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WILLIAM LANGLAND


PIERS PLOWMAN

PASSUS II



Incipit Passus Secundus.

hat þis Mounteyn meneþ / & þe derke dale.
& þe feld ful of folk / y shal faire ȝow shewe.
A Love lady of leere / in lynene y-clothed.
Com fram a Castel / & callede me fayre.
& seyde sone slepistow / seest þou þis peple.
How bysely þat þey been / a-bowtyn þe mase.
Þe mooste partye of þis peple / þat pasen on erthe
Have þey worchepe in þis world / þey wilnen no bettre.
Of othir hevene þan here / holde þey no tale.
I was a-ferd of here face / þey she fair were.
& seyde Mercy Madame / what is þis to mene.
Quod she In þe tour vpon þe toft / trewthe is þere-Inne.
He wolde þat men wroghte / as his woord tellyþ.
For he . ys fader of feyþ / & formed hem alle.
Boþe with fel / & with face / he ȝaf ȝou fyve wyttys.
For to worchepe hym with / whyles ȝee been here.
& þerfore he hyghte þe erthe / to helpe ȝou ecchone.
Of wollene / & lynene / & lyflode at neede.
In mesurable maner / to make ȝow ateseat ese.
He comaundide of his curtesye / in comoun þre þyngys.
None needfullere þan þo / & nempne hem y þynke.
& rykene be resoun / reerse ȝee hem after.
Þe fyrste ys vesteure / fram chele þe to save.
Þe toþir ys mete at meel / for myssese to the.
Þe thrydde ys drynk whan þou dryest / but do it in resoun.
Þat þou ne worthȝ þe wors / whan þou werche sholdest.
For looth in hise lif dayes / þorghȝ lykynge of drynke.
Dyde by his dowhteres / þat þe deuel lykede.
For he delytyd hym in drynk / as þe deuel wolde.                              [
4r]
& leccherye hym lawhte / & he lay by hem bothe.
& al he witte it wyȝn / þat wykkede dede.
Inebriamus eum uino . dormiamusque cum eo.
Vt seruare possumusposs[i]mus . de patre nostro semen.
For þorghȝ wyȝn & wommen / þere was Looth a-cumbryd.
& gat with gret glotenye / gerlys þat wheryn cherlys.
For-þy drede delytable drynk / & þou shalt do þe bettre.
For Mesure ys Medycyne / þey þou mychel ȝeerne.
It ys nowht al good to þi goost / þat þy gut askeþ.
Ne lyflode to þy lykame / þat leef is to þy sowle.
For þat ys þe wrecchede world / he wolde þe be-traye.
& þe fend / & þy flesshȝ / folwe þe to-gydre.
Þese thre / sewe þy sowle / to shende it þey casten.
& for þou sholdest ben war / y wysshe þe beste.
A Madame mercy quod y me lykeþ wel ȝoure wordys.
But þe Mone on þis Molde / þat men so faste kepe.
Telle ȝee me to whom / þat tresor a-pendyþ.
Quod she go to þe gospel / þat god seyde hym-selue.
Whan þe peple with a peny / a-posed hym in þe temple.
Wheyþir þey sholden þerwith / worchepe kyng Cesar.
& cryst askede þere hem / of whom spak þe lettre.
& þe ymage was lyȝk / þat þere-Inne stondiþ.
Alle þey seyden . Cesar / we seen it wel ecchone.
Reddite cesari quod cryst / þat cesari to falleþ
Et que sunt dei deo or ellis / ȝee don ylle
For ryghtful resoun / sholde rewle ȝow alle.
& kende wit be wardeyn / ȝoure welthe to kepe.
& tutor of ȝoure tresor / & take it ȝow at nede.
For he & husbondrye / holden to-gydres.
Þanne y fraynede hire faire / for hym þat hire made.
Of þe dungoun in þe dale / þat ys so dirk to syghte.
What may it be-mene / Madame ȝee me telle.
It ys þe Castel of Care quod she who-so komeþ þer-Inne
He may banne / he bore was / to body or to sowle.
For þere-Inne woneþ . a wyght / þat wrong ys y-hote.
He is fadir of falshed / he foundid hym-selue[yt] hymselue.
For boþe Adam & Eve / he eggyd hem to Ille.
& he conseylede Caym / to kyllyn his broþir.
& to Iudas he Iapede / with þe Iewys syluer.
& sytthen on an ellerne tre / he hongide hym-selue.
He is lettere of love / & by-lyȝeþ hem alle.
Þey þat triste on his tresor / be-trayed are sunnest.                 [
4v]
Þan hadde y wonder in my wit / wat womman she were.
Þat swyche wyse wordys / of holy wryt shewede.
& y halsede hire on þe hyȝe name / er she þens wente.
What she was wyttyrly / þat wyssed me so fayre.
Quod she y am holy chirche / þou awhtist me to knowe.
ForFor [y] vndir-fongyd þe fyrst / & þe feyþ þe tawhte.
Þow browhtest me borwes / my byddynge to fulfille.
& to love leelly me / whylys þy lyf dureþ.
Þan y kurblyde[kurbyd] doun on knees / & cried hire of grace.
& prayede hire pytously / to praye for myn synnes.
& also kenne me kendely / on crist to be-leve.
& teche me to no tresor / but teche me þe soþe.
How y may save my sowle / þat seynt art y-holde.
Whan alle tresor ys tryed . quod she  trewþe is þe beste.
I do it on deus caritas / to demen þe sothe.
Þat it ys as derworþy a drewry / as dere god hym-selue.
He þat ys trewe of his tunge / & telleþ non oþir.
& doþ werke þer-with / & wylneþ no man ylle.
He ys a god / by þe gospele / on grownde & on lofte.
Þe Clerkys þat knowe þys / sholde kenne it a-bowte.
For cristene & vncristene / cleyme heuene ecchone.
Kyngys & knyghtes / sholde kepe it be reson.
& ryden & rappe doun / in rewhmes a-bowte.
& taken transgressores / & teyȝen hem faste.
Tyl trewþe hadde determyned / here trespas to ende.
& þat ys þe professioun properly / þat apendiþ to knyghtys.
& nowht to fasten a fryday / in fyve skore wynter.
But holde with hym / er with hire / & so wolde trewthe.
Ne neuere leue hem for love / ne for lacchynge of syluer.
For dauid in hise dayes / dubbede knyghtes.
& dyde hem swere on a swerd / to serue trewþe euere.
& who þat passede þat poynt / a-postata was holde.
But Cryst kynggene kyng / knyghted ten oþere.
& ȝaf hem myght of his mageste / þe meryere hem þowhte.
& ouer hise meene meyghne / he made hem archangelis
& tawhte hem of þe trinnyte / trewþe to knowe.
& be buxum at his byddynge / he bad hem nowht ellis.
Þan Lucyfer with legyonys / leerned yt in helle.
Til he brak buxumnesse / þan blysse gan he tyne.
& fel fram þe felachepe / in-to þe feendys lyknesse.
In-to þe derke helle / to dwelle þerinne for euere.
& mo þowsende with hym / þan ony man can numbre.             [
5r]
Lopen doun with lucyfer / in a lothly forme.
For þey be-levede on lucyfer / þat lord hym-selue made.
& alle þat hopede it myghte be so / heuene ne myghte hem holde.
But fyllyn owt foule feendis / nyghne dayes complet.
Tyl god of his goodnesse / gan stable hem to stynte.
& made hevene be steke a-geyn / & stonden in quyete.
But whan þo wikkyde wentyn out / wondir-wyse þey fellyn.
Summe in þe erthe / summe in þe eyȝr / & summe in þe helle depe.
But in helle lyþ lucyfer / lowest of hem alle.
For Pride þat he pitte owt / his peyghne haþ non ende.
& alle þat after wrong wirchen / wenden þey shulle.
After here deþ-day / to dwellyn with þat shrewe.
& þo þat wel wirchen / as holy writ hem techeþ.
Þey enden / as eer[I] eer seyde / in trewþe / for þe beste.
Þey mowe be syker / þat here soule / shal styȝen into heuene.
Þere trewþe ys with þe trinnyte / þat shal saven hem alle.
For-þy y seyȝ ȝyt / as y seyde eer / be þe same tixtys.
Whan alle tresorys ben tried / trewþe ys þe beste.
Lere þys / ȝee lewide men / for lettrid men it knowen.
Þat trewþe ys þe fayrest tresor / & tristest on erthe.
I have no kyȝnde knowynge quod y  y coueyte lerne bettre.
By what craft in my corps / it comseþ & where.
A þou dotyst quod she / to dulle ben þyne wittys.
To lytil latyn þou lernedist / leede in þyn ȝowthe.
Heu michi quod sterilem  duxi uitam iuuenilem.
Þat is a kyȝnde knowyng quod she  þat comeþ in þyn herte.
For to love þyn lord / leevere þan þy-selue.
& non / dedly synne don / dyȝe þey þou sholdist.
Þis y trowe is good trewþe / who can teche þe bettre.
Loke þou suffre hym to seyȝe / & sytthe lerne it soone.
For þus witnesseþ his word / worche þou þer-after.
For trewþe telliþ / þat love / ys triacle of hevene.
Þere may synne[no] synne / be on hym sene / þat that spyce vseþ.
Alle hise wirkys be wroghte / with love / at his lykyng.
& lerned it to moyses / for leve / & most lyk to hevene.
& also plente of pees / ys moost precious of vertues.
For hevene myghte not holde it / so was it hevy hym-selue.
Tyl it hadde of þe erthe / y-hetyn al his fylle.
& whan it hadde of manhode / fleshȝ & blood take.
Was neuere leef vpon lyȝnde / lyghtere þere-after.
Þer myghte non armoure yt lette / ne non hyȝe wallys.
Þerfore ys love ledere / of þe lordis folk of hevene.                           [
5v]
& as þe Meyȝre is meene / be-twene þe kyng & comonys.
Ryght so / ys love a ledere / & þe Lawhe shapeþ.
Vpon man / for hise mysdedis / & mercyment he askeþ.
& for to knowe it kyndely / yt comseþ be myghte.
& in þyn herte is þe heved / & þe hyȝe welle.
For in kyȝnde knowynge in herte / þere myght by-gynneþ.
& þat falleþ to þe fadir / þat formede faire vs alle.
He lookede on vs with love / whan he leet his sone dyȝe.
Meekly for oure mysdedis / to a-mendyn vs alle.
& ȝyt wolde he no woo to þo þat wrowhte hym peyne.
But meekly with mowþe / Mercy he be-sowhte.
To have pyte on þe peple / þat pyned hym to dethe.
Here myght þou seen ensample / in hym-selue oone.
Þat he was myghtful & meeke / & mercy gan graunte.
To hem / þat hongyn hym on hyȝ & his herte þryllyd.
For-þy  y rede þe ryche / have mercy on þe pore.
Þey ȝee been myghtful to moote / be ȝee meke in herte.
For be þe same mesure / þat ȝee metyn / a-mys oyþer ellys.
Ȝee shulle be weyȝe þer-with / whan ȝee wendyn hennys.
Eadem mensura qua mensi fueritis remecietur uobis.
For þey ȝee ben trewe of tunge / & trewly selle.
& as chast as þe chyld / þat in þe chirche wepiþ.
& but ȝee love ȝoure neyhebore / & leene or gyve þe poore.
Of swiche goodis / as god ȝow sent / goodly with hem ȝe parte.
Ȝee have no more meryght / of Messe ne of howres
Þan Malkyn of hire Maidenhod / þat alle men dysyren.
For Iemes þat Ientyl man / Iuggede in hise bookys.
Þat feythȝ withoutyn fewte / ys no-þyng worthy.
But as ded / as dore tre / but if dedys sewen.
Fides sine operibus mortua est.
For-þy Chastite with-outyn Charite / worþ cheyned in helle.
It is lewed as þe lampe / þat no lyght ys Inne.
Fele Chapeleynys be chast / but charite is a-weye.
Þere ben non averouserere þan þey / whan þey ben a-vawncyd.
& vn-kyȝnde to here ken / & to alle cristene peple.
Þey chewyn here charite / & chydyn after moore.
Swich chastite with-outyn charite / worþ cheyȝned in helle.
Fele Curaturys kepe hem-self / klene of here bodijs.
But þey ben a-cubrida-cu[m]brid with coueytise / þey kunne out crepe.
So harde haþ Averyce / y-haspid hem to-gydres.
& þat ys not trewthe of þe trinnyte / but treccherye of helle.
& lernynge to lewid men / þe lattere to leve synne.
For-þy þese wordis ben y-wrete / weel in þe gospel.
Date & dabitur uobis / for y dele with ȝow alle.                                 [
6r]
For date is / þe look of love / þat leetiþ out my grace.
To conforte þe kareful / þat is a-cumbred with synne.
For love is leche of lyf / & neest oure lord in heuene.
& it ys / þe grayþ gate / þat goodgoo[þ] in-to blysse.
For-þy / y seyȝ / as y seide / eer by þe tyxtys.
Whan alle tresor is triȝed / ȝyt trewþe ys þe beste.
Now have y told þe / what trewþe ys / tak it if þou lyke.
I may no lengere lenge þe with / oure lord looke þe euere.

Explicit passus Secundus de visione Petri plouhman


GO TO PASSUS III

Much of this research is based on my 1974 Berkeley doctoral dissertation, which went into three editions as a published book, The Pilgrim and the Book: A Study of Dante, Langland and Chaucer, https://isbnsearch.org/isbn/08204209051992, its Dante sections also published in an Italian edition in De strata francigena XX/1, 2012.

 

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