The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 09
'Sire Dowel dwelleth,' quod Wit, 'noght a day hennes
In a castel that Kynde made of foure kynnes thynges.
Of erthe and eyr is it maad, medled togideres,
With wynd and with water wittily enjoyned.
Kynde hath closed therinne craftily withalle
A lemman that he loveth lik to hymselve.
Anima she hatte; [to hir hath envye]
A proud prikere of Fraunce, Princeps huius mundi,
And wolde wynne hire awey with wiles and he myghte.
'Ac Kynde knoweth this wel and kepeth hire the bettre,
And hath doon hire with Sire Dowel, Duc of thise marches.
Dobet is hire damyselle, Sire Doweles doughter,
To serven this Iady leelly bothe late and rathe.
Dobest is above bothe, a bisshopes peere;
That he bit moot be do - he [bidd]eth hem alle.
[By his leryng] is lad [that lady Anima].
'Ac the Constable of that castel, that kepeth [hem alle],
Is a wis knyght withalle - Sire Inwit he hatte,
And hath fyve faire sones by his firste wyve
Sire Se-wel, and Sey-wel, and Here-wel the hende,
Sire Werch-wel-with-thyn-hand, a wight man of strengthe,
And Sire Godefray Go-wel - grete lordes [alle].
Thise sixe ben set to save this lady Anima
Til Kynde come or sende to kepen hire hymselve.'
'What kynnes thyng is Kynde?' quod, 'kanstow me telle?'
' Kynde,' quod Wit, 'is creatour of alle kynnes thynges,
Fader and formour of al that evere was maked -
And that is the grete God that gynnyng hadde nevere,
Lord of lif and of light, of lisse and of peyne.
Aungeles and alle thyng arn at his wille,
Ac man is hym moost lik of marc and of shape.
For thorugh the word that he [warp] woxen forth beestes
Dixit et facta sunt.
'A[c] he made man [moost] li[k] to hymself,
And Eve of his ryb bon withouten any mene.
For he was synguler hymself and seide Eaciamus -
As who seith, '' Moore moot herto than my word oone
My myght moot helpe now with my speche.''
Right as a lord sholde make lettres, and hym lakked [no] parchemyn,
Though he [wiste] write never so wel, if he hadde no penne,
The lettre, for al the lordshipe, I leve were nevere ymaked!
'And so it semeth [there he seide, as the Bible telleth,
Faciamus hominem ad imaginem nostram] -
He moste werche with his word and his wit shewe.
And in this manere was man maad thorugh myght of God almyghty,
With his word and werkmanshipe and with lif to laste.
And thus God gaf hym a goost, of the godhede of hevene,
And of his grete grace graunted hym blisse -
And that is lif that ay shal laste to al his lynage after.
And that is the castel that Kynde made, Caro it hatte,
And is as muche to mene as 'man with a soule.'
And that he wroghte with werk and with word bothe
Thorgh myght of the mageste man was ymaked.
' Inwit and alle wittes yclosed ben therinne
For love of the lady Anima, that lif is ynempned.
Over al in mannes body he[o] walketh and wandreth,
Ac in the herte is hir hoom and hir mooste reste.
Ac Inwit is in the heed, and to the herte he loketh
What Anima is leef or looth - he Iat hire at his wille;
For after the grace of God, the gretteste is Inwit.
'Muche wo worth that man that mysruleth his Inwit,
And that ben glotons glubberes - hir God is hire wombe
Quorum deus venter est.
For thei serven Sathan, hir soules shal he have
That lyven synful lif here, hir soule is lich the devel.
And alle that lyven good lif are lik to God almyghty
Qui manet in caritate, in Deo manet &c.
'Allas! that drynke shal fordo that God deere boughte,
And dooth God forsaken hem that he shoop to his liknesse
Amen dico vobis, nescio vos. Et alibi, Et dimisi eos
secundum desideria eorum.
' Fooles that fauten Inwit, I fynde that Holy Chirche
Sholde fynden hem that hem fauteth, and faderlese children,
And widewes that han noght wherwith to wynnen hem hir foode,
Madde men and maydenes that helplese were -
Alle thise lakken Inwit, and loore bihoveth.
'Of this matere I myghte make a long tale
And fynde fele witnesses among the foure doctours,
And that I lye noght of that I lere thee, Luc bereth witnesse.
'Godfader and godmoder that seen hire godchildren
At myseise and at myschief and mowe hem amende
Shul [pre]ve penaunce in purgatorie, but thei hem helpe.
For moore bilongeth to the litel barn er he the lawe knowe
Than nempnynge of a name, and he never the wiser!
Sholde no Cristene creature cryen at the yate
Ne faille payn ne potage, and prelates dide as thei sholden.
A Jew wolde noght se a Jew go janglyng for defaute
For alle the mebles on this moolde, and he amende it myghte.
'Allas that a Cristene creature shal be unkynde til another!
Syn Jewes, that we jugge Judas felawes,
Eyther helpeth oother of that that hym nedeth.
Whi nel we Cristene of Cristes good [as kynde be]
As Jewes, that ben oure loresmen? Shame to us alle!
The commune for hir unkyndenesse, I drede me, shul abye.
' Bisshopes shul be blamed for beggeres sake;
He is [jugged] wors than Judas that yyveth a japer silver
And biddeth the beggere go, for his broke clothes
Proditor est prelatus cum Iuda qui patrimonium Christi
minus distribuit. Et alibi, Perniciosus dispensator est
qui res pauperum Christi inutiliter consumit.
He dooth noght wel that dooth thus, ne drat noght God almyghty,
Ne loveth noght Salomons sawes, that Sapience taughte
Inicium sapiencie timor Domini.
'That dredeth God, he dooth wel; that dredeth hym for love
And noght for drede of vengeaunce, dooth therfore the bettre.
He dooth best that withdraweth hym by daye and by nyghte
To spille any speche or any space of tyme
Qui offendit in uno, in omnibus est reus.
' [Tyn]ynge of tyme, Truthe woot the sothe,
Is moost yhated upon erthe of hem that ben in hevene;
And siththe to spille speche, that spire is of grace,
And Goddes gleman and a game of hevene.
Wolde nevere the feithful fader his fithele were untempred,
Ne his gleman a gedelyng, a goere to tavernes.
'To alle trewe tidy men that travaille desiren,
Oure Lord loveth hem and lent, loude outher stille,
Grace to go to hem and of gon hir liflode
Inquirentes autem Dominum non minuentur omni bono.
'In this world is Dowel trewe wedded libbynge folk],
For thei mote werche and wynne and the world sustene.
For of hir kynde thei come that Confessours ben nempned,
Kynges and knyghtes, kaysers and clerkes,
Maidenes and martires - out of o man come.
The wif was maad the w[y]e for to helpe werche,
And thus was wedlok ywroght with a mene persone -
First by the fadres wille and the frendes conseille,
And sithenes by assent of hemself, as thei two myghte acorde;
And thus was wedlok ywroght, and God hymself it made;
In erthe the heven is - hymself was the witnesse.
'Ac fals folk feithlees, theves and lyeres,
Wastours and wrecches out of wedlok, I trowe,
Conceyved ben in yvel tyme, as Caym was on Eve.
Of swiche synfulle sherewes the Sauter maketh mynde
Concepit dolorem et peperit iniquitatem.
And alle that come of that Caym come to yvel ende.
'For God sente to Seem and seide by an aungel,
'Thyn issue in thyn issue, I wol that thei be wedded,
And noght thi kynde with Caymes ycoupled ne yspoused.''
' Yet some, ayein the sonde of Oure Saveour of hevene,
Caymes kynde and his kynde coupled togideres -
Til God wrathed with hir werkes, and swich a word seide,
' That I makede man, now it me forthynketh
Penitet me fecisse hominem.'
'And com to Noe anon and bad hym noght lette
'Swithe go shape a ship of shides and of bordes.
Thyself and thi sones thre and sithen youre wyves,
Busketh yow to that boot and bideth therinne
Til fourty daies be fulfild, that flood have ywasshen
Clene awey the corsed blood that Caym hath ymaked.
'Bestes that now ben shul banne the tyme
That evere that cursed Caym coom on this erthe.
Alle shul deye for his dedes by dales and hulles,
And the foweles that fleen forth with othere beestes,
Excepte oonliche of ech kynde a couple
That in thi shyngled ship shul ben ysaved.'
'Here aboughte the barn the belsires giltes,
And alle for hir forefadres thei ferden the werse..
The Gospel is heragein in o degre, I fynde
Filius non portabit iniquitatem patris et pater non portabit iniquitatem filii.
Ac I fynde, if the fader be fals and a sherewe,
That somdel the sone shal have the sires tacches.
Impe on an ellere, and if thyn appul be swete
Muchel merveille me thynketh; and moore of a sherewe
That bryngeth forth any barn, but if he be the same
And have a savour after the sire - selde sestow oother
Numquam colligunt de spinis uvas nec de tribulis ficus.
'And thus thorugh cursed Caym cam care upon erthe,
And al for thei wroghte wedlokes ayein [the wille of God].
Forthi have thei maugre of hir mariages, that marie so hir children.
For some, as I se now, sooth for to telle,
For coveitise of catel unkyndely ben wedded.
As careful concepcion cometh of swiche mariages
As bit-el of the folk that I bifore of tolde.
For goode sholde wedde goode, though thei no good hadde;
'I am via et veritas,'' seith Crist, 'I may avaunce alle.''
'It is an uncomly couple. by Crist! as me thynketh -
To yeven a yong wenche to an [y]olde feble,
Or wedden any wodewe for welthe of hir goodes
That nevere shal barn bere but if it be in armes!
In jelousie joyelees and janglynge on bedde,
Many a peire sithen the pestilence han plight hem togideres.
The fruyt that thei brynge forth arn.[manye] foule wordes;
Have thei no children but cheeste and chopp[es] hem bitwene.
Though thei do hem to Dunmowe, but if the devel helpe
To folwen after the flicche, fecche thei it nevere;
But thei bothe be forswore, that bacon thei tyne.
' Forthi I counseille alle Cristene coveite noght be wedded
For coveitise of catel ne of kynrede riche;
Ac maidenes and maydenes macche yow togideres;
Wideweres and wodewes, wercheth the same;
For no londes, but for love, loke ye be wedded,
And thanne gete ye the grace of God, and good ynough to live with.
'And every maner seculer that may noght continue,
Wisely go wedde, and ware hym fro synne;
For lecherie in likynge is lymeyerd of helle.
Whiles thow art yong, and thi wepene kene,
Wreke thee with wyvyng, if thow wolt ben excused
Dum sis vir fortis, ne des tua robora scortis.
Scribitur in portis, meretrix est ianua mortis.
'Whan ye han wyved, beth war, and wercheth in tyme -
Noght as Adam and Eve whan Caym was engendred.
For in untyme, trewely, bitwene man and womman
Ne sholde no [bedbourde] bebut if thei bothe were clene
Of lif and in [love of] soule, and in [lawe also],
That ilke derne dede do no man ne sholde.
Ac if thei leden thus hir lif, it liketh God almyghty,
For he made wedlok first and hymself it seide
Bonum est ut unusquisque uxorem suam habeat propter fornicacionem.
'That othergates ben geten, for gedelynges arn holden,
And fals folk, fondlynges, faitours and lieres,
Ungracious to gete good or love of the peple;
Wandren and wasten what thei cacche mowe.
Ayeins Dowel thei doon yvel and the devel serve,
And after hir deeth day shul dwelle with the same
But God gyve hem grace here hemself to amende.
'Dowel, my frend, is to doon as lawe techeth.
To love thi frend and thi foo - leve me, that is Dobet.
To yyven and to yemen bothe yonge and olde,
To helen and to helpen, is Dobest of alle.
'And thus Dowel is to drede God, and Dobet to suffre,
And so cometh Dobest of bothe, and bryngeth adoun the mody -
And that is wikked wille that many werk shendeth,
And dryveth awey Dowel thorugh dedliche synnes.'
William Langland's Other Poems
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