Cursor mundi (The cursur o the world). A Northumbrian poem of the XIVth century in four versions. Ed. by the Rev. Richard Morris ...
Page  9

[Göttingen MS. theol. 107.]

[Þe tret]is þat men cals cursor mundi. [folio 1b:1]

[Me]n ȝernis iestis for to here,
And romance rede on maner ser,
Of alexander þe conquerour,
Of Iuli cesar þe emperour
[Of grece & Tr]oye þe strong strijf,
[þere many thosand lesis] hir lijf,
[O brut þ]at berne bolde of hand
[First Conqu]erour of meri ingland;
[Of] king arthour, þat was so riche,
[W]as non in his time funden suiche;
Of ferlijs þat his knigh[t]es fell,
[Of] auntris did i. here of tell,
[Of] wawain, kay, and other stabil,
[For] to were þe runde tabil.
Hou king charlis and rouland faght—
Wid sarazins ne wald þai neuer be saght;—
O tristrem, and ysoude þe suete,
Hu þai wid luffe first gan mete;
Of king ionet and ysumbras,
Of ydoyne, and of amadas;
Storijs of diuers thinges,
Of princes, prelates, and of kinges, Page  11
Sangys sere of diuers rime,
Engliss, franss, and latine,
To rede and here, ilkon is prest,
Of thinges þat þaim liked best.
þe wisman wil of wisdam here,
þe fole him drauis to foli nere,
þe wrong to here right es loth,
And pride wid buxumnes es wroght;
Of chastite has lecchour lite;
Charite again wreth wil smite;
Bot bi þe f[r]uyt may ilk man se
Of quat uertu es ilk a tre.
Of ilk a frouit þat men mai finde
He takes fra þe rote his kinde;
Of gode peretre gode peris,
Wers tre wer frouit it beris. [folio 1b:2]
þat i say of þis ilke tre
Bitakins man bath me and þe.
þis fruit bitakins all oure dedis
Bath gode and ill qua right redis;
vr dedes fra vr hert tas rote
Queþer þai turne to bale or bote,
For be þat thing men draus till
Men may þaim knaue for gode and ill,
A sample herebi til þaim i say
þat ragis in to þair riott alway,
In riott and in rekelage
Of all þair lijf spend þai þer stage;
For nu es holdyn non in cours
Bot he þat can loue paramours;—
þat foli l[u]ue þat vanyte
Him likes nou non oþer gle.
It es bot fanton for to say
To day it es, to moru away,
Wid chance of dede or change of hert
þat soft bigan endis ful smert. Page  13
For quen þu wenis traistiest to be,
þu sal fra hir or scho fra þe,
He þat wenis stiffest to stand,
War him hijs fal is neist at hand.
Ar he sua sone dune be broght,
Quiþer to wend ne wat he noght
Bituix and his luue haue him ledd
To suilk mede as he him forbedd.
For þair sal mede widuten lett
Be sett til him for duel dett.
Forþi i blise þat paramoure
þat in mi [nede me dos socure],
þat sauis me in erde fra sinne,
And heuen bliss me helpis to winne,
For þou i sumtime be untrewe
Hir luue es euerelike neue;
Hir luue scho haldes treu and lele,
Ful suete it es to manes hele, [folio 2a:1]
Suilk in erd es funden non
For scho es moþer and maiden alon,
Moþer and mayden neuer þe less,
For þi of hir toke iesu his fless.
Qua þat loues treuli þis lemman
Scho es þe loue þat bes neuer wan,
For in þis lijf scho fayles neuer
And in þe toþer lastes euer.
Of suilk an suld we mater take,
ȝe craftti*. [The top of second t is made higher than the other, and looks like l.] þat can rimes make,
Of hir to make bath ieste and sang
And loue hir suete sun emang;
Wat bot es to set trauail
On thing þat noght may auail,
þat es bot fantom of þis werld
As ȝe haue sene i-now and herd.
Mater find ȝe large and brade;
Rimes mani of hir be made. Page  15
Qua will of hir fayrnes spell
Find he may inogh to tell;
Of hir godnes of hir trouth-hedd,
Men may find euermar to rede
Of reuth of luue and of charite;
Was neuer hir make ne neuer sal be.
Lady scho is of ledes all,
Meke and mild widuten gall,
To nedefull neist on to call,
And rayses þe sinful quen þai fall,
Til all vr balis for to bete,
Iesu made þat mayden suete;
þarbi men may hir helping ken
Scho prais ay for sinful men.
Qua þat worschipis hir he mai be bald,
Scho wil him ȝeilde an hundreth fald,
[I]N hir worschip wald i biginne
A lastand werk apon to minne.
For to do men knaue hir kin [folio 2a:2]
þat us suilk worschip gan to win,
Sumkin ieste nu forto knau
þat don was in þe alde lau;
Bituix þe ald lau and þe new
Hu cristes bote bigan to brew,
I sal ȝou scheu wid min entent,
Sothli of hir testament.
All þis werld, ar þis boke bline,
Wid cristes help i sal our-rine,
And telle sum ieste principale.
For all may no man haue in tale,
Bot forþer may na werk stand
Widvten grund-wal to be lastand,
þarfor þis werke i wil found
On a selcuth stedfast grund,
þat es þe hali trinite,
þat all has made wid his bounte. Page  17
First at himself i sett mi marke,
And siþen to tell of his handwarke,—
Of þe angelis first þat fell,
And siþen i wil of adam tell,
Of his hospring and of noe,
And sumquat of his sunes thre.
Of abraham and of ysaac,
þat hali men war widuten lac;
Siþen sal i tell to ȝou
Of iacob and of ysau,
Here neist sal be siþen teld
Hu Ioseph was bath bogh[t] and seld,
Of þe iuus and of moyses
þat goddes folk to lede him ches;
Hou godd bigan þe lau him giue,
þe quilk þe iuus suld in liue.
Of saul þe king and of daui
How þat he faught again goli,
And syðde of salamon þe wise
Hou craftili he did iustifie.
Hou crist cam thoru prophesi [folio 2a:1]
His aune folk forto bi;
Siþen it sal be rede ȝou þane
Of ioachim and of saint ane;
Of mari als hir douther milde
Hou scho was born and bar hir child;
Hu he was born, quen and quare,
How scho him to þe temple bare;
Of þe kinges þat him soght
þat thre presantes til him broght;
Hou þat herodes king wid wogh*. [[MS. woght, sloght.]]
For cristes sake he childer slogh*. [[MS. woght, sloght.]];
Hou þat iesu til egipt fledd
And hu þat he was þennis ledd.
And þer suld ȝe here mani a dede
þat iesu did in his barnhede; Page  19
Siþen of baptist saint iohn,
þat iesu baptist in þe flom iordan.
Hou iesu wan he longe hade fast
Was temped wid þe wicked gast;
Siþen of ionis baptising
And hou him hefded heroud king.
Hu þai iesu crist him seluen
Ches to him apostilis tuelue,
And opinli bigain to preche,
And all þat seke war to leche,
And did miraclis sua rif,
Quarfor þe iuus him held in strijf;
Siþen hu godd all-mightin
Turnd water into win;
Of fijf thousand men þat he
Fedd wid fijf louis and fisses thre;
Of a man sal ȝe siþen find
þat godd gaf sight þat born was blind,
And of þe spousebreche, þat womman
þat þe iuus demed to stan;
How he heled a man vnfere
þat seke was eght and tuenti ȝere;
Hou mari magdalain wid grete [folio 2a:2]
Com to wasse vr lauerdes fete,
Of hir and martha þat wild noght blin
Aboute þe nedis of hir inne;
Of lazar þat ded lay vnder stan,
Hou iesu him raysed in fless and ban;
Hu iuus iesu oft vmsett,
And for his preching þai him thrett,
Hou þai sched his blissed blode,
And pined him apon þe rode.
Wid cristes will þan sal i tell
Hou he siþen harud hell,
Hu iuus wid þair grete vnskill
Wend his vprising to dill; Page  21
Hu he vp ras and hu he vp stey
Mani a man it herd and sey;
Hou he þat [is] of mightes mast
Sent intill erde þe hali gast.
Of þe tuelue apostlis sumkins ieste,
Hou þat þai ended mast and leste;
Hou vr leuedi endid and ȝalde
Hir semeli saule it sal be talde.
Of þe hali crois hou it was kidd
Lang efter þat it was hidd;
Of antecrist come þat sal be kene,
And of þe dreri dais fijftene
þat sal cum bifor domesday;
And syden of þe dome sal i say,
þan of vr leudis murnand mode
For hir sune quen he hing on rode;
þe last resune of all þis roune
Sal be of hir concepcion.
þise er þe materis i redde on rawe,
þat i thinck in þis boke to schawe,
Schortli renand on þis dede,
For mani ar þar for to spede.
Nedeful me think it were to man
To knau him self, hou he bigan,
Hou he bigan in werld to brede, [folio 3a:1]
Hou his ospring bigan to sprede,
Bath of þe first and of þe last,
In quatkin cours þis werld is past.
Efter hali kirkes state
þis ilke boke es translate,
vnto engliss tung to rede
For þe luue of englijs lede,
Englis lede of meri ingeland
For þe comen to vnþerstand.
Frenkis rimes here i rede
Comunli in ilka stede; Page  23
þat es most made for frankis men,
Quat helpis him þat non can cen.
Of ingland þe nacione
Er englijs men in comune,
þe speche þat men may mast wid spede
Mast to speke þar-wid war nede;
Seldom was for ani chance
Englis tong preched in france,
Gif we þaim ilkan þair language,
And þan do we na vtetrage.
To leuid and englis men i spell
þat understandis quat i can tell,
And till þaim speke i alþermast
þat ledis þair liues in mekil wast,
And spendis his loue in trowandis
If þai might mend þaim in sum wis;
Sum quat to þat thing to tende
þat þai þair mede may wid amende,
Ful wa til þaim hir loue to spende
þat findes þir of no fruit at end.
Sumkin word or werk as we to held,
Suilk a font*. [So in MS., but read akont] suld we ȝeilde.
þarfor drau ȝu hiþerward
þat of þis pardon wil haue part,
To here a[n]d hald sal haue pardon
And part of cristes benison.
Nou of þis prolouge wil we bline, [folio 3a:2]
In cristes name vr boke bigine,
Coursur of þe werld men au it call,
For all mast it ouer-rines all.
Take we vr biginyng þan
Of him þat all þis werld bigan.*. [Here endis the prolouge of þis boke þat es cald ouerrener of þe werld.]
Page  25

Here bigines of þe trinite and of þe making of all þe worlde

Alle men aue þat lauerd drede,
þat mirthes settis man to mede,
þat euer was and ay sal be,
Widuten ende in trinite.
He þat lauerd, bath godd and man,
Anekines thing of him bigan,
þou he bigan all oþer thing,
Himself had neuer biginyng;
Of him can all, in him Is al,
All haldis he vp fra dunefall;
He haldis heuen and erde stedfast;
Widuten him may na thing last.
þis lauerd þat es sua mekil of might
Puruaid all in his aun sight,
And þat he ordained wid his witt
He multeplijs and gouernis itt,
þar for es he cald þe trinite,
For he es an-fold god in thre;
And if þu wenis it may noght be,
Bihald þe sune, þan may þu se,
In þe sune þat schines clere
Es a thing and thre thinges sere,
A bodi round, hote, and light,
þir thre we find all at a sight;
þir thinges thre wid nankin arte
Ne may noght be fra oþer part,
For if þu take þe light away
þe erd it has na sune parfay;
And if þe hete away be tan [folio 3b:1]
Sune forsoth ne has þu nan,
On ilk a maner ilk man wate,
It es þe kind of sune be hate. Page  27
þe sunes bodi þat i neuen
Bi-takins þe fader self of heuen,
And bi þe light þat es lastand
It es þe sone þu vnderstand,
And bi þe hete þu vnderstand so,
þe hali gast comes of þaim to.
And fader es he calde forþi,
For he es welle þat neuer is drey;
And ouyr þat him seluen wroght
All thinges quen þat þai war noght.
His sun is wisdam þat all thing wate,
For all þe werld he haldis in state;
He haldis all thinges fra misfare,
þat þai noght turne to soru and care.
þe hali gast es þat goddhed,
He giues þe lijf and mas onede.
Minning es þe fadir cald,
þe sune es vnderstanden tald,
þe hali gast es þat wille,
þe fadir and sune bath fulfille.
þis lauerd þat i bi-fore of said,
First in his wit he all puruaid,
His werk vs dos a sotil wright,
And siþen he raises it in sight.
For-þi is gode as seis scripture
Non elder þan his creature,
Eldir of time ne is noght he,
Bot ellis more in dignite.
þis writh þat i speke of here,
Ouerall oþer he is prines*. [[read prinse]] widuten pere,
For oþer writhes bos oþer tymber take,
Bot þis him self can tymber make;
For of him self he toke his euen,
þat he made bath of erde and heuen.
Bot þu sal noght vnþerstand [folio 3b:2]
þat he wrog[t] al his werke wid hand, Page  29
Bot said wid word, and als sone
All his comandment was done,
Smartlier þan eie may winck,
Or ani manes hert may thinck.
And als clerkes seis þat er wise,
He wroght noght first with partis,
Bot he þat made all of noght,
All þis werld to-gider he wroght,
To be sett in lenth and brede.
þe mater first þar-of i rede,
þat es þe elementis to say,
þat first schaples all samen lay;
He delt þaim fin*. [[read siÞen]] in sex dais
In partis als þe scripture sais;
þe elementis first in dais thrin,
Thre thinges þaim es widin;
þir elementis þat all thing bindes,
Foure þar er as clerkes findes,
þe lauest þan es water and erde,
þe thrid es ayr, and fyre þe ferde.
Ayder say we þat he þus bigan,
As austin sais, þat hali man,
Als we in his bokis find.
First þan wroght he angel kind,
þe world, and tyme, þis thinges thre
Bifore all oþer thing wroght he.
þe world i calle wid min ententis
þe mater of foure elementis,
þat ȝeit*. [[read ȝett]] was þan of forme vnschapin,
Quare-of was siþen serenes schapin;
All schaples was it noght for-þi,
For it of schap had sum parti,
Bot þar-for schaples was it hou,
For it had nogh[t] as it has nou.
He wroght apon þe toþer day
þe firmament, þat es to say, Page  31
þe sky wid sterris gret and small, [folio 4a:1]
wid watir schinand als cristall,
þat es on hey, þat es vnder,
In þis he soundid al to wonder.
þe thrid day godd did thoru his grace
þe watris draue intill a place,
And bad a dri place suld be:
þe watris all he calid þe se.
þe drey he calid erd, þat lauerd king,
And bad it griss and fruit forth bring.
All thinges waxand þare
þat in þaim selff þair sedis bare.
Þe feird he bad and was done,
Bath war mad sune and mone,
Aiþer wid [his] sere light,
To part þe dai fra þe night,
In takinyng of tydis to stand,
Dais and ȝeris bath duelland;
And þe sternis grett & smale,
þat we may se widuten tale.
In þe heiest element of all,
þar in þe fire has his stall.
þe fijfte day þat faylis noght,
Of water foul and fiss he wroght,
þe fiss to water als we finde,
þe foul he bitok to þe wind.
All gangand bestis þe sexte day,
And adam als he made of clay,
He was last made als lauerþing,
To be maistir ouerall thing.
In a dale he wroght adam,
þat ebron hate in ebreu nam.
þir sex dais he wroght his will,
þe seuend of werk he held him still;
Him self vs gaf ensample þare
þat we suld hald it euermare.
Page  33

Of angelis and lucifer hou he fell. For his pride fra heuen to hell. [folio 4a:2]

Þe First werk as ȝe herd me neuen,
Godd wroght þe angelis of heuen,
And sett þaim in his hey palais,
Widuten pride to be in pais;
For þis palays was sua riche
As mighti king in his kingriche.
He ordaned him tuine creature,
To serue him in þat hali ture,
þat suld be a numbre hale,
And mani thousand to haue in tale.
þe quilk tale nagat suld be mare,
And nedeful bihoued it ware,
þis numbrari he ordained þan,
Suld be bath of angel and man.
Worschipd wid to maner of schaft
wald he be, þat king of craft,
þat es wid angel þat es gostli,
And wid man þat is bodili;
*. [[sic]]If angelis wald he serued be
þat ordris suld haue thrijs thre.
He ches till him þat lauerd hend
þat man suld be mad þe ordir tend,
Bot þe angelis he wroght formast,
Of all he gaf þaim pouste mast;
Bot þou þai were bath fair and wise,
Summe of less and sum of more prise,
An gaf he mast to knaue and fele,
If þat he couth haue born him wele,
And sett him best in his halle,
Of prince and sire of oþer all.
And for he was sua wonþer light,
Lucifer to name he hight.
Quen he perceyued þus he þis
þat he was ouerall oþer in bliss, Page  35
Allas caytif he kneu him noght,
þat god him seluen had him wroght;
Ful soruful sau he þat tide
Agaynes godd he takes a pride,
Lightli he lete of ilka fere, [folio 4b:1]
To god him seluen wald he be pere:
Noght pere alon bot mekil mare,
For vnder him he wald all were,
And he himself þair comandour.
Qua herd euer of a werr anttour,*. [[It may be for auttour, but cannot be for auctour]]
þat he þat noght had bot of him,
Again him suld becom sua grim.
He said, "sett mi sete i sall
Gaynis him þat es best of all,
In þe north side sal it be sett,
Seruise of me sal he non gett.
Qui suld i him seruise ȝeilde?
All sal be at mine aun weilde."
Bot he was marrid of his mint,
Ful sone he fand vnsterne stint,
For langer þen he thoght þat pride,
In heuen might he no langer abide,
For in þat curte þat es so sclene*. [[sic]]
May na filth duell widvten wene:
Saint mychal for þair alder right
Ras egaynes him forto fight,
Gaynes him gaf he a batayl grim,
vte of þat court he cast him.
Lucifer first doune he broght,
And siþen all þas to him held oght,
And skourd þat court of þaim so clene
þat siþen þair stede was neuer sene.
þis was þe feind þat formast fell
For his pride fra heuen to hell,
Fra þan his name schangid was,
Now es he cald foule sathanas; Page  37
Fra ful hey he fell ful lawe,
þat of his lauerd wild stand non awe,
Widuten coueryng of his care,
For merci getis he neuer mare;
For god au noght giue him mercy,
þat þar eftir wild noght cri.
And þus he tint þat grete honour [folio 4b:2] ,
þar badd he noght fulli on our,
For alsua suith as he was made,
He fel, was þar no langer bade.
þe toþer angelis þat fell him wid,
þe quilk forsok goddes grid,
Efter þe will þai to him bare,
Fell þai to hell, lesse and mare,
Sum in þe aire & sum in þe lift,
þar þai drey ful hard drift.
þair þine þai bere apon þaim ay,
And sua þai sal to domesday.
Bot þos þat left*. [[MS.lest]] widuten wite,
þai were confermed þare als tite,
þai may neuermar hald to ill,
Na mare þan wic may to gode will.
þe numbre þat vte of heuen fell
No tunge in erd noght can tell,
Ne fra þat throne of þat bliss,
Hou fer in to hell pitt es,
Bot bede sais fra erd to heuen
Is. vij. thousand ȝere and hundredis. vij.;
Bi iornayis qua þat gang it may,
Fourti mile euerilk a day.

Of bodili substance if þu wil witt, Manis saule þat es it.

Als i told or þat king of craft
wald mensked be wid tuin schaft,
Bath wid angel and wid man,
Adam þer fore wroght was þan. Page  39
þe teind ordir to fulfill,
þat lucifer did to spill.
Of erd alsua ne was he noght,
Bot of foure elementis wroght.
Of water his bodi, is fless of laire,
His here of fir, his ond of aire,
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
His hede wid-ine bath eien tuin,
þe skey bath sune and mone wid-in,
Right als men eien er sett to sight, [folio 5a:1]
To*. [[read So]] seruis sune and mone of light.
Seuen mayster sternis er sett in heuen,
And manys hede has thirlis seuen,
þe quilk if þu wil þe vmthinck
þu may þaim find wid littel suink.
þis wind þat men draus oft
Bitakins wind þat blauis on loft,
Of quilk es thoner and leue[n]ing ledd
Als onde wid host in brest is bred.
Into þe see all watir sinkis,
And manes wambe all licur drinkis,
His fete him beris vp fra fal,
Alsua þe erde vphaldis all.
þe ouyr fir ges manes sight,
þe ouyr air of hering might,
þis vnderþ wind him giues his ond,
þe erd tast to fele and fond,
þe hardnes þat men has in bonis.
It is mad of þe kind of stonis,
On erd it grouis tres and gris,
And nayle and her [of] manes fless.
wid bestes dumb man hath his fele
Of thing men likis, euil or wele.
Of þir thinges i haue here said
was adam cors togider graid. Page  41
For þis resune þat ȝe haue herd,
Es man callid þe lesse werlde.

[Of Man's Soul.]

Bot resun ȝeit herd ȝe noght
Querof of manes saule es wroght,
Of gastli light men sais it es,
þat godd has made till his licknes,
Als a preinte of sele in wax thrist,
þar-ine he has his licknes fest;
He has it wroght as freind and fere,
For-þi es na thing sua dere.
His goddhed es in trinite.
And þe saule has propre thinges thre
Menyng and þat of thinges thre, [folio 2a:2]
þat is and was and ay sal be.
It has also vnderstanding clene.
Of thing it seis and of vnsene,
It has also wisdam in wille
þe gode to take and leue þe ille,
All þe mightes þat may be
wonis in þat hali trinite.
Alle uirtus has a saule i-wis,
þat vte of sinne clensed es,
And als god þat es in on and thre,
wid nankines creature may be
vnder-fanding non ouyr tane,
And he ouertakis þaim ilk ane.
Alsua þe saule widuten wene,
To alkines thing it es vnsene,
þou it of all thing haue sight,
To se na saule haue þai na might.
Nou haue i scheud ȝu til hiþer,
Hou tua thinges haldis man togiþer,
þe saule of gastli thing to tell,
þe bodi his fless and fell.
Page  43

[Of the name Adam, and of Paradise.]

Adam was made of manes elde,
Als he might him seluen welde,
As austin sais þat lies noght,
And widuten paradis was wroght.
Here nou þe resun of his name,
Qui þat he was cald adam;
In þis name er four lettris laid,
þat of þe foure ȝatis er said,
Sua mekil es adam forto muth
Als est, west, north, and south.
And þu may aske widuten blame
Qui godd him gaf sua grett a name?
Parfai þat es bot etht to rede,
It takins adam and his sede,
Oueral þe world suld þai sprede,
And þarof bere þe lauerdhede.
Als vr lauerd has heuen in hand [folio 5b:1]
Sua suld man be lauerd of land,
þar for he gaf him to bigine,
A lufsum land to duell in;
A land of liif, of ioy and bliss,
þe quilk men calis paradis.
Into þat land widuten bade,
was adam brouth quen he was made,
He gaf it him as in eritage,
To ȝeild þar for na knaulage;
Bot for to hald it wel unbrokin,
þe forbode þat was bituix þaim spokin.
Bot for-þi þat he held it noght,
He did vs all in bale be broght,
In bale he broght vs and in care,
Als i sal tell ȝou forder mare.
Page  45

Of þe state þe world was inne, Bifor þe time of adam sinne.

Qven adam was made alsone,
In paradis þan was he done,
þe bestis all bath he and scho,
Bi-for adam was broght se to;—
Fiss in watir and foul to flight,
All was broght in adamis sight.
All were broght to serue adam.
And for þat he suld gif þaim name,
þan gaf þat king his craft to kepe,
Sleyli gert he adam to slepe,
vte of his side, als sais þe bock,
widuten sor a ribb he toke,
And of þat ribb he made womman,
Till adam þat was first his an,
Quen scho was broght bifor adam,
virago gaf he hir to name,
þarfor hight scho virago,
For of þe man mad was scho.
Naked war þai bath tway,
þai were noght schamed par ma fay.
God þaim blisced and bad þaim brede, [folio 5b:2]
And multipli wid þair in sede,
"Adam," he said, "hou thinkes þe,
In þis stede is fair to be?
þis is a stede of welthful wone,
Of ioye ne blis ne wantis nane,
Here lastis lif widuten ende,
Here is a thing non for to mend,
Here es blisse þat lastes ay,
Neuer night bot euer day;
Es nan forsoth wid hert may thinck,
Ne na writer þat may write wid inck.
þe mekil ioy þat þaim es lent,
þat dos wele here mi comandment. Page  47
Of treis of fruit here es gode wone,
All sal þai be þine bot one,
Of þaim all þi will to do,
Bot ȝon a tre com ȝe noght to
þat standis emiddes paradis,
For if ȝe do ȝe er noght wise.
þis tre haf i done in frith,
For i wil haue it to mi grith;
If ȝe it touche i wil ȝou say,
Of dubil ded þan sul ȝe day.
Be war for-þi ȝe take entent,
þat ȝe breke noght mi comandement."
And here-bi may ȝe all wele se,
Hou he þaim gaf þair will all fre,
þe gode to do & leue þe ille,
Bath he sett in þair fre will,
witt and wisdam he þaim gaf,
Might and fairhed forto haue;
Of all erd made adam king,
To last wid-uten ending.
Amang his meyne diuers sele,
I sal tell sumquat of his wele,
Ar he brak þat iesu forbedd.
In mekil bliss þan was [he] stedd,
Of his wif*. [[MS. wis]] sua fair and fre, [folio 6a:1]
þat mekil mirth was on to se;
þe bestis cam him all aboute
Als to þair lauerd þai er vnderloute,
Foul in flight, fiss on sand,
All boued him dune to fote and hand;
At his will þai ȝede and cam,
Als he war maker of þaim.
þe bestis war so meke tale
widuten hurt þai ȝode euer hale,
Tuix þe woluis lay þe schepe,
Saufli mith þai samen slepe, Page  49
þe hund ne harmed noght þe hare,
Ne na best soght on oþer sare,
Bi þe dere þat nou es wild.
Als lamb him lay þe leon milde,
þe gripe alsua biside þe bere;
Na best wald do oþer dere,
þe scorpion forbar his tunge,
Fra bestis þat he lay emonge,
Alkines thing in diuers wise
Ȝeilded to Adam þair seruise:
Ne þe nedder was noght bitter,
For he was euer wis and witter,
For as men rede in boke & ieste,
He was mast wis of ani best.
þe sune was þat time, as i say,
Seuen sitht bright þan to-day;
þe mone was þat time alsua bright,
Als is þe sune nu on day light.
Hald na man þis for foli,
þe prophete it sais ysai:
All þe tinges þat w[e] here se,
Hey or lau, on land or se,
þai war of gretter strenth and pidh
Bifor þat adam brac þe grith.

[Of Satan's scheme to tempt and ruin Adam.]

Bot adam sone was sent a sond,
þat soght him felli forto fonde.
Quen sathan sau þat he was chosin [folio 6a:2]
To win þat bliss þat he ha lorin,
Sori he cam, þat fals file,
And thoght hou he mith man bigile.
He thoght þat thing forto stint,
þat godd to gret goddnes had mint.
Agaynes godd he wex sua grill,
þat all his werk he wend to spill, Page  51
And troud wele wid his grete enui,
Of god himself to win þe maystri.
Man es nu sett bituix tua,
On aiþer side he has a fa,
Betuix sathan and his wiif
Adam es stad in mekil strijf.
Bath þai war on adam,
For to bring him in[to] blam,
Bath es nu on a parti
To confunde man wid trechuri;
þat wili feind him held on heij,
Him gayned noght cum adam ney,
Namli in his aun schapp
To spede he hopid haue na hap.
For-þi a messager he sent,
wid whom best to spede he went.
To þis he ches a littel best
þe quilk es noght vnwiliest,
þe nedder þat es of suilk a schaft,
Mast of quantise es in craft,
Quaintli taght he him þe ginne.
Hu he suld at þe wijf bigine,
And thoru þe wijf to win þe man,
þis nedder forth þat he ne blan.
In his slohu was seluen sathan,
Wonþer was hu he diþer*. [[read Þider]] wan,
Bot wid his suffrance he It lete,
þat best wist hu þe bale to bete;
For-þi he made þaim þat þai moght
Sin or leue, if þaim gode thoght,
þat thoru skil of hir aune dede, [folio 6b:1]
Suld be markyd þaim her mede,
To bou and liue widuten end,
Or ellis of dede in langur to lend.
Page  53

Hou adam brac þe comandment, Quarfor mani a man was schent.

Adam ȝede wanderand in þat welth,
þat halden was þaim in mekil selth.
Quen adam was fra eue a trawe,
þe nedder nere hand hir gan drau,
And said, "womman, tell me nou qui
þat ȝe ete noght all comunli
In paradis of ilk a tre?"
"Certis, sir, so nou do we,
Of all treis bot*. [[MS. both]] of ane,
þe midward tre es vs vte-tane;
vr lauerd in forbod had it laid."
"And quat þu qui?" "nay," scho said.
"Bot," scho said, "if we cum þar ney
Of dede for soth, þan suld we dey;
þis a tre suld him seluen haue
And all oþer til vs be laue."
"And trous þu þat it be sua
As he ȝu said?" "certis, ȝa."
"Nay," said he, wid gret tresun,
"Bot þar es vnder suilk resun,
It es for he w[a]ld noght ȝe were
Paringale to him na pere.
þe soth fra ȝu sal i noght hide,
He wat wele þat quat time or tide
þat ȝe had eten of þat tre,
Als goddes suld ȝur seluen be,
To knau bath þe gode and ille.
Ȝe suld be lauerdes at ȝur aun wille,
Of it ȝe ete so rede i nu ȝu,
And ȝe sal find it for ȝur prou."
þis heting was þat time ful mekil,
Bot ȝeit it was bath fals and fikil; Page  55
Sone quen scho þis fruit biheld, [folio 6a:2]
Scho ȝerned it to haue in weild,
Ne left scho noght for drede ne blame,
Bot tok and ete and gaf adam.
Quat bote es lange mi tale to drau,
Bot sum of þe hoting was gain sau.
All for noght þai ete it bath,
Quar thoru all þair king wer wrath,
For of þat ilke aplis bitt,
Hir sunes teth er eggid ȝeitt,
And sua sal be to domis day,
Here egain may na man say.
Quen ayder biheld oþer naked,
For scham þay stode bath and quakid,
For þan þai sau þaim seluen bare,
In welth and bliss was clad are,
þai clad þaim, i tell it þe,
wid leuis of a fike tre.
Quen*. [[MS. quem]] þe feind þus had him nomen,
wele he wend haue god ouercomen,
And said wid in his sori thoght,
"I haue him done to suink for noght,
His heuen sal he haue bi his on,
Of adam part ne getes he non
To bring into þat eritage,
þat i haue tint for mine vtrage."
He leyed, þat fals file forqui,
ȝeit of adam had godd merci,
þat adam wer tint godd wild it noght,
For he wid wicked red was soght;
þe feind was wele mare to blame
þat sua falsli bigiled adam.
God wist þe feind had adam blent,
ȝeit wild he noght þat he war schent,
Bot þou he siþen of adam roght,
He wald first it ful dere war boght.
Page  57

Of þe state þe world was inne Efter the time of adam sinne.

[folio 7a:1] Als fast as þai had don þat sinne,
Bigan all vr baret to biginne,
Alkins blis fra þaim was went,
Fra þai had brokin þe comandement.
Sone he bigan vengans to kith,
All lourid þan þat ar was blith,
All bigan stour and strijf,
Againes adam and his wijf;
Bituix þaim seluen to strijf alsua,
þe stranger þe wayker for to sla,
Ilkan to make of oþer prai,—
Als we may se nou ilk a dai.
Fra þaim first com dede to man,
Fra þat time al vr wa bigan;
þe wrangwis wight wid il wrake,
þair biginning gan þai at him take,
Sine and sake, schame and strijf,
þat nou ouer all þis world es rijf;
Merci, lauerd, strang wicked-hede
Made adam to do suilk a dede.
Him-self had tint and all his kin,
Bot vr lauerd had ransumed him,
On suilk a wise as he had thoght
Bifor ar he þis world [had] wroght;
Bot þat was noght done all for nede,
Bot thoru his aun doughti dede,
For if he wald he might man
Wele better make þan he was þan.
wid fless forþi he cam in place,
And fulfild þis world al wid his grace,
His grace it was and na thing oþer,
þat he wald bicum vr aller brother:
wid þe feind þarfor he faght,
And wid his fadir made vr saght. Page  59
Leue we nu of þis ilk spell
Of vre stori nu for to tell.
Qven adam sau he had misdone,
He went to hide him al sone,
He went to hide him emang þa treis, [folio 7a:2]
Fra his sight þat all thing seis;
All for noght him hid adam,
vr lauerd cald him bi his nam.
"Lauerd," he said, "quen i þe herde,
For i sau wele þat i misferde,
I and mi wijf went vs to hide,
For vs thoght schame him to abide;
For vr bodijs er all bare."
"Certis, adam, þis said i are,
þu wat it i teld þe formest,
Quat it was to breke mi hest,
Bot nou it es þis appil etin,
And so mi forbot es for-getin.
For-þi þat þu has don þe miss,
þi seluen es þe wite þi wa, i wiss."
"Lauerd," he said, "of þis gilt here,
Es scho to wite þat es mi fere,
þat þu me gaf mi wijf to be,
For stiffli first scho bad it me;
For scho it me bedd widuten bline,
Scho has me filid wid hir sine.
All þis may scho noght gain say,
Scho au to bere þe gilt away."
Iesu til hir spac and said o-nan,
"Qui did þu dus, þu ille womman?"
"Þe worm," scho said, "me draf þar till,
þat i haue wroght a gain þi will."
Til þat worm vr lauerd þan spack,
wordis bath of wreth and wrack,
"þu worm, þu sal be maledight
Mare þan ani oþer wight, Page  61
For þu sal slide apon þi brest
Mare þan ani oþer best;
For þis day forth sal foredin be
For soth bituix womman and þe,
erd sal be þi mete for nede;
Bituix þine and womman sede;
þu sal waite womman to stang, [folio 7b:1]
And scho sal ȝeit þin hefde thrang;
þou þu wild euer haue hat stede,
In cald sal euer be þi bede.
And þu womman þat standes here,
In soru sal þu þi childer bere,
þu sal be slain wid dubbil dede;
Hard it es þe forto rede.
þu sal be vnder mannes ȝeilde,
Til him þi buxumnes to ȝelde.
To schau þi schath be noght vnkid
þu sal haue euer þin hefd hid.
þat þu doqueþer has nu mistane,
It sal be bet wid a womman,
Of sinles man þan made i þe,
In womman sal it ȝeit mi woni[n]g be;
Bot þat bes noght ȝeit kid so ȝare
For i mast couer mi tinsel are.
And þu man þat has vndertakin
þi wiues rede, and mine forsakin,
Nathing sal þu þar wid wine,
þe werld es werid wid þi sine;
In erde þu sal wid suete and suink,
Wine þat þu sal ete and drinck,
All þe dais of þi elde;
Brimbyl and thorn it sal þe ȝelde,
þarof sal þu ete gresses sere,
And þu sal bi þi bred ful dere,
Tuix and þu again be gan,
To þat erd þat þu was of tan, Page  63
For þu ne art bot a pouder plain,
To pouder sal þu turn again."
He turned þan his wijfes nam,
And eue fra þan hir cald Adam,
Eue scho hight fra þat day,
þat moþer of mani it es to say.
God made þaim þan cirtlis of hide,
þar wid þair fless þan for to hide.
"Lo," he said of adam, "hou [folio 7a:2]
Lik es he mad tilward vs nu!
Bath þe gode and ille knauand.
For-þi er þai bath strikand,
To ȝon tre þat lijf es ine
And siþen ȝe leue widuten bline."
He put him vte widuten bade,
Into þe world þar he was made.
"Ful dere adam it sal be boght
Till it be bett þat þu has wroght.
Ta þi wijf nu in þi hand,
For ȝe sal leue þis lufsum land,
In till þe wreched world to gang;
þar þu sal thinck þi lijf ful lang,
Lang pining þare to drei,
And siþen dobil dede to dei.
ȝe sal be flemed fra mi face,
Bituix and i ȝou send mi grace,
þe oile of merci bos ȝou abide,
I hete to send it ȝou sum tide."
"Allas," said adam, "ful wa es me!
Lauerd, þat i ne had troud in þe,
Lauerd, þat euer i made þe wrath,
For-þi mi lijf es me ful lath.
I wot bot i of þe haue na freind,
Tel me ar i fra þe weind,
Hugat and wid quat thing
Mai couer nu þi sahuting." Page  65
"Adam," he said, "wele seis þu nu,
Harkin i will tell þe hu,
Emang þin oþer werkes hend
Of þi wining gif me þe tend,
Of all kines fruit hald þu þe neien,
For i wil þe tend þan be mein."
"Lauerd," he said, "þu gifes all,
Qui suld þi part be sua small?
þe half part gladli or þe thridd
we wil þe giue, if þu it bidd."*. [[No gap in the MS. Laud MS. 416 also wants these lines.]]
Adam was put vte nerehand nakid, [folio 7b:2]
In to þe land þar he was makid,
þar in he led a lang lijf,
And gat hijs childer bi his wijf.
vte es he putt, wreched adam,
Of paradis þat riche hame.
A firen wall þar es abute,
May nan cum wid-in þat es þar vte;
Ane angel has þe ȝate to gete,
wid suord in hand of mekil hete.
Page  67

[Description of Paradise.]

"Tell me man wid þi lare,
Quat land es paradis, & quare,
Siþen i here þe þareof spell."
Gladli, sir, i sal þe nu tell;
Paradis es a priue place,
Ful of mirth and of solace,
þe loueliest of all landis;
In erd toward þe est it standis,
Land of lijf, of ro, and rest,
wid bliss and bote broidin best.
þar euer es day widuten night,
And vmlaid wid leme of light,
Of sellines it es wele sene,
þe griss is euer elike grene;
wid all blisses þat þar es ellis,
Floures þat er of suete smellis,
Treis of fruit þan es þar sett,
þat diuers vertu has to ett,
þat if man ete in tyme of ane,
Hunger sal he neuer haue nane.
And if he ete of a noþer tre,
Ne sal he neuer thristi be;
þe thrid qua it etes of þat þere riss,
Sal he neuer haue werines.
Of ane qua-so it etes at þe last,
He sal in elde be euer stedfast,
Sekenes sal he neuer non drey,
Ne neuer sal his bodi dey.
It es an orichard cald of delijss, [folio 7b:2]
wid all suetenes of diuers spicijss,
Qua duellis þar thar him noght lang,
þar soun es soft and suete sang,
Soun of foulis þat þar singes.
In middes þat land a welle springes, Page  69
þat rennes vte wid four strandes,
Stremes farand in ferr landis.
þir stremis four þat þar bigines,
Thoru all oþer contres rennes,
þe first es tyger and ganges,
Siþen nilus, and eufrates;
þai bring stanis fra paradis,
Sua precius naquar funden es.
þis paradis es sett sua hei,
þat might neuer flod cum þar ney,
For-þi was it fre of noe flode,
þat all þis werld ouer it ȝode.

Hou caym þe cursed with wid wohw His aune broþer abel he slohw.

Nou es Adam in erd stadd,
wid griss and leues is he cladd,
He suanc, and eue his wijf,
Apon þe erd to win þair lijf;
wid mekil suinc was þat þai wan,
For þai were first þat sau bigan.
þe first child þat euer scho bare,
was caym þe cursed ful of care;
And efter him i wil ȝu tell,
A hali child þat hight abell.
þis abell was a blisced blode,
And caym was þe feindes fode,
was neuer wers of moder born,
For-þi was he witt þat for lorn.
þis abel was a herde of fe,
Blissed and hali man was he,
Rightwis he was, a[n]d goddes freind,
And treuli gaf he him his tend;
And for his offrand was rightwis, [folio 8b:1]
Godd toke to queme his sacrefis. Page  71
For caym gaf him wid euil will,
vr lauerd loked noght þar vntill,
Of þe tilth þat he wid delte.
þis caym þat i forwid melte
vnto his broþer ire he bare,
Allas þat boght þe sackles þar.
Again abel he raised a strijf,
wid murther he broght his broþer o lijf,
wid þ[e] cheke bon of ane asse
Men say þat abel slain wasse.
And quen he had his broþer slain,
He wild haue hid his cors onan,
Bot proued was sone his sori pride,
þe bodi mith he na gat hide;
For vnþer erde might it noght rest,
þe clay all vp þe bodi kest.
His brother ded sua wend he dill,
Bot mith he noquar þat bodi hill;
For-þi men sais into þis tyde,
Is no man þat murthir may hide.
Qven he had don þat dreri dede,
Til his faþer hame he ȝede,
Quen his faþer eie vpon him kast,
A syhing of his hert vte brast,
For mistrouing had he þan sone
þat he sum wickednes had done;
For bi his chere he sau him wrath,
So loked he euer brime and latth.
"Sun," he said, "to me þu tell
Quar has þu left þi broþer abel?"
He ansuerd wid wordes vn-milde,
"Quen was i keper of þi childe?
Of him can i saii þe certain nan,
Bot he to brine his tyde be-gan."
vp-on þe feilde his fader went,
And soght abel wid all his entent. Page  73
þe faþer and þe moder bath, [folio 8b:2]
To blame þe broþer was þaim lath
Bituix and þai þe soth had sene
Thing þai wist noght both in wene;
þaim thoght þat kind him wold forbede,
To haue done suilk a curced dede.
His dede i wis had euer ben hid,
warn iesu him-self had it kid,
Sua to schape might he noght,
Fra mithful god þat all has wroght.
He þat flemed first adam,
For an appil bit þat he nam,
Ne trou i noght he wald him feine,
þat he ne wald caim dede a-teine;
And he wil þat he by þe vtrage,
þat murtherrt sua his aun ymage,
He wend to haue schapid þar-wid-all,
þat nan him suld clepe ne call.

[God speaks to Cain, and curses him.]

Bot þan com vr aun creature
To speke wid þat fals traiture,
Of þat murth and þat tresun,
He did þat traitur till resun.
"Caym, quer es þi broþer abel?"
"I wot," he said, "i can noght tell,
Aske his fader quore he be,
For he was noght bitan to me."
"Bot tell me suith þat þu ne lain,
Qui has þu þi broþer nu slain?
His blod on erde sched it lijs,
And efter wrake to me it crijs.
It fines noght wrake to crij,
For to scheu þi ill felonni,
Thoru þi wrake sua ful of plight,
Erd þu sal be nu maledight, Page  75
þat sua rescyued þi broder blod,
Wid pine it sal þe ȝeild þi fode;
For þi mekil felonie,
þi whete sal bicum ȝiȝannije.
Instede of þin oþer sede, [folio 9a:1]
Ne sal þe grou bot thorn and wede;
For þi ill wreched-hede,
þu sal lede euer þi liif in nede;
þi dredeful dede has liknes nan,
Of all dedis it is vte-tan;
Certainli i tell þe here,
þu sal it bi ful selli dere,
For þou i wild forgiue it þe,
It es noght worthi forgiuen be.
To quat contre so þu wend,
Sal þu na man find to freind;
Bituix quat lede sua þu lend,
Euer sal þu and þin be kende.
Wid all þu sal biholden vile,
Quar þu wendis in exile.
Mi handwerk þus egges me,
þat i sal take vengans on þe,
For hou suld ani erdli fless
Duelle wid þe in sikirness,
Quen felauschip and broþerhede
Ne miht þe drau fra foulhede?"
Caym sau his sinne was knaued,
And þat þe erde had it schauede,
And sau þat gain-saying was nan,
vr lauerd he ansuerd sone on-ane.
"Lauerd," he said, "nou se i wele,
Mi sinne hath sett me in vnsele,
I am ouer-tan wid suilk tresum,
I am noght worthi to haue pardon.
I sal be flemed for mi sinne,
In vnknaun land to duell ine, Page  77
In vncuth lede sal end mi wa,
Quen þai me find þai wil me sla.
So ferr i wat i sal be fledd,
God gaf nou þat i war dede."
"Nai," said vr lauerd, "bes it noght so,
All þat þe se sal þe noght slo,
Bot i sal sett on þe mi merke, [folio 9a:2]
All sal it se to rede als clerk;
Sal nan be so bald þe to sla,
Bot þi falshed sal were þaim fra.
In takening of þi penance,
Ye sal be lent a lang mischance.
Qven adam abel bodi fand,
For soru on fote miht he noht stand.
To birijing þai his bodi bare,
Adam and eue widuten mare;
þis es þat man men sais was born,
Bath his faþer and moþer biforn,
He had his eldemoderis maidenhed,
And at his birijng all maner lede.
An hundrid winter fra his lijf
Adam þan forbar his wijf,
For soru of abel þat was slain,
Till confort was sent him again.
þe bodword him cam fra heuen,
þat bad him thoru an angel steuen,
þat he suld wid his wijf mete,
For vr lauerd had ordained ȝeit
A child to rise in his ospringe,
þat all suld vte of baret bringe.
He þat suld saue all folk fra sine,
Suld noght be born of caym kin.
Qvid þis was born a hali child,
Seth, þat was bath meke and milde,
Of quam þat crist him self cam,
Ful fer to tell fra first adam. Page  79
þis child was goddes priue frend,
Treuli ȝeild he him his teind,
He ȝeild him all þat him bihoued,
His broþer as him-self he loued,
Eue for abel thoght ful fair,
þat godd had sent þaim suilk an air,
For abel was þaim wa enogh,
þat caym his aun broder slogh.
Of adam als tellis þe stori, [folio 9b:1]
þat he sonis had thritti,
And of doghtris alsua felle,
widuten caim and abell.
þe sister was giuen þan til þe broder,
þe lau þat time mith be nan oþer;
Sua wild god and bihouid nede,
To do þair kind forto sprede.
Unseli caym þat was forsakid,
wid godd and man was he hatid,
And he alsua wid his ofspring
Luued vr lauerd non kines thing.
For þai him greued wid þair dedis,
He þaim forsoke in all þair nedis,
To do þe ille wele þai soght,
Aue of him ne stod þaim noght,
þat boght þaim siþen wijf and barn.
wid watir war þai all forfarn,
Als ȝe sal here as it bifell,
Of noe flode quen i sal tell,
For alle were ill & neuer an gode,
þai drenkled all in noe flode.

Of adam ending telle wil i, And als of þe oile of merci.

Adam had passid nien hundred ȝer;
Na wonþer þou he wex vnfer, Page  81
All for wroght wid his spade,
Of his lijf he wex all made.
Apon his spade his breist he laid,
To seth his sune þis word he said,
"Sun," he said, "þe bus ga
To paradis þat i cam fra,
To cherubin þe ȝateward."
"ȝa, sir, wist i queþirward,
þere þat vncuth contre ware,
ȝe wat wele þat i was neuer þare."
"ȝeis," he said, "i sal þe tell and say,
Hugat þu sal ta þi right way,
Tilward þe est end of þe dalle, [folio 9b:1]
A grene gate find þu sale,
In þat way sal yu find forsoth
þi moþer and myn oþer broþer sloth.
Foluand thoru þat griss greene,
þat euer has ben syden sene,
þar we cam wendand as vnwise,
Quen we war put fra paradise
Vnto þis worldes wreched slade,
þar i mi-self first was made;
Thoru þe mekilnes of vr sin
Might na griss grou þar in;
þat falu slow sal be þi gate,
Fra þaim to paradis þe ȝate."
"Fadir," he said, "sai me þi will,
Quat sal i say þat angel vntill?"
"þu sal him say i am vnfere,
For i haue liuede so mani a ȝere,
Ay in strijf and soru stadd,
þat wid mi lijf i wax all mad,
þu prai him þat word me send,
Quen i sal fra þis world wend.
Anoþer erand sal þar be,
þat he wild send me word bi þe, Page  83
For i sal haue it vte in hey,
þat me was hight þe oile of merci,
þat time þat i left paradijs,
And left it thoru mi folis.
Egain goddes will þat i had wroght;
Sum dele nu i haue it boght:
Mi soru has ay ben syden neu,
Nou war it time on me to reu."
Seth went forth widuten nay,
To paradis þat ilke day,
þe sloth he fand þat gan him wise,
Till þat he cam at paradise.
Quen he þarof had a sight,
He was al dredand of þat light;
Suilk a light as he sau þare, [folio 10a:1]
A brinand fir he wend it ware,
He blissed him as his fader badd,
And went forth & was noght radd.
þis angel at þe ȝate he fand,
And asked him of his erand.
Seth þan sett him spell onende,
And teld him quarfor þat he was send,
Teld him of hijs faderis care,
Als he him taght, and ȝe herd are,
To send him word quen he sal dei,
Langer to liue may he noght drei;
And quen þat godd him had tight,
þe oyle of merci þat he him hight.
Quen cherubin his erand herde,
Mekeli he þan him ansuerde,
"Ga to ȝe ȝate," he said, "and loute
þi hefd widin, þi bodi wid vte,
And tent to thinges wid al þi mith,
þat sal be scheud vnto þi sight."
Quen seth a quile had lokid in,
He sau sua mekil welth and win Page  85
It es in erd, na tung may tell,
þat flour, þat frott, þat suete smell,
Of ioy and bliss sua mani a thing.
In middes þe land he sau a spring
Of a welle þat es vtnemis,
þar fra renis four grete stremis,
Fison, Gison, tigir, and eufrate,
þir four mas all þis world wate.
Ouer þat welle þan loked he,
And sau þar stand a mekil tre,
Wid branchis fele of barc al bare,
Was þar na lijf in less ne mare.
Seth bigan to thinc for qui
þat þis tre bicom sua dreri,
And on þe steppes thoght he þan,
þat duined war for þe sin of man;
þat ilk skil did him to mine [folio 10a:2]
þis tre was drei for Adam sine.
He com þan to þat angel schene,
And told him all þat he had sene;
Quen he his sith all had him tald,
He bad eft ga to bi all it hald;
He loked in eft and stod þar vte,
And sau thinges þat gert him dute.
þis tre þat i of bifore said,
Anedder it had al vmbilaid.
Cherubin, þat angel bliht,
Bad him ga loke þe thrid siht;
Him thout þan at þe thrid sith,
þis tre was of a mekil hiht,
vnto þe sky it raght þe topp,
A new-born child lay in þe cropp,
Bunden wid a suadiling band;
þar him thout it lay squeland.
He was all rad quen he þat sey,
And to þe rote he kast his ey, Page  87
Him thout it raught fra erd to hell,
þar vnþer he sau his broþer abel,
In his saule he sau him þare
þat caim sloght, þat ful of care.
He went again þan forto schau
To cherubin all þat he sau,
Cherubin wid chere sua mild,
Bigan to tell him of þat child;
"þat child," he said, "þat þu has sene,
Es goddes sun widuten wene,
þi fader sinne nou wepis he,
þat he sal clens sum time sal be,
Quen þe plente sal cum of time.
þis es þe oyle þat was hight hime,
Til him and til his progeni,
wid pite sal scheu his merci."
Quen seth had vnþerstanden wele,
þat þat cherubin said, euer-ilk a dele,
Hisleue wild take of cherubyn,— [folio 10b:1]
Pe[p]ins þan he gaf him thrin,
þe quilk of þe appil tre he nam,
þat his fader ete of, adam.
"þi fader," he said, "þan sal þu say,
þat he sal die þe thrid day,
Efter þat þu be comen him vnto,
Loke nou þat þu say him so.
Bot þu sal take pepins thre
þat i take of þat appil tre,
And do þaim vnder his tonge rote,
To mani man þai sal be bote;
þai sal be cedi[r], cipris and pine,
Till mani a man be medicine.
þe fadir in cedir sal þu take,
A tre of hit, widuten make;
Of cipris be þat suete sauur,
Bitakins of vr suete sauiur. Page  89
þe mekil suetteness þat es þe son;
þe pine to a fruit es won,
Mani kirnelis of a tre most
Gain giftes of þe hali gost."
Seth was of his erand fain,
And sone cam to his fader again.
"Sun," he said, "has þu sped aght,
Or has þu ani merci broght?"
"Sir, cherubin þat hali angel,
þat porter es, he gretes þe wel,
Sais it sal be nere þe worldes end,
Ar þat oyle þe may be sende,
Thoru birth of a blisful child,
þat sal þe world fra harm schild.
Of þi dede he bad me say,
þat sal be to day thrid day."
Adam was for þis tiþand blithe,
so glad he was neuer his sihte.
Quen he herd he suld liue na mare,
þan he logh, bot neuer are.
And þus to godd gan he to cri, [folio 10b:2]
"Lauerd, enogh liued haue nou i,
þu take mi saule vte of mi fless,
And þo it quar þi willes ess."
For of þis world he was ful madd,
þar neuer a day þar in was gladd,
þat liued niene hundred ȝere & mare,
And all his lijf led in soru and care;
And leuer siþen to won in hell,
þen langer in þis world to duell.
Adam, as him was tald biforn,
Deyed apon þe thrid morn,
Grauen he was thoru seth his sun,
Right in þe vale of ebrun;
þe pepinis war don vnder his tong,
þar ros of þaim þre wandis ȝong, Page  91
And sone an elne hight þai were,
þai stod þan still and wex no mare.
Mani a ȝere elike al grene,
Halines on þaim was sene,
Still þai stod ay, þa wandes thre,
Fra adam time vnto noee;
Fra noee quen þe flode ras,
Till habraham þat hali was,
Fra abraham time still stod þai
Till moyses þat gaue þe lay;
Euer stod þai still in ane,
widuten waxing or wane.
Na mare of þa wandis nou
Bot a stori sal i rede ȝou.

Of adam and oþer eldris.

Adam liuid nine hundrid ȝere,
And thritti winter þarto sere,
Quen he was dede ful sone onane,
His saule it was til hell tane;
And all þat died bituix and þan
þat iesu ras, bath godd and man,
Mith þaim help na halihede, [folio 11a:1]
at þai to hell þan most nede.
He might wele thinc þat stunnd strang
þat in þat stede was stad so lang,
Four thousand ȝere in þat wo,
Thre hundrid ȝere and four also,—
So lang fra adam was i tell
Til þat vr lauerd horud hell.
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]

Þe genialogi of adam þe ald, Of seth and caym nu sal be tald.

SEth spoused his sister delbora,
For godd him-self had boden sua; Page  93
He gat of hir a sun, enos,
A man þat was of mekil los,
For-qui he was þe formast man,
þat cri on goddes name bigan.
Neien hundrid ȝere seuen and fijf,
So lang lastid sethis liue.
Enos his sun liued all bidene,
Nine hundrid ȝere and fijf i wene;
Caynan his sun, as it es redd,
Nine hundrid ȝere his lijf he ledd.
Eyht hundrid ȝere liued malaliel,
And fiue and tuenti þar to tell.
Nine hundred ȝere and sex iaraeth,
þat was þe fift kin fra seth,
Of iareth elde þe ȝere fourtiand,
was passid ouer þe first thousand.
Enoch his sun widuten pere,
Liued in erd thre hundered ȝere,
He was þe first þat lettris fand,
And wrat sum bokis wid his hand;
To paradis quic was he tan,
And þar he liues in fless and ban;
He sal cum bifor domisday
To fight for þe cristen lay,
wid antecrist þan sal he fight,
Forto were þe cristen right.
He and his felaue helia, [folio 11a:2]
Antecrist sal þaim bath sla,
Bot wit þair vprising fra ded to lijf,
Sal þai fell þat fals strijf.
Adam, als þe stori sais,
Deied in þis enoch dais.
Of enoch com matussale,
Liued neuer man sua lang as he,
Til þat nine hundrid ȝere was gan
And seuenti, failed it bot an. Page  95
Lamet his sun, his elde to neuen,
Seuen hundrid ȝere and seuinti and seuen.
Of lameth com his sone noe,
In quas time þe flod gan be;
þe formast world adam bigan,
þer-of lamet þe last man.
It lastid wele a thousand ȝere,
Sex hundrid til and sexti sere.
Bot ar þat oþer world biginne,
Speke we sumquat of caym kinne.
Qven caym had don þat cursed dede
þat he was warid, als we rede,
He fledd a-way fra oþer men,
Into a stede þat hight eden.
Till him was spoused calmana,
As was to seth giuen delbora.
Sone a sun of hir gat he,
þat enos hight, as a cite
Of þat ilke name he made;
I find na terme of his lijflade.
þar he woned wid his brod,
þe first cite bifor þe flod.
Of enos gaidat of him malaliel,
And of him cam matussalel.
Lameth his sun had sunes thrine,
Iobal, cabal, tubaltainne.
þis lameȝ was cald lam[e]ȝ þe blind,
Caym he slow wid chance, we find.
In þe flode he was fordon. [folio 11b:1]
Iobal, þat was his eldest son,
was first hogger, and fe delt wid,
Tubaltaine þe formast smith,
Tobal þair broþer first vnderfang
Musyk, þat es þe sonne of sang.
Organis, harpe, and oþer gleu,
He drou þaim vt of music neu. Page  97
A sister had þa brether alsua,
And scho was cald noema,
Scho was þe formast webister
þat man findes of þat mister.
Hir fader was þe first o liue,
þat euer bigan wid dobil wiue.
þai þat þir wonþer werkes wroght,
It ran þaim wele þat time in thoght,
þat þis world suld cum to ende
wid water drenkild or wid fir brend.
Tua pilers þai made, of tyle þat an,
þe toþer it was of marbil stan,
þir craftes all þat þai miht mine,
þai put þaim in þa pilers tuine;
þe stan, againes þe water to last,
þe tyle gaines fir, þat it ne brest,
þai wist þat qua so efter cam,
Suld be wised wid þar wisdam.
For-þi lete godd him liue so lang,
þat þai micht seke and vnþer fang
þe kind of thinges þat wer dern,
Cours of sune and mone and sterne,
þe quilk cours miht nan fulli lere,
þat miht [noght] liue an hundrid ȝere.
Quen so mani ȝere es passed vte,
þe mekil spire es rune aboute,
Into lang time, es noght to lain,
þe planetis er all went again
Of þair first making, into þe state;
Als þir wise clerkis nu wate.

How manes sinne þat i of mene, Corrupt all þis world bidene. [folio 11b:2]

Qven iareth þat ȝe herd me neuen,
Had eld of hundid winter seuen, Page  99
Mekil malice was first in man,
Bot neuer bifor als was þan;
In adam time was wa enow,
Bot þan wex wele more ye wohw,
Namli amang caym kin,
þat lited þaim noght bot in sin.
All thoght þaim wele it was þair will,
And þat was heldand al to ill;
On all thing was mare þair thout,
þan on iesu þat all has wrohut;
So blind þai wex in þair sith,
þat rekenig koud þai nan of riht,
Ai þair luue þai gaf to lust,
þat schent þair saulis al to dust,
Of sothfastnes, as sais þe saue,
þai left þe lede of oþer laue,
þat es of setnes and of kind,
Widuten mensk þai were vnmind.
All wex wick, bath an and oþer,
þe broþer wijf lay bi þe toþer;
þair cursednes was noght vnkid,
þe laue of kind þai so fordid.
wimmen þat forced amanges þaim,
might nan þaim bring to reclaim;
þe schame, þe sin, þat þar was vte
To tell war lang to sitt aboute.
þe fend wend witterli wid þis,
þat all man kind suld be his,
Al mankind forsoth he wend,
To his will all suld be kend;
Sua forþerli þat godd ne mith,
Bring man into state of rith,
Into þe state þat he had tint;—
Bot god al oþer wise had mint.
Of his handwerk sua sone, [folio 12a:1]
wold he noght þai war fordone; Page  101
Forþi in form of iugement,
A neu vengans on þaim he sent,
His fas to bring all of liue,
And clens þe wrong þat was so riue,
wid his grace to gif him grith,
þat he suld restore mankind with.
Quen he biheld þe foli sua strang,
Godd, þat bidin had so lang,
þou he war wrath it was na wrang,
þis word vte of his hert sprang,
And was þe word þat he said þan;
"Me rewis þat euer i made man."
Bot ilk a man þat þis word heris,
wat noght all quat it to peris,
þis word was as a prophessye,
þat for said was bi his merci,
Of þe reuthe him siþen kidd,
Quen he to pine him seluen didd
For his schoslinges apon rode tre,
Quat was his reuthe nu all mai se.
Bi þis word þat þen was said,
His merci was bifore puruaid,
Till þaim þat war on his parti,
Forto bring þaim mithili,
Als his aune his kingdam tille,
His enmijs all forto spill,
Againes þam he was sua wrath;
And bi his right hand suuar on ath,
þat þai suld thole all schamis dede,
Saue þe gode to giue his rede,
þat all his foluns war for-lorn;
þe gode also suld be forborn,
Als it in noe flode bifell,
Quer of i sal ȝou siþen tell.
Bot firist a tre, ar i bigine,
I sal here sett of noe kinne Page  103*. [[No gap in the MSS.]]

Here bigines at noe þe lede þe toþer world for to sede.

[folio 12a:2]
Fijf hundrid ȝere þan had noe,
Quen he had geten his sunes thre,
þe first was sem, cam þe toþer,
And iaphet hight þe thrid broþer;
God spac vnto noe þan,
And þus his resun he bigan,
"Noe," he said, "i tell till þe,
All þis world bitrais me,
þai haue left me and mi lau,
Of me standis þaim non au,
All is forgetin þat franchis,
þat i gaf man in paradis;
þe erd wid sin and schame es schent,
All rightwis away es went;
All lustsum, all wickedhede,
Has fild þis world on lenth and brede.
Of þair malice may na man speke,
Til heuen þer-of it rises þe smeke,
Couaytise, lechuri, and pride,
Has spred þis world lang and side;
All er þai worthi for to wite,
Of pine es non funden quite;
Bot i sal ger þaim ley ful lau,
þat lates sua lightli of mi au.*. [[originally lau]]
wreke to take i am al bun,
I sal þaim drenkil in watir sone, Page  105
þaim all bot þi wijf and þe,
þi sunes and þaire wiues thre;
ȝe eyth, for ȝour treu leute,
Alone i haue granted mi gre,
wid þin ospring as i haue mint
Restore þe folk þat sal be tint;
Fra þe mast doune to þe lest,
Sal neyder haue lijf, foul ne best.
Bot ar þat i mi vengeance take,
I wil þat þu a vessel nou make."
"Sir, tell me quarof it sal be." [folio 12b:1]
"It sal be mad of quarid tre,
A schip bihouis þe to dight,
þi self sal be þe maister wriht,
I sal þe tell hu lang and brad,
And of quat mesure it sal be mad.
Quen þe timber is festind wele,
þu wind þe sidis ilk a dele,
Bind it first wid balke and band,
And wind it siþen wele wid wand;
wid pic loke it be nohut thine,
Plastir it wele widuten and ine.
Seuen skor elne long and tene,
Thrijs eheit on wide, on lenth fiftene,
Fiftene on it heit þat es þe entent,
Fra grund vnto þe tabil-ment.
It sal be made wid stagis sere,
Ilkan to ser of þair mistere.
þu sal be nein o þat o side,
make a dur wid mesur wid;
A windou sperand wele on hey;
Loke þi werk be noght vnsli,
And hus þer in to drinc and ete,
wardrop loke þu noght forgete.
Of alkines bestis ta þu tuin,
wid þair makis to duell þar-in, Page  107
Of ilk liuand best þat es wrohut;
Foul ne worm forget þu noght.
In þe ouermast stag þan sal þu be,
þe foulis alder neist þe vnder be;
Siþen efter alþer neist hand,
þe meke bestis suld þai stand,
þa þat er bath tame and milde,
And vnder þaim suld stand þe wild.
And þu sal alsua make a boure,
To hold vnto þi warnistoure,
þan in þe bothum sal be na stall,
For all þair filth þeder sal fall.
It sal be mekil widuten pere, [folio 12b:2]
In making sex sith tuenti ȝere,
Sua lang time i haue þaim lent,
þat wil cum vnto amendement,
And if ani wil tent vnto þe,
þat þai þar-in may saued be.
Quen þu þi timbir wel has laid,
And it es to þi will al graid,
þu and þi wijf sal firist ga in,
þi sunes wid þair wijfes thrin;
ȝe sal alsua take ȝou wid,
Best and foul þat sal haue grith,
þe meke bi þaim ai tua and tua,
þe wild do bi þaim seluen alsua,
Of ilka kind ta tua wid-in,
Forto hald vp þair aun kin.
Loke þu do sua for na suink
þu haue deffaute of mete or drinc.
Do nu wele, nu leue i þe,
Bot i sal eft com þe to se.
If þat i se þu wirkis right,
I sal þe hold þat i þe nu hight."
Nou wat noe quat dede to do,
And hend*. [[or heud]] þe tymber þat fel þar to, Page  109
He gaf þe writhes þair mesur,
And wroght himself in þat labur;
þai wroght bath in wod and place,
Himself festid bath band and lace.
Bot euer þe quilis þat he wroght,
þe folk to preche forgat he noght,
To warn þaim of vr lauerdes wreche,
And hu god had him teld in speche;
He teld þat resun to mani a man,
Quarfor he suilk a schip bigan,
wid scorning al þai him ansuerd,
And said, "qui es þis carl a-ferd?"
Gret wonder, þai said þaim thoght,
Qui he was sua dred for noght,
[folio 13a:1] þai said þat man war worthi be schent,
þat toke þe ald manes wordes tent.
Quen noe sau his trauail al tint,
Of þis preching þan he stint,
It es but foli giue consail to
þe folk þat wil but foly do;
For-þi he sone he left þat cursid lede,
And went him to his aun dede.
Less ne mar greued he him nohut,
Bituix and he þe schip had wroght,
Till it was made and in wid stad,
All þat godd bifor him badd.
Quen he had don his comandment,
He bad noght bot þe iugement,
þat godd all mithi suld wirke his will,
As he bifor him had said vntill.
þen cam godd quen he sau time,
Till noe forto speke wid hime,
Quen he his wil wid him had spokin,
Him-self þe dur suith had stokin,
þe windou was wid suilk a gin,
Men mith it opin and spere wid in. Page  111
Quen al was don was þar no biþe,
Stormes ras on euer-ilk a side,
Sun and mone leme gan hide,
It mirked ouer all þis world wide,
þe rain it fell sua fell and fast,
welles wer, þe bankes brast;
þe see to rise, þe erd to cleue,
þe springes gan ouer al vte dreue;
Leuening fell wid thoner and rain,
þe erd quok and dinned egain.
Bath sun and mone tint þair liht,
þat all þis world turn to night,
þat soru to se was gret aue,
þe bigginnes fel bath hey and lau.
þe water wex vte ouer þe plaines, [folio 13a:2]
þe bestis ran þen to montaynes,
Men and wimmen ran þaim wid,
Wele þai wend þar haf sum grid,
All for noght þan suank a fote
Quen þai cam þar was þar na bote.
þe foulis flight þan on hei,
And fell quen þai miht na langer drei;
For noght þai fledd, best ne man,
All to late þai all bigan.
Thinc on man ferli þat þar suam
Side bi side, bath wolf and man,
þe leon suam biside þe hert,
Did na best til oþer vnquert,
þe sperhauk bi þe starling,
þai tent til oþer nankines thing.
þe ladijs tent noght til pride,
þai suam bi þair knauis side;
Of lauerdschip was þar na strijf,
was na man gelus of his wijf,
Miht nan oþer helpe ne suike
þai drinklid ilkan euer elike. Page  113
All he drinklid, riche and pouer,
was nan fra dede þat mith him couer.
For þaire sinnes wepe þai þan,
Allas! fule late þai þaīm began,
þai ȝernid þan, þa caitifes madd,
þat þai had ben wid noe stadd.
Bot þou þat noe was inquert,
He was noght al at ese in hert,
þe wind him ledd apon þe flod,
He wist noght queþerward he drou,
Heuen and erd he flet bituene,
Bot he ne wist queþer his schip suld bene.
þat was wid him, bath man and wijf,
þai wer ful dredand of þair lijf,
Bot þat lauerd sua ful of might [folio 13b:1]
To noe bifore þair liues hight,
Noee wist þan, widuten wene,
þe folk war all dede bidene;
wid weping sare on þaim he ment,
And turned all to godd his entent.
He fined neuer night no day,
For þat caytif folk to pray,
For manes kind, so sais þe boke,
Bot durst he neuer wid eie vp loke.
He praid to god for þaim alsua,
Of þair sauls na wengans ta,
Als was tan on þaim þat quile
Opon þair bodijs þat was sa vile,
Siþen þai war parist sua reufuli,
þair saules he wild of haue merci.
Sua wild he þat he had widuten faile,
Had þai troud noe consaile,
Quen þai forsoke his sarmoning
And toke his speche to scorning,
Bot nou þai find it þair fare,
þai wild noght trou on noe lare. Page  115
For quilis þat godd gaf him grace,
þar war nohut fered of his manace.
Þis rain rained euer on-ane,
Tuix and fourti dais war gane,
þe heiest montayn þat was aware
þe flod ouer ras seuen elne and mare;
þat was no creature on liue
þat might þat win to grund reche no riue,
Bot it war fisse þat flett on sund,
Might na thing reche þe grund.
On þe strem þe schip gan ride,
þe wawis bett on euer-ilk a side,
þe stormis starkid wid þe wind,
þe wawis bett bifor and bihind;
Noe and his þai loked ai dun, [folio 13b:2]
To drenkil wend þai had ben bun.
Bot be ȝe straisti, widuten strijf,
Inogh it lettid þaim þair lijf;
Til seuin sith tuenti dais war gan,
þe flod it stod ai still on an.
Aboute fiue monethes þat it stode
widuten falling, þat fers flod;
Oft wend þai þar schip suld riue
wid wind or wawe, or dint or cliue;
Bot ȝeit es godd þar þat he was
To help ay quen his willis was.
Quen he his vengans þus had wroght,
Our lauerd þan on noe thoght,
And bigan to have pite
Of him and þe schip and his meyne;
þat mithi king ful sone, i wiss,
Turnd þair baret in to bliss;
Again he did þe watris ga
Into þa placis þat þai com fra,
þe erde wex bare quen þai ne wend,
þe schip on land bigan to lend, Page  117
On armeni þar gan it stand,—
A hey montayn in þe hali land.
þe sun bigan sumquer to kithe,
Noe wex þan ful blithe,
And said þan to his sones thre,
"Childer," he said, "quat rede ȝe,
Hou sal we of þis water witt,
Queþer þai be aught fallen ȝeitt?"
þai said, "thoru a foul may we
wit if þe erd aught bared be,
Til þe schip wil þai cum no mare,
For if he find þe erde aght bare."
þan opin noe his windou,
Lete vte a rauin and forth he flou,
Dun and vp soght here and þare, [folio 14a:1]
A stede to sett apon sumquar.
Apon þe water sone he fand,
A drinkled best þar fletand,
Of þat fless was he so fain,
To schip cam he neuer egain:
þar-for þat messager, men say,
þat duellis lang in his iornay,
He may be cald, wid resun clere,
An of the rauyns messagere.
Quen noe sau and was parceiued,
þat þe rauyn him had disceyued,
Lete vte a douue, scho tok her flith,
And fand na place apon to lith,
Scho com again widuten blin,
Noe ras vp and lett hir in.
Siþen bot he seuen dais,
After þat, þe bibil sais,
þan he sent þe douue eft sith,
Scho went forth and cam ful suith,
Sone scho cam and duellid noght,
An oliue branche in mouth scho broght. Page  119
þan was noe wele bi knauin,
þat þe flod was wid-drauin,
Bot ȝeit he bade seuen dais in rest,
For drede if ani damising brest;
Siþen he gert þaim all vte driue,
Best and foul, man and wiue.
þe bestis war ful blith in mode,
Quen þat þai had tan þair kindli fode;
vr lauerd did þaim sone to sprede,
widin þair aun kind to brede.
þan bad godd vnto noe,
To leue þe schip wid his meyne.
A tuelmoneth was gan wid þis,
Bi þat ilk same day, i-wiss,
A twelmoneth þat he ȝede þar-ine, [folio 14a:2]
He left it euer mare to mine,
Als peris maior, þe gode clerk,
Tellis of him in sumkines werk.
Til him þan vr lauerd hend,
And said, "noe, mi leue frend,
þu and þi sunes wid þair wiues,
I haue saued all ȝur liues,
ȝou ȝit i haue for-born allan,
Of þis wengans þat i hau tan,
Til ȝou ȝit þat i lett leue
Min brod benisun i giue;
I wil þat of þine ospring brede
Alkins nacion and lede,
Alkin thinges on þair wise
I wil þai do to þe seruise."
Noe was of his blissing blith,
And did to raise an auter suith,
He ȝode to worschip godd as wise,
And þar apon made his sacrifise.
Our lauerd godd all weldand,
Him liked wele þair offrand, Page  121
And said, "noe, for anikins chanse,
Sal i noght take sli a noþer venganse,
Fra me donward drou manes thoght,
Nou er þai all doune fulli broght.
And if þu wirke efter mi lare,
I sul þe make ful wele to fare.
Til gode theues loke þu þe giue,
And luue wele treuth quiles þu liue;
Of suilk as ȝe bifor haue sauen,
Ilk a man liue apon his auen;
If þu wil trou apon mi rede,
Fle falshed and theft as dede.
Qua so of fless wil graith þar fode,
Loko þai kast away þe blode,
[folio 14b:1] All þat wil leleli wil hald þair lede,
Blod to ete i þaim for-bede.
Of best wid clouen fote in to,
wid scheuand code, ȝe ete also;
I warn ȝu nou alsua bidene,
Ete of na best of kind vnclene;
Of nankines worm þat euer es made,
Na foul þat reuis his liuelade,
Alsua ȝe ete of na fiss ellis,
Bot þat in flock and herd duellis,
Fisse and fless of bath i say
Loke þe bodi ȝe cast a way.
To þe and þine I bidd also,
Be nan sua bald oþer to slo,
For qua-so slas man or wijf,
þar bes na raunsum bot lijf for lijf;
I made man efter min aun ymage,
Nou wil i nan do oþer vtrage,
Euil au na man do till oþer,
For ilkan au to be oþer broþer.
A couenand neu i hite to þe,
þu sal fra nu mi rainbou se, Page  123
Quilis þu may se mi bou þar vte,
Of suilk a flode thar ye noght dute.
If man misdo in oþer wise,
On þaim i sal take mi iustise,
þat sal be at þe day of ire,
Quen i sal cum to deme wid fire.
wid lele werkis loke ȝe dele,
As ȝe wil luue ȝur saule hele,
And ȝeldes till ȝur creatur,
þe tend part of ȝur labur."
Gode men, i wil þat ȝe it se,
þat bituix adam and noe
þe time was euer elike grene,
þat nankines rainbowe was sene.
And if no rain apon erd fell, [folio 14b:2]
On erde plente mith men tell.
Ne thurt na man ete fless þat tide,
þat was don wid manes pride.
Nou es for sinne and pride of man,
þe erde wayker þan it was þan
For þe water þat it sua wess,
þar for bihouis nu man ete fless;
And wayker es nu manes state,
þan it was þan, wele i wate.
Qven noe left þat schip alane,
He had sex hundrid ȝere and ane,
þe elleuent winter was witterli,
þar efter, as tellis us metodi,
Quen þe world was gangand
In elde of þe thrid thousand.
Noe, þat lele widuten plight,
A neu biginning gan he dight,
A neu liuelad gan he bigin,
Him-seluen and his sunes thrin.
Of land he had ful gret plente,
For him self and his sonis thre, Page  125
Mast to tilth he gaf him þan,
To flitt þe breris he bigan;
So lang wid flitting he him soght,
þat win tres he þaim wroght.
Bitid a day he was for-swonken,
And vnwaris of win was dronken,
þou he him selue first it wroght,
þe win þar-for sparid him noght;
Drunken on slepe lai bi him ane,
þar þe sun apon him schane,
Naked on þat lime lay he,
þat men thinc most schame to se.
His middelest sun was cald cam
Biheld and sau his faþer scham,
He kidd he was vnkind enogh, [folio 15a:1]
To skorning he his fader logh;
To his broder iaphet said he,
"Broþer, cum nu hiþer and se."
"Quat es þat?" said iaphet his broþer.
"þi fadir slepand," said þe toþer,
"He lis here vte, cum se þu sal,
Nakid apon his limes all."
"Broþer," he said, "þu seis foli,
And þat i trou þu mon in ȝit aby,
If þu of þi faþer make despithe,
I claime þe of his blissing quite."
His ȝonger broþer was ful wa,
For þat þe elder he wroght sua,
A mantil fra his neck he toke,
And ȝede bacward, als sais þe bock,
He and his eldest broþer sem,
Tua blisful of þat barntem,
Til þai com þar þair fader lay,
And him þar wid couerid þai.
þar-bi mai men wele vnderstand,
was funden þan na breke in land. Page  127
Nos wid his mantil wok,
His sunes scornyng he vndertok,
His malisun on him he laid,
And siþen efterward he said,
"Cam, widuten ani doute,
þu sal be þi breþer vnderloute,
vnderloute to þaim and thral,
Sal þu be and þi ospring all;"
þe toþer tua for þair couering,
Noe gaf his brod blissing.
To sem and iaphet þan said he,
"Nou sal it all forgiuen be,
Leth and wreth for ani plight,
If ȝe again me did (euer*. [[This word is inter|lined.]]) ani unright;
Of ȝu sal ȝeit þat ospring sprede, [folio 15a:2]
þat sal oueral haue lord-hede.
Blissed sal be ȝur tabernacil,
Fild of mirth and of miracyl,
And godd it graunt þat it be sua,
þat all þis world bes ȝures tua."
To cam he said, "þu foule felun,
þu has þe kind of þat nacion
Of caym, cursed mast of oþer,
þat wid tresun slogh his broþer;
Do þe suith vte of mi sith,
þu art and sal be maledith.
Bi me au þu noght to duell,
þi woning place es made in hell,
Fle fra me, þu warid thing,
Nou sal we part for þi skorning."
Away he fledd, he and his
Were all vr lauerdes enmyes.

[Of Noah and his three sons.]

Noe, þat gracius and gode,
Liued fourti ȝere eftir þe flode. Page  129
Nyne hundrid ȝere and ten sith fiue,
So lang lasted noe liue;
For he liued leleli as i ȝou neuen,
He ssittes wid mighti godd in heuen.
His sunes þat i bifore of melt,
All þis world bituix þaim delt,
To sem, asye, to cam, affrick,
To iaphet, europe, þat wilful wik.
All þis thre þai er ful riche,
Bot sem part was nan oþer liche;
For-þi þe world was, als we here,
Delt in thre partijs sere,
In thre partijs principale,
þe partijs er noght parinngale,
For asye es, widuten suike,
Als so mekil as europe and affrike,
Asye is þe thrid in talle, [folio 15b:1]
And es þe halfendel ȝeit all hale;
It es þe best, for þar in es
þe hali land and hathenes,
Precius stanis and spices of prijs,
For þar-in standis paradis;
Inde, and peris, and arabye,
Babylon, Iudea, and sulie,
and mani oþer diuers contre.
þar-in es babilon, þe mast cite.
Affrick es þat oþer partie,
þat bifor time was cald libye.
Mani a contre þar in es,
And doghuti cytes, mar & les;
þar in es Cartage, cyte strang,
And oþer mani ayquar emang,
þe mekil land of Ethiopie,
lenile, Mortaygne, and indie,
þat land lijs mast in to þe souht,
þar þe blomen mast er couht. Page  131
Ȝe thrid parti es noght þe lest,
It lijs mast in to þe west;
All on þis side þe grekkisch see
was Iaphet giuen til his liuere.
It hat Europe, where maste to day
Reinys of þe cristen lay;
þar in es rome, þat hefd cyte,
þat es abouen all cristiante,
And mani a noþer riche kingdame,
þat i to tell has no tame.
Of þir thre bigan þe folk to sprede,
And fild þe world in lenthe and brede,
Of þaim it ras so mani a men,
Of diuers kindes, sex sithe ten.
Knyht and thral and fre man,
Of þir thre breþer þus bigan,
[folio 15b:2] Of sem, fre man; of Iaphet, kniht;
Thrall of cam, þat malediht.
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]

Bigine we now to tell of sem, And siþen of his barn tem.

SEm was lele in godes lare,
He liued seuin hundrid ȝere & mare.
þis ilk sem was cald sed[e]ch,
And was cald melchisedech;
vr leuedi Mari, als we find,
Com vte of þis same kind;
He was king and preist of salem,
þat nou es cald ierusalem,
þe first of all þat euer was born,
þat wid win and bred of corn
Made sacrifice to iesu so treu,
In taking of þe lawis neu. Page  133
þis sem liued, i of rede here,
Till ysaac was of seuenti ȝere.
Sem had fiue sonys sere,
Of an to speke it es mistere,
þat es of him of quos sede
He was born þat bett vr nede.
Arphaxat liued widuten were,
Thre hundrid and eyt and thriti ȝere.
Four hundrid ȝere his sun caynan;
And eyt and thritti fra he bigan.
Four hundrid his son sale,
He lyued and thritti ȝere and thre.
Heber his sun four hundred ȝere,
And four and fourti þar-to sere.
Phaleth his sun liued witterli,
To hundrid ȝere & nein and thritti.
Ragan his sun þat was,
Tuelf skor ȝere, bot on les.
Serut his sun, to hundrid ȝere
And thritti was his lijf he bere.
Of sua lang lijf was noght nacor, [folio 16a:1]
He liued heyt ȝere and four scor.
Thare his sun liued langer liue,
To hundrid ȝere and oþer fiue.
þe toþer elde endis in thare,
þe quilk bigan at lete noe.
þat tyme was þis world so ȝong,
þat all men spac þan wid a tong,
þat es ebru for to say,
þat Iuus hald ȝeit to þis day.
Iaphet had him sunes seuen,
A parti sinful for to neuen,
Gomor, Madan, Gena, Magog,
Tubal, Tyras, and Mosog.
Þis Gomor had him sunes thre,
Togoriens, Riphat, Assine. Page  135
Gena had four sunes, þat was cechim,
Elisa, Tharsis, and dotahim;
Till eillandis þir þai drou,
of þat nacion sprang foli enou.
Cam four sunes had he him,
Chus, Phut, Canan, and Mephaim.
Of chus,—saba and enila,
Sabatha, regma, Sagabata;
Of chus bicam nembrot also,
þat in his time wroght mekil wo,
For he was proud, fers, and fell,
Of him sum thing nou wil i tell.
Þis nembrot wid his mekil pride,
He wend to wirke wondris wide,
Ful fer about men bar his name,
Mekil he cuth of sin and schame.
Of babilon king, stijf in stour,
And þar-wid he was wrang werour,
Reuer and manqueller grett,
Mekil he luued wid ill be-ȝeitt.
[folio 16a:2] þer was na folke þat woned him by,
þat miht þaim were fra his merci,
Ouerall he rahut wid gret vtrage.
þat time it was bot a langage,
Ebru þe first þat adam spack.
Fra est he brohut ane euyl pack,
In till þe filde of Sennar,
Sexti werkemen þai wer,
wid Nembroth com þai forto duell,
And tok a consail þaim emell;
A fole consail toke þai and sone,
To werre apon þe sunne and mone,
þair witt was ful of felonny;
A fole consail þarfor said i,
Of þair gret pride couth na man tell;
In sennar þai toke to duell. Page  137
Nembrot þaim said on þis wise,
"Me thinc, lordiges, þai war vnwise,
vr eldris þat bifor vs were,
Quen þai coude find in na manere,
Forto were þaim fra þat flod,
þat drenkild all þe world ouer ȝode.
I rede we bigin a neu labur,
And do we wele and make a tour,
wid squire and scantlion sua euen,
þat it may reche heier þan heuen.
God sal we conquere wid fiht,
Again vs sal he haue na mith,
Or at þe last to hald him still,
And lett vs nohut to do vr will,
þat euer quen we se ani chesun,
Freli we may climbe vp and doun."

[Of the building of the Tower of Babylon.]

þir folis foltid gadrid þaim þan,
wid grett enuy þis werk bigan,
To and sexti fadum brad
was þe grund-wall þat þai made.
[folio 16b:1] Quen þai at will had fest þe grund,
þe werk þai raisid ane a stound,
wid tyle and ter, widuten ston
oþer morter ne was þar non;
wid corde and plumbe þai wroght so hy,
þat hete of sune miht þai nohut dry,
wid horsis ad wid camayles hide,
þai hold þaim þat hete for to bide,
And said, "queþer godd be wrath or blith
His estris sul we se als suith;
Nou we haue vs sped sua ferr,
Our will may he noght forbarr."
Bot grete god, þat euer es hende,
a curtais vengans on þaim gan send, Page  139
þai þat suilk vtrage on him soght,
Lim ne lijf he ne reft þaim noght,
Bot sua he menged þar þair mode,
þat nan of þaim þar vnderstode
Of suilk speche as he wold say,
þair tunges wex diuers fra þat day.
For schame ilkan þat werk for-sok,
And went away, sua sais þe bok.
For-þi þat tour es cald babiloygne,
þat schending es widuten soygne,
þer war all þe spechis delt,
In diueris landis ouerall es melt,
þat first was bot an and na ma.
Nou er þer spechis sexti and tua.
þis tour was celly mad vp on hight,
Fyf thousand steppis it was right,
And eyt skor and four þar to,
Sua made þir folis þaim to do.
Ten mile compas all aboute,
Als þe stori tellis, widuten doute.
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
At þis werk ne was noght sem,
Ne noman of his barn tem.
Ebru þair spece þarfor hald þai, [folio 16b:2]
þat iuus haldes ȝeit to þis day.
Þis nembrot was þe first king
þat in maumet fand mistrouing,
Lang he reyned in þat land,
In maumetri first fayth he fand;
þat he bigan lastes ȝeit,
Sarazins wil it noght for-let.
Till his fader þat was dede,
a vigur was made wid his rede,
And comanded stiffli to his men,
As godd þai suld him knau and cen; Page  141
Quat for luue and quat for doute,
All worschip it als þair vnderloute.
þis euydens biheld þis oþer,
þat sum for faþer and sum for broþer,
For freindes dede þat þaim was dere,
þai made ymagis of meteles sere.
Thoru þaim þat lau was þar bigun,
Sone ouer all þaim was it rune,
For freindes dede ouerall þe land,
Suilk mistrouing vp þai fand.
Feindes crepe þas ymagis wid-in,
And lede to folted men wid sin.
Thre sunes had thare, on abram
Alsua nachor and aram.
Thre sunes had nacor þe lele,
vs, and bus, and batuele,
Of vs com iop, of bus lalam,
Of batuel, rebecca and laban.
Of aram a sun and dohutyrs thre,
Melcha, loth, and dame sare.
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]

Of þe thrid elde i sal ȝou tell Quo so will a stound nou duell.

Oo abraham nou wil we drau,
þat rote es of þe cristen laue.
I sai for qui he is þe rote, [folio 17a:1]
For of him sprong vr alder bote, Page  143
þe bote þat broght vs into mirth,
Thoru þat hali maydens birth.
Of him and his kin sul we rede,
þat wonderli bigan to brede.
þat leuedi wex vte of his side,
we prai hir for hir maydene-hede,
þat we may sua þis stori rede,
Hir to worschip and vs to mede.
þis abraham þat ȝe here me neuen,
wele was loued wid godd of heuen;
Lele he was ay in his lede,
Ful of treuth and halihede.
He and his wijf þat hight sare,
Al ful of chastite þai ware:—
Tua dohutyrs of Aram his broþer,
Spoused þe tan, nacor þe toþer,
For wid þe laue þat þai liued inne,
Men suld noght spouse bot in þarkine:—
For he was bath meke and hend,
vr lauerd him held his priue frend,
Ay luued he sothfastnes and right;
For-þi til him vr lauerd hight
A child suld brede of his ospring,
yt all of thraldom suld þaim bring,
And þar suld alsua of his side,
Folk sua selcuth mani brede,
þat na man suld cune summe ne neuen,
Na mare þan þe sternis of heuen,
Na mare þan þe grauel in þe see,
Sua untelland suld þai be.
For þis hith miht be na fabil,
He troud wid stedfast herte and stabil,
And als he troud, als he fand,
vr lauerd him held ful treu couenand.
Bot long he led him wid delay, [folio 17a:2]
To mare þe medis of his fay, Page  145
Of sexti ȝere he was and fiue,
Quen his fader was faryn fra liue,
For him he was murnand in thoght,
Ay til vr lauerd him confort broght.
And said till him, wid suilk a soune,
"Abraham, loke þu make þe boune,
þu and þi catel wid þi meine,
vte of þi kid and þis contre
ȝe sal wend to a better land;
Ta loth þi broþer sun in hand;
To canaan ȝe most drawe,
A land þe quilk i sal ȝou schau.
þou leue aram, þe land of yr,
Of canaan þu sal be lauerd and sire,
þider to wend be þu noght ferid,
For þar sal be þi kindli erd;
All þe folk þar wones aboute,
Til þe þai sal be vnderloute,
þar sal þi name ouer-raised be,
And all þe ayres þat sal cum of þe.
I sal þaim bliss þat þe wil bliss,
Mi blissing sal þes oþer miss."
Abraham went, and wid him loth,
His meyne, his catel wele i woth,
And com and lendyd, he and þai,
Be side sychen in a valay.
Bot þar bi feloun folk þai fand
þat mekil wastid of þat land.
Als suith als þai diþer cam,
God him scheud to abraham,
And said, "abraham þis es þe land,
þer þu and þine sal haue weldand."
Abram þat of treuth was treu,
Be betel lifted an aunter neu,
[folio 17b:1] He blissed godd, þat king of bliss,
And he him blisced and all hiss. Page  147
Abraham turned him to þe south,
To se þat land him was vncuth,
In pes he wend haue it in wald,
Als vr lauerd bifor him tald.
Bot sone quen he had sesid þe land,
þar fell an hunger i vnderstand,
Thoru corn wantyng euerayquer,
I can noght say þe sothlier;
Abraham to selle miht find na sede,
To egipt wende most he nede,
And sare his wijf wid him to lede,
þai had na corn þaim wid to fede.
Als þai war wendand þiderward,
He hir bisoght of suilk a for-ward:—
"Lemman," he said, "sore i me drede,
þar we wend bi þis laithly lede,
For þu art fair, quen þai þe se,
wid miht þai suld þe take fra me.
Say þu þar-for till an and oþer,
þat þu ert mi sister and i þi broþer,
Ellis þat folk quen þai þe se,
þai wil me sla for luue of þe."
"Sir," scho said, "sua sal it be;"
wid þis þai com in þat contre.
Bot fra þat proud folk had hir sene,
All spac of hir, scho was so schene,
And sua þai praised hir to þe king,
þat he hir gart bifor him bring;
Bot god hir kept þat was hir with,
And held her sua widin his grith,
þat miht na man wid lichurye
Hir bodi nehy wid vilanye.
þe king was dred for godes gram,
And bitaught þe wijf to abraham,
[folio 17b:2] And said, "qui put þu vs in were,
þat said þi wijf þi sister were? Page  149
Ta here þi wijf and brouk hir wele,
Of þin wil i neuer a dele,
Bot leuer me es of mine þu haue."
þe king him gold and siluer gaue,
And commanded thoru vte al his land,
Men suld him onure and hald in hand,
And if he wald þar no langer lende,
þat he most freli hamward wend,
And all þe gode he wid him ledd;
To lett him straitly he forbedd.
Abram went hom & his wijf sare,
He loued hir better þan he did are,
For worschip þat scho gart him wine,
And scho vnsoght sakles of sine.
In to betel þai com on-ane,
þar he sett first his auter stane,
Be-twyx him and loth his neuow
Of bestaile hade þai plente enow.
To pasture commune þai tok þe land,
þe quilk þat lay þaim neist til hand.
Bot fra þair stor bigan to spr[e]de,
þair pastur gan to wax al nedede,
þar-for þair herdis straff for itt,
þair bestis nedlinges most þai flitt
Fra þat folk þai war emang,
þat gretli held þair stor in wrang,—
þa nabethens, þat lothly lede,
Ful of wrang and of wicked hede,—
For þai wid þaim miht haue na rest,
þai most nede part to seke þair beste.
þen said abraham wid wordes hend,
"Loth, mi neuow and mi dere frend,
þis land es wide þat we er inne,
Godd vs help we mith it wine,
Of þis contre þat es sua wide, [folio 18a:1]
þu chese to won on sum syde. Page  151
Queþer þu chese on right or left,
I wil take þat þu has left."
Loth loked tilward flom iordane,
A dale he ches þar bi a plaine,
A lufsum land, a fair contre,
þe flum ran thoru ful fair to se;
þe land of gomor þar-bi lijs,
þat was þan like vnto paradis
þe time ar it had done þat sake,
Til godd þar on uengance gan take;
þat land to won in loth thoght best,
And abram ches him tilward þe est.
þe land of sodome bar gret blame,
For it was in a wicked fame,
þai war putt in sua foul a plight,
þat godd and man þaim maledight.
Abram lendid him in-ane,
Bisyde þe land of canaan,
vnder þe fote of mount mambre
þar he ches to sett his se;
þat ilke stede hight chebron,
A wonder winsum stede to in won.
Ane auter he raised widuten bade,
And sacrefice þar-on he made,
þat dere godd on him suld myne,
To ger him worschip for to winne.
þar he sett his tabernacil,
þar godd for him sone did miracil.
Þar had a were ben in þat land,
And it had lasted sumdel lang,
Four kinges werrid apon fijf,
þe fyue egain þe foure to strijf,
þai smat to-gider at þe latter,
In a dale biside a watir;
[folio 18a:2] Sualang þai heud on helm a[n]d schild,
þe four on fiue wan þe feilde, Page  153
þe fyue gaf bac to wine a way,
And fell into a pitt of clay,
þai fled and fell into a sohw,
And þar þair fas foluand þaim slow.
Siþen þai toke to winne þe land,
þai tok all þat þai bifor þaim fand,
Loth þai toke and ledd þaim with,
was non þai toke þai graunted grith,
For þai lett þat þaires was þe land,
Fra þai had getun þe ouerhand.
Hard held þai loth þat ilk day,
A man unethes miht passe away,
To cum til abram for to tell,
Of lothes chanse hou him bifell.
Abram was þan ful mislikand,
Quen he herd of his hard tydand,
He did to gadir samen his men,
Thre hunderd eyt sergauntis and ten;
And priuili he did þaim bide
Til again an euen tide,
And þan he broght þaim to a pas,
Men cald in þat land themas,
And þar he delt his folk in tua
þat þai suld noght schape þaim fra;
þir kinges had of na man doute,
þair folk þai scatrid ouer al a-boute,
Abram þat in trouth was strang,
þa hethen men he mett ay emang,
Diliuyrd þe paas alle and loth,
with all þair catel, ilka croth.
Slain war þa kinges þat ilke night
Thoru þe grace of godes miht;
þe folk of sedome was ful fayn
Quen abram was comen egain,
[folio 18b:1] þai sau þair freindes hale and sund,
And wist þair fas war broght to grund. Page  155
Melchisedech, widuten bade,
Offrand of brede and wine he made,
Of ierusalem and all þat land,
was king and preist allweldand.
Treu he was, wise and hend,
Of þair conquest he toke þe tend,
Abram his benison gaf he,
And all bad till him tendand be.
Of pray wild abram na-thing haue,
Bot ilk man he his aune gaue.
Mekil it was þat loueword þan
þat abram gat of mani a man;
þai said it was scheud in sight.
vr lauerd in him suld þe holde his hit.
Abram went ham a[n]d wid him ledd
His folk; quen he was laid in bedd
Slepand, he herd vr lauerdes steuen
Sothly til him spac in sueuen,
And said, "abram, thar þe nogh drede,
I sal þe helpe in all þi nede,
Of þat i haue þe hight to mede,
To winne may þu be traist to sped."
"Lauerd," he said, "hu may þis be,
Quat es þi will to giue to me?
þu wat wele child nou haue i nan,
Bot mi seruantes son alan
þat seruis me, Eleazar,
Mi ayr wald i þat he war,
Sin þu me gaf nan oþer barn."
"Nay," said god, "i sal þe warn
þat he þin ayr sal noght be,
Bot a sede þat comis of þe."
"Abram," he said, "þu cum here vte,
Bihald þe skey ouer all aboute!
þe barnies þat of þe sal brede, [folio 18b:2]
Na mar sal þu þaim kon rede Page  157
þan sterris on sky or sand in see,
To knau it sal ful selcuth be.
Be traist in þis þat i þe hyt,
þe to reue sal nan haue might."
Abram þis word forgat he noght,
Vr lauerd to serue was all his thoght,
þan made abram his sacrifice,
As godd him teld on quat-kin wise.
Quen it was done and all poruayd,
A uoice þan thoru a cloud said,
"It suld be efter a wel lang quile,
In egipt suld his sede exile,
In thraldam foure hundrid ȝere,
Bot þai suld siþen bi it dere,
þai suld þaim hald in þat thrang,
Wrokin on þaim suld be þat wrang.
þan suld þe ospring of abraham,
vnto þair land cum freli ham,
To hold þair eritage in pais,
As it was hite bifor þas dais."
Sare was barnles ȝit wid þis,
And scho gan ȝerne þar efter, i-wis.
Scho had wid hir an hand womman,
þat agar hite, egipcian,
Scho said to habram priueli,
"þu seis na barnis bere mai i;
And siþen þat i mai bere na barn,
Agar mi womman i þe warn
Bi þe sal lig, if þu wil sua,
For i am geld, me es ful wa.
If ani barn of hir war þine,
I now it held it als for mine."
Sare, as scho bifor had said,
Biside hir husband agar scho laid.
Agar was mad wid child in hiy, [folio 19a:1]
And lithly lete bi hir leuedi. Page  159
Til abram dame sare þan said,
"ȝon wenche þat i bi-side þe layd,
For scho has a barn bi þe,
Gret despit scho lathes of me."
Abram said, "scho es in þi hand,
þu chastis hir, þu has þe wand."
So chastisd sare hir fra þat day,
þat scho was fain to fle away;
Both in hir fleing as scho ȝode,
An angel com bifor hir stode,
In wilderness right bi a welle,
Wid hir suilk speche gan he spelle.
"Agar," he said, "queþen comes þou,
Or queþerward wil þu ga nou?"
Scho said, "fra mi leuedi i ga,
For me scho dos ful mekil wa."
þe angel said, "þu wend egain,
þu sal hir serue wid mith and main.
Wend again, bou hir for-þi,
Of þi sede ȝeit sal multipli
Ful mekil folk, and i þe warn,
þu art wid child wid a knaue barn.
þu cal him ysmael, agar,
For godd sal couer þe of þi care;
He sal be fers and cruel bath,
Again all ledis wonder wrath,
Egain him all, egain all he,
A wonder with man sal he be."
Agar ham til hir ladi went,
And seruid hir wid gode entent.
Sone efter, as i ȝou tell,
was scho lither of ysmael;
Quen he was born habram had þan,
Four skor and sex ȝer ouer gan, [folio 19a:2]
And of þis child he was sua blith,
As his fader were broght to liue.
Page  161

[Of the addition to Abraham's name.]

Quen he was fiue skor ȝere and nine,
God spac to him a littel tine,
"Abram," he said, "for me þu ga,
I sal ga bifor þe alsua,
Multipli þi sede i sall."
He louted and thankid him wid-all.
þan did vr lauerd to eke his name,
And said he suld hate abra[ha]m;
Abram as he bifore was caled
þat nam suld he na langer hald.
So mekil es þis name to rede,
As fadir of many serekin lede;
"And if þu hald mi teching,
Of þe sal cum bath prince and king,
þat sal weld al þis contre,
Als i bifore has hith vnto þe;
þat þu has had as in knaulage,
þin sal it haue in eritage,
All þe kingdam of þis land
To haue and halde til þaim lastand.
Bot nou i wil a couenand neu
Of þe and þine be halden treu,
An hali takning for to ken,
To part ȝou wid fra oþer men.
Hald ȝe couenand on þis wise,
To ȝoure knaue barnis to circumsise
þe eytend day fra þai be born,
þat es to say þat þai be schorn
Of þat ilke lym quar-with
þat þai er kend fra wimmen kith.
Loke þat ȝe do als i say þe,
As ȝe ȝour saulis wil saued be.
who es noght sua þai may be bald,
þai sal nogh of mi folk be tald; Page  163
þu and þi childer it sal biginne, [folio 19b:1]
And al þat wons þi hous widin.
Loke fra þe be don away
þe man þat wil noght hald his lay,
For-qui þe werk of circumsising,
Beris in it-self gret for-bisining.
Ne þi wijf þat nou hat sare
Fra nou sua sal scho hat namar,
Hir name it sal be ekid sua,
þat scho sal be called sara.
Suilk a sun scho sal þe bere,
þat sal be king and caiser,
He sal serue me to queme,
þis laue ful wele þan sal he ȝeme."
þe couenand was wel fest wid þis,
vr lauerd went him to heuen blis.
Abraham tok wid all his men,
And did as god him did ken,
Himself and ismael he schare,
And siþen all his þat carmen ware.
Of thritti ȝere fra he was born,
was Ismael quen he was schorn;
His fader nyneti and nien þat day,
þai vnder-tok þis neu lay,
Querbi þan er þai all kid & knaun,
þe folk þat of þair kind er draun.
Qven it was hat apon a tide,
Abraham satt his huus bisyde,
Biside þe dale of mont mambre,
He loked him fra and nere; sau he
To-war him come childer thre
In liknes of godd in trinite.
Bot an alone he onered of þa,
Als anfald god and in na ma.
þe trinite sau he bi þat sith,
And gestind þaim wid him þat nith; Page  165
First him self þair fete he wess, [folio 19b:2]
And syden þaim fedd wid calf fless,
Butter and bred þai ete al-sua,
þan asked þai quare was sara?
Abraham said, "ȝonder widin."
þan said þat lauerd, "i wil þu minne
At mi gaincum, bi mi lijf,
A son sal haue sare þi wijf."
Sare wid ine þar scho satt,
Herd þis word and lohu þar-att,
And said, o skorn, "quar we nu sal
Com e-gain to childer tale!"
For eld scho wend to bere na barn.
"And quat thing es," he said, "may warn,
þat godd ne may his will all do?
Bi i efsoins cum þe to,
þu sal haue barn in a litil quile,
Ne thar þe noght for skorning smile."
Scho said, "for-soth ne smile i noght;"
And if schoe did it, hir ouerthoght.
Quen þai wore restid, vp ras þai,
And abraham þaim ledd þe way.
vr lauerd loked to sodomam,
And þus he said to habram,
"Abraham," he said, "fra þe
wil i noght leyne mi priuite,
þu and þine er me sua dere
þat i wil ȝe mi consail here.
Of sodom haue i herd þe cri,
þe stinc it rises vnto þe sky,
þe world es wers þan man mai neuen,
þe reke it rechis into heuen.
To se wil i mi seluen ga,
Of þat cri if it be sua;
þar sal i take vengans strang,
And þar-to sal it noght be lang." Page  167
[folio 20a:1] "Lauerd," said abraham, "þin are,
Sal þu þin aun sua forfare?
It semis noght it es þi wille,
For the wick þe gode to spille.
þi rightwisnes may noght thole sua,
For þe wic þe gode to sla,
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
If þu þar findes fiue sithes ten,
Fourti or thritti of þi lele men,
Tuenti may fall, or tuis fyue,
Ne sal þai all þar-fore liue?"
"yis," said vr lauerd, bot was þar non
was funden lele, bot loth alon.
vr lauerd went forth, and abraham
vnto his hous went him ham.
At an euyntide into sodom,
To lothes hous tua angeles com,
þai fand loth sittand bi þe ȝate,
Again þaim he ras fra þar he sate.
He praid þaim in godes name,
To gestin þaim suld cum hame.
As for þat night, & þai said nay,
Bot in þat strete duell wold þay.
Bot loth to his hous þaim ledd,
wid suilk as he hade he þaim fedd.
Bot ar þai to bedd war boune,
þe folk þaim gadrid vte of þe toune,
þe foule feluns wid wic entent,
Aboute lothes huus þai went,
ȝong and alde, bath child and man,
All thoght þaim late þai diþer wan.
On loth þai crid þat hous aboute,
And badd he suld send þaim vte,
þe gestis him cam bi nighter tall,
For soth, þai said, knau þaim we sall. Page  169
þair sari sine on þaim þai soght
wid þaim to haue don it if þai moght.
[folio 20a:2] Bot loth be-heinde or þai were war,
Fast þe doris þan did he bar,
ȝerne on þaim he crid merci,
þat þai suld lete þair foli.
And said, "i haue here dohutris tua,
Takes þaim and dos ȝour will wid þa.
Mi gestis lat ȝe ley in pes,
For godis luue do þaim na malis."
þe mare þat loth þaim dus bisoght,
þe mare þai presid and sesid noght,
All his praier mith noght help,
Warn godes might þar wald ȝelp,
þat made þa sinful folk so madd.
þai wist neuer quar þai war stad,
vr lauerdes miht made þaim so blinde,
þat dor ne hous coud þai noght finde;
þair aune witt ne wist þai noght,
Queþen þai cam ne quat þai soght.
Til loth it spac an angel þan,
And said, "has þu here any man,
Son or dohutir or ani mohw
To þe longand, hy or law,
þu lede þaim suith vte of þis tun,
Ar þan it be sunken dun."
Loth went and til his mohwes spac,
þar vte þat suld his dohutris tac,
"Rise vp," he said, "and fle ȝe sone,
þis cite to-day sal be for-done."
Bot al þat loth til þaim miht say,
þaim thoght it was noght bot a play.
Bot arli or men miht wele se,
þe angelis bad þat loth suld fle,
þai said, "loth fle wid þi meyne,
þat ȝe be noght tint wid þis cite." Page  171
Quen þai sau loth be to lytand,
þai tok him seluen first bi þe hand,
His wijf all and his dohutris tua, [folio 20b:1]
þat miht vp loke was þar no ma.
Quen þai had ledd þaim fra þe doute,
þat þai þe toun war broght widute,
Be þan bigan þe light of day,
þai badd þaim hold forth þair way,
And bot þai wold þaim-self forfare,
To loke bihind þaim neuer mare.
"Make ȝe in þe plain na duelling,
Til ȝe bi comen to ȝone felling,
Amanges þaim þat ȝe ne be tan,
And for þair folijs to be slain."
"Lauerd," said loth, "wid leue of þe,
In littel segor wald i be,
þu hast þe þan diþer ȝare,
For i do noght or þu cum þare."
Bi þe time þat þe sune ras,
Strang cri in þa tounes was,
vr lauerd rained on þaim onnon,
Fra þe sky fir and brimston.
Sodome and gomor wid al þe land,
þat aboute þaim lay nerhand,
wid all þe woninges þat þar was,
Es nouþer left, tre no griss,
Ne na thing of þat land vnsunke;
Suilk as þai breu nou haue þai drunke.
Lothes wijf þis cri scho herd,
And longed to se hou þai ferd,
For ferli fain wald scho find;
And als scho loked hir bihind,
A stan scho standis bi þe way,
And sua sal do to domes-day.
Als a salt stan men seis hir stand,
þat bestis lickes of þat land, Page  173
And anis in þe wouke day,
Is scho licked all a-wai,
And siþen þai find hir on þe morn, [folio 20b:2]
Hal als scho was þar biforn.
þar þa fiue cites war won to be
Nou es noght bot a stinkand se,
þat semis als a lake of hell,
Na lyueand thing may þar-ine duell;
If ani fiss þar-ine be gan,
wid leding of þe flom iordan,
þe lijf it es for-done wid stinc
Fra it into þat watir sink.
Men findis lompis on þe sand
Of ter, nan finer in þat land.
þar standis euer wonderli,
A cloud þar fra vp to þe sky;
If þu a brond þar-in wil cast,
þe fire it holdis þer stedfast,
Thoru brining of þat brymston,
Quarof þar es sua mekil won.
þar-bi it groues sum appil tre
wid applis selcuth fair to se,
Quen þai in hand er like a bal,
To pouder wid a stinc þai fall.
All cristen men! i rede ȝe take
Ensample bi þis waful wrak,
þat al for lycheri was it tan,
So foule was neuer funden nane;
þat it was wic it was wele sene,
Bi þat wrake þat was sua kene.
Hot and stinkand es þe lake,
Fir and brimstan was þe wrake,
vte of kind þe sine was don,
For-þi þair kind it was for-don.
Fleis þat sine ouer al þis erde,
þe wreche þat foluis haue ȝe herd, Page  175
God forbede ȝe do þat sin
þat ȝe in hell þarfor brin.
And if ȝe sine nede sal do, [folio 21a:1]
þe sine of kind ȝe hald ȝu to,
þe kindli sin and wid womman,
Bot sibb ne spousid ne take ȝe nan.
Sua ferr ȝour lust ne foluis noght,
þat ȝe forgete him þat ȝou wroght;
Mani a man for ouer wele,
Himself can neþer fonde na fele,
Betuix and þai sink in þat pitt,
þat neuer man sank þat þaim miht flitt.
Sua did þe wreches of sodome,
For þai ne douted noght þe dome,
þair welth þaim made of þaim all,
In sine and soru forto fall;
Bot þan com a dom widuten spare,
To þaim þat lang were sparid are,
Sua þai þaim tyne widuten end,
þat wil þaim noght in time amend.
Loth ȝe herd me ar of tell,
For drede he drou him to þe fell,
In a caue he hid him þare
And his dohutris, and no mare.
Abraham went him on þe morn
To þat stede þe he biforn
Had fra vr lauerd tan his leue,
And sau þat sore gan him greue,
To þa cytes loked he,
A sorful sight was on to se.
He sau þat contre al bidene,
þat sua fair bifor had bene,
wid spark and reke couerd abouen,
Als it war of a brinand ouin;
For it was godes rightwis wreke,
þar again durst he noght speke. Page  177
Loth him held þat caue wid-ine,
Himself and his dohutris tuine.
Bot þair fader þat þai þar sau [folio 21a:2]
þai wend all men war don o dau,
Thoru þat ilk waful wrake.
þe elder to þe ȝonger spake,
"Sister, to þe in derne i say,
þu seis þis folk es all away,
Bot loth vr fader and we ta,
Aliue es nou left na ma;
I leue manking sal perischt be,
Bot it be storid wid þe and me,
þe world es broght to end me thinc.
Giue we vr fader enogh to drinc,
Quen he es drunken witterli,
we sal in bedd ga ligg him bi,
For miht we ani barnis brede,
Me thinc þe world þar-of had nede."
Als þai had spokin, right so þai wroght,
þe fader his aune dede wist noght,
Ne wist noght quen he bi þaim lay,
Both bot wid barn sone war þay.
Amon and Moab war getin sua,
Bi-tuix loth and his dohutris tua;
Of þaim it com sua wicked lede,
þat neiþer drou to worthi dede.
Til a stede þat hith damas
þiderward þair woning was,
Of mani man, þou þai were gode,
þai reft þair catel and sched þar blode.
Abraham syhid in his hert ful sare,
Fra þaim him tok talent to fare,
Till a contre cadades he flitt,
Abimalech was lauerd of itt.
His sister he cald sarra his wijf,
þat for hir suld rise na strijf, Page  179
He dredd þe folk was ful of pride,
Quiles he was liuand þaim biside.
Bot hard it es to kepe, i-wis, [folio 21b:1]
þat thing þat ilk man wald war his,
And namli i say it of þat thing,
þat ȝernid es of gret lording;
Abimalech ne fyned noght,
Til sarra was bifore him broght,
Bot god on nyth com to þe king,
In slepe, and said suilk takening,
"þu king," he said, "þu schortis þi lijf,
þu has anoþer manes wijf."
"Lauerd," he said, "wil þu me sla
þat wist noght þat it was sua?
þai tald bath til an and oþer,
Scho was his sister & he hir broþer.
And alsua, lauerd, wele þu wate,
þat i haue clene halden hir state."
"I wot," he said, "þat þu art clene,
It war noght sua had i ne bene.
Fra touche of hir i saued þe,
þat þu suld noght sinne in me:
þu ȝeild hir to hir husband wight,
He es a prophete, hali and right.
And if þu do anoþer rede,
þu and þine sul all be dede."
Up ras þe king bi nightertale,
And cald his men bifor him al hale,
Of þis warning he þaim tolde,
And þai þaim dredd bath ȝong and olde
He did to call abraham sone,
And said, "qui has þu dusgat done,
Quat haue i don, or mj king Rike,
þat þu suld vs þus bisuike?"
"Parfay for i me vmbithoght,
þat goddes au ȝe douted noght. Page  181
ȝur harm so wend i best to fle,
And said scho suld mi sister be."
Til abraham þan gaue þe king, [folio 21b:2]
In worschip mani a riche thing,
And made him mast of his priue,
Bitok him to weld all þat contre.

[Of the birth of Isaac, and of Ishmael.]

Bi þis com sarra to þe tyde
Of birthe, scho miht na langer bide,
þat ysaac hir sun was born,
þat lang was hith him biforn;
And circumsised þe eytend day,
It was þair heuing in þair lay.
þe name of isaac es to say
A man þat takines ioy and play,
And for þe birth of ysaac,
Gret ioy gan his freindis mak.
þat ferly child, þat ful of hap,
Quen he was spaned fra þe pap,
His fadir slow bath schep and net,
And made a fest to freindes gret;
Mete and drinc he gaf þaim all,
þaim bihoued cum to his hall.
Isaac was ȝonger þan ismael,
Be-tid apon a day it fell,
þat þise breþer þai plaid samen,
Sarra biheld and thoght na gamen.
Scho said, "abraham, ȝon bastard,
Do him away þat he haf na part
wid mi sun of vre eritage,
Or ellis me thinc þu dos vtrage.
I wil, quat-sua men thinc or say,
His moþer and he be done away."
Abraham it toke to herte
And thoght hir wordes to smert, Page  183
For his sun him heuy thoght,
Til þe angel him bodword broght,
"Abraham," he said, "gif þe noght ill
Nou most þu do þi wijfes will.
Of þi mayden and of þi barn, [folio 22a:1]
Hir bidding do sal þu noght warn,
For ysaac sal bere þe name
Of þi sede, sir abraham.
þou ismael be noght of sposage,
Of him sal cum men kene and sauage."
Apon þe morn quen it was day,
Bath þan war þai done away,
Out of þat hous was put agar,
Hir sun apon hir bac scho bar,
watir and bred widuten mar
Scho tok hir wid, and spac ful sare.
Nou gas þat wreche wille of wane
wandrand in wildernes alane,
þaim wantand bred, þair water es gan,
Hop of þair liues had þai nan.
Bi a welle vnþer a tre
þe child scho laid and gan to fle,
For soru þar-on mith scho noght se,
Bot waited quen it dede suld be.
Quilys scho menyd in hir mode,
Confort com hir sone ful gode,
An angel com and said, "agar,
Quat dos þu, qui mas þu car?
Godd has herd þi childes cry,
Ris and tak it vp for-þi;
Lede him ȝender and haue in minde,
þere a welle þan sal þu find,
And a tre wid frouit ful gode
For þe and for þi childes fode.
Here þan sal þu wid him won,
And forster here þu sal þi sun." Page  185
þe child scho did drinc of þat welle,
And in þat wilderness gan þai duell,
Lang duelled þai samen þare,
Til ismael was waxin mare.
An elenge lijf þare þai ledd [folio 22a:2]
In wildernes þan war þai stedd;
For quen he was waxyn to man,
An archer was he best of an.
Sone quen he was of elde and witt,
He spoused a wijf of egipt,
And wonid þar as a wild man,
In þat desert þat hight pharan.
Þis abraham was of mekil bode,
And als of ful clene liuelade,
Of lau vr lauerd him gaf þe lade,
Of him his patriarche he made,
And said, "abraham, i sal þe giue,
þe lau þat þu aue in to liue."
"Lauerd," he said, "mi self and mine
At þi wille, lauerd, all es þine.
I and mi wijf es al þine aune,
And þat er we ful wele apon knaune;
þi bidding we wil do ful fain,
Ne sal we neuer do þar egain.
Quat sal i do, lauerd, þu me tell?"
"Bo þu sal wend in to ȝone fell,
þar sal þu find mi messager,
þu make of erde þar an auter,
Bath of þi corn and of þi fe,
þar sal þu offrand make to me."
"Gladly, lauerd, als þu has sayd;"
Sone was abraham puruayd,
Of corn and crop and oþer catell
To god his tyde þar gaf he well:
It brint, þe reke ras vp ful euen,
þe smel was suete and soght to heuen. Page  187
In þat time þat i of mene,
þe folk was gode, þe world was clene,
So gode ne bes it neuer i-wiss,
Sua mekil welth, so mekil bliss.
[folio 22b:1] þou man miht neuer sua mekil welde,
So fast it draus to doune helde.
In wrechedam es nou al went
To lere na gode giue þai na tent,
þe child beris nou þe wit away,
Foli es gouyn to man to day.

Of ysaac nou wil i neuen [*. [[from Laud MS. 416]That louyd was with god in heven].

Herkin of godd þat al es weldand,
Hou he wild proue his lete seruand,
wele louede habram Isaac,
His sely sun widuten sak,
He lerid him first godd for to drede,
And syden all gode theues in lede.
He bigan to loue him sua,
þat he miht him naquile for-ga,
vr lauerdes will, all mithi king,
It was to proue habram wid sum thing.
Til abraham vr lauerd spac,
"Quere es þi sun," he said, "ysaac?"
"All at þi will, lauerd," said he,
"I wil þat þu offre him to me."
"Gladli, lauerd, þu me him gaf,
Gode resun it es þat þu him haf."
To vr lauerd he was sua treu,
þat miht na pite do him reu,
þat he ne hadd leuer his child to spill,
þan wirk egain his lauerdes will,—
þat child þat was sua many ȝere,
Or he was sent, sohut wid prayere; Page  189
And nou he wend widuten wene,
þat he suld his ayr haue bene.
Bot nou es he askid on þis wise
Til god to make of sacrifise,
And þou it ware grisli and grill,
He left noght vr lauerdes will,
Bot asked him, widuten bade, [folio 22b:2]
Hou [t]he sacrifise suld be made.
And he bigan him for to tell,
"ȝonder, hey apon ȝon fell,
Sal þu brin þi sone for me."
"Gladli, lauerd, sua sal it be."
Nou sal i tell ȝou hou it was;
þe child he kest apon an asse,
And tok wid him knauis tua,
Bot þai ne wist queþer to ga.
He welk þat fell [ner] dais thre,
To seke þe stede quare he wild be.
Quen he cam þar has him tyht,
Of þe ass þe child did he to lyht,
And toke him wid him and no mare,
His meyne he bad abide him þare,
His consail wild he na man tell.
þe child he broght apon þat fell,
Suord ne fir forgat he noght,
And ȝong ysaac a fagett broght.
"Sir," he said, "quar sal we take
þe best, ȝour sacrifise to make,
Siþen we wid vs broght hiþer nan?"
"Godd," he said, "sal send vs an."
wid þis he stod þe child nerhand,
And priueli he drou his brand,
þat þe child were noght percayued,
Ar þe suord him had dicayued.
He lift his hand him for to smite,
Bot godes angel com ful tite, Page  191
Ar he mith giue him þe dint,
His suord bihind him he hint,
And [bade him] þare bi-side him take
A schep his sacrifise to make.
He loked bisyde him in þe thornis,
And sau it hange þar wid þe hornis.
þis angel held ay still þe suord, [folio 23a:1]
And spac of confort suilk a word.
"Abraham, hald still þin arme,
And to þi son þu do na harme,
vr lauerd þe for-bedis him to sla,
þi dere son, þat þu loues sua;
þu loues him mare widvten wene
þan þi sone, þat es nou sene.
Ful wele þu loues him and dredis,
And wele he sal ȝeild þe þi medis.
ȝe sal his blissing haue for-qui,
Mekil he sal ȝou multepli,
For luue of þi ferli fay,
Sal ilk a lede cum to þi lay.
God has þe uysited so to-day,
þi dede in mening sal last ay;
þi buxumnes all folk sal find
þat sal be bred out of þi kind."
Of þis letting he was ful glad,
And did as þe angel him bad,
þat schepe he slow and siþen he brent,
And hamward on his way he went.
þe fader gan þe sone for-bede,
Til ani man to tell þis dede,
"Fader," he said, "be þu ful bald,
For me ne bes it neuer tald."
þai went again to bersabe,
þare þai had left þair meyne.
Page  193

[Of the death of Sarah, and the search for Isaac's wife.]

Sex skor ȝere and seuen liued sara,
And died widuten childer ma;
þan ysaac no ma scho bare,
And abraham for hir had care,
In ebron hir grof abraham,
þar first was grauen hali adam.
Abraham wald in his liue,
þat ysaac had wed a wiue,
[folio 23a:2] And wal scho ware, if sua miht be,
Bath of his kind and of his contre;
Men suld hir seke wid-in þat land,
þar his frendes ware weldand.
A sergaunt þan comandid he,
þat mast wist of his priuete,
þat had ben ay at his finding,
Euer siþen þat he was child ȝeing;
Apon his kne he did him suere,
þat he suld þan lele erand bere,
And þat he suuld giue hal talent,
To fulfille his comandment.
"Frend," he said, "þu wend in hy
vn-til mesopothani,
(þar þu wat vr frendes won,)
To seke a wijf vnto mi sun.
And if scho may be funden þare,
þu bring hir ham wid mekil fare;
Bot i wil þu bring him nan
þat es of þe kind of canaan."
"Sir," said þe sergant, "qual sal i do?
þe may þat ȝe wild haue, if scho
wid noght hider cum wid me?"
"þan of þi trouth i make þe fre,
For ysaac, wid no forward,
wil i þat he wend thyderward." Page  195
"Gladli, sir, it sal be don."
þe sergaunt made him redi son,
And boune was mad to his busking,
Tresur gret wid precius thing,
Slik als maydens has of mister,
All þat ten chamelis miht ber,
Ring and broche þat war selli proud,
Gold and ston for mayden schrud,
þat qua him sau miht vnderstand
He comen was fra a riche land.
To mesopothamie suith cam he, [folio 23b:1]
And sone he fand þe soth cyte,
And quen he com nerehand þe toun,
Bi a welle he lithed doun;
A prayer made he in þat place,
And þus he bisoght god of his grace,
"Lauerd," he said, "þat all welde may,
þat my lauerd honurs euer and ay,
For quas loue he wild noght warn,
To sacrifice his aune barn,
Til quam to seke a wijf i fare,
Lauerd þu send me an sum-quar,
And sua mi seruis sett at seme,
þat to þi worschip may be quene,*. [[read queme]]
And suilk a wijf to ysaac
þat may be gaynand him to tak,
Him to yoi and mensk to þe;
Lauerd, þu grant it sua may be.
And graunt me bi þis welle here,
Traist to be of my praiere,
For bi þis welle sal i abide,
Quat of mine erand may bytide;
Here sal i abide til þat i se
Maidens cum fra þis cyte,
þair watir at þis welle to drau,
þar sal i mi womman knau; Page  197
Scho þat sal bete my threst,
I sal hir hold as for þe best."
Had he noght rested bot a thrau,
Of maydens sau he com a rau,
þe formast was unlauthir milde,
Hir semed na thing to be wilde,
Ne was scho noght of lath thing liht,
Rebecca was hir name scho hiht,
Hir fadir was cald batuel.
Hir semed all hir werkes wel,
Sittandli hir watir tok, [folio 23b:2]
þe sergant fast gan apon hir loke,
þat was bath witti and deuyse,
And said to hir on þis kin wise;
"Mayden," he said, "giue þu me drine,
For i haue þe sumdele in suink,
I am a man farand þe way,
Mi harnays dun here did i lay,
Of mi passage was i in doute,
For na man kneu I here aboute;
Me war loth if i miht me were,
Men did me harm of mi gere."
"Leue fremd," scho said, "þin asking
Ne es noght bot a littel thing,
þu sal it haue wid gode will,
And þin chameyles sal drinc þair fill,
For vs ne wantis here na vessel,
Bolle ne bockett, ne na fonel."
Scho drow þaim al enogh to drinc,
Left scho noght for hir suynk,
And euer ilk fote miht he noght blinne,
To bihold þat fair maydene,
Hou all hir dedis bigane hir seme,
þe sergaunt thoght þaim selcuth queme.
"Say me," he said, "bi þi hand,
Has þu ani fadir liueand?" Page  199
"Sir," scho said, "ȝa, and moþer wid al,
Til hous gladli þai wil þe call,
Fodder and hay þu sal find boune,
Nan fayrer Innes in all þe toune."

[Of the marriage of Isaac.]

And he hir gaf a gifte on-ane,
A gold ring þat brihtly schane,
Thankand godd te erde he fell;
þe mayden ran hom tiþand to tell.
Scho had a broþer hight laban,
And he ran forth egain þe man,
wid taking wer þai samen knaun, [folio 24a:1]
To riche gestnyng was he draun.
þan wist þai bi þis messager,
Abraham him was sibb ful nere;
Ete no drinc nouþer he wolde,
Til he him had his erand told,
Til þat þe sekirnes was tane,
Licnes to reuyn had he nane.
Sua wele worth suilk a messager!
To send a message for to bere,
þat reckes of him seluen right noght,
Til þat his lauerdes nedes be wroght.
þe mariage þan did he make,
Bi-tuene Rebecca and ysaac,
Ilkan gaf he giftes sere,
Efter þat þai worthi were,
And cledd þe may wid riche wede,
Als þe lau was in þat lede.
Ilk man gaf he sumkines thing,
And Batuel mad him fair gestning.
At morn wid goddes benisun,
Rebecca was ledd vte of þe tun,
Hir moder als wid hir scho ledd,
And rad til þai com nere þat stedd, Page  201
þar wonand was sir abraham;
And ysaac was noght fra ham,
ysaac went him forto ro,
And thoght on thinges he had to do,
He ȝede þar walkand bi þe strete,
And com egaynes him to mete.
þan said Rebecca, "quat man es he,
þat tilward vs comand i se?"
He drow hir nere and still spac,
"ȝon es my lauerd, sir ysaac,
It es þe kayser þat sal be þin,
Of him nou sal þu haue sesin.
Til his bihoue i þe soght, [folio 24a:2]
In seli time and wid me broght."
þe sergaunt did hir dun to liht,
In better aray hir forto dyht,
Scho hir arayed in better wede,
A mantel aboue clad in rede;
And þou scho schamful was, i-wis,
Scho tynt na contenanse wid þis.
Rebecca and ysaac er samen
Mete wid mekil gle and gamen,
wid mekil mirth thar no man wene,
was broght to hous þat mayden schene.
And þan þai made þe mariage
þat fell vnto riche eritage.
þe mekil loue of Rebecca
Feld þe soru of dame sarra;
Suilk er in þis lijf ful thic,
For-getis þe dede for þe quic:
Bot þai it did for sum resun,
And thoru significacion.
Ismael had wiues thrin,
þat kinges tuelue com of him,
þai held as men war mihtiest,
þe landes þat lay in to þe est, Page  203
Gret farli was þe kin to tell,
was multeplied of ysmael.
abraham efter dame sarra,
Tok a wijf hight cephura,
Of hir he had a sone hith madan,
And a-noþer hight madian;
Noght for lust of licheri,
Bot for his sede suld multipli,
Als godd him had biforand hiht,
Tok a wijf, for sua was riht.
Tuix his childer he delt his auht,
His land to ysaac he bitauht,
For he was born of mariage, [folio 24b:1]
wid riht he bade his eritage.
An hundred ȝere seuenti and fyue,
Quen abraham had ledd his lyue,
He deyed in treuth and in halihede.
His sones dohuti were of dede;
þai wepe his dede and sua did ma,
And laid him bi his wijf sara.
In godd was euer his feith feste,
vr lauerd vs bring in to his reste!
Suilk a rest in for to cum,
þat we may wid him seluen won. Amen.
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]

Nou es gode to vndertake, þe stori to tell of sir ysaace.

Ovre lauerd, þat es of bounte bone,
Til him he gaf his benisone,
wijs he was & godd he dredd,
And gladli his bidding he didd.
widuten child his wijf was lang,
And þat thoght ysaac ferli strang, Page  205
He praid to him þat all may mende,
þat he wild him sum childer sende,
For his wijf he dredd ful sare,
Scho suld be geld for euermare.
þe gode childer getin of grace,
vnne[the]se cum þai forth in place,
Bot quen þai cum forth, wele es kend
þat þai of goddes grace er send.
Child vnethes had dame sare,
Rebecca, Rachel, and anna,
Ne ȝit þe hali Elizabeth,
To haue hir birth com scho nohut eth,
Of saint iohn þe baptist,
þat til man scheud iesu crist.
Alsua semes, qua right can deme,
Bes of Rebecca barn-teme,
Scho had noght þaim for-þi i say, [folio 24b:2]
Ar þai were sohut many a day.
Godd hiht þaim childer noght for-þi,
þat of his sede suld multipli,
And said, "ysaac, i sal be,
Als wid þi fader, alsua wid þe."
Ysaac gaf to godde his tende,
And prayd he suld him childer send,
Sua lang he praid þat his praier
Wele was herd wid god sua dere.
His wijf þat lang child had forgan,
Nou scho bredis tua for an;
Of tuynlinges hir thoght na gamen,
þat in hir wombe faght oft samen,
Sua hard in hir wombe þai faght,
þat scho ne had rest day ne naght.
To pray to godd ay was scho prest,
To consail hir quat were best,
Quat hir war best he suld hir rede,
Hir lijf was lickes to be dede; Page  207
Sua wonder strang it was, þair were,
þat þai miht nohut þair strijf forbere
Til þai had of þaim seluen might
To se quere-for þat þai suld fight.
Fra þe biginyng of þe world,
Of suilk a were was naquar herd,
Ne suilk a strijf of childer tuine,
þat lay þair moder wombe wid-ine.
þair strut it was vnsterne stithe,
wid wrethly wraystes oþer wreche,
Betuix vnborn a batayle blind,
Suilk on was ferli to find.
He þat on þe right side lay,
His broþer oft him wraisted away,
And he þat lay apon þe left,
His broþer oft his stede him reft.
þe leuedi was ful ferli dradd, [folio 25a:1]
As womman þat ful hard was stad,
Bo[t] vr lauerd of sothfastnes
Had don hir into sekernes,
Thoru his verra propheteye,
Quat suld be þa childer enuye,
Of þair werre and of þair lijf,
And quat ensample bar þair strijf.
For-þi buxum baret scho bar,
And kneu confort suld cum of care.
Hir breding was ful selcuth sare,
And hir childing mekil mare,
þan wex þe fight more þan beforn,
Queþer of þaim suld first be born.*. [Lines 2569 to 2622 have been here repeated by mistake, and then crossed through.]
¶ Strang es for to schere þe schar,
þe miht of kinde es funden mare;
Of þir tua breþer þat i of mote,
þe less þe mare laght bi þe fote,
In trauayling, and drew egayn;— [folio 25b:1]
Ful hard it was þair moþer pain. Page  209
þat first was born was rohw wid har,
þe toþer child was sleyth and bar;
He þat was rohw was rede wid-all,
Esau þai did him to call;
Iacob hight þe ȝonger broþer,
His moder him loued mare þan þe toþer.
For-þi was he noquer sent,
Bot to þe hous ay tok he tent,
þe hous to kepe and tent þe mete,
Mast to þat mister was he sett.
þe faþer loued Esau for fode,
For-þi þat he was an archer gode,
And quen he wald ay was he bone,
To gete his fadir venisun.
And he was als þe formast born,
He delt al wid tylth of corn,
He delt alsua w[id] oþer thinges sere,
Of best, of wode, of foul, of reuere;
His fader þat ald was and vnfere,
Oft he fedd wid gode dinere.
Gode was þe world in þ[a]t sesun,
And mekil it uayled þe benisun
Of gode men þat wele held þair fai,
On childer þat þai wald it on lay.
Of blissing may men bisening tak,
Be þir childer of ysaak,
Hou þe ȝonger of þa tua,
þe blissing stale his broþer fra.
Bot first es gode þat it be tald,
Hou esau his broþer sald.
Esau went for to hunt
A day, as he was oftin wont,
Bath fer and nere he has sohut,
Bot þat day gamen fand he noght;
[folio 25b:2] For haue men neuer so gode graith,
Ilk day es noght tyme of waith, Page  211
Bot riuely þat dai þat men failes,
About his gamen mast trauayles.
Quen he al weri was for-gan,
Ham he tok his way on-an,
For hauke es eth, as i here say,
To reclaime þat has tint his prai.
His broþer he fand giuand his tent
For to make a riche pulment,
"Of þis mete mi broþer," he said,
"Giue me sum part þat þu has grayd;
Mete and drinc þu has at will,
And lang es siþen i ete mi fill."
Iacob said, "nay, god it witt,
To þe haue i nohut graithid itt,
þe mete my moþer me bitaght,
For þu and i er seldom saght;
Aboute vr for-birth er we wrath;
Bot þu sal suere me an ath,
þat þu sal neuer fra þis night
In þi for-birth clayme na right."
"For-birth," he said, "quat seruis it me?
Broþer, at þi will all sal it be."
wid þat forward he made a vou,
And said, "for hunger i dey riht nou;"
And for his fille of þat potage,
As a wrecche he sold his eritage,
He ete and dranc and went his way,
And tynt his blissing fra þat day.
Na bote it was þou him forthoght,
Godd wold it were his þat it boght.
Ysaac, þat dohuti man,
vnfere and elde apon him ran,
Of bodi fayled him þe miht
And of eyen al sua þe siht.
þe man þat sua wid elde es diht, [folio 26a:1]
His day es turned into nyht, Page  213
And haue man ben neuer so bald,
Quen þat he bicomis alde,
Til vnweild bigines to falle
His body, it waxes drey and dall.
His heued bigines for to schake,
His handes vmquile for to quake,
It crepis crouland in his bac,
And his bonis for to crac,
þe frely fax to fall of him,
And þe siht to wax al dim.
þe front it frounsis, þat was schene,
þe nese it droppis ay bi-tuene,
þe teth to rote, þe and to stinc,
Alone to lyue trauayl him thinc.
þan es eth þe fote to spurne,
Quen he fallis wid his aun turne;
He praysis al thing þat es gan,
Of present thing he prayses nan;
þan es eth to make him wrath,
To sahutingis him sum-del lath:
To teche men wid his aun witt,
He haldes nan sua wis as itt,
Quen all witt es fra him gan,
And wille þat welth es mast of an,
Bot nankines wile may ald man pai
Ful baldli þan dar i say.
He þat in suilk stat es stadd,
Es no gle may make him gladd.
Elde es nou a selcuth thing,
For all it ȝernis þat er ȝing,
Quen þai it haue þai er vnfayn,
And þan wold þai be ȝong again,
þan wold þai be as þai war ar,
And þat may þai be neuer mar.
Sua has elde þis ysaac ledd, [folio 26a:2]
þat he in langure lis in bedd, Page  215
Him wantis siht, as i said ȝou,
And cald on his sun esau.
"Esau, leue sone," he said,
"Ga loke þi takil be puruaid,
And fond to stalk þe sua nere
þat þu may hapin to sla sum dere;
If þu may ani venisun gete,
Gladli wild i þarof ete.
Leue sone, þu hast hiþer till
Gladli don þi fadris will,
þu art archer wid þe best,
Bath in feld and in forest,
If þu may bring me ani best,
þu diht it me fair and honest.
þar efter nou me langes sare,
Here þar i liy in bedd of care.
Sun," he said, "i wil noght lye,
It bes noght lang ar þat i die,
Ga bring me nou sum venisun,
And þu sal haue mi benisun."
"Sir," he said, "gladli and sone,
wid goddes help it sal be done."
His moder tok tent to ysaac,
And herd þe wordes þat he spac,
And wist of lang lijf was he noght;
Avoyde scho hir, and vmbethoght.
Iacob hir sun scho called hir to,
And þus til him þus said scho,
"Mi leue sone, i wil þe warn,
For-qui þu art mi derest barn,
þi fadir badd þi broder gang
To set him mete, and duel nohut lang,
þat if he ani wath miht gete,
He suld him dight þar-of to ete;
For war he anys þar-wid fedd [folio 26b:1]
Ar he deyed in carful bedd, Page  217
His benisun he wild him gete,—
For lang he wat he may noght speke.
Bot leue sun, ful lath me ware
þat he þi benisun fra þe bare,
vnhappi wrecche has he ben ay,
þi sele he sal noght bere away;
Bot þu sal do nu mi consail,
wele i wat it sal þe avail.
Nou hey þe suith, þat þu ne blin,
Ar þat þi broder be comen in,
Of kiddis fatt þu fett me tua,
I sal þe teche hou þu sal da.
I sal þaim dight til his bihoue,
A mete as he was wont to loue,
It sal him sauor to his wille,
Ete he sal þar-of his fille;
Quen it es diht þu it him reche,—
Do nou wele as i þe teche.
And þat he may þe less mistrau,
þu sal say þat þu art esau,
Fra þe forest neuli comen,
venisun þou hast him nomen,
wid daynte diht to his bihoue;
þu bidd him rise and þarof proue,
þat þu may gete bi þis resun
Of þi fader his benisun."
"Moder," he said, "wis war þi lare,
Ne war of a thing i drede sare,
þu wost mi handis er al bare,
and esaues er rohw wid hare.
If mi fader þat nou es blind,
May mi gile sua vnder find,
I drede me sar, of benisun
He sal me giue his malisun."
"Do way, leue son," rebecca said, [folio 26b:2]
"þat malisun apon me be laid, Page  219
Bot þat i bad, þu bring me sone."
"Gladli, moþer, it sal be done."
Iacob went into þe fold,
And broght þa kiddes þat i of tald,
His moder smartly þaim dight,
Als scho bifor had him hight,
And clad him, als it was mete,
wid his broder cloth þat smelled suete.
wid a rohu skyn scho hillid his hals,
And couerd þar-wid his handes als,
þat his fader suld algat trou
He were his sun esau.
His moder him þis mete bi-tahut,
And he it suith his fader rahut,
"Fader," he said, "sitt vp and ett,
I haue þe broght þi ȝerning mett."
"And quat art þu?" his fader said.
"Sir, i esau, þi mete es graid."
"And quatkines mete?" "sir, venisun,
Ete and giue me þi benisun."
"Hou es it, son, þu spedd so sone?"
"Almithi godd has herd my bone,
And sent hit smartli to mi hand,
Men au to thanc him of his sand."
"Cum nere, leue son, and lat me fele,
If þu be he i loue sua wele."
Quen he had felt his smelland clath,
And gropid his hals and handes bath,
"þis voice," he said, "þat i here,
Is of iacob widuten were,
Bot handis and hals es, als i trou,
Mi dere sun, þi child esau;
þe sauor sone of þi vestment,
It sauors as it war of piment.
I sal wend forth, þu duelles here, [folio 27a:1]
Mi blissing, sun, þan sal þu bere. Page  221
þi broder be þin vnderlout,
And all þat wonis þe nere aboute;
And all þa sone þat blisses þe,
Blissed sal þaim seluen be;
And all þat biddis þe malisun
Sal bere it on þair aun croun."
He ete and dranc þat was his will,
And siþen his sone he called him till,
His brod blissing he him gaf,
þe quilk his broder wend to haue,
And made him lauerd ouer all his kin;
Bot þat was wid his moder gyn,
Hir moder consail was þar-vnto,
And godd wald scho suld sua do.
Bot iacob went quen þis was don,
And esau cam efter sone,
"Fader," he said, "sitt vp in bedd,
I haue þe broght quar-of be fedd,
Of venisun þat i þe bring
Ete, and giue me þi blissing."
His fader him asked, "quat art þu?"
"Sir, þi sone," he said, "i esau."
[*. [[from Laud MS. 416]]Sonne he seid for my prow
Thow were here at me right now]
"I?" he said, "nay godote,
Mith i noght be sua liht of fote!"
wid þis gaue ysaac a grone,
"Sone," he said, "riht nou was one
þat first me fedd and siþen me kist,
And me bigilid þat i ne wist;
Mi benisun nou has þi broder."
"And fader," he said, "es þar non oþer?"
"Na, son, also mote i haue mede."
"Allas quat i am broght in nede!
Away he has mi blissing born,
Sua did he als þe toþer morn. Page  223
[folio 27a:2] He has me done ful mekil schame,
Rihtful was iacob cald his name,
þat es to say in riht langage,
Supplanter of eritage,
For quan i first born suld be,
wid strinth agayn þan drou he me;
He has me done ofte vnresun,
And nou me reft mi benisun,
Me es sua wa, almast i wede;
Fader, þis was na broder-hede.
Consail me, fader, hu i sal liue."
"Son, quat kines consail may i þe giue?"
"And es þar, fader, na blissing left?"
"Na, þi broþer it has þe reft."
"And es þar, fader, nan oþer wan?"
"Wan," he said, "es nan bot an.
In þe deu and griss alsua,
Sal be þi blissing quar þu ga,
wid erde trauail, and sua þu do,
And prai godd send his deu þar-to."
"Lord," he said, "quat es me best,
Min hert bes neuer mar in rest
Bituix and þis iacob be dede,
If i may gete him in any stede."
þus esau wid his manasce,
vte of þat land did iacob chasce.
Quen þair moder sau it was sua,
He sohut his broder for to sla,
Scho sent him sone into aran,
Til hir broþer þat hight laban,
þer to soiorne for þair sake
Till þat his broþer wreth suld slake.
Be niht þe flom iordane he wode,
And thoru a wildrenes he ȝode,
He loked quare þat him war best,
Bi þe way to take his rest. Page  225
He tok a stan he fand him bi, [folio 27b:1]
And þar-apon made his hefd to ly.
In slepe he sau alleddir him by,
Stand fra his hefd vp to þe sky;
Apon þat ledder sau he boun,
Angelis clymand vp and doun,
Opin him thoght þe ȝate of heuen,
Of godd he herd suilk a steuen,
"Godd and lord," he said, "i am
Of ysaac and of abraham.
Iacob," he said, "þu sal haue tuyne
Wiues of þin aun kine,
Tua dohutyrs of laban, þin eme,
þat þu sal haue wid barnteme.
Wid þe sal i be in al þi nede,
And ger þin ospring wide to sprede.
I sal be, for þin eldris sake,
Wid þe, and esau for-sake."
Wele was he gladid of þat sight,
Soft him thoght he slep þat nyht.
On þe morn quen it was day,
Iacob ras fra þar he lay,
And said, "vr lauerd, widuten were,
þat i wist nohut es wonnand here,
Here es nan oþer thing," said he,
"Bot goddes hous and heuen entre."
þe ston his heued lay apon þat night,
In takning, he it sett vp-right,
And oyle he putt apon þat ston,
And made to godd a voice anon,
And said, "if godd be mi freind,
And lede me in my way i wend,
And send me mete and drinc and cloth,
And bring me again widuten loth,
vnto my kith þat i com fra,—
If i finde þat he lede me sua,— Page  227
He sal be mi god and mi king, [folio 27a:2]
And þis ston stand as in tokni[n]g;
And þis stede fra nou it sal
Be clepid goddes aun hall.
Of all þe gode he dos me weild,
Lelely þe tend i sal him ȝeild."
Iacob went him forth his way,
Quar thre flockes of bestes lay
Bi-side a welle, vp-on a feild,
And iacob sau and biheld,
A mekil stan apon it lay;
þat bestes dranc at ilka day.
þe herdes bi þaim fand he þare,
And askid þaim queþer þat þai ware?
"Sir," þai said, "we are of aran."
"And knau ȝe aut," he said, "laban?"
"Sir, ȝa;" "and es he hale and fere?"
"ȝa, hal and sound, widuten were;
ȝonder i se his dohutir rachell
Driuand his bestes to þe well,
For all þe flockis cumes hiþer
Ilk a day, to drinc togider."
þan cam Rachell þat maydin bright,
Iacob lifted vp þat ston ful wight,
And spac sua wid þat damysel,
And kneu him þar wid may rachel;
And said, "quat art þu, lemman?"
"Sir, my fadir hight laban."
Aboute þe hals he hir hint,
And kist hir thries ar he stint.
"I am iacob þi cosin nere,
And for þi loue am i comen here."
þe may, quen scho gan vnderstand
þat iacob suld be hir husband,
To laban tald scho neu tydand,
And he him ledd bi þe hand. Page  229
þai frained of þair freindes fare, [folio 28a:1]
And he þaim tald bath less and mare,
Laban for-faynhed he did to call
For his neuou sake his freindes call;
And siþen he did him for to say,
Quat was þe enchesun of his way.
"Sir," he said, "i wil þe tell,
For to spouse þi dohutyr Rachiell."
"þan sal þu serue me seuen ȝere,
Ar þu sal haue mi dohutir dere."
"Gladly, sir, sua sal it be,"
Fra þan wid laban duelled he.
þe eldir sister he for-soke,
For scho gleyed, sua sais þe bock;
For to serue for rachel fre
He was maister herde of his fe;
It was ferly of þat fare,
Hou mekil þai multiplied ware.
Quen þat þe seuen ȝere war gan,
Iacob askid him his lemman,
Laban said, "frend, ful blethily,"
Bot þar he did a tricheri.
For quen he had may rachel wedd,
Lya he stal vnto his bedd,
Be-side lya al niht he lay,
His vnwytand til hit was day.
Bot quen he wist it on þe morn,
Ful wa was him þat euer he was born.
Fra hir he ras and syhid sare,
And askid hir quo had broght hir þar.
"Laban," scho said, "allas for sinne,
Qua wend he wild me þus biginne."
þan did he laban to resun,
"Qui did þu me suilk a tresun?"
"VI laue," he said, "þat we in leue,
wil first vr eldir dohutir geue. Page  231
Bot neueue murne þu no wite, [folio 28a:2]
þu sal haue rachel as i þe hite,
And þat may be nan oþer wise
Bot ȝeit for þi seuin ȝere seruise.
To-quiles hold lya in þi bedd,
For-soth þan sal þu rachel wedd."
þis new forward was festind þan,
Bituix iacob and laban,
His terme was passid, and seuin dais
He weddid Rachel, þe stori sais.
Lya bred child and had a son,
Ruben, and siþen symeon,
þan leuy, þan ysacar,
Zabulon, Iudas, sex breder war,
A dohutir scho had, þat hith dina.
Bot of oþer and wimmen tua
Had foure sunes getin of him,
Dan, Gad, Asser, and nyptalim.
Rachel bar Iacob sones tuin,
First joseph, and siþen beniamin.
þat was a chesun of hir fin
On þaim scho dyed in gesin.
Quat of his wiues, tua of spouse,
And quat of hand-wimmen in house,
Tuelue sonis had he of þa,
And a dohutir þat hiht dina.

[Jacob returns to his own land, and meets Esau.]

Iacob wex riche, his childer thraf,
Thoru þe grace þat godd him gaf.
þan bigan þat take taland,
To wend into þair kindly land,
wid wijf and child, wid an assent,
Ilkan in hand wid oþer went. Page  233
Laban of leue said þaim nay,
And þai be niht stal away,
wijf and barn wid flitting hale,
All stal þai forth on þe nihttertale.
A godd hadd laban in his boure [folio 28b:1]
þe quilk he was wont to honure,
And in þair flitting rachel it fand,
And forth scho bar it in hir hand;
Laban it missed, ouer-all it soght,
Bot his god ne fand he noght.
Iacob went him forth his way,
On þe feild widuten he lay,
Apon þat a side of flum iordane,
And sent his ahut ouer ilkane.
Iacob lay bi him-selue þat night,
In hand he lahut an angel briht,
þat in handis werstild þai,
All þe niht til it was dai.
þe angel said, "þu lat me fare."
He said þat suld he neuer mare
Late him passe for ani thing
Tille he ha giuen him his blissing.
Sua lang þai wrestild samen þar,
þat iacob was him hurt ful sare
þe maistir synew of his the,
þat euer siþen halted he,
And for þis resun i tell ȝou nou
Of synews etis neuer na ieuu.
þan askid godd, widuten blame,
And bid him say quat hiht his name.
"Iacob i hate." "Iacob ȝa,
Sal þu na langer be cald sua,
Bot þu sal be called isRael,
þat es man seand godd of hele;
For þu egain godd es sua stalworth,
wel mare again man sal þu be worth." Page  235
Iacob sent þan for-to fonde,
Esau wid sahutinyng sonde,
For he was dredd in all thing,
For-to cum in his meting;
For quen he of his coming herd, [folio 28b:2]
Ful wrathli agaynes him he ferd,
Foure hundrid men ȝode him wid,
Gode were iacob fra his aun grith;
And sua he sal, þat wat i wele,
For he es all vmsett wid sele.
Iacob sent him of his ahut
Giftes large wid him to sahut,
þe messager him brohut ansuer,
He com egayn him wid gret pouer.
Iacob ledd gret folk of his kin,
For doute he delt þaim in tuin,
For þe gret doute þat he had þan
He delt in tua bath best and man,
þat quiles esau smat an of þa,
þe toþer parti suld schap þaim fra.
Iacob dred esau ful sare,
For he was fell and wild nohut spare,
þat if he miht him aniquar ta,
widuten pite he wild him sla;
And þus he made þan his praier,
"Lauerd," he said, "my godd sua dere,
þat first made adam man of lijf,
And siþen of him made eue his wijf,
þat had þai holdin þat þu þaim badd,
þai had in bliss ben euer stadd:
And ald noe, bath lele and god,
þu saued fra þat ferly flodd:
þu wat mi lauerd þat i es sua,
Mi broder es nou mj mast fa,
þat thoru mi moder rede and roun
I stal fra him his benisun. Page  237
Here ouer þis flum last quen i ferd,
In hand i bar nohut bot a ȝerd,
And nou mi lauerd, blissed þu be,
Of folk tua flockes cumes wid me.
Lauerd! þu send nu me þi rede, [folio 29a:1]
Egain esau has suorn mi dede,
For man þat þu wil helpe in nede,
Ne thar him neuer na ferednes drede.
Of þis gret haut þu has me lent,
I haue þarof bi-for me sent,
For ar þat he all þa haue slain,
He sal be masid of his mayn;
þe quilis if þu will þai sal pasce,
And cum nohut in his hand percas."
Esau cumis brime wid mekil route,
Nou es iacob in mekil doute,
He suore miht he wid him mete,
Formast his lijf he suld for-lete.
Bot qua þat godd helpis wid-all,
Traistli may he wend ouer-all.
Quen he sau his folk and his ahut
His broder þan he sohut wid sahut
And for his come was wonder blith,
þat gam he wil wid kissing kyth:
Suilk strinthe es of þe hali gast,
To sahutling make þair wrethes mast.
He welcumed iacob wonder faire,
He wist he was his fadir ayre,
widuten wrethe, widuten wrake,
Of loue and pes þai samen spac.
Quen þai had said þat þai wald say,
Esau went him ham his way,
vnto syer, þer he cam fra,
And iacob till his fadir gan ga,
For ȝeit he was liueand,
Rebecca his moder dede he fand. Page  239
þis ysaac þat i of rede,
In bock es cald þe lastand sede,
He ledd his lijf widuten blame,
And birid es be-side abraham:
Nine skor ȝere he had ouer-gan, [folio 29a:2]
vte of þis world wen he was tan.
Quen þis douthi man was dede,
þir breder to þaim tok to rede,
To dele þair landis þaim bituene,
And þen miht þai liue widuten tene.
Til esau bi-tid Ebron,
And iacob went into Edon.

þe stori of iacob be-gines here, And alsua of his sonis sere.

IAcob was selcuth riche of fe,
Of alkins gode he had plente,
He was ful riche als we rede,
Loued and lele in ilka lede,
Bot þou he loued his sonis ilkan,
Sua wele as ioseph loued he nan;
For he was fair, widuten sake,
Of breder had he nan his make,
All his breþer war herdis, i say,
Bot he duelled at ham al-way.
þis was ioseph þat lele þat dredd
þat loueword had sua spedili spredd,
þat wise, þat chast, þat gentile,
þat siþen suffrid sua gret perele;
Bot of þa perelis þat he was inne,
Sumquat to tell i sal biginne,
And hou he cam vte of his wa,
Into his wele, ȝe sal here alsua.
Ioseph saw a niht in sueuen,
þe quilk es worthi forto neuen. Page  241
Him thoght his fader þair corn schare,
þar his elleuen breþer ware,
Him-self was an þe feld biside,
To gadir corn in heruist tyde;
His breþer scheuis he sau lutand
Til his alone, þat was standand.
Anoþer drem þar efter sone, [folio 29b:1]
Him thouth bath sune and mone,
And of þe mast þat war in heuen
Honurd him sternis elleuen,
All loutid him on þair manere,
Right als he þair lauerd were.
He tald it þaim and þai said, "hou
May þis be-tyde? quat wist þu?
For to be lauerd ouer vs all?
þat bliss sal þe neuer fall."
Fra þis time forth, dai ne naght,
wid ioseph war þai neuer saght,
Enuye þai had til him sua strang,
þai soght him ay to greue with wrang.
Ne wald þai neuer apon him se,
Fra þat day bot wid enmite.
Ioseph was mast at ham duelland;
His breder mast in wildrenes beand,
wid þair fe bituene þa lawis,
Als it bi-tid in þas dawis;
Bi þir storijs men may wele se
Men liued þat time mast wid fe.
þir breder þat i spac of are,
Amang þa fellis duelland war,
þat nan koud tydand of þaim tell,
For þay sent na man þaim emell.
þair fadir, þat of þaim witt wald,
Ioseph his sone til him he cald,
"Sun," he said, "þu most al-gate
Go wit of þi breder state; Page  243
Lang es siþen we of þaim herd,
þiair fe als wold i wit hou ferd."
"Fader," he said, "i wil ful fain,
þi bidding wil i noght stand agayn."
He went forth and wist noght quar
Graytly quere his breder ware,
Bot ar he to his breder wan, [folio 29b:2]
wil he went and met a man,
"Quat sekes þu here, sun," said he,
"Sir, my breder, and mi fader fe."
þan ansuerd þat man to him,
"þu sal þaim find in dotaym."
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
He went him forth and ferder soght,
Til he þaim fand he fined noght.
Quen þai him sau cum ioseph þair broder,
Ilkan of þaim said þan til oþer,
"Lo! quer þe dremer nou es comen!
Be miht god he sal be nomen,
Lat vs do him to dreri dede,
Loke quat his drem sal stand in-sted."
Ful fain þai were þai þar him fand,
Nou þai may haue him to wille in hand.
If þai bifor him auht for-bar
Nou þai wil him noght spar.
On was eldest of þa elleuen,
þe quilk ȝe herd me ruben neuen,
Quen he herd þai wild him sla,
Na wonder þan þow him was wa,
Stynt it wold he if he moght,
þe foly þat his breder on him soght.
All he sau þaim in a will
þair broder sacles for to spille.
"Mi breder," he saide, "dos ȝe naght sua,
I rede noght ȝe ȝoure broder sla, Page  245
þat es ȝour aun fless and blod,
To murder him it es noght god;
And if ȝe do, for-soth mi will
Sal ȝe neuer haue þer-till.
And if ȝe do suilk an vtrack,
Fu sekir may ȝe be of wrake,
And ȝoure schending be mast cuth;
All men sal ȝou haue in mouth;
þat baret rede i noght ȝe breu [folio 30a:1] ,
þat ȝou for euer eftir rew.
He has ȝou na-thing done, for-qui
ȝe haue noght again him bot enuy;
And wit his fader þat he be slane,
His lijf-dais all tell i for-gan."
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
"For man þat liuand es, na wijf,
Ne sal he schape fra vs wid þe lijf."
Quen ruben sau þar was nan oþer,
Bot algat þai wild sla þair broþer,
"For godes luue, do way," he said,
"þat na hand on him be laid,
þat na blod off him be schedd,
Bot if he algat suld be dede,
Do it þan wid suilk a wile
þat ȝe noght ȝour handis file.
In þis wast i wot a pitt,
Drey and waterles es itt,
þar ouer it standis a mekil tre,—
Cast him þer inne and lat him be.
Bituix and he o-liue be broght,
þen may we say we sau him noght;
His cirtil sul we riue and rent,
And blodi til his fadir it sent.
And say to him þat we it fand
widin þe wildreness ligand; Page  247
And say we þat he riuen es
wid wild bestis in wildrenes.
þan wil na man of vs mak saue,
þat we him suld haue done of daue.
Dos," said ruben, "as i ȝou say,"
For he wild lede him quick a-way.
"Gladly," said þay at þat hete;
þai hent Ioseph bi hend and fete,
And nakind him and kest him dun,
And left him þar als in prisun.
Siþen þai sett þaim doun and ete [folio 30a:2] ,
þen sau þai comand bi þe strete
Marchandes of an vncuth lede
Of egipt, as we in bokis rede,
wid camaylis þat gret birdins bar
Of spices and of oþer ware.
Emang þas breder an þar was
Quas name þat was cald Iudas,
He said, "quat bote were it til vs
þat we for-did vr broder þus?
Bote take we him vte of ȝon den,
And selle we him to ȝone chepmen,
þat þai may lede him in fer land
To be þair thral euer-mar liuand.
If it sua tyde þat he die þare,
It es til vs bot littel care;
And if he be þer-inne lyuand,
His fadir of him heris no tiþand."
þar was ioseph in seruage sold
For tuenti besauntis tan and told.
Nou es Ioseph ledd vte of land,
God hald ouer him his hali hand.
Ruben þat mast of þaim was i-wis,
He wist noght of þis marchandis,
Apon þe morn he cam and soght
þe pitt, bot ioseph fand he noght. Page  249
He murned mare þan i can tell,
Almast in suounyng doun he fell,
Til his breder ȝode he sone,
And þai him tald quat þai had don.
Quat bote es langer to make mane
For thing þat couering es þar nane?
His fadir þai sent widuten bade
Ioseph kirtil al blodi made;
Quen his fadir his cirtil kneu,
Miht na man gamen him no gleu:
[folio 30b:1] "A best," he said, "mi son has rent,
Allas þat euer i him out sent!
þat way þat was sua wild to wend,
þat al mi loue on him gan lend.
Allas! wittles was i þat day!
Of him has bestis made þar pray;
þis was his clath, þat es wele sene,
A! quat þat best was wonder kene
þat has me reft mi dereling dere,
Mi ioy, mi gladnes of mi chere.
Ioseph, þu was mi ioy allon,
Nou art þu ded, and i haue non;
Ioseph þat was fre and fair,
of all myn ahut suld haue ben air,
For þi suetenes and þi fair heu.
Mi care sal euermare be neu;
I wald sinc in-to hell depe,
wid mj son þar-for to wepe."
Bot all his murni[n]g for to rede,
Or for to speke, it were vnspede;
His oþer sonis cam ilkan sere
For to mende þair fader chere,
Bot al for noght com þai him nere,
Of confort wald he nathing here,
Es noght his murning may a-mend
I trou bi-fore his liues ende. Page  251
Leue we nou of iacob and his care,
To tell of ioseph and his fare.
Þir chapmen þat has ioseph boght,
Into egipt þai him broght,
þar he eftsonis was sald
Til a dohuti berne and bald,
To putyfar þe kinges stuard,
þan was he sald wid neu forward,
þat held ioseph in mensk and lare
Al þou þair treuthes sundri ware;
For þai war of sarasin lede, [folio 30b:2]
And ioseph held euer his in hede.
Sir Putifar wele vnderstod
þat ioseph was of gentil blode,
In all þe dedis þat he wroght,
God was wid him in dede and thoght;
þe wardaynschip of al his ahut
Has putifar ioseph bitaght.
þan was ioseph loued and dred,
For wisdam all his werkis ledd,
And for he was curtais and hend,
Of all folk þan fand he frend.
Putifar went into contre,
And ioseph duelled wid his meyne,
And has his godis all in hand,
vnder him selue all weldand.
Ioseph was ferli fair in face,
And fild wid-all in godes grace,
His ladi hir eye apon him kest;
Forward of fole es eth to fest,
Foli it was, and sua scho fand,
Hir loue to set bot it miht stand.
Scho kithid it ay quilis scho moght,
And ioseph lete he wist it noght,
And wist and dilled it as þe wise,
And ay scho praysed his seruise. Page  253
Sua land in herte scho has it hid
þat at þe last must it be kid,
For qua-sua euer es glad or blith,
Priue loue at end wil kith.
Ofte scho menyd to him hir mone,
Bot euer scho fand ioseph in one;
Quen scho sau þat, þan wex hir care,
And longing had scho ay þe mare,
In hir foli sua was scho fest,
þat dai ne niht had scho no rest.
[folio 31a:1] For quatkines pine es harder þan threst
þan warn þe thing man louis best?
And to be putt in suilk prisun,
þat reuis man miht and resun?
In prisun i hald þat bodi stad,
Of quam þe hert es nu glad,
For quan hert has þat it wil wiss,
þe bodi may haue na mar blis,
Ne no mar wa þan wil to wane,
widuten wil es liking nane.
Hert and wil er bath as an,
þat bath er er reft fra mani an,
Thoru strenth of luue þat nan mai stere,
þow his hert all stel it were;—
Hert of stele and bodi of bras,
Stranger þan euer samson was,
þat luue ne may him meke wid miht,
Sum tyme a loue wid an eye siht;
Ful hard it es wid him to dele,
So wil he make mans fless frele,
Quen his loke alone may bring
Into his thraldam þe king;
And, maugre his, he dos him loute,
For euer he ledis him wid doute.
For-þi if þu be suilk a gome
þat þu wil algate loue ouercome, Page  255
Quen þu seis him bone to þe,
Stalworthli þu fra him fle,
Fle and turne þu noght þi ey;
Or ellis if þu be ful sly,
Thoru þin eye þe sal be schent,
An aru þat es wid wild fir brent,
First to brinne þi hert wid-ine,
And siþen to strangil þe in sine.
Fleand þu folow noght, i rede,
For sua þu may þe driue to dede,
To dede vmquile and to langure [folio 31a:2]
Quen þu art soght fra þi socure;
For better it es betime to stint,
þan folu þe prai þat es tint;
Qua folous lang widuten torne,
Oft his [fote] sal find a spurne,
Reu his res þan sal he sore,
And venge his harm wid foli more.
Sua did þis wijf þat i of rede,
Scho folud ioseph quere he ȝede,
And for scho foluand fand a spurne,
Scho waited him wid a wic turne,
Hir-self in godes grame and gilt,
And almast made him to be spilt.
Hou scho broght him sua to fonde,
For to tell i wil noght wonde;
Scho soght on ioseph mani a dai,
And euer he ansuerd hir wid nay.
Ioseph, þat was hir purueour,
Apon a day wid mekil onur
In chambir hendely he hir grett,
And said, "madam, cum to ȝour mett."
"ȝis," scho said, "bot ar þu ga,
Spek wid me a word or tua."
"Lang," he said, "may i noght duell;"
And þus bigan scho for to spell. Page  257
"Ioseph," scho said, "to þe lemman,
Hendest of all i make my man,
Be-tuix þi-self alone and me
Here sal i scheu my priuete.
þi loue me has broght to grund,
þat i may neuer mare be sound,
Bot if my bot may rise of þe,
And þat þu wil my lemman be,
worldes welth to welde in wone
Enow þu sal haue al-lone;
To my lauerd sal þu be sua dere, [folio 31b:1]
þat oþer nan sal be þi pere."
Scho hals him wid þis
And proferd him hir muth to kiss,
And drou him þan towar[d] hir bedd,
Bot ioseph, þat vr lauerd dredd,
"Do way," he said, "þi foli wille,
wilt þu me and þi-self spill?
Putifar me has betaght
Land, and lythe, and all his aght;
And for he traistes nu in mi leute,
To kepe his gode he traistes in me,
All es me taght and noght vte-tane,
Bot þu þat art his wijf allane,
Of þe haue i no kines miht,
And if i hadd it war no right;
He þat has giuen me suilk pouste,
Him to be-tray, godd forbede it me,
And we awe noght wid na resun
Til vr lauerd do suilk tresun;
And leuere me es be pouer and lele,
þan falsli to winne catele.
For-þi leuedi, wid mode and mayn,
þu drau þi foli wille agayn,
For qua bigines wil any thing,
He aue to thinck apon þe ending." Page  259
Scho said, "allas, ioseph, þis day,
And has þu ansuerd me wid nay?
If i lyue þu sal it proue
An ille freind to þi bihoue.
I sal þe make wid mi hosband
þe most hatid of all þis land."
Scho drou his mantel bi þe pane;
Quen ioseph sau no better wane
He drou, and scho held, þe tassel brac,
þe mantel left, and he gaf bac.
Þan fell þat wijf to feloni, [folio 31b:2]
And sone scho soght a tricchori,
Scho gaf a cri þat all miht here,
þe folk þat in þat palays were
"Leuedi," þai said, "quat es at ȝou?"
Scho said, "ne herd ȝe noght hou
ȝone traytur Ieu me wold schend,
þat mi lauerd haldes for his frend?
He wald haue forced me in hy
Had i noght mad titter cry,
And quan i crid ful sone i-fledd,
And left wid me a tokin in wedd;
His mantil es be-left wid me,
Here þe soth may ilk man se
þat þai may se þe vylany,
þe quilk he soght on his leuedi."
"Sir," scho said to Putifar,
"was neuer don to leudi mar
Scham, þat liuand was in lede,
þan þi gedling of vnkud sede.
Ioseph sohut on me in boure
Forto do me dis-honoure,
Suilk it was þe vilani
þat he gan seke on my bodi.
For-þi as þu art man for-þe,
Loke on him i-wrokin be." Page  261
Putifar þan comandid sone
þat Ioseph suld be tane and done
In kinges presun for to ly,
widuten ransum for to by.
Allas! ioseph bath war and wijs,
Ille es þe quit þi treu seruis,
For þi godnes and þi treuth-hede,
Ful ille es ȝolden ye þi mede!
Suilk es tresun of womman,
Stranger in world es funden nan,
And god amend hir þat es suilk, [folio 32a:1]
And giue man grace to fle all suilk.
Nou es Ioseph in presun strang
Lou! as ȝe haue herd wid wrang,
And siþen liked him ful wele,
For all es turned him to sele,
For sone was ioseph haldin dere
wid þe mayster iaolere,
Thoru þe miht of goddes grace
Ouer all þe presunes þat þar was:
Or þat in presun were, or band,
All hadd þaim Ioseph vnderhand,
He ferd ay wid sua mekil strijft,
þat all was done as he wald scift.
þus can god help man in nede,
And namly þat him wil loue and drede.
In þis time þat ioseph ferd þus,
were tua men of þe kinges hous
To presun sent for þair mis-dede,
(Bot quat it was can i noght rede),
þe spenser and þe botoler bath,
þe king wid þaim was wonder wrath;
Bot þe mayster iaoler
To ioseph taght þaim vnto fere.
Quen ioseph sau þaim alsua suith,
To confort þaim he was ful blith, Page  263
Bot als þai lay in þat presun
A-niht, þai mett a visioun,
And of þi[s] sueuen þat þai had sene,
Ayder of þaim gan to oþer it mene.
Droupand o day he sau þar chere,
And askid qui þai murnand were.
þe botoler for bath gau ansuere,
"Sir," he said, "we er þe droupander
For tua sueuenis we sau in sight,
In vr slepe þis ilk night."
"And quat war þa? for þi leute [folio 32a:2]
þin aune dreme first tell þu me."
"Me-thoght i sau a win tre,
And a bohu wid branches thre;
vp-on þis tre, on ilk-a bohw,
Me-thoght þar hing grapis enohw,
And of þe grapis þat þar-on hang
In a covpe me-thoght i wrang.
Me-thoght þe king was at his mett,
And i þat coupe in hand him sett."
"God wat," said ioseph, "wid þe miht of heuen,
I sal vndo þe wele þi sueuen.
Or þis thrid day began,
þu sal be vte of presun tan,
And clensid be bifor iustise,
And putt again in þi seruise.
Quen þu es in welth bifor þe king,
For goddes loue of me haue mening,
þat i may thoru þe help of þe
Out of þis presun l[i]uerid be.
First men stal me fra mi thede,
And presuned me, sacles of dede."
þe spenser said, "me thoght i bar
A lepe, as i was wont do ar, Page  265
wid bred þat i bar on mj heued,
Me thoght wid rauins it was me reued.
A mekil rauin mi basket hent,
Aboute mi hefd it raue and rent."
"Certis," said ioseph, "bes it noght lang,
Bi-tuix and þu on galuis hang,
It sal wid-in thre dais be,
þar sal na ransun ga for þe."
Right as Ioseph said biforn,
He was hangyd on þe thrid morn;
þe botoler was lesid þat ilk day,
And ioseph still in presun lay,
wid langur lengand and wid care, [folio 32b:1]
Lang he was forgetin þare!
wildnes of welth of þis botoler,
For-gatt ioseph his drem-reder,
For man þat weltris in his welis,
And for his welth na fautes felis,
If he haue freind þat lijs in wo
Ful oft he is forgetin so.
Lang was it said, and ȝeit sua bes,
'Sone hert forgetis þat eyen ses',
Bot i dar sai, and god it wate,
'Qua lely loues forgetes late'.
Ioseph lay in þat langing,
Bi-tuix and Pharao þe king
SAu in his slep suilk a sueuening,
þat he comandid bi-for him bring
Clerk and kniht, erle and baron,
T[o] scheu til him his vision,
To wit if ani man þer ware
Coude telle to quat euidens it bare.
Bot þar was neuer an of þaim all
Coude say quat þar-of suld fall.
Þan bigan þe botoler say
Of ioseph þat in presun lay, Page  267
To þe king þus spac he þan,
"Sir," he said, "i knau a man
þat if he forth war brohut in place,
I vnderstand he has þat grace,
If þi drem, widuten bide,
He sal þe tell quat may bityde.
Sir king, þu was anis wid me wrath,
And wid þe maistir spenser bath,
In presun war we don in bande,
þar-in a Iuen child we fand;
Eyder of vs a drem we sau,
And he vs bad þaim til him schau,
And we bigan him for-to telle, [folio 32b:2]
He told vs all þat siden fell."
"Ga to þe presun," said þe king,
"And do him suith bi-for me bring;
Loke cloding neu on him be done,
And þat he cum bi-fore me sone."
Þe botoler to þe presun lepp,
And sone þar-out he tok ioseph,
And did apon him neu clothing,
And brohut him bifore þat gadering.
On ioseph siht it was wele sene,
þat he had lang in presun bene,
For lene he was, and wan in face,
As he þat lang was fra solace.
þe barnage mekil farli thoght,
þat he to kinges rede was broght.
Þan cald þe king ioseph nerre
And said, "i haue soght nere and ferr
To find a man mi drem to rede,
Bot hider-to miht i noght spede.
Bot coud þu tell me quat it ware,
Mi grace þu suld haue euer-mare."
"Sir," he said, "þu scheu it þan,
And i sal rede it als i can. Page  269
I am al bone þi wille to do,
If god wil giue me grace þar-to."
"Me-thoght in drem þis ender niht,
þat i com in a medow sliht,
Floures and gress i-now i fand,
And ky fourtene þar-ine gangand;
þe seuen of þaim me thoght ferli
were selcuth fat and fair ky;
þe toþer seuen i ȝode to se
þaim also selcuth, thoght me,
þair hide was clungen to þe bon,
So lene sau i neuer non,
Lene and hungri bath war þai, [folio 33a:1]
þai draf þe toþer seuen a-way.
In þat medu so lang þai ware
þat þai had etin þe erd al bare.
Me-thoght siþen i folud a sty
Into a feild and sau me by,
Fourtene eris stand of quete,
þe seuen of þaim war wonder grete,
Sua wele war sett me thoght selcuth;
Bot of þe toþer me thoght vncuth,
þai war sua clungen, dri, and tome.
Of þis, ioseph, say me þi dome,
And giue me þar-of a god consaile,
And þe ne sal i neuer faile.
þu sal gode office haue ful tite,
And all for-giuen þe þi wite."
Þan said ioseph, "leue sir king,
Godd has þe schaud a fair warning,
þar-fore au þu wele wid right
To honour him wid mayn and miht,
Siþen he bi-fore has warnid þe,
Againes þi wa to saued be.
For thoru þis for-bisin here,
Witt þu þar sal be seuen ȝere Page  271
Of plente be in þi kingrike
þat er þa seuen fat bestes lick,
þat oþer seuen nedi nete
Bitakins seuen ȝere hunger grett,
þat oþer neist sal be foluand
þat neuer was suilk bifor in land,
þat suilk diffaute sal be of bred,
þe folk sal be for hunger dede.
Sir king, þis es þi visyoun,
Loke þi selue wid gode resun,
For bath þir dremes er als on.
For-þi i rede þat þu on-an
Do gete þe a gode purueour, [folio 33a:2]
þat in þis nede may þe socure,
In ilk a land men for to sett
To gadir of ilk þe fijfte mett,
Of þat time þat es plente."
"Certis, ioseph, sua sal it be,
Bot for þu art sua mekil of prijs,
And þar-to þu art bath war and wijs,
So þat non es funden suiche,
Steiward of all my king-riche
Sal þu be made, and hy iustise,
For wele i traist in þi seruise."
"Nay, sir, bot tas noght in despit,
For first þan wil i ma me quit
Of plight of putifars wijf."
"Do queþer," he said, "þar-of na strijf."
"Sacles i am, and dere haue boght."
"I wat þu tellis it me for noght,
þi sacles schame wele sene it es,
And god es wid þi werkis, i-wis."
Quen þat þe barnage of egipt
Sau him haue suilk a worschip,
wonder þaim thoght hou þat he
was to þe king mad sua priue, Page  273
For qui, he was a man vnsen,
And had in gret misliking ben.
"we wend wele, sir, he had ben dede."
"Nay," said þe king, "god forbede,
He was presuned wid ille rede,
Sua has he liued in mekil dred,
And þat es sene in his visage;
Men haue him don ful gret vtrage.
Of mj dremes nou has he
Teld me quat þer-of wil be,
And for i wat noquar his make,
I wil þat he here vnder-take
All þe worschip of mi land, [folio 33b:1]
And þat wil i ȝe vnderstand,
þat all be wroght wid his consail,
For all mi land it sal auail.
þe seuen craftes wele he can,
And es a selcuth wis man."
All his barnage less and mare
vnto ioseph an ath þai suare,
Till him as wardayn for to tent
And for to do his comandement.
Of his aune hand tok þe king
And did on ioseph hand his ring,
And clething on him let he fall,
Suilk as him selue was cled wid-all,
To ride and ga widuten letting,
And knele bifor him als a king:
þan said þe king, "ioseph, lo!
þu wost þat i am pharao,
Sal non sua bald be in mi land,
widuten þe stir fott or hand."
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
His name þai changid for þat onur
And cald him þe worldes saueour; Page  275
þe king him did a wijf to take,
Hiht assener, a doghti make.
Ioseph thoght on his mistere,
Gart gadir him seriant and squier
To gadir him writhes fer and ner,
Quare þat euer þai funden were,
And bernys made wid-in þat ȝere,
A thousand sett in stedis sere.
And siþen comandid he him-selue
Depe celers for to delue,
And thoru his aun witti rede
Fild þaim wid wines, quite and rede.
Quen þe folk þus sau him dele
wid win and corn, fless and mele,
And fild þe lathes here and þar [folio 33b:2]
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
þe land of egipt less and mar.
þus ferd he in þa seuin ȝeris,
þat ma þan a thousand celers
Fild he wid wines neu and fress,
And lardineris wid saltid fless;
Gerneris and granges fild he wid sed,
Ma þan i wid tung can red,
In ilk a stede a sere wardain.
þan went he to þe king a-gain,
For to rest him wid þe king,
Aftir his mekil trauailing.
Quen þa seuen ȝere war vte,
Plomen ouer all þe land aboute,
As þai war wont, þair sede to sau,
Bot alkines welth bigan wid-drau.
þe erde clang for hete and drohut,
And so bigan þe drech cum vte,
For þat dreþ þat was sua strong,
Corn no griss on erde non sprong. Page  277
þan died þe bestes vp all bidene
For þat hunger þat was sua kene,
þat bi þe formast ȝere was gan,
vnethes was þar best left an.
þe wrecched pore miht find na fode,
þai were so fele þat beggand þai ȝode,
þe flockis war sekand in þe land,
Be hundris and be thousand,
þat soght þaim rotis als þe suyn,—
Soru it was to se þat pin.
þe childer and þe men of elde
For hunger lay dede in þe feilde;
Before þe king þai come wid cri,
And said, "lauerd, þu haue merci
Of þi folk for hunger er dede,
was neuer mar nede of brede.
þou men ouerall haue saun feldes, [folio 34a:1]
Of corn es noght on þat vp-ȝeildes;
þe qualm has bestis all ouer-gan;
Bot if sum bote of þe be tan,
þi folk sule dey vp all bidene
wid qualm, þis hunger es sua kene."
ÞE king sau þis, and wep ful sore,
And sau men bodis bolnnand wore,
For wit ȝe wele, þat in þat tide,
Had he in hes herte na pride.
"Lordi[n]ges," he said, "wele wot ȝe
Mi steuard ioseph al fedis me,
For derworthili es he þar-tille,
He es all lord, and þat es skill;
Bot gas and falles him to fote
And prais him he do ȝou bote;
And þat he giue ȝou of his corn
Ar ȝe for hunger be for-lorn."
To ioseph went þai criand þan,
"þu reu on vs, þu blisful man, Page  279
And lene vs sumquat of þi sede,
was neuer ar sua mekil nede,
Lene vs sunquat wid þi skep."
"I sal ȝou lene," said ioseph.
Ioseph was ful of pite,
Did threches sone in þat contre,
Quen þe sede was dight and bone,
He sald ilk an his porciun,
Sua þat þai miht skilfully
þai and þair meyne liue þar-bi.
In bokis find we of a wile
þat ioseph did þat was sotile,
þe chaf of corn he kest vmquile,
Into þe flum þat men call Nile,
For-qui þ[a]t watir þat rennis þare,
To iacob hus it has þe fare.
þis hunger þat i here of tell [folio 34a:2]
In landis all aboute it fell,
Men mist it noquer in no land,
And seuen ȝere it was lastand.
þan iacob and his sonis ware
wid hunger in point to for-fare,
Soruful þai were, was na selcuth,
þai had noght to put in þair mouth.
þou þai had siluer and gold rede,
þai miht noght find to by na bred,
þir childer oft for hunger grett,
And iacob ne wist hu þair hunger to bett.
Oft he lifted vp his hend
To godd þat he him help suld send,
And grant him sone menskli to dey,
Ar þat hunger lang to drey.
Bot vr lauerd godd all-miht
Heris man prayer, and þat es riht,
For þou he proue his freind wid pine,
þar-for wil he him noght tine; Page  281
Iacob quen he was mast in siht,
God him confortid widuten liht.
Be-tid þan, in a littel quile,
Iacob ȝode walkand bi þe Nile,
He sau apon þe watris reime
Chaf cum fletand wid þe streme.
Of þat sight wex he ful blith,
And til his sonis he tald it suith,
"Childer," he said, "ȝe list and lete,
I sau chaf on þe water flete;
Queþen it comis i can noght rede,
Bot doun it fletis ful god spede.
If it be comen fra fer land,
Loke quilk of ȝu sal take on hand,
For vs all take þis trauaile,
þar-of es gode we ta consaile.
Agayn þe flum to folu þe chaf, [folio 34b:1]
Corn þare sul we find to haf."
Ruben þan said his resun,
"Lo," he said, "I am al-redi boun,
vr aller nedis to vnder-ta,
Gif me tresur and lat me ga."
His breder said, "may we ga all
In goddes name, and sua we sall."
"Tresur enohut wid ȝu ȝe take,
And i ȝou pray for goddes sake,
Quen ȝe funden haue ȝour fang
þat ȝe duell noght þar to lang.
Bot gas warli in vncuth land,
God hald ouer ȝou his hali hand."
Þire breder went vte of canaan,
For þare was Iacob wonand þan;
þar ȝongest broder þai left at hame,
Beniamyn þan was his name,
þai heyed þaim apon þair way,
þan sone to egipt com þai. Page  283
Bot quen þai sau corn plente,
Glader men miht neuer be,
Bred to sell þai fond and bohut,
And to Ioseph siþen þai soght.
And men þaim taght quilk was Ioseph,
And doune þai knelid at his step.
Coud þai of him na knaulag take,
And vnkudly to þaim he spac.
"Childer," he said, "queþen er ȝe?"
"Sir," þai said, "of a contre
þar in es mani a nedi man,
Of a land men calis canaan."
þan said Ioseph ful vncuthly,
"Bot er ȝe comen þis land to spy?"
"Nai," þai said, "lord godd forbede,
Bot we er comen for mekil nede,
For þis hunger it es vte-neme; [folio 34b:2]
We er all a manes barnteme,
þar es hunger in vr king-riche,
was þar neuer bi-for non suiche.
þe folk dies vp all bidene,
Suilk a hunger was þar neuer nan sene.
And þar-for haue we hider sohut,
And a parti mone wid vs broght,
Redi penis we haue to tell
If we may find here aught to sell.
For-þi we pray þi lauerd-hede,
þat þu wil help vs in þis nede,
Of þi mekil plente here
To selle vs, be it neuer so dere.
Thar þe lauerd, haue na mistrouing
þat we suld cum for ani oþer thing."
"I sall ȝou selle, bot telles nu me,
Quat kines a man ȝurfaderes he?"
"Sir, iacob es vr fader name,
An ald man we left at hame. Page  285
Elleuen breþer we er lyveand,
Ane at hame and ten in þis land."
"And quat es he, þat es þe lest?"
"Sir, beniamin hight he, ȝongest."
Quen he biheld þaim all oraue,
wele ilk an he coud þaim knaue,
He thoght apon his fadir care,
And þar-for syhid he ful sare.
Þair siluer he tok and gaf þaim corn,
And to þair in did it be born;
He gart waite at a priue tide,
And did his siluer coupe to hide
In a sec þe corn biside,
and bad þaim to þe mete a-bide.
Quen þai had etin and war boune
For to wend ham vte of toun,
Ioseph bi-gan þan his sarmon, [folio 35a:1]
And þus þaim he scheud his resun.
"Gode men," he said, "ȝe sal fare,
Bot of vr king I warne ȝou are,
I am noght king ouer þis land,
Bot ilk man sal wele vnderstand,
þe king of þis land hat Pharao,
þat all his will can gar be do;
Ouer-all es dredd, and he es riche,
þat was þar neuer bifor non suiche:
Of him i tell ȝou witterly
Of thef wil he haue na merci,
For-qua so es tan wid stoln thing,
He wil þat do him to hing.
I say noght þis bot þat ȝe
Ar like treu men for to be.
Godd giue ȝou wele for to founde,
And bring ȝou ham hal and sounde,
Hal and fere ȝur fader to se,
God grant ȝou þat it so may be." Page  287
"Sir, godd ȝou for-ȝelde," said þay,
"Of all ȝour gode, and has god day."
Quen þai forth fully war gan,
Ioseph sergauntis called on-an,
"Childer," þai*. [[read he]] said, "we serue þe king,
And we misse sumquat of his thing,
If he it wit he wil be wroght,
And god for-bede, þat war vs loth.
ȝon er theues we lelemen wende,
And he a thif þaim hider sende.
Foluis þaim and ransakis þair ware,
Ar þat þai pass or fra vs fare,
If in þair sekkes ahut be funden
Loke þai all be tan and bunden."
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
Þe sargantes þat war brim as bar,
þai ran and ouer-tok þaim þar.
"Theues!" þai said, "ȝe sal a-byde, [folio 35a:2]
wend ȝe þe kinges tresur to hide?
He þat ȝou has done socoure,
Stolin ȝe haue of his tresur.
In an ille time did ȝe dis dede,
For suilk þar-of sal be ȝour mede."
"Certis," þai said, "leue lordinges,
Haue we noght tan of þe kinges;
we er bath treu men and lele,
war we neuer wont to stele,
we ne haue wid vs trussed noght,
Bot thing þat we lely haue boght,
And vr aun lele bigetyn thing,
For goddes loue dos vs na letting."
Apon þair sekes laid þai hand,
þat coupe þai soght and sone þai it fand.
"A! traitours, nou es it sene,
Queþer þat ȝe be foule or clene." Page  289
þan war þa breder bunden hard,
And sone broght bifor þe steuard,
And presond to þe thrid morn,
þat ma folk miht cum biforn;
þe quilis sent ioseph þe ȝepe
Men þair harnays for to kepe.
Þe thrid morn comandid he,
A gadring of þe land suld be.
Forth war broght þe breder ten,
was þar neuer sorier men,
þai fell doun at ioseph fete,
And merci soght wid reuful grete.
þe folk askid quat þai suld be,
"Theues," said ioseph, "of a contre
þat þaim es fer, as þai me tald,
And þat es sene on þair dedes bald;
For quilis i sold þaim of mi sede,
Mi coupe þai stale a-way to lede.
Seriantis sent i sone on hand, [folio 35b:1]
And in þair ger mi coupe þai fand;
I resceyuid þaim and warned noght,
Of all þat euer þai me bi-soght,
Mete and drinck i gaf þaim bath,
And bad þaim kepe þaim ay fra skath,
And siþen i praid godd al weldand,
Lede þaim safly into þair land,
And þar-apon stale þus mi thing:—
If ȝe giue dome we sal þaim hing."
Þan spac ruben þe eldest broder,
Stille menand til þe toder,
"Nou es comen vr alde sake,
Into wandred sin and wrake,
þat i ȝou said þis oþer ȝere,
Bot þan my rede wild ȝe noght here,
Of ioseph vr broder lele,
wid wrange ȝe sald him for catele; Page  291
ȝe salde him alle egain mi assent,
And þat find ȝe nou in present;
Don ȝe haue þe sine ȝe wate,
ȝour repentanse es comen ouer late.
Naquiþer-war may we nu stire,
þair will bihouis vs suffre here.
Lauerd, help! þat all has wroght!
In oþer help ne traist i noght."
He menid him þus wid murnand chere,
And wend ioseph miht it noght here.
"Allas!" þai said, "þat euir we ware
Born, if we sal þus for-fare."
Ioseph ras vp fra his stede;
To galuus wend þai þan be ledd.
Bot ioseph herd þair murning sare,
And left þaim as noght ne ware;
First he wild þaim make a-gast,
And siþen reu on þaim at þe last.
Quen he sau þair murnyng mane, [folio 35b:2]
vnto þe court he spac on-ane:
"Gode men, listines, all and sum,
Ar þat ȝe giue ani dome.
A word," he said, "es soth may fall;
All-þou þat þai be theues all
þat þa war breder all at hame,
þai mengid me þe ȝongest name;
Nou wil i do to þaim þat grace,
þat þai þe ȝongest bring in place
þat þai left at þair fadris ine,
þe quilk es cald beniamin.
And toquilis wil i ane of þir ten,
þat þai giue to name ruben,
Duell in hostage here wid me
Til þat þe ȝongest be comen to be.
þe term es fourti dais sett,
þat i of þaim mi couenand gett. Page  293
Bot þai me þan mi couenand bring,
For-soth þair hostage sal i hing;
And if þai couenand hald, i-wiss,
I sal for-giue þaim all þi miss.
þus-gat wil i proue þaim nou."
"Sir," þai said, "godd ȝeild it ȝou,
For if þat ȝe haue lijf þar-to,
ȝour comandement sul ȝe do."
þair leue þai tok and war ful blith,
And hied þaim in þair way ful suith.
vr lauerd ledd þaim in þair fare,
þat þai com to þar fader ȝare.
þai kist þair fader al sone,
And did þair seckes be vndone.
"Say me," quot iacob, "hou es þis,
þat of mi childer an i miss?"
"Sir, he es in egipt." "allas, qui?"
"For þar vs toke þe hei bayli,
To schap wid gile were we fayn." [folio 36a:1]
"And quat hope ȝe? sal he be slain?"
"Nay, sir," þai said, "god wid schild,
Him sal deliuere ȝour ȝongest child."
"Qui, hou, sal beniamyn cum þare?"
"Sir ȝa, elles þai wil Ruben for-fare,
ȝour eldest sun heued or hang."
"And haue ȝe terme?" "ȝa sir." "hu lang?"
"Fourti dais;" "þan dred i sare,
ȝe must hast ȝou on ȝour fare."
Ne had þai soiurnid but a stound,
Iacob said, "time es to found,
Fettis me hame ruben bliue,
Or elles hald ȝe noght mi liue.
Ledis wid ȝou beniamyn,
God grauntt ȝou grace diþer to win.
Lauerd! miht-ful king!" he said,
"þat paradis to man puruaid, Page  295
And bitaght adam lenthe and wide,
And eue þat wroght was of his side;
On flode þu sauedd noe here,
And tempt abraham þi dere
Of his a sun offrand to make,
And he it wild do for godes sake,—
þat was my fader isaac,—
Till þat þe angel for him spac;
And sauid me mi broþer fra,
Esau þat wilde me sla,
Saue mi childer hal to me,
And haue of ioseph saule pite."
Þir childer tok wid þaim to spend,
þai buskid þaim in þair way to wend,
So lang þai went apon þair way,
þat into egipt sone com þai.
þai soght and sone þe steuard fand,
At a gerner him standand,
þar he liueranse made of corn, [folio 36a:2]
þai grett him all on knes biforn.
Quen ioseph gan his breder se,
Mekil ioy in hert had he,
And ruben þat for him was nomin,
Had mekil ioy quen þai war comin.
Him sterid all his bodi wid-ine,
Ioseph biheld þan beniamyn,
For quen þe tan þe toþer sy,
No-gates miht þair bodijs ly,
He hent him in his armis þare,
And kised him sexti sith or mar;
And grett on him ful tenderly,
And siþen on binck he sett him by.
"Hou faris," he said, "vr fadris stat?"
"Mi fadir faris wele, sir, i wat.
Knaulage of ȝoures haue i nan."
"Parfay, broder, and all es an." Page  297
"Knauest þu me?" "sir," he said, "nay,
I sau ȝou neuer bifor þis day.
we er noght sibb." þis said he,
"þe soth þan sal i scheu to þe.
First wald þai me haue slayn, þir ten,
And siþen me sald to vncuth men,
And all was for i tald a drem
þat comen es nou to gode, i tem;
I hat ioseph, ȝur broþer am i."
þai fel in suoune and crid "merci!"
þan þai wend widuten wene
þai suld be hangid all bidene.
Bot ioseph confort þaim þar chere,
And wepand said, "my breder dere,
ȝour gilt i haue forgiuen ȝou,
For-gif me myn, i prai ȝou nou,
For-giue me dat i did ȝou take,
And bunden be widuten sake.
þe coupe into ȝour seck put i, [folio 36b:1]
And presuned ȝou ful spitusli,
And schent you siþen in menes siht;
I am a-knau i did vnriht.
Mi wreche es me nou al ouer-gan,
To me i pray ȝou ȝe haue nan,
Bot rape ȝou suith bone to ga,
For i wil algate it be sua.
Mas ȝour ger alredi tift,
ȝour seckes sal i fille o gift,
To fete my fadir sul ȝe founde,
And sais him i am hale and sound.
For ȝeit haue we bi-fore to bide,
Fiue ȝere of þis hungery tyde,
þat sal mani man and wiif
Ar it be endid for-ber þair lijf.
Bes noght dred, bot mas god chere,
For ȝour hele god sent me here. Page  299
Noght ȝour rede but godes sand,
was i þus sent into þis land,
As Pharao fadir has me made,
And lord ouer-all his landes barde*. [[read brade]]."
"Sir, gladli all ȝoure biddyng
Sal be til vs as comanding,
Als suith as we mai be graith,
we sal do as ȝe haue said.
þat we haue done miss we repent ay,
For-giue it vs, lauerd, we ȝou pray,
Siþen god wild suilk cas suld fall."
He said, "i haue for-giuen ȝou all.
Til ȝour fader nou ȝe sal,
And tel him ȝe er sound and hal,
He mas soru ay for ȝour sake,
þis tyding his soru slake."
"We sal make na lang duelling,
Bi-tuix and we him to ȝou bring."
"Takis ruben ham wid ȝou [folio 36b:2]
And leuis wid me beniamin nu."
He clad him wid pall of affrick,
And siþen gaf him giftes riche;
He keist þaim all, in signe of saght,
And siþen to godd he þaim bi-tagh[t].
And efter ȝede ham till his in,
wid his ȝong broder beniamyn;
Of pall he did on him clathing,
And on his handis sett riche ring.
Þir breder ȝede forth þar way,
And to þair fadir sone com þai,
Siluer and gold þai wid þaim ledd,
And clathing bath for bac and bedd.
For-getin haue þai all þat care
þaim was don thoru Ioseph þare,
þai com ham noght presunes lick,
Bot as þai ware knihtes rike; Page  301
Clad þai ware wid riche wede,
þair camayles charged all wid sede.
þair fader lay vnfere in bedd,
He miht noght stir him of þat sted;
þer cam to him a messager,
And tald him softli in his ere,
"Sir," he said, "here gode tydand,
þi sonis er knithes here at hand."
"þu lies," he said, "bi godd sua dere,
þai er na knightes, ne knightes pere."
"Sir, bi þe faith i aw to ȝou,
þai er knithes, als i trou,
For þai er clad in riche pall,
And giue riche giftes ouerall.
Siluir and gold þai haue plente."
"Sais þu soth?" "ȝa, sua mote i the,
And if þat þu noght trous me,
Ris vp and cum þi-selue nou to se!"
[folio 37a:1] "I may noght rise, i am sua lame;"
And wid þat word þai com al hame,
In at þe dor, apon a route,
Haylisand þair fadir gan þai loute.
"Sir," þai said, "we bring tyding,
Fra þi sonis tuynne g[r]eting,
þat es, fra beniamyn vr broder,
And fra ioseph, þat es þe toder."*. [[MS. has torder]]
Quen iacob, þat in bed was won,
Herd þaim neuen ioseph his sun,
þan bigan his hert to liht,
And in his bed to sitt vp-right.
His hefd was all bar for elde,
Apon his sonis he þan bihelde,
And sau þaim clad in pal sua riche;
"Seys me þan, widuten suiche,
Quat er ȝe make mening nou
Of ioseph, mi sone, be-tuix ȝou? Page  303
Thritti ȝere es it siþen so gan,
Siþen he wid wilde bestes was slan.
ȝe gabb, and certis ȝe do gret sin,
þat ȝe of him make ani mine."
"Fadir," þai said, "mistrou vs noght
þat we þe haue na gabing broght,
For ioseph hale and sound left we."
"Lauerd, quar-euer i sal him se:"
"Certis sir, ȝa, god may wele geue."
"I wild," he said, "na langer liue."
"ȝe sal haue lijf langer þan dider."
"Quat! haue ȝe broght him wid ȝu hider?"
"Nay, sir, bot ȝe sal to him fare,
He has sent efter ȝou his chare,
we sal ȝou make þar-in a bedd,
In to egipt sul ȝe be ledd."
þan wex iacob ferly fain,
His bodi bigan to quick again.
"Gif me mi clathes," þan said he, [folio 37a:2]
"And hastily þat we graithed be,
Childer," he said, "lat vs gang,
For in-to egipt thinc me lang."
Israel wid þis vp lep,
þat bi-for miht noght strid a step
widuten asking ani help of son,
þat quake wid ilk a lim*. [[MS. lin]] was won.
þat first for eld miht noght wel spec,
To hast his sonis wald he reke,
He cries on þaim as ȝong man were;
þan said ruben, "leue fadir dere,
I rede stedfastlyer ga."
"And quat art þu, þat biddes me sua?"
"Ruben ȝour sun." "and quat thing,
Es of Ioseph? and no lesing." Page  305
"Of egipt, sir, þat riche land,
Es he mayster and al weldand."
"Hou sua, es þar nan oþer king?"
"Ȝes, bot he tentis to na maner thing,
þe ward he has of þat king-riche,
And demes bath þe pouer and riche.
He delis wid þe corn of þat contre,
þis es þe soth, trou ȝe me."
Israel made an offrand suyth,
As þai war wont in þat sith.
God cam to him in vision,
And said to iacob his resun,
"Iacob, iacob, listen vnto me;
wid þi fadir i was, as i am wid þe,
Al-mihti god thar þe noght drede,
wend til egipt emang þat lede,
For i my self sal þe þar lede,
And many a man gar of þe sprede.
And þar for-soth sal þu die,
Ioseph þi sone sal loke þin eye."
Þan was iacob buskid ȝare, [folio 37b:1]
wid all men þat wid him ware;
His sonis all wid þair flittyng,
wid wijf and barn and oþer thing,
In waynis war þai put to lede,
þat ioseph sent þaim ful of sede.
His meyne þat him folud diþer,
Quen þai war gadrid al to-gider,
Sex and sexti soum o lyuis
þai were, widuten sonis wijfes;
And ioseph had him sonis tuin,
Manassem and effraim,
þat in egipt his wijf him bare,
þat þe king had getin him þar.
Quen iacob cam egipt nere,
He sent Iudam his messager, Page  307
To tell iacob comen was in land,
And bere ioseph þar-of tydand.
Quen ioseph of his fadir herd,
wid his court agayn him he ferd,
Quen þai had kist a mile and mar,
His blissing gaf he him right þar.
Quen ioseph wid his fader mett,
Tendirly wid eye he grett,
þai grett for gladnes, as I trou.
Iacob said to ioseph, "nou
Of dede wil i me neuer mene,
Nou i þi face, leue sone, haue sene."
Bot certaynli, þe soth to say,
Qua-so had ben be-stadd þat day,
And hadd þat suete meting sene,
þou he thre dais had fastand ben,
Of mete and drinck, in myn entent,
I hope he suld haue had na talent.
"Sone, i wend lang siþen gan,
wid wild bestis þu hadd ben slain,
Qua-fore i fell in gret sekenes. [folio 37b:2]
I-loued be godd þat þu liuand es!
Sone, qui held þu þe fra me?
Quat clath was þai me broght to se
þat blodi was, and i ne wate hou?"
"Noght of mi bodi, and þat se ȝe nou."
"Into sysen quen i þe sent,
To seke þi breder, þat þider went?"
"So did i, fadir, mistrou ȝe noght,
þair mete to þaim i redi broght;
Bot als suith as i þar was comyn,
wid ill consail was i nomin."
"And quy, leue sone?" "i sal ȝou say,
Ne menis ȝou noght, nou mani a day,
Of a drem ful lang siþen gan?"
"Leue sone, was þu þar-fore tan?" Page  309
"Ȝa, fadir, vnethes ne schapid i,
Til marchandes cam me for to bi,
And to þis land me gan bring,
And siþen me sold vnto þe king.
In presun siþen, i may noght layn,
was don þar i suffrid payn;
þat was thoru putifars wijf,
þat wold haue broght me of mi lijf.
Quar-for to presun was i don,
Me borud nan, bot godd alon;
He þat til his in nede es beste,
In him i haue mj hope al fest.
He has me liuerd al of mi care,
And putt me in welth, na man mare.
þe lordschip al of þis land,
To reule and kepe es in mi hand,
For-þi, leue fader, lett ȝe noght,
All ȝoure will it sal be wroght,
Bath for mi breder and for ȝou,
For i ouer-all haue pouste nou.
To mi lauerd ȝe come wid me, [folio 38a:1]
I sal ȝou do a-quayntid be;
I sal to ȝou ask sum rescett,
And wele i wate it for to gett."
"Gladli, sone, þan go we sone,
To thanc him he has for þe done;
Knele i sal bifor þe king,
And thanck him of his gret helping,
Als his aune in al þat i may,
And þu sal be his seruant ay.
I sal þe to þe king biteche,
And siþen þe mi blissing reche,
And þan i will me lay to dey;—
To liue i may na langer drey."
Iacob went þan wid his route,
His sonis tuelue him al aboute, Page  311
His berd was side wid mekil har,
Apon his hefd his hat he bar,
As man of elde and lang for-liuen,
And mani a baret bifore had driuen.
Quen þai war comin bifore þe king,
þat loutid him all wid þair haylsing;
Of his come þe king was fayn,
And of his sete him ras agayn,
Kiste him and sett him on binck him by,
And honurd him dereworthly.
þe king þan did his lettris write,
To samen all widuten lite,
þe best þat was in his kingriche,
And did to make a fest ful riche.
Quen iacob sau al plente were,
And all aboute to make him chere,
He praid to gode men þat þar were
To listen a quile his word to here.
þe king bad þaim all listen þan,
And þus Iacob his tale bigan,—
"Pes haue Pharao, þe king! [folio 38a:2]
Godd giue him his brod blissing!
Gode men, i am, als ȝe may se,
An ald man, þou ȝe knau noght me,
Na mare do i ȝou, es na selcuth,
For i am in þis land vncuth.
vte of ebron born am i,
þar lijs vr eldris, þar sal i ly;
þar lijs adam, þe formast man,
And eue of quam we all bigann.
þe folk þat of þaim to was bredd,
For þai na-thing godd ne dredd,
On þaim he tok vengans ful sare,
Bot eyth on-liue he left, na mare;—
þat was noe right-wis, of quan
Bi-com vr faithful abraham, Page  313
þat dred god, and loued him sua,
þat for his loue his sone wald sla,
þat was ysaac, his dere,
His sone i am, þat ȝe se here.
I am sex skor and ten ȝere ald,
Mi fadir hiht ysaac, as i tald:
Quen he was to his ending bon,
I had of him my*. [[MS. his]] broder benisun;
Mi broþer esau me bi-soght
To dyserit me, if þat he moght,
He flemed me vte of mi land,
Thoru godd i haue it ȝit in hand.
þir tuelue mi sonis þai er, ilk-an.
Thritti ȝere es siþen gan,
þat i had tint mi sone sua dere,
Ioseph, þat i haue funden here;
þat he es funden i loue godd sua,
He saue him fra þe feind his fa."
He gaf þaim all his blissing.
And to iacob said þe king,
"A wisman es þi sone ioseph, [folio 38b:1]
In all egipt es non sua ȝep;
For he bath saued me and mine,
Fra mekil nede and mekil pine.
Frist was he here as vr thrall,
Nou vnder me es he mast of all.
I giue him woning-sted to lend,
For euer mar, widuten end,
Till him and to his breder elleuen,
To chese quar þi seluen wil neuen."
Iacob quen he leue had laght,
wid his sonis and all þair aght,
went to a stede for þair ese
Of pasture gret, þat hiht ranese.
In þat stede þair lijf þai ledd,
Ioseph þaim gaf quarof be fedd, Page  315
For faute of bred þat ilk tide,
was ouerall þe world so wide;
Bot in na land sua mekil nan,
As in egipt and canaan.
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
Sua lang haue þai boght þair sede,
þat þair siluer wex all nede;
Quen þat þai had nethir worth ne quare,
þat þai miht for þair liuelad spare,
þe folk of egipt com bi-dene,
Bifor ioseph, þaim to mene.
"Lauerd," þai said, "to þe we say,
þat all vr aght it es away.
Nou haue we noght quar-wid we may
Lenthe vr liues nou fra dis da.
Es vs noght left bot erde bare,
And all vr bodis ful of care.
Landes and liþes with bodi we bede,
þat þu vs take in þi bundhede.
In thraldam tak vr landes all,
For sede we may þaim saw wid-all."
þai sold þair landis þan for nede, [folio 38b:2]
And ioseph boght þaim all for sede.
In all egipt left he na land
vn-boght in-to þe kinges hand,
vte-take þe land of þat lede
þat was taght preistes forto fede,
To kepe þaim selue for þair hald,
þe king þaim fand as it es tald.
Þus coude ihoseph, i said ȝou,
waite his lauerd þe kinges prou;
Bath he did his lauerdes biȝate,
And halp þe nedeful in þair state,
Quilis þaim lastid þat sesune þere.
Iacob þar liued seuentene ȝere, Page  317
In aa contre þat hiht iessen;
Of him was bred ful mani men.
Quen it drou to his last day,
To ioseph dusgat gan he say,
"If i fond euer grace in þe,
þu lay þi hand vnder mi the,
And hith me treuli, wid couenand,
þat i noght be doluen in þis land.
Bot hite me treuli þu þi selue
Sal me wid min eldris delue."
"Fadir, treuli i þe hite,
It sal be done, wid all mi mihte,"
And þar-to an ath he him suar.
Nou lijs iacob in bed of car,
And draues fast to his endyng;
And ioseph did bifor him bring
Bath effraym and manasse,
To blisse his childer praid he.
Iacob in bedd him laid vpright,
For elde all dim him wex þe siht;
He laid aboute þaim eyder arme,
And kist þaim oft apon his barm.
[folio 39a:1] "Mi suete sone, ioseph," nou he said,
"Of þe am i noght al vn-puruaid,
þi fruit i se bi-for myn eye,
Nou recc i neuer quan i dey."
He laid his hand apon þair croun,
And gaf þaim serekines benisoun.
"Sone," he said to ioseph, "nou
Most i pass, godd bitheche i ȝou.
God, þat was vr eldris wid,
Grant ȝou bring in-to ȝour kid.
þou ȝe be flemed here a quile,
He sal ȝou bring fra þis exile."
His sonis he bifore him cald,
And mani resunes he þaim tald, Page  319
Bath þat þai suld ouer bide,
And in þair last dais bitide.
Quan he endid of his saue,
His sonis blissed he on a rau;
He gaf ilk-an sere benisun,
And efter laid his hefd doun,
And went vte of þis wrecched world,
And to his former fadris ferd;
And broght es in to grace of grith.
vr lauerd vs graunt to duell him with!
Nere seuen skor ȝere of elde,
was þis iacob at his done helde.
Bot thre ȝere þer was him wan,
His sonis him bar to canaan,
And laid him þar his eldris by,
þer he disyrid him-self to ly
Be ysaac and bi abraham,
In ebron, biside olde adam.
þis ilk iacob, þat i of mele,
Hight bath iacob and israele.
þe folk of israel of him sprang,
þat king pharao held in thrang.
In egipt held he þaim ful hard, [folio 39a:2]
As i sal tell ȝou sone forward.
Siþen he died, ioseph, þat wise,
And endid in vr lauerdes seruise;
And first was birid in þat contre,
Siþen born til his erde was he.
þe ospring þat of ioseph bredd,
was mekil in þat land spred,
Quat of him, and quat of his breder sede,
War thritti thousand as we rede.
Half sex skor was ioseph þat day,
Quen he went all ledis way.
þe quilis þat ioseph reyned þar,
His breder in egypt reynid war; Page  321
Efter þai liued had mani a day,
Dede and doluie þar war þai.

Of moyses nou wil i tell, If ye wil a stound duell.

Þat quiles ras þar a neu king,
þat of ioseph had na knouyng.
He made þan ane parlement,
And said, "gode men, takis entent
Hou þe folk of ysrael
Es bred emang vs nou, sua fell.
Bot we ne were vs fra þair kin,
þai wil vr land al fra vs win."
"Sir king, þat es soth," þai said,
"þai haue ȝour land all ouer-laid.
Ioseph kine ouer-ganges all,
þat to ȝour eldris first was thral;
wid þair penijs wat we bohut was he,
Nou wil his kin diserite þe.
Sir, consail ȝou, and þat be ȝare,
was neuer nede of consail mare."
He said, "lat vs loke priuely,
For vs bihouis nou to be sly;"
[folio 39b:1] He said, "hald ȝe þaim sua in doute,
þat þai be ay ȝour vnderloute.
For if þai take a-gayn vs to fight,
And þai ouer vs haue þair miht,
I dar say, widuten fine,
þat we sal sua vr landes tine.
Haldes þaim for-þi in awee
In trauail bath to bere and draw;
In werkis, þat we haue to make,
we sal find wirking for þair sake;
Apon þair neckes sal þai bere
Bollis wid stan and wid mortere." Page  323
On þaim þe king sett sere steward,
To hald þaim in werk hard;
wid hard werkis he held þaim ine,
Sone had þai made tounes tuine,
Rameses and Fitou hight þai,
þa goddes folk bar to þaim clay.
Bot euer mar þai did þaim waa,
þe folk multiplied ay ma.
þat landis folk þat þai wid war,
Gret enuy to þaim þai bare;
Ofte wid þair wordes smarte,
Gret tene þai sett vnto þair hart.
þat king wex wonderly fell
Again þat folk þat i of tell,
þat þaim wid held and fled as fas,
And wild na fruit of þaim ras;
Bot quen þair wiues in childing stad,
Brimly comandid he, and bad
Midwiues to be of þat same land,
And all þe knaue-barnes þai fand,
widuten grith þai suld þaim sla:
And mayden childer þai suld lat ga.
þa midwius for godd war dradd,
And did noght als þe king badd,
Bot saued þai þair childer liues. [folio 39b:2]
þan did þe king to call þa midwiues,
Of þe quilk þat þar war tua,
Phua þe tan hiht, þe toþer sephora;
To þir tua wimmen spac þe king,
"Qui do ȝe noght mi bidding
wid þe childer of ebreu lay?"
"Sir, for þis resun," said þai,
"þa wimmen, ȝe sal vnderstand,
Er noght like wimmen of þis land,
For ilkan can þaim seluen stir,
Quen þai cum to þat mistir; Page  325
For ar we cum to þaim miht,
þai er lither bi þair aun sliht."
And for þa wimmen did sua wele,
Godd þaim sent bath hap and cele.
Þan comandid eft þe king pharao,
þat all þat folk wild for-do,
Ouer-all his kingriche euerilk-quar,
Quen womman ani knaue-child bar,
þat of þe kind of ebru ware,
Men suld it in þe flum for-fare.
Quat he was wicked and wode
Again þat folk sua mild of mode!
Bot for noght wend he smore þat sede,
þat godd him-selue wald of brede,
May naman, for nankines chance,
For-do þat worldes puruiance;
Of israel sede he thoght,
Be born of he þat þis world wroght,
And of his ferd son þat was,
Getin of lay þat hight iudas;
þan wold he drau his manhed,
Of him cam kinges of þat lede.
And of his broder leui bredd
þe preistes þat þair lauis ledd,
Preist & demister, say i, [folio 40a:1]
Both þai com of þis leui,
Of þe quilk was moyses formast,
þat i sal tell ȝou of in hast;
Hougatis he cam first in place,
And saued was thoru godes grace,
Fra Pharao, þat king feloun,
þat comandid þe childer for to droun.
And siþen efter sal be redd,
Hou þat he goddes folk ledd;
Hou þe comandmentis tok,
As i hiht ȝou bifore in þis bok. Page  327
And quen i se þe time þar-to,
þe kinges kin i sal vndo;
Of quam sprong of þat sauyour,
þat broght vs all in-to socour.
Þe formast broþer þat hiht leuy,
A man was of his genealogy,
Fra him bot þo toþer degre,
þat of his wijf had childer thre;
Moyses and aron, þas tua,
And a dohutir hight maria.
Born in þat time was moyses,
Quan þat folk was in þat pres;
Quen he was born, widuten bide,
His moder did him for to hide.
Quen scho to mu[n]th had him hid,
And it was passid in to þe thrid,
þat scho no langer hide him ne mohut,
a kist of rises did scho be wroght,
Did pic it sua, widuten and inne,
þat thoru miht na water wine;
In þis kist hir child scho did,
And quen it was sperd wid þe lid,
Noght fer fra þe kinges ham,
Scho laid it on þe water fam
Amang þe richeys, in an yle; [folio 40a:2]
Sone þar eftir in a quile,
þe kinges dohutir playand ȝode,
And sau þat vessel in þe flode.
Scho gert men fet it to þe land,
A squeland child þar-in scho fand,
þat was farli for to se,—
Of þat child scho had pite.
"For soth," scho said, "mistrou thar nan
Of ebru childer þat þis es nan."
þis childes sister stod þar-by,
"wil þu i ga," scho said, "ladi, Page  329
To fett a womman of þat lede?"
"ȝa," scho said, "i sal do it to fede."
Scho went and fand þat scho soght,
þe childes moder wid hir scho broght.
þe ladi bitaght it hir to fede,
And for hir seruise hight hir mede,
þe womman sone it vnderfang,
And fedd it til it coude spec and gang.
Quen it was thriuen and sum del ald,
To þe kinges dohutyr scho it ȝald,
For hir child þan scho him ches,
And gaf him to name moyses;
þar-for was moyses his name,
For he was of þe watir tane.
All þe folk him saw in lede,
Ferli had of his fair-hede.
Bi þis cam moyses to elde,
þat he miht him-seluen weild;
þan went he vte apon a day
To se þe breder of his lay,
To knau his breder, hou þai ware
Filid in þat land wid care.
He saw a gypcian ful sore
Smyte a iuu, bifor him þore.
[folio 40b:1] (þat branch of kin cald iuus was,
þat cam of iacob sonis iudas.)
Quen Moyses sau þar war na ma,
Bot him-seluen and þai tua,
To þat egypcian he drogh
wid suilk a dint, þat he him sloh;
Quen he had slain him wid his hand,
He dalue him sone vnder þe sand.
An-oþer day he went alsua,
And fightand fand he iuus tua;
He said to him þat bar þe wite,
"Hou durst þu sua þi broder smite!" Page  331
þan ansuerd him þat an,
"Siþen quen was þu vr domesman?
wil þu me sla as þu did an,
þis oder day, þe egypcian?"
Moyses for þis vpbraid
was dredand in his hert, and said,
"Thoru quam es þis? hou may þis be?
Qua broght vp þis word on me?"
þe king herd þis, and bad alsua
Men suld seke moyses to sla.
Moyses sau na better wane,
Bot fledd him into madian,
And sett him þar a well biside,
Tyȝand for to spir and bide.
þe preist of þis stede þat i neuyn,
He had at ham dohutris seuenyn;
þai com to watter þar þair fe,
Quarof þair fader had plente.
Als þai war drauand þe water best,
Com herdes and away þaim kest;
Moyses sau þai did þaim wrang,
And sone he mengid he þaim emang;
þe herdes fra þe well draf he,
And did to drinc þe maydines fe.
þa wimmen went þaim ham agayn, [folio 32b:2]
And at þaim gaue þair fader frayn,
"Hou had ȝe sua smertly done,
þat ȝe er comen ham sua sone?"
"Sir," þai said, "thoru a ȝong man,
þat semed to be a gypcian;
Sir, þe soth til ȝou to say,
He put þe herdes all away,
And wid vs he vr water drogh,
And gaue vr bestis drinc enogh."
"Quer es þat man? ȝe do him call."
þai said, "sir, gladli we sall." Page  333
þai fett moyses, fair and suete,
And wid preist Raguel he ete.
Quen þai war quaintid, as i tell,
þis moyses and sir Raguell,
He weddid of his dohutris an,
Sephoram, an hend womman.
Tua childer to him gan scho bere,
Gersan and heliezer.
Þis quilis was in israel,
þe folk ledd in mekil vnwele,
þair sor was soru on to se,
And for to here was pite.
þaim þai held hard as thral,
On godd þai gan to cri and cal,
Again þat folk sua wid þaim ferd,
Sua lang þai cald þat godd þaim herd.
He herd þair mening and þar vnquart,
And he vmthoght him in his hart,
Of þis hiht lang siþen gan,
He made to þair eldris and abraham.
For forward þat he wid þaim fest,
His eye of reuth on þaim he kest;
Bath he helpid þaim of þair wa,
And þaim diliuerd fra þair fa.
Moyses þat time tok kepe, [folio 41a:1]
To his elde fadris schepe,
þat was þe preist of madian,
Quas dohutir he had him tan.
His flok he fedd apon a tide
Bi a wilde wodis side,
And as he welk bi him a stounte,
Be-side oreb, a littel mount,
He sau a selcuth sight to se;
Him thoght brinand he sau a tre,
Als it wid loue war all vmlaid.
Him thoght, and to him seluen said, Page  335
"To se ȝon tre i sal ga nerere,
þat brinand semis as on ferre."
Quen he þis busk ner had sene,
wid blome and lef he fand it grene,
And þis was a for-scheuing schene,*. [[MS. schend]]
Of moder bath and maydin clene,
þat siþen lang, widuten les,
Bar a child and scho wemles,
As did þe tre þat semid to brine,
And þou þar was na fir wid-in.
As moyses onferum thoght,
þe tre brinand, and brint noght,
þan cald on him vr lauerd of miht,
vte of þat mekil lemand liht,
Tuis moyses cald he bi name;
"Quat wil þu, lauerd? here i am."
"I am þin eldris god," said he,
"For i þaim ledd, þai loued me,
Mi folk of ysrael es in wa;
þai haue ben led wrang alsua.
Bot i wil nou þair murning mend,
To pharao i wil þe send,
Pharao, of egipt king,
vte of his land þaim for to bring."
"Lauerd," he said, "quat am i þar-to,
At suilk a gret nedis to do?"
[folio 41a:2] "Ga forth," he said, "widuten drede,
For i mi-selue sal þe lede;
þat þai noght say again mi sand,
wid mi takins þu sal þaim fand.
Quen þu has broght þaim fra þat land,
þo þaim to make me þair offrand,
Apon þe topp riht of þis hill."
"Lauerd," he said, "say me nou þi will.
Quat sal i say þaim es name þin?"
God him ansuerd, wid littel dyn, Page  337
"If þai mi name wil at þe frayn,
þu ansuer þaim þus a-gain,
'Til ȝou me sendis he þat ess'—
þis es mi name, more ne less;
Of him þat es mi name þu call,
Mi mening neuer mar sal fall.
Do, moyses, nou as i þe kenne,
Ga, gadir to-gidir þe eldest mene
Of all mi folk of israel,
And sai þat i haue herd þaim wel,
þai er in wandring and in wa,
Ful wele i wat þat it es sua.
And say i sal þaim sone visite,
þar-to sal be na lang dilite.
I sal þaim bring fra þat thralhede,
And into a land of lufsum-hede,
A land rennand honi and milk,
In al þis world es nan suilk.
Siþen sal þu wend al-sua,
To pharao þe king þu ga,
And bid him lat mi folk away,—
þat he has haldin to þis day,
Doand þaim sua gret vtrage,
þat þai mai make on me no knaulage:—
Into wildirness land
I wil þaim bring vte of his band,
Bot wele i wat he es ful thra,
Lath him thinkes to late þaim ga.
[folio 41b:1] He sal me draw wid lith and lenkith,
Til i deliuere þaim wid strenth."
"Lauerd," said moyses, "wele i trow
þat Pharao wil me mistrow."
"Soth, wat has þu in þi hand?"
"Lauerd," he said, "i bere a wand."
"þu kest it on þe griss, i bidd."
"Gladli, lauerd," and sua he didd. Page  339
Quen it was on þe gris laid,
Aneddir it was, and he was fraid,
So ferd, þat he to fle bigan;
To moyses said vr lauerd þan,
"In þi hand þu noght forsake,
Bi þe tayl þu vp it take."
Quen moyses it had in hand,
As it was ar, it wex a wand.
To moyses spac god al-mightin,
"þu put þi hand in bosum þin."
He put his hand in, al in hele,
And vte it tok he als a mesele;
He put it eft in his spayere,
And vt it tok, hale and fere:
"Ga forth," he said, "and if þe king
wil noght trow þi first takning,
Qua sua wil noght trou þe first,
To trow þe toder him es best.
If þai trow nouþer of þas tua,
To þe water of þe flum þu ga,
And poure it vp apon þe land,
And certaynli, þu vnderstand,
All þat þu drawis vte of þat flode,
It sal be turnid in-to blode.
Tak wid þe aaron alsua,
To pharao þe king, say ȝe tua
þat he lat mi folk a-parte
Pass, to worschip me in desarte;
þair sacrifice to make to me,
vte of his land ior[n]ais thre."
Nou makis moyses him boune, [folio 41b:2]
As god him taght his lessoune.
His broder aaron he mett,
For god him-self þair mething sett
wid þe eldest folk of israel,
wid pharao þai went to dele. Page  341
þai said þat godd him-seluen bad
His folk þat vnder him war stad
To giue þaim leue to wend fra his hand,
To worschip god in wildrenes land.
King pharao gaf þis ansuer,
"Quat es he? þat godd, or quer?
þat i suld ethir here his sond,
Or lat þe folk vte of mi lond,
Neyder i knou him þat ȝe say,
Nor i ne wil lat þe folk away."
"ȝis," he said, "þus-gat wil he
þat his folk come iornais thre,
In wildirness offrand to make,
þat suerd apon ȝou take na wrake."
He said, "farli of ȝou me thinc,
wald ȝe mi men take fra þair suink?
þai rise and brede ay more and mare,
And more wild if þai idel ware.
Blame haue þai þat werkis on þaim spar,
And hald þaim ay harder þe mar."
Fra þat time nedis had þai,
Do tua iornays apon a day,
And þar-on sett he men at aske,
Of ilk day to ȝeild þair taske,
"To stand lat ȝe þaim noght hone,
As ȝe haue latin þaim most-quat don.
And qua-sua dos noght ȝour bidding,
wid scharpe skourges ȝe þaim suing.
Now wald þai make a withsawe,
Fra þair werkis þaim to drawe,
For to wend to wildirness,
To þair lauerd, i ne wat quat he ess.
Bot als i euer brouke mj hand, [folio 42a:1]
I sal þaim do duell in mi land."
þan spac god al weildand,
To moyses his trew se[r]uand. Page  343
"Quen pharao askis ȝou,
wid quat takin he sal ȝou trow,
þu bidd þi broder aaron,
þe wan[d] kast bi-for pharaon,
And it sal to a neddir worth."
Anoþer tim þai went þaim forth,
Bifore þe king into his hall,
þar he satt, wid his knightes all;
Bot noght he of þair erand herd.
þan tok aaron his ȝerd,
And on þe flor he kest it doun,
And it bicam a w[o]rm feloun.
þen cald þe king his enchauntonurs,
þe craftiest of his Iugylonurs,
Doun þai kest a wand, ilk an,
And þai wex dragonis sone on-an.
Bot aaron ȝerd it wex sua kene,
þas oþer it wirid al bidene.
þe kinges herte wex hard as brass,
"þe folk," he said, "ȝeit sal noght pass."
God spac þan to moysen,
"þe herte of pharao i ken,
For nou i wat þat it es mare
Harder for mi sake þan are.
And for þat he me wil noght here,
Hard sondis i sal send him sere;
Bath on him and on his kingriche.
He sal ger mani a man mislike.
And for he wil þus bate on me,
I sal him drenkil in þe se."
þe first vengans he on him send,
Men sal mene vnto þe worldes end.
Þis it was þe first sand;
All þe watris of his land,
Wex sone into blod rede, [folio 42a:2]
þat all þe fiss þar-in was dede, Page  345
For þe rott þat þar-on fell,
Bath it stanc, reuer and well.
þar was in house na vessel fre,
þat water held, of stan no tre,
Of þis watir þat it ne stanc:
wa was þaim þat it dranc.
þe toþer wengans þat him fell,
were froskis, þat na tung miht tell,
þat vte of brym a[n]d watris bredd,
And ouer-all egipt land þai spredd,
þat al þe erde þai couerd sua,
A man miht noght fre sett his ta,
Bath in hous and wid-vte,
And al þe land ouer-al aboute.
þan bad þe king pharaon,
Cal moyses and aaron,
"ȝe pray ȝour lauerd," he said, "þat he
Do þir froskis a-way fra me."
And þai said, "sett vs teme quen
we sal pray for þe and þi men."
"To morn," he said; "sir, and we sal."
Ful fast on god bigan þai call,
To liuere þe folk of þat onfall;
And godd þaim did sua of all.
þe froskes deyed vp al be-dene,
þe hepis of þaim war wonder to sene
þat men gadrid o-pon þe grund.
Quen pharao sau rest a stound,
His herte wex grett, and gan to greue
þe folk, þan wild he giue na leue
For to pass vte of his kingr[i]ke.
þe thrid vengans was sent him slike,
þat all þe pouder of his land
wex hungri flies, sare bitand,
þat bath þai bat bath man and best,
To fless-flies þai war likest. Page  347
Bot al for noght, was it na bote, [folio 42b:1]
þe folk he let noght pass a fote.
Þan sent godd on þaim a flie,
A scharper sau neuer man wid eye,
On pharao and his to drauth,
þat ouer all his land it rauht.
Bot in þe land þat hight gessen,
þar wonand was his aun men,
Com non of þa flies þare,
Ful wele he coude his aun spare.
þou þai wonid in þat contre,
Ful fair he made his aun fre,
þat pharao suld vnderstand,
þat mihti he was ouer all his land.
Pharao, þat fals of pes,
Cald aaron and moyses,
"Gas," he said, "here in mi land,
And to ȝour lauerd ȝe make offrand.
Quar-to suld ȝe ferder ga?"
"Do way," þai said, "it bes noght sua,
God wil na worschip take of þaim
þat duellis emang cursid men,
Sua es þe folk of egipt,
þat makis to bestis þair worschip.
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
Thre iornais, more ne less,
Most wend into wildernes,
To make vr lauerd worschip to,
As he has comandid vs to do."
"Wend on þann, siþen ȝe wil ga,
Bot ferrer ga ȝe noght þan sua,
For me ȝe pray,"—and þai said, "ȝa,
To-morn þe flijs sal be ȝou fra,
And þar-for bigile vs namare."
þe folk þat time he lete for-fare, Page  349
Moyses praid þe toder day,
All þe flijs wair quit a-way,
þat all þe land it wex so clene,
þat neuer a flie þar-in was sene.
[folio 42b:2] Bot ȝeit þaim held pharao in thrang,
þe folk ne wild he late forth gang.
Þan sent godd a qualm on all,
On bestis in þat kingdam to fall,
Hors and ass, moul and camayle,
Doun þan dyed al þair catele.
His aun folk þat hadd ani best,
þar dyed noght on of þe lest;
Quen pharao sent þat to se,
Al hal and fere þai fand þair fe.
Bot ay was pharao in an,
þat folk a-way ne lete he nan.
Þan sent godd þe sext on-sand,
þat fals pharao to fand;
Bile and blester bolnand sare,
On all his folk, less and mare,
wa was þaim on þair bodis all,
þair king þai banned, gret and small.
Bot ȝeit for noght þat men miht say,
Ne wald he latt þat folk away.
Þe seuent vengans þat siþen fell,
It was a weder was wonder fell,
A thoner wid a hayl sua kene,
þat suilk a-noþer was neuer sene:
Hail and fir menged samen,
þat it ouer-tok, thoght þaim na gamen;
For bath it slow fra it bigan,
widuten hous, bath best and man;
þe treis it brast, þe erde it brent:
At þe land of gessen þar it stent,
Israel for þat tempast
was nouþer harmed, man no best. Page  351
þan said þe king, "i haue þe wrang,
All þis wreche on me es lang,
þu prai þi lord, sir moyses,
þat he wil do dis thoner ses;
For he es right-wis þat ȝe on leue,
þe folk to fond i sal giue leue.
I and mine þe misse has done." [folio 43a:1]
He praid, þe wedir sescid sone:—
Quen pharao had þat he soght,
Langer forward held he noght.
Þan sent godd a litel best,
Of toth es noght vnfelonest,
Locust it hight in bok i fand,
I trou non suilk es in þis land.
þat best gnow vp all bidene
þat thoner left, bath ripe and grene;
Of þaim it was sua mani bred,
ouer al þe land þai war spredd,
þat men noquar ne miht se
Griss on erde, ne lef on tre.
Bot ȝeit was king pharaon
Fals as he was ay bi-forn;
þan did god wid-drau his light,
And mirknes made mar þan niht,
Sua mirk þat nan miht oþer se;
And þat was lastand dais thre,
Na man miht vte of stede stire:—
Bot euer gessen made he clere.

[The Passover, and killing of the first-born.]

ȝeit god fandid pharaon,
And sent þe tend wreche him on,
Mare þan all þas oþer smert,
To sett him soru at his hert.
Aron he bad and moysen,
"Dos," he said, "as i ȝou ken, Page  353
Sais to mi folk on þis-kin wise,
þat þai make me a sacrifise;
First þai me an auter make,
And siþen sal ilkan hous in-take
A clene he-lamb, widuten sake,
þe blod ȝe hald, þe filth vt schake;
And quen it es to offrand bedd,
þe meyne þarwid sal be fedd.
Loke þat þai be schod, ilk an
þat lamb sal ete, and barfott nan.
And qua for pouerte es bihind, [folio 43a:2]
þas oþer all sal þaim find,
þat lambis blod in all thing,
ȝe make þar-wid a takning,
On ilk a post, on ilk derner,
A sine of tau T make ȝe þer.
wid therf bred, and letus wild,
þe quilk þat groues in þe feild;
It sal noght soþin be bot bred,
þe lamb þat þai sal wid be fed;
þai sal it ete, bath fete and heuid,
Ouer niht na-thing þar-of be leuid;
And if ohut leue or it be tynt,
þat do it in þe fire be brint.
ȝe be all girt, wid staf in hand,
Ne hones noght quile ȝe er etand.
And i mi self," said god al-miht,
"Sal pass thoru egipt þat night,
And all þe for-birthis sal i sla,
Bath of man and best alsua;
And on þair goddes i wil me wrake,
On þaim i sal mi vengans tak.
In menyng sal ȝe hald þis day,
Bath ȝe and ȝour ospring ay,
Sollemply wid-in ȝour lay,
wid all þe worschip þat now ȝe may." Page  355
Þan cald moyses þe olde
Men of israel, and tolde
All þat godd hadd him said,
And hou þis lamb suld be puruaid.
On þair poste and þair derner,
þe blod þai suld anoint it þer;
And straitly for-bed þat þai
Sould vte of hous cum bi-for day,
To liuer him as godd mint
And geue egipcians a dint.
Þe folk was fayn, and louted doun,
And went to make þair lambis boun,
[folio 43b:1] Of þis bodword war þai fain and glad,
And did all as moyses þaim badd.
Efter sone þat ilk night,
God, as he bifor had hight,
Sent his aun angel doun,
In al egipt, thoru ilk a toun,
And soght þair housis all bidene,
Of þas þat war egipciene;
Of þat meyne left he nan,
At þe last þat he ne slow an.
At þe king him selue he bigan,
þe forth-birth slow bath [best] and man.
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
Wretherale ras vp þe king,
And wid him all his sori geng,
Ouer all egypt þe cri it ras,
Mani þar were þat said allas!
þer was na hous in all þat land,
þat þar-in was an dede man ligand.
Be niht þan sent king pharaon
Aftir moyses and aaron,
"Gas," he said, "vte of mi kith,
ȝe and all ȝour folk ȝou with, Page  357
Mas sacrifis ȝour lauerd vntill,
Quar and hou, so þat ȝe will.
And tak ȝour bestis wid ȝou boune,
Gas, and giue me ȝour benisun."
þan gan þe folk apon him cri,
And said, "do ȝou forth in hey,
Duell ȝe lenger ani quile,
All we drede dede vs wil bigile."
Fra þis folk þat was in soru,
þe folk of israel to boru
Askid siluer wessel sere,
And clathes þat war of pris dere;
And godd, þat grace to his folk gaue,
þaim he did þair asking haue,
For to reue þat folk vn-sele,
And help his folk of israel.
þai war ny, wane þai stere bigan, [folio 43b:2]
Sex hundrid thousand fotmen þan,
widuten childer, wimmen, and brod,
þat nan þe number vnderstod.
Left þai na-thing þat þar was,
Schip, ne kow, or [ox,] ne as;
þair woning þar, widuten wene,
Foure hundrid ȝere tua þan had bene;
Quen þis time was broght to end,
Of egypt goddes ost vte wend;
þis owes euer to be in mind
To israel and al þair kind.
To moyses þan vr lauerd teld,
Quat wise þai suld þair pask held,
And neuer mare þat day to ete,
Sour bred ne non oþer mete,
Nor na day widin þa seuen dais,
þe seuyn first als þe stori sais.
þe for-birth of þair barn-tem
Fra þan þai suld to god it tem Page  359
To him til offir at þe lest
þe forbirth als of ilk a best,
Manes child wid pris be boght,
And schip, and hors, ass, be broght;
In mening, þis es to vnderstand,
þat he þaim liuerd of þat land,
wid strenthe of egypt he þaim drou,
Of man and best for-birth he slou.
Quen pharao þis folk forth send,
God bad þaim into wildernes wend,
Or philistiens suld wid þaim mete,
And let þaim for to wend þair strete;
þar-for þai tok þe wild way,
Beside þe rede se it lay.
þir godes folk armid ware,
Ioseph bonis wid þaim þai bare,
For quen ioseph in lijf was stad,
ȝerne he praid þe folk and bad
þat quen god sent him visiting, [folio 44a:1]
þai suld his banis þeþen bring.
Bi a mekil wodis side
þai made þair logis for to abide;
God him selue þaim led þair way,
To wise and kepe bath night and day,
wid clouden piler on day liht,
wid firen piler apon þe niht,
þat in all time þaim wantid nouþer,
Bath niht and day þat þai ne had ouþer.

[The Passage of the Red Sea.]

God þaim bad drau iner-mare,
Egain on-slent þar þai ware,
Into pharaons side;
On him wald he scheu his pride,
þat he suld wene þaim lok in þare,
þat þai miht na gat ferder mare, Page  361
And him suld þan reu his cast
For þat folk was fra him past,
þat he suld ȝeit him seluen payn
Al-gate to bring þat folk agayn,
And þat he suld þar-to mint,
He suld for euer mare be stint.
Þis folk did sua widuten bade,
And iner-mar þair logging made.
Sone in land was þe tiȝand spred
þe folk was turnid a-gayn and fled;
His folk þan gedrid pharaon,
"Lordinges," he said, "quat haue we don,
þat we lete þus þis folk away,
þat suld vs serue for euer and ay!"
His folk all armid did he call,
And gart to couipil his cartis all,
Sex hundrid cartis wid all þair gers,
On all þat ost he sett leders.
Quen he had mad al boun his ost,
He went wid mekil þride and bost;
Quen goddes folk his coming herd,
þai bigan to wax al ferd,
And quen þai sau þaim efter hey, [folio 44a:2]
þe folk of israel bigan to cri
On god, and to moyses þai said,
"In egipt was na ill vs graid;
þar-for þu has vs ledd may fall
In wildernes to sla vs all.
Qui wild þu lede vs fra þat land?
No said we noght, þar duelland
To leue vs, for vs leuer were
þe egypcianis to serue þare,
Alkines baret for to drie,
þan in wildernes for to die?"
Þan ansuerd moyses and said,
þat nan of þaim be mis-paid; Page  363
"Standis and biholde," said he,
"Godes miracil sul ȝe se,
Godes miracyl and his miht,
Him-self to-day for ȝou sal fight,
Gas forth hardili ȝour way."
And god to moyses gan say,
"Moyses, þu take þat wand
þat þu was wont to bere in hand,
And do þe to þe water side,
þe see þar-wid sal þu smite,
And þu sal se it cleue in tua,
And giue ȝou redi gate to ga,
þe quilk king pharao sal se,
wid his ost and his meyne.
He sal wene ȝou to ouer-take,
Bot þan i sal me on him wrake,
And ȝe sal come all hal to land;
Suilk es þe uertu of þi wand."
MOyses did as god him bad,
For pharao was he noght rad,
In þe se his wand he smate,
It clef and gaf him redi gate;
þe [se] on ayder side him stod,
As wallis to-quilis þai forth ȝode,
[folio 44b:1] Til þai war passid thoru al þe flod.
Quen þe king þis vnderstod,
He folud w[id] oste on hors and fote,
For noght caytif was him na bote,
He sau þe se it drau in tuine,
þe brod watir he did him ine,
Moyses, wid his folk al hale,
widuten wanting of his tale,
Be-held þat ost apon þe land;—
He smat the water wid his hand,
was þar to se na langer bide,
þe se drou samen on eyder side, Page  365
Bath bihind þaim and before,
And drenklid mani hundrid skore.
King ne kniht, or squier, or suayn,
Com neuer on of þaim agayn.
þus he wrekid him, þat lauerd of miht,
On þaim þat þus wid him wald fiht,
His folk has he saued all sound,
His enmys has he broght to grund.
þan bigan þai þaim amang
Cantemus domino, a neu sang
Til god, þat sua had mad þaim quyte
Of all þair soru and þair site;
And sua mot he diliuere vs,
vr dere lauerd, suete iesus!
Þir er þe folk of israele,
vr lauerd ches to him for lele,
For þe quilk he mani miracle did,
þa þaim seluen it for-did;
For oft on him þai made vtrake
Quarfor oft þai fand his wrake,
Als i sal tell ȝou redili
Forth-þer mare in þis stori,
wid þair daunger to moyses,
Oft did þai [him] gret males.

Of þe tre of lijf nou sal i tell, And alsua of þe folk of israell.

[folio 44b:2] Quen moyses þat folk hadd ledd
Ouer þe see, as godd him bedd,
He and his broder aron,
Out of þe seruage of pharaon,
In syrie apon þe toder side
þai made þair logging for to bide.
þe quile þai duellid þar to rest,
Of water had þai mekil brest, Page  367
And wide þai soght it here and þar,
Bot water miht þai find noquar.
þe folk þat þar aboute him lay
Ilkan gan to oþer say,
"Quar we sal in wildernes
Die for thrist thoru moyses.
Quat sal we drinc?" to him said þai.
Moyses þat niht in sleping lay,
þat niht he ȝede and tok his rest,
In sleping he lay in þat forest,
Quen he on morn him lokid bi
He sau þat him thoght ferli,
At his heued sau he stand
waxin of cypris, a wand;
Apon his left hand loked he,
Anoþer he sau of cyder tre;
And quan he lokid on his riht hand,
Of Pine tre þe thrid he fand;
Bi þe leuis þat þai bar,
þai kid of quatkines tre þai war:
Bot moyses for goddes awe,
þa wandis vp durst he noght drau.
þe toþer day he went him eke,
wid þat folk water to seke,
þar he slepe at morntide,
He fand þa wandis him biside.
þe thrid sid suagat he fand,
þat did him wele to understand
þat sumkines takining suld þar be
Closid in þa wandes thre.
[folio 45a:1] "Selcuth thing," he said, "wid-in
Es closid in þa wandis thrin."
þa wandis takin parsonis thre,
And a-fold godd in vnite.
þan he drou þaim vp at þe first,
widuten ani skade or brist, Page  369
And quiles þai in þat wildernes ware,
þa wandis ay wid him he bare.
Siþen þai fand þat frith widine,
water bitter as ani brin,
As it war brine sua was it bitter,
To drinc it ne was þaim neuer þe better.
Bot quan þa wandis war in don,
þe water wex suete als sone,
þa watris þat sua foule stanc,
Of suetter neuer nan þai bifor dranc.
þat miracle sau þai all a-pert
þat duelland war in þat desert.
Fra þat time held moyses
þa wandes bath in pris and pres,
Quar-sua he walked, here or þare,
þa wandis ay wid him he bare;
And quen he clymed on mont synay,
þan he hid þaim preuyly;
To-quilis he fastid his lenten tyde,
In erde he did him for to hide.
For na drie ne for na wate,
Ne changid þai neuer þair state,
Bot euer þai held lijf and flour,
Sauirand wid a suete sauur.
Of þis moyses, lauerdinges,
Haue i tald ȝou sumkin thinges,
Of him i may noght all ȝou tell,
For it war ouer lang to duell,
Bot of his trauail tell i sall,
He suffrid þat fraward folk wid-all.
For he þaim ledd, and soth it es, [folio 45a:2]
Fourti ȝere in þat wildrenes,
And fand þaim fode in þair nede,
widuten sauing of ani sede.
For godd him-selue þaim sent þair fode,
Fand þai neuer nan sua gode, Page  371
It sneu to þaim as it war flour,
Of hony it had lickest sauour;
þis mete þat þai war fedd wid þan
þai called it in þair langag man,
It cam at morn and at euening,
volatile þaim sent þat king.
þat king aw men to loue and loute,
wid all worschip him mensk and doute!
þar þai had mekil watir wan,
Moyses of þe hard stan
He smat wid his forsaid wand,
And vte as a brok it brast þe strand,
þar had þai watir in wildernes land,
Plente for men, to fhote and hand.
Bot for all þa dedis gode,
Þat god þaim gaf, and lent þair fode,
þa iuus, þat of wil wer wlanc,
þai ȝeild him ay ful littel thanc,
For þou þair tunges spac resun,
þair hertes was ay wid tresun.

[The Battle with Amalek.]

In þis time þat i sal of speke,
þer was a lauerding hiht amalec,
þat on þaim faght, and þai on him,
In a stede þat hiht Rapydym.
Moyses þan cald sir iosue,
And made him maystir of þat semble,
He said, "ches þe wid þine and freck,
þan ga þu and fiht wid sir amalec;
And i sal on ȝon hil stand,
And goddes ȝerde hald in mi hand."
To þis fight þai went þaim sone [folio 45b:1] ,
Bot moyses and aaron,
þai went apon þat hill,
In hope alone of goddes will; Page  373
Quiles Moyses held vp his hend,
It was wele in þat batayle kend,
For ay þat quilis witterli,
Had godes folk þe victori;
Bot if he slakid þaim ani sithe,
Amalec wan alsua suith.
So lang he held þaim vp wid þis,
þat slake þaim must maugre his;—
If he war irk it was na wonder;—
þai gadrid stanis and laid him vnder,
Euer held he vp and aaron
His handis til þe fight was don.
vnder eyder hand was an,
þat held him stedfast as a stan,
þat bi þe sune was at doun helde,
wid israel was left þe feilde.
Ietro, þe preist of madian,
þat was moyses kines man,
Quen he herd hou þai had don,
Be-tuix israel and pharaon,
To speke wid moyses he cam,
And broght him his wijf sephoram,
wid his tua sonis scho by him ber,
Gersan and Eliaser.
þis ilk folk was vntelland
þat moyses had vnder his hand,
þat did him wonder gret trauail,
Til Ietro gaue him to consayl
vnder bayles þaim to sett,
þat þai in right suld be gett
In smale wrangys, þat þar ware;
And to þaim þat grete chargis bare,
Namly þat fell to gastlines,
Suld techid be thoru moyses.
Page  375

Listens nou vnto mi saw, [folio 45b:2] And tell i sal of moyses law.

Þan bigan þat folk to say
To moyses, "to go get vs lay."
Moyses said, "þat es god right,
we sal it aske of godd almiht,
Bot fast bihouis ȝou and me."
"And hou lang sal þe terme be?"
"þe terme sal last fourti dais,
þe quilis i ga to get ȝour lays,
Here on þe mount of synay."
"Sir," þai said, "ȝa, ful bleþili."*. [[No gap in the MS.]]
Moyses went apon þat fell,
And fourti dais gan þar-on duell,
þe quilk he fastid, as we rede,
To get þe lau his folk wid to lede.
þan cam vr lauerd to him onan,
And tok him tablis tua of stan,
wid his comandementis ten,
And badd him vndo þaim to his men.
And for we awe þaim hald wid dett,
In dis bok i haue þaim sett.
"Trow þu in na godd bot in an,
Ne na maner ath suere þu nan,
And hald þu wele þi haliday,
Fadir and moder ȝe worschip ay,
Loke þu reue no man his lijf,
Nor na man þu reue his wijf,
Loke þu nouþer reue ne stele,
Ne ber þu witnes nan bot lele,
þi neyhburs wijf ȝerne þu noght to haue,
Nor best of his, ne may, no knaue." Page  377
þis er comandementis ten,
vr lauerd þaim tok to moysen,
First to þe iuus for to ken,
And siþen to vs cristen men.
If we þaim kepe bath vte and in,
þai sal vs saue fra dedeli sin.

[The people set up a golden calf.]

Qvilis moyses was a-way, [folio 46a:1]
þat fals folk, widuten fay,
þai said þat moyses was slain,
And suld neuer to þaim cum a-gain;
And ȝeit sum said þat he
was liuand, and in lijf suld be.
þai samind þaim and tok to rede
To make þaim a godd of gold rede,
And said þa folis þaim emang,
"Sua stalworth suld he be, and strang,
þat he sal hald vs hale and fere,
And kepe vs ay in vr mistere.
Quen manna sal vs wantand be,
He sal send vs wid plente."
þus bigan þair gile wid gamen,
þair golden tresur gadrid þai samen,
A golden calf þare-of þai blew,
And als a godd honurd it new.
"vre godd," þai said, "þis ilk es he
þat broght vs thoru þe rede se,
Fra pharao and his pouste,
þar-for es worthti he honurd be."
Þis moyses was ful derne and dere
To gode, men may we find it here,
He tok him tablis of þe lay,
As ȝe herd me bifor-hand say,
Quen he had tahut him suilk a relik,
"þe folk," he said, "has don a suilk, Page  379
Siþen þu cam fra þaim last
þu sal þaim find ful vnstedfast."
Lauerdinges, to þis fals lede,
Manna fell as ȝe herd me rede,
It fell fra heuen sua gret plente,
Als a rime frost to se,
Quilis moyses him held away
For to do þaim haue þe lay.
Bot sum of þaim þis fast for-sock,
And þis riche manna þai tock,
And vnder erd in helpis hid, [folio 46a:2]
Again þe forbod sua þai did,
þou þai were þat time vnwise,
þai did sua egaynes goddes enpris.
Qven moyses cam fra þat fell,
Sone herd he ȝe tiȝing tell,
þat his folk ful euil had don,
þar-of fand he takin sone.
Quen he was comen into dissert,
þe calf he fand þar, sett a-pert,
He herd þe gret noyse þat was þare,
Aboute þis calf wid mekil fare;
He wex sua mengid in his mode,
þat he miht say nouþer ille ne gode,
Ne he ne wist queþer better ware,
To turne or wend him ferdermare.
þe tablis þ[a]t he in hand bar,
In pecis he þaim brac riht þar,
And þar-wid forþermare he ȝede,
For to se þair curced hede.
He sau þaim knele þis calf aboute,
As godd him-self leue and loute,
"Quat es þis, dele ȝe nou!
Es þis ȝour godd þat ȝe in trou?"
Quen þai were war of moyses,
þai fledd a-way as in a res, Page  381
ȝong and ald, less and mare,
þe calf alone left þai þare.
þen cald moyses þaim to gider,
"Lordinges," he said, "i am comen hider,
Aboute ȝour erand haue i bene,
Qui fle ȝe fra me dus bidene?
Comis again widuten doute,
Haue ȝe þe dais al fastid vte,
þat i bad, ar i me went,
Or haue ȝe halden mi comandement?
And qua has made þis calf here,
þat ȝe dus worschip and halde dere?
It es of gold widuten wene, [folio 46b:1]
ȝe hald it for ȝoure godd bidene.
Mekil haue i trauayled for ȝou,
þat litil turnis ȝou to prou,
þat suilk a godd honurs nou!
Here efter it sal sare rew ȝou.
Qua made þis calf? i wald him ken,
Or held þe fast emang þir men?
And qua has haldin mi comandement,
And qua noght, siþen i fra ȝou went?
And quilk forgat me and quilk nohut?
And qua þis gold to-gider broght?
And quilk er þa it samen bleu,
And quilk as for þair godd it kneu?"
Ilkon said, "haue i na wite,"
And all þan made þaim-seluen quite.
"Parfay," said moyses, "for noght
þe soth algate it sal be soght.
I wil mi selue knau þe fals,
And ilk man sal knau him als.
'Ful ille hayl brac ȝe þe day,
þat i fastid sua!' sul ȝe say.
Ill hayl sul ȝe se þat sithe,
For quen i wepe ȝe made ȝou blith, Page  383
And made þis godd in for to trou,
þe quilis i ȝede to pray for ȝou.
Ful mekil foly did i þan
þat euer i to help ȝou bi-gan,
Quen i ledd ȝou thoru þe strand,
vte of all ȝour enmys hand;
And siþen i askid ȝou al-sua
ȝour fode, and iesu ȝou sent manna,
þat ȝe in erd nou has hid vnder.
Mani a man on ȝou sal wonder,
vr lauerd sal me on ȝou wrake,
To saue þaim all þat has na sake.
All er ȝe treu, þis es ȝour saues, [folio 46b:2]
Es nan of ȝow þat þis calf knawes;
Ȝe say þat ȝe ne made it noght,
Ne neuer cam it in ȝour thoght,
Nor ȝe honurd it neuer, ȝe say,
Bot all þar-wid nu ȝe nite me nay.
Bot sais me þan, quarfor and qui
ȝe made sua mekil din and cri,
þat i ȝou saw make all bi-dene?
Thoru þe watir it sal be sene.
Schews me sone, it sal be kidd,
Quere ȝe haue ȝe manna hidd."
þe putis quen þai þaim vndid,
þai fand bot wormis crouland imyd.
Quen þai þis sau, qua soth wil say,
þat þat war gilti thoght na play.
þis golden calf he gart to brest
To poudir, and it in water kest,
And of þis water he did ilkan
Drinc, queþer þai wald or nan.
And all þa men þat had þe gilt,
þai had þair berdis all ouer-gilt;
Bot þai þat war widuten plight,
And held his comandementis right, Page  385
And heldid to na maumettry,—
As was þe kinred of sir leui,
þe watir prouid þaim for clene,
Was na gold on þair berdis sene.
Moyses to þair ȝatis ȝode,
And þus he said quen he þar stode,
"All þat er in goddes parti,
Hider ȝe cum sone and stand me bi."
So did þai þat war in godes half,
And honurd noght þat gilden calf.
"Gas," he said, "þat it be sene,
Sles vp ȝone caytifes all bidene."
Ilkan went wid suerd in hand, [folio 47a:1]
And slow þar tuenti thowsand.
þan gan moyses to þaim say,
"wat ȝe quat ȝe haue don to-day?
Ȝe haue to godd halden vp ȝoure handis,
And slayn þat goges will wid-standis."
Zit spac vr lauerd to moysen,
"þu do," he said, "as i þe ken,
Hew þe suilk tablis," he said,
"As i bifor þe had puruaid,
þe quilk þu brac, and i sal sone
write þaim neu." "it sal it be done."
Apon þe morn quen it was day,
went moyses to fett þe lay,
He tok þe comandementis ten
For to lede wid all his men,
writen wid godes aun hand,
He sent þaim þair a fair presand.
Quen moyses had broght þe law,
And his folk in face him saw,
þaim thoght him hornid apon fer,
And douted him to cum him nere.
þan þe law he þaim vndidd,
As vr lauerd to him gan bidd. Page  387
Of an ark to þaim he spac,
In goddes worschip for to mak,
A tabernacyl als for to dight,
þar-of he scheud þaim þe slight.
þan he tok vp þa wandis thrin,
And for to kepe did þaim þar-in,
For-to bere to ilka stede,
Queþer so he þee folk wild lede.

Listens nou a litel thraue, For i sal tell of þe iuus lawe.

Nou sal ȝe of þa domis here,
þat god to moyses gaf sere,
þaim all to telle it were gret suink, [folio 47a:2]
Bot sum er god to here, me think.
Qua smites man in wil to sla,
He sal him-seluen be slayn alsua.
Qua-so slas any man wid will,
And bifore has waited þar tille,
If he to min auter fly,
Men sal him þe[þ]in draw to die.
Qua þat fadir or moder smite,
Or ellis þaim bannys in despite,
Die þai sal widuten lite,
widuten ransum for-to quite.
If tua flites, and þe tan,
þe toþer smyte wid neue or stan,
Sua þat he ly schort quile or lang,
Siþen efter quen he may gang,
þe smyter sal quite his leching,
And þe skade of his ligging.
Quo smytes seruand wid a wand,
And he be dede vnder his hand,
He sal be gilti of þe sine:
If he liue a day or tuine, Page  389
þe lauerd sal vnder-ly na payn,
For als his catel es his suayn.
If man smytes wijf wid barn,
Quar thoru þe child es forfarn,
Bot sua þat þe moder lyue,
Till hir hosband sal he giue
Nedis þat men sais es right,
wid loking of lele menes sight.
And if scho die þar-for, þe wijf,
þan sal he tine lijf for lijf,
Eye for eye, or toht for toth,
Hand for hand, loke þis be soth,
Fote for fote, or ta for ta,
Wounde for wounde, wa for wa.
[folio 47b:1] Qua-so smytes vte his thrales eye,
And mas him vnsihti for to sie,
Or toth vte of his muth smyte,
He sal him make fre and quite.
Þe*. [[MS. Ie]] ox þat man sles wid horn,
þat sua was wont noght biforn,
To dede þat best men sal it stan,
Bot of þat fless eyte na man nan;
þe bestis lauerd sal ga quite
Of alkines chalange and wite.
If his lauerd kenne him kene of horn
Thre dais pascid þar-biforn,
If he sle man or womman,
þat best sal be tahut to slan;
And þat lauerd þat þe same best iht,
Sal þar-for ansuer at his miht.
If he sle ani manes suayn,
Thritti schilling of mone again
Sal men giue þe lauerd to mendes,
þe best þan sal wid stoning ende.
If any man þat mas a pitt,
And siþen he wil noght hil it, Page  391
And ox or ass or any oþer aght
Fall ine, þe man þat þis pitt ahut
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
Of his best sal ȝeilde þe pris,
Bot þe dede best sal be his.
If þat min ox first sle þin,
þus biddis god all-mightin,
þat þe quic best be sald,
þe pris bituix þaim delt and tald,
And þe dede carion alsua,
Sal be delt bi-tuix þaim tua,—
Bot if he wist it at þe lest,
Thre dais bifor of his best,
And na keping did him in wilde,
Ox for ox þan sal he ȝelde. [folio 47b:2]
Qua-so stelis schip, ox, or cow,
To sla or selle, or ani oþer prow,
Oxin fiue for an he pay,
For a schip foure, it stand for lay.
Thef hous-brekand orgrubband*. [[MS. grulband]] grund,
If man him smyte wid dedes wound,
And þe dede be don bi night,
þe smyter þan sal haue na plight;
Bot if þe sunne be resin þan,
It sal be tald for slauht o man.
If thif na fyn haue, na gift,
þat he may ȝeild again his thift,
He sal be sald bot if þat he
Haue any aght may funden be,
Ani best, ȝong or alde,
He sal again ȝeild dubbil*. [[MS. dulbil]] fald.
If fir be kindlid and ouer-take
Thoru feild of corn, mou, or stak,
He þat fir kindlid in þat feild,
He aue þe harmis for to ȝeild. Page  393
If i giue þe for to kepe
Ox or kow, ass or schepe,
Hors or ani oþer auht,
And it wid theuis be lahut,
OR dede or don in-till vn-miht,
Or don away fra manes siht,
wid þi ath þu ma þe clene,
And þu ga quite of þat i mene;
Bot if þis ahut be stoln in chanse,
þu sal ma me restauranse.
And if i lent þe suilkines best,
þat ded be, or spilt at þe lest,
And i my-selue noght in present,
þu sal it quite wid iugement,
And ellis noght, namly in dede, [folio 48a:1]
I lete to hire for any mede.
þa þat to wicked dedis draw,
Godd wil þat þai be done o daw.
Qua þat dos wid best þe foul sin,
He sal be don to dede þar-in.
Qua þat honours goddes new,
Of his sleing sal na man rew.
To cumlynges loke ȝe do na suike,
For quilum was ȝour-seluen was slike.
Wydw, na child fadir-less,
Do ȝe na wrang nor na maless,
If ȝe do, crye to me þai sal,
And i for-soth sal here þair cal.
þan sal mi wrethe be kindlid sua,
þat wid my wreche i sal ȝou sla,
widuus i sal make ȝour wiues,
ȝour barnes haue na fader in liues.
If þat þu lenys any thing,
þu aske it noght wid okering.
If þat þu, quen þu art wrath,
Of simple man take wed of clath, Page  395
ȝeld again þat clath i say,
Ar sunne ga doun þat ilk day,
For he has nouþer on bac nor bedd,
Clath to hap him bot þat wedd;
For ellis if þat he to me crie,
I sal him here thoru mi merci.
Missay na preist ne preins in land;
Gif gladli þi tende and þi offrand,
þe formast scheuis of ȝoure corn,
þe first child þat to ȝou es born;
Noght þat allon, i comande ȝou,
Bot bath þe first of schep and kow,
þe child þat ȝe to offrand bring,
ȝe bi agayn for oþer thing. [folio 48a:2]
þir forbirths þat i of tell,
Sal seuen dais wit þair moderis duell,
þe eytand day sul þai offrid be,
Als i haue comandid to þe.
Þe fless þat best bifore has tast,
Ne ete ȝe noght þar-of þe last.
Take noght to him þat es lyer,
Ne fals witnes for feloin ber,
þou folow þaim na mare þan þi fas,
þat vnto wicked dedis gas.
Nor hald wid nan, þou þai be fele,
Agayn þi dome þu wat es lele,
Bath riche and pore þu sest in pliht,
In dome ne spare þu noght þe riht.
Þi enmyes best þu findes o stray,
þu bring it ham, sua wil þis lay.
If þu find of þin ill-willand
vnder birdin his best ligand,
Help him or þu ferþer wend,
And sua þu may make him þi frend.
Sla þu nan wid-vten sake,
No blendand giftes nan þu take. Page  397
To pilgerim and to vncuth,
þu bere þe wid þi dedis cuth.
Ȝe knaw þe state of cumbling,
vnder Pharao þe king:
ȝour land ȝe saw seuin ȝere,
And schere þar-of ȝour cornes sere.
þe eytand sal ȝe lat it ly still,
þe pore men hungyr for to fill.
Sex dais sul ȝe wirk i say,
And ȝe sal rest þe seuint day,
Hors and ass, womman and knaue,
þat day sal þai resting haue.
Suere ȝe bi na goddes fals, [folio 48b:1]
Trow ȝe nan oþer i bidd ȝou als,
Haldis þis wele, i warne ȝou nou.
Min angel sal wend bifore ȝou,
þat sal ȝou wiss and ful wele lede,
Into a land of blisful thede.
Ȝour fas þat ȝu wenis wid-stand,
Sal haue na miht in fote no hand,
For i mi-selue sal for ȝu fight,
Ne sal nan ouer ȝu haue na miht;
For i sal hald lele mi hiht,
þe quilis ȝe folu mi laus right.
Suilk was þe lessun and þe lare,
And ȝeit a thousand sides mare,
þat vr lauerd scheud to moysen,
To gar his folk þaim knau and cen.
Bot lauerdinges, for-þi þat i
Thoru wittnessing of prophesi,
And thoru prof of þe seluen dede,
To birth i wild vr lauerd lede,
Ar he had tan ouer fless and blod,—
þe first was abraham of þair brod,
To quam was hiht þat of his sede
Suld all þe blisced folk brede; Page  399
And sua þai did, prins and prophete,
As godd had hight him in his hete,—
And for-þi, lauerdinges, þat i
May noght tell all þair prophesy,
þat of þe blisful birth was said,
þat lang bifore was puruaid,
Of summe of þaim þat said mast,
Of his birth thoru þe hali-gast,
I sal ȝou scheu widuten les,
Als enent þis moyses,

[Aaron's rod, and the death of Moses.]

Þis moyses þat i rede of here,
was tahut þe folk to lede and lere,
þat delt war in kinredis tuelue, [folio 48a:2]
Moyses þaim bad him-selue
þat ilk kinred suld bere a wand.
His bidding durst þai noght widstand;
And ilk-a wand þat þai þar bar,
He sperd þaim in þair seyntwar,
And wrat þe name and set þe sele,
þat nan suld oþer man be-tele.
Quen he þaim lokid on þe morn,
Fand an*. [[MS. nan]] wid lef and flour born,
And for it was an almaunde wand,
þat ilk fruit þar-on þai fand,
Almaundes war growen þar-on,
þe wand þat fell to aron.
To all þat folk þat was in þat land
Moyses did son scheu þe wand,
Bot ȝeit he told noght þaim þat tyde,
Wat of þis takening suld bitide;
For frawardnes wid þaim he knew,
And for þai war of trouth vntrew.
þis wand was done vp for to hald,
As god almyhti him seluen wald, Page  401
In tak[n]ing for to take and tell,
Agayn þat folk þat was rebell.
At vnderstand þat godd mouht,
All thing do þat him gode thouht.
þis wand bitakins vr leuedi nou,
þe fruit hir sone, suete iesu.
Of þis mater ȝit bos me ses,
To tell ȝu mare of þis moyses.
Quen moyses, widuten les,
Had ledd þe folk in wildernes,
Fourti winter and na lass,
Dede in þat desert he was.
All his elde sex skor ȝere,
And for he was to god sua dere,
[folio 49a:1] Him seluen has birijd him and hid,
In a preue plasce nu kidd;
For wist þe iuus quar he lay,
Honure him as godd wald þai.

[Joshua leads the people into Canaan.]

þe iuus went, widuten resun,
In-to þe land of promyssyon;
Thoru moyses ne com þai noght,
Bot Iosue þaim dider broght,
þat godd efter moysen,
Leder made him ouer his men;
wid his felaw þat Caleph hyht,
þa tua broght þaim to þair riht.
þat iosue com of þat kin
þat men callis effraym,
For ioseph had him sonis tuin,
Manassen and Effraym,
Born in egipt, bot fostrid he was
And leder wid maystir moyses.
Bot moyses, right-wis of rede,
For-gat he noght, ar he war dede, Page  403
To sett his hali wandis thre
In a stede he fand priue,
þar þai greu neyder less ne mare,
Bot euer bifor as þai ware,
Right to king dauid dais,
þat ledd his folk in gode lays,
þat thoru warning of godes sande,
Broght þaim to his aun lande.
Qven aaron was dede, þe preist,
His sone Elyazar was neist,
And bar þe state of his fadir-hede,
Fra Iosue was giuen to lede.
þis iosue was selcuth wight,
And maystri had in many a fiht,
He faght treuly for goddes lay,
For-þi god dubild him his day,
And did þe sonne stille for to stand,
Til Iosue wan þe ouer-hand.
And quile he passid flum iordan, [folio 49a:2]
þe watir stod still als ani stan,
Til he þe folk had ouer-broght,
In-to þe same land þai soght.
Ioseph banis þai wid þaim ledd,
And þar þaim grof in þat stedd,
In a land þat hight sichim,
Was giuen in lott to Ioseph kin;
For as þai wan it wid þair hand,
þat delt bituix þaim ilk-a land.
þat ilk kinred of þa tuelue
Had a ouer-man þaim selue,
þat suld þair aun kinred lede,
Quen þat þai to batayle ȝede.
For þai fand strang folk þaim egain,
þat þaim wid werr did mekil payn,
And wid-stod þaim þe land to winne,
Bot þat was for þair aun sin. Page  405
For-qui þai held þair lay lastand,
Was na folk þaim miht wid-stand,
þat on an hundrid miht for chans,
Quilis þai wid þaim had goddes cheui|sans.
Ne thurt þaim drede na man in place,
Bot þair fight lastid littel space,
For quen þai most were in þair wil,
Mast þai soght þaim-selue, vnsele.
Of god all-mihti þai left þe law,
To sarazins faith þai gan þaim draw,
And made wid þaim þair mariage;
Qua herd euer men sua rage?
þat suilk a king coude na man knau,
þat held þaim fra ilk manes aw,
Bot euer þai vnskil on him soght,
Til þai þaim-self in thraldam broght.
In thraldam er þai worthi be,
And wild noght thole and miht be fre.

[The Judges in Israel, and their contemporaries.]

Caleph come efter Iosue,
Of israel demister was he;
[folio 49b:1] In his time were þe fablis writin,
þat ȝit er thoru þe bokis witin,
Saturnus and sir Iubiter,
þat we nou in fablis here;
And þe firste sybil of pers,
Men findes of in alde vers.
Caleph had a sone, othomel,
He demid þe folk of israel
Fourti ȝere; in his time was
þe cite made of thebas.
Ayoth was þan demister
Of israel, four skor ȝer;
In his time was a batail grim
Bi-tuix israel and beniamyn, Page  407
For loue of a dekins wijf,—
Mani a man þar tint þe lijf,
Fourti thousand of Israele,
Of beniamyn nerr als fele.
Sanigath come efter him,
Troy was bigun in his tim,
Ten ȝere had he þe folk to ȝeme,
Siþen had tua sonis þaim to deme.
Barach, and wid him delbora,
þai iuggid fourti ȝere and ma;
þan was a sybyl of libye,
And apollo wid his melodie.
Efter þaim cam Iedeon,
þat worschip in his time had done,
Slow kinges fourti of heden sede,
wid thre hundrid of his lede,
þan was oreb, and salmana,
Zeb and Zebee þas oþer tua.
In þe time of þis iedeon wes
Bath orpheus and ercules.
Siþen ledd þat folk thola,
Lastand tuenti ȝere and ma;
þan ras þe thrid sybila,
þat men clepid delphica;
Of troye and grece þe batayl bald,
þis sybil mekil bifor scho tald.
Als lang þan was sir iare,
þair leder and þair maystir mare;
In Grece þan reyned preamus,
As þe ald story tellis to vs;
In þis ilk iare time,
were lettris funden of latine.
Iepte first þai held, bastard,
And siþen he held sex ȝere þair ward;
Zamazinis þat time be-gan,
þe wimmen land widuten man. Page  409
Esebon siþen, sais þe boc,
Tok israel to lede and loc,
He ledd þaim seuen ȝere and mare;
Alysaundir in þat time þare
þat paris aght, rauyscht elayn,
Quarfor mani a man was slain;
þe feird sibil widin þat sithe,
In babilon bigan to kithe.
Achialon com efter-ward,
þair leder was and þair stiward,
He had þat folk ten ȝere to gett;
In his time was troye vmsett.
Labdon þan had þaim vnderhand,
was ouer þaim eyt ȝere lastand;
In his time was troy nomen,
And thoru þe grekis ouercomen,
þere mani moder sone was feld,
As it es in þe stori teld.
þe werr lastid sua lang a pece,
þat þar was slayn of þaim of grece
Eyth hundrid sith sexti sith, sexti and ten,
Of thousandis sere sith of þair men:
Sex hundrid and four skore sex thousand
Of men of troy faght for þair land.
Here-of thar na man be in were,
For qui, þe seging lastid ten ȝere
widuten breking of þat were, [folio 50a:1]
þat greuid bath ney and ferr.
þat werr semid to be non oþer,
Bot as þe tonn half a-gayn þat oþer,
þou all þis world had resin ben,—
Sua was þar mani cayser kene;
Bot miht þai neuer win þe ton,
Til þai it wan wid tresun.
And al þe enchesun of þis strijf,
was about rauysching of a wijf, Page  411
All for fairhede of heleyn,
was þare sua mani thousand slain.

[Of Samson and his strength.]

And siþen efter þis ilke labdon,
þair demister was sir sampson,
þat was sua strang and sua wight.
Barnles was his modir mani a niht,
And in hir elde, thoru godes miht,
Ane angel has þis barn hir hight,
þat thoru his here he was sua wiht
þat he had tuenti menes miht.
vnder philistiens þai ware,
þe iuus, holdin þat time þare.
Sampson soght chesun of strijf,
Of philistiens he wald haue his wijf.
Apon a day he went and saw,
A fayr womman of þair law,
He told his freindes sone onan,
þat he had chosin suilk a womman,
And tok þaim wid him for to proue
To gete hir til his bihoue,
If hir freindes wald him late.
As he went walkand bi þe gate,
A leon welp þat ran ouer-thuart,
Raumpand to sampson he start;
Sampson slou þat leon kene,
þe spirit of godd in him was sene.
Quen he had his erand done,
Hamward went he alsua sone,
And bot a littel terme gan, [folio 50a:2]
He went to take his lemman.
And als he went þat gate agin,
He fand in þe leon muth was slain,
A swarm of bes þar-in war bred,
And wid þe honi he him fedd; Page  413
His wijfes fader and moder fre
Of þis honi to ete gaf he,
Bot noght he did þaim at vnderstand,
Hougat he þat honi fand.
At þat fest þar he was stadd,
A redel vndo him he badd,
And hight þa men to giue þaim mede,
If þai coud right þat rydel rede,
þat ilk mede þai suld him hight,
If þai it ne rede in a seuen niht.
"Of þe eytand þe mete vte sprang,
And þe suete vte of þe strang."
þis it was quen þai had soght,
And studid thre dais for noght,
þai bi-soght his wijf þat scho
Suld gar him tel hir it vnto.
To þat bride was biddand bald,
Sampson al þe soth hir tald.
And scho al þat to hir was kidd,
Till þas oþer scho it vndidd,—
And þat was mekil vnleute,
To tell hir lauerdes priuete.
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
Sampson for wreth his wijf forsok,
And scho anoder husband tok.
Quen sampson þar-of herd say,
"Now forth," he said, "fra dis day,
Awe i to haue na maner wite,
To do philistiens despite." Page  415
Thre hundrid foxis he samen knytt,
(I wat noght hou he on þaim hitt,)
vnto þair taylis fir he bonde,
Foluand ilk fox a brond,
And into philistiens land, [folio 50b:1]
Thoru þe feild alsua rennand,
For þai war ripe, he lete þaim renne,
And sua þair turnis*. [[read curnis]] gart he brinne;
þair olyues wid þair wyn tres,
þir foxis brint wid þair bles.
Þir philistiens þan went þaim vte,
And soghte sampson al a-boute.
þe Iuus war þan þair vnderloute,
Sampson bunden þai ȝeld for doute;
þir philistiens, widuten les,
þai ran on sampson in a res,
Bot sampson, þat was wonder smert,
vte of þair handis sone he stert,
And gaf a braid sua fers and fast,
þat al his bandis sone he brast.
Thoru chance he fand an ass bane,—
For oþ[er] wapin þan had he nan,—
Of þat hedin folk he felde
A thousand þat wid tale was teld.
Siþen he went in-to a toun,
vnto a wijf þat was comoun,
Biside hir all þat niht he lay.
þis philistiens þan herd say,
þai vmsett þat toun a-boute,
þat if sampson went aniquar vte,
A nihtertale or in mornyng,
To doleful dede þai suld him bring.
Bot sampson, þat was farli wiht,
vp he ras mid-war[d] þe night,
And bar þe ȝatis of þe toun,
And layd þaim on a hi doun. Page  417
Siþen he ches a wijf to wale,
Dalidam, him broght in bale.
þe philisties, sua ful of strijf,
þai hight to dalida his wijf
Giftes grete, all for to frain
Quere was sampson miht and mayn.
[folio 50b:2] Sua lang scho frayned him, þat balde,
And suilk a gabing he hir tald,
"wid seuen synous qua-sua me band,
I tint mi strenthe in fote and hand."
His fas stilly scho bad ta kepe,
And quile he was on-slepe,
And þan vpon his fa-men calde,
To do wid him al quat þai wald.
Bot sampson wakind of his nap,
Of bandis he lete him-seluen scap,
His bandis all he brac in tua,
As þai had ben bot a stra.
Bot ȝeit his wijf left noght for þis,
Thoru egging of his enmys,
Til scho þe soth had gert him say,
In quat thing all his strenthe lay.
"Quar es þi strenth, lef?" scho said, "quer."
"It es," he said, "al in mi her;
war my her schorin i war noght þan
Stranger þan a-noþer man."
NOu has sampson bi-taght his lijf
In will to weild to his wijf;
was neuer sampson ar in drede,
Nou has scho bath his lijf and dede
Bath in hir wille: nou has he done
þat sal on him be sene ful sone.
Sampson, þi first wijf lerid þe witt,
If þat þu coude haue holdin itt! Page  419
þis wijf alsua þat þu has nou,
Auht þu noght sua wele to trou!
Sare man aw to drede þe barnde
þat has brent bifore his hand,
Bot hard it es to stand agayn
þe wijf þat fines noght to frain,
þat eyder for loue or drede of awe,
Dos man his priuetes to schawe.
Or drunkenes oft may be-tide,
Mas man his consail to vnhide.
[folio 51a:1] þat ofte in fanding men findes sua,
Man priueest es mast manes fa,
Na þar es nan sua gret may gref,
As traytur derne, and priue thef.
Alsua scho did, dame dalida,
Of all wick, ay worth hir wa!
Hir lauerdes consayl scho teld to þa
þat held he mast to be his fa.
Hir time scho soght, had þai ben nerer,
Quilis he slep scho cutt his her
wid hir scheris, wa worth hir hend!
And to his fas scho him bikend.
All miht þai do þan þat þai mint,
For thoru his fax his fors was tint,
It did him selcuth mekil loth,
þai bett him and presuned him both.
And quen he was done in presun,
A man of þat same nacyon
Gat dalida his wijf to wedd;
Sampson was to þe bridal bedd,
For he was sly of harping glew;
Bi þan his her was waxin new.
Bi a piler þan was he sett,
To mirth þe gomys at þair mett Page  421
whan þai war blithest at þat feste,—
Sampson cuth ful wele of ieste.
Sumdel waxin was his her;
þe post, þat all þe hous vp bar,
wid bath his handis he it schok,
Sua fast þat al þe hous it quock,
þat hous he feld, gaf na man grith,
And slow his fas, him-self þar-with.
After sampson alþer nest,
was demister hely þe preist,
And þou him-self was clene of sin,
For þe gilt of his sonis tuin,
þe quilk he wist and chastid noght,
þair sinne apon him-self þai boght.
For quilys he left at ham for elde, [folio 51a:2]
þai went to fight apon þe felde,
wid oþer fele þar war þai slayn,
And goddes hali arke was tayn.
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
His harn panne he brac wid chance,
God sent it him for wengaunce.
þai may drede suilk vncele
þat chastis noght þair childer wele,
For oft on fadir fallis þe wrake,
þat sent es for þe childes sake.
Fourti ȝere demyd he israel,
And efter him com samuel,
He was a selcuth dohuti thing,
þe first þat noyntid man to king.

[Samuel anoints Saul and David.]

PRophete was sir samuel,
Dere wid godd, for he was lel, Page  423
þe iuus, wid þair mekil pride,
Sent efter him apon a tyde.
"Lordinges," he said, "say me quar-till
Haue ȝe me fett? quat es ȝour skill?"
"Get vs a king." "quat, er ȝe wode?
Ne haue ȝe noght a king ful gode,
þat fra ȝour fas thoru se ȝou led,
And wid riche manna ȝou fedd,
And many werkis for ȝou wroght?"
"Sir," þai said, "þu sais for noght,
Get vs a king þat may vs lede,
As we se haue all oþer lede."
Parfay þan ansuerd samuel,
"Ȝe er to fraward wid to dele,
For nouþer er ȝe war ne wise,
Bot for ȝour riches ouer lawe-lis;
Nou er ȝe bath in rest and pes,
ȝe lang ful sore to haue males.
For-soth i say and sal a-wou,
Ful sore it sal repent ȝou,
Noght ȝou allone bot ȝour ospring
Sal rew ful sore ȝour ȝerning,
For it es wel worthi þat qua [folio 51b:1]
May thole na wele, to thole þe wa?"
Sare wep samuel wid þis,
Til him com vr lauerd of blis,
And thrijs he cald on samuel,
"Lauerd," he said, "i here ȝe nu wel."
"Mi folk," said godd, "ful frawarly
þai seke and wirke ful grett enuy,
þai ask nou an-oþer king þan me,
Ful ilhayl þat time sal þai se;
þat þai disire þai sal it haue,
To þair aun hefd a staue!
Amang þis folk sal þu find an,
þat saul es cald, a stalworth man, Page  425
wid shuldris bath thic and brad,
Of him þan sal þair king be made.
Siþen þai haue þus forsakin me,
He sal be noyntid þair king to be."
Sone þai did saul be soght,
Funden and forth was he broght,
He was heyer þan any man
Bi þe shuldris þat was funden þan.
þis saul haue þai mad þair king,
wid anoynting and coroning,
Ful wretherhele to þair bihoue;
And sone on þaim sua gan it proue,
For þan was there na langer bide,
Men werrid on him on ilka side,
þat þai widin a tueluemoneth stage
were putt vte of þair eritage.
þan bigan þai call and crie,
þat godd on þaim suld haue merci,
And samuel þat wist þair wa,
Cald on god for þaim alsua.
Godd him bad to fille his horn
wid oyle, "and wend þu forth biforn
Into a man þat hatt iesse,
In bethleem sal he funden be,
þu sal him finde in bedleem, [folio 51b:2]
Seuen sonis he has to barn-tem.
An of þaim þu sal make king,
For saule me dredis nankin thing,
For-þi wid caytifte and wid care
vte of þis world sal he fare;
For ar þat he be slain in were,
þe fend he sal in bodi bere,
þai sal him trauail bath day and niht,
And lothly his bodi dight."
"Parfay, lauerd," said samuel,
"I here noght of þat iesse tel, Page  427
Nor his sonis ne him i knaw,
þe childes name ȝe wil me schaw."
"ȝis," he said, "i sal þe kenne
Him to knau emang oþer men.
In vysage es he bright and clere,
In red of heu, wid lawhand chere;
His fadir in all has sonis seuen,
þe ȝongest es he þat i neuen,
Bath wis and hend, and of gode fame."
"Quat hatt he?" "dauid es his name.
And for þat he es war and wijs,
I haue him chosyn to þis seruis;
His sede and his barn-tem
Ouer all men sal i maynten,
His fas sal noght agayn him vaile,
For him ne his ne sal i noght faile;
To be king þu noght him dere,
Mi benisun þan sal he bere."
Samuel went sekand þe land,
Til he þe hous of iesse fand;
Iesse him rescyued ful fayre,
And samuel him cald his ayre.
"Comyn," he said, "i am, iesse,
Ane of þi sonis for to se."
"Sir," he said, "sua may ȝe,
ȝoure word es comandement to me."
His sonis sex þat ware at ham, [folio 52a:1]
All did he call þaim forth bi nam
Bot þe ȝongest þat was a-way
Samuel said, "sir iesse, say,
Quer es þin alder ȝingest son?"
"He es," he said, "þar he es won,
wid ure schepe apon þe law."
"Do fett me him, i wil him knaw."
þai did him fett widuten lett,
He haylced hendly þat prophett, Page  429
He knew him quen he him biheld,
Bi takening þat was bifore him teld.
Noyntid he was widuten bade,
And king ouer þe iuus mad.
Bot þou þat he war noyntid king,
Ouer þe king-riche gouerning
He entermett him of na dede,
Bot to his schep again he ȝede.
Goddes gast in him was sent,
Fra þan it was fra saul went.
Dauid koude of serkin note,
He coude of harpe mekil bi rote,
Quen he wild wid his gle him gamen,
His schep þaim-selue semblid samen
Of his minstralcy to here,
þe men was wont to draw him nere.
Saul was ȝit instede of king,
Bot he miht do na gouerning,
þe fend was in his bodi fest,
Quarfor he miht haue na rest.
þan said þai all, "quat sal we do
wid vr king? þat may haue na ro.
He es ay vte of witt, and wode;
Hou sal we meke his menged mode?
He es ful of wicked-hede,
Wa es vs þe lijf we wid him lede!"
Þan spac a gode man of þat throm,
And said, "do we littel dauid com,
wid his harpe bifore þe king, [folio 52a:2]
He sal him do to glew and sing,
þe quilis he til him takis kepe,
þe king he sal gar fall o-slepe."
Forth þan did þai dauid bring
Harpand a sang bifor þe king,
And gert him wid his melodie
Falle on-slepe, þat was weri, Page  431
Sumquile wid harpe, sumquile wid sang;
And þus he seruid þe king ful lang,
þat ay quen he was trauailid mast
Thoru þat foul warid gast,
And he bigan to harpe and sing,
Of his vnro he had resting.

David and Goliath; war with the Philistines.

Þat quile cam in philistiens,
þair feloun fas, þat were painens,
þair ost on ilk half þat contre spred,
þai wastid godis and a-way ledd.
þai broght wid þaim Goli, þat etin,
In foul hordam was he getin,
Grett he was, and alsua hy,
He semed Sathanas to sy
Be-tuix his eyen, thre fote brad,
Ful laith it was his visage made.
Of bodi grett, in graynys lang,
vnsterly semid he to be strang;
Sex elne and mare he was on hiht,
He was all armid forto fight.
Of his mete was mesur nan,
He wild ete seuen schep his an.
Þan said he, "quar es nu saul king?
And i miht anis wid him ming,
Suld he neuer ber na croune,
I suld him sla, be saint mahoune!
Qui comes he noght or sendis his sand?
wid him wald i mi fors fand.
Ayder send he a man to me hider,
þat i and he may fight to-gider,
[folio 52b:1] And queþer may oþer ouercome in feild,
þe toþer folk all to him helde.
A man of his again a man of ouris,
If ours may winne his in stours, Page  433
þat þai be ours and þaire ayris;
If þai winne vris, þat we be þairis.
And here i bede mi-selue redi
For to fight for vre parti."
Ilk a day he cam in place,
And batayl bedd wid suilk manace,
And euer quen þe folk him sau,
þaim stod of him ful grett aw.
"Allas!" said king saul þan,
"Allas! quere sal we find a man
þat dar þe batail, for my sake,
Aȝayn ȝon warlou vndertake?
þe man þat miht fight him agayn,
And him ouercom in batal playn,
I suld him riche in all his liue,
And giue him my dohuter to wiue."
Þis herd dauid, and forth gan stand,
"Sir king," he said, "hald me coue|nand;
I trou treuly in godes miht,
þat i sal vndertake þe fight,
Agayn Goly þat es sua grim,
wid goddes grace sle sal i him;
Agayn ȝon wrecched etin thing
For-soth haue i na drede, sir king.
He traystis all in his aun hand,
And i in iesu þat es all weldand."
To dauid said saul þe king,
"I hope þar-to þu art ful ȝing,
ȝone is a stalworth batail-wright,
And þu lerid neuer for to fight.
If he þe sle, as godd forbede,
All burthe vs hald of heden lede.
Quat bote es to lose þi lijf, leue page,
And we to þaim siþen make omage?"
"Do way, sir king, it es na nede, [folio 52b:2]
þare godd wille helpe, tharna man drede. Page  435
Apon a day mi schep i gett,
A bere, a leon, bath i mett,
I hadd na help bot me alone,
And god, þat me lent his lone.
þai soght me for to rend and riue,
And i laid hand on þaim bliue,
And schok þaim bi þe berdis sua
þat i þair chaulis raf in tua,
widuten ani suerd or knijf,
Bath i reft þaim þair lijf.
He þat me þare þe maystri gaf,
He may me do it here to haf.
It es noght worthi, leue ser king,
þat man in god haue mistrouing."
"Ga þan," he said, "in goddes grith,
And godd him-selue be þe wiht.
Gas and fettis me nou in hi,
Min aun armur to child daui."
Helm and habiryun on him þai did,
And gird him wid a suord emid;
Quen dauid was armyd sua,
Forth a fote miht he noght ga,
Neyder forth ne ȝeit on back,
Bot stille he stod as a stack.
His armys fra him gan he suenge,
And tok bot a staf and a slenge,
He þat was wont to bere in hand,
Aboute his flok of schepe walkand;
He tok fiue stanis þar war round,
And putt þaim in his scrip þat stound,
And said, "dos away þis ger,
For certis i can na armis ber,
Bot wid mi slinge i sal him fell.
Do go we diþer widuten duell."
Quen dauid went him forth in route,
He sau þe folk þat war in doute, Page  437
[folio 53a:1] To gar þaim wid hope to be bald,
þus he þaim his resun tald.
He said, "qui sul men be so dred,
þat es in right-wis batail stedd?
And qua þat fihtes in wrangwisness
It helpis him noght, his dredness,
For neyder may iren ne stele
were men wrangwisness wele.
For godd es euer on rightwis side,
werrand again wrangwis pride.
For-þi sal god for vs fight,
All ȝe wate we haue þe right,
He sal sua vs help sua wid his grace."
wid þis he went in-to þe place.
Quen golias on dauid be-helde,
Ful littel talle of him he teld,
Bot held him as in despite,
And þus bigan wid him to flite.
"wenest þu þat a hound i be,
And wid þi stan to stone me?
Cum forth fast, widuten bade,
þi fless sal foulis fode be made."
Dauid ansuerd, "if godd wil, nay!
In god i haue fest all mi fay.
wid armis cumþs þu me agayn,
And i gaynes þe all playn,
I come agaynes þe in his name,
þat þu has don despitt and schame;
þu hastis him and his in despitt,
And wid his grace i sal þe quite.
þi bodi sal i giue to gifte,
To ete wid foulis of þe lift,*. [[The MS. has flyte.]]
þat all may witt, þat godd of miht,
Sauis noght man in wapyn briht,
Bot for to trow in him stedfast
And stabil in his lay to last." Page  439
Þan said golias, "þu art bot dede."
Dauid said, "þat take i godd to rede."
[folio 53a:2] Said goli, "wil þu fight wid me?"
"I rede bi-time þat þu heþen fle."
"Fle þat wenis haue þe werre,
For ar i fle i sal come nerre."
wid þis a ston he laid in slinge,
Sua stalworthli he lett it suinge,
þat in his front þe ston he fest,
þat both his eyen vte þai brest.
wid þis he fell, was na ferly,
And vte his suerd þan drow dauy,
And hefdid him wid his aun brand,
And broght it þe king to presand.
þe sarazines þat were nere biside,
Fledd all and durst na langer abide,
Bot þar were many feld to ground,
And mani fledd wid dedes wound.

Saul is jealous of David.

Dauid went ham wid gret honour,
All thankid godd þair creatour,
And mekil he was, þe soth to say,
Loued and dredd fra þat day,
wid ȝong and alde, pore and riche,
þai loued him all in þat kingriche.
To Ierusalem þat hefd bar þai,
þere dauncid wimmen bi þe way,
In þair dauncing þis was þair sang,
þat þai for ioy þaim song emang,—
"Saul has smyten a thousand,
Ten thousand smiten in dauid hand."
For þis word was saul wrath,
And ofte was he brim and brath.
"I haue a thousand feld, hou sua!
And dauid ten thousand, and ma! Page  441
Noght of al es him nan wane,
Bot þat he es noght king alane."
For los þat dauid wan þat sith,
wald neuer saul loke on him blith,
He did his kingriche to lese,
þat þai to king suld dauid chese.
He hatid him as his fa, [folio 53b:1]
Fra þan he waitid him to sla;
Ofte sal þaim be quite on þis wise,
þat to lyther lauerd dos seruise.
Þe toþer day efter-ward
þe warlaw trauailid saul hard,
As he was wont bigan to rage,
And as dauid cam him to suage
þe king smat to him wid a spere,
In tene he wald him thoru bere,
þat thoru he had his bodi born
Ne had he blinked him biforn.
Away þan drou him sone daui,
Bot sa[u]le he dred him ne for-þi.
Of a thousand men bi tale,
He made him leder and marschale,
And thoght, and þus said in his mode,
"þat i him sle it es noght gode,
Bot ellis i sal late him alane,
Philistiens sul be his bane."
He askid dauid if he walde
His dohuter wedd to haue and halde,
To þe couenand for to bring
An hundrid hefdis to þe king
Of þat folk of heden lede.
Dauid went forth wid godes rede,
Wid þat unlele sone dauid mett,
And wightly wan of þaim his dett;
Agayn an hundrid þat saul soght,
Dauid him þe doubil broght. Page  443
Þe king him gaf his dohuter onan,
þat hight Michol, a fair womman.
þe kinges sone hiht Ionathas,
To dauid a treu freind he was.
þan bad þe king qua miht ouer-ta,
Dauid his sone-in-law for to sla,
To seke him as his ful fa;
þarfor was Ionathas ful wa,
[folio 53b:2] And praid him bath day and naht,*. [[This was first written niht.]]
To make þe king and dauid saght,
Bi-fore þe king he dauid broght,
Bot efter sone was all for noght.
Sone efter þis a batayl ras,
And dauid went again þair fas,
þis batail it was hard enow,
And dauid fast on his fas slow;
þare mani a man fel vnder schild,
Bot wid dauid went þe feld.
And ȝeit þe warlau þat was wont
Trauailid þe king in lytil stunt,
And dauid harpid him wid his harpe;
þe king þan hent a spere scharpe,
To strike him thoru unto þe wawe,
Bot dauid blenkid quen he it saw.
Into his hous þan dauid fledd,
Bot ar þe king wald ga to bedd,
He sett his men þe hous aboute
To waite at morn quen he cam vte,
Him to sle if þai miht him mete,
Bot michol vte be night him lete,
vte at a priue derne posterne;
He fledd to samuel ful ȝerne,
þat duelland was in ramatha.
Sone to þe king tald was it sua,
And his messagers dider did sende,
For to rauisch dauid he wend, Page  445
Bot þar-to miht þai neuer win,
For cumpany þat he was in,
And godes grace þat was him wid,
Sauid him euer in gode grith.
Amang his kin in priuete,
Als he ware an vtelaw, wonid he;
þe gode men thoght of þat contre
þair sonis send wid him to be.
Saul soght ofte here and þare
Dauid, as he his faman war,
He wist if he to lijf miht stand, [folio 54a:1]
He suld be king ouer all þat land,
And childer of his aun sede,
Suld be vte driuen for nede.
For-þi he hight þaim giftes rijf,
þat miht bring dauid of lijf.
In felde and toune, in frith and fell,
Saul soght dauid for to quell,
þat oftin chancis sua it bi-fell,
þat welner was noght þaim emell:
And dauid þat was milde of mode,
Agaynes euil ay did he gode,
þat oft-sith miht him haue tane,
And if he wald miht þaim*. [[read him]] haue slane.
For fra þe kinges aun bedd,
þus he broght a preue wedd;
IN þat time þat he him soght,
wid all þe miht þat he moght,
He sett his tentis in a dale,
þar-of it cam to dauid tale;
Whenn it was niht þan cald dauy
On [of] his aune ful priuely,
wid him allone stilli he went,
vnto þe kinges aun tent;
Him-self and all his folk þai fand,
In þair beddis fast slepand. Page  447
þis squier hyht Abysai,
þat to þis tent com wid daui,
"Sir," he said, "wid leue of ȝow,
I sal him sla ful ethe es now,
Thoru his bodi i sal him smyte,
þat euer of him we sal be quite."
Dauid said, "godd it forbede,
þat þu suld thinc do suilk a dede,
Or euer him do spitt or schame
þat noynted es in goddes name."
Of all þat ilke kinges gere,
He tok bath a coupe and a sper,
Na mare broght he wid him vte, [folio 54a:2]
þou þai slepe all him a-bout.
He ȝede sua fer, nan miht him dere,
And þus he crid to þat here,
"Hou haue ȝe kept ȝour king," said he,
"His coupe, his spere, loke quar þai be.
þai war bath sett at his hefd,
Loke nou, for þei be þar leued."
Quen þat saule herd þat cri,
"Es þat," he said, "mi sone dauy?"
"ȝa certis," said dauid, "it es y,
Quarfor sekist þu me and qui?
Gladly wald i be on-knaun.
Qui sekest þu me þat es þin aun?"
"Soth," said saule, "widuten wene
þe miss es min, and wele es sene."
"Here i leue þe kinges glayue,
ȝe send a man it to rescayue.
He þat all rightes, widuten ros,
Sal ilk man ȝeld efter he dos."
¶ Sone efter, it was noght lang,
Agayn saule þai gaf a batayl strang,
þe sarazins þai him vmsett,
In a hard stour þai samen mett. Page  449
Ful scharp it was, þat stour and snell,
All fledd þe folk of israell;
þar þai fell þat miht noght sle
Apon þe montayn of gelboe,
Dohuti barnis þan war ar slan,
þe kinges sonis and Ionathan.
Of þis batayle þat was sua snell
þe fors apon þe king it fell,
Mani a god archer þen was þar
Wondid, þe king him-selue ful sare.
Said þe king to his an squier,
"þu draw þi suord and sla me here,
Ar þat here be ouer-tane
wid hand of sarazin, and siþen be slane."
þe squier did noght als he bad, [folio 54b:1]
For he him-seluen was wonder drad,
þan saul him-seluen drow his suord,
And ran him-seluen apon þe hord.
Quen his squier þus sau him dede,
He did him-seluen to þat ilk rede,
Apon his aune suord he ras,
And wid his lauerd dede he was.
þat was a murnand day to myne,
Of Saul and his sonis thrinne,
And all his folk þat was sua kene,
Now er þai slain all bedene.
Þe sarazins on þe toþer day,
Fand quare saule bodi lay,
His hefd þai smat of, þat king,
And sent his bodi for to hing.
His men þai cam a nythertale,
wid þaim away his bodi stale,
And priueli day did it hide,
þai dalf it in a wodis side.
Fourti winter was he king;—
Now haue ȝe herd his ending. Page  451
Þat time was dauid comyn agayn
Fra amaleth, þat he had slain,
þat was a strang philistiene,
Dauid had gunen a batayl kene;
wid goddes grace þe feild he wan.
Of saul ost he mett a man,
Bifore dauid fote he fell,
"Queþen cumes þu? quat can þu tell?"
"Fra þe folk of israele
I cum, to telle þe tydinges lele;
þai er scumphited wid þair fas,
Saul es slain, and ionathas."
"þat þai bath er slain, querbi
Wast þu it es sua?" said dauy.
"Thoru chance," he said, "i cam ren|nand
On monte Gelboe, and fand
Saule him lenand on his spere, [folio 54b:2]
wondid wid þe sarazin here.
He me bisoght quen he me saw,
þat i suld him bring o daw.
Thorw his bodi mi suord i drow,
His herte in tua i wat i clowe;
I wist na langer liue he miht,
Lo! here his croune fair and bright."
Wele he wend for his tyding
For to pay, dauid þe king,
Bot þar-wid paid he noght dauy,
þat sal he sone ful dere a-bi.
For dauid quen he herd þis word,
was he neuer of a wers conford;
His hend he wrang, his men wid-all
þat godes folk suld sua mis-fall,
þai wepe þat day till it was gan;—
þan spac dauid to þat man,
"Qui dred þu noght godd?" he said,
"Quen þu þi handis on him laid, Page  453
For to do him despite or schame
þat noyntid was in godes name?
vte of mi sight ȝe lede him sone,
To dreri dede þat he be done;
A fouler dede þan ani may driue,
þat all may knau, bath man and wiue,
þat qua lais hand in felony
On king, or sais him velany,
Or þat him waytis wid despite,
Or of ille quile him may noght quite,
Of fir-ingis dede widuten grith
He dye if he be tan þar-with."
Þe thrid elde with þis es pasced,
þar-of þis saule was þe last.
þat elde bigan at abraham,
And endis here, in godes name;
Nine hundrid ȝere fourti and tua
It lastid, it es written sua.
[folio 55a:1] Four thousand sex [s]kor and foure tald
was al þe world þat time ald.
Bi-tuix abraham and king daui
ȝe herkin nou þe genealogy;
Abraham, in lay sua lele,
þat fadir was of folk so fele;
Isaac his sone of sposage was,
Of him iacob, of him iudas,
Of him phares, of him esrom,
Ilkan of þiese of oþer com;
Of quem aaron, widuten gab,
Of him cam Aminadab.
Of Aminadab cam Naason,
Of Naason his sone hight salamon,
Of him cam Boz, of him Obeth,
Of him Iesse, þis elde es eth:
First fra abraham to tast,
And sua to Iesses þar-of last.
Page  455

Here biginnys ful witterli, þe feird elde, at [þ]e king daui.

SAul es slayn, þat soruful king,
Dauid him folus, þat dohuty thing,
þat sett a septir in his hand,
þat men clepis þe kinges wand.
Alle honurd him wid suilk a halising,—
"Hayl be þu lauer[d] dauid, vr king!
Saf and sound ay mot þu be,
Till þat folk es vnder þe."
Dauid was a ful waful man,
Ful riht wisli he reyned þan,
Fra he bigan to be king in land,
was nan þat durst his word widstand.
Fair was þat court he wid him ledd,
His folk bath him loued and dredd.
Had he noght reyned bot a stound,
Quen he a hous bigan to found,
A mekil tour, lang and brad,
þe quilk in Ierusalem he made.
Bot þe wiliest of winne, [folio 55a:2]
Riueliest þai fall in sinne;
He þat sua mani had in wone
Reft him his wijf, þat had bot ane.
He had a dohuti knight of fame,
His wijf hight Barsabe to name,
Allas! scho was sua fair and bright,
þe king kast anis on hir a sight,
He askid, "quat was þat ladi?"
"ȝour knithes wijf," þai said, "vrsi."
þat vri was þat time noght þare,
Bot in þe kinges ost was he fare;
þe quilis þe knight so was a-way
þe king him-seluen bi hir lay. Page  457
þis leuedi was wid child in hij;
þe king sent þan to fett vrsy,
Quen vrsi cam, widuten lite,
þe king did sone lettris to write,
And gaf þaim vry for to bere,
vnto þe marchal of þat here;
wid comandement he him bisoght
þat vri, þat þa lettris broght,
In batail sua he suld be stedd,
þat he þar-inne suld be dede.
Vri þir lettris tok and bar,
Bot noght he wist quat þai war.
þe comandement of him was don,
For slain he was in batayl sone,
All suilk lettris berand for-þi,
þar bere lettris as did vri.
Quen vri was þus broght o liue,
Dauid tok Barsabe to wiue,
And held hir in his hous fra þan;
Til vr lauerd said to Nathan,
"Ga to dauid king and say,
He has misdon again mi lay."
þan cam þe prophete to þe king,
And said him suilk a for-bisening:
[folio 55b:1] "þere was wonand wid men a wike,
Tua men, a pore and a rike,
þe riche he had sua mekil fe,
Of alle godis he hadd plente,
Of schepe he had ful mekil wane;
þe pore he had na schip bot ane,
þat he had wid his siluer boght,
And fra a lamb it had vp-broght.
þe riche man, thoru euil hert,
To a gest cumande ouer-thuert,
For to spare his aune aght,
þis pore manes schep he laght, Page  459
And to his mete he has it slane,
Of his, þat ellis has bot ane.
þe man þat don had suilk a dede,
Sir king, what suld he haue to mede?"
wid þis word þe king was wrath,
"Bi godd a-liue," he suore his ath,
"þat man," he said, "es goddes quede,
And aght wid right to suffre dede."
"Sun," he said, þat goddes gome,
"Giuen þu has þin aun dome.
Godd þe made king of israele,
To lede þe folk wid lawis lele;
þu þat suld hold kinges stede
Has brokin þe laue þat he forbede;
Slayn þu has þi knight vry,
And tan his wijf and lijs hir bi;
Of godd him-selue ne stod þu na awe.
For-þi i cum nou þe for to schaw,
þat þi hous, he sendis þe word,
Sal neuer be tuinned be fra suord,
And euyl he sal apon þe rayse;
And þus-gat als to þe he sais,
þi wiues þat þu has to wale,
Be giuen to oþer men þai sale,
þe sinne þat þu in priuete did,
Bifore þe folk it sal be kid.
"Sinned i haue," said dauid þan. [folio 55b:2]
"þat es soth," said þe prophete Nathan.
"þar-for sal þu noght die, i wate,
For godd has it þe translate;
For þu sal witt þat i sal noght lye,
þe son of barsabe he sal die."
Dauid gatt eft wid hir a sone,
þat was ful wijs, hight salamone.
Quen dauid knew his cost of care,
Reued him thing neuer sua sare; Page  461
In takin þat he reud his sake
An orison sone gan he make,
þat high miserere mei deus,
Men au to say þat sinne es reus.
Of all þe psalmis of þe sautere,
þis salme of penance has na pere.
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]

[The story of the three holy rods, or trees.]

Dauid had reined king þare
wintris tuelue, or ellis mare;
Bot noght widuten strijf and fiht,
þou held he wele his men to right.
vr lauerd scheud him a sight,
As he in his bedd lay a night,
Thoght on his fas philistiens,
þat had him done ful mani tenys,
þat soght his folk to bring to grund;
Gladly wald he þaim confund.
To gar þaim for him soore to grise,
vmthoght him ȝerne on quat wise,
be-taght him þan to god at kepe,
And blisced him, and fel a-slepe.
þan cam to him an angel clere,
was goddes aun messagere,
And lufsumly to dauid spack,
"þu slepis, dauid, nou i þe wack,
Comyn i am þe to consayle,
þu folu it, and it sal þe vayle.
Siþen god þe ches king of kith,
His herte has euer ben þe wid;
He biddis þe to wend onane, [folio 56a:1]
Forto pass þe flum iordane,
Into þat ilke stede þu passe,
Quere moyses him doluen was; Page  463
þat stede wate na man bot him-selue,
vr lauerd, þat þer him-selue gan delue.
þar sal þu finde a relik,
In all þe world es þar nan slik,
Be-tuix þe erde and þe lift
May na man giue a richer gift.
þu sal find þa wandis þare,
þat moyses oft wid him bare,
Of cydyr, pyne, and of cypress,
þar war þai sett thoru moyses.
vte of a sted þat hate helim,
diþer broght he þaim wid him.
Es na man for-soth can say
Of how grett vertu and grace er þai,
Nor na manes tung can say ne mele
Quat þai sal bere of soulis hele;
Of þaim þu sal haue a gret vauntage,
Bath to þe and þi barnage;
Qua may him rest onder þaim oumbery,
Es þar na thing þat may him cumber.
Haue god day, for nou wend I,
þu do samen þin ost in hy."
Quen dauid had þis consail herd,
To samen his folk sone he ferd,
He passid þe flum his ost him witt,
þai went þaim thoru feild and frith,
Til þai were comen into þat stede
þat him was bodin in his bede.
þe wandes he fand quen he cam þare,
Ethe was to knaue quilk þai ware,
He knew þaim at þe first sight,
For þai war thre all of a hight,
Of a lickenes, þou þai war sere;
Passid was a thousand ȝere Page  465
[folio 56a:2] Siþen þai were planted in þat place,
In grennes ay thoru goddes grace.
On hiht in grund þai were noght houyn
Bot as þat thre stod on a stouyn;
þair stouyn was on þat stod þaim vnder,
Bot þair croppis ware all sunder.
Be fruit and lef miht men se,
Of quat-kin kind was ilk a tre.
And quen þe king cam ner þas tres,
Honurd and kist þaim on his knes;
He drow þaim vp, soft i-nogh,
widuten breking of any bow.
Quen þe king þaim had vte-tan,
His host þaim honurd, euerilk-an,
þe king þaim held vp in þair sight,
A lem schan of þa branches bright,
þat all his ost miht se þat leuen
Hou it rahut vp into heuen.
þen be-cam þat folk ful blith,
For fand þai neuer fra þat sith
Man ne best þat þaim wid mett,
þat of þair way miht þaim lett.
A Riche man was þare bi þe way
was seke, and to him turned þai,
And seke had ben sua mani a day,
widuten hope of hele he lay.
His folk he said him stille abade,
To se þat seke a turne he made,
In sekenes sore he fand him stadd;
Of þe king he was ful gladd.
Quen he bigan þa wandes se,
On þaim he grett for gret pyte,
þan was he hale and sound in hy;
þe suete smel raght to þe sky.
wid þe king he ȝede a-way,
And gaf þaim god and goday. Page  467
Fayr was þat gret proscession,
þere was many a blith baron,
[folio 56b:1] Þai went þaim forth þe hie strete,
Foure sarazins wid þe king gan mete,
Blac and bla as led þai ware,
Mekil riches wid þaim þai bare,
þat saw man neuer bifore þat oure,
Sua frawar[d] schapin creatoure.
Of þair blac hew it was selcuth,
And in þair brestes þai bar þair muth,
Lang and side þair broues wern
And recched al a-boute þair ern.
þair muthes wid, þair eyen brad,
Ful wonderful was þair facis mad!
In þair forhefd was þair sight,
Loke ne miht þai noght vpright;
þair armys hari, wid harplid hide,
war sett til elboues in þair side,
Crumplid knes, and bouch on bac;
þe king þaim wondrid on and spac.
Quen þaim biheld þat kinges here,
was nan þat lahuter miht for-bere;
Apon þair knes þai þaim sett,
And hendli þe king þai grett,
And to þe king þus said þai,
"Sir saf be þu, for now and ay,
Quat thing þu beris lat vs se,
Fonde if it goddes wille sal we;
Scheu vs þe sauand tre, sir king,
For wele we wat, widuten lesing,
Pyne on þat tre suffre he sall,
þe king of blis for his folk all.
Schew vs þe tre þat all sal fere,
For þar-for er we comen here;
Be-holdyn vs i-nogh has þu,
vr forward schap þu ses all hou, Page  469
Ful layth er we, bot alsua layth
Es wic man, saule and bodi bath;
þir wandis thre wid-in þair rote,
Agayn all euillis er þai bote.
þai sal vs ȝelde bifore þi sight [folio 56b:2]
Fayrnes, thorw grace of god almiht;
Of þaim sal rise vr raunsun,
And of all vr sinnes pardun,
To þaim þat merci for þair sinne
Cries to iesu, of dauid kinne;
þe miht of þaim lat vs proue."
wid þis þe king tok of his gloue,
þa branchis of sua mekil blis,
He held þaim to þaim for to kiss.
þai knelid, and þai kist als tyte
As mekil þair hide bicom quhite;
And of fre blode þai hadd þe hew,
And all þair schapp was turned new,
Of man-kind had þai þe mett,
For in þair kinde was ilkan sett.
Bifore þe king þan fell þai don,
And made ilkan þair orison;
All þe folk þat sau þat sight,
þai grett, and thanked god of miht.
þe ricches þat þai wid þaim ledd,
þai offrid in þat same stede,
þaim-selue again þai tok þair sty,
And went þaim þan to ethiopy.
Þe king went forth thoru a feld,
Til-war[d] a felle bi a done helde;
An armyte þar þai fand at hame
In þat montayn, was halt and lame,
Mekil on him he had vnhele,
Thritti ȝere he had ben mesele;
On all his bodi was he sare,
For-þi he liued bi him-seluen þare. Page  471
Of grete landis he lad*. [[read had]] lauerd ben,
Bot al he left it in his tene,
And for hardnes of his vnhele,
He gaf him all wid god to dele,
And for to end in his seruis.
þe niht fornest of paradis
[folio 57a:1] Him thoght in sueuen he was þar-by,
And thoght alsua þe king dauy
Weches wid a wand his bodi sua clene,
þat sekenes on him was þar nan sene.
Suilk was þe sueuen þat him thoght,
Bot of þe branches wist he noght,
þat þai suilk wandis fand and soght,
Or in þat contre wid þaim broght.
He wock, and thoght on þat sight,
And said, "vr lauerd godd of miht,
Qui ne war i alsua hal and light,
Als me thoght i was to niht?"
vnese had he menid his mode,
þat a lem fra þe wandes stode,
Right in-to þe hermytage,
þe king to-come and his barnage.
Sone quen þai mett wid þat hermyte,
þai haylced him, widuten any delite,
And þat haylsing þat þai him talde,
Ful hendly to him he ȝalde,
Also suith as he þe king had knaun,
He said, "welcum, sir, to þin aun."
He said, "thoru [þe] sal þis mesele
Be saf and sound of all vnhele.
Me thoght to night on þis-kin wise,
þat we war bath in paradise,
And þat þu wid þa wandes wess,
And þe vnhele of mi fless,
þat as a fiss þu made me fere,
wid wandis þat þu beris here." Page  473
þe wandis he kist, and kneled þare,
He was haler þan euer he was are.
þe king, þat kind was of cost,
þis man he ledd forth wid his ost,
And all his liue did wid him lend,
For to þe king was he ful hend.
Knight he was and mekil in pris,
þe king him quitt wele his seruis.
þe king went forth ful sone onan, [folio 57a:2]
Til he com a-gayn to flum iordan.
He tok þa wandes in his hand,
þe strem still bigan to stand,
It stod þe folk on ayder side
þe kinges passage for to bide.
Quen þai war pascid ouer þe strand,
And all comen vp-on þe toþer land,
Witt ȝe wele þai war ful glad;
To þat folk þe king þan bad,
Ilkan to sett þair pauelyun
As for þat niht widuten þe toun;
þan on þe morn quen þai suld lem,
Into þe tune of Ierusalem,
He suld þaim bring to sett inward,
widin his aune orichard,
þe quilis wald he make him boune,
And ordayne a ful fair processioune.
þai restid þaim þat niht and bade,
Of þe wandis gret los þai made;
Aboute was þaim þe king ful ȝerne,
He putt þaim in-to a cysterne,
And did he siden þaim laumpis liht,
And sett men þaim to kepe all niht,
þe quiles þe king him went to slepe.
Bot god þat al has for to kepe,
þat all for-lokis in his sight,
His will widstande has nan na miht, Page  475
Es na-thing þat may for-barre
His wille þat bifore es sua war,
He þat sua mihti es and wise
He did þa wandis for to rise,
In þat cysterne þe rotis fest,
Sua depe þa rotis samen kest,
þat miht na man þaim þeden winne
widuten breche, for any gynne.
Quen dauid saw nan oþer bote,
Bot þat þa wandis þan had rote,
[folio 57b:1] þat festind ware in erde sua fast,—
And in his herte he was a-gast,
And said, "all nacion and lede,
Awe vr lauerd for-to drede,
For he es mihtful in ilk dede
At all his wille in werk to spede.
Sal nan," he said, "þaim heden stir,
Siþen god him-seluen has sett þaim here."
þan gart þe king to kepe þat syde,
þat orichard for-to make mare wide,
A wal gart he aboute it rayse,
And plantid tres þat war to prayse,
Of cedri, pine, and of lorer,
þat ȝerde suld be him-seluen dere.
And oþer riche tres he soght
In mani stede, and dider broght;
All fruites he planted in þat place,
For his waking and his solas.
Quen it was closid aboute, þat tre,
A siluer cerkil sone naylede he,
þat was þe stauin for to strenthe,
And knaw þe wax of gret and lenthe.
Suilkin serklis sett he sere,
Thritti winter, ilka ȝere,
And did an to, i ȝou say,
Euer quen he tok anoþer away. Page  477
For thritti winter wex þat tre,
þat it was selcut for to se.
Of cerklis þat he tok away,
Offrand he made to mene on ay.
It was sua karkid, ilka bow,
wid lef, and flour, and fruit, enow,
All said þat it sau, lesse and mare,
was neuer tre suilkin blossum bare.
Anoþer tre of suilk a kind
In all þis world were noght to finde.
Of worschip was þis tre to wonder,
þe king oft-sithes knelid þar vnder,
In bedis þat he had to say, [folio 57b:2]
Kneland he þar-vnder lay.

[David purposes to build a temple to God.]

Quen he had made his orisoun,
vnder þat tre he sett him doun,
He thoght þan apon mani a thing,
As he þat was suilk a lording,
A temple thoght he make on hight,
In þe worschip of godd all-miht;
Fer and depe he him bi-thoght,
Hou þat þis temple suld be wroght,
For to kepe in þair ser relike,
þat he miht saue in his kingrike;
þat was, þat hali arke þai bare
Aboute, wid all þair sayntuare,
þat es to say, þe tablis tuin,
þat þe ten comandementis war in,
þat god wrat wid his aun hand;
I, and þar-in was aaron-es wand,
þar bar þe fruit þou it war drie;
And of manna als a partye;
þe gylden oyle of þe propiciatory,
To cherubynes, als sas þe story. Page  479
þir thinges þat i telle ȝou here,
þe king þaim held tresur dere,
þer-for thoght þe king dauy,
Make þaim a riche herbergery.
vnder þis tre þat i of say,
A stapil was of marbil gray.
As he thoght þus quat was to done,
An angel com fra heuen trone,
Apon a bohw he made his sete,
Of þat tre þat was sua suete;
For wid þat flour þat was sua new,
þar stode a selcuth louly hew.
þis angel þat sua brightly schan,
Spac to þe king, þar he sat an,
And said, "godd þe loke, sir king,
wele i wat al þi ȝerning,
þi wille in worschip for to wirke, [folio 58a:1]
þat es to godd a crafty kirke.
Bot þu sal witt on quat wise
þat þis werke awe for to rise.
Godd wil noght þi selue it make,
For of þi handis he wil noght take
Suilke a werke, it war vnright,
For werrour art þu, man-ful wight,
And many man slayn wid þi hand,
Bot þu sal ellis vnder-stand
It may noght thoru þi-seluen be don;
End it sal þi sone salamon,
þu sal it ordaine in þi thoght,
Thoru salamon it sal be wroght;
For he sal be a man of pes,
And mekil haue worldis es,
He sal be king efter þi day,
þis es þe soth, þat i þe say.
He sal reyne bath in reste and pes,
þe temple sal he make wid ese, Page  481
He sal haue witt, ricches, and sele,
To wiss all his kingriche wele.
It sal be precious and proude;
þe werke he sal sua semely schroude,
Relykis sal þar-ine be lokin
þat euer mare sal of be spokin,
Bituix and to þe worldes end.
Haue god day, for nou i wend."
Daui vnder-stode þis skil,
ȝeit lete he noght his dede wid dill,
þat he ne thoght for to do so,
Als þe angel said him to.

[The choice of David's successor.]

þe king þan to his chambir went,
And sone efter þe quene he sent;
For of his lawis þis was an,
Of all his barnagee was þar nan,
Man no womman, ȝonge ne olde,
þat in his chambir was sua bolde
A fote to sett bot þai war cald, [folio 58a:2]
And quen þe king speke wid þaim wald;
Ne wijf, war scho neuer sua leue,
Nor noght þe quene widuten leue.
For-þi þan entrid barsabe,
þe quene his spouse, and his priue
þe king, þat he in herte had hidd,
To þe quene he it vn-didd.
Bot noght for-þi ne tald he noght,
þe bod-word als þe angel him broght,
Bot ellis wisly and ful schort,
He tald right as him lay on hert.
"Dame, i did þe hider call,
As for mi weddid wijf of all,
In elde i am waxen now,
Of mi kingriche quat redis þu? Page  483
To quam sal i giue it for to lede,
þat me may turne to mensk and mede?"
þat leudy to hir lauerd did loute,
wid buxumnes, reuerence, and doute,
Scho kneled dun quen scho had stande,
þe king hir tok vp bi þe hande,
As he þat of hir consayl wild witt,
And did þair ether dun for to sitt;
And bad hir say, ne wond it noght,
Quat war best as hir thoght,
Of his kingriche, þat es to say,
Qua suld it haue efter his day.
"Sir," scho said, "siþen i sua se,
þat ȝe wil consayl haue of me,
þe best of all it i coude hitt,
Ful gladly wald i scheu ȝou it.
þe kingriche sir, þat es þin,
þu it wan wid mekil pin,
And alsua þu had gret malese
For to stabil it, and to pese,
Sir king," scho said, "ȝe haue in liues,
Mani childer wid ȝour wiues,
þat ȝernand er now in strijf, [folio 58b:1]
To haue þe kingriche in ȝour lijf.
ȝe frely king, sua ful of bliss,
þe best rede me thinc es þis.
ȝe giue it to quham-so ȝe will,
For my graunt sal ȝe haue þar-till,
I þat es þin aun womman,
Gayn-sawe sal i ma þe nan,
For salamon, mj sone, es ȝing.
Bot miht ȝe mene apon, sir king,
wele ȝe wat þat ȝe me hight,
Ar ȝe to spouse me treuthe pliht,
A sone if ȝe miht gete wid me,
ȝour air for soth þan suld he be. Page  485
And siþen sua es i haue me gett
þat neuer nan oþer wid me mett,
Bot an bifore ȝou had i noght;
For ȝour loue was i wydow wroht,
(On quat-wise me thar noght tell,
For wele ȝe wat hou it bifell.
Blisced be god ful of miht,
For-gyuen es ȝou þar-of þe plight);
I say noght nou, so godd me rede!
For nan vpbraid ne for na mede,
Ne for na ȝerning þat i haue
Any couenand of ȝou to craue.
For neyder i kepe to gabb ne glose,
Bot say þe soth es my purpose.
þou salamon mi sone be ȝong,
He es wijs and of redi toung,
þat neuer seruid gref ne vylany,
And getyn he es wid þi bodi.
He þat better can mende þan payre
Best worthy es to be þin ayre.
Noght for-þi qua godd wil chese,
King efter þi day he bese."
Suilk a knott þe quene on hir skil knitt,
þe king ful wele herkind þan itt,
And curtaysly, widuten hone, [folio 58b:2]
He graunt hir ferly all hir bone.
"Dame," he said, "to þe i say,
þat salamon sone efter mi day
Sal be king of al þat i wan,
If god him-self wil it be þan,
He ne es ȝit bot wonder ȝing,
þu sett him to fostering,
Tille he be lerid himself to lede,
Bath wid clergy and knighthede.
Lere of clergy wele he sal,
þat es of wijsdam þe grund-wal. Page  487
þe child es theued and milde of mode,
Loke þat he haue maystir gode,
Bot it be on him-seluen long,
He sal be bath riche and strong.
þu layn þis as þin aun lijf,
For lath me ware to rayse ani strijf,
Bituix and we se time and day
He sal be king, qua wil or nay.
And þat þu be noght in mistrow,
þar-to make i here a wou."

[The wonderful childhood of Solomon.]

þis child was sone sett to bok,
And clergy wele he vnder-tok,
For all his herte he gaf to lare,
Might neuer child loue clergi mare.
Thoru þe grace of godd of heuen,
Sone he coude þe artis seuen.
Quen he coude of landis lade,
Ful hyly king þai him made,
was nouþer agayn him old ne ȝing,
Salamon þan was made king.
His fadir bidding wele he held,
And did all þat his moder weld;
He held þat tre ful dere in derne,
þat dauid king honurd so ȝerne,
vnder þat tre ofte-sithe he satt,
And lerid selcuth mani quat.
For vnder þe vmber of þat tre, [folio 59a:1]
þe king of thinges lered he,
Bath and of tres, grisses fele,
Quilk war þair vertus lele,
For quatkin euil ilkan miht gayn,
Quer-so þai grew in wode or playn;
And queþer þe medicin of bote,
Funden be in cropp or rote. Page  489
Of lare he lerid vnder þat tre,
þan made he gode bokis thre,
And dohutyli he þaim vndid,
wid saumplis of tres and griss imid.
þe first bok, widuten les,
Men it callis ecclesiastises,
þat spekis mast, widuten wand,
Hou fals þis world es forto fand.
Of prouerbis es þe toþer bok,
þat leris man him vmbiloke
Agaynes þis world wrecched-hede,
Hou þat he au him for to lede.
þe thrid bok, efter þa tua,
þe quilk me clepis cantica,
A notful bock in hali writt,
þe bok of loue men clepis itt,
For of þat loue it spekis mast
Bituix manes saule and þe hali gast.
þat was na clerk so crafti kende
Be-tuix and to þe worldes end,
þat miht þat clerk wid clergi mate
Ne coude þe bokis þat he wrate
To-quilis he satt vnder þat bohw;
Of all wisdam he had enohw.
Stedfast stod þe marbil stan,
On fer þe gilden lettris schan;
þai said, "sum-time þat men suld se
Godd him-seluen reyne in þat contre,
þat plantid was bituix þa floures,
þar þe stremis held þair cours.
wele i wate neuer es it wan, [folio 59a:2]
Of flour ne fruit þat it has tan,
And in þis time suilk fruit suld geue,
þat all his freindes þar-of suld leue;
Ne of þat fruit suld na man bite,
þat he ne suld loue it als tite." Page  491
þis writt wid fele was red and sene,
Bot fone it wist quat it wald mene:
Bituix and he quam bar marie,
Henge þer-on his folk to bie,
Be barntem of alde adam,
þat thoru a bitt broght all in blam,
An applis bitt, bath man and wijf,
þat tre was dede, þis sal be lijf.
And writen es in parchemin,
þat it cam vte of þat pepyn,
þat wrecched adam fel fra,
And broght him seluen in mekil wa:
For sua bigan þe crois, i wis,
Of iesu crist vr king of blis.

[The story of David is finished.]

Nou es it gode to turne to vr style
þat we haue gon out of a whyle,
And tell apon vr mekil tale
For to make vr stori hale.
þis dauid þat i redd of here,
was king and reyned fourti ȝere
His reyning was wid right resun;
Gaynis him his fas had na fousun.
Childer had he wid wiues sere,
Of þe quilk i make na mening here,
For he þat mekil has forto tell
þe schortlyer þan bos him spell.
þis ilk it was, king dauy,
þat mekil spac of prophesy,
Of cristes birth ful lang biforn,
þat of a mayden suld be born.
þat mayden of his aune sede
was getyn, in bokis as we rede,
[folio 59b:1] And vr lauerd bi-for him high[t],
Of him suld spring þat all suld right. Page  493
þis ilke dauid þe sauter made,
Is redd ouer-all þis world brade.
Homer þe poete þat was sua rijf,
Liued in þis king dauid lijf,
And of affric þe strang barnage,
Did make þe cyte of cartage,
þat to Rome was euer quede.
And siþen quen king dauid was dede,
He bad his men þat he suld ly,
In bethleem his fadris by.

[Solomon's choice.]

Qven dauid was dede, sone salamon
was king sittand in his faderis tron,
He was a burli bacheler,
In all þis werld had he na pere.
Of witt and wisdam, as we rede,
was neuer nan wiser laue to lede.
In bedd he lay apon a night,
Bifor him stod an an angel bright,
And to him spac wid blithful chere,
And said, "i am a messagere,
Mi lauerd has þe sent word bi me
To giue þe choys of thinges thre,
Of strenth, riches, and of witt,
Ches quilk þu wil, þu sal haue itt.
If þu him seruis wid herte hale,
Of thre þu sal haue an to wale."
Salamon þis vnderstod,
Of þis message thoght him godd,
"wittles," he said, "quat es catel?
Or quat es strenth wid to del,
þat man na witt has wid to lede?
I ches me witt for all mi nede; Page  495
I thank him þe chois me wild giue,
I sal him serue quile i may liue,
wid all mi miht in al mi wille,
He giue me grace it to ful-fille."
þe angel said to salamon, [folio 59b:2]
"wisely in chesing has þu don,
And for þu wele has chosin an,
þu sal þaim haue euerilkan,
For þu sal be ful war in dede,
And all folk þar-wid sal þe drede,
And þu sal dredenes haue of nan,
Of riches sal þu haue ful gode wan."
Þan reyned salamon wid þis,
And ledd his lijf in mekil blis;
He loued þe folk of his king-riche,
And all him loued, bath pore and riche,
All þat again him wroght males,
wid wisdam broght þai to his pes,
And all þat his fadir ne moght,
Salamon to ende it broght.
Ierusalem loued he mast of all,
þar was he sett in kinges hall.

[The judgment of Solomon between the two women.]

IN his king-riche þe former dawis
Amang his folk he sett his lawis,
And did þaim straytly forto ȝeme,
Might na man mare rightly deme.
Amang his rightwis domis rijf,
Herkins hou he feld a strijf.
Of mister was þer wimmen tuin,
þat ledd þair lijf in sake and sine,
For þai had housing nan to wale,
þai duelled in a littel schale; Page  497
Bath a night lighter war þai,
And bath at anis in gesyn lay;
Bath war knauis þat þai bar,
þair moderis ful nedi þai war,
þa had na credlis, na nan wid to by,
Bot did þair childer bi þaim ly,
þair clothing was sua nede and fa,
þat þai miht nan part þaim fra.
Bot of þise wimmen, allas! þe tan
In bedd slepand hir sone had slan,
As wimmen do ful riuely, [folio 60a:1]
þat ȝong childer lais þaim by.
Quen scho fand hir child was dede,
Ne coude scho find na better rede,
Bot fra hir fere sch[o] stal hir barn,
And laid bi hir hirs so for-farn,
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
And siþen in bedd still scho lay,
Lete as scho slepe bituix and day.
þe toþer womman quen scho wock,
And scho bigan hir child to lok,
And fand it ligand dede hir bi,
Scho said, "allas! þat euer liued i!
Mi child es dede, and i ne wat hou,
Cold has slayn it, as i trou."
þis child in barm to fir scho bar,
And wele scho wend to quikin it þar,
Bot all for noght, þat was for-layn
It miht not couer to lijf a-gayn.
Sua at þe last þat scho parceiued,
þat scho was of hir child disceyued,
Quen scho graithli was o-knawn,
þat þat child was noght hir awn, Page  499
vnto hir fere scho stirt in hy,
And þar-wid gaf a mekil cry.
Scho said, "þu wicked, ay be þu wa!
Qui has þu me bigiled sua
Of mi child þat mi-selue bar?
þu giue it me, wid-uten mar!
Gif me my child þu fra me stal."
þe toder said, "þu lies euen all.
I bar mi-selue it, and it es mine,
þe dede child for-soth es þin,
þat þi-selue of lijf has sett,
Ful wele haue i min aun gett."
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
"Parfay þu lies, wicked womman,
And þat sal sone be ouer-tan,
Mi quick child has þu stolin to þe,
And þi dede child laid bi me.
þu sal it ȝelde, bi mi leute,
Quen iuggement þar-of sal be."
wid þis þai cam bifore þe king,
All folud þaim, bath ald and ȝing,
Of þe folk of ilk a toun,
þat of þe dome wald here resun.
And sone wid salamon þai mett,
vnder þe tre quar he was sett,
þar he mast his witt soght,
of all thinges þat he wroght.
Quen þai war all bi-for him þar,
First spac scho þe quic child bar,
And said, "saf be king salamon,
Sua semly sittand in þi tron!
Lauerd, þi pore womman þu here,
And rightwis deme þu þis mistere.
þis womman ȝe se here stand
we er bath in a hous duelland, Page  501
Bath at anis wid child we war,
And bath at anis vr childer bar,
In wanis war we stad vnwide,
And layd vr childer bi vr side.
Bot welaway! it sua bitydd,
Mi fere smorid hir child in bedd,
And siþen scho laid it priuely,
Quilis i slepe, in bed me by,
And stal mi liuand child away.
Bot i knew wel bi þe light of day
Of þis tresun scho had me don.
I hir resuned þan al-sua son,
Bot miht i neuer hider tille,
Mi child gett for godd nor ille."
"Þu liest," sayd þe toþer þan
"Ful egerly, as a wicked womman,
Ne thoght i neuer þi child to stele,
Bot womman am i gode and lele.
þis child in min arm es min,
And þat þu has dede þar it es þin,
Of mi wombe þis child was born, [folio 60b:1]
And þu wid schame þin has lorn.
þe dede es þine, and mine þe quic;"
Suilk wordis spac þat womman wic.
Þe toþer said, "allas! sir king,"
And þar-wid gan hir handis wring,
"I se mi child me es wid-draun,
For i sal noght cum to min aun,
þu do me bote a-gayn þis bald,
For all þe soth i haue þe tald."
Þe king þat was sua sly a clerk,
Bath war and wijs in al his werk,
Of þis ilk playnt him thoght selcuth,
Als of a cas þat was vncuth.
"Lordi[n]ges," he said, "þis womman here,
Sais ȝone quic child scho bere, Page  503
And þar egayn sais þe toþer,
Scho es þe moþer and nan oþer.
þe dede child es neyder of þaim,
Ne þar-to wil calle or claym,
Bot of þis quick þai bath wald be
Moder, as ȝe here and se.
Bot moder may it haue bot an,
And proue ȝe se þat þar es nan,
And eyther wald þai haue it all.
Bot þai may noght cum to þat tal.
þan thinc me wele wid alkin arte
Bituix þaim nede bos it be part,
And siþen þat þai wil sua,
wid suord it sal be delt in tua,
And ether sal haue a side in hand;"
wid þis þe king bad fett a brand.
Þis womman þat þe moder was,
Scho fell to ground and crid allas!
And said, "lauerd god it wid-schild
þat þu briten sua mi child.
ȝe giue to hir mi child alan,
þat es me leuer þan it be slan.
Of him i giue hir nou all mi right, [folio 60b:2]
Ar þat i se him sua be dight."
Þe toþer said, "neyther sal he be
Hal be gyuen to me nor þe,
Bot baldly sua nou be he delt,
Right as þe king bifor melt."
Bot euer þe toþer cald agayn,
"Lauerd, lat noght mi child be slayn
For nathing," scho sayd, "may fall."
"Lauerdinges," he said, "þis here ȝe all,
To queþer of þir tua sal i deme?
Say me nou quat ȝou thinc queme."
"we," þai sayde, "sir, bi þis day,
Ne wat bituix þaim quat to say." Page  505
He said, "ne herd ȝe noght þe tan
wald haue him quic, þe toþer slan?
þe tan had delt þe child in tua,
þe toþer wild noght lat him sla;
Quer-for me thinc, if ȝe so rede,
þe child be noght don to dede,
Bot he be holden to ȝon wijf,
þat wald sua fayn saue his lijf,
For scho þat has his lijf sua dere,
His moder es, widuten were."
"þis dome," þai said, "es ful right wis."
All þai louid salamon þe wise.
Hir barn scho toke and went hir ham;
Of þis dome sua spredd þe fam,
þat all spac of þis king salamon,
þai said, sua wijs was neuer non,
Ne craftier in werk of hand,
was neuer funden non in land.
Ne neuer nan þat hadd, i-wis,
Sua mekil wele of worldes blis.

The building of the Temple.

Qven salamon was wele at esse,
And all his kingriche in pese,
þan bi-gan he him to entermett
þe temple to make he was in dett,
þat his fadir him of bi-soght, [folio 61a:1]
Bot of a thing ferli him thoght.
Quilis he was tymbrand to þat thing,
þe quilis þat tre bigan to cling,
þis tre þat i bifor of tald,
Nou bigan it to wax ald;
Ilk a man said, þat it sie,
þat it for elde bigan to drey,
And semed wele it wild na mare,
þat men suld it hald in are, Page  507
þe lesse tale þar-of to tell
þat men þe titter suld it fell,
Quen nede war it suld be soght,
And to þe werk of þe temple be broght.
þe king did cast wid scantlyon,
And did make all þe tymber bon.
Quen all was puruaid in þat place,
And bunden samyn, balk and lace,
þai fand gret marring in þair mark,
þe writhes þat suld rayse þe wark;
þe best balk þat þar-in su[l]d be,
þar-of þan wantid þaim a tre,
þe balk þat mast þe werk suld binde,—
þai soght an-oþer for to find.
Mani a wode haue þai thoru gan,
Bot suilk a tre ne fand þai nan.
Quen þai had soght and miht noght spede,
"Sirking," þai sayde, "we doute vr dede
Sal perichis and leue all bihind,
For a tre we may noght find."
wid þis þai lete þair werk to hone,
And spac vnto king Salamone,
"Sir," þai said, "durst we for aw,
vre thoght fayn we wild þe schaw,
we haue soght bath ner and ferr,
For to find a mayster sperr,
For to feste wid cumpas sley,
Vr werk to-gider, bath lau and hy.
If we durst say þe, leue sire, [folio 61a:2]
þat þu þar-for lepe noght in ire,
þe tre þat es in orichard þin
wald bring vr werk wele to fin."
þe king of þis tre vnderstod,
Almast mengid him his mode,
Ne for-þi þe tre he ȝate,
Quen he miht do nan oþer gate. Page  509
Sone þe tre was heuen doun,
And squire on-laid and scantlyoun,
þe tre was alsua mete and queme,
As any man þar-to coude deme,
Bot quen it was vp wid strenth,
It wantid large an elne lenth.
þai lete it doun widuten lett,
And fand it mete i-noght wid mett,
Efte þai lifted vp þe tre,
It was to schort a gret quantite.
þus þa proued it thre days,
Als it in þe stori says,
Bot for na biding þat þai bide,
Ne miht þai do it stand in stede.
Bot quen þai sau na bote ellis,
þai went to seke in frith and fellis,
To find a-noþer tre wald þai,
And þai it fand þe first day;
þat ilke day þat was funden,
þe balk was in his birdin bunden.
þan þai tok þis tre of cypris,
And did it in worschip and in pes,
In þat hali temple grith,
And þe thritti cerklis þar-wid,—
þat king dauid, þat was sua god,
Did þar a-boute quiles it stode
To witt hou þat it grew bi ȝere,—
And offrid þaim as tresur dere,
To haue of þat tre lastand myne,
Of forbysenyng þat þar was ine.
At þe temple for þis resun, [folio 61b:1]
þai er wid tresur in comun,
Ne war þai neuer þan spend,
Til þat þai war iudas bikend,
To him þan war þai taght and tald,
Quen he for þaim his lauerd sald. Page  511
And þus says sum opynyoun,
Bot sua sais noght þe passion.
þat tre þan ful richely,
was in þat temple don to ly,
was þar neuer of made oght,
Tille þat þe crois þar-of was wroght.
Þis kirke was wroght of marbil stan,
Suilk an-oþer in world was nan,
As was þis temple salamon,
þar-ine was all þair relikis don,
Mani selcuth for to se,
He wroght þar bath in stan and tre.
was neuer man born þat coude wirke,
Ne ordayne suilk an-oþer kirke,
Bot god had giuen him suilk wisdam,
As godd gaf to salamon,
As sais þe men þat þar has ben,
wid-in and vte, bath haf þai sen.
Thritti elne quen it was made,
Itt had on lenth, and tene o brad,
And on hight it had fijftene,
wid craft ouer-all wroght bidene;
For-þi þi balk i tald of are,
Of elnes was fijftene and mar.
Quen þat þe temple haluid wes,
þe tre euer it lay stille in pes,
Mani it wald haue done a-way,
Bot miht þai noght, still it lay.
And efter salamones day
þer cam a preist, was of þat lay,
þer-to fiue hundrid men he ledd,
Bot þai miht neuer stir it of stedd;
wid ax he wald haue cutt it þan, [folio 61b:2]
all-to sone he it bigan
vt of þat tre it brast a blass,
þat brint þaim all in þat place, Page  513
þat quic cam nan of þaim ham:
Cyrillus þan was þe preistes nam.
þis es a takening of þat tre,
þat halud was as ȝe may se.
SAlamon was in mekil wele,
And vmsett wid happ and sele,
His wiues were wonder to neuen,
Of quenis had he hundrides seuen;
Thre hundrid concubinis it sais,
Efter þe law was in þa dais.
wid-ine þat time þat i of rede,

The first martyr for Christ.

þer cam a leuedy of þat lede,
For to honure hir in þat stede,
As mani of þat contre dide,
For to make her orisoun;
Bot vnwarly scho sett hir doun,
Apon þis ilk tre wid chance,
þat men made to suilk honurance;
Bot sone þer was to se a wonder,
Hir clathes bigan to brin hir vnder,
As þou þe tre in fir had ben!
þis ilk womman þat i of men,
þis tre scho stirt all dredand fra,—
Hir name was cald maximilla,—
And þan bigan scho for to crie,
As wid a voice of prophesy,
And said, apon þat tre suld hing
þat lauerd of helle, þat blisful king,
Iesu crist of maydin born,
To saue þe world þat was for-lorn.
þat suld þe iuus here and se
þat suld þe crois make of þat tre.
For þe loue of þis sothsaw,
þe iuus fell widuten awe, Page  515
[folio 62a:1] For scho had neuend cristes name,
"On godd," said þai, "þu has said schame,
Scho es wod, and wid þe warlau tan."
And heuedid hir ful sone on-an.
Sent þan was an angel þare,
And vp to heuen hir saule bare,
In hir folk hir aldir siht,
And said þat cristian scho hight.
þar-for war þe iuus wrath,
þat name to here was þaim ful lath.
þis womman was first þat men wist,
þat martird was fore iesu crist.
þe iuus thoght þai had noght don i-now,
þis [tre] vte of þe temple þai drow;
þer was a pitt bot litil þaim fra,
was callid piscyna probatyca,
þe iws þat ay was wont to wrang,
þar-ine þe kinges tre þai slang;
Bot quar-sua-euer þis tre lay,
God schued þar-on his mihtes ay;
For euer-ilk day a certayn oure,
þar lithed dun fra heuenes tour
Angelis, þat war selcuth schene,
For to stire þat water bidene.
And quen þat it wa stirid sua,
Men þat lay in langur of wa,
Qua miht first in þe water wine,
Of sor had he na langer mine,
war his sekenes neuer sua strang,
þow he had liued neuer sua lang.
þe iuus, þat war sua crabbid and kene,
Quen þai had þis miracle sene,
þai drow it þedin and made a brig,
Ouer a littel becc to lig,
þe watir of sylole, and said,
Quen ouer þat water þai it laid, Page  517
"If þat ani vertu be
Of olines widin þis tre,
wid sinful menes fete," said þai, [folio 62a:2]
"wid ganging sal be done away."
O þis maner þis tre þar lay,
Tille after lang and mani a day,
Til sibil cam so fer fra kith,
To salamon to speke him wid,
And forto here of his wisdam.
Quen þat scho to þe cite cam,
Scho cam in at þat ilk ȝate,
þar þis tre lay in hir gate,
Doun sho bowid hir to þe grund,
þe tre scho honurd þar a stound.
Scho left hir syrte widuten schorne,
And barfot wald ouer þat borne,
And to þat tre scho gan hir falde,
And prophesy þar-of scho tald;
And namlyest of domes-day,
Hou all þis world suld wit of way.
Quen þat þis sibil and þe king,
Desputid had of mani a thing,
þe king þan gaf hir giftes faire,
And hamward scho tok hir ayre.
þis ilke tre þat i of say,
þer it lay ful mani a day,
Bot it was in þe temple boun,
At þe time of cristes passion.
Lat we þis tre ly þar it lijs,
And speke we of salamon þe wis.

[Solomon's great sin and repentance.]

His dedis coude na man þe-vise,*. [[read de-vise]]
war he neuer of sua mekil prise,
Bot hard it es, þe word of sine,
þat ȝarkid was to adams kine! Page  519
þat soruful werk þaim self þai soght,
þat all þair sede in soru broght,
Man to fall in filth of fless,
Thoru fourme of kinde þat es sua ness.
Ouer-pascid has þat caytif kinde,
And made king salamon al blinde,
Blind of witt and wisdam als, [folio 62b:1]
And made him in þat faith ful fals.
Thoru wimmen þat he loued sua fele,
He fel fra lijf and saules hele,
Again þe lau þat god him forbedd,
Leudis he loued of vncuth ledd,
þat made him godd to renay,
And to for-sake his aun lay.
Lauerd king sua mekil of miht,
Quer becam all his in sight,
þat did him-seluen sua to spill,
Foluand a wicked wommanes will.
Allas! erly þis gile bigan,
At adam þat was formast man;
Sampson þat strangest was in lijf,
was bigilid thoru a wijf;
King dauid, thoru a wijfes siht,
To dede he did a sackles knyht;
Nou salamon, i rede of here,
þat of wisdam neuer had na pere,
Siþen wimmen haue bigilid him so,
Qua may of þaim be siker? quo?
Certis, i hope vnethes nan,
þat es in world of wic womman.
þe man sch[o] has in hir bandun,
Scho bringes him to confusion,
For-þi i say, blissed es he,
þat dos him noght in þair pouste;
For if he loue hir mare þan nede,
To will as a fole scho wil him lede. Page  521
For be he neuer to-fore sua sly,
þan sal he fall into foly.
Mistrou naman, þoqueþer, þat i
wil speke of wimmen velany;
If i sua did it war vnhend,
I thinck na womman forto schend.
Certis nay, thar na man wene,
For in þis world es nan sua clene
Creature, wid godd and man, [folio 62b:2]
Ne nan to loue, as gode womman.
þe euil alone to þaim i tell
þat er funden bath fals and fell,
Feloun in entent to suyke,
þe wimmen þat i blame, er slike;
þe wicker neuer þe worthi are,
þat men tell quat þe dohuthy are,
Nor þe gode þe wers to praise,
Quat sua men of þe wicked saise.
Quilk er to lac, and quilk er to loue,
þair aune werkis wil þaim proue,
Bot god þat dide apon þe rode,
And amend þe wic and saue þe gode.
Qven salamon his wille had wroght,
wa was him þat euer he thoght
Godd to wreth, his saule to file,
And þan repentid him a quile.
wid bath his heyen sare he grett,
And did prophetis for to fett,
þe patriarkis þaim com wid all,
Bifore þair fete dun gan he fall,
And said, "hauis sone of me merci,
Es nan sua sinful a wreche as i.
Nou se i wele i haue mis-gan,
For i haue honurd selue sathan,
I haue leued mi lauerdes lawe,
And sua me tan to þe warlawe." Page  523
"Has þu," þai said, "þi law renayd?"
"ȝa, sua, walaway!" he said.
"And qui," said þay, "did þu sua?"
"A womman wroght me al mi wa,
For mi misgilt i am a knawin,
I war worthi wid hors be drauin;
I haue me done a wicked dede,
Thoru a womman of hethen lede.
ȝe rede me nou, for godes sake,
ȝour consail i wil vndertake."
þan þai said, "quat rede can ȝe, [folio 63a:1]
þe rede it es hally in þe,
þu þi selue, þat es sua wijs,
First þu say vs þin a-vijs;
we sul be to þi bidding boun."
He said þan, "tak of mij croun
þat i na langer au to were,
Mi kinges robe als þat i were,
All for mi sinne fer wil i fle,
To vncuth land fra þis contre."
"Do way," þai said, "king salamon,
þis thing aw we noght for to don,
Nouder we wil, ne we haue miht,
For-do þe lawe of kinges right;
þe law þat god has laid on king,
we ne aw to breke for nankines thing."
"How may þis be? quat say ȝe now,
Ne sal i haue na rede of ȝou?"
"Quat rede may we say to þe?"
"I wil þat ȝe vncoroun me;
Mi lauerd i haue be-left, allas!
ȝe helpe me in þis caytif cas,
And lais on me ful hard paynis,
For sore it es mi repentanis. Page  525
Siþen i haue serued to haue schame,
Gif me mi schrift, in goddes name."
Þat schrift was soruful and vnsene,
þat all þat cite sau all bidene,
Alde and ȝong, all gan on him wonder,
þe schrift þat salamon ȝode vnder.
His sine bifore þat grete cite,
wid waful weping scheud he,
His riche croune of gold and stan,
Did first of his hefde be tan,
And of his robe he gan to riue,
And his bodi all to driue.
To skourge bar thoru þat thrang,
vte of his bac þe blode it sprang.
þat sor, þatschame, þatmartyring, [folio 63a:2]
was neuer sene on suilk a king.
Bot all he tok in goddes name,
And tholed mekly al þat schame,
For all to nede him thoght þat game,
þat he miht thole for suilk a blame;
Quarof before he loued þe lust,
He wild men raf it al to dust,
Quarthoru it semed wele bi þis,
þat he wan merci for his miss,
Quat for þe reuth of his misdede,
Quat for þe schrift he vnder-ȝede.
After þe time he þus had don,
A quile reyned king salamon
Blisfully ouer all þat land;
His werkes ȝeit þan war lastand.
His craftes sal be lastand ay,
In world bituix and domes-day;
þat mekil i haue for to tell,
Mihti for oþer thinges duell.
Oþer thing es mast to mine,
To rekin forth vr lady kine; Page  527
For þar-for mast i vnder-toke,
For to make þis englis boke;
To telle first hou vr lauerd of miht,
Till haly men ofte sithes hight,
þat of þair sede a man suld spring,
þat mankind suld vte of baret bring.
Ful lang hight was þis bi-forn,
þe time þat iesu crist was born.

[The death of Solomon, and the names of his successors.]

Of salamon nou endis mi tale,
He reyned fourti winter hale,
He þat sua wele was of wine,
His elde was fourti and tuinne,
Grauyn in bethleem was he boune,
þat was his aun fadris tune,
wid mensk and worschip; efter quam,
Reyned his sone hight robam.
þis Roboam þat i of mene, [folio 63b:1]
Reyned wintris seuentene.
His sone cam efter, Abya,
Thre ȝere he reyned and na ma.
Hasa his sone, bath hale and fere,
Reyned an and fourti ȝere;
Iosaphat his sone in liue,
Reyned tuenti ȝere and fiue.
þat was helyas, þat prophete,
þat god of sua mekil lete,
þat stint þe rayn thoru his praiere,
Sex monethes and thre ȝere;
And quen he praid eft a-gayn,
Godd sent þe folk plente of rayn.
He was þe first, as þe stori says,
þat ded men raysed in former dais.
Of Iosaphat com Ioram,
þat reyned wintris eyht, wid quam Page  529
was a prophete helyseus,
And as þe stori tellis vs,
Helyas was þat ilke time þare
Translatid in golden chare.
Of þi Ioram cam Ozias,
þat reyned fifti wintris was;
In þat time þat i of mele,
was in þat land prophetis fele,
Isayas, Ioel, Osee, Abdyas,
Amos, Ionas, and mycheas.
þe eyhtand sibile bigan to rise,
þat was of prophesi ful wise.
Of Ozias cam Iothan,
Sextene ȝe[re] was he reynand þan;
Romulus was þe formest man
þat reyned in Rome, and it bigan.
Achaz, his sone, efter him com;
þat time was made þe toun of Rom;
Sextene ȝere reyned achaz,
And of him cam Ezechias,
He reyned nine and thritti ȝere, [folio 63b:2]
wele was he loued wid iesu dere.
Siþen reyned manasses,
þat was his sone, widuten les;
þat time was, as sais þe stori,
A sibile þat hiht of samy.
Of þis manasses cam amon,
As his fader was þe son,
Folis war þai bath, for-qui
þai honurd euer maumettri.
Amon son was Iosyas,
A dohuti king, in his time was
For-don þe toun of Niniue,
þat was vmgang jornays thrie,
þat standen had in time þare,
Fourti hundrid ȝere and mare. Page  531
þat time was prophete Ieremye
Spekand in his prophesie.
Iosias gatt Ioconyam;
þe transmigracion was þan,
þat þe bok of mening mas.
þen was a king sedechias;
In his time was þe Iuen land
wommen all in sarazin hand;
Ierusalem was stroyd and tan,
þan bigan þair kingr[i]che to wan,
And, as i in þe stori find,
þat time was þe temple brind,
Thoru a king of babilon,
In thraldam he had þaim don,
þat Nabugodonosor hight;
Strang he was, of mekil miht.
A tuelfmoneth he þe tun vmsett,
And wan it for þe diffaute of mett.
þe king fled vte bi nightertale,
with þe withest men he had in wale,
Bot he was takin at his flíght,
His sonis slayn bifor his sight,
And him seluen did þai bind, [folio 64a:1]
And kest him into a presun blind.
þe iuus er nou put of state,
And in þair kingriche translate,
þat had four hundrid ȝere stand
And fijfty to þat day ner-hand.

The fourth age of the world is finished.

Of world þe ferd elde now es tald,
þat was four hundrid winter ald
And fiue and sexti ȝere and thre,
Bot siþen þis world bigan to be,
Four thousand and sex hundrith
ȝere, qua rekines right to tell es eth.
Page  533

The Fifth Age of the World. The Family of the Virgin Mary.

Blissed be scho þat vs has spedd,
þat we þe eldes four has redd;
To rekin forth þat leuedi kine,
þe fijfte elde wil we bigine.
Ieconias ȝe heard me mone,
Salatiel he had to sone,
And of þis ilk salatiel
Becam his sone Zorobabel.
Abiud ȝeit cam of him,
Of abiud Elyachim,
Of quam Asor, sadoch of him,
þat loth er for to lig in rim.
Sadoch gat achim, for soth,
And of achim cam eliuth,
Of eliuth cam Eleazar,
þat leui als to name he bar.
þis Leui had sonis tua,
þat was matan and pantra,
Mathan gat Iacob; iacob, ioseph;
þat was þe nethermast steph,
Of þat side es to telle na ma.
Of pantera cam propantera,
Of propantera cam Ioachim,
vr leuedi mari cam of him.
Ioseph and scho, so may men se,
Bot at þe thrid and ferde kne.
[folio 64a:2] þe mayden þat vs þat lauerd bare,
þat lesid all þis world of car,
þus was þe fruit þat broght vr bote
Of þe tre þat adam was þe rote.
Qua sua wil se fra adam þe alde,
Hou mani knes to crist es tald, Page  535
He sal find widvten excusacions,
Sexti alde generacions,
And neyther tald he ne he,
þus may þe genealogy be.

Isaiah's prophecy of Christ.

Crist was forsaid wid prophesy,
þat mast of spac saint ysay,
And to þe iuus so mistrouand,
He bad þaim here and vnderstand.
"Iesse," he said, "of his rotyng
Certaynly a wand suld spring,
vte of þat a flour suld brest,
þe hali gast þar-on suld rest,
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
þe gast þat giues giftes sere."
Bot ȝit þat folk, was ay in were,
vn-til oþer said, "quat may þis be
So wonderly mirkly spekes he?"
Bot ȝit he let it sua be hidd,
And lang þer-efter sua he þaim it vn|didd.
"Gode men," he said, "can ȝe noght se?
For of a man þat hiht Iesse
A mayden sal brede, of his hup-spring,
And scho sal haue a sone to king,
I wil noght hele for drede of blame,
Emanuel sal be his name."
þat es to say, in englis þus,
vr lauerd him-seluen alle wid vs.
"Hony sal he ete and milk,
wele sal he knaw quilk es quilk,
Fra þe wick þe gode to knau,
Fra him þe soth sal nan wid-draw."
Sum iuus said to oþer þan,
"Qua herd euer suilk speche of a man Page  537
[folio 64b:1] þat born sal be, sum thing es þare
þat he wild noght war knaun mare."
And þan said ysay, "parfay,
I sal ȝou opinlier say,
Qui suld i langer wid ȝou layn?
I sal vndo it ȝou all playn,
For i haue writen all þis thing,
þat i sal leue to ȝoure ospring
þis ilk bok, bot summe of þaim
Again my saw sal sett þair claim;
For efter þat i am of liue,
Agayn þe soth sal ȝour ayris striue.
Qui er ȝe of will sua wilde?
A mayden sal vs bere a childe,
Querof i tald ȝou here biforn,
Tille vre bi-houe sal he be born.
þis child sal vs be gyuen tille,
And sal reyne at his wille;
Men sal him call wid names sere,
'Ferlyful' and 'cunsaylere.'
Godd of strenth and fader es he,
Cald of þat world es forto be,
And 'prins of pais,' men sal him call,
And neuer mare sal his reyne fall.
I haue ȝou tald hou it sal be,
Bot i ne wat queþer ȝe it se."
"Ful litel se we ȝit," said þai,
"Of all þat euer we here þe say,
For siþen þat we war born in werde,
Sua selcuth sawe we neuer herd."
"Ne i ne herde neuer," he said, "in land,
Men sua hard at to vnderstand,
Ne saw ȝe noght for godes dome,
þe wand bere lef fruit and blome?
þis wand bitakins a mayden clene,
þat sal þe child bere þat i mene, Page  539
þat sal his folk fra baret by,
To quham men sal haue gret enuy.
þat ȝou tellis saint Ieremie, [folio 64b:2]
If ȝe wold loke his prophesie.
And ȝit i sal ȝou say a thing,
Bot holde ȝe it for na hething,
Quen he þat haliest es comen,
ȝour noynting sal fra ȝou be nomen.
Bot ȝit i hope ȝe be sua blind,
þat ȝe can noght mi resun find;
King wer ȝe wont to noint ay-quare,
Bot sua sul ȝe nou haue na mare,
Fra he be noynted, þat i say,
Kingles sul ȝe be fra þat day."
Of þis ȝou tellis Ieremy,
þe prophetes Ioel, and hely,—
ȝit he es liuand in hele,
þis ilk ely þat i of mele.
Bot for na talking þaim was tald,
It tok neuer in þair hertis hald,
Bot ay mistrouing and mistrows.
God said him-self, of þa iuus,
Quen he mas of his moder minne,
þat was comen of al þair kinne,
He said, "my lemman es sua gent,
Scho smellis suetter þan piment,
And wele softer hir vestiment
þan any reclis þat er brent.
Fayr es þe muth of þat leudy,
And ilk toth es as yuory,
As douues eye hir loke es suete,
As rose on thorn er to vnmete;
And tuene þaim fayre acord es nane,
Sua es tuix hir kin and my lenman."
For as þe rose es bred of thorn,
Sua was mari of iuus born. Page  541
Bot ar of cristes birth we neuen,
we sal tell how þe fadir of heuen
Dight his dere sone to sende,
Almast at þe worldes ende,
Into erde vr fless to ta, [folio 65a:1]
To bring mans kind vte of wa.
And hou he gaf vs his pardun,
Schortly sal i tell ȝou resun.

Re-capitulation, of Adam's Fall and the Scheme to save Mankind.

FOr ȝe lauerdinges, wele haue ȝe herd
Of ȝe bigining of þis world,
Hou he þat neuer had bigining,
Made heuen and erde and all thing,
And als to all thing he gaf,
þair kindly schroud for to haf.
For sune and mone þat es sua briht,
Had seuen sith mar þan nou of liht,
And all thinges was þan, als i trow,
wele mihtier þan þai er nou.
A! lauerd! gret harming was þare,
þat all suld die, bath less and mare,
þat of adam and eue com.
Bot ȝit it was a rightwis dome,
As ȝe sal se, wid rightwis skill,
þat harkins of þis stori wel.
Quen all þis world to end was wroght,
þat wanting was þat*. [[read þar]] in of noght,
Best, griss, fruit and tre,
And all was þat þar-in suld be;
Foul and fiss, gret thing and smal,
Adam last was made of all.
In ebron greue, þat ilke dale,
þar-in he drow siþen mekil bale,
Of erde god made him to be,
Efter his aun trinite. Page  543
His aune ymage he wroght him þare,
Hou miht he loue haue kid him mare;
In paradis he did him rest,
And slyly slepe apon him kest,
He wroght a felaw of his ban,
To adam, þat was first his an;
Witt and skil he gaf him tille,
Miht, and fairhed, and fre will.
[folio 65a:2] Ouer all þis world king and kayser,
And lastand lijf ay for to bere;
In paradis in eritage,
To lede þair lijf ay to a stag,
In welth, widuten tene or tray,
Bituix-and a certayn day,
þat of his ospring war of þat tale,
þat miht ful-fille þe numbre hale,
Of þat felauschip þat fell,
vte of heuen into hell,
And siþen þai suld sua blisced be,
þat þai of dede suld neuer se;
And sua suynkles, fair, and bright,
As þat time was of sunne so light,
As ȝe haue herd me bifore neuen,
Als suld þai siþen sty to heuen.
Qua herd euer speke of mare bliss,
þan, or deme, was to adam and his?
Lawis tuynne thoru sett assise,
was to Adam in paradise,
Als in haly writt we find;
þe first law was cald 'of kinde,'
þat es to say, kindly to do
All þat him was bidden to.
Þe toþer has 'possitiue' to name,
þe whilk lawe was for-bed Adam,
Forto ete þat fruit, and saide,
"þis tre in forbode haue i laid, Page  545
If þu sua bald be it to bite,
þu sal be dede in soru and site,
And if þu wil mi forbode halde,
þu sal be lauerd as i þe tald,
Of all thing in erde and paradis,
wid mare bliss þan þu can deuis."
Of þis ald adam sesin all;
Allas! ful sone he lete it fall.
His gret worschip þat he had þare,
And broght vs all eter to care.
Sua sone as he þat appil ete, [folio 65b:1]
þe lawis bath he gan for-lete,
Bath naturale and positiue,
Thoru his wijf he wex caytiue,
Quen scho troud mare þe fendes lare,
þan godd þat hir had wroght þare.
Sua was adam for his vtrage,
Forth driuen vte of his eritage,
vte of ioy and vte of blis,
In soru and sithe to him and his;
Thoru dede his lijf mast he tyne,
Quar sal he euer mare haue medicine,
Quen he so wrecchedly had tynt
His heritage wid iugement!
þat sinne, allas! sua hard was itt,
þat nan of left, widuten smitt,
þat euer was vnder him born,
þe strenth of itt has al forlorn.
So hy na-thing was neuer wroght,
þat thoru it seluen miss ne moght
Fall dun into lauer state,
As all þir wise clerkis wate.
All erdly thing miht haf had þe right,
If it ne ware thoru mans plight;
A mis it was of mekil sake,
þat broght to man sua mekil wrake, Page  547
þat vte of þe fayrest land þat es,
Has put man into wildrenes:
Suilk pliht was first, suilk was last,
þat of his sesin gan him cast;
þis es bot law, qua soth wil say,
vsyd in court þus ilka day.
Nou es man gilted in eueles all,
His aun sine has made him thrall,
þat first was fre, as i bifore tald;
Nou has him sathanas in wald,
To quas seruis straitly he bi-held,
His thral he was to haue in weld.
[folio 65b:2] And quihy he his thrall in his seruise,
He ne may be fre on nan-kin wise,
Nor thral may wid na law in lede
Ask heritage vr lauerd-hede;
And siþen he es þus thrall bicomen,
His heritage him es be-nomen,
Ne in na court awe na thrall be herd,
Ne stand in dome to be ansuerd.
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
þan most him seke anoþer nede,
To wine his heritage, if he wil spede,
þat he wat born of frely strand,
þat may in court scheu his erand,
His heritage agayne to winne,
þat he be of his aun kinne.
So þat he sothfast man suld be,
And ete noght of þis forsaid tre,
þat suld be born widuten sinne,
And helden had þir lawis tuine,
þat es þe tuine of paradis;
þe thrid es of a mount synays,
þat giuen was to moyses,
þat neuer of oþer halden wes, Page  549
Bot he þat neyder did sinne ne plight;
And quat man miht se so bright,
þat suilk a man coude thinc in thoght,
þat muster þat miracle moght?
Reste here nou a litel wil i,
A sample for to tell her-by,
A sample cordand þat i tok,
vte of saint Robar[t] bok.

The Parable of a King and his four Daughters.

IT was a king of mekil pris,
Right he was worthi and wijs,
þat ilk king þat i of mone,
He had child nan bot a sone,
þat wid his fadir was sua wele,
He wist his wisdam ilka dele.
In all wisdam was he riche,
And al-gat of his fader liche;
wid him of a will and myht, [folio 66a:1]
His fader wroght wid his in-sight,
All þat his fader wild haue wroght,
Thoru him to ende it suld be broght.
And dohutris foure had þis king,
To quham ilkan he gaf sum thing
Of his miht and of his bounte,
As fel to haue suilk sistris fre.
Ilk-an sundri giftes he gaf,
Party wid him-selue to haf,
Bath of his wisdam and of his miht,
As ilkan fell-to haue wid right.
Of his substance he gaf ilk-an,
And ilk-an gaf he substance an,
As to hir fader it ahut to fere,
widuten quhylk on nan manere
Miht he in pes his kingriche ȝeme,
Na rihtwis dome þar-in to deme. Page  551
þair namis sul ȝe here qui,
þe first of þaim was cald merci;
þe toþer was cald sothfastnes;
þe thrid of þaim, rightwisnes;
Pes þe ferde syster hiht;
widuten þise has king na miht,
For to lede his lauerdhede.
þis ilk king þat i of rede,
A seruaunt had in his bayly,
Agayn his lauerd had don foly,
And thoru dome him lokid was,
Be don to pine for his trespas,
And to his aun fa feloun,
was he bi-tahut vnto presoun;
For he ne had neuer sua gret enwy,
As to þat man to be bayly,
Quhi[l] he was in þat presun so,
His enmye wroght him þar ful wo.
Quen mercy saw him suagat be,
Of him scho gan to haue pite,
Scho miht hir forbere na-thing, [folio 66a:2]
Bot forth scho cam bifore þe king
For to scheu him hir resun,
And forto diliuere vte þat presun.
"Fader," scho said, "þi dohuter am y,
As þi-self it wat witterly,
Fulfild i am of buxumnes,
Of mekil reuth and sutenes,
þi gifte es me, lef fadir dere,
For-þi þu here nou mi praiere,
Of þis wreche presun þat es,
þat he must haue forgiuenes,
þat es vnder his feloun fa,
In presun pined and in wa,
þat thoru him be-suak,
And did him for to do vtrak, Page  553
þat falser falshed him es hite,
þat falshede sekis day and nihte
And falshede to him ȝolden be,
And þe presunn be sald to me.
For þu art, as all knaues þe,
King of meknes and of pite.
þin eldest dohutir þu wat i am,
Of all þi werkis es mi name,
þi dohutir ne aw i neuer be,
Bot i of him ne haue pite;
Merci he awe to haue wid righ[t],
For þi gret witt and þi in-sight;
And þi pite, þat es sua suete,
Awe þi presun of bandis bete.
I sal noght fyne mercy to cry,
Be-tuix and he haue þi merci."
Quen sothfastnes herd þis talking
þat mercy þus bisoght þe king,
And þat scho was algate aboute
For to haue þis presun vte,
Bifor þe king fote scho stode,
And said, "leue fadir, fair and gode,
Suylk selcuth haue i herd to-day, [folio 66b:1]
þat i may noght for-bere to sy
Of mi syister suete þat es,
Mercy, þat wid hir suetnes,
wald þis presun diliuerid ware,
þat sothfastnes wild for-fare.
Bot mercy awe non here to spede,
Bot-if þat sothfastnes it lede.
If mi sister saue miht all,
þat scho wald for cry and call,
þan suld þu be doutyd noght,
And nan misdedis suld be boght.
Bot þu art king þat art sothfast,
Of rightwisnes and of ste[d]fast Page  555
þat þu wil þe soth here euer and ay;
And þis presun þat i of þe say,
þat pyte of him-selue had noght,
How suld oþer rew on him oght?
Dome bi-houis him thole for-þi,
A[l] his misdede wid for to by."
Rightwisnes ras þan and said
Hir resun þan, as scho was puruayd,
"Sir, of þi dohutris am i an,
And þu art king so rightwis nan,
þi werkis all er war and wis,
And all þi domys er rightwis,
þis thral þat þu has fra þe flemyd,
wele has he seruid to be demid.
For quilis þat he was fre,
Mercy ay wid him had he,
And sothfastnes, and riht al sua,
Til þat him self flemid him vs fra.
It was his aun wilsum sinne,
þat did vs all fra him to tuynne,
He has him mengid agayn mercy,
Dede he aws to thole for-þi,
þe quilk þat þu him bifore hiht,
In presun be he wele wid right.
For dome has him giuen it in sight, [folio 66b:2]
Tille sothfastnes haue said þe plight,
þat so þu wald his soru slake,
þat he miht dome bifor þe take.
For qui þat dome sparis nan
þat sothfastnes has ouer-tan;
Ilk man scho giues ay wid will
þair right to haue bath gode and ill;
For sothfastnes has said his sake,
And þar-for dome wil nan him wrake,
Awe na man him say gode in werde,
Siþen þat pite nou es noght herd." Page  557
A! þat wreche widuten freind,
þat on na side may gete him lend,
Ne he ne may schap, quere-so he ga,
þat him ne saylis ay his fa,
þat witt and strenth al has him reft,
And nakid his wreched bodi left!
Noght him allon bot al his kin,
In thraldam has he broght þaim in,
He did þaim misdo comunly,
Bot dome þaim cam foluand in hy,
And iuggid þaim in sothfast treuth,
widuten merci, widuten reuth;
Nor pes at hame miht noght lende,
Bot vte of land scho suld wend.
For pes naquer it may abide,
þar hatered wonys, or were, or pride,
Nor of merci made na man mynne,
All left þe land þat þai war inne.
was nan þat left was efter þar,
þat þai ne all distroid ware,
All to dede þaim did to riue,
was noght bot eyht sum left aliue,
Noe and his sonis thrinne,
þat in þat schipp allone was ine,
His wijf and his sonis wijfes,
In all þis world left na ma lijfes.
It es mekil awe to telle, [folio 67a:1]
Of any dome þat was sua felle;
And all was right in sothfastnes,
widuten mercy and rightwisnes.
Þe ferde sister after þe thridd,
Said to þe king, þe place emydd,
"Pes i hate, as þu wele wate,
Bituix mi sisteris es þe bate,
All þat þai striue amang þaim thre,
Thoru pes it au to tried be, Page  559
For querof seruis any assise,
Of sothfastnes or of iustise,
Bot for to ȝeme þe pes in land,
Dome es þarfor sett to stand.
Siþen al þir thre er sett for me,
Hou sal i þan for-sakin be?
Siþen þat for me all gode er wroght,
And widuten me tald for noght.
Saue me es noght in þis werlde,
Bot if þat merci may be herde;
þu aw me here, widuten les,
For fadir art þu and prins of pes.
Pes endis al þat wele es wroght,
Qua has na pes he has as noght,
Quat es riches qua can me say,
Quat es wisdam quar pes es a-way,
Qua wil for pes his trauayl spend,
In pes forsoth þan sal he ende.
þan aw wele pes be herd for-þi,
For þis presun þat cries mercy!
And of vs foure sett at a-sise,
Rightwisly to do iustise,
widuten all vre comun assent,
Aw to be made nankin iugement,
Nor dome aw to haue na recorde,
Or we be all at an a-corde;
Til an bihouys vs all consent,
And siþen schape þe iugement,
Or ellis aw dome be callid agayn. [folio 67a:2]
For-þi þu wrecche þat es in payn,
Aw nou to find sum pite.
Now has þu herd mi sistris thre,
Here me fader nou for-þi,
For mercy fines noght to cri,
Merci and hir sistris tua,
Gladly wald i acord þaim sua." Page  561
Quen þat þe kinges sone had sene
Suilk strijf his sistris be-tuene,
þat þai widuten him miht ende,
Nor pes bituix þaim miht noght lende,
"Fadir," he said, "þi sone i es,
Of þi strenth and of þi witternes,
Sua wele i am loued wid þe,
þat þi wisdam men callis me,
All þis world lang and brade,
Has þu fader thoru me made.
All þu wroght thoru min in-sight,
For we er bath of a strenth and a miht,
Of a worschip and a will,
þi wille i sal euer-mare ful-fille,
Fadir, rightwisest demister!
Mercy me mouys wid hir prayere,
þat scho made skilful bifor þe;
For þe wrecche i haue of pite,
Mercy first gan on þe call,
Scho aw be formast herd of all,
For sothfastnes algate sal I
At an acord make wid mercy.
Fadir i sal on me for-þi
Of thrall take clathing sothfastly,
And thole on me þe dome i sal,
þat he suld vnder ga, ȝone thral.
I sal crie pes in lande i-wiss,
And dome and pes do samþen kis;
þe were to end bring sal i sua,
And saue þi land folk fra wa."
[folio 67b:1] Qua vnder sta[n]dis þis sample here,
He may vnderstand all clere,
þat þar es in vr lauerd sua right,
Thre personis and a godd of miht,
Of godd þe fadir all thing es,
Of godd þe sone all dohutines, Page  563
In godd þe haly-gast all thing
Fulfild es and has ending.
A-fald godd vn-delt es he,
And a substance wid men, þa thre.
He mote þaim giue his benisoun,
þat wil gladly here þis sarmoun.
Nou lauerdinges, haue ȝe herd Nou,
Of þis world, quarfor and hou
was it wroght, and his gilt,
Adam vr former fadir spilt,
And how his thraldam miht wid nachance,
Of his fal gete agayn couerance.
Angel miht wid na resun,
Make for adam his raunsum,
For þan suld man widuten doute,
Haue ben to angel vnderloute,
Bot manes ransum suld be slik,*. [[originally suilk]]
þat suld him make to angel lik.
Anoþer skil alsua we finde,
If angel had tan mans kinde,
þan war he wayker made þan are,
þat he suld haue power þare,
And seme lightly for to falle,
As did þe prins first of all.
And if godd had wroght a-noþer man,
For to raunsum þat ilk adam,
þat miht falle wid nankines right,
þis raunsum vnto adam es plight,
For all þe bale on him gan brede,
þe bote suld be þan of his sede;
No patriarck ne ȝeit prophete,
Miht be sent adames sine to bete,
For þai þat getyn war in sinne, [folio 67b:2]
As comunly es all mankinne.
Hou miht þai man of sin ma clene?
Certis na gate, als i wene. Page  565
Siþen angel þan it aght noght do,
Na mane him had na miht þar-to.
Qua-so suld make þis ransum þan,
Bath behoued him be godd and man,
Man for man to suffre wa,
Godd to quelle þe fend alsua;
Man to dye, god for to rise,
Miht ellis take þis enprise.
Mekil it was his suetnes þan,
Mekil reuth had he þat time of man,
þat wald liht vte of þat hie toure
To lighten in a maydens boure,
þat lefte sua many schepe alone,
To fett on þat wil was gone.
For may be nan suilk herd for-þi,
Na lauerd nan of suilk merci.
Qua-so on suilk a brid wilde thinck,
His grete loue, his mekil suink,
þat sua wilde first vr licnes haue,
And siþen for ws him seluen gaue,
Or aght his herte brest o thrinne,
Or fra his comandementis tuinne.

þe prophecye of suete iesu, Listen, and i sal tell ȝou nou.

Of ysay i redd be-forn,
He said, "a child es vs biforn,
A sone es giuen vs for vr nede,
Sustene he sal his lauerdhede.
To name haue ferly-ful he sal,
And consaylour men sal him cal,
þe stalworth godd men sal him numme,
God fadir of world es for to cumme,
His riht name es prince of pes."
þise er his names, widuten les, Page  567
þat þe prophete has on him laid, [folio 68a:1]
Bot herkin nou, qui þai er said;
Selcuth es his first name,
Mare selcuth herd neuer nane,
Ne neuer sal wid rightwis dome,
þan god him-selue man bicome.
For if þu fonde, as men may finde,
A barn ouer-karkid sua wid kind,
þat had thre fete, or handis thre,—
As oft men saw and ȝit may se,—
And if þu siþen anoþer fande,
þat wantid eyder fote or hand,
war þei selcuth þar-for i say,
To calle hem selcuth, certes nay?
Man þat any god [him] cuth,
wald here-of thinc na selcouth,
For surkarc of kinde had þe tan,
And kind was t[o] þat oþer wan.
Suilk schap to see es na ferlik,
Bot monstrus miht men call þaim lik;
Bot he war ferli-ful to calle,
If þu him sau, and so miht falle,
þat in a man all manschip ware,
widuten less, widuten mare.
So þat he ware man al sothfast,
And all his schap widvten last,
And stedfast horis and oþer tolike,
It were vnmihty be funden slike.
Bot qua miht suilkan find, or quare,
Men miht say ferlyful he ware.
Bot selcuther a thousand fald,
þis barn þat isay of fore-tald,
Bath es godd and man al hale,
Of sothfastnes þis es þe tale.
Of manes kind him fayles noght,
And al es fully þat he wroght. Page  569
All thing of him bigining toke,
As tald bi-fore es in þis bok.
Bot he es þar na god of miht, [folio 68a:2]
þat semid him in erde to light,
þat vnder anoþer wise we wede,
Fully laght vr man-hede,
Siþen he sua wild be-cum man,
Of a womman bos him be born þan,
For to lese mankind fra wa,
þat was laght wid þe fend his fa.
Bot god siþen he wild so be gest,
In a clene stede bos him rest;
A clene woning he ches for-þi,
For to mak in his herbergery.

[The parable of the Castle of Love and Grace.]

. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
IN a castel semly sett,
Strenthed wele widuten lett
þis castel es of loue and grace.
Both of socure and of solace;
Apon þe marche it standes traist,
Of enmye dredis it na fraist,
It es hy sett apon a cragg,
Gray and hard, widuten hagg.
Dounward es it pol[i]scht bright,
þat it may neyhe na warid wiht,
Ne na maner gin of were
May cast þar-till it for to dede,
wid wallis closid four of stan,
þat fayrer in þis world es nan.
Baylis has þis castel thre,
wid wallis thrinne, semly to se,
As ȝe sal siþen here diuyse,
Bot wel fayrer on many wise Page  571
þan tung may tell, or hert thinc,
Or any clerk may write wid ink.
A depe dick þar es a-boute
wele wroght, widuten doute;
wid kirneles es vmset ful wele,
Schroud on ilk a side wid sele;
Seuen barbicans er þar dight,
þat er made wid mekil slight,
[folio 68b:1] Ilkan þai haue bath ȝate and toure,
þat neuer mare may fayle socoure.
wid mislike sal he neuer be ledd,
þe man þat þiþer-ward es fledd.
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
Þis castel es noght for to hide,
Es payntid on þe vter syde
wid thre colouris, of sundri hewe,
þe grund-wal neyst, þat es so trew,
Metand wid þat roche of stan,
Of suete grennes þai wantis nan;
For suete grennes, i dar wele say,
His hew he haldis lastand ay.
þe toþer hew neist to finde,
Es all of blew men cals ynde,
þe midward heu es þat i mene,
To sight it es ful selcuth schene;
þe thrid colour ouermast of all,
þat þe kirnelis er paynt wid all,
It cestis lem ouer all sua bright,
þat rechis to þe donwar light,
As Rose rede es in spring,
And semes als a brinand thing.
waried wight nan comes þar neuer,
Bot suetnes es þar lastand euer.
wid-in þat castel þat sua es tift,
þat queþer es þan snau on drift, Page  573
þat castel brightnes so vnnede,
Ouerall þat contre on lenth and brede.
Midward þe hiest tour i telle,
þar springes of clere water a well;
þar-fra rennys four stremes suete,
Thoru þat grauel and þat grete,
And þarwid fillis ilk a dicke,
Qua þar-bi es, wele may þaim like;
Qua miht þaim wid þat water wass,
He miht haue hele of all his fless.
Wid-in þis tour þat es for-sayd,
Es sett a trone of yuor graid,
þat es of gretter light and lem [folio 68b:2]
þan someres day es sunnes bem;
Craftyly castin wid compas,
Climband vp wid seuen pas,
Ilkan es wid þair mesur mett,
Ful semely þar þan er þai sett.
þe lem of light ay lendis new,
þat mengis wid þa coluris hew.
was neuer ȝit king ne cayser,
þat euer satt in suilk a chayer!
Bot fayrer was, widuten ende,
þe stede þar god him-seluen wald lende,
þat was þar neuer suilk a hald,
Ne nan wylyer in world to wald,
Ne neuer bes made wid manes witt,
For god him-self diuysed itt,
To his bihoue sundri and sere,
For-þi we awe to hald it dere.
Þis castel es of beld and bliss,
þar myrth es neuer mar to miss,
Castel bath of hope and hald,
Hir grith to haue þai may be bald.
þat es þe bodi of þat berde,
Had neuer womman so blissed werde, Page  575
Ne neuer sua many maners gode,
As mari mayden, mylde of mode.
It es vs sett as in þe marche,
And standis vs fore schild and targe,
Agaynes all vr feloun fa,
þat waytis vs ay for to sla.
þe Roche þat es polichit so sliht,
Ee mayden mari hert ful bright,
þat nehyes neuer to wic dede,
Bot euer scho lyues in maydenhede,
þat scho hir ches þe first day,
Scho ȝemed it in mekenes ay.
Þe fundement þat first es laid
Nest þe Roche, as it es said,
þat paynted es wid grenne hew, [folio 69a:1]
And þat lastes euer elike new,
þat es end of þat mayden clene,
Lyghtand hir haly herte schene.
þe grennes lastand euer and ay,
Bitakins ending of þat may,
For gode ending of al and all,
[Of] al vertus es grund-wal.
Þe midward hew þat es of ynde,
Es na man þat may fayrer fynde,
þat es takening of all sothfaste,
Of tendernes and trouth stedfast;
Scho seruid in our lauerd of miht,
In meknes suete, day and niht.
Þe colour ouermast of all,
It couerys all a-boute þe wall,
And it es rede as any blode,—
Of all þir oþer es nan sua gode,—
þat es þat haly charite,
was kindlyd in þat lefdy fre.
Sua vmlayd wid loue so clene,
Scho was geuyn to serue god bidene. Page  577
Þe foure trettis on hy er sett,
þe castel with fra saght to gett,
þat er four vertus principalys,
þe quilk men callis cardinalys;
All oþer vertus of þaim tas hald,
For-þi er þay hefd vertus tald,—
þat es rightwisnes, and meth,
For-siht, and strenth, to tell er eth.
At þe ȝatis foure er four porteris,
þat na-thing may cum in þat deris.
Þe baylis thre of þat castell,
þat es sua wele wroght cernel,
þat es in cumpas wroght a-boute,
And weris all þat werk fra doute;
þat on þe ouermast stage es sett,
Hir maydenhede es graythly gett,
þat neuer was wemmyd, was a dele, [folio 69a:2]
For scho was filde wid þe grace so wele.
Þe bayle midilmast of þe thre,
Betakins wele hir chastite.
þe ouermast, widuten fayle,
May wele bi-takin hir sposayle,
Name of bayli it hatt for-þi,
For it hir held as in bayly,
þat makles es hir self, I say,
Spousid, and moder, and clene may;
He most wend thoru an of þir thre,
þat in þis world wil saued be.
Þe barbicans seuen þat es aboute,
þer standis thre baylis widvte,
þat wele kepis þat castel,
For arw, schott, and quarel,
þat er þe seuen vertus to tell,
þe seuyn sinnes er sett to quell.
ȝe sal þaim here, widuten bide.
þe first of þaim men clepis pride, Page  579
þat es ouer-comin and mad ful mate,
þer buxumnes may hald hir state;
Charite euer fordos enuye;
Abstinence fordos glutrie;
þe chastite of þis leuedy
Ouercumes all lust of lichery;
Al gredines of euerilkan,
Hir fredam all fordos it þan;
Miht neuer in hir be wreth ne hete,
Hir tholemodnes it was so grete;
Gastly gladnes was hir emydd,
þat al ille heuynes it for-didd.
Þe welle of grace springes þarin,
þat fynis neuer mare to rine.
God gaf his grace to al his dere,
And delt it all wid mesur sere,
Bot scho þat was his aun to wale,
To hir he gaf his grace al hale.
Bot of þe grace þat of hir brestis, [folio 69b:1]
Ouer all þis world þat grace it kestis,
For-þi scho es cald in ilk-a place
Moder of pyte and als of grace.
And quat may we call þa dikes
Bot wilful pouert, þat man in likes?
Ne may na gynne in erde be wroght,
May cast to dere þis castel aght,
Quar-thoru þe feind, þe warid wiht,
Ouer-comen es and has tint his miht,
þat had sua mekil miht biforn,
þat was na man of moder born
Miht were him fra þat fend sua fell,
þat he ne him putt to þe pine of hell.
For þis ilk leuedi for-soth es scho,
þat godd said of þe moder vnto,
þat suilk a womman ȝit suld spring,
þat suld ful sare his heuid thring. Page  581
Now blissid be þat blisful berde,
þe worthiest an of all in werlde,
þat king of all þat ay has bene,
His sete made in hir saule clene,
To gestyn in hir lele body,
To saue his folk fra sinne and foly,
And bring þaim vte of presun strang
þat þai had liggen in sua lang.
Ful lef was vs, þis leuedy lele,
þat bountes in hir bar sua fele,
Mare þan any schaft þat es;
Bot þe sone of hir rightwisnes,
þat in hir louely bodi light,
Made hir a thousand sith so bright.
He cam in at þe ȝate sperd,
And sua it was quen he forth ferd.
As þe sune gas thoru þe glas,
He miht do quat his willis was.

[A Prayer to Our Lady.]

"Mi saule es cumyn, leudi, þe to,
And callis at þe ȝate þe vnto,
Knockand it fynis noght to crie, [folio 69b:2]
Leudy suete, þu haue mercy!
vndo, vndo, leudy, þin are
To þis caytif, castin in care!
widuten þi castel i am vmsett,
Hard we thre famen thrett,
þis world, mj fless, þe fend als,
þat fylus me wid fandyng fals,
To ger me fall in fylthes fele,
All agaynes mi saule hele.
A gadring held þai gret to-gider,
þe fend formast he cam thider,
wid thre werkis bunden bi his hide,*. [[so in MS.]]
þat es slawnes, envie, and pride; Page  583
þe world has tuynne to his ascyse,
þat es auaris, and couaytise;
þe fless has ful redily him by
Lechury, and eke glutry.
Thoru þis þan am i driuen dun,
And lijs for-castin as crachun.
I drede me sare lang forto ly,
Bot if þi grace me helpe, leudy,
þat þu þe wayke es wont to couer,
þo me to passe þa dykes ouer,
þar þe castel standis so stabil,
And charite es so comunabil.

Listens now wid gode deuocion And i sal tell of þe suete concepcion.

Herkins nou all þat will haf mede,
I sal ȝou þe story rede,
Of birth þat vs þe maiden bar,
As prophetis tald vs sumquar;
Hou prophecye cam al to ende,
Quen Iuus alþerlest it wend,
þe wand þat bar vs first þe flour,
And siþen þe fruit of suete odour.
þis bok es of na triphilrie,
Bot of godd and vr leudy,
For-þi i rede of þaim we here, [folio 70a:1]
þat may ȝou helpe in ȝour mister,
And leue ȝour vnnaytschip a quile
þat lijf and saule es wont to file;
For qua þat in right trouth es blind,
þar-of þe syght here sal he finde.
For it es vncuth and vnwon,
þe fadir to be-cum þe sone,
þat he þat began all thing,
Cam to take him biginnyng. Page  585