Some shorter satirical poems in English from the thirteenth to the early sixteenth centuries
The aim of this thesis is to provide a thorough introduction to shorter satirical poetry in Middle English, and also to provide stimulus and material for further study in this somewhat neglected area of medieval English literature. The thesis presents 83 newly transcribed, edited and annotated shorter (approximately 200 ll. or less) poems, which have never before been collected. Strictly political poems, more properly the subject of a separate study, are not included, nor are the poems of Dunbar, Skelton, Henryson and Hoccleve, which are available in excellent editions. The poems are loosely grouped according to the subjects they satirize: clergy, women and marriage, money and venality, rogues and fools, specific people, and medical recipes. A lengthy introduction briefly discusses the problem of defining satire in the Middle English period before going on to discuss the background of medieval satire for each group. For each poem there are notes which clarify difficult points as well as give information on the manuscripts and editions in which the poem appears. Appendix A prints a not hitherto recognized parody of Lydgate's A Valentine to Our Lady with the text of Lydgate's poem facing, and discusses some of the difficulties of recognizing parody in Middle English in light of this particular example. Appendix B is an index which attempts to list all nonnarrative satirical verse in English which appeared between the thirteenth and early sixteenth centuries. A glossary of difficult words in the texts is included.