The themes John Skelton wrote about
John Skelton possibly born in Diss Norfolk, was an English poet.
He is said to have been educated at Oxford. He certainly studied at Cambridge, and he is probably the "one Scheklton" mentioned by William Cole as taking his M.A. degree in 1484. In 1490, William Caxton writes of him, in the preface to The Boke of Eneydos compyled by Vyrgyle, in terms which prove that he had already won a reputation as a scholar. "But I pray mayster John Skelton," he says, "late created poete laureate in the unyversite of Oxenforde, to oversee and correct this sayd booke ... for him I know for suffycyent to expowne and englysshe every dyffyculte that is therin. For he hath late translated the epystlys of Tulle, and the boke of dyodorus siculus, and diverse other works ... in polysshed and ornate termes craftely ... suppose he hath drunken of Elycons well."
The laureateship referred to was a degree in rhetoric. In 1493 Skelton received the same honour at Cambridge, and also, it is said, at Leuven. He found a patron in the pious and learned countess of Richmond, Henry VII's mother, for whom he wrote Of Mannes Lyfe the Peregrynacioun, a translation, now lost, of Guillaume de Deguilleyule's Pèlerinage de la vie humaine. An elegy "Of the death of the noble prince Kynge Edwarde the forth," included in some of the editions of the Mirror for Magistrates, and another (1489) on the death of Henry Percy, fourth earl of Northumberland, are among his earliest poems.
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