Art. 114, Dieu, roy de magesté
ART. 114, DIEU, ROY DE MAGESTÉ: EXPLANATORY NOTES
Abbreviations: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); Bodl.: Bodleian Library (Oxford); CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); DOML: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library; FDT: French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages (Sinclair 1979); FDT-1: French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages, . . . First Supplement (Sinclair 1982); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MWME: A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050–1500 (Severs et al.); NIMEV: A New Index of Middle English Verse (Boffey and Edwards); NLS: National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh).
23 Le quinzyme dener. The tax of the fifteenth. Scattergood summarizes how successive parliaments imposed taxes to raise funds for Edward’s war with France: “In the autumn parliaments of 1333 and 1334, tenths and fifteenths were granted. In 1336 a grant of a tenth and a fifteenth was passed in the March parliament, and at the great council at Nottingham in the autumn a similar grant was made, as well as two-tenths from the clergy. A year later in September 1337, the great council of Westminster gave a tenth and a fifteenth for three years, and the convocation of Canterbury and York committed the clergy to a similar grant. Hence, the poet’s complaint that the ‘quinzyme’ had been levied year after year” (2000a, p. 164).
25–26 Scase points to these lines as indicating that the injustices complained about extend to classes beyond the poorest: “those who used to sit in comfort are brought low” (2007, p. 31). Aspin cites Luke 1:52: “He hath put down the mighty from their seats” (p. 114).
42 Collectio lanarum. Scattergood defines this specific term: “in the summer of 1337, the king had come to an agreement with the principal wool contractors that, in return for a monopoly that would cut out foreign buyers, they would agree to buy and export 30,000 sacks of wool for the king’s use — half the profits to go to the king. This is the ‘collectio lanarum’ . . . to which the poet objects” (2000a, p. 164–65). See also Wright 1839, p. 377; Aspin, p. 114; and Harriss, p. 251.
50 mea lana. “My wool.” The first-person pronoun registers the poet’s complaint as personally affecting him, while the third person earum earlier in the stanza separates the speaker from the poor on whose behalf he also complains. See Scase 2007, p. 31.
73 maveis consiler. Probably John Stratford, Archbishop of Canterbury. There was a faction hostile to Stratford, Chancellor of England. Aspin proposes that Against the King’s Taxes was written as part of “a campaign of slander directed against him” (p. 115). Lines 7–8 seem also to allude to the evil counselor.
105 le haut juggement. “Last Judgment.” In lines 105–10, the moral warning that God will punish the corrupt, greedy agents of unjust taxation, called thieves in the next stanza, exposes the moral core of a poem that voices a clerical point of view. The religious outlook of Against the King’s Taxes pairs it with All the World’s a Chess Board (art. 109). The scribe’s placement of the poem near the end of quire 15 — and of MS Harley 2253 overall — may be because it reminds one to think of ultimate things.
150 Pro victu solvere lignum. “To pay for food with wood.” Lignum refers to the wooden tallies or notched sticks given as receipts. As Scase comments, “The poet swipes at the practice of paying for prises with tally-sticks which often proved worthless, wittily pointing out that it is better to eat off wooden plates and pay with silver, than to eat off silver plates, and pay with wood” (2007, p. 31). Wright notes that people of the lower classes typically ate from wooden plates and vessels (1839, p. 377).
168 Inter reges. A specific reference, perhaps, to King Edward III of England and King Philip VI of France, and to the unsuccessful peace negotiations of 1337. See Scattergood 2000a, p. 166.
ART. 114, DIEU, ROY DE MAGESTÉ: TEXTUAL NOTES
ABBREVIATIONS: As: Aspin; Bö: Böddeker; Br: Brook; BS: Bennett and Smithers; BZ: Brandl and Zippel; B13: Brown 1937; Dea: J. M. Dean; Do: Dove 1969; Fl: Flood; Fö: Förster; Fu: Furnivall; HB: Hunt and Bliss; Kem: Kemble; Ken: Kennedy; Mi: Millett; Mo: Morris and Skeat; MS: MS Harley 2253; Mu1: H. J. R. Murray; Mu2: J. A. H. Murray; NB: Noomen and van den Boogard; Pa: Patterson; Rev: Revard 2005a; Ri: Ritson 1877; Ro: Robbins 1959; SP: Short and Pearcy; Si: Silverstein; St: Stemmler 1970; Tu: Turville-Petre 1989; Ul: Ulrich; W1: Wright 1839; W2: Wright 1841; W3: Wright 1842; WH: Wright and Halliwell.
19 est. So As. MS, W1: eat.
26 scannum. So MS (m abbreviated), As. W1: scamnum.
44 Divicias. So MS, As. W1: divitias.
87 rien. MS, W1, As: ren.
93 deit. So MS. W1, As: doit.
114 Gratia. So MS (abbreviated gra), W1. As: gracia.
145 manger. So W1, As. MS: mager.
149 vicii. So MS, As. W1: vitii.
Go To Art. 115, Contemplacioun de la passioun Jesu Crist, introduction
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