Chronology:Palm Play

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1540c.2 Nobleman Recalls "Palm Play" in Royal Court

Game:

Palm Play

Age of Players:

Youth

 

So cruel prison how could betide,alas,

As proud Windsor [Castle]? Where I in lust [pleasure] and joy

With a king's son my childish years did pass

. . .

Where each of us did plead the other's right;

The palm play [handball?], where despoiled [disrobed] for the  game,

With dazed eyes oft we by gleams of love

Have missed the ball and got sight of our dame,  

 

[The full selection, and email notes by John Bowman, are shown below.]  

Sources:

Henry Howard (Earl of Surrey), So Cruel a Prison, Norton Anthology of Poetry, 3rd edition, 1983:  from Songes and sonettes, written by the right honourable Lorde Henry Howard, late Earle of Surrey (London, A. R. Tottel, 1557).

Comment:

We are not certain that "palm play" could have been a baserunning game.  It may be an Anglicized form of jeu de paume, a likely French antecedent to tennis.

The reference to "large grene courtes" in the full ball-play stanza suggests a tennis or handball-type pastime.

 

Query:

Have scholars indicated the likely nature of "palm play?"  Could it have involved the batting of a ball with the palm?

Circa
1540
Item
1540c.2
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Source Text


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