William Langland's The vision of Piers Plowman
William Langland

Passus 9

"Sire Dowel dwelleth,' quod Wit, "noght a day hennes
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In a castel that Kynde made of foure kynnes thynges.
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Of erthe and eyr is it maad, medled togideres,
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With wynd and with water wittily enjoyned.
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Kynde hath closed therinne craftily withalle
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A lemman that he loveth lik to hymselve.
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Anima she hatte; [to hir hath envye]
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A proud prikere of Fraunce, Princeps huius mundi,
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And wolde wynne hire awey with wiles and he myghte.
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"Ac Kynde knoweth this wel and kepeth hire the bettre,
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And hath doon hire with Sire Dowel, Duc of thise marches.
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Dobet is hire damyselle, Sire Doweles doughter,
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To serven this Iady leelly bothe late and rathe.
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Dobest is above bothe, a bisshopes peere;
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That he bit moot be do--he [bidd]eth hem alle.
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[By his leryng] is lad [that lady Anima].
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"Ac the Constable of that castel, that kepeth [hem alle],
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Is a wis knyght withal1e--Sire 1nwit he hatte,
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And hath fyve faire sones by his firste wyve:
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Sire Se-wel, and Sey-wel, and Here-wel the hende,
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Sire Werch-wel-with-thyn-hand, a wight man of strengthe,
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And Sire Godefray Go-wel--grete lordes [alle].
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Thise sixe ben set to save this lady Anima
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Til Kynde come or sende to kepen hire hymselve.'
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"What kynnes thyng is Kynde?' quod, "kanstow me telle?'
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" Kynde,' quod Wit, "is creatour of alle kynnes thynges,
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Fader and formour of al that evere was maked-- Page  92
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And that is the grete God that gynnyng hadde nevere,
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Lord of lif and of light, of lisse and of peyne.
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Aungeles and alle thyng arn at his wille,
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Ac man is hym moost lik of marc and of shape.
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For thorugh the word that he [warp] woxen forth beestes:
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Dixit et facta sunt.
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"A[c] he made man [moost] li[k] to hymself,
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And Eve of his ryb bon withouten any mene.
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For he was synguler hymself and seide Eaciamus--
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As who seith, "" Moore moot herto than my word oone:
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My myght moot helpe now with my speche.''
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Right as a lord sholde make lettres, and hym lakked [no] parchemyn,
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Though he [wiste] write never so wel, if he hadde no penne,
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The lettre, for al the lordshipe, I leve were nevere ymaked!
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"And so it semeth [there he seide, as the Bible telleth,
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Faciamus hominem ad imaginem nostram]--
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He moste werche with his word and his wit shewe.
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And in this manere was man maad thorugh myght of God almyghty,
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With his word and werkmanshipe and with lif to 1aste.
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And thus God gaf hym a goost, of the godhede of hevene,
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And of his grete grace graunted hym blisse--
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And that is lif that ay shal 1aste to al his lynage after.
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And that is the castel that Kynde made, Caro it hatte,
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And is as muche to mene as "man with a soule." Page  93
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And that he wroghte with werk and with word bothe:
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Thorgh myght of the mageste man was ymaked.
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" Inwit and alle wittes yclosed ben therinne
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For love of the lady Anima, that lif is ynempned.
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Over al in mannes body he[o] walketh and wandreth,
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Ac in the herte is hir hoom and hir mooste reste.
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Ac Inwit is in the heed, and to the herte he loketh
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What Anima is leef or looth--he Iat hire at his wille;
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For after the grace of God, the gretteste is Inwit.
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"Muche wo worth that man that mysruleth his Inwit,
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And that ben glotons glubberes--hir God is hire wombe:
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Quorum deus venter est.
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For thei serven Sathan, hir soules shal he have:
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That lyven synful lif here, hir soule is lich the devel.
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And alle that lyven good lif are lik to God almyghty:
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Qui manet in caritate, in Deo manet &c.
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"Allas! that drynke sha1 fordo that God deere boughte,
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And dooth God forsaken hem that he shoop to his liknesse:
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Amen dico vobis, nescio vos. Et alibi, Et dimisi eos
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secundum desideria eorum.
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" Fooles that fauten Inwit, I fynde that Holy Chirche
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Sholde fynden hem that hem fauteth, and faderlese children,
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And widewes that han noght wherwith to wynnen hem hir foode,
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Madde men and maydenes that helplese were--
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Alle thise lakken Inwit, and loore bihoveth.
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"Of this matere I myghte make a long tale
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And fynde fele witnesses among the foure doctours,
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And that I lye noght of that I lere thee, Luc bereth witnesse. Page  94
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"Godfader and godmoder that seen hire godchildren
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At myseise and at myschief and mowe hem amende
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Shul [pre]ve penaunce in purgatorie, but thei hem helpe.
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For moore bilongeth to the liteI barn er he the lawe knowe
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Than nempnynge of a name, and he never the wiser!
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Sholde no Cristene creature cryen at the yate
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Ne faille payn ne potage, and prelates dide as thei sholden.
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A Jew wolde noght se a Jew go janglyng for defaute
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For alle the mebles on this moolde, and he amende it myghte.
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"Allas that a Cristene creature shal be unkynde til another!
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Syn Jewes, that we jugge Judas felawes,
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Eyther helpeth oother of that that hym nedeth.
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Whi nel we Cristene of Cristes good [as kynde be]
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As Jewes, that ben oure loresmen? Shame to us alle!
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The commune for hir unkyndenesse, I drede me, shul abye.
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" Bisshopes shul be blamed for beggeres sake;
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He is [jugged] wors than Judas that yyveth a japer silver
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And biddeth the beggere go, for his broke clothes:
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Proditor est prelatus cum Iudu qui patrimonium Christi
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minus distribuit. Et alibi, Perniciosus dispensator est
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qui res pauperum Christi inutiliter consumit.
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He dooth noght wel that dooth thus, ne drat noght God almyghty,
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Ne loveth noght Salomons sawes, that Sapience taughte:
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Inicium sapiencie timor Domini.
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"That dredeth God, he dooth wel; that dredeth hym for love
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And noght for drede of vengeaunce, dooth therfore the bettre.
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He dooth best that withdraweth hym by daye and by nyghte Page  95
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To spille any speche or any space of tyme:
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Qui offendit in uno, in omnibus est reus.
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" [Tyn]ynge of tyme, Truthe woot the sothe,
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Is moost yhated upon erthe of hem that ben in hevene;
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And siththe to spille speche, that spire is of grace,
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And Goddes gleman and a game of hevene.
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Wolde nevere the feithful fader his fithele were untempred,
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Ne his gleman a gedelyng, a goere to tavernes.
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"To alle trewe tidy men that travaille desiren,
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Oure Lord loveth hem and lent, loude outher stille,
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Grace to go to hem and of gon hir liflode:
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Inquirentes autem Dominum non minuentur omni bono.
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"In this world is Dowel trewe wedded libbynge folk],
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For thei mote werche and wynne and the world sustene.
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For of hir kynde thei come that Confessours ben nempned,
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Kynges and knyghtes, kaysers and clerkes,
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Maidenes and martires--out of o man come.
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The wif was maad the w[y]e for to helpe werche,
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And thus was wedlok ywroght with a mene persone--
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First by the fadres wille and the frendes conseille,
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And sithenes by assent of hemself, as thei two myghte acorde;
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And thus was wedlok ywroght, and God hymself it made;
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In erthe the heven is--hymself was the witnesse.
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"Ac fals folk feithlees, theves and lyeres,
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Wastours and wrecches out of wedlok, I trowe,
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Conceyved ben in yvel tyme, as Caym was on Eve.
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Of swiche synfulle sherewes the Sauter maketh mynde:
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Concepit dolorem et peperit iniquitatem.
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And alle that come of that Caym come to yvel ende. Page  96
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"For God sente to Seem and seide by an aungel,
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"Thyn issue in thyn issue, I woI that thei be wedded,
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And noght thi kynde with Caymes ycoupled ne yspoused.''
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" Yet some, ayein the sonde of Oure Saveour of hevene,
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Caymes kynde and his kynde coupIed togideres--
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Til God wrathed with hir werkes, and swich a word seide,
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" That I makede man, now it me forthynketh:
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Penitet me fecisse hominem.'
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"And com to Noe anon and bad hym noght lette:
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"Swithe go shape a ship of shides and of bordes.
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Thyself and thi sones thre and sithen youre wyves,
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Busketh yow to that boot and bideth therinne
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Til fourty daies be fulfild, that flood have ywasshen
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Clene awey the corsed blood that Caym hath ymaked.
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"Bestes that now ben shul banne the tyme
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That evere that cursed Caym coom on this erthe.
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Alle shul deye for his dedes by dales and hulles,
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And the foweles that fleen forth with othere beestes,
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Excepte oonliche of ech kynde a couple
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That in thi shyngled ship shul ben ysaved.'
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"Here aboughte the barn the belsires giltes,
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And alle for hir forefadres thei ferden the werse..
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The Gospel is heragein in o degre, I fynde:
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Filius non portabit iniquitatem patris et pater non portabit iniquitatem filii.
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Ac I fynde, if the fader be fals and a sherewe,
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That somdel the sone shal have the sires tacches.
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Impe on an ellere, and if thyn appul be swete
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Muchel merveille me thynketh; and moore of a sherewe
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That bryngeth forth any barn, but if he be the same
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And have a savour after the sire--selde sestow oother:
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Numquam colligunt de spinis uvas nec de tribulis ficus.Page  97
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"And thus thorugh cursed Caym cam care upon erthe,
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And al for thei wroghte wedlokes ayein [the wille of God].
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Forthi have thei maugre of hir mariages, that marie so hir children.
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For some, as I se now, sooth for to telle,
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For coveitise of catel unkyndely ben wedded.
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As careful concepcion cometh of swiche mariages
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As bit-el of the folk that I bifore of tolde.
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For goode sholde wedde goode, though thei no good hadde;
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"I am via et veritas,'' seith Crist, "I may avaunce alle.''
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"It is an uncomly couple. by Crist! as me thynketh--
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To yeven a yong wenche to an [y]olde feble,
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Or wedden any wodewe for welthe of hir goodes
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That nevere shal barn bere but if it be in armes!
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In jelousie joyelees and janglynge on bedde,
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Many a peire sithen the pestilence han plight hem togideres.
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The fruyt that thei brynge forth arn.[manye] foule wordes;
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Have thei no children but cheeste and chopp[es] hem bitwene.
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Though thei do hem to Dunmowe, but if the devel helpe
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To folwen after the flicche, fecche thei it nevere;
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But thei bothe be forswore, that bacon thei tyne.
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" Forthi I counseille alle Cristene coveite noght be wedded
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For coveitise of catel ne of kynrede riche;
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Ac maidenes and maydenes macche yow togideres;
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Wideweres and wodewes, wercheth the same;
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For no londes, but for love, loke ye be wedded,
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And thanne gete ye the grace of God, and good ynough to live with. Page  98
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"And every maner seculer that may noght continue,
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Wisely go wedde, and ware hym fro synne;
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For lecherie in likynge is lymeyerd of helle.
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Whiles thow art yong, and thi wepene kene,
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Wreke thee with wyvyng, if thow wolt ben excused:
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Dum sis vir fortis, ne des tua robora scortis.
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Scribitur in poriis, meretrix est ianua mortis.
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"Whan ye han wyved, beth war, and wercheth in tyme--
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Noght as Adam and Eve whan Caym was engendred.
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For in untyme, trewely, bitwene man and womman
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Ne sholde no [bedbourde] be: but if thei bothe were clene
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Of lif and in [love of] soule, and in [lawe also],
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That ilke derne dede do no man ne sholde.
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Ac if thei leden thus hir lif, it liketh God almyghty,
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For he made wedlok first and hymself it seide:
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Bonum est ut unusquisque uxorem suam habeat propter fornicacionem.
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"That othergates ben geten, for gedelynges arn holden,
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And fals folk, fondlynges, faitours and lieres,
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Ungracious to gete good or love of the peple;
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Wandren and wasten what thei cacche mowe.
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Ayeins Dowel thei doon yvel and the devel serve,
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And after hir deeth day shul dwelle with the same
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But God gyve hem grace here hemself to amende. Page  99
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"Dowel, my frend, is to doon as lawe techeth.
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To love thi frend and thi foo--leve me, that is Dobet.
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To yyven and to yemen bothe yonge and olde,
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To helen and to helpen, is Dobest of alle.
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"And thus Dowel is to drede God, and Dobet to suffre,
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And so cometh Dobest of bothe, and bryngeth adoun the mody--
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And that is wikked wille that many werk shendeth,
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And dryveth awey Dowel thorugh dedliche synnes.'
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