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And specially for thy salvation
Have I sayd many a precious orison,
And for our other frendes, God hem blesse.
I have this day ben at your chirche at messe,
And said a sermon to my simple wit,
Not all after the text of holy writ,
For it is hard to you, as I
And therefore wol I teche you ay the glose.
Glosing is a ful glorious thing certain,
For letter sleth, so as we clerkes sain.
Ther have I taught hem to be charitable,
And spend hir good ther it is resonable.
And ther I saw our dame, a, wher is she?
Yonder I trow that in the yard she be,
Sayde this man, and she wol come anon.
Ey maister, welcome be ye by Seint John,
Sayde this wif, how fare ye hertily?
This frere ariseth up ful curtisly,
And hire embraceth in his armes narwe,
And kisseth hire swete, and chirketh as a sparwe
With his lippes: dame, quod he, right wel,
As he that is your servant every del.
Thanked be God, that you yaf soule and lif,
Yet saw I not this day so faire a wif
In all the chirche, God so save me.
Ye, God amende defautes, sire, quod she,
Algates welcome be ye, by my fay.
Grand mercy, dame, that have I found alway. But of your grete goodnesse, by your leve, I wolde pray you that ye not you greve, I wol with Thomas speke a litel throw: Thise curates ben so negligent and slow To gropen tendrely a conscience. In shrift, in preching is my diligence
And study, in Peters wordes and in Poules,
I walke and fisshe Cristen mennes soules,
To yeld our Lord Jesu his propre rent;
To sprede his word is sette all min entent.
Now by your faith, o dere sire, quod she,
Chideth him wel for Seinte Charitee.
He is ay angry as is a pissemire,
Though that he have all that he can desire,
Though I him wrie a-night, and make him warm,
And over him lay my leg and eke min arm,
He groneth as our bore, lith in our stie:
Other disport of him right non have I,
I may not plese him in no maner cas.
O Thomas, jeo vous die, Thomas, Thomas, This maketh the fend, this muste ben amended. Ire is a thing that high God hath defended, And therof wol I speke a word or two.
Now, maister, quod the wif, er that I go, What wol ye dine? I wol go theraboute.
Now, dame, quod he, jeo vous die sanz doute,
Have I nat of a capon but the liver,
And of your white bred nat but a shiver,
And after that a rosted pigges hed,
(But I ne wolde for me no beest were ded)
Than had I with you homly suffisance.
I am a man of litel sustenance.
My spirit hath his fostring in the Bible.
My body is ay so redy and so penible
To waken, that my stomak is destroied.
I pray you, dame, that ye be nought annoied,
Though I so frendly you my conseil shewe;
By God I n'old have told it but a fewe.
Now, sire, quod she, but o word er I go.
My child is ded within thise wekes two,
Sone after that ye went out of this toun.
His deth saw I by revelatioun,
Sayde this frere, at home in our dortour.
I dare wel sain, that er than half an hour
After his deth, I saw him borne to blisse
In min avision, so God me wisse.
So did our sextein, and our fermerere,
That han ben trewe freres fifty yere;
They may now, God be thanked of his lone,
Maken hir jubilee, and walke alone.
And up I arose, and all our covent eke,
With many a tere trilling on our cheke,
Withouten noise or clatering of belles,
Te deum was our song, and nothing elles,
Save that to Crist I bade an orison,
Thanking him of my revelation.
For, sire and dame, trusteth me right wel,
Our orisons ben more effectuel,
And more we seen of Cristes secree thinges,
Than borel folk, although that they be kinges.
We live in poverte, and in abstinence,
And borel folk in richesse and dispence
Of mete and drinke, and in hir foule delit,
We han this worldes lust all in despit.
Lazar and Dives liveden diversely,
And divers guerdon hadden they therby.
Who so wol pray, he must fast and be clene,
And fat his soule, and make his body lene.
We fare, as sayth the apostle; cloth and food
Sufficeth us, though they be not ful good.
The clenenesse and the fasting of us freres,
Maketh that Crist accepteth our praieres.
Lo, Moises forty daies and forty night
Fasted, er that the high God ful of might
Spake with him in the mountagne of Sinay:
With empty wombe of fasting many a day,
Received he the lawe, that was writen
With Goddes finger; and Eli, wel ye witen,
In mount Oreb, er he had any speche
With highe God, that is our lives leche,
He fasted long, and was in contemplance.
Aaron, that had the temple in governance,
And eke the other preestes everich on,
Into the temple whan they shulden gon
To praien for the peple, and do servise,
They n'olden drinken in no maner wise
No drinke, which that might hem dronken make,
But ther in abstinence pray and wake,
Lest that they deiden: take heed what I say—
But they be sobre that for the peple pray—
Ware that I say-no more: for it sufficeth.
Our Lord Jesu, as holy writ deviseth,
Yave us ensample of fasting and praieres:
Therfore we mendiants, we sely freres,
Ben wedded to poverte and continence,
To charitee, humblesse, and abstinence,
To persecution for rightwisnesse,
To weping, misericorde, and to clenenesse,
And therfore may ye see that our praieres
(I speke of us, we mendiants, we freres)
Ben to the highe God more acceptable
Than youres, with your festes at your table.
Fro Paradis first, if I shal not lie,
Was man out chased for his glotonie,
And chast was man in Paradis certain.
But herken now, Thomas, what I shal sain,
I have no text of it, as I
But I shal find it in a maner glose;
That specially our swete Lord Jesus
Spake this by freres, whan he sayde thus,
Blessed be they that poure in spirit ben.
And so forth all the gospel may ye sen,
Whether it be liker our profession,
Or hirs that swimmen in possession,
Fie on hir pompe, and on hir glotonie,
And on hir lewednesse: I hem defie.
Me thinketh they ben like Jovinian,
Fat as a whale, and walken as a swan;
Al vinolent as botel in the spence;
Hir praier is of ful gret reverence;
Whan they for soules say the Psalm of Davit, Lo, buf they say, Cor meum eructavit.
Who foloweth Cristes gospel and his lore But we, that humble ben, and chast, and pore, Workers of Goddes word, not auditours?
Therfore right as an hauke upon a sours
Up springeth into the aire, right so praieres
Of charitable and chast besy freres,
Maken hir sours to Goddes eres two.
Thomas, Thomas, so mote I ride or go,
And by that lord that cleped is Seint Ive,
N'ere thou our broder, shuldest thou not thrive.
In our chapitre pray we day and night
To Crist, that he thee sende hele and might
Thy body for to welden hastily.
God wot, quod he, nothing therof fele I,
As help me Crist, as I in fewe yeres
Have spended upon divers maner freres
Ful many a pound, yet fare I never the bet;
Certain my good have I almost beset:
Farewel my good, for it is al ago.
The frere answered, O Thomas, dost thou so?