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Skelton

Skelton

[skel-tn]
Skelton, John, 1460-1529, English poet and humanist. Tutor to Prince Henry (later Henry VIII), he later (c.1502) became rector of Diss, Norfolk. In 1512 he began to call himself royal orator, a position that may have been conferred by Henry VIII requiring that Skelton carry on some royal correspondence and write occasional official poems. He wrote a long allegorical poem, The Garland of Laurel (1523), but is remembered for his scathing and often obscene satires on the court, the clergy, and Cardinal Wolsey—The Bowge of Court (1499), Speak, Parrot (1521), Colin Clout (1522), and Why Come Ye Not to Court? (c.1522)—and the mock dirge "Philip Sparrow." Many of his works are written in verse forms he himself devised, called Skeltonics. They consist of short lines and insistent rhymes, sometimes repeated through several sets of couplets; they also employ alliteration.

See Skelton's works (ed. by Rev. Alexander Dyce, 2 vol., 1843); biography by A. S. Edwards (1981); studies by A. R. Heiserman (1961), S. E. Fish (1965), M. Pollet (tr. 1971), A. F. Kinney (1987), and G. Walker (1988).

(born circa 1460—died June 21, 1529, London, Eng.) English poet. Appointed court poet to Henry VII in 1488, Skelton became a tutor and eventually an adviser to Henry VIII. In 1498 he took holy orders. He wrote political and religious satires in an individual poetic style of short rhyming lines, called Skeltonics. Among his poems are Bowge of Courte, satirizing life at court; Phyllyp Sparowe, lampooning the liturgical office for the dead; and Ware the Hawke, attacking an irreverent priest. In 1516 he wrote the first secular morality play in English, Magnyfycence. The satires Speke, Parrot (written 1521), Collyn Clout (1522), and Why Come Ye Nat to Courte? (1522) were directed against Cardinal Wolsey and humanist learning.

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(born circa 1460—died June 21, 1529, London, Eng.) English poet. Appointed court poet to Henry VII in 1488, Skelton became a tutor and eventually an adviser to Henry VIII. In 1498 he took holy orders. He wrote political and religious satires in an individual poetic style of short rhyming lines, called Skeltonics. Among his poems are Bowge of Courte, satirizing life at court; Phyllyp Sparowe, lampooning the liturgical office for the dead; and Ware the Hawke, attacking an irreverent priest. In 1516 he wrote the first secular morality play in English, Magnyfycence. The satires Speke, Parrot (written 1521), Collyn Clout (1522), and Why Come Ye Nat to Courte? (1522) were directed against Cardinal Wolsey and humanist learning.

Learn more about Skelton, John with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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