That saide thus; thou hast thy felaw slain,
For which I deme thee to the deth certain.
And to another knight commanded he;
Go, lede him to the deth, I charge thee.
And happed, as they wenten by the wey
Toward the place ther as he shulde dey,
The knight came, which men wenden had be dede.
Than thoughten they it was the beste rede
To lede hem bothe to the juge again.
They saiden, lord, the knight ne hath not slain
His felaw, here he stondeth hol alive.

Ye shull be ded, quod he, so mot I thrive, That is to say, both on, and two, and three. And to the firste knight right thus spake he.

I damned thee, thou must algate be ded:
And thou also must nedes lese thyn hed,
For thou art cause why thy felaw deyeth.
And to the thridde knight right thus he seyeth,
Thou hast not don that I commanded thee.
And thus he did do slen hem alle three.

Irous Cambises was eke dronkelew,
And ay delighted him to ben a shrew.
And so befell, a lord of his meinie,
That loved vertuous moralitee,
Sayd on a day betwix hem two right thus:
A lord is lost, if he be vicious;
And dronkennesse is eke a foule record
Of any man, and namely of a lord.
Ther is ful many an eye and many an ere
Awaiting on a lord, and he n'ot wher.
For Goddes love drinke more attemprely:
Win maketh man to lesen wretchedly
His mind, and eke his limmes everich on.
The revers shalt thou see, quod he, anon,


And preve it by thyn owen experience,
That win ne doth to folk no swiche offence.
Ther is no win bereveth me my might
Of hond, ne foot, ne of min eyen sight.
And for despit he dranke mochel more
An hundred part than he had don before,
And right anon, this cursed irous wretche
This knightes sone let before him fetche,
Commanding him he shuld before him stond:
And sodenly he took his bow in hond,
And up the streng he pulled to his ere,
And with an arwe he slow the child right ther.

Now whether have I a siker hond or non? Quod he, Is all my might and minde agon? Hath win bereved me min eyen sight?

What shuld I tell the answer of the knight?
His son was slain, ther is no more to say.
Beth ware therfore with lordes for to play,
Singeth Placebo, and I shal if I can,
But if it be unto a poure man:
To a poure man men shuld his vices telle,
But not to a lord, though he shuld go to helle.

Lo, irous Cirus, thilke Persien,
How he destroyed the river of Gisen,
For that an hors of his was dreint therin,
Whan that he wente Babilon to win:
He made that the river was so smal,
That wimmen might it waden over al.
Lo, what said he, that so wel techen can?
Ne be no felaw to non irous man,
Ne with no wood man walke by the way,
Lest thee repent; I wol no forther say.

Now, Thomas, leve brother, leve thin ire, Thou shalt me find as just, as is a squire;

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Hold not the devils knif ay to thin herte,

doth thee all to sore smerte, But shew to me all thy confession.

Nay, quod the sike man, by Seint Simon
I have ben shriven this day of my curat; ,
I have him told al holly min estat.
Nedeth no mo to speke of it, sayth he,
But if me list of min humilitee.

Yeve me than of thy gold to make our cloistre,
Quod he, for many a muscle and many an oistre,
Whan other men han ben ful wel at ese,
Hath been our food, our cloistre for to rese:
And yet, God wot, uneth the fundament
Parfourmed is, ne of our pavement
N'is not a tile yet within our wones:
By God we owen fourty pound for stones.
Now help, Thomas, for him that harwed helle,
For elles mote we oure bokes selle,
And if ye lacke oure predication, ,
Than goth this world all to destruction.
For who so fro this world wold us bereve,
So God me save, Thomas, by your leve,
He wold bereve out of this world the sonne.
For who can teche and worken as we conne?
And that is not of litel time, (quod he)
But sithen Elie was, and Elisee,
Han freres ben, that find I of record,
In charitee, ythonked be our Lord.
Now, Thomas, help for Seinte Charitee.

And doun anon he sette him on his knee.

This sike man woxe wel neigh wood for ire, He wolde that the frere had ben a-fire With his false dissimulation.

Swiche thing as is in my possession,

Quod he, that may I yeve you and non other:
Ye sain me thus, how that I am your brother.
Ye certes, quod this frere, ye, trusteth wel;
I took our dame the letter of our sele.
Now wel, quod he, and somwhat shal I

yeve Unto your holy covent while I live; And in thin hond thou shalt it have anon, On this condition, and other non, That thou depart it so, my dere brother, That every

frere have as moche as other: This shalt thou swere on thy profession Withouten fraud or cavilation.

I swere it, quod the frere, upon my faith.
And therwithall his hond in his he layth;
Lo here my faith, in me shal be no lak.

Than put thin hond adoun right by my bak, Saide this man,


wel behind,
Benethe my buttok, ther thou shalte find
A thing, that I have hid in privetee.
A, thought this frere, that shal go with me.
And doun his hond he launcheth to the clifte,
In hope for to finden ther a gifte.

And whan this sike man felte this frere
About his towel gropen ther and here,
Amid his hond he let the frere a fart;
Ther n'is no capel drawing in a cart,
That might han let a fart of swiche a soun.

The frere up sterte, as doth a wood leoun: A, false cherl, quod he, for Goddes bones, This hast thou in despit don for the nones: Thou shalt abie this fart, if that I may.

His meinie, which that herden this affray, Came leping in, and chased out the frere, And forth he goth with a ful angry chere,


And fet his felaw, ther as lay his store:
He loked as it were a wilde bore,
And grinte with his teeth, so was he wroth.
A sturdy pas doun to the court he goth,
Wher as ther woned a man of gret honour,
To whom that he was alway confessour:
This worthy man was lord of that village.
This frere came, as he were in a rage,
Wher as this lord sat eting at his bord:
Unnethes might the frere speke o word,
Til atte last he saide, God you see.

This lord gan loke, and saide, Benedicite!
What? frere John, what maner world is this?
I see wel that som thing ther is amis;
Ye loken as the wood were ful of theves.
Sit doun anon, and tell me what your greve is,
And it shal ben amended, if I may

I have, quod he, had a despit to day,
God yelde you, adoun in your village,
That in this world ther n'is so poure a page,
That he n'olde have abhominatioun
Of that I have received in youre toun:
And yet ne greveth me nothing so sore,
As that the olde cherl, with lokkes hore,
Blasphemed hath oure holy covent eke.

Now, maister, quod this lord, I you beseke.
No maister, sire, quod he, but servitour,
Though I have had in scole that honour.
God liketh not, that men us Rabi call,
Neither in market, ne in your large hall.

No force, quod he, but tell me all your grefe.

Sire, quod this Frere, an odious meschefe This day betid is to min ordre, and

me, And so per consequens to eche degree

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