Poetic Statesmanship and the Politics of Patronage in the Early Tudor Court: Material Concerns of John Skelton’s Early Career as a Critical Context for the Interpretation of The Bowge of Courte
University of Victoria
Ray Siemens. "Poetic Statesmanship and the Politics of Patronage in the Early Tudor Court: Material Concerns of John Skelton’s Early Career as a Critical Context for the Interpretation of The Bowge of Courte". Early Modern Literary Studies 15.1 (2009-10) <URL: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/15-1/siemskel.html>.
I wolde therwith no man were myscontenteGiven this, and given the nature of typical re-castings of the Bowge’s fictional contents, one might convincingly argue that the author-focussed context in which much criticism urges us to “constrewe” the Bowge’s “resydewe.”perpetuates the greatest degree of critical uncertainty.
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 indede
But yet oftyme suche dremes be founde trewe
Now constrewe ye what is the resydewe (533-9; emphasis mine)
Dame Thalia the thirde her name is assigned, whiche denomynacion representeth the commendacion of poetes immortaly registred, whiche they haue pourchaced by merytis of their famous lytterature, whos names so contynued by season of yeris passyngly moche enlengthed, alleway more & more enverdured they be with new reportes fresshe and grene perdurably growynge in the solacyous / virydary & most lusty herber of Dame Memorye. (359)Following quickly upon this, Skelton notes the placement he desires upon graduation, and the figure from whom he expects to receive this appointment. In his amplification of Poggio’s thoughts on the muse Erato, Poggio’s brief statement becomes the following:49
The sixte is Dame Erato, whiche, thurgh her bounteous promocion, hir scolers and discyples brungeth vnto so noble auaunsement that whan she hath enryched theym with the gloryous tresour of connynge & wysedom, they shal stande in fauour of ryal princis, and so atteyne vnto the spiritual rowme of prelacye or other temporal promocion . . . (359)Skelton himself, whose cunning and wisdom would be proven in this document and by his coming laureation,50 wished to stand in the favour of his royal prince and to receive noble advancement, preferably office of prelate or an equivalent post in the temporal prelacy, the court.
. . . brynge forth in wrytynge alle such royall fayttes as he wrought whilis his lyf enduryd, for that shold be his very ground wherupon he myght arrette hym-self to exemplefye fayttes of royall courage. (82)By the time of Skelton’s work on the Diodorus, Henry VII had completed great deeds; his panegyrists had been quick to accentuate this from the earliest days of his reign. Henry, moreover, had also already appointed one laureate, André, to capture and praise his past (and, presumably, future) exploits. Though André was not a prelate, as the word itself relates to religious office, one condition of André’s appointment clarifies Skelton’s argument in the Diodorus: André’s secular living was a precursor to a clerical one, for he was to receive an annuity from the king until such a time as the church would grant him of a similar magnitude.52 By appealing to the king for a prelacy or similar secular position,53 Skelton urges an appointment with sustenance similar to André’s.
1 I wish to thank the Killam Trust for its generous support during the time in which the final version of this paper was written and revised, Mark Vessey for his helpful comments upon an earlier draft of this paper and his contributions to it (the least of which involved assistance with Poggio’s Diodorus), and Stephen Reimer and the EMLS readers for their very helpful comments on the penultimate draft of this work.
2 For arguments that the Bowge may be representative of a dramatic performance see, for example, Winser and Kozikowski (“Lydgate, Machiavelli, and More”). Such non-dramatic texts extant as representative of dramatic entertainments are not uncommon. Contemporary to Skelton, and involving an institution (the Chapel Royal) and a figure (Cornish) that were quite familiar to Skelton, consider William Cornish’s lyric “Yow and I and amyas” (BL Add. MS 31,922 45v-46r) which, by its allegorised characters and their interaction, appears to be directly associated with the Schatew Vert court pageant-disguising held 5 March 1522 (see Strietberger [112-4], L&P Henry VIII [III[ii] 1558-9], PRO SP 1/29 [228v-37r], and Hall [631-2]).
3 The earliest, expressed in print, may be that of the unattributed review of Dyce’s edition of Skelton (Anonymous, “[Review]” 111); aspects of this interpretation have (with varying emphases and strengths) been carried forward from H. Edwards’ early biography (61-5), to that of Nelson (79-81), to that of Pollet (37-8), to Alistair Fox’s recent “John Skelton and The Bowge of Courte: Self-analysis and Discovery” (Politics 24-36), to name several. Walker (“John Skelton” 5 ff.) discusses Skelton and the court itself, and Griffiths (56 ff.) provides an excellent recent engagement.
4 The astrological preface given to the Bowge suggests three dates, as Tucker argues (“Setting” 172): 19 September 1486 (which is discarded), 12 September 1499 (discarded because the composition date appears to be too close to the 1499 printing date), and 11 September 1480 (which Tucker favours); see also Brownlow.
5 See Tucker’s works and those of Brownlow (esp. [ed.] Book of the Laurel 214-31, 232-8) for summaries of the arguments for the Howard connections shown by the Garlande of Laurel and the Bowge; see also Kinney (191-4). Skelton’s relationship with the Howards has, however, come under more recent scrutiny by Walker (Skelton 5-34).
6 If Skelton’s authorship of the poem “Of the Deth of the Noble Prynce Kynge Edwarde the Forth” (ca. 1483) could be rightly established, it would be more believable that Skelton was already writing works such as the Bowge at this early date (see Kinsman and Yonge [16, D53]).
7 As noted above, 12 September 1499 is one of the possible dates given by the Bowge’s astrological preface (Tucker “Setting” 172).
8 Skelton received payments from the king (1497, 1498, 1502): the 1497 payment, of 66s. 8d., was given to “my lady the kinges moder poete” on 3-4 December 1497 (refer to PRO MS E101 [414/16] and H. Edwards [Skelton 288]); in 1498, Henry VII gave Skelton a payment after attending Skelton’s mass (PRO MS E101 [412/16; November 11-16, 1498], and Nelson ); as schoolmaster, Skelton received two payments (1502; see PRO MS E101 [415/3] and H. Edwards [Skelton 288-9]). He also enjoyed a fast rise in the clergy (1498), being ordained as subdeacon in March 1498, rising to deacon in April of that year, and to priest in the month of June; such a rise, not unprecedented in figures who were well-connected, does suggest favour (see Nelson  and, for a discussion of Skelton as Prince Henry’s chaplain in 1500, see Kinney ).
9 See Nelson (120-2) and Pollet (112-3); it may have been that he required actual sanctuary, or that he simply wished the proximity that these lodgings would have provided him.
10 While no manuscript is extant, it can be assumed (as per Saunders and others) that the work would have had some currency prior to printing.
11 Skelton would use the title of Orator Regius first in “Calliope” (ca. 1512), which he wrote after being granted that title by Henry VIII in a patent which is now lost; see Dyce for a discussion of the evidence of that patent (I: xv).
12 For discussions of Skelton and laureation, see Meyer-Lee (174-8; 205-19), Griffiths (19 ff.), H. Edwards (Skelton 34-6), Pollet (10-1), Nelson (40-7), and others. André, in his original grant of 1486, is referred to as Poet Laureate; see Gairdner (ix).
13 For a discussion of literary figures in the early Tudor court with reference to structures of patronage, see Nelson (4-39), Fox (Politics 11-24), Greene (168-202), and Kipling. For André in particular, refer to Carlson (“Royal Tutors”) and Gairdner; for Skelton, see Walker (“John Skelton”), Carlson (“Royal Tutors”), H. L. R. Edwards, Pollet, Carpenter, and Nelson.
14 See Carlson’s essays on patronage strategies in the early Tudor court — especially with reference to Alberici, Carmeliano, André (English Humanistic Books 20-101) — and Fox’s discussions of patronage with reference to Skelton, Barclay, and Hawes (Politics 9-72); see also Anglo (Spectacle) and Walker (Skelton). Note also that Henry VII made the office of royal librarian part of his household, and thereafter exercised a direct influence over literary production in the early Tudor court; see Kipling (121).
15 For further discussion of André’s work, see Gairdner as well as Nelson (25, 239-42 ) and, on the relation of Skelton’s work to that of the other court poets, see Nelson (23-9).
16 To a lesser degree, so did other literary figures who found a place at Henry VII’s court provide a model. Of Skelton and André, Walker has noted that “If there was a true King’s Orator at the court of Henry VII, that man was Bernard André, not John Skelton” (Skelton 43); while this assessment runs contrary to that expressed by most Skelton biographers, it does concur with what little evidence is available for the reconstruction of Skelton’s first period of favour in the Tudor court, from his Oxford laureation to his dismissal as prince Henry’s tutor (see Walker’s chapter entitled “The Court Career of John Skelton, King’s Orator” [Skelton 35-52]). Walker (“John Skelton” 8–9) provides a concise survey of Skelton’s early career.
17 Kinsman and Yonge find this attribution to be doubtful (18, D57), but see Asmole, Order of the Garter (1672; 594); it is reprinted in Dyce’s edition (87-8).
18 “Prince Arturis Creacyoun.” See the Garlande (1178) and Kinsman and Yonge (30, L105). From here on, citations to such works will be abbreviated to the form (G x; KY x, x).
19 “Epigramma ad tanti principis maiestatem”; attached to Speculum Principis, see the Garlande (1226-1232), KY (15, C51) and Salter (36-7).
20 “Recule Ageinst Gaguyne” (G 1187; KY 30, L106). See also H. Edwards (“Gaguin”), Nelson (26), Pollet (19-20), and, for new speculation about the occasion of the poem, see Carlson (“Latin Writings” 109-12).
21 André’s poem is reprinted and translated by Gairdner (133-53; 307-27). In the Garlande (1224-6), Skelton refers to this poem as the “Tratyse of the Triumphis of the Rede Rose”; a marginal note identifies its subject as the “bellum Cornubiense” (KY 31, L113).
22 I give the dating of Skelton’s appointment based on scholarly consensus; see Nelson (73) and Salter (36-7). Certainly, he was secure at court by ca. 1495, when Cornish set his lyrics, such as “Manerly Margery Mylk and Ale,” to music (Fayrfax MS, BL Add. MS 5,465 96v-99r) and Skelton responded to the attack of a court musician in Agaynste a Comely Coystrowne.
23 Skelton’s last appearance as tutor is at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth in 1503; see PRO MS LC 2/1 (72v), and Kinney (34).
24 Records for these events are noted above. His praise from Erasmus appears in a letter to Henry VIII — “Skeltonum, vnum Brittanicarum litterarum lumen ac decus” (Erasmus I: 241) — and in verse — “Te principe Skelton / Anglia nil metuat / Vel cum Romanis versu certare poetis” (“Carmen Extemporale,” BL MS Egerton 1651 6v-7r); see A. Edwards (43-6).
25 André produced a large number of didactic works; see Gairdner for a list of André’s works, as well as Nelson (239-42).
26 (G 1175; KY 31, L112). Probably a translation of Gerson’s Ars Moriendi, of which there were 5 early translations ca. 1490-1506 (STC 789-793); Caxton printed two of these, one in 1490 and one in 1491.
27 (G 1175; KY 25, L79). Possibly this is a translation of Albertanus de Brescia’s Tractatus de Doctrina Dicendi et Tacendi (ca. 1260) by way of L’art et science de bien parler et de soy taire (ca. 1500). Skelton uses this proverbial saying, and notes it as such, in the first lyric of Agaynste a Comely Coystrowne (64).
28 (G 1186; KY 25, L77). A Replycacion gives its subject as “heuenly inspyracion / In laureate creacyon” (360-1, 372-3).
29 (G 1496; KY 29, L101). Possibly it is a translation of Ovid’s Heroides.
30 This is presumed to be a translation of the French Imaginacion de Vraye Noblesse, itself presented to the king in 1496 by the royal librarian (G 1180; KY 26-7, L86). For conjecture on the Imaginacion (BL MS Royal 19 C. vii), see H. Edwards (Skelton 58). For the reflection of the vrai noblesse theme in Medwall’s interlude Fulgens and Lucres (ca. 1496), see Siemens (31).
31 Presumed to be a translation of Guilleville’s La Pèlerinage de la Vie Humaine (G 1219-22; KY 29-30, L103). Lydgate had translated in verse Gallope’s The Pylgremage of the Sowle, printed by Caxton (1483), and Hendred had translated the same in prose (printed by Pynson in 1508).
32 Though often overlooked in the later twentieth century, Skelton wrote lyrics chiefly in the English courtly tradition during this time as well.
33 See Grace Book (54) for the record which certifies that Skelton held the degree of laureate at Cambridge, and had been previously granted that award at Oxford and overseas, presumably Louvain; also, see Nelson (63).
34 Perhaps Caxton also shows an awareness in his praise of the Dolorus Dethe. His comment “I suppose he hath dronken of Elyccons well” (A2) may be a commonplace statement of praise in this case, but may also be in reference to the last lines of the second stanza of that poem: “to the for help I kall, / Myne homely rudnes and drighnes to expelle / With the freshe waters of Elyconys welle” (12-4).
35 However, considering that the Eneydos was dedicated to Prince Arthur, Caxton’s praise of Skelton’s scholarship and poetic prowess does at least intimate that Skelton was a figure recognised, and possibly held in high regard, by those at court. Caxton also announces Skelton’s Oxford laureation. For André’s record, refer to Gairdner (ix); for a reprinting of Caxton’s preface, see A. Edwards (42).
36 See Pollet (11) and Nelson (42 ff.), among others, for the nature of Skelton’s association with Oxford, and for a discussion of his Cambridge education as well.
37 (G 1184-5; KY 24, L71). See Nelson (49, 139) and H. Edwards (Skelton 34, 168) for discussion of these works’ fulfilment of the degree of laureate ca. 1488.
38See Griffiths (38 ff.) for a recent, important engagement. Poggio’s work could have been available to Skelton in print (1472, 1476, 1481) and manuscript form (1485); Salter and Edwards do not state what exemplar Skelton used (xvii). An early English humanist, John Free (see Balliol MS 124), had worked with the Latin Diodorus ca. 1464, but Skelton was the first to render it into English. There is a tradition which supports the claim that Poggio stole Free’s work (Diodorus xx-xxi), but Skelton refers solely to Poggio, who had completed his translation by 1449.
39 Corpus Christi MS 275. Watermarks on the paper date from 1486 and 1487 (xi-xv); see also KY (xxi; 14-5, C50). Skelton’s Diodorus must have been completed and circulating by 1490 for it to have received Caxton’s praise. Its owner in the early sixteenth century, Robert Pen, was a gentleman of the Chapel under both Henry VII and Henry VIII; Skelton’s relation with the Chapel can also be seen in the connection between himself and Cornish, who set Skelton’s lyrics ca. 1495.
40 Such material might be especially expected in a work of this kind by Skelton when one considers the generous dedicatory matter surrounding the roughly contemporary Dolorus Dethe; the dedicatory material of the Dolorus Dethe is discussed below. In the extant copy of the Diodorus, one might also expect that some of the dedicatory material would have appeared at its conclusion, but our witness is incomplete, ending half way through the fifth book (Skelton’s reference to the Diodorus in the Garlande is to six books [xi; 1498]).
41 From “Prohemye of Poggio” to “Interpretatio Skeltoni poetae Laureati” (1 fn.).
42 (1 fn.). Scribal emendations to this manuscript, though not rare, occur to the same extent in only one other place of the manuscript (381). In this latter case, an attempt has been made to erase the majority of words in a passage which explains the situation surrounding the origins of the minotaur; possibly, the erasure was made on moral grounds.
43 See Skelton’s comments on Poggio in the Garlande (372-3). Nelson discusses the Diodorus, in part, as a humanistic work (47), and comments on Skelton’s method of rhetorical elaboration (52); see, as well, H. Edwards (24-6), the introduction to the edition of Salter and Edwards (II: xxxiv ff.), and Gordon (82-101), but also Fox (Reassessing 12-3), Carlson (“Latin Writings” 7-12), and Scattergood (288 ff.).
44 “Humanism was only one among other literary modes available for Skelton to try out as approaches to the various literary projects he took on in the course of a career characterised by alteration” (Carlson, “Latin Writings” 11). As Carlson notes, further, for transitional figures such as Skelton it is “useful to think in terms of humanistic gestures — manifestations, intermittent perhaps, of the characteristic humanist desire to return ad fontes” (English Humanistic Books 5). Of Skelton and humanism in particular, Fox notes that “to all appearances he seems the exemplary English humanist” (Reassessing 12), but continues that his “major works, however, tell another story” (13).
45 In addition to André, at roughly the same time Carmeliano was also working with the matter of history, albeit contemporary English history, in his narrative “Suasoria læticiæ pro sublatis bellis ciuilibus et Arthuro principe nato epistola” (BL Add. MS 33,736); this work contextualises the birth of Arthur, which itself is posited as a rebirth of the original king who unified the land.
46 Notably, such a model as Skelton presents in the Diodorus would be adhered to in the English histories of André, Polydore Vergil, and, ultimately, Edward Hall and his vernacular followers. Note also that Skelton’s work includes a translation of Diodorus’ rendition of the twelve triumphs of Hercules, which would become the basis of André’s later work commemorating the first twelve years of Henry’s reign.
47 For example, Poggio’s discussion of the operations of the court of Egyptian kings provides good matter for Skelton, who wished to show his potential value in Henry’s court and the living that would be suitable for one with his skills:
For they supposid it was not syttynge that they shold lacke suffycyent lyuynge that were mynystris and seruyturis of the wele in commyn, for they were alleway in euery mater of grauyte callyd vnto counseyll, expownynge vnto the prynces thynges to come . . . More-ouer they recyted the gestis & fayttes of former pryncis in theyr bokis of sacred cronycles of recorde, wherby theyr kynges myght haue notyce & vnderstondynge what thyngis were most expedyent for theym to ensiewe. (100)
48 The source in Poggio reads “Thaliam quod in longum tempus poetarum laus parta uirescat” (XLVIIIr).
49 Poggio reads “Erato quod docti homines ab hominibus amentur” (XLVIIIr). Pollet notes that the Erato passage was “clearly inspired by a wish to attract notice at court” (12); here, he continues, Skelton voices “an undisguised ambition to find favour with the king” (12). Nelson found Skelton exalting his trade and pleading for patronage (64).
50 Skelton may also be playing with the words “laureate.” The translation of nine words of Poggio — “Qui tamen omnes historiæ munere laude sempiterna celebrati sunt” (XLVv) — presents, in a much-expanded form, material toward Skelton’s goal of royal placement; of regents, he states that
. . . alle in nombre be acquyted of their moche vertuous and notable guydynge with historyous monumentis of remembraunce intermynable; whos famous names inscrybed be, with laureate lettres inviolably euermore to endure, emonge the celestial senatours entronanysed & crowned with the contynuel enverdured laureate leues of victoryous tryumphe in the gloryous cyte of fame. (342)
Laureations in Skelton’s day were rare but were possessed by other poets already in Henry’s service, such as André and Carmeliano (Carmeliano also refers to himself as such [BL MS Royal 12 A xxix]). Skelton’s equal title, presumably soon to be obtained, would place him in their intellectual company and render him fit for services such as they were already providing.
51 Skelton raises this point early on, representing the immortalisation of history in terms of a court of fame:
. . . the noble fayttes of vertue be inmortally registred in the Courte of Fame specially whan the bounte of mater historyal cometh in place & is admytted to make reporte. (7)
Skelton would later carry the idea of the ‘court of fame’ into the Garlande in order to immortalise himself.
52 This would occur, for André, more than a decade later.
53 Skelton may also be using the idea of “prelacy” as being synonymous with “advancement” or “preferment,” as it sometimes was; again, the exemplar was André.
54 See Tucker (“Ladies”), who also states that the relationship of Skelton and the Howards will be the subject of a future book (Life 74). This relationship, however, has come under more recent scrutiny by Walker (Skelton 5-34). See Tucker’s works and those of Brownlow (esp. [ed.] Book of the Laurel 214-31, 232-8) for summaries of the arguments for the Howard connections shown by the Garlande and Bowge; see also Kinney (191-4). Carlson summarises the arguments surrounding the stages of composition for the Garlande (“Latin Writings” 102-9). Tucker argues that Thomas Howard’s first wife, Elizabeth Tylney, was patroness to Skelton (Life 9). Scattergood (276 ff.) most recently connects the work and its connection to the Percy Household.
55 This, after Thomas assumed Henry Percy’s place as Lieutenant of the North, as Tucker has suggested (19).
56 André laments the event in his “De Northumbrorum comitis nece” (Gairdner, 48-9).
57 Skelton’s reverence for vernacular poets of the past, especially those of England, is seen in the situation of the Garlande (386-99); see also Phyllyp Sparowe (784-813) and elsewhere. He notes that he is differentiated from those poets by his possession of the laurel.
58 While Greene finds that Skelton “in common with his foreign colleagues . . . preferred to write his formal political verse in Latin rather than English” (193), this does not appear true of his earlier work which is extant, especially if one considers the possibility of Skelton’s authorship of Edward IV’s elegy; see KY (16, D53).
59 Greene also suggests that Skelton’s choice of language in some of his works, including the Dolorus Dethe, was intended to draw attention to himself (194).
60 It is significant to note Skelton’s interest in the English lyric, which is reflected in works such as “Manerly Margery Mylk and Ale,” those contained in Agaynste a Comely Coystrowne and Divers Balettys and Dyties Solacyous, and, possibly, those which he mentions in the Garlande: “The Balade . . . of the Mustarde Tarte” (1241-7; KY 24, L75), “A Devoute Prayer to Moyses Hornis” (1381; KY 26, L85), “The Murnyng of the Mapely Rote” (1377; KY 28, L97), and “The Vmblis of Venyson” (1240-4; KY 31, L114); perhaps his work How Iollas Lovyd goodly Phillis is in the same vein (G 1497; KY 27, L92). Like his use of English in court poetry, this represents an aspect of English literary tradition in which the predominantly foreign court poets which Henry VII engaged in the production of propagandistic materials did not participate. Skelton, however, was able to write in that mode and, apparently, to embrace the “familiar poetic role,” as Spearing calls it (235), of the courtly maker. Skelton, thus, defines the role of a court poet in a fashion more English than they were able.
61The Dolorus Dethe, as has been asserted by H. Edwards (Skelton 24) is closely modelled on Vinsauf’s lament for Richard I, which Chaucer also used in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale. “Of the Deth of the Noble Prynce Kynge Edwarde the Forth” (ca. 1483), a school-of-Lydgate poem which has been attributed to Skelton, contains similar moral overtones; specifically of interest is the attention it draws to the moral basis of relationship of the king and his people, tonal echoes of which are found in the Dolorus Dethe. See KY (16, D53), who outline the arguments for and against the attribution of Edward’s elegy but question Skelton’s authorship of it; also, refer to Brownlow (18-9), who supports Skelton’s authorship. Lloyd discusses both poems as they relate to Skelton’s early poetic development (25-8); see also Gordon (46-8). Griffiths (24) most recently discusses the strategy of the work.
62 “What, shuld I flatter? What, shulde I glose or paynt?” (41); “Mi wordis unpullysht be nakide and playne, / Of aureat poems they want ellumynyge; / Bot by them to knoulege ye may attayne / Of this lordis dethe and of his murdrynge “ (127-30).
63 As Pollet notes, “André, a foreigner, took his stand on the level of official rhetoric, which was his trade. John Skelton, an Englishman, took his stand on the level of moral action, which he considered to be his mission” (16).
64 On these connections, see Pollet (6 ff.), among others.
65 “Ad libitum cuius ipse paratus ero” (8). This offer of service may have been received by Percy in the form of a presentation copy of the poem, as would be consistent with contemporary habits of court writers and their dedicatee. The idea of a presentation copy is suggested by the earliest text of the poem, a highly ornamented copy made by Percy several decades after the date of the event (ca. 1516-23; BL MS Royal 18.D.II 165r-166v); that the text had significant import to the Earl is confirmed by the occurrence of its copying and the copy’s elaborate script and ornamentation. Carlson reprints the final leaf of the poem from this manuscript (“Latin Writings” 27); see also KY (6-7, C18).
66 For Skelton’s possible relationship with Rukshaw, see Pollet (7, 10, 207-8), among others.
67 “Accipe nunc demum, doctor celeberrime Rukshaw, / Carmina, de calamo que cecidere meo” (222-3).
68 See Pollet (10) and H. Edwards (Skelton 32).
69 In addition to what has been discussed above, note also that Skelton at times in the poem assumes the role of educator, one who could be perhaps of service to the young Percy. Further, lines within the poem that echo the initial pledge of service — Skelton reminds Percy to “remembre thyn astate” (162-3) and of those who served under the father, that “with hym enterteyned / In fee” (184-5) — may also suggest that Skelton was urging a continuance of family patronage under the new head of the household.
70 A more formal association with the Percies is itself suggested by Skelton’s lost drama, Pajauntis that were played in Joyows Garde (see Garlande ; possibly, this work is related to Castell Aungell [G 1387; KY 25, L81]), a work which complimented the Percies by its setting in a castle they owned, and by the report that the walls of the Percy castle at Leconfield were adorned with verses by Skelton (see Pollet [8, 208]; as well, in Skelton’s later work Magnificence, he mentions Cumberland, the site of another Percy castle [1075-6]).
71 Some recent historians have shyly avoided this link. Jones and Underwood do not discuss the relations of Skelton and Margaret in the least, while Simon attempts to downplay their connection, stating that “Margaret engaged as one of [prince Henry’s] tutors John Skelton, the poet laureate and a cleric, whose cynical and often lewd verses were unknown to the pious Margaret” (126).
72 As such, Skelton’s regular income as tutor probably came from Margaret’s household (Nelson 71, 74). Both the poet and matriarch had ties with northern England, Skelton by birth and relationships with the Howards and Percies and Margaret by her choice of association (Pollet 8-9). It was probably Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester and chaplain and confessor to Margaret, who brought Skelton to her attention (H. Edwards, Skelton 56), though it is not unlikely that she was familiar with Skelton’s earlier works of a humanist nature, such as the Diodorus, for she proved a good patron for such work. André and Gigli dedicated writings to her (Nelson 22), as did Skelton.
73 See Pollet (9, 31) and Henry’s payment of 1497 to “my lady the kinges moder poete,” which Carpenter suggests is a reward for this work (20).
74 In BL ADD MS 20,059 (100v-101r). It appears attributed to Skelton in Certayne Bookes (c. 1545); see KY (17, D54, and 50, 52, 63).
75 Garlande (1418-9); KY (32-3, L118). This lyric is in the Fayrfax MS, the same manuscript as “Manerly Margery,” and is once set by Cornish (Stevens 369-70) and once by Browne (Stevens 372). Dyce attributes it to Skelton (I: 141-3).
76 See Kinney (33) and H. Edwards (Skelton 78), among others.
77 These works are noted in more detail, above. Skelton would use this work, after the death of Henry VII, in plea reminiscent of those found in the Diodorus and the Dolorus Dethe, to secure favour in the court of Henry VIII.
78 Considering the female ruler of the ship, one might think of that of the lowlands, ruled by the oft-depicted venomous Margaret of Burgundy. Margaret of Burgundy (Edward IV's sister), who supported pretenders to Henry VII's throne and, thus, attempted to destabilise the early Tudor government from outside. Represented by Hall, Margaret is given the attributes of a serpent: she "wrought all the wayes possible how to sucke [Henry VII's] bloud and compasse his destruction as the principal head of her aduerse parte & contrary faccion"; she is shown to be "full of poyson" (430) and likened to a "vyper that is ready to burste with superfluyte of poyson" (430, 462).
79 This list includes those works, roughly up to the date of Skelton’s departure for Diss, that are plausible; see Kinsman and Yonge. Dates are approximate, as per scholarly consensus.
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