Praefatio 1 malo Homeri Thersites This statement is recorded, among others, by Porphyrius in his commentary on Horace, Ars Poetica 357 (Choerilus was a poet of small ability in Alexander’s retinue, and Thersites is the meanest character in the Iliad).
Praefatio 2 Quid Hector ille fortissimus apud Naevium? The allusion is to a statement in a play featuring Hector written by the early Roman poet Naevius: cf. Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares V.xii.7, placet enim Hector ille mihi Naevianus, qui non tantum ‘laudari’ se laetatur sed addit etiam ‘a laudato viro’ (also ib. XV.vi.2 and Tusculan Disputations IV.lxvii.4). I. e., he said he took pleasure in being praised by praiseworthy men.
1 a Katherina Franciae She was descended from Katherine (de Rouet) Swynford, the daughter of a Flemish herald from Hainault, not to be confused with Henry V’s consort Catherine, who subsequently married Henry’s grandfather Owen Tudor.
2 ab angularibus Saxoniae populis denominaverunt It is unclear exactly what André is saying here: either he is merely repeating some naive volksetymologie that the Angles were so called because they came from some corner or angle of Saxony, or a more serious one that they came from some district of Saxony such as the Jutlandic district of Anglen (a view already held by William Camden in his Britannia and still regarded as tenable).
3 postea Eduyno Gairdner has a note, “There are two errors here. Henry VII’s grandfather was named Owen, not Edwin, and is not previously mentioned in this work.” But it is not, perhaps, entirely clear whether the substitution of “Edwin” for “Owen” was Andrés fault or a copying error.
4 die quidem Agnetis secundae faustissima Gairdner’s note: “There is a discrepancy here. The 17th calends of February should correspond to the 16th of January, but the day of St. Agnes the Second was the 28th of the that month.”
15 et sibi In a note Gairdner remarks on the incorrect use of the reflexive pronoun. But such confusion of pronouns is common in Neo-Latin, and André repeatedly employs reflexives were a purist would find them objectionable.
24 Tyrannus in arce Londinia It of course comes as no surprise to find the official Tudor account squarely blaming Richard for the death of the two boys in the Tower. But it may be worth pointing out that André gives this accusation literary form earlier than the more familiar accusations of Polydore Vergil and Thomas More.
34 Hyrcana tigris aut Marsus aper Hyrcania was a land to the southeast of the Black Sea famous (if to nobody else, at least to Roman poets) for the ferocity of its tigers (Aeneid IV.367, Statius, Thebais IX.16, XII.170, etc.). For the equally fierce Marsian boar see Horace, Odes I.i.28.
35 cubicularie mi fidissime Richard III’s chamberlain was the relatively obscure John Pilkington. If André had anybody specific in mind, he probably assumed that some better-known personality held this office, such as Sir William Catesby, Sir Richard Ratcliffe, or Francis Viscount Lovell.
37 fratre Michaele Dyaconi Assavensi episcopo Franciscan0 The ms. has Francicastro. Especially because there is no town named Francaster, it is difficult to imagine what this should mean, and Franciscano readily suggests itself as a plausible emendation, both because of the preceding fratre and because, since André himself was a Franciscan, it is natural to suppose he would have been glad to include the information that Bishop Michael Deacon or Dyacon was a member of his own Order. Nonetheless, I would be more confident in this emendation if I could find any corroborative testimony that Deacon was in fact a Franciscan.
38 Imprimis ipsius Richardi regis André was well advised to leave a blank here, since sources are divided on Richard’s burial place: some say the friary of Greyfriars in Leicestershire, others the church of the Annunciation of Mary the Virgin at Newarke.
40 Ultimos iamiam videat Gelonos The Geloni were a remote nation in northwestern Scythia first mentioned by Herodotus (IV.102, 108) and also by such Roman poets as Vergil, Horace, Statius, Lucan, and Seneca. They are the kind of people who could now be reached by an English ship free to sail the Caspian Sea.
Descende caelo et dic age tibia
Regina longum Calliope melos,
Seu voce nunc mavis acuta,
Seu fidibus citharave Phoebi.
(In the second line, Cynthius is a cult-title of Apollo).
47 (v. 19) I have not emended to Aeterno because André unambiguously handles amor as a feminine noun at PRO EODEM, AD URBEM LONDINUM 28.
Urantur pia tura focis, urantur odores,
Quos tener e terra divite mittit Arabs.
Ipse suos genius adsit visurus honores,
Cui decorent sanctas mollia serta comas.
Illius puro destillent tempora nardo.
50 magistro Johanne Red See David R. Carlson “Royal Tutors in the Reign of Henry VII,” Sixteenth Century Journal 22 (1991) 253 - 79, who also provides interesting information about André in that capacity.
Maecenas atavis edite regibus,
o et praesidium et dulce decus meum
Hanc primum veniens plectro modulatus eburno
Felices cantus ore sonante dedit.
50 (v. 32) Cf. Aeneid VIII.274, cingite fronde comas et pocula porgite dextris, Horace, Odes III.xxx.16, lauro cinge volens, Melpomene, comam, and Martial IV.liv.2, Et meritas prima cingere fronde comas.
53 quia regis partes agebat In April 1498 Henry Percy, fourth Earl of Northumberland, was in Yorkshire collecting taxes to fund King Henry’s projected war against France, when he was overcome and killed by rioters led by Sir John Egremont.
Nocturnas alii Phrygum ruinas
Et tardi reducis vias Vlixis
Et puppem temerariam Minervae
Trita vatibus orbita sequantur:
Tu carus Latio memorque gentis
Carmen fortior exeris togatum.
Ac primum teneris adhuc in annis
Ludes Hectora Thessalosque currus
Et supplex Priami potentis aurum,
Et sedes reserabis inferorum;
Ingratus Nero dulcibus theatris
Et noster tibi proferetur Orpheus.
Dices culminibus Remi vagantis
Infandos domini nocentis ignes.
Hinc castae titulum decusque Pollae
Iucunda dabis adlocutione.
Mox coepta generosior iuventa
Albos ossibus Italis Philippos
Et Pharsalica bella detonabis,
Quo fulmen ducis inter arma divi,
Libertate gravem pia Catonem
Et gratum popularitate Magnum.
Tu Pelusiaci scelus Canopi 70
Deflebis pius et Pharo cruenta
Pompeio dabis altius sepulcrum.
Haec primo iuvenis canes sub aevo,
Ante annos Culicis Maroniani.
Cedet Musa rudis ferocis Enni
Et docti furor arduus Lucreti,
Et qui per freta duxit Argonautas,
Et qui corpora prima transfigurat.
The general idea, of course, is “let other poets write their Iliads and poems like Lucan’s Bellum Civile.”
Dum qui vos geminas tulit per artes,
Et vinctae pede vocis et solutae.
57 (vv. 45f.) Melampus, the son of Amythaon, was a famous seer in mythology (Vergil, Georgics III.55o Amythaoniusque Melampus points the way to the successful restoration of this line) I do not know what, if any, specific myth about him and some hero André had in mind.
As for the Pope’s ambassy, which as went by Adrian de Castello an Italian legate, (and perhaps as those times were might have prevailed more,) it came too late for the ambassy, but not for the ambassador. For passing through England and being honourably entertained and received by King Henry (who ever applied himself with much respect to the see of Rome), he fell into great grace with the King, and great familiarity and friendship with Morton the Chancellor. Insomuch as the King taking a likeing to him and finding him to his mind, preferred him to the bishoprick of Hereford, and afterwards to that of Bath and Wells, and employed him in many of his affairs of state that had relation to Rome. He was a man of great learning, wisdom, and dexterity in business of state; and having not long after ascended to the degree of cardinal, payed the King large tribute of his gratitude in diligent and judicious advertisement of the occurrents of Italy.
Castellesi was an eminent Latinist, the author of, inter alia, De Sermone Latino (Basel, 1513) and the poem De Venatione (Venice, 1534). Hence the respect he earned from his fellow-Humanist André evidenced in the following verses.
58 AD LEGATUM SUMMI PONTIFICIS Meter: hendecasyllables. For the first four lines cf. Statius, Silvae II.vii.41ff. (this poem waas written in praise of the Roman poet Lucan, and according to André in this poem, the Cardinal came from Lucca):
Et dixit, “puer o dicate Musis,
Longaevos cito transiture vates,
Non tu flumina nec greges ferarum
Nec plectro Geticas movebis ornos.
Cedet Musa rudis ferocis Enni
Et docti furor arduus Lucreti.
58 (v. 11) Cf. Silvae II.vii.21f., quoted above.
Felix heu nimis et beata tellus,
Quae pronos Hyperionis meatus
Summis Oceani vides in undis
Forma, simplicitate, comitate,
Censu, sanguine, gratia, decore,
It is not clear whether Fama for Forma and Sensu for Censu are changes deliberately introduced by André or copying errors.
59 Non longe post See the discussion of this episode in the Introduction with references cited.
roseis Aurora quadrigis
iam medium aetherio cursu traiecerat axem.
ecce vigil nitido patefecit ab ortu
purpureas Aurora fores et plena rosarum
atria: diffugiunt stellae, quarum agmina cogit
Lucifer et caeli statione novissimus exit.
67 (v. 3) The ms. has Arctoris, which Gairdner emended to Arctois. This would be non-problematical, had this poem been written to celebrate Henry’s earlier victory over the Yorkist forces of Lambert Semnel at the Battle of Stoke Field, fought alongside the river Trent. But finibus Arctois seems a strange way of designating France, especially because the previous poem in this cycle is about a new day dawning for England as Henry returns home from France (i. e., he is coming home from the east, not the north). Either the true reading is something else, or this poem indeed was originally written for the earlier occasion and Andreas chose to recycle it for use at this time, but did not think to make the necessary change to adapt it to its new context (speaking in favor of Finibus Arctois as the right reading is the appearance of this phrase at Lucan, Bellum Civile I.482).
Cf. magna comitante caterva at Aeneid II.40 and 370,
67 (v. 1) See the note on 50 (v. 33).
Constitit ut capto iussus deponere miles
67 (vv. 7ff.) André is evidently describing the triumph celebrated by the emperor Domitian in the year 82, at which time he assumed the title Germanicus. Cf. Martial VII.vi, written to celebrate the occasion:
Ecquid Hyperboreis ad nos conversus ab oris
Ausonias Caesar iam parat ire vias?
Certus abest auctor, sed vox hoc nuntiat omnis:
Credo tibi, verum dicere, Fama, soles.
Publica victrices testantur gaudia chartae,
Martia laurigera cuspide pila virent.
Rursus, io, magnos clamat tibi Roma triumphos
Invictusque tua, Caesar, in urbe sonas.
Sed iam laetitiae quo sit fiducia maior,
Sarmaticae laurus nuntius ipse veni.
67 (vv. 19ff.) Gairdner thought that lines are missing after Te mitte repostum, but if we read Sidus hebet for Sidus eras in line 23, that is not really necessary. The general idea seems to be that, thanks to the baleful influence of Scorpio, Mars overwhelmed the other planets and came to dominate the heaven, with the help of his henchman Orion, with the result that warfare prevailed on earth, until God intervened to set things right. It is based on Lucan, Bellum Civile I.658ff. (where there is no similar rescuing divine intervention):
Tu, qui flagrante minacem
Scorpion incendis cauda chelasque peruris,
quid tantum, Gradive, paras? Nam mitis in alto
Iuppiter occasu premitur, Venerisque salubre
sidus hebet, motuque celer Cyllenius haeret,
et caelum Mars solus habet. Cur signa meatus
deseruere suos mundoque obscura feruntur,
ensiferi nimium fulget latus Orionis?
Inminet armorum rabies, ferrique potestas
confundet ius omne manu, scelerique nefando.
In the light of this passage, it is tempting to think that in line 23 André wrote Sidus hebet Ioviale, and that something is wrong in lines 20ff.: at minimum, flagrante minaci cannot be right because we have two modifiers rather than a modifier and a noun, and both the Lucan passage and the astrological consideration that Mars is the ruler of Scorpio suggest that Mars should be doing the infecting rather than suffering the infection.
Sed iam pompa venit – linguis animisque favete!
Tempus adest plausus – aurea pompa venit.
67 (vv. 37f.) For arte...Apollinea cf. Ovid, Ibis 264 and Tristia III.iii.10. Cf. expromere voces at Aeneid II.280, Lucan, Bellum Civile I.360, and Statius, Thebais II.101 (all at line-end).
Tempora Phoebea lauro cingetur ‘io’ que
miles ‘io’ magna voce ‘triumphe’ cane.
Num quia perpetuos meruit domus ista triumphos,
an quia Leucadio semper amata deo est?
Cf. also Aeneid I.457, iam fama totum vulgata per orbem.
utque viret semper laurus nec fronde caduca
carpitur, aeternum sic habet illa decus?
68 Legimus itidem Herculi evenisse Hercules’ wife Deianeira became suspicious of his interest in another woman, named Iole, so she smeared some of the carefully-saved blood of the centaur Nessus on a tunic and gave it to Hercules, trusting that it would act as a love potion and return him to her. Unfortunately, the centaur had lied. The blood contained not a love potion, but a powerful poison. When Hercules put on the tunic, it burned. He was in such excruciating pain that he wanted to die and had a funeral pyre built for himself. He then mounted it and had it lit. He died, but was taken up to heaven, so he quite literally was “tested, like gold in a furnace.”
69 Iuno quondam huic regi altera Duchess Margaret of Burgundy (the sister of Edward IV and Richard III) was a diehard Yorkist and the sponsor of both Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck. Because she was Henry’s inveterate enemy, always stirring up trouble, beginning here André repeatedly identifies her as “Juno”: i. e. he equates her with Aeneas’ great opponent in the Aeneid.
72 Troianus ille Duchess Margaret herself acknowledges the Vergilian equation by identifying Henry as her Trojan Aeneas. As a descendent of Cadwallader, Henry is ultimatedly descended from the Trojan refugee Brutus, the eponymous founder of Britain.
73 Inter quos quia excellenti sacrarum litterarum scientia These individuals were William Richeforde, provincial of the Blackfriars, Dr. William Sutton, a London theologian, and William Worsley, Dean of St. Pauls (André did not know his name, and so left a blank here).