John Skelton: The Critical Heritage

By Anthony S. G.Edwards | Go to book overview

1.

WILLIAM CAXTON ON SKELTON

c. 1490

William Caxton (1422?-91), from the prologue to the ‘Eneydos’ (STC 24796), his translation of Virgil’s ‘Aeneid’, published c. 1490, A ii r-v. Caxton was the first English printer and publisher, as well as a prolific editor and translator.

Thenne I praye alle theym that shall rede in this lytyl treatys to holde me for excused for the translatynge of hit. For I knowleche my selfe ignorant of connynge to enpryse on me so hie and noble a werke/But I praye mayster Iohn Skelton late created poete laureate in the vnyuersite of oxenforde to ouersee and correcte this sayd booke. And taddresse and expowne where as shalle be founde faulte to theym that shall requyre it. For hym I knowe for suffycyent to expowne and englysshe euery dyffyculte that is therein/For he hath late translated the epystlys of Tulle/and the boke of dyodorus syculus, and diuerse other werkes oute of latyn in to englysshe not in rude and olde language, but in polysshed and ornate termes craftely. as he that hath redde vyrgyle/ouyde. tullye. and all the other noble poetes and oratours/to me vnknowen: And also he hath redde the ix. muses and vnderstande theyr musicalle scyences and to whom of theym eche scyence is appropred. I suppose he hath dronken of Elycons well.


2.

ERASMUS ON SKELTON, ‘THAT INCOMPARABLE LIGHT AND ORNAMENT OF BRITISH LETTERS’

c. 1499

(a) From ‘Opus Epistolarum Des. Erasmi Roterodami’, edited by P.S. Allen (Oxford, 1906), I, p. 241, letter 104. This letter is to Prince Henry, the future Henry VIII, to whom Skelton was tutor at the time of writing. The letter can be assigned to autumn 1499. The

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