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Go, Piteous Heart

  • Go, pytyous hart, rasyd with dedly wo,
  • Persyd with payn, bleding with wondes smart,
  • Bewayle thy fortune, with vaynys wan and blo.
  • O Fortune vnfrendly, Fortune vnkynde thow art,
  • To be so cruell and so ouerthwart,
  • To suffer me so carefull to endure,
  • That wher I loue best I dare not dyscure !
  • One there is, and euer one shalbe,
  • For whose sake my hart is sore dyseasyd ;
  • For whose loue, welcom dysease to me !
  • I am content so all partys be pleasyd :
  • Yet, and God wold, I wold my payne were easyd !
  • But Fortune enforsyth me so carefully to endure,
  • That where I loue best I dare not dyscure.

Mannerly Margery Milk and Ale

  • Ay, beshrew you! By my fay,
  • These wanton clerks be nice alway!
  • Avaunt, avaunt, my popinjay!
  • What, will ye do nothing but play?
  • Tilly, vally, straw, let be I say!
  • Gup, Christian Clout, gup, Jack of the Vale!
  • With Mannerly Margery Milk and Ale.
  • By God, ye be a pretty pode,
  • And I love you an whole cart-load.
  • Straw, James Foder, ye play the fode,
  • I am no hackney for your rod:
  • Go watch a bull, your back is broad!
  • Gup, Christian Clout, gup, Jack of the Vale!
  • With Mannerly Margery Milk and Ale.
  • Ywis ye deal uncourteously;
  • What, would ye frumple me? Now fy!
  • What, and ye shall be my pigesnye?
  • By Christ, ye shall not, no hardely:
  • I will not be japed bodily!
  • Gup, Christian Clout, gup, Jack of the Vale!
  • With Mannerly Margery Milk and Ale.
  • Walk forth your way, ye cost me nought;
  • Now I have found what I have sought:
  • The best cheap flesh that ever I bought.
  • Yet, for His love that all hath wrought,
  • Wed me, or else I die for thought.
  • Gup, Christian Clout, your breath is stale!
  • Go, Mannerly Margery Milk and Ale!
  • Gup, Christina Clout, gup, Jack of the Vale!
  • With Mannerly Margery Milk and Ale.

John Skelton

John Skelton (1463-1529) was an English poet and tutor of King Henry VIII, thereby earning a lifelong access to patronage from the crown and the king’s associates. His colorful life, which included being ordained a Catholic priest and being secretly married to a woman who lived with him in his rectory in Diss, England, caused great scandal among his parishioners. He was known for his biting satirical works and for his great love of a well-executed practical joke. “Mannerly Margery” exemplifies the typical characteristics of Skelton’s verse: an expert use of rhymes seemingly pushed through excessive repetition to their English limits, and an irregular metrical scheme known as “Skeltonics.”

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