PROPHECY: NOTES4 solas. Perhaps a double entendre, suggesting not only physical pleasure but also spiritual comfort.
5 Albyon. Another name for Britain, derived from the Latin albus ("white"), alluding to the white appearance of the coastal cliffs. Appropriately, in Shakespeare's King Lear the Fool parodies the medieval prophecy:
When priests are more in word than matter;For similar versions attributed to Merlin, see Dean, ed., Medieval English Political Writings.
When brewers mar their malt with water;
When nobles are their tailors' tutors;
No heretics burn'd, but wenches' suitors;
Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to great confusion . . .
This prophesy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time. (3.2.81-95)
Go To John Gower: In Praise of Peace
Whan feyth failleth in prestes sawes,
And lordes hestes ar holden for lawes,
And robbery is holden purchas,
And lechery is holden solas,
Than shal the lond of Albyon
Be brought to grete confusion.
pleasure; (see note)