Phyllyp Sparowe

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Pla ce bo
Who is there, who?
Di le xi
Dame Margery
Fa, re, my, my,
Wherefore and why, why?
For the soul of Philip Sparrow,
That was late slain at Carrow
Among the Nuns Black
For that sweet soul’s sake,
And for all sparrows’ souls
Set in our bead-rolls,
Pater noster qui,
With an Ave Mari,
And with the corner of a Creed,
The more shall be your meed.

When I remember again
How my Philip was slain,
Never half the pain
Was between you twain, twain: two
Pyramis and Thisbe,
As then befell to me,
I wept and I wailed,
The tears down hailed,
But nothing it availed
To call Philip again,
Whom Gib our cat hath slain.

Gib, I say, our cat
Worrowed her on that
Which I loved best,
It can not be expressed
My sorrowfull heaviness,
But all without redress,
For within that stounde,
Halfe slumbring, in a sound
I fell down to the ground.

Unneth I cast my eyes
Toward the cloudy skies,
But when I did behold
My sparrow dead and cold,
No creature but that would
Haue rued upon me,
To behold and see
What heaviness did me pang,
Wherewith my hands I wrang,
That my sinews cracked,
As though I had been racked,
So pained and so strained,
That no life well nigh remained.

I sighed and I sobbed, so
For that I was robbed
Of my sparrow’s life.
maiden, widow, and wife,
Of what estate ye be,
Of high or low degree,
Great sorrow than ye might se
And learn to weep at me!
Such pains did me fret,
That my heart did beat,
My visage pale and dead,
Wan, and blue as lead;
The pangs of hatefull death
Well nigh had stopped my breath.

Heu, heu, me
That I am woe for thee!
Ad Dominum, cum tribularer, clamavi:
Of God nothinge else crave I
But Philip’s soul to keep
From the marees deep
Of Acherontes’ well,
That is a flood of hell,
And from the great Plutó,
The prince of endless woe,
And from foul Alecto,
With visage black and blue,
And from Medusa, that mare,
That like a fiend doth stare,
And from Megaera’s adders,
For ruffling of Philip’s feathers,
And from her fiery sparklings,
For burning of his wings,
And from the smokes sour
Of Proserpina’s bower,
And from the dens dark,
Where Cerberus doth bark,
Whom Theseus did affray,
Whom Hercules did outray,
As famous poets say,
From that hell hound,
That lieth in chains bound,
With ghastly heads three,
To Jupiter pray we
That Philip preserved may be!
Amen, say ye with me!

Do mi nus,
Help now, sweet Jesus!
Levavi oculos meos in montes:
Would God I had Zenophontes,
Or Socrates the wise,
To show me their device
Moderately to take
This sorrow that I make
For Philip Sparrow’s sake!
So fervently I shake,
I feel my body quake,
So urgently I am brought
Into careful thought.
Like Andromach, Hector’s wife,
Was weary of her life,
When she had lost her joy,
Noble Hector of Troy,
In like manner also
Increaseth my deadly woe,
For my sparrow is go.

It was so pretty a fool
It would sit on a stool
And learned after my school
For to keep his cut
With “Philip, keep your cut!”
It had a velvet cap,
And would sit upon my lap,
And seek after small worms,
And sometimes white breadcrumbs,
And many a times and oft
Between my breasts soft
It would lie and rest,
It was proper and prest
Sometime he would gasp
When he saw a wasp,
A fly or a gnat,
He would fly at that,
And prettily he would pant
When he saw an ant.
Lord, how he would pry
After the butterfly!
Lord, how he would hop
After the gressop!
And when I said, “Phip, Phip,”
The he would leap and skip,
And take me my the lip.
Alas, it will my slo
That Philip is gone me fro,

Si in I qui tes
Alas, I was evil at ease.
De pro fun dis cla ma vi,
When I saw my sparrow die.

Now, after my doom,
Dame Sulpicia at Rome,
Whose name registered was
Forever in tables of brass,
Because she did pass
In poetry to indite
And eloquently to write,
Though she would pretend
My sparrow to commend,
I trow she could not amend
Reporting the virtues all
Of my sparrow royal.

For it would come and go,
And fly so to and fro,
And on me it would leap
When I was asleep,
And his feathers shake,
Wherewith he would make
Me often for to wake,
And for to take him in
Upon my naked skin.
God wot, we thought so sin:
What though he crept so low?
It was no hurt, I trow,
He did nothing, perdee,
But sit upon my knee.
Philip, though he were nice,
In him it was no vice.
Philip had leave to go
To pick my little toe.
Philip might be bold
And do what he would.
Philip would seek and take
All the fleas black
That he could espy
With his wanton eye.

Op pe ra
La, sol, fa, fa,
Confitebor tibi, Domine, in toto corde meo.
Alas, I would ride and go
A thousand miles of ground
If any such might be found
It were worth a hundred pounds
Of King Croesus’ gold,
Or of Attalus the old,
The rich prince of Pergame
Who list the story to see.
Cadmus, that his sister sought,
And he should be brought
For gold and fee,
He should over the sea
To weet if he should bring
Any of the offspring,
Or any of the blood.
But whoso understood
Of Medea’s art,
I would I had a part.
Of her crafty magic.
My sparrow then should be quick
With a charm or twain
And play with me again.
But all this is in vain
Thus for to complain.
I took my sampler once
Of purpose for the nonce
To sew with stitches of silk
My sparrow white as milk,
That by representation
Of his image and fashion
To me it might import,
Some pleasure and comfort,
For my solace and sport.
But when I was sewing his beak
Methought my sparrow did speak,
And opened his pretty bill,
Saying, “Maid are ye in will
Again me for to kill?

Ye prick me in the head!”
With that my needle waxed red,
Methought of Philip’s blood,
Mine hair right upstood,
And was in such a fray
My speech was taken away.
I cast down that there was,
And said, “Alas, alas,
How cometh this to pass?
My fingers dead and cold
Could not my sampler hold,
My needle and thread
I threw away for dread.
The best that now I may
Is for his soul to pray:
A porta inferi
Good Lord, have mercy
Upon my sparrow’s soul,
Written in my bead-roll.
Au di vi vo cem
Japhet, Ham, and Shem,
Ma gni fi cat

Show me the right path
To the hills of Armony,
Wherefore the boards yet cry
Of your father’s boat,
That was sometime afloat,
And now they lie and rot.
Let some poets write
Deucalion’s flood it hight.
But as verily as ye be
The natural sons three
Of Noah the patriarch,
That made that great ark,
Wherein he had apes and owls,
Beasts, birds, and fowls,
That if ye can find
Any of my sparrow’s kind,
God send the soul good rest!
I would have yet a nest
As pretty and as prest
As my sparrow was.
But my sparrow did pass
All sparrows of the wood
That were since Noah’s flood,
Was never none so good.
King Philip of Macedony
Had no such Philip as I,
No, no, sir, hardely!
That vengeance I ask and cry,
By way of exclamation,
On all the whole nation
Of cats wild and tame:
God send them sorrow and shame!
That cat especially
That slew so cruelly
My pretty little sparrow
That I brought up at Carrow.
Oh cat of churlish kind,
The fiend was in thy mind
When though my bird untwined─
I wish thou hadst been blind!
The leopards saváge,
The lions in their rage,
Might catch thee in their paws,
And gnaw thee in their jaws!
The serpents of Libany
Might sting thee venomously!
The dragons with their tongues
Might poison thy liver and lungs!
The manticors of the mountains
Might feed them on thy brains!
Melanchaetes, that hound
That plucked Acteon to the ground,
Gave him his mortal wound,
Changed to a deer,
The story doeth appear,
Was changed to a heart:
So thou, foul cat that thou art,
The selfsame hound
Might thee confound
That his own lord bote,
Might asunder they throat!
Of Inde the greedy grypes
Might tear out all thy tripes!
Of Arcady the bears
Might pluck away thine ears!
The wild wolf Lycaon
Bite asunder thy backbone!
Of Aetna the burning hill,
That day and night brenneth stil,
Set in thy tail a blaze
That all the world may gaze
And wonder upon thee,
From Ocean, the great sea,
Unto the Isles of Orcady,
From From Tilbury Ferry
To the plain of Salisbery!

So traitorously my bird to kill
That never ought thee evil will!
Was never bird in cage
More gentle of couráge
In doing his homáge
Unto his sovereign.
Alas I say again,
Death has parted us twain:
The false cat hath thee slain
Farewell, Philip, adieu,
O Lord, thy soul rescue.
Farewell thy soul restore:
Farewell forever more.

And it were a Jew,
It would make one rue,
To see my sorrow new.
These villainous false cats
Were made for mice and rats,
And not for birds small.
Alas, my face waxeth pale,
Telling this piteous tale
How my bird so fair,
That was wont to repair,
And go in at my spair,
And creep in at my gore
Of my gown before,
Flickering with his wings.
Alas, my heart it stings,
Remembering pretty things!
Alas, my heart it slayeth,
My Philip’s doleful death!
When I remember it,
How prettily it would sit,
Many times and oft
Upon my finger aloft.
I played with him tittle-tattle
And fed him with my spittle
With his bill between my lips,
It was my pretty Phips!
Many a pretty kiss
Had I of his sweet muss!
And now the cause is thus,
That he is slain me fro
To my great pain and woe.

Of Fortune this the chance
Standeth on variance:

Oft time after pleasure
Trouble and grievance
No man can be sure
Always to have pleasure:
As well perceive ye may
How my disport and play
From me was taken away
By Gib, our cat saváge,
That in a furious rage
Caught Philip by the head
And slew him there stark dead

Kyrie, eleison,
Christie, eleison,
Kyrie, eleison!

For Philip’s soul,
Set in our bead-roll,
Let us now whisper
A Paternoster.

Lauda, anima mea, Dominum!
To weep with me look that ye come,
All manner of birds in your kind.
See none be left behind.
To mourning look that ye fall
With dolorous songs funeral,
Some to singe, and some to say,
Some to weep, and some to pray,
Every bird in his lay
The goldfinch, the wagtail,
The jangling jay to rail,
The flecked pie to chatter
Of this dolorous matter,
And robin redbreast,
He shall be the priest
The requiem mass to sing,
Softly warbling,
With help of the reed sparrow
And the chattering swallow
The hearse for to hallow.
The lark with his long toe,
The spink and the martinet also,
The shoveller with his broad beak
The dotterel, that foolish peke,
And also the mad coot,
With bald face to toot
The fieldfare and the snite,
The crow and the kite,
The raven called Rolf,
His plain-song to sol-fa
The partridge, the quail,
The plover for us to wail,
The woodhack, that singeth “chur,”
Hoarsely, as he had the mur,
The lusty chanting nightingale,
The popinjay to tell her tale,
That tooteth oft in a glass,
Shall read the Gospel at mass,
The mavis with her whistle
Shall read there the Epistle.
But with a large and a long
To keep just plain-song
Our chanters shall be the cuckoo,
The culver, the stockdove,
With “peewit” the lapwing
The Versicles shall sing
The bitter with his bump,
The crane with his trump
The swan of Menander,
The goose and the gander,
The duck and the drake,
Shall watch at his wake.
The peacock so proud
Because his voice is loud
And hath a glorious tale,
He shall sing the Grail.
The owl, that is so foul,
Must help us to howl,
The heron so gaunt,
And the cormorant,
With the pheasant
And the gangling gant,
And the churlish chough,
The knot and the ruff,
The barnacle, the buzzard,
With the wild mallard,
The divendop to sleep,
The waterhen to weep,
The puffin and the teal,
Money they shall deal
To poor folk at large
That shall be their charge.
The seamew and the titmouse,
The woodcock with her long nose,
The throstle with her warbling,
The starling with her brabling,
The rook, with the osprey,
That putteth fishes to a fray,
The dainty curlew,
With the turtle most true,

At this Placebo
We may not well forego
The countering of the coe.
The stork alsó,
That maketh his nest
In chimneys to rest.
Within those walls
No broken galls
May there abide
Of cuckholdry side,
Or else philosophy
Maketh a great lie.

The ostrich that will eat
A horseshoe so great,
In the stead of meat,
Such a fervent heat
His stomach does frete.
He cannot well fly,
nor sing tunably,
Yet at a brayd
He hath well assayed
To so-fa above E-la
Fa lorel, fa fa!
Ne quando
Male cantando.
The best we can,
to make him our bell man
And let him ring the bells;
He can do nothing else.

Chanticleer, our cock,
Must tell what it is of the clock
By the astrology
That he hath naturally
Conceived and caught,
And was never taught
By Albumazer
The astronomer,
Nor by Ptolemy
Prince of astronomy,
Nor yet by Haly,
And yet he croweth daily
And nightly the tides
That no man abides,
With Partlot his hen,
Whom now and then
He plucketh by the head
When he doth her tread

The bird of Araby,
That potentially
May never die,
Yet there is none
But one alone,
A phoenix it is
That this hearse must bless
With aromatic gums
That cost great sums,
By way of thurification
To make a fumigation
Sweet of reflare
And redolent of air
This corpse for to cense
With great reverence,
As patriarch or pope
In a black cope.
While he censeth the hearse,
He shall sing the verse,
Libe ra me,
In de, la, sol, re,

Softly bemol
For my sparrow’s soul.
Pliny showeth all
In his Story Natural
What he doth find
Of the phoenix kind,
Of whose incineration
There riseth a new creation
Of the same fashion
Without alteration,
Saving that of old age
Is turned into couráge
Of fresh youth again.
This matter true and plain,
Plain matter indeed,
Whoseo list to read.

But for the eagle doth fly
Highest in the sky,
He shall be the sedean
The choir to demean
The provost principal
To teach them their Ordinal.
Also the noble falcon,
With the gerfawcon,
The tercel genteel,
They shall mourn soft and still
In their amice of gray
The sacre with them shall say,
Dirige for Philip’s soul.
The goshawk shall have a roll
The choristers to control.
The lanners and merlines
Shall stand in their morning gowns
The hobby and the musket
The censors and the cross shall fet
The kestral in all this work
Shall be holy water clerk.

And now the dark and cloudy night.
Chaseth away Phoebus bright,
Taking his course toward the west,
God send my sparrow’s soul good rest!
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine
Fa, fa, fa, mi, re,
A port ta in feri,
Fa, fa, fa, mi, mi,
Credo videre bona Domini,
I pray God, Philip to heaven may fly;
Domine, exaudi orationem mean!
To heaven he shall, from heaven he came,
Do mi nus vo bis cum,
Of all good prayers God send him some!
Deus, cui proprium est misereri et parcere,

On Philip’s soul have pity!
For he was my pretty cock,
And came of gentle stock,
And wrapped in a maiden’s smock,
And cherished full daintily,
Till cruel fate made him to die—
Alas for doleful destiny!
But whereto should I
Longer mourn of cry?
To Jupiter I call,
Of heaven imperial,
That Philip may fly
Above the starry sky
To tread the pretty wren
That is our Lady’s hen.
Amen, amen, amen!

Yet one thing is behind.
That now cometh to mind:
An epitaph I would have
For Philip’s grave.
But for I am a maid,
Timorous, half afraid,
That has never yet assayed
Of Helicon’s well
Where the muses dwell,
Though I can read and spell.
Recount, report, and tell
Of the Tales of Canterbury
Some sad stories, some merry
As Palamon and Arcet,
Duke Theseus, and Partelet,
And the wife of Bath,
That worketh much scath
When her tale is told
Among housewives bold.
How she controlled
Her husbands as she would,
And them to despite
In the homeliest wise,
Bring other wives in thought
Their husbands to set a nought.
And though that read have I
Of Gawain and Sir Guy,
And can tell a great piece
Of the Golden Fleece,
How Jason it won
Like a valiant man.
Of Arthur’s Round Table,
With his knights commendable,
And Dame Gaynor, his queen,
Was somewhat wanton, I ween.
How Sir Lancelot de Lake
Many a spear brake
For his Lady’s sake.
Of Tristram and King Mark
And all the whole work
Of Belle Isold his wife,
For whom was much strife.
Some say she was light,
And made her husband knight
Of the common hall,
That cuckolds men call.
And Sir Lybius,
Named Dysconius
Of Quarter Fylz Amund,
And how they were summoned
To Rome, to Charlesmagne,
Upon great pain,
And how they rode each one
On Bayard Mountalbon—
Men see him now and then
In the Forest of Arden.
What though I can frame
The stories by name
Of Judas Maccabeus,
And of Caesar Julius,
And of the love between
Paris and Vyenne;
And of the duke Hannibal,
That made the Romans all
Fordread and to quake,
How Scipio did wake
The city of Carthage,
Which by his merciful rage
He beat down to the ground.

And though I can expound.
Of Hector of Troy,

That was all their joy,
Whom Achilles slew,
Wherefore all Troy did rue.
And of the love so hot
That made Troilus to dote
Upon Fair Cressid,
And what they wrote and said,
And of their wanton wills
Pandar bare the bills
From one to the other,
His master’s love to further,
Sometime a precious thing,
An ouche or else a ring,
From her to him again.
Sometime a pretty chain,
Or a bracelet of her hair,
Prayed Troilus for to wear
That token for her sake.
How heartily he did it take,
And much thereof did make.
And all that was in vain,
For she did but feign,
The story telleth plain,
He could not obtain,
Though his father was a king.
Yet there was a thing
That made the mail to ring.
She made him sing
The song of lover’s lay,
Musing night and day,
Mourning all alone,
Comfort he had none,
For she was quite gone.
Thus, in conclusion,
She brought him in abusion,
In earnest and in game
She was much to blame,
Disparaged is her fame,
And blemished is her name,
In manner half with shame.
Troilus also hath lost
Of her much love and cost,
And now must kiss the post.
Pandar that went between,
Hath won nothing, I ween,
But light for summer green.
Yet for a special laud
He is named for Troilus’ bawd.
Of that name he is sure
While the world shall endure.

Though I remember the fable.
Of Penelope most stable
To her husband most true,
Yet a long time she nor knew
Whether he were alive or dead,
Her wit stood her in good stead,
That she was true and just
For any bodily lust
To Ulysses her mate
And never would him forsake.

Of Marcus Marcellus,
A process I could tell us,
And of Anteocus,
And of Josephus’
De Antiquitatibus
And of Mardocheus,
And of great Ahaseuerus,
And of Vesca his queen
Whom he forsook with teen,
And of Esther his other wife,
With whom he lead a pleasant life.
Of King Alexander,
And of King Evander,
And of Porsena the great,
That made the Romans to sweat.

Though I have enrolled
A thousand new and old
Of these historious tales,
To fill budgets and males
With books that I have read,
I am nothing sped
And can but little skill
Of Ovid or Virgil,
Or of Plutarch,
Or Francis Petrarch,
Alcaeus or Sappho
Or such other poets mo.
As Linus or Homerus
Euphorian and Theocritus,
Anacreon and Arion,
Sophocles and Philomen,
Pindarus and Simonides
Philostion and Pherecydes,
These poets of ancient,
They are too diffuse for me.

For, as I tofore have said,
I am but a young maid,
And cannot in effect
My style as yet direct,
With English words elect.
Our natural tongue is rude
And hard to be ennewed
With polished terms lusty,
Our language is so rusty,
So cankered and so full
Of frowards and so dull,
That if I would apply
To write ornately
I wot not where to find
Terms to serve my mind.

Gower’s English is old,
And of no value told,
His matter worth gold,
And worthy to be enrolled.
In Chaucer I am sped,
His tales I have read,
His matter is delectable,
Solacious and commendable,
His English well allowed,
So as it is enprowed,
For as it is employed,
There is no English void,
At those days much commended,
And now men would have amended
His English, whereat they bark,
And mar all they work.
Chaucer that famous clerk,
His terms were not dark,
But pleasant, easy, and plain,
No word he wrote in vain.

Also John Lydgate
Writeth after a higher rate,
It is diffuse to find
The sentence of his mind,
Yet writeth he in his kind,
No man that can amend
Those matters he hath penned.
Yet some men find a fault,
And say he writeth too haut.

Wherefore hold me excused
If I have not well perused
Mine English half abused,
Though it be refused,
In worth I shall it take,
And fewer words make.

But for my sparrow’s sake.
Yet as a woman may,
My wit I shall assay
An epitaph to write
In Latin plain and light,
Whereof the elegy
Followeth by and by:
Flos volucrum fomose, vale!
Philippe, sub isto
Marmore jam recubas,
Qui mhi carus eras.
Semper erunt nitido
Radiantia sidera coelo.
Impressusque meo
Pectore semper eris.

Per me laurigerum.
Britonum Skeltonida Vatem
Haec cecinisse licet
Ficta sub imagine texta,
Cuius eris volucris,
Prestanti corpore virgo:
Candida Nais erat,
Formosior ista Joanna est,
Docta Corinna fuit,
Sed magis ista sapit.

Bien m’en souvient.


Beati immaculati in via
O gloriosa femina!

Now mine whole imagination
And studious meditation
Is to take this commendation
In this consideration,
And under patient toleration
Of that most goodly maid
That Placebo hath said
And for her sparrow prayed
In lamentable wise,
Now will I enterpise,
Through grace divine
Of the Muses nine,
Her beauty to commend,
If Arethusa will send
Me influence to indite
And with my pen to write,
If Apollo will promise
Melodiously to devise
His tunable harp strings
With harmony that sings
Of princes and kings
And of all pleasant things,
Of lust and of delight,
Through his godly might,
To whom be the laud ascribed
That my pen hath imbibed
With the aureate drops,
As verily my hope is,
Of Tagus, that golden flood
That passeth all earthly good,
And as that flood does pass
All floods that ever was
With his golden sands,
Whoso that understands
Cosmology and the streams,
And the floods in strange realms,
Right so she doth exceed
All other of whom we read
Whose fame by me shall spread
Into Persia and Mede,
From Britain’s Albion
To the Tower of Babylon.

I trust it is no shame,
That no man will me blame,
Though I register her name
In the court of Fame,
For this most goodly flower,
This blossom of fresh color,
So Jupiter me succour,
She flourishes new and new
In beauty and virtue
Haec claritate gemina,
O glorioso femina
Retribue servo tuo, vivifica me!
Labia mea laudabunt te.

But enforced am I
Openly to ascray
And to make an outcry
Against odious Envy
That evermore will lie
And say cursedly
With his leather eye
And cheeks dry.
With visage wan,
As swart as tan
His bones creak
Lean as a rake
His gums rusty
Are full unlusty,
His heart withall
Bitter as gall
His liver, his lung
With anger is wrung.
His serpent’s tongue
That many one hath stung,
He frowneth ever
He laugheth never,
Even nor morrow,
But other men’s sorrow
Causeth him to grin
And rejoice therein,
No sleep can him catch,
But ever doth watch,
He is so beat
With malice and frete,
With anger and ire,
His foul desire
Will suffer no sleep
In his head to creep.
His foul semblant
All displeasant,
When other are glad,
Then he is sad
Frantic and mad,
His tongue never still
For to say ill
Writhing and wringing
Biting and stinging.
And thus this elf
Consumeth himself,
Himself doth sloslay
With pain and woe.
This false Envy
Saith that I
Use great folly
For to indite
And for to write
And spend my time
In prose and rhyme
For to express
The nobleness
Of my mistress,
That causeth me
Studious to be
To make a relation
Of her commendation.
And there again
Envy doth complain
And hath disdain.
But yet certain
I will be plain,
And my style address
To this process.

Now Phoebus me ken
To sharpen my pen
And lead my fist
As him best list
That I may say
Honor alway
Of Womankind.
Truth doth me bind
And loyalty
Every to be
Their true beadle,
To write and tell
How women excel
In nobleness,
As my mistress,
Of whom I think
With pen and ink
For to compile
Some goodly style
For this most goodly flower
This blossom of fresh color
So Jupiter me succour
She flourishes new and new
In beauty and virtue
Haec claritate gemina
O glorioso femina

Legem pone mihi domina, viam justificationem tuarem
Quemadmodum desiderat cervus ad fontes aquarum.
How shall I report
All the goodly sort
Of her features clear,
That hath none earthly peer?
Her favor of her face
Ennewed all with grace,
Comfort, pleasure, and solace.
Mine heart doth so embrace,
And hath so ravished me,
Her to behold and see,
That in words plain
I cannot me refrain
To look on her again.
Alas, what should I feign?
It were a pleasant pain
With her aye to remain.

Her eyen grey and steepbright
Causeth my heart to leap,
With her brows bent
She may well represent
Fair Lucrece, as I ween,
Or else fair Polexene,
Or else Calliope,
Or else Penelope,
For this most goodly flower,
This blossom of fresh color,
So Jupiter me succour,
She flourishes new and new
In beauty and virtue:
Haec claritate gemina,
O glorioso femina,

Memor esto verbi tui servo tuo!
Servuus tuus sum ego.

The Indy sapphire blue
Her veins doth ennew,
The orient pearl so clear
The whiteness of her lere,
Her lusty ruby ruddescheeks
Resemble the rose buds,
Her lips soft and merry
Embloomed like the cherry,
It were a heavenly bliss
Her sugared mouth to kiss.

Her beauty to augment,
Dame Nature hath her lent
A wart upon her cheek,
Whose list to seekwish to seek
In her visage a scar,
That seemeth from afar
Like to the radian start,
All with favor fret,
So properly it is set.
She is the violet,
The daisy delectable,
The columbine commendable,
The jelofer amiable:
This most goodly flower,
This blossom of fresh colour,
So Jupiter me succour,
She flourishes new and new
In beauty and virtue:
Haec claritate gemina,
O glorioso femina,

Bonitatem fecisti cum servo tuo, domina,
Et ex praecordiis sonant praeconia!

And when I perceived
Her wart and conceived,
It cannot be denied
But it was well conveyed
And set so womanly,
And nothing wantonly
But right conveniently,
And full congruently,
As Nature could devise,
In most goodly wise.
Who list behold,
It maketh lovers bold
To sue for her grace,
Her favor to purchase,
The scar on her chin,
Enhatched on her fair skin,
Whiter than the swan:
It would make any man
To forget deadly sin
Her favor to win!
For this most goodly flower,
This blossom of fresh color,
So Jupiter me succour,
She flourishes new and new
In beauty and virtue:
Haec claritate gemina,
O glorioso femina,

Defecit in salutatione tua anima mea,
Quid petis filio, mater dulcissima? Ba ba!

Soft, and make no din
For now I will begin
To have in remembrance
Her goodly dalliance,
And her goodly pastance,
So sad and demure,
Behaving her so sure,
With words of pleasure
She would make to the lure,
And any man convert
To give her his whole heart.
She made me sore amazed
Upon her when I gazed,
Methought my heart was crazed,
My eyen were so dazed,
For this most goodly flower,
This blossom of fresh color,
So Jupiter me succour,
She flourishes new and new
In beauty and virtue:
Haec claritate gemina,
O glorioso femina,

Quomodo dilexi legem tuam, domina!
Recedant vetera, nove sunt omnia.

And to amend her tale.
When she list to avail,
And with her fingers small,
And hands as soft as silk,
Whiter than milk,
That are so quickly veined,
Wherewith my hand she strained,
Lord, how I was pained!
Unneth me I refrained,
How she me had reclaimed,
And me to her retained,
Embracing therewithall,
Her goodly middle small,
With sides long and straight.
To tell you what conceit
I had then in a trice,
The matter were too nice,
And yet there was no vice,
Nor yet no villainy,
But only fantasy.
For this most goodly flower,
This blossom of fresh color,
So Jupiter me succour,
She flourishes new and new
In beauty and virtue:
Haec claritate gemina,
O glorioso femina,

Iniquos odio habui!
Non calumnientur me superbi

But where should I note
How often I did toot
Upon her pretty foot?
It razed my heart root
To see her tread the ground
With heels short and round.
She is plainly express
Egeria, the goddess,
And like to her image,
Importured with courage,
A lover’s pilgramage.
There is no beast savage,
Ne no tiger so wood,
But she would change his mood.
Such reluctant grace
Is formed in her face.
For this most goodly flower,
This blossom of fresh color,
So Jupiter me succour,
She flourishes new and new
In beauty and virtue:
Haec claritate gemina,
O glorioso femina,

Mirabilia testimonia tua!
Sicut novellae plantationes in juventute sua.

So goodly as she dresses,
So properly she presses
The bright golden tresses
Of her hair so fine,
Like Phoebus’ beams shine.
Whereto should I disclose
The gartering of her hose?
It is for to suppose
How that she can wear
Gorgeously her gear,
Her fresh habiliments
With other implements
To serve for all intents,
Like Dame Flora, queen
Of lusty summer green.
For this most goodly flower,
This blossom of fresh color,
So Jupiter me succour,
She flourishes new and new
In beauty and virtue:
Haec claritate gemina,
O glorioso femina,

Clamavi in toto corde, exaudi me!
Misericordia tua magna est super me.

Her kirtle so goodly laced.
And under that is braced
Such pleasures that I may
Neither write nor say.
Yet though I write not with ink,
No man can let me think,
For thought hath liberty,
Thought is frank and free,
To think a merry thought
It cost me little or nought.

Would God my homely style
Were polished with the file
Of Cicero’s eloquence,
To praise her excellence.
For this most goodly flower,
This blossom of fresh color,
So Jupiter me succour,
She flourishes new and new
In beauty and virtue:
Haec claritate gemina,
O glorioso femina,

Principes persecuti sunt me gratis!
Omnibus consideratis
Paradisus volptatis.
Haec virgo est dulcissima.

My pen it is unable,
My hand it is unstable,
My reason rude and dull
To praise her at the full,
Good Mistress Jane,
Sober, demure, Diane,
Jane this mistress hight,
The lodestar of delight,
Dame Venus of all pleasure,
The well of earthly treasure.
She does exceed and pass
In prudence Dame Pallas
For this most goodly flower,
This blossom of fresh color,
So Jupiter me succour,
She flourishes new and new
In beauty and virtue:
Haec claritate gemina,
O glorioso femina!

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine!
With this psalm, Domina, probasti me,
Shall sail over the sea,
With tibi, Domine, commendamus,
On pilgramage to Saint James,
For shrimps and for prawns,
And for stalking cranes.

And where my pen has offended,
I pray you it be ammended.
By discreet consideration
Of your wise reformation.
I have no offended, I trust,
If it be sadly discussed
It were no gentle guise
This treatise to despise,
Because I have written and said
Honor of this fair maid.
Wherefore should I be blamed
That I Jane have named
And famously proclaimed?
She is worthy to be enrolled
With letters of gold.
Car elle vaut
Per me laurigerum Britonum Skeltonida vatem
Laudibus eximiis merito haec redimita puella est.
Formosam cecini, qua non formosior ulla est;
Formosam potius quam ommendaret Homerus.
Sic juvat interdum rigidos recreare labores,
Nec minus hoc titilo tersa Minerva mea est.

Rien que plaisir

Thus endeth the boke of Philip Sparow, and her foloweth
an addicyon made by Maister Skelton.

The guise now-a-days
Of some jangling jays
Is to discommend
That they cannot amend,
Though they would spend
All the wits they have.

What ails them to deprave
Philip Sparrow’s grave?
His Dirige, her Commendation
Can be no derogation,
But mirth and consolation
Made by protestation,
No man to miscontent
With Philip’s interement.

Alas, that goodly maid,
Why should she be afraid?
Why should she take shame
That her goodly name,
Honorably reported,
Should be set and sorted.
To be matriculate
With ladies of estate?

I conjure the, Phillip Sparrow
By Hercules that hell did harrow.
And with a venomous arrow
Slew of the Epidaurs
One of the Centaurs,
Or Onocentaurus,
Or Hippocentaurus,
By whose might and main
A hart was slain
With horns twayne
Of glittering gold,
And the apples of gold
Of Hesperides withhold,
And with a dragon kept
That at nevermore slept,
By martial strength
He won at length,
And slew Geryon
With three bodies in one.
With mighty courage
Adaunted the rage
Of a lion savage.
Of Diomedes’ stable
He brought out a rabble
Of coursers and rounces
With leapes and bounses;
And with mighty lugging,
Wrestling and tugging,
He plucked the bull
By the horned skull,
And offered to Cornucopia
And so forth per cetera;
Also by Hecate’s bower
In Pluto’s ghastly tower
By the ugly Eumenides
That never have rest nor ease,
By the venomous serpent,
That in hell is never brent,
In Lerna the Greek’s fen,
That was engendered then
By Chimera’s flames,
And all the deadly names
Of infernal posty
Where souls fry and roasty,
By the Stygian flood
And the stream’s wood
Of Cocytus’ bottomless well,
By the ferryman of hell,
Charon with his beard hoar,
That roweth with a rude ore
And with his frownced foretop
Guideth his boat with a prop.
I conjure Philip, and call
In the name of King Saul
Primo Regum express,
He bade the Pythoness
To witchcraft her to address,
And by her abusions
And damnable illusions
Of marvelous conclusions,
And by her superstitions,
And wonderful conditions
She raised up in that stead
Samuel that was dead.
But whether it were so,
He were idem in numero
The self-same Samuel,
Howbeit to Saul did he tell
The Philistines should him ascry,
And the next day he should die,
I will my self discharge
To lettered men at large.

But, Philip, I conjure thee
Now by these names three
Diana in the woods green,
Luna that so bright doth shine
Proserpina in hell.
That thou shortly tell.
And show now unto me
What the cause may be
Of this perplexity!

Inferias, Philippe, tuas Scroupe pulchra Johanna
Instanter petiit: cur nostri carminis illam
Nunc pudet? est sero; minor est infamia vero.

Than suche as have disdayned
And of this worke complayned,
I pray God they be payned
No worse than is contayned
In verses two or three
That follow as you may see.

Luride, cur livor, volucris pia funera damnas?
Talia te rapiant rapiunt quae fata volucrum!
Est tamen invidia mors tibi continua.