Piers Plowman

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Piers Plowman
by William Langland
The poem is an excerpt from William Langland's epic allegory "The vision of Piers Plowman", taken from the Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1918

FOR trewthe telleth that loue • is triacle of hevene;
May no synne be on him sene • that useth that spise,
And alle his werkes he wrouȝte • with loue as him liste;
And lered it Moises for the levest thing · and moste like to heuene,

And also the plante of pees • moste precious of vertues.
  For hevene myghte noughte holden it • it was so hevy of hym-self,
Tyle it hadde of the erthe • yeten his fylle,
  And what it haved of this folde • flesshe and blode taken,
Was neuere leef upon lynde • lighter ther-after,
And portatyf and persant • as the poynt of a nedle,
That myghte non armure it lette • ne none heigh walles.
  For-thi is love leder • of the lordes folke of hevene,
And a mene, as the maire is • bitwene the kyng and the comune,
Right so is love a ledere • and the lawe shapeth
Upon man for his mysdedes • the merciment he taxeth.
And for to knowe it kyndely • it comseth bi myght,
And in the herte, there is the hevede • and the heigh welle.

triacle] sovereign remedy. as him liste] as seemed good to him (Christ). lered] taught. levest] most pleasing.

yeten] eaten. lynde] lime tree portatyf] quick-moving. lette] prevent. mene] mediator merciment] fine. kyndely] properly.