The minor poems of the Vernon ms. ... (with a few from the Digby mss. 2 and 86) ...
Horstmann, Carl, b. 1851., Furnivall, Frederick James, 1825-1910.
Page  658

LV. Thirty Poems, most with Refrains. MS. Vernon, fol. 407

(3 of them, ed. Furnivall, Phil. Soc. Trans., 1872, Part II; the first 13 of them, ed. Varnhagen, Anglia, vii, 1884, p. 282-315).

    1.
  • Mercy passes all things, p. 658.
  • 2.
  • Deo Gracias I, p. 664.
  • 3.
  • Against my Will, I take my Leave, p. 666.
  • 4.
  • God is Love, p. 668.
  • 5.
  • Deo Gracias II, p. 670.
  • 6.
  • Each man ought himself to know, p. 672.
  • 7.
  • Think on Yesterday, p. 675.
  • 8.
  • Keep well Christ's Commandments, p. 680.
  • 9.
  • Who says the Sooth, he shall be shent, p. 683.
  • 10.
  • Fy on a faint Friend! p. 686.
  • 11.
  • Thank God of all, p. 688.
  • 12.
  • This World fares as a Fantasy, p. 692.
  • 13.
  • Ay, Mercy, God! p. 696.
  • 14.
  • Truth ever is best, p. 699.
  • 15.
  • Charity is no longer dear, p. 701.
  • 16.
  • Of Women cometh this World's Weal, p. 704.
  • 17.
  • Mary, Mother of Christ, p. 708.
  • 18.
  • The Fleur de Lys, Maiden Mary, p. 711.
  • 19.
  • Seldom seen is soon forgot, p. 715.
  • 20.
  • Warning to be ware, p. 719.
  • 21.
  • Love Holy Church and Priests, p. 721.
  • 22.
  • Try to say the best, p. 723.
  • 23.
  • To-morrow, p. 725.
  • 24.
  • Make Amends for thy Sins, p. 727.
  • 25.
  • Suffer in Time, and that is best, p. 730.
  • 26.
  • Mane nobiscum, Domine! p. 733.
  • 27.
  • A Prayer to the Virgin Mary, p. 735.
  • 28.
  • A Prayer to the Trinity, p. 740.
  • 29.
  • But thou say Sooth, thou shalt be shent, p. 740.
  • 30.
  • Thanks and Prayer to God, p. 744.

1. Mercy passes all Things.*. [Printed by Furnivall from the Simeon MS., with collations from the Vernon, in Early English Poems and Lives of Saints, p. 118, Philolog. Soc. Trans. 1872.]

(16 stanzas of 12, abab abab bcbc.)

(1)
BI west, vnder a wylde wode-syde,
In a launde, þer I was lente,
Wlanke deor on grounde gunne glyde,
And lyouns Raumping vppon bente,
     4
Beores, wolues wiþ Mouþes wyde,
Þe smale Beestes þei al to-rente;
Þer haukes vn-to heore pray þei hyde,
Of whuche, to on .I. tok good tente:
     8
A Merlyon, a Brid had hente,
And in hire foot heo gan hit bringe;
Hit couþe not speke, but þus hit mente:
How Merci passeþ alle þinge. Page  659
     12
(2)
¶ Merci was in þat Briddes muynde,
But þerof kneuȝ þe Hau[e]k non,
ffor in hir foot heo gan hit bynde,
And heold hit stille as eny ston;
     16
Heo dude after þe cours of kynde,
And fleiȝ in-to a treo anon.
Þorw kuynde þe Brid gan Merci fynde:
ffor on þe morwe heo let hit gon.
     20
fful stille .I. stod my-self al-on,
To herken hou þat Brid gan synge:
A-wey wol wende boþe Murþe and moon,
And Merci passeþ alle þinge.
     24
(3)
¶ How Merci passeþ strengþe & riȝt,
Mony a wyse seo we may.
God ordeyned Merci, most of miht,
To beo aboue his werkes ay.
     28
Whon deore Ihesu schal be diht
To demen vs at doomes-day,
Vr sunne wol beo so muche in siht,
We schul not wite what we schul say;
     32
fful fersliche Riȝt wol vs affray,
And blame vs for vr mis-lyuing:
Þen dar non prese for vs to pray,
But Merci þat passeþ alle þing.
     36
(4)
¶ Riht wolde sle vs for vr synne,
Miht wolde don execucion;
And Riht-wyse god þen wol be-gynne
fforte reherce vs þis resoun:
     40
"I made þe, Mon, ȝif þat þou minne,
Of feture lich myn owne fasoun,
And after crepte In-to þi kinne,
And for þe suffred passioun;
     44
Of þornes kene þen was þe croun
fful scharpe vppon myn hed standyng;
Min herte-blood ran from me doun;
And I for-ȝaf þe alle þing. Page  660
     48
(5)
¶ "Myn herte-blood for þe gan blede,
To buye þe from þe fendes blake,
And I for-ȝaf þe þi misdede.
What hast þou suffred for my sake?
     52
Me hungred, þou woldest not me fede,
Ne neuer my furst ne woldestou slake;
Whon I of herborwe hedde gret nede,
Þou woldest not to þin hous me take;
     56
Þou seȝe me a-mong todes blake,
fful longe in harde prison lyng.*. [[lying]]
Let seo what onswere constou make,
Wher weore þou kynde in eny þing?
     60
(6)
¶ "And hou .I. quenched al þi care,
Lift vp þin eiȝe and þou maiȝt se
Mi woundes wete, blodi al bare,
As .I. was rauȝt on Roode-tre.
     64
Þou seȝe me for defaute forfare,
In seknes and in pouerte:
Ȝit of þi good woldestou not spare,
Ne ones come to visyte me.
     68
Al eorþli þing .I. ȝaf to þe,
Boþe Beest and fisch & foul fleoyng,
And tolde þe hou þat charite
And Merci passeþ alle þing.
     72
(7)
¶ "Hou mihtou eny merci haue
Þat neuer desyredest non to do?
Þou seȝe me naked and cloþes craue;
Barehed and Barefot gan I go:
     76
On me þou vochedest no þing saue,
But beede me wende þi wones fro.
Þou seȝe me ded aboue to graue
On Bere seuen dayes and mo:
     80
ffor luitel dette I ouȝte þe þo, [folio 407:2]
Þou forbed my buriȝing.
Þi pater noster seyde not so,
ffor Merci passeþ alle þing." Page  661
     84
(8)
¶ Þeos are þe werkes of Merci seuene,
Of wȝuche crist wol vs areyne,
Þat alle schul stoney wiþ þat steuene
Þat euer tresoun miȝte a-teyne.
     88
ffor heer but ȝif we make vs euene,
Þer may no miht ne ȝiftes ȝeyne.
Þenne to þe kyng of heuene,
Þe Bok seiþ þat we schul seyne:
     92
"Wher hastou, lord, in prisoun leyne?
Whonne weore þou in eorþe dwellyng?
Whon seȝe we þe in such peyne?
Whon askedest þou vs eny þing?"
     96
(9)
¶ "Whon ȝe seȝe ouþer Blynd or lame
Þat for my loue asked ȝou ouȝt;
Al þat ȝe duden in myn name,
Hit was to me, boþe deede & þouȝt.
     100
But ȝe þat hated cristendame,
And of my wraþþe neuer ne rouȝt,
Ȝour seruise schal ben endeles schame
Helle-fuir þat slakes nouȝt.
     104
And ȝe þat wiþ my blood .I. bouȝt,
Þat loued me in ȝoure lyuynge,
Ȝe schul haue þat ȝe haue souȝt,
Merci þat passeþ alle þinge."
     108
(10)
¶ Þis tyme schal tyde, hit is no nay,
And wel is him þat haþ þat grace
ffor to plese his god to pay,
And Merci seche while he haþ space!
     112
ffor beo vr mouþ crommed with clay
Wormes blake wol vs enbrase:
Þen is to late, Mon, in good fay,
To seche to A-Mende of þi trespace.
     116
With mekenes þou may heuene purchase:
Oþer Meede þar þe non bring,
But knowe þi god in vche a case,
And loue him best of any þing. Page  662
     120
(11)
¶ To god and non weore holden meste
To loue, and his wraþþe eschuwe.
Now is non so vnkuynde a beeste
Þat lasse doþ þat weore him duwe;
     124
ffor Beestes and foules, more & leeste,
Þe cours of kynde alle þei suwe.
And whonne we breken Godes heste,
Aȝeynes kuynde we ben vn-trewe:
     128
ffor kuynde wolde þat we him knewe
And dradde him most in vre doing.
Hit is no riht þat he vs rewe,
But Merci passeþ alle þing.
     132
(12)
¶ Now harlotrye for murþe is holde,
And vertues tornen in-to vice,
And Symonye haþ chirches solde,
And lawe is waxen Couetyse;
     136
Vr feiþ is frele to flecche & folde,
ffor treuþe is put to luytel prise;
Vre God is glotenye and golde,
Dronkenes, Lecherye and dyse:
     140
Lo heer vr lyf and vre delyce,
Vr loue, vr lust and vre lykyng.
Ȝet, ȝif we wole repente and ryse,
Merci passeþ alle þinge.
     144
(13)
¶ Vn-lustily vr lyf we lede,
Monhod and we twynne in two;
To heuen ne helle take we non hede,
But on day come, a noþer go.
     148
Who is a mayster now but meede,
And pruide, þat wakened al vr wo?
We stunte, neiþer for schame ne drede,
To teren vr god from top to to,
     152
ffor-swere his soule, his herte also,
And alle þe Menbres þat we cun Mynge:
fful harde vengeaunce wol falle on þo,
But merci passeþ alle þinge. Page  663
     156
(14)
¶ And corteis knihthod and clergye,
Þat wont were vices to forsake,
Are nou so Rooted in Ribaudye
Þat oþur merþes lust hem not make.
     160
A-wei is gentyl cortesye, [folio 407:3]
And lustines his leue haþ take;
We loue so slouþe and harlotrie,
We slepe as swolle swyn in lake.
     164
Þer wol no worschupe wiþ vs wake
Til þat Charite beo mad a kyng:
And þen schal al vr synne slake,
And Merci passeþ alle þing.
     168
(15)
¶ .I. munge no more of þis to ȝou,
Al-þauȝ .I. couþe ȝif þat .I. wolde,
ffor ȝe han herd wel whi & hou
Bi-gon þis tale þat I haue tolde.
     172
And þis men knowen wel .I.-nouh,
ffor Merlyons feet ben colde;
hit is heor kynde on Bank and bouh
A quik Brid to hauen and holde,
     176
ffrom foot to foot to flutte and folde,
To kepe hire from clomesyng;
As .I. an hauþorn gan bi holde,
.I. sauȝ my self þe same þing.
     180
(16)
¶ Whon heo hedde holden so al niht,
On Morwe heo let hit gon a-way:
Wheþer gentrie tauȝt hire so or nouȝt,
I con not telle ȝou, in good fay!
     184
But, God, as þou art ful of miȝt,
Þouȝ we plese þe not to pay,
Graunt vs repentaunce and respiȝt,
And schrift and hosel, or we day;
     188
As þou art God and mon verray,
Þou beo vr help at vre endyng,
Bi-fore þi face þat we mai sai:
'Now Merci passeþ alle þinge.'
     192
Page  664

2. Deo Gracias I.

(11 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
IN a Chirche, þer .I. con knel
Þis ender day in on Morwenynge,
Me lyked þe seruise wonder wel;
ffor-þi þe lengore con .I. lynge.
     4
.I. seiȝ a Clerk a book forþ bringe,
Þat prikked was in mony a plas;
ffaste he souȝte what he scholde synge:
And al was Deo Gracias.
     8
(2)
¶ Alle þe queristres in þat qwer,
On þat word fast gon þei cri.
Þe noyse was good, & .I. drouȝ neer
And called a prest ful priueli,
     12
And seide: "sire, for ȝor curtesi
Tel me, ȝif ȝe habbeþ spas,
What hit meneþ, and for whi
Ȝe singe Deo Gracias?"
     16
(3)
¶ In selk þat comeli clerk was clad,
And ouer a lettorne leoned he;
And wiþ his word he maade me glad,
And seide: "sone, I schal telle þe:
     20
ffader and Sone In Trinite,
Þe holy gost, ground of vr graas,
Also oftesiþe þonke we
As we sei Deo Gracias.
     24
(4)
¶ "To þonke & blesse him we ben bounde
With al þe murþes þat mon mai Minne:
ffor al þe world in wo was wounde
Til þat he crepte in to vr kinne:
     28
A louesum buirde he liȝte with-Inne,
Þe worþiest þat euer was,
And schedde his blod for vre sinne:
And þerfore Deo Gracias." Page  665
     32
(5)
¶ Þen seide þe preost: "sone, be þi leue
.I. moste seie forþ my seruise,
.I. preye þe tak hit nouȝt in greue;
ffor þou hast herd al my deuise,
     36
Bi-cause whi hit is clerkes wyse,
And holychirche muynde of hit maas,
Vnto þe prince so muchel of prise,
fforte synge Deo Gracias."
     40
(6)
¶ Out of þat chirche .I. wente my way,
And on þat word was al my þouȝt,
And twenti tymes .I. con say,
"God graunte þat .I. for-ȝete hit nouȝt!
     44
Þouȝ I weore out of bonchef brouȝt,
what help weore to me to seye allas?
In þe nome of god, what-euer be wrouȝt,
I schal seie Deo gracias.
     48
(7)
¶ "In Mischef and in bonchef boþe, [folio 407b] *. [The leaf-numbers here are modern, and on the general wrong plan of making each leaf a folio, instead of the double open page, the back of the left leaf and the front of the right one, which the old numbering always rightly adopts.]
Þat word is good to seye and synge,
And not to wayle ne to bi wroþe,
Þauȝ al be nouȝt at vre lykynge.
     52
ffor langour schal not euer lynge,
And sum tyme plesaunse wol ouer-pas,
But ay in hope of a-mendynge,
.I. schal seye Deo Gracias."
     56
(8)
¶ A-Mende þat þou hast don amis,
And do wel þenne, and haue no drede,
Wheþer so þou beo In bale or blis!
Þi goode suffraunce schal gete þe mede,
     60
Ȝif þou þi lyf in lykyng lede.
Loke þou beo kuynde in vch a cas,
Þonk þi god, ȝif þou wel spede,
Wiþ þis word, Deo Gracias. Page  666
     64
(9)
¶ Ȝif god haþ ȝiue þe vertues mo
Þen he haþ oþure two or þre,
Þenne I rede þou rule þe so
Þat men may speke worschupe bi þe.
     68
Be fert of pruide, & bost þou fle,
Þi vertues let no fulþe de-faas,
But kep þe clene, corteis & fre,
And þenk on Deo Gracias.
     72
(10)
¶ Ȝif þou beo mad an Offycer,
And art a Mon of muche miht,
What cause þou demest, loke hit be cler,
And reue no mon from him his riht,
     76
Ȝif þou beo strong and fers to fiht.
ffor envye neuer mon þou chas,
But drede þi god boþe dai & niȝt,
And þenk on deo gracias.
     80
(11)
¶ Ȝif we þis word in herte wol haue,
And ay in loue and leute leende,
Of crist bi couenaunt we mow craue
Þat Ioye þat schal neuer haue ende,
     84
Out of þis world whon we schul wende,
In-to his paleys for to paas,
And sitte a-mong his seintes hende,
And þer synge Deo Gracias.
     88

3. Against my Will, I take my Leave.

(8 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc)

(1)
Nou Bernes, Buirdus bolde and blyþe,
To blessen ow her nou am .I. bounde;
.I. þonke ȝou alle a þousend siþe,
And prei god saue ȝou hol and sounde;
     4
Wher-euer ȝe go, on gras or grounde,
He ow gouerne with-outen greue
ffor frendschipe þat .I. here haue founde;
A-ȝeyn mi wille .I. take mi leue. Page  667
     8
(2)
¶ ffor frendschipe & for ȝiftes goode,
ffor Mete & Drinke so gret plente
Þat lord þat rauȝt was on þe Roode,
He kepe þi comeli cumpayne;
     12
On see or lond, wher þat ȝe be,
He gouerne ow wiþ-outen greue;
So good dispest ȝe han mad me,
Aȝein my wille .I. take my leue.
     16
(3)
¶ Aȝein mi wille al-þouȝ .I. wende,
.I. may not al-wey dwellen here,
ffor eueri þing schal haue an ende,
And frendes are not ay .I.-fere;
     20
Be we neuer so lef and dere,
Out of þis world al schul we meue;
And whon we buske vn-to vr bere,
Aȝeyn vr wille we take vr leue.
     24
(4)
¶ And wende we schulle, .I. wot neuer whenne,
Ne whoderward þat we schul fare;
But endeles blisse, or ay to brenne,
To eueri mon is ȝarked ȝare.
     28
ffor-þi .I. rede vch mon be ware,
And lete vr werk vr wordes preue,
So þat no sunne vr soule forfare
Whon þat vr lyf haþ taken his leue.
     32
(5)
¶ Whon þat vr lyf his leue haþ lauht,
Vr bodi lith bounden bi þe wowe,
Vr richesses alle from vs ben raft,
In clottes colde vr cors is þrowe.
     36
Wher are þi frendes ho wol þe knowe?
Let seo ho wol þi soule releue?
.I. rede þe, mon, ar þou ly lowe,
Beo redi ay to take þi leue. Page  668
     40
(6)
¶ Be redi ay, what euer bi-falle, [folio 407b:2]
Al sodeynli lest þou be kiht;
Þou wost neuer whonne þi lord wol calle,
Loke þat þi laumpe beo brennynge briht;
     44
ffor leue me wel, but þou haue liht,
Riht foule þi lord wol þe repreue,
And fleme þe fer out of his siht,
ffor al to late þou toke þi leue.
     48
(7)
¶ Nou god, þat was in Bethleem bore,
He ȝiue vs grace to serue him so
Þat we mai come his face to-fore,
Out of þis world whon we schul go;
     52
And for to a-mende þat we mis-do,
In Clei or þat we clynge and cleue,
And mak vs euene wiþ frend and fo,
And in good tyme to take vr leve.
     56
(8)
¶ Nou haueþ good dai, gode men alle,
Haueþ good dai, ȝonge and olde,
Haueþ good day, boþe grete and smalle,
And graunt-Merci a þousend folde.
     60
Ȝif euere .I. miȝte, ful fayn .I. wolde
Don ouȝt þat weore vn-to ȝow leue.
Crist kepe ow out of cares colde,
ffor nou is tyme to take my leue.
     64

4. God is Love.

(7 stanzas of 8, abab abab.)

(1)
Deus caritas est:
A, deore god, omnipotent,
Lord þou madest boþe foul & best,
On eorþe to mon þou here hit sent.
     4
.I. warne ȝow alle, boþe more & lest,
Charite .I. rede þat ȝe hent;
ffor hit is cristes hest,
Þat schal come to þe Iugement. Page  669
     8
(2)
¶ ffor whon he comeþ a domes-day
Þat al þis world hit schal wel se,
Þe wikked he biddeþ to gon heor way,
In bitter penaunce for euere to be;
     12
And to þe goode wol þat lord say:
"Ȝe schul alle wende wiþ me
In-to þe blisse for euere and ay;
Et qui manet in caritate."
     16
(3)
¶ God þat made boþe heuene & helle,
Vre swete lord of Naȝareþ:
Adam þat was so feir of felle
ffor his folyes he suffred deþ.
     20
In God forsoþe he schal dwelle,
In charite ho so geþ,
Hit is soþ þat I ou telle,
Bi-hold and seo:—In deo manet.
     24
(4)
¶ Crist was toren vch a lim,
And on þe Roode he was .I.-do.
Þe fend þat was so derk and dym,
To þe crois he com þo,—
     28
Crist, al charite is in him—
Þere he ouer-com vs to.
Charite .I. rede þat þou nym,
And þenne Deus est in eo.
     32
(5)
¶ Let Charite nou awake,
And do hit þer neod is;
Heuene forsoþe þen maiȝt þou take
And come to þat riche blis:
     36
Nou crist, for his Moder sake,
Let vs neuere þis place mis,
And schild vs from þe fendes blake,
And Sit deus in nobis. Page  670
     40
(6)
¶ And charite .I. rede þat we be-ginne
As bi-fore alle oþer games,
And schriue vs clene of vre synne,
ffor so dude Peter, Ion and Iames,
     44
And þerfore god hem dwelled wiþ-Inne,
ffor þei weoren alle wiþ-outen oþer blames.
Crist, let vs heuene wynne,
E(t) nos ipso maneamus.
     48
(7)
¶ God þat dwelleþ in gret solas
In heuene, þat riche regnyng,
And for vs þolede gret trespas
Wonder muche at vre muntyng,
     52
On þe Roode don he was,
In gret dispyt .I.-cleped a kyng.
Þenkeþ nouþe On Deus caritas,
And bring vs alle to good endyng.
     56

5. Deo Gracias II.

(6 stanzas of 8; one abab baba; five abab bcbc.)

(1)
M .I. word is Deo gracias,
In world wher me be wel or wo;
Hou scholde I lauȝwhe or sigge Allas [folio 407b:3]
ffor, leeue me wel, hit [ne] lasteþ o,
     4
And þouȝ hit greue, hit wol ouer go,
As þouȝt chaungeþ, for such is graas.
Þerfore, wher me beo wel or wo,
I sey not But deo gracias.
     8
(2)
¶ Þouȝ I beo riche of gold so red,
And liht to renne as is a Ro,
Anoþur is boun to begge his bred
Wiþ brestes blak and bleynes blo.
     12
Whon .I. seo good de-parted so:
To sum Mon God sent gret solas,
And sum Mon ay to liuen in wo,
Þen sei .I. Deo Gracias. Page  671
     16
(3)
¶ Þou he beo pore and lyue in peyn,
Anoþer mon proudeþ as doþ a poo,
Whon murþe is his & Mourning myn,
As may be-falle to me and mo,
     20
Ȝif fortune wolde be so my fo
ffrom me to turne hir freoly faas;
Seþþe god may sende boþe weole & wo,
I sei not but Deo Gracias.
     24
(4)
¶ A lord of worschup ȝif .I. ware,
And weore falle doun in a wro,
Siknesse sitteþ me so sare,
And serwe wol neiȝ myn herte slo,
     28
Þus am I bounde from top til to,
And I turmente so for my trespas:
Ȝif God may loose me of þat wo,
And þenne I sey Deo Gracias.
     32
(5)
¶ Whon I hedde spendyng her-be-forn,
Þer wolde no felauschip fonde me fro,
But herkne & hiȝe to myn horn,
ffor in myn hond þer stod non ho.
     36
Nou a-peereþ non of þo;
So pouert a-peired haþ my plas.
Ho may haue wele wiþ-oute wo?
Þerfore I sey Deo gracias.
     40
(6)
¶ Almihti, corteis, Crouned kyng,
God, graunt vs grace to rule vs so
Þat we may come to þi wonyng,
Þer is wele wiþ-outen wo.
     44
Milde Mayde, prey þi sone also,
Þat he for-ȝiue vs vre trespas,
And afterward in-to heuene go,
Þer to synge Deo gracias. Amen.
     48
Page  672

6. Each Man ought himself to know.

(9 stanzas of 12, abab abab bcbc.)

(1)
IN a Pistel þat poul wrouȝt,
.I. fond hit writen, & seide riht þis:
Vche cristne creature knowen himself ouȝt
His oune vessel. and soþ hit is.
     4
Nere help of him þat vs deore bouȝt,
We weoren bore to luytel blis;
Whon al þi gode dedes beþ þorw-souȝt,
Seche, and þou schalt fynden A-mis.
     8
Eueri mon scholde .I.-knowen his,
And þat is luitel, as .I. trowe;
To teche vs self, crist vs wis;
flor vche mon ouȝte him-self to knowe.
     12
(2)
¶ Knowe þi-self what þou ware,
Whon þou were of þi moder born,
Ho was þi moder þat þe bare,
And ho was þi fader þer-bi-foren;
     16
Knowe hou þei beþ forþ fare;
So schaltou þeiȝ þou hed sworen.
Knowe þou come hider wiþ care;
Þou nost neuer ȝif þou byde til morn;
     20
Hou lihtly þou maiȝt be forlorn,
But þou þi sinne schriue & schowe;
ffor lond or kiþ, Catel or corn,
Vche mon oute him-self to knowe.
     24
(3)
¶ Knowe þi lyf; hit may not last,
But as a blast blouh out þi breth;
Tote, and bi a noþer mon tast;
Riht as a glentand glem hit geth.
     28
What is al þat forþ is past?
hit fareþ as a fuir of heth.
Þis worldes good awey wol wast,
ffor synnes seeknesse þi soule sleþ.
     32
And þat is a ful delful deþ, [folio 408]
To saue þi soule and þou be slowe, Page  673
Wiþ þi Maystrie medel þi meþ,
ffor vche mon ouȝte him-self to knowe.
     36
(4)
¶ Ȝif þou þi-self knowe con,
¶ Sit doun, and tac Countures rounde,
Seþþe furst þou monnes wit bi-gon
Hou ofte sunne þe haþ .I.-bounde.
     40
And for vch a synne lei þou doun on,
Til þou þi synnes haue .I.-souȝt vp sounde;
Counte þi goode dedes euerichon,
Abyd þer a while and stunte a stounde;
     44
And ȝif þou fele þe siker and sounde,
Þonk þou þi god, as þou wel owe;
And ȝif þou art In sunne .I.-bounde
Amende þe, and þi-self knowe.
     48
(5)
¶ Knowe what god haþ for þe do:
Made þe after his oune liknes;
Seþþe, he com from heuene also,
And diȝede for þe wiþ gret distres.
     52
ffor þe he soffrede boþe pyne and wo;
Knowe þou him and alle his:
Who-so greueþ him Is worþi to go
To helle-fuir, but he hit red[r]es,
     56
And he be demed bi rihtfulnes;
But his grace is so wyde .I.-sowe,
ffrom his wraþþe .I. rede vs bles,
ffor vche mon ouȝte him-self to knowe.
     60
(6)
¶ Knowe þi-self þat þou schalt dye,
But what tyme, þou nost neuer whenne;
Wiþ a twynklyng of an eiȝe,
Eueri day þou hiȝest þe henne;
     64
Þi fleschly foode þe wermes wol fye:
Vche cristen mon ouȝte þis to kenne.
Loke aboute and wel a-spye,
Þis world doþ bote bi-traye menne;
     68
And beo war of þe fuir þat euer schal brenne,
And þenk þou regnest her but a þrowe; Page  674
Heuene-blisse þou schal haue þenne,
ffor vche mon ouȝte him self to knowe.
     72
(7)
¶ Knowe þi flesch, þat wol rote;
ffor certes, þou maiȝt not longe endure;
And nedes dye, hennes þou mote,
Þei þou haue kyngdam*. [MS. kyngdan] and Empyre.
     76
And sone þou schalt beo forgote;
So schal souereyn, so schal syre.
Hose leeueþ not þis, I. trouwe he dote,
ffor eueri mok most in-to myre.
     80
Preye we to god vr soules enspire,
Or we ben logged in erþe lowe,
Heuene to haue to vr huire;
ffor vche mon ouȝte him-self to knowe.
     84
(8)
¶ Knowe þi kuynde Creatoure,
Knowe what he for þe dide;
Knowe þis worldly honoure,
Hou sone þat hit is forþ .I.-slyde.
     88
Ende of Ioye Is her doloure;
Strengþe stont vs in no stide,
But longyng & beoing in laboure;
Vr Bost, vr Brag is sone ouerbide.
     92
Arthur and Ector þat we dredde,
Deth haþ leid hem wonderly lowe.
Amende þe, Mon, euene forþ mide,
ffor vche mon ouȝte him-self to knowe.
     96
(9)
¶ Þi Concience schal þe saue and deme
Wheþer þat þou beo ille or good;
Grope aboute, and tak good ȝeme,
Þer maiȝt þou wite, but þou beo wood,
     100
Þer schalt þou þe same seone.
Aske Merci wiþ Mylde mood,
AMende þe, þou wot what .I. mene.
Vche creatur þat beres bon and blood,
     104
Preye we to god þat dyed on Rode,
Ar vre breþ beo out .I.-blowe, Page  675
Þat cristes face mai ben vr foode,
ffor vche mon ouȝte him self to knowe.
     108

7. Think on Yesterday.

(15 stanzas of 12, abab abab bcbc.)

(1)
Whon Men beoþ muriest at heor Mele,
iþ mete & drink to maken hem glade,
[iþ] worschip & wiþ worldlich wele
Þei ben so set, þey conne not sade;
     4
Þei haue no deynte for to dele [folio 408:2]
Wiþ þinges þat ben deuoutli made,
Þei weene heor honour & heore hele
Schal euer laste & neuer diffade.
     8
But in heor hertes .I. wolde þei hade,
Whon þei gon ricchest men on array,
Hou sone þat god hem may de-grade,
And sum tyme þenk on ȝusterday.
     12
(2)
¶ Þis day, as leef we may be liht
Wiþ al þe murþes þat men may vise,
To Reuele wiþ þis buirdes briht,
Vche mon gayest on his gyse;
     16
At þe last, hit draweþ to niht,
Þat slep most make his Maystrise.
Whon þat he haþ .I.-kud his miht,
Þe morwe he boskeþ vp to rise,
     20
Þen al draweþ hem to fantasy[s]e;
Wher he is bi-comen, con no mon say,—
And ȝif heo wuste þei weore ful wise,—
ffor al is tornd to ȝesterday.
     24
(3)
¶ Whose wolde þenke vppon þis,
Mihte fynde a good enchesun whi
To preue þis world al-wei .I.-wis
Hit nis but fantum and feiri,
     28
Þis erþly Ioye, þis worldly blis
Is but a fikel fantasy; Page  676
ffor nou hit is, and nou hit nis,
Þer may no mon þer-inne affy.
     32
Hit chaungeþ so ofte & so sodeynly,
To-day is her, to-morwe a-way.
A siker ground ho wol him gy,
I rede he þenke on ȝuster-day.
     36
(4)
¶ ffor þer nis non so strong in stour,
ffro tyme þat he ful waxen be,
ffrom þat day forþ, euer-vch an hour,
Of his strengþe he leost a quantite;
     40
Ne no buryde so briht in bour,
Of þritti wynter, .I. enseure þe,
Þat heo ne schal fade as a flour,
Luite and luite leosen hire beute.
     44
Þe soþe ȝe may ȝor-self I-se,
Beo ȝor eldres in good fay;
Whon ȝe ben grettest in ȝour degre,
I rede ȝe þenke on ȝesterday.
     48
(5)
¶ Nis non so fresch on fote to fare,
Ne non so fayr on fold to fynde,
Þat þei ne schul a bere be brouȝt ful bare:
Þis wrecched world nis but a wynde;
     52
Ne non so stif to stunte ne stare,
Ne non so bold, Beores to bynde,
Þat he naþ warmynges to beo ware,
ffor god is so cortys and so kynde.
     56
Bi-hold þe lame, þe bedrede, þe blynde,
Þat bit ȝou be war whil þat ȝe may;
Þei make a Mirour to ȝor mynde,
To us þe schap of ȝesterday.
     60
(6)
¶ Þe lyf þat ony mon schal lede,
Beþ certeyn dayes atte last,
Þen moste vr terme schorte nede;
Be o day comen, anoþer is past.
     64
Herof and we wolde take good hede
And in vr hertes a-countes cast, Page  677
Day bi day, wiþouten drede,
Toward vr ende we draweþ ful fast.
     68
Þen schal vr bodies in erþe be þrast,
Vr Careyns chouched vnder clay;
Her-of we ouȝte beo sore agast,
And we wolde þenke on ȝesterday.
     72
(7)
¶ Salamon seide in his poysi,
He holdeþ wel betere wiþ an hounde
Þat is lykyng and Ioly,
And of seknesse hol and sounde,
     76
Þen be a Leon, þouȝ he ly
Cold and ded vppon þe grounde.
Wherof serueþ his victori,
Þat was so stif in vche a stounde?
     80
Þe moste fool, I herde respounde,
Is wysore whil he lyue may,
Þen he þat hedde a þousend pounde
And was buried ȝuster-day.
     84
(8)
¶ Socrates seiþ a word ful wys: [folio 408:3]
Hit were wel betere for to se
A Mon þat nou parteþ and dys,
Þen a feste of Realte;
     88
Þe feste wol make his flesch to ris,
And drawe his herte to vanite;
Þe Bodi þat on þe Bere lys,
Scheweþ þe same þat we schal be.
     92
Þat ferful fit may no mon fle,
Ne wiþ no wiles win hit a-way;
Þerfore a-mong al Iolyte,
Sum tyme þenk on ȝusterday.
     96
(9)
¶ But ȝit me merueyles ouer al
Þat god let mony mon croke and elde,
Whon miht & strengþe is from hem fal,
Þat þei may not hem-self a-welde;
     100
And now þis beggers most principal,
Þat good ne profyt may non ȝelde. Page  678
To þis purpos onswere .I. schal,
Whi god sent such men boote & belde;
     104
Crist, þat Made boþe flour & felde,
Let suche men lyue, forsoþe to say,
Whon a ȝong mon on hem bi-helde,
Scholde seo þe schap of ȝesterday.
     108
(10)
¶ A noþur skile þer is, for whi
Þat God let such men liue so longe:
ffor þei beþ treacle and remedi
ffor synful men þat han do wronge.
     112
In hem þe seuen dedes of Merci
A Mon may fulfille a-monge;
And also þis proude men may þer-bi
A feir Mirour vnderfonge.
     116
ffor þer nis non so stif ne stronge,
Ne no ladi [so] stout ne gay,
Bi-hold what ouer hor hed con honge,
And sum tyme þenk on ȝusterday.
     120
(11)
¶ I. haue wist, sin I. cuþe meen,
Þat children haþ bi candel liht
Heor schadewe on þe wal i-sen,
And Ronne þer-after al þe niht;
     124
Bisy a-boute þei han ben
To cacchen hit wiþ al heore miht,
And whon þei cacchen hit, best wolde wene,
Sannest hit schet out of heor siht;
     128
Þe schadewe cacchen þei ne miht,
ffor no lynes þat þei couþe lay.
Þis schadewe .I. may likne a-riht
To þis world and ȝusterday.
     132
(12)
¶ In-to þis world whon we beþ brouȝt,
We schul be tempt to couetyse,
And al þi wit schal be þorw-souȝt
To more good þen þou may suffyse.
     136
Whon þou þenkest best in þi þouȝt
On Richesse, fo[r]te regne and ryse, Page  679
Al þi trauayle turneþ to nouȝt,
ffor sodeynly on deþ þou dyese;
     140
Þi lyf þou hast .I.-lad wiþ lyȝes,
So þis world gon þe be-tray.
Þerfore .I. rede þou þis dispys,
And sum tyme þenk on ȝuster-day.
     144
(13)
¶ Mon, ȝif þi neiȝebor þe Manas
Oþur to culle or to bete,
.I. knowe me siker in þe cas
Þat þou wolt drede þi neiȝebores þrete,
     148
And neuer a day þi dore to pas
Wiþ-oute siker defense and grete,
And ben purueyed in vche a plas
Of sekernes and help to gete;
     152
Þin enymy woltou not for-ȝete,
But ay beo afert of his affray:
Ensaumple herof .I. wol ȝou trete,
To make ȝou þenke of ȝuster-day.
     156
(14)
¶ Wel þou wost wiþ-outen fayle
Þat deþ haþ manast þe to dye;
But whon þat he wol þe a-sayle,
Þat wost þou not, ne neuer may spye.
     160
Ȝif þou wolt don be my counsayle,
Wiþ siker defence beo ay redye!
ffor siker defence in þis batayle,
Is clene lyf, parfyt and trye.
     164
Put þi trust in godes Mercye, [folio 408b]
Hit is þe beste at al assay,
And euer among þou þe en-nuye
In-to þis world and ȝuster-day.
     168
(15)
¶ Sum men seiþ þat deþ is a þef,
And al vnwarned wol on him stele;
And .I. sey nay, and make a pref,
Þat deþ is studefast, trewe and lele,
     172
And warneþ vche mon of his greef,
Þat he wol o day wiþ him dele: Page  680
Þe lyf þat is to ow so leof,
He wol ȝou reue, and eke or hele;
     176
Þis poyntes may no mon him repele.
He comeþ so baldely to pyke his pray,
Whon men beoþ muryest at heor Mele:
I rede ȝe þenke on ȝusterday.
     180

8. Keep well Christ's Commandments.

(13 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
I warne vche leod þat liueþ in londe,
And do hem dredles out of were,
Þat þei most studie and vnderstonde,
Þe lawe of crist to loue and lere.
     4
Þer nis no mon fer ne nere
Þat may him-seluen saue vn-schent,
But he þat casteþ wiþ concience clere
To kepe wel Cristes Comaundement.
     8
(2)
¶ Þow most haue o God, and no mo,
And serue him boþe with mayn and miht;
And ouer alle þinges loue him also,
ffor he haþ lant þe lyf and liht.
     12
Ȝif þou beo nuyȝed day or niht
In peyne be meke and pacient,
And rule þe ay be reson riht,
And kep wel Cristes Comaundement.
     16
(3)
¶ And let þi neiȝhebor, frend and fo,
Riht frely of þi frendschupe fele,
In herte þat þou wilne hem so
Riht as þou woldest þi-self weore wele;
     20
And help to sauen hem from vncele,
So þat heore soules beo not schent,
And also heore care þou helpe to kele,
And kepe wel Cristes comaundement. Page  681
     24
(4)
¶ In Idel, Godes nome tak þou nouȝt,
But cese, and saue þe from þat synne;
Swere bi no þing þat God haþ wrouht;
Be war his wraþþe, lest þou hit wynne;
     28
But bisy þe her bale to blynne
Þat blaberyng are wiþ oþes blent,
Vncouþe & knowen & of þi kynne,
And kep wel cristes comaundement.
     32
(5)
¶ In clannes and in cristes werk
Haue mynde to holden þin haly day,
And drauh þe þenne from dedes derk,
Wiþ al þi meyne, Mon and may;
     36
And men vnsauȝte, loke þou assay
To sauȝten hem þenne at on assent,
And pore and seke þou plese & pay,
And kepe wel cristes Comaundement.
     40
(6)
¶ Þi ffader, þi Moder, þou worschupe boþe,
Ȝif þou wolt boteles bale escheuwe;
With counseil cumforte him, with mete & cloþe,
As þou sest hem neodeþ newe;
     44
And ȝif þei talke of tales vntrewe,
Þou torn hem out of þat entent,
And cristes lawe help þat þei knewe,
And kep wel cristes Comaundement!
     48
(7)
¶ Sle no mon wiþ wikked wille,
Be war, and vengeaunce tak þou non;
In word ne dede, loude ne stille,
Bakbyte þou no mon, blod ny bon,
     52
But ay let gabbynges glyde and gon
A-wey wher þei wol glace or glent,
And help þat alle men ben at on,
And kep wel cristes comaundement.
     56
(8)
¶ Stele þou nouȝt þi neiȝebors þing,
Nouþur with stillnes ne wiþ strif, Page  682
Nor with no-maner wrong getyng,
Þi self, þi seruaunt, child ne wyf;
     60
To sulle & buye ȝif þou be ryf,
Wayte al-way þat wrong be went;
As þou wolt lyue þe lastyng lyf,
Þou kepe wel cristes comaundement.
     64
(9)
¶ ffals witnesse loke þow non bere, [folio 408b:2]
Ȝif þow wolt in blisse a-byde,
Þi neiȝebore wityngly to dere,
Ne no mon nouþer in no syde;
     68
But loke þat no mon be anuyȝed,
And þou may him from harmes hent,
And help þat falshede beo distruiet,
And kep wel cristes comaundement.
     72
(10)
¶ Sunge þou not in lecherie;
Such lust vn-leueful, let hit pas;
Consente þou not to such folye,
Þat founden is so foul trespas,
     76
And loke þat nouþer more ne las
Þi lykyng on þat lust be lent,
Leste þou synge þis songe 'allas,
ffor brekyng of cristes comaundement.'
     80
(11)
¶ Þi neiȝhebors wyf coueyte þou nouȝt
Vnleuefully aȝeynes þe lawe,
Wiþ hire to sunge in word ne þouȝt,
And from þat deede euer þou þe drawe,
     84
And neuer sey to hire no sawe
To make hire to synne assent,
Ne plese hire not with no mis-plawe,
But kep wel cristes comaundement.
     88
(12)
¶ Þi neiȝhebors hous, wenche ne knaue,
Vnskilfully coueyte þou nouht,
Ne ȝit his good with wrong to haue;
ffor hit lest þou to bale be brouht.
     92
ffor whon þe soþe schal vp be souht,
Ȝif þou in-to þis sunnes assent, Page  683
fful bitterly hit mot be bouȝt,
ffor brekyng of cristes Comaundement.
     96
(13)
¶ Vche mon þat wol þis lessun lere
And loueþ a laweful lyf to lede,
He may not misse on none manere
Þe merþe of heuene to his mede;
     100
ffor crist him here wol helpe & hede,
And heþene in-to heuene hent.
ffor-þi .I. preye þat crist vs spede
Kuyndely to kepe his comaundement.
     104

9. Who says the Sooth, he shall be shent.*. [See the after poem, "But thou say sooth, thou shalt be shent," no. 29, p. 740.]

(8 stanzas of 12, abab abab bcbc.)

(1)
ÞE Mon þat luste to liuen in ese
Or eny worschupe her to ateyne,
His purpos I counte not worþ a pese,
Witterli, but he ordeyne
     4
Þis wikkid world hou he schal plese
Wiþ al his pouwer and his peyne;
Ȝif he schal kepe him from disese,
He mot lerne to flatere and feyne;
     8
Herte & mouþ loke þei ben tweyne,
Þei mowe not ben of on assent;
And ȝit his tonge he mot restreyne,
ffor hos seiþ þe soþe, he schal be schent.
     12
(2)
¶ Þus is þe soþe .I.-kept in close,
And vche mon makeþ touh and queynte
To leue þe tixt and take þe glose;
Eueri word þei coloure and peynte.
     16
Summe þer aren þat wolden suppose
ffor no tresour forte ben teynte:
Let a mon haue not to lose,
He schal fynde frenschipe feynte. Page  684
     20
Summe þat semen an Innocent,
Wonder trewe in heore entent,
Þei beoþ agast of eueri pleynt,
ffor hos seiþ þe soþe, he schal be schent.
     24
(3)
¶ Þe wikked wone we may warie,
Þat eueri man þus Inward bledes.
Let a lord haue his Corlarie,
he schal wel knowe of al his dedes;
     28
Þauȝ he be next his sacratarie,
Wiþ flaterynge his lord he fedes,
And wiþ sum speche he most him tarie,
And þus wiþ lesynges him he ledes;
     32
To gabben his lord most him nedes,
And wiþ sum blaundise make him blent:
To leosen his offys euere he dredes,
ffor ȝif he þe soþe seiþ, he schal be schent.
     36
(4)
¶ And al is wrong; þat dar .I. preue;
ffor let a mon be sore .I.-wounde,
Hou schulde a leche þis mon releeue,
But ȝif he miȝte ronsake þe wounde?
     40
ffor þauȝ hit smerte & sumdel greue, [folio 408b:3]
Ȝit most he suffre a luitel stounde.
Ȝif he kneuh of his mischeue,
Wiþ salues he miȝte make him sounde.
     44
Were grace at large, þat lippe i-bounde,
Hap and hele mihte we hent;
Lac of leche wol vs confounde,
ffor hos seiþ þe soþe, he schal be schent.
     48
(5)
¶ ffor let a frere in Godes seruise
Þe pereles to þe peple preche,
Of vre misdede & vre quyntise,
Þe trewe tixt to telle and teche;
     52
Þauȝ he beo riht witti and wyse,
Ȝit luytel þonk he schal him reche,
And summe þer ben þat wol him spise,
And bleþely wayte him wiþ sum wreche. Page  685
     56
Þis pore prechour þei wolen apeche
At counseyl and at parliment;
But ȝif he kepe him out of heore cleche,
ffor his soþ sawe he schal be schent.
     60
(6)
¶ Seþþe þe tyme þat god was boren,
Þis world was neuer so vntrewe;
Men recchen neuer to ben for-sworen,
To reuen þat is hem ful duwe;
     64
Þe peynted word þat fel bi-foren,
Be-hynde, hit is anoþer hewe.
Whon Gabriel schal blowe his horn,
His feble fables schul hym rewe:
     68
Þe tonges þat such bargeyn gon brewe,
Hit weore non harm þouȝ þei were brent.
Þus þis gyle is founde vp of newe,
ffor hos seiþ soþ, he schal be schent.
     72
(7)
¶ Siþen þe soþe dar no mon say,
ffor drede to gete him a fo,
Best .I. holde hit, in good fay,
Let o day come, anoþer go
     76
And mak as murie as we may,
Til eueri frend parte oþur fro.
.I. drede hit draweþ to domes-day,
Such saumples we han, & oþer two:
     80
Now knowes a child boþe weole & wo
Þat scholde ben an Innocent,
Whil hit is ȝong, is norissched so;
But hos seiþ soþ, he schal be schent.
     84
(8)
¶ Þis world wol han his wikked wone,
ffor soþe, hit wol non oþer be;
His cursede cours þat is bi-gonne,
Þer may no mon from hit fle
     88
Þat haþ longe a-mong vs ronne,
His oune defaute mai he not se.
Þe fader trust not to þe sone,
Ne non to oþer in no degre; Page  686
     92
ffalshede is called a sotilte
And such a nome hit haþ hent.
Þis lesson lerneþ alle at me:
Ho seiþ þe soþe, he schal be schent.
     96

10. Fy on a faint Friend!

(9 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
Frenschipe faileþ & fullich fadeþ;
ffeiþful frendes fewe we fynde,
But glosers þat vche mon gladeþ
Wiþ feire bi-hesteþ and wordes as wylde.
     4
But let a mon ones be cast be-hynde,
And wiþ þis world turmented & tenet,
He schal ful sone ben out of mynde.
And þere, fy on a feynt frend!
     8
(2)
¶ Þe while þat þou ledest þi lyf in ese
And goodlich gouernest þyn astate,
Þe fyndest Inouwe þat wol þe plese
And folwe þi wil boþe erliche & late.
     12
Ȝif þi los bi-gynne to abate,
And þy good from þe gon wende,
Þei schul be þe furste þat þe wol hate:
And þer, fy on a feynt frende!
     16
(3)
¶ Þus þou schalt, ar þou haue nede,
Al þi frendes folly I-knowen
And seyen heo dor not helpen þe
ffor drede, for fere þei lost her owen.
     20
Þei þat sum tyme wente ful lowe,
hem luste no lengore wiþ þe to lende,
Beo-hynde þi bak heo makeþ a Mouwe.
And þer, fy on a feynt frende!
     24
(4)
¶ To þi-self trust al-wei best, [folio 409]
ffor as þou dost, so schaltou haue.
Brek þe leste bouȝ of þi nest,
Þe fyndest .I.-nouwe wol hit þe bi-raue, Page  687
     28
And wole dispise þe and repraue,
And sakeles wayte þe schame and schende:
In such a cas, so god me saue,
And euere, fy on a feynt frende!
     32
(5)
¶ Ȝif þou wolt not ben frendles,
Lern to kepe þat þou hast;
Loke þou be not penyles,
Ne spend þou nouȝt þi good in wast.
     36
Or þou haue nede, þi frendes*. [MS. frendest] a-tast,
Wȝuche be stif & wȝuche wol bende;
And þer þou fynde bouwynde or bast,
And euer, fy on a feynt frende!
     40
(6)
¶ In feiþ, þat ffrendschip hold .I. nouȝt
To profer þe, whon þou hast no nede;
But ȝif þou weore in daunger brouȝt,
Hose helpeþ þe þenne is worþi meede.
     44
Hose wolde þe nouþer profre ne beode,
He serueþ þonk wiþ-outen ende;
Such frendes are fewe I-laft in leode.
And þerfore, fy on a feynt frende!
     48
(7)
¶ Ho scholde eny frendschupe ben .I.-founde?
Good feiþ is flemed out of þis londe;
Þer is more treuþe in an hounde
Þen in sum mon, .I. vnderstonde.
     52
Knackes & mowes þei han In honde
Witterli to plese þe fende.
He þat furst þat frendschip fonde,
Euer fy on him, for a feynt frende!
     56
(8)
¶ Eueri mon .I. counseile
To gouerne him in such a wyse,
Ȝif hit so beo þat frendschup fayle,
His owne deden wol maken him ryse;
     60
Hold him In a mene asyse
Euer to beo corteys and hende; Page  688
Þen baldely may he dispise,
Euere fy on a feynt frende.
     64
(9)
¶ Þi[s] lessun loke þat ȝe leore,
Whon ȝe haþe soþe souȝt and seid;
Trust on non such frendschup here;
Ho sannest do, is tytes bi-trayed.
     68
Loke al ȝor loue on him beo leyd,
ffor vs on Rode was prikket & prenet;
Do we so þat crist beo payet
And þenne we hauen a syker frend.
     72

11. Thank God of all.

(17 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
BI a wey wandryng as .I. went
Sore .I. syked for serwyng sad;
ffor harde happes þat .I. haue hent,
Mournyng mad me al-most mad.
     4
Vn-til a lettre al-one me lad
Þat wel was writen on a wal;
A blisful word þer .I. rad
Euere to þonke god of al.
     8
(2)
¶ Þauȝ þou waxe blynd or lome,
Or eny seknesse on þe be set,
Þenk riht wel hit is no schome,
Wiþ such grace god haþ þe gret.
     12
In serwe & tene þou art .I.-knit,
And þi catel bi-ginneþ to fal;
.I. not neuere hou þou myst do bot,
But euere to þonke god of al.
     16
(3)
¶ Ȝif þou welde worldes goode,
Ryally rayed in þi rest,
ffeir of face, freoly of foode,
Nis non þe lyk, bi Est ne West, Page  689
     20
Ȝit god may senden as him lust,
Riches to torne as a Bal.
In vche a maner .I. holde hit best,
Euere to þonke god of al.
     24
(4)
¶ Ȝif þi catel be-ginne to pase,
And after waxest a pore mon,
Tak good cumfort & bere good face,
And trust on hym þat al good won.
     28
In God furst al goodnes bi-gon;
He may vs reue boþe bour and hal.
Better cumfort .I. non con,
But euer to þonke god of al.
     32
(5)
¶ Þenk on Iob þat was so riche, [folio 409:2]
Hou he wox pore from day to day;
His beestes doun dyȝeden in eueri diche
His catel vanischt al a-way;
     36
.I.-put he was in pore array
Nouþer in purpul ne in pal,
But in symple wede, as clerkes say,
And euer he þonked god of al.
     40
(6)
¶ ffor faute of Catel, Iobpus floures
ffaded and fel clene him fro;
In seknesse he soffred scharpe schoures
Wiþ honger, chele, repreof & wo.
     44
God sende him hele and catel bo,
Toun and tour, and steede in stal,
ffor he neuer grucched in wele ne wo,
But euer þonked God of al.
     48
(7)
¶ Hose serueþ crist wiþ trewe entent,
Þe ffend þerto wol han Envye,
Þorw mis-beeleeue to make him schent,
And he him cacche in his baylye.
     52
Þauh he þin hele and catel struye,
Let studefast herte stonde in stal, Page  690
And trustne to God þat sit so heiȝe
And euer to þonken him of al.
     56
(8)
¶ Ac mony mon comeþ vp of nouȝt,
And geteþ godes gret plente;
Þorw pruide & bost he makeþ touȝt,
And clene for-ȝit his pouerte.
     60
Þen grete wronges worcheþ he
To hem þat he may ouer cal,
ffor þat þei mowe no forþer fle,
But euer to þonke god of al.
     64
(9)
¶ Me prikeþ þe Oxe in þe plouh,
Whon he is ȝong, vntoun and wylde,
He wol Rore and make hit touh,
And of his drauȝt ben vn-bylde;
     68
Þe more he torneþ out of his tylde,
Þe driuere wole him boxe and Bral:
So god wol þe, but þou be mylde,
And euere to þonken him of al.
     72
(10)
¶ Aȝeyn God to grucche is gret trespas,
Þat such sondes may sende bi est & west;
Þi worldlich wo may turne to solas
Whon þou lyst clongen & closed in chest,
     76
Whon þou schalt wenden to trauayl or rest,
Þi worldlich weole hit is but smal.
In vche a maner, hit is þe best,
Euer to þonke God of al.
     80
(11)
¶ ffor goddes loue, so do we,
ffor he may boþe ȝiue and take;
In what meschef þat euer we be,
he is mihti I-nouȝ vr serwe to slake.
     84
Good amendes he wol vs make,
And we to him wol crie & cal,
What weole or wo þat we in wake,
And euer to þonken god of al. Page  691
     88
(12)
¶ Þeiȝ þou be in prisun cast
Or eny distresse men doþ þe beode,
ffor godes loue þou beo studefast
And haue good mynde vppon þi crede.
     92
Þenk God feyleþ þe neuer at neode,
Þat derworþe duyk vs deme schal.
Whon þou art wo, þerto tak hede,
And euer to þonken him of al.
     96
(13)
¶ And þei þi frendes from þe fayle
And deþ ha raft hem of heore lyue,
Wharto schuldestou wepe or waile?
Hit is no boote wiþ god to striue.
     100
God maade boþe Mon and wyue;
hit is skil he tak vs; we ben his þral.
What-so þou þole or elles to þryue,
Euer to þonke god of al.
     104
(14)
¶ Diuerse sondes crist haþ .I.-sent
Boþe here and eke in oþer place:
Tac we hit wiþ trewe entent,
Þe sannore he wole sende vs grace.
     108
Þauȝ þat vr bodies ben brouȝt in bace,
Let not ȝor hertes ben vn-tal,
And þenk þat god is þer he was,
And euer to þonken him of al.
     112
(15)
¶ ffor Godes loue be not to wylde, [folio 409:3]
Reule ȝow in Reson alle to Route,
And tak wiþ trewe tent & mylde,
Diuerse sondes crist sent a-boute:
     116
Þen dar .I. seyen wiþ-outen doute,
In heuene-blisse is maad vr stal,
To Riche & pore þat lowe wol loute,
Euer to þonke God of al.
     120
(16)
¶ Þis world is good & nouȝt in gesse
To hem þat wolen kuynde be, Page  692
And parte aboute of heore richesse
To hem þat ben In pouerte.
     124
A wonder þing hit is to se
Þat kuynde loue adoun schal fal.
Better cumfort non con .I. me,
But euer to þonke god of al.
     128
(17)
¶ Ȝit .I. radde forþer-more—
Trewe entent I tok þertil,—
Þat crist may riht wel vr stat restore,
Hit nis nouȝt to striuen aȝeines his wil.
     132
He may vs saue, he may vs spil;
Þenk riht wel we ben his þral.
Þouȝ we haue not al vr wil,
Euermore þonke we god of al.
     136

12. This World fares as a Fantasy.

(11 stanzas of 12, abab abab bcbc.)

(1)
I wolde witen of sum wys wiht
Witterly what þis world were.
Hit fareþ as a foules fliht,
Now is hit henne, now is hit here;
     4
Ne be we neuer so muche of miht,
Now be we on benche, nou be we on bere,
And be we neuer so war and wiht,
Now be we sek, now beo we fere;
     8
Now is on proud wiþ-outen peere,
Now is þe selue .I.-set not by;
And whos wol alle þing her[t]ly here,
Þis world fareþ as a ffantasy.
     12
(2)
¶ Þe sonnes cours we may wel kenne,
Aryseþ Est and geþ doun West.
Þe Ryuers in-to þe séé þei renne,
And hit is neuer þe more al-mest.
     16
Wyndes Rosscheþ her and henne,
In snouȝ and reyn is non arest. Page  693
¶ Whon þis wol stunte, ho wot, or whenne,
But only god on grounde grest?
     20
Þe eorþe in on is euer prest,
Now bi-dropped, now al druyȝe.
But vche gome glit forþ as a gest;
Þis world fareþ as a ffantasye.
     24
(3)
¶ Kunredes come, & kunredes gon,
As Ioyneþ generacions;
But alle heo passeþ, euerichon,
ffor al heor preparacions,
     28
Sum are for-ȝete clene as bon
A-mong alle-maner nacions.
So schul men þenken vs no-þing on,
Þat nou han þe ocupacions,
     32
And alle þeos disputacions
Idelyche all vs ocupye,
ffor crist makeþ þe creacions,
And þis world fareþ as a fantasye.
     36
(4)
¶ Whuch is Mon, ho wot, and what,
Wheþer þat he be ouȝt or nouht?
Of Erþe & Eyr groweþ vp a gnat,
And so doþ Mon whon al his souht.
     40
Þauȝ mon be waxen gret and fat,
Mon melteþ a-wey so deþ a mouht;
Monnes miht nis worþ a Mat,
But nuyȝeþ him-self and turneþ to nouȝt.
     44
Ho wot, saue he þat al haþ wrouȝt,
Wher mon bi-comeþ whon he schal dye?
Ho knoweþ bi dede, ouȝt bote bi þouȝt?
ffor þis world fareþ as a fantasye.
     48
(5)
¶ Dyeþ mon, and beestes dye,
And al is on Ocasion:
And alle o deþ, hos boþe drye,
And han on Incarnacion;
     52
Saue þat men beoþ more sleyȝe,
Al is o comparison. Page  694
ho wot ȝif monnes soule styȝe,
And bestes soules synkeþ doun?
     56
Who knoweþ Beestes entencioun, [folio 409b]
On heor creatour how þei crie,
Saue only god þat knoweþ heore soun?
ffor þis world fareþ as a fantasye.
     60
(6)
¶ Vche secte hopeþ to be saue,
Baldely bi heore bi-leeue,
¶ And vchon vppon God heo craue:
Whi schulde God wiþ hem him greue?
     64
Vchon trouweþ þat oþur Raue,
But alle heo cheoseþ God for cheue,
And hope in God vchone þei haue,
And bi heore wit heore worching preue.
     68
Þus mony maters men dou meue,
Sechen heor wittes hou and why,
But Godes Merci vs alle bi-heue,
ffor þis world fareþ as a fantasy.
     72
(7)
¶ ffor þus men stumble & sere heore wittes,
And meueþ maters mony and fele;
Summe leeueþ on him, sum leueþ on hit,
As children leorneþ for to spele.
     76
But non seoþ non þat a-bit,
Whon stilly deþ wol on hym stele.
ffor he þat hext in heuene sit,
He is þe help and hope of hele;
     80
ffor wo is ende of worldes wele:
Vche lyf loke wher þat .I. lye.
Þis world is fals, fikel and frele,
And fareþ but as a fantasye.
     84
(8)
¶ Wharto wilne we forte knowe
Þe poyntes of Godes priuete?
More þen him lustnes forte schowe,
We schulde not knowe in no degre,
     88
And Idel bost is forte blowe
A Mayster of diuinite; Page  695
Þenk we lyue in eorþe her lowe,
And God an heiȝ in Mageste.
     92
Of Material Mortualite
Medle we & of no more Maistrie.
Þe more we trace þe Trinite,
Þe more we falle in fantasye.
     96
(9)
¶ But leue we vre disputisoun,
And leeue on him þat al haþ wrouȝt;
We mowe no[t] preue bi no resoun
Hou he was born þat al vs bouȝt.
     100
But hol in vre entencioun
Worschipe we him in herte & þouȝt,
ffor he may turne kuyndes vpsedoun
Þat alle kuyndes made of nouȝt.
     104
Whon al vr bokes ben forþ brouht,
And al vr craft of clergye,
And al vr wittes ben þorw-out souȝt,
Ȝit we fareþ as a fantasye.
     108
(10)
¶ Of fantasye is al vr fare,
Olde & ȝonge and alle I-fere.
But make we murie & sle care
And worschipe we god, whil we ben here,
     112
Spende vr good and luytel spare;
And vche mon cheries oþeres cheere,
Þenk hou we comen hider al bare,
Vr wey wendyng is in a were.
     116
Prey we þe prince þat haþ no pere,
Tac vs hol to his Merci
And kepe vr Concience clere,
ffor þis world is but fantasy.
     120
(11)
¶ Bi ensaumple men may se:
A gret treo groweþ out of þe grounde;
No þing a-bated þe eorþe wol be
Þauȝ hit be huge, gret and rounde.
     124
Riht þer wol Rooten þe selue tre,
Whon elde haþ maad his kuynde aswounde; Page  696
Þauȝ þer weore rote suche þre,
Þe eorþe wol not encrece a pounde.
     128
Þus waxeþ & wanteþ Mon, hors & hounde;
ffrom nouȝt to nouȝt þus henne we hiȝe
And her we stunteþ but a stounde,
ffor þis world is but fantasye.
     132

13. Ay, Mercy, God!

(12 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
As I wandrede her bi weste
ffaste vnder a forest syde,
I seiȝ a wiht went him to reste,
Vnder a bouȝh he gon a-byde;
     4
Þus to crist ful ȝeor[n]e he criȝede,
And boþe his hondes he held on heiȝ:
"Of pouert, plesaunce & eke of pruide.
Ay, Merci, God, And graunt-Merci.*. [I take Merci to be used in this poem in the twofold sense of Mercy and Thanks.]
     8
(2)
¶ God, þat I haue I-greuet þe
In wille & werk, in word and dede,
Almihti lord, haue Merci of me
Þat for my sunnes þi blod gon schede!
     12
Of wit & worschupe, weole & wede
I þonke þe, lord, ful Inwardly;
Al in þis world, hou euere I spede,
Ay Merci, god, And graunt Merci.
     16
(3)
¶ Graunt Merci, god, of al þi ȝifte,
Of wit & worschupe, weole & wo;
In to þe, lord, myn herte I lifte,
Let neuer my dedes twynne. vs a-two.
     20
Merci þat I haue mis do,
And sle me nouȝt sodeynly!
Þouȝ ffortune wolde be frend or fo,
Ay Merci, God, And graunt Merci. Page  697
     24
(4)
¶ I am vnkuynde, and þat I knowe,
And þou hast kud me gret kuyndenes;
Þerfore wiþ humbel herte and lowe,
Merci and for-ȝiuenes
     28
Of Pruyde and of vnboxumnes!
What eueri sonde be, þus sey I,
In hap and hele, and in seknes,
Ay Merci, god, And graunt Merci.
     32
(5)
¶ Graunt Merci, God, of al þi grace,
Þat fourmed me wiþ wittes fyue,
Wiþ ffeet and hond, & eke of face
And lyflode, whil I am alyue.
     36
Siþen þou hast ȝiue me grace to þryue,
And I haue Ruled me Rechelesly,
I weore to blame, and I wolde striue,
But Merci, God, And Graunt Merci.
     40
(6)
¶ Merci þat I haue mis-spent
Mi wittes fyue! þerfore I wepe;
To dedly synnes ofte haue I asent,
Þi Comaundemens couþe I neuer kepe;
     44
To sle my soule In sunne I slepe,
And lede my lyf in Lecheri,
ffrom Couetyse couþe I neuere crepe;
Ay Merci, God, And Graunt Merci.
     48
(7)
¶ Of oþes grete and Gloteny,
Of wanhope and of wikked wille:
Bacbyte my neiȝhebors for enuy,
And for his good I wolde him culle;
     52
Trewe men to Robbe and spille,
Of Symony and with surquidri;
Of al þat euere I haue don ille,
Ay Merci, God, And graunt Merci.
     56
(8)
¶ Bi lawe I scholde no lengor liue
Þen I hedde don a dedly synne; Page  698
Graunt Merci þat ȝe wolde forgiue,
And ȝeue me space to mende me Inne!
     60
ffrom wikked dedes & I wolde twynne,
To Receyue me ȝe beo redi
In-to þi blisse þat neuer schal blynne.
Nou Merci, God, And graunt Merci.
     64
(9)
¶ Graunt Merci, for þou madest me,
Merci, for I haue don a-Mis;
Min hope, Min help is hol in þe,
And þou hast ȝore bi-heiht me þis:
     68
Whos euere is Baptiȝed schal haue Blis,
And he Rule him Rihtwysli.
To worche þi wille, lord, þou me wis!
Nou Merci, God, And graunt Merci.
     72
(10)
¶ Soþfast god, what schal I say,
how schulde I amendes make,
Þat plesed þe neuere in-to þis day
Ne schop me nouȝt mi sunnes forsake?
     76
But schrift of mouþe mi sunnus schal slake,
And I schal sece and beo sori,
And to þi Merci I me take.
Nou Merci, God, [And] Graunt Merci.
     80
(11)
¶ ffader & sone and holigost,
Graunt Merci, God, wiþ herte liht,
ffor þou woldest not þat I weore lost.
Þe ffader haþ ȝiuen me a miht,
     84
Þe sone a science and a siht
And wit to welde me worschupely,
Þe Holigost vr grace haþ diht.
Nou Merci, God, And graunt Merci.
     88
(12)
¶ Þis is þe Trone þat twynned neuere,
And preued is persones þre,
Þat is and was and schal ben euere,
Only God in Trinite; Page  699
     92
help vs, Prince of alle pite,
Atte day þat we schal dy,
Þi swete face þat we may se.
Nou Merci, God, And Graunt Merci.
     96

14. Truth ever is best.

(9 stanxas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
HOse wolde him wei a-vyse
Of þis wrecched world, I weene,
I hope ful wel he schulde dispise
Þe foule falshede þat þer-in bene.
     4
Certes, sum day schal be sene,
Much eorþly labour schal be lest;
Whon good and vuel vr dedes schal deme,
We schal wel fynde þat treuþe is best.
     8
(2)
Treuþe is best for kyng and kniht,
Certes, hose riȝt wol rede;
Among þis ladyes feir and briht
Hit schulde be loued in vch a leode;
     12
Þis Marchauns worþli vnder wede,
To buyȝe & selle þei ben ful prest,
Among hem alle schuld no falshede,
But vsen trouþe, þat euere i[s] best.
     16
(3)
Sikerli, I dar wel say,
In al þis world nis heo ne he,
Þat þei wolde fayn, ȝif þat þei may,
Leden heore lyf in prosperite,
     20
And als swiþe as þei schulde dyȝe,
Til heuene þat þei mote come ful prest.
Þat noble plase þei neiȝe ner neih
But ȝif þei meyntene trouþe for best.
     24
(4)
Trouþe schal deme vs alle be-dene,
He wol do trewely and no wrong; Page  700
I hope we schal boþe seye and sene
Þat we han contraried him al to long.
     28
And þerfore, lordes boþe stout and strong
Þat may deeme her riht as þé lest,
ffor Godes loue wis þou so among,
Þat trouþe be meyntened for þe best.
     32
(5)
And þerfore haue þis in ȝour muynde,
Hose medleþ wiþ þe lawe:
Let neuer falshed aȝeynes vnkuynde
ffordon trouþe ne soþ sawe.
     36
ffor falshed euermore schal stonde awe
On trouþe þauȝ he be neuer so prest.
ffor godes loue let neuer gold þe drawe
Aȝeynes trouþe þat euer is best.
     40
(6)
Wolde we rule us al wiþ trouþe,
And mak him hollych vr gouernour,
We schulde keuere out of synne & slouþe,
And of Chiualrye bere þe flour:
     44
ffor trouþe in were may most endour,
And euer is biggest at þe lest.
ffor godes loue, graunt we him socour,
And mayntene trouþe þat euer is best.
     48
(7)
Trouþe was sum tyme here a lord;
wiþ him alle vertues, as I wene;
Ȝit Spayne, Brutayne wol bere record,
And oþer diuerse londes be-dene,
     52
Þat we endouwed hem as þei schulde bene,
And made hem lordes to lyue in rest:
Þer dorste no falshede with hem be sene,
So loued þei trouþe, þat euer is best.
     56
(8)
Wolde we ȝit lete trouþe aȝeyn
Be lord, and bere his heritage,
Al oþer londes schuld be ful fayn
To don vs feute and homage: Page  701
     60
Baldelych þis dar I wage,
And falshede & his lore weore lest,
Þei schulde not dure vn-to a page
To werre with trouþe þat euer is best.
     64
(9)
ffalshed may wel regne a while
Þorw Meyntenaunce of couetise;
Atte last his grount wol him be-gyle,
A while þouȝ he be neuer so wyse.
     68
ffalshed haþ ben most in pris
Boþe bi North and eke bi West:
We schul him hunte as Cat doþ mys,
Whon trouþe him cheues þat euer is best.
     72

15. Charity is no longer dear.

(14 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
HOse wolde be-þenke him weel
Ou þis world is went, I-wis,
And couþe enterly grope & feel
Þe foule falshede þat þer-in is,
     4
I durste be bold, so haue I blis,
Þat mony good mon schuld haue mateere
Te meue & mourne and fare a-Mis,
ffor charite is no lengor cheere.
     8
(2)
Mony a Mon, riht as him seemeþ,
A þing þat he neuer kneuh ne wist,
Boþe lordes & Mene Men he demeþ,
And spekeþ of hem riȝt as him list.
     12
Allas! for ȝif a mon nou trist
His broþer or his cosyn neere,
He schal be deceyued in his fist,
ffor charite is no lengore cheere.
     16
(3)
Þo þat spekeþ most, as I leeue,
And demen men so al aboute, Page  702
Wher no faute vppon hem cleue,
Ȝus, be my trouþe, hit is no doute,
     20
Such Men may not ben wiþ-oute,
No more þen hecgh wiþ-outen Brere;
Envye is wiþ hem so stoute,
Þat charite is no lengore chere.
     24
(4)
ffor þreo lettynges þat þer bene,
A Mon mai not deeme rihtwislye:
Þe furste lettyng, as I wene,
A þing þat is to fer from eiȝe,
     28
Or elles a þing may beo to neiȝ,
Schal lette his siht, þauȝ hit be clere;
Þe þridde is, þat he demeþ bi,
Whon charite is no lengore chere.
     32
(5)
Ȝe mai in feelde sum tyme i-se
A bosck þat stondeþ ful fer þe fro,
Þat ȝe schal deme hit schal be
Mon or Beest, hors, on of þo:
     36
And al is wrong to deeme hit so,
Certes, as ȝe schal after lere.
So demes a Mon ofte be his ffo,
Whon charite is no lengore chere.
     40
(6)
Ȝif þou hast an huge envy,
And hatest a mon wiþ al þi miht,
Liue þat mon neuer so rihtwisly,
Ȝit schaltou deme he liueþ not riht;
     44
Envye stoppeþ þer þi siht,
And makeþ fer, þat schulde be neere,
And lac of loue letteþ þi liht,
Whon charite is no lengore chere.
     48
(7)
Vppon þin Eȝe-lide þer mai ley
A spot or elles a mote, I-wis,
And for bicause hit is so neiȝ,
Þou maiȝt not seo hit, so haue I blis, Page  703
     52
To deme treuly what hit is;
Þerfore þi doom falleþ in a weere.
So demeþ a mon ofte syþes a-mis,
Whon þat his herte is set from cheere.
     56
(8)
Ȝif þou louest þi broþer so
Þat þi loue passeþ al a-syse,
What þat euer þi broþer do,
Euel or wrong in eny wyse,
     60
Al is wel to þin avise,
Bi cause þou louest him so entere;
His defaute constou not spise,
ffor þer þin herte is set to chere.
     64
(9)
Let a lechour heere a-spye
A ȝong mon with a wommon rage,
And nouþer of heom ne þenke folye,
But wel may falle of o linage,
     68
Ȝit wol þat lechour þinke outrage,
And deeme þei wolde do mis I-fere:
Such deemyng askeþ sliper wage,
ffor charite þer is no-þing cheere.
     72
(10)
And riȝt so fareþ hit, be my trouþe,
Wiþ a proud Mon & a Couetous,
A wrecche þat liueþ al in Slouȝþe,
And eke a mon þat is vicyous;
     76
He wenes vch mon þat is vertuous
Vseþ his wyse and his maneere;
So fareþ Men þat beþ Envyous,
Whon Charite is no lengor chere.
     80
(11)
Let a trewe mon bi þe Rood,
Þat is good, honest and sad,
He weeneþ þat vche mon be good,
He nolde not demen a mon weore bad.
     84
But wrecched fooles þat beoþ mad,
Þat con not wel heore tonge steere, Page  704
To deme þe worste þei ben ful glad,
Whon Charite is no lengor cheere.
     88
(12)
I leeue þer beo no mon alyue,
Ȝif he his warison scholde winne,
Þat couþe enterliche knowe & skreue
Þe lyf þat is sum mon wiþ-Inne;
     92
ffor summe þat semeþ most wiþ synne,
In hap of synne may beo most clere.
Of such demyng I rede ȝe blynne,
ffor Charite þer is no-þing chere.
     96
(13)
And þo þat leouest is to lak,
And demeþ men so al bideene,
Vn-bynt þe burþen on ȝor bak,
And loke furst þat ȝor-self be clene.
     100
Al such demyng, as I wene,
Schulde beo reseruet to godes poueere;
So me þinkeþ hit best to beone,
ffor þen schal charite ben most cheere.
     104
(14)
Certes, and ȝe loke ariht,
A good word no more wol weye
Þat hit liþ on ȝor tonge as liht,
As þe worste þat ȝe con seye.
     108
Such Idel wordes, I ou preye,
Ȝe louke hem faste in ȝoure forcere,
And let concience bere þe keye;
ffor þen schal charite be most chere.
     112

16. Of Women cometh this Worldes Weal.

(10 stanzas of 12, abab abab bcbc.)

(1)
In worschupe of þat Mayden swete,
Mylde Marie, Moder and May,
Alle gode wimmen wol I grete,
Þat god fende hem from vch afray; Page  705
     4
With muche menske mote þei mete,
And wel worþe alle wymmen ay!
Al vr Bale þei may beete,
Serteynliche, I dar wel say;
     8
And hose blameþ hem niht or day,
Wiþ Bale mot heore tonge belle.
I preue hit wel, ho-euer seiþ nay:
Of wimmen comeþ þis worldes welle.
     12
(2)
But moni vn-witti wiht is woode,
Vn-wysliche wimmen wol dispyse,
Þat ben I-boren of wimmen blode:
I-wis, such wihtes ben vn-wyse,
     16
ffor þei defoule heor oune foode.
Such grimly goostes may agryse,
wiþ þulke þat dude god on þe Rode:
At dredful dom such schal aryse,
     20
Be Iugged wiþ þe heiȝe Iustise
To folewe þe false feendes fele,
And rikene wiþ þe vnrihtwyse,
Þat of wymmen comeþ worldes welle.
     24
(3)
Sum seiþ wimmen haþ be-gilt
Adam, Sampson and Salamon,
And seiþ þat wimmen haþ I-spilt
Mony a wys worþi mon:
     28
Þus þei greggen wymmens gilt;
Of Monnes riken þei neuer on.
And monnes falshed weore fulfild,
I trowe þer weore twenti aȝeynes on,
     32
Of Macabeus, Iudas and Ion,
Alisaundre and oþer feole,
Þat with monnes gult was fordon;
But of wimmen comeþ þis worldes wele.
     36
(4)
And Iudas gentil Ihesu solde
Þat saued alle þat was forlore!
And monnes falsed weore I-tolde,
Men miht rikene moni a score. Page  706
     40
Wommon wrouȝte riht as god wolde:
Þat gult made god to ben I-bore:
And þerfore beo ȝe neuer so bolde
To blame wymmen neuer-more
     44
ffor nouȝt þat þei haue don bifore,
ffor monnes schome I rede ȝe hele!
Wimmen for Men ofte suffreþ sore,
But of wymmen comeþ þis worldes wele.
     48
(5)
Wimmen wrouȝte neuer no wrong
But þorw Monnes entysement.
Men secheþ wimmen so strong,
And sei in Bale þei mote be brent,
     52
And ligge aboute hem so long,
To bringen hem til heore a-sent;
And þus þorw monnes false song,
Ofte wymmen haþ be schent.
     56
Ȝif eny such be in present,
Stille holde him, I rede he stell,
And preise wimmen in good entent,
ffor of wymmen comeþ þis worldes wele.
     60
(6)
God worschuped wimmen in his lyue,
And kept hem in his cumpaygnye,
Boþe widewe, wenche and wyue
Þat was wiþ-outen vilenye.
     64
Hose luste with wymmen striue,
I rede he drede him for to dye,
And of þat synne sone him schriue,
And to vr ladi Merci crye;
     68
And in worschip of Marie
Such vn-Redines þat ȝe repele!
Defendeþ ȝou alle from such folye,
ffor of wymmen comeþ al þis worldes wele.
     72
(7)
I holde þat Brid muche to blame
Þat defouleþ his oune nest;
Þou wost wel a wommon was þi dame,
I-Boren and fed of hire Brest. Page  707
     76
But moni gabben on heore dame;
To blame wymmen þei þinke hit best.
Stunteþ for ȝor owne schame;
Of such resouns I rede ȝe rest;
     80
To preyse wymmen þat ȝe be prest!
Wymmen ben hende in hete and chele,
Wimmen gladeþ vch a godly gest,
ffor of wymmen comeþ þis worldes wele.
     84
(8)
Wymmen wrappen vs in wede
Whon we beo naked boren and bare,
And of hire flesch fostreþ and feede,
And ȝarken vs whon we ben ȝare.
     88
Whon we ben old, þei moste vs hede,
And keuere vs out of mony a care;
Whon we be nasti, nouȝt at neode,
Neore wimmen help, hou schulde we fare?
     92
At dredful dom whon we schal dare
ffor fere of false fendes feole,
Whon vche mon schal his speche spare,
Þen wommon help is al vr weole.
     96
(9)
ffor God and Mon was fer atwinne
Whon he made Monkuynde of Séé-flod:
I wolde wite, whon þat Eue gon spinne,
Bi whom þat ȝoure gentrie stod?
     100
Hou be-come ȝe godes kinne,
But barelych þorw þe wommones blod?
Allas, hou may men for synne
Speke bi wymmen ouȝt bote good!
     104
Wimmen beoþ so mylde of mood,
Louesum, loueli, lyf and lele.
Witnes on him þat died on Rood,
Of wymmen comeþ þis worldes wele.
     108
(10)
God, þat made boþe Sonne and Mone,
To alle wymmen Socour he sende,
In alle þe dedes þat þei haue done,
Kepe hem from þe false fende. Page  708
     112
And to Marie I bidde a bone:
Warde wymmen, wher-so-euer þei wende,
ffrom synne and serwe schylde hem sone,
Wher in londe þat euer þei lende!
     116
I warne alle þat be wimmenes frende,
I con not preise hem þe haluendele,
Þouȝ I þus schortliche make an ende:
Of wymmen comeþ þis worldes wele.
     120

17. The Praise of Mary, Mother of Christ.*. [Note the effective repetitions in lines 57 and 101.]

(13 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
Off alle floures feirest fall on,
And þat is Marie, Moder fre,
Þat bar þe child of flesch and bon,
Ihesu, Godes sone in Maieste.
     4
A loue-likyng is come to me
To serue þat ladi, qwen of blis,
Ay better and better in my degre,
Þe lengor þat I liue, I-wis.
     8
(2)
So hertly I haue I-set my þouȝt
vppon þat buyrde of buyrdes best;
ffor al-þauh I seo hire nouȝt,
Min herte schal fully wiþ hire be fest.
     12
Ihesu þat sek milk of hire brest,
To ȝou boþe I be-heete:
Mi loue schal holly wiþ ȝou rest,
Þauȝ I be not worþi ne meete.
     16
(3)
Sertes, swete, on ȝou is al
Min helpyng at myn endyng-day;
Þat I be not þe fendes þral,
Marie, to ȝor sone ȝe pray.
     20
Hou schal I do, my swete may,
But ȝif I loue ȝou souereynly? Page  709
Elles miht men boldly bi me say
Daunger mad vnskilfuly.
     24
(4)
Hose beþenkeþ him, I-wis,
Of ȝor gret goodnesse and ȝor grace,
He scholde neuer wilne to don amis,
Ne luste to loue in oþer place.
     28
In hope to seo ȝor blessed face,
And dwelle wiþ ȝou at myn endynge,
And haue relese of alle trespace,
Ladi, þauȝ I mourne I synge.
     32
(5)
Lentun-dayes, þei ben longe,
And nou weor good tyme to amende
Þat we be-foren han do wronge;
Þis world nis noþing, as I wende.
     36
In sori tyme my lyf Isspend;
Þis world is fals, and þat I feel;
But Marie Moder me amende,
A-Mis I fare, and noþing wel.
     40
(6)
But þat swete worþli wyf,
Hire goodly loue þat I may gete,
Al my Ioye wol turne to strif,
And I may syke with wonges wete:
     44
Whon þat I þenke on þat swete,
Me þinkeþ hit is so good a þouȝt,
I sey to eueri mon þat I meete
"Gode, go wey, and let me nouȝt!"
     48
(7)
Loue me haþ in Bales brouȝt,
ffor on such þat I suppose,
Þat is so studefast in hire þouȝt,
Þat couþe neuere gabbe ne glose.
     52
Hose hire loueþ, he schal not lose,
ffor ȝit be-giled heo neuer no wiht.
I likne þat ladi to þe Rose:
I-blessed beo þat buirde briht! Page  710
     56
(8)
Me longede neuere so sore, so sore,
To seo my loueli ladi deere.
Ȝif heo neore, we neore but lore,
Þat ladi lofsum most of lere.
     60
And wite hit wel wiþ-outen weere:
Whon I þenk on hire semblaunt sad,
Þer wol no wys mon blame me here,
Þauȝ þat I go murie and glad.
     64
(9)
A louely lyf to loken vp-on,
So is my ladi, þat Emperys;
Mi lyf I dar leye þer-vppon,
Þat princesse is peerles of prys,
     68
So feir, so clene, so good, so wys,
And þerto trewe as eny steel,
Þer nis no such to my deuys:
Lor God, þat I loue hire wel!
     72
(10)
To þis newe ȝer, my ladi sweete,
Wiþ al myn herte in good entent,
Wiþ fyue Aues I ow grete,
And preye ou take þis feire present;
     76
And schape so þat I beo not schent,
Seþþen of ȝou Merci gon springe.
ffor al my loue is on ȝou lent,
Sweete, swettest of alle-skunnes þinge!
     80
(11)
Þis is þe remenaunt of my lust,
Þat I not wheþer my ladi mylde
To my loue haue inly trust,
Bicause Monkuynde is frele and wylde.
     84
But, ladi, for ȝoure blisful childe,
Siþen al my loue is leyd on þe,
In heuene help me a boure to bylde,
Ladi, ȝif þi wille be.
     88
(12)
Þe loue þat I haue ȝeorned ȝore,
Þe kyng of loue graunt hit me! Page  711
In eorþly loue is luytel store,
ffor al þat nis but vanyte.
     92
Wher I schal euer þat day I-se,
To plese my ladi ones to pay?
Heo is of colour and beute
As fresch as is þe Rose In May.
     96
(13)
Hose lust not loue, let hym be-leue,
ffor I wol holde þat I haue hiht;
Þat lust schal no mon from me reue
Þat I nul loue my ladi briht.
     100
Loue, loue, do me riht,
Marie Mooder, Mayden clene,
In heuene of þe to haue a siht,
Ladi, to þe my mone I mene.
     104

18. Maiden Mary and her Fleur de Lys.

(17 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
MArie Mayden, Moder Mylde,
Þat blisful Bern in bosum beere,
Cheef & chast þou ches of chylde
Of alle wymmen In world þat were:
     4
Saue vs sound, and socur vs here,
As princes is preised & proued for prys.
What leode þis lesson lykes to lere,
Be token hit is þe fflourdelys.
     8
(2)
Þat freoli flour weore fair to fynde,
what gome wolde go þer as hit greuȝ.
As Maacer herof made in his Mynde;
Þus kenned him Catoun, his craftes he kneuȝ,
     12
What segge on soil þat þat seed seuȝ,
Hit is holy at myn avys;
Aboue þe Braunches beþ Blosmes neu,
Þe lele cheses faire þe fflourdelys. Page  712
     16
(3)
Þou lele ladi, I likne to þe
Þe flour, to þi semeli sone also
Þe blisful Blosme þat euer mihte be,
Treuly þat was be-twix ȝou to.
     20
Whon we weore wrapped al in wo
Þorw werkes þat we had wrouȝt wrongwys,
Þi godnes gert vs graiþly go
Þorw vertu of þi fflourdelys.
     24
(4)
fful greiþli was þe graunted grace
Whon Gabriel from god þe gret,
Þat fel to þi feet bi-fore þi face,
Þe Murieste meetyng þat euer was met.
     28
So sittyngli hire sawes heo set,
As a wommon boþe war and wys:
"To seo þi seruaunt and þi soget;"
And þer bi-gon furst þi fflourdelys.
     32
(5)
In hond þou haddest & heold vr hele;
Þorw him þat hadde heiȝ heuene in holde
What Murþe was mad no Mouþ miȝt mele,
Whon þou þat worþly hed wonnen in wolde.
     36
He com to keuere vs of cares colde,
His pepul he put in paradys,
Þat tyde and tyme þe Angel tolde,
Of þe schulde springe þe fflourdelys.
     40
(6)
Þat Blisful Barn of þe was born
Þat suffred trauayle, boþe trey and tene,
Throly þhrusten, & throng wiþ þorn,
Of his cunreden vnkuynde and kene,
     44
ffrom top to-torn al bi-deene,
Þe Iewes þei Iugged his Iuwys,
And dyȝed for Adam deedes bi-deene,
And þenne was sprongen þe fflourdelys.
     48
(7)
A studi steer þer stod ful steere
ffor steeres-men þat bi stremes gun stray, Page  713
And neore his worþly wille weore,
Þei wolde haue went a wilful way;
     52
No feyntysenes þei founden in fay,
Þat burth was buried In Marbel bys,
And whon god wolde he went his way,
And þenne was sprad þe fflourdelys.
     56
(8)
Where his worþli wilnyng was,
Hit weore to wite whoder he went;
Þe geynest gate greiþli he tas,
Til derknes dipt doun he decent;
     60
Þe ȝates he russchede, and al to-Rent,
Þer Lucifer, þat luþere, lys;
Adam and Eue bi hond he hent,
And tauȝte hem faire þe fflourdelys.
     64
(9)
Þus haþ þis heende herewed helle,
Al Adames of-spring out haþ tan;
Þe fend, þat was boþe fers and felle,
He tiȝed til a stok, stille as stan.
     68
Vp of his graue þen is he gon,
As God and Mon to-gedere gon Rys,
Bodily boþe in blod and bon
To þe Maudeleyn he schewed þe fflourdelys.
     72
(10)
Þus purchased he þe pepul heor pees
And goodly for-ȝaf hem al heore gilt,
And seide, "Adam, eft nou I þe sese
In blisse, þat for blod was buld;
     76
No wey wonde, but wurch what þou wilt."
Þus haþ he now bitauȝt þat wyse,
And þus feole prophecies ben folfild
Of Marie wiþ þi fflourdelyse.
     80
(11)
Of bounte berestou þe þe best;
Was neuer no buirde such beute bare;
Crist of þe com, vre cumfort to kest,
To ȝelde þe þat we ȝerned ȝare. Page  714
     84
At his steiȝynge, þei stod to stare
How cleer in Clouden he cloumben is;
What wy in þat worþily wonyng ware,
Þer miht he fynden þe fflourdelys.
     88
(12)
Þus was al þis world in weere;
Þen seide two wyȝes in weedes whyt:
"To heiȝ heuene what be-holde ȝe here?
Is Ihesu take from ȝow þus tyd?
     92
A-peere he schal in propre plyt
As he in werk[e] con vanys;
Her afturward hit weore to wite,
Of hire þat bar þe fflourdelys.
     96
(13)
So lelly his loue on þe was lent,
Þi longyng, ladi, for to lete;
So semely sondes after þe he sent,
Be-sydes him self to sitte in sete;
     100
Þei song al samen with soun ful swete,
As schewen and stand in þistoris;
Wiþ more murþes miȝt neuer mon meete,
But þer to fynde þe fflourdelys.
     104
(14)
Siþen þou þi worþly wones hast wonnen,
And wones In worschipe at þi wille,
Vre grith was graunted, vr grace bigunnen,
ffor vs þat was ordeyned þertille.
     108
Puire dette proueþ bi proper skille
Þou schalt vs socour in þi seruys,
Þat greiþes was for greuaunce to grille,
And for to bere þe flourdelys.
     112
(15)
Of al þe floures bi ffrith and ffelde,
Hit is þe freolokest for to fynde,
Þat weole & wit and wisdam welde,
And al þis word haþ wrouȝt In wynde.
     116
Nou, comely kyng, Corteis and kynde,
Þat halp vs heere from vre enemys, Page  715
Þe mon þat þis matere made in mynde
Seide: non is lich to þe fflourdelys.
     120
(16)
Hedde not Adam don þat dede,
Vr bitter bales hed neuer ben bouȝt
On no maner, for no-kenes nede,
Ne for no werkes we schuld haue wrouȝt.
     124
Al þus I þenk hit in my þouȝt,
Monkynde for vs bi-com so chys;
his blisful Blod þorw him þei souȝt;
Vs ouȝte to prey to þe fflourdelys.
     128
(17)
Nou Marie Mayden, Moder clene,
Þi semeli Sone þat beres þe fflour,
Ȝif vs grace ow to qweme
And plese Ihesu, vr saueour.
     132
Bryng vs out of dette & dedly synne,
To liue and dye in þi seruys,
Heuene blisse þat we may wynne
And wone þer wiþ þi fflourdelys.
     136

19. Seldom seen is soon forgot. (On Edward III, his Sons, and Richard II.*. [Printed from the Simeon MS., Brit. Mus., Addit. 22,283, leaf 132, in T. Wright's Political Poems and Songs, Rolls Series 14, vol. i, p. 215-218.]

(14 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
Adere God, what mai þis be,
Þat alle þing weres & wasteþ awai?
ffrendschip is but a vanyte,
vnneþe hit dures al a day;
     4
Þei beo so sliper*. [cliper, Wright, and in l. 79, p. 721.] at assai,
So leof to han, and loþ to lete,
And so fikel in heore fai,
Þat selden I-seiȝe Is sone forȝete.
     8
(2)
I sei hit not wiþ-outen a Cause,
And þerfore takes riht good hede, Page  716
ffor ȝif ȝe construwe wel þis Clause,
I puit ȝou holly out of drede
     12
Þat for puire schame ȝor hertis wol blede,
And ȝe þis Matere wysli trete:
He þat was vr moste spede,
Is selden I-seye and sone forȝete.
     16
(3)
Sum tyme an Englisch Schip we had,
Nobel hit was and heih of tour;
Þorw al cristendam hit was drad,
And stif wolde stande In vch a stour,
     20
And best dorst byde a scharp schour
And oþer stormes, smale and grete:
Now is þat schip þat bar þe flour
Selden seȝe and sone forȝete.
     24
(4)
In-to þat schip þer longed a Rooþur,
Þat steered þe schip & gouerned hit;
In al þis world nis such a noþur,
As me þinkeþ In my wit;
     28
Whyl Schip and Roþur to-geder was knit,
Þei dredde nouþer tempest, druyȝe nor wete:
Nou be þei boþe In-synder flit:
Þat selden seyȝe is sone forȝete.
     32
(5)
Scharpe wawes þat Schip has sayled,
And sayed alle sees at auentur;
ffor wynt ne wederes neuer hit fayled,
Whil þe Roþur mihte enduir;
     36
Þouȝ þe séé were rouh or elles dimuir,
Gode hauenes þat Schip wolde gete:
Nou is þat Schip, I am wel suir,
Selde I-seye and sone for-ȝete.
     40
(6)
Þis goode Schip, I may remene
To þe chilualrye of þis londe:
Sum tyme þei counted nouȝt a Bene
Beo al ffraunce, Ich vnderstonde, Page  717
     44
Þei tok & slouȝ hem with heore honde,
Þe power of ffraunce, boþ smal & grete,
And brouȝt þe king hider to byde her bonde:
And nou riht sone hit is forȝete.
     48
(7)
Þat Schip hadde a ful siker mast,
And a sayl strong and large,
Þat made þe gode schip neuer agast
To vndertake a þing of charge;
     52
And to þat Schip þer longed a Barge,
Of al ffraunce ȝaf nouȝt a clete,
To vs hit was a siker targe:
And now riht clene hit is forȝete.
     56
(8)
Þe Roþur was nouþer Ok ne Elm,
Hit was Edward þe þridde, þe noble kniht;
Þe prince his sone bar vp his helm,
Þat neuer scoumfited was in fiht.
     60
Þe kyng him rod and Rouwed ariht,
Þe prince dredde nouþur stok nor strete.
Nou of him we lete ful liht:
Þat selde is seȝe is sone forȝete.
     64
(9)
Þe swifte Barge was Duk henri,
Þat noble kniht & wel assayed,
And in his leggaunce worþili
He a-bod mony a bitter brayd;
     68
Ȝif þat his enemys ouȝt outrayed,
To chartis hem wolde he not lete.
Nou is þat lord ful lowe I-leyd:
Þat selde is seȝe is sone forȝete.
     72
(10)
Þis gode comunes, bi þe Rode,
I likne hem to þe Schipes mast,
Þat with heore catel & heore goode
Meyntened þe werre boþ furst & last.
     76
Þe wynd þat bleuȝ þe schip wiþ Blast,
hit was gode preȝers, I sei hit a trete. Page  718
Nou is deuoutnes out I-cast,
And mony gode dedes ben clen forȝete.
     80
(11)
Þus ben þis lordes I-leid ful lowe,
Þe stok is of þe same Rote,
An Ympe bi-ginnes for to growe
And ȝit I hope schal ben vr bote,
     84
To holde his fomen vnder fote
And as a lord be set in sete.
Crist leue þat he so mote,
Þat selden I seȝe be not forȝete!
     88
(12)
Weor þat Impe ffully growe,
Þat he had sarri sap and piþ,
I hope he schulde be kud and knowe
ffor Conquerour of moni a kiþ;
     92
He is ful lyflich in lyme and liþ,
In armes to trauayle and to swete.
Crist leeue we so fare him wiþ,
Þat selden seȝe be neuer forȝete!
     96
(13)
And þerfore holliche I ou Rede;
Til þat þis Ympe beo fully growe,
Þat vch a Mon vp wiþ þe hede,
And Mayntene him boþe heiȝe and lowe.
     100
Þe ffrensche men cunne boþe boste & blowe,
And wiþ heore scornes vs to-þrete,
And we beoþ boþe vnkuynde & slowe:
Þat selden seȝe is sone forȝete.
     104
(14)
And þerfore, gode sires, takeþ reward
Of ȝor douhti kyng þat dyȝede in age,
And to his sone Prince Edward,
Þat welle was of alle Corage:
     108
Suche two lordes of heiȝ parage
In not in eorþe whon we schal gete,*. [[I know not]]
And nou heore los biginneþ to swage:
Þat selde I-seȝe is sone forȝete.
     112
Page  719

20. A Warning to be ware. (On the Earthquake of 1382.*. [Printed from the Simeon MS. by T. Wright in Polit. Poems and Songs, Rolls Series, i. 250-2.])

(11 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
Yit is God a Curteis lord
And Mekeliche con schewe his miht;
ffayn he wolde bringe til a-cord
Monkuynde, to liue in treuþe ariht.
     4
Allas! whi set we þat lord so liht,
And al to foule wiþ him we fare?
In world is non so wys, no wiht,
Þat þei ne haue warnyng to be ware.
     8
(2)
We may not seye, but ȝif we lyȝe,
Þat god wol vengaunce on vs stele,
ffor openly we seo wiþ eiȝe,
Þis warnynges beoþ wonder & fele.
     12
But nou þis wrecched worldes wele
Makeþ vs liue in Sunne and care.
Of Mony Merueyles I may of Mele,
And al is warnyng to be ware.
     16
(3)
Whon þe Comuynes bigan to ryse,
Was non so gret lord, as I gesse,
Þat þei in herte bi-gon to gryse,
And leide heore Iolyte in presse.
     20
Wher was þenne heore worþinesse,
Whon þei made lordes droupe & dare?
Of alle wyse men I take witnesse,
Þis was a warnyng to be ware.
     24
(4)
Bi-fore, ȝif men hedde haad a graas,
Lordes mihte wondur weel
Han let the rysing þat þer was,
But þat god þouȝte ȝit sumdel
     28
Þat lordes schulde his lordschup feel,
And of heore lordschipe make hem bare. Page  720
Trust þer-to as trewe as steel,
Þis was a warnyng to be ware.
     32
(5)
And also, whon þis eorþe qwok,
Was mon*. [non.—Wright.] so proud, he nas a-gast,
And al his Iolite for-sok,
And þouȝt on god whil þat hit last;
     36
And alsone as hit was ouer past,
Men wox as vuel as þei dude are!
Vche mon in his herte may cast,
Þis was a warnyng to be ware.
     40
(6)
ffor soþe, þis was a lord to drede,
So sodeynly mad Mon agast!
Of gold & seluer þei tok non hede,
But out of her houses ful sone þei past.
     44
Chaumbres, Chimeneys al to-barst,
Chirches & Castels foule gon fare,
Pinacles, Steples to grounde hit cast;
And al was warnyng to be ware.
     48
(7)
Þe Meuyng of þis eorþe I-wis,
Þat schulde bi cuynde be ferm & stabele,
A pure verrey toknyng hit is,
Þat Mennes hertes ben chaungable,
     52
And þat to falsed þei ben most Abul;
ffor wiþ good feiþ wol we not fare:
Leef hit wel wiþ-outen fabel;
Þis was a warnyng to be ware.
     56
(8)
Þe Rysing of þe comuynes in londe,
Þe pestilens,*. [Possibly the 5th plague,—the Black Death of 1348-9 being the First, the plague of 1361 the Second, that of 1368-9 the Third, and that of 1375 the Fourth, while that of 1390-1 was the Fifth.—Creighton, i. 206-219. But a less Plague was in 1382.] and þe eorþe-quake,
Þeose þreo þinges, I vnderstonde,
Beo-tokenes*. [Beoth tokenes.—Wright.] þe grete vengaunce & wrake Page  721
     60
Þat schulde falle for synnes sake,
As þis Clerkes conne de-clare.
Nou may we chese to leue or take,
ffor warnyng haue we to ben ware.
     64
(9)
Euere I drede, be my trouþe,
Þer may no warnyng stande in sted;
We ben so ful of synne and slouþe,
Þe schame is passed þe sched of hed,
     68
And we liggen riht heuy as led,
Cumbred in þe ffendes Snare.
I leeue þis beo vr beste Red
To þenke on þis warnyng & be ware.
     72
(10)
Sikerliche, I dar wel saye,
In such a plyt þis world is in:
Mony for wynnyng wolde bi-traye
ffader and Moder and al his kin.
     76
Nou were heih tyme to be-gin
To A-Mende vr mis & wel to fare;
Vr bagge hongeþ on a sliper*. [cliper, Wright.] pyn,
Bote we of þis warnyng be ware.
     80
(11)
Be war, for I con sey no more,
Be war for vengauns of trespas,
Be war and þenk vppon þis lore,
Be war of þis sodeyn cas,
     84
And ȝit Be war while we haue spas,
And þonke þat child þat Marie bare
Of his gret godnesse and his gras
Sende vs such warnyng to be ware.
     88

21. Love Holy Church and its Priests.

(8 stanzas of 8; nos. 1 and 2 abab cdcd; nos. 3-8 abab abab.)

(1)
Crist ȝiue vs grace to loue wel holichirch,
Or elles, certes, we don riht nouht, Page  722
And let vs neuere aȝeynes hit worche:
ffrom þenne vre cristendom is brouht.
     4
Preostes weore at vre biginnynge;
Wȝuche God haþ graunted hem pouete
ffor vs to rede I-wis and synge,
Is non so gret a dignyte.
     8
(2)
Þei ȝaf vs vre Cristenynge,
And at vr buriinge þei moste be.
To worschipe hem in alle þinge,
Muchel þerto holden beo we.
     12
Godus bodi may no mon make
But preostes al-one, as we rede:
Kyng ne Emperour, I non out-take,
ffor alle heore richesses of lond or leode.
     16
(3)
Of alle Ordres he beres þe prys,
Kyng, Duyk, oþer Emperour,
Þouh heo weren þe fflourdelys,
Þat is richest of alle colour.
     20
In Matynes and vses þei ben wys,
To bringe vs to vr longe bour,
And vche day syngeþ a Masse to þis,
And scheweþ vs Ihesus, vre sauiour.
     24
(4)
In Matyns and Masse þei beren þe prys,
And in heore orisons for vs þei pray:
Þer is no mon þat is wys
Þat oþur record bi heom may say.
     28
Hose loueþ þis ordre, I holde him wys,
ffor certeyn soþ and in good fay,
In holy chirche þei don seruys
Boþe bi nihtes and bi day.
     32
(5)
But hose euer wole þis ordre bere,
Wys and witti moste he be,
Grete oþes may he non swere,
Ne falshede nouþer don ne se; Page  723
     36
By-fore þe Bisschop receyueþ he þere,
And takeþ þe ȝok of chastite.
A-vyse hem wel hou he hit were,
Oþer elles him schal rewe oþer me.
     40
(6)
Whon we ben falle in eny mischef,
Wiþ serwe In dedly synne I-bounde,
Þen is þe prest vs ful leef,
ffor he may helen vs of þat wounde.
     44
ffor þer is non so strong a þeef
Þat euer tok cristendom on godes grounde,
Þat he most haue a preest bi-foren his deþ,
Or elles he schal warie þe stounde.
     48
(7)
On domes-day whon we schul meete
Þat dredful Iuge forte se,
Þen is schrift to vs ful seete:
Þe prest þerof record beres he.
     52
Of alle bales he may beete
Vnder god In Trinite;
Þenne Schrift & hosul is ful swete,
And hit trewely holden be.
     56
(8)
Þis ordre I rede þat we honoure,
And so I counseyle þat we do,
And take penaunce for sunnes oure
Whuche þe prest haþ Iuned vs to;*. [[or Inned]]
     60
Þen schal we come to þat boure
Þer euere is Ioye wiþ-outen wo.
Ihesu bring vs and socoure.
Out of þis world whon we schal go.
     64

22. Try to say the best. Control your Tongue.

(7 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
Qween of heuene, Moder and may,
Saue hem alle nou þat ben here. Page  724
A noble word haue I herd say,
fful profytable þat is to lere,
     4
Bi-twene God and Mon In fere
To wynne worschupe hose euer lust:
Now þenk vpon þis word so dere
And fond euermore to seye þe best.
     8
(2)
Spek non euel in no place,
But kepe þi tonge and get þe a frend;
Þat wikked word from þe nou pace,
Hit is but tysyng of þe fend.
     12
Ȝif þou beo in eny euel tent
And k[n]owe hit for an euel geste,
Keep þi tonge curteys and gent,
And fond euermore to sey þe beste.
     16
(3)
Now, for his loue þat bouȝte þe dere,
Let not þi tonge haue al þe wil!
What artou þe bettre or þe more nere,
Wiþ a wikked word þi neiȝebor to spil?
     20
ffor Mari loue, tak tente þer-tille,
Wheþer þou gost bi Est oþur Weste,
Euur to kepe þi tonge stille
Oþur elles to fonde to sey þe beste.
     24
(4)
Ȝif þou sey þe beste wiþ al þi miht,
Men wol esschewe by-fore þe
To speke evel bi eny wiht,
ffor þou wolt not heore felawe be;
     28
Þer þou spekest, þou maiȝt se
Wordes þat ben wikked and preste.
Nou, for his loue þat dyed on tre,
ffonde euermore to sey þe beste!
     32
(5)
In halle oþur in chaumbre wher þow gos,
What þou here and what þou se,
Euure þou kepe þi tonge clos,
Þat men frayne nouȝt at þe. Page  725
     36
Ȝif þou heere faute oþer eny fole,
As þou may here bi mony a geste,
Nou, for his loue þat dyed on tre,
ffonde euer more to sey þe beste!
     40
(6)
Wiþ eny mon ȝif þou haue ben eke
In his seruyse bi niht oþer day,
Alle þe good þat þou may, speke,
Whon þat þou art went a-way:
     44
Þenne wol men bi þe say,
Þat þou art curteys and wel I-bleste.
Ȝif þou knowe ouȝt þat disese may,
ffonde euur more to sey þe beste!
     48
(7)
Ȝif þou beo riche mon of mony a beeste,
And stifli þou may stonde in stede,
Pore men disese nouȝt bi doing ne cheste;
Nouþer for word ne for dede,
     52
But help hem wel in alle heore nede,
So crist þi soule bringe to reste.
Nou to þis word ȝe take good hede:
ffor Marie loue to seye þe beste.
     56

23. Tarry not till to-morrow.

(9 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc)

(1)
Ilke a wys wiht scholde wake
And waite, with werk heuen to wynne,
Sadliche, for goddes sake,
And set ȝoure soule sauely fro synne.
     4
Ȝif þou haue kynges of þi kynne,
And in þi clos, catel and corn,
Amende þi misses more and minne,
And mak no tarijng til to-Morn.
     8
(2)
Þou leod þat liues as lord in londe,
Þenk hou lowe þou schalt aliht, Page  726
Þauȝ þou haue hundredus at þin honde
To holde þin heste in herte has hiht.
     12
Ȝif þou bragge for þi Beȝanus briht,
Bi-holde hou bare þat þou was born;
Þis dai þou dresse þi dole and diht,
Leste þat þou dye longe er to-Morn.
     16
(3)
Þou freike þat art in frendschupe fast
And þinkest no foot mon is þi fere;
Whon þi pompe and pride is past,
A pore renaunt schal beo þi pere.
     20
Loke in londe, and þou mai lere
Hou liȝtly þat þi lyf is lorn;
Whon þi bodi is brouht on bere,
As þou hast browen, þou broukest to-Morn.
     24
(4)
Gome, er þou giue vp þi gost,
Bi-greiþ ho schal gripe þi goode:
He schal hit haue þou hatest most:
So fares hit ofte, be myn hode!
     28
Þen al þi fee fonges but foode.
ffor-þi ordeyne þi fare be-forn,
And with a-boue mende þi mis in mode:*. [[or a bone]]
Hit wol þe menske aȝeyn to-Morn.
     32
(5)
Parte with ȝor godes in priuete
Vn-to þe pore with-outen pride:
Hit wol þe brynge in blisse to be,
Wiþ-outen bale to buylde & byde.
     36
Þou sette þi seketur fro þi syde,
He wol þe swyke þouȝ he be sworn,
Þin hord, whon he may, hent oþur hyde,
Trust him not after to-Morn.
     40
(6)
Þe Sikernes of þi Seketoure,
Þis is þe soþe to seo and say;
Þauȝ he for þi loue lurke and loure,
Þat he has lauht he wol nouȝt lay, Page  727
     44
But skelpe and scrope al þat he may;
He lettes nouþer for skaþe ne skorn;
Þi goodes whon he has geten a-way,
Trust nouȝt on hem after to-Morn.
     48
(7)
Mony a wiht wenes ful wel
Out of þis world þei schal neuur wende;
ffor feole lykinges þat þei feel,
Þei make no fors of fo nor frende.
     52
Now trust riht wel þei schal be tenede,
Ar bodi and soule a-two be torn.
Of erþly ese þis is þe ende,
Here to-day, a-wey to-morn.
     56
(8)
Ihesus þat on þe Rode was don,
ffrom wo and wondreþ þou vs wisse!
Gladly graunte us vre bone
And bryng us blessedly to þi blisse!
     60
ffor vre loue, Soþ hit is,
Þi syde wiþ scharpe spere was schorn:
Þou saue us þat we ben not his
Þat wolde þat we weore tynt to-Morn.
     64
(9)
Marie Moder, Mayden Mylde,
On al mon-kuynde ȝe haue Merci!
In feole fulþes we ben fuylede;
Þis world vseþ þe flessches foly;
     68
Vn-to þi sone þou calle and cry,
Crist crounet wiþ kene þorn,
He ȝiue vs grace to wone him by!
Þen schal vs tyde no teone to-Morn.
     72

24. Make Amends for thy Sins.

(12 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
Bi a wode as I gon ryde.
walkynge al mi-self alone, Page  728
A boske of briddes bad me abyde
Bi-cause þer songe mo þen one.
     4
Among þo foules euerichone,
To on, gret hede I gan take,
ffor he seyde wiþ reuþful mone,
"ffor þi sunnes a-Mendes make!"
     8
(2)
"Make amendes, mon, trewely,"
Seide þat foul wiþ feþeres blake.
In myn herte i-went, wo was I,
ffor he me bad amendes make.
     12
I stod and studied al þat day;
Þat resun made me a niht to wake:
Þen fond I þreo skiles in good fay
Whi he me bad a-mendes make.
     16
(3)
Þe furste skile þat I gan fynde,
As hit bi-semes in my witte,
Is a þing þat comes of kynde:
Þat eueri mon schal haue a pitte.
     20
Whon top and to to-gedre is knitte,
Þen schal þi proude wordes aslake.
ffor-þi in eorþe er þou be ditte,
Mon, of þi synnes a-mendes make!
     24
(4)
Þat oþer skile is: þat þou schalt dye,
Whuche tyme þou wost nere.
And þou wustest witerly,
Þow woldest fle þi deþ for fere.
     28
Þi laste bour schal ben a Bere,
Ȝif þi frendes þe may take.
Þerfore do wel while þou art here,
And for þi sunnes a-Mendes make!
     32
(5)
Þe þridde skile wol do þe wo
Whon þou þenkest þer on I-wis:
Whon þi lyf is clene I-go,
Þou wost nere whoder to bale or blis. Page  729
     36
I fynde no clerk con telle me þis;
Þerfore my serwe bi-ginnes to wake.
Whon þou þenkest to don a-mis,
Haue mynde of þis & amendes make!
     40
(6)
Ensaumple we may sen al day
As crist schewes among vs alle:
To-day ȝif þou be stout and gay,
To-morn þou lyst ded bi þe walle.
     44
Merci þenne to crie and calle,
Hit is to late þi leue to take.
Be war of folye er þou falle,
And for þi sunnes amendes make!
     48
(7)
Ȝif þou haue don a dedly synne
wher-þorw þi soule scholde be schent,
Al þe ȝer þou wolt lye þer-Inne
In derknes til hit beo lent;
     52
Þen a ffrere þou wolt hent,
Þi parisch prest for schame forsake.
Of alle suche dedes, verament,
I rede þe beo wys, & amendes make!
     56
(8)
Ȝif þou be kyng and croune bere,
And al þis world be at þi wil,
Ȝit schaltou be pore as þou was ere,
And þat þou knowest bi puire skil:
     60
A schete schal þi body hule
And huyde þi cors for sinnes sake.
Þerfore repente þou hast do ille,
And for þi synnes amendes make!
     64
(9)
Ȝif þou beo a fryk mon in þi floures,
And haue vn-bouȝt boþe purpel & pal,
At Masse ne Matyns ne at houres
Þou kepes not come with-in þe chirche wal,
     68
Þer-in þi Sauor is ful smal,
Of sleuþe may þou nouȝt awake: Page  730
On day þou schalt leue hit al;
Þerfore I rede, Amendes make!
     72
(10)
Þauȝ þou haue riches gret plente,
In world while þou liuest here,
God made þi neiȝebur as wel as þe,
And bouȝt ȝou boþe I-liche dere;
     76
Þauȝ he be nouȝt þi worldes pere,
Do him no wrong, for synnes sake!
To nouȝt shal turne þi proude chere:
Þerfore I rede, þou amendes make.
     80
(11)
Loke þou bere þe feir and euen,
Þauȝ þou be lord, Bayli oþur Meire,
ffor ofte men meten at vn-set steuen;
Coueyte not þi neiȝebor to peyre.
     84
Þis world nis but a chirie feire,
Nou is hit in sesun, nou wol hit slake,
To-day artou lord, to-morn is þin heire:
Þerfore I rede, þou amendes make.
     88
(12)
Nou god, þat was in bethleem boren,
And siþen died vppon þe tre,
Let vs neuer ben for-loren,
Lord, ȝif þi wille be.
     92
Marie Moder, Mayden briht,
Preye for vr synnes sake,
In heuene of þi sone to haue a siht,
And heer in eorþe, Amendes make.
     96

25. Suffer in Time, and that is best.

(6 stanzas of 12, abab abab bcbc, and one of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
Whon alle soþes ben souht and seene,
Euerichone at heore deuys,
Euer among, in tray and tene,
Murþe is meyt wiþ malys; Page  731
     4
Aȝeynes cumfort comeþ cares kene,
Aȝeynes vche a uertu is a vys.
Of alle þe vertues þat þer beone,
To suffre, hit is a þing of prys.
     8
Þerfore he þat wol be wys,
And loue to rule him siker in rest,
Loke þat he beo not to nys,
But suffre in tyme, and þat is best.
     12
(2)
Ȝif þou beo mon of mene a-syse
Or gret lord in duresse,
And þi stat may not suffise
Of þi wronge to gete red[r]esse,
     16
Þen mostou worchen on þis wyse,
And schewe to him such boxumnesse,
Þat rouþe in his herte may ryse
And wiþ-drawe his grete distresse;
     20
Ȝif he be Mesured wiþ Mekenesse,
Þen pite in him hit wol be preste.
Among alle þing, as I gesse,
To suffre in tyme and þat is beste.
     24
(3)
Ȝif þou be mon of gret degre,
And a pore mon in his place
fful wrongfully has greued þe,
And don þe gref wiþ his trespace,
     28
Þe cuntrey con wel knowe and se
Þou mai be venget in þat case;
Ȝif þou be perset wiþ pite,
Ȝit woltou spare him for a space.
     32
Ȝif þou so goodly schewe þi grace,
Þe holigost is in þe feste:
Þen godes blessyng schaltou in-brace,
And suffre [in] tyme and þat is beste.
     36
(4)
Hit is luytel worþ, seiþ Socrates,
A glasen pot, is wayk and liht,
To puiten him self to fer in pres
A-ȝeynes a caudrun for to fiht. Page  732
     40
Þe soþe al day is seene in siht:
Þe weikest ay bi-neoþe is cast.
Þerfore sei I, bi god almiht,
To suffre [in] tyme and þat is best.
     44
(5)
Mon, ȝif þou wolt þe state meyntene.
Wiþ lordes In counseil forte sette,
Þer euer mon moste in certeyne
Schewe his wisdom and his witte:
     48
Þen, what-so-euer hapnes þe to seyne,
Let al þi wordes to wisdam knitte,
Or summe of þe feeres wol taken in deyne,
And for pruyde reson hitte.
     52
Ȝif þou here hem so chyde or flitte,
Þer wol no reson in hem reste,
Holt þi tonge and þi mouþ ditte,
And suffre [in] tyme and þat is beste.
     56
(6)
And aftur, whon þou woldest not wene,
Whon alle soþes ben souȝt and sayd,
Þi wordes þei wole take by-deene,
And of þi speche þei wol holde hem payd:
     60
Þen schul þei abassched beone,
And of heer errours ben dismayed,
Whan þi wisdam schal be set and sene
And alle heore folys ben displayed.
     64
Hasti men ben ofte outrayede
Whon heore tonges ben to preste.
Hose haþ ben ofte of sore hokes braide,
Soffre [in] tyme and þat is beste.
     68
(7)
Ȝif hit bi-tideþ be niht oþer day
To falle in-til a cumpaignye
Þer nyse folk wiþ folyes play,
And out of reson þei ȝelle and crie,
     72
Þen mostou worchen wiþ þis assay,
And holde vp oyl by and by,
Til þou mowe priuely go þi way;
Þen kuiþest þou wel þat þou art slih; Page  733
     76
I holde hit riht a gret foly
To schewe reson þer non wol reste.
Þer bi God and vre ladi,
Suffre in hym and þat is beste.
     80

26. Mane nobiscum, Domine!

(10 stanzas of 8; 9 abab bcbc; the 10th abab baba.)

(1)
IN Somer bi-fore þe Ascenciun
At Euensong on a Sonundai
Dwellyng in my deuociun
ffor þe pees fast gon I prai:
     4
I herde a Reson to my pai,
Þat writen was with wordes þre,
And þus hit is, schortly to say:
Mane nobiscum domine!
     8
(2)
What þis word is forte mene
On Englisch tonge, I schal ȝou telle:
In Concience and we be clene,
Digne þi, lord, with vs to dwelle,—
     12
Þe feondes pouste for to felle,—
Þat for vs. diȝede vppon þe tre;
In wit and worschipe, wei and welle,
Mane nobiscum, domine!
     16
(3)
Whon þou from deth was risen and gon,
Þen as a Palmere forþ gon pas,
Þo met þou pilgrimes makyng moon,
But ȝit þei wust neuer who þou was.
     20
Þus þen Carpes Cleophas:
Þe Niht is neih as we may se,
Þe liht of þe dai is waxen las:
Mane nobiscum, domine!
     24
(4)
Dwelle with vs, vr fader dere,
Þi bidyng is in heuene-blis, Page  734
And euure þi name be halewed here.
Þi kyngdom let vs neuere mis.
     28
In heuene þi wille folfuld is,
And heere in eorþe þat hit so be!
Þe Rihtwys weyes ȝe wolde vs wis,
Mane nobiscum, domine!
     32
(5)
Vr bred, vr vche dayes foode,
Drihten deore, þou vs diht.
Vr dette, God þat is so goode,
ffor-ȝiue vs for þi muchele miht,
     36
As we schul heom wiþ herte liht
Þat in vr dette or daunger be.
Leste we Rule vs not a-riht,
Mane nobiscum, domine!
     40
(6)
Dwelle wiþ vs, lord, leste we haue teene,
Lede us to no temptacion.
In eny synne ȝif we beo seene,
We prey þe of Merci and pardoun;
     44
Wiþ al þe Mekenes þat we moun,
We schal crye, knelyng on kne:
Vppon bere whon we beo boun,
Mane nobiscum, domine!
     48
(7)
Lord, dwelle with vs in al ur neode;
Wiþ-outen þe we haue no miht,
Vr hondes vp til vr hed to beode,
Wit nor weole sauereþ no siht.
     52
In eny caas ȝif we ben cliht,
We con not but we crie to þe,
In al vr neode boþe day and niht,
Mane nobiscum, domine!
     56
(8)
Ho dwelleþ wiþ þe, þar haue no doute
ffor no synne ne sodeyn chaunce.
But ay þe fend is fast aboute
To putte vs, lord, fro þi plesaunce; Page  735
     60
Whon we beoþ out of gouernaunce,
Vr flesch is frele, we can not fle:
Keep us out of al cumbraunce,
Mane nobiscum, domine!
     64
(9)
Dwelle wiþ us, lord of loue and pes,
And make þi wonynge vs wiþ-inne,
In Charite þat we encres,
And kep vs out of dedly synne;
     68
Torn neuer þi face from us to twynne;
ffor Marie loue, þat Mayden fre,
Whon we schal eny werk beo-gynne
Mane nobiscum, domine!
     72
(10)
Mane nobiscum, domine!
Wiþ-outen þe we ben riht nouht.
What Ioye or Blis weore þat to þe,
To þeose þat þou hast deore abouht?
     76
In word, In wille, In herte and þouht,
We schul preye to þe Trinite:
Out of þis world whon we be brouȝt,
Mane nobiscum, domine!
     80

27. A Prayer to the Virgin Mary.

(14 stanzas of 12, abab abab cdcd.)

(1)
AVe Maris stella, dei Mater Alma,
Atque semper virgo, felix celi porta.
Heil, sterre of þe Séé so briht!
Þow graunt vs to ben vr gyde;
Godes holi Moder riht,
Þi worschipe walkeþ wyde;
     4
Al-wey Mayden þorw his miht,
Þow sittest bi his syde;
Blesset ȝate of heuene liht,
Þow rede vs riht to ryde!
     8
Ladi, we ben maked al glad:
ffor þou weore meoke I-founde, Page  736
Godes Moder weore þou mad,
I-Blesset beo þat stounde!
     12
(2)
Liknet artou to sterre of séé,
To lihten vs, grete and smale;
Godes Moder ay to be,
ffor vs þou telle vr tale;
     16
ffor þi Maydenhod so fre,
Þou bring vs out of bale;
Help us in-to heuene fle
Out of þis wopes dale.
     20
Ladi, bring vs out of wo!
ffrom Bales þou vs borwe!
Godes Moder and Mayden also,
Þou saue vs out of sorwe!
     24
(3)
Sumens illud Aue Gabrielis ore,
ffunda nos in pace, mutans nomen eue.
Takyng þat word Aue—
Þat sonde sat þe seete—
Of Gabriels mouþ so fre,
Þorw God he gon þe grete.
     28
Prei for us in pes to be,
Wiþ murþes mo to meete;
Eues name i-tornd for þe
Þat sit us softe and swete.
     32
Ladi blisful, Meoke and Mylde,
Þat word in Ioye us pultus;
Godes Moder, prei þi childe
Þat he for-ȝiue vr gultus.
     36
(4)
Aue worþily þe fel,
Þat was þe ȝarked ȝore
Of þat Angel Gabriel,
Þorw ȝift of Godes lore.
     40
Prey us pes, þer to be snel,
Þou salue us of vr sore;
Siþ þat Eue is tornd so wel,
vr blisse is wel þe more. Page  737
     44
Ladi, qween of paradys,
To þe we schullen calle,
Godes Moder, wommon wys,
And Mekest most of alle.
     48
(5)
SOlue vincla reis, profer lumen cecis,
mala nostra pelle, bona cuncta posce.
Gulti bondes here vnbynd,
Vr gultes ben to fele;
Seend hem siht þat here aren blynd,
Þou bring vs to þi wele;
     52
Put a-wey vr wikked wynt,
Vr synful lyf þou heele;
Alle goodes aske and grynt,
And sent vs of þat Meole.
     56
Ladi, nou þat hit is þus,
Help we weore vnbounde;
Godes Moder, prei for vs
To him wiþ blodi wounde!
     60
(6)
WE han agult, vnbynd us here,
Wiþ Merci fond vs fede;
Send þe blynde, lokyng clere,
To hele us here tak hede;
     64
Put a-wei vr wik in weere,
Þat doþ us driȝe and drede;
Aske us God wiþ-outen peere,
Þat holliche heuene meede.
     68
Laydi, nou þin help a-non,
Þer of þat we ne fayle;
Godes Moder, a-ȝein vr fon
Þou most be Countur tayle.
     72
(7)
MOnstra te esse matrem, sumat par te precem
qui pro nobis natus tulit esse tuus.
Scheuh þat Moder art, enclyn
To him þat dyȝed on Roode;
He, þorwȝ þe, tak preyer myn,
Þat bouȝt us wiþ his bloode; Page  738
     76
Boren for us was he so fyn,
Hit com al vs to goode;
He bi-com heere sone þyn,
Þi Milk þen was his foode.
     80
Godus Modur, þou him beere,
Þi Milk nas non Ilyche,
Ladi, him to fostren heere;
Þat Burþe was ful riche.
     84
(8)
MOdur, scheuh þat þou art fre;
Þe may no murþe misse;
Do þat we ben herd þorw þe,
Þou bring us to þi blisse.
     88
I-boren for us forsoþe was he,
Þe synful men to wisse,
He þat tok þi child to be,
Þi Mouþ wiþ his to kisse.
     92
Ladi briht, wiþ eiȝen gray,
Such cos þou geete with winne;
Godus Modur, Niht and day
Þou help vs out of sinne.
     96
(9)
Virgo singularis, inter omnes mitis,
nos culpis solutos mites fac & castos.
One, peereles Maide now,
Þin help adoun þou seende;
A-mong vchone, Meoke artou,
Aȝeyn þe we ben vn-heende;
     100
Sinne bond vs, þow wost hou,
Þis world vs wol a-bleende;
Make vs meoke, cast in a vou
In-to vr lyues ende.
     104
Ladi, bring vs out of strif,
Vs geyneþ nouht to ȝelpe;
Godus Modur, al vr lyf
We spillen, bote þou helpe.
     108
(10)
Mayden al-one, buyrde briht,
Wel brihtor þen þe Sonne; Page  739
Mekest Mayden, most of miht,
Vr gatus þou bi-gonne;
     112
Sinne bond vs day and niht,
We spillen þat we sponne:
Mak vs meke and clene in siht,
Þen is vr game I-wonne.
     116
Ladi, lene vs of þi liht,
ffor ȝit we ben to blynde;
Godes modur, send vs miht,
Þe rihte wei to wende.
     120
(11)
VItam presta puram, iter para tutum,
Vt videntes Ihesum semper colletemur.
And leen vs clene lyf also,
Þis lyf is serwe and sake;
Diht vs siker wei to go,
Þis sunful lyf þou slake;
     124
Get vs Ihesus to seo þer-to,
Þorw siht of him to a-wake,
vs to gladschupe euer-mo,
Þin help vs þou by-take.
     128
Ladi louelich, feir and fre,
Þou lilye whyt of face,
Godus Moder briht of ble,
We tristen to þi grace.
     132
(12)
Clene lyf ȝif vs to-day
And forþward euer-more,
Greiþ vs here a syker way;
We stomble ofte and sore;
     136
Siht of Ihesu, wel þou may,
Ȝif hit þi wille wore,
Þorw þat siht to glade vs ay,
So lyking is þi lore.
     140
Ladi al in liht I-schrud,
Þeos wordes ben ful soþe;
Godus Modur, Qween I-kud,
Tak þi seruauns to þe.
     144
Page  740

28. A Prayer to the Trinity.

(2 stanzas of 12, abab abab cdcd.)

(1)
Sit laus deo patri, summo christo decus,
spiritui sancto, tribus, honor vnus. Amen.
In God ffader heryng sit,
Þer aftur schul we calle;
To þe Sone al ful of wit
On kneo we schullen falle;
     4
Þe Holigost, to vs þou flit
In graces for to walle;
Wit and Grace and strengþe hit,
We schul hem herie alle.
     8
On is God of mihtes most
ffeiþ fully for to fonde,
ffader and Sone and Holigost
Al on is vnderstonde.
     12
(2)
ÞE ffader was, and ay schal be,
And is wiþ-outen ende;
Þe Sone dyede vppon þe tre,
Vr falce foon to schende;
     16
Þe holygost, þat makeþ þre,
Þat may vs grace seende:
Al is on In Trinite,
What wey þou turne or weende.
     20
I may sei wiþ-outen bost
Þe holy Book leyh neuere.
ffader and Sone and holygost
Beo wiþ us nou and euere! amen.*. [[The Vernon MS. ends here. Nos. 29-30 are from the Simeon MS., Addit. 22,283, Brit. Mus., leaf 134.]]
     24

29. But thou say Sooth, thou shalt be shent.*. [See the former "Who says the Sooth, he shall be shent," p. 683.]

(9 stanzas of 12, abab abab bcbc.)

(1)
Who so loueth endeles rest,
Þis false world þen mot he fle, Page  741
And dele þer-wiþ bot as a gest,
And leue hit not in no degre.
     4
Hit is but trouble & tempest,
ffals fantasye & vanite;
In þat þraldom who so is I-þrest
Him mot eschewe al charite.
     8
Þat day þat eueri mon schal se
His dedes schewed & his entent,
What maner mon so þat he be,
But he sey soth, he schal be schent.
     12
(2)
Seyth now dauid in his sawe
In þe sauter book openly,
Þat whoso to þe worldus lust drawe,
In his lyf is leef to lye
     16
Þat he ne leueþ not on godus lawe,
But forsakeþ hit wylfully.
And, for him stont of god no awe,
In bremful bale he schal hit by,
     20
When concience his werk schal wrye;
And as he doþ, he dom schal hente:
Whit-outen restores or remedye,
But he sey soth, he schal be schente.
     24
(3)
A lesyng is with-outen doute
Wel worse þen sommen taken hede,
ffor, haue þe tonge onus told hit oute,
Abrod þen schal hit sprynge & sprede,
     28
And renne ful ryf in eueri route;
And be hit onus so blowen on brede,
Þey men wolden aftur knele & loute;
Men may not stoppe hit with no mede.
     32
Such lesyngus þen I rede ȝe drede,
Lest ȝe in bittur bales ben brent.
ffor þer nis non so styf on stede,
But he sey soth, he schal be schent.
     36
(4)
Þou miht als chep robbe a mon
As with a lesyng lese his name. Page  742
What so þou spekest, where or whanne,
Loke þat þou no mon diffame.
     40
Sey þe sothe, ȝif þat þou kan,
Þou suppose to here a blame,
fful sore þe stonde elles schal þou ban
When truthe þi tales schal a-tame.
     44
To greue god, hit is no game,
Þat lust & lykyng haþ þe lent;
ffor outh þat þou const forge or frame,
But þou sey soth, þou schalt be schent.
     48
(5)
Ȝif þou be þrat to take þe deth
ffor seyng soth, be not agast;
Let not þe sothe be set be-neth,
But truthe to mayntene, be ay studefast.
     52
Þenke þi lyf is but a breth,
Þenke þou schalt passen, as mo han past.
Clottes of clay þi cors schal cleth, [folio :2]
Þi careyne vn-to wormes cast,
     56
When Gabriel schal blowe his blast,
ffor soth sawe schaltou neuer repent.
Þen leue hit lely, at þe last
But þou sey soth, þou schalt be schent.
     60
(6)
Alas! what corsed lyf is þis,
Þat men dreden more þe world now here
Þen him þat wrouȝte þe world I-wys,
And al þing haþ in his pouwere.
     64
As men in questus seyn ofte a-mys,
And stoppen quereles otrewe & clere;
Such men þenkeþ not on heuen blys,
Þat ȝeuen verdites in such manere.
     68
Truthe & kuyndenesse knyt in fere,
God askeþ of vs non oþer rent;
Þenne wyte hit wel withoute were,
But þou sey soth, þou schalt be schent.
     72
(7)
Þey þou kacche blame a þrowe
ffor seyng sooþ more or lasse, Page  743
Þenne aftur wþen þe treuþe is I-knowe
Among goode men, as I gesse,
     76
Þou schalt be leef vch mon to trowe
And worschyp for þi sothfastnesse.
Þerfore I rede boþe hye and lowe,
Sey soth and lette for no dystresse.
     80
Þyn owne wordus schul bere witnesse
A-ȝeyn þe at þi Iuggement;
When grete god þat doom schal dresse,
But þou sey soth, þou schalt be schent.
     84
(8)
Hold vp no monnus oyl, I rede,
When he wenduþ out of þe wey,
ffor such glosyngus makeþ mony quede,
When non þe soþe dar to him say.
     88
Such flaterynge schal luyte stond in stude
When god þe grete doom schal aray;
And he þat best now here con plede,
I leue he schal be lewede þat day,
     92
Whan crist schal his woundes dysplay,
Þat for vs was on rode I-rent,
And vche mon schal take his pay,
But þou sey soth, þou schalt [be] schent.
     96
(9)
ffor seyng soþ, þou miht not synne,
But ȝif þou sclaundre eny wyȝth;
Sclaundre no mon more ne nynne,
ffor sclaundre stynkeþ in godus syȝth.
     100
Elles what quarel þou art ynne,
Sey þe soþe, ay meynteyne þe ryȝth;
And on þis wyse þou miht wynne
Þe blysse a-boue þat blesseþ bryȝth,
     104
And endeles lyf þat lasteþ lyȝth.
Þus I am sure þat þou miht hent,
And elles, when deþ þi doom schal dyȝth,
But þou sey soþ, þou schalt be schent.
     108
Page  744

30. A Morning Thanksgiving and Prayer to God.

(11 stanzas of 8, abab bcbc.)

(1)
Iþonke þe, lord god, ful of miht,
Wiþ al þat euer I con & may,
Þat hast me sauet þis ilke niht
And suffret me forto abyde þis day.
     4
I-blesset be þou euer & ay,
And halewed be þin hyȝe name;
And worschypet be þou, lord, al-way,
Wiþ hyȝe & lowe, wylde & tame.
     8
(2)
In þe name of god þat al þing wrouȝth,
Heuen & erþe and vche creature;
In þe name of ihesu þat me dere bouȝth,
Þat is god, godus sone so pure;
     12
Þe holygost, god in o figure,
To þe, o god in persones þre,
I be-take þis day of me cure,
And wiþ þi tokene I marke me:
     16
In nomine patris & filij & spiritus sancti, Amen.
Pater noster. Aue maria. Et Credo.
(3)
Lord god, þat þis day woldust make,
     17
And schope me to lyue þer-ynne,
My body & soule I þe be-take.
Þis day, lord, kep me out of synne,
     20
Wiþ trouþe þis day my lyflode to wynne,
So þat I do þe non offens,
ffrom þi lawe þat I ne twynne,
Ne breke þi ten commaundementes.
     24
(4)
Lord god Ihesu, as þou were boren in a dawynge,
Of a virgyne pure & clene,
Kepe me, lord, þis morewenynge,
Þis day in dedly synne þat I not byn lene,
     28
ffor wyninge of erþelyche godus: [folio 134:3]
ffrom flessch[ly] lustus & lykynge, Page  745
Kepe me, lord, wiþ þi pressyos blod,
ffrom temptacions of þe fende.
     32
(5)
And as þou were turmentud sore
In þat selue tyde of niht,
Wiþ bobbyng, scorny[n]ge & wel more,
ffort hit were dayes light
     36
[. . . . . ight]
Sende me þis day do sum good dede
In lettyng wrong & doyng riht,
Þat þou, lord, mouwe quyte me my mede.
     40
(6)
As þou were lord, when hit was day,
Ofte examnet wiþ wordus grete,
Wiþ bysschopes of ful gret aray,
Wiþ proude prynces þat þe con þrete,
     44
Sende me þis day drynk & mete,
And susteyne me in þi seruise;
Ȝif I be mys-hap, lord, þe fo[r]ȝete,
Þorw þe, lord, let me aryse!
     48
(7)
Lord I be-take þe my fiue wyttes;
Myn yȝen, þat I synge not in syȝth.
Lord, my mouth open hit in þi werkes,
Þer-wiþ þat I may speke truþe & riȝth.
     52
Myn heryng, lord god, dele & dyȝh
To here noþing aȝeyn þi wille;
My nese, lord ihesu ful of myȝth,
Kepe hit þat I non vuel smel.
     56
(8)
Lord, kep & lede my feet also
Þat heo don þi seruyse,
Þat with hem I not mys go.
Myn honden, lord, kep on alle wyse,
     60
And set hem, lord, in such asyse
Þat I, [o] lord, with hem not synne.
And ȝif I do, lord, let me aryse,
And let me not longe lygge þerynne. Page  746
     64
(9)
Þeyȝ I haue syngut her-be-fore,
Let me not for-garte þi grace.
I crye þe mercy, lord, euer more;
Of amendement, lord, sende sum space,
     68
And sende my soule for my trespace.
Þenke, lord, I am þi creature,
And sende me, lord, help now in þis cas
Þi mercy out ouer al mesure.
     72
(10)
Lord, wharto woldust vengaunce take
On me þat ȝelde me þus gulty?
I may not amendus make,
But put me holly in þi mercy,
     76
And for my synne I am sorye:
Þenk, of my self no myȝth I haue;
But þou me help, in synne I dye:
Þi grace, mercy,*. [? for 'grete mercy'] lord, may me saue.
     80
(11)
My soule, my body, lord god ihesu,
I now by-take in þi kepynge;
Kepe me, lord, in þi vertu,
In al my werk & al my worchynge.
     84
In þi nome be al my doynge!
In þe nome of Ihesu I be-gynne:
Lord god ihesu al weldynge,
Þis day kepe me out of synne! Amen!*. [[The rest of the leaf is blank.]]
     88