William Langland's The vision of Piers Plowman
William Langland

Passus 19

Thus I awaked and wroot what I hadde ydremed,
     19.001
And dighte me derely, and dide me to chirche,
     19.002
To here holly the masse and to be housled after.
     19.003
In myddes of the masse, tho men yede to offryng,
     19.004
I fel eftsoones aslepe--and sodeynly me mette
     19.005
That Piers the Plowman was peynted al blody,
     19.006
And com in with a cros bifore the comune peple,
     19.007
And right lik in alle lymes to Oure Lord Jesu.
     19.008
And thanne called I Conscience to kenne me the sothe:
     19.009
"Is this Jesus the justere,' quod I, "that Jewes dide to dethe?
     19.010
Or it is Piers the Plowman! Who peynted hym so rede?'
     19.011
Quod Conscience, and kneled tho, " Thise arn Piers armes--
     19.012
Hise colours and his cote armure; ac he that cometh so blody
     19.013
Is Crist with his cros, conquerour of Cristene.'
     19.014
"Why calle ye hym Crist?' quod l, "sithen Jewes called hym Jesus?
     19.015
Patriarkes and prophetes prophecied bifore
     19.016
That alle kynne creatures sholden knelen and bowen
     19.017
Anoon as men nempned the name of God Jesu.
     19.018
Ergo is no name to the name of Jesus,
     19.019
Ne noon so nedeful to nempne by nyghte ne by daye.
     19.020
For alle derke develes arn adrad to heren it,
     19.021
And synfulle aren solaced and saved by that name;
     19.022
And ye callen hym Crist; for what cause, telleth me?
     19.023
Is Crist moore of myght and moore worthi name
     19.024
Than Jesu or Jesus, that al oure joye com of?'
     19.025
"Thow knowest wel,' quod Conscience, "and thow konne reson,
     19.026
That knyght, kyng, conquerour may be o persone.
     19.027
To be called a knyght is fair, for men shul knele to hym;
     19.028
To be called a kyng is fairer, for he may knyghtes make;
     19.029
Ac to be conquerour called, that cometh of special grace,
     19.030
And of hardynesse of herte and of hendemesse--
     19.031
To make lordes of laddes, of lond that he wynneth,
     19.032
And fre men foule thralles, that folwen noght hise lawes. Page  236
     19.033
'The Jewes, that were gentil men, Jesu thei despised--
     19.034
Bothe his loore and his lawe; now are thei lowe cherles.
     19.035
As wide as the world is, wonyeth ther noon
     19.036
But under tribut and taillage as tikes and cherles;
     19.037
And tho that bicome Cristene bi counseil of the Baptiste
     19.038
Aren frankeleyns, free men thorugh fullynge that thei toke
     19.039
And gentil men with Jesu--for Jesus was yfulled
     19.040
And upon Calvarie on cros ycrouned kyng of Jewes.
     19.041
" lt bicometh to a kyng to kepe and to defende,
     19.042
And conqueror of his conquest hise lawes and his large.
     19.043
And so dide Jesus the Jewes--he justified and taughte hem
     19.044
The lawe of lif that laste shal evere,
     19.045
And fended from foule yveles, feveres and fiuxes,
     19.046
And from fendes that in hem was, and false bileve.
     19.047
Tho was he Jesus of Jewes called, gentile prophete,
     19.048
And kyng of hir kyngdom, and croune bar of thornes.
     19.049
"And tho conquered he on cros as conquerour noble;
     19.050
Mighte no deeth hym fordo, ne adoun brynge,
     19.051
That he n'aroos and regnede and ravysshed helle.
     19.052
And tho was he conquerour called of quyke and of dede.
     19.053
For he yaf Adam and Eve and othere mo blisse
     19.054
That longe hadde yleyen bifore as Luciferis cherles.
     19.055
And took [Lucifer the lothly], that lord was of helle,
     19.056
And bond [hym] as [he is bounde], with bondes of yrene.
     19.057
Who was hardiere than he? His herte blood he shadde
     19.058
To maken alle folk free that folwen his lawe.
     19.059
And sith he yeveth largely al his lele liges
     19.060
Places in Paradis at hir partynge hennes,
     19.061
He my wel be called conquerour--and that is " Crist ' to mene.
     19.062
"Ac the cause that he cometh thus with cros of his passion
     19.063
Is to wissen us therwith, that whan we ben tempted, Page  237
     19.064
Therwith to fighte and fenden us fro fallynge into synne,
     19.065
And se bi his sorve that whoso loveth joye,
     19.066
To penaunce and to poverte he moste puten hymselven,
     19.067
And muche wo in this world wilnen and suffren.
     19.068
"Ac to carpe moore of Crist, and how he com to that name,
     19.069
Faithly for to speke, his firste name was jesus.
     19.070
Tho he was born in Bethleem, as the Book telleth,
     19.071
And cam to take mankynde, kynges and aungeles
     19.072
Reverenced hym right faire with richesses of erthe.
     19.073
Aungeles out of hevene come knelynge and songe,
     19.074
Gloria in excelsis Deo &c.
     19.074
"Kynges come after, knelede and offrede sense,
     19.075
Mirre and muche gold withouten mercy askynge
     19.076
Or any kynnes catel, but knoweliched[en] hym sovereyn
     19.077
Both of sond, sonne and see, and sithenes thei wente
     19.078
Into hir kyngene kith by counseil of aungeles.
     19.079
And there was that word fulfilled the which thow of speke--
     19.080
Omnia celestia, terrestria, flectantur in hoc nomine Iesu.
     19.080
" For alle the aungeles of hevene at his burthe knelede,
     19.081
And al the wit of the world was in tho thre kynges.
     19.082
Reson and Rightwisnesse and Ruthe thei offrede,
     19.083
Wherfore and why wise men that tyme
     19.084
Maistres and lettred men, Magi hem callede.
     19.085
" That o kyng cam with Reson, covered under sense.
     19.086
The seconde kyng siththe soothliche offrede
     19.087
Rightwisnesse under reed gold, Resones felawe.
     19.088
Gold is likned to Leautee that laste shal evere,
     19.089
And Reson to riche[ls]--to right and to truthe.
     19.090
"The thridde kyng tho kam, and knelede to Jesu,
     19.091
And presented hym with Pitee, apperynge by mirre;
     19.092
For mirre is mercy to mene, and mylde speche of tonge.
     19.093
Ertheliche honeste thynges was offred thus at ones Page  238
     19.094
Thorugh thre kynne kynges knelynge to Jesu.
     19.095
"Ac for alle thise preciouse presents Oure Lord Prynce Jesus
     19.096
Was neither kyng ne conquerour til he [comsede] wexe
     19.097
In the manere of a man, and that by muchel sleighte--
     19.098
As it bicometh a conquerour to konne manye sleightes,
     19.099
And manye wiles and wit, that wole ben a ledere;
     19.100
And so dide Jesu in hise dayes, whoso hadde tyme to telle it.
     19.101
"Som tyme he suffrede, and som tyme he hidde hym,
     19.102
And som tyme he faught faste, and fleigh outherwhile,
     19.103
And som tyme he gaf good and grauntede heele bothe,
     19.104
Lif and lyme--as hym liste he wroghte.
     19.105
As kynde is of a conquerour, so comsede Jesu
     19.106
Til he hadde alle hem that he for bledde.
     19.107
" ln his juventee this Jesus at Jewene feeste
     19.108
Water into wyn turnede, as Holy Writ telleth,
     19.109
And there bigan God of his grace to do wel.
     19.110
For wyn is likned to lawe and lifholynesse;
     19.111
And lawe lakkede tho, for men lovede noght hir enemys;
     19.112
And Crist counseileth thus--and comaundeth bothe--
     19.113
Bothe to lered and to lewede, to lovyen oure enemys.
     19.114
So at that feeste first, as I bifore tolde,
     19.115
Bigan God of his grace and goodnesse to dowel:
     19.116
And tho was he cleped and called noght oonly Crist but Jesu--
     19.117
A fauntekyn ful of wit, filius Marie.
     19.118
For bifore his moder Marie made he that wonder,
     19.119
That she first and formest sholde ferme bileve
     19.120
That he thorugh Grace was gete, and of no gome ellis.
     19.121
He wroghte that by no wit but thorugh word one,
     19.122
After the kynde that he cam of; there comsede he Dowel.
     19.123
"And whan he was woxen moore, in his moder absence,
     19.124
He made lame to lepe and yaf light to blynde,
     19.125
And fedde with two fisshes and with fyve lowes
     19.126
Sore afyngred folk, mo than fyve thousand.
     19.127
Thus he confortede carefulle and caughte a gretter name,
     19.128
The which was Dobet, where that he wente. Page  239
     19.129
For deve thorugh hise doynges and dombe speke and herde,
     19.130
And alle he heeled and halp that hym of grace askede.
     19.131
And tho was he called in contre of the comune peple,
     19.132
For the dedes that he dide, Fili David, lhesus.
     19.133
For David was doghtiest of dedes in his tyme,
     19.134
The burdes tho songe, Saul interfecit mille et David decem milia.
     19.135
Forthi the contree ther Jesu cam called hym fili David,
     19.136
And nempned hym of Nazareth--and no man so worthi
     19.137
To be kaiser or kyng of the kyngdom of Juda,
     19.138
Ne over Jewes justice, as Jesus was, hem thoughte.
     19.139
"Wherof hadde Cayphas envye, and othere of the Jewes,
     19.140
And for to doon hym to dethe day and nyght thei casten;
     19.141
And killeden hym on cros wise at Calvarie on Friday,
     19.142
And sithen buriede his body, and beden that men sholde
     19.143
Kepen it fro nyghtcomeris with knyghtes yarmed,
     19.144
For no frend sholde it fecche; for prophetes hem tolde
     19.145
That that blissede body of burieles sholde risen,
     19.146
And goon into Galilee and gladen hise Apostles
     19.147
And his moder Marie--thus men bifore demede.
     19.148
"The knyghtes that kepten it biknewe hemselven
     19.149
That aungeles and archaungeles er the day spronge
     19.150
Come knelynge to that corps and songen
     19.151
Christus resurgens--and it aroos after,
     19.152
Verray man bifore hem alle, and forth with hem he yede.
     19.153
"The Jewes preide hem of pees, and [pre-ide] the knyghtes
     19.154
Telle the comune that ther cam a compaignie of hise Apostles
     19.155
And biwicched hem as thei woke, and awey stolen it. Page  240
     19.156
"Ac Marie Maudeleyne mette hym by the weye
     19.157
Goynge toward Galilee in godhede and manhede,
     19.158
And lyves and lokynge--and she aloud cride
     19.159
In ech a compaignie ther she cam, "" Christus resurgens!''
     19.160
Thus cam it out that Crist overcoom, recoverede and lyvede:
     19.161
Sic oportet Christum pati et intrare &c.
     19.161
For that wommen witeth may noght wel be counseille!
     19.162
"Peter parceyved al this and pursued after,
     19.163
Bothe James and Johan, Jesu for to seke.
     19.164
Thaddee and ten mo. with Thomas of Inde.
     19.165
And as alle thise wise wyes weren togideres
     19.166
In an hous al bishet and hir dore ybarred,
     19.167
Crist cam in--and al closed both dore and yates--
     19.168
To Peter and to hise Apostles, and seide, "" Pax vobis;'
     19.169
And took Thomas by the hind and taughte hym to grope.
     19.170
And feele with hise fyngres his flesshliche herte.
     19.171
"Thomas touched it, and with his tonge seide,
     19.172
" Dominus meus et Deus meus.
     19.173
Thow art my lord, I bileve, God Lord Jesu!
     19.174
Thow deidest and deeth tholedest and deme shalt us alle,
     19.175
And now art lyvynge and lokynge, and laste shalt evere!'
     19.176
"Crist carpede thanne, and curteisliche seide,
     19.177
""Thomas, for thow trowest this and treweliche bilevest it,
     19.178
Blessed mote thow be, and be shalt for evere.
     19.179
And blessed mote thei be, in body and in soule,
     19.180
That nevere shul se me in sighte as thow seest nowthe,
     19.181
And lelliche bileve al this I love hem and blesse hem:
     19.182
Beati qui non viderunt et crediderunt.''
     19.182
"And whan this dede was doon, Dobest he [thou]ghte,
     19.183
And yaf Piers power, and pardon he grauntede:
     19.184
To alle maner men, mercy and foryifnesse;
     19.185
[To] hym, myghte men to assoille of alle manere synnes. Page  241
     19.186
In covenaunt that thei come and kneweliche to paye
     19.187
To Piers pardon the Plowman--Redde quod debes.
     19.188
"Thus hath Piers power, be his pardon paied,
     19.189
To bynde and unbynde bothe here and ellis,
     19.190
And assoille men of alle synnes save of dette one.
     19.191
"Anoon after an heigh up into hevene
     19.192
He wente, and wonyeth there, and wol come at the laste,
     19.193
And rewarde hym right wel that reddit quod debet--
     19.194
Paieth parfitly, as pure truthe wolde.
     19.195
And what persone paieth it nought, punysshen he thenketh,
     19.196
And demen hem at domesday, bothe quyke and dede--
     19.197
The goode to the Godhede and to greet joye,
     19.198
And wikkede to wonye in wo withouten ende.'
     19.199
Thus Conscience of Crist and of the cros carpede,
     19.200
And counseiled me to knele therto; and thanne cam, me thoughte,
     19.201
Oon Spiritus Paraclitus to Piers and to hise felawes.
     19.202
In liknesse of a lightnynge he lighte on hem alle
     19.203
And made hem konne and knowe alle kynne langages.
     19.204
I wondred what that was, and waggede Conscience,
     19.205
And was afered of the light, for in fires liknesse
     19.206
Spiritus Paraclitus overspradde hem alle.
     19.207
Quod Conscience, and knelede, "This is Cristes messager,
     19.208
And cometh fro the grete God--Grace is his name.
     19.209
Knele now,' quod Conscience, "and if thow kanst synge,
     19.210
Welcome hym and worshipe hym with Veni Creator Spiritus !'
     19.211
Thanne song I that song, and so dide manye hundred,
     19.212
And cride with Conscience, " Help us, God of grace!'
     19.213
And thanne bigan Grace to go with Piers Plowman,
     19.214
And counseillede hym and Conscience the comune to sompne:
     19.215
"For I wole dele today and dyvyde grace
     19.216
To alle kynne creatures that kan hise fyve wittes--
     19.217
Tresour to lyve by to hir lyves ende. Page  242
     19.218
And wepne to fighte with that wole nevere faille.
     19.219
For Antecrist and hise al the world shul greve,
     19.220
And acombre thee, Conscience, but if Crist thee helpe.
     19.221
"And false prophetes fele, flatereris and gloseris,
     19.222
Shullen come and be curatours over kynges and erles.
     19.223
And thanne shal Pride be Pope and prynce of Holy Chirche,
     19.224
Coveitise and Unkyndenesse Cardinals hym to lede.
     19.225
Forthi,' quod Grace, "er I go, I wol gyve yow tresor,
     19.226
And wepne to fighte with whan Antecrist yow assailleth.'
     19.227
And gaf ech man a grace to gye with hymselven,
     19.228
That Ydelnesse encombre hym noght, ne Envye ne Pride:
     19.229
Divisiones graciarum sunt.
     19.229
Some [wyes] he yaf wit, with wordes to shewe--
     19.230
Wit to wynne hir liflode with, as the world asketh,
     19.231
As prechours and preestes, and prentices of lawe--
     19.232
They lelly to lyve by labour of tonge,
     19.233
And by wit to wissen othere is grace hem wolde teche.
     19.234
And some he kennede craft and konnynge of sighte.
     19.235
With sellynge and [by] buggynge hir bilyve to wynne.
     19.236
And some he lered to laboure on lond and on watre,
     19.237
And lyve by that labour--a lele lif and a trewe.
     19.238
And some he taughte to tilie, to dyche and to thecche,
     19.239
To wynne with hir liflode bi loore of his techynge.
     19.240
And some to devyne and divide, [diverse] noumbres to kenne:
     19.241
And some to compace craftily, and colours to make;
     19.242
And some to se and to seye whit sholde bifalle,
     19.243
Bothe of wele and of wo, telle it [wel] er it felle--
     19.244
As astronomyens thorugh astronomye, and philosofres wise.
     19.245
And some to ryde and to recovere that unrightfully was wonne:
     19.246
He wissed hem wynne it ayein thorugh wightnesse of handes, Page  243
     19.247
And fecchen it fro false men with Folvyles lawes.
     19.248
And some he lered to lyve in longynge to ben hennes,
     19.249
In poverte and in pacience to preie for alle Cristene.
     19.250
And alle he lered to be lele, and ech a craft love oother,
     19.251
And forbad hem alle debat--that noon [be] among hem.
     19.252
"Though some be clenner than some, ye se wel," quod Grace,
     19.253
"That he that useth the faireste craft, to the fouleste I kouthe have put hym.
     19.254
Thynketh [that alle craftes, quod Grace]. "cometh of my yifte;
     19.255
Loketh that noon lakke oother, but loveth alle as bretheren.
     19.256
"And who that moost maistries kan, be myldest of berynge;
     19.257
And crouneth Conscience kyng, and maketh Craft youre stiward,
     19.258
And after Craftes conseil clotheth yow and fede.
     19.259
For I make Piers the Plowman my procuratour and my reve,
     19.260
And registrer to receyve redde quod debes.
     19.261
My prowor and my plowman Piers shal ben on erthe,
     19.262
And for to tilie truthe a teeme shal he have.'
     19.263
Grace gaf Piers a teeme--foure grete oxen.
     19.264
That oon was Luk, a large beest and a lowe chered,
     19.265
And Mark, and Mathew the thridde--myghty beestes bothe;
     19.266
And joyned to hem oon Johan, moost gentil of alle,
     19.267
The pris neet of Piers plow, passynge alle othere.
     19.268
And yit Grace of his goodnesse gaf Piers foure stottes--
     19.269
Al that hise oxen eriede, thei to harewen after.
     19.270
Oon highte Austyn, and Ambrose another,
     19.271
Gregori the grete clerk, and [the goode Jerom].
     19.272
Thise foure, the feith to teche, folweth Piers teme,
     19.273
And harewede in an handwhile al Holy Scripture
     19.274
With two [aithes] that thei hadde, an oold and a newe,
     19.275
Id est, Vetus Testamentum et Novum.
     19.275
And Grace gaf Piers greynes--cardynales vertues,
     19.276
And sew it in mannes soule, and sithen he tolde hir names.
     19.277
Spiritus Prudencie the firste seed highte; Page  244
     19.278
And whoso ete that, ymagynen he sholde,
     19.279
Er he dide any dede, devyse wel the ende;
     19.280
And lerned men a ladel bugge with a long stele
     19.281
That caste for to kepe a crokke, and save the fatte above.
     19.282
The seconde seed highte Spiritus Temperancie.
     19.283
He that etc of that seed hadde swich a kynde,
     19.284
Sholde nevere mete ne meschief make hym to swelle;
     19.285
Ne sholde no scornere out of skile hym brynge;
     19.286
Ne wynnynge ne wele of worldliche richesse,
     19.287
Waste word of ydelnesse ne wikked speche moeve;
     19.288
Sholde no curious clooth comen on his rugge,
     19.289
Ne no mete in his mouth that Maister Johan spicede.
     19.290
The thridde seed that Piers sew was Spiritus Fortitudinis;
     19.291
And whoso ete of that seed hardy was evere
     19.292
To suffren al that God sente, siknesse and angres.
     19.293
Mighte no lesynges, ne lyere, ne los of worldly catel.
     19.294
Maken hym, for any mournynge, that he nas murie in soule,
     19.295
And bold and abidynge bismares to suffre,
     19.296
And pletede al with pacience and Parce michi, Domine,
     19.297
And covered hym under conseille of Caton the wise:
     19.298
Esto forti animo cum sis dampnatus inique.
     19.298
The ferthe seed that Piers sew was Spiritus Iusticie,
     19.299
And he that ete of that seed sholde be evere trewe
     19.300
With God, and naught agast but of gile one.
     19.301
For gile gooth so pryvely that geod feith outher while
     19.302
May nought ben espied [thorugh] Spiritus Iusticie. Page  245
     19.303
Spiritus Iusticie spareth noght to spille hem that ben gilty,
     19.304
And for to correcte the kyng if he falle in [any kynnes] gilt.
     19.305
For counteth he no kynges wrathe whan he in court sitteth
     19.306
To demen as a domesman--adrad was he nevere
     19.307
Neither of duc ne of deeth, that he ne dide the lawe;
     19.308
For present or for preiere or any prynces lettres,
     19.309
He dide equyte to alle eveneforth his power.
     19.310
Thise foure sedes Piers sex, and siththe he dide hem harewe
     19.311
With Olde Lawe and Newe Lawe, that love myghte wexe
     19.312
Among thise foure vertues, and vices destruye.
     19.313
" For comunliche in contrees cammokes and wedes
     19.314
Foulen the fruyt in the feld ther thei growen togideres;
     19.315
And so doon vices vertues--[f]orthi,' quod Piers,
     19.316
"Hareweth alle that konneth kynde wit by conseil of thise doctours,
     19.317
And tilieth after hir techynge the cardynale vertues.'
     19.318
"Ayeins thi greynes,' quod Grace, " bigynneth for to ripe,
     19.319
Ordeigne thee an hous, Piers, to herberwe inne thi cornes.
     19.320
"By God! Grace,' quod Piers, 'ye moten gyve tymber,
     19.321
And ordeigne that hous er ye hennes wende.'
     19.322
And Grace gaf hym the cros, with the croune of thornes,
     19.323
That Crist upon Calvarie for mankynde on pyned;
     19.324
And of his baptisme and blood that he bledde on roode
     19.325
He made a manere morter, and mercy it highte.
     19.326
And therwith Grace bigan to make a good foundement,
     19.327
And watlede it and walled it with hise peynes and his passion,
     19.328
And of al Holy Writ he made a roof after,
     19.329
And called that hous Unite--Holy Chirche on Englissh.
     19.330
And whan this dede was doon, Grace devysede
     19.331
A cart highte Cristendom, to carie home Piers sheves,
     19.332
And gaf hym caples to his carte, Contricion and Confession;
     19.333
And made Preesthod hayward, the while hymself wente Page  246
     19.334
As wide as the world is, with Piers to tilie truthe
     19.335
And the lo[nd] of bileve, the lawe of Holy Chirche.
     19.336
Now is Piers to the plow. Pride it aspide
     19.337
And gadered hym a greet oost: greven he thynketh
     19.338
Conscience and alle Cristene and Cardinale Vertues--
     19.339
Blowe hem doun and breke hem and bite atwo the mores;
     19.340
And sente forth Surquidous, his sergeaunt of armes,
     19.341
And his spye Spille-Love, oon Spek-yvel-bihynde.
     19.342
Thise two coome to Conscience and to Cristen peple,
     19.343
And tolde hem tidynges--that tyne thei sholde
     19.344
The sedes that [Sire] Piers sew, the Cardynale Vertues:
     19.345
"And Piers bern worth ybroke, and thei that ben in Unitee
     19.346
Shulle come out, and Conscience; and youre [caples two],
     19.347
Confession and Contricion, and youre carte the Bileeve
     19.348
Shal be coloured so queyntely and covered under oure sophistrie,
     19.349
That Conscience shal noght knowe by Contricion
     19.350
Ne by Confession who is Cristene or hethene;
     19.351
Ne no manere marchaunt that with moneye deleth
     19.352
Wheither he wynne with right, with wrong or with usure.'
     19.353
With swiche colours and queyntise cometh Pride y-armed,
     19.354
With the lord that lyveth after the lust of his body--
     19.355
"To wasten on welfare and on wikked kepynge
     19.356
Al the world in a while thorugh oure wit!' quod Pryde.
     19.357
Quod Conseience to alle Cristene tho, " My counseil is to wende
     19.358
Hastiliche into Unitee and holde we us there,
     19.359
And praye we that a pees weere in Piers berne the Plowman.
     19.360
For witterly, I woot wel, we beth noght of strengthe
     19.361
To goon agayn Pride, but Grace weere with us.'
     19.362
And thanne kam Kynde Wit Conscience to teche,
     19.363
And cryde, and comaundede alle Cristene peple Page  247
     19.364
For to delven and dyche depe aboute Unitee
     19.365
That Holy Chirche stode in [holynesse], as it a pyl weere.
     19.366
Conscience comaundede tho alle Cristene to delve,
     19.367
And make a muche moot that myghte ben a strengthe
     19.368
To helpe Holy Chirche and hem that it kepeth.
     19.369
Thanne alle kynne Cristene--save comune wommen--
     19.370
Repenteden and refusede synne, [right] save thei one,
     19.371
And [a sisour and a somonour] that were forsworen ofte;
     19.372
Witynge and wilfully with the false [thei] helden,
     19.373
And for silver were forswore--soothly thei wiste it!
     19.374
Ther nas no Cristene creature that kynde wit hadde--
     19.375
Save sherewes one swiche as I spak of--
     19.376
That he ne halp a quantite holynesse to wexe:
     19.377
Some by bedes biddynge and some by pilgrymage
     19.378
And other pryve penaunce, and somme thorugh penyes delynge.
     19.379
And thanne wellede water for wikkede werkes,
     19.380
Egreliche ernynge out of mennes eighen.
     19.381
Clennesse of the comune and clerkes clene lyvynge
     19.382
Made Unitee Holy Chirche in holynesse stonde.
     19.383
" I care noght,' quod Conscience, " though Pride come nouthe;
     19.384
The lord of lust shal be letted al this Lente, I hope.
     19.385
Cometh,' quod Conscience, "ye Cristene, and dyneth,
     19.386
That han laboured lelly al this Lenten tyme.
     19.387
Here is breed yblessed, and Goddes body therunder.
     19.388
Grace, thorugh Goddes word, gaf Piers power,
     19.389
Myght to maken it, and men to ete it after
     19.390
In helpe of hir heele ones in a monthe,
     19.391
Or as ofte as thei hadde nede, tho that hadde ypaied
     19.392
To Piers pardon the Plowman, redde quod debes.'
     19.393
" How?' quod al the comune. "Thow conseillest us to yelde Page  248
     19.394
Al that we owen any wight er we go to housel?'
     19.395
"That is my conseil,' quod Conscience, "and Cardinale Vertues;
     19.396
That ech man foryyve oother, and that wole the Paternoster--
     19.397
Et dimitte nobis debita nostra &c--
     19.397
And so to ben assoilled, and siththen ben houseled.'
     19.398
" Ye? Baw!' quod a brewere, " I wol noght be ruled,
     19.399
By Jesu! for al youre janglynge, with Spiritus Iusticie,
     19.400
Ne after Conscience, by Crist! while I kan selle
     19.401
Bothe dregges and draf, and drawe at oon hole
     19.402
Thikke ale and thynne ale; that is my kynde,
     19.403
And noght hakke after holynesse--hold thi tonge, Conscience!
     19.404
Of Spiritus Iusticie thow spekest muche on ydel.'
     19.405
" Caytif! ' quod Conscience, "cursede wrecche!
     19.406
Unblessed artow, brewere, but if thee God helpe.
     19.407
But thow lyve by loore of Spiritus Iusticie,
     19.408
The chief seed that Piers sew, ysaved worstow nevere.
     19.409
But Conscience be the comune fode, and Cardinale Vertues,
     19.410
Leve it wel, thei ben lost, bothe lif and soule.'
     19.411
"Thanne is many [leode] lost!" quod a lewed vicory.
     19.412
"I am a curatour of Holy Kirke, and cam nevere in my tyme
     19.413
Man to me that me kouthe telle of Cardinale Vertues,
     19.414
Or that acountede Conscience at a cokkes fethere!
     19.415
I knew nevere Cardynal that he ne cam fro the Pope:
     19.416
And we clerkes, whan thei come, for hir comunes paieth,
     19.417
For hir pelure and hir palfreyes mete and pilours that hem folweth.
     19.418
The comune clamat cotidie, ech a man til oother,
     19.419
""The contree is the corseder that cardinals come inne,
     19.420
And ther thei ligge and lenge moost lecherie there regneth!"'
     19.421
" Forthi,' quod this vicory, " by verray God! I wolde
     19.422
That no cardynal coome among the comune peple, Page  249
     19.423
But in hir holynesse helden hem stille
     19.424
At Avynoun among Jewes--Cum sancto sanctus eris &c--
     19.425
Or in Rome, as hir rule wole, the relikes to kepe;
     19.426
And thow Conscience in kynges court, and sholdest nevere come thennes;
     19.427
And Grace, that thow gredest so of, gyour of alle clerkes ;
     19.428
And Piers with his newe plough and ek with his olde
     19.429
Emperour of al the world--that alle men were Cristene.
     19.430
"Inparfit is that Pope, that al peple sholde helpe,
     19.431
And s[ou]deth hem that sleeth swiche as he sholde save.
     19.432
A[c] wel worthe Piers the Plowman, that pursueth God in doynge,
     19.433
Qui pluit super iustos et iniustos at ones,
     19.434
And sent the sonne to save a cursed mannes tilthe
     19.435
As brighte as to the beste man or to the beste womman.
     19.436
Right so Piers the Plowrnan peyneth hym to tilye
     19.437
As wel for a wastour and wenches of the stewes
     19.438
As for hymself and hise servaunts, save he is first yserved.
     19.439
[So blessed be Piers Plowman, that peyneth hym to tilye],
     19.440
And travailleth and tilieth for a tretour also soore
     19.441
As for a trewe tidy man, alle tymes ylike.
     19.442
And worshiped be He that wroghte al, bothe good and wikke,
     19.443
And suffreth that synfulle be til som tyme that thei repente.
     19.444
And God [the Pope amende], that pileth Holy Kirke,
     19.445
And cleymeth bifore the kyng to be kepere over Cristene,
     19.446
And counteth noght though Cristene ben killed and robbed,
     19.447
And fynt folk to fighte and Cristen blood to spille
     19.448
Ayein the Olde Lawe and Newe Lawe, as Luc bereth witnesse:
     19.449
Non occides : mihi vindictam &c.
     19.449
It semeth, bi so hymself hadde his wille,
     19.450
That he ne reccheth right noght of al the remenaunt.
     19.451
"And Crist of his curtesie the cardinals save, Page  250
     19.452
And torne hir wit to wisdom and to welthe of soule!
     19.453
For the comune,' quod this curatour, "counten ful litel
     19.454
The counseil of Conscience or Cardinale Vertues
     19.455
But if thei sowne, as by sighte, somwhat to wynnyng.
     19.456
Of gile ne of gabbyng gyve thei nevere tale,
     19.457
For Spiritus Prudencie among the peple is gyle,
     19.458
And alle tho faire vertues, as vices thei semeth.
     19.459
Ech man subtileth a sleighte synne to hide,
     19.460
And coloureth it for a konnynge and a clene lyvynge.'
     19.461
Thanne lough ther a lord, and "By this light! seide,
     19.462
I holde it right and reson of my reve to take
     19.463
Al that myn auditour or ellis my styward
     19.464
Counseilleth me bi hir acounte and my clerkes writynge.
     19.465
With Spiritus Intellectus thei toke the reves rolles,
     19.466
And with Spiritus Fortitudinis fecche it--wole [he, nel he]."
     19.467
And thanne cam ther a kyng and by his croune seide,
     19.468
"I am kyng with croune the comune to rule,
     19.469
And Holy Kirke and clergie fro cursed men to defende.
     19.470
And if me lakketh to lyve by, the lawe wole I take it
     19.471
Ther I may hastilokest it have--for I am heed of lawe:
     19.472
For ye ben but membres and I above alle.
     19.473
And sith I am youre aller heed, I am youre aller heele,
     19.474
And Holy Chirches chief help and chieftayn of the comune.
     19.475
And what I take of yow two, I take it at the techynge
     19.476
Of Spiritus Iusticie--for I jugge yow alle.
     19.477
So I may boldely be housled, for I borwe nevere,
     19.478
Ne crave of my comune but as my kynde asketh.'
     19.479
"In condicion,' quod Conscience, "that thow [the comune] defende,
     19.480
And rule thi reaume in reson, right wol and truthe Page  251
     19.481
That thow [have thyn askyng], as the lawe asketh:
     19.482
Omnia sunt tua ad defendendum set non ad deprehendendum.'
     19.483
The viker hadde fer hoom, and faire took his leeve--
     19.484
And I awakned therwith, and wroot as me mette.
     19.485