Back to top

Art. 59, Une petite parole


ABBREVIATIONS: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); Bodl.: Bodleian Library (Oxford); CCC: Corpus Christi College (Cambridge); CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); IMEV Suppl.: Supplement to the Index of Middle English Verse (Robbins and Cutler); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MWME: A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050–1500 (Severs et al.); NIMEV: A New Index of Middle English Verse (Boffey and Edwards); NLS: National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh).

88 qe vous quidez. “the one in question.” The phrase means literally “the one whom you imagine.”


ABBREVIATIONS: As: Aspin; Bö: Böddeker; Bos: Bossy; Br: Brook; BS: Bennett and Smithers; BZ: Brandl and Zippel; B13: Brown 1932; B14: Brown 1952; DB: Dunn and Byrnes; Deg: Degginger; Do: Dove 1969; Gr: Greene 1977; Ha: Halliwell; Hal: Hall; Hol: Holthausen; Hor1: Horstmann 1878; Hor2: Horstmann 1896; Hu: Hulme; JL: Jeffrey and Levy; Ju: Jubinal; Kel: Keller; Ken: Kennedy; Le: Lerer 2008; Mc: McKnight; Mi: Millett; MR: Michelant and Raynaud; Mo: Morris and Skeat; MS: MS Harley 2253; Mu: H. M. R. Murray; Pa: Patterson; Pr: Pringle 2009; Rei: Reichl 1973; Rev1: Revard 2004; Rev2: Revard 2005b; Ri1: Ritson 1877; Ri2: Ritson 1885; Ro: Robbins 1959; Sa: Saupe; Si: Silverstein; St: Stemmler 1970; Tr: Treharne; Tu: Turville-Petre 1989; Ul: Ulrich; W1: Wright 1839; W2: Wright 1841; W3: Wright 1842; W4: Wright 1844; WH: Wright and Halliwell.

3 aprendre. So W3, Do. MS: apredre.

18 Honme. So MS, W3. Do: Hounme.

21 quant. So MS, Do. W3: quaunt.

22 croyz. So MS, Do. W3: croiz.

44 bien. So MS, Do. W3: Dieu.

55 ou. So MS, Do. W3: on.

83 Lealmentz. So MS, W3. Do: lealment.



























   ¶ Une petite parole, seigneurs, escotez!
De ce que je vous counterai, ne me blamerez,     
Mes moltz des biens aprendre —
Si vous volez entendre —
Trestous vous poez.

   Adam fust, premerement,
Le premer fet de tote gent.
Aprés Dieu meismes fust fourmé,
Come en escrit nous est mostré.
E Eve de soun un costé,
Come Dieu voleit, fust taillé,
La quele primes fist pecchié,
Dount nous fumes touz dampné.

   Ce vist Jesu le Salveour,
De tot le mound Creatour,
Que en li fust nostre socour,
Nostre eyde e nostre honour.
Honme devynt e enfaunt,
E pur nous soffry peyne graunt.
Molt nous fust verroi amaunt;
Ne se feyna taunt ne quant
En la croyz si fu mounté,
E soun cuer parmi percé.
Alas, qe tant serroit pené,
Cil qe unque ne fist pecchié!
Des espines fust coronee,
E d’escourges flaelé.
Fel a boyvre ly fust doné.
Molt devoms aver grant pieté
De sa benigne humilité.
Ne fust orgoil en ly trové
Que pout tendre a nul pecchié.

   Pur ce, vous pri remenbrez
Quei il soffry pur nos pecchiez,
E de ly sovent pensez
Quant vous estes rien temptez
De pecchié fere ou folie,
De averice ou envie,
De hayne ou de lecherie,
De coveytise ou glotonie,
Ou de orgoil ensement,
Qe est racyne verroiement
De tous mals ou de tous pecchiez.
Pur Dieu, de ly vous bien gardez!
Quar Lucifer par cel pecchié —
Que fust de Dieu molt bien amé,
E en ciel molt halt mounté —
En enfern chiet tot parfound,
La ou touz remeyndrount
Que en orguil sunt pris:
Yleque serrount il tot dis!

   E, pur ce, si vous seiez
En grant honour enhauncez,
E de grant saver aournez,
Ou de grant force ou bealtez,
De ce ne vous enorguyllez —
Pensez de vous meismes salver!
E quant temps est a Dieu servyr,
Ne pas tousjours a gayner.
Ne facez pas come les uns fount,
Que de Dieu rien ne pensount,
Mes tot ount doné lur cuer,
Nuit e jour, a lur gaigner.
Des queux il fet a merviler:
De Dieu ne pensent ne de sa mort,
Mes si il puissent rien a tort
Gaygner par nulle faucine,
Ou par robberie ou par ravyne;
De averice sunt englywe,
Q’est un mortel pecchié.
Jamés ne quident assez aver,
Mes, come la terre, lur dust failer.
De quele gent fet a doter
Si il ne se vueillent amender.

   Pur ce, vous pri je bonement
Qe vous donez entendement,
E ce, qe vous oiez counter,
Afforcez vous de ce tener,
E aprés cel trestouz overyr.
Ne coveitez pas autrui bienz
A tort aver pur nulle rienz,
Mes, qe dount vivre assez eyez,
Lealmentz travilez.
E si rien eiez a tort,
Purpensez vous devant la mort
Yce rendre, si vous poez,
A ly de qui vous le avyez.
Si il seit mort qe vous quidez,
Pur sa alme le donez,
Issi qe en peril ne seiez,
Pur ce qe, devant Jesu,
De respoundre sumes tenu
De quanqe nous avoms resçu.

   Molt serra estroit acounte,
Molt en averunt il grant hounte
Que lors serrunt accusez
E de lur pecchiez reprovez.
Touz nos faitz e touz nos ditz
Que en pecchié nous ount mys
Serrount en nos frountz escritz.
Yl n’y avera nul pleder,
Jour de amour ne acorder,
Ne nul qe purra acounter,
Pur argent ne pur or gaygner.
Alas, que froms nous ycel jour,
Quant Jesu vendra, le Salveour,
Trestot come il fust crucifié,
E come il fust des Gyws pené,
E come il fust al cuer naufré,
Piés e meyns parmi piercé?
Riant ne serra nul trové
Que ly averount regardé.
Molt serra hidous quant jugera.
N’y avera nul qe noise fra.
Chescun serra rewerdoné
Come il avera deservy gré:
En grant joie les bons irrount
E la sauntz fyn remeindrount
Ou totes maneres de joies sunt!

   Pur ce, vous vueil je ore garnyr
Que vous pensez a Dieu servyr
E la joie graunde aver
Que nulle lange puet counter.
Ycel nous doint ly Salveour,
De cel e terre empereour.
Amen, amen, pur sa douçour.
   ¶ To just a few words, sirs, listen!
For what I’m going to tell you, don’t blame me,     
But learn many good things —
If you’ll pay attention —
As much as you can.

   Adam was, in the beginning,
Created first of all people.
Like God himself was he formed,
As is shown to us in Scripture.
And Eve from one of his ribs,
As God wished, was fashioned,
She who first committed a sin,
For which we were all damned.

   Jesus the Savior saw this,
Creator of the whole world,
Who in himself was our aid,
Our help and our honor.
He became man and child,
And for us he suffered deep agony.
Indeed he was for us a true lover;
He didn’t pretend the slightest bit
When he had mounted on the cross,
And his heart pierced through.
Alas, that he was so tormented,
He who never committed a sin!
With thorns he was crowned,
And with scourges flogged.
He was given gall to drink.
Truly we ought to feel deep pity
For his meek humility.
No pride was found in him
That could point to any sin.

   For this, I ask you to remember
What he suffered for our sins,
And think often on him
When you are at all tempted
To commit sin or folly,
By avarice or envy,
By hatred or by lust,
By covetousness or gluttony,
Or by pride as well,
Which is truly the root
Of all evils and of all sins.
By God, defend yourself from it well!
For by this sin Lucifer —
Who was of God much beloved,
And in heaven exalted very high —
Fell exceedingly far to hell,
Where all will remain
Who are taken in pride:
There they will abide forever!

And, therefore, if you should be
Lifted up in great honor,
And adorned with great wisdom,
Or with great strength or beauty,
Do not pride yourself in this —
Think on saving yourself!
And when it’s time to serve God,
Don’t always [dwell] on profit.
Don’t do as others do,
Who don’t at all think on God,
But wholly have set their intent,
Night and day, on their own profit.
Of them, it is incredible:
They think not on God nor on his death,
But only on how they can wrongfully
Gain by some deceit,
Or by robbery or by theft;
They’re defiled by avarice,
Which is a mortal sin.
They never believe they have enough,
But, like earth, it must fail them.
One must fear for such people
If they don’t wish to amend.

   Therefore, I ask in good faith
That you pay attention,
And that, of what you hear related,
You strive to adhere to it,
And afterward bring all of it about.
Don’t covet to have wrongfully
In any way the goods of others,
But, that you may have enough to live,
Work faithfully.
And if you have anything wrongfully,
Resolve before your death
To return it, if you can,
To him from whom you had it.
If the one in question should be dead,
Donate it for his soul,
So that you not be in danger,
Because, before Jesus,
We are held to answer
For whatever we’ve received.

   Narrow indeed will be the reckoning,
Truly they will have great shame
Who will then be accused
And punished for their sins.
All our deeds and all our words
That we've committed in sin
Will be written on our foreheads.
There will be no pleading,
Loveday or reconciliation,
Nor will any be able to render account,
To profit with silver or with gold.
Alas, what will we do that day,
When Jesus will come, the Savior,
Exactly as he was crucified,
And as he was tormented by the Jews,
And as he was wounded in heart,
Feet and hands pierced through?
None will be found laughing
Who has looked at him.
It will be truly horrible when he judges.
No one will make a sound.
Each one will be rewarded
As he has merited grace:
Into great joy the virtuous will go
And remain without end
Where all manner of joys abide!

   Therefore, I wish to warn you now
To resolve to serve God
And possess the great joy
That no tongue can describe.
May the Savior give this to us,
The emperor of heaven and earth.
Amen, amen, for his sweet kindness.







(see note)

Go To Art. 60, Stond wel, moder, under rode, introduction
Go To Art. 60, Stond wel, moder, under rode, text