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Poem by John Skelton
Against the Scots
AGAINST the proud Scots clattering, That never will leave their tratling: Won they the field, and lost their king? They may well say, Fie on that winning! Lo, these fond sots And tratling Scots, How they are blind In their own mind, And will not know Their overthrow At Brankston Moor! They are so stour, So frantic mad, They say they had And won the field With spear and shield. That is as true As black is blue And green is grey! Whatever they say, Jemmy is dead And closed in lead, That was their own king: Fie on that winning! At Flodden hills Our bows, our bills, Slew all the floure Of their honour. Are not these Scots Fools and sots, Such boast to make, To prate and crake, To face, to brace, All void of grace, So proud of heart, So overthwart, So out of frame, So void of shame, As it is enrolled, Written and told Within this quaire? Who list to repair, And therein read, Shall find indeed A mad reckoning, Considering all thing, That the Scots may sing Fie on the winning! When the Scot Lived Jolly Jemmy, ye scornful Scot, Is it come unto your lot A solemn sumner for to be? It 'greeth nought for your degree Our king of England for to cite, Your sovereign lord, our prince of might: Ye for to send such a citation, It shameth all your naughty nation, In comparison but king Copping Unto our prince, anointed king! Ye play Hob Lobbin of Lothian; Ye shew right well what good ye can; Ye may be lord of Loch Ryan Ч Christ cense you with a frying-pan! Of Edinburgh and Saint John's town: Adieu, Sir Sumner, cast off your crown! When the Scot was Slain Continually I shall remember The merry month of September, With the ninth day of the same, For then began our mirth and game; So that now I have devised, And in my mind I have comprised, Of the proud Scot, King Jemmy, To write some little tragedy, For no manner consideration Of any sorrowful lamentation, But for the special consolation Of all our royal English nation. Melpomene, O muse tragediall, Unto your grace for grace now I call To guide my pen and my pen to imbibe! Illumine me, your poet and your scribe, That with mixture of aloes and bitter gall I may compound confectures for a cordiall, To angre the Scots and Irish keterings withal, That late were discomfect with battle martiall. Thalia, my Muse, for you also call I, To touch them with taunts of your harmony, A medley to make of mirth with sadness, The hearts of England to comfort with gladness! And now to begin I will me address, To you rehearsing the sum of my process. King Jamey, Jemmy, Jocky my jo, Ye summoned our king, Ч why did ye so? To you nothing it did accord To summon our king, your sovereign lord. A king, a sumner! it was great wonder: Know ye not sugar and salt asunder? Your sumner too saucy, too malapert, Your herald in arms not yet half expert: Ye thought ye did yet valiantly, Not worth three skips of a pie! Sir Skirgalliard, ye were too skit, Your will then ran before your wit. Your alledge ye laid and your ally, Your frantic fable not worth a fly, French king, or one or other; Regarded ye should your lord, your brother. Trowed ye, Sir Jemmy, his noble Grace From you, Sir Scot, would turn his face? With, Gup, Sir Scot of Galloway, Now is your pride fall to decay! Male ured was your false intent For to offend your president, Your sovereign lord most reverent, Your lord, your brother, and your regent. In him is figured Melchizedek, And ye were disloyal Amalek. He is our noble Scipion, Anointed king; and ye were none, Though ye untruly your father have slain. His title is true in France to reign; And ye, proud Scot, Dundee, Dunbar, Parde, ye were his homager, And suitor to his parliament: For your untruth now are ye shent. Ye bear yourself somewhat too bold, Therefore ye lost your copyhold; Ye were bond tentant to his estate; Lost is your game, ye are checkmate. Unto the castle of Norham, I understand, too soon ye came. At Brankston Moor and Flodden hills, Our English bows, our English bills, Against you gave so sharp a shower That of Scotland ye lost the flower. The White Lion, there rampant of mood, He raged and rent out your heart-blood; He the White, and ye the Red, The White there slew the Red stark dead. Thus for your guerdon quit are ye, Thanked be God in Trinity, And sweet Saint George, Our Lady's knight! Your eye is out: adew, good-night! Ye were stark mad to make a fray, His Grace being out of the way: But, by the power and might of God, For your own tail ye made a rod! Ye wanted wit, sir, at a word; Ye lost your spurs, ye lost your sword. Ye might have busked you to Huntly-banks, Your pride was peevish to play such pranks. Your poverty could not attain With our king royal war to maintain. Of the king of Navarre ye might take heed, Ungraciously how he doth speed: In double dealing so he did dream That he is king without a ream; And, for example ye would none take, Experience hath brought you in such a brake. Your wealth, your joy, your sport, your play, Your bragging boast, your royal array, Your beard so brim as boar at bay, Your Seven Sisters, that gun so gay, All have ye lost and cast away. Thus Fortune hath turned you, I dare well say, Now from a king to a clot of clay. Out of your rob─ùs ye were shaked, And wretchedly ye lay stark naked. For lack of grace hard was your hap: The Pop─ùs curse gave you that clap. Of the out isles the rough-footed Scots, We have well-eased them of the bots: The rude rank Scots, like drunken dranes, At English bows have fetched their banes. It is not fitting in tower and town A sumner to wear a king─ùs crown: Fortune on you therefore did frown; Ye were too high, ye are cast down. Sir Sumner, now where is your crown? Cast off your crown, cast up your crown! Sir Sumner, now ye have lost your crown. Quod Skelton Laureate, orator to the King's most royal estate. Scotia, reducta in formam provinciae, Regis parebit nutibus Angliae; Alioquin, per desertum sin, super cherubim, Cherubim, seraphim, seraphimque, ergo, etc. Unto Divers People that remord this Rhyming against the Scot Femmy I am now constrained, With word─ùs nothing feigned, This invective to make, For some peoples' sake That list for to jangle And waywardly to wrangle Against this my making, Their males thereat shaking, At it reprehending, And venomously stinging, Rebuking and remording, And nothing according. Cause have they none other, But for that he was brother, Brother unnatural Unto our king royal, Against whom he did fight Falsely against all right, Like that untrue rebel False Cain against Abel. Whoso thereat picketh mood, The tokens are not good To be true English blood; For, if they understood His traitorly despite, He was a recreant knight, A subtle schismatic, Right near an heretic, Of grace out of the state, And died excommunicate. And for he was a king, The more shameful reckoning Of him should men report, In earnest and in sport. He scantly loveth our king, That grudgeth at this thing: That cast such overthwarts Perchance have hollow hearts. Si veritatem dico, quare non creditis mihi?
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