Pearl

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Pearl
by Pearl Poet
Sir Gawain first page.jpg

Perle, pleasaunte to prynces paye
To clanly clos in golde so clere,
Oute of oryent, I hardyly saye,
Ne proued I neuer her precios pere.
O rounde, so reken in vche araye,
So smal, so smoþe her sydeȝ were,
Quere-so-euer I jugged gemmeȝ gaye,
I sette hyr sengeley in synglere.
Allas! I leste hyr in on erbere;
Þurȝ gresse to grounde hit fro me yot.
I dewyne, fordolked of luf-daungere
Of þat pryuy perle wythouten spot.

Syþen in þat spote hit fro me sprange,
Ofte haf I wayted, wyschande þat wele,
Þat wont watȝ whyle deuoyde my wrange
And heuen my happe and al my hele.
Þat dotȝ bot þrych my hert þrange,
My breste in bale bot bolne and bele;
Ȝet þoȝt me neuer so swete a sange
As stylle stounde let to me stele.
For soþe þer fleten to me fele,
To þenke hir color so clad in clot.
O moul, þou marreȝ a myry iuele,
My priuy perle wythouten spotte.

-2-


Þat spot of spyseȝ mot nedeȝ sprede,
Þer such rycheȝ to rot is runne;
Blomeȝ blayke and blwe and rede
Þer schyneȝ ful schyr agayn þe sunne.
Flor and fryte may not be fede
Þer hit doun drof in moldeȝ dunne;
For vch gresse mot grow of grayneȝ dede;
No whete were elleȝ to woneȝ wonne.
Of goud vche goude is ay bygonne;
So semly a sede moȝt fayly not,
Þat spryngande spyceȝ vp ne sponne
Of þat precios perle wythouten spotte.


To þat spot þat I in speche expoun
I entred in þat erber grene,
In Augoste in a hyȝ seysoun,
Quen corne is coruen wyth crokeȝ kene.
On huyle þer perle hit trendeled doun
Schadowed þis worteȝ ful schyre and schene,
Gilofre, gyngure and gromylyoun,
And pyonys powdered ay bytwene.
Ȝif hit watȝ semly on to sene,
A fayr reflayr ȝet fro hit flot.
Þer wonys þat worþyly, I wot and wene,
My precious perle wythouten spot.

Bifore þat spot my honde I spenned
For care ful colde þat to me caȝt;
A deuely dele in my hert denned,
Þaȝ resoun sette myseluen saȝt.
-3-


I playned my perle þat þer watȝ spenned
Wyth fyrce skylleȝ þat faste faȝt;
Þaȝ kynde of Kryst me comfort kenned,
My wreched wylle in wo ay wraȝte.
I felle vpon þat floury flaȝt,
Suche odour to my herneȝ schot;
I slode vpon a slepyng-slaȝte
On þat precios perle wythouten spot.


Fro spot my spyryt þer sprang in space;
My body on balke þer bod in sweuen.
My goste is gon in Godeȝ grace
In auenture þer meruayleȝ meuen.
I ne wyste in þis worlde quere þat hit wace,
Bot I knew me keste þer klyfeȝ cleuen;
Towarde a foreste I bere þe face,
Where rych rokkeȝ wer to dyscreuen.
Þe lyȝt of hem myȝt no mon leuen,
Þe glemande glory þat of hem glent;
For wern neuer webbeȝ þat wyȝeȝ weuen
Of half so dere adubbemente.


Dubbed wern alle þo downeȝ sydeȝ
Wyth crystal klyffeȝ so cler of kynde.
Holtewodeȝ bryȝt aboute hem bydeȝ
Of bolleȝ as blwe as ble of Ynde;
As bornyst syluer þe lef on slydeȝ,
Þat þike con trylle on vch a tynde.
-4-


Quen glem of glodeȝ agaynȝ hem glydeȝ,
Wyth schymeryng schene ful schrylle þay schynde.
Þe grauayl þat on grounde con grynde
Wern precious perleȝ of oryente:
Þe sunnebemeȝ bot blo and blynde
In respecte of þat adubbement.

The adubbemente of þo downeȝ dere
Garten my goste al greffe forȝete.
So frech flauoreȝ of fryteȝ were,
As fode hit con me fayre refete.
Fowleȝ þer flowen in fryth in fere,
Of flaumbande hweȝ, boþe smale and grete;
Bot sytole-stryng and gyternere
Her reken myrþe moȝt not retrete;
For quen þose bryddeȝ her wyngeȝ bete,
Þay songen wyth a swete asent.
So gracios gle couþe no mon gete
As here and se her adubbement.

So al watȝ dubbet on dere asyse
Þat fryth þer fortwne forth me fereȝ.
Þat derþe þerof for to deuyse
Nis no wyȝ worþé þat tonge bereȝ.
I welke ay forth in wely wyse;
No bonk so byg þat did me dereȝ.
Þe fyrre in þe fryth, þe feier con ryse
Þe playn, þe plontteȝ, þe spyse, þe
And raweȝ and randeȝ and rych reuereȝ,
As fyldor fyn her bonkes brent.
I wan to a water by schore þat schereȝ --
Lorde, dere watȝ hit adubbement!

-5-


The dubbemente of þo derworth depe
Wern bonkeȝ bene of beryl bryȝt.
Swangeande swete þe water con swepe,
Wyth a rownande rourde raykande aryȝt.
In þe founce þer stonden stoneȝ stepe,
As glente þurȝ glas þat glowed and glyȝt,
As stremande sterneȝ, quen stroþe-men slepe,
Staren in welkyn in wynter nyȝt;
For vche a pobbel in pole þer pyȝt
Watȝ emerad, saffer, oþer gemme gente,
Þat alle þe loȝe lemed of lyȝt,
So dere watȝ hit adubbement.


The dubbement dere of doun and daleȝ,
Of wod and water and wlonk playneȝ,
Bylde in me blys, abated my baleȝ,
Fordidden my stresse, dystryed my payneȝ.
Doun after a strem þat dryȝly haleȝ
I bowed in blys, bredful my brayneȝ;
Þe fyrre I folȝed þose floty valeȝ,
Þe more strenghþe of ioye myn herte strayneȝ.
As fortune fares þer as ho frayneȝ,
Wheþer solace ho sende oþer elleȝ sore,
Þe wyȝ to wham her wylle ho wayneȝ
Hytteȝ to haue ay more and more.

More of wele watȝ in þat wyse
Þen I cowþe telle þaȝ I tom hade,
For vrþely herte myȝt not suffyse
To þe tenþe dole of þo gladneȝ glade;
-6-


Forþy I þoȝt þat Paradyse
Watȝ þer ouer gayn þo bonkeȝ brade.
I hoped þe water were a deuyse
Bytwene myrþeȝ by mereȝ made;
Byȝonde þe broke, by slente oþer slade,
I hoped þat mote merked wore.
Bot þe water watȝ depe, I dorst not wade,
And euer me longed ay more and more.


More and more, and ȝet wel mare,
Me lyste to se þe broke byȝonde;
For if hit watȝ fayr þer I con fare,
Wel loueloker watȝ þe fyrre londe.
Abowte me con I stote and stare;
To fynde a forþe faste con I fonde.
Bot woþeȝ mo iwysse þer ware,
Þe fyrre I stalked by þe stronde.
And euer me þoȝt I schulde not wonde
For wo þer weleȝ so wynne wore.
Þenne nwe note me com on honde
Þat meued my mynde ay more and more.

More meruayle con my dom adaunt:
I seȝ byȝonde þat myry mere
A crystal clyffe ful relusaunt;
Mony ryal ray con fro hit rere.
At þe fote þerof þer sete a faunt,
A mayden of menske, ful debonere;
Blysnande whyt watȝ hyr bleaunt.
I knew hyr wel, I hade sen hyr ere.
-7-


As glysnande golde þat man con schere,
So schon þat schene an-vnder shore.
On lenghe I loked to hyr þere;
Þe lenger, I knew hyr more and more.

The more I frayste hyr fayre face,
Her fygure fyn quen I had fonte,
Suche gladande glory con to me glace
As lyttel byfore þerto watȝ wonte.
To calle hyr lyste con me enchace,
Bot baysment gef myn hert a brunt.
I seȝ hyr in so strange a place,
Such a burre myȝt make myn herte blunt.
Þenne vereȝ ho vp her fayre frount,
Hyr vysayge whyt as playn yuore:
Þat stonge myn hert ful stray atount,
And euer þe lenger, þe more and more.


More þen me lyste my drede aros.
I stod ful stylle and dorste not calle;
Wyth yȝen open and mouth ful clos
I stod as hende as hawk in halle.
I hoped þat gostly watȝ þat porpose;
I dred onende quat schulde byfalle,
Lest ho me eschaped þat I þer chos,
Er I at steuen hir moȝt stalle.
Þat gracios gay wythouten galle,
So smoþe, so smal, so seme slyȝt,
Ryseȝ vp in hir araye ryalle,
A precios pyece in perleȝ pyȝt.

-8-


Perleȝ pyȝte of ryal prys
Þere moȝt mon by grace haf sene,
Quen þat frech as flor-de-lys
Doun þe bonke con boȝe bydene.
Al blysnande whyt watȝ hir beau biys,
Vpon at sydeȝ, and bounden bene
Wyth þe myryeste margarys, at my deuyse,
Þat euer I seȝ ȝet with myn ene;
Wyth lappeȝ large, I wot and I wene,
Dubbed with double perle and dyȝte;
Her cortel of self sute schene,
Wyth precios perleȝ al vmbepyȝte.

A pyȝt coroune ȝet wer þat gyrle
Of mariorys and non oþer ston.
Hiȝe pynakled of cler quyt perle,
Wyth flurted flowreȝ perfet vpon.
To hed hade ho non oþer werle;
Her here leke, al hyr vmbegon,
Her semblaunt sade for doc oþer erle,
Her ble more blaȝt þen whalleȝ bon.
As schorne golde schyr her fax þenne schon,
On schyldereȝ þat leghe vnlapped lyȝte.
Her depe colour ȝet wonted non
Of precios perle in porfyl pyȝte.


Pyȝt watȝ poyned and vche a hemme
At honde, at sydeȝ, at ouerture,
Wyth whyte perle and non oþer gemme,
And bornyste quyte watȝ hyr uesture.
-9-


Bot a wonder perle wythouten wemme
Inmyddeȝ hyr breste watȝ sette so sure;
A manneȝ dom moȝt dryȝly demme,
Er mynde moȝt malte in hit mesure.
I hope no tong moȝt endure
No sauerly saghe say of þat syȝt,
So watȝ hit clene and cler and pure,
Þat precios perle þer hit watȝ pyȝt.

Pyȝt in perle, þat precios pyece
On wyþer half water com doun þe schore.
No gladder gome heþen into Grece
Þen I, quen ho on brymme wore.
Ho watȝ me nerre þen aunte or nece;
My joy forþy watȝ much þe more.
Ho profered me speche, þat special spece,
Enclynande lowe in wommon lore,
Caȝte of her coroun of grete tresore
And haylsed me wyth a lote lyȝte.
Wel watȝ me þat euer I watȝ bore
To sware þat swete in perleȝ pyȝte!


'O perle', quod I, 'in perleȝ pyȝt,
Art þou my perle þat I haf playned,
Regretted by myn one on nyȝte?
Much longeyng haf I for þe layned,
Syþen into gresse þou me aglyȝte.
Pensyf, payred, I am forpayned,
And þou in a lyf of lykyng lyȝte,
In Paradys erde, of stryf vnstrayned.
-10-


What wyrde hatȝ hyder my iuel vayned,
And don me in þys del and gret daunger?
Fro we in twynne wern towen and twayned,
I haf ben a joyleȝ juelere.'


That juel þenne in gemmeȝ gente
Vered vp her vyse wyth yȝen graye,
Set on hyr coroun of perle orient,
And soberly after þenne con ho say:
'Sir, ȝe haf your tale mysetente,
To say your perle is al awaye,
Þat is in cofer so comly clente
As in þis gardyn gracios gaye,
Hereinne to lenge for euer and play,
Þer mys nee mornyng com neuer nere.
Her were a forser for þe, in faye,
If þou were a gentyl jueler.

'Bot, jueler gente, if þou schal lose
Þy ioy for a gemme þat þe watȝ lef,
Me þynk þe put in a mad porpose,
And busyeȝ þe aboute a raysoun bref;
For þat þou lesteȝ watȝ bot a rose
Þat flowred and fayled as kynde hyt gef.
Now þurȝ kynde of þe kyste þat hyt con close
To a perle of prys hit is put in pref.
And þou hatȝ called þy wyrde a þef,
Þat oȝt of noȝt hatȝ mad þe cler;
Þou blameȝ þe bote of þy meschef,
Þou art no kynde jueler.'

A juel to me þen watȝ þys geste,
And iueleȝ wern hyr gentyl saweȝ.
-11-


'Iwyse', quod I, 'my blysfol beste,
My grete dystresse þou al todraweȝ.
To be excused I make requeste;
I trawed my perle don out of daweȝ.
Now haf I fonde hyt, I schal ma feste,
And wony wyth hyt in schyr wod-schaweȝ,
And loue my Lorde and al his laweȝ
Þat hatȝ me broȝt þys blys ner.
Now were I at yow byȝonde þise waweȝ,
I were a ioyful jueler.'


'Jueler', sayde þat gemme clene,
'Wy borde ȝe men? So madde ȝe be!
Þre wordeȝ hatȝ þou spoken at ene:
Vnavysed, for soþe, wern alle þre.
Þou ne woste in worlde quat on dotȝ mene;
Þy worde byfore þy wytte con fle.
Þou says þou traweȝ me in þis dene,
Bycawse þou may wyth yȝen me se;
Anoþer þou says, in þys countré
Þyself schal won wyth me ryȝt here;
Þe þrydde, to passe þys water fre --
Þat may no ioyfol jueler.


'I halde þat iueler lyttel to prayse
Þat leueȝ wel þat he seȝ wyth yȝe,
And much to blame and vncortayse
Þat leueȝ oure Lorde wolde make a lyȝe,
-12-


Þat lelly hyȝte your lyf to rayse,
Þaȝ fortune dyd your flesch to dyȝe.
Ȝe setten hys wordeȝ ful westernays
Þat leueȝ noþynk bot ȝe hit syȝe.
And þat is a poynt o sorquydryȝe,
Þat vche god mon may euel byseme,
To leue no tale be true to tryȝe
Bot þat hys one skyl may dem.

'Deme now þyself if þou con dayly
As man to God wordeȝ schulde heue.
Þou saytȝ þou schal won in þis bayly;
Me þynk þe burde fyrst aske leue,
And ȝet of graunt þou myȝteȝ fayle.
Þou wylneȝ ouer þys water to weue;
Er moste þou ceuer to oþer counsayle:
Þy corse in clot mot calder keue.
For hit watȝ forgarte at Paradys greue;
Oure ȝorefader hit con mysseȝeme.
Þurȝ drwry deth boȝ vch man dreue,
Er ouer þys dam hym Dryȝtyn deme.'


'Demeȝ þou me', quod I, 'my swete,
To dol agayn, þenne I dowyne.
Now haf I fonte þat I forlete,
Schal I efte forgo hit er euer I fyne?
Why schal I hit boþe mysse and mete?
My precios perle dotȝ me gret pyne.
What serueȝ tresor, bot gareȝ men grete
When he hit schal efte wyth teneȝ tyne?
-13-


Now rech I neuer for to declyne,
Ne how fer of folde þat man me fleme.
When I am partleȝ of perle myne,
Bot durande doel what may men deme?'

'Thow demeȝ noȝt bot doel-dystresse',
Þenne sayde þat wyȝt. 'Why dotȝ þou so
For dyne of doel of lureȝ lesse
Ofte mony mon forgos þe mo.
Þe oȝte better þyseluen blesse,
And loue ay God, in wele and wo,
For anger gayneȝ þe not a cresse.
Who nedeȝ schal þole, be not so þro.
For þoȝ þou daunce as any do,
Braundysch and bray þy braþeȝ breme,
When þou no fyrre may, to ne fro,
Þou moste abyde þat he schal deme.

'Deme Dryȝtyn, euer hym adyte,
Of þe way a fote ne wyl he wryþe.
Þy mendeȝ mounteȝ not a myte,
Þaȝ þou for sorȝe be neuer blyþe.
Stynt of þy strot and fyne to flyte,
And sech hys blyþe ful swefte and swyþe.
Þy prayer may hys pyté byte,
Þat mercy schal hyr crafteȝ kyþe.
Hys comforte may þy langour lyþe
And þy lureȝ of lyȝtly fleme;
For, marre oþer madde, morne and myþe,
Al lys in hym to dyȝt and deme.'
-14-



Thenne demed I to þat damyselle:
'Ne worþe no wrathþe vnto my Lorde,
If rapely I raue, spornande in spelle.
My herte watȝ al wyth mysse remorde,
As wallande water gotȝ out of welle.
I do me ay in hys myserecorde.
Rebuke me neuer wyth wordeȝ felle,
Þaȝ I forloyne, my dere endorde,
Bot kyþeȝ me kyndely your coumforde,
Pytosly þenkande vpon þysse:
Of care and me ȝe made acorde,
Þat er watȝ grounde of alle my blysse.

'My blysse, my bale, ȝe han ben boþe,
Bot much þe bygger ȝet watȝ my mon;
Fro þou watȝ wroken fro vch a woþe,
I wyste neuer quere my perle watȝ gon.
Now I hit se, now leþeȝ my loþe.
And, quen we departed, we wern at on;
God forbede we be now wroþe,
We meten so selden by stok oþer ston.
Þaȝ cortaysly ȝe carp con,
I am bot mol and manereȝ mysse.
Bot Crystes mersy and Mary and Jon,
Þise arn þe grounde of alle my blisse.

'In blysse I se þe blyþely blent,
And I a man al mornyf mate;
Ȝe take þeron ful lyttel tente,
Þaȝ I hente ofte harmeȝ hate.
-15-


Bot now I am here in your presente,
I wolde bysech, wythouten debate,
Ȝe wolde me say in sobre asente
What lyf ȝe lede erly and late.
For I am ful fayn þat your astate
Is worþen to worschyp and wele, iwysse;
Of alle my joy þe hyȝe gate,
Hit is in grounde of alle my blysse.'


'Now blysse, burne, mot þe bytyde',
Þen sayde þat lufsoum of lyth and lere,
'And welcum here to walk and byde,
For now þe speche is to me dere.
Maysterful mod and hyȝe pryde,
I hete þe, arn heterly hated here.
My Lorde ne loueȝ not for to chyde,
For meke arn alle þat woneȝ hym nere;
And when in hys place þou schal apere,
Be dep deuote in hol mekenesse.
My Lorde þe Lamb loueȝ ay such chere,
Þat is þe grounde of alle my blysse.

'A blysful lyf þou says I lede;
Þou woldeȝ knaw þerof þe stage.
Þow wost wel when þy perle con schede
I watȝ ful ȝong and tender of age;
Bot my Lorde þe Lombe þurȝ hys godhede,
He toke myself to hys maryage,
Corounde me quene in blysse to brede
In lenghe of dayeȝ þat euer schal wage;
And sesed in alle hys herytage
Hys lef is. I am holy hysse:
Hys prese, hys prys, and hys parage
Is rote and grounde of alle my blysse.'
-16-



'Blysful', quod I, 'may þys be trwe?
Dyspleseȝ not if I speke errour.
Art þou þe quene of heueneȝ blwe,
Þat al þys worlde schal do honour?
We leuen on Marye þat grace of grewe,
Þat ber a barne of vyrgyn flour;
Þe croune fro hyr quo moȝt remwe
Bot ho hir passed in sum fauour?
Now, for synglerty o hyr dousour,
We calle hyr Fenyx of Arraby,
Þat freles fleȝe of hyr fasor,
Lyk to þe Quen of cortaysye.'

'Cortayse Quen', þenne sayde þat gaye,
Knelande to grounde, folde vp hyr face,
'Makeleȝ Moder and myryest May,
Blessed bygynner of vch a grace!'
Þenne ros ho vp and con restay,
And speke me towarde in þat space:
'Sir, fele here porchaseȝ and fongeȝ pray,
Bot supplantoreȝ none wythinne þys place.
Þat emperise al heuenȝ hatȝ,
And vrþe and helle, in her bayly;
Of erytage ȝet non wyl ho chace,
For ho is Quen of cortaysye.

'The court of þe kyndom of God alyue
Hatȝ a property in hytself beyng:
Alle þat may þerinne aryue
Of alle þe reme is quen oþer kyng,
-17-


And neuer oþer ȝet schal depryue,
Bot vchon fayn of oþereȝ hafyng,
And wolde her corouneȝ wern worþe þo fyue,
If possyble were her mendyng.
Bot my Lady of quom Jesu con spryng,
Ho haldeȝ þe empyre ouer vus ful hyȝe;
And þat dyspleseȝ non of oure gyng,
For ho is Quene of cortaysye.

'Of courtaysye, as saytȝ Saynt Poule,
Al arn we membreȝ of Jesu Kryst:
As heued and arme and legg and naule
Temen to hys body ful trwe and tryste,
Ryȝt so is vch a Krysten sawle
A longande lym to þe Mayster of myste.
Þenne loke what hate oþer any gawle
Is tached oþer tyȝed þy lymmeȝ bytwyste.
Þy heued hatȝ nauþer greme ne gryste,
On arme oþer fynger þaȝ þou ber byȝe.
So fare we alle wyth luf and lyste
To kyng and quene by cortaysye.'


'Cortaysé', quod I, 'I leue,
And charyté grete, be yow among,
Bot my speche þat yow ne greue,
. . . . . . .
Þyself in heuen ouer hyȝ þou heue,
To make þe quen þat watȝ so ȝonge.
What more honour moȝte he acheue
Þat hade endured in worlde stronge,
-18-


And lyued in penaunce hys lyueȝ longe
Wyth bodyly bale hym blysse to byye?
What more worschyp moȝt he fonge
Þen corounde be kyng by cortaysé?


'That cortaysé is to fre of dede,
Ȝyf hyt be soth þat þou coneȝ saye.
Þou lyfed not two ȝer in oure þede;
Þou cowþeȝ neuer God nauþer plese ne pray,
Ne neuer nawþer Pater ne Crede;
And quen mad on þe fyrst day!
I may not traw, so God me spede,
Þat God wolde wryþe so wrange away.
Of countes, damysel, par ma fay,
Wer fayr in heuen to halde asstate,
Oþer elleȝ a lady of lasse aray;
Bot a quene! Hit is to dere a date.'

'Þer is no date of hys godnesse',
Þen sayde to me þat worþy wyȝte,
'For al is trawþe þat he con dresse,
And he may do noþynk bot ryȝt.
As Mathew meleȝ in your messe
In sothfol gospel of God almyȝt,
In sample he can ful grayþely gesse,
And lykneȝ hit to heuen lyȝte.
"My regne", he saytȝ, "is lyk on hyȝt
To a lorde þat hade a uyne, I wate.
Of tyme of ȝere þe terme watȝ tyȝt,
To labor vyne watȝ dere þe date.

-19-


'"Þat date of ȝere wel knawe þys hyne.
Þe lorde ful erly vp he ros
To hyre werkmen to hys vyne,
And fyndeȝ þer summe to hys porpos.
Into acorde þay con declyne
For a pené on a day, and forth þay gotȝ,
Wryþen and worchen and don gret pyne,
Keruen and caggen and man hit clos.
Aboute vnder þe lorde to marked totȝ,
And ydel men stande he fyndeȝ þerate.
'Why stande ȝe ydel?' he sayde to þos.
'Ne knawe ȝe of þis day no date?'

'"'Er date of daye hider arn we wonne',
So watȝ al samen her answar soȝt.
'We haf standen her syn ros þe sunne,
And no mon byddeȝ vus do ryȝt noȝt.'
'Gos into my vyne, dotȝ þat ȝe conne',
So sayde þe lorde, and made hit toȝt.
'What resonabele hyre be naȝt be runne
I yow pay in dede and þoȝte.'
Þay wente into þe vyne and wroȝte,
And al day þe lorde þus ȝede his gate,
And nw men to hys vyne he broȝte
Welneȝ wyl day watȝ passed date.

'"At þe date of day of euensonge,
On oure byfore þe sonne go doun,
He seȝ þer ydel men ful stronge
And sade to hem wyth sobre soun,
-20-


'Wy stonde ȝe ydel þise dayeȝ longe?'
Þay sayden her hyre watȝ nawhere boun.
'Gotȝ to my vyne, ȝemen ȝonge,
And wyrkeȝ and dotȝ þat at ȝe moun.'
Sone þe worlde bycom wel broun;
Þe sunne watȝ doun and hit wex late.
To take her hyre he mad sumoun;
Þe day watȝ al apassed date.


'"The date of þe daye þe lorde con knaw,
Called to þe reue: 'Lede, pay þe meyny.
Gyf hem þe hyre þat I hem owe,
And fyrre, þat non me may reprené,
Set hem alle vpon a rawe
And gyf vchon inlyche a peny.
Bygyn at þe laste þat standeȝ lowe,
Tyl to þe fyrst þat þou atteny.'
And þenne þe fyrst bygonne to pleny
And sayden þat þay hade trauayled sore:
'Þese bot on oure hem con streny;
Vus þynk vus oȝe to take more.

'"'More haf we serued, vus þynk so,
Þat suffred han þe dayeȝ hete,
Þenn þyse þat wroȝt not houreȝ two,
And þou dotȝ hem vus to counterfete.'
Þenne sayde þe lorde to on of þo:
'Frende, no waning I wyl þe ȝete;
Take þat is þyn owne, and go.
And I hyred þe for a peny agrete,
-21-


Quy bygynneȝ þou now to þrete?
Watȝ not a pené þy couenaunt þore?
Fyrre þen couenaunde is noȝt to plete.
Wy schalte þou þenne ask more?

'"'More, weþer louyly is me my gyfte,
To do wyth myn quat-so me lykeȝ?
Oþer elleȝ þyn yȝe to lyþer is lyfte
For I am goude and non byswykeȝ?'
Þus schal I", quod Kryste, "hit skyfte:
Þe laste schal be þe fyrst þat strykeȝ,
And þe fyrst þe laste, be he neuer so swyft;
For mony ben called, þaȝ fewe be mykeȝ."
Þus pore men her part ay pykeȝ,
Þaȝ þay com late and lyttel wore;
And þaȝ her sweng wyth lyttel atslykeȝ,
Þe merci of God is much þe more.


'More haf I of joye and blysse hereinne,
Of ladyschyp gret and lyueȝ blom,
Þen alle þe wyȝeȝ in þe worlde myȝt wynne
By þe way of ryȝt to aske dome.
Wheþer welnygh now I con bygynne --
In euentyde into þe vyne I come --
Fyrst of my hyre my Lorde con mynne:
I watȝ payed anon of al and sum.
Ȝet oþer þer werne þat toke more tom,
Þat swange and swat for long ȝore,
Þat ȝet of hyre noþynk þay nom,
Paraunter noȝt schal to-ȝere more.'

-22-


Then more I meled and sayde apert:
'Me þynk þy tale vnresounable.
Goddeȝ ryȝt is redy and euermore rert,
Oþer Holy Wryt is bot a fable.
In Sauter is sayd a verce ouerte
Þat spekeȝ a poynt determynable:
"Þou quyteȝ vchon as hys desserte,
Þou hyȝe kyng ay pretermynable."
Now he þat stod þe long day stable,
And þou to payment com hym byfore,
Þenne þe lasse in werke to take more able,
And euer þe lenger þe lasse, þe more.'

'Of more and lasse in Godeȝ ryche',
Þat gentyl sayde, 'lys no joparde,
For þer is vch mon payed inlyche,
Wheþer lyttel oþer much be hys rewarde;
For þe gentyl Cheuentayn is no chyche,
Queþer-so-euer he dele nesch oþer harde:
He laueȝ hys gyfteȝ as water of dyche,
Oþer goteȝ of golf þat neuer charde.
Hys fraunchyse is large þat euer dard
To Hym þat matȝ in synne rescoghe;
No blysse betȝ fro hem reparde,
For þe grace of God is gret inoghe.

'Bot now þou moteȝ, me for to mate,
Þat I my peny haf wrang tan here;
Þou sayȝ þat I þat com to late
Am not worþy so gret fere.
-23-


Where wysteȝ þou euer any bourne abate,
Euer so holy in hys prayere,
Þat he ne forfeted by sumkyn gate
Þe mede sumtyme of heueneȝ clere?
And ay þe ofter, þe alder þay were,
Þay laften ryȝt and wroȝten woghe.
Mercy and grace moste hem þen stere,
For þe grace of God is gret innoȝe.

'Bot innoghe of grace hatȝ innocent.
As sone as þay arn borne, by lyne
In þe water of babtem þay dyssente:
Þen arne þay boroȝt into þe vyne.
Anon þe day, wyth derk endente,
Þe niyȝt of deth dotȝ to enclyne:
Þat wroȝt neuer wrang er þenne þay wente,
Þe gentyle Lorde þenne payeȝ hys hyne.
Þay dyden hys heste, þay wern þereine;
Why schulde he not her labour alow,
Ȝys, and pay hem at þe fyrst fyne?
For þe grace of God is gret innoghe.

'Inoȝe is knawen þat mankyn grete
Fyrste watȝ wroȝt to blysse parfyt;
Oure forme fader hit con forfete
Þurȝ an apple þat he vpon con byte.
Al wer we dampned for þat mete
To dyȝe in doel out of delyt
And syþen wende to helle hete,
Þerinne to won wythoute respyt.
Bot þeron com a bote astyt.
Ryche blod ran on rode so roghe,
-24-


And wynne water þen at þat plyt:
Þe grace of God wex gret innoghe.


'Innoghe þer wax out of þat welle,
Blod and water of brode wounde.
Þe blod vus boȝt fro bale of helle
And delyuered vus of þe deth secounde;
Þe water is baptem, þe soþe to telle,
Þat folȝed þe glayue so grymly grounde,
Þat wascheȝ away þe gylteȝ felle
Þat Adam wyth inne deth vus drounde.
Now is þer noȝt in þe worlde rounde
Bytwene vus and blysse bot þat he wythdroȝ,
And þat is restored in sely stounde;
And þe grace of God is gret innogh.

'Grace innogh þe mon may haue
Þat synneȝ þenne new, ȝif hym repente,
Bot wyth sorȝ and syt he mot hit craue,
And byde þe payne þerto is bent.
Bot resoun of ryȝt þat con not raue
Saueȝ euermore þe innossent;
Hit is a dom þat neuer God gaue,
Þat euer þe gyltleȝ schulde be schente.
Þe gyltyf may contryssyoun hente
And be þurȝ mercy to grace þryȝt;
Bot he to gyle þat neuer glente
And inoscente is saf and ryȝte.

-25-


'Ryȝt þus I knaw wel in þis cas
Two men to saue is god by skylle:
Þe ryȝtwys man schal se hys face,
Þe harmleȝ haþel schal com hym tylle.
Þe Sauter hyt satȝ þus in a pace:
"Lorde, quo schal klymbe þy hyȝ hylle,
Oþer rest wythinne þy holy place?"
Hymself to onsware he is not dylle:
"Hondelyngeȝ harme þat dyt not ille,
Þat is of hert boþe clene and lyȝt,
Þer schal hys step stable stylle":
Þe innosent is ay saf by ryȝt.


'The ryȝtwys man also sertayn
Aproche he schal þat proper pyle,
Þat takeȝ not her lyf in vayne,
Ne glauereȝ her nieȝbor wyth no gyle.
Of þys ryȝtwys saȝ Salamon playn
How Koyntise onoure con aquyle;
By wayeȝ ful streȝt ho con hym strayn,
And scheued hym þe rengne of God awhyle,
As quo says, "Lo, ȝon louely yle!
Þou may hit wynne if þou be wyȝte."
Bot, hardyly, wythoute peryle,
Þe innosent is ay saue by ryȝte.

'Anende ryȝtwys men ȝet saytȝ a gome,
Dauid in Sauter, if euer ȝe syȝ hit:
"Lorde, Þy seruaunt draȝ neuer to dome,
For non lyuyande to þe is justyfyet."
-26-


Forþy to corte quen þou schal com
Þer alle oure causeȝ schal be tryed,
Alegge þe ryȝt, þou may be innome,
By þys ilke spech I haue asspyed;
Bot he on rode þat blody dyed,
Delfully þurȝ hondeȝ þryȝt,
Gyue þe to passe, when þou arte tryed,
By innocens and not by ryȝte.

'Ryȝtwysly quo con rede,
He loke on bok and be awayed
How Jesus hym welke in areþede,
And burneȝ her barneȝ vnto hym brayde.
For happe and hele þat fro hym ȝede
To touch her chylder þay fayr hym prayed.
His dessypeleȝ wyth blame let be hem bede
And wyth her resouneȝ ful fele restayed.
Jesus þenne hem swetely sayde:
"Do way, let chylder vnto me tyȝt.
To suche is heuenryche arayed":
Þe innocent is ay saf by ryȝt.

'Iesus con calle to hym hys mylde,
And sayde hys ryche no wyȝ myȝt wynne
Bot he com þyder ryȝt as a chylde,
Oþer elleȝ neuermore com þerinne.
Harmleȝ, trwe, and vndefylde,
Wythouten mote oþer mascle of sulpande synne,
-27-


Quen such þer cnoken on þe bylde,
Tyt schal hem men þe ȝate vnpynne.
Þer is þe blys þat con not blynne
Þat þe jueler soȝte þurȝ perré pres,
And solde alle hys goud, boþe wolen and lynne,
To bye hym a perle watȝ mascelleȝ.

'This makelleȝ perle, þat boȝt is dere,
Þe joueler gef fore alle hys god,
Is lyke þe reme of heuenesse clere:
So sayde þe Fader of folde and flode;
For hit is wemleȝ, clene, and clere,
And endeleȝ rounde, and blyþe of mode,
And commune to alle þat ryȝtwys were.
Lo, euen inmyddeȝ my breste hit stode.
My Lorde þe Lombe, þat schede hys blode,
He pyȝt hit þere in token of pes.
I rede þe forsake þe worlde wode
And porchace þy perle maskelles.'

'O maskeleȝ perle in perleȝ pure,
Þat bereȝ', quod I, 'þe perle of prys,
Quo formed þe þy fayre fygure?
Þat wroȝt þy wede, he watȝ ful wys.
Þy beauté com neuer of nature;
Pymalyon paynted neuer þy vys,
Ne Arystotel nawþer by hys lettrure
Of carped þe kynde þese propertéȝ.
Þy colour passeȝ þe flour-de-lys;
Þyn angel-hauyng so clene corteȝ.
Breue me, bryȝt, quat kyn offys
Bereȝ þe perle so maskelleȝ?'
-28-



'My makeleȝ Lambe þat al may bete',
Quod scho, 'my dere destyné,
Me ches to hys make, alþaȝ vnmete
Sumtyme semed þat assemblé.
When I wente fro yor worlde wete,
He calde me to hys bonerté:
"Cum hyder to me, my lemman swete,
For mote ne spot is non in þe."
He gef me myȝt and als bewté;
In hys blod he wesch my wede on dese,
And coronde clene in vergynté,
And pyȝt me in perleȝ maskelleȝ.'

'Why, maskelleȝ byrd þat bryȝt con flambe,
Þat reiatéȝ hatȝ so ryche and ryf,
Quat kyn þyng may be þat Lambe
Þat þe wolde wedde vnto hys vyf?
Ouer alle oþer so hyȝ þou clambe
To lede wyth hym so ladyly lyf.
So mony a comly on-vunder cambe
For Kryst han lyued in much stryf;
And þou con alle þo dere out dryf
And fro þat maryag al oþer depres,
Al only þyself so stout and styf,
A makeleȝ may and maskelleȝ.'

'Maskelles', quod þat myry quene,
'Vnblemyst I am, wythouten blot,
And þat may I wyth mensk menteene;
Bot "makeleȝ quene" þenne sade I not.
-29-


Þe Lambes vyueȝ in blysse we bene,
A hondred and forty fowre þowsande flot,
As in þe Apocalyppeȝ hit is sene;
Sant John hem syȝ al in a knot.
On þe hyl of Syon, þat semly clot,
Þe apostel hem segh in gostly drem
Arayed to þe weddyng in þat hyl-coppe,
Þe nwe cyté o Jerusalem.


'Of Jerusalem I in speche spelle.
If þou wyl knaw what kyn he be,
My Lombe, my Lorde, my dere juelle,
My ioy, my blys, my lemman fre,
Þe profete Ysaye of hym con melle
Pitously of hys debonerté:
"Þat gloryous gyltleȝ þat mon con quelle
Wythouten any sake of felonye,
As a schep to þe slaȝt þer lad watȝ he;
And, as lombe þat clypper in hande nem,
So closed he hys mouth fro vch query,
Quen Jueȝ hym iugged in Jerusalem."

'In Jerusalem watȝ my lemman slayn
And rent on rode wyth boyeȝ bolde.
Al oure baleȝ to bere ful bayn,
He toke on hymself oure careȝ colde.
Wyth boffeteȝ watȝ hys face flayn
Þat watȝ so fayr on to byholde.
-30-


For synne he set hymself in vayn,
Þat neuer hade non hymself to wolde.
For vus he lette hym flyȝe and folde
And brede vpon a bostwys bem;
As meke as lomp þat no playnt tolde
For vus he swalt in Jerusalem.

'In Jerusalem, Jordan, and Galalye,
Þer as baptysed þe goude Saynt Jon,
His wordeȝ acorded to Ysaye.
When Jesus con to hym warde gon.
He sayde of hym þys professye:
"Lo, Godeȝ Lombe as trwe as ston,
Þat dotȝ away þe synneȝ dryȝe
Þat alle þys worlde hatȝ wroȝt vpon.
Hymself ne wroȝt neuer ȝet non;
Wheþer on hymself he con al clem.
Hys generacyoun quo recen con,
Þat dyȝed for vus in Jerusalem?"


'In Ierusalem þus my lemman swete
Twyeȝ for lombe watȝ taken þare,
By trw recorde of ayþer prophete,
For mode so meke and al hys fare.
Þe þryde tyme is þerto ful mete,
In Apokalypeȝ wryten ful ȝare;
Inmydeȝ þe trone, þere saynteȝ sete,
Þe apostel Iohn hym saȝ as bare,
Lesande þe boke with leueȝ sware
Þere seuen syngnetteȝ wern sette in seme;
And at þat syȝt vche douth con dare
In helle, in erþe, and Jerusalem.
-31-



'Thys Jerusalem Lombe hade neuer pechche
Of oþer huee bot quyt jolyf
Þat mot ne masklle moȝt on streche,
For wolle quyte so ronk and ryf.
Forþy vche saule þat hade neuer teche
Is to þat Lombe a worthyly wyf;
And þaȝ vch day a store he feche,
Among vus commeȝ nouþer strot ne stryf;
Bot vchon enlé we wolde were fyf --
Þe mo þe myryer, so God me blesse.
In compayny gret our luf con þryf
In honour more and neuer þe lesse.

'Lasse of blysse may non vus bryng
Þat beren þys perle vpon oure bereste,
For þay of mote couþe neuer mynge
Of spotleȝ perleȝ þat beren þe creste.
Alþaȝ oure corses in clotteȝ clynge,
And ȝe remen for rauþe wythouten reste,
We þurȝoutly hauen cnawyng;
Of on dethe ful oure hope is drest.
Þe Lombe vus gladeȝ, oure care is kest;
He myrþeȝ vus alle at vch a mes.
Vchoneȝ blysse is breme and beste,
And neuer oneȝ honour ȝet neuer þe les.


'Lest les þou leue my tale farande,
In Appocalyppece is wryten in wro:
-32-


"I seghe", says John, "þe Loumbe hym stande
On þe mount of Syon ful þryuen and þro,
And wyth hym maydenneȝ and hundreþe þowsande,
And fowre and forty þowsande mo.
On alle her forhedeȝ wryten I fande
Þe Lombeȝ nome, hys Fadereȝ also.
A hue from heuen I herde þoo,
Lyk flodeȝ fele laden runnen on resse,
And as þunder þroweȝ in torreȝ blo,
Þat lote, I leue, watȝ neuer þe les.

'"Nauþeles, þaȝ hit schowted scharpe,
And ledden loude alþaȝ hit were,
A note ful nwe I herde hem warpe,
To lysten þat watȝ ful lufly dere.
As harporeȝ harpen in her harpe,
Þat nwe songe þay songen ful cler,
In sounande noteȝ a gentyl carpe;
Ful fayre þe modeȝ þay fonge in fere.
Ryȝt byfore Godeȝ chayere
And þe fowre besteȝ þat hym obes
And þe aldermen so sadde of chere,
Her songe þay songen neuer þe les.

'"Nowþelese non watȝ neuer so quoynt,
For alle þe crafteȝ þat euer þay knewe,
Þat of þat songe myȝt synge a poynt,
Bot þat meyny þe Lombe þat swe;
For þay arn boȝt fro þe vrþe aloynte
As newe fryt to God ful due,
And to þe gentyl Lombe hit arn anioynt,
As lyk to hymself of lote and hwe;
-33-


For neuer lesyng ne tale vntrwe
Ne towched her tonge for no dysstresse.
Þat moteles meyny may neuer remwe
Fro þat maskeleȝ mayster, neuer þe les."'


'Neuer þe les let be my þonc',
Quod I, 'My perle, þaȝ I appose;
I schulde not tempte þy wyt so wlonc,
To Krysteȝ chambre þat art ichose.
I am bot mokke and mul among,
And þou so ryche a reken rose,
And bydeȝ here by þys blysful bonc
Þer lyueȝ lyste may neuer lose.
Now, hynde, þat sympelnesse coneȝ enclose,
I wolde þe aske a þynge expresse,
And þaȝ I be bustwys as a blose,
Let my bone vayl neuerþelese.

'Neuerþelese cler I yow bycalle,
If ȝe con se hyt be to done;
As þou art gloryous wythouten galle,
Wythnay þou neuer my ruful bone.
Haf ȝe no woneȝ in castel-walle,
Ne maner þer ȝe may mete and won?
Þou telleȝ me of Jerusalem þe ryche ryalle,
Þer Dauid dere watȝ dyȝt on trone,
Bot by þyse holteȝ hit con not hone,
Bot in Judee hit is, þat noble note.
As ȝe ar maskeleȝ vnder mone,
Your woneȝ schulde be wythouten mote.

-34-


'Þys moteleȝ meyny þou coneȝ of mele,
Of þousandeȝ þryȝt so gret a route,
A gret ceté, for ȝe arn fele,
Yow byhod haue, wythouten doute.
So cumly a pakke of joly juele
Wer euel don schulde lyȝ þeroute,
And by þyse bonkeȝ þer I con gele
I se no bygyng nawhere aboute.
I trowe alone ȝe lenge and loute
To loke on þe glory of þys gracious gote.
If þou hatȝ oþer bygyngeȝ stoute,
Now tech me to þat myry mote.'


'That mote þou meneȝ in Judy londe',
Þat specyal spyce þen to me spakk,
'Þat is þe cyté þat þe Lombe con fon
To soffer inne sor for maneȝ sake,
Þe olde Jerusalem to vnderstonde;
For þere þe olde gulte watȝ don to slake.
Bot þe nwe, þat lyȝt of Godeȝ sonde,
Þe apostel in Apocalyppce in theme con take.
Þe Lompe þer wythouten spotteȝ blake
Hatȝ feryed þyder hys fayre flote;
And as hys flok is wythouten flake,
So is hys mote wythouten moote.

'Of motes two to carpe clene,
And Jerusalem hyȝt boþe nawþeles --
Þat nys to yow no more to mene
Bot "ceté of God", oþer "syȝt of pes":
In þat on oure pes watȝ mad at ene;
Wyth payne to suffer þe Lombe hit chese;
-35-


In þat oþer is noȝt bot pes to glene
Þat ay schal laste wythouten reles.
Þat is þe borȝ þat we to pres
Fro þat oure flesch be layd to rote,
Þer glory and blysse schal euer encres
To þe meyny þat is wythouten mote.'

'Moteleȝ may so meke and mylde',
Þen sayde I to þat lufly flor,
'Bryng me to þat bygly bylde
And let me se þy blysful bor.'
Þat schene sayde: 'Þat God wyl schylde;
Þou may not enter wythinne hys tor,
Bot of þe Lombe I haue þe aquylde
For a syȝt þerof þurȝ gret fauor.
Vtwyth to se þat clene cloystor
Þou may, bot inwyth not a fote;
To strech in þe strete þou hatȝ no vygour,
Bot þou wer clene wythouten mote.


'If I þis mote þe schal vnhyde,
Bow vp towarde þys borneȝ heued,
And I anendeȝ þe on þis syde
Schal sve, tyl þou to a hil be veued.'
Þen wolde I no lenger byde,
Bot lurked by launceȝ so lufly leued,
Tyl on a hyl þat I asspyed
And blusched on þe burghe, as I forth dreued,
Byȝonde þe brok fro me warde keued,
Þat schyrrer þen sunne wyth schafteȝ schon.
-36-


In þe Apokalypce is þe fasoun preued,
As deuyseȝ hit þe apostel Jhon.

As John þe apostel hit syȝ wyth syȝt,
I syȝe þat cyty of gret renoun,
Jerusalem so nwe and ryally dyȝt,
As hit was lyȝt fro þe heuen adoun.
Þe borȝ watȝ al of brende golde bryȝt
As glemande glas burnist broun,
Wyth gentyl gemmeȝ an-vnder pyȝt
Wyth banteleȝ twelue on basyng boun,
Þe foundementeȝ twelue of riche tenoun;
Vch tabelment watȝ a serlypeȝ ston;
As derely deuyseȝ þis ilk toun
In Apocalyppeȝ þe apostel John.

As John þise stoneȝ in writ con nemme,
I knew þe name after his tale:
Jasper hyȝt þe fyrst gemme
Þat I on þe fyrst basse con wale:
He glente grene in þe lowest hemme;
Saffer helde þe secounde stale;
Þe calsydoyne þenne wythouten wemme
In þe þryd table con purly pale;
Þe emerade þe furþe so grene of scale;
Þe sardonyse þe fyfþe ston;
Þe sexte þe rybé he con hit wale
In þe Apocalyppce, þe apostel John.


Ȝet joyned John þe crysolyt
Þe seuenþe gemme in fundament;
-37-


Þe aȝtþe þe beryl cler and quyt;
Þe topasye twynne-hew þe nente endent;
Þe crysopase þe tenþe is tyȝt;
Þe jacynght þe enleuenþe gent;
Þe twelfþe, þe gentyleste in vch a plyt,
Þe amatyst purpre wyth ynde blente;
Þe wal abof þe bantels bent
O jasporye, as glas þat glysnande schon;
I knew hit by his deuysement
In þe Apocalyppeȝ, þe apostel John.

As John deuysed ȝet saȝ I þare:
Þise twelue degres wern brode and stayre;
Þe cyté stod abof ful sware,
As longe as brode as hyȝe ful fayre;
Þe streteȝ of golde as glasse al bare,
Þe wal of jasper þat glent as glayre;
Þe woneȝ wythinne enurned ware
Wyth alle kynneȝ perré þat moȝt repayre.
Þenne helde vch sware of þis manayre
Twelue forlonge space, er euer hit fon,
Of heȝt, of brede, of lenþe to cayre,
For meten hit syȝ þe apostel John.

As John hym wryteȝ ȝet more I syȝe:
Vch pane of þat place had þre ȝateȝ;
So twelue in poursent I con asspye,
Þe portaleȝ pyked of rych plateȝ,
-38-


And vch ȝate of a margyrye,
A parfyt perle þat neuer fateȝ.
Vchon in scrypture a name con plye
Of Israel barneȝ, folewande her dateȝ,
Þat is to say, as her byrþ-whateȝ:
Þe aldest ay fyrst þeron watȝ done.
Such lyȝt þer lemed in alle þe strateȝ
Hem nedde nawþer sunne ne mone.


Of sunne ne mone had þay no nede;
Þe self God watȝ her lombe-lyȝt,
Þe Lombe her lantyrne, wythouten drede;
Þurȝ hym blysned þe borȝ al bryȝt.
Þurȝ woȝe and won my lokyng ȝede,
For sotyle cler noȝt lette no lyȝt.
Þe hyȝe trone þer moȝt ȝe hede
Wyth alle þe apparaylmente vmbepyȝte,
As John þe appostel in termeȝ tyȝte;
Þe hyȝe Godeȝ self hit set vpone.
A reuer of þe trone þer ran outryȝte
Watȝ bryȝter þen boþe þe sunne and mo

Sunne ne mone schon neuer so swete
As þat foysoun flode out of þat flet;
Swyþe hit swange þurȝ vch a strete
Wythouten fylþe oþer galle oþer glet.
Kyrk þerinne watȝ non ȝete,
Chapel ne temple þat euer watȝ set;
Þe Almyȝty watȝ her mynster mete,
Þe Lombe þe sakerfyse þer to refet.
-39-


Þe ȝateȝ stoken watȝ neuer ȝet,
Bot euermore vpen at vche a lone;
Þer entreȝ non to take reset
Þat bereȝ any spot an-vnder mone.

The mone may þerof acroche no myȝte;
To spotty ho is, of body to grym,
And also þer ne is neuer nyȝt.
What schulde þe mone þer compas clym
And to euen wyth þat worþly lyȝt
Þat schyneȝ vpon þe brokeȝ brym?
Þe planeteȝ arn in to pouer a plyȝt,
And þe self sunne ful fer to dym.
Aboute þat water arn tres ful schym,
Þat twelue fryteȝ of lyf con bere ful sone;
Twelue syþeȝ on ȝer þay beren ful frym,
And renowleȝ nwe in vche a mone.

An-vnder mone so great merwayle
No fleschly hert ne myȝt endeure,
As quen I blusched vpon þat bayle,
So ferly þerof watȝ þe fasure.
I stod as stylle as dased quayle
For ferly of þat frelich fygure,
Þat felde I nawþer reste ne trauayle,
So watȝ I rauyste wyth glymme pure.
For I dar say wyth conciens sure,
Hade bodyly burne abiden þat bone,
Þaȝ alle clerkeȝ hym hade in cure,
His lyf were loste an-vnder mone.
-40-



Ryȝt as þe maynful mone con rys
Er þenne þe day-glem dryue al doun,
So sodanly on a wonder wyse
I watȝ war of a prosessyoun.
Þis noble cité of ryche enpryse
Watȝ sodanly ful wythouten sommoun
Of such vergyneȝ in þe same gyse
Þat watȝ my blysful an-vnder croun:
And coronde wern alle of þe same fasoun,
Depaynt in perleȝ and wedeȝ qwyte;
In vchoneȝ breste watȝ bounden boun
Þe blysful perle wyth gret delyt.

Wyth gret delyt þay glod in fere
On golden gateȝ þat glent as glasse;
Hundreth þowsandeȝ I wot þer were,
And alle in sute her liuréȝ wasse;
Tor to knaw þe gladdest chere.
Þe Lombe byfore con proudly passe
Wyth horneȝ seuen of red golde cler;
As praysed perleȝ his wedeȝ wasse.
Towarde þe throne þay trone a tras.
Þaȝ þay wern fele, no pres in plyt,
Bot mylde as maydeneȝ seme at mas,
So droȝ þay forth wyth gret delyt.

Delyt þat hys come encroched
To much hit were of for to melle
Þise aldermen, quen he aproched,
Grouelyng to his fete þay felle.
-41-


Legyounes of aungeleȝ togeder uoched
Þer kesten ensens of swete smelle.
Þen glory and gle watȝ nwe abroched;
Al songe to loue þat gay juelle.
Þe steuen moȝt stryke þurȝ þe vrþe to helle
Þat þe Vertues of heuen of joye endyte.
To loue þe Lombe his meyny in melle
Iwysse I laȝt a gret delyt.

Delit þe Lombe for to deuise
Wyth much meruayle in mynde went.
Best watȝ he, blyþest, and moste to pryse,
Þat euer I herde of speche spent;
So worþly whyt wern wedeȝ hys,
His lokeȝ symple, hymself so gent.
Bot a wounde ful wyde and weete con wyse
Anende hys hert, þurȝ hyde torente.
Of his quyte syde his blod outsprent.
Alas, þoȝt I, who did þat spyt?
Ani breste for bale aȝt haf forbrent
Er he þerto hade had delyt.

The Lombe delyt non lyste to wene.
Þaȝ he were hurt and wounde hade,
In his sembelaunt watȝ neuer sene,
So wern his glenteȝ gloryous glade.
I loked among his meyny schene
How þay wyth lyf wern laste and lade;
Þen saȝ I þer my lyttel quene
Þat I wende had standen by me in sclade.
Lorde, much of mirþe watȝ þat ho made
Among her fereȝ þat watȝ so quyt!
Þat syȝt me gart to þenk to wade
For luf-longyng in gret delyt.
-42-



Delyt me drof in yȝe and ere,
My maneȝ mynde to maddyng malte;
Quen I seȝ my frely, I wolde be þere,
Byȝonde þe water þaȝ ho were walte.
I þoȝt þat noþyng myȝt me dere
To fech me bur and take me halte,
And to start in þe strem schulde non me stere,
To swymme þe remnaunt, þaȝ I þer swalte.
Bot of þat munt I watȝ bitalt;
When I schulde start in þe strem astraye,
Out of þat caste I watȝ bycalt:
Hit watȝ not at my Prynceȝ paye.

Hit payed hym not þat I so flonc
Ouer meruelous mereȝ, so mad arayde.
Of raas þaȝ I were rasch and ronk,
Ȝet rapely þerinne I watȝ restrayed.
For, ryȝt as I sparred vnto þe bonc,
Þat brathþe out of my drem me brayde.
Þen wakned I in þat erber wlonk;
My hede vpon þat hylle watȝ layde
Þer as my perle to grounde strayd.
I raxled, and fel in gret affray,
And, sykyng, to myself I sayd,
'Now al be to þat Prynces paye'.

Me payed ful ille to be outfleme
So sodenly of þat fayre regioun,
Fro alle þo syȝteȝ so quyke and queme.
A longeyng heuy me strok in swone,
-43-


And rewfully þenne I con to reme:
'O perle', quod I, 'of rych renoun,
So watȝ hit me dere þat þou con deme
In þys veray avysyoun!
If hit be ueray and soth sermoun
Þat þou so stykeȝ in garlande gay,
So wel is me in þys doel-doungoun
Þat þou art to þat Prynseȝ paye.'


To þat Prynceȝ paye hade I ay bente,
And ȝerned no more þen watȝ me gyuen,
And halden me þer in trwe entent,
As þe perle me prayed þat watȝ so þryuen,
As helde, drawen to Goddeȝ present,
To mo of his mysterys I hade ben dryuen;
Bot ay wolde man of happe more hente
Þen moȝte by ryȝt vpon hem clyuen.
Þerfore my ioye watȝ sone toriuen,
And I kaste of kytheȝ þat lasteȝ aye.
Lorde, mad hit arn þat agayn þe stryuen,
Oþer proferen þe oȝt agayn þy paye.

To pay þe Prince oþer sete saȝte
Hit is ful eþe to þe god Krystyin;
For I haf founden hym, boþe day and naȝte,
A God, a Lorde, a frende ful fyin.
Ouer þis hyul þis lote I laȝte,
For pyty of my perle enclyin,
And syþen to God I hit bytaȝte
In Krysteȝ dere blessyng and myn,
-44-


Þat in þe forme of bred and wyn
Þe preste vus scheweȝ vch a daye.
He gef vus to be his homly hyne
Ande precious perleȝ vnto his pay.
Amen.