Rede me and be nott wrothe for I saye no thynge but trothe I will ascende makynge my state so hye, that my pompous honoure shall never dye. O caytyfe when thou thynkest least of all, with confusion thou shalt have a fall.
Barlow, William, fl. 1527., Barlowe, Jerome, fl. 1527 attributed name., Roy, William, fl. 1527-1531, attributed name.

¶Here foloweth a brefe Dialoge bet∣wene two prestes servaunt / na∣med Warkyn. and Ieffraye.

IEffraye / hardest thou oure master /
Thus with lamentable maner /
Most pitously complayne:
¶Herde it catha? yee be throode /
I praye god turne it vnto goode /
Page  [unnumbered]That it be nott to oure payne.
But is it of a very surety /
As it is spoken in the country /
That the holy masse is deade.
¶Sead? yee Ieffraye by my hande /
And that thou myght well vnderstande /
Hadde thou eny witt in thy heade.
For the soroufull constraynte /
Of oure masters complaynte /
Allonely for hys deceace was.
Wherfor lett vs oure counsell take /
What shyfte for vs is best to make /
Seynge that deceaced is the masse.
¶Mary watkyne thou sayest very trothe /
We shall have but a colde brothe /
I feare me shortely after this.
But I praye the tell me nowe playne /
Was he by eny myschaunce slayne /
Or was it for age that he deade is.
¶Naye / it was not surly for age /
For he was of lusty courage /
Though he had very many yeres.
Also he had continued still /
Yf prestes myght haue had their will /
With the helpe of monkes and fryres.
Butt he was assauted so sore /
That he coulde resist no more /
And was fayne to geve ouer.
Page  [unnumbered]Then cam his aduersaries with myght /
And slewe hym oute of honde quyght /
As though he had bene a faulce rover.
¶With what wepen did they hym kyll /
Whether with polaxe or with bill?
A goode felowshippe lightly tell.
¶Naye: with a sharpe two edged sworde /
Which as they saye was goddis worde /
Drawne oute of the holy gospell.
¶And is goddis worde of soche myght /
That it slewe the masse downe right /
Of so auncient continuaunce?
My thynketh it shulde not be true /
Seynge that prestes wolde hym rescue /
With worldly ryches and substaunce.
Montes / channons / all shaven crownes /
Wolde have brought their villag ād tounes /
With their whole religious rable.
Which vnder antichristis raygne /
Are of sectes variable and vayne /
Forto be reckcned in numerable.
Oure master also I dare saye /
With many wother prestes gaye /
Whom I knowe very well.
Wolde have spent all their goode.
Yee verely their owne hert bloude /
To helpe masse agaynst the gospell.
¶Tosshe man they did all their best /
Page  [unnumbered]Not sparynge to opyn their chest /
Gevynge out brybes liberally.
Wherby they had gret confidence /
For to have done moche assistence /
In ayde of the masse certaynly.
But it provayled theim nothynge /
For goddis worde hath soche workynge /
That none maye resist contrary.
¶Well / yet take it for no scorne /
I tell the wheare as I was borne /
They resist the gospell openly.
And the principall doars be suche /
As nowe a dayes governe the churche /
No smale foles I promes the.
And namly one that is the chefe /
Whiche is not fedd / so ofte with rost befe /
As with rawe motten so god helpe me.
Whose mule yf it shulde be solde /
So gayly trapped with velvet and golde /
And geven to vs for oure schare.
I durst ensure the one thynge /
As for a competent lyvynge /
This seven yere we shulde not care.
¶Yf he be soche what is his name /
Or of what regarde is his fame?
I beseche the shortly expresse.
¶Mary / some men call hym Carnall /
And some saye he is the devill and all /
Page  [unnumbered]Patriarcke of all wickednes.
¶Well / to be brefe with outen glose /
And not to swarve from oure purpose /
Take goode hede what I shall saye.
The tyme will come or it belonge /
When thou shalt se their statly thronge /
With miserable ruyne decaye.
Note wele the ensample of Rome /
To what misery it is come /
Which was their hedde principall.
Goddis worde the grownde of vertue /
They went aboute for to subdue /
Werby they have gotten a faule.
¶Beleve me / thou speakest reason /
I trowe we shall se a season /
To the confusion of theym all.
But nowe to oure mater agayne /
I wolde heare mervelously fayne /
In what place the masse deceased.
¶In Strasbrugh / that noble towne /
A Cyte of most famous renowne /
Wheare the gospell is frely preached.
¶And what dost thou their names call /
Which were counted in especiall /
The aduersaries of the masse?
¶Truly there where clarkes many one /
And gretly learned every chone /
Whose names my memory do passe.
Page  [unnumbered]Howe be it / Hedius / Buer. and Capito /
Celarius / Symphorian / and mother mo /
In dede were reputed the chefe.
Whose lyuynge is so inculpable /
That their enemies with oute fable /
In theym coulde fynde no reprefe.
¶What did then the temporalte /
Wolde they all there vnto agre /
With outen eny dissencion?
¶As for the cōmens vniuersally /
And a greate parte of the senatory /
Were of the same intencion.
Though a feawe were on the mother syde /
But they were lyghtly satissyed /
Whē they could nott goddis worde denaye
¶I perceaue then manifestly /
The bisshoppe with his whole clargy /
Were absent and a waye.
¶They were not absent I the ensure /
For with the masse they dyd endure /
Whyls to speake they had eny breth.
In somoche that for all this /
The bisshoppe ceaseth not with his /
To revenge the masses death.
He spareth nott to course and banne /
Doynge all that ever he canne /
To revoke masse vnto lyfe agayne.
He spendeth many a gulden /
Page  [unnumbered]To hange / morther / and bren /
The masses aduersaries certayne.
¶And getteth he any goode therby?
¶But littell yet I the certefy /
And I trowe lesse he shall have.
Nowe for all his hye magnificence /
They counte hym savynge reuerence /
Not moche better than a knaue.
¶Peace whorsone / beware of that /
I tell the his skynne is consecrat /
Anoynted with holy oyntmente.
¶Yee / so many a knaues skinne /
Is gresyd with out and with in /
And yett they are not excellente
¶Cockes bones / this is rancke heresy /
Yf it were knwone: by and by /
Thou shuldest a faggote beare.
To speake so of soche a prelate /
Whiles they are all of the same rate /
For the more parte euery wheare.
But to the purpose that we beganne /
What did monkes and fryeres thanne /
When masse went thus to wracke?
¶So vttered was their abusione /
That with great confusione /
They were fayne to stande abacke.
¶Och: I knowe a fryer in a place /
Whom they call father Matthias /
Page  [unnumbered]Yf he had bene at this brayde.
He wolde have made soche a noyse /
With his horrible shrill voyce /
Able to have made theym afrayde.
¶Tosshe / there were fryres two or thre /
In fayth as grett panched as he /
With bellies more then a barell.
Which for all their learned strengthe /
Were so confounded there at lengthe /
That they gave over their quarell.
¶What made Ihon Faber and Emser /
With their ayders Eckyus and Morner /
Did they vnto masse no socoure?
¶Yes truly / with wordes of greate boste /
They spared nott to sende their oste /
Threatnynge with fearfull terroure.
Howe be it they had soche impediment /
That they coulde nott be there present /
As thou shalt the case vnderstonde.
Emser somtyme a reguler chanon /
To defende the massis cannon /
Longe before had taken in honde.
Which craftely to vpholde with lyes /
So grevously troubled his eyes /
And also encombred his brayne.
That there was no remedy /
But he was fayne certenly /
At home / a fole to remayne.
Page  [unnumbered]Flatterynge Faber / full of disdayne /
Was newe admitted to be chaplayne /
Vnto duke Ferdinand by othe.
Wherfore he had ynough of busynes /
To disswade the dukes noblenes /
From favourynge the godly trothe.
As for Morner / the blynde lawear /
And Ectius / the frowarde sophistrar /
They have afore castynge wisdome.
That in soche honorable audience /
Wheare as wyse clarctes are in presence /
They will nott very gladly come.
¶Medled nott Erasmus / in this matter
Which so craftely can flatter /
With cloked dissimulacion?
¶He was busy to make will fre /
A thynge nott possible to be /
After wyse clarckis estimacion.
Wherfore he intermitted lytle /
As concernynge the massis tytle /
With eny maner assercion.
He feareth greatly some men saye /
Yf masse shulde vtterly decaye /
Least he shulde lose his pension.
Notwithstondynge he hath in his hedde /
Soche an opinion of the god of bredde /
That he wolde lever dye a marter.
Then ever he wolde be of this consent /
Page  [unnumbered]That christ is not theare corporally present /
In bredde wyne and water.
Also he hath geven soche a landacion /
Vnto the ydols of abhominacion /
In his glosynge pistles before tyme.
That yf he fhulde wother wyse reclame /
Men wolde impute vnto his blame
Of vnstable inconstancy the cryme.
¶Howe did they then with lovayne /
And with the vniuersite of Colayne /
Made they right noght for massis parte?
¶Yes surly with terrible vociferacion /
They made wonderfull exclamacion /
The worde of god to subverte.
They sent thether Thomas and Scote /
With wother questionistes god wote.
Full of crakynge wordes inopinable.
But when it cam to the effecte /
They were so abasshed and deiecte /
That once to hisse they were nottable.
¶It was a thynge playnly acorst /
That masse went thus by the worst /
Havynge so many on his wynge.
¶Goddis worde is so efficacious /
And of strengthe so mervelous /
That agaynst it is no resistynge.
¶Neverthelesse amonge this araye /
Was nott theare one called Coclaye /
Page  [unnumbered]A littell pratye foolysshe poade?
But all though his stature be small.
Yett men saye he lacketh no gall /
More venemous than any toade.
No / for he hadde a nother occupacyon /
¶Wrytinge to the englysshe nacyon /
Inuencyones of flatterye.
¶To Englonde? in goode tyme /
I trowe the vichyn will clyme /
To some promocion hastely.
¶Or els truly it shal cost hym a fall /
For he is in fauoure with theym all /
Which haue the gospell in hate.
Continually he doth wryte /
Euer laborynge daye and nyght /
To vpholde antichristes estate.
Of papistes he is the defender /
And of Luther the condemner /
The gospell vtterly despysynge.
To forge lyes he hath no shame /
So that they somewhat frame /
With the processe of his writynge.
He wrote of late to Herman Ryncke /
Wastynge in vayne paper and yncke /
Pomeranes epystle to corrupte.
Which by christen men requyred /
Accordynge as he was desyred /
Dyd his parte theym to instructe.
Page  [unnumbered]No thynge ther in was reprobable /
But all to gedder true and veritable /
With out heresy or eny faulte.
Howe be it this wretch vnshamfast /
Thorowe malicie was nott a gast /
The trueth with lyes to assaulte.
¶Yf he be as thou sayst he is /
I warant he shall not mis /
Of a benefice and that shortly.
For I ensure the oure Cardinall /
With wother bisshops in generall /
Love soche a felowe entierly
But lett this nowe passe and go to /
What is best for oure proffit to do /
Seynge masse hath made his ende?
¶Surely as farre as I can gesse /
We are lyke to be masterlesse /
Yerre it be longe so god me mende.
For as sone as the masse is buried /
Oure master shalbe beggered /
Of all his ryche possession
¶Then mate I put the out of doute /
It is goode that we loke aboute /
Least we solfe a newe lesson.
Howe be it / howe longe will it be /
Or ever that we shall se /
Of this dedde masse the buriall?
As touchynge that in very dede /
Page  [unnumbered]
¶They are nott yett fully agrede /
But I suppose shortly they shall /
Some wolde have hym caried to Rome /
For be cause of all christendome /
It is the principall Ce.
And some wolde have hym to Fraunce /
Because of the noble mayntenaunce /
That he had of Parys vniversite.
Some also perswade in goode ernest /
That in Englonde it were best /
His dedde cors rychly to begraue
¶Nowe after my folysshe coniecture /
They coulde nott for his sepulture /
Devyse / a better place to have.
Also theare is Sayncte Thomas schryne /
Of precious stones and golde fyne /
Wherin the masse they maye laye.
Wherof the ryches incomprehensible /
As it is spoken by persones credible /
Myght an Emperours raunsome paye.
Morover theare is the Cardinall /
Of whose pompe to make rehearceall /
It passeth my capacite.
With stately bissoppes a greate sorte /
Which kepe a mervelous porte /
Concernynge worldely royalte.
Prestes also that are seculer /
With monkes and chanons reguler.
Page  [unnumbered]Abownde so in possession.
That both in welfare and wede /
With oute doute they farre excede /
The nobles of the region.
¶Yf it be thus as thou dost declare /
It is best that masse be buried theare /
With due honorable reverence.
¶Ye but they have a frowarde witt /
And par case they will nott admitt /
But vtterly make resistence?
¶Holde thy peace and be content /
The gospell by a cōmaundment /
To do it will strayghtly theym compell.
¶They sett nott by the gospell a flye /
Diddest thou not heare whatt villany /
Thy did vnto the gospell?
¶Why / did they agaynst hym conspyre?
¶By my trothe they sett hym a fyre /
Openly in London cite.
¶Who caused it so to be done?
¶In sothe the Bisshoppe of London /
With the Cardinall authorite.
Which at Paulis crosse ernestly /
Denounced it to be heresy /
That the gospell shuld come to lyght.
Callynge theym heretikes excecrable /
Whiche caused the gospell venerable /
To come vnto laye mens syght.
Page  [unnumbered]He declared there in his furiousnes /
That he fownde erroures more and les /
Above thre thousande in the translacion.
Howe be it when all cam to pas /
I dare saye vnable he was /
Of one erroure to make probacion.
Alas he sayde / masters and frendes /
Consyder well nowe in youre myndes /
These heretik diligently.
They saye that cōmen women /
Shall assone come vnto heven /
As those that lyve perfectly.
¶And was that their very sayinge?
¶After this wyse with oute faynynge /
In a certayne prologe they wryte.
That a who are or an open synner /
By meanes of Christ oure redemer /
Whome god to repent doth incyte.
Shall soner come to saluacion /
By merit of Christis passion /
Then an ouwtarde holy lyver.
¶They did there none wother thinge shewe /
Then is rehearced in mathewe /
In the one and twenty chapter.
¶For all that / he sayde in his sermone /
Rather then the gospell shulde be comone /
Bryngyng people into erroure
He wolde gladly soffre marterdome /
Page  [unnumbered]To vpholde the devyls fredome /
Of whom he is a confessoure.
¶Why / makest thou hym a saynt?
¶Euen soche a one as paynters do paynt /
On walles and bordes artificially.
Which with myters / crosses / and copes /
Apere lyke gaye bisshops and popes /
In strawnge fassion outwardly.
But they are ydols in effecte /
Mamett of antichristis secte /
To blynde folke deceatfully.
¶I perceave well nowe that / honores /
As it is spoken / mutant mores /
With soche men most cōmenly.
But thynkest thou in thy mynde /
That he coulde in his herte fynde /
In soche a case death to souffer /
¶Naye / yt was a worde of office /
I warante he is nott so folisshe /
To putt his boddy so in daunger.
Neverthelesse with tonge and porsse /
All though he shulde fare the worsse /
Gladly he will do his dever.
To plucke the worde of god downe
And to exalte the thre folde crowne
Of antichrist hys bever.
Also there is a charge vnder payne /
That no man eny thynge retayne /
Page  [unnumbered]Of the gospel newly translate.
For yf they presume the contrary /
They lose their goodes with oute mercy /
And their boddies to be incarcerate.
Morover that no clarcke be so bolde /
Prevy or pearte / with hym to holde /
Preachynge ought in his favoure.
But contrary their braynes to sett /
Bothe in scoles and in the pulpett /
Hym and all his to dishonoure.
Wherfore it boteth the gospell nothynge
As concernynge the massis buryinge /
To sende eny precepte thether.
For they had lever by this daye /
Go vnto the devill strayght waye /
Then to obeye hym in eny maner.
¶This passeth of all that ever I hearde /
I wonder they were nott a fearde /
Of so notable blasphemy.
Nott with stondynge their interrupcion /
Shall tourne to their destruccion /
At longe runnynge fynally.
For though they caused to be brent /
The outwarde shaddowe or garment /
Of goddis worde so hye of pryce.
Yett the grownde of his maiesty /
Printed in christen hertes sceretly /
They are nott able to preiudyce.
Page  [unnumbered]Therfore whyther they will or nill /
Yf it be the holy gospels will /
Masse in Englonde to bury.
Lett theym crake vntill they burst /
Doyng their best and their wurst /
Itt avayleth nott a chery.
They are worldly and carnall /
And the gospell is spretuall /
Assisted with angels presence.
¶Yf it come vnto that reckenynge /
They will mo angels with theym brynge /
Then shalbe in the gospels assistence.
¶Have they of angels eny garnyson?
¶Ye god knoweth many a legion /
Att all tymes theym to socoure.
¶Howe do they these angels gett?
¶By my fayth of povre mens swett /
Which for theym sore do laboure.
¶Aha / I wott well what thou meane /
Soche angels are nott worthe a beane /
Yf it come to the poynt once.
But nowe wolde I heare the expresse /
The maner of their holynesse /
Brefly declared at tonce.
¶Mary that is done forthe with all /
For they have no holynes attall /
As farre as I sawe yett ever.
Howe be it shortly to discousse /
Page  [unnumbered]Their proude estate so glorious /
I shall here my selfe endever.
Fyrst as I sayde there is a Cardinall /
Which is the Ruler principall /
Through the realme in every parte.
¶Have they not in Englonde a Kynge?
¶Alas man̄e / speake not of that thynge /
For it goeth to my verye harte.
And I shall shewe the a cause whye /
There is no Prynce vnder the skye /
That to compare with hym is able.
A goodly persone he is of stature /
Endued with all gyftes of nature /
And of genttylnes incomparable.
In sondrye sciences he is sene /
Havynge a ladye to his Qwene /
Example of womanlye behaveoure.
Notwithstandynge for all this /
By the Cardinall ruled he is /
To the distayninge of his honoure.
¶Soeth he folowe the Cardinales intente?
¶Yee / and that the cōmones repente /
With many a wepynge teare.
¶The Cardinall vexeth theym than?
¶Alas sens Englande fyrst began /
Was never soche a tyrante theare.
By his pryde and faulce treachery /
Whoardom and baudy leachery /
Page  [unnumbered]He hath bene so intollerable.
That povre cōmens with their wyves /
In maner are weary of their lyves /
To se the londe so miserable.
Through all the londe he caused periury /
And afterwarde toke awaye their money /
Procedynge most tyrannously.
The povre people nedy and bare /
His cruell herte wolde nott spare /
Leavynge theym in greate misery.
Insomoche that for lacke of fode /
Creatures bought with Christis blode
Were fayne to dye in petous cas
Also a ryght noble Prince of fame /
Henry the ducke of buckyngame /
He caused to deye alas alas.
The goodes that he thus gaddered /
Wretchedly he hath scattered /
In causes nothynge expedient.
To make wyndowes / walles / and dores /
And to mayntayne baudes and whores /
A grett parte therof is spent.
¶Lett all this pas I praye the hertely /
And shewe me somwhat seriously /
Of his spretuall magnificence.
¶Fyrst he hath a tytle of. S. Cecile /
And is a Legate of latere /
A dignite of hye premynence.
Page  [unnumbered]He hath bisshopryckes two or thre /
With the popes full authorite /
In cases of dispensacion.
¶He maye then with the masse dispence /
Yf he be faulen in the sentence /
Of the grett excōmunicacion?
¶That he maye in all maner cases /
Howe be it he geveth nothynge grates
But selleth all for reddy mony.
Excepte courses and blessynges
With syght of his golden rynges
All this he geveth frely.
¶Hath he so large faculte /
Of the popis benygnite /
As it is spoken abroade?
¶He stondeth in the popes roume /
Havynge of his bulles a grett some /
I trowe an whoale carte loade.
Wherwith mens porses to descharge /
He extendeth his power more large /
Then the power of almygthy god.
For whether it be goode or ill /
His pervers mynde he will fulfill /
Supplantynge the trueth by falshod.
To gett hym a synguler name /
The londe he bryngeth out of frame /
Agaynst all goddis forbod.
He tourneth all thynge topsy tervy /
Page  [unnumbered]Nott sparynge for eny symony /
To sell spretuall gyftes.
In grauntes of consanguinite /
To mary with in neare degre /
He getteth awaye mens thryftes.
Of seculer folke he can make reguler /
And agayne of reguler seculer /
Makynge as he lyst blacke of whyte.
Open whordom and advoutry /
He aloweth to be matrimony /
Though it be never so vnryght.
Laufull wedlocke to divorce /
He geveth very lytle force /
Knowynge no cause wherfore.
He playeth the devill and his dame /
All people reportynge the same /
Coursse the tyme that ever he was bore.
¶It cannot syncke in my mynde /
That the Cardinall is so blynde /
To make eny soche diuorcement.
¶Though it be nott in thy belefe /
I tell the to putt it in prefe /
He doth all that he can invent.
¶Bitwixte whom dost thou wene?
¶Bitwxite the Kynge and the Quene /
Which have bene longe of one assent.
¶Some cause then he hath espyed /
Which asonder theym to devyde /
Page  [unnumbered]Is necessary and vrgent.
¶Nothynge but the butcher doth fayne /
That the goode lady is barayne /
Lyke to be past chylde bearynge.
¶Had the kynge never chylde by her?
¶No man sawe ever goodlyer /
Then those which she forth did brynge.
¶Is there eny of theym a lyve?
¶Ye a Princes / whom to descryve /
It were herde fo an oratoure.
She is but a chylde of age /
And yett is she bothe wyse and sage /
Of very beautifull faveoure.
Perfectly she doth represent /
The singuler graces excellent /
Bothe of father and mother.
Howe be it all this nott regardynge /
They carter of orcke is meddelynge /
Forto diuorce theym a sonder.
¶Are nott the nobles here with offended?
¶Yes / but it can not be amended /
As longe as he is the ruler.
I thynke the Quene is nott faulty /
But hathe done ynough of her party /
Yf it had pleased goddis benificence.
¶None is faulty but the butcher /
Whom almyghty god doth suffer /
To scourge the peoples offence.
Page  [unnumbered]Vnto god he is so odious /
That nothynge can be prosperous /
Where as he hath governaunce.
Sens that he cam fyrst forwarde /
All thynges have gone backwarde /
With moche myschefe and mischaunce.
No yerly purpose he doeth intende /
That ever cōmeth to a goode ende /
But damage and tribulacion.
¶In these parties it is verifyed /
That he hath a college edified /
Of mervelous foundacion.
¶Of preuy houses of baudry /
He hath made a stues openly /
Endued with large exibicion.
¶Lycknest thou to whoarmongers /
A colage of clarkes and scolears /
Ensuynge learned erudicion.
¶Thou mayst perceave / by reason /
That vertue shalbe very geason /
Amonge a sorte of ydle losels.
Which have ryches infinite /
In welth and worldly delyte /
Geven to pleasure and nothynge eles.
¶They rede there both greke and ebrue /
¶I will not saye but it is true /
That there be men of grett science.
Howe be it where pryde is the begynnynge.
Page  [unnumbered]The devill is cōmenly the endynge /
As we se by experience.
And yf thou consyder well /
Even as the towre of Babell /
Began of a presompcion.
So this colledge I dare vndertake /
Which the Cardinall doth make /
Shall confunde the region.
What is it to se dogges and cattes /
Gargell heddes and Cardinall hattes /
Paynted on walles with moche cost.
Which ought of dute to be spent /
Apon povre people indigent /
For lacke of fode vtterly lost.
¶Hath he for soche folke no providence?
¶No / savynge only to rid them hence /
A proper waye he ymageneth.
¶After what maner porviaunce?
¶Truely least they shulde be cōbraunce /
A warfare he theym sendeth.
¶Many of theym then are slayne?
¶They never come home haulfe agayne /
I maye tell the in goode plyght.
For some be taken presoners /
And some are dedde of the fevers /
Many of theym losynge their syght.
Of twenty thousande fyghtynge men /
Scant returneth home agayne ten /
Page  [unnumbered]In goode state and perfect lykynge.
For the more parte made beggers /
And so become robbers and stelers /
Wherby they have a shroade endynge.
¶He fareth nott the better for warre /
¶Yes mary / it doth hym prefarre /
To more gaynes then I can rehearce.
For fyrst or the warre do begynne /
They laboure his favoure to wynne /
Gevynge gyftes many and dyvers.
And yf it cannot be so pacifyed /
They brybe hym on the wother syde /
At the least for to be favoured.
And fynally warre for to ceace /
With rewardes they must hym greace /
Or els peace cannot be performed.
¶Sothe he practyse soche conveyaunce?
¶Ye / and for that cause in Fraunce /
This warre tyme he was beloved.
¶Thou makest hym then a trayter?
¶I recken hym a falce fayterer /
Yf the very trueth were proved.
¶Well lett this pas / howe dothe he /
In gevynge grauntes of liberte /
And cases that be dispensable?
¶He foloweth the cōmen practyse /
Of marchantes in their marchandyse /
To gett worldly goodes movable.
Page  [unnumbered]Savynge they take grett laboures /
And he doth all by his factoures /
Restynge in quyet felicite.
He hath falce farises and scrybes /
Gapynge for nothynge but for brybes /
Full of fraudes and perversite.
¶They are named yett wother wyse /
¶Trothe / but they folowe their gyse /
In wicked operacions.
¶I put a case nowe they be leawde /
As I thyncke they are all be shrewde /
In their administracions /
Shall they to hell for the Cardinal /
Or els thynkest thou that he shall /
Go thether in his owne persone?
¶Though he have here soche prerogative /
In all poyntes that be dispensative /
To performe it by cōmyssion.
Yett in this poynt sekerly /
He must performe it personally /
Withoute eny exempcion.
¶Yf he be as thou hast here sayde /
I wene the devils will be afrayde /
To have hym as a companion.
For what with his execracions /
And with his terrible fulminacions /
He wolde handle theym so.
That for very drede and feare /
Page  [unnumbered]All the devils that be theare /
Wilbe glad to let hym go.
¶As for that thou mayst be assured /
The devils with coursses are invred /
As authours there of with out fayle.
¶What yf he will the devils blisse?
¶They regarde it no more be gisse /
Then waggynge of his mules tayle.
¶Soth he vse then on mules to ryde?
¶Ye and that with so shamfull pryde /
That to tell it is not possible.
More lyke a god celestiall /
Then eny creature mortall /
With worldly pompe incredible.
Before hym rydeth two prestes stronge /
And they beare two crosses right longe /
Gapynge in every mans face.
After theym folowe two laye men secular /
And eache of theym holdynge a pillar /
In their hondes / steade of a mace.
Then foloweth my lorde on his mule /
Trapped with golde vnder her cule /
In every poynt most curiously.
On eache syde a pollaxe is borne /
Which in none wother vse are worne.
Pretendynge some hid mistery.
Then hath he servaunt fyve or six score /
Some behynde and some before /
Page  [unnumbered]A marvelous great company.
Of which / are lordes and gentlemen /
With many gromes and yemen /
And also knaves amonge.
Thus dayly he procedeth forthe /
And men must take it at worthe /
Whether he do right or wronge.
A grett carle he is and a fatt /
Wearynge on his hed a red hatt /
Procured with angels subsidy.
And as they say in tyme of rayne /
Fower of his gentelmen are fayne /
To holde over it a cannopy.
Besyde this to tell the more newes /
He hath a payre of costly shewes /
Which sildom touche eny grownde.
They are so goodly and curious /
All of golde and stones precious.
Costynge many a thousande pownde.
¶And who did for thes shewes paye?
¶Truly many a ryche abbaye /
To be easied of his visitacion.
¶Doth he in his owne persone visit?
¶No / another for hym doth it /
That can skyll of the occupacion.
A felowe nether wyse nor sadde /
But he was never yett full madde /
Though he be frantyke and more.
Page  [unnumbered]Doctor Alyn he is named /
One that to lye is not asshamed /
Yf he spye avauntage therfore.
¶Are soche with hym in eny pryce?
¶Ye / for they do all his advyce /
Whether it be wronge or right.
¶Hath the Cardinall eny gay mansion?
¶Grett palaces with out compareson /
Most glorious of outwarde sight.
And with in decked poynt device /
More lyke vnto a paradice /
Then an erthely habitacion.
¶He cōmeth then of some noble stocke?
¶His father coulde snatche a bullock /
A butcher by his occupacion.
¶Howe cam he vnto this glory?
¶Playnly by the devils policy /
As it is every wheare sayde.
¶Are the states here with all content.
¶Yf they speake aught they are shent /
Wherfore I tell the they are a frayde.
¶Whatt abstinence vseth he to take?
¶In Lent all fysshe he doth forsake /
Fedde with partriges and plovers.
¶He leadeth then a Lutherans lyfe?
¶O naye / for he hath no wyfe /
But whoares that be his lovers.
¶Yf he vse whoares to occupy /
Page  [unnumbered]It is grett marvell certaynly /
That he escapeth the frenche pockes.
¶He had the pockes with out fayle /
Wherfore people on hym did rayle /
With many obprobrious mockes.
¶He was then abhorred of his prince:
¶By my troth man / not an ynche /
Still in favoure continually.
¶By the devill then he worketh?
¶Truly so every man iudgeth.
But alas what remedy?
¶Hath he children by his whoares also?
¶Ye and that full prowdly they go /
Namly one whom I do knowe.
Which hath of the churches goodes clerly /
More then two thousand pownde yerly /
And yett is not content I trowe.
His name is master Winter /
For whom my lorde his father /
Hathe gotten of the frenche kynges grace.
That when the bisshop of Rone /
Out of this lyfe is dedde and gone /
He shall succede hym in his place.
¶And is his father as redy /
To promoute the noble progeny /
As he is towardes his bastardes?
¶He favoureth lytell noble lynage /
Takynge a waye their heritage /
Page  [unnumbered]Rather then to sett theym forwardes.
He breaketh mens testamentes /
And contrary to their intentes /
At his owne mynde and pleasure.
He wilbe nedes their exsecutours /
Sayinge with the devill all his oures /
Rychely to encreace his treasoure.
Many a goode ladys ioynter /
He engroseth vp into his cofer /
Of the which some here to name.
I recken the Countes of Sarby /
With the Countes ef Salsbury /
Also the Duches of Buckyngame.
¶Is the devil soche an whorsone?
¶Och / there is nether duke ne barone /
Be they never of so grett power.
But they are constrayned to croutche /
Before this butcherly sloutche /
As it were vnto an Emproure.
¶Nowe surly then after my mynde /
They cannot soche another fynde /
The dedde massis office to solempnise.
¶Yf it be his pleasure he maye /
Howe be it he vseth lytell to praye /
For it is late or he do aryse.
Also as farre as I canne muse /
To do this office he will refuse /
Dredynge his pompe therby to lose.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶As for that / it shall nothynge skyll /
Playnly yf it be the gospels will /
Do it he must and cannot chose.
¶Yett it wilbe a parelous busines /
For bisshops and prestes doutles /
To ayde hym will nott be slacke.
Though they loue hym as the devill /
Yett to do the gospell some evill /
No diligence in theym shall lacke.
¶Have the bisshops so grett ryches?
¶It is nott possible to expres /
The treasure of the spretualte.
¶What / are the bisshops divines?
¶Ye they can wele skyll of wynes /
Better then of devinite.
Lawears they are of experience /
And in cases agaynst conscience /
They are parfet by practyse.
To forge excommunicacions /
For tythes and decimacions /
Is their continuall exercyse.
As for preachynge they take no care /
They wolde se a course at an hare /
Rather then to make a sermon.
To folowe the chace of wylde dere /
Passynge the tyme with ioly chere /
Amonge theym all is cōmon.
To playe at the cardes and dyce /
Page  [unnumbered]Some of theym are nothynge nyce /
Both at hasard and momchaunce.
They dryncke in gaye golden bolles /
The bloudde of povre simple soules /
Perisshynge for lacke of sustenaunce.
Their hongery cures they never teache /
Nor will soffre none wother to preache /
But soche as can lye and flatter.
Biddynge the beades after this rate /
Ye shall praye for the goode estate /
Of my lorde my master.
And so redynge a ragge mans roule /
He exhorteth to praye for the soule /
Of this persone and of that.
Which gave boke / bell / or challes /
To the fortheraunce of goddis serves /
Babblynge he wotteth neare what.
Soche preachers be cōmended /
And the wother are reprehended /
Which preache the gospell purly.
So they sitt apon cousshens softe /
Their royalte exalted alofte /
They regarde nott goddis worde surly.
They are so geven to avaryce /
That they ponder no preiudyce /
Happenynge to the comen weall.
They norysshe servauntes in ydelnes /
Which when they are masterles /
Page  [unnumbered]Are constrayned to begge or steale.
To tell all the abhominacion /
Of their wretched conuersacion /
It were bothe longe and tedious.
¶If the bisshops do so abownde /
Howe are seculer prestes fownde /
With persons which be religious?
¶Thynkest that with theym it is scant /
Naye naye man / I the warant /
They fele no indigent rearage.
For they have goodes innumerable /
And fare moche better at their table /
Then lordes of worthy parage.
Fortune with prestes runneth on wheles /
So that some have after their heles /
A scoare of yemen taule and stoute.
Whom forto mayntayne ydely /
They have benefyces very many /
In the country there aboute.
Wherby they are so proude and vayne /
That the noble men they disdayne /
With scornfull indignacion.
Though peraventure their fathers /
Were other sowters or cobblers /
Of no maner reputacion.
As for religious folke to be brefe /
In all Englonde they have the chefe /
And most plesaunt cōmoditees.
Page  [unnumbered]The goodly soyles / the goodly londes /
Wrongfully they holde in their hondes /
Endued with many knyghtes fees.
By coloure of their faulce prayres /
Defrauded are the ryght heyres /
From their true inheritaunce.
They are the cause of mysery /
Of whordom / theft / and beggery /
To the cōmen welles hynderaunce.
No frutfull worke they vse /
All honest laboure they refuse /
Geven wholy to sluggesshnes.
They are nether gostly nor divine /
But lyke to brut beastes and swyne /
Waltrynge in synfull wretchednes.
I speake this of the possessioners /
All though the mendicant orders /
Are nothynge lesse abhominable.
Whose lyvynge is with oute laude /
Norisshed in rapyne and fraude /
Grounded on lesyng detestable.
They are the devils messengers /
And of antichrist the members /
Example of all perversite.
They are ydols of flattery /
And apostels of hypocrysy /
Replenisshed with enormite.
Lo / here I have thus reported /
Page  [unnumbered]Howe their lyfe is partly ordred /
And vnder what condicion.
¶That thou hast I make god a vowe /
Insomoche that I marvayle howe /
Thou knowest their disposicion.
But I praye the / dost thou iudge /
That they will murmer and grudge /
At the dedde massis buryinge?
¶Ye syr I wis man I am sure /
They will laboure with busy cure /
His sepulture forbiddynge.
For why their superfluite /
By the massis liberalite /
Only hath supportacion.
¶What supposest thou of men temporall?
¶I thynke they wolde holde here with all /
Yf they had due informacion.
Neverthelesse at the begyn̄ynge /
dede masse amonge theym to brynge /
There wilbe some difficulte.
Be cause of longe continuaunce /
They have had trust and affiaunce /
Thorowe the masse saved to be.
For these prestes and fryres perswade /
That by the masse they shall evade /
Eternall payne and punnysshment.
Whose suffrage doeth theym gret stedde /
Proffitable bothe to quicke and dedde /
Page  [unnumbered]After their mynde and iudgement.
¶Ye to prestes and fryers miserable /
Doutles the masse is proffitable /
And is the mill of their welfare.
But to the people without faynynge /
It is playne a fraudfull deceavynge /
To make their porsse empty and bare.
¶Nowe truly I trowe as thou dost saye /
Even there goeth the hare quyte awaye /
And all their babellynge is but lyes.
All though there be wother obstacles /
Be cause of the grett myracles /
Dayly practysed before oure eyes.
¶Thou never sawest myracle wrought?
¶I / no be hym that me bought /
But as the prestes make rehearceall.
¶Canst thou rehears me nowe one?
¶No I cannot / but oure syr Ihon
Can / in his Enghlisshe festivall.
¶Geve they to soche fables credence?
¶They have them in more reverence /
Then the gospell a thousand folde.
Also ther is nether whoare nor thefe /
Nor eny of so wicked mischefe /
But by the masse is made bolde.
For yf they heare once a prestis masse /
They trust surly that daye to passe /
Without all parell or daungeoure.
Page  [unnumbered]Crafty sorcerers and falce dyce players /
Pickeporses and prevy conveyers /
By the masse hope to have socoure.
Marchantes passynge viages on farre /
And soudiars goynge forthe to warre /
By the masse are ofte preserved.
Masse bryngeth synners to grace /
And fendes awaye it doeth chace /
Above all thynges preferred.
Masse solemniseth mariage /
And kepeth people from domage /
Causynge also wedder to be fayer.
Masse maketh tame thynges of wylde /
And helpeth wemen to be with chylde /
Thorowe assistence of the sayer.
Masse avayleth agaynst sycknes /
A proved remedy for all distres /
And for thynges that be gone.
Thus to conclude with brevite /
Of the whole churches felicite /
The masse is mayntener alone.
¶The nobles that be wyse and sage /
I suppose with soche blynde dotage /
They cannot so folisshly begyle.
¶Troth it is / some of theym begynne /
To have lytell confidence there in /
And lesse woll with in a whyle.
Which of the bisshops is perceaved /
Page  [unnumbered]Wherfore they have nowe restrayned /
Vnder the payne of courssynge.
That no laye man do rede or loke /
In eny frutfull englisshe boke /
Wholy scripture coucernynge.
Their frantyke foly is so pevisshe /
That they contempne in Englisshe /
To have the newe Testament.
But as for tales of Robyn hode /
With wother iestes nether honest nor goode /
They have none impediment.
Their madde vnsavery teachynges /
And theyr fantasticall preachynges /
Amonge simple folke to promote.
For no cost they spare nor stynte /
Openly to put theym in prynte /
Treadynge scripture vnder their fote.
Also their decrees and decretall /
With folysshe dreames papisticall /
They compell people to rede.
Howe be it the confutacion /
Of their abhominacion /
They will not softre to procede.
¶Kepe thou silence and be whyst /
Though with grett crakes they resist /
For a lytell season present.
Yett I warant within shortt space /
Masse will have there his beryinge place /
Page  [unnumbered]Acordynge as it is convenient.
¶So moche the worse for oure thryfte /
For then there is none wother shyfte /
A newe master we must vs gett.
¶All though masse be dedde and rotten /
A master maye lyghtly be gotten /
Yf we oure mynde to laboure sett.
¶Ye but prestes service is gaye /
For we maye with theim all waye /
In ydelnes have grett respyt.
¶That for a christen man is nott best /
Borne vnto laboure and not vnto rest /
As the foule is vnto flyght.
But nowe all this matter to spare /
Lett us oure masters dyner prepare /
For it is hye tyme verely.
¶A felyship lett vs go a pace /
For he will beshrowe oure face /
Yf he fynde not all thynge redy.
¶Hawe / I praye the yett abyde /
Sett thy busynes a whyle a syde /
And lett vs have fyrst a songe.
¶What woldest thou that I shulde synge?
¶Surly some propper conveyed thynge
Not over tedious nor longe.
¶I trowe thou arte a syngynge man?
The devil of the whit that I can /
But I love specially soche geare.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶Will thou have it mery or sadde?
¶I foarce not be it goode or badde /
So that I maye some what heare /
¶If thou will thy mynde satisfy /
Gett the into some monastery /
And be a monge theym in the queare.
¶Do they vse soche ioly syngynge?
¶It is the crafte of their lyvynge /
Wherby they make lusty cheare.
¶But I vnderstonde nott what they saye /
¶By my sothe no more do they /
I may shewe the in counsell.
¶Shall I axe the nowe a question?
¶Ye hardely a goddis beneson /
And I will not spare the to tell.
¶Ware thou never in religion?
¶Yes so gdd helpe me and halydom /
A dosen yeres continually.
¶Then thou knowest moche vnhappines?
¶A grett deale more then goodnes /
I promes the faythfully.
¶Well lett vs differ this till soune /
When oure masters diner is done /
We will a gayne come hydder.
¶I am content even so to do /
¶Fyrst synge a balett / go to /
And then will we to diner.
¶Alas I am marvelously drye /
Page  [unnumbered]
¶Thou shalt dryncke man by an by /
What nedeth the so to lynger?
¶Have at it in the best manner.
¶In the ioyfull moneth of ioly Iune /
Walkynge all alone my care to solas.
I herde a voyce with a dolorous tune /
Full pitiously cryinge / alas alas.
The worlde is worsse then evyr it was.
Never so depe in miserable decaye /
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
Fyrst to begynne at the spretualte /
Whose lyvynge shulde be example of grace.
Indued with parfett workes of charite /
Sekynge goddis honoure in every cace.
The worlde with his vanites they enbrace.
Renyinge god all though they saye naye /
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
Of this worlde they have the chefe dominion
With stately preeminence temporall.
They preasume to be hadde in opinion /
Of the people / as lordes emperiall.
Worsshipfull seniours we must theym call /
Requyrynge that we shulde to theym obeye /
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
Page  [unnumbered]
The ryches and gooddes of the cōmen we all /
Hath sett theym in their honoure full hye.
They are occasion that theves do steall /
And cause of all mischefe and misery.
The wordly treasure they consume ydely.
Nothynge regardynge but pastāce and playe
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
The laboure of the povre people they devower
And of nobles they waste the patrimony.
They teache and exhorte men god to honoure
With their temporall substannce and mony.
They clayme tythes to supporte their foly.
Inventynge many a faulce offerynge daye /
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
They ought of duty to preache the gospell /
The wordes of lyfe / so dulcet and swete.
Howe be it there agaynst chefly they rebell /
Christis doctryne troaden vnder their fete.
They beare vs in honde that it is nott mete.
The gospell to be knowen of people laye /
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
They shulde be meke / and they ar full of pryde
Voyde of true pacience replete with yre.
Envy they holde / charite sett a syde /
Retaynynge for chastite carnall desyre.
Page  [unnumbered]Slouthe and glotteny in their hole empyre.
Hath made temperance and labour to straye
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
Emprours ād kyng they trappe in their lure /
Deceavynge theym bey falce adulacion.
So that of promocious they be sure /
Full lytell they ponder their damnacion.
They geve theym no true informacion /
And that evidently parceave they maye /
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
The workes of mercy apon them are spent.
Poure people defraudynge with iniury.
They dryncke the bloud of soules innocent /
Simple folke begylynge outrageously.
Their foule fylthy carkes to magnyfy.
They wrappe in robes and costly araye /
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
Goddis cōmaundmēt they trāsgresse opēly
To his godly love no respecte havynge.
They take his name in vayne with blasfemy /
Holy dayes after their own mynde faynynge
To honour their parēt they are disdaynynge
More covetous then kytes waytynge apraye.
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
Page  [unnumbered]
Letcherous luste leawdly they enbrace /
Forbiddynge wedloke agaynst goddis will.
Their subiect they oppresse in wretched cace /
Prone vnto morther christen men to spill.
Sacrilege and simony is their corne mill.
Vsynge falce witnes the trueth to delaye /
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
The sacrement of christis ordinaunce.
Institute oure feble fayth to sustayne.
They have perverted vnto oure hyndraunce.
Enforcynge vs to trust in tryfles vayne.
Wother newe sacrement falcely they fayne.
Obscurīge god worde as moch as they may
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
Christis fredō they have brought in bondage
Of hevenly rightes makynge marchandyse.
In gostly workes they covett avauntage /
To fede their insaciate covetyse.
Of the damnable masse they make a sacryfyse
Compellynge men dearly for it to paye /
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
Of hell and heven they make chevesance /
Faynynge as they lyst a purgatory.
Hypocrisy is leader of their daunce /
With wronge extorcion and vsery.
Page  [unnumbered]Of Christis worde they make heresy /
Kedy and prompte christen men to betraye /
But it cannot thus endure all waye.
Wherfore brefly to fynnysshe my balade /
O hevenly father / apon the I call.
Have pyte on man / whom thou hast made /
To serve the in fredom spretuall.
Rid vs from antichristis bondes so thrall.
Wherwith we are fast bovnd nyght ād daye
That thy name be not blasphemed all waye.
Lo nowe I have done my best /
To satisfy the request /
Accordynge as thou desyredst.
¶I will holde the then no lenger /
But loke that thou remember /
To fulfill that thou promysedst.
Page  [unnumbered]

¶Here foloweth the Secunde parte.

O Lorde god what goode dayes /
Thes monkes have in abbeyes /
And do nether swett nor swyncke.
Thei live in welthynes and ease /
Havynge what soever they please /
With delicate meate and dryncke.
Wher with they farce their bellies so full /
That to all goodnes they are dull /
Makynge mery with gill and Ioan.
They sitt slepynge in a corner /
Or momblynge their pater noster /
Their mynde nothynge ther apon.
Be they never so stronge or starcke /
They will exercyse no maner warcke /
Nor laboure boddily.
¶Arte thou here Ieffray mate?
¶Ye / why cōmest thou so late?
I am fayne for the to tary.
¶I was troubled with the estates /
I beshrowe all their folisshe pates /
For cōmynge here this daye.
¶So mot I the I thought the same /
Howe be it the stuarde was to blame /
That he did no better porvaye.
¶By thy fayth / had thou better fare /
In the cloyster where as thou ware /
Page  [unnumbered]Vnder the rule of the manastery?
¶Fare cotha? they eate their belies full /
Every man as moche as he wull /
And none sayth blacke is his eye?
¶What do they for it / eny thynge?
¶Truly nothynge but rede and synge /
Passynge the tyme with sporte and playe.
¶That is a lyfe in dede for the nones /
Thou ware a fole by thyse ten bones /
Whan thou camest fro theym awaye?
¶O I thyncke my silfe moche fortunate /
That fro their lyfe I am seperate /
Seynge it is so abhominable.
¶What abhominacion is there in?
Alas mate all to geder is synne /
And wretchednes most miserable.
¶What a man of religion /
Is reputed a dedde person /
To worldly conversacion?
¶It is of a trueth they are dedde /
For they are in no vse nor stedde /
To christen mens consolacion.
And as a dedde stynkynge carkace /
Vnproffitably cloyeth a space /
Yf it be kepte above grownde.
So in their lyfe supersticious /
Of wicked crymes enormious /
No maner proffitablenes is fownde /
Page  [unnumbered]
¶Yett their order is very strayte?
¶Ye but they vse soche a consayte /
That they make it easy ynowe.
More easy by the twenty parte /
Then to laboure in some arte /
Or to go with the carte or plowe.
¶They have man the worlde forsaken /
And a spretuall lyfe taken /
Consistynge in gostly busynes.
¶What call ye the worlde I praye?
¶Welthy ryches and pleasurs gaye /
And occasions of synfulnes.
¶Then are they in the worlde still /
For they have all that they will /
With ryches and possessions.
And as touchynge the realme of vice /
Pryde / wrath / envy / and avarice /
With wother synfull transgressions.
In this worlde that we do name /
There is none so farre oute of frame /
And lyve in soche outragiousnes.
¶Yett Ieffrye thou errest so god me save /
For the fryers no possessions have /
But lyve only by pure almes.
¶Fryers? nowe they are worst of all /
Ruffian wretches and rascall /
Lodesmen of all knavisshnes.
Though they be no possessioners /
Page  [unnumbered]Yett are they intollerabill beggers /
Lyvynge on rapyn and disceyte.
Worshipfull matrons to begyle /
Honorable virgins to defyle /
Continually they do wayte.
Of honesty they have no regarde-
To displease god they are not afearde /
For the valoure of a pynne /
Of whordom they are the very baudes /
Fraudulent inventers of fraudes /
Provocacion vnto synne.
They are slaunder of vertousnes /
Occasion vnto viciousnes
Chickens of the devils broode.
To the trueth they are adversaries /
Diligent imageners of lyes /
Depravers of those that be goode.
They are antichristis godsones /
Promowters of his pardones /
And proctours of simony.
They are brokers heven to sell /
Fre coppy holders of hell /
And fe fermers of purgatory.
Of sathan they are the soudiers /
And antichristis owne mariners /
His shippe forwardes to convey.
And to conclude seriously /
They are the hell howndes veryly /
Page  [unnumbered]Enmies agaynst goddis worde allwaye.
¶Nowe thou arte gretly oversene /
For in places there as I have bene /
They do goode I the certify.
For yf it wer not for the fryers /
There wolde not be in seven yeres /
A sermon in the povre contry.
And as for their lyvynge truly /
They begge peoples almes purly /
Takynge soche thynges as they geve.
They have no wast superfluite /
But even their bare necessite /
Scant ynough wherby to leve.
¶I mean not that they are all bad /
For I wolde the devill theym had /
Then with a fayre deliverance.
But of the gretter parte I thought /
Which I saye are worsse then nought /
Replete with mischevous vengeance.
Their preachynge is not scripture /
But fables of their coniecture /
And mens ymaginacions.
They brynge in olde wyves tales /
Both of Englonde / Fraunce / and Wales /
Which they call holy narracions.
And to theym scripture they apply /
Pervertynge it most shamfully /
After their owne opinions.
Page  [unnumbered]Wherwith the people beynge fedde /
In to manyfolde errours are ledde /
And wretched supersticions.
Of Christ oure mercifull saveoure /
They make a iudge full of terroure /
Only threatninge onre dmnacion.
Whose faveoure as they falsly fayne /
We cannot be able to obteyne /
With oute sayntes mediacion.
They saye that holy mens suffrages /
Pardons masses / and pilgremages /
For synnes make satisfaccion.
They bid vs in oure workes to trust /
Wherby they saye that we must /
Deserve oure saluacion.
Fayth litell or nothynge they repute /
Wherof we beynge destitute /
Are brought into desperacion.
And as for their lyfe doutles /
It is the well of ongraciousnes /
Of iniquite the myroure.
The almes that povre folke shulde have /
Wretchedly a waye they do crave /
Tolyve ydely withoute laboure.
Dissaytes continually they do muse /
And crafty falshod dayly they vse /
With simple folke gretly dissemblynge.
They feare lytell whom they offende /
Page  [unnumbered]Acustumed to rappe and rende?
All that cōmeth in their fingrynge.
Their miserable disposicion /
Causeth stryfe and sedicion /
In all places where as they dwell.
There is none vnhappines done /
In eny christen regione /
But a fryer is of the counsell.
Though they saye that their order /
Is to have no thynge in proper /
But to vse all thynges in cōmone.
Yett ther is no cōmenalte /
Which hath so gret parcialite /
As their miserable religione.
For where as the heddes principall /
Whom master docters they call /
Lyve in welthy aboundance.
The wother are povre and nedy /
Leadynge their lyves in penury /
Scant havynge their sustenance.
Of their brothers vexacion /
They have no compassion /
Despysynge those that be in sicknes.
Agaynst all order of charite /
They desdayne forto have pete /
Apon theym that are in destres.
To shewe all their vnhappines /
So abhominable and shamles /
Page  [unnumbered]It wer ouer tedious and longe.
¶Thou hast sayde ynough all redy /
They cannot be moche wors lyghtly /
Yf the divell be not theym amonge.
¶As for that thou nedest not feare /
The devill with theym is familiare /
All waye bothe at bed and at borde.
¶The observauntes are not so disposed?
¶Wilt thou have their lyfe disclosed /
Brefly rehearsed at a worde?
¶Nowe mate I praye the hartely.
¶So god helpe me of all hypocrysy /
They are the very foundacion.
¶Peace man / what speakest thou?
I perceave well thou errest nowe /
With wordes of diffamacion.
¶Why thynkest thou that I do erre?
¶Because the worlde doth theym preferre /
For their wholy conversacion.
¶Ye so were the scrybes and pharisays /
Through their falce hypocrisy ways /
Amonge the Iues in reputacion.
Neverthelesse in inwarde maners /
They were worse then open synners /
Whom oure lorde also did coursse.
¶Makest of theym soche compareson?
¶Ye savynge after my opinion /
The observant are farre worse.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶It is not possible to be so /
For they shewe ther as they go /
Of simplenes gret aperaunce.
¶Ye so dothe the foxe wother whyle /
All though he canne many a wyle /
Pretende a simple countenaunce.
¶Thou doest wrongfully surmyse.
¶Naye I tell the it is their gyse /
To have two faces in a hoode.
¶What dost thou meane therby?
¶That they are dissemblers vniuersally /
And feawe or none of theym be goode.
¶They vse no whordom / nor robbery /
Nor take mens goodes wrongfully /
As farre as I can heare or se?
¶Open advoutrers they are none /
Yet are they not virgens every chone /
All though they pro fesse chastite.
They have pollucions detestable /
And in warde brennyng intollerable /
Of the flesshly concupiscence.
Ye and wother whyles advoutry /
With wother meanes of letchery /
Cloaked vnder a fayned pretence.
Wich to overcome certaynly /
They vse not the right remedy /
Of oure lord is institucion.
Gevynge hede to spretes of errours /
Page  [unnumbered]And doctryne of divlysshe doctours /
Which do make prohibicion.
And as touchynge theft to be playne /
They are the gretest theves that raygne /
In all the worlde nowe a dayes
For all wother theves cōmenly /
Of theym which have aboundantly /
And of ryche folke take their prayes.
But the observaunt no people do spare
Makynge their quest every wheare /
With most importunate cravynge.
To begge of the pover and nedy /
They are as dogges most gredy /
And wolves incessantly ragynge.
¶Yet they never handell money?
¶No for that is a subtill policy /
To vpholde their madde disgysynge.
For when antichrist sathans soune /
To stablysshe his realme had begoune /
Temporall honoure despysynge.
To have all in his donimion /
He made made many a religion /
With outwarde holynes aperynge.
Which into sectes innumerable /
Wer divided with oute fable /
The worlde in care forto brynge.
By their coloured devocion /
To the people they gave a mocion /
Page  [unnumbered]Their favoure craftly purchasynge.
And so by their contrivynge cast /
The gott clene a waye at the last /
Their chefe possessions temporally.
Wherby laye people opressed sore /
Scant coulde they geve eny more /
Concernynge londes and patrimony.
Then cam the fower orders of fryers /
Which are the substanciall pillers /
Of antichristis mayntenaunce.
So holy theym selves they did make /
That all possessions they did forsake /
Wilfull poverty to inhaunce.
To live by almes they did pretende /
And receaved all that god did sende /
Sheawynge tokens of perfection.
Wherfore the people did theym honoure /
With gretter love and faveoure /
Then those that had possession.
Except livelod and londes only /
They receaved all that cam frely /
Whether it wer mony or ware.
Howe be it they did multiply /
In all provinces so innumerably /
Through the worlde in every quartear.
That the people wexed wery /
Seynge they coulde not kepe a peny /
But the fryers wolde begge it awaye.
Page  [unnumbered]At the last cam the observaunt /
Of antichrist the trusty servaunt
To brynge the worlde in more dekaye.
And least they shulde seme chargeable /
They fownde a newe waye deceavable /
To begylde bothe yonge and olde.
They were of soche supersticione /
That in proper or in cōmone /
They wolde nothynge kepe nor holde.
Of their nedes havynge the vse /
To handle money they dyd refuse /
Faynynge austerite of pennaunce.
Wherby with desyrous affecte /
The people had a grett respecte /
Vnto their paynted observaunce.
In somoche that though their londes /
Was geven clene oute of their hondes /
By meanes of the possessioners.
And also most greveously opprest /
With the dayly cravynge and quest /
Of the vnsaciate fryer beggers.
Yett the observaunt semed so parfyt /
That to healpe theym they iudged yt /
With oute charge a thynge charitable.
Wherfore all the wother sectes /
In maner reputed abiectes /
The observaunt were honorable.
Apon whom the workes of mercy /
Page  [unnumbered]Were bestowed continually /
With superfluous abundaunce.
And so vnder a leawde coloure /
In ydelnes they did devoure /
The povre peoplis sustenaunce.
They have increased so their nomber /
That all the worlde they do encomber /
With intollerable oppression.
They are more noyous agret deale /
In hyndraunce of the cōmen wealle /
Above eny wother faccion.
For where as the people afore /
Wer halfe beggered and more /
By the wother orders afore sayde.
They robbed the worlde vterl y /
Causynge it with extreme beggery /
In grett ruyne to be dekayde.
¶Thou speakest agaynst conscience /
For we perceave by experience /
What a godly lyfe they leade.
They flye diligently all excesse /
Livynge in poverte and scasnes /
With smale dryncke and browne breade.
¶Thynkest thou they live in penury?
¶Or els they are hipocrites verily /
Of shamfull dissimulacion.
¶Saye that hardly once agayne /
For they leade a lyfe to be playne /
Page  [unnumbered]Full of worldly delectacion /
Fyrst they have befe and mutten /
Of the chefe that maye be gotten /
With bred and dryncke of the best.
And that morover so largely /
That to farce and stuffe their belly /
They take more then they can deiest.
They have sauces with every disshe /
Whither that it be flesshe or fysshe /
Or els they wilnot be content.
To eate bred that is browne or stale /
Ether to dryncke thynne byere or ale /
They count it not convenient.
And many tymes they have daynties /
Sent from dyvers lordes and ladyes /
Their wholy suffrages to procure.
¶Yet they nether bake nor brewe.
¶No for all laboure they exchewe /
I the faythfully ensure.
¶Howe have they their meate rost or bake?
¶Wother men for theym the payne take /
Whom spretuall fathers they call.
¶And have they no spretuall mothers?
¶Yes with many sisters and brothers /
And also doughters spretuall.
¶Howe come they to kynred so nye /
¶Because they canne flatter and lye /
Makynge beleve the cowe is wode.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶They cannot lye though they wolde /
For they will nether silver nor golde /
Nor covet eny mans goode.
¶Trowest thou they covyt nothynge /
Where as they come a beggyng /
To the housse of a povre man?
Which hath both wyfe and children /
And is not able to fynde them /
Soynge the best that ever he can.
Yet he must vnto the fryers geve /
All though he shulde his housholde greve /
Havynge nought theym selves to eate.
¶O they have then the gretter mede.
¶Ye god geve theym evill to spede /
That do pover creaturs so entreate.
For they shulde their livynge gett /
With boddely laboure and swett /
Wherby they myght healpe wother.
¶So they do healpe them spretually.
¶Soche spretualnes I defye /
When pover people dye for honger.
¶Men saye they are goode to the pover /
And geve every daye at their doer /
Grett almes and refresshynge.
¶They geve almes / but howe?
When they have eaten ynowe /
Their gredy paunches replenisshynge.
Then gadder they vp their levett /
Page  [unnumbered]Not the best morsels but gobbett /
Which vnto pover people they deale.
¶Then are they lyke with oute doute /
Vnto certayne theves devoute /
Which though they vse to steale.
Yet they are liberall and fre /
Yf eny pover creature they se /
To geve hym parte of their stolen geare,
¶Nowe truly their disposicion /
Is not vnlyke of condicion /
Savynge in this poynte they differ.
That where as theves liberally /
Geve their goodes gotten wrongfully /
To the pover with true affection.
They geve no thynge in very trothe /
But scrappes which they wolde be lothe /
To vse agayne in their refeccion.
¶Pover folke yet cōmende theym gretly.
¶But yf they knewe as moche as I /
They wolde rather on theym complayne.
¶Howe do they pover people offende?
¶By cause in ydelnes they spende /
Which vnto theym shulde pertayne.
¶They are not ydell I dare saye /
Whyl they rede / synge / and praye
Continually every houre.
¶I call it ydelnes vnproffetable /
Which in no case is confortable /
Page  [unnumbered]To the necessite of oure neghboure.
¶Well yett the apostle doth wryte /
A iust mans prayer doth proffyte /
And is very efficacious.
¶Are they iust in thy reputacion?
¶After their owne affirmacion /
Truly they are iust and rightous.
¶Then it is an evident token /
That they are of whom it is spoken /
Ve vobis qui iustificatis vos ipsos.
¶What dost thou by these wordes note?
¶That vnder neath a fryers cote /
Moche hipocrisy they glose.
¶Reputest thou it hipocrisy /
That they vse to go so holyly /
In cutt shues with out eny hose?
¶Be it hipocrysy or no /
To mangill their goode shues so /
Me thynketh it but folisshnes.
¶They cutt but the vpper ledder /
¶No for it is moche easier /
Then to cut the soles doutles.
¶They do it for pennaunce sake /
¶For all that gret shifte they make /
To avoyde all corporall sofferaunce.
¶They shewe signes of penan̄ce outwardly.
¶Ye but they fynde soche a remedy /
That they fele lytell grevaunce.
Page  [unnumbered]For in covent where as they are /
Thycke mantels of fryse they weare /
With sockes to kepe their fete warme
Then have they fyre at their pleasure /
And to sit therby at their leaysure /
No man sayinge theym eny harme.
And when they walke their stacions /
They seke gentilmens habitacions /
Where as they fare deliciously.
For be there never so grett prease /
They are set vp at the hy dease /
Taken lyke lordes honorably.
They have also to wasshe their fete /
Water made hott with erbes swete /
And a goode fyer in their chamber.
Then have they bred / ale / and wyne /
With a ryche bed of downe fyne /
Decked after the best maner.
And paraventure the goode father /
Hath in his sleve a bladder /
Full of gynger / nutmegges or graynes.
Which to make the drincke myghtye /
He putteth therin a quantite /
To comforte and warme his veynes.
¶They fynd not this whersoever they come?
¶Syr I wis it is their custome /
In gentilmens places cōmenly.
¶Yet when they go on farre iorneys /
Page  [unnumbered]They cannot espye oute all ways /
Gentilmens houses so redely.
¶Mary before their departynge /
They have by mouthe or wrytynge /
The names of places where they dwell.
¶Some tyme they fayle yet I iudge?
¶Then do they mormor and grudge /
Lyke youge devils of hell.
¶They want soche thynges in their cloyster?
¶Concernynge the fare of their froyter /
I did tell the a fore partly.
But then they have gest chambers /
Which are ordened for strangers /
And for fathers to make mery.
There have they ale / wyne / and byre /
And in winter tyme a goode fyre /
With gaye conceytes many wother.
¶What is their cōmunicacion?
¶By my sothe murmuracion /
One backbytynge another.
¶They have nothynge to murmur fore.
¶I tell the they murmur more /
Then eny persons that I knowe.
Full of envious suspicion /
Overwhelmed with ambicion /
Though their vocacion be lowe.
With all diligence they laboure /
To obtayne noble mens favoure /
Page  [unnumbered]And to be ladys confessours.
In soche matters dayly they boste /
Who with grett estates maye do moste /
Reckenynge theym selve wyse seniours.
¶Do they desyre to be conversant /
In courtes of vertue so scant /
Intangled with all vngraciousnes?
¶They are content to be partners /
With all vngracious lyvers /
Yf so be they geve theym almes.
¶I put case they geve nothynge?
¶Then whether he be lorde or kynge /
They will his maners deprave.
Howe be it though they be advoutrers /
Extorsioners / or whormongers /
Yf to be their frendes they witsave.
Then with grett cōmendacion /
In their flatterynge predicacion /
They will their actes magnify.
Wherfore whoares / theves / and bawdes /
And all soche as live by frawdes /
To their order have a fantesy.
¶Howe do they which are true preachers?
¶They are charged in their chapters /
Vnder their prelatis strayte precepte.
That agaynst their goode fownders /
Benefacters / and frendly doers /
No enormites they detecte.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶Yf they sett men thus to scole /
I trowe they make many a fole /
Of ladys and gentill wemen.
¶Shall I shewe the howe they do?
¶Nowe for oure lordis sake go to /
To tell the cast of this wholy men.
¶Fyrst it is their custome ever /
To go / two and two to gether /
Excepte a grett impediment.
And so to my ladys chamber /
Formost pricketh in the elder /
Which of theym is most auncient.
As sone as my lady he dothe se /
With a countenaunce of gravite /
He saluteth her noblenes.
My lady then of his cōmynge /
Affectously reioysynge /
Welcometh hym with gladnes.
The father then with his glosynge style /
After that he hath preached a whyle /
With babblynge adulacion.
My lady with many a goode morowe /
Begynneth her tale to folowe /
Speakynge after this fassion.
O father ye do grett penaunce /
To wynne eternall inheritaunce /
Throw prayer / fast / and watchynge.
Ye vse forto sweare no othes /
Page  [unnumbered]Lyinge evermore in youre clothes /
Nether shetes nor shurtes wearynge.
Ambicion ye sett a syde /
Flyinge worldly pompe and pryde /
Whiche with vs is dayly in vre.
Happy are ye and fortunate /
To live inso parfet a state /
Where to be saved ye are sure.
Yf it were not for youre wholines /
This worlde full of viciousnes /
Had bene destroyed longe or this.
Howe be it / ye do pacify /
The rigoure of god almighty /
Toward vs that live a mis.
The father then with wordes of comforte /
Begynneth my lady to exhorte /
Saynge thus / o goode madame.
Youre ladyshippe nedeth not to care /
For we praye dayly for youre welfare /
Or els we were gretly to blame.
Wholy. S. Fraunces do you mede /
Many a pover fryer ye do fede /
Of youre bounteous charite.
Wherfore ye were made sister /
In the last generall chapter /
Of oure whole confraternite.
By meanes wherof ye are partetaker /
Of oure watchynge / fast / and prayer /
Page  [unnumbered]Remembrynge you in oure memento.
There is no daye that cōmeth to passe /
But ye have parte of many a masse /
Preservynge you from carfull wo.
Wholy. S. Fraunces also hym selve /
Which is above the apostles twelve /
Nexte vnto Christ in authorite.
Shalbe youre perpetuall defence /
Agaynst sycknes and pestilence /
Souckerynge you in aduersite.
And for a sure aprobacion /
He bryngeth forth a narracion /
De libro conformitatum.
Howe. S. Frances their advoury /
Once in the yere entreth purgatory /
When that his fest daye doth come.
And from thens he taketh oute /
Those which to hym were devoute /
Or to his order charitable.
Thus my lady not very wyse /
Is brought in to foles paradyse /
Thorowe their wordes disceavable.
¶Hath Christ amonge theym no place?
¶Christ catha? in no maner cace /
He is rather to their damage.
Be cause thorowe his passion /
For vs he made satisfaccion /
Withoute eny mans suffrage.
Page  [unnumbered]Whose doctryne yf they did observe /
Playnly for honger they shulde sterve /
Excepte they wolde to laboure fall.
¶Howe conclude they then at the ende?
¶My lady must to their covent sende /
Her blyssynge with a trentall.
¶What is the trentall / in paper?
¶Or els in goode golde or silver /
To make theym a recreacion.
¶They will not for all Englonde /
Handill money with their bare honde /
As I have had informacion.
¶Yett in golden cuppes to dryncke /
And to touche wemen I thyncke /
No grett parell they do adverte.
And though some of theym never dare /
Touche eny coyne with hondes bare /
Yett they touche it with their hertt.
They have also withouten lesynge /
Money in wother mens kepynge /
Redy at their cōmaundment.
Which by the wryttynge of a bill /
In whatt soever vses they will /
Dayly is bestowed and spent.
In eny covent where they be /
Very feawe of theym thou shalt se /
But have a frende temporally.
To whom for every tryfill vayne /
Page  [unnumbered]That cōmeth once into their brayne /
Yf by wrytynge they signify.
Though it cost a noble or twayne /
By and by they shall it attayne /
Not foarsynge what is layde oute.
Which truly yf they shulde purchace /
With laboure and swett of their face /
They wolde wotherwyse loke aboute.
¶Yf it be as thou dost expresse /
Playnly their rule they do transgresse /
Retaynynge in cōmen or in proper.
¶They have the popis declaracion / .
Makynge therof a mitigacion /
In most favorable maner.
Vnder whose divlysshe proteccion /
They have put theym in subieccion /
As children of iniquite.
Wherfore he taketh to his person /
The name of their dominion /
To vse it gevynge liberte.
They have scant as moche as a lousse /
Nether clothes / churche / nor housse /
But the pope there of is awner.
¶Why ascrybe they it to the pope?
¶By cause with soche craft they hope /
To begylde people seculer.
For where as they live welthyly /
And have all thyng abundantly /
Page  [unnumbered]Acordynge to their apetyte.
Yet vnder soche falce pretence /
They fayne to soffre indigence /
Contempnynge all worldly delyte.
The pope also for this intent /
Because to his errours they consent /
Alowynge his abhominacions.
Graunteth to their avauntages /
Many bulles and previleges /
With wretched confirmacions.
Whose favoure to recompence /
Agaynst all goode conscience /
They preache as moche as they maye.
That the people with reverence /
Continue still in obedience /
Of the popis rule nyght and daye.
Though his workes be contrary /
They saye that he is goddis vicary /
And of Christ the leftenaunte / ▪
Makynge of a fende / and angell /
Christ / of antichrist rebell /
A saynt / of the divels servaunte.
¶I supposed with out dissemblynge /
That they vsed in their preachynge /
All ways to sheawe the verite.
Seynge amonge the states royall /
They were reputed substanciall /
With oute eny parcialite.
Page  [unnumbered]They vsed to go in pover wede /
Exhortynge both in worde and dede /
Vnto the ioye celestiall.
As though they had no erthely love /
But only to the lyfe above /
Despysynge the ioyes of this lyfe mortall.
¶The wholynes that they did sheawe /
Principally did over throwe /
The fayth of all christendome.
For they were confederate /
With antichrist so inveterate /
Called the Pope of Rome.
Whose lawes to sett in renowne /
Christis doctryne they plucked downe /
Pervertynge all wholy scripture.
And yet so perfett they did apere /
That grett mens confessions to here /
In every place they had the cure.
They pretended soche parfetnes /
That simple people more and les /
Vnto their wordes gave credence.
Whatsoever fables they did tell /
They were taken as the gospell /
Approved with cōmen sentence.
Wherfore by their seduccion /
They have bene the destruccion /
Of all true christen liberte.
They make cruelnes of mercy /
Page  [unnumbered]Perfeccion of hipocrisy /
And of fredome captivite.
Of counterfeyted simlacion /
They ymagen mortificacion /
Turnynge fayth to infidelite.
Ydelnes they name contemplacion /
Faynynge zele of murmuracion /
Enmies to charitable amite.
¶I marvayle moche and wonder /
That they shulde have eny anger /
Or eny envious debate.
Seynge from worldly royalte /
And promocions of dignite /
They are willingly private.
¶Though they have no worldly honours /
Yet nether kynges ne emperours /
Nor wother states of the temperalte.
Have soche stryfe in their provision /
As observauntes in their religion /
With dedly hatred and enmyte.
To be made confessors / and preachers /
Wardens / discretes / and ministers /
And wother offices of prelacy.
With grevous malice and rancour /
One agaynst a nother dothe murmour /
Full of craft and inconstancy.
They have nether drede nor shame /
Their faultles brethren to defame /
Page  [unnumbered]Havynge none occasion why.
Yonge men agaynst their superiours /
And prelates agaynst their inferiours /
One at another hath envy.
In chapters and visitacions /
They vse wronge accusations /
With many slanderous iniuryes
They execute sharpe correccions /
To ponysshe the transgressions /
Of their fantastycke ceremonyes.
God and his lawes they omitt /
Aplyinge their malicious witt /
To kepe mans invencions.
They are patrons of ydolatry /
Promouters vnto herisy /
And bryngers vp of dissencions.
¶Nowe by the fayth of my body /
The obsevaunt are not so holy /
As they do outwardly seme.
¶Yf thou knewe manyfestly /
What a lyfe they occupy /
Thou woldest marvayle I deme.
¶I have hearde ynough and to moche /
Yf theyr conversacion be soche /
It is pite that they are souffered.
But nowe touchynge the maners /
Of these religious possessioners /
I wolde heare somwhat more vttered.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶I tolde the in the begynnynge /
Howe their wicked lyvynge /
Is gretly abhominable.
Marcke their lyfe intentifely /
And thou shale not therin espy /
Eny thynge that is cōmendable.
¶What sayst thou then of their vowes?
Wherby theym selves they spowse /
To god / by a certayne promes.
¶Surly in it Christ they forsake /
And them selves wholy they betake /
To live in the devils serves.
¶Why / they professe chastite /
Obedience / and wilfull poverte /
Which allmygthy god doth approbate.
¶Ye for all that I promes the /
They kepe none of all the thre /
With mundane affections intricate.
¶All worldlynes they do renownce.
¶Though with wordes they so pronownce /
Their hertes do not consent.
¶They observe tuly obedience.
¶Ye but savynge reverence /
Nothynge after Christis intent.
For after goddis cōmandement /
They shulde obey their parent.
Honorynge theym as is their duty.
Nor with standynge they are so mad /
Page  [unnumbered]Their fathers and mothers are glad /
To honoure theym reverently.
And where as holy scripture wolde /
That vnto all powers we shulde /
Obey as to goddis ordenaunce.
They are vnder no power at all /
Nether spretuall nor temporall /
To the cōmen weallis fortheraunce.
¶They obey vnto their prelate /
At all seasons yerly and late /
His precept accomplisshynge.
¶I will not denye they do obey /
Vnto the ruler of their abbey /
A carle of their owne chosynge.
Yet is it in supersticiousnes /
With outen eny profitablenes /
Of their neghbours comforte.
They serve theym selves and no mo /
Carynge litell howe the worlde go /
So that they have pleasure and sporte.
And contrary the seculers /
Are under temporall rulers /
With their children and wyves.
At all seasons prest and redy /
Tu put theym selves in ieopardy /
Aventurynge bothe goodes and lyves.
To serve the kynge in warre and peace /
They putt theym selves alwaye in preace /
Page  [unnumbered]The defence of the realme assistynge.
Wher as the religious sectes /
Vnto no lawes are subiectes /
Obeyinge nether god nor kynge.
Yf the kynge will their service vse /
Forth with they laye for an excuse /
That they must do goddis busines.
And yf in it they be fownde negligent /
They saye the kynge is impediment /
Because they must do hym serves.
And yf the kynge shall theym compell /
Then obstymatly they do rebell /
Fleinge to the popis mayntenaunce.
Of whom they obtayne exempcions /
From all the iurisdiccions /
Of temporall governannce.
¶Of the pope with out grett expens /
They can obtayne no soche defens /
As men saye which do it knowe.
¶Yet are they so farre out of tune /
That they do their goodes so consume /
Rather then in goode vses to bestowe.
¶I perceave by this with out fayle /
Their obedience doth not provayle /
But what sayst thou to their poverte?
¶What nede I therof to speake /
Consideringe they do it breake /
Endued with ryche felicite.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶Do they soche lyvelod possesse?
¶They have in maner the ryches /
Of every londe and nacion.
Namly in Englonde region /
They excede in possession /
And lordly dominacion.
The blacke order hath more alone /
Then all the nobles every chone /
As touchynge their patrimony.
Thou woldest surly marvell /
To se their fare and aparell /
In all poyntes superfluusly.
There be monkes of soche statlynes /
That scant will soffer at their messe /
A lorde of bludde with theym to sitt.
Whose prowde service to beholde /
In plate of silver and golde /
It passeth a mans witt.
Knyghtes and squyers honorable /
Are fayne to serve at their table /
As vnto Sutes excellent.
Sivers of theym have the degre /
Of worthy Erles in dignite /
And are lordes of the parlement.
¶They descende of famous progeny?
¶Ye beggers sonnes most cōmenly /
Their fathers scant worth a groate.
Cōmynge fyrst to the abby gate /
Page  [unnumbered]A beggynge with a scalled pate /
Havynge nether goode shurt nor coate.
Which as sone as he is ones clad /
For a gentilman he is had /
Though he be but a starcke knawe.
¶Soche poverte is plente /
For by it avoydynge scacite /
All welthynes they have.
¶It is truly their fisshynge nett /
Pover mens goodes awaye to gett /
To satify their gluttenny.
It is the goulfe of devoracion /
And fountayne of desolacion /
To all people generally.
Wherof in wholy scripture /
Is written a notable figure /
Shewed in the boke of Daniell /
Howe the prestes of Babilone /
With falshod acordynge in one /
Had an ydole called Bell.
Outwardly made all of bras /
And inwardly of erth it was /
Havynge a resceyte so devised.
That the ydole semed to devowere
An. C. shepe with wyne and flower /
Dayly vnto it sacryfised.
Which the prestes with their whores /
Thorowe crafty contrived dores /
Page  [unnumbered]Entreinge in the nyght secretly.
And there makynge recreacion /
They consumed the oblacion /
Oppressynge the people grevously.
Which semed so straunge a thynge /
That bothe the people and the kynge /
Reputed it a grett miracle.
Vntill Daniel at the last /
Perceavynge their disceavable cast /
Agaynst it made an obstacle.
He vttered to their confusion /
The execrable illusion /
Wherwith the folke they sore noyed.
Causynge by his policy /
That this ydole vtterly /
Was broken and destroyed.
¶Wherto dost thou this compare?
¶Of religious persons to declare /
The intollerable enormite.
For as the prestes with their ydoll /
The pover people did pill and poll /
By their dissaytfull sutrelte.
So the children of perdicion /
Named men of religion /
With their wilfull poverte.
The wyde worlde forto begger /
Daye and nyght they indever /
Blyndynge the peoples simplicite.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶I marvayle men make no restraynt /
Their dissaytfulnes to attaynt /
Whyls it is open and aperte.
¶Daniel is not yett come /
Which shall obtayne the roume /
Their fraudfull wayes to subuerte▪
¶When shalbe then his comynge?
¶I ensure the or longe runnynge /
For he begynneth to drawe nere.
¶Well then / this matter to remitt /
I wolde very fayne a lytell fitt /
Of their chastite to heare.
¶To tell the of their chastite /
It lyeth not in my capacite /
The shamfullnes therof to compryse.
¶Men saye they live blissedly /
With out acte of matrimony /
Ensuynge verteous exercyse.
¶Their cloysters are the devils mwes
Farre worse then eny stwes /
Or cōmen places of whordom.
They are the dens of baudines /
And fornaces of all letcherousnes /
Lyke vnto Gomer and Sodom.
Yonge laddes and babes innocent /
They brynge in by their intysment /
To their leawde congregacion.
Whom they reccave to profession /
Page  [unnumbered]Before that they have discrecion /
To their eternall damnacion.
For when they fele by experience /
The brynnynge of the concupiscence /
Pryckynge their hertes with love.
Consyderynge also their bondage /
Howe they can vse no mariage /
As a christen man doth behove.
Then to quenche their apetytes /
They are fayne to be sodomytes /
Abusynge theym selves vnnaturally.
And so from hope of salvacion /
They fall into desperacion /
Ordrynge their lyves most shamfully.
¶I will not say the contrary /
But amonge a grett company /
One or two soche thou mayst fynde.
¶Make the company grett or small /
Amonge a thousand fynde thou shall /
Scant one chast of boddy and mynde
¶They saye yett with bolde audacite /
That it resteth in mans faculte /
If he will / to live chastly.
¶Then make they Christ a lyer /
Callynge it a gyfte singuler /
Not geven to every boddy.
Paul also in his epistle /
Vnto Timothe his disciple /
Page  [unnumbered]Writynge by sprete of prophecy.
Nameth it a dyvlisshe doctryne.
Which agaynst scripture divine /
Forbiddeth folke to mary.
Morover the storys not faynynge /
The lives of olde fathers conteynynge /
Geve reccorde to the same.
Which endued with godly science /
Exercysynge continuall abstinence.
The lustes of the flesshe to tame.
Yet feawe or none had the grace /
With all their laboure to purchace /
The singuler gyfte of chastite.
Howe shuld they then live chaste /
That of gostlynes have no taste /
Geven holy to carnalite.
Which as wolves and bely beastes.
Eatynge and drynkynge in their feastes /
The bloudde of the pover cōmenalte /
They hate soche as are studious /
Abhorrynge those that are verteous /
As a toade / or poysonde serpente.
With oute knowledge as asses brute /
Of all goode manners destitute /
Braynles and insipient.
¶I se then he werre a very chylde /
Which wolde eny mo abbeys bylde /
Yf the goodes shuld be so yll spent.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶It werre fare better I suppose /
To plucke downe a grett sorte of those /
Which are all redy of costly bildynge /
¶Oure lorde forbid / that werre pete /
For they kepe hospitalite /
Waye farynge people harborynge.
Husbande men and labourers /
With all cōmen artificers /
They cause to have grett ernynge.
Their townes and villages /
With out exaccions or pillages /
Vnder theym have moche wynnynge.
They kepe also many servauntes /
Retaynynge fermers and tennauntes /
Which by theym have their lyvynge.
¶Hospitall abbeyes thou fyndest but feawe /
All though some of theym for asheawe /
To blyndfelde the peoples syght.
Paraventure will not denaye /
Yf a gentle man come that waye /
To geve hym lodgynge for a nyght.
But yf pover men thyther resorte /
They shall have full lytell comforte /
Nether meate / dryncke / ne lodgynge.
Savynge wother whyles perhap /
They gett a feawe broken scrap
Of these cormorant levynge.
¶Well yett their fare consyderynge /
Page  [unnumbered]It is I wis no smale thynge /
That they leave dayly at their borde.
¶Ye but thorowe falce lorchers /
And vnthryfty abbey lobbers /
To povre folcke lytell they a forde.
For the best meate awaye they carve /
Which for their harlott must serve /
With wother frendes of their kynne.
Then proll the servynge officers /
With the yemen that be wayters /
So that their levett are but thynne.
And where as thou makest relacion /
That men of sondry occupacion /
By theym are sett vnto laboure.
It is aboute soche folysshnes /
Concernynge no proffytablenes /
Vnto their neghbours soccoure.
In byldynge of chambers curious /
Churches / and houses / superfluous /
To no purpose expedient.
So that they maye satisfy /
Their inordinate fantasy /
They care for no detryment.
Set dyce and carde players a syde /
And thorowe out the worlde so wyde /
They waste their goode most in vayne.
Their pryde maketh many a begger /
Feawe or none farynge the better /
Page  [unnumbered]Except an ydell Iavel or twayne.
Their townes somtyme of renowne /
Leawdly they cause to faule downe /
The honoure of the londe to marre.
They sue their subiett at the lawe /
Whom they make nott worth a strawe /
Raynynge theym giltles at the barre.
And that I me nowe reporte /
To their lordships a grett sorte /
With whom they had controversys.
Namly / Saynt Edmondis bery /
With dyvers wother a grett many /
Vnder the holde of monasterys.
Furthermore theare as I did wone /
All husbande men they have vndone /
Destroyinge the londe miserably.
¶To prove that it wer very harde.
¶Take hede howe farmers go backwarde /
And thou shalt se it with thyne ey.
For the londes welth pryncipally /
Stondeth in exercyse of husbandry /
By encreace of catell and tillynge.
Which as longe as it doth prosper /
The realme goeth backwarde never /
In stabill felicite perseverynge.
The abbeys then full of covetyse /
Whom possessions coulde not suffyse /
Ever more and more encroachynge.
Page  [unnumbered]After they had spoyled gentill men /
They vndermyned husbande men /
In this man̄er theym robbynge.
Wheare a farme for xx.lj. was sett /
Vnder .xxx. they wolde not it lett /
Raysynge it vp on so hye a some.
That many a goode husholder /
Constrayned to geve his farme over /
To extreme beggary did come.
¶I have hearde saye of myne elders /
That in Englonde many fermers /
Rept gaye housholdes in tymes passed.
¶Ye that they did with liberalite /
Sheawynge to povre people charite /
But nowe all together is dasshed.
Of ryche farme places and halles /
Thou seist nothynge but bare walles /
The roses fallen to the grownde /
To tourne fayre houses into pasture /
They do their diligent cure /
The cōmen well to confownde.
¶Howe have the abbeys their payment?
¶A newe waye they do invent /
Lettynge a dosen farmes vnder one.
Which one or two ryche francklyng /
Occupyinge a dosen mens lyvyng /
Take all in their owne hondes a lone.
¶The wother in paiynge their rent /
Page  [unnumbered]Be lycklyhod were negligent /
And wolde not do their duty.
¶They payde their duty and more /
But their farmes are heythed so sore /
That they are brought vnto beggery.
¶Have the francklyng therby no gayne?
¶Yes / but fyrst they have moche payne /
Yer they can gett it substancially.
Payinge more for the entrynge in /
Then they shalbe able to wyn̄e /
A goode whyle after certaynly.
For to gett the abbott consent /
Vnder the seale of the covent /
It is a thynge very costly.
Where of the charges to recover /
Lest they shulde theym selves enpover /
And be brought into decaye.
Pover cilly shepperd they gett /
Whome into their farmes they sett /
Lyvynge on mylke / whyg / and whey.
¶Mercyfull lorde / who hearde ever tell /
Religious folke to be so cruell /
Supplantynge the temporalte.
¶Thou knowest nott watkyn felowe /
Howe they have brought to sorowe /
In lykwyse the spretualte.
¶By what man̄er cavillacion?
¶Surly through improperacion /
Page  [unnumbered]Of inumerable benefices.
¶Do they benefices improperate?
¶Ye and that many a curate.
Dayly coursse their cruell bellies.
¶They eate nether churche ne steple.
No but they robbe the pover people /
Devowrynge their substaunce.
¶Yf they do spretually sowe /
They maye well temporally mowe /
After the apostles ordenaunce.
¶Toshe they have it better cheape /
For they temporall goodes reape /
And sowe nothynge spretually.
Their parisshons they sheare and clippe /
But they never open their lippe /
To geve theym eny fode gostly.
¶Happely they do it in prevete.
¶So god healpe me it maye well be /
Vnder some secret clausure.
For it is surly so invisible /
That I trowe it is not possible /
To be sene of eny creature.
¶What requyre they of benefices?
¶No thynge but to have the sleces /
And avauntages carnally.
¶I perceave not well thy meanynge.
¶They are redyer to take vp tythynge /
Then to preache to theym frutfully.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶Is there eny grett differynge /
Bitwene theft and tythe gaderynge /
After the practyse that we se?
¶Very litell / all thynges reckened /
Savynge that theves are corrected /
And rythe gaderers go scott fre.
¶Have they no circumspeccion /
With diligent affeccion /
For their paresshes to provyde?
¶They sett in folysshe dotardes /
More mete forto be bearwardes /
Then christen mens soules to gyde.
And even as they do by farmage /
Brynge the londe into a rearage /
Contempnynge the state temporall.
In lyke maner by their rapyne /
They have brought into ruyne /
The order ecclesiasticall.
¶It apereth they are past grace.
¶They are the divels fornace /
Oven infernall vnsaciable.
¶If these monkes are so noyous /
Bothe fraudulent and covetous /
To what vses are they proffitable?
¶Nowe by the death that I shall deye /
Of all people vnder neth the skye /
The worlde maye theym best spare.
Nether to the godly deite /
Page  [unnumbered]Nor yett to mans vtilite /
In eny cace proffitable they are.
And not only vnnecessary /
But moroever clene contrary /
Defraudynge that to theym is due.
For though their lyfe so vicious /
To goddis lawes is iniurious /
Confowndynge the waye of vertue.
Yet are they more presompteous /
Sayinge their workes meritorious /
Healpe synners to be goddis heyres.
Wherby Christis bloud they despyse /
As though it coulde not suffyse /
With out their damnable prayres.
And wheare as they shulde be prest /
At all seasons doynge their best /
The cōmen well to mayntayne.
Their bellies are so full of greace /
That nether in warre nor peace /
They cane do eny healpe certayne.
Yet their fyndyng they expende /
Which shulde the londe defende /
Devowrynge many a knyghtes fe.
They are nether gostly / ner worldly /
Rather divlysshe then godly /
With out eny goode properte.
¶Yf they be soche ydell raveners /
They are lyke to the grett coursers /
Page  [unnumbered]Which noble men in stables kepe.
For they are cheresed all waye /
With fresshe litter and goode haye.
Doynge right noght but eate and slepe.
¶There is in theym grett diversite /
For yf it come to extremite /
They save their masters from yvill.
Where as these miserable brybers /
Brynge their fownders and healpers /
The strayght waye to the devill.
¶Are they lyke to wolves ravenous?
¶A grett deale more outragious /
Farre excedynge their rapacite.
For though they be cruell of kynde /
Yett they leave their skynnes be hynde /
As a mendes for their cruelte
But this mischevous moūckry /
Though they robbe every country /
Whyls they be here a lyve.
Yet can they not be so pleased /
But after that they be deceaced /
Least eny by theym shuld thryve.
They cary into their sepulture /
Their dayly clothynge and vesture /
Buried in their churlysshe habyte.
¶Have they on their botes also?
¶Ye by my trothe even redy to go /
To the devill withouten respyte.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶There is some mistery pondered /
That they vse so to be buried /
In their habyte and clothynge.
¶No dout it is a mistery /
By coniectours manifestly /
Their wretched lyfe betokenynge.
For as in this lyfe they denayde /
Their christen neghbours to ayde /
Lyvynge here vncheritably.
So by their death and latter ende /
In their buriall they pretende /
Not to be of Christis company.
¶To whom then do they pertayne?
To the devill their soverayne /
Which hath theym all in his bonde.
¶Beware thou be not to bolde /
For thy lyfe were bought and solde /
Yf thou spake this in Englonde.
¶They maye well bothe ban and cours /
But they cannot do moche wors /
Then they did to Hun the marchaunt.
¶Did they eny grevaunce to hym?
¶Out of this lyfe they did hym trym̄e /
Because he was goddis servaunte.
¶He did some faulte gretly notory?
¶No thynge but for a mortuary /
The prestes agaynst hym did aryse.
No maner faulte in hym was fownde /
Page  [unnumbered]Yet was he hanged / brent / and drownde.
His goodes takyn vp for a pryse.
As an herityke they hym toke /
Because he had many a boke /
In englysshe / of holy scripture.
Also he worshipped no ymages /
And wolde not go on pilgremages /
Vsynge none othes to periure.
¶Are the prelar so mad frantycke /
To iudge soche a man an heritycke /
Shewynge tokens of fydelite?
¶They regarde their worldly proffett /
Wynnynge therby many a forfett /
Whiche moreth theym to crudelite.
Mens goodes wrongfully to cease /
They make herityk whom they please /
By faulce relacion af Someners.
¶Have they none wother intelleccion?
¶Yes also by their confession /
Which they tell in prestes eares.
¶Dare they confessions to bewraye?
¶Confessions catha? ye by my faye /
They kepe no secretnes att all.
Though noble men have doctours /
To be their private confessours /
Yet they have one that is generall▪
¶Besyde those which are perticuler?
¶Ye / and that hath brought some to care /
Page  [unnumbered]Of whom I coulde make rehearceall.
¶His name wolde I very fayne here.
¶It is the englisshe Lucifer /
Wotherwyse called the Cardinall.
In all the londe there is no wyght /
Nether lorde baron / nor knyght /
To whom he hath eny hatred.
But ether by sower speche or swete /
Of their confessours he will wete /
Howe they have theym selves behaved.
What they saye / it is accepted /
In no poynte to be obiected /
Though they be as falce as Iudas.
¶What authorite do they allege?
¶It is their churches previlege /
Falcely to fayne that never was.
¶Soche confessours are vniust.
¶Yett nedes do it they must /
Yf they will to honoure ascende.
¶Promocions are of the Kyngis gyft?
¶For all that he maketh soche shyft /
That in his pleasure they depende.
Though they have the kyngis patent /
Except they have also his assent /
It tourneth to none avauntage.
His power he doth so extende /
That the kyngis letters to rende /
He will not forbeare in his rage.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶This is a grett presumpcion /
For a villayne bochers sonne /
His authorite so to avaunce.
But it is more to be marveyled /
That noble men wilbe confessed /
To these kaytives of miscreaunce.
¶O / the grett whore of Babilon /
With her deadly cuppe of poyson /
Hath brought theym to dronkenship.
That paynted bordes and ded stock /
Carved ydoles in stones and block /
Above allmyghty god they worship.
¶Hath Englond soche stacions /
Of devoute peregrinacions /
As are in Fraunce and Italy?
¶Seke oute londes every chone /
And thou shalt fynde none so prone /
As Englonde / to this ydolatry.
Of wholy Roodes / there is soche a sight /
That bitwene this and mydnyght /
I coulde not make explicacion.
Then have they ladies as many /
Some of grace and some of mercy /
With divers of lamentacion.
Morover paynted stock and stones /
With shrynes / full of rotten bones /
To the whiche they make oblacion.
¶What are they after thy supposynge?
Page  [unnumbered]
¶Stronge theves with outen glosynge /
And authours of prevaricacion.
¶Take hede thou do not blaspheme.
¶After their workes I theym esteme /
Both to man and god oure creatoure.
Where as is no god but one.
We ought to worship hym alone /
And no falce goddes to adoure.
Whyche of his honoure is defrauded /
By these ydoles faulcely lauded /
With sacrifice and adoracion.
Man in lyke maner they robbe /
Causynge povre folke to sygh and sobbe /
Takynge awaye their sustentacion.
¶The goodes that to theym are offered /
Are they not to pover people proffered /
Their necessites to relefe?
¶It is wasted in ryetous revell /
Amonge many an ydell Iavell /
To norysshe morther and mischefe.
¶I heare saye that besydes London /
There is oure lady of Wilsdon /
Which doth grett myracles dayly.
¶As for whordom / and letcherousnes /
She is the chefe lady mastres /
Cōmen paramoure of baudry.
Many men as it is knowen /
Kepe mo chyldren then their owne /
Page  [unnumbered]By her myracles promocion.
Wyves to deceave their husbandes /
Make to her many errandes /
Vnder coloure of devocion.
¶Dost thou oure lady so backbyte?
¶No but I have the stocks in despyte /
Wherby they dishonoure her.
In scripture it is written /
And of oure lorde forbidden /
To be a falce ydolatrer.
¶Whyls thou dost so farre procede /
Howe is it then in thy crede /
Of Saynt Thomas of Cantourbury?
¶I beleve / and also I trust /
Yf that he were in this lyfe iust /
And of oure lordes vocacion.
That his soule hath fruicion /
Perpetually with our intermission /
Of eternall consolacion.
¶Ye but I meane of his body /
Shryned in the monastery /
With golde and stones precious.
Also the grett myracles wrought /
And howe of people he is sought /
With offerynges and gyftes somptious.
¶As for that yf we geve credence /
To oure saveoure Christis sentence /
The Euangelistes bearynge recorde.
Page  [unnumbered]Many shall do thynges straunge /
Wherby they will boldly chalange
To worcke in the name of oure lorde.
And yet Christ in theym hath no parte /
But worcke theym by the devils arte /
Vsurpynge an angels lykenes.
Which doth hym silfe so transpose /
Fraudulently to begyle those /
That contempne goddis rightousnes.
¶Neverthelesse as clarckes defyne /
Workynge of myracles is a signe /
That vnto god they are acceptable.
¶Shall we to men credence geve /
Or ought we the gospell to beleve /
Whose verite is impermutable?
I dare saye / and abyde therby /
That Saynct Thomas of Caunterbury /
With mother Saynct canonysed.
Yf their paynted efficacite /
Is but as it semeth to be.
Of god they are despysed.
For though they heale lame and blynde /
With men (as they saye) out of mynde /
Healpynge diseases corporall▪
Yet destroye they out of hande /
For every one of theym a thowsande /
Concernynge their soules spretuall.
And where as Christ doth requyre /
Page  [unnumbered]That of of god we shulde desyre /
All our necessite and nede.
To theym we make peticion /
Agaynst goddis prohibicion /
To wicked doctours gevynge hede.
¶Well yet I ensure the Ieffraye /
The gospell for theym they laye /
Growndynge on it their argument.
¶Naye watkyn that is a starcke lye.
¶Howe shall we then the troth trye /
By some probacion evident?
¶Mary take goddis wholy wrytynge /
Nether addynge nor diminysshynge /
But even playnly after the letter.
¶They saye scripture is so diffuse /
That laye people on it to muse /
Shulde be never the better.
It is no medlyuge for foles /
But for soche as have bene at scoles /
As doctours that be graduate.
¶Wenest thou that Peter the fissher /
Vnderstode not scripture clearlyer /
Then the pharisaies obstinate?
Who did so wilfully resist /
Agaynst the receavynge of Christ /
As they which were learned?
¶No wonder / for they knewe hym not.
¶No more do oure doctours god wot /
Page  [unnumbered]In eny poynte to be discerned.
¶Of Christ yett they make mencion.
¶Ye for be cause their pension /
With benefices maye be endued.
But in their lyfe and behaveoure /
They despyse Christ oure saveoure /
Labourynge his worde to exclude.
¶Canst thou prove this in dede?
¶Whosoever will the gospell rede /
To prove it shall nede no testes.
¶Peraventure they wolde have it hid /
Wherfore to rede it they forbid /
Lest men shulde knowe their wickednes.
¶Had thou studied an whoale yere /
Thou couldest not have gone no nere /
To hit their crafty suttelnes.
For yf the gospell were soffered /
Of laye people frely to be red /
In their owne moders langage.
They shulde se at their fyngers endes /
The abhominacions of these fendes /
With the abusion of pilgremage.
Also to perceave every whitt /
What it is Saynt for to visitt /
With nobles / brouches / and rynges.
¶Soft thou this custume reprehende?
¶I thyncke no goode man will cōmende /
Soche supersticious offerynges.
Page  [unnumbered]Wherof thre poynt I will move /
By the whyche I shall playnly prove /
That it is a thynge vngodly.
Fyrst a povre man of farre dwellynge /
For his wyfe and chyldren labourynge /
To kepe and fynde theym honestly.
Paraventure for some sickenes /
Or for a vowe of folisshnes /
To accomplysshe Satans institute.
Taketh on hym a farre viage /
To some Saynctes shryne or ymage /
Leavynge his housholde destitute.
Which often tymes do mis cary.
The meane while that he doth tary /
Bestowynge his laboure in vayne.
And so goddis cōmaundment neglecte /
For smale tryfles of none effecte /
They put theym selves vnto payne.
Secondaryly / what pevisshnes /
Is it to honoure with ryches /
Of deade saynct the bodies?
Seynge that whyls they here lyved /
From ryches they were deprived /
As we rede in their storyes /
Thirdly / it is no Christen touche /
To se many a golden ouche /
With rynges and stones preciously.
To make deade saynctes forto shyne /
Page  [unnumbered]Where pover folke for honger pyne /
Dyinge with out healpe petiously.
And yf with all possibilite /
Oure christen neghbours poverte /
Duly to ayde we are bownde.
Why do Saynctes it then transgresse /
In whom charitable perfetnes /
In especiall shulde redownde?
Saynct Ihon to Christ so amiable /
Sayth / excepte we be charitable /
Lovynge eache wother fraternally.
It boreth not Christ to professe /
For why / we wander in darcknes /
With our light erroniously.
For howe can be have charite /
That seith his neghbours necessite /
And refuseth hym to socoure?
¶I marvayle not by hym that me made /
Yf they be with golde and stones so lade /
Though they cannot their neghbours se.
But nowe to speake ernestly /
Have their soules celestially /
In soche offerynges eny delyte?
¶It is to theym grett despleasure /
Abhorrynge it out of measure /
As a thynge done in their despyte.
¶What were best then to be done?
¶To breake theym in peces a none /
Page  [unnumbered]Amonge povre folke to be destributed.
¶Haw / to do that dede who durst /
Seynge that he shulde be a courst /
And as an herityke reputed.
¶Let theym with furiousnes swell /
Coursynge with boke / bell / and candell /
Whyls they have breath for to speake.
Yet had we the Kynges licence /
We wolde with outen diffydence /
Their golden shrynes in peces breake.
¶What shulde we do with their ryches?
¶Geve it to pover men in almes /
To whom of dute it doth fonge.
¶The Saynctes then wolde be angry /
Yf that we shulde be so hardy /
Vnlaufully to do theym wronge.
For some men have it assayde /
Whom saynctes have shreawedly arayde /
In revengynge their iniury.
So that by an whole nyghtes space /
They were fayne to kepe one place /
The dores stondynge open apertly.
¶And what was their fynall chaunce /
¶By my sothe / in an hangynge daunce /
Their neck in a corde to preve.
¶Vse the Saynctes eny men to kyll?
¶No but they make theym stonde still /
Vntill they be taken of the Schereve.
Page  [unnumbered]Then are thy lyke and semblable /
Vnto oure bisshops venerable /
Which saye / we will not morther.
But they put men in soche savegarde /
That with in a whyle afterwarde /
They be sure to go no forther.
¶Are not soche saynct reprehensible?
¶Ye for they shulde be invincible /
Of charitable dileccion.
For if they will eny man noye /
Ether eny body to destroye /
They are not of Christis eleccion.
Whiche after Luk evangelion /
Sayde to thapostels Iames and Ihon /
Nescitis cuius spiritus estis.
The sonne of man hidder cam /
Not forto destroye eny man /
But to save that perisshed is.
Wherfore let theym do wonders /
By the divels their founders /
To leade men in blynde cecite.
Yett never thelesse thou and I /
Wolde put oure selves in ieopardy /
Agaynst all their malignite.
To rake awaye their ouches /
Golden ryng and brouches /
Gevynge it vnto the poore.
¶Thou excepst, S. Churbert of Duram /
Page  [unnumbered]With oure lady of Walsyngam /
Also oure lady of the Moore.
¶God beynge oure direccion /
We wolde make none excepcion /
Agaynst the devils enchauntment.
To do their best / let theym not spare /
For we wolde make theym full bare /
Of their precious ornament.
¶Oure honeste then destayned /
Suerly we shulde be proclaymed /
For outragious heretyk.
¶Why more we then the Cardinall?
¶He attempteth nothynge at all /
Soche maters in his bisshopryck.
¶I am sure thou hast hearde spoken /
What monasteries he hath broken /
With out their fownders consent.
He subverteth churches / and chappells /
Takynge a waye bok and bells
With chalesces / and vestment.
He plucketh downe the costly leades /
That it maye rayne on saynct heades /
Not sparynge god nor oure ladye.
Where as they red servyce divyne /
There is groūtynge of pigges and swyne /
With lowynge of oxen and kye.
The aultres of their celebracions /
Are made pearches for hen̄s and capons /
Page  [unnumbered]De foylynge theym with their durt.
And though it be never so prophane /
He is counted a goode christiane /
No man doynge hym eny hurtt.
¶A conscience yf it be sothe /
That the Cardinall so dothe /
I wonder that he is not apeached.
¶O / churche men are wyly foxes /
More crafty then iuggelers boxes /
To play ligier du mayne teached.
Yt is not for nought they fayne /
That the two sweardes to theym pertayne /
Both spretuall / and temporall.
Wherwith they playe on both hondes /
Most tyrannously in their bondes /
Holdynge the worlde vniversall.
Agaynst god they are so stobbourne /
That scripture they tosse and tourne /
After their owne ymaginacion.
Yf they saye the mone is belewe /
We must beleve that it is true /
Admittynge their interpretacion.
¶Art thou not a frayde to presume /
Agaynst the Cardinalls fume /
Seynge they wilbe all on his syde?
¶No I do rather gretly reioyce /
That of a lytell wormes voyce /
Goddis iudgement maye be veryfyed.
Page  [unnumbered]Agaynst soche a wicked brothell /
Which sayth / vnder his girthell /
He holdeth Kynges and Princes.
To whom for a salutacion /
I will rehearce a brefe oracion /
dedicate vnto his statlynes
¶Nowe gentell mate I the praye.
¶Have at it then with out delaye /
Contempnynge his maliciousnes.
O miserable monster / most malicious /
Father of perversite / patrone of hell.
O terrible Tyrant / to god and man odious /
Advocate of antichrist / to Christ rebell.
To the I speake / o caytife Cardinall so cruell.
Causles chargynge by thy coursed cōmādmēt
To brenne goddis worde the wholy testamēt.
Godde worde / grownd of all vertue ād grace
The fructeous fode / of oure faythfull trust.
Thou hast condempned in most carfull cace /
Throwe furions foly / falce and vniust.
O fearce Pharao / folower of flesshly lust.
What moved thy mynde by malyce to cōsent /
To brenne godd worde / the wholy testamēt.
The tenoure of thy tyranny passeth my brayne
In every poynt evidently to endyght.
Nero nor herod / wer never so noyus certayne
Page  [unnumbered]All though of godd law they had lytel lyght
Shame it is to speake howe agaynst ryght.
Thy hatfull hert hath caused to be brent /
Goddis true worde / the wholy testament.
O perverse preste patriarke of pryde /
Mortherer with out mercy most execrable.
O beastly brothell / of baudry the bryde /
Darlynge of the devill / gretly detestable.
Alas / what wretch wolde be so vengeable?
At eny tyme to attempte soche impediment /
To bren̄e godd worde the wholy testament.
God of his goodenes / grudged not to dye /
Man to delyver from deadly dampnacion.
Whose will is that we shulde knowe perfetly
What he here hath done for oure saluacion.
O cruell kayface / full of crafty conspiracion.
Howe durst thou geve then falce iudgement
To brenne godd worde / the wholy testamēt.
Thy leawednes of lyvynge is loth to heare /
Christis gospell to come vnto cleare light.
Howe be it surly it is so spred farre and neare
That forto let it thou haste lytell myght.
God hath opened oure dercke dimed syght.
Truly to perceave thy tyran̄ous intent /
To bren̄e godd worde the wholy testament.
Page  [unnumbered]Agaynst thyne ambicion all people do crye /
Pōpously spēdīge the sustenaunce of the pore
Thy haulte honoure hyly to magnify /
Maketh / theves / traytours / ād many a whore
Wo worth the wretche of wickednes the dore
Forger of oure dayly damage and detriment
To brenne goddis worde the wholy testamēt.
O paynted pastoure / of Satan the Prophet /
Kagynge courre / wrapped in a wolues skyn̄e
O butcherly bisshop / to be a ruler vnmete /
Maker of misery / occasion of synne.
God graunt the grace nowe to begynne.
Sf thy dampnable dedes to be penitent /
Bren̄ynge goddis worde / the wholy testamēt
¶No more for oure lordis passion /
Thou raylest nowe of a fassion /
With rebuk most despytous /
No man shall these wordes advert /
But will iudge theym of an hert /
To procede / most contumelious.
¶Though popisshe curres here at do barcke /
Yet thou mayst therin well marcke /
The will of god accomplesshed.
The Cardinall thus to rewarde /
Which with oute eny godly regarde /
Desdayneth the trothe to be pupplisshed.
Page  [unnumbered]Therfore as he did the trueth condempne /
So god wil hym and all his contempne /
With the swearde of punnysshment.
¶They had fyrst some provocacion?
¶None wother then the translacion /
Of the englysshe newe testament.
Wherin the authours with mecknes /
Vtterly avoydynge conviciousnes /
Demeaned theym so discretly.
That with all their invencion /
They coulde fynde no reprehencion /
Resistynge goddis worde wilfully.
¶Howe had the gospell fyrst entraunce /
Into Englonde so farre of distaunce /
Where to rede hym / no man maye?
¶Goode christen men with pure affecte /
Of god singulerly therto electe /
With cost did hym thether conveye.
Which / even as Christ was betrayed /
So with hym the clargy played /
Thorowe trayterous prodicion.
¶Who played the parte of Iudas▪
¶The wholy bisshop of Saynct Asse /
A poste of Satans iurisdiccion.
Whom they call Doctour standisshe /
Wone that is nether flesshe nor fisshe /
At all tymes a cōmen lyer.
He is a bablynge Questionist /
Page  [unnumbered]And a mervelous grett sophist /
Som tyme a lowsy graye fryer.
Of stōmake he is fearce and bolde /
In braulynge wordes a very scolde /
Menglynge vennem with sugre.
He despyseth the trueth of god /
Takynge parte rather with falcehod /
Forto obtayne worldly lucre.
In carde playinge he is a goode greke /
And can skyll of post and glyeke /
Also a payre of dyce to trolle▪
For whordom and fornicacions /
He maketh many visitacions /
His Dioces to pill and polle.
Though he be a stowte divyne /
Yett a prest to kepe a concubyne /
He there admitteth wittyngly.
So they paye their yearly tribut
Vnto his dyvlisshe substitut /
Officiall / or cōmissary.
To rehearce all his lyvynge /
God geve it yvell chevynge /
Or els some amendment shortly.
¶Howe did he the gospell betraye?
¶As sone as ever he hearde saye /
That the gospell cam to Englonde.
Immediatly he did hym trappe /
And to the man in the red cappe /
Page  [unnumbered]He brought hym with stronge honde.
Before whose prowde consistory /
Bryngynge in falce testimony /
The gospell he did theare accuse.
¶He did mo persones represent /
Then Iudas the traytour malivolent /
Whiche betrayed Christ to the Iues.
¶Thou mayst se of theym in one manne /
Herod / Pilat / Cayphas / and Anne /
With their propertis severall
And in another manifestly /
Iudas full of conspiracy /
With the sectes pharisaicall.
They are a grett deale more mutable /
Then Proteus of forme so variable /
Which coulde hym silfe so disgyse.
They canne represent apes / and beares /
Lyons / and asses with longe eares /
Even as they list to divyse.
But nowe of standisshe accusacion /
Brefly to make declaracion /
Thus to the Cardinall he spake.
Pleaseth youre honourable grace /
Here is chaunsed a pitious cace /
And to the churche a grett lacke.
The gospell in oure Englisshe tonge /
Of laye men to be red and songe /
Is nowe hidder come to remayne.
Page  [unnumbered]Which many heretyk shall make /
Except youre grace some waye take /
By youre authorite hym to restrayne.
For truly it is no handlynge /
For laye peoples vnderstondynge /
With the gospell to be busy.
Which many wone interprisynge /
Into heresy it did brynge /
Disdaynynge the churche vnreverently.
¶Tosshe / these sayng are sophisticall /
I wolde heare the sence misticall /
Of these wordes right interpreted.
¶In fayth with out simulacion /
This is the right significacion /
Of his meanynge to be expressed.
O Cardinall so glorious /
Thou arte Capitayne over vs /
Antichristis chefe member.
Of all oure detestacions /
And sinfull prevaricacions /
Thou alone / arte the defender.
Wherfore healpe nowe or els never /
For we are vndone for ever /
Yf the gospell abroade be spred.
For then with in a whyle after /
Every plowe manne and carter /
Shall se what a lyfe we have led.
Howe we have this five hondred yeres /
Page  [unnumbered]Roffled theym amonge the bryres /
Of desperate infidelite.
And howe we have the worlde brought /
Vnto beggery worsse then nought /
Through oure chargeable vanite.
Which knowen / we shalbe abhorred /
Reddi to be knocked in the forhed /
Oure welth taken awaye clene.
Therfore Tyrant playe nowe thy parte /
Seynge with the devill thou arte /
Gretter then eny manne hath bene.
Put the gospel a waye quyght /
That he come not to laye mens sight /
Forto knowe goddis cōmaundement.
And then we that are the rēmenaunt /
Shall diligently be attendaunt /
To blynde theym with onre cōment.
Yf they have once inhibicion /
In no maner of condicion /
To rede goddis worde and his lawes.
For vs doctours of theology /
It shalbe but a smale mastery /
To make theym foles and dawes.
Loke what thou dost by tyranny /
We will alowe it by sophistry /
Agaynst these worldly villaynes.
¶Nowe truly this is the meanynge /
Howe soever be the speakynge /
Page  [unnumbered]Of these spretuall lordaynes.
¶But what sayde the Cardinall here at?
¶He spake the wordes of Pilat /
Sayinge / I fynde no fault therin.
Howe be it / the bisshops assembled /
Amonge theym he examened /
What was best to determyn?
Then answered bisshop Cayphas /
Hoc est. London. Epūs.
That agrett parte better it was /
The gospell to be cōdempned.
Lest their vices manyfolde /
Shulde be knowen of yonge and olde /
Their estate to be contempned.
The Cardinall then incontinent /
Agaynst the gospell gave iudgement /
Sayinge / to brenne he deserved.
Wherto all the bisshopp cryed /
Answerynge / it cannot be denyed /
He is worthy so to be served.
¶Yf they playe thus their vages /
They shall not escape the plages /
Which to theym of Rome happened.
At whose scourge so marvelous /
They wolde yf they were gracious /
Gladly to be admonisshed.
To whom goddis worde in purite /
Was fyrst shewed with humilite /
Accordynge to the veritable sence.
Page  [unnumbered]Howe be it they wolde not it receave /
But frawardly with swearde and gleave /
They expulsed it from thence.
Vnto tyranny they did leane /
Wherfore god vsynge another meane /
To brynge theym vnto repentaunce.
He stered vp some mens spryte /
Which their fautes did endyte /
Of their mischefe makynge vttraunce.
Yet wolde not they amende /
But moare wilfully did deffende.
Their evill lyfe agaynst goddis worde.
Therfore as mislyvers obstinate /
They were destroyed nowe of late /
With pestilence and dent of sworde.
¶Thou hast rehearced thre poynt /
Which will make all prestes ioynt /
For feare to trymble and shake.
Seynge that the fyrst is past /
And the seconde cōmeth in fast /
Their hypocrisi to awake.
And yf they will not be refrayned /
The sworde of vengeaunce vnfayned /
On their frawardnes will light.
¶Well / let vs by no persuasion /
Geve no soche occasion /
Causynge christen men to fyght.
¶No man will have that suspicion /
Page  [unnumbered]But take it for an admonicion /
Their vnhappy lyfe to repent.
Fo••ye shewe as they shall fynde /
Yf god inspyre not their mynde /
To laboure for amendment.
Which by scripture to verify /
Let theym rede the prophet Ieremy /
In the chapter / fower and twente.
Howe be it I will me hens hye /
Wheare as the Cardinals furye /
With his treasure shall not gett me.
¶Is this prowde Cardinall rycher /
Then Christ or goode saynct Peter /
In whose roume he doth succede?
¶The bosses of his mulis brydles /
Myght bye Christ and his disciples /
As farre as I coulde ever rede.
¶Whether canst thou then flye awaye?
¶To Constantinoble in Turkeye /
Amonge hethen my lyfe to leade.
¶Yf thou wilt then live christenly /
Thou must vse thy silfe prevely /
Or els surely thou arte but deade.
¶I shall have theare as grett liberte /
As in wother placis of christente /
The trueth of Christ to professe.
For he that will the trueth declare /
I dare saye moche better he weare /
Page  [unnumbered]To be with theym in hethennesse.
¶Though thou go never so farre hence /
Yet with most terrible sentence /
To coursse the they will not mysse.
¶I ponder very lytell their courses /
For to god I saye with humblenes /
They shall course / and thou shalt blysse.
¶In their courses / is their no parell?
¶No for they do it in the quarell /
Of their god which is their belly.
¶What mischevous god is that?
¶Wone that hath eaten vp the fatt /
Of englond wealth so mery.
¶I will gett me then into Wales /
To dwell amonge hilles and dales /
With folke that be simple and rude.
¶Come not there I counsell the.
For the prestes / their simplicite /
Thorowe craftynes do so delude.
That whosoever is so hardy /
To speake agaynst prestes knavery /
For an herityke they hym take.
Of whose miserable calamite /
Vnder the spretuall captiuite /
I will here after a processe make.
¶Then will I go into the realme /
Of the plenteous londe of beame /
In the Cite of Prage to dwell.
Page  [unnumbered]
¶Of two thyng I will the warne /
Whiche thou must parfetly learne /
Yf thou wilt folowe my counsell.
Fyrst beware in especiall /
Of the outwarde man exteriall /
Though he shewe a fayre aperaunce.
Many shall come in a lambis skynne /
Which are ravisshynge wolues with in /
Ennemys to Christis ordinaunce.
The seconde is / yf eny reply /
Bryngynge in reasons obstinatly /
Agaynst that which semeth to be trewe.
Take no graduate for an authoure /
But remitt goode master doctoure /
To the olde testament or newe.
And yf he will beare the in honde /
That thou canst not it vnderstonde /
Be cause of the difficulte.
Axe hym howe thou arte able /
To vnderstonde a fayned fable.
Of more crafty subtilite?
¶I se thou knowest their secretnes /
¶Ye I coulde in their very lycknes /
Declare theym yf I had respyte.
¶Well I will departe / adue /
¶Nowe I beseche oure lorde Iesu /
To be thy gyde daye and nyght.