Introductory Material (main file)

The Pearl 1
Notes to The Pearl 105
Cleanness 37
Notes to Cleanness [108]
Patience 89
Notes to Patience [115]

Glossarial Index (separate file) 117



[Fol. 39a.] Description of a lost pearl (i.e. a beloved child).

Perle plesaunte to prynces paye,

To clanly clos in golde so clere,

Oute of oryent I hardyly saye,

4 Ne proued I neuer her precios pere,

So rounde, so reken in vche araye,

So smal, so smoþe her sydeȝ were.

Quere-so-euer I Iugged gemmeȝ gaye,

8 I sette hyr sengeley in synglure;

The father laments the loss of his pearl.

Allas! I leste hyr in on erbere,

yot] ? got.

Þurȝ gresse to grounde hit fro me yot;

I dewyne for-dolked of luf daungere,

12 Of þat pryuy perle with-outen spot.


He often visits the spot where his pearl disappeared,

Syþen in þat spote hit fro me sprange,

Ofte haf I wayted wyschande þat wele,

Þat wont watȝ whyle deuoyde my wrange,

16 & heuen my happe & al my hele,

Þat dotȝ bot þrych my hert þrange,

My breste in bale bot bolne & bele.

and hears a sweet song.

Ȝet þoȝt me neuer so swete a sange,

20 As stylle stounde let to me stele,

For-soþe þer fleten to me fele,

To þenke hir color so clad in clot;

moul] ? mould.

O moul þou marreȝ a myry mele.

24 My priuy perle with-outen spotte,

2 Where the pearl was buried there he found lovely flowers.

Þat spot of spyseȝ myȝt nedeȝ sprede,

rot] ? rote.

Þer such rycheȝ to rot is runnen;

Blomeȝ blayke & blwe & rede,

28 Þer schyneȝ ful schyr agayn þe sunne.

Flor & fryte may not be fede,

Þer hit doun drof in moldeȝ dunne,

Each blade of grass springs from a dead grain.

For vch gresse mot grow of grayneȝ dede,

32 No whete were elleȝ to woneȝ wonne;

Of goud vche goude is ay by-gonne.

So semly a sede moȝt fayly not,

spryngande] The MS. reads sprygande.

Þat spryngande spyceȝ vp ne sponne,

36 Of þat precios perle wyth-outen spotte.

[Fol. 39b.] In the high season of August the parent visits the grave of his lost child.

To þat spot þat I in speche expoun

I entred in þat erber grene,

In augoste in a hyȝ seysoun,

40 Quen corne is coruen wyth crokeȝ kene.

Beautiful flowers covered the grave.

On huyle þer perle hit trendeled doun,

Schadowed þis worteȝ ful schyre & schene

Gilofre, gyngure & gromylyoun,

44 & pyonys powdered ay by-twene.

Ȝif hit watȝ semly on to sene,

From them came a delicious odour.

A fayr reflayr ȝet fro hit flot,

Þer wonys þat worþyly I wot & wene,

48 My precious perle, wyth-outen spot.


The bereaved father wrings his hands for sorrow, falls asleep upon the flowery plot, and dreams.

Bifore þat spot my honde I spenn[e]d,

For care ful colde þat to me caȝt[e];

A denely dele in my hert denned,

52 Þaȝ resoun sette my seluen saȝt[e].

I playned my perle þat þer watȝ spenned

Wyth fyrte skylleȝ þat faste faȝt[e],

Þaȝ kynde of kryst me comfort kenned,

56 My wreched wylle in wo ay wraȝte.

I felle vpon þat floury flaȝt[e],

Suche odour to my herneȝ schot;

I slode vpon a slepyng slaȝte,

60 On þat prec[i]os perle with-outen spot.



In spirit he is carried to an unknown region,

Fro spot my spyryt þer sprang in space,

My body on balke þer bod in sweuen,

My goste is gon in godeȝ grace,

64 In auenture þer meruayleȝ meuen;

I ne wyste in þis worlde quere þat hit wace,

Bot I knew me keste þer klyfeȝ cleuen;

Towarde a foreste I bere þe face,

where the rocks and cliffs gleamed gloriously.

68 Where rych rokkeȝ wer to dyscreuen;

Þe lyȝt of hem myȝt no mon leuen,

Þe glemande glory þat of hem glent;

For wern neuer webbeȝ þat wyȝeȝ weuen,

72 Of half so dere adubmente.


[Fol. 40a.] The hill sides were decked with crystal cliffs.

Dubbed wern alle þo downeȝ sydeȝ

With crystal klyffeȝ so cler of kynde,

Holte-wodeȝ bryȝt aboute hem bydeȝ;

76 Of bolleȝ as blwe as ble of ynde,

The leaves of the trees were like burnished silver.

As bornyst syluer þe lef onslydeȝ,

Þat þike con trylle on vch a tynde,

Quen glem of glodeȝ agaynȝ hem glydeȝ,

80 Wyth schymeryng schene ful schrylle þay schynde.

The gravel consisted of precious pearls.

Þe grauayl þat on grounde con grynde

Wern precious perleȝ of oryente;

Þe sunne bemeȝ bot blo & blynde,

84 In respecte of þat adubbement.

The father forgets his sorrow.

The adubbemente of þo downeȝ dere

Garten my goste al greffe for-ȝete

So frech flauoreȝ of fryteȝ were,

88 As fode hit con me fayre refete.

He sees birds of the most beautiful hues,

Fowleȝ þer flowen in fryth in fere,

hweȝ] Or hiweȝ.

Of flaumbande hweȝ, boþe smale & grete,

Bot sytole stryng & gyternere,

92 Her reken myrþe moȝt not retrete,

and hears their sweet melody.

For quen þose bryddeȝ her wyngeȝ bete

Þay songen wyth a swete asent;


So grac[i]os gle couþe no mon gete

96 As here & se her adubbement.

No tongue could describe the beauty of the forest.

So al watȝ dubbet on dere asyse;

Þat fryth þer fortwne forth me fereȝ,

Þe derþe þer-of for to deuyse

100 Nis no wyȝ worþe þat tonge bereȝ.

I welke ay forth in wely wyse,

No bonk so byg þat did me dereȝ,

All shone like gold.

Þe fyrre in þe fryth þe feier con ryse,

104 Þe playn, þe plontteȝ, þe spyse, þe pereȝ,

& raweȝ & randeȝ & rych reuereȝ,

As fyldor fyn her b[o]nkes brent.

The dreamer arrives at the bank of a river,

I wan to a water by schore þat schereȝ,

108 Lorde! dere watȝ hit adubbement!

[Fol. 40b.]

The dubbemente of þo derworth depe

Wern bonkeȝ bene of beryl bryȝt;

which gave forth sweet sounds.

Swangeande swete þe water con swepe

112 Wyth a rownande rourde raykande aryȝt;

In þe founce þer stonden stoneȝ stepe,

In it, stones glittered like stars

As glente þurȝ glas þat glowed & glyȝt,

A] ? As.

A stremande sterneȝ quen stroþe men slepe,

in the welkin on a winter night.

116 Staren in welkyn in wynter nyȝt;

For vche a pobbel in pole þer pyȝt

Watȝ Emerad, saffer, oþer gemme gente,

Þat alle þe loȝe lemed of lyȝt,

120 So dere watȝ hit adubbement.



His grief abates, and he follows the course of the stream.

The dubbement dere of doun & daleȝ,

Of wod & water & wlonk playneȝ,

Bylde in me blys, abated my baleȝ,

124 For-didden my [dis]tresse, dystryed my payneȝ.

Doun after a strem þat dryȝly haleȝ,

I bowed in blys, bred ful my brayneȝ;

Þe fyrre I folȝed þose floty valeȝ,


128 Þe more strenghþe of ioye myn herte strayneȝ,

As fortune fares þer as ho frayneȝ,

Wheþer solace ho sende oþer elleȝ sore,

Þe wyȝ, to wham her wylle ho wayneȝ,

132 Hytteȝ to haue ay more & more.

No one could describe his great joy.

More of wele watȝ in þat wyse

Þen I cowþe telle þaȝ I tom hade,

For vrþely herte myȝt not suffyse

136 To þe tenþe dole of þo gladneȝ glade;

He thought that Paradise was on the opposite bank.

For-þy I þoȝt þat paradyse

Watȝ þer oþer gayn þo bonkeȝ brade;

I hoped þe water were a deuyse

140 By-twene myrþeȝ by mereȝ made,

By-ȝonde þe broke by slente oþer slade,

I hope[de] þat mote merked wore.

The stream was not fordable.

Bot þe water watȝ depe I dorst not wade

144 & euer me longed a more & more.

[Fol. 41a.] More and more he desires to see what is beyond the brook.

More & more, & ȝet wel mare,

Me lyste to se þe broke by-ȝonde,

For if hit watȝ fayr þer I con fare,

148 Wel loueloker watȝ þe fyrre londe.

Abowte me con I stote & stare

To fynde a forþe, faste con I fonde,

But the way seemed difficult.

Bot woþeȝ mo i-wysse þer ware,

152 Þe fyrre I stalked by þe stronde,

& euer me þoȝt I schulde not wonde

For wo, þer weleȝ so wynne wore.

Þenne nwe note me com on honde

The dreamer finds new marvels.

156 Þat meued my mynde ay more & more,


More meruayle con my dom adaunt;

I seȝ by-ȝonde þat myry mere,

He sees a crystal cliff,

A crystal clyffe ful relusaunt,

160 Mony ryal ray con fro hit rere;

at the foot of which, sits a maiden clothed in glistening white.

At þe fote þer-of þer sete a faunt,

A mayden of menske, ful debonere;

Blysnande whyt watȝ hyr bleaunt,


164 (I knew hyr wel, I hade sen hyr ere)

As glysnande golde þat man con schere,

So schon þat schene an vnder schore;

He knows that he has seen her before.

On lenghe I loked to hyr þere,

168 Þe lenger I knew hyr more & more

The more I frayste hyr fayre face.

Her fygure fyn, quen I had fonte,

Suche gladande glory con to me glace,

172 As lyttel byfore þerto watȝ wonte;

He desires to call her but is afraid,

To calle hyr lyste con me enchace,

Bot baysment gef myn hert a brunt,

at finding her in such a strange place.

I seȝ hyr in so strange a place,

176 Such a burre myȝt make myn herte blunt

Þenne vereȝ ho vp her fayre frount,

Hyr vysayge whyt as playn yuore,

Þat stonge myn hert ful stray atount,

180 & euer þe lenger, þe more & more.


[Fol. 41b.]

More þen me lyste my drede aros,

So he stands still, like a well trained hawk.

I stod ful stylle & dorste not calle,

Wyth yȝen open & mouth ful clos,

184 I stod as hende as hawk in halle;

He fears lest she should escape before he could speak to her.

I hope þat gostly watȝ þat porpose,

I dred on ende quat schulde byfalle,

Lest ho me eschaped þat I þer chos,

188 Er I at steuen hir moȝt stalle.

Þat gracios gay with-outen galle,

His long lost one is dressed in royal array—decked with precious pearls.

So smoþe, so smal, so seme slyȝt,

Ryseȝ vp in hir araye ryalle,

pyece] MS. looks like pyete.

192 A prec[i]os pyece in perleȝ pyȝt.

She comes along the stream towards him.

Perleȝ pyȝte of ryal prys,

Þere moȝt mon by grace haf sene,

Quen þat frech as flor-de-lys,

196 Doun þe bonke con boȝe by-dene.

Al blysnande whyt watȝ hir beau uiys,


Vpon at sydeȝ & bounden bene

Wyth þe myryeste margarys at my deuyse,

200 Þat euer I seȝ ȝet with myn yȝen;

Wyth lappeȝ large I wot & I wene,

Dubbed with double perle & dyȝte,

Her kirtle is composed of ‘sute,’ ornamented with pearls.

Her cortel of self sute schene,

204 With precios perleȝ al vmbe-pyȝte.

She wore a crown of pearls.

A pyȝt coroune ȝet wer þat gyrle,

Of mariorys & non oþer ston,

Hiȝe pynakled of cler quyt perle,

208 Wyth flurted flowreȝ perfet vpon;

Her hair hung down about her.

To hed hade ho non oþer werle,

here heke] In the MS. it is lere leke.

Her here heke al hyr vmbe-gon;

Her semblaunt sade, for doc oþer erle,

Her colour was whiter than whalebone.

212 Her ble more blaȝt þen whalleȝ bon;

Her hair shone as gold.

As schorne golde schyr her fax þenne schon,

On schyldereȝ þat leghe vnlapped lyȝte;

Her depe colour ȝet wonted non,

The trimming of her robe consisted of precious pearls.

216 Of precios perle in porfyl pyȝte,

[Fol. 42a.]

Pyȝt watȝ poyned & vche a hemme,

At honde, at sydeȝ, at ouerture,

Wyth whyte perle & non oþer gemme,

220 & bornyste quyte watȝ hyr uesture.

A wonderful pearl was set in her breast.

Bot a wonder perle with-outen wemme,

In myddeȝ hyr breste watȝ sette so sure;

A manneȝ dom moȝt dryȝly demme,

224 Er mynde moȝt malte in hit mesure;

I hope no tong moȝt endure

No sauerly saghe say of þat syȝt,

So watȝ hit clene & cler & pure,

228 Þat precios perle þer hit watȝ pyȝt,


Pyȝt in perle þat precios p[r]yse.

No man from here to Greece, was so glad as the father, when he saw his pearl on the bank of the stream.

On wyþer half water com doun þe schore,

No gladder gome heþen in to grece,

232 Þen I, quen ho on brymme wore;

Ho watȝ me nerre þen aunte or nece,


My Ioy for-þy watȝ much þe more.

Ho profered me speche þat special spyce,

The maiden salutes him.

236 Enclynande lowe in wommon lore,

Caȝte of her coroun of grete tresore,

& haylsed me wyth a lote lyȝte.

Wel watȝ me þat euer I watȝ bore,

240 To sware þat swete in perleȝ pyȝte!


The father enquires of the maiden whether she is his long-lost pearl,

“O perle,” quod I, “in perleȝ pyȝt,

Art þou my perle þat I haf playned,

Regretted by myn one, on nyȝte?

244 Much longeyng haf I for þe layned,

Syþen into gresse þou me aglyȝte;

Pensyf, payred, I am for-payned,

& þou in a lyf of lykyng lyȝte

248 In paradys erde, of stryf vnstrayned.

and longs to know who has deprived him of his treasure.

What wyrde hatȝ hyder my iuel vayned,

& don me in þys del & gret daunger?

Fro we in twynne wern towen & twayned,

252 I haf ben a Ioyleȝ Iuelere.”


[Fol. 42b.]

That Iuel þenne in gemmyȝ gente,

Vered vp her vyse with yȝen graye,

Set on hyr coroun of perle orient,

256 & soberly after þenne con ho say:

The maiden tells him that his pearl is not really lost.

“Sir ȝe haf your tale myse-tente,

To say your perle is al awaye,

Þat is in cofer, so comly clente,

She is in a garden of delight, where sin and mourning are unknown.

260 As in þis gardyn gracios gaye,

Here-inne to lenge for euer & play.

Þer mys nee mornyng com neuer here,

Her were a forser for þe in faye,

264 If þou were a gentyl Iueler.

Bot Iueler gente if þou schal lose


Þy ioy for a gemme þat þe watȝ lef,

Me þynk þe put in a mad porpose,

busyeȝ] Looks like husyeȝ in MS.

268 & busyeȝ þe aboute a raysoun bref,

The rose that he had lost is become a pearl of price.

For þat þou lesteȝ watȝ bot a rose,

Þat flowred & fayled as kynde hyt gef;

Now þurȝ kynde of þe kyste þat hyt con close,

272 To a perle of prys hit is put in pref;

& þou hatȝ called þy wyrde a þef,

The pearl blames his rash speech.

Þat oȝt of noȝt hatȝ mad þe cler;

Þou blameȝ þe bote of þy meschef,

276 Þou art no kynde Iueler.”

A Iuel to me þen watȝ þys geste,

& iueleȝ wern hyr gentyl saweȝ

The father begs the maiden to excuse his speech, for he really thought his pearl was wholly lost to him.

“I-wyse,” quod I, “my blysfol beste,

280 My grete dystresse þou al to-draweȝ,

To be excused I make requeste;

I trawed my perle don out of daweȝ,

Now haf I fonde hyt I schal ma feste,

284 & wony with hyt in schyr wod schaweȝ,

& loue my lorde & al his laweȝ,

Þat hatȝ me broȝ[t] þys blys ner;

Now were I at yow by-ȝonde þise waweȝ,

288 I were a ioyfol Iueler.”

[Fol. 43a.] The maiden tells her father that he has spoken three words without knowing the meaning of one.

“Iueler,” sayde þat gemme clene,

Wy borde ȝe men, so madde ȝe be?

Þre wordeȝ hatȝ þou spoken at ene,

292 Vn-avysed, for soþe, wern alle þre,

Þou ne woste in worlde quat on dotȝ mene,

Þy worde byfore þy wytte con fle.

The first word.

Þou says þou traweȝ me in þis dene,

296 By cawse þou may with yȝen me se;

The second.

Anoþer þou says, in þys countre

Þy self schal won with me ryȝt here;

The third.

Þe þrydde, to passe þys water fre,

300 Þat may no ioyfol Iueler.



He is little to be praised who loves what he sees.

I halde þat iueler lyttel to prayse.

Þat loueȝ wel þat he seȝ wyth yȝe,

& much to blame & vn-cortoyse,

loueȝ] Looks at first sight like lyueȝ—MS. rubbed, but read leueȝ.

304 Þat loueȝ oure lorde wolde make a lyȝe,

Þat lelly hyȝte your lyf to rayse,

Þaȝ fortune dyd your flesch to dyȝe;

Ȝe setten hys wordeȝ ful westernays

loueȝ] Read leueȝ. To love nothing but what one sees is great presumption.

308 Þat loueȝ no þynk bot ȝe hit syȝe,

is] The MS. reads īs.

& þat is a poynt o sorquydryȝe,

Þat vche god mon may euel byseme

To leue no tale be true to tryȝe,

312 Bot þat hys one skyl may dem[e].


Deme now þy-self, if þou con, dayly

As man to god wordeȝ schulde heue.

To live in this kingdom (i.e. heaven) leave must be asked.

Þou saytȝ þou schal won in þis bayly;

316 Me þynk þe burde fyrst aske leue,

& ȝet of graunt þou myȝteȝ fayle;

Þou wylneȝ ouer þys water to weue,

This stream must be passed over by death.

Er moste þou ceuer to oþer counsayl,

320 Þy corse in clot mot calder keue,

For hit watȝ for-garte, at paradys greue

Oure ȝore fader hit con mysseȝeme;

Þurȝ drwry deth boȝ vch ma dreue,

324 Er ouer þys dam hym dryȝtyn deme.”

[Fol. 43b.] The father asks his pearl whether she is about to doom him to sorrow again.

“Demeȝ þou me,” quod I, “my swete

To dol agayn, þenne I dowyne;

Now haf I fonte þat I for-lete

328 Schal I efte for-go hit er euer I fyne?

Why schal I hit boþe mysse & mete?

My precios perle dotȝ me gret pyne,

What serueȝ tresor, bot gareȝ men grete

332 When he hit schal efte with teneȝ tyne?

Now rech I neuer forto declyne,

Ne how fer of folde þat man me fleme,

11 If he loses his pearl he does not care what happens to him.

When I am partleȝ of perleȝ myne.

336 Bot durande doel what may men deme?”


“Thow demeȝ noȝt bot doel dystresse,”

Þenne sayde þat wyȝt “why dotȝ þou so?

For dyne of doel, of lureȝ lesse,

The maiden tells her father to suffer patiently.

340 Ofte mony mon for-gos þe mo;

Þe oȝte better þy seluen blesse,

&] in or an (?).

& loue ay god & wele & wo,

For anger gayneȝ þe not a cresse.

344 Who nedeȝ schal þole be not so þro;

Though he may dance as any doe, yet he must abide God’s doom.

For þoȝ þou daunce as any do

Braundysch & bray þy braþeȝ breme,

When þou no fyrre may, to ne fro,

348 Þou moste abyde þat he schal deme.

Deme dryȝtyn, euer hym adyte,

Of þe way a fote ne wyl he wryþe,

Þy mendeȝ mounteȝ not a myte,

352 Þaȝ þou for sorȝe be neuer blyþe;

He must cease to strive.

Stynst of þy strot & fyne to flyte,

swefte] MS. sweste.

& sech hys blyþe ful swefte & swyþe,

Þy prayer may hys pyte byte,

356 Þat mercy schal hyr crafteȝ kyþe;

Hys comforte may þy langour lyþe,

& þy lureȝ of lyȝtly leme,

All lies in God’s power to make men joyful or sad.

For marre oþer madde, morne & myþe,

360 Al lys in hym to dyȝt & deme.



[Fol. 44a.]

Thenne demed I to þat damyselle,

Ne worþe no wrath þe vnto my lorde,

raue] rane (?).

If rapely raue spornande in spelle.

364 My herte watȝ al with mysse remorde,

As wallande water gotȝ out of welle;

The father beseeches the pearl to have pity upon him.

I do me ay in hys myserecorde.

Rebuke me neuer with wordeȝ felle,

368 Þaȝ I forloyne my dere endorde,


Bot lyþeȝ me kyndely your coumforde,

Pytosly þenkande vpon þysse;

Of care & me ȝe made acorde,

372 Þat er watȝ grounde of alle my blysse;

He says that she has been both his bale and bliss

My blysse, my bale ȝe han ben boþe,

Bot much þe bygger ȝet watȝ my mon,

Fro þou watȝ wroken fro vch a woþe.

And when he lost her, he knew not what had become of her.

376 I wyste neuer quere my perle watȝ gon;

Now I hit se, now leþeȝ my loþe,

& quen we departed we wern at on,

God forbede we be now wroþe,

380 We meten so selden by stok oþer ston;

Þaȝ cortaysly ȝe carp con,

I am bot mol & marereȝ mysse,

Bot crystes mersy & mary & Ion,

384 Þise arn þe grounde of alle my blysse.

And now that he sees her in bliss, she takes little heed of his sorrow.

In blysse I se þe blyþely blent

& I a man al mornyf mate,

Ȝe take þer-on ful lyttel tente,

388 Þaȝ I hente ofte harmeȝ hate.

Bot now I am here in your presente,

I wolde bysech wythouten debate,

He desires to know what life she leads.

Ȝe wolde me say in sobre asente,

392 What lyf ȝe lede, erly & late,

For I am ful fayn þat your astate

Is worþen to worschyp & wele I wysse,

Of alle my Ioy þe hyȝe gate

396 Hit is in grounde of alle my blysse.” 

[Fol. 44b.] The maiden tells him that he may walk and abide with her, now that he is humble.

“Now blysse burne mot þe bytyde;”

Þen sayde þat lufsoum of lyth & lere,

“& welcum here to walk & byde,

400 For now þy speche is to me dere;

Maysterful mod & hyȝe pryde

I hete þe arn heterly hated here;

My lorde ne loueȝ not forto chyde,

All are meek that dwell in the abode of bliss.

404 For meke arn alle þat woneȝ hym nere,


& when in hys place þou schal apere,

Be dep deuote in hol mekenesse;

My lorde þe lamb, loueȝ ay such chere,

408 Þat is þe grounde of alle my blysse.


All lead a blissful life.

A blysful lyf þou says I lede,

Þou woldeȝ knaw þer-of þe stage;

She reminds her father that she was very young when she died.

Þow wost wel when þy perle con schede,

412 I watȝ ful ȝong & tender of age,

Bot my lorde þe lombe, þurȝ hys god-hede,

He toke my self to hys maryage,

Now she is crowned a queen in heaven.

Corounde me quene in blysse to brede,

416 In lenghe of dayeȝ þat euer schal wage,

& sesed in alle hys herytage

Hys lef is, I am holy hysse;

Hys prese, hys prys & hys parage,

420 Is rote & grounde of alle my blysse.”



The father of the maiden does not fully understand her.

“Blysful,” quod I, “may þys be trwe,

Dyspleseȝ not if I speke errour;

Art þou þe quene of heueneȝ blwe,

424 Þat al þys worlde schal do honour?

Mary, he says, is the queen of heaven.

We leuen on marye þat grace of grewe,

Þat ber a barne of vyrgyn flour,

No one is able to remove the crown from her.

Þe croune fro hyr quo moȝt remwe,

428 Bot ho hir passed in sum fauour?

Now for synglerty o hyr dousour,

We calle hyr fenyx of arraby,

Þat freles fleȝe of hyr fasor,

432 Lyk to þe quen of cortaysye.”

[Fol. 45a.] The maiden addresses the Virgin.

“Cortayse quen” þenne s[a]yde þat gaye,

Knelande to grounde, folde vp hyr face,

“Makeleȝ moder & myryest may,

bygynner] MS. reads bȳgyner.

436 Blessed bygynner of vch a grace!”

Þenne ros ho vp & con restay,


& speke me towarde in þat space:

She then explains to her father that each has his place in heaven.

“Sir fele here porchaseȝ & fongeȝ pray

440 Bot supplantoreȝ none with-inne þys place;

Þat emperise al heuenȝ hatȝ,

& vrþe & helle in her bayly;

Of erytage ȝet non wyl ho chace,

444 For ho is quen of cortaysye.


The court of God has a property in its own being.

The court of þe kyndom of god alyue,

Hatȝ a property in hyt self beyng;

Alle þat may þer-inne aryue

Each one in it is a king or queen.

448 Of alle þe reme is quen oþer kyng,

& neuerer ȝet schal depryue,

Bot vchon fayn of oþereȝ hafyng,

& wolde her corouneȝ wern worþe þo fyue,

452 If possyble were her mendyng.

The mother of Christ holds the chief place.

Bot my lady of quom Iesu con spryng,

Ho haldeȝ þe empyre ouer vus ful hyȝe,

& þat dyspleseȝ non of oure gyng,

456 For ho is quene of cortaysye.

Of courtaysye, as saytȝ saynt poule,

We are all members of Christ’s body.

Al arn we membreȝ of ihesu kryst,

As heued & arme & legg & naule,

460 Temen to hys body ful trwe & t[r]yste;

Ryȝt so is vch a krysten sawle,

A longande lym to þe mayster of myste;

Look that each limb be perfect.

Þenne loke what hate oþer any gawle,

464 Is tached oþer tyȝed þy lymmeȝ by-twyste,

Þy heued hatȝ nauþer greme ne gryste,

On arme oþer fynger, þaȝ þou ber byȝe;

So fare we alle wyth luf & lyste,

468 To kyng & quene by cortaysye.”

[Fol. 45b.] The father replies that he cannot understand how his pearl can be a queen.

“Cortayse,” quod I, “I leue

& charyte grete be yow among,

Bot my speche þat yow ne greue,

472  .....

Þy self in heuen ouer hyȝ þou heue,


To make þe quen þat watȝ so ȝonge,

What more-hond moȝte he acheue

476 Þat hade endured in worlde stronge,

& lyued in penaunce hys lyueȝ longe,

With bodyly bale hym blysse to byye?

He desires to know what greater honour she can have.

What more worschyp moȝt ho fonge,

480 Þen corounde be kyng by cortayse?


That cortayse is to fre of dede,

Ȝyf hyt be soth þat þou coneȝ saye,

She was only two years old when she died, and could do nothing to please God.

Þou lyfed not two ȝer in oure þede,

484 Þou cowþeȝ neuer god nauþer plese ne pray,

Ne neuer nawþer pater ne crede,

& quen mad on þe fyrst day!

I may not traw, so god me spede,

488 Þat god wolde wryþe so wrange away;

She might be a countess or some great lady but not a queen.

Of countes damysel, par ma fay,

Wer fayr in heuen to halde asstate

er elleȝ a lady of lasse aray,

492 Bot a quene, hit is to dere a date.”

The maiden informs her father that there is no limit to God’s power.

“Þer is no date of hys god-nesse,”

Þen sayde to me þat worþy wyȝte,

“For al is trawþe þat he con dresse,

496 & he may do no þynk bot ryȝt,

As mathew meleȝ in your messe,

In sothfol gospel of god al-myȝt

In sample he can ful grayþely gesse,

500 & lykneȝ hit to heuen lyȝte.”

The parable of the labourers in the vineyard.

“My regne, he saytȝ, is lyk on hyȝt,

To a lorde þat hade a uyne I wate,

Of tyme of ȝere þe terme watȝ tyȝt,

504 To labor vyne watȝ dere þe date,


[Fol. 46a.] The lord of the vineyard hires workmen for a penny a day.

Þat date of ȝere wel knawe þys hyne;


Þe lorde ful erly vp he ros,

To hyre werkmen to hys vyne,

508 & fyndeȝ þer summe to hys porpos,

Into acorde þay con de-clyne,

For a pené on a day & forth þay gotȝ,

Wryþen & worchen & don gret pyne,

512 Keruen & caggen & man hit clos;

At noon the lord hires other men standing idle in the market place.

Aboute vnder, þe lorde to marked totȝ

& ydel men stande he fyndeȝ þer-ate,

“Why stande ȝe ydel” he sayde to þos,

516 Ne knawe ȝe of þis day no date?

“Er date of daye hider arn we wonne,”

So watȝ al samen her answar soȝt;

“We haf standen her syn ros þe sunne,

520 & no mon byddeȝ vus do, ryȝt noȝt.”

He commands them to go into his vineyard, and he will give them what is right.

“Gos in-to my vyne, dotȝ þat ȝe conne.”

So sayde þe lorde & made hit toȝt.

“What resonabele hyre be naȝt be runne,

524 I yow pray in dede & þoȝte.”

Þay wente in to þe vyne & wroȝte,

& al day þe lorde þus ȝede his gate,

& nw men to hys vyne he broȝte;

528 Wel neȝ wyl day watȝ passed date,

At an hour before the sun went down the lord sees other men standing idle.

At þe day of date of euen-songe,

On oure byfore þe sonne go doun

He seȝ þer ydel men ful stronge

hem] MS. hen.

532 & sa[y]de to hem with sobre soun;

“Wy stonde ȝe ydel þise dayeȝ longe.”

Þay sayden her hyre watȝ nawhere boun.

Tells them to go into the vineyard.

“Gotȝ to my vyne ȝemen ȝonge

536 & wyrkeȝ & dotȝ þat at ȝe moun.”

Sone þe worlde by-com wel broun,

&] MS. & &.

Þe sunne watȝ doun & hit wex late;

To take her hyre he mad sumoun;

540 Þe day watȝ al apassed date.




As soon as the sun was gone down the “reeve” was told to pay the workmen. [Fol. 46b.]

The date of þe daye þe lorde con knaw,

Called to þe reue “lede pay þe meyny,

Gyf hem þe hyre þat I hem owe,

544 & fyrre, þat non me may repreue,

Set hem alle vpon a rawe,

To give each a penny.

& gyf vchon in-lyche a peny.

Bygyn at þe laste þat standeȝ lowe,

548 Tyl to þe fyrste þat þou atteny;”

The first began to complain.

& þenne þe fyrst by-gonne to pleny

& sayden þat þay hade trauayled sore,

Þese bot an [h]oure hem con streny,

552 Vus þynk vus oȝe to take more.

Having borne the heat of the day he thinks that he deserves more.

More haf we serued vus þynk so,

Þat suffred han þe dayeȝ hete,

Þenn þyse þat wroȝt[e] not houreȝ two,

556 & þou dotȝ hem vus to counterfete.

Þenne sayde þe lorde to on of þo,

wrang] MS. wanig.

“Frende no wrang I wyl þe ȝete,

Take þat is þyn owne & go;

The lord tells him that he agreed only to give him a penny.

560 & I hyred þe for a peny a grete,

Quy bygynneȝ þou now to þrete;

Watȝ not a pené þy couenaunt þore?

Fyrre þen couenaunde is noȝt to plete,

564 Wy schalte þou þenne ask more?

More weþer louyly is me my gyfte

To do wyth myn quat so me lykeȝ?

er elleȝ þyn yȝe to lyþer is lyfte,

568 For I am goude & non by-swykeȝ.”

“Þus schal I,” quod kryste, “hit skyfte,

The last shall be first, and the first last.

Þe laste schal be þe fyrst þat strykeȝ,

& þe fyrst þe laste, be he neuer so swyft,

572 For mony ben calle[d] þaȝ fewe be mykeȝ.”

Þus pore men her part ay pykeȝ,

Þaȝ þay com late & lyttel wore,

18 The maiden applies the parable to herself.

& þaȝ her sweng wyth lyttel at-slykeȝ,

576 Þe merci of god is much þe more.


[Fol. 47a.]

“More haf I of ioye & blysse here-inne,

Of ladyschyp gret & lyueȝ blom,

Þen alle þe wyȝeȝ in þe worlde myȝt wynne

580 By þe way of ryȝt to aske dome.

Wheþer wel nygh[t] now I con bygynne,

She came to the vine in eventide, and yet received more than others who had lived longer.

In euentyde in-to þe vyne I come,

Fyrst of my hyre my lorde con mynne,

584 I watȝ payed anon of al & sum;

Ȝet oþer þer werne þat toke more tom,

Þat swange & swat for long ȝore,

Þat ȝet of hyre no þynk þay nom,

588 Paraunter noȝt schal to ȝere more.”

The father says that his daughter’s tale is unreasonable.

Then more I meled & sayde apert,

“Me þynk þy tale vnresounable,

rert] ert (?).

Goddeȝ ryȝt is redy & euer more rert,

592er holy wryt is bot a fable;

In sauter is sayd a verce ouerte

Þat spekeȝ a poynt determynable,

‘Þou quyteȝ vchon as hys desserte,

pretermynable] MS. pertermynable.

596 Þou hyȝe kyng ay pretermynable,’

Now he þat stod þe long day stable,

& þou to payment com hym byfore,

Þenne þe lasse in werke to take more able,

600 & euer þe lenger þe lasse þe more.”



“Of more & lasse in godeȝ ryche,”

Þat gentyl sayde “lys no Ioparde,

In heaven, the maiden says, each man is paid alike.

For þer is vch mon payed inliche,

604 Wheþer lyttel oþer much be hys rewarde,

For þe gentyl cheuentayn is no chyche,

Queþer-so-euer he dele nesch oþer harde,

gyfteȝ] MS. gysteȝ.

He laueȝ hys gyfteȝ as water of dyche,

608er goteȝ of golf þat neuer charde;

19 God is no niggard.

Hys fraunchyse is large þat euer dard,

no scoghe] In the MS. it looks like rescoghe.

To hym þat matȝ in synne no scoghe

No blysse betȝ fro hem reparde,

The grace of God is sufficient for all.

612 For þe grace of god is gret I-noghe.

[Fol. 47b.]

Bot now þou moteȝ me for to mate

Þat I my peny haf wrang tan here,

Þou sayȝ þat I þat com to late,

616 Am not worþy so gret lere.

Where wysteȝ þou euer any bourne abate

Euer so holy in hys prayere,

Those who live long on the earth often forfeit heaven by sinning.

Þat he ne forfeted by sumkyn gate,

620 Þe mede sum-tyme of heueneȝ clere;

& ay þe ofter, þe alder þay were,

Þay laften ryȝt & wroȝten woghe

Mercy & grace moste hem þen stere,

624 For þe grace of god is gret in-noȝe.

Innocents are saved by baptism.

Bot in-noghe of grace hatȝ innocent,

As sone as þay arn borne by lyne

In þe water of babtem þay dyssente,

628 Þen arne þay boroȝt in-to þe vyne,

Anon þe day with derk endente,

Þe myȝt of deth dotȝ to en-clyne

Þat wroȝt neuer wrang er þenne þay wente;

632 Þe gentyle lorde þenne payeȝ hys hyne,

Þay dyden hys heste, þay wern þere-ine,

Why should not God allow their labour.

Why schulde he not her labour alow,

hem] MS. hym.

Ȝy[rd] & pay hem at þe fyrst fyne

636 For þe grace of god is gret in-noghe?


Inoȝe is knawen þat man-kyn grete,

Fyrste watȝ wroȝt to blysse parfyt;

Our first father lost heaven by eating an apple.

Oure forme-fader hit con forfete,

640 Þurȝ an apple þat he vpon con byte;

And all are damned for the sin of Adam.

Al wer we dampned for þat mete,

To dyȝe in doel out of delyt,

& syþen wende to helle hete,

644 Þer-inne to won with-oute respyt;

20 But there came one who paid the penalty of our sins.

Bot þer on com a bote as-tyt.

Ryche blod ran on rode so roghe,

& wynne [&] water, þen at þat plyt

648 Þe grace of god wex gret in-noghe.

[Fol. 48a.] out] MS. out out.

Innoghe þer wax out of þat welle,

Blod & water of brode wounde;

Þe blod vus boȝt fro bale of helle,

652 & delyuered vus of þe deth secounde;

The water that came from the pierced side of Christ was baptism.

Þe water is baptem þe soþe to telle;

Þat folȝed þe glayue so grymly grounde,

Þat wascheȝ away þe gylteȝ felle,

656 Þat adam wyth inne deth vus drounde.

Now is þer noȝt in þe worlde rounde

Bytwene vus & blysse bot þat he with-droȝ

& þat is restored in sely stounde,

660 & þe grace of god is gret in-nogh.


Repentance must be sought by prayer with sorrow and affliction.

Grace in-nogh þe mon may haue,

Þat synneȝ þenne new, ȝif hym repente,

Bot with sorȝ & syt he mot hit craue,

664 & byde þe payne þer-to is bent,

Bot resoun of ryȝt þat con not raue,

Saueȝ euer more þe innossent;

Hit is a dom þat neuer god gaue,

668 Þat euer þe gyltleȝ schulde be schente.

The guilty may be saved by contrition.

Þe gyltyf may contryssyoun hente

& be þurȝ mercy to grace þryȝt;

Bot he to gyle þat neuer glente,

672 At in-oscente is saf & ryȝte.


þus] MS. þus þus. Two sorts of people are saved, the righteous and the innocent.

Ryȝt þus I knaw wel in þis cas,

Two men to saue is god by skylle;

face] MS. fate.

Þe ryȝt-wys man schal se hys face,

676 Þe harmleȝ haþel schal com hym tylle,

Þe sauter hyt satȝ þus in a pace:

The words of David.

“Lorde quo schal klymbe þy hyȝ hylleȝ


er rest with-inne þy holy place?”

680 Hymself to on-sware he is not dylle;

“Hondelyngeȝ harme þat dyt not ille,

Þat is of hert boþe clene & lyȝt,

Þer schal hys step stable stylle,”

The innocent is saved by right.

684 Þe innosent is ay saf by ryȝt.

[Fol. 48b.]

The ryȝtwys man also sertayn

Aproche he schal þat proper pyle,

Þat takeȝ not her lyf in vayne

688 Ne glauereȝ her nieȝbor wyth no gyle;

saȝ] satȝ (?). The words of Solomon.

Of þys ryȝt-wys saȝ salamon playn,

How kyntly oure con aquyle

By wayeȝ ful streȝt he con hym strayn,

692 & scheued hym þe rengne of god a whyle,

As quo says “lo ȝon louely yle,

Þou may hit wynne if þou be wyȝte,”

Bot hardyly with-oute peryle,

696 Þe innosent is ay saue by ryȝte!

David says no man living is justified.

An-ende ryȝtwys men, ȝet saytȝ a gome

Dauid in sauter, if euer ȝe seȝ hit,

“Lorde þy seruaunt draȝ neuer to dome,

For] MS. sor.

700 For non lyuyunde to þe is Iustyfyet.”

For-þy to corte quen þou schal com,

Þer alle oure causeȝ schal be tryed,

Alegge þe ryȝt þou may be in-nome,

704 By þys ilke spech I haue asspyed;

Bot he on rode þat blody dyed,

Delfully þurȝ hondeȝ þryȝt

Pray to be saved by innocence and not by right.

Gyue þe to passe when þou arte tryed

708 By innocens & not by ryȝte.


Ryȝt-wysly quo con rede,

He loke on bok & be awayed

When Jesus was on earth, little children were brought unto him.

How Ihesuc hym welke in are þede,

712 & burneȝ her barneȝ vnto hym brayde,

For happe & hele þat fro hym ȝede,

touch] MS. touth.

To touch her chylder þay fayr hym prayed.

22 The disciples rebuked the parents.

His dessypeleȝ with blame let be hym bede,

716 & wyth her resouneȝ ful fele restayed;

Christ said, “Suffer little children to come unto me,” etc.

Ihesuc þenne hem swetely sayde,

“Do way, let chylder vnto me tyȝt.

To suche is heuen-ryche arayed,”

720 Þe innocent is ay saf by ryȝt.


[Fol. 49a.]

Ihesuc con calle to hym hys mylde

No one can win heaven except he be meek as a child.

& sayde hys ryche no wyȝ myȝt wynne.

Bot he com þyder ryȝt as a chylde,

724er elleȝ neuer more com þer-inne,

Harmleȝ, trwe & vnde-fylde,

With-outen mote oþer mascle of sulpande synne;

Quen such þer cnoken on þe bylde,

728 Tyt schal hem men þe ȝate vnpynne,

Þer is þe blys þat con not blynne,

Þat þe Iueler soȝte þurȝ perre pres

& solde alle hys goud boþe wolen & lynne,

732 To bye hym a perle [þat] watȝ mascelleȝ.

The pearl of price is like the kingdom of heaven, pure and clean.

This makelleȝ perle þat boȝt is dere,

Þe Ioueler gef fore alle hys god,

Is lyke þe reme of heuenesse clere

736 So sayde þe fader of folde & flode,

For hit is wemleȝ, clene & clere,

& endeleȝ rounde & blyþe of mode,

ryȝtwys] MS. ryȝtywys.

& commune to alle þat ryȝtwys were,

740 Lo! euen in myddeȝ my breste hit stode;

My lorde þe lombe þat schede hys blode,

He pyȝt hit þere in token of pes;

Forsake the mad world and purchase the spotless pearl.

I rede þe forsake þe worlde wode,

744 & porchace þy perle maskelles.” 


The father of the maiden desires to know who formed her figure and wrought her garments.

“O maskeleȝ perle in perleȝ pure

Þat bereȝ,” quod I, “þe perle of prys,

Quo formed þe þy fayre fygure?

748 Þat wroȝt þy wede, he watȝ ful wys;

23 Her beauty, he says, is not natural.

Þy beaute com neuer of nature,

Pymalyon paynted neuer þy vys,

Ne arystotel nawþer by hys lettrure

752 Of carpe þe kynde þese properteȝ.

Her colour passes the fleur-de-lis.

Þy colour passeȝ þe flour-de-lys,

Þyn angel hauyng so clene corteȝ

priys] The MS. has triys.

Breue me bryȝt, quat-kyn of priys

756 Bereȝ þe perle so maskelleȝ.”

[Fol. 49b.] The maiden explains to her father that she is a bride of Christ.

“My makeleȝ lambe þat al may bete,”

Quod scho, “my dere destyné

Me ches to hys make al-þaȝ vnmete,

760 Sum tyme semed þat assemblé

When I wente fro yor worlde wete.

He calde me to hys bonerté,

‘Cum hyder to me my lemman swete,

She is without spot or blemish.

764 For mote ne spot is non in þe:’

He gef me myȝt & als bewté.

Her weeds are washed in the blood of Christ.

In hys blod he wesch my wede on dese,

& coronde clene in vergynté,

768 & pyȝt me in perleȝ maskelleȝ.”

The father asks the nature of the Lamb that has chosen his daughter,

“Why maskelleȝ bryd þat bryȝt con flambe

Þat reiateȝ hatȝ so ryche & ryf,

Quat-kyn þyng may be þat lambe,

and why she is selected as a bride.

772 Þat þe wolde wedde vnto hys vyf?

Ouer alle oþer so hyȝ þou clambe,

To lede with hym so ladyly lyf

So mony a cumly on vnder cambe,

776 For kryst han lyued in much stryf,

& þou con alle þo dere out-dryf,

& fro þat maryag al oþer depres,

Al only þyself so stout & styf,

780 A makeleȝ may & maskelleȝ.”



“Maskelles,” quod þat myry quene,

“Vnblemyst I am wyth-outen blot,


& þat may I with mensk menteene;

784 Bot makeleȝ quene þenne sade I not,

The Lamb has one hundred and forty thousand brides.

Þe lambes vyueȝ in blysse we bene,

A hondred & forty þowsande flot

As in þe apocalyppeȝ hit is sene;

St. John saw them on the hill of Sion in a dream, in the new city of Jerusalem.

788 Sant Iohan hem syȝ al in a knot,

On þe hyl of syon þat semly clot.

Þe apostel hem segh in gostly drem

Arayed to þe weddyng in þat hyl coppe,

792 Þe nwe cyte u Ierusalem.

[Fol. 50a.]

Of Ierusalem I in speche spelle.

If þou wyl knaw what-kyn he be,

My lombe, my lorde, my dere Iuelle,

796 My ioy, my blys, my lemman fre,

Isaiah speaks of Christ or the Lamb.

Þe profete ysaye of hym con melle,

Pitously of hys debonerté

gyltleȝ] MS. reads gystleȝ.

Þat gloryous gyltleȝ þat mon con quelle,

He says that He was led as a lamb to the slaughter.

800 With-outen any sake of felonye,

As a schep to þe slaȝt þer lad watȝ he

nem] MS. men.

& as lombe þat clypper in lande nem,

So closed he hys mouth fro vch query,

804 Quen Iueȝ hym iugged in Iherusalem.

In Jerusalem was Christ slain.

In Ierusalem watȝ my lemman slayn

& rent on rode with boyeȝ bolde;

Al oure baleȝ to bere ful bayn,

808 He toke on hym self oure careȝ colde,

With buffets was His face flayed.

With boffeteȝ watȝ hys face flayn,

Þat watȝ so fayr on to byholde;

For synne he set hym self in vayn,

812 Þat neuer hade non hym self to wolde,

He endured all patiently as a lamb.

For vus he lette hym flyȝe & folde

& brede vpon a bostwys bem,

lomb] The MS. reads lomp.

As meke as lomb þat no playnt tolde.

For us He died in Jerusalem.

816 For vus he swalt in Ierusalem:


Ierusalem, Iordan & galalye,

Þer as baptysed þe goude saynt Ion,


His wordeȝ acorded to ysaye;

820 When Ihesuc con to hym warde gon

He sayde of hym þys professye,

The declaration of St. John, “Behold the Lamb of God,” etc.

“Lo godeȝ lombe as trwe as ston,

Þat dotȝ away þe synneȝ dryȝe!”

824 Þat alle þys worlde hatȝ wroȝt vpon,

Hym self ne wroȝt neuer ȝet non,

Wheþer on hym self he con al clem,

Who can reckon His generation, that died in Jerusalem?

Hys generacyoun quo recen con,

828 Þat dyȝed for vus in Ierusalem?

[Fol. 50b.]

In Ierusalem þus my lemman swatte,

Twyeȝ, for lombe watȝ taken þere,

By trw recorde of ayþer prophete,

832 For mode so meke & al hys fare,

Þe þryde tyme is þer-to ful mete

In apokalypeȝ wryten ful ȝare.

In the New Jerusalem St. John saw the Lamb sitting upon the throne.

In mydeȝ þe trone þere saynteȝ sete,

836 Þe apostel iohan hym saytȝ as bare,

Lesande þe boke with leueȝ sware,

Þere seuen syngnetteȝ wern sette in-seme

& at þat syȝt vche douth con dare,

840 In helle, in erþe & Ierusalem.


The Lamb is without blemish.

Thys Ierusalem lombe hade neuer pechche

Of oþer huee bot quyt Iolyf

Þat mot ne masklle moȝt on streche

844 For wolle quyte so ronk & ryf,

teche] MS. tethe. Every spotless soul is a worthy bride for the Lamb.

For-þy vche saule þat hade neuer teche,

Is to þat lombe a worthyly wyf;

And þaȝ vch day a store he feche,

No strife or envy among the brides.

848 Among vus commeȝ non oþer strot ne stryf,

vchon enle] vch onlepi (?).

Bot vchon enle we wolde were fyf,

Þe mo þe myryer so god me blesse.

In compayny gret our luf con þryf

852 In honour more & neuer þe lesse.

26 None can have less bliss than another.

Lasse of blysse may non vus bryng

Þat beren þys perle vpon oure bereste,

For þay of mote couþe neuer mynge,

856 Of spotleȝ perleȝ þa[y] beren þe creste,

Al-þaȝ oure corses in clotteȝ clynge,

& ȝe remen for rauþe wyth-outen reste,

We þurȝ-outly hauen cnawyng;

Our death leads us to bliss.

860 Of [o]n dethe ful oure hope is drest,

Þe lonbe vus gladeȝ, oure care is kest;

He myrþeȝ vus alle at vch a mes,

Vchoneȝ blysse is breme & beste,

864 & neuer oneȝ honour ȝet neuer þe les.


[Fol. 51a.] tale] MS. talle, but tale in the catchwords. What St. John saw upon the Mount of Sion.

Lest les þou leue my tale farande,

In appocalyppece is wryten in wro

I seghe, says Iohan, þe loumbe hym stande,

868 On þe mount of syon ful þryuen & þro,

About the Lamb he saw one hundred and forty thousand maidens.

& wyth hym maydenneȝ an hundreþe þowsande

& fowre & forty þowsande mo

On alle her forhedeȝ wryten I fande,

872 Þe lombeȝ nome, hys fadereȝ also.

He heard a voice from heaven, like many floods.

A hue fro heuen I herde þoo,

Lyk flodeȝ fele laden, runnen on resse,

& as þunder þroweȝ in torreȝ blo,

876 Þat lote I leue watȝ neuer þe les.

Nauþeles þaȝ hit schowted scharpe,

& ledden loude al-þaȝ hit were.

He heard the maiden sing a new song.

A note ful nwe I herde hem warpe,

880 To lysten þat watȝ ful lufly dere,

As harporeȝ harpen in her harpe,

Þat nwe songe þay songen ful cler.

In sounande noteȝ a gentyl carpe,

884 Ful fayre þe modeȝ þay fonge in fere

Ryȝt byfore godeȝ chayere,

So did the four beasts and the elders “so sad of cheer.”

& þe fowre besteȝ þat hym obes,

& þe alder-men so sadde of chere,

888 Her songe þay songen neuer þe les;


Nowþe-lese non watȝ neuer so quoynt,

For alle þe crafteȝ þat euer þay knewe.

Þat of þat songe myȝt synge a poynt,

892 Bot þat meyny þe lombe þay swe,

For þay arn boȝt fro þe vrþe aloynte.

As newe fryt to god ful due

This assembly was like the Lamb, spotless and pure.

& to þe gentyl lombe hit arn amoynt,

896 As lyk to hym self of lote & hwe,

For neuer lesyng ne tale vn-trwe,

Ne towched her tonge for no dysstresse.

Þat moteles meyny may neuer remwe,

900 Fro þat maskeleȝ mayster neuer þe les.”

[Fol. 51b.] The father replies to the maiden.

“Neuer þe les let be my þonc,”

Quod I, “my perle þaȝ I appose,

I schulde not tempte þy wyt so wlonc,

904 To krysteȝ chambre þat art Ichose,

He says he is but dust and ashes.

I am bot mokke & mul among,

& þou so ryche a reken rose,

& bydeȝ here by þys blysful bonc

908 Þer lyueȝ lyste may neuer lose,

Now hynde þat sympelnesse coneȝ enclose,

He wishes to ask one question,

I wolde þe aske a þynge expresse,

& þaȝ I be bustwys as a blose

912 Let my bone vayl neuer þe lese.



Neuer þe lese cler I yow by-calle

If ȝe con se hyt be to done,

As þou art gloryous with-outen galle,

916 With-nay þou neuer my ruful bone.

whether the brides have their abode in castle-walls or in manor.

Haf ȝe no woneȝ in castel walle,

Ne maner þer ȝe may mete & won?

Jerusalem, he says, in Judea.

Þou telleȝ me of Ierusalem þe ryche ryalle,

920 Þer dauid dere watȝ dyȝt on trone,

Bot by þyse holteȝ hit con not hone

Bot in Iudee hit is þat noble note;


As ȝe ar maskeleȝ vnder mone,

But the dwelling of the brides should be perfect.

924 Your woneȝ schulde by wyth-outen mote.

Þys moteleȝ meyny þou coneȝ of mele,

Of þousandeȝ þryȝt so gret a route,

For such “a comely pack” a great castle would be required.

A gret cete, for ȝe arn fele,

928 Yow by-hod haue with-outen doute;

So cumly a pakke of Ioly Iuele,

Wer euel don schulde lyȝ þer-oute;

& by þyse bonkeȝ þer I con gele

932 & I se no bygyng nawhere aboute,

I trowe al-one ȝe lenge & loute,

To loke on þe glory of þys grac[i]ous gote;

If þou hatȝ oþer lygyngeȝ stoute,

936 Now tech me to þat myry mote.

[Fol. 52a.] The city in Judæa, answers the maiden, is where Christ suffered, and is the Old Jerusalem.

“That mote þou meneȝ in Iudy londe,”

Þat specyal spyce þen to me spakk,

“Þat is þe cyte þat þe lombe con fonde

940 To soffer inne sor for maneȝ sake,

Þe olde Ierusalem to vnder-stonde,

For þere þe olde gulte watȝ don to slake,

The New Jerusalem is where the Lamb has assembled his brides.

Bot þe nwe þat lyȝt of godeȝ sonde,

944 Þe apostel in apocalyppce in theme con take.

lombe] The MS. reads lompe.

Þe lombe þer, with-outen spotteȝ blake,

Hatȝ feryed þyder hys fayre flote,

& as hys flok is with-outen flake,

948 So is hys mote with-outen moote.


Of motes two to carpe clene

Jerusalem means the city of God.

& Ierusalem hyȝt boþe nawþeles,

Þat nys to yow no more to mene,

952 Bot cete of god oþer syȝt of pes.

In the Old city our peace was made at one.

In þat on oure pes watȝ mad at ene,

With payne to suffer þe lombe hit chese,

In the New city is eternal peace.

In þat oþer is noȝt bot pes to glene,

956 Þat ay schal laste with-outen reles,

Þat is þe borȝ þat we to pres,

flesch] MS. fresth.

Fro þat oure flesch be layd to rote;


Þer glory & blysse schal euer encres,

960 To þe meyny þat is with-outen mote.


The father prays his daughter to bring him to the blissful bower.

“Moteleȝ may so meke & mylde,”

Þen sayde I to þat lufly flor,

“Bryng me to þat bygly bylde,

964 & let me se þy blysful bor.”

Þat schene sayde, þat god wyl schylde,

His daughter tells him that he shall see the outside,

“Þou may not enter with-inne hys tor,

Bot of þe lombe I haue þe aquylde

968 For a syȝt þer-of þurȝ gret fauor.

Vt-wyth to se þat clene cloystor,

but not a foot may he put in the city.

Þou may, bot inwyth not a fote,

To strech in þe strete þou hatȝ no vygour,

972 Bot þou wer clene with-outen mote.


[Fol. 52b.]

If I þis mote þe schal vn-hyde,

The maiden then tells her father to go along the bank till he comes to a hill.

Bow vp to-warde þys borneȝ heued,

& I an-endeȝ þe on þis syde

976 Schal sve, tyl þou to a hil be veued,

Þen wolde [I] no lenger byde,

Bot lurked by launceȝ so lufly leued,

He reaches the hill, and beholds the heavenly city.

Tyl on a hyl þat I asspyed

980 & blusched on þe burghe, as I forth dreued,

By-ȝonde þe brok fro me warde keued,

Þat schyrrer þen sunne with schafteȝ schon;

In þe apokalypce is þe fasoun preued,

984 As deuyseȝ hit þe apostel Ihoñ.


As St. John saw it, so he beheld it.

As Iohan þe apostel hit syȝ with syȝt

I syȝe þat cyty of gret renoun,

Ierusalem so nwe & ryally dyȝt,

988 As hit watȝ lyȝt fro þe heuen adoun.

The city was of burnished gold.

Þe borȝ watȝ al of brende golde bryȝt,

As glemande glas burnist broun,

30 Pitched upon gems,

With gentyl gemmeȝ an-vnder pyȝt;

992 With banteleȝ twelue on basyng boun,

the foundation composed of twelve stones.

Þe foundementeȝ twelue of riche tenoun;

Vch tabelment watȝ a serlypeȝ ston,

As derely deuyseȝ þis ilk toun,

996 In apocalyppeȝ þe apostel Iohan.

The names of the precious stones.

As þise stoneȝ in writ con nemme

I knew þe name after his tale;

i. Jasper.

Iasper hyȝt þe fyrst gemme,

1000 Þat I on þe fyrst basse con wale,

He glente grene in þe lowest hemme.

ii. Sapphire.

Saffer helde þe secounde stale,

iii. Chalcedony.

Þe calsydoyne þenne with-outen wemme,

1004 In þe þryd table con purly pale;

iv. Emerald.

Þe emerade þe furþe so grene of scale;

v. Sardonyx.

Þe sardonyse þe fyfþe ston;

vi. Ruby.

Þe sexte þe rybe he con hit wale,

1008 In þe apocalyppce þe apostel Iohan.

[Fol. 53a.] vii. Chrysolite.

Ȝet Ioyned Iohan þe crysolyt,

Þe seuenþe gemme in fundament;

viii. Beryl.

Þe aȝtþe þe beryl cler & quyt

ix. Topaz.

1012 Þe topasye twynne how þe nente endent;

x. Chrysoprasus.

Þe crysopase þe tenþe is tyȝt;

Iacyngh] Iacynth (?). xi. Jacinth.

Þe Iacyngh þe enleuenþe gent;

Þe twelfþe þe gentyleste in veh a plyt,

xii. Amethyst.

1016 Þe amatyst purpre with ynde blente;

Þe wal abof þe bantels bent,

Masporye as glas þat glysnande schon,

I knew hit by his deuysement,

1020 In þe apocalyppeȝ þe apostel Iohan.

As Iohan deuysed ȝet saȝ I þare.

Þise twelue de-gres wern brode & stayre,

The city was square.

Þe cyte stod abof ful sware,

1024 As longe as brode as hyȝe ful fayre;

Þe streteȝ of golde as glasse al bare,

The wall was of jasper.

Þe wal of Iasper þat glent as glayre;


Þe woneȝ with-inne enurned ware

1028 Wyth alle kynneȝ perre þat moȝt repayre,

Þenne helde vch sware of þis manayre,

Twelve thousand furlongs in length and breadth.

Twelue forlonge space er euer hit fon,

Of heȝt, of brede, of lenþe to cayre,

1032 For meten hit syȝ þe apostel Iohan.



As Iohan hym wryteȝ ȝet more I syȝe

Each “pane” had three gates.

Vch pane of þat place had þre ȝateȝ,

So twelue in poursent I con asspye

1036 Þe portaleȝ pyked of rych plateȝ

Each gate adorned with a pearl.

& vch ȝate of a margyrye,

A parfyt perle þat neuer fateȝ;

Vchon in scrypture a name con plye,

1040 Of israel barneȝ folewande her dateȝ,

Þat is to say as her byrþ whateȝ;

Þe aldest ay fyrst þer-on watȝ done.

Such light gleamed in all the streets, that there was no need of the sun or moon.

Such lyȝt þer lemed in alle þe strateȝ

1044 Hem nedde nawþer sunne ne mone.

[Fol. 53b.]

Of sunne ne mone had þay no nede

lompe] MS. lombe. God was the light of those in the city.

Þe self god watȝ her lompe lyȝt,

Þe lombe her lantyrne with-outen drede,

1048 Þurȝ hym blysned þe borȝ al bryȝt.

Þurȝ woȝe & won my lokyng ȝede,

moȝt] MS. noȝt.

For sotyle cler moȝt lette no lyȝt;

The high throne might be seen, upon which the “high God” sat.

Þe hyȝe trone þer moȝt ȝe hede

1052 With alle þe apparaylmente vmbe-pyȝte,

As Iohan þe appostel in termeȝ tyȝte;

Þe hyȝe godeȝ self hit set vpone.

A river ran out of the throne;

A reuer of þe trone þer ran out-ryȝte

1056 Watȝ bryȝter þen boþe þe sunne & mone.


Sunne ne mone schon neuer so swete;

A! þat foysoun flode out of þat flet,

it flowed through each street.

Swyþe hit swange þurȝ vch a strete,

1060 With-outen fylþe oþer galle oþer glet.

32 No church was seen.

Kyrk þer-inne watȝ non ȝete,

Chapel ne temple þat euer watȝ set,

God was the church; Christ the sacrifice.

Þe al-myȝty watȝ her mynyster mete,

1064 Þe lombe þe saker-fyse þer to reget;

The gates were ever open.

Þe ȝates stoken watȝ neuer ȝet,

Bot euer more vpen at vche a lone;

Þer entreȝ non to take reset,

an-vnder] MS. an-vndeȝ.

1068 Þat bereȝ any spot an-vnder mone.

The mone may þer-of acroche no myȝte

To spotty, ho is of body to grym,

There is no night in the city.

& al-so þer ne is neuer nyȝt.

1072 What schulde þe mone þer compas clym

lyȝt] Or syȝt.

& to euen wyth þat worþly lyȝt,

Þat schyneȝ vpon þe brokeȝ brym?

The planets, and the sun itself, are dim compared to the divine light.

Þe planeteȝ arn in to pouer a plyȝt,

1076 & þe self sunne ful fer to dym.

Aboute þat water arn tres ful schym,

Þat twelue fryteȝ of lyf con bere ful sone;

Trees there renew their fruit every month.

Twelue syþeȝ on ȝer þay beren ful frym

1080 & re-nowleȝ nwe in vche a mone.

[Fol. 54a.]

An-vnder mone so gret merwayle

No fleschly hert ne myȝt endeure,

As quen I blusched vpon þat baly,

1084 So ferly þer-of watȝ þe falure.

The beholder of this fair city stood still as a “dased quail.”

I stod as stylle as dased quayle,

french] fresch (?).

For ferly of þat french fygure,

Þat felde I nawþer reste ne trauayle,

1088 So watȝ I rauyste wyth glymme pure;

For I dar say, with conciens sure,

Hade bodyly burne abiden þat bone,

Þaȝ alle clerkeȝ hym hade in cure,

1092 His lyf wer loste an-vnder mone.



As the moon began to rise he was aware of a procession

Ryȝt as þe maynful mone con rys,

Er þenne þe day-glem dryue al doun,


So sodanly on a wonder wyse,

1096 I watȝ war of a prosessyoun,

Þis noble cite of ryche enpresse

Watȝ sodanly ful with-outen sommoun

of virgins crowned with pearls,

Of such vergyneȝ in þe same gyse

1100 Þat watȝ my blysful an-vnder croun,

& coronde wern alle of þe same fasoun

in white robes,

Depaynt in perleȝ & wedeȝ qwyte,

with a pearl in their breast.

In vchoneȝ breste watȝ bounden boun,

with gret] MS. with outen.

1104 Þe blysful perle with gret delyt.

As they went along they shone as glass.

With gret delyt þay glod in fere,

On golden gateȝ þat glent as glasse;

Hundreth þowsandeȝ I wot þer were,

1108 & alle in sute her liureȝ wasse,

Tor to knaw þe gladdest chere.

The Lamb went before them.

Þe lombe byfore con proudly passe,

golde] MS. glode.

Wyth horneȝ seuen of red golde cler,

1112 As praysed perleȝ his wedeȝ wasse;

Towarde þe throne þay trone a tras.

There was no pressing.

Þaȝ þay wern fele no pres in plyt,

Bot mylde as maydeneȝ seme at mas,

1116 So droȝ þay forth with gret delyt.

[Fol. 54b.]

Delyt þat hys come encroched,

To much hit were of for to melle;

The “alder men” fell groveling at the feet of the Lamb.

Þise alder men quen he aproched,

1120 Grouelyng to his fete þay felle;

Legyounes of aungeleȝ togeder uoched,

Þer kesten ensens of swete smelle,

Þen glory & gle watȝ nwe abroched.

All sang in praise of the Lamb.

1124 Al songe to loue þat gay Iuelle,

Þe steuen moȝt stryke þurȝ þe vrþe to helle,

Þat þe vertues of heuen of Ioye endyte,

To loue þe lombe his meyny in melle,

1128 I-wysse I laȝt a gret delyt;

Delit þe lombe forto deuise,

With much meruayle in mynde went.


Best watȝ he, blyþest & moste to pryse,

1132 Þat euer I herde of speche spent,

The Lamb wore white weeds.

So worþly whyt wern wedeȝ hys;

His lokeȝ symple, hym self so gent,

A wide wound was seen near his breast.

Bot a wounde ful wyde & weete con wyse

1136 An-ende hys hert þurȝ hyde to-rente;

Of his quyte syde his blod out-sprent,

A-las! þoȝt I, who did þat spyt?

Ani breste for bale aȝt haf for-brent,

1140 Er he þer-to hade had delyt,


The lombe delyt non lyste to wene,

Þaȝ he were hurt & wounde hade,

In his sembelaunt watȝ neuer sene,

Joy was in his looks.

1144 So wern his glenteȝ gloryous glade.

I loked among his meyny schene,

How þay wyth lyf wern laste & lade,

The father perceives his little queen.

Þen saȝ I þer my lyttel quene,

1148 Þat I wende had standen by me in sclade;

Lorde! much of mirþe watȝ þat ho made,

Among her fereȝ þat watȝ so quyt!

Þat syȝt me gart to þenk to wade,

1152 For luf longyng in gret delyt.


[Fol. 55a.] Great delight takes possession of his mind.

Delyt me drof in yȝe & ere,

My maneȝ mynde to maddyng malte;

Quen I seȝ my frely I wolde be þere,

1156 Byȝonde þe water, þaȝ ho were walte,

I þoȝt þat no þyng myȝt me dere

To fech me bur & take me halte;

He attempts to cross the stream.

& to start in þe strem schulde non me stere,

1160 To swymme þe remnaunt, þaȝ I þer swalte,

Bot of þat munt I watȝ bi-talt;

When I schulde start in þe strem astraye,

Out of þat caste I watȝ by-calt;

It was not pleasing to the Lord.

1164 Hit watȝ not at my prynceȝ paye,



Hit payed hym not þat I so flonc,

Ouer meruelous mereȝ so mad arayde,

Of raas þaȝ I were rasch & ronk,

1168 Ȝet rapely þer-inne I watȝ restayed;

For ryȝt as I sparred vn-to þe bonc,

Þat brathe out of my drem me brayde;

The dreamer awakes,

Þen wakned I in þat erber wlonk,

1172 My hede vpon þat hylle watȝ layde,

Þer as my perle to grounde strayd;

and is in great sorrow.

I raxled & fel in gret affray,

& sykyng to my self I sayd:

1176 “Now al be to þat prynceȝ paye.”

Me payed ful ille to be out-fleme,

So sodenly of þat fayre regioun,

Fro alle þo syȝteȝ so quykeȝ & queme.

1180 A longeyng heuy me strok in swone,

& rewfully þenne I con to reme;

He addresses his pearl;

“O perle,” quod I, “of rych renoun,

So watȝ hit me dere þat þou con deme,

1184 In þys veray avysyoun;

If] MS. inf.

If hit be ueray & soth sermoun,

Þat þou so stykeȝ in garlande gay,

laments his rash curiosity.

So wel is me in þys doel doungoun,

1188 Þat þou art to þat prynseȝ paye.”

[Fol. 55b.]

To þat prynceȝ paye hade I ay bente,

& ȝerned no more þen watȝ me geuen,

& halden me þer in trwe entent,

1192 As þe perle me prayed þat watȝ so þryuen,

As helde drawen to goddeȝ present,

To mo of his mysterys I hade ben dryuen.

Men desire more than they have any right to expect.

Bot ay wolde man of happe more hente

1196 Þen moȝten by ryȝt vpon hem clyuen;

Þer-fore my ioye watȝ sone to-riuen,

& I kaste of kytheȝ þat lasteȝ aye.

Lorde! mad hit arn þat agayn þe stryuen,

1200er proferen þe oȝt agayn þy paye;



The good Christian knows how to make peace with God.

To pay þe prince oþer sete saȝte,

Hit is ful eþe to þe god krystyin;

For I haf founden hym boþe day & naȝte,

1204 A god, a lorde, a frende ful fyin.

hyl] MS. hyiil.
1864 edition had “hyiil”, with note “hye-hil or hyul?”

Ouer þis hyl þis lote I laȝte,

For pyty of my perle enclyin,

& syþen to god I hit by-taȝte,

1208 In krysteȝ dere blessyng & myn,

Þat in þe forme of bred & wyn,

God give us grace to be his servants!

Þe preste vus scheweȝ vch a daye;

He gef vus to be his homly hyne,

1212 Ande precious perleȝ vnto his pay. Amen. Amen.


Notes to The Pearl.

The Notes were printed in a group, immediately before the Index. They have been distributed among the three poems for convenience.

Page 1.

l. 2, to, very.

8 sengeley in synglure, ever in singleness (uniqueness).

Now is Susan in sale sengeliche arayed.

Pistel of Susan, Vernon MS., fol. 317.

11 dewyne, pine;   for-dolked, for-wounded (severely hurt).

16 heuen my happe, increase my happiness.

17 þrych my hert þrange, through my heart pierce.

20 stylle stounde, a secret sorrow.


O moul þou marreȝ a myry mele,

O mould (earth) thou spoilest a merry discourse.

P. 2.

l. 27

Blomeȝ blayke & blwe & rede,

Flowers yellow, blue, and red.

49 spenned, wrung.


A secret grief in my heart dinned (resounded),

Though reason set myself at peace.

53 spenned, allured, enticed away.


Wyth fyrte skylleȝ þat faste faȝt,

With trembling doubts that fast fought (struggled).

P. 3.

l. 76 bolleȝ = boleȝ, trunks of trees.

78 on vch a tynde, on each branch.

92 reken myrþe, pleasant, joyous mirth.

P. 4.

l. 99 Þe derþe þer-of, the value (preciousness) thereof.

101 in wely wyse, in joyful mood.

102 dereȝ, injuries, harms.

103 fyrre, farther.

105 raweȝ & randeȝ, borders and paths.

107 I wan to, I reached. Winne in O.E. was used much in the same way as we now employ the word get.


Wyth a rownande rourde raykande aryȝt,

With a murmuring (whispering) sound flowing aright.

113 founce, bottom;   stepe, bright.

114 glente, shone;   glyȝt, glistened.

115 A[s] stremande sterneȝ, as glittering stars;   stroþe, stout, brave.

119 loȝe, deep.

125 dryȝly haleȝ, strongly (or deeply) flows.

126 bred ful = bred-ful = bretful (?), full to the brim.

P. 5.

l. 131 wayneȝ, grants.

132 hitteȝ, seeks.

138 gayn, opposite.


I hopede þat mote merked wore,

I supposed that building was devised.

149 stote & stare, stand (loiter) and gape.



To fynde a forþe, faste con I fonde,

Bot woþeȝ mo I-wysse þer ware,

To find a way fast did I go,

But paths more indeed there were.

153 wonde, cease, abstain (from fear).

155 nwe note, a new matter.

163 blysnande whyt, glistening white. See 197.

P. 6.

l. 165 schere, purify, refine.


Þe more I frayste hyr fayre face.

The more I examined her fair face.

frayst (fraist) usually signifies to try, tempt.

170 fonte, tried, examined, found.


Such a burre myȝt make myn herte blunt,

Such a blow might make mine heart faint.


Þat stonge myn hert ful stray atount,

Should we not read—Þat stonge myn hert ful stray a stount (?), “full stray a stount” = a blow full stray.

187 chos, was following, was seeking.


Er I at steuen hir moȝt stalle,

Before I could place her within reach of discourse.

190 seme = semely, seemly.

P. 7.

l. 208 flurted, figured. Cf. flurt-silk, figured-silk.


Her here heke al hyr vmbe-gon,

Her hair eke (also) all her about gone.

212 Her ble more blaȝt, her complexion whiter.

213 schorne golde schyr, refined gold pure.

216 porfyl, hem of a dress, or rather an embroidered hem.

217 poyned, ornamented, trimmed.


A manneȝ dom myȝt dryȝly demme

Er mynde moȝt malte in hit mesure,

A man’s judgment might greatly dim,

Before (his) mind could discourse of it in sufficient terms of praise.

226 No = ne (nor) would be a better reading.

230 wyþer half, opposite side.

P. 8.

l. 243 myn one, myself.

244 layned, kept secret, hidden.

251 Fro, from the time that.   towen & twayned, made two and separated.

P. 9.

l. 272 is put in pref, has been proved.

275 bote of þy meschef, the remedy of thy misfortune (misery).


Wy borde ȝe men so madde ȝe be?

Why should you talk, so foolish you are?

P. 10.

l. 307 westernays, wrongly, in vain? It may be another form of westernways, from the A.Sax. wéste, barren, empty; wéstern, a desert place. Or is it connected with A.Sax. winstre, the left hand?


Þy corse in clot mot colder keue,

Thy body in earth (clods) must colder plunge.

321 for-garte forfeited.

322 ȝore fader for form-fader, first-father.

323 drwry = drery, dreary (?).   boȝ (= bos = bus ?) vch ma (man ?) dreue, behoves each man to drive (go). See B. l. 687.


Now haf I fonte þat I for-lete

Schal I efte forgo hit er euer I fyne?

Now I have found what I have lost.

Shall I again forego it ere ever I die?


P. 11.

l. 336 durande doel, lasting grief.


For anger gayneȝ þe not a cresse,

For anger avails the not a cress, (i.e. not a mite).

Cf. the following passage from “Piers Ploughman,” p. 174, l. 5629:

“Wisdom and wit now

Is noght worth a kerse.”


Stynst (stynt?) of þy strot & fyne to flyte,

Leave off thy complaining and cease to chide.

354 blyþe is here used as a substantive in the sense of bliss, joy.   swefte = swift.

356 hyr crafteȝ kyþe, manifest her powers.


For marre oþer madde, morne & myþe,

Al lys in him to dyȝt & deme.

For to ruin, or make foolish, grieve or to soothe,

All lies in him to order and doom.

363 If rapely raue, etc. = If rapely I raue, etc. (?)

368 Though I go astray, my dear, adored one.

P. 12.

l. 369 lyþeȝ, grant.


Bot much þe bygger ȝet watȝ my mon,

Fro þou watȝ wroken fro vch a woþe.

But much the greater yet was my moan (sorrow),

From (the time) thou wast banished from every path.

377 now leþeȝ my loþe, now my sorrow ceases (is softened).

382 marereȝ = mareȝ (?).

386 mate, dejected.

402 I hete þe, I promise the.

P. 14.

l. 446 in hyt self beyng, in its very being.

455 gyng, company.

460 Temen, are united, joined.   tryste, trusty, faithful, firm.

P. 16.

l. 511 wryþen, toil, literally to turn, twist.

512 keruen, dig.   caggen, draw.   man = maken, make. Cf. ma = make, ta = take, tan = taken.

522 toȝt, binding, firm.

524 pray (so in MS.), read pay.

536 at ȝe moun, that ye are able.

P. 17.

l. 560 a grete, in the gross, a head.

563 plete, plead, ask for.

572 be = he (?).

P. 18.

l. 575

Þaȝ her sweng wyth lyttel at-slykeȝ,

Though their labour (blow) with little falls off (fails to accomplish much).

605 chyche, niggard.

608 goteȝ, streams;   charde, past tense of charre, to turn, deviate.

P. 19.

l. 617 bourne abate = burne abade, man continued.

626 by lyne, by lineage descent.

P. 20.

l. 645

Bot þer on com a bote as-tyt,

But there came one as a remedy at once.

659 in sely stounde, in a happy moment.

671 glente, fell, slided.

P. 21.

l. 680 dylle, slow, sluggish.

681 dyt = dyde, did (?), or dotȝ, does (?).

690 oure, prayer.

P. 22.

l. 726 sulpande synne, defiling, polluting, sin.

727 bylde, building.

735 reme, realm.

P. 23.

l. 752 Of carpe, discourse of.

754 hauyng, condition, behaviour.

757 bete, save, ransom.

759 make, wife.

775 vnder cambe = under-cam, came under, took an inferior position (?).

P. 24.

l. 802

& as a lombe þat clypper in lande nem,

And as a lamb that a shearer has taken, etc.


813-4 For us he let himself be scourged and buffetted, and stretched upon a rough tree (i.e. nailed to the cross).

P. 25.

l. 836 as bare, (?) al bare, openly. See 1025.


Lesande þe boke with leueȝ sware,

Opening the book with leaves square.


& at þat syȝt vche douth con dare,

And at that sight each doughty (one) did tremble (with fear).

849 enle = eneli = onely or onlepi (?) = singly, alone.

P. 26.

l. 865 talle farande = tale farande, pleasing story.

873 hue, cry, voice.

876 lote, sound.

P. 27.

l. 896 lote, features.

909 hynde = hende, gentle, courteous (one).

911 bustwys as a blose, boisterous (wild) as a blaze (flame).


With nay þou neuer my ruful bone,

Do thou never refuse my mournful request.

P. 28.

l. 948

So is hys mote with-outen moote,

So is his building without mote (blemish).

P. 29.

ll. 975-6

& I an-endeȝ þe on his syde

Schal sve, tyl þou to a hil be veued,

And I opposite thee on this side

Shall go, till thou to a hill be passed.


& blusched on þe burghe, as I forth dreued,

Byȝonde þe brok fro me warde keued,

And looked on the city, as I forth drove (urged),

Beyond the brook that cut me off from (the object of my desire).

P. 30.

l. 1018 Masporye = was pure (?).

1022 brode & stayre, broad and steep (high).

1026 þat glent as glayre, that shone as amber.

P. 31.

l. 1030 fon, ceased, the preterite of fine.

1038 fateȝ = fadeȝ, fades.

1041 whateȝ = watȝ, was.

P. 32.

ll. 1065-66

  Þe ȝates stoken watȝ neuer ȝet,

Bot euer more vpen at vche a lone.

The gates shut were never yet,

But ever more open at every lane.

1073 to euen with, to equal with, to match with.

1084 falure = fasure, form (?).

P. 33.

l. 1124 to loue, to praise.

1127 in melle = in-melle = i-melle, among. Cf. in-lyche and i-lyche, etc.

P. 34.

l. 1141

Þe lombe delyt non lyste to wene,

The lamb’s delight none desired to doubt.

1146 laste and lade, followed and preceded (?).


Bot of þat munt I watȝ bi-talt,

But from that purpose I was aroused (shaken).

1163 bi-calt = bi-called (?), called away.

P. 35.

l. 1165 flonc = flong (?), flung.

1193 helde, willingly (inclined).




[Fol. 57a.]

Clannesse who-so kyndly cowþe comende,

& rekken vp alle þe resounȝ þat ho by riȝt askeȝ,

Cleanness discloses fair forms.

Fayre formeȝ myȝt he fynde in forering his speche,

4 & in þe contraré, kark & combraunce huge;

God is angry with the unclean worshipper,

For wonder wroth is þe wyȝ þat wroȝt alle þinges,

Wyth þe freke þat in fylþe folȝes hym after,

As renkeȝ of relygioun þat reden & syngen,

and with false priests.

8 & aprochen to hys presens, & presteȝ arn called;

Thay teen vnto his temmple & temen to hym seluen,

Reken with reuerence þay r[ec]hen his auter,

Þay hondel þer his aune body & vsen hit boþe.

The pure worshipper receives great reward.

12 If þay in clannes be clos þay cleche gret mede,

Bot if þay conterfete crafte, & cortaysye wont,

The impure will bring upon them the anger of God, Who is pure and holy.

As be honest vtwyth, & in-with alle fylþeȝ,

Þen ar þay synful hemself & sulped altogeder,

16 Boþe god & his gere, & hym to greme cachen.

He is so clene in his courte, þe kyng þat al weldeȝ,

& honeste in his hous-holde & hagherlych serued,

With angeleȝ enourled in alle þat is clene,

It would be a marvel if God did not hate evil.

20 Boþe with-inne & with-outen, in wedeȝ ful bryȝt.

Nif he nere scoymus & skyg & non scaþe louied,

Hit were a meruayl to much, hit moȝt not falle;

Christ showed us that himself.

Kryst kydde hit hym self in a carp oneȝ,

24 Þer as he heuened aȝt happeȝ & hyȝt hem her medeȝ;

St. Matthew records the discourse.

Me myneȝ on one amonge oþer, as maþew recordeȝ,

Þat þus of clannesse vn-closeȝ a ful cler speche.

38 The clean of heart shall look on our Lord.

Þe haþel clene of his hert hapeneȝ ful fayre,

28 For he schal loke on oure lorde with a bone chere,

As so saytȝ, to þat syȝt seche schal he neuer,

anwhere] aywhere (?).

Þat any vnclannesse hatȝ on, anwhere abowte:

For he þat flemus vch fylþe fer fro his hert,

burne] Looks like burre in MS.

32 May not byde þat burne þat hit his body neȝen;

For-þy hyȝ not to heuen in hatereȝ to-torne,

Ne in þe harloteȝ hod & handeȝ vnwaschen;

What earthly noble, when seated at table

For what vrþly haþel þat hyȝ honour haldeȝ

36 Wolde lyke, if a ladde com lyþerly attyred,

[Fol. 57b.] above dukes, would like to see a lad badly attired approach the table

When he were sette solempnely in a sete ryche,

Abof dukes on dece, with dayntys serued,

Þen þe harlot with haste helded to þe table

with “rent cockers,” his coat torn and his toes out?

40 With rent cokreȝ at þe kne & his clutte trasches,

& his tabarde to-torne & his toteȝ oute;

For any one of these he would be turned out with a “big buffet,”

er ani on of alle þyse he schulde be halden vtter,

With mony blame ful bygge, a boffet, peraunter,

44 Hurled to þe halle dore & harde þer-oute schowued,

and be forbidden to re-enter,

& be forboden þat borȝe to bowe þider neuer,

On payne of enprysonment & puttyng in stokkeȝ;

and thus be ruined through his vile clothes.

& þus schal he be schent for his schrowde feble,

48 Þaȝ neuer in talle ne in tuch he trespas more.

& if vnwelcum he were to a worþlych prynce

Ȝet hym is þe hyȝe kyng harder in her euen,


The parable of the “Marriage of the King’s Son.”

As maþew meleȝ in his masse of þat man ryche,

52 Þat made þe mukel mangerye to marie his here dere,

& sende his sonde þen to say þat þay samne schulde,

& in comly quoyntis to com to his feste;

The king’s invitation.

“For my boles & my boreȝ arn bayted & slayne,

56 & my fedde fouleȝ fatted with sclaȝt,

My polyle þat is penne-fed & partrykes boþe,

Wyth scheldeȝ of wylde swyn, swaneȝ & croneȝ;

Al is roþeled & rosted ryȝt to þe sete,

60 Comeȝ cof to my corte, er hit colde worþe.”


Those invited begin to make excuses.

When þay knewen his cal þat þider com schulde,

Alle ex-cused hem by þe skyly he scape by moȝt:

39 One had bought an estate and must go to see it.

On hade boȝt hym a borȝ he sayde by hys trawþe,

64 Now t[ur]ne I þeder als tyd, þe toun to by-holde;

Another had purchased some oxen and wished to see them “pull in the plough.”

An oþer nayed also & nurned þis cawse:

I haf ȝerned & ȝat ȝokkeȝ of oxen,

& for my hyȝeȝ hem boȝt, to bowe haf I mester,

68 To see hem pulle in þe plow aproche me byhoueȝ;

A third had married a wife and could not come. sower] swer (?).

& I haf wedded a wyf, sower hym þe þryd,

Excuse me at þe court, I may not com þere;

Þus þay droȝ hem adreȝ with daunger vchone,

place] MS. plate.

72 Þat non passed to þe place þaȝ he prayed were.

[Fol. 58a.] The Lord was greatly displeased,

Thenne þe ludych lorde lyked ful ille

& hade dedayn of þat dede, ful dryȝly he carpeȝ:

He saytȝ “now for her owne sorȝe þay for-saken habbeȝ,

76 More to wyte is her wrange, þen any wylle gentyl;

and commanded his servants to invite the wayfaring,

Þenne gotȝ forth my gomeȝ to þe grete streeteȝ,

& forsetteȝ on vche a syde þe cete aboute;

Þe wayferande frekeȝ, on fote & on hors,

both men and women, the better and the worse,

80 Boþe burneȝ & burdeȝ, þe better & þe wers,

Laþeȝ hem alle luflyly to lenge at my fest,

& bryngeȝ hem blyþly to borȝe as barouneȝ þay were,

that his palace might be full.

So þat my palays plat-ful be pyȝt al aboute,

84 Þise oþer wrecheȝ I-wysse worþy noȝt wern.”

The servants brought in bachelors and squires.

Þen þay cayred & com þat þe cost waked,

Broȝten bachlereȝ hem wyth þat þay by bonkeȝ metten,

Swyereȝ þat swyftly swyed on blonkeȝ,

88 & also fele vpon fote, of fre & of bonde.

When they came to the court they were well entertained.

When þay com to þe courte keppte wern þay fayre,

Styȝtled with þe stewarde, stad in þe halle,

Ful manerly with marchal mad forto sitte,

92 As he watȝ dere of de-gre dressed his seete.

The servants tell their lord that they have done his behest, and there is still room for more guests.

Þenne seggeȝ to þe souerayn sayden þer-after,

“Lo! lorde with your leue at your lege heste,

& at þi banne we haf broȝt, as þou beden habbeȝ,


The Lord commands them to go out into the fields,

96 Mony renischche renkeȝ & ȝet is roum more.”

Sayde þe lorde to þo ledeȝ, “layteȝ ȝet ferre,

Ferre out in þe felde, & fecheȝ mo gesteȝ,


Wayteȝ gorsteȝ & greueȝ, if ani gomeȝ lyggeȝ,

100 What-kyn folk so þer fare, fecheȝ hem hider,

for-loteȝ] forleteȝ (?).

Be þay fers, be þay feble for-loteȝ none,

and bring in the halt, blind, and “one-eyed.”

Be þay hol, be þay halt, be þay onyȝed,

& þaȝ þay ben boþe blynde & balterande cruppeleȝ,

For those who denied shall not taste “one sup” to save them from death.

104 Þat my hous may holly by halkes by fylled;

For certeȝ þyse ilk renkeȝ þat me renayed habbe

& de-nounced me, noȝt now at þis tyme,

Schul neuer sitte in my sale my soper to fele,

þaȝ] MS. þaȝ þaȝ.

108 Ne suppe on sope of my seve, þaȝ þay swelt schulde.”

[Fol. 58b.] The palace soon became full of “people of all plights.”

Thenne þe sergaunteȝ, at þat sawe, swengen þer-oute,

& diden þe dede þat [is] demed, as he deuised hade,

& with peple of alle plyteȝ þe palays þay fyllen;

They were not all one wife’s sons, nor had they all one father.

112 Hit weren not alle on wyueȝ suneȝ, wonen with on fader;

Wheþer þay wern worþy, oþer wers, wel wern þay stowed,

The “brightest attired” had the best place.

Ay þe best byfore & bryȝtest atyred,

Þe derrest at þe hyȝe dese þat dubbed wer fayrest;

Below sat those with “poor weeds.”

116 & syþen on lenþe bilooghe ledeȝ inogh,

soerly] soberly (?).

& ay a segge soerly semed by her wedeȝ;

So with marschal at her mete mensked þay were,

Clene men in compaynye for-knowen wern lyte,

All are well entertained “with meat and minstrelsy.”

120 & ȝet þe symplest in þat sale watȝ serued to þe fulle,

Boþe with menske, & with mete & mynstrasy noble,

& alle þe laykeȝ þat a lorde aȝt in londe schewe.

& þay bigonne to be glad þat god drink haden,

Each with his “mate” made him at ease.

124 & vch mon with his mach made hym at ese.


The lord of the feast goes among his guests.

Now in-myddeȝ þe mete þe mayster hym biþoȝt,

Þat he wolde se þe semblé þat samned was þere,

poueren] MS. poueuer.

& re-hayte rekenly þe riche & þe poueren,

128 & cherisch hem alle with his cher, & chaufen her Ioye,

Þen he boweȝ fro his bour in to þe brode halle,

Bids them be merry.

& to þe best on þe bench, & bede hym be myry,

Solased hem with semblaunt & syled fyrre;

132 Tron fro table to table & talkede ay myrþe,



On the floor he finds one not arrayed for a holyday.

Bot as he ferked ouer þe flor he fande with his yȝe,

Hit watȝ not for a haly day honestly arayed,

A þral þryȝt in þe þrong vnþryuandely cloþed,

136 Ne no festiual frok, bot fyled with werkkeȝ.

Þe gome watȝ vn-garnyst with god men to dele,

& gremed þer-with þe grete lord & greue hym he þoȝt;

Asks him how he obtained entrance, and how he was so bold as to appear in such rags.

“Say me, frende,” quod þe freke with a felle chere,

140 “Hov wan þou into þis won in wedeȝ so fowle?

Þe abyt þat þou hatȝ vpon, no haly day hit menskeȝ;

Þou burne for no brydale art busked in wedeȝ!

How watȝ þou hardy þis hous for þyn vnhap [to] neȝe,

144 In on so ratted a robe & rent at þe sydeȝ?

[Fol. 59a.]

Þow art a gome vn-goderly in þat goun febele;

Þou praysed me & my place ful pouer & ful [g]nede,

Does he take him to be a harlot?

Þat watȝ so prest to aproche my presens here-inne;

148 Hopeȝ þou I be a harlot þi erigant to prayse?”

The man becomes discomfited.

Þat oþer burne watȝ abayst of his broþe wordeȝ,

& hurkeleȝ doun with his hede, þe vrþe he bi-holdeȝ;

He watȝ so scoumfit of his scylle, lest he skaþe hent,

He is unable to reply.

152 Þat he ne wyst on worde what he warp schulde.

The lord commands him to be bound,

Þen þe lorde wonder loude laled & cryed,

& talkeȝ to his tormenttoureȝ: “takeȝ hym,” he biddeȝ,

“Byndeȝ byhynde, at his bak, boþe two his handeȝ,

156 & felle fettereȝ to his fete festeneȝ bylyue;

Stik hym stifly in stokeȝ, & stekeȝ hym þer-after

and cast into a deep dungeon.

Depe in my doungoun þer doel euer dwelleȝ,

Greuing, & gretyng, & gryspyng harde

160 Of teþe tenfully to-geder, to teche hym be quoynt.”

This feast is likened to the kingdom of heaven, to which all are invited.

Thus comparisuneȝ kryst þe kyndom of heueñ,

To þis frelych feste þat fele arn to called,

For alle arn laþed luflyly, þe luþer & þe better,

164 Þat euer wern fulȝed in font þat fest to haue.

See that thy weeds are clean.

Bot war þe wel, if þou wylt, þy wedeȝ ben clene,

& honest for þe haly day, lest þou harme lache,

For aproch þou to þat prynce of parage noble.

sowle] fowle (?)

168 He hates helle no more þen hem þat ar sowle.


Wich arn þenne þy wedeȝ þou wrappeȝ þe inne,

Thy weeds are thy works that thou hast wrought.

Þat schal schewe hem so schene schrowde of þe best?

Hit arn þy werkeȝ wyterly, þat þou wroȝt haueȝ,

172 & lyued with þe lykyng þat lyȝe in þyn hert,

Þat þo be frely & fresch fonde in þy lyue,

& fetyse of a fayr forme, to fote & to honde,

& syþen alle þyner lymeȝ lapped ful clene,

For many faults may a man forfeit bliss.

176 Þenne may þou se þy sauior & his sete ryche.

For fele fauteȝ may a freke forfete his blysse,

For sloth and pride he is thrust into the devil’s throat.

Þat he þe souerayn ne se þen, for slauþe one,

As for bobaunce & bost & bolnande priyde,

180 Þroly in-to þe deueleȝ þrote man þryngeȝ bylyue,

[Fol. 59b.] He is ruined by covetousness, perjury, murder, theft, and strife.

For couetyse, & colwarde & croked dedeȝ,

For mon-sworne, & men-sclaȝt, & to much drynk,

For þefte, & for þrepyng, vn-þonk may mon haue;

For robbery and ribaldry, for preventing marriages, and supporting the wicked,

184 For roborrye, & riboudrye & resouneȝ vntrwe,

& dysheriete & depryue dowrie of wydoeȝ,

For marryng of maryageȝ & mayntnaunce of schreweȝ,

boþe] loþe (?). for treason, treachery, and tyranny, man may lose eternal bliss.

For traysoun, & trichcherye, & tyrauntyré boþe,

188 & for fals famacions & fayned laweȝ;

Man may mysse þe myrþe, þat much is to prayse,

For such vnþeweȝ as þise & þole much payne,

& in þe creatores cort com neuer more,

192 Ne neuer see hym with syȝt for such sour tourneȝ.



Bot I haue herkned & herde of mony hyȝe clerkeȝ,

& als in resouneȝ of ryȝt red hit my seluen,

The high Prince of all is displeased with those who work wickedly.

Þat þat ilk proper prynce þat paradys weldeȝ

196 Is displesed at vch a poynt þat plyes to scaþe.

Bot neuer ȝet in no boke breued I herde

Þat euer he wrek so wyþerly on werk þat he made,

Ne venged for no vilté of vice ne synne,

200 Ne so hastyfly watȝ hot for hatel of his wylle,

Ne neuer so sodenly soȝt vn-soundely to weng,

As for fylþe of þe flesch þat foles han vsed;


For as I fynde þer he forȝet alle his fre þewes,

For the first fault the devil committed, he felt God’s vengeance.

204 & wex wod to þe wrache, for wrath at his hert,

For þe fyrste felonye þe falce fende wroȝt.

Whyl he watȝ hyȝe in þe heuen houen vpon lofte,

Of alle þyse aþel aungeleȝ attled þe fayrest,

He, the fairest of all angels, forsook his sovereign,

208 & he vnkyndely as a karle kydde areward,

He seȝ noȝt bot hym self how semly he were,

Bot his souerayn he forsoke & sade þyse wordeȝ:

and boasted that his throne should be as high as God’s.

“I schal telde vp my trone in þe tra mountayne

212 & by lyke to þat lorde þat þe lyft made.

With þis worde þat he warp, þe wrake on hym lyȝt,

For these words he was cast down to hell.

Dryȝtyn with his dere dom hym drof to þe abyme,

In þe mesure of his mode, his metȝ neuer þe lasse,

216 Bot þer he tynt þe tyþe dool of his tour ryche,

[Fol. 60a.]

Þaȝ þe feloun were so fers for his fayre wedeȝ

& his glorious glem þat glent so bryȝt;

As sone as dryȝtyneȝ dome drof to hym seluen,

220 [Þi]kke þowsandeȝ þro þrwen þer-oute


The fiends fell from heaven,

Fellen fro þe fyrmament, fendeȝ ful blake

Weued] wened (?). like the thick snow, for forty days.

Weued at þe fyrst swap as þe snaw þikke,

Hurled in-to helle-hole as þe hyue swarmeȝ;

224 Fyltyr fenden folk forty dayeȝ lencþe,

Er þat styngande storme stynt ne myȝt;

Bot as smylt mele vnder smal siue smokes for-þikke,

From heaven to hell the shower lasted.

So fro heuen to helle þat hatel schor laste,

Þis] ȝis (?).

228 On vche syde of þe worlde aywhere ilyche.

Þis hit watȝ a brem brest & a byge wrache,

The devil would not make peace with God.

& ȝet wrathed not þe wyȝ, ne þe wrech saȝtled,

Ne neuer wolde, for wylnesful, his worþy god knawe,

232 Ne pray hym for no pité, so proud watȝ his wylle,

lyttel] MS. lyttlel. Affliction makes him none the better.

For-þy þaȝ þe rape were rank, þe rawþe watȝ lyttel;

Þaȝ he be kest into kare he kepes no better.

For the fault of one, vengeance alighted upon all men.

Bot þat oþer wrake þat wex on wyȝeȝ, hit lyȝt

236 Þurȝ þe faut of a freke þat fayled in trawþe.

obedyent] obedience (?). Adam was ordained to live in bliss.

Adam in obedyent ordaynt to blysse,

Þer pryuely in paradys his place watȝ de-vised,


To lyue þer in lykyng þe lenþe of a terme,

240 & þenne en-herite þat home þat aungeleȝ for-gart,

Through Eve he ate an apple.

Bot þurȝ þe eggyng of eue he ete of an apple

Þat en-poysened alle pepleȝ þat parted fro hem boþe,

Thus all his descendants became poisoned.

For a defence þat watȝ dyȝt of dryȝtyn seluen,

244 & a payne þer-on put & pertly halden;

Þe defence watȝ þe fryt þat þe freke towched,

& þe dom is þe deþe þat drepeȝ vus alle.

A maiden brought a remedy for mankind.

Al in mesure & meþe watȝ mad þe vengiaunce,

248 & efte amended with a mayden þat make hade neuer.



Bot in þe þryd watȝ forþrast al þat þryue schuld,

Malice was merciless.

Þer watȝ malys mercyles & mawgre much scheued,

Þat watȝ for fylþe vpon folde þat þe folk vsed,

A race of men came into the world,

252 [Þ]at þen wonyed in þe worlde with-outen any maysterȝ;

[Fol. 60b.] the fairest, the merriest, and the strongest that ever were created.

Hit wern þe fayrest of forme & of face als,

Þe most & þe myriest þat maked wern euer,

Þe styfest, þe stalworþest þat stod euer on fete;

256 & lengest lyf in hem lent of ledeȝ alle oþer,

For hit was þe forme-foster þat þe folde bred,

They were sons of Adam.

Þe aþel auncetereȝ suneȝ þat adam watȝ called,

To wham god hade geuen alle þat gayn were,

260 Alle þe blysse boute blame þat bodi myȝt haue,

& þose lykkest to þe lede þat lyued next after,

For-þy so semly to see syþen wern none.

No law was laid upon them

Þer watȝ no law to hem layd bot loke to kynde,

264 & kepe to hit, & alle hit cors clanly ful-fylle;

Nevertheless they acted unnaturally.

& þenne founden þay fylþe in fleschlych dedeȝ

& controeued agayn kynde contraré werkeȝ,

& vsed hem vn-þryftyly vchon on oþer,

268 & als with oþer, wylsfully, vpon a wrange wyse.

The “fiends” beheld how fair were the daughters of these mighty men,

So ferly fowled her flesch þat þe fende loked,

How þe deȝter of þe douþe wern dere-lych fayre,

and made fellowship with them and begat a race of giants.

& fallen in felaȝschyp with hem on folken wyse

272 & en-gendered on hem ieaunteȝ with her Iapeȝ ille.


Þose wern men meþeleȝ & maȝty on vrþe,

Þat for her lodlych laykeȝ alosed þay were.

famed] fained (?).

He watȝ famed for fre þat feȝt loued best,

The greatest fighter was reckoned the most famous.

276 & ay þe bigest in bale þe best watȝ halden;

& þenne eueleȝ on erþe ernestly grewen

& multyplyed mony-folde in-mongeȝ mankynde,

The Creater of all becomes exceedingly wroth.

For þat þe maȝty on molde so marre þise oþer.

280 Þat þe wyȝe þat al wroȝt ful wroþly bygynneȝ.

When he knew vche contre corupte in hit seluen,

& vch freke forloyned fro þe ryȝt wayeȝ,

Fell anger touches His heart.

Felle temptande tene towched his hert;

284 As wyȝe, wo hym with-inne werp to hym seluen:

It repents Him that He has made man.

“Me for-þynkeȝ ful much þat euer I mon made,

Bot I schal delyuer & do away þat doten on þis molde,


He declares that all flesh shall be destroyed, both man and beast.

& fleme out of þe folde al þat flesch wereȝ,

288 Fro þe burne to þe best, fro bryddeȝ to fyscheȝ;

[Fol. 61a.]

Al schal doun & be ded & dryuen out of erþe,

Þat euer I sette saule inne; & sore hit me rweȝ

Þat euer I made hem my self; bot if I may her-after,

292 I schal wayte to be war her wrencheȝ to kepe.”

There was at this time living on the earth a very righteous man:

Þenne in worlde watȝ a wyȝe wonyande on lyue,

Ful redy & ful ryȝtwys, & rewled hym fayre;

In þe drede of dryȝtyn his dayeȝ he vseȝ,

296 & ay glydande wyth his god his grace watȝ þe more.

Noah was his name.

Hym watȝ þe nome Noe, as is innoghe knawen,

Three bold sons he had.

He had þre þryuen suneȝ & þay þre wyueȝ;

Sem soþly þat on, þat oþer hyȝt cam

300 & þe Iolef Iapheth watȝ gendered þe þryd.

God in great anger speaks to Noah.

Now god in nwy to Noe con speke,

Wylde wrakful wordeȝ in his wylle greued:

“Þe ende of alle-kyneȝ flesch þat on vrþe meueȝ,

304 Is fallen forþ wyth my face & forþer hit I þenk,

With her vn-worþelych werk me wlateȝ with-inne,

Þe gore þer-of me hatȝ greued & þe glette nwyed;

Declares that He will destroy all “that life has.”

I schal strenkle my distresse & strye al to-geder,

308 Boþe ledeȝ & londe & alle þat lyf habbeȝ.



Commands him to make “a mansion” with dwellings for wild and tame.

Bot make to þe a mancioun & þat is my wylle,

A cofer closed of tres, clanlych planed;

Wyrk woneȝ þerinne for wylde & for tame,

with-inne] MS. withinme

312 & þenne cleme hit with clay comly with-inne

& alle þe endentur dryuen daube with-outen.

To let the ark be three hundred cubits in length,

& þus of lenþe & of large þat lome þou make,

Þre hundred of cupydeȝ þou holde to þe lenþe,

and fifty in breadth, and thirty in height, and a window in it a cubit square.

316 Of fyfty fayre ouer-þwert forme þe brede;

& loke euen þat þyn ark haue of heȝþe þretté,

& a wyndow wyd vpon, wroȝt vpon lofte,

In þe compas of a cubit kyndely sware,

Also a good shutting door in the side

320 A wel dutande dor, don on þe syde;

together with halls, recesses, bushes, and bowers, and well-formed pens.

Haf halleȝ þer-inne & halkeȝ ful mony,

Boþe boskeȝ & boureȝ & wel bounden peneȝ;

For I schal waken vp a water to wasch alle þe worlde,

324 & quelle alle þat is quik with quauende flodeȝ.

[Fol. 61b.] For all flesh shall be destroyed,

Alle þat glydeȝ & gotȝ, & gost of lyf habbeȝ,

I schal wast with my wrath þat wons vpon vrþe;

Bot my forwarde with þe I festen on þis wyse,

except Noah and his family.

328 For þou in reysoun hatȝ rengned & ryȝtwys ben euer;

Þou schal enter þis ark with þyn aþel barneȝ

& þy wedded wyf; with þe þou take

Þe makeȝ of þy myry suneȝ; þis meyny of aȝte

332 I schal saue of monneȝ sauleȝ, & swelt þose oþer.

Noah is told to take into the ark seven pairs of every clean beast, and one of unclean kind,

Of vche best þat bereȝ lyf busk þe a cupple,

Of vche clene comly kynde enclose seuen makeȝ,

Of vche horwed, in ark halde bot a payre,

336 For to saue me þe sede of alle ser kyndeȝ;

& ay þou meng with þe maleȝ þe mete ho-besteȝ,

Vche payre by payre to plese ayþerer;

and to furnish the ark with proper food.

With alle þe fode þat may be founde frette þy cofer,

340 For sustnaunce to yow self & also þose oþer.”

Noah fills the ark.

Ful grayþely gotȝ þis god man & dos godeȝ hestes,

In dryȝ dred & daunger, þat durst do non oþer.

Wen hit watȝ fettled & forged & to þe fulle grayþed,

344 Þenn con dryȝttyn hym dele dryȝly þyse wordeȝ:



God asks Noah whether all is ready.

“Now Noe,” quod oure lorde, “art þou al redy?

Hatȝ þou closed þy kyst with clay alle aboute?”

Noah replies that all is fully prepared.

“Ȝe lorde with þy leue,” sayde þe lede þenne,

348 “Al is wroȝt at þi worde, as þou me wyt lanteȝ.”

He is commanded to enter the ark,

“Enter in þenn,” quod he, “& haf þi wyf with þe,

Þy þre sunwith-outen þrep & her þre wyueȝ;

Besteȝ, as I bedene haue, bosk þer-inne als,

352 & when ȝe arn staued, styfly stekeȝ yow þerinne;

for God tells him that he will send a rain to destroy all flesh

Fro seuen dayeȝ ben seyed I sende out by-lyue,

Such a rowtande ryge þat rayne schal swyþe,

Þat schal wasch alle þe worlde of werkeȝ of fylþe;

356 Schal no flesch vpon folde by fonden onlyue;

Noah stows all safely in the ark.

Out-taken yow aȝt in þis ark staued,

& sed þat I wyl saue of þyse ser besteȝ.”

stysteȝ] stynteȝ (?).

Now Noe neuer stysteȝ (þat niyȝ[t] he bygynneȝ),

360 Er al wer stawed & stoken, as þe steuen wolde.


[Fol. 62a.] Seven days are passed.

Thenne sone com þe seuenþe day, when samned wern alle,

& alle woned in þe whichche þe wylde & þe tame.

The deep begins to swell, banks are broken down,

Þen bolned þe abyme & bonkeȝ con ryse,

364 Waltes out vch walle-heued, in ful wode stremeȝ,

Watȝ no brymme þat abod vnbrosten bylyue,

Þe mukel lauande loghe to þe lyfte rered.

and the clouds burst.

Mony clustered clowde clef alle in clowteȝ,

It rains for forty days, and the flood rises,

368 To-rent vch a rayn-ryfte & rusched to þe vrþe;

Fon neuer in forty dayeȝ, & þen þe flod ryses,

and flows over the woods and fields.

Ouer-walteȝ vche a wod & þe wyde feldeȝ;

For when þe water of þe welkyn with þe worlde mette,

372 Alle þat deth moȝt dryȝe drowned þer-inne;

Þer watȝ moon forto make when meschef was cnowen,

All must drown.

Þat noȝt dowed bot þe deth in þe depe stremeȝ.

Water wylger ay wax, woneȝ þat stryede,

376 Hurled in-to vch hous, hent þat þer dowelled.

The water enters the houses.

Fyrst feng to þe flyȝt alle þat fle myȝt,

Vuche burde with her barne þe byggyng þay leueȝ,

48 Each woman with her bairns flees to the hills.

& bowed to þe hyȝ bonk þer brentest hit wern,

380 & heterly to þe hyȝe hylleȝ þay [h]aled on faste;

The rain never ceases.

Bot al watȝ nedleȝ her note, for neuer cowþe stynt

Þe roȝe raynande ryg [&] þe raykande waweȝ,

The valleys are filled.

Er vch boþom watȝ brurd-ful to þe bonkeȝ eggeȝ,

384 & vche a dale so depe þat demmed at þe brynkeȝ.

Þe moste mountayneȝ on mor þenne watȝ no more dryȝe,

People flock to the mountains.

& þer-on flokked þe folke, for ferde of þe wrake,

Syþen þe wylde of þe wode on þe water flette;

Some swim for their lives.

388 Summe swymmed þer-on þat saue hemself trawed,

Summe styȝe to a stud & stared to þe heuen,

Others roar for fear.

Rwly wyth a loud rurd rored for drede.

Animals of all kinds run to the hills.

Hareȝ, hertteȝ also, to þe hyȝe runnen,

392 Bukkeȝ, bauseneȝ & buleȝ to þe bonkkeȝ hyȝed,

All pray for mercy.

& alle cryed for care to þe kyng of heuen,

Re-couerer of þe creator, þay cryed vchone,

God’s mercy is passed from them.

Þat amounted þe masse, þe mase his mercy watȝ passed,

396 & alle his pyte departed fro peple þat he hated.

[Fol. 62b.]

Bi þat þe flod to her fete floȝed & waxed,

Each sees that he must sink.

Þen vche a segge seȝ wel þat synk hym byhoued;

Frendeȝ fellen in fere & faþmed togeder

400 To dryȝ her delful deystyné & dyȝen alle samen;

Friends take leave of one another.

Luf lokeȝ to luf & his leue takeȝ,

For to ende alle at oneȝ & for euer twynne.

Forty days have gone by, and all are destroyed.

By forty dayeȝ wern faren, on folde no flesch styryed,

waȝeȝ] waweȝ (?).

404 Þat þe flod nade al freten with feȝtande waȝeȝ,

For hit clam vche a clyffe cubites fyftene,

Ouer þe hyȝest hylle þat hurkled on erþe.


All rot in the mud,

Þenne mourkne in þe mudde most ful nede

in-spranc] in-sprang (?).

408 Alle þat spyrakle in-spranc, no sprawlyng awayled,

except Noah and his family,

Saue þe haþel vnder hach & his here straunge,

Noe þat ofte neuened þe name of oure lorde,

who are safe in the ark.

Hym aȝt-sum in þat ark as aþel god lyked,

412 Þer alle ledeȝ in lome lenged druye,

The ark is lifted as high as the clouds,

Þe arc houen watȝ on hyȝe with hurlande goteȝ,

Kest to kytheȝ vncouþe þe clowdeȝ ful nere.

49 and is driven about,

Hit waltered on þe wylde flod, went as hit lyste,

416 Drof vpon þe depe dam, in daunger hit semed,

without mast, bowline, cables, anchors, or sail to guide its course.

With-outen mast, oþer myke, oþer myry bawelyne,

Kable, oþer capstan to clyppe to her ankreȝ,

Hurrok, oþer hande-helme hasped on roþer,

420er any sweande sayl to seche after hauen,

At the mercy of the winds.

Bot flote forthe with þe flyt of þe felle wyndeȝ;

Wheder-warde so þe water wafte, hit rebounde.

Oft it rolled around and reared on end.

Ofte hit roled on-rounde & rered on ende,

424 Nyf oure lorde hade ben her lodeȝ-mon hem had lumpen harde.

The age of the patriarch Noah.

Of þe lenþe of noe lyf to lay a lel date,

Þe sex hundreth of his age & none odde ȝereȝ,

Of seconde monyth, þe seuenþe day ryȝteȝ,

Duration of the flood.

428 To-walten alle þyse welle-hedeȝ & þe water flowed,

& þryeȝ fyfty þe flod of folwande dayeȝ,

yreȝ] yþeȝ (?).

Vche hille watȝ þer hidde with yreȝ ful graye;

The completeness of the destruction.

Al watȝ wasted þat þer wonyed þe worlde with-inne,

432 Þer euer flote, oþer flwe, oþer on fote ȝede,

[Fol. 63a.]

That roȝly watȝ þe remnaunt þat þe rac dryueȝ,

Þat alle gendreȝ so ioyst wern ioyned wyth-inne.

God remembers those in the ark.

Bot quen þe lorde of þe lyfte lyked hymseluen

436 For to mynne on his mon his meth þat abydeȝ,

He causes a wind to blow,

Þen he wakened a wynde on wattereȝ to blowe;

llak] So in MS. and closes the lakes and wells, and the great deep.

Þenne lasned þe llak þat large watȝ are,

Þen he stac vp þe stangeȝ, stoped þo welleȝ,

440 Bed blynne of þe rayn, hit batede as fast,

Þenne lasned þe loȝ lowkande to-geder.

After harde dayeȝ wern out an hundreth & fyfté,

As þat lyftande lome luged aboute,

444 Where þe wynde & þe weder warpen hit wolde,


The ark settles on Mount Ararat.

Hit saȝtled on a softe day synkande to grounde.

On a rasse of a rok, hit rest at þe laste,

On þe mounte of mararach of armene hilles,

448 Þat oþer-wayeȝ on ebrv hit hat þe thanes.

Bot þaȝ þe kyste in þe crageȝ wern closed to byde,


Ȝet fyned not þe flod ne fel to þe boþemeȝ,

Noah beholds the bare earth.

Bot þe hyȝest of þe eggeȝ vnhuled wern a lyttel,

452 Þat þe burne bynne borde byhelde þe bare erþe;

He opens his window and sends out the raven to seek dry land.

Þenne wafte he vpon his wyndowe, & wysed þer-oute

A message fro þat meyny hem moldeȝ to seche,

Þat watȝ þe rauen so ronk þat rebel watȝ euer;

456 He watȝ colored as þe cole, corbyal vn-trwe.

& he fongeȝ to þe flyȝt, & fanneȝ on þe wyndeȝ,

Houeȝ hyȝe upon hyȝt to herken tyþynges.

The raven “croaks for comfort” on finding carrion.

He croukeȝ for comfort when carayne he fyndeȝ;

460 Kast vp on a clyffe þer costese lay drye,

He hade þe smelle of þe smach & smoltes þeder sone,

He fills his belly with the foul flesh.

Falleȝ on þe foule flesch & fylleȝ his wombe,

& sone ȝederly for-ȝete ȝister-day steuen,

464 How þe cheuetayn hym charged þat þe kyst ȝemed.

Þe rauen raykeȝ hym forth þat reches ful lyttel

How alle fodeȝ þer fare, elleȝ he fynde mete;


borde] MS. lorde. The lord of the ark curses the raven,

Bot þe burne bynne borde þat bod to hys come,

468 Banned hym ful bytterly with bestes alle samen,

[Fol. 63b.] doune] douue or douene (?). and sends out the dove.

He secheȝ an oþer sondeȝmon & setteȝ on þe doune;

Bryngeȝ þat bryȝt vpon borde blessed & sayde,

“Wende worþelych wyȝt vus woneȝ to seche,

472 Dryf ouer þis dymme water; if þou druye fyndeȝ

Bryng bodworde to bot blysse to vus alle;

Þaȝ þat fowle be false, fre be þou euer.”

The bird wanders about the whole day.

Ho wyrle out on þe weder on wyngeȝ ful scharpe,

476 Dreȝly alle a longe day þat dorst neuer lyȝt;

Finding no rest, she returns about eventide to Noah.

& when ho fyndeȝ no folde her fote on to pyche,

Ho vmbe-kesteȝ þe coste & þe kyst secheȝ,

Ho hitteȝ on þe euentyde & on þe ark sitteȝ;

480 Noe nymmes hir anon & naytly hir staueȝ.

Noah again sends out the dove.

Noe on anoþer day nymmeȝ efte þe dovene,

& byddeȝ hir bowe ouer þe borne efte bonkeȝ to seche;

& ho skyrmeȝ vnder skwe & skowteȝ aboute,

484 Tyl hit watȝ nyȝe at þe naȝt & noe þen secheȝ.



The dove returns with an olive branch in her beak.

On ark on an euentyde houeȝ þe downe,

On stamyn ho stod & stylle hym abydeȝ;

What! ho broȝt in hir beke a bronch of olyue,

488 Gracyously vmbe-grouen al with grene leueȝ;

This was a token of peace and reconciliation.

Þat watȝ þe syngne of sauyté þat sende hem oure lorde,

& þe saȝtlyng of hym-self with þo sely besteȝ.

Joy reigns in the ark.

Þen watȝ þer ioy in pat gyn where Iumpred er dryȝed,

492 & much comfort in þat cofer þat watȝ clay-daubed.

The people therein laugh and look thereout.

Myryly on a fayr morn, monyth þe fyrst,

Þat falleȝ formast in þe ȝer, & þe fyrst day,

Ledeȝ loȝen in þat lome & loked þer-oute,

496 How þat wattereȝ wern woned & þe worlde dryed.

Vchon loued oure lorde, bot lenged ay stylle,

Tyl þay had tyþyng fro þe tolke þat tyned hem þer-inne;


God permits Noah and his sons to leave the ark.

Þen godeȝ glam to hem glod þat gladed hem alle,

500 Bede hem drawe to þe dor, delyuer hem he wolde;

Þen went þay to þe wykket, hit walt vpon sone,

Boþe þe burne & his barneȝ bowed þer-oute;

Her wyueȝ walkeȝ hem wyth & þe wylde after,

504 Þroly þrublande in þronge, þrowen ful þykke;

[Fol. 64a.] Noah offers sacrifice to God.

Bot Noe of vche honest kynde nem out an odde

& heuened vp an auter & halȝed hit fayre,

& sette a sakerfyse þer-on of vch a ser kynde,

508 Þat watȝ comly & clene, god kepeȝ non oþer.

When bremly brened þose besteȝ, & þe breþe rysed,

It is pleasing to Him that “all speeds or spoils.”

Þe sauour of his sacrafyse soȝt to hym euen

Þat al spedeȝ & spylleȝ; he spekes with þat ilke

512 In comly comfort ful clos & cortays wordeȝ:

God declares that He will never destroy the world for the sin of man.

“Now noe no more nel I neuer wary,

Alle þe mukel mayny [on] molde for no manneȝ synneȝ,

For I se wel þat hit is sothe, þat alle manneȝ wytteȝ

516 To vn-þryfte arn alle þrawen with þoȝt of her hertteȝ,

& ay hatȝ ben & wyl be ȝet fro her barnage;

Al is þe mynde of þe man to malyce enclyned,


For-þy schal I neuer schende so schortly at ones,

520 As dysstrye al for maneȝ synne [in] dayeȝ of þis erþe.

Bot waxeȝ now & wendeȝ forth & worþeȝ to monye,

Multyplyeȝ on þis molde & menske yow by-tyde.

That summer and winter shall never cease.

Sesouneȝ schal yow neuer sese of sede ne of heruest,

524 Ne hete, ne no harde forst, vmbre ne droȝþe,

Ne þe swetnesse of somer, ne þe sadde wynter,

Nor night nor day, nor the new years.

Ne þe nyȝt, ne þe day, ne þe newe ȝereȝ,

Bot euer renne restleȝ rengneȝ ȝe þer-inne.”

God blesses every beast.

528 Þerwyth he blesseȝ vch a best, & bytaȝt hem þis erþe.

Þen watȝ a skylly skyualde, quen scaped alle þe wylde;


Each fowl takes its flight. Each fish goes to the flood.

Vche fowle to þe flyȝt þat fyþereȝ myȝt serue,

Vche fysch to þe flod þat fynne couþe nayte,

þat] MS. þat þat. Each beast makes for the plain. Wild worms wriggle to their abodes in the earth.

532 Vche beste to þe bent þat bytes on erbeȝ;

Wylde wormeȝ to her won wryþeȝ in þe erþe,

The fox goes to the woods. Harts to the heath, and hares to the gorse.

Þe fox & þe folmarde to þe fryth wyndeȝ,

Herttes to hyȝe heþe, hareȝ to gorsteȝ,

Lions and leopards go to the lakes. Eagles and hawks to the high rocks.

536 & lyouneȝ & lebardeȝ to þe lake ryftes,

Herneȝ & hauekeȝ to þe hyȝe rocheȝ;

Þe hole-foted fowle to þe flod hyȝeȝ,

& vche best at a brayde þer hym best lykeȝ;

The four ‘frekes’ take the empire.

540 Þe fowre frekeȝ of þe folde fongeȝ þe empyre.


[Fol. 64b.] Behold what woe God brought on mankind for their hateful deeds!

Lo! suche a wrakful wo for wlatsum dedeȝ

Parformed þe hyȝe fader on folke þat he made;

Þat he chysly hade cherisched he chastysed ful hardee,

544 In de-voydynge þe vylanye þat venkquyst his þeweȝ.

For-þy war þe now, wyȝe, þat worschyp desyres,

In his comlych courte þat kyng is of blysse,

Beware of the filth of the flesh.

In þe fylþe of þe flesch þat þou be founden neuer,

548 Tyl any water in þe worlde to wasche þe fayly,

For is no segge vnder sunne so seme of his crafteȝ,

If he be sulped in synne, þat [ne] sytteȝ vnclene.

“One speck of a spot” will ruin us in the sight of God.

On spec of a spote may spede to mysse

552 Of þe syȝte of þe souerayn þat sytteȝ so hyȝe,

For þat schewe me schale in þo schyre howseȝ,

The beryl is clean and sound,—it has no seam.

As þe beryl bornyst byhoueȝ be clene,


Þat is sounde on vche a syde & no sem habes,

556 With-outen maskle oþer mote as margerye perle.


When God repented that he had made man, he destroyed all flesh.

Syþen þe souerayn in sete so sore for-þoȝt

Þat euer he man vpon molde merked to lyuy,

For he in fylþe watȝ fallen, felly he uenged,

fourferde] for-ferde (?).

560 Quen fourferde alle þe flesch þat he formed hade,

But afterwards He was sorry,

Hym rwed þat he hem vp-rerde & raȝt hem lyflode,

& efte þat he hem vndyd, hard hit hym þoȝt;

For quen þe swemande sorȝe soȝt to his hert,

and made a covenant with mankind

564 He knyt a couenaunde cortaysly with monkynde þere,

In þe mesure of his mode & meþe of his wylle,

that He would not again destroy all the living.

Þat he schulde neuer for no syt smyte al at oneȝ,

As to quelle alle quykeȝ for qued þat myȝt falle,

568 Whyl of þe lenþe of þe londe lasteȝ þe terme.

Þat ilke skyl for no scaþe ascaped hym neuer,

Wheder wonderly he wrak on wykked men after;

For the filth of the flesh God destroyed a rich city.

Ful felly for þat ilk faute forferde a kyth ryche,

572 In þe anger of his ire þat arȝed mony;

& al watȝ for þis ilk euel, þat vn-happen glette,

Þe venym & þe vylanye & þe vycios fylþe,

Þat by-sulpeȝ manneȝ saule in vnsounde hert,

576 Þat he his saueour ne see with syȝt of his yȝen,

God hates the wicked as “hell that stinks.” [Fol. 65. a.]

Þat alle illeȝ he hates as helle þat stynkkeȝ;

Bot non nuyeȝ hym, on naȝt ne neuer vpon dayeȝ,

Especially harlotry and blasphemy.

As harlottrye vn-honest, heþyng of seluen;

580 Þat schameȝ for no schrewedschyp schent mot he worþe!

Bot sauyour mon in þy self, þaȝ þou a sotte lyuie,

Þaȝ þou bere þy self babel, by-þenk þe sum-tyme,

Wheþer he þat stykked vche a stare in vche steppe yȝe,

self] MS. sele.

584 Ȝif hym self be bore blynde hit is a brod wonder;

& he þat fetly in face fettled alle eres

he] MS. he he.

If he hatȝ losed þe lysten hit lyfteȝ meruayle;

Nothing is hidden from God.

Trave þou neuer þat tale, vn-trwe þou hit fyndeȝ,

588 Þer is no dede so derne þat ditteȝ his yȝen;


Þer is no wyȝe in his werk so war ne so stylle

þre] þer (?).

Þat hit ne þraweȝ to hym þre er he hit þoȝt haue;

God is the ground of all deeds.

For he is þe gropande god, þe grounde of alle dedeȝ,

ring] rink or renk (?).

592 Rypande of vche a ring þe reynyeȝ & hert;

He honours the man that is honest and whole.

& þere he fyndeȝ al fayre a freke wyth-inne

Þat hert honest & hol, þat haþel he honoureȝ,

Sendeȝ hym a sad syȝt to se his auen face,

596 & harde honyseȝ þise oþer & of his erde flemeȝ.

But for deeds of shame He destroys the mighty ones.

Bot of þe dome of þe douþe for dedeȝ of schame

He is so skoymos of þat skaþe, he scarreȝ bylyue,

He may not dryȝe to draw allyt, bot drepeȝ in hast

600 & þat watȝ schewed schortly by a scaþe oneȝ.



Abraham is sitting before his house-door under a green oak.

Olde Abraham in erde oneȝ he sytteȝ

Euen byfore his hous-dore vnder an oke grene;

Bryȝt blykked þe bem of þe brode heuen,

604 In þe hyȝe hete þer-of Abraham bideȝ,

He watȝ schunt to þe schadow vnder schyre leueȝ;

He sees three men coming along,

Þenne watȝ he war on þe waye of wlonk wyȝeȝ þrynne.

If þay wer farande & fre & fayre to beholde,

608 Hit is eþe to leue by þe last ende;

For þe lede þat þer laye þe leueȝ an-vnder,

and goes toward them.

When he hade of hem syȝt he hyȝeȝ bylyue,

& as to god þe good mon gos hem agayneȝ

612 & haylsed hem in onhede & sayde, “hende lorde

[Fol. 65b.]

Ȝif euer þy mon vpon molde merit disserued,

He entreats them to rest awhile,

Lenge a lyttel with þy lede I loȝly bi-seche;

Passe neuer fro þi pouere, ȝif I hit pray durst,

616 Er þou haf biden with þi burne & vnder boȝe restted;

& I schal wynne yow wyȝt of water a lyttel,

that he may wash their feet

& fast aboute schal I fare your fette wer waschene;

Restteȝ here on þis rote & I schal rachche after

and bring them a morsel of bread.

620 & brynge a morsel of bred to banne your hertte.”

“Fare forthe,” quod þe frekeȝ, “& fech as þou seggeȝ;

By bole of þis brode tre we byde þe here.”

55 Abraham commands Sarah to make some cakes quickly,

Þenne orppedly in-to his hous he hyȝed to Saré

624 Comaunded hir to be cof & quyk at þis oneȝ;

“Þre metteȝ of mele menge & ma kakeȝ,

Vnder askeȝ ful hote happe hem byliue;

Quyl I fete sumquat fat þou þe fyr bete,

628 Prestly at þis ilke poynte sum polment to make.”

cobhous] cov-hous = cow-house (?). and tells his servant to seethe a tender kid.

He cached to his cobhous & a calf bryngeȝ

Þat watȝ tender & not toȝe; bed tyrne of þe hyde,

& sayde to his seruaunt þat he hit seþe faste

632 & he deruely at his dome dyȝt hit bylyue.

Abraham appears bare-headed before his guests.

Þe burne to be bare-heued buskeȝ hym þenne,

He casts a clean cloth on the green,

Clecheȝ to a clene cloþe & kesteȝ on þe grene,

Þrwe þryftyly þer-on þo þre þerue kakeȝ,

and sets before them cakes, butter, milk, and pottage.

636 & bryngeȝ butter wyth-al, & by þe bred setteȝ

Mete; messeȝ of mylke he merkkeȝ bytwene,

Syþen potage & polment in plater honest;

As sewer in a god assyse he serued hem fayre,

640 Wyth sadde semblaunt & swete of such as he hade,


God praises his friend’s feast,

& god as a glad gest mad god chere,

Þat watȝ fayn of his frende & his fest praysed.

Abraham, al hodleȝ with armeȝ vp-folden,

644 Mynystred mete byfore þo men þat myȝtes al weldeȝ;

Þenne þay sayden, as þay sete samen alle þrynne,

and after the meat is removed,

When þe mete watȝ remued & þay of mensk speken,

“I schal efte here away abram,” þay sayden,

648 “Ȝet er þy lyueȝ lyȝt leþe vpon erþe,

[Fol. 66a.] He tells Abraham that Sarah shall bear him a son.

& þenne schal saré consayue & a sun bere,

Þat schal be abrahameȝ ayre, & after hym wynne

With wele & wyth worschyp þe worþely peple

652 Þat schal halde in heritage, þat I haf men ȝark.”

Sarah, who is behind the door, laughs in unbelief.

Þenne þe burde byhynde þe dor for busmar laȝed;

sothly] ? softly or sotly = foolishly

& sayde sothly to hir-self saré þe madde:

May þou traw for tykle þat þou tonne moȝteȝ,

656 & I so hyȝe out of age & also my lorde,”

For soþely, as says þe wryt, he wern of sadde elde,

Boþe þe wyȝe & his wyf, such werk watȝ hem fayled,

56 byene] ? bycame.

Fro mony a brod day by-fore ho barayn ay byene,

660 Þat selue saré with-outen sede in-to þat same tyme.

God tells Abraham that Sarah laughs at His words.

Þenne sayde oure syre þer he sete “se! so saré laȝes,

Not trawande þe tale þat I þe to schewed;

Hopeȝ ho oȝt may be harde my hondeȝ to work?

664 & ȝet I a-vow verayly þe avaunt þat I made,

I schal ȝeply aȝayn & ȝelde þat I hyȝt,

& sothely sende to saré a soñ & an hayre.”

Sarah denies that she laughed.

Þenne swenged forth saré & swer by hir trawþe,

lansed] laused (?).

668 Þat for lot þat þay lansed ho laȝed neuer.

“Now innoghe hit is not so” þenne nurned þe dryȝtyn,

“For þou laȝed aloȝ, bot let we hit one.”

Abraham’s guests set out towards Sodom,

With þat þay ros vp radly as þay rayke schulde,

672 & setten toward sodamas her syȝt alle at-oneȝ;

For þat Cite þer bysyde watȝ sette in a vale,

two miles from Mamre.

No myleȝ fro mambre mo þen tweyne,

Where-so wonyed þis ilke wyȝ þat wendeȝ with oure lorde,

676 For to tent hym with tale & teche hym þe gate,

The patriarch accompanies them.

Þen glydeȝ forth god, þe godmon hym folȝeȝ.

Abraham heldeȝ hem wyth, hem to conueye,

In towarde þe Cety of sodamas þat synned had þenne

680 In þe faute of þis fylþe; þe fader hem þretes,

& sayde þus to þe segg þat sued hym after:

God determines to reveal to Abraham his secret purposes.

“How myȝt I hyde myn hert fro habraham þe trwe,

Þat I ne dyscouered to his corse my counsayl so dere.

684 Syþen he is chosen to be chef chyldryn fader,

[Fol. 66b.]

Þat so folk schal falle fro, to flete alle þe worlde,

& vche blod in þat burne blessed schal worþe.

Me bos telle to þat tolk þe tene of my wylle

688 & alle myn atlyng to abraham vn-haspe bilyue.



He informs him of the destruction about to fall upon the cities of the plain,

“The grete soun of sodamas synkkeȝ in myn ereȝ,

& þe gult of gomorre gareȝ me to wrath;

I schal lyȝt in-to þat led & loke my seluen,

If] MS. inf.

692 If þay haf don as þe dyne dryueȝ on-lofte,

57 for their great wickedness,

Þay han lerned a lyst þat lykeȝ me ille,

Þat þay han founden in her flesch of fauteȝ þe werst,

in abusing the gifts bestowed upon them.

Vch male matȝ his mach a man as hym seluen,

696 & fylter folyly in fere, on femmaleȝ wyse.

I compast hem a kynde crafte & kende hit hem derne,

The ordinance of marriage had been made for them,

& amed hit in myn ordenaunce oddely dere,

& dyȝt drwry þer-inne, doole alþer-swettest,

700 & þe play of paramoreȝ I portrayed my seluen;

& made þer-to a maner myriest of oþer,

When two true togeder had tyȝed hem seluen,

conne] come (?).

By-twene a male & his make such merþe schulde conne;

704 Wel nyȝe pure paradys moȝt preue no better,

Elleȝ þay moȝt honestly ayþerer welde.

but they foully set it at nought.

At a stylle stollen steuen, vnstered wyth syȝt,

The flame of love.

Luf lowe hem bytwene lasched so hote,

708 Þat alle þe meschefeȝ on mold moȝt hit not sleke;

Now haf þay skyfted my skyl & scorned natwre,

Therefore shall they be destroyed as an example to all men for ever.

& hentteȝ hem in heþyng an vsage vn-clene;

Hem to smyte for þat smod smartly I þenk

712 Þat wyȝeȝ schal be by hem war, worlde with-outen ende.”


Abraham is full of fear,

Þenne arȝed abraham & alle his mod chaunge[d],

For hope of þe harde hate þat hyȝt hatȝ oure lorde;

and asks God whether the “sinful and the sinless” are to suffer together.

Al sykande he sayde “sir with yor leue,

716 Schal synful & sakleȝ suffer al on payne;

Weþer euer hit lyke my lorde to lyfte such domeȝ,

Þat þe wykked & þe worþy schal on wrake suffer,

& weye vpon þe worre half þat wrathed þe neuer?

720 Þat watȝ neuer þy won þat wroȝteȝ vus alle.

[Fol. 67a.] Whether he will spare the cities provided fifty righteous are found in them?

Now fyfty fyn frendeȝ wer founde in ȝonde toune

In þe Cety of Sodamas & also gomorré

Þat neuer lakked þy laue, bot loued ay trauþe,

724 & reȝt-ful wern & resounable & redy þe to serue,

Schal þay falle in þe faute þat oþer frekeȝ wroȝt

& ioyne to her iuggement her iuise to haue?

Þat nas neuer þyn note, vnneuened hit worþe,

728 Þat art so gaynly a god & of goste mylde!”

58 &] An (?). For the sake of fifty the cities shall be spared.

“Nay for fyfty,” quod þe fader, “& þy fayre speche,

& þay be founden in þat folk of her fylþe clene,

I schal for-gyue alle þe gylt þurȝ my grace one,

732 & let hem smolt al unsmyten smoþely atoneȝ.”

The patriarch beseeches God to spare the city for the sake of forty-five righteous.

“AA! blessed be þow,” quod þe burne, “so boner & þewed,

& al haldeȝ in þy honde, þe heuen & þe erþe,

Bot for I haf þis talke tatȝ to non ille,

736 Ȝif I mele a lyttel more þat mul am & askeȝ;

What if fyue faylen of fyfty þe noumbre,

& þe remnaunt be reken, how restes þy wylle?”

For the lack of five the cities shall not be destroyed.

“And fyue wont of fyfty,” quod god, “I schal forȝete alle

740 & wyth-halde my honde for hortyng on lede.”

“& quat if faurty be fre & fauty þyse oþer

Schalt þow schortly al schende & schape non oþer.”

For forty the cities shall be spared.

“Nay þaȝ faurty forfete ȝet fryst I a whyle,

744 & voyde away my vengaunce, þaȝ me vyl þynk.”

Þen abraham obeched hym & loȝly him þonkkeȝ,

“Now sayned be þou sauiour, so symple in þy wrath!

I am bot erþe ful euel & vsle so blake,

Abraham entreats God’s forbearance for his speech.

748 Forto mele wyth such a mayster as myȝteȝ hatȝ alle,

Bot I haue by-gonnen wyth my god, & he hit gayn þynkeȝ,

Ȝif I for-loyne as a fol þy fraunchyse may serue;

What if þretty þryuande be þrad in ȝon touneȝ,

752 What schal I leue if my lorde, if he hem leþe wolde?”

Þenne þe godlych god gef hym onsware,

Thirty righteous, found in the cities, shall save them from destruction.

“Ȝet for þretty in þrong I schal my þro steke,

& spare spakly of spyt in space of my þeweȝ,

756 & my rankor refrayne four þy reken wordeȝ.”

[Fol. 67b.]

“What for twenty,” quod þe tolke, “vntwyneȝ þou hem þenne?”

“Nay, ȝif þou ȝerneȝ hit, ȝet ȝark I hem grace;

For the sake of twenty guiltless ones God will release the rest.

If þat twenty be trwe I tene hem no more,

760 Bot relece alle þat regioun of her ronk werkkeȝ.”

“Now aþel lorde,” quod Abraham, “oneȝ a speche

& I schal schape no more þo schalkkeȝ to helpe;


If ten trysty in toune be tan in þi werkkeȝ

Or if ten only should be found pure.

764 Wylt þou mese þy mode & menddyng abyde?”

“I graunt,” quod þe grete god, “graunt mercy,” þat oþer.

& þenne arest þe renk & raȝt no fyrre;

& godde glydeȝ his gate by þose grene wayeȝ

768 & he conueyen hym con with cast of his yȝe,


The patriarch intercedes for Lot.

& als he loked along þere as oure lorde passed,

Ȝet he cryed hym after with careful steuen:

“Meke mayster on þy mon to mynne if þe lyked,

772 Loth lengeȝ in ȝon leede þat is my lef broþer,

He sytteȝ þer in sodomis, þy seruaunt so pouere

Among þo mansed men þat han þe much greued;

Beseeches Him to “temper His ire,”

Ȝif þou tyneȝ þat toun, tempre þyn yre

776 As þy mersy may malte þy meke to spare.”

and then departs weeping for sorrow.

Þen he wendeȝ, wendeȝ his way wepande for care

so[rȝe]] sorewe is written by a late hand over the original word.

To-warde þe mere of mambre wepande for so[rȝe,]

& þere in longyng al nyȝt he lengeȝ in wones,

780 Whyl þe souerayn to sodamas sende to spye.


God’s messengers go to Sodom.

His sondes in-to sodamas watȝ sende in þat tyme,

In þat ilk euentyde, by aungels tweyne,

Meuand meuande] So in MS.

Meuand meuande mekely togeder as myry men ȝonge,

Lot is sitting alone at the “door of his lodge.”

784 As loot in a loge dor lened hym alone,

In a porche of þat place pyȝt to þe ȝates,

Þat watȝ ryal & ryche, so watȝ þe renkes seluen.

Staring into the street he sees two men.

As he stared in-to þe strete þer stout men played

788 He syȝe þer swey in asent swete men tweyne;

Beardless chins they had,

Bolde burneȝ wer þay boþe with berdles chynneȝ,

and hair like raw silk.

Royl rollande fax to raw sylk lyke,

Of ble as þe brere flour where-so þe bare scheweed,

792 Ful clene watȝ þe countenaunce of her cler yȝen;

[Fol. 68a.] Beautifully white were their weeds.

Wlonk whit watȝ her wede & wel hit hem semed.

Of alle fetureȝ ful fyn & fautleȝ boþe;

Watȝ non autly in ouþer, for aungels hit wern,


796 & þat þe ȝep vnder-ȝede þat in þe ȝate sytteȝ.


Lot runs to meet them.

He ros vp ful radly & ran hem to mete

& loȝe he louteȝ hem to, loth, to þe grounde,

& syþen soberly [satȝ] “syreȝ I yow by-seche,

Invites them to remain awhile in his house,

800 Þat ȝe wolde lyȝt at my loge & lenge þer-inne,

Comeȝ to your knaues kote I craue at þis oneȝ;

I schal fette yow a fatte your fette forto wasche;

I norne yow bot for on nyȝt neȝe me to lenge,

and in the morning they may take their way.

804 & in þe myry mornyng ȝe may your waye take.”

& þay nay þat þay nolde neȝ no howseȝ,

Bot stylly þer in þe strete as þay stadde wern,

Þay wolde lenge þe long naȝt & logge þer-oute;

808 Hit watȝ hous innoȝe to hem þe heuen vpon lofte.

Lot invites them so long that at last they comply.

Loth laþed so longe wyth luflych wordeȝ,

Þat þay hym graunted to go & gruȝt no lenger.

Þe bolde to his byggyng bryngeȝ hem bylyue,

The wife and daughters of Lot welcome their visitors.

812 Þat ryally [watȝ] arayed, for he watȝ ryche euer.

Þe wyȝeȝ wern welcom as þe wyf couþe,

His two dere doȝtereȝ deuoutly hem haylsed,

Þat wer maydeneȝ ful meke, maryed not ȝet,

816 & þay wer semly & swete, & swyþe wel arayed.

Lot admonishes his men to prepare the meat,

Loth þenne ful lyȝtly lokeȝ hym aboute,

& his men amonestes mete forto dyȝt,

þynk] þyng (?).

Bot þenkkeȝ on hit be þrefte what þynk so ȝe make,

sour] savour (?). and to serve no salt with it.

820 For wyth no sour ne no salt serueȝ hym neuer.

wroth] wroȝt (?).

Bot ȝet I wene þat þe wyf hit wroth to dyspyt,

vn-sauere] MS. vnfauere.

& sayde softely to hir self “þis vn-sauere hyne

Loueȝ no salt in her sauce ȝet hit no skyl were

824 Þat oþer burne be boute þaȝ boþe be nyse.”

Lot’s wife disregards the injunction.

Þenne ho sauereȝ with salt her seueȝ vchone

Agayne þe bone of þe burne þat hit forboden hade,

& als ho scelt hem in scorne þat wel her skyl knewen.

828 Why watȝ ho wrech so wod, ho wrathed oure lorde!

[Fol. 68b.] The guests are well entertained.

Þenne seten þay at þe soper, wern serued by-lyue,

Þe gestes gay & ful glad, of glam debonere,

Welawynnely wlonk tyl þay waschen hade,


832 Þe trestes tylt to þe woȝe & þe table boþe.

But before they go to rest the city is up in arms.

Fro þe seggeȝ haden souped & seten bot a whyle,

Er euer þay bosked to bedde þe borȝ watȝ al vp;

Alle þat weppen myȝt welde, þe wakker & þe stronger,

836 To vmbe-lyȝe lotheȝ hous þe ledeȝ to take,

In grete flokkeȝ of folk, þay fallen to his ȝateȝ,

As a scowte-wach scarred, so þe asscry rysed;


With “keen clubs” the folk clatter on the walls,

With kene clobbeȝ of þat clos þay clatȝ on þe woweȝ,

840 & wyth a schrylle scharp schout þay schewe þyse worde:

and demand that Lot should deliver up his guests.

“If þou louyeȝ þy lyf loth in þyse woneȝ

Ȝete vus out þose ȝong men þat ȝore-whyle here entred,

hym] hem (?).

Þat we may lere hym of lof, as oure lyst biddeȝ,

844 As is þe asyse of Sodomas to seggeȝ þat passen.”

Whatt! þay sputen & speken of so spitous fylþe,

What! þay ȝeȝed & ȝolped of ȝestande sorȝe,

The wind yet stinks with their filthy speech.

Þat ȝet þe wynd, & þe weder, & þe worlde stynkes

848 Of þe brych þat vp-braydeȝ þose broþelych wordeȝ.

Þe god man glyfte with þat glam & gloped for noyse,

So scharpe schame to hym schot, he schrank at þe hert,

For he knew þe costoum þat kyþed þose wrecheȝ,

852 He doted neuer for no doel so depe in his mynde.

Lot is in great trouble.

Allas! sayd hym þenne loth, & lyȝtly he ryseȝ

& boweȝ forth fro þe bench in-to þe brode ȝates.

What! he wonded no woþe of wekked knaueȝ,

peril] MS. pil.

856 Þat he ne passed þe port þe peril to abide.

He leaves his guests

He went forthe at þe wyket & waft hit hym after,

Þat a clyket hit cleȝt clos hym byhynde.

and addresses the Sodomites.

Þenne he meled to þo men mesurable wordeȝ,

860 For harloteȝ with his hendelayk he hoped to chast;

“Oo! my frendeȝ so fre, your fare is to strange,

Dotȝ away your derf dyn & dereȝ neuer my gestes,

Avoy! hit is your vylaynye, ȝe vylen your seluen;

&] And = An (?).

864 & ȝe ar iolyf gentylmen your iapes ar ille.

[Fol. 69a.]

Bot I schal kenne yow by kynde a crafte þat is better;

He offers to give up to them his two daughters.

I haf a tresor in my telde of tow my fayre deȝter,

Þat ar maydeneȝ vnmard for alle men ȝette;


868 In sodamas, þaȝ I hit say, non semloker burdes,

Hit arn ronk, hit arn rype & redy to manne;

To samen wyth þo semly þe solace is better,

I schal biteche yow þo two þat tayt arn & quoynt,

872 & laykeȝ wyth hem as yow lyst & leteȝ my gestes one.”

The rebels raise a great noise,

Þenne þe rebaudeȝ so ronk rerd such a noyse,

Þat aȝly hurled in his ereȝ her harloteȝ speche;

and ask who made him a justice to judge their deeds,

“Wost þou not wel þat þou woneȝ here a wyȝe strange,

876 An out-comlyng, a carle, we kylle of þyn heued.

Who Ioyned þe be iostyse oure iapeȝ to blame,

who was but a boy when he came to Sodom.

Þat com a boy to þis borȝ, þaȝ þou be burne ryche?”

Þus þay þrobled & þrong & þrwe vmbe his ereȝ,


& distresed hym wonder strayt, with strenkþe in þe prece,


The young men bring Lot within doors,

Bot þat þe ȝonge men, so ȝepe, ȝornen þer-oute,

Wapped vpon þe wyket & wonnen hem tylle,

& by þe hondeȝ hym hent & horyed hym with-inne,

884 & steken þe ȝates ston-harde wyth stalworth barreȝ.

and smite those outside with blindness.

Þay blwe a boffet in blande þat banned peple,

Þat þay blustered as blynde as bayard watȝ euer;

In vain they try to find the door of Lot’s house.

Þay lest of loteȝ logging any lysoun to fynde,

888 Bot nyteled þer alle þe nyȝt for noȝt at þe last;

Þenne vch tolke tyȝt hem þat hade of tayt fayled,

& vchon roþeled to þe rest þat he reche moȝt;

wrank] wrang (?).

Bot þay wern wakned al wrank þat þer in won lenged,

892 Of on þe vglokest vnhap þat euer on erd suffred.



Early in the morning the angels command Lot to depart from Sodom,

Ruddon of þe day-rawe ros vpon vȝten,

When merk of þe mydnyȝt moȝt no more last,

Ful erly þose aungeleȝ þis haþel þay ruþen

896 & glopnedly on godeȝ halue gart hym vpryse,

Fast þe freke ferkeȝ vp ful ferd at his hert;

Þay comaunded hym cof to cach þat he hade,

with his wife and two daughters,

“Wyth þy wyf & þy wyȝeȝ & þy wlone deȝtters,

900 For we laþe þe, sir loth, þat þou þy lyf haue;

[Fol. 69b.]

Cayre tid of þis kythe er combred þou worþe,


With alle þi here vpon haste, tyl þou a hil fynde;

and to look straight before him,

Foundeȝ faste on your fete, bifore your face lokes,

904 Bot bes neuer so bolde to blusch yow bihynde,

& loke ȝe stemme no stepe, bot strecheȝ on faste,

Til ȝe reche to a reset, rest ȝe neuer;

for Sodom and Gomorrah shall be destroyed.

For we schal tyne þis toun & trayþely disstrye,

908 Wyth alle þise wyȝeȝ so wykke wyȝtly de-voyde

& alle þe londe with þise ledeȝ we losen at oneȝ;

Sodomas schal ful sodenly synk in-to grounde,

& þe grounde of gomorre gorde in-to helle,

912 & vche a koste of þis kythe clater vpon hepes.

Lot asks what is best to be done,

Þen laled loth, “lorde what is best?

If I me fele vpon fote þat I fle moȝt,

that he may escape.

Hov schulde I huyde me fro hem þat hatȝ his hate kynned,

þinkeȝ] þingeȝ.

916 In þe brath of his breth þat brenneȝ alle þinkeȝ,

To crepe fro my creatour & know not wheder,

Ne wheþer his fooschip me folȝeȝ bifore oþer bihynde?”

Þe freke sayde “no foschip oure fader hatȝ þe schewed,

920 Bot hiȝly heuened þi hele fro hem þat arn combred:

He is told to choose himself a dwelling which shall be saved from destruction.

Nov walle þe a wonnyng þat þe warisch myȝt,

& he schal saue hit for þy sake þat hatȝ vus sende hider,

For þou art oddely þyn one out of þis fylþe,

em] broþer is written over in a later hand.

924 & als Abraham þyn em hit at him self asked.”

“Lorde, loued he worþe,” quod loth, “vpon erþe!

He chooses Zoar.

Þen is a cite herbisyde þat segor hit hatte,

Here vtter on a rounde hil hit houeȝ hit one,

928 I wolde, if his wylle wore, to þat won scape.”

The angels command Lot to depart quickly.

“Þenn fare forth,” quod þat fre, “& fyne þou neuer

With þose ilk þat þow wylt þat þrenge þe after,

& ay goande on your gate, wyth-outen agayn-tote,

932 For alle þis londe schal be lorne, longe er þe sonne rise.”

He wakes his wife and daughters.

Þe wyȝe wakened his wyf & his wlonk deȝteres,

& oþer two myri men þo maydeneȝ schulde wedde;

& þay token hit as tyt & tented hit lyttel,

936 Þaȝ fast laþed hem loth, þay leȝen ful stylle.

64 [Fol. 70a] All four are hastened on by the angels,

Þe aungeleȝ hasted þise oþer & aȝly hem þratten,

& enforsed alle fawre forth at þe ȝateȝ,

Þo wern loth & his lef, his luflyche deȝter,

940 Þer soȝt no mo to sauement of cities aþel fyue.

who “preach to them the peril” of delay

Þise aungeleȝ hade hem by hande out at þe ȝateȝ,

Prechande hem þe perile, & beden hem passe fast.

“Lest ȝe be taken in þe teche of tyraunteȝ here,

944 Loke ȝe bowe now bi bot, boweȝ fast hence!”

Before daylight Lot comes to a hill.

& þay kayre-ne con & kenely flowen;

Erly, er any heuen glem, þay to a hil comen.

God aloft raises a storm.

Þe grete god in his greme bygynneȝ onlofte;

948 To wakan wedereȝ so wylde þe wyndeȝ he calleȝ,

& þay wroþely vp-wafte & wrastled togeder,

Fro fawre half of þe folde, flytande loude.

Clowdeȝ clustered bytwene kesten vp torres,

952 Þat þe þik þunder þrast þirled hem ofte.

A rain falls thick of fire and sulphur.

Þe rayn rueled adoun, ridlande þikke,

Of felle flaunkes of fyr & flakes of soufre,

Al in smolderande smoke smachande ful ille,

Swe] Sweyed (?). Upon the four cities it comes,

956 Swe aboute sodamas & hit sydeȝ alle,

Gorde to gomorra þat þe grounde lansed;

Abdama & syboym, þise ceteis alle faure,

Al birolled wyth þe rayn, rostted & brenned,

and frightens all folks therein.

960 & ferly flayed þat folk þat in þose fees lenged;

For when þat þe helle herde þe houndeȝ of heuen

He watȝ ferlyly fayn, vnfolded bylyue.


The great bars of the abyss do burst.

Þe grete barreȝ of þe abyme he barst vp at oneȝ,

964 Þat alle þe regioun to-rof in riftes ful grete,

Cliffs cleave asunder.

& clouen alle in lyttel cloutes þe clyffeȝ aywhere,

As lance leueȝ of þe boke þat lepes in twynne.

The cities sink to hell.

Þe brethe of þe brynston bi þat hit blende were,

968 Al þo citees & her sydes sunkken to helle.

Rydelles wern þo grete rowtes of renkkes with-inne,

When þay wern war of þe wrake þat no wyȝe achaped,

Such a cry arises that the clouds clatter again.

Such a ȝomerly ȝarm of ȝellyng þer rysed;

972 Þer-of clatered þe cloudes þat kryst myȝt haf rawþe.

65 [Fol. 70b.]

Þe segge herde þat soun to segor þat ȝede,

& þe wenches hym wyth þat by þe way folȝed;

Lot and his companions are frightened,

Ferly ferde watȝ her flesch, þat flowen ay ilyche,

976 Trynande ay a hyȝe trot þat torne neuer dorsten.

Loth & þo luly-whit his lefly two deȝter,

but continue to follow their face.

Ay folȝed here face, bifore her boþe yȝen;

Bot þe balleful burde, þat neuer bode keped,


Lot’s wife looks behind her,

980 Blusched by-hynden her bak, þat bale forto herkken;

Hit watȝ lusty lothes wyf þat ouer he[r] lyfte schulder.

Ones ho bluschet to þe burȝe, bot bod ho no lenger,

and is turned to a stiff stone “as salt as any sea.”

Þat ho nas stadde a stiffe ston, a stalworth image

984 Al so salt as ani se & so ho ȝet standeȝ.

Her companions do not miss her till they reach Zoar.

Þay slypped bi & syȝe hir not þat wern hir samen feres,

Tyl þay in segor wern sette, & sayned our lorde;

Wyth lyȝt loueȝ vplyfte þay loued hym swyþe,

988 Þat so his seruauntes wolde see & saue of such woþe.

By this time all were drowned.

Al watȝ dampped & don, & drowned by þenne;

The people of Zoar, for dread, rush into the sea and are destroyed.

Þe ledeȝ of þat lyttel toun wern lopen out for drede,

In-to þat malscrande mere, marred bylyue,

992 Þat noȝt saued watȝ bot segor þat sat on a lawe,

Only Zoar with three therein (Lot and his daughters) are saved.

Þe þre ledeȝ þer-in, loth & his deȝter;

For his make watȝ myst, þat on þe mount lenged

In a stonen statue þat salt sauor habbes,

Lot’s wife is an image of salt for two faults:
1. She served salt before the Lord at supper.
2. She looked behind her.

996 For two fautes þat þe fol watȝ founde in mistrauþe;

On, ho serued at þe soper salt bifore dryȝtyn

& syþen, ho blusched hir bihynde, þaȝ hir forboden were;

For on ho standes a ston, & salt for þat oþer,

1000 & alle lyst on hir lik þat arn on launde bestes.

Abraham is up full early on the morn.

Abraham ful erly watȝ vp on þe morne,

Þat alle naȝt [so] much niye hade no mon in his hert,

Al in longing for loth leyen in a wache,

1004 Þer he lafte hade oure lorde, he is on lofte wonnen;

He looks towards Sodom,

He sende toward sodomas þe syȝt of his yȝen,

Þat euer hade ben an erde of erþe þe swettest

As aparaunt to paradis þat plantted þe dryȝtyn,

66 now only a pit filled with pitch,

1008 Nov is hit plunged in a pit like of pich fylled.

[Fol. 71a.]

Suche a roþun of a reche ros fro þe blake,

from which rise smoke, ashes and cinders, as from a furnace.

Askeȝ vpe in þe ayre & vselleȝ þer flowen,

As a fornes ful of flot þat vpon fyr boyles,

1012 When bryȝt brennande brondeȝ ar bet þer an-vnder.

Þis watȝ a uengaunce violent þat voyded þise places,

Þat foundered hatȝ so fayr a folk & þe folde sonkken.


A sea now occupies the place of the four cities.

Þer faure citees wern set, nov is a see called,

1016 Þat ay is drouy & dym, & ded in hit kynde,

Blo, blubrande, & blak, vnblyþe to neȝe,

It is a stinking pool,

As a stynkande stanc þat stryed synne,

Þat euer of synne & of smach, smart is to fele;

and is called the Dead Sea.

1020 For-þy þe derk dede see hit is demed euer more,

For hit dedeȝ of deþe duren þere ȝet.

For hit is brod & boþemleȝ, & bitter as þe galle,

Nothing may live in it.

& noȝt may lenge in þat lake þat any lyf bereȝ,

1024 & alle þe costeȝ of kynde hit combreȝ vchone;

Lead floats on its surface.

For lay þer-on a lump of led & hit on loft fleteȝ,

A feather sinks to the bottom of it.

& folde þer-on a lyȝt fyþer & hit to founs synkkeȝ.

Lands, watered by this sea, never bear grass or weed.

& þer water may walter to wete any erþe,

1028 Schal neuer grene þer-on growe, gresse ne wod nawþer.

If any schalke to be schent wer schowued þer-inne,

Þaȝ he bode in þat boþem broþely a monyth,

A man cannot be drowned in it.

He most ay lyue in þat loȝe in losyng euer-more,

1032 & neuer dryȝe no dethe, to dayes of ende;

& as hit is corsed of kynde & hit coosteȝ als,

The clay clinging to it is corrosive,

Þe clay þat clenges þer-by arn corsyes strong,

alkaran] alkatran (?). angré] augre = aigre (?). as alum, alkaran, sulphur, etc.,

As alum & alkaran, þat angré arn boþe,

1036 Soufre sour, & saundyuer, & oþer such mony;

& þer walteȝ of þat water in waxlokes grete,

spuniande] spinnande (?).

Þe spuniande aspaltoun þat spysereȝ sellen;

& suche is alle þe soyle by þat se halues,

festred] festres (?). which fret the flesh and fester the bones.

1040 Þat fel fretes þe flesch & festred bones.

On the shores of this lake grow trees bearing fair fruits,

& þer ar tres by þat terne of traytoures;

& þay borgouneȝ & beres blomeȝ ful fayre,

& þe fayrest fryt þat may on folde growe,


1044 As orenge & oþer fryt & apple garnade

[Fol. 71b.]

Also red & so ripe & rychely hwed,

As any dom myȝt deuice of dayntyeȝ oute;

which, when broken or bitten, taste like ashes.

Bot quen hit is brused oþer broken, oþer byten in twynne,

wydowande] MS. wyndowande.

1048 No worldeȝ goud hit wyth-inne, bot wydowande askes;


All these are tokens of wickedness and vengeance.

Alle þyse ar teches & tokenes to trow vpon ȝet,

& wittnesse of þat wykked werk & þe wrake after,

Þat oure fader forferde for fylþe of þose ledes.

God loves the pure in heart.

1052 Þenne vch wyȝe may wel wyt þat he þe wlonk louies,

& if he louyes clene layk þat is oure lorde ryche,

Strive to be clean.

& to be couþe in his courte þou coueytes þenne

To se þat semly in sete & his swete face,

1056 Clerrer counseyl, counsayl con I non, bot þat þou clene worþe.

Jean de Meun tells how a lady is to be loved.

For clopyngnel in þe compas of his clene rose,

Þer he expouneȝ a speche, to hym þat spede wolde,

Of a lady to be loued, loke to hir sone,

By doing what pleases her best.

1060 Of wich beryng þat ho be, & wych ho best louyes,

& be ryȝt such in vch a borȝe of body & of dedes,

& folȝ þe fet of þat fere þat þou fre haldes.

& if þou wyrkkes on þis wyse, þaȝ ho wyk were,

1064 Hir schal lyke þat layk þat lyknes hir tylle.

If þou wyl dele drwrye wyth dryȝtyn þenne,

Love thy Lord!

& lelly louy þy lorde & his leef worþe.

Conform to Christ, who is polished as a pearl.

Þenne confourme þe to kryst, & þe clene make,

1068 Þat euer is polyced als playn as þe perle seluen.

For loke fro fyrst þat he lyȝt with-inne þe lel mayden!


By how comely a contrivance did he enter the womb of the virgin!

By how comly a kest he watȝ clos þere,

When venkkyst watȝ no vergynyté, ne vyolence maked,

1072 Bot much clener watȝ hir corse, god kynned þerinne;

In what purity did he part from her!

& efte when he borne watȝ in beþelen þe ryche,

In wych puryté þay departed; þaȝ þay pouer were,

abos] abof (?).

Watȝ neuer so blysful a bour as watȝ abos þenne

No abode was better than his.

1076 Ne no schroude hous so schene as a schepon þare,

Ne non so glad vnder god as ho þat grone schulde;

68 The sorrow of childbirth was turned to joy.

For þer watȝ seknesse al sounde þat sarrest is halden,

& þer watȝ rose reflayr where rote hatȝ ben euer,

1080 & þer watȝ solace & songe wher sorȝ hatȝ ay cryed;

[Fol. 72a.] Angels solaced the virgin with organs and pipes.

For aungelles with instrumentes of organes & pypes,

& rial ryngande rotes & þe reken fyþel,

& alle hende þat honestly moȝt an hert glade,

1084 Aboutte my lady watȝ lent, quen ho delyuer were.

The child Christ was so clean that ox and ass worshipped him.

Þenne watȝ her blyþe barne burnyst so clene,

Þat boþe þe ox & þe asse hym hered at-ones;

Þay knewe hym by his clannes for kyng of nature,

1088 For non so clene of such a clos com neuer er þenne;

He hated wickedness,

& ȝif clanly he þenne com, ful cortays þer-after,

Þat alle þat longed to luþer ful lodly he hated;

and would never touch ought that was vile.

By nobleye of his norture he nolde neuer towche

1092 Oȝt þat watȝ vngoderly oþer ordure watȝ inne.

Yet there came to him lazars and lepers, lame and blind.

Ȝet comen lodly to þat lede, as laȝares monye,

Summe lepre, summe lome, & lomerande blynde,

Poysened & parlatyk & pyned in fyres,

Dry and dropsical folk.

1096 Drye folk & ydropike, & dede at þe laste;

Alle called on þat cortayse & claymed his grace.

He healed all with kind speech.

He heled hem wyth hynde speche of þat þay ask after,

For what-so he towched also-tyd tourned to hele,

1100 Wel clanner þen any crafte cowþe devyse;

So clene watȝ his hondelyng vche ordure hit schonied,

His handling was so good,

& þe gropyng so goud of god & man boþe,

Þat for fetys of his fyngeres fonded he neuer

cout] cut (?). that he needed no knife to cut or carve with.

1104 Nauþer to cout ne to kerue, with knyf ne wyth egge,

The bread he broke

For-þy brek he þe bred blades wyth-outen;

For hit ferde freloker in fete in his fayre honde,

more perfectly than could all the tools of Toulouse.

Displayed more pryuyly when he hit part schulde,

1108 Þenne alle þe toles of tolowse moȝt tyȝt hit to kerue,

How can we approach his court except we be clean?

Þus is he kyryous & clene þat þou his cort askes;

Hov schulde þou com to his kyth bot if þou clene were?

sov[er]ly] MS. sovly.

Nov ar we sore & synful & sov[er]ly vch one,

1112 How schulde we se, þen may we say, þat syre vpon throne?

69 God is merciful.

Ȝis, þat mayster is mercyable; þaȝ þou be man fenny,

& al to-marred in myre whyl þou on molde lyuyes,

Þou may schyne þurȝ schryfte, þaȝ þou haf schome serued,


Through penance we may shine as a pearl.

1116 & pure þe with penaunce tyl þou a perle worþe.

[Fol. 72b.] Why is the pearl so prized?

Perle praysed is prys, þer perre is schewed,

Þaȝ hym not derrest be demed to dele for penies,

Quat may þe cause be called, bot for hir clene hwes,

1120 Þat wynnes worschyp, abof alle whyte stones?

For ho schynes so schyr þat is of schap rounde,

Wyth-outen faut oþer fylþe ȝif ho fyn were;

She becomes none the worse for wear.

& wax euer in þe worlde in weryng so olde,

1124 Ȝet þe perle payres not whyle ho in pyese lasttes

If she should become dim, wash her in wine.

& if hit cheue þe chaunce vncheryst ho worþe,

Þat ho blyndes of ble in bour þer ho lygges,

No-bot wasch hir wyth wourchyp in wyn as ho askes,

She then becomes clearer than before.

1128 Ho by kynde schal be-com clerer þen are;

So if folk be defowled by vnfre chaunce,

So may the sinner polish him by penance.

Þat he be sulped in sawle, seche to schryfte

& he may polyce hym at þe prest, by penaunce taken,

1132 Wel bryȝter þen þe beryl oþer browden perles.

Beware of returning to sin.

Bot war þe wel, if þou be waschen wyth water of schryfte,

& polysed als playn as parchmen schauen,

Sulp no more þenne in synne þy saule þer-after,

For then God is more displeased than ever.

1136 For þenne þou dryȝtyn dyspleses with dedes ful sore,

& entyses hym to tene more trayþly þen euer

& wel hatter to hate þen hade þou not waschen;

The reconciled soul God holds as His own.

For when a sawele is saȝtled & sakred to dryȝtyn,

1140 He holly haldes hit his & haue hit he wolde,

Þenne efte lastes hit likkes, he loses hit ille,

þewes] þeues. (?). Ill deeds rob Him of it.

As hit were rafte wyth vn-ryȝt & robbed wyth þewes.

War þe þenne for þe wrake, his wrath is achaufed,


God forbids us to defile any vessels used in His service.

1144 For þat þat ones watȝ his schulde efte be vn-clene,

Þaȝ hit be bot a bassyn, a bolle, oþer a scole,

A dysche oþer a dobler þat dryȝtyn oneȝ serued,


To defowle hit euer vpon folde fast he for-bedes,

1148 So is he scoymus of scaþe þat scylful is euer.

In Belshazzar’s time, the defiling of God’s vessels brought wrath upon the king.

& þat watȝ bared in babyloyn in Baltaȝar tyme,

Hov harde vnhap þer hym hent & hastyly sone,

For he þe vesselles avyled þat vayled in þe temple

1152 In seruyse of þe souerayn sum tyme byfore.

[Fol. 73a.]

Ȝif ȝe wolde tyȝt me a tom telle hit I wolde,

Hov charged more watȝ his chaunce þat hem cherych nolde

Þen his fader forloyne þat feched hem wyth strenþe,

1156 & robbed þe relygioun of relykes alle.


Daniel in his prophecies tells of the destruction of the Jews.

Danyel in his dialokeȝ de-vysed sum tyme,

As ȝet is proued ex-presse in his profecies,

Hov þe gentryse of Iuise & Iherusalem þe ryche

1160 Watȝ disstryed wyth distres, & drawen to þe erþe,

For their unfaithfulness

For þat folke in her fayth watȝ founden vntrwe,

Þat haden hyȝt þe hyȝe god to halde of hym euer;

& he hem halȝed for his & help at her nede

1164 In mukel meschefes mony, þat meruayl [is] to here;

in following other gods,

& þay forloyne her fayth & folȝed oþer goddes,

& þat wakned his wrath & wrast hit so hyȝe,

God allowed the heathen to destroy them,

Þat he fylsened þe faythful in þe falce lawe

1168 To for-fare þe falce in þe faythe trwe;

ȝedechyas] MS. ȝedethyas. in the reign of Zedekiah,

Hit watȝ sen in þat syþe þat ȝedechyas rengned,

In Iuda, þat iustised þe iuyne kynges.

He sete on Salamones solie, on solemne wyse,

1172 Bot of leaute he watȝ lat to his lorde hende;

who practised idolatry.

He vsed abominaciones of idolatrye,

& lette lyȝt bi þe lawe þat he watȝ lege tylle;

For-þi oure fader vpon folde a foman hym wakned,

Nebuchadnezzar becomes his foe.

1176 Nabigo-de-noȝar nuyed hym swyþe.

He pur-sued in to palastyn with proude men mony,

wyth] MS. wyth with.

& þer he wast wyth werre þe wones of þorpes.

He herȝed vp alle israel & hent of þe beste,


He besieges Jerusalem, and surrounds the walls.

1180 & þe gentylest of Iudee in Ierusalem biseged,


Vmbe-walt alle þe walles wyth wyȝes ful stronge,

At vche a dor a doȝty duk, & dutte hem wyth-inne;

The city is stuffed full of men.

For þe borȝ watȝ so bygge baytayled alofte,

1184 & stoffed wyth-inne with stout men to stalle hem þer-oute.

Þenne watȝ þe sege sette þe Cete aboute,

Brisk is the skirmish.

Skete skarmoch skelt, much skaþe lached;

At vch brugge a berfray on basteles wyse,

[Fol. 73b.] Seven times a day are the gates assailed.

1188 Þat seuen syþe vch a day asayled þe ȝates,

Trwe tulkkes in toures teueled wyth-inne,

In bigge brutage of borde, bulde on þe walles;

For two years the fight goes on, yet the city is not taken.

Þay feȝt & þay fende of, & fylter togeder

1192 Til two ȝer ouer-torned, ȝet tok þay hit neuer.

The folk within are in want of food.

At þe laste vpon longe, þo ledes wyth-inne,

Faste fayled hem þe fode, enfaminied monie;

Þe hote hunger wyth-inne hert hem wel sarre,

1196 Þen any dunt of þat douthe þat dowelled þer-oute.

Þenne wern þo rowtes redles in þo ryche wones,

Meager they become.

Fro þat mete watȝ myst, megre þay wexen,

For so shut up are they that escape seems impossible.

& þay stoken so strayt, þat þay ne stray myȝt

1200 A fote fro þat forselet to forray no goudes.

Þenne þe kyng of þe kyth a counsayl hym takes,

Wyth þe best of his burnes, a blench forto make;

But on a quiet night they steal out,
and rush through the host.

Þay stel out on a stylle nyȝt er any steuen rysed,

1204 & harde hurles þurȝ þe oste, er enmies hit wyste,

Bot er þay at-wappe ne moȝt þe wach wyth-oute,

They are discovered by the enemy.

Hiȝe skelt watȝ þe askry þe skewes an-vnder,

A loud alarm is given.

Loude alarom vpon launde lulted watȝ þenne;

1208 Ryche, ruþed of her rest, ran to here wedes,

Hard hattes þay hent & on hors lepes;

Cler claryoun crak cryed onlofte.

They are pursued

By þat watȝ alle on a hepe hurlande swyþee,

1212 Folȝande þat oþer flote, & fonde hem bilyue,

and overtaken.

Ouer-tok hem, as tyd, tult hem of sadeles,

Tyl vche prynce hade his per put to þe grounde;


Their king is made prisoner.

& þer watȝ þe kyng kaȝt wyth calde prynces,


1216 & alle hise gentyle for-iusted on ierico playnes,

His chief men are presented as prisoners to Nebuchadnezzar.

& presented wern as presoneres to þe prynce rychest,

Nabigo-de-noȝar noble in his chayer,

& he þe faynest freke þat he his fo hade,

1220 & speke spitously hem to & spylt þerafter.

His sons are slain.

Þe kynges sunnes in his syȝt he slow euer vch one,

His own eyes are put out.

& holkked out his auen yȝen heterly boþe

He is placed in a dungeon in Babylon.

& bede þe burne to be broȝt to babyloyn þe ryche,

[Fol. 74a.]

1224 & þere in dongoun be don to dreȝe þer his wyrdes.

Now se, so þe soueray[n] set hatȝ his wrake;

Nas hit not for nabugo ne his noble nauþer,

Þat oþer depryued watȝ of pryde with paynes stronge,

All for his “bad bearing” against the Lord,
who might otherwise have been his friend.

1228 Bot for his beryng so badde agayn his blyþe lorde;

For hade þe fader ben his frende þat hym bifore keped,

Ne neuer trespast to him in teche of mysseleue.

To Colde wer alle Calde & kythes of ynde,

1232 Ȝet take torkye hem wyth her tene hade ben little;

Nebuchadnezzar ceased not until he had destroyed Jerusalem.

Ȝet nolde neuer nabugo þis ilke note leue,

Er he hade tuyred þis toun & torne hit to grounde;

He ioyned vnto Ierusalem a gentyle duc þenne,

Nebuzaradan was “chief of the chivalry.”

1236 His name watȝ nabu-ȝardan, to noye þe iues;

He watȝ mayster of his men & myȝty him seluen,

Þe chef of his cheualrye his chekkes to make,

He brek þe bareres as bylyue, & þe burȝ after,

1240 & enteres in ful ernestly, in yre of his hert.

What! þe maysterry watȝ mene, þe men wern away,

The best men were taken out of the city.

Þe best boȝed wyth þe burne þat þe borȝ ȝemed;

so] The MS. reads fo.

& þo þat byden wer so biten with þe bale hunger,

1244 Þat on wyf hade ben worþe þe welgest fourre;

Nevertheless Nebuzaradan spared not those left.

Nabiȝardan noȝt for-þy nolde not spare,

Bot bede al to þe bronde vnder bare egge.

Þay slowen of swettest semlych burdes,

Brains of bairns were spilt.

1248 Baþed barnes in blod & her brayn spylled;

Priests pressed to death.

Prestes & prelates þay presed to deþe,

Wives and wenches foully killed.

Wyues & wenches her wombes tocoruen,

Þat her boweles out-borst aboute þe diches,

73 All that escaped the sword were taken to Babylon,

1252 & al watȝ carfully kylde þat þay cach myȝt,

& alle [þat] swypped vnswolȝed of þe sworde kene,

Þay wer cagged & kaȝt on capeles al bare,

Festned fettres to her fete vnder fole wombes,

1256 & broþely broȝt to babyloyn þer bale to suffer,

To sytte in seruage & syte; þat sumtyme wer gentyle,

and were made to drag the cart or milk the kine.

Now ar chaunged to chorles & charged wyth werkkes,

Boþe to cayre at þe kart & þe kuy mylke,

[Fol. 74b.]

1260 Þat sumtyme sete in her sale syres & burdes.


Nebuzaradan burst open the temple,

& ȝet nabuȝardan nyl neuer stynt,

Er he to þe tempple tee wyth his tulkkes alle;

Betes on þe barers, brestes vp þe ȝates,

and slew those therein.

1264 Slouen alle at a slyp þat serued þer-inne,

Priests, pulled by the poll, were slain along with deacons, clerks, and maidens.

Pulden prestes bi þe polle & plat of her hedes,

Diȝten dekenes to deþe, dungen doun clerkkes,

& alle þe maydenes of þe munster maȝtyly hokyllen

1268 Wyth þe swayf of þe sworde þat swolȝed hem alle.

The enemy pillages the temple

Þenne ran þay to þe relykes as robbors wylde,

& pyled alle þe apparement þat pented to þe kyrke,

of its pillars of brass,

Þe pure pyleres [o]f bras pourtrayd in golde,

and the golden candlestick

1272 & þe chef chaundeler charged with þe lyȝt,

Þat ber þe lamp vpon lofte, þat lemed euer more,

Bifore þ[e] sancta sanctorum þer selcouth watȝ ofte.

Þay caȝt away þat condelstik, & þe crowne als,

from off the altar.

1276 Þat þe auter hade vpon, of aþel golde ryche;


Þe gredirne & þe goblotes garnyst of syluer,


Þe bases of þe bryȝt postes & bassynes so schyre;

golden dishes,

Dere disches of golde & dubleres fayre,

1280 Þe vyoles & þe vesselment of vertuous stones.

all are taken by Nebuzaradan,

Now hatȝ nabuȝardan nomen alle þyse noble þynges,

& pyled þat precious place & pakked þose godes;

Þe golde of þe gaȝafylace to swyþe gret noumbre,

and hampered together.

1284 Wyth alle þe vrnmentes of þat hous, he hamppred to-geder.

Alle he spoyled spitously in a sped whyle,

Solomon had made them with much labour.

Þat salomon so mony a sadde ȝer soȝt to make,


Wyth alle þe coyntyse þat he cowþe clene to wyrke;

1288 De-uised he þe vesselment, þe vestures clene,

Wyth slyȝt of his ciences, his souerayn to loue,

Þe hous & þe anournementes he hyȝtled to-gedere.

numnend] nummen (?).

Now hatȝ nabuȝardan numnend hit al samen,

The temple he beats down,

1292 & syþen bet doun þe burȝ & brend hit in askes;

Þenne wyth legiounes of ledes ouer londes he rydes,

Herȝeȝ of Israel þe hyrne aboute.

and returns to Babylon.

Wyth charged chariotes þe cheftayn he fynde[ȝ],


[Fol. 75a.] Presents the prisoners to the king,

1296 Bikennes þe catel to þe kyng, þat he caȝt hade,

Presented him þe prisoneres in pray þat þay token,

Moni a worþly wyȝe whil her worlde laste,

Moni semly syre sone, & swyþe rych maydenes,

1300 Þe pruddest of þe prouince, & prophetes childer,

among whom were Daniel and his three companions.

As Ananie & aȝarie & als Miȝael,

& dere daniel also, þat watȝ deuine noble,

With moni a modey moder chylde mo þen in-noghe.

Nebuchadnezzar has great joy,

1304 & nabugo-de-noȝar makes much ioye,

Nov he þe kyng hatȝ conquest & þe kyth wunnen,

because his enemies are slain.

& dreped alle þe doȝtyest & derrest in armes,

& þe lederes of her lawe layd to þe grounde,

1308 & þe pryce of þe profecie prisoners maked;


Great was his wonder when he saw the sacred jewelry.

Bot þe ioy of þe iuelrye so gentyle & ryche,

When hit watȝ schewed hym so schene, scharp watȝ his wonder,

Of such vessel auayed þat vayled so huge,

1312 Neuer ȝet nas nabugo-de-noȝar er þenne.

He praises the God of Israel.

He sesed hem with solemneté, þe souerayn he praysed,

þat watȝ aþel ouer alle, israel dryȝtyn;

Such vessels never before came to Chaldea.

Such god, such gomes, such gay vesselles

1316 Comen neuer out of kyth, to Caldee reames.

They are thrust into the treasury.

He trussed hem in his tresorye in a tryed place

Rekenly wyth reuerens, as he ryȝt hade;

& þer he wroȝt as þe wyse, as ȝe may wyt here-after,

1320 For hade he let of hem lyȝt, hym moȝt haf lumpen worse.

Nebuchadnezzar reigns as emperor of all the earth,

Þat ryche in gret rialté rengned his lyue,


As conquerour of vche a cost he cayser watȝ hatte,

Emperour of alle þe erþe & also þe saudan,

1324 & als þe god of þe grounde watȝ grauen his name

fro] for (?). through the “doom of Daniel,”

& al þurȝ dome of daniel, fro he deuised hade,

Þat alle goudes com of god, & gef hit hym bi samples,

bi-cnv] Looks like bicuver in MS. who gave him good counsel.

Þat he ful clanly bi-cnv his carp bi þe laste,

1328 & ofte hit mekned his mynde, his maysterful werkkes.

Bot al drawes to dyȝe with doel vp[o]n ende;

Bi] be (?).

Bi a haþel neuer so hyȝe he heldes to grounde,

Nebuchadnezzar dies and is buried.

& so nabugo-de-noȝar as he nedes moste;

[Fol. 75b.]

1332 For alle his empire so hiȝe in erþe is he grauen.

Belshazzar succeeds him.

Bot þenn þe bolde baltaȝar, þat watȝ his barn aldest,

He watȝ stalled in his stud, & stabled þe rengne;

He holds himself the biggest in heaven or on earth.

In þe burȝ of babiloyne þe biggest he trawed,

no] on (?).

1336 Þat nauþer in heuen ne no erþe hade no pere;

For he bigan in alle þe glori þat hym þe gome lafte,

Nabugo-de-Noȝar, þat watȝ his noble fader;

So kene a kyng in Caldee com neuer er þenne.

He honours not God,

1340 Bot honoured he not hym þat in heuen wonies,

but worships false phantoms.

Bot fals fantummes of fendes, formed with handes

Wyth tool out of harde tre, & telded on lofte,

& of stokkes & stones, he stoute goddes callȝ

1344 When þay ar gilde al with golde & gered wyth syluer,

& þere he kneles & calleȝ, & clepes after help.

&] An (?). He promises them rewards if good fortune befal.

& þay reden him ryȝt rewarde he hem hetes,

& if þay gruchen him his grace to gremen his hert,

If they vex him he knocks them in pieces.

1348 He cleches to a gret klubbe & knokkes hem to peces;

Þus in pryde & olipraunce his Empyre he haldes,

In lust & in lecherye, & loþelych werkkes;

He has a wife, and many concubines.

& hade a wyf forto welde, a worþelych quene,

1352 & mony a lemman, neuer þe later, þat ladis wer called.

In þe clernes of his concubines & curious wedeȝ,

The mind of the king was fixed upon new meats and other vain things.

In notyng of nwe metes & of nice gettes,

Al watȝ þe mynde of þat man, on misschapen þinges,

1356 Til þe lorde of þe lyfte liste hit abate.




Belshazzar, to exhibit his vainglory

Thenne þis bolde Baltaȝar biþenkkes hym ones,

To vouche on a vayment of his vayne g[l]orie;

þink] þing (?).

Hit is not innoghe to þe nice al noȝty þink vse,

1360 Bot if alle þe worlde wyt his wykked dedes.

proclaims throughout Babylon,

Baltaȝar þurȝ babiloyn his banne gart crye,

& þurȝ þe cuntre of caldee his callyng con spryng,

that all the great ones should assemble on a set day, at the Sultan’s feast.

Þat alle þe grete vpon grounde schulde geder hem samen

1364 & assemble at a set day at þe saudans fest.

Kings, dukes, and lords were commanded to attend the court.

Such a mangerie to make þe man watȝ auised,

Þat vche a kythyn kyng schuld com þider;

Vche duk wyth his duthe & oþer dere lordes,

[Fol. 76a.]

1368 Schulde com to his court to kyþe hym for lege,

& to reche hym reuerens & his reuel herkken;

To do the king honour many nobles came to Babylon.

To loke on his lemanes & ladis hem calle,

To rose hym in his rialty rych men soȝtten,

1372 & mony a baroun ful bolde, to babyloyn þe noble.

Þer bowed toward babiloyn burnes so mony,

Kynges, Cayseres ful kene, to þe court wonnen,

Mony ludisch lordes þat ladies broȝten,

It would take too long to name the number.

1376 Þat to neuen þe noumbre to much nye were.

The city of Babylon is broad and big.

For þe bourȝ watȝ so brod & so bigge alce,

Stalled in þe fayrest stud þe sterreȝ an-vnder,

It is situated on a plain,

Prudly on a plat playn, plek alþer-fayrest,

surrounded by seven streams,

1380 Vmbe-sweyed on vch a syde with seuen grete wateres,

a high wall, and towers.

With a wonder wroȝt walle wruxeled ful hiȝe,

With koynt carneles aboue, coruen ful clene,

Troched toures bitwene twenty spere lenþe,

þour] þore (?).

1384 & þiker þrowen vmbe þour-with ouer-þwert palle.

The palace was long and large,

Þe place, þat plyed þe pursaunt wyth-inne,

Watȝ longe & ful large & euer ilych sware,

each side being seven miles in length.

& vch a syde vpon soyle helde seuen myle,

1388 & þe saudans sete sette in þe myddes;

Þat watȝ a palayce of pryde passande alle oþer,

Boþe of werk & of wunder & walle al aboute;

77 High houses were within the walls.

Heȝe houses with-inne þe halle to hit med,

1392 So brod bilde in a bay, þat blonkkes myȝt renne.


The time of the feast has come.

When þe terme of þe tyde watȝ to vsched of þe feste,

Dere droȝen þer-to & vpon des metten,

Belshazzar sits upon his throne:

& baltaȝar vpon bench was busked to sete,

1396 Stepe stayred stones of his stoute throne.

the hall floor is covered with knights.

Þenne watȝ alle þe halle flor hiled with knyȝtes,

& barounes at þe side-bordes bounet ay-where,

For non watȝ dressed vpon dece bot þe dere seluen,

1400 & his clere concubynes in cloþes ful bryȝt.

When all are seated, service begins.

When alle segges were þer set, þen seruyse bygynnes,

Trumpets sound everywhere.

Sturnen trumpen strake steuen in halle,

Aywhere by þe wowes wrasten krakkes,

[Fol. 76b.]

1404 & brode baneres þer-bi blusnande of gold;

þe] MS. þe þe. Bread is served upon silver dishes.

Burnes berande þe bredes vpon brode skeles,

seerved] MS. severed.

Þat were of sylueren syȝt & seerved þer-wyth,

Lyfte logges þer-ouer & on lofte coruen,

golde] MS. glolde (?).

1408 Pared out of paper & poynted of golde,

Broþe baboynes abof, besttes an-vnder,

Foles in foler flakerande bi-twene,

& al in asure & ynde enaumayld ryche,

All sorts of musical instruments are heard in the hall.

1412 & al on blonkken bak bere hit on honde.

& ay þe nakeryn noyse, notes of pipes,

Tymbres & tabornes, tulket among,

Symbales & soneteȝ sware þe noyse,

1416 & bougounȝ busch batered so þikke;

So watȝ serued fele syþe þe sale alle aboute,

The king, surrounded by his loves, drinks copiously of wine.

With solace at þe sere course, bifore þe self lorde,

Þer þe lede & alle his loue lenged at þe table.

It gets into his head and stupifies him.

1420 So faste þay weȝed to him wyne, hit warmed his hert

& breyþed vppe in to his brayn & blemyst his mynde,

& al waykned his wyt, & wel neȝe he foles,

For he wayteȝ onwyde, his wenches he byholdes,

1424 & his bolde baronage, aboute bi þe woȝes;

A cursed thought takes possession of him.

Þenne a dotage ful depe drof to his hert,

& a caytif counsayl he caȝt bi hym seluen.



He commands his marshal to bring him the vessels

Maynly his marschal þe mayster vpon calles,

1428 & comaundes hym cofly coferes to lance,

& fech forþe vessel þat his fader broȝt

taken from the temple by Nebuchadnezzar,

Nabugo-de-noȝar, noble in his strenþe,

Conquerd with his knyȝtes & of kyrk rafte

1432 In iude, in ierusalem in gentyle wyse:

and to fill them with wine.

“Bryng hem now to my borde, of beuerage hem fylles,

Let þise ladyes of hem lape, I luf hem in hert;

Þat schal I cortaysly kyþe & þay schin knawe sone,

1436 Þer is no bounté in burne lyk baltaȝar þewes.”

The marshal opens the chests.

Þenne towched to þe tresour þis tale watȝ sone,

& he with keyes vn-closes kystes ful mony;

Mony burþen ful bryȝt watȝ broȝt in-to halle,

Covers the cupboard with vessels. [Fol. 77a.]

1440 & couered mony a cupborde with cloþes ful quite.

ierusalem] MS. iesuralem.

Þe iueles out of ierusalem with gemmes ful bryȝt,

The Jewels of Jerusalem deck the sides of the hall.

Bi þe syde of þe sale were semely arayed;

The altar and crown,

Þe aþel auter of brasse watȝ hade in-to place;

1444 Þe gay coroun of golde gered on lofte,

blessed by bishop’s hands,
and anointed with the blood of beasts,

Þat hade ben blessed bifore wyth bischopes hondes

& wyth besten blod busily anoynted,

In þe solempne sacrefyce þat goud sauor hade,

1448 Bifore þe lorde of þe lyfte in louyng hym seluen,

are set before the bold Belshazzar.

Now is sette for to serue satanas þe blake,

Bifore þe bolde baltaȝar wyth bost & wyth pryde.


Upon this altar were noble vessels curiously carved,

Houen vpon þis auter watȝ aþel vessel,

so] MS. fo.

1452 Þat wyth so curious a crafte coruen watȝ wyly;

Salamon sete him s[eue]n ȝere & a syþe more,

With alle þe syence þat hym sende þe souerayn lorde,

For to compas & kest to haf hem clene wroȝt;

basins of gold,

1456 For þer wer bassynes ful bryȝt of brende golde clere,

En-aumaylde with aȝer & eweres of sute;

foul] ful (?). cups arrayed like castles with battlements,

Couered cowpes foul clene, as casteles arayed,

Enbaned vnder batelment with bantelles quoynt,

ferlyle] ferlyke (?).

1460 & fyled out of fygures of ferlyle schappes.

and towers with lofty pinnacles.

Þe coperounes of þe canacles þat on þe cuppe reres,

Wer fetysely formed out in fylyoles longe,

79 Upon them were pourtrayed branches and leaves,

Pinacles pyȝt þer apert þat profert bitwene,

1464 & al boiled abof with braunches & leues,

Pyes & papeiayes purtrayed with-inne,

As þay prudly hade piked of pomgarnades;

the flowers of which were white pearls,

For alle þe blomes of þe boȝes wer blyknande perles

and the fruit flaming gems.

1468 & alle þe fruyt in þo formes of flaumbeande gemmes,

Ande safyres, & sardiners, & semely topace,

Alabaunderynes, & amaraunȝ & amaffised stones,

Casydoynes, & crysolytes, & clere rubies,

1472 Penitotes, & pynkardines, ay perles bitwene,

So trayled & tryfled a trauerce wer alle,

Bi vche bekyrande þe bolde, þe brurdes al vmbe;

Þe gobelotes of golde grauen aboute,

[Fol. 77b.] The goblets were ornamented with flowers of gold.

1476 & fyoles fretted with flores & fleeȝ of golde,

Vpon þat avter watȝ al aliche dresset.

The candlestick was brought in,

Þe candelstik bi a cost watȝ cayred þider sone,

[V]pon þe pyleres apyked þat praysed hit mony,

with its pillars of brass,

1480 Vpon hit baseȝ of brasse þat ber vp þe werkes,

and ornamental boughs,

Þe boȝes bryȝt þer abof, brayden of golde,

upon which sat birds of various hues.

Braunches bredande þer-on, & bryddes þer seten

Of mony kyndes, of fele-kyn hues,

1484 As þay with wynge vpon wynde hade waged her fyþeres,

Lights shone bright from the candlestick,

In-mong þe leues of þe lampes wer grayþed;

louelych] Looks like louflych.

& oþer louelych lyȝt þat lemed ful fayre,

As mony morteres of wax merkked with-oute,

1488 With mony a borlych best al of brende golde.

Hit watȝ not wonte in þat wone to wast no serges,

which once stood before the “Holy of Holies.”

Bot in temple of þe trauþe trwly to stonde;

Bifore þe sancta, sanctorum soþefast dryȝtyn,

1492 Expouned his speche spiritually to special prophetes.


The pollution of the sacred vessels is displeasing to God.

Leue þou wel þat þe lorde þat þe lyfte ȝemes

Displesed much, at þat play in þat plyt stronge,

Þat his ineles so gent wyth iaueles wer fouled,

1496 Þat presyous in his presens wer proued sum whyle.

Soberly in his sacrafyce summe wer anoynted,

Þurȝ þe somones of him selfe þat syttes so hyȝe;

80 For “a boaster on bench” drinks from them till he is as “drunken as the devil.”

Now a boster on benche bibbes þerof

1500 Tyl he be dronkken as þe deuel, & dotes þer he syttes;

God is very angry.

So þe worcher of þis worlde wlates þer-wyth,

Þat in þe poynt of her play he poruayes a mynde;

Before harming the revellers He sends them a warning.

Bot er harme hem he wolde in haste of his yre,

1504 He wayned hem a warnyng þat wonder hem þoȝt.

Nov is alle þis guere geten glotounes to serue;

bryȝtȝ] ? bryȝte.

Stad in a ryche stal & stared ful bryȝtȝ,

Belshazzar commands the sacred vessels to be filled with wine.

Baltaȝar in a brayd bede vus þer-of.

1508 “Weȝe wyn in þis won, wassayl!” he cryes.

Swyfte swaynes ful swyþe swepen þer-tylle,

The cups and bowls are soon filled.

Kyppe kowpes in honde kyngeȝ to serue,

In bryȝt bolleȝ, ful bayn birlen þise oþer,

[Fol. 78a.]

1512 & vche mon for his mayster machches alone.

Music of all kind is heard in the hall.

Þer watȝ rynging, on ryȝt, of ryche metalles,

Quen renkkes in þat ryche rok rennen hit to cache,

Clatering of conacleȝ þat kesten þo burdes,

1516 As sonet out of sau[t]eray songe als myry.

Þen þe dotel on dece drank þat he myȝt,

Dukes, princes, concubines, and knights, all are merry.

& þenne arn dressed dukeȝ & prynces,

Concubines & knyȝtes, bi cause of þat merthe;

1520 As vchon hade hym in helde he haled of þe cuppe,

Drinking of the sweet liquors they ask favours of their gods,

So long likked þise lordes þise lykores swete,

& gloryed on her falce goddes & her grace calles,

Þat were of stokkes & stones, stille euer more;

is] MS. īs. who, although dumb,

1524 Neuer steuen hem astel, so stoken is hor tonge,

Alle þe goude golden goddes þe gauleȝ ȝet neuenen,

Belfagor & belyal & belssabub als,

are as highly praised “as if heaven were theirs.”

Heyred hem as hyȝly as heuen wer þayres,

1528 Bot hym þat alle goudes giues, þat god þay for-ȝeten,

A marvel befals the feasters.

For þer a ferly bifel þat fele folk seȝen;

The king first saw it.

Fyrst knew hit þe kyng & alle þe cort after,


Upon the plain wall,

In þe palays pryncipale vpon þe playn wowe,

1532 In contrary of þe candelstik þat clerest hit schyned.

“a palm with pointel in fingers” is seen writing.

Þer apered a paume, with poyntel in fyngres

Þat watȝ grysly & gret, & grymly he wrytes,


Non oþer forme bot a fust faylande þe wryste,

1536 Pared on þe parget, purtrayed lettres.

The bold Belshazzar becomes frightened.

When þat bolde baltaȝar blusched to þat neue,

Such a dasande drede dusched to his hert,

Þat al falewed his face & fayled þe chere;

1540 Þe stronge strok of þe stonde strayned his ioyntes,

His knees knock together.

His cnes cachches to close & cluchches his hommes,

lers] MS. lerns.

& he with plat-tyng his paumes displayes his lers,

He roars for dread, still beholding the hand, as it wrote on the rough wall.

& romyes as a rad ryth þat roreȝ for drede,

1544 Ay biholdand þe honde til hit hade al grauen,

& rasped on þe roȝ woȝe runisch saueȝ.

scrof] MS. strof.

When hit þe scrypture hade scraped wyth a scrof penne,

As a coltour in clay cerues þo forȝes,

[Fol. 78b.] The hand vanishes but the letters remain.

1548 Þenne hit vanist verayly & voyded of syȝt,

Bot þe lettres bileued ful large vpon plaster.

The king recovers his speech and sends for the “book-learned;”

Sone so þe kynge for his care carping myȝt wynne,

He bede his burnes boȝ to þat were bok lered,

1552 To wayte þe wryt þat hit wolde & wyter hym to say,

“For al hit frayes my flesche þe fyngres so grymme.”

but none of the scholars were wise enough to read it.

Scoleres skelten þeratte þe skyl forto fynde,

Bot þer watȝ neuer on so wyse couþe on worde rede,

1556 Ne what ledisch lore ne langage nauþer

What tyþyng ne tale tokened þo draȝtes.

Belshazzar is nearly mad.

Þenne þe bolde baltaȝar bred ner wode.

ede] bede (?).

& ede þe Ceté to seche segges þurȝ-out,


Commands the city to be searched throughout for the “wise of witchcraft.”

1560 Þat wer wyse of wyche-crafte & warlaȝeser,

Þat con dele wyth demerlayk, & deuine lettres:

“Calle hem alle to my cort þo calde clerkkes,

Vn-folde hem alle þis ferly þat is bifallen here,

He who expounds the strange letters,

1564 & calle wyth a hiȝe cry; ‘he þat þe kyng wysses,

In expounyng of speche þat spredes in þise lettres,

& make þe mater to malt my mynde wyth-inne,

Þat I may wyterly wyt what þat wryt menes,

shall be clothed in “gowns of purple.”

1568 He schal þe gered ful gaye in gounes of porpre,

A collar of gold shall encircle his throat.

& a coler of cler golde clos vmbe his þrote;

82 He shall be the third lord in the realm.

He schal be prymate & prynce of pure clergye,

& of my þreuenest lordeȝ þe þrydde he schal

1572 & of my reme þe rychest to ryde wyth myseluen,

Out-taken bare two & þenne he þe þrydde.’”

As soon as this cry was upcast, to the hall came clerks out of Chaldea,

Þis cry watȝ vp-caste, & þer comen mony

Clerkes out of caldye þat kennest wer knauen,

1576 As þe sage sathrapas þat sorsory couþe;

witches and diviners,

Wycheȝ & walkyries wonnen to þat sale,

Deuinores of demorlaykes þat dremes cowþe rede,

sorcerers and exorcists.

Sorsers & exorsismus & fele such clerkes;

But after looking on the letters they were as ignorant as if they had looked into the leather of the left boot.

1580 & alle þat loked on þat letter as lewed þay were,

As þay had loked in þe leþer of my lyft bote.

Þenne cryes þe kyng & kerues his wedes;

The king curses them all and calls them churls.

What! he corsed his clerkes & calde hem chorles,

[Fol. 79a.] He orders the harlots to be hanged.

1584 To henge þe harlotes he heȝed ful ofte,

So watȝ þe wyȝe wytles, he wed wel ner.

The queen hears the king chide.

Ho herde hym chyde to þe chambre þat watȝ þe chef quene;

She inquires the cause.

When ho watȝ wytered bi wyȝes what watȝ þe cause,

1588 Suche a chaungande chaunce in þe chef halle,

lauce] lance (?).

Þe lady to lauce þat los þat þe lorde hade,

Goes to the king, kneels before him,

Glydes doun by þe grece & gos to þe kyng;

Ho kneles on þe colde erþe & carpes to hym seluen,

1592 Wordes of worchyp wyth a wys speche.

“Kene kyng,” quod þe quene, “kayser of vrþe,

Euer laste þy lyf in lenþe of dayes;

and asks why he has rent his robes for grief,

Why hatȝ þou rended þy robe for redles here-inne,

1596 Þaȝ þose ledes ben lewed lettres to rede,

& hatȝ a haþel in þy holde, as I haf herde ofte,

when there is one that has the Spirit of God,

Þat hatȝ þe gostes of god þat gyes alle soþes;

His sawle is ful of syence, saȝes to schawe,

1600 To open vch a hide þyng of aunteres vn-cowþe;

the counsellor of Nebuchadnezzar,

Þat is he þat ful ofte hatȝ heuened þy fader

Of mony anger ful hote with his holy speche.

When nabugo-de-noȝar watȝ nyed in stoundes,

the interpreter of his dreams,

1604 He de-vysed his dremes to þe dere trawþe,

He keuered hym with his counsayl of caytyf wyrdes;


Alle þat he spured hym in space he expowned clene,

through the holy Spirit of God.

Þurȝ þe sped of þe spyryt þat sprad hym with-inne,

1608 Of þe godelest goddeȝ þat gaynes ay-where.

For his depe diuinité & his dere sawes,


by] be (?). The name of this man is Daniel,

Þy bolde fader baltaȝar bede by his name,

Þat now is demed danyel of derne coninges,

who was brought a captive from Judæa.

1612 Þat caȝt watȝ in þe captyuidé in cuntre of iues;

Nabuȝardan hym nome & now is he here,

A prophete of þat prouince & pryce of þe worlde.

The queen tells the king to send for Daniel.

Sende in-to þe ceté to seche hym bylyue,

1616 & wynne hym with þe worchyp to wayne þe bote,

& þaȝ þe mater be merk þat merked is ȝender,

He schal de-clar hit also, as hit on clay stande.”

as] MS. as as. Her counsel is accepted.

Þat gode counseyl at þe quene watȝ cached as swyþe,

[Fol. 79b.]

1620 Þe burne byfore baltaȝar watȝ broȝt in a whyle,

Daniel comes before Belshazzar.

When he com bifore þe kyng & clanly had halsed,

Baltaȝar vmbe-brayde hym & “leue sir,” he sayde,

The king tells him that he has heard of his wisdom,

“Hit is tolde me bi tulkes, þat þou trwe were

1624 Profete of þat prouynce þat prayed my fader,

Ande þat þou hatȝ in þy hert holy connyng,

Of sapyence þi sawle ful soþes to schawe;

and his power to discover hidden things,

Goddes gost is þe geuen þat gyes alle þynges,

1628 & þou vnhyles vch hidde þat heuen kyng myntes;

and that he wants to know the meaning of the writing on the wall.

& here is a ferly byfallen, & I fayn wolde

Wyt þe wytte of þe wryt, þat on þe wowe clyues,

For alle calde clerkes han cowwardely fayled;

Promises him, if he can explain the text of the letters and their interpretation,

1632 If þou with quayntyse conquere hit, I quyte þe þy mede.

For if þou redes hit by ryȝt & hit to resoun brynges,

Fyrst telle me þe tyxte of þe tede lettres,

& syþen þe mater of þe mode, mene me þer-after,

1636 & I schal halde þe þe hest þat I þe hyȝt haue;

to clothe him in purple and pall, and put a ring about his neck,

Apyke þe in porpre cloþe, palle alþer-fynest,

and to make him “a baron upon bench.”

& þe byȝe of bryȝt golde abowte þyn nekke,

& þe þryd þryuenest þat þrynges me after,

1640 Þou schal be baroun vpon benche, bede I þe no lasse.”


Daniel addresses the king,

Derfly þenne danyel deles þyse wordes:


“Ryche kyng of þis rengne rede þe oure lorde,

and reminds him how that God supported his father,

Hit is surely soth, þe souerayn of heuen

1644 Fylsened euer þy fader & vpon folde cheryched,

and gave him power to exalt or abase whomsoever he pleased.

Gart hym grattest to be of gouernores alle,

& alle þe worlde in his wylle welde as hym lykes.

Who-so wolde wel do, wel hym bityde,

1648 & quos deth so he deȝyre he dreped als fast;

Who-so hym lyked to lyft, on lofte watȝ he sone,

& quo-so hym lyked to lay, watȝ loȝed bylyue.

Nebuchadnezzar was established

So watȝ noted þe note of nabugo-de-noȝar,

1652 Styfly stabled þe rengne bi þe stronge dryȝtyn,

on account of his faith in God.

For of þe hyȝest he hade a hope in his hert,

Þat vche pouer past out of [þ]at prynce euen;

So long as he remained true, no man was greater.

& whyle þat watȝ cleȝt clos in his hert,

1656 Þere watȝ no mon vpon molde of myȝt as hym seluen,

[Fol. 80a.] But at last pride touches his heart.

Til hit bitide on a tyme, towched hym pryde

For his lordeschyp so large, & his lyf ryche;

He hade so huge an insyȝt to his aune dedes,

He forgets the power of God, and blasphemes His name.

1660 Þat þe power of þe hyȝe prynce he purely forȝetes.

Þenne blynnes he not of blasfemyon to blame þe dryȝtyn,

His myȝt mete to goddes he made with his wordes:

He says that he is “god of the ground,”

“I am god of þe grounde, to gye as me lykes,

1664 As he þat hyȝe is in heuen his aungeles þat weldes;

If he hatȝ formed þe folde & folk þer vpone,

and the builder of Babylon.

I haf bigged babiloyne, burȝ alþer-rychest,

Stabled þer-inne vche a ston in strenkþe of myn armes,

1668 Moȝt neuer myȝt bot myn make such anoþer.”

Hardly had Nebuchadnezzar spoken,
when God’s voice is heard, saying, “Thy principality is departed.

Watȝ not þis ilke worde wonnen of his mowþe one,

Er þenne þe souerayn saȝe souned in his eres,

“Now nabugo-de-noȝar innoȝe hatȝ spoken,

1672 Now is alle þy pryncipalté past at ones,

Thou, removed from men, must abide on the moor, and walk with wild beasts, eat herbs, and dwell with wolves and asses.”

& þou, remued fro monnes sunes, on mor most abide,

& in wasterne walk & wyth þe wylde dowelle,

As best, byte on þe bent of braken & erbes,

1676 With wroþe wolfes to won & wyth wylde asses.”

In mydde þe poynt of his pryde de-parted he þere,



For his pride he becomes an outcast.

Fro þe soly of his solempneté, his solace he leues,

& carfully is out-kast to contré vnknawen,

1680 Fer in-to a fyr fryth þere frekes neuer comen.

He believes himself to be a bull or an ox.

His hert heldet vnhole, he hoped non oþer

Bot a best þat he be, a bol oþer an oxe.

Goes “on all fours,”

He fares forth on alle faure, fogge watȝ his mete,

1684 & ete ay as a horce when erbes were fallen,

like a cow,

Þus he countes hym a kow, þat watȝ a kyng ryche,

for seven summers.

Quyle seuen syþeȝ were ouer-seyed someres I trawe.

His thighs grew thick.

By þat, mony þik thyȝe þryȝt vmbe his lyre,

1688 Þat alle watȝ dubbed & dyȝt in þe dew of heuen;

His hair became matted and thick,
from the shoulders to the toes.

Faxe fyltered, & felt flosed hym vmbe,

Þat schad fro his schulderes to his schyre wykes,

& twenty-folde twynande hit to his tos raȝt

1692 Þer mony clyuy as clyde hit clyȝt to-geder.

His beard touched the earth.

His berde I-brad alle his brest to þe bare vrþe,

His brows were like briars. [Fol. 80b.]

His browes bresed as breres aboute his brode chekes;

His eyes were hollow,
and grey as the kite’s.

Holȝe were his yȝen & vnder campe hores,

1696 & al watȝ gray as þe glede, with ful grymme clawres

paune] ? panne.

Þat were croked & kene as þe kyte paune;

Eagle-hued he was.

Erne-hwed he watȝ & al ouer-brawden,

Til he wyst ful wel who wroȝt alle myȝtes,

1700 & cowþe vche kyndam tokerue & keuer when hym lyked;

At last he recovered his “wit,”

Þenne he wayned hym his wyt þat hade wo soffered,

Þat he com to knawlach & kenned hym seluen,

laued] loued (?). and believed in God.

Þenne he laued þat lorde & leued in trawþe,

1704 Hit watȝ non oþer þen he þat hade al in honde.

Then soon was he restored to his seat.

Þenne sone watȝ he sende agayn, his sete restored;

His barounes boȝed hym to, blyþe of his come,

Haȝerly in his aune hwe his heued watȝ couered,

1708 & so ȝeply watȝ ȝarked & ȝolden his state.

But thou, Belshazzar, hast disregarded these signs,

Bot þou baltaȝar his barne & his bolde ayre,

Seȝ þese syngnes with syȝt & set hem at lyttel,

Bot ay hatȝ hofen þy hert agaynes þe hyȝe dryȝt[y]n,

and hast blasphemed the Lord,

1712 With bobaunce & with blasfamye bost at hym kest,

86 defiled his vessels,

& now his vessayles avyled in vanyté vnclene,

Þat in his hows hym to honour were heuened of fyrst;

filling them with wine for thy wenches,

Bifore þe barounȝ hatȝ hom broȝt, & byrled þerinne

1716 Wale wyne to þy wenches in waryed stoundes;

Bifore þy borde hatȝ þou broȝt beuerage in þede,

Þat blyþely were fyrst blest with bischopes hondes,

and praising thy lifeless gods.

Louande þeron lese goddeȝ, þat lyf haden neuer,

1720 Made of stokkes & stoneȝ þat neuer styry moȝt.

For this sin God has sent thee this strange sight,

& for þat froþande fylþe, þe fader of heuen

Hatȝ sende] MS. hatȝ sende hatȝ sende.

Hatȝ sende in-to þis sale þise syȝtes vncowþe,

the fist with the fingers writing on the wall.

Þe fyste with þe fyngeres þat flayed þi hert,

1724 Þat rasped renyschly þe woȝe with þe roȝ penne.


These are the words:

Þise ar þe wordes here wryten with-oute werk more,

By vch fygure, as I fynde, as oure fader lykes.

“Mene, Tekel, Peres.

“Mane, techal, phares, merked in þrynne,

1728 Þat þretes þe of þyn vnþryfte vpon þre wyse;

Now expowne þe þis speche spedly I þenk.

[Fol. 81a.] Mene.— God has counted thy kingdom and finished it.

Mane menes als much as, maynful gode

Hatȝ counted þy kyndam bi a clene noumbre,

1732 & ful-fylled hit in fayth to þe fyrre ende.

Tekel.— Thy reign is weighed and is found wanting in deeds of faith.

To teche þe of techal, þat terme þus menes,

Þy wale rengne is walt in weȝtes to heng,

& is funde ful fewe of hit fayth dedes.

1736 & phares folȝes for þose fawtes to frayst þe trawþe,

Peres.— Thy kingdom is divided

In phares fynde I forsoþe þise felle saȝes;

De-parted is þy pryncipalté, depryued þou worþes,

and given to the Persians.

Þy rengne rafte is þe fro, & raȝt is þe perses,

The Medes shall be masters here.”

1740 Þe medes schal be maysteres here, & þou of menske schowued.”

The king commands Daniel to be clothed in a frock of fine cloth.

Þe kyng comaunded anon to cleþe þat wyse,

In frokkes of fyn cloþ, as forward hit asked;

Soon is he arrayed in purple, with a chain about his neck.

Þenne sone watȝ danyel dubbed in ful dere porpor

coler] MS. cloler.

1744 & a coler of cler golde kest vmbe his swyre.

Þen watȝ demed a de-cre bi þe duk seluen,

A decree is made, that all should bow to him,

Bolde baltaȝa[r] bed þat hym bowe schulde

Þe comynes a lof calde þat to þe kyng longed,

87 as the third lord that followed Belshazzar.

1748 As to þe prynce pryuyest preued þe þrydde,

Heȝest of alle oþer, saf onelych tweyne,

To boȝ after baltaȝar in borȝe & in felde.

The decree was made known, and all were glad.

Þys watȝ cryed & knawen in cort als fast,

1752 & alle þe folk þer-of fayn þat folȝed hym tylle;

The day, however, past.

Bot how-so danyel watȝ dyȝt, þat day ouer-ȝede,

Night came on.

Nyȝt neȝed ryȝt now with nyes fol mony,

Before another day dawned,
Daniel’s words were fulfilled.

For daȝed neuer an oþer day þat ilk derk after,

1756 Er dalt were þat ilk dome þat danyel deuysed,

The feast lasts till the sun falls.

Þe solace of þe solempneté in þat sale dured

Of þat farand fest, tyl fayled þe sunne;

blykned] blaykned (?) The skies become dark.

Þenne blykned þe ble of þe bryȝt skwes,

1760 Mourkenes þe mery weder, & þe myst dryues

Þorȝ þe lyst of þe lyfte, bi þe loȝ medoes;

Each noble hies home to his supper.

Vche haþel to his home hyȝes ful fast,

Seten at her soper & songen þer-after,

1764 Þen foundeȝ vch a felaȝschyp fyrre at forþ naȝtes.


Belshazzar is carried to bed, but never rises from it,

Baltaȝar to his bedd with blysse watȝ caryed,

[Fol. 81b.]

Reche þe rest as hym lyst, he ros neuer þer-after;

for his foes are seeking to destroy his land, and are assembled suddenly.

For his foes in þe felde in flokkes ful grete

1768 Þat longe hade layted þat lede his londes to strye,

Now ar þay sodenly assembled at þe self tyme,

Of hem wyst no wyȝe þat in þat won dowelled.

The enemy is Darius, leader of the Medes.

Hit watȝ þe dere daryus þe duk of þise medes,

1772 Þe prowde prynce of perce & porros of ynde,

He has legions of armed men.

With mony a legioun ful large, with ledes of armes,

Þat now hatȝ spyed a space to spoyle caldeeȝ.

Under cover of the darkness, they cross the river.

Þay þrongen þeder in þe þester on þrawen hepes,

1776 Asscaped ouer þe skyre watteres & scaþed þe walles,

By means of ladders they get upon the walls,

Lyfte laddres ful longe & vpon lofte wonen,

Stelen stylly þe toun er any steuen rysed,

nyȝt] MS. myȝt. and within an hour enter the city, without disturbing any of the watch.

With-inne an oure of þe nyȝt an entré þay hade;

1780 Ȝet afrayed þay no freke, fyrre þay passen,

& to þe palays pryncipal þay aproched ful stylle;

They run into the palace, and raise a great cry.

Þenne ran þay in on a res, on rowtes ful grete,

Blastes out of bryȝt brasse brestes so hyȝe,


1784 Ascry scarred on þe scue þat scomfyted mony.

Men are slain in their beds.

Segges slepande were slayne er þay slyppe myȝt,

Vche hous heyred watȝ, with-inne a honde-whyle;


Belshazzar is beaten to death,

Baltaȝar in his bed watȝ beten to deþe,

1788 Þat boþe his blod & his brayn blende on þe cloþes;

and caught by the heels, is foully cast into a ditch.

The kyng in his cortyn watȝ kaȝt bi þe heles,

Feryed out bi þe fete & fowle dispysed;

Þat watȝ so doȝty þat day & drank of þe vessayl,

1792 Now is a dogge al so dere þat in a dych lygges;

Darius is crowned king,

For þe mayster of þyse medes on þe morne ryses,

Dere daryous þat day dyȝt vpon trone,

and makes peace with the barons.

Þat ceté seses ful sounde, & saȝtlyng makes

1796 Wyth alle þe barounȝ þer-aboute, þat bowed hym after.

Thus the land was lost for the king’s sin.

& þus watȝ þat londe lost for þe lordes synne,

& þe fylþe of þe freke þat defowled hade

Þe orne-mentes of goddeȝ hous þat holy were maked;

He was cursed for his uncleanness,

1800 He watȝ corsed for his vn-clannes, & cached þer-inne,

Done doun of his dyngneté for dedeȝ vnfayre,

and deprived of his honour, as well as of the joys of heaven.

& of þyse worldes worchyp wrast out for euer,

& ȝet of lykynges on lofte letted, I trowe,

Thus in three ways has it been shown,

1804 To loke on oure lofly lorde late bitydes.

Þus vpon þrynne wyses I haf yow þro schewed,

that uncleanness

Þat vn-clannes to-cleues in corage dere

Of þat wynnelych lorde þat wonyes in heuen,

telled] telles (?). makes God angry.

1808 Entyses hym to be tene, telled vp his wrake;

Cleanness is His comfort.

Ande clannes is his comfort, & coyntyse he louyes,

The seemly shall see his face.

& þose þat seme arn & swete schyn se his face.

God give us grace to serve in His sight!

Þat we gon gay in oure gere þat grace he vus sende,

1812 Þat we may serue in his syȝt, þer solace neuer blynneȝ.


Notes to Cleanness.

The Notes were printed in a group, immediately before the Index. They have been distributed among the three poems for convenience.

Page 37.

l. 3 forering = for-bering. (?)

10 reken, reverently, solemnly.

12 cleche gret mede, take great reward.

16 & hym to greme cachen, and him to wrath drive.

18 hagherlych, fitly, decently.

21 scoymous & skyg, scrupulous and particular; skyg implies dread, fear, shyness.

23 in a carp, in a discourse.

24 heuened aȝt happeȝ, exhibited eight blessings.

25 me myneȝ, I remember.


P. 38.

l. 27 hapeneȝ, is happy, blessed.

29 as so saytȝ, as one says.


May not byde þat burne (? burre) þat hit his body neȝen,

May not abide (suffer) that man (? blow), that it (? he) should approach his body.

39 helded, approached.

41 toteȝ = totȝ = toes.

49 worþlych, worshipful (? worldlych, worldly).

50 in her (? herin).

52 here dere, beloved heir.

54 comly quoyntis, comely attire.

56 with sclaȝt, against (for) slaughter.

59 roþeled, ready prepared, literally hastened.

62 skyly, device, excuse.

P. 39.

l. 65 nayed, refused;   nurned, uttered.

71 a-dreȝ, aback, aside.


More to wyte is her wrange, þen any wylle gentyl,

More to blame is their fault, than any forlorn gentile.

Wylle has the significations of wandering, astray; as “wyl dremes,” wandering dreams, “wylle of wone,” astray from human habitations, having lost one’s way; and hence wylle is often used to denote uncertainty, bewilderment.

81 laþeȝ, invite.

90 styȝtled, established, placed.

91 þe marchal, i.e. the marshal of the hall, whose duty it was, at public festivals, to place every person according to his rank and station.

95 at þi banne, at thy command.

96 renischche renkeȝ, strange men.

97 layteȝ ȝet ferre, search yet farther.

P. 40.

l. 99 wayteȝ, watch.

103 balterande cruppeleȝ, limping cripples. Balter signifies to jump, skip, hop, etc.

110 demed, decreed.


Hit weren not alle on wyueȝ suneȝ, wonen with on fader,

They were not all one wife’s sons, begotten with one father.


& rehayte rekenly þe riche & þe poueren,

And cheer, prince-like (nobly), the rich and the poor.

Rehete is the most common form of the word:

“Him would I comforte and rehete.” —Rom. Rose, l. 6509.

131 syled fyrre, proceeded farther.

132 Tron fro table to table, went from table to table. Tron is the pret. of the verb tryne, to go, walk.

P. 41.

l. 134 Hit watȝ not, there was one (who) was not.

135 þryȝt, thrust;   unþryuandely, badly.

144 ratted, rent, torn.

145 goun febele. Cf. feble wede, bad or poor clothing. —Havelok the Dane, l. 418.

149 broþe wordeȝ, angry (fierce) words.

150 Hurkele, cower, hang. Hurkele signifies, literally, to squat, nestle, rest.

153 laled, spoke (quickly).

164 fulȝed, baptised.

166 harme lache, take hurt.

P. 42.

l. 179 As, also;   bolnande priyde, swelling pride.


Þroly in-to þe deueleȝ þrote man þryngeȝ bylyue,

Roughly into the devil’s throat man is thrust soon.

181 colwarde, deceitful, treacherous. I have not been able to meet with the word colle used as noun or verb in any writer of the 14th or 15th century. Col occurs, however, as a prefix, in Col-prophet (false prophet), Col-fox (crafty fox), used by Chaucer; Col-knyfe (treacherous knife), which occurs in the “Townley Mysteries.”

200 hatel of his wylle, anger of his will.

P. 43.

l. 207 attled, endowed.

215 metȝ = mess (?), pity.

216 tynt þe tyþe dool, lost the tenth part.

222 weued, cut off.   swap, blow.

230 þe wrech saȝtled, appeased the vengeance.

231 wylnesful, wilfulness.


For-þy þaȝ þe rape were rank, þe rawþe watȝ lyttel,

Wherefore, though the blow were smart, the sorrow was little.

237 in obedyent = in-obedyent (?), disobedient.


P. 44.

l. 246 drepe, destroy (slay).

257 forme-foster should be forme-fostereȝ, being in apposition with auncetereȝ.

261 For lede read ledeȝ (?).

270 deȝter of þe douþe, the daughters of the mighty (doughty) ones.

271 on folken wyse, after the manner of men.

P. 45.

l. 273 meþeleȝ, immoderate, intemperate.

274 alosed, (? noted).

298 þryuen, grown up, adult.

306 nwyed = annoyed, i.e. displeased.

P. 46.

l. 320 dutande, shutting.

321 halkeȝ, recesses.

331 þis meyny of aȝte, this company (household) of eight.

335 horwed, unclean.

P. 47.

l. 350 with-outen þrep, without contradiction, gainsaying.

354 a rowtande ryge, a rattling shower.

359 stysteȝ = stynteȝ stops, ceases.

362 & alle woned in þe whichche, and all abode in the ark. Whichche is another (and genuine) form of hutch.


Waltes out vch walle-heued, in ful wode stremeȝ,

Bursts out each well-head (spring, fountain) in full wild streams.

365 brymme, stream.

366 þe mukel lauande loghe, the great flowing deep.

369 fon, ceased.

373 moon, moan, sorrow.

374 dowed, availed.

375 wylger, wilder, fiercer.

376 dowelled = dwelled.

377 feng to þe flyȝt, took to flight.

378 Vuche burde with her barne, each woman with her child (bairn).

P. 48.

l. 379 bowed, hastened;   brentest, highest, steepest.

380 heterly, quickly, (hotly); haled, rushed.

381 Bot al watȝ nedleȝ her note, but their device was altogether in vain.

382 þe roȝe raynande ryg, the rough raining shower;   raykande waweȝ, flowing waves.

383 boþom, a bottom or valley.

384 demmed, collected, accumulated.

391 þe hyȝe, the heights, high grounds.

392 bauseneȝ, badgers.

394 re-coverer, succour, refuge.

395 Þat amounted, etc., read Þat amounted þe mase, etc., that the astonishment increased. (Professor Child).

397 Bi þat, by that time. This phrase is still preserved in the North of England.


Frendeȝ, fellen in fere, faþmed to-geder.

Friends, fallen in company, embraced (fathomed) together.

The verb faþme in Early English also signifies to grope.

400 dryȝ, suffer;   delful, doleful.

404 freten, devoured;   waȝeȝ, waves.

406 hurkled, rested. This word is still preserved in the local dialects of the North of England, with the sense of “to cower,” “squat.”

407 mourkne, rotten.

409 here, company.

411 aȝt-sum, in care, sorrowful.

413 hurlande goteȝ, rushing streams.

414 kytheȝ vncouþe, unknown regions.

P. 49.

l. 421 flyt, current, flitting.

424 lumpen, the passive participle of lympen, to befal, happen.

430 yreȝ is evidently an error for yþeȝ, waves.

433 Rac, moving clouds, mists. Still in provincial use.

436 meth, pity, mercy.

438 lasned, lessened, became smaller.

439 stac vp þe stangeȝ, closed up the pools. Stang = stanc, stank, a word still used in the North of England.

441 loȝ = logh, deep.

443 lome = loom, i.e., the ark.

446 rasse = the provincial raise, a mound.

449 kyste = chest (ark);   wern = were (?).

P. 50.

l. 451 eggeȝ, edges, banks, hills;   vnhuled, uncovered.

452 bynne, within. Cf. boute, without.

461 smach smack, scent;   smoltes (? smolte, i.e. smelt).

463 ȝederly, quickly, soon;   steuen, command, literally voice.

466 fodeȝ, persons;   elleȝ, provided that.

469 doune = dovene, a female dove (see line 481).


476 dreȝly, drearily, sorrowfully.

480 naytly, dexterously (neatly).

482 borne = burne, stream.

483 skwe, sky, cloud;   skowteȝ, looks.

P. 51.

l. 485 downe = dovene (see ll. 469, 481).

487 What! lo!

490 saȝtlyng, reconciliation.

496 woned = waned, decreased, gone down.

498 tyned, enclosed.

499 godeȝ glam, God’s message (word); glod, came, literally glided.

501 walt wafte (?) (see B. l. 857).

504 þroly þrublande in þronge, quickly pressing in throng (crowd), i.e., huddling together.

509 breþe, steam, savour.

511 spedeȝ & spylleȝ, prospers (speeds) and spoils.

517 barnage, childhood.

P. 52.

l. 525 sadde, sharp, bitter.

529 þen watȝ a skylly skyualde, then was a design (purpose) manifested (ordered).

531 nayte, use, employ.

533 wryþeȝ, crawl, creep.

534 folmarde, polecat.

536 lake ryftes, fissures of the lake.

537 Herneȝ = erneȝ, eagles.

539 at a brayde, in a moment.

P. 53.

l. 558 merked, ordained.

561 raȝt, extended to, gave.

566 syt, fault.

567 quykeȝ, living (things); qued, wickedness.

573 vnhappen glette, unfortunate filth, unhappy sin.

579 heþyng of seluen, contempt of [God’s] self.

583 steppe yȝe, bright eye; steppe = stepe is often explained by steep, deep set; but we often meet with such phrases as “stepe stones,” bright stones, “stepe starres,” bright stars.

586 losed þe listen, lost the hearing; lysten, in O.E. has frequently the meaning of to hear.

587 trave = trawe, trow, believe.


þer is no dede so derne þat ditteȝ his yȝen.

There is no deed so secret that closes His eyes (i.e. that He does not see).

P. 54.

l. 591 gropande, searching, examining.


Rypande of vche a ring þe reynyeȝ & hert

Trying (probing) the reins and heart of every man.

Rype is still used in the North of England in the sense of to plunder. Cf. our modern use of the word ransack with its earlier meanings of to try, probe, search.

596 honyseȝ, disgraces, ruins, destroys.

598 scarreȝ, literally scares, is frightened, startled.

599 to drawe allyt = to draw a lyte = to draw back a little.

603 blykked, shone, glared.

605 schunt, aside, from schunt, to slip away, retreat.

P. 55.

l. 623 orppedly, quickly, hastily.

626 happe, cover, still in use in the north provincial dialects.

627 som quat fat, some sort of a vessel;   þe fyr bete, make up the fire; bete signifies, literally, to mend.

632 deruely = derfely, quickly.

635 þerue kakeȝ = therfe or tharfe cakes, i.e., cakes made without leaven.

646 mensk, thanks.

648 leþe, cease.

652 ȝark, select, chosen.

653 for busmar, in scorn.

654 sothly = truly (? sotly, foolishly or softly).

Numbered 655 and printed after following note. The word “sothely” also occurs in 657, but the text note (“sotly...”) refers to 654.


May þou traw for tykel þat þou tonne moȝteȝ,

Mayst thou trow (believe) for the uncertainty (of such a thing) that thou mightest conceive;

for tykel, on account of the uncertainty.

P. 56.

l. 659 byene = ben, been or bycame. The sense would require hade before byene, if byene = ben.


Þat for lot þat þay lansed ho laȝed neuer,

That for (any) sound that they uttered, she never laughed;

lot = late, in the sense of sound, is not very common in Old English authors.

670 a-loȝ = lowly, softly.

686 blod, child.

687 bos, behoves.

688 atlyng, intention, purpose;   vn-haspe, disclose.


P. 57.

l. 696 fylter, join.

698 amed, placed;   oddely dere, singularly dear. Oddely occurs in some northern works with the sense of illustriously, nobly.

699 drwry, love;   doole alþer-swettest, the sweetest of all gifts; gift the sweetest of all.

703 conne is probably an error for come, but it may signify, be kindled, produced, begotten.

706 stollen, stealthy, secret.

711 smod = the Scotch smot, smad, stain, filth.

719 þe worre half, the weaker portion, literally, the worse half.

723 laue, law.

P. 58.

l. 732 smolt, be at peace.

740 for hortyng, for hurting = for fear of hurting. This sense of for is very common in writers of the 16th and 17th centuries.

743 fryst, delay, put off.

747 vsle, ashes, cinders.

752 leþe, destroy.

754 I schal my þro steke, I shall moderate (literally, shut up) my anger.

756 reken, wise.

P. 59.

l. 764 mese þy mode, temper thy wrath.

778 mere, boundary, meer.

784 lened = leaned, reclined; but we may read leued = beleued, remained.

P. 60.

l. 796 vnder-ȝede = vnder-ȝete, understood.

801 knaueȝ kote, servant’s house. It looks at first sight like kuchieȝ kote.

802 fatte = vat, vessel.

803 norne = nurne, request.

810 gruȝt, gruched = begrudged.

813 couþe, knew.

814 haylsed, saluted.

824 boute, without.

830 of glam debonere, of pleasant, courteous conversation.

831 wela-wynnely, very joyfully.

P. 61.

l. 832 woȝe = wowe, wall.

835 wakker comp. wayk, weak.

836 vmbe-lyȝe, surround.

838 scowte-wach, sentinel;   asscry, cry, shout, noise.

846 ȝeȝed = chattered, gaggled;   ȝestande sorȝe, afflicting (or frothing) sorrow.

848 brych = what is low, vile, filthy (? bryth, breath);   vpbraydeȝ, raises.

849 glyfte with þat glam, was frightened at that speech.

855 wonded no woþe, avoided no danger (hurt).

859 meled, spoke.

860 hendelayk, courtesy, civility.

P. 62.

l. 871 tayt = lively.

874 aȝly = awly, fearfully.

876 out-comlyng, a stranger. In this form it is still known in the North of England. Comlyng is the more usual form of the word in our early literature;   carle = churl.

881 ȝornen, ran.

882 wapped, beat.

885 in blande = together (?);   banned, cursed.

888 nyteled, laboured, toiled.

889 of tayt, from fear. Teyt, fear, alarm, occurs in the northern romance of Alexander.

890 roþeled, hastened.

892 vglokest vnhap, the most dreadful misfortune.


Ruddon of þe day-rawe ros vpon vȝten.

The light of the day-break rose on the morn.

894 merk, darkness.

895 ruþen, rouse.

901 cayre tid of þis kythe, depart quickly from this land.

P. 63.

l. 905 stemme no stepe, stop (keep back), no step. Cf. our modern phrase “stem the tide.”

909 losen, destroy.

911 gorde, rush.

912 clater, shatter.

915 kynned, kindled.

916 þe brath of his breth, the fierceness of his wrath.

918 foo-schip, enmity.

921 walle = wale, choose;   wonnyng, dwelling, abode.

927 vtter, without.

928 wore = ware = were. Cf. thore = thare = there.

931 agayn-tote, looking back; tote (toot) occurs frequently with the sense of “to peep,” “look,” in Early English.

P. 64.

l. 944 Loke ȝe bowe now bi bot, Look ye go now by (according to) command.

947 greme, wrath.

948 wakan, arouse, stir up.

950 flytande, chiding, murmuring.

955 smachande, savouring, smelling.

964 riftes, fissures.


965 cloutes, pieces.

969 Rydelles = redeless = without counsel, helpless;   rowtes, companies.


Such a ȝomerly ȝarm of ȝellyng þer rysed,

Such a mournful (pitiful) outcry of yelling there rose.

P. 65.

l. 976 Trynande ay a hyȝe trot, going ever (at) a great pace.

987 loueȝ, not loaves, but = the provincial looves = hands.

989 dampped = dumped, beaten down.

991 malscrande mere, accursed lake.

992 on a lawe, on a hill.

1000 & alle lyste on hir lik (i.e. lick) þat arn on launde bestes.

“Als so sco loked hir behind,

A stan sco standes bi þat way

And sua sal do to domesday;

In a salt stan men seis hir stand

Þat best likes o þat land;

Þat anes o þe wok day,

Þan is sco liked al away

And þan þai find hir on þe morn,

Hale als sco was ar beforn.”

(Cott. MS. Vesp. A. iii. fol. 17b.)

1002 niye, anguish.

P. 66.

l. 1009 a roþun of a reche, a rush of smoke, a mass of vapour;   blake, the black (pit).

1011 flot, fat, grease.

1016 drouy, turbid, from droue, to trouble.

1024 costeȝ of kynde = natural properties.

1030 boþem broþely, filthy pit.

1031 losyng, perdition.

1033 coosteȝ = properties.

1035 alkaran, Mandeville employs the term alkatran;   angré = poisonous or grievous, or augre = aigre, sharp.

1036 saundyuer = sandiver, glass-gall.

1037 waxlokes, waves.

1038 spuniande, cleaving, sticky.

1039 se halues, sea coasts.

1041 terne = tarne, lake.

1044 apple garnade = pomegranate.

P. 67.

l. 1072 kynned, conceived.

1076 a schepon = a stable.

P. 68.

l. 1079 reflayr, smell, odour;   rote, decay.

1082 þe reken fyþel, the merry fiddle.

1094 lomerande blynde, the hesitating (slow, creeping), blind. The primitive meaning of lomerande seems to be that of slow, sluggish.

1108 tyȝt, endeavour.

P. 69.

l. 1113 fenny, dirty, filthy, and hence sinful.

1118 to dele, to exchange.

1123 For “& wax euer,” etc., the sense seems to require that we should read “& wax ho euer,” etc.

1124 in pyese = whole.

1126 blyndes of ble, becomes dull of hue, loses its colour.

1127 No-bot, only.

1141 lastes, vices.

1142 þewes = þeues (?), thieves, or unþewes, vices (?)

P. 70.

l. 1153 tyȝt me a tom = give me an opportunity; tom has the sense of leisure and not of time.

1167 fylsened, helped, aided.

1172 lat, late, slow.

1178 þorpes, cities.

P. 71.

l. 1186 skete skarmoch, skelt, brisk skirmish, hastened (came on quickly).

1190 brutage = bretage, parapets of a wall.

1202 blench, stratagem.

1205 at-wappe, escape.

1206 skelt, spread.

1208 ruþed, roused.

1209 hard hattes, (?) hats made of tow; herd, hard (harden, hards), in O. English signify cloth made of tow.

P. 72.

l. 1219 faynest, gladdest.

1224 dreȝe þer his wyrdes, endure there his destiny.

1246 to þe bronde, to the sword.

P. 73.

l. 1254 on capeles, on horses.

1255 fole wombes, bellies of foals.

1259 to 114 cayre at þe kart & þe kuy mylke, to drag at the cart and milk the cows.

1265 plat of, strike off.

1284 hamppred = hampered, packed up for removal.

P. 74.

l. 1290 hyȝtled, ornamented.

1303 modey = moody, proud.

1313 sesed, took possession of.

P. 75.

l. 1327 bi-cnv = bicneu, acknowledged.

1330 heldes, descends.

1332 grauen, buried.

1334 stalled in his stud, placed in his stead (position).

1342 tre, wood;   telded, raised.

1344 gered, covered, decked.

1346 reden, advise.

1354 notyng, devising, contriving;   gettes, devices.

P. 76.

l. 1358 avayment, exhibition.

1361 banne, proclamation.

1362 callyng, decree.

1366 vche a kythyn kyng, every king of countries.

1375 ludisch lordes, lords of nations.

1379 plek, spot (plot of ground).

P. 77.

l. 1396

Stepe stayred [þe] stones of his stoute throne,

Bright shone the stones of his firm throne.

1397 hiled = covered.

1398 bounet, went about.

1402 strake steuen = struck up sound.

1403 wrasten krakkes, sounds (notes) are raised.

1410 foles, fowls, birds.   flakerande, flickering, fluttering.

1412 on blonkken bak, on the back of horses. In lines 1407-1412 we have evidently an allusion to the “table subtilties” of the fourteenth century.

1420 weȝed, served.

1425 dotage, folly.

P. 78.

l. 1435 schin, shall.

1446 besten blod, blood of beasts;   busily, laboriously.

1462 fylyoles, round towers.

P. 79.

l. 1472 Penitotes. So in MS., but read Peritotes.

1478 cost, contrivance.

1495 iaueles = worthless wretches, used by Hall and Spenser.

P. 80.

l. 1501 wlates, is disgusted.

1504 wayned, granted.

1505 glotoun, a general term of reproach.

1507 vus = use, drink.

1510 kyppe, take, seize, catch up.

1511 birlen, pour out.

1517 dotel, fool.

1520 as each one was disposed so tossed he off the cup.

P. 81.

l. 1537 neue, fist.

1542 lers, features, but (?) fers, fears.

1543 as a rad ryth, as a frightened hound (literally mastiff).

1545 runisch saueȝ, strange words.

1554 skelten, hasten.

1557 þo draȝtes, the characters.

1559 ede = went, but bede, bade, commanded.

1560 warlaȝes, wizards.

1566 malt, to soothe.

1568 gered, clothed.

P. 82.

l. 1585 he wed wel ner, he became nearly mad.

1603 in stoundes, at times.

P. 83.

l. 1606 spured, asked, enquired of.

1634 tede = tene, ten (?)

1637 apyke, adorn, clothe.

P. 84.

l. 1650 loȝed, made low.

1654 pouer, power.

1674 wasterne, wilderness;   dowelle, dwelle.

1675 braken, fern.

P. 85.

l. 1678 soly, seat.

1684 ay (?) = hay.

1686 ouer-seyed, passed over.

1690 wykes, members.

1692 clyde, plaister (?).

1694 bresed, rough, bristly; Sir F. Madden interprets it broken.

1695 campe hores, shaggy hairs.

1696 glede, kite.

1701 wayned, recovered.

1707 haȝerly, properly.

P. 86.

l. 1713 auyled, defiled.

1716 wale wyne, choice wine;   in waryed stoundes, in accursed moments.

P. 87.

l. 1755 daȝed, dawned.

1759 blykned = blaykned, became dark, blackened.

1760 Mourkenes, becomes murky.

1761 lyst, path.

1768 layted, sought.

1773 ledes of armes, men of arms.

1775 þester, darkness.


P. 88.

l. 1785 slyppe, escape.

1786 honde-whyle, a moment.

1788 blende, mingled.

1792 now is a dogge also dere, now is as valuable as a dog.

1808 telled = raised (?) telles = raises.

1811 gere, clothing.




[Fol. 83a.] Patience is often displeasing,

Pacience is a poynt, þaȝ hit displese ofte,

When heuy herttes ben hurt wyth heþyng oþer elles,

aswagen] MS. aswagend.

Suffraunce may aswagen hem & þe swelme leþe,

but it assuages heavy hearts, and quenches malice.

4 For ho quelles vche a qued, & quenches malyce;

For quo-so suffer cowþe syt, sele wolde folȝe,

Happiness follows sorrow.

& quo for þro may noȝt þole, þe þikker he sufferes;


It is better to suffer than to be angry.

Þen is better to abyde þe bur vmbe-stoundes,

8 Þen ay þrow forth my þro, þaȝ me þynk ylle.

I herde on a halyday at a hyȝe masse,

Matthew tells us of the promises made by Christ: Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

How mathew melede, þat his mayster his meyny con teche,

Aȝt happes he hem hyȝt & vche on a mede,

12 Sunderlupes for hit dissert vpon a ser wyse:

Thay arn happen þat han in hert pouerté,

For hores is þe heuen-ryche to holde for euer;

Blessed are the meek, for they shall “wield the world.”

Þay ar happen also þat haunte mekenesse,

16 For þay schal welde þis worlde & alle her wylle haue;

Blessed are the mourners, for they shall be comforted.

Thay ar happen also þat for her harme wepes,

For þay schal comfort encroche in kythes ful mony;

Blessed are the hungry, for they shall be filled.

Þay ar happen also þat hungeres after ryȝt,

20 For þay schal frely be refete ful of alle gode;

Blessed are the merciful, for mercy shall be their reward.

Thay ar happen also þat han in hert rauþe,

For mercy in alle maneres her mede schal worþe;

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see the Saviour.

Þay ar happen also þat arn of hert clene,

24 For þay her sauyour in sete schal se with her yȝen;

90 Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called God’s sons.

Thay ar happen also þat halden her pese,

For þay þe gracious godes sunes schal godly be called;

Blessed are they that live aright, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Þay ar happen also þat con her hert stere,

28 For hores is þe heuen-ryche, as I er sayde.

These blessings are promised to those who follow

These arn þe happes alle aȝt þat vus bihyȝt weren,

If we þyse ladyes wolde lof in lyknyng of þewes;

[Fol. 83b.] poverty, pity, penance, meekness, mercy, chastity, peace and patience

Dame pouert, Dame pitee, Dame penaunce þe þrydde,

32 Dame Mekenesse, Dame mercy & Miry clannesse,

& þenne Dame pes & pacyence put in þer-after.

He were happen þat hade one, alle were þe better,

syn] MS. fyn.

Bot syn I am put to a poynt þat pouerte hatte,

Poverty and patience are to be treated together.

36 I schal me poruay pacyence, & play me with boþe;

For in þe tyxte, þere þyse two arn in teme layde,

They are “fettled in one form,”

Hit arn fettled in on forme, þe forme & þe laste,

& by quest of her quoyntyse enquylen on mede,

and have one meed.

40 & als in myn vpynyoun hit arn of on kynde;

Poverty will dwell where she lists,

For þer as pouert hir proferes ho nyl be put vtter,

Bot lenge where-so-euer hir lyst, lyke oþer greme,

& þere as pouert enpresses, þaȝ mon pyne þynk,

mun] mon (?). and man must needs suffer.

44 Much maugre his mun, he mot nede suffer,

Poverty and patience are play-fellows.

Thus pouerte & pacyence arn nedes play-feres.

Syþen I am sette with hem samen, suffer me by-houes,

Þenne is me lyȝtloker hit lyke & her lotes prayse,

48 Þenne wyþer wyth & be wroth & þe wers haue.

What avails impatience,

Ȝif me be dyȝt a destyné due to haue,

What dowes me þe dedayn, oþer dispit make?

if God send affliction?

er ȝif my lege lorde lyst on lyue me to bidde,

52er to ryde, oþer to renne, to rome in his ernde,

What grayþed me þe grychchyng bot grame more seche?

Much ȝif he me ne made, maugref my chekes,

Patience is best.

& þenne þrat moste I þole, & vnþonk to mede,

56 Þe[t] had bowed to his bode, bongre my hyure.

Did not Jonah incur danger by his folly?

Did not Ionas in Iude suche Iape sum-whyle,

To sette hym to sewrte, vnsounde he hym feches?

tyme] MS. tyne.

Wyl ȝe tary a lyttel tyme & tent me a whyle,

60 I schal wysse yow þer-wyth as holy wryt telles.




Jonah was a prophet of the gentiles.

Hit bi-tydde sum-tyme in þe termes of Iude,

Ionas ioyned watȝ þer-inne ientyle prophete;

God’s word came to him, saying,

Goddes glam to hym glod, þat hym vnglad made,

64 With a roghlych rurd rowned in his ere;

“Rise quickly, take the way to Nineveh.

“Rys radly,” he says, “& rayke forth euen,

Nym þe way to nynyue, wyth-outen oþer speche,

[Fol. 84a.]

& in þat cete my saȝes soghe alle aboute,

Say that which I shall put in thine heart.

68 Þat, in þat place at þe poynt, I put in þi hert;

For Iwysse hit arn so wykke þat in þat won dowelleȝ,

Wickedness dwells in that city.

& her malys is so much I may not abide,

Bot venge me on her vilanye & venym bilyue;

Go swiftly and carry my message.”

72 Now sweȝe me þider swyftly & say me þis arende.”

When þat steuen watȝ stynt, þat stowned his mynde,

Jonah is full of wrath.

Al he wrathed in his wyt & wyþerly he þoȝt,

If I bowe to his bode & bryng hem þis tale,

He is afraid that the shrews

76 & I be Nummen in Nuniue, my nyes begynes;

He telles me þose traytoures arn typped schrewes,

I com wyth þose tyþynges, þay ta me bylyue,

will put him in the stocks,

Pyneȝ me in a prysoun, put me in stokkes,

or put out his eyes.

80 Wryþe me in a warlok, wrast out myn yȝen.

Þis is a meruayl message a man for to preche,

Amonge enmyes so mony & mansed fendes;

He thinks that God desires his death.

Bot if my gaynlych god such gref to me wolde,

For] MS. fof.

84 For desert of sum sake þat I slayn were,

He determines not to go near the city,

At alle peryles, quod þe prophete, I aproche hit no nerre,

I wyl me sumer waye, þat he ne wayte after;

but fly to Tarshish.

I schal tee in-to tarce, & tary þere a whyle,

88 & lyȝtly, when I am lest, he letes me alone.

Grumbling, he goes to port Joppa.

Þenne he ryses radly, & raykes bilyue

Ionas toward port Iaph, ay Ianglande for tene,

Þat he nolde þole, for no-þyng, non of þose pynes,

He says that God will not be able to protect him.

92 Þaȝ þe fader þat hym formed were fale of his hele.

“Oure syre syttes,” he says, “on sege so hyȝe

In his g[l]wande glorye, & gloumbes ful lyttel,



Þaȝ I be nummen in nuniue & naked dispoyled,

96 On rode rwly to-rent, with rybaudes mony.”

Jonah reaches the port, finds a ship ready to sail.

Þus he passes to þat port, his passage to seche,

Fyndes he a fayr schyp to þe fare redy;

Maches hym with þe maryneres, makes her paye,

100 For to towe hym in-to tarce, as tyd as þay myȝt.

The seamen catch up the cross-sail, fasten the cables, weigh their anchors,

Then he tron on þo tres & þay her tramme ruchen,

Cachen vp þe crossayl, cables þay fasten,

[Fol. 84b.]

Wiȝt at þe wyndlas weȝen her ankres,

104 Sprude spak to þe sprete þe spare bawe-lyne,

and spread sail.

Gederen to þe gyde ropes, þe grete cloþ falles;

Þay layden in on ladde-borde & þe lofe wynnes.

A gentle wind wafts the ship along.

Þe blyþe breþe at her bak þe bosum he fyndes,

108 He swenges me þys swete schip swefte fro þe hauen.

Was never a Jew so joyful as was Jonah then.

Watȝ neuer so Ioyful a Iue, as Ionas watȝ þenne,

Þat þe daunger of dryȝtyn so derfly ascaped;

He wende wel þat þat wyȝ þat al þe world planted,

112 Hade no maȝt in þat mere no man forto greue.

He has, however, put himself in peril,

Lo! þe wytles wrechche, for he wolde noȝt suffer,

Now hatȝ he put hym in plyt of peril wel more;

Hit watȝ a wenyng vn-war þat welt in his mynde,

in fleeing from God.

116 Þaȝ he were soȝt fro samarye þat god seȝ no fyrre,

Ȝise he blusched ful brode, þat burde hym by sure,

The words of David.

Þat ofte kyd hym þe carpe þat kyng sayde,

Dyngne dauid on des, þat demed þis speche,

120 In a psalme þat he set þe sauter with-inne;

O Foleȝ in folk feleȝ oþer whyle,

Does He not hear, who made all ears?

& vnderstondes vmbe-stounde, þaȝ he be stape fole,

Hope ȝe þat he heres not þat eres alle made?

He is not blind that formed each eye.

124 Hit may not be þat he is blynde þat bigged vche yȝe.

Jonah is now in no dread.

Bot he dredes no dynt þat dotes for elde,

For he watȝ fer in þe flod foundande to tarce;

He is, however, soon overtaken.

Bot, I trow, ful tyd, ouer-tan þat he were,

128 So þat schomely to schort he schote of his ame.

The wielder of all things has devices at will.

For þe welder of wyt, þat wot alle þynges,

Þat ay wakes & waytes, at wylle hatȝ he slyȝtes;



He calde on þat ilk crafte he carf with his hondes,

132 Þay wakened wel þe wroþeloker, for wroþely he cleped:

He commands Eurus and Aquilo to blow.

“Ewrus & aquiloun, þat on est sittes,

Blowes boþe at my bode vpon blo watteres.”

The winds blow obedient to His word.

Þenne watȝ no tom þer bytwene his tale & her dede,

136 So bayn wer þay boþe two, his bone for to wyrk.

Out of the north-east the noise begins.

An-on out of þe norþ est þe noys bigynes,

When boþe breþes con blowe vpon blo watteres;

[Fol. 85a.]

Roȝ rakkes þer ros with rudnyng an-vnder,

Storms arose,
winds wrestled together, the waves rolled high,

140 Þe see souȝed ful sore, gret selly to here;

Þe wyndes on þe wonne water so wrastel to-geder,

Þat þe wawes ful wode waltered so hiȝe,

& efte busched to þe abyme þat breed fysches;

and never rested.

144 Durst nowhere for roȝ arest at þe bothem.

When þe breth & þe brok & þe bote metten,

Then was Jonah joyless.

Hit watȝ a ioyles gyn þat Ionas watȝ inne,

The boat reeled around.

For hit reled on roun[d] vpon þe roȝe yþes.

The gear became out of order.

148 Þe bur ber to hit baft þat braste alle her gere,

Þen hurled on a hepe þe helme & þe sterne,

Ropes and mast were broken.

Furst to murte mony rop & þe mast after.

Þe sayl sweyed on þe see, þenne suppe bihoued

colde] MS. clolde. A loud cry is raised, Many a lad labours to lighten the ship.

152 Þe coge of þe colde water, & þenne þe cry ryses;

Ȝet coruen þay þe cordes & kest al þer-oute.

Mony ladde þer forth-lep to laue & to kest,

Scopen out þe scaþel water, þat fayn scape wolde;

lode] lote (?).

156 For be monnes lode neuer so luþer, þe lyf is ay swete.

They throw overboard their bags and feather beds.

Þer watȝ busy ouer-borde bale to kest

Her bagges, & her feþer beddes, & her bryȝt wedes,

Her kysttes, & her coferes, her caraldes alle,

160 & al to lyȝten þat lome, ȝif leþe wolde schape;

But still the wind rages, and the waves become wilder.

Bot euer watȝ ilyche loud þe lot of þe wyndes,

& euer wroþer þe water, & wodder þe stremes.

Þen þo wery for-wroȝt wyst no bote,

Each man calls upon his god.

164 Bot vchon glewed on his god þat gayned hym beste;

Some called upon Vernagu, Diana, and Neptune, to the sun and to the moon.

Summe to vernagu þer vouched a-vowes solemne,

Summe to diana deuout, & derf nepturne,


To mahoun & to mergot, þe mone & þe sunne,

168 & vche lede as he loued & layde had his hert.


Then said one of the sailors:
“Some lawless wretch, that has grieved his God, is in the ship.

Þenne bispeke þe spakest dispayred wel nere:

I leue here be sum losynger, sum lawles wrech,

Þat hatȝ greued his god & gotȝ here amonge vus;

172 Lo al synkes in his synne & for his sake marres!

I advise that we lay lots upon each man.

I lovne þat we lay lotes on ledes vchone,

& who-so lympes þe losse, lay hym þer-oute;

[Fol. 85b.] When the guilty is gone the tempest may cease.”

& quen þe gulty is gon what may gome trawe,

176 Bot he þat rules þe rak may rwe on þose oþer?

This is agreed to.

Þis watȝ sette in asent, & sembled þay were,

All are assembled, from all corners of the ship,

Herȝed out of vche hyrne to hent þat falles.

A lodes-mon lyȝtly lep vnder hachches,

180 For to layte mo ledes & hem to lote bryng,

Bot hym fayled no freke þat he fynde myȝt,

save Jonah the Jew,

Saf Ionas þe Iwe þat Iowked in derne.

who had fled into the bottom of the boat.

He watȝ flowen for ferde of þe flode lotes

184 In-to þe boþem of þe bot, & on a brede lyggede,

On helde by þe hurrok, for þe heuen wrache,

There he falls asleep.

Slypped vpon a sloumbe, selepe, & sloberande he routes.

Soon he is aroused,

Þe freke hym frunt with his fot & bede hym ferk vp,

188 Þer ragnel in his rakentes hym rere of his dremes;

Bi þe haspede he hentes hym þenne,

and brought on board.

& broȝt hym vp by þe brest & vpon borde sette,

Full roughly is he questioned.

Arayned hym ful runyschly what raysoun he hade

192 In such slaȝtes of sorȝe to slepe so faste;

The lot falls upon Jonah.

Sone haf þay her sortes sette & serelych deled,

þe] MS. þe þe.

& ay þe lote, vpon laste, lymped on Ionas.

Then quickly they said:
“What the devil hast thou done, doted wretch?

Þenne ascryed þay hym sckete, & asked ful loude,

196 “What þe deuel hatȝ þou don, doted wrech?

What seekest thou on the sea?

What seches þou on see, synful schrewe,

With þy lastes so luþer to lose vus vchone?

Hast thou no God to call upon?

Hatȝ þou, gome, no gouernour ne god on to calle,

200 Þat þou þus slydes on slepe when þou slayn worþes?

Of what land art thou?

Of what londe art þou lent, what laytes þou here

Whyder in worlde þat þou wylt, & what is þyn arnde?

95 Thou art doomed for thy ill deeds.”

Lo þy dom is þe dyȝt, for þy dedes ille!

204 Do gyf glory to þy godde, er þou glyde hens.”

Jonah says: “I am a Hebrew,
a worshipper of the world’s Creator.

“I am an Ebru,” quod he, “of Israyl borne;

Þat wyȝe I worchyp, Iwysse, þat wroȝt alle þynges,

Alle þe worlde with þe welkyn, þe wynde & þe sternes,

208 & alle þat woneȝ þer with-inne, at a worde one.

All this mischief is caused by me, therefore cast me overboard.”

Alle þis meschef for me is made at þys tyme,

For I haf greued my god & gulty am founden;

[Fol. 86a.] baþeþes] baþes (?).

For-þy bereȝ me to þe borde, & baþeþes me þer-oute,

212 Er gete ȝe no happe, I hope forsoþe.”


hym] hem (?).

He ossed hym by vnnynges þat þay vnder-nomen,

He proves to them that he was guilty.

Þat he watȝ flawen fro þe face of frelych dryȝtyn;

The mariners are exceedingly frightened.

Þenne such a ferde on hem fel & flayed hem with-inne,

216 Þat þay ruyt hym to rowwe & letten þe rynk one.

They try to make way with their oars,

Haþeles hyȝed in haste with ores ful longe,

Syn her sayl watȝ hem aslypped on sydeȝ to rowe;

Hef & hale vpon hyȝt to helpen hym seluen,

but their endeavours are useless.

220 Bot al watȝ nedles note, þat nolde not bityde:

In bluber of þe blo flod bursten her ores,

Jonah must be doomed to death.

Þenne hade þay noȝt in her honde þat hem help myȝt;

Þenne nas no coumfort to keuer, ne counsel non oþer,

224 Bot ionas in-to his Iuis Iugge bylyue.

They pray to God,

Fyrst þay prayen to þe prynce þat prophetes seruen,

Þat he gef hem þe grace to greuen hym neuer,

that they may not shed innocent blood.

Þat þay in baleleȝ blod þer blenden her handeȝ,

228 Þaȝ þat haþel wer his, þat þay here quelled.

Jonah is cast overboard.

Tyd by top & bi to þay token hym synne,

In-to þat lodlych loȝe þay luche hym sone;

out-tulde] out-tulte (?). The tempest ceases and the sea settles.

He watȝ no tytter out-tulde þat tempest ne sessed,

232 Þe se saȝtled þer-with, as sone as ho moȝt.

Þenne þaȝ her takel were torne, þat totered on yþeȝ,

The stiff streams drive the ship about.

Styffe stremes & streȝt hem strayned a whyle,

serue] sterue (?).

Þat drof hem dryȝlych adoun þe depe to serue,

At last they reach a bank.

236 Tyl a swetter ful swyþe hem sweȝed to bonk.

The seamen thank God
and perform solemn vows.

Þer watȝ louyng on lofte, when þay þe londe wonnen,

To oure mercyable god, on moyses wyse,


With sacrafyse vp-set, & solempne vowes,

240 & graunted hym vn-to be god & graythly non oþer;

Jonah is in great dread.

Þaȝ þay be Iolef for Ioye, Ionas ȝet dredes,

Þaȝ he nolde suffer no sore, his seele is on anter;

For what-so worþed of þat wyȝe, fro he in water dipped,

244 Hit were a wonder to wene, ȝif holy wryt nere.



Jonah is shoved from the ship. to] MS. to to.

Now is ionas þe Iwe Iugged to drowne;

Of þat schended schyp men schowued hym sone.

[Fol. 86b.] A wild whale swims by the boat.

A wylde walterande whal, as wyrde þen schaped,

248 Þat watȝ beten fro þe abyme, bi þat bot flotte,

& watȝ war of þat wyȝe þat þe water soȝte,

He opens his swallow,

& swyftely swenged hym to swepe & his swolȝ opened;

Þe folk ȝet haldande his fete þe fysch hym tyd hentes,

and seizes the prophet.

252 With-outen towche of any tothe he tult in his þrote.

swayues] swaynes (?).

Thenne he swengeȝ & swayues to þe se boþem,

Bi mony rokkeȝ ful roȝe & rydelande strondes,

Wyth þe mon in his mawe, malskred in drede.

It is not to be wondered at that Jonah suffered woe.

256 As lyttel wonder hit watȝ ȝif he wo dreȝed,

For nade þe hyȝe heuen kyng, þurȝ his honde myȝt,

Warded þis wrech man in warlowes gutteȝ,

What lede moȝt lyue bi lawe of any kynde,

260 Þat any lyf myȝt be lent so longe hym with-inne?

Bot he watȝ sokored by þat syre þat syttes so hiȝe,

wauleȝ] wanleȝ (?). The prophet is without hope.

Þaȝ were wauleȝ of wele, in wombe of þat fissche,

& also dryuen þurȝ þe depe, & in derk waltereȝ.

Cold was his comfort.

264 Lorde! colde watȝ his cumfort & his care huge,

For he knew vche a cace & kark þat hym lymped;

How fro þe bot in-to þe blober watȝ with a best lachched,

þrwe] þrwen (?).

& þrwe in at hit þrote, with-outen þret more,

Jonah was only a mote in the whale’s jaws.

268 As mote in at a munster dor, so mukel wern his chawleȝ,

He entered in by the gills, and by means of one of the intestines of the fish, came into a space as large as a hall.

He glydes in by þe giles, þurȝ glaymande glette,

Relande in by a rop, a rode þat hym þoȝt,

Ay hele ouer hed, hourlande aboute,

272 Til he blunt in a blok as brod as a halle;

97 The prophet fixes his feet firmly in the belly of the whale.

& þer he festnes þe fete & fathmeȝ aboute,

& stod vp in his stomak, þat stank as þe deuel;

Þer in saym & in sorȝe þat sauoured as helle,

276 Þer watȝ bylded his bour, þat wyl no bale suffer;

& þenne he lurkkes & laytes where watȝ le best,

He searches into every nook of its navel.

In vche a nok of his nauel, bot nowhere he fyndeȝ

No rest ne recouerer, bot ramelande myre,

280 In wych gut so euer he gotȝ; bot euer is god swete;

The prophet calls upon God.

& þer he lenged at þe last & to þe lede called.

“Now prynce, of þy prophete pité þou haue!

[Fol. 87a.]

Þaȝ I be fol, & fykel, & falce of my hert,

He cries for mercy.

284 De-woyde now þy vengaunce, þurȝ vertu of rauthe;

Thaȝ I be gulty of gyle as gaule of prophetes,

Þou art god, & alle gowdeȝ ar grayþely þyn owen;

Haf now mercy of þy man & his mys-dedes,

288 & preue þe lyȝtly a lorde, in londe & in water.”

He sits safely in a recess,

With þat he hitte to a hyrne & helde hym þer-inne,

Þer no de-foule of no fylþe watȝ fest hym abute;

Þer he sete also sounde, saf for merk one,

292 As in þe bulk of þe bote, þer he by-fore sleped.

in a bowel of the beast,

So in a bouel of þat best he bideȝ on lyue,

for three days and three nights.

Þre dayes & þ[r]e nyȝt ay þenkande on dryȝtyn,

His myȝt & his merci, his mesure þenne;

296 Now he knaweȝ hym in care þat couþe not in sele.


The whale passes through many a rough region.

Ande euer walteres þis whal bi wyldren depe,

Þurȝ mony a regioun ful roȝe, þurȝ ronk of his wylle,

Jonah makes the whale feel sick.

For þat mote in his mawe mad hym, I trowe,

300 Þaȝ hit lyttel were, hym wyth to wamel at his hert,

Ande assayled þe segge; ay sykerly he herde

Þe bygge borne on his bak & bete on his sydes;

The prophet prays to God in this wise:

Þen a prayer ful prest þe prophete þer maked

304 On þis wyse, as I wene, his wordeȝ were mony:



“Lord! to thee have I cried out of hell’s womb.

“Lorde to þe haf I cleped, in careȝ ful stronge,

Out of þe hole þou me herde, of hellen wombe


I calde, & þou knew myn vncler steuen;

Thou dippedst me in the sea.

308 Þou dipteȝ me of þe depe se, in-to þe dymme hert,

Thy great floods passed over me.

Þe grete flem of þy flod folded me vmbe;

Alle þe goteȝ of þy guferes, & groundeleȝ powleȝ,

The streams drive over me.

& þy stryuande stremeȝ of stryndeȝ so mony,

312 In on daschande dam, dryueȝ me ouer;

I am cast out from thy sight.

& ȝet I say, as I seet in þe se boþem,

‘Care-ful am I kest out fro þy cler yȝen

& deseuered fro þy syȝt; ȝet surely I hope,

316 Efte to trede on þy temple & teme to þy seluen.’

I am wrapped in water to my wo stoundeȝ,

The abyss binds me.

Þe abyme byndes þe body þat I byde inne;

[Fol. 87b.] The rushing waves play on my head.

Þe pure poplande hourle playes on my heued,

320 To laste mere of vche a mount man am I fallen;

Þe barreȝ of vche a bonk ful bigly me haldes,

lont] lond (?). Thou possessest my life.

Þat I may lachche no lont & þou my lyf weldes;

Þou schal releue me renk, whil þy ryȝt slepeȝ,

324 Þurȝ myȝt of þy mercy þat mukel is to tryste.

In my anguish I remembered my God,

For when þacces of anguych watȝ hid in my sawle,

Þenne I remembred me ryȝt of my rych lorde,

and besought His pity.

Prayande him for peté his prophete to here,

328 Þat in-to his holy hous myn orisoun moȝt entre.

I haf meled with þy maystres mony longe day,

Bot now I wot wyterly, þat þose vnwyse ledes

hym] hem (?).

Þat affyen hym in vanyté & in vayne þynges,

þink] þing (?).

332 For þink þat mountes to noȝt, her mercy forsaken;

When I am delivered from this danger,

Bot I dewoutly awowe þat verray betȝ halden,

Soberly to do þe sacrafyse when I schal saue worþe,

I will obey thy commands.”

& offer þe for my hele a ful hol gyfte,

336 & halde goud þat þou me hetes; haf here my trauthe.”


God speaks fiercely to the whale,
and he vomits out the prophet on a dry space.

Thenne oure fader to þe fysch ferslych biddeȝ,

Þat he hym sput spakly vpon spare drye;

Þe whal wendeȝ at his wylle & a warþe fyndeȝ,

340 & þer he brakeȝ vp þe buyrne, as bede hym oure lorde.

Jonah has need to wash his clothes.

Þenne he swepe to þe sonde in sluchched cloþes,

Hit may wel be þat mester were his mantyle to wasche;


Þe bonk þat he blosched to & bode hym bisyde,

344 Wern of þe regiounes ryȝt þat he renayed hade;

God’s word comes to the prophet.

Þenne a wynde of goddeȝ worde efte þe wyȝe bruxleȝ,

“Nylt þou neuer to nuniue bi no-kynneȝ wayeȝ?”

“Ȝisse lorde,” quod þe lede, “lene me þy grace

non] MS. mon. He is told to preach in Nineveh.

348 For to go at þi gre, me gayneȝ noner.”

“Ris, aproche þen to prech, lo þe place here!

loke] loken (?).

Lo! my lore is in þe loke, lance hit þer-inne.”

Þenne þe renk radly ros as he myȝt,

By night Jonah reaches the city.

352 & to niniue þat naȝt he neȝed ful euen;

Nineveh was a very great city.

Hit watȝ a ceté ful syde & selly of brede,

On to þrenge þer-þurȝe watȝ þre dayes dede.


[Fol. 88a.]

Þat on Iournay ful Ioynt Ionas hym ȝede,

356 Er euer he warpped any worde to wyȝe þat he mette,

Jonah delivers his message;

& þenne he cryed so cler, þat kenne myȝt alle;

Þe trwe tenor of his teme he tolde on þis wyse:

“Yet forty days and Nineveh shall come to an end.

“Ȝet schal forty dayeȝ fully fare to an ende,

360 & þenne schal Niniue be nomen & to noȝt worþe;

Truly þis ilk toun schal tylte to grounde,

It shall be turned upside down,
and swallowed quickly by the black earth.”

Vp-so-doun schal ȝe dumpe depe to þe abyme,

To be swolȝed swyftly wyth þe swart erþe,

364 & alle þat lyuyes here-inne lose þe swete.”

This speech spreads throughout the city.

Þis speche sprang in þat space & spradde alle aboute,

To borges & to bacheleres, þat in þat burȝ lenged;

Great fear seizes all.

Such a hidor hem bent & a hatel drede,

368 Þat al chaunged her chere & chylled at þe hert.

Þe segge sesed not ȝet, bot sayde euer ilyche

“Þe verray vengaunce of god schal voyde þis place.”

The people mourn secretly,

Þenne þe peple pitosly pleyned ful stylle,

372 & for þe drede of dryȝtyn doured in hert;

clothe themselves in sackcloth,

Heter hayreȝ þay hent þat asperly bited,

& þose þay bounden to her bak & to her bare sydeȝ,

and cast ashes upon their heads.

Dropped dust on her hede & dymly bisoȝten,

376 Þat þat penaunce plesed him þat playneȝ on her wronge.

The message reaches the ears of the king.

& ay he cryes in þat kyth tyl þe kyng herde;

& he radly vp-ros & ran fro his chayer,

100 He rends his robes,

His ryche robe he to-rof of his rigge naked,

380 & of a hep of askes he hitte in þe myddeȝ;

clothes himself in sackloth,

He askeȝ heterly a hayre & hasped hym vmbe,

Sewed a sekke þer abof, & syked ful colde;

and mourns in the dust.

Þer he dased in þat duste, with droppande teres,

384 Wepande ful wonderly alle his wrange dedes.

He issues a decree,

Þenne sayde he to his seriauntes, “samnes yow bilyue,

Do dryue out a decre demed of my seluen,

that all in the city, men, beasts, women and children, prince, priest, and prelates,

Þat alle þe bodyes þat ben with-inne þis borȝ quyk,

388 Boþe burnes & bestes, burdeȝ & childer,

Vch prynce, vche prest & prelates alle,

should fast for their sins.

Alle faste frely for her falce werkes;

[Fol. 88b.] Children are to be weaned from the breast.

Seseȝ childer of her sok, soghe hem so neuer,

392 Ne best bite on no brom, ne no bent nauþer,

Passe to no pasture, ne pike non erbes,

The ox is to have no hay, nor the horse any water.

Ne non oxe to no hay, ne no horse to water;

Al schal crye for-clemmed, with alle oure clere strenþe,

396 Þe rurd schal ryse to hym þat rawþe schal haue;

Who can tell if God will have mercy?

What wote oþer wyte may ȝif þe wyȝe lykes,

Þat is hende in þe hyȝt of his gentryse?

Though He is mighty,

I wot his myȝt is so much, þaȝ he be mysse-payed,

He is merciful,

400 Þat in his mylde amesyng he mercy may fynde;

& if we leuen þe layk of oure layth synnes,

& stylle steppen in þe styȝe he styȝtleȝ hym seluen,

He wyl wende of his wodschip, & his wrath leue,

and may forgive us our guilt.

404 & for-gif vus þis gult ȝif we hym god leuen.”

All believed and repented.

Þenne al leued on his lawe & laften her synnes,

Par-formed alle þe penaunce þat þe prynce radde;

God forgave them through his goodness.

& god þurȝ his godnesse forgef as he sayde,

408 Þaȝ he oþer bihyȝt, [&] with-helde his vengaunce.



Much sorrow settles upon Jonah.

Muche sorȝe þenne satteled vpon segge Ionas,

He wex as wroth as þe wynde towarde oure lorde,

He becomes very angry.

So hatȝ anger onhit his hert; he calleȝ

He prays to God and says:

412 A prayer to þe hyȝe prynce, for pyne, on þys wyse:

101 “Was not this my saying, when Thy message reached me in my own country?

“I biseche þe syre now þou self iugge,

Watȝ not þis ilk my worde þat worþen is nouþe,

Þat I kest in my cuntre, when þou þy carp sendeȝ,

416 Þat I schulde tee to þys toun, þi talent to preche?

I knew Thy great goodness,

Wel knew I þi cortaysye, þy quoynt soffraunce.

Þy bounté of debonerté & þy bene grace,

Thy long-suffering,
and Thy mercy.

Þy longe abydyng wyth lur, þy late vengaunce,

420 & ay þy mercy is mete, be mysse neuer so huge.

I wyst wel when I hade worded quatsoeuer I cowþe,

I knew these men might make their peace with Thee,

To manace alle þise mody men þat in þis mote dowelleȝ,

Wyth a prayer & a pyne þay myȝt her pese gete,

therefore I fled unto Tarshish.

424 & þer-fore I wolde haf flowen fer in-to tarce.

Take my life from me, O Lord!

Now lorde lach out my lyf, hit lastes to longe,

Bed me bilyue my bale stour, & bryng me on ende,

[Fol. 89a.] It is better for me to die than live.”

For me were swetter to swelt, as swyþe as me þynk,

428 Þen lede lenger þi lore, þat þus me les makeȝ.”

God upbraids Jonah, saying:

Þe soun of oure souerayn þen swey in his ere,

Þat vpbraydes þis burne vpon a breme wyse:

“Is this right to be so wroth?”

“Herk renk! is þis ryȝt so ronkly to wrath,

432 For any dede þat I haf don oþer demed þe ȝet?”

Jonah, jangling, uprises,

Ionas al Ioyles & Ianglande vp-ryses

& haldeȝ out on est half of þe hyȝe place,

& farandely on a felde he fetteleȝ hym to bide,

436 For to wayte on þat won what schulde worþe after.

and makes himself a bower,

Þer he busked hym a bour, þe best þat he myȝt,

of hay and ever-fern,

Of hay & of euer-ferne & erbeȝ a fewe,

For hit watȝ playn in þat place for plyande greueȝ,

to shield him from the sun.

440 For to schylde fro þe schene, oþer any schade keste.

He bowed vnder his lyttel boþe, his bak to þe sunne,

He slept heavily all night.

& þer he swowed & slept sadly al nyȝt,


God prepared a woodbine.

Þe whyle god of his grace ded growe of þat soyle,

444 Þe fayrest bynde hym abof þat euer burne wyste.

When þe dawande day dryȝtyn con sende,

Jonah awakes, and is exceedingly glad of the bower.

Þenne wakened þe wyȝ vnder wodbynde,

Loked alofte on þe lef þat lylled grene;

448 Such a lefsel of lof neuer lede hade,


For hit watȝ brod at þe boþem, boȝted onlofte,

Happed vpon ayþer half a hous as hit were,

A nos on þe norþ syde & nowhere non elleȝ,

452 Bot al schet in a schaȝe þat schaded ful cole.

The prophet, under its gracious leaves,

Þe gome glyȝt on þe grene graciouse leues,

Þat euer wayued a wynde so wyþe & so cole;

Þe schyre sunne hit vmbe-schon, þaȝ no schafte myȝt

is protected from the sun’s rays.

456 Þe mountaunce of a lyttel mote, vpon þat man schyne,

Þenne watȝ þe gome so glad of his gay logge,

Lys loltrande þer-inne, lokande to toune,

So blyþe of his wodbynde he balteres þer vnde[r],

þe] de altered to þe.

460 Þat of no diete þat day þe deuel haf, he roȝt;

& euer he laȝed as he loked þe loge alle aboute,

Jonah wishes he had such a lodge in his own country.

& wysched hit were in his kyth, þer he wony schulde,

[Fol. 89b.]

On heȝe vpon Effraym oþer ermonnes hilleȝ,

464 “I-wysse a worþloker won to welde I neuer keped.”

& quen hit neȝed to naȝt nappe hym bihoued;

He slydeȝ on a sloumbe, slep sloghe vnder leues,

God prepared a worm,
that made the woodbine wither.

Whil god wayned a worme þat wrot vpe þe rote,

468 & wyddered watȝ þe wodbynde bi þat þe wyȝe wakned;

& syþen he warneȝ þe west to waken ful softe,

vnte] vnto (?).

& sayeȝ vnte ȝeferus þat he syfle warme,

Þat þer quikken no cloude bi-fore þe cler sunne,

472 & ho schal busch vp ful brode & brenne as a candel.

Jonah awakes and finds his woodbine destroyed.

Þen wakened þe wyȝe of his wyl dremes,

& blusched to his wodbynde þat broþely watȝ marred,

The leaves were all faded.

Al welwed & wasted þo worþelych leues;

476 Þe schyre sunne hade hem schent, er euer þe schalk wyst,

The sun beat upon the head of Jonah.

& þen hef vp þe hete & heterly brenned;

Þe warm wynde of þe weste wertes he swyþeȝ.


Þe man marred on þe molde þat moȝt hym not hyde,

480 His wodbynde watȝ away, he weped for sorȝe,

He is exceedingly angry,

“With hatel anger & hot, heterly he calleȝ:

A! þou maker of man, what maystery þe þynkeȝ

Þus þy freke to forfare forbi alle oþer,


484 With alle meschef þat þou may, neuer þou me spareȝ?

I keuered me a cumfort þat now is caȝt fro me,

My wod-bynde so wlonk þat wered my heued,

Bot now I se þou art sette my solace to reue;

and prays God that he may die.

488 Why ne dyȝtteȝ þou me to diȝe; I dure to longe?”

God rebukes the prophet.

Ȝet oure lorde to þe lede lansed a speche:

“Dost thou well,” He says, “to be angry for the gourd?”

“Is þis ryȝt-wys þou renk, alle þy ronk noyse,

So wroth for a wodbynde to wax so sone,

492 Why art þou so waymot wyȝe for so lyttel?”

Jonah replies, “I would I were dead.”

“Hit is not lyttel,” quod þe lede, “bot lykker to ryȝt,

I wolde I were of þis worlde wrapped in moldeȝ.”

God asks if it is to be wondered at that He should help His handy work.

“Þenne byþenk þe mon, if þe for-þynk sore,

496 If I wolde help my honde werk, haf þou no wonder;

Is not Jonah angry that his woodbine is destroyed, which cost him no labour?

Þou art waxen so wroth for þy wod-bynde,

& trauayledeȝ neuer to tent hit þe tyme of an howre,

[Fol. 89a.]

Bot at a wap hit here wax & away at an oþer,

500 & ȝet lykeȝ þe so luþer, þi lyf woldeȝ þou tyne;


God is not to be blamed for taking pity upon people that He made.

Þenne wyte not me for þe werk þat I hit wolde help,

& rwe on þo redles þat remen for synne.

Fyrst I made hem myself of materes myn one,

504 & syþen I loked hem ful longe & hem on lode hade;

& if I my trauayl schulde tyne of termes so longe,

Should He destroy Nineveh the sorrow of such a sweet place would sink to His heart.

& type doun ȝonder toun when hit turned were,

Þe sor of such a swete place burde synk to my hert,

508 So mony malicious mon as mourneȝ þer-inne;

In the city there are little bairns who have done no wrong.

& of þat soumme ȝet arn summe such sotteȝ for madde,

As lyttel barneȝ on barme þat neuer bale wroȝt,

& wymmen vnwytté þat wale ne couþe

for] MS. fol.

512 Þat on hande fro þat oþer for alle þis hyȝe worlde,

And there are others who cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand.

Bitwene þe stele & þe stayre disserne noȝt cunen,

What rule renes in roun bitwene þe ryȝt hande

& his lyfte, þaȝ his lyf schulde lost be þer-for;

There are also dumb beasts in the city incapable of sinning.

516 & als þer ben doumbe besteȝ in þe burȝ mony,

Þat may not synne in no syt hem seluen to greue,

Why schulde I wrath wyth hem, syþen wyȝeȝ wyl torne,

cum] Or cun.

& cum & cnawe me for kyng, & my carpe leue?


520 Wer I as hastif a[s] þou, heere were harme lumpen,

Couþe I not þole bot as þou þer þryued ful fewe;

I may not be so mal[i]cious & mylde be halden,

Judgment must be tempered with mercy.

For malyse is noȝ[t] to mayntyne boute mercy withinne;

524 Be noȝt so gryndel god man, bot go forth þy wayes.”

He that is too hasty to rend his clothes must afterwards sit with worse ones to sew them together.

Be preue & be pacient, in payne & in Ioye,

For he þat is to rakel to renden his cloþeȝ,

Mot efte sitte with more vn-sounde to sewe hem togeder.

Poverty and pain must be endured.

528 For-þy when pouerté me enpreceȝ & payneȝ in-noȝe,

Ful softly with suffraunce saȝttel me bihoueȝ,

Patience is a noble point, though it displeases oft.

For þe penaunce & payne to preue hit in syȝt,

Þat pacience is a nobel poynt, þaȝ hit displese ofte. Amen.


Notes to Patience.

All Notes were originally printed here, between Patience and the Glossarial Index. The Notes for The Pearl and Cleanness come immediately after their respective poems.

Page 89.

l. 3 þe swelme leþe, lessen the heat.

4 qued, evil.

5 syt, sorrow;   sele, happiness.

6 þro, anger.


þen is better to abyde þe bur vmbe-stoundes,

Then is it better to abide the blow sometimes.

10 melede, related.

11 aȝt, eight.

12 sunder-lupes, severally.

13 happen, blessed.

P. 90.

l. 30 lyknyng, likeness;   þewes, virtues.

42 lyke oþer greme, pleasing or displeasing.

47 lyȝtloker, more easily;   lotes, forms.

50 what dowes me þe dedayn, what avails me anger.

53 grayþed, availed.

56 þe(t) had bowed, etc., That should have been obedient.

P. 91.

l. 63 Goddes glam to hym glod, God’s message came to him.

66 wythouten oþer speche, without contradiction, without more words.

67 my saȝes soghe, etc., my saws (words) sow, etc.

77 typped schrewes, great sinners; literally, extreme, tip-top, schrews.

78 ta me, take me, seize me.

82 mansed, cursed.

94 glwande, glowing, bright;   gloumbes, sees (indistinctly).

P. 92.

l. 98 to the fare, to the voyage.

101 tramme, gear.


Sprude spak to þe sprete þe spare bawlyne,

Spread quickly to the sprit the spar bowline (?).

106 ladde-borde, larboard.

107 blyþe breþe, gentle wind;   bosum, tide.

108 He refers to breþe.

112 maȝt, might;   mere, sea.

115 wenyng, supposition.

117 burde, behoved.

119 demed, uttered.

122 stapefole = stapeful = high (?)

P. 93.

l. 131 crafte, power.

135 tom, interval.

140 souȝed, sobbed, moaned;   selly, marvel.

141 wonne, pale.

143 busched = busked, went.

144 for roȝ = for roughness.

148 bur = wave.

150 to murte, (?) to-marte, crushed, broken in pieces.

152 coge, boat.

155 scaþel, hurtful, dangerous.

156 lode = lote, lot.

160 leþe, calm, quiet.

161 lot, noise, roar.

P. 94.

l. 173 I lovne, I offer (this advice), propose.

183 flode lotes, the noises of the flood.

184 brede, board.

185 hurrok, oar.

191 runyschly, fiercely.

192 slaȝte, strokes.

198 lastes, crimes.

P. 95.

l. 208 at a worde one, at a word alone.

213 ossed, showed, proved;   vnnynges, signs.

216 ruyt, rush, hasten.

227 baleleȝ, innocent.

229 synne, after.

P. 96.

l. 247 as wyrde þen schaped, as fate then devised.

255 malskred, entranced, bewildered.

258 warlowes, monster’s.

259 lyue = leue, believe.

262 wauleȝ = shelterless, destitute, but wanleȝ = wonleȝ = hopeless, is perhaps a better reading.

268 chawleȝ, jaws.

269 glaymande glette, slimy mud.

270 rop, gut, intestine.

P. 97.

l. 273 faþmeȝ, gropes.

275 saym, fat, grease.

277 le, shelter.

291 merk, darkness.

292 bulk, stern.

302 borne = burne, man.

P. 98.

l. 309 flem = flum, stream.

317 to my wo stoundeȝ = ? until my woe over-powers (confounds) me.

320 to laste ? to the last;   mere, boundary.

325 þacces, blows.

329 meled, conversed.

338 spare drye dry spar (rafter) but ? spare = space.

339 a warthe, a ford.

341 sluchched = sluched, dirty, muddy.

342 mester, need.


P. 99.

l. 345 bruxleȝ, reproaches, upbraids,

350 loke = loken, fastened.

362 dumpe, be thrust.

364 swete, life; to lose þe swete = to lose the (sweet) life.

372 doured, mourned, grieved. Cf. Sc. dour.

373 Heter hayreȝ þay hent, etc., rough hair shirts they took, etc.

P. 100.

l. 395 for-clemmed, very hungry, starved.

396 rurd, cry.

400 amesyng = mesyng = mese, pity, mercy.

403 wodschip, wrath.

411 on-hit, struck or inflamed (?); calleȝ, addresses.

P. 101.

l. 418 bene, bountiful, kind.

419 lur, loss.

426 bale-stour, death-pang; bale in the sense of death is not very common.

447 lylled, flourished.

448 lefsel = leaf-bower. See Glossary.

P. 102.

l. 449 boȝted, curved.

450 happed, covered.

451 a nos = a projection, opening (?) or is it a clerical error for abof = above.

452 schaȝe = wood, shaw.

453 glyȝt, glanced.

460 þe deuel ? ded euel, did evil.

470 syfle, blow.

473 wyl, wandering.

478 wertes he swyþeȝ, herbs he scorches.

P. 103.

l. 486 wered, protected.

489 lansed, uttered.

492 waymot = angry, passionate.

502 remen, mourn, lament.

509 soumme, company.

P. 104.

l. 524 gryndel, angry.

526 rakel, hasty.