The Epitaph of Jasper

Smerte, ?

STC 14477
Ringler 14477 and Brown and Robbins 2818.6. Rpt. (from a transcript of the unique copy in the Pepysian Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge.) A. Dyce, _The Poetical Works of John Skelton_, 2 vols. (London, 1843), 2:388-98. "Introduction and 20 sections each in a different verse form" (Ringler). UMI microfilm reel 483

The Epitaffe of the moste noble and valyaunt Iasper late duke of Beddeforde
London: [Richard Pynson],[1496].

Composition Date: 1495 [Brown and Robbins].

bespraynte ='besprinkled'; see OED s.vv. besprent ppla, bespreng v.
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The Epitaffe of the moste noble and valyaunt Iasper late duke of Beddeforde.
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Rydynge al alone with sorowe sore encombred.
In a frosty fornone / faste by seuernes syde.
The wordil beholdynge / wherat moche I Wondred wordil: =world
To se the see and sonne / to kepe both tyme and tyde.
5 The ayre ouer my hede / so wonderfully to glyde.
And howe saturne by circumference borne is aboute. Color Ficcio.
Whiche thynges to beholde / clerely me notyfyde
One verray god to be / therin to haue no dowte

And as my fantasy flamyd in that occupacyon.
10 Fruteles deuoyde of all maner gladnes
Of one was I Ware / into greate desolacyon.
To the erthe prostrate rauynge for madnes
By m[o]nys so inmoderate / encreased was his sadnes monys] menys 1496
That by me can not be compyled
15 His dedly sorowe / and dolorous dystres
Lyfe in hym / by deth / so ny Was exiled

Hym better to beholde / so ferre oute of frame
Nerre I nyghed / farsyd with fragyllyte
Wherwith Smert I perceyued he called was by name
20 Which ouer haukes and houndes had auctoryte.
Though the roume vnmete were / for his pouer degre
Yet fortune so hym farthered to his lorde
Wherfore him to lye in soch perplexite.
What it myghte mene / I gan to my-sylfe recorde

25 I shogged him I shaked him I ofte aboute him Wente.
And al to knowe / Why so care / his carayn [r]yued ryued] hyued 1496
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His temples I rubbyd and by the nose him hente
Al as in vayne Was / he coude nat be reuyued.
He waltered / he wende / and With him-silfe stryued.
30 Suche countenaunce contynuynge / but or I parte the place
Up his hede he caste whan his woful goste aryued.
Those Wordes saynge with righte a pytous face.

O sorowe sorowe beyonde al sorowes sure. Metricus primus. Color. repeticio.
All sorowes sure surmountynge / lo.
35 Lo Which payne no pure may endure
Endure may none such dedely wo.
Wo alas ye inwrapped for he is go.
Go is he Whose valyaunce to recounte.
To recounte all other it dyd surmounte.

40 Gone is he alas that redy was to do.
Eche thynge that to nob[l]es required. nobles] nobes 1496 Metricus secundus. C. recitacio simplex. Metricus secundus. C. recitacio simplex.
Gone is he alas that redy Was to do.
Eche thynge that curtesye of him desyred.
Whose frowarde fate falsely was conspyred.
45 By antraphos vnasured and her vngracyous charmys.
Iasper I mene is gone mars son in armys.

He that of late regnyd in glory.
With grete glosse buttylly glased. M .iii. C. narracio. buttylly ='beautifully'? See OED s.v. buttyly adj., where this example is the sole attestation.buttylly ='beautifully'? See OED s.v. buttyly adj., where this example is the sole attestation.
Nowe lowe vnder-fote doth he ly.
50 With wormys ruly rente and rasyd ruly ='wretchedly'
His carayne stynkynge his fetures fasyd.
Brother and vncle to kynges yesterday.

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Nowe is he gone and lefte vs as mased.
Closed here lyeth he in a clote of clay.
55 Shal he come agayne / a nay nay.
Where is he become I can nat discusse.
Than with the prophet may We say.
Non inuentus est locus eius.

Restynge in him Was honoure with sadnesse.
60 Curtesy kyndenesse With great assuraunce.
Dispysynge vice louynge alway gladnesse. Metricus quartus e[t] retrogradiens. Colo[r] discripcio.
Knyghtly condicyons feythful alegeaunce
Kyndely demenoure gracyous vtteraunce.
Was none semelyer [of] feture ne face. of] 1496 omits
65 Frendely him fostered quatriuial aliaunce. quatriuial ='belonging to the quadrivium'; see OED s.v. quadrivial adj., where this example is cited. Alternatively, quatriuial could mean simply 'fourfold'.
Alas yet dede nowe arte thou iaspar alas.

Wherfore sorowe to oure sorowe / none can be founde.
Ne cause agayne care to mollyfy oure monys.
Alas the payne
70 For his body and goste Metricus quintus.
That we loued moste.
In a graue in the grounde
Deth depe hath drounde
Amonge robel and stonys
75 Wherfore complayne. .] .. 1496

Complayne complayne who can complayne.
For I alas past am compleynte.
To compleyne wyt can not sustayne.
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Deth me with doloure so hath bespraynte M. .vi. bespraynte ='besprinkled'; see OED s.vv. besprent ppla, bespreng v.

80 For in my syghte.
Oure lorde and knyghte
Contrary to righte.
Deth hath ateynte.

As the vylest of a nacyon.
85 Deuoyde of consolacyon.
By cruel crucyacyon.
He hath combryd hym sore.
He hath him combryd sore. M .vii. C. iteracio
That fraunce and englonde bere byfore.
90 Armys of both quarteryd.
And with hony soyte was garteryd.
Se howe he is nowe marteryd.
Alas for sorowe therfore.
Alas for sorowe therfore.
95 Oute and Weleaway.
For people many a score.
For him shal yel and rore.
Alas that we were bore.
To se this dolorous day.

100 With asshy hue compleyne / also I cry.
Ladyes / damosels mynyonat and gorgayse. mynyonat ='elegant'; see OED s.v. minionate adj., where this example is the sole attestation.
Knyghtes a[u]nterus of the myghty monarchy.
Complayne also for he that in his dayes.
To enhaunce wonte was your honoure youre prayse.
105 Nowe is he gone of erthly blysse ryfyld.
For dredeful deth withouten delayse.
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Ful dolorously his breth hath stifild.

Terys degoutynge also complayne complayne.
Houndes peerles / haukes withoute percialyte.
110 Sacris / faucons / heroners hautayne. C. transsumpcio. Sacris: =sakers, 'lanner falcons'; heroners ='falcons trained to fly at the heron'; hautayne ='high-flying'Sacris: =sakers, 'lanner falcons'; heroners ='falcons trained to fly at the heron'; hautayne ='high-flying'
For nowe darked is youre pompe / youre prod[y]galyte.
Youre plesures been past vnto penalyte.prodygalyte] prodogalyte 1496
Of With your rich caperons / put on your mourning-hodes
For iaspar your prynce by proporcyon of qualyte.
115 Paste is by deth / those daungerous flodys.

He that manhode meyntened / and magna[n]y[m]ite magnanymite] magnamynite 1496
His blasynge blys nowe is with balys blechyd M .viii. with balys blechyd ='wounded with evils'; see OED s.vv. bleche v, bless v2.with balys blechyd ='wounded with evils'; see OED s.vv. bleche v, bless v2.
Throgh dethes croked and crabbed cruelte.
In doloure depe nowe is he drowned and drechyd.
120 His starynge standerde that in stoures strechyd
With a sable serpente / nowe set is on a wall.
His helme heedles / cote corseles / woful and wrechyd.
With a swerde handeles / there hange they all.

Gewellys of late / poysed at grete valoyre.
125 He ded they desolate of euery membre.none shaloyre ='neglect, disregard'; see OED s.vv. nonchaloir (where this example is the sole attestation), challoir.
Stykynge on stakes as thynges of none shaloyre
For the corse that the[m] couched couched ='set (as jewels)'; see OED s.v. couch v1, 3d./ cast is in ####ab#### sendre.
By cruel compulsyon caused to surrendre. M .ix. them] they 1496them] they 1496
Lyfe vp to deth / that al ouerspurneth.
130 O se howe this worlde tourneth.
Some laugheth some mourneth.
Yet ye prynces precyous and tendre.
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Whyle that ye here in glory soiourneth.
The deth of our mayster rue to remembre.

135 O turmentoure / traytoure / torterous tyraunte.
So vnwarely oure duke haste thou slayne C. exclamacio.
That Wyt and mynde are vnsuffycyaunte.
Agayne thy myschyf malyce to mayntayne
We that in blysse wonte Were to bay[n]e.
140 With fortune flotynge moste fauourably.
Nowe thorow-thrylled and persyd with payne. thorow-thrylled ='pierced', here and below; see OED s.vv. thrill v1, 1, and through-.; Langoure ='languish'
Langoure we in feruente exstasy.

O murtherer vnmesurable withouten remors.
Monstruus of entayle aborryd in kynde.
145 Thou haste his corse dystressed by force. C. reprobacio.
Whos parayle alyue thou can not fynde.
Howe durst thou his flessh and spyryte vn[t]ynde. vntynde] vnrynde 1496vntynde ='separate, sever'; see OED s.v. untine v, 2, where this example is the sole attestation.vntynde ='separate, sever'; see OED s.v. untine v, 2, where this example is the sole attestation.
Dissendynge fro Cyzyle / Ierusalem and Fraunce.
O bazalyke bryboure with iyes blynde. bazalyke ='regal'; see OED s.vv. basilic adj., basilical adj.1; bryboure ='thief' or perhaps 'corrupt judge'; vtterquidaunce: =outrecuidance, 'self-conceit, arrogance, presumption'.
150 Sore may thou rue thy vtterquidaunce

Thou haste berafte / I say the erthly ioye
Of one broder and vncle to kynges in degre.
Lynyally descendynge fro eneas of troye.
Grete-vncle and vncle to prynces thre.
155 Brother to a saynte by Way of natyuyte
Vncle to another / whom men seketh blyue.
Blynde / croked lame / for remedyes hourly.
Thus god / that bromecod / had gyuen a prerogatyue. bromecod: =broom-cod, 'the seed-vessel of the broom', used figuratively here and below (='human being').

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And yet thou dolorous deth / to the herte hast him stynged.
160 Wenest thou felon / such murther to escape brewtors: =bruiters, 'spreaders of report, rumour'; but see also OED s.v. bruterer ='prophesier, soothsayer', where the OED notes: 'cf. also brut, in its Welsh sense of "prophecy"'.
I say the brewtors of Wales on the Wyl be reuenged
For thy false conspyracy and frowarde fate C. newgacio. newgacio: =negatio; cf. neugacio below.newgacio: =negatio; cf. neugacio below.
We his seruauntes also sole disconsolate.
Haste thou lafte / so that creatures more maddyr.
165 In erthe none Wandreth atwene senit and naddyr. senit: =zenith

Wherfore to the felde / to the felde / on With plate and male.
Beest / byrde / foule / eche body terrestryal. M .x.
Seke we this murtherer him to assayle.
Unafrayde ioyne in ayde / ye bodyes celestyal.
170 Herry saynt / with iyes faynte / to the also I cal.
For thy brothers sake / help deth to take / þat al may on him wondre
For and he reyne by drift sodeyne / he Wil ech kynd encumbre. drift ='scheme, plot'


Fouconer thou arte to blame.
And oughte take shame.
175 To make suche pretense.
For I deth hourly. M .xi. C. prosopopeya.
May stande truly.
At ful lawful defence
Deth hath no myghte.
180 Do wronge ne righte.
Fauoure frende ne fo.
But as an instrumente.
At commaundemente.
Whether to byde or go.
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185 I am the instr[u]mente instrumente] instromente 1496
Of one omnipotente
That knowest thou fyrme and playne.
Wherfore fro dethe
Thy wo and wreth
190 I Wolde thou shulde reteyne.
And agayne god
For thy bromecod
Batayle to darayne. darayne ='to maintain (a wager of battle or single combat) in vindication of a claim, right, etc.'; see OED s.v. deraign v1, 4.

Than if it be ryghte / most of myght / thy godhed I acuse.
195 For thy myght / contrary to right / thou doste gretly abuse. M .xii. C. Introductio.
Katyffes vnkind / thou leuest behind / paynims turkes and iewis
and our maister gret / thou gaue wormes to ete wheron gretly I muse
Is this wel done / answer me sone / make lorde thyn excuse

Dyd thou disdayne þat he shuld rayne / was þat els the cause.
200 In his rayne / he was moste fayne / to mynester thy lawes
Than certayn / and thou be playn / and stedfaste in thy sawes.
Euery knyght that doth right / ferynge drede ne awes M .xiii. C. onomotopeya.
Of thy face bryghte / shal haue a syghte /
After this worldly wawes.
205 Than gode lorde / scripture doth record / verefieng þat cause
That our bromcod / Wt the gode god / in heuen shal rest and pause

For first of nought / thou him wroght of thy special grace
And Wers than noght him also boght / in caluery in þat place
Th[an] by thoght / oft he were broght / Wt satanas to trace. M .xiiii. C. probacio. Than] Thou 1496Than] Thou 1496
210 Yet lorde to haue / pyte thou oght / on the pycture of thy face
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We / neyther he / dampned to be / willyngly thou wilt noght. M .xv.
Yet dampned shal he and we be / if thy mercy helpe nought.
Discrecion hast thou gyuen perde / what wold we more ought
After deth to lyue with the / if we offende nought

215 There is a cause yet of oure care / thou creatoure alofte.
That thy gospel doth declare / which I forgete noughte
Howe vnwarly our Welfare / fro vs shal be broughte
By deth þat none wyl spare / lorde þat knowe we noughte M .xvi.
In syn drowned if we dare / and so sodenly be coughte
220 Than of blysse ar we bare / þat fylleth me ful of thoughte

Thou knowest lorde beste thy-sylfe
Man is but duste stercorye and fylthe
Of him-sylfe vnable.
Saue only of thy specyal grace
225 A soule thou made to occupye place.
To make man ferme and stable. C degressio
Which man to do as thou ordeyned.
With fendes foule / shal neuer be payned.
But in blysse be perdurable.
230 And if he do the contrarye
Af[t]er this lyfe than shal he dye. M .xvii: Af[t]er: letter broken.Af[t]er: letter broken.
Fendes to fede vnsaciable.
For which fendys foule thou made a centre. centre ='a nucleus or point of concentration'; see OED s.v. centre n, 6a.
In which centre / thou made an entre
235 That such þat to breke thy commaundementes Wolde auenter
Theder downe shulde dessende.
But oure maister whan deth hym trapte.
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In pure perseueraunce so was Wrapte.
That thou inuisyble his speryte thyder rapte
240 Where thy sheltrons him shal defende. sheltrons ='troops, phalanxes'.

If We nat offende
He wyl purchace. M. quatrinalis. C. transuersio.
A gloryous place.
At oure laste ende The following quatrain is printed alongside the previous one in the copytext.
245 To se his face.
We shal assende
By his grete grace.
If we nat offende.

Thou haste enuapored I say alofte. enuapored: =envapoured; see OED s.v. en-, prefix 1a, where one example, dated 1605, is cited.
250 The soule of iasper that thou wroughte.
Seruyce to do latrial. latrial ='of the supreme worship which is due to God alone'; see OED s.v. latria n.
And why lorde I dyd the reproue.
Was for perfyte zele and loue.
To the nat preiudicyal.
255 For lorde this I knowe expr[e]sse expresse] exprsse 1496
This worldly frute is bytternesse.
Farcyd With wo and payne.
Lyfe ledynge dolorously in distresse
Shadowed with dethes lykenesse.
260 As in none certayne.

Yet me-semeth so thou art non of tho / þat vs so shuld begyle
He is nat yet ded / I lay my hed / thou hast him hid for a while
And al to proue / who doth him loue / and Who wil be vnkynd C. neugacio
Thou hast in led / layde him a ####ab#### bed / this trow I in my mynd
265 For this we trow / and thou dost know / as thy might is most
That him to dye / to lowe and hye / it were to grete a lost. lost ='loss'

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And he be dede this knowe I very right
Thou saw lorde this erth corrupt with fals adulacyon.
And thought it place vnmete for iaspar thy knyght.
270 Wherfore of body and soule / thou made seperacyon.
Preantedate seynge by pure predestynacyon. C. excusacio. Preantedate ='premature'? Preantedate is not recorded in OED.Preantedate ='premature'? Preantedate is not recorded in OED.
Whan his lyfe here shulde fyne and consum.
Wherfore lorde thus ende I my dolorous exclamacyon
Thy godenes knewe what was beste to be done.

275 As a prynce penytente and ful of contricion.
So dyed he / we his seruauntes can recorde. M .xviii. C. conclusio.
And that he may haue euerlastynge fruicyon.
We the beseche gloryous kynge and lorde
For the laste leson that he dyd recorde. leson ='liturgical reading'
280 To thy power he it aplyed / saynge tibi omnes.
As a hye knyghte / in fidelyte / fermely moryd
Angeli celi et potestates.
Wherwith payne / to the herte him boryd
And lyfe him lefte / gyuynge deth entres

285 Whiche lyfe in comparyson of thyne:
Is as poynt in lyne / or as instant in tyme.
For thou were / and arte / and shal be al-tyme
In thy-silfe reynynge by power diuyne
Makynge gerarcyiis thre / and orders nyne gerarcyiis: =hierarchies
290 The to deifye
Wherfore we crye.
Suffer nat iaspar to dye.
But to lyue
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For eternally that he shal lyue. eternally] enternally 1496
295 Is oure byleue.

And than moste craftely dyd combyne.
Another heuen called cristalline.
[T]o the thyrde stellyferal to shyne. M .xix. C. prolongacio. To] So 1496To] So 1496
Aboue thy skye.
300 Wherfore we crye
Suffer nat iaspar to dye
But to lyue.
For eternally that he shal lyue.
Is oure byleue.

305 Moreouer in a zodiake / pure and fyne.
Synys .xii. thou set for a tyme. Synys: =signs
And them nexte in cercle and lyne
Saturne thou set / iupiter and mars citryne.
Contect and drye. Contect ='covered over', from Latin contectus? Contect is not recorded in OED, but see OED s.v. contection, 'covering up'.
310 Wherfore we crye.
Suffer nat iaspar to dye.
But to lyue.
For eternally that he shal lyue.
Is oure byleue.

315 Than to peryssh thorouthryll and myne.
The mystes blake and cloudes tetryne. tetryne ='gloomy', from Latin taeter? Tetryne is not recorded in OED, but cf. OED s.vv. tetric adj.1, tetrical.
Tytan thou set clerely to shyne.
The worldes iye.
Wherfore we crye. vt supra

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320 Yet in their epycercles to tril and twyne. epycercles is probably an error for epycycles ('epicycles'), but is retained as a nonce-form; tril and twyne ='revolve and meander'; stacyoner: =stationary? Cf. Henryson, Moral Fables IV.3, '... the planeitis ... Sum retrograde, and sum stationeir'; see OED s.v. stationary adj., 1c.; masseline ='made of brass' (see OED s.v. maslin n1, 3), or 'mixed, mingled' (see OED s.v. maslin n2, 1c)
Retrograte / stacyoner / directe as a lyne.
Uenus thou set marcury and the mone masseline.
Nexte fyre / and ayre so sotyl of engyne.
The to gloryfye
325 Wherfore we crye
Suffer nat iaspar to dye.
But to lyue.
For eternally that he shal lyue.
Is oure byleue.

330 [..................................]A line has dropped out in the copytext.
Water and erth with braunch and vine.
And so thy we[r]kes to ende and fyne. we[r]kes: letter broken
Man to make thou dyd determyne.
Of whome cam I.
335 Wherfore I cry and the supplye.
Suffer nat iaspar to dye.
But to lyue.
For eternally that he shal lyue.
Is o[u]re byleue.

340 With him to comford at all-tyme. comford: =comfort
Tho[u] ioyned the sex than of frayle femynyne
Which by temptacyon serpentyne.
Theyre hole sequele broughte to ruyne. sequele ='posterity'
By ouergrete folye.
345 Wherfore we crye.
Suffer nat iaspar to dye.
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But to lyue.
For eternally that he shal lyue.
Is oure byleue. byleue] byleueue 1496

350 Than of thy godenes thou dyd enclyne
Flessh to take of thy moder and virgyne.
And vs amonge in payne and famyne.
Dw[e]lte and taughte thy holy doctryne. Dwelte] Dwalte 1496
355 Wherfore we crye.
Suffer nat iaspar to dye.
But to lyue.
For eternally that he shal lyue.
Is oure byleue.

360 Tyl a traytoure by false couyne.
To pylat accused the at pryme.
So taken slayne / and buryed at complyne.
Rose agayne of adam redemynge the lyne.
By thy infynyte mercy.
365 For whych mercy.
Incessantly we crye
And the supplye
Suffer nat our lorde to dye
But to lyue.
370 For eternally that he shal lyue.
Is oure byleue.
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Kynges / prynces / remembre whyle ye may.
Do for your-silfe for that shal ye fynde. M .xx.
Executours often maketh delay.
The body buryed / the soule sone oute of mynde.
5 Marke this Wel / and graue it in youre mynde.
Howe many grete estates gone are before.
And howe after ye shal folowe by course of kynde.
Wherfore do for youre-silfe / I can say no more.

Though ye be gouernours moste precious in kynde.
10 Caste downe your crounes and costely appareyle.
Endored With golde / and precyous stones of ynde. Endored: =adored, reflecting the common confusion of adore and adorn in Middle English (see OED s.v. adore v)? OED records a verb endore only with the specialised sense of 'to cover with a yellow glaze of yolk of egg, saffron, etc.'
For al in the ende lytyl shal auayle.
Whan youre estates deth lyketh to assayle
Your bodyes bulgynge with a blyster sore
15 Than Withstande shal neyther plate ne mayle.
Wherfore do for youre-silfe / I can say no more.

There is a vertue that moost is auaunsed
Pure perseueraunce called of the porayle.
By Whome al vertues are enhaunsed.
20 Which is nat Wonne but by diligente trauayle.
Ware in the ende / for and that vertue fayle.
Body and soule than are ye forlore
Wherfore if ye folowe Wyll holsom counsayle.
Do for youre-silfe I can say no more.

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25 Kynges prynces moste souerayne of renoune.
Remembre oure maister that gone is byfore.
This Worlde is casual / nowe vp / nowe downe.
Wherfore do for your-silfe I can say no more.

Honor tibi deus / gloria / et laus. Quod Smerte maister de ses ouzeaus.