Monday, June 20, 2011

John Skelton

Walter Scott shares at least one thing in common with today's subject - John Skelton.  Both were offered the Poet Laureateship.  Scott refused, recommending Robert Southey, who became Poet Laureate in 1813.  Skelton became Poet Laureate in 1513 or 1514.  Skelton tutored the future Henry VIII while he was a prince, becoming Poet Laureate during his reign.  Skelton managed to keep his head, dying on June 21, 1529, at nearly 70 years of age.

Skelton wrote sometimes of women who inspired him, including the mother of Jane Seymour:


To Mistress Margery Wentworth

WITH margerain gentle,
The flower of goodlihead,
Embroidered the mantle
Is of your maidenhead.
Plainly I cannot glose;
Ye be, as I divine,
The pretty primrose,
The goodly columbine.

Benign, courteous, and meek,
With wordes well devised;
In you, who list to seek,
Be virtues well comprised.
With margerain gentle,
The flower of goodlihead,
Embroidered the mantle
Is of your maidenhead.



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