Page images
PDF
EPUB

And thus the wofull nightes sorwe
To joie is torned on the morwe.
All was thanking, all was blessing,
Whiche erst was wepinge and cursing.
These women gone home glad inough,
Echone for joie on other lough
And praiden for this lordes hele,
Whiche hath relesed the quarele
And hath his owne will forsake
In charite for goddes sake.
But now hereafter thou shalte here
What god hath wrought in this matere,
As he that doth all equite.
To him that wroughte charite
He was ayeinward charitous
And to pite he was pitous.
For it was never knowe yit,
That charite goth unaquit.
The night whan he was laid to Nepe,
The highe god, which wold him kepe,
Saint Peter and faint Poule him sende,
By whom he wolde his lepre amende.
They two to him slepend appere
Fro god and said in this manere :

O Constantin, for thou hast served
Pite, thou hast pite deserved.
Forthy thou shalt such pite have,
That god through pite woll the save.
So shalt thou double hele finde,
First for thy bodeliche kinde,

And for thy wofull soule also.
Thou shalt ben hole of bothe two.
And for thou shalt the nought despeire,
Thy lepre shall no more empeire
Till thou wolt sende therupon
Unto the mount of Celion,
Where that Silvester and his clergie
To-gider dwelle in compaignie
For drede of the, which many a day
Hast ben a fo to Cristes lay
And haft destruied to mochel shame
The prechours of his holy name.
But now thou hast somdele appesed
Thy god and with good dede plesed,
That thou thy pite hast bewared
Upon the blood, which thou hast spared.
Forthy to thy falvacion
Thou shalt have informacion,
Such as Silvester shall the teche,
The nedeth of none other leche.
This emperour, whiche all this herde:
Graunt mercy lorde, he answerde,
I woll do so as ye me say.
But of o thing I wolde pray,
What shall I telle unto Silvestre
Or of your name or of your estre?
And they him tolden what they hight
And forth with all oute of his sight
They passen up into the heven.
And he awoke out of his sweven

[ocr errors]

Ind clepeth, and men come anone
And tolde his dreme, and therupon
'n suche a wise as he hem telleth
The mount, wher that Silvester dwelleth,
They have in alle hafte sought,
And founde he was, and with hem brought
To themperour, which to him tolde
His sweven and elles what he wolde.
And whan Silvester hath herd the king,
He was right joyfull of this thing
And him began with all his wit
To techen upon holy writ.
First how mankinde was forlore,
And how the highe god therfore
His sone sende from above,
Which bore was for mannes love,
And after of his owne chois
He toke his deth upon the crois.
And how in grave he was beloke,
And how that he hath helle broke
And toke hem out, that were him leve.
And for to make us full beleve
That he was verray goddes sone
Ayein the kinde of mannes wone
Fro deth he rose the thridde day.
And whan he wolde, as he well may,
He stigh up to his father even
With festh and blood into the heven.
And right so in the same forme
In flessh and blood he shall reforme,

Whan time cometh, the quicke and dedi
At thilke wofull day of drede,
Where every man shall take his dome
Als well the maister as the grome.
The mighty kinges retenue
That day may stonde of no value
With worldes strengthe to defende.
For every man mot than entende
To stond upon his owne dedes
And leve all other mennes nedes.
That day may no counseil availe,
The pledour and the plee shall faile
The sentence of that ilke day,
May none appele sette in delay.
There may no gold the juge plie,
That he ne shall the sothe trie
And setten every man upright,
As well the plowman as the knight.
The leude man, the grete clerke
Shall stonde upon his owne werke,
And suche as he is founde tho,
Such shall he be for evermo.
There may no peine be relesed,
There may no joie ben encresed,
But endeles as they have do
He shall receive one of two.

And thus Silvester with his fawe
The ground of all the newe lawe
With great devocion he precheth
Fro point to point and plainly techeth

e

nto this hethen emperour nd faith : the highe creatour fath underfonge his charite --If that he wroughte suche pite, Vhan he the children had on honde.

Thus whan this lord hath understonde :)f all this thing how that it ferde, Into Silvester he than answerde Vith all his hole herte and faith, 'hat he is redy to the feith. And so the vessell, which for blood Vas made, Silvester, there it stood Nith clene water of the welle n alle haste he let do felle Ind sette Constantin therinne All naked up unto the chinne. Ind in the while it was begunne

1 light, as though it were a funne, - Fro heven into the place come, Where that he toke his christendome, Ind ever amonge the holy tales Lich as they weren fisshes scales They fellen from him now and efte,

Till that there was nothing belefte * Of all this grete maladie. For he that wolde him purifie The highe god hath made him clene, so that there lefte nothing sene. He hath him clensed bothe two The body and the soule also.

« PreviousContinue »