Notes on John Skelton's Speke, Parrot excerpt
v. 442. So many morall maters, &c.] There is a considerable resemblance between this concluding portion of Speke, Parrot, and a piece attributed to Dunbar, entitled A General Satyre; see his Poems, ii. 24. ed. Laing.
v. 443. So myche newe makyng] i.e. So much new composing.
v. 457. stondythe] i.e. standeth.
v. 460. on dawys hedd] i.e. one daw’s head. Equivalent tosimpleton ; the daw being reckoned a silly bird.
v. 467. dow3tfull daunger] i.e. doubtful danger,danger that ought to cause dread.
v. 471. not worth an hawe] A common expression in our early poetry;
Your wo appease which is not worth an haw.
Lydgate's Warres of Troy, B. ii. sig. I iiii. ed. 1555.
v. 472. So myche papers weryng for ryghte a smalle exesse] exesse, i.e. excess, offence. And for a truthe he [the Cardinal] so punyshed periurye with open punyshment & open papers werynge, that in his tyme it was lesse vsed. Hall's Chron. (Hen. viii.), fol. lix. ed. 1548.
v. 473. pelory pajauntes] i.e. pillory-pageants.
v. 474. the cooke stole] i.e. cucking-stool; a chair or stool fixed at the end of a long pole, used for the punishment of scolds and brawlers by plunging them in the water.
guy gaw] i.e. gewgaw, trifle.
So bolde a braggyng bocher . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . .
So mangye a mastyfe curre, the grete grey houndes pere]
Again, in his Why come ye nat to Courte, Skelton alludes to the report that Wolsey was the son of a butcher, vv. 295. 491. vol. ii. 286. 293. Compare too Roy's satire against Wolsey, Rede me, and be nott wrothe, &c.;
The mastif curre, bred in Ypswitch towne.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Wat. He commeth then of some noble stocke?
Jeff. His father coulde snatche a bullock,
A butcher by his occupacion.
Harl. Miscell. ix. 3. 31. ed. Park.
and a poem Of the Cardnalle Wolse ;
To se a churle a Bochers curre,
To rayne & rule in soche honour, &c.
MS. Harl. 2252. fol. 156.
Cavendish says that Wolsey was an honest poor man's son; and the will of his father (printed by Fiddes) shews that he possessed some property : but, as Mr. Sharon Turner observes, that Wolsey was the son of a butcher was reported, and believed while he lived. Hist. of Reign. of Hen. the Eighth, i. 167. ed. 8vo.
v. 481. So bygge a bulke of brow auntlers cabagyd that yere] Cabusser. To cabbidge; to grow to a head, &c. The Cabbage of the Deeres head. Meule de cerf. Cotgrave's Dict. "I Kabage a deere, Je cabaiche . . . I wyll kabage my dare and go with you: Je cabacheray, &c. Palsgrave, p. 596.
v. 485. banketyng] i.e. banqueting.
v. 487. howgye] i.e. hugy, huge.
v. 488. apon] i.e. upon.
suche pyllyng and pollyng] such stripping and plundering (exactions of various kinds).
v. 489. reson and skylle] An expression which Skelton has elsewhere ; but the words are nearly synonymous. Skyll. Racio. Prompt. Parv. ed. 1499.
v. 496. So myche sayntuary brekyng] Among the evils which Skelton attributes to Wolsey, mention is made of myche sayntuary brekyng; i.e. much sanctuary-breaking ; and in Why come ye nat to Courte he says of the Cardinal that
all priuileged places
He brekes and defaces, &c.
v. 1086. vol. ii. 313.
v. 497. lyerd.] i.e. learned.
v. 501. lokes . . . dysdayneslye] i.e. looks . . . disdainfully.
v. 503. ffylty gorgon] i.e. filthy Gorgon.
v. 506. loselles . . . lewde] i.e. worthless fellows, scoundrels . . . bad, evil, (or perhaps, lascivious)
v. 507. myday sprettes] i.e. mid-day sprites.
v. 508. puplysshyd] i.e. published
v. 509. all beshrewde] i.e. altogether cursed.
Skelton, John. The Poetical Works of John Skelton. Volume III.
Rev. Alexander Dyce, Editor. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1862. 371-373.
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