Piers Ploughman (Wright)/Passus 8

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Passus Octavus de Visione, et incipit Do-wel.

Piers Ploughman Initial T.png
hus y-robed in russet       4900


I romed aboute
Al a somer seson
For to seke Do-wel;
And frayned ful ofte
Of folk that I mette,
If any wight wiste
Wher Do-wel was at inne;
And what man he myghte be
Of many man I asked.

Was nevere wight, as I wente,       4910
That me wisse kouthe
Where this leode lenged,
Lasse ne moore;
Til it bi-fel on a Friday
Two freres I mette,
Maistres of the menours,
Men of grete witte.
I hailsed hem hendely,
As I hadde y-lerned,
And preide hem par charité,       4920
Er thei passed ferther,
If thei knewe any contree
Or costes, as thei wente,
"Where that Do-wel dwelleth
Dooth me to witene."
For thei be men of this moolde
That moost wide walken,
And knowen contrees and courtes,
And many kynnes places,
Bothe princes paleises       4930
And povere mennes cotes,
And Do-wel and Do-yvele
Wher thei dwelle bothe.

"Amonges us," quod the Menours,
"That man is dwellynge,
And evere hath, as I hope,
And evere shal herafter."

"Contra," quod I as a clerc,
And comsed to disputen,
And seide hem soothly,       4940
"Septies in die cadit justus.
Sevene sithes, seith the book,
Synneth the rightfulle;
And who so synneth," I seide,
"Dooth yvele, as me thynketh;
And Do-wel and Do-yvele
Mowe noght dwelle togideres.
Ergo he nys noght alwey
Amonges yow freres;
He is outher while ellis where       4950
To wisse the peple."

"I shal seye thee, my sone,"
Seide the frere thanne,
"How seven sithes the sadde man
On a day synneth;
By a forbisne," quod the frere,
"I shal thee faire shewe.
Lat brynge a man in a boot
Amydde the brode watre,
The wynd and the water       4960
And the boot waggyng
Maketh the man many a tyme
To falle and to stonde;
For stonde he never so stif,
He stumbleth if he meve,
Ac yet is he saaf and sound,
And so hym bihoveth.
For if he ne arise the rather,
And raughte to the steere,
The wynd wolde with the water       4970
The boot over throwe;
And thanne were his lif lost,
Through lachesse of hymselve.

"And thus it falleth," quod the frere,
"By folk here on erthe;
The water is likned to the world
That wanyeth and wexeth;
The goodes of this grounde arn lik
To the grete wawes,
That as wyndes and wedres       4980
Walketh aboute;
The boot is likned to oure body
That brotel is of kynde,
That thorugh the fend and the flesshe
And the frele worlde
Synneth the sadde man
A day seven sithes.

"Ac dedly synne doth he noght,
For Do-wel hym kepeth;
And that is charité the champion,       4990
Chief help ayein synne;
For he strengheth men to stonde,
And steereth mannes soule,
And though the body bowe
As boot dooth in the watre,
Ay is thi soule saaf,
But if thow wole thiselve
Do a deedly synne,
And drenche so thi soule,
God wole suffre wel thi sleuthe,       5000
If thiself liketh.
For he yaf thee a yeres-gyve,
To yeme wel thiselve,
And that is wit and free-wil,
To every wight a porcion,
To fleynge foweles,
To fisshes and to beestes;
Ac man hath moost therof,
And moost is to blame,
But if he werche wel therwith,       5010
As Do-wel hym teacheth."

"I have no kynde knowyng," quod I,
"To conceyven alle youre wordes;
Ac if I may lyve and loke,
I shal go lerne bettre."

"I bikenne thee Crist," quod he,
"That on cros deyde!"
And I seide, "The same
Save yow fro myschaunce,
And gyve yow grace on this grounde       5020
Goode men to worthe!"

And thus I wente wide wher
Walkyng myn one,
By a wilde wildernesse,
And by a wodes side;
Blisse of the briddes
Broughte me a-slepe,
And under a lynde upon a launde
Lened I a stounde,
To lythe the layes       5030
Tho lovely foweles made.
Murthe of hire mouthes
Made me ther to sleple;
The marveillouseste metels
Mette me thanne
That ever dremed wight
In world, as I wene.

A muche man, as me thoughte,
And lik to myselve,
Cam and called me       5040
By my kynde name.

"What artow?" quod I tho,
"That thow my name knowest."

"That thou woost wel," quod he,
"And no wight bettre."

"Woot I what thow art?"
"Thought," seide he thanne;
"I have sued thee this seven yeer,
Seye thow me no rather."

"Artow Thought," quod I thoo,       5050
"Thow koudest me wisse,
Where that Do-wel dwelleth,
And do me that to knowe."

"Do-wel and Do-bet,
And Do-best the thridde," quod he,
"Arn thre fair vertues,
And ben noght fer to fynde.
Who so is trewe of his tunge,
And of his two handes,
And thorugh his labour, or thorugh his land,       5060
His liflode wynneth,
And is trusty of his tailende,
Taketh but his owene,
And his noght dronklewe ne dedeynous,
Do-wel hym folweth.

"Do-bet dooth right thus:
Ac he dooth muche moore;
He is as lowe as a lomb,
And lovelich of speche,
And helpeth alle men       5070
After that hem nedeth.
The bagges and the bigirdles,
He hath to-broke hem alle,
That the erl Avarous
Heeld and hise heires.
And thus with Mammonaes moneie
He hath maad hym frendes,
And is ronne to religion,
And hath rendred the Bible,
And precheth to the peple       5080
Seint Poules wordes:
Libenter suffertis insipientes, cum
sitis ipsi sapientes.

"And suffreth the unwise
With yow for to libbe;
And with glad wille dooth hem good,
For so God yow hoteth.

"Do-best is above bothe,
And bereth a bisshopes crosse,
Is hoked on that oon ende       5090
To halie men fro helle;
A pik is on that potente,
To putte a-down the wikked
That waiten any wikkednesse
Do-wel to tene.
And Do-wel and Do-bet
Amonges hem han ordeyned,
To crowne oon to be kyng
To rulen hem bothe;
That if Do-wel or Do-bet       5100
Dide ayein Do-best,
Thanne shal the kyng come
And casten hem in irens,
And but if Do-best bede for hem,
Thei to be ther for evere.

"Thus Do-wel and Do-bet,
And Do-best the thridde,
Crouned oon to the kyng
To kepen hem alle,
And to rule the reme       5110
By hire thre wittes,
And noon oother wise
But as thei thre assented."

I thonked Thoght tho,
That he me thus taughte.
"Ac yet savoreth me noght thi seying;
I coveite to lerne
How Do-wel, Do-bet, and Do-best
Doon among the peple."

"But Wit konne wisse thee," quod Thoght,       5120
"Wher tho thre dwelle,
Ellis woot I noon that kan
That now is alyve."

Thoght and I thus
Thre daies we yeden,
Disputyng upon Do-wel
Day after oother;
And ere we were war,
With Wit gonne we mete.
He was long and lene,       5130
Lik to noon other;
Was no pride on his apparaille,
Ne poverte neither;
Sad of his semblaunt,
And of softe chere.
I dorste meve no matere
To maken hym to jangle,
But as I bad Thoght thoo
Be mene bitwene,
And pute forth som purpos       5140
To preven hise wittes,
What was Do-wel fro Do-bet,
And Do-best from hem bothe.

Thanne Thoght in that tyme
Seide thise wordes:
"Where Do-wel, Do-bet,
And Do-best ben in londe,
Here is Wil wolde wite,
If Wit koude teche hym;
And wheither he be man or womman
This man fayn wolde aspie,
And werchen as thei thre wolde,
Thus is his entente."       5153