Piers Ploughman (Wright)/Passus 19

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Passus Decimus Nonus, explicit Do-bet, et incipit Do-best.

Piers Ploughman Initial T.png
hus I awaked and wroot       12960


What I hadde y-dremed;
And dighte me derely,
And dide me to chirche,
To here holly the masse,
And to be housled after.

In myddes of the masse,
Tho men yede to offryng,
I fel eft-soones a-slepe;
And sodeynly me mette
That Piers the Plowman       12970
Was peynted al blody,
And com in with a cros
Bifore the comune peple,
And right lik in alle thynges
To oure Lord Jhesus.

And thanne called I Conscience,
To kenne me the sothe;
"Is this Jhesus the justere," quod I,
"That Jewes dide to dethe?
Or it is Piers the Plowman.       12980
Who peynted hym so rede?"

Quod Conscience, and kneled tho,
"Thise arn Piers armes,
Hise colours and his cote armure;
Ac he that cometh so blody
Is Crist with his cros,
Conquerour of cristene."

"Why calle hym Crist," quod I,
"Sithen Jewes calle hym Jhesus?
Patriarkes and prophetes       12990
Prophecied bifore
That alle kynne creatures
Sholden knelen and bowen,
Anoon as men nempned
The name of God Jhesu.
Ergo is no name
To the name of Jhesus;
Ne noon so nedeful to nempne
By nyghte ne by daye.
For alle derke develes       13000
Arn a-drad to heren it;
And synfulle aren solaced
And saved by that name.
And ye callen hym Crist;
For what cause telleth me?
Is Crist moore of myght,
And moore worthi name,
Than Jhesu or Jhesus,
That al oure joye com of?"

"Thow knowest wel," quod Conscience,       13010
"And thow konne reson,
That knyght, kyng, conquerour,
May be o persone.
To be called a knyght is fair,
For men shul knele to hym;
To be called a kyng is fairer,
For he may knyghtes make;
Ac to be conquerour called,
That cometh of special grace,
And of hardynesse of herte,       13020
And of hendenesse,
To make lordes of laddes
Of lond that he wynneth,
And fre men foule thralles
That folwen noght hise lawes.

"The Jewes that were gentil men,
Jhesus thei despised,
Bothe his loore and his lawe;
Now are thei lowe cherles.
As wide as the world is,       13030
Noon of hem ther wonyeth
But under tribut and taillage,
As tikes and cherles;
And tho that bicome cristene
Bi counseil of the baptisme,
Aren frankeleyns, free men,
Thorugh fullynge that thei toke,
And gentil men with Jhesu;
For Jhesu was y-fulled,
And upon Calvarie on cros       13040
Y-crouned kyng of Jewes.

"It bicometh to a kyng
To kepe and to defende;
And conquerour of conquest
Hise lawes and his large.
And so dide Jhesus the Jewes,
He justified and taughte hem
The lawe of lif,
That laste shal evere;
And defended from foule yveles,       13050
Feveres and fluxes,
And from fendes that in hem were,
And false bileve.
Tho was he Jhesus of Jewes called,
Gentile prophete,
And kyng of hir kyngdom,
And croune bar of thornes.

"And tho conquered he on cros,
As conquerour noble.
Mighte no deeth hym for-do,       13060
Ne a-doun brynge,
That he naroos and regnede,
And ravysshed helle:
And tho was he conquerour called
Of quyke and of dede.
For he yaf Adam and Eve
And othere mo blisse,
That longe hadde y-leyen bifore
As Luciferis cherles.

"And sith he yaf largely       13070
Alle hise lele liges
Places in Paradis,
At hir partynge hennes;
He may wel be called conquerour,
And that is Crist to mene.

"Ac the cause that he cometh thus
With cros of his passion,
Is to wissen us therwith
That whan that we ben tempted,
Therwith to fighte and defenden us       13080
Fro fallynge to synne.
And so bi his sorwe,
That who so loveth joye
To penaunce and to poverte
He moste puten hymselven,
And muche wo in this world
To willen and suffren.

"Ac to carpe moore of Crist,
And how he com to that name,
Faithly for to speke,       13090
His firste name was Jhesus;
Tho he was born in Bethleem,
As the book telleth,
And cam to take mankynde,
Kynges and aungeles
Reverenced hym faire
With richesses of erthe,
Aungeles out of hevene
Come knelynge and songe,
Gloria in excelsis Deo, etc.       13100

"Kynges that come after
Knelede, and offrede
Mirre and muche gold,
Withouten mercy askynge
Or any kynnes catel,
But knowelichynge hym sovereyn
Bothe of lond, sonne, and see,
And sithenes thei wente
Into hir kyngene kith,
By counseil of aungeles.       13110
And there was that word fulfilled
The which thow of speke.
Omnia cælestia terrestria flectantur
in hoc nomine Jhesu.

"For alle the aungeles of hevene
At his burthe knelede,
And al the wit of the world
Was in tho thre kynges,
Reson and rightwisnesse
And ruthe thei offrede;       13120
Wherfore and why
Wise men that tyme,
Maistres and lettred men,
Magi hem callede.

"That o kyng cam with reson,
Covered under sense.

"The seconde kyng siththe
Soothliche offrede
Rightwisnesse under reed gold,
Resones felawe.       13130
For gold is likned to leautee
That laste shal evere.

"The thridde kyng tho kam
Knelynge to Jhesu,
And presented hym with pitee,
Apperynge by mirre.
For mirre is mercy to mene
And mylde speche of tonge.

"Thre y-liche honeste thynges
Were offred thus at ones,       13140
Thorugh thre kynne kynges
Knelynge to Jhesu,

"Ac for alle thise preciouse presentz,
Oure Lord kyng Jhesus
Was neither kyng ne conquerour,
Til he gan to wexe
In the manere of a man,
And that by muchel sleighte,
As it bi-cometh a conquerour
To konne manye sleightes,       13150
And manye wiles and wit,
That wole ben a ledere.
And so dide Jhesu in hise dayes,
Who so hadde tyme to telle it.

"Som tyme he suffrede,
And som tyme he hidde hym;
And some tyme he faught faste,
And fleigh outher while;
And som tyme he gaf good,
And grauntede heele bothe,       13160
Lif and lyme,
As hym liste he wroghte.
As kynde is of a conquerour,
So comsede Jhesu,
Til he hadde alle hem
That he for bledde.

"In his juventee this Jhesus
At Jewene feeste
Water into wyn turnede,
As holy writ telleth.       13170
And there bigan God
Of his grace to do-wel.
For wyn is likned to lawe
And lif-holynesse,
And lawe lakkede tho,
For men lovede noght hir enemys.
And Crist counseileth thus,
And comaundeth bothe,
To lered and to lewede
To lovyen oure enemys.       13180
So at the feeste first,
As I bifore tolde,
Bigan God of his grace
And goodnesse to do-wel.
And thanne was he called
Noght holy Crist, but Jhesu,
A faunt fyn ful of wit,
Filius Mariæ.
For bifore his moder Marie
Made he that wonder;       13190
That she first and formest
Ferme sholde bileve
That he thorugh grace was gete,
And of no gome ellis.
He wroghte that by no wit,
But thorugh word one;
After the kynde that he cam of,
There comsede he do-wel.

"And whan he woxen was moore,
In his moder absence,       13200
He made lame to lepe,
And yaf light to blynde,
And fedde with two fisshes,
And with fyve loves,
Sore a fyngred folk
Mo than fyve thousand.

"Thus he confortede carefulle
And caughte a gretter name,
The which was Do-bet,
Where that he wente,       13210
For deve thorugh hise doynges to here
And dombe speke he made,
And alle he heeled and halp
That hym of grace askede.
And tho was he called in contré
Of the comune peple,
For the dedes that he dide,
Fili David, Jhesus.
For David was doghtiest
Of dedes in his tyme.       13220
The burdes tho songe,
Saul interfecit mille, et David decem millia.[1]

"For-thi the contree ther Jhesu cam
Called hym fili David,
And nempned hym of Nazareth,
And no man so worthi
To be kaiser or kyng
Of the kyngdom of Juda,
Ne over Jewes justice,       13230
As Jhesus was, hem thoughte.

"Wherof Cayphas hadde envye,
And othere of the Jewes;
And for to doon hym to dethe
Day and nyght thei casten,
Killeden hym on cros wise
At Calvarie on Friday,
And sithen buriede his body,
And beden that men sholde,
Kepen it fro nyght comeris       13240
With knyghtes y-armed,
For no frendes sholde hym fecche.
For prophetes hem tolde
That that blissede body
Of burieles risen sholde,
And goon into Galilee,
And gladen hise apostles,
And his moder Marie;
Thus men bifore demede.

"The knyghtes that kepten it       13250
Bi-knewe it hemselven,
That aungeles and archaungeles
Er the day spronge
Come knelynge to the corps,
And songen Christus resurgens,
Verray men bifore hem alle,
And forth with hem he yede.

"The Jewes preide hem be pees,
And bi-soughte the knyghtes
Telle the comune that ther cam       13260
A compaignie of hise apostles,
And bi-wicched hem as thei woke,
And awey stolen it.

"Ac Marie Maudeleyne
Mette hym by the weye,
Goynge toward Galilee
In godhede and manhede,
And lyves and lokynge,
And she a-loud cride
In ech a compaignie ther she cam,       13270
Christus resurgens.

"Thus cam it out that Crist over-coom,
Recoverede and lyvede
Sic oportet Christum pati et intrare, etc.[1]
For that that wommen witeth,
May noght wel be counseille.

"Peter parceyved al this,
And pursued after,
Bothe James and Johan,       13280
Jhesu for to seke,
Thaddee and ten mo,
With Thomas of Inde.
And as alle thise wise wyes
Weren togideres,
In an hous al bi-shet,
And hir dore y-barred,
Crist cam in, and al closed
Bothe dore and yates,
To Peter and to thise apostles,       13290
And seide pax vobis!
And took Thomas by the hand,
And taughte hym to grope,
And feele with hise fyngres
His flesshliche herte.

"Thomas touched it,
And with his tonge seide,
'Deus meus et Dominus meus
Thow art my lord, I bi-leve,
My God, lord Jhesu;       13300
Thow deidest and deeth tholedest,
And deme shalt us alle,
And now art lyvynge and lokynge,
And laste shalt evere.'

"Crist carpede thanne,
And curteisliche seide,
'Thomas, for thow trowest this,
And treweliche bi-levest it,
Blessed mote thow be,
And be shalt for evere;       13310
And blessed mote thei alle be
In body and in soule
That nevere shul se me in sighte,
As thow doost nowthe,
And lelliche bi-leve al this,
I love hem and blesse hem.'
Beati qui non viderunt, etc.

"And whan this dede was doon,
Do-best he taughte,
And yaf Piers power,       13320
And pardon he grauntede,
To alle maner men
Mercy and forgifnesse,
Hym myght to assoille
Of alle manere synne,
In covenaunt that thei come
And kneweliched to paie
To Piers pardon the Plowman,
Redde quod debes.

"Thus hath Piers power,       13330
By his pardon paied,
To bynde and unbynde,
Bothe here and ellis where;
And assoille men of alle synnes,
Save of dette one.

"Anoon after an heigh
Up into hevene
He wente, and wonyeth there,
And wol come at the laste,
And rewarde hym right wel       13340
That reddit quod debet,
Paieth parfitly,
As pure truthe wolde;
And what persone paieth it nought,
Punysshen he thenketh,
And demen hem at domes day
Bothe quyke and dede.
The goode to the godhede
And to greet joye,
And wikkede to wonye       13350
In wo withouten ende."

Thus Conscience of Crist
And of the cros carpede,
And counseiled me to knele therto.
And thanne cam, me thoughte,
Oon spiritus paraclitus
To Piers and to hise felawes
In liknesse of a lightnynge
He lighte on hem alle,
And made hem konne and knowe       13360
Alle kynne langages.
I wondred what that was,
And waggede Conscience,
And was a-fered of the light,
For in fires lightnesse
Spiritus paraclitus
Over-spradde hem alle.

Quod Conscience, and knelede,
"This is Cristes messager,
And cometh fro the grete God,       13370
And Grace is his name.
Knele now," quod Conscience,
"And if thow kanst synge,
Welcome hym and worshipe hym
With Veni creator spiritus."

Thanne song I that song,
So dide manye hundred,
And cride with Conscience,
"Help us, God of Grace!"

And thanne bigan Grace       13380
To go with Piers Plowman,
And counseillede hym and Conscience
The comune to sompne;
"For I wole dele to-day
And gyve divine grace
To alle kynne creatures
That han hir fyve wittes,
Tresour to lyve by
To hir lyves ende,
And wepne to fighte with       13390
That wole nevere faille.
For Antecrist and hise
Al the world shul greve,
And acombre thee, Conscience,
But if Crist thee helpe.

"And false prophetes fele,
Flatereris and gloseris,
Shullen come and be curatours
Over kynges and erles,
And Pride shal be pope,       13400
Prynce of holy chirche,
Coveitise and unkyndenesse
Cardinals hym to lede;
For-thi," quod Grace, "er I go,
I wol gyve yow tresor,
And wepne to fighte with
Whan Antecrist yow assaileth."
And gaf ech man a grace
To gide with hymselven,
That ydelnesse encombre hym noght,       13410
Envye ne pride.
Divisiones gratiarum sunt, etc.

Some he yaf wit
With wordes to shewe,
Wit to wynne hir liflode with,
As the world asketh,
As prechours and preestes,
And prentices of lawe,
They lelly to lyve
By labour of tonge,       13420
And by wit to wissen othere
As grace hem wolde teche.

And some he kennede craft
And konnynge of sighte,
With sellynge and buggynge
Hir bilyve to wynne.

And some he lered to laboure,
A lele lif and a trewe;
And some he taughte to tilie,
To dyche and to thecche,       13430
To wynne with her liflode
Bi loore of his techynge.

And some to devyne and divide,
Noumbres to kenne;
And some to compace craftily,
And colours to make;
And some to se and to seye
What sholde bi-falle,
Bothe of wele and of wo,
Telle it er it felle,       13440
As astronomyens thorugh astronomye,
And philosofres wise.

And some to ryde, and to recovere
That wrongfully was wonne;
He wissed hem to wynne it ayein
Thorugh wightnesse of handes,
And fecchen it fro false men
With folvyles lawes.

And some he lered to lyve
In longynge to ben hennes,       13450
In poverte and in penaunce,
To preie for alle cristene.
And alle he lered to be lele,
And ech a craft love oother;
And forbad hem alle debat,
That noon were among hem.
"Though some be clenner than some,
Ye se wel," quod Grace,
"That he that useth the faireste craft,
To the fouleste I kouthe have put hym.       13460
Thynketh alle," quod Grace,
"That grace cometh of my gifte;
Loketh that no man lakke oother,
But loveth alle as bretheren.

"And who that moost maistries kan
Be myldest of berynge;
And crouneth Conscience kyng,
And maketh Craft youre stiward,
And after Craftes conseil
Clotheth yow and fede.       13470
For I make Piers the Plowman
My procuratour and my reve,
And registrer to receyve,
Redde quod debes.
My prowor and my plowman
Piers shal ben on erthe,
And for to tilie truthe
A teeme shal he have."

Grace gaf Piers a teeme
Of foure grete oxen.       13480
That oon was Luk, a large beest,
And a lowe chered;
And Mark, and Mathew the thridde,
Myghty beestes bothe;
And joyned to hem oon Johan,
Moost gentil of alle,
The pris neet of Piers Plow,
Passynge all othere.

And Grace gaf Piers
Of his goodnesse foure stottes;       13490
Al that hise oxen eriede,
Thei to harewen after.
Oon highte Austyn,
And Ambrose another,
Gregori the grete clerk,
And Jerom the goode.
Thise foure the feith to teche
Folweth Piers teme,
And harewede in an hand while
Al holy Scripture,       13500
With two harewes that thei hadde,
An oold and a newe.
Id est, vetus testamentum et novum.

And Grace gaf greynes,
The cardynal vertues,
And sew hem in mannes soule,
And sithen he tolde hir names.
Spiritus prudentiæ.
The firste seed highte;
And who so ete that,       13510
Ymagynen he sholde
Er he deide any deeth,
Devyse wel the ende;
And lerned men a ladel bugge
With a long stele,
And caste for to kepe a crokke
To save the fatte above.

The seconde seed highte
Spiritus temperantiæ.
He that ete of that seed       13520
Hadde swich a kynde,
Sholde nevere mete ne muchel drynke
Make hym to swelle,
Ne no scornere ne scolde
Out of skile hym bringe,
Ne wynnynge ne wele
Of worldliche richesse,
Waste word of ydelnesse
Ne wikked speche moeve;
Sholde no curious clooth       13530
Comen on his rugge,
Ne no mete in his mouth
That maister Johan spicede.

The thridde seed that Piers sew
Was spiritus fortitudinis.
And who ete that seed,
Hardy was he evere
To suffren al that God sente,
Siknesse and angres;
Mighte no lesynges ne lyere,       13540
Ne los of worldly catel,
Maken hym for any mournynge
That he nas murie in soule,
And bold and abidynge
Bismares to suffre;
And pleieth al with pacience
And parce mihi domine;
And covered hym under conseille
Of Caton the wise:
Esto forti animo, cum sis dampnatus inique.[1]

The ferthe seed that Piers sew       13552
Was spiritus justitiæ.
And he that ete of that seed,
Sholde be evere trewe,
With God, and naught a-gast,
But of gile one;
For gile gooth so pryvely,
That good feith outher while
Maye nought ben espied,       13560
For spiritus justitiæ.

Spiritus justitiæ.
Spareth noght to spille
Hem that ben gilty,
And for to correcte
The kyng, if he falle
In gilt or in trespas.
For counteth he no kynges wrathe,
Whan he in court sitteth
To demen as a domesman,       13570
A-drad was he nevere
Neither of duc ne of deeth,
That he ne dide lawe,
For present or for preiere,
Or any prynces lettres;
He dide equité to alle
Evene forth his power.

Thise foure sedes Piers sew;
And siththe he dide hem harewe
With olde lawe and newe lawe,       13580
That love myghte wexe
Among tho foure vertues,
And vices destruye.
For comunliche in contrees
Cammokes and wedes
Foulen the fruyt in the feld,
Ther thei growen togideres;
And so doon vices
Vertues worthi.

Quod Piers, "Hareweth alle that konneth kynde wit,
By conseil of thise doctours;       13591
And tilieth after hir techynge
The cardynale vertues."

"Ayeins thei greynes," quod Grace,
"Bi-gynneth for to ripe,
Ordeigne thee an hous, Piers,
To herberwe inne thi cornes."

"By God! Grace," quod Piers,
"Ye moten gyve tymber,
And ordeyne that hous,       13600
Er ye hennes wende."

And Grace gaf hym the cros,
With the croune of thornes,
That Crist upon Calvarie
For mankynde on pyned,
And of his baptisme and blood
That he bledde on roode
He made a manere morter,
And mercy it highte.
And therwith Grace bi-gan       13610
To make a good foundement,
And watlede it and walled it
With his peyne and his passion,
And of al holy writ
He made a roof after,
And called that hous Unitee,
Holy chirche on Englisshe.

And whan this dede was doon,
Grace devysede
A cart highte cristendom       13620
To carie Piers sheves;
And gaf hym caples to his carte,
Contricion and confession;
And made preesthod hayward,
The while hymself wente
As wide as the world is
With Piers to tilie truthe.

Now is Piers to the plow;
And Pride it aspide,
And gadered hym a greet oost,       13630
For to greven he thynketh
Conscience and alle cristene
And cardinale vertues,
Blowe hem doun and breke hem,
And bite a-two the mores;
And sente forth Surquidous,
His sergeaunt of armes,
And his spye Spille-love,
Oon Spek-yvel bihynde.

Thise two coome to Conscience,       13640
And to cristen peple,
And tolde hem tidynges,
That tyne thei sholde the sedes
That Piers there hadde y-sowen,
The cardynale vertues;
"And Piers bern worth y-broke,
And thei that ben in Unitee
Shulle come out, and Conscience
And youre two caples,
Confession and Contricion;       13650
And youre carte the bileeve
Shal be coloured so queyntely,
And covered under sophistrie,
That Conscience shal noght
Knowe by Contricion
Ne by Confession
Who is cristene or hethene;
Ne no manere marchaunt
That with moneie deleth,
Wheither he wynne with right,       13660
With wrong, or with usure.

"With swiche colours and queyntise
Cometh Pride y-armed,
With the lord that lyveth after
The lust of his body,
To wasten on welfare,
And in wikked lyvynge,
Al the world in a while
Thorugh oure wit," quod Pryde.

Quod Conscience to alle cristene tho,       13670
"My counseil is to wende
Hastiliche into Unitee,
And holde we us there;
And praye we that a pees weere
In Piers berne the Plowman.
For witterly I woot wel,
We beth noght of strengthe
To goon agayn Pride,
But Grace weere with us."

And thanne kam Kynde Wit       13680
Conscience to teche,
And cryde and comaundede
Alle cristene peple
For to delven a dych
Depe aboute Unitee,
That holy chirche stode in Unitee,
As it a pyl weere.

Conscience comaundede tho
Alle cristene to delve,
And make a muche moot,       13690
That myghte ben a strengthe
To helpe holy chirche
And hem that it kepeth.

Thanne alle kynne cristene,
Save comune wommen,
Repenteden and refused synne,
Save thei one,
And false men, flatereris,
Usurers, and theves,
Lyeris, and queste-mongeres       13700
That were for-sworen ofte,
Witynge and wilfully
With the false helden,
And for silver were for-swore,
Soothly they wiste it.

Ther nas no cristene creature
That kynde wit hadde,
Save sherewes one
Swiche as I spak of,
That he ne halp a quantité       13710
Holynesse to wexe,
Some thorugh bedes biddynge,
And some thorugh pilgrymages
And othere pryvé penaunces,
And somme thorugh penyes delynge.

And thanne wellede water
For wikkede werkes,
Egreliche ernynge
Out of mennes eighen,
Clennesse out of comune,       13720
And clerkes clene lyvynge,
Made Unitee holy chirche
In holynesse to stonde.

"I care noght," quod Conscience,
"Though Pride come nouthe.
The lord of lust shal be letted
Al this lente, I hope.
Cometh," quod Conscience,
"Ye cristene, and dyneth,
That han laboured lelly       13730
Al this lenten tyme.
Here is breed y-blessed,
And Goddes body therunder:
Grace, thorugh Goddes word,
Yaf Piers power
And myghtes to maken it,
And men to ete it after
In helpe of hir heele
Ones in a monthe,
Or as ofte as thei hadde nede,       13740
Tho that hadde y-paied
To Piers pardon the Plowman.
Redde quod debes."

"How?" quod al the comune,
"Thow conseillest us to yelde
Al that we owen any wight,
Er we go to housel?"

"That is my conseil," quod Conscience,
"And cardinale vertues,
That ech man for-gyve oother,       13750
And that wol the pater-noster.
Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, etc.
And so to ben assoilled,
And siththen ben houseled."

"Ye, baw!" quod a brewere,
"I wol noght be ruled,
By Jhesu! for al youre janglynge
With spiritus justitiæ,
Ne after Conscience, by Crist!
While I kan selle       13760
Bothe dregges and draf,
And drawe it out at oon hole
Thikke ale and thynne ale,
For that is my kynde,
And noght hakke after holynesse.
Hold thi tonge, Conscience!
Of spiritus justitiæ,
Thow spekest muche on ydel."

"Caytif!" quod Conscience,
"Cursede wrecche!       13770
Un-blessed artow, brewere,
But if thee God helpe.
But thow lyve by loore
Of spiritus justitiæ,
The chief seed that Piers sew,
Y-saved worstow nevere.
But Conscience the comune fede,
And cardinale vertues,
Leve it wel, thei ben lost,
Bothe lif and soule."       13780

"Thanne is many a man lost,"
Quod a lewed vicory.—
"I am a curatour of holy kirke,
And cam nevere in my tyme
Man to me, that me kouthe telle
Of cardinale vertues,
Or that acountede Conscience
At a cokkes fethere or an hennes.
I knew nevere cardynal,
That he ne cam fro the pope;       13790
And we clerkes, whan thei come,
For hir comunes paieth,
For hir pelure and hir palfreyes mete,
And pilours that hem folweth.

"The comune clamat cotidie
Ech a man til oother,
The contree is the corseder
That cardinals comme inne;
And ther thei ligge and lenge moost,
Lecherie there regneth.       13800

"For-thi," quod this vicory,
"By verray God! I wolde
That no cardynal coome
Among the comune peple;
But in hir holynesse
Helden hem stille
At Avynone among the Jewes,—
Cum sancto sanctus eris, etc.
Or in Rome, as hir rule wole,
The relikes to kepe;       13810
And thow, Conscience, in kynges court,
And sholdest nevere come thennes;
And Grace, that thow graddest so of,
Gyour of alle clerkes;
And Piers with his newe plow,
And ek with his olde,
Emperour of al the world,
That alle men were cristene.

"Inparfit is that pope
That al the world sholde helpe,       13820
And sendeth swiche that sleeth hem
That he sholde save.

"And wel worthe Piers the Plowman,
That pursueth God in doynge,
Qui pluit super justos
Et injustos at ones,
And sent the sonne to save
A cursed mannes tilthe,
As brighte as to the beste man,
Or to the beste womman.       13830

"Right so Piers the Plowman
Peyneth hym to tilye
As wel for a wastour
And wenches of the stewes,
As for hymself and his servauntz,
Save he is first y-served;
And travailleth and tilieth
For a tretour also soore
As for a trewe tidy man,
Alle tymes y-like.       13840
And worshiped be he that wroghte al,
Bothe good and wikke,
And suffreth that synfulle be,
[Tyl som tyme that thei repenten].
And God amende the pope!
That pileth holy kirke,
And cleymeth bifore the kyng
To be kepere over cristene;
And counteth noght though cristene ben
Killed and robbed;       13850
And fynt folk to fighte,
And cristen blood to spille,
Ayein the olde lawe and newe lawe,
As Luc therof witnesseth.
Non occides, mihi vindictam, etc.

"It semeth, bi so
Hymself hadde his wille,
That he reccheth right noght
Of al the remenaunt.
And Crist of his curteisie       13860
The cardinals save,
And torne hir wit to wisdom,
And to welthe of soule!
For the comune," quod this curatour,
"Counten ful litel
The counseil of Conscience,
Or cardinale vertues.
But if thei seighe, as by sighte,
Som what to wynnyng,
Of gile ne of gabbyng       13870
Gyve thei nevere tale.
For spiritus prudentiæ
Among the peple is gyle;
And alle tho faire vertues
As vices thei semeth.
Ech man subtileth a sleighte
Synne for to hide,
And coloureth it for a konnynge,
And a clene lyvynge."

Thanne lough ther a lord,       13880
And "By this light!" seide,
"I holde it right and reson
Of my reve to take
Al that myn auditour,
Or ellis my styward,
Counseilleth me bi hir acounte
And my clerkes writyng.
With spiritus intellectus
Thei seke the reves rolles;
And with spiritus fortitudinis       13890
Fecche it I wole after."

And thanne cam ther a kyng,
And, by his croune! seide,
"I am kyng with croune
The comune to rule,
And holy kirke and clergie
From cursed men to fende;
And if me lakketh to lyve by,
The lawe wole I take it
Ther I may hastilokest it have.       13900
For I am heed of lawe;
And ye ben but membres,
And I above alle.
And sith I am youre aller heed,
I am youre aller heele,
And holy chirches chief help,
And chieftayn of the comune;
And what I take of yow two,
I take it at the techynge
Of spiritus justitiæ,       13910
For I jugge yow alle.
So I may boldely be housled,
For I borwe nevere,
Ne crave of my comune,
But as my kynde asketh."

"In condicion," quod Conscience,
"That thow konne defende
And rule thi reaume in reson,
Right wel and in truthe,
Take thow mayst in reson       13920
As thi lawe asketh.
Omnia tua sunt ad defendendum,
sed non ad deprædandum."
The viker hadde fer hoom,
And faire took his leeve;
And I awakned therwith,
And wroot as me mette.       13927


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 In Wright's edition each of these lines was printed and counted as two lines