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TAMIA, or Wit's TREASURY, published in 1598. “ Skelton
applied his wit to skurilities and ridiculous matters: such “ among the Greekes were called pantomimi, with us buffoons?.”
Skelton's characteristic vein of humour is capricious and grotesque. If his whimsical extravagancies ever move our laughter, at the same time they shock our sensibility. His festive levities are not only vulgar and indelicate, but frequently want truth and propriety. . His subjects are often as ridiculous as his metre: but he sometimes debases his matter by his versification. On the whole, his genius seems better suited to low burlesque, than to liberal and manly satire. It is supposed by Caxton, that he improved our language; but he sometimes affects obscurity, and sometimes adopts the most familiar phraseology of the common people.
He thus describes, in the BOKE OF COLIN CLOUTE, the pompous houses of the clergy.
of which is this. Gefippus, falling into
Myld Titus and Gefippus without pryde.
O frendship flour of flours, O lively sprite
of life, O sacred bond of blisful peace, the stal
worth staunch of life!
combyned was :
There is a manuscript of some of Skelton's poems in the Cotton library : but the volume is so much damaged by fire, that they are almost illegible. [Brit. Muf.] VITELL. E. X. 28.
9 “ Being the second part of Wit's « COMMONWELTH. By Francis Meres, " maister of artes of both universities. “ London, printed by P. Short, &c. 1598." 12mo. fol. 279. b. The first part is, “ POLITEUPHNIA,
Wit's Common " wealth, for Nicholas Ling, 1598," I 2mo.
• By the dozen.
• This is still a description of tapestry,
For prelates of estate
These lines are in the best manner of his petty measure : which is made ftill more disgusting by the repetition of the rhymes. We should observe, that the satire is here pointed at the subject of these tapestries. The graver ecclesiastics, who did not follow the levities of the world, were contented with religious subjects, or such as were merely historical. Rosse of Warwick, who wrote about the year 1460, relates, that he saw in the abbat’s hall at faint Alban's abbey a suite of arras, containing a long train of incidents belonging to a most romantic and pathetic story in the life of the Saxon king Offa, which that historian recites at large".
+ The Boke of Colin Cloute, p. 205. seq.
" J. Roff. WARWIC. HIST. REG. ANGL. edit. Hearne, p. 64. Hugh de Foliot, a canon regular of Picardy, so early as the year 1140, censures) the magnificent houses of the bishops, with the fumptuous paintings, or tapestry, of their chambers, chiefly on the Trojan story. “ Episcopi “ domos non impares ecclesiis magnitudine " conftruunt. Pictos delectantur habere « thalamos: vestiuntur ibi imagines pre“ tiofis colorum indumentis. - Trojano
rum geftis paries, purpura atque auro “ vestitur. -Græcorum exercitui dantur “ arma. Hectori clypeus datur auro fplen« dens, &c.” Bibl. Bodl. MSS. James. ii. p. 203. But I believe the tract is published in the Works of a cotemporary writer, Hugo de Sancto-Vi&ore. Among the manuscript EPISTLes of Gilbert de Stone, a canon of Wells, and who fourished about the year 1360, there is a curious paffage
concerning the fpirit for fox-hunting which antiently prevailed among our bishops. Reginald Bryan, bishop of Worcester, in 1352, thus writes to the bishop of faint David's... “ Reverende in Christo pater et “ domine, premissa recommendatione de66 bita tanto patri. Illos optimos canes “ venaticos, duodecim ad minus, quibus
vidimus meliores, quos nuper, scitis, “ veftrą REVERENDA PATERNITAS re“ promisit, quotidie expectamus. Lan
guer namque cor noftrum, donec realiter " ad manus noftras venerit repromiffum." He then owns his eagerness of expectation on this occasion to be sinful ; but obferves, that it is the fatal consequence of that deplorable frailty which we all inherit from our mother Eve. He adds, that the foxes, in his manor of Alnechurch, and elsewhere, had killed most of his rabbits, many of his capons, and had destroyed fix of his swans in one night,
in Veniant ergo,
In the poem, WHY COME ve NOT TO THE Court, he thus satirises cardinal Wolsey, not without some tincture of humour.
He is set fo hye
" Pater REVERENDE, illæ fex Canicu high altar of the church of Evreux, while 16 lorum copula, et non tardent, &c." He his parish priest celebrated the service, then describes the very exquisite pleasure he booted and spurred, to the beat of drum, shall receive, in hearing his woods echo instead of the organ. SUPPL. tom. i. p. with the cry of the hounds, and the music 32. Although their ideas of the dignity of the horns; and in seeing the trophies of of the church were so high, yet we find the chace affixed to the walls of his palace. them sometimes conferring the rank and MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Super.D. 1. Art. 123. title of secular nobility even on the Saints. -MSS. Cotton. Vitell. E. x. 17. (See Saint James was actually created a BARON MSS. JAMES, xix. p. 139.]
at Paris. Thus Froissart, tom. iï. c. 30. From a want of the notions of common " Or eurent ils affection et devotion d'aller propriety and decorum, it is amazing to en pelerinage au BARON Saint Jaques," Tee the strange absurdities committed by And in Fabl. (tom. ii. p. 182.) cited by the clergy of the middle ages, in adopting Carpentier, ubi supr. p. 469. the laical character. Du Cange says, that
Dame, dift il, et je me veu, the deans of many cathedrals in France en
: A dieu, et au BARON Saint Leu, tered on the dignities habited in a furplice,
Et s'irai au BARON Saint Jaques. girt with a sword, in boots and gilt spurs, and a hawk on the fift. LATIN. GLOSS.
Among the many contradictions of this V. DECANUS, tom. i. p. 1326. See also
kind, which entered into the system of ibid. p. 79. And tom. ii. p. 179. seq.
these ages, the institution of the Knights Carpentier adds, that the treasurers of some templars is not the least 'extraordinary. It churches, particularly that of Nivernois,
was an establishment of armed monks; who claimed the privilege of aflifting at mass,
made a row of living at the same time both on whatever festival they pleased, without
as anchorets and soldiers. the canonical vestments, and carrying a
w Hierarchy. hawk. And the lord of Salfay held some
* The star-chamber. So below, p. 151., of his lands, 'by placing a hawk on the In the fer-chamber he nods and becks. Vol. II.
“ Is not my reason good ?
The pomp in which he celebrates divine service.
z Love of money.
• The true reading is CASTRIMARGIA, or Gula concupifcentia, Gluttony. From the Greek, Targuaggie, Ingluvies, helluatio. Not an uncommon word in the monkish latinity. Du Cange cites an old Litany of the tenth century, “ A Spiritu CASTRI" MARGIÆ Libera nos domine!” LAT. Gloss. i. p. 398. Carpentier adds, ar mong other examples, from the statutes of the Ciftercian order, 1375, “ Item, cum
propter deteftabile CASTRIMARCIÆ “ vitium in labyrinthum vitiorum defcen“ datur, &c.". SUPPL. tom. i. p. 862.
I have before spoken of Hypecras, or spiced wine. I add here, that the spice, for this mixture, was served, often separately, in what they called a Spice-plate. So Froisfart, describing a din ner in the castle of Thoulouse, at which the king of France was present.
4 After dyner, they toke other pastymes in a
great chambre, and hereyng of instru“ ments, wherein the erle of Foiz greatly
delyted. Than Wine and Speces was
brought. · The erle of Harcourt served «che kyng of his Spyce-PLATE. And
« für Gerard de la Pyen ferved the duke “ of Burbone. And fir Monaunt of No « ailles ferved the erle of Foiz, &c.” This was about the year 1360. CHRON. tom. ij. cap. 164. f. 184. a. Again, ibid. cap. 100. f. 114. a. “ The kynge alyght“ed at his palis (of Westminster] whiche
was redie apparelled for him. There “ the kynge DRANKE and TOKE SPYCES, 6 and his uncles also :'and other prelates, « lordes, and knyghtes.” Lord Berners's TRANSL. In the Computus of Maxtoke priory (MS. fupr. citat.) an. 1447, we have this entry, “ Item pro vino cretico cum * speciebus et confečtis datis diverfis ge“ nerofis in die fancti Dionyfii quando " Le fole domini Monfordes erat hic, et “ faceret jocositates suas in camera orioli.” Here, I believe, vinum creticum is raisin. wine, or wine made of dried grapes ; and the meaning of the whole seems to be this. • Paid for raifin wine with comfits and “ spices, when fir S. Montford's fool was. “ here, and exhibited his merriments in “ the oriel-chamber."
With regard to one part of the entry, we have again, “ Item, extra cameram vocatam le geftis «« chamber, erat una lintheamina furata in “ die fancti Georgii Martiris quando le
fole de MONFOR DES erat hic.”