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Title: Fifteenth Century Prose and Verse
Author: Various
Language: English
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Edinburgh: Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE.


Of the contents of the present volume about a half now appears in the
ENGLISH GARNER for the first time. Professor Arber (whose ready
acquiescence in my meddlings I wish cordially to acknowledge) had
gathered his good corn wherever he could find it without concerning
himself with the claims of the different centuries; and his specimens of
Lydgate and Hoccleve, Robin Hood Ballads, and trials for Lollardy,
needed as much more added to them to make up a homogeneous volume in the
arrangement now adopted. My additions consist of some Christmas Carols,
a Miracle Play, a Morality, and a number of the interesting prologues
and epilogues of William Caxton; also two extracts on the art of
translation and the need for its exercise, and some depositions in a
theatrical lawsuit. The extracts are of the end of the fourteenth
century, but are germane to our period as heralding the numerous
translations by which it was distinguished; the lawsuit is of the
sixteenth century, but throws light on the transition from municipal to
private enterprise in theatrical matters which had then been for some
time in progress. As these pieces are included for their matter, not for
their style, I hope they will not be considered intrusions in a volume
essentially devoted to the fifteenth century, though the extracts on
translation have led me in my Introduction to an excursus on the
authorship of the Wycliffite translations of the Bible, which can only
be excused on the pleas that Purvey and Trevisa both lived on into the
fifteenth century, and that it was in the early years of that century
that the Bibles were most in circulation.

In editing my texts I have availed myself of the help of the edition of
the play of the Coventry Shearmen and Tailors in Professor Manly's
_Specimens of the Pre-Shaksperean Drama_ (Ginn, 1897), of Dr. Henri
Logeman's _Elckerlijk and Everyman_ (Librairie Clemm, Gand, 1892), of
Professor Ewald Flügel's transcript of the Balliol College Carols
published in the Festschrift presented to Professor Hildebrand in 1894,
of the Caxton Prefaces printed in Blades's _Life of Caxton_, of Mr.
Henry Plomer's transcript of the pleadings in Rastell _v._ Walton in
vol. iv. of the Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, and of
Forshall and Madden's Wyclif Bible. In Professor Arber's text of the
Robin Hood Ballads I have ventured to make a few corrections by the
light of the excellent edition (based on the work of Professor Child),
printed by Professor Gummere in his _Old English Ballads_ (Ginn, 1894).
That of Hoccleve's _Letter of Cupid_, originally printed from Urry's
text, has been revised with the aid of the collations published by
Professor Skeat in his _Chaucerian and Other Pieces_. Professor Arber's
other texts are reprinted substantially as they stood.

In accordance with the plan adopted throughout the _English Garner_, the
extracts in this volume are given in modern spelling. I should have
preferred myself to re-write them in the educated spelling of their own
period, which would offer no obstacle of any kind to a modern reader.
Not only, however, for the sake of uniformity, but because I am so
convinced that this is the right method of dealing with badly spelt
texts that I wish the experiment to be made for the first time by a
better philologist than myself, I have fallen back on modern spelling.
Whatever its disadvantages, they seem to me as nothing compared with the
absurdity of preserving in texts printed for the second, third, and
fourth time the vagaries of grossly ignorant scribes. In the play of the
Shearmen holiness is spelt _whollenes_, merry _myrre_, voice _woise_,
signification _syngnefocacion_, celestial _seylesteall_, and so on.
These spellings are as demonstrably wrong as those of _consepeet_
(concipiet) and _Gloria in exselsis_, with which the scribe favours us.
It is ungracious to find fault with Professor Manly after appropriating
some of his stage directions and his identifications of some French
words, but I cannot think an editor is right in reprinting a text of
which he is obliged to confess 'in general, the sound will be a better
guide to the meaning than the spelling.' In any case I am sure that this
is not the way to win new readers for our earlier literature.

As a matter of literary honesty, as well as for my own comfort, I may be
permitted to state that this is the only volume of the new edition of
the _Garner_ for which I am responsible or can take credit. I have eaten
at least one dinner intended for my friend Mr. A.F. Pollard; my
wastepaper basket has received applications for subscriptions which
prove his reputation for generosity; I have even received a cheque,
which the fact that it is reckoned forgery under some circumstances for
a man to sign his own name forbade my cashing; and I have recently been
more congratulated as the author of his _Henry VIII._ than I have ever
been on any book of my own. So far from being identical, I regret to say
that we are not even related; but as we seem to be as much mistaken as
the two Dromios, I hope that our appearance side by side in this new
edition of the _Garner_ may help to distinguish rather than further
confound us.




  PREFACE,                                                              iii

  INTRODUCTION,                                                         vii

  John Lydgate (?). The Siege of Harfleur and the Battle of Agincourt,    1

  Thomas Occleve. The Letter of Cupid,                                   14

  A Little Geste of Robin Hood and his Meiny and of the proud Sheriff
  of Nottingham,                                                         35

  English Carols. From a Manuscript at Balliol College, Oxford,          83

  The Examination of Master William Thorpe, priest, of heresy, before
  Thomas Arundell, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1407,                       90

  The Examination of Sir John Oldcastle,                                175

  On Translating the Bible. Chapter XV. of the Prologue to the second
  recension of the Wycliffite version,                                  193

  John Trevisa. Dialogue between a Lord and a Clerk upon Translation,   203

  William Caxton. Prefaces and Epilogues:--
    The Recuyell of the Histories of Troy,                              213
    Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers,                             218
    Boethius de Consolatione Philosophiae,                              222
    Golden Legend,                                                      225
    Caton                                                               227
    Æsop,                                                               230
    Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, second edition,                         232
    Malory's King Arthur,                                               234
    Eneydos,                                                            239

  A Miracle Play of the Nativity. The Pageant of the Shearmen and
  Tailors, from the Coventry Corpus Christi Plays,                      245

  Everyman: A Moral Play,                                               277

  Pleadings in Rastell _v._ Walton, a Theatrical Lawsuit, temp. Henry
  VIII.,                                                                307

  BRIEF GLOSSARY,                                                       323


In the world of politics and statecraft a nation which has once begun to
decline seldom, perhaps never, recovers itself. There are too many other
dogs about for the bone which has once been relinquished to be resumed
later on. It is luck, indeed, if there are any decent scraps to be found
on the platter when it is revisited. In the world of literature and
thought the dogs are better bred, showing each other new
hunting-grounds, and by example and precept often helping to restore a
famished comrade to sleekness and vigour. Political conditions may not
be gainsaid. A nation which has once lost its ideals cannot again
produce a fresh, strong, and manly literature. But the possibilities of
literature remain immense, and we cannot foretell in what country it may
not revive and win fresh triumphs. Hence it is that while the political
fortunes of a nation seem to move mainly along the three straight lines
of ascent, enjoyment, and fall, its literary fortunes express
themselves, when we try to generalise, in a series of curves, alternate
rises and declines, which may be repeated again and again. In English
literature out of the unknown past rose the Anglo-Saxon lyric and epic,
_Deor's Complaint_, _Beowulf_, and the poems of Cædmon and Cynewulf.
From the death-like sleep of our language which followed the Norman
Conquest rose the heights of thirteenth-century romance. From the dull
poetic pedantries of the age which succeeded Chaucer rose the glittering
pinnacles of Shakespeare and his fellows. From the coldness and
shallowness of the eighteenth century rose the rich and varied tableland
of whose occupants Burns was one of the first and Tennyson and Browning
perhaps the last. No other literature has shown such recuperative power,
a thought full of hope and consolation in these days, for those who can
take pleasure in the anticipated joys of their great-grandchildren.

If this philosophising be thought dull, we have only repaid popular
estimates in their own coin; for these sweeping generalisations, which
condemn whole centuries as periods of depression, have been largely made
for us by popular opinion, and like all generalisations, they have to be
very considerably whittled down as soon as we descend to particulars. On
a nearer view we find that the curves of literary progress have not been
rolled smooth by any steamroller, but that the great chain of hills is
connected by numberless ridges, some of which are already rising, long
ere others have touched the plain. A pleasant book by an American
professor (the _History of Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century_, by
Henry A. Beers) has helped to draw attention to many of these rising
ridges of romance in the century which most people connect only with the
name of Pope; and I hope in these few pages to show that the fifteenth
century, of which we are so contemptuous, was at least not all flat

For the poor esteem into which this period has fallen we must lay some
of the blame at the door of the literary historians who have, until
recent days, placed the English Mandeville nearly half a century too
early, postponed the consideration of the dramatic productions till they
reached the middle of the sixteenth century, when they gave a meagre
summary of 'earlier attempts,' and chronicled the industry of
translators, which had been in full swing ever since about 1380, as a
special feature of the sixteenth century, helping thus to account for
the great Elizabethan outburst of original work. No poor period of
literature was ever more mercilessly or wantonly plundered to enrich its
prosperous neighbours on either side; and having thus credited to other
generations all its little claims to distinction, our literary
historians fixed their glance sternly on the court poetry, which is its
weakest feature, and made the case of Hoccleve and Lydgate more pitiful
than it need be by cruelly comparing them with Chaucer. To be
inconvenient to historians is not perhaps of itself a mark of greatness,
but Chaucer's professed lovers may take pleasure in observing how
largely he shares this characteristic with Shakespeare himself. To give
each of them a separate chapter is but a respectful subterfuge, thinly
concealing how unconscionably these two sudden elevations interfere with
that orderly progression which the historian loves. It would be much
easier to tell the story of the Elizabethan-Jacobean drama from rise to
fall if Shakespeare could be left out of it; and if there had been no
Chaucer, how gentle, how almost mathematical, would have been the
progression from the _Cursor Mundi_ and the _Handlyng Synne_ to Gower's
_Confessio Amantis_, from Gower to Lydgate and Hoccleve, and from
Lydgate and Hoccleve to Stephen Hawes! The Italian influence would have
come in for the first time with Surrey and Wyatt, and the whole sequence
would have been just what a plain man would expect. Not only by his
inconvenient possession of genius, but also by his great, if fitful
industry, and by what we can hardly call by any name but good luck,
Chaucer shoots up suddenly between Gower and his natural successors, and
thus revolutionises the standard of poetry by which the next century is
inevitably judged. The effect of his sudden uprising is almost as
confusing to our judgments of his own poetry as of that of his unhappy
'successors.' Brought up, as most of us poor middle-aged critics have
been, on textbooks which grudgingly devoted a scanty thirty or forty
pages to all that happened ere Surrey and Wyatt began to write an
English which literary historians could read without taking any trouble,
we inevitably got it into our heads that with Chaucer we were at the
very beginning; that he was really, as he was called, the Father of
English Poetry, and represented the first blossoming of its spring. The
spring had come and was fast fading when Chaucer began to write. It had
come with the first blossoming of the romances, and with such lyrics as

  'Lenten[1] is come with love to town,
  With blossoms and with birdes rown';[2]

or as

  'Blow, northern wind,
  Send thou me my sweeting';

of which the lightness and spontaneity are represented in only a few
snatches in Chaucer. Other touches of the spring he has, for no man
better loved the merry month of May, and he has sung it until he has
become for ever identified with it in our minds. All the same, he
represents also a reaction which sees the humorous side of the lover's
springtide longings, and views all things very much as they are, without
illusion. Fortunately, in Chaucer's case this prosaic mood was raised
and transfigured by the revelation of Italian poetry, which enabled him
to give us in _Troilus and Cressida_, and the knight's tale of _Palamon
and Arcite_, the most perfect harmony of humour and romance English
narrative poetry has produced. No other poet of his time came under the
same influences, and to this fact, as well as to his possession of
genius, he owes his unique position.

That the worthy Lydgate and Hoccleve, without any of Chaucer's good
luck, failed to tread in his footsteps, is thus hardly surprising. They
took from him as much of his machinery as they could carry, wrote in his
metres with the aid of ears sadly confused by the rapidly weakening
pronunciation of final _-e_ and _-es_, and began the attempt, pursued
all through the century, to make up by magniloquence what they lacked in
poetry. This attempt was not confined to England. In France also there
was the same invasion of long words, and it took our fair neighbour much
longer to get rid of them. As the fifteenth century progressed and its
successor began, it became more and more the object of the poetaster to
end his lines with sounding polysyllables, and verse not written in this
style was regarded as uncourtly and undignified. When we once realise
that this particular experiment in language was one which had to be
made, and that our fifteenth-century poets made it with all their might,
we can understand how Hawes could hail Lydgate as 'the most dulcet
spring of famous rhetoric' (this new poetry being essentially
rhetorical); how Skelton, after condescendingly praising Chaucer for the
'pleasant, easy and plain' terms in which he wrote, hastened to explain
that Lydgate's efforts were 'after a higher rate'; and how the same
Skelton thought it necessary in his _Phylyp Sparowe_ to make his 'young
maid' excuse herself for her ignorance of 'polished terms' and 'English
words elect.' Every one in these days was searching anxiously for the
right word, which is indeed the most proper object of every versifier's
search. Unluckily, they only looked for it among polysyllables.

It will be gathered by this time that I hold no brief for what we must
call the court poetry of the fifteenth century, that is to say, the
compositions by which poets from Lydgate to Skelton sought to ingratiate
themselves with noble patrons and to prove their title to immortality.
When they were off their guard they wrote much better. The reminiscences
of the gay days of his youth stirred Hoccleve's muse to unwonted
vivacity. In the _London Lick-penny_ Lydgate, if Lydgate's it be, wrote
humorous satire with success. Skelton himself, though in his (much too
respectfully spoken of) play _Magnificence_ he could flounder with the
worst of his predecessors, in his light and railing rhymes was nimble
enough, and ranged easily from vigorous invective of Wolsey to pretty
panegyrics of fair ladies. Now and again also these good souls ceased
their search for polysyllables, looked at some fair face or pleasant
landscape, and came near to a natural description. Now and again, too,
when they were on their knees (it is only in prayers intended for other
people that long words seem appropriate), they got down to a phrase of
simple beauty. And meanwhile in the country in general, we may be sure,
many simple rhymesters were keeping up old traditions; and if some
diligent student would begin gleaning from the earlier miscellanies with
the industry and insight by which Mr. A.H. Bullen extracted so rich a
harvest from the Elizabethan song-books, surely he also would not go
unrewarded. That the touch which we find in the religious poems of an
earlier date in the Vernon MS. had not been wholly lost is witnessed by
some favourite lines of mine from a book called _Speculum Christiani_,
printed by Machlinia about 1485, and sometimes attributed to John

  'Mary mother, well thou be!
  Mary mother, think on me;
  Maiden and mother was never none
  Together, Lady, save thee alone.
  Sweet Lady, maiden clean,
  Shield me from ill, shame and teen;
  Out of sin, Lady, shield thou me.
  And out of debt for charity.
  Lady, for thy joyés five,
  Get me grace in this live,
  To know and keep over all thing,
  Christian faith and God's bidding.
  And truely win all that I need
  To me and mine clothe and feed.
  Help me, Lady, and all mine;
  Shield me, Lady, from hell pine;
  Shield me, Lady, from villainy
  And from all wicked company.'

By the side of this religious verse is there any need to quote more than
a stanza from the _Nut Brown Maid_ just to remind us what the secular
poets could do?

  'Be it right or wrong, these men among, on women do complain,
  Affirming this, how that it is a labour spent in vain
  To love them well; for never a del they love a man again;
  For let a man do what he can their favour to attain,
  Yet if a new to them pursue their first true lover than
  Laboureth for nought and from her thought he is a banished man.'

To say that English poetry was dead when verse like this was being
written is absurd. It was not dead, but banished from court.

We may well grumble at the mischance which has preserved to us such
quantities of the verse of men like Lydgate and Hawes, with which,
despite all the blandishments of their editors, a not unwise world
refuses to concern itself, and on the other hand has permitted to
perish, or scattered seemingly beyond retrieving, the humbler poetry
which has much greater worth. In the Robin Hood Ballads which Professor
Arber has printed from an edition by Wynkyn de Worde we have at least
one piece of salvage. It must be owned, indeed, that to claim a ballad
as the product of any one century is rather rash, and that in some form
or another this cycle was probably in existence before Chaucer died. The
'Ballad of Otterburn,' again, is founded on an incident of border war
which took place in 1388 when Chaucer had just begun work on the
_Canterbury Tales_, and this also belongs to fourteenth-century
tradition. But both the one and the other, and still more certainly
'Chevy Chace,' must be reckoned in their present form to the credit of
our period, and form a notable reinforcement to it, though we must
regret that the early transcribers and printers took so little trouble
to preserve a correct text.

Christmas carols again, as likely to be handed down from mouth to mouth
in the same way as ballads, can be assigned neither to any single author
nor to any precise year or even decade of composition. But the charming
examples which I have picked out from a number transcribed by Professor
Flügel from a Balliol College manuscript of the middle of the sixteenth
century, may all safely be attributed to a date earlier than 1500,
though perhaps not very much earlier, and in their simple tenderness and
mirth they are in strong contrast to the pretentious poetry of the

As with the ballads and carols, so with miracle-plays: the fact that
they were handed down from one generation to another, and in each
generation revised, altered, and added to, makes assignment of dates
almost impossible. The play of the Shearmen and Tailors from the
Coventry Gilds cycle,[4] here printed, survived in a transcript dated
1534, and it is probable that it was then copied out for the sake of
combining what must originally have been four or five different plays
into one. Some of these plays in their separate form may have been first
written in the fourteenth century; they appear to have been added to in
the fifteenth, and (as we have seen) assumed their final form in the
sixteenth. The whole of the pseudo-Coventry cycle,[5] in like manner,
seems to have been revised and largely written when it was last
transcribed in 1468. But the supreme example of fifteenth-century
addition to an older cycle is that of the Wakefield Plays, which early
in the century were taken in hand by a dramatist of extraordinary
ability, whose traceable contributions amount to over three thousand
lines, distributed among at least six, or quite probably as many as nine
different plays, of which five are homogeneous and entirely from his
hand. Among these five are the well-known _Prima_ and _Secunda
Pastorum_, the two Shepherds' Plays with which the history of English
comedy begins. The humours of the two shepherds who meet on the moor and
come to blows over the grazing of an imaginary flock of sheep are good;
the humours of the Secunda Pastorum, of Mak the sheep-stealer, his
clever wife Gyll, the sheep that was passed off as a baby, and Mak's
well-deserved blanketing,--these surely are not only good, but as good,
of their kind, as they well can be. That I have not printed this second
Shepherds' Play here is due partly to its being easily accessible in the
Early English Text Society's edition, but chiefly to the serious
obstacles its northern dialect presents to any attempt at transcribing
it in modern English. The play of the Shearmen and Tailors of Coventry,
on the other hand, as I have noted in my preface, cries aloud for such
transcription. The fact, moreover, that in its present conglomerate
condition, it gives the whole history of the Divine Infancy from the
Annunciation to the Flight into Egypt makes it very representative, even
the humour of the Miracle Plays being exemplified, though poorly and
incongruously, in the attack of the mothers of the Innocents on Herod's
knights. The different sections of the play, the work no doubt of
different authors, have varying values, that of the Prophets, never very
successfully handled, being much the weakest. On the other hand, in the
simple gifts of the shepherds to the Holy Child we have a very fair
representation of one of the stock incidents of a Nativity Play in which
free scope was given to whatever tender and playful fancy the dramatist
possessed. It should be said that during the fifteenth century the
popularity of these plays increased enormously, records of their
performance being found in all parts of England, including Cornwall and
Wales, where they were acted in the vernacular.

Starting not very much later than the Miracle Plays, since we hear of
them at York in the middle of the fourteenth century, the Moralities
also increased greatly in popularity during our period, offering ample
opportunity for the allegorising and personifying tendency which was one
of its most prominent, and in many respects most baneful,
characteristics. Several plays of this kind of undoubted English origin
have come down to us from the fifteenth century itself, and are well
worth study. Chiefly because of the interest which has been aroused by
its recent performance, I have preferred to give that of _The Summoning
of Everyman_, which, while presenting much less variety than such plays
as _The Castle of Perseverance_, or _Mind, Will, and Understanding_, has
the merit of being in very easy English, short, impressive, and
homogeneous. It is these latter merits, quite as much as the evidence
which can be obtained by comparing the two texts, that offer the best
reason for acquiescing in the verdict that the Dutch play of
_Elckerlijk_, attributed to Petrus Dorlandus, a theological writer of
Diest, who died in 1507, has a better claim than our English version to
be considered the original. Strict adherence to propriety of form was
not a characteristic of the dramatic literature of this period, and had
the play been of native origin its uniform seriousness of tone would
almost assuredly have been broken by some humorous, or semi-humorous,
episodes. While the two plays, with the exception of the Prologue, which
is not found in the Dutch, agree speech by speech from beginning to end,
the English version is not a slavish translation; indeed, the ease and
happiness of the diction, and the freedom with which it moves, give it,
until the Dutch text is examined, the tone of an original work, and the
translator must have been a man of no small ability to achieve such a
success. It should be said that the oldest Dutch edition now extant
appears to have been printed about 1495; but the play may have been
written some years before this, though hardly as early as 'about 1477,'
the date Professor Logeman proposes, if the author was only born in
1454, for it does not read like the work of a very young man. Professor
Logeman was, perhaps, influenced in proposing this date by a desire to
get in front of the critics of English literature (including ten Brink),
who have assigned the English play to the reign of Edward IV., _i.e._
not later than 1483. As in the Miracle Plays, so in the Moralities, an
original purely didactic purpose was gradually influenced by a desire to
render the didacticism more palatable to a popular audience by the
introduction of humorous incidents. The complete absence of these from
_Everyman_ naturally caused critics to assign it the earliest possible
date, so long as it was regarded as an original work. But there is
nothing in the language which precludes it from having been written
immediately after 1495, when we know that a Dutch edition was in print,
and in judging it as a translation we may be content to assign it to the
end of the fifteenth century. It is worth noting that at that date there
must already have been considerable literary intercourse between England
and Holland, and that several popular English books had already been
printed at Antwerp for the English market.

It would have been pleasant to me, as a lover of these forerunners of
the Elizabethan drama, to have advanced from the Miracle Play and
Morality, and have given examples of the Moral-Interlude and Farce; but
these belong emphatically to the sixteenth century, and come too near
the drama itself for inclusion in a non-dramatic 'Garner.' But as a
counterpart to Professor Arber's Trial of William Thorpe for Heresy, I
have ventured to reprint here from the Transactions of the Bibliographical
Society some pleadings in a theatrical lawsuit of the reign of Henry
VIII., one of the many interesting discoveries published by Mr. Henry
Plomer. Mr. Plomer's own interest in the pleadings, and the reason which
made them suitable for publication by a Society in no wise concerned
with the history of the drama, arose from the fact that the plaintiff in
the case, John Rastell, besides being a lawyer and (it is believed) a
writer of interludes, was also a printer, details of any kind that can
be gleaned about the lives of early printers being always welcome to
bookish antiquaries. But these particular details about Rastell's stage
in his garden, the classes from which actors were drawn, the value of
the dresses they wore, the practice of hiring the dresses out, and the
rather puzzling distinction made between stage-plays and interludes,[6]
are all of considerable interest for our period of the drama, and it
seemed a good deed to give them wider publicity.

We pass now from a survey of its poetry, both non-dramatic and dramatic,
to the work done in the fifteenth century for the development of English
prose. Until quite towards the close of the fourteenth century England
can hardly be said to have possessed any prose literature not avowedly
or practically of a didactic character. To save some one's soul or to
improve some one's morals were seemingly the only motives which could
suffice to persuade an Englishman to write his native language except in
verse. The impulse towards prose-writing may perhaps be dated from about
1380, the date of the first Wyclifite translation of the Bible. Of this
the books of the Old Testament, as far as Daniel, are stated on
contemporary authority to have been rendered by Nicholas Hereford; while
historians, after salving their conscience by confessing that there is
substantially no evidence for attributing the rest of the work to
Wyclif, wherever they have afterwards to mention it, invariably connect
it with his name. A revised edition, usually assigned to Wyclif's
friend, John Purvey, was completed a few years later. It was about 1380
that Chaucer was engaged in translating Boethius's _De Consolatione
Philosophiæ_, and not long afterwards Usk wrote his _Testament of Love_.
The first really secular English book of any importance, the translation
of Mandeville's _Travels_, which has come down to us in a Cotton
manuscript, was probably made about the end of the century, and was
quickly succeeded by two variant versions. John of Trevisa, an Oxford
scholar, was the first to English an important historical work, and a
book of popular science, the _Polychronicon_ of Higden and the _De
Proprietatibus Rerum_ of Bartholomew.

It was necessarily by the free use of translation that an English
secular prose literature had to be built up. All the standard works
hitherto had been written in Latin, or in a few cases in French; and now
that English had been recognised, alike at court, in the law-courts, and
in the schools, as the natural language of the inhabitants of England,
the first thing which had to be done was to provide Englishmen with the
ordinary sources of information in their own language. The need for
translation directed attention to its principles and canons, and two
interesting little essays on the subject are here printed--the one from
the preface, said to be by Purvey, to the second Wyclifite Bible, and
the other from that prefixed by Trevisa to his translation of Higden's
_Polychronicon_. I have particular pleasure in placing these two
prefaces side by side, because, as far as I know, the really striking
resemblances between them, in their grammatical remarks, in their survey
of previous attempts at an English translation of the Bible, and in
their attitude to such a translation, have never been pointed out.
Without wishing to intrude myself into controversial matters on which no
one is entitled to speak who has not made a special study of the
subject, I would fain again draw attention to the fact that whereas we
have a definite statement by Caxton[7] that the _Polychronicon_ 'was
englisshed by one Trevisa, vicarye of barkley, which atte request of one
Sir Thomas lord barkley translated the sayd book [which we have], _the
byble_, and bartylmew _de proprietatibus rerum_ [which we have] out of
latyn into englysshe,' in the case of Purvey his name was first
mentioned in connection with Bible translation in 1729 by Daniel
Waterton, who 'guessed' and 'pitched upon' him (Waterton's Works, vol.
x. p. 361) as the author of the second version, partly on the ground of
his general prominence as a Wyclifite, and also because of his ownership
of a Bible in Trinity College, Dublin, which Waterland hoped would prove
to be of that version. As it happens, the text, which is only that of
the New Testament, is, apparently throughout, that of the earlier
version, with some of the Prologues of the later version to separate
books inserted. Inasmuch also as the manuscript was not completed till
1427 or later, its bearing on the question of the authorship of a
translation, which had then been in circulation for some thirty years,
does not appear to be very great. It was open to any one to combine the
different parts of the two versions in any way he pleased, and that
Purvey seems to have preferred the text of the earlier version and the
prologues of the later hardly proves that the later version is due to
him. If we must drag him in at all, it would be much more reasonable to
assign to him the completion of Nicholas of Hereford's unfinished work.

Lightly arrived at as it was, Waterland's 'guess' was adopted by
Forshall and Madden in their fine edition of the two versions published
in 1850, and as buttressed up by them with what seems to me a very weak
additional argument, has ever since been repeated as an established
fact.[8] The readiness with which the conjecture was accepted can only
be accounted for by the desire to make the work of translation centre at
Lutterworth instead of, as I believe to have been the case, at Oxford.
It seems to be considered that we shall be robbing Wyclif of his due
unless the translations are connected with him as closely as possible.
Burdened as he was in his last years with age and infirmities, it is
surely enough if he inspired others to work at this great task; we need
not insist that he must have written at least part of the first
translation with his own hands, and that the second must have begun
under his immediate eye. I would submit, indeed, that the tone of the
second translator's reference to 'the English Bible late translated' (p.
195) is quite incompatible with any such theory. We know from the
manuscript note in the Bodleian MS. that Nicholas of Hereford began the
translation of the Old Testament; and when his work was interrupted by
the necessity for flight, it is far more likely that it was taken up by
some other of Wyclif's numerous disciples at Oxford rather than by the
master himself, while the fact that it was the work of his disciples,
urged no doubt by his wish, would amply account for such references as
may be found to it under Wyclif's name. For the second translation, it
seems to me that the tone of the reference already quoted, and the
detailed account (see p. 194) which the translator gives of the method
in which he went to work, compel us to seek an independent origin, and
to look for some other translator less immediately under Wyclif's
influence. The freedom with which the Bible admittedly circulated for
many years, and the well-known allusion by Sir Thomas More to an English
translation untouched by any taint of heresy, point also in the same
direction. That the second version is really only a revision of the
first can hardly be adduced as a strong argument on the other side. The
ethics of literary acknowledgment were not appreciated in Trevisa's
days, and I believe that a very similar relation can be found on
comparison of what is known as the 'Vulgate' text of Mandeville with
that of the Cotton manuscript, which the second translator appears to
have used freely, though in this case without improving on it. At any
rate, William Caxton seems a better authority than an eighteenth-century
divine as to the authorship of a translation made only a few years
before he was born. We know that Trevisa was what we may call a
professional translator, well equipped for his task; and we find him in
the preface to the _Polychronicon_ discussing the translation of the
Bible in a strikingly similar spirit to that in which it is discussed in
the Prologue to one of the translations which have come down to us. It
is to be hoped that the subject may receive further investigation, and
that without the importation of theological bias.

We meet with the name of John Purvey once more in one of the longest and
most interesting of the pieces here printed, the Examination of William
Thorpe before Archbishop Arundel, held at Saltwood Castle in Kent in
1407. 'I know none more covetous shrews,' said the Archbishop to Thorpe
in his railing way, 'than ye are when that ye have a benefice. For, lo!
I gave to John Purvey a benefice (that of West Hythe, which Purvey held
for fourteen months from August 1401) but a mile out of this castle, and
I heard more complaints about his covetousness for tithes and other
misdoings than I did of all men that were advanced within my diocese.'
'Sir,' replied Thorpe, 'Sir, Purvey is neither with you now for the
benefice ye gave him, nor holdeth he faithfully with the learning that
he taught and writ beforetime; and thus he sheweth himself neither to be
hot nor cold; and therefore he and his fellows may sore dread that if
they turn not hastily to the way that they have forsaken, peradventure
they be put out of the number of Christ's chosen people.'

The Archbishop's answer was to mutter threats against Purvey as a 'false
harlot'; and so the Bible-translator, if such he were, was abused on
both sides. The dialogue about him is a fair instance of the vividness
with which Thorpe's account of his trial illustrates the fortunes of
Wyclif's followers when they scattered before their persecutors without
any leader to rally them. Thorpe was accused of holding all the chief
tenets of Wyclif's which were condemned as contrary to the Church's
order and teaching, and his answers, according to the account he gives
of them, were at once bold and prudent. He seems, moreover, to have had
a real gift as a reporter, and to have exercised it impartially enough,
for not every Lollard would have put into his examiner's mouth that
remarkably happy defence of taking a bagpipe on pilgrimage, which will
be found on page 141. Thorpe, though he was sent back to prison, lived
to write this account of his trial three-and-fifty years after it took
place, but Sir John Oldcastle was burnt alive, despite all Prince Hal's
efforts to win him to recant and save himself, and the short account of
his trial, which follows that of Thorpe, has thus a more tragic

The persecution of the Lollards was but an incident in the fifteenth
century, little affecting its literature, though the burning of
Oldcastle called forth a bad poem by Hoccleve. The wasteful wars in
France, and the turmoil of the Roses, on the other hand, had a great and
most disastrous influence. After Lydgate's death about 1447, Capgrave
was our leading man of letters, and on his death in 1464 the post was
left vacant, unless Master Bennet Burgh can be considered as having held
it. The Paston Letters, which begin in 1422 and cover the rest of the
century (till 1507), offer some consolation for the lack of more formal
literature, but the lack is undeniable. Moreover, not only literature,
but the bookish arts suffered terribly from this depression. The fine
English illuminated manuscripts which at the beginning of the century
had vied with those of France, ceased to be produced after about 1430
(the siege of Orleans was raised by Jeanne Darc in 1429, and the
synchronism may be significant), and with the illuminations, the simpler
art of penmanship declined also. It was thus small wonder that the art
of printing was introduced but tardily to our country, more than twenty
years after the first printed Bible had appeared at Mainz, and that,
typographically, William Caxton, with no fine models in contemporary
English manuscripts to guide him, produced no single book that can stand
comparison with the best work of foreign printers. But if he was a poor
printer, he was a most enterprising and skilful publisher, and in his
homely way a genuine and most prolific journeyman of letters. As the
word journeyman is written, shame bids us strike out the first half of
it, lest we seem to cast a slight upon one who did so excellent a work
for English literature, whose enthusiasm was so genuine and whose
industry so great. But Caxton was always modest for himself, and we
shall serve him best by not putting his claims too high. When he
commenced author there is an ingenuity in the way he mixes his
constructions, which, though it may delight his lovers, compels some
little caution in introducing him, haply, to new readers, whom such a
paragraph as that which begins 'When I remember' on page 213 might
easily affront. But he certainly improved his style by constant
practice, and the handful of his prefaces and epilogues here printed do
not lack literary charm, while the information they give of the man, his
character, his enthusiasms, and his business can hardly fail to please
any reasonably sympathetic reader. Take, for instance, these delightful
confidences as to the fears and hopes attendant on his translation and
publication of that bulky work, the _Golden Legend_ of Jacobus de
Voragine, which might well daunt even an enterprising publisher:--

'And forasmuch as this said work was great and over chargeable to me to
accomplish, I feared me in the beginning of the translation to have
continued it, because of the long time of the translation and also in
the imprinting of the same, and in manner half desperate to have
accomplished it, was in purpose to have left it, after that I had begun
to translate it, and to have laid it apart, ne had it been at the
instance and request of the puissant, noble and virtuous Earl, my Lord
William Earl of Arundel, which desired me to proceed and continue the
said work, and promised me to take a reasonable quantity of them when
they were achieved and accomplished, and sent to me a worshipful
gentleman, a servant of his named John Stanney, which solicited me in my
lord's name that I should in no wise leave it, but accomplish it,
promising that my said lord should during his life give and grant to me
a yearly fee, that is to wit a buck in summer and a doe in winter, with
which fee I hold me well content. Then at the contemplation and
reverence of my said lord I have endeavoured me to make an end and
finish this said translation and also have imprinted it in the most best
wise that I have, could or might, and present this said book to his good
and noble lordship, as chief causer of the achieving of it, praying him
to take it in gree of me William Caxton, his poor servant, and that it
like him to remember my fee, and I shall pray unto Almighty God for his
long life and welfare, and after this short and transitory life to come
into everlasting joy in heaven, the which he send to him and to me and
unto all them that shall read and hear this said book, that for the love
and faith of whom all these holy saints hath suffered death and passion.

Few publishers since Caxton's days have let us so far into their
secrets, and we can but hope that his patron really took 'a reasonable
quantity' of the edition (another was published in a few years, so he
probably did), and that the bucks and the does furnished many jolly
dinners. Elsewhere in these prefaces Caxton tells us how he was induced
to take up the art of printing, narrates the trouble, in which he has
had successors, in getting a good text of Chaucer's _Canterbury Tales_,
pokes fun at English ladies and at another of his patrons, the Earl of
Rivers, and sets down what is still one of the best criticisms ever
penned of Malory's _King Arthur_. With the mention of that noble work it
is well to finish this brief sketch of our fifteenth-century literature.
It is too well known, too easily accessible, for any snippets to be
quoted from it here. But with the English version of Mandeville at the
beginning of our period, and Malory's _Arthur_ completed in 1469 and
published in 1483, it is evident that we can lay claim to two
masterpieces which have not yet lost their hold on modern readers. The
simplicity and feeling of _Everyman_ has lately obtained recognition. I
hope that, when boys and girls are taught a little more of their own
language, the play of _Max the Sheepstealer_ may win even greater
popularity, for it is an ideal play for children to act. If we throw in
'Chevy Chace' and the 'Nut Brown Maid' and the 'Robin Hood Ballads,' we
shall not be lacking for poetry. For the interest which we now seek in a
realistic novel we might well go to the Paston Letters. There are not a
few nations of Europe which might be well pleased if they could show,
century by century, as good a record as this. It is only in fact the
ill-fortune which placed it midway between Chaucer and Shakespeare, and
our own perversity which persists in associating it mainly with Lydgate
and Hoccleve, that causes us to contemn this particular century as


[1] Spring.

[2] Whispering.

[3] Printed by him in 1894 in a 'Festschrift' in honour of Professor

[4] To be carefully distinguished from the so-called Coventry Plays of
Cotton MS., Vespasian, D. viii., whose highly doubtful connection with
Coventry rests solely on a note of Cotton's librarian.

[5] It would be convenient if they could be called the Cotton Plays, as
the Wakefield cycle has been called after the Towneley family.

[6] See p. 316. Stage-plays were acted in the summer, interludes in the
winter, the cost of hiring dresses being apparently from three to five
times as great for a stage-play as for an interlude. My own
interpretation is that the distinction has nothing to do with the plays
acted, but solely to the place of performance, interludes being acted
indoors and stage-plays in the open air, where the dresses were exposed
to greater damage.

[7] Prohemye to _Polychronicon_, _ad fin._

[8] The argument as I understand it runs as follows:--

(i) The author of the Prologue is the author of the Translation of the
Bible (which may be granted, though not without the reservation that the
helpers to whom allusion is made may have written sections of the
Prologue, which would confuse any deductions).

(ii) The Prologue has verbal resemblances to the treatise designated
_Ecclesiæ Regimen_ (the instances quoted seem to me resemblances merely
of topics, and these not uncommon ones).

(iii) The _Ecclesiæ Regimen_ resembles Purvey's confession at his
recantation in 1400 (the previous criticism applies here much more

Therefore the translation of the Bible is by the author of the _Ecclesiæ
Regimen_, and the author of this is Purvey. I must repeat that the chain
seems to me lamentably weak, and that the resemblances which may be
found between Section xv. of the Prologue and Trevisa's Dialogue and
Letter to Lord Berkeley are stronger, because not arising out of quite
such common topics. That they are only to a slight extent verbal
resemblances is no drawback. We do not expect a man to repeat his own
words exactly. What is interesting is to find two translators both
interested in their own methods, and these methods similar.


_The Siege of Harfleur and the Battle of Agincourt_


Hereafter followeth the Battle of Agincourt and the great Siege of
Rouen, by King HENRY of Monmouth, the Fifth of the name; that won
Gascony, and Guienne, and Normandy.

[See Sir HARRIS NICOLAS'S _History of the Battle of Agincourt_, p. 301,
2nd Ed. 1832, 8vo.]

=J. Lydgate. Printed c. 1530.=


  God, that all this world did make
  And died for us upon a tree,
  Save England, for MARY thy Mother's sake!
  As Thou art steadfast GOD in Trinity.
  And save King HENRY'S soul, I beseech thee!
  That was full gracious and good withal;
  A courteous Knight and King royal.
  Of HENRY the Fifth, noble man of war,
  Thy deeds may never forgotten be!
  Of Knighthood thou wert the very Loadstar!
  In thy time England flowered in prosperity,
  Thou mortal Mirror of all Chivalry!
  Though thou be not set among the Worthies Nine;
  Yet wast thou a Conqueror in thy time!

  Our King sent into France full rath,
  His Herald that was good and sure.
  He desired his heritage for to have:
  That is Gascony and Guienne and Normandy.
  He bade the Dolphin [_Dauphin_] deliver. It should be his:
  All that belonged to the first EDWARD
  "And if he say me, Nay!; iwis
  I will get it with dint of sword!"
  But then answered the Dolphin bold,
  By our ambassadors sending again,
  "Methinks that your King is not so old,
  Wars great for to maintain.
  Greet well," he said, "your comely King
  That is both gentle and small;
  A ton full of tennis balls I will him send,
  For to play him therewithal."

  Then bethought our Lords all,
  In France they would no longer abide:
  They took their leave both great and small,
  And home to England gan they ride.
  To our King they told their tale to the end;
  What that the Dolphin did to them say.
  "I will him thank," then said the King,
  "By the grace of GOD, if I may!"
  Yet, by his own mind, this Dolphin bold,
  To our King he sent again hastily;
  And prayed him truce for to hold,
  For JESUS' love that died on a tree.


  "Nay," then said our comely King,
  "For into France will I wind!
  The Dolphin anger I trust I shall:
  And such a tennis ball I shall him send,
  That shall bear down the high roof of his hall."

  The King at Westminster lay that time,
  And all his Lords everych one;
  And they did set them down to dine:
  "Lordings," he saith, "by St. John!
  To France I think to take my way:
  Of good counsel I you pray,
  What is your will that I shall do?
  Shew me shortly without delay!"
  The Duke of CLARENCE answered soon,
  And said, "My Liege, I counsel you so!"
  And other Lords said, "We think it for the best
  With you to be ready for to go;
  Whiles that our lives may endure and last."

  "Grammercy, Sirs!" the King gan say,
  "Our right, I trust, then shall be won,
  And I will 'quite you if I may:
  Therefore I warn you, both old and young,
  To make you ready without delay
  To Southampton to take your way
  At St. Peter's tide at Lammas;[9]
  For by the grace of GOD, and if I may,
  Over the salt sea I think to pass!"

  Great ordnance of guns the King let make,
  And shipped them at London all at once;
  Bows and arrows in chests were take,
  Spears and bills with iron gunstones,
  And arming daggers made for the nonce:
  With swords and bucklers that were full sure.
  And harness bright that strokes would endure.


  The King to Southampton then did ride
  With his Lords; for no longer would he dwell.
  Fifteen hundred fair ships there did him abide,
  With good sails and top-castle.
  Lords of France our King they sold
  For a million of gold as I heard say.
  By England little price they told,
  Therefore their song was "Well a way!"

  Between Hampton and the Isle of Wight,
  These goodly ships lay there at road,
  With mastyards across, full seemly of sight,
  Over the haven spread abroad:
  On every pavis [_target_] a cross red;
  The waists decked with serpentines [_cannon_] strong.
  St George's streamers spread overhead,
  With the Arms of England hanging all along.

  Our King fully hastily to his ship yede,
  And all other Lords of every degree:
  Every ship weighed his anchor in deed,
  With the tide to haste them to the sea.
  They hoisted their sails, sailed aloft:
  A goodly sight it was to see.
  The wind was good, and blew but soft:
  And forth they went in the name of the Trinity.[10]

  Their course they took toward Normandy,
  And passed over in a day and a night.
  So in the second morning early,
  Of that country they had a sight:
  And ever [as] they drew near the coast,
  Of the day glad were they all;
  And when they were at the shore almost,
  Every ship his anchor let fall,
  With their tackles they launched many a long boat
  And over ha[t]ch threw them into the stream;
  A thousand shortly they saw afloat.
  With men of arms that light did leme.


  Our king landed at Cottaunses [_Coutances_] without delay,[11]
  On our Lady's Even [of] the Assumption;[12]
  And to Harflete [_Harfleur_] they took the way
  And mustered fair before the town.
  Our King his banner there did 'splay,
  With standards bright and many [a] pennon:
  And there he pitched his tent adown;
  Full well broidered with armory gay.
  First our comely King's tent with the crown,
  And all other Lords in good array.

  "My brother CLARENCE," the King did say,
  "The towers of the town will I keep
  With her daughters and her maidens gay,
  To wake the Frenchmen of their sleep."
  "'London'," he said, "shall with him meet;
  And my guns that lieth fair upon the green;
  For they shall play with Harflete
  A game of tennis as I ween.
  Go we to game, for God's grace!
  My children be ready everych one."

  For every great gun that there was,
  In his mouth he had a stone.
  The Captain of Harflete soon anon
  Unto our King he sent hastily
  To know what his will was to be done,
  For to come thither with such a meiny?
  "Deliver me the town!" the King said.
  "Nay!" said the Captain, "by God and St DENIS!"
  "Then shall I win it," said our King,
  "By the grace of GOD and his goodness,
  Some hard tennis balls I have hither brought
  Of marble and iron made full round.
  I swear, by JESU that me dear bought,
  They shall beat the walls to the ground."


  Then said the great gun,
  "Hold fellows, we go to game!"
  Thanked be MARY and JESU her son,
  They did the Frenchmen much shame.
  "Fifteen afore," said "London" then;
  Her balls full fair she gan outthrow.
  "Thirty" said the second gun, "I will win and I may."
  There as the wall was most sure,
  They bare it down without nay.
  The "King's Daughter" said "Hearken this play!
  Hearken Maidens now this tide!
  Five and forty we have, it is no nay."
  They beat down the walls on every side.

  The Normands said, "Let us not abide!
  But go we in haste, by one assent!
  Wheresoever the gunstones do glide,
  Our houses in Harfleet are all to rent:
  The Englishmen our bulwarks have brent"
  And women cried, "Alas that ever they were born!"
  The Frenchmen said, "Now be we shent!
  By us now the town is forlorn:
  It is best now therefore
  That we beseech this English King of grace,
  For to assail us no more;
  Lest he destroy us in this place.
  Then will we bid the Dolphin make him ready,
  Or else this town delivered must be."

  Messengers went forth by and bye,[13]
  And to our King came they:
  The Lord CORGRAUNT certainly,[14]
  For he was Captain of the place,
  And GELAM BOWSER with him did hie,
  With other Lords more and less.
  And when they to our King come where,
  Full lowly set them on their knee:
  "Hail, comely King!" gan they say
  "CHRIST save thee from adversity!
  Of truce we will beseech thee
  Until that it be Sunday noon:[15]
  And if we may not recovered be,
  We will deliver the town."


  Then said our King full soon,
  "I grant you grace in this tide;
  One of you shall forth anon,
  And the remnant shall with me abide!"
  Their Captain took his next way,
  And to Rouen fast gan he ride.
  The Dolphin he had thought there to find
  But he was gone; he durst not abide.

  For help the Captain besought that tide
  "Harflete is lost for ever and aye;
  The walls be beaten down on every side,
  That we no longer keep it may."
  Of counsel all he did them pray.
  "What is your will that I may do?
  We must ordain the King battle by Sunday,
  Or else deliver him the town!"
  The Lords of Rouen together did rown;
  And bade the town should openly yield.
  The King of England fareth as a lion:
  We will not meet with him in the field!
  The Captain would then no longer abide,
  And towards Harflete came he right;
  For so fast did he ride
  That he was there the same night.

  And when he to our King did come,[16]
  Lowly he set him on his knee:
  "Hail, comely Prince!" then did he say,
  "The grace of GOD is with thee!
  Here have I brought the keys all
  Of Harflete that is so royal a city.
  All is yours, both chamber and hall;
  And at your will for to be."


  "Thanked be JESU!" said our King,
  "And MARY his mother truly!
  My uncle DORSET, without letting,
  Captain of Harflete shall he be.
  And all that is within the city
  Awhile yet they shall abide,
  To amend the walls in every degree
  That are beaten down on every side:
  And after that, they shall out ride
  To other towns over all.
  Wife nor child shall not there abide:
  But have them forth, both great and small!"
  One and twenty thousand, men might see,
  When they went out, full sore did weep.

  The great guns and ordnance truly
  Were brought into Harflete.

  Great sickness among our host was, in good fay,
  Which killed many of our Englishmen:
  There died beyond seven score upon a day;
  Alive there was left but thousands ten.

  Our King himself into the Castle yede,
  And rest him there as long as his will was:
  At the last he said, "Lords, so God me speed!
  Towards Calais I think to pass."

  After that Harflete was gotten, that royal city,
  Through the grace of GOD omnipotent;
  Our comely King made him ready soon,
  And towards Calais forth he went.
  "My brother GLOUCESTER _veramente_
  Here will we no longer abide!
  And Cousin of YORK, this is our intent:
  With us forth ye shall, this tide!
  My Cousin HUNTINGDON with us shall ride;
  And the Earl of OXENFORD with you three!
  The Duke of SOUTHFOLK [_SUFFOLK_] by our side
  He shall come forth with his meiny!
  And the Earl of DEVONSHIRE sikerly!
  Sir THOMAS HARPING[17] that never did fail;
  The Lord BROKE that came heartily
  Sir GILBERT UMFREY[18] that would us avail;
  And the Lord CLIFFORD, so GOD me speed!
  Sir WILLIAM BOWSER[19], that will not fail;
  For all they will help, if it be need."


  Our King rode forth, blessed might he be![20]
  He spared neither dale nor down;
  By waters great fast rode he,
  Till he came to the water of Seine.[21]

  The Frenchmen threw the bridge adown
  That over the water they might not pass.
  Our King made him ready then;
  And to the town of Turreyn went more and less.
  The Frenchmen, our King about becast
  With Battles strong on every side;
  The Duke of ORLEANS said in haste
  "The King of England shall abide.
  Who gave him leave this way to pass?
  I trust that I shall him beguile
  Full long ere he come to Calais."
  The Duke of BOURBON answered soon
  And swore by God and by St. DENIS
  "We will play them every each one,
  These Lords of England at the tennis;
  Their gentlemen, I swear by St. JOHN!
  And archers we will sell them great plenty:
  And so will we rid [of] them soon,
  Six for a penny of our money."
  Then answered the Duke of BAR,
  Words that were of great pride:
  "By God!" he said, "I will not spare
  Over all the Englishmen for to ride,
  If that they dare us abide:
  We will overthrow them in fere [_company_],
  And take them prisoners in this tide:
  Then come home again to our dinner!"


  HENRY our King that was so good;
  He prepared there full royally:
  Stakes he let [_caused to_] hew in a wood,
  And then set them before his archers verily.
  The Frenchmen our ordnance gan espy.
  They that we ordained for to ride
  Lighted adown, with sorrow truly;
  So on their feet fast gan abide.

  Our King went up upon a hill high
  And looked down to the valleys low:
  He saw where the Frenchmen came hastily
  As thick as ever did hail or snow.
  Then kneeled our King down, in that stound,
  And all his men on every side:
  Every man made a cross and kissed the ground,
  And on their feet fast gan abide.
  Our King said, "Sirs, what time of the day?"
  "My Liege," they said, "it is nigh Prime [9 _a.m._]"
  "Then go we to our journey,
  By the grace of JESU, it is good time:
  For saints that lie in their shrine,
  To GOD for us be praying.
  All the Religious of England, in this time,
  _Ora pro nobis_ for us they sing."

  St. GEORGE was seen over the host:
  Of very truth this sight men did see.
  Down was he sent by the HOLY GHOST,
  To give our King the victory.

  Then blew the trumpets merrily,[22]
  These two Battles [_Armies_] together yede.
  Our archers stood up full heartily,
  And made the Frenchmen fast to bleed.
  Their arrows went fast, without any let,
  And many shot they throughout;
  Through habergeon, breastplate, and bassinet.
  An eleven thousand were slain in that rout.


  Our gracious King, as I well know,
  That day he fought with his own hand.
  He spared neither high ne low.
  There was never King in no land,
  That ever did better on a day.
  Wherefore England may sing a song:
  _Laus DEO!_ may we say;
  And other prayers ever among.
  The Duke of ORLEANS, without nay,
  That day was taken prisoner.
  The Duke of BOURBON also in fere:
  And also the Duke of BAR truly.
  Sir BERGYGAUNTE he gan him yield;
  And other Lords of France many.

  Lo, thus our comely King conquered the field,
  By the grace of God omnipotent,
  He took his prisoners, both old and young,
  And towards Calais forth he went.

  He shipped there with good intent:[23]
  To Canterbury full fair he passed,
  And offered to St. THOMAS's shrine.
  And through Kent he rode in haste;
  To Eltham he came all in good time.[24]
  And over Blackheath, as he was riding,[25]
  Of the city of London he was ware.
  "Hail, royal city!" said our King,
  "CHRIST keep thee ever from sorrow and care!"
  And then he gave that noble city his blessing
  He prayed JESU it might well fare!
  To Westminster did he ride,
  And the French prisoners with him also:
  He ransomed them in that tide,
  And again to their country he let them go.


  Thus of this matter I make an end,
  To th'effect of the Battle have I gone:
  For in this book I cannot comprehend
  The greatest battle of all, called the Siege of Rouen.
  For that Siege lasted three years and more,
  And there a rat was at forty pence
  For in the city the people hungered sore.
  Women and children, for fault of meat, were lore;
  And some for pain bare bones were gnawing,
  That at their breasts had two children sucking.

  Of the Siege of Rouen it to write were pity,
  It is a thing so lamentable:
  Yet every High Feast, our King, of his charity,
  Gave them meat to their bodies comfortable;
  And at the last the town won, without fable.

  Thus of all as now I make an end:
  To the bliss of heaven, GOD our souls send!

_Thus endeth the Battle of Agincourt._

  Imprinted at London in Foster lane,
      in Saint Leonard's parish,
          by me JOHN SKOT.



[9] 1st August 1415.

[10] 7th August 1415.

[11] _It should be_ Clef de caus.

[12] 14th August 1415.

[13] 10th September 1415.

[14] _It should be_ Sir LIONEL BRAQUEMONT.

[15] 22nd September 1415.

[16] 22nd September 1415.

[17] _It should be_ Sir THOMAS ERPINGHAM.

[18] _It should be_ Sir GILBERT UMFREVILLE.

[19] _It should be_ Sir WILLIAM BOURCHIER.

[20] ?8th October 1415.

[21] _It should be_ Somme.

[22] 25th October 1415.

[23] 16th November 1415.

[24] 22nd November 1415.

[25] 23rd November 1415.


Clerk in the Office of the Privy Seal.

_The Letter of CUPID._


Clerk in the Office of the Privy Seal.]

_The Letter of CUPID._

[Old forms like _serven_, serve; _wollen_, will; _tellen_, tell; _doin_,
done; and the Imperatives _bethe_, be; _telleth_, tell; occur in this

=T. Occleve. 1402.=

  CUPIDO, (unto whose commandèment
    The gentle kindred of goddis on high
  And people infernal be obedient;
    And mortal folk all serven busily),
    Of the goddess son CYTHERA only;
      Unto all those that to our deity
      Be subjects, heartly greeting, sendè we!

  In general, we wollen that ye know
    That Ladies of honour and reverence,
  And other Gentlewomen havin sow
    Such seed of complaint in our audience,
    Of men that do them outrage and offence;
      That it our earis grieveth for to hear,
      So piteous is the effect of this matere.

  Passing all landis, on the little isle
    That cleped is Albion, they most complain,
  They say that there is crop and root of guile:
    So can those men dissimulen and feign,
    With standing dropis in their eyen twain;
      When that their heartis feeleth no distress,
      To blinden women with their doubleness.

  Their wordis, spoken be so sighingly,
    With so piteous a cheer and countenance
  That every wight that meaneth truèly
    Deemeth that they in heart have such grievance.
    They say, "So importable is their penance,
      That but their lady lust to shew them grace
      They, right anon, must starven in the place."

  "Ah, Lady mine!" they say, "I you ensure
    As doth me grace! and I shall ever be,
  While that my life may laste and endure
    To you as humble and low in each degree
    As possible is, and keep all things secree
      Right as yourselven listé that I do!
      And elles must mine heartè burst in two."

  Full hard it is, to know a manis heart
    For outward may no man the truthè deem,
  When word out of his mouth may none astert
    But it by reason seemed a wight to queme,
    So it is said of heart, as it would seem.
      O faithful woman! full of innocence!
      Thou art deceivèd by false appearance!

  By process moveth oft woman's pity.
    Weening all things were as these men ysay,
  They grant them grace, of their benignity,
    For that men shoulden not, for their sake die,
    And with good hearte, set them in the way
      Of blissful lové: keep it, if they con!
      Thus, otherwhilé, women beth ywon.

  And when this man the pan hath by the steel
    And fully is in his possession;
  With that woman keepeth he no more to deal
    After, if he may finden in the town
    Any woman, his blind affection
      On to bestow. But evil mote he preve!
      A man, for all his oaths, is hard to believe!

  And for that every false Man hath a Make,
    (As unto every wight is light to know)
  When this traitor, this woman hath forsake,
    He fast him speedeth unto his fellow.
    Till he be there, his heart is on a low;
      His false deceit ne may him not suffice,
      But of his treason telleth all the wise.

  Is this a fair avaunt? Is this honour?
    A man himself accuse thus and defame!
  Is it good to confess himself a traitor?
    And bring a woman into slanderous name
    And tell how he her body hath do shame?
      No worship may he thus, to him conquer,
      But great dislander unto him and her!

  To her! Nay! Yet ywas it no reprefe;
    For all for virtue was, that she ywrought!
  But he that brewèd hath all this mischief,
    That spake so fair, and falsely inward thought;
    His be the slander! as it by reason ought
      And unto her be thank perpetual
      That, in such a neede helpen can so well.

  Although through manis sleight and subtilty,
    A silly simple and innocent woman
  Betrayed is: no wonder! since the city
    Of Troy, as that the story tellen can,
    Betrayèd was, through the deceit of man,
      And set on fire, and all down overthrow;
      And finally destroyèd, as men know.

  Betrayen not men cities great and kings?
    What wight is it that can shape remedy
  Against these falsely proposèd things?
    Who can the craft such craftés to espy
    But man? whose wit is e'er ready to apply
      To thing that sowning is into falshede?
      Woman! beth'ware of false men! I thee rede.

  And, furthermore, have these men in usage
    That where they not likely been to sped,
  Such as they been with a double visage,
    They procuren, for to pursue their need;
    He prayeth him, in his causé to proceed,
      And largely guerdoneth he his travail.
      Little wot women, how men them assail!

  Another wretch, unto his fellow saith,
    "Thou fishest fair! She which that thee hath fired
  Is false, inconstant, and she hath no faith.
    She for the road of folk is so desired;
    And, as an horse, from day to day she is hired!
      That when thou twinnest from her company,
      Cometh another; and bleared is thine eye!

  Now prick on faste! and ride thy journey
    While thou art there! For she, behind thy back,
  So liberal is, she will nothing withsay,
    But smartly of another take a smack.
    And thus faren these women all the pack
      Whoso them trusteth, hanged mote he be!
      Ever they desire change and novelty."

  Whereof proceedeth this, but of envy?
    For that he himselve her ne winnen may.
  He speaketh her reprefe and villainy;
    As manis blabbing tongue is wont alway.
    Thus divers men full often make assay.
      For to disturben folk in sundry wise,
      For they may not acheven their emprise.

  Many one eke would speaken for no good,
    That hath in love his timè spent and used.
  Men wist, his Lady his asking withstood;
    Ere that he were of her, plainly refused.
    Or waste and vain were all that he had mused:
      Wherefore he can none other remedy,
      But on his Lady shapeth him to lie.

  "Every woman," he saith, "is light to get,
    Can none say, 'Nay!' if she be well ysought;
  Whoso may leisure have with her to treat
    Of his purpose ne shall be failen ought
    But he on madness be so deep ybrought
      That he shende all with open homeliness;
      That loven women not, as that I guess."

  To slaunder women thus, what may profit
    To gentles? namely, that them armen should,
  And in defence of women them delight
    As that the Order of Gentilesse would?
    If that a man list gentle to be held
      He must all flee that thereto is contrary.
      A slanderous tongue is his great adversary!

  A foul vice is of tongue to be light.
    For _whoso mochil clappeth, gabbeth oft_.
  The Tongue of Man so swift is, and so wight
    That when it is yraisèd up on loft,
    Reason it sueth so slowly and soft,
      That it him never overtaken may.
      Lord! so these men been trusty in assay!

  Albeit that men find one woman nice,
    Inconstant, recheless, and variable,
  Deignous and proud, full fillèd of malice,
    Withouten faith or love, and deceivable,
    Sly, quaint, false, in all untrust culpable,
      Wicked or fierce, or full of cruelty:
      Yet followeth not that such all women be!

  When the high God angellis formèd had,
    Among them alle formed were there none
  That founden were malicious and bad?
    Yes! all men wot that there were many one
    That for their pridé fell from heaven anon.
      Should we, forthy, give all angels proud name?
      Nay, he that that sustaineth, is to blame!

  Of twelve Apostles, one a traitor was;
    The remenant yet good weren and true.
  So if it happen men finden, percase,
    A woman false; such good is to eschew:
    And deemé not that they be all untrue.
      I see well, that men's owné falseness
      Them causeth woman for to trust the less.

  O, every man ought have a hearté tender
    Unto woman, and deem her honourable;
  Whether her shape be thick, or else slender,
    Or she be good or bad! It is no fable.
    Every wight wot, that wit hath reasonable,
      That of a woman, he descendèd is:
      Then is it shame of her to speak amiss!

  A wicked tree good fruit may none forth bring;
    For such the fruit is aye as is the tree.
  Take heed of whom thou took thy beginning!
    Let thy mother be mirror unto thee!
    Honour her, if thou wilt honoured be!
      Despiseth her then not, in no manere!
      Lest that thereby thy wickedness appear.

  An old proverb there said is, in English,
    _That bird or fowl, soothly, is dishonest
  What that he be, and holden full churlish
    That useth to defoulen his own nest_.
    Men to say well of women, it is the best:
      And naught for to despise them, ne deprave;
      If that they will their honour keep or save.

  The Ladies ever complainen them on Clerks
    That they have made bookis of their defame;
  In which they despise women and their works,
    And speaken of them great reproof and shame:
  And causèless give them a wicked name.
    Thus they despisèd be, on every side,
    Dislanderèd and blown upon full wide.

  Those sorry bookes maken mention
    How women betrayed in especial
    And many one more; who may rehearse them all,
    The treasons that they havé done, and shall?
      The world their malice may not comprehend
      (As Clerkis feign), for it ne hath none end.

  OVID, in his book called _Remedy
    Of Lovè_, great reproof of woman writeth,
  Wherein, I know that he did great folly;
    And every wight who, in such case, him delighteth.
    A Clerkis custom is, when he enditeth
      Of women (be it prose, or rhyme, or verse)
      Say, "They be wicked!" all know he the reverse.

  And the book Scholars learned in their childhead
    For they of women beware should in age,
  And for to love them ever be in dread.
    Sith to deceive is set all their courage,
    They say peril to cast is advantage,
      Namely, of such as men have in been wrapped:
      For many a man, by woman hath mishapped.

  No charge is what so that these Clerkis sain
    Of all their writing I ne do no cure
  All their labour and travail is in vain
    For between me and my Lady Nature
    Shall not be suffred, while the world may 'dure.
      Thus these Clerkis, by their cruel tyranny,
      On silly women kithen their mastery.

  Whilom full many of them were in my chain
    Ytied; and now, what for unwieldy age
  And unlust, they may not to love attain:
    And sain that "Love is but very dotage!"
    Thus, for that they themself lacken courage,
      They folk exciten by their wicked saws
      For to rebell against me, and my laws!

  But, maugre them that blamen women most,
    Such is the force of mine impression
  That, suddenly, I can fell all their boast,
    And all their wrong imagination.
    It shall not be in their election
       The foulest slut in all the town to refuse;
       If that me list, for all that they can muse:

  But her in heart as brenningly desire
    As though she were a Duchess, or a Queen;
  So can I folkis heartis set on fire
    And, as me list, them senden joy or teen.
    They that to women ben ywhet so keen,
      My sharpè piercing strokis, how they smite,
      Shall feel and know, and how they kerve and bite!

  Pardie! this Clerk, this subtle sly OVID
    And many another have deceived be
  Of women, as it knowen is full wide.
    What! no men more! and that is great dainty
    So excellent a Clerk as was he!
      And other more, that coulde full well preach
      Betrapped were, for aught that they could teach!

  And trusteth well, that it is no marvail!
    For women knowen plainly their intent.
  They wist how softily they could assail
    Them; and what falsehood they in heartè meant:
  And thus they Clerkis in their danger hent,
      _With one venom, another is destroyed!_
      And thus these Clerkis often were annoyed.

  These Ladies, ne these gentles ne'ertheless,
    Where none of those that wroughten in this wise;
  But such women as weren vertueless
    They quittin thus these old Clerkis wise.
    To Clerkis muchil less ought to suffice
      Than to dispraven women generally;
      For worship shall they geten noon thereby.

  If that these men, that lovers them pretend,
    To women weren faithful, good, and true,
  And dread them to deceive, or to offend;
    Women, to love them wouldé not eschew.
    But, every day hath man an harté new!
      It upon one abiden can no while.
      What force is it, such a wight to beguile?

  Men bearen, eke, the women upon hand
    That lightly, and withouten any pain
  They wonnen be; they can no wight withstand
    That his disease list to them to complain!
    They be so frail, they may them not refrain!
      But whoso liketh them may lightly have;
      So be their heartis easy in to grave.

  To Master JEAN DE MEUN, as I suppose,
    Then, it is a lewd occupation,
  In making of the _Romance of the Rose_,
    So many a sly imagination,
    And perils for to rollen up and down,
      So long process, so many a sly cautel
      For to deceive a silly damosel!

  Nought can I see, ne my wit comprehend,
    That art, and pain, and subtilty should fail
  For to conquer, and soon to make an end;
    When men a feeble placé shall assail:
    And soon, also, to vanquish a battle
      Of which no wight shall maken resistance;
      Ne heart hath none to stonden at defence.

  Then mote it follow, of necessity,
    Sith art asketh so great engine and pain
  A woman to deceive, what so she be?
    Of constancy be they not so barren
    As that some of these subtle Clerkis feign;
      But they be, as that women oughten be,
      Sad, constant, and fulfilled of pity.

  How friendly was MEDEA to JASON
    In his Conquering of the Fleece of Gold!
  How falsely quit he her true affection,
    By whom victory he gat as he would!
    How may this man, for shame, be so bold
      To falsen her, that, from his death and shame
      Him kept, and gat him so great a prize and name?

  Of Troy also, the traitor ÆNEAS,
    The faithless wretch! how he himself forswor
  To DIDO, which that Queen of Carthage was
    That him relievèd of his smartis sore!
    What gentilessè might she have doon more
      Than she, with heart unfeigned, to him kidde?
      And what mischief to her thereof betid!

  In my _Legend of Martyrs_ may men find
    (Whoso that liketh therein for to read)
  That oathis ne behest may man not bind
    Of reprovable shame have they no dread
    In manis hearte truth ne hath no stead.
      The soil is naught; there may be no trothè grow!
      To women, namely, it is not unknown.

  Clerkis feign also there is no malice
    Like unto woman's wicked crabbedness.
  O Woman! how shalt thou thyself chevice;
    Sith men of thee so mochil harm witness?
    Beth ware! O Woman! of their fickleness.
      Kepeth thine ownè! what men clap or crake!
      And some of them shall smart, I undertake!

  Malice of women! What is it to dread?
    They slay no man, destroyen no cities,
  Ne oppress people, ne them overlead,
    Betray Empires, Realmes, or Duchies,
    Nor bereaven men their landis, ne their mees,
      Empoison folk, ne houses set on fire,
      Ne false contractis maken for no hire.

  Trust, Perfect Love, and Entire Charity,
    Fervent Will, and Entalented Courage,
  All thewis good, as sitteth well to be,
    Have women ay, of custom and usage.
    And well they can a manis ire assuage,
      With softè wordis, discreet and benign.
      What they be inward, they show outward by sign.

  Womanis heart unto no cruelty
    Inclined is; but they be Charitable,
  Piteous, Devout, Full of Humility,
    Shamefastè, Debonaire, and Amiable,
    Dread full, and of their wordis measurable:
      What women, these have not, peradventure;
      Followeth not the way of her nature.

  Men sayen that our First Mother na'theless
    Made all mankinde lose his liberty,
  And nakid it of joyè, doubteless,
    For Godis hestès disobeyed she,
    When she presumed to taste of the tree,
      That God forbade that she eat thereof should.
      And ne had the Devil be, no more she would!

  The envious swelling, that the Fiend our foe
    Had unto man in heartè, for his wealth,
  Sent a serpent, and made her for to go
    To deceive EVE; and thus was manis health
    Bereft him by the Fiend, right in a stealth,
      The woman not knowing of the deceit,
      God wot! Full far was it from her conceit!

  Wherefore I say, that this good woman EVE
    Our father ADAM, ne deceived nought.
  There may no man for a deceit it preve
    Properly, but if that she, in heart and thought,
    Had it compassed first, ere she it wrought.
      And for such was not her impression,
      Men may it call no Deceit, by reason.

  Ne no wight deceiveth, but he purpose!
    The fiend this deceit cast, and nothing she.
  Then it is wrong to deemen or suppose
    That of this harm she should the causè be.
    Wytith the Fiend, and his be the maugree!
      And all excusèd have her innocence,
      Save only, that she brake obedience!

  And touching this, full fewè men there be,
    Unnethis any, dare I safely say!
  From day to day, as men may all day see,
    But that the hest of God they disobey.
    Have this in mindè, siris! I you pray.
      If that ye be discreet and reasonable;
      Ye will her holdè the more excusable!

  And where men say, "In man is stedfastness;
    And woman is of her courage unstable."
  Who may of ADAM bear such a witness?
    Tellith me this! Was he not changeable?
    They bothè werin in one case semblable.
      Save that willing the Fiend deceived EVE;
      And so did she not ADAM, by your leave!

  Yet was this sinnè happy to mankind,
    The Fiend deceivèd was, for all his sleight;
  For aught he could him in his sleightis wind,
    God, to discharge man of the heavy weight
    Of his trespass, came down from heaven on height
      And flesh and blood he took of a Virgine,
      And suffered death, him to deliver of pine.

  And God, to whom there may nothing hid be,
    If He in woman knowen had such malice,
  As men record of them in generalty;
    Of our Lady, of Life Reparatrice
    Nold have been born: but for that she of vice
      Was void, and full of virtue, well He wist,
      Endowid! of her to be born Him list.

  Her heapèd virtue hath such excellence
    That all too lean is manis faculty
  To declare it; and therefore in suspense
    Her due praising put must needis be.
    But this we witen, verily, that she,
      Next God, the best friend is that to Man 'longeth.
      The Key of Mercy by her girdle hangeth!

  And of mercy hath every man such need,
    That razing that, farewel the joy of man!
  And of her power, now takith right good heed!
    She mercy may well and purchasen can.
    Depleasith her not! Honoureth that woman!
      And other women honour for her sake!
      And but ye do, your sorrow shall awake!

  In any book also, where can ye find
    That of the workis, or the death or life,
  Of JESU spelleth or maketh any mind,
    That women Him forsook, for woe or strife?
    Where was there any wight so ententife
      Abouten Him as woman? Proved none!
      The Apostles him forsooken everichone.

  Woman forsook him not! For all the faith
    Of holy church in woman left only!
  These are no lies, for Holy Writ thus saith,
    Look! and ye shall so find it hardily!
    And therefore I may well proven thereby
      That in woman reigneth stable constancy;
      And in men is change and variancy.

  Thou Precious Gem of martyrs, Margarite!
    That of thy blood dreadest none effusion!
  Thou Lover true! Thou Maiden mansuete!
    Thou, constant Woman! in thy passion
    Overcame the Fiendis temptation!
      And many a wight convertid thy doctrine,
      Unto the faith of God, holy Virgin!

  But, understandeth this! I commend her nought,
    By encheson of her virginity.
  Trusteth, it came never into thought!
    For ever werry against Chastity.
    And ever shall. But, lo, this moveth me,
      Her loving heart and constant to her lay
      Drove out of my remembrance I ne may.

  Now holdith this for firm, and for no lie!
    That this true and just commendation
  Of women tell I for no flattery;
    Nor because of pride or elation:
    But only, lo! for this intention
      To give them courage of perseverance
      In virtue, and their honour to advance.

  The more the virtue, the less is the pride.
    Virtue so digne is, and so noble in kind,
  That Vice and he will not in fere abide.
    He putteth vices clean out of his mind,
    He flyeth from them, he leaveth them behind.
      O, Woman! that of Virtue, art hostess;
      Great is thy honour, and thy worthiness!

  Then will I thus concluden and define.
    We, you command! our ministers each one
  That ready ye be our hestès to incline!
    That of these falsè men, our rebell foon,
    Ye do punishèment! and that, anon!
      Void them our Court! and banish them for ever!
      So that therein more comen may they never!

  Fulfilled be it! Ceasing all delay,
    Look that there be none excusation!
  Written in the air, the lusty month of May,
    In our Palace, where many a million
    Of lovers true, have habitation;
      In the year of grace, joyful and jocond,
      A thousand and four hundred and second.

               _Thus endeth

           The letter of CUPID._

        _The Ballad of
          ROBIN HOOD._
  The first printed edition by
         about 1510.

           +¶ Here
          beginneth a
      little geste of Robin
  Hood and his meiny: and of the
   proud Sheriff of Nottingham.+


=Printed by W. de Worde, about 1510.=

  Lithe and listen, Gentlemen
  That be of free-born blood!
  I shall you tell of a good yeoman:
  His name was ROBIN HOOD.
  ROBIN was a proud outlaw,
  Whiles he walked on ground,
  So courteous an outlaw as he was one,
  Was never none yfound.
  ROBIN stood in Bernysdale,
  And leaned him to a tree;
  And by him stood Little JOHN,
  A good yeoman was he:
  And also did good SCATHELOCK,
  And MUCH the miller's son,
  There was no inch of his body
  But it was worth a groom.
  Then bespake him Little JOHN,
  All unto ROBIN HOOD,
    "Master, if ye would dine betime,
  It would do you much good!"
    Then bespake good ROBIN,
  "To dine I have no lust,
  Till I have some bold Baron,
  Or some unketh guest,
  That may pay for the best,
  Or some Knight or some Squire
  That dwelleth here by West."
    A good manner then had ROBIN,
  In land where that he were,
  Every day or he would dine,
  Three _Masses_ would he hear.
  The one in the worship of the Father
  The other of the Holy Ghost,
  The third was of our dear Lady
  That he loved, aldermost.
  ROBIN loved our dear Lady;
  For doubt of deadly sin,
  Would he never do company harm
  That any woman was in.
    "Master!" then said Little JOHN,
  "And we our board shall spread,
  Tell us, Whither we shall gone,
  And what life we shall lead?
  Where we shall take? Where we shall leave?
  Where we shall abide behind?
  Where shall we rob? where shall we 'reave?
  Where we shall beat and bind?"
    "Thereof no force!" said ROBIN,
  "We shall do well enough!
  But look, ye do no husband harm,
  That tilleth with his plough!
  No more ye shall no good yeoman
  That walketh by green-wood shaw!
  Ne no Knight, ne no Squire
  That would be a good fellaw!
  These Bishops and these Archbishops,
  Ye shall them beat and bind!
  The High Sheriff of NOTTINGHAM,
  Him hold ye in your mind!"
    "This word shall be held," saith Little JOHN,
  "And this lesson shall we lere!
  It is far day, God send us a guest,
  That we were at our dinnèr!"
    "Take thy good bow in thy hand," said ROBIN,
  "Let MUCH wend with thee!
  And no man abide with me.
  And walk up to the Sayles,
  And so to Watling street,
  And wait after some unketh guest,
  Upchance, ye may them meet:
  Be he Earl or any Baron,
  Abbot or any Knight,
  Bring him to lodge to me!
  His dinner shall be dight!"
    They went unto the Sayles,
  These yeomen all three;
  They looked East, they looked West,
  They might no man see.
    But as they looked in Bernysdale,
  By a derne street,
  Then came there a Knight riding:
  Full soon they 'gan him meet.
  All dreary then was his semblante,
  And little was his pride,
  His one foot in the stirrup stood,
  That other waved beside.
  His hood hanged in his eyen two,
  He rode in simple array;
  A sorrier man than he was one,
  Rode never in summer's day.
    Little JOHN was full curteys,
  And set him on his knee,
  "Welcome be ye, gentle Knight!
  Welcome are ye to me!
  Welcome be thou to green wood,
  Hende Knight and free!
  My master hath abiden you fasting,
  Sir! all these hours three!"
    "Who is your master?" said the Knight.
    JOHN said, "ROBIN HOOD!"
    "He is a good yeoman," said the Knight;
  "Of him I have heard much good!
  I grant," he said, "with you to wend,
  My brethren all in-fere:
  My purpose was to have dined to-day
  At Blyth or Doncaster."
    Forth then went that gentle Knight,
  With a careful cheer;
  The tears out of his eyen ran,
  And fell down by his leer.
    They brought him unto the lodge door:
  When ROBIN 'gan him see,
  Full courteously did off his hood,
  And set him on his knee.
    "Welcome, Sir Knight!" then said ROBIN,
  "Welcome thou art to me;
  I have abide you fasting, Sir,
  All these hours three!"
    Then answered the gentle Knight
  With words fair and free,
  "God thee save, good ROBIN!
  And all thy fair meiny!"
    They washed together, and wiped both;
  And set till their dinner:
  Bread and wine they had enough,
  And nombles of the deer;
  Swans and pheasants they had full good,
  And fowls of the rivèr.
  There failed never so little a bird
  That ever was bred on brere.
    "Do gladly, Sir Knight!" said ROBIN.
    "Grammercy, Sir!" said he,
  "Such a dinner had I not
  Of all these weekes three:
  If I come again, ROBIN,
  Here by this country,
  As good a dinner, I shall thee make
  As thou hast made to me!"
    "Grammercy, Knight!" said ROBIN,
  "My dinner when I have
  I was never so greedy, by dear-worthy God!
  My dinner for to crave:
  But pay ere ye wend!" said ROBIN;
  "Methinketh it is good right,
  It was never the manner, by dear-worthy God!
  A yeoman pay for a Knight!"
    "I have nought in my coffers," said the Knight,
  "That I may proffer, for shame!"
    "Little JOHN! go look!" said ROBIN HOOD,
  "Ne let not, for no blame,
  Tell me truth!" said ROBIN,
  "So God have part of thee!"
    "I have no more but ten shillings," said the Knight,
  "So God have part of me!"
    "If thou have no more," said ROBIN,
  "I will not one penny!
  And if thou have need of any more;
  More shall I lend thee!
  Go now forth, Little JOHN,
  The truth, tell thou me!
  If there be no more but ten shillings,
  Not one penny that I see!"
    Little JOHN spread down his mantle
  Full fair upon the ground;
  And there he found, in the Knight's coffer,
  But even half a pound.
  Little JOHN let it lie full still,
  And went to his master full low.
    "What tidings, JOHN?" said ROBIN.
    "Sir, the Knight is true enow!"
  "Fill of the best wine!" said ROBIN,
  "The Knight shall begin!
  Much wonder thinketh me
  Thy clothing is so thin!
  Tell me one word," said ROBIN,
  "And counsel shall it be:
  I trow thou wert made a Knight, of force,
  Or else of yeomanry!
  Or else thou hast been a sorry husband
  And lived in stroke and strife,
  And okerer or else a lecher," said ROBIN,
  "With wrong hast thou led thy life!"
    "I am none of them," said the Knight,
  "By God that made me!
  A hundred winters herebefore,
  My ancestors Knights have be
  But oft it hath befallen, ROBIN!
  A man hath been disgrate,
  But God that sitteth in heaven above,
  May amend his state!
  Within this two year, ROBIN!" he said,
  "(My neighbours well it know!)
  Four hundred pounds of good money
  Full well then might I spend.
  Now, have I no goods," said the Knight;
  "God hath shapen such an end,--
  But my children and my wife,
  Till God it may amend!"
    "In what manner," said ROBIN,
  "Hast thou lost thy riches?"
    "For my great folly," he said,
  "And for my kindness!
  I had a son, forsooth, ROBIN!
  That should have been my heir:
  When he was twenty winters old,
  In field would joust full fair.
  He slew a Knight of Lancashire
  And a Squire bold.
  For to save him in his right
  My goods be set and sold,
  My lands be set to wed, ROBIN!
  Until a certain day
  To a rich Abbot here besides,
  Of Saint MARY'S Abbey."
    "What is the sum?" said ROBIN;
  "Truth then tell thou me!"
    "Sir," he said, "four hundred pounds,
  The Abbot told it to me!"
    "Now, and thou lose thy land!" said ROBIN,
  "What shall 'fall of thee?"
    "Hastily I will me busk," said the Knight,
  "Over the salt sea,
  And see where CHRIST was quick and dead
  On the Mount of Calvary!
  Farewell, friend! and have good day!
  It may not better be!"
  Tears fell out of his eyen two,
  He would have gone his way.
  "Farewell, friends, and have good day!
  I ne have more to pay!"
    "Where be thy friends?" said ROBIN.
    "Sir! never one will know me!
  While I was rich enough at home
  Great boast then would they blow;
  And now they run away from me
  As beasts in a row,
  They take no more heed of me
  Than they me never saw!"
    For ruth then wept Little JOHN,
    "Fill of the best wine!" said ROBIN,
  "For here is a simple cheer.
  Hast thou any friends," said ROBIN,
  "The borrows that will be?"
    "I have none!" then said the Knight,
  "But God that died on the tree!"
    "Do way thy japes!" said ROBIN,
  "Thereof will I right none!
  Weenest thou I will have God to borrow,
  Nay, by Him that me made,
  And shaped both sun and moon!
  Find a better borrow," said ROBIN,
  "Or money gettest thou none!"
    "I have none other!" said the Knight,
  "The sooth for to say,
  But if it be Our dear Lady
  She failed me never or this day!"
    "By dear worthy God!" said ROBIN,
  "To seek all England through,
  Yet found I never to my pay
  A much better borrow!
  Come now forth, Little JOHN!
  And go to my treasure!
  And bring me four hundred pound,
  And look that it well told be!"
    Forth then went Little JOHN
  And SCATHELOCK went before,
  He told out four hundred pound
  By eighteen [? _eight and twenty_] score.
    "Is this well told?" say Little MUCH."
    JOHN said, "What grieveth thee?
  It is alms to help a gentle Knight
  That is fallen in poverty!"
    "Master!" then said Little JOHN,
  "His clothing is full thin!
  Ye must give the Knight a livery
  To lap his body therein:
  For ye have scarlet and green, Master!
  And many a rich array;
  There is no merchant in merry England
  So rich, I dare well say."
    "Take him three yards of every colour,
  And look it well meeted be!"
    Little JOHN took none other measure
  But his bow tree;
  And of every handful that he met
  He leaped over feet three.
    "What devilkins draper!" said Little MUCH,
  "Thinkst thou to be?"
    SCATHELOCK stood full still, and laughed,
  And said "By God Almight!
  JOHN may give him the better measure,
  For it cost him but light!"
    "Master!" said Little JOHN,
  All unto ROBIN HOOD,
  "Ye must give the Knight an horse
  To lead home all this good."
    "Take him a grey courser!" said ROBIN,
  "And a saddle new!
  He is Our Lady's Messenger;
  God leve that he be true!"
    "And a good palfrey," said Little MUCH,
  "To maintain him in his right!"
    "And a pair of boots," said SCATHELOCK,
  "For he is a gentle Knight!"
    "What shalt thou give him, Little JOHN?" said ROBIN,
    "Sir; a pair of gilt spurs clean,
  To pray for all this company;
  God bring him out of teen!"
    "When shall my day be," said the Knight,
  "Sir! and your will be?"
    "This day twelvemonth!" said ROBIN,
  "Under this green-wood tree.
  It were great shame," said ROBIN,
  "A Knight alone to ride;
  Without Squire, yeoman, or page,
  To walk by his side!
  I shall thee lend, Little JOHN, my man;
  For he shall be thy knave!
  In a yeoman's stead, he may thee stand,
  If thou great need have!"

+¶ The second fytte.+

  Now is the Knight went on his way,
  This game him thought full good,
  When he looked on Bernysdale,
  He blessèd ROBIN HOOD:
  And when he bethought on Bernysdale,
  He blessed them for the best company
  That ever he in come.
    Then spake that gentle Knight,
  To Little JOHN 'gan he say,
  "To-morrow, I must to York town,
  To Saint Mary's Abbey,
  And to the Abbot of that place
  Four hundred pound I must pay:
  And but I be there upon this night
  My land is lost for aye!"
    The Abbot said to his Convent,
  There he stood on ground:
  "This day twelve months came there a Knight,
  And borrowed four hundred pound.
  [He borrowed four hundred pound]
  Upon his land and fee;
  But he come this ilk day
  Disherited shall he be!"
    "It is full early!" said the Prior,
  "The day is not yet far gone!
  I had lever to pay an hundred pound
  And lay [it] down anon.
  The Knight is far beyond the sea
  In England is his right,
  And suffereth hunger and cold
  And many a sorry night:
  It were great pity," said the Prior,
  "So to have his land:
  And ye be so light of your conscience
  Ye do to him much wrong!"
    "Thou art ever in my beard," said the Abbot;
  "By God and Saint Richard!"
  With that came in, a fat-headed monk,
  The High Cellarer.
    "He is dead or hanged!" said the Monk,
  "By God that bought me dear!
  And we shall have to spend in this place,
  Four hundred pounds by year!"
    The Abbot and High Cellarer
  Start forth full bold:
  The Justice of England,
  The Abbot there did hold.
  The High Justice, and many mo,
  Had taken into their hand
  Wholly all the Knight's debt,
  To put that Knight to wrong.
  They deemed the Knight wonder sore
  The Abbot and his meiny,
  But he come this ilk day
  Disherited shall he be.
    "He will not come yet," said the Justice,
  "I dare well undertake!"
    But in sorrow time for them all,
  The Knight came to the gate.
    Then bespake that gentle Knight
  Until his meiny,
    "Now, put on your simple weeds
  That ye brought from the sea!"
  [They put on their simple weeds,]
    They came to the gates anon,
  The Porter was ready himself,
  And welcomed them everych one.
    "Welcome, Sir Knight!" said the Porter;
  "My Lord, to meat is he;
  And so is many a gentleman
  For the love of thee!"
    The Porter swore a full great oath
  "By God that made me!
  Here be the best coresed horse
  That ever yet saw I me!
  Lead them into the stable!" he said,
  "That easèd might they be!"
    "They shall not come therein!" said the Knight,
  "By God that died on a tree!"
    Lords were to meat yset
  In that Abbot's hall:
  The Knight went forth, and kneeled down,
  And salued them, great and small.
    "Do gladly, Sir Abbot!" said the Knight,
  "I am come to hold my day!"
    The first word the Abbot spake,
  "Hast thou brought my pay?"
    "Not one penny!" said the Knight,
  "By God that makèd me!"
    "Thou art a shrewd debtor!" said the Abbot;
  "Sir Justice, drink to me!
  What doest thou here," said the Abbot,
  "But thou hadst brought thy pay?"
    "For God!" then said the Knight,
  "To pray of a longer day!"
    "Thy day is broke!" said the Justice;
  "Land gettest thou none!"
    "Now, good Sir Justice! be my friend!
  And fend me of my fone!"
    "I am hold with the Abbot!" said the Justice,
  "Both with cloth and fee!"
    "Now, good Sir Sheriff! be my friend!"
    "Nay, for God!" said he.
  "Now, good Sir Abbot! be my friend!
  For thy courtesy;
  And hold my lands in thy hand
  Till I have made thee gree:
  And I will be thy true servant
  And truly serve thee
  Till ye have four hundred pounds
  Of money good and free."
    The Abbot sware a full great oath,
  "By God that died on a tree!
  Get thee land where thou mayest;
  For thou gettest none of me!"
    "By dear worthy God," then said the Knight,
  "That all this world wrought!
  But I have my land again,
  Full dear it shall be bought!
  God that was of Maiden born,
  Leave us well to speed!
  For it is good to assay a friend
  Or that a man have need!"
    The Abbot loathly on him 'gan call:
  And villainously him 'gan look:
  "Out," he said, "thou false Knight!
  Speed thee out of my hall!"
    "Thou liest!" then said the gentle Knight,
  "Abbot in thy hall!
  False Knight was I never,
  By God that made us all!"
  Up then stood that gentle Knight:
  To the Abbot, said he,
  "To suffer a Knight to kneel so long,
  Thou canst no courtesy!
  In jousts and in tournament
  Full far then have I be;
  And put myself as far in press
  As any that ever I see."
    "What will ye give more," said the Justice,
  "And the Knight shall make a release?
  And else I dare safely swear
  Ye hold never your land in peace!"
    "An hundred pounds!" said the Abbot.
    The Justice said, "Give him two!"
    "Nay, by God!" said the Knight,
  "Yet get ye it not so!
  Though ye would give a thousand more,
  Yet wert thou never the near!
  Shalt there never be mine heir,
  Abbot! Justice! ne Friar!"
  He started him to a board anon,
  Till a table round,
  And there he shook out of a bag
  Even four hundred pound.
  "Have here thy gold, Sir Abbot!" said the Knight,
  "Which that thou lentest me!
  Hadst thou been courteous at my coming,
  Rewarded shouldst thou have be!"
    The Abbot sat still, and eat no more,
  For all his royal fare:
  He cast his head on his shoulder,
  And fast began to stare.
    "Take me my gold again!" said the Abbot,
  "Sir Justice, that I took thee!"
    "Not a penny!" said the Justice,
  "By God that died on the tree!"
    "Sir Abbot, and ye Men of Law!
  Now have I held my day!
  Now shall I have my land again
  For ought that you can say!"

    The Knight started out of the door,
  Away was all his care!
  And on he put his good clothing,
  The other he left there.
  He went him forth full merry singing
  As men have told in tale,
  His Lady met him at the gate
  At home in Verysdale.
    "Welcome, my Lord!" said his Lady,
  "Sir, lost is all your good?"
    "Be merry, Dame!" said the Knight,
  "And pray for ROBIN HOOD!
  That ever his soul be in bliss;
  He helped me out of my teen.
  Ne had not been his kindness,
  Beggars had we been!
  The Abbot and I accorded be;
  He is served of his pay!
  The good yeoman lent it me,
  As I came by the way."

    This Knight then dwelled fair at home,
  The sooth for to say,
  Till he had got four hundred pounds
  All ready for to pay.
  He purveyed him an hundred bows,
  The strings well dight;
  An hundred sheafs of arrows good,
  The heads burnished full bright:
  And every arrow an ell long
  With peacock well ydight;
  Ynocked all with white silver,
  It was a seemly sight.
  He purveyed him an hundred men,
  Well harnessed in that stead,
  And himself in that same set
  And clothed in white and red.
  He bare a lancegay in his hand,
  And a man led his mail,
  And riden with a light song
  Unto Bernysdale.
    But at Wentbridge there was a wrestling,
  And there tarried was he:
  And there was all the best yeomen
  Of all the West country.
  A full fair game there was up set;
  A white bull up i-pight;
  A great courser, with saddle and bridle
  With gold burnished full bright;
  A pair of gloves, a red gold ring,
  A pipe of wine, in fay:
  What man beareth him best, Iwis
  The prize shall bear away.
    There was a yeoman in that place,
  And best worthy was he.
  And for he was far and fremd bestead
  Yslain he should have be.
    The Knight had ruth of his yeoman
  In place where that he stood:
  He said, "The yeoman should have no harm,
  For love of ROBIN HOOD!"
    The Knight pressed into the place,
  An hundred followed him free,
  With bows bent and arrows sharp
  For to shend that company.
  They shouldered all and made him room
  To wit what he would say;
  He took the yeoman by the hand
  And gave him all the play;
  He gave him five marks for his wine,
  There it laid on the mould:
  And bade it should be set abroach,
  Drink who so would!
  Thus long tarried this gentle Knight
  Till that play was done:
  So long abode ROBIN fasting,
  Three hours after the noon.

+The third fytte.+

  Lithe and listen, Gentlemen!
  All that now be here,
  Of Little JOHN, that was the Knight's man,
  Good mirth ye shall hear.
    It was upon a merry day
  That young men would go shoot,
  Little JOHN fetched his bow anon
  And said he "would them meet."
    Three times, Little JOHN shot about,
  And always he sleste [_slit_] the wand:
  The proud Sheriff of NOTTINGHAM
  By the Marks 'gan stand.
    The Sheriff swore a full great oath,
  "By Him that died on the tree!
  This man is the best archer
  That yet saw I me!
  Say me now, wight young man!
  What is now thy name?
  In what country wert thou born?
  And where is thy woning wane?"
    "In Holderness, I was born,
  I-wis, all of my dame:
  When I am at home."
  Wilt thou dwell with me?
  And every year, I will thee give
  Twenty marks to thy fee!"
    "I have a Master," said Little JOHN,
  "A courteous Knight is he;
  May ye get leave of him, the better may it be."
    The Sheriff got Little JOHN
  Twelve months of the Knight;
  Therefore he gave him right anon
  A good horse and a wight.
  Now is Little JOHN a Sheriff's man,
  God give us well to speed!
  But always thought Little JOHN
  To quite him well his meed.
    "Now, so God me help!" said Little JOHN,
  "And be my true lewte!
  I shall be the worst servant to him
  That ever yet had he!"
    It befel upon a Wednesday,
  The Sheriff on hunting was gone,
  And Little JOHN lay in his bed, and was forgot at home,
  Therefore he was fasting till it was past the noon.
    "Good Sir Steward, I pray thee,
  Give me to dine!" said Little JOHN.
  "It is long for GREENLEAF, fasting so long to be.
  Therefore I pray thee, Steward, my dinner give thou me!"
    "Shalt thou never eat nor drink," said the Steward,
  "Till my lord be come to town!"
    "I make my avow to God," said Little JOHN
  "I had lever to crack thy crown!"
    The Butler was full uncourteous,
  There he stood on floor;
  He started to the buttery, and shut fast the door.
  Little JOHN gave the Butler such a rap
  His back went nigh in two
  Though he lived an hundred winters, the worse he should go.
  He spurned the door with his foot, it went up well and fine!
  And there he made a large 'livery
  Both of ale and wine.
    "Sir, if ye will not dine," said Little JOHN,
  "I shall give you to drink!
  And though ye live an hundred winters,
  On Little JOHN ye shall think!"
  Little JOHN eat and little JOHN drank, the while he would.
    The Sheriff had in his kitchen a Cook,
  A stout man and a bold,
  "I make mine avow to God!" said the Cook,
  "Thou art a shrewd hind,
  In any household to dwell! for to ask thus to dine!"
  And there he lent Little JOHN
  Good strokes three.
    "I make mine avow," said Little JOHN,
  "These strokes liketh well.
  Thou art a bold man and a hardy,
  And so thinketh me!
  And ere I pass from this place
  Assayed better shalt thou be!"
    Little JOHN drew a good sword,
  The Cook took another in hand;
  They thought nothing for to flee,
  But stiffly for to stand.
  There they fought sore together,
  Two mile way and more;
  Might neither other harm do
  The maintenance of an hour.
    "I make mine avow to God," said Little JOHN,
  "And by my true lewte!
  Thou art one of the best swordsmen
  That ever yet saw I me,
  Couldst thou shoot as well in a bow,
  To green wood, thou shouldst with me!
  And two times in the year, thy clothing
  Ychanged should be!
  And every year of ROBIN HOOD,
  Twenty marks to thy fee!"
    "Put up thy sword," said the Cook,
  "And fellows will we be!"
    Then he fetch to Little JOHN,
  The nombles of a doe,
  Good bread, and full good wine.
  They eat and drank thereto.
  And when they had drunken well,
  Their troths together they plight,
  That they would be with ROBIN
  That ilk same night.
  They did them to the treasure house
  As fast as they might go;
  The locks that were good steel,
  They brake them everych one.
  They took away the silver vessels,
  And all that they might get;
  Piece, mazers, ne spoons,
  Would they none forget.
  Also they took the good pence,
  Three hundred pounds and more:
  And did them strait to ROBIN HOOD
  Under the green-wood hoar.
    "God thee save, my dear master!
  And CHRIST thee save and see!"
    And then said ROBIN to Little JOHN,
  "Welcome might thou be!
  And also that fair yeoman,
  Thou bringest there with thee!
  What tidings from Nottingham,
  Little JOHN? tell thou me!"
    "Well thee greeteth the proud Sheriff!
  And send thee here by me,
  His Cook and his silver vessels,
  And three hundred pounds and three!"
    "I make mine avow to God!" said ROBIN,
  "And to the Trinity!
  It was never by his good-will
  This good is come to me!"
    Little JOHN him there bethought
  On a shrewd wile. Five miles in the forest he ran.
  Him happed at his will!
  Then he met the proud Sheriff
  Hunting with hounds and horn.
  Little JOHN could his courtesy,
  And kneeled him beforne.
    "God thee save, my dear Master!
  And CHRIST thee save and see!"
    "REYNOLD GREENLEAF!" said the Sheriff,
  "Where hast thou now be?"
    "I have been in this forest;
  A fair sight can I see;
  It was one of the fairest sights
  That ever yet saw I me!
  Yonder I see a right fair hart,
  His colour is of green!
  Seven score of deer upon a herd,
  Be with him all bedeen,
  His tynde are so sharp, Master,
  Of sixty and well mo,
  That I durst not shoot for dread,
  Lest they would me slo!"
    "I make mine avow to God!" said the Sheriff,
  "That sight would I fain see!"
    "Busk you thitherward, my dear Master
  Anon, and wend with me!"
    The Sheriff rode, and Little JOHN,
  Of foot he was full smart;
  And when they came afore ROBIN,
  "Lo, here is the master Hart!"
    Still stood the proud Sheriff:
  A sorry man was he!
  "Woe the worth, REYNOLD GREENLEAF,
  Thou hast betrayed me!"
    "I make mine avow to God," said Little JOHN,
  "Master, ye be to blame!
  I was mis-served of my dinner,
  When I was with you at home!"
    Soon he was to supper set,
  And served with silver white:
  And when the Sheriff saw his vessel,
  For sorrow, he might not eat!
    "Make good cheer," said ROBIN HOOD,
  "Sheriff! for charity!
  And for the love of Little JOHN
  Thy life is granted to thee!"
    When they had supped well,
  The day was all agone,
  ROBIN commanded Little JOHN
  To draw off his hosen and his shoon,
  His kirtle and his courtepy,
  That was furred well fine;
  And took him a green mantle,
  To lap his body therein.
  ROBIN commanded his wight young men,
  Under the green-wood tree,
  They shall lay in that same suit,
  That the Sheriff might them see.
    All night lay that proud Sheriff,
  In his breech and in his shirt:
  No wonder it was in green wood
  Though his sides do smart.
    "Make glad cheer," said ROBIN HOOD,
  "Sheriff, for charity!
  For this is our order, I-wis,
  Under the green-wood tree!"
    "This is harder order," said the Sheriff,
  "Than any Anchor or Frere!
  For all the gold in merry England,
  I would not long dwell here!"
    "All these twelve months," said ROBIN,
  "Thou shalt dwell with me!
  I shall thee teach, proud Sheriff,
  An outlaw for to be!"
    "Ere I here another night lie," said the Sheriff,
  "ROBIN, now I pray thee!
  Smite off my head, rather to-morn,
  And I forgive it thee!
  Let me go then," said the Sheriff,
  "For saint charity!
  And I will be thy best friend,
  That yet had ye!"
    "Thou shalt swear me an oath!" said ROBIN,
  "On my bright brand,
  Thou shalt never await me scathe!
  By water ne by land!
  And if thou find any of my men,
  By night, or by day,
  Upon thine oath, thou shalt swear
  To help them that thou may!"
    Now has the Sheriff ysworn this oath,
  And home he began to gone;
  He was as full of green wood,
  As ever was heap of stone.

+¶ The fourth fytte.+

  The Sheriff dwelled in Nottingham,
  He was fain that he was gone,
  And ROBIN and his merry men
  Went to wood anon.
    "Go we to dinner?" said Little JOHN.
  ROBIN HOOD said, "Nay!
  For I dread our Lady be wroth with me;
  For she [has] sent me not my pay!"
    "Have no doubt, Master!" said Little JOHN.
  "Yet is not the sun not at rest:
  For I dare say and safely swear
  The Knight is true and trust!"
    "Take thy bow in thy hand!" said ROBIN.
  "Let MUCH wend with thee!
  And no man abide with me!
  And walk up under the Sayles,
  And to Watling Street;
  And wait after such unketh guest,
  Upchance ye may them meet.
  Whether he be messenger,
  Or a man that mirths can;
  Of my good, he shall have some
  If he be a poor man!"
    Forth then started Little JOHN,
  Half in tray or teen,
  And girded him with a full good sword
  Under a mantle of green.
  They went up to the Sayles,
  These yeomen all three,
  They looked East, they looked West,
  They might no man see.
  But as they looked in Bernysdale,
  By the highway
  Then were they 'ware of two black monks,
  Each on a good palfrey.
    Then bespake Little JOHN,
  To MUCH he 'gan say:
  "I dare lay my life to wed
  These monks have brought our pay!"
    "Make glad cheer," said Little JOHN,
  "And frese our bows of yew!
  And look your hearts be sicker and sad,
  Your strings trusty and true!"
    The monk had fifty and two [men]
  And seven somers full strong,
  There rideth no Bishop in this land
  So royally I understand.
    "Brethren," said Little JOHN,
  "Here are no more but we three;
  But we bring them to dinner,
  Our Master, dare we not see!"
    "Bend your bows!" said Little JOHN,
  "Make all yon press to stand!
  The foremost monk, his life and his death,
  Are closed in my hand.
  Abide, churl Monk!" said Little JOHN,
  "No further that thou go,
  If thou dost, by dear-worthy God!
  Thy death is in my hand!
  And evil thrift on thy head!" said Little JOHN,
  "Right under thy hat's band:
  For thou hast made our Master wroth,
  He is fasting so long!"
    "Who is your Master?" said the Monk.
  Little JOHN said, "ROBIN HOOD!"
    "He is a strong thief!" said the Monk;
  "Of him heard I never good!"
    "Thou liest then!" said Little JOHN,
  "And that shall rue thee!
  He is a yeoman of the forest;
  To dine, he hath bidden thee!"
    MUCH was ready with a bolt,
  Readily and anon,
  He set the Monk tofore the breast
  To the ground that he can gone.
  Of fifty-two wight young yeomen
  There abode not one;
  Save a little page and a groom
  To lead the somers with Little JOHN.
    They brought the Monk to the lodge door,
  Whether he were loth or lief,
  For to speak with ROBIN HOOD,
  Maugre in their teeth.
    ROBIN did adown his hood,
  The Monk when that he see,
  The Monk who was not so courteous
  His hood then let he be.
    "He is a churl, Master! by dear-worthy God!"
  Then said Little JOHN.
    "Thereof no force!" said ROBIN,
  "For courtesy can he none!
  How many men," said ROBIN,
  "Had this Monk, JOHN?"
    "Fifty and two when that we met;
  But many of them be gone."
    "Let blow a horn!" said ROBIN,
  "That fellowship may us know!"
    Seven score of wight yeomen
  Came pricking on a row,
  And everych of them a good mantle
  Of scarlet and of ray,
  All they came to good ROBIN
  To wit what he would say.
  They made the Monk to wash and wipe,
  And sit at his dinner,
  ROBIN HOOD and Little JOHN
  They served him both in-fere.
    "Do gladly, Monk!" said ROBIN.
    "Grammercy, Sir!" said he.
    "Where is your Abbey, when ye are at home;
  And who is your avow?"
    "St. Mary's Abbey," said the Monk,
  "Though I be simple here."
    "In what office?" said ROBIN.
    "Sir! the High Cellarer."
    "Ye be the more welcome," said ROBIN.
    "So ever might I thee."
    "Fill of the best wine!" said ROBIN,
  "This Monk shall drink to me!
  But I have great marvel," said ROBIN,
  "Of all this long day,
  I dread our Lady be wroth with me,
  She sent me not my pay!"
    "Have no doubt, Master!" said Little JOHN,
  "Ye have no need, I say:
  This Monk, it hath brought, I dare well swear!
  For he is of her Abbey."
    "And She was a borrow," said ROBIN,
  "Between a Knight and me,
  Of a little money that I him lent
  Under the green-wood tree;
  And if thou hast that silver ybrought,
  I pray thee let me see,
  And I shall help thee eftsoons
  If thou have need to me!"
    The Monk swore a full great oath,
  With a sorry cheer,
    "Of the borrowhood thou speakest to me
  Heard I never ere!"
    "I make mine avow to God!" said ROBIN,
  "Monk, thou art to blame!
  For God is held a righteous man,
  And so is his dame.
  Thou toldest with thine own tongue
  Thou mayst not say 'Nay!'
  How thou art her servant,
  And servest her every day:
  And thou art made her messenger,
  My money for to pay.
  Therefore I can the more thanks,
  Thou art come to thy day!
  What is in your coffers?" said ROBIN;
  "True, then, tell thou me?"
    "Sir!" he said, "twenty marks!
  Also might I thee!"
    "If there be no more," said ROBIN,
  "I will not one penny.
  If thou hast myster of any more,
  Sir, more I shall lend to thee!
  And if I find more," said ROBIN,
  "Iwis, thou shalt it forgo;
  For of thy spending silver, Monk!
  Thereof will I right none."
    "Go now forth, Little JOHN,
  And the truth, tell thou me!
  If there be no more but twenty marks
  No penny [of] that I see!"
    Little JOHN spread his mantle down,
  As he had done before,
  And he told out of the Monk's mail
  Eight hundred pound and more.
    Little JOHN let it lie full still,
  And went to his Master in haste;
    "Sir!" he said, "the Monk is true enough;
  Our Lady hath doubled your cast!"
    "I make mine avow to God!" said ROBIN,
  "Monk, what told I thee!
  Our Lady is the truest woman
  That ever yet found I me!
  By dear worthy God!" said ROBIN,
  "To seek all England through;
  Yet found I never to my pay,
  A much better borrow.
  Fill of the best wine, and do him drink!" said ROBIN;
  "And greet well thy Lady hend;
  And if she have need to ROBIN HOOD,
  A friend she shall him find:
  And if she needeth any more silver,
  Come thou again to me!
  And, by this token she hath me sent,
  She shall have such three!"
    The Monk was going to London ward,
  There to hold great Mote,
  The Knight that rode so high on horse
  To bring him under foot.
    "Whither be ye away?" said ROBIN.
    "Sir, to manors in this land,
  To reckon with our Reeves
  That have done much wrong."
    "Come now forth, Little JOHN!
  And hearken to my tale!
  A better yeoman, I know none
  To seek a Monk's mail.
  How much is in yonder other corser?" said ROBIN,
  "The sooth must we see!"
    "By our Lady!" then said the Monk,
  "That were no courtesy;
  To bid a man to dinner,
  And sith him beat and bind!"
    "It is our old manner!" said ROBIN,
  "To leave but little behind."
    The Monk took the horse with spur,
  No longer would he abide!
    "Ask to drink!" then said ROBIN,
  "Or that ye further ride?"
    "Nay, for God!" said the Monk,
  "Me rueth I came so near!
  For better cheap, I might have dined
  In Blyth or in Doncaster!"
    "Greet well, your Abbot!" said ROBIN,
  "And your Prior, I you pray!
  And bid him send me such a Monk
  To dinner every day!"

    Now let we that Monk be still;
  And speak we of the Knight!
  Yet he came to hold his day
  While that it was light.
  He did him strait to Bernysdale,
  Under the green-wood tree.
  And he found there ROBIN HOOD
  And all his merry meiny.
  The Knight light down off his good palfrey.
  ROBIN when he 'gan see;
  So courteously he did adown his hood
  And set him on his knee.
    "God thee save, ROBIN HOOD,
  And all this company!"
    "Welcome, be thou, gentle Knight!
  And right welcome to me!"
  Then bespake him ROBIN HOOD,
  To that Knight so free,
  "What need driveth thee to green wood?
  I pray thee, Sir Knight, tell me!
  And welcome be, thou gentle Knight!
  Why hast thou been so long?"
    "For the Abbot and high Justice
  Would have had my land?"
    "Hast thou thy land again?" said ROBIN,
  "Truth then tell thou me!"
    "Yea, for God!" said the Knight,
  "And that I thank God and thee!
  But take not a grief," said the Knight,
  "That I have been so long,
  I came by a wrestling,
  And there I helped a poor yeoman,
  Who with wrong was put behind."
    "Nay, for God!" said ROBIN,
  "Sir Knight, that thank I thee!
  What man that helpeth a good yeoman,
  His friend then will I be."
    "Have here four hundred pounds!" then said the Knight
  "The which ye lent me,
  And here is also twenty marks for your courtesy!"
    "Nay, for God!" then said ROBIN,
  "Thou brook it well for aye;
  For our Lady, by her Cellarer,
  Hath sent to me my pay!
  And if I took it twice,
  A shame it were to me!
  But truly, gentle Knight,
  Welcome art thou to me!"
    When ROBIN had told his tale,
  He laughed and had good cheer,
    "By my troth!" then said the Knight,
  "Your money is ready here!"
    "Brook it well!" said ROBIN,
  "Thou gentle Knight so free!
  And welcome be thou, gentle Knight,
  Under my trystel tree!
  But what shall these bows do?" said ROBIN,
  "And these arrows yfeathered free?"
    "By God!" then said the Knight,
  "A poor present to thee!"
    "Come now forth, Little JOHN,
  And go to my treasure,
  And bring me there four hundred pounds
  The Monk overtold it me.
  Have here four hundred pounds,
  Thou gentle Knight and true!
  And buy horse and harness good,
  And gilt thy spurs all new!
  And if thou fail any spending,
  Come to ROBIN HOOD!
  And, by my troth, thou shalt none fail
  The whiles I have any good;
  And brook well thy four hundred pounds
  Which I lent to thee!
  And make thyself no more so bare;
  By the counsel of me."

  Thus then helped him, good ROBIN,
  The Knight all of his care:
  God that sits in heaven high
  Grant us well to fare!

+The fifth fytte.+

  Now hath the Knight his leave ytake,
  And went him on his way.
  ROBIN HOOD and his merry men
  Dwelled still full many a day.
  Lithe and listen, Gentlemen!
  And hearken what I shall say,
  How the proud Sheriff of NOTTINGHAM
  Did cry a full fair Play,
  That all the best archers of the North
  Should come upon a day;
  And he that shooteth alder best,
  The game shall bear away!
  He that shooteth alder best
  Furthest, fair, and low,
  At a pair of finely butts,
  Under the green-wood shaw,
  A right good arrow he shall have,
  The shaft of silver white,
  The head and feathers of rich red gold,
  In England is none like.
    This then heard good ROBIN,
  Under his trystel tree.
  "Make you ready, ye wight young men,
  That shooting will I see!
  Busk you, my merry young men,
  Ye shall go with me!
  And I will wit the Sheriff's faith;
  True and if be he!"
    When they had their bows ybent,
  Their tackles feathered free,
  Seven score of wight young men
  Stood by ROBIN's knee.
    When they came to Nottingham,
  The butts were fair and long,
  Many were the bold archers
  That shooted with bowès strong.
  "There shall but six shoot with me,
  The others shall keep my head,
  And stand with good bows bent
  That I be not deceived."
    The fourth outlaw, his bow 'gan bend,
  And that was ROBIN HOOD:
  And that beheld the proud Sheriff,
  All by the butt he stood.
  Thrice ROBIN shot about,
  And always sliced the wand;
  And so did good "GILBERT
  With the white hand."
  Little JOHN and good SCATHELOCK
  Were archers good and free:
  Little MUCH and good REYNOLD
  The worst would they not be!
    When they had shot about,
  These archers fair and good:
  Ever more was the best,
  Forsooth, ROBIN HOOD.
  Him was delivered the good arrow,
  For best worthy was he:
  He took the gift so courteously;
  To green wood would he!
  They cried out on ROBIN HOOD,
  And great horns 'gan they blow!
    "Woe worth the treason!" said ROBIN;
  "Full evil thou art to know!
  And woe be thou, thou proud Sheriff!
  Thus gladding thy guest,
  Otherwise thou behote me
  In yonder wild forest,
  But had I thee in green wood,
  Under my trystel tree,
  Thou shouldst leave me a better wed,
  Than thy true lewte."
    Full many a bow there was bent,
  And arrows let they glide!
  Many a kirtle there was rent,
  And hurt many a side!
  The outlaws' shot was so strong
  That no man might them drive,
  And the proud Sheriff's men
  They fled away full blyve.
  ROBIN saw the [am]bushment to broke,
  In green wood he would have been;
  Many an arrow there was shot
  Among that company.
  Little JOHN was hurt full sore,
  With an arrow in his knee,
  That he might neither go nor ride:
  It was full great pity!
    "Master!" then said Little JOHN,
  "If ever thou lovest me;
  And for that ilk Lord's love
  That died upon a tree!
  And for the meeds of my service,
  That I have servèd thee:
  Let never the proud Sheriff
  Alive now find me!
  But take out thy brown sword
  And smite all off my head!
  And give me wounds dead and wide,
  No life on me be left!"
    "I would not that," said ROBIN,
  "JOHN! that thou be slo,
  For all the gold in merry England,
  Though it lay now on a row!"
    "God forbid!" said Little MUCH,
  "That dièd on a tree!
  That thou shouldst, Little JOHN!
  'Part our company!"
    Up he took him on his back,
  And bare him well nigh a mile:
  Many a time, he laid him down,
  And shot another while.
    Then was there a fair Castle
  A little within the wood;
  Double ditched it was about,
  And wallèd, by the rood:
  And there dwelt that gentle Knight,
  That ROBIN had lent his good
  Under the green-wood tree.
    In he took good ROBIN
  And all his company.
    "Welcome be thou, ROBIN HOOD!
  Welcome art thou, to me!
  And much thank thee of thy comfort
  And of thy courtesy,
  And of thy great kindness
  Under the green-wood tree!
  I love no man, in all this world
  So much as I do thee!
  For all the proud Sheriff of NOTTINGHAM;
  Right here shalt thou be!
  Shut the gates, and draw the bridge;
  And let no man come in!
  And arm you well, and make you ready!
  And to the wall ye win!
  For one thing, ROBIN! I thee behote
  I swear by St. Quintin!
  These twelve days thou wonest with me,
  To sup, eat, and dine!"
    Boards were laid and cloths spread
  Readily and anon:
  ROBIN HOOD and his merry men
  To meat 'gan they gone.

+¶ The sixth fytte.+

  Lithe and listen, Gentlemen!
  And hearken unto your song!
  How the proud Sheriff of NOTTINGHAM
  And men of armès strong
  Full fast came to the High Sheriff
  The country up to rout,
  And they beset the Knight's Castle,
  The walls all about.
    The proud Sheriff loud 'gan cry
  And said, "Thou traitor Knight!
  Thou keepest here the King's enemy!
  Against the laws and right!"
    "Sir, I will avow that I have done
  The deeds that here be dight,
  Upon all the lands that I have,
  As I am a true Knight,
  Wend forth, Sirs, on your way;
  And do no more to me,
  Till ye wit our King's will
  What he will say to thee!"
    The Sheriff thus, had his answer
  Without any leasing.
  Forth he yode to London town,
  All for to tell the King.
  There he told them of that Knight,
  And eke of ROBIN HOOD;
  And also of the bold archers,
  That noble were and good.
  He would avow that he had done
  To maintain the outlaws strong;
  He would be Lord, and set you at nought
  In all the North land.
    "I will be at Nottingham," said the King,
  "Within this fortnight!
  And take I will, ROBIN HOOD;
  And so I will that Knight!
  Go now home, Sheriff," said the King,
  "And do as I thee bid.
  And ordain good archers ynow
  Of all the wide country!"
    The Sheriff had his leave ytake;
  And went him on his way.
  And ROBIN HOOD to green wood,
  Upon a certain day,
  And Little JOHN was whole of the arrow
  That shot was in his knee;
  And did him straight to ROBIN HOOD
  Under the green-wood tree.
    ROBIN HOOD walked in the forest
  Under the leavès green,
  The proud Sheriff of NOTTINGHAM,
  Thereof he had great teen.
  The Sheriff there failed of ROBIN HOOD
  He might not have his prey.
  Then he awaited this gentle Knight,
  Both by night and by day.
  Ever he awaited that gentle Knight,
  As he went on hawking by the river side
  And let his hawks flee;
  Took he there, this gentle Knight,
  With men of armès strong,
  And led him home to Nottingham ward
  Ybound both foot and hand.
  The Sheriff swore a full great oath,
  By Him that died on rood,
  He had lever than a hundred pound
  That he had ROBIN HOOD.
    This heard the Knight's wife
  A fair Lady and free,
  She set her on a good palfrey;
  To green wood anon rode she.
  When she came to the forest,
  Under the green-wood tree,
  Found she there ROBIN HOOD
  And all his fair meiny.
    "God [save] thee, good ROBIN!
  And all thy company,
  For our dear Lady's love
  A boon, grant thou me!
  Let thou never my wedded Lord
  Shamely yslain be!
  He is fast ybound to Nottingham ward.
  For the love of thee!"
    Anon then said good ROBIN,
  To that Lady free:
  "What man hath your Lord ytake?"
    "For sooth, as I thee say,
  He is not yet three miles
  Passèd on your way."
    Up then started good ROBIN,
  As a man that had been wood;
  "Busk you, my merry young men,
  For Him that died on a rood!
  And he that this sorrow forsaketh,
  By Him that died on a tree!
  Shall he never in green wood be,
  Nor longer dwell with me!"
    Soon there were good bows ybent,
  Mo than seven score;
  Hedge ne ditch spare they none
  That were them before.
    "I make mine avow to God," said ROBIN,
  "The Knight would I fain see;
  And if I may him take,
  Yquit then shall it be!"
    And when they came to Nottingham
  They walkèd in the street,
  And with the proud Sheriff ywis
  Soon gan they meet.
    "Abide, thou proud Sheriff!" he said,
  "Abide, and speak with me!
  Of some tidings of our King
  I would fain hear of thee!
  This seven year, by dear-worthy God!
  Ne yede I so fast on foot;
  I make mine avow to God, thou proud Sheriff!
  That it is not for thy good."
    ROBIN bent a good bow,
  An arrow he drew at his will;
  He hit so the proud Sheriff,
  Upon the ground he lay full still:
  And or he might up arise,
  On his feet to stand;
  He smote off the Sheriff's head,
  With his bright brand.
    "Lie thou there, thou proud Sheriff!
  Evil might thou thrive!
  There might no man to thee trust,
  The whiles thou wert alive!"
    His men drew out their bright swords,
  That were so sharp and keen,
  And laid on the Sheriff's men
  And drived them down bydene.
    ROBIN started to that Knight,
  And cut a two his bond;
  And took him in his hand a bow,
  And bade him by him stand.
    "Leave thy horse thee behind,
  And learn for to run!
  Thou shalt with me to green wood
  Through mire, moss, and fen!
  Thou shalt with me to green wood
  Without any leasing,
  Till that I have got us grace
  Of EDWARD, our comely King."

+The seventh fytte.+

  The King came to Nottingham
  With Knights in great array
  For to take that gentle Knight
  And ROBIN HOOD, if he may.
    He asked men of that country
  And after that gentle Knight
  That was so bold and stout.
  When they had told him the case,
  Our King understood their tale
  And seizèd in his hand
  The Knight's land all.
  All the pass of Lancashire
  He went both far and near;
  Till he came to Plom[p]ton Park
  He failed many of his deer.
  There our King was wont to see
  Herdès many a one,
  He could unneath find one deer
  That bare any good horn.
    The King was wondrous wroth withal,
  And swore, "By the Trinity!
  I would I had ROBIN HOOD!
  With eyen I might him see!
  And he that would smite off the Knight's head,
  And bring it to me;
  He shall have the Knight's lands
  I give it him with my charter,
  And seal it [with] my hand,
  To have and hold for evermore
  In all merry England."
    Then bespake a fair old Knight,
  That was true in his fay,
  "O my liege Lord the King,
  One word I shall you say!
  There is no man in this country
  May have the Knight's lands
  While ROBIN HOOD may ride or gone
  And bear a bow in his hands,
  That he ne shall lose his head,
  That is the best ball in his hood:
  Give it to no man, my Lord the King!
  That ye will any good!"
    Half a year dwelled our comely King
  In Nottingham, and well more,
  Could he not hear of ROBIN HOOD,
  In what country that he were:
  But always went good ROBIN
  By halke and eke by hill,
  And always slew the King's deer
  And welt them at his will.
    Then bespake a proud for'ster
  That stood by our King's knee,
  "If ye will see good ROBIN
  Ye must do after me!
  Take five of the best Knights
  That be in your lead,
  And walk down by yon Abbey
  And get you monks' weed!
  And I will be your leadsman
  And lead you the way!
  And or ye come to Nottingham,
  Mine head then dare I lay!
  That ye shall meet with good ROBIN,
  In life if that he be:
  Or ye come to Nottingham
  With eyen ye shall him see!"
    Full hastily our King was dight,
  So were his Knightès five,
  Everych of them in monks' weed,
  And hasted them thither blithe.
  Our King was great above his cowl,
  A broad hat on his crown.
  Right as he were Abbot like,
  They rode up into the town.
  Stiff boots our King had on,
  For sooth as I you say,
  He rode singing to green wood,
  The convent was clothed in grey.
  His mail horse and his great somers
  Followed our King behind,
  Till they came to green wood
  A mile under the lynde.
    There they met with good ROBIN
  Standing on the way,
  And so did many a bold archer,
  For sooth as I you say.
    ROBIN took the King's horse,
  Hastily in that stead:
  And said, "Sir Abbot! by your leave;
  A while ye must abide!
  We be yeoman of this forest,
  Under the green-wood tree,
  We live by our King's deer,
  Under the green-wood tree;
  And ye have churches and rents both,
  And gold full great plenty:
  Give us some of your spending,
  For saint charity!"
    Then bespake our comely King,
  Anon then said he,
  "I brought no more to green wood.
  But forty pounds with me.
  I have lain at Nottingham,
  This fortnight with our King;
  And spent I have full much good
  On many a great Lording:
  And I have but forty pounds,
  No more than have I me.
  But if I had a hundred pounds,
  I would give it to thee!"
    ROBIN took the forty pounds,
  And departed it in two parts:
  Halfendell he gave his merry men,
  And bade them merry to be.
  Full courteously ROBIN 'gan say,
    "Sir, have this for your spending!
  We shall meet another day."
    "Grammercy!" then said our King.
  "But well thee greeteth EDWARD our King,
  And sent to thee his seal;
  And biddeth thee come to Nottingham,
  Both to meat and meal!"
    He took out the broad targe
  And soon he let him see.
  ROBIN could his courtesy,
  And set him on his knee.
    "I love no man in all the world
  So well as I do my King!
  Welcome is my Lord's seal!
  And monk for thy tiding,
  Sir Abbot, for thy tidings,
  To-day, thou shalt dine with me!
  For the love of my King,
  Under my trystel tree."
    Forth he led our comely King
  Full fair by the hand;
  Many a deer there was slain,
  And full fast dightand.
  ROBIN took a full great horn,
  And loud he 'gan blow,
  Seven score of wight young men
  Came ready on a row.
  All they kneeled on their knee
  Full fair before ROBIN.
    The King said, himself until,
  And swore, "By Saint AUSTIN!
  Here is a wondrous seemly sight!
  Methinketh, by God's pine!
  His men are more at his bidding
  Than my men be at mine."
    Full hastily was their dinner ydight,
  And thereto 'gan they gone;
  They served our King with all their might,
  Both ROBIN and Little JOHN.
  Anon before our King was set
  The fat venison,
  The good white bread, the good red wine,
  And thereto the fine ale brown.
    "Make good cheer!" said ROBIN,
  "Abbot, for charity!
  And for this ilk tiding
  Blessèd might thou be!
  Now shalt thou see what life we lead,
  Or thou hence wend,
  That thou may inform our King
  When ye together lend."
    Up they start all in haste,
  Their bows were smartly bent:
  Our King was never so sore aghast;
  He wended to have been shent!
  Two yards there were up set
  Thereto 'gan they gang.
    "By fifty paces," our King said,
  "The marks were too long!"
    On every side a rose garland,
  They shot under the line.
    "Whoso faileth of the rose garland," saith ROBIN,
  "His tackle he shall tine,
  And yield it to his Master,
  Be it never so fine!
  (For no man will I spare,
  So drink I ale or wine!)
  And bear a buffet on his head
  Iwis right all bare."
  And all that fell in ROBIN's lot,
  He smote them wondrous sore.
    Twice ROBIN shot about,
  And ever he cleaved the wand;
  And so did good "GILBERT,
  With the good white hand."
  Little JOHN and good SCATHELOCK,
  For nothing would they spare.
  When they failed of the garland
  ROBIN smote them full sore.
    At the last shot, that ROBIN shot
  For all his friends' fare;
  Yet he failed of the garland
  Three fingers and more.
  Then bespake good GILBERT,
  And thus he 'gan say,
    "Master," he said, "your tackle is lost,
  Stand forth and take your pay!"
    "If it be so," said ROBIN,
  "That may no better be;
  Sir Abbot, I deliver thee mine arrow!
  I pray thee, Sir, serve thou me!"
    "It falleth not for mine order," said our King,
  "ROBIN, by thy leave,
  For to smite no good yeoman,
  For doubt I should him grieve."
    "Smite on boldly," said ROBIN,
  "I give thee large leave!"
    Anon our King, with that word,
  He folded up his sleeve,
  And such a buffet he gave ROBIN,
  To ground he yede full near.
   "I make mine avow to God," said ROBIN,
  "Thou art a stalwart frere!
  There is pith in thine arm," said ROBIN,
    "I trow thou canst well shoot."

    Thus our King and ROBIN HOOD,
  Together then they met.
  ROBIN beheld our comely King,
  Wistly in the face:
  And kneeled down in that place.
  And so did all the wild outlaws,
  When they see them kneel.
    "My Lord, the King of England,
  Now I know you well."
    "Mercy, then, ROBIN," said our King,
  "Under your trystel tree,
  Of thy goodness and thy grace,
  For my men and me!"
    "Yes, for God!" said ROBIN,
  "and also God me save!
  I ask mercy, my Lord the King,
  And for my men I crave!"
    "Yes, for God!" then said our King,
  "And thereto 'sent I me;
  With that thou leave the green wood,
  And all thy company;
  And come home, Sir, to my Court,
  And there dwell with me."
    "I make mine avow to God!" said ROBIN,
  "And right so shall it be,
  I will come to your Court,
  Your service for to see!
  And bring with me, of my men,
  Seven score and three.
  But me like well your service,
  I come again full soon;
  And shoot at the dun deer
  As I wont to done."

+The eighth fytte.+

  "Hast thou any green cloth," said our King,
  "That thou wilt sell now to me?"
    "Yea, for God!" said ROBIN,
  "Thirty yards and three."
    "ROBIN," said our King,
  "Now pray I thee!
  Sell me some of that cloth
  To me and my meiny."
    "Yes, for God!" then said ROBIN,
  "Or else I were a fool!
  Another day ye will me clothe,
  I trow against the yule."
    The King cast off his cowl then,
  A green garment he did on,
  And every knight also, i-wis,
  Another had full soon.
  When they were clothed in Lincoln green,
  They cast away their gray.
    "Now we shall to Nottingham!
  All thus," our King 'gan say.
    Their bows bent, and forth they went,
  Shooting all in-fere
  Toward the town of Nottingham,
  Outlaws as they were.
    Our King and ROBIN rode together,
  For sooth as I you say,
  And they shot Pluck-buffet,
  As they went by the way.
  And many a buffet our King won
  Of ROBIN HOOD that day;
  And nothing spared good ROBIN
  Our King in his pay.
    "So God me help!" said our King,
  "Thy game is nought to lere;
  I should not get a shot of thee,
  Though I shoot all this year!"

    All the people of Nottingham,
  They stood and beheld,
  They saw nothing but mantles of green
  That covered all the field:
  Then every man to other 'gan say,
    "I dread our King be slone;
  Come ROBIN HOOD to the town, ywis
  In life he left never one!"
    Full hastily they began to flee,
  Both yeomen and knaves,
  And old wives that might evil go
  They hippèd on their staves.
    The King laughed full fast,
  And commanded them again:
  When they see our comely King
  I-wis they were full fain.
  They eat and drank and made them glad,
  And sang with notès high.
  Then bespake our comely King
  He gave him there his land again;
  A good man he bade him be.
  ROBIN thanked our comely King
  And set him on his knee.

    Had ROBIN dwelled in the King's Court
  But twelve months and three;
  That he had spent an hundred pound,
  And all his men's fee.
  In every place where ROBIN came,
  Evermore he laid down,
  Both for Knights and for Squires
  To get him great renown.
  By then the year was all agone
  He had no man but twain,
  Little JOHN and good SCATHELOCK
  With him all for to gone.
  ROBIN saw young men shoot
  Full far upon a day.
    "Alas," then said good ROBIN,
  "My wealth is went away!
  Sometime I was an archer good,
  A stiff, and eke a strong,
  I was counted the best archèr
  That was in merry England.
  Alas," then said good ROBIN,
  "Alas, and well a wo!
  If I dwell longer with the King,
  Sorrow will me slo!"
  Forth then went ROBIN HOOD,
  Till he came to our King:
  "My Lord the King of England,
  Grant me mine asking!
  I made a chapel in Bernysdale,
  That seemly is to see:
  And thereto would I be!
  I might never in this seven night
  No time to sleep ne wink;
  Neither all these seven days
  Neither eat ne drink:
  Me longeth sore to Bernysdale.
  I may not be therefro,
  Barefoot and woolward I have hight
  Thither for to go."
    "If it be so," then said our King,
  "It may no better be!
  Seven nights I give thee leave,
  No longer, to dwell from me."
    "Grammercy, Lord!" then said ROBIN,
  And set him on his knee.
  He took his leave full courteously
  To green wood then went he.

    When he came to green wood
  In a merry morning,
  There he heard the notès small
  Of birds, merry singing.
    "It is far gone," said ROBIN,
  "That I was last here.
  Me list a little for to shoot
  At the dun deer."
    ROBIN slew a full great hart,
  His horn then 'gan he blow,
  That all the outlaws of that forest,
  That horn could they know.
  And gathered them together
  In a little throw,
  Seven score of wight young men
  Came ready on a row,
  And fair did off their hoods
  And set them on their knee.
    "Welcome!" they said, "our Master!
  Under this green-wood tree!"
    ROBIN dwelled in green wood
  Twenty years and two;
  For all dread of EDWARD our King
  Again would he not go.
  Yet was he beguiled i-wis
  Through a wicked woman,
  The Prioress of Kirkesley.
  That nigh was of his kin,
  For the love of a Knight,
  Sir ROGER of Donkesley.
  That was her own special
  (Full evil might they thee!)
  They took together their counsel
  ROBIN HOOD for to slee,
  And how they might best do that deed
  His banes for to be.

    Then bespake good ROBIN,
  In place where as he stood,
  "To-morrow, I must to Kirkesley
  Craftily to be let blood!"
  Sir ROGER of Doncaster,
  By the Prioress he lay:
  And there they betrayed good ROBIN HOOD
  Through their false play.

  CHRIST have mercy on his soul!
  (That died on the rood)
  For he was a good outlaw,
  And did poor men much good.

+Explicit. King Edward and Robin Hood and Little John. Imprinted at
London in Fleet street at the sign of the Sun. By Wynken de Worde.+

              _English Carols._
  [From a Manuscript at Balliol College, Oxford.]

=Written before 1500.=

=From a Balliol MS. of c. 1540=

              _English Carols._
  From a Manuscript at Balliol College, Oxford.

      _Mater, ora filium,
      ut post hoc exilium
      nobis donet gaudium
      beatorum omnium!_

  Fair maiden, who is this bairn
  That thou bearest in thine arm?
  Sir it is a Kinges Son,
  That in Heaven above doth wone.
      _Mater, ora, etc._

  Man to father he hath none,
  But Himself God alone!
  Of a maiden He would be born,
  To save mankind that was forlorn!
      _Mater, ora, etc._

  The Kings brought him presents,
  Gold, myrrh, and frankincense
  To my Son full of might,
  King of Kings and Lord of right!
      _Mater, ora, etc._

  Fair maiden pray for us
  Unto thy Son, sweet Jesus,
  That He will send us of His grace
  In heaven on high to have a place!
      _Mater, ora, etc._

      _Ave Maria, now say we so,
      Maid and mother were never no mo!_

  Gaude Maria! Christes mother,
  Mary mild of thee I mean;
  Thou bare my Lord, thou bare my brother,
  Thou bare a lovely child and clean!
  Thou stoodest full still without blin
  When in thy ear that errand was done so,
  Tho gracious God thee light within.
      _Gabrielis nuncio!_

  Gaude Maria! [preva]lent with grace
  When Jesus thy Son on thee was bore,
  Full nigh thy breast thou gan Him brace,
  He sucked, He sighed, He wept full sore.
  Thou fed'st the flower that never shall fade
  With maiden's milk, and sung thereto
  Lullay, my sweet! I bare thee, babe!
      _Cum pudoris lilio._

  Gaude Maria! thy mirth was away,
  When Christ on cross, thy Son, gan die,
  Full dolefully on Good Friday,
  That many a mother's son it sy.
  His blood us brought from care and strife
  His watery wound us washed from woe,
  The third day from death to life
      _Fulget resurrectio._

  Gaude Maria! thou bird so bright,
  Brighter than blossom that bloweth on hill!
  Joyfull thou were to see that sight,
  When the Apostles, so sweet of will,
  All and some did shriek full shrill
  When the fairest of shape went you fro,
  From earth to heaven he styed full still,
      _Motu quod fertur proprio._

  Gaude Maria! thou rose of Ryse!
  Maiden and mother both gentle and free,
  Precious princess, peerless of price,
  Thy bower is next the Trinity!
  Thy Son as law asketh a right,
  In body and soul thee took Him to,
  Thou reignes with Him right as we find.
      _In coeli palatio._

  Now, blessed bird, we pray thee a boon,
  Before thy Son for us thou fall,
  And pray Him, as He was on the rood done
  And for us drank eisell and gall,
  That we may wone within that wall
  Wherever is well without woe,
  And grant that grace unto us all.
      _In perenni gaudio._

      _Of a rose, a lovely rose
      And of a rose I sing a song!_

  Hearken to me both old and young,
  How a rose began to spring,
  A fairer rose to my liking
      _Sprung there never in Kinges land._

  Six branches are on that rose beme,
  They be both bright and sheen.
  The rose is called Mary, heaven queen,
      _Of her bosom a blossom sprung._

  The first branch was of great might,
  That sprung on Christmas night!
  The star shone over Bethlehem bright,
      _That men might see both broad and long._

  The second branch was of great honour,
  It was sent from heaven tower!
  Blessed be that fair flower,
      _Break it shall the fiendes bonds!_

  The third branch wide spread,
  There Mary lay in her bed,
  The bright stream three Kings led
      _To Bethlem there that branch they found._

  The fourth branch sprung into hell,
  The fiendes boast for to fell,
  There might no soul therein dwell,
      _Blessed be that time that branch gan spring!_

  The fifth branch was fair in foot,
  That sprung to heaven, top and root,
  There to dwell and be our bote,
      _And yet is seen in priestes hands._

  The sixth branch by and by,
  It is the five joys of mild Mary!
  Now Christ save all this company,
      _And send us good life and long!_

      _Make me merry both more and less,
      For now is the time of Christymas!_

  Let no man come into this hall,
  Groom, page, nor yet marshall,
  But that some sport he bring withal!
      _For now is the time of Christmas!_

  If that he say, he can not sing,
  Some other sport then let him bring!
  That it may please at this feasting!
      _For now is the time of Christmas!_

  If he say he can naught do,
  Then for my love ask him no mo!
  But to the stocks then let him go!
      _For now is the time of Christmas!_

      _Can I not sing but Hoy!
      The jolly shepherd made so much joy!_

  The shepherd upon a hill he sat,
  He had on him his tabard and his hat,
  His tarbox, his pipe, and his flagat,
  His name was called Jolly, Jolly Wat!
    For he was a good herds-boy,
        Ut hoy!
    For in his pipe he made so much joy.
      _Can I not sing but hoy._

  The shepherd upon a hill was laid,
  His dog to his girdle was tayd,
  He had not slept but a little braid
  But "gloria in excelsis" was to him said
        Ut hoy!
    For in his pipe he made so much joy!
      _Can I not sing, etc._

  The shepherd on a hill he stood,
  Round about him his sheep they yode,
  He put his hand under his hood,
  He saw a star as red as blood.
        Ut hoy!
    For in his pipe he made so much joy.
      _Can I not sing, etc._

  Now farewell Mall, and also Will,
  For my love go ye all still,
  Unto I come again you till,
  And ever more will ring well thy bell.
        Ut hoy!
    For in his pipe he made so much joy!
      _Can I not sing, etc._

  Now must I go there Christ was born,
  Farewell! I come again to-morn,
  Dog, keep well my sheep fro the corn!
  And warn well Warroke when I blow my horn!
        Ut hoy!
    For in his pipe he made so much joy!
      _Can I not sing, etc._

  When Wat to Bethlehem come was,
  He sweat, he had gone faster than a pace,
  He found Jesus in a simple place,
  Between an ox and an ass.
        Ut hoy!
    For in [his] pipe he made so much joy!
      _Can I not sing, etc._

  The shepherd said anon right:
  I will go see yon farly sight,
  Where as the angel singeth on height,
  And the star that shineth so bright!
        Ut hoy!
    For in [his] pipe he made so much joy!
      _Can I not sing, etc._

  Jesus, I offer to thee here my pipe,
  My skirt, my tarbox and my scrip,
  Home to my fellows now will I skip,
  And also look unto my sheep!
        Ut hoy!
    For in his pipe he made so much joy!
      _Can I not sing, etc._

  Now farewell, mine own herds-man Wat!
  Yea, fore God, Lady, even so I hat!
  Lull well Jesus in thy lap,
  And farewell Joseph, with thy round cap!
        Ut hoy!
    For in his pipe he made so much joy!
      _Can I not sing, etc._

  Now may I well both hope and sing,
  For I have been at Christ's bearing,
  Home to my fellows now will I fling,
  Christ of heaven to His bliss us bring!
        Ut hoy!
    For in his pipe he made so much joy!
      _Can I not sing, etc._

      _Now have good day, now have good day!
      I am Christmas, and now I go my way!_

  Here have I dwelt with more and less,
  From Hallow-tide till Candlemas!
  And now must I from you hence pass,
      _Now have good day!_

  I take my leave of King and Knight,
  And Earl, Baron, and lady bright!
  To wilderness I must me dight!
      _Now have good day!_

  And at the good lord of this hall,
  I take my leave, and of guestes all!
  Methinks I hear Lent doth call,
      _Now have good day!_

  And at every worthy officer,
  Marshall, panter, and butler,
  I take my leave as for this year,
      _Now have good day!_

  Another year I trust I shall
  Make merry in this hall!
  If rest and peace in England may fall!
      _Now have good day!_

  But often times I have heard say,
  That he is loth to part away,
  That often biddeth "have good day!"
      _Now have good day!_

  Now fare ye well all in-fere!
  Now fare ye well for all this year,
  Yet for my sake make ye good cheer!
      _Now have good day!_

      _Now sing we with angels
      Gloria in excelsis!_

  A babe is born to bliss us bring;
  I heard a maid lullay and sing;
  She said "dear Son, leave thy weeping,
  Thy Father is the King of bliss."
      _Now sing we, etc._

  "Lullay," she said and sang also,
  "Mine own dear Son, why art thou woe?
  Have I not done as I should do?
  Thy grievance tell me what it is."
      _Now sing we, etc._

  "Nay, dear mother, for thee weep I nought,
  But for the woe that shall be wrought
  To me, or I mankind have bought,
  Was never sorrow like it, i-wis."
      _Now sing we, etc._

  "Peace, dear Son, tell me not so!
  Thou art my child, I have no mo!
  Should I see men mine own Son slo?
  Alas, my dear Son, what means this?"
      _Now sing we, etc._

  "My hands, mother, that ye may see,
  Shall be nailed unto a tree!
  My feet also fast shall be;
  Men shall weep that shall see this!"
      _Now sing we, etc._

  "Ah, dear Son, hard is my hap!
  See my child that sucked my pap,
  His hands, his feet that I did wrap
  Be so nailed, that never did amiss!"
      _Now sing we, etc._

  "Ah, dear mother, yet shall a spear
  My heart in sunder all to-tear;
  No wonder if I carefull were,
  And weep full sore to think on this!"
      _Now sing we, etc._

  "Ah, dear Son, shall I see this?
  Thou art my child and I thy mother, i-wis!
  When Gabriel called me, full of grace,
  He told me nothing of this!"
      _Now sing we, etc._

  "Ah, dear mother, through my hair
  To thrust in thorns they will not spare!
  Alas, mother, I am full of care
  That ye shall see this heaviness!"
      _Now sing we, etc._

  "Ah dear Son, leave thy weeping!
  Thou bringst my heart in great mourning;
  A careful song now may I sing,
  This tidings hard to me it is!"
      _Now sing we, etc._

  "Ah, peace, dear mother, I thee pray!
  And comfort me all that ye may,
  And sing 'by by, lullay lullay,'
  To put away all heaviness."
      _Now sing we, etc._

      _Caput apri refero
      Resonens laudes domino._

  The boar's head in hands I bring,
  With garlands gay and birds singing!
  I pray you all help me to sing,
      _Qui estis in convivio!_

  The boar's head I understand,
  Is chief service in all this land,
  Wheresoever it may be found,
      _Servitur cum sinapio!_

  The boar's head I dare well say,
  Anon after the twelfth day,
  He taketh his leave and goeth away!
      _Exivit tunc de patria!_

      _I pray you be merry and sing with me,
      In worship of Christ's Nativity!_

  Into this world this day did come
  Jesus Christ, both God and man,
  Lord and servant in one person,
  Born of the blessed Virgin Mary!
      _I pray, etc._

  He that was rich without any need
  Appeared in this world in right poor weed,
  To make us, that were poor indeed,
  Rich without any need truly!
      _I pray, etc._

  A stable was his chamber, a crach was his bed,
  He had not a pillow to lay under His head,
  With maiden's milk that babe was fed,
  In poor clothes was lapped the Lord Almighty!
      _I pray, etc._

  A noble lesson here is us taught,
  To set all worldly riches at nought!
  But pray we that we may be thither brought
  Where riches is everlastingly!
      _I pray, etc._


      _Noël, noël, noël, noël!
      This is the salutation of Gabriel!_

  Tidings true
  There be come new,
  Sent from the Trinity,
  By Gabriel from Nazareth
  A city of Galilee!
  A clean maiden,
  A pure virgin,
  By her humility
  Hath born the Person
  Second in divinity!

  When that He presented was
  Before her fair visage,
  In most demure and goodly wise
  He did to her homage!
  "I am sent, Lady,
  From heaven so high,
  That Lord's heritage,
  For He of thee
  Now born will be,
  I am sent on the message!"

  "Hail, Virgin celestial!
  The meekest that ever was
  Hail, temple of the Deity
  Hail, Virgin pure!
  I thee ensure,
  Within a little space
  Thou shalt conceive,
  And Him receive
  That shall bring great solace."

  Then bespake the Virgin again,
  And answered womanly,
  "Whatsoever my Lord commandeth me
  I will obey truly!
  Ecce, sum humillima
  Ancilla domini,
  Secundum verbum tuum
  fiat mihi!

      _Man, move thy mind and joy this feast,
      Veritas de terra orta est!_

  As I came by the way
  I saw a sight seemly to see,
  Three shepherds ranging in a kay,
  Upon the field keeping their fee.
  A star, they said, they did espy,
  Casting the beams out of the east,
  And angels making melody
      _Veritas de terra orta est!_

  Upon that sight they were aghast,
  Saying these words, as I say thee:
  "To Bethlehem shortly let us haste,
  And there we shall the truthe see!"
  The angel said unto them all three,
  To their comfort or ever be ceased,
  "_Consolamini and merry be,
          Veritas de terra orta est!_"

  From heaven, out of the highest see,
  Righteousness hath taken the way,
  With mercy meddled plenteously,
  And so conceived in a may,
  Miranda res this is in fay!
  So saith the prophet in his gest;
  Now is He born, scripture doth say:
      _Veritas de terra orta est!_

  Then passed the shepherds from that place,
  And followed by the starres beam,
  That was so bright afore their face,
  It brought them straight unto Bethlem.
  So bright it shone, on all the realm
  Till they came there they would not rest,
  To Jewry and Jerusalem!
      _Veritas de terra orta est!_

      _All this time this song is best:
      Verbum caro factum est!_

  This night there is a child born
  That sprang out of Jesse's thorn;
  We must sing and say thereforn
      _Verbum caro factum est!_

  Jesus is the child's name,
  And Mary mild is his dame;
  All our sorrow shall turn to game,
      _Verbum caro factum est!_

  It fell upon high midnight,
  The stars shone both fair and bright,
  The angels sang with all their might
      _Verbum caro factum est!_

  Now kneel we down on our knee,
  And pray we to the Trinity,
  Our help, our succour for to be!
      _Verbum caro factum est!_

      _Now sing we, sing we,
      Gloria tibi domine!_

  Christ keep us all, as he well can,
  A solis ortus cardine!
  For He is both God and man,
  Qui natus est de virgine!
      _Sing we, etc._

  As He is Lord both day and night,
  Venter puellae baiulat,
  So is Mary mother of might,
  Secreta quae non noverat.
      _Sing we, etc_.

  The holy breast of chastity,
  verbo concepit filium,
  So brought before the Trinity,
  Ut castitatis lilium!
      _Sing we, etc_.

  Between an ox and an ass
  enixa est puerpera;
  In poor clothing clothed He was
  [Qui] regnat super aethera!
      _Sing we, etc_.


         +The Examination
  of Master William Thorpe, priest,
  of heresy, before Thomas Arundell,
      Archbishop of Canterbury,
         the year of our Lord,
             M.CCCC. and

         +¶ The Examination
  of the honourable Knight, Sir John
     Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, burnt
     by the said Archbishop,[26] in
        the first year of King
           Henry the Fifth.+

+¶ Be no more ashamed to hear it, than ye were
and be, to do it.+


[26] This is incorrect, Archbishop ARUNDELL condemned Sir JOHN OLDCASTLE
on September 25th, 1413, who was then sent to the Tower, see _pp._ 125,
132: from which he escaped; and being recaptured in Wales in 1417, was
burnt on the 14th December of that year. But in the meantime, Archbishop
ARUNDELL had died on the 14th February, 1414; and HENRY CHICHELEY had
become Archbishop.

=W. Tindale. 1530.=

+¶ Unto the Christian Reader.+

_Grace and peace in our Lord JESUS CHRIST. Read here with judgement,
good Reader! the Examination of the blessed Man of GOD, and there thou
shalt easily perceive wherefore our Holy Church (as the most unholy sort
of all the people will be called) make all their examinations in
darkness; all the lay people clean excluded from their counsels._

_For if their lies had been openly confuted, and also that the Accused
of Heresy might as well have been admitted to reason their_ Articles
_with Counsel, whether they were heresy or no[t], as the Accused of
Treason against the King is admitted to his Council to confute his cause
and_ Articles, _whether they be treason or not, they should never have
murdered nor prisoned so many good Christian men as they have done._

_For their cloaked lies could never have continued so long in the light,
as they have done in corners. They, good men! when they come in the
pulpit, and preach against the Truth, cry, "If their learning_ [_i.e._,
of the Protestants] _were good and true, they would never go in corners;
but speak it openly!"_

_Whereunto I answer, that besides that CHRIST and his Apostles were
compelled (for because of the furiousness of their fathers, the Bishops
and Priests, which only, that time also, would be called Holy Church)
oftentimes for to walk secretly, and absent themselves, and give place
to their malice. Yet we have daily examples, of more than one or two,
that have not spared nor feared for to speak, and also_ [_to_] _preach
openly the Truth; which have been taken of them, prisoned, and brent:
besides others that for fear of death, have abjured and carried faggots.
Of whose_ Articles _and Examination there is no layman that can shew a


_Who can tell wherefore, not many years past, there were Seven burnt in
Coventry on one day? Who can tell wherefore that good priest and holy
martyr, Sir_ [the reverend] _THOMAS HITTON was brent, now this year, at
Maidstone in Kent? I am sure, no man! For this is their cast_
[contrivance] _ever when they have put to death or punished any man:
after their secret Examinations, to slander him of such things as he
never thought; as they may do well enough, seeing there is no man to
contrary them._

_Wherefore I exhort thee, good brother! whosoever thou be that readest
this treatise, mark it well, and consider it seriously! and there thou
shalt find, not only what the Church is, their doctrine of the
Sacrament, the Worshipping of Images, Pilgrimage, Confession, Swearing,
and Paying of Tithes: but also thou mayest see what strong and
substantial arguments of Scripture and Doctors, and what clerkly reasons
my Lord the head and Primate of the Holy Church in England (as he will
be taken) bringeth against this poor, foolish, simple, and mad losell,
knave, and heretic, as he calleth him. And also the very cause wherefore
all their Examinations are made in darkness._

_And the Lord of all Light shall lighten thee with the candle of His
grace, for to see the Truth! Amen._

  ¶ _This I have corrected and put forth in the English that
         now is used in England, for our Southern men;
           nothing thereto adding, ne yet therefrom
               minishing. And I intend hereafter,
                with the help of GOD to put it
                 forth in his own old English,
                   which shall well serve, I
                    doubt not, both for the
                       Northern men and
                         the faithful
                            of Scot-

[+William of Thorpe's Preface.+]

=William of Thorpe. 1407.=

The LORD GOD that knoweth all things, wotteth well that I am right
sorrowful for to write or make known this Sentence beneath written,
where that of mine even Christian, set in high state and dignity, so
great blindness and malice may be known; that they, that presume of
themselves to destroy vices and to plant in men virtues, neither dread
to offend GOD, nor lust [_desire_] to please Him: as their works shew.
For, certes, the bidding of GOD and His Law (which, in the praising of
His most Holy Name, He commandeth to be known and kept of all men and
women, young and old; after the cunning and power that He hath given to
them), the Prelates of this land and their ministers, with the comente
[_community_] of priests chiefly consenting to them, enforce them most
busily to withstand and destroy the holy Ordinance of GOD. And
therethrough, GOD is greatly wroth and moved to take hard vengeance, not
only on them that do the evil, but also on them all that consent to the
Antichrist's limbs; which know or might know their malice and their
falsehood, and [ad]dress them not to withstand their malice and great

       *       *       *       *       *


Nevertheless, four things moveth me to write this Sentence beneath.

The first thing, that moveth me hereto is this, that whereas it was
     known to certain friends that I came from the prison of Shrewsbury,
     and (as it befell in deed), that I should to the prison of
     Canterbury; then divers friends, in divers places, spake to me
     full heartfully and full tenderly, and commanded me then, if it so
     were that I should be examined before the Archbishop of CANTERBURY,
     that, if I might in any wise, I should write mine Apposing and mine
     Answering. And I promised to my special friends, that if I might, I
     would gladly do their biddings, as I might.

The second thing that moveth me to write this Sentence is this.
     Divers friends which have heard that I have been examined before
     the Archbishop, have come to me in prison and counselled me busily,
     and coveted greatly that I should do the same thing. And other
     brethren have sent to me, and required me, on GOD's behalf! that I
     should write out and make known both mine Apposing and mine
     Answering "for the profit that," as they say, "over my
     [ac]knowledging may come thereof." But this, they bade me, that I
     should be busy in all my wits to go as near the Sentence and the
     words as I could; both that were spoken to me, and that I spake:
     up[on] adventure this Writing came another time, before the
     Archbishop and his Council. And of this counselling I was right
     glad! for in my conscience, I was moved to do this thing; and to
     ask hereto the special help of GOD.

And so then, I considering the great desire of divers friends of
     sundry places, according all in one; I occupied all my mind and my
     wits so busily, that through GOD's grace, I perceived by their
     meaning and their charitable desire some profit might come


For Soothfastness and Truth hath these conditions. Wherever it is
     impugned, it hath a sweet smell, and thereof comes a sweet savour.
     And the more violent the enemies [ad]dress themselves to oppress
     and to withstand the Truth, the greater and the sweeter smell
     cometh thereof. And therefore this heavenly smell of GOD's Word
     will not, as a smoke, pass away with the wind; but it will descend
     and rest in some clean soul that thirsteth thereafter.

And thus, some deal, by this Writing, may be perceived, through
     GOD's grace, how that the enemies of the Truth, standing boldly in
     their malice, enforce them to withstand the freedom of CHRIST's
     Gospel; for which freedom, CHRIST became man, and shed his heart's
     blood. And therefore it is great pity and sorrow that many men and
     women do their own wayward will; nor busy them not to know nor to
     do the pleasant will of GOD.

Ye men and women that hear the Truth and Soothfastness, and hear or
     know of this, perceiving what is now in the Church, ought
     therethrough to be the more moved in all their wits to able them to
     grace, and set lesser price by themselves: that they, without
     tarrying, forsake wilfully [_voluntarily_] and bodily all the
     wretchedness of this life; since they know not how soon, nor when,
     nor where, nor by whom GOD will teach them, and assay their
     patience. For, no doubt, who that ever will live piteously, that is
     charitably, in CHRIST JESU shall suffer now, here in this life,
     persecution in one wise or another, that is, if we shall be saved.


It behoveth us to imagine full busily, the vilite and foulness of
     sin, and how the LORD GOD is displeased therefore: and of this
     vilite of hideousness of sin, it behoveth us to busy us in all our
     wits for to abhor and hold in our mind a great shame of sin, ever!
     and so then we owe [_ought_] to sorrow heartily therefore, and ever
     flying all occasion thereof. And then [it] behoveth us to take upon
     us sharp penance, continuing therein, for to obtain of the LORD,
     forgiveness of our foredone sins, and grace to abstain us hereafter
     from sin! And but if [_except_] we enforce us to do this wilfully
     and in convenient time, the LORD (if He will not utterly destroy
     and cast us away!) will, in divers manners, move tyrants against
     us, for to constrain us violently for to do penance, which we
     would not do wilfully. And, trust! that this doing is a special
     grace of the LORD, and a great token of life and mercy!

And, no doubt, whoever will not apply himself, as is said before,
     to punish himself wilfully, neither will suffer patiently, meekly,
     and gladly the rod of the LORD, howsoever that He will punish him:
     their wayward wills and their impatience are unto them earnest of
     everlasting damnation.

But because there are but few in number that do able them thus
     faithfully to grace, for to live here simply and purely, and
     without gall of malice and of grudging, herefore the lovers of this
     world hate and pursue them that they know patient, meek, chaste,
     and wilfully poor, hating and fleeing all worldly vanities and
     fleshly lusts. For, surely, their virtuous conditions are even
     contrary to the manners of this world.

The third thing that moveth me to write this Sentence is this. I
     thought I shall busy me in myself to do faithfully, that all men
     and women occupying all their business in knowing and in keeping of
     GOD's commandments, able them so to grace, that they might
     understand truly the Truth, and have and use virtue and prudence;
     and so to serve to be lightened from above with heavenly wisdom: so
     that all their words and their works may be hereby made pleasant
     sacrifices unto the LORD GOD; and not only for help for their own
     souls, but also for edification of all Holy Church.

For I doubt not but all they that will apply them to have this
     foresaid business shall profit full mickle both to friends and to
     foes. For some enemies of the Truth, through the grace of GOD,
     shall, through charitable folks, be made astonied in their
     conscience, and peradventure converted from vices to virtues; and
     also they that labour to know and to keep faithfully the biddings
     of GOD, and to suffer patiently all adversities, shall hereby
     comfort many friends.

And the fourth thing that moveth me to write this Sentence is this.
     I know my sudden and unwarned Apposing and Answering that all they
     that will of good heart without feigning able themselves wilfully
     and gladly, after their cunning and their power, to follow CHRIST
     patiently, travailing busily, privily and apertly, in work and in
     word, to withdraw whomsoever that they may from vices, planting in
     them (if they may) virtues, comforting them and furthering them
     that standeth in grace; so that therewith they be not borne up into
     vainglory through presumption of their wisdom, nor enflamed with
     any worldly prosperity: but ever meek and patient, purposing to
     abide steadfastly in the Will of GOD, suffering wilfully and
     gladly, without any grudging whatsoever, the rod the LORD will
     chastise them with.


Then this good LORD will not forget to comfort all such men and
     women in all their tribulations, and at every point of temptation
     that any enemy purposeth for to do against them ([to] such faithful
     lovers specially, and patient followers of CHRIST), the LORD
     sendeth His wisdom from above to them! which the adversaries of the
     Truth may not know nor understand; but through their old and new
     unshamefast sins, those tyrants and enemies of Soothfastness shall
     be so blinded and obstinate in evil, that they shall ween
     themselves to do pleasant sacrifices unto the LORD GOD in their
     malicious and wrongful pursuing and destroying of innocent men's
     and women's bodies; which men and women for their very virtuous
     living and for their true knowledging of the Truth and their
     patient, wilful, and glad suffering of persecution for
     righteousness, deserve through the grace of GOD to be heirs of the
     endless bliss of heaven.

And for [_on account of_] the fervent desire and the great love
     that those men have, as to stand in Soothfastness and witness of
     it, though they be, suddenly and unwarned, brought forth to be
     Apposed of their adversaries: the HOLY GHOST yet, that moveth and
     ruleth them, through His charity, will, in the hour of their
     Answering, speak in them, and shew His wisdom, that all their
     enemies shall not again say [_gainsay_] and against stand lawfully
     [_by right_].

And therefore all they that are stedfast in the faith of GOD, yea, which
(through diligent keeping of His commandments, and for their patient
suffering of whatsoever adversity that cometh to them) hope surely in
His mercy, purposing to stand continually in perfect charity: for those
men and women dread not so the adversities of this life, that they will
fear (after their cunning and their power) to [ac]knowledge prudently
the truth of GOD's Word! when, where, and to whom that they think their
[ac]knowledging may profit. Yea, and though therefore, persecution come
to them, in one wise or another, certes, they patiently take it! knowing
their conversation to be in heaven.


It is a high reward and a special grace of GOD for to have and enjoy as
the everlasting inheritance of heaven, for the suffering of one
persecution in so short a time as is the term of this life. For, lo,
this heavenly heritage and endless reward is the LORD GOD Himself! which
is the best thing that may be. This Sentence witnesseth the LORD GOD
Himself, whereas He said to ABRAHAM, _I am thy mede!_ And as the LORD
said He was, and is the mede of ABRAHAM; so He is of all His other

This most blessed and best mede He grant to us all! for His holy name,
that made us of nought, and sent His only most dear worthy Son, our Lord
JESU CHRIST, for to redeem
    us with His most precious
        heart's blood.

+[The Examination of sir William of Thorpe.]+

=William. ? 1407.=

Known be it to all men that read or hear this Writing beneath, that on
the Sunday next [_August 7th_] after the Feast of St. Peter that we call
Lammas [_August 1st_], in the year of our Lord a thousand four hundred
seventh year, I, WILLIAM of Thorpe, being in prison in the castle of
Saltwood [_near Hythe, in Kent_], was brought before THOMAS ARUNDELL,
Archbishop of CANTERBURY, and [Lord] Chancellor then of England.

And when that I came to him, he stood in a great chamber, and much
people [were] about him; and when that he saw me, he went fast into a
closet [_private room_], bidding all secular men [_laymen_] that
followed him, to go forth from him soon; so that no man was left then in
that closet, but the Archbishop himself, a physician that was called
MALVEREN [_i.e., JOHN MALVERNE, S.T.P._], Parson of St. Dunstan's
[Church, in Tower Street] in London, and two other persons unknown to
me, which were Ministers of the Law [_i.e., the Canon Law: later on,
they are called Clerks, i.e., Chaplains_].


+Archbishop.+ And I standing before them, by and by, the Archbishop said
to me, "WILLIAM! I know well, that thou hast, this twenty winter and
more [_i.e., from before 1387_], travelled about busily, in the North
country and in other divers countries [_counties_] of England, sowing
about false doctrine: having great business, if thou might, with thine
untrue teaching and shrewd will, for to infect and poison all this land.
But, through the grace of GOD! thou art now withstanded, and brought
into my ward! so that I shall now sequester thee from thine evil
purpose, and let [_hinder_] thee to envenom the sheep of my Province.
Nevertheless, St. PAUL saith, _If it may be, as far as in us is, we owe_
[ought] _to have peace with all men._ Therefore, WILLIAM! if thou wilt
now, meekly, and of good heart, without any feigning, kneel down and lay
thy hand upon a book, and kiss it; promising faithfully as I shall here
charge thee, that 'thou wilt submit thee to my correction and stand to
mine ordinance, and fulfil it duly by all thy cunning and power,' thou
shalt yet find me gracious unto thee!"

+William.+ Then said I, to the Archbishop, "Sir, since ye deem me an
heretic out of belief, will ye give me here audience to tell my

+Archbishop.+ And he said, "Yea, tell on!"

+William.+ And I said, _"I believe that there is not but one GOD
Almighty, and in this Godhead and of this Godhead are three Persons;
that is the Father, the Son, and the soothfast HOLY GHOST. And I believe
that all these three Persons are even in power, in cunning, and in
might, full of grace and of all goodness: for whatever that the Father
doth or can or will, that thing also the Son doth can and will; and in
all their power cunning and will, the HOLY GHOST is equal to the Father
and to the Son._

_Over this, I believe that, through counsel of this most blessed
     Trinity (in most convenient time, before ordained), for the
     salvation of mankind, the second Person of this Trinity was
     ordained to take the form of Man, that is the Kind of man. And I
     believe that this second Person, our Lord JESU CHRIST was
     conceived, through the HOLY GHOST, into the womb of the most
     blessed Virgin MARY without any man's seed. And I believe that
     after nine months, CHRIST was born of this most blessed Virgin
     without any pain or breaking of the closter of her womb, and
     without filth of her virginity._

_And I believe that CHRIST our Saviour was circumcised in the eighth
     day after his birth, in fulfilment of the Law; and his name was
     called JESUS, which was called of the angel before he was conceived
     in the womb of MARY his mother._

_And I believe that CHRIST, as he was about thirty years old, was
     baptized in the flood of Jordan of JOHN_ [the] _Baptist, and in
     likeness of a dove the HOLY GHOST descended there upon him; and a
     voice was heard from heaven, saying,_ Thou art my well beloved Son!
     In Thee, I am full pleased!

_And I believe that CHRIST was moved then by the HOLY GHOST for to
     go into [the] desert, and there he fasted forty days and forty
     nights without bodily meat and drink. And I believe that by and by,
     after his fasting, when the manhood of CHRIST hungered, the Fiend
     came to him and tempted him in gluttony, in vainglory, and in
     covetise: but in all those temptations CHRIST concluded_
     [confounded] _the Fiend and withstood him._

_And then, without tarrying, JESU began to preach, and to say unto
     the people,_ Do ye penance! for the Realm of Heaven is now at hand!

_And I believe that CHRIST, in all his time here, lived most holily;
     and taught the Will of his Father most truly: and I believe that he
     suffered therefore most wrongfully, greatest reproofs and

_And after this, when CHRIST would make an end here, of his temporal
     life, I believe that, in the day next before that he would suffer
     passion on the morn, in form of bread and wine, he ordained the
     Sacrament of his flesh and blood, that is his own precious body, and
     gave it to his Apostles for to eat, commanding them, and by them all
     their after-comers, that they should do it, in this form that he
     shewed to them, use themselves and teach and common forth to other
     men and women this most worshipful holiest Sacrament; in mindfulness
     of his holiest Living and of his most true Teaching, and of his
     wilful and patient Suffering of the most painful Passion._

_And I believe that thus, CHRIST our Saviour, after that he had
     ordained this most worthy Sacrament of his own precious body, he
     went forth wilfully against his enemies, and he suffered them most
     patiently to lay their hands most violently upon him, and to bind
     him, and to lead him forth as a thief, and to scorn and buffet him,
     and all to blow or_ [de]_file him with their spittings._

_Over this, I believe that CHRIST suffered, most meekly and
     patiently, his enemies for to ding_ [beat] _out with sharp scourges,
     the blood that was between his skin and his flesh: yea, without
     grudging, CHRIST suffered wicked Jews to crown him with most sharp
     thorns, and to strike him with a reed. And, after, CHRIST suffered
     wicked Jews to draw_ [lay] _him out upon the Cross, and for to nail
     him there, upon foot and hand; and so, through this pitiful nailing,
     CHRIST shed out wilfully, for man's life, the blood that was in his
     veins: and then, CHRIST gave wilfully his spirit into the hands or
     power of his Father. And so, as he would, and when he would, CHRIST
     died wilfully, for man's sake, upon the Cross. And notwithstanding
     that CHRIST was wilfully, painfully, and most shamefully put to
     death as to the world, there was left blood and water in his heart,
     as he before ordained that he would shed out this blood and this
     water for man's salvation. And therefore he suffered the Jews to
     make a blind_ [ignorant] _Knight to thrust him into the heart with a
     spear; and this the blood and water that was in his heart, CHRIST
     would shed out for man's love._

_And, after this, I believe that CHRIST was taken down from the
     Cross, and buried._

_And I believe that on the third day, by the power of his godhead,
     CHRIST rose again from death to life. And forty days thereafter, I
     believe that CHRIST ascended up into heaven; and that he there
     sitteth on the right hand of GOD the Father Almighty. And the tenth
     day after his up going, he sent to his Apostles the HOLY GHOST, that
     he had promised them before._

_And I believe that CHRIST shall come and judge all mankind, some to
     everlasting peace, and some to everlasting pains._

_And as I believe in the Father, and in the Son, that they are one
     GOD Almighty; so I believe in the HOLY GHOST that is also, with
     them, the same GOD Almighty._

_And I believe_ [in] _an Holy Church, that is, all they that have
     been, and that now are, and always to the end of the world shall be,
     a people the which shall endeavour them to know, and keep the
     commandments of GOD; dreading over all things to offend GOD, and
     loving and seeking most to please Him. And I believe that all they
     that have had, and yet have, and all they that yet shall have the
     foresaid virtues, surely standing in the Belief of GOD, hoping
     steadfastly in His merciful doings, continuing to their end in
     perfect charity, wilfully patiently and gladly suffering
     persecutions by the example of CHRIST chiefly and His Apostles; and
     these have their names written in the Book of Life. Therefore I
     believe that the gathering together of this people living now in
     this life, is the Holy Church of GOD, fighting here on earth against
     the Fiend, the prosperity of the world, and their fleshly lusts.
     Wherefore, seeing that all the gathering together of this Church
     beforesaid, and every part thereof, neither coveteth, nor willeth,
     nor loveth, nor seeketh anything, but to eschew the offence of GOD,
     and to do His pleasing will: meekly, gladly, and wilfully, of all
     mine heart, I submit myself unto this Holy Church of CHRIST; to be
     ever buxom and obedient to the ordinance of it, and of every member
     thereof, after my knowledge and power, by the help of GOD._

_Therefore I_ [ac]_knowledge now, and evermore shall (if GOD will!)
     that, of all my heart, and of all my might, I will submit me only to
     the rule and governance of them whom, after my knowledge, I may
     perceive, by the having and using of the beforesaid virtues, to be
     members of the Holy Church._

_Wherefore these Articles of Belief and all others, both of the Old
     Law and of the New, which, after the commandment of GOD, any man
     ought to believe, I believe verily in my soul, as a sinful deadly
     wretch of my cunning and power ought to believe; praying the LORD
     GOD, for His holy name, for to increase my belief, and help my

_And for because, to the praising of GOD's name, I desire above all
     things to be a faithful member of Holy Church, I make this
     Protestation before you all four that are now here present, coveting
     that all men and women that_ [are] _now absent knew the same; that
     what thing soever before this time I have said or done, or what
     thing here I shall do or say at any time hereafter, I believe that
     all the Old Law and the New Law given and ordained by the counsel of
     these three Persons in the Trinity, were given and written to_ [for]
     _the salvation of mankind. And I believe these Laws are sufficient
     for the man's salvation. And I believe every Article of these Laws
     to the intent that these Articles were ordained and commanded, of
     these three Persons of the most blessed Trinity, to be believed. And
     therefore to the rule and the ordinance of these, GOD's Laws,
     meekly, gladly, and wilfully, I submit me with all mine heart: that
     whoever can or will, by authority of GOD's Law, or by open reason,
     tell me that I have erred, or now err, or any time hereafter shall
     err in any Article of Belief (from which inconvenience, GOD keep me,
     for his goodness!) I submit me to be reconciled, and to be buxom and
     obedient unto these Laws of GOD, and to every Article of them. For
     by authority specially of these Laws, I will, through the grace of
     GOD, be unied_ [united] _charitably unto these Laws._

_Yea, Sir, and over this, I believe and admit all the Sentences,
     authorities, and reasons of the Saints and Doctors, according unto
     Holy Scripture, and declaring it truly. I submit me wilfully and
     meekly to be ever obedient, after my cunning and power, to all these
     Saints and Doctors as they are obedient in work and in word to GOD
     and his Law: and further, not to my knowledge; nor for any earthly
     power, dignity, or state, through the help of GOD._


"But, Sir, I pray you tell me, if after your bidding, I shall lay my
hand upon the book, to the intent to swear thereby?"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said unto me, "Yea! wherefore else?"

+William.+ And I said to him, "Sir, a book is nothing else but a thing
coupled together of diverse creatures [_created things_]; and to swear
by any creature, both GOD's Law and man's law is against. But, Sir, this
thing I say here to you, before these your Clerks, with my foresaid
_Protestation_, that how, where, when, and to whom, men are bounden to
swear or to obey, in any wise, after GOD's Laws, and Saints and good
Doctors according with GOD's Law; I will, through GOD's grace, be ever
ready thereto, with all my cunning and power!

"But I pray you, Sir, for the charity of GOD! that ye will, before that
I swear as I have rehearsed to you, tell me how or whereto that I shall
submit me; and shew me whereof that ye will correct me, and what is the
ordinance that ye will thus oblige me to fulfil?"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said unto me, "I will, shortly, that
now thou swear here to me, that thou shalt forsake all the opinions
which the Sect of Lollards hold, and is slandered [_charged_] with; so
that, after this time, neither privily nor apertly, thou hold any
opinion which I shall, after that thou hast sworn, rehearse to thee
here. Nor thou shalt favour no man nor woman, young nor old, that
holdeth any of these foresaid opinions; but, after thy knowledge and
power, thou shalt enforce thee to withstand all such distroublers of
Holy Church in every diocese that thou comest in; and them that will not
leave their false and damnable opinions, thou shalt put them up,
publishing them and their names; and make them known to the Bishop of
the diocese that they are in, or to the Bishop's Ministers. And, over
this, I will that thou preach no more, unto the time that I know, by
good witness and true, that thy conversation be such that thy heart and
thy mouth accord truly in one contrarying [of] all the lewd learning
that thou hast taught herebefore."

And I, hearing these words, thought in my heart that this was an
unlawful asking; and I deemed myself cursed of GOD, if I consented
hereto: and I thought how SUSANNA said, _Anguish is to me on every

+Archbishop.+ And in that I stood still, and spake not; the Archbishop
said to me, "Answer one wise or another!"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, if I consented to you thus, as ye have here
rehearsed to me; I should become an Appealer, or every Bishop's Spy!
Summoner of all England! For an [_if_] I should thus put up and publish
the names of men and women, I should herein deceive full many persons:
yea, Sir, as it is likely, by the doom of my conscience, I should herein
be cause of the death, both of men and women; yea, both bodily and
ghostly. For many men and women that stand now in the Truth, and are in
the way of salvation, if I should for the learning and reading of their
_Belief_ publish them or put them therefore up to Bishops or to their
unpiteous Ministers, I know some deal by experience, that they should be
so distroubled and dis-eased with persecution or otherwise, that many of
them, I think, would rather choose to forsake the Way of Truth than to
be travailed, scorned, and slandered or punished as Bishops and their
Ministers now use [_are accustomed_] for to constrain men and women to
consent to them.

"But I find in no place in Holy Scripture, that this office that ye
would now enfeoff me with, accordeth to any priest of CHRIST's sect, nor
to any other Christian man. And therefore to do thus, were to me a full
noyous bond to be bounden with, and over grievous charge. For I suppose
that if I thus did, many men and women in the world, yea, Sir, might
justly, unto my confusion say to me that 'I were a traitor to GOD and to
them!' since, as I think in mine heart, many men and women trust so
mickle in me in this case, that I would not, for the saving of my life,
do thus to them. For if I thus should do, full many men and women
would, as they might full truly, say that 'I had falsely and cowardly
forsaken the Truth, and slandered shamefully the Word of GOD!' For if I
consented to you, to do hereafter your will, for bonchief and mischief
that may befall to me in this life, I deem in my conscience that I were
worthy herefore to be cursed of GOD, as also of all His Saints! From
which inconvenience keep me and all Christian people, Almighty GOD! now
and ever, for His holy name!"


+Archbishop.+ And then the Archbishop said unto me, "O thine heart is
full hard, endured [_hardened_] as was the heart of PHARAOH; and the
Devil hath overcome thee, and perverted thee! and he hath so blinded
thee in all thy wits, that thou hast no grace to know the truth, nor the
measure of mercy that I have proffered to thee! Therefore, as I perceive
now by thy foolish answer, thou hast no will to leave thine old errors.
But I say to thee, lewd losell! [_base lost one!_ or _base son of
perdition!_] either thou quickly consent to mine ordinance, and submit
thee to stand to my decrees, or, by Saint Thomas! thou shalt be
disgraded [_degraded_], and follow thy fellow in Smithfield!"

And at this saying, I stood still and spake not; but I thought in mine
heart that GOD did to me a great grace, if He would, of His great mercy,
bring me to such an end. And in mine heart, I was nothing [a]fraid with
this menacing of the Archbishop.

And I considered, there, two things in him. One, that he was not yet
sorrowful, for that he had made WILLIAM SAUTRE wrongfully to be burnt
[_on Feb. 12, 1401, at Smithfield_]. And as I considered that the
Archbishop thirsted yet after more shedding out of innocent blood. And
fast therefore I was moved in all my wits, for to hold the Archbishop
neither for Prelate, nor for priest of GOD; and for that mine inward man
was thus altogether departed from the Archbishop, methought I should not
have any dread of him. But I was right heavy and sorrowful for that
there was none audience of secular [_lay_] men by: but in mine heart, I
prayed the LORD GOD to comfort me and strengthen me against them that
there were against the Soothfastness. And I purposed to speak no more to
the Archbishop and his Clerks [_Chaplains_] than me need behoved.


And all thus I prayed GOD, for His goodness, to give me then and always
grace to speak with a meek and an easy spirit; and whatsoever thing that
I should speak, that I might thereto have true authorities of Scriptures
and open reason.

+A Clerk.+ And for that I stood still, and nothing spake, one of the
Archbishop's Clerks said unto me, "What thing musest thou? Do thou, as
my Lord hath now commanded to thee here!"

And yet I stood still, and answered him not.

+Archbishop.+ And then, soon after, the Archbishop said to me, "Art thou
not yet bethought, whether thou wilt do as I have here said to thee?"

+William.+ And I said then to him, "Sir, my father and mother (on whose
souls GOD have mercy! if it be His will) spent mickle money in divers
places about my learning; for the intent to have made me a priest to
GOD. But when I came to years of discretion, I had no will to be priest;
and therefore my friends were right heavy to me. And then methought
their grudging against me was so painful to me, that I purposed
therefore to have left their company. And when they perceived this in
me, they spake some time full fair and pleasant words to me: but for
that they might not make me to consent, of good heart, to be a priest,
they spake to me full ofttimes very grievous words, and menaced me in
divers manners, shewing to me full heavy cheer. And thus, one while in
fair manner, another while in grievous, they were long time, as
methought, full busy about me, ere I consented to them to be a priest.

"But, at the last, when, in this matter, they would no longer suffer
mine excusations; but either I should consent to them, or I should ever
bear their indignation; yea, 'their curse,' as they said. Then I seeing
this, prayed them that they would give me license for to go to them that
were named wise priests and of virtuous conversation, to have their
counsel, and to know of them the office and the charge of priesthood.

"And hereto my father and my mother consented full gladly, and gave me
their blessing and good leave to go, and also money to spend in this


"And so then I went to those priests whom I heard to be of best name and
of most holy living, and best learned and most wise of heavenly wisdom:
and so I communed with them unto the time that I perceived, by their
virtuous and continual occupations, that their honest and charitable
works [sur]passed their fame, which I heard before of them. Wherefore,
sir, by the example of the doctrine of them, and specially for the godly
and innocent works which I perceived of them and in them; after my
cunning and power I have exercised me then, and in this time, to know
perfectly GOD's Law: having a will and desire to live thereafter,
willing that all men and women exercised themselves faithfully

"If then, Sir, either for pleasure or displeasure of them that are
neither so wise, nor of so virtuous conversation (to my knowledge, nor
by common fame of other men's knowledge in this land) as these men were,
of whom I took my counsel and information; I should now forsake, thus
suddenly and shortly, and unwarned, all the learning that I have
exercised myself in, this thirty winter [_i.e., from 1377_] and more, my
conscience should ever be herewith out of measure unquieted. And as,
Sir, I know well that many men and women should be therethrough greatly
troubled and slandered; and (as I said, Sir, to you before) for mine
untruth and false cowardness many a one should be put into full great
reprefe [_reproof_]. Yea, Sir, I dread that many a one, as they might
then justly, would curse me full bitterly: and, Sir, I fear not but the
curse of GOD (which I should deserve herein) would bring me to a full
evil end, if I continued thus.

"And if through remorse of conscience, I repented me at any time,
returning into the Way which you do your diligence to constrain me now
to forsake; yea, Sir, all the Bishops of this land, with full many other
priests, would defame me, and pursue me as a Relapse: and they that now
have (though I be unworthy) some confidence in me, hereafter would never
trust to me, though I could teach and live never so virtuously more that
I can or may.

"For if, after your counsel, I left utterly all my Learning: I should
hereby, first wound and defile mine own soul; and also I should
herethrough give occasion to many men and women of full sore hurting.
Yea, Sir, it is likely to me, if I consented to your will, I should
herein by mine evil example in it, as far as in me were, slay many folk
ghostly, that I should never deserve for to have grace of GOD to the
edifying of His Church, neither of myself, nor of none other man's life,
and [be] undone both before GOD and man.

"But, Sir, by example chiefly of some, whose names I will not now
rehearse, [NICHOLAS DE] H[EREFORD], of J[OHN] P[URVEY], and B[OWLAND];
and also by the present doing of PHILIP of REPINGTON that [_after being
a Lollard_] is now become Bishop of LINCOLN [_consecrated on March 28,
1405; and about a year following this Examination was made, on September
19, 1408, a Cardinal_]: I am now learned, as many more hereafter through
GOD's grace shall be learned, to hate and to flee all such slander that
these foresaid men chiefly hath defiled principally themselves with. And
in it that in them is, they have envenomed all the Church of GOD; for
the slanderous revoking at the Cross of Paul's, of H[EREFORD], P[URVEY],
and of B[OWLAND], and how now PHILIP REPINGTON pursueth CHRIST's people.
And the feigning that these men dissemble by worldly prudence, keeping
them cowardly in their preaching and communing, within the bonds and
terms, which, without blame, may be spoken and shewed out to the most
worldly livers, will not be unpunished of GOD. For to the point of truth
that these men shewed out some time, they not will now stretch forth
their lives: but by example, each one of them, as their words and works
shew, they busy them, through their feigning, for to slander and to
pursue CHRIST in his members, rather than they will be pursued."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "These men the which thou
speakest of now, were fools and heretics, when they were counted wise
men of thee and other such losells: but now they are wise men, though
thou and such others deem them unwise. Nevertheless, I wist never none,
that right said; that any while were envenomed with your contagiousness,
that is contaminated and spotted doctrine."

+William.+ And I said to the Archbishop, "Sir, I think well that these
men and such others are now wise as to this world, but as their words
sounded sometime and their works shewed outwardly, it was likely to move
me that they had earnest of the wisdom of GOD, and that they should
have deserved mickle grace of GOD to have saved their own souls and
many other men's, if they had continued faithful in wilful poverty and
in other simple virtuous living; and specially if they had with these
foresaid virtues, continued in their busy fruitful sowing of GOD's Word,
as, to many men's knowledge, they occupied them a season in all their
wits full busily to know the pleasant Will of GOD, travailing all their
members full busily for to do thereafter purely, and chiefly to the
praising of the most holy name of GOD and for grace of edification and
salvation of Christian people. But woe worth false covetise! and evil
counsel! and tyranny! by which they and many men and women are led
blindly into an evil end."


+Archbishop.+ Then the Archbishop said to me, "Thou and such other
losells of thy sect would shave your beards full near, for to have a
benefice! For, by Jesu! I know none more covetous shrews than ye are,
when that ye have a benefice. For, lo, I gave to JOHN PURVEY a benefice
but a mile out of this Castle [_i.e., the vicarage of West Hythe, near
Saltwood Castle in Kent, which PURVEY held from August 11, 1401, till he
resigned it on October 8, 1403_], and I heard more complaints about his
covetousness for tithes and other misdoings, than I did of all men that
were advanced within my diocese."

+William.+ And I said to the Archbishop, "Sir, PURVEY is neither with
you now for the benefice that ye gave him, nor holdeth he faithfully
with the learning that he taught and writ before time; and thus he
sheweth himself neither to be hot nor cold: and therefore he and his
fellows may sore[ly] dread that if they turn not hastily to the Way that
they have forsaken, peradventure they be put out of the number of
CHRIST's chosen people."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "Though PURVEY be now a false
harlot [_debased man. This term was at this time applied also to men_],
I quite me [_absolve myself in respect_] to him: but come he more for
such cause before me, ere we depart, I shall know with whom he holdeth!
But I say to thee, Which are these holy men and wise of whom thou hast
taken thine information?"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, Master JOHN WYCLIFFE was holden of full
many men, the greatest Clerk [_Divine_] that they knew then living; and
therewith he was named a passing ruely man and an innocent in his
living: and herefore great many commoned [_communed_] oft with him, and
they loved so much his learning that they writ it, and busily enforced
them to rule themselves thereafter. Therefore, Sir, this foresaid
learning of Master JOHN WYCLIFFE is yet holden of full many men and
women, the most agreeable learning unto the living and teaching of
CHRIST and his Apostles, and most openly shewing and declaring how the
Church of CHRIST hath been, and yet should be, ruled and governed.
Therefore so many men and women covet this learning, and purpose,
through GOD's grace, to conform their living like to this learning of

"Master JOHN AISTON taught and writ accordingly, and full busily, where,
and when, and to whom that he might: and he used it himself right
perfectly, unto his life's end.

"And also PHILIP of REPINGTON, while he was a Canon of Leicester [_He
was Chancellor of Oxford in 1397, and again in 1400_]; NICHOLAS
HER[E]FORD; DAVID GOTRAY of Pakring, Monk of Bylande and a Master of
Divinity; and JOHN PURVEY, and many others, which were holden right wise
men and prudent, taught and writ busily this foresaid learning, and
conformed them thereto. And with all these men I was oft right homely
[_quite at home_], and communed with them long time and oft: and so,
before all other men, I choose wilfully to be informed of them and by
them, and especially of WYCLIFFE himself; as of the most virtuous and
godly wise men that I heard of or knew. And therefore of him specially,
and of these men I took my learning, that I have taught; and purpose to
live thereafter, if GOD will! to my life's end.

"For though some of these men be contrary to the learning that they
taught before, I wot well that their learning was true which they
taught; and therefore, with the help of GOD, I purpose to hold and to
use the learning which I heard of them while they sat on MOSES' chair,
and specially while they sat on the chair of CHRIST. But after the works
that they now do, I will not do! with GOD's help. For they feign and
hide and contrary the Truth which before they taught out plainly and
truly. For as I know well, when some of these men hath been blamed for
their slanderous doing, they grant not that they have taught amiss, or
erred before time; but that they were constrained by pain[s] to leave to
tell out the Sooth: and thus they choose now rather to blaspheme GOD
than to suffer awhile here bodily persecution for Soothfastness that
CHRIST shed out his heart-blood for."


+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "That learning that thou callest
Truth and Soothfastness is open slander to Holy Church, as it is proved
of Holy Church. For albeit that WYCLIFFE your author [_founder_] was a
great Clerk, and though that many men held him a perfect liver: yet his
doctrine is not approved of Holy Church, but many Sentences of his
learning are damned [_condemned_] as they are well worthy.

"But as touching PHILIP of REPINGTON that was first Canon, and after
Abbot of Leicester, which is now Bishop of LINCOLN; I tell thee that the
Day is now comen for which he fasted the Even! For neither he holdeth
now, nor will hold the learning that he thought when he was Canon of
Leicester; for no Bishop of this land pursueth now more sharply them
that hold thy Way than he doth."

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, full many men and women wondereth upon him,
and speaketh him mickle shame, and holdeth him for a cursed enemy of the

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Wherefore tarriest thou me
thus here, with such fables? Wilt thou shortly, as I said to thee,
submit thee to me or no?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I tell you at one word. I dare not, for the
dread of GOD, submit me to you after the tenour and Sentence that ye
have above rehearsed to me."

       *       *       *       *       *

+Archbishop.+ And then, as if he had been wroth, he said to one of his
Clerks, "Fetch hither quickly the _Certification_ that came to me from
Shrewsbury, under the Bailiff's seal, witnessing the errors and heresies
which this losell hath venemously witnessed there!"

Then hastily the Clerk took out and laid forth on a cupboard divers
rolls and writings; among which there was a little one, which the Clerk
delivered to the Archbishop.


And by and by the Archbishop read this roll containing this sentence.

¶ _The third Sunday_ [April 17th] _after Easter_ [March 27th], _the year
of our Lord 1407, WILLIAM THORPE came unto the town of Shrewsbury, and,
through leave granted to him to preach, he said openly in St. Chad's
Church, in his sermon,_

  _That the Sacrament of the Altar after the consecration was
        material bread._
  _And that images should in no wise be worshipped._
  _And that men should not go on any pilgrimages._
  _And that priests have no title to tithes._
  _And that it is not lawful to swear in any wise._

+Archbishop.+ And when the Archbishop had read thus this roll, he rolled
it up again, and said to me, "Is this wholesome learning to be among the

+William.+ And I said to him, "Sir, I am both ashamed on their behalf,
and right sorrowful for them that have certified you these things thus
untruly: for I never preached nor taught thus, privily nor apertly."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "I will give credence to
these worshipful men which have written to me and witnessed under their
seals there among them. Though thou now deniest this, weenest thou that
I will credence to thee! Thou, losell! hast troubled the worshipful
comminalty of Shrewsbury, so that the Bailiffs and comminalty of that
town have written to me, praying me, that am Archbishop of CANTERBURY,
Primate, and Chancellor of England, _that I will vouchsafe to grant
them, that if thou shalt be made, as thou art worthy! to suffer open
jouresse_ [? penance or pillory] _for thine heresies, that thou may have
thy jouresse openly there among them; so that all they whom thou and
such like losells have there perverted, may, through fear of thy deed_
[_i.e._, martyrdom] _be reconciled again to the unity of Holy Church;
and also they that stand in true faith of Holy Church may through thy
deed be more stablished therein._" And as if this asking had pleased the
Archbishop, he said, "By my thrift! this hearty prayer and fervent
request shall be thought on!"

But certainly neither the prayer of the men of Shrewsbury, nor the
menacing of the Archbishop made me anything afraid: but, in the
rehearsing of this malice, and in the hearing of it, my heart greatly
rejoiced, and yet doth. I thank GOD, for the grace that I then thought,
and yet think, shall come to all the Church of GOD herethrough, by the
special merciful doing of the LORD.


+William.+ And as having no dread of the malice of tyrants, by trusting
stedfastly in the help of the LORD, with full purpose for to
[ac]knowledge the Soothfastness, and to stand thereby after my cunning
and power, I said to the Archbishop, "Sir, if the truth of GOD's Word
might now be accepted as it should be, I doubt not to prove by likely
evidence, that they that are famed to be out of the faith of Holy Church
in Shrewsbury and in other places also, are in the true faith of Holy
Church. For as their words sound and their works shew to man's
judgement, dreading and loving faithfully GOD; their will, their desire,
their love, and their business, are most set to dread to offend GOD and
to love for to please Him in true and faithful keeping of His

"And again, they that are said to be in the faith of Holy Church at
Shrewsbury and in other places, by open evidence of their proud,
envious, malicious, covetous, lecherous, and other foul words and works,
neither know nor have will to know nor to occupy their wits truly and
effectuously in the right faith of Holy Church. Wherefore [none of] all
these, nor none that follow their manners, shall any time come verily in
the faith of Holy Church, except they enforce them more truly to come in
the way which now they despise. For these men and women that are now
called Faithful and holden Just, neither know, nor will exercise
themselves to know, of faithfulness, one commandment of GOD. And thus
full many men and women now, and specially men that are named to be
"principal limbs of Holy Church," stir GOD to great wrath; and deserve
His curse for that they call or hold them "just men" which are full
unjust, as their vicious words, their great customable swearing, and
their slanderous and shameful works shew openly and witness. And
herefore such vicious men and unjust in their own confusion call them
"unjust men and women," which after their power and cunning, busy
themselves to live justly after the commandment of GOD.

"And where, Sir, ye say, that I have distroubled the comminalty of
Shrewsbury and many other men and women with my teaching; if it thus be,
it is not to be wondered [at] of wise men, since all the comminalty of
the city of Jerusalem was distroubled of CHRIST's own person, that was
Very GOD and Man, and [the] most prudent preacher that ever was or shall
be. And also all the Synagogue of Nazareth was moved against CHRIST, and
so full-filled with ire towards him for his preaching, that the men of
the Synagogue rose up and cast CHRIST out of their city, and led him up
to the top of a mountain for to cast him down there headlong. Also
according hereto, the LORD witnesseth by MOSES, that He shall put
dissension betwixt His people, and the people that contrarieth and
pursueth His people. Who, Sir, is he that shall preach the truth of
GOD's Word to that unfaithful people, and shall let [_hinder_] the
Soothfastness of the gospel, and the prophecy of GOD Almighty to be

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "It followeth of these thy
words, that thou, and such other, thinkest that ye do right well for to
preach and teach as ye do, without authority of any Bishop. For ye
presume that the LORD hath chosen you only, for to preach as faithful
disciples and special followers of CHRIST!"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, by authority of GOD's law, and also of
Saints and Doctors, I am learned to deem that it is every priest's
office and duty for to preach busily, freely, and truly the Word of GOD.

"For, no doubt, every priest should purpose first in his soul and covet
to take the order of priesthood chiefly for to make known to the people
the Word of GOD, after his cunning and power, approving his words ever
to be true by his virtuous works; and for this intent we suppose that
Bishops and other prelates of Holy Church should chiefly take and use
their prelacy. And for the same cause, Bishops should give to priests
their orders. For Bishops should accept no man to priesthood, except
that he had good will and full purpose, and were well disposed and well
learned to preach. Wherefore, Sir, by the bidding of CHRIST, and by
example of His most holy living, and also by the witnessing of His holy
apostles and prophets, we are bound under full great pain to exercise us
after our cunning and power (as every priest is likewise charged of
GOD), to fulfil duly the office of priesthood. We presume not hereof,
ourselves, for to be esteemed, neither in our own reputation nor in none
other man's, faithful disciples and special followers of CHRIST: but,
Sir, as I said to you before, we deem this, by authority chiefly of
GOD's Word, that it is the chief duty of every priest to busy him
faithfully to make the law of GOD known to His people; and so to comune
[_communicate_] the commandment of GOD charitably, how that we best,
where, when, and to whom that ever we may, is our very duty. And for the
will and business that we owe of due debt to do justly our office,
through the stirring and special help, as we trust, of GOD, hoping
stedfastly in His mercy, we desire to be the faithful disciples of
CHRIST: and we pray this gracious LORD, for His holy name! that He make
us able for to please Him with devout prayers and charitable priestly
works, that we may obtain of Him to follow Him thankfully."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Lewd losell! whereto
makest thou such vain reasons to me? Asketh not Saint PAUL, _How should
priests preach, except they be sent?_ But I sent thee never to preach!
For thy venomous doctrine is so known throughout England, that no Bishop
will admit thee for to preach, by witnessing of their Letters! Why then,
lewd idiot! willst thou presume to preach, since thou art not sent nor
licensed of thy Sovereign to preach? Saith not Saint PAUL that _Subjects
owe_ [ought] _to obey their Sovereigns; and not only good and virtuous,
but also tyrants that are vicious!_"


+William.+ And I said to the Archbishop, "Sir, as touching your Letter
of License or other Bishops', which, ye say, we should have to witness
that we were able to be sent for to preach; we know well that neither
you, Sir, nor any other Bishop of this land will grant to us any such
Letters of License but [_except_] we should oblige [_bind_] us to you
and to other Bishops by unlawful oaths for to pass not the bounds and
terms which ye, Sir, or other Bishops will limit to us. And since in
this matter, your terms be some too large, and some too strait; we dare
not oblige us thus to be bound to you for to keep the terms which you
will limit to us, as ye do to Friars and such other preachers: and
therefore, though we have not your Letter, Sir, nor Letters of other
Bishops written with ink upon parchment; we dare not herefore leave the
office of preaching; to which preaching, all priests, after their
cunning and power are bound, by divers testimonies of GOD's Law and of
great Doctors, without any mention making of Bishops' Letters.


"For as mickle as we have taken upon us the office of priesthood, though
we are unworthy thereto, we come and purpose to fulfil it, with the help
of GOD, by authority of His own law, and by witness of great Doctors and
Saints according hereto, trusting stedfastly in the mercy of GOD. For
that [_because_] He commandeth us to do the office of priesthood, He
will be our sufficient Letters and witness, if we, by the example of his
living and teaching specially occupy us faithfully to do our office
justly: yea, that people to whom we preach, be they faithful or
unfaithful, shall be our Letters, that is, our witness bearers; for that
Truth where it is sown may not be unwitnessed. For all that are
converted and saved by learning of GOD's Word and by working thereafter
are witness bearers, that the Truth and Soothfastness which they heard
and did after, is cause of their salvation. And again, all unfaithful
men and women which heard the Truth told out to them and would not do
thereafter, also all they that might have heard the Truth and would not
hear it, because that they would not do thereafter, all these shall bear
witness against themselves, and the Truth (which they would not hear, or
else heard it and despised to do thereafter through their
unfaithfulness) is and shall be cause of their damnation.

"Therefore, Sir, since this foresaid witnessing of GOD, and of divers
Saints and Doctors, and of all the people good and evil sufficeth to all
true preachers: we think that we do not the office of the priesthood, if
that we leave our preaching because that we have not or may not have
duly Bishops' Letters to witness that we are sent of them to preach.
This Sentence approveth Saint PAUL where he speaketh of himself and of
faithful Apostles and disciples, saying thus, _We need no letters of
commendation as some other preachers do; which preach for covetousness
of temporal goods, and for men's praising._

"And where ye say, Sir, Saint PAUL biddeth _subjects obey their
Sovereigns_; this is Sooth, and may not be denied. But there are two
manner of Sovereigns; virtuous sovereigns and vicious tyrants. Therefore
to these last Sovereigns, neither men nor women that be subject owe
[_ought_] to obey. In two manners. To virtuous Sovereigns and
charitable, subjects owe to obey wilfully and gladly in hearing of their
good counsel, in consenting to their charitable biddings, and in
working after their fruitful works. This Sentence, PAUL approveth where
he saith thus to subjects, _Be ye mindful of your Sovereigns that speak
to you the Word of GOD; and follow you the faith of them, whose
conversation you know to be virtuous._


"For as PAUL saith after, These Sovereigns to whom subjects owe to obey
in following of their manners, work busily in holy studying how they may
withstand and destroy vices, first in themselves and after in all their
subjects, and how they may best plant in them virtues. Also these
Sovereigns make devout and fervent prayers for to purchase [_obtain_]
grace of GOD, that they and their subjects may, over all things, dread
to offend Him, and to love for to please Him. Also these Sovereigns to
whom PAUL biddeth us obey, as it is said before, live so virtuously that
all they that will live well may take of them good example to know and
to keep the commandments of GOD.

"But, in this foresaid wise, subjects owe [_ought_] not to obey nor to
be obedient to tyrants, while they are vicious tyrants; since their
will, their counsel, their biddings, and their works are so vicious that
they owe [_ought_] to be hated and left. And though such tyrants be
masterful and cruel in boasting and menacing, in oppressions and divers
punishings; Saint PETER biddeth the servants of such tyrants to obey
meekly to such tyrants, suffering patiently their malicious cruelness.
But PETER counselleth not any servant or subject to obey to any Lord, or
Prince, or Sovereign, in anything that is not pleasing to GOD."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said unto me, "If the Sovereign bid his
subject do that thing that is vicious, this Sovereign herein is to
blame: but the subject, for his obedience, deserveth meed of GOD. For
obedience pleaseth more to GOD than any sacrifice."

+William.+ And I said, "SAMUEL the Prophet said to SAUL the wicked King,
that _GOD was more pleased with the obedience of His commandment, than
with any sacrifice of beasts_: but DAVID saith, and Saint PAUL and Saint
GREGORY accordingly together, that not only they that do evil are worthy
of death and damnation; but also all they that consent to evil doers.
And, Sir, the law of Holy Church teacheth, in the _Decrees_, that no
servant to his Lord, nor child to the father or mother, nor wife to her
husband, nor monk to his abbot, ought to obey, except in lefull
[_loyal_] things and lawful."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "All these allegings that
thou bringest forth are nought else but proud presumptuousness. For
hereby thou enforcest [_endeavourest_] thee to prove, that thou and such
others are so just, that ye owe [_ought_] not to obey to Prelates: and
thus against the learning of Saint PAUL that telleth you _not to preach,
but if ye were sent_, of your own authority, ye will go forth and
preach, and do what ye list!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, [re]presenteth not every priest the office
of the Apostles or the office of the disciples of CHRIST?"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "Yea!"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, as the 10th Chapter of Matthew and the last
Chapter of Mark witnesseth, CHRIST sent his Apostles for to preach. And
the 10th Chapter of Luke witnesseth CHRIST sent his two and seventy
disciples for to preach in every place that CHRIST was to come to. And
Saint GREGORY in the _Common Law_ saith, that every man that goeth to
priesthood taketh upon him the office of preaching: for as he saith,
_that priest stirreth GOD to great wrath, of whose mouth is not heard
the voice of preaching_. And as other more glosses upon EZEKIEL witness,
that the priest that preacheth not busily to the people shall be
partaker of their damnation, that perish through his default: and though
the people be saved by other special grace of GOD than by the priest's
preaching; yet the priests (in that they are ordained to preach, and
preach not) as before GOD, they are man-slayers. For as far as in them
is, such priests as preach not busily and truly, slayeth all the people
ghostly, in that they withhold from them the Word of GOD, that is [the]
life and sustenance of men's souls. And Saint ISIDORE saith, _Priests
shall be damned for_ [the] _wickedness of the people, if they teach not
them that are ignorant, and condemn them that are sinners_. For all the
work and witness of priests standeth in preaching and teaching; that
they edify all men, as well by cunning of faith, as by discipline of
works, that is virtuous teaching. And, as the gospel witnesseth, CHRIST
said in his teaching, _I am born and come into this world to bear
witness to the Truth, and he that is of the Truth heareth my voice._

"¶ Then, Sir, since by the word of Christ specially, that is his voice,
priests are commanded to preach; whatsoever priest that it be, that hath
not goodwill and full purpose to do thus, and ableth not himself after
his cunning and power to do his office, by the example of Christ and his
Apostles: whatsoever other thing that he doeth, displeaseth GOD. For,
lo, Saint GREGORY saith, _That thing left, that a man is bound chiefly
to do; whatsoever other thing that a man doeth, it is unthankful to the
HOLY GHOST._ And therefore saith [ROBERT GROSSETÊTE, Bishop of] LINCOLN,
_That priest that preacheth not the Word of GOD, though he be seen to
have none other default, he is Antichrist and Sathanas, a night-thief
and a day-thief, a slayer of souls, and an angel of light turned into

"Wherefore, Sir, these authorities and others well considered, I deem
myself damnable, if I, either for pleasure or displeasure of any
creature, apply me not diligently to preach the Word of GOD: and in the
same damnation, I deem all those priests which, of good purpose and
will, enforce them not busily to do thus, and also all them that have
purpose or will to let [_hinder_] any priest of this business."


+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to those three Clerks that stood
before him, "Lo, Sirs, this is the manner and business of this losell
and such others, to pick out such sharp sentences of Holy Scripture and
of Doctors to maintain their sect and lore [_teaching_] against the
ordinance of Holy Church. And therefore, losell! is it, that thou
covetest to have again the _Psalter_ that I made to be taken from thee
at Canterbury, to record sharp verses against us! But thou shalt never
have that _Psalter_, nor none other book, till that I know that thy
heart and thy mouth accord fully to be governed by Holy Church."

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, all my will and power is, and ever shall
be, I trust to GOD! to be governed by Holy Church."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop asked me, "What was Holy Church?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I told you before, what was Holy Church:
but since ye ask me this demand, I call CHRIST and his saints, Holy

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said unto me, "I wot well that CHRIST
and his saints are Holy Church in heaven; but what is Holy Church in

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, though Holy Church be every one in charity;
yet it hath two parts. The first and principal part hath overcomen
perfectly all the wretchedness of this life, and reigneth joyfully in
heaven with CHRIST. And the other part is here yet in earth, busily and
continually fighting, day and night, against temptations of the Fiend,
forsaking and hating the prosperity of this world, despising and
withstanding their fleshly lusts; which only are the pilgrims of CHRIST,
wandering towards heaven by steadfast faith, and grounded hope, and by
perfect charity. For these heavenly pilgrims may not, nor will not, be
letted [_hindered_] of their good purpose by reason of any Doctors
discording from Holy Scripture, nor by the floods of any tribulation
temporal, nor by the wind of any pride of boast, or of menacing of any
creature; for they are all fast grounded upon the sure stone CHRIST,
hearing his word and loving it, exercising them faithfully and
continually in all their wits to do thereafter."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to his Clerks, "See ye not how his
heart is endured [_hardened_], and how he is travailled with the Devil,
occupying him thus busily to allege such Sentences to maintain his
errors and heresies! Certain, thus, he would occupy us here all day, if
we would suffer him!"

       *       *       *       *       *


One of the +Clerks+ answered, "Sir, he said, right now, that this
_Certification_ that came to you from Shrewsbury is untruly forged
against him. Therefore, Sir, appose you him now here, in all the points
which are certified against him; and so we shall hear of his own mouth
his answers, and witness them."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop took the _Certification_ in his hand,
and looked thereon awhile; and then he said to me, "Lo, herein is
certified against thee, by worthy men and faithful of Shrewsbury, that
thou preachedst there _openly in Saint Chad's Church, that the Sacrament
of the Altar was material bread after the consecration_. What sayest
thou? Was this truly preached?"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I tell you truly that I touched nothing
there of the Sacrament of the Altar, but in this wise, as I will, with
GOD's grace, tell you here.

"As I stood there in the pulpit, busying me to teach the commandment of
GOD, there knelled a sacring-bell; and therefore mickle people turned
away hastily, and with great noise ran from towards me. And I seeing
this, say to them thus, 'Good men! ye were better to stand here full
still and to hear GOD's Word. For, certes, the virtue and the mede of
the most holy Sacrament of the Altar standeth much more in the Belief
thereof that ye ought to have in your soul, than it doth in the outward
Sight thereof. And therefore ye were better to stand quietly to hear
GOD's Word, because that through the hearing thereof, men come to very
true belief.' And otherwise, Sir, I am certain I spake not there, of the
worthy Sacrament of the Altar."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "I believe thee not!
whatsoever thou sayest, since so worshipful men have witnessed against
thee. But since thou deniest that thou saidest thus there, what sayest
thou now? Resteth there, after the consecration, in the [h]ost, material
bread or no?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I know of no place in Holy Scripture, where
this term, _material bread_, is written: and therefore, Sir, when I
speak of this matter, I use not [_am not accustomed_] to speak of
material bread."

+Archbishop.+ Then the Archbishop said to me, "How teachest thou men to
believe in this Sacrament?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, as I believe myself, so I teach other men."

+Archbishop.+ He said, "Tell out plainly thy belief hereof!"

+William.+ And I said, with my Protestation, "Sir, _I believe that the
night before that CHRIST JESU would suffer wilfully Passion for mankind
on the morn after, he took bread in his holy and most worshipful hands,
lifting up his eyes, and giving thanks to GOD his Father, blessed this
bread and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying to them_, Take,
and eat of this, all of you! This is my body!

"And that this is, and ought to be all men's belief, MATTHEW, MARK,
LUKE, and PAUL witnesseth.

"Other belief, Sir, have I none, nor will have, nor teach: for I believe
that this sufficeth in this matter. For in this belief, with GOD's
grace, I purpose to live and die: [ac]knowledging as I believe and teach
other men to believe, that _the worshipful Sacrament of the Altar is
the Sacrament of CHRIST's flesh and his blood, in form of bread and

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "It is sooth, that this
Sacrament is very CHRIST's body in form of bread: but thou and thy sect
teachest it to be the substance of bread! Think you this true teaching?"

+William.+ And I said, "Neither I nor any other of the sect that ye damn
[_condemn_], teach any otherwise than I have told you, nor believe
otherwise, to my knowing.


"Nevertheless, Sir, I ask of you, for charity! that will ye tell me
plainly, how ye shall understand this text of Saint PAUL, where he saith
thus, _This thing feel you in yourselves, that is, in CHRIST JESU, while
he was in the form of GOD._ Sir, calleth not PAUL here, _the form of
GOD_, the substance or kind of GOD? Also, Sir, saith not the Church, in
the _Hours_ of the most blessed Virgin, accordingly hereto, where it is
written thus, _Thou Author of Health! remember that some time thou took,
of the undefiled Virgin, the form of our body!_ Tell me, for charity!
therefore, Whether _the form of our body_ be called here, _the kind of
our body_, or no?"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Wouldst thou make me
declare this text after thy purpose, since the Church hath now
determined that 'there abideth no substance of bread after the
consecration in the Sacrament of the Altar!' Believest thou not, on this
Ordinance of the Church?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, whatsoever Prelates have ordained in the
Church, our Belief standeth ever whole. I have not heard that the
ordinance of men under Belief, should be put into Belief."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "If thou hast not learned
this before, learn now, to know that thou art out of belief, if, in this
matter, and others, thou believest not as Holy Church believeth! What
say Doctors treating of this Sacrament?"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, Saint PAUL, that was a great Doctor of Holy
Church, speaking to the people and teaching the right belief of this
most holy Sacrament, calleth it _bread that we break_. And also in the
Canon of the _Masse_, after the consecration, this most worthy Sacrament
is called _holy bread_. And every priest in this land, after he hath
received this Sacrament, saith to this wise, _That thing which we have
taken with our mouth, we pray GOD, that we may take it with a pure and
clean mind_: that is, as I understand, 'We pray GOD, that we may
receive, through very belief, this holy Sacrament worthily.' And, Sir,
Saint AUGUSTINE saith, _That thing that is sense is bread, but that
men's faith asketh to be informed of, is very CHRIST's body._ And also
FULGENTIUS, an ententif Doctor, saith, _As it were an error to say that
CHRIST was but a substance, that is Very Man and not Very GOD, or to say
that CHRIST was Very GOD and not Very Man; so is it_, this Doctor saith,
_an error to say that the Sacrament of the Altar is but a substance_.
And also, Sir, accordingly hereto, in the _Secret_ of the mid-_Mass_ of
Christmas day, it is written thus, _Idem refulsit DEUS, sic terrena
substantia nobis conferat quod divinum est_; which sentence, with the
_Secret_ of the fourth ferye _quatuor temporum Septembris_, I pray you,
Sir, declare here openly in English!"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "I perceive well enough
whereabout thou art! and how the Devil blindeth thee, that thou maist
not understand the ordinance of Holy Church, nor consent thereto! But I
command thee now, answer me shortly, 'Believest thou that, after the
consecration of this foresaid Sacrament, there abideth substance of
bread or not?'"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, as I understand, it is all one to grant or
to believe that there dwelleth substance of bread, and to grant or to
believe that this most worthy Sacrament of CHRIST's own body is one
Accident without Subject. But, Sir, for as mickle as your asking passeth
mine understanding, I dare neither deny it nor grant it, for it is a
School matter [_a subject for debate in the University Schools_], about
which I busied me never for to know it: and therefore I commit this term
_accidens sine subjecto_, to those Clerks which delight them so in
curious and subtle sophistry, because they determine oft so difficult
and strange matters, and wade and wander so in them, from argument to
argument, with _pro_ and _contra_, till they wot not where they are! nor
understand not themselves! But the shame that these proud sophisters
have to yield them to men and before men, maketh them oft fools, and to
be concluded shamefully before GOD."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "I purpose not to oblige
thee to the subtle arguments of Clerks, since thou art unable thereto!
but I purpose to make thee obey to the determination of Holy Church."

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, by open evidence and great witness, a
thousand years after the Incarnation of CHRIST, that determination which
I have, here before you, rehearsed was accepted of Holy Church, as
sufficient to the salvation of all them that would believe it
faithfully, and work thereafter charitably. But, Sir, the determination
of this matter, which was brought in since the Fiend was loosed by Friar
THOMAS [ACQUINAS, _d._ 1274] again, specially calling the most
worshipful Sacrament of CHRIST's own body, an _Accident without
Subject_; which term, since I know not that GOD's law approveth it in
this matter, I dare not grant: but utterly I deny to make this friar's
sentence [_enunciation_] or any such other my belief; do with me, GOD!
what Thou wilt!"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Well, well! thou shalt say
otherwise ere that I leave thee!"

       *       *       *       *       *


"But what sayest thou to this second point that is recorded against
thee, by worthy men of Shrewsbury, saying that thou preachedst openly
there that _the images ought not to be worshipped in any wise_?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I preached never thus, nor, through GOD's
grace, I will not, any time, consent to think nor to say thus; neither
privily, nor apertly. For, lo, the LORD witnesseth by Moses, that the
things which He made were _right good_, and so then they were, and yet
are, and shall be good and worshipful in their kind. And thereto, to the
end that GOD made them to, they are all preisable [_valuable_] and
worshipful; and specially man that was made after the image and likeness
of GOD is full worshipful in his kind: yea, this holy image, that is
man, GOD worshippeth [_respecteth_]. And herefore every man should
worship others in kind, and also for heavenly virtues that men use
charitably. Also I say, wood, tin, gold, silver, or any other matter
that images are made of; all these creatures [_created things_] are
worshipful in their kind, and to the end that GOD made them for.


"But the carving, casting, nor painting of any imagery made with man's
hands (albeit that this doing be accepted of men of highest state and
dignity, and ordained of them to be a calendar [_horn book_] to lewd men
that neither can nor will be learned to know GOD in His Word, neither
by His creatures, nor by His wonderful and divers workings); yet this
imagery ought not to be worshipped in the form, nor in the likeness of
man's craft: nevertheless that every matter that painters paint with,
since it is GOD's creature, ought to be worshipped in the kind and to
the end that GOD made and ordained it to serve man."

+Archbishop.+ Then the Archbishop said to me, "I grant well that nobody
oweth [_ought_] to do worship to any such images for themselves; but a
crucifix ought to be worshipped for the Passion of CHRIST that is
painted therein, and so brought therethrough to man's mind: and thus the
images of the blessed Trinity and of [the] Virgin MARY, CHRIST's mother,
and other images of the saints ought to be worshipped. For, lo, earthly
kings and lords, which use to send their letters ensealed with their
arms or with their privy signet, to men that are with them, are
worshipped of these men. For when these men receive their lord's
letters, in which they see and know the wills and biddings of their
lords, in worship of their lords, they do off their caps to these
letters: why not, then, since in images made with man's hands, we may
read and know many divers things of GOD and of His saints, shall we not
worship their images?"

+William.+ And I said, with my foresaid Protestation, "I say that these
worldly usages of temporal lords that ye speak now of, may be done in
case without sin: but this is no similitude to worship images made by
man's hand, since that MOSES, DAVID, SOLOMON, BARUCH, and other saints
in the _Bible_, forbid so plainly the worshipping of all such images."

+Archbishop.+ Then the Archbishop said to me, "Lewd losell! In the Old
Law, before that CHRIST took mankind [_human nature_], was no likeness
of any person of the Trinity neither shewed to man nor known of man; but
now since CHRIST became man, it is lawful to have images to shew His
manhood. Yea, though many men which are right great Clerks, and others
also, hold it an error to paint the Trinity; I say, it is well done to
make and to paint the Trinity in images. For it is a great moving of
devotion to men, to have and to behold the Trinity and other images of
Saints carved, cast, and painted. For beyond the sea, are the best
painters that ever I saw. And, sirs! I tell you, this is their manner;
and it is a good manner! When that an image-maker shall carve, cast in
mould, or paint any images; he shall go to a priest, and shrive him as
clean as if he should die, and take penance, and make some certain vow
of fasting, or of praying, or of pilgrimages doing: praying the priest
specially to pray for him, that he may have grace to make a fair and a
devout image."


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I doubt not, if these painters that ye
speak of, or any other painters understood truly the text of MOSES, of
DAVID, of the Wise Man [_i.e._, _SOLOMON_], of BARUCH, and of other
Saints and Doctors, these painters should be moved to shrive them to
GOD, with full inward sorrow of heart; taking upon them to do right
sharp penance for the sinful and vain craft of painting, carving, or
casting that they had used; promising GOD faithfully never to do so
after, [ac]knowledging openly before all men, their reprovable earning.
And also, sir, these priests, that shrive, as ye do say, painters, and
enjoin them to do penance, and pray for their speed, promising to them
help of their prayers for to be curious [_cunning_] in their sinful
crafts, sin herein more grievously than the painters. For these priests
do comfort and give them counsel to do that thing, which of great pain
(yea, under the pain of GOD's curse!) they should utterly forbid them.
For, certes, Sir, if the wonderful working of GOD, and the holy living
and teaching of CHRIST and of his Apostles and Prophets were made known
to the people by holy living and true and busy teaching of priests;
these things, Sir, were sufficient books and kalendars to know GOD by,
and His Saints: without any images made with man's hand: but, certes,
the vicious living of priests and their covetousness are [the] chief
cause of this error and all other viciousness that reigneth among the

+Archbishop.+ Then the Archbishop said to me, "I hold thee a vicious
priest, and a curst! and all them that are of thy sect! for all priests
of Holy Church and all images that move men to devotion; thou and such
others go about to destroy! Losell! were it a fair thing to come into a
church, and see therein none image?"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, they that come to the church, for to pray
devoutly to the LORD GOD, may in their inward wits be the more fervent
[when] that all their outward wits be closed from all outward seeing
and hearing and from all distroublance and lettings [_hindrances_]. And
since CHRIST blessed them that saw him not bodily, and have believed
faithfully in him: it sufficeth then, to all men, through hearing and
knowing of GOD's Word, and to do thereafter, for to believe in GOD,
though they see never images made with man's hands, after any Person of
the Trinity, or of any other Saint."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me with a fervent spirit, "I
say to thee, losell! that it is right well done to make and to have an
image of the Trinity! Yea, what sayest thou? Is it not a stirring thing
to behold such an image?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, ye said, right now, that in the Old Law,
ere Christ took mankind, no likeness of any Person of the Trinity was
shewed to men; wherefore, Sir, ye said it was not then lawful to have
images: but now ye say, since CHRIST is become man, it is lawful to make
and to have an image of the Trinity, and also of other saints. But, sir,
this thing would I learn of you! Since the Father of heaven, yea, and
every Person of the Trinity was, without beginning, GOD Almighty, and
many holy prophets, that were dedely [_deathly, i.e., liable to death_]
men, were martyrized violently in the Old Law, and also many men and
women then died holy Confessors: why was it not _then_, as lawful and
necessary as now, to have made an image of the Father of heaven, and to
have made and had other images of martyrs, prophets, and holy confessors
to have been kalendars to advise men and move them to devotion, as ye
say that images now do?"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "The Synagogue of Jews had not
authority to approve these things, as the Church of Christ hath now."

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, Saint GREGORY was a great man in the New
Law, and of great dignity; and as the Common [? _Canon_] Law witnesseth,
he commended greatly a Bishop, in that he forbade utterly the images
made with man's hand, should be worshipped."


+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "Ungracious losell! thou
favourest no more the truth, than a hound! Since at the Rood[s] at the
North Door [_of Saint Paul's Church_] at London, at our Lady at
Walsingham, and many other divers places in England, are many great and
preisable [_precious_] miracles done: should not the images of such
holy saints and places, at [_on account of_] the reverence of GOD, and
our Lady, and other saints, be more worshipped, than other places and
images where no such miracles are done?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, there is no such virtue in any imagery,
that any images should herefore be worshipped; wherefore I am certain
that there is no miracle done of GOD in any place in earth, because that
any images made with man's hand, should be worshipped. And herefore,
Sir, as I preached openly at Shrewsbury and other places, I say now here
before you: that nobody should trust that there were any virtue in
imagery made with man's hand, and herefore nobody should vow to them,
nor seek them, nor kneel to them, nor bow to them, nor pray to them, nor
offer anything to them, nor kiss them, nor incense them. For, lo, the
most worthy of such images, the Brazen Serpent, by MOSES made, at GOD's
bidding! the good King HEZEKIAH destroyed worthily and thankfully; for
because it was incensed. Therefore, Sir, if men take good heed to the
writing and to the learning of Saint AUGUSTINE, of Saint GREGORY, and of
Saint John CHRYSOSTOM, and of other Saints and Doctors, how they speak
and write of miracles that shall be done now in the last end of the
world; it is to dread that, for the unfaithfulness of men and women, the
Fiend hath great power for to work many of the miracles that now are
done in such places. For both men and women delight now, more for to
hear and know miracles, than they do to know GOD's Word or to hear it
effectuously. Wherefore, to the great confusion of all them that thus
do, Christ saith, _The generation of adulterers requireth tokens,
miracles, and wonders._ Nevertheless, as divers Saints say, now, when
the faith of GOD is published in Christendom, the Word of God sufficeth
to man's salvation, without such miracles; and thus also the Word of GOD
sufficeth to all faithful men and women, without any such images.

"But, good Sir, since the Father of heaven, that is GOD in His Godhead,
is the most unknown thing that may be, and the most wonderful Spirit,
having in it no shape or likeness of any members of any dedely [_deadly,
i.e., liable to death_] creature: in what likeness, or what image, may
GOD the Father be shewed or painted?"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "As Holy Church hath suffered,
and yet suffereth the images of all the Trinity, and other images to be
painted and shewed, sufficeth to them that are members of Holy Church.
But since thou art a rotten member cut away from Holy Church, thou
favourest not the ordinance thereof! But since the day passeth, leave we
this matter!"

       *       *       *       *       *


+Archbishop.+ And then he said to me, "What sayest thou, to the third
point that is certified against thee, preaching openly in Shrewsbury
that _Pilgrimage is not lawful_? And, over this, thou saidest that
_those men and women that go on pilgrimages to Canterbury, to Beverley,
to Carlington, to Walsingham, and to any such other places, are
accursed; and made foolish, spending their goods in waste_."

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, by this _Certification_, I am accused to
you, that I should teach that _no pilgrimage is lawful_. But I never
said thus. For I know that there be true pilgrimages, and lawful and
full pleasant to GOD; and therefore, Sir, howsoever mine enemies have
certified you of me, I told at Shrewsbury of two manner of pilgrimages."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Whom callest thou true


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, with my Protestation, I call them true
pilgrims travelling towards the bliss of heaven, which (in the state,
degree, or order that GOD calleth them) do busy them faithfully for to
occupy all their wits bodily and ghostly, to know truly and keep
faithfully the biddings of GOD, hating and fleeing all the seven deadly
sins and every branch of them, ruling them virtuously, as it is said
before, with all their wits, doing discreetly wilfully and gladly all
the works of mercy, bodily and ghostly, after their cunning and power
abling them to the gifts of the HOLY GHOST, disposing them to receive in
their souls, and to hold therein the right blessings of CHRIST; busying
them to know and to keep the seven principal virtues: and so then they
shall obtain herethrough grace for to use thankfully to GOD all the
conditions of charity; and then they shall be moved with the good Spirit
of GOD for to examine oft and diligently their conscience, that neither
wilfully nor wittingly they err in any Article of Belief, having
continually (as frailty will suffer) all their business to dread and to
flee the offence of GOD, and to love over all things and to seek ever to
do His pleasant will.

"Of these pilgrims, I said, 'Whatsoever good thought that they any time
think, what virtuous word that they speak, and what fruitful work that
they work; every such thought, word, and work is a step numbered of GOD
towards Him into heaven. These foresaid pilgrims of GOD delight sore,
when they hear of saints or of virtuous men and women, how they forsook
wilfully the prosperity of this life, how they withstood the suggestion
of the Fiend, how they restrained their fleshly lusts, how discreet they
were in their penance doing, how patient they were in all their
adversities, how prudent they were in counselling of men and women,
moving them to hate all sin and to flee them and to shame ever greatly
thereof, and to love all virtues and to draw to them, imagining how
CHRIST and his followers (by example of him) suffered scorns and
slanders, and how patiently they abode and took the wrongful menacing of
tyrants, how homely they were and serviceable to poor men to relieve and
comfort them bodily and ghostly after their power and cunning, and how
devout they were in prayers, how fervent they were in heavenly desires,
and how they absented them from spectacles of vain seeings and hearings,
and how stable they were to let [_hinder_] and to destroy all vices, and
how laborious and joyful they were to sow and plant virtues. These
heavenly conditions and such others, have the pilgrims, or endeavour
them for to have, whose pilgrimage GOD accepteth.'


"And again I said, 'As their works shew, the most part of men or women
that go now on pilgrimages have not these foresaid conditions; nor
loveth to busy them faithfully for to have. For (as I well know, since I
have full oft assayed) examine, whosoever will, twenty of these
pilgrims! and he shall not find three men or women that know surely a
Commandment of GOD [_i.e., one of the Ten Commandments_], nor can say
their _Pater noster_ and _Ave MARIA_! nor their _Credo_, readily in any
manner of language. And as I have learned, and also know somewhat by
experience of these same pilgrims, telling the cause why that many men
and women go hither and thither now on pilgrimages, it is more for the
health of their bodies, than of their souls! more for to have richesse
and prosperity of this world, than for to be enriched with virtues in
their souls! more to have here worldly and fleshly friendship, than for
to have friendship of GOD and of His saints in heaven. For whatsoever
thing a man or woman doth, the friendship of GOD, nor of any other
Saint, cannot be had without keeping of GOD's commandments.'

"For with my Protestation, I say now, as I said at Shrewsbury, 'though
they that have fleshly wills, travel for their bodies, and spend mickle
money to seek and to visit the bones or images, as they say they do, of
this saint and of that: such pilgrimage-going is neither praisable nor
thankful to GOD, nor to any Saint of GOD; since, in effect, all such
pilgrims despise GOD and all His commandments and Saints. For the
commandments of GOD they will neither know nor keep, nor conform them to
live virtuously by example of CHRIST and of his Saints.'

"Wherefore, Sir, I have preached and taught openly, and so I purpose all
my lifetime to do, with GOD's help, saying that 'such fond people waste
blamefully GOD's goods in their vain pilgrimages, spending their goods
upon vicious hostelars [_innkeepers_], which are oft unclean women of
their bodies; and at the least, those goods with the which, they should
do works of mercy, after GOD's bidding, to poor needy men and women.'

"¶ These poor men's goods and their livelihood, these runners about
offer to rich priests! which have mickle more livelihood than they need:
and thus those goods, they waste wilfully, and spend them unjustly,
against GOD's bidding, upon strangers; with which they should help and
relieve, after GOD's will, their poor needy neighbours at home. Yea, and
over this folly, ofttimes divers men and women of these runners thus
madly hither and thither into pilgrimage, borrow hereto other men's
goods (yea, and sometimes they steal men's goods hereto), and they pay
them never again.

"Also, Sir, I know well, that when divers men and women will go thus
after their own wills, and finding out one pilgrimage, they will ordain
with them before[hand] to have with them both men and women that can
well sing wanton songs; and some other pilgrims will have with them
bagpipes: so that every town that they come through, what with the noise
of their singing, and with the sound of their piping, and with the
jangling of their Canterbury bells, and with the barking out of dogs
after them, they make more noise than if the King came there away, with
all his clarions and many other minstrels. And if these men and women be
a month out in their pilgrimage, many of them shall be, a half year
after, great janglers, tale-tellers, and liars."


+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Lewd losell! thou seest
not far enough in this matter! for thou considerest not the great
travail of pilgrims; therefore thou blamest that thing that is
praisable! I say to thee, that it is right well done; that pilgrims have
with them both singers and also pipers: that when one of them that goeth
barefoot striketh his toe upon a stone and hurteth him sore and maketh
him to bleed; it is well done, that he or his fellow, begin then a song
or else take out of his bosom a bagpipe for to drive away with such
mirth, the hurt of his fellow. For with such solace, the travail and
weariness of pilgrims is lightly and merrily brought forth."

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, Saint PAUL teacheth men, _to weep with them
that weep_."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "What janglest thou against men's
devotion? Whatsoever thou or such other say, I say, that the pilgrimage
that now is used, is to them that do it, a praisable and a good mean[s]
to come the rather to grace. But I hold thee unable to know this grace!
for thou enforcest thee to let [_hinder_] the devotion of the people,
since by authority of Holy Scripture, men may lawfully have and use such
solace as thou reprovest! For DAVID in his last _Psalm_, teacheth me to
have divers instruments of music for to praise therewith GOD."

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, by the sentence [_opinions_] of divers
Doctors expounding the _Psalms_ of DAVID, the music and minstrelsy that
DAVID and other Saints of the Old Law spake of, owe [_ought_], now,
neither to be taken nor used by the letter; but these instruments with
their music ought to be interpreted ghostly [_spiritually_]: for all
those figures are called Virtues and Grace, with which virtues men
should please GOD and praise His name. For Saint PAUL saith, _All such
things befell to them in figure._ Therefore, Sir, I understand that the
letter of this _Psalm_ of DAVID and of such other _Psalms_ and
sentences, doth slay them that taken them now literally. This sentence,
I understand, Sir, CHRIST approveth himself, putting out the minstrels,
ere that he would quicken the dead damsel."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Lewd losell! is it not
lawful for us to have organs in the church, for to worship therewithal

+William.+ And I said, "Yea, Sir, by man's ordinance; but, by the
ordinance of GOD, a good sermon to the people's understanding, were
mickle more pleasant to GOD!"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said that "organs and good delectable
songs quickened and sharpened more men's wits, than should any sermon!"

+William.+ But I said, "Sir, lusty men and worldly lovers delight and
covet and travail to have all their wits quickened and sharpened with
divers sensible solace: but all the faithful lovers and followers of
CHRIST have all their delight to hear GOD's Word, and to understand it
truly, and to work thereafter faithfully and continually. For, no doubt,
to dread to offend GOD, and to love to please Him in all things,
quickeneth and sharpeneth all the wits of CHRIST's chosen people, and
ableth them so to grace, that they joy greatly to withdraw their ears,
and all their wits and members from all worldly delight, and from all
fleshly solace. For Saint JEROME, as I think, saith, _Nobody may joy
with this world, and reign with CHRIST._"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop, as if he had been displeased with mine
answer, said to his Clerks, "What guess ye this idiot will speak there,
where he hath none dread; since he spaketh thus now, here in my
presence? Well, well, by God! thou shalt be ordained for!"

       *       *       *       *       *


And then he spake to me, all angerly, "What sayest thou to this fourth
point that is certified against thee, preaching openly and boldly in
Shrewsbury, _That priests have no title to tithes?_"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I named there no word of tithes in my
preaching. But, more than a month after [? _June_, 1407] that I was
arrested, there in prison [_at Shrewsbury_], a man came to me into the
prison, asking me 'What I said of tithes?'

"And I said to him, 'Sir, in this town, are many Clerks and Priests; of
which some of them are called Religious Men, though many of them be
Seculars. Therefore, ask ye of them this question!'

"And this man said to me, 'Sir, our prelates say that we are also
obliged to pay our tithes of all things that renew to us; and that they
are accursed that withdraw any part wittingly from them of their

"And I said, Sir, to that man, as with my Protestation, I say now here
before you, that 'I had wonder[ed] that any priest dare say _men to be
accursed_, without ground of GOD's Word.'

"And the man said, 'Sir, our priests say that they curse men thus, by
authority of GOD's Law.'

"And I said, 'Sir, I know not where this sentence of cursing is
authorized now in the _Bible_. And therefore, Sir, I pray you that ye
will ask the most cunning Clerk of this town, that ye may know where
this sentence, "cursing them that tythe not now," is written in GOD's
Law: for if it were written there, I would right gladly be learned
[_informed_] where.'

"But, shortly, this man would not go from me, to ask this question of
another body; but required me, there, as I would answer before GOD! if,
in this case, the cursing of priests were lawful and approved of GOD?

"And, shortly, therewith came to my mind the learning of Saint PETER,
teaching priests especially, _to hallow the LORD CHRIST in their hearts,
being evermore ready, as far as in them is, to answer through faith and
hope, to them that ask of them a reason_. And this lesson PETER teacheth
me to use, with a meek spirit, and with dread of the LORD.

"Wherefore, Sir, I said to this man, in this wise, 'In the Old Law,
which ended not fully till the time that CHRIST rose up again from death
to life, GOD commanded tithes to be given to the Levites for the great
business and daily travail that pertained to their office: but Priests,
because their travail was mickle more easy and light than was the office
of the Levites, GOD ordained that Priests should take for their lifelode
[_livelihood_] to do their office, the tenth part of those tithes that
were given to the Levites.


"'But now,' I said, 'in the New Law, neither CHRIST nor any of his
Apostles took tithes of the people, nor commanded the people to pay
tithes, neither to Priests nor to Deacons. But CHRIST taught the people
to do almesse [_alms_], that is, works of mercy to poor needy men, of
surplus that is superfluouse [_superfluity_] of their temporal goods
which they had more than them needed reasonably to their necessary
livelihood. And thus,' I said, 'not of tithes, but of pure alms of the
people CHRIST lived and his Apostles, when they were so busy in teaching
of the Word of GOD to the people, that they might not travail otherwise
for to get their livelihood. But after CHRIST's Ascension, and when the
Apostles had received the HOLY GHOST, they travailed with their hands
for to get their livelihood when that they might thus do for [_on
account of_] busy preaching. Therefore, by example of himself, St. PAUL
teacheth all the priests of CHRIST for to travail with their hands, when
for busy teaching of the people, they might thus do. And thus all these
priests (whose priesthood GOD accepteth now, or will accept; or did
[accept] in the Apostles' time, and after their decease) will do, to the
world's end.

"'But as _Cisterciensis_ telleth, in the thousand year of our Lord JESUS
CHRIST, two hundred and eleventh year, one Pope, the tenth GREGORY,
ordained new tithes first to be given to priests now in the New Law. But
Saint PAUL in his time (whose trace or example, all priests of GOD
enforce them to follow), seeing the covetousness that was among the
people (desiring to destroy this foul sin, through the grace of GOD, and
true virtuous living and example of himself) wrote and taught all
priests for _to follow him, as he followed CHRIST_, patiently,
willingly, and gladly in high poverty. Wherefore PAUL saith this, _The
LORD hath ordained, that they that preach the Gospel shall live by the
Gospel. But we,_ saith PAUL, _that covet and busy us to be faithful
followers of CHRIST, use not this power._ For, lo, as PAUL witnessed
afterward, when he was full poor and needy, preaching among the people,
he was not chargeous [_chargeable_] unto them, but with his hands he
travailed, not only to get his own living, but also the living of other
poor and needy creatures. And since the people were never so covetous
nor so avarous [_avaricious_], I guess, as they are now; it were good
counsel that all priests took good heed to this heavenly learning of
PAUL: following him here, in wilful poverty, nothing charging the people
for their bodily livelihood.


"'But because that many priests do contrary PAUL in this foresaid
doctrine, PAUL biddeth the people take heed to those priests, that
follow him, as he had given them example: as if PAUL would say thus to
the people, "Accept ye none other priests, than they that live after the
form that I have taught you!" For, certain, in whatsoever dignity or
order that any priest is in, if he conform him not to follow CHRIST and
his Apostles in wilful poverty and in other heavenly virtues, and
specially in true preaching of GOD's Word; though such a one be named a
Priest, yet he is no more but a Priest in name: for the work of a very
Priest such a one wanteth! This sentence [_opinion_] approveth

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Thinkest thou this
wholesome learning for to sow openly, or yet privily among the people!
Certain, this doctrine contrarieth plainly the ordinance of Holy
Fathers: which have ordained, granted, and licensed priests to be in
divers degrees; and to live by tithes and offerings of the people, and
by other duties."

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, if priests were now in measurable measure
and number; and lived virtuously, and taught busily and truly the Word
by the example of CHRIST and of his Apostles, without tithes offerings
and other duties that priests now challenge and take: the people would
give them freely sufficient livelihood."

+A Clerk.+ And a Clerk said to me, "How wilt thou make this good, that
the people will give freely to priests their livelihood; since that now,
by the law, every priest can scarcely constrain the people to give them
their livelihood?"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, it is now no wonder, though the people
grudge to give the priests the livelihood that they ask! for mickle
people know, now, how that priests should live; and how that they live
contrary to CHRIST and His Apostles. And therefore the people are full
heavy to pay, as they do, their temporal goods to Parsons and to other
Vicars and Priests; which should be faithful dispensators of the
parish's goods, taking to themselves no more but a scarce living of
tithes nor of offerings by the Ordinance of the Common Law. For
whatsoever priests take of the people, be it tithes or offering, or any
other duty or service, the priests ought not to have thereof no more but
a bare living: and to depart [_give away_] the residue to the poor men
and women, specially of the parish of whom they take this temporal
living. But the most deal [_greater portion_] of priests now waste
their parish's goods, and spendeth them at their own will, after the
world in their vain lusts: so that in few places poor men have duly, as
they should have, their own sustenance, neither of tithes nor of
offerings, nor of other large wages and foundations that priests take of
the people in divers manners, above that they need for needful
sustenance of meat and clothing. But the poor needy people are forsaken
and left of priests, to be sustained of the paroshenis [_parishioners_];
as if the priests took nothing of the parishioners, for to help the poor
people with. And thus, Sir, into over great charges of the parishioners,
they pay their temporal goods twice; where once might suffice, if
priests were true dispensators.

"Also, Sir, the parishioners that pay their temporal goods, be they
tithes or offerings, to priests that do not their office among them
justly, are partners of every sin of those priests: because that they
sustain those priests' folly in their sin, with their temporal goods. If
these things be well considered, what wonder is it then, Sir, if the
parishioners grudge against these dispensators?"

+Archbishop.+ Then the Archbishop said to me, "Thou that shouldest be
judged and ruled by Holy Church, presumptuously, thou deemest Holy
Church to have erred in the ordinance of tithes and other duties to be
paid to priests! It shall be long ere thou thrive, losell! that thou
despisest thy ghostly Mother! How darest thou speak this, losell! among
the people? Are not tithes given to priests for to live by?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, Saint PAUL saith that tithes were given in
the Old Law to Levites and to Priests, that came of the lineage of LEVI.
But _our priest_, he saith, _came not of the lineage of LEVI, but of the
lineage of JUDAH; to which JUDAH, no tithes were promised to be given_.
And therefore PAUL saith, _Since the priesthood is changed from the
generation of LEVI to the generation of JUDAH, it is necessary that
changing also be made of the Law_. So that priests live now without
tithes and other duties that they now claim; following CHRIST and his
Apostles in wilful poverty, as they have given them example. For since
CHRIST lived all the time of His preaching by pure [_the simple_] alms
of the people, and (by example of him) his Apostles lived in the same
wise, or else by the travail of their hands, as it is said above; every
priest, whose priesthood CHRIST approveth, knoweth well, and confesseth
in word and in work that _a disciple oweth_ [ought] _not to be above his
Master, but it sufficeth to a disciple to be as his Master_, simple and
pure, meek and patient: and by example specially of his Master CHRIST,
every priest should rule him in all his living; and so, after his
cunning and power, a priest should busy him to inform and to rule
whomsoever he might charitably."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, with a great spirit, "GOD's
curse have thou and thine for this teaching! for thou wouldest hereby
make the Old Law more free and perfect than the New Law! For thou sayest
it is lawful for Levites and to Priests to take tithes in the Old Law,
and so to enjoy their privileges; but to us priests in the New Law, thou
sayest it is not lawful to take tithes! And thus, thou givest the
Levites of the Old Law more freedom, than to priests of the New Law!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I marvel, that ye understand this plain
text of PAUL thus! Ye wot well, that the Levites and Priests in the Old
Law, that took tithes, were not so free nor so perfect as CHRIST and his
Apostles that took no tithes! And, Sir, there is a Doctor, I think that
it is Saint JEROME, that saith thus, _The priests that challenge now in
the New Law, tithes, say, in effect that CHRIST is not become Man, nor
that he hath yet suffered death for man's love._ Whereupon, this Doctor
saith this sentence, _Since tithes were the hires and wages limited to
Levites and to Priests of the Old Law, for bearing about of the
Tabernacle, and for slaying and flaying of beasts, and for burning of
sacrifice, and for keeping of the Temple, and for trumping of battle
before the host of Israel, and other divers observances that pertained
to their office; those priests, that will challenge or take tithes, deny
that CHRIST is comen in flesh, and do the Priest's office of the Old
Law, for whom tithes were granted: for else_, as the Doctor saith,
_priests take now tithes wrongfully_."


+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to his Clerks, "Heard ye ever
losell speak thus! Certain, this is the learning of them all, that
wheresoever they come, and they may be suffered, they enforce them to
expugn the freedom of Holy Church!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, why call you the taking of tithes and of
such other duties that priests challenge now wrongfully 'the freedom of
Holy Church'; since neither CHRIST nor his Apostles challenged nor took
such duties? Herefore these takings of priests now, are not called
justly 'the freedom of Holy Church': but all such giving and taking
ought to be called and holden 'the slanderous covetousness of men of the
Holy Church.'"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Why, losell! wilt not thou
and others that are confedered [_confederated_] with thee, seek out of
Holy Scripture and of the sentence of Doctors, all sharp authorities
against Lords and Knights and Squires, and against other secular men, as
thou dost against priests?"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, whatsoever men or women, Lords or Ladies,
or any others that are present in our preaching specially, or in our
communing, after our cunning, we to tell to them their office and their
charges: but, Sir, since CHRYSOSTOM saith _the priests are the stomach
of the people_, it is needful in preaching and also in communing, to be
most busy about this priesthood, since by the viciousness of priests,
both Lords and Commons are most sinfully infected and led into the
worst. And because that the covetousness of priests, and pride and the
boast that they have and make, of their dignity and power, destroyeth
not only the virtues of priesthood in priests themselves: but also, over
this, it stirreth GOD to take great vengeance both upon Lords and
Commons, which suffer these priests charitably."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Thou judgest every priest
proud that will not go arrayed as thou dost! By God! I deem him to be
more meek that goeth every day in a scarlet gown, than thou, in that
threadbare blue gown! Whereby knowest thou a proud man?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, a proud priest may be known when he denieth
to follow CHRIST and his Apostles in wilful poverty and other virtues;
and coveteth worldly worship, and taketh it gladly, and gathereth
together with pleting [? _pleading_] menacing or with flattering, or
with simony, any worldly goods: and most if a priest busy him not
chiefly in himself, and after in all other men and women, after his
cunning and power, to withstand sin."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Though thou knewest a
priest to have all these vices, and though thou sawest a priest, lovely,
lie now by a woman, knowing her fleshly; wouldest thou herefore deem
this priest damnable? I say to thee, that in the turning about of thy
hand, such a sinner may be verily repented!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I will not damn any man for any sin that I
know done or may be done; so that the sinner leaveth his sin! But, by
authority of Holy Scripture, he that sinneth thus openly, as ye shew
here, is damnable for doing of such a sin; and most specially a priest
that should be [an] example to all others for to hate and fly sin: and
in how short time that ever ye say, that such a sinner may be repented,
he oweth [_ought_] not, of him that knoweth his sinning, to be judged
verily repentant, without open evidence of great shame and hearty sorrow
for his sin. For whosoever, and specially a priest, that useth pride,
envy, covetousness, lechery, simony, or any other vices; and sheweth
not, as open evidence of repentance, as he hath given evil example and
occasion of sinning: if he continue in any such sin as long as he may,
it is likely that sin leaveth him and he not sin; and, as I understand,
such a one sinneth unto death, for whom nobody oweth [_ought_] to pay,
as Saint JOHN saith."

+A Clerk.+ And a Clerk said to the Archbishop, "Sir, the longer that ye
appose him, the worse he is! and the more that ye busy you to amend him,
the waywarder he is! for he is of so shrewd a kind, that he shameth not
only to be himself a foul nest; but, without shame, he busieth him to
make his nest fouler!"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to his Clerk, "Suffer a while, for
I am at an end with him! for there is one other point certified against
him; and I will hear what he saith thereto."

       *       *       *       *       *


And so then, he said to me, "Lo, it is here certified against thee, that
thou preachedst openly at Shrewsbury _that it is not lawful to swear in
any case_."

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I preached never so openly, nor I have not
taught in this wise, in any place. But, Sir, as I preached in
Shrewsbury, with my Protestation I say to you now here, That by the
authority of the Gospel and of Saint JAMES, and by witness of divers
Saints and Doctors, I have preached openly, in one place or other, that
it is not lawful in any case to swear by any creature. And, over this,
Sir, have also preached and taught, by the foresaid authorities, that
nobody should swear in any case, if that without oath, in any wise, he
that is charged to swear, might excuse him to them that have power to
compel him to swear in leful things and lawful: but if a man may not
excuse him without oath to them that have power to compel him to swear,
then he ought to swear only by GOD, taking Him only, that is
Soothfastness, for to witness the soothfastness."

+A Clerk.+ And then a Clerk asked me, "If it were not leful [_lawful_]
to a subject, at the bidding of his Prelate, for to kneel down and touch
the Holy Gospel book, and kiss it saying, _So help me, GOD! and this
holy doom!_ for he should, after his cunning and power, do all things,
that his Prelate commandeth him?"

+William.+ And I said to them, "Sirs, ye speak here full generally and
largely! What, if a Prelate commanded his subject to do an unlawful
thing, should he obey thereto?"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "A subject ought not to
suppose that his Prelate will bid him do an unlawful thing. For a
subject ought to think that his Prelate will bid him do nothing but that
he will answer for before GOD, that it is lefull [_lawful_]: and then,
though the bidding of the Prelate be unlawful, the subject hath no peril
to fulfil it; since that he thinketh and judgeth that whatsoever thing
his Prelate biddeth him do, that is leful to him for to do it."


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I trust not hereto! But to our first
purpose! Sir, I tell you that I was once in a gentleman's house, and
there were then two Clerks there, a Master of Divinity and a Man of Law;
which Man of Law was also communing in divinity. And among other things,
these men spake of oaths. And the Man of Law said, 'At the bidding of
his Sovereign which had power to charge him to swear, he would lay his
hand upon a book, and hear his charge; and if his charge, to his
understanding were unlawful, he would hastily withdraw his hand from the
book; and if he perceived his charge to be leful he would hold still his
hand upon the book, taking there only GOD to witness that he would
fulfil that leful charge after his power.' And the Master of Divinity
said then to him thus, 'Certain, he that layeth his hand upon a book in
this wise, and maketh there a promise to do that thing that he is
commanded, is obliged there, by book oath, then, to fulfil his charge.
For, no doubt, he that chargeth him to lay his hand thus upon a book,
touching the book and swearing by it, and kissing it, promising in this
form, to do this thing or that, will say and witness, that he that
toucheth thus a book and kisseth it, hath sworn upon that book; and all
other men that see that men thus do, and also all those that hear
thereof in the same wise, will say and witness that _this man hath sworn
upon a book!_ Wherefore,' the Master of Divinity said, 'it was not
leful, neither to give nor to take any such charge upon a book! for
every book is nothing else but divers creatures [_created things_], of
which it is made of: therefore to swear upon a book, is to swear by
creatures! and this swearing is ever unleful.'

"This sentence witnesseth CHRYSOSTOM, plainly blaming them greatly, that
bring forth a book for to swear upon, charging Clerks that in nowise
they constrain anybody to swear, whether they think a man to swear true
or false."

And the Archbishop and his Clerks scorned me, and blamed me greatly for
this saying. And the Archbishop menaced me with great punishment and
sharp, except I left this opinion of swearing.

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, this is not mine opinion; but it is the
opinion of CHRIST our Saviour! and of Saint JAMES! and of CHRYSOSTOM!
and of other divers Saints and Doctors!"

Then the Archbishop bad a Clerk read this _Homily_ of CHRYSOSTOM, which
_Homily_ this Clerk held in his hand written in a roll; which roll the
Archbishop caused to be taken from my fellow at Canterbury: and so then
this Clerk read this roll, till he came to a clause where CHRYSOSTOM
saith that _it is sin, to swear well_.

+A Clerk (? Malveren).+ And then a Clerk, MALVEREN as I guess, said to
the Archbishop, "Sir, I pray you wit of him, how that he understandeth
CHRYSOSTOM here, saying it to be _sin, to swear well_."

+Archbishop.+ And so the Archbishop asked me, "How I understood here


+William.+ And, certain, I was somewhat afraid to answer hereto; for I
had not busied me to study about the sense hereof: but lifting up my
mind to GOD, I prayed Him, of grace. And, as fast, as I thought how
CHRIST said to his apostles, _When, for my name, ye shall be brought
before judges, I will give into your mouth, wisdom, that your
adversaries shall not against say_ [gainsay]; and trusting faithfully in
the Word of GOD, I said, "Sir, I know well, that many men and women have
now swearing so in custom, that they know not, nor will not know that
they do evil for to swear as they do: but they think and say, that they
do well for to swear as they do; though they know well that they swear
untruly. For they say, 'They may by their swearing, though it be false,
[a]void blame or temporal harm; which they should have, if they swore
not thus.'

"And, Sir, many men and women maintain strongly that they swear well,
when that thing is sooth that they swear for.

"Also full many men and women say now that 'It is well done to swear by
creatures, when they may not (as they say) otherwise be believed.'

"And also full many men and women now say that 'It is well done to swear
by GOD and by our Lady, and by other Saints; for to have them in mind!'

"But since all these sayings are but excusations [_excuses_] and sin,
methinketh, Sir, that this sentence of CHRYSOSTOM may be alleged well
against all such swearers: witnessing that these sin grievously; though
they think themselves for to swear in this foresaid wise, well. For it
is evil done and great sin for to swear truth, when, in any manner, a
man may excuse him without oath."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said that "CHRYSOSTOM might be thus

+A Clerk.+ And then a Clerk said to me, "Wilt thou tarry my Lord no
longer! but submit thee here meekly to the ordinance of Holy Church; and
lay thine hand upon a book, touching the Holy Gospel of GOD, promising,
not only with thy mouth but also with thine heart, to stand to my Lord's

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, have I not told you here, how that I heard
a Master of Divinity say that, in such a case, it is all one to touch a
book, and to swear by a book?"


+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "There is no Master of Divinity
in England so great, that if he hold this opinion before me, but I shall
punish him as I shall do thee, except thou swear as I shall charge


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, is not CHRYSOSTOM an ententif Doctor?"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "Yea!"

+William.+ And I said, "If CHRYSOSTOM proveth him worthy great blame
that bringeth forth a book to swear upon, it must needs follow that he
is more to blame that sweareth on that book!"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "If CHRYSOSTOM meant according to
the ordinance of Holy Church, we will accept him!"

+A Clerk.+ And then said a Clerk to me, "Is not the Word of GOD, and GOD
Himself _equipollent_, that is, of one authority?"

+William.+ And I said, "Yea!"

+A Clerk.+ Then he said to me, "Why wilt thou not swear, then, by the
Gospel of GOD, that is, GOD's Word; since it is all one to swear by the
Word of GOD and by GOD Himself?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, since I may not, now, otherwise be believed
but by swearing, I perceive, as AUGUSTINE saith, that it is not speedful
that ye, that should be my brethren, should not believe me: therefore I
am ready, by the Word of GOD (as the LORD commanded me by His Word), to

+A Clerk.+ Then the Clerk said to me, "Lay, then, thine hand upon the
book, touching the Holy Gospel of GOD; and take thy charge!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I understand that the Holy Gospel of GOD
may not be touched with man's hands!"

+A Clerk.+ And the Clerk said I fonded [_fooled_], and that I said not

+William.+ And I asked this Clerk, "Whether it were more to read the
Gospel, or to touch the Gospel?"

+A Clerk.+ And he said, "It was more to read the Gospel!"


+William.+ Then I said, "Sir, by authority of Saint JEROME, the Gospel
is not the Gospel for [_through_] reading of the letter, but for the
belief that men have in the Word of GOD; that it is the Gospel that we
believe, and not the letter we read: for because the letter that is
touched with man's hand is not the Gospel, but the sentence that is
verily believed in man's heart is the Gospel. For so Saint JEROME saith,
_The Gospel, that is the virtue of GOD's Word is not in the leaves of
the book, but it is in the root of reason. Neither the Gospel,_ he
saith, _is in the writing above of the letters; but the Gospel is in the
marking of the sentence of Scriptures_.

"This sentence approveth Saint PAUL, saying thus, _The Kingdom of GOD is
not in word, but in virtue._ And DAVID saith, _The voice of the LORD,
that is, His Word, is in virtue._ And, after, David saith, _Through the
Word of GOD, the heavens were formed; and in the Spirit of His mouth is
all the virtue of them._ And I pray you, Sir, understand ye well how
DAVID saith that, _in the Spirit of the mouth of the LORD is all the
virtue of angels and of men_"?

+A Clerk.+ And the Clerk said to me, "Thou wouldst make us to fond with
thee! Say we not that the Gospels are written in the _Mass_ book?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, though men use [_are accustomed_] to say
thus, yet it is unperfect speech. For the principal part of a thing is
properly the whole thing: for, lo, man's soul that may not now be seen
here, nor touched with any sensible thing, is properly Man! And all the
virtue of a tree is in the root thereof, that may not be seen; for do
away with the root, and the tree is destroyed! And, Sir, as ye said to
me, right now, GOD and His Word are of one authority; and, Sir, Saint
JEROME witnesseth that CHRIST, Very GOD and Very Man, is hid in the
letter of his Law; thus also, Sir, the Gospel is hid in the letter!

"For, Sir, as it is full likely many divers men and women here in the
earth touched CHRIST, and saw him, and knew his bodily person; which
neither touched, nor saw, nor knew ghostly his Godhead: right thus, Sir,
many men now touch, and see, and write, and read the Scriptures of GOD's
Law, which neither touch, see, nor read effectually the Gospel. For as
the Godhead of CHRIST, that is, the virtue of GOD, is known by the
virtue through belief; so is the Gospel, that is CHRIST's Word!"

+A Clerk.+ And a Clerk said to me, "These be full misty matters and
unsavoury, that thou showest here to us!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, if ye, that are Masters, know not plainly
this sentence, ye may sore dread that the Kingdom of Heaven be taken
from you! as it was from the Princes of Priests and from the Elders of
the Jews."

+A Clerk (? Malveren).+ And then a Clerk, as I guess MALVEREN, said to
me, "Thou knowest not thine equivocations! for the 'Kingdom of Heaven'
hath diverse understandings. What callest thou the 'Kingdom of Heaven'
in this sentence, that thou shewest here?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, by good reason, and sentence of Doctors,
the Realm of Heaven is called here, the understanding of GOD's Word."

+A Clerk.+ And a Clerk said to me, "From whom, thinkest thou, that this
understanding is taken away?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, by authority of CHRIST himself, the
effectual understanding of CHRIST's word is taken away from all them
chiefly which are great-lettered [_learned_] men, and presume to
understand high things, and will be holden wise men, and desire
mastership and high state and dignity: but they will not conform them to
the living and teaching of CHRIST and of His Apostles."

+Archbishop.+ Then the Archbishop said, "Well, well, thou wilt judge thy
sovereigns! By God! the King [_HENRY IV._] doeth not his duty, but he
suffer thee to be condemned!"

       *       *       *       *       *


+A Clerk.+ And then another Clerk said to me, "Why, on Friday last, that
was [_August 5, 1407_], counselledst thou a man of my Lord's, that he
should not shrive him to Man, but only to GOD?"

And with this asking, I was abashed; and then, by and by, I knew that I
was surely betrayed of a man that came to me in prison [? _at Saltwood
Castle_] on the Friday before, communing with me in this matter of
confession: and, certain, by his words, I thought that this man came
then to me of full fervent and charitable will. But now I know, he came
to tempt me and to accuse me. GOD forgive him, if it be His holy will!

And with all mine heart, when I had thought thus, I said to this Clerk,
"Sir, I pray you that ye would fetch this man hither! and all the words,
as near as I can repeat them, which that I spake to him on Friday in the
prison, I will rehearse now here, before you all, and before him."

+Archbishop.+ And, as I guess, the Archbishop then said to me, "They
that are now here, suffice to repeat them. How saidest thou to him?"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, that man came and asked me of divers
things; and after his asking, I answered him, as I understood that good
was. And, as he shewed to me by his words, he was sorry for his living
in Court, and right heavy for his own vicious living, and also for the
viciousness of other men, and specially of priests' evil living; and
herefore, he said to me with a sorrowful heart, as I guessed, that he
purposed fully, within short time, for to leave the Court, and busy him
to know GOD's Law, and to conform all his life hereafter.

"And when he had said to me these words, and others more, which I would
rehearse and [_if_] he were present, he prayed me to hear his

"And I said to him, 'Sir, wherefore come ye to me, to be confessed of
me? Ye wot well that the Archbishop putteth and holdeth me here, as one
unworthy either to give or to take any Sacrament of Holy Church!'

"And he said to me, 'Brother, I wot well, and so wot many others more,
that you and such others are wrongfully vexed; and herefore I will
common [_commune_] with you the more gladly.'

"And I said to him, 'Certain, I wot well that many men of this Court
[_i.e._, _the Archbishop's_], and specially Priests of this household
[_Chaplains_], would be full evil a paid, both with you and me, if they
wist that ye were confessed of me!'

"And he said that he cared not therefore, for he had full little
affection in them! and, as methought, he spake these words and many
others of so good will and of so high desire for to have known and done
the pleasant Will of GOD.

"And I said then to him, as with my foresaid Protestation, I say to you
now here, 'Sir, I counsel you for to absent you from all evil company,
and to draw you to them that love and busy them to know and to keep the
precepts of GOD; and then the good Spirit of GOD will move you for to
occupy busily all your wits in gathering together of all your sins, as
far as ye can bethink you; shaming greatly of them, and sorrowing
heartily for them. Yea, Sir, the HOLY GHOST will then put in your heart
a good will and a fervent desire for to take and to hold a good purpose,
to hate ever and to fly, after your cunning and power, all occasion of
sin: and so then wisdom shall come to you from above, lightening with
divers beams of grace and of heavenly desire all your wits, informing
you how ye shall trust stedfastly in the mercy of the LORD,
[ac]knowledging to Him only all your vicious living, praying to Him ever
devoutly of charitable counsel and continuance, hoping without doubt
that if ye continue thus busying you faithfully to know and keep his
biddings, that He will, for He only may, forgive you all your sins!'

"And this man said then to me, 'Though GOD forgive men their sins, yet
it behoveth men to be assoiled [_absolved_] of priests, and to do the
penance that they enjoin them!'


"And I said to him, 'Sir, it is all one to assoil men of their sins, and
to forgive men their sins: wherefore since it pertaineth only to GOD to
forgive sin, it sufficeth in this case, to counsel men and women for to
leave their sin, and to comfort them that busy them thus to do, for to
hope stedfastly in the mercy of GOD. And againward, priests ought to
tell sharply to customable sinners, that if they will not make an end of
their sin, but continue in divers sins while that they may sin, all such
deserve pain without end. And herefore priests should ever busy them to
live well and holily, and to teach the people busily and truly the Word
of GOD; shewing to all folk, in open preaching and in privy counselling,
that the LORD GOD only forgiveth sin. And therefore those priests that
take upon them to assoil men of their sins, blaspheme GOD; since that it
pertaineth only to the LORD to assoil men of all their sins. For, no
doubt, a thousand years after that CHRIST was man, no priest of CHRIST
durst take upon him to teach the people, neither privily nor apertly,
that they behoved needs to come to be assoiled of them; as priests do
now. But by authority of CHRIST's word, priests bound indured
[_hardened_] customable sinners to everlasting pains, [those] which, in
no time of their living, would busy them faithfully to know the biddings
of GOD, nor to keep them. And, again, all they that would occupy all
their wits to hate and to flee all occasion of sin, dreading over all
things to offend GOD, and loving for to please Him continually; to these
men and women, priests shewed how the LORD assoileth them of their sins.
And thus CHRIST promised to confirm in heaven, all the binding and
loosing that priests, by authority of his Word, bind men in sin that are
indured therein; or loose them out of sin here upon earth that are
verily repentant.'

"And this man hearing these words, said that he 'might well in
conscience consent to this sentence. But,' he said, 'is it not needful
to the lay people that cannot thus do, to go shrive them to priests?'


"And I said, 'If a man feel himself so distroubled with any sin, that he
cannot by his own wit, avoid this sin without counsel of them that are
herein wiser than he; in such a case, the counsel of a good priest is
full necessary. And if a good priest fail, as they do now commonly, in
such a case; Saint AUGUSTINE saith that a man may lefully comon
[_lawfully commune_] and take counsel of a virtuous secular man. But,
certain, that man or woman is overladen and too beastly, which cannot
bring their own sins into their mind, busying them night and day for to
hate and for to forsake all their sins, doing a sigh for them, after
their cunning and power. And, Sir, full accordingly to this sentence,
upon mid-Lenton Sunday, two years [_March 29, 1405_], as I guess, now
agone, I heard a Monk of Feversham, that men called MOREDOM, preach at
Canterbury, at the Cross within Christchurch Abbey, saying thus of
Confession: _As through the suggestion of the Fiend, without counsel of
any other body than of themselves, many men and women can imagine and
find means and ways enough to come to pride, to theft, to lechery, and
to other divers vices: in contrary wise_, this Monk said, _since the
LORD GOD is more ready to forgive sin than the Fiend is or may be of
power to move anybody to sin, then whoever will shame and sorrow
heartily for their sins, [ac]knowledging them faithfully to GOD,
amending them after their power and cunning, without counsel of any
other body than of GOD and himself, through the grace of GOD, all such
men and women may find sufficient means to come to GOD's mercy, and so
to be clean assoiled of all their sins._' This sentence I said, Sir, to
this man of yours, and the self words, as near as I can guess."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "Holy Church approveth not this

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, Holy Church, of which CHRIST is head in
heaven and in earth, must needs approve this sentence. For, lo, hereby
all men and women may, if they will, be sufficiently taught to know and
to keep the commandments of GOD, and to hate and to fly continually all
occasion of sin, and to love and to seek virtues busily, and to believe
in GOD stably, and to trust in His mercy stedfastly, and so to come to
perfect charity and continue therein perseverantly: and more, the LORD
asketh not of any man here now in this life. And, certain, since JESUS
CHRIST died upon the cross wilfully to make men free; Men of the Church
are too bold and too busy to make men thrall! binding them 'under the
pains of endless curse,' as they say, to do many observances and
ordinances, which neither the living nor the teaching of CHRIST, nor of
his Apostles approveth."

+A Clerk.+ And a Clerk said then to me, "Thou shewest plainly here thy
deceit, which thou hast learned of them that travail to sow popil
[_tares_] among wheat! But I counsel thee to go away clean from this
learning, and submit thee lowly to my Lord, and thou shalt find him yet
to be gracious to thee!"

+Another Clerk.+ And as fast, another Clerk said to me, "How wast thou
so bold at Paul's Cross in London, to stand there hard, with thy tippet
[_cape_] bounden about thine head, and to reprove in his sermon, the
worthy Clerk ALKERTON, drawing away all, that thou mightest! Yea, and
the same day at afternoon, thou meeting that worthy Doctor in Watling
street, calledst him, 'False flatterer, and hypocrite!'"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I think certainly, that there was no man
nor woman that hated verily sin and loved virtues, hearing the sermon of
the Clerk of Oxford, and also ALKERTON's sermon, but they said, and
might justly say, that ALKERTON reproved the Clerk untruly, and
slandered him wrongfully and uncharitably. For, no doubt, if the living
and teaching of CHRIST chiefly and his Apostles be true, nobody that
loveth GOD and His Law will blame any sentence that the Clerk then
preached there; since, by authority of GOD's Word, and by approved
Saints and Doctors, and by open reason, this Clerk approved all things
clearly that he preached there."

+A Clerk.+ And a Clerk of the Archbishop said to me, "His sermon was
false, and that he sheweth openly, since he dare not stand forth and
defend his preaching, that he then preached there."


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I think that he purposeth to stand
stedfastly thereby, or else he slandereth foully himself and many others
that have great trust that he will stand by the truth of the Gospel. For
I wot well his sermon is written both in Latin and in English; and many
men have it, and they set great price thereby. And, Sir, if ye were
present with the Archbishop [_i.e._, _of CANTERBURY, in whose presence
he was then standing_] at Lambeth, when this Clerk appeared; and were at
his Answer before the Archbishop: ye wot well that this Clerk denied not
there his sermon; but, two days, he maintained it before the Archbishop
and his Clerks."

+Archbishop or a Clerk.+ And then the Archbishop, or one of his Clerks
said (I wot not which of them!), "That harlot [_at this time applied to
men also_] shall be met with, for that sermon. For no man but he, and
thou, and such other false harlots, praiseth any such preaching."

+Archbishop.+ And then the Archbishop said, "Your cursed sect is busy,
and it joyeth right greatly to contrary and to destroy the privilege and
freedom of Holy Church."

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I know no men travail so busily as this
sect doth, which you reprove, to make rest and peace in Holy Church. For
pride, covetousness, and simony which distrouble most Holy Church, this
sect hateth and flyeth, and travaileth busily to move all other men in
like manner unto meekness and wilful poverty and charity, and free
ministring of the sacraments: this sect loveth, and useth, and is full
busy to move all other folks, thus to do. For these virtues owe all
members of Holy Church to their head, CHRIST."

+A Clerk.+ Then a Clerk said to the Archbishop, "Sir, it is far day, and
ye have far to ride to-night; therefore make an end with him, for he
will none make! But the more, Sir, that ye busy you for to draw him
towards you, the more contumax [_contumacious_] he is made, and the
further from you."

+Malveren.+ And then MALVEREN said to me, "WILLIAM! kneel down, and pray
my Lord, of grace! and leave all thy fantasies, and become a child of
Holy Church!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I have prayed the Archbishop oft, and yet I
pray him, for the love of CHRIST! that he will leave his indignation
that he hath against me; and that he will suffer me, after my cunning
and power, for to do mine office of priesthood, as I am charged of GOD
to do it. For I covet nought else, but to serve my GOD to His pleasing,
in the state that I stand in, and have taken me to."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "If, of good heart, thou
wilt submit thee now, here, meekly to be ruled, from this time forth by
my counsel, obeying meekly and wilfully to mine ordinance, thou shalt
find it most profitable and best to thee for to do thus. Therefore,
tarry thou me no longer! Grant to do this, that I have said to thee now,
here, shortly; or deny it utterly!"


+William.+ And I said to the Archbishop, "Sir, owe [_ought_] we to
believe that JESUS CHRIST was and is Very GOD and Very Man?"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "Yea!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, owe we to believe that all CHRIST's living
and his teaching is true in every point?"

+Archbishop.+ And he said, "Yea!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, owe we to believe that the living of the
Apostles and the teaching of CHRIST and of all Prophets are true, which
are written in the _Bible_ for the health and salvation of GOD's

+Archbishop.+ And he said, "Yea!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, owe all Christian men and women, after
their cunning and power, for to conform their living to the teaching
specially of CHRIST; and also to the teaching and living of his Apostles
and of Prophets, in all things that are pleasant to GOD, and edification
to His Church?"

+Archbishop.+ And he said, "Yea!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, ought the doctrine, the bidding, or the
counsel of anybody to be accepted or obeyed unto, except this counsel,
these biddings, or this counsel may be granted and affirmed by CHRIST's
living and his teaching, or by the living and teaching of his Apostles
and Prophets?"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Other doctrine ought not
to be accepted, nor we owe not to obey to any man's bidding or counsel;
except we can perceive that this bidding or counsel accordeth with the
bidding and teaching of CHRIST and of his Apostles and Prophets?"


+William.+ And I said, "Sir, are not all the learning and biddings and
counsels of Holy Church means and healthful remedies to know, and to
withstand the privy suggestions and the apert temptations of the Fiend;
and also ways and healthful remedies to slay pride and all other deadly
sins and the branches of them; and sovereign means to purchase grace,
for to withstand and overcome all fleshly lusts and movings?"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "Yea!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, whatsoever thing ye or any other body bid
or counsel me to do; according to this foresaid learning, after my
cunning and power, through the help of GOD, I will meekly, with all mine
heart, obey thereto!"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said to me, "Submit thee then, now,
here, meekly and wilfully to the ordinance of Holy Church, which I shall
shew to thee!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, according as I have here, now before you,
rehearsed, I will now be ready to obey full gladly to CHRIST, the Head
of all Holy Church, and to the learning and biddings and counsels of
every pleasing member of Him."

+Archbishop.+ Then the Archbishop striking with his hand fiercely upon a
cupboard, spake to me, with a great spirit, saying, "By Jesu! but if
thou leave such additions, obliging thee now here without any exception
to mine ordinance, ere that I go out of this place, I shall make thee as
sure as any thief that is in the prison of Lantern. Advise thee now,
what thou wilt do!" And then, as if he had been angered, he went from
the cupboard where he stood, to a window.

And then MALVEREN and another Clerk came nearer me, and they spake to me
many words full pleasantly, and another while they menaced me and
counselled full busily to submit me, or else they said I should not
escape punishing over measure; for they said I should be degraded,
cursed, and burned, and so then damned!

+Malveren and a Clerk.+ "But now," they said, "thou mayest eschew all
these mischiefs, if thou will submit thee wilfully and meekly to this
worthy Prelate, that hath cure of thy soul! And for the pity of CHRIST!"
said they, "bethink thee, how great clerks [PHILIP DE REPINGTON] the
Bishop of LINCOLN, HEREFORD, and PURVEY were, and yet are; and also
B[OWTON] that is a well understanding man: which also have forsaken and
revoked all the learning and opinions that thou and such others hold!
Wherefore, since each of them is mickle wiser than thou art; we counsel
thee for the best, that, by the example of these four Clerks, thou
follow them, submitting thee as they did!"


+A Clerk.+ And one of the [Arch]bishop's Clerks said, then, there, that
"he heard NICHOLAS HEREFORD say, that 'since he forsook and revoked all
the learning and opinions of the Lollards, he hath had mickle greater
favour and more delight to hold against them; than ever he had to hold
with them, while he held with them.'"

+Malveren.+ And therefore MALVEREN said to me, "I understand and [_if_]
thou wilt take thee to a priest, and shrive thee clean, forsake all such
opinions, and take thy penance of my Lord here, for the holding and
teaching of them, within short time thou shalt be greatly comforted in
this doing!"

+William.+ And I said to the Clerks, that thus busily counselled me to
follow these foresaid men, "Sirs, if these men, of whom ye counsel me to
take example, had forsaken benefices of temporal profit and of worldly
worship, so that they had absented them and eschewed from all occasions
of covetousness and of fleshly lusts; and had taken them to simple
living and wilful poverty: they had herein given good example to me and
many others to have followed them. But now, since all these four men
have slanderously and shamefully done the contrary, consenting to
receive and to have and to hold temporal benefices, living now more
worldly and more fleshly than they did before, conforming them to the
manners of this world; I forsake them herein, and in all their foresaid
slanderous doing!


"For I purpose, with the help of GOD into remission of all my sins and
of my foul cursed living, to hate and to fly privily and apertly, to
follow these men! teaching and counselling whomsoever that I may, for to
fly and eschew the way that they have chosen to go in, which will lead
them to the worst end, if, in convenient time, they repent them not,
verily forsaking and revoking openly the slander that they have put, and
every day yet put to CHRIST's Church. For, certain, so open blasphemy
and slander, as they have spoken and done in their revoking and
forsaking of the Truth, ought not, nor may not, privily be amended duly.
Wherefore, Sirs, I pray you that ye busy you not for to move me to
follow these men in revoking and forsaking of the Truth and
Soothfastness! as they have done, and yet do; wherein by open evidence,
they stir GOD to great wroth, and not only against themselves, but also
against all them that favour them or consent to them herein, or that
comoneth [_communeth_] with them, except it be for their amendment. For
whereas these men first were pursued of enemies, now they have obliged
them by oath for to slander and pursue CHRIST in his members! Wherefore,
as I trust stedfastly in the goodness of GOD, the worldly covetousness,
and the lusty living, and the sliding from the truth of these runagates
[_renegades_] shall be to me, and to many other men and women, an
example and an evidence to stand the more stiffly by the Truth of

"For, certain, right many men and women do mark and abhor the foulness
and cowardice of these aforesaid untrue men, how that they are overcome,
and stopped with benefices, and withdrawn from the truth of GOD's Word,
forsaking utterly to suffer therefore bodily persecution. For by this
unfaithful doing and apostasy, of them specially that are great lettered
men, and have [ac]knowledged openly the truth; and now either for
pleasure or displeasure of tyrants have taken hire and temporal wages,
to forsake the Truth and to hold against it, slandering and pursuing
them that covet to follow CHRIST in the way of righteousness: many men
and women therefore are now moved. But many more, through the grace of
GOD, shall be moved hereby, for to learn the Truth of GOD, and to do
thereafter, and to stand boldly thereby."


+Archbishop.+ Then the Archbishop said to his Clerks, "Busy you no
longer about him! for he, and others such as he is, are confeder[at]ed
so together, that they will not swear to be obedient, and to submit them
to Prelates of Holy Church. For now, since I stood here, his fellow sent
me word that _he will not swear, and that he_ [WILLIAM of Thorpe]
_counselled him that he should not swear to me_ But, losell! in that
thing that in thee is, thou hast busied thee to lose this young man;
but, blessed be GOD! thou shalt not have thy purpose of him! For he hath
forsaken all thy learning, submitting him to be buxom [_submissive_] and
obedient to the ordinance of Holy Church; and weepeth full bitterly, and
curseth thee full heartily for the venomous teaching which thou hast
shewed to him, counselling him to do thereafter. And for thy false
counselling of many others and him, thou hast great cause to be right
sorry! For, long time, thou hast busied thee to pervert whomsoever thou
mightest! Therefore as many deaths thou art worthy of, as thou hast
given evil counsels. And therefore, by Jesu! thou shalt go thither
where NICHOLAS HEREFORD and JOHN PURVEY were harboured! and I undertake,
ere this day eight days, thou shalt be right glad for to do what thing
that ever I bid thee do!

"And, losell! I shall assay if can make thee there, as sorrowful as, it
was told me, thou wast glad of my last going out of England [_in_ 1397].
By St. Thomas! I shall turn thy joy into sorrow!"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, there can nobody prove lawfully that I
joyed ever of the manner of your going out of this land [_the Archbishop
had been banished_]. But, Sir, to say the sooth, I was joyful when ye
were gone! for [ROBERT DE BRAYBROOKE] the Bishop of LONDON (in whose
prison ye left me!) found in me no cause for to hold me longer in his
prison; but, at the request of my friends, he delivered me to them,
asking of me no manner of submitting."

+Archbishop.+ Then the Archbishop said to me, "Wherefore that I yede
[_went_] out of England is unknown to thee! But be this thing well known
to thee! that GOD, as I wot well, hath called me again and brought me
into this land, for to destroy thee and the false sect that thou art of!
as, by God! I shall pursue you so narrowly that I shall not leave a step
of you in this land!"

+William.+ And I said to the Archbishop, "Sir, the holy prophet JEREMY
said to the false prophet HANANIAH, _When the word_, that is, the
prophecy, _of a prophet is known or fulfilled; then it shall be known
that the LORD sent the prophet in truth_!"

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop, as if he had not been pleased with my
saying, turned him away-ward, hither and thither, and said, "By God! I
shall set on thy shins a pair of perlis [? _pearls_], that thou shalt be
glad to change thy voice!"

These and many more wondrous and convicious [_railing_] words were
spoken to me; menacing me and all others of the same sect, for to be
punished and destroyed to the uttermost.

And the Archbishop called then to him, a Clerk; and rounded with him
[_whispered in his ear_], and that Clerk went forth: and soon he brought
in the Constable of Saltwood Castle, and the Archbishop rounded a good
while with him.


And then the Constable went forth, and then came in divers secular
[_laymen_]; and they scorned me on every side, and menaced me greatly.
And some counselled the Archbishop to burn me by and by [_at once_]: and
some others counselled him to drown me in the sea, for it is near [at]
hand there.

+A Clerk.+ And a Clerk standing besides me there, kneeled down to the
Archbishop, praying him that he would deliver me to him for to say
_Matins_ with him; and he would undertake that, within three days, I
should not resist anything that was commanded me to do, of my Prelate.

And the Archbishop said that he would ordain for me himself.

And then, after, came in again the Constable and spake privily to the

And then the Archbishop commanded the Constable to lead me forth thence,
with him: and so he did.

And when we were gone forth thence, we were sent after again.

And when I came in again before the Archbishop, a Clerk bade me kneel
down, and ask grace, and submit me lowly, and I should find it for the

+William.+ And I said then to the Archbishop, "Sir, as I have said to
you, divers times, to-day, I will wilfully and lowly obey and submit me
to be ordained ever, after my cunning and power, to GOD and His Law, and
to every member of Holy Church; as far forth as I can perceive that
these members accord with their head, CHRIST, and will teach me, rule
me, or chastise me by authority specially of GOD's Law."

+Archbishop.+ And the Archbishop said, "I wist well, he would not,
without such additions, submit him!"

And then, I was rebuked, scorned, and menaced on every side; and yet,
after this, divers persons cried upon me to kneel down and submit me:
but I stood still, and spake no word.

And then there was spoken of me and to me many great words; and I stood,
and heard them menace, curse, and scorn me: but I said nothing.

+Archbishop.+ Then a while after, the Archbishop said to me, "Wilt thou
not submit thee to the ordinance of Holy Church?"

+William.+ And I said, "Sir, I will full gladly submit me, as I have
shewed you before."

And then, the Archbishop bade the Constable to have me forth thence in


And so then I was led forth, and brought into a foul unhonest prison,
where I came never before. But, thanked be GOD! when all men were gone
forth then from me, and had sparred [_barred_] fast the prison door
after them, by and by [_immediately_] after, I therein by myself busied
me to think on GOD, and to thank Him of His goodness.

And I was then greatly comforted in all my wits, not only for that I was
then delivered, for a time, from the sight, from the hearing, from the
presence, from the scorning, and from the menacing of my enemies: but
much more I rejoiced in the LORD, because that through His grace, He
kept me so, both among the flattering specially, and among the menacing
of mine adversaries, that without heaviness and anguish of my
conscience, I passed away from them. For as a tree laid upon another
tree overthwart or on cross wise, so was the Archbishop and his three
Clerks always contrary to me, and I to them.

Now, good GOD! (for Thine holy name and for the praising of Thy most
blessed name, make us one together), if it be Thy will, by authority of
thy Word that is true perfect charity: and else not! And that it may
thus be, all that this writing read or hear, pray heartily to the LORD
GOD! that He (for His great goodness that cannot be with tongue
expressed) grant to us and to all others, that in the same
  wise and for the same cause specially, or for any other
       cause be at [a] distance, to be knit and made
         One in true Faith, in stedfast Hope, and
                  in perfect Charity.

+¶ Thus endeth the Examination of Master William Thorpe.+

+And hereafter followeth his Testament.+

=19 Sept. 1460.=


_MATTHEW, an Apostle of CHRIST and his gospeller, witnesseth truly in
the Holy Gospel, the most holy living and the most wholesome teaching of
CHRIST. He rehearseth how that CHRIST likeneth them that hear his words
and keep them, to_ a wise man that buildeth his house upon a stone,
_that is a stable and a sad_ [firm] _ground_.

_This_ house _is man's soul, in whom CHRIST delighteth to dwell, if it
be grounded, that is, stablished, faithfully in his living, and in his
true teaching, adorned or made fair with divers virtues, which CHRIST
used and taught without any meddling of any error, as are chiefly the
conditions of charity._

_This foresaid_ stone _is CHRIST, upon which every faithful soul must be
builded, since upon none other ground than upon CHRIST's living and his
teaching, nobody may make any building or houseing wherein CHRIST will
come and dwell. This sentence witnesseth PAUL_ to the Corinthians,
_shewing them that nobody may set any other ground than is set, that is,
CHRIST's living and his teaching._

_And because that all men and women should give all their business here
in this life to build them virtuously upon this sure foundation, Saint
PAUL [ac]knowledging the fervent desire and the good will of the people
of Ephesus, wrote to them comfortably, saying_, Now ye are not
strangers, guests, nor yet comelings, but ye are the citizens and of the
household of GOD, builded above upon the foundament of the Apostles and
Prophets. In which foundament, every building that is builded and made
through the grace of GOD, it increaseth or groweth into a holy temple;
_that is, everybody that is grounded and builded faithfully in the
teaching and living of CHRIST is therethrough made the holy temple of

_This is the stable ground and stedfast_ stone, _CHRIST! which is the
sure corner-stone fast joining and holding mightily together two walls.
For through CHRIST JESU, mean or middle Person of the Trinity, the
Father of Heaven is piteous or mercifully joined and made one together
to Mankind: and through dread to offend GOD, and fervent love to please
him, men be unseparably made one to GOD, and defended surely under His

_Also this foresaid_ stone _CHRIST was figured by the square stones of
which the Temple of GOD was made. For as a square stone, wheresoever it
is cast or laid, it abideth and lieth stably; so CHRIST and every
faithful member of his Church, by example of him, abideth and dwelleth
stably in true faith and in all other heavenly virtues, in all
adversities that they suffer in this Valley of Tears. For, lo, when
these foresaid square stones were hewen and wrought for to be laid in
the walls or pillars of GOD's Temple, none noise or stroke of the
workmen was heard. Certain, this silence in working of this stone
figureth CHRIST chiefly, and his faithful members, which by example of
him have been, and yet are, and ever to the world's end shall be, so
meek and patient in every adversity, that no sound nor yet any grudging
shall any time be perceived in them._

_Nevertheless this chief and most worshipful corner-stone, which only is
ground of all virtues, proud beggars reproved! but this despite and
reproof CHRIST suffered most meekly in his own person, for to give
example of all meekness and patience to all his faithful followers.
Certain, this world is now so full of proud beggars which are named
priests; but the very office of working of priesthood which CHRIST
approveth true, and accepteth, is far from the multitude of priests that
now reign in this world._

_For, from the highest priest to the lowest, all (as who say) study,
that is, they imagine and travail busily how they may please this world
and their flesh. This sentence and many such others dependeth upon them,
if it be well considered; either GOD the Father of heaven hath deceived
all mankind by the living specially and teaching of JESUS CHRIST, and
by the living and teaching of his Apostles and Prophets; all else all
the Popes that have been since I had any knowledge or discretion, with
all the College of Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops, Monks, Canons,
and Friars, with all the contagious flock of the comminalty of
priesthood, which have, all my life-time and mickle longer, reigned and
yet reign and increase damnably from sin into sin, have been and yet be
proud obstinate heretics, covetous simoners_ [trafficers in
ecclesiastical preferments], _and defouled adulterers in the ministering
of the Sacraments, and especially in the ministering of the Sacrament of
the Altar._

_For, as their works shew (whereto CHRIST biddeth us take heed!) the
highest priests and Prelates of this priesthood challenge and occupy_
[hold] _unlawfully temporal lordships. And for temporal favour and mede,
they sell and give benefices to unworthy and unable persons; yea, these
simoners sell sin! suffering men and women in every degree and estate,
to lie and continue, from year to year, in divers vices slanderously.
And thus, by evil example of high priests in the Church, lower priests
under them are not only suffered, but they are maintained to sell full
dear to the people for temporal mede, all the Sacraments. And thus all
this foresaid priesthood is blown so high, and borne up in pride and
vainglory of their estate and dignity, and so blinded with worldly
covetousness, that they disdain to follow CHRIST in very meekness and
wilful poverty, living holily, and preaching GOD's Word truly, freely,
and continually; taking their livelihood at the free will of the people,
of their pure almose_ [alms], _where and when, they suffice not (for
their true and busy preaching) to get their sustenance with their

_To this true sentence, grounded on CHRIST's own living and teaching of
his Apostles; these foresaid worldly and fleshly priests will not
consent effectually. But, as their works and also their words shew,
boldly and unshamefastly these foresaid named priests and Prelates
covet, and enforce them mightily and busily, that all Holy Scripture
were expounded and drawn according to_ their _manners, and to_ their
_ungrounded_ [unwarranted] _usages and findings. For they will not
(since they hold it but folly and madness!) conform their manners to the
pure and simple living of CHRIST and his Apostles, nor they will not
follow freely their learning. Wherefore all the Emperors and Kings, and
all other lords and ladies, and all the common people in every degree
and state, which have before time known or might have known; and also
all they that now yet know or might know this foresaid witness of
priesthood; and would not, nor yet will enforce them, after their
cunning and power, to withstand charitably the foresaid enemies and
traitors of CHRIST and his Church; all these strive, with ANTICHRIST,
against JESU! And they shall bear the indignation of GOD Almighty
without end, if in convenient time they amend them not, and repent them
verily; doing therefore due mourning and sorrow, after their cunning and

_For through presumptions and negligence of priests and Prelates (not of
the Church of CHRIST, but occupying their prelacy, unduly in the Church,
and also by flattering and false covetousness of other divers named
priests), lousengers, and lounderers are wrongfully made and called
Hermits; and have leave to defraud poor and needy creatures of their
livelihood, and to live by their false winning and begging in sloth and
other divers vices. And also of these Prelates, these cokir noses_ [?]
_are suffered to live in pride and hypocrisy, and to defoul themselves
both bodily and ghostly._

_Also by the suffering and counsel of these foresaid Prelates and of
other priests, are made vain, both Brotherhoods and Sisterhoods, full of
pride and envy; which are full contrary to the Brotherhood of CHRIST,
since they are cause of mickle dissension: and they multiply and
sustained it uncharitably, for in lusty eating, and drinking
unmeasurably and out of time, they exercise themselves. Also this vain
confederacy of Brotherhoods is permitted to be of one clothing, and to
hold together. And in all these ungrounded and unlawful doings, priests
are partners and great meddlers and counsellors._

_And over this viciousness, hermits and pardoners, ankers_ [anchorites],
_and strange beggars are licensed and admitted of Prelates and priests
for to beguile the people with flatterings and leasings_ [falsehoods]
_slanderously, against all good reason and true belief; and so to
increase divers vices in themselves, and also among all them that accept
them or consent to them._

_And thus, the viciousness of these forenamed priests and Prelates, has
been long time, and yet is, and shall be cause of wars, both within the
realm and without._

_And, in the same wise, these unable_ [useless] _priests have been, and
yet are, and shall be, the chief cause of pestilence of men, and murrain
of beasts, and of bareness of the earth, and of all other mischiefs, to
the time that Lords and Commons able them through grace for to know and
to keep the Commandments of GOD, enforcing them then faithfully and
charitably by one assent, for to redress and make one, this foresaid
priesthood to the wilful poor, meek, and innocent living and teaching,
specially of CHRIST and his Apostles._

_Therefore all they that know, or might know the viciousness that
reigneth now cursedly in these priests and in their learning, if they
suffice not to withstand this contagious viciousness: let them pray to
the LORD heartily for the health of his Church! abstaining them
prudently from these endured_ [hardened] _enemies of CHRIST and his
people, and from all their Sacraments! since to them all that know them,
or may know, they are but fleshly deeds and false: as Saint CYPRIAN
witnesseth in the first Question of_ Decrees _and in the first_ Cause.
Ca. Si quis inquit.

_For as this Saint, and great Doctors witness there, that not only
vicious priests, but also all they that favour them or consent to them
in their viciousness, shall together perish with them, if they amend
them not duly: as all they perished that consented to DATHAN and ABIRAM.
For nothing were more confusion to these foresaid vicious priests, than
to eschew them prudently in all their unlawful Sacraments, while they
continue in their sinful living slanderously, as they have long time
done and yet do. And nobody need to be afraid, though death did follow
by any wise or other, for to die out of this world without taking of any
Sacrament of these foresaid CHRIST's enemies: since CHRIST will not fail
for to minister himself all lawful and heal-ful sacraments, and
necessary at all time; and especially at the end, to all them that are
in true faith, in steadfast hope, and in perfect charity._

_But yet some mad fools say, for to eschew slander they will be shriven
once a year and comuned_ [receive the Sacrament] _of their proper
priests; though they know them defouled with slanderous vices. No doubt,
but all they that thus do or consent, privily or apertly, to such doing,
are culpable of great sin; since St. PAUL witnesseth that not only they
that do evil are worthy of death and damnation, but also they that
consent to evil doers. Also, as their slanderous works witness, these
foresaid vicious priests despise and cast from them heavenly cunning
that is given of the HOLY GHOST. Wherefore the LORD throweth all such
despisers from Him, that they use nor do any priesthood to Him. No doubt
then, all they that wittingly or wilfully take, or consent that any
other body should take any Sacrament of any such named priest, sinneth
openly and damnably against all the Trinity, and are unable to any
Sacrament of health._

_And that this foresaid sentence_ [opinion] _is altogether true unto
remission of all my sinful living, trusting steadfastly in the mercy of
GOD, I offer to Him my soul!_

_And to prove also this foresaid sentence true, with the help of GOD, I
purpose fully to suffer meekly and gladly my most wretched body to be
tormented, where GOD will! and of whom He will! how He will and when He
will! and as long as He will! and what temporal pain He will! and death!
to the praising of His name, and to the edification of His Church. And
I, that am most unworthy and wretched caitiff, shall now, through the
special grace of GOD, make to Him pleasant sacrifice of my most sinful
and unworthy body._

       *       *       *       *       *

_I beseech heartily all folk that read or hear this end of my purposed_
Testament, _that, through the grace of GOD, they dispose verily and
virtuously all their wits, and able, in like manner, all their members
for to understand truly and to keep faithfully, charitably, and continually
all the commandments of GOD, and so then to pray devoutly to all the
blessed Trinity, that I may have grace with wisdom and prudence from above,
to end my life here, in this foresaid Truth and for this_
              _Cause in true faith_
               _and steadfast hope_
                _and in perfect_

       *       *       *       *       *

Here endeth, sir [_the Reverend_] WILLIAM THORPE's _Testament_ on the
Friday after the Rood Day [_Holy Rood-day, or Exaltation of the Holy
Cross_, falls on Sept. 14th], and the twenty [? _nineteenth_] day of
September, in the year of our Lord a thousand four hundred and sixty.

And on the Sunday [_August 7th_] next after the feast of Saint PETER
that we called Lammas Day [_August 1st_] in the year of our Lord a
thousand four hundred and seven, the said sir WILLIAM THORPE was accused
of these points, before written in this book, before THOMAS ARUNDELL,
Archbishop of CANTERBURY, as it is said before.

And so was it then betwixt the Day of his Accusing, and
  the Day that this was written three and fifty years;
        and as mickle more as from the Lammas
           [_August 1st_] to the Woodmas
                [_September 19th_].

                  Behold the end!

     ¶ The strength of a tale is in its end.

      +Here followeth
  The Examination of the
       Lord Cobham.+

[The following is but an abridgement of the Story of Sir JOHN OLDCASTLE:
respecting which, Miss L. TOULMIN SMITH has recently published, in the
_Anglia_ for April 1882, THOMAS OCCLEVE's Ballad against Lord COBHAM and
the Lollards, in 1415.]

+¶ The Belief of the Lord Cobham.+

Be it known to all men! that in the year of our LORD a thousand four
hundred and thirteen, in the first year of King HENRY the FIFTH; the
King gave to [THOMAS ARUNDELL] the Bishop of CANTERBURY, leave to
correct the Lord COBHAM.

And because no man durst summon him personally, the Archbishop set up a
Citation on his Cathedral Church door on the Wednesday [_September 6,
1413_] next before the nativity of our Lady [_September 8th_] in the
foresaid year: and that Citation was taken down by the friends of the

And, after that, the Bishop set up another on our Lady Day [_September
8, 1413_]; which also was rent down.

And because he came not to answer on the day assigned in the Citation,
the Bishop cursed him for contumacy.

And the Lord COBHAM seeing all this malice purposed against him, wrote
this _Belief_ that followeth, with his own hand; and noted [_signed_] it
himself; and also answered to Four Points put against him by the Bishop:
and he went to the King, supposing to get of him good favour and

       *       *       *       *       *

+¶ The Belief.+


=Sept. 1413.=

_I believe in GOD the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in
JESU CHRIST His only Son our Lord, which was conceived of the HOLY
GHOST, born of the Virgin MARY, and suffered death under PONTIUS PILATE,
crucified, dead, and buried. He went down to hells. The third day He
rose again from death. He ascended up into heavens. He sitteth on the
right hand of GOD, the Father Almighty. From thence, He is to come to
judge the quick and dead._

_I believe in the HOLY GHOST, all Holy Church, the Communion of Saints,
forgiveness of sins, uprising of flesh, and everlasting life. Amen._

       *       *       *       *       *

_And for to declare more plainly my soothfastness in the belief of Holy
Church, I believe faithfully and verily, that there is but one GOD
Almighty; and in this Godhead and of this Godhead be Three Persons, the
Father, the Son, and the HOLY GHOST; and these Three Persons be the same
GOD Almighty._

_Furthermore, I believe that the Second Person of this most blessed
Trinity, in most convenient time before ordained, took flesh and blood
of the most blessed Virgin, our Lady Saint MARY, for the redemption and
salvation of mankind; that was lost before, for ADAM's sin._

_And I believe that JESU CHRIST our Lord, which is both GOD and Man, is
head of all Holy Church; and that all those that be, and shall be saved,
be members of this most Holy Church. Which Holy Church is departed_
[divided] _in three parts. Of the which, one part is now in Heaven; that
is to say, the saints that in this life live accordingly with the most
blessed Law of CHRIST and his living, despising and forsaking the Devil
and his works, the prosperities of this world, and the foul lust of the

_The second part is in Purgatory, abiding the mercy of GOD, and purging
them there of their sins; of the which they have been truly confessed in
deed, or else in will to have been._

_The third part of this Church is here in Earth, the which is called the
Fighting Church; for it fighteth, every day and night, against the
temptation of the Devil, the prosperity of this false failing world, and
the proud rebellion of the flesh against the soul. This Church is
departed_ [divided] _by the most blessed ordinance of GOD into three
Estates; that is to say, Priesthood, Knighthood, and Commons: to every
Estate of the which, GOD gave charge that one should help another, and
none destroy other._

_As to Priests, they should be most holy and least worldly; and truly
living as near as they could, after the example of CHRIST and his
Apostles. And all their business should be, day and night, in holy
example of living, and true preaching and teaching of GOD's Law to both
the other parts. And also they should be most meek, most serviceable,
and most lovely in spirit, both to GOD and man._

_In the second part of this Church, that is Knighthood, be contained all
that bear the sword by the law of Office: which should maintain GOD's
Law to be preached and taught to the people; and principally the Gospel
of CHRIST; and truly to live thereafter. The which part should rather
put themselves to peril of death, than to suffer any Law or
Constitution_ [referring to the Constitutions of ARUNDEL in 1408] _to be
made of man, wherethrough the freedom of GOD's Law might be letted to be
preached and taught to the people, or whereof any error or heresy might
grow in the Church. For I suppose fully that there may come none heresy
nor error among the people, but by false Laws, Constitutions, or
teachings contrary to CHRIST's Law, or by false leasings_ [lies].

_Also the second part should defend the common people from tyrants,
oppressors, and extortioners: and maintain the Clergy, doing truly their
office, in preaching, teaching, praying, and freely ministering the
Sacraments of Holy Church. And if this Clergy be negligent in doing this
office, this second part of the Church ought, by their office that they
have taken of GOD, to constrain the Clergy in due wise, to do their
office in the form that GOD hath ordained to be done._

_The third part of this Fighting Church oweth_ [ought] _to bear good
will to Lords and Priests, truly to do their bodily labour in tilling
the earth, and with their true merchandise doing their duties that they
owe both to Knighthood and to Priesthood, as GOD's Law limiteth; keeping
faithfully the commandments of GOD._

_Moreover, I believe all the Sacraments of Holy Church for to be
meedful and profitable to all that shall be saved; taking them after the
intent that GOD and Holy Church have ordained._

_And for as mickle as I am slandered falsely in my Belief in the
Sacrament of the Altar, I do all Christian men to wit, that I believe
verily that the most blessed Sacrament of the Altar is very CHRIST's
body in form of bread; the same body that was born of the blessed Virgin
our Lady Saint MARY, done on the cross, dead, buried, and on the third
day rose from death to life, the which body is now glorified in heaven._

_Also I believe that all GOD's Law is true; and who that liveth contrary
to this blessed Law, and so continueth to his life's end, and dieth so
breaking the holy commandments of GOD, that he shall be damned into
everlasting pains. And he that will learn this most blessed Law, and
live thereafter, keeping these holy commandments of GOD, and endeth in
charity shall have everlasting bliss._

_Also I understand that this followeth of Belief, that our Lord JESU
CHRIST (that is both GOD and Man) asketh no more here in earth, but that
he obey to him after the form of his Law, in truly keeping of it. And if
any Prelate of the Church ask more obedience than this, of any man
living; he exalteth himself, in that, above CHRIST: and so he is an open

_Also these points I hold as of Belief in especial._

_And in general, I believe all that GOD wills that I believe, praying,
at the reverence of Almighty GOD, to you my liege Lord_ [HENRY V.] _that
this Belief might be examined by the wisest and truest Clerks of your
realm: and if it be truth, that it might be confirmed, and I to be
holden for a true Christian man; and if it be false, that it might be
damned_ [condemned], _and I taught a better Belief by GOD's Law; and I
will gladly obey thereto_.

       *       *       *       *       *

This foresaid Belief, the Lord COBHAM wrote; and took it with him, and
offered it to the King [_HENRY V._], for to see: and the King would not
receive it, but bade him take it to them that should be his judges.

And then the Lord of COBHAM offered to bring before the King, to purge
him of all error and heresy, that they would put against him, a hundred
Knights and Squires.

And also he offered to fight with any man, Christian or heathen, that
would say he were false in his belief; except the King and his brethren.

And after, he said "He would submit him to all manner [of] correction,
that any man would correct him, after GOD's Law."

And notwithstanding all this, the King suffered him to be summoned
personally, in his own [_the King's_] chamber.

And the Lord of COBHAM said to the King, that he had appealed to the
Pope from the Archbishop; and therefore, he said, "he ought not to take
him for his judge": and so he had there his Appeal ready written, and
shewed to the King.

And therewith the King was more angry, and said, "He should not pursue
his appeal: but rather he should be in ward till his appeal were
admitted, and then (would he or not!) he should be his judge!"

And thus nothing of all this was allowed; but, because he would not
swear to submit him to the Church, and take what penance the Archbishop
would enjoin him, he was arrested, and sent to the Tower of London to
keep his day that the [arch]bishop assigned him in the King's Chamber.

And then he made the _Belief_ aforesaid, with the _Answer_ to _Four
Points_ that now follow, to be written in two parts of an Indenture.

And when he came to answer; he gave that one part to the [arch]bishop,
and that other part he kept to himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

+The Indenture of the Lord Cobham.+


_I, JOHN OLDCASTLE Knight, and Lord of COBHAM, will that all Christian
men wit, how that THOMAS of ARUNDELL, Archbishop of CANTERBURY hath not
only laid it to my charge maliciously, but also very untruly, by his
Letter and his Seal written against me in most slanderous wise, that I
should otherwise feel and teach of the Sacraments of the Holy Church;
assigning in special the Sacrament of the Altar, the Sacrament of
Penance, and also in Worshipping of Images, and in Going on Pilgrimages,
otherwise than feeleth and teacheth the universal Holy Church. I take
Almighty GOD to witness, that it hath been, and now is, and ever, with
the help of GOD, shall be, mine intent and my will to believe faithfully
and truly in all the Sacraments that ever GOD ordained to be done in
Holy Church._

_And, moreover, for to declare me in these points aforesaid._

_I believe that the most worshipful Sacrament of the Altar is very
CHRIST's body in form of bread: the same body that was born of the
blessed Virgin our Lady Saint MARY, done on the cross, dead and buried,
and the third day rose from death to life; the which body is now
glorified in heaven._

_Also as for the Sacrament of Penance, I believe that it is needful to
every man that shall be saved, to forsake sin, and to do due penance for
sin before done, with true confession, very contrition, and, due
satisfaction, as GOD's Law limiteth and teacheth; and else, may he not
be saved; which penance I desire all men to do._

_And as for Images, I understand that they be not of Belief, but they
were ordained (since Belief was given of CHRIST) by sufferance of the
Church for to be Kalenders to laymen, to represent and bring to mind the
Passion of our Lord JESU CHRIST, and_ [the] _martyrdom and good living
of other Saints. And that who so it be, that doeth the worship to dead
images that is due to GOD; or putteth hope, faith, or trust in help of
them as he should do to GOD; or hath affection in one more than in
another: he doth in that, the great sin of Idolatry._

_Also I suppose this fully, that every man in this earth is a Pilgrim
towards Bliss or towards Pains. And he that knoweth not, nor will not
know, nor keep the holy commandments of GOD in his living (albeit that
he goeth on pilgrimage in all parts of the world), and he die so, he
shall be damned. And he that knoweth the holy commandments of GOD and
keepeth them to his end, he shall be saved; though he never in his life,
go on pilgrimage as men use_ [are accustomed] _now to Canterbury, or to
Rome, or to any other place._

       *       *       *       *       *


This _Belief_ indented, containing the foresaid _Belief_ with these
foresaid _Answers_, he took to the Bishops when he came to answer [_in
the Chapter House of St. Paul's_] on the Saturday next before Michaelmas
in the year beforesaid [_September 23, 1413_].

And whatsoever the Bishops asked him, he bade them look what his Bill
said thereto; and thereby he would stand to the death. Other answer gave
he not that day: but the Bishops were not quieted herewith.

And the Archbishop bade him take avisement [_counsel_] till Monday
[_September 25th_] next following, to answer to this point:

_If there remained material bread in the Sacrament of the Altar, after
the words of consecration?_

And in the meantime, he perceived that the uttermost malice was purposed
against him, howsoever he answered: therefore he put his life in GOD's
hand, and answered thus, as followeth.

     _This is the judgement and sentence given upon Sir JOHN OLDCASTLE
     Knight and Lord of COBHAM, the Monday_ [September 25th] _next
     before Michaelmas Day, at the Friar Preachers's_ [the Dominican
     Friary within Ludgate] _in London, in the year of our Lord, a
     thousand, four hundred and thirteen._

[_both of New College, Oxford_], Doctors of Divinity; Master PHILIP
MORGAN, Master HENRY WARE, Master JOHN KEMP, Doctors of [Canon] Law; and
sir [_Rev._] ROBERT WOMBEWELL, Vicar of St. Lawrence in the Jewry;
Master JOHN STEVENS, Master JAMES COLE, Notaries: with the Four Orders
of Friars, and many other Clerks, deeming and convicting him for an
heretic and a cursed man.

The Archbishop made all these Clerks, both Religious and Secular, to
swear upon a book, that they should not, for love or favour of the one
party, nor for any envy or hatred of the other party, say, nor witness
but the truth.

And the two foresaid Notaries were sworn also to write and to witness
the words and process that were to be said on both the parties, and to
say the sooth if it otherwise were.

After this, the Lord of COBHAM came, and was brought before them all, to
his Examination, and to his Answer.

       *       *       *       *       *


Then the Archbishop said to him, "Lord of COBHAM, ye be advised well
enough of the words and Process that were said to you, upon Saturday
last past, in the Chapter House of Paul's: the which Process were now
too long to rehearse. Then I proffered to have assoiled [_absolve_] you
(for ye were accursed!) of your contumacy and disobedience to Holy

Then said the Lord COBHAM forthwith, "GOD saith, _Maledicam
benedictionibus vestris_, that is to say, 'I shall curse your

Then said the Archbishop, "Sir, then I proffered to have assoiled you,
if ye would have asked it; and yet I do the same!"

Then said the Lord of COBHAM, "Nay, forsooth, I trespassed never against
you! and therefore will I not do it."

And with that, he kneeled down on the pavement, and held up his hands
and said, "I shrive me to GOD! and to you all, Sirs! that, in my youth,
I have sinned greatly and grievously in lechery and in pride, and hurt
many men, and done many other horrible sins; Good Lord! I cry Thee,

And therewith weepingly, he stood up again and said, "Here, for the
breaking of GOD's Law and His commandments, ye cursed me not! but for
your own laws and traditions, above GOD's Law: and therefore it shall be

Then the Archbishop examined the Lord of his _Belief_. And the Lord of
COBHAM said, "I believe fully in all GOD's Law, and I believe that it is
all true! and I believe all that GOD wills that I believe."

Then the Archbishop examined him of the Sacrament of the Altar, how he
believed therein?

The Lord of COBHAM said, "CHRIST upon Shere [_or Shrive or Maunday_]
Thursday [_the day before Good Friday_] at night, sitting with his
disciples at the Supper, after that he had supped, he took bread and
giving thanks to the Father, he blessed it and brake it, and gave it to
his disciples saying, _Take, and eat ye of this, all! This is my body
that shall be betrayed for you! Do you this, in the remembrance of me._
This I believe!" said he.

Then the Archbishop asked him, "If it were bread after the consecration,
and the sacramental words said?"

The Lord of COBHAM said, "I believe that the Sacrament of the Altar is
very CHRIST's body in form of bread; the same body that was born of the
Virgin MARY, done on the cross, dead and buried, and the third day rose
from death to life: which body is now glorified in heaven."

Then said one of the Doctors of the Law, "After the sacramental words
said, there remaineth no bread but the body of CHRIST!"

Then the Lord of COBHAM said to one, Master JOHN WHITEHEAD, "You said to
me in the Castle of Cowling [_Lord COBHAM's home_], that the host sacred
was not CHRIST's body: but I said, 'It was CHRIST's body!' though
Seculars and Friars hold each one against other in this opinion."

Then said they, "We say all that it is GOD's body!"

And they asked him, "Whether it were material bread after the

Then said the Lord, "I believe it is CHRIST's body in form of bread.
Sir, believe ye not thus?"

And the Archbishop said, "Yea!"

Then the Doctors asked him, "Whether it were only CHRIST's body after
the consecration, and no bread?"

And he said to them, "It is CHRIST's body and bread. For right as CHRIST
was here in manhood, and the godhead hid in the manhood: so I believe
verily that CHRIST's flesh and his blood is hid there in the form of


Then they smiled each on other, deeming him taken in heresy; and said,
"It is an heresy!"

The Archbishop asked him, "What bread it was?" and the Clerks also,
"Whether it were material or not?"

Then the Lord said, "The Gospel speaketh not of this term _material_;
and therefore I will not! but say, it is CHRIST's body and bread! For
the Gospel saith, _Ego sum panis vivus qui de coelo descendi_, that is
to say, "I am quick bread that came down from heaven." For as our Lord
JESUS CHRIST is Very GOD and Very Man; so the most blessed Sacrament of
the Altar is CHRIST's body and bread."

Then they said, "It is an heresy, to say that it is bread after the
consecration and the sacramental words said, but only CHRIST's body."

The Lord said, "Saint PAUL the Apostle was as wise as ye be! and he
called it _bread_; where he saith thus _The bread that we break, is it
not the partaking of the body of the LORD?_"

Then they said, "PAUL must be otherwise understanded; for it is an
heresy to say, that it is bread after the consecration, but only
CHRIST's body: for it is against the determination of the Church."

Then they asked him, "Whether he believed not in the determination of
the Church?"

And he said, "No, forsooth! but I believe all GOD's Law, and all that
GOD wills that I believe; but not in your law nor in your determination:
for ye be no part of Holy Church, as openly your deeds shew; but very
Antichrists, contrary to GOD's law. For ye have made laws for your

"This," they said, "was heresy: not for to believe in the determination
of the Church."


Then the Archbishop asked him, "What was Holy Church?"

He said, "I believe that Holy Church is the number of all them that
shall be saved; of whom CHRIST is head: of the which Church, one part is
in Heaven, another in Purgatory, and the third here in Earth. This part
here, standeth in three degrees and estates, Priesthood, Knighthood, and
the Comminalty, as I said plainly in my _Belief_."

Then the Archbishop said to him, "Wot you who is of this Church? It is
doubt to you who is thereof? Ye should not judge!"

The Lord said, "_Operibus credite! justum judicium judicate!_" that is
to say, "Believe ye the works! judge ye rightful judgement!"

Also he said to them all, "Where find ye by GOD's Law, that ye should
set thus upon any man, or any man's death, as ye do? But ANNAS and
CAIAPHAS sat and judged CHRIST; and so do you!"

Then said they, "Yes, Sir, CHRIST judged JUDAS!"


The Lord of COBHAM said, "No, CHRIST judged not JUDAS! but he judged
himself, and went and hanged himself: but CHRIST said, _Woe to him_, as
he doth to many of you! For since the venom was shed into the Church; ye
followed never Christ, nor ye stood never in perfection of GOD's Law!"

Then the Archbishop asked him, "What was that venom?"

The Lord said, "The lordships and possessions. For then, cried an angel,
'Woe! woe! woe! This day is venom shed into the Church of GOD!' For
before that time, there many martyrs of Popes; and since I can tell of
none! but, sooth it is, since that time one hath put down another, and
one hath slain another, and one hath cursed another, as the Chronicles
tell; also of much more cursedness."

Also he said, "CHRIST was meek, and the Pope is proud. CHRIST was poor
and forgave; the Pope is rich and a man-slayer, as it is openly proved.
And thus this is the nest of Antichrist, and out of this nest cometh
Antichrist's disciples, of whom these Monks and Friars be the tail."

Then said [RICHARD DODINGTON] Prior of the Friars Augustines, "Sir, why
say ye so?"

And the Lord of COBHAM said, "For as ye be Pharisees, "divided," and
divided in habit [_dress_]; so ye make division among the people. And
thus these friars and monks with such others be the members of the nest
of Antichrist."

And he said, "CHRIST saith, _Woe be to you, Scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! for ye close up the Kingdom of Heaven before men: for,
sooth, ye enter not yourselves! nor ye will not suffer them that would,
to enter in!_ And thus, ye be the disciples of Antichrist! For ye will
not suffer GOD's Law to go through, nor to be taught and preached of
good priests; which will speak against your sins, and reprove them: but
of such that be flatterers, which sustain you in your sins and

Then said the Archbishop, "By our Lady! Sir, there shall no such preach,
that preacheth dissension and division, if GOD will!"

Then said the Lord of COBHAM to the Archbishop, "CHRIST saith that
_there shall be so great tribulation, as never was since the beginning._
And this shall be in your days! and by you! for ye have slain many men,
and shall more hereafter: but CHRIST saith, _Except that those days were
shortened, no flesh should be saved_: but hastily GOD will short[en]
your days! Furthermore, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons be grounded in
GOD's Law: but not these other Religious [_Monks and Friars_] as far as
I can wit."

       *       *       *       *       *


Then a Doctor of Law, one Master JOHN KEMP, put to him these four Points
that follow:

"_The faith and determination of Holy Church touching the blessed
Sacrament of the Altar is this. That after the sacramental words be said
of a priest in his_ Mass, _the material bread that was before, is turned
into CHRIST's body, and the material wine that was before, is turned
into CHRIST's very blood: and so there remaineth in the Sacrament of the
Altar, no material bread nor material wine; the which were there, before
the saying of the sacramental words._ Sir, believe you this?"

The Lord of COBHAM said, "This is not my belief. For my belief is, as I
said to you before, that the worshipful Sacrament of the Altar is very
CHRIST's body in form of bread."

Then said the Archbishop, "Sir JOHN! ye must say otherwise!"

The Lord of COBHAM said, "Nay, if GOD will! but that it is CHRIST's body
in form of bread, as all the common belief is."

The Doctor [JOHN KEMP] said, "The second is this, _The Holy Church hath
determined that every Christian man living bodily upon the earth oweth_
[ought] _to be shriven to a priest ordained by the Church, if he may
come to him._ Sir, what say ye to this?"

The Lord answered and said, "A sick man and sore wounded had need to
have a sure Leech and a true, knowing his cure; and therefore a man
should be principally shriven to GOD; and else his confession is nought.
And a man should rather go and be counselled with a good priest that
knoweth GOD's Law, and liveth thereafter; than with his own priest, if
he were an evil man, or with any other such."

The Doctor said, "The Third is this, _CHRIST ordained Saint PETER to be
his Vicar in earth, whose See is the Church of Rome; ordaining and
granting that the same power that he gave to PETER should succeed to
all PETER's successors, the which we call now the Popes of Rome: by
whose power in the Church particularly and specially, be ordained
Prelates as Archbishops, Bishops, and other degrees; to whom Christian
men owe_ [ought] _to obey after the law of the Church of Rome._ This is
the determination of the Church."

To this, he answered and said, "Who that followeth next PETER in living,
is next him in succession: but your living refuseth poor PETER's living,
and many other Popes that were martyrs in Rome that followed PETER in
manner of living; whose conditions ye have clean forsaken, all the world
may know it well!"

The Doctor said, "The fourth point is this. _Holy Church hath determined
that it is meedful to a Christian man, to go on pilgrimages to holy
places; and there especially to worship holy relics of Saints, Apostles,
Martyrs, Confessors, and all Saints approved by the Church of Rome._"

To this, he said, "It were enough to bury Saints fair in the earth; but
now Saints that be dead, be compelled to beg for covetousness! the which
in their life, hated covetousness and begging. But I say to you all, and
know it for a truth, that with your shrines and idols, and your feigned
absolutions and indulgences, and your temporalities, ye draw to you all
the richesse of this world."


"Why Sir," said one of the Clerks, "will ye not worship images?"

"What worship?" said the Lord.

Then said Friar [THOMAS] PALMER [Warden of the Minorites], "Sir, ye will
worship the Cross of CHRIST that he died on?"

"Where is it?" said the Lord.

The Friar said, "I put case, Sir, that it were here before you!"

The Lord said, "This is a ready man! to put to me a question of a thing,
that they wot never where it is? And yet I ask you, What worship?"

A Clerk said, "Such worship as PAUL speaketh of, that is this, _GOD
forbid me to joy, but in the cross of our Lord JESU CHRIST._"

Then said the Lord, and spread his arms abroad, "This is a very cross!"

Then said the [HENRY BEAUCLERC] Bishop of LONDON, "Sir, ye wot well!
that he died on a material cross."

Then said the Lord, "Our salvation come in only by him that died on the
cross, and by the material cross. And, well I wot, that this was the
cross that PAUL joyed on, that is, in the Passion of our LORD JESU

The Archbishop said, "Sir JOHN! ye must submit you to the ordinance of
the Church!"

The Lord said, "I wot not whereto?"

       *       *       *       *       *


Then the Archbishop read a bill of his judgement, and convicted him for
a heretic.

After the reading of the bill, the Lord said, "Though ye judge my body,
I hope to GOD! that He will save my soul!" and he said that he "would
stand to the death, by these things beforesaid; with the help of JESU!"

And then he said to all the people, "Sirs, for GOD's love! be well ware
of these men! for they will beguile you else! and lead you blindlings
into hell, and themselves also! For CHRIST saith, 'If one blind man lead
another, both fall into the ditch!"

And after this, thus he prayed for his enemies, and said, "LORD GOD! I
beseech thee, forgive my pursuers! if it be thy will!"

       *       *       *       *       *

And then he was led again to the Tower of London: and thus was the end.

       *       *       *       *       *


While the Lord of COBHAM was in the Tower, he sent out privily to his
friends; and they, at his desire, informed and writ this bill that
followeth next, commending it to the people, that they should cease the
slanders and leasings that his enemies made on him.

   _For as mickle as Sir JOHN OLDCASTLE, Knight and
   Lord of COBHAM, is untruly convicted and prisoned,
  and falsely reported and slandered among the people
     by his adversaries, that he should otherwise
        feel and speak of the Sacraments of Holy
         Church, and especially of the blessed
             Sacrament of the Altar, than
              was written in his_ Belief,
                 _which was indented
                   and taken to the
                    Clergy, and set
                     up in divers
                      open places
                     in the city of
                     London: Known
                 be it to all the world
               that he never varied in any
          point therefrom; but this is plainly
        his_ Belief, _that all the Sacraments of
        Holy Church be profitable and meedful to
     all them that shall be saved, taking them after
        the intent that GOD and Holy Church hath
           ordained. Furthermore he believeth
            that the blessed Sacrament of the
                   Altar is verily and
                     truly CHRIST's
                      body in form
                       of bread_.

           Truth long-hid now is disclosed.

                Praised be GOD! Amen.

_On Translating the Bible._

  [Chapter XV. of the Prologue to the
   second recension of the Wycliffite
         Version. Attributed to
             JOHN PURVEY.]

On Translating the Bible.

     [_Chapter xv. of the Prologue to the second recension of the
     Wycliffite Version. Attributed to_ JOHN PURVEY.]

=c. 1385-90.=

=How every man should con and keep the scripture, and holy
  writ is the scripture of peoples, as Jerome saith.=

For as much as Christ saith that the gospel shall be preached in all the
world, and David saith of the apostles and their preaching, "the sound
of them yede out into each land, and the words of them yeden out into
the ends of the world," and eft David saith, "the Lord shall tell in the
scriptures of peoples, and of these princes that were in it," that is,
in holy church, and as Jerome saith on that verse, "holy writ is the
scripture of peoples, for it is made, that all peoples should know it,"
and the princes of the church, that were therein, be the apostles, that
had authority to write holy writ, for by that same that the apostles
wrote their scriptures by authority, and confirming of the Holy Ghost,
it is holy scripture, and faith of Christian men, and this dignity hath
no man after them, be he never so holy, never so cunning, as Jerome
witnesseth on that verse. Also, Christ saith of the Jews that cried
"Hosanna" to him in the temple, that though they were still, stones
should cry, and by stones he understandeth heathen men, that worshipped
stones for their gods. And we English men be come of heathen men,
therefore we be understood by these stones, that should cry holy writ,
and as Jews, that is interpreted knowledging, signify clerks, that
should knowledge to God, by repentance of sins, and by voice of God's
hearing, so our lewd men, suing the corner-stone Christ, may be
signified by stones, that be hard and abiding in the foundation; for
though covetous clerks be wood by simony, heresy and many other sins,
and despise and stop holy writ, as much as they may, yet the lewd people
crieth after holy writ, to con it, and keep it, with great cost and
peril of their life. For these reasons and other, with common charity to
save all men in our realm, which God would have saved, a simple creature
hath translated the bible out of Latin into English. First, this simple
creature had much travail, with divers fellows and helpers, to gather
many old bibles, and other doctors, and common gloses, and to make one
Latin bible some deal true; and then to study it of the new, the text
with the glose, and other doctors, as he might get, and specially
Lyra[27] on the Old Testament, that helped full much in this work; the
third time to counsel with old grammarians and old divines, of hard
words, and hard sentences, how they might best be understood and
translated; the fourth time to translate as clearly as he could to the
sentence, and to have many good fellows and cunning at the correcting of
the translation. First, it is to know, that the best translating is out
of Latin into English, to translate after the sentence, and not only
after the words, so that the sentence be as open, either opener, in
English as in Latin, and go not far from the letter; and if the letter
may not be sued in the translating, let the sentence ever be whole and
open, for the words owe to serve to the intent and sentence, and else
the words be superfluous either false. In translating into English, many
resolutions may make the sentence open, as an ablative case absolute may
be resolved into these three words, with covenable verb, _the while_,
_for_, _if_, as grammarians say; as thus, _the master reading, I stand_,
may be resolved thus, _while the master readeth, I stand_, either _if
the master readeth_, etc., either _for the master_, etc.; and sometimes
it will accord well with the sentence to be resolved into _when_, either
into _afterward_, thus _when the master read, I stood_, either _after
the master read, I stood_; and sometime it may well be resolved into a
verb of the same tense, as other be in the same reason, and into this
word _et_, that is, _and_ in English, as thus, _arescentibus hominibus
prae timore_, that is, _and men shall wax dry for dread_. Also a
participle of a present tense, either preterite, of active voice, either
passive, may be resolved into a verb of the same tense, and a
conjunction copulative, as thus, _dicens_, that is, _saying_, may be
resolved thus, _and saith_, either _that saith_; and this will, in many
places, make the sentence open, where to English it after the word,
would be dark and doubtful. Also a relative, _which_, may be resolved
into his antecedent with a conjunction copulative, as thus, _which
runneth, and he runneth_. Also when a word is once set in a reason, it
may be set forth as oft as it is understood, either as oft as reason and
need ask; and this word _autem_ either _vero_, may stand for _forsooth_,
either for _but_, and thus I use commonly; and sometimes it may stand
for _and_, as old grammarians say. Also when rightful construction is
letted by relation, I resolve it openly, thus, where this reason,
_Dominum formidabunt adversarii ejus_, should be Englished thus by the
letter, _the Lord his adversaries shall dread_, I English it thus by
resolution, _the adversaries of the Lord shall dread him_; and so of
other reasons that be like. At the beginning I purposed, with God's
help, to make the sentence as true and open in English as it is in
Latin, either more true and more open than it is in Latin; and I pray,
for charity and for common profit of Christian souls, that if any wise
man find any default of the truth of translation, let him set in the
true sentence and open of holy writ, but look that he examine truly his
Latin bible, for no doubt he shall find full many bibles in Latin full
false, if he look, many, namely new; and the common Latin bibles have
more need to be corrected, as many as I have seen in my life, than hath
the English bible late translated; and where the Hebrew, by witness of
Jerome, of Lyra, and other expositors discordeth from our Latin bibles,
I have set in the margin, by manner of a glose, what the Hebrew hath,
and how it is understood in some place; and I did this most in the
Psalter, that of all our books discordeth most from Hebrew; for the
church readeth not the Psalter by the last translation of Jerome out of
Hebrew into Latin, but another translation of other men, that had much
less cunning and holiness than Jerome had; and in full few books the
church readeth the translation of Jerome, as it may be proved by the
proper originals of Jerome, which he glosed. And whether I have
translated as openly or openlier in English as in Latin, let wise men
deem, that know well both languages, and know well the sentence of holy
scripture. And whether I have done thus, or nay, ne doubt, they that con
well the sentence of holy writ and English together, and will travail,
with God's grace, thereabout, may make the bible as true and as open,
yea, and openlier in English than it is in Latin. And no doubt to a
simple man, with God's grace and great travail, men might expound much
openlier and shortlier the bible in English, than the old great doctors
han expounded it in Latin, and much sharplier and groundlier than many
late postillators, either expositors, han done. But God, of his great
mercy, give to us grace to live well, and to say the truth in covenable
manner, and acceptable to God and his people, and to spill not our time,
be it short, be it long, at God's ordinance. But some, that seem wise
and holy, say thus, if men now were as holy as Jerome was, they might
translate out of Latin into English, as he did out of Hebrew and out of
Greek into Latin, and else they should not translate now, as them
thinketh, for default of holiness and of cunning. Though this
replication seem colourable, it hath no good ground, neither reason,
neither charity, for why this replication is more against saint Jerome,
and against the first seventy translators, and against holy church, than
against simple men, that translate now into English; for saint Jerome
was not so holy as the apostles and evangelists, whose books he
translated into Latin, neither had he so high gifts of the Holy Ghost as
they had; and much more the seventy translators were not so holy as
Moses and the prophets, and specially David, neither they had so great
gifts of God, as Moses and the prophets had. Furthermore holy church
approveth, not only the true translation of mean Christian men,
steadfast in Christian faith, but also of open heretics, that did away
many mysteries of Jesus Christ by guileful translation, as Jerome
witnesseth in a prologue on Job, and in the prologue of Daniel. Much
more let the Church of England approve the true and whole translation of
simple men, that would for no good in earth, by their witting and power,
put away the least truth, yea, the least letter, either tittle, of holy
writ, that beareth substance, either charge. And dispute they not of the
holiness of men now living in this deadly life, for they con not
thereon, and it is reserved only to God's doom. If they know any
notable default by the translators, either helpers of them, let them
blame the default by charity and mercy, and let them never damn a thing
that may be done lawfully by God's law, as wearing of a good cloth for a
time, either riding on a horse for a great journey, when they wit not
wherefore it is done; for such things may be done of simple men, with as
great charity and virtue, as some, that hold them great and wise, can
ride in a gilt saddle, either use cushions and beds and cloths of gold
and of silk, with other vanities of the world. God grant pity, mercy,
and charity, and love of common profit, and put away such foolish dooms,
that be against reason and charity. Yet worldly clerks ask greatly what
spirit maketh idiots hardy to translate now the bible into English,
since the four great doctors durst never do this? This replication, is
so lewd, that it needeth no answer, no but stillness, either courteous
scorn; for the great doctors were none English men, neither they were
conversant among English men, neither in case they could the language of
English, but they ceased never till they had holy writ in their mother
tongue, of their own people. For Jerome, that was a Latin man of birth,
translated the Bible, both out of Hebrew and out of Greek, into Latin,
and expounded full much thereto; and Austin, and many more Latins
expounded the bible, for many parts, in Latin, to Latin men, among which
they dwelt, and Latin was a common language to their people about Rome,
and beyond, and on this half, as English is common language to our
people, and yet this day the common people in Italy speak Latin corrupt,
as true men say, that han been in Italy; and the number of translators
out of Greek into Latin passeth man's knowing, as Austin witnesseth in
the 2nd book of Christian Teaching, and saith thus, "the translators out
of Hebrew into Greek may be numbered, but Latin translators, either they
that translated into Latin, may not be numbered in any manner." For in
the first times of faith, each man, as a Greek book came to him, and he
seemed to himself to have some cunning of Greek and of Latin, was hardy
to translate; and this thing helped more than letted understanding, if
readers be not negligent, forwhy the beholding of many books hath
showed oft, either declared, some darker sentences. This saith Austin
there. Therefore Grosted saith, that it was God's will, that divers men
translated, and that divers translations be in the church, for where one
said darkly, one either more said openly. Lord God! since at the
beginning of faith so many men translated into Latin, and to great
profit of Latin men, let one simple creature of God translate into
English, for profit of English men; for if worldly clerks look well
their chronicles and books, they should find, that Bede translated the
bible, and expounded much in Saxon, that was English, either common
language of this land, in his time; and not only Bede, but also King
Alured, that founded Oxford, translated in his last days the beginning
of the Psalter into Saxon, and would more, if he had lived longer. Also
French men, Beemers[28] and Bretons have the bible, and other books of
devotion and of exposition, translated in their mother language; why
should not English men have the same in their mother language, I can not
wit, no but for falseness and negligence of clerks, either for our
people is not worthy to have so great grace and gift of God, in pain of
their old sins. God for his mercy amend these evil causes, and make our
people to have, and con, and keep truly holy writ, to life and death!

But in translating of words equivocal, that is, that hath many
significations under one letter, may lightly be peril, for Austin saith
in the 2nd book of Christian Teaching, that if equivocal words be not
translated into the sense, either understanding, of the author, it is
error; as in that place of the Psalm, _the feet of them be swift to shed
out blood_, the Greek word is equivocal to _sharp_ and _swift_, and he
that translated _sharp feet_, erred, and a book that hath _sharp feet_,
is false, and must be amended; as that sentence _unkind young trees
shall not give deep roots_, oweth to be thus, _plantings of aoutrry
shall not give deep roots_. Austin saith this there. Therefore a
translator hath great need to study well the sentence, both before and
after, and look that such equivocal words accord with the sentence, and
he hath need to live a clean life, and be full devout in prayers, and
have not his wit occupied about worldly things, that the Holy Spirit,
author of wisdom, and cunning, and truth, dress him in his work, and
suffer him not for to err. Also this word _ex_ signifieth sometimes
_of_, and sometimes it signifieth _by_, as Jerome saith; and this word
_enim_ signifieth commonly _forsooth_, and, as Jerome saith, it
signifieth _cause thus, for why_; and this word _secundum_ is taken for
_after_, as many men say, and commonly, but it signifieth well _by_,
either _up_, thus _by your word_, either _up your word_. Many such
adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions be set oft one for another, and
at free choice of authors sometimes; and now they shall be taken as it
accordeth best to the sentence. By this manner, with good living and
great travail, men may come to true and clear translating, and true
understanding of holy writ, seem it never so hard at the beginning. God
grant to us all grace to con well, and keep well holy writ, and suffer
joyfully some pain for it at the last! Amen.


[27] _Nicolaus de Lyra._

[28] Bohemians.

_Dialogue between a LORD and a CLERK upon Translation._

[From TREVISA'S Translation of HIGDEN'S _Polychronicon_.]

_Dialogue between a Lord and a Clerk upon Translation._

From Trevisa's Translation of Higden's _Polychronicon_.

=1387 ?=

THE LORD.--Sith the time that the great and high tower of Babylon was
builded, men have spoken with divers tongues, in such wise that divers
men be strange to other and understand not others' speech. Speech is not
known but if it be learned; common learning of speech is by hearing, and
so alway he that is deaf is alway dumb, for he may not hear speech for
to learn. So men of far countries and lands that have divers speeches,
if neither of them have learned others' language, neither of them wot
what other meaneth. Though they meet and have great need of information
and of lore of talking and of speech, be the need never so great,
neither of them understandeth other's speech no more than gagling of
geese. For jangle that one never so fast, that other is never the wiser,
though he shrew him instead of 'good-morrow'! This is a great mischief
that followeth now mankind; but God of His mercy and grace hath ordained
double remedy. One is that some man learneth and knoweth many divers
speeches, and so between strange men, of the which neither understandeth
other's speech, such a man may be mean and tell either what other will
mean. That other remedy is that one language is learned, used, and known
in many nations and lands. And so Latin is learned, known, and used,
specially on this half Greece, in all the nations and lands of Europe.
Therefore clerks, of their goodness and courtesy, make and write their
books in Latin, for their writing and books should be understood in
divers nations and lands. And so Ranulphus, monk of Chester (Ralph
Higden), wrote in Latin his books of Chronicles, that describeth the
world about in length and in breadth, and maketh mention and mind of
doings and deeds of marvels and wonders, and reckoneth the years to his
last days from the first making of heaven and of earth. And so therein
is great and noble information and lore to them that can therein read
and understand. Therefore I would have these books of Chronicles
translated out of Latin into English, for the more men should them
understand and have thereof cunning, information and lore.

THE CLERK.--These books of Chronicles be written in Latin, and Latin is
used and understood on this half Greece in all the nations and lands of
Europe. And commonly English is not so wide understood, ne known; and
the English translation should no man understand but English men alone;
then how should the more men understand the Chronicles, though they were
translated out of Latin, that is so wide used and known, into English,
that is not used and known but of English men alone?

THE LORD.--This question and doubt is easy to assail. For if these
Chronicles were translated out of Latin into English, then by that so
many the more men should understand them as understand English, and no

THE CLERK.--Ye can speak, read, and understand Latin; then it needeth
not to have such an English translation.

THE LORD.--I deny this argument; for though I can speak, read, and
understand Latin, there is much Latin in these books of Chronicles that
I can not understand, neither thou, without studying, avisement, and
looking of other books. Also, though it were not needful for me, it is
needful for other men that understand no Latin.

THE CLERK.--Men that understand no Latin may learn and understand.

THE LORD.--Not all; for some may not for other manner business, some for
age, some for default of wit, some for default of chattel, other of
friends to find them to school, and some for other divers defaults and

THE CLERK.--It needeth not that all such know the Chronicles.

THE LORD.--Speak not too straitly of thing that needeth; for straitly to
speak of thing that needeth, only thing that is, and may not fail,
needeth to be. And so it needeth that God be, for God is, and may not
fail. And, so for to speak, no man needeth for to know the Chronicles,
for it might and may be that no man them knoweth. Otherwise to speak of
thing that needeth; somewhat needeth for to sustain or to have other
things thereby, and so meat and drink needeth for keeping and sustenance
of life. And, so for to speak, no man needeth for to know the
Chronicles. But in the third manner to speak of thing that needeth, all
that is profitable needeth, and, so for to speak, all men need to know
the Chronicles.

THE CLERK.--Then they that understand no Latin may ask and be informed
and ytaught of them that understand Latin.

THE LORD.--Thou speakest wonderly, for the lewd man wots not what he
should ask, and namely of lore of deeds that come never in his mind; nor
wots of whom commonly he should ask. Also, not all men that understand
Latin have such books to inform lewd men; also some can not, and some
may not, have while, and so it needeth to have an English translation.

THE CLERK.--The Latin is both good and fair, therefore it needeth not to
have an English translation.

THE LORD.--The reason is worthy to be plunged in a pludde and laid in
powder of lewdness and of shame. It might well be that thou makest only
in mirth and in game.

THE CLERK.--The reason must stand but it be assoiled.

THE LORD.--A blear-eyed man, but he were all blind of wit, might see the
solution of this reason; and though he were blind he might grope the
solution, but if his feeling him failed. For if this reason were aught
worth, by such manner arguing men might prove that the three score and
ten interpreters, and Aquila, Symachus, Theodocion, and Origines were
lewdly occupied when they translated holy writ out of Hebrew into Greek;
and also that Saint Jerome was lewdly occupied when he translated holy
writ out of Hebrew into Latin, for the Hebrew is both good and fair and
y-written by inspiration of the Holy Ghost; and all these for their
translations be highly praised of all Holy Church. Then the foresaid
lewd reason is worthy to be powdered, laid a-water and y-soused. Also
holy writ in Latin is both good and fair, and yet for to make a sermon
of holy writ all in Latin to men that can English and no Latin, it were
a lewd deed, for they be never the wiser for the Latin, but it be told
them in English what it is to mean; and it may not be told in English
what the Latin is to mean without translation out of Latin into English.
Then it needeth to have an English translation, and for to keep it in
mind that it be not forgeten, it is better that such a translation be
made and written than said and not written. And so this foresaid lewd
reason should move no man that hath any wit to leave the making of
English translation.

THE CLERK--A great deal of these books standeth much by holy writ, by
holy doctors, and by philosophy; then these books should not be
translated into English.

THE LORD--It is wonder that thou makest so feeble arguments, and hast
gone so long to school. Aristotle's books and other books also of logic
and of philosophy were translated out of Greek into Latin. Also at
praying of King Charles, John Scott translated Deny's books out of Greek
into Latin, and then out of Latin into French; then what hath English
trespassed that it might not be translated into English? Also King
Alured, that founded the University of Oxford, translated the best laws
into English tongue, and a great deal of the Psalter out of Latin into
English, and caused Wyrefrith, Bishop of Worcester, to translate Saint
Gregory's books, the dialogues, out of Latin into Saxon. Also Caedmon of
Whitby was inspired of the Holy Ghost, and made wonder poesies in
English nigh of all the stories of holy writ. Also the holy man Beda
translated St. John's gospel out of Latin into English. Also thou wotest
where the Apocalypse is written in the walls and roof of a chapel, both
in Latin and in French. Also the gospel, and prophecy, and the right
faith of holy church must be taught and preached to English men that can
no Latin. Then the gospel, and prophecy, and the right faith of holy
church must be told them in English, and that is not done but by English
translation, for such English preaching is very translation, and such
English preaching is good and needful; then English translation is good
and needful.

THE CLERK--If a translation were made that might be amended in any
point, some men it would blame.

THE LORD--If men blame that is not worthy to be blamed, then they be to
blame. Clerks know well enough that no sinful man doth so well that it
ne might do better, ne make so good a translation that he ne might be
better. Therefore Origines made two translations, and Jerome translated
thrice the Psalter. I desire not translation of these the best that
might be, for that were an idle desire for any man that is now alive,
but I would have a skilful translation, that might be known and

THE CLERK--Whether is you liefer have, a translation of these chronicles
in rhyme or in prose?

THE LORD--In prose, for commonly prose is more clear than rhyme, more
easy and more plain to know and understand.

THE CLERK--Then God grant us grace grathly to gin, wit and wisdom wisely
to work, might and mind of right meaning to make translation trusty and
true, pleasing to the Trinity, three persons and one God, in majesty,
that ever was and ever shall be, and made heaven and earth, and light
for to shine, and departed light and darkness, and called light, day,
and darkness, night; and so was made eventide and morrowtide one day,
that had no morrowtide. The second day He made the firmament between
waters, and departed waters that were under the firmament fro the waters
that were above the firmament, and called the firmament heaven. The
third day He gathered waters that be under the firmament into one place
and made the earth unheled, and named the gathering of waters, seas, and
dry earth, land; and made trees and grass. The fourth day he made sun
and moon and stars, and set them in the firmament of heaven there for to
shine, and to be tokens and signs to depart times and years, night and
day. The fifth day He made fowls and birds in the air, and fishes in the
water. The sixth day He made beasts of the land, and man of the earth,
and put them in Paradise, for he should work and wone therein. But man
brake God's hest and fell into sin, and was put out of Paradise into
woe and sorrow, worthy to be damned to the pain of hell without any end.
But the Holy Trinity had mercy of man, and the Father sent the Son, and
the Holy Ghost alight on a maid, and the Son took flesh and blood of
that blissful maid, and died on the Rood to save mankind, and arose the
third day, glorious and blissful, and taught his disciples, and ascended
into heaven when it was time; and shall come at the day of Doom and deem
quick and dead. Then all they that be written in the Book of Life shall
wend with Him into the bliss of heaven, and be there in body and soul,
and see and know His Godhead and Manhood in joy without any end.

_Thus endeth the Dialogue._

_The Epistle of Sir John Trevisa, Chaplain unto Lord Thomas of Barkley,
upon the translation of Polychronicon into our English tongue._

Wealth and worship to my worthy and worshipful Lord Sir Thomas, Lord of
Barkley! I, John Trevisa, your priest and beadsman, obedient and buxom
to work your will, hold in heart, think in thought, and mean in mind
your needful meaning and speech that ye spake and said, that ye would
have English translation of Ranulphus of Chester's books of chronicles.
Therefore I will fond to take that travail, and make English translation
of the same books, as God granteth me grace, for blame of backbiters
will I not blinne; for envy of enemies, for evil spiting and speech of
evil speakers will I not leave to do this deed; for travail will I not
spare. Comfort I have in meedful making and pleasing to God, and in
knowing that I wot that it is your will for to make this translation
clear and plain to be known and understood. In some place I shall set
word for word, and active for active, and passive for passive, a-row
right as it standeth, without changing of the order of words. But in
some place I must change the order of words, and set active for passive,
and again-ward. And in some place I must set a reason for a word, and
tell what it meaneth. But for all such changing, the meaning shall stand
and not be changed. But some words and names of countries, of lands, of
cities, of waters, of rivers, of mountains and hills, of persons, and
of places, must be set and stand for themselves in their own kind, as
Asia, Europe, Africa, and Syria, Mount Atlas, Sindi, and Oreb, Marach,
Jordan, and Arnon, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, and Damascus,
Hannibal, Rasin, Ahasuerus, and Cyrus, and many such words and names. If
any man make of these books of chronicles a better English translation,
and more profitable, God do him meed! And because ye make me do this
meedful deed, He that quiteth all good deeds quite your meed in the
bliss of heaven, in wealth and liking, with all the holy saints of
mankind and the nine orders of angels; as Angels, Archangels,
Principates, Potestates, Virtutes, Dominations, Thrones, Cherubim and
Seraphim, to see God in his blissful face, in joy without any end. Amen.

_Thus endeth he his epistle._


Prefaces and Epilogues by_





_The Recuyell of the Histories of Troy._

Title and Prologue to Book I.

Here beginneth the volume entitled and named the Recuyell of the
Histories of Troy, composed and drawn out of divers books of Latin into
French by the right venerable person and worshipful man, Raoul le Feure,
priest and chaplain unto the right noble, glorious, and mighty prince in
his time, Philip, Duke of Burgundy, of Brabant, etc., in the year of the
Incarnation of our Lord God a thousand four hundred sixty and four, and
translated and drawn out of French into English by William Caxton,
mercer, of the city of London, at the commandment of the right high,
mighty, and virtuous Princess, his redoubted Lady, Margaret, by the
grace of God Duchess of Burgundy, of Lotrylk, of Brabant, etc.; which
said translation and work was begun in Bruges in the County of Flanders,
the first day of March, the year of the Incarnation of our said Lord God
a thousand four hundred sixty and eight, and ended and finished in the
holy city of Cologne the 19th day of September, the year of our said
Lord God a thousand four hundred sixty and eleven, etc.

And on that other side of this leaf followeth the prologue.

When I remember that every man is bounden by the commandment and counsel
of the wise man to eschew sloth and idleness, which is mother and
nourisher of vices, and ought to put myself unto virtuous occupation
and business, then I, having no great charge of occupation, following
the said counsel took a French book, and read therein many strange and
marvellous histories, wherein I had great pleasure and delight, as well
for the novelty of the same as for the fair language of French, which
was in prose so well and compendiously set and written, which methought
I understood the sentence and substance of every matter. And for so much
as this book was new and late made and drawn into French, and never had
seen it in our English tongue, I thought in myself it should be a good
business to translate it into our English, to the end that it might be
had as well in the royaume of England as in other lands, and also for to
pass therewith the time, and thus concluded in myself to begin this said
work. And forthwith took pen and ink, and began boldly to run forth as
blind Bayard in this present work, which is named "The Recuyell of the
Trojan Histories." And afterward when I remembered myself of my
simpleness and unperfectness that I had in both languages, that is to
wit in French and in English, for in France was I never, and was born
and learned my English in Kent, in the Weald, where I doubt not is
spoken as broad and rude English as in any place of England; and have
continued by the space of 30 years for the most part in the countries of
Brabant, Flanders, Holland, and Zealand. And thus when all these things
came before me, after that I had made and written five or six quires I
fell in despair of this work, and purposed no more to have continued
therein, and those quires laid apart, and in two years after laboured no
more in this work, and was fully in will to have left it, till on a time
it fortuned that the right high, excellent, and right virtuous princess,
my right redoubted Lady, my Lady Margaret, by the grace of God sister
unto the King of England and of France, my sovereign lord, Duchess of
Burgundy, of Lotryk, of Brabant, of Limburg, and of Luxembourg, Countess
of Flanders, of Artois, and of Burgundy, Palatine of Hainault, of
Holland, of Zealand and of Namur, Marquesse of the Holy Empire, Lady of
Frisia, of Salins and of Mechlin, sent for me to speak with her good
Grace of divers matters, among the which I let her Highness have
knowledge of the foresaid beginning of this work, which anon commanded
me to show the said five or six quires to her said Grace; and when she
had seen them anon she found a default in my English, which she
commanded me to amend, and moreover commanded me straitly to continue
and make an end of the residue then not translated; whose dreadful
commandment I durst in no wise disobey, because I am a servant unto her
said Grace and receive of her yearly fee and other many good and great
benefits, (and also hope many more to receive of her Highness), but
forthwith went and laboured in the said translation after my simple and
poor cunning, also nigh as I can following my author, meekly beseeching
the bounteous Highness of my said Lady that of her benevolence list to
accept and take in gree this simple and rude work here following; and if
there be anything written or said to her pleasure, I shall think my
labour well employed, and whereas there is default that she arette it to
the simpleness of my cunning which is full small in this behalf; and
require and pray all them that shall read this said work to correct it,
and to hold me excused of the rude and simple translation.

And thus I end my prologue.

Epilogue to Book II.

Thus endeth the second book of the Recule of the Histories of Troy.
Which bookes were late translated into French out of Latin by the labour
of the venerable person Raoul le Feure, priest, as afore is said; and by
me indigne and unworthy, translated into this rude English by the
commandment of my said redoubted Lady, Duchess of Burgundy. And for as
much as I suppose the said two books be not had before this time in our
English language, therefore I had the better will to accomplish this
said work; which work was begun in Bruges and continued in Ghent and
finished in Cologne, in the time of the troublous world, and of the
great divisions being and reigning, as well in the royaumes of England
and France as in all other places universally through the world; that is
to wit the year of our Lord a thousand four hundred seventy one. And as
for the third book, which treateth of the general and last destruction
of Troy, it needeth not to translate it into English, for as much as
that worshipful and religious man, Dan John Lidgate, monk of Bury, did
translate it but late; after whose work I fear to take upon me, that am
not worthy to bear his penner and ink-horn after him, to meddle me in
that work. But yet for as much as I am bound to contemplate my said
Lady's good grace, and also that his work is in rhyme and as far as I
know it is not had in prose in our tongue, and also, peradventure, he
translated after some other author than this is; and yet for as much as
divers men be of divers desires, some to read in rhyme and metre and
some in prose; and also because that I have now good leisure, being in
Cologne, and have none other thing to do at this time; in eschewing of
idleness, mother of all vices, I have delibered in myself for the
contemplation of my said redoubted lady to take this labour in hand, by
the sufferance and help of Almighty God; whom I meekly supplye to give
me grace to accomplish it to the pleasure of her that is causer thereof,
and that she receive it in gree of me, her faithful, true, and most
humble servant, etc.

Epilogue to Book III.

Thus end I this book, which I have translated after mine Author as nigh
as God hath given me cunning, to whom be given the laud and praising.
And for as much as in the writing of the same my pen is worn, my hand
weary and not steadfast, mine eyne dimmed with overmuch looking on the
white paper, and my courage not so prone and ready to labour as it hath
been, and that age creepeth on me daily and feebleth all the body, and
also because I have promised to divers gentlemen and to my friends to
address to them as hastily as I might this said book, therefore I have
practised and learned at my great charge and dispense to ordain this
said book in print, after the manner and form as ye may here see, and is
not written with pen and ink as other books be, to the end that every
man may have them at once. For all the books of this story, named "The
Recule of the Histories of Troy" thus imprinted as ye here see, were
begun in one day and also finished in one day, which book I have
presented to my said redoubted Lady, as afore is said. And she hath well
accepted it, and largely rewarded me, wherefore I beseech Almighty God
to reward her everlasting bliss after this life, praying her said Grace
and all them that shall read this book not to disdain the simple and
rude work, neither to reply against the saying of the matters touched in
this book, though it accord not unto the translation of others which
have written it. For divers men have made divers books which in all
points accord not, as Dictes, Dares, and Homer. For Dictes and Homer, as
Greeks, say and write favourably for the Greeks, and give to them more
worship than to the Trojans; and Dares writeth otherwise than they do.
And also as for the proper names, it is no wonder that they accord not,
for some one name in these days have divers equivocations after the
countries that they dwell in; but all accord in conclusion the general
destruction of that noble city of Troy, and the death of so many noble
princes, as kings, dukes, earls, barons, knights, and common people, and
the ruin irreparable of that city that never since was re-edified; which
may be example to all men during the world how dreadful and jeopardous
it is to begin a war, and what harms, losses, and death followeth.
Therefore the Apostle saith: "All that is written is written to our
doctrine," which doctrine for the common weal I beseech God may be taken
in such place and time as shall be most needful in increasing of peace,
love, and charity; which grant us He that suffered for the same to be
crucified on the rood tree. And say we all Amen for charity!

_Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers._

First edition (1477). Epilogue.

Here endeth the book named _The Dictes or Sayings of the Philosophers_,
imprinted by me, William Caxton, at Westminster, the year of our Lord
1477. Which book is late translated out of French into English by the
noble and puissant Lord Lord Antony, Earl of Rivers, Lord of Scales, and
of the Isle of Wight, defender and director of the siege apostolic for
our holy father the Pope in this royaume of England, and governor of my
Lord Prince of Wales. And it is so that at such time as he had
accomplished this said work, it liked him to send it to me in certain
quires to oversee, which forthwith I saw, and found therein many great,
notable, and wise sayings of the philosophers, according unto the books
made in French which I had often before read; but certainly I had seen
none in English until that time. And so afterward I came unto my said
Lord, and told him how I had read and seen his book, and that he had
done a meritorious deed in the labour of the translation thereof into
our English tongue, wherein he had deserved a singular laud and thanks,
&c. Then my said Lord desired me to oversee it, and where I should find
fault to correct it; whereon I answered unto his Lordship that I could
not amend it, but if I should so presume I might apaire it, for it was
right well and cunningly made and translated into right good and fair
English. Notwithstanding, he willed me to oversee it, and shewed me
divers things, which, as seemed to him, might be left out, as divers
letters missives sent from Alexander to Darius and Aristotle, and each
to other, which letters were little appertinent unto dictes and sayings
aforesaid, forasmuch as they specify of other matters. And also desired
me, that done, to put the said book in imprint. And thus obeying his
request and commandment, I have put me in devoir to oversee this his
said book, and behold as nigh as I could how it accordeth with the
original, being in French. And I find nothing discordant therein, save
only in the dictes and sayings of Socrates, wherein I find that my said
Lord hath left out certain and divers conclusions touching women.
Whereof I marvel that my Lord hath not written them, ne what hath moved
him so to do, ne what cause he had at that time; but I suppose that some
fair lady hath desired him to leave it out of his book; or else he was
amorous on some noble lady, for whose love he would not set it in his
book; or else for the very affection, love, and good will that he hath
unto all ladies and gentlewomen, he thought that Socrates spared the
sooth and wrote of women more than truth; which I cannot think that so
true a man and so noble a philosopher as Socrates was should write
otherwise than truth. For if he had made fault in writing of women, he
ought not, ne should not, be believed in his other dictes and sayings.
But I perceive that my said Lord knoweth verily that such defaults be
not had ne found in the women born and dwelling in these parts ne
regions of the world. Socrates was a Greek, born in a far country from
hence, which country is all of other conditions than this is, and men
and women of other nature than they be here in this country. For I wot
well, of whatsoever condition women be in Greece, the women of this
country be right good, wise, pleasant, humble, discreet, sober, chaste,
obedient to their husbands, true, secret, steadfast, ever busy, and
never idle, attemperate in speaking, and virtuous in all their works--or
at least should be so. For which causes so evident my said Lord, as I
suppose, thought it was not of necessity to set in his book the sayings
of his author Socrates touching women. But forasmuch as I had
commandment of my said Lord to correct and amend where I should find
fault, and other find I none save that he hath left out these dictes and
sayings of the women of Greece, therefore in accomplishing his
commandment--forasmuch as I am not certain whether it was in my Lord's
copy or not, or else, peradventure, that the wind had blown over the
leaf at the time of translation of his book--I purpose to write those
same sayings of that Greek Socrates, which wrote of the women of Greece
and nothing of them of this royaume, whom, I suppose, he never knew; for
if he had, I dare plainly say that he would have reserved them specially
in his said dictes. Always not presuming to put and set them in my said
Lord's book but in the end apart in the rehearsal of the works, humbly
requiring all them that shall read this little rehearsal, that if they
find any fault to arette it to Socrates, and not to me, which writeth as
hereafter followeth.

Socrates said that women be the apparels to catch men, but they take
none but them that will be poor or else them that know them not. And he
said that there is none so great empechement unto a man as ignorance and
women. And he saw a woman that bare fire, of whom he said that the
hotter bore the colder. And he saw a woman sick, of whom he said that
the evil resteth and dwelleth with the evil. And he saw a woman brought
to the justice, and many other women followed her weeping, of whom he
said the evil be sorry and angry because the evil shall perish. And he
saw a young maid that learned to write, of whom he said that men
multiplied evil upon evil. And he said that the ignorance of a man is
known in three things, that is to wit, when he hath no thought to use
reason; when he cannot refrain his covetise; and when he is governed by
the counsel of women, in that he knoweth that they know not. And he said
unto his disciples: "Will ye that I enseign and teach you how ye shall
now escape from all evil?" And they answered, "Yea." And then he said to
them, "For whatsoever thing that it be, keep you and be well ware that
ye obey not women." Who answered to him again, "And what sayest thou by
our good mothers, and of our sisters?" He said to them, "Suffice you
with that I have said to you, for all be semblable in malice." And he
said, "Whosoever will acquire and get science, let him never put him in
the governance of a woman." And he saw a woman that made her fresh and
gay, to whom he said, "Thou resemblest the fire; for the more wood is
laid to the fire the more will it burn, and the greater is the heat."
And on a time one asked him what him semed of women; he answered that
the women resemble a tree called Edelfla, which is the fairest tree to
behold and see that may be, but within it is full of venom. And they
said to him and demanded wherefore he blamed so women? and that he
himself had not come into this world, ne none other men also, without
them. He answered, "The woman is like unto a tree named Chassoygnet, on
which tree there be many things sharp and pricking, which hurt and prick
them that approach unto it; and yet, nevertheless, that same tree
bringeth forth good dates and sweet." And they demanded him why he fled
from the women? And he answered, "Forasmuch as I see them flee and
eschew the good and commonly do evil." And a woman said to him, "Wilt
thou have any other woman than me?" And he answered to her, "Art not
ashamed to offer thyself to him that demandeth nor desireth thee not?"

So, these be the dictes and sayings of the philosopher Socrates, which
he wrote in his book; and certainly he wrote no worse than afore is
rehearsed. And forasmuch as it is accordant that his dictes and sayings
should be had as well as others', therefore I have set it in the end of
this book. And also some persons, peradventure, that have read this book
in French would have arette a great default in me that I had not done my
devoir in visiting and overseeing of my Lord's book according to his
desire. And some other also, haply, might have supposed that Socrates
had written much more ill of women than here afore is specified,
wherefore in satisfying of all parties, and also for excuse of the said
Socrates, I have set these said dictes and sayings apart in the end of
this book, to the intent that if my said lord or any other person,
whatsoever he or she be that shall read or hear it, that if they be not
well pleased withal, that they with a pen race it out, or else rend the
leaf out of the book. Humbly requiring and beseeching my said lord to
take no displeasure on me so presuming, but to pardon whereas he shall
find fault; and that it please him to take the labour of the imprinting
in gree and thanks, which gladly have done my diligence in the
accomplishing of his desire and commandment; in which I am bounden so to
do for the good reward that I have received of his said lordship; whom I
beseech Almighty God to increase and to continue in his virtuous
disposition in this world, and after this life to live everlastingly in
Heaven. Amen.

_Boethius de Consolatione Philosophiae._

Epilogue (1478).

Thus endeth this book, which is named "The Book of Consolation of
Philosophy," which that Boecius made for his comfort and consolation, he
being in exile for the common and public weal, having great heaviness
and thoughtes, and in manner of despair, rehearsing in the said book how
Philosophy appeared to him shewing the mutability of this transitory
life, and also informing how fortune and hap should be understood, with
the predestination and prescience of God as much as may and is possible
to be known naturally, as afore is said in this said book. Which Boecius
was an excellent author of divers books, craftily and curiously made in
prose and metre; and also had translated divers books out of Greek into
Latin, and had been senator of that noble and famous city Rome; and also
his two sons senators for their prudence and wisdom. And forasmuch as he
withstood to his power the tyranny of Theodoric, then Emperor, and would
have defended the said city and senate from his wicked hands, whereupon
he was convicted and put in prison; in which prison he made this
foresaid book of consolation for his singular comfort. And forasmuch as
the style of it is hard and difficult to be understood of simple
persons, therefore the worshipful father and first founder and
embellisher of ornate eloquence in our English, I mean Master Geoffrey
Chaucer, hath translated this said work out of Latin into our usual and
mother tongue, following the Latin as nigh as is possible to be
understood; wherein in mine opinion he hath deserved a perpetual laud
and thank of all this noble royaume of England, and especially of them
that shall read and understand it. For in the said book they may see
what this transitory and mutable world is, and whereto every man living
in it ought to intend. Then forasmuch as this said book so translated is
rare and not spread ne known as it is digne and worthy, for the
erudition and learning as such as be ignorant and not knowing of it, at
request of a singular friend and gossip of mine, I, William Caxton, have
done my devoir and pain to imprint it in form as is here afore made; in
hoping that it shall profit much people to the weal and health of their
souls, and for to learn to have and keep the better patience in
adversities. And furthermore I desire and require you that of your
charity ye would pray for the soul of the said worshipful man Geoffrey
Chaucer, first translator of this said book into English, and
embellisher in making the said language ornate and fair, which shall
endure perpetually; and therefore he ought eternally to be remembered,
of whom the body and corpse lieth buried in the Abbey of Westminster
beside London, to-fore the chapel of Saint Benedict, by whose sepulchre
is written on a table hanging on a pillar his Epitaph, made by a Poet
Laureate, whereof the copy followeth &c.

  Epitaphium Galfridi Chaucer. per
  poetam laureatum Stephanum surigonum
  Mediolanensem in decretis licenciatum.

  Pyerides muse si possunt numina fletus
    Fundere, diuinas atque rigare genas,
  Galfridi vatis Chaucer crudelia fata
    Plangite; sit lacrimis abstinuisse nefas.
  Uos coluit viuens: at vos celebrate sepultum;
    Reddatur merito gracia digna viro.
  Grande decus vobis, en docti musa Maronis
    Qua didicit melius lingua latina loqui.
  Grande nouumque decus Chaucer famamque parauit;
    Heu quantum fuerat prisca britanna rudis.
  Reddidit insignem maternis versibus, vt iam
    Aurea splendescat, ferrea facta prius.

  Hunc latuisse virum nil si tot opuscula vertes
    Dixeris, egregiis quae decorata modis.
  Socratis ingenium. vel fontes philosophie
    Quitquid et arcani dogmata sacra ferunt
  Et quascunque velis tenuit dignissimus artes
    Hic vates, paruo conditus hoc tumulo.
  Ah laudis quantum preclara britannia perdis
    Dum rapuit tantum mors odiosa virum.
  Crudeles parcae, crudelia fila sorores!
    Non tamen extincto corpore fama perit
  Uiuet in eternum, viuent dum scripta poetæ,
    Uiuant eterno tot monimenta die.
  Si qua bonos tangit pietas, si carmine dignus
    Carmina qui cecinit tot cumulata modis,
  Haec sibi marmoreo scribantur verba sepulchro,
    Haec maneat laudis sarcina summa suae:
  Galfridus Chaucer vates et fama poesis
    Materne, hac sacra sum tumulatus humo.

  Post obitum Caxton voluit te viuere cura
    Willelmi, Chaucer, clare poeta, tui:
  Nam tua non solum compressit opuscula formis,
    Has quoque sed laudes iussit his esse tuas.

_Golden Legend._

First Edition (1483). Prologue.

The Holy and blessed doctor Saint Jerome saith this authority, "Do
always some good work to the end that the devil find thee not Idle." And
the holy doctor Saint Austin saith in the book of the labour of monks,
that no man strong or mighty to labour ought to be idle; for which cause
when I had performed and accomplished divers works and histories
translated out of French into English at the request of certain lords,
ladies, and gentlemen, as the Recuyel of the History of Troy, the Book
of the Chess, the History of Jason, the history of the Mirror of the
World, the 15 books of Metamorphoses in which be contained the fables of
Ovid, and the History of Godfrey of Boulogne in the conquest of
Jerusalem, with other divers works and books, I ne wist what work to
begin and put forth after the said works to-fore made. And forasmuch as
idleness is so much blamed, as saith Saint Bernard, the mellifluous
doctor, that she is mother of lies and step-dame of virtues, and it is
she that overthroweth strong men into sin, quencheth virtue, nourisheth
pride, and maketh the way ready to go to hell; and John Cassiodorus
saith that the thought of him that is idle thinketh on none other thing
but on licorous meats and viands for his belly; and the holy Saint
Bernard aforesaid saith in an epistle, when the time shall come that it
shall behove us to render and give accounts of our idle time, what
reason may we render or what answer shall we give when in idleness is
none excuse; and Prosper saith that whosoever liveth in idleness liveth
in manner of a dumb beast. And because I have seen the authorities that
blame and despise so much idleness, and also know well that it is one of
the capital and deadly sins much hateful unto God, therefore I have
concluded and firmly purposed in myself no more to be idle, but will
apply myself to labour and such occupation as I have been accustomed to
do. And forasmuch as Saint Austin aforesaid saith upon a psalm that good
work ought not to be done for fear of pain, but for the love of
righteousness, and that it be of very and sovereign franchise, and
because me-seemeth to be a sovereign weal to incite and exhort men and
women to keep them from sloth and idleness, and to let to be understood
to such people as be not lettered the nativities, the lives, the
passions, the miracles, and the death of the holy saints, and also some
other notorious deeds and acts of times past, I have submised myself to
translate into English the legend of Saints, which is called _Legenda
Aurea_ in Latin, that is to say, the _Golden Legend_; for in like wise
as gold is most noble above all other metals, in like wise is this
legend holden most noble above all other works. Against me here might
some persons say that this legend hath been translated before, and truth
it is; but forasmuch as I had by me a legend in French, another in
Latin, and the third in English, which varied in many and divers places,
and also many histories were comprised in the two other books which were
not in the English book; and therefore I have written one out of the
said three books, which I have ordered otherwise than the said English
legend is, which was so to-fore made, beseeching all them that shall see
or hear it read to pardon me where I have erred or made fault, which, if
any be, is of ignorance and against my will; and submit it wholly of
such as can and may, to correct it, humbly beseeching them so to do, and
in so doing they shall deserve a singular laud and merit; and I shall
pray for them unto Almighty God that He of His benign grace reward them,
etc., and that it profit to all them that shall read or hear it read,
and may increase in them virtue, and expel vice and sin, that by the
example of the holy saints amend their living here in this short life,
that by their merits they and I may come to everlasting life and bliss
in Heaven. Amen.

_Caton_ (1483).


Here beginneth the prologue or proem of the book called _Caton_, which
book hath been translated into English by Master Benet Burgh, late
Archdeacon of Colchester, and high canon of St. Stephen's at
Westminster, which ful craftily hath made it in ballad royal for the
erudition of my lord Bousher, son and heir at that time to my lord the
Earl of Essex. And because of late came to my hand a book of the said
Cato in French, which rehearseth many a fair learning and notable
examples, I have translated it out of French into English, as all along
hereafter shall appear, which I present unto the city of London.

Unto the noble, ancient, and renowned city, the city of London, in
England, I, William Caxton, citizen and conjury of the same, and of the
fraternity and fellowship of the mercery, owe of right my service and
good will, and of very duty am bounden naturally to assist, aid, and
counsel, as far forth as I can to my power, as to my mother of whom I
have received my nurture and living, and shall pray for the good
prosperity and policy of the same during my life. For, as me-seemeth, it
is of great need, because I have known it in my young age much more
wealthy, prosperous, and richer, than it is at this day. And the cause
is that there is almost none that intendeth to the common weal, but only
every man for his singular profit. Oh! when I remember the noble Romans,
that for the common weal of the city of Rome they spent not only their
moveable goods but they put their bodies and lives in jeopardy and to
the death, as by many a noble example we may see in the acts of Romans,
as of the two noble Scipios, African and Asian, Actilius, and many
others. And among all others the noble Cato, author and maker of this
book, which he hath left for to remain ever to all the people for to
learn in it and to know how every man ought to rule and govern him in
this life, as well for the life temporal as for the life spiritual. And
as in my judgement it is the best book for to be taught to young
children in school, and also to people of every age, it is full
convenient if it be well understood. And because I see that the children
that be born within the said city increase, and profit not like their
fathers and elders, but for the most part after that they be come to
their perfect years of discretion and ripeness of age, how well that
their fathers have left to them great quantity of goods yet scarcely
among ten two thrive, [whereas] I have seen and known in other lands in
divers cities that of one name and lineage successively have endured
prosperously many heirs, yea, a five or six hundred years, and some a
thousand; and in this noble city of London it can unneth continue unto
the third heir or scarcely to the second,--O blessed Lord, when I
remember this I am all abashed; I cannot judge the cause, but fairer ne
wiser ne better spoken children in their youth be nowhere than there be
in London, but at their full ripening there is no kernel ne good corn
found, but chaff for the most part. I wot well there be many noble and
wise, and prove well and be better and richer than ever were their
fathers. And to the end that many might come to honour and worship, I
intend to translate this said book of Cato, in which I doubt not, and if
they will read it and understand they shall much the better con rule
themselves thereby; for among all other books this is a singular book,
and may well be called the regiment or governance of the body and soul.

There was a noble clerk named Pogius of Florence, and was secretary to
Pope Eugene and also to Pope Nicholas, which had in the city of Florence
a noble and well-stuffed library which all noble strangers coming to
Florence desired to see; and therein they found many noble and rare
books. And when they had asked of him which was the best book of them
all, and that he reputed for best, he said that he held Cato glosed for
the best book of his library. Then since that he that was so noble a
clerk held this book for the best, doubtless it must follow that this is
a noble book and a virtuous, and such one that a man may eschew all
vices and ensue virtue. Then to the end that this said book may profit
unto the hearers of it, I beseech Almighty God that I may achieve and
accomplish it unto his laud and glory, and to the erudition and learning
of them that be ignorant, that they may thereby profit and be the
better. And I require and beseech all such that find fault or error,
that of their charity they correct and amend it, and I shall heartily
pray for them to Almighty God, that he reward them.

_Aesop._ (1483).


Now then I will finish all these fables with this tale that followeth,
which a worshipful priest and a parson told me lately. He said that
there were dwelling in Oxford two priests, both masters of art, of whom
that one was quick and could put himself forth, and that other was a
good simple priest. And so it happened that the master that was pert and
quick, was anon promoted to a benefice or twain, and after to prebends
and for to be a dean of a great prince's chapel, supposing and weening
that his fellow the simple priest should never have been promoted, but
be alway an Annual, or at the most a parish priest. So after long time
that this worshipful man, this dean, came riding into a good parish with
a ten or twelve horses, like a prelate, and came into the church of the
said parish, and found there this good simple man sometime his fellow,
which came and welcomed him lowly; and that other bad him "good morrow,
master John," and took him slightly by the hand, and asked him where he
dwelt. And the good man said, "In this parish." "How," said he, "are ye
here a soul priest or a parish priest?" "Nay, sir," said he, "for lack
of a better, though I be not able ne worthy, I am parson and curate of
this parish." And then that other availed his bonnet and said, "Master
parson, I pray you to be not displeased; I had supposed ye had not been
beneficed; but master," said he, "I pray you what is this benefice worth
to you a year?" "Forsooth," said the good simple man, "I wot never, for
I make never accounts thereof how well I have had it four or five
years." "And know ye not," said he, "what it is worth? it should seem a
good benefice." "No, forsooth" said he, "but I wot well what it shall be
worth to me." "Why" said he, "what shall it be worth?" "Forsooth" said
he, "if I do my true diligence in the cure of my parishioners in
preaching and teaching, and do my part longing to my cure, I shall have
heaven therefore; and if their souls be lost, or any of them by my
default, I shall be punished therefore, and hereof am I sure." And with
that word the rich dean was abashed, and thought he should do the better
and take more heed to his cures and benefices than he had done. This was
a good answer of a good priest and an honest. And herewith I finish this
book, translated and printed by me, William Caxton, at Westminster in
the Abbey, and finished the 26th day of March, the year of our Lord
1484, and the first year of the reign of King Richard the Third.

_Chaucer's Canterbury Tales._

Second Edition. (1484).


Great thanks, laud, and honour ought to be given unto the clerks, poets,
and historiographs that have written many noble books of wisedom of the
lives, passions, and miracles of holy saints, of histories of noble and
famous acts and faites, and of the chronicles since the beginning of the
creation of the world unto this present time, by which we be daily
informed and have knowledge of many things of whom we should not have
known if they had not left to us their monuments written. Among whom and
in especial before all others, we ought to give a singular laud unto
that noble and great philosopher Geoffrey Chaucer, the which for his
ornate writing in our tongue may well have the name of a laureate poet.
For to-fore that he by labour embellished, ornated, and made fair our
English, in this realm was had rude speech and incongruous, as yet it
appeareth by old books, which at this day ought not to have place ne be
compared among, ne to, his beauteous volumes and ornate writings, of
whom he made many books and treatises of many a noble history, as well
in metre as in rhyme and prose; and them so craftily made that he
comprehended his matters in short, quick, and high sentences, eschewing
prolixity, casting away the chaff of superfluity, and shewing the picked
grain of sentence uttered by crafty and sugared eloquence; of whom among
all others of his books I purpose to print, by the grace of God, the
book of the tales of Canterbury, in which I find many a noble history of
every state and degree; first rehearsing the conditions and the array of
each of them as properly as possible is to be said. And after their
tales which be of nobleness, wisdom, gentleness, mirth, and also of very
holiness and virtue, wherein he finisheth this said book, which book I
have diligently overseen and duly examined, to that end it be made
according unto his own making. For I find many of the said books which
writers have abridged it, and many things left out; and in some place
have set certain verses that he never made ne set in his book; of which
books so incorrect was one brought to me, 6 years past, which I supposed
had been very true and correct; and according to the same I did do
imprint a certain number of them, which anon were sold to many and
divers gentlemen, of whom one gentleman came to me and said that this
book was not according in many place unto the book that Geoffrey Chaucer
had made. To whom I answered that I had made it according to my copy,
and by me was nothing added ne minished. Then he said he knew a book
which his father had and much loved, that was very true and according
unto his own first book by him made; and said more, if I would imprint
it again he would get me the same book for a copy, howbeit he wist well
that his father would not gladly depart from it. To whom I said, in case
that he could get me such a book, true and correct, yet I would once
endeavour me to imprint it again for to satisfy the author, whereas
before by ignorance I erred in hurting and defaming his book in divers
places, in setting in some things that he never said ne made, and
leaving out many things that he made which be requisite to be set in it.
And thus we fell at accord, and he full gently got of his father the
said book and delivered it to me, by which I have corrected my book, as
hereafter, all along by the aid of Almighty God, shall follow; whom I
humbly beseech to give me grace and aid to achieve and accomplish to his
laud, honour, and glory; and that all ye that shall in this book read or
hear, will of your charity among your deeds of mercy remember the soul
of the said Geoffrey Chaucer, first author and maker of this book. And
also that all we that shall see and read therein may so take and
understand the good and virtuous tales, that it may so profit unto the
health of our souls that after this short and transitory life we may
come to everlasting life in Heaven. Amen.


_Malory's King Arthur_. (1485).


After that I had accomplished and finished divers histories, as well of
contemplation as of other historical and worldly acts of great
conquerors and princes, and also certain books of ensamples and
doctrine, many noble and divers gentlemen of this realm of England came
and demanded me many and oft times wherefore that I have not done made
and printed the noble history of the Saint Graal, and of the most
renowned Christian King, first and chief of the three best Christian and
worthy, Arthur, which ought most to be remembered among us Englishmen
before all other Christian Kings. For it is notoyrly known through the
universal world that there be nine worthy and the best that ever were;
that is to wit three Paynims, three Jews, and three Christian men. As
for the Paynims, they were to-fore the Incarnation of Christ, which were
named--the first, Hector of Troy, of whom the history is come both in
ballad and in prose--the second, Alexander the Great; and the third,
Julius Caesar, Emperor of Rome, of whom the histories be well known and
had. And as for the three Jews, which also were before the Incarnation
of our Lord of whom the first was Duke Joshua, which brought the
children of Israel into the land of behest; the second, David, King of
Jerusalem; and the third Judas Maccabæus; of these three the Bible
rehearseth all their noble histories and acts. And since the said
Incarnation have been three noble Christian men, installed and admitted
through the universal world into the number of the nine best and
worthy, of whom was first the noble Arthur, whose noble acts I purpose
to write in this present book here following. The second was
Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, of whom the history is had in many
places both in French and English; and the third and last was Godfrey of
Boulogne, of whose acts and life I made a book unto the excellent prince
and king of noble memory, King Edward the Fourth. The said noble
gentlemen instantly required me to print the history of the said noble
king and conqueror, King Arthur, and of his knights, with the history of
the Saint Graal, and of the death and ending of the said Arthur,
affirming that I ought rather to print his acts and noble feats than of
Godfrey of Boulogne or any of the other eight, considering that he was a
man born within this realm, and king and emperor of the same; and that
there be in French divers and many noble volumes of his acts, and also
of his knights. To whom I answered that divers men hold opinion that
there was no such Arthur, and that all such books as be made of him be
but feigned and fables, because that some chronicles make of him no
mention, ne remember him nothing, ne of his knights; whereto they
answered, and one in special said, that in him that should say or think
that there was never such a king called Arthur, might well be aretted
great folly and blindness; for he said that there were many evidences of
the contrary. First ye may see his sepulchre in the monastery of
Glastonbury; and also in 'Polychronicon,' in the fifth book, the sixth
chapter, and in the seventh book, the twenty-third chapter, where his
body was buried, and after found and translated into the said monastery.
Ye shall see also in the history of Boccaccio, in his book 'De casu
principum,' part of his noble acts and also of his fall. Also Galfridus
in his British book recounteth his life, and in divers places of England
many remembrances be yet of him, and shall remain perpetually, and also
of his knights. First in the Abbey of Westminster at Saint Edward's
shrine remaineth the print of his seal in red wax closed in beryl, in
which is written 'Patricius Arthurus, Britanniae Galliae Germaniae
Daciae Imperator.' Item, in the castle of Dover ye may see Gawain's
skull and Caradoc's mantle; at Winchester the round table; in other
places Lancelot's sword, and many other things. Then all these things
considered, there can no man reasonably gainsay but here was a king of
this land named Arthur; for in all places, Christian and heathen, he is
reputed and taken for one of the nine worthy, and the first of the three
Christian men. And also he is more spoken of beyond the sea; more books
made of his noble acts than there be in England, as well in Dutch,
Italian, Spanish, and Greek as in French; and yet of record remain in
witness of him in Wales in the town of Camelot the great stones and
marvellous works of iron lying under the ground, and royal vaults, which
divers now living hath seen. Wherefore it is a marvel why he is no more
renowned in his own country, save only it accordeth to the word of God,
which saith that no man is accepted for a prophet in his own country.
Then all these things aforesaid alleged, I could not well deny but that
there was such a noble king named Arthur, and reputed one of the nine
worthy, and first and chief of the Christian men; and many noble volumes
be made of him and of his noble knights in French, which I have seen and
read beyond the sea, which be not had in our maternal tongue, but in
Welsh be many, and also in French, and some in English, but nowhere nigh
all. Wherefore such as have lately been drawn out briefly into English,
I have, after the simple cunning that God hath sent to me, under the
favour and correction of all noble lords and gentlemen, emprised to
imprint a book of the noble histories of the said King Arthur and of
certain of his knights, after a copy unto me delivered, which copy Sir
Thomas Mallory did take out of certain books of French and reduced it
into English. And I according to my copy have down set it in print, to
the intent that noble men may see and learn the noble acts of chivalry,
the gentle and virtuous deeds that some knights used in those days, by
which they came to honour, and how they that were vicious were punished
and oft put to shame and rebuke; humbly beseeching all noble lords and
ladies and all other estates, of what estate or degree they be of, that
shall see and read in this said book and work, that they take the good
and honest acts in their remembrance and to follow the same, wherein
they shall find many joyous and pleasant histories and noble and
renowned acts of humanity, gentleness, and chivalry. For herein may be
seen noble chivalry, courtesy, humanity, friendliness, hardyhood, love,
friendship, cowardice, murder, hate, virtue, and sin. Do after the good
and leave the evil, and it shall bring you to good fame and renown. And
for to pass the time this book shall be pleasant to read in; but for to
give faith and believe that all is true that is contained herein, ye be
at your liberty. But all is written for our doctrine, and for to beware
that we fall not to vice ne sin, but to exercise and follow virtue, by
which we may come and attain to good fame and renown in this life, and
after this short and transitory life to come unto everlasting bliss in
heaven; the which He grant us that reigneth in Heaven, the Blessed
Trinity. Amen.

Then to proceed forth in this said book which I direct unto all noble
princes, lords and ladies, gentlemen or gentlewomen, that desire to read
or hear read of the noble and joyous history of the great conqueror and
excellent king, King Arthur, sometime King of this noble realm then
called Britain, I, William Caxton, simple person, present this book
following, which I have emprised to imprint. And treateth of the noble
acts, feats of arms, of chivalry, prowess, hardihood, humanity, love,
courtesy, and very gentleness, with many wonderful histories and
adventures. And for to understand briefly the contents of this volume, I
have divided it into 21 books, and every book chaptered, as hereafter
shall by God's grace follow. The first book shall treat how Uther
Pendragon begat the noble conqueror, King Arthur, and containeth 28
chapters. The second book treateth of Balyn the noble knight, and
containeth 19 chapters. The third book treateth of the marriage of King
Arthur to Queen Guinevere, with other matters, and containeth 15
chapters. The fourth book how Merlin was assotted, and of war made to
King Arthur, and containeth 29 chapters. The fifth book treateth of the
conquest of Lucius the emperor, and containeth 12 chapters. The sixth
book treateth of Sir Lancelot and Sir Lionel, and marvellous adventures,
and containeth 18 chapters. The seventh book treateth of a noble knight
called Sir Gareth, and named by Sir Kay 'Beaumains,' and containeth 36
chapters. The eighth book treateth of the birth of Sir Tristram the
noble knight, and of his acts, and containeth 41 chapters. The ninth
book treateth of a knight named by Sir Kay, 'Le cote mal taillé,' and
also of Sir Tristram, and containeth 44 chapters. The tenth book
treateth of Sir Tristram, and other marvellous adventures, and
containeth 83 chapters. The eleventh book treateth of Sir Lancelot and
Sir Galahad, and containeth 14 chapters. The twelfth book treateth of
Sir Lancelot and his madness, and containeth 14 chapters. The thirteenth
book treateth how Galahad came first to King Arthur's court, and the
quest how the Sangreal was begun, and containeth 20 chapters. The
fourteenth book treateth of the quest of the Sangreal, and containeth 10
chapters. The fifteenth book treateth of Sir Lancelot, and containeth 6
chapters. The sixteenth book treateth of Sir Boris and Sir Lionel his
brother, and containeth 17 chapters. The seventeenth book treateth of
the Sangreal, and containeth 23 chapters. The eighteenth book treateth
of Sir Lancelot and the Queen, and containeth 25 chapters. The
nineteenth book treateth of Queen Guinevere, and Lancelot, and
containeth 13 chapters. The twentieth book treateth of the piteous death
of Arthur, and containeth 22 chapters. The twenty-first book treateth of
his last departing, and how Sir Lancelot came to revenge his death, and
containeth 13 chapters. The sum is 21 books, which contain the sum of
five hundred and seven chapters, as more plainly shall follow

_Eneydos_ (1490).


After divers work made, translated, and achieved, having no work in
hand, I sitting in my study whereas lay many divers pamphlets and books,
happened that to my hand came a little book in French, which lately was
translated out of Latin by some noble clerk of France, which book is
named _Aeneidos_, made in Latin by that noble poet and great clerk,
Virgil. Which book I saw over, and read therein how, after the general
destruction of the great Troy, Aeneas departed, bearing his old father
Anchises upon his shoulders, his little son Iulus on his hand, his wife
with much other people following, and how he shipped and departed, with
all the history of his adventures that he had ere he came to the
achievement of his conquest of Italy, as all along shall be shewed in
his present book. In which book I had great pleasure because of the fair
and honest terms and words in French; which I never saw before like, ne
none so pleasant ne so well ordered; which book as seemed to me should
be much requisite to noble men to see, as well for the eloquence as the
histories. How well that many hundred years past was the said book of
_Aeneidos_, with other works, made and learned daily in schools,
especially in Italy and other places; which history the said Virgil made
in metre. And when I had advised me in this said book, I delibered and
concluded to translate it into English; and forthwith took a pen and ink
and wrote a leaf or twain, which I oversaw again to correct it. And when
I saw the fair and strange terms therein, I doubted that it should not
please some gentlemen which late blamed me, saying that in my
translations I had over curious terms, which could not be understood of
common people, and desired me to use old and homely terms in my
translations. And fain would I satisfy every man, and so to do took an
old book and read therein, and certainly the English was so rude and
broad that I could not well understood it. And also my Lord Abbot of
Westminster did do show to me lately certain evidences written in old
English, for to reduce it into our English now used. And certainly it
was written in such wise that it was more like to Dutch than English, I
could not reduce ne bring it to be understood. And certainly our
language now used varieth far from that which was used and spoken when I
was born. For we Englishmen be born under the domination of the moon,
which is never steadfast but ever wavering, waxing one season and waneth
and decreaseth another season. And that common English that is spoken in
one shire varieth from another, insomuch that in my days happened that
certain merchants were in a ship in Thames for to have sailed over the
sea into Zealand, and for lack of wind they tarried at Foreland, and
went to land for to refresh them. And one of them named Sheffield, a
mercer, came into a house and asked for meat, and especially he asked
after eggs; and the goodwife answered that she could speak no French,
and the merchant was angry, for he also could speak no French, but would
have had eggs, and she understood him not. And then at last another
said, that he would have "eyren"; then the goodwife said that she
understood him well. Lo, what should a man in these days now write, eggs
or eyren? Certainly it is hard to please every man because of diversity
and change of language. For in these days every man that is in any
reputation in his country will utter his communication and matters in
such manners and terms that few men shall understand them. And some
honest and great clerks have been with me and desired me to write the
most curious terms that I could find; and thus between plain, rude and
curious I stand abashed. But in my judgment the common terms that be
daily used be lighter to be understood than the old and ancient English.
And forasmuch as this present book is not for a rude uplandish man to
labour therein ne read it, but only for a clerk and a noble gentleman
that feeleth and understandeth in feats of arms, in love and in noble
chivalry. Therefore in a mean between both I have reduced and translated
this said book into our English, not over-rude ne curious; but in such
terms as shall be understood, by God's grace, according to my copy. And
if any man will intermit in reading of it, and findeth such terms that
he cannot understand, let him go read and learn Virgil or the pistles of
Ovid, and there he shall see and understand lightly all, if he have a
good reader and informer. For this book is not for every rude and
uncunning man to see, but to clerks and very gentlemen that understand
gentleness and science. Then I pray all them that shall read in this
little treatise to hold me for excused for the translating of it, for I
acknowledge myself ignorant of cunning to emprise on me so high and
noble a work. But I pray Master John Skelton, late created poet laureate
in the University of Oxenford, to oversee and correct this said book,
and to address and expound, wherever shall be found fault, to them that
shall require it.

For him I know for sufficient to expound and English every difficulty
that is therein; for he hath lately translated the Epistles of Tully,
and the book of Diodorus Siculus, and divers other works out of Latin
into English, not in rude and old language, but in polished and ornate
terms craftily, as he that hath read Virgil, Ovid, Tully, and all the
other noble poets and orators to me unknown. And also he hath read the
nine Muses, and understands their musical sciences, and to whom of them
each science is appropred. I suppose he hath drunken of Helicon's well.
Then I pray him and such others to correct, add, or minish whereas he or
they shall find fault; for I have but followed my copy in French as nigh
as to me is possible. And if any word be said therein well, I am glad;
and if otherwise, I submit my said book to their correction. Which book
I present unto the high born, my to-coming natural and sovereign lord
Arthur, by the grace of God Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and Earl
of Chester, first-begotten son and heir unto our most dread natural and
sovereign lord and most Christian King, Henry the VII., by the grace of
God King of England and of France, and lord of Ireland; beseeching his
noble Grace to receive it in thank of me his most humble subject and
servant. And I shall pray unto Almighty God for his prosperous
increasing in virtue, wisedom, and humanity, that he may be equal with
the most renowned of all his noble progenitors; and so to live in this
present life that after this transitory life he and we all may come to
everlasting life in Heaven. Amen.

_A Miracle Play of the Nativity._

[The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors, from the Coventry Corpus
Christi Plays.]

_A Miracle Play of the Nativity._

[The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors, from the Coventry Corpus
Christi Plays.]

=Written before 1500.=

  ISAYE. The Sovereign that seeth every secret,
    He save you all and make you perfect and strong,
  And give us grace with His mercy for to meet!
    For now in great misery mankind is bound;
    The serpent hath given us so mortal a wound
  That no creature is able us for to release
  Till the right Unction of Judah doth cease.

  Then shall much mirth and joy increase,
    And the right root in Israel spring,
  That shall bring forth the grain of holiness;
    And out of danger He shall us bring
    Into that region where He is King
  Which above all other far doth abound,
  And that cruel Satan he shall confound.

  Wherefore I come here upon this ground
    To comfort every creature of birth;
  For I, Isaye the prophet, hath found
    Many sweet matters whereof we may make mirth
      On this same wise;
  For, though that Adam he deemed to death
  With all his childer, as Abel and Seth,
  Yet Ecce virgo concipiet,--
    Lo where a remedy shall rise.

  Behold, a maid shall conceive a child
    And get us more grace than ever men had,
  And her maidenhood nothing defiled.
  She is deputed to bear the Son, Almighty God.
    Lo! sovereignties, now may you be glad.
  For of this maiden all we may be fain;
    For Adam, that now lies in sorrows full sad,
  Her glorious birth shall redeem him again
      From bondage and thrall.
    Now be merry every mon,
    For this deed briefly in Israel shall be done,
    And before the Father in throne,
      That shall glad us all.

  More of this matter fain would I move,
    But longer time I have not here for to dwell.
  That Lord that is merciful his mercy so in us may prove
    For to save our souls from the darkness of hell;
      And to His bliss
        He us bring
      As He is
        Both Lord and King
        And shall be everlasting
        In secula seculorum, Amen.
               [_Exit_ ISAIAH; _enter_ GABRIEL _to_ MARY.]

  GABRIEL. Hail, Mary, full of grace!
    Our Lord God is with thee;
  Above all women that ever was,
    Lady, blessed mote thou be!

  MARY. Almighty Father and King of bliss,
    From all disease thou save me now!
  For inwardly my spirits troubled is,
    That I am amazed and know not how.

  GABRIEL. Dread thee nothing, maiden, of this;
    From heaven above hither am I sent
  Of embassage from that King of bliss
    Unto thee, Lady and Virgin reverent!
    Saluting thee here as most excellent,
  Whose virtue above all other doth abound.
  Wherefore in thee grace shall be found;
  For thou shalt conceive upon this ground
    The Second Person of God in throne;
    He will be born of thee alone;
      Without sin thou shalt him see.
    Thy grace and thy goodness will never be gone,
      But ever to live in virginity.

  MARY. I marvel sore how that may be.
    Man's company knew I never yet,
  Nor never to do, cast I me,
    While that our Lord sendeth me my wit.

  GABRIEL. The Holy Ghost in thee shall light,
    And shadow thy soul so with virtue
  From the Father that is on height.
    These words, turtle, they be full true.

  This child that of thee shall be born
    Is the Second Person in Trinity;
  He shall save that was forlorn,
    And the fiend's power destroy shall He.

  These words, Lady, full true they been,
    And further, Lady, here in thine own lineage
  Behold Elizabeth, thy cousin clean,
    The which was barren and past all age,

  And now with child she hath been
  Six months and more, as shall be seen;
    Wherefore, discomfort thee not, Mary!
    For to God impossible nothing may be.

  MARY. Now, and it be that Lord's will
    Of my body to be born and for to be,
  His high pleasures for to fulfil
    As his own handmaid I submit me.

  GABRIEL. Now blessed be the time set
    That thou wast born in thy degree!
  For now is the knot surely knit,
    And God conceived in Trinity.

  Now farewell, Lady of mightes most!
    Unto the Godhead I thee beteach.
  MARY. That Lord thee guide in every coast,
    And lowly He lead me and be my leech!
    _Here the angel departeth, and Joseph cometh in and saith:_

  JOSEPH. Mary, my wife so dear,
  How do ye, dame, and what cheer
    Is with you this tide?
  MARY. Truly, husband, I am here
    Our Lord's will for to abide.

  JOSEPH. What! I trow that we be all shent!
  Say, woman; who hath been here sith I went,
    To rage with thee?
  MARY. Sir, here was neither man nor man's even,
  But only the sond of our Lord God in heaven.
  JOSEPH. Say not so, woman; for shame, let be!

  Ye be with child so wonders great,
  Ye need no more thereof to treat,
    Against all right.
  Forsooth, this child, dame, is not mine.
  Alas, that ever with mine eyne
    I should see this sight!

  Tell me, woman; whose is this child?
  MARY. None but yours, husband so mild,
    And that shall be seen, [i-wis].
  JOSEPH. But mine? alas! alas! why say ye so?
  Well-away! woman, now may I go,
    Beguiled, as many another is.

  MARY. Nay, truly, sir, ye be not beguiled,
  Nor yet with spot of sin I am not defiled;
    Trust it well, husband.
  JOSEPH. Husband, in faith! and that a-cold!
  Ah! well-away, Joseph, as thou art old!
    Like a fool now may I stand
      And truss.

  But, in faith, Mary, thou art in sin;
  So much as I have cherished thee, dame, and all thy kin,
    Behind my back to serve me thus!

  All old men, example take by me,--
  How I am beguiled here may you see!--
    To wed so young a child.
  Now farewell, Mary, I leave thee here alone,--
  [Woe] worth thee, dame, and thy works each one!--
    For I will no more be beguiled
      For friend nor foe.
    Now of this deed I am so dull,
    And of my life I am so full,
      No further may I go.
            [_Lies down to sleep; to him enters an Angel._]

    FIRST ANGEL. Arise up, Joseph, and go home again
      Unto Mary, thy wife, that is so free.
    To comfort her look that thou be fain,
      For, Joseph, a clean maiden is she:
    She hath conceived without any train
      The Second Person in Trinity;
    Jesu shall be his name, certain,
      And all this world save shall He;
        Be not aghast.
    JOSEPH. Now, Lord, I thank thee with heart full sad,
  For of these tidings I am so glad
    That all my care away is cast;
    Wherefore to Mary I will in haste.
          [_Returns to_ MARY.]

  Ah! Mary, Mary, I kneel full low;
    Forgive me, sweet wife, here in this land!
  Mercy, Mary! for now I know
    Of your good governance and how it doth stand.

    Though that I did thee mis-name,
  Mercy Mary! while I live,
  Will I never sweet wife thee grieve
    In earnest nor in game.

  MARY. Now, that Lord in Heaven, sir, He you forgive!
    And I do forgive you in His name
          For evermore.
  JOSEPH. Now truly, sweet wife, to you I say the same.

  But now to Bethlehem must I wind,
    And show myself, so full of care;
  And I to leave you, thus great, behind,--
    God wot, the while, dame, how you should fare.

  MARY. Nay, hardily, husband, dread ye nothing;
    For I will walk with you on the way.
  I trust in God, Almighty King,
    To speed right well in our journey.

  JOSEPH. Now, I thank you, Mary, of your goodness,
    That ye my words will not blame;
  And sith that to Bethlehem we shall us dress,
    Go we together in God's holy name.
            [_They set out and travel awhile._]

  Now to Bethlehem have we leagues three;
    The day is nigh spent, it draweth toward night;
  Fain at your ease, dame, I would that ye should be,
    For you groan all wearily, it seemeth in my sight.

  MARY. God have mercy, Joseph, my spouse so dear;
    All prophets hereto doth bear witness,
  The weary time now draweth near
    That my child will be born, which is King of bliss.

  Unto some place, Joseph, hendly me lead,
    That I might rest me with grace in this tide.
  The light of the Father over us both spread,
    And the grace of my Son with us here abide!

  JOSEPH. Lo! blessed Mary, here shall ye lend,
    Chief chosen of our Lord and cleanest in degree;
  And I, for help to town will I wend.
    Is not this the best, dame? what say ye?

  MARY. God have mercy, Joseph, my husband so meek!
    And heartily I pray you, go now from me.
  JOSEPH. That shall be done in haste, Mary so sweet!
    The comfort of the Holy Ghost leave I with thee.

  Now to Bethlehem straight will I wend
    To get some help for Mary so free.
  Some help of women God may me send,
    That Mary, full of grace, pleased may be.
  [_In another part of the place a shepherd begins to speak._]

  FIRST PASTOR. Now God, that art in Trinity,
  Thou save my fellows and me!
  For I know not where my sheep nor they be,
        This night it is so cold.
  Now is it nigh the midst of the night;
  These weathers are dark and dim of light,
  That of them can I have no sight,
        Standing here on this wold.

  But now to make their heartes light,
  Now will I full right
        Stand upon this lo,
  And to them cry with all my might,--
    Full well my voice they know:
    What ho! fellows! ho! ho! ho!
      [_Two other shepherds appear (in the street)._]

  SECOND PASTOR. Hark, Sim, hark! I hear our brother on the lo.
  This is his voice, right well I know;
  Therefore toward him let us go,
        And follow his voice aright.
  See, Sim, see, where he doth stand!
  I am right glad we have him fand!
  Brother where hast thou been so lang,
        And it is so cold this night?

  FIRST PASTOR. Eh! friends, there came a pirie of wind with a mist
  That forth of my ways went I
  And great heaviness then made I!
        And was full sore afright.
  Then forth to go wist I not whither,
  But travelled on this lo hither and thither;
  I was so weary of this cold weather
        That near past was my might.

  THIRD PASTOR. Brethren now we be past that fright,
  And it is far within the night,
  Full soon will spring the daylight,
        It draweth full near the tide.
  Here awhile let us rest,
  And repast ourselves of the best;
  Till that the sun rise in the east
        Let us all here abide.

  _There the shepherds draws forth their meat and doth eat and
  drink and as they drink, they find the star and say thus:_

  THIRD PASTOR. Brethren, look up and behold!
    What thing is yonder that shineth so bright?
  As long as ever I have watched my fold,
    Yet saw I never such a sight
        In field.
  Aha! now is come the time that old fathers hath told,
  That in the winter's night so cold,
  A child of maiden born be He would
    In whom all prophecies shall be fulfilled.

  FIRST PASTOR. Truth it is without nay,
  So said the prophet Isaye,
    That a child should be born of a maid so bright
  In winter nigh the shortest day,
    Or else in the midst of the night.

  SECOND PASTOR. Loved be God, most of might,
  That our grace is to see that sight;
  Pray we to Him as it is right,
        If that His will it be,
  That we may have knowledge of this signification
  And why it appeareth on this fashion;
  And ever to Him let us give laudation,
        In earth while that we be.
    _There the Angels sing "Gloria in excelsis Deo."_

  THIRD PASTOR. Hark! They sing above in the clouds clear!
  Heard I never of so merry a quere.
  Now, gentle brethren, draw we near
        To hear their harmony.

  FIRST PASTOR.--Brother, mirth and solace is come us among;
  For by the sweetness of their song,
  God's Son is come, whom we have looked for long,
    As signifieth this star that we do see.
  SECOND PASTOR. "Glory, gloria in excelsis," that was their song;
    How say ye, fellows, said they not thus?
  FIRST PASTOR. That is well said; now go we hence
  To worship that child of high magnificence,
  And that we may sing in His presence
    "Et in terra pax hominibus."
  _There the shepherds sings "As I out rode," and Joseph saith:_

  JOSEPH. Now, Lord, this noise that I do hear,
    With this great solemnity,
  Greatly amended hath my cheer;
    I trust high news shortly will be.
      _There the Angels sing "Gloria in excelsis" again._

  MARY. Ah! Joseph, husband, come hither anon;
    My child is born that is King of bliss.
  JOSEPH. Now welcome to me, the maker of mon,
  With all the homage that I con;
    Thy sweet mouth here will I kiss.
  MARY. Ah! Joseph, husband, my child waxeth cold,
    And we have no fire to warm him with.
  JOSEPH. Now in mine arms I shall him fold,
    King of all kings by field and by frith;
  He might have had better, and Himself would,
    Than the breathing of these beasts to warm him with.

  MARY. Now, Joseph, my husband, fetch hither my child,
    The Maker of man, and high King of bliss.
  JOSEPH. That shall be done anon, Mary so mild,
    For the breathing of these beasts hath warmed [Him] well, i-wis.
                                [_Angels appear to the shepherds._]

  FIRST ANGEL. Herd-men hend,
  Dread ye nothing
    Of this star that ye do see;
  For this same morn
  God's Son is born
    In Bethlehem of a maiden free.

  SECOND ANGEL. Hie you thither in haste;
    It is His will ye shall Him see
  Lying in a crib of poor repast,
    Yet of David's line come is He.
      [_The Shepherds approach and worship the Babe._]

  FIRST PASTOR. Hail, maid, mother, and wife so mild!
    As the angel said, so have we fand.
  I have nothing to present with thy child
    But my pipe; hold, hold, take it in thy hand;
    Wherein much pleasure that I have fand;
  And now, to honour thy glorious birth,
  Thou shalt it have to make thee mirth.

  SECOND PASTOR. Now, hail be thou, child, and thy dame!
    For in a poor lodging here art thou laid,
  So the angel said and told us thy name;
    Hold, take thou here my hat on thy head!
    And now of one thing thou art well sped,
  For weather thou hast no need to complain,
  For wind, ne sun, hail, snow and rain.

  THIRD PASTOR. Hail be thou, Lord over water and lands!
    For thy coming all we may make mirth.
  Have here my mittens to put on thy hands,
    Other treasure have I none to present thee with.

  MARY. Now, herdmen hend,
    For your coming,
      To my child shall I pray,
    As He is heaven King,
    To grant you His blessing,
  And to His bliss that ye may wend
        At your last day.

  _There the shepherds singeth again and goth forth of the place,
  and the two prophets cometh in and saith thus:_

  FIRST PROPHET. Novels, novels,
  Of wonderful marvels
  Very high and diffuse unto the hearing!
  As Scripture tells,
  These strange novels
      To you I bring.

  SECOND PROPHET. Now heartily, sir, I desire to know,
  If it would please you for to show
    Of what manner a thing.
    FIRST PROPHET. Very mystical unto your hearing,--
    Of the nativity of a King.

  SECOND PROPHET. Of a King? Whence should he come?
    FIRST PROPHET. From that region royal and mighty mansion,
  The Seed celestial and heavenly wisdom,
      The Second Person and God's own Son,
  For our sake now is man become.

  This goodly sphere
  Descended here
  Into a Virgin clear,
    She undefiled.

       *       *       *       *       *

  By whose work obscure
  Our frail nature
    Is now beguiled.
    _Second Prophet._ Why, hath she a child?

  FIRST PROPHET. Eh! trust it well;
    And never-the-less
    Yet is she a maiden even as she was,
  And her Son the King of Israel.

  SECOND PROPHET. A wonderful marvel
    How that may be,
  And far doth excell
    All our capacity:
    How that the Trinity,
      Of so high regality,
    Should joined be
      Unto our mortality!

  FIRST PROPHET. Of his own great mercy,
    As ye shall see the exposition,
  Through whose humanity
  All Adam's progeny
    Redeemed shall be out of perdition.

  Sith man did offend,
  Who should amend
    But the said man, and none other?
  For the which cause He
  Incarnate would be
    And live in misery as man's own brother.

  SECOND PROPHET. Sir, unto the Deity,
  I believe perfectly,
    Impossible to be there is nothing;
  Howbeit this wark
  Unto me is dark
    In the operation or working.
  FIRST PROPHET. What more reprief
  Is unto belief
    Than to be doubting?

  SECOND PROPHET. Yet doubts oft-times hath derivation.
  FIRST PROPHET. That is by the means of communication
  Of truths to have a due probation
      By the same doubts reasoning.
      SECOND PROPHET. Then to you this one thing:
  Of what noble and high lineage is she
  That might this veritable prince's mother be?

  FIRST PROPHET. Undoubted she is come of high parage,
  Of the house of David and Solomon the sage;
  And one of the same line joined to her by marriage;
      Of whose tribe
      We do subscribe
  This child's lineage.

  SECOND PROPHET. And why in that wise?
  FIRST PROPHET. For it was the guise
    To count the parent on the man's line,
    And not on the feminine,
      Amongst us here in Israel.

  SECOND PROPHET. Yet can I not espy by no wise
  How this child born should be without nature's prejudice.
  FIRST PROPHET. Nay, no prejudice unto nature, I dare well say;
  For the King of nature may
      Have all at His own will.
    Did not the power of God
    Make Aaron's rod
  Bear fruit in one day?

  SECOND PROPHET. Truth it is indeed.
  FIRST PROPHET. Then look you and read.
  SECOND PROPHET. Ah! I perceive the seed
    Whereupon that you spake.
  It was for our need
    That He frail nature did take,
  And His blood He should shed
    Amends for to make
      For our transgression;
    As it is said in prophecy
    That of the line of Judee
    Should spring a right Messee
    By whom all we
      Shall have redemption.

  FIRST PROPHET. Sir, now is the time come,
  And the date thereof run,
    Of His nativity.
    SECOND PROPHET. Yet I beseech you heartily
      That ye would show me how
    That this strange novelty
      Were brought unto you.

  FIRST PROPHET. This other night so cold,
  Hereby upon a wold,
  Shepherds watching their fold,
    In the night so far
    To them appeared a star,
    And ever it drew them nar;
  Which star they did behold
  Brighter, they say, in fold,
    Than the sun so clear
    In his midday sphere,
  And they these tidings told.

  SECOND PROPHET. What, secretly?
  FIRST PROPHET. Nay, nay, hardily;
    They made thereof no counsel;
  For they sang as loud
  As ever they could,
    Praising the King of Israel.

  SECOND PROPHET. Yet do I marvel
    In what pile or castle
      These herdmen did Him see.

  FIRST PROPHET. Neither in halls nor yet in bowers
    Born would He not be,
  Neither in castles nor yet in towers
    That seemly were to see;

  But at His Father's will,
  The prophecy to fulfil,
    Betwixt an ox and an ass
    Jesu, this King, born he was.
  Heaven He bring us till!

  SECOND PROPHET. Sir, ah! but when these shepherds had seen him there,
  Into what place did they repair?
  FIRST PROPHET. Forth they went and glad they were,
    Going they did sing;
  With mirth and solace they made good cheer
    For joy of that new tiding;

  And after, as I heard them tell,
  He rewarded them full well:
  He grant them heaven therein to dwell;
    In are they gone with joy and mirth,
  And their song it is "Noël."

  _There the prophets goeth forth and_ HEROD _cometh in,
  and the messenger._

  NUNTIUS. Faites paix, dominies, barons de grande renom!
  Paix, seigneurs, chevaliers de noble puissance!
  Paix, gentils hommes, compagnons petits et grands!
  Je vous command de garder, trestous, silence!
  Paix, tant que votre noble Roi seit ici present!
  Que nulle personne ici non fasse point de difference,
  N' ici harde de frapper; mais gardez toute patience,--
  Mais gardez [a] votre seigneur toute reverence;
  Car il est votre Roi tout puissant.
  Au nom de lui, paix tous! je vous command,
  Et le roi Herod le grand-diable vous emporte!

  HEROD. Qui statis in Jude et Rex Israel,
    And the mightiest conqueror that ever walked on ground;
  For I am even he that made both heaven and hell,
    And of my mighty power holdeth up this world round.
    Magog and Madroke, both them did I confound,
  And with this bright brand their bones I brake asunder,
  That all the wide world on those raps did wonder.

  I am the cause of this great light and thunder;
    It is through my fury that they such noise doth make.
  My fearful countenance the clouds so doth encumber
    That off-times for dread thereof the very earth doth quake.
    Look, when I with malice this bright brand doth shake,
  All the whole world from the north to the south
  I may them destroy with one word of my mouth!

  To recount unto you mine innumerable substance,
    That were too much for any tongue to tell;
  For all the whole Orient is under mine obedience,
    And prince am I of Purgatory and chief captain of hell;
    And those tyrannous traitors by force may I compel,
  Mine enemies to vanquish and even to dust them drive,
  And with a twinkle of mine eye not one to be left alive.

  Behold my countenance and my colour,
    Brighter than the sun in the midst of the day.
  Where can you have a more greater succour
    Than to behold my person that is so gay?
    My falcon and my fashion, with my gorgeous array--
  He that had the grace alway thereon to think,
  Live he might alway without either meat or drink.

  And this my triumphant fame most highliest doth abound
    Throughout this world in all regions abroad,
  Resembling the favour of that most mighty Mahound;
    From Jupiter by descent and cousin to the great God,
    And named the most renowned King Herod,
  Which that all princes hath under subjection,
  And all their whole power under my protection.

  And therefore, my herald, here, called Calchas,
    Warn thou every port that no ships arrive,
  Nor also alien stranger through my realm pass,
    But they for their truage do pay marks five.
      Now speed thee forth hastily,
      For they that will the contrary,
      Upon a gallows hanged shall be,
  And, by Mahound, of me they get no grace.

  NUNTIUS. Now, lord and master, in all the hast
    Thy worthy will it shall be wrought,
  And thy royal countries shall be past.
    In as short time as can be throught.

  HEROD. Now shall our regions throughout be sought
    In every place both east and west;
  If any caitiffs to me be brought,
    It shall be nothing for their best.
    And the while that I do rest,
  Trumpets, viols, and other harmony
  Shall bless the waking of my majesty.
    _Here_ HEROD _goeth away and the three kings speaketh in the street._

  FIRST REX. Now blessed be God of his sweet sond,
    For yonder a fair bright star I do see!
  Now is he comen us among,
    As the prophet said that it should be.

  A said there should a babe be born,
    Coming of the root of Jesse,
  To save mankind that was forlorn;
    And truly comen now is He.

  Reverence and worship to Him will I do,
    As God and man, that all made of nought.
  All the prophets accorded and said even so,
    That with his precious blood mankind should be bought.

  He grant me grace,
    By yonder star that I see,
  And into that place
    Bring me,
  That I may Him worship with humility
  And see His glorious face.

  SECOND REX. Out of my way I deem that I am,
    For tokens of this country can I none see;
  Now God, that on earth madest man,
    Send me some knowledge where that I be!

  Yonder, me-thinks, a fair bright star I see,
    The which betokeneth the birth of a child
  That hither is come to make man free;
    He born of a maid, and she nothing defiled.

  To worship that child is mine intent;
    Forth now will I take my way.
  I trust some company God hath me sent,
    For yonder I see a king labour on the way;

  Toward him now will I ride.
    Hark! comely King, I you pray,
  Into what coast will ye this tide
    Or whither lies your journey?

  FIRST REX. To seek a child is mine intent,
  Of whom the prophetes hath meant;
  The time is come, now is he sent,
    By yonder star here may [I] see.
  SECOND REX.--Sir, I pray you, with your license,
  To ride with you unto His presence;
  To Him will I offer frankincense,
    For the Head of all Holy Church shall He be.

  THIRD REX. I ride wandering in wayes wide,
    Over mountains and dales; I wot not where I am.
  Now, King of all Kings, send me such guide
    That I might have knowledge of this country's name.

  Ah! yonder I see a sight, by seeming all afar,
    The which betokens some news, as I trow;
  As, me-think, a child pearing in a star.
    I trust He be come that shall defend us from woe.

  Two Kings yonder I see,
    And to them will I ride
  For to have their company;
    I trust they will me abide.
  Hail comely Kings and gent!
  Good sirs, I pray you, whither are ye meant?

  FIRST REX. To seek a child is our intent,
    Which betokens yonder star, as ye may see.
  SECOND REX. To Him I purpose this present.
    THIRD REX. Sirs, I pray you, and that right humbly,
    With you that I may ride in company.
    To Almighty God now pray we
    That His precious person we may see.

      _Here_ HEROD _cometh in again and the messenger saith:_

  NUNTIUS.--Hail, lord most of might!
      Thy commandement is right;
      Into thy land is come this night
        Three kings, and with them a great company.
      HEROD. What make those kings in this country?
      NUNTIUS. To seek a king and a child, they say.
          HEROD. Of what age should he be?
          NUNTIUS. Scant twelve days old fully.

      HEROD. And was he so late born?
      NUNTIUS. Eh, sir, so they showed me, this same day in the morn.
      HEROD. Now, in pain of death bring them me beforn.

    And therefore, herald, now hie thee in haste,
  In all speed that thou were dight,
    Or that those kings the country be past;
  Look thou bring them all three before my sight.

  And in Jerusalem inquire more of that child;
  But I warn thee that thy words be mild,
  For there must thou heed and craft wield
  How to fordo his power, and those three kings shall be beguiled.

  NUNTIUS. Lord, I am ready at your bidding,
  To serve thee as my lord and king;
  For joy thereof, lo, how I spring
  With light heart and fresh gambolling,
      Aloft here on this mould!

  HEROD. Then speed thee forth hastily,
  And look that thou bear thee evenly;
  And also, I pray thee heartily,
  That thou do commend me
      Both to young and old.
                [_The_ Messenger _goes to the_ Kings.]

  NUNTIUS. Hail, sir kings, in your degree!
    Herod, king of these countries wide,
  Desireth to speak with you all three,
    And for your coming he doth abide.

  FIRST REX. Sir, at his will we be right bain.
    Hie us, brethren, unto that lord's place;
  To speak with him we would be fain;
    That child that we seek, He grant us of His grace!
                [_They go to_ HEROD.]

  NUNTIUS. Hail, lord without peer!
    These three kings here have we brought.
  HEROD. Now welcome, sir kings, all in-fere!
    But of my bright blee, sirs, abash ye not!

  Sir kings, as I understand,
  A star hath guided you into my land,
  Wherein great hearting ye have found
      By reason of her beams bright.

  Wherefore I pray you heartily
  The very truth that ye would certify,
  How long it is surely
      Since of that star you had first sight.

  FIRST REX. Sir king, the very truth to say,
    And for to show you as it is best,
  This same is even the twelfth day
    Sith it appeared to us to be west.

  HEROD. Brethren, then is there no more to say,
  But with heart and will keep ye your journey,
  And come home by me this same way,
      Of your news that I might know.

  You shall triumph in this country,
  And with great concord banquet with me,
  And that child myself then will I see,
      And honour him also.

  SECOND REX. Sir, your commandment we will fulfil,
  And humbly obey ourself theretill.
  He that wieldeth all things at will
      The ready way us teach,
  Sir King, that we may pass your land in peace!
  HEROD. Yes, and walk softly even at your own ease.

  Your passport for a hundred days
    Here shall you have of clear command,
  Our realm to labour any ways
    Here shall you have by special grant.

  THIRD REX. Now farewell, king of high degree!
    Humbly of you our leave we take.
  HEROD. Then adieu, sir kings all three!
  And while I live be bold of me.
  There is nothing in this country
      But for your own ye shall it take.
                [_Exeunt the_ Three Kings.]

  Now these three kings are gone on their way;
    Unwisely and unwittily have they all wrought.
  When they come again they shall die that same day,
    And thus these vile wretches to death they shall be brought.
      Such is my liking.
  He that against my laws will hold,
  Be he king or kaiser never so bold,
  I shall them cast into cares cold,
      And to death I shall them bring.
  _There Herod goeth his ways and the three kings come in again._

  FIRST REX. O blessed God, much is thy might!
  Where is this star that gave us light?

  SECOND REX. Now kneel we down here in this presence,
  Beseeching that Lord of high magnificence
  That we may see his high excellence,
      If that his sweet will be.

  THIRD REX. Yonder, brother, I see the star,
  Whereby I know He is not far;
  Therefore, lords, go we nar
      Into this poor place.
    _There the_ Three Kings _goes in to the jesen, to_ MARY
    _and her_ Child.

  FIRST REX. Hail, Lord, that all this world hath wrought!
    Hail, God and man together in-fere!
  For thou hast made all thing of nought,
    Albeit that Thou liest poorly here.
  A cupfull [of] gold here have I thee brought,
    In tokening Thou art without peer.

  SECOND REX. Hail be Thou, Lord of high magnificence!
    In tokening of priesthood and dignity of office,
  To Thee I offer a cupfull of incense,
    For it behoveth thee to have such sacrifice.

  THIRD REX. Hail be Thou, Lord long looked for!
    I have brought Thee myrrh for mortality,
  In tokening Thou shalt mankind restore
    To life by Thy death upon a tree.

  MARY. God have mercy, kings, of your goodness!
    By the guiding of the Godhead hither are ye sent.
  The prevision of my sweet Son your ways home redress,
    And ghostly reward you for your present!
                [_As the_ KINGS _go away, they say._]

  FIRST REX. Sir kings, after our promise,
    Home by Herod I must needs go.
  SECOND REX. Now truly brethren, we can no less,
    But I am so for-watched I wot not what to do.
  THIRD REX. Right so am I; wherefore, I you pray,
    Let all us rest us awhile upon this ground.
  FIRST REX. Brethren, your saying is right well unto my pay.
    The grace of that sweet child save us all sound!
                [_While they sleep the_ ANGEL _appears._]

  ANGEL. King of Taurus, Sir Jaspar,
    King of Araby, Sir Balthasar,
  Melchior, King of Aginar,
        To you now am I sent.
  For dread of Herod, go you west home;
  Into those parts when ye come down,
  Ye shall be buried with great renown;
    The Holy Ghost thus knowledge hath sent. [_Exit._]

  FIRST REX. Awake, sir Kings, I you pray!
    For the voice of an angel I heard in my dream.
  SECOND REX. That is full true that ye do say,
    For he rehearsed our names plain.

  THIRD REX. He bade that we should go down by west,
    For dread of Herod's false betray.
  FIRST REX. So for to do it is the best;
    The Child that we have sought guide us the way!

  Now farewell, the fairest, of shape so sweet!
    And thanked be Jesus of his sond,
  That we three together so suddenly should meet,
    That dwell so wide and in strange lond,

  And here make our presentation
    Unto this King's Son, cleansed so clean,
  And to his Mother, for our salvation;
    Of much mirth now may we mean,
  That we so well have done this oblation.

  SECOND REX. Now farewell, Sir Jaspar, brother, to you,
    King of Taurus, the most worthy!
  Sir Balthasar, also to you I bow,
    And I thank you both of your good company
      That we together have had.
    He that made us to meet on hill,
    I thank Him now, and ever I will;
    For now may we go without ill,
      And of our offering be full glad.

  THIRD REX. Now sith that we must needly go,
    For dread of Herod that is so wroth,
  Now farewell brother, and brother also,
    I take my leave here at you both,
      This day on feet.
    Now He that made us to meet on plain,
    And offer to Mary in her jesayne,
    He give us grace in heaven again
      All together to meet.
  [_They go out, and_ HEROD _and his train occupy the pageant._]

  NUNTIUS. Hail King, most worthiest in weed!
    Hail, maintainer of courtesy through all this world wide!
  Hail, the most mightiest that ever bestrode a steed!
    Hail, most manfullest man in armour man to abide!
      Hail in thine honour!
    These three kings that forth were sent,
    And should have come again before thee here present,
    Another way, lord, home they went,
      Contrary to thine honour.

  HEROD. Another way! Out! out! out!
    Hath those false traitors done me this deed?
  I stamp! I stare! I look all about!
    Might I them take I should them burn at a gleed!
  I rend! I raw! and now run I wood!
  Ah! that these villain traitors hath marred this my mood!
    They shall be hanged if I may come them to!
    _Here Herod rages in the pageant and in the street also._

  Eh! and that kerne of Bethlehem, he shall be dead,
      And thus shall I fordo his prophecy.

  How say you, sir Knights? is not this the best rede,
  That all young children for this should be dead,
      With sword to be slain?
    Then shall I Herod live in lede
    And all folk me doubt and drede,
    And offer to me both gold, riches and meed;
      Thereto will they be full fain.

  FIRST MILES. My lord king, Herod by name,
    Thy words against my will shall be;
  To see so many young children die is shame,
    Therefore counsel thereto gettest thou none of me.

  SECOND MILES. Well said, fellow, my truth I plight.
    Sir King, perceive right well you may,
  So great a murder to see of young fruit
    Will make a rising in thine own country.

  HEROD. A rising? Out! out! out!
        [_There Herod rages again and then saith thus:_]

  Out! villain wretches, haro upon you I cry!
    My will utterly look that it be wrought,
  Or upon a gallows both you shall die,
    By Mahound most mightiest, that me dear hath bought.

  FIRST MILES. Now, cruel Herod, sith we shall do this deed,
    Your will needfully in this realm must be wrought;
  All the children of that age die they must need;
    Now with all my might they shall be upsought.

  SECOND MILES. And I will swear here upon your bright swerd,
    All the children that I find, slain they shall be;
  That make many a mother to weep and be full sore aferd,
    In our armour bright when they us see.

  HEROD. Now you have sworn, forth that ye go,
    And my will that ye work both by day and night,
  And then will I for fain trip like a doe;
    But when they be dead I warn you bring them before my sight.
  [HEROD _and his train go away, and_ JOSEPH _and_ MARY
        _are, while asleep, addressed by an_ ANGEL.]

  ANGEL. Mary and Joseph, to you, I say,
    Sweet word from the Father I bring you full right;
  Out of Bethlehem into Egypt forth go ye the way,
    And with you take the King, full of might,
      For dread of Herod's rede!
  JOSEPH. Arise up, Mary, hastily and soon;
    Our Lord's will needs must be done,
      Like as the angel us bade.

  MARY. Meekly, Joseph, mine own spouse,
    Toward that country let us repair;
  At Egypt to some kind of house,
    God grant us His grace safe to come there!
  _Here the women come in with their children, singing
        them; and_ MARY _and_ JOSEPH _go away clean._

  FIRST WOMAN. I lull my child, wondrously sweet,
  And in mine arms I do it keep,
    Because that it should not cry.
  SECOND WOMAN. That Babe that is born in Bethlehem, so meek,
    He save my child and me from villainy!

  THIRD WOMAN. Be still, be still, my little child!
    That Lord of lords save both thee and me!
  For Herod hath sworn with wordes wild
    That all young children slain they shall be.

  FIRST MILES. Say ye, whither, wives, whither are ye away?
    What bear you in your arms needs must we see.
  If they be man-children, die they must this day,
    For at Herod's will all thing must be.

  SECOND MILES. And I in hands once them hent,
    Them for to slay nought will I spare;
  We must fulfil Herod's commandement,
    Else be we as traitors and cast all in care.

  FIRST WOMAN. Sir knights, of your courtesy,
  This day shame not your chivalry,
  But on my child have pity
    For my sake in this stead;
  For a simple slaughter it were to slo
  Or to work such a child woe,
  That can neither speak nor go,
    Nor never harm did.

  SECOND WOMAN. He that slays my child in sight,
  If that my strokes on him may light,
  Be he squire or knight,
    I hold him but lost.
  See, thou false losenger,
  A stroke shalt thou bear me here,
    And spare for no cost.

  THIRD WOMAN. Sit he never so high in saddle,
  But I shall make his brains addle,
  And here with my pot-ladle
    With him will I fight.
  I shall lay on him as though I wood were,
  With this same womanly gear;
  There shall no man steer,
    Whether that he be king or knight.

  FIRST MILES. Who heard ever such a cry
    Of women that their children have lost?
  And greatly rebuking chivalry
    Throughout this realm in every coast,
    Which many a man's life is like to cost;
  For this great wreak that here is done
  I fear much vengeance thereof will come.

  SECOND MILES. Eh! brother, such tales may we not tell;
    Wherefore to the king let us go,
  For he is like to bear the peril,
    Which was the causer that we did so.
    Yet must they all be brought him to,
  With wains and waggons fully freight;
  I trow there will be a careful sight.
                                    [_They go to_ HEROD.]

  FIRST MILES. Lo! Herod, King, here mayest thou see
    How many thousands that we have slain.
  SECOND MILES. And needs thy will fulfilled must be;
    There may no man say there-again.
                                  [_Enter_ NUNTIUS.]

  NUNTIUS. Herod, King, I shall thee tell
    All thy deeds is come to nought;
  This child is gone into Egypt to dwell.
    Lo! sir, in thine own land what wonders ben wrought!

  HEROD. Into Egypt? alas for woe!
    Longer in land here I cannot abide;
  Saddle my palfrey, for in haste will I go,
    After yonder traitors now will I ride,
      Them for to slo.
    Now all men hie fast
    Into Egypt in haste!
    All that country will I taste
      Till I may come them to.

        _Finis ludi de tailors and shearmen._

This matter newly corrected by Robert Croo, the 14th day of March,
finished in the year of our Lord God 1534, then being mayor Master
Palmer; also Masters of the said Fellowship, Hugh Corbett, Randal
Pinkard, and John Baggeley.

These songs belong to the Tailors' and Shearmen's Pageant. The first and
the last the shepherds sing, and the second or middlemost the women

Thomas Mawdycke, die decimo tertio Maii, anno domini millesimo
quingentesimo nonagesimo primo. Praetor fuit civitatis Conventriae D.
Matthaeus Richardson, tunc consules Johannis Whitehead et Thomas


  As I out rode this enderes night,
  Of three jolly shepherds I saw a sight,
  And all about their fold a star shone bright;
    They sang terli, terlow;
    So merrily the shepherds their pipes can blow.


  Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child,
  By by, lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
    By by, lully, lullay!

  O sisters two,
  How may we do,
    For to preserve this day
  This poor youngling,
  For whom we do sing
    By by, lully, lullay?

  Herod the King,
  In his raging,
    Charged he hath this day
  His men of might,
  In his own sight
    All young children to slay,--

  That woe is me,
  Poor child for thee,
    And ever mourn, and may,
  For thy parting,
  Neither say nor sing
    By by, lully, lullay.


  Down from heaven, from heaven so high,
  Of angels there came a great company,
  With mirth and joy and great solemnity,
    They sang terli, terlow,
  So merrily the shepherds their pipes can blow.


[From JOHN SKOT's Editions, c. 1525.]


Here beginneth a treatise how the High Father of Heaven sendeth Death to
summon every creature to come and give a count of their lives in this
world, and is in manner of a moral play.

  MESSENGER. I pray you all give your audience,
  And hear this matter with reverence,
    By figure a moral play.
  'The summoning of Everyman' called it is,
  That of our lives and ending shows
    How transitory we be all day.
  This matter is wondrous precious,
  But the intent of it is more gracious
    And sweet to bear away.
  This story saith 'man, in the beginning
  Look well, and take good heed to the ending,
    Be you never so gay;
  Ye think sin in the beginning full sweet,
  Which in the end causeth thy soul to weep,
    When the body lieth in clay.'
  Here shall you see how fellowship and jollity,
  Both strength, pleasure, and beauty,
    Will fade from thee as flower in May;
  For ye shall hear how our heaven king
  Calleth every man to a general reckoning:
    Give audience, and hear what he will say.


  GOD. I perceive here in my majesty
  How that all creatures be to me unkind,
  Living without dread in worldly prosperity.
  Of ghostly sight the people be so blind,
  Drownèd in sin, they know me not for their God;
  In worldly riches is all their mind.
  They fear not my righteousness, that sharp rod;
    My law that I showed, when I for them died,
  They forget clean, and shedding of my blood so red.
  I hanged between two thieves, it cannot be denied,
  To get them life, I suffered to be dead;
  I healed their feet--with thorns hurt was my head--
  I could do no more than I did, truly.
  And now I see the people do clean forsake me;
  They use the seven deadly sins damnable;
  As pride, covetise, wrath, and lechery,
  Now in the world be made commendable;
  And thus they leave of angels the heavenly company.
  Every man liveth so after his own pleasure,
  And yet of their life they be not sure.
  I see the more that I them forbear
  The worse they are from year to year.
  All that liveth appaireth fast,
  Therefore I will in all the haste
  Have a reckoning of every man's person,
  For, and I leave the people thus alone
  In their life and wicked tempests,
  Verily they will become much worse than beasts,
  For now one would by envy another up eat;
  Charity they all do clean forget.
  I hoped well that every man
  In my glory should make his mansion,
  And thereto I had them all elect,
  But now I see that, like traitors deject,
  They thank me not for the pleasure that I to them meant,
  Nor yet for their being that I them have lent.
  I proffered the people great multitude of mercy,
  And few there be that asketh it heartily;
  They be so cumbered with worldly riches
  That needs on them I must do justice,
  On every man living without fear.
  Where art thou, Death, thou mighty messenger?

  DEATH. Almighty God, I am here at your will,
  Your commandement to fulfil.

  GOD. Go thou to Everyman
  And show him, in my name,
  A pilgrimage he must on him take,
  Which he in no wise may escape;
  And that he bring with him a sure reckoning,
  Without delay or any tarrying.

  DEATH. Lord, I will in the world go run over all,
  And truly outsearch both great and small,
  Everyman I will beset that liveth beastly,
  Out of God's laws, and dreadeth not folly.
  He that loveth riches I will strike with my dart,
  His sight to blind, and from heaven depart,
  Except that alms-deeds be his good friend,
  In hell for to dwell, world without end.
  Lo, yonder I see Everyman walking!
  Full little he thinketh on my coming!
  His mind is on fleshly lusts, and his treasure,
  And great pain it shall cause him to endure
  Before the Lord, heaven king.
  Everyman, stand still! whither art thou going
  Thus gaily? Hast thou thy Maker forgot?

  EVERYMAN. Why askest thou?
  Wouldest thou wot?

  DEATH. Yea, sir, I will show you:
  In great haste I am sent to thee,
  From God out of his Majesty.

  EVERYMAN. What! sent to me?

  DEATH. Yea, certainly.
  Though thou hast forgot Him here,
  He thinketh on thee in the heavenly sphere,
  As, or we depart, thou shalt know.

  EVERYMAN. What desireth God of me?

  DEATH. That shall I shew thee:
  A reckoning he will needs have,
  Without any longer respite.

  EVERYMAN. To give a reckoning longer leisure I crave;
  This blind matter troubleth my wit.

  DEATH. On thee thou must take a long journey,
  Therefore thy book of count with thee thou bring--
  For turn again thou cannot by no way--
  And look thou be sure of thy reckoning;
  For before God shalt thou answer, and shew
  Thy many bad deeds, and good but a few--
  How thou hast sped thy life, and in what wise--
  Before the chief Lord of Paradise.
  Have ado that we were in that way,
  For wot thou well thou shalt make none attorney.

  EVERYMAN. Full unready I am such reckoning to give,
  I know thee not; what messenger art thou?

  DEATH. I am Death, that no man dreadeth,
  For every man I rest, and none spareth;
  For it is God's commandement
  That all to me should be obedient.

  EVERYMAN. O Death, thou comest when I had thee least in mind!
  In thy power it lieth me to save;
  Yet of my good will I give thee, if ye will be kind,
  Yea, a thousand pound shalt thou have,
  And defer this matter till another day.

  DEATH. Everyman, it may not be by no way:
  I set not by gold, silver, nor riches,
  Ne by pope, emperor, king, duke, ne princes;
  For, and I would receive giftes great,
  All the world I might get--
  All my custom is clean contrary;
  I give thee no respite; come hence and not tarry.

  EVERYMAN. Alas! shall I have no longer respite?
  I may say Death giveth no warning.
  To think on thee it maketh my heart sick,
  For all unready is my book of reckoning.
  But twelve years, and I might have abiding,
  My counting book I would make so clear
  That my reckoning I should not need to fear;
  Wherefore, Death, I pray thee for God's mercy,
  Spare me, till I be provided of remedy.

  DEATH. Thee availeth not to cry, weep, and pray,
  But haste thee lightly that thou were gone the journey,
  And prove thy friendes if thou can;
  For wot you well the tide abideth no man,
  And in the world each living creature,
  For Adam's sin, must die of Nature.

  EVERYMAN. Death, if I should this pilgrimage take,
  And my reckoning surely make,
  Show me, for saint charity,
  Should I not come again shortly?

  DEATH. No, Everyman; and thou be once there,
  Thou must never more come here,
  Trust me, verily!

  EVERYMAN. Gracious God, in high seat celestial,
  Have mercy on me in this most need!
  Shall I have no company, from this vale terrestrial,
  Of mine acquaintance, that way me to lead?

  DEATH. Yea, if any be so hardy
  That would go with thee, and bear thee company.
  Hie thee that thou were gone to God's Magnificence
  Thy reckoning to give before His presence!
  What! weenest thou thy life is given thee,
  And thy worldly goods also?

  EVERYMAN. I had weened so, verily!

  DEATH. Nay, nay! it was but lent thee;
  For as soon as thou art gone
  Another a while shall have it, and then go therefrom
  Even as thou hast done.
  Everyman, thou art mad! that hast thy wittes five,
  And here on earth will not amend thy life!
  For suddenly I do come!

  EVERYMAN. Oh, wretched caitiff! whither shall I flee,
  That I might scape this endless sorrow?
  Now, gentle Death, spare me till to-morrow,
  That I may amend me
  With good advisement.

  DEATH. Nay, thereto I will not consent,
  Nor no man will I respite,
  But to the heart suddenly I shall smite,
  Without any advisement.
  And now out of sight I will me hie;
  See thou make thee ready shortly,
  For thou may'st say this is the day
  That no man living may scape away.

  EVERYMAN. Alas! I may well weep with sighes deep!
  Now have I no manner of company
  To help me in my journey, and me to keep;
  And also my writing is full unready.
  How shall I do now for to excuse me?
  I would to God I had never be gete!
  To my soul a great profit it had be,
  For now I fear pains huge and great.
  The time passeth--Lord, help, that all wrought!
  For though I mourn it availeth nought;
  The day passeth and is almost ago--
  I wot not well what to do--
  To whom were I best my complaint to make?
  What and I to Fellowship thereof spake,
  And showed him of this sudden chance?
  For in him is all mine affiance.
  We have in the world, so many a day,
  Been good friends in sport and play;
  I see him yonder certainly!
  I trust that he will bear me company;
  Therefore to him will I speak to ease my sorrow:
  Well met, good Fellowship, and good morrow!

  FELLOWSHIP _speaketh_.

  FELLOW. Everyman, good morrow! by this day,
  Sir, why lookest thou so piteously?
  If anything be amiss, I pray thee, me say,
  That I may help to remedy.

  EVERYMAN. Yea, good Fellowship, yea,
  I am in great jeopardy!

  FELLOW. My true friend, show to me your mind;
  I will not forsake thee unto my life's end--
  In the way of good company.

  EVERYMAN. That is well spoken, and lovingly!

  FELLOW. Sir, I must needs know your heaviness;
  I have pity to see you in any distress!
  If any have you wronged, ye shall revengèd be,
  Though I on the ground be slain for thee,
  Though that I know before that I should die!

  EVERYMAN. Verily, Fellowship, gramercy!

  FELLOW. Tush! by thy thanks I set not a straw!
  Show me your grief, and say no more.

  EVERYMAN. If I my heart should to you break,
  And then you to turn your mind from me,
  And would not me comfort, when you hear me speak,
  Then should I ten times sorrier be.

  FELLOW. Sir, I say as I will do in deed.

  EVERYMAN. Then be you a good friend at need!
  I have found you true here before.

  FELLOW. And so ye shall evermore;
  For in faith, and thou go to hell
  I will not forsake thee by the way!

  EVERYMAN. Ye speak like a good friend; I believe you well;
  I shall deserve it, and I may.

  FELLOW. I speak of no deserving, by this day!
  For he that will say, and nothing do,
  Is not worthy with good company to go;
  Therefore show me the grief of your mind,
  As to your friend most loving and kind.

  EVERYMAN. I shall show you how it is:
  Commanded I am to go a journey--
  A long way, hard and dangerous--
  And give a strait count, without delay,
  Before the high judge Adonay;
  Wherefore, I pray you, bear me company
  As ye have promised, in this journey.

  FELLOW. That is matter indeed! promise is duty;
  But and I should take such a voyage on me,
  I know it well it should be to my pain;
  Also it maketh me afeard, certain.
  But let us take counsel here as we can,
  For your words would fear a strong man.

  EVERYMAN. Why! ye said if I had need,
  Ye would me never forsake, quick ne dead,
  Though it were to hell, truly!

  FELLOW. So I said, certainly;
  But such pleasures be set aside, the sooth to say,
  And also, if we took such a journey,
  When should we come again?

  EVERYMAN. Nay, never again till the Day of Doom.

  FELLOW. In faith, then will not I come there;
  Who hath you these tidings brought?

  EVERYMAN. Indeed, Death was with me here.

  FELLOW. Now, by God that all hath bought,
  If Death were the messenger,
  For no man that is living to-day
  I will not go that loathsome journey,
  Not for the father that begat me!

  EVERYMAN. Ye promised me otherwise, pardie!

  FELLOW. I wot well I said so, truly,
  And yet if thou wilt eat and drink and make good cheer,
  Or haunt to women, that lusty company,
  I would not forsake you while the day is clear,
  Trust me verily!

  EVERYMAN. Yea, thereto ye would be ready,
  To go to mirth, solace, and play;
  Your mind to folly will sooner apply
  Than to bear me company in my long journey.

  FELLOW. Nay, in good faith, I will not that way,
  But and thou wilt murder, or any man kill,
  In that I will help thee with a good will.

  EVERYMAN. Oh, that is a simple advice, indeed!
  Gentle fellow, help me in my necessity!
  We have loved long, and now I need,
  And now, gentle Fellowship, remember me.

  FELLOW. Whether ye have loved me or no,
  By Saint John I will not with thee go!

  EVERYMAN. Yet, I pray thee, take the labour and do so much for me
  To bring me forward, for saint charity,
  And comfort me till I come without the town.

  FELLOW. Nay, and thou would give me a new gown
  I will not one foot with thee go;
  But and thou had tarried I would not ha' left thee so.
  And as now, God speed thee in thy journey!
  For from thee I will depart as fast as I may.

  EVERYMAN. Whither away, Fellowship? wilt thou forsake me?

  FELLOW. Yea, by my fay; to God I betake thee!

  EVERYMAN. Farewell, good Fellowship! for thee my heart is sore.
  Adieu! for I shall never see thee no more.

  FELLOW. In faith, Everyman, farewell now at the end!
  For you I will remember that parting is mourning.

  EVERYMAN. Alack! shall we thus depart indeed?
  Oh Lady, help! without any more comfort,
  Lo! Fellowship forsaketh me in my most need.
  For help in this world whither shall I resort?
  Fellowship here before with me would merry make,
  And now little sorrow for me doth he take.
  It is said, in prosperity men friends may find,
  Which in adversity be full unkind
  Now whither for succour shall I flee,
  Sith that Fellowship hath forsaken me?
  To my kinnesmen I will, truly,
  Praying them to help me in my necessity.
  I believe that they will do so,
  For kind will creep where it may not go.
  I will go say, for yonder I see them go:
  Where be ye now, my friends and kinnesmen?

  KINDRED. Here be we now at your commandement:
  Cousin, I pray you, show us your intent
  In any wise, and do not spare.

  COUSIN. Yea, Everyman, and us to declare
  If ye be disposed to go any whither,
  For wot ye well, we will live and die together.

  KINDRED. In wealth and woe we will with you hold,
  For over his kin a man may be bold.

  EVERYMAN. Gramercy! my friends and kinsmen kind:
  Now shall I show you the grief of my mind.
  I was commanded by a messenger,
  That is a high king's chief officer;
  He bade me go a pilgrimage to my pain,
  But I know well I shall never come again.
  Also I must give reckoning strait,
  For I have a great enemy that hath me in wait,
  Which intendeth me for to hinder.

  KINDRED. What account is that which ye must render?
  That would I know.

  EVERYMAN. Of all my works I must show,
  How I have lived and my dayes spent;
  Also of ill deeds that I have used
  In my time, sith life was me lent,
  And of all virtues that I have refused;
  Therefore, I pray you, go thither with me,
  To help to make mine account, for saint charity!

  COUSIN. What! to go thither? is that the matter?
  Nay, Everyman, I had liefer fast, bread and water,
  All this five year and more.

  EVERYMAN. Alas, that ever I was born!
  For now shall I never be merry
  If that you forsake me.

  KINDRED. Ah, sir, what! ye be a merry man!
  Take good heart to you, and make no moan;
  But one thing I warn you--by Saint Anne,
  As for me, ye shall go alone!

  EVERYMAN. My cousin, will you not with me go?

  COUSIN. No, by our Lady! I have the cramp in my toe!
  Trust not to me, for so God me speed,
  I will deceive you in your most need!

  KINDRED. It availeth not us to 'tice;
  Ye shall have my maid, with all my heart!
  She loveth to go to feasts, there to be nice,
  And to dance, and abroad to start;
  I will give her leave to help you in that journey,
  If that you and she may agree.

  EVERYMAN. Now show me the very effect of your mind:
  Will you go with me or abide behind?

  KINDRED. Abide behind? Yea, that will I, and I may,
  Therefore farewell, till another day!

  EVERYMAN. How should I be merry or glad?
  For fair promises men to me do make,
  But when I have most need they me forsake.
  I am deceived--that maketh me sad.

  COUSIN. Cousin Everyman, farewell now!
  For verily I will not go with you.
  Also of my own an unready reckoning
  I have to account, therefore I make tarrying.
  Now God keep thee! for now I go.

  EVERYMAN. Ah, Jesus! is all come hereto?
  Lo! fair words maketh fools fain!
  They promise, and nothing will do, certain!
  My kinnesmen promised me faithfully
  For to abide with me steadfastly,
  And now fast away do they flee;
  Even so Fellowship promised me.
  What friend were best me of to provide?
  I lose my time here longer to abide.
  Yet in my mind a thing there is--
  All my life I have loved riches;
  If that my Good now help me might,
  It would make my heart full light.
  I will speak to him in this distress:
  Where art thou, my Goods and Riches?

  GOODS. Who calleth me? Everyman? what! hast thou haste?
  I lie here in corners, trussed and piled so high,
  And in chests I am locked full fast,
  Also sacked in bags--thou mayst see with thine eye--
  I cannot stir; in packs low I lie.
  What would ye have? lightly me say.

  EVERYMAN. Come hither, Good, in all the haste thou may,
  For of counsel I must desire thee.

  GOODS. Sir, and ye in the world have trouble or adversity,
  Then can I help you to remedy shortly.

  EVERYMAN. It is another disease that grieveth me;
  In this world it is not--I tell so--
  I am sent for, another way to go,
  To give a strait account general
  Before the highest Jupiter of all.
  And all my life I have had joy and pleasure in thee,
  Therefore, I pray thee, go with me;
  For peradventure thou mayest, before God Almighty,
  My reckoning help to clean and purify;
  For it is said, ever among,
  That money maketh all right that is wrong.

  GOODS. Nay, Everyman, I sing another song!
  I follow no man in such voyages,
  For and I went with thee,
  Thou should'st fare much the worse for me;
  For because on me thou did set thy mind,
  Thy reckoning I have made blotted and blind,
  That thine account thou cannot make truly,
  And that hast thou for the love of me.

  EVERYMAN. That would grieve me full sore,
  When I should come to that fearful answer.
  Up! let us go thither together!

  GOODS. Nay, not so! I am too brittle, I may not endure;
  I will follow no man one foot, be thou sure.

  EVERYMAN. Alas! I have thee loved, and had great pleasure
  All my life's days on good and treasure.

  GOODS. That is to thy damnation, without leasing,
  For my love is contrary to the love everlasting;
  But if thou had me loved moderately, during,
  As to the poor to give part for me,
  Then shouldest thou not in this dolour be,
  Nor in this great sorrow and care.

  EVERYMAN. Lo now! I was deceived or I was ware!
  And all I may wyte my spending of time.

  GOODS. What! weenest thou that I am thine?

  EVERYMAN. I had weened so.

  GOODS. Nay, Everyman, I say no!
  As for a while I was lent thee,
  A season thou hast had me in prosperity.
  My conditions is man's soul to kill;
  If I save one, a thousand I do spill.
  Weenest thou that I will follow thee
  From this world? nay, verily!

  EVERYMAN. I had weened otherwise.

  GOODS. Therefore to thy soul Good is a thief;
  For when thou art dead, this is my guise--
  Another to deceive, in the same wise
  As I have done thee, and all to his soul's reprief.

  EVERYMAN. Oh false Good, cursed thou be!
  Thou traitor to God, thou hast deceived me
  And caught me in thy snare!

  GOODS. Marry! thou brought thyself in care,
  Whereof I am glad;
  I must needs laugh, I cannot be sad.

  EVERYMAN. Ah, Good, thou hast had my heartly love!
  I gave thee that which should be the Lord's above.
  But wilt thou not go with me indeed?
  I pray thee truth to say.

  GOODS. No, so God me speed!
  Therefore farewell, and have good day!

  EVERYMAN. Oh, to whom shall I make my moan,
  For to go with me in that heavy journey?
  First Fellowship, he said he would with me go--
  His wordes were very pleasant and gay--
  But afterward he left me alone;
  Then spake I to my kinsmen, all in despair,
  And also they gave me wordes fair--
  They lacked no fair speaking--
  But all forsake me in the ending.
  Then went I to my Goods, that I loved best,
  In hope to have comfort, but there had I least,
  For my Goods sharply did me tell
  That he bringeth many in hell.
  Then of myself I was ashamed,
  And so I am worthy to be blamed:
  Thus may I well myself hate.
  Of whom shall I now counsel take?
  I think that I shall never speed
  Till that I go to my Good Deed,
  But alas! she is so weak
  That she can neither go nor speak,
  Yet will I venture on her now:
  My Good Deeds, where be you?

  GOOD DEEDS. Here I lie, cold in the ground;
  Thy sins have me so sore bound
  That I cannot stir.

  EVERYMAN. Oh, Good Deeds, I stand in fear!
  I must you pray of counsel,
  For help now should come right well.

  GOOD DEEDS. Everyman, I have understanding
  That thou art summoned account to make
  Before Messias, of Jerusalem King;
  And you do by me, that journey with you will I take.

  EVERYMAN. Therefore I come to you, my moan to make;
  I pray thee to go with me.

  GOOD DEEDS. I would full fain, but I cannot stand, verily!

  EVERYMAN. Why? is there anything on you fall?

  GOOD DEEDS. Yea, sir; I may thank you of all.
  If ye had perfectly cheered me,
  Your book of account full ready now had be.
  Look! the books of your workes and deedes eke,
  Behold how they lie under the feet,
  To your soules heaviness!

  EVERYMAN. Our Lord Jesus helpe me!
  For one letter herein can I not see.

  GOOD DEEDS. There is a blind reckoning in time of distress.

  EVERYMAN. Good Deeds, I pray you help me in this need,
  Or else I am for ever damned indeed;
  Therefore help me to make my reckoning
  Before the Redeemer of all thing,
  That King is, and was, and ever shall.

  GOOD DEEDS. Everyman, I am sorry of your fall,
  And fain would I help you, and I were able.

  EVERYMAN. Good Deeds, your counsel I pray you give me.

  GOOD DEEDS. That shall I do, verily!
  Though that on my feet I may not go,
  I have a sister, that shall with you also,
  Called Knowledge, which shall with you abide,
  To help you to make that dreadful reckoning.

  KNOWLEDGE. Everyman, I will go with thee and be thy guide,
  In thy most need to go by thy side.

  EVERYMAN. In good condition I am now in everything
  And am wholly content with this good thing:
  Thanked be God, my Creator!

  GOOD DEEDS. And when he hath brought thee there
  Where thou shalt heal thee of thy smart,
  Then go thou with thy reckoning and thy good deeds together,
  For to make thee joyful at the heart,
  Before the Blessed Trinity.

  EVERYMAN. My good Deeds, I thank thee heartily;
  I am well content, certainly,
  With your wordes sweet.

  KNOWLEDGE. Now go we thither, lovingly,
  To confession, that cleansing river.

  EVERYMAN. For joy I weep! I would we were there!
  But I pray you to instruct me by intellection,
  Where dwelleth that holy virtue, Confession?

  KNOWLEDGE. In the house of salvation;
  We shall find him, in that place,
  That shall us comfort, by God's grace.
  Lo! this is Confession; kneel down and ask mercy,
  For he is in good conceit with God Almighty.

  EVERYMAN. Oh glorious fountain, that all uncleanness doth clarify,
  Wash from me the spots of vices unclean,
  That on me no sin may be seen!
  I come with Knowledge, for my redemption,
  Redeemed with heart, and full of contrition;
  For I am commanded a pilgrimage to take,
  And great accounts before God to make.
  Now I pray you, Shrift, mother of salvation,
  Help my Good Deeds, for my piteous exclamation!

  CONFESSION. I know your sorrow well, Everyman;
  Because with Knowledge ye come to me
  I will you comfort, as well as I can,
  And a precious jewel I will give thee,
  Called penance, voider of adversity;
  Therewith shall your body chastised be,
  With abstinence, and perseverance in God's service.
  Here shall you receive that scourge of me
  Which is penance strong, that ye must endure,
  To remember thy Saviour was scourged for thee
  With sharp scourges, and suffered it patiently.
  So must thou, or thou scape that painful pilgrimage:
  Knowledge, keep him in this voyage,
  And by that time Good Deeds will be with thee;
  But in any wise be sure of mercy--
  For your time draweth fast--and ye will saved be;
  Ask God mercy and He will grant, truly.
  When with the scourge of penance man doth him bind,
  The oil of forgiveness then shall he find.

  EVERYMAN. Thanked be God for His gracious work!
  For now I will my penance begin:
  This hath rejoiced and lighted my heart,
  Though the knots be painful and hard within.

  KNOWLEDGE. Everyman, your penance look that ye fulfil,
  What pain that ever it to you be,
  And Knowledge will give you counsel at will,
  How your accounts ye shall make clearly.

  EVERYMAN. Oh eternal God! Oh heavenly figure!
  O way of righteousness! Oh goodly vision!
  Which descended down in a virgin pure,
  Because He would every man to redeem,
  Which Adam forfeited by his disobedience;
  Oh blessed Godhead elect and high divine,
  Forgive me my grievous offence!
  Here I cry thee mercy in this presence.
  Oh Ghostly treasure! O Ransomer and Redeemer
  Of all the world! Hope and Conductor!
  Mirror of joy and Founder of mercy,
  Which illumineth heaven and earth thereby,
  Hear my clamorous complaint, though it late be!
  Receive my prayers, of thy benignity!
  Though I be a sinner most abominable,
  Yet let my name be written in Moses' table!
  Oh Mary! pray to the Maker of all thing,
  Me for to help at my ending!
  And save me from the power of my enemy,
  For death assaileth me strongly;
  And, Lady, that I may by means of thy prayer,
  Of thy Son's glory to be partaker,
  By the means of His Passion, I it crave:
  I beseech you, help my soul to save!
  Knowledge, give me the scourge of penance;
  My flesh therewith shall give a quittance--
  I will now begin, if God give me grace.

  KNOWLEDGE. Everyman, God give you time and space!
  Thus I bequeath you in the hands of our Saviour;
  Thus may you make your reckoning sure.

  EVERYMAN. In the name of the Holy Trinity,
  My body sore punished shall be!
  Take this, body, for the sin of the flesh,
  Also thou delightest to go gay and fresh,
  And in way of damnation thou did me bring,
  Therefore suffer now strokes and punishing!
  Now of penance I will wade the water clear,
  To save me from hell and from the fire.

  GOOD DEEDS. I thank God, now I can walk and go!
  I am delivered of my sickness and woe;
  Therefore with Everyman I will go, and not spare;
  His good works I will help him to declare.

  KNOWLEDGE. Now, Everyman, be merry and glad!
  Your Good Deeds do come, ye may not be sad.
  Now is your Good Deeds whole and sound,
  Going upright upon the ground.

  EVERYMAN. My heart is light, and shall be evermore:
  Now will I smite faster than I did before.

  GOOD DEEDS. Everyman, pilgrim, my special friend,
  Blessed be thou without end!
  For thee is prepared the eternal glory.
  Ye have me made whole and sound,
  Therefore I will abide with thee in every stound.

  EVERYMAN. Welcome, my Good Deeds! now I hear thy voice
  I weep for very sweetness of love.

  KNOWLEDGE. Be no more sad, but ever more rejoice;
  God seeth thy living in His throne above.
  Put on this garment to thy behove,
  Which with your tears is now all wet,
  Lest before God it be unsweet
  When you to your journey's end come shall.

  EVERYMAN. Gentle Knowledge, what do ye it call?

  KNOWLEDGE. It is the garment of sorrow--
  From pain it will you borrow--
  Contrition it is,
  That getteth forgiveness,
  It pleaseth God passing well.

  GOOD DEEDS. Everyman, will you wear it for your heal?

  EVERYMAN. Now blessed be Jesu, Mary's Son!
  For now have I on true contrition;
  And let us go now without tarrying.
  Good Deeds, have we clear our reckoning?

  GOOD DEEDS. Yea, indeed, I have it here.

  EVERYMAN. Then I trust we need not fear.
  Now friends, let us not part in twain.

  KINDRED. Nay, Everyman, that will we not, certain!

  GOOD DEEDS. Yet must thou lead with thee
  Three persons of great might.

  EVERYMAN. Who should they be?

  GOOD DEEDS. Discretion and Strength they hight,
  And thy Beauty may not abide behind.

  KNOWLEDGE. Also ye must call to mind
  Your five wits, as for your councillors.

  GOOD DEEDS. You must have them ready at all hours.

  EVERYMAN. How shall I get them hither?

  KINDRED. You must call them all together,
  And they will hear you, incontinent.

  EVERYMAN. My friends, come hither and be present!
  Discretion, Strength, my Five Wits, and Beauty!

  BEAUTY. Here are your will me be ready;
  What would ye that we should do?

  GOOD DEEDS. That ye would with Everyman go,
  And help him in his pilgrimage.
  Advise you--will ye with him or not, in that voyage?

  STRENGTH. We will bring him all thither,
  To his help and comfort, ye may believe me.

  DISCRETION. So will we go with him all together.

  EVERYMAN. Almighty God, loved may thou be!
  I give thee laud that I have hither brought
  Strength, Discretion, Beauty, and Five Wits,--lack I nought--
  And my Good Deeds, with Knowledge clear,
  All be in company at my will here;
  I desire no more to my business.

  STRENGTH. And I, Strength, will stand by you in distress,
  Though thou wouldest in battle fight on the ground.

  FIVE WITS. And though it were through the world round,
  We will not depart, for sweet nor sour.

  BEAUTY. No more will I, unto death's hour,
  Whatsoever thereof befall.

  DISCRETION. Everyman, advise you first of all;
  Go with a good advisement and deliberation.
  We all give you virtuous monition.

  EVERYMAN. That all shall be well.
  My friendes, hearken what I will tell:
  I pray God reward you in His heavenly sphere!
  Now hearken, all that be here,
  For I will make my testament
  Here before you all present.
  In alms half my goods I will give with my handes twain
  In the way of charity, with good intent;
  And the other half still shall remain
  In quiet, to be returned there it ought to be.
  This I do in despite of the fiend of hell,
  To go quite out of his peril,
  Ever after and this day.

  KNOWLEDGE. Everyman, hearken what I say:
  Go to priesthood, I you advise,
  And receive of him, in any wise,
  The Holy Sacrament and ointment together;
  Then shortly see ye turn again hither:
  We will all abide you here.

  FIVE WITS. Yea, Everyman, hie you that ye ready were
  There is no emperor, king, duke, ne baron,
  That of God hath commission,
  As hath the least priest in the world being;
  For of the Blessed Sacraments, pure and benign,
  He beareth the keys and thereof hath he cure;
  For man's redemption it is ever sure,
  Which God, for our soul's medicine,
  Gave us out of his heart with great pain.
  Here in this transitory life, for thee and me,
  The Blessed Sacraments Seven there be;
  Baptism, Confirmation, with Priesthood good,
  And the Sacrament of God's precious flesh and blood;
  Marriage, the Holy Extreme Unction, and Penance.
  These seven be good to have in remembrance,
  Gracious sacraments of high divinity.

  EVERYMAN. Fain would I receive that Holy Body,
  And meekly to my ghostly father I will go.

  FIVE WITS. Everyman, that is the best that ye can do:
  God will you to salvation bring,
  For good priesthood exceedeth all other thing.
  To us holy scripture they do teach,
  And converteth man from sin, heaven to reach.
  God hath to them more power given
  Than to any angel that is in heaven.
  With five words he may consecrate,
  God's body in flesh and blood to make,
  And handleth his maker between his hands.
  The priest bindeth and unbindeth all bands
  Both in earth and in heaven.
  Thou ministers all the sacraments seven--
  Though we kiss thy feet thou were worthy--
  Thou art surgeon that cureth sin deadly.
  No remedy we find under God
  But all only priesthood.
  Everyman, God gave priests that dignity,
  And setteth them in his stead, among us to be;
  Thus be they above angels in degree.

  KNOWLEDGE. If priests be good, it is so surely;
  But when Jesus hung on the cross with great smart,
  There he gave, out of his blessed heart,
  The same sacrament, in great torment;
  He sold them not to us, that Lord omnipotent:
  Therefore Saint Peter the Apostle doth say,
  That Jesus' curse hath all they
  Which God their Saviour do buy or sell,
  Or they for any money do take or tell.
  Sinful priests giveth the sinners example bad;
  Their children sitteth by other men's fires, I have heard,
  And some haunteth women's company,
  With unclean life, as lusts of lechery:
  These be with sin made blind.

  FIVE WITS. I trust to God no such may we find!
  Therefore let us priesthood honour,
  And follow their doctrine for our souls' succour.
  We be their sheep, and they shepherds be,
  By whom we all be kept in surety.
  Peace! for yonder I see Everyman come,
  Which hath made true satisfaction.

  GOOD DEEDS. Me-thinketh it is he indeed.

  EVERYMAN. Now Jesus Christ be your alder speed!
  I have received the Sacrament for my redemption,
  And thou, mine Extreme Unction:
  Blessed be all they that counselled me to take it!
  And now, friends, let us go without longer respite--
  I thank God that ye have tarried so long--
  Now set, each of you, on this rod your hand,
  And shortly follow me:
  I go before there I would be; God be our guide!

  STRENGTH. Everyman, we will not from you go
  Till ye have gone this voyage long.

  DISCRETION. I, Discretion, will bide by you also.

  KNOWLEDGE. And though this pilgrimage be never so strong,
  I will never part you from.
  Everyman, I will be as sure by thee
  As ever I did by Judas Macchabe.

  EVERYMAN. Alas! I am so faint I may not stand!
  My limbs under me do fold.
  Friends, let us not turn again to this land,
  Not for all the worldes gold;
  For into this cave must I creep,
  And turn to the earth, and there to sleep.

  BEAUTY. What! into this grave, alas!?

  EVERYMAN. Yea, there shall you consume, more and less.

  BEAUTY. And what! should I smother here?

  EVERYMAN. Yea, by my faith, and never more appear.
  In this world live no more we shall.
  But in heaven, before the highest Lord of all.

  BEAUTY. I cross out all this--adieu, by Saint John!
  I take my cap in my lap and am gone.

  EVERYMAN. What, Beauty! whither will ye?

  BEAUTY. Peace! I am deaf! I look not behind me!
  Not and thou would give me all the gold in thy chest.

  EVERYMAN. Alas! whereto may I trust?
  Beauty goeth fast away and from me;
  She promised with me to live and die.

  STRENGTH. Everyman, I will thee also forsake and deny;
  Thy game liketh me not at all.

  EVERYMAN. Why! then ye will forsake me all!
  Sweet Strength, tarry a little space.

  STRENGTH. Nay, sir, by the Rood of Grace!
  I will hie me from thee fast,
  Though thou weep till thy heart brast.

  EVERYMAN. Ye would ever bide by me, ye said.

  STRENGTH. Yea, I have you far enough conveyed:
  Ye be old enough, I understand,
  Your pilgrimage to take on hand--
  I repent me that I hither came.

  EVERYMAN. Strength, you to displease I am to blame;
  Will you break promise, that is debt?

  STRENGTH. In faith I care not.
  Thou art but a fool to complain--
  You spend your speech and waste your brain--
  Go, thrust thee into the ground!

  EVERYMAN. I had weened surer I should you have, found:
  He that trusteth in his Strength,
  She him deceiveth at the length.
  Both Strength and Beauty forsaketh me,
  Yet they promised me, fair and lovingly.

  DISCRETION. Everyman, I will after Strength be gone;
  As for me, I will leave you alone.

  EVERYMAN. Why Discretion, will ye forsake me?

  DISCRETION. Yea, in faith, I will go from thee,
  For when Strength goeth before
  I follow after, evermore.

  EVERYMAN. Yet I pray thee, for the love of the Trinity
  Look in my grave once piteously!

  DISCRETION. Nay, so nigh I will not come!
  Farewell, everyone!

  EVERYMAN. Oh, all thing faileth save God alone--
  Beauty, Strength, and Discretion--
  For when Death bloweth his blast
  They all run from me full fast.

  FIVE WITS. Everyman, of thee now my leave I take;
  I will follow the others, for here I thee forsake.

  EVERYMAN. Alas! then may I wail and weep.
  For I took you for my best friend!

  FIVE WITS. I will no longer thee keep;
  Now farewell, and there an end!

  EVERYMAN. Oh Jesus, help! all hath forsaken me.

  GOOD DEEDS. Nay, Everyman, I will bide with thee;
  I will not forsake thee, indeed--
  Thou shalt find me a good friend at need.

  EVERYMAN. Gramercy, Good Deeds! now may I true friends see!
  They have forsaken me, everyone;
  I loved them better than my Good Deeds alone.
  Knowledge will ye forsake me also?

  KNOWLEDGE. Yea, Everyman, when ye to death do go,
  But not yet, for no manner of danger.

  EVERYMAN. Gramercy, Knowledge with all my heart!

  KNOWLEDGE. Nay, yet I will not from hence depart
  Till I see where ye shall become.

  EVERYMAN. Me-thinketh, alas, that I must be gone
  To make my reckoning, and my debtes pay,
  For I see my time is nigh spent away.
  Take example, all ye that this do hear or see,
  How they that I loved best do forsake me,
  Except my Good Deeds, that bideth truly.

  GOOD DEEDS. All earthly thing is but vanity:
  Beauty, Strength, and Discretion do man forsake--
  Foolish friends and kinsmen that fair spake--
  All fleeth save Good Deeds, and that am I.

  EVERYMAN. Have mercy on me, God most mighty!
  And stand by me, thou mother and maid, Holy Mary!

  GOOD DEEDS. Fear not, I will speak for thee.

  EVERYMAN. Here I cry God mercy!

  GOOD DEEDS. Short our end and minish our pain!
  Let us go and never come again.

  EVERYMAN. Into thy hands, Lord, my soul I commend!
  Receive it, Lord, that it be not lost:
  As thou me boughtest so me defend,
  And save me from the fiendes boast,
  That I may appear with that blessed host
  That shall be savèd at the Doom,
  (In manus tuas) of mightes most,
  For ever (commendo spiritum meum).

  KNOWLEDGE. Now hath he suffered that we all shall endure;
  The Good Deeds shall make all sure.
  Now hath he made ending--
  Me-thinketh that I hear angels sing,
  And make great joy and melody,
  Where Everyman's soul shall received be.

  ANGEL. Come excellent elect spouse to Jesu!
  Here above thou shalt go
  Because of thy singular virtue.
  Now thy soul is taken thy body fro,
  Thy reckoning is crystal clear.
  Now shalt thou into the heavenly sphere,
  Unto the which all ye shall come
  That liveth well, before the day of Doom.

  DOCTOR. This memorial men may have in mind:
  Ye hearears, take it of worth, old and young,
  And forsake pride, for he deceiveth you in the end;
  And remember beauty, five wits, strength and discretion,
  They all at the last do every man forsake,
  Save his good deeds, there doth he take.
  But beware! for and they be small,
  Before God he hath no help at all.
  None excuse may be there for every man,
  Alas! how shall he do then?
  For after death amends may no man make.
  For then mercy and pity doth him forsake.
  If his reckoning be not clear when he do come,
  God will say (ite maledicti in ignem eternum)
  And he that hath his account whole and sound,
  High in heaven he shall be crowned.
  Unto the which place God bring us all thither,
  That we may live, body and soul, together.
  Thereto help the Trinity!
  Say ye, for Saint Charity,

_Pleadings in A Theatrical Lawsuit._


[From the Records of the Court of Requests.]

_Pleadings in a Theatrical Lawsuit._

From the Records of the Court of Requests.


=Court of Requests.=

=c. 1530.=


Humbly complaineth unto your gracious Highness your poor orator and
humble subject John Rastell, that where your said orator delivered to
one Henry Walton certain parcels of stuff and goods to the value of 20
marks, safely to keep to the use of your said orator, that is to say, a
player's garment of green sarcenet lined with red tuke and with roman
letters stitched upon it of blue and red sarcenet, and another garment
paned with blue and green sarcenet lined with red buckram, and another
garment paned likewise and lined as the other, with a cape furred with
white cats, and another garment paned with yellow, green, blue, and red
sarcenet, and lined with red buckram. Another garment for a priest to
play in, of red Say, and a garment of red and green Say, paned and
guarded with gold skins, and fustians of Naples black, and sleeved with
red, green, yellow, and blue sarcenet. And another garment, spangled, of
blue satin of Bruges, and lined with green sarcenet. Also two old short
garments, paned of satin Bruges and of sarcenet of divers colours in the
bodies. Also a woman's garment of green and blue sarcenet, chequered and
lined with red buckram, also two caps of yellow and red sarcenet, and
two curtains of green and yellow sarcenet. Also two long broad pieces of
blue linen cloth, with lyre in them. Also three pieces of open silvered
linen cloths; also one long broad piece of red buckram. Which said
stuff and goods the said Walton promised to deliver again to your said
orator, whensoever he should be by your said orator thereto required.
Which said stuff and goods, after the said delivery to him made, the
said Walton occupied at his pleasure, by the space of half a year and
more, during the time that your said orator was in the parts beyond the
sea, in France. After whose coming home your said orator demanded of the
said Walton relivery of the said stuff and goods, to whom the said
Walton answered and said that he would bring him home the said goods and
stuff, yet that notwithstanding he brought to him no part thereof, but
drove him forth from time to time, by the space of two or three weeks,
during which time the said Walton, unknown to your said orator, which
was every day continually in the said city, and constantly in company
with the said Walton, craftily, falsely, by the subtle advice and
counsel of a clerk of the Mayor's Court in the City of London, and by a
Sergeant of the same Court, entered a false feigned plaint, put in bill
in the said Court, against your said orator, supposing that your said
orator should owe to the said Walton 40 shillings stirling, wherein
indeed your said orator owed him never a penny, and by the custom of the
said City made attachment of the said goods and stuff being in his own
hands, and caused that one John Wilkinson, plasterer, and one Thomas
Curtis, were assigned to be pricers; which Wilkinson, at the request and
desire of the said Henry, priced the said goods and stuff but to the
value of 35s. 9d., which goods and stuff at that time were well worth 20
marks and above. Upon which pricement the said Henry had judgement to
recover the said goods and stuff, for the which your said orator can
never have remedy by course of the common law; and though your said
orator within the year did put in surety to answer to the said plaint
and bill, and to disprove the said action, yet your said orator could
never, nor shall never by the order of the common law, there recover
again the said stuff and goods, but shall recover no more for them but
only the sum wherefor they were priced, which is but 35s. 9d. as is
before said; and so hath and shall, by such falsehood, subtlety, and
design of the said Walton, and of the said Wilkinson and Curtis which
were pricers, lose 11 or 12 pounds or above, and is without remedy
therefore for ever, except your gracious Highness be showed to him in
this behalf. In consideration whereof it may please your Grace and your
most honourable Council to command one of your officers of arms to go to
the said Henry Walton and to the said John Wilkinson and Thomas Curtis,
and to command them in your name to appear before your Grace and your
honourable Council at Westminster, there to answer to the premises and
there to be directed according to right and good conscience; and your
said orator and subject shall daily pray for the preservation of your
Royal estate, long to endure.



_The answer of_ HENRY WALTON _to the Bill of Complaint of_ JOHN RASTELL

The said Henry Walton by protestation saith, that the said goods in the
bill of complaint of the said John Rastell mentioned, be not of so great
value as in his said bill of complaint is supposed. And saith that the
said bill of complaint is uncertain, and insufficient in the law to be
answered unto, and the matter therein contained feigned and craftily
imagined, to the intent to put the said Henry Walton to great costs and
expenses. Nevertheless, for answer and declaration of the truth, the
said defendant saith that it appeareth by the bill of the said
complainant that he hath no cause of action in this honourable court,
for it appeareth by his bill of complaint that the said goods be
recovered in the King's Court holden before the Mayor and Aldermen of
the City of London, according to the custom of the said City. And
further, the defendant saith that he brought an action of debt against
the said John Rastell of 40s. in the said court; and he, the said Henry
Walton, having in his own keeping the said goods in the said bill of
complaint supposed, attached them in his own hands, according to the
custom of the said City; which goods were afterwards, by the
commandment of the said court, by the said John Wilkinson and Thomas
Curtis, were praised at 35s. 9d. And where the said John Rastell, in his
said bill of complaint, saith that the goods aforesaid were praised much
under their value, the said Henry Walton saith that they were praised to
as much as they at the time of the praisement were worth. And where the
said complainant in his said bill of complaint saith that he oweth not
the said defendant the said 40s. and is without remedy, the said Henry
Walton will aver that the said John Rastell oweth him the said 40s. And
also the said Henry saith that the said John Rastell might have come
into the said court, holden before the Mayor and Aldermen aforesaid,
within the year and the day according to the custom, and there to have
put in sureties, and so to have dissolved the attachment, but hath
suffered and s....psed his time. And the said Henry Walton shall aver
that the said goods were of no more value than they were priced at, for
they were rotten and torn players' garments. Without that that the said
Henry Walton craftily or falsely, and by subtle advice of his counsel,
commenced the said action against the said John Rastell, in manner and
form as he in his said bill untruly hath alleged. And without that that
anything being material or effectual in the said bill, otherwise than in
the said answer of the said Henry, is alleged is true. And in as much as
the said goods be lawfully recovered in the King's Court, holden before
the Mayor and Aldermen in the City of London aforesaid, being a Court of
Record, the which record cannot be undone without errer or attaint,
therefore the said Henry Walton prayeth to be dismissed out of this
honourable court, with his reasonable costs and expenses for his
wrongful vexation, &c.


_The replication of_ JOHN RASTELL _to the Answer of_ HENRY WALTON.

The said John Rastell saith that his said bill is true, and certain, and
sufficient to be answered unto, and matter determinable in this
honourable court, and will aver everything to be true contained in the
said bill of complaint; and that the said answer is uncertain and
insufficient to be answered unto, and matter feighed and untrue. And
further saith that the said John Rastell, as soon as he had knowledge
that the said Walton had commenced the said action of debt of 40s. in
the said Mayor's Court in London, the said Rastell came into the said
court and there put in surety to the said action. Whereupon the said
Walton declared against the said Rastell that the said Rastell should
owe to the said Walton 40s., for that that the said Rastell confessed
himself in the said City of London to owe to the said Walton 40s., to
the which the said Rastell answered and tended his law, according to the
custom of the said City, that he owed nothing to the said Walton in
manner and form as the said Walton against him declared. Whereby the
said Walton perceived that upon the said plea and tender his said action
should be dissolved; demurred in law upon the same plea, which demurrer,
what for lack that the Recorder of the said City and other Councillors
can have no convenient time to argue the said matter, and also for lack
that the counsel for the said Walton was not ready when the said matter
of law should be argued, the said matter as yet doth depend there
undiscussed. But yet the said John Rastell saith that if the said matter
be discussed and judged for the said Rastell, as undoubtedly it will be,
yet the said Rastell, by the custom of the said City, shall never
recover again his said goods, nor stuff, but only 35s. 9d. for the said
stuff, so that in the said court he hath no other remedy nor record to
punish the said Walton nor the said praisers for their said deceit and
falsehood in praising of the said goods and stuff at 35s. 9d., which
were worth at that time 20 marks and above, as in the said bill of
complaint is alleged; for the great part of the said goods were garments
of silk and other stuff, fresh and newly made, with much workmanship
done upon them, to the great cost and charge of your said orator,
without that that the said goods were at the time of the said
appraisement of no more value than they were praised at. And without
that that they were gone rotten and torn players' garments, for the said
Rastell saith that the said Walton hath letten them out to hire to
divers stage-plays and interludes, and hath received and had for the
hire of them since the said praisement of them the sum of 20 nobles and
above. And without that that any other thing material or effectual in
this said answer alleged necessary to be replied unto is true. All which
matters your said orator is ready to prove and aver as this court will
award, and prayeth as he prayed in his said bill.


_The parcels confessed by Walton_.

             _In primis._ A player's garment of     }
                  green, lined with red tuke and    }
                  with Roman letters stitched upon  }
                  it, of blue and red sarcenet.     } 8 yds. 22s.

  FISHPOLE.--_Item_. One other garment, paned with  }
                     blue and green sarcenet, lined }
                     with red buckram               } 7 yds. 20s.

  FISHPOLE.--_Item_. Another garment, paned         }
                     likewise, and lined as the     }
                     other, with a cape furred with }
                     white cats                     } 7 yds. 20s.

  FISHPOLE.--_Item_. Another garment, paned with    }
                     yellow, green, red, and blue   }
                     sarcenet, and lined with old   }
                     red buckram.                   } 8 yds. 22s.

             _Item_. Another garment, for a priest  }
                     to play in, of red say.        } 12 yds. 4s.

             _Item._ A garment of red and green     }
                     say paned and guarded with     } 12 yds. say,
                     gold skins lined with red      } and 7 yds.
                     buckram.                       } buckram 8s.

             _Item._ A short garment of gold skins  }
                     and fustian, of Naples black,  }
                     and sleeved with red, green,   }
                     yellow, and blue sarcenet      }

             _Item_. Another garment, spangled of   }
                     blue satin of Bruges, and      } 20s. it hath
                     lined with green sarcenet      } cost Rastell.

             _Item_. Two old short garments, paned  }
                     of satin of Bruges, and of     }
                     sarcenet of divers colours in  }
                     the bodies                     }        20s.

             _Item_. A woman's garment, of green    }
                     and blue sarcenet, checked and }
                     lined with red buckram         }        24s.

             _Item_. Two caps, of yellow and red    }
                     sarcenet                       }     3s. 4d.

             _Item_. Two curtains, of green and     }
                     yellow sarcenet                } 20 yds. 1s.

             _Item_. Two pieces of blue linen cloth }
                     with lyre in them              } 67 yds.15s.

             _Item_. Three pieces of old silvered   }
                     linen cloths                   }        10s.

             _Item_. An old remnant of red buckram, }
                     that was in a box in my Lord   } 30 yds.
                     Cardinal's great chamber       }     6s. 8d.

_Interrogatories for Fishpole._

_Im primis_.--Whether Fishpole know any of the said garments.

_Item_. Whether Fishpole made the two long garments of sarcenet down to
the ground, and one green gown to the fall of the leg, with wide sleeves
of sarcenet, and whether every of them contained not 7 or 8 yards of
sarcenet, and whether every of them were not better than 20s. apiece,
and whether if such garments were made of new stuff, would not have cost
almost twice as much money.

_Item_. Whether that Fishpole made not a woman's gown of sarcenet of
small pieces, and whether it was not worth 20s. and better.

_Item._ Whether he made not two other garments with wide sleeves of
small pieces, and whether they were not worth 20s. or a mark apiece.

_Item._ How long Fishpole was a-making of them, and whether he had not
the while 4d. a day and meat and drink, and whether Rastell's wife hath
holp him to sew them.

_Item._ Whether Walton hath not the same garments lent to him by
Rastell, and whether Walton hath not continually this 4 year let them to
hire for stage-plays and interludes, above 3 or 4 score times, and what
he used to have for a stage-play, and what for an interlude, and how
much money he hath won thereby.

_Item._ What the short spangled garment of blue satin of Bruges was
worth, and what every other garment and piece was worth.


_Interrogatory ex parte_ RASTELL.

_Item._ Whether about 3 or 4 years now past, about which time the King's
great banquet was at Greenwich, which this deponent saw, the said
garments were occupied there, some in divers stage-plays and interludes,
by the letting to hire by Walton, as it was reported, and at that time
they were fresh and new, and seemed little the worse for any wearing of
them before.


_Depositions for the part of_ JOHN RASTELL _against_ HENRY WALTON.

[_Deposition of_ WILLIAM FISHPOLE.]

William Fishpole of London, tailor, of the age of 60 years and above,
sworn and examined upon his oath, saith that he made two long gowns down
to the ground, of sarcenet, one of them of blue and yellow sarcenet,
lined with red tuke or red buckram, whether of the same lining he now
remembereth not, and another of green sarcenet, but whether it were
lined or not he remembereth not now, which gowns coming to him in pieces
contained in every piece 6 ells or thereabouts. And also he saith that
if he should have bought out of the mercer's shop, every ell would have
cost 6s.; and he saith that every gown was worth 20s. and above. And
also he saith that he made a garment for a gallant with wide sleeves,
the one side of red and yellow sarcenet, and the other side blue and red
lined with red tuke or red buckram, which was a costly garment, better
than 20s. And if they had been bought of new stuff it would have cost
much more money. And also he saith he made a woman's gown of sarcenet,
blue and yellow, as he remembereth, and it was made in quarrels or
lozenges, he remembereth not whether, and was a busy work, and Mistress
Rastell did help to sew that, and part of the gallant's gown also. And
it was lined with red tuke or buckram and garnished with gold skins, as
he remembereth, and it was better than 20s. and it was worth a noble the
making. And how long he was in making of them he remembereth not, but he
had 4d. by the day, meat and drink. And further he saith that he hath
heard say, that the said Rastell lent to Walton the said garments, and
that he used them in stage-plays. And further he saith that there was a
short spangled garment of blue satin of Bruges, and was lined with green
sarcenet, which was better than any of the other garments; which he made
not, but every one of them, one with another, were better than 20s., and
more he knoweth not herein.

(Signed) per me WILLIAM FISHPOLE.


[_Deposition of_ GEORGE MAYLER.]

George Mayler of London, merchant tailor, of the age of 40 years, sworn
and examined upon his oath, saith that he knew the said garments, but
how many there be in number he remembereth not, for he hath occupied and
played in them by the lending of Walton, and he saith they were worth
20s. apiece and better. And he saith he knoweth well that he lent them
out about 20 times to stage-plays in the summer and interludes in the
winter, and used to take at a stage-play for them and others, sometimes
40d., sometimes 2s., as they could agree, and at an interlude 8d. for
every time. But how many times he perfectly knoweth not, but by
estimation 20 times a year in interludes. And he saith that he hath seen
the curtains of sarcenet, but how many ells they contained he knoweth
not, but it was worth 40d. every ell, and he saith that he had buckram
and tuke, but how many yards he knoweth not, but it was better than 2d.
a yard; and further he saith that the summer when the King's banquet was
at Greenwich, he saw the same garments occupied in divers stage-plays,
and occupied part of them himself by the lending of other players that
Walton had lent them to hire, which then were fresh and little worse for
the wearing; and more he knoweth not.

(Signed) per me GEORGE MAYLER.


[_Deposition of_ GEORGE BIRCH.]

George Birch of London, carrier, of the age of 32 years or thereabouts,
sworn and examined saith, that he knew well a player's garment lined
with red tuke and stitched with Roman letters upon it of blue and red
sarcenet; another garment paned with blue and green sarcenet, lined with
red buckram, and another garment paned with yellow, green, red, and blue
sarcenet, lined with old red buckram; another garment spangled of blue
satin of Bruges, lined with green sarcenet, and a woman's gown or
garment of green and blue sarcenet, checked and lined with red buckram;
in which garments this deponent and his company played in while they
remained in the hands of the said Rastell. And he saith that every
garment, one with another, were worth 20s., and that Walton did let out
the same garments to hire to stage plays and interludes sundry times,
but how many times he knoweth not. And further he saith that the common
custom is at an interlude 8d. for the garments, and at a stage play as
the parties can agree. And he saith if they had been made of new stuff
they had been much more worth. And he saith he saw the curtains of
sarcenet, but how many ells they were he knoweth not, but every ell was
worth 3s. And further he saith that 3 or 4 years past, when the King's
banquet was at Greenwich that summer, he saw the said garments played in
3 or 4 times, by the lending of the said Walton, and at that time they
seemed fresh and good garments, and more he knoweth not.

(Signed) per me GEORGE BIRCH.


[_Deposition of_ JOHN REDMAN.]

John Redman of London, stationer, of the age of 22 years, sworn and
examined upon his oath, saith that he knew the said garments, but how
many was of them he remembreth not; and this deponent played in the same
divers times when Walton had them, but what they were worth he knoweth
not, but they were little worse than new. And this deponent saith that
he knoweth that the said Walton divers times lent them out, but what
hire he had for them he knoweth not, neither in stage-play nor in
interludes; but as to the 6 garments, that is to say 4 gowns of
sarcenet, a woman's gown, and a spangled garment, they were good, fresh,
and little the worse for the occupying when he knew them first in
Walton's hands, and by estimation they were worth 20s. apiece, for they
were lined and guarded part with gilt leather; and the curtains of silk
were fresh and new; and there were garments of dornyke and saye, which
he well remembereth, and more he cannot say.



_The interrogatories of_ HENRY WALTON _against_ JOHN RASTELL, _whereupon
witnesses to be examined_.

First, whether the said John Rastell did owe any such sum of money as
within the answer of the said Walton is alleged and submitted.

_Item._--Whether the said Walton made lawful attachment of such goods as
are comprised within the bill of complaint of the said John Rastell.

_Item._--Whether the said goods were indifferently appraised by
indifferent persons elect and chosen by lawful officers within the City
of London to be praisers there.

_Item._--What and how much of value the said goods were appraised unto.

_Item._--Whether the said goods were lawfully recovered by the custom
and law of the said City of London.

_Item._--Whether the said goods were delivered unto the above-named
Henry Walton by lawful officers of the same City of London.

_Item._--Whether the said goods were of any more value or substance than
they were praised unto.

_Item._--Whether the said goods were fresh and new, as is surmised
unjustly by the bill of complaint of the said Rastell.


_Depositions for the part of_ HENRY WALTON _against_ JOHN RASTELL.

[_Deposition of_ WILLIAM KNIGHT.]

William Knight of London, latten founder, of the age of 56 years, sworn
or examined upon his oath, saith that Walton did make of new for stages
and stage players as much as by estimation, esteemed by this deponent
and William Sayer at 50s. in board, timber, lath, nail, sprig and
daubing, which the said Rastell should have paid to the said Walton by
their arbitrament, which were chosen indifferently by them both, and
then Rastell said it was too much, and afterwards the said Rastell
arrested the same Walton, and much business was between them.

And as to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th interrogatories, he knoweth
nothing. And as to the 7th and last article, he saith that the said
Rastell had certain garments for players, which were made of old
sarcenet, but how many he knoweth not, nor he doth not esteem the value
of them nor any of them, and more he knoweth not.

(Signed) per me WILLIAM KNIGHT.


[_Deposition of_ NICHOLAS SAYER.]

Nicholas Sayer of London, skinner, of the age of 49 years or
thereabouts, sworn and examined upon his oath, saith that he and William
Knight were desired by the said Rastell and Walton, being at the Mitre
in Cheap, to view such costs as the said Walton had done in making of
stage for player in Rastell's ground beside Finsbury, in timber, board,
nail, lath, sprig, and other things. Which they esteemed and judged at
50s. that Rastell should pay to the said Walton, and upon payment of the
said 50s. the said Walton to render such garments as he had in his
keeping to the said Rastell. And he saith he saw the garments, and there
were none of them of new stuff to his knowledge, nor what the value of
them were, and more he knoweth not.

(Signed) per me NICHOLAS SAYER.


[_Deposition of_ ROGER TAYLOR.]

Roger Taylor of London, latten founder, of the age of 40 years, sworn
and examined upon his oath, he saith he made part of the said players'
garments, and some of them were made of saye and some of sarcenet, which
were not at that time of new stuff, for they had been occupied in other
business, and they were occupied three or four years in playing and
disguisings, or they came to the hands of the said Walton, or before
any variance was between them for the same; and as to the value of them
he cannot esteem nor judge. And more he cannot say herein.

(Signed) per me ROGER TAYLOR.


[_Deposition of_ THOMAS CURTIS.]

Thomas Curtis of London, glazier, of the age of 54 years, sworn and
examined upon his oath, saith that the said Walton made attachment of 15
playing garments; and thereupon this deponent and one John Wilkinson
were commanded by the Mayor's clerk, called John Edmay, to appraise the
same garments indifferently. Which the said deponent and John Wilkinson,
after their conscience, appraised to the uttermost value of them, and
the value or sum amounted unto 35s. 9d., and he and the said Wilkinson
delivered a bill thereof to the said clerk of the Mayor's Court; and he
thinketh that after the custom of the City of London the said Walton
lawfully recovered the same, but how they were delivered to the said
Walton he knoweth not. And further he saith, that at the time of the
said appraisement the said garments were old and torn, so that then they
were not able to be worn nor occupied. And also he saith he would have
been loath to have given so much for them as they were appraised at, and
more he knoweth not.

  _The Mark of Thomas Curtis._


[_Deposition of_ JOHN WILKINSON.]

John Wilkinson of London, plasterer, of the age of 33 years or
thereabouts, sworn and examined, saith that he was commanded by John
Edmay, the Mayor's officer, to appraise certain old playing garments
which were broken and torn, some of them of sarcenet and some of saye,
and others which he now remembereth not; and that he and Thomas Curtis
appraised the said garments and stuff at 35s. or 36s. 9d., which in his
conscience were no better worth, nor he would not have gladly given so
much for them, and more he knoweth not.



  _Aldermost_, most of all.
  _Also_, so as, so.
  _Anchor_, hermit.
  _Apaire_, _appaire_, injure, wither.
  _Appropred_, appropriated.
  _Arette_, attribute, account.
  _Astert_, escape.
  _Avoutry_, adultery.

  _Bain_, obedient.
  _Battles_, divisions of an army.
  _Bear on hand_, deceive.
  _Bedene_, _bedeen_, betimes.
  _Behote_, promise.
  _Beme_, tree.
  _Betake_, _beteach_, commit.
  _Blee_, countenance.
  _Blin_, departing.
  _Blinne_, cease.
  _Blyve_, quickly.
  _Borrows_, sureties.
  _Bote_, remedy.
  _Brast_, burst.
  _Brenningly_, burningly.
  _Brere_, briar.
  _Brook_, use.
  _Busk_, make ready.
  _Buxom_, obedient, pliant.
  _Bydene_, betimes.

  _Careful_, sorrowful.
  _Chevice_, preserve.
  _Clap_, talk noisily, chatter.
  _Cleped_, called.
  _Coresed_, fit to be a courser [?]
  _Corser_, coffer [?]
  _Courtepy_, short coat.
  _Covenable_, suitable.
  _Covetise_, covetousness.
  _Crach_, _crèche_, cradle.
  _Crake_, boast.
  _Curteys_, courteous.

  _Dearworthy_, precious.
  _Deem_, judge.
  _Delibered_, deliberated.
  _Derne_, secret, remote.
  _Dight_, make ready.
  _Digne_, worthy.
  _Discordeth_, disagrees.
  _Dislander_, defame.
  _Dooms_, judgments.
  _Dress_, direct.

  _Eisell_, vinegar.
  _Empechement_, hindrance.
  _Emprised_, undertaken.
  _Encheson_, cause.
  _Enderes-night_, former or other night.
  _Everychone_, everyone.

  _Fand_, found.
  _Farly_, marvellous.
  _Fay_, faith.
  _Fere_, companion; _in-fere_, together.
  _Fond_, find, contrive.
  _Fone_, _foon_, foes.
  _Fordo_, make nought.
  _Forlorn_, lost.
  _Forthy_, therefore.
  _Forwhy_, because.
  _Fremd_, strange
  _Frere_, frier.
  _Frese_, make ready.

  _Gabbeth_, talks foolishly.
  _Gent_, fair.
  _Gin_, begin.
  _Gleed_, spark.
  _Grathly_, readily.
  _Gree_, pleasure.
  _Groom_, man.

  _Halfendell_, half part.
  _Halk_, corner.
  _Hat_, am called.
  _Hend_, courteous.
  _Hent_, seized.
  _Hight_, called.
  _Hind_, servant.
  _Hipped_, hobbled.

  _Idiots_, unskilled persons.
  _In-fere_, together.
  _i-_, participial prefix.
  _I-pight_, pitched.
  _I-wis_, certainly.

  _Jesen_, _jesayne_, place of childbirth.

  _Kay_, meadow.
  _Kithe_, show.
  _Knowledge_, acknowledge, confess.

  _Lancegay_, lance.
  _Lang_, long.
  _Leasing_, lying.
  _Leer_, cheek.
  _Lede_, following.
  _Leme_, shine.
  _Lend_, stay.
  _Lere_, learn.
  _Let_, (1) hinder; (2) cause.
  _Letting_, hindrance.
  _Lewte_, loyalty.
  _Lithe_, listen.
  _Lo_, meadow.
  _Lore_, lost.
  _Losenger_, rascal.
  _Low_, blaze.
  _Lyre_, a kind of stuff.

  _Mansuete_, gentle.
  _Maugre_, despite.
  _May_, maiden.
  _Meddled_, mingled.
  _Mees_, houses.
  _Mo_, more.
  _Myster_, need.

  _Namely_, specially.
  _Nar_, nearer.
  _Nice_, foolish.
  _No force_, no matter.
  _Nombles_, loins of a deer.
  _Notoyrly_, notoriously.
  _Novels_, news.

  _Okerer_, usurer.
  _Other_, or.

  _Paned_, slashed.
  _Percase_, perchance.
  _Pirie_, gust.
  _Pludde_, some kind of kettle.
  _Postillators_, preachers.
  _Praised_, appraised.
  _Prime_, six to nine A.M.

  _Quarrels_, small squares.
  _Queme_, please.
  _Quere_, choir.
  _Quit_, requited.

  _Race_, scratch.
  _Ray_, kind of cloth.
  _Recheless_, careless.
  _Reprefe_, reprief, reproof.
  _Rown_, whisper.
  _Royaumes_, realms.

  _Salued_, saluted.
  _Saws_, sayings.
  _Say_, silk.
  _Semblable_, like.
  _Shende_, harm, spoil.
  _Sicker_, sure; _sikerly_, surely.
  _Silly_, innocent.
  _Slee_, slay.
  _Slo_, _slone_, slain.
  _Somedeal_, somewhat.
  _Somers_, baggage mules.
  _Sond_, messenger.
  _Sowning into_, tending to.
  _Spill_, destroy.
  _Starven_, die.
  _Styed_, mounted.
  _Sue_, pursue, follow.
  _Supplye_, supplicate.
  _Stound_, space of time.
  _Sy_, saw.

  _Tayd_, tied.
  _Teen_, sorrow.
  _Thee_, thrive.
  _Tho_, then.
  _Throw_, space of time.
  _Till_, to.
  _Tine_, lose.
  _To-coming_, future.
  _Train_, treachery.
  _Truage_, tribute.
  _Tuke_, a dress material.
  _Tynde_, antlers.

  _Unketh_, unknown, strange.
  _Unneath_, _unnethis_, hardly.
  _Unwieldy_, impotent.

  _Wed_, pledge.
  _Welt_, wielded, disposed of.
  _Werrey_, make war on.
  _Wight_, man.
  _Wight_, strong.
  _Witen_, know.
  _Wonder_, wondrous.
  _Wone_, dwell.
  _Woning wane_, dwelling place.
  _Wood_, mad.
  _Wyte_, blame.

  _Y-_, participial prefix.
  _Yede_, _yode_, went.
  _Y-nocked_, notched.
  _Y-wis_, certainly.

Edinburgh: Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _underscore_.

Passages in bold and gothic font are indicated by +bold+.

Sidenotes and top of the page notes are indicated by =note=.

Additional spacing after some of the quotes is intentional to indicate
both the end of a quotation and the beginning of a new paragraph as
presented in the original text.

The following misprints have been corrected:
  "yoeman" corrected to "yeoman" (twice on page 48)
  "now" corrected to "nor" (page 120)
  "and and" corrected to "and" (page 126)
  "replicacion" corrected to "replication" (page 196)
  "Atthur" corrected to "Arthur" (page 237)
  "Thesefore" corrected to "Therefore" (page 268)
  "the" corrected to "thee" (page 302) img. 336

Some quotes are opened with marks but are not closed. Obvious errors
have been silently closed, while those requiring interpretation have
been left open.

Other than the corrections listed above, printer's inconsistencies in
spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, and ligature usage have been retained.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Fifteenth Century Prose and Verse" ***

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