Beati Qui Esuriunt

BEATI QUI ESURIUNT: NOTES

1 Beati qui esuriunt. A poetic rendition of Matt. 5:6: "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill."

3 justiciam. So Harley MS (i[us]ticia[m]); Wr justitiam. See also line 5: nequiciam/ nequitiam, and passim.

7 encennia. The Royal MS reads exhennia, treasures.

34 cedunt. Above this word the MS scribe has written "i. re" or "i.e., recedunt."

59 cum capite cornuto. "The head dress of the ladies of rank and fashion at this period was arranged in the form of two horns" (Wr).

73 relatores. Middlemen who deliver the complaint to the judges.

78 janitores. Door-keepers in venality satires always present special difficulties to those wishing access to courts. For similar lines, see Crux est denarii potens in seculo (De cruce denarii) especially lines 77-100; or Qui potest capere quod loquor capiat (De mundi cupiditate) lines 53-68. See also Yunck, The Lineage of Lady Meed, p. 80 (citing a Latin poem attacking the Court of Rome): "Si das, intrabis protinus: si non, stas, stabis eminus" (If you give, you shall quickly enter: if you don't, you remain standing; you shall remain standing, far off), and The Simonie lines 142-44: "The porter hath comaundement to holde hem widoute the gate, / In the fen. / Hu mihte theih loven that Loverd, that serven thus His men?"

111 bedellis. Bailiffs and beadles were associated with legal and bureaucratic harassment in venality satire and complaint literature. A bailiff was "an officer of justice under a sheriff, who executes writs and processes, distrains and arrests"; a beadle was "a messenger of justice; a warrant officer; an under-bailiff" (Alford, Glossary, s.v. Baillif and Bedele). Alford cites PP B.3.2: "Now is mede . . . Wiþ bedelis & baillifs ybrout to þe king." For a similar view of beadles, see The Simonie 337-41, and Song of the Husbandman 37-39, 51-56. The beadle became proverbial for overzealous officiousness, as the beadle in Shakespeare's 2 Henry IV (V.iv) whom Doll Tearsheet calls, among other things, a "thin man in a censer" and a "filthy-famish'd correctioner."

114 transmittantur. Wr's emendation of MS transmutantur.

119 averia. "The term averium is commonly used to signify all kinds of moveable property; but more particularly to signify cattle and horses" (Wr).

126 Clericos. "The scribe has written above this word, in the MS. "i. pauperes."

130 ballivam. Wr translates as "bailiwick," the jurisdiction or district of a bailiff. For similar views of bailiffs, see The Simonie, lines 289-94; Song of the Husbandman, lines, 25-28; and God Spede the Plough, lines 37-39.

114 transmittantur. Wr's emendation of MS transmutantur.

119 averia. "The term averium is commonly used to signify all kinds of moveable property; but more particularly to signify cattle and horses" (Wr).

126 Clericos. "The scribe has written above this word, in the MS. "i. pauperes."

130 ballivam. Wr translates as "bailiwick," the jurisdiction or district of a bailiff. For similar views of bailiffs, see The Simonie, lines 289-94; Song of the Husbandman, lines, 25-28; and God Spede the Plough, lines 37-39.
 
Print Copyright Info Purchase

Beati Qui Esuriunt

[Song on the Venality of the Judges]

(British Library MS Harley 913 fols. 59r-59v)

   
   
   
   
5   
   
   
   
   
10   
   
   
   
   
   
15   
   
   
   
   
20   
   
   
   
   
   
25   
   
   
   
   
30   
   
   
   
   
   
35   
   
   
   
   
40   
   
   
   
   
45   
   
   
   
   
   
50   
   
   
   
   
55   
   
   
   
   
   
60   
   
   
   
   
   
65   
   
   
   
   
70   
   
   
   
   
   
75   
   
   
   
   
80   
   
   
   
   
85   
   
   
   
   
   
   
90   
   
   
   
   
95   
   
   
   
   
   
100   
   
   
   
   
105   
   
   
   
   
   
110   
   
   
   
   
115   
   
   
   
   
   
120   
   
   
   
   
125   
   
   
   
   
   
130   
   
   
   
   
135   
   
   
   
   
140   
   
   
   
   
Beati qui esuriunt                                               
et sitiunt, et faciunt
   justiciam,
et odiunt et fugiunt
   injuriae nequiciam;
quos nec auri copia
nec divitum encennia
   trahunt a rigore,
   nec pauperum clamore;
quae sunt justa judicant,
et a jure non claudicant
   divitum favore.
   
Sed nunc miro more
multos fallit seculum,
et trahit in periculum,
   mundi ob favorem,
   ut lambeant honorem.
Hoc facit pecunia,
quam omnis fere curia
   jam duxit in uxorem.
   
Sunt justiciarii,
quos favor et denarii
   alliciunt a jure;
hii sunt nam bene recolo,
quod censum dant diabolo,
   et serviunt hii pure.
Nam jubet lex naturae,
quod judex in judicio
nec prece nec precio
   acceptor sit personae.
Quid, Jhesu ergo bone,
fiet de judicibus,
qui prece vel muneribus
   cedunt a ratione?
   
Revera tales judices
nuncios multiplices
   habent - audi quare:
Si terram vis rogare,
accedet ad te nuncius,
et loquitur discretius,
   dicens, "Amice care,
   vis tu placitare?
Sum cum justitiario
qui te modo vario
   possum adjuvare;
   si vis impetrare
per suum subsidium,
da michi dimidium,
   et te volo juvare."
   
Ad pedes sedent clerici,
qui velut famelici
   sunt, donis inhiantes;
   et pro lege dantes,
quod hii qui nichil dederint,
quamvis cito venerint,
   erunt expectantes.
   
Sed si quaedam nobilis,
pulcra vel amabilis,
   cum capite cornuto,
   auro circum voluto,
accedat ad judicium,
haec expedit negotium
   ore suo muto.
   
Si pauper muliercula,
non habens munuscula,
   formam neque genus,
   quam non pungit Venus,
infecto negotio
suo pergit hospitio,
   dolendo corde tenus.
   
Sunt quidam ad hanc curiam,
qui exprimunt juditiam;
   dicuntur relatores;
   caeteris pejores.
Utraque manu capiunt,
et sic eos decipiunt
   quorum sunt tutores.
   Et quid janitores?
Qui dicunt pauperibus
curiam sequentibus,
   "Pauper, cur laboras?
   Cur facis hic moras?
Nisi des pecuniam
Cuique ad hanc curiam,
   in vanum laboras.
   Quid, miser, ergo ploras?
Si nichil attuleris,
   stabis omnino foras."
   
   
De vicecomitibus,
quam duri sunt pauperibus,
   quis potest enarrare?
   Qui nichil potest dare,
huc et illuc trahitur,
et in assisis ponitur,
   et cogitur jurare,
   non ausus murmurare.
Quod si murmuraverit,
ni statim satisfecerit,
   est totum salsum mare.
   
Hoc idem habent vitium,
cum subeunt hospitium
   cujusdam patriotae,
   vel abbathiae notae,
quo potus et cibaria,
et cuncta necessaria,
   eis dentur devote.
   
Nil prosunt sibi talia,
nisi mox jocalia
   post prandium sequantur,
   et cunctis largiantur,
bedellis, garcionibus,
et qui sunt secum omnibus.
   Nec adjuc pacantur,
   nisi transmittantur
robae suis uxoribus
ex variis coloribus.
   
   Si non clam mittantur,
   et post sic operantur:
quotquot habent averia
ad sua maneria
   cum impetu fugantur,
   et ipsi imparcantur
quousque satisfecerint,
ita quod duplum dederint;
   tunc demum liberantur.
   
Clericos irrideo
suos, quos prius video
   satis indigentes,
   et quasi nil habentes,
quando ballivam capiunt;
qua capta mox superbiunt,
   et crescunt sibi dentes,
   collaque erigentes,
incipiunt perpropere
terras et domos emere,
   et redditus placentes;
   nummosque colligentes,
pauperes despiciunt,
et novas leges faciunt,
   vicinos opprimentes;
   fiuntque sapientes.
In hoc malum faciunt,
et patriam decipiunt,
   nemini parcentes.
(see note)
   
(see note)
   
   
   
(see note)
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
(see note)
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
(see note)
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
(see note)
   
   
   
   
(see note)
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
(see note)
   
   
(see note)
   
   
   
   
   
(see note)
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
(see note)
   
   
   
(see note)
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
[Blessed are they who hunger and thirst, and do justice, and hate and avoid the wickedness of injustice; whom neither abundance of gold nor the jewels of the rich draw from their inflexibility, or from the cry of the poor; they judge what is just, and do not fall off from the right for the sake of the rich. / But now the age deceives many in a wonderful manner, and draws them into danger, for love of the world, that they may lick up honors. The cause of this is money, to which almost every court has now wedded itself. / There are judges, whom partiality and bribes seduce from justice; these are they, I remember well, that pay toll to the devil and serve him alone. / For the law of nature commands that a judge in giving judgment should not be an acceptor of anybody either for prayer or money. What therefore, O good Jesus, will be done with the judges, who for prayers or gifts recede from what is just? / In fact such judges have numerous messengers - listen for what purpose: If you wish to claim land, a messenger will come to you and speak in confidence, saying, "Dear friend, do you wish to plead? I am one who can help you in various ways with the judge; if you wish to obtain anything by his aid, give me half, and I will help you." / At his feet sit clerks, who are like people half-famished, gaping for gifts; and proclaiming it as law, that those who give nothing, although they come early, will have to wait. / But if some noble lady, fair and lovely, with horns on her head, and that encircled with gold, come for judgment, such a one despatches her business without having to say a word. / If the woman be poor and has no gifts, neither beauty nor wealthy background, whom Venus does not stimulate, she goes home without effecting her business, sorrowful at heart. / There are some at this court who express judgment, whom they call relaters, worse than the others. They take with both hands and so deceive those whose defenders they are. And what shall we say to the door-keepers? who say to the poor that follow the court, "Poor man, why do you trouble yourself? Why do you wait here? Unless you give money to everybody in this court, you labor in vain. Why then, wretch, do you lament? If you have brought nothing, you will stand altogether out of doors." / Concerning the sheriffs, who can relate with sufficient fulness how hard they are to the poor? He who has nothing to give is dragged hither and thither, and is placed in the assises, and is obliged to take his oath, without daring to murmur. But if he should murmur, unless he immediately make satisfaction, it is all salt sea. / The same people have this vice, when they enter the house of some countryman, or of a famous abbey, where drink and victuals, and all things necessary, are given to them devoutly. Such things are of no avail, unless by and by the jewels follow after the meal, and are distributed to all, beadles and attendant boys, and all who are with them. Nor even yet are they paid, unless robes of various colors are sent to their wives. If these are not sent privately, then they proceed as follows: whatever cattle they find are driven off violently to their own manors, and the owners themselves are put in confinement until they make satisfaction, so that they give the double; then at length they are liberated. / I laugh at their clerks, whom I see at first indigent enough, and possessing next to nothing, when they receive a bailiwick; which received, they next show themselves proud, and their teeth grow. Holding up their necks they begin very hastily to buy lands and houses, and agreeable rents; amassing money themselves, they despise the poor and make new laws, oppressing their neighbors; and they become wise men. In this they do wickedness and deceive their country, sparing no one. (Wright's translation)]

Go To The Simonie

Return To The Table of Contents