Amoryus and Cleopes: Introduction

Amoryus and Cleopes, Introduction: Footnotes


1 See Select Bibliography for the complete reference.

2 For the Metham family in Yorkshire, see P. Saltmarshe, "Some Howdenshire Villages," Transactions of the East Riding Antiquarian Society 16 (1909), 1-49; K. J. Allison, ed., A History of the County of York: East Riding, vol. 4, The Victoria History of the Counties of England (London: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 23; and Robert Glover, The Visitation of Yorkshire, Made in the Years 1584/5. . . 1612, ed. Joseph Foster (London: Joseph Foster, 1875).

3 A John Metham was a resident of Cambridge in 1418 when he was "ill-used" by the clerics of the University. His relationship to the poet, if any, has yet to be determined. See Charles H. Cooper, Annals of Cambridge, 5 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1842-53), I: 162. In his A Biographical Register of the University of Cambridge to 1500 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963), A. B. Emden accepts the notion advanced by Craig that Metham wrote Amoryus and Cleopes at about the time he was in the twenty-fifth "wyntyr of hys age" and so assigns his birth date to c. 1423.

4 For the Stapleton family in Norfolk see James Lee-Warner, "The Stapletons of Ingham," Norfolk Archaeology 8 (1882), 183-233; Walter Rye, Norfolk Families (Norwich: Goose and Son, 1913), pp. 844-46; and The Public Record Office, Calendar of the Patent Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office: Henry VI, A.D. 1422-1461, 6 vols. (Public Records Office, rpt. Nendeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus, 1971), especially vol. 4 for 1441-46, passim.

5 For the Yorkshire branch of the Metham family and its relationship to the Ingham branch, see Joseph Foster, Pedigrees of the County Families of Yorkshire, vol. 1: The West Riding (London: W. Wilfred Head, 1874), [n.p.]

6 See Lee-Warner, "The Stapletons of Ingham," p. 200; and Dictionary of National Biography.

7 See Ovid (Ovidius Naso), Metamorphoses, 2 vols., third ed., ed. and trans. Frank Justus Miller, rev. G. P. Goold, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), 2:182-91.

8 See E. H. Alton and D. E. W. Wormell, "Ovid in the Medieval Classroom," Hermathena, 94 and 95 (1960 and 1961), 21-38 and 67-82.

9 Raymond Cormier, ed. and trans., "Piramus et Tisbé," in Three Ovidian Tales of Love, Garland Library of Medieval Literature, vol. 26, series A (New York and London: Garland, 1986), pp. 3-83. C. De Boer, ed., "Pyramus et Thisbé," Ovide Moralisé: Poème du Commencement du Quatorzième Siècle, 5 vols. (Amsterdam, 1915-38), 2:18-41. The Ovidius Moralizatus comprises the fifteenth book of Bersuire's Reductorium Morale; see the facsimile of the 1509 printed edition of the Reductorim, entitled Metamorphosis Ovidiana Moraliter . . . Explanata, ed. Stephen Orgel (New York: Garland, 1979), Liber IV, fol. xxxvii; G. R. Owst, Literature and Pulpit in Medieval England, second ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1966), pp. 179-80.

10 Chaucer further mentions the story in the Parliament of Fowls (line 289) in the context of one of the mural paintings of tragic love stories in the Temple of Venus; in The Man of Law's Tale (line 63) in the catalogue of Chaucer's works; and in The Merchant's Tale (lines 2825-31) as an exemplum of love's determination. (Line numbers refer to The Riverside Chaucer, third ed., ed. Larry D. Benson, et al. [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987]; all further citations of Chaucer's works refer to this edition.) Gower's tale is an exemplum of foolish haste; see Confessio Amantis, ed. Russell A. Peck, Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching 9 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press 1966; rpt. 1980), pp. 176-80. For Scrope's rendering of the story, see The Epistle of Othea, XXXVIII, ed. Curt F. Buhler, EETS o.s. 264 (London: Oxford University Press, 1970), pp. 49-51. In addition, John Lydgate is reputed to be the author of a brief version of the story; see Ernst Sieper, ed., Lydgate's Reason and Sensuallyte, EETS e.s. 84 (London: Oxford University Press, 1901; rpt. 1965), pp. 104-05. (Sieper's studies and notes to the poem appear as a separate volume, EETS e.s. 89 [London: Oxford University Press, 1903; rpt. 1965].) William Caxton's own translation and personal copy of the Metamorphoses (no printed copies survive) contains an illustration of the legend as a headpiece to Book 4; see The Metamorphoses of Ovid Translated by William Caxton, 1480, vol. 1, Books 1-9, The Phillipps Manuscript (New York: G. Braziller, 1968).

11 The number derives from a cursory count of the list of romances in J. Burke Severs, gen. ed., A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050-1500, vol. 1: Romances (New Haven: Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1967), pp. 13-16; see also R. M. Wilson, The Lost Literature of Medieval England, second ed. (London: Methuen, 1970), pp. 104-34.

12 See Craig, pp. xiii-xv. R. M. Lumiansky's claim in "Legends of Alexander the Great" (in A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1:112) that it borrows "numerous details" overstates the case, but the comment has been focused on by almost every later writer who mentions the poem. Metham's interest in Alexander stories may have been stimulated by his relationship to Sir Alexander Metham. For an overview of the medieval Alexander literature in England, see Gerrit H. V. Bunt, Alexander the Great in the Literature of Medieval Britain, Mediaevalia Groningana, no. 14 (Groningen: Egbert Forsten, 1994).

13 See Confessio Amantis, Book 6, lines 1789-2366, for the "Tale of Nectanabus," where Alexander, upon hearing that his teacher will be killed by his son and not knowing that he was fathered by the magician, throws him off a wall to prove his teacher wrong, thus fulfilling the prophesy. Gower's Nectanabus performs numerous amusing magical feats.

14 G. V. Smithers, King Alisaunder, EETS o.s. 227 (London: Oxford University Press, 1952), lines 133-38, and 262. Further references to this edition will be made parenthetically in the text.

15 Hoyt N. Duggan and Thorlac Turville-Petre, eds., The Wars of Alexander, EETS s.s. 10 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), lines 5304-48.

16 Walter W. Skeat, Joseph of Arimathie: Otherwise Called The Romance of the Seint Graal, EETS o.s. 44 (London: N. Trübner & Co., 1871; rpt. 1992), line 103.

17 Often the events and themes in romances derive ultimately from folk-tale motifs. See Gerald Bordman, ed., Motif-Index of the English Metrical Romances, F(olklore) F(ellows) Communications, no. 190 (Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 1963).

18 Bevis of Hampton even invokes the name of St. George to make the point explicit. Other English romances that read like saints' lives include The Earl of Toulouse, Le Bone Florence of Rome, and Amis and Amiloun.

19 On the roman antique, see Barbara Nolan, Chaucer and the Tradition of the Roman Antique (see Select Bibliography); on the composite romance, see Jennifer R. Goodman, "Chaucer's Squire's Tale and the Rise of Chivalry," Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 5 (1983), 127-36; and Kathryn L. Lynch, "East Meets West in Chaucer's The Squire's Tale," Speculum 70 (1995), 530-51, especially 546-47.

20 On Metham's debt to Chaucer's model narrator, see my article, "John Metham's Amoryus and Cleopes" (see Select Bibliography).

21 John Lydgate, Lydgate's Troy Book, A.D. 1412-20, 3 vols., ed. Henry Bergen, EETS e.s. 97, 103, 106, 126 (London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1906), Bk. 1: 2996-3074, and 3260-3357. Further references will be cited in the text.

22 The comment, with which I and other readers strongly disagree for reasons discussed below, is made by Derek Pearsall, "The English Romance in the Fifteenth Century," Essays and Studies 29 (1976), p. 69 (see Select Bibliography). See Benson, Riverside Chaucer, pp. xlii-xlv, for an overview of Chaucer's versification.

23 On the nature of fifteenth-century prosody and stanza forms in general, see H. S. Bennett, Chaucer and the Fifteenth Century, Oxford History of English Literature (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1947), pp. 129-30; and see also the Introduction to English Verse Between Chaucer and Surrey, ed. Eleanor Prescott Hammond (Durham: Duke University Press, 1927), especially pp. 21-24; her introduction also provides a succinct overview of the period. Although scholarship has acknowledged oral performance as a feature of Middle English poetry, it has only been within the last few years that such performances have been advocated in order to fully appreciate the poems.

24 On the name of the stanza, see Martin Stevens, "The Royal Stanza in Early English Literature," PMLA 94 (1979), 62-76; and on its use by Chaucer, see Barry Windeatt, Troilus and Criseyde, Oxford Guides to Chaucer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), 354-59; see also H. S. Bennett's and Eleanor Prescott Hammond's works cited above. One of the two extant versions of Generydes is written in the Chaucer stanza and occurs in a lavish manuscript produced for another important Norfolk family contemporary with the Stapletons; see Derek Pearsall, "Notes on the Manuscript of Generides," The Library, fifth ser., 16 (1961), 205-10.

25 Although none of Surrey's poems are adaptations of Metham's sonnet, it is quite possible that Surrey - whose father was Thomas Howard (1517-47), third Duke of Norfolk - could have seen the manuscript. The Howards had extensive landholdings in Norfolk and Suffolk, including main palaces at Kenninghall and Framlingham, where Surrey is buried, and a townhouse in Norwich. Although a manuscript which contains an English sonnet and a comic rendition of the Pyramus and Thisbe legend is extremely tantalizing, none of Shakespeare's sonnets are derived from Metham's (though, as with Metham's relation to Petrarch, they share commonplaces of the European love lyric); and a burlesque of the legend, so widely taught in Latin grammar schools, can hardly have been unique.

26 James Bass Mullinger, The University of Cambridge, 2 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1873-84), 1: 433, cited in Lewis Einstein's The Italian Renaissance in England (New York: B. Franklin, 1962), p. 54.

27 Craig (p. xi) has noted that Metham's Latin in his other works in the Garrett MS also has a quality of being only partially remembered. Metham's sonnet does share themes with Petrarch's sonnets, for example, poems 172 and 274 ( Petrarch's Lyric Poems: The Rime Sparse and Other Lyrics, ed. and trans. Robert M. Durling [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976], pp. 318-19, 452-53), but these similarities are, as I indicate below, part of the common poetic idiom of Western Europe.

28 For The Complaint of the Black Knight, see The Minor Poems of John Lydgate, vol. 2, ed. Henry Noble MacCracken, EETS o.s. 192 (1934; rpt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961), 2: 382-410. Lydgate's poem is also heavily dependent on The Romance of the Rose, for which see The Romaunt of the Rose and Le Roman de la Rose: A Parallel-Text Edition, ed. Ronald Sutherland (Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, 1968), especially lines 3011-82 in the Romaunt and lines 2823-964 in the Roman, where Bialacoil, Fair Welcoming, gives the lover a leaf from the rose bush, but both characters are in constant danger from a number of other allegorical figures, including Malebouche, a scandal monger who concocts injurious stories. For the flower and leaf debate, see Derek Pearsall, ed., The Floure and the Leaf, The Assembly of Ladies, The Isle of Ladies (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1990); and Chaucer's Legend of Good Women (line F 72, and n., p. 1061).

29 On the court culture of the later Middle Ages and the necessary opulency of noble households, see Richard Firth Green's stimulating book, Poets and Princepleasers, especially pp. 15-16 (see Select Bibliography).

30 W. H. Cook, Norfolk Public Record Office, Norwich; Ms. COL/8/81/1-4. The townhouse was in the parish of St. Julian, where the famous recluse St. Julian of Norwich was enclosed. For the priory, see also, T. J. Pestell, "Ingham Priory (Norfolk)" in Margaret Gray's "The Trinitarian Priory of Thelsford, Warwickshire," British Archaeological Reports, (1992).

31 Francis Blomefield and Charles Parkin, An Essay Towards a Topographical History of Norfolk, second ed. 11 vols. (London: William Miller, 1805-10), 3:349-50. See also David Galloway, ed., Norwich, 1540-1642, Records of Early English Drama (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984), pp. xxvi-xxix.

32 The Privyté has been edited by M. A. Manzalaoui, in Secretum Secretorum: Nine English Versions, EETS o.s. 276 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), pp. 114-202. See also Richard Beadle, Prolegomena p. 103, #36; p. 105, #77; and p. 106, #106.

33 See H. S. Bennett, The Pastons and Their England, p. 111 (see Select Bibliography).

34 See Gail McMurray Gibson, The Theater of Devotion, pp. 1-18, and 67-106.

35 Jonathan Hughes, "Stephen Scrope and the Circle of Sir John Fastolf," especially p. 133 and p. 146 (see Select Bibliography).

36 H. S. Bennett, The Pastons and Their England, p. 111.

37 Norman Davis, ed., The Paston Letters and Papers of the Fifteenth Century, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971-76), 1:517-18. Members of the family also owned copies of Lydgate's Temple of Glass and The Siege of Thebes.

38 John M. Manly and Edith Rickert, The Text of the Canterbury Tales (1940; rpt., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967), 1:501-02; Ralph Hanna, III, and A. S. G. Edwards, "Rotheley, the De Vere Circle, and the Ellesmere Chaucer," Huntington Library Quarterly 58 (1996), 11-35. Other early manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales from East Anglia include B.L. Add. MS 35286 (Suffolk); Princeton University Library MS 100 (from the library of Helmingham Hall, Suffolk), and Holkham Hall (Norfolk) MS 667.

39 M. B. Parkes and Richard Beadle, eds., Poetical Works: Geoffrey Chaucer - A Facsimile of Cambridge University Library Ms. Gg.4.27, 3 vols. (Norman, OK: Pilgrim Books, 1979-80), 3: especially pp. 1, 3, and 54.

40 Samuel Moore's article, "Patrons of Letters in Norfolk and Suffolk, c. 1450" (see Select Bibliography), focuses on the patronage of East Anglian writers such as Lydgate, Bokenham, Capgrave, and Scrope and suggests the close relationships of their patrons.

41 For the most complete account of the dialect and orthography of late medieval East Anglia, see Richard H. L. Beadle's unpublished dissertation, The Medieval Drama of East Anglia: Studies in Dialect, Documentary Records, and Stagecraft, 2 vols. (York: University of York, 1977), 1: 48-78; see also M. B. Parkes and Richard Beadle, eds., Poetical Works, 3:54-55; and Norman Davis, "The Language of the Pastons," Proceedings of the British Academy, 40 (1955), 199-44.
 
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Amoryus and Cleopes: Introduction

by: John Metham (Author), Stephen F. Page (Editor)
from: Amoryus and Cleopes  1999

The late medieval poem Amoryus and Cleopes, written by John Metham in 1449, survives in a single manuscript, Princeton University Library's MS Garrett 141. The poem is the longest and central piece in the manuscript, which includes several medieval scientific/philosophical treatises, also by Metham: two sets of prognostications, one based on the day on which Christmas falls and the other based on the days of the lunar cycle; a guide to palmistry; and a guide to human character based on physiological characteristics. Garrett 141, although not a lavish or large manuscript, was nevertheless carefully produced on vellum and decorated with relatively large floriated initials at the beginning of its longest works. The whole volume is written in a single hand, an Anglicana Formata with a high number of Secretary features. The details of this paleographic mix and certain idiosyncrasies of spelling (discussed below) suggest that the copying of Garrett 141 was some decades removed from the original composition date of Amoryus and Cleopes. The whole manuscript was carefully and ornately rebound in the seventeenth century.

Amoryus and Cleopes has been almost totally neglected by modern scholarship since it was first edited by Hardin Craig in 1916.1 This neglect can be explained by a number of factors, including perhaps primarily the poem's often chaotic metrics, but also the biographical obscurity of the poet as compared to other fifteenth-century poets; the limited number of extant works by the author; the general deprecation of English poetry, as compared to that of the Scottish poets like Henryson, Dunbar, and Douglas in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries; and the generic mix of the poem, combining elements of classical myth, medieval romance, and religious miracle. However, revisionist historical evaluations of fifteenth-century English literature now see that literature as important for our understanding of Chaucer's own works. How his works were read and interpreted by his near contemporaries has become a central focus of Chaucerian scholarship in the last two decades. Metham's poem, in fact, can be seen as a key piece in the reception of Chaucer's works, coming just at the time of the death of John Lydgate, Chaucer's most prolific fifteenth-century English follower, and before the rise of Scottish Chaucerians. Amoryus and Cleopes, in fact, adopts Chaucer's tone and borrows details of scenes and narrative strategies from Chaucer's Ovidian tales, such as that in The Book of the Duchess, and especially from his romance-epic masterpiece, Troilus and Criseyde. The poem furthermore does not slavishly use these features of Chaucer's compositions but adapts them to Metham's own ultimately moral purpose, fusing them with elements of classical tale, courtly and popular romance, encyclopedic compendium, hagiography, mirror for princes, and encomium, to create a tightly constructed late-medieval romance.

The Author and His Patrons

The Garrett MS and a version of Metham's treatise on palmistry in All Souls College, Oxford, MS 81 are all that survive of Metham's works. No documentary sources other than these two manuscripts refer to him as a writer. The last ten lines of Amoryus and Cleopes, erased from the manuscript but now partially visible under ultraviolet light, provide a number of biographical details - which Metham seems to have been interested in promulgating - about his aristocratic ancestry.

According to the manuscript, Metham was born in Cambridge, although his father had been born in the "north cuntre," undoubtedly Yorkshire, where the village of Metham was located. The manuscript further claims that poet's father was by "right consanguinity" descended from "the first Alexander Metham, the knight." This is almost certainly Sir Alexander Metham (1375-1417), who as head of the Metham family in Yorkshire owned seventeen manored estates and other lands in that county. Although Sir Alexander's father, Sir Thomas Metham III (1332-1403), had earned distinction in the French wars, the few extant historical records concerning Alexander are all of a local nature and suggest a country gentleman tending to his inherited wealth. Sir Alexander's heir was Sir Thomas Metham IV (1402-72), but Sir Alexander had another son, also named Alexander, whom our poet distinguishes from the elder when he writes "the first Alexander Metham, the knight." The first son, Sir Thomas IV, who in 1443 and 1460 was Sheriff of Yorkshire, married and had his first son about 1420. According to a family pedigree, Thomas had five sons, including a younger son named John. 2

If we believe the poet's claim of "right consanguinity," that is, legitimate and direct descent from Sir Alexander Metham, then this younger son of Thomas and the poet John Metham are perhaps one and the same. Although his birth in Cambridge instead of Yorkshire remains unexplained, the dates of the poet's active period correspond with the age one of Thomas' younger sons could have attained at the mid-point of the fifteenth century. The poet tells us he is writing Amoryus and Cleopes in 1449, which would place our candidate in his twenties. The poet writes in his palmistry treatise, included in the same manuscript, that he is in the twenty-fifth "wyntyr of hys age."

About Metham's education little more can be said. In the scientific treatises of the Garrett MS, the poet refers to himself as a "simple scholar of philosophy" and a "scholar of Cambridge," but his translations of these treatises from the Latin, as Craig notes, are often awkward, and if he were indeed at some time a student at the university, Craig's surmise that he was not one at the time of writing and was trying to remember his Latin in relative isolation seems probable. Because there are no records of him at the University during the fifteenth century, it is possible that the reference to himself as a "scholar of Cambridge" refers to his place of birth rather than the fact that he was attending the university at the time of composition.3

Metham's patrons, fortunately, are well documented in historical records. Sir Miles Stapleton (d. 1466) was one of the leading men of Norfolk during the middle part of the fifteenth century.4 In 1427 he was appointed to care for the signal beacons in Norfolk to warn of French invasions during the Hundred Years' War. He later served in France, having license from the French for safe passage to transport prisoners for ransom in 1436-37 and again in 1441. In 1440 he was Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, and the next year he was Knight of the Shire and summoned to Parliament and to attend the King's Council. He again served as member of Parliament in 1448 and 1450. In addition, he was appointed by the King to serve on a number of commissions to raise funds and muster troops in Norfolk and Suffolk for the English war effort. He was also appointed to help maintain a local militia to resist any seaborn attack by the French, and served on numerous Commissions of the Peace to investigate lawlessness and to bring to justice wrongdoers in Norfolk.

Sir Miles married twice, first to Elizabeth Felbrigge, who died without bearing children, and second, to Katherine de la Pole, who bore two daughters as heirs. The first wife, Elizabeth, was the daughter of Sir Simon Felbrigge (1368-1442), and, like Stapleton himself, a prominent landowner, frequently involved in public affairs and also in foreign campaigns. Katherine de la Pole, Metham's patron whom he praises at the end of the poem, was the daughter of Sir Thomas de la Pole, uncle of one of the great magnates, William, Duke of Suffolk, oldest son of Michael de la Pole, the Earl of Suffolk.

The Stapletons of Ingham represent a southern branch of an aristocratic family that had, like Metham - and about which I will say more shortly - originally come from Yorkshire.5 The great grandfather of our poet's patron, another Sir Miles Stapleton of Bedale, Yorkshire (d. 1364), had an illustrious career in the wars in France, participating in the great English victory at Crécy, and was one of the original Knights of the Garter.6 His second marriage was to the daughter and sole heir of Sir Oliver Ingham, Joan, who brought a considerable Norfolk estate into the Yorkshire family. Their eldest son was also Sir Miles (d. 1419), who married the niece of Robert Ufford, Earl of Suffolk. Their heir, Sir Brian (c. 1379-1438), married the daughter of William, Lord Bardolf, who became Sheriff of Norfolk. Brian was taken prisoner in the French wars, and ransomed, in part, by war-rich neighbor Sir John Fastolf of Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Given the propensity of aristocratic and gentry families to arrange marriages with local families with whom they had similar landed interests, it not surprising that the Yorkshire families of the Methams and the Stapletons had ties of kinship. Elizabeth, the second cousin of the Garter Knight Sir Miles Stapleton, married Sir Thomas Metham III in 1370; their heir is Sir Alexander Metham, mentioned above, perhaps the grandfather of the poet. As a consequence of this marriage, a considerable amount of land that had been in the Stapleton family came into possession of the Metham family. What then seems probable concerning the relation of the two families and the poet John Metham is that after he attended Cambridge, he sought employment with his relatives in Norfolk, and joined the Stapleton retinue where he may have had administrative duties in the household or perhaps in the attached Trinitarian Priory founded in 1360 by the Stapleton family. In the concluding envoy of Amoryus and Cleopes, Metham encourages the reader to seek his four other major works - all now lost - to find biographical encomia about his patrons, Sir Miles and Lady Katherine. He then proposes to continue to write about Miles Stapleton's many heroic deeds. Both his previous writings and the prediction, or perhaps supplication, suggest that Metham had been regularly compensated by the family. We may speculate that Metham was either a sometime-poet living in Norwich, or perhaps, more likely, a member of the Stapleton retinue, perhaps the family secretary.

The Poem and Its Literary Relations

The core of Metham's medieval romance is an adaptation of the Pyramus and Thisbe story from Book 4 of the Metamorphoses of Ovid (43 B.C.-A.D.18), Metham substituting the names Amoryus and Cleopes, respectively, for those of the hero and heroine of the classical tale.7 Ovid's story is one of tragic love similar to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: Pyramus and Thisbe are forbidden to see one another by their parents. The lovers nevertheless manage to express their love during clandestine meetings at a crack in the stone wall that separates their parents' estates. Speaking through the fissure in the wall, they agree to rendezvous secretly outside the town under a mulberry tree at the site of Ninus' tomb. Thisbe arrives first at the appointed place, but a lion forces her to flee, and in her flight, she drops a scarf. The lion, fresh from a kill, wipes its bloody maw on the scarf, then ambles away. Pyramus, finding the cloth, believes Thisbe has been eaten by the lion, and in grief kills himself with his sword under the mulberry tree. Returning from her hiding place, Thisbe finds Pyramus dead and commits suicide with Pyramus' sword. The metamorphoses occurs when Pyramus' spurting blood turns the white mulberry red, a permanent color transformation.

This Ovidian tale was adopted for Latin grammar schooling in the twelfth century, and it thus became, during the later Middle Ages, one of the most widely read works from the Metamorphoses and, indeed, from all classical Latin literature.8 In the same century, Ovid's poem was considerably amplified in the French romance Piramus et Tisbé, which was later borrowed in its entirety for inclusion in the fourteenth-century French Ovide Moralisé. This anonymous poem and a concise Latin prose rendering of Ovid's version in the Ovidius Moralizatus by the Benedictine monk Pierre Bersuire (c. 1290-d. 1362) additionally provided allegorical commentaries on Ovid's Metamorphoses. Consequently, these two works provided Christian significance - and therefore sanction by Church officials - to Ovid's secular, pagan stories. In the allegorization of the Pyramus and Thisbe story, for example, Pyramus is interpreted as a figure of Christ, Thisbe as the Virgin Mary, and the Lion as the Devil, and in this guise the legend became an exemplum in sermons.9 Several fourteenth-century English versions of the classical tale or its medieval moralization further disseminated it among readers in the fifteenth century. These include renderings by Chaucer in his Legend of Good Women, one of his most frequently copied works, by John Gower in the Confessio Amantis, and by Christine de Pisan in the Épitre d' Othéa, translated into English by Metham's contemporary and fellow Norfolkian, Stephen Scrope.10 The version most widely known to modern audiences is the burlesque play presented by Bottom and the other "mechanicals" in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Amoryus and Cleopes is, like the French Piramus et Tisbé, a medieval reworking of the classical story into a romance. Originally, the word romance simply meant a work in one of the vernacular languages descended from Latin, rather than Latin itself, but the term came to be identified with a certain type of fictional work that may be defined (usually) as the adventures of a knight. Romances developed their characteristic features in the twelfth century, and from A.D. 1150 to about 1450, they were among the most common and widespread type of fictional narrative in western Europe. In England, the earliest extant romance dates to c. 1225, and the total number of extant Middle English romances composed before the end of the fifteenth century numbers about 115, though certainly many others have been lost.11 Like their continental counterparts, the English romances vary greatly in the type of material which the authors include. In addition to knightly activities, any given romance may contain - with differing degrees of emphasis - a heroine and a love interest for the knight, or it may lack a heroine altogether. It may display "courtoisie" and chivalric deeds, marvels and miracles, incidents which question or reinforce feudal and social relationships and obligations, and religious and ethical concerns, though not necessarily. And there are romances like Lay le Freine in which a woman is the central figure and chivalric deeds are entirely absent. Because medieval authors considered all texts to be tacitly unfinished, authors could expand or abbreviate a received text to whatever extent and to whatever purpose they might choose. For example, as is well known, Sir Thomas Malory extensively reworked the French sources of his Morte D'Arthur, often eliminating introspective, psychological passages and the mystical symbolism of the French cycle, and partly as a consequence, accentuating action and morality in his English redaction. Metham, instead of condensing Ovid's already brief tale of Pyramus and Thisbe, has, like the twelfth-century romancer of the Piramus et Tisbé, considerably expanded the legend. In doing so, he gives wider scope to most of the features of romance adduced above: chivalry, courtly love, and Christian morality all become central concerns of this now thoroughly medievalized story.

Metham begins Amoryus and Cleopes with a brief historical description of the Roman emperor Nero's conquest of the kingdoms of Persia and Media. Two Roman lords, Palamedon and Dydas, the fathers of Amoryus and Cleopes respectively, are awarded control of the two realms. The narrative then turns quickly to the marvelous. Conjuring spirits with demonic magic, the chief priest of the Temple of Venus creates a mechanical marvel, a sphere that replicates the medieval cosmos; after completing the sphere, he has prophetic dream visions that warn of the downfall of the Roman gods. The love theme advances to the foreground of the romance when, at the rededication of the temple (earlier destroyed by an earthquake), Amoryus and Cleopes see each other for the first time. His new-found love motivates Amoryus in a chivalric tournament celebrating the new temple, and he defeats all competitors, including a discourteous knight whose armor presents a fantastic array of heraldic devices. The poem then returns more directly to the courtly love story that parallels the Pyramus and Thisbe tale, the lovers discovering the chink in the wall and offering ardent affirmations of their love. In the ensuing episode, chivalry, aristocratic responsibility, and the quest for fame take precedence over love when Amoryus suddenly volunteers to fight a dragon which is devastating a nearby kingdom. He of course singlehandedly defeats the dragon, but Cleopes helps prepare him and insures his victory. The final element of the romance merges chivalric and courtly romance with Christian miracle. The two lovers agree to meet outside of the city, and commit suicide just as Pyramus and Thisbe do. However, unlike Ovid's characters, Metham's two dead lovers are resurrected by the prayers of a hermit who discovers their bodies. Along with the revived lovers, the hermit returns to town and exorcizes the demonic spirits from the sphere at the same time as pagan images are destroyed and the gods themselves are exposed as fraudulent and expelled. The citizens are converted to Christianity, and Amoryus and Cleopes are married by the anchorite performing the Christian sacrament.

Metham's romance owes some of its inspiration to the popular romance tradition, and an important component in this group of romances in the late Middle Ages was the life and wars of Alexander the Great, one of Nine Worthies. Metham's reference to his lost work Alexander Macedo at line 2144 (see notes) indicates he was familiar with at least one version of an Alexander romance, and, as Craig noted, Amoryus and Cleopes does borrow details from Alexander legends.12 Battles between Alexander and Darius over the rule of Persia comprise a significant series of episodes in the longer Alexander stories; these episodes are recalled in the setting of Metham's poem, which takes place in Persia. And through the marriage of their Roman fathers with Persian noble women, Amoryus and Cleopes become descendants of Darius. In the romance King Alisaunder, Neptanamous, Alexander's natural father, is a magician; so too in Gower's Confessio Amantis.13 In King Alisaunder he creates a "table," or engraved surface of gold, that displays the stars so that through necromancy and astronomy he may know "the goddes pryvete."14 A similar device is described later in the poem as Alexander comes upon it in Tripoli at the Temple of Termagaunt and Balat (two devilish idols):
Ybeten al with gold fyne,
Sonne, and mone, and steorren seven
Was therein purtreyed, and hevene. (1509-12)
Neptanamous is comparable to Venus' secretary in Amoryus and Cleopes, who likewise is a necromancer, able to summon spirits to create his celestial sphere, which, however, is described in considerably more detail than the device in the Alexander romance. It is possible, too, that one of the characters' names (King Albanyen, line 5261) or one of the places mentioned (the Kingdom Albyenne, line 7944) in King Alisaunder gave rise to the name of the capitol of city of Metham's Persia, Albynest. In another Alexander romance, The Wars of Alexander, an image of Xerxes is mysteriously destroyed: "It all topaschis into peces & to poudire dryuys" (It entirely shatters into pieces and is reduced to powder); in Amoryus, images of the gods in the Temple are also "smet to poudyr" (line 119).15 But the suggestion for this phrasing may equally have come from a romance on the legend of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Joseph encourages a heathen to do away with his idols, "breken hem a-two and bren hem al to pouder."16

Though other details drawn from Alexander romances might be elucidated, it would be more valuable to acknowledge Metham's debt to other sources, including the general body of popular romance. The hero and heroine of Amoryus and Cleopes are in many ways typical of these romances. They are aristocratic and young. Amoryus is courageous, kind to his inferiors, and "able to rule a realm"; Cleopes is beautiful, clever, and provides aid to save Amoryus. Certain events in Amoryus and Cleopes come straight from this popular tradition.17 For example, Amoryus' love at first sight of Cleopes, and their later exchange of rings are commonplaces in Middle English romances, motifs derived from folk tales. Amoryus' fight with the dragon puts him in a league with a host of other dragon fighters, including such popular English romance heroes as Guy of Warwick and Bevis of Hampton. Guy kills two dragons, one of which, like the serra cornuta that Amoryus chooses to face, is devastating a neighboring country. Bevis of Hampton has as one of his goals to marry the heroine, Josian, and one of many impediments he encounters is the dragon of Cologne. Bevis' fight and his own invocation of St. George were clearly intended to make Bevis into a "Christian champion." Amoryus, although a pagan who has no concept of marriage, has a union with Cleopes as his goal and also chooses to face a dragon, which he likewise defeats. Another key element in the romances concerns the pledging and testing of trwth (troth), meaning loyalty or fidelity. Although trwth often concerns relationships between knights, or between knights and their lord or servants and their masters, it is also always a topic at issue in the relationships of men and women in the romances; and in all three cases, the pledging trwth is a pledge to remain loyal even to the death, should it be required. So it is in Amoryus. When the two protagonists plight their troth to serve and love one another (lines 1117-34), the issue immediately becomes whether they will remain loyal. Their later suicides are the epitome of pagan and misguided trwth, but this expression of loyalty only serves to deepen their love and commitment to one another (lines 1926-32).

Some critics have chosen to call the romance a "mode" or "form" rather than a "genre," and do so because of the romance's capacity to accommodate so many other types of literature. A cursory survey of the Middle English metrical romances may reveal, by turns, fictional battle stories, quasi-historical chronicles, lyrics, moral exempla, sermons, quasi-saints lives, the latter types encompassing explicitly religious events. The miraculous, as distinguished from the inexplicably marvelous, occurs in a significant number of religiously oriented English romances. For example, in Amis and Amiloun, God orders two children to be put to death so that their blood may heal a leper; the leper is healed and both children are found alive and sound the following day. Similarly, a stillborn child in the romance of The King of Tars is miraculously revived as a healthy boy after his baptism. In the romance Athelston, a falsely accused queen wife walks unscathed across red-hot plowshares, aided by God, and proves her fidelity. Amoryus and Cleopes, like these and a good proportion of other English romances, presents a didactic and explicitly religious story. Like Amis and Amiloun, the religious element is evident in the resurrection of the two protagonists, a resurrection achieved through the intercession of the wandering Christian anchorite, Ore, who represents the antithesis of the Venus' secretary. By resuscitating and subsequently officiating at the marriage of the two lovers, Ore brings them into the Christian community, and, like the protagonists of many romances, the two recover what has been lost, in their case, life, love, and, ultimately, patrimony. Amoryus and Cleopes also resembles a saint's life, for not only are the two protagonists resurrected in imitation of Christ, but Amoryus' dragon fight puts him in a typological relationship with St. George, who is, of course, a type of Christ.18 Furthermore, the hero and heroine's devotion to one another and their (perhaps accidental) chastity makes them proper candidates for the resurrection miracle and conversion. In addition, Amoryus and Cleopes presents a Christian conversion story. Not only are the two lovers converted, but also, on the evidence of Amoryus' and Cleopes' miraculous revival, the citizens likewise abandon their misguided beliefs and embrace the new religion. Even Palamedon, who early in the story adamantly rejects worshiping a "hanged man," is brought into the Christian community. Similar conversions, whether mere episodes or central plot features, occur often in English romances, and in such diverse works as the crusading Charlamagne romances The Sultan of Babylon and The Siege of Milan; the legend of the English hero, Sir Bevis of Hampton; St. Erkenwald, where the old pagan man of the law is miraculously converted during the reconstruction of the temple by one teardrop from the priest; or the Griselda-Constance story of the calumniated woman in The King of Tars. In the latter, the miraculous baptism persuades the king to convert and to enforce conversion on his kingdom.

In spite of similarities it shares with popular romances, Amoryus and Cleopes also lacks a host of motifs that are stock features of romances: noticeably absent are giants, dwarves, mistaken identities, disguises, magic swords or girdles, good or bad stewards, the recovery of disposed inheritance, and so on. One might reasonably compare Metham's Ovidian tale to the fourteenth-century poem Sir Orfeo, another medievalized tale from the Metamorphoses. Unlike the narrator of the Orfeo, Metham's narrator refuses to suggest an oral recitation or oral reception, but rather comments frequently on the written source from which he works, a source which distances the poem from the popular romances of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Although there is magic in Amoryus and Cleopes, it is an effect of the natural properties of things, or a demonic magic that is invoked and explicable rather than spontaneous and mysterious like the faerie magic of Sir Orfeo. Nor does Amoryus and Cleopes disguise its characters, test their feudal loyalty, or abduct them to the faerie world: except for the visitation of Venus and the priest's invocation of spirits, Metham's characters operate in a real, if idealized, world. Furthermore, Amoryus and Cleopes are well schooled in courtly manners and the observances and pains of courtly love. Although love occurs in many of the popular English romances, like Bevis, the rough and ready characters of many chivalric romances seldom devote much attention to the niceties of amour courtois or courtoisie as they do in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight or the romances of Chaucer. Metham's work is also more tightly constructed than most other longer Middle English metrical romances: an earthquake leads to both the rebuilding of the Temple, where the lovers first see one another, and also to the creation of the hole in the wall through which they communicate. The rededication of the Temple prompts the making of the diabolical sphere, which indirectly leads to the priest's dream vision, forecasting the downfall of the Roman gods at the end of the romance. The dedication of the temple is also the cause for the celebration of the tournament in which Amoryus proves his courage and prowess at arms, in turn making him a creditable opponent for the dragon.

When Metham departs from the Middle English popular romance tradition, he does so in the direction of the more elite type of poetry which owes its inspiration, like much other fifteenth-century English poetry, to Chaucer's works. Like Chaucer, Metham's immediate audience was a group of well-educated people, that is, his patrons and other aristocrats and gentry in the Stapletons' circle who held similar interests in literature. Consequently, it is not surprising that Metham's poem blends elements of popular romance with aspects of Chaucer's romans antique (The Knight's Tale and Troilus and Criseyde), his composite romance (The Squire's Tale), and his courtly love poetry in the early dream visions.19 Judging by the numbers of extant manuscripts, these poems were among Chaucer's most frequently copied works in the fifteenth century; and it was these poems and his love lyrics - rather than his "more realistic" Canterbury Tales, such as The Miller's Tale - which most attracted fifteenth-century readers and amateur poets. As Seth Lerer has pointed out, these Chaucerian poems provided the "rules of formation for poetry" in the fifteenth century, and Metham was abiding by those rules (p. 11).

At one level of indebtedness, Metham quotes, paraphrases, or recasts the language of the Troilus, and orders his narrative in a manner similar to Chaucer's. The use of Chaucerian language is immediately evident in Metham's imperfect adoption of the rhyme royal stanza (not the meter) and in the phrasing of the first seven lines of Amoryus and Cleopes, which are clearly intended to remind the reader of the initial lines of Troilus and Criseyde; Metham writes:
The chauns of love and eke the peyn of Amoryus, the knygt,
For Cleopes sake, and eke how bothe in fere
Lovyd and aftyr deyd, my purpos ys to endyght.
And now, O goddes, I thee beseche of kunnyng, that Lanyfyca hyght:
Help me to adornne ther chauns in sqwyche manere
So that qwere this matere dotht yt reqwyre,
Bothe ther lovys I may compleyne to loverys dysyre.
This stanza, like that of Chaucer's Prologue to Book I (see Notes, lines 1-7) promises a double movement, first to love and joy and then to sorrow and death. Just as Chaucer employs the classical machinery of invoking his muse, Thesiphone, one of the Furies, so Metham invokes Lanyfyca (from Latin, relating to the weaving of wool), another name for the Fates who controlled a person's destiny by spinning, weaving, and cutting the thread of life. Chaucer's Troilus, with its prologues, text, and envoy at the end of Book V, initiates a structural formula which was to become the standard and expected pattern of longer fifteenth-century poetic works. Not surprisingly, Metham appears to have intended Amoryus and Cleopes to have a similar structural division of four books (instead of five) followed by an envoy. The manuscript marks prologues for the First, Third, and Fourth Books, and large capital letters indicate other possible divisions missed by the scribe. Similarly, Metham employs another fifteenth-century commonplace, a conclusion which becomes at once the conventional apology for his poor verse and a lament for the makers of poetry, Chaucer and John Lydgate (?1370-1449), Chaucer's most prolific and influential disciple.

There are many other parallels with Chaucer's Troilus. Metham's narrator is clearly modeled on Chaucer's: a clerkish, humanist translator who works from a classical source by a fictitious author, here Fyrage instead of Lollius. The two narrators both fail to acknowledge the true source of the core story, Boccaccio and Ovid, and both are expressly sympathetic to the hero and heroine. At the beginning of Metham's story, Amoryus, like Troilus, is untouched by love; when Amoryus first sees Cleopes in the Temple of Venus, in a scene very closely modeled on that in which Troilus and Criseyde first see each other, he is immediately smitten.20 Amoryus and Cleopes differs most noticeably from the plot of the Troilus in its happy, miraculous resolution to the story. Not only does this comic conclusion subvert the expectations of the reader, expectations raised by the Ovidian tale and Metham's adaptation of first stanza of the Troilus, it also functions as commentary on Chaucer's tragic tale and the supposedly inviolate authority of sources, and represents a kind of blending of Chaucer's classical romans antique with some of the techniques of his earlier dream visions. As in Chaucer's other Ovidian tales, such as the story of Seyes and Alcyone in The Book of the Duchess, or Chaucer's own rendition of the Pyramus and Thisbe story in his Legend of Good Women, Metham does not include Ovid's metamorphosis, in this case the transformation of color on the mulberry. Chaucer's habit in the earlier works, it would seem, provided Metham with a model of authorial freedom that allowed him to do what he wished with the conclusion to Pyramus and Thisbe.

The story and Metham's handling are also reminiscent of other Chaucerian works. As in the Canterbury Tales, a knight and his son go on a pilgrimage in which the travelers entertain one another with "myry songys and talys day be day" (line 405). Like The Knight's Tale and the Troilus, Amoryus and Cleopes foregrounds the mannered love of "courtoisie," which in the English romances before Chaucer is the exception rather than the rule. Metham's protagonists meet clandestinely simply because the conventions of courtly love demand that love be secret, not because, as in Ovid, they are forbidden to see one another. Furthermore, after their first sight of one another, the lovers succumb to the pains of romantic love-sickness and emote their feelings in stereotypical ways, but not unlike the courtly dalliance of Chaucer's characters. In some ways, too, like The Squire's Tale, Amoryus shows an interest in natural magic and astrology, subjects that at the time were associated with the Orient, an interest that is manifest in Alexander stories as well; but, as indicated above, the poem is well constructed, and it lacks a number of other features of the composite romance type.

One of the notable features of Metham's romance is its comedy, and the nature of that comedy owes a considerable debt to Chaucer's early dream poems. Metham burlesques the dream vision in the appearance of the goddess Venus to her priest. Instead of a divine vision of love or sensuality, Venus appears as a weeping, distraught figure, remarkably ungodly. The vision of the goddess becomes ridiculously physical when she, according to the priest, began "[p]unchyng me with her fote" (line 664). The secretary, like some of Chaucer's dull narrators, apparently does not believe or understand the dream, causing the goddess to return to repeat her message in another dream. Such broad humor seems to be inspired by scenes from Chaucer's dream poetry. In The Parliament of Fowls (line 154), the indecisive dreamer/narrator is shoved through a gate by his dream guide; in The Book of the Duchess, a spirit messenger must awaken the god of sleep, Morpheus, by blowing "his horn ryght in [his] eere" (line 182). The narrator's comic encounter with the great eagle in The House of Fame comes very close to Metham's scene: the eagle grasps the timid narrator with its "fet" and tells him to "Awak!" (Bk 2, 554 ff.). Some of the humor seems more generally stimulated by Chaucerian poetry. For example, after revealing the remedies against the dragon to Amoryus, Cleopes directs him to get the required precious stones from the jeweler, Walter, a very pedestrian business for a knight and perfectly in keeping with Chaucer's frequent exploitation of the incongruous for comic effect. This is not to suggest, however, that Amoryus and Cleopes is a thoroughgoing parody of popular romance, like The Squire's Tale or The Tale of Sir Thopas; rather, it maintains a finely balanced tone between the comic scenes and its ultimately serious and didactic purpose, which would be completely undermined by characters too ignoble and ludicrous for conversion.

It is this comic tone that distinguishes Metham's work most from that of John Lydgate, whose serious and moral tales never achieved, or perhaps never attempted, the light comic touch which Metham achieves in Amoryus and Cleopes. Certainly Metham knew Lydgate's works and derived some of his ideas directly from them. For example, as has been discussed above, Cleopes aids Amoryus in his fight with the dragon, giving him an antidote against its venom and instructing him in the use of a ring she had earlier given to him. This is closely paralleled in Lydgate's Troy Book: Medea aids Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece by providing him with an ointment that protects him from fire-breathing bulls and a ring set with a green stone for use against a dragon.21 But whereas Lydgate narrates the scene between Jason and Medea, Metham puts Cleopes' directions to Amoryus and his response in energetic dialogue and develops the comic possibilities of the scene. Metham also derives the destruction of the pagan statue of Venus and the marvelous sphere from a passage in the The Troy Book. Lydgate relates a similar story of a statue of Apollo - like Metham's Venus, inhabited by a fiend and destroyed at Christ's birth. But whereas Lydgate's narration is merely the springboard for a long digression on the origins of idolatry, Metham's version is dramatically presented and fully integrated into the whole romance.

Metham is no Chaucer: his syntax, especially in the more astronomical material, can be difficult. His use of aureate (that is, Latinate) terms in imitation of Chaucer and Lydgate is sometimes awkward, again, primarily in the astrological sections. And in reading Metham's descriptive passages on astronomy and the gods, one has the feeling of, as in reading Lydgate's romances, tedium. However, the astronomical and astrological materials that Metham elaborates on were popular topics, as witnessed by other manuscripts possessed by the Stapleton family (see below). Moreover, on the whole, Metham's vocabulary is surprisingly modern and readable, and like Chaucer - but diametrically opposed to Lydgate - Metham avoids turning events and characters into excuses for digression and moral diatribes. When Metham is at his best - in his use of dialogue, in crafting of a coherent narrative out of a host of sources and genres, in developing and maintaining a deft comic tone, in understanding and using the Chaucerian narrator to contrive a new ending for the Pyramus and Thisbe legend - he approaches Chaucer's narratives in some ways better than many other poets in the first half of the fifteenth-century.

Metham's allusion to Troilus and Criseyde in the first stanza of his poem invites, as discussed above, a comparison of his narrative technique with that of Chaucer; it also invites comparisons with Chaucer's versification and stanza patterning. Evaluations of the prosody of the romance have been especially negative, one critic calling the poem "almost unreadable" because of, in part, its apparent metrical ineptitude.22 A cursory glance at Amoryus would seem to confirm this position. The reader may note in the first stanza widely divergent line lengths, some exceeding Chaucer's regular decasyllabic line by as many as seven additional syllables. Furthermore, although some lines may be rendered iambic, such as lines one and two by elision of syllables in the names of the protagonists, most lines have neither a consistent metrical pattern nor do they evidence a regular stress like that of English alliterative poetry. Metham's lack of attention to versification is nowhere more apparent than in the embedded lyric comprising lines 381-401. Although the poet twice refers to the lyric as a "song(e)" (lines 380, 402), which suggests it should have regular metrical patterning, its verses are as variable in syllabic count and as rhythmically diverse as the lines of the first stanza of the poem.

Such obvious inattention to prosody is unusual among fifteenth-century courtly poets, most of whom at least tried to imitate Chaucer's verse. Although criticism may be leveled at the poet for his lack of metrical sense, we may also conclude that he was simply not interested in prosody, that his real concern was an effective narrative. As is well known, narratives like Amoryus and Cleopes were usually intended to be read aloud, and Middle English metrical romances often suggest the circumstances of oral performance, as Metham does in line 1059, where he uses the word "spake" instead of "wrote." As indicated by the encomium that concludes his poem, Metham was writing for an aristocratic audience similar to that envisioned in the famous illumination in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS 61, which depicts Chaucer orally presenting his Troilus to a courtly audience. If Amoryus and Cleopes is evaluated by the criterion of oral performance, it does not disappoint: the problem of the metrics becomes relatively unimportant, and what strikes the ear is a fluid and nuanced rhymed prose.23

As is also evident from a cursory glance at MS Garrett 141, Metham has written his poem mostly in seven-line stanzas, each new stanza being marked by the scribe with an initial large capital letter that readily stands out from the smaller capitals that mark the beginnings of the following six verses. This seven-line stanza, rhyming ababbcc, has its origin in Chaucer's rhyme royal stanza used in The Parliament of Fowls, Anelida and Arcite, Troilus and Criseyde, and the tales of the Man of Law, the Clerk, the Prioress, and the Second Nun. The rhyme royal, or, to name it more accurately for Chaucer's successors, the "Chaucer stanza," was profoundly influential on fifteenth-century poetry and was employed both in fictional and practical literature, including treatises on husbandry and economic policy. Almost all of Lydgate's work, including his own romans antiques, The Troy Book and The Siege of Thebes, adopt it, as do two anonymous fifteenth-century popular romances, the Romauns of Partenay and Generydes.24 Although Amoryus and Cleopes is normally regular in its use of the Chaucer stanza, the poem's first stanza immediately signals a tendency to diverge from the model. Almost all of the variations in the poem are patterned ababacc (28 stanzas) or abaabcc (18 stanzas). Occasionally, stanzas are either six lines (13 stanzas) or eight lines (9 stanzas). Sometimes six- and eight-line stanzas are juxtaposed on the same page of the manuscript, apparently to justify the length of the pages, which are always ruled for twenty-eight lines, or four Chaucer stanzas (see lines 759-71, 926-40, 1108-20, and 2185-99). Particularly telling in this regard are two stanzas comprising lines 759-71, in which, in the manuscript, a nonsense line is used to complete an eight-line stanza and fill out the last line on the page (see Notes, line 771). [In addition there are two sets of couplets (lines 246-47 and 1346-47), and a sequence of three six-line stanzas comprising part of Cleopes' excited disquisition about the types of dragons (lines 1263-80).] For an elevated rhetorical effect, the poet uses a single rhyme for the first six lines in one eight-line stanza (lines 1989-96, rhyming aaaaaacc), in which the a-rhymes are all aureate words in -io(u)n. Such attentions indicate that the author is indeed concerned with prosody, if not meter.

The love lyric mentioned above deserves special attention, for although Sir Thomas Wyatt has been universally credited with writing the first sonnet in English, Metham's lyric remarkably anticipates any other extant fourteen-line poem in English by at least eighty years. Overlooked by previous readers of Amoryus and Cleopes, the sonnet itself is embedded within a double narrative frame. The first frame consists of a journey from Rome to Albynest of Amoryus, his father, and their entourage, during which the young men decide to sing a song of love. The song presents the second narrative frame in which a speaker, "I," recounts the story of his morning walk and of his overhearing a lover complaining to Fortune about the loss of his lady (lines 381-87), a complaint which the speaker reiterates and which forms the sonnet proper (lines 388-401):
"'O, Fortune! Alas! qwy arte thow to me onkend?
Qwy chongyddyst thow thi qwele causeles?
Qwy art thow myne enmye and noght my frend,
And I ever thi servant in al maner of lovlynes?

"'But nowe of my lyfe, my comfort, and my afyauns
Thowe hast me beraft; that causyth me thus to compleyn.
O bryghter than Phebus! O lyly! O grownd of plesauns!
O rose of beauté! O most goodely, sumtyme my lady sovereyn!

"'But, O, allas! that thru summe enmye or sum suspycyus conjecte,
I throwyn am asyde and owte of my ladiis grace.
Sumtyme in faver but now fro alle creaturys abjecte
As oftyn sqwownyng as I remembyr her bryght face.
But now, adwe for ever, for my ful felycyté
Is among thise grene levys for to be.'"
The lament is clearly presented as a sonnet in the manuscript (fol. 24a): its two quatrains, like other stanzas in the manuscript, are marked with large initial capitals, and are the only examples of quatrains in the poem. With the following six-line stanza, the embedded sonnet has a rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efefgg and therefore also anticipates the form of the sonnet which Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, has been credited with originating and which Shakespeare was to later adopt for his sequence.25 The thought pattern does not exactly coincide with the stanzas, but there is a general sonnet-like organization of ideas into two parts: the lover first complains to Fortune about some unspecified mischance in the first six lines, then in a series of apostrophes, fills out the "octave," hinting that the cause of the distress concerns the speaker's "sumtyme . . . lady sovereyn." That cause is explicitly revealed at the beginning of the "sestet" where the lover reveals he has fallen from his lady's favor due to slander. After returning to the idea of his unfortunate fall and his own physical decline in swooning, the speaker concludes with a couplet, a coda signaling his resignation to be forever among the green leaves (rather than with the flowers associated with the lady).

How did Metham come to compose the first English sonnet so long before its development and flourishing in the sixteenth century? We can only speculate. The form, as is well known, had originated in thirteenth-century Sicily and was subsequently taken up by Italian poets, including Dante, in his Vita Nuova, and Petrarch, who greatly extended its range and flexibility in his Canzoniere. Both poets were, of course, mentioned by Chaucer in his works, thus familiarizing many English readers with their names. Chaucer, however, appears not to have had firsthand knowledge of the Vita Nuova, and although he did translate one of Petrarch's sonnets in his Troilus (I:400-20), he rendered it in three rhyme royal stanzas and did not provide an attribution. A possible source of Metham's model for the form was an early manuscript of Petrarch's poems in the library of Peterhouse at Cambridge by 142626; however, the sonnet does not translate any poems from either Vita Nuova or the Canzoniere. Because Metham's fourteen-line poem diverges so much from the rhyme scheme, thought, and imagery of Petrarch's poems, if he did encounter Petrarch's sonnets during his matriculation at Cambridge, they were incompletely remembered, and necessarily adapted to the relative difficulty of rhyming in English as opposed to rhyming in Italian.27 The general situation of the whole song - a lover's complaint overheard - is much more strongly reminiscent of Chaucer's Book of the Duchess and Lydgate's later Complaint of the Black Knight than of any Italian predecessor. And the language and subject matter of the sonnet itself are commonplaces of medieval love poetry stemming from Ovid and the lyrics of the troubadours and trouvères of France and taken up by the sonneteers: the distant lady, love rejected, malicious gossip, and the anguished lover. The apostrophes about lost love faintly echo Troilus' much longer complaint (IV.260-336), where Fortune is also "unkynde" (line 266). The comparisons of the lady to the lily, the rose, and the sun on the one hand, and the love-lorn man's confinement to the green-leaved forest on the other may be an allusion to an episode in The Roman de la Rose or perhaps to the courtly May Day game and poetic motif debating the relative merits of the flower and the leaf.28

The Social and Literary Context

As suggested above, it is likely that Metham was connected to the Stapleton household in some capacity. As one of the leading men in the area, active in local political and military endeavors, Sir Miles' household and entourage must have been appropriately opulent.29 The manor at Ingham was subjoined to a priory of Trinitarian friars, a foundation established in 1360 by the first Sir Miles Stapleton to settle in Norfolk, and our fifteenth-century Sir Miles owned six other manors - four in Norfolk, one in Suffolk, and one in Yorkshire - as well as a townhouse in Norwich.30 All of this far flung land would have required a sizable staff of literate overseers and personal attendants for the Stapleton family, no doubt including a secretary. In addition to local activities on Commissions of the Peace, Commissions of Muster, and as sheriff of the county, Stapleton was a member of the prestigious religious Guild of St. George in Norwich. Most religious guilds were parochial institutions, but the Guild of St. George drew its membership from all over East Anglia and included such magnates as the Bishop of Norwich, the Duke of Suffolk, and Sir John Fastolf - one of the richest men in England - as well as Stapleton's first father-in-law, Sir Simon Felbrigge, and members of the Paston family.31

Stapleton's library must have been a substantial one because the display of books was another way of indicating one's standing in the hierarchy of late medieval society. In addition to the romance and the other astronomical and physiognomical material in the Garrett MS, Metham indicates a number of other works he had written for the Stapletons. The Alexander Macedo has already been discussed, but the envoy of Amoryus and Cleopes also indicates that Metham had written several more works, one called Josue, presumably a reworking of the story of Joshua from the Old Testament, a work called Josepus, which could refer to a number of different subjects, and Crysaunt, possibly a treatise on husbandry by Petrus de Crescentiis (see notes to lines 2144-45 and 2170). In addition to these works, two other volumes are extant from the Stapleton library. The first of these is Oxford Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 758, a copy of the Vita Christi (The Life of Christ) by Michael de Massa. This vellum manuscript containing the Stapleton arms was, according to the scribe, copied in 1405 at Ingham (probably in the priory) for Sir Miles Stapleton (d. 1419), the grandfather of our Sir Miles. Since such books were relatively expensive they tended to be heirlooms and were passed down to family members; it is likely that this manuscript was still in the Stapleton library in the mid-fifteenth century. The second book is a version of The Secret of Secrets, called The Privyté of Privyteis in the manuscript, translated for Sir Miles Stapleton by the otherwise unknown Johannes de Caritates. Ostensibly a series of letters between Alexander the Great and his tutor Aristotle, the Privyté is a work in the "mirror for princes" tradition, a handbook for governing and self-governance, but also containing medical information, a physiognomy, and instructions for creating the Philosopher's Stone, an alchemical treatise. This manuscript was copied by the same scribe who copied the works of John Metham in the Garrett MS.32 The Vita Christi and the Privyté were fairly common works in the libraries of late medieval English noblemen, and in the case of Stapleton, they compare to the literary and intellectual tastes revealed in the Garrett MS and to manuscripts or books owned by his elite Norfolk contemporaries, like Sir John Fastolf and Sir John Paston. The Vita Christi is a biblical harmony of the Gospels, and such books were relatively common among the clergy, as were compilations of saints' lives and moral tales. These were a little less common among the aristocracy and gentry, but almost every member of the gentry and nobility would have had a primer, a book of hours, or a psalter (though few had Bibles in English, which were outlawed in 1408). Fastolf's library included a French Bible, a copy of the Meditations of St. Bernard, as well as a number of other liturgical books in his private chapel at his castle at Yarmouth.33 Such a collection is consonant with late medieval piety, which on the evidence of wills, church donations, and the explosion of religious guilds in the fifteenth century, was devout and sincere. Such devotion also accords with the dragon fight in Amoryus and Cleopes, which is at once religious and hagiographical and also celebrates the guild to which Stapleton belonged. The resurrection of the pair and their conversion is furthermore part of what has been called the "incarnational aesthetic" of late medieval religion, that is, the tendency to "formulate concrete images" of Christ and those whose lives imitate his, the saints.34

Of course, Stapleton's neighbors among the wealthy gentry and aristocracy of East Anglia read and patronized other types of literary production. Fastolf's household maintained an active literary coterie of writers and translators who developed a "secular outlook similar to that of the humanist scholars of Italy," and Stephen Scrope, Fastolf's stepson, translated Christine de Pisan's Epistle of Othea about 1440, at the request of Fastolf.35 In addition, Fastolf owned French copies of the Book of King Arthur, The Romance of the Rose, and The Brute.36 Elsewhere, we have the well-known bibliophilic disposition of John Paston II, whose famous list of his English books includes not only his own copy of Scrope's translation Epistle of Othea but also several Middle English popular romances, the Death of Arthur; Guy of Warwick; Kyng Richard, Couer de Lion; and a version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Paston also owned several works of Chaucer, including The Legend of Good Women, The Parliament of Fowls, and Troilus and Criseyde.37 In fact, East Anglia figures prominently in the early history of the transmission of the works of Chaucer. In their discussion of the provenance of manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales, Manly and Rickert claim a number of pre-1450 copies originated in the region, including the famous Ellesmere MS, containing portraits of the pilgrims. This manuscript's early history is clearly connected with an area on the Essex/Suffolk boarder near Bury St. Edmunds, and it may have been for a while in the hands of members of the Paston family.38 Ellesmere was furthermore a model for another important early Chaucer manuscript from East Anglia, Cambridge University Library MS Gg.4.27, which like the Ellesmere MS contains portraits of the pilgrims. Dating from about 1415-20, this manuscript is important for two reasons: it "translates" Chaucer's London English into the provincial forms of East Anglia, and it represents the earliest attempt to collect all of Chaucer's works into one volume, including as it does several of the Tales, The Legend of Good Women, The Parliament of Fowls, and Troilus and Criseyde.39 Two other manuscripts of the Troilus also have their provenance in East Anglia and date from the second quarter of the century, London, B.L. MS Additional 12044, and Durham, University Library, MS Cosin V.iii.13, two closely related manuscripts. This early connection of East Anglia with the production of Chaucer manuscripts is a complicated and still evolving story, but for our purposes here we need look no further than Chaucer's granddaughter, Alice, who had in 1430 married William de la Pole (d. 1450), one of the great magnates of the first half of the fifteenth century, himself a poet and patron of John Lydgate. William's uncle, Thomas de la Pole, was the father of Stapleton's second wife, Katherine de la Pole, and the armorial insignia of both families are combined in a large heraldic shield placed on the first page of Amoryus and Cleopes. Sir Miles and Lady Katherine Stapleton lived in a social and cultural milieu which patronized literary production, and their association with owners of Chaucer manuscripts, even if they themselves did not possess any, must be undoubted. Metham's own access to such manuscripts seems equally certain.40

The Language and Date of the Manuscript

The language of the poem is fifteenth-century East Anglian. Infinitives of verbs are usually uninflected or end in -e, although a few infinitives in -n(e) also occur as rhyme words, deyn (line 1757), seyn (lines 1116, 1563), and fordone (line 1781). In the present indicative, the first person forms are uninflected or end with -e; the second person forms end in -st, except for wotys (line 360), which results from sound elision with the following pronoun thow. Third person forms typically end in -th, although -t (nedyt line 165; hat lines 372, 979) and -tht (dotht lines 6, 1351; seytht line 80; ferytht, line 1345) also occur. The scribe has written almost all plural verbs with no ending or -e, with the exception of two verbs ending in -n, arn (lines 671, 836) and seyn (line 1328), but these occur as rhyme words. Present participles are in -yng; the one exception is perand (line 879), a northern dialectal form. The past participles of strong verbs are inflected with -yn or -n(e), though the scribe is not always consistent. The past participles of some historically strong verbs have no ending, such as found (line 211), born (lines 36, 315, etc.), and smet (lines 19, 119), but take (lines 707, 1233) occurs with the expected takyn (line 1220), wryt (line 198) with the more frequent wrytyn (lines 52, etc.), and be with ben(e) (lines 1555, etc.). The verb have is sometimes reduced to a or an, especially when it functions as the first member of a verb phrase. The forms of to be, in addition to those mentioned above, include am, art(e), ys, ar(e) or arn in the present, was and wer(e) in the past.

Plural and possessive nouns are normally inflected with -ys (-is occurs when the preceding letter is y). However, the historical plural in -n of eyes, eyn (lines 642, 1026, etc.), is retained, as it was in other dialects until the seventeenth century; but chyldyr (lines 48, etc.) has yet to gain the -n, which was the plural form for the word in most Southern and South Midlands dialects, and which became the standard. For the personal pronouns, I or Y is written for the first person subject, me for the object, and my for the possessive adjective, except when the following word begins with a vowel, in which case the form is myn; the plural forms are we, us, and owre or oure. Although the historical singular of the second person pronouns - thow, the, thy or thine - occur, the poem usually adopts the plural forms, ye, yow, and yowre. This adoption, a polite usage since the thirteenth century, is to be expected in a poem that presents upper-class characters. The third person pronouns are he, hym, sche, her(e), yt. In the plural, thei or they is always the form of the subject. However, the northern th- forms are used along with the southern h- forms in the oblique cases, so that we find them and hem as objects, and ther or thayr and her(e) as possessives. Some other notable features of the scribe's spelling include his use of sqw- for words beginning with sw-; sch-for sh-; be for modern by; and his overwhelming preference for y instead of i or e, particularly in inflectional endings.

Certain spelling features indicate that the manuscript had its provenance in East Anglia, specifically, Norfolk.41 The most prominent idiomatic feature is the use of the initial qw- where Modern English uses wh-, as in qwer(e) (lines 6, 19, etc.), qwo (line 1553), qwat (lines 63, 65, etc.), qwyche (lines 9, 34, etc.), qwedyr (lines 1054, etc.), qwyl (lines 114, 293, etc.), qwele (wheel, line 389), and qwalle (whale, line 578). This qw- spelling is an independent development of East Anglia, not related to similar spellings in texts from Scotland and the northern English counties, and it is more prevalent in Norfolk than in Suffolk. A second significant feature of East Anglian scribes is variation in the spelling of -ght words with simply -t, th, or ht. The scribe of Garrett 141 is fairly consistent in spelling words like right and might with -ght, but the plural knytys appears frequently. Words like thought and daughter are less consistently spelled than the right group, with -t occurring about as often as -ght. Examples of the -t spellings are browt(e) (lines 189, etc.), boute (line 1863), wythowt(e) (lines 440, etc.), aucte (line 142), and wrowt (lines 700, 1655). Because of the confusion in spelling words ending in a -t sound, the scribe has sometimes extended -ght to words where it has no etymological basis, including the native English words wryght (lines 524, 2171; Modern English write, from OE writan) and qwyght (lines 495, 536, etc. Modern English white, from OE hwit) and French borrowings endyght (from OFr enditer) and ermyght (lines 1901, etc.; Modern English hermit, from OFr. h'ermite). Something similar has happened in the spelling of third person singular verbs ending in -tht, mentioned above. This spelling, a third hallmark of East Anglian scribes, has been extended sporadically in this text to nouns ending in -th: myrtht (line 406), weltht (line 1134), trwtht (line 1151), ertht (line 1480), and detht (line 1682).

The scribe of Amoyus and Cleopes exhibits a number of other secondary dialectal spellings and lexical choices indicative of an East Anglian origin. The spellings of mend (lines 1105, etc.) and kend (line 1246) and kendly (lines 1252, etc.) for Modern English mind and kind, although not exclusive to eastern texts, when combined with the other features like the qw- spelling, further indicates an East Anglian origin. Similarly, the spellings of Modern English worldly without the first "l," as in wordly (line 379) and wordely (line 1911), are unusual variants of a characteristic East Anglian form with "e" as the main vowel: werdly. The typical form in the manuscript of the past plural of to be is were, but two instances of the Scandinavian-influenced form wore (lines 1533, 1577) indicate a Norfolk scribe. The scribe's exclusive use of ony (lines 156, 179, etc.), as opposed to the standard London forms of the time, eny and any, further marks the text as eastern and provincial. Finally, the obsolete word swem, spelled sqweme (lines 1146, 1670; sqwemful, lines 843, 1160, 1773, 2046; and sqwemfuly, line 1169) in the scribe's normal orthography of sw- words, meaning grief, affliction, is a dialect word confined in the fifteenth century to East Anglian texts.

The author writes that he composed this poem in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of Henry VI, and there is no reason to doubt this dating. But this manuscript copy of Amoryus and Cleopes appears to have been written perhaps as much as a generation after that date. The frequency of plural pronouns them/hem, ther(e)/her(e) shows a three to one preponderance of the Northern Middle English and incipient standard th- forms as opposed to the historical East Midlands forms with h-. This northern form did not appear in East Anglia before about 1450, and begins to occur in the Paston letters in 1460. Similarly, the Garrett MS scribe's habit of spelling -ght words, those like right with -ght but those like thought with some variation, closely parallels the spelling habits of Sir John Paston II after 1464. Davis suggests that the Pastons' spelling may well have been influenced by their travels and association with the royal court. We may infer that they might exhibit incipient standard English features in advance of a Norfolk scribe. In conclusion, then, it seems likely that the date of the manuscript cannot be much earlier than 1465, and may well have been copied in the 1470s.

The Text of this Edition

This text of this edition of Amoryus and Cleopes is based on a microfilm of the manuscript and an examination of the last page of the poem under ultraviolet light. In accordance with the editorial policies of the Middle English Texts Series, scribal abbreviations have been silently expanded and based, where possible, on the scribe's most common, complete spelling of the word. Modern English spellings of Middle English u/v, j/i, have been adopted, and gh and y have been substituted for yogh (3). The scribe writes the late form of character thorn, identical to y, much more frequently than modern th-; this edition has regularized the spelling to the modern form. In addition, the scribe's spelling Ss- at the beginning of the poetic line, the only place where he normally employs capital letters, has been reduced to S. The scribe also doubles f to ff in many instances when a capital letter would not be called for: spellings like ffor, ffortune, sothffastness, and afftyr, are typical. I have simplified the form according to modern usage. For the sake of clarity, I spell the second person singular pronoun thee, where in the MS it is spelled the; this alteration does not affect the pronunciation of the word, which in its MS orthography would be understood as having a long vowel. So too in polysyllabic words ending in -e (e.g., cuntré), I have placed an accent on the to indicate syllabic value and a long vowel, though not necessarily a stressed syllable. I have followed modern conventions in capitalizing names of persons, deities, and the like. Brackets indicate material not found in the MS which I have inserted for the sake of clarity and syntax. It might be noted that the line numbers in Craig's edition differ from those here, and whereas Craig expanded to quoth, I have expanded to quod, the more common late medieval term.


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Bibliography
Select Bibliography

Manuscript
Princeton University Library, MS Garrett 141, fols. 17b-56b.

Edition
Metham, John. The Works of John Metham, Including the Romance of Amoryus and Cleopes. Ed. Hardin Craig. EETS o.s. 132. London: K. Paul, Trench, and Trübner & Co., 1916. Pp. 1-81.

Critical Study
Page, Stephen. "John Metham's Amoryus and Cleopes: Intertextuality and Innovation in a Chaucerian Poem." The Chaucer Review 33 (1998), 201-08.

Romance Studies
Benson, Larry D. "Courtly Love and Chivalry in the Later Middle Ages." In Fifteenth Century Studies: Recent Essays. Ed. Robert F. Yeager. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1984. Pp. 237-57.

Gradon, Pamela. "The Romance Mode." In Form and Style in Early English Literature. Ed. Pamela Gradon. London: Methuen, 1971. Pp. 212-72.

Mehl, Dieter. The Middle English Romances of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1969.

Pearsall, Derek. "The English Romance in the Fifteenth Century." Essays and Studies 29 (1976), 56-83.

Ramsey, Lee C. Chivalric Romances: Popular Literature in Medieval England. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983.

Reiss, Edmund. "Romance." In The Popular Literature of Medieval England. Tennessee Studies in Literature 28. Ed. Thomas J. Heffernan. Knoxville: Tennessee University Press, 1985. Pp. 108-30.

Stevens, John. Medieval Romance: Themes and Approaches. London: Hutchinson, 1973.

Chaucer and the Fifteenth Century
Goodman, Jennifer R. "Chaucer's Squire's Tale and the Rise of Chivalry." Studies in the Age of Chaucer 5 (1983), 127-36.

Green, Richard Firth. Poets and Princepleasers: Literature and the English Court in the Late Middle Ages. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980.

King, Pamela. "Chaucer, Chaucerians and the Theme of Poetry." In Chaucer and Fifteenth-Century Poetry. Ed. Julia Boffey and Janet Cowen. London: King's College, Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies, 1991. Pp. 1-14.

Lawton, David. "Dullness and the Fifteenth Century." English Literary History 54 (1987), 761-99.

Lerer, Seth. Chaucer and His Readers: Imagining the Author in Late-Medieval England. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.

Nolan, Barbara. Chaucer and the Tradition of the Roman Antique. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature, 15. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Spearing, A. C. Medieval to Renaissance in English Poetry. London, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985. [Especially chs. 2 and 3.]

Strohm, Paul. "Chaucer's Fifteenth-Century Audience and the Narrowing of the 'Chaucer Tradition.'" Studies in the Age of Chaucer 4 (1982), 3-32.

Windeatt, Barry. "Chaucer and Fifteenth-Century Romance: Partonope of Blois." In Chaucer Traditions: Studies in Honour of Derek Brewer. Ed. Ruth Morse and Barry Windeatt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Pp. 62-80.

---. "Chaucer Traditions." In Chaucer Traditions: Studies in Honour of Derek Brewer. Ed. Ruth Morse and Barry Windeatt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Pp. 1-20.

Literary Culture in Fifteenth-Century East Anglia
Beadle, Richard. "Prolegomena to a Literary Geography of Later Medieval Norfolk." In Regionalism in Late Medieval Manuscripts and Texts. Ed. Felicity Riddy. London: D. S. Brewer, 1991. Pp. 89-108.

Bennett, H. S. The Pastons and Their England: Studies in an Age of Transition. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1932.

Gibson, Gail McMurray. The Theater of Devotion: East Anglian Society in the Late Middle Ages. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.

Hughes, Jonathan. "Stephen Scrope and the Circle of Sir John Fastolf: Moral and Intellectual Outlooks." In Medieval Knighthood IV: Papers from the Fifth Strawberry Hill Conference, 1990. Ed. Christopher Harper-Bill and Ruth Harvey. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell, 1992. Pp. 109-46.

Kieckhefer, Richard. Magic in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Lester, G. A. "The Books of a Fifteenth-Century Gentleman, Sir John Paston." Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 88 (1987), 200-17.

Moore, Samuel. "Patrons of Letters in Norfolk and Suffolk, c. 1450." PMLA 27 and 28 (1912 and 1913), 188-207 and 79-105.