Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
Extract from The Bowge of Courte: Picture of Riot
By John Skelton (1460?–1529)
  WYTH 1 that came Ryott, russhynge all at once,
    A rusty gallande, to-ragged and to-rente:
  And on the borde he whyrled a payre of bones;
    Quater treye dews he clatered as he wente:
    Now have at all, by Sainte Thomas of Kente!        5
And ever he threwe and kyst 2 I wote nere what,
His here 3 was growen thorowe oute his hat.
  Thenne I behelde how he dysgysed was:
    His hede was hevy for watchynge over nyghte,
  His eyen blereed, his face shone lyke a glas,        10
    His gowne so shorte that it ne cover myghte
    His rumpe, he wente so all for somer lyghte,
His hose was garded 4 wyth a lyste of grene,
Yet at the knee they were broken I wene.
  His cote was checked with patches red and blewe,        15
    Of Kyrkeby Kendall was his shorte demye, 5
  And ay he sange, ‘In fayth, decon thow crewe’
    His elbowe bare, he ware his gere so nye: 6
    His nose a droppynge, his lyppes were full drye,
And by his syde his whynarde 7 and his pouche        20
The devyll myghte daunce therein for ony crowche. 8
Note 1. The Bowge of Courte, i.e., The Rewards of a Court. Bowge is properly ‘allowance of meat and drink’ (Fr. bouche). [back]
Note 2. cast. [back]
Note 3. hair. [back]
Note 4. trimmed. [back]
Note 5. waistcoat, or jacket. [back]
Note 6. so short (?). [back]
Note 7. dagger. [back]
Note 8. without meeting with any cross, i.e., piece of money so marked. [back]

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