Robert of Brunne's "Handlyng synne".
Mannyng, Robert, fl. 1288-1338., William, de Wadington, 13th cent., Furnivall, Frederick James, 1825-1910.

[properties of shrift]

On many maner myȝt men proue
     12283
How shryfte ys gode to oure byhoue;
But longe hyt werë for to dwelle,
Þe*. [And.] propertees, alle for*. ['for' omitted.] to telle,
But touche y wyl, two or þre,
Þat ȝe mow weyl warned be.
     12288
Page  386

That þou falle nat yn wanhope.

Haue no wanhope, for no maner of kas;
Be nat lyke Kaym ne Iudas.
Þe werst þarfore, y wylle fyrst grope,
Þat man kalle 'wanhope:'
     12292
Al tymes ys God more*. ['more' omitted.] wroþer with þys
Þan with any oþer þyng*. [synne.] þat ys;
Þyr ys no synne þat men of rede,
Só moche withseyþ þe godhede;
     12296
For wanhope wenyþ þat þe foly
Be more þan*. [þan ys.] Goddës mercy;
And ȝyf þou wene þat synne be more,
Þou wenest þat þe godhede, so moche ne wore,
     12300
Ne had so mochë myȝt hym ynne,
Þat hyt myȝt fórȝyue alle þy synne.
Se how wanhope, man wyl shende
Aȝens þe godhede with-outyn ende!
     12304
Hyt ys no wundyr, þogh he be wroþe;
Hyt aȝenseyþ hys myȝt & hys*. ['hys' omitted.] mercy boþe.
Swych shryfte madë wreched Kaym,
whan he hadde hys broþer slayn;
     12308
'Of God,' he seyd, 'he was nat wurþy,
For hys grete synne, to haue mercy.'
For hys wanhope, þat foule glotoun,
God ȝaue hym hys malysun;
     12312
And alle þo, þat trowe synne may be
Morë þan Goddës pyte. [folio 82a]
And swych shryftë, made Iudas;
He shrouë hym of hys trespas,
     12316
He hadde grete sorowe and contrycyun
Þat he ded hys lorde tresun;
Þer-of he repented hym so gretly,
     12319
he ȝede and hyng hym self ful hy;
He shroue hym with grete répentaunce, Page  387
But of Goddys mercy he hadde none affy|aunce.
     12322
Here mowe ȝe se, þat shryfte and sorowe
Alle only may no man borowe,
But he haue gode hope, whan he ys shryue,
Þat hys synne shal be forȝyue:
Þys shal ȝe beleue, with-outë nay,
Þat, God wyl forȝyue, and may.
     12328
An holy man þys samë spelleþ
Þat of Iudas wanhope telleþ,
'For hys wanhope, God wroþer was,
Þan for hys tresun or ouþer trespas;
Hys wanhope toke he more to grefe,
Þan hys takyng, as a þefe.'
     12334
Ihesu, ful of mercy mylde,
Fro wanhope vs allë shylde,
And graunte vs alle swych 1hope & sted|fast1*. [[1_1 overline: leave out stedfast]] trouþe
þat þy mercy on vs haue rouþe!
     12338

That þou excuse nat þy synne.

Ȝyt þer ys an vnþryfte
Þat doþ moche skaþe yn shryfte;
     12340
Þat þou defendest þe fro plyȝt,
And puttest þy synne on God almyȝt.
So dyd oure fadyr Adam,
whan God of heuene to hym cam,
     12344
And seyd, "Adam, why art þou yn synne?"
"lorde," he seyd, "my wyfe made me bygynne;
Þat ychë wyfe þat þou me wroȝt,
She synned fyrst, and y noȝt."
     12348
Seeþ how Adam bygan to lye, Page  388
And put on God hys owne folye!
For, God forbede þat*. [hym þat.] tre, [folio 82a:2]
Þat he ne shulde ete þer-of, ne she:
     12352
Seeþ how he ded, þat God forbede,
And dyd aftyr hys wyuës rede;
He wulde haue excused hys fame,
As who seyþ 'God was to blame;'
     12356
Þese lewed men sey, and erre ful ylle,
And seye 'hyt was alle Goddys wylle.'
Ȝyf þat hyt Goddys wyl shulde be,
why forbede he hym þat tre?
     12360
Hyt may nat be, for no nede,
Þat God wulde be do, he shulde forbede;
Syn he forbed, hyt shulde be noȝt,
     12363
Aȝens hys byddyng, Adam hyt wroȝt;
Þan hyt semeþ, hyt was but suffraunce,
Nat hys wyl, nat*. [ne.] hys ordynaunce,
But lete hym*. [hym O, om. A.] haue alle hys fre wyl,
Hym self for to saue or spyl.
     12368
Nay, nay! Adam, alle mys ȝede,
On God to put alle hys mysdede,
As who seyþ 'he shulde nat be shent,
But Eue brak þe commaundëment,
     12372
For she ȝaue hym þe appul here lete,
And God was gylty þat he hyt ete.'
He myȝt a*. [haue.] fórsake, and seyd nay,
But whan he toke hyt, he brake þe lay.
Ȝyf a man me now forbede
     12377
þyng þat y ne shulde haue of dede,
y were to blame ȝyf y hyt toke;
Bettyr were fyrst þat y hyt forsoke;
     12380
So myȝt Adam haue hyt forsake,
For God for-bede þat*. ['þat' omitted.] none shuld be take.
Syn he dyd þus aȝens hys forbode,
Ho dar sey hyt was þe wyl of God?
     12384
Ȝyt þyr are many þat þus seye,
Þat alle here wyte on God wul leye, Page  389
And tellë men þus apertly
Þey mow nat holdë*. [holde hem.] fro foly,
     12388
And sey þey mowe nat lyuë chaste, [folio 82b]
But nedly hym*. [hem.] behoueþ do waste.
Y seye, as þe holy man seys,
He lyeþ apertely on alle weys;
     12392
For ȝyf þat he wulde do now folye
wyþ a womman yn lecherye,
And ȝyf a-noþer, hyt myȝt se,
At þat tyme he wulde late be;
     12396
He ne letteþ for Goddes comaundement,*. [Harl. omits these two lines.]
But for hym þat þere ys present.*. [Harl. omits these two lines.]
Alle þo þat sey 'hem byhoueþ nedely,'
Þey acoupe God of here folye.
     12400
why shulde he þat*. [þan.] þyng forbede,
Þat nedely moste be do yn dede?
hyt were foly, comaunde a þyng
Þat myȝt nat ȝyue no warantyng.
     12404
yn twey þynges, wykkedly þey sey,
Þat on God here blame alle leye;
Lyers algate þey are strong;
     12407
A-noþer, þey hepe on God here wrong;
wykkedly þey synne on þese maners,
Þey make hym wers þan ben*. [be.] here peres.

That þou make nat þy synne lytyl to*. ['to' omitted.] seme.

Make nat þy synne, lytyl to seme;
     12411
Telle smale and grete, ȝyf þou God queme.
Ȝyt þer ys an enchesun
ys kalled 'dymynucyun':
On englys, hyt ys to mene,
To make þy synne lytyl to*. ['to' omitted.] seme;
     12416
Hyt ys to mene also anoþer þyng, Page  390
Of þy synne to make shedyng;
And þys may be on two manere,
whan hyt shuld be hole and clere:—
     12420
whan þou tellest but þe grete,
þe smalë synnes þan wylt þou lete;
þese clerkys kalle hem 'cyrcumstauncys,'
To þe grete synnes are þey puruyaunces;*. [purueyaunces.]
þou puruéyst fyrst, yn þy þoȝt
     12425
How þe grete synnes shulde*. [shul.] be wroȝt;
Oftyn tyme, a foule þoȝt and an*. ['an' omitted.] yl,
wyþ lykyng þer-yn, gadereþ a wyl [folio 82b:2]
Aftyr þat wyl, cumþ a syȝt;
     12429
Aftyr a*. [þe.] syghte, a speche ful ryȝt;
weytyng yn wey, and þarto ȝyftes;
Alle þese, to þe dede a man lyftes;
     12432
Alle þese kalle men 'cyrcumstaunces,'
Þat vn-to þe grete dede men haunces.
Lo here ensample of oure tale;
Þou sëest*. [sest.] stykkës þat are smale,
     12436
Þey brenne fyrst, feyre*. [lyght.] and shyre,
To brynge þe grete stokkes*. [stokes.] sone on fyre:
Ryȝt so do þése smale, þe with-ynne,
A gretë synnë to bygynne;
     12440
Þarfore y warne þe, yn þy lyfe,
Of swychë smale þat þou þe shryue;
For ȝyf þou for-hele hem with þy wyl,
So mayst þou þy soulë spyl.
     12444
Ryȝt so fareþ forholen synne,
As fyre, borë bosum ynne;
At þe lastë, hyt hym dereþ,
And brennyþ*. [brēnþ.] þat hym aboutë bereþ;
For no synne may be hyd,
     12449
Þat hyt ne behoueþ opunly be kyd; Page  391
Ȝyf hyt be shewed here apert,
Yn ouþer stede hyt ys couert;
     12452
And ȝyf þou hydë here þy blame,
hyt shal be shewed to þy shame.
Seynt Austyn seyþ a wurde to charge,
Of Goddys ȝyfte, how hyt ys large:
     12456
"Shryueþ ȝoure dedës and ȝoure þoȝt,
For God forȝyueþ alle or noȝt;
Oþer forȝyueþ he alle with gladehede,
Or alle abydeþ to hys wraþhede.
     12460
Ȝyf þou be allë fully shryue,
Forsoþe þan be þey all forȝyue;
Ȝyf þou þe shryue of alle but one,
Noþer he forȝyueþ þat, ne none."
     12464
Yn ryȝt resun þese clerkys telle,
yn þat stede þere God shal dwelle [folio 83a]
Plenerly, hyt behoueþ be clene,
Þat no synnë mowe be sene.
     12468
whan synne ys shryue, and clene eche deyl
Þere wyl God, holde hys hostele;
Þe mantel of loue ys leyd ful euene,
Þat heleþ Ihesu and kyng of heuene.
     12472
Yn o stede ne mowe þey reste;
God or þe fendë, outë*. [þe toon oute O.] keste;
One of þese, behoueþ þe chese;
Take þe toon, þe touþer þou lese.
     12476
Y wulde holde hym more þan wode,
Þat cheseþ þe wykked, and leueþ þe gode.
Take we God on oure party,
And fle we þe fendës cumpany.
     12480

That þou make no skornyng yn shryfte.

Skorne nat, and seye þou wylt forsake
Þy synne, and eft aȝen hyt take. Page  392
Ȝyt wyl y warne þe of o þyng,
Yn shryftë make þou no skornyng.
     12484
Lytyl mayst þou spede þat whyle,
Ȝyf þou shryuë þe with gyle;
For ȝyf þou make þy shryftë feynt,
Sykyr þou be, þou shalt be a-teynt,
     12488
whan [þat] þou art nat yn wyl
Þe to wyþdrawë fro þyn yl.
what doust þou byfore þe prest,
And, hast déseyt yn þy brest?
     12492
Asoyled mayst þou neuer be,
But þou wylt þy synnë fle.
with skornë wenest þou þe quyte
As a fals ypocryte,
     12496
Þat þou holdest nat cunnaunt,
þat þou hetest and takest an hand.
A lytyl tale y wyl ȝow telle,
How he was shryue, þe fende of helle.*. [A tale.]
[The Tale of how the Devil came to be Shriven.]*. [[Not found elsewhere by G. Paris.]]
An holy man, þat God was dere,
Onës sat, shryftë to here;
     12502
To hym come þe fende of helle, [folio 83a:2]
Yn form of a*. [of a O, a H.] man, hys synne to telle;—
Þe holy man wende hyt had be
A man yn flessh as*. [þat.] he dyd se;
On hys knees he sett hym downe,
with þe prest, for to roune,
     12508
And tolde hys wykkednes ful bostely.
Þe gode man lestned, þat satte hym by;
He seyde, "y haue be yn þe se;
Þere þre þousend shyppes were dreynt þurgh me; Page  393
     12512
"And alle þe folk with-outë numbre,
Allë broȝt y hem to kumbre;
Aboue, yn-to þe wynde y wente,
     12515
And broȝt hem alle to þat turment;
On land y haue do more tresun
wyþ fyre and slaghtyr yn euery toune,
And alle þe skaþe y myȝt of mone,
Tó hem þat yn borwës*. [borewes.] wone;
     12520
y haue made wraþþe and euyl wyl
Betwyxë hem þat wulde none*. [none O, mone H.] yl,
And sle*. [sle O, om. H.] echoun ouþer at here myȝt,
More with wrong, þan with ryȝt.
     12524
"Yn pryde, yn Ire, yn enuye,
yn slouþë,*. [slouþe O, slogh H.] and yn coueytyse,
yn glotonye, and yn lecherye,
Y delyte me yn euery vyleynye;
     12528
Foule flessh dedes þat are ouer rank,
More þan ouþer y take to þank;
But, pryde algate, and coueytyse,
Y may nat leue, ne none of þyse;
     12532
Ten þousend men dampned be
Yn þese two, for loue of me;
when y fynde hem custummably
Yn þese two synnës alle redy,
     12536
Ful weyl payeþ me þat synne,
And bounde are þey to me þer-ynne;
Þan do þey, ryȝt as y wyl,
Allë wrong wyþ-outë skylle;
     12540
Fro wykked to wers, y do hem falle, [folio 83b]
For y am mayster ouer hem alle;
Ȝyf þey wulde wake, y do hem slepe,
And yn ydulnes to lepe;
     12544
For whan þey are yn beddë*. [bedde O, bed H.] broȝt,
y do hem synne yn ydul þoȝt;
yn þoȝt of folye, and foule delyte, Page  394
"I do hem þenkë þan ful tyte.
     12548
"Certes y may nat telle hyt alle,
þe synne þat y haue do, and more shal.
Cryst, loue y neuer a deyl,
Ne none þat on hym byleueþ weyl,
     12552
For, yn euery dedly synne
y am bounde, and may nat blynne.
"Y dyd neuer commaundement
þat God vn-to þe folk haþ sent.
     12556
Þe sacramentys of holy cherche,
y loued hem neuer, ne neuer wulde werche.
Pryue synne and sacrylage,
Þat loue y moste, and rycolage.
     12560
holy cherche, despyse and fyle,
þat wyl y bleþly, alle my whyle."*. [tyme]
þe holy man, lestnë*. [lystene.] bygan,
And, had wundyr of þat o man
     12564
Þat he myȝt so moche synnë do,
As he a-couped hym self vn-to:
Þe godë man, for alle þys chaunce,
Sagh yn hym no répentaunce,
     12568
Ne no sorowe made of contrycyun
For no synne þat he had doun.
He seyd, "hast þou any shame of þy synne
Þat þou hást be so moche ynne?"
     12572
Þe fende answered to hym aȝen:
"Wytë þou weyl for certeyn,
Þere y dyd but one or two,
Y wulde haue do twenty and mo."
     12576
"Þan*. [Þan O, Þat H.] art þou," he seyd, "a wykked denyl,
Þat þou repentest þe of none euyl."
"Ȝe, certeys," he seyd, "so y am, [folio 83b:2]
A fende of helle, to þe y cam."
     12580
"Y coniure þe þat þou me telle—
Syn þou art a fende of helle—
For what maner þyng a lyue, Page  395
"Þat þou come hedyr, þe to shryue?"
"Now behoueþ me nedely
     12585
Telle þe euerydel, and why.
"Y se men come to shryfte so þykke,—
Of some, here soules as*. [as H, om. O.] blak as pykke,
And as grymly on to se
     12589
As*. [And as H, As O.] any fende yn helle may be,—
Þo samë men, when þey are shryue,
So moche bryȝtnes ys hem ȝyue,
     12592
Þat no sonnë ys so bryȝt
As here soules yn Goddys syȝt.
Y wyst my self hydus and blak,
And no þyng haþ so mochë lak;
     12596
Þurgh my shryfte, y wende to spede,
To haue turned so bryȝt as ouþer ȝede."
"Þou art dyceyued, foule treytoure!
Þy shryfte may haue no swyche onour;
Hyt may neuer do þe pru,
     12601
Þe feyrehede of shryfte, ne þe vertu.
Þo þat þou sawe so blak with-ynne,
Þey are repentaunt of here synne,
     12604
And are now come to ryȝt gode wyl,
To do penaunce, and no more yl;
And þurgh þe shryfte þat þey haue take,
Þey are asoyled, and synne forsake.
     12608
Þere*. [þer.]-of cumþ alle*. [al.] here beute
Yn here soules, as þou mayst se;
But þou þat hast no répentaunce,
     12611
But loue and lykyng yn*. [in þy.] cumbraunce,
To feyrehede shalt þou neuer wende,
But blak*. [blake.] and foule wyþ-outyn*. [outen.] ende;
A deuyl þou come; to Satan þou go! Page  396
To þat sorowe þat þou come fro."
     12616
he wente a-wey, alle for-lore,*. [al forlore.] [folio 84a]
A deuyl, as he was byfore.
Þarfore, gode men, wyte*. [wete.] ȝe weyl,
Shryfte saueþ nat a-lone eche dyl,*. [alone yche deyl.]
     12620
But ȝe haue gode répentaunce,
And of foryȝuenes gode affyaunce,
And yn gode wyl, ȝow to withholde
Fro þe*. [þo.] synnes þat byfore are tolde. [folio 84a:2]
God graunte vs grace, swyche*. [swych.] shryfte to make,
     12625
And for oure synne swyche*. [swych.] penaunce take,
Þat we be neuer more a-teynt*. [neuermor ateynt.]
For fals shryuyng, ne for feynt;
     12628
But graunte vs alle vs self*. [selfe.] to ȝeme,
And yn oure shryfte Ihesu to queme! Amen!*. [O. adds 'Explicit.']
Here endyþ Manuel Pecché.