1520 - Rastell, John - Four Elements
|Title||A New Interlude and a Mery of the Nature of the Four Elementis|
|Mentions||Song of Robin Hood; ballad; 'down, down, down' [burden]; [Gest]; Barnsdale; Our Lady; Geoffrey Cook|
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2014-08-08. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-10-26.
|Hu.||Now yf that Sensuall Appetyte cā fynd|
Any good mynstrellℯ after hys mynd
|yng.||And so shall we haue for a suerte|
But what shall we do now tell me
|Hu.||Then let vs some lusty balet syng|
|yng.||Nay syr by þe heuyn kyng,|
For me thynkyth it seruyth for no thyng
|Hu.||Pes man pryksong may not be dispysyd|
For ther with god is well plesyd
|yng.||Js god well pleasyd trowst thou therby|
Nay nay for there is no reason why
|Hu.||Then a feleshyp let vs here it|
|yng.||But there is a bordon thou must bere it|
Or ellys it wyll not be [sig. E8r:]
|Hu.||¶Than begyn and care not for [page torn]|
¶ Downe downe downe &c.
|yng.||Robyn hode in barnysdale stode|
And lent hym tyl a mapyll thystyll
The symbol "ℯ" in the cited allusion text is used for the original's tall, narrow e-like abbreviation that stands for "is", "ys" or "es".
Lines 1369-1419 in Axton's edition. The speakers are: Humanyte and Yngnoraunce.
At the place where the original page is torn, Axton adds "[r me]" so that the line reads "Than begyn and care not fo[r me]". This is very likely the correct reading, but it should be noted that there is room on the line for a longer word than "me" (or perhaps a couple of words).
For an earlier version of this burlesque in a late 15th century MS see 1500 - Anonymous - Untitled burlesque (3).
some lusty balet: a song; the word later became a synonym for (or an alternative form of the word) ballad, but in the early 16th cent. it had not yet acquired this meaning. Axton's note: "The basic metre of popular ballad (a4b3c4b3) is barely discernible in 1369-1419. The term balet covers a wide range of sophisticated and popular Tudor songs.""
All suche peuysh prykyeryd song: a sophisticated (as opposed to "folk") song of the kind that was written down ("pricked") in musical notation. Axton notes: "The argument here is over the propriety of prick-song (i.e. written part-music in measured notes) in divine service. The notorious feature in England was the use of elaborate melismas (parodied in line 1387). Wyclif had scorned 'smale brekynge', 'knackynge and tatterynge' of the divine office. Bale railed at 'fresh descant, pricksong, [p. 139:] counterpoint, and fa-burden . . . the very synagogue of Satan' [...]"
Gyf me a spa ve va ve va ve vade: Yngnoraunce is parodying the melismatic style that was then fashionable among composers of liturgical and other "art" songs.
Downe downe downe: a very common burden (with variations such as "down, down, derry down") in later broadside ballads. It was evidently already in vogue in Robin Hood ballads and perhaps other popular music at this early date.
Robyn hode in barnysdale stode | And lent hym tyl a mapyll thystyll: As Axton notes, this is "recognizably the proper opening of the Geste of Robyn Hode". Gest, st. 3:1 reads "Robyn stode in Bernesdale [|] and lenyd hym to a tre". The first of these two lines led, as it were, a life of its own as a legal maxim in use as early as 1429, but the fact that both lines are being parodied leaves little doubt that the writer of the song had the Gest in mind. The nonsense song or burlesque of which the two lines form the opening is also found in an MS which has been dated to the period c.1457-c.1500. If the dating of the MS is correct, the song obviously was not written expressly for the Four Elements, and there is then no reason to think it was the work of John Rastell.
wryguldy wrage: Axton notes that "[t]he sense seems to be 'Has anyone quarreled with you (done the wryguldy wrag to thee)? In Lancashire dialect 'wrigglety wry' means awry; wrag (scold, accuse) and wraggle (dispute) support the conjecture." OED2, s.n. wriguldy-wrag, cites Rastell as its only example, refrrring to its entry for "wrig-wrag" which lists 16th cent. examples for the sense "a contentious person" and the expression "at wrig-wrag", meaning "at daggers-drawn; at enmity or variance."
.lx.bowes and ten: Axton emends to "threscore bowes and ten".
- Not included in Dobson, R.B., ed.; Taylor, J., ed. Rymes of Robyn Hood: an Introduction to the English Outlaw (London, 1976), pp. 315-19.
- Sussex, Lucy, compil. 'References to Robin Hood up to 1600', in: Knight, Stephen. Robin Hood: A Complete Study of the English Outlaw (Oxford, UK; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell, 1994), pp. 262-88; see p. 270.
- [Rastell, John.] A new interlude and a mery of the nature of the .iiii. element ([London]: [J. Rastell], [1520?]); see sigs. E7v-E8r.
- [Rastell, John;] Halliwell, James Orchard, ed. The Interlude of the Four Elements (Percy Society, No. LXXIV) (London, 1848); see pp. 50-51, notes p. 55.
- Dodsley, Robert, ed.; Hazlitt, W.C., ed. A Select Collection of Old English Plays (London, 1874), vol. I, pp. 1-50; see vol. I, pp. 48-50.
- [Rastell, John;] Fischer, Julius, ed. Das "Interlude of the Four Elements" Marburger Studien zur Englischen Philologie, No. 5) (Marburg, 1903); see pp. 82-83.
- Farmer, John S., ed. Six Anonymous Plays, First Series (c. 1507-1537) (London, 1905), pp. 1-45; see pp. 43-44, notes pp. 264.
- [Rastell, John.] The Nature of the Four Elements (The Tudor Facsimile Texts) (London and Edinburgh, 1908); see sigs. E7v-E8r.
- Farmer, John S., ed. Six Anonymous Plays, First Series (c. 1507-1537) (Guildford, 1966), pp. 1-45; see pp. 43-44, notes pp. 264. Photographic reprint of 1905 ed.
- Crutchley, Ernest Addenbrooke, ed. Siberch Celebrations, 1521-1971 (Cambridge, ), pp. 81-113.
- Rastell, John; Coleman, Roger, ed. The Four Elements (Cambridge, 1971). A "cut and modernized acting text" cf. Axton (see next), p. 125.
- Rastell, John. Three Rastell Plays: Four Elements, Calisto and Melebea, Gentleness and Nobility, ed. Richard Axton (Cambridge; Totowa, NJ, 1979), pp. 29-68; notes pp. 125-39; discussed in introduction pp. 1, 3, 4 n. 11, 9, 10-15; quotation from pp. 66-67, notes pp. 138-39.
- Wikipedia: John Rastell.
- Baskervill, C.R. 'John Rastell's Dramatic Activities', Modern Philology, vol. XIII (1916), pp. 189-92.
- Gest of Robyn Hode
- Robin Hood in Barnsdale stood
- 1429 - Anonymous - Year Book
- 1500 - Anonymous - Untitled burlesque (3).
- [Rastell, John.] The Nature of the Four Elements (The Tudor Facsimile Texts) (London and Edinburgh, 1908), sigs. E7v-E8r.
- * Rastell, John. Three Rastell Plays: Four Elements, Calisto and Melebea, Gentleness and Nobility, ed. Richard Axton (Cambridge; Totowa, NJ, 1979), pp. 66-67.
- Rastell (1979), p. 138 b. F.1375.
- Rastell (1979), p. 139 n. F.1396-19 [sic].
- See IRHB entries on 1429 - Anonymous - Year Book and Robin Hood in Barnsdale stood.
- Rastell (1979), p. 67 l. 1416.