PardT 329 " Lordynges, " quod he, " in chirches whan I preche,
PardT 330 I peyne me to han an hauteyn speche,
PardT 331 And rynge it out as round as gooth a belle,
PardT 332 For I kan al by rote that I telle.
PardT 333 My theme is alwey oon, and evere was --
PardT 334 Radix malorum est Cupiditas.
PardT 335 " First I pronounce whennes that I come,
PardT 336 And thanne my bulles shewe I, alle and some.
PardT 337 Oure lige lordes seel on my patente,
PardT 338 That shewe I first, my body to warente,
PardT 339 That no man be so boold, ne preest ne clerk,
PardT 340 Me to destourbe of Cristes hooly werk.
PardT 341 And after that thanne telle I forth my tales;
PardT 342 Bulles of popes and of cardynales,
PardT 343 Of patriarkes and bishopes I shewe,
PardT 344 And in Latyn I speke a wordes fewe,
PardT 345 To saffron with my predicacioun,
PardT 346 And for to stire hem to devocioun.
PardT 347 Thanne shewe I forth my longe cristal stones,
PardT 348 Ycrammed ful of cloutes and of bones --
PardT 349 Relikes been they, as wenen they echoon.
PardT 350 Thanne have I in latoun a sholder-boon
PardT 351 Which that was of an hooly Jewes sheep.
PardT 352 `Goode men,' I seye, `taak of my wordes keep;
PardT 353 If that this boon be wasshe in any welle,
PardT 354 If cow, or calf, or sheep, or oxe swelle
PardT 355 That any worm hath ete, or worm ystonge,
PardT 356 Taak water of that welle and wassh his tonge,
PardT 357 And it is hool anon; and forthermoore,
PardT 358 Of pokkes and of scabbe, and every soore
PardT 359 Shal every sheep be hool that of this welle
PardT 360 Drynketh a draughte. Taak kep eek what I telle:
PardT 361 If that the good-man that the beestes oweth
PardT 362 Wol every wyke, er that the cok hym croweth,
PardT 363 Fastynge, drynken of this welle a draughte,
PardT 364 As thilke hooly Jew oure eldres taughte,
PardT 365 His beestes and his stoor shal multiplie.
PardT 366 `And, sires, also it heeleth jalousie;
PardT 367 For though a man be falle in jalous rage,
PardT 368 Lat maken with this water his potage,
PardT 369 And nevere shal he moore his wyf mystriste,
PardT 370 Though he the soothe of hir defaute wiste,
PardT 371 Al had she taken prestes two or thre.
PardT 372 `Heere is a miteyn eek, that ye may se.
PardT 373 He that his hand wol putte in this mitayn,
PardT 374 He shal have multipliyng of his grayn,
PardT 375 Whan he hath sowen, be it whete or otes,
PardT 376 So that he offre pens, or elles grotes.
PardT 377 `Goode men and wommen, o thyng warne I yow:
PardT 378 If any wight be in this chirche now
PardT 379 That hath doon synne horrible, that he
PardT 380 Dar nat, for shame, of it yshryven be,
PardT 381 Or any womman, be she yong or old,
PardT 382 That hath ymaked hir housbonde cokewold,
PardT 383 Swich folk shal have no power ne no grace
PardT 384 To offren to my relikes in this place.
PardT 385 And whoso fyndeth hym out of swich blame,
PardT 386 He wol come up and offre a Goddes name,
PardT 387 And I assoille him by the auctoritee
PardT 388 Which that by bulle ygraunted was to me.'
PardT 389 " By this gaude have I wonne, yeer by yeer,
PardT 390 An hundred mark sith I was pardoner.
PardT 391 I stonde lyk a clerk in my pulpet,
PardT 392 And whan the lewed peple is doun yset,
PardT 393 I preche so as ye han herd bifoore
PardT 394 And telle an hundred false japes moore.
PardT 395 Thanne peyne I me to strecche forth the nekke,
PardT 396 And est and west upon the peple I bekke,
PardT 397 As dooth a dowve sittynge on a berne.
PardT 398 Myne handes and my tonge goon so yerne
PardT 399 That it is joye to se my bisynesse.
PardT 400 Of avarice and of swich cursednesse
PardT 401 Is al my prechyng, for to make hem free
PardT 402 To yeven hir pens, and namely unto me.
PardT 403 For myn entente is nat but for to wynne,
PardT 404 And nothyng for correccioun of synne.
PardT 405 I rekke nevere, whan that they been beryed,
PardT 406 Though that hir soules goon a-blakeberyed!
PardT 407 For certes, many a predicacioun
PardT 408 Comth ofte tyme of yvel entencioun;
PardT 409 Som for plesance of folk and flaterye,
PardT 410 To been avaunced by ypocrisye,
PardT 411 And som for veyne glorie, and som for hate.
PardT 412 For whan I dar noon oother weyes debate,
PardT 413 Thanne wol I stynge hym with my tonge smerte
PardT 414 In prechyng, so that he shal nat asterte
PardT 415 To been defamed falsly, if that he
PardT 416 Hath trespased to my bretheren or to me.
PardT 417 For though I telle noght his propre name,
PardT 418 Men shal wel knowe that it is the same,
PardT 419 By signes, and by othere circumstances.
PardT 420 Thus quyte I folk that doon us displesances;
PardT 421 Thus spitte I out my venym under hewe
PardT 422 Of hoolynesse, to semen hooly and trewe.
PardT 423 " But shortly myn entente I wol devyse:
PardT 424 I preche of no thyng but for coveityse.
PardT 425 Therfore my theme is yet, and evere was,
PardT 426 Radix malorum est Cupiditas.
PardT 427 Thus kan I preche agayn that same vice
PardT 428 Which that I use, and that is avarice.
PardT 429 But though myself be gilty in that synne,
PardT 430 Yet kan I maken oother folk to twynne
PardT 431 From avarice and soore to repente.
PardT 432 But that is nat my principal entente;
PardT 433 I preche nothyng but for coveitise.
PardT 434 Of this mateere it oghte ynogh suffise.
PardT 435 " Thanne telle I hem ensamples many oon
PardT 436 Of olde stories longe tyme agoon.
PardT 437 For lewed peple loven tales olde;
PardT 438 Swiche thynges kan they wel reporte and holde.
PardT 439 What, trowe ye, that whiles I may preche,
PardT 440 And wynne gold and silver for I teche,
PardT 441 That I wol lyve in poverte wilfully?
PardT 442 Nay, nay, I thoghte it nevere, trewely!
PardT 443 For I wol preche and begge in sondry landes;
PardT 444 I wol nat do no labour with myne handes,
PardT 445 Ne make baskettes and lyve therby,
PardT 446 By cause I wol nat beggen ydelly.
PardT 447 I wol noon of the apostles countrefete;
PardT 448 I wol have moneie, wolle, chese, and whete,
PardT 449 Al were it yeven of the povereste page,
PardT 450 Or of the povereste wydwe in a village,
PardT 451 Al sholde hir children sterve for famyne.
PardT 452 Nay, I wol drynke licour of the vyne
PardT 453 And have a joly wenche in every toun.
PardT 454 But herkneth, lordynges, in conclusioun:
PardT 455 Youre likyng is that I shal telle a tale.
PardT 456 Now have I dronke a draughte of corny ale,
PardT 457 By God, I hope I shal yow telle a thyng
PardT 458 That shal by reson been at youre likyng.
PardT 459 For though myself be a ful vicious man,
PardT 460 A moral tale yet I yow telle kan,
PardT 461 Which I am wont to preche for to wynne.
PardT 462 Now hoold youre pees! My tale I wol bigynne. "
PardT 463 In Flaundres whilom was a compaignye
PardT 464 Of yonge folk that haunteden folye,
PardT 465 As riot, hasard, stywes, and tavernes,
PardT 466 Where as with harpes, lutes, and gyternes,
PardT 467 They daunce and pleyen at dees bothe day and nyght,
PardT 468 And eten also and drynken over hir myght,
PardT 469 Thurgh which they doon the devel sacrifise
PardT 470 Withinne that develes temple in cursed wise
PardT 471 By superfluytee abhomynable.
PardT 472 Hir othes been so grete and so dampnable
PardT 473 That it is grisly for to heere hem swere.
PardT 474 Oure blissed Lordes body they totere --
PardT 475 Hem thoughte that Jewes rente hym noght ynough --
PardT 476 And ech of hem at otheres synne lough.
PardT 477 And right anon thanne comen tombesteres
PardT 478 Fetys and smale, and yonge frutesteres,
PardT 479 Syngeres with harpes, baudes, wafereres,
PardT 480 Whiche been the verray develes officeres
PardT 481 To kyndle and blowe the fyr of lecherye,
PardT 482 That is annexed unto glotonye.
PardT 483 The hooly writ take I to my witnesse
PardT 484 That luxurie is in wyn and dronkenesse.
PardT 485 Lo, how that dronken Looth, unkyndely,
PardT 486 Lay by his doghtres two, unwityngly;
PardT 487 So dronke he was, he nyste what he wroghte.
PardT 488 Herodes, whoso wel the stories soghte,
PardT 489 Whan he of wyn was repleet at his feeste,
PardT 490 Right at his owene table he yaf his heeste
PardT 491 To sleen the Baptist John, ful giltelees.
PardT 492 Senec seith a good word doutelees;
PardT 493 He seith he kan no difference fynde
PardT 494 Bitwix a man that is out of his mynde
PardT 495 And a man which that is dronkelewe,
PardT 496 But that woodnesse, yfallen in a shrewe,
PardT 497 Persevereth lenger than doth dronkenesse.
PardT 498 O glotonye, ful of cursednesse!
PardT 499 O cause first of oure confusioun!
PardT 500 O original of oure dampnacioun,
PardT 501 Til Crist hadde boght us with his blood agayn!
PardT 502 Lo, how deere, shortly for to sayn,
PardT 503 Aboght was thilke cursed vileynye!
PardT 504 Corrupt was al this world for glotonye.
PardT 505 Adam oure fader, and his wyf also,
PardT 506 Fro Paradys to labour and to wo
PardT 507 Were dryven for that vice, it is no drede.
PardT 508 For whil that Adam fasted, as I rede,
PardT 509 He was in Paradys; and whan that he
PardT 510 Eet of the fruyt deffended on the tree,
PardT 511 Anon he was out cast to wo and peyne.
PardT 512 O glotonye, on thee wel oghte us pleyne!
PardT 513 O, wiste a man how manye maladyes
PardT 514 Folwen of excesse and of glotonyes,
PardT 515 He wolde been the moore mesurable
PardT 516 Of his diete, sittynge at his table.
PardT 517 Allas, the shorte throte, the tendre mouth,
PardT 518 Maketh that est and west and north and south,
PardT 519 In erthe, in eir, in water, men to swynke
PardT 520 To gete a glotoun deyntee mete and drynke!
PardT 521 Of this matiere, O Paul, wel kanstow trete:
PardT 522 " Mete unto wombe, and wombe eek unto mete,
PardT 523 Shal God destroyen bothe, " as Paulus seith.
PardT 524 Allas, a foul thyng is it, by my feith,
PardT 525 To seye this word, and fouler is the dede,
PardT 526 Whan man so drynketh of the white and rede
PardT 527 That of his throte he maketh his pryvee
PardT 528 Thurgh thilke cursed superfluitee.
PardT 529 The apostel wepyng seith ful pitously,
PardT 530 " Ther walken manye of whiche yow toold have I --
PardT 531 I seye it now wepyng, with pitous voys --
PardT 532 They been enemys of Cristes croys,
PardT 533 Of whiche the ende is deeth; wombe is hir god! "
PardT 534 O wombe! O bely! O stynkyng cod,
PardT 535 Fulfilled of dong and of corrupcioun!
PardT 536 At either ende of thee foul is the soun.
PardT 537 How greet labour and cost is thee to fynde!
PardT 538 Thise cookes, how they stampe, and streyne, and grynde,
PardT 539 And turnen substaunce into accident
PardT 540 To fulfille al thy likerous talent!
PardT 541 Out of the harde bones knokke they
PardT 542 The mary, for they caste noght awey
PardT 543 That may go thurgh the golet softe and swoote.
PardT 544 Of spicerie of leef, and bark, and roote
PardT 545 Shal been his sauce ymaked by delit,
PardT 546 To make hym yet a newer appetit.
PardT 547 But, certes, he that haunteth swiche delices
PardT 548 Is deed, whil that he lyveth in tho vices.
PardT 549 A lecherous thyng is wyn, and dronkenesse
PardT 550 Is ful of stryvyng and of wrecchednesse.
PardT 551 O dronke man, disfigured is thy face,
PardT 552 Sour is thy breeth, foul artow to embrace,
PardT 553 And thurgh thy dronke nose semeth the soun
PardT 554 As though thou seydest ay " Sampsoun, Sampsoun! "
PardT 555 And yet, God woot, Sampsoun drank nevere no wyn.
PardT 556 Thou fallest as it were a styked swyn;
PardT 557 Thy tonge is lost, and al thyn honeste cure,
PardT 558 For dronkenesse is verray sepulture
PardT 559 Of mannes wit and his discrecioun.
PardT 560 In whom that drynke hath dominacioun
PardT 561 He kan no conseil kepe; it is no drede.
PardT 562 Now kepe yow fro the white and fro the rede,
PardT 563 And namely fro the white wyn of Lepe
PardT 564 That is to selle in Fysshstrete or in Chepe.
PardT 565 This wyn of Spaigne crepeth subtilly
PardT 566 In othere wynes, growynge faste by,
PardT 567 Of which ther ryseth swich fumositee
PardT 568 That whan a man hath dronken draughtes thre,
PardT 569 And weneth that he be at hoom in Chepe,
PardT 570 He is in Spaigne, right at the toune of Lepe --
PardT 571 Nat at the Rochele, ne at Burdeux toun --
PardT 572 And thanne wol he seye " Sampsoun, Sampsoun! "
PardT 573 But herkneth, lordynges, o word, I yow preye,
PardT 574 That alle the sovereyn actes, dar I seye,
PardT 575 Of victories in the Olde Testament,
PardT 576 Thurgh verray God, that is omnipotent,
PardT 577 Were doon in abstinence and in preyere.
PardT 578 Looketh the Bible, and ther ye may it leere.
PardT 579 Looke, Attilla, the grete conquerour,
PardT 580 Deyde in his sleep, with shame and dishonour,
PardT 581 Bledynge ay at his nose in dronkenesse.
PardT 582 A capitayn sholde lyve in sobrenesse.
PardT 583 And over al this, avyseth yow right wel
PardT 584 What was comaunded unto Lamuel --
PardT 585 Nat Samuel, but Lamuel, seye I;
PardT 586 Redeth the Bible, and fynde it expresly
PardT 587 Of wyn-yevyng to hem that han justise.
PardT 588 Namoore of this, for it may wel suffise.
PardT 589 And now that I have spoken of glotonye,
PardT 590 Now wol I yow deffenden hasardrye.
PardT 591 Hasard is verray mooder of lesynges,
PardT 592 And of deceite, and cursed forswerynges,
PardT 593 Blaspheme of Crist, manslaughtre, and wast also
PardT 594 Of catel and of tyme; and forthermo,
PardT 595 It is repreeve and contrarie of honour
PardT 596 For to ben holde a commune hasardour.
PardT 597 And ever the hyer he is of estaat,
PardT 598 The moore is he yholden desolaat.
PardT 599 If that a prynce useth hasardrye,
PardT 600 In alle governaunce and policye
PardT 601 He is, as by commune opinioun,
PardT 602 Yholde the lasse in reputacioun.
PardT 603 Stilboun, that was a wys embassadour,
PardT 604 Was sent to Corynthe in ful greet honour
PardT 605 Fro Lacidomye to make hire alliaunce.
PardT 606 And whan he cam, hym happede, par chaunce,
PardT 607 That alle the gretteste that were of that lond,
PardT 608 Pleyynge atte hasard he hem fond.
PardT 609 For which, as soone as it myghte be,
PardT 610 He stal hym hoom agayn to his contree,
PardT 611 And seyde, " Ther wol I nat lese my name,
PardT 612 Ne I wol nat take on me so greet defame,
PardT 613 Yow for to allie unto none hasardours.
PardT 614 Sendeth othere wise embassadours;
PardT 615 For, by my trouthe, me were levere dye
PardT 616 Than I yow sholde to hasardours allye.
PardT 617 For ye, that been so glorious in honours,
PardT 618 Shul nat allyen yow with hasardours
PardT 619 As by my wyl, ne as by my tretee. "
PardT 620 This wise philosophre, thus seyde hee.
PardT 621 Looke eek that to the kyng Demetrius
PardT 622 The kyng of Parthes, as the book seith us,
PardT 623 Sente him a paire of dees of gold in scorn,
PardT 624 For he hadde used hasard ther-biforn;
PardT 625 For which he heeld his glorie or his renoun
PardT 626 At no value or reputacioun.
PardT 627 Lordes may fynden oother maner pley
PardT 628 Honest ynough to dryve the day awey.
PardT 629 Now wol I speke of othes false and grete
PardT 630 A word or two, as olde bookes trete.
PardT 631 Gret sweryng is a thyng abhominable,
PardT 632 And fals sweryng is yet moore reprevable.
PardT 633 The heighe God forbad sweryng at al,
PardT 634 Witnesse on Mathew; but in special
PardT 635 Of sweryng seith the hooly Jeremye,
PardT 636 " Thou shalt swere sooth thyne othes, and nat lye,
PardT 637 And swere in doom and eek in rightwisnesse " ;
PardT 638 But ydel sweryng is a cursednesse.
PardT 639 Bihoold and se that in the firste table
PardT 640 Of heighe Goddes heestes honurable,
PardT 641 Hou that the seconde heeste of hym is this:
PardT 642 " Take nat my name in ydel or amys. "
PardT 643 Lo, rather he forbedeth swich sweryng
PardT 644 Than homycide or many a cursed thyng;
PardT 645 I seye that, as by ordre, thus it stondeth;
PardT 646 This knoweth, that his heestes understondeth,
PardT 647 How that the seconde heeste of God is that.
PardT 648 And forther over, I wol thee telle al plat
PardT 649 That vengeance shal nat parten from his hous
PardT 650 That of his othes is to outrageous.
PardT 651 " By Goddes precious herte, " and " By his nayles, "
PardT 652 And " By the blood of Crist that is in Hayles,
PardT 653 Sevene is my chaunce, and thyn is cynk and treye! "
PardT 654 " By Goddes armes, if thou falsly pleye,
PardT 655 This daggere shal thurghout thyn herte go! " --
PardT 656 This fruyt cometh of the bicched bones two,
PardT 657 Forsweryng, ire, falsnesse, homycide.
PardT 658 Now, for the love of Crist, that for us dyde,
PardT 659 Lete youre othes, bothe grete and smale.
PardT 660 But, sires, now wol I telle forth my tale.
PardT 661 Thise riotoures thre of whiche I telle,
PardT 662 Longe erst er prime rong of any belle,
PardT 663 Were set hem in a taverne to drynke,
PardT 664 And as they sat, they herde a belle clynke
PardT 665 Biforn a cors, was caried to his grave.
PardT 666 That oon of hem gan callen to his knave:
PardT 667 " Go bet, " quod he, " and axe redily
PardT 668 What cors is this that passeth heer forby;
PardT 669 And looke that thou reporte his name weel. "
PardT 670 " Sire, " quod this boy, " it nedeth never-a-deel;
PardT 671 It was me toold er ye cam heer two houres.
PardT 672 He was, pardee, an old felawe of youres,
PardT 673 And sodeynly he was yslayn to-nyght,
PardT 674 Fordronke, as he sat on his bench upright.
PardT 675 Ther cam a privee theef men clepeth Deeth,
PardT 676 That in this contree al the peple sleeth,
PardT 677 And with his spere he smoot his herte atwo,
PardT 678 And wente his wey withouten wordes mo.
PardT 679 He hath a thousand slayn this pestilence.
PardT 680 And, maister, er ye come in his presence,
PardT 681 Me thynketh that it were necessarie
PardT 682 For to be war of swich an adversarie.
PardT 683 Beth redy for to meete hym everemoore;
PardT 684 Thus taughte me my dame; I sey namoore. "
PardT 685 " By Seinte Marie! " seyde this taverner,
PardT 686 " The child seith sooth, for he hath slayn this yeer,
PardT 687 Henne over a mile, withinne a greet village,
PardT 688 Bothe man and womman, child, and hyne, and page;
PardT 689 I trowe his habitacioun be there.
PardT 690 To been avysed greet wysdom it were,
PardT 691 Er that he dide a man a dishonour. "
PardT 692 " Ye, Goddes armes! " quod this riotour,
PardT 693 " Is it swich peril with hym for to meete?
PardT 694 I shal hym seke by wey and eek by strete,
PardT 695 I make avow to Goddes digne bones!
PardT 696 Herkneth, felawes, we thre been al ones;
PardT 697 Lat ech of us holde up his hand til oother,
PardT 698 And ech of us bicomen otheres brother,
PardT 699 And we wol sleen this false traytour Deeth.
PardT 700 He shal be slayn, he that so manye sleeth,
PardT 701 By Goddes dignitee, er it be nyght! "
PardT 702 Togidres han thise thre hir trouthes plight
PardT 703 To lyve and dyen ech of hem for oother,
PardT 704 As though he were his owene ybore brother.
PardT 705 And up they stirte, al dronken in this rage,
PardT 706 And forth they goon towardes that village
PardT 707 Of which the taverner hadde spoke biforn.
PardT 708 And many a grisly ooth thanne han they sworn,
PardT 709 And Cristes blessed body they torente --
PardT 710 Deeth shal be deed, if that they may hym hente!
PardT 711 Whan they han goon nat fully half a mile,
PardT 712 Right as they wolde han troden over a stile,
PardT 713 An oold man and a povre with hem mette.
PardT 714 This olde man ful mekely hem grette,
PardT 715 And seyde thus, " Now, lordes, God yow see! "
PardT 716 The proudeste of thise riotoures three
PardT 717 Answerde agayn, " What, carl, with sory grace!
PardT 718 Why artow al forwrapped save thy face?
PardT 719 Why lyvestow so longe in so greet age? "
PardT 720 This olde man gan looke in his visage,
PardT 721 And seyde thus: " For I ne kan nat fynde
PardT 722 A man, though that I walked into Ynde,
PardT 723 Neither in citee ne in no village,
PardT 724 That wolde chaunge his youthe for myn age;
PardT 725 And therfore moot I han myn age stille,
PardT 726 As longe tyme as it is Goddes wille.
PardT 727 Ne Deeth, allas, ne wol nat han my lyf.
PardT 728 Thus walke I, lyk a restelees kaityf,
PardT 729 And on the ground, which is my moodres gate,
PardT 730 I knokke with my staf, bothe erly and late,
PardT 731 And seye `Leeve mooder, leet me in!
PardT 732 Lo how I vanysshe, flessh, and blood, and skyn!
PardT 733 Allas, whan shul my bones been at reste?
PardT 734 Mooder, with yow wolde I chaunge my cheste
PardT 735 That in my chambre longe tyme hath be,
PardT 736 Ye, for an heyre clowt to wrappe me!'
PardT 737 But yet to me she wol nat do that grace,
PardT 738 For which ful pale and welked is my face.
PardT 739 " But, sires, to yow it is no curteisye
PardT 740 To speken to an old man vileynye,
PardT 741 But he trespasse in word or elles in dede.
PardT 742 In Hooly Writ ye may yourself wel rede:
PardT 743 `Agayns an oold man, hoor upon his heed,
PardT 744 Ye sholde arise;' wherfore I yeve yow reed,
PardT 745 Ne dooth unto an oold man noon harm now,
PardT 746 Namoore than that ye wolde men did to yow
PardT 747 In age, if that ye so longe abyde.
PardT 748 And God be with yow, where ye go or ryde!
PardT 749 I moot go thider as I have to go. "
PardT 750 " Nay, olde cherl, by God, thou shalt nat so, "
PardT 751 Seyde this oother hasardour anon;
PardT 752 " Thou partest nat so lightly, by Seint John!
PardT 753 Thou spak right now of thilke traytour Deeth.
PardT 754 That in this contree alle oure freendes sleeth.
PardT 755 Have heer my trouthe, as thou art his espye,
PardT 756 Telle where he is or thou shalt it abye,
PardT 757 By God and by the hooly sacrement!
PardT 758 For soothly thou art oon of his assent
PardT 759 To sleen us yonge folk, thou false theef! "
PardT 760 " Now, sires, " quod he, " if that yow be so leef
PardT 761 To fynde Deeth, turne up this croked wey,
PardT 762 For in that grove I lafte hym, by my fey,
PardT 763 Under a tree, and there he wole abyde;
PardT 764 Noght for youre boost he wole him no thyng hyde.
PardT 765 Se ye that ook? Right there ye shal hym fynde.
PardT 766 God save yow, that boghte agayn mankynde,
PardT 767 And yow amende! " Thus seyde this olde man;
PardT 768 And everich of thise riotoures ran
PardT 769 Til he cam to that tree, and ther they founde
PardT 770 Of floryns fyne of gold ycoyned rounde
PardT 771 Wel ny an eighte busshels, as hem thoughte.
PardT 772 No lenger thanne after Deeth they soughte,
PardT 773 But ech of hem so glad was of that sighte,
PardT 774 For that the floryns been so faire and brighte,
PardT 775 That doun they sette hem by this precious hoord.
PardT 776 The worste of hem, he spak the firste word.
PardT 777 " Bretheren, " quod he, " taak kep what that I seye;
PardT 778 My wit is greet, though that I bourde and pleye.
PardT 779 This tresor hath Fortune unto us yiven
PardT 780 In myrthe and joliftee oure lyf to lyven,
PardT 781 And lightly as it comth, so wol we spende.
PardT 782 Ey, Goddes precious dignitee! Who wende
PardT 783 To-day that we sholde han so fair a grace?
PardT 784 But myghte this gold be caried fro this place
PardT 785 Hoom to myn hous, or elles unto youres --
PardT 786 For wel ye woot that al this gold is oures --
PardT 787 Thanne were we in heigh felicitee.
PardT 788 But trewely, by daye it may nat bee.
PardT 789 Men wolde seyn that we were theves stronge,
PardT 790 And for oure owene tresor doon us honge.
PardT 791 This tresor moste ycaried be by nyghte
PardT 792 As wisely and as slyly as it myghte.
PardT 793 Wherfore I rede that cut among us alle
PardT 794 Be drawe, and lat se wher the cut wol falle;
PardT 795 And he that hath the cut with herte blithe
PardT 796 Shal renne to the town, and that ful swithe,
PardT 797 And brynge us breed and wyn ful prively.
PardT 798 And two of us shul kepen subtilly
PardT 799 This tresor wel; and if he wol nat tarie,
PardT 800 Whan it is nyght, we wol this tresor carie,
PardT 801 By oon assent, where as us thynketh best. "
PardT 802 That oon of hem the cut broghte in his fest,
PardT 803 And bad hem drawe and looke where it wol falle;
PardT 804 And it fil on the yongeste of hem alle,
PardT 805 And forth toward the toun he wente anon.
PardT 806 And also soone as that he was gon,
PardT 807 That oon of hem spak thus unto that oother:
PardT 808 " Thow knowest wel thou art my sworen brother;
PardT 809 Thy profit wol I telle thee anon.
PardT 810 Thou woost wel that oure felawe is agon.
PardT 811 And heere is gold, and that ful greet plentee,
PardT 812 That shal departed been among us thre.
PardT 813 But nathelees, if I kan shape it so
PardT 814 That it departed were among us two,
PardT 815 Hadde I nat doon a freendes torn to thee? "
PardT 816 That oother answerde, " I noot hou that may be.
PardT 817 He woot that the gold is with us tweye;
PardT 818 What shal we doon? What shal we to hym seye? "
PardT 819 " Shal it be conseil? " seyde the firste shrewe,
PardT 820 " And I shal tellen in a wordes fewe
PardT 821 What we shal doon, and brynge it wel aboute. "
PardT 822 " I graunte, " quod that oother, " out of doute,
PardT 823 That, by my trouthe, I wol thee nat biwreye. "
PardT 824 " Now, " quod the firste, " thou woost wel we be tweye,
PardT 825 And two of us shul strenger be than oon.
PardT 826 Looke whan that he is set, that right anoon
PardT 827 Arys as though thou woldest with hym pleye,
PardT 828 And I shal ryve hym thurgh the sydes tweye
PardT 829 Whil that thou strogelest with hym as in game,
PardT 830 And with thy daggere looke thou do the same;
PardT 831 And thanne shal al this gold departed be,
PardT 832 My deere freend, bitwixen me and thee.
PardT 833 Thanne may we bothe oure lustes all fulfille,
PardT 834 And pleye at dees right at oure owene wille. "
PardT 835 And thus acorded been thise shrewes tweye
PardT 836 To sleen the thridde, as ye han herd me seye.
PardT 837 This yongeste, which that wente to the toun,
PardT 838 Ful ofte in herte he rolleth up and doun
PardT 839 The beautee of thise floryns newe and brighte.
PardT 840 " O Lord! " quod he, " if so were that I myghte
PardT 841 Have al this tresor to myself allone,
PardT 842 Ther is no man that lyveth under the trone
PardT 843 Of God that sholde lyve so murye as I! "
PardT 844 And atte laste the feend, oure enemy,
PardT 845 Putte in his thought that he sholde poyson beye,
PardT 846 With which he myghte sleen his felawes tweye;
PardT 847 For-why the feend foond hym in swich lyvynge
PardT 848 That he hadde leve him to sorwe brynge.
PardT 849 For this was outrely his fulle entente,
PardT 850 To sleen hem bothe and nevere to repente.
PardT 851 And forth he gooth, no lenger wolde he tarie,
PardT 852 Into the toun, unto a pothecarie,
PardT 853 And preyde hym that he hym wolde selle
PardT 854 Som poyson, that he myghte his rattes quelle;
PardT 855 And eek ther was a polcat in his hawe,
PardT 856 That, as he seyde, his capouns hadde yslawe,
PardT 857 And fayn he wolde wreke hym, if he myghte,
PardT 858 On vermyn that destroyed hym by nyghte.
PardT 859 The pothecarie answerde, " And thou shalt have
PardT 860 A thyng that, also God my soule save,
PardT 861 In al this world ther is no creature
PardT 862 That eten or dronken hath of this confiture
PardT 863 Noght but the montance of a corn of whete,
PardT 864 That he ne shal his lif anon forlete;
PardT 865 Ye, sterve he shal, and that in lasse while
PardT 866 Than thou wolt goon a paas nat but a mile,
PardT 867 This poysoun is so strong and violent. "
PardT 868 This cursed man hath in his hond yhent
PardT 869 This poysoun in a box, and sith he ran
PardT 870 Into the nexte strete unto a man,
PardT 871 And borwed [of] hym large botelles thre,
PardT 872 And in the two his poyson poured he;
PardT 873 The thridde he kepte clene for his drynke.
PardT 874 For al the nyght he shoop hym for to swynke
PardT 875 In cariynge of the gold out of that place.
PardT 876 And whan this riotour, with sory grace,
PardT 877 Hadde filled with wyn his grete botels thre,
PardT 878 To his felawes agayn repaireth he.
PardT 879 What nedeth it to sermone of it moore?
PardT 880 For right as they hadde cast his deeth bifoore,
PardT 881 Right so they han hym slayn, and that anon.
PardT 882 And whan that this was doon, thus spak that oon:
PardT 883 " Now lat us sitte and drynke, and make us merie,
PardT 884 And afterward we wol his body berie. "
PardT 885 And with that word it happed hym, par cas,
PardT 886 To take the botel ther the poyson was,
PardT 887 And drank, and yaf his felawe drynke also,
PardT 888 For which anon they storven bothe two.
PardT 889 But certes, I suppose that Avycen
PardT 890 Wroot nevere in no canon, ne in no fen,
PardT 891 Mo wonder signes of empoisonyng
PardT 892 Than hadde thise wrecches two, er hir endyng.
PardT 893 Thus ended been thise homycides two,
PardT 894 And eek the false empoysonere also.
PardT 895 O cursed synne of alle cursednesse!
PardT 896 O traytours homycide, O wikkednesse!
PardT 897 O glotonye, luxurie, and hasardrye!
PardT 898 Thou blasphemour of Crist with vileynye
PardT 899 And othes grete, of usage and of pride!
PardT 900 Allas, mankynde, how may it bitide
PardT 901 That to thy creatour, which that the wroghte
PardT 902 And with his precious herte-blood thee boghte,
PardT 903 Thou art so fals and so unkynde, allas?
PardT 904 Now, goode men, God foryeve yow youre trespas,
PardT 905 And ware yow fro the synne of avarice!
PardT 906 Myn hooly pardoun may yow alle warice,
PardT 907 So that ye offre nobles or sterlynges,
PardT 908 Or elles silver broches, spoones, rynges.
PardT 909 Boweth youre heed under this hooly bulle!
PardT 910 Cometh up, ye wyves, offreth of youre wolle!
PardT 911 Youre names I entre heer in my rolle anon;
PardT 912 Into the blisse of hevene shul ye gon.
PardT 913 I yow assoille, by myn heigh power,
PardT 914 Yow that wol offre, as clene and eek as cleer
PardT 915 As ye were born. -- And lo, sires, thus I preche.
PardT 916 And Jhesu Crist, that is oure soules leche,
PardT 917 So graunte yow his pardoun to receyve,
PardT 918 For that is best; I wol yow nat deceyve.
PardT 919 But, sires, o word forgat I in my tale:
PardT 920 I have relikes and pardoun in my male,
PardT 921 As faire as any man in Engelond,
PardT 922 Whiche were me yeven by the popes hond.
PardT 923 If any of yow wole, of devocion,
PardT 924 Offren and han myn absolucion,
PardT 925 Com forth anon, and kneleth heere adoun,
PardT 926 And mekely receyveth my pardoun;
PardT 927 Or elles taketh pardoun as ye wende,
PardT 928 Al newe and fressh at every miles ende,
PardT 929 So that ye offren, alwey newe and newe,
PardT 930 Nobles or pens, whiche that be goode and trewe.
PardT 931 It is an honour to everich that is heer
PardT 932 That ye mowe have a suffisant pardoneer
PardT 933 T' assoille yow in contree as ye ryde,
PardT 934 For aventures whiche that may bityde.
PardT 935 Paraventure ther may fallen oon or two
PardT 936 Doun of his hors and breke his nekke atwo.
PardT 937 Looke which a seuretee is it to yow alle
PardT 938 That I am in youre felaweshipe yfalle,
PardT 939 That may assoille yow, bothe moore and lasse,
PardT 940 Whan that the soule shal fro the body passe.
PardT 941 I rede that oure Hoost heere shal bigynne,
PardT 942 For he is moost envoluped in synne.
PardT 943 Com forth, sire Hoost, and offre first anon,
PardT 944 And thou shalt kisse the relikes everychon,
PardT 945 Ye, for a grote! Unbokele anon thy purs. "
PardT 946 " Nay, nay! " quod he, " thanne have I Cristes curs!
PardT 947 Lat be, " quod he, " it shal nat be, so theech!
PardT 948 Thou woldest make me kisse thyn olde breech,
PardT 949 And swere it were a relyk of a seint,
PardT 950 Though it were with thy fundement depeint!
PardT 951 But, by the croys which that Seint Eleyne fond,
PardT 952 I wolde I hadde thy coillons in myn hond
PardT 953 In stide of relikes or of seintuarie.
PardT 954 Lat kutte hem of, I wol thee helpe hem carie;
PardT 955 They shul be shryned in an hogges toord! "
PardT 956 This Pardoner answerde nat a word;
PardT 957 So wrooth he was, no word ne wolde he seye.
PardT 958 " Now, " quod oure Hoost, " I wol no lenger pleye
PardT 959 With thee, ne with noon oother angry man. "
PardT 960 But right anon the worthy Knyght bigan,
PardT 961 Whan that he saugh that al the peple lough,
PardT 962 " Namoore of this, for it is right ynough!
PardT 963 Sire Pardoner, be glad and myrie of cheere;
PardT 964 And ye, sire Hoost, that been to me so deere,
PardT 965 I prey yow that ye kisse the Pardoner.
PardT 966 And Pardoner, I prey thee, drawe thee neer,
PardT 967 And, as we diden, lat us laughe and pleye. "
PardT 968 Anon they kiste, and ryden forth hir weye.