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And as it shulde so betide, A pouer lazer upon a tide Came to the gate and axed mete. But there might he nothing gete His dedely hunger for to staunche, For he, which had his fulle paunche Of alle luftes ate borde Ne deigneth nought to speke a worde, Onlich a crumme for to yive, Wherof the pouer mighte live Upon the yift of his almesse. Thus lay this pouer in great distresse A colde and hungry at the gate, Fro which he mighte go no gate, So was he wofully besene. And as these haly bokes sain, The houndes comen fro the halle, Where that this sike man was falle, And as he lay there for to deie, The woundes of his malady They licken for to done him ese. But he was full of such disese, That he may nought the deth escape. But as it was that time shape, The soule fro the body pafseth, And he, whom nothing overpasseth, The highe, god up to the heven Him toke, where he hath set him even In Abrahames barme on high, Where he the hevens joie sigh
And had all that he have wolde.
And fell as it befalle sholde,
This riche man the same throwe
With sodein deth was overthrowe
And forth withouten any went,
Unto the helle straught he went,
The fende into the fire him drough,
Where that he hadde peine inough
Of flame, which that ever brenneth.
And as his eye aboute renneth,
Toward the heven he cast his loke,
Where that he sigh and hede toke,
How Lazar set was in his see
Als fer as ever he might see
With Abraham, and than he praide
Unto the patriarch and faide :
Send Lazar down fro thilke sete
And do, that he his finger wete
In water, so that he may droppe
Upon my tunge for to stoppe
The grete hete, in which I brenne.
But Abraham answerde thenne
And faide to him in this wise :
My sone, thou the might avise
And take into thy remembraunce,
How Lazar hadde great penaunce,
While he was in that other life.
But thou in all thy lust jolife
The bodely delices foughtest,
Forthy so as thou thanne wroughtest,
Now shalt thou take thy rewarde
Of dedely peine here afterwarde
In helle, which shall ever last.
And this Lazar now ate last
This worldes peine is overronne
In heven and hath his life begonne
Of joie, which is endeles.
But that thou praiest netheles,
That I shall Lazar to the send
With water on his finger ende
Thine hote tunge for to kele,
Thou shalt no suche graces fele,
For to that foule place of sinne,
For ever in which thou shalt ben inne,
Cometh none out of this place thider
Ne none of you may comen hider,
Thus be ye parted now a-two.
The rich ayeinward cride tho :
O Abraham, sithe it so is,
That Lazar may nought do me this,
Whiche I have axed in this place,
I wolde pray an other grace.
For I have yet of bretherne five,
That with my fader ben a-live
To-gider dwellend in one hous,
To whom, as thou art gracious,
I praie, that thou woldest sende
Lazar, so that he mighte wende
To warne hem, how the worlde is went,
That afterward they be nought fhent
Of suche peines as they deie.
Lo, this I praie and this I crie,
How I may nought my self amende.
The patriarche anone suende
To this praier answerde : Nay,
And faide him, how that every day
His bretheren mighten knowe and here
Of Moises on erthe here
And of prophetes other mo,
What hem was best. And he faith : No,
But if there might a man arise
From deth to life in suche a wife
To tellen hem, how that it were,
He faide, than of pure fere
They shulden well beware therby.
Quod Abraham : Nay sikerly,
For if they now will nought obey
To such, as techen hem the wey
And all day preche and all day telle,
How that it stant of heven and helle,
They woll nought thanne taken hede,
Though it befelle so in dede,
That any dede man were arered
To ben of him no better lered,
Than of an other man alive.
If thou, my sone, canst descrive
This tale, as Crist him self it tolde,
Thou shalt have cause to beholde
To se so great an evidence,
Wherof the sothe experience
Hath shewed openlich at eye,
That bodely delicacy
Of him, which yiveth none almesse,
Shall after falle in great distresse.
And that was sene upon the riche,
For he ne wolde unto his liche
A crumme yiven of his brede,
Than afterward whan he was dede
A droppe of water him was werned.
Thus may a mannes wit be lerned
Of hem, that so delites taken,
Whan they with deth ben overtaken,
That erst was swete is thanne soure.
But he that is a governour
Of worldes good, if he be wise,
Within his herte he fet no prise
Of all the worlde and yet he useth
The good, that he nothing refuseth,
As he, which lord is of the thinges,
The ouches and the riche ringes,
The cloth of gold and the perrie
He taketh, and yet delicacie
He teveth, though he wear all this.
The beste mete that there is
He eteth and drinketh the beste drinke,
But how that ever he ete or drinke
Delicacie he put awey
As he, which goth the righte wey,
Nought only for to fede and clothe
His body, but his soule bothe.