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

Here bygynneþ shryfte.

[prolog]

The lyȝt of grace þat neuer haþ ende,
From whom al cumþ, and to al men sende; Page  350
     11304
Of alle godenes, wel and bygynnyng
Ys God of heuene, and of erþe kyng,
Hym wurschepeþ alle, as wel ys wurþy,
Gostly þynges as weyl as dedly,
     11308
Alle creatures doun hym onoure, [folio 75a:2]
Ihesu, þat ryche emperoure;
Þou, Ihesu, lyȝt my soule with-ynne,
And graunte me swychë to bygynne
     11312
Þat hyt mowe be, þe to queme,
And vs alle fro synnë ȝeme!
Namly, of shryftë so*. [now.] to seye,
Þat we mow make vs redy wey
     11316
Aȝens þe fende, þat ys oure fo,
Þarto God graunte vs alle to go.
*. [See French, 1. 9605, p.351, note e.]Tweluë poyntes þyr are yn shryfte,
And tweluë graces of here ȝyfte,
     11320
And yn alle þesë, are but þre
whych are to do, and whych are to fle.
To telle hyt shortly, alle*. [al.] at gesse,
Þe fyrst ys þe grete godënesse,
     11324
How yt ȝyueþ hem grace to þryue,
Þo men þat wyl bleþely hem shryue;
Syþen, fro what þyng men shulde hem loke
Þat shryftë blely vndyrtoke;
     11328
And how many þynges, behoueþ hem haue,
Þat, ryȝtly, here shryfte wyl craue.
Yn tokenyng, to holde vs lowe,
And oure wykkednes for to knowe,
     11332
Hyt ys ordeyned, þurgh Goddys ȝyfte,
To man, fór to knowe oure shryfte.
For vnbuxumnesse of oure fadyr Adam
And Eue—þurgh prydë þat fyrst cam,
Þat Goddes commaundëment þey brake— Page  351
knowlachyng behoueþ vs allë make;
And þurgh a-nother resun ryȝt gode,
Syn Ihesu Cryst toke flesshe and blode,
And was cloþed yn oure man-hede,
     11341
And wyst oure wykkednes & oure nede,
To man behoueþ vs to telle oure trespas,
Syn he knew alle þat yn man was.
     11344
For whan we shryue vs to þe preste,
To God we shewe vs yn mannes*. [mannes O, goddes H.] breste;
Þan wotë boþë God and man, [folio 75b]
     11347
Oure lyfe, þat alle may wete*. [wyte.] and kan;
Now we shul, telle ȝow sone,
what ys to leue, and what to done.

[12 points of shrift]

The fyrste poynt of shryfte.

Þe fyrst poynt of þy shryfte oweþ to be,
'with þy gode wyl and hertë fre,
     11352
whan þou art yn þy lyfë best,
Awey þou shalt þy synnë kest;'
For þan wurschepest þou God aboue,
And forsakest þy synne for hys loue.
Dauyd seyþ, yn wurde to fulfyl,
     11357
God shrofe hym with hys*. [hys O, om. H.] gode wyl;
Abyde nat tyl þou most nedly,
For þan hyt ys with fors and maystry;
Þou shryuest þe þan for drede,
     11361
Nat for loue, but more for nede; Page  352
Þan semeþ hyt þat hyt shulde be
Þat þy synne forsakeþ þe.
     11364
Swyche shryftë made Acor þe þefe:
whan he shulde go to pynë grefe,
He shrof hys synne, how he hadde stole
Þre þyngës þat he hade forhole,
     11368
A mantle of skarlet, a rolle of golde,
And syluer, he hydde vndyr molde;
Yn þe byble men mow hyt se,
Yn þe story of Iosue.
     11372
Page  353

The Secunde poynt of shryfte.

þe secunde poynt ys next þyr-by,
'þat þou shalt shryue þe hastyly;'
For whan þou doust*. [dost hyt.] yn longe respyte,
hyt ys forȝete, þat long ys olyte.
     11376
Seynt Bernard þarfore, to swych chyt,
And seyþ 'moche forȝyt, þat longe abyt.'
Anouþer skyl ys, þat þou shalt hyt haste,
For yn þy synne þy lyfe ys waste; Page  354
     11380
For, as moche as þe tyme doþ amounte,
For euery oure, shalt þou ȝelde acounte,
Ȝyf hyt so were, þou myȝtest had space, [folio 75b:2]
And wuldest nat come to shryfte ne grace.
Ȝyt, þyr ys þe þred resun*. [See French, l. 9719, &c. last page.]
     11385
þat hastyly shal þy shryfte be doun;
For yn þat tyme þat þy synne*. [synne O, shryfte H.] ys,
Þou art departed fro heuene blys,
     11388
And fro alle þe felawrede
Þat shulde þe helpë at þy nede,
And fro þe preyers of holy cherche,
And fro alle gode dedes, þat men þer werche;
Alle þe prayers, with-outë fayle,
     11393
To þe blys of heuene, þe mow nat auayle.
Algate y rede, þou do gode dede;
To ryse fro synne, hyt wyl þe spede,
     11396
And bettyr wyl hyt pay God almyȝt,
And þy penaunce shal be þe more lyȝt,
And, þe more grace shalt þou haue,
Þe for to shryue and saue.*. [[6 syll.]]
     11400
Page  355

The þred poynt of shryfte.

Þe þryd poynt of þy shryfte,
'Opunly þyn herte vp lyfte:'
So byt God to me and þe,
Þat opunly shal þy shryftë be.
     11404
Salamon to vs seyþ, and*. [seyþ & to us.] kalleþ,
'Seuene tymes on a day þe ryȝtwys man falleþ;'
As oftë þan behoueþ þe ryse,
Ȝyf þou lyue yn ryȝt seruyse.
     11408
Þus seyþ þe clerke seynt Austyne,
Þat was a mayster of dyuyne,*. [deuyn.]
'Ȝyf þou to many prestes atwynne,
Al holyche wylt shryue þy synne,
     11412
Þou shalt fynde grace and forȝyuenes,
And mede to þe, for þy mekenes.'
Þre þyngës mayst þou fynde,
Þat wyl þe oute of synnë bynde;
     11416
Þe fyrst ys, þat þou mayst lere,
And many dyuers samples*. [sample.] here,
Of euery prest, a lessoun,
To knowë þy saluacyoun; [folio 76a]
     11420
Ȝyf þou haue herde of many a-pryse,
þe morë þou canst, of queyntyse.
þe touþer me þenkeþ a gode resoun,
Þat quyteþ þe fro dampnacyoun,
     11424
þe ofter þat þou shewest þy blame,
þe more me þenkeþ þou hast of shame;
þe shame þat þou hast yn þy shewyng,
hyt ys forȝyuenes, to gode endyng.
     11428
Þe þred, ys, þat þe weyl weres,*. [Glossed 'kepeþ' in Oxf.; 'kepyþ' in Harl., by a later hand.]
For þou shalt be yn alle preyers Page  356
Of alle þe prestes þat þe haue shryue,
As longë tyme as euer þey lyue,
     11432
For þey are holdë þar-vn-to;
þe order of prest wyl hyt be so;
þe mo prestës þat for þe prey,
þe sunner*. [soner.] art þou yn gode wey;
     11436
And, at þe day of Iugëment,
To God þey shul make þy present,
þat þou werë clenë shryue,
And þat þey mow be þe forȝyue.
     11440
þo þat þou hast here hyd,
þurgh alle þe werld þey shul be kyd,
And askë domë on þe þere,
þat þou, of hem, neuer shryuë were;
     11444
For allë þyng þat euer ȝyt was,
Shal þe acoupe of þy trespas;
Þe synnë hymself shal forwreye;
Þyn Inwyt, on þe self, þe dome shal leye.

þe fourþe poynt of shryfte.

Þe fourþë poynt, ful feyre hyt ys,
'yn shryftë to haue mekënes.'
She chese þat vertu, oure lady,
     11451
So seyþ "magnificat," here owne storye,
'Þe gretë mekenes many folde
Yn hys hand-mayden, God wlde beholde.'
Syn mekenes ys so noble a ȝyfte, Page  357
For-ȝete*. [Forȝeteþ.] hyt nat yn ȝourë shryfte.
     11456
So spekeþ þe gospel of þys vertu, [folio 76a:2]
How a mesyl come to Ihesu
with gode wyl, and on knees hym sette,
And ful myldely, Ihesu he grette;
     11460
"lorde," he seyd, "þou mayst me saue
Ȝyf þou wylt, and y hele haue."
Ihesu sagh hys myldënes,
     11463
And seyd "y wyl hele, alle þy sykenes."
He þat ys yn dedly synne,
Gostely he ys a mesyl with-ynne;
He þat wyl hys helë seke,
To hys prest he mote be meke;
     11468
Ȝyf þou meke þe to þy prest,
Þou mekës*. [mekest.] þe to Goddës brest;
Ȝyf þou be to hym ful stour,
Þou doust to God grete dysonour;
     11472
he sytteþ þere, yn Goddys se;
To deme þy synne, he haþ pouste;
Ȝyf he blame þe for þyn euyl,
þat þou hast serued moche þe deuyl,
     11476
Defendë nat þy folye,
yn pryde ne yn ypocrysye;
Noþer on þy self lye þou noȝt,
To seye þyng þat þou neuer wroȝt;
     11480
Ne forsake nat þy synne to wreye;
More and*. [þan.] lesse, behoueþ þe seye.

þe fyueþe*. [Þe fyfþe.] poynt of shryfte.

Go we now to þe fyfþe*. [fyfþe O, fythe H.] poynt:
To þe þrydde hyt ys a ioynt,
     11484
þere y spake of ofte shryuyng, Page  358
To tellë many prestes a þyng.
what men are þo þat shryue hem bleþly,
But þo þat synne but lyȝtly?
     11488
For þo þat haue do synnës grete,
Vnneþë*. [Vnneþe O, Vnneþ H.] wyl þey any lete.
Ȝyf þey here any predycacyoun,
Or sum ouþer chaunse be doun,
     11492
Ȝyt wyl þey neuer shryue here shame,
So are þey bounde yn þe fendës hame. [folio 76b]
And somë lette, for hard penaunce,
For to telle here grete cumberaunce.
     11496
And somë lette here synne to seye,
For doute of prest, þat wyl hem bewreye:
No shame myȝt to mochë be
To þe*. ['þe' omitted.] prest þat telleþ*. [telþ.] þat pryuyte.
     11500
letteþ nat, ȝoure synne to telle; Page  359
Þenkeþ on þe peynes of helle;
     11502
what day þat ȝe dyd ȝoure synne,
And how long ȝe haue lyued þer-ynne,
what tyme, ánd how, hyt was wroȝt;
Alle hyt nede*. [nedeþ.] þurghout be soghte.
Seynt Dauyd, þe holy prophete,
Seyþ, þese wurdes, ful swete,
     11508
"Alle my shryftë and my shame
Haþ so couerd and hyd my blame,
þat þe fende may haue no syȝt,
Me to bewreyë with no plyȝt;
     11512
Ne God of heuene wyl nat se
Any þyng þat wyl dampnë me."
Ȝyf þou shryue þe apertly,
Þou mayst be sekyr to haue mercy.
     11516

The syxte poynt of shryfte.

Þe syxte poynt ys, sorowe of herte;
Þat oght to be bytter and smerte
whan þou þenkest on þe gode dedes,
þat, God haþ do for þy nedes,
     11520
And þou hast do, as þou weyl wost,
Þyng, þat, he hateþ moste.
No creatures ne hateþ he noȝt,
But synnë þat ys do or wroȝt;
     11524
Ne he hateþ nat þe fende of helle,
Þe crëature of hym y telle,
But þe wykkednes, pryde and synne
Þat yn hym ys, and wyl nat blynne;
     11528
Ne was þyr neuer aungel so bryȝt,
Ne man so weyl with God almyȝt,
Þat, ȝyf he had synned dedly, [folio 76b:2]
To hellë pyne he was wurþy;
     11532
Þat oght þey boþe to sorowe and kare,
Þat yn dedly synnë are. Page  360
God hym*. [hym O, hym hym H.] self, of mageste,
Vnto hys lykenes he formed þe;
     11536
he made þy soule boþe fayre and clene,
And to hys ownë godhede sene;
And whan þou synnest, þou turnest wyk,
And makest þy soulë black as pyk;
     11540
Þát God had made to hym so weyl,
Þou makest hyt lyke þe fende echedeyl.
Sorowe oghte þan, þyn hertë bynde,
Þat þou art tó hym so vnkynde;
     11544
Þou dysonourest hym yn þat outrage,
And reuylyst hys feyre ymage.
Of þys þyng þan ȝyuest*. [ȝyfst.] þou leste,
     11547
whan þou cumst laghyng to þe prest;
Euyl oghtest þou laghe, coudest þou se
How þou bryngest þy dome with þe;
Aboute þy nekke, hanggeþ a wyþþe,
Þat haþ þe departed fro Goddys gryþþe:
Þy self beryst þan, on þy bak,
     11553
Þy vylë synne þat makeþ þe blak;
May nonë fro þat dome þe borowe,
But ȝyf hyt be with byttyr sorowe.
     11556
Goddys treytour, and ryȝt vyleyn!
Hast þou no mynde of Marye Maudeleyn,
How she soȝt oure lorde Ihesus
Yn Symundës hous leprous?
     11560
Opone þyn herte, þy gostly eres,
And þenke on herë byttyr teres!
She cam nat laghyng to þe*. [com . . . . to þat.] feste,
Noþer for game, noþer*. [no.] for geste;
     11564
She com wepyng with here yne,
Of Ihesu to haue medycyne;
She broȝt a smel of grete sauour,
Þat tokeneþ loue and grete onour; Page  361
     11568
with here terës þat she lete, [folio 77a]
þarwyþ she wyssh Ihesu*. [Ihū.] fete:
So behoueþ vs with here to grete,
Ȝyf we, oure synne, wyl truly lete;
     11572
And, but we haue sorowe for oure*. [for oure O, with here H.] synne,
Þe mercy of God mow we nat wynne.

þe*. [Þe O, Te H.] seuenþe poynt of shryfte.

The seuenþe poynt ys a gode resun,
'Þat þy shryfte be wysly doun,'
     11576
Þat ys to sey, to a wys man,
Þat þy shryfte vndyrstondë kan;
Nat to one þat haþ no wyt
Of vndyrstondyng of holy wryt.
     11580
Seynt Austyn seyþ þys skyl,
Do þyr-aftyr who so wyl,
'Of synnë, who so wyl hym lese,
     11583
A wyse shryftfadyr behoueþ hym chese;
And þat may byndë and vnbynde,
Swych a man behoueþ hym fynde."
A prest þat ys no clergye ynne,
     11587
How can he weyl dystyncte þy synne?
But now, oueralle, se we mowne
An holywatyr clerk of a tounne,
þat lytyl haþ lerned yn hys lyue,
he ys ordeyned a prest to shryue.
     11592
Ȝyf he shulde a shryfadyr*. [shryftefader.] be,
hym behoueþ*. [behouede.] haue lerned of sum degre,
Or lerned, or herde, of some þat couþe,
Ar he had be prest yn hys ȝouþe;
     11596
And moche behoueþ*. [behouede.] hym stody and se,
Or lerne at sum, yn pryuyte.
he may lyue, as a gode man, Page  362
Þoghe he lytyl clergy kan;
     11600
But for to preche, or herë shryfte,
Of clergy behoueþ hym sum þryfte.
And allë prestes haue nat powere
For to assoylë þe ryȝt clere,
     11604
But hyt be þy parysshe preste,
Or haue hys leuë at þe leste, [folio 77a:2]
Or at þy parsone or vycary,
For þese haue of þy soule maystry:
     11608
Aske hem leue, and haue no gylt,
And shryuë þe þan, where þou wylt.

The eyȝtþe*. [eyghteþe.] poynt of shryfte.

The eyghtþe poynt of þe twelue,
'Þy shryfte shal be alle of þy selue,'
     11612
Of þyn ownë proper dede,
And bewreye none ouþer, y þe forbede.
Þyn ownë foly þou shalt seye,
And none ouþer body bewreye.
     11616
Dauyd seyþ yn þe sautere
Þese wurdes, þurgh Goddys powere,—
he spekeþ 2as weyl to lerned as to lewed,2*. [2_2 to lernede as weyl as lewede.]—
"Myn owne lyfe, lorde, y haue þe shewed;
None ouþer mannes y wyl dyscrye,
     11621
For þat were boþe synne and vyleynye."
Ȝyue gode tent, to þys poynt,
Þou prest þat art a-noynt!
     11624
Ȝyf a man telle þe hys synne,
And a-noþer be menged þer-ynne,—
As ȝyf hyt were yn lecherye,
Or hylp to sle, or robborye,
     11628
For þese may nat a man weyl do
Alone, but ouþer be þar-vnto,—
Aske aftyr none ouþer name,
But lestene wyl hys ownë blame;
     11632
For ȝyf þou any ouþer man namest, Page  363
Y dar weyl seye þou hym dyffamest;
hyt ys grete synne to hym and þe
To aske or telle þat shulde nat be;
     11636
hyt ys bakbytyng, and no shryfte;
hyt ys a spyce of euyl þryfte.
Þou lewed man, y forbede þe weyl,
     11639
Þogh þe prest aske, bewreye þou no deyl;
Bewreyë weyl þyn ownë dede,
But none ouþer, y þe forbede.
y tolde langer yn myn auys, [folio 77b]
Loke algate þy preste be wys.
     11644
Do nat as þe pharysu,
Preydë God aȝens hys pru;
He ȝede to þe cherche with a man
Þat men calle a publycan,—
     11648
A publycan ys, yn oure sawe,
A synful man, oute of þe lawe;
Þys pharysu ys to mene 'byfore,'
As forby alle, and fro ouþer shore,—
     11652
Þys pharysu bygan to prey,
And seyd, as a shrewe shulde sey,
"Lordë, þanked mote þou be,*. [See French, lines 10111-15.]
y am nat, as y ouþer se,
     11656
Coueytous, ne lecherous of flesshe,
And nat as he, þys publycan, ys:
Euery woke y fastë twys,
     11659
And ȝyue my tyþes of rychë prys."
Loke how he made hys auauntement
Of þat gode þat God hadde hym sent;
ȝe, syre, on a wykked wyse,
Oþer men for tó despyce;
     11664
hys owne godenes, coude he nat sey,
But algate ouþer, behoueþ*. [behouede.] hym wreye.
Besydë stode þe pupblycan,*. [publykan.]
     11669
And knew*. [knegh.] hym self a wykked man, Page  364
And durst nat loke to God vpward,
But knokked on hys brest ful harde,
And seyd with herte ful drefully,
"Lorde, þou haue on me mercy!"
     11672
Þe þublycan had mochë þanke;
Þe pharysu, byfore God he stanke.
Þus seyþ þe gospel, þat we alle knowe,
"who so makeþ hym hygh, he shal be lowe;
     11676
And, who loghyþ*. [who so logheþ.] hym yn skylle,
Gode heghnes he shal come tylle."
Some, whan þey here shryfte*. [shryfte O, synne H.] bygynne,
he shal hepe on God hys synne,
     11680
And seyþ algate, 'he ne may noȝt [folio 77b:2]
kepe hym, but synne be wroȝt.'
And some sey, whan þey do euyl,
Hyt was algate þurgh þe deuyl;
     11684
And some sey, as y haue herde,
'A! syre! so synneþ alle þe werlde.'
Of þy self, shal nat be seyd;
On þe, shal alle þe blame be leyd;
     11688
God blameþ þe for þy mysdede,
why seyst þou þan, 'þe behoueþ nede?'*. [hyt behoueþ be nede.]
Ne no fende may but temptë þe;
Þe dede shal alle þyn ownë be;
     11692
Ne at þe worlde mayst þou noȝt kest;
Do þy self weyl, hyt ys þe best;
Here mayst þou se wyþ godë skyl,
Alle hyt ys at þyn ownë wyl.
     11696

The nyȝnþe poynt of shryfte.

þe nyȝnþë seyþ 'hyt ys foly
On þy self for to lye.' Page  365
Sey of þy self no*. [to.] trespas,
Ne more synne, þan þou done has;
     11700
Ne forhele nat þy mysdede;
Goddes veniaunce shalt þou drede.
[The Bible-Tale of Ananias and Sapphira.]
Seynt Luke seyþ hys autoryte,
Yn þe bygynnyng of crystyanyte,
     11704
Þe apostoles wente*. [ȝede.] aboute to preche—
Þe crystyndom for to preche*. [teche.]—
how men shuld þe worlde forsake,
And what mede þarforë take;
     11708
Ryche men solde here lande and fee,
And come to þe apostoles yn pouerte.
A ryche man, þat hyghte Ananye,
He solde hys godë plenerlye;*. [al plenerlye.]
     11712
þe syluer þat he þarfore tolde,
þerof a party he ded withholde;—
Hys wyfe cunseyled wel þar-to
Þat he shulde nat awey alle do;—
     11716
Þe touþer partë, alle he lete,
And keste hyt at seynt Peter fete. [folio 78a]
Seynt Petyr parceyued anoun
þat þyr was þere*. [þyr was þere O, þer was H.] gylë doun:
     11720
he seyd, "y comaundë þe,
Alle þat þyr was, þou shewe hyt me."
Ananyas þan swore hym þore,
he solde hys þyng, for no more.
     11724
Seynt Peter, þan seyd*. [seyde þan.] astyt,
"why lyest þou on þe holy spyryt?"
þys Ananyas fyl dowun dede,
As, blak, as any lede.*. [[6 syll.]]Page  366
     11728
Men tokë þe body asswyþe,
And byryed hyt, þat ychë syþe.
hys wyfe come byfore hem alle,—
Saphyra, men here calle;—
     11732
She cunseyled þat hyt was hyd,
But she ne wyst what was betyd.
Seyn Peter asked here þe soþe ywys,
"hast þou no more þan now here ys?"
Saphyra answered and seyd,
     11737
"Y haue no more þan here ys leyd."
"þou lyest," he seyde, "þe soþe y se,
And nat ȝyt al onely to me,
     11740
But þou lyest vnto þe holy goste,
þat alle þyng wote, and myȝt haþ moste."
Asswyþë, yn a lytyl stounde,
She fyl dowun dede vnto þe grounde.
     11744
Men byryed sone here body
Besyde here husbonde Anany.
Here-fore y rede þat þou soþe seye
To þy prest, as þou shust deye.
     11748
Yn þy shryfte, lye þou neuer a deyl;
holy wryt forbedeþ hyt weyl.
þou seyst hyt nat vnto þe prest,
     11751
þou shewest hyt vnto Goddys breste;
Boþe to God and to man,
Þat oure defaute, seeþ alle, and kan.
Gode graunte vs þe soþe to sey,
     11755
And clene be shryuë ar we dey! [folio 78a:2]

þe tenþe poynt of shryfte.

Þe tenþë poynte of shryfte, þys ys:
'Ȝyf þou shalt haue forȝyuënes,
Þy synne naked shalt þou make,
And opunly, hyt forsake.' Page  367
     11760
hyle hem nat with feyrë wurde,
Þat semeþ to gadyr þy synnes to hurde:
yn tyfed*. [tyffede.] wurdys þat slyked are,
Semeþ þy synnes þat þey noȝt were;
     11764
yn swyche wurdys, þe fende ys queynte
To make þy shryftë fals and feynte.
No queyntyse make þou þerynne,
     11767
But sey ryȝt as þou dedyst*. [dest.] þy synne.
þou mayst nat þy synnës wryte,
Yn shryftë þe so to quyte,
Ȝyf þou mayste speke, and haste*. [haue.] space
To fynde a preste yn any place,
     11772
with mouþe to speke, and nat*. [noght.] to hyde,
Elles hyt ys a spyce of pryde:
Seynt Austyn seyþ, algate þy lyue,
'wyþ mouþe opunly, þou þe shryue.'

þe eleuenþe poynt of shryfte.

þe elleuenþe poynt shul we*. [we shul.] knowe,
     11777
'To þy prest þou bere þe lowe,
Blelyche yn*. [þy.] penaunce for to do
Alle þat he ioyneþ þe vnto.'
     11780
Þou shalt make no fals delay,
Penaunce to takë at þy pay;
Hyt ys sloghnes and feyntés
To take penaunce at þy dyuys;
     11784
For þy synne, þe ryȝt penaunce
Shal be þe prestës ordynaunce:
Þus seyþ þe clerk, seynt Austyn,
     11787
"Þe prestes mercy, þou do þe ynne;
Þe prest ys crystys vycarye;
Do þe alle yn hys mercy." Page  368
Ȝyf þe prest be of any resun,
     11791
He wote weyl what shal be doun; [folio 78b]
he wote what penaunce þe falleþ*. [falþ.] to haue,
And what þy state ys, and what hyt wyl craue.
And, þus þou wost weyl at gesse,
Ȝyf þou were now yn a sykenes,
     11796
And*. [al.] wuldest þou do, for to lyue,
Alle þat þy leche wulde þe ȝyue;
To þy soule, do þe samë wyse,
Þy penaunce, as þe prest seyse.
     11800
Many aȝens þe prest þey kaste,
Þat þey mowe noþer bydde ne faste,
But ȝyf þey algate penaunce*. [penaunce O, om. H.] shul do,
Þan þay seye hyt behoueþ be so;
     11804
No þyng aftyr hys dedys ylle,
But algate at hys ownë wylle.
wenest þou so to come to heuene,
     11807
with lyghte penaunce as þou wylt neuene?
But y warne þe of þys cas;
Þarto ys many a streytë pas.
Þe manhede of God wulde noȝt
Haue heuene, but hyt were boȝt.
     11812
what wenest þou haue hyt for so lytyl here,
whan God and man boȝt hyt so dere?
By heuene with þy penaunce,
Or, ellës-where, kepe harder chaunce.
     11816
Page  369

þe twelueþ poynt of shryfte.

þe twelueþe poynt of oure resun:
'Alle holy oweþ þy shryfte be doun;
No poynt þou shalt with-holde,
     11819
For, alle holy, hyt oweþ to*. ['to' omitted.] be tolde;
And, þat shal y shewë þe
On two maners; þy shryfte al hole shall be.
Ȝyf þou þe shryue by parcelles,
     11823
Þe holy man seyþ, þy shryfte þou steles;
Ȝyf þou shewe one, o party,
And anoþer prest þou tellest anoþer foly,
Þat shryfte ys noȝt, þy soule ys betrayd,
And God almyȝty ys mys-payd;
     11828
For to echoun þyn herte was stoken, [folio 78b:2]
A synne þou heldë þer-ynne loken;
þat þou with-helde, was nat forȝyue;
     11831
Þou shewedest hyt nat, hyt ys vnshryue.
Body ne soulë ys payd weyl
Tyl þou haue tolde þy synne*. [synne O, soule H.] eche deyl;
Telle alle þy synnes, and with-holde noun;
Or elles, y seye, shryfte ys þyr noun;
For, ȝyt haþ þe fende pouste
     11837
For to make sorowe yn þe.
lo here, ensample þat ys certeyn,
Þat noun*. [no man.] may sey þer-aȝeyn;
     11840
Ȝyf þou yn þy body haue woundës*. [wndes.] fyue,
Þat, þe leste may for-do þy lyue,
And hele hem allë but o wunde,
     11843
Ȝyt may þat on,*. [one.] brynge þe to*. [to þe H, to O.] grounde.
[The Tale of how Shrift made a Woman's unconfest Sin fly out of her Mouth as a 'Blak,' a 'Fende of Helle.']
Of a womman y herde onys spelle,*. [A tale]
þat alle here synnës wulde nat telle; Page  370
þys wumman hadde do a synful dede;
here shamed to telle hyt for drede.
     11848
On a*. [o.] day, grace was here ȝyue,
þat she þoȝte she wulde be shryue:
þys womman come vnto a frere,
And, preyd hym, here lyfe to here.
     11852
As she sat here shryftë ynne,
She þoȝte vppon þys ychë synne;
Þe frerë cumforted here weyl,
Boldely to sey euery deyl;
     11856
hys cumforte madë here ryȝt bolde,
So þat she furþe þe*. [þat.] synnë tolde,
þat she haddë longe forhole,
þurgh cunseyl of þe deuyl stole;
     11860
But, at þat ychë breyde
þat she furþe þe*. [þat.] synnë seyde,
Come fleyng oute, at*. [of.] here mouþe a blak,
Ryȝt as she þe wurdë spak:
     11864
þe frerë sagh hyt apertly,
And þanked God of hys mercy.
þat ychë blak, y dar wel telle [folio 79a]
þat hyt was a fende of helle,
     11868
þat myȝt no lenger yn here reste
whan þe synnë oute gan breste;
But as longe as she þe synne forhale,
Þe deuyl helde ful stylle hys stale;
     11872
For euer-more he wyl a-byde
whyl o synnë may hym hyde;
And, for þat yche resun why,
Shryue we oure synnë, alle holy;
     11876
Nat by parcelles, to prestes atwynne;
To one, alle holy, shryue þy synne; Page  371
To o preste telle*. [telle þou.] hyt euery deyl,
Þan art þou shryuë holy weyl:
     11880
At oure shryfte, God ȝyue vs myȝt
Þese poyntes to kunne, and shewe hem ryȝt.
Now haue ȝe herde þe poyntës twelue,
how euery man shal shryue hym selue,
And of þese*. ['þese' omitted.] poyntes lerned sum deyl,
how ȝe mow[ë] shryue ȝow weyl.
Prestës oghte hem alle to kunne,
lewed men to teche and monne;
     11888
And but þey techë hem þys lore,
Here perel ys weyl þe more.

[8 graces that shrift gives]

Moche ys shryftë for to preyse;
Þe dede, to lyue, he may vpreyse;
     11892
A soulë þat ys dede þurgh synne,
Þurgh shryftë comþ gracë þer-ynne.
Many godenesse myȝt men telle,
     11895
How shryfte confoundeþ þe deuyl*. [fende.] of helle.
Lesteneþ, godë men, to lere,
Þe grace of shryftë ȝe mow here.

The fyrste grace þat shryfte ȝyueþ.

þe fyrst grace þat þy shryfte shal ȝyue,
he makeþ þy soulë for to lyue.
     11900
whan þy mouþe with shryfte ys opun,
Deþ and synne are boþe oute lopun.
Salamon seyþ, þat ys wys,
Yn a bokë of Prouerbyys, [folio 97a:2]
     11904
"Þe weye of lyue,*. [lyffe.] with-outyn ende,
Oute of ryȝtwys mannes mouþe shal wende."
Of þe mouþe þat ys vnryȝt,
hyd hys*. [ys.] synne fro grace and*. [of.] lyȝt;
     11908
Þy mouþë, no gracë cumþ ynne,
whan þyn herte ys ded yn synne:
Deþ and lyfe, ȝe mowe weyl se, Page  372
To-gedyr mow þey neuer be.*. [neuer mowe þey be.]
     11912
For somë, whan þey come to shryfte,
No more wyl þey here herte vp lyfte
To God for grace, but beþ harde as stone,
So longe haue þey with here synne gone;
Sorowe of synnë haue þey noȝt,
So ys here soule beneþë broȝt.
For, a lymme þat ys ded or drye
     11919
Þurgh sykenes, or smete yn pallësye,
Þogh men prykkë hyt wyþ oghte,*. [See French, l. 8729 below.]
For hyt ys dede, hyt feleþ noȝte;
No more of grace, þe soule may fonge,
Þat haþ ley yn synne so longe;
     11924
But Ihesu cryst, þat none wyl tyne,
he boghte alle mankynde wyþ pyne,
And graunteþ hym grace, hys shryfte by|gynne,
     11927
And yn hys shryfte, to sorowe hys synne.
Þurgh swyche sorow, cumþ þe lyfe of grace,
Þe deþ of synne awey to chace.
Þan ys þys a feyrë ȝyfte,
Þe lyfe of euer, þurg þy shryfte;
     11932
Þy soule þat was for synnë lore,
Þurgh shryfte haþ grace and lyfe byfore;
Þys ys þe grace and þe fyrst vertu,
Þat shryfte doþ to þy soulë pru.
     11936

þe*. [þe O, Te H.] secunde grace þat shryfte ȝyueþ.

A-noþer ȝyfte he ȝyueþ large;
hyt aleggeþ þe of heuy charge;
For euery synne, as hyt amounteþ, Page  373
Shalt þou haue, whan deþ acounteþ;
     11940
But yn*. [yn H, om. O.] euery tyme þat þou shryuest þe, [folio 79b]
Of pyne shalt þou vncharged be;
For, þe prest haþ powere
To asoyle þe quyte and clere.
     11944
ȝyf þou for synne mayst haue sorowe,
Fro heuy pyne hyt wyl þe borowe;
Body and soule moche ys a-legged,
whan of*. [of þy.] synne þou art a-bregged;
     11948
kyndly, ys þat man heuy
Loke what Iope seyþ, þat was of suff|raunce;
Þat haþ synned wykkedly.
He spekeþ to God for swyche a chaunce,
"Lorde," he seyþ, "weyl y hyt se,
     11953
My synne ys allë áȝens me;
For, whan y þenke on my synne,
Ful of angwys y am with-ynne;
     11956
For heuy byrdon, þat y of hem bere,
Y am confounded, my self to were."
And y haue oftë herd men seye,
And y wote my self þe certeyn wey,
     11960
Þat, when men haue synned dedly,
Here soule ys mornyng and heuy,
And cumbred ful of þoȝt and drede,
Ne he haþ no wyl to do gode dede;
     11964
But whan þey haue be clenë shryue
And do þe penaunce þat was hem ȝyue,
Hem þoȝt hem self wundyr lyȝt,
And, lesse dremed on þe nyȝt.
     11968
Yn alle þys worlde [n]ys*. [Neither of the MSS. has a 'no.'] so heuy þyng,
As yn synne to haue dwellyng;
Þe synne God hateþ, þat on hem hangeþ;
And Goddës hatred, helle hyt fangeþ;
Þan ys wundyr, þat þe erþe hym bereþ,
But onely þat Goddys mercy hym wereþ, Page  374
And wyl [nat] þat he were cumbred or*. [and.] shent,
But a-bydeth hys amendëment;
     11976
So ys þe ȝyfte of shryftë large,
And leseþ men of heuy charge;
Y rede we loue hyt, at alle our myȝt, [folio 79b:2]
For body and soule, hyt makeþ lyȝt.
     11980

The þred grace þat shryfte ȝyueþ.

þe þred grace of hys ȝeuyng
ys, as hyt were, anoyntyng:*. [anoytyng H, anoyntyng O.]
Anoyntyng ys gode for body sore,
     11983
And shryfte ys a-noyntyng for euermore;
For, shryfte ys*. [ys as a.] a sacrament,
hyt ys a grace, to alle men lent;
And, who-so cumþ weyl þar-tyl,
Fourë þynges he haþ þurgh skyl;—
     11988
Þe fyrst þyng þou shalt beleue ynne,
To haue forȝyuenes for*. [of.] þy synne,
Ȝyf þat þou truly þe shryue,
And weyl holde hyt yn þy lyue.
     11992
Mekenes ys þe touþer, men telle,
And yn godë hope to dwelle,
Þat þe shryfte, þat we to go,
     11995
Alle oure synne may quenche and slo.
Þe þred ys, þat he shal fonde
To brynge hym oute of þe fendës bonde;
For þus hyt seyþ, weyl y wote,
     11999
yn a boke þat seynt Austyn wrote:
'Yn wey to heuene, may no man be,
But he haue wyl, hys bande to fle.'
Þe fourþë þyng þat shal be dyȝt,
Alle hole þy wyl, to God almyȝt,
     12004
Hym to wurschepe ouer alle,
Þat he wulde to shryfte þe calle,
And brynge þe áȝen to hys grace Page  375
Þat þou lostest with þy wanlace.
     12008
whan þou art ȝolde to be hys seruaunt,
Fals hym nat, but holde hym cunnaunt;
Hyt ys alle hys, þat þou lyuest by,
Serue nat þan hys en[e]my!
     12012

The fourþe grace þat shryfte ȝyueþ.

Þe fourþë grace ys weyl to telle,
how shryfte shendeþ*. [shent.] þe fende of helle.
Ȝy[f] þou wylt make þe deuyl shent, [folio 80a]
And with-stonde hys tycëment,
     12016
with no þyng mayst þou do hym so wo
As louë ofte to shryftë go;
Þan ys he a-shamed to tempte þe,
     12019
For þat þou bewreyyst hys pryuyte:
Þys seyþ Salamon þe kyng,
'Ȝyf þou shewe þy frende a þyng,
And he þat pryuyte bewreye,*. [furþer bewreye.]
Þe loue betwenë ȝow shal deye.'
     12024
Sykyr*. [Syker ynogh.] þou be, certeynly,
Þe fende þe fleþ ful hastyly:
whan þou shryuest þe for hys shame,
Þat ys shenshepe vnto hys name;
     12028
Hym shameþ þat he ys*. [ys so.] ouercome,
For þan ys moche of hys myȝt*. [ys hys myghte moche.] ouernome,
And euermore he ys þe more coward
For to tempte þe aftyrward.
     12032
Syn þat God haþ swyche grace lent
Þurgh oure shryfte to make hym shent,
Fonde we þan, and leuë noȝt,
Þat he were to shamë broȝt;
     12036
Certys we shuld haue gode wyl
To shendë hym þat wulde vs spyl. Page  376
Anouþer cumfort ys wel to mene,
     12039
þat shent þe fende, and doþe hym tene:
Ȝyf he ys aboute to temptë þe
To any synne, what so hyt be,
Ȝyf þou with-stonde þe temptacyoun,
     12043
And parceyuest what he wld haue doun,
Þan halt he hym shamly dysceyued,
Þat of hys queyntyse þou art parceyued;
Ne he shal neuer efte haue*. [haue eft.] þat powere,
Of þat synne to tempte þe nere;
     12048
For þy wyþstondyng haþ hym rafte,
Of hys temptyng, alle þe crafte.
Blessed ys shryfte with God almyȝt,
For hyt confoundeþ þe deuyl doun ryȝt;
God ȝyue vs grace, þe fende to shende, [folio 80a:2]
And vn-to shryfte oure wyl alle wende.

The fyfueþ*. [fyfþe.] grace þat shryfte ȝyueþ.

Ȝyt þyr ys a feyrë ȝyfte
     12055
Þat vs*. [vus.] purcháceþ þe grace of shryfte;
hyt makeþ vs*. [vus.] lefe, þere we were loþe,
hyt peseþ God whan he ys wroþe.
wroþë shul we neuer hym make,
But hyt were for synnë sake;
     12060
Ȝyue þou þe shryue, and mercy cry,
God forȝyueþ all þy foly.
weyl oȝt we loue*. [to loue.] hym as lorde and syre,
Þat wyl so sone forȝyue hys yre;
     12064
Þarfore seyþ seynt Bernard,
Þat noun, to shryfte, be slogh ne hard.
Haue þou mekenes with répentaunce,
And hope yn shryfte gode áffyaunce,
     12068
How þou hast myȝt merueylusly
Ouer God, and hyse þat are hym by,
And ouercomest hym gracyously,
Þat noun may wynnë with maystry; Page  377
     12072
For allë þyng, for drede hym douteþ,
And to hys domë, alle þyng louteþ.
Shryfte, þou art of grete vertu,
And purchacest to vs grete pru;
     12076
For whan þou comst byfore þe kyng,
Forgyuënes ys þyn askyng;
And þat yche kyng loueþ þe so wel,
Þat he forȝyueþ þe euery deyl.
     12080
Shryfte, þou art Goddes messangere;
Þou makyst synful, aungelys pere;
Þou purchasest vs, pes*. [pees.] and gryþ;
So seyþ to vs þe prophete Dauyd:*. [dauyþ.]
whan he was yn synnë shent,
     12085
And dampnable yn Iugëment,
A wurde he seyde to þe prophete,
"Y haue synned; y wyl of lete."
     12088
Natan þe prophete forȝaue hys synne
whan he seyd þat he wulde blynne. [folio 80b]
Þe glose here-on seyþ redyly,
'he þat shryueþ hym parfytely,
     12092
Asswyþë, for þat shryfte,
He haþ forȝyuenes, of Goddys ȝyfte.'
He þat þenkeþ for to be shryue,
And hope hyt ys to be forȝyue,
     12096
Ȝyf hyt so be þat he with-drawe
Hys mys-dede, for Goddys awe,
Þan may y, ful weyl proue
Þat þe prophete Dauyd seyde aboue:
     12100
Þus he seyd yn hys lyue,
"Y haue þoȝtë me to shryue,
And God forȝauë me, as sone,
Alle þe synnes þat y haue*. [hade.] done."
     12104
Yn*. [See French, l. 8885-86.] þe byble men fynde þese þynges,
Yn a boke þat ys of kynges.
Page  378

The syxte grace þat shryfte ȝyueþ.

The syxtë grace of shryfte to neuene,
Hyt ioyeþ alle þe court of heuene.
     12108
whan þou þe mekest to make þy shryfte,
Þe aungelys of heuene þou ȝyuest a ȝyfte;
A swetnes of ioye ys hem among,
Þat ys confermed with gospel song;
     12112
'Yn heuene, ys more ioye auenaunt,
Of a synful man repentaunt,
Þan of nynty aungelys and nyne
     12115
Þat neuer synned, ne were wurþy pyne;'
Þys ys Goddys ownë wurde,
And redde yn chyrchë at hys borde.
whan þou repentest with þy gode wyl,
And clene art shryue of alle þyn yl,
     12120
Þe aungelys make for þe a þankyng,
Þat þou fulfyllest here grete longyng;
Longyng, ful ofte þe aungelys make,
     12123
what tyme we wyl oure synnes forsake,
Þat we*. [we O, om. H.] were redy to haue þat blys
That for vs*. [vs alle.] ordeyned ys;
For þurgh þe manhede of Ihesus, [folio 80b:2]
Ys here ioye fulfylled yn vs.
     12128
Þan ys hyt on þe touþer party
whan we synnë*. [synnen.] dedly;
we lese þe ioye þat þey are ynne,
For long lyggyng yn oure synne.
     12132
Y trowe euery man þat had þys þoȝt,
wulde ful sone of synne be broȝt,
Þogh hyt were for noun oþer þyng,
But for þe aungelys grete longyng;
     12136
Shryue we vs þan, most and leste,
And make þe aungelys a feyre feste.
Shryftë ys þe ȝate of heuene,
Hyt ys a wey þat ledeþ vs euene; Page  379
     12140
And at þe*. [þat.] entre, ys none forsake
Þat ys weyl shryue, and haþ penaunce take;
And, þo þat vnshryuë be,
þere þey getë none entre.
     12144
Allas, þat oure synne ys so grefe,
Þat leseþ*. [lesseþ.] þe ioye þat we are lefe!
God graunte vs alle swych shryfte to take,
Þat we, þe aungeles, ioye mow make!
     12148

The seuenþe grace þat shryfte ȝyueþ.

The seuenþe ys, and þat weyl endyþ,
'Þat oure shryfte, þe deuyl blyndeþ.'
whan he made vs falle yn plyght,
He refte vs allë gostely syȝt;
     12152
Fro synne to synne he made vs falle,
And oure fadres byfore vs alle.
Y rede we ȝelde hym þe countre paye,
And blyndë we hym fro hys praye.
     12156
we put oute hys yȝe*. [ye.] gostly
whan we shryue vs opunly;
Certes he may nat knowe vs efte,
     12159
For oure shryfte haþ hym þe syȝt refte.
þat may weyl y-shewed*. [y-shewede O, shewed H.] be
with*. [By.] a tale of an autoryte.
[A Tale of How to put the Devil's Eye out spiritually, or How by Shrift a Man made himself invisible to the Fiend who before used to lead him about chaind.*. [I have read many analogous stories in the religious writings of the Middle-Age, but the present one I have not found.—G. Paris, Hist. Litt. xxviii. 205.]]
Þyr was onys an ermyte,*. [A tale.]
Þat was euer yn Gode parfyte; [folio 81a]
     12164
So moche he hadde of Goddys grace, Page  380
Þat he coude knowe, yn euery place,
whych men were yn dedly synne,
And who was godë lyfe with-ynne;
     12168
And also, he myȝt se weyl
Þyng þat was spyrytuele.
An halyday fyl, as ys þe acyse,
Men to go to Goddys seruyse;
     12172
Þys erymyte lened hym on a walle,
And badde hys bedys, and loked ouer-alle,
And beheld þe folke þat come yn þe gate,*. [O. gloss 'wey.']
whyche come erlye, and whyche late,
     12176
whyche come with*. [for.] gode deuocyoun,
And whyche for ouþer enchesoun:
Alle sagh þys ermyte euerydeyl,
     12179
who come wrong, and who come weyl.
As he stode, he toke gode hede,
How a deuyl, a man gan lede;
with hym he com alle weyl þe gate,
And ledde hym to þe chyrchë ȝate,
     12184
And yn to þe cherchëȝerde;
Forþer durst he nat, for ferde.
And whan he yn-to þe cherch shuld go,
Þan brast þe fendës chayn yn two;
     12188
Þe fende stode stylle, and loked a-boute,
And a-bode þys man wyþ-oute;
On hys clawys he helde þys cheyne,
     12191
And loked what tyme he come aȝeyne.
þe holy man ȝaue godë tent
whyder þat ychë man was went.
þat ychë man, þat*. [þat O, 'þat' struck thru in H.] was yn synne,
And haddë longë leye þer-ynne;
     12196
Þurgh grace óf þe holy spyryt,
he ȝede and shrouë hym astyt,
And þoȝt neuer to turne aȝeyn,
     12199
But sorowed þat hé þer-ynne had leyn.
whan þat þys man shryuë was, Page  381
And was passed þat synful pas, [folio 81a:2]
As þys man come outë þere,
Þe fende loked aboute euery-where,
     12204
And coude nat fynde hym, for no nede,
Among þe ouþer, þere þey ȝede;
Þe syȝtë of hym hadde he*. [he O, hym H.] lore,
Al þogh he ȝede next hym byfore.
     12208
Long loked þat foulë wyght,
And coude nat se hym with no syȝt;
He stode stylle tyl alle men were goun,
But syȝtë of hym hadde he noun.
     12212
Þys holy ermyte to hym ȝede:
"Treytur," he seyd, "for what nede
Stanst þou here; telle hyt me,
Yn Goddys name, y cóniure þe."
     12216
Þan answered þat glotoun,
"y abyde here my prysoun,
Þat long haþ be vndyr my*. [myn.] hande,
     12219
And haue led hym aboute with þys bande;
Langer wente he yn fro me,
He come nat oute ȝyt, þat y coude*. [may.] se;
Among many, y haue hym soȝte;
     12223
Me þenkeþ*. [þynke.] wundyr, y fynde hym noȝte."
Þys ermyte hyed fast and ran,
And ouertoke þys ychë man,
And, preyd hym a stounde to dwelle,
And of hys lyfe, sumwhat to telle:
     12228
"Y graunte," he seyd, "to þe to seye.
To þe cherche, as y wente my weye
y felte me charged yn a synne,—
And, long had y leye þere-ynne,—
     12232
y þoȝte y wulde me þer-of shryue,
And amende þe trespas yn my lyue.
At þe cherche, y shroue me weyl,
     12236
Plenerly of euery deyl; Page  382
Blessed be now God almyȝt,
Me þynkeþ y am wundyrly lyȝt."
Þan þoȝte þe Ermyte astyte,
     12239
þat whan men haue yn synne delyte, [folio 81b]
Þan haþ þe fendë enchesoun
To byndë hym as a presun;
And whan he haþ wyl, hym to shryue,
Hys bandys brest, and al to-ryue;
     12244
And, whan he ys clenë shryuyn,
Þe deuyl knoweþ hym no more syþen.
Þe holy man come þan to þe deuyl,
And bad he shulde do no man euyl,
     12248
But go to helle, þere he come fro,
Euer to dwelle yn pyne and wo.
Þarfore, y rede þat we bygynne
To shryuë vs of alle our synne.
     12252
Page  383

The eyghte*. [eyghteþe.] grace þat shryfte ȝyneþ.

Newë þy shryftë euer ylyke,
hyt makeþ Iesu cryst to þe meke.*. [myke.]
Ȝyt þyr ys a properte,
Þat euer ylyke þy shryfte shal be;
     12256
As ofte as þou yn synne doust falle,
As oftë rys vp fro hem alle,
Nat, wyþ no feyntyse,
with verry shryftë shalt þou ryse.
     12260
Baptem, fro Adams synne vs drewe,
But shryfte clenseþ vs euery day newe;
we synful mow þarfore be*. [be þarfore.] bolde;
To vs ys shryfte a blysful holde;
     12264
As ofte as þou to shryfte art went,
As ofte helpeþ þe, þe sacrament:
Here-of spekeþ Isayë
A wurde yn hys*. [hys O, om. H.] prophesye,
     12268
"whan man haþ fylled hys soule with ylle Page  384
Þurgh hys ownë wykked wylle,
y rede hym þat he oftë synge
     12271
wurschyp vn-to oure heuene kynge."
Þys song to mene, yn my resoun,
Ys trewë shryfte, and oftë doun.
Þyr ys no þyng þat man may neuene,
Þat more stereþ*. [styreþ.] God of heuene,
     12276
Of vs synful to haue mercy,
Þan doþ shryfte, þere hyt ys do trewly. Page  385
who so syngeþ to God with shryfte,
For hys song he ȝyueþ hym a ȝyfte;
     12280
Hys ȝyfte ys ioye with-outyn wo,
Þat þe fendë was kast fro.

[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.