Romance of the Rose – Fragment C

By Geoffrey Chaucer

RomC 5811 Whanne Love hadde told hem his entente,
RomC 5812 The baronage to councel wente.
RomC 5813 In many sentences they fille,
RomC 5814 And dyversely they seide hir wille;
RomC 5815 But aftir discord they accorded,
RomC 5816 And her accord to Love recorded.
RomC 5817 “Sir,” seiden they, “we ben at on,
RomC 5818 Bi evene accord of everichon,
RomC 5819 Out-take Richesse al oonly,
RomC 5820 That sworen hath ful hauteynly,
RomC 5821 That she the castel nyl not assaile,
RomC 5822 Ne smyte a strok in this bataile,
RomC 5823 With darte, ne mace, spere, ne knyf,
RomC 5824 For man that spekith or berith the lyf,
RomC 5825 And blameth youre emprise, iwys,
RomC 5826 And from oure hoost departed is,
RomC 5827 Atte leste wey, as in this plyt,
RomC 5828 So hath she this man in dispit.
RomC 5829 For she seith he ne loved hir never,
RomC 5830 And therfore she wole hate hym evere.
RomC 5831 For he wole gadre no tresor,
RomC 5832 He hath hir wrath for evermor.
RomC 5833 He agylte hir never in other caas,
RomC 5834 Lo, heere all hoolly his trespas!
RomC 5835 She seith wel that this other day
RomC 5836 He axide hir leve to gon the way
RomC 5837 That is clepid To-Moche-Yevyng,
RomC 5838 And spak full faire in his praiyng;
RomC 5839 But whanne he praiede hir, pore was he,
RomC 5840 Therfore she warned hym the entre.
RomC 5841 Ne yit is he not thryven so
RomC 5842 That he hath geten a peny or two
RomC 5843 That quytly is his owne in hold.
RomC 5844 Thus hath Richesse us alle told,
RomC 5845 And whanne Richesse us this recorded,
RomC 5846 Withouten hir we ben accorded.
RomC 5847 “And we fynde in oure accordaunce
RomC 5848 That Fals-Semblant and Abstinaunce,
RomC 5849 With all the folk of her bataille,
RomC 5850 Shull at the hyndre gate assayle,
RomC 5851 That Wikkid-Tunge hath in kepyng,
RomC 5852 With his Normans full of janglyng.
RomC 5853 And with hem Curtesie and Largesse,
RomC 5854 That shull shewe her hardynesse
RomC 5855 To the olde wyf that kepte so harde
RomC 5856 Fair-Welcomyng withynne her warde.
RomC 5857 Thanne shal Delit and Wel-Heelynge
RomC 5858 Fonde Shame adown to brynge;
RomC 5859 With all her oost, erly and late,
RomC 5860 They shull assailen that ilke gate.
RomC 5861 Agaynes Drede shall Hardynesse
RomC 5862 Assayle, and also Sikernesse,
RomC 5863 With all the folk of her ledyng,
RomC 5864 That never wist what was fleyng.
RomC 5865 “Fraunchise shall fight, and eke Pite,
RomC 5866 With Daunger, full of cruelte.
RomC 5867 Thus is youre hoost ordeyned wel.
RomC 5868 Doun shall the castell every del,
RomC 5869 If everich do his entent,
RomC 5870 So that Venus be present,
RomC 5871 Youre modir, full of vasselage,
RomC 5872 That can ynough of such usage.
RomC 5873 Withouten hir may no wight spede
RomC 5874 This werk, neithir for word ne deede;
RomC 5875 Therfore is good ye for hir sende,
RomC 5876 For thurgh hir may this werk amende.”
RomC 5877 “Lordynges, my modir, the goddesse,
RomC 5878 That is my lady and my maistresse,
RomC 5879 Nis not [at] all at my willyng,
RomC 5880 Ne doth not all my desiryng.
RomC 5881 Yit can she som tyme don labour,
RomC 5882 Whanne that hir lust, in my socour,
RomC 5883 Al my nedes for to acheve,
RomC 5884 But now I thenke hir not to greve.
RomC 5885 My modir is she, and of childhede
RomC 5886 I bothe worshipe hir and eke drede;
RomC 5887 For who that dredith sire ne dame,
RomC 5888 Shal it abye in body or name.
RomC 5889 And, natheles, yit kunne we
RomC 5890 Sende aftir hir, if nede be;
RomC 5891 And were she nygh, she comen wolde;
RomC 5892 I trowe that nothyng myght hir holde.
RomC 5893 “Mi modir is of gret prowesse;
RomC 5894 She hath tan many a forteresse,
RomC 5895 That cost hath many a pound, er this,
RomC 5896 There I nas not present, ywis.
RomC 5897 And yit men seide it was my dede;
RomC 5898 But I com never in that stede,
RomC 5899 Ne me ne likith, so mote I the,
RomC 5900 That such toures ben take withoute me.
RomC 5901 For-why me thenkith that, in no wise,
RomC 5902 It may ben clepid but marchandise.
RomC 5903 “Go bye a courser, blak or whit,
RomC 5904 And pay therfore; than art thou quyt.
RomC 5905 The marchaunt owith thee right nought,
RomC 5906 Ne thou hym, whanne thou it bought.
RomC 5907 I wole not sellyng clepe yevyng,
RomC 5908 For sellyng axeth no guerdonyng:
RomC 5909 Here lith no thank ne no merit;
RomC 5910 That oon goth from that other al quyt.
RomC 5911 But this sellyng is not semblable;
RomC 5912 For whanne his hors is in the stable,
RomC 5913 He may it selle ageyn, parde,
RomC 5914 And wynnen on it, such hap may be;
RomC 5915 All may the man not leese, iwys,
RomC 5916 For at the leest the skyn is his.
RomC 5917 Or ellis, if it so bitide
RomC 5918 That he wole kepe his hors to ride,
RomC 5919 Yit is he lord ay of his hors.
RomC 5920 But thilke chaffare is wel wors,
RomC 5921 There Venus entremetith ought.
RomC 5922 For whoso such chaffare hath bought,
RomC 5923 He shal not worchen so wisely
RomC 5924 That he ne shal leese al outerly
RomC 5925 Bothe his money and his chaffare;
RomC 5926 But the seller of the ware
RomC 5927 The prys and profit have shall.
RomC 5928 Certeyn, the bier shal leese all.
RomC 5929 For he ne can so dere it bye
RomC 5930 To have lordship and full maistrie,
RomC 5931 Ne have power to make lettyng,
RomC 5932 Neithir for yift ne for prechyng,
RomC 5933 That of his chaffare, maugre his,
RomC 5934 Another shal have as moche, iwis,
RomC 5935 If he wol yeve as myche as he,
RomC 5936 Of what contrey so that he be —
RomC 5937 Or for right nought, so happe may,
RomC 5938 If he can flater hir to hir pay.
RomC 5939 Ben thanne siche marchauntz wise?
RomC 5940 No, but fooles in every wise,
RomC 5941 Whanne they bye sich thyng wilfully,
RomC 5942 There as they leese her good fully.
RomC 5943 But natheles, this dar I saye,
RomC 5944 My modir is not wont to paye,
RomC 5945 For she is neither so fool ne nyce
RomC 5946 To entremete hir of sich vice.
RomC 5947 But truste wel, he shal pay all,
RomC 5948 That repent of his bargeyn shall,
RomC 5949 Whanne poverte putte hym in distresse,
RomC 5950 All were he scoler to Richesse,
RomC 5951 That is for me in gret yernyng,
RomC 5952 Whanne she assentith to my willyng.
RomC 5953 “But [by] my modir, seint Venus,
RomC 5954 And by hir fader Saturnus,
RomC 5955 That hir engendride by his lyf —
RomC 5956 But not upon his weddid wyf —
RomC 5957 Yit wole I more unto you swer,
RomC 5958 To make this thyng the seurere —
RomC 5959 Now by that feith and that leaute
RomC 5960 That I owe to all my britheren fre,
RomC 5961 Of which ther nys wight undir heven
RomC 5962 That kan her fadris names neven,
RomC 5963 So dyverse and so many ther be
RomC 5964 That with my modir have be prive!
RomC 5965 Yit wolde I swere, for sikirnesse,
RomC 5966 The pol of helle to my witnesse —
RomC 5967 Now drynke I not this yeer clarre,
RomC 5968 If that I lye or forsworn be!
RomC 5969 (For of the goddes the usage is
RomC 5970 That whoso hym forswereth amys
RomC 5971 Shal that yeer drynke no clarre.)
RomC 5972 Now have I sworn ynough, pardee,
RomC 5973 If I forswere me, thanne am I lorn,
RomC 5974 But I wole never be forsworn.
RomC 5975 Syth Richesse hath me failed heere,
RomC 5976 She shal abye that trespas ful dere,
RomC 5977 Atte leeste wey, but [she] hir arme
RomC 5978 With swerd, or sparth, or gysarme.
RomC 5979 For certis, sith she loveth not me,
RomC 5980 Fro thilke tyme that she may se
RomC 5981 The castell and the tour toshake,
RomC 5982 In sory tyme she shal awake.
RomC 5983 If I may grype a riche man,
RomC 5984 I shal so pulle hym, if I can,
RomC 5985 That he shal in a fewe stoundes
RomC 5986 Lese all his markis and his poundis.
RomC 5987 I shal hym make his pens outslynge,
RomC 5988 But they in his gerner sprynge.
RomC 5989 Oure maydens shal eke pluk hym so
RomC 5990 That hym shal neden fetheres mo,
RomC 5991 And make hym selle his lond to spende,
RomC 5992 But he the bet kunne hym defende.
RomC 5993 “Pore men han maad her lord of me;
RomC 5994 Although they not so myghty be
RomC 5995 That they may fede me in delit,
RomC 5996 I wol not have hem in despit.
RomC 5997 No good man hateth hem, as I gesse,
RomC 5998 For chynche and feloun is Richesse,
RomC 5999 That so can chase hem and dispise,
RomC 6000 And hem defoule in sondry wise.
RomC 6001 They loven full bet, so God me spede,
RomC 6002 Than doth the riche, chynchy gnede,
RomC 6003 And ben, in good feith, more stable
RomC 6004 And trewer and more serviable;
RomC 6005 And therfore it suffisith me
RomC 6006 Her goode herte and her leaute.
RomC 6007 They han on me set all her thought,
RomC 6008 And therfore I forgete hem nought.
RomC 6009 I wol hem bringe in gret noblesse,
RomC 6010 If that I were god of richesse,
RomC 6011 As I am god of love sothly,
RomC 6012 Sich routhe upon her pleynt have I.
RomC 6013 Therfore I must his socour be,
RomC 6014 That peyneth hym to serven me,
RomC 6015 For if he deide for love of this,
RomC 6016 Thanne semeth in me no love ther is.”
RomC 6017 “Sir,” seide they, “soth is every deel
RomC 6018 That ye reherce, and we wote wel
RomC 6019 Thilk oth to holde is resonable;
RomC 6020 For it is good and covenable
RomC 6021 That ye on riche men han sworn.
RomC 6022 For, sir, this wote we wel biforn:
RomC 6023 If riche men don you homage,
RomC 6024 That is as fooles don outrage;
RomC 6025 But ye shull not forsworn be,
RomC 6026 Ne lette therfore to drynke clarre,
RomC 6027 Or pyment makid fresh and newe.
RomC 6028 Ladies shull hem such pepir brewe,
RomC 6029 If that they fall into her laas,
RomC 6030 That they for woo mowe seyn ‘allas!’
RomC 6031 Ladyes shullen evere so curteis be
RomC 6032 That they shal quyte youre oth all free.
RomC 6033 Ne sekith never othir vicaire,
RomC 6034 For they shal speke with hem so faire
RomC 6035 That ye shal holde you paied full wel,
RomC 6036 Though ye you medle never a del.
RomC 6037 Late ladies worche with her thyngis,
RomC 6038 They shal hem telle so fele tidynges,
RomC 6039 And moeve hem eke so many requestis
RomC 6040 Bi flateri, that not honest is,
RomC 6041 And therto yeve hem such thankynges,
RomC 6042 What with kissyng and with talkynges,
RomC 6043 That, certis, if they trowed be,
RomC 6044 Shal never leve hem lond ne fee
RomC 6045 That it nyl as the moeble fare,
RomC 6046 Of which they first delyverid are.
RomC 6047 Now may ye telle us all youre wille,
RomC 6048 And we youre heestes shal fulfille.
RomC 6049 “But Fals-Semblant dar not, for drede
RomC 6050 Of you, sir, medle hym of this dede,
RomC 6051 For he seith that ye ben his foo;
RomC 6052 He not if ye wole worche hym woo.
RomC 6053 Wherfore we pray you alle, beau sire,
RomC 6054 That ye forgyve hym now your ire,
RomC 6055 And that he may dwelle, as your man,
RomC 6056 With Abstinence, his dere lemman;
RomC 6057 This oure accord and oure wille now.”
RomC 6058 “Parfay,” seide Love, “I graunte it yow.
RomC 6059 I wole wel holde hym for my man;
RomC 6060 Now late hym come” — and he forth ran.
RomC 6061 “Fals-Semblant,” quod Love, “in this wise
RomC 6062 I take thee heere to my servise,
RomC 6063 That thou oure freendis helpe alway,
RomC 6064 And hyndre hem neithir nyght ne day,
RomC 6065 But do thy myght hem to releve,
RomC 6066 And eke oure enemyes that thou greve.
RomC 6067 Thyn be this myght, I graunte it thee,
RomC 6068 My kyng of harlotes shalt thou be;
RomC 6069 We wole that thou have such honour.
RomC 6070 Certeyn, thou art a fals traitour,
RomC 6071 And eke a theef; sith thou were born,
RomC 6072 A thousand tyme thou art forsworn.
RomC 6073 But natheles, in oure heryng,
RomC 6074 To putte oure folk out of doutyng,
RomC 6075 I bidde thee teche hem, wostow how,
RomC 6076 Bi som general signe now,
RomC 6077 In what place thou shalt founden be,
RomC 6078 If that men had myster of thee;
RomC 6079 And how men shal thee best espye,
RomC 6080 For thee to knowe is gret maistrie.
RomC 6081 Telle in what place is thyn hauntyng.”
RomC 6082 “Sir, I have fele dyvers wonyng,
RomC 6083 That I kepe not rehersed be,
RomC 6084 So that ye wolde respiten me.
RomC 6085 For if that I telle you the sothe,
RomC 6086 I may have harm and shame bothe.
RomC 6087 If that my felowes wisten it,
RomC 6088 My talis shulden me be quytt;
RomC 6089 For certeyn, they wolde hate me,
RomC 6090 If ever I knewe her cruelte.
RomC 6091 For they wolde overall holde hem stille
RomC 6092 Of trouthe that is ageyne her wille;
RomC 6093 Suche tales kepen they not here.
RomC 6094 I myght eftsoone bye it full deere,
RomC 6095 If I seide of hem ony thing
RomC 6096 That ought displesith to her heryng.
RomC 6097 For what word that hem prikke or biteth,
RomC 6098 In that word noon of hem deliteth,
RomC 6099 Al were it gospel, the evangile,
RomC 6100 That wolde reprove hem of her gile,
RomC 6101 For they are cruel and hauteyn.
RomC 6102 And this thyng wot I well, certeyn,
RomC 6103 If I speke ought to peire her loos,
RomC 6104 Your court shal not so well be cloos
RomC 6105 That they ne shall wite it atte last.
RomC 6106 Of good men am I nought agast,
RomC 6107 For they wole taken on hem nothyng,
RomC 6108 Whanne that they knowe al my menyng;
RomC 6109 But he that wole it on hym take,
RomC 6110 He wole hymsilf suspecious make,
RomC 6111 That he his lyf let covertly
RomC 6112 In Gile and in Ipocrisy
RomC 6113 That me engendred and yaf fostryng.”
RomC 6114 “They made a full good engendryng,”
RomC 6115 Quod Love, “for whoso sothly telle,
RomC 6116 They engendred the devel of helle!
RomC 6117 But nedely, howsoevere it be,”
RomC 6118 Quod Love, “I wole and charge thee
RomC 6119 To telle anoon thy wonyng places,
RomC 6120 Heryng ech wight that in this place is.
RomC 6121 And what lyf that thou lyvest also.
RomC 6122 Hide it no lenger now; wherto?
RomC 6123 Thou most discovere all thi wurchyng,
RomC 6124 How thou servest, and of what thyng,
RomC 6125 Though that thou shuldist for thi soth-sawe
RomC 6126 Ben al tobeten and todrawe —
RomC 6127 And yit art thou not wont, pardee.
RomC 6128 But natheles, though thou beten be,
RomC 6129 Thou shalt not be the first that so
RomC 6130 Hath for sothsawe suffred woo.”
RomC 6131 “Sir, sith that it may liken you,
RomC 6132 Though that I shulde be slayn right now,
RomC 6133 I shal don youre comaundement,
RomC 6134 For therto have I gret talent.”
RomC 6135 Withouten wordis mo, right than,
RomC 6136 Fals-Semblant his sermon bigan,
RomC 6137 And seide hem thus in audience:
RomC 6138 “Barouns, take heede of my sentence!
RomC 6139 That wight that list to have knowing
RomC 6140 Of Fals-Semblant, full of flatering,
RomC 6141 He must in worldly folk hym seke,
RomC 6142 And, certes, in the cloistres eke.
RomC 6143 I wone nowhere but in hem tweye,
RomC 6144 But not lyk even, soth to seye.
RomC 6145 Shortly, I wole herberwe me
RomC 6146 There I hope best to hulstred be,
RomC 6147 And certeynly, sikerest hidyng
RomC 6148 Is undirnethe humblest clothing.
RomC 6149 Religiouse folk ben full covert;
RomC 6150 Seculer folk ben more appert.
RomC 6151 But natheles, I wole not blame
RomC 6152 Religious folk, ne hem diffame,
RomC 6153 In what habit that ever they go.
RomC 6154 Religioun umble and trewe also,
RomC 6155 Wole I not blame ne dispise;
RomC 6156 But I nyl love it, in no wise.
RomC 6157 I mene of fals religious,
RomC 6158 That stoute ben and malicious,
RomC 6159 That wolen in an abit goo,
RomC 6160 And setten not her herte therto.
RomC 6161 “Religious folk ben al pitous;
RomC 6162 Thou shalt not seen oon dispitous.
RomC 6163 They loven no pride ne no strif,
RomC 6164 But humbly they wole lede her lyf.
RomC 6165 With swich folk wole I never be,
RomC 6166 And if I dwelle, I feyne me.
RomC 6167 I may wel in her abit go;
RomC 6168 But me were lever my nekke a-two,
RomC 6169 Than lete a purpos that I take,
RomC 6170 What covenaunt that ever I make.
RomC 6171 I dwelle with hem that proude be,
RomC 6172 And full of wiles and subtilte,
RomC 6173 That worship of this world coveiten,
RomC 6174 And grete nedes kunnen espleiten,
RomC 6175 And gon and gadren gret pitaunces,
RomC 6176 And purchace hem the acqueyntaunces
RomC 6177 Of men that myghty lyf may leden;
RomC 6178 And feyne hem pore, and hemsilf feden
RomC 6179 With gode morcels delicious,
RomC 6180 And drinken good wyn precious,
RomC 6181 And preche us povert and distresse,
RomC 6182 And fisshen hemsilf gret richesse
RomC 6183 With wily nettis that they caste.
RomC 6184 It wole come foule out at the laste.
RomC 6185 They ben fro clene religioun went;
RomC 6186 They make the world an argument
RomC 6187 That [hath. a foul conclusioun.
RomC 6188 ‘I have a robe of religioun,
RomC 6189 Thanne am I all religious.’
RomC 6190 This argument is all roignous;
RomC 6191 It is not worth a croked brere.
RomC 6192 Abit ne makith neithir monk ne frere,
RomC 6193 But clene lyf and devocioun
RomC 6194 Makith gode men of religioun.
RomC 6195 Natheles, ther kan noon answere,
RomC 6196 How high that evere his heed he shere,
RomC 6197 With resoun whetted never so kene,
RomC 6198 That Gile in braunches kut thrittene;
RomC 6199 Ther can no wight distincte it so,
RomC 6200 That he dar sey a word therto.
RomC 6201 “But what herberwe that ever I take,
RomC 6202 Or what semblant that evere I make,
RomC 6203 I mene but gile, and folowe that;
RomC 6204 For right no mo than Gibbe oure cat,
RomC 6206 Ne entende I but to bigilyng.
RomC 6207 Ne no wight may by my clothing
RomC 6208 Wite with what folk is my dwellyng,
RomC 6209 Ne by my wordis yit, parde,
RomC 6210 So softe and so plesaunt they be.
RomC 6211 Bihold the dedis that I do;
RomC 6212 But thou be blynd, thou oughtest so;
RomC 6213 For, varie her wordis fro her deede,
RomC 6214 They thenke on gile, withoute dreede,
RomC 6215 What maner clothing that they were,
RomC 6216 Or what estat that evere they bere,
RomC 6217 Lered or lewde, lord or lady,
RomC 6218 Knyght, squyer, burgeis, or bayly.”
RomC 6219 Right thus while Fals-Semblant sermoneth,
RomC 6220 Eftsones Love hym aresoneth,
RomC 6221 And brak his tale in his spekyng,
RomC 6222 As though he had hym told lesyng,
RomC 6223 And seide, “What, devel, is that I here?
RomC 6224 What folk hast thou us nempned heere?
RomC 6225 May men fynde religioun
RomC 6226 In worldly habitacioun?”
RomC 6227 “Ye, sir; it folowith not that they
RomC 6228 Shulde lede a wikked lyf, parfey,
RomC 6229 Ne not therfore her soules leese
RomC 6230 That hem to worldly clothes chese;
RomC 6231 For, certis, it were gret pitee.
RomC 6232 Men may in seculer clothes see
RomC 6233 Florishen hooly religioun.
RomC 6234 Full many a seynt in feeld and toun,
RomC 6235 With many a virgine glorious,
RomC 6236 Devout, and full religious,
RomC 6237 Han deied, that comun cloth ay beeren,
RomC 6238 Yit seyntes nevere the lesse they weren.
RomC 6239 I cowde reken you many a ten;
RomC 6240 Ye, wel nygh [al] these hooly wymmen
RomC 6241 That men in chirchis herie and seke,
RomC 6242 Bothe maydens and these wyves eke
RomC 6243 That baren full many a fair child heere,
RomC 6244 Wered alwey clothis seculere,
RomC 6245 And in the same dieden they
RomC 6246 That seyntes weren, and ben alwey.
RomC 6247 The eleven thousand maydens deere
RomC 6248 That beren in heven hir ciergis clere,
RomC 6249 Of whiche men rede in chirche and synge,
RomC 6250 Were take in seculer clothinge
RomC 6251 Whanne they resseyved martirdom,
RomC 6252 And wonnen hevene unto her hom.
RomC 6253 Good herte makith the goode thought;
RomC 6254 The clothing yeveth ne reveth nought.
RomC 6255 The goode thought and the worching,
RomC 6256 That makith the religioun flowryng,
RomC 6257 Ther lyth the good religioun,
RomC 6258 Aftir the right entencioun.
RomC 6259 “Whoso took a wethers skyn,
RomC 6260 And wrapped a gredy wolf theryn,
RomC 6261 For he shulde go with lambis whyte,
RomC 6262 Wenest thou not he wolde hem bite?
RomC 6263 Yis, neverthelasse, as he were wood,
RomC 6264 He wolde hem wery and drinke the blood,
RomC 6265 And wel the rather hem disceyve;
RomC 6266 For, sith they cowde not perceyve
RomC 6267 His treget and his cruelte,
RomC 6268 They wolde hym folowe, al wolde he fle.
RomC 6269 “If ther be wolves of sich hewe
RomC 6270 Amonges these apostlis newe,
RomC 6271 Thou hooly chirche, thou maist be wailed!
RomC 6272 Sith that thy citee is assayled
RomC 6273 Thourgh knyghtis of thyn owne table,
RomC 6274 God wot thi lordship is doutable!
RomC 6275 If thei enforce [hem] it to wynne
RomC 6276 That shulde defende it fro withynne,
RomC 6277 Who myght defense ayens hem make?
RomC 6278 Withoute strok it mot be take
RomC 6279 Of trepeget or mangonel,
RomC 6280 Without displaiyng of pensel.
RomC 6281 And if God nyl don it socour,
RomC 6282 But lat [hem] renne in this colour,
RomC 6283 Thou most thyn heestis laten be.
RomC 6284 Thanne is ther nought but yelde thee,
RomC 6285 Or yeve hem tribut, doutelees,
RomC 6286 And holde it of hem to have pees,
RomC 6287 But gretter harm bitide thee,
RomC 6288 That they al maister of it be.
RomC 6289 Wel konne they scorne thee withal;
RomC 6290 By day stuffen they the wall,
RomC 6291 And al the nyght they mynen there.
RomC 6292 Nay, thou planten most elleswhere
RomC 6293 Thyn ympes, if thou wolt fruyt have;
RomC 6294 Abid not there thisilf to save.
RomC 6295 “But now pees! Heere I turne ageyn.
RomC 6296 I wole nomore of this thing seyn,
RomC 6297 If I may passen me herby;
RomC 6298 I myghte maken you wery.
RomC 6299 But I wole heten you alway
RomC 6300 To helpe youre freendis what I may,
RomC 6301 So they wollen my company;
RomC 6302 For they be shent al outerly,
RomC 6303 But if so falle that I be
RomC 6304 Ofte with hem, and they with me.
RomC 6305 And eke my lemman mote they serve,
RomC 6306 Or they shull not my love deserve.
RomC 6307 Forsothe, I am a fals traitour;
RomC 6308 God jugged me for a theef trichour.
RomC 6309 Forsworn I am, but wel nygh non
RomC 6310 Wot of my gile, til it be don.
RomC 6311 “Thourgh me hath many oon deth resseyved,
RomC 6312 That my treget nevere aperceyved;
RomC 6313 And yit resseyveth, and shal resseyve,
RomC 6314 That my falsnesse shal nevere aperceyve.
RomC 6315 But whoso doth, if he wis be,
RomC 6316 Hym is right good be war of me,
RomC 6317 But so sligh is the deceyvyng
RomC 6319 For Protheus, that cowde hym chaunge
RomC 6320 In every shap, homly and straunge,
RomC 6321 Cowde nevere sich gile ne tresoun
RomC 6322 As I; for I com never in toun
RomC 6323 There as I myghte knowen be,
RomC 6324 Though men me bothe myght here and see.
RomC 6325 Full wel I can my clothis chaunge,
RomC 6326 Take oon, and make another straunge.
RomC 6327 Now am I knyght, now chasteleyn,
RomC 6328 Now prelat, and now chapeleyn,
RomC 6329 Now prest, now clerk, and now forster;
RomC 6330 Now am I maister, now scoler,
RomC 6331 Now monk, now chanoun, now baily;
RomC 6332 Whatever myster man am I.
RomC 6333 Now am I prince, now am I page,
RomC 6334 And kan by herte every langage.
RomC 6335 Som tyme am I hor and old;
RomC 6336 Now am I yong, stout, and bold;
RomC 6337 Now am I Robert, now Robyn,
RomC 6338 Now Frere Menour, now Jacobyn;
RomC 6339 And with me folwith my loteby,
RomC 6340 To don me solas and company,
RomC 6341 That hight Dame Abstinence-Streyned,
RomC 6342 In many a queynte array feyned.
RomC 6343 Ryght as it cometh to hir lykyng,
RomC 6344 I fulfille al hir desiryng.
RomC 6345 Somtyme a wommans cloth take I;
RomC 6346 Now am I a mayde, now lady.
RomC 6347 Somtyme I am religious;
RomC 6348 Now lyk an anker in an hous.
RomC 6349 Somtyme am I prioresse,
RomC 6350 And now a nonne, and now abbesse;
RomC 6351 And go thurgh alle regiouns,
RomC 6352 Sekyng alle religiouns.
RomC 6353 But to what ordre that I am sworn,
RomC 6354 I take the strawe, and lete the corn.
RomC 6355 To gyle folk I enhabit;
RomC 6356 I axe nomore but her abit.
RomC 6357 What wole ye more in every wise?
RomC 6358 Right as me lyst, I me disgise.
RomC 6359 Wel can I wre me undir wede;
RomC 6360 Unlyk is my word to my dede.
RomC 6361 [I] make into my trappis falle,
RomC 6362 Thurgh my pryveleges, alle
RomC 6363 That ben in Cristendom alyve.
RomC 6364 I may assoile and I may shryve,
RomC 6365 That no prelat may lette me,
RomC 6366 All folk, where evere thei founde be.
RomC 6367 I not no prelat may don so,
RomC 6368 But it the pope be, and no mo,
RomC 6369 That made thilk establisshing.
RomC 6370 Now is not this a propre thing?
RomC 6371 But, were my sleightis aperceyved
RomC 6373 As I was wont, and wostow why?
RomC 6374 For I dide hem a tregetry.
RomC 6375 But therof yeve I lytel tale;
RomC 6376 I have the silver and the male.
RomC 6377 So have I prechid, and eke shriven,
RomC 6378 So have I take, so have me yiven,
RomC 6379 Thurgh her foly, husbonde and wyf,
RomC 6380 That I lede right a joly lyf,
RomC 6381 Thurgh symplesse of the prelacye —
RomC 6382 They knowe not al my tregettrie.
RomC 6383 “But forasmoche as man and wyf
RomC 6384 Shulde shewe her paroch-prest her lyf,
RomC 6385 Onys a yeer, as seith the book,
RomC 6386 Er ony wight his housel took,
RomC 6387 Thanne have I pryvylegis large,
RomC 6388 That may of myche thing discharge.
RomC 6389 For he may seie right thus, parde:
RomC 6390 ‘Sir preest, in shrift I telle it thee,
RomC 6391 That he to whom that I am shryven
RomC 6392 Hath me assoiled, and me yiven
RomC 6393 Penaunce, sothly, for my synne,
RomC 6394 Which that I fond me gilty ynne;
RomC 6395 Ne I ne have nevere entencioun
RomC 6396 To make double confessioun,
RomC 6397 Ne reherce eft my shrift to thee.
RomC 6398 O shrift is right ynough to me.
RomC 6399 This oughte thee suffice wel;
RomC 6400 Ne be not rebel never a del.
RomC 6401 For certis, though thou haddist it sworn,
RomC 6402 I wot no prest ne prelat born,
RomC 6403 That may to shrift eft me constreyne;
RomC 6404 And if they don, I wole me pleyne,
RomC 6405 For I wot where to pleyne wel.
RomC 6406 Thou shalt not streyne me a del,
RomC 6407 Ne enforce me, ne not me trouble,
RomC 6408 To make my confessioun double.
RomC 6409 Ne I have non affeccioun
RomC 6410 To have double absolucioun.
RomC 6411 The firste is right ynough to me;
RomC 6412 This latter assoilyng quyte I thee.
RomC 6413 I am unbounde — what maist thou fynde
RomC 6414 More of my synnes me to unbynde?
RomC 6415 For he, that myght hath in his hond,
RomC 6416 Of all my synnes me unbond.
RomC 6417 And if thou wolt me thus constreyne
RomC 6418 That me mot nedis on thee pleyne,
RomC 6419 There shall no jugge imperial,
RomC 6420 Ne bisshop, ne official,
RomC 6421 Don jugement on me; for I
RomC 6422 Shal gon and pleyne me openly
RomC 6423 Unto my shrifte-fadir newe
RomC 6424 (That hight not Frere Wolf untrewe!),
RomC 6425 And he shal cheveys hym for me,
RomC 6426 For I trowe he can hampre thee.
RomC 6427 But, Lord, he wolde be wrooth withalle,
RomC 6428 If men hym wolde Frere Wolf calle!
RomC 6429 For he wolde have no pacience,
RomC 6430 But don al cruel vengeaunce.
RomC 6431 He wolde his myght don at the leeste,
RomC 6432 Nothing spare for Goddis heeste.
RomC 6433 And, God so wys be my socour,
RomC 6434 But thou yeve me my Savyour
RomC 6435 At Ester, whanne it likith me,
RomC 6436 Withoute presyng more on thee,
RomC 6437 I wole forth, and to hym gon,
RomC 6438 And he shal housel me anoon.
RomC 6439 For I am out of thi grucching;
RomC 6440 I kepe not dele with thee nothing.’
RomC 6441 “Thus may he shryve hym, that forsaketh
RomC 6442 His paroch-prest, and to me taketh.
RomC 6443 And if the prest wole hym refuse,
RomC 6444 I am full redy hym to accuse,
RomC 6445 And hym punysshe and hampre so
RomC 6446 That he his chirche shal forgo.
RomC 6447 “But whoso hath in his felyng
RomC 6448 The consequence of such shryvyng,
RomC 6449 Shal sen that prest may never have myght
RomC 6450 To knowe the conscience aright
RomC 6451 Of hym that is undir his cure.
RomC 6452 And this ageyns holy scripture,
RomC 6453 That biddith every heerde honest
RomC 6454 Have verry knowing of his beest.
RomC 6455 But pore folk that gone by strete,
RomC 6456 That have no gold, ne sommes grete,
RomC 6457 Hem wolde I lete to her prelates,
RomC 6458 Or lete her prestis knowe her states,
RomC 6459 For to me right nought yeve they.
RomC 6460 And why? It is for they ne may.
RomC 6461 They ben so bare, I take no kep,
RomC 6462 But I wole have the fatte sheep;
RomC 6463 Lat parish prestis have the lene.
RomC 6464 I yeve not of her harm a bene!
RomC 6465 And if that prelates grucchen it,
RomC 6466 That oughten wroth be in her wit
RomC 6467 To leese her fatte beestes so,
RomC 6468 I shal yeve hem a strok or two,
RomC 6469 That they shal leesen with force,
RomC 6470 Ye, bothe her mytre and her croce.
RomC 6471 Thus jape I hem, and have do longe,
RomC 6472 My pryveleges ben so stronge.”
RomC 6473 Fals-Semblant wolde have stynted heere,
RomC 6474 But Love ne made hym no such cheere
RomC 6475 That he was wery of his sawe;
RomC 6476 But for to make hym glad and fawe,
RomC 6477 He seide, “Telle on more specialy
RomC 6478 Hou that thou servest untrewly.
RomC 6479 Telle forth, and shame thee never a del;
RomC 6480 For, as thyn abit shewith wel,
RomC 6481 Thou semest an hooly heremyte.”
RomC 6482 “Soth is, but I am an ypocrite.”
RomC 6483 “Thou gost and prechest poverte.”
RomC 6484 “Ye, sir, but richesse hath pouste.”
RomC 6485 “Thou prechest abstinence also.”
RomC 6486 “Sir, I wole fillen, so mote I go,
RomC 6487 My paunche of good mete and wyn,
RomC 6488 As shulde a maister of dyvyn;
RomC 6489 For how that I me pover feyne,
RomC 6490 Yit alle pore folk I disdeyne.
RomC 6491 “I love bettir th’ acqueyntaunce,
RomC 6492 Ten tyme, of the kyng of Fraunce
RomC 6493 Than of a pore man of mylde mod,
RomC 6494 Though that his soule be also god.
RomC 6495 For whanne I see beggers quakyng,
RomC 6496 Naked on myxnes al stynkyng,
RomC 6497 For hungre crie, and eke for care,
RomC 6498 I entremete not of her fare.
RomC 6499 They ben so pore and ful of pyne,
RomC 6500 They myght not oonys yeve me dyne,
RomC 6501 For they have nothing but her lyf.
RomC 6502 What shulde he yeve that likketh his knyf?
RomC 6503 It is but foly to entremete,
RomC 6504 To seke in houndes nest fat mete.
RomC 6505 Lete bere hem to the spitel anoon,
RomC 6506 But, for me, comfort gete they noon.
RomC 6507 But a riche sik usurer
RomC 6508 Wolde I visite and drawe ner;
RomC 6509 Hym wole I comforte and rehete,
RomC 6510 For I hope of his gold to gete.
RomC 6511 And if that wikkid deth hym have,
RomC 6512 I wole go with hym to his grave.
RomC 6513 And if ther ony reprove me,
RomC 6514 Why that I lete the pore be,
RomC 6515 Wostow how I mot ascape?
RomC 6516 I sey, and swere hym ful rape,
RomC 6517 That riche men han more tecches
RomC 6518 Of synne than han pore wrecches,
RomC 6519 And han of counsel more mister,
RomC 6520 And therfore I wole drawe hem ner.
RomC 6521 But as gret hurt, it may so be,
RomC 6522 Hath a soule in right gret poverte
RomC 6523 As soule in gret richesse, forsothe,
RomC 6524 Al be it that they hurten bothe.
RomC 6525 For richesse and mendicitees
RomC 6526 Ben clepid two extremytees;
RomC 6527 The mene is cleped suffisaunce;
RomC 6528 Ther lyth of vertu the aboundaunce.
RomC 6529 For Salamon, full wel I wot,
RomC 6530 In his Parablis us wrot,
RomC 6531 As it is knowe to many a wight,
RomC 6532 In his thrittene chapitre right,
RomC 6533 ‘God thou me kepe, for thi pouste,
RomC 6534 Fro richesse and mendicite;
RomC 6535 For if a riche man hym dresse
RomC 6536 To thenke to myche on richesse,
RomC 6537 His herte on that so fer is set
RomC 6538 That he his creatour foryet;
RomC 6539 And hym that begging wole ay greve,
RomC 6540 How shulde I bi his word hym leve?
RomC 6541 Unnethe that he nys a mycher
RomC 6542 Forsworn, or ellis God is lyer.’
RomC 6543 Thus seith Salamones sawes.
RomC 6544 Ne we fynde writen in no lawis,
RomC 6545 And namely in oure Cristen lay,
RomC 6546 (Whoso seith ‘ye,’ I dar sey ‘nay’)
RomC 6547 That Crist, ne his apostlis dere,
RomC 6548 While that they walkide in erthe heere,
RomC 6549 Were never seen her bred beggyng,
RomC 6550 For they nolden beggen for nothing.
RomC 6551 And right thus was men wont to teche,
RomC 6552 And in this wise wolde it preche
RomC 6553 The maistres of divinite
RomC 6554 Somtyme in Parys the citee.
RomC 6555 “And if men wolde ther-geyn appose
RomC 6556 The nakid text, and lete the glose,
RomC 6557 It myghte soone assoiled be;
RomC 6558 For men may wel the sothe see,
RomC 6559 That, parde, they myght aske a thing
RomC 6560 Pleynly forth, without begging.
RomC 6561 For they weren Goddis herdis deere,
RomC 6562 And cure of soules hadden heere,
RomC 6563 They nolde nothing begge her fode;
RomC 6564 For aftir Crist was don on rode,
RomC 6565 With ther propre hondis they wrought,
RomC 6566 And with travel, and ellis nought,
RomC 6567 They wonnen all her sustenaunce,
RomC 6568 And lyveden forth in her penaunce,
RomC 6569 And the remenaunt yave awey
RomC 6570 To other pore folkis alwey.
RomC 6571 They neither bilden tour ne halle,
RomC 6572 But ley in houses smale withalle.
RomC 6573 A myghty man, that can and may,
RomC 6574 Shulde with his hond and body alway
RomC 6575 Wynne hym his fode in laboring,
RomC 6576 If he ne have rent or sich a thing,
RomC 6577 Although he be religious,
RomC 6578 And God to serven curious.
RomC 6579 Thus mot he don, or do trespas,
RomC 6580 But if it be in certeyn cas,
RomC 6581 That I can reherce, if myster be,
RomC 6582 Right wel, whanne the tyme I se.
RomC 6583 “Sek the book of Seynt Austyn,
RomC 6584 Be it in papir or perchemyn,
RomC 6585 There as he writ of these worchynges,
RomC 6586 Thou shalt seen that noon excusynges
RomC 6587 A parfit man ne shulde seke
RomC 6588 Bi wordis ne bi dedis eke,
RomC 6589 Although he be religious,
RomC 6590 And God to serven curious,
RomC 6591 That he ne shal, so mote I go,
RomC 6592 With propre hondis and body also,
RomC 6593 Gete his fode in laboryng,
RomC 6594 If he ne have proprete of thing.
RomC 6595 Yit shulde he selle all his substaunce,
RomC 6596 And with his swynk have sustenaunce,
RomC 6597 If he be parfit in bounte.
RomC 6598 Thus han tho bookes told me.
RomC 6599 For he that wole gon ydilly,
RomC 6600 And usith it ay besily
RomC 6601 To haunten other mennes table,
RomC 6602 He is a trechour, ful of fable;
RomC 6603 Ne he ne may, by god resoun,
RomC 6604 Excuse hym by his orisoun.
RomC 6605 For men bihoveth, in som gise,
RomC 6606 Somtyme leven Goddis servise
RomC 6607 To gon and purchasen her nede.
RomC 6608 Men mote eten, that is no drede,
RomC 6609 And slepe, and eke do other thing;
RomC 6610 So longe may they leve praiyng.
RomC 6611 So may they eke her praier blynne,
RomC 6612 While that they werke, her mete to wynne.
RomC 6613 Seynt Austyn wole therto accorde,
RomC 6614 In thilke book that I recorde.
RomC 6615 Justinian eke, that made lawes,
RomC 6616 Hath thus forboden, by olde dawes:
RomC 6617 ‘No man, up peyne to be ded,
RomC 6618 Mighty of body, to begge his bred,
RomC 6619 If he may swynke it for to gete;
RomC 6620 Men shulde hym rather mayme or bete,
RomC 6621 Or don of hym apert justice,
RomC 6622 Than suffren hym in such malice.’
RomC 6623 They don not wel, so mote I go,
RomC 6624 That taken such almesse so,
RomC 6625 But if they have som pryvelege,
RomC 6626 That of the peyne hem wole allege.
RomC 6627 But how that is, can I not see,
RomC 6628 But if the prince disseyved be;
RomC 6629 Ne I ne wene not, sikerly,
RomC 6630 That they may have it rightfully.
RomC 6631 But I wole not determine
RomC 6632 Of prynces power, ne defyne,
RomC 6633 Ne by my word comprende, iwys,
RomC 6634 If it so fer may strecche in this.
RomC 6635 I wole not entremete a del;
RomC 6636 But I trowe that the book seith wel,
RomC 6637 Who that takith almessis that be
RomC 6638 Dewe to folk that men may se
RomC 6639 Lame, feble, wery, and bare,
RomC 6640 Pore, or in such maner care —
RomC 6641 That konne wynne hem never mo,
RomC 6642 For they have no power therto —
RomC 6643 He etith his owne dampnyng,
RomC 6644 But if he lye, that made al thing.
RomC 6645 And if ye such a truaunt fynde,
RomC 6646 Chastise hym wel, if ye be kynde.
RomC 6647 But they wolde hate you, percas,
RomC 6648 And, if ye fillen in her laas,
RomC 6649 They wolde eftsoonys do you scathe,
RomC 6650 If that they myghte, late or rathe;
RomC 6651 For they be not full pacient
RomC 6652 That han the world thus foule blent.
RomC 6653 And witeth wel that [ther] God bad
RomC 6654 The good-man selle al that he had,
RomC 6655 And folowe hym, and to pore it yive,
RomC 6656 He wolde not therfore that he lyve
RomC 6657 To serven hym in mendience,
RomC 6658 For it was nevere his sentence;
RomC 6659 But he bad wirken whanne that neede is,
RomC 6660 And folwe hym in goode dedis.
RomC 6661 Seynt Poul, that loved al hooly chirche,
RomC 6662 He bad th’ appostles for to wirche,
RomC 6663 And wynnen her lyflode in that wise,
RomC 6664 And hem defended truandise,
RomC 6665 And seide, ‘Wirketh with youre honden.’
RomC 6666 Thus shulde the thing be undirstonden:
RomC 6667 He nolde, iwys, have bidde hem begging,
RomC 6668 Ne sellen gospel, ne prechyng,
RomC 6669 Lest they berafte, with her askyng,
RomC 6670 Folk of her catel or of her thing.
RomC 6671 For in this world is many a man
RomC 6672 That yeveth his good, for he ne can
RomC 6673 Werne it for shame; or ellis he
RomC 6674 Wolde of the asker delyvered be,
RomC 6675 And, for he hym encombrith so,
RomC 6676 He yeveth hym good to late hym go.
RomC 6677 But it can hym nothyng profite;
RomC 6678 They lese the yift and the meryte.
RomC 6679 The goode folk, that Poul to preched,
RomC 6680 Profred hym ofte, whan he hem teched,
RomC 6681 Som of her good in charite.
RomC 6682 But therof right nothing tok he;
RomC 6683 But of his hondwerk wolde he gete
RomC 6684 Clothes to wryen hym, and his mete.”
RomC 6685 “Telle me thanne how a man may lyven,
RomC 6686 That al his good to pore hath yiven,
RomC 6687 And wole but oonly bidde his bedis
RomC 6689 May he do so?” “Ye, sir.” “And how?”
RomC 6690 “Sir, I wole gladly telle yow:
RomC 6691 Seynt Austyn seith a man may be
RomC 6692 In houses that han proprete,
RomC 6693 As Templers and Hospitelers,
RomC 6694 And as these Chanouns Regulers,
RomC 6695 Or White Monkes, or these Blake —
RomC 6696 I wole no mo ensamplis make —
RomC 6697 And take therof his sustenyng,
RomC 6698 For therynne lyth no begging;
RomC 6699 But other weyes not, ywys,
RomC 6700 Yif Austyn gabbith not of this.
RomC 6701 And yit full many a monk laboureth,
RomC 6702 That God in hooly chirche honoureth.
RomC 6703 For whanne her swynkyng is agon,
RomC 6704 They rede and synge in chirche anon.
RomC 6705 “And for ther hath ben gret discord,
RomC 6706 As many a wight may bere record,
RomC 6707 Upon the estat of mendience,
RomC 6708 I wole shortly, in youre presence,
RomC 6709 Telle how a man may begge at nede,
RomC 6710 That hath not wherwith hym to fede,
RomC 6711 Maugre his felones jangelyngis,
RomC 6712 For sothfastnesse wole none hidyngis.
RomC 6713 And yit, percas, I may abeye
RomC 6714 That I to yow sothly thus seye.
RomC 6715 “Lo, heere the caas especial:
RomC 6716 If a man be so bestial
RomC 6717 That he of no craft hath science,
RomC 6718 And nought desireth ignorence,
RomC 6719 Thanne may he go a-begging yerne,
RomC 6720 Til he som maner craft kan lerne,
RomC 6721 Thurgh which withoute truaundyng,
RomC 6722 He may in trouthe have his lyvyng.
RomC 6723 Or if he may don no labour,
RomC 6724 For elde, or syknesse, or langour,
RomC 6725 Or for his tendre age also,
RomC 6726 Thanne may he yit a-begging go.
RomC 6727 Or if he have, peraventure,
RomC 6728 Thurgh usage of his noriture,
RomC 6729 Lyved over deliciously,
RomC 6730 Thanne oughten good folk comunly
RomC 6731 Han of his myscheef som pitee,
RomC 6732 And suffren hym also that he
RomC 6733 May gon aboute and begge his breed,
RomC 6734 That he be not for hungur deed.
RomC 6735 Or if he have of craft kunnyng,
RomC 6736 And strengthe also, and desiryng
RomC 6737 To wirken, as he hadde what,
RomC 6738 But he fynde neithir this ne that,
RomC 6739 Thanne may he begge til that he
RomC 6740 Have geten his necessite.
RomC 6741 Or if his wynnyng be so lite
RomC 6742 That his labour wole not acquyte
RomC 6743 Sufficiantly al his lyvyng,
RomC 6744 Yit may he go his breed begging;
RomC 6745 Fro dore to dore he may go trace,
RomC 6746 Til he the remenaunt may purchace.
RomC 6747 Or if a man wolde undirtake
RomC 6748 Ony emprise for to make
RomC 6749 In the rescous of oure lay,
RomC 6750 And it defenden as he may,
RomC 6751 Be it with armes or lettrure,
RomC 6752 Or other covenable cure,
RomC 6753 If it be so he pore be,
RomC 6754 Thanne may he begge til that he
RomC 6755 May fynde in trouthe for to swynke,
RomC 6756 And gete hym clothes, mete, and drynke,
RomC 6757 Swynke he with his hondis corporell,
RomC 6758 And not with hondis espirituell.
RomC 6759 “In al thise caas, and in semblables,
RomC 6760 If that ther ben mo resonables,
RomC 6761 He may begge, as I telle you heere,
RomC 6762 And ellis nought, in no manere,
RomC 6763 As William Seynt Amour wolde preche,
RomC 6764 And ofte wolde dispute and teche
RomC 6765 Of this mater all openly
RomC 6766 At Parys full solempnely.
RomC 6767 And, also God my soule blesse,
RomC 6768 As he had, in this stedfastnesse,
RomC 6769 The accord of the universite
RomC 6770 And of the puple, as semeth me.
RomC 6771 “No good man oughte it to refuse,
RomC 6772 Ne ought hym therof to excuse,
RomC 6773 Be wroth or blithe whoso be.
RomC 6774 For I wole speke, and telle it thee,
RomC 6775 Al shulde I dye, and be putt doun,
RomC 6776 As was Seynt Poul, in derk prisoun;
RomC 6777 Or be exiled in this caas
RomC 6778 With wrong, as maister William was,
RomC 6779 That my moder, Ypocrysie,
RomC 6780 Banysshed for hir gret envye.
RomC 6781 “Mi modir flemed hym Seynt Amour;
RomC 6782 The noble dide such labour
RomC 6783 To susteyne evere the loyalte,
RomC 6784 That he to moche agilte me.
RomC 6785 He made a book, and lete it write,
RomC 6787 And wolde ich reneyed begging,
RomC 6788 And lyved by my traveylyng,
RomC 6789 If I ne had rent ne other good.
RomC 6790 What? Wened he that I were wood?
RomC 6791 For labour myght me never plese.
RomC 6792 I have more wille to ben at ese,
RomC 6793 And have wel lever, soth to seye,
RomC 6794 Bifore the puple patre and preye,
RomC 6795 And wrie me in my foxerie
RomC 6796 Under a cope of papelardie.”
RomC 6797 Quod Love, “What devel is this that I heere?
RomC 6798 What wordis tellest thou me heere?”
RomC 6799 “What, sir?” “Falsnesse, that apert is.
RomC 6800 Thanne dredist thou not God?” “No, certis;
RomC 6801 For selde in gret thing shal he spede
RomC 6802 In this world, that God wole drede.
RomC 6803 For folk that hem to vertu yiven,
RomC 6804 And truly on her owne lyven,
RomC 6805 And hem in goodnesse ay contene,
RomC 6806 On hem is lytel thrift sene.
RomC 6807 Such folk drinken gret mysese;
RomC 6808 That lyf may me never plese.
RomC 6809 But se what gold han usurers,
RomC 6810 And silver eke in garners,
RomC 6811 Taylagiers, and these monyours,
RomC 6812 Bailifs, bedels, provost, countours;
RomC 6813 These lyven wel nygh by ravyne.
RomC 6814 The smale puple hem mote enclyne,
RomC 6815 And they as wolves wole hem eten.
RomC 6816 Upon the pore folk they geten
RomC 6817 Full moche of that they spende or kepe.
RomC 6818 Nis non of hem that he nyl strepe
RomC 6819 And wrien hemsilf wel atte fulle;
RomC 6820 Withoute scaldyng they hem pulle.
RomC 6821 The stronge the feble overgoth.
RomC 6822 But I, that were my symple cloth,
RomC 6823 Robbe bothe robbed and robbours
RomC 6824 And gile giled and gilours.
RomC 6825 By my treget I gadre and threste
RomC 6826 The gret tresour into my cheste,
RomC 6827 That lyth with me so faste bounde.
RomC 6828 Myn highe paleys do I founde,
RomC 6829 And my delites I fulfille
RomC 6830 With wyn at feestes at my wille,
RomC 6831 And tables full of entremees.
RomC 6832 I wole no lyf but ese and pees,
RomC 6833 And wynne gold to spende also.
RomC 6834 For whanne the grete bagge is go,
RomC 6835 It cometh right with my japes.
RomC 6836 Make I not wel tumble myn apes?
RomC 6837 To wynnen is alwey myn entente;
RomC 6838 My purchace is bettir than my rente.
RomC 6839 For though I shulde beten be,
RomC 6840 Overal I entremete me.
RomC 6841 Without me may no wight dure;
RomC 6842 I walke soules for to cure.
RomC 6843 Of al the world cure have I;
RomC 6844 In brede and lengthe boldely
RomC 6845 I wole bothe preche and eke counceilen.
RomC 6846 With hondis wille I not traveilen,
RomC 6847 For of the Pope I have the bulle —
RomC 6848 I ne holde not my wittes dulle.
RomC 6849 I wole not stynten, in my lyve,
RomC 6850 These emperoures for to shryve,
RomC 6851 Or kyngis, dukis, lordis grete;
RomC 6852 But pore folk al quyte I lete.
RomC 6853 I love no such shryvyng, parde,
RomC 6854 But it for other cause be.
RomC 6855 I rekke not of pore men —
RomC 6856 Her astat is not worth an hen.
RomC 6857 Where fyndest thou a swynker of labour
RomC 6858 Have me unto his confessour?
RomC 6859 But emperesses and duchesses,
RomC 6860 Thise queenes, and eke countesses,
RomC 6861 Thise abbessis, and eke bygyns,
RomC 6862 These grete ladyes palasyns,
RomC 6863 These joly knyghtis and baillyves,
RomC 6864 Thise nonnes, and thise burgeis wyves,
RomC 6865 That riche ben and eke plesyng,
RomC 6866 And thise maidens welfaryng,
RomC 6867 Wherso they clad or naked be,
RomC 6868 Uncounceiled goth ther noon fro me.
RomC 6869 And, for her soules savete,
RomC 6870 At lord and lady, and her meyne,
RomC 6871 I axe, whanne thei hem to me shryve,
RomC 6872 The proprete of al her lyve,
RomC 6873 And make hem trowe, bothe meest and leest,
RomC 6874 Hir paroch-prest nys but a beest
RomC 6875 Ayens me and my companye,
RomC 6876 That shrewis ben as gret as I;
RomC 6877 Fro whiche I wole not hide in hold
RomC 6878 No pryvete that me is told,
RomC 6879 That I by word or signe, ywis,
RomC 6880 [Ne] wole make hem knowe what it is,
RomC 6881 And they wolen also tellen me;
RomC 6882 They hele fro me no pryvyte.
RomC 6883 And for to make yow hem perceyven,
RomC 6884 That usen folk thus to disceyven,
RomC 6885 I wole you seyn, withouten drede,
RomC 6886 What men may in the gospel rede
RomC 6887 Of Seynt Mathew, the gospelere,
RomC 6888 That seith, as I shal you sey heere:
RomC 6889 “‘Uppon the chaire of Moyses’ —
RomC 6890 Thus is it glosed, douteles,
RomC 6891 That is the Olde Testament,
RomC 6892 For therby is the chaire ment —
RomC 6893 ‘Sitte Scribes and Pharisen;’
RomC 6894 That is to seyn, the cursid men
RomC 6895 Whiche that we ypocritis calle.
RomC 6896 ‘Doth that they preche, I rede you alle,
RomC 6897 But doth not as they don a del;
RomC 6898 That ben not wery to seye wel,
RomC 6899 But to do wel no will have they.
RomC 6900 And they wolde bynde on folk alwey,
RomC 6901 That ben to be begiled able,
RomC 6902 Burdons that ben importable;
RomC 6903 On folkes shuldris thinges they couchen,
RomC 6904 That they nyl with her fyngris touchen.'”
RomC 6905 “And why wole they not touche it?” “Why?
RomC 6906 For hem ne lyst not, sikirly;
RomC 6907 For sadde burdons that men taken
RomC 6908 Make folkes shuldris aken.
RomC 6909 And if they do ought that good be,
RomC 6910 That is for folk it shulde se.
RomC 6911 Her bordurs larger maken they,
RomC 6912 And make her hemmes wide alwey,
RomC 6913 And loven setes at the table,
RomC 6914 The firste and most honourable;
RomC 6915 And for to han the first chaieris
RomC 6916 In synagogis, to hem full deere is.
RomC 6917 And willen that folk hem loute and grete,
RomC 6918 Whanne that they passen thurgh the strete,
RomC 6919 And wolen be cleped ‘maister’ also.
RomC 6920 But they ne shulde not willen so;
RomC 6921 The gospel is ther-ageyns, I gesse,
RomC 6922 That shewith wel her wikkidnesse.
RomC 6923 “Another custome use we:
RomC 6924 Of hem that wole ayens us be,
RomC 6925 We hate hem deedly everichon,
RomC 6926 And we wole werrey hem, as oon.
RomC 6927 Hym that oon hatith, hate we alle,
RomC 6928 And congecte hou to don hym falle.
RomC 6929 And if we seen hym wynne honour,
RomC 6930 Richesse, or preis, thurgh his valour,
RomC 6931 Provende, rent, or dignyte,
RomC 6932 Ful fast, iwys, compassen we
RomC 6933 Bi what ladder he is clomben so;
RomC 6934 And for to maken hym doun to go,
RomC 6935 With traisoun we wole hym defame,
RomC 6936 And don hym leese his goode name.
RomC 6937 Thus from his ladder we hym take,
RomC 6938 And thus his freendis foes we make;
RomC 6939 But word ne wite shal he noon,
RomC 6940 Till alle his freendis ben his foon.
RomC 6941 For if we dide it openly,
RomC 6942 We myght have blame redily;
RomC 6943 For hadde he wist of oure malice,
RomC 6944 He hadde hym kept, but he were nyce.
RomC 6945 “Another is this, that if so falle
RomC 6946 That ther be oon amonge us alle
RomC 6947 That doth a good turn, out of drede,
RomC 6948 We seyn it is oure alder deede.
RomC 6949 Ye, sikerly, though he it feyned,
RomC 6950 Or that hym list, or that hym deyned
RomC 6951 A man thurgh hym avaunced be;
RomC 6952 Therof all parseners be we,
RomC 6953 And tellen folk, whereso we go,
RomC 6954 That man thurgh us is sprongen so.
RomC 6955 And for to have of men preysyng,
RomC 6956 We purchace, thurgh oure flateryng,
RomC 6957 Of riche men of gret pouste
RomC 6958 Lettres to witnesse oure bounte,
RomC 6959 So that man weneth, that may us see,
RomC 6960 That alle vertu in us be.
RomC 6961 And alwey pore we us feyne;
RomC 6962 But how so that we begge or pleyne,
RomC 6963 We ben the folk, without lesyng,
RomC 6964 That all thing have without havyng.
RomC 6965 Thus be we dred of the puple, iwis.
RomC 6966 And gladly my purpos is this:
RomC 6967 I dele with no wight, but he
RomC 6968 Have gold and tresour gret plente.
RomC 6969 Her acqueyntaunce wel love I;
RomC 6970 This is moche my desir, shortly.
RomC 6971 I entremete me of brokages,
RomC 6972 I make pees and mariages,
RomC 6973 I am gladly executour,
RomC 6974 And many tymes procuratour;
RomC 6975 I am somtyme messager,
RomC 6976 That fallith not to my myster;
RomC 6977 And many tymes I make enquestes —
RomC 6978 For me that office not honest is.
RomC 6979 To dele with other mennes thing,
RomC 6980 That is to me a gret lykyng.
RomC 6981 And if that ye have ought to do
RomC 6982 In place that I repeire to,
RomC 6983 I shal it speden, thurgh my witt,
RomC 6984 As soone as ye have told me it.
RomC 6985 So that ye serve me to pay,
RomC 6986 My servyse shal be youre alway.
RomC 6987 But whoso wole chastise me,
RomC 6988 Anoon my love lost hath he;
RomC 6989 For I love no man, in no gise,
RomC 6990 That wole me repreve or chastise.
RomC 6991 But I wolde al folk undirtake,
RomC 6992 And of no wight no teching take;
RomC 6993 For I, that other folk chastie,
RomC 6994 Wole not be taught fro my folie.
RomC 6995 “I love noon hermitage more.
RomC 6996 All desertes and holtes hore,
RomC 6997 And grete wodes everichon,
RomC 6998 I lete hem to the Baptist John.
RomC 6999 I queth hym quyt and hym relesse
RomC 7000 Of Egipt all the wildirnesse.
RomC 7001 To fer were alle my mansiounes
RomC 7002 Fro citees and goode tounes.
RomC 7003 My paleis and myn hous make I
RomC 7004 There men may renne ynne openly,
RomC 7005 And sey that I the world forsake,
RomC 7006 But al amydde I bilde and make
RomC 7007 My hous, and swimme and pley therynne,
RomC 7008 Bet than a fish doth with his fynne.
RomC 7009 “Of Antecristes men am I,
RomC 7010 Of whiche that Crist seith openly,
RomC 7011 They have abit of hoolynesse,
RomC 7012 And lyven in such wikkednesse.
RomC 7013 Outward, lambren semen we,
RomC 7014 Fulle of goodnesse and of pitee,
RomC 7015 And inward we, withouten fable,
RomC 7016 Ben gredy wolves ravysable.
RomC 7017 We enviroune bothe lond and se;
RomC 7018 With all the world werreyen we;
RomC 7019 We wole ordeyne of alle thing,
RomC 7020 Of folkis good, and her lyvyng.
RomC 7021 “If ther be castel or citee,
RomC 7022 Wherynne that ony bouger be,
RomC 7023 Although that they of Milayn were
RomC 7024 (For therof ben they blamed there);
RomC 7025 Or if a wight out of mesure
RomC 7026 Wolde lene his gold, and take usure,
RomC 7027 For that he is so coveitous;
RomC 7028 Or if he be to leccherous,
RomC 7029 Or theef [or] haunte symonye,
RomC 7030 Or provost full of trecherie,
RomC 7031 Or prelat lyvyng jolily,
RomC 7032 Or prest that halt his quene hym by,
RomC 7033 Or olde horis hostilers,
RomC 7034 Or other bawdes or bordillers,
RomC 7035 Or elles blamed of ony vice
RomC 7036 Of which men shulden don justice:
RomC 7037 Bi all the seyntes that me pray,
RomC 7038 But they defende them with lamprey,
RomC 7039 With luce, with elys, with samons,
RomC 7040 With tendre gees and with capons,
RomC 7041 With tartes, or with cheses fat,
RomC 7042 With deynte flawnes brode and flat,
RomC 7043 With caleweis, or with pullaylle,
RomC 7044 With conynges, or with fyn vitaille,
RomC 7045 That we, undir our clothes wide,
RomC 7046 Maken thourgh oure golet glide;
RomC 7047 Or but he wole do come in haste
RomC 7048 Roo-venysoun, bake in paste;
RomC 7049 Whether so that he loure or groyne,
RomC 7050 He shal have of a corde a loigne,
RomC 7051 With whiche men shal hym bynde and lede,
RomC 7052 To brenne hym for his synful deede,
RomC 7053 That men shull here hym crie and rore
RomC 7054 A myle-wey aboute, and more;
RomC 7055 Or ellis he shal in prisoun dye,
RomC 7056 But if he wole oure frendship bye,
RomC 7057 Or smerten that that he hath do,
RomC 7058 More than his gilt amounteth to.
RomC 7059 But, and he couth. thurgh his sleight,
RomC 7060 Do maken up a tour of height,
RomC 7061 Nought rought I whethir of ston, or tree,
RomC 7062 Or erthe, or turves though it be,
RomC 7063 Though it were of no vounde ston,
RomC 7064 Wrought with squyre and scantilon,
RomC 7065 So that the tour were stuffed well
RomC 7066 With alle richesse temporell,
RomC 7067 And thanne that he wolde updresse
RomC 7068 Engyns, bothe more and lesse,
RomC 7069 To cast at us by every side,
RomC 7070 To bere his goode name wide,
RomC 7071 Such sleghtes [as] I shal yow nevene,
RomC 7072 Barelles of wyn, by sixe or sevene,
RomC 7073 Or gold in sakkis gret plente,
RomC 7074 He shulde soone delyvered be.
RomC 7075 And if [he have] noon sich pitaunces,
RomC 7076 Late hym study in equipolences,
RomC 7077 And late lyes and fallaces,
RomC 7078 If that he wolde deserve oure graces;
RomC 7079 Or we shal bere hym such witnesse
RomC 7080 Of synne and of his wrecchidnesse,
RomC 7081 And don his loos so wide renne,
RomC 7082 That al quyk we shulden hym brenne;
RomC 7083 Or ellis yeve hym such penaunce,
RomC 7084 That is wel wors than the pitaunce.
RomC 7085 “For thou shalt never, for nothing,
RomC 7086 Kon knowen aright by her clothing
RomC 7087 The traitours fulle of trecherie,
RomC 7088 But thou her werkis can aspie.
RomC 7089 And ne hadde the goode kepyng be
RomC 7090 Whilom of the universite,
RomC 7091 That kepith the key of Cristendom,
RomC 7093 Suche ben the stynkyng prophetis;
RomC 7094 Nys non of hem that good prophete is,
RomC 7095 For they thurgh wikked entencioun,
RomC 7096 The yeer of the Incarnacioun,
RomC 7097 A thousand and two hundred yeer,
RomC 7098 Fyve and fifty, ferther ne neer,
RomC 7099 Broughten a book, with sory grace,
RomC 7100 To yeven ensample in comune place,
RomC 7101 That seide thus, though it were fable:
RomC 7102 ‘This is the gospel perdurable,
RomC 7103 That fro the Holy Goost is sent.’
RomC 7104 Wel were it worth to ben brent!
RomC 7105 Entitled was in such manere
RomC 7106 This book, of which I telle heere.
RomC 7107 Ther nas no wight in all Parys,
RomC 7108 Biforne Oure Lady, at parvys,
RomC 7110 To copy if hym talent tok.
RomC 7111 There myght he se, by gret tresoun,
RomC 7112 Full many fals comparisoun:
RomC 7113 ‘As moche as, thurgh his grete myght,
RomC 7114 Be it of hete or of lyght,
RomC 7115 The sonne sourmounteth the mone,
RomC 7116 That troublere is, and chaungith soone,
RomC 7117 And the note-kernell the shelle
RomC 7118 (I scorne not that I yow telle),
RomC 7119 Right so, withouten ony gile,
RomC 7120 Sourmounteth this noble evangile
RomC 7121 The word of ony evangelist.’
RomC 7122 And to her title they token Crist.
RomC 7123 And many a such comparisoun,
RomC 7124 Of which I make no mencioun,
RomC 7125 Mighte men in that book fynde,
RomC 7126 Whoso coude of hem have mynde.
RomC 7127 “The universite, that tho was aslep,
RomC 7128 Gan for to braide and taken kep;
RomC 7129 And at the noys the heed upcaste,
RomC 7130 Ne never sithen slept it faste,
RomC 7131 But up it stert, and armes tok
RomC 7132 Ayens this fals horrible bok,
RomC 7133 Al redy bateil [for] to make,
RomC 7134 And to the juge the book to take.
RomC 7135 But they that broughten the bok there
RomC 7136 Hent it anoon awey, for fere.
RomC 7137 They nolde shewe more a del,
RomC 7138 But thenne it kept, and kepen will,
RomC 7139 Til such a tyme that they may see
RomC 7140 That they so stronge woxen be
RomC 7141 That no wyght may hem wel withstonde,
RomC 7142 For by that book [they] durst not stonde.
RomC 7143 Awey they gonne it for to bere,
RomC 7144 For they ne durst not answere
RomC 7145 By exposicioun ne glose
RomC 7146 To that that clerkis wole appose
RomC 7147 Ayens the cursednesse, iwys,
RomC 7148 That in that book writen is.
RomC 7149 Now wot I not, ne I can not see
RomC 7150 What maner eende that there shal be
RomC 7151 Of al this [bok] that they hyde;
RomC 7152 But yit algate they shal abide
RomC 7153 Til that they may it bet defende.
RomC 7154 This, trowe I best, wol be her ende.
RomC 7155 “Thus, Antecrist abiden we,
RomC 7156 For we ben alle of his meyne;
RomC 7157 And what man that wole not be so,
RomC 7158 Right soone he shal his lyf forgo.
RomC 7159 We wole a puple upon hym areyse,
RomC 7160 And thurgh oure gile don hym seise,
RomC 7161 And hym on sharpe speris ryve,
RomC 7162 Or other weyes brynge hym fro lyve,
RomC 7163 But if that he wole folowe, iwis,
RomC 7164 That in oure book writen is.
RomC 7165 “Thus mych wole oure book signifie,
RomC 7166 That while Petre hath maistrie,
RomC 7167 May never John shewe well his myght.
RomC 7168 Now have I you declared right
RomC 7169 The menyng of the bark and rynde,
RomC 7170 That makith the entenciouns blynde;
RomC 7171 But now at erst I wole bigynne
RomC 7172 To expowne you the pith withynne:
RomC 7173 And the seculers comprehende,
RomC 7174 That Cristes lawe wole defende,
RomC 7175 And shulde it kepen and mayntenen
RomC 7176 Ayenes hem that all sustenen,
RomC 7177 And falsly to the puple techen.
RomC 7178 And John bitokeneth hem that prechen
RomC 7179 That ther nys lawe covenable
RomC 7180 But thilke gospel perdurable,
RomC 7181 That fro the Holy Gost was sent
RomC 7182 To turne folk that ben myswent.
RomC 7183 “The strengthe of John they undirstonde
RomC 7184 The grace, in which they seie they stonde,
RomC 7185 That doth the synfull folk converte,
RomC 7186 And hem to Jesus Crist reverte.
RomC 7187 Full many another orribilite
RomC 7188 May men in that book se,
RomC 7189 That ben comaunded, douteles,
RomC 7190 Ayens the lawe of Rome expres;
RomC 7191 And all with Antecrist they holden,
RomC 7192 As men may in the book biholden.
RomC 7193 And thanne comaunden they to sleen
RomC 7194 Alle tho that with Petre been;
RomC 7195 But they shal nevere have that myght,
RomC 7196 And, God toforn, for strif to fight,
RomC 7197 That they ne shal ynowe fynde
RomC 7198 That Petres lawe shal have in mynde,
RomC 7199 And evere holde, and so mayntene,
RomC 7200 That at the last it shal be sene
RomC 7201 That they shal alle come therto,
RomC 7202 For ought that they can speke or do.
RomC 7203 And thilke lawe shal not stonde,
RomC 7204 That they by John have undirstonde,
RomC 7205 But, maugre hem, it shal adown,
RomC 7206 And ben brought to confusioun.
RomC 7207 But I wole stynt of this matere,
RomC 7208 For it is wonder longe to here.
RomC 7209 But hadde that ilke book endured,
RomC 7210 Of better estat I were ensured,
RomC 7211 And freendis have I yit, pardee,
RomC 7212 That han me sett in gret degre.
RomC 7213 “Of all this world is emperour
RomC 7214 Gyle my fadir, the trechour,
RomC 7215 And emperisse my moder is,
RomC 7216 Maugre the Holy Gost, iwis.
RomC 7217 Oure myghty lynage and oure rowte
RomC 7218 Regneth in every regne aboute;
RomC 7219 And well is worthy we maistres be,
RomC 7220 For all this world governe we,
RomC 7221 And can the folk so wel disceyve
RomC 7222 That noon oure gile can perceyve.
RomC 7223 And though they don, they dar not seye;
RomC 7224 The sothe dar no wight bywreye.
RomC 7225 But he in Cristis wrath hym ledith,
RomC 7226 That more than Crist my britheren dredith.
RomC 7227 He nys no full good champioun,
RomC 7228 That dredith such simulacioun,
RomC 7229 Nor that for peyne wole refusen
RomC 7230 Us to correcte and accusen.
RomC 7231 He wole not entremete by right,
RomC 7232 Ne have God in his eye-sight,
RomC 7233 And therfore God shal hym punyshe.
RomC 7234 But me ne rekketh of no vice,
RomC 7235 Sithen men us loven comunably,
RomC 7236 And holden us for so worthy
RomC 7237 That we may folk repreve echoon,
RomC 7238 And we nyl have repref of noon.
RomC 7239 Whom shulden folk worshipen so
RomC 7240 But us, that stynten never mo
RomC 7241 To patren while that folk may us see,
RomC 7242 Though it not so bihynde be?
RomC 7243 “And where is more wod folye
RomC 7244 Than to enhaunce chyvalrie,
RomC 7245 And love noble men and gay,
RomC 7246 That joly clothis weren alway?
RomC 7247 If they be sich folk as they semen,
RomC 7248 So clene, as men her clothis demen,
RomC 7249 And that her wordis folowe her dede,
RomC 7250 It is gret pite, out of drede,
RomC 7251 For they wole be noon ypocritis!
RomC 7252 Of hem, me thynketh, gret spite is.
RomC 7253 I can not love hem on no side.
RomC 7254 But beggers with these hodes wide,
RomC 7255 With sleighe and pale faces lene,
RomC 7256 And greye clothis not full clene,
RomC 7257 But fretted full of tatarwagges,
RomC 7258 And highe shoos, knopped with dagges,
RomC 7259 That frouncen lyke a quaile pipe,
RomC 7260 Or botis rivelyng as a gype;
RomC 7261 To such folk as I you dyvyse
RomC 7262 Shulde princes, and these lordis wise,
RomC 7263 Take all her londis and her thingis,
RomC 7264 Bothe werre and pees, in governyngis;
RomC 7265 To such folk shulde a prince hym yive,
RomC 7266 That wolde his lyf in honour lyve.
RomC 7267 “And if they be not as they seme,
RomC 7268 That serven thus the world to queme,
RomC 7269 There wolde I dwelle, to disceyve
RomC 7270 The folk, for they shal not perceyve.
RomC 7271 But I ne speke in no such wise,
RomC 7272 That men shulde humble abit dispise,
RomC 7273 So that no pride ther-undir be.
RomC 7274 No man shulde hate, as thynkith me,
RomC 7275 The pore man in sich clothyng.
RomC 7276 But God ne preisith hym nothing,
RomC 7277 That seith he hath the world forsake,
RomC 7278 And hath to worldly glorie hym take,
RomC 7279 And wole of siche delices use.
RomC 7280 Who may that begger wel excuse,
RomC 7281 That papelard, that hym yeldith so,
RomC 7282 And wole to worldly ese go,
RomC 7283 And seith that he the world hath left,
RomC 7284 And gredily it grypeth eft?
RomC 7285 He is the hound, shame is to seyn,
RomC 7286 That to his castyng goth ageyn.
RomC 7287 “But unto you dar I not lye.
RomC 7288 But myght I felen or aspie
RomC 7289 That ye perceyved it no thyng,
RomC 7290 Ye shulde have a stark lesyng
RomC 7291 Right in youre honde thus, to bigynne;
RomC 7292 I nolde it lette for no synne.”
RomC 7293 The god lough at the wondir tho,
RomC 7294 And every wight gan laugh also,
RomC 7295 And seide, “Lo, heere a man aright
RomC 7296 For to be trusty to every wight!”
RomC 7297 “Fals-Semblant,” quod Love, “sey to me,
RomC 7298 Sith I thus have avaunced thee,
RomC 7299 That in my court is thi dwellyng,
RomC 7300 And of ribawdis shalt be my kyng,
RomC 7301 Wolt thou wel holden my forwardis?”
RomC 7302 “Ye, sir, from hennes forwardis;
RomC 7303 Hadde never youre fadir heere-biforn
RomC 7304 Servaunt so trewe, sith he was born.”
RomC 7305 “That is ayenes all nature.”
RomC 7306 “Sir, putte you in that aventure.
RomC 7307 For though ye borowes take of me,
RomC 7308 The sikerer shal ye never be
RomC 7309 For ostages, ne sikirnesse,
RomC 7310 Or chartres, for to bere witnesse.
RomC 7311 I take youresilf to recorde heere,
RomC 7312 That men ne may in no manere
RomC 7313 Teren the wolf out of his hide,
RomC 7314 Til he be flayn, bak and side,
RomC 7315 Though men hym bete and al defile.
RomC 7316 What! Wene ye that I nil bigile
RomC 7317 For I am clothed mekely?
RomC 7318 Ther-undir is all my trechery;
RomC 7319 Myn herte chaungith never the mo
RomC 7320 For noon abit in which I go.
RomC 7321 Though I have chere of symplenesse,
RomC 7322 I am not wery of shrewidnesse.
RomC 7323 My lemman, Streyned-Abstinaunce,
RomC 7324 Hath myster of my purveaunce;
RomC 7325 She hadde ful longe ago be deed,
RomC 7326 Nere my councel and my red.
RomC 7327 Lete hir allone, and you and me.”
RomC 7328 And Love answerde, “I truste thee
RomC 7329 Withoute borowe, for I wole noon.”
RomC 7330 And Fals-Semblant, the theef, anoon,
RomC 7331 Ryght in that ilke same place,
RomC 7332 That hadde of tresoun al his face
RomC 7333 Ryght blak withynne and whit withoute,
RomC 7334 Thankyth hym, gan on his knees loute.
RomC 7335 Thanne was ther nought but, “Every man
RomC 7336 Now to assaut, that sailen can,”
RomC 7337 Quod Love, “and that full hardyly!”
RomC 7338 Thanne armed they hem communly
RomC 7339 Of sich armour as to hem fel.
RomC 7340 Whanne they were armed, fers and fel,
RomC 7341 They wente hem forth, alle in a route,
RomC 7342 And set the castel al aboute.
RomC 7343 They will nought away, for no drede,
RomC 7344 Till it so be that they ben dede,
RomC 7345 Or til they have the castel take.
RomC 7346 And foure batels they gan make,
RomC 7347 And parted hem in foure anoon,
RomC 7348 And toke her way, and forth they gon,
RomC 7349 The foure gates for to assaile,
RomC 7350 Of whiche the kepers wole not faile;
RomC 7351 For they ben neithir sike ne dede,
RomC 7352 But hardy folk, and stronge in dede.
RomC 7353 Now wole I seyn the countynaunce
RomC 7354 Of Fals-Semblant and Abstynaunce,
RomC 7355 That ben to Wikkid-Tonge went.
RomC 7356 But first they heelde her parlement,
RomC 7357 Whether it to done were
RomC 7358 To maken hem be knowen there,
RomC 7359 Or elles walken forth disgised.
RomC 7360 But at the laste they devysed
RomC 7361 That they wolde gon in tapinage,
RomC 7362 As it were in a pilgrimage,
RomC 7363 Lyke good and hooly folk unfeyned.
RomC 7364 And Dame Abstinence-Streyned
RomC 7365 Tok on a robe of kamelyne,
RomC 7366 And gan hir graithe as a Bygyne.
RomC 7367 A large coverechief of thred
RomC 7368 She wrapped all aboute hir heed,
RomC 7369 But she forgat not hir sawter;
RomC 7370 A peire of bedis eke she ber
RomC 7371 Upon a las, all of whit thred,
RomC 7372 On which that she hir bedes bed.
RomC 7373 But she ne bought hem never a del,
RomC 7374 For they were geven her, I wot wel,
RomC 7375 God wot, of a full hooly frere,
RomC 7376 That seide he was hir fadir dere,
RomC 7377 To whom she hadde ofter went
RomC 7378 Than ony frere of his covent.
RomC 7379 And he visited hir also,
RomC 7380 And many a sermoun seide hir to;
RomC 7381 He nolde lette, for man on lyve,
RomC 7382 That he ne wolde hir ofte shryve.
RomC 7383 And with so great devocion
RomC 7384 They made her confession,
RomC 7385 That they had ofte, for the nones,
RomC 7386 Two heedes in oon hood at ones.
RomC 7387 Of fayre shap I devyse her the,
RomC 7388 But pale of face somtyme was she;
RomC 7389 That false traytouresse untrewe
RomC 7390 Was lyk that salowe hors of hewe,
RomC 7391 That in the Apocalips is shewed,
RomC 7392 That signifyeth tho folk beshrewed
RomC 7393 That ben al ful of trecherye,
RomC 7394 And pale through hypocrisye;
RomC 7395 For on that hors no colour is,
RomC 7396 But only deed and pale, ywis.
RomC 7397 Of such a colour enlangoured
RomC 7398 Was Abstynence, iwys, coloured;
RomC 7399 Of her estat she her repented,
RomC 7400 As her visage represented.
RomC 7401 She had a burdown al of Thefte,
RomC 7402 That Gyle had yeve her of his yefte;
RomC 7403 And a skryppe of Faynt Distresse,
RomC 7404 That ful was of elengenesse;
RomC 7405 And forth she walked sobrely.
RomC 7406 And Fals-Semblant saynt, je vous die,
RomC 7407 Had, as it were for such mister,
RomC 7408 Don on the cope of a frer,
RomC 7409 With chere symple and ful pytous.
RomC 7410 Hys lokyng was not disdeynous,
RomC 7411 Ne proud, but meke and ful pesyble.
RomC 7412 About his necke he bar a byble,
RomC 7413 And squierly forth gan he gon,
RomC 7414 And, for to rest his lymmes upon,
RomC 7415 He had of Treason a potente;
RomC 7416 As he were feble, his way he wente.
RomC 7417 But in his sleve he gan to thringe
RomC 7418 A rasour sharp and wel bytynge,
RomC 7419 That was forged in a forge,
RomC 7420 Which that men clepen Coupe-Gorge.
RomC 7421 So longe forth her way they nomen,
RomC 7422 Tyl they to Wicked-Tonge comen,
RomC 7423 That at his gate was syttyng,
RomC 7424 And saw folk in the way passyng.
RomC 7425 The pilgrymes saw he faste by,
RomC 7426 That beren hem ful mekely,
RomC 7427 And humbly they with him mette.
RomC 7428 Dame Abstynence first him grette,
RomC 7429 And sythe him Fals-Semblant salued,
RomC 7430 And he hem; but he not remued,
RomC 7431 For he ne dredde hem not a del.
RomC 7432 For whan he saw her faces wel,
RomC 7433 Alway in herte him thoughte so,
RomC 7434 He shulde knowe hem bothe two,
RomC 7435 For wel he knew Dame Abstynaunce,
RomC 7436 But he ne knew not Constreynaunce.
RomC 7437 He knew nat that she was constrayned,
RomC 7438 Ne of her theves lyve fayned,
RomC 7439 But wende she com of wyl al free,
RomC 7440 But she com in another degree,
RomC 7441 And if of good wyl she began,
RomC 7442 That wyl was fayled her than.
RomC 7443 And Fals-Semblant had he sayn als,
RomC 7444 But he knew nat that he was fals.
RomC 7445 Yet fals was he, but his falsnesse
RomC 7446 Ne coude he nat espye nor gesse;
RomC 7447 For Semblant was so slye wrought,
RomC 7448 That Falsnesse he ne espyed nought.
RomC 7449 But haddest thou knowen hym beforn,
RomC 7450 Thou woldest on a bok have sworn,
RomC 7451 Whan thou him saugh in thylke aray,
RomC 7452 That he, that whilom was so gay,
RomC 7453 And of the daunce joly Robyn,
RomC 7454 Was tho become a Jacobyn.
RomC 7455 But sothly, what so men hym calle,
RomC 7456 Freres Preachours ben good men alle;
RomC 7457 Her order wickedly they beren,
RomC 7458 Suche mynstrelles if they weren.
RomC 7459 So ben Augustyns and Cordyleres,
RomC 7460 And Carmes, and eke Sacked Freeres,
RomC 7461 And alle freres, shodde and bare
RomC 7462 (Though some of hem ben great and square),
RomC 7463 Ful hooly men, as I hem deme;
RomC 7464 Everych of hem wolde good man seme.
RomC 7465 But shalt thou never of apparence
RomC 7466 Sen conclude good consequence
RomC 7467 In non argument, ywis,
RomC 7468 If existens al fayled is.
RomC 7469 For men may fynde alway sophyme
RomC 7470 The consequence to envenyme,
RomC 7471 Whoso that hath the subtelte
RomC 7472 The double sentence for to se.
RomC 7473 Whan the pylgrymes commen were
RomC 7474 To Wicked-Tonge, that dwelled there,
RomC 7475 Her harneys nygh hem was algate;
RomC 7476 By Wicked-Tonge adown they sate,
RomC 7477 That bad hem ner him for to come,
RomC 7478 And of tidynges telle him some,
RomC 7479 And sayd hem, “What cas maketh you
RomC 7480 To come into this place now?”
RomC 7481 “Sir,” sayde Strayned-Abstynaunce,
RomC 7482 “We, for to drye our penaunce,
RomC 7483 With hertes pytous and devoute
RomC 7484 Are commen, as pylgrimes gon aboute.
RomC 7485 Wel nygh on fote alwey we go;
RomC 7486 Ful dusty ben our heeles two;
RomC 7487 And thus bothe we ben sent
RomC 7488 Throughout this world, that is miswent,
RomC 7489 To yeve ensample, and preche also.
RomC 7490 To fysshen synful men we go,
RomC 7491 For other fysshynge ne fysshe we.
RomC 7492 And, sir, for that charyte,
RomC 7493 As we be wonte, herborowe we crave,
RomC 7494 Your lyf to amende, Christ it save!
RomC 7495 And, so it shulde you nat displese,
RomC 7496 We wolden, if it were youre ese,
RomC 7497 A short sermon unto you sayn.”
RomC 7498 And Wicked-Tonge answered agayn:
RomC 7499 “The hous,” quod he, “such as ye see,
RomC 7500 Shal nat be warned you for me.
RomC 7501 Say what you lyst, and I wol here.”
RomC 7502 “Graunt mercy, swete sire dere!”
RomC 7503 Quod alderfirst Dame Abstynence,
RomC 7504 And thus began she her sentence:
RomC 7505 “Sir, the firste vertu, certayn,
RomC 7506 The greatest and moste soverayn
RomC 7507 That may be founde in any man,
RomC 7508 For havynge, or for wyt he can,
RomC 7509 That is his tonge to refrayne;
RomC 7510 Therto ought every wight him payne.
RomC 7511 For it is better stylle be
RomC 7512 Than for to speken harm, parde!
RomC 7513 And he that herkeneth it gladly,
RomC 7514 He is no good man, sykerly.
RomC 7515 “And, sir, aboven al other synne,
RomC 7516 In that art thou most gylty inne.
RomC 7517 Thou spake a jape not longe ago,
RomC 7518 (And, sir, that was ryght yvel do)
RomC 7519 Of a young man that here repayred,
RomC 7520 And never yet this place apayred.
RomC 7521 Thou saydest he awayted nothyng
RomC 7522 But to disceyve Fayr-Welcomyng;
RomC 7523 Ye sayde nothyng soth of that.
RomC 7524 But, sir, ye lye, I tel you plat.
RomC 7525 He ne cometh no more, ne goth, parde!
RomC 7526 I trowe ye shal him never se.
RomC 7527 Fayr-Welcomyng in prison is,
RomC 7528 That ofte hath played with you, er this,
RomC 7529 The fayrest games that he coude,
RomC 7530 Withoute fylthe, stylle or loude.
RomC 7531 Now dar he nat himself solace.
RomC 7532 Ye han also the man do chace,
RomC 7533 That he dar neyther come ne go.
RomC 7534 What meveth you to hate him so,
RomC 7535 But properly your wicked thought,
RomC 7536 That many a fals leasyng hath thought
RomC 7537 That meveth your foole eloquence,
RomC 7538 That jangleth ever in audyence,
RomC 7539 And on the folk areyseth blame,
RomC 7540 And doth hem dishonour and shame,
RomC 7541 For thyng that may have no prevyng,
RomC 7542 But lyklynesse, and contryvyng?
RomC 7543 “For I dar sayn that Reson demeth
RomC 7544 It is nat al soth thyng that semeth,
RomC 7545 And it is synne to controve
RomC 7546 Thyng that is to reprove.
RomC 7547 This wote ye wel, and sir, therfore
RomC 7548 Ye arn to blame the more.
RomC 7549 And nathelesse, he recketh lyte;
RomC 7550 He yeveth nat now therof a myte.
RomC 7551 For if he thoughte harm, parfay,
RomC 7552 He wolde come and gon al day;
RomC 7553 He coude himselve nat abstene.
RomC 7554 Now cometh he nat, and that is sene,
RomC 7555 For he ne taketh of it no cure,
RomC 7556 But if it be through aventure,
RomC 7557 And lasse than other folk, algate.
RomC 7558 And thou her watchest at the gate,
RomC 7559 With spere in thyn arest alway;
RomC 7560 There muse, musard, al the day.
RomC 7561 Thou wakest night and day for thought;
RomC 7562 Iwis, thy traveyle is for nought;
RomC 7563 And Jelousye, withouten fayle,
RomC 7564 Shal never quyte the thy traveyle.
RomC 7565 And skathe is that Fayr-Welcomyng,
RomC 7566 Withouten any trespassyng,
RomC 7567 Shal wrongfully in prison be,
RomC 7568 There wepeth and languyssheth he.
RomC 7569 And though thou never yet, ywis,
RomC 7570 Agyltest man no more but this,
RomC 7571 (Take nat a-gref) it were worthy
RomC 7572 To putte the out of this bayly,
RomC 7573 And afterward in prison lye,
RomC 7574 And fettre the tyl that thou dye;
RomC 7575 For thou shalt for this synne dwelle
RomC 7576 Right in the devels ers of helle,
RomC 7577 But if that thou repente thee.”
RomC 7578 “Ma fay, thou liest falsly!” quod he.
RomC 7579 “What? Welcome with myschaunce now!
RomC 7580 Have I therfore herbered yow,
RomC 7581 To seye me shame, and eke reprove?
RomC 7582 With sory hap, to youre bihove,
RomC 7583 Am I to day youre herberger!
RomC 7584 Go herber yow elleswhere than heer,
RomC 7585 That han a lyer called me!
RomC 7586 Two tregetours art thou and he,
RomC 7587 That in myn hous do me this shame,
RomC 7588 And for my soth-sawe ye me blame.
RomC 7589 Is this the sermoun that ye make?
RomC 7590 To all the develles I me take,
RomC 7591 Or elles, God, thou me confounde,
RomC 7592 But, er men diden this castel founde,
RomC 7593 It passith not ten daies or twelve,
RomC 7594 But it was told right to myselve,
RomC 7595 And as they seide, right so tolde I,
RomC 7596 He kyst the Rose pryvyly!
RomC 7597 Thus seide I now, and have seid yore;
RomC 7598 I not wher he dide ony more.
RomC 7599 Why shulde men sey me such a thyng,
RomC 7600 If it hadde ben gabbyng?
RomC 7601 Ryght so seide I, and wol seye yit;
RomC 7602 I trowe, I lied not of it.
RomC 7603 And with my bemes I wole blowe
RomC 7604 To alle neighboris a-rowe,
RomC 7605 How he hath bothe comen and gon.”
RomC 7606 Tho spak Fals-Semblant right anon:
RomC 7607 “All is not gospel, out of doute,
RomC 7608 That men seyn in the town aboute.
RomC 7609 Ley no deef ere to my spekyng;
RomC 7610 I swere yow, sir, it is gabbyng!
RomC 7611 I trowe ye wote wel, certeynly,
RomC 7612 That no man loveth hym tenderly
RomC 7613 That seith hym harm, if he wot it,
RomC 7614 All he be never so pore of wit.
RomC 7615 And soth is also, sikerly
RomC 7616 (This knowe ye, sir, as wel as I),
RomC 7617 That lovers gladly wole visiten
RomC 7618 The places there her loves habiten.
RomC 7619 This man yow loveth and eke honoureth.
RomC 7620 This man to serve you laboureth,
RomC 7621 And clepith you his freend so deere:
RomC 7622 And this man makith you good chere,
RomC 7623 And everywhere that [he] you meteth,
RomC 7624 He yow saloweth, and he you greteth.
RomC 7625 He preseth not so ofte that ye
RomC 7626 Ought of his come encombred be;
RomC 7627 Ther presen other folk on yow
RomC 7628 Full ofter than he doth now.
RomC 7629 And if his herte hym streyned so
RomC 7630 Unto the Rose for to go,
RomC 7631 Ye shulde hym sen so ofte nede,
RomC 7632 That ye shulde take hym with the dede.
RomC 7633 He cowde his comyng not forbere,
RomC 7634 Though me hym thrilled with a spere;
RomC 7635 It nere not thanne as it is now.
RomC 7636 But trusteth wel, I swere it yow,
RomC 7637 That it is clene out of his thought.
RomC 7638 Sir, certis, he ne thenkith it nought;
RomC 7639 No more ne doth Fair-Welcomyng,
RomC 7640 That sore abieth al this thing.
RomC 7641 And if they were of oon assent,
RomC 7642 Full soone were the Rose hent;
RomC 7643 The maugre youres wolde be.
RomC 7644 And sir, of o thing herkeneth me,
RomC 7645 Sith ye this man that loveth yow
RomC 7646 Han seid such harm and shame now,
RomC 7647 Witeth wel, if he gessed it,
RomC 7648 Ye may wel demen in youre wit
RomC 7649 He nolde nothyng love you so,
RomC 7650 Ne callen you his freend also,
RomC 7651 But nyght and day he wolde wake
RomC 7652 The castell to destroie and take,
RomC 7653 If it were soth as ye devise;
RomC 7654 Or som man in som maner wise
RomC 7655 Might it warne hym everydel,
RomC 7656 Or by hymsilf perceyven wel.
RomC 7657 For sith he myght not come and gon,
RomC 7658 As he was whilom wont to don,
RomC 7659 He myght it sone wite and see;
RomC 7660 But now all other wise doth he.
RomC 7661 Thanne have [ye], sir, al outerly,
RomC 7662 Deserved helle, and jolyly
RomC 7663 The deth of helle, douteles,
RomC 7664 That thrallen folk so gilteles.”
RomC 7665 Fals-Semblant proveth so this thing
RomC 7666 That he can noon answeryng,
RomC 7667 And seth alwey such apparaunce
RomC 7668 That nygh he fel in repentaunce,
RomC 7669 And seide hym, “Sir, it may wel be.
RomC 7670 Semblant, a good man semen ye,
RomC 7671 And, Abstinence, full wise ye seme.
RomC 7672 Of o talent you bothe I deme.
RomC 7673 What counceil wole ye to me yiven?”
RomC 7674 “Ryght heere anoon thou shalt be shryven,
RomC 7675 And sey thy synne withoute more;
RomC 7676 Of this shalt thou repente sore.
RomC 7677 For I am prest and have pouste
RomC 7678 To shryve folk of most dignyte
RomC 7679 That ben, as wide as world may dure.
RomC 7680 Of all this world I have the cure,
RomC 7681 And that hadde never yit persoun,
RomC 7682 Ne vicarie of no maner toun.
RomC 7683 And, God wot, I have of thee
RomC 7684 A thousand tyme more pitee
RomC 7685 Than hath thi preest parochial,
RomC 7686 Though he thy freend be special.
RomC 7687 I have avauntage, in o wise,
RomC 7688 That youre prelatis ben not so wise
RomC 7689 Ne half so lettred as am I.
RomC 7690 I am licenced boldely
RomC 7691 To reden in divinite,
RomC 7692 And longe have red. . . .