William Langland's The vision of Piers Plowman
William Langland

Passus 5

The Kyng and hise knyghtes to the kirke wente
     5.001
To here matyns of the day and the masse after.
     5.002
Thanne w~ked I of my wynkyng and wo was withalle
     5.003
That I ne hadde slept sadder and yseighen moore.
     5.004
Ac er I hadde faren a furlong, feyntise me hente,
     5.005
That I ne myghte ferther a foot for defaute of slepynge.
     5.006
I sat softely adoun and seide my bileve,
     5.007
And so I bablede on my bedes, thei broughte me aslepe.
     5.008
And thanne saugh I muche moore than I bifore tolde--
     5.009
For I seigh the feld ful of folk that I before of seide,
     5.010
And how Reson gan arayen hym al the reaume to preche,
     5.011
And with a cros afore the Kyng comsede thus to techen.
     5.012
He preved that thise pestilences were For pure synne,
     5.013
And the south-westrene wynd on Saterday at even
     5.014
Was pertliche for pride and for no point ellis.
     5.015
Pyries and plum-trees were puffed to the erthe
     5.016
In ensample, ye segges, ye sholden do the bettre.
     5.017
Beches and brode okes were blowen to the grounde
     5.018
And turned upward here tail in tokenynge of drede
     5.019
That dedly synne er domesday shal fordoon hem alle.
     5.020
Of this matere I myghte mamelen ful longe,
     5.021
Ac I shal seye as I saugh, so me God helpe,
     5.022
How pertly afore the peple prechen gan Reson.
     5.023
He bad Wastour go werche what he best kouthe
     5.024
And wynnen his wastyng with som maner crafte.
     5.025
He preide Pemele hir purfil to lete,
     5.026
And kepe it in hire cofre for catel at hire nede.
     5.027
Tomme Stowue he taughte to take two staves
     5.028
And fecche Felice horn fro wyve pyne. Page  43
     5.029
He warnede Watte his wif was to blame
     5.030
For hire heed was worth half marc and his hood noght worth a grote,
     5.031
And bad Bette kutte a bough outher tweye
     5.032
And bete Beton therwith but if she wolde werche.
     5.033
And thanne he chargede chapmen to chastisen hir children:
     5.034
"Late no wynnyng forwanye hem while thei be yonge,
     5.035
Ne for no poustee of pestilence plese hem noght out of reson.
     5.036
My sire seide so to me, and so dide my dame,
     5.037
That the levere child the moore loore bihoveth;
     5.038
And Salamon seide the same, that Sapience made--
     5.039
" Qui parcit virge odit fitium.
     5.039
Whoso spareth the spryng spilleth hise children.'''
     5.040
And sithen he preide prelates and preestes togideres,
     5.041
" That ye prechen to the peple, preve it yowselve,
     5.042
And dooth it in dede--it shal drawe yow to goode.
     5.043
If ye leven as ye leren us, we shul leve yow the bettre.'
     5.044
And sithen he radde Religion hir rule to holde--
     5.045
" Lest the Kyng and his Conseil youre comunes apeire
     5.046
And be stywards of youre stedes til ye be [stew]ed bettre.'
     5.047
And sithen he counseiled the Kyng his commune to lovye:
     5.048
"It is thi tresor, if treson ne were, and tryacle at thy nede.'
     5.049
And sithen he preide the Pope have pite on Holy Chirche,
     5.050
And er he gyve any grace, governe first hymselve.
     5.051
"And ye that han lawes to kepe, lat Truthe be youre coveitise
     5.052
Moore than gold outher giftes if ye wol God plese; Page  44
     5.053
For whoso contrarieth Truthe. He telleth in the Gospel,
     5.054
Amen dico vobis, nescio Vos.
     5.055
And ye that seke Seynt James and seyntes of Rome,
     5.056
Seketh Seynt Truthe, for he may save yow alle.
     5.057
Qui cum Patre et Filio--that faire hem bifalle
     5.058
That seweth my sermon'--and thus seyde Reson."
     5.059
Thanne ran Repentaunce and reherced his teme
     5.060
And gart Wille to wepe water with hise eighen.
     5.061
Pernele Proud-herte platte hire to the erthe
     5.062
And lay longe er she loked, and - Lord, mercy!' cryde,
     5.063
And bihighte to Hym that us alle made
     5.064
She sholde unsowen hir serk and sette there an heyre
     5.065
To affaiten hire flessh that fiers was to synne.
     5.066
" Shal nevere heigh herte me hente, but holde me lowe
     5.067
And suffre to be mysseyd--and so dide I nevere.
     5.068
But now wole I meke me and mercy biseche
     5.069
For al that I have hated in myn herte.'
     5.070
Thanne Lechour seide "Allas!' and on Oure Lady cryde,
     5.071
To maken mercy for hise mysdedes bitwene God and his soule
     5.072
With that he sholde the Saterday seven yer therafter
     5.073
Drynke but myd the doke and dyne but ones.
     5.074
Envye with hevy herte asked after shrifte
     5.075
And carefully mea culpa he comsed to shewe.
     5.076
He was as pale as a pelet, in the palsy he semed,
     5.077
And clothed in a kaurymaury--l kouthe it nought discryve--
     5.078
In kirtel and courtepy, and a knyf by his syde;
     5.079
Of a freres frokke were the foresleves.
     5.080
And as a leek that hadde yleye longe in the sonne,
     5.081
So loked he with lene chekes, lourynge foule.
     5.082
His body was to-bollen for wrathe, that he boot hise lippes, Page  45
     5.083
And wryngynge he yede with the fust--to wreke hymself he thoughte
     5.084
With werkes or with wordes whan he seyghe his tyme.
     5.085
Ech a word that he warp was of a neddres tonge;
     5.086
Of chidynge and of chalangynge was his chief liflode,
     5.087
With bakbitynge and bismere and berynge of fals witnesse:
     5.088
This was al his curteisie where that evere he shewed hym.
     5.089
"I wolde ben yshryve,' quod this sherewe, "and I for shame dorste.
     5.090
I wolde be gladder, by God! that Gybbe hadde meschaunce
     5.091
Than though I hadde this wouke ywonne a weye of Essex chese.
     5.092
I have a neghebore neigh me, I have anoyed hym ofte,
     5.093
And lowen on hym to lordes to doon hym lese his silver,
     5.094
And maad his frendes be his foon thorugh my false tonge.
     5.095
His grace and his goode happes greven me ful soore.
     5.096
Bitwene mayne and mayne I make debate ofte,
     5.097
That bothe lif and lyme is lost thorugh my speche.
     5.098
And whan I mete hym in market that I moost hate,
     5.099
I hailse hym hendely, as I his frend were;
     5.100
For he is doughtier than I, I dar do noon oother;
     5.101
Ac hadde I maistrie and myght--God woot my wille!
     5.102
"And whan I come to the kirk and sholde knele to the Roode
     5.103
And preye for the peple as the preest techeth--
     5.104
For pilgrymes and for palmeres, for al the peple after--
     5.105
Thanne I crye on my knees that Crist yyve hem sorwe
     5.106
That baren awey my bolle and my broke shete.
     5.107
Awey fro the auter thanne turne I myne eighen
     5.108
And biholde how [Hayne hath a newe cote;
     5.109
I wisshe thanne it were myn, and al the web after.
     5.110
And of his lesynge I laughe--that li[ght]eth myn herte;
     5.111
Ac for his wynnynge I wepe and waille the tyme;
     5.112
And deme men that thei doon ille, there I do wel werse:
     5.113
Whoso undernymeth me herof, I hate hym dedly after.
     5.114
I wolde that ech a wight were my knave,
     5.115
For whoso hath moore than I, that angreth me soore. Page  46
     5.116
And thus I lyve lovelees like a luther dogge
     5.117
That al my body bolneth for bitter of my galle.
     5.118
I myghte noght ete many yeres as a man oughte,
     5.119
For envye and yvel wil is yvel to defie.
     5.120
May no sugre ne swete thyng aswage my swellyng,
     5.121
Ne no diapenidion dryve it fro myn herte,
     5.122
Ne neither shrifte ne shame, but whoso shrape my mawe?'
     5.123
"Yis, redily!' quod Repentaunce, and radde hym to the beste,
     5.124
" Sorwe for synnes is savacion of souIes.'
     5.125
" I am evere sory,' quod [Envye], " I am but selde oother,
     5.126
And that maketh me thus megre, for I ne may me venge.
     5.127
Amonges burgeises have I be, [bigg]yng at Londoun,
     5.128
And gart bakbityng be a brocour to blame mennes ware.
     5.129
Whan he solde and I nought, thanne was I redy
     5.130
To lye and to loure on my neghebore and to lakke his chaffare.
     5.131
I wole amende this if I may, thorugh myght of God Almyghty.'
     5.132
Now awaketh Wrathe, with two white eighen,
     5.133
And nevelynge with the nose, and his nekke hangyng.
     5.134
"I am Wrathe,' quod he, "I was som tyme a frere,
     5.135
And the coventes gardyner for to graffen impes.
     5.136
On lymitours and listres lesynges I ymped,
     5.137
Til thei beere leves of lowe speche, lordes to plese,
     5.138
And sithen thei blosmede abrood in boure to here shriftes.
     5.139
And now is fallen therof a fruyt--that folk han wel levere
     5.140
Shewen hire shriftes to hem than shryve hem to hir persons.
     5.141
And now persons han parceyved that freres parte with hem,
     5.142
Thise possessioners preche and deprave freres;
     5.143
And freres fyndeth hem in defaute, as folk bereth witnesse,
     5.144
That whan thei preche the peple in many places aboue'
     5.145
I, Wrathe, walke with hem and wisse hem o
     5.146
Thus thei speken of spiritualte, that either despiseth oother, Page  47
     5.147
Til thei be bothe beggers and by my spiritualte libben,
     5.148
Or ellis al riche and ryden aboute; I, Wrathe, reste nevere
     5.149
That I ne moste folwe this wikked folk. For swich is my grace.
     5.150
"I have an aunte to nonne and an abbesse:
     5.151
Hir were levere swowe or swelte than suffre any peyne.
     5.152
I have be cook in hir kichene and the covent served
     5.153
Manye monthes with hem. and with monkes bothe.
     5.154
I was the prioresse potager and other povere ladies,
     5.155
And maad hem joutes of janglyng--that Dame Johane was a bastard,
     5.156
And Dame Clarice a knyghtes doughter--ac a cokewold was hir sire,
     5.157
And Dame Pernele a preestes fyle--Prioresse worth she nevere,
     5.158
For she hadde child in chirie-tyme, al oure Chapitre it wiste!
     5.159
Of wikkede wordes I Wrathe hire wortes made,
     5.160
Til ""Thow lixt!'' and ""Thow lixt!'' lopen out at ones
     5.161
And either hitte oother under the cheke;
     5.162
Hadde thei had knyves, by Crist! hir either hadde kild oother.
     5.163
Seint Gregory was a good pope, and hadde a good forwit
     5.164
That no Prioresse were preest--for that he [purveiede]:
     5.165
Thei hadde thanne ben infumis the firste day, thei kan so yvele hele counseil.
     5.166
"Among monkes I myghte be, ac manye tyme I shonye,
     5.167
For ther ben manye felle frekes my feeris to aspie--
     5.168
Bothe Priour and Suppriour and oure Pater Abbus;
     5.169
And if I telle any tales, thei taken hem togideres,
     5.170
And doon me faste Frydayes to breed and to watre;
     5.171
And am chalanged in the Chapitrehous as I a child were,
     5.172
And baleised on the bare ers--and no brech bitwene!
     5.173
Forthi have I no likyng with tho leodes to wonye; Page  48
     5.174
I ete there unthende fissh and feble ale drynke.
     5.175
Ac outher while whan wyn cometh, whan I drynke wyn at eve,
     5.176
I have a flux of a foul mouth wel fyve dayes after.
     5.177
Al the wikkednesse that I woot by any of oure bretheren,
     5.178
I cou[gh]e it in oure cloistre, that al oure covent woot it.'
     5.179
"Now repente thee,' quod Repentaunce, "and reherce thow nevere
     5.180
Counseil that thow knowest, by contenaunce ne by speche;
     5.181
And drynk nat over delicatly, ne to depe neither,
     5.182
That thi wille by cause therof to wrathe myghte turne.
     5.183
Esto sobrius!' he seide, and assoiled me after,
     5.184
And bad me wilne to wepe my wikkednesse to amende.
     5.185
And thanne cam Coveitise, I kan hym naght discryve--
     5.186
So hungrily and holwe Sire Hervy hym loked.
     5.187
He was bitelbrowed and baberlipped, with two blered eighen;
     5.188
And as a letheren purs lolled hise chekes--
     5.189
Wel sidder than his chyn thei chyveled for elde;
     5.190
And as a bondeman of his bacon his berd was bidraveled;
     5.191
With an hood on his heed, a lousy hat above,
     5.192
In a [torn] tabard of twelf wynter age;
     5.193
But if a lous couthe lepe the bettre,
     5.194
She sholde noght wa[ndr]e on that Welche, so was it thredbare!
     5.195
" I have ben coveitous,' quod this caytif, " I biknowe it here;
     5.196
For som tyme I served Symme-atte-Style,
     5.197
And was his prentice yplight his profit to wayte. Page  49
     5.198
First I lerned to lye a leef outher tweyne:
     5.199
Wikkedly to weye was my firste lesson.
     5.200
To Wy and to Wynchestre I wente to the feyre
     5.201
With many manere marchaundise, as my maister me highte.
     5.202
Ne hadde the grace of gyle ygo amonges my ware,
     5.203
It hadde ben unsold this seven yer, so me God helpe!
     5.204
"Thanne drough I me among drapiers, my Donet to lerne,
     5.205
To drawe the liser along--the lenger it semed;
     5.206
Among the riche rayes I rendred a lesson--
     5.207
To broche hem with a pak-nedle, and playte hem togideres,
     5.208
And putte hem in a press[our] and pyned hem therinne
     5.209
Til ten yerdes or twelve tolled out thrittene.
     5.210
"My wif was a webbe and wollen cloth made;
     5.211
She spak to spynnesteres to spynnen it oute.
     5.212
The pound that she paied by peised a quartron moore
     5.213
Than myn owene auncer wh[an I] weyed truthe.
     5.214
"I boughte hire barly--she brew it to selle.
     5.215
Peny ale and puddyng ale she poured togideres;
     5.216
For laborers and lowe folk, that lay by hymselve.
     5.217
The beste ale lay in my bour or in my bedchambre,
     5.218
And whoso burned therof boughte it therafter--
     5.219
A galon for a grote, God woot, no lesse,
     5.220
[Whan] it cam in cuppemele--this craft my wif used!
     5.221
Rose the Regrater was hir righte name;
     5.222
She hath holden hukkerye [this ellevene wynter].
     5.223
Ac I swere now (so thee lk!) that synne wol I lete,
     5.224
And nevere wikkedly weye ne wikke chaffare use,
     5.225
But wenden to Walsyngham, and my wif als,
     5.226
And bidde the Roode of Bromholm brynge me out of dette.'
     5.227
- Repentedestow evere? ' quod Repentaunce, " or restitucion madest? ' Page  50
     5.228
Yis: ones I was yherbemed', quod he. with an heep of charmen:
     5.229
I roos whan thei were al-reste and riflede hire malest
     5.230
"That was no restitucion,' quod Repentaunce, "but a robberis thefte;
     5.231
Thow haddest be bettre worthi ben hanged therfore
     5.232
Than for al that that thow hast here shewed! '
     5.233
-I wende riflynge were restitucion.' quod he, "for I lerned nevere rede on
     5.234
And I kan no Frenssh. in feith, but of the Fertheste ende of Northfolk.'
     5.235
" Usedestow evere usurie,' quod Repentaunce. - in al thi lif tyme? '
     5.236
" Nay, sothly,' he seide, "save in my youthe;
     5.237
I lerned among Lumbardes a lesson, and of Jewes--
     5.238
To weye pens with a peis. and pare the hevyeste,
     5.239
And lene it for love of the cros, to legge a wed and lese it.
     5.240
Swiche dedes I dide write if he his day breke;
     5.241
I have mo manoirs thorugh rerages than thorugh Miseretur et commodat.
     5.242
I have lent lordes and ladies my chaffare,
     5.243
And ben hire brocour after, and bought it myselve.
     5.244
Eschaunges and chevysaunces--with swich chaffare I dele,
     5.245
And lene folk that lese wole a lippe at every noble.
     5.246
And with Lumbardes lettres I ladde gold to Rome,
     5.247
And took it by tale here and told hem there lasse.'
     5.248
" Lentestow evere lordes for love of hire mayntenaunce?'
     5.249
"Ye, I have lent lordes. loved me nevere after,
     5.250
And have ymaad many a knyght bothe mercer and draper
     5.251
That payed nevere For his prentishode noght a peire of gloves!'
     5.252
"Hastow pite on povere men that [purely] mote nedes borwe?'
     5.253
"I have as muche pite of povere men as pedlere hath of cattes,
     5.254
That wolde kille hem, if he cacche hem myghte, for coveitise of hir skynnes!
     5.255
"Artow manlich among thi neghebores of thi mete and drynke?'
     5.256
" I am holden,' quod he, "as hende as hounde is in kichene;
     5.257
Amonges my neghebores namely swich a name ich have.' Page  51
     5.258
"Now [but thow repente the rather,' quod Repentaunce, "God lene thee - nevere]
     5.259
The grace on this grounde thi good wel to bisette,
     5.260
Ne thyne heires after thee have joie of that thow wynnest,
     5.261
Ne thyne executours wel bisette the silver that thow hem levest:
     5.262
And that was wonne with wrong, with wikked men be despended.
     5.263
For were I a frere of that hous ther good feith and charite is,
     5.264
I nolde cope us with thi catel, ne oure kirk amende,
     5.265
Ne have a peny to my pitaunce, so God [pyne] my soule in helle,
     5.266
For the beste book in oure hous, theigh brent gold were the leves,
     5.267
And I wiste witterly thow were swich as thow tellest!
     5.268
Servus es al/erius, cum fercula pinguia queris.
     5.268
Pane tuo pocius vescere, liber eris.
     5.268
"Thow art an unkynde creature--I kan thee noght assoille
     5.269
Til thow make restitucion' quod Repentaunce, -and rekene with hem alle.
     5.270
And sithen that Reson rolle it in the Registre of hevene
     5.271
That thow hast maad ech man good, I may thee noght assoille.
     5.272
Non dimittitur peccatum donec restituatur ablatum.
     5.272
For alle that han of thi good, have God my trouthe,
     5.273
Ben holden at the heighe doom to helpe thee to restitue;
     5.274
And who so leveth noght this be sooth, loke in the Sauter glose,
     5.275
In Miserere mei, Deus, wher I mene truthe:
     5.276
Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti, &c.Page  52
     5.276
Shal nevere werkman in this world thryve with that thow wynnest.
     5.277
Cum sancto sanctus eris construwe me this on Englissh.'
     5.278
Thanne weex that sherewe in wanhope and wolde han hanged hymself
     5.279
Ne hadde Repentaunce the rather reconforted hym in this manere:
     5.280
" Have mercy in thi mynde, and with thi mouth biseche it,
     5.281
For [his] mercy is moore than alle hise othere werkes--
     5.282
Misericordia eius super omnia opera eius, &c--
     5.282
And al the wikkednesse in this world that man myghte werche or thynke
     5.283
Nis na moore to the mercy of God than in[middes] the see a gleede:
     5.284
Omnis iniquitas quantum ad misericordiam Dei est quasi scintilla in medio maris
     5.285
Forthi have mercy in thy mynde--and marchaundise, leve it!
     5.285
For thow hast no good ground to gete thee with a wastel
     5.286
But if it were with thi tonge or ellis with thi two hondes.
     5.287
For the good that thow hast geten bigan al with falshede,
     5.288
And as longe as thow lyvest therwith, thow yeldest noght but borwest.
     5.289
And if thow wite nevere to wh[om] ne wh[ere] to restitue,
     5.290
Ber it to the Bisshop, and bid hym of his grace
     5.291
Bisette it hymself as best is for thi soule.
     5.292
For he shal answere for thee at the heighe dome,
     5.293
For thee and for many mo that man shal yeve a rekenyng:
     5.294
What he lerned yow in Lente, leve thow noon oother,
     5.295
And what he lente yow of Oure Lordes good, to lette yow fro synne'.
     5.296
Now bigynneth Gloton for togoto shrifte,
     5.297
And kaireth hym to kirkewarde his coupe to shewe. Page  53
     5.298
Ac Beton the Brewestere bad hym good morwe
     5.299
And asked of hym with that, whiderward he wolde.
     5.300
"To holy chirche,' quod he, "for to here masse,
     5.301
And sithen I wole be shryven, and synne na moore.'
     5.302
" I have good ale, gossib,' quod she, " Gloton, woltow assaye?'
     5.303
" Hastow,' quod he, "any hote spices?'
     5.304
"I have pepir and pione,' quod she, "and a pound of garleek,
     5.305
A ferthyngworth of fenel seed for fastynge dayes.
     5.306
Thanne goth Gloton in, and grete othes after.
     5.307
Cesse the Souteresse sat on the benche,
     5.308
Watte the Warner and his wif bothe,
     5.309
Tymme the Tynkere and tweyne of his [knav]es,
     5.310
Hikke the Hakeneyman and Hugh the Nedlere,
     5.311
Clarice of Cokkeslane and the Clerk of the chirche,
     5.312
Sire Piers of Pridie and PerneIe of Flaundres,
     5.313
Dawe the Dykere, and a dozeyne othere--
     5.314
A Ribibour, a Ratoner, a Rakiere of Chepe,
     5.315
A Ropere, a Redyngkyng, and Rose the Dysshere,
     5.316
Godefray of Garlekhithe and Griffyn the Walshe,
     5.317
And [of] upholderes an heep, erly by the morwe,
     5.318
Geve Gloton with glad chere good ale to hanselle.
     5.319
Clement the Cobelere caste of his cloke,
     5.320
And at the newe feire nempned it to selle.
     5.321
Hikke the Hakeneyman hitte his hood after,
     5.322
And bad Bette the Bocher ben on his syde.
     5.323
Ther were chapmen ychose this chaffare to preise:
     5.324
Whoso hadde the hood sholde han amcndes of the cloke.
     5.325
Tho risen up in rape and rouned togideres,
     5.326
And preised the penyworthes apart by hemselve. Page  54
     5.327
[There were othes an heep, for oon sholde have the werse];
     5.328
Thei kouthe noght by hir conscience acorden in truthe,
     5.329
Til Robyn the Ropere arise the[i by]sou[ght]e,
     5.330
And nempned hym for a nounpere, that no debat nere.
     5.331
Hikke the Hostiler hadde the cloke
     5.332
In covenaunt that Clement sholde the cuppe fille
     5.333
And have Hikkes hood the Hostiler, and holden hym yserved;
     5.334
And whoso repented rathest shoulde aryse after
     5.335
And greten Sire Gloton with a galon ale.
     5.336
There was laughynge and lourynge and " Lat go the cuppe!'
     5.337
[Bargaynes and beverages bigonne to arise;]
     5.338
And seten so til evensong, and songen umwhile,
     5.339
Til Gloton hadde yglubbed a galon and a gille.
     5.340
His guttes bigonne to gothelen as two gredy sowes;
     5.341
He pissed a potel in a Paternoster-while,
     5.342
And blew his rounde ruwet at his ruggebones ende,
     5.343
That alle that herde that horn helde hir nose after
     5.344
And wisshed it hadde ben wexed with a wispe of firses!
     5.345
He myghte neither steppe ne stonde er he his staf hadde,
     5.346
And thanne gan he to go like a glemannes bicche
     5.347
Som tyme aside and som tyme arere,
     5.348
As whoso leith lynes for to lacche foweles.
     5.349
And whan he drough to the dore, thanne dymmed hise eighen;
     5.350
He [thr]umbled on the thresshfold and threw to the erthe.
     5.351
Clement the Cobelere kaughte hym by the myddel
     5.352
For to liften hym olofte, and leyde hym on his knowes.
     5.353
Ac Gloton was a gret cherl and a grym in the liftyng,
     5.354
And koughed up a cawdel in Clementes lappe.
     5.355
Is noon so hungry hound in Hertfordshire
     5.356
Dorste lape of that levynge, so unlovely it smaughte! Page  55
     5.357
With al the wo of this world, his wif and his wenche
     5.358
Baren hym to his bed and broughte hym therinne;
     5.359
And after al this excesse he had an accidie.
     5.360
That he sleep Saterday and Sonday, till sonne yede to reste.
     5.361
Thanne waked he of his wynkyng and wiped hise eighen;
     5.362
The first word that he spak was--'Where is the bolle?'
     5.363
His wif [and his wit] edwyte[d] hym tho how wikkedly he lyvede.
     5.364
And Repentaunce right so rebuked hym that tyme:
     5.365
"As thow with wordes and werkes hast wroght yvele in thi lyve,
     5.366
Shryve thee and be shamed therof, and shewe it with thi mouthe.'
     5.367
'I, Gloton,' quod the gome, 'gilty me yelde--
     5.368
That I have trespased with my tonge, I kan noght telle how ofte
     5.369
Sworen ""Goddes soule and his sydes!' and "So helpe me God and halidome!'
     5.370
Ther no nede was nyne hyndred tymes;
     5.371
And overseyen me at my soper and som tyme at Nones,
     5.372
That I, Gloton, girte it up er I hadde gon a myle,
     5.373
And yspilt that myghte be spared and spended on som hungry;
     5.374
Over delicatly on f[ee]styng dayes dronken and eten bothe,
     5.375
And sat som tyme so long there that I sleep and eet at ones.
     5.376
For love of tales in tavernes [in]to drynke the moore I dy[v]ed;
     5.377
And hyed to the mete er noon [on] fastyng dayes.'
     5.378
" This shewynge shrift,' quod Repentaunce, " shal be meryt to the.'
     5.379
And thanne gan Gloton greete, and gret dcel to make
     5.380
For his Iuther Iif that he lyved hadde,
     5.381
And avowed to faste--"For hunger or for thurste,
     5.382
Shal never fyssh on Fryday defyen in my wombe Page  56
     5.383
Til Abstinence myn aunte have yyve me leeve--
     5.384
And yet have I hated hire al my lif tyme!-
     5.385
Thanne cam Sleuthe al bislabered, with two slymy eighen.
     5.386
"l moste sitte,' seide the segge, "or ellis sholde I nappe.
     5.387
I may noght stonde ne stoupe ne withoute a stool knele.
     5.388
Were I brought abedde, but if my tailende it made,
     5.389
Sholde no ryngynge do me ryse er I were ripe to dyne.'
     5.390
He bigan Benedicite with a bolk, and his brest knokked,
     5.391
Raxed and rored--and rutte at the laste.
     5.392
-What, awake, renk!- quod Repentaunce, 'and rape thee to shryfte!'
     5.393
"If I sholde deye bi this day,' quod he, "me list nought to 1oke.
     5.394
I kan noght parfitly my Paternoster as the preest it syngeth,
     5.395
But I kan rymes of Robyn Hood and Randolf Erl of Chestre,
     5.396
Ac neither of Oure Lord ne of Oure Lady the leeste that evere was maked.
     5.397
I have maad avowes fourty, and foryete hem on the morwe;
     5.398
I parfournede nevere penaunce as the preest me highte,
     5.399
Ne right sory for my synnes, yet [seye I] was I nevere.
     5.400
And if I bidde any bedes, but if it be in wrathe,
     5.401
That I telle with my tonge is two myle fro myn herte.
     5.402
I am ocupied eche day, halyday and oother,
     5.403
With ydel tales at the ale and outherwhile in chirches;
     5.404
Goddes peyne and his passion, [pure] selde thenke I on it;
     5.405
I visited nevere feble men ne fettred folk in puttes;
     5.406
I have levere here an harlotrye or a somer game of souters,
     5.407
Or lesynges to laughen of and bilye my neghebores,
     5.408
Than al that evere Marc made, Mathew, Johan and Lucas. Page  57
     5.409
And vigilies and fastyng dayes--alle thise late I passe,
     5.410
And ligge abedde in Lenten and my lemman in myne armes
     5.411
Til matyns and masse be do, and thanne moste to the Freres;
     5.412
Come I to Ite, missa est I holde me yserved.
     5.413
I am noght shryven som tyme, but if siknesse it make,
     5.414
Noght twyes in two yer, and thanne [telle I up gesse].
     5.415
"I have be preest and person passynge thritty wynter,
     5.416
Yet kan I neyther solve ne synge ne seintes lyves rede,
     5.417
But I kan fynden in a feld or in a furlang an hare
     5.418
Bettre than in Beutus vir or in Beati omnes
     5.419
Construe clausemeI[e] and kenne it to my parisshens,
     5.420
I kan holde lovedayes and here a reves rekenyng,
     5.421
Ac in Canoun nor in Decretals I kan noght rede a lyne.
     5.422
"If I bygge and borwe aught, but if it be ytailed,
     5.423
I foryete it as yerne, and yif men me it axe
     5.424
Sixe sithes or sevene, I forsake it with othes;
     5.425
And thus tene I trewe men ten hundred tymes.
     5.426
And my servaunts som tyme, hir salarie is bihynde:
     5.427
Ruthe is to here the rekenyng whan we shal rede acountes,
     5.428
So with wikked wil and wrathe my werkmen I paye!
     5.429
"If any man dooth me a bienfait or he1peth me at nede,
     5.430
I am unkynde ayeins his curteisie and kan nought understonden it;
     5.431
For I have and have had somdel haukes maneres--
     5.432
I am noght lured with love but ther ligge aught under the thombe.
     5.433
The kyndenesse that myn evenecristene kidde me fernyere
     5.434
Sixty sithes I, Sleuthe, have foryete it siththe
     5.435
In speche and insparge of speche; yspilt many a tyme Page  58
     5.436
Bothe flessh and fissh and manye othere vitailles,
     5.437
Bothe bred and ale. buttre, melk and chese
     5.438
Forsleuthed in my service til it myghte serve no man.
     5.439
I [yarn] aboute in youthe, and yaf me naught to lerne
     5.440
And evere sitthe have I be beggere [be] my foule sleuthe:
     5.441
Heu michi quia serilem vitam duxi iuvenilem !'
     5.441
"Repentedestow the noght?' quod Repentaunce--and right with that he swowned
     5.442
Til Vigilate the veille fette water at hise eighen
     5.443
And flatte it on his face and faste on hym cryde
     5.444
And seide, 'Ware thee--for Wanhope wolde thee bitraye.
     5.445
""I am sory for my synnes'', seye to thiselve,
     5.446
And beet thiself on the brest, and bidde Hym of grace,
     5.447
For is no gilt here so gret that his goodnesse nys moore.'
     5.448
Thanne sat Sleuthe up and seyned hym swithe,
     5.449
And made avow tofore God for his foule sleuthe:
     5.450
"Shal no Sonday be this seven yer, but siknesse it [make],
     5.451
That I ne shal do me er day to the deere chirche
     5.452
And here matyns and masse as I a monk were.
     5.453
Shal noon ale after mete holde me thennes
     5.454
Til I have evensong herd--I bihote to the Roode!
     5.455
And yet wole I yelde ayein. [y]if I so muche have,
     5.456
Al that I wikkedly wan sithen I wit hadde;
     5.457
And though my liflode lakke, leten I nelle
     5.458
That ech man shal have his er I hennes wende;
     5.459
And with the residue and the remenaunt, bi the Rode of Chestre,
     5.460
I shal seken truthe erst er I se Rome!'
     5.461
Roberd the Robbere on Reddite loked,
     5.462
And for ther was noght wher[with], he wepte swithe soore.
     5.463
And yet the synfulle sherewe seide to hymselve: Page  59
     5.464
"Crist, that on Calvarie upon the cros deidest,
     5.465
Tho Dysmas my brother bisoughte thee of grace,
     5.466
And haddest mercy on that man for Memento sake;
     5.467
So rewe on this Rober[d] that Reddere ne have,
     5.468
Ne nevere wene to wynne with craft that I knowe;
     5.469
But for thi muchel mercy mitigacion I biseche:
     5.470
Dampne me noght at Domesday for that I dide so ille!'
     5.471
What bifel of this feloun I kan noght faire shewe.
     5.472
Wel I woot he wepte faste water with hise eighen,
     5.473
And knoweliched his [coupe] to Crist yet eftsoones,
     5.474
That Penitencia his pik he sholde polshe newe
     5.475
And lepe with hym over lond al his lif tyme,
     5.476
For he hadde leyen by Latro, Luciferis Aunte.
     5.477
And thanne hadde Repentaunce ruthe and redde hem alle to knele.
     5.478
" For I shal biseche for a1le synfulle Oure Saveour of grace
     5.479
To amenden us of oure mysdedes and do mercy to us alle.
     5.480
Now God,' quod he, "that of Thi goodnesse gonne the world make,
     5.481
And of naught madest aught and man moost lik to thiselve,
     5.482
And sithen suffredest hym to synne, a siknesse to us alle--
     5.483
And al for the beste, as I bileve, whatevere the Book telleth:
     5.484
0 felix culpa ! 0 necessarium peccutum Ade !
     5.484
For thorugh that synne thi sone sent was to this erthe
     5.485
And bicam man of a maide mankynde to save--
     5.486
And madest Thiself with Thi sone us synfulle yliche:
     5.487
Faciamus hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem nostram; Et anoi
     5.487
Qui manet in caritate, in Deo manet, et Deus in eo;Page  60
     5.487
And siththe with Thi selve sone in oure sute deidest
     5.488
On Good Fryday for mannes sake at ful tym~ of the day;
     5.489
Ther Thiself ne Thi sone no sorwe in deeth feledest,
     5.490
But in oure secte was the sorwe, and Thi sone it ladde:
     5.491
Captivum duxit captivitatem.
     5.491
The sonne for sorwe therof lees sight for a tyme
     5.492
Aboute mydday whan moost light is and meel-tyme of seintes--
     5.493
Feddest tho with Thi fresshe blood oure forefadres in derknesse:
     5.494
Populus qui ambulabat in tenebris vidit lucem mugnam.
     5.494
And the light that lepe out of Thee, Lucifer it blente,
     5.495
And blewe alle Thi blessed into the blisse of Paradys!
     5.496
"The thridde day therafter Thow yedest in oure sute:
     5.497
A synful Marie The seigh er Seynte Marie Thi dame,
     5.498
And al to solace synfulle Thow suffredest it so were--
     5.499
Non veni vocare iustos set peccatores ad penitenciam.
     5.499
"And al that Marc hath ymaad, Mathew, Johan and Lucas
     5.500
Of Thyne doughtiest dedes was doon in oure armes:
     5.501
Verbum caro factum est et hubitavit in nobis.
     5.501
And by so muche it semeth the sikerer we mowe
     5.502
Bidde and biseche, if it be Thi wille
     5.503
That art oure fader and oure brother--be merciable to us,
     5.504
And have ruthe on thise ribaudes that repenten hem soore
     5.505
That evere thei wrathed Thee in this world, in word, thought or dede!'
     5.506
Thanne hente Hope an horn os Deuf tu conversus vivificabis nos
     5.507
And blew it with Beati quorum remisse sunt iniquitatePage  61
     5.508
That alle Seintes in hevene songen at ones
     5.509
"Homines et iumenta salvabis, quemadmodum multiplicasti misericordiam tuam, D
     5.510
A thousand of men tho thrungen togideres,
     5.510
Cride upward to Crist and to his clene moder
     5.511
To have grace to go [seke Truthe--God leve that they moten!]
     5.512
Ac there was wight noon so wys, the wey thider kouthe,
     5.513
But blustreden forth as beestes over ba[ch]es and hilles,
     5.514
Til late was and longe, that thei a 1eode mette
     5.515
Apparailled as a paynym in pilgrymes wise.
     5.516
He bar a burdoun ybounde with a brood liste
     5.517
In a withwynde wise ywounden aboute.
     5.518
A bolle and a bagge he bar by his syde.
     5.519
An hundred of ampulles on his hat seten,
     5.520
Signes of Synay and shelles of Galice,
     5.521
And many a crouch on his cloke, and keyes of Rome,
     5.522
And the vernicle bifore, for men sholde knowe
     5.523
And se bi hise signes whom he sought hadde.
     5.524
This folk frayned hym first fro whennes he come.
     5.525
" Fram Synay,' he seide, " and fram [the] Sepulcre.
     5.526
In Bethlem and in Babiloyne, I have ben in bothe,
     5.527
In Armonye, in Alisaundre, in manye othere places.
     5.528
Ye may se by my signes that sitten on myn hatte
     5.529
That I have walked ful wide in weet and in drye
     5.530
And sought goode Seintes for my soule helthe.'
     5.531
" Knowestow aught a corsaint,' [quod thei], " that men calle Truthe?
     5.532
Koudestow wissen us the wey wher that wye dwelleth?'
     5.533
"Nay, so me God helpe!' seide the gome thanne.
     5.534
"I seigh nevere palmere with pyk ne with scrippe
     5.535
Asken after hym er now in this place.'
     5.536
"Peter!' quod a Plowman, and putte forth his hed,
     5.537
"I knowe hym as kyndely as clerc doth hise bokes.
     5.538
Conscience and Kynde Wit kenned me to his place Page  62
     5.539
And diden me suren hym si[ththen] to serven hym for evere,
     5.540
Bothe to sowe and to sette the while I swynke myghte.
     5.541
I have ben his folwere al this fourty wynter--
     5.542
Bothe ysowen his seed and suwed hise beestes,
     5.543
Withinne and withouten waited his profit,
     5.544
Idyke[d] and id[o]lve, ido that he hoteth.
     5.545
Som tyme I sowe and som tyme I thresshe,
     5.546
In taillours craft and tynkeris craft, what Truthe kan devyse,
     5.547
I weve and I wynde and do what Truthe hoteth.
     5.548
For though I seye it myself, I serve hym to paye;
     5.549
I have myn hire of hym wel and outherwhiles moore.
     5.550
He is the presteste paiere that povere men knoweth:
     5.551
He withhalt noon hewe his hire that he ne hath it at even.
     5.552
He is as lowe as a lomb and lovelich of speche.
     5.553
And if ye wilneth to wite where that he dwelleth,
     5.554
I [wol] wisse yow [wel right] to his place.'
     5.555
'Ye, leve Piers!' quod thise pilgrimes, and profred hym huyre.
     5.556
'Nay, by [the peril of] my soule!' quod Piers and gan to swere,
     5.557
" I nolde fange a ferthyng, for Seint Thomas shryne!
     5.558
Truthe woIde love me the lasse a long tyme after.
     5.559
Ac if ye wilneth to wende wel, this is the wey thider:
     5.560
Ye moten go thorugh Mekenesse, bothe men and wyves,
     5.561
Til ye come into Conscience, that Crist wite the sothe,
     5.562
That ye loven Oure Lord God levest of alle thynges,
     5.563
And thanne youre neghebores next in none wise apeire
     5.564
Otherwise than thow woldest h[ii] wroughte to thiselve.
     5.565
"And so boweth forth by a brook, "" Beth-buxom-of-speche',
     5.566
[Forto] ye fynden a ford, " Youre-fadres-honoureth' :
     5.567
Honora patrem et matrem &c.
     5.567
Wadeth in that water and wassheth yow wel there,
     5.568
And ye shul lepe the lightloker al youre lif ty Page  63
     5.569
And so shaltow se "Swere-noght-but-if-it-be-for-nede-
     5.570
And-nameliche-on-ydel-the-name-of-God-Almyghty.''
     5.571
"Thanne shaltow come by a croft, but come thow noght therinne:
     5.572
The croft hatte "" Coveite-noght-mennes-catel-ne-hire-wyves-
     5.573
Ne-noon-of-hire-servaunts-that-noyen-hem-myghte.''
     5.574
Loke thow breke no bowes there but if it be [thyn] owene.
     5.575
"Two stokkes ther stondeth. ac stynte th[ow] noght there:
     5.576
Thei highte ""Stele-noght'' and "" Sle-noght''--strik forth by bothe,
     5.577
And leve hem on thi lift half and loke noght therafter,
     5.578
And hold wel thyn haliday heighe til even.
     5.579
"Thanne shaltow blenche at a bergh, "Bere-no-t-ais-witnesse'';
     5.580
He is frythed in with floryns and othere fees manye:
     5.581
Loke thow plukke no plaunte there, for peril of thi soule.
     5.582
" Thanne shaIt thow see "" Seye-sooth-so-it-be-to-doone
     5.583
In-no-manere-ellis-noght-for-no-mannes-biddyng.''
     5.584
"Thanne shaltow come to a court as cler as the sonne.
     5.585
The moot is of Mercy the rnanoir aboute,
     5.586
And alle the walles ben of Wit to holden Wil oute,
     5.587
And kerneled with Cristendom that kynde to save,
     5.588
Botrased with "" Bileef-so-or-thow-beest-noght-saved.''
     5.589
"And alle the houses ben hiled, halles and chambres,
     5.590
With no leed but with love and lowe speche, as bretheren [of o wombe].
     5.591
The brugge is of " Bidde-wel-the-bet-may-thow-spede;''
     5.592
Ech piler is of penaunce, of preieres to seyntes;
     5.593
Of almesdedes are the hokes that the gates hangen on.
     5.594
"Grace hatte the gateward, a good man for sothe;
     5.595
His man hatte ""Amende-yow''--many man hym knoweth.
     5.596
Telleth hym this tokene: ""Truthe[w] the sothe-- Page  64
     5.597
I parfourned the penaunce that the preest me enjoyned
     5.598
And am sory for my synnes and so I shal evere
     5.599
Whan I thynke theron, theigh I were a Pope.'
     5.600
"Biddeth Amende-yow meke hym til his maister ones
     5.601
To wayven up the wiket that the womman shette
     5.602
Tho Adam and Eve eten apples unrosted:
     5.603
Per Evam cunctis clausa est et per Mariam virginem iterum patefacta est.
     5.603
For he hath the keye and the cliket, though the kyng slepe.
     5.604
And if Grace graunte thee to go in in this wise
     5.605
Thow shalt see in thiselve Truthe sitte in thyn herte
     5.606
In a cheyne of charite, as thow a child were,
     5.607
To suffren hym and segge noght ayein thi sires wille.
     5.608
"Ac be war thanne of Wrathe, that wikked sherewe:
     5.609
He hath envye to hym that in thyn herte sitteth,
     5.610
And poketh forth pride to preise thiselven.
     5.611
The boldnesse of thi bienfetes maketh thee blynd thanne
     5.612
And [so] worstow dryven out as dew, and the dore closed,
     5.613
Keyed and cliketted to kepe thee withouten
     5.614
Happily an hundred wynter er thow eft entre!
     5.615
Thus myghtestow lesen his love, to lete wel by thiselve,
     5.616
And [gete it ayein thorugh] grace [ac thorugh no gifte ellis].
     5.617
"Ac ther are seven sustren that serven Truthe evere
     5.618
And arn porters of the posternes that to the place longeth.
     5.619
That oon hatte Abstinence, and Humilite another;
     5.620
Charite and Chastite ben hise chief maydenes;
     5.621
Pacience and Pees, muche peple thei helpeth;
     5.622
Largenesse the lady, she let in ful manye--
     5.623
Heo hath holpe a thousand out of the develes punfolde.
     5.624
"And who is sib to thise sevene, so me God helpe,
     5.625
He is wonderly welcome and faire underfongen.
     5.626
And but if ye be sibbe to some of thise sevene--
     5.627
It is ful hard, by myn heed,' quod Piers, "for any of yow alle Page  65
     5.628
To geten ingong at any gate but grace be the moore!'
     5.629
"Now, by Crist!' quod a kuttepurs, - I have no kyn there.'
     5.630
" Ne I', quod an apeward, - by aught that I knowe.'
     5.631
"Wite God,' quod a wafrestere, "wiste I this for sothe,
     5.632
Sholde I never ferther a foot for no freres prechyng.'
     5.633
" Yis! ' quod Piers the Plowman, and poked hem alle to goode,
     5.634
"Mercy is a maiden there, hath myght over hem alle;
     5.635
And she is sib to alle synfulle, and hire sone also,
     5.636
And thorugh the help of hem two--hope thow noon oother--
     5.637
Thow myght gete grace there--so thow go bityme.'
     5.638
"Bi Seint Poul!' quod a pardoner, paraventure I be noght knowe there:
     5.639
I wol go fecche my box with my brevettes and a bulle with bisshopes lettres.
     5.640
"By Crist!' quod a commune womman, thi compaignie wol I folwe.
     5.641
Thow shalt seye I am thi suster.' I ne woot where thei bicome.
     5.642