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Who that the vices wolde escheue,

He mot by reson thanne sue

The vertues. For by thilke way

He may the vices done away.

For they to-gider may nought dwelle.

For as the water of the welle

Of fire abateth the malice,

Right so vertu fordoth the vice.

Ayein envie is charite, Whiche is the moder of pite, That maketh a mannes herte tender, That it may no malice engender In him, that is inclined therto. For his corage is tempred so, That though he might him self releve, Yet wolde he nought another greve, But rather for to do plesaunce He bereth him selven the grevaunce, So fain he wolde another ese. Wherof, my sone, sor thin ese Now herken a tale, whiche I rede, And understonde it well I rede. Hie ponit confessor Among the bokes of latin

exemplum de virtute _ _ . . fn .

charitatiscontrainvi- I finde It Writ OI Conitantin, diam et narrat de >-r«l_ . t. c

constantino Eienefi- The worthy emperour of Rome, femtTgnΠSuch infortunes to him come, obtinuerat, a morbo whan he was in his lusty age,

lepre inrectus, media .

pro sanitate recupe- The lepre caught in his visage

randa ipsum in fan- . , r r , ,, ,

guine pueromm mas- And io forth over all aboute,

culorum balneare ,—,, , . « . ,

proposuerant/edcum That he ne mighte nden oute.

left he bothe shield and spere, » lie that might him nought bestere, rid helde him in his chamber close. hrough all the world the fame arose. The grete clerkes ben assent nd com at his commaundement "o tret upon this lordes hele. o longe they to-gider dele, "hat they upon this medicine ^.ppointen hem and determine, ["hat in the maner as it stood rhey wolde him bath in childes blood vVithinne seven winter age. For as they sain, that shulde assuage The leper and all the violence, Which that they knewe of accidence And nought by way of kinde is falle. And therto they accorden alle As for small conclusion And tolden her opinion To themperour. And he anone His counseil toke, and therupon With letters and with seales out They fend in every londe about The yonge children for to seche, Whose blood, they said, shulde be leche For themperours maladie.

There was inough to wepe and crie Among the moders, whan they herde, How wofully this cause ferde.

innumera multitude) matrum cum filiis huiusmodi medicine causa in circuitu palacii affuisset imperatorque eorum gemitus et clamores percepisset, charitate motus ingemiseenssicait: Overe est ipse dominus, qui fe facit scrvum pietatis. Et his dictis statum suum cunctipotentis medele committens, sui ipfius morbum pocius quam infancium mortem benigniuselegit,unde ipse, qui antea paganus et leprosus extiterat, ex unda baptismatis renatus utriusque materie tarn corporis quam anime divino miraculo consecutus est lalutem.

But netheles they moten bowe,
And thus women there come inowe,
With children soukend on the tete
Tho was there many teres lete.

But were hem liefe or were hem loth,
The women and the children both
Into the paleis forth be brought
With many a sory hertes thought
Of hem, whiche of her body bore
The children hadde, and so forlore
Within a while shulden se.
The moders wepe in her degre
And many of hem a swoune falle,
The yonge babies crieden alle.
This noise arose, this lorde it herde
And loked out, and how it ferde
He sigh, and as who saith abraide
Out of his stepe and thus he saide:

O thou divine purveaunce,
Which every man in the balaunce
Of kinde hast formed to be liche,
The pouer is bore as is the riche
And dieth in the same wisse,
Upon the sole, upon the wiss e
Siknesse and hele enter comune,
May none escheue that fortune,
Which kinde in her lawe hath sette.
Her strengthe and beaute ben besette
To every man aliche free,
That she preferreth no degree

s in the disposicion

f bodely complexion.

nd elce of soule resonable

he pouer childe is bore as able

'o vertue as the kinges sone.

or every man his owne wone

Lfter the lust of his assay

"he vice or vertue chese may.

i'hus stonden alle men fraunchised,

Jut in estate they ben devised,

so some worship and richesse,

so some pouerte and distresse.

Dne lordeth and an other serveth,

But yet as every man deserveth

she world yeveth nought his yeftes here.

But certes he hath great matere

To ben of good condicion,

Whiche hath in his subjection

The men, that ben of his semblaunce.

And eke he toke his remembraunce,

How he that made lawe of kinde

Wolde every man to lawe binde

And bad a man, suche as he wolde,

Toward him self right such he sholde

Toward an other done also.

And thus this worthy lord as tho Set in balaunce his owne estate And with him self stood in debate And thoughte, howe it was nought good To se so mochel mannes blood

Be spilt by cause of him alone.
He sigh also the grete mone
Of that the moders were unglad
And of the wo the children made,
Wherof that all his herte tendreth
And such pite within engendreth,
That him was lever for to chese
His owne body for to lese,
Than se so great a mordre wrought
Upon the blood, which gilteth nought.
Thus for the pite, whiche he toke,
All other leches he forsoke
And put him out of aventure
Alonly into goddes cure
And saith: who that woll maister be
He mot be servaunt to pite.
So ferforth he was overcome
With charite, that he hath nome
His counseil and his officers,
And badde unto his tresorers,
That they his tresour all about
Departe among the pouer route
Of women and of children both,
Wherof they might hem fede and cloth
And saufly tornen home ayein
Withoute loss of any grein.
Through charite thus he dispendeth
His good, wherof that he amendeth
The pouer people and countrevaileth
The harm, that he hem so travaileth.

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