Why, quod the Sompnour, ride ye than or gon
In sondry shape, and not alway in on ?

For we, quod he, wol us swiche formě make
As most is able our preyè for to take.

What maketh you to han al this labour !

Ful many a causē, levě Sire Sompnour,
Saidě this fend. But allě thing hath time;
The day is short, and it is passed prime,
And yet ne wan I nothing in this day;
I wol entend to winning if I may,
And not intend our thingěs to declare ;
For, brother min, thy wil is al to bare
To understand, although I told hem thee.
But for thou axest why labouren we?
For sometime we be Godděs instruments,
And meněs to don his commandements
Whan that him list, upor his crëatures
In divers actes and in divers figùres :
Withouten him we have no might certain,
If that him list to stonden theragain.
And sometime at our praiére han we leve
Only the body and not the soul to greve;
Witnesse on Job, whom that we diden wo;
And sometime han we might on bothě two
This is to sain, on soule and body eke:
And sometime be we suffered for to seke
Upon a man, and don his soule unrest
And not his body, and all is for the beste.
Whan he withstandeth our temptation,

It is a cause of his salvation ; “But why,” inquired the summoner, “not be content with some ono shape in particular?”

“Because,” replied the other, “ the more disguises, the more booty."

“That is taking a great deal of trouble, is it not ?" asked the summoner. “ Why couldn't you take less ?”

“For many reasons, good Master Summoner,” quoth the devil. “But all in good time. The day wears, and I have got nothing yet, so I must attend to business. Besides, you couldn't understand the matter, if I told it. You haven't wit enough for its comprehension. But if you ask why we trouble ourselves at all, you must know, that God wills it, and that devils themselves are but instruments in his hands. We can do nothing at all if he doesn't choose it; and do what we may, we can sometimes go no further than the body. We are not always permitted to touch the soul. Witness the case of Job. Sometimes, on the other hand, we are permitted In torment a man's soul, and not his body: and all is for the best Our vory temptations are the cause of a man being saved, if he resists them

Al be it that it was not our entente
He shuld be sauf, but that we wold him hento
And sometime be we servants unto man,
As to the Archebishop Seint Dunstàn,
And to the Apostle servant eke was I.

Yet tell me, quod this Sompnour, faithfully,
Make ye you newě bodies thus alway
of elements ? The fend answered, Nay.
Sometime we feine, and sometime we arise
With dedè bodies, in ful sondry wise,
And speke as re’nably, and faire, and wel,
As to the Phitonesse did Samuel;
And yet wol som men say it was not he:
I do no force of your divinitee.
But o thing warne I thee, I wol not jape;
Thou wolt algatěs wete how we be shape ;
Thou shalt hereafterward, my brother dere,
Com wher thee nedeth not of me to lere,
For thou shalt by thin owen experience
Conne in a chaière rede of this sentence
Bet than Virgilè, while he was on live,
Or Dant also. Now let us riden blive,
For I wol holden compagnie with thee
Til it be so that thou forsakė me.

Nay, quod this Sompnour, that shal never betide
I am a yeman knowen is ful wide;
My trouthè wol I hold to thee, my brother,
As I have sworne, and eche of us to other,


Not that we have any such good intention. Our design is to carry him away with us, body and soul. Sometimes we are even compelled to be servants to a man. Archbishop Dunstan had a devil for a servant; and I served an Apostle myself.”

“And have you a new body every time you disguise yourselves,” in. quired the summoner ; or is it only a seeming body?”

“ Only a seeming body sometimes," answered the devil. “ Sometimes also we possess a dead body, and give people as good substantial words, as Samuel did to the witch; though some learned persons are of opinion that it was not Samuel whom she raised, but only his likeness. Be all this as it may, of one thing you may be certain, my good friend; and that is, that you shall know more of us by-and-by, and be able to talk more learnedly about it, than Virgil did when he was living, or Dante himself. At present, let us push on. I like your company vastly; and will stick to you, as long as you do not choose to forsake mine.”

Nay,” cried the summoner, “never talk of that. I am very wel! known for respectability; and I hold myself as firmly pledged to you, as

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 shall min, thus may we bothě leve;
And if that any of us have more than other,
Let him be trewe, and part it with his brother.

I grauntè, quod the devil, by my fay;
And with that word they riden forth her way;
And right at entring of the touněs ende
To which this Sompnour shope him for to wende,
They saw a cart that chargěd was with hay,
Which that a carter drove forth on his way.
Depe was the way, for which the cartè 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 you tholed.
The devil have al, bothe hors, and cart, and hay.

The Sompnour sayde, Here shal we have a praye ;
And nere the fend he drow, as nought ne were,
Ful privèly, and rouněd 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.

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 ellěs stint awhile, and thou shalt see.

you do yourself to me. We are to ride and prosper together. You are to take what people give you; I am to take what I can get; and if the profits turn out to be unequal, we divide them.”

“Quite right,” said the devil; and so they push forward.

They were now entering a town; and before them was a hay-cart which had stuck in the mud. The carter, who was in a rage, whipped his horses like a madman.

Heit, Scot! heit, Brok !” cried he to the beasts ; “What! it's the stones, is it, that make you so lazy? The devil take ye both, say I. Am I to be thwacking and thumping all day? The devil take you, hay, cart, and all.”

“ Ho, ho !” quoth the summoner, “here's something to be got." He drew close to his companion, and whispered him: “ Don't you hear ?” said be.

“ The carter gives you his hay, cart, and three horses.” “Not he," answered the devil. · He says so, but he doesn't mean it Ask him, if he does. Or wait a little, and you'll see.”

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This carter thakketh his hors upon the croupe,
And they begonne to drawen and to stoupe.
Heit now, quod he; ther, Jesu Crist you blesse,
And all his honděs werk, bothe more and lesse !
That was wel twight, mine owěn Liard boy:
I pray God save thy body and Seint Eloy.
Now is my cart out of the slough, pardè.

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

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 oldè very trate;
I trow thou hast som frere or preest with thee

Who clappeth ? said this wif, benedicite !


'The carter th wacked his horses again, and they began to stoop and to draw. “ Heit now ;- ee up ;-matthy wo ;-ah,—God bless 'em-there they

That wa; well twitched, Grey, my old boy. God bless you, say 1, and Saint Elias to boot. My cart's out of the slough at last.”

“ There,” said the devil; “ You see how it is. The fellow said one thing, but he thought another. We must e'en push on. There's nothing to be got here.

The companions continued their way through the town, and were just quitting it, when the summoner, pulling his bridle as he reached a cottage door, said, “ There's an old hag living here, who would almost as soon break her neck as part with a halfpenny I'll get a shilling out of her, for that, though it drive her mad. She shall have a summons else, and that'll be worse for her. Not that she has committed any offence, God knows. That's quite another business. But mark me now: and see what you must do, if you would get anything in these parts."

The summoner rattled the old woman's gate, crying, “ Come out, old trot ;-come out;-you've got some friar or priest with you !"

“ Who's there?” said the woman. “Lord bless us! God save you, sir ! What is your will ?"


God save you, sire, what is your swetè will ?

I have, quod he, of somons here a bill:
Up peine of cursing loke that thou be
To-morwe before the archèdekenes knee,
To answere to the court of certain thinges

Now Lord, quod she, Christ Jesu, King of kinges,
So wisely reipè me as I ne may,
I have been sike, and that full many a day:
I may not go so fer (quod she) ne ride
But I be ded, so priketh it my side.
May I not axe a libel, Sire Sompnòur,
And answere ther by my procùratour
To swiche thing as men wold apposen me?

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

Twelf pens ! quod she; now Lady Seint Marie
So wisly helpe me out of care and sinne,
This wide world though that I shuld it winne,
Ne have I not twelf pens within my hold.
Ye knowen wel that I am poure and old ;
Kithe your almessè upon me, poure wretche

Nay then, quod he, the foulè fend me fetche

“I've a summons for you,” said the man. “ You must be with the archdeacon to-morrow, on pain of excommunication, to answer to certain charges."

“Charges !” cried the poor woman. “ Heaven help me! there can be no charges against a poor sick body like me. How am I to come to the archdeacon? I can't even go in a cart, it gives me such a pain in my side. Mayn't I have a summons on paper, and so get the lawyer to see to it.

“ To be sure you may,” answered the summoner, “provided you pay me down-let me see-ay, a shilling. That will be your quittance, and all. I get nothing by it, I assure you. My master has all the fees. Come, make haste, for I must be going. A shilling. Do you hear?”

“A shilling ?” exclaimed she. “ Heaven bless us and save us! Where, in all the wide world, am I to get a shilling? You know I haven't a pen. ny to save my life. It's myself, that ought to have a shilling given to me, poor wretch !”

“ Devil fetch me then, if you won't be cast,” said the summoner ; " for Ishan't utter a syllable in your favor.”

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