And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

torsdag 30. januar 2014

The Rose both white and rede

The Tudor rose, detail from a 1572 portrait of Elizabeth I
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Today I read for the first time John Skelton's (c.1460–1529) poem A lawd and prayse made for our souereigne lord the kyng, a panegyric written for the accession of the eighteeen-year-old Henry VIII, 22 April, 1509. According to Henry Woudhuysen in his notes to The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse 1509-1659, this is the only known autograph poem by Skelton. Curiously enough, the title is not written in Skelton's hand.

John Skelton was a poet and teacher of the future Henry VIII. His ability for verse crafting earned him a favourable reputation, and in a latter to Prince Henry from 1499, Erasmus of Rotterdam referred to him as "a light and glory of English letters". Skelton was awarded the title "poet laureate" by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge - 1490 and 1493 respectively - and is said to have used this title in reference to himself.

Skelton's corpus offer a wide variety of subject-matter and show a proficient versatility in both form and content, encompassing satires, praises, comic verse and a morality play. His most famous poem is perhaps the complaint Colin Clout,  made famous by Edmund Spenser's adoption of the name in his poetry collection The Shepheardes Calender from 1579. Here Colin Clout is a shepherd, often believed to be Spenser's poetic persona, and it is noted in the glosses that Colin Clout "is a name not greatly vsed, and yet haue I sene a Poesie of M. Skeltons vnder that title". Spenser's Colin is a mournful shepherd and piper, while Skelton's figure is a vagabond poet.

The text of Skelton's panegyric to the new king is taken from poemhunter. All pictures are from Wikimedia Commons.

The young Henry VIII, portrait from 1509 by an unknown artist

The Rose both white and Rede
In one rose now dothe grow:
Thus thorow every stede
Thereof the fame dothe blow:
Grace the sede did sow.
England now gaddir flowris
Exclude now all dolowrs

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:

Astrea Iustice 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.

Right shall the foxis chare
The wolvis the beris also
That wrowght have moche care
And browght Englond in wo
They shall wirry no mo
Nor wrote the Rosary
By extort Trechery.

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.

Therfor nomore they shall
The commouns overbace
That wont wer overall
Both lorde and knight to face:
For now the yeris of grace
And welthe ar com Agayne
That maketh England faine.

Adonis of Freshe colour
Of yowthe the godely flour
Our prince of hih honour
Our paves our succour
Our king our Emperour
Our Priamus of Troy
Our welth our worldly Ioy.

Vpon vs he doth Reigne
That makith our hartis glad
As king moost souereine
That ever Englond had
Demure sober and sad
And Martis lusty knight
God save him in his Right:


The Tudor rose, detail from Hans Holbein's portrait of Thomas More, 1527


McCabe, Richard (ed.), Edmund Spenser - The Shorter Poems, Penguin, 1999

Ferguson, Margaret, Salter, Mary Jo and Stallworthy, Jon (eds.), The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Norton, 1996

Scattergood, John, ‘Skelton, John (c.1460–1529)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004

Woudhuysen, H. R., The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse 1509-1659, Penguin, 2005

Ingen kommentarer:

Legg inn en kommentar