Page images
PDF
EPUB

45

And somme putten hem to Foughten at the ale.
In glotonye, God woot,
Go thei to bedde,
And risen with ribaudie,
Tho Roberdes knaves;
Sleep and sory sleuthe
Seweth hem evere.

Pilgrymes and palmeres
Plighten hem togidere,
For to seken seint Jame,
And seintes at Rome.

94

They wenten forth in hire wey,
With many wise tales,
And hadden leve to lyen
Al hire lif after.

I seigh somme that seiden
Thei hadde y-sought seintes ;
To ech a tale that thei tolde
Hire tonge was tempred to lye,
Moore than to seye sooth,
It semed bi hire speche.
Heremytes on an heep
With hoked staves

pride,
Apparailed hem therafter,
In contenaunce of clothynge
Comen degised.

In preires and penaunces
Putten hem manye,
Al for the love of oure Lord
Lyveden ful streyte,
In hope to have after
Hevene riche blisse;
As ancres and heremites
That holden hem in hire selles,
And coveiten noght in contree
To carien aboute,
For no likerous liflode

Hire likame to plese.

And somme chosen chaffare;
Thei cheveden the bettre,
As it semeth to our sight
That swiche men thryveth.

55

Feynen hem fantasies,
And fooles hem maketh,
And han hire wit at wille
To werken, if thei wolde.
That Poul precheth of hem 75
I wol nat preve it here;
But Qui loquitur turpiloquium
Is Luciferes hyne.

I fond there freres,
Alle the foure ordres,
Prechynge the peple
For profit of hemselve;
Glosed the gospel,
As hem good liked ;

Bidderes and beggeres
Faste aboute yede,

With hire belies and hire For coveitise of copes,

bagges

Of breed ful y-crammed ;
Faiteden for hire foode,

[ocr errors]

66

And somme murthes to make, As mynstralles konne, And geten gold with hire glee, Wenten to Walsyngham, Giltles, I leeve. And hire wenches after, Grete lobies and longe That lothe were to swynke; Clothed hem in copes,

Ac japeres and jangeleres,
Judas children,

To ben knowen from othere;
And shopen hem heremytes,
Hire ese to have.

[blocks in formation]

104

114

124

For hire moneie and hire marchaundize

125

Marchen togideres.
For sith charité hath been chap-

man,

And chief to shryve lordes,
Manye ferlies han fallen
In a few yeres;

But holy chirche and hii
Hold bettre togidres,

The mooste meschief on molde

134

Is mountynge wel faste.

145

Parten the silver,
That the poraille of the parisshe
Sholde have, if thei ne were.

Parsons and parisshe preestes
Pleyned hem to the bisshope,
That hire parisshes weren
povere

154

Sith the pestilence tyme,

To have a licence and leve
At London to dwelle,
And syngen ther for symonie;
For silver is swete.

Ther preched a pardoner,
As he a preest were;
Broughte forth a bulle
With many bisshopes seles,
And seide that hymself myghte
Assoillen hem alle,
Of falshede, of fastynge,
Of avowes y-broken.

Bisshopes and bachelers,
Bothe maistres and doctours,
That han cure under Crist,
And crownynge in tokene
And signe that thei sholden
Shryven hire parisshens,
Prechen and praye for hem,
And the povere fede,
Liggen at Londone
In Lenten and ellis.

Lewed men leved it wel,
And liked hise wordes;
Comen up knelynge
To kissen hise bulles.
He

Somme serven the kyng,
And his silver tellen

bouched hem with his In cheker and in chauncelrie,
brevet,
Chalangen hise dettes

And blered hire eighen,
And raughte with his rageman
Rynges and broches.

Of wardes and of wardemotes,
Weyves and streyves.

And somme serven as ser

Thus thei gyven hire gold
Glotons to kepe,

And leveth in swiche losels
As leccherie haunten.

Were the bisshope y-blessed,
And worth bothe hise eris,
His seel sholde noght be sent
To deceyve the peple.
Ac it is noght by the bisshope
That the boy precheth ;
For the parisshe preest and the

161

pardoner

162

vauntz

Lordes and ladies,

And in stede of stywardes
Sitten and demen;

Hire messe and hire matyns
And many of hire houres
Arn doon un-devoutliche;
Drede is at the laste,
Lest Crist in consistorie
A-corse ful manye.

I perceyved of the power
That Peter hadde to kepe,

170

180

190

200

[blocks in formation]

The kyng and knyghthod, And clergie bothe, Casten that the commune Sholde hemself fynde.

211

Ac of the cardinals at court That kaughte of that name, And power presumed in hem A pope to make,

To han that power that Peter
hadde,
Impugnen I nelle ;

For in love and in lettrure
The election bilongeth,
For-thi I kan and kan naught
Of court speke moore.

Thanne kam ther a kyng,
Knyghthod hym ladde,
Might of the communes
Made hym to regne.

And thanne cam kynde wit, And clerkes he made, For to counseillen the kyng, And the commune save.

220

280

The commune contreved
Of kynde wit craftes,
And for profit of al the peple
Plowmen ordeyned,

To tilie and to travaille,
As trewe lif asketh.

240

The kyng and the commune, And kynde wit the thridde, 242 Shopen lawe and leauté, Ech man to knowe his owene.

Thanne looked up a lunatik, A leene thyng with-alle, And, knelynge to the kyng, Clergially he seide:

250

"Crist kepe thee, sire kyng!
And thi kyng-ryche,
And lene thee lede thi lond,
So leauté thee lovye,
And for thi rightful rulyng
Be rewarded in hevene."
And sithen in the eyr an
heigh

An aungel of hevene
Lowed to speke in Latyn,
For lewed men ne koude
Jangle ne jugge,
That justifie hem sholde,
But suffren and serven ;
For-thi seide the aungel:
Sum rex, sum princeps,
Neutrum fortasse deinceps;
O qui jura regis,
Christi specialia regis,
Hoc quod agas melius,
Justus es, esto pius.
Nudum jus a te
Vestiri vult pietate;
Qualia vis metere,
Talia grana sere.
Si jus nudatur,
Nudo de jure metatur ;

270

260

Si seritur pietas,

De pietate metas.

Thanne greved hym a goliardeis,

A gloton of wordes,

And to the aungel an heigh 279

[blocks in formation]

Of ratons at ones,
And smale mees myd hem
Mo than a thousand,
And comen to a counseil
For the commune profit;
For a cat of a contree
Cam whan hym liked,
And overleep hem lightliche,
And laughte hem at his wille,
And pleide with hem perill-
ousli,

801

And possed aboute.
"For doute of diverse dredes,
We dar noght wel loke;
And if we grucche of his gamen,
He wol greven us alle,
Cracchen us or clawen us,
And in hise clouches holde,
That us lotheth the lif
Er he late us passe.
Mighte we with any wit
His wille withstonde,
We mighte be lordes o-lofte,
And lyven at oure ese."

817

A raton of renoun, Moost renable of tonge, Seide for a sovereyn Help to hymselve: [quod he "I have y-seyen segges,"

810

"In the cité of Londone, Beren beighes ful brighte Abouten hire nekkes,

And somme colers of crafty werk;

Uncoupled thei wenten

Bothe in wareyne and in waast Where hemself liked.

And outher while thei arn elliswhere,

As I here telle;

830

[beighe, Were ther a belle on hire By Jhesu, as me thynketh, Men myghte witen wher thei wente,

And awey renne! "

"And right so," quod that raton,

"Reson me sheweth,

To bugge a belle of bras,
Or of bright silver,
And knytten it on a coler
For oure commune profit,
Wher he ryt or rest,
Or renneth to pleye;
And if hym list for to laike,
Thanne loke we mowen,
And peeren in his presence
The while him pleye liketh :
And, if hym wratheth, be war,
And his way shonye.”

Al this route of ratons
To this reson thei assented.
Ac tho the belle was y-brought,
And on the beighe hanged,
Ther ne was raton in al the
route,

850

For al the reaume of Fraunce, That dorste have bounden the belle

About the cattes nekke,

820

840

854

[blocks in formation]

But fedeth hym al with veny

896

son:

CO

nyngnes,

[oyne,

He coveiteth noght your car

Defame we hym nevere.
For better is a litel los
Than a long sorwe,
The maze among us alle,
Theigh we mysse a sherewe;
For many mennes malt
We mees wolde destruye,
And also ye route of ratons
Rende mennes clothes,
Nere the cat of that court
That can yow over-lepe;
For hadde ye rattes youre wille,
Ye kouthe noght rule yow
selve."
[mous,
"I seye for me," quod the
"I se so muchel after,
Shal nevere the cat ne the kiton
By my counseil be greved,
Thorugh carpynge of this coler
That costed me nevere
And though it hadde costned
me catel,

405

Bi-knowen it I nolde

895

[blocks in formation]

NOTES ON THE SELECTION FROM PIERS PLOUGHMAN.

1. Somer, A.-S. sumer, Dan. sommer, from the same root, probably, as sam, together; spelled somer by Wycliffe, sommer, F. Q. I. i. 7.; sommer and somer by Bower. The second m indicates short sound of o or u, § 18 (2), and is not pronounced. Seson, season. Fr. saison. The French ai had the sound of the A.-S.

« PreviousContinue »