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Title: The Vision and Creed of Piers Ploughman, Volume 2

Author: William Langland

Editor: Thomas Wright

Release date: September 7, 2013 [eBook #43661]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Mark C. Orton, Keith Edkins and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
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Transcriber's note: A few obvious typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage.

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Project Gutenberg has the other volume of this work.
Volume I: see
Library of Old Authors.









Corresponding Member of the Imperial Institute of France,

Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres.







Passus Decimus Quartus, etc.


HAVE but oon hool hater," quod Haukyn;

"I am the lasse to blame,

Though it be soiled and selde clene:

I slepe therinne o nyghtes.

And also I have an houswif,

Hewen and children,—

Uxorem duxi, et ideo non possum venire.

That wollen by-molen it many tyme,

Maugree my chekes.

It hath be laved in Lente


And out of Lente bothe,

With the sope of siknesse,

That seketh wonder depe,

And with the losse of catel,

Looth for to a-gulte

God of any good man,

By aught that I wiste;

And was shryven of the preest

That gaf me for my synnes

To penaunce pacience


And povere men to fede,

Al for coveitise of my cristendom

In clennesse to kepen it.


And kouthe I nevere, by Crist!

Kepen it clene an houre,

That I ne soiled it with sighte

Or som ydel speche,

Or thorugh werk, or thorugh word,

Or wille of myn herte,

That I ne flobre it foule


Fro morwe til even."

"And I shal kenne thee," quod Conscience,

"Of contricion to make

That shal clawe thi cote

Of alle kynnes filthe.

Cordis contritio, etc.

Do-wel shal wasshen and wryngen it

Thorugh a wis confessour.

Oris confessio, etc.

Do-bet shal beten it and bouken it


As bright as any scarlet,

And engreyven it with good wille

And Goddes grace to amende the,

And sithen sende thee to satisfaccion

For to sowen it after.

Satisfactio Do-best.

"Shal nevere cheeste by-molen it,

Ne mothe after biten it,

Ne fend ne fals man

Defoulen it in thi lyve.


Shal noon heraud ne harpour

Have a fairer garnement

Than Haukyn the actif man,

And thow do by my techyng;

Ne no mynstrall be moore worth

Amonges povere and riche,

Than Haukyns wif the wafrer,


With his activa vita."

"And I shal purveie thee paast," quod Pacience,

"Though no plough erye,


And flour to fede folk with

As best be for the soule,

Though nevere greyn growed,

Ne grape upon vyne.

To alle that lyveth and loketh

Liflode wolde I fynde,

And that y-nogh shal noon faille

Of thyng that hem nedeth,

We sholde noght be to bisy

Abouten oure liflode,"


Ne solliciti sitis, etc. Volucres cœli

Deus pascit, etc. Patientes


Thanne laughed Haukyn a litel,

And lightly gan swerye,

"Who so leveth yow, by oure Lord!

I leve noght he be blessed."

"No," quod Pacience paciently;

And out of his poke hente

Vitailles of grete vertues


For alle manere beestes,

And seide, "Lo here liflode y-nogh!

If oure bileve be trewe.

For lent nevere was lif,

But liflode were shapen,

Wher-of or wher-fore

Or wher-by to libbe.

"First the wilde worm

Under weet erthe,

Fissh to lyve in the flood,


And in the fir the criket,

The corlew by kynde of the eyr

Moost clennest flessh of briddes,

And bestes by gras and by greyn

And by grene rootes,

In menynge that alle men

Myghte the same

Lyve thorugh leel bileve

And love, as God witnesseth."

Quodcunque petieritis a patre in


nomine meo, etc. Et alibi:

Non in solo pane vivit homo,

sed in omni verbo quod procedit

de ore Dei.

But I lokede what liflode it was

That Pacience so preisede;

And thanne was it a pece of the pater-noster,

Fiat voluntas tua.

"Have, Haukyn," quod Pacience,

"And et this whan the hungreth,


Or whan thow clomsest for cold,

Or clyngest for drye;

Shul nevere gyves thee greve,

Ne gret lordes wrathe,

Prison ne peyne;

For patientes vincunt.

By so that thow be sobre

Of sighte and of tonge,

In etynge and in handlynge,

And in alle thi fyve wittes,


Darstow nevere care for corn,

Ne lynnen cloth ne wollen,

Ne for drynke, ne deeth drede,

But deye as God liketh,


Or thorugh hunger or thorugh hete,

At his wille be it.

For if thow lyve after his loore,

The shorter lif the bettre.

Si quis amat Christum,

Mundum non diliget istum.


"For thorugh his breeth beestes woxen

And a-brood yeden.

Dixit et facta sunt, etc.

Ergo thorugh his breeth mowen

Men and beestes lyven,

As holy writ witnesseth,

Whan men seye hir graces.

Aperis tu manum tuam, et imples

omne animal benedictione.

"It is founden that fourty wynter


Folk lyvede withouten tulying;

And out of the flynt sprong the flood

That folk and beestes dronken;

And in Elyes tyme

Hevene was y-closed,

That no reyn ne roon;


Thus rede men in bokes

That many wyntres men lyveden,

And no mete ne tulieden.

"Sevene slepe, as seith the book,

Sevene hundred wynter,

And lyveden withouten liflode,

And at the laste thei woken.

And if men lyvede as mesure wolde,

Sholde nevere moore be defaute

Amonges cristene creatures,

If Cristes wordes ben trewe.


"Ac unkyndenesse caristiam maketh


Amonges cristen peple;

And over plentee maketh pryde

Amonges poore and riche.


Therfore mesure is muche worth,

It may noght be to deere;

For the meschief and the meschaunce

Amonges men of Sodome,

Weex thorugh plentee of payn,

And of pure sleuthe.

Otiositas et abundantia panis peccatum

turpissimum nutrivit.

For thei mesured noght hemself

Of that thei ete and dronke,


Thei diden dedly synne

That the devel liked,

So vengeaunce fil upon hem

For hir vile synnes;

Thei sonken into helle,

The citees echone.

"For-thi mesure we us wel,

And make oure feith oure sheltrom;

And thorugh feith cometh contricion,

Conscience woot wel,


Which dryveth awey dedly synne,

And dooth it to be venial.

And though a man myghte noght speke,

Contricion myghte hym save,

And brynge his soule to blisse;

For so that feith bere witnesse,

That whiles he lyvede, he bilevede

In the loore of the holy chirche.

Ergo contricion, feith, and conscience

Is kyndeliche Do-wel,


And surgiens for dedly synnes

Whan shrift of mouthe failleth.

Ac shrift of mouth moore worthi is,

If man be y-liche contrit;

For shrift of mouthe sleeth synne,

Be it never so dedly.

Per confessionem to a preest

Peccata occiduntur.

"Ther contricion dooth but dryveth it down

Into a venial synne,


As David seith in the Sauter,

Et quorum tecta sunt peccata;

Ac satisfaccion seketh out the roote,

And bothe sleeth and voideth,

An as it nevere hadde y-be

To noghte bryngeth dedly synne,

That it nevere eft is sene ne soor,

But semeth a wounde y-heeled."

"Where wonyeth Charité?" quod Haukyn,

"I wiste nevere in my lyve


Man that with hym spak,

As wide as I have passed."

"Ther parfit truthe and poore herte is,

And pacience of tonge,

Ther is Charité the chief chaumbrere

For God hymselve."

"Wheither paciente poverte," quod Haukyn,

"Be moore plesaunt to our Drighte

Than richesse rightfulliche wonne,

And resonably despended?"


"Ye, quis est ille?" quod Pacience;

"Quik laudabimus eum.


Though men rede of richesse

Right to the worldes ende,

I wiste nevere renk that riche was,

That whan he rekene sholde,

Whan he drogh to his deeth day,

That he ne dredde hym soore,

And that at the rekenyng in arrerage fel

Rather than out of dette.


Ther the poore dar plede,

And preve by pure reson,

To have allowance of his lord,

By the lawe he it cleymeth;

Joye, that nevere joye hadde,

Of rightful jugge he asketh,

And seith 'Lo! briddes and beestes

That no blisse ne knoweth,

And wilde wormes in wodes,

Thorugh wyntres thow hem grevest;


And makest hem wel neigh meke,

And mylde for defaute;

And after thow sendest hem somer,

That is hir sovereyn joye,

And blisse to alle that ben,

Bothe wilde and tame.'

"Thanne may beggeris as beestes

After boote waiten,

That al hir lif han lyved

In langour and in defaute,


But God sente hem som tyme

Som manere joye

Outher here or ellis where,

Kynde wolde it nevere;

For to wrotherhele was he wroght

That nevere was joye shapen.


Aungeles that in helle now ben

Hadden joye som tyme;

And Dives in the deyntees lyvede,

And in douce vie.


Right so reson sheweth

That the men that were riche,

And hir makes also,

Lyvede hir lif in murthe.

"Ac God is of wonder wille,

By that kynde wit sheweth,

To gyve many man his mede

Er he it have deserved.

Right so fareth God by some riche,

Ruthe me it thynketh;


For thei han hir hire heer,

And hevene, as it were,

And greet likynge to lyve

Withouten labour of bodye:

And whan he dyeth, ben disalowed,

As David seith in the Sauter:

Dormierunt, et nihil invenerunt.

And in another stede also:

Velut somnium surgentium, Domine,

in civitate tua, et ad nihilum


rediges, etc.

"Allas! that richesse shal reve

And robbe mannes soule

From the love of oure Lord,

At his laste ende.

"Hewen, that han hir hire afore,

Arn evere moore nedy;

And selden deyeth he out of dette,

That dyneth er he deserve it,

And til he have doon his devoir


And his dayes journée.

For whan a werkman hath wroght,

Than many men se the sothe

What he were worthi for his werk,

And what he hath deserved;

And noght to fonge bifore,

For drede of disalowyng.

"So I seye by yow riche,

It semeth noght that ye shulle

Have hevene in youre here dwellyng,


And hevene also therafter;

Right so as a servaunt taketh his salarie bifore,

And siththe wolde clayme moore,

As he that noon hadde,

And hath hire at the laste.

It may noght be, ye riche men,

Or Mathew on God lyeth:

Væ! deliciis ad delicias difficile est


"Ac if ye riche have ruthe,


And rewarde wel the poore,

And lyven as lawe techeth,

And doon leauté to hem alle,

Crist of his curteisie

Shal conforte yow at the laste,

And rewarden alle double richesse

That rewful hertes habbeth.

And as an hyne that hadde

His hire er he bigonne,

And whan he hath doon his devoir wel


Men dooth hym oother bountee,

Gyveth hym a cote above his covenaunt,


Right so Crist gyveth hevene

Bothe to riche and to noght riche

That rewfulliche libbeth;

And alle that doon hir devoir wel

Han double hire for hir travaille,

Here forgifnesse of hir synnes,

And hevene blisse after.

"Ac it is but selde y-seien,


As by holy seintes bokes,

That God rewarded double reste

To any riche wye.

For muche murthe is amonges riche,

As in mete and clothyng;

And muche murthe in May is

Amonges wilde beestes,

And so forth while somer lasteth

Hir solace dureth.

"Ac beggeris aboute Midsomer

Bred-lees thei slepe.

And yet is wynter for hem worse,

For weet shoed thei gone,

A-furst soore and a-fyngred,


And foule y-rebuked,

And a-rated of riche men

That ruthe is to here.

Now, Lord, sende hem somer,

And som maner joye,

Hevene after hir hennes goyng,

That here han swich defaute,

For alle myghtestow have maad

Noon mener than oother,

And y-liche witty and wise,

If thee wel hadde liked.


But, Lord, have ruthe on thise riche men,


That rewarde noght thi prisoners.

Of the good that thow hem gyvest

Ingrati ben manye;

Ac, God, of thi goodnesse

Gyve hem grace to amende.


For may no derthe be hem deere,

Droghte ne weet hem greve,

Ne neither hete ne hayll;

Have thei hir heele,

Of that thei wilne and wolde

Wanteth hem noght here.

"Ac poore peple thi prisoners,

Lord, in the put of meschief,

Conforte tho creatures,

That muche care suffren


Thorugh derthe, thorugh droghte,

Alle hir dayes here,

Wo in wynter tymes

For wantynge of clothes,

And in somer tyme selde

Soupen to the fulle.

Conforte thi carefulle,

Crist, in thi richesse;

For how thow confortest alle creatures,

Clerkes bereth witnesse:


Convertimini ad me, et salvi eritis.

"Thus in genere of gentries

Jhesu Crist seide,

To robberis and to reveris,

To riche and to poore,

Thou taughtest hem in the Trinité

To taken bapteme,

And to be clene through that cristnyng

Of alle kynnes synne;


And if us fille thorugh folie


To falle in synne after,

Confession and knowlichynge

In cravynge thi mercy,

Shulde amenden us as manye sithes

As man wolde desire.

And if the pope wolde plede ayein,

And punysshe us in conscience,

He sholde take the acquitaunce as quyk,

And to the queed shewen it.

Pateat, etc. per passionem Domini.


And putten of so the pouke,

And preven us under borwe.

Ac the parchemyn of this patente

Of poverte be moste,

And of pure pacience,

And parfit bileve.

"Of pompe and of pride

The parchemym decourreth,

And principalliche of al the peple,

But thei be poore of herte;


Ellis is al on ydel,

Al that evere writen

Pater-nostres and penaunce,

And pilgrymages to Rome;

But oure spences and spendynge

Sprynge of a trewe wille,

Ellis is al our labour lost,

Lo! how men writeth

In fenestres at the freres,

If fals be the foundement.


For-thi cristene sholde be in commune riche,

Noon coveitous for hymselve.


"For sevene synnes ther ben,

That assaillen us evere;

The fend folweth hem alle,

And fondeth hem to helpe.

Ac with richesse that ribaud

He rathest men bigileth.

For ther that richesse regneth,

Reverence folweth;


And that is plesaunt to pride,

In poore and in riche.

And the riche is reverenced

By reson of his richesse,

Ther the poore is put bihynde,

And peraventure kan moore

Of wit and of wisdom,

That fer awey is bettre

Than richesse or reautee,

And rather y-herd in hevene.


For the riche hath muche to rekene;

And many tyme hym that walketh

The heighe wey to hevene-ward,

Richesse hym letteth,—

Ita inpossibile diviti, etc.

Ther the poore preesseth bifore the riche,

With a pak at his rugge,—

Opera enim illorum sequuntur illos.—

Batauntliche, as beggeris doon,

And boldeliche he craveth,


For his poverte and his pacience,

A perpetuel blisse.

Beati pauperes, quoniam ipsorum

est regnum cælorum.

"And pride in richesse regneth

Rather than in poverte;


Arst in the master than in the man

Som mansion he haveth.

Ac in poverte, ther pacience is,

Pride hath no myghte,


Ne none of the sevene synnes

Sitten ne mowe ther longe,

Ne have power in poverte,

If pacience folwe.

For the poore is ay prest

To plese the riche,

And buxom at hise biddynges,

For his broke loves;

And boxomnesse and boost

Arn evere moore at werre,


And either hateth oother

In alle maner werkes.

"If wrathe wrastle with the poore,

He hath the worse ende;

And if thei bothe pleyne,

The poore is but feble;

And if he chide or chatre,

Hym cheveth the worse.

"And if coveitise cacche the poore,

Thei may noght come togideres;


And by the nekke namely

Hir noon may hente oother.

For men knowen wel that coveitise

Is of kene wille,

And hath hondes and armes

Of ful greet lengthe;

And poverte nys but a petit thyng,

Apereth noght to his navele;

And lovely layk was it nevere

Bitwene the longe and the shorte.


"And though avarice wolde angre the poore,

He hath but litel myghte;

For poverte hath but pokes

To putten in hise goodes,

Ther avarice hath almaries,

And yren bounden cofres.

And wheither be lighter to breke,

And lasse boost maketh,

A beggeris bagge

Than an yren bounde cofre?


"Lecherie loveth hym noght,

For he gyveth but litel silver,

Ne dooth hym noght dyne delicatly,

Ne drynke wyn ofte.

A straw for the stuwes!

Thei stoode noght, I trowe,

Hadde thei no thyng but of poore men,

Hir houses stoode untyled.

"And though sleuthe suwe poverte,

And serve noght God to paie,


Meschief is his maister,

And maketh hym to thynke

That God is his grettest help,

And no gome ellis;

And he is servaunt, as he seith,

And of his sute bothe;

And wheither he be or be noght,

He bereth the signe of poverte,

And in that secte oure Saveour

Saved al mankynde.


For-thi every poore that pacient is,

May cleymen and asken

After hir endynge here


Hevene riche blisse,

"Muche hardier may he asken,

That here myghte have his wille

In lond and in lordshipe,

And likynge of bodie,

And for Goddes love leveth al,

Any lyveth as a beggere;


And as a mayde for mannes love

Hire moder forsaketh,

Hir fader and alle hire frendes,

And folweth hir make.

Muche moore is to love

Of hym that swich oon taketh,

Than is that maiden

That is maried thorugh brocage,

As by assent of sondry parties,

And silver to boote,


Moore for coveitise of good

Than kynde love of bothe.

So it fareth by ech a persone

That possession forsaketh,

And put hym to be pacient.

And poverte weddeth,

The which is sib to God hymself,

And so to hise seintes."

"Have God my trouthe!" quod Haukyn,

"Ye preise faste poverte,


What is poverte with pacience," quod he;

"Proprely to mene?"

"Paupertas," quod Pacience, "est

odibile bonum, remotio curarum,

possessio sine calumnia,

donum Dei, sanitatis mater,


absque sollicitudine semita,

sapientiæ temperatrix, negotium

sine damno, incerta fortuna,

absque sollicitudine



"I kan noght construe al this," quod Haukyn,

"Ye moste kenne me this on Englissh."

"In Englissh," quod Pacience,

"It is wel hard wel to expounen;

Ac som deel I shal seyen it,

By so thow understonde:

Poverte is the firste point

That pride moost hateth;

Thanne is it good by good skile,


Al that agasteth pride.

Right as contricion is confortable thyng,

Conscience woot wel,

And a sorwe of hymself,

And a solace to the soule,

So poverte propreliche,

Penaunce and joye,

Is to the body

Pure spiritual helthe.

Ergo paupertas est odibile bonum.


And contricion confort,

And cura animarum.

"Selde sit poverte,

The sothe to declare;

For as justice to jugge men,

Enjoyned is no poore,

Ne to be mair above men

Ne mynystre under kynges;

Selde is any poore y-put


To punysshen any peple.


Remotio curarum.

Ergo poverte and poore men

Perfournen the comaundement,

Nolite judicare

Quemquam the thridde,"

"Selde is any poore riche,

But of rightful heritage;

Wynneth he noght with wightes false,

Ne with unseled mesures,

Ne borweth of hise neighebores,


But that he may wel paie.

Possessio sine calumnia.

"The ferthe is a fortune

That florissheth the soule,

With sobretee fram alle synne,

And also yit moore

It afaiteth the flessh

Fram folies ful manye,

A collateral confort,

Cristes owene gifte.


Donum Dei.

"The fifte is moder of helthe,

A frend in alle fondynges,

And for the land evere a leche,

A lemman of alle clennesse.

Sanitatis mater.

"The sixte is a path of pees,

Ye, thorugh the paas of Aultone

Poverte myghte passe

Withouten peril of robbyng.


For ther that poverte passeth,

Pees folweth after;

And ever the lasse that he bereth,


The hardier he is of herte.

For-thi seith Seneca,


Paupertas est absque sollicitudine semita

And an hardy man of herte,

Among an heep of theves.

Cantabit paupertas coram latrone



"The seventhe is welle of wisedom,

And fewe wordes sheweth;

Therfore lordes alloweth hym litel,

Or listneth to his reson,

For he tempreth the tonge to trutheward,

And no tresor coveiteth

Sapientiæ temperatrix.

"The eightethe is a lele labour,

And looth to take moore


Than he may wel deserve,

In somer or in wynter.

And if he chaffareth, he chargeth no losse,

Mowe he charité wynne.

Negotium sine damno.

"The nynthe is swete to the soule,

No sugre is swetter.

For pacience is payn

For poverte hymselve,

And sobretee swete drynke


And good leche in siknesse.

Thus lered me a lettred man,

For oure Lordes love of hevene;

Seint Austyn a blessed lif

Withouten bisynesse ladde

For body and for soule,

Absque sollicitudine felicitas.


Now God, that alle good gyveth,

Graunte his soule reste

That this first wroot to wissen men


What poverte was to mene!"

"Allas!" quod Haukyn the actif man tho,

"That after my cristendom

I ne hadde be deed and dolven

For Do-welis sake!

So hard it is," quod Haukyn,

"To lyve and to do no synne.

Synne seweth us evere," quod he,

And sory gan wexe,

And wepte water with hise eighen,


And weyled the tyme

That he evere dide dede

That deere God displesed;

Swound and sobbed

And siked ful ofte,

That evere he hadde lond outher lordshipe,

Lasse other moore,

Or maistrie over any man

Mo than of hymselve.

"I were noght worthi, woot God!" quod Haukyn,


"To werien any clothes,

Ne neither sherte ne shoon,

Save for shame one

To covere my careyne," quod he;

And cride mercy faste,

And wepte and wailede;


And therwith I awakede.



Passus Decimus Quintus, etc. finit Do-wel, et incipit Do-bet.


C after my wakynge,

It was wonder longe

Er I koude kyndely

Knowe what was Do-wel.

And so my wit weex and wanyed,

Til I a fool weere;

And some lakkede my lif,

Allowed it fewe,

And lete me for a lorel,

And looth to reverencen

Lordes or ladies,

Or any lif ellis;

As persons in pelure,


With pendauntz of silver;

To sergeauntz ne to swiche

Seide I noght ones,

"God loke yow, lordes!"

Ne loutede faire;

That folk helden me a fool,

And in that folie I raved.

Til reson hadde ruthe on me,

And rokked me a-slepe,

Til I seigh, as it sorcerie were,


A sotil thyng withalle;


Oon withouten tonge and teeth

Tolde me whider I sholde,

And wherof I cam, and of what kynde;

I conjured hym at the laste,

If he were Cristes creature

Anoon me to tellen.

"I am Cristes creature," quod he,

"And cristene in many a place,

In Cristes court y-knowe wel,


And of his kyn a party.

Is neither Peter the porter,

Nor Poul with his fauchon,

That wole defende me the dore,

Dynge I never so late;

At mydnyght, at mydday,

My vois so is knowe,

That ech a creature of his court

Welcometh me faire."

"What are ye called," quod I, "in that court,


Among Cristes peple?"

"The whiles I quikne the cors," quod he,

"Called am I Anima;

And whan I wilne and wolde,

Animus ich hatte;

And for that I kan knowe,

Called am I Mens;

And whan I make mone to God,

Memoria is my name;

And whan I deme domes,


And do as truthe techeth,

Thanne is Ratio my righte name,

Reson on Englisshe;


And whan I feele that folk telleth,

My firste name is Sensus,

And that is wit and wisdom,

The welle of alle craftes.

And whan I chalange or chalange noght,

Chepe or refuse,

Thanne am I Conscience y-called,


Goddes clerk and his notarie;

And whan I love leelly

Oure Lord and alle othere,

Thanne is lele Love my name,

And in Latyn Amor;

And whan I flee fro the flesshe,

And forsake the careyne,

Thanne am I a spirit specheless,

Spiritus thanne iche hatte.

Austyn and Ysodorus,


Either of hem bothe,

Nempnede me thus to name,

And now thow myght chese

How thow coveitest to calle me,

For now thow knowest my names."

Anima pro diversis actionibus diversa

nomina sortitur; dum

vivificat corpus, anima est;

dum vult, animus est; dum

scit, mens est; dum recolit,


memoria est; dum judicat,

ratio est; dum sentit, sensus

est; dum amat, amor est;

dum negat vel consentit, conscientia

est; dum spirat, spiritus


"Ye ben as a bisshope," quod I,


Al bourdynge that tyme;

"For bisshopes y-blessed,

Thei bereth manye names,


Præsul and pontifex,

And metropolitanus,

And othere names an heep,

Episcopus and pastor."

"That is sooth," seide he;

"Now I se thi wille;

Thow woldest knowe and konne

The cause of alle my names,

And of me, if thow myghtest,

Me thynketh by thi speche."


"Ye, sire," I seide,

"By so no man were greved,

Alle the sciences under sonne,

And alle the sotile craftes,

I wolde I knewe and kouthe

Kyndely in myn herte."

"Thanne artow inparfit," quod he,

"And oon of Prides knyghtes;

For swich a lust and likyng

Lucifer fel from hevene."


Ponam pedem meum in aquilone, et

similis ero altissimo.

"It were ayeins kynde," quod he,

"And alle kynnes reson,

That any creature sholde konne al,

Except Crist oone:

Ayein swiche Salomon speketh,

And despiseth hir wittes,

And seith, Sicut qui mel comedit

multum, non est ei bonum; sic


qui scrutator est majestatis,

opprimitur a gloria.


"To Englisshe men this is to mene,

That mowen speke and here,

The man that muche hony eteth,

His mawe it engleymeth;

And the moore that a man

Of good matere hereth,

But he do therafter,

It dooth hym double scathe.


Beatus est, seith seint Bernard,

Qui scripturas legit,

Et verba vertit in opera

Fulliche to his power.

Coveitise to konne

And to knowe sciences,

Putte out of Paradis

Adam and Eve.

Scientiæ appetitus hominem inmortalitatis

gloria spoliavit.


"And right as hony is yvel to defie,

And engleymeth the mawe;

Right so he that thorugh reson

Wolde the roote knowe

Of God and of hise grete myghtes,

Hise graces it letteth.

For in the likynge lith a pride,

And licames coveitise,

Ayein Cristes counseil

And alle clerkes techynge;


That is Non plus sapere quam oportet sapere


"Freres and fele othere maistres,

That to lewed men prechen,

Ye moeven materes unmesurable


To tellen of the Trinité,

That ofte tymes the lewed peple

Of hir bileve doute.

Bettre it were to manye doctours

To leven swich techyng,


And tellen men of the ten comaundmentz,

And touchen the sevene synnes,

And of the braunches that burjoneth of hem,

And bryngen men to helle,

And how that folk in folies

Misspenden hir fyve wittes,

As wel freres as oother folk

Foliliche spenden

In housynge, in haterynge,

And in to heigh clergie shewynge,


Moore for pompe than for pure charité,

The peple woot the sothe,

That I lye noght, loo!

For lordes ye plesen,

And reverencen the riche

The rather for hir silver

Confundantur omnes qui adorant

sculptilia. Et alibi: Ut quid

diligitis vanitatem, et quæritis



"Gooth to the glose of thise vers,

Ye grete clerkes;

If I lye on yow to my lewed wit,

Ledeth me to brennyng.

For as it semeth, ye forsaketh

No mannes almesse

Of usurers, of hoores,


Of avarouse chapmen;

And louten to thise lordes

That mowen lene yow nobles,


Ayein youre rule and religion,

I take record at Jhesus,

That seide to hise disciples,

Ne sitis personarum acceptores.

Of this matere I myghte

Make a long bible!

Ac of curatours of cristen peple,

As clerkes bereth witnesse,

I shal tellen it, for truthes sake,

Take hede who so liketh.


"As holynesse and honesté

Out of holy chirche spredeth

Thorugh lele libbynge men

That Goddes lawe techen;

Right so out of holi chirche

Alle yveles spryngeth,

There inparfit preesthode is,

Prechours and techeris.

I se it by ensaunple

In somer tyme on trowes:


Ther some bowes ben leved,

And some bereth none,

Ther is a meschief in the morre

Of swiche manere bowes.

"Rightso bi persons and preestes,

And prechours of holi chirche,

That aren roote of the right feith

To rule the peple.

And ther the roote is roten,

Reson woot the sothe,


Shal nevere flour ne fruyt


Ne fair leef be greene.

For-thi wolde ye, lettrede, leve

The lecherie of clothyng;

And be kynde, as bifel for clerkes,

And curteise of Cristes goodes,

Trewe of youre tonge,

And of youre tail bothe,

And hatien to here harlotrie;

And noght to underfonge


Tithes, but of trewe thyng,

Y-tilied or chaffared;

Lothe were lewed men,

But thei youre loore folwede,

And amendeden hem that mysdoon

Moore for youre ensaumples,

Than for to prechen and preven it noght,

Ypocrisie it semeth;

The which in Latyn

Is likned to a dongehill


That were bi-snewed with snow,

And snakes withinne;

Or to a wal that were whit-lymed,

And were foul withinne;

"Right so manye preestes,

Prechours and prelates,

Ye aren enblaunched with bele paroles,

And with clothes also;

Ac youre werkes and youre wordes ther under,

Aren ful unloveliche.


Johannes Crisostomus

Of clerkes speketh and preestes;

Sicut de templo omne bonum progreditur,

sic de templo omne

malum procedit. Si sacerdotium


integrum fuerit, tota floret

ecclesia: si autem corruptum

fuerit, omnis fides marcida

est. Si sacerdotium fuerit

in peccatis, totus populus


convertitur ad peccandum. Sicut

cum videris arborem pallidam

et marcidam, intelligis

quod vitium habet in radice.

Ita cum videris populum indisciplinatum

et irreligiosum, sine

dubio sacerdotium ejus non est


"If lewed men wiste

What this Latyn meneth,


And who was myn auctour,

Muche wonder me thinketh,

But if many a preest beere,

For hir baselardes and hir broches,

A peire of bedes in hir hand,

And a book under hir arme.

Sire Johan and sire Geffrey

Hath a girdel of silver.

A baselard or a ballok-knyf,

With botons over gilte;


Ac a porthors that sholde be his plow

Placebo to sigge,

Hadde he nevere service to save silver therto.

Seith it with ydel wille.

"Allas! ye lewed men,

Muche lese ye on preestes.

Ac thing that wikkedly is wonne,

And with false sleightes,

Wolde nevere the wit of witty God


But wikkede men it hadde,


The whiche arn preestes inparfite,

And prechours after silver,

Executours and sodenes,

Somonours and hir lemmannes;

That that with gile was geten,

Ungraciousliche is despended;

So harlotes and hores

Arn holpe with swiche goodes,

And Goddes folk, for defaute therof,

For-faren and spillen.


"Curatours of holy kirke,

As clerkes that ben avarouse,

Lightliche that thei leven,

Losels it habbeth,

Or deieth intestate,

And thanne the bisshope entreth

And maketh murthe thermyd,

And hise men bothe,

And seyen he was a nygard

That no good myghte aspare


To frend ne to fremmed,

The fend have his soule!

For a wrecchede hous held he

Al his lif tyme;

And that he spared and bisperede,

Dispende we in murthe;

By lered, by lewed,

That looth is to despende.

Thus goon hire goodes.

Be the goost faren.


Ac for goode men, God woot!

Greet doel men maken,

And bymeneth goode mete gyveres,


And in mynde haveth,

In preieres and in penaunces,

And in parfit charité."

"What is charité?" quod I tho.

"A childisshe thyng," he seide.

"Nisi efficiamini parvuli, non intrabitis

in regnum cælorum.


Withouten fauntelté or folie,

A fre liberal wille."

"Where sholde men fynde swich a frend,

With so fre an herte?"

"I have lyved in londe," quod he,

"My name is Longe-wille;

And fond I nevere ful charité

Byfore ne bihynde.

Men beth merciable

To mendinauntz and to poore,


And wollen lene ther thei leve

Lelly to ben paied.

Ac charité that Poul preiseth best,

And moost plesaunt to oure Lord,

Is Non inflatur, non est ambitiosa, non

quærit quæ sua sunt, etc.

"I seigh nevere swich a man,

So me God helpe!

That he ne wolde aske after his,

And outher while coveite


Thyng that neded hym noght,

And nyme it, if he myghte.

"Clerkes kenne me

That Crist is in alle places;

Ac I seigh hym nevere soothly,

But as myself in a mirour:

In ænigmate tunc facie ad faciem.


And so I trowe trewely,

By that men telleth of charité,

It is noght chaumpions fight,


Ne chaffare, as I trowe,

"Charité," quod he, "ne chaffareth noght,

Ne chalangeth, ne craveth;

As proud of a peny,

As of a pound of golde;

And is as glad of a gowne

Of a gray russet,

As of a tunycle of Tarse,

Or of trie scarlet.

He is glad with alle glade,


And good til alle wikkede,

And leveth and loveth alle

That oure Lord made.

Corseth he no creature,

Ne he kan bere no wrathe,

Ne no likynge hath to lye,

Ne laughe men to scorne;

Al that men seyn, he leet it sooth,

And in solace taketh,

And alle manere meschiefs


In myldenesse he suffreth.

Coveiteth he noon erthely good,

But hevene riche blisse,

Hath he anye rentes or richesse,

Or anye riche frendes.

"Of rentes nor of richesse

Ne rekketh he nevere;

For a frend that fyndeth hym,

Failed hym nevere at neede.

Fiat voluntas tua


Fynt hym evere moore;


And if he soupeth, eteth but a sop

Of spera in Deo.

He kan portreye wel the paternoster,

And peynte it with aves;

And outher while he is woned

To wenden on pilgrymages,

Ther poore men and prisons liggeth,

Hir pardon to have.

Though he bere hem no breed,


He bereth hem swetter liflode,

Loveth hem as oure Lord biddeth,

And loketh how thei fare.

"And whan he is wery of that werk,

Than wole he som tyme

Labouren in lavendrye

Wel the lengthe of a mile,

And yerne into youthe,

And yepeliche speke

Pride with al the appurtenaunces,


And pakken hem togideres,

And bouken hem at his brest,

And beten hem clene,

And leggen on longe,

With laboravi in gemitu meo;

And with warm water at hise eighen

Wasshen hem after.

And thanne he syngeth whan he doth so,

And som tyme seith wepynge,

Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus,


non despicies."

"By Crist! I wolde that I knewe hym," quod I,

"No creature levere!"

"Withouten help of Piers Plowman," quod he,


"His persone sestow nevere."

"Wheither clerkes knowen hym," quod I,

"That kepen holi kirke?"

"Clerkes have no knowyng," quod he,

"But by werkes and by wordes.

Ac Piers the Plowman


Parceyveth moore depper

What is the wille and wherfore

That many wight suffreth.

Et vidit Deus cogitationes eorum.

For ther are ful proude herted men,

Pacient of tonge,

And buxome as of berynge

To burgeises and to lordes,

And to poore peple

Han pepir in the nose,


And as a lyoun he loketh,

Ther men lakken hise werkes.

"For ther are beggeris and bidderis,

Bedemen as it were,

Loken as lambren,

And semen ful holy;

Ac it is moore to have hir mete

With swich an esy manere,

Than for penaunce and perfitnesse,

The poverte that swiche taketh.


"Therfore by colour ne by clergie

Knowe shaltow nevere,

Neither thorugh wordes ne werkes,

But thorugh wil oone.

And that knoweth no clerk,

Ne creature on erthe,

But Piers the Plowman


Petrus, i. Christus.

For he nys noght in lolleris,

Ne in lond leperis heremytes,


Ne at ancres there a box hangeth,

Alle swiche thei faiten.

Fy on faitours,

And in fautores suos!

For charité is Goddes champion,

And as a good child hende,

And the murieste of mouth

At mete where he sitteth.

The love that lith in his herte

Maketh hym light of speche,


And is compaignable and confortatif,

As Crist bit hymselve.

Nolite fieri sicut hypocritæ tristes, etc.

For I have seyen hym in silk,

And som tyme in russet,

Bothe in grey and in grys,

And in gilt harneis;

And as gladliche he it gaf

To gomes that it neded.

"Edmond and Edward


Bothe were kynges,

And seintes y-set,

For charité hem folwede.

"I have y-seyen charité also

Syngen and reden,

Riden and rennen

In raggede wedes;

Ac biddynge as beggeris

Biheld I hym nevere.

Ac in riche robes


Rathest he walketh,


Y-called and y-crymyled,

And his crowne y-shave;

And in a freres frokke

He was y-founden ones,

Ac it is fern ago,

In seint Fraunceis tyme:

In that secte siththe

To selde hath he ben founde.

"Riche men he recomendeth,


And of hir robes taketh,

That withouten wiles

Ledeth hir lyves.

Beatus est dives qui, etc.

"In kynges court he cometh ofte,

Ther the counseil is trewe;

Ac if coveitise be of the counseil,

He wolnoght come therinne,

"In court amonges japeris

He cometh noght but selde,


For braulynge and bakbitynge,

And berynge of fals witnesse.

"In the consistorie bifore the commissarie

He cometh noght but ofte;

For hir lawe dureth over longe,

But if thei lacchen silver,

And matrimoyne for moneie

Maken and unmaken;

And that conscience and Crist

Hath y-knyt faste,


Thei undoon it unworthily,

Tho doctours of lawe.

"Ac I ne lakke no lif,

But, Lord, amende us alle,


And gyve us grace, good God,

Charité to folwe.

For who so myghte meete myd hym,

Swiche maneres hym eileth,

Neither he blameth ne banneth,

Bosteth ne preiseth,


Lakketh ne loseth,

Ne loketh up sterne,

Craveth ne coveiteth,

Ne crieth after moore.

In pace in idipsum dormiam, etc.

"The mooste liflode that he lyveth by,

Is love in Goddes passion;

Neither he biddeth ne beggeth,

Ne borweth to yelde,

Misdooth he no man,


Ne with his mouth greveth.

"Amonges cristene men

This myldenesse sholde laste.

In alle manere angres

Have this at herte,

That theigh thei suffrede al this,

God suffrede for us moore,

In ensample we sholde do so,

And take no vengeaunce

Of oure foes that dooth us falsnesse,


That is oure fadres wille.

"For wel may every man wite,

If God hadde wold hymselve,

Sholde nevere Judas ne Jew

Have Jhesu doon on roode,

Ne han martired Peter ne Poul,

Ne in prison holden.

Ac he suffrede in ensample


That we sholde suffren also,

And seide to swiche that suffre wolde,


That patientes vincunt.

"Verbi gratia," quod he,

"And verray ensamples manye,

In Legenda Sanctorum,

The lif of holy seintes,

What penaunce and poverte

And passion thei suffrede,

In hunger, in hete,

In alle manere angres.

"Antony and Egidie,


And othere holy fadres,

Woneden in wildernesse

Among wilde beestes;

Monkes and mendinauntz,

Men by hemselve,

In spekes and in spelonkes,

Selde speken togideres.

"Ac neither Antony ne Egidie,

Ne heremyte that tyme,

Of leons ne of leopardes


No liflode ne toke;

But of foweles that fleeth,

Thus fyndeth men in bokes.

Except that Egidie

After an hynde cride,

And thorugh the mylk of that mylde beest

The man was sustened;

And day bi day hadde he hire noght

His hunger for to slake,

But selden and sondry tymes,


As seith the book and techeth.

"Antony a dayes,


Aboute noon tyme,

Hadde a brid that broughte hym breed,

That he by lyvede;

And though the gome hadde a gest,

God fond hem bothe.

"Poul primus heremita

Hadde parroked hymselve,

That no man myghte hym se


For mosse and for leves;

Foweles hym fedde

Fele wyntres withalle,

Til he foundede freres

Of Austynes ordre.

Poul, after his prechyng,

Paniers he made,

And wan with hise hondes

That his wombe neded.

"Peter fisshed for his foode,


And his felawe Andrew;

Som thei solde and som thei soden,

And so thei lyved bothe.

"And also Marie Maudeleyne

By mores lyvede and dewes

Ac moost thorugh devocion

And mynde of God almyghty.

I sholde noght thise seven daies

Siggen hem alle,

That lyveden thus for oure Lordes love


Many longe yeres.

"Ac ther ne was leon ne leopard

That on laundes wenten,

Neither bere ne boor,

Ne oother beest wilde,

That ne fil to hir feet,


And fawned with the taillies;

And if thei kouthe han y-carped,

By Crist! as I trowe,

Thei wolde have y-fed that folk


Bifore wild foweles.

Ac God sente hem foode by foweles,

And by no fierse beestes,

In menynge that meke thyng

Mylde thyng sholde fede.

"Ac who seith religiouses

Rightfulle men sholde fede,

And lawefulle men to lif-holy men

Liflode sholde brynge;

And thanne wolde lordes and ladies


Be looth to agulte,

And to taken of hir tenauntz

Moore than trouthe wolde,

Foulde thei that freres

Wolde forsake hir almesses,

And bidden hem bere it

There it was y-borwed.

For we ben Goddes foweles,

And abiden alwey

Til briddes brynge us


That we sholde lyve by.

For hadde ye potage and payn y-nogh,

And peny ale to drynke,

And a mees thermyd

Of o maner kynde,

Ye hadde right y-nogh, ye religiouse,

And so youre rule me tolde.

Nunquam, dicit Job, rugit onager

cum herbam habuerit, aut mugiet

bos cum ante plenum præsepe


steterit. Brutorum animalium

natura te condemnat,

quia cum eis pabulum commune

sufficiat, ex adipe prodiit iniquitas tua.

"If lewed men knewe this Latyn,

Thei wolde loke whom thei yeve,

And avisen hem bifore

A fyve dayes or sixe,

Er thei amortisede to monkes

Or chanons hir rente.


Allas! lordes and ladies,

Lewed counseil have ye,

To gyve from youre heires

That youre aiels yow lefte,

And gyveth it to bidde for yow

Fo swiche that ben riche,

And ben founded and feffed ek

To bidde for othere.

"Who perfourneth this prophecie

Of the peple that now libbeth?


Dispersit, dedit pauperibus.

"If any peple perfourne that text,

It are thise poore freres;

For that thei beggen aboute,

In buyldynge thei spende it,

And on hemself som,

And swiche as ben hir laborers;

And of hem that habbeth thei taken,

And gyveth hem that habbeth.

"Ac clerkes and knyghtes,


And communers that ben riche,

Fele of yow fareth

As if I a forest hadde


That were ful of faire trees,

And I fondede and caste

How I myghte mo therinne

Amonges hem sette.

"Right so, ye riche,

Ye robeth that ben riche,

And helpeth hem that helpeth yow,


And gyveth ther no nede is.

As who so filled a toune

Of a fressh ryver,

And wente forth with that water

To woke with Temese;

Right so, ye riche,

Ye robeth and fedeth

Hem that han as ye han,

Hem ye make at ese.

"Ac religiouse that riche ben,


Sholde rather feeste beggeris

Than burgeises that riche ben,

As the book techeth.

Quia sacrilegium est res pauperum

non pauperibus dare. Item:

Peccatoribus dare, est dæmonibus

immolare. Item: Monache,

si indiges et accipis, potius

das quam accipis; si autem

non eges et accipis, rapis.


Porro non indiget monachus, si

habeat quod naturæ sufficit.

"For-thi I counseille alle cristene

To conformen hem to charité,

For charité withouten chalangynge

Unchargeth the soule,

And many a prison fram purgatorie


Thorugh his preieres he delivereth.

Ac ther is a defaute in the folk

That the feith kepeth;


Wherfore folk is the febler,

And noght ferm of bileve,

As in lussheburwes is a luther alay,

And yet loketh he lik a sterlyng;

The merk of that monee is good,

Ac the metal is feble.

"And so it fareth by som folk now,

Thei han a fair speche,

Crowne and cristendom,

The kynges mark of hevene;


Ac the metal, that is mannes soule,

With synne is foule alayed.

Bothe lettred and lewed

Beth alayed now with synne,

That no lif loveth oother,

Ne oure Lord, as it semeth.

For thorugh werre and wikkede werkes,

And wederes unresonable,

Weder-wise shipmen,

And witty clerkes also,


Han no bileve to the lifte,

Ne to the loore of philosofres.

"Astronomiens al day

In hir art faillen,

That whilom warned bifore

What sholde falle after.

"Shipmen and shepherdes,

That with ship and sheep wenten,

Wisten by the walkne

What sholde bitide,


As of wedres and wyndes


Thei warned men ofte.

"Tilieris, that tiled the erthe,

Tolden hir maistres,

By the seed that thei sewe,

What thei selle myghte,

And what to lene, and what to lyve by,

The lond was so trewe.

"Now faileth the folk of the flood,

And of the lond bothe,


Shepherdes and shipmen,

And so do thise tilieris,

Neither thei konneth ne knoweth

Oon cours bifore another.

"Astronomyens also

Aren at hir wittes ende,

Of that was calculed of the element

The contrarie thei fynde;

Grammer, the ground of al,

Bigileth now children,


For is noon of this newe clerkes,

Who so nymeth hede,

Naught oon among an hundred

That an auctour kan construwe,

Ne rede a lettre in any langage

But in Latyn or in Englissh.

"Go now to any degree,

And but if gile be maister,

And flaterere his felawe

Under hym to fourmen,


Muche wonder me thynketh

Amonges us alle,

Doctours of decrees

And of divinité maistres,

That sholde konne and knowe


Alle kynnes clergie,

And answere to argumentz,

And also to a quodlibet;

I dar noght siggen it for shame,

If swiche were apposed,


Thei sholde faillen of her philosophie,

And in phisik bothe.

"Wherfore I am a-fered

Of folk of holy kirke,

Lest thei overhuppen, as oothere doon,

In office and in houres;

And if they overhuppe, as I hope noght,

Oure bileve suffiseth;

As clerkes in Corpus Christi feeste

Syngen and reden,


That sola fides sufficit

To save with lewed peple;

And so may Sarzens be saved,

Scribes, and Jewes.

"Allas, thanne! but our looresmen

Lyve as thei leren us,

And for hir lyvynge that lewed men

Be the lother God agulten.

For Sarzens han somwhat

Semynge to oure bileve;


For thei love and bileve

In o persone almyghty,

And we, lered and lewed,

In oon God almyghty;

And oon Makometh, a man,

In mysbileve broughte

Sarzens of Surree,

And see in what manere.

"This Makometh was a cristene


And for he moste noght ben a pope


Into Surrie he soughte,

And thorugh hise sotile wittes

He daunted a dowve,

And day and nyght hire fedde,

The corn that she croppede

He caste it in his ere;

And if he among the peple preched,

Or in places come,

Thanne wolde the colvere come

To the clerkes ere


Menynge as after mete,—

Thus Makometh hire enchauntede;

And dide folk thanne falle on knees,

For he swoor in his prechyng

That the colvere that com so,

Com from God of hevene,

As messager to Makometh,

Men for to teche.

And thus thorugh wiles of his wit,

And a whit dowve,


Makometh in mysbileve

Men and wommen broughte;

That lyved tho there and lyve yit

Leeven on hise lawes.

"And siththe oure Saveour suffred,

The Sarzens so bigiled

Thorugh a cristene clerk,

Acorsed in his soule!

For drede of the deeth

I dare noght telle truthe,


How Englisshe clerkes a colvere fede

That coveitise highte,

And ben manered after Makometh,


That no man useth trouthe.

"Ancres and heremytes,

And monkes and freres,

Peeren to the apostles

Thorugh hire parfit lyvynge;

Wolde nevere the feithful fader

That hise ministres sholde


Of tirauntz that teneth trewe men

Taken any almesse,

But doon as Antony dide,

Dominyk and Fraunceys,

Beneit and Bernard

The whiche hem first taughte

To lyve by litel, and in lowe houses,

By lele mennes almesse.

Grace sholde growe and be grene

Thorugh hir goode lyvynge;


And folkes sholden fare,

That ben in diverse siknesse,

The bettre for hir biddynges

In body and in soule.

Hir preieres and hir penaunces

To pees sholde brynge

Alle that ben at debaat,

And bedemen were trewe.

Petite et accipietis, etc.

Salt saveth the catel,


Siggen thise wives.

Vos estis sal terræ, etc.

The hevedes of holy chirche,

And thei holy were,

Crist calleth hem salt

For cristene soules.

Et si sal evanuerit in quo salietur, etc.


"For fressh flessh outher fissh,

Whan it salt failleth,

It is unsavory for sothe,


Y-soden or y-bake;

So is mannes soule, soothly,

That seeth no goode ensamples

Of hem of holi chirche,

That the heighe wey sholde teche,

And be gide, and go bifore,

As a good banyer;

And hardie hem that bihynde ben,

And gyve hem good evidence.

"Ellevene holy men


Al the world tornede

Into lele bileve;

The lightloker me thinketh

Sholde all maner men,

We han so manye maistres,

Preestes and prechours,

And a pope above,

That Goddes salt sholde be

To save mannes soule.

"Al was hethynesse som tyme


Engelond and Walis,

Til Gregory garte clerkes

To go here and preche;

Austyn at Caunterbury

Cristnede the kyng,

And thorugh miracles, as men now rede,

Al that marche he tornede

To Crist and to cristendom,

And cros to honoure;

And follede folk faste,


And the feith taughte,


Moore thorugh miracles

Than thorugh muche prechyng,

As wel thorugh hise werkes

As with hise holy wordes,

And seide hem what fullynge

And feith was to mene.

"Clooth that cometh fro the wevyng

Is noght comly to were,

Til it be fulled under foot


Or in fullyng stokkes,

Wasshen wel with water,

And with taseles cracched,

Y-touked and y-teynted,

And under taillours hande;

Right so it fareth by a barn,

That born is of a wombe,

Til it be cristned in Cristes name,

And confermed of the bisshope,

It is hethene as to hevene-ward.


And help-lees to the soule.

Hethen is to mene after heeth

And untiled erthe,

As in wilde wildernesse

Wexeth wilde beestes,

Rude and unresonable,

Rennynge withouten cropiers.

"Ye mynnen wel how Mathew seith,

How a man made a feste;

He fedde him with no venyson,


Ne fesauntz y-bake,

But with foweles that fram hym nolde,

But folwede his whistlyng.


Ecce altilia mea, et omnia parata sunt.

And with calves flessh he fedde


The folk that he lovede.

"The calf bitokneth clennesse

In hem that kepeth lawes.

For as the cow thorugh kynde mylk


The calf norisseth til an oxe;

So love and leauté

Lele men susteneth,

And maidenes and mylde men

Mercy desiren,

Right as the cow calf

Coveiteth melk swete,

So doon rightfulle men

Mercy and truthe.

"Ac who beth that excuseth hem


That ben persons and preestes,

That hevedes of holy chirche ben,

That han hir wil here

Withouten travaille the tithe deel

That trewe men biswynken;

Thei wol be wrooth for I write thus,

Ac to witnesse I take

Bothe Mathew and Marc,

And Memento Domine David.

"What pope or prelat now


Perfourneth that Crist highte.


Ite in universum mundum et prædicate, etc.

"Allas! that men so longe

On Makometh sholde bileve,

So manye prelates to preche

As the pope maketh,

Of Nazareth, of Nynyve,

Of Neptalym and Damaske,

That thei ne wente as Crist wisseth,


Sithen thei wille have name


To be pastours and preche

To lyve and to dye.


Bonus pastor animam suam ponit, etc.

And seide it in salvacion

Of Sarzens and othere,

For cristene and uncristene

Crist seide to prechours:

Ite vos in vineam meam, etc.


"And sith that thise Sarzens,

Scribes, and Jewes,

Han a lippe of our bileve,

The lightlier me thynketh

Thei sholde turne, who so travailed

To teche hem of the Trinité.

Quærite et invenietis, etc.

"It is ruthe to rede

How rightwise men lyvede,

How thei defouled hir flessh,


Forsoke hir owene wille,

Fer fro kyth and fro kyn

Yvele y-clothed yeden,

Baddely y-bedded,

No book but conscience,

Ne no richesse but the roode

To rejoisse hem inne.

Absit nobis gloriari nisi in cruce

Domini nostri, etc.

"And tho was plentee and pees


Amonges poore and riche,

And now is routhe to rede

How the rede noble

Is reverenced er the roode,

And receyved for worthier

Than Cristes cros, that overcam


Deeth and dedly synne.

And now is werre and wo;

And who so why asketh,

For coveitise after cros


The croune stant in golde.

Bothe riche and religious

That roode thei honoure

That in grotes is y-grave

And in gold nobles.

For coveitise of that cros,

Men of holy kirke

Shul torne as templers dide,

The tyme approcheth faste.

"Wite ye noght, ye wise men,


How tho men honoured

Moore tresor than trouthe,

I dar noght telle the sothe,

Reson and rightful doom

The religiouse demede.

"Right so, ye clerkes,

For youre coveitise, er longe,

Shal thei demen dos ecclesiæ,

And youre pride depose,

Deposuit potentes de sede, etc.


"If knyghthod and kynde wit

And the commune by conscience

Togideres love leelly,

Leveth it wel, ye bisshopes,

The lordshipe of youre londes

For evere shul ye lese,

And lyven as levitici,

As oure Lord techeth.

Per primitias et decimas, etc.

"Whan Costantyn of curteisie


Holy kirke dowed


With londes and ledes,

Lordshipes and rentes,

An aungel men herden

An heigh at Rome crye,

Dos ecclesiæ this day

Hath y-dronke venym,

And tho that han Petres power

Arn apoisoned alle.

"A medicyne moot therto,


That may amende prelates,

That sholden preie for the pees,

Possession hem letteth;

Taketh hire landes, ye lordes,

And leteth hem lyve by dymes.

"If possession be poison,

And inparfite hem make,

Good were to deschargen hem,

For holy chirches sake,

And purgen hem of poison,


Er moore peril falle.

"If preesthode were parfit,

The peple sholde amende

That contrarien Cristes lawe,

And cristendom dispise.

For alle paynymes preieth,

And parfitly bileveth

In the holy grete God,

And his grace thei asken,

And make hir mone to Makometh


Hir message to shewe.

Thus in a feith leve that folk,

And in a fals mene;

And that is routhe for rightful men

That in the reawme wonyen,


And a peril to the pope,

And prelates that he maketh,

That bere bisshopes names

Of Bethleem and Babiloigne,

That huppe aboute in Engelond


To halwe mennes auteres,

And crepe amonges curatours,

And confessen ageyn the lawe.

Nolite mittere falcem in messem alienam, etc.

"Many man for Cristes love

Was martired in Romayne,

Er any cristendom was knowe there,

Or any cros honoured.

"Every bisshop that bereth cros,

By that he is holden


Thorugh his province to passe,

And to his peple to shewe hym,

Tellen hem and techen hem

On the Trinité to bileve,

And feden hem with goostly foode,

And gyve there it nedeth.

In domo mea non est panis neque

vestimentum, et ideo nolite constituere

me regem.

"Ozias seith for swiche


That sike ben and feble,

Inferte omnes decimas in horreum

meum, ut sit cibus in domo mea.

"Ac we cristene creatures

That on the cros bileven,

Arn ferme as in the feith,

Goddes forbode ellis!

And han clerkes to kepen us therinne,


And hem that shul come after us.

"And Jewes lyven in lele lawe,


Oure Lord wroot it hymselve

In stoon, for it stedefast was,

And stonde sholde evere.

Dilige Deum et proximum,

Is parfit Jewen lawe;

And took it Moyses to teche men

Til Messie coome;

And on that lawe thei lyve yit,

And leten it the beste,

And yit knewe thei Crist


That cristendom taughte

For a parfit prophete

That muche peple savede

Of selkouthe sores,

Thei seighen it ofte,

Bothe of miracles and merveilles,

And how he men festede,

With two fisshes and fyve loves,

Fyve thousand peple;

And by that mangerie men myghte wel se


That Messie he semede,

And whan he lifte up Lazar,

That leid was in grave,

And under stoon deed and stank,

With stif vois hym callede:

Lazare, veni foras.

Dide hym rise and rome,

Right bifore the Jewes.

"Ac thei seiden and sworen

With sorcerie he wroughte,


And studieden to struyen hym,

And struyden hemselve;


And thorugh his pacience, hir power

To pure noght he broughte.

Patientes vincunt.

"Daniel of hire undoynge

Devyned and seide,

Cum sanctus sanctorum veniat, cessabit

unctio vestra.

And wenen tho wrecches


That he were pseudo-propheta,

And that his loore be lesynges,

And lakken it alle,

And hopen that he be to come

That shal hem releve,

Moyses eft or Messie

Hir maistres yit devyneth.

"Ac Pharisees and Sarzens,

Scribes and Jewes,

Arn folk of oon feith,


The fader God thei honouren.

And sithen that the Sarzens,

And also the Jewes,

Konne the firste clause of oure bileve,

Credo in Deum patrem omnipotentem,

Prelates of cristene provinces

Sholde preve, if thei myghte,

To lere hem litlum and litlum

Et in Jesum Christum filium,

Til thei kouthe speke and spelle

Et in Spiritum sanctum,

And reden it and recorden it

With remissionem peccatorum,


Carnis resurrectionem, et vitam æternam. Amen."



Passus Decimus Sextus, etc. et Primus de Do-bet.


OW faire falle yow," quod I tho,

"For youre faire shewyng;

For Haukyns love, the actif man,

Evere I shal yow lovye!

Ac yit I am in a weer

What charité is to mene."


"It is a ful trie tree," quod he,

"Trewely to telle;

Mercy is the more therof,

The myddul stok is ruthe;

The leves ben lele wordes,

The lawe of holy chirche;

The blosmes beth buxom speche,

And benigne lokynge;

Pacience hatte the pure tree,

And pure symple of herte;


And so, thorugh God and thorugh goode men,

Groweth the fruyt charité."

"I wolde travaille," quod I, "this tree to se,

Twenty hundred myle;

And for to have my fulle of that fruyt,


Forsake alle othere saulees.

Lord!" quod I, "if any wight wite

Whider out it groweth."

"It groweth in a gardyn," quod he,

"That God made hymselve,


Amyddes mannes body,

The more is of that stokke,

Herte highte the herber

That it inne groweth.

And liberum arbitrium

Hath the lond the ferme

Under Piers the Plowman,

To piken it and to weden it."

"Piers the Plowman!" quod I tho,

And al for pure joye


That I herde nempne his name,

Anoon I swowned after,

And lay longe in a lone dreem;

And at the laste, me thoughte

That Piers the Plowman

Al the place me shewed,

And bad me to toten on the tree,

On top and on roote;

With thre piles was it under-pight,

I perceyved it soone.


"Piers," quod I, "I preie thee,

Whi stonde thise piles here?"

"For wyndes, wiltow wite," quod he,

To witen it fro fallyng.

Cum ceciderit justus, non collidetur,

quia Dominus supponit manum


And in blowyng tyme, abite the flowres,

But if thise piles helpe,


"The world is a wikked wynd


To hem that willen truthe;

Coveitise comth of that wynd,

And crepeth among the leves,

And for-freteth neigh the fruyt

Thorugh manye faire sightes;

Thanne with the firste pil I palle hym down,

That is Potentia Dei.

"The flessh is a fel wynd,

And in flouryng tyme

Thorugh likynge and lustes


So loude he gynneth blowe,

That it norisseth nyce sightes,

And som tyme wordes,

And wikkede werkes therof,

Wormes of synne,

And for-biteth the blosmes

Right to the bare leves.

"Than sette I to the secounde pil

Sapientia Dei patris;

That is the passion and the power


Of oure prince Jhesu.

Thorugh preieres and thorugh penaunces,

And Goddes passion in mynde,

I save it til I se it ripen

And som del y-fruyted.

"And thanne fondeth the fend

My fruyt to destruye,

With alle the wiles that he kan;

And waggeth the roote,

And casteth up to the crop


Unkynde neighebores;

Bakbiteris breke the cheste,

Brawleris and chideris,


And leith a laddre therto,

Of lesynges are the ronges,

And feccheth awey my floures som tyme

Afore bothe myne eighen.

Ac liberum arbitrium

Letteth hym som tyme,

That is lieutenaunt to loken it wel,


Bi leve of myselve.

Videatis qui peccat in spiritum

sanctum nunquam remittetur,

etc. Hoc est idem, qui peccat

per liberum arbitrium non


"Ac whan the fend and the flessh

Forth with the world

Manacen bihynde me

My fruyt for to fecche,


Thanne liberum arbitrium

Laccheth the firste plante,

And palleth adoun the pouke,

Pureliche thorugh grace

And help of the Holy Goost,

And thus have I the maistrie."

"Now faire falle yow! Piers," quod I,

"So faire ye discryven

The power of thise postes,

And hire propre myghtes.


Ac I have thoughtes a threve

Of thise thre piles,

In what wode thei woxen,

And where that thei growed;

For alle are thei aliche longe,

Noon lasse than oother,

And to my mynde, as me thinketh,


On o more thei growed,

And of o greetnesse,

And grene of greyn thei semen."


"That is sooth," quod Piers,

"So it may bifalle;

I shal telle thee as tid

What this tree highte.

The ground there it groweth,

Goodnesse it hatte;

And I have told thee what highte the tree,

The Trinité it meneth."

And egreliche he loked on me;

And therfore I spared


To asken hym any moore therof,

And bad hym ful faire

To discryve the fruyt

That so faire hangeth.

"Heer no bynethe," quod he tho,

"If I nede hadde,

Matrimoyne I may nyme,

A moiste fruyt withalle;

Thanne continence is neer the crop,

As kaylewey bastard,


Thanne bereth the crop kynde fruyt,

And clennest of alle,

Maidenhode aungeles peeris

And rathest wole be ripe,

And swete withouten swellyng,

Sour worth it nevere."

I preide Piers tho to pulle a-doun

An appul, and he wolde,

And suffre me to assaien

What savour it hadde.


And Piers caste to the crop,


And thanne comsed it to crye,

And waggede widwehode,

And it wepte after;

And whan it meved matrimoyne,

It made a foul noise.

And I hadde ruthe whan Piers rogged,

It gradde so rufulliche;

For evere as thei dropped a-doun,

The devel was redy


And gadrede hem alle togideres,

Bothe grete and smale,

Adam and Abraham,

And Ysaye the prophete,

Sampson and Samuel,

And seint Johan the Baptist,

Bar hem forth bodily,

No body hym letted,

And made of holy men his hoord

In limbo inferni,


There is derknesse and drede,

And the devel maister.

And Piers, for pure tene,

Of that a pil he raughte;

He hitte after hym,

Hitte how it myghte,

Filius by the fader wille,

And frenesse of Spiritus sancti,

To go robbe that rageman,

And reve the fruyt fro hym.


And thanne spak Spiritus sanctus

In Gabrielis mouthe,

To a maide that highte Marie,

A meke thyng withalle,

That oon Jhesus a justices sone


Moste jouke in hir chambre,

Til plenitudo temporis

Fully comen were,

That Piers fruyt floured,

And felle to be rype,


And thanne sholde Jhesus juste therfore,

By juggement of armes,

Wheither sholde fonge the fruyt,

The fend or hymselve.

The maide myldeliche tho

The messager graunted,

And seide hendeliche to hym,

"Lo me his hand-maiden

For to werchen his wille,

Withouten any synne."


Ecce ancilla Domini, fiat mihi, etc.

And in the wombe of that wenche

Was he fourty woukes,

Til he weex a faunt thorugh hir flessh,

And of fightyng kouthe,

To have y-foughte with the fend

Er ful tyme come.

And Piers the Plowman

Perceyved plener tyme,

And lered hym lechecraft


His lif for to save,

That though he were wounded with his enemy,

To warisshen hymselve,

And dide hym assaie his surgenrie

On hem that sike were,

Til he was perfit praktisour,

If any peril fille;

And soughte out the sike

And synfulle bothe,


And salvede sike and synfulle,


Bothe blynde and crokede,

And commune wommen convertede,

And to goode turnede.

Non est sanis opus medicinæ, sed in, etc.

Bothe meseles and mute,

And in the menyson blody,

Ofte heeled swiche,

He ne held it for no maistrie,

Save tho he leched Lazar

That hadde y-leye in grave,


Quatriduanus quelt,

Quyk dide hym walke.

Ac as he made the maistrie,

Mœstus cœpit esse,

And wepte water with hise eighen,

Ther seighen it manye.

Some that the sighte seighen,

Seiden that tyme

That he was leche of lif,

And lord of heigh hevene.


Jewes jangled ther ayein,

And juggede lawes

And seide he wroghte thorugh wichecraft,

And with the develes myghte.

Dæmonium habet, etc.

Thanne, "are ye cherles," quod ich,

"And youre children bothe,

And Sathan youre saveour,

Ye self now ye witnessen."

"For I have saved yow self," seith Crist,


"And youre sones after,

Youre bodies, youre beestes,


And blynde men holpen

And fed yow with two fisshes

And with fyve loves,

And lefte baskettesful of broke mete,

Bere awey who so wolde."

And mys-seide the Jewes manliche

And manaced hem to bete,

And knokked on hem with a corde,


And caste a-doun hir stalles

That in chirche chaffareden,

Or chaungeden any moneie,

And seide it in sighte of hem alle,

So that alle herden:—

"I shal overturne this temple,

And a-doun throwe it,

And in thre daies after

Edifie it new,

And maken it as muche outher moore


In alle manere poyntes

As evere it was, and as wid;

Wherfore I hote yow,

Of preieres and of perfitnesse

This place that ye callen."


Domus mea domus orationis vocabitur.

Envye and yvel wil

Was in the Jewes;

Thei casten and contreveden


To kulle hym whan thei myghte,

Eche day after oother

Hir tyme thei awaiteden;

Til it bifel on a Friday

A litel bifore Pasqe,

The Thursday bifore


There he made his maundee,

Sittynge at the soper

He seide thise wordes,

"I am sold thorugh oon of yow,


He shal the tyme rewe,

That evere he his Saveour solde,

For silver or ellis."

Judas jangled ther ayein;

Ac Jhesus hym tolde,

It was hymself soothly,

And seide tu dicis.

Thanne wente forth that wikked man,

And with the Jewes mette,

And tolde hem a tokne


How to knowe with Jhesus,

And which tokne to this day

To muche is y-used,

That is kissynge and fair countenaunce,

And unkynde wille.

And so was with Judas tho,

That Jhesus bitrayed:

"Ave, raby," quod that ribaud,

And right to hym he yede,

And kiste hym, to be caught therby,


And kulled of the Jewes.

Thanne Jhesus to Judas

And to the Jewes seide,

"Falsnesse I fynde

In thi faire speche,

And gile in thi glad chere,

And galle is in thi laughyng;

Thow shalt be myrour

To many men to deceyve,

Ac the worse and the wikkednesse


Shal worthe upon thiselve.

Necesse est ut veniant scandala:

Væ homini illi per quem scandalum


"Though I bi treson be take

At youre owene wille,

Suffreth myne apostles in pees

And in pays gange."

On a Thursday in thesternesse

Thus was he taken,


Thorugh Judas and Jewes,

Jhesus was his name,

That on the Friday folwynge

For mankyndes sake

Justed in Jherusalem,

A joye to us alle.

On cros upon Calvarie

Crist took the bataille

Ayeins deeth and the devel,

Destruyed hir botheres myghtes,


Deide and deed for-dide,

And day of nyght made.

And I awaked therwith,

And wiped myne eighen,

And after Piers the Plowman

Pried and stared

Est-ward and west-ward,

I waited after faste,

And yede forth as an ydiot

In contree to aspie,


After Piers the Plowman

Many a place I soughte.

And thanne mette I with a man,

A myd-lenten Sonday,


As hoor as an hawethorn,

And Abraham he highte.

I frayned hym first

Fram whennes he come,

And of whennes he were,

And whider that he soughte.


AM Feith," quod that freke,

"It falleth noght to lye,

And of Abrahames hous

An heraud of armes,

And seke after a segge

That I seigh ones,

A ful bold bacheler,

I knew hym by his blasen."

"What berth that buyrn?" quod I tho,

"So blisse thee bitide!"


"Thre leodes in oon lyth,

Noon lenger than oother,

Of oon muchel and myght

In mesure and in lengthe;

That oon dooth, alle dooth,

And ech dooth bi his one.

"The firste hath myght and majestee,

Makere of alle thynges,

Pater is his propre name,

A persone by hymselve.


"The secounde of tha sire is

Sothfastnesse filius,

Wardeyn of that wit hath

Was evere withouten gynnyng.

"The thridde highte the Holi Goost,

A persone by hymselve,

The light of al that lif hath


A-londe and a-watre,

Confortour of creatures,

Of hym cometh alle blisse.


"So thre bilongeth for a lord

That lordshipe cleymeth,

Might and mene

To knowe his owene myghte,

Of hym and of his servaunt,

And what thei suffre bothe.

"So God that gynnyng hadde nevere,

But tho hym good thoughte,

Sente forth his sone,

As for servaunt that tyme,


To ocupie hym here,

Til issue were spronge,

That is, children of charité,

And holi chirche the moder;

Patriarkes and prophetes

And apostles were the children,

And Crist and cristendom,

And cristene holy chirche,

In menynge that man moste

On o God bileve.


And there hym likede and lovede,

In thre persones hym shewede,

And that it may be so and sooth,

Manhode it sheweth,

Wedlok and widwehode,

With virginité y-nempned,

In tokenynge of the Trinité

Was out of man taken.

"Adam was oure aller fader,

And Eve was of hymselve,


And the issue that thei hadde

It was of hem bothe,

And either is otheres joie

In thre sondry persones,

And in hevene and here

Oon singuler name;

And thus is mankynde and manhede

Of matrimoyne y-spronge,

And bitokneth the Trinité

And trewe bileve.


"Mighty is matrimoyne,

That multiplieth the erthe,

And bitokneth trewely,

Telle if I dorste,

Hym that first formed al,

The fader of hevene.

"The sone, if I it dorste seye,

Resembleth wel the widewe.


Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid dereliquisti me!


"That is, creatour weex creature

To knowe what was bothe.

As widewe withouten wedlok

Was nevere yit y-seighe;

Na-moore myghte God be man,

But if he moder hadde.

So widewe withouten wedlok

May noght wel stande,

Ne matrimoyne withouten muliere

Is noght muche to preise.


Maledictus homo qui non reliquit

semen in Israel! etc.

"Thus in thre persones

Is perfitliche manhede;


That is man and his make

And mulliere children.

And is noght but gendre of a generacion

Bifore Jhesu Crist in hevene;

So is the fader forth with the sone,

And fre wille of bothe.


Spiritus procedens a patre et filio, etc.


Which is the Holy Goost of alle,

And alle is but o God.

"Thus in a somer I hym seigh

As I sat in my porche.

I roos up and reverenced hym,

And right faire hym grette,

Thre men to my sighte

I made wel at ese,


Wessh her feet and wiped hem,

And afterward thei eten

Calves flessh and cake-breed,

And knewe what I thoughte!

Ful trewe toknes bitwene us is,

To telle whan me liketh.

"First he fonded me

If I lovede bettre

Hym or Ysaak myn heir,

The which he highte me kulle.


He wiste my wille bi hym,

He wol me it allowe;

I am ful siker in soule therof,

And my sone bothe.

I circumscised my sone

Sithen for his sake,

Myself and my meynee,

And alle that male weere,


Bledden blood for that Lordes love,

And hope to blisse the tyme.


Myn affiaunce and my feith

Is ferme in his bileve;

For himself bihighte to me,

And to myn issue bothe,

Lond and lordshipe,

And lif withouten ende;

To me and to myn issue

Moore yet he grauntede,

Mercy for oure mys-dedes,

As many tyme as we asken.


Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti et

semini ejus.

"And siththe he sente me to seye

I sholde do sacrifise,

And doon hym worship with breed

And with wyn bothe;

And called me the foot of his feith,

His folk for to save,

And defende hem fro the fend,

Folk that on me leveden.


"Thus have I ben his heraud

Here and in helle,

And conforted many a careful

That after his comynge waiteden.

And thus I seke hym," he seide,

"For I herde seyn late

Of a barn that baptysed hym,

Johan Baptist was his name,

That to patriarkes and to prophetes,

And to oother peple in derknesse,


Seide that he seigh here

That sholde save us alle."


Ecce agnus Dei! etc.

I hadde wonder of hise wordes,

And of hise wide clothes;

For in his bosom he bar a thyng

That he blissed evere.

And I loked in his lappe,

A lazar lay therinne

Amonges patriarkes and prophetes


Pleyinge togideres.

"What awaitestow?" quod he,

"And what woldestow have?"

"I wolde wite," quod I tho,

"What is in youre lappe."

"Loo!" quod he; and leet me see.

"Lord, mercy!" I seide;

"This is a present of muche pris,

What prynce shal it have?"

"It is a precious present," quod he;


"Ac the pouke it hath attached,

And me thermyde," quod that man,

"May no wed us quyte,

Ne no buyrn be oure borgh,

Ne brynge us fram his daunger;

Out of the poukes pondfold

No maynprise may us feeche,

Til he come that I carpe of,

Crist is his name.

That shal delivere us som day


Out of the develes power,

And bettre wed for us legge

Than we ben alle worthi,

That is lif for lif,

Or ligge thus evere

Lollynge in my lappe,


Til swich a lord us fecche."

"Allas!" I seide, "that synne

So longe shal lette

The myght of Goddes mercy,


That myghte us alle amende."

I wepte for hise wordes.

With that saugh I another

Rapeliche renne forth,

The righte wey he wente.

I affrayned hym first

Fram whennes he come,

And what he highte, and whider he wolde;


And wightly he tolde.




Passus Decimus Septimus, etc. et Secundus de Do-bet.


AM Spes," quod he, "aspie

And spire after a knyght,

That took me a maundement

Upon the mount of Synay,

To rule alle reames with,

I bere the writ here."

"Is it enseled?" I seide,

"May men see thi lettres?"

"Nay," he seide, "seke hym

That hath the seel to kepe;

And that is cros and cristendom,


And Crist theron to honge.

And whan it is enseled so,

I woot wel the sothe,

That Luciferis lordshipe

Laste shal no lenger."

"Lat se thi lettres," quod I,

"We myghte the lawe knowe."

Thanne plukkede he forth a patente,

A pece of an hard roche,

Wheron were writen two wordes


On this wise y-glosed.

Dilige Deum et proximum tuum.

This was the tixte trewely,


I took ful good yeme;

The glose was gloriously writen,

With a gilt penne.

In his duobus mandatis tota lex

pendet et prophetia.

"Ben here alle thi lordes lawes?" quod I.

"Ye, leve me wel," he seide;


And who so wercheth after this writ,

I wol undertaken

Shal nevere devel hym dere,

Ne deeth in soule greve.

For, though I seye it myself,

I have saved with this charme,

Of men and of wommen

Many score thousand.

"Ye seien sooth," seide this heraud;

"I have y-founde it ofte.


Lo! here in my lappe

That leeved on that charme,

Josue and Judith,

And Judas Macabeus,

Ye, and sixti thousand biside forth,

That ben noght seyen here."

"Youre wordes arn wonderfulle," quod I tho,

"Which of yow is trewest,

And lelest to leve so,

For lif, and for soule?


Abraham seith

That he seigh hoolly the Trinité,

Thre persones in parcelles

Departable fro oother,

And alle thre but o god;


Thus Abraham me taughte,

And hath saved that bileved so,

And sory for hir synnes.

He kan noght siggen the somme,

And some arn in his lappe.


What neded it thanne

A newe lawe to bigynne,

Sith the firste suffiseth

To savacion and to blisse?

And now cometh Spes and speketh,

That aspied the lawe;

And telleth noght of the Trinité

That took hym hise lettres,

To bileeve and lovye

In o lord almyghty,


And siththe right as myself

So lovye alle peple.

"The gome that gooth with o staf,

He semeth in gretter heele

Than he that gooth with two staves,

To sighte of us alle.

"And right so, bi the roode!

Reson me sheweth

That it is lighter to lewed men

O lesson to knowe,


Than for to techen hem two,

And to hard to lerne to the leeste

It is ful hard for any man

On Abraham bileve;

And wel awey worse yit

For to love a sherewe.

It is lighter to leeve

In thre lovely persones,

Than for to lovye and leve


As wel lorels as lele."


"Go thi gate!" quod I to Spes,

"So me God helpe!

Tho that lernen thi lawe,

Wol litel while usen it."

And as we wenten thus in the wey

Wordynge togideres,

Thanne seighe we a Samaritan

Sittynge on a mule,

Ridynge ful rapely

The righte wey we yeden,


Comynge from a contree

That men called Jerico,

To a justes in Jerusalem

He chaced awey faste.

Bothe the heraud and Hope

And he mette at ones

Where a man was wounded,

And with theves taken;

He myghte neither steppe ne stande,

Ne stere foot ne handes,


Ne helpe hymself soothly,

For semy-vif he semed,

And as naked as a nedle,

And noon help aboute hym.

Feith hadde first sighte of hym;

Ac he fleigh aside,

And nolde noght neghen hym

By nyne londes lengthe.

Hope cam hippynge after,

That hadde so y-bosted


How he with Moyses maundement

Hadde many men y-holpe;

Ac whan he hadde sighte of that segge


Aside he gan hym drawe

Dredfully bi this day,

As doke dooth fram the faucon.

Ac so soone so the Samaritan

Hadde sighte of this leode,

He lighte a-down of lyard,

And ladde hym in his hande,


And to the wye he wente

Hise woundes to biholde;

And perceyved bi his pous

He was in peril to dye,

And but he hadde recoverer the rapelier,

That rise sholde he nevere.

With wyn and with oille

Hise woundes he wasshed,

Enbawmed hym and bond his heed,

And in his lappe hym leide,


And ladde hym so forth on lyard

Te lex Christi, a graunge

Wel sixe mile or sevene

Biside the newe market;

Herberwed hym at an hostrie,

And to the hostiler called,

And seide, "Have kepe this man

Til I come fro the justes;

And lo! here silver," he seide,

"For salve to hise woundes."


And he took hym two pens,

To liflod, as it weere;

And seide, "What he spendeth moore,

I make thee good herafter;

For I may noght lette," quod that leode;

And lyard he bistrideth,

And raped hym to Jerusalem-ward


The righte wey to ryde.

Feith folwede after faste,

And fondede to mete hym;


And Spes spakliche hym spedde,

Spede if he myghte

To overtaken hym and talke to hym,

Er thei to towne coome.

And whan I seigh this, I sojourned noght,

But shoop me to renne,

And suwed that Samaritan

That was so ful of pité,

And graunted hym to ben his groom.

"Graunt mercy!" he seide;


"Ac thi frend and thi felawe," quod he,

"Thow fyndest me at nede."

And I thanked hym tho,

And siththe I hym tolde

How that Feith fleigh awey,

And Spes his felawe bothe,

For sighte of that sorweful man

That robbed was with theves.

"Have hem excused," quod he,

"Hir help may litel availle;


May no medicyne on molde

The man to heele brynge,

Neither feith ne fyn hope,

So festred be hise woundes,

Withouten the blood of a barn

Born of a mayde.

And he be bathed in that blood,

Baptised as it were,

And thanne plastred with penaunce

And passion of that baby,


He sholde stonde and steppe.

Ac stalworthe worth he nevere.

Til he have eten al the barn,

And his blood y-dronke.

For wente nevere wye in this world

Thorugh that wildernesse,

That he ne was robbed or rifled,

Rood he there or yede,

Save Feith and his felawe,

Spes, and myselve,


And thiself now,

And swiche as suwen oure werkes.

"For outlawes in the wode

And under bank lotieth,

And mowen ech man see,

And good mark take

Who is bihynde and who bifore,

And who ben on horse

For he halt hym hardier on horse

Than he that is foote.


For he seigh me that am Samaritan

Suwen Feith and his felawe

On my capul that highte caro,

Of mankynde I took it;

He was unhardy that harlot,

And hidde hym in Inferno.

Ac er this day thre daies,

I dar undertaken,

That he worth fettred, that feloun,

Faste with cheynes,


And nevere eft greve gome

That gooth this ilke gate.

"And thanne shal Feith be forster here,


And in this fryth walke,

And kennen out comune men

That knowen noght the contree

Which is the wey that I wente,

And wher forth to Jerusalem.

And Hope the hostilers man shal be,

Ther the man lith an helyng;


And alle that feble and feynte be,

That Feith may noght teche,

Hope shal lede hem forth with love,

As his lettre telleth,

And hostele hem and heele

Thorugh holy chirche bileve,

Til I have salve for alle sike;

And thanne shal I turne,

And come ayein bi this contree,

And conforten alle sike


That craveth it and coveiteth it,

Or crieth therafter.

For the barn was born in Bethleem,

That with his blood shal save

Alle that lyven in feith

And folwen his felawes techynge."

"A! swete sire," I seide tho,

"Wher I shal bileve,

As Feith and his felawe

Enformed me bothe,


In thre persones departable,

That perpetuele were evere,

And alle thre but o God,

Thus Abraham me taughte.

"And Hope afterward

He bad me to lovye

O God with al my good,


And alle gomes after,

Lovye hem lik myselve,

Ac oure Lord aboven alle.


"After Abraham," quod he,

"That heraud of armes,

Sette fully thi feith

And ferme bileve;

And as Hope highte thee,

I hote that thow lovye

Thyn evene cristene evere moore

Evene forth with thiselve.

And if Conscience carpe ther ayein,

Or kynde wit eyther,


Or eretikes with argumentz

Thyn hond thow hem shewe;

For God is after an hand,

Y-heer now and knowe it.

"The fader was first as a fust,

With o fynger foldynge;

Til hym lovede and liste

To unlosen his fynger,

And profre it forth as with a pawme

To what place it sholde,


"The pawme is purely the hand,

And profreth forth the fyngres,

To ministren and to make

That myght of hand knoweth;

And bitokneth trewely,

Telle who so liketh,

The Holy Goost of hevene

He is as the pawme.

"The fyngres that fre ben

To folde and to serve,


Bitoknen soothly the Sone


That sent was til erthe,

That touched and tastede

At techynge of the pawme

Seinte Marie a mayde,

And mankynde laughte.


Qui conceptus est de Spiritu sancto, etc.

"The Fader is pawme as a fust,

With fynger to touche,—


Quia omnia traham ad meipsum, etc.


Al that the pawme perceyveth

Profitable to feele.

"Thus are thei alle but oon,

As it an hand weere,

And thre sondry sightes

In oon shewynge,

The pawme for it putteth forth fyngres,

And the fust bothe;


Right so redily,

Reson it sheweth

How he that is Holy Goost

Sire and Son preveth.

"And as the hand halt harde,

And alle thyng faste,

Thorugh foure fyngres and a thombe

Forth with the pawme;

Right so the Fader and the Sone,

And Seint Spirit the thridde,


Al the wide world

Withinne hem thre holden,

Bothe wolkne and the wynd,

Water and erthe,

Hevene and helle,


And al that is therinne.

"Thus it is, nedeth no man

Trowe noon oother,

That thre thynges bilongeth

In oure Lord of Hevene;


And aren serelopes by hemself,

A-sondry were thei nevere,

Na-moore than myn hand may

Meve withoute my fyngres.

"And as my fust is ful hand

Y-holden togideres;

So is the Fader a ful God,

Formour and shappere.

Tu fabricator omnium, etc.

And al the myght myd hym is


In makynge of thynges.

The fyngres formen a ful hand

To portreye or peynten,

Kervynge and compasynge,

As craft of the fyngres.

"Right so is the Sone

The science of the Fader,

And ful God as is the Fader,

No febler ne no bettre.

"The pawme is pureliche the hand,


And hath power by hymselve,

Other wise than the writhen fust,

Or werkmanshipe of fyngres.

For he hath power

To putte out alle the joyntes,

And to unfolde the folden fust,

At the fyngres wille.

"So is the Holy Goost God,

Neither gretter ne lasse.


Than is the Sire and the Sone,


And in the same myghte.

And alle are thei but o God;

As is myn hand and my fyngres,

Unfolden or folden,

My fust and my pawne,

Al is but an hand;

Evene in the myddes,

He may receyve right noght,

Reson it sheweth,

For the fyngres that folde sholde


And the fust make,

For peyne of the pawme,

Power hem failleth

To clucche or to clawe,

To clippe or to holde.

"Were the myddel of myn hand

Y-maymed or y-perissed,

I sholde receyve right noght

Of that I reche myghte.

"Ac though my thombe and my fyngres


Bothe were to-shullen,

And the myddel of myn hand

Withoute male-ese,

In many kynnes maneres

I myghte myself helpe,

Bothe mene and amende,

Though alle my fyngres oke.

"By this skile, me thynketh,

I se an evidence

That who so synneth in the Seint Spirit,


Assoilled worth he nevere,

Neither here ne ellis where,

As I herde telle.


Qui peccat in Spiritu sancto, etc.

For he priketh God as in the pawme,

That peccat in Spiritu sancto.

For God the fader is as a fust,

The Sone is as a fynger,

The Holy Goost of hevene

Is as it were the pawme;


So who so synneth in the Seint Spirit,

It semeth that he greveth

God, that he grypeth with,

And wolde his grace quenche.

"And to a torche or a tapur

The Trinité is likned;

As wex and a weke

Were twyned togideres,

And thanne a fir flawmynge

Forth out of bothe;


And as wex and weke

And hoot fir togideres

Fostren forth a flawmbe

And a fair leye,

So dooth the Sire and the Sone

And also Spiritus sanctus,

That alle kynne cristene

Clenseth of synnes

And as thow seest som tyme

Sodeynliche a torche,


The blase therof y-blowe out,

Yet brenneth the weke

Withouten leye or light

That the macche brenneth;

So is the Holy Goost God,

And grace withoute mercy

To alle unkynde creatures,


That coveite to destruye

Lele love or lif

That oure Lord shapte.


"And as glowynge gledes

Gladeth noght thise werkmen,

That werchen and waken

In wyntres nyghtes,

As dooth a kex or a candle

That caught hath fir and blaseth;

Na-moore dooth Sire ne Sone

Ne Seint Spirit togidres

Graunte no grace

Ne forgifnesse of synnes,


Til the Holy Goost gynne

To glowe and to blase.

So that the Holy Goost

Gloweth but as a glade,

Til that lele love

Ligge on hym and blowe,

And thanne flawmeth he as fir

On Fader and on Filius,

And melteth hire myght into mercy;

As men may se in wyntre


Ysekeles and evesynges

Thorugh hete of the sonne

Melte in a minut while

To myst and to watre.

"So grace of the Holy Goost

The greet myght of the Trinité

Melteth to mercy,

To merciable and to othere;

And as wex withouten moore

On a warm glede


Wol brennen and blasen,


Be thei togideres,

And solacen hem that mowe se,

That sitten in derknesse.

"So wol the Fader forgyve

Folk of mylde hertes,

That rufully repenten,

And restitucion make,

In as muche as thei mowen

Amenden and paien;


And if it suffise noght for assetz,

That in swich a wille deyeth,

Mercy for his mekenesse

Wol maken good the remenaunt.

And as the weke and fir

Wol maken a warm flaumbe,

For to murthen men myd

That in the derke sitten;

So wole Crist of his curteisie,

And men crye hym mercy,


Bothe forgyve and foryete,

And yit bidde for us

To the Fader of hevene

Forgifnesse to have.

"Ac hewe fir at a flynt

Foure hundred wynter,

But thow have tow to take it with,

Tonder or broches,

Al thi labour is lost,

And al thi long travaille;


For may no fir flaumbe make,

Faille it is kynde.

"So is the Holi Goost God,

And grace withouten mercy

To alle unkynde creatures,


Crist hymself witnesseth.

Amen dico vobis, nescio vos, etc.

"Be unkynde to thyn evene cristene,

And al that thow kanst bidde,

Delen and do penaunce


Day and nyght evere,

And purchace al the pardon

Of Pampilon and Rome,

And indulgences y-nowe,

And be ingratus to thi kynde,

The Holy Goost hereth thee noght,

Ne helpe may thee by reson;

For unkyndenesse quencheth hym,

That he kan noght shyne,

Ne brenne ne blase clere


For blowynge of unkyndenesse.

Poul the apostel

Preveth wheither I lye.

Si linguis hominum loquar, etc.

"For-thi beth war, ye wise men,

That with the world deleth,

That riche ben and reson knoweth,

Ruleth wel youre soule,

Beth noght unkynde, I conseille yow,

To youre evene cristene,


For manye of yow riche men,

By my soule! men telleth,

Ye brenne, but ye blase noght,

That is a blynd bekene.

Non omnis qui dicit Domine! Domine!

intrabit, etc.

"Dives deyde dampned,

For his unkyndenesse


Of his mete and of his moneie

To men that it nedede.


Ech a riche I rede

Reward at hym take,

And gyveth youre good to that God

That grace of ariseth;

For thei that ben unkynde to hise,

Hope I noon oother,

But thei dwelle ther Dives is

Dayes withouten ende.

"Thus is unkyndenesse the contrarie,

That quencheth, as it were,


The grace of the Holy Goost,

Goddes owene kynde.

For that kynde dooth, unkynde for-dooth;

As thise corsede theves

Unkynde cristene men,

For coveitise and envye,

Sleeth a man for hise moebles

With mouth or with handes.

For that the Holy Goost hath to kepe,

The harlotes destruyeth,


The which is lif and love,

The leye of mannes body.

For every manere good man

May be likned to a torche,

Or ellis to a tapur,

To reverence the Trinité;

And who morthereth a good man,

Me thynketh by myn inwit,

He for-dooth the levest light

That oure Lord lovyeth.


"And yet in manye mo maneres

Men offenden the Holy Goost.

Ac this is the worste wise


That any wight myghte

Synnen ayein the Seint Spirit,

Assenten to destruye

For coveitise of any kynnes thyng

That Crist deere boughte,

That wikkedliche and wilfulliche

Wolde mercy aniente.


"Innocence is next God,

And nyght and day it crieth,

'Vengeaunce! vengeaunce!

Forgyve be it nevere

That shente us and shedde oure blood,

For-shapte us, as it were!'

Vindica sanguinem justorum.

"Thus 'Vengeaunce! vengeaunce!'

Verrey Charité asketh.

And sith holy chirche and Charité


Chargeth this so soore,

Leve I nevere that oure Lord

Wol love that charité lakketh,

Ne have pité for any preiere

Ther that he pleyneth."

"I pose I hadde synned so,

And sholde now deye;

And now I am sory that I so

The Seint Spirit a-gulte,

Confesse me and crye his grace,


God that al made,

And myldeliche his mercy aske,

Myghte I noght be saved?"

"Yis," seide the Samaritan,

"So wel thow myght repente,

That rightwisnesse thorugh repentaunce,

To ruthe myghte turne.

Ac it is but selden y-seighe


Ther soothnesse bereth witnesse,

Any creature that is coupable


Afore a kynges justice,

Be raunsoned for his repentaunce,

Ther alle reson hym dampneth.

For ther that partie pursueth,

The peple is so huge,

That the kyng may do no mercy

Til bothe men acorde,

And eyther have equité,

As holy writ telleth.

Nunquam dimittitur peccatum, etc.


"Thus it fareth by swich folk

That falsly al hire lyves

Yvele lyven, and leten noght

Til lif hem forsake.

Good hope, that helpe sholde,

To wanhope torneth,

Noght of the noun power of God,

That he ne is myghtful

To amende al that amys is,

And his mercy gretter


Than alle oure wikkede werkes,

As holy writ telleth.


Misericordia ejus super omnia opera ejus.

Ac er his rightwisnesse to ruthe torne,

Som restitucion bihoveth.

His sorwe is satisfaccion,

For hym that may noght paie.

"Thre thynges ther ben

That doon a man by strengthe


For to fleen his owene,

As holy writ sheweth.

"That oon is a wikkede wif,


That wol noght be chastised;

Hir feere fleeth fro hire,

For feere of hir tonge.

"And if his hous be un-hiled,

And reyne on his bedde,

He seketh and seketh

Til he slepe drye.


"And whan smoke and smolder

Smyt in his sighte,

It dooth hym worse than his wif

Or wete to slepe.

For smoke and smolder

Smyteth in hise eighen,

Til he be bler-eighed, or blynd,

And hoors in the throte,

Cogheth, and curseth

That Crist gyve hem sorwe


That sholde brynge in bettre wode,

Or blowe it til it brende.

"Thise thre that I telle of

Ben thus to understonde;

The wif is oure wikked flessh,

That wol noght be chastised;

For kynde clyveth on hym evere

To contrarie the soule.

And though it falle, it fynt skiles

That freleté it made,


And that is lightly forgyven

And forgeten bothe,

To man that mercy asketh,

And amende thenketh.

"The reyn that reyneth

Ther we reste sholde,

Ben siknesse and sorwes

That we suffren ofte;


As Poul the apostle

To the people taughte.


Virtus infirmitate perficitur, etc.

"And though that men make

Muche doel in hir angre,

And ben inpacient in hir penaunce,

Pure reson knoweth

That thei han cause to contrarie

By kynde of hir siknesse;

And lightliche oure Lord

At hir lyves ende

Hath mercy on swiche men,


That so yvele may suffre.

"Ac the smoke and the smolder

That smyt in oure eighen,

That is coveitise and unkyndenesse,

That quencheth Goddes mercy.

For unkyndenesse is the contrarie

Of alle kynnes reson.

For ther nys sik ne sory,

Ne noon so muche wrecche,

That he ne may lovye, and hym like,


And lene of his herte

Good wille and good word,

And wisshen and willen

Alle manere men

Mercy and forgifnesse,

And lovye hem lik hymself,

And his lif amende.

"I may no lenger lette," quod he;

And lyard he prikede,

And went awey as wynd;


And therwith I awakede.



Passus Decimus Octavus, etc. et Tertius de Do-bet.


OLLEWARD and weet-shoed


Wente I forth after,

As a recchelees renk

That of no wo roughte,

And yede forth lik a lorel

Al my lif tyme,

Til I weex wery of the world,

And wilned eft to slepe,


And lened me to a lenten,

And longe tyme I slepte;

And of Cristes passion and penaunce,

The peple that of raughte,

Reste me there, and rutte faste

Til ramis palmarum.

Of gerlis and of gloria laus

Gretly me dremed,

And how hosanna by organye

Olde folk songen.


Oon semblable to the Samaritan,

And som deel to Piers the Plowman,

Bare-foot on an asse bak

Boot-les cam prikye,


Withouten spores other spere,

Spakliche he lokede,

As is the kynde of a knyght

That cometh to be dubbed,

To geten hym gilte spores,

Or galoches y-couped.


Thanne was Feith in a fenestre,

And cryde a fili David,

As dooth an heraud of armes,

Whan aventrous cometh to justes.

Old Jewes of Jerusalem

For joye thei songen,


Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.

Thanne I frayned at Feith,

What al that fare by-mente,


And who sholde juste in Jerusalem.

"Jhesus," he seide,

"And fecche that the fend claymeth,

Piers fruyt the Plowman."

"Is Piers in this place?" quod I.

And he preynte on me:

"This Jhesus of his gentries

Wol juste in Piers armes,

In his helm and in his haubergeon,

Humana natura;


That Crist be noght bi-knowe here

For consummatus Deus.

In Piers paltok the Plowman

This prikiere shal ryde.

For no dynt shal hym dere,

As in deitate Patris."

"Who shal juste with Jhesus?" quod I,


"Jewes or scrybes?"

"Nay," quod he; "The foule fend,

And fals doom and deeth.


Deeth seith he shal for-do

And a-doun brynge

Al that lyveth and loketh

In londe and in watre.

"Lif seith that he lieth,

And leieth his lif to wedde,

That for al that deeth kan do

Withinne thre daies

To walke and fecche fro the fend

Piers fruyt the Plowman,


And legge it ther hym liketh,

And Lucifer bynde,

And for-bete and a-doun brynge

Bale deeth for evere."

O mors, ero mors tua.

Thanne cam Pilatus with muche peple,

Sedens pro tribunali,

To se how doghtiliche Deeth sholde do,

And deme hir botheres right.

The Jewes and the justice


Ayeins Jhesu thei weere,

And al the court on hym cryde

Crucifige sharpe.

Tho putte hym forth a pilour

Bifore Pilat, and seide,

"This Jhesus of oure Jewes temple

Hath japed and despised,

To for-doon it on o day,

And in thre dayes after

Edifie it eft newe;


Here he stant that seide it;

And yit maken it as muche

In alle manere poyntes,

Bothe as long and as large,

Bi lofte and by grounde."

"Crucifige!" quod a cachepol;

"I warrante hym a wicche."

"Tolle! tolle!" quod another,

And took of kene thornes,

And bigan of kene thorn


A garland to make,

And sette it sore on his heed,

And seide in envye,

"Ave, Raby," quod that rybaud,

And threw reedes at hym,

Nailed hym with thre nailes

Naked on the roode,

And poison on a poole

Thei putte up to hise lippes,

And beden hym drynken his deeth yvel,


Hise daies were y-done,

"And if that thow sotil be,

Help now thiselve;

If thow be Crist and kynges sone,

Com down of the roode;

Thanne shul we leve that lif thee loveth,

And wol noght lete thee deye."

"Consummatum est," quod Crist,

And comsede for to swoune

Pitousliche and pale,


As a prison that deieth.

The lord of lif and of light

Tho leide hise eighen togideres.


The day for drede withdrough,

And derk bicam the sonne;

The wal waggede and cleef,

And al the world quaved;

Dede men for that dene

Come out of depe graves,

And tolde why that tempeste


So longe tyme durede;

"For a bitter bataille,"

The dede body seide,

"Lif and deeth in this derknesse

Hir oon for-dooth hir oother.

Shal no wight wite witterly

Who shal have the maistrie

Er Sonday aboute sonne risyng;"

And sank with that til erthe.

Some seide that he was Goddes sone


That so faire deide.

Vere filius Dei erat iste.

And some seide he was a wicche,

"Good is that we assaye

Wher he be deed or noght deed,

Doun er he be taken."

Two theves also

Tholed deeth that tyme,

Upon a croos besides Crist,

So was the comune lawe.


A cachepol cam forth

And craked bothe hire legges,

And the armes after

Of either of tho theves.

Ac was no body so boold

Goddes body to touche;

For he was knyght and kynges sone,


Kynde for-yaf that tyme,

That noon harlot were so hardy

To leyen hond upon hym.


Ac ther cam forth a knyght,

With a kene spere y-grounde,

Highte Longeus, as the lettre telleth,

And longe hadde lore his sighte.

Bifore Pilat and oother peple

In the place he hoved;

Maugree his manye teeth,

He was maad that tyme

To take the spere in his hond,

And justen with Jhesus.


For alle thei were unhardy,

That hoved on horse or stode,

To touchen hym or to tasten hym,

Or taken doun of roode.

But this blynde bacheler

Baar hym thorugh the herte;

The blood sprong doun by the spere,

And unspered the knyghtes eighen.

Thanne fil the knyght upon knees,

And cryde hym mercy;


"Ayein my wille it was, Lord,

To wownde yow so soore."

He sighed and seide,

"Soore it me a-thynketh,

For the dede that I have doon

I do me in youre grace.

Have on me ruthe! rightful Jhesu!"

And right with that he wepte.

Thanne gan Feith felly

The false Jewes despise,


Callede hem caytyves

Acorsed for evere;

"For this foule vileynye

Vengeaunce to yow falle!

To do the blynde bete hym y-bounde,

It was a boyes counseille.

Cursede caytif!

Knyghthood was it nevere

To mys-do a deed body

By daye or by nyghte.


The gree yit hath he geten,

For al his grete wounde.

"For youre champion chivaler,

Chief knyght of yow alle,

Yilt hym recreaunt rennyng

Right at Jhesus wille.

For be this derknesse y-do,

His deeth worth avenged;

And ye, lurdaynes, han y-lost,

For lif shal have the maistrye;


And youre fraunchise, that fre was,

Fallen is in thraldom,

And ye, cherles, and youre children

Cheve shulle nevere

To have lordshipe in londe,

Ne no lond tilye,

But al barayne be,

And usurie usen,

Which is lif that oure Lord

In alle lawes acurseth.


Now youre goode dayes arn doon,

As Daniel prophecied,

Whan Crist cam, of hir kyngdom

The crowne sholde cesse."


Cum veniat sanctus sanctorum, cessabit

unctio vestra.

What for feere of this ferly,

And of the false Jewes,

I drow me in that derknesse

To descendit ad inferna;


And there I saugh soothly

Secundum Scripturas

Out of the west coste

A wenche, as me thoughte,

Cam walkynge in the wey,

To helle-ward she loked.

Mercy highte that mayde,

A meke thyng withalle,

A ful benigne burde,

And buxom of speche.


Hir suster, as it semed,

Cam soothly walkynge.

Evene out of the est,

And west-ward she lokede,

A ful comely creature,

Truthe she highte,

For the vertue that hire folwede

A-fered was she nevere.

Whan thise maydenes mette,

Mercy and Truthe,


Either asked oother

Of this grete wonder,

Of the dyn and of the derknesse,

And how the day rowed,

And which a light and a leme

Lay bifore helle.

"Ich have ferly of this fare,

In feith!" seide Truthe,


"And am wendynge to wite

What this wonder meneth."


"Have no merveille," quod Mercy,

"Murth it bitokneth.

A maiden that highte Marie,

And moder withouten felyng

Of any kynnes creature,

Conceyved thorugh speche

And grace of the Holy Goost,

Weex greet with childe,

Withouten wem

Into this world she broghte hym;


And that my tale be trewe,

I take God to witnesse.

"Sith this barn was y-bore

Ben .xxx.ti wynter passed,

Which deide and deeth tholed

This day aboute myd-day,

And that is cause of this clips

That closeth now the sonne,

In menynge that man shal

Fro merknesse be drawe,


The while this light and this leme

Shal Lucifer a-blende.

For patriarkes and prophetes

Han preched herof ofte:

That man shal man save

Thorugh a maydenes helpe;

And that was tynt thorugh tree,

Tree shal it wynne;

And that deeth a-down broughte,

Deeth shal releve."


"That thow tellest," quod Truthe,

"Is but a tale of Waltrot.


For Adam and Eve,

And Abraham, with othere,

Patriarkes and prophetes,

That in peyne liggen,

Leve thow nevere that yon light

Hem a-lofte brynge,

Ne have hem out of helle.

Hold thi tonge, Mercy!


It is but a trufle that thow tellest;

I, Truthe, woot the sothe.

For he that is ones in helle,

Out cometh he nevere.

Job the prophete patriark

Repreveth thi sawes."

Quia in inferno nulla est redemptio.

Thanne Mercy ful myldely

Mouthed thise wordes,

"Thorugh experience," quod she,


"I hope thei shul be saved.

For venym for-dooth venym;

And that preve I by reson.

For of alle venymes

Foulest is the scorpion,

May no medicyne helpe

The place ther he styngeth,

Til he be deed, and do therto,

The yvel he destruyeth,

The firste venymousté


Thorugh venym of hymselve.

"So shal this deeth for-do,

I dar my lif legge,

Al that deeth for-dide first

Thorugh the develes entisyng;

And right as thorugh gile


Man was bi-giled,

So shal grace that bi-gan

Make a good sleighte."

Ars ut artem falleret.


"Now suffre we," seide Truthe;

"I se, as me thynketh,

Out of the nyppe of the north

Noght ful her hennes

Rightwisnesse come rennynge.

Reste we the while;

For he woot moore than we,

He was er we bothe."

"That is sooth," seide Mercy;

"And I se here by sowthe


Where Pees cometh pleyinge,

In pacience y-clothed.

Love hath coveited hire longe,

Leve I noon oother,

But he sente hire som lettre,

What this light by-meneth

That over-hoveth helle thus,

She us shal telle."

When Pees in pacience y-clothed

Approched ner hem tweyne,


Rightwisnesse hire reverenced,

By hir riche clothyng,

And preide Pees to telle hire

To what place she wolde,

And in hire gaye garnementz

Whom she grete thoughte.

"My wil is to wende," quod she,

"And welcome hem alle

That many day myghte I noght se

For merknesse of synne,


Adam and Eve,

And othere mo in helle;

Moyses and many mo

Mercy shul have,

And I shal daunce therto,

Do thow so, suster,

For Jhesus justede wel,

Joy bigynneth dawe.

Ad vesperum demorabitur fletus, et

ad matutinum lætitia.


"Love, that is my lemman,

Swiche lettres me sente,

That Mercy, my suster, and I

Mankynde sholde save,

And that God hath for-gyven

And graunted me pees and mercy,

To be mannes meynpernour

For evere moore after.

Lo here the patente!" quod Pees,

"In pace in idipsum.


And that this dede shal dure,

Dormiam et requiescam."

"What! ravestow?" quod Rightwisnesse,

"Or thow art right dronke?

Levestow that yond light

Unlouke myghte helle,

And save mannes soule?

Suster, wene it nevere.

For God the bigynnere

Gaf the doom hymselve,


That Adam and Eve,

And alle that hem suwede,

Sholden deye down righte,


And dwelle in pyne after,

If that thei touchede a tree,

And the fruyt eten.

"Adam afterward

Ayeins his defence

Freet of that fruyt,

And forsook, as it weere,


The love of oure Lord

And his loore bothe,

And folwede that the fend taughte,

And his felawes wille,

Ayeins reson and rightwisnesse,

Recorde thus with truthe,

That hir peyne be perpetuel,

And no preiere hem helpe.

For-thi lat hem chewe as thei chosen,

And chide we noght, sustres;


For it is bote-lees bale,

The byte that thei eten."

"And I shal preve," quod Pees,

"Hir peyne moot have ende,

And from wo into wele

Mowe wenden at the laste.

For hadde thei wist of no wo,

Wele hadde the noght knowen.

For no wight woot what wele is,

That nevere wo suffrede;


Ne what is hoot hunger,

That hadde nevere defaute.

"If no nyght ne weere,

No man, as I leeve,

Sholde nevere wite witterly

What day is to meene.

Sholde nevere right riche man,


That lyveth in reste and ese,

Wite what wo is,

Ne were the deeth of kynde.


"So God, that bigan al

Of his goode wille,

Bicam man of a mayde

Mankynde to save;

And suffrede to be sold,

To se the sorwe of deying,

The which unknytteth alle care,

And comsynge is of reste.

For til modicum mete with us,

I may it wel avowe,


Woot no wight, as I wene,

What y-nogh is to mene.

"For-thi God of his goodnesse

The firste gome Adam

Sette hym in solace,

And in sovereyn murthe;

And siththe he suffred hym synne,

Sorwe to feele,

To wite what wele was

Kyndeliche and knowe it.


And after God auntrede hymself,

And took Adames kynde,

To wite what he hath suffred

In thre sondry places,

Bothe in hevene and in erthe,

And now til helle he thenketh

To wite what alle wo is,

And what is alle joye.

"So it shal fare by this folk,

Hir folie and hir synne


Shal lere hem what langour is


And lisse withouten ende.

Woot no wight what werre is

Ther that pees regneth,

Ne what is witterly wele

Til weylawey! hym teche."

Thanne was ther a wight

With two brode eighen,

Book highte that beau-peere,

A bold man of speche;


"By Goddes body!" quod this Book,

"I wol bere witnesse

That tho this barn was y-bore,

Ther blased a sterre

That alle the wise of this world

In o wit acorden,

That swich a barn was y-bore

In Bethleem the citee,

That mannes soule sholde save,

And synne destroye.


And alle the elementz," quod the Book,

"Herof beren witnesse,

That he was God that al wroghte,

The wolkne first shewed.

"Tho that weren in hevene

Token stella cometa,

And tendeden it as a torche

To reverencen his burthe;

The light folwede the Lord

Into the lowe erthe.


"The water witnessed that he was God,

For he wente on it.

Peter the apostel

Parceyved his gate,

And as he wente on the water,


Wel hym knew, and seide,

Jube me venire ad te super aquas.

"And lo! how the sonne gan louke

Hire light in hirselve,

Whan she seigh hym suffre,


That sonne and see made.

"The erthe for hevynesse

That he wolde suffre,

Quaked as quyk thyng,

And al biquasshed the roche.

"Lo! helle myghte nat holde,

But opnede tho God tholede,

And leet out Symondes sone

To seen hym hange on roode.

And now shal Lucifer leve it,


Though hym looth thynke;

For Gigas the geaunt

With a gyn hath engyned

To breke and to bete a-doun

That ben ayeins Jhesus.

And I, Book, wole be brent,

But Jhesus rise to lyve

In alle myghtes of man,

And his moder gladie,

And conforte al his kyn


And out of care brynge,

And al the Jewene joye

Unjoynen and unlouken,

And but thei reversen his roode,

And his resurexion,

And bileve on a newe lawe,

Be lost lif and soule."

"Suffre we," seide Truthe;

"I here and see bothe


How a spirit speketh to helle,


And biddeth unspere the yates."

Attolite portas, etc.

A vois loude in that light

To Lucifer crieth,

"Prynces of this place,

Unpynneth and unlouketh!

For here cometh with crowne

That kyng is of glorie."

Thanne sikede Sathan,

And seide to hem alle,


"Swich a light ayeins oure leve

Lazar out fette;

Care and encombraunce

Is comen to us alle!

If this kyng come in,

Mankynde wole he fecche,

And lede it ther hym liketh,

And lightliche me bynde.

Patriarkes and Prophetes

Han parled herof longe,


That swich a lord and light

Sholde lede hem alle hennes."

"Listneth," quod Lucifer,

"For I this lord knowe.

Bothe this lord and this light,

Is longe a-go I knew hym.

May no deeth hym dere,

Ne no develes queyntise;

And where he wole is his wey,

Ac ware hym of the perils.


If he reveth me my right,

He robbeth me by maistrie;

For by right and by reson


The renkes that ben here

Body and soule beth myne,

Bothe goode and ille.

For hymself seide,

That sire is of hevene,

If Adam ete the appul,

Alle sholde deye


And dwelle with us develes;

This thretynge he made.

And he that soothnesse is,

Seide thise wordes.

And sithen I seised

Sevene hundred wynter,

I leeve that lawe nyl noght

Lete hym the leeste."

"That is sooth," seide Sathan;

"But I me soore drede.


For thow gete hem with gile,

And his gardyn breke,

And in semblaunce of a serpent

Sete upon the appul-tree,

And eggedest hem to ete,

Eve by hirselve;

And toldest hire a tale,

Of treson were the wordes;

And so thow haddest hem out,

And hider at the laste.


It is noght graithly geten,

Ther gile is the roote.

For God wol noght be bi-giled,"

Quod Gobelyn, "ne by-japed;

We have no trewe title to hem,


For thorugh treson were thei dampned."


"Certes, I drede me," quod the devel,

"Lest Truthe wol hem fecche;

Thise thritty wynter, as I wene,


Hath he gon and preched.

I have assailled hym with synne,

And som tyme y-asked

Wheither he were God or Goddes sone;

He yaf me short answere.

And thus hath he trolled forth

Thise two and thritty wynter.

And whan I seigh it was so,

Lepynge I wente

To warne Pilates wif


What done man was Jhesus.

For Jewes hateden hym,

And han doon hym to dethe.

I wolde have lengthed his lif;

For I leved if he deide,

That his soule wolde suffre

No synne in his sighte.

For the body, while it on bones yede,

Aboute was evere

To save men from synne,


If hemself wolde.

And now I se wher a soule

Cometh hiderward seillynge,

With glorie and with gret light,—

God it is, I woot wel.

I rede that we fle," quod he,

"Faste alle hennes;

For us were bettre noght be,

Than biden his sighte.

For thi lesynges, Lucifer,


Lost is al oure praye.

"First thorugh the we fellen

Fro hevene so heighe,

For we leved on thi lesynges;

Y-lorn we have Adam,

And al oure lordshipe, I leve,

A-londe and a-watre."

Nunc princeps hujus mundi ejicietur foras.

Eft the light bad unlouke;

And Lucifer answerede,


"What lord artow?" quod Lucifer.

Quis est iste?

"Rex Gloriæ,"

The light soone seide,

"And lord of myght and of man,

And alle manere vertues.

Dominus virtutum.

Dukes of this dymme place,

Anoon undo thise yates,

That Crist may come in,


The kynges sone of hevene!"

And with that breeth helle brak,

With Belialles barres,

For any wye or warde,

Wide opned the yates.

Patriarkes and prophetes,

Populus in tenebris,

Songen seint Johanes song,

Ecce agnus Dei.

Lucifer loke ne myghte,


So light hym a-blente.

And tho that oure Lord lovede

Into his light he laughte;

And seide to Sathan,


"Lo! here my soule to amendes

For alle synfulle soules,

To save tho that ben worthi.

Myne thei ben and of me,

I may the bet hem cleyme.

And though Reson recorde


And Right, of myselve,

That if he ete the appul

Alle sholde deye;

I bi-highte hem noght here

Helle for evere.

For the dede that thei dide,

Thi deceite it made;

With gile thow hem gete,

Ageyn alle reson.

For in my paleis Paradis,


In persone of an addre,

Falsliche thow fettest

Thyng that I lovede.

"Thus y-lik a lusard,

With a lady visage,

Thefliche thow me robbedest;

And the olde lawe graunteth

That gilours be bigiled,

And that is good reson.


Dentem pro dente et oculum pro oculo.


Ergo soule shal soule quyte,

And synne to synne wende,

And al that man hath mys-do

I, man, wole amende;

Membre for membre

By the olde lawe was amendes,

And lif for lif also,


And by that lawe I clayme it,

Adam and al his issue


At my wille herafter,

And that deeth in hem for-dide

My deeth shal releve,

And bothe quykne and quyte

That queynt was thorugh synne.

And that grace gile destruye,

Good feith it asketh.

So leve I noght, Lucifer,

Ayein the lawe I fecche hem;

But by right and by reson


Raunsone here my liges.


Non veni solvere legem, sed adimplere.

"Thow fettest myne in my place

Ayeins alle reson,

Falsliche and felonliche;

Good feith me it taughte,

To recovere hem thorugh raunson,

And by no reson ellis.

So that thorugh gile thow gete,


Thorugh grace it is y-wonne.

Thow Lucifer in liknesse

Of a luther addere

Getest bi gile

Tho that God lovede.

"And I in liknesse of a leode,

That lord am of hevene,

Graciousliche thi gile have quyt;

Go gile ayein gile.

And as Adam and alle


Thorugh a tree deyden;

Adam and alle thorugh a tree


Shul turne ayein to lyve;

And gile is bi-giled,

And in his gile fallen.

Et cecidit in foveam quam fecit.

"Now bi-gynneth thi gile

Ageyn thee to turne,

And my grace to growe

Ay gretter and widder;


That art doctour of deeth,

Drynk that thow madest.

"For I that am lord of lif,

Love is my drynke;

And for that drynke to-day

I deide upon erthe.

I faught so, me thursteth yit,

For mannes soule sake;

May no drynke me moiste,

Ne my thurst slake,


Til the vendage falle

In the vale of Josaphat,

That I drynke right ripe must,

Resurrectio mortuorum;

And thanne shal I come as a kyng,

Crouned with aungeles,

And have out of helle

Alle mennes soules.

"Fendes and fyndekynes

Bifore me shul stande,


And be at my biddyng

Wher so evere me liketh;

And to be merciable to man

Thanne my kynde asketh.

For we beth bretheren of blood,

But noght in baptisme alle.


Ac alle that beth myne hole bretheren

In blood and in baptisme.

Shul noght be dampned to the deeth

That is withouten ende.


Tibi soli peccavi, etc.

"It is noght used in erthe,

To hangen a feloun

Ofter than ones,

Though he were a tretour.

And if the kyng of that kyngdom

Come in that tyme

There feloun thole sholde

Deeth or oother juwise,

Lawe wolde he yeve hym lif,


If he loked on hym.

And I, that am kyng of kynges,

Shal come swich a tyme

Ther doom to the deeth

Dampneth alle the wikked;

And if lawe wole I loke on hem,

It lith in my grace

Wheither thei deye or deye noght

For that thei diden ille;

Be it any thyng a-bought


The boldnesse of hir synnes,

I do mercy thorugh rightwisnesse,

And alle my wordes trewe;

And though holy writ wole that I be wroke

Of hem that diden ille,—

Nullum malum impunitum, etc.

Thei shul be clensed clerliche,

And wasshen of hir synnes,

In my prisone Purgatorie,


Til parce it hote,


And my mercy shal be shewed

To manye of my bretheren.

For blood may suffre blood,

Bothe hungry and a-cale;

Ac blood may noght se blood

Blede, but hym rewe.

Audivi arcana verba quæ non licet

homini loqui.

"Ac my rightwisnesse and right

Shul rulen al helle,


And mercy al mankynde

Bifore me in hevene.

For I were an unkynde kyng,

But I my kynde helpe,

And nameliche at swich a nede.

Ther nedes help bihoveth.


Non intres in judicium cum servo tuo.

"Thus by lawe," quod oure Lord,

"Lede I wole fro hennes


Tho that me lovede

And leved in my comynge.

And for thi lesynge, Lucifer,

That thow leighe til Eve,

Thow shalt abyen it bittre;"—

And bond hym with cheynes.

Astroth and al the route

Hidden hem in hernes;

They dorste noght loke on oure Lord,

The boldeste of hem alle,


But leten hym lede forth whom hym liked,

And lete whom hym liste.


Manye hundred of aungeles

Harpeden and songen,

Culpat caro, purgat caro,

Regnat Deus Dei caro.

Thanne pipede Pees

Of Poesie a note,


Clarior est solito post maxima nebula Phœbus,


Post inimicitias, etc.

"After sharpe shoures," quod Pees,

"Moost shene is the sonne;

Is no weder warmer

Than after watry cloudes;

Ne no love levere,

Ne lever frendes,

Than after werre and wo,

Whan Love and Pees ben maistres.

Was nevere werre in this world,


Ne wikkednesse so kene,

That ne Love, and hym liste,

To laughynge ne broughte,

And pees thorugh pacience

Alle perils stoppeth."

"Trewes," quod Truthe;

"Thow tellest us sooth, by Jhesus!

Clippe we in covenaunt,

And ech of us clippe oother."

"And leteth no peple," quod Pees,


"Perceyve that we chidde.

For inpossible is no thyng

To hym that is almyghty."

"Thow seist sooth," quod Rightwisnesse;

And reverentliche hire kiste.


"Pees and pees here!

Per sæcula sæculorum."

Misericordia et veritas obviaverunt

sibi, justitia et pax osculatæ sunt.

Truthe trumpede tho,


And song Te Deum laudamus;

And thanne lutede,

In a loud note,

Ecce quam bonum et quam jocundum, etc.

Til the day dawed

Thise damyseles dauncede,

That men rongen to the resurexion.

And right with that I wakede,

And callede Kytte my wif,

And Calote my doghter;


And bad hem rise and reverence

Goddes resurexion;

And crepe to the cros on knees,

And kisse it for a juwel,

For Goddes blissede body

It bar for oure boote;

And it a-fereth the fend,

For swich is the myghte,

May no grisly goost


Glide there it walketh.



Passus Decimus Nonus, explicit Do-bet, et incipit Do-best.


HUS I awaked and wroot

What I hadde y-dremed;

And dighte me derely,

And dide me to chirche,

To here holly the masse,

And to be housled after.

In myddes of the masse,

Tho men yede to offryng,

I fel eft-soones a-slepe;

And sodeynly me mette


That Piers the Plowman

Was peynted al blody,

And com in with a cros

Bifore the comune peple,

And right lik in alle thynges

To oure Lord Jhesus.

And thanne called I Conscience,

To kenne me the sothe;

"Is this Jhesus the justere," quod I,

"That Jewes dide to dethe?


Or it is Piers the Plowman.

Who peynted hym so rede?"

Quod Conscience, and kneled tho,

"Thise arn Piers armes,


Hise colours and his cote armure;

Ac he that cometh so blody

Is Crist with his cros,

Conquerour of cristene."

"Why calle hym Crist," quod I,

"Sithen Jewes calle hym Jhesus?


Patriarkes and prophetes

Prophecied bifore

That alle kynne creatures

Sholden knelen and bowen,

Anoon as men nempned

The name of God Jhesu.

Ergo is no name

To the name of Jhesus;

Ne noon so nedeful to nempne

By nyghte ne by daye.


For alle derke develes

Arn a-drad to heren it;

And synfulle aren solaced

And saved by that name.

And ye callen hym Crist;

For what cause telleth me?

Is Crist moore of myght,

And moore worthi name,

Than Jhesu or Jhesus,

That al oure joye com of?"


"Thow knowest wel," quod Conscience,

"And thow konne reson,

That knyght, kyng, conquerour,

May be o persone.

To be called a knyght is fair,

For men shul knele to hym;

To be called a kyng is fairer,


For he may knyghtes make;

Ac to be conquerour called,

That cometh of special grace,


And of hardynesse of herte,

And of hendenesse,

To make lordes of laddes

Of lond that he wynneth,

And fre men foule thralles

That folwen noght hise lawes.

"The Jewes that were gentil men,

Jhesus thei despised,

Bothe his loore and his lawe;

Now are thei lowe cherles.


As wide as the world is,

Noon of hem ther wonyeth

But under tribut and taillage,

As tikes and cherles;

And tho that bicome cristene

Bi counseil of the baptisme,

Aren frankeleyns, free men,

Thorugh fullynge that thei toke,

And gentil men with Jhesu;

For Jhesu was y-fulled,


And upon Calvarie on cros

Y-crouned kyng of Jewes.

"It bicometh to a kyng

To kepe and to defende;

And conquerour of conquest

Hise lawes and his large.

And so dide Jhesus the Jewes,

He justified and taughte hem

The lawe of lif,

That laste shal evere;


And defended from foule yveles,


Feveres and fluxes,

And from fendes that in hem were,

And false bileve.

Tho was he Jhesus of Jewes called,

Gentile prophete,

And kyng of hir kyngdom,

And croune bar of thornes.

"And tho conquered he on cros,

As conquerour noble.


Mighte no deeth hym for-do,

Ne a-doun brynge,

That he naroos and regnede,

And ravysshed helle:

And tho was he conquerour called

Of quyke and of dede.

For he yaf Adam and Eve

And othere mo blisse,

That longe hadde y-leyen bifore

As Luciferis cherles.


"And sith he yaf largely

Alle hise lele liges

Places in Paradis,

At hir partynge hennes;

He may wel be called conquerour,

And that is Crist to mene.

"Ac the cause that he cometh thus

With cros of his passion,

Is to wissen us therwith

That whan that we ben tempted,


Therwith to fighte and defenden us

Fro fallynge to synne.

And so bi his sorwe,

That who so loveth joye

To penaunce and to poverte


He moste puten hymselven,

And muche wo in this world

To willen and suffren.

"Ac to carpe moore of Crist,

And how he com to that name,


Faithly for to speke,

His firste name was Jhesus;

Tho he was born in Bethleem,

As the book telleth,

And cam to take mankynde,

Kynges and aungeles

Reverenced hym faire

With richesses of erthe,

Aungeles out of hevene

Come knelynge and songe,


Gloria in excelsis Deo, etc.

"Kynges that come after

Knelede, and offrede

Mirre and muche gold,

Withouten mercy askynge

Or any kynnes catel,

But knowelichynge hym sovereyn

Bothe of lond, sonne, and see,

And sithenes thei wente

Into hir kyngene kith,


By counseil of aungeles.

And there was that word fulfilled

The which thow of speke.

Omnia cælestia terrestria flectantur

in hoc nomine Jhesu.

"For alle the aungeles of hevene

At his burthe knelede,

And al the wit of the world

Was in tho thre kynges,


Reson and rightwisnesse


And ruthe thei offrede;

Wherfore and why

Wise men that tyme,

Maistres and lettred men,

Magi hem callede.

"That o kyng cam with reson,

Covered under sense.

"The seconde kyng siththe

Soothliche offrede

Rightwisnesse under reed gold,


Resones felawe.

For gold is likned to leautee

That laste shal evere.

"The thridde kyng tho kam

Knelynge to Jhesu,

And presented hym with pitee,

Apperynge by mirre.

For mirre is mercy to mene

And mylde speche of tonge.

"Thre y-liche honeste thynges


Were offred thus at ones,

Thorugh thre kynne kynges

Knelynge to Jhesu,

"Ac for alle thise preciouse presentz,

Oure Lord kyng Jhesus

Was neither kyng ne conquerour,

Til he gan to wexe

In the manere of a man,

And that by muchel sleighte,

As it bi-cometh a conquerour


To konne manye sleightes,

And manye wiles and wit,

That wole ben a ledere.


And so dide Jhesu in hise dayes,

Who so hadde tyme to telle it.

"Som tyme he suffrede,

And som tyme he hidde hym;

And some tyme he faught faste,

And fleigh outher while;

And som tyme he gaf good,


And grauntede heele bothe,

Lif and lyme,

As hym liste he wroghte.

As kynde is of a conquerour,

So comsede Jhesu,

Til he hadde alle hem

That he for bledde.

"In his juventee this Jhesus

At Jewene feeste

Water into wyn turnede,


As holy writ telleth.

And there bigan God

Of his grace to do-wel.

For wyn is likned to lawe

And lif-holynesse,

And lawe lakkede tho,

For men lovede noght hir enemys.

And Crist counseileth thus,

And comaundeth bothe,

To lered and to lewede


To lovyen oure enemys.

So at the feeste first,

As I bifore tolde,

Bigan God of his grace

And goodnesse to do-wel.

And thanne was he called

Noght holy Crist, but Jhesu,


A faunt fyn ful of wit,

Filius Mariæ.

For bifore his moder Marie


Made he that wonder;

That she first and formest

Ferme sholde bileve

That he thorugh grace was gete,

And of no gome ellis.

He wroghte that by no wit,

But thorugh word one;

After the kynde that he cam of,

There comsede he do-wel.

"And whan he woxen was moore,


In his moder absence,

He made lame to lepe,

And yaf light to blynde,

And fedde with two fisshes,

And with fyve loves,

Sore a fyngred folk

Mo than fyve thousand.

"Thus he confortede carefulle

And caughte a gretter name,

The which was Do-bet,


Where that he wente,

For deve thorugh hise doynges to here

And dombe speke he made,

And alle he heeled and halp

That hym of grace askede.

And tho was he called in contré

Of the comune peple,

For the dedes that he dide,

Fili David, Jhesus.

For David was doghtiest


Of dedes in his tyme.


The burdes tho songe,


Saul interfecit mille, et David decem millia.

"For-thi the contree ther Jhesu cam

Called hym fili David,

And nempned hym of Nazareth,

And no man so worthi

To be kaiser or kyng

Of the kyngdom of Juda,


Ne over Jewes justice,

As Jhesus was, hem thoughte.

"Wherof Cayphas hadde envye,

And othere of the Jewes;

And for to doon hym to dethe

Day and nyght thei casten,

Killeden hym on cros wise

At Calvarie on Friday,

And sithen buriede his body,

And beden that men sholde,


Kepen it fro nyght comeris

With knyghtes y-armed,

For no frendes sholde hym fecche.

For prophetes hem tolde

That that blissede body

Of burieles risen sholde,

And goon into Galilee,

And gladen hise apostles,

And his moder Marie;

Thus men bifore demede.


"The knyghtes that kepten it

Bi-knewe it hemselven,

That aungeles and archaungeles

Er the day spronge

Come knelynge to the corps,


And songen Christus resurgens,

Verray men bifore hem alle,

And forth with hem he yede.

"The Jewes preide hem be pees,

And bi-soughte the knyghtes


Telle the comune that ther cam

A compaignie of hise apostles,

And bi-wicched hem as thei woke,

And awey stolen it.

"Ac Marie Maudeleyne

Mette hym by the weye,

Goynge toward Galilee

In godhede and manhede,

And lyves and lokynge,

And she a-loud cride


In ech a compaignie ther she cam,

Christus resurgens.

"Thus cam it out that Crist over-coom,

Recoverede and lyvede


Sic oportet Christum pati et intrare, etc.

For that that wommen witeth,

May noght wel be counseille.

"Peter parceyved al this,

And pursued after,


Bothe James and Johan,

Jhesu for to seke,

Thaddee and ten mo,

With Thomas of Inde.

And as alle thise wise wyes

Weren togideres,

In an hous al bi-shet,

And hir dore y-barred,

Crist cam in, and al closed


Bothe dore and yates,


To Peter and to thise apostles,

And seide pax vobis!

And took Thomas by the hand,

And taughte hym to grope,

And feele with hise fyngres

His flesshliche herte.

"Thomas touched it,

And with his tonge seide,

'Deus meus et Dominus meus

Thow art my lord, I bi-leve,


My God, lord Jhesu;

Thow deidest and deeth tholedest,

And deme shalt us alle,

And now art lyvynge and lokynge,

And laste shalt evere.'

"Crist carpede thanne,

And curteisliche seide,

'Thomas, for thow trowest this,

And treweliche bi-levest it,

Blessed mote thow be,


And be shalt for evere;

And blessed mote thei alle be

In body and in soule

That nevere shul se me in sighte,

As thow doost nowthe,

And lelliche bi-leve al this,

I love hem and blesse hem.'

Beati qui non viderunt, etc.

"And whan this dede was doon,

Do-best he taughte,


And yaf Piers power,

And pardon he grauntede,

To alle maner men


Mercy and forgifnesse,

Hym myght to assoille

Of alle manere synne,

In covenaunt that thei come

And kneweliched to paie

To Piers pardon the Plowman,

Redde quod debes.


"Thus hath Piers power,

By his pardon paied,

To bynde and unbynde,

Bothe here and ellis where;

And assoille men of alle synnes,

Save of dette one.

"Anoon after an heigh

Up into hevene

He wente, and wonyeth there,

And wol come at the laste,


And rewarde hym right wel

That reddit quod debet,

Paieth parfitly,

As pure truthe wolde;

And what persone paieth it nought,

Punysshen he thenketh,

And demen hem at domes day

Bothe quyke and dede.

The goode to the godhede

And to greet joye,


And wikkede to wonye

In wo withouten ende."

Thus Conscience of Crist

And of the cros carpede,

And counseiled me to knele therto.

And thanne cam, me thoughte,

Oon spiritus paraclitus


To Piers and to hise felawes

In liknesse of a lightnynge

He lighte on hem alle,


And made hem konne and knowe

Alle kynne langages.

I wondred what that was,

And waggede Conscience,

And was a-fered of the light,

For in fires lightnesse

Spiritus paraclitus

Over-spradde hem alle.

Quod Conscience, and knelede,

"This is Cristes messager,


And cometh fro the grete God,

And Grace is his name.

Knele now," quod Conscience,

"And if thow kanst synge,

Welcome hym and worshipe hym

With Veni creator spiritus."

Thanne song I that song,

So dide manye hundred,

And cride with Conscience,

"Help us, God of Grace!"


And thanne bigan Grace

To go with Piers Plowman,

And counseillede hym and Conscience

The comune to sompne;

"For I wole dele to-day

And gyve divine grace

To alle kynne creatures

That han hir fyve wittes,

Tresour to lyve by

To hir lyves ende,


And wepne to fighte with


That wole nevere faille.

For Antecrist and hise

Al the world shul greve,

And acombre thee, Conscience,

But if Crist thee helpe.

"And false prophetes fele,

Flatereris and gloseris,

Shullen come and be curatours

Over kynges and erles,


And Pride shal be pope,

Prynce of holy chirche,

Coveitise and unkyndenesse

Cardinals hym to lede;

For-thi," quod Grace, "er I go,

I wol gyve yow tresor,

And wepne to fighte with

Whan Antecrist yow assaileth."

And gaf ech man a grace

To gide with hymselven,


That ydelnesse encombre hym noght,

Envye ne pride.

Divisiones gratiarum sunt, etc.

Some he yaf wit

With wordes to shewe,

Wit to wynne hir liflode with,

As the world asketh,

As prechours and preestes,

And prentices of lawe,

They lelly to lyve


By labour of tonge,

And by wit to wissen othere

As grace hem wolde teche.

And some he kennede craft

And konnynge of sighte,


With sellynge and buggynge

Hir bilyve to wynne.

And some he lered to laboure,

A lele lif and a trewe;

And some he taughte to tilie,


To dyche and to thecche,

To wynne with her liflode

Bi loore of his techynge.

And some to devyne and divide,

Noumbres to kenne;

And some to compace craftily,

And colours to make;

And some to se and to seye

What sholde bi-falle,

Bothe of wele and of wo,


Telle it er it felle,

As astronomyens thorugh astronomye,

And philosofres wise.

And some to ryde, and to recovere

That wrongfully was wonne;

He wissed hem to wynne it ayein

Thorugh wightnesse of handes,

And fecchen it fro false men

With folvyles lawes.

And some he lered to lyve


In longynge to ben hennes,

In poverte and in penaunce,

To preie for alle cristene.

And alle he lered to be lele,

And ech a craft love oother;

And forbad hem alle debat,

That noon were among hem.

"Though some be clenner than some,

Ye se wel," quod Grace,


"That he that useth the faireste craft,


To the fouleste I kouthe have put hym.

Thynketh alle," quod Grace,

"That grace cometh of my gifte;

Loketh that no man lakke oother,

But loveth alle as bretheren.

"And who that moost maistries kan

Be myldest of berynge;

And crouneth Conscience kyng,

And maketh Craft youre stiward,

And after Craftes conseil


Clotheth yow and fede.

For I make Piers the Plowman

My procuratour and my reve,

And registrer to receyve,

Redde quod debes.

My prowor and my plowman

Piers shal ben on erthe,

And for to tilie truthe

A teeme shal he have."

Grace gaf Piers a teeme


Of foure grete oxen.

That oon was Luk, a large beest,

And a lowe chered;

And Mark, and Mathew the thridde,

Myghty beestes bothe;

And joyned to hem oon Johan,

Moost gentil of alle,

The pris neet of Piers Plow,

Passynge all othere.

And Grace gaf Piers


Of his goodnesse foure stottes;

Al that hise oxen eriede,


Thei to harewen after.

Oon highte Austyn,

And Ambrose another,

Gregori the grete clerk,

And Jerom the goode.

Thise foure the feith to teche

Folweth Piers teme,

And harewede in an hand while


Al holy Scripture,

With two harewes that thei hadde,

An oold and a newe.

Id est, vetus testamentum et novum.

And Grace gaf greynes,

The cardynal vertues,

And sew hem in mannes soule,

And sithen he tolde hir names.

Spiritus prudentiæ.

The firste seed highte;


And who so ete that,

Ymagynen he sholde

Er he deide any deeth,

Devyse wel the ende;

And lerned men a ladel bugge

With a long stele,

And caste for to kepe a crokke

To save the fatte above.

The seconde seed highte

Spiritus temperantiæ.


He that ete of that seed

Hadde swich a kynde,

Sholde nevere mete ne muchel drynke

Make hym to swelle,

Ne no scornere ne scolde

Out of skile hym bringe,


Ne wynnynge ne wele

Of worldliche richesse,

Waste word of ydelnesse

Ne wikked speche moeve;


Sholde no curious clooth

Comen on his rugge,

Ne no mete in his mouth

That maister Johan spicede.

The thridde seed that Piers sew

Was spiritus fortitudinis.

And who ete that seed,

Hardy was he evere

To suffren al that God sente,

Siknesse and angres;


Mighte no lesynges ne lyere,

Ne los of worldly catel,

Maken hym for any mournynge

That he nas murie in soule,

And bold and abidynge

Bismares to suffre;

And pleieth al with pacience

And parce mihi domine;

And covered hym under conseille

Of Caton the wise:


Esto forti animo, cum sis dampnatus inique.


The ferthe seed that Piers sew

Was spiritus justitiæ.

And he that ete of that seed,

Sholde be evere trewe,

With God, and naught a-gast,

But of gile one;

For gile gooth so pryvely,

That good feith outher while


Maye nought ben espied,

For spiritus justitiæ.

Spiritus justitiæ.

Spareth noght to spille

Hem that ben gilty,

And for to correcte

The kyng, if he falle

In gilt or in trespas.

For counteth he no kynges wrathe,

Whan he in court sitteth


To demen as a domesman,

A-drad was he nevere

Neither of duc ne of deeth,

That he ne dide lawe,

For present or for preiere,

Or any prynces lettres;

He dide equité to alle

Evene forth his power.

Thise foure sedes Piers sew;

And siththe he dide hem harewe


With olde lawe and newe lawe,

That love myghte wexe

Among tho foure vertues,

And vices destruye.

For comunliche in contrees

Cammokes and wedes

Foulen the fruyt in the feld,

Ther thei growen togideres;

And so doon vices

Vertues worthi.

Quod Piers, "Hareweth alle that konneth kynde wit,


By conseil of thise doctours;

And tilieth after hir techynge


The cardynale vertues."

"Ayeins thei greynes," quod Grace,

"Bi-gynneth for to ripe,

Ordeigne thee an hous, Piers,

To herberwe inne thi cornes."

"By God! Grace," quod Piers,

"Ye moten gyve tymber,


And ordeyne that hous,

Er ye hennes wende."

And Grace gaf hym the cros,

With the croune of thornes,

That Crist upon Calvarie

For mankynde on pyned,

And of his baptisme and blood

That he bledde on roode

He made a manere morter,

And mercy it highte.


And therwith Grace bi-gan

To make a good foundement,

And watlede it and walled it

With his peyne and his passion,

And of al holy writ

He made a roof after,

And called that hous Unitee,

Holy chirche on Englisshe.

And whan this dede was doon,

Grace devysede


A cart highte cristendom

To carie Piers sheves;

And gaf hym caples to his carte,

Contricion and confession;

And made preesthod hayward,

The while hymself wente

As wide as the world is


With Piers to tilie truthe.

Now is Piers to the plow;

And Pride it aspide,


And gadered hym a greet oost,

For to greven he thynketh

Conscience and alle cristene

And cardinale vertues,

Blowe hem doun and breke hem,

And bite a-two the mores;

And sente forth Surquidous,

His sergeaunt of armes,

And his spye Spille-love,

Oon Spek-yvel bihynde.


Thise two coome to Conscience,

And to cristen peple,

And tolde hem tidynges,

That tyne thei sholde the sedes

That Piers there hadde y-sowen,

The cardynale vertues;

"And Piers bern worth y-broke,

And thei that ben in Unitee

Shulle come out, and Conscience

And youre two caples,


Confession and Contricion;

And youre carte the bileeve

Shal be coloured so queyntely,

And covered under sophistrie,

That Conscience shal noght

Knowe by Contricion

Ne by Confession

Who is cristene or hethene;

Ne no manere marchaunt

That with moneie deleth,


Wheither he wynne with right,


With wrong, or with usure.

"With swiche colours and queyntise

Cometh Pride y-armed,

With the lord that lyveth after

The lust of his body,

To wasten on welfare,

And in wikked lyvynge,

Al the world in a while

Thorugh oure wit," quod Pryde.


Quod Conscience to alle cristene tho,

"My counseil is to wende

Hastiliche into Unitee,

And holde we us there;

And praye we that a pees weere

In Piers berne the Plowman.

For witterly I woot wel,

We beth noght of strengthe

To goon agayn Pride,

But Grace weere with us."


And thanne kam Kynde Wit

Conscience to teche,

And cryde and comaundede

Alle cristene peple

For to delven a dych

Depe aboute Unitee,

That holy chirche stode in Unitee,

As it a pyl weere.

Conscience comaundede tho

Alle cristene to delve,


And make a muche moot,

That myghte ben a strengthe

To helpe holy chirche

And hem that it kepeth.

Thanne alle kynne cristene,


Save comune wommen,

Repenteden and refused synne,

Save thei one,

And false men, flatereris,

Usurers, and theves,


Lyeris, and queste-mongeres

That were for-sworen ofte,

Witynge and wilfully

With the false helden,

And for silver were for-swore,

Soothly they wiste it.

Ther nas no cristene creature

That kynde wit hadde,

Save sherewes one

Swiche as I spak of,


That he ne halp a quantité

Holynesse to wexe,

Some thorugh bedes biddynge,

And some thorugh pilgrymages

And othere pryvé penaunces,

And somme thorugh penyes delynge.

And thanne wellede water

For wikkede werkes,

Egreliche ernynge

Out of mennes eighen,


Clennesse out of comune,

And clerkes clene lyvynge,

Made Unitee holy chirche

In holynesse to stonde.

"I care noght," quod Conscience,

"Though Pride come nouthe.

The lord of lust shal be letted

Al this lente, I hope.

Cometh," quod Conscience,


"Ye cristene, and dyneth,


That han laboured lelly

Al this lenten tyme.

Here is breed y-blessed,

And Goddes body therunder:

Grace, thorugh Goddes word,

Yaf Piers power

And myghtes to maken it,

And men to ete it after

In helpe of hir heele

Ones in a monthe,


Or as ofte as thei hadde nede,

Tho that hadde y-paied

To Piers pardon the Plowman.

Redde quod debes."

"How?" quod al the comune,

"Thow conseillest us to yelde

Al that we owen any wight,

Er we go to housel?"

"That is my conseil," quod Conscience,

"And cardinale vertues,


That ech man for-gyve oother,

And that wol the pater-noster.

Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, etc.

And so to ben assoilled,

And siththen ben houseled."

"Ye, baw!" quod a brewere,

"I wol noght be ruled,

By Jhesu! for al youre janglynge

With spiritus justitiæ,

Ne after Conscience, by Crist!


While I kan selle

Bothe dregges and draf,

And drawe it out at oon hole


Thikke ale and thynne ale,

For that is my kynde,

And noght hakke after holynesse.

Hold thi tonge, Conscience!

Of spiritus justitiæ,

Thow spekest muche on ydel."

"Caytif!" quod Conscience,


"Cursede wrecche!

Un-blessed artow, brewere,

But if thee God helpe.

But thow lyve by loore

Of spiritus justitiæ,

The chief seed that Piers sew,

Y-saved worstow nevere.

But Conscience the comune fede,

And cardinale vertues,

Leve it wel, thei ben lost,


Bothe lif and soule."

"Thanne is many a man lost,"

Quod a lewed vicory.—

"I am a curatour of holy kirke,

And cam nevere in my tyme

Man to me, that me kouthe telle

Of cardinale vertues,

Or that acountede Conscience

At a cokkes fethere or an hennes.

I knew nevere cardynal,


That he ne cam fro the pope;

And we clerkes, whan thei come,

For hir comunes paieth,

For hir pelure and hir palfreyes mete,

And pilours that hem folweth.

"The comune clamat cotidie

Ech a man til oother,


The contree is the corseder

That cardinals comme inne;

And ther thei ligge and lenge moost,


Lecherie there regneth.

"For-thi," quod this vicory,

"By verray God! I wolde

That no cardynal coome

Among the comune peple;

But in hir holynesse

Helden hem stille

At Avynone among the Jewes,—

Cum sancto sanctus eris, etc.

Or in Rome, as hir rule wole,


The relikes to kepe;

And thow, Conscience, in kynges court,

And sholdest nevere come thennes;

And Grace, that thow graddest so of,

Gyour of alle clerkes;

And Piers with his newe plow,

And ek with his olde,

Emperour of al the world,

That alle men were cristene.

"Inparfit is that pope


That al the world sholde helpe,

And sendeth swiche that sleeth hem

That he sholde save.

"And wel worthe Piers the Plowman,

That pursueth God in doynge,

Qui pluit super justos

Et injustos at ones,

And sent the sonne to save

A cursed mannes tilthe,

As brighte as to the beste man,


Or to the beste womman.


"Right so Piers the Plowman

Peyneth hym to tilye

As wel for a wastour

And wenches of the stewes,

As for hymself and his servauntz,

Save he is first y-served;

And travailleth and tilieth

For a tretour also soore

As for a trewe tidy man,


Alle tymes y-like.

And worshiped be he that wroghte al,

Bothe good and wikke,

And suffreth that synfulle be,

[Tyl som tyme that thei repenten].

And God amende the pope!

That pileth holy kirke,

And cleymeth bifore the kyng

To be kepere over cristene;

And counteth noght though cristene ben


Killed and robbed;

And fynt folk to fighte,

And cristen blood to spille,

Ayein the olde lawe and newe lawe,

As Luc therof witnesseth.

Non occides, mihi vindictam, etc.

"It semeth, bi so

Hymself hadde his wille,

That he reccheth right noght

Of al the remenaunt.


And Crist of his curteisie

The cardinals save,

And torne hir wit to wisdom,

And to welthe of soule!

For the comune," quod this curatour,


"Counten ful litel

The counseil of Conscience,

Or cardinale vertues.

But if thei seighe, as by sighte,

Som what to wynnyng,


Of gile ne of gabbyng

Gyve thei nevere tale.

For spiritus prudentiæ

Among the peple is gyle;

And alle tho faire vertues

As vices thei semeth.

Ech man subtileth a sleighte

Synne for to hide,

And coloureth it for a konnynge,

And a clene lyvynge."


Thanne lough ther a lord,

And "By this light!" seide,

"I holde it right and reson

Of my reve to take

Al that myn auditour,

Or ellis my styward,

Counseilleth me bi hir acounte

And my clerkes writyng.

With spiritus intellectus

Thei seke the reves rolles;


And with spiritus fortitudinis

Fecche it I wole after."

And thanne cam ther a kyng,

And, by his croune! seide,

"I am kyng with croune

The comune to rule,

And holy kirke and clergie

From cursed men to fende;

And if me lakketh to lyve by,


The lawe wole I take it


Ther I may hastilokest it have.

For I am heed of lawe;

And ye ben but membres,

And I above alle.

And sith I am youre aller heed,

I am youre aller heele,

And holy chirches chief help,

And chieftayn of the comune;

And what I take of yow two,

I take it at the techynge


Of spiritus justitiæ,

For I jugge yow alle.

So I may boldely be housled,

For I borwe nevere,

Ne crave of my comune,

But as my kynde asketh."

"In condicion," quod Conscience,

"That thow konne defende

And rule thi reaume in reson,

Right wel and in truthe,


Take thow mayst in reson

As thi lawe asketh.

Omnia tua sunt ad defendendum,

sed non ad deprædandum."

The viker hadde fer hoom,

And faire took his leeve;

And I awakned therwith,


And wroot as me mette.



Passus Vicesimus de Visione, et Primus de Do-best.


HANNE as I wente by the wey,

Whan I was thus awaked,

Hevy-chered I yede,

And elenge in herte;

I ne wiste wher to ete,

Ne at what place,

And it neghed neigh the noon,

And with Nede I mette

That afrounted me foule,

And faitour me called:

"Kanstow noght excuse thee,

As dide the kyng and othere,


That thow toke to thy bilyve,

To clothes and to sustenaunce;

And by techynge and by tellynge

Of spiritus temperantiæ,

And thow nome na-moore

Than nede thee taughte,

And nede he hath no lawe,

Ne nevere shal falle in dette;

For thre thynges he taketh,

His lif for to save.


"That is mete, whan men hym werneth


And he no moneye weldeth,

Ne wight noon wol ben his borugh,

Ne wed hath noon to legge;

And he caughte in that caas,

And come therto by sleighte,

He synneth noght, soothliche,

That so wynneth his foode.

"And though he come so to a clooth,

And kan no bettre chevyssaunce,


Nede anoon righte

Nymeth hym under maynprise.

"And if hym list for to lape,

The lawe of kynde wolde

That he dronke at ech dych,

Er he for thurst deide.

So Nede al gret nede

May nymen, as for his owene,

Withouten counseil of Conscience

Or cardynale vertues,


So that he sewe and save

Spiritus temperantiæ.

"For is no vertue bi fer

To spiritus temperantiæ;

Ne spiritus justitiæ

Ne spiritus fortitudinis.

For spiritus fortitudinis

Forfeteth ful ofte.

He shal do moore than mesure

Many tyme and ofte,


And bete men over bittre,

And some of hem to litel,

And greve men gretter

Than good feith it wolde


"And spiritus justitiæ

Shal juggen, wol he nele he,

After the kynges counseil,

And the comune like.

And spiritus prudentiæ

In many a point shal faille


Of that he weneth wolde falle,

If his wit ne weere.

Wenynge is no wysdom,

Ne wys ymaginacion,

Homo proponit, et Deus disponit,

And governeth alle goode vertues;

Ac Nede is next hym,

For anoon he meketh,

And as lowe as a lomb,

For lakkyng of that hym nedeth.


Wise men forsoke wele,

For thei wolde be nedy,

And woneden in wildernesse,

And wolde noght he riche.

"And God al his grete joye

Goostliche he lefte,

And cam and took mankynde,

And bi-cam nedy.

So nedy he was, as seith the book,

In manye sondry places,


That he seide in his sorwe

On the selve roode,

Bothe fox and fowel

May fle to hole and crepe,

And the fissh hath fyn

To flete with to reste,

Ther Nede hath y-nome me

That I moot nede abide


And suffre sorwes ful soure

That shal to joye torne,


For-thi be noght abasshed

To bide and to be nedy;

Sith he that wroghte al the world

Was wilfulliche nedy,

Ne nevere noon so nedy

Ne poverer deide."


HAN Nede hath under-nome me thus,

Anoon I fil a-slepe;

And mette ful merveillously,

That in mannes forme


Antecrist cam thanne,

And al the crop of Truthe

Torned it up-so-doun,

And over-tilte the roote;

And fals sprynge and sprede,

And spede mennes nedes,

In ech a contree ther he cam

He kutte awey truthe,

And gerte gile growe there,

As he a Good weere.


Freres folwede that fend,

For he gaf hem copes;

And religiouse reverenced hym,

And rongen hir belles,

And al the covent forth cam

To welcome that tyraunt,

And alle hise as wel as hym,

Save oonly fooles.

Whiche foolis were wel levere

To deye than to lyve


Lenger, sith Lenten

Was so rebuked.

And as a fals fend, Antecrist

Over alle folk regnede,

Save that were mylde men and holye,

That no meschief dradden,

Defyed alle falsnesse

And folk that it usede;

And what kyng that hem conforted,

Knowynge hem any while,


They cursed and hir conseil,

Were it clerk or lewed.

Antecrist hadde thus soone

Hundredes at his baner,

And Pride it bar

Boldely aboute,

With a lord that lyveth

After likyng of body,

That kam ayein Conscience,

That kepere was and gyour


Over kynde cristene

And cardynale vertues.

"I conseille," quod Conscience tho,

"Cometh with me, ye fooles,

Into Unité holy chirche,

And holde we us there;

And crye we to kynde

That he come and defende us,

Fooles, fro thise fendes lymes,

For Piers love the Plowman;


And crye we to al the comune,

That thei come to Unitee,

And there abide and bikere

Ayeins Beliales children."


Kynde Conscience tho herde,

And cam out of the planetes,

And sente forth his forreyours,

Feveres and fluxes,

Coughes and cardiacles,

Crampes and tooth-aches,


Rewmes and radegundes,

And roynous scabbes,

Biles and bocches,

And brennynge agues,

Frenesies and foule yveles,

Forageres of kynde,

Hadde y-priked and prayed

Polles of peple,

That largeliche a legion

Loste hir lif soone.


There was, "Harrow and help!

Here cometh Kynde,

With Deeth that is dredful

To undo us alle!"

The lord that lyved after lust

Tho aloud cryde

After Confort, a knyght,

To come and bere his baner;

"A l'arme! à l'arme!" quod that lord,

"Ech lif kepe his owene!"


And thanne mette thise men,

Er mynstrals myghte pipe,

And er heraudes of armes

Hadden discryved lordes,

Elde the hoore

That was in the vaunt-warde.

And bar the baner bifore Deeth,

Bi right he it cleymede.


Kynde cam after,

With many kene soores,


As pokkes and pestilences,

And muche peple shente;

So Kynde thorugh corrupcions

Kilde ful manye.

Deeth cam dryvynge after,

And al to duste passhed

Kynges and knyghtes,

Kaysers and popes,

Lered and lewed,

He leet no man stonde


That he hitte evene,

That evere stired after.

Manye a lovely lady,

And lemmans of knyghtes,

Swowned and swelted

For sorwe of hise dyntes.

Conscience of his curteisie

To Kynde he bi-soughte

To cesse and suffre,

And see wher thei wolde


Leve Pride pryvely,

And be parfite cristene.

And Kynde cessede tho

To se the peple amende.

Fortune gan flatere thanne

Tho fewe that were alyve,

And bi-highte hem long lif,

And Lecherie he sente

Amonges alle manere men,

Wedded and unwedded,


And gaderede a greet hoost

Al agayn Conscience.


This Lecherie leide on

With a janglynge chiere,

And with pryvee speche

And peyntede wordes;

And armede hym in ydelnesse,

And in heigh berynge.

He bar a bowe in his hand,

And manye brode arewes,


Weren fethered with fair bi-heste

And many a fals truthe.

With hise un-tidy tales

He tened ful ofte.

Conscience and his compaignye,

Of holy chirche the techeris.

Thanne cam Coveitise,

And caste how he myghte

Overcome Conscience

And cardinale vertues,


And armed hym in avarice,

And hungriliche lyvede.

His wepne was al wiles

To wynnen and to hiden;

With glosynges and with gabbynges

He giled the peple.

Symonye hym sente

To assaille Conscience,

And preched to the peple;

And prelates thei hem maden


To holden with Antecrist,

His temporaltees to save;

And cam to the kynges counseille

As a kene baroun,

And kneled to Conscience

In court afore hem alle,


And garte good feith flee,

And fals to abide;

And boldeliche bar a-doun,

With many a bright noble,


Muche of the wit and wisdom

Of Westmynstre Halle.

He jogged to a justice,

And justed in his eere,

And over-tilte al his truthe

With "Tak this up amendement."

And to the Arches in haste

He yede anoon after,

And tornede cyvyle into symonye,

And siththe he took the official


For a mantel of menever,

And made lele matrymoyne

Departen er deeth cam,

And devors shapte.

"Allas!" quod Conscience, and cryde tho,

"Wolde Crist of his grace

That coveitise were cristene!

That is so kene a fightere,

And boold and bidynge

While his bagge lasteth."


And thanne lough Lyf,

And leet daggen hise clothes,

And armed hym an haste

With harlotes wordes;

And heeld holynesse a jape,

And hendenesse a wastour;

And leet leautee a cherl,

And lyere a fre man;

Conscience and his counseil

He counted at a flye


Thus relyede Lif,

For a litel fortune;

And priketh forth with Pride,

Preiseth he no vertue,

Ne careth noght how Kynde slow,

And shal come at the laste,

And kille alle erthely creatures,

Save Conscience oone.

Lyf lepte aside,

And laughte hym a lemman;


"Heele and I," quod he,

"And heighnesse of herte,

Shal do thee noght drede

Neither deeth ne elde,

And to forgyte sorwe,

And gyve noght of synne."

This likede Lif,

And his lemman Fortune;

And geten in hir glorie

A gadelyng at the laste,


Oon that muche wo wroghte,

Sleuthe was his name.

Sleuthe wax wonder yerne,

And soone was of age,

And wedded oon Wanhope,

A wenche of the stuwes.

Hir sire was a sysour

That nevere swoor truthe,

Oon Tomme Two-tonge,

Atteynt at ech enqueste.


This Sleuthe was war of werre,

And a slynge made,

And threw drede of dispair

A dozeyne myle aboute.


For care Conscience tho

Cryde upon Elde,

And bad hym fonde to fighte,

And a-fere Wanhope.

And Elde hente good hope,

And hastiliche he shifte hym,


And wayved awey Wanhope,

And with Lif he fighteth.

And Lif fleigh for feere

To phisik after helpe,

And bi-soughte hym of socour,

And of his salve he hadde.

He gaf hym gold good woon,

That gladede his herte;

And thei gyven hym ageyn

A glazene howve.


Lyf leeved that lechecraft

Lette sholde elde,

And dryven awey deeth

With dyas and drogges.

And Elde auntred hym on lyf,

And at the laste he hitte

A phisicien with a furred hood,

That he fel in a palsie,

And there dyed that doctour

Er thre dayes after.


"Now I se," seide Lif,

"That surgerie ne phisik

May noght a myte availle

To mede ayein Elde."

And in hope of his heele

Good herte he hente,

And rood forth to a revel,

A ryche place and a murye;


The compaignye of confort

Men cleped it som tyme.


And Elde anoon after me

And over myn heed yede;

And made me balled bifore,

And bare on the crowne.

So harde he yede over myn heed,

It wole be sene evere.

"Sire yvele y-taught, Elde!" quod I,

"Unhende go with the!

Sith whanne was the wey

Over mennes heddes?


Haddestow be hende," quod I,

"Thow woldest have asked leeve."

"Ye, leve lurdeyn!" quod he;

And leyde on me with age,

And hitte me under the ere,

Unnethe myghte ich here.

He buffetted me so aboute the mouth,

That out my teeth he bette;

And gyved me in goutes,

I may noght goon at large.


And of the wo that I was inne

My wif hadde ruthe,

And wisshed ful witterly

That I were in hevene;

For the lyme that she loved me fore,

And leef was to feele,—

On nyghtes, namely,

Whan we naked weere,—

I ne myghte in no manere

Maken it at hir wille;


So Elde and she, soothly,

Hadden it for-beten.


And as I seet in this sorwe,

I saugh how Kynde passede;

And Deeth drogh neigh me.

For drede gan I quake,

And cryde to Kynde,

"Out of care me brynge!

Lo! Elde the hoore

Hath me bi-seye.


Awreke me! if youre wille be,

For I wolde ben hennes."

"If thow wolt be wroken,

Wend into Unitee,

And hold thee there evere,

Til I sende for thee;

And loke thow konne som craft,

Er thow come thennes."

"Counseille me, Kynde," quod I,

"What craft is best to lerne."


"Lerne to love," quod Kynde,

"And leef of alle othere."

"How shal I come to catel so,

To clothe me and to feede?"

"And thow love lelly," quod he,

"Lakke shal thee nevere

Mete ne worldly weede,

While thi lif lasteth."

And there by conseil of Kynde

I comsed to rome


Thorugh Contricion and Confession,

Til I cam to Unitee.

And there was Conscience conestable

Cristene to save,

And bisegede soothly

With sevene grete geauntz


That with Antechrist helden

Harde ayein Conscience.

Sleuthe with his slynge

An hard assaut he made.


Proude preestes coome with hym

Mo than a thousand,

In paltokes and pyked shoes,

And pisseris longe knyves,

Coomen ayein Conscience,

With Coveitise thei helden.

"By Marie!" quod a mansed preest

Of the Marche of Walys,

"I counte na-moore Conscience,

By so I cacche silver,


Than I do to drynke

A draughte of good ale."

And so seiden sixty

Of the same contree;

And shotten ayein with shot

Many a sheef of othes,

And brode hoked arwes,

Goddes herte and hise nayles;

And hadden almoost Unitee,

And holynesse a-down.


Conscience cryede, "Helpe, Clergie!

Or ellis I falle,

Thorugh inparfite preestes

And prelates of holy chirche."

Freres herden hym crye,

And comen hym to helpe;

Ac for thei kouthe noght wel hir craft,

Conscience forsook hem.

Nede neghede tho neer,

And Conscience he tolde


That thei come for coveitise

To have cure of soules;

"And for thei are povere, peraventure,

For patrymoyne thei faille,

They wol flatere and fare wel

With folk that ben riche.

And sithen thei chosen chele

And cheitiftee poverte,

Lat hem chewe as thei chose,

And charge hem with no cure.


For lomere he lyeth,

That liflode moot begge,

Than he that laboureth for liflode,

And leneth it beggeris.

And sithen freres forsoke

The felicité of erthe,

Lat hem be as beggeris,

Or lyve by aungeles foode."

Conscience of this counseil tho

Comsede for to laughe,


And curteisliche conforted hem,

And called in alle freres,

And seide, "Sires, soothly

Welcome be ye alle

To Unitee and holy chirche;

Ac o thyng I yow preye,

Holdeth yow in Unitee,

And haveth noon envye

To lered ne to lewed,

But lyveth after youre reule,


And I wol be youre borugh

Ye shal have breed and clothes

And othere necessaries y-nowe,

Yow shal no thyng faille,


With that ye leve logik,

And lerneth for to lovye.

For love lafte thei lordshipe,

Bothe lond and scole,

Frere Fraunceys and Domynyk,

For love to be holye.


"And if ye coveite cure,

Kynde wol yow teche

That in mesure God made

Alle manere thynges,

And sette hem at a certein

And a siker nombre,

And nempnede names newe,

And noumbrede the sterres.

Qui numerat multitudinem stellarum,

et omnibus eis, etc.


"Kynges and knyghtes

That kepen and defenden,

Han officers under hem,

And ech of hem a certein.

And if thei wage men to werre,

Thei write hem in noumbre;

Alle othere in bataille

Ben y-holde brybours,

Pylours and pyke-harneys,

In ech a place y-cursed,


Wol no man tresore hem paie,

Travaille thei never so soore.

"Monkes and moniales,

And alle men of religion,

Hir ordre and hir reule wole

To han a certein noumbre,

Of lewed and of lered,

The lawe wole and asketh


A certein for a certein,

Save oonliche of freres.


"For thi," quod conscience, "by Crist!

Kynde wit me telleth

It is wikked to wage yow,

Ye wexen out of noumbre;

Hevene hath evene noumbre,

And helle is withoute noumbre.

For-thi I wolde witterly

That ye were in the registre,

And youre noumbre under notaries signe,

And neither mo ne lasse."


Envye herde this,

And heet freres to go to scole

And lerne logyk and lawe,

And ek contemplacion,

And preche men of Plato,

And preve it by Seneca,

That alle thynges under hevene

Oughte to ben in comune.

And yet he lyeth, as I leve,

That to the lewed so precheth;


For God made to men a lawe,

And Moyses it taughte.

Non concupisces rem proximi tui.

And yvele in this y-holde

In parisshes of Engelonde;

For persons and parissh-preestes

That sholde the peple shryve,

Ben curatours called,

To knowe and to hele

Alle that ben hir parisshens,


Penaunce to enjoigne;

And sholden be ashamed in his shrift;


Ac shame maketh hem wende

And fleen to the freres,

As fals folk to Westmynstre,

That borweth, and bereth it thider,

And thanne biddeth frendes

Yerne of forgifnesse,

Or lenger yeres loone.

Ac while he is in Westmynstre,


He wol be bifore,

And maken hym murie

With oother mennes goodes.

And so it fareth with muche folk

That to the freres hem shryveth,

As sisours and executours,

Thei wol gyve the freres

A parcel to preye for hem,

And make hemself murye

With the residue and the remenaunt


That othere men bi-swonke,

And suffre the dede in dette

To the day of doome.

Envye herfore

Hatede Conscience;

And freres to philosophie

He fond thanne to scole,

The while Coveitise and Unkyndenesse,

Conscience assaillede.

In Unitee holy chirche


Conscience held hym,

And made Pees porter

To pynne the yates,

Of alle tale-telleris

And titeleris in ydel


Ypocrisie and he

An hard assaut thei made,

And woundede wel wikkedly

Many a wis techere

That with Conscience acordede


And cardynale vertues.

Conscience called a leche,

That koude wel shryve,

To go salve tho that sike ben

And thorugh synne y-wounded

Shrift shoop sharpe salve,

And made men do penaunce

For hir mys-dedes

That thei wroght hadde,

And that Piers were y-payed:


Redde quod debes.

Some liked noght this leche,

And lettres thei sente,

If any surgien were the segge

That softer koude plastre.

Sire Leef-to-lyve-in-lecherie

Lay there and gronede,

For fastynge of a Frydaye

He ferde as he wolde deye.

"Ther is a surgien in this sege


That softe kan handle,

And moore of phisik bi fer

And fairer he plastreth,

Oon frere Flaterere,

Is phisicien and surgien."

Quod Contricion to Conscience,

"Do hym come to Unitee;

For here is many a man


Hurt thorugh Ypocrisye."

"We han no nede," quod Conscience,


"I woot no bettre leche

Than person or parisshe-preest,

Penitauncer or bisshope,

Save Piers the Plowman,

That hath power over hem alle,

And indulgence may do,

But if dette lette it."

"I may wel suffre," seide Conscience,

"Syn ye desiren

That frere Flaterere be fet


And phisike yow sike."

The frere herof herde

And hiede faste

To a lord for a lettre,

Leve to have to curen,

As a curatour he were;

And cam with hise lettres

Boldely to the bisshope,

And his brief hadde,

In contrees ther he coome


Confessions to here,

And cam there Conscience was,

And knokked at the yate.

Pees unpynned it,

Was porter of Unitee,

And in haste askede

What his wille were.

"In faith!" quod this frere,

"For profit and for helthe

Carpe I wolde with Contricion,


And therfore cam I hider."

"He is sik," seide Pees,


"And so are manye othere.

Ypocrisie hath hurt hem,

Ful hard is if thei kevere."

"I am a surgien," seide the segge,

"And salves kan make.

Conscience knoweth me wel,

And what I kan do bothe."

"I praye thee," quod Pees tho,


"Er thow passe ferther,

What hattestow? I praye thee;

Hele noght thi name."

"Certes," seide his felawe,

"Sire Penetrans-domos."

"Ye, go thi gate," quod Pees,

"By God! for al thi phisik,

But thow konne som oother craft,

Thow comest nought herinne.

I knew swich oon ones,


Noght eighte wynter hennes,

Coom in thus y-coped

At a court there I dwelde,

And was my lordes leche,

And my ladies bothe.

And at the laste this lymytour,

Tho my lord was oute,

He salvede so oure wommen

Til some were with childe."

Hende-speche heet Pees


Open the yates,

"Lat in the frere and his felawe,

And make hem fair cheere;

He may se and here,

So it may bifalle

That lif thorugh his loore


Shal leve Coveitise,

And be a-drad of Deeth,

And withdrawe hym fram Pryde,

And acorde with Conscience,


And kisse hir either oother."

Thus thorugh Hende-speche

Entred the frere,

And cam in to Conscience,

And curteisly hym grette.

"Thou art welcome," quod Conscience,

"Kanstow heele the sike?

Here is Contricion," quod Conscience,

"My cosyn, y-wounded.

Conforte hym," quod Conscience,


"And tak kepe to hise soores.

The plastres of the person

And poudres biten to soore;

He lat hem ligge over longe,

And looth is to chaunge hem;

Fro lenten to lenten

He lat hise plastres bite."

"That is over longe," quod this lymytour,

"I leve I shal amende it."

And gooth and gropeth Contricion,


And gaf hym a plastre

Of 'a pryvee paiement,

And I shal praye for yow

For al that ye ben holden to,

Al my lif tyme,

And make yow, my lady,

In masse and in matyns

As frere of oure fraternytee


For a litel silver.'

Thus he gooth and gadereth,


And gloseth there he shryveth,

Til Contricion hadde clene foryeten

To crye and to wepe;

And wake for hise wikked werkes,

As he was wont to doone,

For confort of his confessour

Contricion he lafte,

That is the soverayneste salve

For alle kynne synnes.

Sleuthe seigh that,


And so dide Pryde,

And comen with a kene wille

Conscience to assaille.

Conscience cryed eft,

And bad Clergie helpe hym,

And also Contricion,

For to kepe the yate.

"He lyth and dremeth," seide Pees,

"And so do manye othere,

The frere with his phisyk


This folk hath enchaunted,

And plastred hem so esily,

Thei drede no synne."

"By Crist!" quod Conscience tho,

"I wole bicome a pilgrym,

And walken as wide

As the world lasteth,

To seken Piers the Plowman,

That Pryde may destruye;

And that freres hadde a fyndyng,


That for nede flateren,

And countrepledeth me, Conscience.


Now Kynde me avenge,

And sende me hap and heele,

Til I have Piers the Plowman."

And siththe he gradde after Grace,


Til I gan awake.

Explicit hic Dialogus Petri Plowman.









ROS and curteis Christ

This begynnyng spede,

For the faders frendshipe

That fourmed heaven,

And through the special spirit

That sprong of hem tweyne,

And al in one God-hed

Endles dwelleth.

A, and all myn a.b.c.


After have I lerned,

And patred in my pater-noster

Iche poynt after other;

And after al, myne Ave-marie

Almost to the end;

But al my care is to comen,

For I can nought my Crede.

Whan I shall shewen my shrift,

Shent mote I worthen;

The preeste wil me punyche,


And penaunce enjoyne;

The lengthe of a lenton

Flesh moot I leve,

After that Estur is y-come,

And that is hard fare;


And Wedenesday iche wyke

Withouten flesh-mete.

And also Jesu hymselfe

To the Jewes he saide,

"He that leeveth nought on me,


He leseth the blisse."

Therfor lerne the byleve

Levest me were,

Gif any worldly wight

Wil me [it] couthe;

Other lewed or lered,

That lyveth thereafter

And fulliche folweth the feith,

And feyneth non other;

That no worldeliche wele


Wilneth no tyme,

But liveth in lovyng of God,

And his lawe holdeth;

And for no gettyng of good

Never his God greveth,

But folweth hym the full way,

As he the folke taughte.

But to many maner of men

This matter is asked,

Both to lered and to lewed,


That seyn that they liveden

Hollich on the grete God,

And holden al his hestes.

But by a fraynyng for than

Faileth ther manye.

For first I frayned the freres,

And they me fulle tolden,

That al the fruyt of the fayth

Was in her foure orders;


And the cofres of Christendom,


And the keie bothen,

And the lock of byleve,

Lieth loken in her hondes,

Then wennede I to wytten,

And with a whight I mette,

A Minoure in a morwe-tide;

And to this man I saide,

"Sire, for greate Godes love!

The graith thou me tell,

Of what myddel-erde man


Myght I best lerne

My Crede? For I can it nought,

My kare is the more.

And therfore, for Christes love!

Thy counseyl I preie.

A Carm me hath y-covenant,

The nede me to teche;

But for thou knowest Carmes wel,

Thy counsail I aske."

This Minour loked on me,


And laughyng he sayde,

"Leve christen man,

I leve that thou [art] madde:

Whough shulde thei techen the god,

That con non hemselve?

They ben but jugulers,

And japers of kynde;

Lorels and lechures,

And lemans holden,

Neyther in order ne out,


But unneth lybbeth,

And by-japeth the folk

With gestes of Rome.


It is but a faynt folke,

Y-founded upon japes.

They maketh hem Maries men,

And so thei men tellen;

And leieth on oure Lady

Many a long tale.

And that wicked folk


Wymmen betraieth,

And begileth hem her good

With glaverynge wordes,

And therwith holden her hous

In harlotes warkes.

And, so save me God!

I hold it greate synne

To gyven hem any good,

Swiche glotones to fynde,

To mayntaynen swiche maner men


That michel good destruieth.

Yet seyn they in her sutiltie

To sottes in townes,

Thei comen out of Carmeli

Christ for to folwen,

And feyneth hem with holynesse,

That yvele hem bisemeth.

Thei lyven more in lecherie,

And lyeth in her tales,

Than suen any good liif;


But lurken in her selles,

And wynnen werdliche good,

And wasten it in synne.

And ghif thei couthen her Crede,

Other on Christ leveden,

Thei weren nought so hardy

Swyche harlotri usen.


Sikerli I can nought fynden

Who hem first founded;

But the foles foundeden hemselfe


Freres of the Pye,

And maken hem mendynans,

And marre the puple.

But what glut of tho gomes

May any good kachen,

He wyl kepen it hemself,

And cofrene it faste;

And thoigh his felawes fayle good,

For hym he may sterven.

Her monei mai byquest,


And testament maken,

And none obedience bere,

But don as hym luste.

And ryght as Robartes men

Raken aboute

At feyres and at full ales,

And fyllen the cuppe;

And precheth al of pardon,

To plesen the puple.

Her pacience is al pased,


And put out to ferme;

And pride is in her povertie,

That litel is to preisen.

And at the lullyng of oure lady

The wymmen to lyken,

And miracles of mydwyves,

And maken wymmen to wenen

That the lace of oure Lady smok

Lighteth hem of children.

Thei ne prechen nought of Powel,


Ne penaunce for synne;


But al of merci and mensk,

That Marie may helpen.

With sterne staves and stronge

Thei over lond straketh,

Thider as here lemmans liggeth,

And lurketh in townes,

Grey grete-heded quenes

With gold by the eighen,

And seyne that her sustern thei ben,


That sojurneth aboute.

And thus abouten the gon,

And Godes folke betrayeth.

It is the puple that Powel

Preched of in his tyme;

He seyde of swich folke

That so aboute wente,

Wepyng, I warne you

Of walkers aboute,

It beth enemyes of the cros


That Christ upon tholede.

Swiche slomrers in slepe,

Slaughte in her ende,

And glotonye is her God,

With gloppynge of drynk,

And gladnesse in glees,

And grete joye y-maked.

In the shendyng of swiche

Shal mychel folk lawghe;

Therfore, frend, for thy feith


Fond to don beter;

Leve nought on tho losels,

Put let hem forth pasen,

For thei ben fals in her faith,

And feele mo other."


"Alas! frere," quath I tho,

"My purpos is y-failed;

Now is my comfort a-cast.

Canstou no bote,

Wher I myght meten with a man


That myghte me wyssen

For to conne my Crede,

Christ for to folwen?"

"Certeyn, felawe," quath the frere,

"Withouten any fayle,

Of al men upon mold,

We Minorities most sheweth

The pure aposteles liif,

With penance on erthe,

And suen hem in sanctité,


And sufferen wel harde.

We haunten no tavernes,

Ne hobelen abouten;

At marketes and miracles

We medeleth us never;

We hondlen no moneye,

But monelich faren,

And haven hunger at the mete,

At ich a mel ones.

We haven forsaken the world,


And in wo libbeth,

In penaunce and poverte,

And prechethe the puple

By ensample of oure liif

Soules to helpen;

And in poverte preien

For al oure parteneres,

That gyveth us any good

God to honouren,


Other bel other book,


Or bred to our foode,

Other catel, other cloth

To coveren with oure bones.

For we buldeth a burwgh,

A brod and a large,

A chirch and a chapitle,

With chaumbers a-lofte;

With wide wyndowes y-wrought,

And walles wel heye,

That mote ben portreid and paint,


And pulched ful clene,

With gay glitering glas

Glowyng as the sunne.

And mightestou amenden us

With moneye of thyn owen,

Thou shouldest knely bifore Christ

In compas of gold,

In the wyde window west-ward

Wel neigh in the myddel,

And saint Fraunceis hymselfe


Shal folden the in his cope,

And present the to the Trinité,

And praye for thy synnes.

Thy name shal noblich ben wryten

And wrought for the nones,

And in remembraunce of the

Y-rad there for evere.

And, brother, be thou nought a-ferd;

Bythenk in thyne herte,

Though thou conne nought thy Crede,


Care thou no-more!

I shal asoilen the, syr,

And setten it on my soule;


And thou may maken this good,

Thenk thou non other."

"Sir," I sayde, "in certaine

I shal gon and asaye."

And he set on me his hond,

And asoiled me clene,

And there I parted him fro


Wythouten and peyne;

In covenaunt that I come agayne,

Christ he me be-taught.

Then saide I to myself,

"Here semeth litel treuthe!

First to blame his brother,

And bakbyten hym foule,

There as curteis Christ

Clerliche saide,

Whow myght thou in thy brothers eighe


A bare mote loken,

And in thyn owen eighe

Nought a beme toten?

See fyrst on thyself,

And sithen on another,

And clense clene thy syght,

And kepe wel thyne eighe,

And for another mannes eighe

Ordeyne after.

And also I see coveitise


Catel to fongen,

That Christ hath clerliche forboden,

And clenliche destrueden;

And sayde to his sueres

For sothe on this wyse,

'Nought thy neighbors good

Coveyte in no tyme.'


But charité and chastité

Ben chased out clene.

But Christ seide by her fruit


Men shal hem ful knowen."

Thanne saide I, "certeine, syr,

Thou demest ful trewe."

Than thought I to frayne the first

Of this foure ordres;

And presed to the Prechoures,

To proven hir wille.

Ich highed to her house,

To herken of more;

And when I came to that court,


I gaped aboute,

Swich a bild bold

Y-buld upon erthe heighte

Say I nought in certeyn

Syththe a long tyme.

I semed opon that hous,

And yerne theron loked,

Whow the pileres weren y-paint,

And pulched ful clene,

And queyntly y-corven


With curious knottes;

With wyndowes wel y-wrought,

Wyde up a-lofte,

And thanne I entred in,

And even forth wente;

And al was walled that wone,

Though it wiid were,

With posternes in privité

To pasen when hem liste;

Orcheyardes and erberes


Evesed wel clene,


And a curious cros

Craftly entayled,

With tabernacles y-tight

To toten al abouten.

The pris of a plough-lond

Of penies so rounde

To aparaile that pyler

Were pure litel.

Than I munte me forth


The mynstre to knowen,

And awaytede a woon

Wonderly wel y-bild,

With arches on everiche half,

And bellyche y-corven,

With crochetes on corneres,

With knottes of gold,

Wyde wyndowes y-wrought,

Y-wryten ful thikke,

Shynen with shapen sheldes,


To shewen aboute,

With merkes of merchauntes

Y-medeled betwene,

Mo than twentie and two

Twyse y-noumbbred.

Ther is non heraud that hath

Half swich a rolle,

Right as a rageman

Hath rekned hem newe.

Tombes upon tabernacles


Tylde opon lofte,

Housed in hornes,

Harde set abouten,

Of armede alabaustre

Clad for the nones,


Maad opon marbel

In many manner wyse,

Knyghtes in ther conisante

Clad for the nones;

Alle it semed seyntes


Y-sacred opon erthe;

And lovely ladies y-wrought

Leyen by her sydes

In manye gay garnemens,

That weren gold beten.

Though the tax of ten yere

Were trewely y-gadered,

Nolde it nought maken that hous

Half, as I trowe.

Than cam I to that cloystre,


And gaped abouten,

Whough it was pilered and peynt,

And portreyed wel clene,

Al y-hyled with leed

Lowe to the stones,

And y-paved with poynttyl

Ich point after other;

With cundites of clene tyn

Closed al aboute,

With lavoures of latun


Loveliche y-greithed.

I trowe the gaynage of the ground

In a gret shyre

Nold aparaile that place

Oo poynt tyl other ende.

Thanne was that chapitre house

Wrought as a greet chirche,

Corven and covered;

And queyntelyche entayled,


With semliche selure


Y-seet on lofte,

As a parlement-hous

Y-peynted aboute.

Thanne ferd I into fraytoure,

And fond there another,

An halle for an hygh kynge

An houshold to holden,

With brode bordes abouten

Y-benched wel clene,

With wyndowes of glaas


Wrought as a chirche

Than walkede I ferrer,

And went al abouten,

And seigh halles full heygh,

And houses ful noble,

Chambres with chymeneys,

And chapeles gaye,

And kychenes for an high kynge

In casteles to holden;

And her dortoure y-dight


With dores ful stronge;

Fermerye and fraitur,

With fele mo houses,

And al strong ston wal

Sterne upon heithe,

With gaye garites and grete,

And iche hole y-glased,

And other houses y-nowe

To herberwe the queene.

And yet thise bilderes wiln beggen


A bagge ful of whete

Of a pure pore man,

That may onethe paye


Half his rent in a yere,

And half ben byhynde.

Than turned I ayen,

Whan I hadde all y-toted,

And fond in a freitoure

A frere on a benche,

A greet chorl and a grym,


Growen as a tonne,

With a face so fat

As a ful bleddere

Blowen bretful of breth,

And as a bagge honged

On bothen his chekes, and his chyn

With a chol lollede

So greet as a gos ey,

Growen al of grece;

That al wagged his fleish


As a quick myre.

His cope, that bi-clypped hym,

Wel clene was it folden,

Of double worstede y-dyght

Doun to the hele.

His kyrtel of clene whiit,

Clenlyche y-sewed,

Hit was good y-now of ground

Greyn for to beren.

I haylsede that hirdman,


And hendlich I sayde,

"Gode sire, for Godes love!

Canstou me graith tellen

To any worthely wiight

That wissen me couthe,

Whow I shulde conne my Crede,

Christ for to folwe,


That levede lelliche hymselfe

And lyvede therafter,

That feynede no falshede,


But fully Chrise suwede?

For sich a certeyn man

Syker wold I trosten,

That he wolde telle me the trewthe,

And turne to non other.

And an Austyn this ender day

Egged me faste,

That he wolde techen me wel,

He plyght me his treuthe,

And seyde me "certeyn,


Syghthen Christ deyed

Oure ordre was euelles

And erst y-founde."

"First, felawe," quath he,

"Fy on his pilche!

He is but abortiif,

Eked with cloutes,

He holdeth his ordynaunce

With hores and theves,

And purchaseth hem pryvyleges


With penyes so rounde.

It is a pur pardoners craft,

Prove and asay;

For have they thy money,

A moneth therafter

Certes, theigh thou come agen,

He wil the nought knowen.

But, felawe, oure foundement

Was first of the othere,

And we ben founded fulliche


Withouten fayntise,


And we ben clerkes y-cnowen,

Cunnyng in schole,

Proved in processyon

By processe of lawe.

Of oure order ther beth

Bichopes wel manye,

Seyntes on sundri stedes

That suffreden harde;

And we ben proved the priis


Of popes at Rome,

And of grettest degré,

As godspelles telleth."

"A! syre," quath I thanne,

"Thou seyst a grete wonder;

Sithen Christ sayd hymselfe

To alle his diciples,

'Which of you that is most,

Most shal he werche;

And who is goere byforne,


First shal he serven.'

And seyde he saugh Satan

Sytten ful heyghe,

And ful low ben y-leid.

In lyknesse he tolde,

That in povernesse of spyrit

Is spedfullest hele;

And hertes of heyne

Harmeth the soule.

And therefore, frere, farewel;


Here fynd I but pride.

I preise nought thy prechyns,

But as a pur myte."

And angerich I wandrede

The Austyns to prove,


And mette with a maistre of tho men,

And meklich I seyde,

"Maistre, for the moder love

That Marie men calleth!

Knowest thou ought there thou comest


A creature on erthe

That coude me my Crede teche,

And trewelich enfourme,

Withouten flateryng fare,

And nothing feyne,

That folweth fulliche the feith,

And non other fables,

Withouten gabinge of glose,

As the godspelles telleth?

A Minoure hath me holly behyght


To helen my soule,

For he seith that her secte

Is sykerest on erthe,

And ben kepers of the keye

That Chrystendom helpeth,

And puriche in poverte

The apostles they suweth."

"Allaas!" quath the frere,

"Almost I madde in mynde,

To sen hough this Minoures


Many men bygyleth.

Sothly somme of tho gomes

Hath more good hymselve

Than ten knyghtes that I knowe,

Of catel in cofres.

In fraytoure they faren best

Of al the foure ordres,

And usun ypocricie

In al that thei werchen,


And prechen al of perfitnesse;


But loke now, I the prey,

Nought but profre hem in privité

A peny for a masse,

And, but his name be prest,

Put out myn eighe,

Though he had more money hid

Than marchauntes of wolle.

Loke hough this loresmen

Lordes betrayen,

Seyn that they folwen


Fully Fraunceyses rewle,

That in cotinge of his cope

Is more cloth y-folden

Than was in Fraunceis froc

Whan he hem first made.

And yet under that cope

A cote hathe he furred

With foyns, or with fichewes,

Other fyn bevere,

And that is cutted to the kne,


And queyntly y-botend,

Lest any spiritual man

Aspie that gyle.

Fraunceys bad his brethern

Bar-fot to wenden;

Now han they buclede shone,

For blenyng of her heles,

And hosen in harde weder

Y-hamled by the ancle,

And spicerie sprad in her purs


To parten where hem luste.

Lordes loveth hem wel,

For they so lowe crouchen;


But knowen men her cautel

And her queynte wordes,

Thei wolde worshypen hem

Nought but a litle,

The ymage of ypocricie

Ymped upon fendes.

But, sone, gif thou wilt ben seker,


Seche thou no ferther,

We freres beth the firste,

And founded upon treuthe;

Paule primus heremita

Put us hymselve

Away into wildernesse,

The world to despisen,

And there we lengeden ful long,

And leveden ful harde;

For to alle this freren folke


Weren founden in tounes,

And taughten untrewely,

And that we wel aspiede.

And for chef charyté,

We chargeden us selven

In amendyng of this men,

We maden oure celles

To ben in cytés y-set,

To styghtle the puple,

Prechyng and prayeng


As profetes shoulden.

And so we holden us the hetheved

Of al holy chirche.

We han power of the Pope

Purliche assoylen

Al that helpen oure hous

In helpe of her soules;


To dispensen hem with

In dedes of synne,

Al that amendeth oure hous


In money other elles,

With corne other catel,

Or clothes to beddes,

Other bedys or broche,

Or breed for our fode.

And gif thou hast any good,

And wilt thyself helpen,

Help us hertelich therwith,

And here I undertake

Thou shalt ben brother of oure hous,


And a book habben

At the nexte chapitre

Clerliche enseled.

And than oure provincial

Hath power to assoylen

Alle sustren and bretheren

That beth of oure ordre.

And though thou conne nought the Crede,

Knele down here,

My soule I sette for thyn,


To asoile the clene,

In covenaunt that thou come ageyne,

And katel us brynge."

And thanne loutede I adoun,

Add he me leve grauntede;

And so I parted hym fro,

And the frere lefte.

Than seide I to myself,

"Here is no bote;

Here pride is the pater-noster


In preying of synne;


Her Crede is coveytise:—

Now can I no ferthere.

Yet wil I fonden forth,

And fraynen the Carmes."

Than toted I into a taverne,

And there I aspyede

Two frere Carmes

With a ful coppe.

There I auntrede me in,


And aisliche I seyde,

"Leve sire, for the Lordes love

That thou on levest!

Lere me to som man

My Crede for to lerne,

That lyveth in lel liif,

And loveth no synne,

And gloseth nought the godspel,

But halt Godes hetes,

And neyther money ne mede


Ne may hym nought letten,

But werchen after Godes word,

Withouten any faile.

A Prechoure y-professed

Hath plight me his trewthe

To techen me trewely;

But wouldest thou me tellen,

For they ben certeyne men,

And syker on to trosten,

I would quiten the thy mede


As my myght were."

"A trefle," quath he, "trewely!

His treweth is ful litel;

He dynede nought with Dominic,

Sithe Christ deide.


For with the prynces of pryde

The Prechours dwellen;

They ben so digne as the devel

That droppeth fro heven,

With hartes of heynesse,


Whough halwen the cherches,

And deleth in devynyté

As dogges doth bones.

Thei medeleth with mesages

And mariages of grete;

Thei leeven with lordes

With lesynges y-nowe;

Thei biggeth hem bichopriches

With bagges of gold;

Thei wilneth worchipes:—


But waite on her dedes.

Harkne at Herdforthe

How that they werchen,

And loke when that they lyven

And leeve as thou fyndest.

They ben counseylours of kynges,

Christ wot the sothe,

Whou thei curreth kynges

And her bak claweth.

God leve hem laden wel


In lyvynge of hevene,

And glose hem nought for her good

To greven her soules.

I pray the, where ben they pryvé

With any pore whightes

That may nought amenden her hous,

Ne amenden hemselven?

They prechen in proud herte,

And preyseth her ordre,


And werdlich worchype


Wilneth in erthe.

Leeve it wel, lef man,

And men right lokede,

There is more pryvé pryde

In Prechoures hertes,

Than there lefte in Lucifere,

Or he were lowe fallen.

They bene dygne as dich-watere,

That dogges in bayteth.

Lok a ribaut of hem


That can nought wel reden

His Rewel ne his Respondes,

But be pure rote;

Als as he were a connyng clerk,

He casteth the lawes

Nought lowly, but lordly,

And lesynges lyeth.

For right as Minoures

Most hypocrice useth,

Ryght so ben Prechoures proude


Purlyche in herte.

"But, chrysten creatoure,

We Carmes firste comen,

Even in Elyes tyme,

First of hem alle;

And lyven by oure Lady,

And lelly her serven,

In clene commun liif

Kepen us out of synne;

Nowt proude as Prechoures beth,


But preyen ful stylle.

We couuen on no quentyse,

Christ wot the southe!


But bisyeth us in oure bedes,

As us best holdeth.

And, therfore, leeve leelman,

Leeve that iche sigge,

A masse of us meene men

Is of more mede,

And passeth alle prayers


Of this proude freres.—

And thou wilt ghyven us any good,

I wolde ye here graunten

To taken al thy penaunce

In peril of my soule;

And tho thou conne nought thy Crede,

Clene the assoyle,

So that thou mowe amenden oure house

With money other elles,

With som catel, other corn,


Or cuppes of sylvere."

"Trewely, frere," quath I tho,

"To tellen the the sothe,

There is no peny in my pakke

To payen for my mete.

I have no good, ne no golde,

But go thus abouten,

And travaile ful trewely

To wynnen with my fode.

But woldest thou for Godes love


Lerne me my Crede,

I shulde don for the wil,

Whan I wele hadde."

"Trewely," quath the frere,

"A fole I the holde:—

Thou woldest nought wetten thy fote,

And woldest fich kachen.


Oure pardon and oure preieres

So beth they nought parten,

Oure power lasteth nought so feer,


But we som peny fongen.

"Fare wel," quath the frere,

"For I mot hethen fonden,

And hyen to an house-wiif

That hath us byquethen

Ten pound in hir testament.

To tellen the sothe,

Ho draweth to the deth-ward;

But yet I am in drede

Leste ho turne hire testament,


And therfore I hyghe

To haven hire to oure hous,

And henten, gif I mighte,

An anuel for myne owen use,

To helpen to clothe."

"Godys forbode!" quath his felawe,

"But ho forth passe

Whil ho is in purpos

With us to departen!

God let hir no lengere lyven!


For letteres ben manye."

Thanne turnede I me forth,

And talked to myselfe

Of the falshede of this folke,

Whow feythles thei weren.

And as I wente by the way

Wepynge for sorowe,

I seigh a sely man me by,

Opon the plough hongen.

His cote was of a cloute


That cary was y-called;


His hod was ful of holes,

And his heare oute;

With his knoppede shon

Clouted ful thykke;

His ton toteden out,

As he the lond tredede;

His hosen over-hongen his hok-shynes

On everich a syde,

Al beslomered in fen,


As he the plow folwede.

Tweye myteynes as meter

Maad al of cloutes,

The fyngres weren for-werd,

And ful of fen honged.

This whit waselede in the feen

Almost to the ancle;

Foure rotheren hym byforne,

That feble were worthi;

Men myghte reknen ich a ryb,


So rentful they weren.

His wiif walked hym with,

With a long gode,

In a cuttede cote,

Cutted ful heyghe,

Wrapped in a wynwe shete

To weren hire fro wederes,

Bar-fot on the bare iis,

That the blod folwede.

And at the londes ende lath


A little crom-bolle,

And theron lay a lytel chylde

Lapped in cloutes,

And tweyne of tweie yeres olde

Opon another syde.


And al they songen o songe,

That sorwe was to heren;

They crieden alle o cry,

A kareful note.

The sely man sighed sore,


And seyde, "Children, beth stille!"

This man lokede opon me,

And leet the plough stonden;

And seyde, "Sely man,

Whi syghest thou so harde?

Gif the lakke liiflode,

Lene the ich wille

Swich good as God hath sent;

Go we, leeve brother."

I sayde thanne, "Nay, syre,


My sorowe is wel more.

For I can nought my Crede,

I care wel harde;

For I can fynden no man

That fulli byleveth,

To techen me the heyghe weie,

And therfore I wepe.

For I have fonded the freres

Of the foure ordres;

For there I wende have wist,


But now my wit lakketh;

And al myn hope was on hem,

And myn herte also,

But thei ben fulli faithles,

And the fend sueth."

"A! brother," quath he tho,

"Be ware of tho foles;

For Christ seyde hymself,

'Of swiche I you warne,'


And false profetes in the feith


He fulliche hem calde,

In vestimentis ovium,

But only withinne

They ben wilde werwolves

That wiln the folke robben.

The fen[d] founded hem first,

The feyth to distrie;

And by his craft thei comen in,

To combren the chirche,

By the covetise of his craft


The curates to helpen.

But nowe they haven an hold,

They harmen ful manye;

They don nought after Dominik,

But dreccheth the puple.

He folwen nought Fraunceis,

But falsliche lybben;

And Austynes rewle

They rekeneth but a fable;

And purchaseth hem privilege


Of popes at Rome.

They coveten confessiones,

To kachen some hyre;

And sepulturus also,

Somme wayten to lacchen;

But other cures of Christen

They coveten nought to have,

But there as wynnynge liith,

He loketh non other."

"Whough shal I nemne thy name,


That neyghbores the calleth?"

"Peres," quath he, "the pore man,

The Ploughman I hatte."


"A! Peres!" quath I tho,

"I pray the thou me telle

More of thise tryflers,

Hou trechurly they libbeth;

For ichon of hem hath tolde me

A tale of that other,

Of her wikked liif,


In werld that he libbeth.

I trowe that some wicked wight

Wroughte this ordres.

Trow ye that gleym of that gest

That Golias is y-cald,

Other els Satan hymself,

Sente hem fro helle,

To combren men with her crafte,

Christendome to shenden."

"Dere brother," quath Peres,


"The devel is ful queynte,

To encombren holy chirche

He casteth ful harde,

And fluricheth his falsnesse

Opon fele wise,

And fer he casteth to-forn

The folk to dystroye.

"Of the kynrede of Caym

He cast the freres,

And founded hem on Sarysenes,


Feyned for God.

But they with her falshe faith

Mychel folk shendeth.

Christ calde hem hymself

Kynd ipocrites;

How often he cursed hem,

Wel can I tellen.


He seide ons hymself

To that sory puple:

'Who worthe you, wyghtes,


Wel lerned of the lawe!'

Eft he seyde to hem selfe,

'Wo mote you worthen

That the toumbes of profetes

Bildeth up heighe!

Your faderes for-deden hem,

And to the deth hem broughte.'

Here I touche this two,

Twynnen hem I thenke.

Who wilneth be wiser of lawe


Than lewede freres,

And in multitude of men

But maistres y-called,

And wilneth worship of the werld,

And sytten with heye,

And leveth lovyng of God

And lownesse byhynde,

And in beldyng of toumbes

Thei traveileth grete,

To chargen her chirche flore,


And chaungen it ofte.

And the fader of the freres

Defouled her soules,

That was the dyggyng devel,

That dreccheth men ofte.

The devel by his dotage

Dissaveth the chirche,

And put in the Prechours,

Y-paynted withouten,

And by his queyntise they comen in


The curates to helpen;


But that harmed hem harde,

And halp hem ful littel.

But Austynes ordinaunce

Was on a good treuthe;

And also Dominikes dedes

Weren dernelich y-used;

And Fraunceis founded his folke

Fulliche on treuthe,

Pure parfit prestes


In penaunce to libben,

In love and in lownesse

And lettynge of pryde,

Grounded on the Godspel,

As God baad hymselve.

But now the glose is so greet

In gladdyng tales,

That turneth up two-fold

Un-teyned upon treuthe,

That they ben cursed of Christ,


I can hem wel prove

Withouten his blissyng,

Bare beth thei in her werkes.

For Christ seyde hymselfe

To swiche as him folwede:

'Y-blissed mot they ben

That mene ben in soule;'

And alle power in gost

God hymself blisseth.

Whou fele freres fareth so,


Fayne wolde I knowe,

Prove hem in proces,

And pynch at her ordre,

And deme hem after that the don,

And dredles, Y leve,


Thei wiln wexon pure wroth

Wonderliche sone,

And shewen the a sharp wil

In a short tyme

To wiln wilfully wrathe,


And werche therafter.

Wytnes on Wyclif,

That warned hem with trewthe.

For he in goodnesse of gost

Graythliche hem warned

To wayven her wikednesse

And werkes of synne.

Whou sone this sorimen

Seweden hys soule,

And overal lolled hym


With heritikes werkes!

And so of the blissyng of God

Thei bereth little mede.

"Afterward another,

Onliche he blissede

The meke of the myddel-erde

Through myght of his fader.

Fynd foure freres in a flok

That folweth that rewle,

Than have I tynt al my tast,


Touche and assaye.

Lakke hem a littel wight,

And her liif blamen;

But he lepe up on heigh

In hardenesse of herte,

And nemne the anon nought,

And thy name lakke,

With proude wordes apert

That passeth his rewle,


Bothe with 'thou leyst,' and 'thou lext,'


In heynesse of soule,

And turnnen as a tyraunt

That turmenteth hymselve.

A lord were lother

For to leyne a knave,

Thanne swich a begger,

The best in a toun.

Loke now, leve man,

Beth nought thise y-lyke

Fully to the Pharisens,


In fele of these poyntes.

Al her brad beldyng

Ben belded with synne,

And in worshipe of the world

Here wynnyng they holden;

They shapen her chapolories,

And strecchet hem brode,

And launceth heighe her hemmes

With babelyng in stretes.

They ben y-sewed with whight silke,


And semes ful queynte,

Y-stongen with stiches

That stareth as sylver.

And but freres ben fyrst y-set

At sopers and at festes,

They wiln ben wonderly wroth

Y-wis, as I trowe;

But they ben at the lordes borde,

Louren they willeth.

He mot bygynne that bord,


A beggere with sorowe;

And first sitten in se

In her synagoges,


That beth her heigh helle hous,

Of Caymes kynd.

For though a man in her mynstre

A masse wolde heren,

His sight shal so by set

On sondrye werkes,

The penonnes and the pomels


And poyntes of sheldes

Withdrawen his devocion,

And dusken his herte.

I likene it to a lim-yerde

To drawen men to helle,

And to worchipe of the fend,

To wraththen the soules.

And also Christ himself seide

To swich ypocrites,

He loveth in marketes ben met


With gretynges of povere,

And lowynge of lewed men

In Lentenes tyme;

For thei han of bichopes y-bought

With her propre silver

And purchased of penaunce

The puple to asoyle.

But money may maken

Mesure of the peyne;

After that his power is to payen,


His penaunce shal fayle.

God leve it be a good help

For hele of the soules!

And also this myster men

Ben maysters i-called,

That the gentill Jesus

Generalliche blamed,


And that poynt to his apostles

Purly defended.

But freres haven forgeten this,


And the fend suweth,

He that maystri loved,

Lucifer the olde.

Where Fraunceys or Dominik,

Other Austyn ordeynde,

And of this dotardes

Doctur to worthe,

Maysters of divinité

Her matynes to leve,

And cherlich as a cheveteyn


Hys chaumbre to holden,

With chymené, and chaple,

And chosen whan hem lyste,

And served as a sovereyn,

And as a lord sytten.

Swich a gome Godes wordes

Grysliche gloseth;

I trowe he toucheth nought the text,

But taketh it for a tale.

God forbad to his folk,


And fullyche defendede,

They shoulden nought stodyen biforne

Ne sturren her wyttes,

But sodenly the same word

With here mouth shewe,

That weren given hem of God,

Thorugh gost of hemselve.

Now mot a frere studyen

And stumlen in tales,

And leven his matynes,


And no masse syngen,


And loken hem lesynges

That liketh the puple,

To purchasen hym his purs ful,

To paye for the drynke.

And, brother, when bernes ben ful,

And holy tyme passed,

Thanne comen cursed freres,

And croucheth ful lowe,

A losel, a lymytoure,


Over al the lond lepeth.

And loke that he leve non hous,

That somwhat he ne laiche;

And there thei gylen hemself,

And Godes word turneth,

Bagges and beggyng

He bad his folke leven,

And only serven hymself,

And his ruwel sechen,

And al that nedly nedeth,


That shulden hem nought lakken.

Wherto beggen thise men,

And ben nought so feble?

Hem fayleth no furryng,

Ne clothes atte fulle,

But for a lustful liif

In lustes to dwellen;

Withouten any travail

Untrulych libbeth;

Thei beth nought maymed men,


Ne no mete lakketh;

Thei [ben] clothed in curious cloth,

And clenliche arayed.

It is a lawles liif,

As lordynges usen,


Nether ordeyned in ordre,

But onethe libbeth.

"Christ bad blissen

Bodies on erthe

That wepen for wikkednesse


That he byforn wroughte.

That ben few of tho freres,

For thei ben nere dede,

And put al in pur clath,

With pottes on her hedes;

Thanne he warieth, and wepeth,

And wicheth after heven,

And fyeth on her falshedes

That thei before deden.

And therfore of that blissyng,


Trewely, as I trowe,

Thei may trussen her part

In a terre powghe.

"Alle tho blissed beth

That bodyliche hongreth;

That ben the pore penyles,

That han over-passed

The poynt of her pris liif,

In penaunce of werkes,

And mown nought swynken ne sweten,


But ben swith feble,

Other mayned at meschef,

Or meseles lyke,

And her god is a-gon,

And greveth hem to beggen.

Ther is no frere, in feith,

That fareth in this wyse,

That he may beggen his bred,

His bed is y-greithed


Under a pot he shall be put


In a pryvye chaumbre,

That he shal lyven ne last

But lytel whyle after.

Almyghti God and man,

The merciable blessed,

That han mercy on men

That mis-don hem here.

But who so for-gabbed a frere

Y-founden at the stues,

And brought blod of his bodi,


On back or on syde,

Hym were as good greven

A grete lord of rentes;

He shoulde sonnere ben shryven,

Shortly to tellen,

Though he kilde a comly knyght,

And compasd his mother,

Then a buffet to beden

A beggere frere.

"The clene hertes Christ


He curteyliche blissed

That coveten no catel

But Christes fulle blysse,

That leveth fulliche on God,

And lelliche thenketh

On his lore and his lawe,

And lyveth opon trewthe.

Freres han forgetten this,

And folweth another,

That they may henten they holden,


By-hirneth it sone;

Here hertes ben clen y-hid

In her heighe cloystre,


As curres from careyne

That is cast in diches.

"And parfiit Christ

The pesible blissede,

That ben suffrant and sobre,

And susteyne anger.

Asay of her sobernesse,


And thou might y-knowen

Ther ne is no waspe in this world

That wil folloke styngen,

For stappyng on a too

Of a styncand frere.

For neyther soveren ne seget

Thei ne suffereth never.

Al thei blessyng of God

Beouten thei walken,

For of her suffraunce, for sothe,


Men say but lytel.

"Alle that persecution

In pure liif suffren,

They han the beneson of God,

Blissed in erthe.

I pray, parceyve now

The pursut of a frere,

In what mesure of a mekenesse

Thise men deleth.

Byhold upon Water Brut


Whou bisiliche thei pursueden,

For he seid hem the sothe.

And yet, syre, ferther

Hy may no more marren hem,

But men telleth

That he is an heretik,

And yvele beleveth.


And precheth it in pulpit

To blenden the puple.

They wolden awyrien that wight


For his wel dedes,

And so they chewen charité,

As chewen shaf houndes.

And thei pursueth the povere,

And passeth pursutes,

Bothe they wyln and thei wolden

Y-worthen so grete,

To passen any manes myght,

To mortheren the soules;

First to brenne the body


In a bale of fiir,

And sythen the sely soule slen,

And senden hyre to helle.

And Christ clerly forbad

His christene, and defended,

They shoulden nought after the face

Never the folke demen."

"Sire," I seide myself,

"Thou semest to blamen.

Why dispisest thou thus


Thise sely pore freres,

None other men so mychel,

Monkes ne prestes,

Chanons ne charthous

That in chirche serveth?

It semeth that thise sely men

Han somewhat the greved,

Other with word, or with werk,

And therfore thou wilnest

To shenden other shamen hem


With the sharp speche,


And bannen holliche,

And her hous greven."

"I prey the," quath Peres,

"Put that out of thy mynde;

Certeyn for soule hele

I say the this wordes.

I preise nought pocessioneres

But pur lytel;

For falshed of freres


Hath fulliche encombred

Manye of this maner men,

And maad hem to leven

Her charité and chasteté,

And shosen hem to lustes,

And waxen to werly,

And wayven the trewethe,

And leven the love of her God,

And the werld serven.

But for falshed of freres


I fele in my soule,

Seyng the synful liif,

That sorweth myn herte,

Hou they ben clothed in cloth

That clennest sheweth,

For angeles and archangeles

Alle they whiit useth,

And al aldremen

That ben ante thronum.

Thise toknes haven freres taken;


But I trowe that a fewe

Folwen fully that cloth,

But falslyche that useth.

For whiit, in trowthe, bytokeneth

Clennes in soule:—


Gif he have undernethen whiit,

Thanne he above wereth

Black, that betokeneth

Bale for oure synne,

And mournyng for mis-dede


Of hem that this useth,

And sorwe for synful liif,

So that cloth asketh.

I trowe there ben nought ten freres

That for synne wepen.

For that liif is her lust,

And therby thei libben,

In fraytour and in fermori

Her fostryng is synne;

It is her mete at ich a mel,


Her most sustinaunce.

Herkne opon Hildegare

Hou homlich he telleth

How her sustinaunce is synne;

And syker, as I trowe,

Weren her confessiones

Clenly destrued,

Hy shoulde nought beren hem so brag,

Ne belden so heyghe.

For the fallyng of synne


Socoreth the foles,

And begileth the grete

With glaverynge wordes;

With glosyng of godspels

Thei Godes word turneth,

And passen al the pryvylege

That Peter after used.

The power of the apostles

Thie pasen in speche,


For to sellen the synnes


For selver other mede.

And purliche a pœna

The puple asoyleth,

And a culpa also,

That they may kachen

Money other money-worth,

And mede to fonge;

And ben at lone and at bode,

As burgeises useth.

Thus they serven Sathanas,


And soules bygyleth,

Marchaunes of malisones,

Mansede wrecches.

Thei usen russet also

Some of this freres,

That bitokeneth travaile

And treuth upon erthe,

But loke whou this lorels

Laboren the erthe.

But freten the fruyt that the folke


Ful lellich beswynketh;

With travail of trewe men

Thei tymbren her houses,

And of the curiouse cloth

Her copes they beggen;

And als his gettyng is grete

He shal ben good holden.

And right as dranes doth nought

But drynketh up the huny,

Whan been with her busynes


Han brought it to hepe,

Right so fareth freres

With folk opon erthe;


They freten up the firste froyt,

And falsliche lybbeth.

But alle freres eten nought

Y-liche good mete,

But after that his wynnyng is

Is his wel-fare,

And after that he bringeth hom


His bed shal ben graythed,

And after that his richesse is raught

He shal ben redy served.

But se thiself in thi sight

Whou somme of hem walketh

With clouted shon,

And clothes ful feble,

Wel neigh for-werd,

And the wlon offe;

And his felawe in a frok


Worth swhich fiftene,

Arayd in rede stone,

And elles were reuthe:

And sexe copes or seven

In his celle hongeth;

Though for fayling of good

His felawe shulde sterve,

He wolde nought lenen hym a peny

His liif for to holden.

I myght tymen tho troiflardes


To toylen with the erthe,

Tylyen, and trewlich lyven,

And her flesh tempren.

Now mot ich soutere hys sone

Seten to schole,

And ich a beggeres brol

On the book lerne.


And worth to a writere

And with a lorde dwelle;

Other falsly to a frere


The fend for to serven;

So of that beggares brol

An abbot shal worthen,

Among the peres of the lond

Prese to sytten,

And lordes sones lowly

To tho losels aloute,

Knyghtes crouketh hem to

And cruccheth ful lowe;

And his syre a soutere


Y-suled in grees,

His teeth with toylyng of lether

Tatered as a sawe.

Alaas! that lordes of the londe

Leveth swiche wrechen,

And leveth swych lorels

For her lowe wordes.

They shulden maken abbots

Her owen bretheren childre,

Other of som gentil blod,


And so yt best semed,

And fostre none forytoures,

Ne swich false freres,

To maken fat and fulle

And her flesh combren.

For her kynde were more

To y-clense diches,

Than ben to sopers y-set first,

And served with sylver.

A grete bolle-ful of benen


Were beter in hys wombe,


And with the bandes of bakun

His baly for to fillen,

Then pertryches, or plovers,

Or pecokes y-rosted,

And comeren her stomakes

With curiuse drynkes,

That maketh swyche harlotes

Hordom usen,

And with her wikked word


Wymmen bitrayeth.

God wold her wonyynge

Were in wildernesse,

And fals freres forboden

The fayre ladis chaumbres.

For knewe lordes her craft,

Treuly I trowe,

They shulden nought haunten her house

So holy on nyghtes,

Ne bedden swich brothels


In so brode shetes;

But sheten her heved in the stre,

To sharpen her wittes;

Ne ben kynges confessours of custom,

Ne the counsel of the rewme knowe.

For Fraunceis founded hem nought

To faren on that wise,

Ne Domynyk dued hem nevere

Swyche drynkers to worthe,

Ne Helye ne Austyn


Swyche liif never used,

But in povert of spirit

Spended her tyme.

We have seyn ourself

In a short tyme


Whou freres wolden no flesh

Among the folk usen;

But now the harlotes

Han hyd thilke reule,

And for the love of oure Lord


Han leyd hire in water.

Wenest thou ther wolde so fele

Swich warlawes worthen?

Ne were werliche wele

And her welfare,

Thei shulden delven and dyken,

And dongen the erthe,

And menemong corn breed

To her mete fongen,

And wortes fleshles wrought,


And water to drynken,

And werchen and wolward gon,

As we wrecches usen.

An aunter gif ther wolde on,

Among an hol hundred,

Lyven so for Godes love

In tyme of a wyntere."

"Leve Peres," quath I tho,

"I pray that thou me telle

Whou I may conne my Crede


In Christen byleve."

"Leve brother," quath he,

"Hold that I segge,

I wil techen the the trouthe,


And tellen the the sothe.—



"Leve thou in oure Loverd God

That al the werld wrought,


Holy heven eke on hey

Holliche he fourmede,

And is almyghti hymself


Over alle his werkes.

And wrought as his wil was

The werld and the heven;

And on gentil Jesu Christ,

Engendred of hymselven,

His owen onlyche sone,

Lord over all y-knowen,

That was clenlich conceived

Clerli in trewthe

Of the heye Holy Gost,


This is the holy beleve.

And of the maiden Marye

Man was he born,

Withouten synful seed,

This is fully the byleve.

With thorn y-crouned, crucified,

And on the cros dyede,

And sythen his blessed body

Was in a stone byried,

And descended a-doun


To the derk helle,

And fet out our formfaderes,

And hy ful fayn weren.

The thyrd day redeliche

Hymself ros fram deeth,

And, on a ston there he stod,

He steigh up to hevene,

And on his fader ryght hand

Redelich he sitteth,

That almyghti God,


Over alle other whyghtes;


And is herafter to commen,

Christ all himselven,

To demen the quyke and the dede,

Withouten any doute.

And in the heighe Holy Gost

Holly I beleve;

And generall holy chirche also,

Hold this in the minde;

The communion of sayntes,


For soth I to the sayn;

And for our great sinnes

Forgivenes for to getten,

And only by Christ

Clenlich to be clensed;

Our bodies again to risen

Right as we been here;

And the liif everlasting

Leve ich to habben. Amen.

"Although this flatterynge freres


Wyln, for her pryde,

Disputen of Godes deyté,

As dotardes shulden,

The more the matere is moved

The masedere hi worthen.

Lat the loseles alone,

And leve thou the trewthe;

For these maystres of dyvynité

Many, als I trowe,

Folwen nought fully the feith,


As fele of the lewede.

Whough may mannes wiit,

Through werk of himselve,

Knowen Christes privité,


That alle kynde passeth?

It mot ben a man

Of also mek an herte,

That myght with his good liif

The Holy Gost fongen;

And thanne nedeth him nought


Nevere for to studyen;

He myght no maistre ben cald,

For Christ that defended,

Ne puten no pylion

On his pild pate,

But prechen in parfit liif,

And no pryde usen.

But al that ever I have seyd,

Soth it me semeth;

And al that evere I have wryten


Is soth, as I trowe;

And for amendyng of thise men

Is most that I write.

God wolde hy wolden ben war,

And werchen the betere!

But for I am a lewed man,

Paraunter I myghte

Passen par adventure,

And in some poynt erren,

I wil nought this matere


Maistrely avowen.

But gif ich have mys-said,

Mercy ich aske,

And pray al mannere men

This matere amende,

Ich a word by hymself,

And al, gif it nedeth.

God of his grete myght,


And his good grace,

Save alle freres


That feithfulli lybben!

And alle tho that ben fals,

Fayre hem amende,

And gyve hem wiit and good wil

Swiche dedes to werch,

That thei may wynnen the liif

That evere shal lesten."








Line 1. Bale, quoting the first two lines, translates them In æstivo tempore, cum sol caleret. The printers of the early editions altered softe to set.

4, 5. shroudes ... sheep. The other text of this poem reads Yshop into shrobbis | as y shepherde were. See the Introduction.

28. The text represented in Whitaker's edition here differs much from the other. Our dreamer is there introduced very unadvisedly telling us of this tower, 'truthe was therynne,' a piece of information which he only learns afterwards from dame 'Holy Churche:'

Ich was aferd of hure face,

Thauh hue faire were,

And saide, mercy, madame,

Wat may this be to mene,

The tour upon toft, quath hue,

Treuthe ys therynne.

(Passus Secundus, ed. Whit.)

Where there is an evident reference to the "tour on a toft," which has been previously mentioned in the more correct text.

43, 44. Dr. Whitaker, misunderstanding this passage, has printed 'ther' for 'that,' which is in all the MSS. In his gloss, he interprets 'wonnen' by 'to dwell;' and he paraphrases the sentence, 'some destroying themselves by gluttony and excess,' translating it, I suppose, "And there dwell wasters whom gluttony destroyeth." The meaning is, the ploughmen worked hard, "and obtained (wan) that which wasters destroy with their gluttony." The writer of the second Trin. Coll. MS. seems to have understood the meaning of the passage, but not the words, and has 'whom that thise wastours.'

68. I have here to preserve the alliteration, adopted 'giltles,' from the second Trin. Coll. MS., and one of the printed editions, in place of 'synneles,' which the other MS. has. Though we find instances of irregularity in the sub-letters (or alliterative letters in the first line) in Pierce Plowman, the chief letter is not so often neglected. In Whitaker's text the account of the minstrels is very confused. Here the minstrels get gold by their song without sin, but the japers and janglers are condemned as getting their living by what is afterwards called 'turpiloquium,' when they had ability to get it in an honester way.

88. Roberdes knaves. These are the same class of malefactors who are named Roberdesmen in the Statutes, 5 Ed. III. c. 14. "Et diverses roberies, homicides, et felonies ont esté faitz eintz ces heures par gentz qui sont appellez Roberdesmen, Wastours, et Draghelatche, si est acordé et establi que si homme eit suspecion de mal de nuls tielx, soit-il de jour soit-il de nuyt, que meintenant soient arestus par les conestables des villes." This law was confirmed by 7 Ric. II. c. 5, where the word is again introduced. Whitaker supposes, without any reason, the 'Roberdes knaves' to be Robin Hood's men. The other Trin. Coll. MS. reads Robertis knaves.

93. Seint Jame. St. James of Compostello was a famous resort of pilgrims in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. An amusing song on the inconveniences which attended the voyage is printed in the Reliquiæ Antiquæ, vol. i, p. 2.

107. Walsyngham. The shrine of the Virgin Mary at Walsingham in Norfolk, also enjoyed an extraordinary celebrity, as a resort of English pilgrims. It appears that the first complaints of the Wicliffite reformers were strongly expressed against this pilgrimage. "Lolardi sequaces Johannis Wiclif ... prædicaverunt peregrinationes non debere fieri, et præcipue apud Walsingham," etc. Th. Walsingh. p. 340.

116. The four orders of friars were, of course, the Franciscans, Augustines, Dominicans, and Carmelites.

131. These four lines stand thus in Whitaker's text, Bote holy churche and charité | choppe a-doun swich shryvers, | the moste myschif of molde | mounteth up faste. Whitaker has translated it quite wrong, "May true charity and church discipline knock down these, the greatest pests on earth, who are rapidly increasing!" The simple meaning of the passage, as given by Whitaker, is, "Unless holy church and charity chop down such shrivers (confessors), the greatest mischief of the world is increasing fast." The present text affords a better and equally clear meaning, "Unless holy church and they hold better together, the greatest mischief in the world is increasing, or gaining ground very fast."

141. of falshede of fastynge, the comma has slipped in by accident. The meaning is "of breaking fast-days."

147. He bunchith hem, MS. Trin. 2.

168. the pestilence tyme. See further on, the note on l. 2497. The great plague of 1349 and 1350 had carried off so much people, that hands were wanting to cultivate the lands in many parishes, and the distress which followed, with the failure of tithes which naturally accompanied it, drove the parsons to plead poverty as an excuse for going to London and seeking other occupations.

192. Whitaker's text inserts the following passage between this line and the one following:—

Conscience cam and acusede hem,

And the commune herde hit,

And seide, "Ydolatrie ye soffren

In sondrye places menye,

And boxes ben y-set forth

Bounden with yren,

To undertake the tool

Of untrewe sacrifice,

In menynge of miracles

Muche wex hongeth there,

Al the worldle wot wel

Hit myghte nat be trywe.

Ac for it profitith yow to pors-warde,

Ye prelates soffren

That lewede men in mysbylyve

Leven and deien.

Ich lyve wel, by oure Lorde!

For love of youre covetyse,

That al the worlde be the wors;

As holy wryght telleth

What cheste and meschaunce

To children of Israel

Ful on hem that free were,

Thorwe two false preestes.

For the synne of Ophni

And of Finees hus brother,

Thei were disconfit in bataille,

And losten Archa Dei,

And fore hure syre sauh hem syngen,

And aoffred hem don ylle,

And noght chasted hem therof,

And wolde noght rebukie hem,

Anon as it was y-told hyme

That the children of Israel

Weren disconfit in bataille,

And Archa Dei y-lore,

And hus sones slayen,

Anon he ful for sorwe

Fro hus chaire thare he sat,

And brak hus necke a-tweyne;

And al was for venjaunce

That he but noght hus children.

And for they were preestes,

And men of holy churche,

God was well wrother,

And toke the rather venjaunce.

For-thei ich seye, ye preestes,

And men of holy churche,

That soffren men do sacrifice

And worsheppen mawmettes,

And ye sholde be here fadres,

And techen hem betere;

God shal take venjaunce

In alle swiche preestes

Wel harder and grettere,

On suche shrewede faderes,

Than ever he dude on Ophni

And Finees, or in here fadere.

For youre shrewede suffraunce,

And youre owen synne,

Youre masse and youre matynes,

And meny of youre houres, etc.

225. This is the constitutional principle which was universally acknowledged by our early political writers, and of which some strong declarations will be found in my "Political Songs" (published by the Camden Society). The doctrine of "right divine" was certainly not a prevalent one in the middle ages.

291. This fable appears to be of middle-age formation, for it is not found in any of the ancient collections. It does not occur in the fables of Marie. It is however found in the old collection, in French verse of the fourteenth century, entitled Ysopet; and M. Robert has also printed a Latin metrical version of the story from a MS. of the same century. La Fontaine has given it among his fables. It may be observed that the fable is nowhere so well told as in Piers Ploughman. (See Robert, Fables Inédites, des xiie, xiiie, et xive siècles, i, pp. 98-101.) The readers of Scottish history will remember the application of this fable in 1481, by the earl of Angus (popularly named, from this circumstance, Archibald Bell-the-cat), in the conspiracy against the royal favourites, which forms an excellent illustration of our text.

381. Væ terræ, etc. Ecclesiastes, x, 16. "Væ tibi, terra, cujus rex puer est, et cujus principes mane comedunt."

423. and pointeth the lawe. MS. Trin. 2.

429. after this line the following are inserted in the second MS. of Trin. Coll.

I saugh bisshopis bolde,

And bacheleris of devyn,

Become clerkis of acountis

The king for to serve,

Archideknes and denis,

That dignités haven,

To preche the peple

And pore men to fede,

Ben y-lope to Lundone

Be leve of hire bisshop,

And ben clerkis of the kinges bench

The cuntré to shende.

438. Taillours, tanneris, | And tokkeris bothe. MS. Trin. 2.

453. The Cottonian MS. Vespas. B. xvi, from which Price has given a long extract in his edition of Warton, has here "With wyne of Oseye | and wyn of Gascoyne." Whitaker's reading is "Whit wyn of Oseye and of Gascoyne." Price observes, in a note, "good wyne of Gaskyne, and the wyne of Osee [is the reading of MS. Harl. No. 875].—The same hand already noticed has corrected wyn to weyte (wheat) of Gascoyne;—an obvious improvement." I by no means partake in this opinion: wine of Gascony, and not wheat of Gascony, is perpetually alluded to in the literature of France and England from the twelfth to the sixteenth century. The reading of the text now printed is evidently the original one, which has been corrupted in the others: the wine more particularly known as Gascon, was a red wine. The writer of "La Desputoison du Vin et de l'Iaue," says of it—

Vin de Gascoigne, sa coulour

N'est pas de petite valour;

Les autres vins fet honnorer.

Quant de soi les veult coulourer:

Force donne, aide, et confort,

Et d'un vin foible, fet. i. fort.

Il a de vin plaine sustance;

Il nourrist sans faire grevance:

Aus testes est bons et au flanc.

Et du rouge y a et du blanc.

(Jubinal, Nouveau Recueil de Contes, &c., i. 399.)

The 'wyn of the Rochel' (vin de la Rochelle) was also a favourite wine.—

Rochelle, qui tant a de pris,

Que l'en la va de partout querre;

Chascun si l'enclot et l'enserre,

Car il n'est pas à garçonner,

N'en ne la doit q'aus bons donner;—

Por les grans seignors l'en salache.

(ib. p. 300).

The "wyn of Oseye" (vin d'Osaie) was a foreign wine, very rare and dear, and sought up by 'gourmands:' it is mentioned with those of Malvoisia, Rosetta, and Muscadet. (Depping Réglemens sur les Arts et Métiers de Paris, p. lxiii.) It is unnecessary to explain what was 'wyn of the Ryn' (Rhine).

456. of the Reule | and of the Rochel. Whitaker.

458. These two lines, omitted in the MS. from which our text is printed, have been added from MS. Trin. 2.

489. fyve wittes. The five wits were equivalent to the five senses. One of the characters in the early interlude of The Four Elements, a production of the earlier part of the sixteenth century, says:—

I am callyd Sensuall Apetyte,

All craturs in me delyte;

I comforte the wyttys fyve,

The tastyng, smellyng, and herynge,

I refresh the syght and felynge,

To all creaturs alyve.

Stephen Hawes, in his Pastime of Pleasure (chap. xxiv), belonging to this same age, refines upon this notion, and talks of five "internall wittes," answering to the five external wits, or to those which were commonly understood by that name.

522. Genesis xix, 32. It is very singular that this story of Lot and his daughters was the favourite example of the medieval preachers against drunkenness.

563. Luke xx, 25.

595. on an eller. It was the prevailing belief during the middle ages, that the tree on which Judas hanged himself was an elder. Maundevile tells us that this tree was still in existence, when he visited Jerusalem. "Also streghte from Natatorie Siloe is an ymage of ston and of olde auncyen werk, that Absalon leet make; and because thereof, men clepen it the hond of Absalon. And faste by is yit the tree of eldre that Judas henge himself upon for despeyr that he hadde, whan he solde and betrayed oure Lord." The same notion continued to exist in the age of Shakespeare, and is alluded to by Shakespeare himself, Ben Jonson, and others.

Hol. What mean you, sir?

Boyet. To make Judas hang himself.

Hol. Begin, sir; you are my elder.

Biron. Well followed: Judas was hang'd on an elder.

Love's Labours Lost, v, 2.

681. Lucifer with legions. The story of Lucifer's rebellion and fall was extremely popular in the middle ages, and particularly among the Anglo-Saxons, who, in the fine poem ascribed to Cædmon, had given it almost as much detail as Milton had done at a later date. This legend is related in prose in an Anglo-Saxon tract in MS. Cotton. Vespas. D. xiv, fol. 2.

682. The second Trin. Col. MS. has, Leride it in hevene, | and as the lovelokest | to loke on, aftir oure Lord.

697-704. Instead of these lines, we find the following in Whitaker's text:

Lord, why wolde he tho,

Thulke wrechede Lucifer,

Lepen on a-lofte

In the northe syde,

To sitten in the sonne side

Ther the day roweth,

Ne were it for northerne men,

Anon ich wolde telle:

Ac ich wolle lacke no lyf,

Quath that lady sotthly.

'Hyt is sykerer by southe,

Ther the sonne regneth,

Than in the north, by meny notes,

No man loyne other.

For theder as the fend flegh,

Hus fote for to sette,

Ther he failede and fuel,

And hus felawes alle.

And helle is ther he is,

And he ther y-bounde,

Evene contrarie suteth Criste,

Cierkus knowen the sothe,

Dixit Dominus Domino meo, sede a dextris


'Ac of this matere

No more mene ich nelle,

He was in the halyday

After heten wayten,

They care noght thauh it be cold

Knaves wen thei worchen.'

Whitaker has translated the last four lines of the foregoing extract thus, "Excepting that hyndes on the holyday look out for warm places, but knaves (servants) when working hard, are indifferent to cold."

695. Isaiah xiv, 14. The citation varies a little from the text of the printed vulgate.

707. Somme in the eyr. The monks in the middle ages endeavoured to explain the existence of different classes of spirits and fairies, which the popular creed represented as harmless, or even beneficent creatures, by supposing that some of the angels who fell with Lucifer were less guilty than others, and were allowed to occupy the different elements on the earth instead of being condemned to "the pit." In "The Master of Oxford's Catechism," written early in the fifteenth century, and printed in the Reliquiæ Antiquæ, vol. i, p. 231, we have the following question and answer,—"C. Where be the anjelles that God put out of heven, and bycam devilles? M. Som into hell, and som reyned in the skye, and som in the erth, and som in waters and in wodys."

815. Mark iv, 24. In qua mensura mensi fueritis, remetietur vobis, et adjicietur vobis.

835. Epist. Jac. ii, 17. Sic et fides, si non habeat opera, mortua est in semetipsa.

862. Luke vi, 38.

901. The second Trin. Col. MS. has—

Frettid with rynges,

Of the pureste perreighe

That prince werde evere,

In red scarlet robid

And ribande with gold.

Ther nis no quen queyntere

That quyk is o-lyve,

'What is this womman,' quod I.

934. Matth. vii, 17. bonus (for bona) is the reading of the MS. Perhaps it was thought allowable to use the masculine thus before a fem. noun beginning with a, for the sake of euphony, as the French still write mon amie, instead of ma amie, and the like. Whitaker's text has here—

Talis pater, talis filius.

For shal never brere bere

Beries as a vyne,

No on crokyd kene thorne

Kynde fygys wexe.

Bona arbor bonum fructum facit.

The lines which follow differ considerably in the two texts.

958. Psalm xiv, 1.

991-994. Instead of these lines, the following are substituted in the second Trin. Coll. MS.:—

Sire Symonye is assent

To asele the chartres,

That Fals and Favel

Be any fyn halden,

And feffe Mede therwith

In mariage for evere.

Ther nas halle ne hous

To herberwe the peple,

That iche feld nas ful

Of folk al aboute.

In myddis a mounteyne

At myd-morewe tide

Was pight up a pavyloun

Proud for the nones,

And ten thousand of tentis

Teldit beside,

Of knightes of cuntrés,

Of comeres aboute,

For sisours, for somonours, etc.

And the rest, as far as line 1100, differs very much in the two MSS.

1103. of Banneburies sokne, | Reynald the reve, | and the redyngkynges menye, | Munde the mylnere. Whit.

1128. Luke x, 7.

1177. With floryns ynowe. Edward III had issued, not very long before the date of this poem, the first extensive English gold coinage, to which he gave the Italian name of florins, derived originally from that of the city of Florence.

1204. to Westmynstre: i. e. to the courts of law which were held there.

1404. A moton of golde. A mutton (mouton) was a small French coin of gold, which bore the stamp of a lamb or sheep. See Ducange, v. Multo.

1501. Matth. vi, 3.

1523. Regrating, or the buying up of provisions and other things to make extravagant profits by retailing them, was one of the great sources of oppression of the poor by the rich in the middle ages, and was a constant subject of popular complaint.

1529. Whitaker's text adds here,—

Thei have no puteye of the puple

That parcel-mele mote biggen,

Thauh thei take hem untydy thyng,

Thei hold it no treson;

And thauh thei fulle nat ful,

That for lawe y-seelde,

He gripeth therfor as grete

As for the grete treuthe.

Meny sondry sorwes

In cyté fallen ofte,

Bothe thorw fyur and flod,

And al for false puple,

That bygylen good men,

And greveth hem wrongliche,

The wiche cryen on hure knees

That Christ hem avenge

Here on this erthe,

Other elles on helle,

That so bygyleth hem of here good,

And God on hem sendeth

Feveres, other fouler hyveles,

Other fur on here houses,

Moreyne, other meschaunce.

And menye tyme hit falleth,

That innocence ys y-herde

In hevene amonge seyntes,

That louten for hem to oure Lorde,

And to oure Lady bothe,

To granten gylours on erthe

Grace to amende,

And have here penaunce on pure erthe,

And noght in the pyne of helle.

And thenne falleth the fur

On false menne houses,

And good men for here gultes

Gloweth on fuyr after.

Al thys have we seyen,

That some tyme thorw a brewere

Many burgages y-brent,

And bodyes therynne,

And thorw a candel cloming

In a cursed place,

Fel a-don and for-brende

Forth al the rewe,

For-thy mayres that maken free-men,

Me thynken that thei ouhten

For to spure and aspye,

For eny speche of selver,

What manere mester

Of merchaundise he usede,

Er he were underfonge free

And felawe in youre rolles.

Hit ys nought semly, for soth,

In cyté ne in borw-ton,

That usurers other regratours

For eny kynne geftes,

Be fraunchised for a free-man,

And have fals name.

1548. Job, xv, 34.

1611. Youre fader she felled. An allusion to the deposition and death of Edward II.

1652. Provisors were people who obtained from the pope the reversion of ecclesiastical dignities, and several severe statutes were made against them, one well-known one by Edward III.

1674. Love-daies. See further on, the note on l. 5634.

1735. In Normandie. 1750. To Caleis. Allusions, no doubt, to recent events in the wars of Edward III. See the Introduction.

1769. Caytiflyche thow, Conscience, | Consailedist the kyng leten | In hus enemys honde | Ys heritage of Fraunce. Whit.

1827. Psalm xiv, 1.

1835. Ps. xiv, 2.

1845. Ps. xiv, 5.

1862. Psalm xxv, 10.

1875. Matth. vi, 5.

1885. Regum. The reference is to 1 Sam. xv, which in the old Vulgate was called primus liber regum.

1985, 2019. Isaiah ii, 4.

2043. Prov. xxii, 9. Victoriam et honorem acquiret qui dat munera; animam autem aufert accipientium.

2099. lernest. Whitaker's text has ledest.

2149. Psalm xiii, 3. The quotation which follows is from the same verse.

2171. his sone. The Black Prince, who was a great favourite with the people.

2175-2186. The variation in Whitaker's text deserves notice. This passage there stands as follows:—

Thenne cam Pees into parlement,

And putte up a bylle.

How that Wrong wilfullich

Hadde hus wif for-leyen;

And how he ravysed Rose,

The riche widewe, by nyghte;

And Margarete of here maidenhod,

As he met hure late.

'Both my goos, and my grys,

And my gras he taketh,

Ich dar nouht for is felaweshepe,

In faith!' Pees saide,

'Bere sickerlich eny selver

To seint Gyles doune;

He watteth ful wel,

Wan ich sulfere taketh,

Wat wey ich wende.

Wel yerne he aspieth,

To robbe me and to ryfle me,

Yf ich ride softe.

Yut he is bolde for to borwe,

And baldelich he payeth:

He borwede of me Bayarde,' etc.

2177. How Wrong ayeins his wille. What follows is a true picture of the oppressions to which the peasantry were frequently subjected by the king's purveyors, and by others in power. See the Political Songs, pp. 377, 378; and Hartshorne's Ancient Metrical Tales, pp. 41, 42.

2197. taillé, a tally. See the Political Songs, as above quoted. Whitaker translates this passage, which stands thus in his edition,

And taketh me bote a taile

For ten quarters other twelve,

by, "and for ten or twelve quarters of it repaid me but a sheep's tail!"

2298. in my stokkes. In my prison. Prisons were usually furnished with stocks, in which, instead of fetters, prisoners were set.

2323. Beneyt. St. Benedict, the founder of the Benedictine order; St. Bernard, of the order of Cistercians; St. Francis, of the Franciscans.

2335. Galis. Compostello in Galicia.

2473. Passus Quintus. In Whitaker's text, this section, which is called Passus Sextus, is prefaced by the following long exordium, intended as a satire against the mendicant friars:—

Thus ich awaked, God wot!

Wanne ich wonede on Cornhulle,

Kytte and ich in a cote,

Clothede as a lollere:

And a lytel ich let by,

Leyve me, for sothe,

Among lolleres of London,

And lewede heremytes.

For ich made of tho men,

As Reson me tauhte.

For as ich cam by Conscience,

Wit Reson ich mette,

In an hote hervest,

Wenne ich hadde myn hele,

And lymes to labore with,

And lovede wel fare,

And no dede to do

Bote drynke and to slepe,

In hele and in unité,

On me aposede,

Romynge in remembraunce.

Thus Reson me arated:

'Canstow serven,' he seide,

'Other syngen in a churche?

Other loke for my cokers?

Other to the carte picche?

Mowe, other mowen,

Other make bond to sheves?

Repe, other be a repe-reyve

And arise erliche?

Other have an horne and be hay-warde,

And liggen out a nyghtes,

And kepe my corn in my croft

From pykers and theeves?

Other shap shoon other clothes?

Other shep other kyne kepe?

Eggen, other harwen,

Other swyne other gees dryve?

Other eny kyne craft

That to the comune nudeth,

Hem that bed-reden be

Bylyve to fynde?'

'Certes,' ich seyde,

'And so me God helpe!

Ich am to waik to worche

With sykel other with sythe;

And to long, leyf me,

Lowe for to stoupe,

To worchen as workeman

Eny wyle to dure.'

'Then havest thow londes to lyve by,'

Quath Reson, 'other lynage ryche

That fynden the thy fode?

For an hydel man thow semest,

A spendour that spende mot,

Other a spille-tyme;

Other beggest thy lyve

Aboute ate menne hatches;

Other faitest upon Fridays

Other feste dayes in churches;

The wiche is lollerene lyf,

That lytel is preysed

Ther ryghtfulnesse rewardeth

Ryght as men deserveth.

Reddit unicuique juxta opera sua.

Ether thow ert broke, so may be,

In body other in membre,

Other y-maymed thorow som myshap.

Werby thow myght be excusede.'

'Wanne ich yong was,' quath ich,

'Many yer hennes,

My fader and my frendes

Founden me to scole,

Tyl ich wiste wyterliche

Wat holy wryt menede,

And wat is best for the body,

As the bok telleth,

And sykerest for the soule,

By so ich wolle continue.

And yut fond ich never in faith,

Sytthen my frendes deyden,

Lyf that me lyked,

Bote in thes long clothes.

Hyf ich by laboure sholde lyf,

And lyflode deserven,

That labour that ich lerned best

Therwhit lyve ich sholde.

In eadem vocatione qua vocati estis.

And ich lyve in Londene

And on Londen bothe.

The lomes that ich laboure with

And lyflode deserve,

Ys paternoster and my prymer,

Placebo et dirige,

And my sauter some tyme,

And my sevene psalmes.

Thus ich synge for hure soules

Of suche as me helpen.

And tho that fynden me my fode

Vochen saf, ich trowe,

To be wolcome wan ich come

Other wyle in a monthe,

Now with hym, and now with hure,

And thus gate ich begge

Withoute bagge other botel,

Bote my wombe one.

And also, moreover,

Me thynketh, syre Reson,

Men sholde constreyne

No clerke to knavene werkes.

For by law of Livitici,

That oure Lord ordeynede,

Clerkes that aren crowned

Of kynde understondyng,

Sholde nother swynke ne swete,

Ne swere at enquestes,

Ne fyghte in no vauntwarde,

Ne hus fo greve.

Nou reddas malum pro malo.

For it ben aires of hevene,

And alle that ben crounede

And in queer in churches,

Cristes owene mynestres.

Dominus pars hæreditatis meæ

Et alibi, Clementia non constringit.

Hit bycometh for clerkus

Crist for to serven;

And knaves uncrounede

To cart and to worche.

For shold no clerk be crouned,

Bote yf he y-come were

Of franklens and freemen

And of folke y-weddede.

Bondmen and bastardes,

And beggers children,

Thuse bylongeth to labour.

And lordes children sholde serven,

Bothe God and good men,

As here degree asketh;

Some to synge masses,

Others sitten and wryte,

Rede and receyve

That Reson oughte spende.

And sith bondemenne barnes

Han be made bisshopes,

And barnes bastardes

Han ben archidekenes;

And sopers and here sones

For selver han be knyghtes,

And lordene sones here laboreres,

And leid here rentes to wedden

For the ryght of the reame,

Ryden ayens oure enemys,

In consort of the comune

And the kynges worshep.

And monkes and moniales.

That mendinauns sholden fynde,

Han mad here kyn knyghtes,

And knyght fees purchase.

Popes and patrones

Povre gentil blod refuseth,

And taken Symondes sonne

Seyntewarie to kepe.

Lyf-holynesse and love

Han ben longe hennes,

And wole, til hit be wered out,

Or otherwise y-chaunged.

For-thy rebuke me ryht nouht,

Reson, ich yow praye;

For in my conscience ich knowe

What Crist wolde that ich wroughte.

Preyers of perfyt man,

And penaunce discret,

Is the levest labour

That oure Lord pleseth.

Non de solo, ich seyde,

For sothe vivit homo,

Nec in pane et pabulo,

The paternoster witnesseth.

Fiat voluntas tua

Fynt ous alle thynges.'

Quath Conscience, 'By Crist!

Ich can nat see this lyeth.

Ac it semeth nouht perfitnesse

In cyties for to begge,

Bote he be obediencer

To pryour other to mynstre.'

'That ys soth,' ich seide,

'And so ich by-knowe

That ich have tynt tyme,

And tyme mys-spended.

And yut ich hope, as he

That ofte haveth chaffarede,

That ay hath lost and lost,

And at the latest hym happeth

He bouhte suche a bargayn

He was the bet evere,

And sette hus lost at a lef

At the laste ende;

Suche a wynnynge hym warth

Thorw wyrdes of his grace.

Simile est regnum cœlorum thesauro

abscondito in agro, etc.

Mulier quæ inveniet dragmam, etc.

So hope ich to have of hym

That his almyghty

A gobet of hus grace,

And bygynne a tyme

That alle tymes of my tyme

To profit shal turne.'

'Ich rede the,' quath Reson tho,

'Rathe the to bygynne

The lyf that ys lowable

And leel to the soule.'

'Ye, and continue,' quath Conscience.

And to the church ich wente.

And to the church gan ich go,

God to honourie,

Byfor the crois on my knees

Knocked ich my brest,

Sykinge for my sennes,

Segginge my paternoster,

Wepyng and wailinge,

Tyl ich was a-slepe

Thenne mete me moche more

Than ich byfor tolde,

Of the mater that ich mete fyrst

On Malverne hulles.

Ich sawe the feld ful of folk

Fram ende to the other;

And Reson revested

Ryght as a pope,

And Conscience his crocer

Byfore the kynge stande.

Reson reverentliche

Byfor all the reame

Prechede and provede

That thuse pestilences

Was for pure synne, etc.

See l. 2497, of the present edition.

2497. thise pestilences.—There were three great pestilences in the reign of Edward III, the terrible effects of which were long fresh in people's minds, and they were often taken as points from which to date common events. Two of them had passed at the period when the Visions of Piers Ploughman are believed to have been written, and are the ones here alluded to. Of the first, or great pestilence, which lasted from 31 May, 1348, to 29 Sept. 1349, the contemporary chroniclers give a fearful account. In a register of the Abbey of Gloucester (MS. Cotton. Domit. A. VIII, fol. 124), we have the following entry:—"Anno Domini mo.ccco.xlviijo. anno vero regni regis Edwardi III, post conquestum xxijo. incepit magna pestilentia in Anglia, ita quod vix tertia pars hominum remansit." This pestilence, known as the black plague, ravaged most parts of Europe, and is said to have carried off in general about two-thirds of the people. It was the pestilence which gave rise to the Decameron of Boccaccio. For an interesting account of it, see Michelet's Hist. de France, iii, 342-349. The second pestilence lasted from 15 Aug. 1361, to May 3, 1362, and was much less severe. The third pestilence raged from 2 July to 29 September, 1369.

2500. The south-westrene wynd | on Saterday at even. Tyrwhitt, in his Preface to Chaucer, first pointed out the identity of this wind with the one mentioned by the old chroniclers (Thorn, Decem. Script. col. 2122; Walsingham, p. 178; the continuator of Adam Murimuth, p. 115), as occurring on the evening of Jan. 15, 1362. The fifteenth of January in that year was a Saturday. The following is the account given by Walsingham: "Anno gratiæ millesimo trecentesimo sexagesimo secundo, qui est annus regni regis Edwardi a conquestu tertii tricesimus sextus, tenuit rex natale apud Wyndesor, et quinto decimo die sequente ventus vehemens, nothus auster affricus, tanta vi erupit, quod flatu suo domos altas, ædificia sublimia, turres, et campanilia, arbores, et alia quæque durabilia et fortia violenter prostravit pariter et impegit, in tantum quod residua quæ modo extant, sunt hactenus infirmiora." The continuator of Murimuth is more particular as to the time of the day, and in other respects more exact. "A.D. m. ccc. lxii, xv die Januarii, circa horam vesperarum, ventus vehemens notus australis affricus tanta rabie erupit," etc.

2529. And fecche Felis his wyf | Fro wyuene pyne. MS. Trin. Col. 2.

2547. This was a very old and very common proverb in England. Thus in the Proverbs of Hending (Reliquiæ Antiquæ, vol. i, p. 110):—

Ne bue thi child never so duere,

Ant hit wolle unthewes lerne,

Bet hit other whyle;

Mote hit al habben is wille,

Woltou nultou hit wolle spille,

Ant bicome a fule.

Luef child lore byhoveth;

Quoth Hendyng.

The proverb is a little varied in another copy of these "Proverbs," p. 194 of the same work. There is a German proverb closely resembling it, "Je lieberes Kind, je schärfere Ruthe."

2551. Prov. xiii, 24.

2569. After this line Whitaker's text has inserted a passage, answering nearly word for word (except in the few first lines) to the passage in our text, ll. 6218-6274.

2573. In the same text, the following lines are here added:—

'And also,' quath Reson,

'Ich rede yow, riche

And comuners, to acorden

In alle kynne treuthe.

Let no kynne consail

Ne covetyze yow departe,

That on wit and on wil

Alle youre wardes kepe.

Lo! in hevene on hy

Was an holy comune,

Til Lucifer the lyere

Leyved that hymselve

Were wittyour and worthiour

Than he that was hus maister.

Hold yow in unité.

And ye that hother wolde

Is cause of alle combraunce

To confounde a reame.

2586. Matt. xxv, 12.

2594. Whitaker's Passus Sextus ends with this line.

2625. Before Envy's confession, and in the place of Lechery, Whitaker's text introduces the confession of Pride—

Ich, Pruyde, patientliche

Penaunce ich aske;

For ich formest and ferst

To fader and to moder

Have y-be unboxome,

Ich beseche God of mercy;

And unboxome y-be,

Nouht abaissed to agulte

God and alle good men,

So gret was myn herte;

Inobedient to holy churche,

And to hem that ther serven,

Demed for hure yvel vices,

And excited othere

Thorw my word and al my wit

Hure yvel workes to shewe;

And scorned hem and othere,

Yf a skyle founde,

Lauhynge al aloude,

For lewede men sholde

Wene that ich were witty

And wyser than anothere;

Scorner and unskilful to hem

That skil shewede,

In all manere manners

My name to be y-knowe,

Semeng a sovereyn on,

Wer so me byfulle

To telle eny tale.

Ich trowede me wiser

To carpen other to counsaile

Than eny, lered other lewede.

Proud of aparail

In porte amonge the puple,

Otherwise than ich have,

Withynne other withoute,

Me wilnede that men wende

Ich were in aveyr

Riche and resonable,

And ryghtful of lyvynge;

Bostynge and braggynge

Wyt meny bolde othes;

Avauntyng upon my veine glorie

For eny undernemynge;

And yut so syngeler by myself

Ne non so pomp holy,

Som tyme on a secte,

Sam tyme on another;

In all kynne covetyse

Contrevede how ich myghte

Be holde for holy,

And hondred sithe by that encheison;

Wilnede that men wende

My werkes were the beste

And konnygest of my craft,

Clerkes other othere,

And strengest upon my stede,

And styvest under gurdell,

And lovelokest to loken on,

And lykyngest a-bedde;

And lykynge of such a lif

That no lawe preyseth;

Proud of my faire fetours;

And for ich songe shrille;

And what ich gaf for Godes love,

To godsybbes ich tolde,

Ther to wene that ich were

Wel holy and wel almesful.

And non so bold begger

To bydden an[d] crave,

Tales to telle

In tavernes and in stretes,

Thyng that nevere was thouhte,

And yut ich swor ich sauh hit,

And lyed on my lykame

And on my lyf bothe.

Of werkes that ich wel dude

Witnesse ich take,

And syggen to such

That sytten me bysyde,

'Lo! yf ye leyve me nouht,

Other that ye wene ich lye,

Ask of hym other of hure,

And thei conne yow telle

What ich soffrede an[d] seih,

And som tyme hadde,

And what ich knew and couthe,

Of wat kyn ich kam of;

Al ich wolde that men wuste,

When it to pruyde sonede,

As to preised among the puple,

Thauh ich povre semede.'

Si hominibus placerem, Christi servus

non essem. Nemo potest duobus

dominis servire.

'Now God, of hus goodnesse,

Geve the grace to amende!'

Quath Repentaunce ryght with that;

And thenne roos Envye.

The description of Envy, which follows, is shorter in Whitaker's text, and differs much from our text.

2819-2822. The discipline here described seems to have been peculiar to the chapter-house of the monasteries. Matth. Paris, p. 848, has an anecdote which illustrates curiously this passage of Piers Ploughman. In speaking of the turbulent Falcasius de Breuté, who had been warned in a vision to offer himself to suffer penance in the monastery of St. Albans, in the reign of Henry III, he says, "Vestibus igitur spoliatus cum suis militibus, similiter indumentis spoliatis, ferens in manu virgam quam vulgariter baleis appellamus, et confitens culpam suam, ... a singulis fratribus disciplinas nuda carne suscepit."

2846. In the text which Whitaker has printed, the confession of Wrath was followed by that of Luxury or Lechery. It stands as follows in the copy of the same text in MS. Cotton. Vespas. B. xvi. (See l. 8713, of our present text.)

Thanne seide Lecherie, Alas!

And to oure Ladi criede,

'Ladi, for thi leve sone,

Loute for me nouthe,

That he have pité on me, putour,

For his pure merci.'

'With that I schal,' quod that schrewe,

'Saterdaies, for thi love,

Drynke with the doke,

And dine but ones.'

I, gulti in gost,

To God I me schrive,

As in likyng of lecherige

My licames gultes,

In wordes, in wedes,

In waityng of eyen,

To eche maide that I mette

I made here a sigge,

Semyng to synne-ward,

And summe can I taste

Aboute the mouth, and binethe

Bigon I to grope,

Til bothe oure wil was on,

To werke we yeden,

As wel fastyng daies,

And hi festes eves,

And wel in Lente as out of Lente,

Al tymes i-liche;

Swiche werkes with us

Weren nevere out of seson,

Til we mighten ne more,

Tho hadde we muri tales

Of putrige and of paramours,

And provede thorw speche,

Handelyng, and halsyng,

And also thorw cussyng,

Excityng heither other

To oure elde synne;

Sotilde songes,

And sente out elde baudes

For te wynne to my wil

Wemmen with gile;

Bi sorcerie sum time,

And sum time be maistrie,

I lai bi the lovelokest,

And lovede hem nevere aftur.

Whan I was eld and hor,

And hadde i-lorn that kynde,

I hadde likyng to lige

Of lecherous tales.

Now, lord, for thi lewté,

On lecheres have merci.

2850. Sire Hervy. Whitaker and Price (in Warton) suppose that there is here a personal allusion, which at the time had become proverbial.

2874. Symme at the Style. Whit.

2881. To Wy and to Wynchestre | I wente to the feyre. Warton (Hist. of Eng. p. ii, 55, edit. 1840) supposes Wy to be Weyhill, in Hampshire, "where a famous fair still subsists." In fact it is one of the greatest fairs in England, lasting ten days. For anecdotes of the celebrity of the great fair at Winchester in former times, and for some interesting observations on fairs in general, see Warton, loc. cit.

2933. The Roode of Bromholm. At the Priory of Bromholm, in Norfolk, there was a celebrated cross, said to be made of fragments of the real cross, and much resorted to by pilgrims. It was brought from Constantinople to England in 1223. The history of this cross, and the miracles said to have been performed by it at Bromholm, are told by Matthew Paris (p. 268). In the MS. Chronicle of Barthol. de Cotton, it is recorded at the date 1223, "Eo tempore Peregrinatio de Bromholm incepit."

2949. Frensshe ... of Northfolk. Norfolk, it would appear by this, was one of the least refined parts of the island.

3030. In this part of the poem, the smaller variations between the present text and Whitaker's are very numerous. After this line, the following passage is inserted:—

With false wordes and writes

Ich have wonne my goodes,

And with gyle and glosynge

Gadered that ich have;

Meddled my merchaundise,

And mad a good moustre,

The werst lay withynne,

A gret wit ich let hit.

And yf my neyhgebore had an hyne,

Other eny best ellys,

More profitable than myn,

Ich made meny wentes,

How ich myght have hit

Al my wit ich caste;

And bote ich hadde hit by othes away,

At last ich stal hit,

Other pryvyliche hus pors shok,

Unpiked his lokes.

And yf ich yede to the plouh,

Ich pynchede on hus half acre,

That a fot londe other a forwe

Fetchen ich wolde

Of my neyhgeboris next,

Nymen of hus erthe,

And yf y repe, over reche,

Other gaf hem red that repen

To sese to me with here sykel,

That ich sewe nevere.

In haly dayes at holy churche

Wenne ich hurde messe,

Ich hadde nevere witerlich

To byseche mercy

For my mysdedes,

That ich ne mornede ofter

For lost of good, leyve me,

Then for lycames gultes.

Thauh ich dedliche synne dude,

Ich dradde hit nat so sore

As wenne ich lenede and leyvede hit lost,

Other longe er hit were paied.

And yf [ich] sente over see

My servaunt to Brugges,

Other into Prus my prentys,

My profit to awaite,

To marchaunde with monye

And maken here eshaunge,

Myght nevere man comforty me

In the meyn time,

Neither matyns ne masse,

Ne othere manere syghtes,

And nevere penaunce performede,

Ne paternoster seyde.

That my mynde ne was

More in my goodes,

Than in Godes grace,

And hus grete myghte.

Ubi thesaurus tuus, ibi cor tuum.

See ll. 8751-8827.

3039. Psa. l, 8.

3083. The confessions of the robber and the glutton are reversed in Whitaker's text, and present many variations. The robber's confession is there preceded by the following curious lines:—

Then was ther a Walishman

That was wonderlich sory,

He hight Yyvan Yeld ageyn;

'If ich so moche have,

Al that ich wickedlich wan

Setthen ich hit hadde;

And thauh my liflode lache

Leten ich nelle

That ech man shal have hus,

Er ich hennes wende.

For me ys levere in this lif

As a lorel beggen,

Than in lysse to lyve,

And lese lyf and soule.'

3162. Between this line and the next, MS. Trin. Col. 2, inserts Bargoynes and beverechis | Begonne for to arise.

3277, 3278. rymes of Robyn Hood | and Randolf erl of Chestre. This seems to be the earliest mention of the ballads of Robin Hood which can now be found. Ritson was quite mistaken (Robin Hood, Introd. p. xlix) in the supposed mention of him by the prior of Alnwick, the title of the Latin song being modern. The passage of Fordun, in which Robin Hood is spoken of, is probably an interpolation.

I am not sure that Ritson is right in taking the Randolf erl of Chester of Piers Ploughman, to be Ranulf de Blundevile: it is quite as probable that he was the Ranulf of Chester of the days of Stephen, whose turbulent deeds may have been the subject of popular ballads. Warton (H. E. P. ii, 373), quoting the passage of Piers Ploughman with the word erl omitted, conceives it to mean Ralph Higden, and imagines the rymes to be the Chester Mysteries, of which he conjectured that Ralph Higden was the author.

3311. Ite missa est. The concluding sentence of the service of the Mass.

3408. the Rode of Chestre. There was a celebrated cross or rood at Chester, which was long an object of great veneration, and even of pilgrimage, among our Roman Catholic forefathers. "I do not recollect any thing remarkable (says Mr. Pennant, speaking of Chester) on the outside of the walls which has been unnoticed, unless it be the Rood-eye, and the adjacent places."—"The name of this spot is taken from eye, its watery situation, and rood, the cross which stood there, whose base is still to be seen." Pennant's Tour in Wales, edit. 1778, p. 191. According to Gough's Camden, the base was still remaining in 1789.

3410. Roberd the robbere. This name is rather curious in conjunction with the term Roberdesmen mentioned in the note on l. 88. It was no uncommon practice to give punning names in this way to people or classes of people. In a Latin song of the reign of Henry III (Political Songs, p. 49), we have a very curious instance of it, one of the names being, as here, Robert:—

Competentur per Robert, robbur designatur; Robertus excoriat, extorquet, et minatur.— Vir quicunque rabidus consors est Roberto.

Still earlier (12th cent.) a scribe says of one of his brothers, "Secundus dicebatur Robertus, quia a re nomen habuit, spoliator enim diu fuit et prædo." (Polit. Songs, p. 354.)

3419. Dysmas. In middle-age legends, Dismas and Gestas were the names of the two thieves who were crucified with Christ. The former was the one who believed in the Saviour, and received a promise of paradise.

3443. Before this line, Whitaker's text has the following passage:—

Ac whiche be the braunches

That bryngeth me to sleuthe,

Ys wanne a man mourneth nat

For hus mysdedes;

The penaunce that the prest enjoyneth

Parfourmeth uvele;

Doth non almys-dedes,

And drat nat of synne:

Lyveth ayens the byleyve,

And no lawe kepeth;

And hath no lykynge to lerne,

Ne of houre Lord hure,

Bote harlotrie other horedom,

Other elles of som wynnyng.

Wan men carpen of Crist

Other of clennesse of soule,

He wext wroth, and wol not huyre

Bote wordes of murthe,

Penaunce and povre men,

The passion of seyntes,

He hateth to huyre therof

And alle that therof carpen.

Thuse beth the braunches, be war,

That bryngeth man to wanhope.

Ye lordes and ladyes,

And legates of holy churche,

That feden fool sages,

Flaterers and lyers,

And han lykynge to lythen hem,

In hope to do yow lawe—

Væ! vobis qui ridetis, etc.

And geveth suche mede an mete,

And povre men refusen;

In youre deth deynge,

Ich drede me sore

Lest tho maner men

To moche sorwe yow brynge.

Consensientes et agentes pari pæna punientur.

Patriarkes and prophetes,

Prechours of Godes wordes,

Saven thorgh here sermons

Mannes soule fro helle:

Ryght so flaterers and foles

Aren the fendes procuratores,

Entysen men thorgh here tales

To synne and to harlotrie.

Clerkus that knowen this,

Sholde kennen lordes

What David seide of suche men,

As the Sauter telleth:

Non habitabit in medio domus meæ qui

facit superbiam, qui loquitur


Sholde non harlot have audience

In halle ne in chaumbre,

Ther that wys men were.

Whitnesse of Godes wordes;

Nother a mys-prout man

Among lordes alouwed.

Clerkus and knyghtes

Wolcometh kynges mynstrales,

For love of here lordes

Lithen hem at festes:

Muche more, me thenketh,

Riche men auhte

Have beggers byfore hem,

Wiche beth Godes mynstreles,

As he seith hymself,

Seynt Johan berith whittnesse:

Qui vos spernit, me etiam spernit.

Therfor ich rede yow, riche,

Reveles when ye maken,

For to solace youre soules,

Suche mynstrales to have,

The povre for a foul sage

Syttynge at thy table,

Whith a lered man to lere the

What oure Lord suffrede,

For to savy thy saule

Fram Satan thyn enemye,

And fitayle the withoute flateryng

Of Good Friday the feste:

And a blynde man for a bordiour,

Other a bed-reden womman

To crye a largesse byfor oure Lord,

Youre good loos to shewe.

Thuse thre manere mynstrales

Maken a man to lauhe;

In hus deth deyng

Thei don hym gret comfort,

That by hus lyfe loveth hem,

And loveth hem to huyre.

Thuse solaceth the soule,

Til hymself be falle

In a wele good hope, for he wroghte so,

Among worthy seyntes,

Ther flaterers and foles

Whith here foule wordes

Leden tho that lithen hem

To Luciferes feste,

With Turpiloquio, a lay of sorwe,

And Lucifers fitele,

To perpetual peyne

Other purgatorye as wykke,

For he litheth and loveth

That Godes lawe despiteth.

Qui histrionibus dat, dæmonibus sacrificat.

3466. qui manet, &c. Epist. Joan. iv, 16.

3477. Epist. Paul, ad Ephes. iv, 8.

3484. Isai. ix, 2.

3496. Matt. ix, 13.

3502. John i, 14.

3520. Psalm xxxv, 8.

3545. Signes of Synay, | and shelles of Galice ... keyes of Rome. It is perhaps hardly necessary to remark that the articles mentioned here were borne by the pilgrim to indicate the particular holy sites which he had visited. The reader will readily call to mind the lines of a modern poet:—

The summon'd Palmer came in place,

His sable cowl o'erhung his face;

In his black mantle was he clad,

With Peter's keys in cloth of red

On his broad shoulders wrought;

The scallop shell his cap did deck;

The crucifix around his neck

Was from Loretto brought.

3622. Seint Thomas shryne. St. Thomas of Canterbury. It may not perhaps be generally known that an interesting description of this shrine, when in its glory, is given by Erasmus, Colloq. Peregrinatio Religionis ergo.

3713. eten apples un-rosted. One of the many specimens of the burlesque manner in which scripture was frequently quoted in these times. A very singular passage (but in a tract professedly burlesque) occurs in the Reliquiæ Antiquæ, vol. i, p. 83:—"Peter askud Adam a full greyt dowtfull question, and seyd, 'Adam, Adam, why ete thu the appull unpard?' 'For sothe,' quod he, 'for y had no wardyns fryde.'"

3826. leven, should be lenen.

3890. Luke xiv, 10.

3944, 3948. Psalm lxviii, 29.

3997. the rode of Lukes. The second Trin. Col. MS. has be the rode of Chestre. There was a famous cross at Lucca, but whether a part of the real cross, I have not ascertained. Calvin, in his most able and entertaining Admonitio de Reliquiis, declines undertaking a list of all the places where pieces of the real cross were shown. "Denique si congesta in acervum essent omnia quæ reperiri possent, integrum navis onus efficerent: cum tamen evangelium testificetur ab unico homine ferri potuisse. Quantæ igitur audaciæ fuit, ligneis frustis sic totum implere orbem, quibus ferendis ne trecenti quidem homines sufficiant?" Calvini, Opusc. p. 277. There was also at Lucca one of the impressions of our Saviour's face on the handkerchief of Veronica. The peculiar oath of William Rufus was by the holy face at Lucca.

4027. with hey trolly lolly. MS. Trin. Col. 2.

4154. In the second Trin. Col. MS. the passage stands as follows:—

Ne hadde Peris but a pese lof,

Thei preyede hym beleve,

And with a bene batte

He hadde betwene,

And hitte hunger therwith

Amydde hise lippes,

And blodde in it the bodyward

A bolle ful of growel,

Ne hadde the fisician ferst

Defendite him watir,

To abate the barly bred,

And the benis y-grounde,

Thei hadde be ded be this day,

And dolven al warm.

Faitours for fer, etc.

4194. Thei corven here coppes, | and courtepies made. Whitaker, who translates it, "They carved wooden cups, and made themselves short cloaks." It ought to be, "They cut their copes to make courtpies (a kind of short cloaks) of them."

4242. Paul Epist. ad Galat. vi, 2.

4251. Scimus enim qui dixit, mihi vindicta, et ego retribuam. Paul. ad Heb. x, 30; conf. Paul. ad Rom. xii, 19.

4256. Luke xvi, 9.

4272. Propter frigus piger arare noluit. Prov. xx, 4.

4306. Labores manuum tuarum quia manducabis, beatus es et bene tibi erit. Psal. cxxvii, 2.

4336. His mawe is alongid. MS. Trin. Coll. 2.

4336. Whitaker's text inserts here the following passage, which is curious as containing the same word, latchdrawers, that occurs in Edward's statute, quoted before in the note to l. 88:—

Thenk that Dives for hus delicat lyf

To the devel wente,

And Lazar the lene beggere

That longed after cromes,

And yut had he hem nat,

For ich Hunger culde hym,

And suthe ich sauh hym sute,

As he a syre were,

At alle manere ese

In Abrahame lappe.

An yf you be of power,

Peers, ich the rede,

Alle that greden at thy gate

For Godes love after fede,

Parte wit hem of thy payn,

Of potage and of souel,

Lene hem som of thy loof,

Thauh thu the lesse chewe.

And thauh lyers and latchedrawers,

And lolleres knocke,

Let hem abyde tyl the bord be drawe,

Ac bere hem none cromes,

Tyl al thyn nedy neihebores

Have none y-maked.

4339. Phisik ... hise furred hodes ... his cloke of Calabre. Whitaker cites, in illustration of the dress of the physician, the costume still worn by the Doctors of Medicine in the universities. Chaucer gives the following description of the dress of the "Doctour of Phisike":—

In sangwin and in pers he clad was al,

Lyned with taffata, and with sendal.

(Cant. T. Prolog. 441.)

Calabre appears to have been a kind of fur: a document in Rymer, quoted by Ducange, speaks of an indumentum foderatum cum Calabre.

4390. ripe chiries manye. This passage, joined with the mention of cherry-time in l. 2794, shows that cherries were a common fruit in the fourteenth century. "Mr. Gough, in his British Topography, says that cherries were first brought in by the Romans, but were afterwards lost and brought in again in the time of Henry VIII, by Richard Harris, the king's fruiterer; but this is certainly a mistake. When in the New Forest in Hampshire in the summer of 1808, I saw a great many cherry-trees, apparently, of much more considerable age than the time of Henry VIII. The very old trees were universally of the kind called merries." H. E.

4431. Cato, Distich. i, 21:—

Infantem nudum quum te natura crearit,

Paupertatis onus patienter ferre memento.

4453. so seide Saturne. See the Introduction, p. xii.

4490. Whitaker's text reads after this line:—

Leel and ful of love,

And no lord dreden,

Merciable to meek,

And mylde to the goode,

And bytynge on badde men

Bote yf thei wolde amende,

And dredeth nat for no deth

To distruye by here powere

Lecherie among lordes,

And hure luther custymes,

And sithen lyve as thei lereth men,

Oure lorde Treuthe hem graunteth,

To be peeres to Apostles, &c.

4525. sette scolers to scole. It was common in the scholastic ages for scholars to wander about gathering money to support them at the universities. In a poem in MS. Lansdowne, No. 762, the husbandman, complaining of the many burdens he supports in taxes to the court, payments to the church, and charitable contributions of different kinds, enumerates among the latter the alms to scholars:—

Than cometh clerkys of Oxford, and mak their mone,

To her scole-hire they most have money.

4547. Psa. xiv, 5. Qui pecuniam suam non dedit ad usuram, et munera super innocentem non accepit.

4571. Psa. xiv, 1.

4593. Matt. vii, 12. Luke vi, 31.

4618. the clerc of stories. Called, elsewhere, maister of stories. These names were given popularly to Peter Comestor, author of the famous Historia Scolastica, a paraphrase of the Bible history, with abundance of legendary matter added to it. The title given him by the author of Piers Ploughman is not uncommon in English treatises of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Lydgate, Minor Poems, p. 102 (Ed. Halliwell), speaks of Comestor thus:—

Maister of storyes, this doctour ful notable,

Holding a chalice here in a sonne cliere.

4619. Catons techyng. "Cui des videto," is the twenty-third of the "Distichorum Lemmata" of Dionysius Cato.

4621. Instead of ll. 4621-4658, the following long and curious passage is substituted in the text adopted by Mr. Whitaker:—

Wot no man, as ich wene,

Who is worthy to have.

The most needy aren oure neighebores,

And we nyme good hede;

As prisoners in puttes,

And poore folke in cotes

Charged with children

And chef lordes rente,

That thei spynnynge may spare,

Spynen hit in hous hyre,

Bothe in mylk and in mele.

To maken with papelotes

To aglotye with here gurles

That greden after fode.

Al so hemselve

Suffren muche hunger,

And wo in winter tyme;

With wakyng a-nyghtes

To ryse to the ruel,

To rocke the cradel,

Bothe to karde and to kembe,

To clouten and to wasche,

To rubbe and to rely,

Russhes to pilie,

That reuthe is to rede

Othere in ryme shewe

The wo that theese women

That wonyeth in cotes,

And of meny other men

That muche wo suffren,

Bothe a-fyngrede and a-furst,

To turne the fayre outwarde;

And beth abasshed for to begge,

And wolle nat be y-knowe

What hem needeth att here neihebores

At non and at even.

This Wit wot witerly,

As the world techeth,

What other byhoveth

That hath meny children.

And hath no catel bote hus crafte

To clothy hem and to fede,

And fele to fonge therto,

And fewe pans taketh.

Ther is payn and peny ale,

As for a pytaunce y-take;

Cold flesch and cold fyssh,

For veneson y-bake.

Frydays and fastyng-dayes

Ferthyng worth of muscles

Were a feste for suche a folke,

Other so fele cockes.

Theese were almes to helpe

That han suche charges,

And to comforte suche cotyers,

And crokede men and blynde.

Ac beggers with bagges, the wiche

Brewhouses ben here churches,

Bote thei be blynde other broke,

Other elles syke,

Thauh he falle for defaute,

That faiteth for hus lyflode,

Reicheth nevere, ye ryche,

Thauh suche lorelles sterven;

For all that han here hele

And here eyen syghte,

And lymes to laborye with,

And lolleres lyf usen,

Lyven ayens Godes lawe,

And love of holy churche.

And yut arn ther other beggers,

In hele, as it semeth;

Ac hem wanteth here witt,

Men and women bothe,

The wiche aren lunatik lollers

And leperes aboute,

And mad, as the mone sitt,

More other lasse:

Thei caren for no cold,

Ne counteth of no hete,

And are mevenge after the mone,

Moneyles thei walke,

With a good wil wit-lees,

Meny wyde contreys,

Ryght as Peter dude and Paul,

Save that thei preche nat,

Ne myracles maken;

Ac meny tymes hem happeth

To prophetien of the puple,

Pleyninge, as hit were,

And to oure sight, as hit semeth,

Suththe God hath the myghte

To yeven eche a whit wit,

Welthe, and his hele,

And suffreth suche so gon,

Hit semeth to myn inwitt,

Hit arn as hus aposteles suche puple,

Other as his prevye disciples;

For he sente hem forth selverles,

In a somer garnement,

Withoute bred and bagge,

As the Bok telleth.

Quando misi vos sine pane et pera.

Bar fot and bred-les,

Beggeth thei of no man;

And thauh he mete with the meyere

In mydest the strete,

He reverenceth hym ryght nouht

No rather than another.

Neminem salutaveris per viam,

Suche manere of men,

Matheu ous techeth,

We sholde have hem to house,

And help hem when thei come.

Et egenos vagosque induc in domum tuam.

For hit aren murye mouthede men,

Mynstrales of hevene

And Godes boyes bordiours,

As the Bok telleth.

Si quis videtur sapiens, fiet stultus ut

sit sapiens.

And alle manere mynstrales,

Men wot wel the sothe,

To underfonge hem faire

Byfalle for the ryche;

For the lordes love and ladies

That thei with lengen,

Men suffren al that suche seyn,

And in solas taken;

And yut more to suche men

Doth, er thei passe,

Gyven hem gyftes and gold,

For grete lordes sake.

Ryght so, ye riche,

Rather ye sholde, for sothe,

Wolcomen and worsshepen

And with youre goode helpen

Godes mynstrales, and hus messagers,

And hus murye burdiers,

The wiche are lunatik lollares

And leperes aboute.

For under Godes secré seel

Here synnes ben y-keverede.

For thei bereth no bagges,

Ne non botels under clokes,

The wiche is lollaren lyf

And lewede eremytes,

That loken ful louheliche

To lacchen mennes almesse,

In hope to suten at even

By the hote coles,

Unlouke hus legges abrod,

Other lygge at hus ese,

Reste hym and roste hym,

And his ryg turne,

Drynke drue and deepe,

And drawe hym thanne to bedde,

And when hym lyketh and lust

Hus leve ys is to aryse;

When he rysen, rometh out,

And ryght wel aspieth

War he may rathest have a repast,

Other a rounde of bacon,

Sulver other fode-mete

And some tyme bothe,

A loof other alf a loof,

Other a lompe of chese,

And carieth it hom to hus cote,

And cast hym to lyve

In ydelnesse and in ese,

And by others travayle.

And wat frek of thys tolde

Fisketh thus aboute

With a bagge at hus bak,

Abegeneldes wyse,

And can som manere craft,

In cas he wolde hit use.

Thorgh wiche craft he couthe come

To bred and to ale,

And ovar more to an hater

To helye with hus bones,

And lyveth like a lollere,

Godes lawe him dampneth.

Lolleres lyvinge in sleuthe,

And overe lond stryken,

Beeth nat in thys bulle, quath Peers,

Til thei ben amended.

Nother beggars that beggen,

Bote yf thei have neede.

The Bok blameth alle beggerye,

And banneth in this manere: etc.

4645. Luke xix, 23.

4659. Ps. xxxvi, 25. Junior fui, etenim senui: et non vidi justum derelictum, nec semen ejus quærens panem.

4695. Here again, after many verbal variations from our text, Whitaker's text adds the following long passage, which is very curious, and well worthy to be preserved. Whitaker calls it "one of the finest passages in the whole poem."

Ac eremites that enhabiten hem

By the heye weyes,

And in borwes among brewesters,

And beggen in churches

Al that holy eremytes

Hateden and despisede,

As rychesses and reverences

And ryche mennes almesse.

These lolleres, latche-draweres,

Lewede eremytes,

Coveyten the contrarie,

As cotyers thei lybben,

For hit beth bote boyes,

Lolleres atten ale,

Of linguage of lettrure

Ne lyf-holy as eremytes

That wonnede wyle in wodes

With beres and lyones.

Some had lyflode of here lynage,

And of no lyf elles;

And some lyvede by here lettrure

And labour of here hondes;

Some had foreynes to frendes,

That hem fode sente;

And bryddes brouhten to some bred,

Werby thei lyveden.

Alle thuse holy eremytes

Were of hye kynne,

Forsoke londe and lordshep

And lykynges of the body;

Ac thuse eremytes, that edefyen

Thus by the hye weyes,

Wylen were workmen,

Webbes and taillours,

And carters knaves

And clerkus without grace,

Heelden hungry hous,

And had much defaute,

Long labour and lyte wynnynge,

And atte laste aspiden

That faitours in frere clothynge

Had fatte chekus;

For-thi lefte thei here laboure,

Theese lewede knaves,

And clothed hem in copes,

Clerkus as hit were.

Other on of som ordre,

Othere elles prophite,

Ayens the lawe he lyveth,

Yf Latyn be trywe:

Non licet nobis legem voluntate, sed voluntatem

conjungere legi.

Now kyndeliche, by Crist!

Beth suche callyd lolleres,

As by Englisch of oure eldres,

Of olde menne techynge,

He that lolleth his lame,

Other his leg out of the joynte,

Other meymed in som membre,

For to meschief hit souneth;

And ryght so sothlyche

Suche manere eremytes

Lollen ayen the bylyeve

And lawe of holy churche.

For holy churche hoteth

Alle manere puple

Under obedience to bee,

And buxum to the lawe,

Furst religious of religion

Here ruele to holde,

And under obedience to be

By dayes and by nyghtes,

Lewede men to laborie,

Lordes to honte

In frythes and in forestes

For fox and other bestes

That in wilde wodes ben,

And in wast places,

As wolves that wyrhyeth men,

Wommen, and children,

And upon Sonedayes to cesse,

Godes service to huyre,

Bothe matyns and messe,

And after mete in churches

To huyre here eve song

Every man ouhte.

Thus it bylongeth for lorde,

For lered and lewede,

Eche halyday to huyre

Hollyche the service,

Vigiles and fastyng dayes

Forthere to knowe,

And fulfille tho fastynges

Bote infirmité hit made,

Poverte othere penaunces,

As pilgrymages and travayles.

Under this obedience

Arn we echone.

Who so brekyeth this, be wel war,

Bot yf he repente,

Amenden hym and mercy aske,

And meekliche hym shryve,

Ich drede me, and he deye,

Hit worth for dedlich synne

Acounted byfore Crist,

Bote Conscience excuse hym.

Loke now were theese lolleres

And lewede eremytes,

Yf thei breke thys obedience

That ben so fro churche,

Wher see we hem on Sonedays

The servise to huyre?

As matyns by the morwe

Tyl masse bygynne,

Other Sonedays at eve songe,

See we wol fewe;

Othere labory for our lyflode

As the lawe wolde

Ac at mydday meel tyme

Ich mete with hem ofte,

Conynge in a cope

As he a clerke were,

A bachelor other a beaupere

Best hym bysemeth,

And for the cloth that kevereth hem

Cald his here a frere,

Whassheth and wypeth,

And with the furste suteth.

Ac while he wrought in thys worlde,

And wan hus mete with Treuthe,

He sat atte syd benche

And secounde table,

Com no wyn in hus wombe

Thorw the weke longe,

Nother blankett in hus bed,

Ne white bred byfore hym.

The cause of al thys caitifté

Cometh of meny bisshepes,

That suffren suche sottes

And othere synnes regne.

Certes ho so thurste hit segge,

Symon quasi dormit.

Vigilate were fairour,

For thow hast gret charge:

For meny waker wolves

Ben broke into foldes.

Thyne berkeres ben al blynde,

That bryngeth forth thy lambren;

Disperguntur oves, thi dogge

Dar nat beerke.

The tarre is untydy

That to thyne sheep bylongeth;

Hure salve ys of supersedeas

In someneres boxes,

Thyne sheep are ner al shabbyd,

The wolf sheteth woolle.

Sub molli pastore lupus lanam cacat, et

grex incustoditus dilaceratur eo.

Hoow hurde wher is thyn hounde,

And thyn hardy herte,

For to wyne the wolf

That thy woolle fouleth.

Ich leyve for thy lacchesse

Thow leest meny wederes,

And ful meny fayre flus

Falsliche wasshe.

When thy lord loketh to have

Alowance for hus bestes,

And of the monye thow haddist thermyd,

Hus meable to save,

And the woolle worth weye,

Woo ys the thenne!

Redde rationem villicationis tuæ,

Other arerage, ffalle.

Then hyre hurde, as ich hope,

Hath nouht to quyty thy dette,

Ther as mede ne mercy

May nat a myte avayle,

Bote have this for that,

Tho that thow toke

Mercy for mede,

And my lawe breke;

Loke now for thi lacchesse

Whether lawe wol the graunt

Purgatorie for thy paye,

Other perpetuel helle.

For shal no pardone praye for yowe ther,

Nother princes letteres.

4708. Matth. xxv, 46. Et ibunt hi in supplicium æternum; justi autem in vitam æternam.

4721. Psal. xxii, 4.

4739. Psal. xli, 4.

4745. Luke xii, 22. Conf. Matth. vi, 25.

4764. "Dixit insipiens in corde suo, non est Deus," is the commencement of Psalms xiii. and lii.

4769. Prov. xxii, 10. Ejice derisorem, et exibit cum eo jurgium, cessabuntque causæ et contumeliæ.

4771. Perkyn, the diminutive of Peter, or Piers. Formerly the diminutives of people's names were constantly used as marks of familiarity or endearment, as Hawkyn or Halkyn for Henry, Tymkyn for Tim or Timothy, Dawkyn for David, Tomkyn for Thomas, &c.

4796. Cato, Distich. ii, 31.

Somnia ne cures, nam mens humana quod optans,

Dum vigilat, sperat, per somnum cernit id ipsum.

4847. Matth. xvi, 19.

4941. Prov. xxiv, 16. Septies enim cadet justus, et resurget; impii autem corruent in malum.

4963. To falle and to stonde. I by no means agree with Price's interpretation of this phrase, or in his preference of the reading to falle if he stonde. (Note on Warton ii, 67.) The motion of the boat causes the firm man alternately to fall and stand; be he ever so stable, he stumbles now and then, but his strength is shown in his being able to recover himself. Such are the moral slips which even the just man cannot avoid. But if the man in the boat be too weak to arise again and place himself at the helm, his boat and himself will be lost for want of strength and guidance. So it is with the wicked man. The completion of the phrase quoted from Proverbs, as given in the preceding note, shows the justice of this explanation.

5014. if I may lyve and loke. Price (in Warton) first pointed out the identity between this expression and the one so common in Homer: it is "one of those primitive figures which are common to the poetry of every country."

Οὔτις, ἐμεῦ ζῶντος καὶ ἐπὶ χθονὶ δερκομένοιο,

Σὸι κοίλῃς παρὰ νηυσί βαρείας χεῖρας ἐποίσει.

Il. i, 88.

Whitaker's interpretation is nonsense, "If I have space to live and look in the book." Other instances of this phrase occur in ll. 12132, 13268, and 13303 of Piers Ploughman.

5082. 2 Corinth. xi, 19.

5157. of four kynnes thynges. The medieval notion of the manner in which the elements were mixed together in the formation of the human body, here alluded to, appears to partake more of Western legend than of Eastern tradition. In the English verses on Popular Science (given in my "Popular Treatises of Science written during the Middle Ages," p. 138), we have the following curious account of the four things forming the body, and the influence of each:—

Man hath of urthe al his bodi, of water he haveth wete,

Of eyr he haveth wynd, of fur he haveth hete.

Ech quic thing of alle this foure, of some hath more other lasse;

Ho so haveth of urthe most, he is slou as an asse;

Of vad colour, of hard hide, boustes forme, and ded strong,

Of moche thoght, of lute speche, of stille grounynge, and wraththe long,

A slough wrecche and ferblet, fast and loth to geve his god,

Sone old, and noght wilful, stable and stedefast of mode.

And so on with the other elements. This doctrine of the composition of man from the four elements became a very popular one in the sixteenth century, when the poets frequently allude to it, as may be seen in the examples given by Nares (v. Elements). In the Mirror for Magistrates (King Forrex, page 76), it is said:—

If we behold the substance of a man,

How he is made of elements by kind,

Of earth, of water, aire, and fire, than

We would full often call unto our mind,

That all our earthly joys we leave behind.

Massinger (Renegado iii, 2) says:—

——I've heard

Schoolmen affirm, man's body is compos'd

Of the four elements.

In Shakespeare (Twel. N. ii, 3), Sir Toby Belch inquires, "Does not our life consist of the four elements?" and Brutus is commended for possessing these elements properly blended, in which the perfection of a man's nature was supposed to consist:—

His life was gentle; and the elements

So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up

And say to all the world, This was a man.

Jul. Cæs. v, 5.

On the other hand, the ill mixing of these elements was supposed to be accompanied with a corresponding derangement of the intellectual faculties. Thus, in one of the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, a madman is addressed:—

I prithee, thou four elements ill brew'd

Torment none but thyself: Away, I say,

Thou beast of passion.

B. and Fl. Nice Valour, act i, p. 312.

The more mythic form of this legend gives eight things to the formation of the body, instead of four. Our earliest notice of this legend in England occurs in the prose Anglo-Saxon Dialogue between Saturn and Solomon (Thorpe's Analecta, p. 95):—"Saga me þæt andworc þe Adám wæs of-ge-worht se ærusta man? Ic þe secge of viii punda ge-wihte. Saga me hwæt hatton þage? Ic þe secge þæt æroste wæs fóldan pund, of ðam him wæs flesc ge-worht; oðer wæs fyres pund, þanon him wæs þæt blód reád and hát; þridde wæs windes pund, þanon him wæs seo æðung ge-seald; feorðe wæs wolcnes pund, þanon him wæs his módes unstaðelfæstnes ge-seald; fifte wæs gyfe pund, þanon him wæs ge-seald se fat and geðang; syxste wæs blostnena pund, þanon him wæs eagena myssenlicnys ge-seald; seofoðe wæs deawes pund, þanon him becom swat; eahtothe wæs sealtes pund, þanon him wæron þa tearas sealte."—Tell me the matter of which Adam the first man was made? I tell thee, of eight pound-weights. Tell me their names? I tell thee, the first was a pound of earth, of which his flesh was made; the second was a pound of fire, from which his blood was red and hot; the third was a pound of wind, of which breath was given him; the fourth was a pound of cloud, whereof was given him his instability of mood; the fifth was a pound of ..., whereof was given him fat and sinew; the sixth was a pound of flowers, whereof was given him diversity of eyes; the seventh was a pound of dew, whereof he had sweat; the eighth was a pound of salt, whereof he had salt tears. This legend was still prevalent in England as late as the fifteenth century, when we find it among the curious collection of questions (closely resembling those of Saturn and Solomon just quoted) entitled "Questions bitwene the Maister of Oxinford and his Scoler" (Reliquiæ Antiquæ, vol. i, p. 230),—"C. Whereof was Adam made? M. Of viij. thingis: the first of erthe, the second of fire, the iijde of wynde, the iiijth of clowdys, the vth of aire wherethorough he speketh and thinketh, the vjth of dewe wherby he sweteth, the vijth of flowres, wherof Adam hath his ien, the viijth is salte wherof Adam hath salt teres." A similar account is given in an extract from an old Friesic manuscript communicated to the Zeitschrift für Deutsches Alterthum, by Dr. James Grimm,—"God scôp thene êresta meneska, thet was Adam, fon achta wendem; that bênete fon tha stêne, thet flâsk fon there erthe, thet blôd fon tha wetere, tha herta fon tha winde, thene togta (l. thochta) fon tha wolken, the(ne) suêt fon tha dawe, tha lokkar fon tha gerse, tha âgene fon there sunna, and tha blêrem on thene helga ôm."—God created the first man, who was Adam, of eight elements: the bone from the stone, the flesh from the earth, the blood from the water, the heart from the wind, the thought from the cloud, the sweat from the dew, the hair from the grass, the eyes from the sun.

5169. a proud prikere of Fraunce. A proud rider of France. Until the fifteenth century there appears to have been a strong prejudice among the lower orders against horsemen: their name was connected with oppressors and foreigners. Horses appear to have been comparatively little used for riding among the Anglo-Saxons until they were introduced by the Norman favourites of Edward the Confessor, in whose reign we read that the Anglo-Saxon soldiers in Herefordshire were defeated by the Welsh owing to their awkwardness on horseback, having been unadvisedly mounted by their Norman commander. The Anglo-Norman barons of the three following centuries, with their numerous household of knights and attendants who plundered and oppressed the peasantry and middle classes of society, kept alive the prejudice alluded to, and we trace it in several popular songs. In a song of the reign of Edward I (Political Songs, p. 240), we find the following lines:—

Whil God wes on erthe

And wondrede wyde,

Whet wes the resoun

Why he nolde ryde?

For he nolde no grom

To go by ys syde,

Ne grucchyng of no gedelyng

To chaule ne to chyde.

Spedeth ou to spewen,

Ase me doth to spelle;

The fend ou afretie

With fleis ant with felle!

Herkneth hideward, horsmen,

A tidyng ich ou telle,

That ye shulen hongen,

Ant herbarewen in helle!

5276. Epist. ad. Philippens. iii, 19.

5283. Epist. Joan. iv, 16.

5289. Matth. xxv, 12; Psal. lxxx, 13. Et dimisi eos secundum desideria cordis eorum, ibunt in adventionibus suis.

5305. the four doctours. The four doctors par excellence of the western church were, I believe, Gregory, Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome.

5354. Ecclesiast. i, 16.

5363. Epist. Jacob. ii, 10. Quicunque autem totam legem servaverit, offendat autem in uno, factus est omnium reus.

5412. as Caym was on Eve. See further on l. 5549. According to a very curious legend, which was popular in the middle ages, Cain was born during the period of penitence and fasting to which our first parents were condemned for their breach of obedience.

5415. Psa. vii, 15. Concepit dolorem et peperit iniquitatem.

5417. Whitaker's text inserts before this line—

Caym, the cursed creature,

Conceyved was in synne;

After that Adam and Eve

Hadden y-synged,

Withoute repentaunce

Of here rechelessnesse,

A rybaud thei engendrede,

And a gome unryghtful;

As an hywe that ereth nat

Auntreth hym to sowe

On a leye lond,

Ayens hus lordes wille,

So was Caym conceyved,

And so ben cursed wrettches

That lycame han ayen the lawe

That oure Lord ordeynede.

5433. Gen. vi, 7. pænitet enim me fecisse eos.

5464. Ezech. xviii, 20.

5470. Whitaker's text adds here:—

Westminster lawe, ich wot,

Worcheth the contrarie;

For thauh the fader be a frankelayne,

And for a felon be hanged,

The heritage that the air sholde have

Ys at the kynges wille.

5479. Matt. vii, 16.

5497. John xiv, 6.

5507. many a peire, sithen the pestilence. The continuator of William de Nangis, who gives a detailed account of the effects of the great pestilence on the Continent, mentions the hasty marriages which followed it, but he gives quite a different account of their fruitfulness. "Cessante autem dicta epidimia, pestilentia, et mortalitate, nupserunt viri qui remanserunt et mulieres ad invicem, conceperunt uxores residuæ per mundum ultra modum, nulla sterilis efficiebatur, sed prægnantes hinc inde videbantur, et plures geminos pariebant, et aliquæ tres infantes insimul vivos emittebant." The writer goes on to observe, "Sed proh dolor! ex hujus renovatione sæculi non est mundus propter hoc in melius commutatus. Nam homines fuerunt postea magis avari et tenaces, cum multo plura bona quam antea possiderent; magis etiam cupidi et per lites, brigas, et rixas, atque per placita, seipsos conturbantes.... Charitas etiam ab illo tempore refrigescere cæpit valde, et iniquitas abundavit cum ignorantiis et peccatis; nam pauci inveniebantur qui scirent aut vellent in domibus, villis, et castris informare pueros in grammaticalibus rudimentis."—Contin. G. de Nangis, in Dacherii Spicileg. iii, 110 (ed. 1723).

5515. do hem to Dunmowe. This is, I believe, the earliest allusion at present known to the custom of the flitch of bacon at Dunmow, which was evidently, at that time, a matter of general celebrity. In Chaucer, about half a century later, the Wife of Bath says of her two old husbands, and of the way in which she tyrannized over them,—

The bacoun was nought fet for hem, I trowe,

That som men fecche in Essex at Donmowe.—Cant. T. 5799.

In a curious religious poem preserved in a manuscript in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, written about the year 1460, from which some extracts are printed in the "Reliquiæ Antiquæ," ii, 27-29, we have the following satirical allusion to this custom:—

I can fynde no man now that wille enquere

The parfyte wais unto Dunmow;

For they repent hem within a yere,

And many within a weke, and sonner, men trow;

That cawsith the weis to be rowgh and over-grow,

That no man may fynd path or gap,

The world is turnyd to another shap.

Befe and moton wylle serve wele enow;

And for to seche so ferre a lytill bakon flyk,

Which hath long hanggid resty and tow

And the wey, I telle you, is comborous and thyk,

And thou might stomble, and take the cryk;

Therfor bide at home, what so ever hap

Tylle the world be turnyd into another shap.

One or two other allusions to this custom have been found in manuscripts of the fifteenth century, and in the sixteenth century these allusions become more numerous.

5563. 1 Corinth. vii, 1.

5613. Margery perles. A margarite pearl, perle marguerite. The Latin name for a pearl (margarita) seems to be the origin of this expression.

5634. a love day | to lette with truthe. Love days (Dies amoris) were days fixed for settling differences by umpire, without having recourse to law or to violence. The ecclesiastics seem generally to have had the principal share in the management of these transactions, which throughout the Visions of Piers Ploughman appear to be censured as the means of hindering justice and of enriching the clergy. A little further on, Religion is blamed for being "a ledere of love-dayes." (l. 6219.) In Chaucer, it is said of the friar:—

And over'al, ther eny profyt schulde arise,

Curteys he was, and lowe of servyse.

    .      .      .      .      .      .  

And rage he couthe and pleye as a whelpe,

In love-dayes, ther couthe he mochil helpe.

For ther was he not like a cloysterer

With a thredbare cope, as a pore scoler,

But he was like a maister or a pope.—Cant. T. 249, 259.

5646. The quotation is made up from Job xxi, 7; and Jerem. xii, 2.

5651. Psal. lxxii, 12.

5659. Psal. x, 4. Quoniam quæ perfecisti, destruxerunt: justus autem quid fecit?

5739. Psal. cxxxi, 6.

5769. Isai. lviii, 7.

5778. Tob. iv, 9. Si multum tibi fuerit, abundanter tribue; si exiguum tibi fuerit, etiam exiguum libenter impertiri stude.

In what follows, Whitaker's text is in parts much more brief than the one now printed; there are also many transpositions, and other variations, which are not of sufficient importance to be pointed out more particularly.

5801. in a pryvee parlour. 5803. in a chambre with a chymenee. This is a curious illustration of contemporary manners. The hall was the apartment in which originally the lord of the household and the male portion of the family passed nearly all their time when at home, and where they lived in a manner in public. The chambers were only used for sleeping, and as places of retirement for the ladies, and had, at first, no fire-places (chymenees), which were added, in course of time, for their comfort. The parlour was an apartment introduced also at a comparatively late period, and was, as its name indicates, a place for private conferences or conversation. As society advanced in refinement, people sought to live less and less in public, and the heads of the household gradually deserted the hall, except on special occasions, and lived more in the parlour and in the "chambre with a chymenee." With the absence of the lord from the hall, its festive character and indiscriminate hospitality began to diminish; and the popular agitators declaimed against this as an unmistakeable sign of the debasement of the times.

5829. Ezech. xviii, 19.

5835. Galat. vi, 5.

5844. Pauli Epist. ad Rom. xii, 3.

5911. seven artz. In the scholastic system of the middle ages, the whole course of learning was divided into seven arts, which were, grammar, dialectics, rhetoric, music, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy. They were included in the following memorial distich:—

Gram. loquitur, Dia. vera docet, Rhet. verba colorat,

Mus. canit, Ar. numerat, Geo. ponderat, As. colit astra.

5963. a baleys. See before, the note on l. 2819.

5990. Caton. Distich. lib. i, 26.

6009. Galat. vi, 10.

6022. Epist. ad Rom. xii, 19.

6037. The second Trin. Coll. MS. reads here—

Experimentis of Alkenemye

Of Albertis makyng,

Nigromancie and permansie

The pouke to reisen,

Gif thou thenke, etc.

6146. Matth. vii, 3.

6179. Matth. xv, 14; Luke vi, 39; Mark (?)

6186. mausede. An error of the press for mansede. See the Glossary.

6191. Offyn and Fynes. Ophni and Phinees. See 1 Samuel iv. (in the Vulgate called 1 Kings).

6199. Psal. xlix, 21.

6207. Isai. lvi, 10.

6217. The text of the Trin. Coll. MS. 2, differs very much from ours in this part of the poem. Instead of 6217-6277, we have the following lines:—

Ac now is Religioun a ridere

And a rennere aboute,

A ledere of ladies,

And a lond biggere;

Poperith on a palfrey

To toune and to toune;

A bidowe or a biselard

He berith be his side;

Godis flessh and his fet

And hise fyve woundis

Arn more in his mynde

Than the memorie of his foundours.

This is the lif of this lordis

That lyven shulde with Do-bet,

And wel awey wers,

And I shulde al telle.

I wende that kinghed and knighthed,

And caiseris with erlis,

Wern Do-wel and Do-bet

And Do-best-of-hem-alle.

For I have seighe it myself,

And siththen red it aftir,

How Crist counseilleth the comune,

And kenneth hem this tale,

Super cathedram Moisi sederunt principes

For-thi I wende that tho wyes

Wern Do-best-of-alle.

I nile not scorne, etc.

6223. an heepe of houndes. "Walter de Suffield, bishop of Norwich, bequeathed by will his pack of hounds to the king, in 1256. Blomefield's Norf. ii, 347. See Chaucer's Monke, Prol. v, 165. This was a common topic of satire. It occurs again fol. xxvii, a [l. 3321, of the present Edition]. See Chaucer's Testament of Love, page 492, col. ii, Urr. The Archdeacon of Richmond, on his visitation, comes to the priory of Bridlington in Yorkshire, in 1216, with ninety-seven horses, twenty dogs, and three hawks. Dugd. Mon. ii, 65." Warton.

6251. Psal. xix, 8.

6259. the abbot of Abyngdone. There was a very ancient and famous abbey at Abingdon in Berkshire. Geoffrey of Monmouth was abbot there. It was the house into which the monks, strictly so called, were first introduced in England, and is, therefore, very properly introduced as the representative of English monachism.

6266. Isai. xiv, 4, 5.

6289. Ecclesiasticus x, 10.

6291. Catonis Distich. iv, 4.

Dilige denari, sed parce dilige, formam;

Quem nemo sanctus nec honestus captat ab ære.

6327. Colos. iii, 1.

6353. mœchaberis. A mistake in the original MS. for necaberis, as it is rightly printed in Crowley's edition.

6372. John iii, 13.

6414. Matth. xxiii, 2. Super cathedram Moysi sederunt Scribæ et Pharisæi.

6440. Psal. xxxv, 8.

6476. Ecclesiastes ix, 1.

6504. Matth. x, 18. The quotation is not quite literal.

6528. For idiotæ irapiunt, read idiotæ vi rapiunt: the error was caused accidentally in the printing, and has escaped in the present edition.

6571. Matth. xx, 4.

6741. John iii, 3.

6755. Matth. vii, 1.

6764. Psal. l, 21.

6815. Isai. lv, 1.

6825. Mark xvi, 16.

6831. may no cherl chartre make. Such was the law of vileinage, then in existence. There is a curious story illustrative of the condition of the cherl or peasant, in the Descriptio Norfolciensium, in my Early Mysteries and other Latin Poems of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, p. 94. The 'cherl,' vilein, or bondman, could not even be put apprentice without the licence of the lord of the soil. In the curious poem on the Constitution of Masonry (14th cent.) published by Mr. Halliwell, the master is particularly cautioned on this point:—

The fowrthe artycul thys moste be,

That the mayster hym wel be-se

That he no bondemon prentys make,

Ny for no covetyse do hym take;

For the lord that he ys bonde to,

May fache the prentes whersever he go.

Early History of Freemasonry in England, p. 14.

6859. Trojanus. 6869. Gregorie. The legend here alluded to is given briefly as follows, in the life of St. Gregory in the Golden Legend, fol. lxxxxvii,—

"In the tyme that Trayan themperour regned, and on a tyme as he wente toward a batayll out of Rome, it happed that in hys waye as he shold ryde a woman a wydowe came to hym wepyng and sayd: I praye thee, syre, that thou avenge the deth of one my sone, whyche innocently and wythout cause hath ben slayn. Themperour answerd: yf I come agayn fro the batayll hool and sounde, thenne I shall do justyce for the deth of thy sone. Thenne sayd the wydowe: Syre, and yf thou deye in the bataylle, who shall thenne avenge hys deth for me? And the wydowe sayd, is it not better that thou do to me justice, and have the meryte thereof of God, than another have it for thee? Then had Trayan pyté, and descended fro his horse, and dyde justyce in avengynge the deth of her sone. On a tyme saynt Gregory went by the marked of Rome whyche is called the marked of Trayan. And thenne he remembred of the justyce and other good dedes of Trayan, and how he had ben pyteous and debonayr, and was moche sorowfull that he had ben a paynem; and he tourned to the chyrche of saynt Peter waylyng for thorrour of the mescreaunce of Trayan. Thenne answerd a voys fro God, sayng: I have now herd thy prayer, and have spared Trayan fro the payne perpetuelly. By thys thus, as somme saye, the payne perpetuell due to Trayan as a mescreaunt was somme dele take awaye, but for all that was he not quyte fro the pryson of helle; for the sowle may well be in helle, and fele ther no payne, by the mercy of God."

6907. 1 John iii, 15.

6938. Luke xiv, 12.

6964. John viii, 34.

6981. Galat. vi, 2.

7015. Matth. vii, 3.

7063. Luke x, 40.

7072. Luke x, 42.

7113. Although our writer quotes the circumstance from Luke xviii, the words he gives are from Matth. xix, 21.

7113. In Whitaker's text the following passage is here inserted:—

Thus consaileth Crist

In comun ous alle,

'Ho so coveyteth to come

To my kynriche,

He mot forsake hymself,

Hus suster, and hus brother,

And al that the worlde wolde,

And my wil folwen.'

Nisi renunciaveritis omnia quæ possidetis,


Meny proverbis ich myghte have

Of meny holy seyntes,

To testifie for treuthe

The tale that ich shewe,

And poetes to preoven hit,

Porfirie and Plato,

Aristotle, Ovidius,

And ellevene hundred,

Tullius, Tholomeus,

Ich can nat telle here names,

Preoven pacient poverte

Pryns of alle vertues.

And by greyn that groweth,

God ous alle techeth.

Nisi granum frumenti cadens in terra,

et mortuum fuit, ipsum solum manet.

Bot yf that sed that sowen is,

In the sloh sterve,

Shal nevere spir springen up,

Ne spik on strawe curne;

Sholde nevere wete wexe,

Bote wete fyrste deyde;

And other sedes also

In the same wyse,

That ben leide on louh eerthe,

Y-lore as hit were,

And thorw the grete grace of God,

Of greyn ded in erthe

Atte the laste launceth up

Werby lyven alle.

Ac sedes that ben sowen

And mowe suffre wyntres,

Aren tydyor and tower

To mannes by-hofte,

Than seedes that sowen beeth

And mowe nouht with forste,

With wyndes, ne with wederes,

As in wynter tyme,

As lynne-seed, and lik-seed,

And Lente-seedes alle,

Aren nouht so worthy as whete,

Ne so wel mowen

In the feld with the forst,

And hit freese longe.

Ryght so, for sothe,

That suffre may penaunces

Worth alowed of oure Lorde

At here laste ende,

And for here penaunce be preysed,

As for puyre martir,

Other for a confessour y-kud,

That counteth nat a ruysshe

Fere ne famyne,

Ne false menne tonges;

Bote as an hosebonde hopeth

After an hard wynter,

Yf God gyveth hym the lif

To have a good hervest,

So preoveth thees prophetes

That pacientliche suffreth

Myschiefs and myshappes,

And menye tribulacions,

Bytokneth ful triweliche

In tyme comynge after

Murthe for hus mornynge,

And that muche plenté.

For Crist seide to hus seyntes

That for hus sake tholeden

Poverte, penaunces,

Persecution of body,

Angeles in here angre

On this wise hem grate,

Tristitia vestra vertetur in gaudium.

Youre sorwe into solas

Shal turne atte laste,

And out of wo into wele

Youre wyrdes shul chaunge.

Ac so redeth of riche,

The revers he may fynde,

How God, as the Godspel telleth,

Geveth hem foul towname,

And that hus gost shal go,

And hus good byleve,

And asketh hym after

Ho shal hit have,

The catel that he kepeth so

In coffres and in hernes,

And ert so loth to lene

Thet leve shalt needes.

O stulte, ista nocte anima tua egrediatur,

thesauriza et ignorat.

An unredy reve

Thi residue shal spene,

That menye moththe was ynne

In a mynte while;

Upholderes on the hul

Shullen have hit to selle.

Lo! lo! lordes, lo!

And ladies taketh hede,

Hit lasteth nat longe

That is lycour swete,

Ac pees-coddes and pere-ronettes,

Plomes and chiries,

That lyghtliche launceth up,

Litel wile dureth,

And that that rathest rypeth,

Roteth most sannest.

On fat londe and ful of donge

Foulest wedes groweth,

Right so, for sothe,

Suche that ben bysshopes,

Erles and archdekenes,

And other ryche clerkes.

That chaffaren as chapmen,

And chiden bote thei wynne,

And haven the worlde at here wil

Other wyse to lyve;

Right as weodes wexen

In wose and in dunge,

So of rychesse upon richesse

Arist al vices.

Lo! lond overe-layde

With marle and with donge,

Whete that wexeth theron

Worth lygge ar hit repe;

Right so, for sothe,

For to sigge treuthe,

Over plenté pryde norssheth

Ther poverte destrueth hit.

For how hit evere be y-wonne,

Bote hit be wel dispended,

Worliche wele is wuked thynge

To hym that hit kupeth.

For yf he be feer therfro,

Ful ofte hath he drede

That fals folke fetche away

Felonliche hus godes.

And yut more hit maketh men

Meny time and ofte

To synegen, and to souchen

Soteltees of gyle,

For covetyze of that catel

To culle hem that hit kepeth;

And so is meny men y-morthred

For hus money and goodes;

And tho that duden the dede

Y-dampned therfore after,

And he, for hus harde heldynge,

In helle paraunter;

So covetise of catel

Was combraunce to hem alle.

Lo! how pans purchasede

Faire places, and drede,

That rote is robbers

The richesse withynne.

[Passus quartus de Dowel.]

Ac wel worth Poverte,

For he may walke unrobbede,

Among pilours in pees,

Yf pacience hym folwe,

Oure prynce Jhesu poverte chees,

And hus aposteles alle,

And ay the lenger thei lyveden

The lasse good thei hadde.

Tanquam nihil habentes, et omnia


Yut men that of Abraam

And Job were wonder ryche,

And out of numbre tho men

Menye meobles hadden.

Abraam, for al hus good,

Hadde muche teene,

In gret poverte was y-put,

A pryns as hit were

Bynom hym ys housewif

And heeld here hymself,

And Abraam nat hardy

Ones to letten hym,

Ne for brightnesse of here beauté

Here spouse to be byknowe.

And for he suffrede and seide nouht,

Oure Lord sente tokne,

That the kynge cride

To Abraam mercy,

And deliverede hym hus wif,

With muche welthe after.

And also Job the gentel

What joye hadde he on erthe,

How bittere he hit bouhte!

As the book telleth.

And for he songe in hus sorwe,

Si bona accipimus a Domino,

Dereworthe dere God,

Do we so mala;

Al hus sorwe to solas

Thorgh that songe turnede,

And Job bycam a jolif man,

And al hus joye newe.

Lo how patience in here poverte

Thees patriarkes relevede,

And brouhte hem al above

That in bale rotede,

As greyn that lyth in the greot

And thorgh grace atte laste

Spryngeth up and spredeth,

So spedde the fader Abraam,

And also the gentel Job,

Here joie hath non ende.

Ac leveth nouht, ye lewede men,

That ich lacke richesse,

Thauh ich preise poverte thus,

And preove hit by ensamples,

Worthiour as by holy writ,

And wise philosophers,

Bothe two but goode,

Be ye ful certayn,

And lyves that our Lorde loveth,

And large weyes to hevene.

Ac the povre pacient

Purgatorye passeth

Rathere than the ryche,

Thauh thei renne at ones.

For yf a marchaunt and a messager

Metten to-gederes,

For the parcels of hus paper

And other pryvey dettes,

Wol lette hym as ich leyve

The lengthe of a myle;

The messager doth namore

Bote hus mouth telleth,

Hus lettere and hus ernde sheweth,

And is anon delyvered;

And thauh thei wende by the wey

Tho two to-gederes.

Thauh the messager made hus wey

Amyde the whete,

Wole no wys man wroth be,

Ne hus wed take,

Ys non haiwarde y-hote

Hus wed for to take.

Necessitas non habet legem.

Ac yf the marchaunt make hus way

Overe menne cornne,

And the haywarde happe

With hym for to mete,

Other hus hatt, other hus hed,

Other elles hus gloves,

The merchaunt mot for-go,

Other moneys of huse porse,

And yut be lett, as ich leyve,

For the lawe asketh

Marchauns for here merchandise

In meny place to tullen.

Yut thauh thei wenden on wey

As to Wynchestre fayre,

The marchaunt with hus marchaundise

May nat go so swythe

As the messager may,

Ne with so mochel ese.

For that on bereth bote a boxe,

A brevet therynne,

Ther the marchaunt ledeth a male

With meny kynne thynges;

And dredeth to be ded therefore,

And he in derke mete

With robbours and with revers

That riche men despoilen,

Ther the messager is ay murye,

Hus mouthe ful of songes,

And leyveth for hus letters

That no wight wol hym greve.

Ac yut myghte the marchaunt

Thorgh monye and other yeftes

Have hors and hardy men,

Thauh he mette theoves,

Wolde non suche asailen hym

For hem that hym folweth,

As safliche passe as the messager,

And as sone at hus hostel.

Ye, wyten wel, ye wyse men,

What this is to mene.

The marchaunt is no more to mene

Bote men that ben ryche

Aren acountable to Crist

And to the kyng of hevene,

That holden mote the heye weye,

Evene ten hestes,

Bothe lovye and lene,

The leele and the unleele,

And have reuthe, and releve

With hus grete richesse

By hus power alle manere men

In meschief y-falle,

Fynde beggars bred,

Backes for the colde,

Tythen here goodes tryweliche,

A tol as hit semeth

That oure Lord loketh after

Of eche a lyf that wyneth,

Withoute wyles other wrong,

Other wommen atte stuwes,

And yut more, to make pees,

And quyte menne dettes,

Bothe spele and spare

To spene upon the needful,

As Crist self comandeth

To alle Cristene puple.

Alter alterius onera porta.

The messager aren the mendinans

That lyveth by menne almesse,

Beth nat y-bounde, as beeth the riche,

To bothe the two lawes,

To lene and to lere,

Ne lentenes to faste,

And other pryvey penaunces

The wiche the preest wol wel,

That the law yeveth leve

Suche lowe folke to be excused,

As none tythes to tythen,

Ne clothe the nakede,

Ne in enquestes to come,

Ne contumax thauh he worthe

Halyday other holy eve

Hus mete to deserve;

For yf he loveth and byleyveth

As the lawe techeth,

Qui crediderit et baptizatus fuerit, etc.

Telleth the lord a tale,

As a triwe messager,

And sheweth by seel and suthe by lettere

With wat lord he dwelleth,

Kneweleche hym crystene

And of holy churche byleyve,

Ther is no lawe, as ich leyve,

Wol let hym the gate,

Ther God is gatwarde hymself

And eche a gome knoweth.

The porter of pure reuthe

May parforme the lawe

In that he wilneth and wolde

Ech wight as hemself;

For the wil is as muche worth

Of a wretche beggere

As al that the ryche may reyme

And ryght fulliche dele,

And as much mede

For a myte that he offreth,

As the riche man for al is moneye,

And more, as by the Godspel:

Amen dico vobis quia hæc vidua paupercula,


So that povre pacient

Is parfitest lif of alle,

And alle parfit preestes

To poverte sholde drawe.

7128. Matth. xvii, 20.

7131. Psal. xxxiii, 11.

7141. Psal. xlii, 1.

7191. James ii, 10.

7194. over-skipperis. Those who skipped over words in reading or chanting the service of the church. The following distich points out the classes of defaulters in this respect:—

Ecclesiæ tres sunt qui servitium maie fallunt;

Momylers, for-scyppers, ovre-lepers, non bene psallunt.

Reliq. Antiq. p. 90. Poems of Walter Mapes, p. 148.

A still more numerous list of such offenders is given in the following lines from MS. Lansdowne, 762, fol. 101, vo:—

Hii sunt qui Psalmos corrumpunt nequitur almos:

Jangler cum jasper, lepar, galper quoque, draggar,

Momeler, for-skypper, for-reynner, sic et over-leper,

Fragmina verborum Tutivillus colligit horum.

Tutivillus was the popular name of one of the fiends (see Towneley Mysteries, pp. 310, 319; Reliq. Antiq. p. 257). According to an old legend, a hermit walking out met one of the devils bearing a large sack, very full, under the load of which he seemed to labour. The hermit asked him what he carried in his sack. He answered that it was filled with the fragments of words which the clerks had skipped over or mutilated in the performance of the service, and that he was carrying them to hell to be deposited among the stores there.

7195. Psal. xlvi, 7, 8.

7264. Briddes I biheld. A similar sentiment is expressed in the following parallel passage of a modern poet:—

But most of all it wins my admiration

To view the structure of this little work—

A bird's nest. Mark it well, within, without,

No tool had he that wrought, no knife to cut,

No nail to fix, no bodkin to insert,

No glue to join; his little beak was all:

And yet how neatly finished! What nice hand,

With every implement and means of art,

And twenty years' apprenticeship to boot,

Could make me such another? Fondly then

We boast of excellence, where noblest skill

Instinctive genius foils.—Hurdis.

7342. Ecclesiasticus xi, 9.

7344. Instead of ll. 7344-7363, Whitaker's text has the following passage:—

'Ho suffreth more than God?' quath he,

'No gome, as ich leyve.

He myght amende in a mynt while

Al that amys stondes.

Ac he suffreth, in ensaumple

That we sholde all suffren.

Ys no vertue so feyr

Of value ne of profit,

As ys suffraunce, soveraynliche,

So hit be for Godes love,

And so wittnesseth the wyse,

And wysseth the Frenshe,

Bele vertue est suffraunce,

Mal dire est petite venjaunce;

Bien dire e bien suffrer

Fait ly suffrable à bien vener.

For-thi.' quath Reson, 'Ich rede the,

Rewele thi tonge evere;

And er thow lacke eny lyf,

Loke ho is to preise.

For is no creature under Cryst,

That can hymselve make;

And yf cristene creatures

Couthen make hemselve,

Eche lede wolde be lacles,

Leyf thow non othere.

Man was mad of suche matere,

He may nat wel asterte,

That som tymes hym tit

To folwen hus kynde.

Caton acordeth herwith:

Nemo sine crimine vivit.

7347. Genes. i, 31.

7363. Cato, Distich. i, 5.

Si vitam inspicias hominum, si denique mores,

Quum culpent alios, nemo sine crimine vivit.

It may be observed here, that Whitaker, in his note on this passage, has very much misunderstood Tyrwhitt (in Chaucer, Cant. T. 3227), in making him the authority for calling the author of the Disticha de Moribus an obscure French writer. Tyrwhitt says that the mode in which Chaucer spells his name (Caton) seems to show that the French translation was more read than the Latin original. The same observation would apply to the present poem: but I am very doubtful how far it is correct. The Distiches of Cato were translated into English, French, German, &c., and were extremely popular. The author of these Distiches, Dionysius Cato, is supposed to have lived under the Antonines, and has certainly no claim to the title of an obscure French writer.

7441-7642. Instead of these lines, Whitaker has the following:—

And wissede the ful ofte

What Dowel was to mene,

And counsailede the, for Cristes sake,

No creature to bygyle,

Nother to lye nor to lacke,

Ne lere that is defendid,

Ne to spille speche,

As to speke an ydel;

And no tyme to tene,

Ne trywe thyng to teenen;

Lowe the to lyve forth

In the lawe of holy churche,

Thenne dost thow wel, withoute drede,

Ho can do bet no forse.

Clerkes that connen al, ich hope,

Thei con do bettere;

Ac hit suffuseth to be saved,

And to be suche as ich tauhte:

Ac for to lovye and lene,

And lyve wel and byleyve,

Ys y-calid Caritas,

Kynde-love in English,

And that is Dobet, yf eny suche be,

A blessed man that helpeth,

And pees be and pacience,

And povre withoute defaute.

Beatius est dare quam petere.

As catel and kynde witt

Encombre ful menye,

Woo is hym that hem weldeth,

Bote he hym wel dispeyne.

Scientes et non facientes variis flagellis


Ac comunliche connynge

And unkynde rychesse,

As lorels to be lordes,

And lewede men techeres,

And holy churche horen help,

Averous and coveytous,

Droweth up Dowel,

And destruyeth Dobest.

Ac grace is a gras therfore

To don hem eft growe;

Ac grace groweth nat,

Til God wil gynne reyne,

And wokie thorwe goode werkes

Wikkede hertes;

Ac er suche a wil wol wexe,

God hymself worcheth,

And send forth seint espirit

To don love sprynge.

Spiritus ubi vult spirat, etc.

So grace withoute grace

Of God and of good werkes,

May nat bee, bee thow siker,

Thauh we bid evere.

Cleregie cometh bote of siht,

And kynd witt of sterres,

As to be bore other bygete

In suche constellacion

That wit wexeth therof,

And othere wordes bothe.

Vultus hujus sæculi sunt subjecti vultibus


So grace is a gyfte of God,

And kynde witt a chaunce,

And cleregie and connyng of kynde

Wittes techynge;

And yut is cleregie to comende

Fore Cristes love more,

Than eny connynge of kynde witt,

Bote cleregie hit rewele.

For Moyses wutnesseth that God wrot

In stoon with hus fynger,

Lawe of love owre Lorde wrot,

Long ere Crist were;

And Crist cam and confermede,

And holy-churche made,

And in sond a sygne wrot,

And seide to the Jewes,

'That seeth hym synneles,

Cesse nat, ich hote,

To stryke with stoon other with staf

This strompett to dethe.'

Qui vestrum sine peccato est, etc.

For-thi ich consaily alle Cristene

Cleregie to honoure, etc.

7453. Luke xii, 38.

7461. Heb. xii, 6.

7464. Psalm xxii, 4.

7470. makynges. 7483. make.—There is a curious analogy between the Greek and the Teutonic languages in the name given to the poet—the Greek ποιήτης (from ποιεῖν), the Anglo-Saxon scóp (from sceopan, to make or create), and the Middle-English maker, preserved in the later Scottish makkar (also applied to a poet), have all the same signification. In the Neo-Latin tongues a different, though somewhat analogous, word was used: the French and Anglo-Norman trouvère, and the Provençal trobador, signify a finder or inventor.

7484. Catonis Distich. iii, 5.

7500. 1 Cor. xiii, 13. Nunc autem manent fides, spes, charitas, tria hæc: major autem horum est charitas.

7528, &c. Aristotle, Ypocras, and Virgile.—These three names were the great representatives of ancient science and literature in the middle ages. Aristotle represented philosophy, in its most general sense; Virgil represented literature in general, and more particularly the ancient writers who formed the grammar course of scholastic learning, whether verse or prose; Ypocras, or Hippocrates, represented medicine. They are here introduced to illustrate the fact that men of science and learning, as well as warriors and rich men, experience the vicissitudes of fortune.

7534. Felice. Perhaps this name is only introduced for the sake of alliteration.

7536. Rosamounde. I suppose the reference is to "fair Rosamond."

7554. Luc. vi, 38.

7567. John iii, 8.

7572. John iii, 11.

7582. John iii, 8.

7600. thorugh caractes. It was the popular belief in the middle ages, that while the Jews were accusing the woman taken in adultery, Christ wrote with his staff on the ground the sins of the accusers, and that when they perceived this they dropped their accusation in confusion at finding that their own guilt was known. See this point curiously illustrated in Mr. Halliwell's Coventry Mysteries, pp. 220, 221. These are the characters alluded to in Piers Ploughman.

7624. Luke vi, 37.

7701. 1 Cor. iii, 19.

7709. Luke ii, 15.

7714. Matth. ii, 1.

7721. Luke ii, 7.

7779. Psalm xxxi, 1.

7795. Luke vi, 39. The ignorance and inefficiency of the parish priests appear to have become proverbial in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In the latter century a canon of Lilleshul in Shropshire, named John Myrk, or Myrkes, composed an English poem, or rather metrical treatise, on their duties, which he commences by applying to them this same aphorism of our Saviour:—

God seyth hymself, as wryten we fynde,

That whenne the blynde ledeth the blynde,

Into the dyche they fallen boo,

For they ne sen whare by to go.

So faren prestes now by dawe,

They beth blynde in Goddes lawe, etc.

MS. Cotton. Claud. A. II.

It had previously been applied in the same manner to the parish priests by the author of a long French poem (apparently written in England in the fourteenth century) entitled Le Miroir de l'Ome (Speculum Hominis), as follows:—

Dieus dist, et c'est tout verité,

Qe si l'un voegle soit mené

D'un autre voegle, tresbucher

Falt ambedeux en la fossée.

C'est un essample comparé

As fols curetz, qui sanz curer

Ne voient pas le droit sentier,

Dont font les autres forsvoier,

Qui sont après leur trace alé.

Car fol errant ne puet quider,

Ne cil comment nous puet saner,

Qui mesmes est au mort naufré.

MS. in the possession of Mr. J. Russell Smith.

The following picture of the corrupt manners of the parish priests at this time is extracted from a much longer and more minute censure in the same poem:—

Des fols curetz auci y a,

Qui sur sa cure demourra

Non pour curer, mais q'il sa vie

Endroit le corps plus easera.

Car lors ou il bargaignera

Du seculiere marchandie,

Dont sa richesce multeplie;

Ou il se donne à leccherie,

Du quoy son corps delitera;

Ou il se prent à venerie,

Qant duist chanter sa letanie,

Au bois le goupil huera.

7802. Psal. xv, 5. We might be led to suppose that this was the "neck verse" in the time of Piers Ploughman. In later times the text which was given to read to those who claimed the benefit of clergy is said to have been the beginning of Psal. lv, Miserere mei, &c.

7840. Eccl. v, 5.

7846. Trojanus. See the note on line 6859.

7854. Matth. xvi, 27. Filius enim hominis venturus est in gloria Patris sui cum angelis suis: et tunc reddet unicuique secundum opera ejus.

7915. his flessh is foul flessh. Yet in spite of the "foulness" of its flesh, the peacock was a very celebrated dish at table. For an account of the use made of the peacock in feasts, see Le Grand d'Aussy, Histoire de la Vie privée des Français, tom. i, pp. 299-301, and 361. In the Romance of Mahomet, 13th century, it is said of Dives—

Et dou Riche qui tant poon

Englouti et tant bon poisson,

Tante piéche de venison,

Et but bon vin par grant delit, &c.

Roman de Mahommet, l. 301.

7944. Avynet. In the 14th and 15th centuries, as any grammar was called a Donet, because the treatise of Donatus was the main foundation of them all, so, from Esop and Avienus from whom the materials were taken, any collection of fables was called an Avionet or an Esopet. The title of one of these collections in a MS. of the Bibl. du Roi at Paris is, Compilacio Ysopi alata cum Avionetto, cum quibusdam addicionibus et moralitatibus. (Robert, Fabl. Inéd. Essay, p. clxv.) Perhaps the reference in the present case is to the fable of the Peacock who complained of his voice, the 39th in the collection which M. Robert calls Ysopet, in the morality to which are the following lines:—

Les riches conteront

Des biens qu'il aront

En ce siecle conquis.

Cil qui petit ara,

De petit contera

Au Roy de paradis.

Qui vit en povreté,

Sans point d'iniquité,

Moult ara grant richesse

Es cieux, en paradis,

O dieux et ses amis

Seront joyeux et aise.

7961. Whitaker's text reads here:—

Thus Porfirie and Plato,

And poetes menye,

Lykneth in here logyk

The leeste fowel oute;

And whether hii be saf other nat saf

The sothe wot not clergie,

Ne of Sortes ne of Salamon

No scripture can telle,

Wether thei be in helle other in hevene,

Other Aristotle the wise.

7961. Aristotle, the grete clerk. From the eleventh to the sixteenth centuries the influence of Aristotle's writings in the schools was all-powerful. It was considered almost an impiety to go against his authority. He was indeed "the great clerk."

7967. Sortes. I suppose this is an abbreviated form of the name Socrates. It occurs again in one of the poems printed among the Latin Poetry attributed to Walter Mapes (Camden Society's Publication), which has the following lines:—

Adest ei bajulus cui nomen Gnato,

Præcedebat logicum gressu fatigato,

Dorso ferens sarcinam ventre tensus lato,

Plenam vestro dogmate, o Sortes et Plato.

7987. 1 Peter iv, 18.

8015. Psalm xxii, 4.

8073. a maister. This word was generally used in the scholastic ages in a restricted sense, to signify one who had taken his degrees in the schools—a master of arts.

8103. Luke x, 7.

8133-8137. These are the indications of different Psalms. Psalm li begins with the words, Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam. The thirty-first Psalm commences with the words, Beati quorum remissæ sunt iniquitates, et quorum tecta sunt peccata. Beatus vir, is the beginning of Psalm i. The fifth verse of Psalm xxxi contains the words Dixi: Confitebor adversum me injustitiam meam Domino.

8141. Psalm xxxi, 6.

8145. Psalm l, 19.

8153. Isaiah v, 22.

8155. Whitaker's text has—

And ete meny sondry metes,

Mortrews and poddynges,

Braun and blod of the goos,

Bacon and colhopes.

The second Trin. Coll. MS. has—

And sette many sundry metis,

Mortreux and puddynges,

Braun and blood of gees,

Bacoun and colopis.

8167. 2 Corinth. xi, 24, 25, 27.

8173, 8180. 2 Cor. xi, 26.

8202. Mahoun. Mahoun was the middle-age name of Mohammed, and in the popular writers was often taken in the mere sense of an idol or pagan deity.

8204. justly wombe. MS. Trin. Coll. 2.

8225. in a frayel. Whitaker's text has in a forel, which he explains by "a wicker basket." The second Trin. Coll. MS. has also in a forell. Forel is the Low-Latin forellus, a bag, sack, or purse: a frayel (fraellum) was a little wicker basket, such as were used for carrying figs or grapes.

8273. Matth. v, 19.

8292. Psalm xiv, 1.

8368. 1 John iv, 18.

8416. Luke xix, 8.

8418. Luke xxi, 1-4.

8444. Surré. Syria.

8474. a mynstrall. The description of the minstrel given here is very curious. For a sketch of the character of this profession see Mr. Shaw's "Dresses and Decorations of the Middle Ages;" and for more enlarged details of the history of the craft the reader may consult the Introduction to Percy's Reliques, and Chappell's History of National Airs.

8518. a pardon with a peis of leed. The papal bulls, &c., had seals of lead, instead of wax.

8526. Marc. xvi, 17, 18.

8541. Acts iii, 6.

8554. Whitaker's text omits all that follows here to l. 8958 of our text, entering very abruptly upon the subject there treated. Some of the intervening matter had already been inserted in other places in Whitaker's text. See our notes on ll. 2846 and 3030.

8567. cart ... with breed fro Stratforde. Stratford-at-Bow is said to have been famous in old times for its numerous bakers, who supplied a great part of the metropolis. Stowe, in his Survey of London, p. 159 (who appears to have altered the text of Piers Ploughman to suit his own calculation, for all the manuscripts and printed editions I have collated give "twice twenty and ten"), observes, "And because I have here before spoken of the bread carts comming from Stratford at the Bow, ye shall understand that of olde time the bakers of breade at Stratford were allowed to bring dayly (except the Sabbaoth and principall feast) diverse long cartes laden with bread, the same being two ounces in the pennie wheate loafe heavier than the penny wheate loafe baked in the citie, the same to be solde in Cheape, three or foure carts standing there, betweene Gutherans lane and Fausters lane ende, one cart on Cornehill, by the conduit, and one other in Grasse streete. And I have reade that in the fourth yere of Edward the second, Richard Reffeham being maior, a baker named John of Stratforde, for making bread lesser than the assise, was with a fooles whoode on his head, and loaves of bread about his necke, drawne on a hurdle through the streets of this citie. Moreover in the 44. of Edward the third, John Chichester being maior of London, I read in the visions of Pierce Plowman, a booke so called, as followeth. There was a careful commune when no cart came to towne with baked bread from Stratford: tho gan beggers weepe, and workemen were agast, a little this will be thought long in the date of our Dirte, in a drie Averell a thousand and three hundred, twise thirtie and ten, &c. I reade also in the 20. of Henrie the eight, Sir James Spencer being maior, six bakers of Stratford were merced in the Guildhall of London, for baking under the size appoynted. These bakers of Stratford left serving of this citie, I know not uppon what occasion, about 30 yeares since."

8572. a drye Aprill. This is without doubt the dry season placed by Fabyan in the year 1351, which, as he describes it, began with the month of April. The difference of the date arises probably from a different system of computation. Fabian says, "In the sommer of this xxvii yeare, it was so drie that it was many yeres after called the drie sommer. For from the latter ende of March, till the latter ende of Julye, fell lytle rayne or none, by reason whereof manye inconveniences ensued."

8576. Whan Chichestre was maire. According to Fabyan, John Chichester was mayor only once, in 1368, 1369, which was the period of the "thirde mortalytie." The other authorities seem to agree in giving this as the year of Chichester's mayoralty. He may perhaps have been mayor more than once. See Introduction.

8645. Galat. i, 10.

8685. Psalm x, 7.

8707, 8708. The two persons mentioned here (the shoemaker of Southwark and dame Emma of Shoreditch) were probably eminent sorcerers and fortune-tellers of the time.

8769-8778. To understand fully this passage, it must be borne in mind that the corn lands were not so universally hedged as at present, and that the portions belonging to different persons were separated only by a narrow furrow, as is still the case in some of the uninclosed lands in Cambridgeshire.

8812. Brugges. Bruges was the great mart of continental commerce during the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries.

8813. Pruce-lond—Prussia, which was then the farthest country in the interior of Europe with which a regular trade was carried on by the English merchants.

8827. Matth. vi, 21.

8858. Luke vi, 25.

8879. Psalm ci, 7.

8891. a lady of sorwe. The old printed edition has a laye of sorow.

8900. Whitaker has no division here, but continues the previous passus, and omits many lines and has many variations in what follows.

8903. I slepe therinne o nyghtes. This passage is curious, because at the time the poem was written, it was the custom for all classes of society to go to bed quite naked, a practice which is said to have been not entirely laid aside in the sixteenth century. We see constant proofs of this practice in the illuminations of old manuscripts. The following memorial lines are written in the margin of a MS. of the thirteenth century:—

Ne be thi winpil nevere so jelu ne so stroutende,

Ne thi faire tail so long ne so trailende,

That tu ne schalt at evin al kuttid bilevin,

And tou schalt to bedde gon so nakid as tou were [borin].

MS. Cotton. Cleop. C. VI, fol. 22, ro.

In the Roman de la Violette, the old nurse expresses her astonishment that her young mistress should retain her chemise when she goes to bed:—

Et quant elle son lit fait a,

Sa dame apiele, si se couche

Nue en chemise en la couche;

C'onques en trestoute sa vie

La biele, blonde, l'escavie,

Ne volt demostrer sa char nue.

La vielle en est au lit venue,

Puis li a dit: 'Dame, j'esgart

Une chose, se Dex me gart,

Dont je sui molt esmervillie

C'onques ne vous vi despoillie,

Et si vous ai vij. ans gardée;

Molt vous ai souvent esgardée

Que vo chemise ne sachiés!'

Rom. de la Viol. l. 577.

The lady explains her conduct by stating that she has a mark on the breast which she had promised that no one should ever see.

8906. Luke xiv, 20.

8950. noon heraud ne harpour. Robes and other garments were among the most usual gifts bestowed upon minstrels and heralds by the princes and great barons. See before, ll. 8480, 8481.

8970. Matth. vi, 25, 26.

8999. John xiv, 13; xv, 16. Matth. iv, 4.

9037. Psalm cxliv, 16.

9039. fourty wynter. During the forty years that the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, they did not apply themselves to agriculture.

9049. Sevene slepe. The legend of the seven sleepers was remarkably popular during the middle ages.

9101. Psalm xxxi. 1.

9176. Psalm lxxv, 6.

9178. Psalm lxxii, 20. Whitaker's Passus sextus de Dowel ends with this quotation.

9317. Both in the Vision of Piers Ploughman, and in the Creed, there are frequent expressions of indignation at the extravagant expenditure in painting the windows of the abbeys and churches. It must not be forgotten that a little later the same feeling as that exhibited in these satires led to the destruction of many of the noblest monuments of medieval art.

9344. Mat. xix, 23, 24.

9347. Apocal. xiv, 13.

9352. Matth. v, 3.

9452. Compare the defence of poverty in Chaucer (Cant. T. 6774):—

Juvenal saith of poverte merily:

The poore man, whan he goth by the way,

Beforn the theves he may sing and play.

Poverte is hateful good; and, as I gesse,

A ful gret bringer out of besinesse;

A gret amender eke of sapience,

To him that taketh it in patience.

Poverte is this although it seme elenge,

Possession that no wight wol challenge.

Poverte ful often, whan a man is low,

Maketh his God and eke himself to know:

Poverte a spectakel is, as thinketh me,

Thurgh which he may his veray frendes see.

And therfore, sire, sin that I you not greve,

Of my poverte no more me repreve.

The definition given in Piers Ploughman is taken from the Dialogues of Secundus, where it is thus expressed:—"Quid est paupertas? Odibile bonum, sanitatis mater, curarum remotio, absque sollicitudine semita, sapientiæ reparatrix, negotium sine damno, intractabilis substantia, possessio absque calumnia, incerta fortuna, sine sollicitudine felicitas." (MS. Reg. 9 A xiv, fol. 140 vo.) See also Roger de Hoveden, p. 816, and Vincent de Beauvais, Spec. Hist. lib. x, c. 71.

9517. the paas of Aultone. Whitaker has Haultoun, and says that this pass is Halton "in Cheshire, formerly infamous to a proverb as a haunt of robbers."

9529. Cantabit, etc. The author has modified, or the scribes have corrupted, the well-known line of Juvenal,

Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator.

9665. These definitions will be found in Isidore, Etymol. lib. xl, c. 1, and Different, lib. ii, c. 29. They are repeated by Alcuin, De Anim. Rat. N. x, p. 149, Anima est, dum vivificat; dum contemplatur, spiritus est; dum sentit, sensus est; dum sapit, animus est; dum intelligit, mens est; dum discernit, ratio est; dum consentit, voluntas est; dum recordatur, memoria est.

9708. Prov. xxv, 27.

9740. Epist. ad Rom. xii, 3.

9751. the seven synnes. The seven deadly sins were—pride, anger, envy, sloth, covetousness, gluttony, and lechery. "Now ben they cleped chiefetaines, for as moche as they be chiefe, and of hem springen alle other sinnes. The rote of thise sinnes than is pride, the general rote of alle harmes. For of this rote springen certain braunches: as, ire, envie, accidie or slouthe, avarice or coveitise, (to commun understonding) glotonie, and lecherie: and eche of thise chief sinnes hath his braunches and his twigges." Chaucer, Persones Tale, p. 40.

9766. Psal. xcvi, 7; iv, 3.

9828. in Latyn. The monks had collections of comparisons, similitudes, proverbs, &c., to be introduced in their sermons, and even when preaching in English they generally quoted them in Latin. This I suppose to be the meaning of the expression here.

9918. Matth. xviii, 3.

9934. 1 Corinth. xiii, 4.

9946. 1 Corinth, xiii, 12.

9957. a tunicle of Tarse. Tarse was the name given to a kind of silk, said to have been brought from a country of that name on the borders of Cathai, or China. Chaucer (Cant. T. l. 2162), describing "the king of Inde," says—

His coote armour was of a cloth of Tars,

Cowched of perlys whyte, round and grete.

Ducange (v. Tarsicus) quotes a visitation of the treasury of St. Paul's, London, in 1295, where there is mention of Tunica et dalmatica de panno Indico Tarsico Besantato de auro, and of a Casula de panno Tarsico.

10004. Psal. vi, 7.

10009. Psal. l, 19.

10062. Matth. vi, 16.

10069. Edmond and Edward. St. Edmund the martyr, king of East Anglia, and king Edward the Confessor.

10124. Psal. iv, 9.

10159. Antony and Egidie. Whitaker has Antonie and Ersenie. St. Antony is well known as the father and patron of monks, and for the persecutions he underwent from the devil. St. Giles, or Egidius, is said to have been a Greek, who came to France about the end of the seventh century, and established himself in a hermitage near the mouth of the Rhone, and afterwards in the neighbourhood of Nismes. Arsenius was a noble Roman who, at the end of the fourth century, retired to Egypt to live the life of an anchoret in the desert.

10174. after an hynde cride. The monkish biographer of St. Giles relates, that he was for some time nourished with the milk of a hind in the forest, and that a certain prince discovered his retreat while hunting in his woods, by pursuing the hind till it took shelter in St. Giles's hermitage.

10183. Hadde a bird. This incident is not found in the common lives of St. Antony.

10187. Poul. Paul was a Grecian hermit, who lived in the tenth century in the wilderness of Mount Latrus, and became the founder of one of the monastic establishments there. He was famous for the rigorous severity of his life.

10203. Marie Maudeleyne. By Mary Magdalen here is meant probably St. Mary the Egyptian, who lived in the fifth century, and who, according to the legend, after having spent her youth in unbridled debauchery, repented in her twenty-ninth year, and lived during the remainder of her life (forty-seven years) in the wilderness beyond the Jordan, without seeing one human being during that time, and sustained only by the precarious food which she found in the desert.

10239. Whitaker's text here adds a passage relating to Tobias:—

Marie Magdalene

By mores levede and dewes;

Love and leel byleyve

Heeld lyf and soule togedere.

Maria Egyptiaca

Eet in thyrty wynter

Bote thre lytel loves,

And love was her souel.

Ich can nat rekene hem ryght now,

Ne reherce here names,

That lyveden thus for oure Lordes love

Meny longe yeres,

Whitoute borwyng other beggyng,

Other the boke lyeth;

And woneden in wildernesse

Among wilde bestes;

Ac dorst no beste byten hem

By daye ne by nyghte,

Bote myldeliche whan thei metten

Maden louh chere,

And feyre byfore tho men

Fauhnede whith the tayles.

Ac bestes brouhte hem no mete,

Bote onliche the fouweles;

In tokenynge that trywe man

Alle tymes sholde

Fynde honeste men in holy men

And other ryghtful peuple.

For wolde never feithful goud

That freres and monkes token

Lyflode of luther wynnynges

In al here lyf tyme;

As wytnesseth holy writt

Whot Thobie deyde

To is wif, whan he was blynde,

Herde a lambe blete,—

'A! wyf, be war,' quath he,

'What ye have here ynne.

Lord leyve,' quath the lede,

'No stole thyng be here!'

Videte ne furtum sit. Et alibi, Melius

est mori quam male vivere.

This is no more to mene,

Bote men of holy churche

Sholde receyve ryght nauth

Bot that ryght wolde,

And refuse reverences

And raveneres offrynges;

Thenne wolde lordes and ladies

Be loth to agulte,

And to take of here tenaunts

More than treuthe wolde;

And marchauns merciable wolde be,

And men of lawe bothe.

Wold religeouse refuse

Raveneres almesse,

Then Grace sholde growe yut

And grene-leved wexe,

And Charité, that child is now,

Sholde chaufen of hem self,

And comfortye all crystene,

Wold holy churche amende.

Job the parfit patriarch

This proverbe wrot and tauhte,

To makye a man lovye mesure,

That monkes beeth and freeres.

Nunquam dicit Job, rugiet onager, etc.

Throughout this part of the poem, Whitaker's text differs very much in words and phraseology from the one now printed, but it would take up too much space to point out all these variations.

10247. Job vi, 5.

10270. 2 Corinth, ix, 9.

10303. These sentences appear to be quotations from the fathers of the Latin Church.

10322. lussheburwes. A foreign coin, much adulterated, common in England in the middle of the fourteenth century. Chaucer (C. T. 15445) uses the word in a very expressive passage:—

This maketh that oure wyfes wol assaye

Religious folk, for thay may bettre paye

Of Venus payementes than may we:

God woot! no lusscheburghes paye ye.

Among the foreign money, mostly of a base quality, which came into this country in the fourteenth century, the coinage of the counts of Luxemburg, or, as it was then called, Lusenburg (hence called lussheburwes and lusscheburghes), seems to have been the most abundant, and to have given most trouble. These coins were the subject of legislation in 1346, 1347, 1348, and 1351; so that the grievance must have been at its greatest height at the period to which the poem of Piers Ploughman especially belongs. Many of these coins are preserved, and found in the cabinets of collectors; they are in general very much like the contemporary English coinage, and might easily be taken for it, but the metal is very base.

10368. Grammer, the ground of al. In the scholastic learning of the middle ages, grammar was considered as the first of the seven sciences, and the foundation-stone of all the rest. See my Essay on Anglo-Saxon Literature, introductory to vol. i. of the Biographia Britannica Literaria, p. 72. The importance of grammar is thus stated in the Image du Monde of Gautier de Metz (thirteenth century):—

Li primeraine des vij. ars,

Dont or n'est pas seus li quars,

A ichest tans, chou est gramaire,

Sans laquele nus ne vaut gaire

Qui à clergie veut aprendre:

Car petit puet sans li entendre.

Gramaires si est fondemens

De clergie et coumenchemens;

Cou est li porte de science,

Par cui on vient à sapience.

De lettres en gramaire escole

Qui ensegne et forme parole,

Soit en Latin ou en Roumans,

Ou en tous langages palans;

Qui bien saroit toute gramaire,

Toute parole saroit faire.

Par parole fist Dius le monde,

Et sentence est parole monde.

10398. Corpus Christi feeste. Corpus Christi day was a high festival of the Church of Rome, held annually on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, in memory, as was said, of the miraculous confirmation of transubstantiation under pope Urban IV.

10418. This Makometh. This account of Mohammed was the one most popularly current in the middle ages. According to Hildebert, who wrote a life of the pseudo-prophet in Latin verse in the twelfth century, Mohammed was a Christian, skilled in magical arts, who, on the death of the patriarch of Jerusalem, aspired to succeed him:—

Nam male devotus quidam baptismate lotus,

Plenus perfidia vixit in ecclesia.

    .      .      .      .      .      .  

Nam cum transisset Pater illius urbis, et isset

In cœlum subito corpore disposito,

Tunc exaltari magus hic et pontificari

Affectans avide; se tamen hæc pavide

Dixit facturum, nisi sciret non nociturum

Si præsul fiat, cum Deus hoc cupiat.

His intrigues being discovered, the emperor drives him away, and in revenge he goes and founds a new sect. The story of the pigeon (which is not in Hildebert) is found in Vincent of Beauvais, Spec. Hist. lib. xxiii, c. 40. This story is said to be founded in truth. Neither of them are found in the Roman de Mahomet (by Alexander du Pont), written in the thirteenth century, and edited by MM. Reinaud and Michel, Paris, 1831, 8vo, a work which contains much information concerning the Christian notions relative to Mohammed in the middle ages.

10478. John xvi, 24.

10481, 10486. Matth. v, 13.

10499. Ellevene holy men. The eleven apostles who remained after the apostasy of Judas and the crucifixion of their Lord.

10550. Ne fesauntz y-bake. The pheasant was formerly held in the same honour as the peacock (see before the note on l. 7915), and was served at table in the same manner. It was considered one of the most precious dishes. See Le Grand d'Aussy, Hist. de la Vie privée des François, ii, 19. The Miroir de l'Ome (MS. in the possession of Mr. Russell Smith) says (punning) of the luxurious prelates of the fourteenth century,—

Pour le phesant et le bon vin

Le bien-faisant et le divin

L'evesque laist à nonchalure;

Si quiert la coupe et crusequin,

Ainz que la culpe du cristin

Pour corriger et mettre en cure.

10553. Matth. xxii, 4.

10581. Mark xvi, 15.

10585. So manye prelates. 10699. that huppe aboute in Engelond. The pope appointed many titular bishops of foreign sees in which, from the nature of circumstances, they could not possibly reside, and who therefore were a burthen upon the church. Some of these prelates appear to have resorted to England, and to have exercised the episcopal functions, consecrating churches, &c. The church of Elsfield, in Oxfordshire, was consecrated by a foreign bishop. (See Kennett's Parochial Antiquities.)

10593. John x, 11.

10599. Matth. xx, 4, 7.

10606. Matth. vii, 7.

10617. Galat. vi, 14.

10632. That roode thei honoure. A cross was the common mark on the reverse of our English money at this period, and for a long time previous to it. The point of satirical wit in this passage of Piers Ploughman appears to be taken from the old Latin rhymes of the beginning of the thirteenth century. See the curious poem De Cruce Denarii, in Walter Mapes, p. 223. Another poem in the same volume (p. 38) speaks thus of the court of Rome:—

Nummis in hac curia non est qui non vacet;

Crux placet, rotunditas, et albedo placet.

10637. Shul torne as templers dide. The suppression of the order of the Templars was at this time fresh in people's memories. It was the general belief, and not without some foundation, that the Templars had entirely degenerated from their original sanctity and faithfulness, and that before the dissolution of the order they were addicted to degrading vices and superstitions; and they were accused of sacrificing everything else to their grasping covetousness.

10659. Whan Constantyn. The Christian church began first to be endowed with wealth and power under the emperor Constantine the Great.

10649. Luke i, 52.

10695-10699. Instead of these lines, Whitaker's text has the following:—

And bereth name of Neptalym,

Of Nynyve and Damaske.

For when the holy kynge of hevene

Sende hus sone to eerthe,

Meny myracles he wroughte,

Man for to turne,

In ensample that men sholde

See by sad reyson

That men myghte nat be savede

Bote thorw mercy and grace,

And thorw penaunce and passioun,

And parfyght byleyve;

And bycam a man of a mayde,

And metropolitanus

And baptisede an busshoppede

Whit the blode of hus herte,

Alle that wilnede other wolde

Whit inwhight byleyve hit.

Meny seint sitthe

Suffrede deth alsoo,

For to enferme the faithe

Ful wyde where deyden,

In Inde and in Alisaundrie,

In Ermanye, in Spayne;

An fro mysbyleve

Meny man turnede.

In savacion of mannys saule

Seynt Thomas of Cauntelbury

Among unkynde Cristene

In holy churche was sleye,

And alle holy churche

Honourede for that deyinge:

He is a forbusur to alle busshopes,

And a bryghthe myrour,

And sovereynliche to alle suche

That of Surrye bereth name,

And nat in Engelounde to huppe aboute,

And halewen men auters.

In the remainder of this passus, Whitaker's text differs much from the one I have printed, but in such a manner that to give here the variations it would be necessary to reprint the whole. In the remainder of the poem, the variations are not great or important, being only such as we always find in different copies of poems which enjoyed considerable popularity.

10716. Isai. iii, 7.

10721. Malach. iii, 10.

10733. Luke x, 27. Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, et ex tota anima tua, et ex omni mente tua, et proximum tuum sicut teipsum.

10755. John xi, 43.

10787. litlum and litlum, by little and little, gradually. It is the pure Anglo-Saxon phrase. In the Anglo-Saxon version of Genesis xl, 10, the Latin paulatim is rendered by lytlum and lytlum.

10844. Psal. xxxvi, 24.

10891. Matth. xii, 32.

11000. Luke i, 38.

11023. Matth. ix, 12. Mark ii, 17. Luke v, 31.

11033. Matth. xxvi, 37.

11044. Matth. xi, 18.

11075. Matth. xxi, 13.

11121. Matth. xviii, 7.

11238. Matth. xxvii, 46, and Mark xv, 34.

11300. Rom. iv, 13.

11322. John i, 29 and 36.

11396. Matth. xx, 40.

11518, 11520. lo! here silver ... two pens. It must be remembered that at this period the mass of the coinage, including pence, halfpence, and farthings, was of silver; copper came into use for the smaller coinage at a later period. Two pence of Edward III would be worth about two shillings of our modern money.

11670. John xii, 32.

11708. tu fabricator omnium. This was one of the hymns of the catholic church.

11866. Luke xiii, 27.

11883. 1 Corinth. xiii, 1.

11894. Matth. vii, 21.

11998. Thre thynges. This proverb is frequently quoted by the satirical and facetious writers of the middle ages. Thus in Chaucer (C. T. 5860):—

Thou saist, that droppyng houses, and eek smoke,

And chydyng wyves, maken men to fle

Out of here oughne hous.

In the poem entitled Golias de Conjuge non ducenda, in Walter Mapes, p. 83, the proverb is alluded to in the following words:—

Fumus, et mulier, et stillicidia,

Expellunt hominem a domo propria.

There was an old French proverbial distich to the same effect,—

Fumée, pluye, et femme sans raison,

Chassent l'homme de sa maison.

12040. 2 Corinth. xii, 9.

12097. to be dubbed. These and the following lines contain a continued allusion to the ceremonies of knighthood and tournaments.

12106. Psal. cxvii, 26.

12211. Matth. xxvii, 54.

12232, 12244. Longeus ... this blynde bacheler. This alludes to one of the many legends which the monks engrafted upon the scripture history. Longeus is said to have been the name of the soldier who pierced the side of Christ with his spear; and it is pretended that he was previously blind from his birth, but that the blood of the Saviour ran down his spear, and a drop of it touching his eye, he was instantly restored to sight, by which miracle he was converted. See, in illustration of this subject, Halliwell's Coventry Mysteries, p. 334; The Towneley Mysteries, p. 321; Jubinal, Mystères inédits du quinzième Siècle, tom. ii, pp. 254-257; &c.

12319, 12418, 12420. Mercy and Truthe, ... Pees ... Rightwisnesse. Lydgate seems to have had this passage in his mind, when he described the four sisters in the following lines at the commencement of one of his poems (MS. Harl. 2255, fol. 21):—

Mercy and Trouthe mette on an hih mounteyn

Briht as the sonne with his beemys cleer,

Pees and Justicia walkyng on the pleyn,

And with foure sustryn, moost goodly of ther cheer,

List nat departe nor severe in no maneer,

Of oon accoord by vertuous encrees,

Joyned in charité, pryncessis moost enteer,

Mercy and Trouthe, Rihtwisnesse and Pees.

12361. a tale of Waltrot. This name, like Wade in Chaucer, appears to have been that of a hero of romances and tales, or a personage belonging to the popular superstitions. Perhaps it may be connected with the old German Waltschrat (satyrus, pilosus). See Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, p. 270.

12438. Psal. xxix, 6.

12566. Matth. xiv, 28.

12599. a spirit speketh to helle. The picture of the "Harrowing of Hell," which here fol, bears a striking resemblance to the analogous scene in the old Mysteries, particularly in that edited by Mr. Halliwell under this title, 8vo, 1840. Compare the play on the same subject in the Towneley Mysteries, p. 244.

12601. Psal. xxiii, 7, 9.

12645, 12669, 12676. sevene hundred wynter ... thritty wynter ... two and thritty wynter. Our Anglo-Saxon forefathers always counted duration of time by winters and nights; for so many years, they said so many winters, and so many nights for so many days. This form continued long in popular usage, and still remains in our words fortnight and se'nnight.

12663. Gobelyn. Goblin is a name still applied to a devil. It belongs properly to a being of the old Teutonic popular mythology, a hob-goblin, the "lubber-fiend" of the poet, and seems to be identical with the German kobold. (See Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, p. 286.) Gobelin occurs as the name of one of the shepherds in the Mystery of the Nativity, printed by M. Jubinal in his Mystères inédits, vol. ii, p. 71. It occurs as the name of a devil in a song of the commencement of the fourteenth century, Political Songs, p. 238:—

Sathanas huere syre

Seyde on is sawe,

Gobelyn made is gerner

Of gromene mawe.

12679. to warne Pilates wif. This is an allusion to a popular legend prevalent at this time that the devil wished to hinder Christ's crucifixion, and that he appeared to Pilate's wife in a dream, and caused her to beseech her husband not to condemn the Saviour. It was founded on the passage in Matthew xxvii, 19. Sedente autem illo pro tribunali, misit ad eum uxor ejus, dicens: Nihil tibi et justo illi: multa enim passa sum hodie per visum propter eum. The most complete illustration of the passage of Piers Ploughman will be found in Halliwell's Coventry Mysteries, p. 308, "Pilate's Wife's Dream."

12691. And now I se wher a soule | Cometh hiderward seillynge, | With glorie, &c. With this beautiful passage may be compared a very similar one in the Samson Agonistes of Milton:—

But who is this, what thing of sea or land?

Female of sex it seems,

That so bedeck'd, ornate and gay,

Comes this way sailing

Like a stately ship

Of Tarsus, bound for th' isles

Of Javan or Gadire,

With all her bravery on, and tackle trim.

12753. y-lik a lusard. In the illuminations of manuscripts representing the scene of the temptation, the serpent is often figured with legs like a lizard or crocodile, and a human face.

12759. Matth. v, 38.

12781. Matth. v, 17.

12801. thorugh a tree. Some of the medieval legends go still farther, and pretended that the tree from which the wood of the cross was made was descended directly from a plant from the tree in Paradise of which Adam and Eve were tempted to eat the fruit.

12805. Psal. vii, 16.

12840. Psal. l, 6.

12876. 2 Corinth. xii, 4.

12886. Psal. cxlii, 2.

12896. Astroth. This name, as given to one of the devils, occurs in a curious list of actors in the Miracle Play of St. Martin, given by M. Jubinal, in the preface to his Mystères inédits, vol. ii, p. ix. It is similarly used in the Miracle Play of the Martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul, Jubinal, ib. vol. i, p. 69. In one of the Towneley Mysteries (p. 246), this name is likewise given to one of the devils:—

Calle up Astarot and Anaballe,

To gyf us counselle in this case.

12937. Psal. lxxxiv, 11.

12943. Psal. cxxxii, 1.

13222. 1 Sam. xviii, 7.

13274. Luke xxiv, 46.

13317. John xx, 29.

13375. Veni creator spiritus. The first line of the hymn at vespers, on the feast of Pentecost.

13412. 1 Corinth. xii, 4.

13550. Cato, Distich. 14, lib. ii:—

Esto forti animo cum sis damnatus inique;

Nemo diu gaudet qui judice vincit iniquo.

13789. I knew nevere cardynal. The contributions levied upon the clergy for the support of the pope's messengers and agents was a frequent subject of complaint in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

13807. At Avynone among the Jewes. In the middle ages there was a large congregation of Jews at Avignon, as in most of the principal cities in the south of France. In the civil dissensions which disturbed Italy during this century, the pope was frequently obliged to take shelter at Avignon and other places within the French territory.

13825. Matth. v, 45.

13855. Rom. xii, 19; Hebr. x, 30.

14142. Kynde cessede. The lines which follow contain an allusion to the dissipation of manners which followed the pestilence.

14191, 14196. Westmynstre Halle ... the Arches. The law courts have been held at Westminster from the earliest Anglo-Norman times, it being the king's chief palace. The court of the arches was a very ancient consistory court of the archbishop of Canterbury, held at Bow church in London, which was called St. Mary de Arcubus or St. Mary le Bow, from the circumstance of its having been built on arches.

14211. leet daggen hise clothes. An account of the mode in which the rich fashionable robes of the dandies of the fourteenth century were dagged, or cut in slits at the edges and borders, will be found in any work on costume: it is frequently represented in the contemporary illuminations in manuscripts. Chaucer, in the "Persones Tale," when treating of pride and of the "superfluitee of clothing," speaks of "the costlewe furring in hir gounes, so moche pounsoning of chesel to maken holes, so moche dagging of sheres," &c. And again, "if so be that they wolden yeve swiche pounsoned and dagged clothing to the povre peple, it is not convenient to were for hir estate," &c. In the Alliterative Poem on the Deposition of Richard II (printed for the Camden Society), p. 21, the clergy is blamed for not preaching against the new fashions in dress:—

For wolde they blame the burnes

That broughte newe gysis,

And dryve out the dagges

And alle the Duche cotis.

Whitaker gives the following singular explanation of this passage:—"Let dagge hus clothes, probably, let them fall to the ground, or divested himself of them; for warriors are 'succinct' for battle as well as 'for speed!'"

14269. A glazene howve. I suppose this means that, in return for his gold, Physic gave him a hood of glass, i. e. a very frail protection for his person.

14367. of the Marche of Walys. Whitaker's text reads, of the Marche of Yrelonde. The clergy of the Welsh border appear, from allusions in other works, to have been proverbial for their ignorance and irregularity of life.

14438. Psal. cxlvi, 4.

14444. wage menne to werre. This is a curious account of the composition of an army in the fourteenth century.

14482. Exod. xx, 17.

14511. suffre the dede in dette, i. e., The friars persuade people to leave to them, under pretence of saving their souls, the property which was due to their creditors, and thus, after their death, their debts remain unpaid.

14615, 14617. this lymytour ... he salvede so oure wommen. The whole of this passage, taken with what precedes, is an amusing satire upon the limitour. Compare the description of the limitour given by Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales, ll. 208-271, who alludes to his kindness for the women. The limitour was a friar licensed to visit and beg within certain limits. His pertinacity and inquisitiveness in visiting, alluded to in the name given him in Piers Ploughman (Sir Penetrans-domos), is admirably satirized by Chaucer, in the opening of the "Wif of Bathes Tale:"—

In olde dayes of the kyng Arthour,

Of which that Britouns speken gret honour,

Al was this lond fulfilled of fayrie;

The elf-queen, with hir joly compaignye,

Daunced ful oft in many a grene mede.

This was the old oppynyoun, as I rede

I speke of many hundrid yer ago;

But now can no man see noon elves mo.

For now the grete charité and prayeres

Of lymytours and other holy freres,

That sechen every lond and every streem,

As thik as motis in the sonne-beem,

Blesynge halles, chambres, kichenes, and boures,

Citees and burghes, castels hihe, and toures,

Thropes and bernes, shepnes and dayeries,

This makith that ther ben no fayeries:

For ther as wont was to walken an elf,

Ther walkith noon but the lymytour himself,

In undermeles and in morwenynges,

And saith his matyns and his holy thinges,

As he goth in his lymytacioun.



65. a Minoure. These were the Gray or Franciscan Friars, founded at the beginning of the thirteenth century by St. Francis of Assise. They are supposed to have come to England in 1224, when they settled, first at Canterbury, and afterwards at London.

75. a Carm. 95. Maries men. The Carmelites, or White Friars, pretended to be of great antiquity, and were originally established at Mount Carmel, from whence they were driven by the Saracens about the year 1238. They were brought into England in 1244, and settled first at Alnwick in Northumberland, and at Ailesford in Kent.

About the date (or a little before) of our poem, the Carmelites appear to have been very active in asserting in a boasting manner the superiority of their order over the others. An anecdote told by Fuller (History of Cambridge, p. 113), under the year 1371, affords a curious illustration. "John Stokes, a Dominican, born at Sudbury, in Suffolk, but studying in Cambridge, as champion of his order, fell foul on the Carmelites, chiefly for calling themselves 'The brothers of the Blessed Virgin,' and then by consequence all knew whose uncle they pretend themselves. He put them to prove their pedigree by Scripture, how the kindred came in. In brief, Bale saith, 'he left red notes in the white coats of the Carmelites,' he so belaboured them with his lashing language. But John Hornby a Carmelite (born at Boston in Lincolnshire) undertook him, called by Bale Cornutus, by others Hornet-bee, so stinging his stile. He proved the brothership of his order to the Virgin Mary by visions, allowed true by the infallible popes, so that no good Christian durst deny it."

130. Freres of the Pye. The Fratres de Pica, or Friars of the Pye, are said to have received their name from the circumstance of their wearing their outer garment black and white like a magpie. Very little is known of their history. They are said to have had but one house in England.

143. Robartes men. See before the notes on the Vision, ll. 88 and ll. 3410.

155. miracles of mydwyves. The monks had many relics and superstitious practices to preserve and aid women in childbirth. One of the commissioners for the suppression of the monasteries mentions among the relics of a house he had visited, "Mare Magdalens girdell, and yt is wrappyde and coveride with white, sent also with gret reverence to women traveling:" he had previously spoken of "oure Lades gyrdell of Bruton, rede silke, wiche is a solemne reliquie sent to women travelyng wiche shall not miscarie in partu." (MS. Cotton. Cleop. E. iv, fol. 249.) See the account of a gem, which had a similar virtue, in Matthew Paris's History of the Abbots of St. Albans.

305. the Prechoures. The Black Friars, or Dominicans, were founded by St. Dominic, a Spanish monk of the end of the eleventh century. They were called Friars Preachers, because their chief duty was to preach and convert heretics. They came into England in 1221, and had their first houses in Oxford.

327. posternes in privité. These private posterns are frequently alluded to in the reports of the Commissioners for the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII. One of them, speaking of the abbey of Langden, says, "Wheras immediatly descendying fro my horse, I sent Bartlett your servant, with all my servantes to circumcept the abbay and surely to kepe all bake dorres and startyng hoilles, and I myself went alone to the abbottes logeying joyning upon the feldes and wode, evyn lyke a cony clapper full of startyng hoilles." (MS. Cotton. Cleop. E. iv, fol. 127.) Another commissioner (MS. Cotton. Cleop. E. iv, fol. 35), in a letter concerning the monks of the Charter-house in London, says, "These charterhowse monkes wolde be callyde solytary, but to the cloyster dore ther be above xxiiij. keys in the handes of xxiiij. persons, and hit is lyke my letters, unprofytable tayles and tydinges and sumtyme perverse concell commythe and goythe by reason therof. Allso to the buttrey dore ther be xij. sundrye keys in xij. [mens] handes wherin symythe to be small husbandrye."

351. merkes of merchauntes. Their ciphers or badges painted in the windows. For examples, see the note in Warton's History of English Poetry, vol. ii, p. 98, last edition.

481. euelles. Perhaps for evel-les, i. e. without evil.

534. the Austyns. The Austin Friars, or Friars Eremites of the order of St. Augustine, came into England about the year 1250. Before the end of the fourteenth century they possessed a great number of houses in this island.

566. the foure ordres. The four principal orders of Mendicant Friars. See note on the Vision, l. 116.

721. harkne at Herdforthe. This appears to be an allusion to some event which had recently occurred among the Franciscans at Hertford, or at Hereford: if the latter, perhaps they had been active in the persecution of Walter Brut. See below, l. 1309.

745. than ther lefte in Lucifere. Than there existed in Lucifer, before his fall. See before, the note on l. 681 of the Vision.

771. couuen. Probably an error of the old printed edition for connen.

869. lath. Perhaps an error of the printer of the first edition for lay.

911. Matth. vii, 15.

913. werwolves. People who had the power of turning themselves into, or were turned into, wolves. This fearful superstition, which is very ancient, was extremely prevalent in the middle ages. In French they were called Loup-garous. The history of a personage of this kind forms the subject of the Lai de Bisclaveret, by Marie de France. Sir Frederick Madden has published a very remarkable Early-English metrical romance on the subject of "William and the Werwolf." See on this superstition Grimm's Deutsche Mythologie, pp. 620-622.

954. Golias. There is perhaps here an allusion to the famous satire on the Monkish orders entitled Apocalypsis Goliæ, printed among the poems of Walter Mapes.

967. the kynrede of Caym. In the popular belief of the middle ages, hob-goblins and evil spirits (which haunted the wilds and the waters) literally, and bad men figuratively, were represented as being descended from the first murderer, Cain. In Old-English poetry, Caymes kyn is a common epithet for very wicked people. In the Anglo-Saxon romance of Beowulf, the Grendel is said to be of "Cain's kin."

1051. wytnes on Wyclif. In the persecutions to which Wycliffe was subjected for his opinions in 1382, his most violent opponents were the Mendicants. He died in 1384, quietly at his living of Lutterworth.

1189. a lymytoure. See before, the note on l. 14615 of the Vision.

1178. stumlen in tales. An allusion to the idle and superstitious tales with which the monks filled their sermons, in place of simple and sound doctrine.

1309. Water Brut. Walter Brut (or Bright) was a native of Herefordshire, and was prosecuted by the Bishop of Hereford for heresy in 1393. A long account of his defence will be found in Foxe's Acts and Monuments.

1401. Hildegare. I suppose this refers to St. Hildegardis, a nun who flourished in the middle of the twelfth century, and who was celebrated among the Roman Catholics as a prophetess. Her prophecies are not uncommon in manuscripts, and they have been printed. Those which relate to the future corruptions in the monkish orders are given in Foxe's Acts and Monuments, book vi, and in other works.




[The figures in the following Glossary refer to the page of the text. Words preceded by a †, occur only in the Creed. A.S. and A.N. distinguish the two different languages of which our own is composed, Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman.]


a, prefixed to verbs of Anglo-Saxon origin, has sometimes a negative, sometimes an intensative power: before nouns and adjectives it represents on and at, as, a-brood, a-fore (æt-foran), a-rowe (i. e. on a row), a-loft (i. e. on high), &c. In words of Anglo-Norman origin, it answers to the prepositions, a, ab, ad, of the original Latin words

a (A.N.) 355, ah! (an interjection)

abidynge (A.S.) 413, patient

abiggen (A.S.) 35, 127, abien, 58, abugge, 122, abye, 164, abyen, 393, to make amends for, to atone for. pret. s. aboughte, 168, 190, 231, 268. part. past, abought, 392

abite (A.S.) 331, to bite, nip

a-blende (A.S.) 377, a-blynden, to blinde, dazzle. pret. s. a-blente, 388

abosten (A.N.) 126, to assault

abouten, aboute (A.S.) about

a-brood (A.S.) abroad

ac (A.S.) but, and

a-cale (A.S.) 393, cold. It occurs in the Romance of the Seven Sages (Weber, p. 59):

That night he sat wel sore a-kale,

And his wif lai warme a-bedde.

accidie (A.N.) 99, sloth, a fit of slothfulness

acombren (A.N.) to embarrass, bring into trouble

acorden (A.N.) to agree, accord

acorse, acursen (A.S.) 375, to curse. acorsed, 375, accursed

acoupen (A.N.) 272, to blame, accuse. (for acoulpen)

a-drad (A.S.) 397, afraid

a-drenchen (A.S.) 198, to drown

afaiten, 291, affaiten 81, 119, (A.N.) to tame

a-feren (A.S.) 395, 435, to frighten, drive away. a-fered, 376, afraid, terrified

affraynen (A.S.) 347, to ask, question, interrogate

afore (A.S.) before

aforthe (A.S.) 129, to afford

afrounte (A.N.) to encounter, attack, accost rudely. pret. s. afrounted, 425

a-fyngred (A.S.) 133, 176, 283, 403, a-hungered, hungry

a-furst (A.S.) 176, 283, a-thirst, thirsty. The two forms, a-fyngred and a-furst, appear to be characteristic of the dialect of the counties which lay on the Welsh border. They occur once or twice in MS. Harl. 2253, which, in my Specimens of Lyric Poetry, I have shown to have been written in Herefordshire. They also occur in several other manuscripts which may probably be traced to that part of England. In the Romance of Horn, in the MS. just mentioned, we have the lines:—

Horn set at grounde,

Him thohte he wes y-bounde,

He seide, Quene, so hende,

To me hydeward thou wende.

Thou shench us with the vurste,

The beggares bueth a-furste.

i. e. the beggars are thirsty. Whitaker gives a very remarkable translation of a-furst and a-fyngred, i. e. frost-bitten, and with aching fingers. Ritson has no less inaccurately explained a-furste in the Romance of Horn, by at first: the Cambridge MS. of this Romance, earlier and better than the MS. Harl., reads:—

Thu gef us with the furste,

The beggeres beoth of thurste.

ayein (A.S.) again, in return for. ayeins, against, towards

a-gulte (A.S.) 273, 313, 318, 365, to fail in duty towards any one, offend, sin against

aiels (A.N.) 314, forefathers

†aisliche (A.S.) 471, fearfully. The Anglo-Saxon egeslice

aken (A.S.) to ache. pret. pl. oke, 359

al (A.S.) all. pl. alle, gen. pl. alre, aller. oure aller fader, 342, the father of us all. your aller heed, 424, head of you all

a-leggen (A.N.) 207, to allege

a-liry (A.S.) 124, across, cross-legged

alkenamye (A.N.) 186, alchemy

allowen (A.N.) 294, to allow, approve

a-loft (A.S.) 378, on high

almarie (A.N.) 288, a cupboard

almesse (A.S.) alms

a-lough, a-logh (A.S.) 241, 242, below

†aloute (A.S.) 495, to salute

als (A.S.) also

a-maistren, a-maistryen (A.N.) to overcome, be master of

amenden (A.N.) to make amends for

amercy (A.N.) to amerce

amortisen (A.N.) 314, to amortize, to give property in mortmain

ampulle (A.N.) 109, a small vessel containing holy water or oil

an (A.S.) 2, on

ancres (A.S.) 3, 308, anachorites, monks who live in solitude. It is applied to nuns, in the early English Rule of Nuns. See Reliquiæ Antiquæ, vol. ii, p. 1

and (A.S.) the conjunction, is frequently used in the sense of if. and men crye, 362, if men cry

aniente (A.N.) 365, to destroy, annihilate, reduce to nothing

anoon (A.S.) anon

anoy (A.N.) annoyance

†anuel (A.N.) 475, an annuity: a yearly salary paid to a priest for keeping an anniversary

apayen (A.N.) 123, to satisfy, to please

apeiren (A.N.) 80, 111, 125, 127, 141, to lessen, diminish, impair

apertli (A.N.) openly

appenden, apenden (A.N.) 17, to belong, appertain to

apposen (A.N.) 18, 43, 252, 318, to raise questions, to object

arate (A.S.) 208, 283, to rate, scold, correct (the A.S. aretan?)

arayen (A.N.) to array

arere (A.N.) backwards, back

arwe, pl. arewes (A.S.) 438, an arrow

arst (A.S.) 287, first, erst

ascapen (A.N.) to escape

askes (A.S.) ashes

asondry (A.S.) 358, separated

aspare (A.N.) 303, to spare

aspien (A.N.) to espy. part. s. aspied, 350

assaien, assaie (A.N.) 334, 336, to assay, try

assetz (A.N.) 362, assets sufficient to pay the debts or legacies of a testator. A law term

assoille (A.N.) 57, 188, 407, 419, to assoil, absolve, to explain or solve

astronomien (Lat.) an astronomer

a-thynken (A.S.) 374, to repent

attachen (A.N.) 40, to attach, indict

atte (A.S.) at the. atte nale, 124, at the ale, a corruption of the Saxon, æt þan ale

attre (A.S.) 243, poison, venom

a-tweyne (A.S.) in two

aught (A.S.) something, anything, everything

auncer (A.N.) 90, a small vessel or cup. In Low-Latin it is called anceria. See Ducange, s. v., who quotes from a charter of the date of 1320 the words, Una cum cuppis, anceriis, tonis, et aliis utensilibus

auntren (A.N.) to venture, adventure, pret. s. auntrede, 382, auntred, 435

auter, pl. auteres (A.N.) altar

avarouser (A.N.) more avaricious

aventrous (A.N.) 370, adventurers, adventurous persons

aventure (A.N.) an adventure, an accident. an aventure, 47, by adventure, by chance

avoutrye (A.N.) adultery

avowen (A.N.) to make a vow

avowes (A.N.) vows, promises

awaiten (A.N.) 346, to watch, wait. a-wayte, 193, to see or discover by watching

awaken (A.S.) to awake. pret. s. awaked, 396, awakned, 424, a-wook, 147, part. past, awaked, 425

awreken (A.S.) to avenge, revenge. part. pas. a-wroke, 129

†awyrien (A.S.) 490, to curse, execrate

axen (A.S.) 71, to ask. pret. s. asked, 81

ay (A.S.) ever, always


bakstere (A.S.) 14, 47, a woman who bakes

bale (A.S.) 70, 209, 381, 371 (?), evil, mischief, punishment

†bale (A.S.) 490, a bon-fire (rogus)

baleis (A.N.) 184, 229, a rod

baleisen (A.N.) 87, to beat with a rod

balled (A.S.) 436, bald. balled reson, 176, a bald reason, a bare argument

ballok-knyf (A.S.) 302, a knife hung from the girdle

bannen, banne (A.N.) 18, 143, 167, 310, to ban, curse, banish. pret. s. banned, 173

banyer (A.N.) 321, a banner-bearer, standard-bearer

barn (A.S.) 353, a child

baselarde (A.N.) 61, 302, a kind of large dagger, carried in the girdle

batauntliche (A.N.) 286, hastily. Cotgrave gives the Fr. phrase, il arriva tout batant, he came very hastily

baude (A.S.) a bawd

baudy (A.N.) 88, dirty, applied to garments. Thus in Chaucer, Cant. T. l 16102:—

His overest sloppe it is not worth a mite

As in effect to him, so mote I go.

It is al baudy and to-tore also.

baw (A.S.) 210, 419, an interjection of contempt. Whitaker says that the word is still used in Lancashire, and that "the verb means alvum levare"

bayard (A.N.) 72, a term for a horse. It means properly a bay horse

beau-peere (A.N.) 383, a common title for a monk. "Beau-pere, titre que l'on donnoit aux religieux." Roquef.

beche (A.S.) a beech-tree

bede, pl. bedes (A.S.) prayer. Our modern word beads is derived from this word, because it was by such articles, hung on a cord, that our forefathers reckoned the number of their prayers

bedeman (A.S.) 45, a person who prays for another

†been (A.S.) 493, bees

beigh (A.S.) pl. beighes, rings, bracelets, collars

bekene (A.S.) 363, a beacon

†beldyng (A.S.) 483, building. belded, 483, built

†bellyche (A.N.) 461, fairly

bel-sire (A.N.) 168, grandfather, or rather, an ancestor

belwe (A.S.) 222, to bellow

ben (A.S.) to be. pres. pl. arn, aren or ben, we beth, 391, ye aren, 301, they arn, 375. subj. sing. weere, 15, 19, 417, pl. were. what she were, 19

bene (A.S.) a bean, †pl. benen (A.S.) 495, beans

†beneson (A.N.) 489, blessing

†beouten (A.S.) 489, without

beren, bere (A.S.) to bear. pr. s. he berth, 341. pret. s. bere, 54, bar, 28, 109, pl. baren, 98. part. pas. born, y-bore, 377

bergh (A.S.) 112, a hill, mount

bern (A.S.) 416, a barn

best, beest, pl. beestes (A.N.) a beast, animal

bet (A.S.) 389, better

bete (A.S.) 375, to beat. pret. s. bette, 184, 436. part. pas. y-bet

bete (A.S.) 131, to amend, heal, abate. that myghtt not bete my bale (Sir Amadas, l. 46), that might not amend my misfortune. bete his nede (Rom. of Alexand. l. 5065, in Weber), to satisfy his need

bettre (A.S.) better

bi- or be- is a very common prefix to words in our language derived from the Anglo-Saxon, and has chiefly an intensative power, although it modifies the meaning in various degrees. Many verbs are no longer known, except in this compound form. Thus we have:—

bi-dravelen (A.S.) 88, to slobber or slaver on anything

bi-fallen (A.S.) to befal, happen. pr. sing. bifel

bi-yete (A.S.) begetting, offspring

bi-ginnen (A.S.) to begin. pret. s. bi-gonne, 106

bi-heste (A.S.) 50, a behest, command

bi-hest (A.S.) 432, a promise

bi-holden (A.S.) to behold. pr. sing. biheeld

†bi-hirnen (A.S.) 488 (?)

bi-hoten (A.S.) to promise. pres. s. bi-hote, 104. pret. s. bi-highte, 81, 345, 389. bi-hote God, 133, an exclamation

by-japen (A.S.) 386, 453, to mock

bi-kennen (A.S.) 31, 154, to commit to

bi-knowen (A.S.) 13, 45, to know, recognize, acknowledge. pret. s. bi-knewe, 404, part. past, bi-knowe, 370

bi-lien (A.S.) 174, bi-lye, 101, to calumniate. part. past, bi-lowen, 29

bi-love (A.S.) 184, false love (?)

bi-loven (A.S.) 130, to make friends (?)

by-menen (A.S.) to signify. pret. s. by-mente, 370

by-molen (A.S.) 273, 274, to spot, stain

by-nymen (A.S.) to take from. part. past, by-nomen, 62

bi-quasshen (A.S.) 384, to crush to pieces

bi-reve (A.S.) 132, to take from, bereave

bi-rewe (A.S.) 242, to rue

bi-seken, bi-sechen, 18 (A.S.) to beseech. pret. bi-soughte. part. pas. bi-sought

bi-semen (A.S.) to appear

bi-setten (A.S.) 93, 95, to place, set

bi-seggen (A.S.) to reproach, insult. part. past, bi-seye, 437

bi-sherewen (A.S.) 75, to curse

bi-shetten (A.S.) 40, to shut up. part. past, bi-shet, 405

bi-sitten (A.S.) 36, 195, to beset

†be-slomered, 476, bedaubed

bi-snewed (A.S.) 301, snowed over, covered with snow

bi-speren (A.S.) 303, to lock up

bi-swynken (A.S.) 323, to labour hard. pret. pl. bi-swonke, 442

bi-tiden (A.S.) to happen to, betide

bi-wicchen (A.S.) 405, to bewitch

bicche (A.N.) 98, a bitch

bidden, bidde (A.S.) to pray, to ask, beg, to require, to order. pres. s. he bit, 308, 188. pret. s. bidde, bad, pl. beden, 372, 404. part. act. biddynge. (if he) bede, 157

bidder (A.S.) pl. bidderes, an asker, petitioner

biden (A.S.) 387, 428, to bide, wait. part. past, boden

bienfait (A.N.) a benefit

bi-girdle (A.S.) 156, a bag to hang at the girdle, a purse

bi-hynde (A.S.) behind

bikere (A.S.) 429, to skirmish, fight

†bild (A.S.) 460, a building

bile (A.S.) a bill

bilyve (A.S.) 410, 425, food

bynden (A.S.) to bind. pret. s. bond, 352. part. pas. bounden

bisie (A.S.) busy

bismere, bismare (A.S.) 82, 413, infamy, reproach, disgrace

biten, bite (A.S.) 446, to bite, urge. pres. s. bitit, 225. pret. s. boot, 82

byte (A.S.) 381, a morsel, bit

bi-time (A.S.) betimes

bittre (A.S.) 393, bitterly

bi-yonde (A.S.) beyond: when used indefinitely it signifies beyond sea, ultra mare

blancmanger (A.N.) 252, a made dish for the table. Receipts for cooking it are given in most of the early tracts on cookery

bleden (A.S.) to bleed. pret. s. bledde, 402, 415

blenche (A.S.) 112, to draw back

blende (A.S.) 181, to blind. blent, blinded

†blenying (A.S.) 468, blistering

bleren (A.S.) to blear, to make a person's sight dim, impose upon him. bler-eighed, 367, blear-eyed

blisse (A.S.) joy, happiness

blisful (A.S.) joyful, full of happiness, blessed

blody (A.S.) 129, 213, by blood, of or in blood

bloo (A.S.) blue

blosmen (A.S.) to blossom. pret. blosmede

blowen (A.S.) to blow. pret. s. blewe, blew. part. past, y-blowe, 360

blustren (A.N. ?) 108, to wander or stray along without any particular aim

bochier (A.N.) a butcher

†bode (    ) 493 (?)

bolden (A.S.) to encourage, embolden

bole (A.S.) a bull

bolk (A.S.) 100, a belching

bolle (A.S.) 83, 99, a bowl

bollen, bolne (A.S.) to swell. pres. s. bolneth, 84

book, pl. bokes (A.S.) a book

boold (A.S.) 373, bold

boon (A.S.) a bone

boor (A.S.) a boar

boot (A.S.) a boat

boote (A.S.) 70, 139, 189, 209, 233, 266, help, reparation, amendment, restoration, remedy

bootne (A.S.) to restore, remedy. part. pas. bootned, 128

boot-les (A.S.) 369, without boots

borde (A.S.) table. Hence the modern use of the word board when we speak of "board and lodging"

bord-lees (A.S.) 239, without table

borgh, 70, 143, 181, 346. borugh, 426, 439, pl. borwes, 19 (A.S.) a pledge, surety. s. in obj. case, borwe, 285

borwen (A.S.) 71, to give security, or a pledge to release a person or thing, to bail, to borrow. pret. s. borwed

bosarde (A.N.) 189, a worthless or useless fellow. It is properly the name of a worthless species of hawk, which is unfit for sporting; and is thus used in Chaucer's version of the Romance of the Rose, l. 4033:—

This have I herde ofte in saying,

That man ne maie for no daunting

Make a sperhawke of a bosarde.

The original is,—

Ce oï dire en reprovier,

Que l'en ne puet fere espervier

En nule guise d'ung busart.

bosten (A.S.) to boast. part. past, y-bosted, 351

bote-lees (A.S.) 381, without remedy

botenen (A.N.) to button. †part. past, y-botend, 468, buttoned

bothe (A.S.) both. The genitive, botheres, of both, occurs. hir botheres myghtes, 340, the might of both of them. hir botheres right, 371, the right of each of them.

botrasen (A.N.) 113, to make buttresses to a building

bouchen (A.N.) 5, to stop people's mouths (?)

bouken (A.S.) 274, 306, to buck (clothes)

bour (A.S.) a bower, chamber

bourde (A.S.) a game, joke

bourdynge (A.N.) 297, jesting

bourn, g. bournes (A.S.) a stream or river

bowe (A.S.) 112, a bough, branch

bown (A.S.) 37, ready

boy (A.S.) 6 (?)

boye (A.S.) 214, a lad servant

breden (A.S.) to breed. pret. pl. bredden

brede (A.S.) breadth

breed (A.S.) bread

breeth (A.S.) 388, breath

breken (A.S.) to break, tear. pret. s. brak, 388. part. pas. y-broken, broke, y-broke, 416

breme (A.S.) 241, vigorous, fierce, furious. Chaucer, C. T. l. 1701, speaking of Arcite and Palamon, says they—"foughten breme, as it were bolles two," fought as fiercely as two bulls. In the Romance of Sir Amadas (Weber, p. 250) a person is described as coming "lyke a breme bare," like a fierce boar. It appears to be most commonly applied to animals. In the Towneley Mysteries, p. 197, Anna says to Cayphas, "Be not to breme," be not too fierce

brennen, brenne (A.S.) 360, to burn. pret. s. brende, 367. part. pas. brent

bresten (A.S.) to burst, pret. s. brast, 127

brevet (A.N.) 5, a little brief or letter

brewestere (A.S.) 14, 47, a woman who brews

brid, pl. briddes (A.S.) a bird

bringen (A.S.) to bring. pret. s. broughte, broghte. part. past, y-brought, broght, 235

brocage (A.N.) 33, 289, a treaty by a broker or agent. It is particularly applied to treaties of marriage, brought about in this way. In Chaucer's Romance of the Rose, l. 6971, Fals Semblant says,—

I entremete me of brocages.

I maken pece, and mariages.

So in the Miller's Tale (C.T. 3375), it is said of Absolon,

He woweth hire by mene and by brocage,

And swor he wolde ben hir owne page.

That is, he wooed her by the agency of another person, whom he employed to persuade her to agree to his wishes.

broches (A.N.) brooches, jewels.

broches, 362, matches (?)

brocour (A.N.) 31, 32, 45, 84, a seller, broker, maker of bargains

broke (A.S.) a brook

brok, pl. brokkes (A.S.) 119, an animal of the badger kind

brol (A.S.) 55, 494, 495, a child, brat. Reliquiæ Antiquæ, ii, 177:—

Whan hi commith to the world, hi doth ham silf sum gode,

Al bot the wrech brol that is of Adamis blode.

brood (A.S.) broad

brotel (A.S.) 153, weak, brittle, unsteady

†brothels (A.S.) 496, wretches, men of bad life. In the Coventry Mysteries (Ed. Halliwell, p. 308), the term is applied to the damned who suffer punishment in hell:—

In bras and in bronston the brethellys be brent,

That wene in this werd my wyl for to werke.

In another play in the same collection, p. 217, it is applied to the woman taken in adultery:—

Com forthe, thou bysmare and brothel bolde.

brouke (A.S.) 209, to enjoy, use, to brook

brugg, pl. brugges (A.S.) a bridge

bruneste (A.S.) brownest

buggen, bugge (A.S.) 412, to buy. pres. pl. biggen. pret. boughte. part. act. buggynge, 410

bummen (A.S. ?) 90, to taste (?)

burde (A.S.) 44, 404, a maiden, damsel, lady

burdoun (A.N.) 108, a staff

burel (A.N.) a kind of coarse brown woollen cloth. burel clerkes, 191. Tyrwhit (Glos. to Chaucer) thinks this means lay clerks. In the Canterbury Tales, l. 7453, the friar says:—

And more we se of Goddis secré thinges,

Than borel folk, although that thay ben kinges,

We lyve in povert and in abstinence,

And borel folk in riches and dispence.

The hoste says (l. 15440)—

Religioun hath take up al the corn

Of tredyng, and we burel men ben schrympes.

Borel folk and borel men evidently mean laymen

burgage (A.N.) 48, lands or tenements in towns, held by a particular tenure

burgeise (A.S.) burgess, inhabitant of a borough

burghe (A.S.) 135, burgh, town

burghe (A.S.) castrated, applied to a hog. burghe swyn, 34, a barrow hog

burjonen (A.N.) 299, to bud, or spring

burn (A.S.) pl. burnes, a man. buyrn, 341, 346

†burwgh (A.S.) 458, a castle, palace, or large edifice

busk, pl. buskes (A.S.) 223, a bush

busken (A.S.) 44, 167, to busk, go, to array, prepare

buxom (A.S.) obedient. buxomnesse, obedience

C. K.

caas (A.N.) case

cacchen (A.S.) 236, to catch, take. part. past, caught, 361

cachepol (A.S.) 372, 373, a catchpole

kaiser, kayser (A.S.) 404, an emperor

cammoke (A.S.) 414, a weed more commonly known by the name of rest-harrow (anonis)

kan (A.S.) can

capul, caple (A.N.) 354, pl. caples, 415, 416, a horse (said to be derived from the Low-Latin caballus)

caractes (A.N.) 233, characters

cardiacle (Gr.) 266, 430, a disease affecting the heart

careful (A.S.) pl. carefulle, 403, full of care

carien (A.S.) to carry

caroyne, careyne (A.N.) carrion, flesh, a corpse

carpen (A.N.) 356, 400, to talk, chat, tell. part. pas. y-carped, 313

†cary (A.N. ?) 475, a kind of coarse cloth

casten (A.S.) to cast

catel (A.N.) 70, 78, 175, 437, goods, property, treasure, possessions

cauken (A.S. ?) 223, 241, a technical term, applied to birds at their time of breeding. It is found in the St. Albans Book of Hawking, 1496, sign. A. i.; "And in the tyme of their (the hawks') love, they calle, and not cauke."

kaurymaury, 81, care, trouble?

†cautel (A.N.) 469, a cunning trick

kaylewey (   .) 334 (?)

kemben (A.S.) 174, to comb

kene (A.S.) sharp, earnest

kennen, kenne (A.S.) 355, 396, 410, to teach, pres pl. konne, 3. imperat. kenne (teach), 20. pret. kenned, 67, 241, kennede, 409

kepen, kepe (A.S.) to keep, to abstain, 60. pret. pl. kepten, 235, 404. have kepe this man, 352, have this man to keep

kernelen (A.N.) 113, to embattle a building, build the battlements

kerse (A.S.) 174, cress

kerven (A.S.) to carve. †part. past, y-corven, 460

kerver, 184, a sculptor

cesse (A.N.) 375, to end, cease

kevere (A.N.) 445, to recover

kex (A.S.) 361, the dried stalk of hemlock

chace (A.N.) 351, to race, to go fast

chaffare (A.S.) 131, 292, 301, 305, 338, to deal, traffic, trade

chaffare (A.S.) 3, 31, 85, 268, 305, merchandise

chalangen (A.N.) to challenge, claim. chalangynge, 82. chalanged, 87

chapitle (A.N.) a chapter

†chaple (A.N.) 485, a chapel

chapman (A.S.) a merchant, buyer

†chapolories (A.N.) 483, chapelaries

†charthous (A.N.) 490, Carthusians

chastilet (A.N.) a little castle

chatre (A.N.) 287, to chatter

chauncelrie (A.N.) chancery

cheke (A.S.) 68, the cheek, maugree hire chekes, 68. We have in Chaucer, maugré thin eyen, maugré hire hed, &c. See Tyrwhit's Gloss, v. Maugre. One of these instances is exactly analogous to the passage of Piers Ploughman (C. T. l. 6467):—

And happed, al alone as sche was born,

He saugh a mayde walkyng him by-forn,

Of which mayden anoon maugré hir heed,

By verray fors byraft hir maydenhed.

cheker (A.N.) the exchequer

chele (A.S.) 176, 439, cold

chepen (A.S.) 296, to buy

chepyng (A.S.) 68, 135, market, sale

cherl (A.S.) 210, pl. cherles, 337, 375, a serf, peasant, churl

†cherlich (A.N.) 485, richly, sumptuously

chervelle (A.S.) 134, chervil, a plant which was eaten as a pot-herb (cerefolium)

chese (A.S.) 296, to choose

cheeste, cheste (A.S.) 33, 169, 253, dissension, strife, debate

cheve (A.N.) 375, to compass a thing, to succeed, or bring to an end, to obtain, adopt. pres. s. cheveth, 287. pret. pl. cheveden, 3, chewe, 381, 439. lat hem chewe as thei chosen, let them take as they choose

chewen (A.N.) 26, 490, to eschewe

chibolle (A.N.) 134, a kind of leek, called in French ciboule

chicke, pl. chicknes, 67 (A.S.) a chicken

chevysaunce (A.N.) 92, 426, an agreement for borrowing money

chiden (A.S.) to chide

child (A.S.) a child. gen. pl. childrene, 72

chymenee (A.N.) 179, a fire-place

chirie-tyme, 86, cherry-time

chyvelen (A.S. ?) 88, to become shrivelled

†chol (A.S.) 464, the jowl

kidde, see couthen

kirk (A.S.) a church

kirtel (A.S.) a kirtle, frock

kissen (A.S.) 395, to kiss. pret. s. kiste, 394

kith, kyth (A.S.) 55, 324, 400, relationship, family connection. to kith and to kyn, 268, to family connection and kindred

kitone (A.N.) kitten, young cat

clawe (A.S.) 274, to brush, to stroke

clene (A.S.) pure, clean. clenner, 410, purer. clennesse, purity, cleanness

clepen, clepe (A.S.) to call. pret. cleped, 436. part. pas. cleped, 174

clergie (A.N.) science, clergy

clerk (A.N.) pl. clerkes, gen. pl. clerkene, 72, a scholar

cler-matyn (A.N.) 135, a kind of fine bread

cleven (A.S.) to split, cleave (intransitive). pret. s. cleef, 373

cleymen (A.N.) 389, to claim. pret. s. cleymede, 430

cliket (A.N.) 114, a kind of latch key. cliketten, 114, to fasten with a cliket. Tyrwhit explains the word simply as meaning a key—but in Piers Ploughman it is put so in immediate apposition with the word key, that it must have differed from it. In Chaucer, C. T. 9990, et seq. it appears to be the key of a garden gate:—

This freissche May, that I spake of so yore,

In warm wex hath emprynted the cliket

That January bar of the smale wiket,

By which into his gardyn ofte he went;

And Damyan, that knew al hir entent,

The cliket counterfeted prively.

In a document of the date 1416, quoted by Ducange, v. Cliquetus, it is ordered that, Refectorarius semper teneat hostium refectorii clausum cum cliqueto

clyngen (A.S.) 276, to shrink, wither, pine. Reliq. Antiquæ, vol. ii, p. 210:—

When eld me wol aweld, mi wele is awai;

Eld wol keld, and cling so the clai.

clippe (A.S.) 359, 394, to embrace, enfold

clips (A.N. ?) 377, an eclipse

clyven (A.S.) 367, to cleave, stick to

clokken (A.N.) 45, to limp or hobble, to walk lamely

clomsen (A.N.) 276, to shrink or contract. A verb used often in the Wycliffite Bible. In Prompt. Parv. aclomsid.

clooth (A.S.) cloth

clouch (A.S.) pl. clouches, a clutch

clouten (A.S.) to patch, mend. part. past, y-clouted, 120

clucche (A.S.) 359, to clutch, hold

knappe (A.S.) 133, a knop, a button

knave (A.S.) 14, 66, a servant lad

†knoppede (A.S.) 476, full of knobs

knowelichen (A.S.) to acknowledge. pret. s. kneweliched, 239, 407. part. act. knowelichynge, 400

knowes (A.S.) 98, knees

knowen, knowe (A.S.) 408, to know, pres. pl. knowen. pret. s. knew, 232. pl. knewen, 237. part. pas. knowen, knowe

coffe (A.S. ?) 120, a cuff

†cofrene (A.N.) 455, to put in a coffer

coghen (A.S.) 367, to cough

coke (A.S.) a cook

cokeney (A.N.) 134, some kind of meager food, probably a young or small cock, which had little flesh on its bones. This meaning of the word (which has been misunderstood) may be gathered from a comparison of the passage in Piers Ploughman with one in the "Turnament of Tottenham," where the writer intended to satirize the poorness of the fare:—

At that fest were thei servyd in a rich aray,

Every fyve and fyve had a cokeney.

Heywood, in his Proverbs, part i, chap. xi, gives a proverb in which the word is evidently used in the same sense, and appears to be intentionally contrasted with a fat hen:—

—Men say,

He that comth every daie shall have a cocknaie,

He that comth now and then, shall have a fat hen;

But I gat not so muche in comyng seelde when,

As a goode hens fether or a poore egshell.

I think that cokenay in Chaucer is the same word, used metaphorically to signify a person without worth or courage (C. T. 4205):—

And when this jape is tald another day,

I sal be hald a daf, a cokenay.

coker (A.S.) 120, a short stocking, or glove, a sheath

coket (A.N.) 135, a kind of fine bread

cokewold (A.N.) 75, a cuckold

cole (A.N.) 134, cabbage

coler (A.N.) a collar

collen (A.N.) 203, to embrace, put one's arms round a person's neck, in French, accoller

colomy (A.S.) 267 (?)

colvere (A.S.) 319, a dove, pigeon

come (A.S.) 416, to come. pres. s. he comth, 18, 332. pret. s. cam, kam, coom, 168, com, 400. pl. comen, 438, come, 235, 237, 430, coome, 416, coomen, 438. subj., til he coome, 328, er thei coome, 353

comsen (A.N.) 23, 24, 49, 77, 81, 119, 136, 152, 244, 372, to begin, commence, to endeavour. pret. s. comsede, 402, 403. comsynge, 382

comunes (A.N.) 80, 420, commons, allowance of provision

confus (A.N.) confused

congeyen, congeien (A.N.) 258, to give leave, dismiss

congie (A.N.) 258, leave

konne (A.S.) 401, 408, 437, to learn, know. pres. s. kan. pret. kouthe, 411, koude. subj. in case that thow konne, 424, and thou konne, 397, if thou know. pret. act. konnyng, 206, knowing

konnynge (A.S.) 409, knowledge, science, cunning

contenaunce (A.N.) 2, 203, appearance, gesture, carriage

contrarien (A.N.) 367, to go against, vex, oppose

contree (A.N.) a country

contreve (A.N.) to contrive. contreved, contrived

conying (A.N. ?) a rabbit

copen (A.N.) 51, to cover with a cope, like a friar

coppe (A.N.) 44, 191, a cup, basin

coroune (A.N.) a crown

corounen (A.N.) to crown. part. p. y-corouned

cors (A.N.) 295, the body

corsaint (A.N.) 109, a relique, the body of a saint

corsen (A.S.) 305, to curse

corsede (A.S.) cursed. corseder, 421, more cursed, worse

cost (A.N.) 33, 151, 376, a side, region

costen (A.N.) to cost. pret. s. costed, 13. part. pas. costned, 13

cote (A.S.) 152, a cottage, cot

coten (A.N.) 51, to dress in a coat

†cotinge (A.S.) 468, cutting

coupable (A.N.) 366, guilty, culpable

coupe (A.N.) 44, 95, a cup

coupen (A.N.) to cut out, fashion (?) part. past, y-couped, 370

courben (A.N.) 19, 28, to bend, stoop

courtepy (A.N.) 82, 128, a short cloak of coarse cloth

couthen (A.S.) 87, to make known, discover, publish. pret. kidde, 103, 269

†couuen (A.S.) 473, perhaps an error in the old printed text for connen

coveiten (A.N.) to covet

covent (A.N.) 428, a convent

coveren (A.N.) 238, to recover

cracchen (A.S.) 211, 322, to scratch

crafte (A.S.) craft, art. crafty-men, 121, artisans

creaunt (A.N.) 239, believing

crepen (A.S.) to creep. pret. s. crope, pl. cropen

cryen (A.N.) to cry. pret. s. cried, cryde, 374, pl. cryden, cride

croft (A.S.) a small inclosed field, a croft

crokke (A.S.) 412, a pot, pitcher, vessel of earthenware

†crom-bolle (A.S.) 476, a crum-bowl

crop (A.S.) 332, 334, the head or top of a tree or plant; hence the expression "root and crop," still in use

cropiers (A.N.) the housings on the horse's back

croppen (A.S.) 319, to eat (said of a bird), to put into its crop or craw

crouche (A.N.) 109, a cross. Hence is derived the name of the Crutched Friars

†crouken (A.S.) 495, to bend

†crucchen (A.S.) 495, to crouch

cruddes (A.S.) curds

cruwel (A.N.) 269, cruel

ku, pl. kyen (A.S.) 125, a cow

kulle (A.S.) 344, kille, 434, to kill. pret. s. kilde, 431. part. past, kulled, 339. to kulle, 338

culorum (Lat.) 60, 198, the conclusion or moral of a tale

cultour (A.S.) 123, kultour, 61, a culter, blade

cuppe-mele (A.S.) 90, cup by cup

kutte, 79 (A.S.) to cut. imperat. kut, 75. pret. pl. kitten, 128

kynde (A.S.) nature, race, kind

kynde (A.S.) natural. kyndeliche, 382, naturally

kyng (A.S.) pl. kynges. gen. pl. kyngene, 21, 400, a king

kyng-ryche (A.S.) a kingdom

kyn, gen. s. kynnes (A.S.) 40, kin, kind. This word is used in the genitive case in such phrases as the following: of foure kynnes thynges, 151, of four kinds of things. othere kynnes men, 177, other kinds of men. none kynnes riche, 213, no kind of rich men, or rich men of no kind. many kynnes maneres, 359, many sorts of manners. any kynnes catel, 400, any kind of property


daffe (A.S.) a fool

daggen (A.S.) 433, to dag, to cut the edges of the garment in jagged ornaments, as was the custom at this period

daren (A.S.) to dare. pres. pl. dar, 10, 280. pret. s. and pl. dorste, 11, 42, 253, 393

dawe (A.S.) 380, dawn. pret. s. dawed, 395

dawnten (A.N.) 319, to tame,—also, to daunt, to fear

decourren (A.N.) 285, to discover, lay open, narrate

dedeynous (A.N.) 156, disdainful

deed (A.S.) dead

deen (A.N.) a dean

dees (A.N.) dice

deef (A.S.) pl. deve, 403, deaf

defende (A.N.) 47, 485, to forbid, prohibit

defien, defyen, defie (A.N. ?) 84, 100, 141, 298, to digest

defyen (A.N.) to defy. pret. s. defyed, 429

degised (A.N.) 2, disguised

deyen (A.S.) to die. pret. s. deide, 214. to dye, 352

deyntee (A.N.) 205, dainty, niceness, preciousness

deys, dees (A.N.) 139, 250, the dais, or high table in the hall

deitee (A.N.) deity, godhead

del, deel (A.S.) part, portion. tithe deel, 323, tenth part

delen, dele, deelen (A.S.) 47, 175, 218, share, distribute, give, deal. pres. ye deele, 144

deliten (A.N.) to delight, take pleasure

delitable (A.N.) delightful, pleasant

delven (A.S.) 417, to dig, bury. pret. pl. dolven, 128. part. pas. dolven, 128, 293

delvere (A.S.) a digger, delver

demen (A.S.) to judge. pret. demede

dene (A.S.) 373, din, noise

dene (A.N.) a dean

departable (A.N.) 355, divisible

depper (A.S.) 307, deeper

dere (A.S.) 140, 349, 370, to injure, hurt

derely (A.S.) 396, expensively, richly

dereworthe (A.S.) precious, honourable

derk (A.S.) dark

derne (A.S.) 38, 249, secret

destruyen, destruye (A.N.) 361, to destroy. pret. s. destruyed, 340

dette (A.N.) pl. dettes, a debt

devoir (A.N.) duty

devors (A.N.) 433, divorce

dya (A.N.) 435, dyachylon

diapenidion, 84, an electuary

dido (A.S.) 256, a trifle, a trick

dighte (A.S.) 134, to fit out, make, dispose, dress. pret. s. dighte, 396

†digne (A.N.) 472, worthy

digneliche (A.N.) worthily, deservedly

dyk, 417 (A.S.) dych, a ditch

dikere, dykere (A.S.) 96, a ditch or foss digger, ditcher

dymes (A.N.) 326, tithes

dymme (A.S.) 388, dark. adv. dymme, 184, darkly

dymmen (A.S.) 98, to become dim or dark

dyngen (A.S.) 62, 125, 193, 295, to strike, ding, knock

dynt (A.S.) 370, a blow, knock

disalowed (A.N.) 281, disallowed, disapproved. disalowyng, 282, disapproving

discryven (A.N.) to describe

disour (A.N.) a player at dice

disour (A.N.) 120, a teller of tales

dyssheres (A.S.) 96, a female who makes dishes

†distrie (A.N.) 478, to destroy

doel (A.N.) 100, 124, 368, grief, lamentation

doughtier (A.S.) 83, more doughty, more to be feared. doghtiest, 403, bravest. doghtiliche, 371, doughtily, bravely

doke (A.S.) 81, 352, a duck

dole (A.S.) 47, a share, portion. Another form of del.

donet (A.N.) 89, grammar, elements, first principles, from Donatus. See note on l. 7944

domesman (A.S.) 414, a judge

dongeon (A.N.) a fort, the chief tower of a castle

doom, dome (A.S.) pl. domes, judgment

doon (A.S.) to do. pres. sing. dooth, pl. doon, don. pret. s. dide, pl. diden, 278, 392, dide, 389. part. pas. doon, do. imperat. pl. dooth, 152. to doone, 226, 263

dore-tree (A.S.) a door post

†dortour (A.N.) 463, a dormitory

doted (A.S.) foolish, simple

doughtres (A.S.) daughters

doute (A.N.) fear, doubt

dowen (A.N.) to endow. pret. dowed, 325, endowed

dowve (A.S.) 319, a dove

draf (A.S.) 173, 419, dregs, dirt. Things thrown away as unfit for man's food, particularly the dust and husks of corn after it has been threshed. Chaucer's Parson (C. T. l. 17329) says:—

Why schuld I sowen draf out of my fest,

Whan I may sowe whete, if that me lest?

†drane (A.S.) 493, a drone

drawen (A.S.) to draw. pret. s. drough, 89, 98. drogh, 280, 437. drow, 376, pl. drowen, 222. part. pas. drawe, 175

†drecchen (A.S.) 478, 480, to vex, grieve, oppress

drede (A.S.) 434, to dread, fear. pres. s. he drat, 165. pret. s. dredde, 280. pl. dradden, 429. imperat. dred, 17

dredfully (A.S.) 352, fearfully, terrified

dregges (A.S.) 419, dregs

dremels (A.S.) 148, 247, a dream

drenchen, drenche (A.S.) 154, 237, to drown. pret. pl. a-dreynten, 198

drevelen (A.S.) 175, to drivel

drye (A.S.) 276, thirst

drien (A.S.) 16, to be dry, thirsty

drihte (A.S.) 262, lord. drighte, 279

drinken (A.S.) to drink. pret. s. drank, pl. dronken, 277, dronke, 278. part. pas. dronken, y-dronke, 354

dryven (A.S.) to drive

droghte (A.S.) 134, a drought, deficiency of wet

dronklewe (A.S.) 156, drunken, given to drink. The word occurs in Chaucer, C. T. l. 7625:—

Irous Cambises was eek dronkelewe,

And ay delited him to ben a schrewe.

Again (C. T. l. 12426):—

Seneca saith a good word douteles:

He saith he can no difference find,

Betwix a man that is out of his mind,

And a man whiche that is dronkelew.

The word used by Seneca is ebrius

drury (A.N.) 20, courtship, gallantry

duc (A.N.) 414, a duke. pl. dukes, 388

†duen (A.N.) 496, to endue, or endow


ech (A.S.) each. echone (i. e. each one) every one, each

edifie (A.N.) 371, to build

edwyte (A.S.) 99, to reproach, blame, upbraid

eest (A.S.) east

eft (A.S.) 354, 371, again

eggen (A.S.) 19, 386, to egg on, urge, incite

egreliche (A.N.) 334, 418, sourly, bitterly

†ey (A.S.) 464, an egg

eighe (A.S.) 180, 190, 306, pl. eighen, 5, 80, 127, eighes, 33, the eye

eylen (A.S.) to ail

eyr (A.N.) air

elde (A.S.) old age

elenge (A.S.) 12, 179, 425, mournful, sorrowful. elengliche, 231, sorrowfully, in trouble

eller (A.S.) 19, ellere, 168, an elder tree

ellis (A.S.) 6, else, otherwise, at other times

enbawmen (A.N.) to embalm. pret. s. enbawmed, 352

enblaunchen (A.N.) 301, to whiten over

engyne (A.N.) 384, to contrive, lay a plan, catch

engleymen (A.N.) 298, to beslime

engreyned (A.N.) 29, powdered

enselen (A.N.) to put a seal to

†entayled (A.N.) 462, carved

entre-metten (A.N.) 226, 263, to intermeddle

envenyme (A.N.) venom, poison

er (A.S.) before, formerly

erchdekenes (A.N.) archdeacons

ere (A.S.) pl. eris, the ear

erien, erie, erye (A.S.) 117, 138, to plough. pret. pl. eriede, 411. part. past, eryed, 117

eerl. pl. erles (A.S.) an earl

ernynge (A.S.) 418, running. see yerne

ers (A.S.) 87, 180, 191, the fundament, podex

erst (A.S.) first, most before, superl. of er

eschaunge (A.N.) exchange

eschetes (A.N.) 75, escheats

ese (A.N.) ease

eten, ete (A.S.) 386, to eat. pret. s. eet, 100, 135, 146, 241, &c. pl. eten, 114, 248, ete, 278. part. pas. eten, 354.

†evelles (A.S.) 465, without evil

even (A.S.) equal. even-cristen, equal christian, or equal by baptism; fellow-christian, evene, 76, evenly, equally. evene forth, 356, equally

†evesed (A.S.) 460, furnished with eaves

evesynge (A.S.) 361, the ice which hangs on the eaves of houses

ewage (A.N.) 29, a kind of precious stone

expounen (A.N.) 290, to expound, explain


fader (A.S.) 361, a father

fayn (A.S.) fain, glad

faiten (A.N.) 144, 308, to beg, idle, to flatter. pret. pl. faiteden, 3. faityng, 175, deceiving

faiterie (A.N.) 207, flattery, deception

faitour (A.N.) a deceiver, an idle lazy fellow, a flatterer

faithly (A.N.) 400, truly, properly

fallen (A.S.) to fall. pres. s. he falleth. pret. s. fel, 280, 297, fil, 278, 312, 374, fille, 285, 336, pl. fellen, felle, 336, 388. part. pas. fallen, 375

fals (A.N.) false, falseness. falshede, falsehood. falsliche, 390, falsely

fangen (A.S.) 111, fonge, 282, 336, to take, take hold of. pret. s. under-feng, 19, under-fonged, 209. part. past, under-fongen, 115, 211

faren, fare (A.S.) 197, to go, fare. pret. s. ferde, 443, pl. ferden, 168 part. past, faren 77, 123, 228

fare (A.S.) 376, proceeding, manner of going on, fare

fasten (A.S.) to fast

fauchon (A.N.) 295, a sword, falchion

faunt (A.N.) 134, 144, 336, 403, a child, infant

fauntekyn (A.N.) 259, a young child

faunteltee, fauntelté (A.N.) 204, 304, childishness

faute, pl. fautes (A.N.) 179, a fault

fauten (A.N.) to want. pret. fauted, 163

favel (A.N.) 28, 30, deception by flattery, cajolery

feble (A.N.) 355, feeble, weak

fecchen (A.S.) 39, 385, 410, to fetch. pres. s. I fecche, thow fettest, 390. pret. s. fet, fette, 36, 104, 202, 385. pl. fetten, 134. part. pas. fet, 444, fette water at hise eighen, threw water at his eyes; to fetch a thing at another, for, to throw, is an expression still in use

feden (A.S.) to feed

fee (A.S.) property, money, fee

feere (A.S.) 367, pl. feeres, feeris, companion

feere (A.S.) 256, 367, 376, fear

feet (A.N.) 26, a deed, fact

feffement (A.N.) 32, enfeofment

feffen (A.N.) 33, 37, to infeof, to fee, present

feynen (A.N.) to feign, dissemble

feyntise (A.S.) 77, faintness, weakness

feire (A.N.) a fair

fel (A.S.) the skin

fele (A.S.) many. fele fold, manyfold

fellen (A.S.) to fell, kill

felonliche (A.N.) 390, like a felon, in manner of a felon

†fen (A.S.) 476, mud, mire

fend (A.S.) pl. fendes, a fiend, devil. fyndekynes, 391, little fiends

fennel-seed (A.S.) 95, the seed of sweet-fennel was formerly used as a spice

fenestre (A.N.) 285, 370, a window

fer (A.S.) far

fere (A.S.) 140, to frighten

ferly (A.S.) pl. ferlies, a wonder, 196, 253, 376

ferie (A.N.) 270, a week-day

ferme (A.N.) 403, adv. firmly

fermed (A.N.) 177, strengthened

fernyere (A.S.) 103, 228, in former times

fernmerye (A.N.) 253, the infirmary

†ferrer (A.S.) 463, further

ferthe (A.S.) 413, fourth

festnen (A.S.) to fasten. part. pas. fest, 35

festynge (A.N.) feasting

festu (A.N.) 190, a mote in the eye. (festuca, Lat.)

fetisliche, 28, fetisly, 38 (A.N.) elegantly, neatly, featously

fibicches (A.N. ?) 186 (?)

†fichewes (A.S.) 468, a kind of weasel, called a fitchet in Shropshire

†fyen (A.N.) 487, to say, fy! The exclamation, fy! was originally one of disgust, occasioned by anything that stunk, according to the old distich (MS. Cotton, Cleop. B. ix, fol. 11, vo. of the thirteenth cent.):—

Phi, nota fœtoris, lippus gravis omnibus horis,

Sit phi, sit lippus semper procul, ergo Philippus!

fiers (A.N.) proud, fierce

fighten (A.S.) to fight. pret. s. faught, 391, 402. pl. foughten. part. pas. y-foughte, 126, 336

fyle (A.N.) 86, a daughter, girl, apparently used here in the sense of a common woman; as they say now in French, elle n'est qu'une fille, she is no better than a strumpet

fyn (A.N.) 403, fine, clever

fynden (A.S.) to find, to furnish. pres. s. he fynt, 73, 146, 305, 367. pret. s. fond, foond, 219, 304, 312

fir (A.S.) 360, fire. fuyr, fire

fithele (A.N.) 272, to fiddle. fithele, 165, a fiddle

flappen (A.S.) to strike with a flail or with any flat loose weapon. pret. pl. flapten, 128

flatten (A.N.) to slap. pret. s. flatte, 104

flawmbe, flaumbe (A.N.) 360, 362, a flame

flawme (A.S.) 243, to emit a fetid exhalation (?)

flawmen (A.N.) 361, to flame. flawmynge, 360, flaming

fle, 40, fleen, 168, 366 (A.S.) to fly. pret. s. fleigh, 40, 351, 353, 402, 435. pl. flowen, 42, 128. fledden, 42

fleckede (A.S.) 222, spotted

flesshe (A.S.) flesh

fleten (A.S.) 237, to float, swim involuntarily

flittynge (A.S.) 206, disputing, flyting

flobre (A.S. ?) 274, to slobber (?)

florisshe (A.N.) 291, to adorn

floryn (A.N.) 74, a florin (a gold coin)

†flurichen (A.N.) 479, to flourish

fode (A.S.) food

†foynes (A.N.) 468, a kind of marten, of which the fur was used for dresses

fold, foold (A.S.) 24, 141, 243, the world, the earth

fole (A.S.) a foal

follede, 321, baptized. see fullen

†folloke (A.S.) 489 (?)

folvyle (A.N.) 410 (?)

folwe, folwen (A.S.) 355, to follow. pres. pl. folwen. pret. s. folwed, folwede, 353. pl. folwede, 301. part. past, folwed

folwere (A.S.) a follower

fonden (A.S.) 238, to try, tempt, inquire. pret. s. fonded, fondede, 315, 344, 353

fondynge (A.S.) 291, a temptation, undertaking

fongen, see fangen

foot (A.S.) a foot. foote, 354, on foot

for (A.S.) for, for that, because; for-thi, because, therefore

for-, in composition in verbs derived from the Anglo-Saxon, conveys the idea of privation or deterioration, and answers to the modern German ver-. It is preserved in a few words in our language, such as forbid, forbear, forlorn, &c. The following instances occur in Piers Ploughman:—

for-bete (A.S.) to beat down, beat to pieces, or to death, beat entirely. part. past, for-beten, 436

for-bode (A.S.) denial, forbidding

for-biten (A.S.) 332, to bite to pieces

for-doon, for-do (A.S.) 78, 163, 371, to undo, ruin. pret. s. for-dide, 340, 390. part. past, for-do, 262, for-doon, 371

for-faren (A.S.) 303, to go to ruin, perish, to fare ill

for-freten (A.S.) 332, to eat to pieces

†for-gabben (A.N.) 488, to mock

for-yeten (A.S.) 362, to forget. pret. s. for-yat, 205

for-gyven (A.S.) to forgive. pret. s. 374. part. pas. for-gyve, 365

for-glutten (A.S.) 178, to devour, swallow up

for-pynede (A.S.) 126, pined or starved to death, wasted away, niggardly. Chaucer, C. T. l. 1453:—

In derknes and orrible and strong prisoun

This seven yeer hath seten Palamon,

For-pyned, what for woo and for destresse.

And C. T. l. 205:—

He was not pale as a for-pyned goost.

In this latter place Tyrwhit seems to interpret it as meaning tormented

for-shapen (A.S.) to unmake. pret. s. for-shapte, 365

for-sleuthen (A.S.) 103, to be spoilt from lying idle

for-stallen (A.S.) 68, to hinder, forestall, stop

for-sweren (A.S.) 170, to perjure, swear falsely. part. pas. for-sworen, 418, forsworn

for-thynken (A.S.) 167, to repent, beg pardon

for-wandred (A.S.) 1, worn out with wandering about

for-wanye (A.S.) 79, to spoil

†for-werd (A.S.) 476, 494, worn out

for-yelden (A.S.) 133, 257, to make a return for a thing, repay

forbisne (A.S.) 152, an example, similitude, parable

forceres (A.N.) 186, coffers

fore-ward, for-ward, for-warde (A.S.) 65, 119, 206, a bargain, promise

for-goer (A.S.) 39, a goer before

for-goers (A.S.) 31, people whose business it was to go before the great lords in their progresses, and buy up provisions for them

formest (A.S.) 186, 403, first, foremost

†formfaderes (A.S.) 498, first fathers

formour (A.N.) 160, 358, a creator, maker

forreyour (A.N.) 430, a scout, forager

forster (A.N.) 354, a forester

†forytoures, 465, perhaps an error of the press in the old edition for fautoures

forwit (A.S.) 87, prescience, forethought, anticipation

fostren (A.S.) 360, to foster

foulen (A.S.) 414, to defoul

fowel (A.S.) a fowl, bird

fraynen (A.S.) to ask, inquire, question. pret. s. frayned, 18, 109, 151, 341, 370

†fraynyng (A.S.) 452, questioning

frankeleyn (A.N.) 398, a large freeholder, in rank in society classed with, but after, the miles and armiger. See Tyrwhit's note on the Canterbury Tales, l. 333

frayel (A.N.) 252, a wicker basket. See note. In the romance of Richard Cœur de Lion, l. 1547, King Richard says:—

Richard aunsweryth, with herte free,

Off froyt there is gret plenté;

Fyggys, raysyns, in frayel,

And notes may serve us fol wel.

fraytour (A.N.) 192, 463, a refectory

freke (A.S.) 74, 87, 130, 132, 188, 203, 246, 250, 341, man, fellow

frele (A.N.) frail

freletee (A.N.) 46, frelete, 367, frailty

fremmed (A.S.) 303, strange

frere (A.N.) a friar, brother

frete (A.S.) 265, to fret

frete, freten (A.S.) 33, to eat, devour. pret. s. freet, 381

fretien (A.S.) to adorn. part. p. fretted

fryth (A.S.) 224, 241, 355, an inclosed wood

frythed (A.S.) 112, wooded

frounces (A.N.) 265, wrinkles

fullen (A.S.) 322, to full cloth

fullen (A.S.) 176, to become full

fullen (A.S.) to baptize. pret. s. follede, 321. part. past, y-fulled, 398

fullynge (A.S.) 244, 322, 398, baptizing, baptism

furwe (A.S.) a furrow

fust (A.S.) 356, the fist

G. Y.

gabben (A.N.) 53, to joke, trifle, tell tales. gabbyng (A.N.) 423, joking, idle talk

gadelyng (A.S.) 434, gedelyng, 165. pl. gedelynges, 171, gadelynges, 68, a vagabond. In Anglo-Saxon the word gædeling means a companion or associate, apparently without any bad sense. Thus the romance of Beowulf speaks of the armour of one of the heroes:—

þæt Onela for-geaf,

his gædelinges


which Onela had given him,

the war-weeds of his comrade,

the ready implements of war.

This, and most of the other similar Anglo-Saxon words, applied to their heroes and warriors, became degraded under the Anglo-Normans. We may mention as other examples the words, fellow, renk, grom, wye, &c.

†gaynage (A.N.) 462, profit

gaynesse (A.N.) 178, gaiety

galoche (A.N.) 370, a shoe. The word occurs in Chaucer

galpen (A.S.) 252, to belch

gamen (A.S.) play

gangen, gange (A.S.) to go

†garites (A.S.) 463, garrets

garnementz (A.N.) 379, garments, ornaments

gare (A.S.) to make or cause to do a thing. pret. s. garte, 22, 80, 135, 321, gart, 84, gerte, 428

gate (A.S.) 67, 171, 383, way, going. go thi gate, 351, 445, go thy way. this ilke gate, 354, this same way

yate (A.S.) 385, 406, a gate

geaunt (A.N.) 384, a giant

gentile (A.N.) 26, 174, 175, gentle, genteel

gentilliche (A.N.) 44, beautifully, finely, genteelly

gentrie (A.N.) 370, gentility

gerl (A.S.) pl. gerles, girles, gerlis, 17, 184, 369, youth of either sex. In the Coventry Mystery of the Slaughter of the Innocents (p. 181) one of the knights engaged in the massacre says:—

I xall sle scharlys,

And qwenys with therlys,

Here knave gerlys

I xal steke.

Forthe wyl I spede,

To don hem blede,

Thow gerlys grede,

We xul be wreke.

gerner (A.N.) a garner

gesene (A.S. ?) 262, rare, scarce

gesse (A.S.) a guess. up gesse, 102, upon guess, by guess

gest, pl. gestes (A.N.) a deed, history, tale

gest (A.S.) 312, a guest

geten, gete (A.S.) to get. pres. pl. geten. pret. s. gat, thow gete, 386, 389, 390, getest, 390, part. past, geten, 375, gete, 403

yiftes (A.S.) 49, gifts

gyle (A.S.) guile, deceit

gilour (A.S.) a deceiver

gyn (A.N.) 384, a trap, machine, contrivance

gynful (A.N.) 186, full of tricks or contrivances

gynnen (A.S.) to begin. pret. sing. gan, 2. pl. gonne, 158, gonnen, 262. gynnyng, beginning. The preterite is frequently used as an auxiliary verb to form with others a kind of imperfect or preterite, as, gan drawe, 352, drew; gan despise, 374, despised

gyen (A.N.) 39, to rule

gyour (A.N.) 421, 429, a ruler, leader

girden (A.S.) 40, to cast, strike. pret. s. girte, 99. In the second Towneley Mystery of the Shepherds, p. 115, Mak says, "If I trespas eft, gyrd of my heede."

gyterne (A.N.) 260, a gittern, a musical instrument, resembling, or identical with, the modern guitar

gyven (A.S.) to give. pres. pl. gyven. pret. sing. gaf, yaf, 387. part. past, yeven, y-gyve, 37

gyven (A.S.) 436, to fetter, bind in gyves

†gladdyng (A.S.) 481, merry (?)

gladen, 404, gladie, 384 (A.S.) to gladden, cause joy to. pret. s. gladede, 435

†glaverynge (A.N.) 454, 492, smooth, slippery, flattering

glazene (A.S.) 435, made of glass (?) See note

glee (A.S.) the performance of the minstrel or jongleur

gle-man (A.S.) 98, 165, a minstrel

glede, glade (A.S.) 94, 361, a spark, glowing ember

†gleym (    ) 479 (?)

†gloppynge (A.S.) 456, sucking in

glosen (A.N.) to gloss, paraphrase, comment

gloton (A.N.) a glutton

glotonye (A.N.) gluttony

glubben (A.S.) to suck in, gobble up. part. pas. y-glubbed, 97, sucked in. glubbere, 162, a glutton

gnawen (A.S.) to gnaw

†gode (A.S.) 476, a goad

goky (A.S.) 220, a gawky, clown

goliardeis (A.N.) 9, one who gains his living by following rich men's tables, and telling tales and making sport for the guests. See on this word the Introduction to the Poems of Walter Mapes. It occurs in Chaucer, C. T. l. 562

He was a jangler and a golyardeys,

And that was most of synne and harlotries.

gome (A.S.) 257, 263, 267, 288, 308, 312, 350, 354, 382, 403, a man

gomme (A.N.) gum

goon (A.S.) 37, to go. pres. s. he gooth, 354. pl. gon, goon, 303. pret. sing. wente. pl. wenten, 233, 351

goost (A.S.) spirit, ghost

goostliche (A.S.) 427, spiritually

gorge (A.N.) 176, 177, the throat, mouth

gos (A.S.) pl. gees, a goose

gothelen (A.S.) 97, 252, to grumble (as is said of the belly)

gowe (A.S.) 14, a phrase of invitation, i. e. go we, let us go

graffen (A.N.) 85, to graft

†graith (A.S.) 453, 464, the truth (?)

graithe (A.S.) 27, ready, prepared

graithen (A.S.) to prepare, make ready. †part. pas. y-greithed, 462, 487. graythed, 494

graithly (A.S.) 386. graythliche, 482, readily, speedily

graunt (A.N.) 353, great

graven (A.N.) to engrave. part. pas. grave, 73, engraved

gravynge (A.N.) engraving, sculpturing

graven (A.N.) 206, to put in grave

greden (A.S.) 32, 47, to cry out, shout, make a noise. pret. s. thow graddest, 421, he gradde, 335, 448

gree (A.N.) 375, pleasure, will

greete (A.S.) 100, to lament

greyne (A.N.) 412, 415, a grain, seed

greten (A.S.) 97, 379, to greet. pret. s. grette, 186, 344, 446

gretter (A.S.) greater

greven (A.N.) 354, to grieve

grys (A.S.) 14, 68, 134, pigs. See the story of Will Gris in the Lanercost Chronicle

grys (A.N.) 308, a kind of fur

†grysliche (A.S.) 485, fearfully

grom (A.S.) 99, a man: hence the modern groom

grote (A.N.) 51, a groat, a coin of the value of four pennies

grucchen, grucche (A.S.) to grudge


hailsen (A.S.) to salute. pres. s. hailse, 83. pret. hailsed, 148, 151

hayward (A.N.) 415, a man employed to watch and guard the inclosed fields, or hays. An illustration of this word will be found in the passage from Whitaker's text given in the note on l. 2473

hakke (A.S.) 420, to follow, run after, cut along after

half (A.S.) half, side

halie (A.S.) 156, to hawl

hals (A.S.) the neck

halwe (A.S.) 327, to hallow, consecrate, make holy

hamlen (A.S.) †part. pas. y-hamled, 468, to tie or attach (?)

handy dandy (A.S.) 69, the expression still used in Shropshire and Herefordshire

hange, honge (A.S.) 348, 384, to hang (intransitive). pret. s. hanged, 19

hange, hangen (A.S.) 39, 392, to hang (transitive). pret. pl. hengen, 25

hanylons (A.N.) 181, the wiles of a fox. See Sir Frederick Madden's Glossary to Gawawyn (v. hamlounez), who quotes the following lines from the Boke of St. Albans:—

And yf your houndes at a chace renne there ye hunte,

And the beest begyn to renne, as hartes ben wonte,

Or for to hanylon, as dooth the foxe wyth his gyle,

Or for to crosse, as the roo doth otherwhyle.

hanselle (A.S.) 96, gift, reward, bribe. It is used in the alliterative poem on the Deposition of Richard II, p. 30:—

Some parled as perte

As provyd well after,

And clappid more for the coyne

That the kyng owed hem,

Thanne ffor comfforte of the comyne

That her cost paied,

And were behote hansell,

If they helpe wolde.

hardy (A.N.) 413, bold, hardy, courageous. hardier, 354, more bold

hardie (A.N.) 321, to encourage, embolden

harewe (A.S.) 412, a harrow

harewen, harewe (A.S.) 412, 414, to harrow. pret. harewede, ib.

harlot (A.N.) 175, 270, 271, 303, 354, a blackguard, person of infamous life. The word was used in both genders. It appears to have answered exactly to the French ribaud, as Chaucer in the Romance of the Rose translates roy des ribaulx, by king of harlots. Chaucer says of the Sompnour (C. T. l. 649):—

He was a gentil harlot and a kynde

A bettre felaw schulde men nowher fynde.

He wolde suffre for a quart of wyn,

A good felawe to ban his concubyn,

A twelve moneth, and excuse him atte fulle.

This passage gives us a remarkable trait of the character of the ribald, or harlot, who formed a peculiar class of middle-age society. Among some old glosses in the Reliquiæ Antiquæ (vol. i, p. 7), we find "scurra, a harlotte." In the Coventry Mystery of the Woman taken in Adultery (p. 217), it is the young man who is caught with the woman, and not the woman herself, who is stigmatised as a harlot.

harpen (A.S.) to harp. pret. pl. harpeden, 394

harrow (A.N.) 430, an exclamation, or rather a cry, said to have been peculiar to the Normans, the origin and derivation of which have been the subject of much discussion among antiquaries. It was the cry which every one was bound to raise and repeat, when any murder, theft, robbery, or other violent crime, was attempted or perpetrated, in order that the offenders might be hindered or secured. It was afterwards used in any great tumult or disorder, and became a general exclamation of persons wanting help. (See Ducange, in v. Haro.) In the Towneley Mysteries (p. 14), when Cain finds that his offering will not burn, he cries:—

We! out! haro! help to blaw!

It wille not bren for me, I traw.

haspen (A.S.) to clasp. y-hasped, 26

hastilokest (A.N.) 424, most quickly, speedily, hastily

haten (A.S.) to call, order. pres. s. I hote. pret. s. highte, heet, 445. part. pas. y-hote, hoten, hote, called, ordered

haten (A.S.) to be called or named. pres. s. hatte, is called, I hatie, 260, am called. pret. s. highte, was called

hater (A.S.) 273, dress

haterynge (A.S.) 299, dressing, attire

hatien (A.S.) 179, to hate

haven, have, han (A.S.) to have. pres. pl. han. pret. s. hadde, pl. hadden, hadde

haver (A.S.) oats, 134, an haver cake, an oat-cake

heed (A.S.) the head. See heved

heele (A.S.) health

heep (A.S.) a heap

heeth (A.S.) 322, heath

hegge (A.S.) pl. hegges, a hedge

heigh (A.S.) high

†heyne (A.N.) 466, hatred (?)

heyre (A.S.) hair. gen. heris, 193, hair's

hele, heele (A.S.) health

hele (A.S.) 150, a heel

helen, (A.S.) 87, 445. helien, 241, to conceal, hide

helen, heele, 355 (A.S.) to heal. pret. s. heeled, 337. an helyng, 355, in healing, in the course of recovering his health

helpen, helpe (A.S.) to help. pret. s. halp, 403, 418, pl. holpen, 123. part. pas. holpen, 75, 303, 338, holpe, 115

hem (A.S.) them

hemselve (A.S.) themselves

hende (A.S.) 308, gentle, polite. hendenesse, 398, gentleness, worthiness. hendely, hendiliche, 44, politely, gently

hennes (A.S.) hence, from this time

henten, hente (A.S.) to take, seize. pret. s. hente, hent, 435

heraud (A.N.) a herald

herberwe (A.S.) a harbour

herberwen (A.S.) to harbour, shelter. pret. s. herberwed, 352

heremite (A.N.) a hermit

heren, here (A.S.) to hear. pret. s. herde. imperat. y-heer, 356

herne (A.S.) 42, 393, a corner

herte (A.S.) the heart

heste (A.S.) a commandment

†hethen (A.S.) 475, hence

†hetheved (A.S.) 469, head

hethynesse (A.S.) 321, heathenness, paganism, idolatry

heved (A.S.) a head. heed, 352

hewe (A.S.) 110, pl. hewen, 71, 273, 281, a husbandman, a workman

hewe, pl. hewes (A.S.) 224, hue, colour

hiden (A.S.) to hide. pret. s. hidde, 354. part. pas. y-hudde, 199

†hyen (A.S.) 475, to hie, go. pret. s. hiede, 444

hyere (A.S.) higher

hii (A.S.) they

hil (A.S.) pl. hulles, a hill

hilen (A.S.) 113, to cover over. pret. s. hiled, 241, pl. hileden, 223

hynde (A.S.) 311, a doe, female deer

hyne (A.S.) a servant, serf, rustic, labourer

hyne, 72, 268, a hen (?)

hippynge (A.S.) 351, hopping

hire (A.S.) their

hir (A.S.) of them. gen. pl. of he. hir neither, 67, neither of them. hir eyther, 212, 446, either of them. hir noon, 237, none of them. hir oon fordooth hir oother, 373, one of them destroys the other of them

his (A.S.) pl. hise, his

hitten (A.S.) to hit. pret. s. hite, 86, hitte, 96

†hod (A.S.) 476, a hood

†hok-shynes (A.S.) 476, crooked shins. hok seems almost superfluous: the shin towards the hock or ancle?

holden (A.S.) to hold. pres. s. he halt, 354, 357, pl. holde, 15, holden, 18. pret. s. heeld, 156, 206, pl. helden, 294, 418, 438. part. pas. y-holden, 358, holden, y-holde, 440, 441

hool (A.S.) pl. hole, 392, whole, entire. hooly, wholly. holly, 396, wholly. †hollich, 452, wholly

homliche (A.S.) 179, from house to house

hoom (A.S.) home. the viker hadde fer hoom, 424, the vicar had far to go home

hoor (A.S.) pl. hore, 144, hoary. as hoor as an hawethorn, 341

hoord (A.S.) a hoard

hoors (A.S.) 367, hoarse

hoot (A.S.) 360, hot

hopen (A.S.) 329, to expect, hope

hoper (A.S.) 120, the hopper of a mill

hore (A.S.) 75, pl. hoores, 299, hores, 303, a whore

†hornes (A.S.) 461, corners

hostele (A.N.) 355, to give lodging, to receive into an inn

hostiler (A.N.) 352, 355, the keeper of a hostelry or inn

hostrie (A.N.) 352, a hostelry, inn

houpen (A.S.) 127, to hoop, shout

houres (A.N. heures, Lat. horæ) the Romish service

housel (A.S.) 419, the sacrament of the Eucharist

houselen (A.S.) to receive the Eucharist. part. past, housled, 396, 424, houseled, 419

hoven (A.S.) 13, to tarry, hover, dwell. pret. s. hoved, 374

howve (A.S.) pl. howves, 13, 60, 435, a cap or hood

hucche (A.S.) 72, a hutch, chest

huge (A.S.) 216, great

hukkerye (A.S.) 90, huckstry

hunten (A.S.) to hunt. part. pas. y-honted, 41

huppe (A.S.) 327, to hop

huyre (A.S.) 111, hire, wages

I. Y.

ic, ich, ik (A.S.) I

†ich (A.S.) each. †ichon, 479, each one. See ech

ydel (A.S.) idleness, vanity. on ydel, in vain

†iis (A.S.) 476, ice

ilke (A.S.) same

impe (A.N.) 85, a sprig, twig growing from the root of a tree

impen, ympen (A.N.) 85, to graft. †part. past, ymped, 469, grafted

in-going (A.S.) 115, entrance

inne (A.S.) the adverbial form of in

inne (A.S.) a lodging, hence our inn

inwit (A.S.) 160, 162, 364, conscience, interior understanding. with inwit and outwit, 263

yren (A.S.) 288, iron

ysekeles (A.S.) 361, icicles


jangeleres, jangleris (A.N.) 3, 175, praters

jangle (A.N.) 9, 33, 74, 136, 164, 251, 337, 339, to jangle, to talk emptily, to prate

janglynge (A.N.) 169, 419, jangling, empty talking, nonsense

jape (A.S.) 433, a jest

japen (A.S.) 19, 33, 260, to jest, mock, cajole. part. past, japed, 371

japer (A.S.) pl. japeres, japeris, 3, 164, 175, a jester, mocker

Jewe, gen. pl. Jewen, 19, Jewene, 384, 402, a Jew

jogele (A.N.) 260, to play the minstrel, or jongleur

jogelour (A.N.) 121, 175, a minstrel, jongleur, one who played mountebank tricks

jouke (A.S.) 336, to rest, dwell

joute (A.N.) 86, a battle, combat

jugge (A.N.) a judge

juggen (A.N.) 290, 427, to judge

jurdan (A.N.) 251, a pot. At a later period the word was only applied to a chamber-pot, as in Shakespeare

juste (A.N.) 251, justes, 351, 352, 370, a joust, battle, tournament

justen, juste (A.N.) 336, 370, 374, to joust, tilt (in a tournament). pret. s. justed, 340, justede, 380

justere (A.N.) 396, one who goes to jousts, engages in tournaments

justice (A.N.) 404, to judge

juttes (A.N. ?) 201, low persons

juventee (A.N.) 402, youth

juwise (A.N.) 392, judgment, from judicium

K. See under C.


lachesse (A.N.) 153, negligence

ladde (A.S.) pl. laddes, 398, a low common person

†laiche (A.S.) 486, to catch, obtain. see lakke

layk (A.S.) 287, play

laiken (A.S.) 11, to play. The writer of the romance of Kyng Alisaunder, in describing a battle (Weber, p. 159), says,—

There was sweord lakkyng,

i.e. there was playing with the sword. Weber, in his Glossary, has very wrongly explained it by licking. It is the Anglo-Saxon poetic phrase, sweorda ge-lác, the play of swords

lakke (A.S.) 189, a fault, a lack, or something deficient or wanting

lakken, lacche (A.S.) 31, 40, 130, 220, 262, 309, 333, to obtain, catch, take. pret. s. laughte, 357, 388, 434. part. act. lacchynge, 21

lakken (A.S.) 85, 130, 185, 189, 208, 214, 234, 263, 307, 309, 329, 411, to mock, to blame, or reproach. pret. pl. lakkede, 294. part. pas. y-lakked, 29

lakken (A.S.) 46, 218, 219, 262, 310, 365, 423, to lack, to be wanting. pret. s. lakkede, 402, was wanting

lambren (A.S.) 307, lambs. So Lydgate (Minor Poems, ed. Halliwell), p. 169,—

Takith to his larder at what price he wold,

Of gretter lambren, j., ij., or thre,

In wynter nyghtis frostis bien so colde,

The sheppard slepithe, God lete hym never the!

lang (A.S.) long

lape (A.S.) 426, to lap, as a dog

large (A.N.) 398, largess (?)

lasse (A.S.) less

late, lete (A.S.) 76, 386, to let. pres. s. leet, 305, 384. pret. s. leet, 25, 74, 127, 209, 346, pl. leten, lete, 294, 393. subj. s. late

†lath (   .) 476. Perhaps an error of the old edition for lay?

†latun (A.N.) 462, a mixed metal of the colour of brass

laughen (A.S.) 439, to laugh. pret. s. lough, 423. part. pas. lowen, 82.

launde (A.N.) 155, 183, 312, a plain, a level space clear of trees in the midst of a forest, a lawn

lave (A.N.) 273, to wash

lavendrye (A.N.) 306, washing

†lavoures (A.N.) 462, lavers, ewers, basins to receive water

leauté (A.N.) loyalty

leche (A.S.) 443, a physician

lechecraft (A.S.) 336, 435, the art of healing, medicine

lechen (A.S.) 261, to cure. pret. s. leched, 337

leden, lede (A.S.) 355, 393, to lead. pret. s. ladde, 352. part. act. ledynge. part. pas. lad, 160, 246

ledene (A.S.) 242, 243, speech, language. This is applied, as here, to birds, by Chaucer, C. T. 10749:—

This faire kynges doughter, Canace,

That on hir fynger bar the queynte ryng,

Thurgh which sche understood wel every thing

That eny foul may in his lydne sayn,

And couthe answer him in his lydne agayn.

ledes (A.S.) 326, people attached to the land, peasants

leef (A.S.) dear, love. his leef, his dear

leef (A.S.) 301, pl. leves, a leaf

leelly (A.N.) 19, lelly, 45, 146, loyally, faithfully. leele, lele, loyal. lelest, 349, most loyal

leere, lere (A.S.) 15, 173, countenance, mien, complexion

leggen (A.S.) 30, 133, 235, 306, 426, leyen, 374, to lay, to bet (to lay down a wager). pret. s. leide, 352, 372, 432, leyde, 98, 436

legistre (A.N.) 139, a legist, one skilled in the law.

ley, pl. leyes (A.S.) 138, a lea (Lat. saltus)

leye (A.S.) 360, 364, flame

leme (A.S.) 376, 377, brightness

lemman (A.S.) pl. lemmannes, 303, a sweetheart, a mistress

lene (A.S.) lean

lenen, lene (A.S.) to give; hence our lend. pret. lened, 269. part. past, lent, 275

lenen (A.S.) to lean. pret. s. lened, 369

lenge (A.S.) 27, 421, to rest, remain, reside long in a place. pret. s. lenged, 151, †pret. pl. lengeden, 469, dwelt, remained

Lenten (A.S.) Lent

lenten (A.S.) 369, a linden tree

leode (A.S.) 352, people, a person, whence our lad

lepen (A.S.) 41, 236, to leap. pret. s. leep, 10, 41, lope, 71, lepe, 107, lepte, 434. pl. lopen, 14, 22, 86, lope, 74. part. pas. lopen, 88

leperis (A.S.) leapers. lond leperis heremytes, hermits who leap or wander over different lands

lered (A.S.) 45, learned, educated, clergy

leren (A.S.) 146, to teach. pres. he lereth. pret. lerned, 146, 412, lered, 292, 336, 410

lerne (A.S.) 350, 351, 437, 441, to learn. part. pas. y-lerned, 141

lesen (A.S.) to lose. pres. s. lese, lees, 107, 148. part. act. lesynge. part. pas. lost, lore, 374, y-lorn, 388

lese (A.S.) 121, to glean. The word is still used in Shropshire and Herefordshire.

lesynge (A.S.) 66, 387, 388, a lie, fable, falsehood

lethi (A.S.) 184, hateful

letten, leten, lette (A.S.) 352, 435, to hinder, to tarry, pret. s. lette, 368, letted, 335. part. past, letted, 418. lettere, 19, a hinderer. lettyng, a hindrance

lettrede (A.N.) 49, lettered, learned. y-lettrede, learned, instructed

lettrure (A.N.) learning, scripture, literature

leve (A.S.) 385, leave, permission

leve (A.S.) pl. leeve, dear, precious. levere, dearer, rather. leveste, levest, 364, dearest

leved (A.S.) 300, leaved, covered with leaves

leven (A.S.) 299, 301, to leave. part. s. lafte, 447

leven (A.S.) to dwell, remain. pret. lafte, 440. †pret. s. lefte, 473, dwelt, remained.

leven, leeve (A.S.) to believe, 304, 319. pret. s. leeved, 435. leved, 393. pl. leveden

lewed (A.S.) 26, 420, lay, ignorant, untaught, useless. lewed of that labour, 237, ignorant of, or unskilful in, that labour. lewednesse, 45, ignorance, rusticity

lewté (A.N.) loyalty

lyard (A.N.) 352, 368, a common name for a horse, but signifying originally a horse of a grey colour

libben, libbe (A.S.) 275, to live. part. act. libbynge

lyen (A.S.) to lie. pres. s. 2 pers. thow lixt, 86. pret. thow leighe, 393, thou didst lie

liere (A.S.) a liar

lif (A.S.) pl. lives, life

liflode (A.S.) living, state of life

lift (A.S.) 316, air, sky

lige (A.N.) 76, 390, liege

liggen, ligge (A.S.) 361, to lie down. pres. s. I ligge, he lith, lyth, 355, thei ligge, 421. pret. sing. lay. part. act. liggynge. part. pas. leyen, 45, y-leye, 82, y-leyen, 198, 399

lighten (A.S.) to alight, descend, or dismount from. pret. s. lighte, 352

lightloker (A.S.) 112, 237, 321, more lightly, more easily

lik, lich, y-lik (A.S.) 389, like, resembling. liknesse, likeness, y-liche, 401

liche (A.S.) 173, the body. Chaucer, C.T. l. 2960, speaks of the liche-wake, or ceremonies of waking and watching the corpse, still preserved in Ireland:—

Ne how the liche-wake was y-holde

Al thilke night, ne how the Grekes pleye.

In the romance of Alexander (Weber, p. 145), the word is applied to a living body (as in Piers Ploughman):—

The armure he dude on his liche—

he put the armour on his body

likame, lycame (A.S.) the body

liken (A.S.) 455, to please, to like (i. e. be pleased with). liketh, 17, 262. pret. s. liked

likynge (A.S.) 203, pleasure, love, liking

likerous (A.N.) 133, nice, voluptuous, lecherous

likne (A.S.) 175, 190, to imitate, to mimic, to make a simile

lyme (A.S.) 436, limb

lyme-yerd (A.S.) 170, limed twig

lymitour (A.N.) 85, 445, a limitour, a begging friar

lynde (A.S.) 24, 155, the linden tree

lippe (A.S.) 324, a slip, portion

liser (A.N.) 89, list of cloth (?)

lisse (A.S.) 160, 383, joy, happiness, bliss

liste (A.S.) to please, list. pret. list, 356, it pleased

listre (A.S.) 85, a deceiver

lite (A.S.) 262, little

litel (A.S.) little. litlum and litlum, 329, by little and little, the uncorrupted Anglo-Saxon phrase. See note

lyth (A.S.) 341, a body

lythe, lithen (A.S.) 155, 270, to listen to

lyven, lyve (A.S.) to live. pr. pl. lyveden, 2. part. act. lybbynge. See libben

lyves (A.S.) alive. lyves and lokynge, 405, alive and looking. See note on l. 5014

lyveris (A.S.) 235, livers, people who live

lobies (A.S.) 4, loobies, clowns

loft (A.S.) high, height. bi lofte and by grounde, 372, in height and in ground-plan. o-lofte, aloft, on high

lok (A.S.) 27, a lock

loken (A.S.) 388, to look, to over-see, 148. pret. s. lokede, 276

lollen (A.S.) 240, to loll. part. pas. lolled, 239. part. act. lollynge, 346

lolleris (A.S.) 308, lollards. The origin of this word is doubtful, but it seems to mean generally people who go about from place to place with a hypocritical show of praying and devotion. It was certainly in use long before the time of the Wycliffites, in Germany as well as in England. Johannes Hocsemius (quoted by Ducange, v. Lollardi) says, in his chronicle on the year 1309, "Eodem anno quidam hypocritæ gyrovagi, qui Lollardisive Deum laudantes vocabantur, per Hannoniam et Brabantiam quasdam mulieres nobiles deceperunt," &c. The term, used in the time of Piers Ploughman as one of reproach, was afterwards contemptuously given to the church reformers. The writer of the Ploughman's Tale, printed in Chaucer, Speght, fol. 86, appears to apply it to wandering friars:—

i-cleped lollers and londlese.

lomere (A.S.) 439, more frequently

lond-buggere (A.S.) 191, a buyer of land

†lone (A.S.) 493, a loan (?)

longen (A.S.) to belong

loof (A.S.) a loaf

loone (A.S.) 442, a loan. lenger yeres loone, a loan of a year longer, a year's extension or renewal of the loan

loore (A.S.) 79, 244, teaching, lore, doctrine, science

loores-man, lores-man (A.S.) 164, 318, a teacher

loos (A.S.) 219, honour, praise

lorel (A.N.) 147, 294, 351, 369, a bad man, a good-for-nothing fellow. Chaucer, in his translation of Boethius, uses it to represent the Latin perditissimus. Compare the description of the lorel in the Ploughman's Tale (Speght's Chaucer) fol. 91:—

For thou canst no cattell gete,

But livest in lond as a lorell,

With glosing gettest thou thy mete.

losel (A.N.) 5, 124, 176, 303, a wretch, good-for-nothing fellow. It appears to be a different form of the preceding word. loselly, 240, in a disgraceful, good-for-nothing manner

losengerie (A.N.) 125, 176, flattery, lying

lothen (A.S.) to loath

looth (A.S.) loath, hateful. lother, 318, more loath. lothliche, hateful

lotebies (A.S. ?) 52, private companions, bed-fellows. In the romance of the Seven Sages (Weber, p. 57) it is said of a woman unfaithful to her husband:—

Sche stal a-wai, mididone,

And wente to here lotebi.

Chaucer uses the word (in the romance of the Rose, l. 6339), in a passage rather similar to this of Piers Ploughman:—

Now am I yong and stout and bolde,

Now am I Robert, now Robin,

Now frere Minor now Jacobin,

And with me followeth my loteby,

To don me solace and company.

In the original the word is compaigne

lotien (A.S.) 354, to lurk, lie in ambush

louke (A.S.) 384, to lock

louren (A.S.) to lower

lous, lys (A.S.) pl. a louse

louten (A.S.) 50, 181, 182, 300, to make a salutation, reverence. pret. s. louted, 294, 470

lovyen, lovye, lovien (A.S.) to love. hym lovede, 356, it pleased him

lowen (A.S.) to condescend (?) pret. lowed, 8

luft (A.S.) 69, fellow, person

†lullyng (A.S.) 455, lolling (?)

lurdayne (A.S.) 375, 436, a clown, rustic, ill-bred person

lusard (A.N.) 389, a lizard, crocodile

lussheburwes (A.N.) 316, base or adulterated coins; which took their name and were imported from Luxemberg. See note on l. 10322

luten (A.N.) to play on the lute. pret. s. lutede, 395

luther (A.S.) 316, 390, bad, wicked


macche (A.S.) 248, 249, companion, match-fellow

macche (A.S.) 360, a match

macer (A.N.) 47, one who carries a mace

mayen (A.S.) to be able (it is seldom or never used in the infinitive mood). pres. s. may, pl. mowen, mowe. pret. s. myghte, pl. mighte

y-maymed (A.S.) 359, maimed

mayn-pernour, (A.N.) 71, 380. See the next word

mayn-prise (A.N.) 70, 346, a kind of bail, a law term. "It signifieth in our Common Law the taking or receiving a man in friendly custodie, that otherwise is or might be committed to prison, and so upon securitie given for his forth coming at a day assigned: and they that doe thus undertake for any, are called mainpernours, because they do receive him into their hands." Minsheu. The persons thus received were allowed to go at large

mayn-prise (A.N.) 75, 426, meynprise, 39, to bail in the manner described under the foregoing word

mair (A.N.) 290, pl. meires, 150, a mayor

maistrie (A.N.) 66, a mastery, a feat of science

make (A.S.) 50, 222, 230, a companion, consort

maken, make (A.S.) to make. pret. s. made. part. pas. y-maked, 2. maad, 71, 248

make (A.S.) 229, to compose poetry. See note

makynge (A.S.) 229, writing poetry

male (A.N.) 91, a box, pack

†malisones (A.N.) 493, curses

mamelen (A.S.) 78, 226, to chatter, mumble

menacen (A.N.) to menace, threaten

manere (A.N.) manner

mange (A.N.) 132, to eat

mangerie (A.N.) 209, 328, an eating, a feast

manlich (A.S.) 92. humane. manliche, manfully, humanely

mansed (A.N.) 30, 74, 190, 233, 438, cursed, excommunicated

marc (A.N.) 161, a mark (a coin)

marche (A.S.) 159, 321, a border. The word is preserved in the term "Marches of Wales," "Marches of Scotland"

marchen (A.N.) to march, go

mareys (A.N.) a marsh

†masedere (A.N.) 499, more amazed

maugree (A.N.) 131, ill thanks, in spite of

maundee (A.S.) 339, maunday

maundement (A.N.) 348, a commandment

mawe (A.S.) 298, mouth, maw

maze (A.N.) 12, doubt, amazement, a labyrinth

meden (A.S.) 56, to reward, bribe

mede (A.S.) meed, reward

medlen (A.N.) to mix with

meel (A.S.) meal

meene (A.N.) poor, moderate, middle

mees (A.S.) 249, 313, a mess or portion of meat

megre (A.N.) meagre, thin

meynee (A.N.) 178, household, household retinue

meken (A.S.) to make meek, humiliate

mele (A.S.) 262, meal, flour

mendinaunt, pl. mendinauntz (A.N.) a beggar; friars of the begging orders

mene, meene (A.N.) mean, middle

mene (A.N.) 326, a mean

menen (A.S.) to mean. to meene, 15, 18. that is Crist to mene, 399, that means Christ

menen (A.S.) to moan, lament. pret. mened

†menemong (A.S.) 497, of an ordinary quality

menever (A.N.) 433, a kind of fur; the fur of the ermine and small weasel mixed

mengen (A.S.) to mix, meddle

menyson (A.N.) 337, a flux, dysentery

menour (A.N.) a Minorite

menske (A.S.) 54, 455, decency, honour, manliness

mercien (A.N.) to thank

mercy (A.N.) 17, 353, thanks

mercy (A.N.) 360, 361, mercy

mercyment (A.N.) amercement

merk (A.S.) 316, a mark

merke (A.S.) 15, dark. merknesse (A.S.) 377, 379, darkness

merveillous (A.N.) marvellous, wonderful

meschief (A.N.) 197, mishap, evil, mischief

mesel (A.S.) pl. meseles, 51, 144, 337, a leper

meson-Dieux (A.N.) 139, hospitals

messe (A.S.) mass, the Romish ceremony

mestier (A.N.) 138, occupation

mesurable (A.N.) moderate

met (A.S.) 267, measure

mete (A.S.) meat. mete-less, (A.S.) without meat

metels (A.S.) 13, 31, 147, 149, 155, 202, 207, a dream

meten, meete (A.S.) 310, to meet. pret. s. mette, 351. part. pas. met, 216

meten (A.S.) to dream. pret. s. mette, 148, 155, 396. part. s. metynge, 221

metyng (A.S.) 246, a dream

†meter (A.S.) 476, fitter (?)

meve (A.N.) 153, 228, to move. pres. pl. ye moeven, 298

myd (A.S.) with

myddel-erthe (A.S.) 221, the world

middes (A.S.) middle, midst

mynistren (A.N.) 231, to administer

mynnen (A.S.) 322, to mind, to recollect

mynours (A.N.) miners, diggers of mines

mys-beden (A.S.) 119, to injure

mysese (A.N.) 16, ill ease

mys-eise (A.N.) 139, ill at ease

mysfeet (A.N.) 224, ill deed, wrong

†myster (A.N.) 484, kind species

mystier (A.S.) more misty, more dark

†myteynes (A.N.) 476, mittens, gloves

mnam, 131, a Hebrew coin

mo (A.S.) more

mody (A.S.) moody. modiliche, moodily

moeble, meble (A.N.) 364, goods

molde, moolde (A.S.) earth, mould

moled (A.N.) 262, 264, spotted, stained

mom (A.S.) 13, a mum, sound

mone (A.S.) 295, lamentation

†monelich (A.N.) 457, meanly

monials (A.N.) 192, nuns (Lat. moniales)

moore (A.S.) 403, greater

moost (A.S.) greatest

moot (A.N.) 113, 417, a moat

moot-halle (A.S.) 73, 74, hall of meeting, of justice

more (A.S.) 300, 330, 331, 334, pl. mores, 416, a root

mornen (A.S.) to mourn. pret. s. mornede

mortrews (A.N.) 248, 250, 252, a kind of soup

morwe (A.S.) morning, morrow

morwenynge (A.S.) morning

mote (A.S.) 25, to hold courts of justice

motyng (A.S.) 141, judging, meeting for justice

moton (A.N.) 44, the name of a coin. See note on l. 1404

mous (A.S.) pl. mees, a mouse

mouster (A.N.) 267, muster, arrangement

muche (A.S.) 155, 417, great

muchel (A.S.) 401, great, much

muliere, mulliere (A.N.) 343, 344, a wife, woman

murie (A.S.) pleasant, merry, joyful. murye, 1, pleasantly, murier, more pleasant

murthe (A.S.) 382, pleasure, joy, mirth

murthen (A.S.) 362, to make merry or joyful

muson (A.N.) 183, measures (?)

must (A.S.) 391, a liquor made of honey


nale (A.S.) 124, the ale. see atte

namoore (A.S.) no more

naught (A.S.) not, nought

ne (A.S.) not. The negative ne is combined with the verb to will, to be, &c.; as nelle, for ne wille, nel, nyl, for ne wil, nere, for ne were, nolde, for ne wolde, nyste, for ne wiste. It is sometimes combined with other verbs, as naroos, 399, for ne aroos. So we have such expressions as, wol he nele he, 427, i. e. whether he will or he will not

nede (A.S.) need

neddre (A.S.) 82, an adder, venomous serpent

nedlere (A.S.) 96, maker of, or dealer in, needles

neet (A.S.) 411, cattle. Farmers still talk of neat cattle

neghen (A.S.) to approach, to near. pret. s. neghed, 425, neghede, 438

neigh (A.S.) near, nigh

nempne (A.S.) 397, to name, call. pret. s. nempned, 397, 404. part. pas. y-nempned, nempned

nevelynge (A.S.) 85, sniveling

nygard (A.S.) niggard

nymen, nyme (A.S.) 268, 304 426, to take. part. pas. y-nome, 427

nyppe (A.S.) 379, a point (?)

noble (A.N.) 191, a gold coin of the value of six shillings and eightpence

noght (A.S.) nought, nothing

noyen (A.N.) to injure, annoy, plague

nones (A.N.) 125, the hour of two or three in the afternoon

nonne (A.S.) 86, a nun

noon (A.S.) none

nounpere (A.N.) 97, an umpire, an arbitrator

noughty (A.S.) 130, possessed of nothing

noun (A.N.) 366, no

nouthe (A.S.) now


o (A.S.) 349, one

of-gon (A.S.) 166, to derive (?)

of-walked (A.S.) 258, fatigued with walking

o-lofte (A.S.) aloft, on high

one, oone (A.S.) singly, alone, only. myn one, 154, myself singly

†onethe (A.S.) scarcely. See unnethe

oon (A.S.) one

oost (A.N.) 416, a host, army

openen, opene (A.S.) to open. pret. pl. opned, 388

ordeigne, ordeyne (A.N.) 415, to ordain

organye (A.N.) 369, a musical instrument. by organye, as an accompaniment to music

ote (A.S.) an oat

oughen (A.S.) to own, possess, owe. pret. s. oughte, 47

outher (A.S.) other, either, or

over-come (A.S.) to overcome. pret. s. over-coom, 405

over-hoven (A.S.) 55, 379, to hover or dwell over, hang over

over-hippen (A.S.) to hop over, skip over. pret. pl. thei over-huppen, 250, 318

over-leden (A.S.) 62, to overlead, tyrannize over

over-spreden (A.S.) to spread over. pret. s. over-spradde, 408

over-tilten (A.S.) to tilt or throw over. pret. s. over-tilte, 428, 433, threw over, dug up

owene (A.S.) 366, own


paast (A.N.) 275, paste, dough

payn (A.N.) bread

paynym (A.N.) 108, 326, a pagan

pays (A.N.) 340, country

pallen (A.S.) 333, to knock. pret. s. I palle, 332

palmere (A.N.) 83, a palmer, pilgrim to distant lands

paltok (A.N.) 370, 438, a cloak

panne (A.S.) 69, the scull, head

pardoner (A.N.) a dealer in pardons

parentrelynarie (A.N.) 220, between the lines, interlineal

parfiter (A.N.) 229, more perfectly

parfitly (A.N.) perfectly

parfourne (A.N.) to perform

parisshen (A.N.) 206, 441, a parishioner

parle (A.N.) to talk. part. past, parled, 385

parroken (A.N.) 312, to park or inclose

parten (A.N.) to share, to part. †part. pas. parten, 475

Pasqe (A.N.) 338, Easter

passhen (A.S.) 431, to crush

pawme (A.N.) 356, the palm of the hand

pece (A.N.) 276, a piece

peeren (A.N.) 320, make themselves equal

peeren (A.N.) 11, to appear

pees (A.N.) peace. preide hem be pees, 405, prayed them to be quiet

peire (A.N.) a pair

peiren (A.N.) 50, to diminish, injure. see apeiren

peis (A.N.) 91, weight

peisen (A.N.) 90, to weigh

pelure (A.N.) 420, fur

pens (A.S.) pence

peraunter (A.N.) 202, peradventure, by chance

percell, pl. parcelles (A.N.) 177, 220, 349, a parcel, part

percel-mele (A.N.) 48, piecemeal

percile (A.N.) 134, parsley

pere (A.N.) 139, a peer, an equal

perfourne (A.N.) 251, to finish, complete, to furnish

perillousli (A.N.) dangerously, rudely

y-perissed (A.N.) 359, perished, destroyed

perree (A.N.) 173, precious stones, jewellery

persaunt (A.N.) 24, piercing

person (A.N.) 441, a parson. personage, a parsonage

pertliche (A.N.) 78, openly

pese (A.N.) pease

petit (A.N.) little

picche (A.S.) 123, to pick

pie (A.N.) 150, a magpie

pik (A.S.) a pike

pikstaf (A.S.) 123, a pike-staff

piken (A.S.) to pick

pyke-harneys (A.N.) 440, plunderers

pykoise (A.N.) 61, a hoe

pil, pyl, pl. piles (A.S.) 331, 332, 417, a pile

†pilche (A.S.) 465, a coat of hair or some rude material. We find the word used by Lydgate, ed. Halliwell, p. 154:—

Houndys for favour wyl nat spare,

To pynche his pylche with greet noyse and soun.

And in Caxton's Reynard the Foxe, cap. v, Reynard having turned hermit, bare "his slayvne and pylche, and an heren sherte therunder."

†pild (A.N.) 500, bald

pilen (A.N.) 422, to rob

pilour (A.N.) 371, 420, a thief

†pylion (A.S. ?) 500, a kind of cap

pyne (A.N.) peyne, pl. peynes, pain, punishment

pyne, 78. See wynen

pynynge-stoole (A.S.) 47, literally, a stool of punishment, a cucking-stool

pynne (A.S.) 442, to bolt

piones (A.N.) 95, the seed of the piony, which was used as a spice. In the Coventry Mysteries (ed. Halliwell, p. 22) we find the word joined, as here, with pepper:—

Here is pepyr, pyan, and swete lycorys,

Take hem alle at thi lykying

pyries (A.N.) 78, pear-trees

pisseris (A.N.) 438 (?)

pistle (A.N.) an epistle

pitously (A.N.) piteously, for the sake of pity

pleyen (A.S.) to play. pret. s. pleide, pl. pleiden

pleyn (A.N.) full

pleyne (A.N.) 53, to commiserate, to complain, make a complaint

plener (A.N.) 209, 336, full, fully

pleten (A.N.) to plead. pret. pl. pleteden, 140

platten (A.N.) to fall or throw down flat. pret. s. platte, 81

plot (A.N.) 263, pl. plottes, 265, a patch

plow-foot (A.S.) 123, a part of a plough

po (A.S.) 243, a peacock

†poynttyl (A.N.) 462, the signification of this word appears to be the square tiles used for paving floors. See Warton's Hist. of Engl. Poetry, ii, 99

poke (A.S.) 150, 259, 275, 288, a sack

poken (A.N.) to urge, push forwards, poke, thrust

pol, 205, polle (A.S.) 261, 430, a head, poll

polshen (A.N.) 105, to polish

pondfold (A.S.) 346, the pinfold or pound

poraille (A.N.) the poor people

poret (A.N.) pl. porettes, 134, 135, a kind of leek

porthors (A.N.) 302, a breviary, (portiforium, Lat.)

pose (A.N.) 365, to place, put as a supposition

possen (A.N.) to push

potente (A.N.) 156, a club, staff

pouke (A.S.) 256, 285, 333, 346, the devil

Poul (A.N.) St. Paul

pounde-mele (A.S.) 41, by the pound

pous (A.N.) 352, the pulse

poustee (A.N.) 79, 228, power, strength

povere (A.N.) poor

†povert (A.N.) 496, poverty

†powghe, terre powghe, 487, a torn sack or poke (?) The imperfect glossary appended to the old printed edition of the "Creed" explains it by tar box

prayen (A.N.) 430, to make prey of, plunder

preessen (A.N.) 286, to hasten, crowd

preyen, preye (A.N.) to pray. pret. s. preide, preyde

preiere (A.N.) prayer

preynte (A.N. ?) 253 (?)

preise (A.N.) 97, to appraise, value

†prese (A.N.) 495, to hasten. pret. s. presed, 460

prest (A.N.) 287, ready. prester, 191, more ready. presteste, 110, readiest, quickest. prestly, readily

preven, preve (A.N.) to prove

prikye (A.S.) 369, to ride over, ride, spur. pret. s. prikede, 368, part. past, y-priked, 430

prikere (A.S.) 159, 191, prikiere, 370, a rider

pris (A.N.) 411, prize, value

prison (A.N.) 140, 315, 372, a prisoner

pryvee (A.N.) private, intimate, confidential

provisour (A.N.) 38, 73, a purveyor, provider

prowor (A.N.) 411, a priest

puffed (A.S.) 78, blown

†pulchen (A.N.) to polish. part. past, pulched, 458, pulchud, 460, polished

pulette (A.N.) a chicken

punysshen (A.N.) 407, to punish

pure (A.N.) pure, simple, unmixed. pure (adv.) 213, purely, simply. purely for-do, 262, altogether destroyed or undone. †puriche (A.N.) 467, purely: perhaps it should be purliche

purfill, purfil (A.N.) 72, 78, embroidery, tinsel

purfilen (A.N.) 28, to embroider

put (A.S.) 195, 284, pl. puttes, a pit, cave

putten, puten (A.S.) 400, to put, place. pres. s. putte, pl. putten. pres. s. and pl. putte, 68, 110, 372. part. past, y-put, 290


quatron (A.N.) 90, a quartern

quave (A.N.) to shake, tremble. pret. s. quaved, 373

queed (A.S.) 285, the evil one, the devil

queste-mongere (A.N. and A.S.) one who made a business of conducting inquests

queynt (A.S.) 390, quenched, destroyed

queyntely (A.N.) 416, quaintly, cunningly

queyntise (A.N.) 385, 417, cunning

quellen (A.S.) to kill. part. past, quelt, 337, killed

†quenes (A.S.) 456, women. The word is used in the modern sense of the word wench

quyk (A.S.) 384, 399, live, alive

quykne (A.S.) 390, to give life to, bring to life. pret. s. I quikne

quite, quyte (A.N.) 389, 390, to quit, pay off. part. past, quit, 390

quod (A.S.) quoth, says


radegunde (A.S. ?) 430, a disease, apparently a sort of boil

rageman (A.N.) 5, 335, a catalogue, list

ray (A.N.) 89, a ray, streak

†raken (A.S.) 455, to go raking about

rakiere (A.S.) 96, one who goes raking about

rape (A.S.) 97, haste

rapen (A.S.) 65, 101, 124, to prepare. pret. s. raped, 352

rapeliche (A.S.) 347, rapely, 351, readily, quickly. rapelier, 352, more quickly

rappen (A.S.) 20, to strike, rap

rather, 155, earlier

rathe (A.S.) early. rathest, earliest, first, soonest, most readily

raton (A.N.) a rat

ratoner (A.N.) 96, a rat-catcher

raunsone (A.N.) 390, ransom

rave (A.S.) 380, to rave. ravestow, 380, dost thou rave

ravysshen (A.N.) 399, to ravage, rob, plunder, ravish

raxen (A.S.) 100, to hawk, spit

reaume, reme (A.N.) pl. remes, reames, a realm

recche (A.S.) 67, 204, to reck, care for. pret. s. roughte, 369

recchelees (A.S.) 369, reckless

rechen (A.S.) 359, to reach. pret. s. raughte, 5, 76, 153, 335, 369

recoverer (A.N.) 352, a remedy (?)

recrayed (A.N.) 58, recreant (?)

rede (A.S.) red

rede (A.S.) to read

reden (A.S.) to advise, counsel. pret. s. redde, 106, pl. radde, 71, 84. imperat. reed, 72

redel (A.S.) 257, a riddle

†redelich (A.S.) 498, readily, promptly

redyng-kyng, 96, a class of feudal retainers. See Spelman's Gloss. in v. rodknightes

reed (A.S.) counsel, advice

regne (A.N.) to reign. pret. s. regnede, 399, reigned

regratier, regrater (A.N.) 48, 90, a retailer of wares and victuals

regratrie (A.N.) 48, retailing, selling by retail

reyn (A.S.) rain

reckenen (A.S.) to reckon, count

relessen (A.N.) 46, to forgive

releve (A.N.) 377, to raise again, restore, rally

religious (A.N.) pl. religiouses 192, a monk

renable (A.N.) 10, reasonable

renden (A.S.) 13, to rend, tear. imperat. rende, 76

reneye (A.N.) 210, to deny, be a renegade to. part. pas. reneyed, 210, renegade

renk (A.S.) 12, 101, 149, 231, 238, 280, 369, 385, a man

rennen, renne (A.S.) 353, to run. imperative, ren thow, 230. pret. s. ran, roon, 277, yarn, 205 (? y-arn). part. past, ronne, 156

renner (A.S.) 72, a runner

renten (A.N.) 140, to give rents to

†rentful (A.S.) 476, meagre, miserable (?)

repen (A.S.) to reap. pret. pl. ropen, 268

repreven (A.N.) 236, to reprove, blame

rerages (A.N.) 91, arrears

retenaunce (A.N.) 31, a retinue

reve (A.S.) 34, 102, 411, 423, an overseer, a reeve, steward, or bailiff

reve (A.S.) 335, 385, to take from

revere, pl. reveris (A.S.) reavers, people who deprive by force

reward (A.N.) 364, attention, warning

†rewel (A.S.) 473, rule

rewen (A.S.) to rue, to have mercy

rewme (A.N.) 430, a rheumatism, cold

ribaud (A.N.) 108, 286, 339, 372, a profligate low man. The word belonged properly to a particular class in society. See a detailed account of its derivation and signification in a note in my Political Songs, p. 369

ribaudie (A.N.) low profligate talk

ribaudour (A.N.) 121, a teller of low tales

ribibour (A.N.) 96, a player on the ribibe (a musical instrument)

riche, ryche (A.S.) a kingdom. hevene riche blisse, the joy of the kingdom of heaven

richen (A.N.) to become rich

riden, ryde (A.S.) to ride. pres. s. ryt, pl. riden. pret. s. rood, 354

rightwisnesse (A.S.) 393, righteousness

ringen (A.S.) to ring. pret. pl. rongen, 395, 428

ripe (A.S.) 415, to ripen

ripe (A.S.) 100, ready

rise, ryse (A.S.) 352, to rise. pret. s. roos, 91, 344

risshe (A.S.) 75, a rush (juncus)

rody (A.S.) ruddy, red

roggen (A.S.) to shake (explained in the Prompt. Parv. by agito.) pret. s. rogged, 335

roynous (A.N.) 430, scabby, rough

rolle (A.N.) 93, to enrol

rome (A.S.) 209, 210, 328, to roam

romere (A.S.) pl. romeris, a person who wanders or roams about

ronges (A.S.) 333, the steps of a ladder

roost (A.N.) 14, roast

†rote (A.N.) practice. by rote, by heart. be pure rote, 473, merely by rote

roten (A.S.) to rot

rotey tyme (A.N.) 222, the time of rut

†rotheren (A.S.) 476, oxen

rounen, rownen (A.S.) 66, 97, to whisper, talk privately

routhe (A.S.) ruth, compassion

rowen (A.S.) to become red, as the dawn of day (?). pret. s. rowed, 376

rufulliche (A.S.) ruefully

rugge (A.S.) 286, 413, the back. rugge-bone (A.S.) 98, the back-bone

rulen (A.N.) 393, to rule, govern

rusty (A.S.) 121, filthy (?). In the Coventry Mysteries, p. 47, Ham's wife says, "rustynes of synne is cawse of these wawys;" i. e. filthiness of sin is the cause of these waves

ruthe (A.S.) compassion

rutten (A.S. ?) 100, to snore. pret. s. rutte, 369

ruwet (A.S. ?) 98, a small trumpet


saaf (A.N.) safe

sadde (A.S.) 188, to make serious, steady

sadde (A.S.) 152, serious, grave, steady

sadder (A.S.) 77, sounder

safly (A.N.) safely

saille (A.N.) 260, to leap

salve (A.N.) 337, to apply salves

samplarie (A.N.) 234, type, first copy

saufté (A.N.) safety

saughtne (A.S.) 65, to be pacified, reconciled

saulee (A.N.) 331 (?)

saunz (A.N.) without

saute (A.N.) 260, to jump

sauter (A.N.) the Psalter

savoren (A.N.) 157, to savour

savour (A.N.) 147, knowledge

sawe (A.S.) 147, 165, 378, pl. sawes, 174, a saying, legend, proverb

scathe (A.S.) 46, 70, 71, 298, injury, hurt

scryveynes (A.N.) 193, writers

†se (A.N.) 483, seat

secte (A.N.) 106, 107, 216, a suit

see (A.S.) the sea

seel (A.S.) 348, pl. seles, a seal

seem (A.S.) 45, 67, a seam (of wheat), a measure of eight bushels, originally as much as a horse could carry

sege (A.N.) 443, siege

†seget (A.N.) 489, subject

segge (A.S.) 46, 78, 84, 100, 216, 341, 443, 445, a man

seyen, 290, seye, seyn, seggen, 53, 264, sigge, 208, 302, siggen, 264, 312, 318, 350 (A.S.) to say. pres. s. I seye, he seith, thei siggen, 320. pret. s. seide, pl. seiden

seillynge (A.S.) 387, sailing

seynen (A.N.) to sign. pret. s. seyned, 104

seint (A.N.) a saint

seken, seche (A.S.) to seek; 273, to penetrate. pret. s. & pl. soughte. part. pas. y-sought

selde (A.S.) seldom. selden, 365

selen (A.S.) to seal

self (A.S.) objec. s. selve, pl. selves self-same. on the selve roode, 427, on the cross itself

†sely (A.S.) 477, simple, poor

selkouth (A.S.) pl. selkouthe wonderful, strange

selles (A.N.) cells

semen (A.S.) 328, to seem, appear, resemble. †I semed, 460, I looked

semynge (A.S.) 318, resembling

semy-vif (A.N.) 351, half alive, i. e. half dead

sen, 25, see, 32 (A.S.) to see. pres. sing. thow sest, 15. he seeth, pl. we seen. pret. sing. seigh, 77, 147, 200, 247, seyghe, 82, saugh, 29, 77, 347, 376, 437, pl. seighe. part. pas. y-seyen, seyen, 216, 308, 349, seene, y-seighen, 77, seighen, 177, y-seighe, 365

senden (A.S.) to send. pret. s. sent, 421, pl. senten

serelopes (A.S.) 358, severally, by themselves

serk (A.S.) 81, a shift, shirt

serven (A.N.) to serve

setten (A.S.) to set. pret. s. & pl. sette. part. past, seten, 248

sewen (A.S.) to follow. see suwen

shaar (A.S.) 61, the blade or share of a plough

†shaf (A.S.) 490, chaff

shaft (A.S.) 161, 225, make, creation

shaken (A.S.) to shake. pret. s. shook, 268

shallen (A.S.) the auxiliary verb. sing. I shal, 15. thow shalt, pl. ye shul, 14, shulle, 25, thei shulle, 22—sholde, sholdest, pl. sholden, sholde

shapen, shape (A.S.) to make, create, shape. pret. s. shoop, 1, 163, 197, 225, 443, shapte, 361, 433, for-shapte, 365. pl. shopen. part. past, mys-shapen, 144, shapen, 280

shappere (A.S.) 358, a maker, creator

sharpe (A.S.) 443, pungent

sheep (A.S.) 1, a sheep, or a shepherd

sheltrom (A.S.) 278, a host, troop of soldiers

shenden (A.S.) to ruin, destroy. pret. s. shente, 365. part. pas. shent

shene (A.S.) 394, bright

shenfulliche (A.S.) 59, shamefully, disastrously

shepstere (A.S.) 265, a sheep-shearer (?)

shere (A.S.) a shear

sherreve (A.S.) 31, 51, a shire-reeve, or sheriff

sherewe, shrewe (A.S.) a shrew; a cursed one

shrewednesse (A.S.) cursedness

sheten (A.S.) to shoot. pret. pl. shotten, 438

shetten, shette (A.S.) to shut. pret. s. shette

shide (A.S.) 167, 197, a thin board, a billet of wood

shiften (A.S.) to move away. pret. s. shifte 435

shyngled (A.S.) 168, made of planks or boards

shonyen (A.S.) 87, to shun

†shosen (    ) 491 qu. for chosen, i. e. dispose, incline to

shrape (A.S.) 84, to scrape

shryve (A.S.) 441, to shrive, make confession. pret. s. shrof, 45, 198. part. pas. y-shryve, 82, shryven, 273

shrift (A.S.) confession

shroudes (A.S.) clothes

sib, sibbe (A.S.) relation, companion. Gossip is God-sib, companion or fellow in God, and was originally applied to the attendants at a christening

sidder (A.S.) 88, wider

sike (A.S.) 355, sick

siken (A.S.) to sigh. pret. s. siked, 293, sikede, 385

siker, syker (A.S.) sure, secure. sikerer, 237, more secure, more sure

syn (A.S.) 444, since

syngen, synge (A.S.) 408, to sing. pret. s. songe, I song, 408. pl. songen, 369, 388, 405

sinken (A.S.) to sink. pret. s. sank, 373. pl. sonken, 278

sisour (A.N.) 31, 32, 38, 51, 75, 434, a person deputed to hold assizes. See Ducange in v. assisarii

sith (A.S.) since. sithen, since, afterwards. sithenes, 121, afterwards. siththe (adv.) since afterwards

sithe (A.S.) 102, time

sitten, sitte (A.S.) to sit. pret. s. thow sete, 386. I seet, 437. sat, pl. seten, 109

skile (A.S.) 202, 240, 290, 359, 367, 412, reason, argument

†slaughte (    ) 456 (?)

sleighte (A.S.) 379, 401, a trick, slight

sleen (A.S.) to slay. pres. sleeth. 364, 421. pret. s. slow, 434

slepen (A.S.) to sleep. pret. s. sleep, 99, 100, I slepte, 247. pl. slepe, 277

slepying (A.S.) asleep

sleple (A.S.) 155, to sleep gently

sleuthe (A.S.) sloth, idleness

sliken (A.S.) 34, to make sleek, smooth

slombren (A.S.) to slumber. pret. s. slombred, 1

smal (A.S.) pl. smale, small

smecen (A.S.) to taste, smack. pret. pl. smaughte, 98

smythyen (A.S.) 61, 62, to do the work of a smith, to forge

so (A.S.) so, as. so soone so, 352, as soon as

soden (A.S.) 312, to boil. part. pas. y-soden, 321

sodenes (A.N.) 303, sub-deans

softe (A.S.) 1, warm (like the Fr. doux)

sokene (A.S.) 34, a district held by tenure of socage

solas (A.N.) comfort, solace

soleyn (A.N.) 240, one left alone

solne (A.N.) 102, to sing by note

som (A.S.) pl. somme, some

somone (A.N.) 37, sompne, 62, 209, 408, to summon

somonour (A.N.) 31, 51, 75, a somner, an officer employed to summon delinquents to appear in ecclesiastical courts, now called an apparitor

sonde (A.S.) mission, sending

sone (A.S.) a son

songewarie (A.N.) 147, 148, the interpreting of dreams

sonne (A.S.) the sun

sooth (A.S.) truth

soothnesse, sothnesse (A.S.) truth

sope (A.S.) 254, a sop

sope (A.S.) 273, soap

soper (A.N.) supper

sorwe (A.S.) sorrow

sorweful (A.S.) 353, sorrowful

soth (A.S.) true

sothe (A.S.) truth

sotile (A.N.) 184, 186, to apply one's cunning or penetration

sotil (A.N.) pl. sotile, 294, 297, 319, 372, clever, cunning, subtile, difficult to conceive or understand

sotte (A.N.) a fool

souke (A.N.) 209, to suck

souter (A.S.) 101, 201, a shoemaker. †soutere, 494

souteresse (A.S.) 96, a female shoemaker

southdene (A.N.) a subdean

sowen (A.S.) 274, to sow. pret. s. sew, 268, 412, pl. sewe, 317. part. pas. y-sowen, 416

spakliche (A.S.) 353, hastily (?)

spede (A.S.) 353, to haste, to speed. pret. s. spedde, 353

speken, speke (A.S.) to speak. pret. s. spak

spelonke (LAT.) 311, a cavern

spences (A.N.) 285, expense

spillen (A.S.) (trans.) to mix, spill, spoil, waste, 414 (intransitive) to perish, 303. part. pas. y-spilt

spire (A.S.) 348, to look closely into, to inquire

spores (A.S.) 370, spurs

spring (A.S.) 79, a sprig, rod

springen (A.S.) to spring. pret. s. sprong, 277, spronge, 404

stablisse (A.N.) 22, to establish

†stappyng (A.S.) 489, stepping

stede (A.S.) pl. stedes, a place

steere (A.S.) 153, the helm of a ship

steyen (A.S.) to arise, mount. †pret. s. steigh, 498, arose

stekie (A.S.) 22, to stick fast

stele (A.S.), 412, a handle

stelen (A.S.) to steal. pret. s. stale, 268. pl. stolen, 405

sterre, pl. sterne, 310 (A.S.) a star

†styghtle (A.S.) 469, to establish, confirm. Explained in the glossary appended to the old edition by to stay

†stylle (A.S.) 473, quietly, with a low voice

†y-stongen (A.S.) 483, stabbed, pierced

stinken (A.S.) to stink. pret. s. stank, 328. †styncand, 489, stinking

stynten (A.S.) 22, 186, to stop

stonden, stonde, stande, 354 (A.S.) to stand. he stondeth, it stant, 325, he stant, 372, thei stonden. pret. s. stood, 204, 247

stoon (A.S.) 328, a stone

stotte (A.S.) 411, an ox of three years old

stounde (A.S.) 155, a short space of time

stoupe (A.S.) 204, to bend, stoop. Chaucer, in the first line of the Nonne Preestes Tale, speaks of,—"A pore wydow somdel stoupe in age."

†straken (A.S.) 456, to proceed directly

†stre (A.S.) 496, straw

streyte (A.S.) straitly, narrowly

streyves (A.N.) 6, estreys, beasts which have strayed, a law-term

striken (A.S.) to strike. pret. s. strook

struyen (A.N.) 328, to destroy. pret. struyede

stuwe (A.N.) 121, a house of ill fame, a stew. †stues, 488, stews, brothels

†sueres (A.S.) 459, followers

suffren (A.N.) to suffer

sulen (A.N.) to soil. †part. pas. y-suled, 495, soiled

suren (A.N.) to assure

surgenrie (A.N.) 336, surgery

surquidous (A.N.) 416, overbearing, arrogant, conceited

suster (A.S.) pl. sustren, a sister

suwen, sewe (A.S.) 203, 454 to follow. pret. s. and pl. suwed, 353, suwede, 380. part. p. suwed, 110, sued, 155

swelte (A.S.) 86, to die, to perish. pret. s. swelted, 431

swerd (A.S.) a sword

sweren, swerye, 275 (A.S.) to swear. pret. s. swoor, 434, swor, 269. part. pas. sworen, 328, swore

swetter (A.S.) sweeter

swevene (A.S.) a dream

sweyen (A.S.) to sound. pret. s. sweyed, 1

swich (A.S.) 385, pl. swiche, such

swynken (A.S.) to labour. pret. pl. swonken, 2.

swynk (A.S.) labour, work

swithe (A.S.) very, immediately, quickly

swowe (A.S.) 86, to faint, to swoon


tabard (A.N.) 88, a short coat or mantle. "Tabbard, collobium." Promp. Parv. One of the stage directions in the Coventry Mysteries (p. 244) is:—

Here xal Annas shewyn hymself in his stage, be seyn after a busshop of the hoold lawe, in a skarlet gowne, and over that a blew tabbard furryd with whyte.

tacches (A.N.) 168, stains, blemishes

taillé (A.N.) 68, a tally, notched stick; an account scored on a piece of wood. See note

tailen (A.N.) to keep an account by notches on a stick, to give a tally for a thing. part. a. tailende, 156. part. pas. y-tailed, 102

taken (A.S.) to take. pres. s. took, pl. token, toke, 398. part. pas. taken

taken, take (A.S.) to give. pret. s. took, 328, pl. toke, token, 383

tale (A.S.) an account, reckoning

tale-wis (A.S.) 51, wise in tales

tasele (A.S.) 322, a teasel. The burs of this plant are used in the manufacture of cloth

tasten (A.N.) 266, 374, to feel. pret. s. tastede, 357

techen (A.S.) to teach. pret. s. taughte, 19, taghte, 135. part. pas. taught, 186, y-taught, 436

tellen, telle (A.S.) to count, tell, 405. pret. s. tolde. pl. tolden

teme, teeme (A.S.) 118, 125, 138, 411, 412, a team of horses

teme (A.N.) 48, 80, 147, 209, a theme

tenten (A.N.) to offer, present, to hold out, stretch forth. pret. pl. tendeden, 383

tenen, tene (A.S.) 256, 320, to injure. pret. s. tened, 432

tene (A.S.) 124, 125, 145, 209, 335, anger, hurt

teneful (A.S.) injurious

termes (A.N.) 242, terms, times for their work

teynten (A.N.) to die, tint. part. past, y-teynted, 322

y-termyned (A.N.) 20, judged, determined

thanne (A.S.) then

thecche (A.S.) 410, to thatch

theen (A.S.) to thrive, be prosperous. so thee ik! 90, as I may prosper!

thef, theef (A.S.) pl. theves, 239, 353, 373, a thief. thefliche, 389, thievishly

theigh (A.S.) though

thenke, thynke (A.S.) 211, 228, to think. pres. s. he thenketh, 407

ther (A.S.) there, where. therafter, 90, in proportion to it. thermyd, herewith

thesternesse (A.S.) 340, darkness

thynke (A.S.) 384, to seem. pres. sing. I thynke, me thynketh (it seems to me). pret. s. thoghte, 1, 205, thoughte, 404

thirlen (A.S.) to pierce, bore through

thise (A.S.) these

tho (A.S.) those, the

tho (A.S.) then, when

tholien (A.S.) 70, thole, 392, to bear, support, suffer. pret. s. tholede, 251, 384, tholed, 377. pl. tholed, 373

thonkyng (A.S.) thanking, thanks

thorugh (A.S.) through

thow (A.S.) The second personal pronoun is in interrogative clauses generally combined with its verb, as sestow, seest thou; slepestow, sleepest thou, &c.

thral (A.S.) pl. thralles, 398, a bond-man

threve (A.S.) 333, a bundle

thridde (A.S.) 413, third

thringen (A.S.) to crowd, to throng, to press forward. pret. pl. thrungen, 108

tyd, tid (A.S.) 265, 334, quickly, promptly, readily

tidy (A.S.) 422, clever, ready, neat

tyen (A.S.) to tie

†y-tight, 461, furnished, provided

tikes (A.S.) 398, low people; literally, dogs. The word is still used in Yorkshire

til (A.S.) 305, to

tilien, tilie, tilye (A.S.) 131, 138, 375, 410, to till the earth. †part. pas. tylde, 461

tilthe (A.S.) 421, tilth, the result or produce of tilling or ploughing

tymbre (A.S.) 223, to build. pret. tymbred, 48

†tymen (A.S.) 494, to compel (?) It appears to be the same word which occurs in the alliterative poem on the Deposition of Richard II, p. 17:—

Thus lafte they the leder

That hem wrong ladde,

And tymed no twynte,

But tolled her cornes,

And gaderid the grotus

With gyle, as I trowe.

tynen, tyne (A.S.) 416, to lose. part. pas. tynt, 377

titeleris (A.S. ?) 442, tattlers

tithe (A.S.) tenth, tithe

tixte (A.N.) 348, text

to (A.S.) too

to-, prefixed in composition to verbs of Anglo-Saxon origin, has the same force as the German zu-, giving to the word the idea of destruction or deterioration:—

to-bollen (A.S.) 82, to overswell

to-breken (A.S.) 156, to break to pieces, break down. part. pas. to-broke, 139

to-cleve (A.S.) 236, to cleave in pieces, cut open

to-drawen (A.S.) to draw to pieces, or to destruction. pret. to-drowe, 175

to-luggen (A.S.) 41, to lug about, tear

to-rende (A.S.) 180, to be torn or burst to pieces

to-shullen (A.S.) to cut off, destroy. part. pas. to-shullen, 359

toft (A.S.) an open exposed place, a hill

to-fore (A.S.) before. to-forn 235, before

to-gidere, to-gidres, to-gideres (A.S.) together

†toylyng (A.S.) 495, tugging

tollen (A.S.) 89, to measure out, count

tollers (A.S.) toll-gatherers

tome (A.S.) 39, leisure, time. This form of the word seems to have been in use in the fourteenth century. It occurs at the commencement of the Seven Sages:—

I sal yow tel, if I have tome,

Of the seven ages of Rome.

Its occurrence in Piers Ploughman shows that Weber was not right in supposing it a mere alteration of the word time for the sake of rhyme. See also Sir F. Madden's Glossary to Gawayne

tonder (A.S.) 362, tinder

†too (A.S.) pl. ton, 476, 489, a toe

torne (A.N.) 428, to turn. pret. s. tornede, 321, torned, 265, turned

torne, 325, turne, 324 (A.S.) to turn (intransitive)

toten (A.S.) 331, 459, 461, to look, observe, to peep. pret. s. toted, 471. pl. toteden, 476. part. past, y-toted, 464

touken (A.S.) to dye. part. pas. y-touked, 322

toune, 315, a tun. Perhaps it should be printed tonne.

tour (A.N.) a tower

travaille (A.N.) to labour

traversen (A.N.) 245, to transgress

treden (A.S.) to tread. pret. pl. troden, 223. †pret. s. tredede, 476, trod

tree, 330 (A.S.) pl. trowes, 300, a tree

tresor (A.N.) a treasure

triacle, tryacle (A.N.) a remedy, a cu