Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1918/Piers the Plowman

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Piers the Plowman

FOR trewthe telleth that loue • is triacle[1] of hevene;
May no synne be on him sene • that useth that spise,
And alle his werkes he wrouȝte • with loue as him liste;[2]
And lered[3] it Moises for the levest[4] 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[5] his fylle,
  And what it haved of this folde • flesshe and blode taken,
Was neuere leef upon lynde[6] • lighter ther-after,
And portatyf[7] and persant • as the poynt of a nedle,
That myghte non armure it lette[8] • ne none heigh walles.
  For-thi is love leder • of the lordes folke of hevene,
And a mene[9], 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[10] he taxeth.
And for to knowe it kyndely[11] • it comseth bi myght,
And in the herte, there is the hevede • and the heigh welle.

  1. triacle] sovereign remedy.
  2. as him liste] as seemed good to him (Christ).
  3. lered] taught.
  4. levest] most pleasing.
  5. yeten] eaten.
  6. lynde] lime tree
  7. portatyf] quick-moving.
  8. lette] prevent.
  9. mene] mediator
  10. merciment] fine.
  11. kyndely] properly.