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By Antony J. Hasler

This booklet explores the frightened and risky dating among courtroom poetry and numerous different types of authority, political and cultural, in England and Scotland first and foremost of the 16th century. via poems by means of Skelton, Dunbar, Douglas, Hawes, Lyndsay and Barclay, it examines the trails through which courtroom poetry and its narrators search a number of different types of legitimation: from royal and institutional assets, but in addition within the media of script and print.

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Additional info for Court Poetry in Late Medieval England and Scotland: Allegories of Authority (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature)

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In all these instances, André includes himself in the terms described, only once stepping back to suggest coyly that his vocal effusion comes from “quidam” – a certain person (39). In such verse, André and his confrères body forth their ruler’s interests. Their very allusiveness, however, gravitates to areas of danger even as they sustain the order that produces the danger. When Henry is about to set sail for England to claim the throne, André characterizes the episode through extensive allusions to Lucan’s Pharsalia, in particular those passages in Book One where Caesar, having crossed the Rubicon, is coming within sight of Rome, and his first centurion (“primipilus”) Laelius speaks on behalf of the army.

Nam postquam me primipilum primaeque aciei ductorem ordinasti, ut Laelius ille Caesari, sic ego excellentiae tuae verbis illius respondere iubeor in hunc modum Britanni ô vere successor et haeres imperii, veras exprimere voces ubi jubes, quod tam lenta tua tenuit patientia vires, conquerimur. Deeratne tibi fiducia nostri? (27–28) [And so we should highly praise that custom established far in antiquity, according to which commanders exhort their fellow soldiers to fight boldly, not because they 30 Court Poetry in Late Medieval England and Scotland doubt their loyalty, but so that they may be more eagerly aroused to the task in hand.

In a series of substitutions, André faces this “warlike” space of masculine action from what Patricia Parker has called the “ambiguous” position of men of letters,22 repeated and displaced in succession by his sightless eyes and a blank space in a text. 23 But this blindness is, as soon becomes apparent, rather constitutive of dynasty. For the heavily signposted absence that is Bosworth (“X doesn’t mark the spot”) acquires meaning as it were nachträglich, in a new metaphoric substitution in which André’s poetry is profoundly implicated.

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