|

“Cute Torturers”

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 CUTE TORTURERS

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The Wakefield Master, the anonymous fifteenth-century poet and dramatist who wrote large portions of the Towneley play cycle, is arguably one of the most imaginative aesthetic thinkers of late medieval England. His Play of the Dice [Processus Talorum] takes on the late medieval aesthetic modalities involving a particular biblical scene: that of the Roman soldiers who, at the moment of Christ’s crucifixion, cast lots (and in later medieval tradition, play dice) for Christ’s “seamless garment.” The scene of the soldiers who cast lots for Christ’s garment is an important one: it is prophesied in Psalm 22, it is described in all four gospels (Matt 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:24), and it is the occasion of one of the better known biblical passages, the moment when Christ looks down from the crucifix, sees the men playing lots for his garment, and says “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). In medieval Europe these characters were often understood to be the same men who mocked, scourged, and crucified Christ; they were known as “torturers,” and they were sometimes imagined in a particular way: that is, as dicing dandies whose obsession with frivolous things––fashion, gambling, dancing, and buffoonery––makes their vicious treatment of Christ all the more monstrous.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 In the hands of the Wakefield Master, who layers into his work an aesthetic self- consciousness more sophisticated and ironic than most cycle dramatists, the potential for humor in the Play of the Dice lies in the alarming aesthetic presence of these torturers. As the main characters of the play, their predilections for stylized amusement are dramatized across a variety of registers, each of which tugs mercilessly at the soberness of the tragedy that has just taken place for humanity in the form of the Crucifixion. Their frolicking, silly demeanor; their love of pranks and games; their doggerel, tail-rhyme speeches; their puns, jokes, and simplistic verbal humor; their obsession with their own garish appearance and attire; their social and intellectual stupidity and uncouthness; their girth and physical awkwardness when they attempt to prance and dance; their mannered displays of neediness and cowardice––such performances present the torturers as aestheticized, childish figures of naïve, inappropriate merriment whose moral deficiencies shift, by the end of the play, from abhorrent to almost forgivable. At the same time, these combined elements effectively instrumentalize the torturers as aesthetic dummies, there to reflect, perform, and in many ways absorb the affective blow––the emotional impact, tortured atmosphere, and symbolic weight––of the Crucifixion itself.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 The Wakefield cycle is known as the most literary of the medieval cycle plays, and previous scholars have noted a central concern with the abuse of language in the cycle, in which simple, artless speech is associated with virtuous characters and overly-clever, stylized speech is associated with morally reprehensible one 1 Martin Stevens has described the implicit paradox of this theme, where excessive attention to linguistic and poetic expression becomes both the mark of the play’s brilliance and the symbol of its moral complicity with its content: “For it is in the very excess of language,” he states, “that the Wakefield plays are most dazzling and most engaging to the reader. It seems that the Wakefield author willfully provided a caution against the very fiber of his own art, as if to warn that the voice of poetry in the context of the highest verities can beguile its auditors.” 2 Modern readers have certainly been beguiled; Rosemary Woolf described the play’s poetic innovations as “almost inexplicable invention,” though she stopped short of open praise, saying that the poet’s “ambitious attempt at a tour de force…was not quite successful.” 3

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 My approach in this essay is to explore the affective impact of the hyper-aestheticized world created by the Wakefield poet. The impressive aesthetic environment the poet creates for the first post-Crucifixion play of the cycle is not strictly linguistic—the material expressions found in the play reveal some radical experiments with texture and pattern there as well––nor is it strictly concerned with the moral implications of linguistic abuse. Rather, it seems to demonstrate an abiding concern with exploring the extent to which aesthetic expression–– especially non-sublime, non-beautiful aesthetic expression––mobilizes and organizes affective responses from viewers and listeners. Guiding this analysis will be a rethinking of the ways that aesthetic categories of every day social life, what Sianne Ngai calls “vernacular, unofficial styles,” may have helped late medieval audiences to process certain materialistic, aestheticized demands of their (necessarily post-Crucifixion) world. 4

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0
Silly, Serious, (Sleepy) Pontius Pilate

The aesthetics of vernacularity itself is on display from the play’s first monologue, spoken by Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect responsible for authorizing Christ’s crucifixion. It is the night of the Crucifixion, which has just taken place off stage (or more precisely, in the previous play of the cycle, the Crucifixion). Pilate opens with a long, 91-line rant that simultaneously establishes his tyrannical character and attempts to quell audience noise, demanding in various ways that audience members recognize his god-like power and authority, and threatening to kill them in equally various ways if they do not. Typical of the Wakefield Master’s tyrants, however, the primary mode of Pilate’s monologue is flamboyant verbal showmanship. This begins with linguistic structure: the speech starts with a 13-line stanza in Latin, the only stanza exclusively in Latin in the cycle, which then slips into four equally long stanzas of half-Latin, half-Middle English lines, and finally ends with a smattering of shorter stanzas in Middle English only. The rhyme scheme of Pilate’s speech is equally elaborate and devolutionary: the first Latin stanza begin as a wall of sound, eight consecutive lines ending in identical monorhyme—in rime riche, no less––after which the stanza shapes itself into four lines in tail-rhyme format (aaaaaaaabcccb). Unlike the perfect Latin rhymes of the homogenous initial stanza, the macaronic tail-rhyme stanzas that follow (using the newly-alternating rhyme structure ababababcdddc) include imperfect rhymes and some slant rhymes. By line 66, when Pilate switches to speaking English-only, the characteristic 13-line tail-rhyme stanza form in which he has been speaking breaks apart into several shorter stanzas of fragmented or reversed-order tail rhyme schemes. Tellingly, after completing this exhaustive display of technical bravura, Pilate goes to sleep.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Pilate’s spectacular opening speech does some fascinating things with poetic form, not only in the way it plays with the different textures of Latin and Middle English rhyme and rhythm, but also in the way it appears to explore its own stanza structure, reorganizing the Wakefield Master’s signature 13-line stanza into a series of different forms that seem to comment on their own aesthetic and structural creation. There is an argument to be made elsewhere about the Wakefield Master’s unlimited energy for aesthetic innovation in this play, and in particular, the way he ties the capacity for invention to his morally fraught characters. He seems to be writing for two audiences—one, the kind of literary elite who can recognize the radical nature of his formal experiments, and two, the boisterous local audience that will experience the performative impact of that aesthetic. The Wakefield Master’s verses are hybrid in another way as well, in that they seek to heighten the often jarring differences between what characters say and how they say it––between content and style. What the characters say is often terrifying; how they say it is often—well, in Ngai’s terms, rather cute.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 One example is in the Latin parts of Pilate’s speech. If the audience member understands Latin, he or she would hear a series of sharp commands, boasts, and threats in short order:
Cernite qui statis
Quod mire sim probitatis; Hec cognoscatis,
Vos cedam ni taceatis. Cuncti discatis
Quasi sistam vir deitatis Et maiestatis;
Michi fando ne noceatis, Hoc modo mando.
Neue loquaces Siue dicaces, Poscite paces Dum fero fando.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 [Notice, you who stand (by)
That I am of wondrous valor;
Know this,
I will slay you unless you keep quiet.
Learn, all of you
That I am a man of god-like nature
And majesty;
Do not harm me by speaking,
Thus I command.
(Be) neither talkative
Nor garrulous,
Demand peace
While I speak.]
For the general lay audience, however, the meaning of Pilate’s speech would have been severely blunted by the fact and form of its Latin register. Verbal swagger being a hallmark of the Wakefield Master’s villainous characters, Pilate’s lengthy and “rhymey” use of Latin necessarily marks him as a pompous braggart who speaks high style nonsense 5 For the lay audience, Pilate’s arrogant directives that they must, under pain of death, keep quiet and notice, know, and learn what he dictates, can offer at best an empty, if rhythmic demonstration of Latinate sounds, and at worst a blast of ardent blather. Even when the form of his monologue breaks down to include whole lines in Middle English, his aggressive commands in Latin such as Caveatis! [Beware!] (22) and its tail rhyme twin, Me paveatis! [Tremble before me!] (26) have a similar effect—that of a deadly threat muted almost entirely by its inaccessible linguistic casing. What is meant by Pilate to be verbally piercing, vicious, terrifying, and commanding is aesthetically redirected to present instead as verbally silly, flouncy, misguided, and nonsensical.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 The aesthetic mobilization and manipulation of Pilate’s language can be helpfully understood through Ngai’s work on mute poetics. Mute poetics cutify language in various ways, beginning with littleness––the minimizing and objectifying of poems, poetic lines, and words––and extending to the poetic practices that explore noncommunicative or nonconceptual language such as deverbalization 6 That Pilate’s use of Latin poetics is largely intended to fall on deaf ears engages an aesthetic of diminished intelligibility––perhaps benign unintelligibility––that softens and tenderizes the aggressiveness of the speech as well as the man who says it. Performed in a certain way, this speech has the potential to make Pilate’s tyrannical nature seem pitiful and pitiable, to compel a certain kind of affective response from an audience predisposed to respond in a certain way to aestheticized powerlessness. Importantly, the paradox of Pilate’s stylized, high-performing yet mute, incommunicative speech ties into a series of other binaries that structure the play’s aesthetic interests and judgments––noise/silence, vernacular/Latin, hyperactivity/stillness, and stylization/simplicity––and tie them to the most fundamental aesthetic judgment in the cycle plays, that associated with God. In the larger cycle, God––the person playing God on stage––is a profoundly silent, still, and serious character, often saying nothing, or no more than a few words at a time 7 While Pilate mimics God in a variety of ways, including most likely wearing a gilded mask over his face, his mimicry of God’s capacity for muteness intensifies the performative impact of Pilate’s aesthetic because it fails so miserably 8 Designed from the beginning to be thwarted, Pilate’s obsession with peace and quiet––his own as well as others––provides much of the humor in the speech, turning his quest for silence into a kind of ongoing joke where the precious, desired objective is increasingly poked, prodded, and squeezed until Pilate, vexed to the point of distraction, loses his temper and explodes in another round of excessive (self-deflating, self-defeating) verbalization.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 Take for example the exasperation evident in Pilate’s final Latin lines, followed by the moment when he shifts into Middle English for the rest of his monologue and for the rest of the play:
Silete,
In generali
Sic speciali;
Yit agane byd I,
Iura tenete!

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 Loke that no boy be to bustus, blast here for to blaw,
Bot truly to me talkyng loke that ye be intendyng.
If here be any boy that will not lout till oure law,
By myghty Mahowne, hygh shall he hyng!
(61-69)

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 [Be silent,
In general [and]
In particular;
Yet again, I command,
Obey the laws!

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 Look that no boy be too noisy, blowing a (verbal) blast,
But truly look that you listen to my talking.
If there is any boy that will not succumb to our law,
By mighty Mahowne, he shall be hung high!]

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Here we see the extent to which Pilate’s final Latin words are deliberately made small, truncated to a mere three to five syllables per line and fetishized into a littleness that cannot help but claim attention to itself. As happens throughout his speech, Pilate’s repeated and strident calls for law-abiding silence signal the difficulty he experiences in bringing his audience to complete attention; his attempts to perform strength and command are undermined at every turn by the apparent refusal of select audience members to be silent. His final shortened, staccato bursts of sibilant Latin in this passage––Silete…Sic speciali––might be seen as a indignant shushing of his impudent audience, a performative analogous to that of another humorously if anachronistically frustrated tyrant, Dr. Evil from the movie Austin Powers, whose annoyed, patriarchal shhh! shhh! suffices in a distinctly non-verbal way to shush his son’s adolescent resistance. Remarkably, rather than shushing his audience into silence, however, Pilate’s punishing Latin is the thing silenced.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 Pilate’s shift to Middle English in this passage offers another form of cutified poetic language and another comment on the aesthetic of silence: while the final Latin lines are foreshortened, clipped, and deverbalized, the Middle English lines, by comparison, are maximized and overstuffed––long, tumbling lines of thirteen or fourteen syllables crammed full of unfussy alliterative English words and sounds. What takes two words in Latin––Iura tenete (65)––takes twelve in Middle English (68). Instead of addressing the entire audience, here he singles out the kind of audience member that most irks him––the unruly “boy” in the crowd who “blasts” him with his babbling––some impressive alliterative mouthfeel here––instead of listening to Pilate talk 9 The dramatic intention of this statement must be paradoxical: such a calling out of the youth in the audience would no doubt have encouraged more catcalling, heightening the power play of audience participation instead of quelling it. By the end of this speech, moreover, Pilate’s demands for silence have shifted their objective: he no longer commands peace and quiet so that his own voice can dominate, but for a more mundane purpose, so that he can go to bed:

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 He has myster of nyghtys rest that nappys not in nonyng.
Boy, lay me downe softly and hap me well from cold;
Loke that no laddys noy me, nawder with cryyng nor with cronyng,
Nor in my sight ones greue me so bold.

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 If ther be any boyes that make any cry,
Or els that will not obey me,
He were better be hangyd hy
Then in my sight ones mefe me.
(84-91)

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 The aesthetics of sleep, as Daniel Harris points out, is inherently cute. Its appeal stems from the sleeping object’s vulnerability and docility, its “languorous postures” and “defenseless immobility” 10 Pilate still has the capacity to be frightening, of course. When he spouts the seemingly innocuous proverb “He masters a night’s rest who naps not at noon,” it serves as a chilling reminder of what Pilate was doing that day instead of napping––ie, sentencing Christ to death. Yet, in a complete reversal of his previous threats in Latin, Pilate’s citing of an English proverb––about naps, no less––also firmly situates him in the realm of the aesthetically familiar and pleasing. The person who cites a proverb is not a threat; he or she uses indirection to rest in the cushion of common wisdom––predictable, comfortable, cheerfully banal 11 The inherent cuteness of Pilate’s sleepiness is further enhanced by his attempts to get cozy—his requests that his servant lay him down softly and keep him from cold imply some sort of soft bedding and blanket to nuzzle––and also by the protective nature of his servant: Pilate has become someone malleable and vulnerable, who needs soft petting and security so he can dose.

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 Like his previously frustrated attempts to create silence, however, Pilate’s carefully-orchestrated sleep is destined to be interrupted. Not the “boyes” from the audience, but another, not-unrelated group of unruly young men interrupt his peace and quiet with their excited chatter and activity. Moments after Pilate lays down his head, the first Torturer arrives on the scene, singing a jaunty tail-rhyme monologue about his role in the Crucifixion.

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 Torturer-Cute
Like his treatment of Pilate, the Wakefield Master’s treatment of Christ’s three Torturers in the Play of the Dice instrumentalizes vernacular aesthetics as its primary mode of artistry and amusement. The Torturers are stylized to best display their childish, brash, pranking, fun-loving, stupid, frantic behaviors; in many ways they might be said to straddle Ngai’s categories of the “zany” and the “cute” by combining haphazard, manic physicality and brutality with infantilizing neediness, dejection, loss, and disempowerment.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 The play uses several poetic and structural devices to characterize the Torturers in a way that invokes Ngai’s notion of poetic cuteness, starting with the curtailing of Pilate’s macaronic 13-line stanzas into regularized 8-line double tail-rhyme stanzas in a swinging, thumping English doggerel verse 12 Each Torturer enters the scene after having sprinted there from the Mount at Calvary where the Crucifixion took place, and each opens his monologue with a formulaic warning to the audience to “War, war!” [Beware, Beware!], along with a boast about his own badassery. Each speech is also noticeably shorter and more brash than the previous: Torturer #1, who is the most refined and attractive of the torturers, gets there first and speaks for a full 5 stanzas; Torturer #2, a crass prankster who says he ran so fast to get there that he nearly “beshytt” his britches (138), is given four stanzas to make his case; and Torturer #3, slow, fat, and violent, who says he “brysten both my balok-stones” (broke his balls) to get there (166) and that his favorite pastimes are murdering and hanging others (169), is allowed a speech of only two and a half stanzas. This is cute poetics in triplicate, where the excessive use of playful, slightly dubious poetic practices by indistinguishable characters––doggerel, tail-rhyme, repeat tag-lines, verbal jokes, and puns––creates a parody of villainous style 13

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 Moreover, the torturers display not only stylized speech, but also alarmingly stylized gestures and behavior. In explicit in contrast with Pilate, who, when finally woken from his sleep, maintains his inactive presence by being carried around by his servant and placed on his chair, an imitation of Christ’s extreme passivity that seems to last for much of the play, the Torturers are presented as excessively mannered jesters or minstrels, not only running to the scene at top speed, but also skipping, leaping, and dancing their way through their lines. In a typical moment of self-narrated hyperactivity, Torturer #2 can’t help but exclaim “I will lepe and I will skyp / As I were now out of my wytt” (136-37) when he arrives upon the scene.

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 As the first to arrive, Torturer #1 carries the object with him on stage upon which the rest of the play’s action and language is centered: Christ’s seamless garment. This garment is referenced by various nicknames throughout the play––including words like “harness” and “frog”––and while it is not always clear who has possession of it throughout the action that ensues, it seems likely that the prop passes from character to character at key moments 14 Suffice to say, the seamless garment, like the body it once dressed and now symbolizes, represents a kind of exaggerated passivity. Like the sacrificial body it once dressed, the garment is destined to be manipulated, toyed with, and pawed––or as Ngai put it, when describing the affectionate mauling of cute objects, “excitedly loved and mutilated” 15 Daniel Harris also describes the compelling physical passivity of cuteness, which creates a perverse attraction, “a world of stationary objects and tempting exteriors that deliver themselves up to us, putting themselves at our disposal and allowing themselves to be apprehended entirely through the senses” 16 Moreover, because the play takes place during the nighttime, when most people, including Pilate as we’ve seen, are asleep, the garment has the feel of a transitional object, an object of comfort that is carried from one scene to the next (and from one play to the next, since it was taken off Christ’s body in the previous play of the cycle) and that protects its new childish owners from real and imaginary fears. Torturer #1 states as much at the end of his monologue, addressing the mythical protective powers of the seamless garment and also drawing comparative attention to the clothing worn by the Torturers themselves:
For whosoeuer may get thise close,
He ther neuer rek where he gose,
For he semys nothyng to lose,
If so be he theym were.
But now, now felose, stand on rowme,
For he commes, shrewes, vnto this towne,
And we will all togeder rowne,
So semely in oure gere. (124-31)

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 [For whoever may get these clothes
He never cares where he goes
For he seems to lose nothing
If he wears them.
But now, now fellows, stand aside
For here come shrews into this town
And we will all together talk
So “seemly” in our clothes.]

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 The fact that the speaker draws attention to the Torturers’ own “semely,” or becoming clothes means the players were likely wearing some form of ostentatious costume. The tradition of portraying Christ’s torturers as dandified can be seen throughout the visual and plastic arts in medieval Europe, where they are often depicted wearing bright, fashionable garments, bi-colored hose and other excessive finery. As Figures 1-6 show, these images were pervasive and symbolically powerful, sometimes using stripes to literalize the word “torturer,” which comes from the Latin tortūra, meaning twisting [as in Figure 3] and at other times, as evident in the painting by Bosch [Figure 6], vibrant colors and luxurious metalized, gilded, studded, and furred textures worn by the torturers heighten the colorless purity of Christ, in his simple unseamed garment, whom they surround in mock reverence. On stage, such characters also sometimes ornamented their costumes with symbolic objects related to the play’s narrative, such as nails and dice 17

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 The Torturers in the Play of the Dice covet the seamless garment, but other than Torturer #1, they can’t explain exactly why. Torturer #2 can only anticipate his response to the pleasure he will feel upon obtaining the garment:
Both on ernest and on hethyng
This cote I wold I had;
For if I myght this cote gett,
Then wold I both skyp and lepe,
And therto fast both drynke and ete,
In fayth, as I were mad. (158-63)

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 [Both in earnest and in jest
This coat I wish I had;
For if I might this coat get
The would I both skip and leap
And to that fast both drink and eat,
In faith, as (if) I were mad.]

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 Torturer #1, however, is especially receptive to the aesthetic register of his actions, and his attempts to understand the world through his own stylized sensibility serve as a kind of aesthetic minder throughout the play. As mentioned above, he is the character who first brings the seamless garment onto the stage, and appropriately, his favorite word is “semely”: he is the individual who first comments on the garments they all wear, “so semely in oure gere” (131). He also describes spitting in Christ’s face until it is “So semely to my sight” (103); and he describes his own attractiveness in similar terms, stating “I am right semely and fare in the face” (192). He describes Pilate as “semely suffrayn” (247). And, in the best pun of the play, he states, when the torturers are looking for a place to cut the seamless garment, that “Most semely is, in certan, the seym to assay” (296): it would certainly be most seemly to test the seam.

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 To fully understand the central sartorial joke in this play about a seamless garment, one has to understand a certain aspect of contemporary fashionable attire. That is, fashionable garments in the fifteenth-century were literally covered with seams, following the demand for cut-to-fit shapes, and multi-colored, multi-tiered, slashed-and-dagged apparel. The audience would have known this well. As would-be dandies, the torturers would have been associated with this fashion, and their fascination with the seamless garment, and their attempt to part the garment at its seam literalizes the aesthetic impulse of their age in a way that is both clever and cute.

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 Notes:

  1. 32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0
  2. See especially Martin Stevens, “The Playwright as Poet,” in Four Middle English Mystery Cycles: Textual, Contextual, and Critical Interpretations (Princeton UP, 1987), 157-58.
  3. Stevens, “The Playwright as Poet,” 161.stopped short of open praise, saying that the poet’s “ambitious attempt at a tour de force…
  4. Rosemary Woolf, The English Mystery Plays (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972), 267-68.
  5. Sianne Ngai, Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2012), 29.
  6. All quotations taken from The Towneley Plays, 2 vols, ed. Martin Stevens and A. C. Cawley (Oxford UP for EETS, 1994). On “verbal swagger” see vol. 2, p. 584.
  7. Ngai, especially 87-109.
  8. See Stevens, “The Playwright as Poet,” the Wakefield Master’s work as a kind of “counter-language,” in opposition to the speech of God and Jesus. See also John Gardner on God speaking in “flat statements of fact” in the plays. The Construction of the Wakefield Cycle (Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1974), 17-18.
  9. On the possibility that Pilate wears a golden mask, see The Towneley Plays, vol. 2, p. 585.
  10. See Ngai, 98, on nondiscursive babbling and the poetic “abuse” their verbal objects as a citifying practice.
  11. Daniel Harris, Cute, Quaint, Hungry and Romantic: The Aesthetics of Consumerism (Da Capo Press, 2000), 7. Also Ngai, 94.
  12. See Ngai, however, on the ways that “already-said language” can also be used aggressively (96). On the rhetorical comfort of proverbs, see Kwesi Yankah, “Proverbs: The Aesthetics of Traditional Communication” Research in African Literatures 20.3 (Autumn, 1989): 325-346, esp. 326-8.
  13. Ngai, 70.
  14. On the Torturers’ use of rhyming nonsense, see Woolf, 255. On the ludic sensibility of medieval cycle plays, in which Christ’s torturers “turn almost all their necessary actions into competitive games,” see V.A. Kolve, The Play Called Corpus Christi (Stanford UP, 1966), quotation 182.
  15. Stevens and Cawley, 586n117. Pilate also appears to grab the garment from one of the Torturers at line 264.
  16. Ngai, 89; see also 93 on the exaggerated passivity of cute things.
  17. Harris, 8-9.
  18. The Coventry Smiths’ accounts for 1490, for example, describe “iiij Jakketts of blake bokeram for Þe tormentors with nayles & dysse upon Þem” (see Coventry 73/21-1).
Page 5

Source: http://retrofuturismofcuteness.net/cute-torturers/