Of May-game Lords, and Sommer Queenes,
With Milke-maides, dancing o’re the Greenes.
‘The Shepherd’s Pipe’, published in 1614 (STC 3917), is a series of eclogues by William Browne (1591-1643?) and various other poets. This passage is from the end of the first eclogue, C 7r, after Browne’s modernization of Thomas Hoccleve’s ‘Tale of Jonathas’. After the tale proper there follows a pastoral dialogue between Willie and Roget in which Willie compares Skelton unfavourably with Browne’s version of Hoccleve.
Happy surely was that swaine!
And he was not taught in vaine:
Many a one that prouder is,
Has not such a song as this;
And have garlands for their meed,
That but iarre as Skeltons reed.
‘The Compleat Gentleman’ by Henry Peacham (1576? -1643?) was published in 1622 (STC 19502). It is a treatise on manners and gentlemanly conduct and includes a chapter ‘Of poetrie’ from which (p. 95) the following extract comes.
Then followed Harding, and after him Skelton, a Poet Laureate, for what desert I could neuer heare. If you