
And fed him with my spattyl,
With his byll betwene my lippes;
It was my prety Phyppes! 360
Many a prety kusse
Had I of his[361] swete musse;
And now the cause is thus,
That he is slayne me fro,
To my great payne and wo.
Of fortune this the chaunce
Standeth on[362] varyaunce:
Oft tyme after pleasaunce
Trouble and greuaunce;
No man can be sure 370
Allway to haue pleasure:
As well perceyue ye maye
How my dysport and play
From me was taken away
By Gyb, our cat sauage,
That in a[363] furyous rage
Caught Phyllyp by the head,
And slew him there starke dead.
Kyrie, eleison,
Christe, eleison, 380
Kyrie, eleison!
For Phylyp Sparowes soule,
Set in our bederolle,
Let vs now whysper
A Pater noster.
Lauda, anima mea, Dominum!
To wepe with me loke that ye come,
All maner of byrdes in your kynd;
Se none be left behynde.
To mornynge loke that ye fall 390
With dolorous songes funerall,
Some to synge, and some to say,
Some to wepe, and some to pray,
Euery byrde in his laye.
The goldfynche, the wagtayle;
The ianglynge iay to rayle,
The fleckyd pye to chatter
Of this dolorous mater;
And robyn redbrest,
He shall be the preest 400
The requiem masse to synge,
Softly[364] warbelynge,
With helpe of the red sparow,
And the chattrynge swallow,
This herse for to halow;
The larke with his longe to;
The spynke, and the martynet also;
The shouelar with his brode bek;
The doterell, that folyshe pek,
And also the mad coote, 410
With a balde face to toote;
The feldefare, and the snyte;
The crowe, and the kyte;
The rauyn, called Rolfe,
His playne songe to solfe;
The partryche, the quayle;
The plouer with vs to wayle;
The woodhacke, that syngeth chur
Horsly, as he had the mur;
The lusty chauntyng nyghtyngale; 420
The popyngay to tell her tale,
That toteth oft in a glasse,
Shal rede the Gospell at masse;
The mauys with her whystell
Shal rede there the pystell.
But with a large and a longe
To kepe iust playne songe,
Our chaunters shalbe the cuckoue,
The culuer, the stockedowue,
With puwyt the lapwyng, 430
The versycles shall syng.
The bitter[365] with his bumpe,
The crane with his trumpe,
The swan of Menander,[366]
The gose and the gander,
The ducke and the[367] drake,
Shall watche at this wake;
The pecocke so prowde,
Bycause his voyce is lowde,
And hath a glorious tayle, 440
He shall syng the grayle;
The owle, that is[368] so foule,
Must helpe vs to houle;
The heron so gaunce,[369]
And the cormoraunce,[370]
With the fesaunte,
And the gaglynge gaunte,
And the churlysshe chowgh;
The route and the kowgh;[371]
The barnacle, the bussarde, 450
With the wilde[372] mallarde;
The dyuendop to slepe;
The water hen[373] to wepe;
The puffin[374] and the tele
Money they shall dele
To poore folke at large,
That shall be theyr charge;
The semewe and the tytmose;
The wodcocke with the longe nose;
The threstyl with her warblyng; 460
The starlyng with her brablyng;
The roke, with the ospraye
That putteth fysshes to a fraye;
And the denty curlewe,
With the turtyll most trew.
At this Placebo
We may not well forgo
The countrynge of the coe:
The storke also,
That maketh his nest 470
In chymneyes to rest;
Within those walles
No[375] broken galles
May there abyde
Of cokoldry syde,
Or els phylosophy
Maketh a great lye.
The estryge, that wyll eate
An horshowe so great,
In the stede of meate, 480
Such feruent heat
His stomake doth freat;[376]
He can not well fly,
Nor synge tunably,
Yet at a brayde
He hath well assayde
To solfe aboue ela,
Ga,[377] lorell, fa, fa;
Ne quando
Male cantando490
The best that we can,
To make hym our belman,
And let hym ryng the bellys;
He can do nothyng ellys.
Chaunteclere, our coke,
Must tell what is of the clocke
By the astrology
That he hath naturally
Conceyued and cought,[378]
And was neuer tought[379] 500
By Albumazer
The astronomer,
Nor by Ptholomy
Prince of astronomy,
Nor yet by Haly;
And yet he croweth dayly
And nightly[380] the tydes
That no man abydes,
With Partlot his hen,
Whom now and then 510
Hee plucketh by the hede
Whan he doth her trede.
The byrde of Araby,
That potencyally
May neuer dye,
And yet there is none
But one alone;
A phenex it is
This herse that must blys
With armatycke gummes 520
That cost great summes,[381]
The way of thurifycation
To make a[382] fumigation,
Swete of reflary,[383]
And redolent of eyre,[384]
This corse for to[385] sence
With greate reuerence,
As patryarke or pope
In a blacke cope;
Whyles[386] he senseth [the herse], 530
He shall synge the verse,
Libera me,
In de, la, soll, re,
Softly bemole
For my sparowes soule.
Plinni sheweth all
In his story naturall
What he doth fynde
Of the phenyx kynde;
Of whose incyneracyon 540
There ryseth a new creacyon
Of the same facyon
Without alteracyon,
Sauyng that olde age
Is turned into corage
Of fresshe youth agayne;
This matter trew and playne,
Playne matter indede,
Who so lyst to rede.
But for the egle doth flye 550
Hyest in the skye,
He shall be the[387] sedeane,
The quere to demeane,
As prouost pryncypall,
To teach them theyr ordynall;
Also the noble fawcon,
With the gerfawcon,[388]
The tarsell gentyll,
They shall morne soft and styll
In theyr amysse of gray; 560
The sacre with them shall say
Dirige for Phyllyppes soule;
The goshauke shall haue a role
The queresters to controll;
The lanners and the[389] marlyons
Shall stand in their morning gounes;
The hobby and the muskette
The sensers and the crosse shall fet;
The kestrell in all this warke
Shall be holy water[390] clarke. 570
And now the darke cloudy nyght
Chaseth away Phebus bryght,
Taking his course toward the west,
God sende my sparoes sole good rest!
Requiem æternam dona eis,[391] Domine!
Fa, fa, fa, my, re, re,[392]
A por ta in fe ri,
Fa, fa, fa, my, my.
Credo videre bona Domini,
I pray God, Phillip to heuen may fly! 580
Domine, exaudi orationem meam!
To heuen he shall, from heuen he cam!
Do mi nus vo bis cum!
Of al good praiers God send him sum!
Deus, cui proprium est misereri et parcere,
On Phillips soule haue pyte!
For he was a prety cocke,
And came of a gentyll stocke,
And wrapt in a maidenes smocke, 590
And cherysshed full dayntely,
Tyll[393] cruell fate made him to dy:
Alas, for dolefull desteny![394]
But whereto shuld I
Lenger morne or crye?
To Jupyter I call,
Of heuen emperyall,
That Phyllyp may fly
Aboue the starry sky,
To treade the prety wren, 600
That is our Ladyes hen:
Amen, amen, amen!
Yet one thynge is behynde,
That now commeth to mynde;[395]
An epytaphe I wold haue
For Phyllyppes graue:
But for I am a mayde,
Tymerous, halfe afrayde,
That neuer yet asayde
Of Elyconys well, 610
Where the Muses dwell;
Though I can rede and spell,
Recounte, reporte, and tell
Of the Tales of Caunterbury,
Some sad storyes, some mery;
As Palamon and Arcet,
Duke Theseus, and Partelet;
And of the Wyfe of Bath,
That[396] worketh moch scath
Whan her tale is tolde 620
Amonge huswyues bolde,
How she controlde
Her husbandes as she wolde,
And them to despyse
In the homylyest wyse,
Brynge other wyues in thought
Their husbandes to set at nought:
And though that rede haue I
Of Gawen and syr Guy,
And tell can a great pece 630
Of the Golden Flece,
How Jason it wan,
Lyke a valyaunt man;
Of Arturs rounde table,
With his knightes commendable,
And dame Gaynour, his quene,
Was somwhat wanton, I wene;
How syr Launcelote de Lake
Many a spere brake
For his ladyes sake; 640
Of Trystram, and kynge Marke,
And al the hole warke
Of Bele Isold his wyfe,
For whom was moch stryfe;
Some say she was lyght,
And made her husband knyght
Of the comyne[397] hall,
That cuckoldes men call;
And of syr Lybius,
Named Dysconius; 650
Of Quater Fylz Amund,[398]
And how they were sommonde
To Rome, to Charlemayne,
Vpon a great payne,
And how they rode eche one
On Bayarde Mountalbon;
Men se hym now and then[399]
In the forest of[400] Arden:
What though[401] I can frame
The storyes by name 660
Of Judas Machabeus,
And of Cesar Julious;
And of the loue betwene
Paris and Vyene;
And of the duke Hannyball,[402]
That[403] made the Romaynes all
Fordrede and to quake;
How Scipion dyd wake
The cytye of Cartage,
Which by his vnmerciful[404] rage 670
He bete downe to the grounde:
And though I can expounde
Of Hector of Troye,
That was all theyr ioye,
Whom Achylles slew,
Wherfore all Troy dyd rew;
And of the loue so hote
That made Troylus to dote
Vpon fayre Cressyde,
And what they wrote and sayd, 680
And of theyr wanton wylles
Pandaer bare the bylles
From one to the other;
His maisters loue to further,
Somtyme a presyous thyng,
An ouche, or els a ryng;
From her to hym agayn
Somtyme a prety chayn,
Or a bracelet of her here,
Prayd Troylus for to were 690
That token for her sake;
How hartely he dyd it take,
And moche therof dyd make;
And all that was in vayne,
For she dyd but fayne;
The story telleth playne,
He coulde not optayne,
Though his father were a kyng,
Yet there was a thyng
That made the[405] male to wryng; 700
She made hym to syng
The song of louers lay;
Musyng nyght and day,
Mournyng all alone,
Comfort had he none,
For she was quyte gone;
Thus in conclusyon,
She brought him in abusyon;
In ernest and in game
She was moch to blame; 710
Disparaged is her fame,
And blemysshed is her name,
In maner half with shame;
Troylus also hath lost
On her moch loue and cost,
And now must kys the post;
Pandara, that went betwene,
Hath won nothing, I wene,
But lyght for somer grene;
Yet for a speciall laud 720
He is named Troylus baud,
Of that name he is sure
Whyles the world shall dure:
Though I remembre the fable
Of Penelope most stable,
To her husband most trew,
Yet long tyme she ne knew
Whether he were on lyue or ded;
Her wyt stood her in sted,
That she was true and iust 730
For any bodely lust
To Ulixes her make,
And neuer wold him forsake:
Of Marcus Marcellus
A proces I could tell vs;
And of Anteocus;
And of Josephus
De Antiquitatibus;
And of Mardocheus,
And of great Assuerus, 740
And of Vesca his queene,
Whom he forsoke with teene,
And of Hester his other wyfe,
With whom he ledd a plesaunt life;
Of kyng Alexander;
And of kyng Euander;
And of Porcena the great,
That made the Romayns to sweat:[406]
Though I haue enrold
A thousand new and old 750
Of these historious tales,
To fyll bougets and males
With bokes that I haue red,
Yet I am nothyng sped,
And can but lytell skyll
Of Ouyd or Virgyll,
Or of Plutharke,
Or[407] Frauncys Petrarke,
Alcheus or Sapho,
Or such other poetes mo, 760
As Linus and Homerus,
Euphorion and Theocritus,
Anacreon and Arion,
Sophocles and Philemon,
Pyndarus and Symonides,[408]
Philistion[409] and Phorocides;
These poetes of auncyente,
They ar to diffuse for me:
For, as I tofore haue sayd,
I am but a yong mayd, 770
And cannot in effect
My style as yet direct
With Englysh wordes elect:[410]
Our naturall tong is rude,
And hard to be enneude
With pullysshed termes lusty;
Our language is so rusty,
So cankered, and so full
Of frowardes, and so dull,
That if I wolde apply 780
To wryte ornatly,[411]
I wot not where to fynd
Termes to serue my mynde.
Gowers Englysh is olde,
And of no value told;[412]
His mater is worth gold,
And worthy to be enrold.
In Chauser I am sped,
His tales I haue red:
His mater is delectable, 790
Solacious, and commendable;
His Englysh well alowed,
So as it is enprowed,
For as it is enployd,
There is no Englysh voyd,
At those dayes moch commended,
And now men wold haue amended
His Englysh, whereat they barke,
And mar all they warke:
Chaucer, that famus clerke, 800
His termes were not darke,
But plesaunt, easy, and playne;
No[413] worde he wrote in vayne.
Also Johnn Lydgate
Wryteth after an hyer rate;
It is dyffuse to fynde
The sentence of his mynde,
Yet wryteth he in his kynd,
No man that can amend
Those maters that he hath pende; 810
Yet some men fynde a faute,
And say he wryteth to haute.
Wherfore hold me excused
If I haue not well perused
Myne Englyssh halfe abused;
Though it be refused,
In worth I shall it take,
And fewer wordes make.
But, for my sparowes sake,
Yet as a woman may, 820
My wyt I shall assay
An epytaphe to wryght
In Latyne playne and lyght,
Wherof the elegy
Foloweth by and by:
Flos volucrum[414] formose, vale!
Philippe, sub isto
Marmore jam recubas,
Qui mihi carus eras.
Semper erunt nitido 830
Radiantia sidera cœlo;
Impressusque meo
Pectore semper eris.
Per me laurigerum
Britonum Skeltonida vatem
Hæc cecinisse licet
Ficta sub imagine texta.
Cujus eras[415] volucris,
Præstanti corpore virgo:
Candida Nais erat, 840
Formosior ista Joanna est;
Docta Corinna fuit,
Sed magis ista sapit.
Bien men souient.


Beati im ma cu la ti in via,
O gloriosa fœmina!
Now myne hole imaginacion
And studyous medytacion
Is to take this commendacyon
In this consyderacion; 850
And vnder pacyent tolleracyon
Of that most goodly[416] mayd
That Placebo hath sayd,
And for her sparow prayd
In lamentable wyse,
Now wyll I enterpryse,
Thorow the grace dyuyne
Of the Muses nyne,
Her beautye to commende,
If Arethusa wyll send 860
Me enfluence to endyte,
And with my pen to wryte;
If Apollo wyll promyse
Melodyously it to[417] deuyse
His tunable harpe stryngges
With armony that synges
Of princes and of kynges
And of all pleasaunt thynges,
Of lust and of delyght,
Thorow his godly myght; 870
To whom be the laude ascrybed
That my pen hath enbybed
With the aureat droppes,
As verely my hope is,
Of Thagus, that golden flod,
That passeth all[418] erthly good;
And as that flode doth pas
Al floodes that euer was
With his golden sandes,
Who so that vnderstandes 880
Cosmography, and the stremys
And the floodes in straunge remes,
Ryght so she doth excede
All other of whom we rede,
Whose fame by me shall sprede
Into Perce and Mede,
From Brytons Albion
To[419] the Towre of Babilon.
I trust it is no shame,
And no man wyll me blame, 890
Though I regester her name
In the courte of Fame;
For this most goodly floure,
This blossome of fresshe coulour,
So Jupiter me socour,
She floryssheth new and new
In bewte and vertew:
Hac claritate gemina
O gloriosa fœmina,
Retribue servo tuo, vivifica me! 900
Labia mea laudabunt te.
But enforsed am I
Openly to askry,
And to make an[420] outcri
Against odyous Enui,
That euermore wil ly,
And say cursedly;
With his ledder ey,
And chekes dry;
With vysage wan, 910
As swarte[421] as tan;
His bones crake,
Leane as a rake;
His gummes rusty
Are full vnlusty;
Hys herte withall
Bytter as gall;
His lyuer, his longe[422]
With anger is wronge;
His serpentes tonge 920
That many one hath stonge;
He frowneth euer;
He laugheth neuer,
Euen nor morow,
But other mennes sorow
Causeth him to gryn
And reioyce therin;
No slepe can him catch,
But euer doth watch,
He is so bete 930
With malyce, and frete
With angre and yre,
His foule desyre
Wyll suffre no slepe
In his hed to crepe;
His foule[423] semblaunt
All displeasaunte;[424]
Whan other ar glad,
Than is he sad;
Frantyke and mad; 940
His tong neuer styll
For to say yll,
Wrythyng and wringyng,
Bytyng and styngyng;
And thus this elf
Consumeth himself,
Hymself doth slo
Wyth payne and wo.
This fals Enuy
Sayth that I 950
Vse great folly
For to endyte,
And for to wryte,
And spend my tyme
In prose and ryme,
For to expres
The noblenes
Of my maistres,
That causeth me
Studious to be 960
To[425] make a relation
Of her commendation;
And there agayne
Enuy doth complayne,
And hath disdayne;
But yet certayne
I wyll be[426] playne,
And my style dres
To this prosses.
Now Phebus me ken 970
To sharpe my pen,
And lede my fyst
As hym best lyst,
That I may say
Honour alway
Of womankynd!
Trouth doth me bynd
And loyalte
Euer to be
Their true bedell, 980
To wryte and tell
How women excell
In noblenes;
As my maistres,
Of whom I thynk
With pen and ynk
For to compyle
Some goodly[427] style;
For this most goodly[428] floure,
This blossome of fresh coloure, 990
So Jupyter me socoure,
She flourissheth new and new
In beaute and vertew:
Hac claritate gemina
O gloriosa fœmina,
Legem pone mihi, domina,[429] in viam justificationum tuarum!
Quemadmodum desiderat cervus ad fontes aquarum.
How shall I report
All the goodly sort
Of her fetures clere, 1000
That hath non erthly pere?
Her[430] fauour of her face
Ennewed all with[431] grace,
Confort, pleasure, and solace,
Myne hert doth so enbrace,
And so hath rauyshed me
Her to behold and se,
That in wordes playne
I cannot me refrayne
To loke on[432] her agayne: 1010
Alas, what shuld I fayne?
It wer a plesaunt payne
With her aye to remayne.
Her eyen gray and stepe
Causeth myne hert to lepe;
With her browes bent
She may well represent
Fayre Lucres, as I wene,
Or els fayre Polexene,
Or els Caliope, 1020
Or els Penolope;
For this most goodly floure,
This blossome of fresshe coloure,
So Jupiter me socoure,
She florisheth new and new
In beautye and vertew:
Hac claritate gemina
O gloriosa fœmina,
Memor esto verbi tui servo tuo!
Servus tuus sum ego. 1030
The Indy saphyre blew
Her vaynes doth ennew;
The orient perle so clere,
The whytnesse of her lere;
The[433] lusty ruby ruddes
Resemble the rose buddes;
Her lyppes soft and mery
Emblomed lyke the chery,
It were an heuenly blysse
Her sugred mouth to kysse. 1040
Her beautye to augment,
Dame Nature hath her lent
A warte vpon her cheke,
Who so lyst to seke
In her vysage a skar,
That semyth from afar
Lyke to the radyant star,
All with fauour fret,
So properly it is set:
She is the vyolet, 1050
The daysy delectable,
The columbine[434] commendable,
The[435] ielofer amyable;
[For][436] this most goodly floure,
This blossom of fressh colour,
So Jupiter me succour,
She florysheth new and new
In beaute and vertew:
Hac claritate gemina
O gloriosa fœmina, 1060
Bonitatem fecisti cum servo tuo, domina,
Et ex præcordiis sonant præconia!
And whan I perceyued
Her wart and conceyued,
It cannot be denayd
But it was well conuayd,
And set so womanly,
And nothynge wantonly,
But ryght conuenyently,
And full congruently, 1070
As Nature cold deuyse,
In most goodly wyse;
Who so lyst beholde,
It makethe louers bolde
To her to sewe for grace,
Her fauoure to purchase;
The sker upon her chyn,
Enhached[437] on her fayre skyn,
Whyter than the swan,
It wold make any man 1080
To forget deadly syn
Her fauour to wyn;
For this most goodly[438] floure,
This blossom of fressh coloure,
So Jupiter me socoure,
She flouryssheth new and new
In beaute and vertew:
Hac claritate gemina
O gloriosa fœmina,
Defecit in salutatione tua[439] anima mea; 1090
Quid petis filio, mater dulcissima? babæ![440]
Soft, and make no dyn,
For now I wyll begyn
To haue[441] in remembraunce
Her goodly dalyaunce,
And her goodly pastaunce:
So sad and so demure,
Behauynge her so sure,
With wordes of pleasure
She wold make to the lure 1100
And any man conuert
To gyue her his hole hert.
She made me sore amased
Vpon her whan I gased,
Me thought min hert was crased,
My eyne were so dased;
For this most goodly flour,
This[442] blossom of fressh colour,
So Jupyter me socour,
She flouryssheth new and new 1110
In beauty and vertew:
Hac claritate gemina
O gloriosa fœmina,
Quomodo dilexi legem tuam, domina!
Recedant vetera, nova sint[443] omnia.
And to amende her tale,
Whan she lyst to auale,
And with her fyngers smale,
And handes soft as sylke,
Whyter than the[444] mylke, 1120
That are so quyckely vayned,
Wherwyth my hand she strayned,
Lorde, how I was payned!
Vnneth I me refrayned,
How she me had reclaymed,
And me to her retayned,
Enbrasynge therwithall
Her goodly[445] myddell small
With sydes longe and streyte;
To tell you what conceyte 1130
I had than in a tryce,
The matter were to nyse,
And yet there was no vyce,
Nor yet no villany,
But only fantasy;
For this most goodly floure,
This[446] blossom of fressh coloure,
So Jupiter me succoure,
She floryssheth new and new
In beaute and vertew: 1140
Hac claritate gemina
O gloriosa fœmina,
Iniquos odio habui!
Non calumnientur me superbi.
But whereto shulde I note
How often dyd I tote
Vpon her prety fote?
It raysed myne hert rote
To se her treade the grounde
With heles short and rounde. 1150
She is playnly expresse
Egeria, the goddesse,
And lyke to her image,
Emportured with corage,
A louers pylgrimage;
Ther is no beest sauage,
Ne no tyger so wood,
But she wolde chaunge his mood,
Such relucent grace
Is formed in her face; 1160
For this most goodly floure,
This blossome of fresshe coloure,
So Jupiter me succour,
She flouryssheth new and new
In beaute and vertew:
Hac claritate gemina
O gloriosa fœmina,
Mirabilia testimonia tua!
Sicut novellæ plantationes in juventute sua.
So goodly as she dresses, 1170
So properly[447] she presses
The bryght golden tresses
Of her heer so fyne,
Lyke Phebus beames shyne.
Wherto shuld I disclose
The garterynge of her hose?
It is for to suppose
How that she can were
Gorgiously her gere;
Her fresshe habylementes 1180
With other implementes
To serue for all ententes,
Lyke dame Flora, quene
Of lusty somer grene;
For[448] this most goodly floure,
This blossom of fressh coloure,
So Jupiter me socoure,
She florisheth new and new
In beautye and vertew:
Hac claritate gemina 1190
O gloriosa fœmina,
Clamavi in toto corde, exaudi me!
Misericordia tua magna est super me.
Her kyrtell so goodly lased,
And vnder that is brased
Such plasures that I may
Neyther wryte nor say;
Yet though I wryte not with ynke,
No man can let me thynke,
For thought hath lyberte, 1200
Thought is franke and fre;
To thynke a mery thought
It cost me lytell nor[449] nought.
Wolde God myne homely style
Were pullysshed with the fyle
Of Ciceros eloquence,
To prase her excellence!
For this[450] most goodly floure,
This[451] blossome of fressh coloure,
So Jupiter me succoure, 1210
She flouryssheth new and new
In beaute and vertew:
Hac claritate gemina
O gloriosa fœmina,
Principes persecuti sunt me gratis!
Omnibus consideratis,
Paradisus voluptatis
Hæc virgo est dulcissima.
My pen it is vnable,
My hand it is vnstable, 1220
My reson rude and dull
To prayse her at the full;
Goodly maystres Jane,
Sobre, demure Dyane;
Jane this maystres hyght
The lode star[452] of delyght,
Dame Venus of all pleasure,
The well of worldly treasure;
She doth excede and pas
In prudence dame Pallas; 1230
[For][453] this[454] most goodly floure,
This blossome of fresshe colour,
So Jupiter me socoure,
She floryssheth new and new
In beaute and vertew:
Hac claritate gemina
O gloriosa fœmina!
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine!
With this psalme, Domine, probasti me,
Shall sayle ouer the see, 1240
With Tibi, Domine, commendamus,
On pylgrimage[455] to saynt Jamys,
For shrympes, and for pranys,
And for stalkynge[456] cranys;
And where my pen hath offendyd,
I pray you it may be amendyd
By discrete consyderacyon
Of your wyse reformacyon;
I haue not offended, I trust,
If it be sadly dyscust. 1250
It were no gentle gyse
This treatyse to despyse
Because I haue wrytten and sayd
Honour of this fayre mayd;
Wherefore shulde I be blamed,
That I Jane haue[457] named,
And famously proclamed?
She is worthy to be enrolde
With letters of golde.
Car elle vault. 1260
Per me laurigerum Britonum Skeltonida vatem[458]
Laudibus eximiis merito hæc redimita puella est:
Formosam cecini,[459] qua non formosior ulla est;
Formosam potius quam commendaret Homerus.
Sic juvat interdum rigidos recreare labores,
Nec minus hoc titulo tersa Minerva mea est.
Rien que playsere.

Thus endeth the boke of Philip Sparow, and here foloweth an adicyon made by maister Skelton.

The gyse now a dayes
Of some ianglynge iayes
Is to discommende 1270
That they cannot amend,
Though they wold spend
All the wyttes they haue.
What ayle them to depraue
Phillip Sparowes graue?
His Dirige, her Commendacyon
Can be no derogacyon,
But myrth and consolacyon
Made by protestacyon,
No man to myscontent 1280
With Phillyppes enterement.
Alas, that goodly mayd,
Why shuld she be afrayde?
Why shuld she take shame
That her goodly name,
Honorably reported,
Sholde be set and sorted,
To be matriculate
With ladyes of estate?
I coniure thé, Phillip Sparow, 1290
By Hercules that hell dyd harow,
And with a venemous arow
Slew of the Epidaures
One of the Centaures,
Or Onocentaures,
Or Hipocentaures;[460]
By whose myght and mayne
An hart was slayne
With hornes twayne
Of glytteryng gold; 1300
And the appels of gold
Of Hesperides withhold,
And with a dragon kept
That neuer more slept,
By marcyall strength
He wan at length;
And slew Gerion
With thre bodyes in one;
With myghty corage
Adauntid[461] the rage 1310
Of a lyon sauage;
Of Dyomedes stable
He brought out a rable
Of coursers and rounses
With leapes and bounses;
And with mighty luggyng,
Wrestlyng and tuggyng,
He plucked the bull
By the horned skull,
And offred to Cornucopia; 1320
And so forth per cetera:
Also by Ecates bower
In Plutos[462] gastly tower;
By the vgly Eumenides,
That neuer haue rest nor ease;
By the venemous serpent,
That in hell is neuer brent,
In Lerna the Grekes fen,
That was engendred then;
By Chemeras flames, 1330
And all the dedly names
Of infernall posty,
Where soules frye and rosty;[463]
By the Stygyall flood,
And the streames wood
Of Cocitus botumles well;
By the feryman of hell,
Caron with his beerd hore,
That roweth with a rude ore
And with his frownsid[464] fore top 1340
Gydeth his bote with a prop:
I coniure[465] Phylyp, and call
In the name of kyng Saul;
Primo Regum expresse,
He bad[466] the Phitonesse
To wytchcraft her to dresse,
And by her abusyons,
And dampnable illusyons
Of marueylus conclusyons,
And by her supersticyons, 1350
And wonderfull condityons,
She raysed vp in that stede
Samuell that was dede;
But whether it were so,
He were idem in numero,
The selfe same Samuell,
How be it to Saull dyd he tell
The Philistinis shuld hym ascry,
And the next day he shuld dye,
I wyll my selfe dyscharge 1360
To lettred men at large:
But, Phylyp, I coniure thee
Now by these names thre,
Diana in the woodes grene,
Luna that so bryght doth shene,[467]
Procerpina in hell,
That thou shortly tell,
And shew now vnto me
What the cause may be
Of this perplexite! 1370
Inferias,[468] Philippe, tuas[469] Scroupe pulchra Joanna
Instanter petiit:[470] cur nostri carminis illam
Nunc pudet?[471] est sero; minor est infamia vero.
Than suche as haue disdayned
And of this worke complayned,
I pray God they be payned
No worse than is contayned
In verses two or thre
That folowe as you[472] may se.
Luride, cur, livor, volucris pia funera damnas? 1380
Talia te rapiant rapiunt quæ fata volucrem![473]
Est tamen invidia mors tibi continua.

[335] Here after, &c.] From the ed. by Kele, n. d., collated with that by Kitson, n. d. (which in some copies is said to be printed by Weale), and with Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568.

[336] had] Not in other eds.

[337] For] Other eds. “From.”

[338] From] Eds. “For.”

[339] montes] Marshe’s ed. “montis.”

[340] Zenophontes] Other eds. “Zenophontis.”

[341] Andromach] Marshe’s ed. “Andromaca.”

[342] syt] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “set;” but see fifth line after.

[343] Sulpicia] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “Sulspicia.”

[344] that] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[345] eloquently] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “eloquenly.”

[346] fly] Other eds. “fle.”

[347] fethers] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “fether.”

[348] though] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “thought.”

[349] in] Not in other eds.

[350] Attalus] Eds. “Artalus.”

[351] ofsprynge] Other eds. “sprynge.”

[352] opened] Marshe’s ed. “open.”

[353] waxed] Marshe’s ed. “ware.”

[354] birdes] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “bordes,” which, perhaps, is the right reading. See notes.

[355] haue yet] Other eds. “yet haue.”

[356] carlyshe] Other eds. “churlyshe.”

[357] The] Eds. “These.”

[358] serpentes] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “serpens.”

[359] were] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “where.”


And go in at my spayre,
And crepe in at my gore

Kitson’s ed.;

And often at my spayre
And gape in at my gore.”

[361] his] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “this.”

[362] on] Marshe’s ed. “an.”

[363] a] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[364] Softly] Marshe’s ed. “Loftly.”

[365] bitter] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “better.”

[366] Menander] See notes.

[367] the] So other eds. Not in Kele’s ed.

[368] is] Not in other eds.

[369] gaunce] Other eds. “gaunte.”

[370] cormoraunce] Other eds. “cormoraunte.”

[371] The route and the kowgh] See notes.

[372] wilde] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “wynde.”

[373] water hen] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “wather hen.”

[374] puffin] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “pussyn.”

[375] No] Kitson’s ed. “Nor.”

[376] doth freat] So Marshe’s ed. Other eds. “so great.”

[377] Ga] Marshe’s ed. “Fa.”

[378] cought] Other eds. “caught.”

[379] tought] Other eds. “taught.”

[380] nightly] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “nyghly.”

[381] summes] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “sumes.”

[382] a] Not in other eds.

[383] reflary] Qy. “reflayre?”

[384] eyre] Other eds. “ayre.”

[385] to] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[386] Whyles, &c.] So, perhaps, Skelton wrote: the line is imperfect in eds.

[387] the] Eds. “thye” and “thy.”

[388] gerfawcon] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “grefawcon.”

[389] the] Not in other eds.

[390] holy water] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “holy wather.”

[391] eis] I may just notice that here Skelton quotes literatim the Off. Defunct.

[392] re] So Kitson’s ed. Not in other eds.

[393] Tyll] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “Thyll.”

[394] desteny] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “destey.”

[395] to mynde] Kitson’s ed. “to mi mynde.”

[396] That] So Marshe’s ed. Other eds. “Thay” and “They.”

[397] comyne] Other eds. “commen” and “common.”

[398] Amund] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “Emund.”

[399] then] So Marshe’s ed. Other eds. “than.”

[400] of] Not in other eds.

[401] though] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “thought.”

[402] Hannyball] Other eds. “of Hannyball.”

[403] That] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “What.”

[404] unmerciful] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “mercyfull.”

[405] the] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “tha.”

[406] sweat] Eds. “smart.”

[407] Or] Kitson’s ed. “Or of.”

[408] Symonides] Eds. “Dymonides.”

[409] Philistion] Marshe’s ed. “Philiston.”

[410] elect] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “clere.”

[411] ornatly] Other eds. “ordinately.”

[412] told] Other eds. “is tolde.”

[413] No] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “Ne.”

[414] Flos volucrum, &c.] So these lines (each one cut into two) are given in the eds.

[415] eras] Eds. “eris.”

[416] goodly] Other eds. “godly.”

[417] it to] Qy. “to it?

[418] all] Other eds. “all the.”

[419] To] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “Bo.”

[420] an] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “a.”

[421] swarte] So Marshe’s ed. Other eds. “wart” and “warte.”

[422] longe] Other eds. “longes.”

[423] foule] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “feule.”

[424] displeasaunte] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “displseaunt.”

[425] To] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “Bo.”

[426] be] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “me.”

[427] goodly] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “godly.”

[428] goodly] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “gooly.”

[429] domina] Eds. “domine,” but afterwards, in similar passages, v. 1061, 1114, “domina.”

[430] Her] Qy. “The?”

[431] all with] Other eds. “with al.”

[432] on] Marshe’s ed. “to.”

[433] The] Qy. “Her?”

[434] columbine] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “calumbyn.”

[435] The] Eds. “This.”

[436] [For]] Compare vv. 989, 1022, 1083, 1107, &c.

[437] Enhached] The editor of 1736 chose to print “Enchased.”

[438] goodly] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “godly.”

[439] salutatione tua] Eds. “salutare tuum” and “salutate tuum.”

[440] babæ] Eds. “ba ba.”

[441] haue] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “heue.”

[442] This] Other eds. “The.”

[443] sint] Other eds. “sunt.”

[444] the] Not in other eds.

[445] goodly] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “godly.”

[446] This] Eds. “The:” but see the frequent repetition of the passage.

[447] properly] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “propeeyly.”

[448] For] Not in other eds.

[449] nor] Other eds. “or.”

[450] For this] Other eds. “The.”

[451] This] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “Thus.”

[452] star] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “stare.”

[453] [For]] See note, ante, p. 83.

[454] this] Other eds. “the.”

[455] pilgrimage] Marshe’s ed. “pilgrimages.”

[456] stalkynge] So other eds. Kele’s ed. “stalke.”

[457] haue] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[458] vatem] Eds. “latem.”

[459] cecini] Eds. “pocecini.”

[460] Hipocentaures] Eds. “Hipocentaurius.”

[461] Adauntid] So our author in The Garlande of Laurell, where he cites this “Adycion.” Eds. “Auaunted.”

[462] Plutos] So in The Garlande of Laurell. Eds. “Plutus.”

[463] rosty] So Marshe’s ed. Other eds. “rousty.”

[464] frownsid] Supplied by The Garlande of Laurell. Not in eds.

[465] coniure] Qy. “coniure thé?” as before and after.

[466] bad] So in The Garlande of Laurell. Eds. “had.”

[467] shene] So in The Garlande of Laurell. Eds. “shyne.”

[468] Inferias] So ibid. Eds. “Infera” and “Inferia.”

[469] tuas] So ibid. Not in eds.

[470] petiit] Other eds. “persit.”

[471] pudet] Other eds. “puder.”

[472] you] Other eds. “ye.”

[473] volucrem] Other eds. “volucrum.”



Tell you I chyll,
If that ye wyll
A whyle be styll,
Of a comely gyll
That dwelt on a hyll:
But she is not gryll,
For she is somwhat sage
And well worne in age;
For her vysage
It would aswage 10
A mannes courage.
Her lothely lere
Is nothynge clere,
But vgly of chere,
Droupy and drowsy,
Scuruy and lowsy;
Her face all bowsy,
Comely crynklyd,
Woundersly wrynkled,
Lyke a rost pygges eare, 20
Brystled wyth here.
Her lewde lyppes twayne,
They slauer, men sayne,
Lyke a ropy rayne,
A gummy glayre:
She is vgly fayre;
Her nose somdele hoked,
And camously croked,
Neuer stoppynge,
But euer droppynge; 30
Her skynne lose and slacke,
Grained[475] lyke a sacke;
With a croked backe.
Her eyen gowndy
Are full vnsowndy,
For they are blered;
And she gray hered;
Jawed lyke a jetty;
A man would haue pytty
To se how she is gumbed, 40
Fyngered and thumbed,
Gently ioynted,
Gresed and annoynted
Vp to the knockels;
The bones [of] her huckels[476]
Lyke as they were with buckels[477]
Togyther made fast:
Her youth is farre past:
Foted lyke a plane,
Legged[478] lyke a crane; 50
And yet she wyll iet,
Lyke a iolly fet,[479]
In her furred flocket,
And gray russet rocket,
With symper the cocket.
Her huke of Lyncole grene,
It had ben hers, I wene,
More then fourty yere;
And so doth it[480] apere,
For[481] the grene bare thredes 60
Loke lyke sere wedes,
Wyddered lyke hay,
The woll worne away;
And yet I dare saye
She thynketh herselfe gaye
Vpon the holy daye,
Whan she doth her aray,
And gyrdeth in her gytes[482]
Stytched and pranked with pletes;[483]
Her kyrtel Brystow red, 70
With clothes vpon her hed
That wey[484] a sowe of led,
Wrythen in[485] wonder wyse,
After the Sarasyns gyse,
With a whym wham,
Knyt with a trym tram,
Vpon her brayne pan,
Lyke an Egyptian,
Capped[486] about:
Whan she goeth out 80
Herselfe for to shewe,
She dryueth downe the dewe
Wyth a payre of heles
As brode as two wheles;
She hobles as a gose[487]
With her blanket[488] hose
Ouer the falowe;[489]
Her shone smered wyth talowe,
Gresed vpon dyrt
That baudeth her skyrt. 90

Primus passus.

And this comely dame,
I vnderstande, her name
Is Elynour Rummynge,
At home in her wonnynge;
And as men say
She dwelt[490] in Sothray,
In a certayne stede
Bysyde Lederhede.
She is a tonnysh gyb;
The deuyll and she be syb. 100
But to make vp my tale,
She breweth noppy ale,
And maketh therof port sale[491]
To trauellars, to tynkers,
To sweters, to swynkers,
And all good ale drynkers,
That wyll nothynge spare,
But drynke tyll they stare
And brynge themselfe bare,
With, Now away the mare, 110
And let vs sley care,
As wyse as an hare!
Come who so wyll
To Elynour on the hyll,
Wyth, Fyll the cup, fyll,
And syt there by styll,
Erly and late:
Thyther cometh Kate,
Cysly, and Sare,
With theyr legges bare, 120
And also theyr fete
Hardely full vnswete;
Wyth theyr heles dagged,
Theyr kyrtelles all to-iagged,
Theyr smockes all to-ragged,
Wyth tytters and tatters,
Brynge dysshes and platters,
Wyth all theyr myght runnynge
To Elynour Rummynge,
To haue of her tunnynge: 130
She leneth them on[492] the same,
And thus begynneth the game.
Some wenches come vnlased,[493]
Some huswyues[494] come vnbrased,
Wyth theyr naked pappes,
That flyppes and flappes;
It wygges and it[495] wagges,
Lyke tawny saffron bagges;
A sorte of foule drabbes
All scuruy with scabbes: 140
Some be flybytten,
Some skewed as a kytten;
Some wyth a sho clout
Bynde theyr heddes about;
Some haue no herelace,
Theyr lockes about theyr face,
Theyr tresses vntrust,
All full of vnlust;
Some loke strawry,
Some cawry mawry; 150
Full vntydy tegges,
Lyke rotten egges.
Suche a lewde sorte
To Elynour resorte
From tyde to tyde:
Abyde, abyde,
And to you shall be tolde
Howe hyr ale is solde
To Mawte and to Molde.

Secundus passus.

Some haue no mony 160
That thyder commy,
For theyr ale to pay,
That is a shreud aray;
Elynour swered, Nay,
Ye shall not beare away
My[496] ale for nought,
By hym that me bought!
With, Hey, dogge, hay,
Haue these hogges[497] away!
With, Get me a staffe, 170
The swyne eate my draffe!
Stryke the hogges with a clubbe,
They haue dronke vp my swyllynge tubbe!
For, be there neuer so much prese,
These swyne go to the hye dese,
The sowe with her pygges;
The bore his tayle wrygges,
His rumpe[498] also he frygges
Agaynst[499] the hye benche!
With, Fo, ther is a stenche! 180
Gather vp, thou wenche;
Seest thou not what is fall?
Take vp dyrt[500] and all,
And bere out of the hall:
God gyue it yll preuynge,
Clenly as yuell cheuynge!
But let vs turne playne,
There we lefte agayne.
For, as yll a patch as that,
The hennes ron in the mashfat; 190
For they go to roust
Streyght ouer the ale ioust,
And donge, whan it commes,
In the ale tunnes.
Than Elynour taketh
The mashe bolle, and shaketh
The hennes donge away,
And skommeth it into[501] a tray
Whereas the yeest is,
With her maungy fystis: 200
And somtyme she blennes
The donge of her hennes
And the ale together;
And sayeth, Gossyp, come hyther,
This ale shal be thycker,
And flowre the more quicker;
For I may tell you,
I lerned it of a Jewe,
Whan I began to brewe,
And I haue founde it trew; 210
Drinke now whyle it is new;
And ye may it broke,
It shall make you loke
Yonger than ye be
Yeres two or thre,
For ye may proue it by me;
Beholde, she sayde, and se
How bryght I am of ble!
Ich am not cast away,
That can my husband say, 220
Whan we kys and play
In lust and in lykyng;
He calleth me his whytyng,
His mullyng and his mytyng,[502]
His nobbes and his conny,
His swetyng and his honny,
With, Bas, my prety bonny,
Thou art worth good and monny.
This make I my falyre fonny,[503]
Til that he dreme and dronny; 230
For, after all our sport,
Than wyll he rout and snort;
Than swetely together we ly,
As two pygges in a sty.
To cease me semeth best,
And of this tale to rest,
And for to leue this letter,
Because it is no better,
And because it is no swetter;
We wyll no farther ryme 240
Of it at this tyme;
But we wyll turne playne
Where we left agayne.

Tertius passus.

Instede of coyne and monny,[504]
Some brynge her a conny,
And some a pot with honny,
Some a salt, and some a spone,
Some theyr hose, some theyr shone;
Some ran[505] a good trot
With a skellet or a pot; 250
Some fyll theyr pot full
Of good Lemster woll:
An huswyfe of trust,
Whan she is athrust,
Suche a webbe can spyn,
Her thryft is full thyn.
Some go streyght thyder,
Be it slaty or slyder;
They holde the hye waye,
They care not what men say, 260
Be that as be maye;
Some, lothe to be espyde,
Start[506] in at the backe syde,
Ouer the hedge and pale,
And all for the good ale.
Some renne tyll they swete,
Brynge wyth them malte or whete,
And dame Elynour entrete
To byrle them of the best.
Than cometh an other gest; 270
She swered by the rode of rest,
Her lyppes are so drye,
Without drynke she must dye;
Therefore fyll it by and by,
And haue here a pecke of ry.
Anone cometh another,
As drye as the other,
And wyth her doth brynge
Mele, salte, or other thynge,
Her haruest[507] gyrdle, her weddynge rynge, 280
To pay for her scot
As cometh to her lot.
Som bryngeth her husbandes hood,
Because the ale is good;
Another brought her his cap
To offer to the ale tap,
Wyth flaxe and wyth towe;
And some brought sowre dowe;
Wyth, Hey, and wyth, howe,
Syt we downe a rowe, 290
And drynke tyll we blowe,
And pype tyrly tyrlowe!
Some layde to pledge
Theyr hatchet and theyr wedge,
Theyr hekell and theyr rele,
Theyr rocke, theyr spynnyng whele;
And some went so narrowe,
They layde to pledge theyr wharrowe,
Theyr rybskyn and theyr spyndell,
Theyr nedell and theyr thymbell: 300
Here was scant thryft
Whan they made suche shyft.
Theyr thrust was so great,
They asked neuer for mete,
But drynke, styll drynke,
And let the cat wynke,
Let vs washe our gommes
From the drye crommes.

Quartus passus.

Some for very nede
Layde[508] downe a skeyne of threde, 310
And some a skeyne of yarne;
Some brought[509] from the barne
Both benes and pease;
Small chaffer doth ease
Sometyme, now and than:
Another there was that ran
With a good brasse pan;
Her colour was full wan;
She ran in all the hast
Vnbrased and vnlast; 320
Tawny, swart, and sallowe,[510]
Lyke a cake of tallowe;
I swere by all hallow,
It was a stale[511] to take
The deuyll in a brake.
And than came haltyng Jone,
And brought a gambone
Of bakon that was resty:
But, Lorde, as she was testy,
Angry as a waspy! 330
She began to yane and gaspy,
And bad Elynour go bet,
And fyll in good met;[512]
It was dere that was farre fet.
Another brought a spycke
Of a bacon flycke;
Her tonge was verye quycke,
But she spake somwhat thycke:
Her felow did stammer and stut,
But she was a foule slut, 340
For her mouth fomyd
And her bely groned:
Jone sayne[513] she had eaten a fyest;
By Christ, sayde she, thou lyest,
I haue as swete a breth
As thou, wyth shamfull deth!
Than Elynour sayde, Ye callettes,
I shall breake your palettes,
Wythout ye now cease!
And so was made the peace.[514] 350
Than thyder came dronken Ales;
And she was full of tales,
Of tydynges in Wales,
And of sainct James in Gales,
And of the Portyngales;
Wyth, Lo, gossyp, I wys,
Thus and thus it is,
There hath ben great war
Betwene Temple Bar
And the Crosse in Chepe, 360
And there came an hepe
Of mylstones in a route:
She speketh thus in her snout,
Sneuelyng in her nose,
As thoughe she had the pose;
Lo, here is an olde typpet,
And ye wyll gyue me a syppet
Of your stale ale,
God sende you good sale!
And as she was drynkynge, 370
She fyll[515] in a wynkynge
Wyth a barlyhood,
She pyst where she stood;
Than began she to wepe,
And forthwyth fell on slepe.
Elynour toke her vp,
And blessed her wyth a cup
Of newe ale in cornes;
Ales founde therin no thornes,
But supped it vp at ones, 380
She founde therin no bones.[516]

Quintus passus.

Nowe in cometh another rabell;
Fyrst one wyth a ladell,
Another wyth a cradell,
And wyth a syde sadell:
And there began a fabell,
A clatterynge and a babell
Of folys fylly[517]
That had a fole wyth wylly,
With, Iast you, and, gup, gylly! 390
She coulde not lye stylly.
Then came in a genet,
And sware by saynct Benet,
I dranke not this sennet
A draught to my pay;
Elynour, I thé pray,
Of thyne ale let vs assay,
And haue here a pylche of gray;
I were skynnes of conny,
That causeth I loke so donny. 400
Another than dyd hyche her,
And brought a pottel pycher,
A tonnel, and a bottell,
But she had lost the stoppell;
She cut of her sho sole,
And stopped therwyth the hole.
Amonge all the blommer,
Another brought a skommer,
A fryinge pan, and a slyce;
Elynour made the pryce 410
For good ale eche whyt.
Than sterte in mad Kyt,
That had lyttle wyt;
She semed somdele seke,
And brought[518] a peny cheke
To dame Elynour,
For a draught of lycour.
Than Margery Mylkeducke
Her kyrtell she did vptucke
An ynche aboue her kne, 420
Her legges that ye myght se;
But they were sturdy and stubbed,[519]
Myghty pestels and clubbed,
As fayre and as whyte
As the fote of a kyte:
She was somwhat foule,
Crokenecked lyke an oule;
And yet she brought her fees,
A cantell of Essex chese
Was well a fote thycke, 430
Full of maggottes quycke;
It was huge and greate,
And myghty stronge meate
For the deuyll to eate;
It was tart and punyete.
Another sorte of sluttes,
Some brought walnuttes,[520]
Some apples, some peres,
Some brought theyr clyppynge sheres,
Some brought this and that, 440
Some brought I wote nere what,
Some brought theyr husbandes hat,
Some podynges and lynkes,
Some trypes that stynkes.[521]
But of all this thronge
One came them amonge,
She semed halfe a leche,
And began to preche
Of the tewsday in the weke
Whan the mare doth keke; 450
Of the vertue of an vnset leke;
Of her husbandes breke;
Wyth the feders of a quale
She could to Burdeou[522] sayle;
And wyth good ale barme
She could make a charme
To helpe wythall a stytch:
She semed to be a wytch.
Another brought two goslynges,
That were noughty froslynges; 460
She[523] brought them in a wallet,
She was a cumly callet:
The goslenges were untyde;
Elynour began to chyde,
They[524] be wretchockes[525] thou hast brought,
They are shyre shakyng nought!

Sextus passus.

Maude Ruggy thyther skypped:
She was vgly hypped,
And vgly thycke lypped,
Lyke an onyon syded, 470
Lyke tan ledder hyded:
She had her so guyded
Betwene the cup and the wall,
That she was there wythall
Into a palsey fall;
Wyth that her hed shaked,
And her handes quaked:
Ones hed wold haue aked
To se her naked:
She dranke so of the dregges,[526] 480
The dropsy was in her legges;
Her face glystryng lyke glas;
All foggy fat she was;
She had also the gout
In all her ioyntes about;
Her breth was soure and stale,
And smelled all of ale:
Suche a bedfellaw
Wold make one cast his craw;
But yet for all that 490
She dranke on the mash fat.
There came an old rybybe;
She halted of a kybe,
And had broken her shyn
At the threshold comyng in,
And fell so wyde open
That one myght se her token,
The deuyll thereon be wroken!
What nede all this be spoken?
She yelled lyke a calfe: 500
Ryse vp, on Gods halfe,
Said Elynour Rummyng,
I beshrew thé for thy cummyng!
And[527] as she at her did pluck,
Quake, quake, sayd the duck
In that lampatrams lap;
Wyth, Fy, couer thy[528] shap
Wyth sum flyp flap!
God gyue it yll hap,
Sayde Elynour for shame, 510
Lyke an honest dame.
Vp she stert, halfe lame,
And skantly could go
For payne and for wo.
In came another dant,
Wyth a gose and a gant:
She had a wide[529] wesant;
She was nothynge plesant;
Necked lyke an olyfant;
It was a bullyfant, 520
A gredy cormerant.
Another brought her garlyke hedes;[530]
Another brought her bedes
Of iet or of cole,
To offer to the ale pole:
Some brought a wymble,
Some brought a thymble,
Some brought a sylke lace,
Some brought a pyncase,
Some her husbandes gowne, 530
Some a pyllow of downe,
Some of[531] the napery;
And all this shyfte they make
For the good ale sake.
A strawe, sayde Bele, stande vtter,
For we haue egges and butter,
And of[532] pygeons a payre.
Than sterte forth a fysgygge,[533]
And she brought a bore pygge;
The fleshe therof was ranke, 540
And her brethe strongly stanke,
Yet, or she went, she dranke,
And gat her great thanke
Of Elynour for her ware,
That she thyther bare
To pay for her share.
Now truly, to my thynkynge,
This is a solempne drinkynge.

Septimus passus.

Soft, quod one, hyght[534] Sybbyll,
And let me wyth you bybyll. 550
She sat downe in the place,
With a sory face
Wheywormed about;
Garnyshed was her snout
Wyth here and there a puscull,
Lyke a scabbyd muscull.
This ale, sayde she, is noppy;
Let vs syppe and soppy,
And not spyll a droppy,
For so mote I hoppy, 560
It coleth well my croppy.[535]
Dame Elynoure, sayde she,
Haue here is for me,
A cloute of London pynnes;
And wyth that she begynnes
The pot to her plucke,
And dranke a good lucke;
She swynged[536] vp a quarte
At ones for her parte;
Her paunche was so puffed, 570
And so wyth ale stuffed,
Had she not hyed apace,
She had defoyled the place.
Than began the sporte
Amonge that dronken sorte:
Dame Eleynour, sayde they,
Lende here a cocke of hey,
To make all thynge cleane;
Ye wote well what we meane.
But, syr, among all 580
That sat in that hall,
There was a pryckemedenty,
Sat lyke a seynty,
And began to paynty,
As thoughe she would faynty;
She made it as koy
As a lege de moy;[537]
She was not halfe so wyse
As she was peuysshe nyse.
She sayde neuer a worde, 590
But rose from the borde,
And called for our dame,
Elynour by name.
We supposed, I wys,
That she rose to pys;
But the very grounde
Was for to compounde
Wyth Elynour in the spence,
To pay for her expence:
I haue no penny nor grote 600
To pay, sayde she, God wote,
For washyng of my throte;
But my bedes of amber
Bere them to your chamber.
Then Elynour dyd them hyde
Wythin her beddes syde.
But some than sat ryght sad
That nothynge had
There of theyr awne,[538]
Neyther gelt nor pawne; 610
Suche were there menny
That had not a penny,
But, whan they should walke,
Were fayne wyth a chalke
To score on the balke,
Or score on the tayle:
God gyue it yll hayle!
For my fyngers[539] ytche;
I haue wrytten to mytche
Of this mad mummynge 620
Of Elynour Rummynge.
Thus endeth the gest
Of this worthy fest.
Quod Skelton, Laureat.


Quamvis insanis, quamvis marcescis inanis,
Invide,[540] cantamus: hæc loca plena jocis.[541]
Bien men souuient.

Omnes fœminas, quæ vel nimis bibulæ sunt, vel quæ sordida labe squaloris, aut qua spurca[542] fœditatis macula, aut verbosa loquacitate notantur, poeta invitat ad audiendum hunc libellum, &c.

Ebria, squalida, sordida fœmina, prodiga verbis,
Huc currat, properet, veniat! Sua gesta libellus[543]
Iste volutabit: Pæan sua plectra sonando
Materiam risus cantabit carmine rauco.
Quod Skelton, Laureat.

[474] Here after foloweth, &c.] From the ed. by Kynge and Marche of Certaine bokes compyled by mayster Skelton, n. d., collated with the same work, ed. Day, n. d., and ed. Lant, n. d., with Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568, and occasionally with the comparatively modern ed. of Elinovr Rummin by Rand, 1624.

[475] Grained] So eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand). Eds. of Kynge and Marche, and of Lant, “Greuyned.”

[476] huckels] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand), “buckels.”

[477] Lyke as they were, &c.] This line not in eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand).

[478] Legged] So Rand’s ed. Other eds. “Legges.”

[479] iolly fet] Lant’s ed. “Joyly fet.” Marshe’s ed., (and Rand’s ed.), “iolly set.”

[480] doth it] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand), “it dothe.”

[481] For] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “And.”

[482] gytes] Marshe’s ed. “getes.” (Rand’s ed. “geetes.”)

[483] pletes] Qy. “plytes?”

[484] That wey] So Lant’s ed., (and Rand’s ed.) Other eds. “That they way.”

[485] in] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand), “in a.”

[486] Capped] Lant’s ed. “Lapped”—rightly, perhaps.

[487] as a gose] So eds. of Day, and Marshe. Eds. of Kynge and Marche, and of Lant, “as she gose.”

[488] blanket] So Lant’s ed. (Rand’s ed. “blanked.”) Other eds. “blauket.”

[489] Ouer the falowe] Not in eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand.)

[490] dwelt] Qy. “dwels?”

[491] port sale] So Lant’s ed. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “pore sale.” Day’s ed. “poore sale.” Marshe’s ed. “poorte sale.” (Rand’s ed. “pot-sale.”) See notes.

[492] on] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand), “of.”

[493] vnlased] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand), “vnbrased.”

[494] Some huswyues, &c.] This line not in eds. of Day, and Marshe. (Rand’s ed. “And some all unlaced.”)

[495] It ... it] Qy. “That ... that?”

[496] My] Lant’s ed. “Myne.”

[497] hogges] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand), “dogges.”

[498] His rumpe, &c.] This line not in eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand).

[499] Agaynst] Day’s ed. “Againe.”

[500] dyrt] So Lant’s ed. (and Rand’s ed.) Other eds. “drit.”

[501] into] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand), “in.”

[502] mytyng] Eds. of Kynge and Marche, and of Lant, “nytyng.” Day’s ed. “nittinge.” Marshe’s ed. “nittine.” (Rand’s ed. “mittine.”) See notes.

[503] fonny] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand), “fanny.”

[504] Instede of coyne, &c.] In Skelton’s Workes, 1736, the passage is thus exhibited:

“Some instede of coine and monny
Will come and brynge her a conny
Or else a pot with honni
Some a knife and some a spone
Some brynge their hose, some ther shone.”

[505] ran] Rand’s ed. “run,”—rightly, perhaps.

[506] Start] So Rand’s ed. Other eds. “Some start,” the eye of the original compositor having caught the word “Some” from the preceding line.

[507] haruest] So Day’s ed. Other eds. “heruest,” “hernest,” “harnest.”

[508] Layde] So Lant’s ed. Other eds. “Laye,” and “Lay.”

[509] Some brought, &c.] This line not in eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand.)

[510] sallowe] So Lant’s ed. (and Rand’s ed.) Other eds. “swallowe.”

[511] stale] Eds. “stare.” See notes.

[512] met] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “meate.”

[513] sayne] Lant’s ed. “sayde.”

[514] the peace] Eds. “the dronken peace” (except Rand’s ed., which has “a drunken,” &c.): but no doubt the word “dronken” crept into the original edition by a mistake of the compositor, his eye having caught it in the following line. See notes.

[515] fyll] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand), “fell.”

[516] bones] Day’s ed. “bornes.”

[517] fylly] Marshe’s ed. (and Rand’s ed.) “silly.” See notes.

[518] brought] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “brought vp.”

[519] stubbed] So Lant’s ed. Other eds. “stubbled.”

[520] walnuttes] So Lant’s ed. (Rand’s, “walnuts.”) Other eds. “walnutes” and “waluntes.”

[521] stynkes] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “stynges.”

[522] Burdeou] Eds. of Kynge and Marche, and of Lant, “burde on.” Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “bourde on.” (Rand’s ed. “bord on.”)

[523] She] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand), “Some.”

[524] They] Day’s ed. “The.”

[525] wretchockes] Day’s ed. “wrethockes.” Marshe’s ed. (and Rand’s ed.), “wrethocke.”

[526] dregges] So Marshe’s ed. (and Rand’s ed.) Other eds. “dragges.”

[527] And] Not in eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand).

[528] thy] So Lant’s ed. Other eds. “the.”

[529] wide] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “wyse.”

[530] hedes] Eds. “heddes” and “heds.”

[531] Some of, &c.] The line which rhymed with this has dropt out.

[532] And of, &c.] The line which rhymed with this has dropt out.

[533] fysgygge] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “sysgygge.”

[534] hyght] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “high.”

[535] croppy] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, (and Rand), “coppy.”

[536] swynged] Marshe’s ed. “swinge.”

[537] lege de moy] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “lege moy.”

[538] awne] So Lant’s ed. Other eds. “owne,” and “one.”

[539] fyngers] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “fynger.”

[540] Invide] Eds. “Inuidi.”

[541] jocis] Eds. “locis.”

[542] qua spurca] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “quam spuria.”

[543] sua gesta libellus] Ed. of Day, “sua libellus.” Ed. of Marshe, “sua facta libellus.” (The Latin at the end of this poem not in Rand’s ed.)




Sithe ye haue me chalyngyd, M[aster] Garnesche,
Ruduly revilyng me in the kynges noble hall,
Soche an odyr chalyngyr cowde me no man wysch,[545]
But yf yt war Syr Tyrmagant that tyrnyd with out nall;[546]
For Syr Frollo de Franko was neuer halfe so talle.
But sey me now, Syr Satrapas, what autoryte ye haue
In your chalenge, Syr Chystyn, to cale me knaue?
What, haue ye kythyd yow a knyght, Syr Dugles the dowty,
So currysly to beknaue me in the kynges place?[547]
Ye stronge sturdy stalyon, so sterne and stowty, 10
Ye bere yow bolde as Barabas, or Syr Terry of Trace;[548]
Ye gyrne grymly with your gomys and with your grysly face.
But sey me yet, Syr Satropas, what auctoryte ye haue
In your chalange, Syr Chesten, to calle me a knaue?
Ye fowle, fers and felle, as Syr Ferumbras the ffreke,
Syr capten of Catywade, catacumbas of Cayre,
Thow ye be lusty as Syr Lybyus launces to breke,
Yet your contenons oncomly, your face ys nat fayer:
For alle your proude prankyng, your pride may apayere.
But sey me yet, Syr Satrapas, wat auctoryte ye haue 20
In your chalenge, Syr Chesten, to cal me a knaue?
Of Mantryble the Bryge, Malchus the murryon,
Nor blake Baltazar with hys basnet routh as a bere,
Nor Lycon, that lothly luske, in myn opynyon,
Nor no bore so brymly brystlyd ys with here,
As ye ar brystlyd on the bake for alle your gay gere.
[But sey me yet, Syr Satrapas, what auctoryte ye haue
In your chalenge, Syr Chesten, to calle me a knaue?]
Your wynde schakyn shankkes, your longe lothy legges,
Crokyd as a camoke, and as a kowe calfles, 30
Bryngges yow out of fauyr with alle femall teggys:
That mastres Punt put yow of, yt was nat alle causeles;
At Orwelle hyr hauyn your anggre was laules.
[But sey me yet, Syr Satrapas, what auctoryte ye haue
In your chalenge, Syr Chesten, to calle me a knaue?]
I sey, ye solem Sarson, alle blake ys your ble;
As a glede glowynge, your ien glyster as glasse,
Rowlynge in yower holow hede, vgly to see;
Your tethe teintyd with tawny; your semely[549] snowte doth passe,
Howkyd as an hawkys beke, lyke Syr Topyas. 40
Boldly bend you to batell, and buske your selfe to saue:
Chalenge your selfe for a fole, call me no more knaue.
Be the kynges most noble commandement.

[544] Skelton Lauriate, &c.] These Poems against Garnesche (now for the first time printed) are from a MS. in the Harleian Collection, 367 (fol. 101), which is in many parts scarcely legible, being written in a hand very difficult to decipher, as well as being much injured by damp.

[545] wysch] So MS. seems to read.

[546] with out nall] Seems to be the reading of MS.,—“nall” having been added, instead of “alle” which is drawn through with the pen.

[547] place] Might be read perhaps “palace.”

[548] Trace] MS. “Tracy.”

[549] semely] Appears at first sight to be “sriuely;” but compare v. 131 of the concluding poem against Garnesche.



How may I your mokery mekely tollerate,
[Your][550] gronynge, ȝour grontynge, your groinynge lyke a swyne?
[Your] pride ys alle to peuiche, your porte importunate;
[You] mantycore,[551] ye maltaperte, ye can bothe wins and whyne;
[Your] lothesum lere to loke on, lyke a gresyd bote dothe schyne.
Ye cappyd Cayface copious, your paltoke on your pate,
Thow ye prate lyke prowde Pylate, be ware yet of chek mate.
Hole[552] ys your brow that ye brake with Deu[ra]ndall your awne sworde;
Why holde ye on yer cap, syr, then? your pardone ys expyryd:
Ye hobble very homly before the kynges borde; 10
Ye countyr vmwhyle to capcyously, and ar ye be dysiryd;
Your moth etyn mokkysh maneres, they be all to myryd.
Ye cappyd Cayface copyous, your paltoke on your pate,
Thow ye prate lyke prowde Pylate, be ware of cheke mate.
O Gabionyte of Gabyone, why do ye gane and gaspe?
Huf a galante Garnesche, loke[553] on your comly cors!
Lusty Garnysche, lyke a lowse, ye jet full lyke a jaspe;
As wytles as a wylde goos, ye haue but small remorrs
Me for to chalenge that of your chalennge makyth so lytyll fors.
Ye capyd Cayfas copyous, your paltoke on your pate, 20
Tho ye prate lyke prowde Pylate, be ware of cheke mate.
Syr Gy, Syr Gawen, Syr Cayus, for and Syr Olyuere,
Pyramus, nor Priamus, nor Syr Pyrrus the prowde,
In Arturys auncyent actys no where ys prouyd your pere;
The facyoun of your fysnamy the devyl in a clowde;
Your harte ys to hawte, I wys, yt wyll nat be alowde.
Ye capyd Cayfas copyus, your paltoke on your pate,
Thow ye prate lyke prowde Pylate, be ware of cheke mate.
Ye grounde yow vpon Godfrey, that grysly gargons face,
Your stondarde, Syr Olifranke, agenst me for to splay: 30
Baile, baile at yow bothe, frantyke folys! follow on the chase!
Cum Garnyche, cum Godfrey, with as many as ȝe may!
I advyse yow be ware of thys war, rannge yow in aray.
Ye cappyd Cayfas copyous, [your paltoke on your pate,
Thow ye prate lyke prowde Pylate, be ware of cheke mate.]
Gup, gorbellyd Godfrey, gup, Garnysche, gaudy fole!
To turney or to tante with me ye ar to fare to seke:
For thes twayne whypslouens calle for a coke stole:
Thow mantycore, ye marmoset, garnyshte lyke a Greke,
Wranglynge, waywyrde, wytles, wraw, and nothyng meke. 40
Ye cappyd [Cayfas copyous, your paltoke on your pate,
Thow ye prate lyke prowde Pylate, be ware of cheke mate.]
Mirres vous y,
Loke nat to hy.
By the kynges most noble commaundment.

[550] Your] The beginning of this line, and of the next three lines, torn off in MS.

[551] mantycore] MS. “mantyca.”

[552] Hole] First written “Thow hole.”

[553] loke] MS. “kloke;” but the k seems to have been purposely blotted out.



I haue your lewde letter receyuyd,
And well I haue yt perseyuyd,
And your skryke I haue aspyed,
That your mad mynde contryuyd.
Sauynge your vsscheres rod,
I caste me nat to be od
With neythyr of yow tewyne:
Wherfore I wryght ageyne;
How the fauyr of your face
Is voyd of all good grace; 10
For alle your carpet cousshons,
Ye haue knauyche condycyonns.
Gup, marmeset, jast ye, morelle!
I am laureat, I am no lorelle.
Lewdely your tyme ye spende,
My lyuyng to reprehende;[554]
And wyll neuer intende
Your awne lewdnes to amende:
Your Englyshe lew[d]ly ye sorte,
And falsly ȝe me reporte. 20
Garnyche, ye gape to wyde:
Yower knavery I wyll nat hyde,
For to aswage your pride.
Whan ye war yonger of age,
Ye war a kechyn page,
A dyshwasher, a dryvyll,
In the pott your nose dedde sneuyll;
Ye fryed and ye broylyd,
Ye rostyd and ye boylyd,
Ye rostyd, lyke a fonne, 30
A gose with the fete vponne;
Ye slvfferd[555] vp sowse
In my lady Brewsys howse.
Wherto xulde I wryght
Of soche a gresy knyght?
A bawdy dyscheclowte,
That bryngyth the worlde abowte
With haftynge and with polleynge,
With lyenge and controlleynge.
At Gynys when ye ware 40
But a slendyr spere,
Dekkyd lewdly in your gere;
For when ye dwelt there,
Ye had a knauysche cote
Was skantly worthe a grote;
In dud frese ye war schrynyd,
With better frese lynyd;
The oute syde euery day,
Ye myght no better a way;
The insyde ye ded calle 50
Your best gowne festyvalle.
Your drapry ȝe ded wante,
The warde with yow was skante.
When ye kyst a shepys ie,
... [556]mastres Andelby,
... Gynys vpon a gonge,
... sat sumwhat to longe;
... hyr husbandes hed,
... malle of lede,
... that ye ther prechyd, 60
To hyr loue ye nowte rechyd:
Ye wolde haue bassyd hyr bumme,
So that sche wolde haue kum
On to your lowsy den;
But sche of all men
Had yow most in despyght,
Ye loste hyr fauyr quyt;
Your pyllyd garleke hed
Cowde hocupy there no stede;
She callyd yow Syr Gy of Gaunt, 70
Nosyd lyke an olyfaunt,
A pykes or a twybyll;
Sche seyd how ye ded brydell,
Moche lyke a dromadary;
Thus with yow sche ded wary,
With moche mater more
That I kepe in store.
Your brethe ys stronge and quike;
Ye ar an eldyr steke;
Ye wot what I thynke; 80
At bothe endes ye stynke;
Gret daunger for the kynge,
Whan hys grace ys fastynge,
Hys presens to aproche:
Yt ys to your reproche.
Yt fallyth for no swyne
Nor sowtters to drynke wyne,
Nor seche a nody polle
A pryste for to controlle.
Lytyll wyt in your scrybys nolle 90
That scrybblyd your fonde scrolle,
Vpon hym for to take
Agennst me for to make,
Lyke a doctor dawpate,
A lauryate poyete for to rate.
Yower termys ar to grose,
To far from the porpose,
To contaminate
And to violate
The dygnyte lauryate. 100
Bolde bayarde, ye are to blynde,
And grow all oute of kynde,
To occupy so your mynde;
For reson can I non fynde
Nor good ryme in yower mater:
I wondyr that ye smatyr,
So for a knaue to clatyr;
Ye wolde be callyd a maker,
And make moche lyke Jake Rakar;
Ye ar a comly crakar, 110
Ye lernyd of sum py bakar.
Caste vp your curyows wrytyng,
And your dyrty endytyng,
And your spyghtfull despyghtyng,
For alle ys nat worthe a myteyng,
A makerell nor a wyteyng:
Had ye gonne with me to scole,
And occupyed no better your tole,
Ye xulde haue kowththyd me a fole.
But now, gawdy, gresy Garnesche, 120
Your face I wyse to varnyshe
So suerly yt xall nat tarnishe.
Thow a Sarsens hed ye bere,
Row and full of lowsy here,
As heuery man wele seethe,
Ful of grett knauys tethe,
In a felde of grene peson
Ys ryme yet owte of reson;
Your wyt ys so geson,
Ye rayle all out of seson. 130
Your[557] skyn scabbyd and scuruy,
Tawny, tannyd, and shuruy;
Now vpon thys hete
Rankely whan ye swete,
Men sey ye wyll wax lowsy,
Drunkyn, drowpy, drowsy.
Your sworde ye swere, I wene,
So tranchaunt and so kene,
Xall kyt both wyght and grene:
Your foly ys to grett 140
The kynges colours to threte.
Your brethe yt ys so felle
And so puauntely dothe smelle,
And so haynnously doth stynke,
That naythyr pump nor synke
Dothe sauyr halfe so souer
Ageynst a stormy shouer.
O ladis of bryght colour,
Of bewte that beryth the flower,
When Garnyche cummyth yow amonge 150
With hys brethe so stronge,
Withowte ye haue a confectioun
Agenst hys poysond infeccioun,
Els with hys stynkyng jawys
He wyl cause yow caste your crawes,
And make youer stomoke seke
Ovyr the perke to pryk.
Now, Garnyche, garde thy gummys;
My serpentins and my gunnys
Agenst ye now I bynde; 160
Thy selfe therfore defende.
Thou tode, thow scorpyone,
Thow bawdy babyone,
Thow bere, thow brystlyd bore,
Thou Moryshe mantycore,
Thou rammysche stynkyng gote,
Thou fowle chorlyshe parote,
Thou gresly gargone glaymy,
Thou swety slouen seymy,
Thou murrionn, thow mawment, 170
Thou fals stynkyng serpent,
Thou mokkyshe marmoset,
I wyll nat dy in they[558] det.
Tyburne thou me assynyd,
Where thou xulddst haue bene shrynyd;
The nexte halter ther xall be
I bequeth yt hole to thé:
Soche pelfry thou hast pachchyd,
And so thy selfe houyr wachyd
That ther thou xuldyst be rachchyd, 180
If thow war metely machchyd.
Ye may wele be bedawyd,
Ye ar a fole owtelauyd;
And for to telle the gronde,
Pay Stokys hys fyue pownd.
I say, Syr Dalyrag,
Ye bere yow bold and brag
With othyr menys charge:
Ye kyt your clothe to large:
Soche pollyng paiaunttis ye pley, 190
To poynt yow fresche and gay.
And he that scryblyd your scrolles,
I rekyn yow in my rowllys,
For ij dronken sowllys.
Rede and lerne ye may,
How olde proverbys say,
That byrd ys nat honest
That fylythe hys owne nest.
Yf he wyst what sum wotte,
The flesche bastyng of hys cote 200
Was sowyd with slendyr thre[de]:
God sende you wele good spede,
With Dominus vobiscum!
Good Latyn for Jake a thrum,
Tyll more matyr may cum.
By the kynges most noble commaundment.

[554] My lyuyng to reprehende] Added to MS. in a different hand.

[555] slvfferd] Might perhaps be read “slooferd.”

[556] A portion of MS. torn off here.

[557] Your] Added to MS. in a different hand.

[558] they] Compare v. 18 of the next poem.


Tu, Garnishe, fatuus, fatuus tuus est mage scriba:
Qui sapuit puer, insanit vir, versus in hydram.


Garnyshe, gargone, gastly, gryme,
I haue receyuyd your secunde ryme.
Thowthe ye kan skylle of large and longe,
Ye syng allway the kukkowe songe:
Ye rayle, ye ryme, with, Hay, dog, hay!
Your chorlyshe chauntyng ys all o lay.
Ye, syr, rayle all in deformite:
Ye haue nat red the properte
Of naturys workys, how they be
Myxte with sum incommodite, 10
Observa prologum libri 2ⁱ in veteri Rhetorica Ciceronis. Incipit autem sc. g. Crotoniati[559] quondam cum florerent omnibus copiis, et cetera.
As prouithe well, in hys Rethorikys olde,
Cicero with hys tong of golde.
That nature wrowght in yow and me,
Irreuocable ys hyr decre;
Waywardly wrowght she hath in thé,
Beholde thi selfe, and thou mayst se;
Thow xalte beholde no wher a warse,
They[560] myrrour may be the deuyllys ars.
Wyth, knaue, syr knaue, and knaue ageine!
To cal me knaue thou takyst gret payne: 20
The prowdyst knaue yet of vs tewyne
Within thy skyn he xall remayne;
The starkest knaue, and lest good kan,
Thou art callyd of euery man;
The corte, the contre, wylage, and towne,
Sayth from thy to vnto thi croune,[561]
Of all prowde knauys thow beryst the belle,
Lothsum as Lucifer lowest in helle.
On that syde, on thys syde thou dost gasy,
Thou thynkyst thy selfe Syr Pers de Brasy, 30
Thy caytyvys carkes cours and crasy;
Moche of thy maneres I can[562] blasy.
Of Lumbardy Gorge Hardyson,
Thow wolde haue scoryd hys habarion;
That jentyll Jorge the Januay,
Ye wolde haue trysyd hys trowle away:
Soche paiantes with your fryndes ye play,
With trechery ye them betray.
Garnyshe, ye gate of Gorge with gaudry
Crimsin velvet for your bawdry. 40
Ye haue a fantasy to Fanchyrche strete,
With Lumbardes lemmanns for to mete,
With, Bas me, buttyng, praty Cys!
Yower lothesum lypps loue well to kyse,
Slaueryng lyke a slymy snayle;
I wolde ye had kyst hyr on the tayle!
Also nat fare from Bowgy row,
Ye pressyd pertely to pluk a crow:
Ye lost your holde,[563] onbende your bow,
Ye wan nothyng there but a mow; 50
Ye wan nothyng there but a skorne;
Sche wolde nat of yt thow had sworne.
Sche seyd ye war coluryd with cole dust;
To daly with yow she had no lust.
Sche seyd your brethe stanke lyke a broke;
With, Gup, Syr Gy, ye gate a moke.
Sche sware with hyr ye xulde nat dele,
For ye war smery, lyke a sele,
And ye war herey, lyke a calfe;
Sche praiid yow walke, on Goddes halfe! 60
And thus there ye lost yower pray;
Get ye anothyr where ye may.
Dysparage ye myn auncetry?
Ye ar dysposyd for to ly:
I sey, thow felle and fowle flessh fly,
In thys debate I thé askry.
Thow claimist thé jentyll, thou art a curre;
Haroldis they know thy cote armur:
Thow thou be a jantyll man borne,
Yet jentylnes in thé ys thred bare worne; 70
Haroldes from honor may thé devors,
For harlottes hawnte thyn hatefull cors:
Ye bere out brothells lyke a bawde;
Ye get therby a slendyr laude
Betweyn the tappett and the walle,—
Fusty bawdyas! I sey nat alle.
Of harlottes to vse soche an harres,
Yt bredth mothys in clothe of Arres.
What eylythe thé, rebawde, on me to raue?
A kyng to me myn habyte gaue: 80
At Oxforth, the vniversyte,
Auaunsid I was to that degre;
By hole consent of theyr senate,
I was made poete lawreate.
To cal me lorell ye ar to lewde:
Lythe and lystyn, all bechrewde!
Of the Musys nyne, Calliope
Hath pointyd me to rayle on thé.
It semyth nat thy pyllyd pate
Agenst a poyet lawreat 90
To take vpon thé for to scryue:
It cumys thé better for to dryue
A dong cart or a tumrelle
Than with my poems for to melle.
The honor of Englond I lernyd to spelle,
In dygnyte roialle that doth excelle:
Note and marke wyl[564] thys parcele;
I yaue hym drynke of the sugryd welle
Of Eliconys waters crystallyne,
Aqueintyng hym with the Musys nyne. 100
Yt commyth thé wele me to remorde,
That creaunser was to thy sofre[yne] lorde:
It plesyth that noble prince roialle
Me as hys master for to calle
In hys lernyng primordialle.
Auaunt, rybawde,[565] thi tung reclame!
Me to beknaue thow art to blame;
Thy tong vntawte, with poyson infecte,
Withowte thou leue thou shalt be chekt,[566]
And takyn vp in such a frame, 110
That all the warlde wyll spye your shame.
Auaunt, auaunt, thow slogysh ...
And sey poetis no dys....
It ys for no bawdy knaue
The dignite lawreat for to haue.
Thow callyst me scallyd, thou callyst[567] me mad:
Thow thou be pyllyd, thow ar nat sade.
Thow ar frantyke and lakkyst wyt,
To rayle with me that thé can hyt.
Thowth it be now ful tyde with thé, 120
Yet ther may falle soche caswelte,
Er thow be ware, that in a throw
Thow mayst fale downe and ebbe full lowe:
Wherfore in welthe beware of woo,
For welthe wyll sone departe thé froo.
To know thy selfe yf thow lake grace,
Lerne or be lewde, I shrow thy face.
Thow seyst I callyd thé a pecok:
Thow liist, I callyd thé a wodcoke;
For thow hast a long snowte, 130
A semly nose and a stowte,
Prickyd lyke an vnicorne:
I wold sum manys bake ink horne
Wher[568] thi nose spectacle case;
Yt wold garnyche wyll[569] thy face.
Thow demyst my raylyng ouyrthwarthe;
I rayle to thé soche as thow art.
If thow war aquentyd with alle
The famous poettes saturicall,
As Percius and Iuuynall, 140
Horace and noble Marciall,
If they wer lyueyng thys day,
Of thé wote I what they wolde say;
They wolde thé wryght, all with one steuyn,
The follest slouen ondyr heuen,
Prowde, peuiche, lyddyr, and lewde,
Malapert, medyllar, nothyng well thewde,
Besy, braynles, to bralle and brage,
Wytles, wayward, Syr Wryg wrag,
Dysdaynous, dowble, ful of dyseyte, 150
Liing, spying by suttelte and slyght,
Fleriing, flatyryng, fals, and fykkelle,
Scornefull and mokkyng ouer to mykkylle.
My tyme, I trow, I xulde but lese
To wryght to thé of tragydese,
It ys nat mete for soche a knaue;
But now my proces for to saue,
I have red, and rede I xall,
Inordynate pride wyll haue a falle.
Presumptuous pride ys all thyn hope: 160
God garde thé, Garnyche, from the rope!
Stop a tyd, and be welle ware
Ye be nat cawte in an hempen snare.
Harkyn herto, ye Haruy Haftar,[570]
Pride gothe before and schame commyth after.
Thow wrythtyst I xulde let thé go pley:
Go pley thé, Garnyshe, garnysshyd gay;
I care nat what thow wryght or sey;
I cannat let thé the knaue to play,
To dauns the hay or rune the ray: 170
Thy fonde face can me nat fray.
Take thys for that, bere thys in mynde,
Of thy lewdenes more ys behynde;
A reme of papyr wyll nat holde
Of thi lewdenes that may be tolde.
My study myght be better spynt;
But for to serue the kynges entent,
Hys noble pleasure and commandenennt,
Scrybbyl thow, scrybyll thow, rayle or wryght,
Wryght what thow wylte, I xall thé aquyte. 180
By the kyngys most noble commandemennt.

[559] Crotoniati] Should be “Crotoniatæ.” (Vide De Invent. Rhet.)

[560] They] Compare v. 173 of the preceding poem.

[561] Sayth from, &c.] This line added to MS. in (perhaps) a different hand.

[562] can] MS. seems to read “cam.”

[563] holde] MS. “bolde.”

[564] wyl] Compare v. 135.

[565] rybawde] MS. seems to have “rylowde.”

[566] Withowte thou leue, &c.] In MS. the latter part of this line, and the concluding portions of the next two lines, are so injured by stains that I can only guess at the words. The endings of the third and fourth lines after this are illegible.

[567] callyst] MS. “callydst.”

[568] Wher] Seems to be the reading of MS.

[569] wyll] Compare v. 97.

[570] Haftar] MS. “hastar;” see notes.



Quid detur tibi, aut quid apponatur tibi ad linguam dolosam? Psalm. c. xlij.

Deus destruet te in finem; evellet te, et emigrabit te de tabernaculo tuo, et radicem tuam de terra viventium. Psal. lxvii.

Al maters wel pondred and wel to be regarded,
How shuld a fals lying tung then be rewarded?
Such tunges shuld be torne out by the harde rootes,
Hoyning like hogges that groynis and wrotes.

Dilexisti omnia verba præcipitationis, lingua dolosa. Ubi s. &c.

For, as I haue rede in volumes olde,
A fals lying tunge is harde to withholde;
A sclaunderous tunge, a tunge of a skolde,
Worketh more mischiefe than can be tolde;
That, if I wist not to be controlde,
Yet somwhat to say I dare well be bolde,
How some delite for to lye thycke and threfolde.

Ad sannam hominem redigit comice[573] et graphice.

For ye said, that he said, that I said, wote ye what?
I made, he said, a windmil of an olde mat:
If there be none other mater but that,
Than ye may commaunde me to gentil Cok wat.

Hic notat purpuraria arte intextas literas Romanas in amictibus post ambulonum[574] ante et retro.

For before on your brest, and behind on your back,
In Romaine letters I neuer founde lack:
In your crosse rowe nor Christ crosse you spede,
Your Pater noster, your Aue, nor your Crede.
Who soeuer that tale vnto you tolde,
He saith vntruly, to say that I would
Controlle the cognisaunce of noble men
Either by language or with my pen.

Pædagogium meum de sublimiori Minerva constat esse: ergo, &c.

My scole is more solem and somwhat more haute
Than to be founde in any such faute.

Pædagogium meum male sanos maledicos sibilis complosisque manibus[575] explodit, &c.

My scoles are not for vnthriftes vntaught,
For frantick faitours half mad and half straught;
But my learning is of an other degree
To taunt theim like liddrous, lewde as thei bee.

Laxent ergo antennam elationis suæ inflatam vento vanitatis. li. ille, &c.

For though some be lidder, and list for to rayle,
Yet to lie vpon me they can not preuayle:
Then let them vale a bonet of their proud sayle,
And of their taunting toies rest with il hayle.

Nobilitati ignobilis cedat vilitas, &c.

There is no noble man wil iudge in me
Any such foly to rest or to be:
I care muche the lesse what euer they say,
For tunges vntayde be renning astray;
But yet I may say safely, so many wel lettred
Embraudred, enlasid together, and fettred,
And so little learning, so lewdly alowed,
What fault find ye herein but may be auowed?
But ye are so full of vertibilite,
And of frenetyke folabilite, 10
And of melancoly mutabilite,
That ye would coarte and enforce me
Nothing to write, but hay the gy of thre,
And I to suffre you lewdly to ly
Of me with your language full of vilany!

Sicut novacula[576] acuta fecisti dolum. Ubi s.

Malicious tunges, though they haue no bones,
Are sharper then swordes, sturdier then stones.

Lege Philostratum de vita Tyanæi Apollonii.

Sharper then raysors that shaue and cut throtes,
More stinging then scorpions that stang Pharaotis.

Venenum aspidum sub labiis eorum. Ps.

More venemous and much more virulent
Then any poysoned tode or any serpent.

Quid peregrinis egemus exemplis? ad domestica recurramus, &c. li. ille.

Such tunges vnhappy hath made great diuision
In realmes, in cities, by suche fals abusion;
Of fals fickil tunges suche cloked collusion
Hath brought nobil princes to extreme confusion.

Quicquid loquantur, ut effœminantur, ita effantur, &c.

Somtime women were put in great blame,
Men said they could not their tunges atame;
But men take vpon theim nowe all the shame,
With skolding and sklaundering make their tungs lame.

Novarum rerum cupidissimi, captatores, delatores, adulatores, invigilatores, deliratores, &c. id genus. li. ille.

For men be now tratlers and tellers of tales;
What tidings at Totnam,[577] what newis in Wales,
What shippis are sailing to Scalis Mails?
And all is not worth a couple of nut shalis:
But lering and lurking here and there like spies;
The deuil tere their tunges and pike out their ies!
Then ren they with lesinges and blow them about,
With, He wrate suche a bil withouten dout;
With, I can tel you what such a man said;
And you knew all, ye would be ill apayd. 10

De more vulpino, gannientes ad aurem, fictas fabellas fabricant. li. ille.

Inauspicatum, male ominatum, infortunatum se fateatur habuisse horoscopum, quicunque maledixerit vati Pierio, S[keltonidi] L[aureato], &c.

But if that I knewe what his name hight,
For clatering of me I would him sone quight;
For his false lying, of that I spake neuer,
I could make him shortly repent him for euer:
Although he made it neuer so tough,
He might be sure to haue shame ynough.
Cerberus horrendo barathri latrando sub antro
Te rodatque voret, lingua dolosa, precor.
A fals double tunge is more fiers and fell
Then Cerberus the cur couching in the kenel of hel;
Wherof hereafter I thinke for to write,
Of fals double tunges in the dispite.

Recipit se scripturum opus sanctum,[578] laudabile, acceptabile, memorabileque, et nimis honorificandum.

Disperdat Dominus universa labia dolosa et linguam magniloquam!

[571] Tertius] A misprint: qy. “Versus?”

[572] Against venemous tongues, &c.] From Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568.

[573] comice] Ed. “comite.”

[574] post ambulonum] The Rev. J. Mitford would read “ambulonum post.”

[575] manibus] Ed. “mantibus.”

[576] novacula] Ed. “nouocla.”

[577] Totnam] Ed. “Totmā.”

[578] sanctum] Ed. “sancte.”


Ye may here now,[579] in this ryme,
How euery thing must haue a tyme.
Tyme is a thing that no man may resyst;
Tyme is trancytory and irreuocable;[580]
Who sayeth the contrary, tyme passeth as hym lyst;
Tyme must be taken in season couenable;
Take tyme when tyme is, for tyme is ay mutable;
All thynge hath tyme, who can for it prouyde;
Byde for tyme who wyll, for tyme wyll no man byde.[581]
Tyme to be sad, and tyme to play and sporte; 10
Tyme to take rest by way of recreacion;[582]
Tyme to study, and tyme to use comfort;
Tyme of pleasure, and tyme of consolation:
Thus tyme hath his tyme of diuers maner facion:
Tyme for to eate and drynke for thy repast;
Tyme to be lyberall, and tyme to make no wast;
Tyme to trauell, and tyme for to rest;
Tyme for to speake, and tyme to[583] holde thy pease;
Tyme would be vsed when tyme is best;
Tyme to begyn, and tyme for to cease; 20
And when tyme is, [to] put thyselfe in prease,
And when tyme is, to holde thyselfe abacke;
For tyme well spent can neuer haue lacke.
The rotys take theyr sap in tyme of vere;
In tyme of somer flowres fresh and grene;
In tyme of haruest men their corne shere;
In tyme of wynter the north wynde waxeth kene,
So bytterly bytynge the flowres be not sene;
The kalendis of Janus, with his frostes hore,
That tyme is when people must lyue vpon the store. 30
Quod Skelton, Laureat.

[579] Ye may here, &c.] This and the next three poems are from the ed. by Kynge and Marche of Certaine bokes compyled by mayster Skelton, n. d., collated with the same work, ed. Day, n. d., and ed. Lant, and with Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568. I may here notice that in those eds. the present piece is preceded by a copy of verses, “All nobyll men of this take hede,” &c., which will be given afterwards, before Why come ye not to Courte? where it is repeated in all the eds.

[580] irreuocable] So Marshe’s ed. Other eds. “irrouocable.”

[581] byde] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “abide.”

[582] recreacion] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “creation.”

[583] to] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “for to.”



O radiant Luminary of lyght intermynable,
Celestial Father, potenciall God of myght,
Of heauen and earth, O Lord incomperable,
Of all perfections the essencial most perfyght!
O Maker of mankynde, that formyd day and nyghte,
Whose power imperyal comprehendeth euery place!
Myne hert, my mynde, my thought, my hole delyght
Is, after this lyfe, to see thy glorious face:
Whose magnifycence is incomprehensybyll,
All argumentes of reason which far doth excede, 10
Whose Deite dowtles is indiuysybyll,
From whom all goodnes and vertue doth procede;
Of thy support all creatures haue nede:
Assyst me, good Lord, and graunte me of thy grace,
To lyue to thy pleasure in word, thoughte, and dede,
And, after this lyfe, to see thy glorious face.


O benygne Jesu, my souerayne Lord and Kynge,
The only Sonne of God by filiacion,
The Seconde Parson withouten[584] beginnynge,
Both God and man our fayth maketh playne relacion,
Mary the[585] mother, by way of incarnacion,
Whose glorious passion our soules doth reuyue!
Agayne all bodely and goostely trybulacion
Defende me with thy piteous woundis fyue.
O pereles Prynce, payned[586] to the deth,
Rufully rent, thy body wan and blo, 10
For my redempcion gaue vp thy vytall breth,
Was neuer sorow lyke to thy dedly wo!
Graunte me, out of this world when I shall go,
Thyne endles mercy for my preseruatyue;
Agaynst the world, the flesh, the deuyl also,
Defende me wyth thy pyteous woundis fyue.

[584] withouten] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “without.”

[585] the] Qy. “thy?”


O firy feruence,[587] inflamed wyth all grace,
Enkyndelyng hertes with brandis charitable,
The endles reward of pleasure and solace,
To the Father and the Son thou art communicable
In unitate which is inseperable!
O water of lyfe, O well of consolacion!
Agaynst all suggestions dedly and dampnable
Rescu me, good Lorde, by your preseruacion:
To whome is appropryed the Holy Ghost by name,
The Thyrde Parson, one God in Trinite, 10
Of perfyt loue thou art the ghostly flame:
O myrrour of mekenes, pease, and tranquylyte,
My confort, my counsell, my parfyt charyte!
O water of lyfe, O well of consolacion!
Agaynst all stormys of harde aduersyte
Rescu me, good Lord, by thy preseruacion. Amen.
Quod Skelton, Laureat.

[586] payned] So Lant’s ed. Other eds. “paynted.”

[587] feruence] So Lant’s ed. Other eds. “seruence” and “sentence.”


Woffully araid,[588]
My blode, man,
For thé ran,
It may not be naid;
My body bloo and wan,
Woffully araid.
Beholde me, I pray thé, with all thi hole reson,
And be not so hard hartid, and ffor this encheson,
Sith I for thi sowle sake was slayne in good seson,
Begylde and betraide by Judas fals treson; 10
Vnkyndly entretid,
With sharpe corde sore fretid,
The Jewis me thretid,
They mowid, they grynned, they scornyd me,
Condempnyd[589] to deth, as thou maist se,
Woffully araid.
Thus nakyd am I nailid, O man, for thy sake!
I loue thé, then loue me; why slepist thou? awake!
Remembir my tendir hart rote for thé brake,
With panys my vaynys constreyn[e]d to crake; 20
Thus toggid to and fro,
Thus wrappid all in woo,
Whereas neuer man was so,[590]
Entretid thus in most cruell wyse,
Was like a lombe offerd in sacrifice,
Woffully araid.
Off sharpe thorne I haue worne a crowne on my hede,
So paynyd, so straynyd, so rufull,[591] so red;
Thus bobbid, thus robbid,[592] thus for thy loue ded,
Onfaynyd[593] not deynyd[594] my blod for to shed; 30
My fete and handes sore
The[595] sturdy nailis bore;
What myȝt I suffir more
Than I haue don, O man, for thé?
Cum when thou list, wellcum to me,
Woffully araide.[596]
Off record thy good Lord y haue beyn and schal bee;
Y am thyn, thou artt myne, my brother y call thee;
Thé love I enterly; see whatt ys befall me!
Sore bettyng, sore thretyng, too mak thee, man, all fre: 40
Why art thou wnkynde?
Why hast nott mee yn mynde?
Cum ȝytt, and thou schalt fynde
Myne endlys mercy and grace;
See how a spere my hert dyd race,
Woyfully arayd.
Deyr brother, noo other thyng y off thee desyre
Butt gyve me thyne hert fre to rewarde myn hyre:
Y wrouȝt thé, I bowgȝt thé frome eternal fyre;
Y pray thé aray thé tooward my hyȝt empyre, 50
Above[597] the oryent,
Wheroff y am regent,
Lord God omnypotent,
Wyth me too reyn yn endlys welthe;
Remember, man, thy sawlys helthe.
Woofully arayd,
My blode, man,
For thé rane,
Hytt may nott be nayd;
My body blow and wane, 60
Woyfully arayde.
Explicit qd. Skelton.

[588] Woffully araid] From the Fairfax MS. (which once belonged to Ralph Thoresby, and now forms part of the Additional MSS., 5465, in the British Museum), where it occurs twice,—(fol. 76 and, less perfectly, fol. 86); collated with a copy written in a very old hand on the fly-leaves of Boetius de Discip. Schol. cum notabili commento, Daventrie, 1496, 4to. (in the collection of the late Mr. Heber), which has supplied several stanzas not in the Fairfax MS. It was printed from the latter, not very correctly, by Sir John Hawkins, Hist. of Music, ii. 89. I have followed the metrical arrangement of the MS. in the Boetius.

[589] condempnyd] So sec. copy in Fairfax MS., and MS. in the Boetius. First copy in F. MS. “condemp.”

[590] Whereas neuer man was so] MS. in the Boetius, “Ah was never man soo.”

[591] rufull] MS. in the Boetius, “rowfully.”

[592] bobbid ... robbid] MS. in the Boetius, “bowde ... rowyd.”

[593] Onfaynyd] MS. in the Boetius, “Unfraynyd.”

[594] deynyd] MS. in the Boetius, “drynyde.”

[595] The] MS. in the Boetius, “Thes.”

[596] Woffully araide] Here the Fairfax MS. concludes: what follows is given from the MS. in the Boetius.

[597] Above] MS. “I love.”


Now synge we,[598] as we were wont,
Vexilla regis prodeunt.
The kinges baner on felde is [s]playd,
The crosses mistry can not be nayd,
To whom our Sauyour was betrayd,
And for our sake;
Thus sayth he,
I suffre for thé,
My deth I take.
Now synge we, &c.
Beholde my shankes, behold my knees, 10
Beholde my hed, armes, and thees,
Beholde of me nothyng thou sees
But sorowe and pyne;
Thus was I spylt,
Man, for thy gylte,
And not for myne.
Now synge we, &c.
Behold my body, how Jewes it donge
With knots of whipcord and scourges strong;
As stremes of a well the blode out sprong
On euery syde; 20
The knottes were knyt,
Ryght well made with wyt,
They made woundes wyde.
Now synge we, &c.
Man, thou shalt now vnderstand,
Of my head, bothe fote and hand,
Are four c. and fyue thousand
Woundes and sixty;
Fifty and vii.
Were tolde full euen
Vpon my body. 30
Now synge we, &c.
Syth I for loue bought thé so dere,
As thou may se thy self here,
I pray thé with a ryght good chere
Loue me agayne,
That it lykes me
To suffre for thé
Now all this payne.
Now synge we, &c.
Man, vnderstand now thou shall,
In sted of drynke they gaue me gall,
And eysell mengled therwithall, 40
The Jewes fell;
These paynes on me
I suffred for thé
To bryng thé fro hell.
Now synge we, &c.
Now for thy lyfe thou hast mysled,
Mercy to aske be thou not adred;
The lest drop of blode that I for thé bled
Myght clense thé soone
Of all the syn
The worlde within, 50
If thou haddest doone.
Now synge we, &c.
I was more wrother with Judas,
For he wold no mercy aske,
Than I was for his trespas
Whan he me solde;
I was euer redy
To graunt hym mercy,
But he none wolde.
Now synge we, &c.
Lo, how I hold my armes abrode,
Thé to receyue redy isprode![599] 60
For the great loue that I to thé had
Well may thou knowe,
Some loue agayne
I wolde full fayne
Thou woldest to me shewe.
Now synge we, &c.
For loue I aske nothyng of thé
But stand fast in faythe, and syn thou fle,
And payne to lyue in honeste
Bothe nyght and day;
And thou shalt have blys 70
That neuer shall mys
Withouten nay.
Now synge we, &c.
Now, Jesu, for thy great goodnes,
That for man suffred great hardnes,
Saue vs fro the deuyls cruelnes,
And to blys vs send,
And graunt vs grace
To se thy face
Withouten ende.
Now synge we, &c.

[598] Now synge we, &c.] From Bibliographical Miscellanies (edited by the Rev. Dr. Bliss), 1813, 4to, p. 48, where it is given from an imperfect volume (or fragments of volumes) of black-letter Christmas Carolles, partly (but probably not wholly) printed by Kele.

[599] isprode] Bib. Mis. “I sprede.”



Codex membranaceus in 4to, seculo xiv scriptus, figuris illuminatis, sed injuria temporis pene deletis ornatus, in quo continetur,

I. Polichronitudo basileos sive historia belli quod Ricardus I. gessit contra Sarracenos, Gallice.

Hoc opus Skeltono ascribitur a Cl. Stanleio; primo autem intuitu satis liquet codicem ipsum longe ante tempus quo claruit Skeltonus fuisse scriptum, ab eoque regi dono missum, ut testantur sequentes versus diverso et recenti caractere primæ paginæ inscripti:”[600]]

I, liber, et propera, regem tu pronus adora;
Me sibi commendes humilem Skeltonida vatem:
Ante suam majestatem, (per cætera passim,)
Inclyta bella refer, gessit quæ maximus heros
Anglorum, primus nostra de gente Ricardus,
Hector ut intrepidus, contra validissima castra
Gentis Agarenæ; memora quos ille labores,
Quos tulit angores, qualesque recepit honores.
Chronica Francorum, validis inimica Britannis,
Sæpe solent celebres Britonum compescere laudes. 10

[600] Nasmith’s Catal. Libr. Manuscript, quos Coll. Corporis Christi et B. Mariæ Virginis in Acad. Cantabrig. legavit Reverendiss. in Christo Pater Matthæus Parker, Archiepisc. Cantuar. p. 400. 1777, 4to.



So many poynted caps
Lased with double flaps,
And so gay felted hats,
Sawe I never:
So many good lessons,
So many good sermons,
And so few devocions,
Sawe I never.
So many gardes worne,
Jagged and al to-torne, 10
And so many falsely forsworne,
Sawe I never:
So few good polycies
In townes and cytyes
For kepinge of blinde hostryes
Sawe I never.
So many good warkes,
So few wel lerned clarkes,
And so few that goodnes markes,
Sawe I never: 20
Such pranked cotes and sleves,
So few yonge men that preves,
And such encrease of theves,
Sawe I never.
So many garded hose,
Such cornede shoes,
And so many envious foes,
Sawe I never:
So many questes sytte
With men of smale wit, 30
And so many falsely quitte,
Sawe I never.
So many gay swordes,
So many altered wordes,
And so few covered bordes,
Sawe I never:
So many empti purses,
So few good horses,
And so many curses,
Sawe I never. 40
Such bosters and braggers,
So newe fashyoned daggers,
And so many beggers,
Sawe I never:
So many propre knyves,
So well apparrelled wyves
And so yll of theyr lyves,
Saw I never.
So many cockolde makers,
So many crakers, 50
And so many peace breakers,
Saw I never:
So much vayne clothing
With cultyng and jagging,
And so much bragginge,
Saw I never.
So many newes and knackes,
So many naughty packes,
And so many that mony lackes,
Saw I never: 60
So many maidens with child
And wylfully begylde,
And so many places untilde,
Sawe I never.
So many women blamed
And rightuously defaimed,
And so lytle ashamed,
Sawe I never:
Widowes so sone wed
After their husbandes be deade, 70
Having such hast to bed,
Sawe I never.
So much strivinge
For goodes and for wivinge,
And so lytle thryvynge,
Sawe I never:
So many capacities,
Offices and pluralites,
And chaunging of dignities,
Sawe I never. 80
So many lawes to use
The truth to refuse,
Suche falshead to excuse,
Sawe I never:
Executers havinge the ware,
Taking so littel care
Howe the soule doth fare,
Sawe I never.
Amonge them that are riche
No frendshyp is to kepe tuche, 90
And such fayre glosing speche
Sawe I never:
So many pore
In every bordoure,
And so small soccoure,
Saw I never.
So proude and so gaye,
So riche in araye,
And so skant of money,
Saw I never: 100
So many bowyers,
So many fletchers,
And so few good archers,
Saw I never.
So many chepers,
So fewe biers,
And so many borowers,
Sawe I never:
So many alle sellers
In baudy holes and sellers, 110
Of yonge folkes yll counsellers,
Sawe I never.
So many pinkers,
So many thinkers,
And so many good ale drinkers,
Sawe I never:
So many wronges,
So few mery songes,
And so many yll tonges,
Sawe I never. 120
So many a vacabounde
Through al this londe,
And so many in pryson bonde,
I sawe never:
So many citacions,
So fewe oblacions,
And so many newe facions,
Sawe I never.
So many fleyng tales,
Pickers of purses and males, 130
And so many sales,
Saw I never:
So much preachinge,
Speaking fayre and teaching,
And so ill belevinge,
Saw I never.
So much wrath and envy,
Covetous and glottony,
And so litle charitie,
Sawe I never: 140
So many carders,
Revelers and dicers,
And so many yl ticers,
Sawe I never.
So many lollers,
So few true tollers,
So many baudes and pollers,
Sawe I never:
Such treachery,
Simony and usury, 150
Poverty and lechery,
Saw I never.
So many avayles,
So many geales,
And so many fals baylies,[602]
Sawe I never:
By fals and subtyll wayes
All England decayes,
For more envy and lyers[603]
Sawe I never. 160
So new facioned jackes
With brode flappes in the neckes,
And so gay new partlettes,
Sawe I never:
So many slutteshe cookes,
So new facioned tucking hookes,
And so few biers of bookes,
Saw I never.
Sometime we song of myrth and play,
But now our joy is gone away, 170
For so many fal in decay
Sawe I never:
Whither is the welth of England gon?
The spiritual saith they have none,
And so many wrongfully undone
Saw I never.
It is great pitie that every day
So many brybors go by the way,
And so many extorcioners in eche cuntrey
Sawe I never. 180
To thé, Lord, I make my mone,
For thou maist healpe us everichone:
Alas, the people is so wo begone,
Worse was it never!
Were convenient,
But it may not be;
We have exiled veritie.
God is neither dead nor sicke;
He may amend al yet, 190
And trowe ye so in dede,
As ye beleve ye shal have mede.
After better I hope ever,
For worse was it never.
Finis. J. S.

[601] The Maner of the World now a dayes] Was Imprinted at London in Flete Strete at the signe of the Rose Garland by W. Copland, n. d. This piece (of the original impression of which I have not been able to procure a sight) is now given from Old Ballads, 1840, edited by J. P. Collier, Esq., for the Percy Society.

[602] baylies] Qy. “bayles?”

[603] lyers] Qy. “lyes?”




This worke deuysed is
For such as do amys;
And specyally to controule
Such as haue cure of soule,
That be so farre abused,
They cannot be excused
By reason nor by law;
But that they play the daw,
To hawke, or els to hunt
From the aulter[605] to the funte, 10
With cry vnreuerent,
Before the sacrament,
Within the holy church bowndis,
That of our faith the grounde is.
That pryest that hawkys so,
All grace is farre him fro;
He semeth a sysmatyke,
Or els an heretyke,
For fayth in him is faynte.
Therefore to make complaynte[606] 20
Of such mysaduysed
Parsons and dysgysed,
This boke we haue deuysed,
Compendiously comprysed,
No good priest to offende,
But suche dawes to amende,
In hope that no man shall
Be[607] myscontent withall.
I shall you make relacion,
By waye of apostrofacion, 30
Vnder supportacion
Of youre pacyent tolleracion,
How I, Skelton Laureat,
Deuysed and also wrate
Vpon a lewde curate,
A parson benyfyced,
But nothing well aduysed:
He shall be as now nameles,
But he shall not be blameles,
Nor he shal not be shameles; 40
For sure he wrought amys,
To hawke in my church of Dis.
This fonde frantyke fauconer,[608]
With his polutid pawtenar,[609]
As priest vnreuerent,
Streyght to the sacrament
He made his hawke to fly,
With hogeous showte and cry.
The hye auter[610] he strypt naked;
There on he stode, and craked; 50
He shoke downe all the clothis,
And sware horrible othes
Before the face of God,
By Moyses and Arons rod,
Or that he thens yede,
His hawke shoulde pray and fede
Vpon a pigeons maw.
The bloude ran downe raw
Vpon the auter stone;
The hawke tyrid on a bonne; 60
And in the holy place
She mutid there a chase
Vpon my corporas face.
Such sacrificium laudis
He made with suche gambawdis.


His seconde hawke wexid gery,
And was with flying wery;
She had flowin so oft,
That on the rode loft
She perkyd her to rest. 70
The fauconer then was prest[611],
Came runnyng with a dow,
And cryed, Stow, stow, stow!
But she would not bow.
He then, to be sure,
Callid her with a lure.
Her mete[612] was very crude,
She had not wel endude;
She was not clene ensaymed,
She was not well reclaymed: 80
But the fawconer vnfayned
Was much more febler brayned.
The hawke had no lyst
To come to hys fyst;
She loked as she had the frounce;[613]
With that he gaue her a bounce
Full vpon the gorge:
I wyll not fayne nor forge;
The hawke with that clap
Fell downe with euyll hap. 90
The church dores were sparred,
Fast boltyd and barryd,
Yet wyth a prety gyn
I fortuned to come in,
This rebell to beholde,
Wherof I hym[614] controlde;
But he sayde that he woulde,
Agaynst my mynde and wyll,
In my churche hawke styll.


On Sainct John decollacion 100
He hawked on this facion,
Tempore vesperarum,
Sed non secundum Sarum,
But lyke a Marche harum,
His braynes were so parum.
He sayde he would not let
His houndis for to fet,
To hunte there by lyberte
In the dyspyte of me,
And to halow there the fox: 110
Downe went my offerynge box,
Boke, bell, and candyll,
All that he myght handyll;
Cros, staffe, lectryne, and banner,
Fell downe on this manner.


With, troll, cytrace, and trouy,
They ranged, hankin bouy,
My churche all aboute.
This fawconer then[615] gan showte,
These be my gospellers, 120
These be my pystillers,
These be my querysters
To helpe me to synge,
My hawkes to mattens rynge.
In this priestly gydynge
His hawke then flew vppon
The rode with Mary and John.
Delt he not lyke a fon?
Delt he not lyke a daw?
Or els is this Goddes law, 130
Decrees or decretals,
Or holy sinodals,
Or els prouincials,
Thus within the wals
Of holy church to deale,
Thus to rynge a peale
With his hawkis bels?
Dowtles such losels
Make the churche to be
In smale auctoryte: 140
A curate in speciall
To snappar and to fall
Into this open cryme;
To loke on this were tyme.


But who so that lokys
In the officiallis bokis,
Ther he[616] may se and reed
That this is matter indeed.
How be it, mayden Meed
Made theym to be agreed, 150
And so the Scrybe was feed,
And the Pharasay
Than durst nothing say,
But let the matter slyp,
And made truth to trip;
And of the spiritual law
They made but a gewgaw,
And toke it out in drynke,
And this the cause doth shrynke:
The church is thus abused, 160
Reproched and pollutyd;
Correccion hath no[617] place,
And all for lacke of grace.


Loke now in Exodi,
And de arca Domini,
With Regum by and by;
The Bybyll wyll not ly;
How the Temple was kept,
How the Temple was swept,
Where sanguis taurorum, 170
Aut sanguis vitulorum,
Was offryd within the wallis,
After ceremoniallis;
When it was poluted,
Sentence was executed,
By wey of expiacion,
For reconciliacion.[618]


Then muche more, by the rode,
Where Christis precious blode
Dayly offred is, 180
To be poluted this;
And that he wyshed withall
That the dowues donge downe might fal
Into my chalis at mas,
When consecrated was
The blessed sacrament:
O prieest vnreuerent!
He sayde that he woulde hunt
From the aulter to the funt.


Of no tyrande I rede, 190
That so farre dyd excede;
Neyther yet Dioclesyan,
Nor yet Domisian,
Nor yet[620] croked Cacus,
Nor yet dronken Bacus;[621]
Nother Olibrius,
Nor Dionisyus;
Nother Phalary,
Rehersed in Valery;
Nor Sardanapall, 200
Vnhappiest of all;
Nor Nero the worst,
Nor Clawdius the curst;
Nor yet Egeas,
Nor yet Syr Pherumbras;
Nother Zorobabell,
Nor cruel Jesabell;
Nor yet Tarquinius,
Whom Tytus Liuius
In wrytynge doth enroll; 210
I haue red them poll by poll;
The story of Arystobell,
And of Constantinopell,[622]
Whiche citye miscreantys wan,
And slew many a Christen man;
Yet the Sowden, nor the Turke,
Wrought neuer suche a worke,
For to let theyr hawkes fly
In the Church of Saint Sophy;
With much matter more, 220
That I kepe in store.


Then in a tabull playne
I wroute a verse or twayne,
Whereat he made dysdayne:
The pekysh parsons brayne
Cowde not rech nor attayne
What the sentence ment;
He sayde, for a crokid intent
The wordes were paruerted:
And this he ouerthwarted. 230
Of the which proces
Ye may know more expres,
If it please you to loke
In the resydew of this boke.

Here after followeth the tabull.

Loke on this tabull,
Whether thou art abull
To rede or to spell
What these verses tell.
Sicculo lutueris est colo būraarā[623]
Nixphedras uisarum caniuter tuntantes[624]
Raterplas Natābrian[625] umsudus itnugenus.
18. 10. 2. 11. 19. 4. 13. 3. 3. 1. tēualet.[626]
Chartula stet, precor, hæc nullo[627] temeranda petulco:
Hos rapiet numeros non homo, sed mala bos.
Ex parte rem chartæ adverte aperte, pone Musam Arethusam hanc.
Whereto should I rehers
The sentence of my vers? 240
In them be no scholys
For braynsycke frantycke folys:
Construas hoc,
Domine Dawcocke!
Ware the hawke!
Maister sophista,
Ye simplex syllogista,
Ye[628] deuelysh dogmatista,
Your hawke on your fista,
To hawke when you[629] lista 250
In ecclesia ista,
Domine concupisti,[630]
With thy hawke on thy fisty?
Nunquid sic dixisti?
Nunquid sic fecisti?
Sed ubi hoc legisti
Aut unde hoc,
Doctor Dawcocke?
Ware the hawke!
Doctor Dialetica,[631] 260
Where fynde you in Hypothetica,
Or in Categoria,
Latina sive Dorica,
To vse your hawkys forica
In propitiatorio,
Tanquam diversorio?
Unde hoc,
Domine Dawcocke?
Ware the hawke!
Saye to me, Jacke Harys, 270
Quare aucuparis
Ad sacramentum altaris?
For no reuerens[632] thou sparys
To shake my pygeons federis
Super arcam fœderis:
Unde hoc,
Doctor Dawcocke?
Ware the hawke!
Sir Dominus vobiscum,
Per[633] aucupium 280
Ye made your hawke to cum
Desuper candelabrum
Christi crucifixi
To fede vpon your fisty:
Dic, inimice crucis Christi,
Ubi didicisti
Facere hoc,
Domine Dawcocke?
Ware the hawke!
Apostata Julianus, 290
Nor yet Nestorianus,
Thou shalt no[634] where rede
That they dyd suche a dede,
To let theyr hawkys fly
Ad ostium tabernaculi,
In quo est corpus Domini:
Cave hoc,
Doctor Dawcocke!
Ware the hawke!
This dowtles ye rauyd, 300
Dys church ye thus deprauyd;
Wherfore, as I be sauyd,
Ye are therefore beknauyd:
Quare? quia Evangelia,
Concha et conchylia,
Accipiter[635] et sonalia,
Et bruta animalia,[636]
Cætera quoque talia
Tibi sunt æqualia:
Unde hoc310
Domine Dawcocke?
Ware the hawke!
Et relis et ralis,
Et reliqualis,
From Granado to Galis,
From Wynchelsee to Walys,[637]
Non est braynsycke talis,
Nec minus rationalis,
Nec magis bestialis,[638]
That synggys with a chalys: 320
Construas hoc,
Doctor Dawcocke!
Ware the hawke!
Masyd, wytles, smery smyth,
Hampar with your hammer vpon thy styth,
And make hereof a syckyll or a saw,
For thoughe ye lyue a c. yere, ye shall dy a daw.
Vos valete,
Doctor indiscrete!

[604] Ware the Hauke] From the ed. by Kynge and Marche of Certaine bokes compyled by mayster Skelton, n. d., collated with the same work, ed. Day, n. d., and ed. Lant, n. d., and with Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568.

[605] aulter] Here Lant’s ed. has “auter.” (In the spelling of this word the eds. are not consistent; see vv. 49, 59, 189.)

[606] complaynte] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “complaunt.”

[607] Be] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “By.”

[608] fauconer] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, and of Lant, “fouconer.”

[609] pawtenar] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “pawtner.”

[610] auter] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “aulter:” see note, ante, p. 155.

[611] prest] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, and of Day, “priest.”

[612] mete] So Lant’s ed. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “mere.” Other eds. “meate.”

[613] frounce] So Lant’s ed. Other eds. “fronnce” and “fronce.”

[614] I hym] So Lant’s ed. Other eds. “him I.”

[615] then] Not in eds. of Day, and Marshe.

[616] he] Marshe’s ed. “her.”

[617] no] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “na.”

[618] For reconciliacion] Not in eds. of Day, and Marshe.

[619] Divinitate] Qy. “Divinate?”

[620] Nor yet] Lant’s ed. “Nother.”

[621] Bacus] Marshe’s ed. “Baccus.”

[622] Constantinopell] Marshe’s ed. “Constantinobel.”

[623] būraarā] In Day’s ed. the final letter of this word being blurred looks like a d; and Marshe’s ed. has “bunraard.” The meaning of this “tabull playne” is quite beyond my comprehension.

[624] tuntantes] Marshe’s ed. “tauntantes.”

[625] Natābrian] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “Natanbrian.” The Editor of 1736 prints “Natanbrianum sudus.”

[626] tēualet] Perhaps, “ten (10) valet.”

[627] nullo] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “uello.”

[628] Ye] Eds. “The.”

[629] you] Eds. “your.”

[630] concupisti] Eds. “racapisti” and “cacapisti.”

[631] Dialetica] So written in eds. for the rhyme.

[632] reuerens] So Lant’s ed. Other eds. “reuens.”

[633] Per] Eds. “Par.”

[634] no] Day’s ed. “ne.”

[635] Accipiter] Eds. “Ancipiter.”

[636] animalia] Eds. of Kynge and Marche, and of Lant, (in which impressions only this line is found), “aīlia.”

[637] Walys] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “Wales,” and in the next line “tales.”

[638] bestialis] Day’s ed. “bestia.” Marshe’s ed. “bestis.”


O memoranda dies, qua, decollate[639] Johannes,
Aucupium facit, haud[640] quondam[641] quod fecerit, intra[642]
Ecclesiam de Dis, violans tua[643] sacra sacrorum!
Rector de Whipstok, doctor cognomine Daucock,
Et dominus Wodcock; probat is, probat hic, probat hæc hoc.



Libertas veneranda piis concessa poetis
Dicendi est quæcunque placent, quæcunque juvabunt,
Vel quæcunque valent justas defendere causas,
Vel quæcunque valent[645] stolidos mordere petulcos.
Ergo dabis veniam.
Quod Skelton, laureat.



This tretise devysed it is
Of two knaues somtyme of Dis.
Though this knaues be deade,
Full of myschiefe and queed,
Yet, where so euer they ly,
Theyr names shall neuer dye.

Compendium de duobus versipellibus, John Jayberd, et Adam all[647] a knaue, deque illorum notissima vilitate.


Sequitur trigintale
Tale quale rationale,
Licet parum curiale,
Tamen satis est formale,
Joannis Clerc, hominis
Cujusdam multinominis,[648]
Joannes Jayberd qui vocatur,
Clerc cleribus nuncupatur.
Obiit sanctus iste pater
Anno Domini MD. sexto. 10
In parochia de Dis
Non erat sibi similis;
In malitia vir insignis,
Duplex corde et bilinguis;
Senio confectus,
Omnibus suspectus,
Nemini dilectus,
Sepultus est amonge the wedes:
God forgeue hym his mysdedes!
Dulce melos
Penetrans cœlos.
Carmina cum cannis
cantemus festa Joannis:
Clerk obiit vere,
Jayberd nomenque dedere;
Dis populo[649] natus,
Clerk cleribus estque vocatus.
Hic vir Chaldæus,
nequam vir, ceu Jebusæus,
In Christum Domini
fremuit de more cameli, 10
Rectori proprio
tam verba retorta loquendo
Unde resultando—
que Acheronta[650] boando tonaret.
Nunquam sincere
solitus sua crimina flere;
Cui male lingua loquax—
que dicax mendaxque, fuere
Et mores tales
resident in nemine quales; 20
Carpens vitales
auras, turbare sodales
Et cines socios,[651]
asinus, mulus velut, et bos.
Omne suum studium
rubeum pictum per amictum
Discolor; et victum
faciens semper maledictum
Ex intestinis ovium—
que boumque caprorum; 30
Tendens adque forum,
fragmentum colligit horum,
Dentibus exemptis
mastigat cumque polentis
Lanigerum caput aut ovis[652]
aut vaccæ mugientis.
Quid petis, hic sit quis?
John Jayberd, incola[653] de Dis;
Cui, dum vixerat is,
sociantur jurgia, vis, lis. 40
Jam jacet hic starke deed,
Neuer a toth in his heed.
Adieu, Jayberd, adue,
I faith, dikkon thou crue!
Fratres, orate
For this knauate,
By the holy rode,
Dyd neuer man good:
I pray you all,
And pray shall, 50
At this trentall
On knees to fall
To the fote ball;
With, fill the blak bowle
For Jayberdes sowle.
Bibite multum:
Ecce sepultum
Sub pede stultum,
Asinum, et mulum!
The deuill kis his culum60
Wit[h], hey, howe, rumbelowe,
Per omnia secula seculorum! Amen.

Requiem, &c.

Per Fredericum Hely,
Fratrem de Monte Carmeli,
Qui condunt sine sale
Hoc devotum trigintale.
Vale Jayberd, valde male!
Adam Vddersall,[654]
Alias dictus Adam all
a knaue, his
Epitaph foloweth deuoutly;
He was somtime the holy
Baillyue of Dis.
Of Dis
Adam degebat:
dum vixit, falsa gerebat,
Namque extorquebat
quicquid nativus habebat,
Aut liber natus; rapidus[655]
lupus inde vocatus:
Ecclesiamque satus
de Belial iste Pilatus
Sub pede calcatus
violavit, nunc violatus: 10
Perfidus, iratus,
numquam fuit ille beatus:
Uddersall stratus
benedictis[656] est spoliatus,
Improbus, inflatus,
maledictis jam laceratus:
Dis,[657] tibi bacchatus
ballivus prædominatus:
Hic fuit ingratus,
porcus velut insatiatus, 20
Pinguis, crassatus;
velut Agag sit[658] reprobatus!
Crudelisque Cacus
barathro, peto, sit tumulatus!
Belsabub his soule saue,
Qui jacet hic, like a knaue!
Jam scio mortuus est,
Et jacet hic, like a best.
Anima ejus
De malo in pejus.[659] Amen. 30
De Dis hæc semper erit camena,
Adam Uddersall sit anathema!
Auctore Skelton, rectore de Dis.

Finis, &c. Apud Trumpinton scriptum[660] per Curatum ejusdem, quinto die Januarii Anno Domini, secundum computat. Angliæ, MDVII.

Adam, Adam, ubi es? Genesis. Re. Ubi nulla requies, ubi nullus ordo, sed sempiternus horror inhabitat. Job.

[639] decollate] Eds. “decolare.”

[640] haud] Eds. “hod.”

[641] quondam] Marshe’s ed. “quandam.”

[642] intra] Eds. “infra.”

[643] tua] Eds. “sua.”

[644] Idem, &c.] These lines follow Ware the Hawk in all the eds.

[645] valent] Eds. “volent.”

[646] Epithaphe, &c.] From Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568.

[647] all] Ed. “ali.:” but compare p. 171.

[648] multinominis] Ed. “maltimoniis.”

[649] populo] The correction of the Rev. J. Mitford. Ed. “populus.”

[650] que Acheronta, &c. ... que dicax, &c.] Perhaps these passages ought to be arranged thus for the sake of the rhyme;

“que Acheronta boando
tonaret. Nunquam sincere,” &c.
“que dicax mendax—
que, fuere Et mores tales,” &c.

But from the rest of the poem it seems that Skelton intended each hexameter to be cut only into two parts.

[651] socios] Ed. “socias.”

[652] caput aut ovis] Ed. “caput caput.” I give the conjectural reading of the Rev. J. Mitford. The rhyme suggests (but the metre will not allow) “bidentis.”

[653] incola] Ed. “Nicolas.”

[654] Vddersall, &c.] Ed. “Vddersale:” but compare vv. 13, 32. In this passage I have adopted the arrangement proposed by the Rev. J. Mitford.—Ed. thus;

“Adam Vddersale. alias dictus
Adam all. a knaue his Epitaph.
Foloweth deuoutly,
He was somtime the holy
baillyue of dis.”

[655] rapidus] The Rev. J. Mitford conjectures, “rabidus;” but rapidus is frequently used in the same sense.

[656] benedictis] Ed. “Benedictus;” and in the next line but one, “Maledictus.”

[657] Dis, tibi, &c.] The emendation of the Rev. J. Mitford: compare above, “Baillyue of Dis.”—Ed.

“Sis tibi baccatus
Balians prædominatus.”

[658] sit] Ed. “fit.”

[659] pejus] Ed. “peuis.”

[660] scriptum] Ed. “scripter.”


Diligo rustincum[661] cum portant bis duo quointum,
Et cantant delos est mihi dulce melos.
1. Canticum dolorosum.

[661] Diligo rustincum, &c.] This and the following piece are from Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568. In that collection the present couplet is twice printed: “rustincum” is the reading of the first copy, “rusticum” (which the metre will not admit) of the second: the first copy has “quonintum,” the second “quointum;” the Editor of 1736 gave “quantum.” See notes for the conjectures of the Rev. J. Mitford on this enigma. “Canticum dolorosum” is probably part of the title of the next piece.


O lacrymosa lues nimis, O quam flebile fatum!
Ignibus exosis, urbs veneranda, ruis;
Fulmina sive Jovis sive ultima fata vocabant,
vulcani rapidis ignibus ipsa peris.
Ah[662] decus, ah patriæ specie pulcherrima dudum!
Urbs Norvicensis labitur[663] in cineres.
Urbs, tibi quid referam? breviter tibi pauca reponam:
Prospera rara[664] manent, utere sorte tua;
Perpetuum mortale nihil, sors omnia versat:
Urbs miseranda, vale! sors miseranda tua est. 10

[662] Ah ... ah] Ed. “Au ... au.”

[663] labitur] Ed. “labitar.”

[664] rara] Ed. “raro.”

[665] Skelton] Ed. “inifiranda Skelton:” the former word perhaps having been inserted by some mistake of the printer, whose eye had caught “miseranda” in the preceding line.



Ismal, ecce, Bedel, non mel, sed fel, sibi des el![666]
Perfidus Achitophel, luridus atque lorell;
Nunc olet iste Jebal,[667] Nabal. S. Nabal, ecce, ribaldus!
Omnibus exosus atque perosus erat;
In plateaque cadens animam spiravit oleto:
Presbyteros odiens sic sine mente ruit.
Discite vos omnes quid sit violare sacratos
Presbyteros, quia sic corruit iste canis.
Cocytus cui si detur[668] per Tartara totus,
Sit, peto, promotus Cerberus huncque voret. 10
At mage sancta tamen mea Musa precabitur[669] atros
Hos lemuresque eat sic Bedel ad superos;
Non eat, immo ruat, non scandat, sed mage tendat,
Inque caput præceps mox Acheronta petat.
Bedel. Quanta malignatus est inimicus in sancto![670]
Psa. 73.

[666] des el] The Rev. J. Mitford proposes “dorell.”

[667] Jebal] Qy. “Jabel?” but I do not understand the line.

[668] si detur] So the Rev. J. Mitford reads. Ed. “sic petus.”

[669] precabitur] Ed. “precabiturum.”

[670] sancto] Ed. “sāctā.”

Mortuus est asinus,
Qui pinxit mulum:[671]
Hic jacet barbarus;
The deuill kys his culum! Amen.

Hanc volo transcribas, transcriptam moxque remittas Pagellam; quia sunt qui mea scripta sciunt.

[671] pinxit mulum] Corrected by the Rev. J. Mitford. Ed. “vixit multum.” The progress of the error was evidently—pinxit, vinxit, vixit. See notes.


Redde {Igitur quia sunt qui mala cuncta fremunt,[672]
{Igitur quia sunt qui bona cuncta premunt.
Nec tamen expaveo de fatuo labio,
Nec multum paveo de stolido[673] rabulo.

[672] fremunt ... premunt] So Editor of 1736. Ed. “frenuitur,” “prenuitur.”

[673] stolido] Ed. “scolido.”


Salve plus[674] decies quam[675] sunt momenta dierum!
Quot generum species,[676] quot res, quot nomina rerum,
Quot prati[677] flores, quot sunt et[678] in orbe colores,
Quot pisces, quot aves, quot sunt et[679] in æquore naves,
Quot volucrum pennæ, quot sunt tormenta gehennæ,
Quot cœli stellæ, quot sunt et[680] in orbe puellæ,
Quot sancti Romæ, quot sunt miracula Thomæ,
Quot sunt virtutes, tantas tibi[681] mitto salutes.

[674] Salve plus, &c.] From Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568, (where it is printed on the reverse of the title-page), collated with a copy in Additional MSS. Brit. Mus. (4787, fol. 224), which is headed “Ex Jo. Skeltono Poeta Laureato.”

[675] quam] So MS. In Marshe’s ed. a contraction, which the Editor of 1736 resolved into “quot.”

[676] generum species] MS. “species generum.”

[677] prati] MS. “pratis.”

[678] et] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[679] et] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[680] et] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[681] tantas tibi] So MS. Marshe’s ed. “tot vobis;” but compare v. 1. “Salve,” &c.



Tristia Melpomenes cogor modo plectra sonare;
Hos elegos foveat Cynthius ille meos.
Si quas fata movent lacrymas, lacrymare videtur[687]
Jam bene maturum, si bene mente sapis.
Flos Britonum, regum speculum, Salomonis imago,
Septimus Henricus mole sub hac tegitur.
Punica, dum regnat, redolens rosa digna vocari,
Jam jam marcescit, ceu levis umbra fugit.
Multa novercantis fortunæ, multa faventis
Passus, et infractus tempus utrumque tulit. 10
Nobilis Anchises, armis metuendus Atrides,
Hic erat; hunc Scottus rex timuit Jacobus.
Spiramenta animæ vegetans dum vescitur aura,
Francorum populus conticuit pavidus.
Immensas sibi divitias cumulasse quid horres?
Ni cumulasset opes, forte, Britanne,[688] luas.
Urgentes casus tacita si mente volutes,
Vix tibi sufficeret aurea ripa Tagi.
Ni sua te probitas consulta mente laborans
Rexisset satius, vix tibi tuta salus. 20
Sed quid plura cano? meditans quid plura voluto?
Quisque vigil sibi sit: mors sine lege rapit.
Ad Dominum, qui cuncta regit, pro principe tanto
Funde preces quisquis carmina nostra legis.
Vel mage,[689] si placeat, hunc[690] timuit Jacobus,
Scottorum dominus, qui sua fata luit;
Quem Leo Candidior Rubeum necat ense Leonem,
Et jacet usque modo non tumulatus humo.
Refrigerii sedem, quietis beatitudinem, luminis habeat claritatem. Amen.

[682] Orator, &c.] This and the next piece from Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568, collated with the poems as given in Reges, Reginæ, Nobiles, et alii in Ecclesia Collegiata B. Petri Westmonasterii sepulti, &c., 1603, 4to.

[683] Skeltonis] Reges, &c. “Skeltonus;” but see ante and post.

[684] Islippæ] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “Islip.”

[685] Westmonasteriensis] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “Westmonastericii.”

[686] divi] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “domini.”

[687] videtur] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “videt.”

[688] Britanne] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “Britainie.”


Huc, pia Calliope, propera, mea casta puella,
Et mecum resona carmina plena deo.
Septimus Henricus, Britonum memorabilis heros,
Anglica terra, tuus magnanimus Priamus,
Attalus hic opibus, rigidus Cato, clarus Acestes,
Sub gelido clausus marmore jam recubat.[691]
Sic[692] honor omnis, opes, probitas, sic gloria regum,
Omnia nutabunt[693] mortis ad imperium.
Anglia, num lacrymas? rides; lacrymare quid obstas?
Dum vixit, lacrymas; dum moritur, jubilas. 10
Canta,[694] tamen penses, dum vixerat, Angligenenses
Vibrabant enses, bella nec ulla timent.
Undique bella fremunt nunc, undique prœlia surgunt:
Noster honor solus, filius, ecce, suus!
Noster honor solus, qui pondera tanta subire
Non timet, intrepidus arma gerenda vocat;
Arma gerenda vocat, (superi sua cœpta secundent!)
Ut quatiat Pallas ægida sæpe rogat.
Sors tamen est versanda diu, sors ultima belli:
Myrmidonum dominus Marte[695] silente ruit; 20
Et quem non valuit validis superare sub armis
Mars, tamen occubuit insidiis Paridis.
Nos incerta quidem pro certis ponere rebus
Arguit, et prohibet Delius ipse pater.
Omnia sunt hominum dubio labentia fato,
Marte sub incerto militat omnis homo.
Omne decus nostrum, nostra et spes unica tantum,
Jam bene qui regnat, hunc Jovis umbra tegat!
Ut quamvis mentem labor est inhibere volentem,
Pauca tamen liceat dicere pace sua: 30
Pace tua liceat mihi nunc tibi dicere pauca,
Dulce meum decus, et sola Britanna salus.
Summa rei nostræ remanet, celeberrime princeps,
In te præcipuo, qui modo sceptra geris.
Si tibi fata favent, faveant[696] precor atque precabor,
Anglia, tunc plaude; sin minus, ipsa[697] vale.
Polychronitudo basileos.

[689] Vel mage ... humo] Not in Reges, &c. These lines (containing an allusion to the battle of Flodden) are of a later date than the preceding poem, to the 12th verse of which they are intended as a sort of note. This is not the only passage in our author’s Latin pieces where two pentameters occur without an intervening hexameter: see conclusion of The Garlande of Laurell.

[690] hunc] Ed. “hunc hunc.”

[691] recubat] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “recubit.”

[692] Sic] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “Hic.”

[693] nutabunt] Reges, &c. “mutabunt.”

[694] Canta] Marshe’s ed. “Cauta.” Reges, &c. “Tanta.”

[695] Marte] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “mater.”

[696] faveant] So Reges, &c. Not in Marshe’s ed.

[697] ipsa] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “ipse.”



Felix qui bustum formasti,[698] rex, tibi cuprum;
Auro si tectus fueras, fueras spoliatus,
Nudus, prostratus, tanta est rabiosa cupido
Undique nummorum: rex, pace precor requiescas. Amen.

[698] formasti] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “torniasti.”



Agaynst the prowde Scottes clatterynge,
That neuer wyll leaue theyr tratlynge:
Wan they the felde, and lost theyr kynge?
They may well say, fye on that wynnynge!
Lo, these fonde sottes
And tratlynge Scottes,
How thei are blynde
In theyr owne mynde,
And wyll not know
Theyr ouerthrow 10
At Branxton[700] more!
They are so stowre,
So frantyke mad,
They say they had
And wan the felde
With spere and shelde:
That is as trew
As blacke is blew
And grene is gray.
What euer they say, 20
Jemmy is ded
And closed in led,
That was theyr owne kynge:
Fy on that wynnynge!
At Floddon[701] hyllys
Our bowys, our byllys,
Slewe all the floure
Of theyr honoure.
Are not[702] these Scottys
Folys and sottys, 30
Suche boste to make,
To prate and crake,
To face, to brace,
All voyde of grace,
So prowde of hart,
So ouerthwart,
So out of frame,
So voyde of shame,
As it is enrolde,
Wrytten and tolde 40
Within this quayre?
Who lyst to[703] repayre,
And therin reed,
Shall fynde indeed
A mad rekenynge,
Consyderynge al thynge,
That the Scottis may synge[704]
Fy on the wynnynge!

When the Scotte lyued.

Joly Jemmy, ye scorneful Scot,
Is it come vnto your lot 50
A solempne sumner for to be?
It greyth nought for your degre
Our kynge of Englande for to syght,[705]
Your souerayne lord, our prynce of might:
Ye for to sende such a citacion,
It shameth all your noughty nacion,
In comparyson but kynge Koppynge
Vnto our prince, annoynted kynge.
Ye play Hob Lobbyn of Lowdean;
Ye shew ryght well what good ye can; 60
Ye may be lorde of Locrian,—
Chryst sence[706] you with a frying pan!—
Of Edingborrow and Saint Ionis towne:
Adieu, syr sumner, cast of youre crowne!

When the Scot was slayne.

Continually I shall remember
The mery moneth of September,
With the ix[707] daye of the same,
For then began our myrth and game;
So that now I haue deuysed,
And in my minde I haue comprysed, 70
Of the prowde Scot, kynge Jemmy,
To wryte some lyttle tragedy,
For no maner consyderacion
Of any sorowful lamentacion,
But for the special consolacion
Of all our royall Englysh nacion.
Melpomone,[708] O Muse tragediall,
Vnto your grace for grace now I call,
To guyde my pen and my pen to enbybe!
Illumyn me, your poete and your scrybe, 80
That with myxture of aloes and bytter gall
I may compounde confectures for a cordiall,
To angre the Scottes and Irysh keteringes withall,
That late were discomfect with battayle marcyall.
Thalia, my Muse, for you also call I,
To touche them with tauntes of your armony,
A medley to make of myrth with sadnes,
The hartes of England to comfort with gladnes:
And now to begyn I wyll me adres,
To you rehersynge the somme of my proces. 90
Kynge Jamy, Jemmy, Jocky my jo,[709]
Ye[710] summond our kynge,—why dyd ye so?
To you nothing it dyd accorde
To summon our kynge, your soueraygne lord.
A kyng, a sumner![711] it was great wonder:
Know ye not suger and salt asonder?
Your sumner to saucy, to malapert,
Your harrold in armes not yet halfe experte.
Ye thought ye dyd yet valyauntly,
Not worth thre skyppes of a pye: 100
Syr skyrgalyard, ye were so skyt,
Your wyll than ran before your wyt.
Your lege ye layd and your aly
Your frantick fable not worth a fly,
Frenche kynge, or one or other;
Regarded ye[712] should your lord, your brother.
Trowid ye, Syr Jemy, his nobul grace
From you, Syr Scot, would turne his face?
With, Gup, Syr Scot of Galawey!
Now is your pryde fall to decay. 110
Male vryd was your fals entent
For to offende your presydent,
Your souerayne lord most reuerent,
Your lord, your brother, and your regent.
In him is fygured Melchisedec,
And ye were disloyall Amalec.
He is our noble Scipione,[713]
Annoynted kynge; and ye were none,
Thoughe ye vntruly your father haue slayne.
His tytle is true in Fraunce to raygne; 120
And ye, proud Scot, Dunde, Dunbar,
Pardy, ye were his homager,
And suter to his parliament:
For your vntruth now ar ye shent.
Ye bare yourselfe somwhat to bold,
Therfore ye lost your copyehold;
Ye were bonde tenent to his estate;
Lost is your game, ye are checkmate.
Vnto the castell of Norram,
I vnderstande, to sone ye came. 130
At Branxston more and Flodden hylles,
Our Englysh bowes, our Englysh bylles,
Agaynst you gaue so sharpe a shower,
That of Scotland ye lost the flower.
The Whyte Lyon, there rampaunt of moode,
He ragyd and rent out your hart bloode;
He the Whyte, and ye[714] the Red,
The Whyte there slew the Red starke ded.
Thus for your guerdon quyt ar ye,
Thanked be God in Trinite, 140
And swete Sainct George, our ladies knyght!
Your eye is out; adew, good nyght!
Ye were starke mad to make a fray,
His grace beyng out of the way:
But, by the power and might of God,
For your owne[715] tayle ye made a rod.
Ye wanted wit, syr, at a worde;
Ye lost your spurres, ye lost your sworde.
Ye myght haue buskyd you to Huntley bankys;
Your pryde was peuysh to play such prankys: 150
Your pouerte coude not attayne
With our kynge royal war to mayntayne.
Of the kyng of Nauerne ye might take heed,
Vngraciously how he doth speed:
In[716] double delynge so he did dreme,
That he is kynge without a reme;
And, for example ye[717] would none take,
Experiens hath brought you in suche a brake.
Your welth, your ioy, your sport, your play,
Your bragynge bost, your royal aray, 160
Your beard so brym as bore at bay,
Your Seuen Systers, that gun so gay,
All haue ye lost and cast away.
Thus fortune hath tourned you, I dare well saye,
Now from a kynge to a clot of clay:
Out of your[718] robes ye were shaked,
And wretchedly ye lay starke naked.[719]
For lacke of grace hard was your hap:
The Popes curse[720] gaue you that clap.
Of the out yles the roughe foted Scottes, 170
We haue well eased them of the bottes:
The rude ranke Scottes, lyke dronken dranes,
At Englysh bowes haue fetched theyr banes.
It is not fytting[721] in tower and towne
A sumner[722] to were a kynges crowne:
Fortune on you therfore did frowne;
Ye were to hye, ye are cast downe.
Syr sumner, now where is your crowne?
Cast of your crowne, cast vp your crowne!
Syr sumner, now ye haue lost your crowne. 180
Quod Skelton laureate, oratoure to the Kynges most royall estate.
Scotia,[723] redacta in formam provinciæ,
Regis parebit nutibus Angliæ:
Alioquin, per desertum Sin, super cherubim,
Cherubin, seraphim, seraphinque, ergo, &c.

[699] Skelton Laureate against the Scottes] The following pieces, called forth by the battle of Flodden, and the lines on the Battle of the Spurs annexed to them, are from the ed. of Kynge and Marche of Certaine bokes compyled by mayster Skelton, n. d., collated with the same work, ed. Day, n. d., ed. Lant, n. d., and with Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568.

[700] Branxton] Day’s ed. “Branxion.”

[701] Floddon] So Marshe’s ed. Other eds. “Folddon.”

[702] not] Lant’s ed. “nat.”

[703] to] Not in Lant’s ed.

[704] synge] Marshe’s ed. “sin.”

[705] syght] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “fight.”

[706] sence] So Marshe’s ed. Other eds. “fence.”

[707] ix] Eds. “xi.”

[708] Melpomone] Other eds. “Melnomone.”

[709] jo] So Lant’s ed. Other eds. “ioye.”

[710] Ye] So Lant’s ed. Not in other eds.

[711] sumner] Here and in next line but one, Marshe’s ed. “summer.”

[712] ye] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “you.”

[713] Scipione] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “Scripione.”

[714] ye] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “you.”

[715] owne] Not in eds. of Day, and Marshe.

[716] In] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “An.”

[717] ye] Eds. “he.”

[718] your] So Lant’s ed. Not in other eds.

[719] starke naked] So Lant’s ed. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, and of Day, “starke your naked.” Marshe’s ed. “starke all naked.”

[720] curse] Eds. “cures.”

[721] fytting] Other eds. “sytting” and “sitting,” which, perhaps, Skelton wrote, as he elsewhere uses the word.

[722] sumner] Marshe’s ed. “summer,” here, and in the concluding line.

[723] Scotia] Eds. “Scotica.”


I am now constrayned,
With wordes nothynge fayned,
This inuectiue to make,
For some peoples[725] sake
That lyst for to iangyll
And waywardly to wrangyll
Agaynst this my makynge,
Their males therat shakynge,
At it reprehending,
And venemously stingynge, 10
Rebukynge and remordyng,
And nothing according.
Cause haue they[726] none other,
But for that he was brother,[727]
Brother vnnatural
Vnto our kynge royall,
Against whom he dyd fighte[728]
Falsly agaynst all ryght,
Lyke that vntrue rebell
Fals Kayn agaynst Abell. 20
Who so[729] therat pyketh mood,
The tokens are not good
To be true Englysh blood;
For, yf they vnderstood
His traytourly dispyght,
He was a recrayed knyght,
A subtyll sysmatyke,
Ryght nere an heretyke,
Of grace out of the state,
And died excomunycate. 30
And for he was a kynge,
The more shamefull rekenynge
Of hym should men report,
In ernest and in sport.
He skantly loueth our kynge,
That grudgeth at this thing:
That cast such ouerthwartes
Percase haue hollow hartes.
Si veritatem dico, quare non creditis mihi?

[724] this] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, and of Lant, “his.”

[725] peoples] So Lant’s ed. Other eds. “people.”

[726] haue they] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “they haue.”

[727] brother] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “hys brother.”

[728] fighte] So other eds. Ed. of Kynge and Marche, “syght.”

[729] Who so] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “But who so.”



Salve, festa dies, toto resonabilis ævo,
Qua Scottus Jacobus, obrutus ense, cadit.
Barbara Scottorum, gens, perfida, plena malorum,
Vincitur ad Norram, vertitur inque fugam.
Vasta palus, sed campestris, (borie memoratur
Branxton more), Scottis terra perosa fuit.
Scottica castra fremunt Floddun sub montibus altis,
Quæ valide invadens dissipat Angla manus.
Millia Scottorum trusit gens Anglica passim;
Luxuriat tepido sanguine pinguis humus: 10
Pars animas miseri miseras misere sub umbras,
Pars ruit in foveas, pars subiit latebras.
Jam quid agit Jacobus, damnorum germine[732] cretus?
Perfidus ut Nemroth, lapsus ad ima[733] ruit.
Dic modo, Scottorum dudum male sane malorum
Rector, nunc regeris, mortuus, ecce, jaces!
Sic Leo te rapidus, Leo Candidus, inclytus ursit,
Quo Leo tu[734] Rubeus ultima fata luis.
Anglia, due choreas; resonent tua tympana, psallas;[735]
Da laudes Domino, da pin vota Deo. 20
Hæc laureatus Skeltonis, regius[736] orator.

[730] Dis] So eds. of Day, and Marshe. Other eds. “Dyd.”

[731] Scottos] So Lant’s ed. Other eds. “Scottes.”

[732] germine] Eds. “gremine.”

[733] ima] Eds. “iam.”

[734] tu] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “in.”

[735] tympana, psallas] Qy. “tympana psalmis?”

[736] regius] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “Regine.”



Salve, festa dies, toto memorabilis ævo,
Qua rex Henricus Gallica bella premit.
Henricus rutilans Octavus noster in armis
Tirwinnæ gentis mœnia[737] stravit humi.
Sceptriger Anglorum bello validissimus Hector,
Francorum gentis colla superba terit.
Dux armis nuper celebris, modo dux inermis,
De Longville modo dic quo tua pompa ruit?
De Clermount clarus dudum dic, Galle superbe,
Unde superbus eris? carcere nonne gemis? 10
Discite Francorum gens cætera capta, Britannum
Noscite magnanimum, subdite vosque sibi.
Gloria Cappadocis, divæ milesque Mariæ,
Illius hic sub ope Gallica regna reget.
Hoc insigne bonum, divino numine gestum,
Anglica gens referat semper, ovansque canat.
Per Skeltonida laureatum, oratorem regium.

[737] mœnia] Eds. of Day, and Marshe, “menit.”



Caudatos Anglos, spurcissime Scote, quid effers?
Effrons es, quoque sons, mendax, tua spurcaque[739] bucca est.
Anglicus a tergo
caudam gerit;
est canis ergo.
Anglice caudate,
cape caudam
ne cadat a te.
Ex causa caudæ
manet Anglica
gens sine laude.
Diffamas patriam, qua non
est melior usquam.
Cum cauda plaudis dum
possis, ad ostia pultas[740]
Mendicans; mendicus eris,
mendaxque bilinguis,
Scabidus, horribilis, quem
vermes sexque pedales
Corrodunt misere; miseris[741]
genus est maledictum.
Skelton, nobilis poeta.


Gup, Scot,
Ye blot:
Set in better
Thy pentameter.
This Dundas,
This Scottishe as,
He rymes and railes
That Englishmen haue tailes. 10
Skeltonus laureatus,
Anglicus natus,
Provocat Musas
Contra Dundas
Spurcissimum[742] Scotum,
Undique notum,
Rustice fotum,
Vapide potum.
Skelton laureat
After this rate 20
Defendeth with his pen
All Englysh men
Agayn Dundas,
That Scottishe asse.
Shake thy tayle, Scot, lyke a cur,
For thou beggest at euery mannes dur:
Tut, Scot, I sey,
Go shake thy[743] dog, hey!
Dundas of Galaway
With thy versyfyeng rayles 30
How they haue tayles.
By Jesu Christ,
Fals Scot, thou lyest:
But behynd in our hose
We bere there a rose
For thy Scottyshe nose,
A spectacle case
To couer thy face,
With tray deux ase.
A tolman[744] to blot, 40
A rough foted Scot!
Dundas, sir knaue,
Why doste thow depraue
This royall reame,
Whose radiant beame
And relucent light
Thou hast in despite,
Thou donghyll knyght?
But thou lakest might,
Dundas, dronken and drowsy, 50
Skabed, scuruy, and lowsy,
Of vnhappy generacion
And most vngracious nacion.
That dronke asse,
That ratis and rankis,
That prates and prankes
On Huntley bankes,
Take this our thankes;
Dunde, Dunbar,[745] 60
Walke, Scot,
Walke, sot,
Rayle not to far.

[738] Vilitissimus] So, perhaps, Skelton wrote; but qy. “Vilissimus?”—This poem from Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568.

[739] spurcaque] Ed. “spureaquæ.”

[740] pultas] Ed. “pultes.”

[741] miseris] Ed. “miseres.”

[742] Spurcissimum] Ed. “Norpacissimum.”

[743] thy] Qy. “thé?” but see notes.

[744] tolman] See notes.

[745] Dunde, Dunbar] Ed. “Dunde bar.”



Aspirate meis elegis, pia turma sororum,
Et Margaretam collacrymate piam.
Hac sub mole latet regis celeberrima mater
Henrici magni, quem locus iste fovet;
Quem locus iste sacer celebri celebrat polyandro,
Illius en genitrix hac tumulatur humo!
Cui cedat Tanaquil (Titus hanc super astra reportet[748]),
Cedat Penelope, carus Ulixis[749] amor:
Huic[750] Abigail, velut Hester, erat pietate secunda:
En tres jam proceres nobilitate pares! 10
Pro domina, precor, implora, pro principe tanta
Flecte Deum precibus, qui legis hos apices.
Plura referre piget, calamus torpore rigescit,
Dormit Mecænas, negligitur probitas;
Nec juvat, aut modicum prodest, nunc ultima versu
Fata[751] recensere (mortua mors reor est).
Quæris quid decus est? decus est modo dicier hircus;[752]
Cedit honos hirco, cedit honorque capro.
Falleris ipse Charon; iterum surrexit Abyron,
Et Stygios remos despicit ille tuos. 20
Vivitur ex voto: mentis præcordia tangunt
Nulla sepulcra ducum, nec monumenta patrum;
Non regum, non ulla hominum labentia fato
Tempora, nec totiens[753] mortua turba ruens.
Hinc[754] statuo certe perituræ parcere chartæ,
Ceu Juvenalis avet[755] eximius satirus.

Distichon execrationis in phagolœdoros.

Qui lacerat, violatve rapit præsens epitoma,
Hunc laceretque voret Cerberus absque mora!
Calon,[756] agaton, cum areta. Re. in pa.
Hanc tecum statuas dominam, precor, O sator orbis,
Quo regnas rutilans rex sine fine manens!

[746] Elegia, &c.] From Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568, collated with the piece as given in Reges, Reginæ, Nobiles, et alii in Ecclesia Collegiata B. Petri Westmonasterii sepulti, &c., 1603, 4to.

[747] die] Not in Marshe’s ed.

[748] reportet] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “reportat.”

[749] Ulixis] Reges, “Ulyssis.”

[750] Huic] Eds. “Hec” and “Hæc.”

[751] Fata] So Reges. Marshe’s ed. “Facta.”

[752] hircus] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “hircum.”

[753] totiens] Reges, &c. “toties.”

[754] Hinc] So Reges, &c. Marshe’s ed. “Hunc.”

[755] avet] Eds. “ouat.”

[756] Calon, &c.... pa.] Placed after the next two lines in Reges, &c.


Why were ye[757] Calliope embrawdred with letters of golde?


As ye may se,
Regent is she
Of poetes al,
Whiche gaue to me
The high degre
Laureat to be
Of fame royall;
Whose name enrolde
With silke and golde 10
I dare be bolde
Thus for to were.
Of her I holde
And her housholde;
Though I waxe olde
And somdele sere,
Yet is she fayne,
Voyde of disdayn,
Me to retayne
Her seruiture: 20
With her certayne
I wyll remayne,
As my souerayne
Moost of pleasure,
Maulgre touz malheureux.

[757] Why were ye, &c.] These pieces on Calliope from Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568.



Cur tibi contexta est aurea Calliope?


Candida Calliope, vatum regina, coronans
Pierios lauro, radiante intexta sub auro!
Hanc ego Pierius tanto dignabor honore,
Dum mihi vita manet, dum spiritus hos regit artus:
Quamquam conficior senio marcescoque sensim,
Ipse tamen gestare sua hæc pia pignora certo,
Assensuque suo placidis parebo camenis.
Inclyta Calliope, et semper mea maxima cura est.

Hæc Pierius omni Spartano[758] liberior.


Musarum excellentissima, speciosissima, formosissima, heroicis præest versibus.

[758] Spartano] Ed. “Spartane.”




The man that doth wed a wyfe
For her goodes and her rychesse,
And not for lygnage femynatyfe,
Procureth doloure and dystresse,
With infynyte payne and heuynesse;
For she wyll do hym moche sorowe,
Bothe at euyn and at morowe.


The dartes ryght cursed of Enuye
Hath rayned sythe the worlde began,
Whiche bryngeth man euydently
Into the bondes of Sathan;
Wherfore he is a dyscrete man
That can eschewe that euyll synne
Where body and soule is lost in.


Dyuers by voluptuousnes
Of women, the which be present,
Be brought into full great dystres,
Forgettyng vertues excellent
Of God, the whych is permanent,
And suffreth themselfe to be bounde
In cordes, as it were a hounde.


Come hyther, and take this boke, and rede therein for your lernyng with clere iyen, and loke in this boke, that sheweth you folysh fooles without wyt or vnderstanding. Pecunyous fooles, that bee auaryce, and for to haue good tyme and to lyue meryly, weddeth these olde wyddred women, whych hath sackes full of nobles, claryfye here your syghte, and ye shal know what goodnes commeth therby, and what joye and gladnes. Some there be that habandoneth themselfe for to gather togyther the donge that yssueth oute of theyr asses arse, for to fynde euermore grese: it is grete foly trulye; but yet the yonge man is more folyssher the whiche weddeth an olde wyfe, for to haue her golde and syluer. I say that he is a great foole that taketh anne olde wyfe for her goodes, and is much to blame.

They the whiche do so procureth all trybulations; for with her he shall neither haue ioy, recreacion, nor rest. He noryssheth stryfes and greate debates, thoughte, payne, anguyshe, and melancoly: and yf he wolde accomplysshe the workes of maryage, hee may not, for shee is so debylyte, colde, vnpropyce, vnnaturall, and vndyscurrente, for the coldenes that is in her. The husbande of this olde wyfe hath none esperaunce to haue lygnage by her, for he neuer loued her. The man is a verye foole to make his demoraunce vpon such an olde wife. Whan he thinketh somtime vpon such thynges, he leseth his naturall wit, in cursynge hymselfe more then a m. tymes with the golde and the syluer, and the cursed hasarde of Fortune. And when he seeth his poore lyfe in suche dystresse, his hert is all oppressed with melancoly and dolour: but whan the vnhappye man seeth that it is force, and that hee is constrayned[760] to haue pacience, he putteth his cure to draw to hym the money of the olde wyddred woman in makyng to her glade chere. And whan hee hath the money and the bagge with nobles, God knoweth what chere he maketh, wythoute[201] thynkinge on them that gathered[761] it. And when he hath spente al, he is more vnhappyer then hee was before. Yf that the foole be vnhappye, it is well ryghte, for hee hath wedded auaryce, mother of all euylles: yf hee had taken a wyfe that had ben fayre and yonge, after his complection, he had not fallen into so great an inconuenience. It is wryten in auncient bokes, that hee whiche weddeth a wyfe by auaryce, and not for to haue lygnage, hath no cure of the honestie of matrymonye, and thynketh full euyll on his conscience. The vnyon of maryage is[762] decayed; for, vnder the coloure of good and loyall maryage, is wedded auaryce, as we se euery day by experience through the world. And one wil haue a wife, and that hee marke his to be demaunded in maryage, they will enquyre of his ryches and conninge. And on the other syde he wyl demaunde great goodes with her, to norysshe her with: for and her father and mother and frendes haue no greate ryches, he wyll not of her; but and she be ryche, hee demaundeth none other thynge. It is written, that one were better haue his house in deserte, whereas no mencion shoulde be of hym, thenne to bide with suche wyues, for they be replete with all cursednes. And the pore foole breketh his hearte; he loseth his soule, and corrompeth his body. He selleth his youth vnto the olde wife that weddeth her for auaryce, and hath but noyse and discention, in vsyng his lyfe thus in synne. Consydre, you fooles, what seruytude ye put your self in, when ye wedde such wyues. I pray you be chast, if that ye wyl lyue without vnhap. My frends, whiche be not in that bande, put you not therin, and yee shalbe well happy. Notwithstanding, I defende you not to mary, but I exhorte you to take a wyfe that ye may haue progeny by, and solace bodely and gostly, and thereby to wyn the ioyes of Paradyse.



Approche, you folyshe enuyous, the which can say no good by them that ye hate, come and se in this booke youre peruerse and euyll condycions. O Enuy, that deuoureth the condycions of men, and dyssypers of honour! Thou makest to haue rauisshynge heartes famyshed; thou brennest the desyres, and sleeth the soule in the ende; thou engendrest the darte enuyronned with mischefe, that whiche traueyleth diuers folkes. Cursed foole, howe haste thou thy heart so replete with cruelte? for, if I haue temporall goodes, thou wilte haue enuye therat; or, if that I can worke well, and that I apply mee vnto dyuers thynges the whiche be honest, or if that I haue castels, landes, and tenementes, or if that I am exalted vnto honoure by my science, or won it by my hardynes truely and iustlye, or if that I am beloued of dyuers persons whiche reclaymeth mee good and vertuous and of a noble courage, thou wylt vilepende me with thy wordes: thou wottest neuer in what maner thou mayst adnychell mine honour. Thy malicious hert is hurt with a mortall wounde, in such wise that thou haste no ioye nor solace in this world, for the darte of Enuye perceth thy herte lyke a spere. Thou hast wylde lycoure, the whiche maketh all thy stomacke to be on a flambe. There is no medicyne that maye hele thy mortall wounde. I, beynge in a place where as myne honoure was magnyfyed, thoughte for to haue taken alyaunce with an odyfferaunt floure, but all sodaynely I was smyten with a darte of Enuye behinde my backe, wherthroughe all tho that were on my partye turned theyr backes vpon me, for to agree to one of Venus dissolate seruauntes, procedynge frome a hearte enuenymed with enuye. Wherfore I shall specyfye vnto you the condycyons of the enuyous. Who that holdeth hym of the subgectes of Enuye, she constytueth to deuoure and byte euery bodye; gyuynge vnhappes and myseryes vnto her seruauntes. Suche folkes doth the innocente a thousande wronges. They[203] be replenysshed with so many treasons, that they can not slepe in theyr beddes; they haue no swete cantycles nor songes. They haue theyr tonges honyed with swete words vnder the coloure of loue; they be lene, and infecte of rygoure these enuyous, more bytterer thenne the gall of the fyshe glauca, wyth theyr eyen beholdinge a trauers, of stomackes chaufed syntillously, and without their[763] mouthes, as the vyne that is newe cut, they be enuyroned with rage and greate anguysshe, beholdynge euermore to destroy some body. Conceyue the history of Joseph in your myndes, the which had vii. brethren, that were enuyous against him which was the yongeste, and solde hym vnto the marchauntes of Egypte by enuy, and betrayed him; the which were delybered of a longe time to haue destroyed him. These enuious neuer laughe but whan some good man hath domage vpon the see or lande; or at the disfortune of some body, he drynketh his bloud as milke. Notwithstandinge his heart is euer enbraced with enuy, and as longe as he lyueth it shall gnawe his hert. Hee resembleth vnto Ethna whiche brenneth alwayes. As of Romulus, and Remus his brother, the whiche Romulus edefyed first Rome, and gaue it to name Rome, after his owne name. Neuertheles they were pastours, for they establyshed lawes in the citie. And Romulus punished euerye body egally. He dyd instytute lymittes or markes aboute the citie, and ordeyned that he that passed the lymyttes shuld be put to death. His brother passed them, wherfore he was put vnto death incontinente in the same place. Wee rede also how Cayme slewe his owne brother by enuye. Haue we not ensample semblablye of Atreus, of whom his brother occupyed the parke, howe well that they were in the realme stronge and puyssaunte, for to defende them? It was Thesius[764] that expulsed his brother oute of the realme by enuy, and was called agayne bycause that he had taken the parke,[204] and fynally was banyshed, and by enuye and vnder the colour of peace he was sent for. And when hee was commen vnto a feast, he made his two children for to be rested, and made theim[765] to drynke their bloude. O what horroure was it to see his twoo children dye that were so dyscrete! In lykewise Ethiocles by his brethren receyued great enormyties by that cursed Enuye. O thou prudent man, if thou wilt be discrete, good, and wise, flye from Enuy, and thou shalt finde thy selfe sounde of body and soule!


Ryghte heartely I beseche you, folysshe and lecherous people, that it will please you for to come and make a litell collacion in this booke; and if there be any thinge that I can do for you, I am all yours both body and goodes; for truelye I haue an ardaunte desyre to doo you some meditorious[766] dede, bicause that I haue euer frequented your seruyce.

Nowe herken what I haue found you, cautellous women. They that the pappes be sene all naked, their heyre combed and trussed in dyuers places merueylously, be vnreasonable fooles, for they dresse theim like voluptuous harlottes, that make their heyre to appere at theyr browes, yalowe as fine golde, made in lytel tresses for to drawe yonge folke to theyr loue. Some, for to haue their goodes, presenteth to theim their beddes for to take their carnall desires; and after that they haue taken all their disportes, they pill theim as an onion. The other, for to haue their plesures mondayne, cheseth theim that she loueth[767] best, and maketh sygnyfyaunce to theim, sayeng that she is anamoured on theim. Thou art a verye idyot so to abandone thy selfe vnto the vyle synne of lecherye, for thou lettest thy selfe be wrapped therein, lyke as a calfe or a shepe is bounde in a corde, in[205] suche wise that ye can not vnbynde youre selfe. O foole, haue aspecte vnto that whiche thou commyttest! for thou puttest thy poore soule in great daunger of damnation eternall; thou puttest thy goodes, thyne vnderstandinge, and thy ioy, vnto dolorous perdicion: and for all that yee bee in your wor[l]dly pleasures, yet it is mengled with dystres or with mysery, greate thoughte or melancoly. I requyre thee, leue thy wor[l]dlye pleasures, that endureth no lenger then the grasse of the feelde. Yf you haue ioye one only momente, thou shalt haue twayne of sorow for it. Wee rede of Sardanapalus, that for his lecherye and lybidinosite fell into hell; the whiche put him selfe in the guise of a poore woman: his men, seinge hym so obstinate in that vile sinne, slewe him, and so fynished hee his dayes for folowinge of his pleasaunce mondayne. The soueraigne Creatour was more puyssante thenne this wretched sinner. Let vs not apply our selfe therto, sith that hee punysheth sinners so asprely; but with all our hertes enforce we our selfe for to resist againste that vyle and abhomynable sinne of lechery, the whiche is so full of enfeccion and bytternes, for it distayneth the soule of man. Fle frome the foolisshe women, that pylleth the louers vnto the harde bones, and you shal be beloued of God and also of the worlde.

[759] The Boke of Three Fooles, &c.] From Marshe’s ed. of Skelton’s Workes, 1568.

[760] constrayned] Ed. “constrayneth.”

[761] gathered] Ed. “gathereth.”

[762] is] Ed. “in.”

[763] their] Ed. “these.”

[764] Thesius] See notes.

[765] theim] See notes.

[766] meditorious] Qy. “meritorious?”

[767] she loueth] Old copy, “we loue.”


Honorificatissimo,[768] amplissimo, longeque reverendissimo in Christo patri, ac domino, domino Thomæ, &c. tituli sanctæ Ceciliæ, sacrosanctæ Romanæ ecclesiæ presbytero, Cardinali meritissimo, et apostolicæ sedis legato, a latereque legato superillustri, &c., Skeltonis laureatus, ora. reg., humillimum dicit obsequium cum omni debita reverentia, tanto tamque magnifico digna principe sacerdotum, totiusque justitiæ æquabilissimo moderatore, necnon præsentis opusculi fautore excellentissimo, &c., ad cujus auspicatissimam contemplationem, sub memorabili prelo gloriosæ immortalitatis, præsens pagella felicitatur, &c.



Crassantes nimium, nimium sterilesque labruscas,
Vinea quas Domini Sabaot non sustinet ultra
Laxius expandi, nostra est resecare voluntas.

Cum privilegio a rege indulto.


Protestacion alway canonically prepensed, professed, and with good delyberacion made, that this lytell pamphilet, called the Replicacion of Skelton laureate, ora. reg., remordyng dyuers recrayed and moche vnresonable errours of certayne sophystycate scolers and rechelesse yonge heretykes lately abiured, &c. shall euermore be, with all obsequious redynesse, humbly submytted vnto the ryght discrete reformacyon of the reuerende prelates and moche noble doctours of our mother holy Churche, &c.

Ad almam Universitatem Cantabrigensem, &c.

Eulogium consolationis.

Cantabrigia Skeltonidi laureato primam mammam eruditionis pientissime propinavit.
Alma parens O Cantabrigensis,
Cur lacrymaris? Esto, tui sint
Degeneres hi filioli, sed
Non ob inertes, O pia mater,
Insciolos vel decolor esto.
Progenies non nobilis omnis,
Quam tua forsan mamma fovebat.
Tu tamen esto Palladis almæ
Gloria pollens plena Minervæ,
Dum radiabunt astra polorum:
Jamque valeto, meque foveto,
Namque tibi quondam carus alumnus eram.
Zebub musca inflativa sibilans ab austro, quæ intumescere facit hæresiarchas contra fidem orthodoxam, &c. h. il. Eruditionis exordium in tenera audacique juventa temperatæ moderationis frenum postulat. Alioquin scientia effrenata inflataque spuma elationis, quod dulce venenum est, subtiliter intoxicat interimitque incautum possessorem suum, &c. h. il. Non sit igitur tibi, Philologia, ratione intemperatæ loquacitatis suæ,[769] inordinatæ dicacitatis, incogitatæ procacitatis, in singultum et scrupulum cordis tui, &c. h. il. Eloquentiam sine sapientia prodesse nunquam, obesse plerumque, satis constat evidenter i. veterum rhetoris.

Howe yong scolers nowe a dayes enbolned[770] with the flyblowen blast of the moche vayne glorious pipplyng wynde, whan they haue delectably lycked a lytell of the lycorous electuary of lusty lernyng, in the moche studious scolehous of scrupulous Philology, countyng them selfe clerkes exellently enformed[208] and transcendingly sped in moche high connyng, and whan they haue ones superciliusly caught.

Rhetoricari incomposite, logicari meticulose, philosophari perfunctorie, theologisari phrenetice, arguit in concionatore, nedum lucidum intervallum, sed continuam pertinacemque mentis alienationem, fæculentam, amurcatam, temulentam, &c. hæc il. Vos ergo elephantice evangelizantes, tanquam anseres strepentes intercanoros olores, relegamus ad tres grues bacchato Bromio initiatos, pro foribus Vinitoris, propter fluenta Thamisiæ. Ubi poti potati cum fasciculo inambusto ambustum futurum fasciculum pensitate, &c. hæc il.
A lytell ragge of rethorike,
A lesse lumpe of logyke,
A pece or a patche of philosophy,
Than forthwith by and by
They tumble so in theology,
Drowned in dregges of diuinite,
That they iuge them selfe able to be
Doctours of the chayre in the Uyntre
At the Thre Cranes,
To magnifye their names: 10
But madly it frames,
For all that they preche and teche
Is farther than their wytte wyll reche.
Thus by demeryttes of their abusyon,
Finally they fall to carefull confusyon,
To beare a fagot, or to be enflamed:
Thus are they vndone and vtterly shamed.
Licet non enclitice,
Tamen enthymematice,
Notandum imprimis,
Ut ne quid nimis.
Tantum pro primo.
Stoicam sectam Zenon primus instituit. Juvenes sanguinolenti, propter libidinem dominandi et gloriam famæ, frequenter fieri solent seditiosi. hæc Dias. Perihermenias, Latine interpretatio, &c. Porphyrius floruit Athenis tempore Gordiani imperatoris CC.XLIX. &c. Analytica, libri priorum et posteriorum Aris. Topica, i. liber totalis de totalibus locis, &c. Presumere, est non audenda facere, &c. De idolatria[771] lege Hieronymum ad Jovenianum, &c. Idolatria dictio composita ex idolo (quod est simulacrum) et latria (quod est cultura) apud nos, &c. De latria, hyperdulia, dulia, quid sanctitas apostolica cum Constantino magno Constantinopoli ordinavit in concilio Latrensi, manifeste reperies et infra.

Ouer this, for a more ample processe[209] to be farther delated and contynued, and of euery true christenman laudably to be enployed, iustifyed, and constantly mainteyned; as touchyng the tetrycall theologisacion of these demy diuines, and Stoicall studiantes, and friscaioly yonkerkyns, moche better bayned than brayned, basked and baththed in their wylde burblyng and boyling blode, feruently reboyled with the infatuate flames of their rechelesse youthe and wytlesse wontonnesse, enbrased and enterlased with a moche fantasticall frenesy of their insensate sensualyte, surmysed vnsurely in their perihermeniall principles, to prate and to preche proudly and leudly, and loudly to lye; and yet they were but febly enformed in maister Porphiris problemes, and haue waded but weakly in his thre maner of clerkly workes, analeticall, topicall, and logycall: howbeit they were puffed so full of vaynglorious pompe and surcudant elacyon, that popholy and peuysshe presumpcion prouoked them to publysshe and to preche to people imprudent perilously, howe it was idolatry to offre to ymages of our blessed lady, or to pray and go on pylgrimages, or to make oblacions to any ymages of sayntes in churches or els where.

Agaynst whiche erronyous errours, odyous, orgulyous, and flyblowen opynions, &c.,[210]

To the honour of our blessed lady,
And her most blessed baby,
I purpose for to reply 20
Convenio vos, O publici injuriatores sanctæ et apostolicæ ecclesiæ, &c.
Agaynst this horryble heresy
Of these yong heretikes, that stynke vnbrent,
Whom I nowe sommon and content,
That leudly haue their tyme spent,
O prodigiosa progenies, qualem de filio quæritis habere misericordiam, cujus matrem inficiamini esse matrem misericordiæ? Canit tamen universalis ecclesia, Salve, regina, mater misericordiæ, &c.
In their study abhomynable,
Our glorious lady to disable,
And heynously on her to bable
With langage detestable;
With your lyppes polluted
Agaynst her grace disputed, 30
Whiche is the most clere christall
Of all pure clennesse virgynall,
That our Sauyour bare,
Whiche vs redemed from care.
Convenio vos, O Ariani, Juliano apostata execrabiliores, &c.
I saye, thou madde Marche hare,
I wondre howe ye dare
Open your ianglyng iawes,
To preche in any clawes,
Lyke pratynge poppyng dawes,
Agaynst her excellence, 40
Agaynst her reuerence,
Agaynst her preemynence,
Agaynst her magnifycence,
That neuer dyde offence.
Convenio vos, O spurcissimi, O vilissimi, O nequissimi obtrectatores matris Christi, &c.
Ye heretykes recrayed,
Wotte ye what ye sayed
Of Mary, mother and mayed?
With baudrie at her ye brayed;
With baudy wordes vnmete
Your tonges were to flete; 50
Your sermon was nat swete;
Ye were nothyng discrete;
Ye were in a dronken hete.
Lyke heretykes confettred,
Convenio vos, O insensati literarum professores, &c.
Ye count your selfe wele lettred:
Your lernyng is starke nought,
For shamefully ye haue wrought,
And to shame your selfe haue brought.
Convenio vos, O Jebusæi, O Judæi, O Cananæi, O Pharisæi, &c.
Bycause ye her mysnamed,
And wolde haue her defamed, 60
Your madnesse she attamed;
For ye were worldly shamed,
At Poules crosse openly,
All men can testifye;
Non vacat, O contemptores Mariani, non vacat, inquam, quod digna factis recepistis in deiparæ virginis conceptione, &c. hæc il.
There, lyke a sorte of sottes,
Ye were fayne to beare fagottes;
At the feest of her concepcion
Ye suffred suche correction.
Sive per æquivocum,
Sive per univocum, 70
Sive sic, sive nat so,
Ye are brought to, Lo, lo, lo!
Convenio vos, O malesani, vani, profani Christiani.
Se where the heretykes go,
Wytlesse wandring to and fro!
With, Te he, ta ha, bo ho, bo ho!
And suche wondringes many mo.
Helas, ye wreches, ye may be wo!
Ye may syng wele away,
And curse bothe nyght and day,
Whan ye were bredde and borne, 80
Convenio vos, O Husiani, &c.
And whan ye were preestes shorne,
Thus to be laughed to skorne,
Thus tattred and thus torne,
Thorowe your owne foly,
To be blowen with the flye
Of horryble heresy.
Fayne ye were to reny,
And mercy for to crye,
Or be brende by and by,
Confessyng howe ye dyde lye 90
In prechyng shamefully.
Your selfe thus ye discured
As clerkes vnassured,
With ignorance obscured:
Convenio vos, O Lutheriani.
Ye are vnhappely vred.[772]
In your dialeticall
And principles silogisticall,
If ye to remembrance call
Howe syllogisari
Non est ex particulari 100
Neque non, neque legas.
Neque negativis,
Recte concludere si vis,
Et cætera id genus,
Ye coude nat corde tenus,
Nor answere verbo tenus,
Whan prelacy you opposed;
Your hertes than were hosed,
Quoniam ignorantibus suppositiones veritatis propositionum non relucent, &c.
Your relacions reposed;
And yet ye supposed
Respondere ad quantum110
But ye were confuse tantum,
Surrendring your supposycions,
For there ye myst you[r] quosshons.
Wolde God, for your owne ease,
Harpocrates digito labiis impresso admonuit silentium fieri in Isidis templo, &c.
That wyse Harpocrates
Had your mouthes stopped,
And your tonges cropped,
Convenio vos, O coaxantes ranæ, &c.
Whan ye logyke chopped,
And in the pulpete hopped,
And folysshly there fopped, 120
And porisshly forthe popped
Your sysmaticate sawes
Agaynst Goddes lawes,
And shewed your selfe dawes!
Sunt præterea nonnulli hujus farinæ, de quibus hic non est narrandi locus.
Ye argued argumentes,
As it were vpon the elenkes,
De rebus apparentibus
Et non existentibus;
And ye wolde appere wyse,
But ye were folysshe nyse: 130
Yet be meanes of that vyse
Ye dyde prouoke and tyse,
Oftnar than ones or twyse,
Many a good man
And many a good woman,
By way of their deuocion
To helpe you to promocion,
Whose charite wele regarded
Can nat be vnrewarded.
Convenio vos, O Herodiani.
I saye it for no sedicion, 140
But vnder pacient tuicyon,
It is halfe a supersticyon
To gyue you exhibycion
To mainteyne with your skoles,
And to proue your selfe suche foles.
Some of you had ten pounde,
Therwith for to be founde
At the vnyuersyte,
Employed whiche myght haue be
Moche better other wayes. 150
Obscurus sarcasmos.
But, as the man sayes,
The blynde eteth many a flye:
What may be ment hereby,
Ye may soone make construction
With right lytell instruction;
For it is an auncyent brute,
Ex fructibus eorum cognoscetis eos, &c.
Suche apple tre, suche frute.
What shulde I prosecute,
Or more of this to clatter?
Retourne we to our matter. 160
Sublimius æquo aucupium agunt, &c.
Ye soored ouer hye
In the ierarchy
Of Iouenyans heresy,
Your names to magnifye,
Among the scabbed skyes
Convenio vos, O Wichliftistæ.
Of Wycliffes flesshe flyes;
Ye strynged so Luthers lute,
That ye dawns all in a sute
The heritykes ragged ray,
That bringes you out of the way 170
Of holy churches lay;
Ye shayle inter enigmata
And inter paradigmata,
Marked in your cradels
To beare fagottes for babyls.
And yet some men say,
Howe ye are this day,
And be nowe as yll,
And so ye wyll be styll,
As ye were before. 180
What shulde I recken more?
Convenio vos, O verbosi sophistæ, &c.
Men haue you in suspicion
Howe ye haue small contrycion
Of that ye haue myswrought:
For, if it were well sought,
One of you there was
That laughed whan he dyd pas
With his fagot in processyon;
He counted it for no correction,
But with scornefull affection 190
Toke it for a sporte,
His heresy to supporte;
Whereat a thousande gased,
As people halfe amased,
And thought in hym smale grace
His foly so to face.
Some iuged in this case
Your penaunce toke no place,
Your penaunce was to lyght;
Convenio vos, O díabolici dogmatistæ, &c.
And thought, if ye had right, 200
Ye shulde take further payne
To resorte agayne
To places where ye haue preched,
And your lollardy lernyng teched,
And there to make relacion
In open predycacion,
And knowlege your offence
Before open audyence,
Howe falsely ye had surmysed,
And deuyllysshely deuysed 210
The[773] people to seduce,
And chase them thorowe the muse
Of your noughty counsell,
To hunt them into hell,
With blowyng out your hornes,
Full of mockysshe scornes,
With chatyng and rechatyng,
And your busy pratyng:
Of the gospell and the pystels
Sunt plerique alii, sed non alieni, qui tantundem pæne enuntiant, &c.
Ye pyke out many thystels, 220
And bremely with your bristels
Ye cobble and ye clout
Holy Scripture so about,
That people are in great dout
And feare leest they be out
Of all good Christen order.
Thus all thyng ye disorder
Thorowe out euery bord[e]r.
Convenio vos, male docti legistæ, &c.
It had ben moche better
Ye had neuer lerned letter, 230
For your ignorance is gretter,
I make you fast and sure,
Than all your lytterature.
Ye are but lydder logici,
But moche worse isagogici,
For ye haue enduced a secte
With heresy all infecte;
Wherfore ye are well checte,
And by holy churche correcte,
And in maner as abiecte, 240
For euermore suspecte,
And banysshed in effect
From all honest company,
Bycause ye haue eaten a flye,
To your great vyllony,
That neuer more may dye.
Convenio vos, O hypocritæ, &c.
Come forthe, ye popeholy,
Full of melancoly;
Your madde ipocrisy,
And your idiosy, 250
And your vayne glorie,
Haue made you eate the flye,
Pufte full of heresy,
To preche it idolatry,
Who so dothe magnifye
Maledictio Mariana descendat super capita vestra, O hæretici, cretici, phrenetici, &c.
That glorious mayde Mary;
That glorious mayde and mother,
So was there neuer another
But that princesse alone,
To whom we are bounde echone 260
The ymage of her grace
To reuerence in euery place.
Convenio vos, O Machomitani, &c.
I saye, ye braynlesse beestes,
Why iangle you suche iestes,
In your diuynite
Of Luthers affynite,
To the people of lay fee,
Raylyng in your rages
To worshyppe none ymages,
Nor do pylgrymages? 270
I saye, ye deuyllysshe pages,
Full of suche dottages,
Count ye your selfe good clerkes,
And snapper in suche werkes?
Convenio vos, O dæmoniaci meridiani, &c.
Saynt Gregorie and saynt Ambrose,
Ye haue reed them, I suppose,
Saynt Jerome and saynt Austen,
With other many holy men,
Saynt Thomas de Aquyno,
With other doctours many mo, 280
Whiche de latria do trete;
They saye howe latria is an honour grete,
Belongyng to the Deite:
To this ye nedes must agre.
But, I trowe, your selfe ye ouerse
What longeth to Christes humanyte.
Nota de latria, hyperdulia, dulia, quid pro sancto sanxitum est Constantinopoli ab ecclesia catholica et apostolica iterum infringere; quid hoc sibi vult, fasciculum consulite inflammatum, &c.
If ye haue reed de hyperdulia,
Than ye knowe what betokeneth dulia:
Than shall ye fynde it fyrme and stable,
And to our faithe moche agreable, 290
To worshyppe ymages of sayntes.
Wherfore make ye no mo restrayntes,
But mende your myndes that are mased;
Or els doutlesse ye shalbe blased,
And be brent at a stake,
If further busynesse that ye make.
O medici, mediam pertundite venam.
Therfore I vyse you to forsake
Of heresy the deuyllysshe scoles,
And crye Godmercy, lyke frantyke foles.

Tantum pro secundo.

Peroratio ad nuper abjuratos quosdam hypotheticos hæreticos, &c.

Audite, viri Ismaelitæ, non dico Israelitæ;
Audite, inquam, viri Madianitæ, Ascalonitæ;
Ammonitæ, Gabaonitæ, audite verba quæ loquar.
Opus evangelii est cibus perfectorum;
Sed quia non estis de genere bonorum,
Qui caterisatis[774] categorias cacodæmoniorum,
Et reliqua vestra problemata, schemata,
Dilemmata, sinto anathemata!
Ineluctabile argumentum est.

A confutacion responsyue, or an ineuytably prepensed answere to all waywarde or frowarde altercacyons that can or may be made or obiected agaynst Skelton laureate, deuyser of this Replycacyon, &c.

Why fall ye at debate 300
With Skelton laureate,
Reputyng hym vnable
To gainsay replycable
Opinyons detestable
Of heresy execrable?
Tota erras via, si doctos poetas (illis autem non desunt charismata) arguis de inscitia. h. il.
Ye saye that poetry
Maye nat flye so hye
In theology,
Nor analogy,
Nor philology, 310
Nor philosophy,
To answere or reply
Agaynst suche heresy.
Wherfore by and by
Nowe consequently
I call to this rekenyng
David rex et propheta per divum Hieronymum matriculatur in nobili catalogo poetarum lyricorum, ut patet infra, &c. hæc il.
Dauyd, that royall kyng,
Whom Hieronymus,
That doctour glorious,
Dothe bothe write and call 320
Poete of poetes all,
And prophete princypall.
Vos igitur omnes irrisores contemptoresque poetarum erubescite cum ignominiosa vercundia, exitiosaque confusio operiat facies vestras. hæc il.
This[775] may nat be remorded,
For it is wele recorded
In his pystell ad Paulinum,
Presbyterum divinum,
Where worde for worde ye may
Rede what Jerome there dothe say.

David, inquit, Simonides[776] noster, Pindarus, et Alcæus, Flaccus quoque, Catullus, atque Serenus, Christum lyra personat, et in decachordo psalterio ab inferis excitat resurgentem. Hæc Hier.

The Englysshe.

Kyng Dauid the prophete, of prophetes principall,
Of poetes chefe poete, saint Jerome dothe wright, 330
Resembled to Symonides,[777] that poete lyricall
Among the Grekes most relucent of lyght,
In that faculte whiche shyned as Phebus bright;
Lyke to Pyndarus in glorious poetry,
Lyke vnto Alcheus, he dothe hym magnify.
Flaccus nor Catullus with hym may nat compare,
Nor solempne Serenus, for all his armony
In metricall muses, his harpyng we may spare;
For Dauid, our poete, harped so meloudiously
Of our Sauyour Christ in his decacorde psautry, 340
That at his resurrection he harped out of hell
Olde patriarkes and prophetes in heuen with him to dwell.

Returne we to our former processe.

Than, if this noble kyng
Thus can harpe and syng
With his harpe of prophecy
And spyrituall poetry,
As saynt Jerome saythe,
To whom we must gyue faythe,
Warblyng with his strynges
Of suche theologicall thynges, 350
Fama matriculata, i. scripta in quadam chartula immortalitatis et schedula gratiæ inmarcescibilis, &c. h. il.
Why haue ye than disdayne
At poetes, and complayne
Howe poetes do but fayne?
Ye do moche great outrage,
For to disparage
And to discorage
The fame matryculate
Of poetes laureate.
For if ye sadly loke,
And wesely rede the Boke 360
Of Good Aduertysement,
With me ye must consent
And infallibly agre
Of necessyte,
Howe there is a spyrituall,
And a mysteriall,
And a mysticall
Energia Græce, Latine efficax operatio, internoque quodam spiritus impulsu inopinabiliter originata, &c.
Effecte energiall,
As Grekes do it call,
Of suche an industry, 370
And suche a pregnacy,
Of heuenly inspyracion
In laureate creacyon,
Of poetes commendacion,
Est deus in nobis; agitante calescimus illo.
That of diuyne myseracion
Sedibus ætheriis spiritus iste venit. h. Ovi.
God maketh his habytacion
In poetes whiche excelles,
And soiourns with them and dwelles.
Dona Dei, carmen nitidum, facundia præstans,
By whose inflammacion
Of spyrituall instygacion 380
Mittitur ex astris, a superisque datur. hæc Bapt. Man.
And diuyne inspyracion,
We are kyndled in suche facyon
With hete of the Holy Gost,
Which is God of myghtes most,
That he our penne dothe lede,
Tarda nescit molimina Spiritus Sancti gratia. hæc Hierony.
And maketh in vs suche spede,
That forthwith we must nede
With penne and ynke procede,
Somtyme for affection,
Somtyme for sadde dyrection, 390
Somtyme for correction,
Lingua mea calamus scribæ velociter scribentis. h. psal.
Somtyme vnder protection
Of pacient sufferance,
With sobre cyrcumstance,
Our myndes to auaunce
To no mannes anoyance;
Therfore no greuance,
I pray you, for to take,
In this that I do make
Agaynst these frenetykes, 400
Agaynst these lunatykes,
Agaynst these sysmatykes,
Agaynst these heretykes,
Nowe of late abiured,
Most vnhappely vred:
For be ye wele assured,
That frensy nor ielousy
Nor heresy wyll neuer dye.
Hæc psalmista.

Dixi iniquis, Nolite inique agere; et delinquentibus, Nolite exaltare cornu.

Tantum pro tertio.

De raritate poetarum, deque gymnosophistarum, philosophorum, theologorum, cæterorumque eruditorum infinita numerositate, Skel. L. epitoma.

Quæ fiunt inter sociabus[778] sicut Achates, h. Gag. &c.
Sunt infiniti, sunt innumerique sophistæ,
Sunt infiniti, sunt innumerique logistæ,
Innumeri sunt philosophi, sunt theologique,
Sunt infiniti doctores, suntque magistri
Innumeri; sed sunt pauci rarique poetæ.
Hinc omne est rarum carum: reor ergo poetas
Ante alios omnes divino flamine flatos.
Sic Plato divinat, divinat sicque Socrates;
Lege Valerium Maximum de insigni veneratione poetarum.
Sic magnus Macedo, sic Cæsar, maximus heros
Romanus, celebres semper coluere poeta[s].

Thus endeth the Replicacyon of Skel. L. &c.

[768] Honorificatissimo, &c.] The portion of this piece given on the present page forms the title-page of the original edition by Pynson, n. d.

[769] suæ] Ed. “tuæ.” (Compare p. 179, l. 1., where Skelton uses “sua” for “ejus.”)

[770] enbolned] Ed. “enbolmed.”

[771] idolatria] For “idololatria:” see Du Cange in v.

[772] Ye are vnhappely vred] On the punctuation of this passage, see notes.

[773] The] Ed. “To.”

[774] caterisatis] Qy. “catarrhizatis?”

[775] This] Ed. “Thus.”

[776] Simonides] Ed. “Siphonides.”

[777] Symonides] Ed. “Symphonides.”

[778] sociabus] Qy. “sociatos?”




These be the Names of the Players:



Felicite. Al thyngys contryuyd by mannys reason,
The world enuyronnyd of hygh and low estate,
Be it erly or late, welth hath a season,
Welth is of wysdome the very trewe probate;
A fole is he with welth that fallyth at debate:
But men nowe a dayes so vnhappely be vryd,
That nothynge than welth may worse be enduryd.
To tell you the cause me semeth it no nede,
The amense therof is far to call agayne;
For when men by welth, they haue lytyll drede 10
Of that may come after; experyence trewe and playne,
Howe after a drought there fallyth a showre of rayne,
And after a hete oft cometh a stormy colde.
A man may haue welth, but not, as he wolde,
Ay to contynewe and styll to endure;
But yf prudence be proued with sad cyrcumspeccyon,
Welthe myght be wonne and made to the lure,
If noblenesse were aquayntyd with sober dyreccyon;
But wyll hath reason so vnder subieccyon,
And so dysordereth this worlde ouer all, 20
That welthe and felicite is passynge small.
But where wonnys Welthe, and a man wolde wyt?
For welthfull Felicite truly is my name.
Lyberte.[780] Mary, Welthe and I was apoynted to mete,
And eyther I am dysseyued, or ye be the same.
Fel. Syr, as ye say, I haue harde of your fame;
Your name is Lyberte, as I vnderstande.
Lyb. Trewe you say, syr; gyue me your hande.
Fel. And from whens come ye, and it myght be askyd?
Lyb. To tell you, syr, I dare not, leest I sholde be maskyd 30
In a payre of fetters or a payre of stockys.
Fel. Here you not howe this gentylman mockys?
Lyb. Ye, to knackynge ernyst what and it preue?
Fel. Why, to say what he wyll, Lyberte hath leue.
Lyb. Yet Lyberte hath ben lockyd vp and kept in the mew.
Fel. In dede, syr, that lyberte was not worthe a cue:
Howe be it lyberte may somtyme be to large,
But yf reason be regent and ruler of your barge.
Lyb. To that ye say I can well condyssende:
Shewe forth, I pray you, here in what you intende. 40
Fel. Of that I intende to make demonstracyon,
It askyth lesure with good aduertysment.
Fyrst, I say, we owght to haue in consyderacyon,
That lyberte be lynkyd with the chayne of countenaunce,
Lyberte to let from all maner offence;
For lyberte at large is lothe to be stoppyd,
But with countenaunce your corage must be croppyd.
Lyb. Then thus to you—
Fel. Nay, suffer me yet ferther to say,
And peraduenture I shall content your mynde. 50
Lyberte, I wote well, forbere no man there may,
It is so swete in all maner of kynde;
Howe be it lyberte makyth many a man blynde;
By lyberte is done many a great excesse;
Lyberte at large wyll oft wax reklesse:
Perceyue ye this parcell?
Lyb. Ye, syr, passyng well:
But, and you wolde me permyt
To shewe parte of my wyt,
Somwhat I coulde enferre, 60
Your consayte to debarre,
Vnder supportacyon
Of pacyent tolleracyon.
Fel. God forbyd ye sholde be let
Your reasons forth to fet;
Wherfore at lyberte
Say what ye wyll to me.
Lyb. Brefly to touche of my purpose the effecte;
Lyberte is laudable and pryuylegyd from lawe,
Judycyall rygoure shall not me correcte— 70
Fel. Softe, my frende; herein your reason is but rawe.
Lyb. Yet suffer me to say the surpluse of my sawe;
What wote ye where vpon I wyll conclude?
I say, there is no welthe where as lyberte is subdude;
I trowe ye can not say nay moche to this;
To lyue vnder lawe, it is captyuyte;
Where drede ledyth the daunce, there is no ioy nor blysse;
Or howe can you proue that there is felycyte,
And you haue not your owne fre lyberte
To sporte at your pleasure, to ryn and to ryde? 80
Where lyberte is absent, set welthe asyde.
Hic intrat Measure.
Meas. Cryst you assyste in your altrycacyon!
Fel. Why, haue you harde of our dysputacyon?
Meas. I parceyue well howe eche of you doth reason.
Lyb. Mayster Measure, you be come in good season.
Meas. And it is wonder that your wylde insolence
Can be content with Measure presence.
Fel. Wolde it please you then—
Lyb. Vs to informe and ken—
Meas. A, ye be wonders men! 90
Your langage is lyke the penne
Of hym that wryteth to fast.
Fel. Syr, yf any worde haue past
Me other fyrst or last,
To you I arecte it, and cast
Therof the reformacyon.
Lyb. And I of the same facyon;
Howe be it, by protestacyon,
Dyspleasure that you none take,
Some reason we must make. 100
Meas. That wyll not I forsake,
So it in measure be:
Come of, therfore, let se;
Shall I begynne or ye?
Fel. Nay, ye shall begynne, by my wyll.
Lyb. It is reason and skyll,
We your pleasure fulfyll.
Meas. Then ye must bothe consent
You to holde content
With myne argument; 110
And I muste you requyre
Me pacyently to here.
Fel. Yes, syr, with ryght good chere.
Lyb. With all my herte intere.
Meas. Oracius to recorde, in his volumys olde,
With euery condycyon measure must be sought:
Welthe without measure wolde here hymselfe to bolde,
Lyberte without measure proue a thynge of nought;
I ponder by nomber, by measure all thynge is wrought,
As at the fyrst orygynall by godly opynyon, 120
Whych prouyth well that measure shold haue domynyon:
Where measure is mayster, plenty dothe none offence;
Where measure lackyth, all thynge dysorderyd is;
Where measure is absent, ryot kepeth resydence;
Where measure is ruler, there is nothynge amysse;
Measure is treasure: howe say ye, is it not this?
Fel. Yes, questyonlesse, in myne opynyon,
Measure is worthy to haue domynyon.
Lyb. Vnto that same I am ryght well agrede,
So that lyberte be not lefte behynde. 130
Meas. Ye, lyberte with measure nede neuer drede.
Lyb. What, lyberte to measure then wolde ye bynde?
Meas. What ellys? for otherwyse it were agaynst kynde:
If lyberte sholde lepe and renne where he lyst,
It were no vertue, it were a thynge vnblyst;
It were a myschefe, yf lyberte lacked a reyne,
Where with to rule hym with the wrythyng of a rest:
All trebyllys and tenours be rulyd by a meyne;
Lyberte without measure is acountyd for a beste;
There is no surfet where measure rulyth the feste; 140
There is no excesse where measure hath his helthe;
Measure contynwyth prosperyte and welthe.
Fel. Vnto your rule I wyll annex my mynde.
Lyb. So wolde I, but I wolde be lothe,
That wonte was to be formyst, now to come behynde:
It were a shame, to God I make an othe,
Without I myght cut it out of the brode clothe,
As I was wonte euer at my fre wyll.
Meas. But haue ye not herde say, that wyll is no skyll?
Take sad dyreccyon, and leue this wantonnesse. 150
Lyb. It is[781] no maystery.
Fel. Tushe, let Measure precede,
And after his mynde herdely your selfe adresse;
For, without measure, pouerte and nede
Wyll crepe vpon vs, and vs to myschefe lede;
For myschefe wyll mayster vs, yf measure vs forsake.
Lyb. Well, I am content your wayes to take.
Meas. Surely, I am ioyous that ye be myndyd thus.
Magnyfycence to mayntayne, your promosyon shalbe.
Fel. So in his harte he may be glad of vs. 160
Lyb. There is no prynce but he hath nede of vs thre,
Welthe, with Measure and plesaunt Lyberte.
Meas. Nowe pleasyth you a lytell whyle to stande;
Me semeth Magnyfycence is comynge here at hande.
Hic intrat Magnyfycence.
Magn. To assure you of my noble porte and fame,
Who lyst to knowe, Magnyfycence I hyght.
But, Measure my frende, what hyght this mannys name?
Meas. Syr, though ye be a noble prynce of myght,
Yet in this man you must set your delyght;
And, syr, this other mannys name is Lyberte. 170
Magn. Welcome, frendys, ye are bothe vnto me:
But nowe let me knowe of your conuersacyon.
Fel. Pleasyth your grace, Felycyte they me call.
Lyb. And I am Lyberte, made of in euery nacyon.
Magn. Conuenyent persons for any prynce ryall.
Welthe with Lyberte, with me bothe dwell ye shall,
To the gydynge of my Measure you bothe commyttynge:
That Measure be mayster, vs semeth it is syttynge.
Meas. Where as ye haue, syr, to me them assygned,
Suche order, I trust, with them for to take, 180
So that welthe with measure shalbe conbyned,
And lyberte his large with measure shall make.
Fel. Your ordenaunce, syr, I wyll not forsake.
Lyb. And I my selfe hooly to you wyll inclyne.
Magn. Then may I say that ye be seruauntys myne,
For by measure, I warne you, we thynke to be gydyd;
Wherin it is necessary my pleasure you knowe,
Measure and I wyll neuer be deuydyd
For no dyscorde that any man can sawe;
For measure is a meane, nother to by nor to lawe, 190
In whose attemperaunce I haue suche delyght,
That measure shall neuer departe from my syght.
Fel. Laudable your consayte is to be acountyd;
For welthe without measure sodenly wyll slyde.
Lyb. As your grace full nobly hath recountyd,
Measure with noblenesse sholde be alyde.
Magn. Then, Lyberte, se that Measure be your gyde,
For I wyll vse you by his aduertysment.
Fel. Then shall you haue with you prosperyte resydent.
Meas. I trowe, good fortune hath annexyd vs together, 200
To se howe greable we are of one mynde;
There is no flaterer, nor losyll so lyther,
This lynkyd chayne of loue that can vnbynde.
Nowe that ye haue me chefe ruler assyngned,
I wyll endeuour me to order euery thynge
Your noblenesse and honour consernynge.
Lyb. In ioy and myrthe your mynde shalbe inlargyd,
And not embracyd with pusyllanymyte;
But plenarly all thought from you must be dyschargyd,
If ye lyst to lyue after your fre lyberte: 210
All delectacyons aquayntyd is with me,
By me all persons worke what they lyste.
Meas. Hem, syr, yet beware of Had I wyste!
Lyberte in some cause becomyth a gentyll mynde,
Bycause course of measure, yf I be in the way:
Who countyth[782] without me, is caste to fer behynde
Of his rekenynge, as euydently we may
Se[783] at our eye the worlde day by day;
For defaute of measure all thynge dothe excede.
Fel. All that ye say is as trewe as the Crede; 220
For howe be it lyberte to welthe is conuenyent,
And from felycyte may not be forborne,
Yet measure hath ben so longe from vs absent,
That all men laugh at lyberte to scorne;
Welth and wyt, I say, be so threde bare worne,
That all is without measure, and fer beyonde the mone.
Magn. Then noblenesse, I se well, is almoste vndone,
But yf therof the soner amendys be made;
For dowtlesse I parceyue my magnyfycence
Without measure lyghtly may fade, 230
Of to moche lyberte vnder the offence:
Wherfore, Measure, take Lyberte with you hence,
And rule hym after the rule of your scole.
Lyb. What, syr, wolde ye make me a poppynge fole?
Meas. Why, were not your selfe agreed to the same,
And now wolde ye swarue from your owne ordynaunce?
Lyb. I wolde be rulyd, and I myght for shame.
Fel. A, ye make me laughe at your inconstaunce.
Magn. Syr, without any longer delyaunce,
Take Lyberte to rule, and folowe myne entent. 240
Meas. It shalbe done at your commaundement.
Itaque Measure exeat locum cum Libertate, et maneat Magnyfycence cum Felicitate.
Magn. It is a wanton thynge this Lyberte;
Perceyue you not howe lothe he was to abyde
The rule of Measure, notwithstandynge we
Haue deputyd Measure hym to gyde?
By measure eche thynge duly is tryde:
Thynke you not thus, my frende Felycyte?
Fel. God forbede that it other wyse sholde be!
Magn. Ye coulde not ellys, I wote, with me endure.
Fel. Endure? no, God wote, it were great payne; 250
But yf I were orderyd by iust measure,
It were not possyble me longe to retayne.
Hic intrat Fansy.
Fan. Tusche, holde your pece, your langage is vayne.
Please it your grace to take no dysdayne,
To shewe you playnly the trouth as I thynke.
Magn. Here is none forsyth whether you flete or synke.
Fel. From whens come you, syr, that no man lokyd
Magn. Or who made you so bolde to interrupe my tale?
Fan. Nowe, benedicite, ye wene I were some hafter,
Or ellys some iangelynge Jacke of the vale; 260
Ye wene that I am dronken, bycause I loke pale.
Magn. Me semeth that ye haue dronken more than ye haue bled.
Fan. Yet amonge noble men I was brought vp and bred.
Fel. Nowe leue this iangelynge, and to vs expounde
Why that ye sayd our langage was in vayne.
Fan. Mary, vpon trouth my reason I grounde,
That without largesse noblenesse can not rayne;
And that I sayd ones, yet I say agayne,
I say without largesse worshyp hath no place,
For largesse is a purchaser of pardon and of grace. 270
Magn. Nowe, I beseche thé, tell me what is thy name?
Fan. Largesse, that all lordes sholde loue, syr, I hyght.
Fel. But hyght you, Largesse, encreace of noble fame?
Fan. Ye, syr, vndoubted.
Fel. Then, of very ryght,
With Magnyfycence, this noble prynce of myght,
Sholde be your dwellynge, in my consyderacyon.
Magn. Yet we wyll therin take good delyberacyon.
Fan. As in that, I wyll not be agaynst your pleasure.
Fel. Syr, hardely remembre what may your name auaunce. 280
Magn. Largesse is laudable, so it in measure be.
Fan. Largesse is he that all prynces doth auaunce;
I reporte me herein to Kynge Lewes of Fraunce.
Fel. Why haue ye hym named, and all other refused?
Fan. For, syth he dyed, largesse was lytell vsed.
Plucke vp your mynde, syr; what ayle you to muse?
Haue ye not welthe here at your wyll?
It is but a maddynge, these wayes that ye vse:
What auayleth lordshyp, yourselfe for to kyll
With care and with thought howe Jacke shall haue Gyl? 290
Magn. What? I haue aspyed ye are a carles page.
Fan. By God, syr, ye se but fewe wyse men of myne age;
But couetyse hath blowen you so full of wynde,
That colica passio hath gropyd you by the guttys.
Fel. In fayth, broder Largesse, you haue a mery mynde.
Fan. In fayth, I set not by the worlde two Dauncaster cuttys.
Magn. Ye wante but a wylde flyeng bolte to shote at the buttes:
Though Largesse ye hyght, your langage is to large;
For whiche ende goth forwarde ye take lytell charge.
Fel. Let se, this checke yf ye voyde canne. 300
Fan. In faythe, els had I gone to longe to scole,
But yf I coulde knowe a gose from a swanne.
Magn. Wel, wyse men may ete the fysshe, when ye shal draw the pole.
Fan. In fayth, I wyll not say that ye shall proue a fole,
But ofte tymes haue I sene wyse men do mad dedys.
Magn. Go, shake the dogge,[784] hay, syth ye wyll nedys!
You are nothynge mete with vs for to dwell,
That with your lorde and mayster so pertly can prate:
Gete you hens, I say, by my counsell;
I wyll not vse you to play with me checke mate. 310
Fan. Syr, yf I haue offended your noble estate,
I trow I haue brought you suche wrytynge of recorde,
That I shall haue you agayne my good lorde:
To you recommendeth Sad Cyrcumspeccyon,
And sendeth you this wrytynge closed vnder sele.
Magn. This wrytynge is welcome with harty affeccyon:
Why kepte you it thus longe? howe dothe he? wele?
Fan. Syr, thanked be God, he hath his hele.
Magn. Welthe, gete you home, and commaunde me to Mesure;
Byd hym take good hede to you, my synguler tresure. 320
Fel. Is there ony thynge elles your grace wyll commaunde me?
Magn. Nothynge but fare you well tyll sone;
And that he take good kepe to Lyberte.
Fel. Your pleasure, syr, shortely shall be done.
Magn. I shall come to you myselfe, I trowe, this after none.[785]
I pray you, Larges, here to remayne,
Whylest I knowe what this letter dothe contayne.
Hic faciat tanquam legeret litteras tacite. Interim superveniat cantando Counterfet Countenaunce suspenso gradu, qui, viso Magnyfycence, sensim retrocedat; at[786] tempus post pusillum rursum accedat Counterfet Countenaunce prospectando et vocitando a longe; et Fansy animat[787] silentium cum manu.
C. Count. What, Fansy, Fansy!
Magn. Who is that that thus dyd cry?
Me thought he called Fansy. 330
Fan. It was a Flemynge hyght Hansy.
Magn. Me thought he called Fansy me behynde.
Fan. Nay, syr, it was nothynge but your mynde:
But nowe, syr, as touchynge this letter—
Magn. I shall loke in it at leasure better:
And surely ye are to hym beholde;
And for his sake ryght gladly I wolde
Do what I coude to do you good.
Fan. I pray, God kepe you in that mood!
Magn. This letter was wryten ferre hence. 340
Fan. By lakyn, syr, it hathe cost me pence
And grotes many one, or I came to your presence.
Magn. Where was it delyuered you, shewe vnto me.
Fan. By God, syr, beyonde the se.
Magn. At what place nowe, as you gesse?
Fan. By my trouthe, syr, at Pountesse;
This wrytynge was taken me there,
But neuer was I in gretter fere.
Magn. Howe so?
Fan. By God, at the see syde, 350
Had I not opened my purse wyde,
I trowe, by our lady, I had ben slayne,
Or elles I had lost myne eres twayne.
Magn.[788] By your soth?
Fan. Ye, and there is suche a wache,
That no man can scape but they hym cache.
They bare me in hande that I was a spye;
And another bade put out myne eye,
Another wolde myne eye were blerde,
Another bade shaue halfe my berde; 360
And boyes to the pylery gan me plucke,
And wolde haue made me Freer Tucke,
To preche out of the pylery hole,
Without an antetyme or a stole;
And some bade sere hym with a marke:
To gete me fro them I had moche warke.
Magn. Mary, syr, ye were afrayde.
Fan. By my trouthe, had I not payde and prayde,
And made largesse as I hyght,
I had not ben here with you this nyght; 370
But surely largesse saued my lyfe,
For largesse stynteth all maner of stryfe.
Magn. It dothe so sure nowe and than,
But largesse is not mete for euery man.
Fan. No, but for you grete estates:
Largesse stynteth grete debates;
And he that I came fro to this place
Sayd I was mete for your grace;
And in dede, syr, I here men talke,
By the way as I ryde and walke, 380
Say howe you excede in noblenesse,
If you had with you largesse.
Magn. And say they so in very dede?
Fan. With ye, syr, so God me spede.
Magn. Yet mesure is a mery mene.
Fan. Ye, syr, a blannched almonde is no bene.
Measure is mete for a marchauntes hall,
But largesse becometh a state ryall.
What, sholde you pynche at a peeke of otes,
Ye wolde sone pynche at a pecke of grotes. 390
Thus is the talkynge of one and of oder,
As men dare speke it hugger mugger;
A lorde a negarde, it is a shame,
But largesse may amende your name.
Magn. In faythe, Largesse, welcome to me.
Fan. I pray you, syr, I may so be,
And of my seruyce you shall not mysse.
Magn. Togyder we wyll talke more of this:
Let vs departe from hens home to my place.
Fan. I folow euen after your noble grace. 400
Hic discedat Magnificens cum Fansy, et intrat[789] Counterfet Countenaunce.
C. Count. What, I say, herke a worde.
Fan. Do away, I say, the deuylles torde!
C. Count. Ye, but how longe shall I here awayte?
Fan. By Goddys body, I come streyte:
I hate this blunderyng that thou doste make.
C. Count. Nowe to the deuyll I thé betake,
For in fayth ye be well met.
Fansy hath cachyd in a flye net
This noble man Magnyfycence,
Of Largesse vnder the pretence. 410
They haue made me here to put the stone:
But nowe wyll I, that they be gone,
In bastarde ryme, after the dogrell gyse,
Tell you where of my name dothe ryse.
For Counterfet Countenaunce knowen am I;
This worlde is full of my foly.
I set not by hym a fly,
That can not counterfet a lye,
Swere, and stare, and byde therby,
And countenaunce it clenly, 420
And defende it manerly.
A knaue wyll counterfet nowe a knyght,
A lurdayne lyke a lorde to fyght,[790]
A mynstrell lyke a man of myght,
A tappyster lyke a lady bryght:
Thus make I them wyth thryft to fyght,
Thus at the laste I brynge hym[791] ryght
To Tyburne, where they hange on hyght.
To counterfet I can by praty wayes:
Of nyghtys to occupy counterfet kayes, 430
Clenly to counterfet newe arayes,
Counterfet eyrnest by way of playes:
Thus am I occupyed at all assayes;
What so euer I do, all men me prayse,
And mekyll am I made of nowe adays:
Counterfet maters in the lawe of the lande,
Wyth golde and grotes they grese my hande,
In stede of ryght that wronge may stande,
And counterfet fredome that is bounde;
I counterfet[792] suger that is but founde; 440
Counterfet capytaynes by me are mande;
Of all lewdnesse I kyndell the brande;
Counterfet kyndnesse, and thynke dyscayte;
Counterfet letters by the way of sleyght;
Subtelly vsynge counterfet weyght;
Counterfet langage, fayty bone geyte.
Counterfetynge is a proper bayte;
A counte to counterfet in a resayte;
To counterfet well is a good consayte.
Counterfet maydenhode may well be borne, 450
But counterfet coynes is laughynge to scorne;
It is euyll patchynge of that is torne;
Whan the noppe is rughe, it wolde be shorne;
Counterfet haltynge without a thorne;
Yet counterfet chafer is but euyll corne;
All thynge is worse whan it is worne.
What, wolde ye, wyues, counterfet
The courtly gyse of the newe iet?
An olde barne wolde be vnderset:
It is moche worthe that is ferre fet. 460
What, wanton, wanton, nowe well ymet!
What, Margery Mylke Ducke, mermoset!
It wolde be masked in my net;
It wolde be nyce, thoughe I say nay;
By Crede, it wolde haue fresshe aray,
And therfore shall my husbande pay;
To counterfet she wyll assay
All the newe gyse, fresshe and gaye,
And be as praty as she may,
And iet it ioly as a iay: 470
Counterfet prechynge, and byleue the contrary;
Counterfet conscyence, peuysshe pope holy;
Counterfet sadnesse, with delynge full madly;
Counterfet holynes is called ypocrysy;
Counterfet reason is not worth a flye;
Counterfet wysdome, and workes of foly;
Counterfet countenaunce euery man dothe occupy:
Counterfet worshyp outwarde men may se;
Ryches rydeth out, at home is pouerte;
Counterfet pleasure is borne out by me: 480
Coll wolde go clenly, and it wyll not be,
And Annot wolde be nyce, and laughes, tehe wehe;
Your counterfet countenaunce is all of nysyte,
A plummed partrydge all redy to flye:
A knokylbonyarde wyll counterfet a clarke,
He wolde trotte gentylly, but he is to starke,
At his cloked counterfetynge dogges dothe barke;
A carter a courtyer, it is a worthy warke,
That with his whyp his mares was wonte to yarke;
A custrell to dryue the deuyll out of the derke, 490
A counterfet courtyer with a knaues marke.
To counterfet this freers haue lerned me;
This nonnes nowe and then, and it myght be,
Wolde take in the way of counterfet charyte
The grace of God vnder benedicite;
To counterfet thyr counsell they gyue me a fee;
Chanons can not counterfet but vpon thre,
Monkys may not for drede that men sholde them se.
Hic ingrediatur Fansy properanter cum Crafty Conueyaunce, cum famine multo[793] adinvicem garrulantes: tandem, viso Counterfet Countenaunce, dicat Crafty Conueyaunce.
Cr. Con. What, Counterfet Countenaunce!
C. Count. What, Crafty Conueyaunce! 500
Fan. What, the deuyll, are ye two of aquayntaunce?
God gyue you a very myschaunce!
Cr. Con. Yes, yes, syr, he and I haue met.
C. Count. We haue bene togyder bothe erly and late:
But, Fansy my frende, where haue ye bene so longe?
Fan. By God, I haue bene about a praty pronge;
Crafty Conueyaunce, I sholde say, and I.
Cr. Con. By God, we haue made Magnyfycence to ete a flye.
C. Count. Howe coulde ye do that, and [I] was away?
Fan. By God, man, bothe his pagent and thyne he can play. 510
C. Count. Say trouth?
Cr. Con. Yes, yes, by lakyn, I shall thé warent,
As longe as I lyue, thou haste an heyre parent.
Fan. Yet haue we pyckyd out a rome for thé.
C. Count. Why, shall we dwell togyder all thre?
Cr. Con. Why, man, it were to great a wonder,
That we thre galauntes sholde be longe asonder.
C. Count. For Cockys harte, gyue me thy hande.
Fan. By the masse, for ye are able to dystroy an hole lande.
Cr. Con. By God, yet it muste begynne moche of thé. 520
Fan. Who that is ruled by vs, it shalbe longe or he thee.
C. Count. But, I say, kepest thou the olde name styll that thou had?
Cr. Con. Why, wenyst thou, horson, that I were so mad?
Fan. Nay, nay, he hath chaunged his, and I haue chaunged myne.
C. Count. Nowe, what is his name, and what is thyne?
Fan. In faythe, Largesse I hyght,
And I am made a knyght.
C. Count. A rebellyon agaynst nature,
So large a man, and so lytell of stature!
But, syr, howe counterfetyd ye? 530
Cr. Con. Sure Surueyaunce[794] I named me.
C. Count. Surueyaunce! where ye suruey,
Thryfte hathe lost her cofer kay.
Fan. But is it not well? howe thynkest thou?
C. Count. Yes, syr, I gyue God auowe,
Myselfe coude not counterfet it better.
But what became of the letter,
That I counterfeyted you vnderneth a shrowde?
Fan. By the masse, odly well alowde.
Cr. Con. By God, had not I it conuayed, 540
Yet Fansy had ben dysceyued.
C. Count. I wote, thou arte false ynoughe for one.
Fan. By my trouthe, we had ben gone:
And yet, in fayth, man, we lacked thé
For to speke with Lyberte.
C. Count. What is Largesse without Lyberte?
Cr. Con. By Mesure mastered yet is he.
C. Count. What, is your conueyaunce no better?
Fan. In faythe, Mesure is lyke a tetter,
That ouergroweth a mannes face, 550
So he ruleth ouer all our place.
Cr. Con. Nowe therfore, whylest we are togyder,—
Counterfet Countenaunce, nay, come hyder,—
I say, whylest we are togyder in same—
C. Count. Tushe, a strawe, it is a shame
That we can no better than so.
Fan. We wyll remedy it, man, or we go;
For, lyke as mustarde is sharpe of taste,[795]
Ryght so a sharpe fansy must be founde
Wherwith Mesure to confounde. 560
Cr. Con. Can you a remedy for a tysyke,
That sheweth yourselfe thus spedde in physyke?
C. Count. It is a gentyll reason of a rake.
Fan. For all these iapes yet that ye[796] make—
Cr. Con. Your fansy maketh myne elbowe to ake.
Fan. Let se, fynde you a better way.
C. Count. Take no dyspleasure of that we say.
Cr. Con. Nay, and you be angry and ouerwharte,
A man may beshrowe your angry harte.
Fan. Tushe, a strawe, I thought none yll. 570
C. Count. What, shall we iangle thus all the day styll?
Cr. Con. Nay, let vs our heddes togyder cast.
Fan. Ye, and se howe it may be compast,
That Mesure were cast out of the dores.
C. Count. Alasse, where is my botes and my spores?
Cr. Con. In all this hast whether wyll ye ryde?
C. Count. I trowe, it shall not nede to abyde.
Cockes woundes, se, syrs, se, se!
Hic ingrediatur Cloked Colusyon cum elato aspectu, deorsum et sursum ambulando.
Fan. Cockes armes, what is he?
Cr. Con. By Cockes harte, he loketh hye; 580
He hawketh, me thynke, for a butterflye.
C. Count. Nowe, by Cockes harte, well abyden,
For, had you not come, I had ryden.
Cl. Col. Thy wordes be but wynde, neuer they haue no wayght;
Thou hast made me play the iurde hayte.
C. Count. And yf ye knewe howe I haue mused,
I am sure ye wolde haue me excused.
Cl. Col. I say, come hyder: what are these twayne?
C. Count. By God, syr, this is Fansy small brayne;
And Crafty Conuayaunce, knowe you not hym? 590
Cl. Col. Knowe hym, syr! quod he; yes, by Saynt Sym.
Here is a leysshe of ratches to renne an hare:
Woo is that purse that ye shall share!
Fan. What call ye him, this?
Cr. Con. I trowe, that he is.
C. Count. Tushe, holde your pece.
Se you not howe they prece
For to knowe your name?
Cl. Col. Knowe they not me, they are to blame.
Knowe you not me, syrs? 600
Fan. No, in dede.
Cr. Con. Abyde, lette me se, take better hede:
Cockes harte, it is Cloked Colusyon.
Cl. Col. A, syr, I pray God gyue you confusyon!
Fan. Cockes armes, is that your name?
C. Count. Ye, by the masse, this is euen the same,
That all this matter must vnder grope.
Cr. Con. What is this he wereth, a cope?
Cl. Col. Cappe, syr; I say you be to bolde.
Fan. Se, howe he is wrapped for the colde: 610
Is it not a vestment?
Cl. Col. A, ye wante a rope.
C. Count. Tushe, it is Syr Johnn Double cloke.
Fan. Syr, and yf ye wolde not be wrothe—
Cl. Col. What sayst?
Fan. Here was to lytell clothe.
Cl. Col. A, Fansy, Fansy, God sende thé brayne!
Fan. Ye, for your wyt is cloked for the rayne.
Cr. Con. Nay, lette vs not clatter thus styll.
Cl. Col. Tell me, syrs, what is your wyll. 620
C. Count. Syr, it is so that these twayne
With Magnyfycence in housholde do remayne;
And there they wolde haue me to dwell,
But I wyll be ruled after your counsell.
Fan. Mary, so wyll we also.
Cl. Col. But tell me where aboute ye go.
C. Count. By God, we wolde gete vs all thyder,
Spell the remenaunt, and do togyder.
Cl. Col. Hath Magnyfycence ony tresure?
Cr. Con. Ye, but he spendeth it all in mesure. 630
Cl. Col. Why, dwelleth Mesure where ye two dwell?
In faythe, he were better to dwell in hell.
Fan. Yet where we wonne, nowe there wonneth he.
Cl. Col. And haue you not amonge you Lyberte?
C. Count. Ye, but he is a captyuyte.
Cl. Col. What, the deuyll, howe may that be?
C. Count. I can not tell you: why aske you me?
Aske these two that there dothe dwell.
Cl. Col. Syr, the playnesse you tell me.[797]
Cr. Con. There dwelleth a mayster men calleth Mesure— 640
Fan. Ye, and he hath rule of all his tresure.
Cr. Con. Nay, eyther let me tell, or elles tell ye.
Fan. I care not I, tell on for me.
C. Count. I pray God let you neuer to thee!
Cl. Col. What the deuyll ayleth you? can you not agree?
Cr. Con. I wyll passe ouer the cyrcumstaunce,
And shortly shewe you the hole substaunce.
Fansy and I, we twayne,
With Magnyfycence in housholde do remayne,
And counterfeted our names we haue 650
Craftely all thynges vpryght to saue,
His name Largesse, Surueyaunce myne:
Magnyfycence to vs begynneth to enclyne
Counterfet Countenaunce to haue also,
And wolde that we sholde for hym go.
C. Count. But shall I haue myne olde name styll?
Cr. Con. Pease, I haue not yet sayd what I wyll.
Fan. Here is a pystell of a postyke!
Cl. Col. Tusshe, fonnysshe Fansy, thou arte frantyke.
Tell on, syr, howe then? 660
Cr. Con. Mary, syr, he tolde vs, when
We had hym founde, we sholde hym brynge,
And that we fayled not for nothynge.
Cl. Col. All this ye may easely brynge aboute.
Fan. Mary, the better and Mesure were out.
Cl. Col. Why, can ye not put out that foule freke?
Cr. Con. No, in euery corner he wyll peke,
So that we haue no lyberte,
Nor no man in courte but he,
For Lyberte he hath in gydyng. 670
C. Count. In fayth, and without Lyberte there is no bydyng.
Fan. In fayth, and Lybertyes rome is there but small.
Cl. Col. Hem! that lyke I nothynge at all.
Cr. Con. But, Counterfet[798] Countenaunce, go we togyder,
All thre, I say.
C. Count. Shall I go? whyder?
Cr. Con.[799] To Magnyfycence with vs twayne,
And in his seruyce thé to retayne.
C. Count. But then, syr, what shall I hyght?
Cr. Con. Ye and I talkyd therof to nyght. 680
Fan. Ye, my Fansy was out of owle flyght,
For it is out of my mynde quyght.
Cr. Con. And nowe it cometh to my remembraunce:
Syr, ye shall hyght Good Demeynaunce.
C. Count. By the armes of Calys, well conceyued!
Cr. Con. When we haue hym thyder conuayed,
What and I frame suche a slyght,
That Fansy with his fonde consayte
Put Magnyfycence in suche a madnesse,
That he shall haue you in the stede of sadnesse, 690
And Sober Sadnesse shalbe your name?
Cl. Col. By Cockys body, here begynneth the game!
For then shall we so craftely cary,
That Mesure shall not there longe tary.
Fan. For Cockys harte, tary whylyst that I come agayne.
Cr. Con. We wyll se you shortly one of vs twayne.
C. Count. Now let vs go, and we shall, then.
Cl. Col. Nowe let se quyte you lyke praty men.[800]
Hic deambulat.
To passe the tyme and order whyle a man may talke
Of one thynge and other to occupy the place; 700
Then for the season that I here shall walke,
As good to be occupyed as vp and downe to trace
And do nothynge; how be it full lytell grace
There cometh and groweth of my comynge,
For Clokyd Colusyon is a perylous thynge.
Double delynge and I be all one;
Craftynge and haftynge contryued is by me;
I can dyssemble, I can bothe laughe and grone;
Playne delynge and I can neuer agre;
But dyuysyon, dyssencyon, dyrysyon, these thre 710
And I am counterfet of one mynde and thought,
By the menys of myschyef to bryng all thynges to nought.
And though I be so odyous a geste,
And euery man gladly my company wolde refuse,
In faythe yet am I occupyed with the best;
Full fewe that can themselfe of me excuse.
Whan other men laughe, than study I and muse,
Deuysynge the meanes and wayes that I can,
Howe I may hurte and hynder euery man:
Two faces in a hode couertly I bere, 720
Water in the one hande, and fyre in the other;
I can fede forth a fole, and lede hym by the eyre;
Falshode in felowshyp is my sworne brother.
By cloked colusyon, I say, and none other,
Comberaunce and trouble in Englande fyrst I began;
From that lorde to that lorde I rode and I ran,
And flatered them with fables fayre before theyr face,
And tolde all the myschyef I coude behynde theyr backe,
And made as I had knowen nothynge of the case;
I wolde begyn all myschyef, but I wolde bere no lacke: 730
Thus can I lerne you, syrs, to bere the deuyls sacke;
And yet, I trowe, some of you be better sped than I
Frendshyp to fayne, and thynke full lytherly.
Paynte to a purpose good countenaunce I can,
And craftely can I grope howe euery man is mynded;
My purpose is to spy and to poynte euery man;
My tonge is with fauell forked and tyned:
By Cloked Colusyon thus many one is begyled.
Eche man to hynder I gape and I gaspe;
My speche is all pleasure, but I stynge lyke a waspe: 740
I am neuer glad but whan I may do yll,
And neuer am I sory but whan that I se
I can not myne apyetyte accomplysshe and fulfyll
In hynderaunce of welthe and prosperyte;
I laughe at all shrewdenes, and lye at lyberte.
I muster, I medle amonge these grete estates,
I sowe sedycyous sedes of dyscorde and debates:
To flater and to flery is all my pretence
Amonge all suche persones as I well vnderstonde
Be lyght of byleue and hasty of credence; 750
I make them to startyll and sparkyll lyke a bronde,
I moue them, I mase them, I make them so fonde,
That they wyll here no man but the fyrst tale:
And so by these meanes I brewe moche bale.
Hic ingrediatur Courtly Abusyon cantando.
Court. Ab. Huffa, huffa, taunderum, taunderum, tayne, huffa, huffa!
Cl. Col. This was properly prated, syrs! what sayd a?
Court. Ab. Rutty bully, ioly rutterkyn, heyda!
Cl. Col. De que pays este vous?
Et faciat tanquam exiat beretrum cronice.[801]
Court. Ab. Decke your hofte and couer a lowce.
Cl. Col. Say vous chaunter Venter tre dawce? 760
Court. Ab. Wyda, wyda.
Howe sayst thou, man? am not I a ioly rutter?
Cl. Col. Gyue this gentylman rome, syrs, stonde vtter!
By God, syr, what nede all this waste?
What is this, a betell, or a batowe,[802] or a buskyn lacyd?
Court. Ab. What, wenyst thou that I knowe thé not, Clokyd Colusyon?
Cl. Col. And wenyst thou that I knowe not thé, cankard Abusyon?
Court. Ab. Cankard Jacke Hare, loke thou be not rusty;
For thou shalt well knowe I am nother durty nor dusty.
Cl. Col. Dusty! nay, syr, ye be all of the lusty, 770
Howe be it of scape thryfte your clokes smelleth musty:
But whether art thou walkynge in faythe vnfaynyd?
Court. Ab. Mary, with Magnyfycence I wolde be retaynyd.
Cl. Col. By the masse, for the cowrte thou art a mete man:
Thy slyppers they swap it, yet thou fotys it lyke a swanne.
Court. Ab. Ye, so I can deuyse my gere after the cowrtly maner.
Cl. Col. So thou arte personable to bere a prynces baner.
By Goddes fote,[803] and I dare well fyght, for I wyll not start.
Court. Ab. Nay, thou art a man good inough but for thy false hart.
Cl. Col. Well, and I be a coward, ther is mo than I. 780
Court. Ab. Ye, in faythe, a bolde man and a hardy.
Cl. Col. A bolde man in a bole of newe ale in cornys.
Court. Ab. Wyll ye se this gentylman is all in his skornys?
Cl. Col. But are ye not auysed to dwell where ye spake?
Court. Ab. I am of fewe wordys, I loue not to barke.
Beryst thou any rome, or cannyst thou do ought?
Cannyst thou helpe in fauer that I myght be brought?
Cl. Col. I may do somwhat, and more I thynke shall.
Here cometh in Crafty Conueyaunce, poyntyng with his fynger, and sayth, Hem, Colusyon!
Court. Ab. Cockys harte, who is yonde that for thé dothe call?
Cr. Con.[804] Nay, come at ones, for the armys of the dyce! 790
Court. Ab. Cockys armys, he hath callyd for thé twyce.
Cl. Col. By Cockys harte, and call shall agayne:
To come to me, I trowe, he shalbe fayne.
Court. Ab. What, is thy harte pryckyd with such a prowde pynne?
Cl. Col. Tushe, he that hath nede, man, let hym rynne.
Cr. Con. Nay, come away, man: thou playst the cayser.
Cl. Col.[805] By the masse, thou shalt byde my leyser.
Cr. Con. Abyde, syr, quod he! mary, so I do.
Court. Ab. He wyll come, man, when he may tende to.
Cr. Con. What the deuyll, who sent for thé? 800
Cl. Col. Here he is nowe, man; mayst thou not se?
Cr. Con. What the deuyll, man, what thou menyst?
Art thou so angry as thou semyst?
Court. Ab. What the deuyll, can ye agre no better?
Cr. Con. What the deuyll, where had we this ioly ietter?
Cl. Col. What sayst thou, man? why dost thou not supplye,
And desyre me thy good mayster to be?
Court. Ab. Spekest thou to me?
Cl. Col. Ye, so I tell thé.
Court. Ab. Cockes bones, I ne tell can 810
Whiche of you is the better man,
Or whiche of you can do most.
Cr. Con. In fayth, I rule moche of the rost.
Cl. Col. Rule the roste! ye, thou woldest[806]
As skante thou had no nede of me.
Cr. Con. Nede! yes, mary, I say not nay.
Court. Ab. Cockes ha[r]te, I trowe thou wylte make a fray.
Cr. Con. Nay, in good faythe, it is but the gyse.
Cl. Col. No, for, or we stryke, we wyll be aduysed twyse.
Court. Ab. What the deuyll, vse ye not to drawe no swordes? 820
Cr. Con. No, by my trouthe, but crake grete wordes.
Court. Ab. Why, is this the gyse nowe adayes?
Cl. Col. Ye, for surety, ofte peas is taken for frayes.
But, syr, I wyll haue this man with me.
Cr. Con. Conuey yourselfe fyrst, let se.
Cl. Col. Well, tarry here tyll I for you sende.
Cr. Con. Why, shall he be of your bende?
Cl. Col. Tary here: wote ye what I say?
Court. Ab. I waraunt you, I wyll not go away.
Cr. Con. By Saynt Mary, he is a tawle man. 830
Cl. Col. Ye, and do ryght good seruyce he can;
I knowe in hym no defaute
But that the horson is prowde and hawte.
And so they[807] go out of the place.
Court. Ab. Nay, purchace ye a pardon for the pose,
For pryde hath plucked thé by the nose,
As well as me: I wolde, and I durste,
But nowe I wyll not say the worste.
Courtly Abusyon alone in the place.
What nowe, let se,
Who loketh on me
Well rounde aboute, 840
Howe gay and howe stoute
That I can were
Courtly my gere:
My heyre bussheth
So plesauntly,
My robe russheth
So ruttyngly,
Me seme I flye,
I am so lyght,
To daunce delyght; 850
Properly drest,
All poynte deuyse,
My persone prest
Beyonde all syse
Of the newe gyse,
To russhe it oute
In euery route:
Beyonde measure
My sleue is wyde,
Al of pleasure, 860
My hose strayte tyde,
My buskyn wyde,
Ryche to beholde,
Gletterynge in golde.
Forsothe I hyght:
Shall on hym lyght,
By day or by nyght
That vseth me; 870
He can not thee.
A very fon,
A very asse,
Wyll take vpon
To compasse
That neuer was
Abusyd before;
A very pore
That so wyll do,
He doth abuse 880
Hym selfe to to,
He dothe mysse vse
Eche man take a fe[808]
To crake and prate;
I befoule his pate.
This newe fonne iet
From out of Fraunce
Fyrst I dyd set;
Made purueaunce
And suche ordenaunce, 890
That all men it founde
Through out Englonde:
All this nacyon
I set on fyre
In my facyon,
This theyr desyre,
This newe atyre;
This ladyes haue,
I it them gaue;
Spare for no coste; 900
And yet in dede
It is coste loste
Moche more than nede
For to excede
In suche aray:
Howe be it, I say,
A carlys sonne,
Brought vp of nought,
Wyth me wyll wonne
Whylyst he hath ought; 910
He wyll haue wrought
His gowne so wyde
That he may hyde
His dame and his syre
Within his slyue;
Spende all his hyre,
That men hym gyue;
Wherfore I preue,
A Tyborne checke
Shall breke his necke. 920
Here cometh in Fansy, craynge, Stow, stow!
All is out of harre,
And out of trace,
Ay warre and warre
In euery place.
But what the deuyll art thou,
That cryest, Stow, stow?
Fan. What, whom haue we here, Jenkyn Joly?
Nowe welcom, by the God holy.
Court. Ab. What, Fansy, my frende! howe doste thou fare?
Fan. By Cryst, as mery as a Marche hare. 930
Court. Ab. What the deuyll hast thou on thy fyste? an owle?
Fan. Nay, it is a farly fowle.
Court. Ab. Me thynke she frowneth and lokys sowre.
Fan. Torde, man, it is an hawke of the towre:
She is made for the malarde fat.
Court. Ab. Methynke she is well becked to catche a rat.
But nowe what tydynges can you tell, let se.
Fan. Mary, I am come for thé.
Court. Ab. For me?
Fan. Ye, for thé, so I say. 940
Court. Ab. Howe so? tell me, I thé pray.
Fan. Why, harde thou not of the fray,
That fell amonge vs this same day?
Court. Ab. No, mary, not yet.
Fan. What the deuyll, neuer a whyt?
Court. Ab. No, by the masse; what sholde I swere?
Fan. In faythe, Lyberte is nowe a lusty spere.
Court. Ab. Why, vnder whom was he abydynge?
Fan. Mary, Mesure had hym a whyle in gydynge,
Tyll, as the deuyll wolde, they fell a chydynge 950
With Crafty Conuayaunce.
Court. Ab. Ye, dyd they so?
Fan. Ye, by Goddes sacrament, and with other mo.
Court. Ab. What neded that, in the dyuyls date?
Fan. Yes, yes, he fell with me also at debate.
Court. Ab. With thé also? what, he playeth the state?
Fan. Ye, but I bade hym pyke out of the gate,
By Goddes body, so dyd I.
Court. Ab. By the masse, well done and boldely.
Fan. Holde thy pease, Measure shall frome vs walke. 960
Court. Ab. Why, is he crossed than with a chalke?
Fan. Crossed! ye, checked out of consayte.
Court. Ab. Howe so?
Fan. By God, by a praty slyght,
As here after thou shalte knowe more:
But I must tary here; go thou before.
Court. Ab. With whom shall I there mete?
Fan. Crafty Conueyaunce standeth in the strete,
Euen of purpose for the same.
Court. Ab. Ye, but what shall I call my name?