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The Tudor Society

6 February – Thomas Cutwode and his dodgy works

On this day in Tudor history, 6th February 1561, poet Tailboys Dymoke (pseudonym Thomas Cutwode) was baptised at Kyme in Lincolnshire.

Dymoke, or Cutwode, is known for his allegorical poem, The Bumble Bee, a political satire which was apparently rather dodgy! He also got into trouble for writing a slanderous play and poem. An interesting man who liked to play with fire!

You can read The Bumble Bee on Google Books at Google Books - click here.

Also on this day in Tudor history, 6th February 1557, the remains of Protestants Martin Bucer and Paul Fagius were exhumed and publicly burned, after being posthumously found guilty of heresy. Find out more in last year's video:

Also on this day in history:

  • 1585 – Death of Edmund Plowden, lawyer, legal scholar and law reporter, in London. He was laid to rest in the Middle Temple Church. Cambridge University libraries and the British Library contain manuscripts of his commentaries and opinions, and he is known for his 1571 “ Les comentaries ou les reportes de Edmunde Plowden” volume of law reports covering cases during the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.

Transcript:

On this day in Tudor history, 6th February 1561, poet Tailboys Dymoke (pseudonym Thomas Cutwode) was baptised at Kyme in Lincolnshire. He was the son of Sir Robert Dymoke, and his wife, Bridget (née Clinton).

Dymoke is known for his allegorical poem, Caltha poetarum, or, “The Bumble Bee”, which he published in 1599 under the name of Thomas Cutwode, “cut wood” being the English translation of Dymoke's first name, the French “taille-bois”. The poem comprises 187 seven-line stanzas, so is rather long.

Julie M Walker, in “Dissing Elizabeth: Negative Representations of Gloriana”, describes it as a “pornographic political satire” and explains that the Lincolnshire garden setting of the poem “is populated by a series of plants representing royal houses, monarchs and court flatterers”. Leslie Hotson, a scholar of Elizabethan literary puzzles, speculated that the bumble bee was Dymoke, Caltha, the marigold, was one of Queen Elizabeth I’s maids of honour, and Diana was the queen. Now you’re going to have to read it, aren’t you?

Other works by Dymoke include a slanderous poem which he and his brother Edward were accused of writing about their uncle, Henry Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, which was called “Faunus his Four Poetical Furies”. Unfortunately, that poem does not survive. Dymoke also wrote a play, in which he also acted, “The Death of the Lord of Kyme”, which was performed at Kyme in August 1601. Dymoke and his brother were charged with “contriving and acting a stage play … containing scurrilous and slanderous matter”, amongst other things, after the Earl of Lincoln complained. The earl won his case and according to Dymoke’s biographer, Eleri Larkum, although those involved suffered severe penalties, “Dymoke, however, escaped the judgment”.
Dymoke died before February 1603.

He sounds like rather an interesting chappy.

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6 February – Thomas Cutwode and his dodgy works