JACK UPLAND: FOOTNOTES1To . . . moone, To the true God and to all true men in Christ, I, Jack Upland, make my complaint.
2 bi coloure . . . wasten, under the guise of holiness, ruin.
4 almyghti . . . alwilful, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-goodly, and all-ordaining.
5 to His ymage in His image.
5-6 werkis . . . charite, works of faith, trusting hope, and lasting charity.
6 sette mannes state, ordained man's estates (see note).
7 Fadir, Father (first Person of the Trinity).
8 comouns, commoners (third estate).
9 Preestis . . . devoutli, [It is a] priest's function to preach the Gospel truly and to pray in heart devoutly.
10 mynistre, administer; oonli, only.
11 ensaumpleris . . . lijf, examplars of holy men's life.
11-12 Lordis office . . . ward, [It is a] lord's function to correct wrongdoers through guardianship (supervision).
12 her, their.
13 sustinaunce of hem-silf, their sustenance.
15 dede, deed.
17 govun . . . maner, given permission to abandon all this and to act in a different fashion.
18 geveth leve, gives permission.
19 lewid mennes office, ignorant men's duties; takun hire of her, take their living from their.
20 as offringis, such as offerings.
20-21 dowid . . . bisines, given as alms to take care of secular affairs.
21 marren many matins, ruin many matins (canonical hours); devossioun, devotion.
22 or . . . noon, or else [if they are not sold] no man should receive them.
23-24 he hath ordeyned . . . wynnynge, he (Antichrist) has ordained [that they] study sundry other laws for greater profit.
24 as anentis . . . doynge, as regards the example of the priest's life in action.
25-26 suffre . . . anoon, and [they] may endure no wrong unless they immediately plead (sue).
26-27 of alle men . . . defautis, of all men they can bear the least to be criticized for their shortcomings.
28 govun . . . rewmes, given permission to fight for kingdoms.
29 sle . . . perdoun, slay their brethren and burn their houses, and in this way secure pardon.
30-31 unable . . . tweyne, cannot, through his powers, rule one lordship shall be permitted to fight for two.
32 distrye, destroy.
33 govun . . . to leve, given permission to abandon.
34-35 men of crafte . . . falsnes, craftsmen and merchants dedicated to falseness.
36-37 crepen . . . hem, infiltrate bogus orders and call themselves.
37 statis, estates.
39 felnes, cruelty; talnes, strength.
40-41 coveytis . . . purvyaunce, covetousness into wisdom and wise foresight.
41 largynes, magnanimity; kindeli solace, benevolent comforting.
42-43 heryse . . . usage, heresy into high seriousness of faith and observance of old customs.
44 aspied and lettid, observed and forestalled.
46-47 chosun . . . agens, chosen such men for it who do not know how and may not complain about.
47 rerewarde . . . bateile, rear guard of Antichrist's battle.
48 made another oost, raised another army.
48-49 closid hem . . . sellis, shut them off from the world in walls of stone, cloisters, and cells.
49 thereas, whereas.
51 leve lijflode, cherished livelihood; sikir . . . povert, safe from all poverty.
52 thei . . . aftir, they [will not] ever help any man in return.
52-53 mamelynge of mete, muttering about food.
53 wast clothis, superfluous clothes.
53-54 weren . . . iyen, wear the hair shirt and the friar's hood over their eyes.
54 cauce . . . mete, sauce at every meal's course; hidde Ipocritis, covert hypocrites.
55 myddilward, middle-guard.
56 fellist, cruelest.
57 wondir wise, wondrous fashion.
57-58 for . . . kynredis, because they are from various seeds of Antichrist's sowing, [drawn from] diverse countries and nationalities (kinships).
58-59 Thei . . . repen, They are not obedient to bishops nor [are they] loyal (liege) men to kings, nor do they plow or sow, weed or reap.
60 wede, wheat (see note); ne good . . . hem-silf, nor goods that shall help [other] men but only themselves.
61-62 a mannes . . . save, to save a man's life.
62 sille, sell.
63 wrecchis . . . dampned, scoundrels don't know whether they themselves should be saved or damned.
64-65 persouns, parsons; pilers, despoilers; parteneris, dispensers.
66-67 Simonundis eiris . . . therfore, the heritage of Simon Magus (i.e., simony), since they pray for only those people who pay well for the service (see note).
69 distried, destroyed; cockers in coventis, cooks in convents.
70-71 Caymes . . . soudiouris, Cain's castle-builders, Pharisees flattering people and false prophets, unsound soldiers.
71-72 vayne . . . vowarde, proud and empty men in Antichrist's vanguard.
72 scheeld, protect; oost, army.
73-74 Wel . . . hym-silf, I know well by my faith that Christ desires that every Christian man love his God most of all and then his neighbor as much as himself.
76 soule . . . heele, soul's health or bodily health.
77-78 that wole have . . . nede, which will take from all men and give them nothing [in return] in their [time of] need?
79 groundid, anchored.
80 that I axe thee, what I ask of you.
82 moost perfight, [the] most perfect.
84 cloutid, raggedy, patched; sith, since.
85 stighe, ascended.
87 whi . . . theraftir? why don't you govern yourself according to it?
88 patroun, founder.
89 heestis, Commandments.
90 prisonyd ofte, often imprisoned.
91 ony mo . . . oon, any more religions than [the] one.
92 seist yhe, say yes; sith, since.
93 therto, to it.
95-96 pike fro . . . nede, rob from the poor and rich everything you can, and give them nothing in return, despite their great need.
97 apostata, apostate.
99 faster . . . abite, more firmly "wedded" to your friar's habit.
100-01 leve . . . doen, leave his wife a month or a year as many men do.
101-02 a wike . . . apostataas, a week or a quarter of a year, you are held to be apostates.
103 makith . . . no? does your habit (gown) make you men of religion or not?
104 aftir that, according as.
106 thanne, then; yif ye seie, if you say.
107 prisoned and clepid, imprisoned and called.
109 whi . . . so, why do you buy such.
110-11 yit . . . begers? yet you say you are poor beggars?
112 what bitokeneth . . . hood, what does your large hood signify; scapalarie, scapular (see note).
113 side, large.
113-14 so dere . . . povert? such expensive cloth, since fewer and less costly clothes are more a sign of poverty?
116 owith over-al, ought generally.
117 fleische, meat.
120-21 Certis . . . ether, Indeed, it seems either that your founder was not perfect or.
124 ye lien . . . clepe you, you betray first your founder and then yourself, to call yourself.
125 patroun, sponsor.
128 deed, dead.
129 pursue, persecute.
130 unsemeli . . . men, unseemly to see dead men.
132-33 whi . . . professid, why won't you allow your novices to hear your counsel in your chapter house before they have been professed (see note).
133 aftir, according to.
138-39 but . . . flatere, only graves or houses of mourning and not [great houses] to entertain.
139 ye maken . . . lordis, you make for yourselves courts surpassing those of lords.
140-41 wel nygh . . . owne, almost pass through the realm and each night lie in a court of your own.
142 to ferme, to lease (on hire); lymytouris, limiters (men who beg within a certain jurisdiction).
144 lymytacioun, territory for begging.
145 lege men, liege men (loyal).
146 visitacioun, jurisdiction.
148 myche, much; taliagis, taxes.
149 pilen, rob.
150 hethen, heathen.
151 whi . . . brithered, why do you not require letters of confraternity (brotherhood; see note).
152 levers, believers.
152-53 as ye desire . . . yeer, since you desire that other rich men ask letters of you for a certain sum each year.
154 lyvers, people.
156 nameli . . . puple, especially to poor Christian people.
157 ether, or.
158 bi . . . baptem, by faith through baptism.
159 seie yhe, say yes.
160 golden trentale, mass repeated for thirty days (sung for money).
162 sooth, [the] truth.
163 in youre defaute, through your fault.
164 biriede, buried.
165 vertu, power.
168 stele, steal; settis, sects.
169 agens Goddis heestis, against God's commandments; for lesse . . . galowis, for lesser offenses men are hanged on gallows; And, if.
170 ye wite . . . lyvynge, you don't know whether that form of life.
172-73 prisoun her britheren, imprison their brethren.
173-74 techith . . . hem, says to instruct them in charity and thus win them.
175 Seint Austins, Saint Augustine's.
177 whi coveite . . . parischens, why do you covet confession and burying of other men's parishioners.
178 fallen, pertain.
179 more plente, in greater supply.
181 birie hem, bury them.
182 bedrede, bedridden.
183 schoppis, shops.
184 here, hear.
185-86 diriges . . . visitiden, dirges for poor dead men who sometimes visited.
188 feined myraclys, trumped-up miracles; leven, abandon.
190 oure bileve . . . saved, our faith by which alone we must be saved.
191-92 to . . . holi doctouris, according to the true interpretation of the holy Doctors [of the Church].
192-93 ye clepen . . . Crist, you call it the "new doctrine" which slanders Christ.
193 more holden therto, more beholden to it.
194 In Principio, "In the beginning" (see note).
195 mynistrallis, minstrels.
196 contrarien . . . myrthis, don't contradict their entertainments.
197-98 ordeyneden . . . yeris, ordained priests to preach, and (to) pray, and to administer sacraments to the people - yea, [for] a thousand years.
200 unkynde . . . braunchis, unnatural, like grafted branches.
201 sillinge, selling.
202 sith . . . defautis, since you wish overtly to preach against the faults.
203 wode, mad.
204-05 in amendement . . . charite, to amend your life, through charity; falsli . . . erise, falsely slander them for heresy.
205-06 And the more part . . . experiens, and most of you don't know what heresy is; but you know the [heretical] deed through experience.
207 takith . . . worthi, receives a man's prayer according to [whether] the persons are worthy.
208-09 thou wost . . . worthi, you don't know in what way you are worthy.
209-10 whi wolt thou . . . what, why will you receive money for your prayers and sell you don't even know what.
210-11 Of alle chaffaris . . . lepre, Of all merchandise, this is the most perilous, and close to Balaam's boast and Gehazi's leprosy (see note.)
213 Cristis bodi . . . traveil, Christ's body (Eucharist) or your labor.
215 quicke and dede, living and dead.
217 thritti pens, thirty pence; symonyent, simoniac; but, except.
218-19 How . . . fo? How have you learned Christ's Gospel, which commands you to pray generously for friend and foe?
221 good . . . wise, goods, since He had no need of them in that way.
222 uttirli forfendid, wholly forbidden.
223 nameli, especially.
224 For soth, indeed.
224-25 suffice . . . strengthe, has enough in his own right of material goods or of strength.
226 unmyghty, weak; but, unless; or that he begge, before he [needs to] beg.
227 tablis, tablets (which record misdeeds); Wenest thou, Do you suppose.
228 wot not . . . if, doesn't know about men's deeds unless.
229 if thou . . . hoom, if you think it is a good deed to beg on behalf of your idle brethren at home.
230 annuel . . . two, annual salary or two.
231 bedrede, bedridden; that moun . . . aboute, who may not walk about.
232 moornynge clothis, mourning clothes.
233 sett, sect.
234 medeful, rewarding.
234-35 never gete . . . sike men, never bestow that reward on poor, sick men.
236 ne visite . . . wynteris, nor visit the poor laborers in joyous summers whom you have pillaged in winters.
238-39 contrarien . . . meenes, contradict in many wasteful and costly ways.
240 coortis, courts.
241 in propre, of your own.
242 gadere, gather.
243 rewme, realm.
244 in propre, of your own.
249 oon . . . cuntre, one [apostle] to one country.
250 and, since.
252 yhe . . . treble, yea, some double and triple [salaries].
253-54 Wite ye . . . charge? Don't you know very well that the more you have, the greater is your responsibility?
255-56 patrouns . . . ordynaunce, founders have said that they made your rules through [a] revelation from God and His decrees.
256 ordynaunce . . . makynge, i.e., God's Commandments.
257-58 mai not . . . levefuli, may not legally nullify.
259 liers, liars; sclaunderers, slanderers.
260-61 Crosse . . . heed, i.e., a silver coin.
261 silveren spone, silver spoon; Certis, indeed.
263 her trewe servauntis, their true servants.
267 a certeyne, a certain [amount].
268 stoole, stolen.
269 constryned, obliged.
270 theefte passynge, theft surpassing; hors and maris, horses and mares.
272 lettris of fraternyte, letters of confraternity.
273 dedis, deeds; where, whether.
275-76 dampned . . . blisse, damned, [neither] his own deeds nor yours shall ever help him to [achieve heaven's] bliss.
278 massis syngeynge, singing masses.
279 goostli dedis, spiritual deeds.
280 and ellis it were, or else it would be.
281 to bigile . . . discrescioun, to beguile innocent children before they have discretion.
284 lijf, life.
285 but for drede . . . agen, except for dread of death if they were again seized.
286 charge, burden.
286-87 persouns, vikers, parsons, vicars.
287 inowgh, enough.
288 yhe . . . mo, yea, monks, canons, without [any] more.
289 cumbraunce, burden.
289-90 al thingis . . . noumbre, all things in measure, number (see note).
292-93 worche . . . hym, work, and twice as many on one hand should hinder him.
294 passynge, surpassing.
294-95 lettith . . . hevene, hinders Christ's Church from growing to heaven.
297-98 yit . . . housis, yet in ornate and costly houses.
298 lusti fedynge, greedy eating.
299 ournementis, ornaments; passen, outdo.
300 sunnest, soonest.
302 gadere . . . bokis, gather up the books.
302-03 many mo . . . you, many more than you need.
304 wher-bi . . . kunnynge, by which they are prevented from knowing.
305 over that, moreover; erisie, heresy; sowynge, dissemination.
307 asoile, confess.
308 leven . . . tenauntis, do not give up, such as stealing from their tenants.
309-10 heed synnes . . . suffraunce, chief sins, from which they don't cease but are comforted through your forbearance.
312 whi . . . fast, why do you eagerly apply yourselves; nameli, especially.
313 asoilid, exempt.
314 goostli, spiritual.
315 verri . . . therto, true Pharisees who do one thing and say something else contrary to it.
316-17 trewe . . . bodi, true, meek men of the sacrament of God's body (i.e., the Eucharist).
317 breed . . . sacrid, bread properly sanctified.
318 accident . . . subject, see note.
320 who ben . . . wordis, who are [the] heretics here and far from Christ's words.
321 brak, broke (i.e., partook of).
322 breken, break; Seynt Austin, Saint Augustine of Hippo.
322-23 not eche . . . bodi, not each bread is God's body but [only] that bread which receives blessing is God's body.
324 oold doctouris, early Church Fathers.
326 take hede, take heed; entent, meaning;chasith, urges.
327-28 defautis . . . die, shortcomings, so that you may make amends [for] this lack to God and to man before you die.
328 knowlechynge . . . bityme, acknowledgment of your sin, and quickly leave it.
329-30 rotun ritis, corrupt practices.
330 fourme, form, shape.
330-31 til . . . wittis, until you had established a gloss fabricated by your wits.
332 fraiste, sound out.
333 asoilen . . . truthe, resolve what I have said, seriously [and] in truth.
334 asoile thee of, release you from.
JACK UPLAND: NOTES1 Jacke Uplond, persona of a simple countryman. John Foxe, who printed JU in 1570, says: "a Dialogue or questions moued in the person of a certaine vplandish and simple ploughman of the countrey" (PLH). The Lollards stressed "trewe" men, that is, men of the true Church as opposed to the corrupt established clergy (``prelates"). John Ball's letter addressed conspirators under various aliases including "Jon (or Jakke) Treweman," a pseudonym not unlike "Jack Upland." Jack Upland opposes himself, often in scriptural language, to the Pope and the Church, which licensed the fraternal orders. The name "Jak" or "Jakke" could also be a name of contempt, as in Chaucer's Miller's Tale I [A] 3708 (Alison to Absolon): "Go fro the wyndow, Iakke fool." See MED s.v. jak(ke) 1 (a).
6 He sette mannes state. The three estates of nobles, clerics, and commoners. Upland portrays these estates as divinely ordained yet opposed and undermined by Antichrist. Chaucer represents these three human conditions, or social classes, in his pilgrim Knight, Parson, and Plowman. Estates theory was an integral part of late medieval political ideology. For a good introduction to this subject, see Jill Mann, Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973).
10 Goddis lawe, or Scripture generally. Elsewhere Upland will use the phrase Cristis lawe to refer to the Gospels.
13 Comouns office. The same point is made, but as complaint, in PlT: "For clerkes say we shullen be fayne / For hir lyvelod to swet and swinke" (33-34).
17-27 For he geveth leve to preestis of parischis. It was common for clerics to draw income from more than one parish. This point is broadly anticlerical rather than antifraternal, although Upland's argument will be that friars are worse than parish priests in holding prebends.
20-21 and as for worldli bisines. Unique to H.
26-27 of alle men . . . so many. See PPC 538-42, and PlT: "And though the soth thou of hem tell, / In great cursinge shalt thou fall" (171-72).
33-38 to leve her trewe laboure. PLH sees this "possibly" as a reference to the demand for labor (and resulting increase in wages) after the Black Plague years. In Vox clamantis John Gower complains about the scarcity of labor and workers' attitudes: "For they are sluggish, they are scarce, and they are grasping. For the very little they do they demand the highest pay. . . . They desire the leisures of great men, but they have nothing to feed themselves with, nor will they be servants" (5.9, trans. Stockton, pp. 208-09).
38-43 And thus . . . synagoge of Satanas. As PLH notes in his Introduction, these words appear in much the same form in Vae octuplex, a Wycliffite sermon that has been dated no earlier than 1411. PLH prints the two versions on his pages 35-36; I here quote from Gradon's edition of English Wycliffite Sermons, Vol. 2 (1988): " . . . herto vertewys ben transposude to vyces, as mekenesse is cowardyse and felnesse of pruyde is clepud ri3twysnesse for to maynteine Godis ri3te, wraþþe is clepud manhede and myldenesse is schepnesse, and enuye is condicion of Godis child to vengen hym, and slowþe is lordlinesse, as God restuþ euermore, couetise is prudence to be riche and myhty, glotorie [gluttony] is largesse and lechery is merye pley, Godis seruaunt is an ypocryte and heretyke is sad in feyþ; and þus alle vertewis ben transposude to vyces, and so hooly chirche to synagoge of Sathanas" (p. 376). PLH also directs to PlT 501-24. For the phrase "synagoge of Satanas," see Rev. 2.9 and 3.9.
50 thre partis. The three estates; see above, note to line 6.
52 mamelynge. H murþringe; C murmuryng & grudgyng. I adopt PLH's excellent emendation. H's reading is a corruption of mamelynge, "`mumbling, muttering,' and `musing, chewing'; cf. PP, A. viii. 130 (and Kane's note), B. v. 21, xi. 408" (PLH).
53-54 the heire and the hood. PLH cites the proverb "Cucullus non facit monachum": the hood doesn't make the monk. The phrase over the iyen is unique to H.
56 ben last broughte into the Chirche. The secular clergy along with the Wycliffites regarded the mendicant orders as interlopers and parvenus. The Wycliffite Vae octuplex begins: "Crist bydduþ us be war wiþ þese false prophetis þat comen in cloþing of schep and ben wolues of raueyne. And þese ben specially men of þese newe ordres, and moste þese frerys þat laste comen in, for þe feend sutileþ euere a3enes holy chirche" (ed. Gradon, p. 366).
57 settis of Antecristis sowinge. The reference is to the parable of the sower, Matthew 13.4-23. See also PlT 55-76.
59 nether thei tilien ne sowen. The charges against friars are familiar: that they roam about without proper supervision, that they produce no goods but only consume (``waste"), and that they enrich themselves at the expense of others' labors. See Matthew 6.26: "they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns."
60 wede, corn, ne gras. H reads wode corn ne gras; C corne wode nor grasse. PLH emends to whete corn ne gras because of FDR 34 and 55 (Wede corn ne gras). I adopt PLH's reading but retain the spelling wede (= wheat) based on FDR. The correct reading may be wede-corn rather than wede, corn, since corn = wheat.
62 to sille hevene or helle. See PlT: "To putte pennyes in her purse / They wol sell both heven and hel" (167-68).
63 saved or dampned. So H. C omits, as do Wr and PLH, who comments: "H completes the sense, but its explicitness argues against originality" (p. 118).
66 Simonundis eiris. The heirs of Simon Magus (Acts 8.18-19), whence simony, selling or purchasing of ecclesiastical preferments.
68 fyve ordris. C reads v; H, foure. FDR replies: "thou feynest fife ordres" (84). There were traditionally four orders, as in PPC: the Franciscans, Dominicans, Austins, and Carmelites. PLH conjectures that the fifth order was the "Crutched Friars," who had five houses in England in the fifteenth century.
68 falsist founden in oure feith. So H; C last founden. PLH emends to falsli founden and comments: "C would give the attractive antithesis last / first and, in this `verse' extract, reduce the weight of the first half-line with its hypermetrical three alliterating stresses." PLH goes on to note that Pharesies etc. (70) has the same variation (p. 119).
69 cockers in coventis. Upland may refer either to cooks or to hay-cockers in this phrase; but whatever occupation he intends, he does not mean to flatter the friars.
70 Caymes castel-makers. The friars were often designated as Cain's offspring, as in PPC 486 and note.
74-75 al the lawe hangith. Matthew 22.37-40.
76 as Seynte Jame seith. James 1, esp. 17, 22, 27.
79 groundid in Goddis lawe. Upland and the Lollards were concerned with clerical doctrine that could not be substantiated in the Bible. Groundid here and elsewhere means firmly established, or anchored, in "God's law" (the Bible) or "Christ's law" (the Gospels). Upland maintains that Scripture makes no provisions for the mendicant orders - except insofar as the friars constitute the pseudoapostles and false prophets of Matthew 23 and 1 John 2. Proper "grounding" is also an important issue in UR. At the outset "Upland" observes that Daw "grounds" his argument on seven points (3-5); and he defends priests by saying, "Yit the grounde that they have is playnly Cristis religion" (40). See also UR 131.
81 Skeat, whose base text was the 1536 Gough edition, includes the following text after the words "kepe thi pacience": "Saynt Paul techeth, that al our dedes shuld be don in charite, and els it is nought worth, but displesing to god and harm to oure owne soules. And for because freres chalengen to be gretest clerkes of the church, and next folowinge Christ in livinge, men shulde, for charite, axe hem some questions, and pray hem to grounde their answers in reson and holy writ; for els their answere wolde nought be worth, be it florished never so faire; and, as me think, men might skilfully [= reasonably] axe thus of a frere."
83-85 What ben thi rulis . . . In PPC the fraternal orders all claim priority. The Carmelites, for example, allege their order started with Elijah and Elisha (see PPC 383 and note). Upland attacks mendicancy as being a new arrival within the Christian Church. See also Vae octuplex, which assails "þese newe ordres" and says that the hypocrisy Christ details in Matthew 23 pertains to "owre newe religiowse," the friars. (Gradon's ed., pp. 374, 373 respectively).
88-90 Whi schal a frere . . . PLH cites Fifty Heresies to the effect that friars are more often punished for breaking fraternal rules than for transgressing God's commandments.
91 Synt Jame. See James 2, on faith and works.
92 Cristis lawe. The Gospel.
99-100 Whi be ye faster weddid. The contrast is between fraternal vows, on the one hand, and the sacrament of marriage, on the other. Jack Upland continually points up the differences between fraternal institutions, which he regards as artificial and man-made, versus the simplicity of Christ's life and teachings. See also the language of this Wycliffite treatise: "Freris also ben stronglier weddid wiþ hor roten habite, ageyns þo fredome of þo gospel, þen þo housbande is wiþ his wif by ordynaunce of God. Ffor þo housbande may lawefully be absente fro his wif by a moneth, an half 3eer, and sumtyme seven 3eer . . . Bot if a frere be oute of his roten habite, 3he, an hour, he is apostata" (quoted by PLH in the note to his lines 122-29). The penalty for putting aside the regular habit was excommunication.
103 makith youre abite . . . or no? Compare the statement of the hypocritical Fals-Semblant from the C version of the Middle English Romaunt of the Rose: "'I have a robe of religioun, / Thanne am I all religious.' / . . . Abit ne makith neithir monk ne frere, / But clene lyf and devocioun / Makith gode men of religioun" (6188-89; 6192-94).
112 what bitokeneth youre greet hood. Among the most frequent charges against friars in antifraternal literature was their love of fine clothing, a charge that derives from Matthew 23.5. See also PPC 550-51: "Thei schapen her chapolories, and streccheth hem brode, / And launceth heighe her hemmes." The scapalarie or scapular was the piece of cloth (which hangs from the shoulders and reaches almost to the ground in front and back) worn over the habit,.
113 copis were semicircular pieces of cloth that fastened to the breast.
115 o coloure. Upland asks about the identifying color of the fraternal habits: Carmelites (white), Dominicans (black), Augustinians (brown?), Franciscans (grey). He observes that this division into different orders suggests division in Christianity itself.
126 youre first fundacioun. "Presumably a reference to the claim of the Carmelites to be direct descendants of Elijah (taken up into heaven by the `spirit of the Lord' in a whirlwind) and the `sons of the prophets"' (PLH). Since Upland appears to be non-denominational in his antifraternal attacks, he seems to challenge any mendicant claims to antiquity, including those of the Carmelites.
128 as deed men. Droll paranomasia (word-play). Upland puns on "quick (= alive) and dead." The friars make themselves "dead" to the world when they take their vows, but they are very "quick" (and alive and lively) to beg and acquire worldly goods.
129 to pursue. So H; C and PLH read do pursue. PLH comments: "C seems here to preserve an original causal do; cf. 374-5 do prisone hem for the same construction." Since H's reading is more than possible, I retain to.
132 suffre youre novycis. The fraternal orders, especially the Franciscans, could be very secretive about their business activities. They closed chapter sessions to outsiders and even their to their own novitiates.
133 or . . . professid. The usual period for the novice was one year, after which time he was said to be "professed" and hence could not leave the order or the rule.
135 so costli housis. Another frequent charge against friars. The author of PPC describes a Dominican convent at great length (see 157-202).
136 alle is pilage of pore men. See PlT 355: "The poore to pyll is all theyr pray."
138 gravis or. Unique to H.
140 ye mai wel nygh. Mai supplied by corrector of C in the margin and adopted by PLH. It is necessary for the sense.
142 Whi do ye lett. So C; H and PLH read sette. Wr: Why hyre ye to ferme. PLH observes that either sette or lett is possible (p. 125). FDR, however, responds: "`We leten,' thou seist, `to lymytours, al this rewme to ferme" (478). See also the following lines (which exist only in Hg and a few other MSS of the CT) concerning Chaucer's pilgrim Friar: "And gaf a certeyne ferme for the graunt; / Noon of his bretheren cam ther in his haunt" (I 252a-b).
149 that ye pilen. Unique to H. On Christ's tribute to heathen emperors see Matthew 22.21; Mark 12.17; Luke 20.25.
151 lettris of brithered. Fraternal orders would often allow lay people to participate in their services and would issue letters of confraternity to them, usually for a fee. See note to line 243 below, and PPC 327 and note and 417.
154-55 that ye most stonde. So C and PLH [= 3e]; ye om. in H.
160 golden trentale. Thirty masses for the dead in purgatory, sung for a fee. See the friar's cynical statements about trentals at the beginning of Chaucer's Summoner's Tale (III 1713-32).
164 he that is biriede in youre abite. Friars received criticism for encouraging wealthy lay people to be buried in fraternal habits in order, as they claimed, to circumvent or lessen the pains of hell and purgatory.
168 whi stele ye mennes children. This was a frequent charge against friars and derives, in part, from Christ's denunciations of hypocrites "who go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him the child of hell twofold more than yourselves" (Matthew 23.15). The Wycliffite Vae octuplex translates "one proselyte" as "a child of 3owre ordre," and the anonymous author comments: "Þese wordis tellon oponly of makyng of freerys, how þei comen þeefly, boþe by watur and bi londe, to robbe men of þer children þat ben betture þan oxon" (ed. Gradon, p. 368).
thefte. PLH's emendation of H's þeste; C it. Sk has sith that theft. H seems to anticipate heestis, line 147.
172-75 Frere, where fynde ye . . . as an hethen man. See Matthew 18.17: "And if he [= brother] will not hear them [witnesses to God's word]: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican."
175 us. Unique to H.
177-81 Frere, whi coveite ye schrift and biriynge. See PPC 468-71 and the note to 469; see also 181-88: the rich sepulchres in the Dominican priory.
188 fals fablis of freris. As early as Richard de Bury's Philobiblon the friars were criticized for embellishing their sermons with apocryphal stories and curious legends rather than with Scripture. See also PPC 274 and note and PLH's note to lines 233-36 of his edition.
194 In principio. John 1.1. Friars intoned this formula before entering houses; antifraternal writers satirized this custom, regarding it as a pompous formula for making themselves appear more learned than they were and for trying to extract money from dupes. The friar of Chaucer's Summoner's Tale announced his entrance to a house with "Deus hic" (III 1770), variant of a Franciscan formula.
195 mynistrallis, i.e., minstrels. St. Francis conceived of his Minorites as joculatores Dei who would win converts to Christ through preaching and singing. See David L. Jeffrey, "Ioculatores Dei in England," in The Early English Lyric and Franciscan Spirituality (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1975), chap. 5. Here, of course, Upland attacks the friars for their hypocrisy.
199 foolis. "`Scoundrels' applied to the mendicants, see 241 n. Cf. PPC 455-6: `A! broþer,' quaþ he þo `beware of þo foles! / For Crist seyde him-selfe of swiche y 3ou warne"' (PLH).
201 freli. See Matthew 10.8: "freely have you received, freely give."
216-17 Judas . . . thritti pens. Matthew 26.15.
224-25 if a man suffice . . . synneth for to begge. The issue of the healthy beggar is important in the B text of PP, as in this passage from passus 7:
For he þat beggeþ or bit, but he haue nede,(67-71)
He is fals wiþ þe feend and defraudeþ þe nedy,
And ek gileþ þe gyuere ageynes his wille.
For if he wiste he were no3t nedy he wolde it 3yue
Anoþer that were moore nedy; so þe nedieste sholde be holpe.
A statute of Edward III (1349) concerning laborers after the Black Plague, reads (in part): "And because many strong beggars, as long as they may live by begging, do refuse to labor, giving themselves to idleness and vice, and sometimes to theft and other abominations; none upon the said pain of imprisonment, shall, under the color of pity or alms, give anything to such, who are able to labor, or presume to favor them in their idleness, so that they may be compelled to labor for their necessary living." From Medieval Culture and Society, ed. David Herlihy (New York: Harper, 1968), p. 361. See also FDR 728-39, UR 344-45.
227 whi writist thou mennes names in thi tablis. Refers to lists of wealthy patrons and benefactors. Upland implicitly contrasts the friars' tablets with the book of life (Rev. 3.5, etc.). The compaion to the friar of Chaucer's Summoner's Tale carries "A peyre of tables al of yvory . . . And wroot the names alwey, as he stood, / Of alle folk that gaf hym any good" (III 1741-44).
232 thei. PLH's good emendation for H's he and C's ye.
232 moornynge clothis. Perhaps a reference to the Dominicans (Blackfriars). See PPC 696-97: "Blak, that bytokneth bale for oure synne, / And mournynge for misdede of hem that this useth."
234-36 Frere, sith ye seie . . . pilid in wynteris. See Matthew 25.43: "I was a stranger, and you took me not in; naked, and you covered me not; sick and in prison, and you did not visit me."
235 pore sike men and pore prisoned men. Chaucer's Parson includes visiting the sick and imprisoned - "visitynge in prisone and in maladie" (X 1031) - as deeds of charitable mercy under the third part of penitence: "satisfaccioun." "Thise been general almesses or werkes of charitee of hem that han temporeel richesses or discrecioun in conseilynge. Of thise werkes shaltow heren at the day of doom" (X 1033).
237 so many maistris. See Matthew 23.10, and PPC 581 and note.
238 contrarien. "A favorite Lollard word, especially in the phrase to `contrary' Christ. It probably derives from the lawyers' use of contrarietas, the term invented by the twelfth-century commentators on the Digest and the Code: commenting on all this material they often had to deal with an apparent contrarietas, which they sought to resolve" (PLH).
240-46 This paragraph concerns the so-called usus pauper or the proper application and spirit of mendicant poverty. Both monks and friars took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience; but the quarrel was over the meaning of poverty. Monks believed that manual labor constituted poverty, but friars originally wished to fulfill the vow through begging. The friars split among themselves, with the Spirituals favoring mendicancy and the other friars arguing that they did not actually own property, they merely used it.
247 Frere, whi make ye not youre feestis to pore men. Luke 14.13: "But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind."
249 Frere, sith Crist sente Hise apostlis. Friars regularly traveled in pairs according to their interpretation of Luke 10.1.
259 sclaunderers. MSS and PLH claunderers; but see lines 174, 185, 198, 222, 285.
260 whi wole not summe of youre ordre touche silver. The friars would sometimes go to great lengths to avoid handling money. They hired small boys, or bursarii, to collect money for them.
260-61 the Crosse and the kyngis heed. The two sides of a coin, with the Cross on one side and the king's head on the other.
263-66 sithen ye wolen resceyve . . . youre coveitous hertis. Luke 16.15: "And he said to them [covetous Pharisees]: You are they who justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth your hearts; for that which is high to men, is an abomination before God."
272 lettris of fraternyte. "Letters granted (by both monks and friars) under the conventual seal to lay benefactors of a house which admitted them to brotherhood (of the third order, in the practice of the Dominicans) and imparted to the persons admitted the benefit of all the masses, feasts, prayers, and other good works done or to be done throughout the order. Such lay brethren were usually buried in the precincts of the house and were usually dressed for burial in a friar's habit" (PLH).
281 to bigile ynnocent children or thei kunne discrecioun. Friars could admit infants and children into their orders without parental consent. In 1402 Parliament passed a decree, signed by the four orders, which stated that children could not be admitted into orders before their fourteenth year.
288-90 thus for to encrese with so many freris. A frequent charge against friars, although in fact their numbers were in the decline in the late fourteenth century. See PP B 20.269: "ye wexen out of noumbre"; and Szittya, The Antifraternal Tradition in Medieval Literature, pp. 221-30. In a note to UR 374, PLH quotes the following interpolation:
& þou god god made al þinge in mesure & in wy3te as þe scripture seyþe it folowþ not he made 3ou for 3e ben oute of mesure & so þe devyl & caym with judas ben 3oure fadirs.289-90 in mesoure, noumbre, and weight. Wisdom 11.12b: "But thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight."
290 Crist ordeyned twelve apostlis. Mark 3.14: "And he made that twelve should be with him, and that he might send them to preach."
302 to gadere up the bokis of Goddis lawe. "The friars laid much emphasis on scholarship and teaching, yet they did not produce their own books, since it would have involved them in manual rather than intellectual work. Hence they bought books and would be in competition with the poorer seculars as Upland complains" (PLH).
307-08 of synnes that thei leven not. So PLH. After synnes H reads of whiche thei cesen not but ben counfortid, anticipating 274.
315 Ye ben verri Fariseis. Matthew 23.2-3: "The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not."
318 accident with-outen subject. The charge of denying the real presence in the Eucharist was usually brought against Wycliffites rather than friars. But the anonymous author of Vae octuplex lodges a similar accusation against friars: "But þe feend, siþ he was lowsud, haþ mouyd frerus to reuerse þis, and as þei seyn, þer newe seyntus and newe doctoures þat þei han, techen þat þis sacrament is an accident wiþowte suget, or ellis no3t [nothing]; for hit is quantite and qualite" (ed. Gradon, p. 375).
324-25 freris camen in over the walle. See John 10.1: "He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber."
329 ritis. PLH's emendation for H's rutis and C's roottys. See FDR 896; UR 123.
334 H continues with an interpolated passage (which I punctuate and
normalize): "Jacke, in thi janglinge charite the wantis, for thou pinchist at oure pouce as a parid schrewe. This is the letherist lessoun that ever yit I herde of lerid or of lewid, daies of my lijf. Seynt Ffraunces curs and al foure ordris come upon that fals theef that thus thee hath enformed; for the pointis of oure privytees he hath prickid to th . . . or thou art apostata and proved al this thi-silf." C adds: "Jack upon lond lookith for an answer.
To veri God and to alle trewe in Crist, I, Jacke Uplond, make my moone, that
Anticrist and hise disciplis, bi coloure of holynes, wasten and disceiven Cristis
Chirche bi many fals signes.
For God that is almyghti, alwitti, algoodli, and alwilful, as He hath made man
in soule to His ymage, as in mynde, resoun, and wille, and to His liknesse bi wer-
kis of bileve, tristi hope, and lastinge charite, so He sette mannes state: in lordis
to represente the power of the Fadir; preestis to represente the wisdom of the
Sone; and the comouns to presente the good lastinge wille of the Holi Goost.
Preestis office to preche the Gospel truli and to preye in herte devoutli, to
mynistre the sacramentis freli, to studie in Goddis lawe oonli, and to be trewe
ensaumpleris of holi mennes lijf continuli, in doynge and in suffringe. Lordis office
to justifie mysdoers in ward and to defende Goddis servauntis from letters of her
office. Comouns office to truli laboure for the sustinaunce of hem-silf, and for
prestis and for lordis doynge wel her office.
And thus hath Crist taught bothe bi dede and bi word, as Holi Writ berith wit-
nes in many placis, and thus was Cristis Chirche governed a thousand yeer and
more. But Anticrist hath govun leve to leve al this and to do another maner. For
he geveth leve to preestis of parischis bothe highe and lowe to leve prechinge and
to do lewid mennes office; and yit thei takun hire of her parischis never the lasse -
as offringis and tithis and othere possessiouns dowid for almes, and as for world-
li bisines. Thei marren many matins and massis with-out devossioun, and herto
sacramentis schulen be soolde or els gete no man noon; and lest thei schulden
studie in Goddis lawe, he hath ordeyned hem to studie in othere dyvers lawis for
the more wynnynge. And as anentis ensaumple of prestis lijf in doynge, who doith
more worldli werkis thanne thei, or more covytous, and suffre mai thei no wronge
but if thei plete anoon, and of alle men thei mai worst suffre to be repreved of
her defautis, be thei never so many.
To lordis hath Anticrist govun leve to fighte for rewmes and othere lordschips,
and sle her britheren and brenne her housis, and therwith wynne perdoun; and he
that is unable of vertues to governe o lordschip schal have leve to fighte for
tweyne. And this power ordeined bi God to meyntene and defende men in charite
is ordeined bi Anticrist to distrye charite.
To the comoun peple hath Anticrist govun leve to leve her trewe laboure and
bicome idil men ful of disceitis to bigile eche othere, as summe bicome men of
crafte and marchauntis professid to falsnes, and summe men of lawe to distroye
Goddis lawe and love amonge neighboris, and summe crepen into feyned ordris
and clepen hem religious, to lyve idilli bi ipocrisie and disceive alle the statis
ordeyned bi God. And thus bi Anticrist and hise clerkis ben vertues transposid to
vicis - as mekenes to cowardise, felnes and pride to wisdom and talnes, wraththe
to manhode, envye to justificacioun of wrong, slouthe to lordlynes, coveytis to
wisdom and wise purvyaunce, glotonye to largynes, leccherie to kindeli solace,
mildenes to schepisshenesse, holines to ipocrisie, heryse to pleyne sadnes of feyth
and oolde usage, and Holy Chirche to synagoge of Satanas. And lest that this
greete abhomynacioun of Antecrist were aspied and lettid, he hath suspendid
prestis fro her office and govun hem greete wagis of possessiouns and dignytees
agens Cristis lawe, and chosun suche therto that kunnen not ne moun not grucche
agens his lordschip, and thes lordis ben in the rerewarde of Antecristis bateile.
And herto hath he made another oost agens Cristis ordinaunce, and closid hem
as fro the world in wallis of stoon, cloistris, and sellis; and thereas thei schulden
have labourid in the world in help of alle thre partis of Cristis Chirche, with meke
love and leve lijflode, now thei schulen lyve in idil lijf and sikir fro al povert, and
al men schulen help hem and thei never no man aftir, but lyve in mamelynge of
mete and many wast clothis, and though thei weren the heire and the hood over
the iyen, ever envy is her cauce at everi melis mete. And thes hidde Ipocritis ben
in the myddilward of Antecristis bateil.
But the fellist folk that ever Antecrist foond ben last broughte into the Chirche
and in a wondir wise, and for thei ben of divers settis of Antecristis sowinge, of
dyvers cuntreis and kynredis, and alle men thei knowun. Thei ben not obediente
to bisshopis ne lege men to kyngis, nether thei tilien ne sowen, weden ne repen,
nether wede, corn, ne gras, ne good that men schal help but oonli hem-silf. And
thes men han al maner power of God, as thei seien, in heven and in erthe, a
mannes lijf to save - yhe, to sille hevene or helle to whom that hem likith - and
yit thes wrecchis witen not where to be hem-silf saved or dampned.
Thei ben confessouris and confundouris of lordis and ladies, of prelatis and per-
souns, and pilers of the Chirche; and also thei ben parteneris of alle sacramentis
that schulen be soold as Simonundis eiris, for thei preien for no mo than paien
Thes ben the flateringe freris of al the fyve ordris, falsist founden in oure feith,
and first schulen be distried. Thes ben cockers in coventis and coveitous in market-
tis, marrers of matrymonye, and Caymes castel-makers, Pharesies fagynge the folk
and profetis fals, unsikir soudiouris sette al bifore, vayne men and voide in
Antecristis vowarde. God scheeld us from this capteyne and his oost!
Wel I woot bi my bileve that Crist wole that everi Cristen man love his God
moost and sith his neighbore as hym-silf, and herynne, as Crist seith, al the lawe
hangith and the profetis. But hou loveth he his neighbore that loveth his good
more than his soule hele or bodeli heele, and Cristis ordre, as Seynte Jame seith,
is to refreische nedi helples men with thi gifte. But what ordre is that that wole
have of alle men and geve hem not at her nede? This moost Antecristis ordre
nede be. And therfor, frere, if thin ordre and thi rulis ben groundid in Goddis
lawe, telle thou now Jacke Uponlond that I axe thee, and if thou be or thenkist
to be on Cristis side, kepe thi pacience.
Frere, hou many ordris ben in erthe, and which is moost perfight ordre?
Frere, of what ordre art thou and who made thin ordre? What ben thi rulis,
and who made thi cloutid rulis, sith Crist made hem not ne noon other a thou-
sende yeere aftir that Crist stighe into hevene?
Frere, is ther ony ordre more perfighte than Crist Hym-silf made?
Frere, if Cristis rule is moost perfight, whi rulist thee not theraftir?
Whi schal a frere be more punyschid if he breke the rulis that his patroun made,
than if he breke the heestis that God Hym-silf made? For brekynge of youre rulis
ye ben prisonyd ofte.
Approveth Crist ony mo religiouns than oon that Synt Jame techith us? If thou
seist yhe, tel thou now in Cristis lawe where it is; and sith thou canst not finde
where, whi hast thou left His rule and take thee another contrarie therto? For
Cristis rule biddith thee geve to pore feble men and pore blynd and pore lame,
upon peyne of dampnacioun; and thi rule biddith thee pike fro pore and riche al
that thou mayst, and geve hem no thing agen, have thei never so myche nede.
Whi is a frere apostata that leveth his ordre and takith the clothis and rulis of
another ordre, sith Crist hath made but oo religioun good and esie and comun
for alle men and wymmen? Whi be ye faster weddid to youre abite bi mannes
mariage thanne a man is weddid to his wijf bi Goddis mariage? A man may leve
his wijf a moneth ether a yeer as many men doen, and if ye leven youre abite a
wike ether a quartere of a yeer, ye ben holden apostataas.
Frere, makith youre abite you men of religioun or no? If it doith, ever as it
wereth youre relegioun wereth, and aftir that it is better youre relegioun is bettir.
And whanne ye leyen youre abite bisidis you, ye leyn youre religioun bisidis you,
and thanne ye ben apostaas. And yif ye seie, "Jacke, nay, oure relegioun is not in
oure abite": - frere, whi art thou prisoned and clepid apostata for levynge thin
ordre, and weringe a blewe gowne and a reede hood?
Seye frere, whi bie ye so preciouse clothis and so fyne to were, sith no man
usith suche but for veyne glorie, as Seynt Gregori seyth, and yit ye seien ye ben
Frere, what bitokeneth youre greet hood, youre scapalarie, and youre knottid
girdel, and youre side and wide copis that ye maken you of so dere clothe, sith
lesse clothis and of lesse prijs is more token of povert?
Whi use ye al o coloure more thanne other Cristen men doen? Whi holde ye
silens more in oon hous thanne in another, sith man owith over-al to speke the
good and leve the yvel? And whi ete ye fleische more in oon hous thanne in
Frere, if youre order and rulis ben perfighte and youre patrun that made hem,
whi gete ye you dispensacioun of court to have hem more esi? Certis, ether it
semeth that youre patroun was unperfighte ether a fool to make an ordre so hard
that ye may not holde it, or ellis ye ben unperfighte to take suche an ordre and
bynde you therto, and sith leve it and gett yow another bi dispensacioun, and
thanne ye lien on youre patroun first and on you silf, to clepe you his freres and
forsake his ordre, for than ye schulde be clepid the Popis freris, for he is patroun
of youre ordre; and yit ye seien youre first fundacioun was bi revelacioun of the Holy
Goost, whom ye han forsaken in levynge of that ordynaunce bi dispensacioun.
Frere, whi make ye you as deed men whanne ye ben professid in youre ordre,
and aftirward ye ben more quicke to begge worldli goodis and to pursue men that
displesen you than ony othere men ben? And yit it is unsemeli to se deed men
to go so fast on beggynge.
Frere, whi wole ye not suffre youre novycis to here youre counseile in youre
chapitre hous or thanne thei ben professid, if youre counseilis ben trewe and aftir
Whi make ye so costli housis to dwelle ynne, sith Crist dide not so, ne His apos-
tles, ne noon holi men that ye reden of? And alle is pilage of pore men and lordis
almes, for more almes it were to help men at her nede thanne to leve that and
make gay housis. Also men fro the world schuld have but gravis or housis of mor-
nynge and not to flatere the world; for ye maken you courtis passinge lordis, so
that ye mai wel nygh pas thorugh the rewme and ech nyght ligge in a court of
youre owne, and so may not lordis.
Whi do ye lett al the kyngis londe to ferme to youre lymytouris as ye weren
lordis of alle mennes goodis, and ye wole not suffre o frere to begge in anotheres
Frere, whi be ye not lege men to kyngis ne obediente to bischopis ne undir her
Frere, sith ye ben so ryche that ye peynten youre wallis with golde and fyne
clothis, and han many jewilis and myche tresoure, whi pay ye not taliagis to oure
kyng in help of the rewme and supportynge of pore men that ye pilen, sith Crist
paied tribute to the hethen emperour?
Frere, whi axe ye not lettris of brithered of other pore mennes preieris, good
and Cristen levers, ne of preestis, ne of monkis, ne of bischopis, as ye desire that
other riche men axen you letteris for a certeyne summe bi yeer?
Frere, if ye presume that ye have most holinesse above al other lyvers, and that
ye most stonde in most perfight love, whi graunte ye not to alle men youre lettris
and preiers for charite, and nameli to pore Cristen puple?
Frere, may ye make ony man more perfighte bi youre feyned lettris ether youre
soold preiers thanne God hath bi bileve of baptem and His owne grante? If ye
seie yhe, thanne be ye goddis above oure God.
Whi make ye men bileve that youre golden trentale, soold for a certeyne summe
of money - as fyve schylingis or more - may brynge a soule out of helle or of
purgatorie? If this be sooth, what schal bifalle of you that may save so lightli al
soulis and suffren hem to be dampned or peyned in youre defaute?
Whi make ye men bileve that he that is biriede in youre abite schal never come
in helle? This vertu was not in clothis of Crist ne of apostlis, and yit witen ye not
where to be you-silf. And if it were sooth, as it is a blasfemy, ye schulden selle
youre high housis and make cotis for many men to save many soulis.
Frere, whi stele ye mennes children to make hem of youre settis, sith thefte is
agens Goddis heestis, and for lesse prise men ben hangid on galowis? And youre
ordre is unperfighte, and ye wite not where that maner of lyvynge is worst for that
child and may be cause of his dampnacioun.
Frere, where fynde ye bi Goddis lawe that preestis schulden prisoun her brith-
eren and so distroie hem, sith the Gospel techith to undirnyme hem in charite and
so to wynne hem? And if he wole not be wonne bi you, ne bi the Chirche, Goddis
lawe and Seint Austins rule techith us to putte hym from thee as an hethen man.
This is not to prison hem.
Frere, whi coveite ye schrift and biriynge of other mennes parischens, and not
to do othere sacramentis that fallen to Cristen folkis? And whi coveite ye not
schrift of pore men, sith lordis and riche men mai have prestis more plente thanne
pore men? And sithen pore men, as ye seien, ben moost holi, whi coveite ye not
to birie hem at youre housis as ye doen riche men?
Whi wole ye not seie the Gospels at pore bedrede mennes housis that may not
go to chirche, as ye doen at riche mennes housis and schoppis that mai go to
chirche and here the Gospel there?
Whi wolen ye not go on a longe route to diriges of pore deed men that sumtime
visitiden you with almes as ye don to riche men, sith God preisith the pore more
thanne the riche?
Frere, whi preche ye fals fablis of freris and feined myraclys, and leven the
Gospel that Crist bade preche and is moost holsum lore to bodi and to soule, and
so also oure bileve bi whiche oonli we moste be saved?
Frere, whi hate ye that the Gospel schulde be prechid to the trewe undir-
stondinge of holi doctouris, and ye clepen it the newe doctrine in sclaundringe of
Crist? And ye ben more holden therto than to alle the rulis that ever youre pa-
troun made, and ye winnen more with In principio than Crist and Hise apostlis
and alle the seintis of hevene; and in this mynistrallis ben bettre thanne ye, for
thei contrarien not her myrthis as ye don.
Frere, sith Crist and Hise apostlis ordeyneden preestis to preche, and preie, and
sacramentis to mynystre to the puple - yhe, a thousande yeris bifore youre cap-
teyns and prestis han suffrid you as foolis to come in among the puple - whi ben
ye so unkynde as bastard braunchis to pursue prestis to prisonynge and to fire for
prechinge of Cristis lawe freli, with-outen sillinge of the Gospel?
Frere, sith ye wolen opinli preche agen the defautis of prelatis, of prestis, lordis,
lawyers, and marchauntis and comouns, whi be ye so wode that prestis prechen of
youre defautis in amendement of youre lijf in charite, and ye falsli sclaundren hem
of erise? And the more part of you woot not what an eresie is for to seye; but ye
knowun the dede bi experiens.
Frere, sith God takith a mannes preier aftir that the persones ben worthi of her
good lyvynge that preien and ben preied fore, and thou wost not hou thou art
worthi bifore God, whi wolt thou take hire for thi preier and sillist thou wost
never what? Of alle chaffaris, this is moste perelous, and next to Balams boost and
Frere, sith thou proferist to so manye men a masse for a penye, what sillist thou
for that penye, whether thi preier or Cristis bodi or thi traveil? If thou woldiste
not seie a masse but for a penye, thanne thou lovest coveitousli more a penye
thanne thin owen soule, and alle Holi Chirche quicke and dede. And if thou sillist
Cristis bodi for a penye, thanne art thou worse thanne Judas that soolde it for
thritti pens. Where is a falser symonyent if thou wolt not preie for a man but for
a penye? Hou hast thou lerned Cristis Gospel that biddith thee preie freli for
frende and fo?
Frere, whi sclaundre ye falsli Crist, Lord of alle creaturis, that he beggid His owne
good as ye don other mennes good, sith He had no nede therto on that wise?
Frere, sith in Goddis lawe suche clamerous beggeynge is uttirli forfendid, on
what lawe groundist thou thee thus for to begge, and nameli of porer than thou
art thi-silf? For soth, it is that no man schulde thus begge; for if a man suffice to
hym-silf bi goodis or bi strengthe, he synneth for to begge. And so if he be pore
and unmyghty, thanne the peple synneth but thei visite hym or that he begge.
Frere, whi writist thou mennes names in thi tablis? Wenest thou that God is
suche a fool that He wot not of mennes dedis but if thou telle Hym bi thi tablis?
Frere, if thou thinkist it a good dede to begge for thin idil britheren at hoom,
there eche oon of you hath an annuel salarie ether two, whi wolt thou not begge
for pore bedrede men - porer than ye, febeler than ye, that moun not go aboute?
Knowe ye no men for youre britheren but if thei have on moornynge clothis and
be of youre sett? Here you lackith charite.
Frere, sith ye seie that it is so medeful a thing to geve almes, whi wolen ye nev-
er gete you that mede on pore sike men and pore prisoned men in her myscheef,
ne visite the pore laborers in dere somers that ye han pilid in wynteris?
Frere, whi make ye so many maistris among you agens Cristis biddynge in the
Gospel, seiynge that oon is maister, oon is Lord, and this ye contrarien bi many
waste and costli meenes?
Frere, whos ben alle youre riche coortis and youre riche jewels that ye han, sith
ye seien ye han no thyng in propre, ne in comoun, bi vertu of youre ordre? If ye
seien thei ben the Popis, youre holiest fadir, whi gadere ye so many goodis of pore
men and lordis of the rewme to make the Pope so riche? And ye han chosun for
moost perfeccioun to have no suche in propre ne in comoun bi vertu of youre
ordre, and the Pope schulde be moost perfighte. Ye ben cursid children to
sclaundre so youre fadir and putte on hym so moche unperfeccioun.
Frere, whi make ye not youre feestis to pore men and geve hem yiftis, as ye
doen to riche men?
Frere, sith Crist sente Hise apostlis whanne thei weren perfight oon to o cuntre,
another to another, whi go ye two to-gedere and ye seien ye ben perfighte as the
Frere, sith ye taken salaries - yhe, sum double and treble - whi begge ye therto
more thanne other prestis don? Wite ye not wel that the more that ye han the
more is youre charge?
Frere, sith youre patrouns han seide that thei hadden the makynge of youre rulis
bi schewynge of God and His ordynaunce, whi holde ye not the ordynaunce of
Goddis makynge? Forsothe, if God hath ordeyned it, the Pope mai not fordo it
levefuli; and if it were not of Goddis ordynaunce, than bi youre seiynge, youre
patrouns weren liers on God, and ye be her sclaunderers as cursid children.
Frere, whi wole not summe of youre ordre touche silver with the Crosse and the
kyngis heed, as ye wolen touche a silveren spone and othere silver? Certis, if ye
dispisen the Cros and the kyngis heed, ye ben worthi to be dispisid of God and of
the kynge, and so of alle her trewe servauntis; and sithen ye wolen resceyve the
money in youre hertis and not in youre hondis, it semeth ye holden more holines
in youre hondis thanne in youre hertis. Thanne ben ye false to God, that knowith
youre coveitous hertis.
Frere, whi paien summe of youre ordris eche yeere a certeyne to the Provinciale
or to summe othere sovereyne, til that he hath stoole a certeine summe of children
to make hem freres? And thus ye ben constryned bi youre ordre to breke Goddis
comaundementis in doyng of theefte passynge theefte of hors and maris.
Frere, whi ben ye so foole-hardi to graunte to eche man that wole paie you
therfore, bi lettris of fraternyte, part and meryt of alle youre massis and othere
good dedis? And ye witen not where youre dedis displesen God for youre synnes,
and also whether that man be worthi to resceyve merit for his owne lyvynge. For
if he schal be dampned, hise owne dedis, ne youris, schulen never availe hym to
Frere, what charite is it to overe-charge the puple bi beggynge of so many
myghti men undir coloure of prechynge and preiynge and massis syngeynge, sithen
Holi Writ biddith not this but the contrarie? For alle suche goostli dedis schulden
be freeli don as God gyveth freeli, and ellis it were cursid symony.
Frere, what charite is it to bigile ynnocent children or thei kunne discrescioun,
and bynde hem to youre ordris that ben not groundid in Goddis lawe, agens her
frendis wille and from helpynge of fadris and modris, whereas Goddis lawe biddith
the contrarie? For bi this foli ben many apostataas in herte and wille al her lijf,
that wolden go out in dede but for drede of deeth if thei weren taken agen.
Frere, what charite is it to charge the puple with so many freris, sithen persouns,
vikers, and prestis were inowgh to serve the puple of preestis office with bischopis
- yhe, monkis, chanouns, with-out mo. And thus for to encrese with so many freris
is greet cumbraunce to the puple and agens Goddis wille that made al thingis in
mesoure, noumbre, and weight; and Crist ordeyned twelve apostlis with fewe othere
prestis to do servyce to alle the world, and thanne was it best don. And right as
foure fingris and a thombe on a man helpith hym to worche, and double so many
on oon hond schuld lette hym, and treble schuld lette hym more; and so to many
freris and othere ordris passynge the ordinaunce of God lettith Cristis Chirche to
growe to hevene.
Frere, whi may ye for schame lye to the puple, and seye that ye folowe the
apostlis in poverte more thanne othere men don; and yit in curious and costlew
housis, and fyne and precious clothinge, delicious and lusti fedynge, in tresorie and
jewels and riche ournementis, freris passen lordis and othere riche worldli men.
And sunnest ye bringen aboute youre causis, be thei never so costlew or agens
Frere, what charite is it to gadere up the bokis of Goddis lawe, many mo thanne
nedith you, and putte hem in tresorie, and do prisone hem fro seculer preestis and
curatis, wher-bi thei ben lettid of kunnynge of Goddis lawe to preche the Gospel
freli? And over that, ye defamen trewe preestis of erisie and letten the sowynge of
What power have ye to asoile lordis and ladies that ye ben confessouris to of
synnes that thei leven not, as pilinge of her tenauntis and lyvinge in leccherie and
glotonye and othere heed synnes, of whiche thei cecen not but ben counfortid bi
Frere, sith youre ordris ben moost perfight, as ye seien, for youre povert,
chastite, and obediens, whi bisien ye you fast, and nameli youre grettist clerkis, to
be bischopis and prelatis and Popis chapleins, and to be asoilid fro povert and fro
obedience, and ever to lyve in lustus of fleisch and of the world, that is goostli
leccherie? Ye ben verri Fariseis that don oon and seien another contrarie therto.
Frere, whi sclaundre ye trewe preestis and othere trewe meke men of the
sacrament of Goddis bodi, for thei seien that the holi breed duli sacrid is Goddis
bodi in foorme of breed, and ye seien that it is an accident with-outen subject, and
not Goddis bodi.
Frere, who ben eritikis here and fer fro Cristis wordis, that took the breed and
blissid it and brak it and seide, "This is my bodi." And Seint Poul seith, the breed
that we breken is Goddis bodi; and Seynt Austin seith that not eche breed is
Goddis bodi but that breed that reseyveth blissynge is Goddis bodi. And to this
acordith the oold doctouris and comoun bileve bifor that freris camen in over the
walle a thousande yeer and more.
Frere, take hede to my tale and to myn entent also, for charite chasith me
therto to chalenge youre defautis, that ye moun amende to God and to man this
mys or ye die, bi open knowlechynge of youre gilt, and go therfro bityme. For hou
schulde ye endure undampned to helle to leve Crist and His lawe for youre rotun
ritis, and seie that Goddis lawe is fals to fourme or to lerne, til ye hadden founden
a glos feyned of youre wittis.
Go now forth, frere, and fraiste youre clerkis, and grounde you in Goddis lawe,
and geve Jacke an answere, and whanne ye asoilen that I have seide sadli in truthe,
I schal asoile thee of thin ordre and save thee to hevene.
Go To Friar Daw's Reply: Introduction
Go To Friar Daw's Reply
Go To The Table of Contents