From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama
001 PITY. Now Jesu the gentle, that bought Adam fro hell,
002 Save you all, sovereigns, and solace you send!
003 And of this matter that I begin to tell
004 I pray you of audience till I have made an end.
005 For I say to you my name is Pity,
006 That ever yet hath been man's friend.
007 In the bosom of the second person in Trinity
008 I sprang as a plant, man's miss to amend;
009 You for to help I put to my hand.
010 Record I take of Mary, that wept tears of blood;
011 I, Pity, within her heart did stand,
012 When she saw her son on the rood.
013 The sword of sorrow gave that lady wound,
014 When a spear clave her son's heart asunder.
015 She cried out and fell to the ground.
016 Though she was woe, it was little wonder!
017 This delicate colour, that goodly lady,
018 Full pale and wan, she saw her son all dead,
019 Splayed on a cross with five wells of pity,
020 Of purple velvet, powdered with roses red.
021 Lo, I, Pity, thus made your errand to be sped,
022 Or else man forever should have been forlore.
023 A maiden so laid his life to wed--
024 Crowned as a king, the thorns pricked him sore.
025 Charity and I of true love leads the double reign;
026 Whoso me loveth damned never shall be.
027 Of some virtuous company I would be fain,
028 For all that will to heaven needs must come by me;
029 Chief porter I am in that heavenly city.
030 And now here will I rest me a little space,
031 Till it please Jesu of his grace
032 Some virtuous fellowship for to send.
033 CONTEMPLATION. Christ that was christened, crucified and crowned,
034 In his bosom true love was gaged with a spear.
035 His veins brast and bruised, and to a billar bound,
036 With scourges he was lashed--the knots the skin tare.
037 On his neck to Calvary the great cross he bare;
038 His blood ran to the ground, as scripture doth tell;
039 His burden was so heavy that down under it he fell.
040 Lo, I am kin to the Lord which is God's son.
041 My name is written foremost in the book of life,
042 For I am Perfect Contemplation,
043 And brother to Holy Church, that is our Lord's wife.
044 John Baptist, Antony and Jerome, with many mo,
045 Followed me here in holt, heath and in wilderness.
046 I ever with them went where they did go,
047 Night and day toward the way of rightwisness.
048 I am the chief lantern of all holiness,
049 Of prelates and priests--I am their patron.
050 No armour so strong in no distress,
051 Habergeon, helm, ne yet no gestron--
052 To fight with Satan I am the champion
053 That dare abide and manfully stand.
054 Fiends flee away where they see me come.
055 But I will show you why I came to this land:
056 For to preach and teach of God's sooth saws
057 Against vice that doth rebel against him and his laws.
058 PITY. God speed, good brother! Fro whence came you now?
059 CONTEMPLATION. Sir, I came from Perseverence to seek you.
060 PITY. Why, sir, know you me?
061 CONTEMPLATION. Yea, sir, and have done long. Your name is Pity.
062 Your name fain would I know.
063 CONTEMPLATION. Indeed, I am called Contemplation,
064 That useth to live solitarily.
065 In woods and wilderness I walk alone
066 Because I would say my prayers devoutly.
067 I love not with me to have much company,
068 But Perseverence oft with me dothe meet
069 When I think on thoughts that is full heavenly;
070 Thus he and I together full sweetly doth sleep.
071 PITY. I thank God that we be met together.
072 CONTEMPLATION. Sir, I trust that Perseverence shortly will come hither.
073 PITY. Then I think to hear some good tiding.
074 CONTEMPLATION. I warrant you, brother, that he is coming.
075 PERSEVERANCE. The eternal God, that named was Messias,
076 He give you grace to come to his glory,
077 Where ever is joy in the celestial place
078 When you of Satan winneth the victory.
079 Evuery man ought to be glad to have me in company,
080 For I am named Good Perseverance.
081 That ever is guided by virtuous governance.
082 I am never variable, but doth continue
083 Still going upward the ladder of grace;
084 And lode in me planted is so true,
085 And fro that poor man I will never turn my face.
086 When I go by myself, oft I do remember
087 The great kindness that God showed unto man
088 For to be born in the month of December,
089 When the day waxeth short and the night long.
090 Of his goodness that champion strong
091 Descended down fro the father of rightwiseness
092 And rested in Mary, the flower of meekness.
093 Now to this place hither come I am
094 To seek Contemplation, my kinsman.
095 CONTEMPLATION. What, brother, Perseverance! Ye be welcome!
096 PERSEVERANCE. And so be you also, Contemplation!
097 CONTEMPLATION. Lo, here is our master, Pity.
098 PERSEVERANCE. Now truly ye be welcome into this country!
099 PITY. I thank you heartily, sir Perseverance.
100 PERSEVERANCE. Master Pity, one thing is come to my remembraunce:
101 What tidings hear you now?
102 PITY. Sir, such as I can show you.
103 I have heard many men complain piteously;
104 They say they be smitten with the sword of Poverty
105 In every place where I go.
106 New friends Poverty doth find,
107 And these rich men been unkind;
108 For their neighbors they will nought do.
109 Widows doth curse lords and gentlemen,
110 For they constrain them to marry with their men,
111 Yea, wether they will or no.
112 Men marry for good, and that is damnable,
113 Yea, with old women that is fifty and beyond.
114 The peril now no man dread will.
115 All is not God's law that is used in land.
116 Beware will they not till Death in his hand
117 Taketh his sword and smiteth asunder the life vain,
118 And with his mortal stroke cleaveth the heart atwain.
119 They trust so in mercy, the lantern of brightness,
120 That nothing do they dread God's rightwiseness.
121 PERSEVERANCE. O Jesu, sir, here is a heavy tiding!
122 PITY. Sir this is true that I do bring.
123 CONTEMPLATION. How am I beloved, master Pity, where ye come?
124 PITY. In good faith, people have now small devotion,
125 And as for with you, brother Contemplation,
126 There meddleth few or none.
127 CONTEMPLATION. Yet I trust that priests love me well.
128 PITY. But a few, iwis, and some never adeal.
129 CONTEMPLATION. Why, sir, without me they may not live clean!
130 PITY. Nay, that is the least thought that they have of fifteen,
131 And that maketh me full heavy.
132 CONTEMPLATION. How, trow you that there be no remedy?
133 PITY. Full hard, for sin is now so grievous and ill
134 That I think that it be grown to an impossible.
135 And yet one thing maketh me ever mourning:
136 That priests lack utterance to show their cunning;
137 And all the while that clerks do use so great sin,
138 Among the lay people look never for no mending.
139 PERSEVERANCE. Alas, that is a heavy case,
140 That so great sin is used in every place.
141 I pray God it amend!
142 PITY. Now God, that ever hath been man's friend,
143 Some better tidings soon us end!
144 For now I must be gone.
145 Farewell, good brethren here!
146 A great errand I have elsewhere
147 That must needs be done.
148 I trust I will not long tarry.
149 Thither will I hie me shortly
150 And come again when I have done.
151 PERSEVERANCE. Hither again I trust you will come.
152 Therefore God be with you!
153 CONTEMPLATION. Sir, needs I must depart now.
154 Jesu me speed this day!
155 PERSEVERANCE. Now, brother Contemplation, let us go our way.
156 FREE WILL. Aware, fellows, and stand a-room!
157 How say you, am not I a goodly person?
158 I trow you know not such a gest!
159 What, sirs! I tell you my name is Free Will;
160 I may choose whether I do good or ill,
161 But for all that I will do as me list.
162 My condirions ye know not, perdie;
163 I can fight, chide and be merry.
164 Full foon of my company ye would be weary
165 And you knew all.
166 What, fill the cup and make good cheer!
167 I trow I have a noble here--
168 Who lent it me? By Christ, a frere!
169 And I gave him a fall!
170 Where be ye, sir? Be ye at home?
171 Cock's passion, my noble is turned to a stone!
172 Where lay I last? Beshrew your heart,Joan!
173 Now, by these bones, she hath beguiled me!
174 Let see: a penny my supper, a piece of flesh ten pence,
175 My bed right nought; let all this expense--
176 Now, by these bones, I have lost an halfpenny!
177 Who lay there? My fellow Imagination.
178 He and I had good communication
179 Of Sir John and Sibley,
180 How they were spied in bed together;
181 And he prayed her oft to come thither
182 For to sing "Lo le, lo lowe."
183 They twain together had good sport,
184 But at stews' side I lost a groat.
185 I trow I shall never i-thee!
186 My fellow promised me here to meet,
187 But I trow the whoreson be asleep
188 With a wench somewhere.
189 How, Imagination, come hither!
190 And you thrive I lose a feather.
191 Beshrew your heart, appear!
192 IMAGINATION. What, how, how! Who called after me?
193 FREE WILL. Come near! Ye shall never i-thee!
194 Where have ye be so long?
195 IMAGINATION. By God, with me it is all wrong;
196 I have a pair of sore buttocks.
197 All in irons was my song;
198 Even now I sat gyved in a pair of stocks.
199 FREE WILL. Cock's passion, and how so?
200 IMAGINATION. Sir, I will tell you what I have do.
201 I met with a wench, and she was fair,
202 And of love heartily I did prey her,
203 And so promised her money.
204 Sir, she winked on me and said nought,
205 But by her look I knew her thought.
206 Then into love's dance we were brought,
207 That we played the pyrdewy.
208 I wot not what we did together,
209 But a knave catchpoll nighed us near
210 And so did us aspy;
211 Astripe he gave me--I fled my touch--
212 And from my girdle he plucked my pouch.
213 By your leave, he left me never a penny.
214 Lo, nought have I but a buckle!
215 And yet I can imagine things subtle
216 For to get money plaenty.
217 In Westminster Hall every term I am;
218 To me is kin many a great gentleman;
219 I am known in every country.
220 And I were dead the lawyers' thrift were lost,
221 For this will I do if men would do cost:
222 Prove right wrong, and al by reason,
223 And make men leese both house and land;
224 For all that they can do in a little season.
225 Peach men of treason privily I can,
226 And when me list, to hang a true man.
227 If they will me money tell,
228 Thieves I can help out of prison.
229 And into lords' favours I can get me soon
230 And be of their privy counsel.
231 But Free Will, my dear brother,
232 Saw you not of Hick Scorner?
233 He promised me to come hither.
234 FREE WILL. Why, sir, knowest thou him?
235 IMAGINATION. Yea, yea, man, he is full nigh of my kin,
236 And in Newgate we dwelled together,
237 For he and I were both shackled in a fetter.
238 FREE WILL. Sir, lay you beneath or on high on the sollar?
239 IMAGINATION. Nay, iwis, among the thickest of yeomen of the collar.
240 FREE WILL. By God, then ye were in great fere.
241 IMAGINATION. Sir, had I not I be, two hundred had be thrast in an halter
242 FREE WILL. And what life have they there, all that great sort?.
243 IMAGINATION. By God, sir, once a year some taw halters of Burport.
244 Yea, at Tyburn there standeth the great frame,
245 And some take a fall that maketh their neck lame.
246 FREE WILL. Yea, but can they then go no more?
247 IMAGINATION. O no, man, the wrest is twist so sore;
248 For as soon as they have said "in manus tuas" once,
249 By God, their breath is stopped at once.
250 FREE WILL. Why, do they pray in that place there?
251 IMAGINATION. Yea, sir, they stand in great fere,
252 And so fast tangeld in that snare
253 It falleth to their lot to have the same share.
254 FREE WILL. That is a knavish sight, to see them totter on a beam.
255 IMAGINATION. Sir, the whoresons could not convey clean,
256 For and they could have carried by craft, as I can,
257 In process of years each of them should be a gentleman.
258 Yet, as for me, I was never a thief.
259 If my hands were smitten off, I can steal with my teeth;
260 Fot ye know well there is craft in daubing.
261 I can look in a man's face and pick his purse,
262 And tell new tidings that was never true, iwis,
263 For my hood is all lined with leasing.
264 FREE WILL. Yea, but went ye never to Tyburn a pilgrimage?
265 IMAGINATION. No, iwis, nor none of my lineages,
266 For we be clerks all and can our neck-verse,
267 And with an ointment the judge's hand I can grease,
268 That will heal sores that be incurable.
269 FREE WILL. Why, were ye never found reprovable?l
270 IMAGINATION. Yes, once I stole a horse in the field,
271 And lept on him for to have ridden my way.
272 At the last a baille me met and beheld,
273 And bad me stand--then was I in a fray!
274 He asked me whether with that horse I would gone,
275 And then I told him it was mine own.
276 He said I had stolen his, and I said nay--
277 "This is," said he, "my brother's hackney"--
278 For and I had not scused me without fail,
279 By Our Lady, he would have led me straight to jail.
280 And then I told him that horse was like mine,
281 A brown bay, a long mane, and did halt behine.
282 Thus I told him that such another horse I did lack,
283 And yet I never saw him nor came on his back.
284 So I delivered him the horse again,
285 And when he was gone, then was I fain,
286 For and I had not scused me the better
287 I know well I should have danced in a fetter.
288 FREE WILL. And said he no more to thee but so?
289 IMAGINATION. Yes, he pretended me much harm to do,
290 But I told him that morning was a great mist,
291 That what horse it was I ne wist.
292 Also I said that in my head I had the megrin
293 That made me dazzle so in mine eyen
294 That I might not well see.
295 And thus he departed shortly from me.
296 FREE WILL. Yea, but where is Hick Scorner now?
297 Some of these young men hath hid him in their bosoms, I warrant you.
298 FREE WILL. Let us make a cry that he may us hear.
299 IMAGINATION. How, how, Hick Scorner, appear!
300 I trow thou be hid in some corne.
301 HICK SCORNER. Alee the helm, alee! veer! shoot off! veer! sail! vera!
302 FREE WILL. Cock's body, hark! He is in a ship on the sea!
303 HICK SCORNER. God speed, God speed! Who calleth after me?
304 IMAGINATION. What, brother, welcome, by this precious body!
305 I am glad that T you see.
306 It was told me that ye were hanged.
307 But out of what country come ye?
308 HICK SCORNER. Sir, I have been in many a country,
309 As in France, Ireland and in Spain,
310 Portingale, Seville, also in Almain,
311 Friesland, Flanders and in Bourgogne,
312 Calabre, Pouille and Arragogne,
313 Brittany, Biscay and also Gascogne,
314 Naples, Greece and in mids of Scotland,
315 At Cape Saint Vincent and in the new found island.
316 I have been in Gene and in Cowe,
317 Also in the land of rumbelow,
318 Three mile out of hell,
319 At Rhodes, Constnatine and in Babyland,
320 In Cornwall and in Northumberland
321 Where men seethe rushes in gruel.
322 Yea, sir, in Chaldee, Tartare and Inde,
323 And in the land of women, that few men doth find,
324 In all these countries have I be.
325 Sir, what tidings hear ye now on the sea?
326 HICK SCORNER. We met of ships a great navey
327 Full of people that would into Ireland,
328 And they came out of this country.
329 They will nevermore come to England.
330 IMAGINATION. Whence were the ships of them?
331 HICK SCORNER. Harken, and I will show you their names each one.
332 First was the Regent with the Michael of Brikilsea,
333 The Geaorge with the Gabriel and the Anne of Foy,
334 The Star of Saltash with the Jesus of Plymouth,
335 Also the Hermitage with the Barbara of Dartmouth,
336 The Nicholas and the Mary Bellouse of Bristow
337 With the Ellen of London and James also.
338 Great was the people that was in them,
339 All true religious, and holy women.
340 There was troth and his kinsmen,
341 With Patience, Meekness and Humility,
342 And all true maidens with their virginity,
343 Rial preachers, Sadness and Charity,
344 Right Conscience and Faith with Devotion,
345 And all true monks that kept their religion,
346 True buyers and sellers and alms-deed doers,
347 Piteous people that be of sin destroyers,
348 With Just Abstinence and good counsellors,
349 Mourners for sin with Lamentation,
350 And good rich men that helpeth folf out of prison.
351 True Wedlock was there also,
352 With young men that ever in prayer did go.
353 The ships were laden with such unhappy company,
354 But at the last God shoop a remedy,
355 For they all in the sea were drowned,
356 And on a quick sand they strake to ground.
357 The sea swallowed them everyone.
358 I wot well alive there scaped none.
359 IMAGINATION. Lo, now my heart is glad and merry.
360 For joy now let us sing "derry, derry."
361 HICK SCORNER. Fellows, they shall nevermore us withstand,
362 For I see them all drowned in the Race of Ireland.
363 FREE WILL. Yea, but yet hark, Hick Scorner:
364 What company was in your ship that came over?
365 HICK SCORNER. Sir, I will say you to understand.
366 There were good fellows, above five thousand,
367 And all they been kinto us three.
368 There was Falsehood, Favel, and Subtilyt,
369 Yea, thieves and whores, with other good company,
370 Liars, backbiters and flatterers the while,
371 Brawlers, liars, getters and chiders,
372 Walkers by night with great murderers,
373 Overthwart Guile and jolly carders,
374 Oppressers of people with many swearers.
375 There was False Law with Horrible Vengeance,
376 Froward Obstination with Mischievous Governance,
377 Wanton wenches and also michers
378 With many other of the devil's officers;
379 And Hatred, that is so mighty and strong,
380 Hath made avow forever to dwell in England.
381 IMAGINATION. But is that true that thou dost show now?
382 Sir, every word as I do tell you.
383 FREE WILL. Of whence is your ship? Of London?
384 HICK SCORNER. Yea, iwis, from thence did she come,
385 And she is named the Envy,
386 I tell you, a great vessel and a mighty.
387 The owner of her is called Ill Will,
388 Brother to Jack Poller and Shooters Hill.
389 IMAGINATION. Sir, what office in the ship bare ye?
390 HICK SCORNER. Marry, I kept a fair shop of bawdry.
391 I had three wenches that were full pretty,
392 Jane True, Ann Thriftless and Wanton Sibley--
393 If ye ride her a journey, she will make you weary,
394 For she is trusty at need.
395 If ye will hire her for your pleasure,
396 I warrant, tire her shall ye never,
397 She is so sure in deed.
398 Ride, and you will, ten times a day,
399 I warrant you, she will never say nay,
400 My life I dare lay to wed.
401 IMAGINATION. Now pluck up your hearts and make good cheer,
402 These tidings liketh me wonder well!
403 Now virtue shall draw arrear, arrear.
404 Hark, fellows! A good sport I can you tell:
405 At the stews we will lie to-night,
406 And by my troth, if all go aright,
407 I will beguile some pretty wench
408 To get me some money at a pinch.
409 How say you, shall we go thither?
410 Let us keep company all together.
411 And I would that we had God's curse,
412 If we somewhere do not get a purse.
413 Every man bear his dagger naked in his hand,
414 And if we meet a true man, make him stand,
415 Or else that he bear a stripe.
416 If that he struggle and make any work,
417 Lightly strike him to the heart
418 And throw him into the Thames quite.
419 FREE WILL. Nay, three knaves in a lease is good at nale!
420 But thou lubber Imagination,
421 That cuckold, thy father, where is he become?
422 At Newgate doth he lie still in jail?
423 IMAGINATION. Avaunt, whoreson, thou shalt bear me a stripe!
424 Sayst thou that my mother was a whore?
425 FREE WILL. Nay, sir, but the last night
426 I saw Sir John and she tumbled on the floor.
427 IMAGINATION. Now, by Cock's heart, thou shalt lose an arm!
428 Nay, sir, I charge you do him no harm.
429 I And thou make too much, i will break thy head too.
430 HICK SCORNER. By Saint Mary, and I wist that, I would be ago.
431 IMAGINATION. Aware, aware, the whoreson shall aby!
432 His priest will I be, by Cock's body!
433 HICK SCORNER. Keep peace, lest knaves' blood be shed!
434 FREE WILL. By God, if his was nought, mine was as bad.
435 By Cock's heart, he shall die on this dagger.
436 HICK SCORNER. By Our Lady, then will ye be strangled in a halter.
437 IMAGINATION. The whoreson shall eat him as far as he shall wade.
438 HICK SCORNER. Beshrew your heart, and put up your blade!
439 Sheathe your whittle or, by him that was never born,
440 I will rap you on the costard with my horn.
441 What, will ye play all the knave!
442 IMAGINATION. By Cock's heart, and thou a buffet shalt have!
443 FREE WILL. Lo, sirs, here is a fair company, God save us!
444 For if any of us three be mayor of London,
445 Iwis, iwis, I will ride to Rome on my thumb.
446 Alas, a, see,! Is not this a great farce?
447 I would they were in a mill pool above the arse,
448 And then, I durst warrant, They would depart anon.
449 HICK SCORNER. Help, help, for the passion of my soul!
450 He hath made a great hole in my poll,
451 That all my wit is set to the groung.
452 Alas, a leech for to help my wound!
453 Nay, iwis, whoreson, I will beat thee or I go.
454 FREE WILL. Alas, good sir, what have I do?
455 IMAGINATION. Ware, make room! He shall have a stripe, I trow.
456 PITY. Peace, peace, sirs, I commaund you!
457 IMAGINATION. Avaunt, old churl! whence comest thou?
458 And you make too much, I shall break thy brow
459 And send thee home again.
460 PITY. A, good sir, the peace I would have kept fain.
461 Mine office is to see no man slain,
462 And where they do amiss, to give them good counsel
463 Sin to forsake, and God's law them tell.
464 IMAGINATION. A, sir, I weened thou haddest been drowned and gone;
465 But I have spied that there scaped one.
466 HICK SCORNER. Imagination, do by thy counsel of me;
467 Be agreed with Free Will and let us good fellows be,
468 And then as for this churl Pity,
469 Shall curse the time that ever he came to land.
470 IMAGINATION. Brother Free Will, give me your hand,
471 And all mine ill will I forgive thee.
472 FREE WILL. Sir, I thank you heartily.
473 But what shall we do with this churl Pity?
474 IMAGINATION. I will go to him and pick a quarrel,
475 And make him a thief and say he did steal
476 Of mine forty pound in a bag.
477 FREE WILL. By God, that tidings will make him sad!
478 And I will go fetch a pair of gyves,
479 For in good faith he shallbe set fast by the heels.
480 HICK SCORNER. Have ado lightly, and be gone!
481 And let us twain with him alone.
482 FREE WILL. Now, farewell, I beshrew you, everyone!
483 HICK SCORNER. Ho, ho, Free Will, you shrew, and no mo!
484 IMAGINATION. Thou lewd fellow, sayst thou that thy name is Pity?
485 Who sent thee hither to control me?
486 PITY. Good sir, it is my property
487 For to despise sinful living,
488 And unto virtue men to bring
489 I that they will do after me.
490 IMAGINATION. What, sir! Art thou so pope-holy?
491 A, see! This caitiff would be praised, I trow.
492 And you thrive this year, I will lose a penny.
493 Lo, sirs, outward he beareth a fair face,
494 But and he met with a wench in a privy place,
495 I trow he would show her but little grace.
496 By God, ye may trust me!
497 HICK SCORNER. Lo, will ye not see this caitiff's meaning?
498 He would destroy us all and all our kin.
499 Yet had I liever see him hanged by the chin
500 Rather than he should be brought about.
501 And with this dagger thou shalt have a clout,
502 Without thou wilt be lightly begone.
503 IMAGINATION. Nay, brother, lay hand on him soon,
504 For he japed my wife and made me cuckold!
505 And yet the traitor was so bold
506 That he stole forty pound of mine in money.
507 HICK SCORNER. By Saint Mary, then he shall not scape!
508 We will lead him straight to Newgate,
509 For ever there shall he lie.
510 FREE WILL. A, see! A, see, sirs, what I have brought!
511 A medicine for a pair of sore shins.
512 At the King's Bench, sirs, I have you sought.
513 But I pray you, who shall wear these?
514 HICK SCORNER. By God, this fellow that may not ge hence!
515 I will go give him these hose rings.
516 Now i'faith they be worth forty pence!
517 But to his hands I lack two bonds.
518 IMAGINATION. Hold, whoreson, here is an halter.
519 Bind him fast and make him sure.
520 PITY. O men, let Troth that is the true man
521 Be your guider, or else ye be forlore!
522 Lay no false witness, as nigh as ye can,
523 On none , for afterward ye will repent it full sore!
524 Nay, nay, I care not therefore!
525 Tea!, when my soul hangeth on the hedge, cast stones!
526 For I tell thee plainly, by Cock's bones,
527 Thou shalt be guided and laid in irons.
528 They fared even so.
529 PITY. Away, sir! What have I do?
530 IMAGINATION. Well, well, that thou shalt know or thou go.
531 PITY. O sirs, I see it cannot be amended.
532 You do me wrong, for I have not offended.
533 Remember God, that is our Heaven-king,
534 For he will reward you after your deserving
535 When Death with his mace doth you arrest.
536 We all to him owe fewte and service.
537 Fro the ladder of life down he will thee threst;
538 Then mastership may not help, nor great office.
539 FREE WILL. What, Death! And he were here, he shaould sit by thee.
540 Trowest thou that he be able to strive with us three?
541 Nay, nay, nay.
542 IMAGINATION. Well, fellows, now let us go our way,
543 For at Shooters Hill we have a game to play.
544 HICK SCORNER. In good faith, I will tarry no lenger space.
545 FREE WILL. Beshrew him for me that is last out of this place!
546 PITY. Lo, lords, they may curse the time they were born
547 For the weeds that overgroweth the corn!
548 They troubled me guiltless and wot not why.
549 For God's love yet will I suffer patiently.
550 We all may say "wellaway!"
551 For sin that is noe-a-day.
552 Lo, virtue is vanished forever and aye.
553 Worse was it never!
554 We have plenty of great oaths,
555 And cloth enough in our clothes,
556 But charity many men loathes.
557 Worse was it never!
558 Alas, now is lechery called love indeed,
559 And murder named manhood in every need.
560 Extortion is called law, so God me speed!
561 Worse was it never!
562 Youth walketh by night with swords and knives,
563 And, ever among, true men leeseth their lives.
564 Like heretics we occupy other men's wives
565 Now-a-days in England.
566 Bawds be the destroyers of many young women,
567 And full lewd counsel they give unto them.
568 How you do marry, beware, you young men!
569 The wise never tarrieth too long.
570 There be many great scorners,
571 But for sin there be few mourners.
572 We have but few true lovers
573 In no place now-a-days.
574 There be many goodly gilt knives,
575 And I trow as well apparelled wives;
576 Yet many of them be unthrifty of their lives,
577 And all set in pride to go gay.
578 Mayors on sin doth no correction,
579 With gentlemen beareth troth adown.
580 Avoutry is suffered in every town.
581 Amendement is there none,
582 And God's commandements we break them all ten.
583 Devotion is gone many days sin.
584 Let us amend us, we true Christen men,
585 Or Death make you groan!
586 Courtiers go gay and take little wages;
587 And many with harlots at the tavern haunts--
588 They be yeomen of the wreath that be shackled in gyves;
589 On themself they have no pity.
590 God punisheth full sore with great sickness,
591 As pocks, pestilence, purple and axes.
592 Some dieth suddenly that death full perilous.
593 Yet was there never so great poverty.
594 There be some sermons made by noble doctors,
595 But truly the fiend doth stop men's ears,
596 For God, nor good man, some people not fears.
597 Worse was it never!
598 All truth is not best said,
599 And our preachers now-a-days be half afraid.
600 When we do amend, God would be well apaid.
601 Worse was it never!
602 CONTEMPLATION. What, master Pity! How is it with you?
603 PERSEVERANCE. Sir, we be sorry to see you in this case now.
604 PITY. Brethren, here were three perilous men,
605 Free Will, Hick Scorner and Imagination.
606 They said I was a thief and laid felony upon me
607 And bound me in irons, as ye may see.
608 CONTEMPLATION. Where be the traitors become now?
609 PITY. In good faith, I cannot show you.
610 PERSEVERANCE. Brother, let us unbind him of his bonds.
611 CONTEMPLATION. Unloose the feet and the hands.
612 PITY. I thank you for your great kindness
613 That you two show in this distress;
614 For they were men without any mercy
615 That delighteth all in mischief and tyranny.
616 PERSEVERANCE. I think they will come hither again,
617 Free Will and Imagination, both twain.
618 Them will I exhort to virtuous living,
619 And unto virtue them to bring
620 By the help of you Contemplation.
621 CONTEMPLATION. Do my counsel, brother Pity:
622 Go you and seek them through the country,
623 In village, town, burgh and city
624 Throughout the realm of England.
625 When you them meet, lightly them arrest
626 And in prison put them fast.
627 Bind them sure in irons strong,
628 For they be so false and subtile
629 That they will you beguile
630 And do true men wrong.
631 PERSEVERANCE. Brother Pity, do as he hath said.
632 In every quarter look you aspy
633 And let good watch for them be laid
634 In all the haste that thou can, and that privily;
635 For and they come hither, they shall not scape
636 For all the craft that they can make.
637 PITY. Well, then will I hie me as fast as I may
638 And travail through every country.
639 Good watch shall be laid in every way
640 That they steal not into sanctuary.
641 Now farewell, brethren, and pray for me,
642 For I must go hence indeed.
643 PERSEVERANCE. Now God be your good speed!
644 CONTEMPLATION. And ever you defend when you have need!
645 PITY. Now, brethren both, I thank you.
646 FREE WILL. Make you room for a gentleman, sirs, and peace!
647 Dieu garde, seigneurs, tout le presse!
648 And of your jangling if ye will cease,
649 I will tell you where I have been.
650 Sirs, I was at the tavern and drank wine.
651 Methought I saw a pece that was like mine,
652 And sir, all my fingers were arrayed with lime,
653 So I conveyed a cup mannerly.
654 And yet iwis I played all the fool,
655 For there was a scholar of mine own school,
656 And sir, the whoreson aspied me.
657 Then was I rested and brought in prison.
658 For woe then I wist not what to have done,
659 And all because I lacked money.
660 But a friend in court is worth a penny in purse,
661 For Imagination, mine own fellow iwis,
662 He did help me out full craftily.
663 Sirs, he walked through Holborn
664 Three hours after the sun was down,
665 And walked yp toward Saint-Giles-in-the-Field.
666 He hoved still and there beheld;
667 But there he could not speed of his prey,
668 And straight to Ludgate he took the way.
669 Ye wot well that pothecaries walk very late.
670 He came to a door and privily spake
671 To a prentice for a pennyworth of euphorbium,
672 And also for a halfpennyworth of alum plume.
673 This good servant served him shortly,
674 And said, "Is there ought else that you would but?"
675 Then he asked for a mouthful of quick brimstone,
676 And down into the cellar when the servant was gone,
677 Aside as he cast his eye,
678 A great bag of money did he spy,
679 Therein was a hundred pound.
680 He trussed him to his fete and yede his way round.
681 He was lodged at Newgate at the Swan,
682 And every man took him for a gentleman.
683 So on the morrow he delivered me
684 Out of Newgate by this policy.
685 And now will I dance an make rial cheer;
686 But I would Imaginationwere here,
687 For he is peerless at need.
688 Labour to hum, sirs, if he will your matters speed!
689 Now will I sing and lustily spring!
690 But when my fetters on my legs did ring,
691 I was not glad, perdie;
692 But now hey trolly lolly!
693 Let us see who can descant on this same;
694 To laugh and get money it were a good game.
695 What! Whom have we here?
696 A priest, a doctor or else a frere?
697 What master doctor dottypoll!
698 Cannot you preach well in a black boll
699 Or dispute any divinity?
700 If ye be cunning, I will put it in a pref:
701 Good sir, why do men eat mustard with beef?
702 My question can you assoil me?
703 PERSEVERANCE. Peace, man! Thou talkest lewdly,
704 And of thy living I rede amend thee.
705 FREE WILL. Avaunt, caitiff! Dost thou "thou" me?
706 I am come of good kin, I tell thee;
707 My mother was a lady of the stews' blood born,
708 And, knight of the halter, my father wore an horn.
709 Therefore I take it in full greart scorn
710 That thou shouldest thus check me.
711 CONTEMPLATION. Abide, fellow! Thou canst little courtesy.
712 Thou shalt be charmed or thou hence pass,
713 For thou troubled Pity and laid on him felony.
714 Where is Imagination, thy fellow that was?
715 I defy you both! Will you arrest me?
716 PERSEVERANCE. Nay, nay, thy great words may not help thee;
717 Fro us thou shalt not escape.
718 FREE WILL. Make room, sirs, that I may break his pate!
719 I will not be taken for them both.
720 CONTEMPLATION. Thou shalt abide whether thou be lief or loath.
721 Therefore, good son, listen unto me,
722 And mark these words that I do tell thee.
723 Thou hast followed thine own will many a day
724 And lived in sin without amendement;
725 Therefore in the conceit assay
726 To ask God mercy and keep his commandement;
727 Then on thee he will have pity
728 And bring thee to heaven, that joyful city.
729 FREE WILL. What, whoreson! Will ye have me now a fool?
730 Nay, yet had I liever be Captain of Calais.
731 For and I should do after your school,
732 To learn to patter to make me peevish--
733 Yet had I liever look with a face full thievish!
734 And therefore prate no lenger here
735 Lest my knave's fist hit you under the ear.
736 What, ye daws! Would ye me rede
737 For to leese my pleasure in youth and jollity
738 To bass and kiss my sweet trully mully,
739 As Jane, Cate, Besse and Sibley?
740 I would that hell were full of such prisms;
741 Then would I run thither on my pins
742 As fast as I might go!
743 PERSEVERANCE. Why, sir, wilt thou not love virtue
744 And forsake thy sin for the love of God almighty?
745 FREE WILL. What! God almighty? By God's fast, at Salisbury--
746 And I trow Easter-day fell on Whitsunday that year--
747 There were five score, save an hundred, in my company,
748 And at Petty Judas we made rial cheer.
749 There had we good ale of Michaelmas brewing,
750 Cheer heaven-high, leaping and springing;
751 And thus did I
752 Leap out of Bordeaux unto Canterbury,
753 Almost ten mile between.
754 CONTEMPLATION. Free Will, forsake all this world wilfully here,
755 And change betime. Thou oughtest to stand in fear,
756 For Fortune will turn her wheel so swift
757 That clean fro thy wealth she will thee lift.
758 FREE WILL. What, lift me! Ho, and Imagination were here now,
759 Iwis, with his fist he would all to-clout you!
760 Hence, whoreson! Tarry no lenger here,
761 For, by Saint Pintle the apostle, I swear
762 That I will drive you both home!
763 And yet I was never wont to fight alone.
764 Alas, that I had not one to bold me!
765 Then you should see me play the man shamefully.
766 Alas, it would do me good to fight!
767 How say you, lords, shall I smite?--
768 Have among you, by this light!
769 Hence, whoresons, and home at once,
770 Or with my weapon I shall break your bones!
771 Avaunt, you knave! Walk, by my counsel!
772 PERSEVERANCE. Son, remember the great pains of hell.
773 They are so horrible that no tongue can tell.
774 Beware lest thou thither do go!
775 FREE WILL. Nay, by Saint Mary, I hope not so.
776 I will not go to the devil while I have my liberty.
777 He shall take the labour to fet me, and he will have;
778 For he that will go to hell by his will voluntarily,
779 The devil and the whirlwind go with him!
780 I will you never fro thence tidings bring.
781 Go you before and show me the way,
782 And as to follow you I will not say nay,
783 For by God's boby, and you be in once,
784 By the mass I will shut the door at once,
785 And then ye be take in a pitfall!
786 CONTEMPLATION. Now Jesus soon defend us from that hole,
787 For qui est in inferno nulla est redemptio--
788 Holy Job spake these words full long ago.
789 FREE WILL. Nay, I have done, and you lade out Latin with scoops!
790 But therewith can you clout me a pair of boots?
791 By Our Lady, ye should have some work of me!
792 I would have them well underlaid and easily,
793 For I use alway to go on one side.
794 And trow ye how? By God, in the stocks I sat tied,
795 I trow,a three weeks and more, a little stound,
796 And there I laboured sore day by day,
797 And so I trod my shoon inward, in good fay.
798 Lo, therefore, methink you must sole them round.
799 If you have any new boots, a pair I would buy;
800 But I think your price be too high.
801 Sir, once at Newgate I bought a pair of startups,
802 A mighty pair and a strong.
803 A whole year I wore them so long,
804 But they came not fully to my knee;
805 And to clout them it cost not me a penny.
806 Even now, and ye go thither, ye shall find a great heap;
807 And you speak in my name, ye shall have good cheap.
808 PERSEVERANCE. Sir, we came never there, ne never shall do.
809 FREE WILL. Marry, I was taken in a trap there and tied by the toe,
810 That I halted a great while and might not go.
811 I would ye both sat as fast there;
812 Then should ye dance as a bear,
813 And all by jangling of your chains.
814 CONTEMPLATION. Why, sir, were ye there?
815 FREE WILL. Yea, and that is seen by my brains;
816 For or I came there I was wise as a woodcock,
817 And, I thank God, as witty as a haddock.
818 Yet I trust to recover as other does,
819 For and I had once as much wit as a goose,
820 I should be merchant of the bank;
821 Of gold then I should have many a franc
822 For if I might make three good voyages to Shooters Hill,
823 And have wind and weather at my will,
824 Then would I never travel the sea more.
825 But it is hard to keep the ship fro the shore,
826 And if it hap to rise a storm--
827 Then thrown in a race and so about born
828 On rocks or breaches for to run,
829 Else to strike aground at Tyburn,
830 That were a mischievous case;
831 For that rock of Tyburn is so perilous a place
832 Young gallants dare not venture into Kent.
833 But when their money is gone and spent
834 With their long-boats they row on the bay.
835 And any man-of-war lie by the way,
836 They must tack about and throw the helm alee;
837 And full hard it is to scape that great jeopardy,
838 For at Saint Thomas of Watring and they strike a sail,
839 Then must they ride in heaven of hemp without fail.
840 And were not these two jeopardous places indeed,
841 There is many a merchant that thither would speed.
842 But yet we have a sure canel at Westminster;
843 A thousand ships of thieves therein may ride sure,
844 For if they may have anchor-hold and great spending,
845 They may live as merry as any king.
846 PERSEVERANCE. God wot, sir, there is a piteous living!
847 Then ye dread not the great master above.
848 Son, forsake thy miss for his love,
849 And then mayst thou come to the bliss also.
850 FREE WILL. Why, what would you that I should do?
851 CONTEMPLATION. For to go toward heaven.
852 Marry, and you will me thither bring,
853 I would do after you.
854 PERSEVERANCE. I pray you remember my words now.
855 Free Will, bethink thee that thou shalt die,
856 And of the hour thou art uncertain.
857 Yet by thy life thou mayst find a remedy;
858 For and thou die in sin, all labour is in vain.
859 Then shall thy soul be still in pain,
860 Lost and damned for evermore.
861 Help is past, though thou would fain;
862 Then thou wilt curse the time that thou were bore.
863 FREE WILL. Sir, if ye will undertake that I saved shall be,
864 I will do all the penance that you will set me.
865 CONTEMPLATION. If that thou for thy sins be sorry,
866 Our Lord will forgive thee them.
867 FREE WILL. Now of all my sins I ask God Mercy.
868 Here I forsake sin and trust to amend.
869 I beseech Jesu, that is most mighty,
870 To forgive all that I have offend.
871 PERSEVERANCE. Our Lord now will show thee his mercy..
872 A new name thou need none have,
873 For all that will to heaven high
874 By his own free will he must forsake folly;
875 Then is he sure and save.
876 CONTEMPLATION. Hold here a new garment.
877 And hereafter live devoutly,
878 And for thy sins do ever repent;
879 Sorrow for thy sins is very remedy.
880 And Free Will, ever to Virtue apply.
881 Also to Sadness give ye attendance;
882 Let him never out of remembrance!
883 FREE WILL. I will never from you, sir Perseverance.
884 With you will I abide both day and night,
885 Of mind never to be variable,
886 And God's commandments to keep them right
887 In deed and word, and ever full stable.
888 PERSEVERANCE. Then heaven thou shalt have, without fable;
889 But look that thou be steadfast,
890 And let thy mind with good will last.
891 IMAGINATION. Huff, Huff, huff! Who sent after me?
892 I am Imagination, full of jollity.
893 Lord, that my heart is light!
894 When shall I perish? I trow never!
895 By Christ, I reck not a feather!
896 Even now I was dubbed a knight.
897 Where? At Tyburn, of the collar.
898 And of the stews I made controller,
899 Of all the houses of lechery.
900 There shall no man play doccy there,
901 At the Bell, Hart's Horn, ne elsewhere,
902 Without they have leave of me.
903 But, sirs, wot ye why I am come hither?
904 By Our Lady, to gather good company together.
905 Saw ye not of my fellow, Free Will?
906 I am afeard lest he be searching on a hill.
907 By God, then one of us is beguiled!
908 What fellow is this that in theis coat is filed?
909 Cock's death! Whom have we here?
910 What! Free Will, mine own fere?
911 Aft thou out of thy mind?
912 FREE WILL. God grant the way to heaven that I may find,
913 For I forsake thy company.
914 IMAGINATION. God's arms, my company! And why?
915 FREE WILL. For thou livest too sinfully.
916 IMAGINATION. Alas, tell me how it is with thee!
917 FREE WILL. Forsake thy sin for the love of me!
918 IMAGINATION. Cock's heart! Art thou waxed mad?
919 FREE WILL. When I think on my sin it makes me full sad.
920 IMAGINATION. God's wounds! Who gave thee that counsel?
921 FREE WILL. Perseverance and Contemplation, I thee tell.
922 IMAGINATION. A vengeance on them, I would they were in hell!
923 FREE WILL. Amend, Imagination, and mercy cry!
924 IMAGINATION. By God's sides, I had liever be hanged on high!
925 Nay, that would I not do--I had liever die.
926 By God's passion, and I had a long knife,
927 I would bereave these two whoresons of their life.
928 How, how, twenty pound for a dagger!
929 CONTEMPLATION. Peace, peace, good son, and speak softer,
930 And amend or Death draw his draught,
931 For on thee he will steal full soft.
932 He giveth never no man warning,
933 And ever to thee he is coming;
934 Therefore, remember thee well!
935 IMAGINATION. A, whoreson! If I were jailer of hell,
936 Iwis, some sorrow should thou feel,
937 For to the devil I would thee sell;
938 Then should ye have many a sorry meal.
939 I will never give you meat ne drink;
940 Ye should fast, whoresons, till ye ye did stink,
941 Even as arotten dog--yea, by Saint Tyburn of Kent!
942 PERSEVERANCE. Imagination, think what God did for thee!
943 On Good Friday he hanged on a tree,
944 And all his precious blood spent.
945 A spear did rive his heart asunder.
946 The gates he brake up with a clap of thunder,
947 And Adam and Eve there delivered he.
948 IMAGINATION. What, devil! What is that to me?
949 By God's fast, I was ten year in Newgate,
950 And many more fellows with me sat;
951 Yet he never came there to help me ne my company.
952 CONTEMPLATION. Yes, he holp thee, or thou haddest not been here now.
953 IMAGINATION. By the mass, I cannot show you,
954 For he and I never drynk together;
955 Yet I know many an alestake.
956 Neither at the stews, I wist him never come thither.
957 Goeth he arrayed in white or in black?
958 For and he out of prison had holp me,
959 I know well once I should him see.
960 What gown weareth he, I pray you?
961 PERSEVERANCE. Sir, he halp you out by his might.
962 IMAGINATION. I cannot tell you, by this light,
963 But methought that I lay there too long,
964 And the whoreson fetters were so strong
965 That had almost brought my neck out of joint.
966 PERSEVERANCE. Amend, son, and thou shalt know him
967 That delivered thee out of prison;
968 And if thou wilt forsake thy miss,
969 Surely thou shalt come to the bliss
970 And be inheritor of heaven.
971 IMAGINATION. What, sir, above the moon?
972 Nay, by the mass, then should I fall soon!
973 Yet I keep not to climb do high;
974 But to climb for a bird's nest,
975 There is none between east and west
976 That dare thereto venter better than I.
977 But to veenter to heaven! What and my feet slip?
978 I know well then I should break my neck,
979 And, by God, then had I the worse side!
980 Yet had I liever be by the nose tied
981 In a wench's arse somewhere,
982 Rather than I would stand in that great fear.
983 For to to up to heaven, nay, I pray you let be!
984 FREE WILL. Imagination, wilt thou do by the counsel of me?
985 IMAGINATION. Yeea, sir, by my troth, whatsomever it be!
986 FREE WILL. Amend yet for my sake;
987 It is better betime than too late.
988 How say you, will you God's hests fulfil?
989 IMAGINATION. I will do, sir, even as you will.
990 But I pray you, let me have a new coat.
991 When I have need and in my purse a groat,
992 Then will I dewell with you still.
993 FREE WILL. Beware, for when thou art buried in the ground,
994 Few friends for you will be found.
995 Remember this still!
996 IMAGINATION. No thing dread I so sore as death;
997 Therefore, yo amend I think it be time.
998 Sin have I used all the days of my breath,
999 With pleasure, lechery and misusing,
1000 And spent amiss my five wits; therefore I am sorry.
1001 Here of all my sins I ask God mercy.
1002 PERSEVERANCE. Hold, here is a better clothing for thee!
1003 And look that thou forsake thy folly;
1004 Be steadfast; look that thou fall never!
1005 IMAGINATION. Now here I forsake my sin forever.
1006 FREE WILL. Sir, wait thou now on Persevance,
1007 For thy name shall be called Good REmembrance.
1008 And I will dwell with Contemplation,
1009 And follow him wherever he be come.
1010 CONTEMPLATION. Well, are ye so both agreed?
1011 IMAGINATION. Yea, sir, so God me speed!
1012 PERSEVERANCE. Sir, ye shall wait on me soon,
1013 And be God's servant day and night.
1014 And in every place where ye be come,
1015 Give good counsel to every wight!
1016 And men ask your name, tell you "Remembrance",
1017 That God's law keepeth truly every day.
1018 And look that ye forget not repentance!
1019 Then to heaven ye shall go the next way,
1020 Where ye shall see in the heavenly quere
1021 The blessed company of saints so holy,
1022 That lived devoutly while thy were here.
1023 Unto the which bliss I beseech God almighty
1024 To bring there your souls that here be present,
1025 And unto VirtuousLiving that ye may apply,
1026 Truly for to keep his commandement.
1027 Of all our mirthe here we make an end.
1028 Unto the bliss of heaven Jesu your souls bring!
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