includes observations on such poets as Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate and Barclay.
Skelton satte in the corner of a Piller, with a Frostie bitten face, frownyng, and is scant yet cleane cooled of the hotte burnyng Cholour, kindeled against the cankered Cardinall Wolsey; wrytyng many sharpe Disticons, with bloudie penne against him, and sent them by the infernall riuers Styx, Flegiton, and Acheron by the Feriman of hell called Charon, to the saied Cardinall.
This poem by the soldier and poet Thomas Churchyard (1520? -1604) appears as a preface (A iiv-A iiiiv) to the edition of the ‘Pithy, Pleasaunt and Profitable Works of Maister Skelton, Poete Laureate’, published in 1568 (STC 22608). The punctuation has been somewhat modernized.
If slouth and tract of time
(That wears eche thing away)
Should rust and canker worthy artes,
Good works would soen decay.
If suche as present are
For goeth the people past,
Our selus should soen in silence slepe,
And loes renom at last.
No soyll nor land so rude
But some odd men can shoe:
Than should the learned pas vnknowe,
Whoes pen & skill did floe?
God sheeld our slouth wear sutch,
Or world so simple nowe,
That knowledge scaept without reward,
Who sercheth vertue throwe,
And paints forth vyce a right,
And blames abues of men,
And shoes what lief desarues rebuke,