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that feigners in friar's clothing had fat cheeks. Such And nameliche7 ye maistres, mayors, and judges men may truly be called lollers.
That han the wealth of this world, and wise men ben hold, s
To purchase you pardon and the Pope's bulls, * As by English of our elders, of old men teaching,
At the dreadful day of doom when dead men shullen rise, He that lolleth is lame, or his leg is out of joint,
And comen all before Christ accounts to yield Or maimed in some member, for to mischief it soundeth.
How we had our life here and his laws kept, And right so soothly such manner eremites
And how we did day by day, the doom will rehearse : Lollen agen the Belief and Law of Holy-Church."
A pokeo full of pardon there, ne provincials' letters,
Though we be found in fraternity of all five orders, Because he is a friar, he sits at meat with the first
And have indulgences doublefold, but 10 Do-wel us help, who once sat at a side-bench and second table, tasted
I set by pardon not a pea nother a pye-heel.
Forthi ich counsel all Christians to cry God mercy no wine all the week, had neither blanket on his bed
And Mary his mother be our meneli to Him, nor white bread before him. The fault is with
That God give us grace here, ere we go hence, bishops who allow such sins to reign. “Simon, why
Such works to work while we ben here sleepest thou? To watch were better, for thou hast
That after our death day Do-wel rehearse great charge. For many strong wolves are broken
At the day of doom, we did as he taught.' Amen." into the fold; thy dogs are all blind, thy sheep are scattered, thy dogs dare not bark. They have an ill tar, their salve is of supersedeas in the Summoner's
Thus ends, with the second dream, the first part of
the Vision of Piers Plowman, which I am dwelling boxes. Thy sheep are nearly all scabbed; the wolf tears away their wool. Ho, shepherd! Where is
on the more fully because the book is not yet read thy dog ?"
and known as widely as it ought to be, and because To such exhortation a priest answered by calling
there is no other work of the fourteenth century that upon Piers to show the form of the Pardon Truth
shows so vividly the life of England in those days, had sent him. Piers unfolded it, and showed it to
and in the midst of all its ills, the rising spirit of a them all. There were but two lines in it :
Reformation that sought grace of God in calling every
man-king, knight, priest, merchant, peasant—to his “Qui bona egerunt ibunt in vitam eternam;
Duty. Langland opposed no doctrines then accepted
by his Church. He joins in testimony to the general Qui vero mala, in ignem æternuin."' |
corruption of the friars, but finds many monks true “Peter!" quoth a priest then, “I can find no
to their vows; the place held by the Virgin Mary in
the mediæval Church he gave her without question, pardon here! Nothing but
and he did not contradict what the Church taught “ Do well and Have well, and God shall have thy soul ;
concerning the Pope's power to grant indulgences. Do ill and have ill, and hope thou none other
Obey Holy-Church, he says, but trust not in what But he that ill liveth shall have an ill end."
money can buy. A bagfull of pardons will surely help you less at the Last Day, than grace of God
obtained by prayer to Him with true penitence Thus the priest disputed with Piers about the
shown by undoing of the evil done, and labour to Pardon, and with their words, says the Dreamer, I
do well all one's life after. He has no faith in the awoke, and saw the sun far in the south, and wan
religion of Say-well who turns his back upon welldered a mile over Malvern Hills musing upon this
doing, or in a love of God that does not show itself dream. What meant Piers Plowman by the Pardon
by love of man and deeds of mercy. He looks to wherewith he would gladden the people? what meant
Christ, and bids men strive to read their duty in the the priest by his contention that it was no pardon
pure light of our Saviour's teaching. at all ? and the dream seemed to him to mean
The second part of his poem-styled in MSS.
the vision concerning Dowel-Langland began by " that Do-well Indulgences passede,
representing himself thus robed in russet, roaming Biennals and triennals and bishops' letters.
about all a summer season in search of Dowel. He For whoso doth well here, at the day of doom
asked of many where he might be found, and met on Worth faire underfong before God that time.
a Friday two Franciscan friars. So Do-wel passeth Pardon and Pilgrimages to Rome.
“You travel much about,” he said, “in princes' Yet hath the Pope power pardon to grant As lettered men us lereth ? and Law of Holy-Church.
palaces and poor men's cots. Tell me where Dowel And so I believe loyally, lords forbid else,
dwells." That pardon and penance and prayers do save
“ He is one of us friars," said one; “always has Souls that have sinned seven siths3 deadly.
been, and I hope always will be.” Ac4 to trusten upon triennals, truly me thinketh,
“ Nay,” said Will, “ even the just sins seven times Is not so sicker for the Soul certes as is Dowel.
| a day. He cannot always be at home with you." Forthi ich rede you renkess that rich ben on this earth
“I will explain to you, my son,” said a friar, l'p trist of your treasure triennals to have
“how we sin seven times a day and have Dowel. Be ye never the bolder to break the ten hests.
If a man be in a boat on the wild sea of the world,
1 The reference is to Matthew xxv. 3646. ? Lereth, teach. | 3 Siths, times.
Ac, but. * Therefore I counsel you men.
& l'p trist, upon trust. 1
7 Nameliche, especially.
& Ben hold, are esteemede 9 Poke, bag. First-English “pocca," pocket, a little bag. 10 But, unless.
11 Our mene, our mediator.
beans. What was baked for the horse may save who in any way helped at his ploughing: to kings him." Then the feigners were afeared, and flew to and knights who defended him ; to bishops if they Piers's barns, and threshed with their fails so stoutly | were loyal and full of love, merciful to the meek, from morning to evening that Hunger was afraid to mild to the good, severe to the bad men of whatever look on them. Hermits cut their copes into short rank when they would not amend; to merchants coats, took spades, spread dung, weeded, for dread of who earned honestly and made a right use of their their death, such strokes gave Hunger. Friars of all gain, repairing the hospitals, mending the highways, five orders worked, for fear of Hunger. Piers was helping the fatherless, the poor, the prisoner, helping glad, and was sending Hunger away, but asked also to bring the young to school. “Do this," said counsel of him first; since many were at work for Truth, “and I myself shall send you Michael, mine fear of famine, not for love.
angel, that no fiend shall hurt you, and your souls “ Truth,” said Piers, “ taught me once to love shall come to where I dwell, and there abide in bliss them all; teach me, Sir Hunger, how to master for ever and ever." Then the merchants wept for them, and make them love the labour for their joy, and prayed for Piers Plowman. It was ill with living."
lawyers who would not plead unpaid, but well with Hunger advised that the able-bodied who avoided them if they would plead for the innocent poor and work should be fed only with the bread of dogs and comfort them, and maintain their cause against inhorses. “Give them beans. If any object, bid him justice of the strong. There follows upon Truth's Go, work; and he shall sup the sweeter when he message a tender picture of the sorrows of the poor hath deserved."
mother of many children, whose spinning barely pays Hunger quoted many words of Scripture in support the rent of the low cot, the cost of milk and meal of his argument that men were born to work. They to feed the little ones who hunger as she is hungershould not eat till Hunger sent his sauce, or let Sir | ing herself :Surfeit sit by them at table. If men did thus,
“ And woe in winter-time with waking a-nights Physic should sell his furred hood for his food,
To rise to the ruel, to rock the cradle,
Both to card and to comb, to clouten and to wash, “And lerne labore with londe leste lyflode hym faile.
To rub and to rely, 6 rushes to pilie, Ther aren meny luthere' leeches, and lele leches fewe;
That ruth is to read others in ryme shewe Thei don men deye” thorgh here 3 drynkes er destinye hit wolde,"
The woe of these women that woneth in cotes."
Piers said that Hunger was right, and bade farewell; but Hunger would not go till he had dined. It was not yet harvest, and there was nothing to be had but a little curds and cream, an oat-cake, a few loaves of beans and pease, parsley, onions, half-red cherries, a cow and her calf, and a cart-mare. But the poor people brought what they could to feed Hunger, who ate all in haste, and asked for more. But when it was harvest-time, and the new corn was in, Hunger ate and was satistied, and went away. And then the beggars would eat only the finest breail, they would take no halfpenny ale-only the best and brownest that the brewsters sell. Labourers, who had only their hands to live by, would not dine upon worts more than one night oll, or penny ale and a piece of bacon, but must have fresh meat and fish, hot, and hotter, because their stomachis were a-cold. They would chide if they had not high wages, and curse the laws ; but they strove not so when Hunger frowned upon them. Here the poet, reading signs of the stars according to the astrology that formed part of the undoubted science of his day, warned his countrymen, by the aspect of Saturn, that Hunger was coming back; for famine and pestilence were on the way to them again. It was a sad prediction which, in those days, must needs be fulfilled. The next of the great pestilences followed a sore famine in 1382.
Truth heard of these things, and sent to hid Piers till the earth ; granting a full pardon to him and all
Still dwelling upon love as the companion of labour, the poet touches on the secret sorrows of poor men, who will not beg or complain or make their need known to their neighbours; whose craft is all their substance, bringing in few pence to clothe and feed those whom they love; to whom a farthing's worth of mussels is a fast-day feast. To help and comfort such as these, and crooked men and blind, is charity indeed. But begcars with their bags, whose church is the brewhouse ; if they be not halt, or blind, or sick, if they be idlers who deceive ; leave them to work or starve. And those who wander wanting wit, --the lunatics and lepers, to whom cold and heat are as one, and who walk moneyless far and wide, as Peter and Paul did, though they preach not nor work miracles,-to my conscience, it is as if God, giver of wit and health, had sent forth these also as His apostles, without bread and bag and begging of no man, reverencing no man more than another for his diguity, to draw from us love and mercy. They are heaven's minstrels : men give gold to all manner of minstrels in the name of great lords. Rather, ye rich, should ve help with your goods these minstrels of God, whose sins are hid under His secret seal, than the idlers and unlearned eremites who come into the house to rest them and to roast them with their backs to the tire, and leave when they will, to go next where they are most likely to find a round of bacon. These eremites worked till they found out
i Luthere, bad. First-English "lath," evil, whence our " loathe."
* Ruel, the spinning-wheel.
2: Simers in frar's clothing had fat cheeks. Such ELE TOT be called lollers
Ab Es of cur elders, of old men teaching,
And namelicher ve maistni, maon, and just w
Because he is a friar, he sits at meat with the first who once sat at a side-bench and second table, tasted Do wine all the week, had neither blanket on his bed por white bread before him. The fault is with bishops who allow such sins to reign. “Simon, why sleepest thou ! To watch were better, for thou hast great charge. For many strong wolves are broken into the fold; thy dogs are all blind, thy sheep are scattered, thy dogs dare not bark. They have an ill tar, their salve is of supersedeas in the Summoner's boxes. Thy sheep are nearly all scabbed; the wolf tears away their wool. Ho, shepherd! Where is thy dog!"
To such exhortation a priest answered by calling upon Piers to show the form of the Pardon Truth bad sent him. Piers unfolded it, and showed it to them all. There were but two lines in it:
" Qui bona egerunt ibunt in ritam eternam;
Qui teto mala, in ignem æternum." |
Thus ends, with the micond roun, the first part of the Vision of Piers M'low , which I min of welling on the more fully because the book im not, you now and known as widely sum it ought to be, and we wanas there is no other work of the fountanth minny Thund, shows so vividly the life of Lngland in thomas dunya, and in the midst of all its illx, the rising annil, # Reformation that wought yrue of Goud in culling very man-king, knight, poriant, merchant, jautWhis Duty. Langlund omarme de tres that
w ill by biss Church. He join in taslimny with you are ind corruption of the triarx, but, fiwe maty w e love u thoir VoW%; the plain, he try Ibra V114411 5 hoy it the milia:val Church he yave, hat will hpv #yltin and he did not lowliet what, 11,4 lb, it'!, de 13.4 Concerning the '*'* wat vi yine,1, 1,0 17***, (iv lic Church, teakas r* tre, l a to vte wan! 16147 can buy. A tray ni A fiatal Wire 8',* Y bo ya laro at, the land Day, unt, unde Alp) Olalang biya yat V 11,1 W;" no .7*
" Peter!” quoth a priest then, “I can find no pardon here! Nothing but
"De well and Hare well, and God shall have thy soil. Dill and have ill, and hope thou none other but be that ill liveth shall have an iil eni."
Tons the priest disputed with Piers aient the Farion, and with their woris, 5293 tize L: . I 37 kr. and saw the sun far in te with a war,
ia mie over Mivern HLL -2 39. trim Weat mean: Pier Por z e P2r. breith be woni zaidroties ** sent to his si la
Dar em *Jiani ile irrar sM , I D
and stumble and fall seven times a day, if his Dobest taught ; have crowned one to be king and fall be within the boat he is safe and sound. Man rule all realms according to their teaching, but no has also free will and free wit to row out of sin.” otherwise than as those three assented.' The Dreamer
“I cannot follow that," said Will. “ We acknow. thanked Thought for his teaching, but was not yet ledge Christ who died upon the cross,” said the friar ; , satisfied. He would go farther and learn more about and Will said, “ May he save you from mischance, Dowel, Dobet, and Dobest. Thought directed him to and give me grace to die with a good end.”
Wit (knowledge). None in the kingdom could tell Then he went farther in a wilderness by a wood him better than Wit where those three dwelt. So side, and pleasure of the birds' songs caused him to Thought and the Dreamer went together until they lie under a tree and listen to their lays and lovely met with Wit. notes until he slept, and dreamt. In this his third dream came to him a man like to himself and called
“ He was long and lean, like to none other, him by his name.
Was no pride in his apparel, nor poverty neither,
Sad of his semblant, with a soft speech." • What art thou ?' quoth I, 'that my name knowest ?'
“That wotst thou, Will,' quoth he, and no wight better.' The Dreamer, afraid to address him, caused Thought • Wot I ?' quoth I;'Who art thou?' "Thought,' said he to inquire for him where Dowel, Dobet, and Dobest then,
dwell, what lives they live, what laws they use, and I have thee sewed' this seven year. Seih? thou me no what they dread and fear.
rather?' · Art thou Thought ?' quoth I then, thou couthest me «« « Sir Dowel dwelleth,' quoth Wit, 'not a day hence wisse 3
In a castle that Kind made of four kyne things; Where that Dowel dwelleth, and do* me to know.'
Of Earth of Air it is made, medled 15 together, * Dowel and Dobet,' quoth he, “and Dobest the third,
With Wind and Water wittily en-joined. Beeth three fair virtues, and beeth not far to find.
Kind hath closed therein craftily withal
A leman that he loveth well, like to himself, Whoso is true of his tongue and of his two hands,
Anima she hatte, 16 to her hath envy And through leal labour liveth and loveth his emchristian, A proud pricker of France, Princeps hujus Mundi,17 And thereto is true of his tale and halt 6 well his hands,
And would win her away with wiles if he might. Not dronkelewe ne deynous, Dowel him folweth.
And Kind knoweth this well, and keepeth her the better,
And dooth her with Sir Dowel, Duke of these Marches. Dobet doth all this, ac yet he doth more:
Dobet is her damsel, Sir Dowel's daughter, He is low as a lamb and lovely of speech,
To serve that Lady leally both late and rathe.is And helpeth heartily all men of that he may spare.
Dobest is above both, a bishop's peer, The bags and the by-girdles he hath to broke them all
And by his lering 19 is led that ilk Lady Anima. That the Earl Avarous held and his heirs,
The constable of that castle that keepeth them all And of Mammon's money made him many friends,
Is a wise knight withal, Sir Inwit 20 he hatte, And is run into religion, and rendreth his Bible,
And hath five fair sons by his first wife, And preacheth to the people Saint Paul's words:
Sir Seewell, Sir Saywell, Sir Hearwell the hende, Libenter suffertis insipientes, cum sitis ipsi sapientes.
Sir Work-well-with-thine-hand, a wight 21 man of “Ye worldliche wise unwise that ye suffer,
strength, Lene them and love them," this Latin is to mean.
And Sir Goodfaith Gowell, great lords all.
These five ben ysett for to sauye Anima
Till Kind come or send and keep her himself.'"
“And who is Kind ?” asked Will. Wit then Lords that liven as them lust and no law acounten,
described him as the Creator of all things, Lord of For their muck and their meuble 11 such men thinken Light and Life, who made man in His image, that That no bishop should their bidding withsit.12
sin hides from us as clouds obscure the sun. Inwit But Dobest should not dreaden them, but do as God
(Conscience) lives in the head; Anima lives in the highte, 13
heart. Wit added in new form the direct lessons of Nolite timere eos qui possunt occidere corpus.14 !
human love and duty, and dwelt on the relations
between husband and wife that should be founded And these three have crowned a king with sole
upon higher love than that of money, and have issue power over the lives of those who will not do as
in peace, not in contention. But Wit himself had Study for his wife, and she contended with him for
giving his wisdom to fools, I Serred, followed. : Scih ... rather, sawest ... sooner. 3 Wisse, direct.
* Do, make, cause. 5 Emchristian, even or equal Christian ; fellow-Christian.
“And said, Noli mittere, ye men, margerie-pearls 6 Halt, holds.
7 Deynous, disdainful.
Amonge hogges that haven haws at will."' 8 " Ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.” (2 Cor. xi. 19.) 9 Lene them, give to them ; that is, give to them of your knowledge. 10 Prevaricators of the law.
11 Meuble, furniture.
15 Medled, mixed.
16 Anima she hatte, the Soul she is called. 12 Withsit, withstand ; set himself against.
17 The Prince of this World.
18 Rathe, earls. 13 Highte, commanded.
19 Lering, teaching.
20 Inuit, conscience 14 “ Fear not them which kill the body.” (Matthew a. 28.)
22 Appointed to keep Anima safe. The world, she said, loves land and lordship more and said, “ Go I to hell or heaven, I shall not go than all the saints can teach. Through her the poet alone. If all be true that Clergy and Scripture say, paints contempt of true learning in clerks who argue there's not a lord or lady on earth who shall see God blindly of the Trinity and send the poor shivering in his bliss. The Church says that Solomon and and starving from their gates. Were not the poor Aristotle are in hell; that Mary Magdalene and the more merciful to one another, many would go unfed. repentant thief are in heaven. A little of God's Pride is so much enhanced that men's prayers have grace is better than much learning of Clergy and no power to stay these pestilences. Men now want Scripture. Clerks who are most learned can forfeit charity, are gay and gluttonous. Beware, Dame the heaven that poor loyal labourers and tillers of Study said to Wit her husband, beware of showing the soil reach with a Pater Noster. God disposes." Holy Writ to swine. Wit laughed and bowed to his Then childish Recklessness drew the Dreamer towife, and looked at the Dreamer as inviting him to wards the daughters of Fortune; he thought no more win her grace. The Dreamer bowed, and very cour of Dowel and Dobet ; he cared no more for Clergy teously prayed that she would teach him to know and his counsel. what Dowel is. For his meekness, she said, and his “Alas !” said Eld and Holiness both, “ that Wit mild speech, she would introduce him to her cousin should become wretchedness, when Wealth has all Clergy, who has Study's sister Scripture (written his will!”. knowledge) for his wife. By their understanding But Covetise-of-Eyes solaced the Dreamer, and and counsel he should come to know Dowel. The said, “ So thou be rich, have no conscience how thou Dreamer asked the way to Clergy's home, and was come to good. Confess to a friar, and thou’rt soon bidden to go by the highway to Suffer-both-weal-and- absolved.” much-woe, and then ride on through Riches without He did so; but Fortune presently became his tarrying. “When you come to Clergy, say it was foe, and Poverty pursued him. Then he went to I who taught his wife. Many men,” said Dame the friar, and could get no absolution without Study,“ have been taught by me, but Theology has silver. “Why frown'st thou at this friar ?” asked vexed me ten-score times.
21 Wight, vigorous.
Loyalty. “Because he flattered me when I was rich,
and will not look upon me now.” Here Loyalty 6. The more I muse thereon the mistier it seemeth,
gave counsel, and Scripture enforced it with texts, And the deeper I dive the darker methinketh it.
setting forth the grace of God to those who faithIt is no science soothly, but a soothfast belief,
fully bear poverty and trials upon earth. Poverty Ac for it lereth? men to love, I believe thereon the walks in peace, unrobbed among the plunderers. better."
Poverty Jesus chose. The poor may be as having
nothing, yet possessing all things. The poet dwells When Clergy was found, he told the Dreamer that
at length upon the consolations of the unencumif he coveted Dowel he must keep the Ten Com
bered poor. Recklessness argued against Clergy mandments and believe in Christ. If man's wit
until Nature came to Clergy's help, and showed how could not doubt evidence of the revealed mysteries
the beasts follow Reason, while men alone ride away of God, there would be no merit in Faith. Belief
from Reason recklessly. The birds patiently build and Loyalty and Love make Dowel, Dobet, and
their nests, and hatch their young; the flowers Dobest.
yield their fit colour and perfume. The Dreamer Then Clergy's wife, Scripture (written knowledge) asked of Reason why he did not rather govern scorned the questioner, and looked to Clergy to get
| man than beasts. “Ask not,” said Reason, “ what I rid of him ; saying in Latin, “ Many know many suffer from those who sin against me. Who is more things, and not themselves.”
long-suffering than God ? Be patient. Rule thy The Dreamer wept for woe and awoke, and slept
tongue. Praise God, and know that none lives withiagain, and passed into another—the fourth-dream
out crime.” of the Vision.
The Dreamer then awoke, and grieved that he had He dreamt that Fortune took him to the Land of
slept no more. “Sleeping,” he said, “I might have Longing and Love, and bade him look into a Mirror
found Dowel. Waking, I never shall." of the World. “Here,” she said, “ thou may'st see After this fourth dream of the Vision, while Will wonders, and know that which thou covetest to
mourned, there came to him one who told him that know." Fortune had two fair maidens following her,
if he had been patient, even though but in a dream, named Lust-of-Flesh and Covetise-of-Eves. Pride-of
he would have heard Reason confirm the teaching of Perfect-living also followed him fast, and bade him
Clergy. For his pride and presumption of perfect make light of Clergy's teaching. The two maidens
living, Reason refused to stay with him. He had offered him their comfort, but there was one named
been brought to shame for reasoning against Reason. Eld (old age), heavy of cheer, who warned him that
The new counsellor was Imaginative, who said he he should find Fortune fail him at his need, and that
had followed him these forty years, and often taught he would then be forsaken by her daughters.
him about Dowel; counselling that to beguile no man, “ Yea, never reck thee,” said Recklessness, who
neither to lie, nor to waste time, nor to hurt any stood forth in ragged clothes, “it is a far way yet true thing, to live humbly, and obey the Church is to Eld.”
Dowel; but to love and to give, living a good life in Sir Wanhope (Despair) was sib to Recklessness,
faith, is called Caritas, Kind Love in English, that
is Dobet. In different forms, in short, there is one 1 Ac for it lereth, but because it teacheth.
lesson : Dowel is the life of truth and justice that