The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 07
Treuthe herde telle herof, and to Piers sente
To taken his teme and tilien the erthe,
And purchaced hym a pardoun a pena et a culpa
For hym and for hyse heirs for ever oore after-
And bad hym holde hym at home and erien hise Ieyes,
And alle that holpen hym to erye, to sette or to sowe,
or any [man]er mestier that myghte Piers availe -
Pardon with Piers Plowman Truthe hath ygraunted.
Kynges and knyghtes that kepen Holy Chirche
And rightfully in remes rulen the peple,
Han pardon thorugh purgatorie to passen ful lightly,
With patriarkes and prophetes in paradis to be felawe.
Bysshopes yblessed, if thei ben as thei sholde
Legistres of bothe lawes, the lewed therwith to preche,
And in as muche as thei mowe amenden alle synfulle,
Arn peres with the Apostles - this pardon Piers sheweth -
And at the day of dome at the heighe deys to sitte.
Marchaunts in the margyne hadde manye yeres,
Ac noon A pena et a culpa the Pope nolde hem graunte.
For thei holde noght hir halidayes as Holy Chirche techeth,
And for thei swere 'by hir soule' and-so God moste hem helpe'
Ayein clene Conseience, hir catel to selle.
Ac under his secret seel Truthe sente hem a lettre,
[And bad hem] buggen boldely what hem best liked
And sithenes selle it ayein and save the wynnyng,
And amende mesondieux thermyd and myseise folk helpe;
And wikkede weyes wightly amende,
And do boote to brugges that tobroke were;
Marien maydenes or maken hem nonnes;
Povere peple and prisons fynden hem hir foode,
And sette soolers to scole or to som othere craftes;
Releve Religion and renten hem bettre.
'And I shal sende yow myselve Seynt Michel myn angel,
That no devel shal yow dere ne [in youre deying fere yow],
And witen yow fro wanhope, if ye wol thus werche,
And sende youre soules in saufte to my Seintes in joye.'
Thanne were marchaunts murie - manye wepten for joye-
And preiseden Piers the Plowman, that purchaced this bulle.
Men of lawe leest pardon hadde that pleteden for mede,
For the Sauter saveth hem noght, swiche as take yiftes,
And nameliche of innocents that noon yvel ne konneth
Super innocentem munera non accipies.
Pledours sholde peynen hem to plede for swiche and helpe;
Princes and prelates sholde paie for hire travaille
A regibus et principibus erit merces eorum.
Ac many a justice and jurour wolde for Johan do moore
Than pro Deipietate - leve thow noon oother!
Ac he that spendeth his speche and speketh for the povere
That is innocent and nedy and no man apeireth,
Conforteth hym in that caas, coveit[eth noght hise] yiftes,
And [for Oure Lordes love lawe for hym sheweth] -
Shal no devel at his deeth day deren hym a myte
That he ne worth saaf and his soule, the Sauter bereth witnesse
Domine, quis habitabit in tabernaculo tuo ?
Ac to bugge water, ne wynd, ne wit, ne fir the ferthe -
Thise foure the Fader of Hevene made to this foold in commune
Thise ben Truthes tresores trewe folk to helpe,
That nevere shul wex ne wanye withouten God hymselve.
Whan thei drawen on to the deth, and indulgences wolde have,
His pardon is ful petit at his partyng hennes
That any mede of mene men for hir motyng taketh.
Ye legistres and lawieres, [if I lye witeth Mathew]
Quodcumque vultis ut faciant vobis homines, facite eis.
Alle libbynge laborers that lyven with hir hondes,
That treweliche taken and treweliche wynnen,
And lyven in love and in lawe, for hir lowe herte
Haveth the same absolucion that sent was to Piers.
Beggeres and bidderes beth noght in the bulle
But if the suggestion be sooth that shapeth hem to begge
For he that beggeth or bit, but it he have nede,
He is fals with the feend and defraudeth the nedy,
And also gileth the gyvere ageynes his wille;
For if he wiste he were noght nedy he wolde [that yyve]
Another that were moore nedy than he - so the nedieste sholde be holpe.
Caton kenneth me thus, and the Clerc of the Stories
Cui des, videto is Catons techyng;
And in the Stories he techeth to bistowe thyn almesse
Sit elemosina tua in manu tua donec studes cui des.
Ac Gregory was a good man, and bad us gyven alle
That asketh for His love that us al leneth
Non eligas cui miserearis, ne forte pretereas illum qui meretur
accipere; quia incertum est pro quo Deo magis placeas.
For wite ye nevere who is worthi-ac God woot who hath nede.
In hym that taketh is the trecherie, if any treson walke-
For he that yeveth, yeldeth, and yarketh hym to reste,
And he that biddeth, borweth, and bryngeth hymself in dette.
For beggeres borwen everemo, and hir borgh is God Almyghty-
To yelden hem that yeveth hem, and yet usure moore
Quare non dedisti pecuniam meam ad mensam, ut
ego ueniens cum usuris exegissem utique illam?
Forthi biddeth noght, ye beggeres, but if ye have gret nede.
For whoso hath to buggen hym breed-the Book bereth witnesse-
He hath ynough that hath breed ynough, though he have noght ellis
Satis dives est qui non indiget pane.
Lat usage be your solas of seintes lyves redyng;
The Book banneth beggerie, and blameth hem in this manere
Iunior fui etenim senui, et non vidi iustum derelictum nec
semen eius querens panem.
For [thei] lyve in no love, ne no lawe holde
[Thei] ne wedde no womman that [thei] with deele,
But as wilde bestes with 'wehee' worthen uppe and werchen,
And bryngen forth barnes that bastardes men calleth.
Or the bak or som soon their breketh in his youthe,
And goon [and] faiten with hire fauntes for everemoore after.
Ther is moore mysshapen amonges thise beggeres
Than of alle [othere] manere men that on this moolde walketh.
Tho that lyve thus hir lif mowe lothe the tyme
That evere he was man wroght, whan he shal hennes fare.
Ac olde men and hore that helplees ben of strengthe,
And wommen with childe that werche ne mowe,
Blynde and bedreden and broken hire membres,
That taken this myschief mekeliche, as mesels and othere,
Han as pleyn pardon as the Plowman hymselve.
For Iove of hir lowe hertes Oure Lord hath hem graunted
Hir penaunce and hir Purgatorie upon this [pure] erthe.
' Piers,' quod a preest thoo, ' thi pardon moste I rede;
For I shal construe ech clause and kenne it thee on Englissh.'
And Piers at his preiere the pardon unfoldeth -
And I bihynde hem bothe biheld al the bull
In two lynes it lay, and noght a le[ttre] moore,
And was writen right thus in witnesse of truthe
Et qui bona egerunt ibunt in vitam eternam.
Qui vero mala, in ignem eternum.
' Peter! ' quod the preest thoo, ' I kan no pardon fynde
But '-Do wel and have wel. and God shal have thi soule,'
And ' Do yvel and have yvel, and hope thow noon oother
That after thi deeth day the devel shal have thi soule!'
And Piers for pure tene pulled it atweyne
And seide,-Si ambulavero in medio umbre mortis
Non timebo mala, quoniam tu mecum es.
'I shal cessen of my sowyng,' quod Piers, 'and swynke noght so harde,
Ne aboute my bely joye so bisy be na moore;
Of preieres and of penaunce my plough shal ben herafter,
And wepen whan I sholde slepe, though whete breed me faille.
'The prophete his payn eet in penaunce and in sorwe,
By that the Sauter seith - so dide othere manye.
That loveth God lelly, his lifiode is ful esy
Fuerunt michi lacrime mee panes die ac nocte.
'And but if Luc lye, he lereth us by foweles
We sholde noght be to bisy aboute the worldes blisse
Ne soliciti sitis, he seith in the Gospel
And sheweth us by ensamples us selve to wisse.
The foweles in the feld, who fynt hem mete at wynter?
Have thei no gerner to go to, but God fynt hem alle.'
'What!' quod the preest to Perkyn, 'Peter! as me thynketh,
Thow art lettred a litel - who lerned thee on boke?'
'Abstynence the Abbesse,' quod Piers,-myn a.b.c. me taughte,
And Conscience cam afterward and kenned me muche moore.'
' Were thow a preest, Piers,' quod he, ' thow myghtest preche where thow sh
As divinour in divinite, with Dixit insipiens to thi teme.'
' Lewed lorel!' quod Piers, 'litel lokestow on the Bible;
On Salomons sawes selden thow biholdest -
Eice derisores et iurgia cum eis ne crescant &c.'
The preest and Perkyn apposeden either oother -
And I thorugh hir wordes awook, and waited aboute,
And seigh the sonne in the south sitte that tyme.
Metelees and moneilees on Malverne hulles,
Musynge on this metels a my[le] wey ich yede.
Many tyme this metels hath maked me to studie
Of that I seigh slepynge - if it so be myghte;
And for Piers the Plowman ful pencif in herte,
And which a pardon Piers hadde, al the peple to conforte,
And how the preest inpugned it with two propre wordes.
Ac I have no savour in songewarie, for I se it ofte faille;
Caton and canonistres counseillen us to leve
To sette sadnesse in songewarie - for sompnia ne cures.
Ac for the book Bible bereth witnesse
How Daniel divined the dremes of a kyng
That was Nabugodonosor nempned of clerkes . . .
Daniel seide, 'Sire Kyng, thi dremels bitokneth
That unkouthe knyghtes shul come thi kyngdom to cleyme;
Amonges lower lordes thi lond shal be departed.'
And as Daniel divined, in dede it fel after
The kyng lees his lordshipe, and lower men it hadde.
And Joseph mette merveillously how the moone and the sonne
And the ellevene sterres hailsed hym alle.
Thanne Jacob jugged Josephes swevene
' Beau fiz,' quod his fader, ' for defaute we shullen -
I myself and my sones - seche thee for nede.'
It bifel as his fader seide, in Pharaoes tyme,
That Joseph was Justice Egipte to loke
It bifel as his fader tolde - hise frendes there hym soughte.
Al this maketh me on metels to thynke -
And how the preest preved no pardon to Dowel,
And demed that Dowel indulgences passed,
Biennals and triennals and bisshopes lettres,
And how Dowel at the Day of Dome is digneliche underfongen,
And passeth al the pardon of Seint Petres cherche.
Now hath the Pope power pardon to graunte
The peple, withouten penaunce to ja into [joye];
This is [a leef of] oure bileve, as lettred men us techeth
Quodcumque ligaveris super terram erit ligatum et in celis &c.
And so I leve leelly (Lord forbede ellis!)
That pardon and penaunce and preieres doon save
Soules that have synned seven sithes dedly.
Ac to trust on thise triennals - trewely, me thynketh,
It is noght so siker for the soule, certes, as is Dowel.
Forthi I rede yow renkes that riche ben on this erthe,
Upon trust of youre tresor triennals to have,
Be ye never the bolder to breke the ten hestes;
And namely ye maistres, meires and jugges,
That have the welthe of this world and wise men ben holden,
To purchace yow pardon and the Popes bulles.
At the dredful dome, whan dede shulle arise
And comen alle bifore Crist acountes to yelde -
How thow laddest thi lif here and hise lawes keptest,
And how thow didest day by day the doom wole reherce.
A pokeful of pardon there, ne provincials lettres,
Theigh ye be founde in the fraternite of alle the foure ordres
And have indulgences doublefold - but Dowel yow helpe,
I sette youre patentes and youre pardon at one pies hele!
Forthi I counseille alle Cristene to crie God mercy,
And Marie his moder be oure meene bitwene,
That God gyve us grace here, er we go hennes,
Swiche werkes to werche, while we ben here,
That after oure deth day, Dowel reherce
At the day of dome, we dide as he highte.
William Langland's Other Poems
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