William Langland's The vision of Piers Plowman
And I awaked therwith, witlees nerhande,
And as a freke that fey were, forth gan I walke
In manere of a mendynaunt many yer after,
And of this metyng many tyme muche thought I hadde:
First how Fortune me failed at my mooste nede,
And how that Elde manaced me, myghte we evere mete;
And how that freres folwede folk that was riche,
And [peple] that was povere at litel pris thei sette,
And no corps in hir kirkyerd ne in hir kirk was buryed
But quik he biquethe hem aught or sholde helpe quyte hir dettes;
And how this coveitise overcom clerkes and preestes;
And how that lewed men ben lad, but Oure Lord hem helpe,
Thorugh unkonnynge curatours to incurable peynes;
And how that Ymaginatif in dremels me tolde
Of Kynde and of his konnynge, and how curteis he is to bestes,
And how lovynge he is to bestes on londe and on watre:
Leneth he no lif lasse ne moore;
The creatures that crepen of Kynde ben engendred;
And sithen how Ymaginatif seide, " Vix iustus salvabitur,'
And whan he hadde seid so, how sodeynliche he passed.
I lay down longe in this thoght, and at the laste I slepte; Page 147
And as Crist wolde ther com Conscience to conforte me that tyme,
And bad me come to his court--with Clergie sholde I dyne.
And for Conscience of Clergie spak, I com wel the rather;
And there I [merkede] a maister--what man he was I nyste--
That lowe louted and loveliche to Scripture.
Conscience knew hym wel and welcomed hym faire;
Thei wesshen and wipeden and wenten to the dyner.
Ac Pacience in the paleis stood in pilgrymes clothes,
And preyde mete par charite for a povere heremyte.
Conscience called hym in, and curteisliche seide,
" Welcome, wye, go and wassh; thow shalt sitte soone.'
This maister was maad sitte as for the mooste worthi,
And thanne Clergie and Conscience and Pacience cam after.
Pacience and I were put to be mettes,
And seten bi oureselve at a side borde.
Conscience called after mete, and thanne cam Scripture
And served hem thus soone of sondry metes manye--
Of Austyn, of Ambrose, of alle the foure Evaungelistes:
Ehentes et bibentes que apud eos sunt.
Ac this maister ne his man no maner flessh eten,
Ac thei eten mete of moore cost--mortrews and potages:
Of that men myswonne thei made hem wel at ese.
Ac hir sauce was over sour and unsavourly grounde
In a morter, Post mortem, of many bitter peyne--
But if thei synge for tho soules and wepe salte teris:
Vos qui peccata hominum comeditis, nisi pro eis lacrimas et
oraciones effuderitis, ea que in deliciis comeditis, in tormentis evometis.
Conscience ful curteisly tho commaunded Scripture
Bifore Pacience breed to brynge and me that was his mette.
He sette a sour loof toforn us and seide, "Agite penitenciam,'
And siththe he drough us drynke: "Dia perseverans-- Page 148
As longe,' quod he,-"as lif and lycame may dure.'
" Here is propre service,' quod Pacience, "ther fareth no prince bettre!'
And he broughte us of Beati quorum of Beatus virres makyng,
And thanne he broughte us forth a mees of oother mete, of Miserere mei, Deus
Et quorum tecta sunt peccata
In a dissh of derne shrifte, Dixi et confitebor tibi.
"Bryng Pacience som pitaunce,' pryveliche quod Conseience;
And thanne hadde Pacience a pitaunce, Pro hac orabit ad te
omnis sanctus in tempore oportuno.
And Conseience conforted us, and carped us murye tales:
Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies.
Pacience was proude of that propre service,
And made hym murthe with his mete; ac I mornede evere,
For this doctour on the heighe dees drank wyn so faste:
Ve vobis qui potentes estis ad bibendum vinum !
He eet manye sondry metes, mortrews and puddynges,
Wombe cloutes and wilde brawen and egges yfryed with grece.
Thanne seide I to myself so Pacience it herde,
" It is noght foure dayes that this freke, bifore the deen of Poules,
Preched of penaunces that Paul the Apostle suffrede--
In fame et frigore and flappes of scourges:
Ter cesus sum et a Iudeis quinquies quadragenas &c;
Ac o word thei overhuppen at ech a tyme that thei preche
That Poul in his Pistle to al the peple tolde--
Periculum est in falslis fraribus!'Page 149
(Holi Writ bit men be war--I wol noght write it here
In Englissh, on aventure it sholde be reherced to ofte
And greve therwith that goode men ben--ac gramariens shul rede:
Unusquisque a fratre se custodiat, quia, ut dicitur,
periculum est in falsis fratribus.
Ac I wiste nevere freke that as a frere yede bifore men on Englissh
Taken it for his teme, and telle it withouten glosyng!
They prechen that penaunce is profitable to the soule,
And what meschief and maleese Crist for man tholede).
"Ac this Goddes gloton,' quod I, "with hise grete chekes,
Hath no pite on us povere; he parfourneth yvele.
That he precheth, he preveth noght,' to Pacience I tolde,
And wisshed witterly, with wille ful egre,
That disshes and doublers bifore this doctour
Were molten leed in his mawe, and Mahoun amyddes!
"I shal jangle to this jurdan with his juste wombe
To telle me what penaunce is, of which he preched rather!'
Pacience parceyved what I thoughte, and [preynte] on me to be stille,
And seide, "Thow shalt see thus soone, whan he may na moore,
He shal have a penaunce in his paunche and puffe at ech a worde,
And thanne shullen his guttes gothele, and he shal galpen after;
For now he hath dronken so depe he wole devyne soone
And preven it by hir Pocalips and passion of Seint Avereys
That neither bacon ne braun ne blancmanger ne mortrews
Is neither fissh ne flessh but fode for a penaunt.
And thanne shal he testifie of a trinite, and take his felawe to witnesse
What he fond in a f[or]el after a freres lyvyng; Page 150
And but the first leef be lesyng, leve me nevere after!
And thanne is tyme to take and to appose this doctour
Of Dowel and Dobet and if Dobest be any penaunce.'
And I sat stille as Pacience seide, and thus soone this doctour,
As rody as a rose ruddede hise chekes,
Coughed and carped; and Conscience hym herde,
And tolde hym of a trinite, and toward us he loked.
"What is Dowel, sire doctour?' quod I; "is Dobest any penaunce?'
" Dowel?' quod this doctour--and drank after--
" Do noon yvel to thyn evencristen--nought by thi power.'
"By this day, sire doctour,' quod I, "thanne [in Dowel be ye noght]!
For ye han harmed us two in that ye eten the puddyng,
Mortrews and oother mete--and we no morsel hadde.
And if ye fare so in youre fermerye, ferly me thynketh
But cheeste be ther charite sholde be, and yonge children dorste pleyne!
I wolde permute my penaunce with youre--for I am in point to dowel.'
Thanne Conscience ful curteisly a contenaunce he made,
And preynte upon Pacience to preie me to be stille,
And seide hymself, "Sire doctour, and it be youre wille,
What is Dowel and Dobet? Ye dyvynours knoweth.'
"Dowel?' quod this doctour; "do as clerkes techeth;
And Dobet is he that techeth and travailleth to teche othere;
And Dobest doth hymself so as he seith and precheth:
Qui facit et docuerit magnus vocabitur in regno celorum.'
"Now thow, Clergie,' quod Conscience. "carpe us what is Dowel.'
" I have sevene sones,' he seide, "serven in a castel
Ther the lord of lif wonyeth, to leren hem what is Dowel.
Til I se tho sevene and myself acorde
I am unhardy,' quod he, "to any wight to preven it.
For oon Piers the Plowman hath impugned us alle,
And set alle sciences at a sop save love one;
And no text ne taketh to mayntene his cause Page 151
But Dilige Deum and Domine quis habitabit;
And seith that Dowel and Dobet arn two infinites,
Whiche infinites with a feith fynden out Dobest,
Which shal save mannes soule--thus seith Piers the Plowman.'
" I kan noght heron,' quod Conscience, "ac I knowe wel Piers.
He wol noght ayein Holy Writ speken, I dar x el undertake.
Thanne passe we over til Piers come and preve this in dede.
Pacience hath be in many place, and paraunter knoweth
That no clerk ne kan, as Crist bereth witnesse:
Pacientes vincunt &c.'
"At youre preiere,' quod Pacience tho, "so no man displese hym:
Disce,' quod he, " doce; dilige inimicos.
Disce, and Dowel; doce, and Dobet;
Dilige, and Dobest--[do] thus taughte me ones
A lemman that I lovede--Love was hir name.
""With wordes and with werkes,'' quod she, "and wil of thyn herte
Thow love leelly thi soule al thi lif tyme.
And so thow lere the to lovye, for the Lordes love of hevene,
Thyn enemy in alle wise eveneforth with thiselve.
Cast coles on his heed of alle kynde speche;
Bothe with werkes and with wordes fonde his love to wynne,
And leye on him thus with love til he laughe on the;
And but he bowe for this betyng, blynd mote he worthe!'
"Ac for to fare thus with thi frend--folie it were;
For he that loveth thee leelly, litel of thyne coveiteth.
Kynde love coveiteth noght no catel but speche.
With half a laumpe lyne in Latyn, Ex vi transicionis,
I bere ther, in a bou[s]te, faste ybounde Dowel,
In a signe of the Saterday that sette first the kalender,
And al the wit of the Wodnesday of the nexte wike after;
The myddel of the rnoone is the myght of bothe.
And herwith am I welceme ther I have it with me.
" Undo it--lat this doctour deme if Dowel be therinne; Page 152
For, by hym that me made, myghte nevere poverte,
Misese ne mischief ne man with his tonge,
Coold, ne care, ne compaignye of theves.
Ne neither hete, ne hayl, ne noon helle pouke,
Ne neither fuyr, ne flood, ne feere of thyn enemy.
Tene thee any tyme, and thow take it with the:
Caritas nichil timet.
"And ek, have God my soule! and thow wilt it crave,
Ther nys neither emperour ne emperesse, erl ne baroun,
Pope ne patriark, that pure reson ne shal make thee
Maister of alle tho men thorugh myght of this redels--
Nought thorugh wicchecraft but thorugh wit; and thow wilt thiselve
Do kyng and quene and alle the comune after
Yyve thee al that thei may yyve, as thee for best yemere,
And as thow demest wil thei do alle hir dayes after:
" It is but a dido,' quod this doctour, "a disours tale!
Al the wit of this world and wight mennes strengthe
Kan noght [par]formen a pees bitwene the Pope and hise enemys,
Ne bitwene two Cristene kynges kan no wight pees make
Profitable to either peple--and putte the table fro hym,
And took Clergie and Conscience to conseil, as it were,
That Pacience tho most passe--for pilgrymes konne wel lye.'
Ac Conscience carped loude and curteisliche seide,
" Frendes, fareth wel,' and faire spak to Clergie,
" For I wol go with this gome, if God wol yeve me grace,
And be nilgrym with Pacience til I have preved moore.'
"What! ' quod Clergie to Conscience, "are ye coveitous nouthe
After yeresyeves or yiftes. or yernen to rede redels?
I shal brynge yow a Bible, a book of the olde lawe,
And lere yow, if yow like, the leeste point to knowe,
That Pacience the pilgrym parfitly knew nevere.'
" Nay, by Crist!' quod Conscience to Clergie, " God thee foryelde. Page 153
For al that Pacience me profreth, proud am I litel;
Ac the wil of the wye and the wil of folk here
Hath meved my mood to moorne for my synnes.
The goode wil of a wight was nevere bought to the fulle:
For ther nys no tresour therto to a trewe wille.
"Hadde noght Marie Maudeleyne moore for a box of salve
Than Zacheus for he seide, " Dimiaium bonorum meorum do pauperibus,'
And the poore widewe for a peire of mytes
Than alle tho that offrede into gazophilacium ?'
Thus curteisliche Conscience congeyed first the frere,
And sithen softeliche he seide in Clergies ere,
"Me were levere, by Oure Lord, and I lyve sholde,
Have pacience parfitliche than half thi pak of bokes! '
Clergie of Conscience no congie wolde take,
But seide ful sobreliche, "Thow shalt se the tyme
Whan thow art wery forwalked, wilne me to counseille.'
"That is sooth,' seide Conscience, "so me God helpe!
If Pacience be oure partyng felawe and pryve with us bothe,
Ther nys wo in this world that we ne sholde amende,
And conformen kynges to pees, and alle kynnes londes--
Sarsens and Surre, and so forth alle the Jewes--
Turne into the trewe feith and intil oon bileve.'
"That is sooth,' quod Clergie, "I se what thow menest.
I shall dwelle as I do, my devoir to shewe,
And confermen fauntekyns oother folk ylered
Til Pacience have preved thee and parfit thee maked.'
Conscience tho with Pacience passed, pilgrymes as it were.
Thanne hadde Pacience, as pilgrymes han, in his poke vitailles:
Sobretee and symple speche and soothfast bileve,
To conforte hym and Conscience if thei come in place
There unkyndenesse and coveitise is, hungry contrees bothe.
And as thei wente by the weye, of Dowel thei carped;
Thei mette with a mynstral, as me tho thoughte. Page 154
Pacience apposed hym first and preyde he sholde telle
fo Conscience what craft he kouthe, and to what contree he wolde.
"I am a mynstral,' quod that man, "my name is Activa Vita.
Al ydel ich hatie, for of Actif is my name,
A wafrer, wol ye wite, and serve manye lordes--
And fewe robes I fonge or furrede gownes.
Couthe I lye and do men laughe, thanne lacchen I sholde
Outher mantel or moneie amonges lordes mynstrals.
Ac for I kan neither taboure ne trompe ne telle no gestes,
Farten ne fithelen at festes, ne harpen,
Jape ne jogele ne gentilliche pipe,
Ne neither saille ne sautrie ne synge with the gyterne,
I have no goode giftes of thise grete lordes
For no breed that I brynge forth--save a benyson on the Sonday,
Whan the preest preieth the peple hir Paternoster to bidde
For Piers the Plowman and that hym profit waiten--
And that am I, Actif, that ydelnesse hatie;
For alle trewe travaillours and tiliers of the erthe,
Fro Mighelmesse to Mighelmesse I fynde hem with wafres.
"Beggeris and bidderis of my breed craven,
Faitours and freres and folk with brode crounes.
I fynde payn for the Pope and provendre for his palfrey,
And I hadde nevere of hym, have God my trouthe,
Neither provendre ne personage yet of the Popes yifte,
Save a pardon with a peis of leed and two polles amyddes!
Hadde ich a clerc that couthe write I wolde caste hym a bille
That he sente me under his seel a salve for the pestilence,
And that his blessynge and hise bulles bocches myghte destruye:
In nomine meo demonia eicient et super egros manus imponent et bene habebunt.
And thanne wolde I be prest to the peple, paast for to make,
And buxom and busy aboute breed and drynke
For hyrn and for alle hise, founde I that his pardoun Page 155
Mighte lechen a man--as I bileve it sholde.
For sith he hath the power that Peter hadde, he hath the pot with the salve:
Argentum et aurum non est michi: quod autem habeo,
tibi do: In nomine Domini surge et ambula.
"Ac if myght of myracle hym faille, it is for men ben noght worthi
To have the grace of God, and no gilt of the Pope.
For may no blessynge doon us boote but if we wile amende,
Ne mannes masse make pees among Cristene peple,
Til pride be pureliche fordo, and that thorugh payn defaute.
For er I have breed of mele, ofte moot I swete,
And er the commune have corn ynough many a cold morwenyng;
So, er my wafres be ywroght, muche wo I tholye.
"Al Londoun, I leve, liketh wel my wafres,
And louren whan thei lakken hem; it is noght longe ypassed
There was a careful commune whan no cart com to towne
With bake breed fro Stratford; tho gonnen beggeris wepe,
And werkmen were agast a lite--this wole be thought longe;
In the date of Oure Drighte, in a drye Aprill,
A thousand and thre hundred, twies thritty and ten,
My wafres there were gesene, whan Chichestre was maire.'
I took greet kepe, by Crist, and Conscience bothe,
Of Haukyn the Actif Man, and how he was yclothed.
He hadde a cote of Cristendom as Holy Kirke bileveth;
Ac it was moled in many places with manye sondry plottes--
Of pride here a plot, and there a plot of unbuxom speche,
Of scornyng and of seoffyng and of unskilful berynge;
As in apparaill andin porte proud amonges the peple;
Ootherwise than he hath with herte or sighte shewynge;
Hym wilnyng that alle men wende he were that he is noght, Page 156
Forwhy he bosteth and braggeth with manye bolde othes;
And inobedient to ben undernome of any lif lyvynge;
And so singuler by hymself as to sighte of the peple
Was noon swich as hymself, ne noon so pope holy;
Yhabited as an heremyte, an ordre by hymselve--
Religion saunz rule and resonable obedience;
Lakkynge lettrede men and lewed men bothe;
In likynge of lele lif and a liere in soule;
With inwit and with outwit ymagynen and studie
As best for his body be to have a bold name;
And entremetten hym over al ther he hath noght to doone;
Wilnyge that men wende his wit were the beste,
Or for his crafty konnynge or of clerkes the wisest,
Or strengest on stede, or styvest under girdel,
And lovelokest to loken on and lelest of werkes,
And noon so holy as he ne of lif clennere,
Or feirest of feitures, of forme and of shafte,
And most sotil of song other sleyest of hondes,
And large to lene lo[o]s therby to cacche;
And if he gyveth ought to povere gomes, [go] telle what he deleth;
Povere of possession in purs and in cofre,"
And as a lyoun on to loke and lordlich of speche;
Boldest of beggeris, a bostere that noght hath,
In towne and in tavernes tales to telle
And segge thyng that he nevere seigh and for sothe sweren it,
Of dedes that he nevere dide demen and bosten,
And of werkes that he wel dide witnesse and siggen, Page 157
"Lo! if ye leve me noght, or that I lye wenen,
Asketh at hym or at hym, and he yow kan telle
What I suffrede and seigh and somtymes hadde,
And what I kouthe and knew, and what kyn I com of.'
Al he wolde that men wiste of werkes and of wordes -
Which myghte plese the peple and preisen hymselve:
Si hominibus placerem, Christi servus non essem. Et alibi:
Nemo potest duobus dominis servire.
"By Crist!' quod Conseience tho, "thi beste cote, Haukyn,
Hath manye moles and spottes--it moste ben ywasshe!'
"Ye, whoso toke hede,' quod Haukyn, "bihynde and bifore,
What on bak and what on body half and by the two sides--
Men sholde fynde manye frounces and manye foule plottes.'
And he torned hym as tyd, and thanne took I hede;
It was fou1er bi fele fold than it first semed.
It was bidropped with wrathe and wikkede wille,
With envye and yvel speche entisynge to fighte,
Lying and lakkynge and leve tonge to chide;
Al that he wiste wikked by any wight, tellen it,
And blame men bihynde hir bak and bidden hem meschaunce;
And that he wiste by Wille, [to Watte tellen it],
And that Watte wiste, Wille wiste it after,
And made of frendes foes thorugh a fals tonge:
"Or with myght of mouth or thorugh mannes strengthe
Avenged me fele tymes, other frete myselve withinne
As a shepsteres shere, ysherewed men and cursed hem.'
Cuius malediccione os plenum est et amaritudine; sub lingua
eius labor et dolor. Et alibi: Filii hominum dentes eorum
arma et sagitte et lingua eorum gladius acutus.Page 158
"Ther is no lif that I lovye lastynge any while;
For tales that I telle no man trusteth to me.
And whan I may noght have the maistrie, swich malencolie I take
That I cacche the crampe, the cardiacle som tyme,
Or an ague in swich an angre, and som tyme a fevere
That taketh me al a twelvemonthe, til that I despise
Lechecraft of Oure Lord and leve on a wicche,
And seye that no clerc ne kan--ne Crist, as I leve--
To the Soutere of Southwerk, or of Shordych Dame Emme,
And seye that [God ne] Goddes word gaf me nevere boute,
But thorugh a charme hadde I chaunce and my chief heele.'
I waitede wisloker, and thanne was it soilled
With likynge of lecherie as by lokynge of his eighe.
For ech a maide that he mette, he made hire a signe
Semynge to synneward, and somtyme he gan taste
Aboute the mouth or bynethe bigynneth to grope,
Til eitheres wille wexeth kene, and to the werke yeden,
As wel fastyng dayes as Fridaies and forboden nyghtes,
And as lef in Lente as out of Lente, alle tymes yliche:
Swiche werkes with hem were nevere out of seson,
Til thei myghte na moore--and thanne hadde murye tales,
And how that lecchours lovye laughen and japen,
And of hir harlotrye and horedom in hir elde tellen.
Thanne Pacience parceyved, of pointes his cote
Was colomy thorugh coveitise and unkynde desiryng.
Moore to good than to God the gome his love caste,
And ymagynede how he it myghte have
With false mesures and met, and [mid] fals witnesse
Lened for love of the wed and looth to do truthe,
And awaited thorugh w[itte]s wyes to bigile, Page 159
And menged his marchaundise and made a good moustre:
"The worst withinne was--a greet wit I let it!
And if my neghebore hadde an hyne, or any beest ellis,
Moore profitable than myn, manye sleightes I made
How I myghte have it--al my wit I caste;
And but I it hadde by oother wey, at the laste I stale it,
Or pryveliche his purs shook, unpikede hise lokes;
Or by nyghte or by daye, aboute was ich evere
Thorugh gile to gaderen the good that ich have.
"If I yede to the plowgh, I pynched so narwe
That a foot lond or a forow fecchen I wolde
Of my nexte neghebore, nymen of his erthe;
And if I rope, overreche, or yaf hem reed that ropen
To seise to me with hir sikel that I ne sew nevere.
"And whoso borwed of me aboughte the tyme
With presentes pryvely, or paide som certeyn--
So wolde he or noght wolde he, wynnen I wolde;
And bothe to kith and to kyn unkynde of that ich hadde.
"And whoso cheped my chaffare, chiden I wolde
But he profrede to paie a peny or tweyne
Moore than it was worth, and yet wolde I swere
That it coste me muche moore--swoor manye othes.
"In haly daies at holy chirche, whan ich herde masse
Hadde I nevere wille, woot God, witterly to biseche
Mercy for my mysdedes, that I ne moorned moore
For losse of good, leve me, than for likames giltes;
As, if I hadde dedly synne doon, I dredde noght that so soore
As whan I lened and leved it lost or longe er it were paied.
So if I kidde any kyndenesse myn evencristen to helpe,
Upon a cruwel coveitise my conscience gan hange.
"And if I sente over see my servaunts to Brugges,
Or into Prucelond my Prentis my profit to waiten, Page 160
To marchaunden with moneie and maken here esehaunges,
Mighte nevere me conforte in the mene tyme
Neither masse ne matynes, ne none maner sightes;
Ne nevere penaunce parfournede ne Paternoster seide
That my mynde ne was moore on my good in a doute
Than in the grace of God and hise grete helpes.'
Ubi thesaurus tuus, ibi et cor tuum.
Yet that glotoun with grete othes his garnement hadde soiled
And foule beflobered it, as with fals speche,
As, there no nede ne was, Goddes name an idel--
Swoor therby swithe ofte and al biswatte his cote;
And moore mete eet and dronk than kynde myghte defie--
"And kaughte siknesse somtyme for my surfetes ofte;
And thanne I dradde to deye in dedlich synne'--
That into wanhope he w[orth] and wende nought to be saved,
The whiche is sleuthe, so slow that may no sleightes helpe it,
Ne no mercy amenden the man that so deieth.
Ac whiche ben the braunches that bryngen a man to sleuthe?
Is whan a man moorneth noght for hise mysdedes, ne maketh no sorwe,
Ac penaunce that the preest enjoyneth parfourneth yvele,
Dooth non almesdede, dred hym of no synne,
Lyveth ayein the bileve and no lawe holdeth.
Ech day is halyday with hym or an heigh ferye, "
And if he aught wol here, it is an harlotes tonge.
Whan men carpen of Crist, or of clennesse of soule,
He wexeth wroth and wol noght here but wordes of murthe.
Penaunce and povere men and the passion of seintes--
He hateth to here therof and alle that it telleth. Page 161
Thise been the braunches, beth war! that bryngen a man to wanhope.
Ye lordes and ladies and legates of Holy Chirche
That fedeth fooles sages, flatereris and lieris,
And han likynge to lithen hem [in hope] to do yow laughe--
Ve vobis qui ridetis &c--
And yyveth hem mete and mede, and povere men refuse,
In youre deeth deyinge, I drede me soore
Lest tho thre maner men to muche sorwe yow brynge:
Consencientes et agentes pari pena punientur.
Patriarkes and prophetes, prechours of Goddes wordes,
Saven thorugh hir sermon mannes soule fro helle;
Right so flatereris and fooles arn the fendes disciples
To entice men thorugh hir tales to synne and harlotrie.
Ac clerkes, that knowen Holy Writ, sholde kenne lordes
What David seith of swiche men, as the Sauter telleth:
Non habitabit in medio domus mee quifacit superbiam; qui loquitur iniqua . . .
Sholde noon harlot have audience in halle ne in chambre
Ther wise men were--witnesseth Goddes wordes--
Ne no mysproud min amonges lordes ben allowed.
Clerkes and knyghtes welcometh kynges minstrales,
And for love of hir lord litheth hem at festes;
Muche moore, me thynketh, riche men sholde
Have beggeres bifore hem, the whiche ben Goddes minstrales,
As he seith hymself--Seynt Johan bereth witnesse:
Qui vos spernit me spernit.
Forthi I rede yow riche, reveles whan ye maketh,
For to solace youre soules, swiche minstrales to have--
The povere for a fool sage sittynge at th[i] table,
And a lered man to lere thee what Oure Lord suffred
For to save thi soule fram Sathan thyn enemy,
And fithele thee, withoute fl,terynge, of Good Friday the storye, Page 162
And a blynd man for a bourdeour, or a bedrede womman
To crie a largesse bifore Oure Lord, your good loos to shewe.
Thise thre maner minstrales maketh a man to laughe,
And in his deeth deyinge thei don hym gret confort
That bi his lyve lithed hem and loved hem to here.
Thise solaceth the soule til hymself be falle
In a welhope, [for he wroghte so], amonges worthi seyntes,
There flatereres and fooles thorugh hir foule wordes
Leden tho that loved hem to Luciferis feste
With turpiloquio, a lay of sorwe, and Luciferis fithele.
Thus Haukyn the actif man hadde ysoiled his cote,
Til Conscience acouped hym therof in a curteis manere,
Why he ne hadde wasshen it or wiped it with a brusshe.