Homily 2, Second Sunday in Advent


1 The Second Sunday of the Advent of the Lord, according to Luke

2 Latin rubric (Luke 21:25–33): Jesus said to his disciples, And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves; Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. [For the powers of heaven shall be moved; And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty. But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. And he spoke to them a similitude. See the fig tree, and all the trees: When they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh; So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away, till all things be fulfilled. heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.]

3 [Here] begins the explanation of that same Evangelist according to the Latin

4 Lines 147–80: By fifteen signs the end of the world’s motion reveals itself / To the last, known only to the Lord alone. / In the first sign the sea will rise, standing as if a wall / Were to rise, bound to return to its own coastline after a few (days?), / And also will be seen to surmount the mountains by forty cubits, / And few springs will flow into the rivers. / In the second sign a wave of the sea will hide itself in such a way / That it will scarcely take a sight: monsters of different sorts / From the depths will be revealed after this above the waves where they were born / And their roars will heave the heavenly hosts with horror. / In the fourth the waves of the sea will burn together with the rivers, / There will not be a place from which the waters may pour forth from springs. / In the fifth dread will draw down bloody dew from grass / And trees, horror soaked with bitter tears. / After this towers and houses will fall, since the sixth day will wreck / The buildings, and every lofty seat will fall crashing to the ground. / A clashing together of stones will increase fear in the world, / And the cruel collision will give a fearful uproar. / After this a widespread earthquake will shake the land to its foundations, / Throwing all things into confusion, frightful, and death-dealing. / Once everything has been made flat, the earth will lie in an even plain, / The surface, laid low, will have no unevenness at all. / Hence men will go out like madmen lying hidden before / In their lairs and being able to say nothing. / After this the rising dryness will stand above the tombs. / And again the bones will join themselves to their own flesh, / The falling of stars signaling the end with their separation / Will not know how to bring down their bright end any further. / Those living in their bodies at the same time and without delay will die, / Just as equally all men will be called by the resounding horn. / After this the best condition will renew heaven and earth, / Under an everlasting light, which (condition) no day will change, / Just as when the rousing trumpet will immediately call together all men, / The whole common people rising up will come before the feet of the Judge.

5 These verses may be omitted by the reader when he reads in English before the laity.

6 Lines 212–13: A thing that all men may see cannot be gainsaid

7 Lines 216–17: I have heard tell of one such token / That is most appropriate to our Gospel

8 Lines 224–25: For commonly faith and friendship draw good fellows together

9 Lines 304–07: For, indeed, everyone will be tormented / There, who makes a mistake here / In [even] the least idle thought; / For there there is no forgiveness


Abbreviations: Abbreviations: MED: Middle English Dictionary; NEHC: Gerould, North English Homily Collection; NHC: Northern Homily Cycle; NIMEV: The New Index of Middle English Verse, ed. Boffey and Edwards; ON: Old Norse; Tubach: Index Exemplorum, ed. Tubach; For manuscript abbreviations (ED, A, D, G, L, V), see the Introduction.

Unlike the text for the First Sunday in Advent, this apocalyptic Lucan text was found in virtually all of the liturgical Gospel texts ued in the Middle Ages. The grimly detailed and very popular account of the fifteen days preceding the end of the world was traditionally ascribed to Saint Jerome, though nowhere traceable to him. As noted earlier, despite the joyful anticipation of the Advent season, reminders of the need for repentance were also an important aspect of this time; hearing about the cataclysmic events in which the sea will burn, trees will sweat blood, bones will rise up from the graves in which dead men lie, and the stars will fall, must have strongly encour­aged a mood of penitence. In reminding his audience of the wars to come in these last days, the poet also makes a point to which he will return many times, and about which he seems to care deeply: war and suffering always affect the poor more than the rich, who can protect themselves behind the high walls of their castles, and who never lack for food or drink. The exemplum, building on the theme of the homily, underscores the need for confession and penance through its tale of a monk who was thought by his fellows to be a most holy man but who returns after his death to report to his friend on how narrowly he had escaped hell.

NIMEV 3790, 26. Manuscripts: ED: fols. 18v–20v; A: fols. 7r–10v; G: fols. 11v–15r; D: fols. 42v–45v; L: fols. 3r–4v.

1 Today Sain Louk telles us. Unlike the First Sunday in Advent, Gregory, Robert of Gretham, and NHC all use the same Gospel pericope as the basis for the homily that follows. There is a slight similarity between Gregory and Robert insofar as both remain close to the Gospel text itself, emphasizing the ever worsening state of the world and the need to focus on the life to come. The NHC-poet, however, after reflecting briefly on this theme, moves into a detailed and completely inde­pendent representation of the Fifteen Signs, first in English and then in Latin (see the Introduction for a discussion of the general relationship between these three texts).

8 wandreth. Small notes the derivation from ON vandraedi, “sorrow” (p. 176).

10 baret. Small notes derivation from ON baratta, “fighting” (p. 176).

51 bernes. This word can mean either “children” or “men” when spelled with an e. When spelled with an a, it can only mean “children.” Since A and G both have barnes I have opted for “children” as the most likely meaning.

56 derf. Small notes derivation from ON diarfr, “strongly” (p. 177).

60 bers. Northern form, from bire(n). See textual note.

63 This baret prinnes pouer pride. This is a difficult line to construe; see textual note.

66 stures. Small traces this word to ON styr, “tumult” (p. 177).

78 Joel. An allusion to Joel 2:31: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood: before the great and dreadful day of the Lord doth come.”

103 As early as the tenth century Jerome was credited with discovery of a short eschatological work entitled “The Fifteen Signs before Doomsday.” This medieval leg­end, which was certainly not by Jerome but which took its inspiration from the New Testament Apocalypse, was extremely popular in its many versions in both Latin (including the Legenda Aurea) and the vernaculars (Rice, Saint Jerome, p. 161).

141 at a schift. This uncommon expression is cited by MED, with the meaning derived from the context of the NHC passage. A substitutes a different rhyming couplet, perhaps owing to unfamiliarity with the expression: þe fourtend daie sall vraymente / All þe erd brenne & þe firmamente.

180a Isti versus. Neither the Latin verses of “Jerome” nor the comment following are to be found in any other manuscript of NHC. This is a most valuable indication of the author’s intention that the text was to be read aloud in church, though it cannot be taken as proof that the intention was carried out.

218 A blak munk of an abbaye. Tubach 3373: Monk, black, saved by Virgin. There are multiple versions of this tale, none of which accords exactly with the NHC narrative. Gerould speculates that the NHC-poet probably took his version from a collection of Mary legends and adapted it to suit his needs (NEHC, pp. 30–31). Representatives of the general tale type are found in Vincent of Beauvais’ Speculum Historiale, Nicolas Bozon’s Contes Moralisés, and Cesarius von Heisterbach’s Dialogus Miraculorum, among others (Gerould, NEHC, pp. 27–31). Small notes further a version by Roger of Wendover, very similar to those of Vincent and Bozon, but earlier than either (p. 180). Roger’s narrative includes a humorous expression of gratitude by Satan to the “whole assembly of the priests, because they not only would not give up their own pleasures, but also, by their neglect of preaching, they permitted such a great number of souls committed to their charge to descend to hell as had never been seen in times past” (Roger of Wendover, Flowers of History, p. 341). Gerould also fails to note the Dicta Anselmi, which is earlier than any of the analogues named by him and whose Marian legends formed the basis for most later collections in England. The Dicta contains an exemplum about two brothers with some similarity to our story, as well as the much more famous “Pilgrim to Saint James” (see line 253n).
blak munk. A name given in medieval England to the Benedictine monks, as they were distinguished by wearing black habits.

219 enfermer. In a monastery or religious house, the person in charge of the sick-quarters.

253 Thoru the help of our Lefdi. The increasing emphasis during the High Middle Ages on the humanity of Christ was accompanied by a similar emphasis and greatly increased popularity of his mother, the Virgin Mary, as an object of devotion and source of help. Accounts of her many miracles and apparitions are found in collections in Latin and the vernaculars beginning in the eleventh century. Accord­ing to Southern, the first such collection assembled in England, probably in the early twelfth century, was the work of Anselm, the nephew of Archbishop Anselm (“English Origins,” p. 199). The NHC selections found in this edition in­clude four additional exempla in which Mary makes a miraculous appearance: “The Pilgrim to Saint James,” (4.159–274), “The Widow’s Candle,” “The Abbess Miracu­lously Delivered” (13.173–248), and “The Knight Saved by Mary” (19.171–286).

272 Reuel of Sain Benet. The Benedictine Rule for monks was compiled at Monte Casino by Saint Benedict in the second quarter of the sixth century, and by the ninth century had become the model for western monasticism. The chief task of the community, according to this rule, is the performance of the Divine Office, accompanied by prayer, spiritual reading, and work.

290 purgatorie. The place or state intermediate between heaven and hell where after death and prior to final judgment certain souls are purged of their remaining sins through penal suffering and so attain salvation. Although elements have been taken from earlier Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature, the idea of Purgatory in its full and characteristic form first appears as part of the formal doctrine of the western Catholic Church in 1274.

308 Than sal we bye the sines dere. Mary does not appear in all versions of this story, and the clerk/monk is not always saved. That the NHC-poet has opted for a “happy ending” is less important than the emphasis placed at the end, for the benefit of the general audience, on the need to make a full confession during this life, in order to avoid the pains of hell after death. The cloister monk was thought by himself and his fellows to have led a good life, yet when the time came for him to make a reckoning, it appeared that he had failed on many counts. So it is likely to be with us, suggests the poet, for God, who sees everything, will tally against us even those least “idle thoughts” of which we may be unaware.

314 schrift of mouthe. The requirement established at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, that all Christians confess their sins to a parish priest at least once a year, led to a greatly increased emphasis on the devotional practice of private confession. The importance of this practice is a theme to which the NHC-poet frequently alludes.


Abbreviations: MED: Middle English Dictionary; Nevanlinna: Nevanlinna, The Northern Homily Cycle; NHC: Northern Homily Cycle; Small: English Metrical Homiles, ed. Small. for manuscript abbreviations (ED, A, D, G, L, V), see the Introduction.

9 duin. Later scribes have replaced duin with a more readily recognizable word. A: ffor folk sall fall for dynne of þe se. Nevanlinna (p. 159) replaces duin with dy, “die.” Small notes the connection with Old English dwinan, “to pine or waste away” (p. 176). The modern English cognate is “dwindle.”

21 byinge. So A. MS: bing.

22 was. So G. MS: wa. A’s version is slightly different here.

29 takeninges. MS: takeniges.

57 sal. MS: sa.

58 schouand. MS: schouad. Compare A: sowande.

60 bers. A has burd, G replaces with the more familiar aght. See explanatory note.

63 This baret prinnes pouer pride. The MS reading prinnes is potentially supported by L, which reads: Þis baret prines prud pride. The intended sense seems to be that strife humbles pride, but why pride is described as “poor” is not entirely obvious, which may be why L reads prud instead. Small reads pinnes which is also possible; the stroke above the letter p could be an abbreviation either for i or ri. I give the full line readings for the various manuscripts below:
G: Þis berret makys pore pryde
D: This baret bringiþ in pore pride
A: Þis barette pynes pure pride
L: Þis baret prines prud pride [prines: pierces, humbles]
Nevanlinna: Swilk baret makes oft pouer pride
79 takeninges. MS: takeniges.

95 ful. MS: fur.

97 se. So A. MS omits.

99 takeninge. MS: takenige.

102 takeninges. MS: takeniges.

114 and. MS: ad.

159 herbis. MS: istis. Small’s emendation.

161 quia. MS: que. Small’s emendation.

172 Ossa iterumque etc. MS: line omitted. Small has followed the suggestion of the Rev. Mr. Power in adding this line “as suitable for the purpose” (p. 180).

193 takeninge. MS: takenige.

197 To bind thaim sal be ful snelle. MS: þe added before þaim.

200 welle. Small, p. 180: AS weallan, “to boil” or “rage.”

201 And endeles etc. A and D both omit this line, presumably because it makes for an un­even number of lines (7), ending with the rhyme -elle.

215 taking. So G. MS: taing.

227 him. So A. MS: thim.

243 bon. Small, p. 180: Old Norse bôn, “prayer.”

246 slapand: Small emends to slepand but slapand is an attested Northern form.

250 tald. MS: tand, canceled before.

262 thou. MS: Inserted at end of line with caret following Quen.

279 meld. Small, p. 180: meld, “to betray”; Old English meldian, Danish melde.

283 was. MS wae.

301 and. MS ad.

304 rounge. Small, p. 180: Anglo-Norman “to gnaw.” The MED lists the following meanings for this word: “to consume by gnawing; to inflict torment.” The line from the NHC is cited with a question mark before the meaning “to be tormented.” The passive construction is admittedly odd, but it must mean something along these lines.
Print Copyright Info Purchase

Homily 2, Second Sunday in Advent

Dominica ii. Adventus Domini secundum Lucam1

Dixit Jhesu Crist discipulis suis, Erunt signa in sole, et luna, et stellis, et in terris, pressura gentium pre confusione sonitus maris et fluctuum. Arescentibus hominibus pre timore et expectacione que supervenient universo orbi et cetera.2

Incipit explanatio eiusdem evangelii ad latinam




































   Today Sain Louk telles us
In our Godspel, that Jesus
Spac of thing that es to com,
And namlic of the Day of Dom.
“Takning,” he said “sal be don
Bathe in the son, and in the mon,
And in the sternes al biden;
And folc sal thol wandreth and ten,
For folc sal duin for din of se,
And for baret that than sal be.
Over al this werd bes rednes,
Wandreth and uglines.
For mihti gastes of the hevin
Sal be afrayed of that stevin.
Than sal Crist cum that men may se,
In maistri and in gret pousté.
Quen this bigines for to be,
Lokes up and ye may se
That your biing and your pris
Ful ner cumen tilward you is.”
Himself our byinge he calld,
For he boht us quen he was salde.
Quen Criste havid said this grimli sau,
An ensaumpel gan he schau,
And said, “Quen ye se lefes spring,
And thir tres froit forthe bring,
Than wat we wel that somer es ner.
Als may ye wit on that maner
Quen ye se thir takeninges in land,
That Crist es ful ner cumand.
For hevin and erthe sal pas thar,
Bot my word passes nevermar;
Als qua sai, thing that I you telle,
Ne mai na miht fordo ne felle.
Quen this werld that I mad of noht
Sal be gane and til end broht,
Than sal mi word be sothefast,
For mi kinric sal ever last.”
This es the strenthe of our Godspel,
Als man wit Inglis tung may tel.

   The maister on this Godspel preches,
And sais that Crist tharin us teches
For to forsak this werdes winne,
Ful of wrechedhed and sinne,
For Crist sais us hou it sal end
And warnes us ful fair als frend.
He telles us takeninges snelle
Thar he biginnes his Godspelle,
And sais kinric sal rohly rise
Igain kinric, and ger men grise;
For bal sal ger thir bernes blede,
And mak in land hunger and nede.
This bale sal bald baret breu,
And fel mikel of this werdes gleu.
Slic wordes said Crist of thir wers
That folc in werd ful derf deres;
For quatkin wer sal fal in land,
Til pouer folk es it sarest schouand.
That felis wel nou Hali Kirk,
That bers of baret be ful irk;
For it and pouer men havis bathe
Of wer and wandreht al the schathe,
This baret prinnes pouer pride
Als thai wel wat that walkes wide,
Bot werdes haht and hey tures
Getes thir cité men fra stures;
For the riche men havis ay, iwis,
Inohe of met and drinc and blis,
Bot pouer tholes the baret,
That havis defaut of clathe and met.
And forthi warnes Jesus bathe
Riche and pouer of thair schathe,
Thar he schaues in our Godspelle
Takeninges that bird our pride felle.
He sais takeninges sal be don
Bathe in the sone and in the mon:
The sun sal turn intil mirknes,
Als sais Joel, that bers witnes
Of Crist, that thir takeninges us schaues
In our Godspelle wit grisli sawes.
For mon, he sais, sal turned be
Intil blod, that folk sal se,
Quen sun and mon sal thusgat turn,
Than sal the sinful sar scurn,
For than may thai wit witerly,
That Crist sal com to dem in hi.
Bot god men sal nathing dred,
For than sal thai be seker of med
In that blisful land that thay
Sal ever lif in gamen and play;
And Crist in our Godspel forthy
Confortes us ful mildeli,
And bides us lok til grouand tres:
For quen men leves on thaim sees,
Men wat that ful ner es somer comand,
And riht sua mai we understand
Quen we se thir takenis cume,
That nerhand es the Dai of Dom.

   Bot for Crist spekes of takeninge
That tithand of this Dom sal bringe,
Forthi es god that I you telle
Sumthing of thir takeninges snelle:
Sain Jerom telles that fiften
Ferli takeninges sal be sen
Bifor the Day of Dom, and sal
Ilkan of thaim on ser dai fal.
The first dai sal al the se
Boln and ris and heyer be
Than ani fel of al the land,
And als a felle up sal it stand;
The heyt tharof sal passe the felles
Bi sexti fot, als Jerom telles,
And als mikel the tother day
Sal it sattel and wit away,
And be lauer than it nou esse,
For water sal it haf wel lesse.
The thride dai mersuine and qualle
And other gret fises alle
Sal yel, and mak sa reuful ber
That soru sal it be to her.
The ferthe day freis water and se
Sal bren als fir and glouand be.
The fift day sal greses and tres
Suet blodi deu that grisli bes.
The sexte day sal doun falle
Werdes werks, bathe tours and halle.
The sevend day sal stanes gret
Togider smit and bremly bete.
And al the erthe the ahtande day
Sal stir and quac and al folc slay.
The neynd day the felles alle
Be mad al evin wit erthe salle.
The tend dai sal folc up crep,
Als wod men of pittes dep.
The elleft day sal banes rise
And stand on graves thar men nou lies.
The tuelft day sal sternes falle.
The thretend day sal quek men dey alle,
Wit other ded men to rise,
And com wit thaim to gret asise.
The faurtend day, at a schift
Sal bathe brin bathe erthe and lift.
The fifetende day thai bathe
Sal be mad newe and fair ful rathe,
And al ded men sal rise,
And cum bifor Crist our Justise.

Unde Versus de eiusdem Signis

Signis ter quinis se prodet ad ultima finis
Mundani motus Domino soli modo notus.
In signo primo surget mare stans quasi murus
Erigat in proprios post pauca sinus rediturus,
Etque quater denis cubitis transcendere montes
Cernetur, paucique fluent in flumina fontes.
Oculet in signo sic se maris unda secundo,
Ut vix aspectum capiat: diversa profundo
Monstra super fluctus post hec ubi nata patebunt,
Rugitusque sui celos horrore movebunt.
Quarto cum fluviis ardebunt equoris unde,
Fontibus ut latices effundant non erit unde.
Rorem sanguineum quinto deducet ab herbis
Horror et arboribus lacrimis perfusus acerbis.
Hinc turres et tecta cadent, quia dirvet edes
Sexta dies, omnis que solo ruet ardua sedes.
Augebit lapidum conflictus in orbe timorem,
Terribilemque dabit collisio seva fragorem.
Concuciet terram post hec motus generalis,
Omnia conturbans, horrendus, et exitialis.
Omnibus equatis in plano terra jacebit,
Strata superficies nichil asperitatis habebit.
Hinc velud amentes exibunt ante latentes
In latebris homines et fari nulla valentes.
Sicca super tumbis post hec surgencia stabunt.
Ossa iterumque suis se carnibus associabunt
Casus stellarum signans discrimine finem
Nesciet ulterius clarum deducere finem.
Corpore viventes simul absque mora morientur,
Ut pariter clangente tuba cuncti reperentur.
Optimus inde status celum terramque novabit,
Luce sub eterna, quem nulla dies variabit,
Convocet ut cunctos cum buccina protinus urgens
Judicis ante pedes veniet plebs tota resurgens.4
(see note)

Judgment Day
Signs; shall be given
Both; sun; moon
stars; at once
suffer; sorrow; harm; (see note)
waste away because of the sea’s noise; (t-note)
trouble; (see note)
world will be; fear
Shall; frightened; noise

superiority; power
When this begins

redemption; purchase
Very near to you has come
He called himself our redemption; (t-note)
sold; (t-note)
these grim words
example; show
the trees bring forth fruit
Similarly; know in that way
the signs; (t-note)
pass away

As if to say
No power may destroy or subvert
from nothing



world’s pleasure

fierce signs
kingdom; violently
make men terrified
misery; children bleed; (see note)
This trouble will stir up reckless strife
destroy much; world’s joy
Such; wars
strongly injure; (see note)
whatever kind of war; (t-note)
poor; most grievously manifest; (t-note)
feels; Holy Church
Which ought to be very angry with that strife; (see note); (t-note)

war; sorrow; harm
This strife pierces poor pride; (see note); (t-note)
know who
worldly possessions; high towers
Protect; strife; (see note)
always; certainly
Enough; food
poor people suffer
lack of clothing and food

ought to destroy our pride

who bears witness; (see note)
the moon

in this manner
sorely tremble
know certainly
to judge on high

certain; reward


growing trees
coming; (t-note)
just so
come; (t-note)
close at hand; Judgment Day


fierce; (t-note)
(see note)
Each one; different days fall
Swell; higher

height; surpass

much; next
settle; wither; (t-note)

dolphin and whale
Will yell; grievous noise

burn; fire; glowing
Sweat; dew; is

Worldly works; towers
huge stones
strike; fiercely resound


mad men out of deep caves
eleventh; bones
living; die

On the fourteenth day, with one common fate; (see note)
Earth and air will both burn


Whence verses about the signs of the same





Isti versus omittantur a lectore quando legit Anglicum coram laycis.5; (see note)




























   Than sal Crist dem als king ful wis,
And ger the sinful sare grise.
Sa grisly sal he to thaim be,
That thaim war lever that thai moht fle
Fra that dom that he sal dem
Than al this werd, sa bes he brem
Tille thaim that sinful cumes thar.
And forthi sal thai gret sar,
And say, “Allas that we war born,
Schamlic haf we usself forlorn.”
Than salle thair wike dedes alle,
Stand and igaines thaim kalle,
And with ther takeninge ber wittnes
Of thair sin and thair wiknes.
Of mikel soru sal thai telle,
For Satenas wit fers felle,
To bind thaim sal be ful snelle,
And bremli draw thaim till helle,
Thar thai sal evermare duelle,
And wafullic in pines welle,
And endeles of soru telle.

   This bes thair dom that her in sin
Ligges, and wil thair sin noht blin;
Bot wald thai thinc on Domes Dai
Thaim bird lef thair plihtful play.
Allas, allas, quat sal thai say
Bifor him that miht ful may,
Quen al the men that was and esse
Sal se thair sines mare and lesse,
And al the angeles of the hevin,
And ma fendes than man mai nefen.
Igain sawe may thar nan be,
Of thing that alle men may se.6
Of this openlic schauing
Havis Godd schawed many taking.
Of a taking that I haf herd telle,
That falles wel til our Gosspelle.7

   A blak munk of an abbaye
Was enfermer of all, I herd say.
He was halden an hali man
Imange his felaus everilkan;
An cloyster monk loved him ful wel,
And was til him ful speciel,
For rivelic togider drawes
Faithe, lufreden, god felawes.8
Fel auntour that this enfermer
Was sek, and he that was him der
Com to mak him glad and blithe,
And his lufredene til him to kithe.
He asked him hou he him felid,
And he his stat alle til him telld,
And said, “Ful hard fel I me —
To dede I drawe als ye mai se.”
His felau was for him sary,
And praied him ful gern forthie,
That yef Godd did of him his wille,
That he suld scheu his stat him tille.
This seke monk hiht to com him to,
Yef he moht get lef tharto:
“I sal,” he said, “yef I may,
Com to thee my stat to say.”
Quen this was sayd, he deyed son,
And his felau asked his bon,
And prayed Godd for his mercye,
That he suld schew him openly,
Other wakand or slapand,
Of his felaw state sum tithand.
And als he lay apon a niht,
His felaw com wit lemes liht,
And tald him bathe of hevin and helle;
And he prayed he suld him telle
His state; and he said, “Wel far I
Thoru the help of our Lefdi.
War scho ne hafd ben, I havid gan
To won in helle wit Satan.”
His felau thoht herof ferly,
And asked him quarfor and qui,
And sayd, “We wend alle wel that thou
Haved ben an hali man til nou:
Hou sal it far of us kaytefes,
That in sin and foli lyes,
Quen thou that led sa hali life,
Was demed tille hell for to drife?”
Quen this was said, the ded ansuerd
And tald his felaw hou he ferd,
And said, “Son quen I gaf the gaste,
Tille my dom was I led in haste,
And als I stod mi dom to her
Bifor Jesus, wit dreri cher,
Of fendes herd ic mani upbrayd,
And a boc was bifor me layd,
That was the Reuel of Sain Benet,
That ic hiht to hald and get.
This Reul thai gert me rapli rede.
And als I red, sar gan I drede,
For overlop moht I mac nan,
Bot of the clauses everilkan
Yald ic acount, hou I thaim held,
And my conciens gan me meld.
It schawed thar ful openlye
That I led mi lif wrangwislie,
For in the Reul es mani pas,
That than igain me casten was,
Quarthoru almast haved I thare
Be demid til helle for to fare.
Bot for I lufed wel our Lefdye
Quil I lifd, ic hafd forthie
Ful god help thar thoru hir mercy;
For scho bisoht Crist inwardlie
That I moht in purgatorie
Clens mi sin and mi folye.
Forthi hop I to far ful welle,
For mi soru sal son kele;
Forthi, my frend, I prai thee,
That thou ger felaues prai for me.”
Quen this was said, awai he went,
And his felawe ful mikel hem ment,
And efter this siht mani a dai
Gert he for his sawell prai.

   This tal haf I tald you,
To schew on quat maner and hou
We sal be demed, and yeld acount
Quat our sinnes mai amount.
For al sal com to rounge, iwis,
Thar, that her mistakin isse
Bi the lest idel thoht;
For thar forgifnes bes riht noht.9
Than sal we bye the sines dere
Of quilke we er noht schriven here;
Yef we be her of sines schriven,
Thar havis Godd us thaim forgiven,
Forthi birdd us our sin her bete,
Wit schrift of mouthe and wonges wete.
For schrift of mouthe es medecine
That schildes man fra helle pin;
For if we schrif us clen of sinne
Wit penanz, ded we sal haf winne,
And mai be siker on Domes Dai,
To wind intil that blisful plai,
Thar Crist sal evermar be King;
For his merci he thider us bring.
make; greatly fear
That they would rather; might
judgment; judge
world; so fierce is he


ourselves lost
against; call out

companions evil
quick; (t-note)

woefully burn in pain; (t-note)

Lie; cease
But if they would think
They ought to abandon their sinful play

is all powerful

more; name

open revelation

(see note)
custodian of the infirmary; (see note)
Among; every one

It happened by chance

friendship; show
how he felt
I feel very ill

might; permission

made his request; (t-note)
in his mercy


bright rays of light

I am doing well
(see note)
Were it not for her
wherefore and why

fare with us wretches

Were judged [worthy] to be driven to hell
dead man
what he experienced
As soon as I gave up the ghost

mournful expression

Benedictine Rule; (see note)
promised; keep
made; quickly

omission might I make none

I yielded an account
betray; (t-note)

was laid against me; (t-note)
because; loved

entreated; earnestly
(see note)

grow cold

make my fellow monks

kept him in mind



pay for; dearly; (see note)
which; are not confessed

we ought; amend
oral confession; wet cheeks
(see note)
shields; pain

we will have joy after we are dead
proceed; pleasure

In; [may] he

Go To Homily 3, Third Sunday in Advent