An Artificial Apology

The following work is a ballad written in 1540 by William Graye titled ‘An Artificial Apology’, this is a religious piece and an attack on Thomas Smith (1513 – 1577), regarding the reformation Catholics vs Protestants. This is Ballad #11 of 12 known as the Cromwell Ballads. The work is notably important in regards to English Folk History and Genealogy as the annotations in the right-hand column (written in Latin), were written by The Mellifluous and Misticall Master Mynterne. I have known about the ballads for a while, although this is the first time I have read one. This is the first evidence I have found that firmly places the legendary Dark Conjurer of Batcombe in Tudor England and living as early as 1540.


An Artificial Apology

Smyth, R.

Text Base Early Tudor English
STC 22877.6
Ringler 22877.6 and TP 1147. Single sheet folio. ‘Ostensibly a reply to W. G. in [STC] 12206a.3. Literally an attack on Thomas Smith’ (Ringler). Rpt. W. C. Hazlitt for _Fugitive Tracts_, No. 11, ed. John A. Kingdon, _Incidents in the Lives of Thomas Poynty and Richard Grafton_, 1895. (Ringler). UMI microfilm Reel 1861

An artificiall apologie, articulerlye answerynge to the obstreperous obgannynges of one W. G. … Repercussed by … R. Smyth P. with annotacions of … master Mynterne
London: [R. Grafton for] R. Bankes, and to be [sold by J. Turke],[1540]. 

Composition Date: 1540 [STC].

An artificiall Apologie, articulerlye answerynge to the obstreperous Obgannynges of one W._G.  Euometyd to the vituperacion of the tryumphant trollynge Thomas_smyth.Repercussed by the ryght redolent and rotounde rethorician R._Smyth P. with annotacions of the mellifluous and misticall Master Mynterne, marked in the mergent for the enucliacion of certen obscure obelisques, to th’ende that the imprudent lector shulde not tytubate or hallucinate in the labyrinthes of this lucubratiuncle.

W. G.=William Graye

1MOued wyth mercy, by pytye prouoked
Of duty I am dryuen, somwhat for to wrytePietas in parentes.
In defence of one, whome I se sore boked
And sore assauted, to be beaten from the ryght
5But yf I lyue, some of them shalbe smoked
His part wyl I take with al my power and myght.Ut decet hereticos.
My harte doth blede, to se my frende thus dreast
So that my penne wyll wryte, though I saye naye
Agaynst this brockyshe graye, this bytter bytyng beast
10That seketh nothynge elles, but for to pull awaye
The good name and fame, of one that is honest
And ful of lytterature, as all that loue hym sayeAlii, aliter.
Master Thomas_smyth, his name nede not be hyd
Whome to se so handled, I haue great remorse
15For the stockes sake, of which he is descended
He commeth of the smyth, that shod saynt Georges horsse
By ryght dessent, it maye not be denyedLaus generis.
But yf any wolde, it shall not greatly force.
Who made this bagarde so bolde, this gresely graye‘bagarde’=’boggard’ or perh. ‘braggard’
20Or what heart hath he, that he thus assayles
Our smyths, yf S. Georges horsse were a_lyue I saye
He dorst euen as well haue eaten both his nayles
But though he be gone, all beastes be not awayeUinsit asine. etc.
I coulde saye more, but he doth naught that rayles.
25Betwyxt the smythes and grayes, no doute ther is great oddes
Loke in vitas patrum , I saye thou wylfull waggeAuctoritas.
Howe smyths haue bene byshoppes, saynts and almost goddes
Recorde of swete saynt Loye, that holpe a cloyed naggeMiraculum.
Uulcane was god and smith, whose curse lyghte on thy coddes
30Why then with vs smythes, art thou so bolde to bragge
Marke this malycious, and sore bytynge brock
Because master smyth, called him thefe in sporte
Speakynge it but merely, I dare saye in mockIn bono ioco.
Howe lewdely of him, he hath made reporte
35But saye what thou canst, he dyd it not by cock
For by saynt tankarde, he is none of that sorte.Nota qui non potest portare seruisiam.
The money and the woman, wherwith thou doest him charge
He maye full well aduoyde, it is no great thynge
God saue the kynge, a pardon doth dyschargeMisericordias domini in eternum cantabo.
40o thynges then that, which elles myght hap to brynge
Both him and you, but skant to walke at large
Within an yron grate, your Christmas songe to syngeId est cibus pro pauperibus de noua porta.
As for the woman, alas it was no wonder
She was a whore, and he hath such a charmeA spiritu fornicationis etc.
45If she be arrant, to brynge her shortly vnder
And yet I promyse you, he doth them lytle harme
But bryngs them to his house, where they parte not asonder
He couereth her, he colleth her and keps her good and warme.Amor vincit omnia.
And forsoth full well, towarde his olde dayes
50Ye poynted him a place, to be in the stable
But he neuer dressed horsse, as he him-selfe sayesDe hoc doctores d[u]bitant.
Wherfore for that rome, he is nothynge able
His lyuynge he must seke, by some other wayes
Well ynough I warrant you, without hode or bable‘bable’=’bauble’
55If he had no master, ner none wolde him take
Skant into the stable, yet ere it were longe
He hath so many frendes, thou sayest wolde shyft make
To promote him to the skourynge, of some good mans gonge‘gong’ (privy) Melior est amicos in curia, quam denarius in bursa.
Thou art to spytefull, and I for anger shake
60To se howe thou doest, this poore man so much wronge.
Ye call him papist, because ye se him worche
In all he doth or sayth, by doctours and decrees
Of our olde auncyent mother holy churcheDistingue de ecclesia.
And forbycause, he doth defende theyr dygnytyes
65Lyke a sorte of lorrelles, you wolde him geue a lurche
His credyte and his fame, to cause hym for to lese.
Our smyth can forge, and fetely fabrycateQ[u]od natura dedit, nemo tollere potest.
A myllyon of mentyres, in lesse then halfe a daye‘mentyres’, see OED ‘mentery’
Loke in all his workes which are consolydate
70Lyke a wyttye man, dawe canst thou saye naye?
In such an honest forge, lo he was educate
And such his bryngynge vp, his craft cannot decayeExperiencia docet.
And yet this bytynge brocke, sayes he is vnworthyDe homini illi per quem scandalum venit.
To be a paryshe clercke, God geue the wo and care
75But yer he come therto, we trust to se the lye‘yer’=’ere’
Askynge for gods sake, in pouertie full bare
Wylt thou pare with our smyth, ah pylde pratynge pyePer syncopen quasi dicitur compare.
Well do not so I aduyse you, I councell you beware.
It wylbe a good whyle or you master Graye
80Haue such qualytes as master Smyth hathqualytes] qualylytes 1540
He speketh euen as good frenche, I dare well sayeNota donum linguarum.
As any Popengay, betwene this and bathe
Cracke me that nut, naye fye I praye you awaye
Medle not withall, least that it doth you skathe.
85Syr he hath bene in Parys, farre beyonde the seeVidit plus quam manducauit per etc.
Where thou durst neuer, yet pepe out of thy dore
And I my-selfe, dyd here him once saye
With so starne a loke, Dieu vous done bon-iour
That euer sence, I thought hym ryght well worthy
90To haue the lytle roume, within the kynges toure
Hercules was stronger, then any of the grayes
Yet was he not hable to mache with two at once
Beware I saye thou brocke and shortely walke thy wayesParce ei domine, nihil enim sunt dies eius.
For we be many smythes, and yf we catche the once
95We wyll fynde the meanes, to shorten thy good dayes
And in our flammyng forge, we wil burne the fleshe and bones.
Recant therfore betyme, least we the [re]morderemorde] momorde 1540 Bonum concili[u]m.
And beate the with oure handes, as yron the styth
Causynge the for-euer, to be a good recorde
100Howe any man herafter doth rayle vpon a smythCauete a fabris quoniam multi.
Thy fame we shall pollute, for sowenge soch discord
Maugre all theyr heartes, that be displeased therwith.
I warrant you thys graye, hath lytle good maner
To call master smyth, bedlem and lunatycke
105What though he be gogle-eyed, and tawny as a tannerNota quod cholerici sunt iracundia item Auicen[na] c. viii.
It is but hys compleccyon, swart and collerycke
But sythen that he doth fyght, vnder holy churches baner
His lybels are allowed, for good and catholycke.
And though he be a smyth, by face and eke of name
110Yet to God and the kyng, the man maye be wellwylled
For was not there a smyth that propre feates dyd frame
The chronycles make mencyon, whoso them well behylde
Reporte me to the blacke-smyth, a man of worthy fameIn memoria eterna erit iustus.
Howe many at his commaundement, had he at blackheth felde.
115Nowe for that smyth, and all smythes þ a t mean as he dyd mean
Or that agaynst God and our kynge, ought conspyre or saye
That such of there offenses, maye be confessed cleane
And iust rewarde to take, this prayer wyll I prayev. Pater noster. v. Aue Maria. vnum Credo cum De profundis
And also that all other, that to theyr sectes do leane
120Maye trudge with them for company, to angre Wyllyam_Graye.
Thus forced by frendshyp, and lykenes of name
I haue compyled this brefe apologyeQuia sunt de vno cognomine.
Propugnyng therin smythes, and theyr honest famePropugnyng] Propungnyng 1540
And theyr vylependers, to shame and turpefye‘vylependers’, see OED ‘vilipend’
125Implorynge, that Lorde, that forged the frame
Of fyre and water, of earth and of skye.Hic aucthor rotulat in rethoricis.
To preserue Kynge Henry that prynce potencyall
And Katheryne oure quene of curtesye the floure
Wyth Edwarde oure prince, that ympe emperyall
130In helth, in welth, in ryches, in honour,
And to conserue the counsell heroical
To pauyse the people by prudencyall power.
133God saue the Kynge.
Imprynted at London by Rycharde_Bankes. And be to sell in Pater_noster_rowe, at the sygne of the Rose.
Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum solum.

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