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There is a Busch that is Forgrowe


1 busch. A patent reference to Sir John Bushy, speaker of the House of Commons and one of Richard's favorites. Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford (later King Henry IV), beheaded Bushy at Bristol in 1399. The author of Richard the Redeless makes similar punning references to Bushy and Green in passus 2, lines 152-53: "Thus baterid this bred [bird] on busshes aboute / And gaderid gomes on grene ther as they walkyd" (ed. Skeat). In Shakespeare's Richard II, Bolingbroke contemptuously refers to Bushy, Green, and Bagot as the "caterpillars of the commonwealth" (II.iii.165). See also the Gardener's statements about Richard's ministers in III.iv.

4 grene. A reference to Sir Henry Green who, with Bushy (note to line 1), guided Richard's legislation through the House of Commons and who was also beheaded at Bristol.

6 the. So Wr; Hamper th'.

7 bagge. A reference to Sir William Bagot, another of Richard's ministers in the House of Commons.

8 kettord. MED, directing to "? Cp. cater, katur num" (from OF catre, four), cites this word only from this poem, with the notation "? Quartered."

13 swan. Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester, whose badge was a swan (which he had adopted from his father Edward III). Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, executed Gloucester at Calais in 1397. Some have felt that Norfolk was acting under King Richard's orders. The author of the present poem attributes Gloucester's death to Bushy. Hamper identifies the swan as "Hugh Earl of Stafford" and the eldes bryd of line 32 as "Edmund Earl of Stafford, eldest surviving son."

14 sclawtur. So Wr; Hamper sclawtr.

20 stede. "A horse was the crest of the earl of Arundel, who was beheaded in the 21st Ric. II" (Wr). Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, was appealed by eight lords appellant of killing Simon Burley; and John of Gaunt ordered Arundel's property confiscate, condemning him to death. He was executed on Tower Hill in 1397.

25 bereward. "The earl of Warwick banished to Isle of Man" (Wr). His badge was a black bear. RHR glosses the political allegory of this stanza: "a bearward (the Earl of Warwick) found a rag, and made a bag through which he is undone (i.e., he aided to raise up Bagot, who became instrumental in his banishment)." A Manual of the Writings in Middle English 1050-1500, ed. Hartung, 5:1440.

26 the. So Wr; Hamper th'.

32 Her eldest . . . fro. Trans.: "Her eldest bird has been taken away from her." For this line Wr reads: "Her eldes[t] bryd his taken her fro"; Hamper: "Her eldes bryd his taken her fro." Of the bryd Wr glosses: "Humphrey [Plantagenet], Gloucester's only son, was, after his father's death, carried to Ireland and imprisoned in the castle of Trim."

34 stedes colt. "Thomas earl of Arundel, son of the earl beheaded in the 21st Ric. II" (Wr).

35 An eron. The heron is Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, whose cause Thomas Arundel has joined.

36 wondur. So Wr; Hamper wondr.

37 berewardes sone. "Richard Beauchamp, under nineteen, was at this time married to Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas lord Berkeley" (Wr). tendur, so Wr; Hamper tendr. On "berewardes" see note to line 25.

44 contré. So Wr; Hamper contr'. Hamper glosses: "Ravenspur in Yorkshire, where Henry landed."

47 and y thinges. So Hamper and Wr. y = in. The syntax seems defective.

49 gees. The Percy family of Northumbria. Hamper's note: "The Commons."

52 pecokes. The Neville family of Yorkshire. Hamper's note: "The Lords."

55 the busch. So Wr; Hamper th' busch.

57 aftur. So Wr; Hamper aftr.

58 the grene. So Wr; Hamper th' grene.

60 Of lines 34-60 RHR explains: "the steed's colt (Thomas of Arundel) has escaped, and has joined the heron (the Duke of Lancaster); and the bearward's son (Richard Beauchamp) has been married off, but is watching to join the heron. The heron and the colt are up in the North in company with the geese and the peacocks (the Percys and the Nevilles). The heron will alight on the bush, and will fall upon the green."

64 the ges. So Wr; Hamper th' ges. all so. So Hamper; Wr alleso.

67 sere. So Wr; Hamper ser'.

68 lengur. So Wr; Hamper lengr.

70 Ywys I con no nodur bote. So Wr; Hamper y wys y con no nodr bote.

73 The longe. So Wr; Hamper th' longe.

77 rought. From OE hrútan to snore. See Chaucer's Reeve's Tale, said of Symkyn's family: "Men myghte hir rowtyng heere two furlong; / The wenche rowteth eek, par compaignye" (lines 4166-67).

83 Yif. Wr yf.

87 Yif. Wr yf.

89 beste. Wr's insertion (in brackets).

90 were. So Wr; Hamper wer'. Hamper glosses in point to spylle: "This expression occurs in Henry's declaratory speech on assuming the royal power. 'The rewme was in point to be undone for defaut of governance, and undoyng of the gude lawes.'--Archaeologia, vol. XX, p. 201, note p." See also The Simonie line 432.

[On King Richard's Ministers]

(Olim Deritend House, Birmingham)

Ther is a busch that is forgrowe;
Crop hit welle, and hold hit lowe,
   Or elles hit wolle be wilde.
The long gras that is so grene,
Hit most be mowe, and raked clene--
   For-growen hit hath the fellde.                            
The grete bagge, that is so mykille,
Hit schal be kettord and maked litelle;
   The bothom is ny ought.
Hit is so roton on ych a side,
Ther nul no stych with odur abyde,
   To set theron a clout.
Thorw the busch a swan was sclayn;
Of that sclawtur fewe wer fayne.
   Alas that hit be-tydde!
Hit was a eyrer good and able,
To his lord ryght profitable;
   Hit was a gentel bryde.
The grene gras that was so long,
Hit hath sclayn a stede strong
   That worthy was and wyth.
Wat kyng had that stede on holde,
To juste on hym he myght be bold,
   Als schulde he go to fyth.
A bereward fond a rag;
Of the rag he made a bag;
   He dude in gode entent.
Thorwe the bag the bereward is taken;
Alle his beres han hym forsaken--
   Thus is the berewarde schent.
The swan is ded, his make is woo,
Her eldest bryd is taken her fro
   In to an uncod place.
The stedes colt is ronnon a-way,
An eron hath taken hym to his praye:
   Hit is a wondur casse.
The berewardes sone is tendur of age;
He is put to mariage,
   Askyng wille yowe telle.
Yut he hoputh, thorw myth and grace,
With the beres to make solas,
   And led hem at his wille.
A eron is up and toke his flyt;
In the north contré he is light
   (Thus here ye alle men saye).
The stede colt with hym he brynges;
These buth wonder and y thinges
   To se hem thus to playe.
The gees han mad a parlement,
Toward the eron are they went,
   Mo then I con telle.
The pecokes that buth so fayr in syght,
To hym ben comen with alle hur myght,
   They thenke with hym to dwelle.
Upon the busch the eron wolle reste,
Of alle places it liketh hym beste,
   To loke aftur his pray.
He wolle falle upon the grene;
There he falleth hit wille be sene,
   They wille not welle away.
The bag is ful of roton corne,
So long ykep, hit is forlorne;
   Hit wille stonde no stalle.
The pecokes and the ges all so,
And odor fowles mony on mo,
   Schuld be fed withalle.
The busch is bare and waxus sere,
Hit may no lengur leves bere;
   Now stont hit in no styde.
Ywys I con no nodur bote,
But hewe hit downe, crop and rote,
   And to the toun hit lede.
The longe gras that semeth grene,
Hit is roton alle bydene:
   Hit is non best mete.
Til the roton be dynged ought,
Our lene bestes schul not rought,
   Hur liflode to gete.
The grete bage is so ytoron,
Hit nyl holde neyther mele ne corne;
   Hong hit up to drye!
Wen hit is drye, then schalt thou se
Yif hit wil amended be,
   A beger for to bye.
Now God that mykelle is of myght,
Grant us grace to se that syght,
   Yif hit be thy wille.
Our lene bestes to have reste
In place that hem lyketh beste,
   That were in point to spylle.
overgrown; (see note)
keep it
else; will
green; (see note)
It has overgrown the field; (see note)
i.e., Bagot; mighty; (see note)
quartered?; (see note)
The bottom [of the bag] is almost gone
rotten; each side
No stitch will remain with another
(see note)
slaughter; happy; (see note)
brooding falcon
noble bird
slain; (see note)
joust against
Whenever he should; fight
bear keeper; (see note)
(see note)
did it
mate; sorrowful
(see note)
(see note)
heron; (see note)
situation; (see note)
(see note)
hopes; force
lead them
heron; flight
has landed; (see note)
i.e., Thomas
are; in; (see note)
(see note)
have they gone
More than; can
are; (see note)
heron (i.e., Henry); (see note)
prey; (see note)
(see note)
(see note)
kept; ruined
also; (see note)
many other birds
becomes dried up; (see note)
longer bear leaves; (see note)
Now it stands in no place
Truly I know no other remedy; (see note)
top; root
(see note)
all through
food for an animal
flailed out
lean; sleep; (see note)
i.e., Bagot; torn
(see note)
beggar; buy
(see note)
best pleases them; (see note)
about to die; (see note)

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