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Fer I wol holden compagnie with thee,
Till it be so that thou forsake me.

Nay, quod this Sompnour, that shal never be-
I am a yeman knowen is ful wide; [tide.
My trouthe wol I hold, as in this cas.
For though thou were the devil Sathanas,
My trouthe wol I hold to thee, my brother,
As I have sworne,

and eche of us to other, For to be trewe brethren in this cas, And bothe we gon abouten our pourchas. Take thou thy part, what that men wol thee yeve, And I shal min, thus may we bothe leve. And if that any of us have more than other, Let him be trewe, and part it with his brother.

I graunte, quod the devil, by my fay. And with that word they riden forth hir way, And right at entring of the tounes ende, To which this Sompnour shope him for to wende, They saw a cart, that charged was with hay, Which that a carter drove forth on his way. Depe was the way, for which the carte stood: The carter smote, and cried as he were wood, Heit scot, heit brok, what spare ye for the stones? The fend (quod he) you fecche body and bones, As ferforthly as ever ye were foled, So mochel wo as I have with yon

tholed. The devil have al, bothe hors, and cart, and hay.

The Sompnour sayde, here shal we have a pray; And nere the fend he drow, as nought ne were, Ful prively, and rouned in his ere: Herken my brother, herken, by thy faith, Herest thou not, how that the carter saith? Hent it anon, for he hath yeve it thee, Both hay and cart, and eke his caples three.

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Nay, quod the devil, God wot, never a del, It is not his entente, trust thou me wel, Axe him thyself, if thou not trowest me, Or elles stint a while and thou shalt see. This carter thakketh his hors


the eroupe, And they begonne to drawen and to stoupe. Heit now, quod he, ther Jesu Crist you blesse, And all his hondes werk, both more and lesse: That was wel twight, min owen liard boy, I

pray God save thy body and Seint Eloy. Now is my cart out of the slough parde.

Lo, brother, quod the fend, what told I thee? Here may ye seen, min owen dere brother, The cherl spake o thing, but he thought another. Let us go forth abouten our viage; Here win I nothing upon this cariage.

Whan that they comen somwhat out of toun, This Sompnour to his brother gan to roune; Brother, quod he, here woneth an old rebekke, That had almost as lefe to lese hire nekke, As for to yeve a peny of hire good. I wol have twelf pens though that she be wood, Or I wol somone hire to our office; And yet, God wot, of hire know I no vice. But for thou canst not, as in this contree, Winnen thy cost, take here ensample of me.

This Sompnour clappeth at the widewes gate; Come out, he sayd, thou olde very trate; I trow thou hast some frere or preest with thee.

Who clappeth ? said this wif, benedicite,
God save you, sire, what is your swete will?

I have, quod he, of somons here a bill.
Up peine of cursing, loke that thou be
To-morwe before the archedekenes knee,

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To answere to the court, of certain thinges.

Now lord, quod she, Crist Jesu, king of kinges,
So wisly helpe me, as I ne may.
I have ben sike, and that ful many a day.

not go so fer (quod she) ne ride,
But I be ded, so priketh it in my side.
May I not axe a libel, sire Sompnour,
And answere ther by my procuratour
To swiche thing as men wold apposen me?

Yes, quod this Sompnour, pay anon, let see,
Twelf pens to me, and I wol thee acquite.
I shal no profit han therby but lite:
My maister hath the profit and not I.
Come of, and let me riden hastily;
Yeve me



may no lenger tarie.
Twelf pens, quod she, now lady Seinte Marie
So wisly helpe me out of care and sinne,
This wide world though that I shuld it winne,
Ne have I not twelf



hold. Ye knowen wel that I am poure and old; Kithe your almesse

upon me poure wretche. Nay than, quod he, the foule fend me fetche, If I thee excuse, though thou shuldest be spilt.

Alas! quod she, God wot, I have no gilt.

Pay me, quod he, or by the swete Seinte Anne As I wol bere away thy newe panne For dette, which thou owest me of old, Whan that thou madest thyn husbond cokewold, I paied at home for thy correction.

Thou liest, quod she, by my salvation, Ne was I never or now, widew ne wif, Sompned unto your court in all my lif; Ne never I n’as but of my body trewe. Unto the devil rough and blake of hewe

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Yeve I thy body and my panne also.

And whan the devil herd hire cursen so Upon hire knees, he sayd in this manere;

Now, Mabily, min owen moder dere, Is this


will in ernest that ye sey? The devil, quod she, so fetche him or he dey, And panne and all, but he wol him repent.

Nay, olde stot, that is not min entent,
Quod this Sompnour, for to repenten me
For any thing that I have had of thee;
I wold I had thy smok and every

Now brother, quod the devil, be not wroth;
Thy body and this panne ben min by right.
Thou shalt with me to helle yet to-night,
Wher thou shalt knowen of our privetee
More than a maister of divinitee.

And with that word the foule fend him hent. Body and soule, he with the devil went, Wher as thise Sompnours han hir heritage; And God that maked after his image Mankinde, save and gide us all and some, And lene this Sompnour good man to become.

Lordings, I coude have told you, (quod this Had I had leiser for this Sompnour here, (frere) After the text of Crist, and Poule, and John, And of oure other doctours many on, Swiche peines, that your hertes might agrise, Al be it so, that no tonge may devise, Though that I might a thousand winter telle, The peines of thilke cursed bous of helle. But for to kepe us fro that cursed place, Waketh, and prayeth Jesu of his grace, So kepe us fro the temptour Sathanas. Herkneth this word, beware as in this cas.

The leon sit in his awaite alway
To sle the innocent, if that he may.
Disposeth ay your hertes to withstond
The fend, that you wold maken thral and bond;
He may not tempten you over your might,
For Crist wol be your champion and your knight;
And prayeth, that this Sompnour him repent
Of his misdedes, or that the fend him hent.

This Sompnour in his stirops high he stood,
Upon this Frere his herte was so wood,
That like an aspen leef he quoke for ire:
Lordings, quod he, but o thing I desire,
I you beseche, that of your curtesie,

han herd this false Frere lie, As suffereth me I

may my

tale telle.
This Frere bosteth that he knoweth helle,
And, God it wot, that is but litel wonder,
Freres and fendes ben but litel asonder.

For parde, ye han often time herd telle,
How that a Frere ravished was to helle
In spirit ones by a visioun,
And as an angel lad him up and doun,
To shewen him the peines that ther were,
In all the place saw he not a Frere,
Of other folk he saw ynow in wo.

Unto this angel spake the Frere tho;
Now, sire, quod he, han Freres swiche a grace,

of hem shal comen in this place? Yes, quod this angel, many a millioun: And unto Sathanas he lad him dcun.

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