Back to top

John the Blind Audelay, The Counsel of Conscience


1 I desire not the death of a sinner. Compare Ezechiel 33:11 (dicit Dominus Deus nolo mortem impii sed ut revertatur impius a via sua, et vivat, “saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live"), Ezechiel 18:32 (quia nolo mortem morientis dicit Dominus Deus revertimini et vivite, “For I desire not the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God, return ye and live"), and Ezechiel 18:23. This Latin line serves as the refrain in God’s Address to Sinful Men. Compare also Marcolf and Solomon, lines 790–92; Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, line 115 (see explanatory note to lines 114–17); and The Vision of Saint Paul, explicit.

2 The seven works of mercy; compare Matthew 25:31–46. Audelay treats the subject elsewhere: God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 164–71, and Seven Works of Mercy.

1 Concerning a loveday [i.e., accord] between friars and secular priests.

2 This is the catholic faith. From the Athanasian Creed.

3 Fear the Lord, and keep his commandments. Compare Ecclesiastes 12:13.

4 It shall be punished here, or afterwards always work evil

5 And mend here their misdeeds, and hear matins and mass

6 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with the Lord. Compare 1 Corinthians 3:19. Compare also Audelay’s Conclusion, incipit.

7 If anyone love me, he will keep my word. John 14:23; compare John 14:15.

8 The voice of the people [is] the voice of God. Compare Isaias 66:6.

9 They want those who should lead and teach them to act wisely.

10 Where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. Compare Matthew 6:21, Luke 12:34.

11 Avert thy eyes, so that they may not see vanity. Compare Psalm 118:37, which has meos, “mine," instead of tuos, “thy."

12 What nature has given, no one will be able to take away. Proverb.

13 The son will not bear the iniquity of the father [and the father will not bear the iniquity of the son: the justice of the just shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him], but everyone shall bear his own burden. Compare Ezechiel 18:20; Galatians 6:5.

14 How was Abel any the worse, though Cain his born brother

15 Depart from me, ye malignant: [and I will search the commandments of my God]. Psalm 118:115.

16 Thou hast rebuked the proud. They are cursed who decline from thy commandments. Compare Psalm 118:21.

17 His girdles equipped with silver, his dagger hangs by

18 Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:2; compare Ecclesiastes 12:8.

19 Religion pure and unspotted [James 1:27]. This is my commandment: that you love one another [John 15:12]. For the phrase ut diligatis invicem, see also John 13:34, 15:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:9. Audelay repeats the phrase at Marcolf and Solomon, line 268.

20 Each person should have his share according to his need

21 Serve ye the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto Him with trembling. Compare Psalm 2:11.

22 [And they read in the book of the law of God] distinctly and plainly [to be understood: and they understood when it was read]. 2 Esdras 8:8.

23 And keep their pauses and their periods — else might they get no reward

24 Compare Isaias 29:13; Matthew 15:8.

25 Take knowledge from your conscience, for there it is joined

26 Compare Psalm 40:2, Blessed is he who understands above all the needy and the poor.

27 Their matins, their mass, for them (the patrons), they read and sing

28 Give your things while they are yours; after death then they are not yours

29 And call the clergy to your counsel, who bear Christ’s key. Compare Matthew 16:19.

30 Lines 250–52: Therefore they bless their birth and the bodies that bore them / For they know well in their conscience it (i.e., their lives) was their treasure; / For all their lordship and their lands, it passes as a flower

31 The one who perseveres to the end will be saved. Compare Matthew 10:22.

32 And knelt humbly upon his knees before his blessed band of apostles

33 [That] you love one another. John 13:34, 1 Thessalonians 4:9; see Marcolf and Solomon, line 169a.

34 Honor your Lord with your substance. Compare Proverbs 3:9.

35 Do you not withdraw from Holy Church [the alms] your fathers have given before

36 Who withdraw [from] the goods of Holy Church

37 What good does it do a person if he gains the whole world as his profit? Compare Matthew 16:26, Luke 9:25. The passage also appears in Marcolf and Solomon, line 364a.

38 Thus have I comforted you, fellows, and counseled you from care

39 Suddenly was [he] sent to hell with many a foul fiend

40 The reference is to Jesus’ parable of the rich man and the poor man Lazarus, Luke 16:19–25, to which Audelay also alludes in Marcolf and Solomon, lines 536–39, and God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 241–46.

41 The one who exalts himself will be humbled. Compare Luke 14:11, Luke 18:14.

42 They must ground themselves first in grace, make themselves known

43 It is not an honor but a burden to receive the name of honor. Perhaps influenced by Ovid, Heroides 9.31, non honor est sed onus (punning on honor and onus). The tag also heads Cur mundus, copied at the end of the manuscript by Scribe B.

44 For you are chosen for chief (i.e., high office) and made here governor

45 My council is not with the wicked. Written by Scribe B.

46 Thus these prelates, by the lords’ privilege, deprive [Holy Church]

47 Keep my laws, says the Lord. Written by Scribe B. Compare Leviticus 18:5, 19:19, and 20:22.

48 What good does it do a person if he gains the whole world as his profit? Written by Scribe B. Compare Matthew 16:26, Luke 9:25. The passage also appears in Marcolf and Solomon, line 286a.

49 Lines 365–66: Think on the cursed covetous man that to himself did say: / “Eat and drink and make merry; the world is at your will!" Ecclesiastes 8:15.

50 If any man will come after me, let him deny himself[, and take up his cross, and follow me]. Matthew 16:24; compare Luke 9:23.

51 Love peace and truth, says the Lord Almighty. Compare Zacharias 8:19–20: “only love ye truth and peace. Thus saith the Lord of hosts."

52 If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity[, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal]. 1 Corinthians 13:1.

53 That you are foolish and unlearned, and you cannot read

54 You are my friends if you do what I command you. Compare John 15:14.

55 Speak and have [reward], I promise you; seek and you shall find. Compare Matthew 7:7.

56 Lines 456–59: If you [good Christians] were to give them money without making them beg [for it], / They would neither beg nor borrow, thus I dare wager; / And [if you were to] provide for them their household and housing, / [They would] neither buy nor build — I advise you to try [this]!

57 The hired worker is worthy of his wages. But I am a beggar and poor. The first sentence echoes Luke 10:7 (dignus enim est operarius mercede sua, “the labourer is worthy of his hire"), and also 1 Timothy 5:18. The second sentence is the beginning of Psalm 39:18, used again in Marcolf and Solomon, line 481a.

58 Some men speak about these innocent [ironic] friars that have no conscience

59 So to beguile the innocent people and insult God — alas! —

60 But I am a beggar and poor[: the Lord is careful for me. Thou art my helper and my protector: O my God, be not slack]. Psalm 39:18. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, line 468a.

61 Brethren, we would not have you ignorant of the truth. Compare 2 Corinthians 1:8, which omits veritatem: non enim volumus ignorare vos fratres. The phrase echoes a standard exhortation used by Paul; compare also Romans 1:13, 11:25; 1 Corinthians 10:1, 12:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:12.

62 Of such who recognize their own guilt, against me they cast [accusations]

63 I would like to say more, / But [they] are jealous of a certain one (Audelay himself?). The odd phrase of line 507 mixes French and Latin: sont jaloux cuiusquam. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, line 701.

64 Beware of false prophets[, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves]. Matthew 7:15.

65 Be ye [therefore] merciful, as your Father [also] is merciful. Compare Luke 6:36.

66 To no man rendering evil for evil[. Providing good things, not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men]. Romans 12:17; compare 1 Thessalonians 5:15, 1 Peter 3:9.

67 Think on the loathsome Lazarus, [who] was taken into Abraham’s bosom

68 The reference is to the story of Lazarus, Luke 16:19–25; compare Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon, lines 292–99, and God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 241–46.

69 To read and not understand is as to be neglectful (punning on legere and intellegere).

70 To a kitchen clerk (i.e., a lord’s servant), or into the chancery

71 And assign the farming of their [Church-granted] property to a bailiff

72 The one who enters into the sheepfold except through the door, he is a thief and robber. Written by Scribe B. Compare John 10:1.

73 Or [it will be clear that] you entirely despise the laws of God

74 Divide [your] wealth into three parts for the Church. Written by Scribe B.

75 Embrace discipline, lest at any time [the Lord] be angry[, and you perish from the just way]. Written by Scribe B. Psalm 2:12.

76 Were it not for giving support to the friars and their preaching

77 Lines 605–06: Their deeds demonstrate clearly that they feel no love / Or goodness toward either God or other men

78 It is for brethren always to dwell together in unity. Compare Psalm 132:1, which omits semper: habitare fratres in unum.

79 Lines 666–70: That common people, who should love and learn the law of God, / Shall be wholly disregarded by curates, who, on account of their avarice, / Preach only about their tithes, I tell you truly. / And if the laity speak the truth (i.e., in criticism of the clergy), they are disgraced straightway, / And [the clergy] lie to the common people and say, “It is Lollardy!"

80 Woe to you who say that evil is good and good is evil. Compare Isaias 5:20.

81 Believe me, a [true] Lollard will be exposed by his deeds

82 Rebuke the unquiet, because they would not understand that they might do good. The first part is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:14, and the rest paraphrases Psalm 35:4.

83 Lines 693–96: Yet if they [the parishioners] fail or refuse to pay bribes (lit. shillings), immediately forthwith [the clergy] complain, / [And] command them to bring their tithing in Christ’s name, / Or else they will serve them a letter of judgment (i.e., a formal accusation of heresy or excommunication); / It seems to the innocent soul that they [the clergy] have no charitable love

84 Do you wish [to know] the truth? This odd phrase must be French: Voulez vérité vous? Compare Marcolf and Solomon, line 507.

85 See to it, leaders of the church, that you do not damn Christian souls for the sake of profit

86 Without any fear to amend their dooms

87 A bishop must be without blame [compare 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:7], and he must correct the leaders of the church. Just so will he answer in the presence of the highest Judge.

88 Lines 717–18: Although the bishops call the laity to [account in] their consistory court, / They grant clemency (literally mercy) to them for money and bribes

89 Incline my heart to your testimonies, God, and not to covetousness. Compare Psalm 118:36.

90 And call it “permutation," to disturb the surrounding regions

91 It causes unrest in Holy Church, and makes only discord

92 No man can serve two masters. Matthew 6:24; compare Luke 16:13. See also line 745.

93 Who may serve two lords, and both to their satisfaction

94 Whenever you do this, do it in memory of me. The one who dares to celebrate the Lord’s office (i.e., the eucharist) for the sake of temporal profit of any kind, is indeed like the traitor Judas who did not hesitate to sell Christ to the Jews for 30 denarii. Therefore, the one who approaches the Lord’s body like this, in an unworthy way, receives it and the Lord’s blood not for salvation, but for judgment — and rightly so. And so let no one do this for the sake of profit lest in his punishment he become like the traitor Judas to his friends. Written by Scribe B. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:24–29, with Judas’ treason inserted (see Matthew 26:14–16, 27:3, 27:9). Compare also Marcolf and Solomon, line 831a.

95 If they should [sing] for Christ’s sake, immediately then they complain [for payment]

96 Just as water quencheth a fire, so do alms extinguish sins. Compare Ecclesiasticus 3:33.

97 Observe: concerning confession and the sacrament of the altar. Written by Scribe B.

98 Be subject to all human creatures for the Lord’s sake. Compare 1 Peter 2:13. Written by Scribe A.

99 Unless they show you a good example to the soul’s health

100 Lines 802–05: For [do] as they teach you to do, / If they themselves also do it; / If not, I advise you to go [separately] from them, / And declare them untrue

101 [And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And] whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, [it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven]. Matthew 16:19; compare Matthew 18:18. See also Marcolf and Solomon, lines 238, 961a, and Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 199.

102 They [other clergy] may administer your holy rites, I tell you truly

103 Observe that, according to the decrees and constitution of the church, every person of either sex is obliged to make confession to his own priest once a year at least, unless he has permission or a dispensation, or a privilege from his superior

104 Whoever will have eaten . . . or drunk of the cup of the Lord unworthily. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:27, and see Marcolf and Solomon, line 753a.

105 Nothing is impossible with God. Compare Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 1:37, 18:27.

106 Who may deprive it of its power and stop its light

107 Faith has no reward. The phrase derives from a homily by Gregory the Great, cited by Peter Lombard: Fides non habet meritum cui humana racio prebet experimentum, “Faith has no reward for which human reason offers proof" (Homil. 26 in Evang.).

108 Lines 903–04: Then [you shall] fight with the Fiend again, and have the victory / And do him disgrace and shame, [and] forever confusion

109 Have mercy on me, God, because I am weak. Compare Psalm 6:3.

110 But he opposes all that is [prepared] to please him

111 Impose not too easy penance, nor too strict in any case

112 Go in peace, sin no more. Compare Mark 5:34, Luke 7:50, Luke 8:48 for vade in pace, John 8:11 for vade . . . amplius noli peccare (which omits in pace).

113 While Mercy with his meekness turns Truth to remission

114 The one who is forearmed will not be deceived. Compare Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 182a.

115 But entirely bluster forth unblessed, as Bayard the blind (a horse)

116 The grace of the Word, which, just as the pope says to a bishop, the bishop says to the secular priests who receive the power of binding and of loosening and have the care of souls: “Brothers in Christ, I hand to you the care of the souls of your parishes (dioceses) so that you may respond on my behalf and on our behalf before the highest Judge on the Day of Judgment." Compare Matthew 16:19, 18:18. See also Marcolf and Solomon, lines 238, 805a, and Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 199.

117 Mercy and truth have given blessing to themselves; peace and justice have kissed. Compare Psalm 84:11, and see Marcolf and Solomon, line 940, and God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 144a–51.

118 Whose end is good, is himself entirely good. Peter Lombard cites this aphorism: Cuius finis bonus est, ipsum quoque bonum est, “Whose end is good, is itself also good" (Boethius, II. De Differentiis topicis). Audelay uses his version as a proverbial tag, repeating it at Audelay’s Conclusion, line 39a.

119 But if this draught is drawn well, your gown will be ruined

120 If I speak the truth, why do you not believe me? The one who is from God hears the words of God. Therefore you do not hear because you are not from God. Compare John 8:46–47.

1 Concerning the pouring out of Christ’s blood for the forgiveness of sins

2 Joseph of Arimathea. See Matthew 27:57–60, Mark 15:43–45, Luke 23:50–53, John 19:38–42.

Latin Verse Prayer Anima Christi sanctifica me
1 Audelay uses this line elsewhere as a refrain; see God’s Address to Sinful Men and Dread of Death.

Latin Prose Prayer Tu Domine per has sanctissimas penas tuas
1 Thou, Lord, by these thy most blessed torments, which I am unworthy even to recall, and by thy holy cross, free me from the torments of hell and deign to lead me, unworthy though I am, whither thou brought the thief crucified with thee, thou who live and reign. Audelay alludes elsewhere to the thief redeemed by Christ (Luke 23:42-43); see Prayer on Christ’s Passion, lines 31–35, and Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, lines 25–30.

1 Concerning the seven words of Christ hanging on the cross

2 Eloi, lamma sabacthani? [My God, why hast thou forsaken me?] Mark 15:34; compare Matthew 27:46.

3 Lines 74–75: Into your hands, Lord, / I commend my spirit. Compare Luke 23:46.

4 [Here] ends the seven words of our Lord Jesus Christ

Latin Prose Prayer Adoramus te Christe et benedicimus
1 We worship thee, Christ, and we bless thee because of thy holy cross

2 Behold the Lamb of God. Behold the One who takes away the sins of the world. Behold our God, behold the righteous God. Behold God of the living and the dead. Behold the life of the living, the hope of the dying, the salvation of all believing in thee, whom we adore, whom we glorify, whom we bless. Let us praise the Lord Almighty, Father and Son with the Holy Spirit, and let us exalt him above forever. Be [our] helper and protector and defender, O Judge most kind and glorious. Amen

1 Concerning the virtues of the mass, [and] how we are to hear mass

2 Lines 217–22: Saint Augustine says [that] for souls here / If you were to hear a thousand [masses], / [Or] have sung a [single] mass, / It is neither more nor less, / For every soul receives a mass; / It pleases God that this be so. On the sense of this stanza, compare Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 92–94.

3 Matthew 14:17–21, Mark 6:38–44, Luke 9:13–17.

Saint Gregory’s Indulgence
1 How the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saint Gregory in such an image

Prayer for Forgiveness
1 How Jesus on the cross prayed to the Father for his enemies. A prayer

1 Concerning the visitation of the sick and consolation of the wretched

2 Lines 88–89: Unless you yourself succor your soul, / Your executor may not [do this for you]

3 Compare Matthew 9:13, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:32, and also Audelay’s God’s Address to Sinful Men, line 24a.

4 Matthew 16:19; compare Matthew 18:18.

5 Lines 300–20 paraphrase the Apostles’ Creed. Compare Salutation to Christ’s Body, lines 17–36.

6 Lines 336–38: Compare Luke 6:37, also used in God’s Address to Sinful Men, line 160a, and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 442a.

7 [Here] ends the visitation of the sick and the consolation of the wretched

1 Concerning the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and concerning the canonical hours

2 Passion of Christ, fortify me. This is the fifth line of the familiar prayer Anima Christi sanctifica me, which is copied earlier in MS Douce 302 (fol. 9r). It is also used as a refrain in Dread of Death.

3 The veil thereof, was torn in two. Compare Matthew 27:51, Luke 23:44–45.

4 And crowned with thorns by the Jews, thy foe

Seven Hours of the Cross
1 Here begin the canonical hours of the passion of Jesus Christ

2 Wisdom of the Father, divine Truth. From the hymn Patris sapiencia (see explanatory note).

3 At prime (6 a.m.) they led Jesus out; to Pilate they did bring him

4 Lines 21–24: They blindfolded him, they buffeted him, and bound him against the law / And spit in his fair face — his countenance might no man know! / And stripped him all naked, / And cast lots for his coat soon. Compare Matthew 27:30, Mark 15:19 (line 22), Matthew 27:28 (line 23), and Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34, and John 19:23 (line 24).

5 “Crucify!" they kept shouting at the hour of terce. Compare Matthew 27:22, Mark 15:14, John 19:6.

6 Because of the torment he was thirsty; then they gave him vinegar to drink. Compare John 19:28–29.

7 Lines 43–44: “Ah, woman, lo! Here [is John] your son; / Take her [Mary] as your mother, John." Com­pare John 19:26–27.

8 Lines 47–49: His spirit cried “Eloy [my God]" to the Father of most might. / A blind knight [Longinus] with a sharp spear thrust him to the heart. / The stones broke to pieces, the earth did quake, the sun its light had lost. Compare Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34 (line 47), John 19:34 (line 48), and Matthew 27:51 (line 49).

1 Concerning the epistle of our Lord Jesus Christ regarding the Lord’s day. Written by Scribe B.

2 Hear these things, all peoples: the Lord Jesus Christ wrote this letter with his own hands and sent it to the city of Gaza where I, Peter, accepted the first episcopate. Written by Scribe A.

1 [Here] begins the narration in which Michael led Paul to hell. It must be inquired who first asked that souls have rest in hell, i.e., the apostle Paul and the archangel Michael. The day of the Lord is the chosen day

2 Bind bundles together to be burnt, like with like. The beginning of this sentence derives from Matthew 13:30 (and is discussed by Easting, “‘Choose yourselves,’" p. 174). This line expands the stanza from thirteen lines to fourteen.

3 These things says the Lord God: “Return to me, for I have redeemed thee. I do not wish the death of a sinner, but rather that he turn and live." For he called the Canaanite and the publican to repentance, and also the one who wept for [her] sin. And so you also, unbelievers, come and hear, because I will teach you the fear of the Lord (see explanatory note). Written by Scribe A.

1 Concerning the Lord’s mercy. Written by Scribe B.

God’s Address to Sinful Men
1 I desire not the death of a sinner. Compare Ezechiel 33:11.

2 I am God, judge and just, and I give to each one according to his deeds. Compare Psalm 7:12, Psalm 61:13, Proverbs 24:29, Romans 2:5–6.

3 I came not to call the just, but sinners to penance. Compare Luke 5:32, Matthew 9:13, Mark 2:17. Compare also Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 166–69.

4 There is more joy in heaven over one [sinner that doth penance, than upon ninety-nine just, who need not penance]. Compare Luke 15:7, 15:10.

5 Hand me over to death for your sakes so that with me . . .

6 Thus you need to fast for your sins and for the love of the passion of Jesus Christ

7 When you fast, you repress your sins and raise your mind, etc. Preface for the Third Sunday in Lent. Written by Scribe B.

8 Penitents, being penitent and not being scoffers, if you are penitent, imitate [good] morals, correct your life, and turn to the Lord, according to Augustine. Augustine, Sermo 393 (PL 39.1713–15).

9 Because a sin could never be atoned for unless satisfaction for the deed is rendered

10 Mercy and truth have met each other; justice and peace kiss. Compare Psalm 84:11, and compare also Marcolf and Solomon, line 974a.

11 Forgive and it will be forgiven you. Compare Luke 6:37, and compare also Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 336–38, and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 442a.

12 Give alms and everything [will be] clean for us. Compare Luke 11:41.

13 Lines 164–71 refer to the seven works of mercy; compare Matthew 25:31–46, and also True Living, lines 173–85, and Seven Works of Mercy.

14 The soul that sinneth, the same shall die. Compare Ezechiel 18:4 and 18:20.

15 Lines 241–46 refer to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19–25. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 292–99, 536–39.

Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience
1 There is no surer evidence than the demonstration of the eyes

2 The one who is forearmed is not deceived. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, line 974a.

1 Judge not, and you shall not be judged: [condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given to you: good measure, and pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall they give into your bosom. For] with the same measure that you shall measure, it shall be measured to you. Compare Luke 6:37–38. Audelay refers to this passage elsewhere: Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 336–38, God’s Address to Sinful Men, line 160a.

Latin Prose Colophon Finito libro
fcf1 The book is finished. Praise and glory be to Christ. The book is called The Counsel of Conscience, thus is it named, or The Ladder of Heaven and the Life of Eternal Salvation. This book was composed by John Audelay, chaplain, who was blind and deaf in his affliction, to the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ and to serve as a model for others in the monastery of Haughmond. In the year 1426 A.D. May God be propitious to his soul. Compare Audelay’s Conclusion, lines 39a and 52a.


Abbreviations: CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; NHC: Northern Homily Cycle; NIMEV: The New Index of Middle English Verse, ed. Boffey and Edwards; For manuscript abbreviations (ED, A, D, G, L, V), see the Introduction.

[X.] TRUE LIVING          [W1]
True Living expounds the way of the true Christian life. In what remains of the poem, Audelay stresses several basic tenets: the Ten Commandments, the sanctity of celibacy and marriage vows, the seven works of mercy, the five wits, the doctrine of free will, the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and the Golden Rule. Though not alliterative like Marcolf and Solomon, it belongs to the same truth-telling genre, expressing bold criticisms of the clergy while offering a comprehensive verse instruction. (For a survey of the sothsegger tradition, see Wawn, “Truth-Telling," pp. 270–87.)

Written in taut 13-line stanzas,the composition of True Living probably predates most other works in MS Douce 302 because it seems that Audelay mined it for other compositions. The poem evidently aided the making of seven extant poems: The Vision of Saint Paul (one stanza), God’s Address to Sinful Men (three stanzas), Chastity of Wives (six stanzas), Four Estates (one stanza), Ten Commandments (three stanzas), Seven Works of Mercy (five stanzas), and Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost (three stanzas).

The beginning of MS Douce 302 — up to nineteen folios (Fein, “Good Ends," p. 98n3) — is gone, and as a result this first poem in the manuscript lacks its opening. The piece is also incomplete at the end. Pickering, “Make-Up," p. 119, was first to notice that the 4-line marginal verse inserted by Scribe B on fol. 2rb refers the reader to the misplaced ending of the poem. The topic of this conclusion was Doomsday. For an unknown reason it was copied on an earlier leaf, which is now lost.

[Fols. 1ra–2rb (acephalous). IMEV *39; Suppl., NIMEV *1492.5 (erroneously described as a “treatise on the Deadly Sins and their remedies"). Hand: Scribe A in black. Meter: Twenty 13-line stanzas, ababbcbc4d2-3eee3-4d2-3, survive, with one stanza extended in length (lines 143–59). This poem begins imperfectly because several leaves have been lost from the opening of the manuscript. Editions: Halliwell, pp. 1–10, 82; E. Whiting, pp. 1–10, 225–26.]
13–25 Audelay reuses this stanza (adapting its meter) in The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 340–52.

20 This line inspires the work’s modern title.

23 what deth that ever he dy. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 682.

55 spase ham to repent. E. Whiting, p. 225, notes that this phrase derives from the mass. The formula appears frequently in Audelay’s verse, e.g., True Living, line 125; Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 26 and 74; and Song of the Magnificat, line 45.

65–115 These four stanzas on marriage may be compared to Mirk’s sermon on marriage in Festial (Erbe, Mirk’s Festial, pp. 289–93). On correspondences between Mirk and Audelay, see Powell, “John Audelay and John Mirk." See also Marcolf and Solomon, lines 709–13.

78–103 These two stanzas are the basis for Audelay’s Chastity of Wives carol. Six of the carol’s seven stanzas (that is, twenty-four lines) are crafted directly from these twenty-six lines.

108 schenchypus. The verb shendshipen, “disgrace, embarrass, confound," appears rarely in Middle English. The MED records it only twice, and Audelay’s use is the earlier one.

109 lotoby. See MED lote-bi, n.(a), “lover, paramour, concubine," from loten v.(1), “to lie concealed, lie low."

119 kynde. Audelay uses this word often to assert the basis for right human action. It is particularly prominent in this poem and Marcolf and Solomon. Simpson, “Saving Satire," pp. 402–03, discusses how both Audelay and Langland advocate “a theology of communal practice inspired both by conscience and by natural (i.e. ‘kyndly’) sympathy."

120 nother. The usual term in MS Douce 302 is no nother, while variations of this particular line recur several times in Audelay’s verse with that phrase, leading Halliwell and E. Whiting to emend here (unnecessarily) to no nother. Compare The Remedy of Nine Virtues, line 55; God’s Address to Sinful Men, line 111; Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 414; and Seven Deadly Sins, line 32.

127 Yeff ye wyl mend that ye do mysse. As E. Whiting notes, p. 225, this phrase is ubiquitous in Audelay’s verse. Here he links it with a favorite biblical phrase, in which God declares he does not wish the death of a sinner (Ezechiel 33:11, and also Ezechiel 18:23, 18:32). Compare the use of this passage elsewhere in Audelay’s works: Marcolf and Solomon, lines 790–92; Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, line 115; The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 365a–b; and God’s Address to Sinful Men (where it is the refrain). The biblical verse is also invoked in a Suffolk priest’s 1429 confession of Lollardy (Shinners and Dohar, Pastors and the Care of Souls, p. 280).

130–33 These lines are repeated in Audelay’s Four Estates, lines 1–4. Audelay advocates a social philosophy that each person must maintain the estate that falls to him. He frequently repeats this idea as an injunction. It informs the burden of two other carols (Four Estates and Virginity of Maids — “Kepe your state and your degré"). See also True Living, line 62; Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 48–49; Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 110; Song of the Magnificat, line 37; and Chastity for Mary’s Love, line 28.

143–59 The length of this stanza is extended by four lines. While it might seem that Scribe A omitted five final lines of one stanza and four first lines of another, the uninterrupted enumeration of the Ten Commandments and Audelay’s use elsewhere of the lines found in this stanza (see next two explanatory notes) argue for its being original.
143–54 These lines supply three stanzas of Audelay’s Ten Commandments: lines 143–46 = carol lines 1–4; lines 147–49 = carol lines 8–10; and lines 151–54 = carol lines 15–18. As in the carol Audelay adds backbiting (lines 149–50) and leaves out covetousness.

156–59 These lines are something of a formula for Audelay. Compare The Remedy of Nine Virtues, lines 73–75, and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 244–46, and it is interesting to note the correspondence of line 158 with Ten Commandments, line 23, showing further how Audelay reworked True Living for his carols.

173–79 These lines enumerating the seven works of mercy are repeated in Seven Works of Mercy, lines 1–4, 8–10, and see also God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 164–73, where lines 170–71 = True Living, lines 175–76. Audelay used other lines to construct more of this carol (see below, explanatory notes to True Living, lines 238–43, 251–58).

186–93 In topic, though not in wording, compare Audelay’s Five Wits.

203–07 On the doctrine of free will, compare The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 216–22, and also references in The Remedy of Nine Virtues, lines 32, 69; Five Wits, line 9; and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 219–21, 397–99.

212–33 Several of these lines are repeated in three stanzas of Audelay’s Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost: lines 212–15 = carol lines 22–25, lines 225–28 = carol lines 29–32, and lines 229–31 = carol lines 36–38.

231 Audelay cites the Golden Rule often; compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 12, 543; The Remedy of Nine Virtues, line 60; and Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost, line 38.

238–43 These lines are repeated by Audelay in God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 197–202. Lines 238–41 match his Seven Works of Mercy, lines 15–18.

251–58 These lines are repeated as a whole stanza in God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 213–20, and they form two stanzas of Seven Works of Mercy, lines 22–25, 29–32.

263 Pickering, “Make-Up," p. 119, proposes that the marginal verse following True Living (Instructions for Reading 1) indicates that this poem lacks its ending, that is, a description of Doomsday. The ending is indeed abrupt, and the discourse has progressed to a Judgment Day scenario.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR READING 1          [not in W]
These verses are written partially in the margin by Scribe B, indicating a sequence for the reader and demonstrating that at least thirteen folios are absent from the front of MS Douce 302. E. Whiting prints the instructional rubric in her introduction but omits it from the main text of poems. Halliwell, pp. 82–83, comments: “These four verses were probably dictated by Audelay, and go far to prove that the MS. was the first copy made. The leaf referred to is lost with the commencement."

[Fol. 2rb. NIMEV 3324.55. Hand: Scribe B in red (squeezed between other items); a large blue paraph has been inserted beside these lines. Meter: Two tetrameter couplets. Editions: Coxe, p. 50; Halliwell, pp. 10, 82–83; E. Whiting, p. vii.]
1 come in here. These words support Pickering’s idea that Scribe B is referring the reader to a misplaced ending of True Living, which by scribal error (“the defawte of the wrytere") was copied earlier in the manuscript (“Make-Up," p. 119). Compare Scribe B’s use of the phrase “here cum in" to insert a Latin heading in Marcolf and Solomon (see textual notes for Marcolf and Solomon, lines 345–46).

2 wrytere. This word seems to refer to the scribe, but it could refer to Audelay as author and compiler of the anthology.

Marcolf and Solomon is the lengthiest poem in MS Douce 302, and in recent years it has become the one most intensely studied, i.e., by Green, “Marcolf the Fool"; Simpson, “Saving Satire"; Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon"; Green, “Langland and Audelay"; and others. John the Blind Audelay here presses a case for social complaint, admonishing each of the religious orders — monks, friars, and secular clergy — and exhorting them to honor their holy vows and duties. Its narrative veil is that Marcolf (or Marcol) the fool speaks truth to the king (Solomon), pointing out society’s irrational ills so that the state (through its ecclesiastical officers) may recover harmony and good sense. Readers have set it in the truth-telling tradition of Mum and the Sothsegger (e.g., Wawn, “Truth-Telling," especially p. 281). Its date has been much discussed, and a degree of consensus has arisen that it was written after Arundel’s Constitutions of 1409, and perhaps near the time of Oldcastle’s rising (1414; for a brief history, see Goldberg, Medieval England, pp. 233–37, especially p. 234). Regarding Marcolf and Solomon’s politics and theology, Simpson locates it in the “gray area" between Lollard protest and orthodox reform, though, unquestionably, Audelay sees himself making complaint within the bounds of conservative moral teaching and the Church’s long-standing institutions. Despite the poem’s litany of complaints, Citrome identifies its “real message" to be “that priests are absolutely indispensible to the pursuit of salvation, and their authority is unimpeachable" (Surgeon, p. 90).

Alliterative in style and fervid in its spiritual call, this poem is often compared to Piers Plowman, an analogy that originated from Pearsall’s assertion that Langland’s poem “profoundly influenced" Audelay’s (Old English and Middle English Poetry, p. 249). Pearsall has now modified his stance, proposing instead that Marcolf and Solomon is the product of a general climate of religious ferment and dissent (“Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," pp. 147–49). Meanwhile, Green and Simpson argue that even as Marcolf and Solomon reflects the religious controversies of Lancastrian England, the work itself remains deeply evocative of Langland’s poem. The two texts share alliterative style, apocalyptic manner, and even some verbal markings, while they differ in general outlook: Langland is more openly a social reformer while Audelay asks for correction to occur within the established institutions and hierarchies of the Church, as, at the same time, he urges the laity to speak out about dangerous abuses. He prods the orders to uphold their vows to God, abandon their internal squabbles, and unite in their common work to save souls. In the explanatory notes below, I list several of the passages in Piers Plowman (ed. Schmidt) that critics have compared to passages in Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon.

Marcolf and Solomon is written in an alliterative 13-line stanza, a form that bridges, on one hand, the nonalliterative 13-line type that Audelay uses for True Living, The Remedy of Nine Virtues, Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, The Vision of Saint Paul, Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, and Audelay’s Conclusion, and, on the other, the dense alliterative strophes (11- and 13-line) found in Paternoster and Three Dead Kings. Having a style that resides somewhere between these poles, Marcolf and Solomon is most allied in metrical terms to the single interpolated stanza Over-Hippers and Skippers found in the extract of prose at the end of the manuscript, and to the salutations in 9-line alliterative stanzas to Saint Bridget and Saint Winifred, in which the 13-line form is reduced by one quatrain.

Another important stylistic feature of Marcolf and Solomon is the heading of most stanzas with an epigram in Latin. More often than not, these passages are biblical in origin, and they provide keys to understanding Audelay’s professional credo as he asserts his feelings about the roles of the ecclesiastical orders. Often they quote Scripture in an abbreviated fashion. In such cases, I provide the Douay-Rheims Bible verse in full in the footnotes because it frequently offers the poet’s complete register of meaning.

Despite Marcolf and Solomon’s satisfying ending (closure by Marcolf and then a signature stanza from Audelay), readers need to keep in mind that the poem may not have its full conclusion. This fact puts something of a check on Stanley’s suggestion that the poem’s length could be numerologically significant: “exactly one thousand [lines] (in seventy-seven stanzas), followed by an autobiographical stanza" (“Verse Forms," p. 118n49). While Stanley’s argument is intriguing, especially in light of evidence elsewhere of numerological structure (see explanatory notes to Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy), there is a good possibility that Marcolf and Solomon suffers loss at the end: its last line is written as the catchphrase to the next quire, which is missing (see explanatory note to line 1013). What we have stops at the base of the last column of a verso, without an explicit (and technically without even the last line of the stanza). The next item, The Remedy of Nine Virtues, begins in medias res, with many intervening works missing. Therefore, because four folios are lost after fol. 7v, one cannot be at all certain that Marcolf and Solomon is complete.

In this edition I have divided Marcolf and Solomon into sections, with headings appearing in boldface, in order to highlight the movements and shifts in Audelay’s sometimes rambling argument. The headings derive from the analysis of Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," pp. 142–43. Major themes covered by Audelay include: spiritual naturalness and unnaturalness (the theological concept of kynd, also invoked by Langland); the inherent goodness of societal estates and religious orders; the individual and spiritual corruption of those who live in covetyse; the humility of the righteous; the imperative to speak truth; the nature of wisdom and folly (with frequent allusion to Ecclesiastes); the sacred keys given to the clergy — originally to Saint Peter — to loose and bind; the establishment of clerical peace and harmony, which Audelay terms a loveday; the ecclesiastical duty to save souls and call people away from error (sometimes labeled “Lollard"); and the necessity of maintaining a clean, shriven conscience.

[Fols. 2rb–7vb (ends imperfectly). IMEV, NIMEV 947. MWME 9:2981 [61]. Hands: Scribe A, poem (black) and the majority of the Latin stanza headings (red); Scribe B, in red, incipit, eight Latin stanza headings (three on fol. 4rb, three on fol. 5va, and two on fol. 6va), explicit, and drawings and marginal indicators to point out specific passages (lines 350–51, 532–33, 697–701). Ordinatio: Scribal signals for colored initials (which were not inserted) appear at lines 92, 118, and 170; an ambiguous notation appears at line 378; and Scribe B inserts “Nota" before his inserted heading for line 780. Audelay Signature: Line 1008 (Scribe A); compare line 503. Initial: Large G in blue with red filigree (three lines high). Meter: Seventy-eight alliterative 13-line stanzas, ababbcbc4d2-3eee3-4d2-3, survive. Putter, “Language and Metre," p. 517, and Green, “Langland and Audelay," pp. 157–58, comment on the poem’s alliterative metrics; Stanley, “Verse Forms," p. 118n49, proposes a numerological length. Editions: Halliwell, pp. 10–51, 83–87; E. Whiting, pp. 10–46, 226–33.]
Incipit The translation of the first heading (Scribe B’s incipit) follows Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 141, who identifies the theme of the poem as “the desire that friars (rectores fratres) and secular priests (rectores ecclesie) should work together harmoniously for the benefit of those laymen who are in their care." Pearsall challenges Simpson’s view (“Saving Satire," p. 397) that the poem addresses the relationship between clergy and laity. For the translation of concordia as “loveday," compare Marcolf and Solomon, explanatory note to line 390, and lines 392–93, 622, 973–74.

1–9 On hearing God’s counsel by reading the Bible, compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 211–12, and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 352–55. Simpson argues that Audelay’s opening “defence of scriptural truth" runs “parallel with Lollard positions" (“Saving Satire," p. 395).

12 On Audelay’s frequent citation of the Golden Rule, see the explanatory note to True Living, line 231.

13 kynde. For Simpson, “Saving Satire," pp. 402–03, Audelay’s “theological emphasis on kindliness" offers an “essential connection" to Langland; compare Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 144. The term is also prominent in True Living (see explanatory note to line 119).

13a The stanza heading is drawn from the Athanasian Creed. For a translation of the creed from the Sarum Breviary, see Shinners and Dohar, Pastors and the Care of Souls, pp. 151–52.

19 crysum. The reference is to one’s christening service.

26–27 The stanzas are linked here by concatenation, a stylistic feature normally reserved for more ornate alliterative stanzaic verse, such as Three Dead Kings.

32 obey obedyans. Audelay repeats or varies this phrasing at Marcolf and Solomon, lines 176, 288, and Salutation to Saint Bridget, line 182; in each of those instances, obeying “obedyans" refers to keeping one’s sworn monastic vows.

40 On the Marcolf and Solomon tradition of the cunning fool with license to speak harsh yet truthful sayings to the king in power, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 66–69.

42–43 The proverb “In wele beware ore thou be woo" appears in Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 218, and as the burden for Audelay’s Seven Deadly Sins (see explanatory note). There is an echo of it in Marcolf and Solomon, line 949, too. On the currency of the phrase, see Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," pp. 147 and 151n29.

53 take good eme. This phrase is one of Audelay’s clerical tags for issuing a moral warning; compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 679, 997, The Remedy of Nine Virtues, line 90, and Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 391. See MED yeme, n.(b).

55 Compare Three Dead Kings, lines 111–13. A recurring alliteration on the letter l in lines 53, 55, 57, and 80, with semantic prominence given to the like-sounding words leve, love, and lyve, gives this stanza a musical effect that approximates the thematic alliteration found in The Four Leaves of the Truelove (Fein, Moral Love Songs, pp. 180–96), another moral poem in 13-line stanzas.

58 Soferayns. E. Whiting defines this word as “betters," but it is a synonym for God, as in Marcolf and Solomon, line 199.

59 kyndlé know . . . treu as ané ston. The proverbial simile appears in Mary Flower of Women, line 22. On “kyndely" knowing, compare Piers Plowman B.1.142 (Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 403), and see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 13.

66–69 On Audelay’s use of the dialogic tradition of Marcolf (a rustic, truth-telling fool) and Solomon (a wise king in want of counsel), see E. Whiting, p. 226; Green, “Marcolf the Fool"; Simpson, “Saving Satire," pp. 399–401, especially p. 400n40; and Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," pp. 139–40. On the Latin tradition itself, see Bradbury, “Rival Wisdom." Here the trope works more as a framing device (it concludes at lines 988–89) than as a sustained fiction (it revives only at lines 92, 391, and 417). Green, p. 575n47, observes that the poem embeds other references to fools, folly, and kings as equals to knaves (lines 81, 465–68, 562, and 849). He also speculates about who Audelay had in mind as the addressee: “we might naturally wonder whom Audelay envisages as playing Solomon to his Marcolf. Surely Henry V, who was only twenty-four at his accession is a doubtful candidate, and his son, the infant Henry VI, even more so. By far the best bet (and another reason for believing that Audelay composed his Marcolf poem sometime between 1410 and 1413) would seem to be Henry IV" (Green, p. 567). Simpson, p. 402, points out a likeness to the “lunatyk" in Piers Plowman B.Prol.123–24 and C.9.107–14, but Pearsall, p. 146, refutes the comparison, noting that Audelay’s Marcolf is merely a “flimsy mask."

70 Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 400, notes how the speaker Marcolf shifts the burden of public truth-telling to Solomon, here and at lines 94, 392–94, and 421–22, with the whole text ultimately attributed to Solomon, saying what he was exhorted to say by Marcolf (lines 988–89). See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 430–42.

71 lanternys of lyf. Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 394, suggests that this line may evoke the title of the Lollard tract The Lanterne of Light (c. 1409–15); compare also Marcolf and Solomon, lines 104 and 630, the idea always being directed critically at parish priests, whose light should burn brightly for the laity. See too Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," pp. 142–43. Citrome detects in this passage Audelay’s concern “with his own troubled conscience" (Surgeon, pp. 84–85).

78 Here horne is eblaw. Proverbial, meaning “exposed publicly." Compare Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women, line 1383, “Have at thee, Jason! Now thyn horn is blowe!" See B. Whiting and Whiting, Proverbs, H485.

81 foly. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 66–69.

85 unkynd. Compare Piers Plowman B.5.269, where Coveitise is called an “unkynde creature" (Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 403).

89 secatour. For other warnings by Audelay not to entrust one’s affairs to an executor, see Marcolf and Solomon, line 258; Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 71–73, 89, 99, 345–47; and On the World’s Folly, lines 58–60. Executors were proverbially untrustworthy and thievish. Halliwell, p. 84, quotes the saying “Two secaturs and an overseer make three thieves." The commonplace occurs in Piers Plowman C.2.192 and C.6.143 (Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 146). For more instances, see E. Whiting, pp. 227 and 229, and MED secutour, n.

92 On the Marcolf and Solomon frame, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 66–69.

94 On Solomon as the public satiric speaker, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 70.

95 Forrest, Detection of Heresy, p. 165, points to this line on proud priests as evidence of a widespread belief that “heresy would be manifested and revealed." Audelay repeats the line elsewhere to refer to corrupt friars and heretics; see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 678–88.

101–04 Audelay asserts that were the priesthood to do its duty with parishioners, and avoid all avarice, then the laity would return home to religious truths, and turn away from (by implication) heretical views. On the anti-Lollard resonance in Audelay’s metaphor of light, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 71.

105–08 On the natural goodness of animals, compare True Living, lines 91–93, and see the citations provided by E. Whiting, p. 227.

109 Compare Piers Plowman B.18.204 (Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 403).

123 Bayard for bryd ne fore brend. Bayard is a horse’s name (MED baiard, n.[1]; see also Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, 1.218–24). Elsewhere, Audelay invokes a proverb about blind Bayard (Marcolf and Solomon, lines 952 [explanatory note], 993, and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 381). The expression for bryd ne fore brend is a crux with little useful commentary. To make sense of the expression (which feels proverbial), I take bryd to be MED breid, n.(1)1(b), “rashness," and brend as the past participle as noun of MED brennen, v.5a(c), “passion." E. Whiting’s definition of brend as “brent-goose" does not seem to fit the context, through there may be an obscure proverb evoked here: “for bird nor for brent-goose." See also the suggestion for brend in the MED under brend, ppl. as n.(a) “brindled or brown color; a horse of this color," with a citation of Audelay’s line. How this definition makes sense of the line is unclear, and the MED does not offer any help as to the meaning of bryd.

131–43 pore prest . . . unkynde. Audelay describes a humble and genuinely good priest whose very virtue is maligned by those who “smelle a Lollere in the wynd," as Chaucer puts it in the Epilogue to the Man of Law’s Tale (CT II[B1]1173). Many have commented on this passage: see, e.g., Green, “Marcolf the Fool," p. 568; Simpson, “Saving Satire," pp. 398, 401; Bennett, “John Audelay: Life Records," pp. 42–43; Powell, “John Audelay and John Mirk," p. 90; Pickering, “Make-Up," p. 118; and Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," pp. 143–44. Forrest, Detection of Heresy, pp. 167–68, points to lines 131–33 to illustrate the difficulties inherent in the detection of heresy in Audelay’s time. Catto, “Religious Change under Henry V," p. 105, observes how the “refutation of Lollardy was an important part of the agenda of contemporary theologians." On Audelay’s anti-Lollardism, see also the explanatory notes to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 669–88, 678–88, and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 248–60.

144–52 Audelay displays considerable skill as a satirist in this portrait of the corrupt yet richly companionable cleric Sir John. Commentaries on this passage include: Halliwell, p. 84; E. Whiting, p. 227; Simpson, “Saving Satire," pp. 398 (a “brilliant and sustained example of Chaucerian ironic satire"), 401; Bennett, “John Audelay: Life Records," pp. 31, 42–43 (perhaps Audelay draws here a self-portrait of his life with the Lestranges in London); and Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 142 (a “wonderfully comic stanza" exhibiting “an unexpected gift for traditional anticlerical satire").

146 orglus. See MED orgel, n.(2), “A kind of musical instrument," with a possible pun on orgel, n.(1), “Pride, haughtiness, presumption."

148–49 ner a parsun or a vecory. E. Whiting, p. 227, captures the socially pretentious idiom embedded in this passage, translating it as: “you would never take this fine fellow for a parson or a vicar; he is a gentleman!"

150 baslard. See MED baselard, n.(1), “A kind of (fashionable) dagger, curved or straight, worn in an (ornamental) sheath at the girdle." On priests wearing forbidden baselards, see citations provided by E. Whiting, pp. 227–28. Compare also Piers Plowman B.15.121, 124 (Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 146; Green, “Langland and Audelay," p. 156).

151 pautener. See MED pautener(e, n.(2), “A purse, bag, pouch." E. Whiting, p. 228, translates this line as “from his open purse, everyone is paid, or satisfied."

172–82 E. Whiting’s note, p. 228, identifies these lines as regulations drawn from the rule of Saint Benedict.

176 obey obedyans. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 32. One may also observe how the vocalic alliteration of line 174, on a(-b), finely parallels the alliteration on o(-b) in line 176.

183–87 Simpson, “Saving Satire," pp. 401, notes the successive, unmarked changes in third- and second-person address that occur here and “across the whole poem," arguing that “the strategy of rapid, unannounced changes of address is clear: formally Marcol creates a sense of both potential inclusion and present fragmentation, which is a formal response to the state of the Church as he sees it."

190 hold up youre houshold and youre housyng. This line exhorts monks to maintain their monasteries, monastic standards, and familial structures; see MED houshold, n.1b. The command is paralleled in later passages that (1) exhort alms to support the households of friars (Marcolf and Solomon line 458); and (2) request that livings and “households" be granted only to secular clergy who are suitably educated (Marcolf and Solomon, line 567). Compare also Marcolf and Solomon, line 583, where Audelay asks that secular clergy reside and openly maintain a household in their parishes.

196–98 On this complaint over how poorly some monks sing psalms and recite prayers on behalf of souls, compare the 13-line stanza Over-Hippers and Skippers appearing at the end of MS Douce 302. The metrics of Over-Hippers and Skippers matches Marcolf and Solomon, and it could even be a stanza now lost from the longer poem (Fein, “Thirteen-Line Alliterative Stanza," p. 64). See also explanatory note to Cur Mundus, line 40.

203 no lykyng ne no lust. Compare Piers Plowman B.16.32, C.11.82, C.13.152, C.16.211 (Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 151n26).

210–11 On God speaking through Holy Writ, compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 1–9 (explanatory note), and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 352–55.

215 mese. The meaning wanted here and at line 809 is “dispute, make division," a figurative usage for a verb meaning “divide up (into portions)," usually in reference to food (see OED mess, v.; MED messen, v.[2]). The MED assigns Audelay’s mese to mesen, v., “to soothe, placate, relieve of grief," but the lexicographers query Audelay’s term as a mistake for masen, v., “to be confused or bewildered." E. Whiting follows the first meaning in glossing it as “moderate," but this meaning ill suits the context.

235–43 Green, “Langland and Audelay," p. 157, offers a scansion of these lines, noting that “Audelay . . . has a number of defective lines with only three lifts, a situation that is very rare in Langland."

236 Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 400, notes the boldness of this line, and Green, “Marcolf the Fool," p. 568, comments that Audelay “evidently found the guise of the plain-speaking churl a useful cover."

237–40 Pearsall, Old English and Middle English Poetry, pp. 249–50, cited this passage in his early argument for a profound influence of Piers Plowman upon Audelay’s poem. He has now modified that stance, seeing in Audelay’s verse the “more widespread and resonant tradition" of complaint, satire, and prophecy with apocalyptic overtones, as found in The Simonie, Piers Plowman, and numerous religious-didactic poems (Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 148). Compare too Marcolf and Solomon, lines 990–91.

238 beryn Cristis kay. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 805a (explanatory note), 869, 961a, and Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 199.

242 Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 391, notes that this “trenchant criticism" of both temporal and spiritual laws makes it likely that Marcolf and Solomon was composed later than Arundel’s Constitutions of 1409; he goes on to propose that the poem was written “in the ambience of the Oldcastle Rising of 1414." See also explanatory notes to lines 501 and 503.

250 A line similar to this one appears at Marcolf and Solomon, line 289.

255 Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," pp. 145–46, notes that this exhortation — to continue to endow the Church as one’s fathers did (found also at Marcolf and Solomon, line 274) — contrasts directly to Langland’s position (which leans toward the later Lollard position) not to break up estates to give to wealthy clergy (Piers Plowman C.5.163, C.17.56–58).

258–59 Compare Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 73, and On the World’s Folly, lines 58–59. For Audelay’s opinion that one should take care of one’s own soul before death and not entrust it to others, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 89.

274–86 In this critique of disendowment, Green, “Marcolf the Fool," p. 575n42, sees Audelay underscoring his orthodoxy. See also explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 255.

279 Stanley, “True Counsel of Conscience," p. 155, compares the collocation of counsel and care to Three Dead Kings, lines 35, 89.

280 This line resembles Marcolf and Solomon, line 316, and Salutation to Saint Bridget, line 22.

281 cheré fayre. The proverbial phrase denotes transient joys. See MED cheri, n.2(a), the citations given there, and others provided by Halliwell, p. 85, and E. Whiting, p. 229.

287 covens. For the meaning “fellows," only in Audelay, see MED covine, n.1(b).
287–91 Green, “Marcolf the Fool," compares these lines to John Ball’s letters, noting in particular a phrase found there: “knoweth your freende fro your foo" (pp. 570, 575n43, 575n45).

288 obey obedyens. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 32.

289 A similar version of this line appears at Marcolf and Solomon, line 250.

290 Compare Piers Plowman B.18.204 (Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 403).

291 kyndlé. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 13.

315 ground. Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 394, detects in this word, repeated at lines 330, 355, 651, and 785, a Lollard resonance.

316 This line resembles Marcolf and Solomon, line 280, and Salutation to Saint Bridget, line 22.

330 grounde. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 315.

330–31 Green, “Langland and Audelay," pp. 158–59, notes the directness of address (“Then loke thou"), as if from a pulpit, and compares this tendency to Langland’s rhetorical style, e.g., in Piers Plowman B.10.207–08.

342 Saynt Thomas. Thomas Becket, martyred archbishop of Canterbury, was revered for his strong stance on behalf of the Church against pressure from secular powers. Compare Audelay’s Saint Thomas Archbishop of Canterbury (and see explanatory notes). Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 146, notes this line as another instance of Audelay’s strict orthodoxy.

344 E. Whiting, p. 230, notes that “This line must refer to the boldness of lords and lewd men who interfere in the secret business of the chapters." The verb mon is the auxiliary “must, shall," as asserted by Stanley, “Alliteratitive Three Dead Kings," pp. 269–70, but disputed by Putter, “Language and Metre," p. 505, who reads it as Middle English mannen, “take charge" or “to people, occupy." See also the explanatory note to Three Dead Kings, line 78.

355 ungroundid. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 315.

369 Compare Piers Plowman B.7.183 (Green, “Langland and Audelay," pp. 158, 167), and C.1.166, C.3.159, C.9.333 (Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 151n26).

390 loveday. The term refers to a day appointed for a meeting between enemies, set for the purpose of striking a reconciliation. See MED lovedai, n., and compare Marcolf and Solomon, burden (explanatory note), and lines 393, 974, and Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, line 46. Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," pp. 146–47, contrasts Audelay’s sincere plea for harmony to the more cynical uses of the term found in Chaucer (General Prologue, CT I[A]258) and Langland (Piers Plowman C.3.196, C.5.158, C.11.17). See also Chaucer’s House of Fame, line 695; and Kathleen Kennedy, “Maintaining Love through Accord," pp. 166, 174n4.

391–94 On the Marcolf and Solomon frame, see explanatory notes to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 66–69 and 70.

393 Detecting “Audelay’s legitimation of satire," Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 403, compares this line to Piers Plowman B.11.101–02. On the term loveday, see explanatory notes to Marcolf and Solomon, incipit and line 390.

394 favele. See MED favel, n., “Flattery, insincerity; duplicity, guile, intrigue," with this note: “The figure of Favel, with these characteristics, was created by Langland in Piers Plowman. All other uses of the figure and the term seem to be derived from this source." Compare Marcolf and Solomon, line 1005, and Piers Plowman A.2.23, A.2.114, B.2.42, and B.2.166. For other comments, see Halliwell, pp. 86–87; E. Whiting, pp. 230 (the idiom curry favel) and 233; Barney, “Allegorical Visions," p. 128 (the term in Piers Plowman); and Green, “Langland and Audelay," p. 155.

408 This line is similar to Marcolf and Solomon, line 612.

409 cumberment. See MED combrement, n.(c), “sinning, sinfulness," for which this line by Audelay is cited.

410 clene kalender. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, line 614.

417 On the Marcolf and Solomon frame, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 66–69.

420 clergé. Audelay or the scribe evidently intends one to understand by this word the meaning of Old French clergise: “Learning, knowledge, scholarship" (MED, n.1).

421–22 On Solomon as the public satiric speaker, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 70.

426–30 Although speaking in the voice of the rustic Marcolf, who exhorts the powerful king to speak the truth, Audelay seems here to declare his own poetics of truth-telling: blurt it out and do not lie, because God is the ultimate knower of Truth and one’s ultimate audience. He adds that if you cover up the truth, you will appear ignorant and illiterate. If you do tell the truth, it is possible that you will offend people, so you should ask them, both politely and piously, to excuse you, because, presumably, they too wish truthful things to be openly exposed. As is typical, Audelay shows more fear of God’s judgment than of man’s. Compare these lines to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 443–46 (cited by Wawn, “Truth-Telling," p. 281, who sets Audelay’s poem in the truth-telling tradition of Mum and the Sothsegger).

430 four oordyrs. The four mendicant orders are the Augustinians, the Carmelites, the Dominicans, and the Franciscans. The phrase is standard; see MED ordre, n.9(b).
430–42 This stanza offers praise of the fraternal founders. Compare Audelay’s Saint Francis. Since Solomon is supposed, at line 988, to have been speaking the poem, line 430 may be the beginning of Solomon’s speech (Pickering, “Make-Up," p. 133n17).

443–44 Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 147, comments that Audelay’s “[g]nomic and proverbial-sounding expressions have sometimes a Langlandian ring," and he cites for comparison Piers Plowman C.3.424, C.4.88–89.
443–55 On this fervent advocacy of truth-telling, see explanatory note to lines 426–30. Green “Marcolf the Fool," p. 570, hears “a particular kind of political potency" in this whole stanza, especially if it is to come from the mouth of “the anarchic Marcolf," but, in fact, it may not (see explanatory note to lines 430–42). Simpson, “Saving Satire," pp. 400–01, believes that in lines 440–46 Marcolf “brilliantly capitalizes on an account of mendicancy to justify his own satire of the friars" as his exhortations become “simultaneously a direction to friars and to the satirist of friars." For Pearsall’s refutation of Simpson, see explanatory note to lines 456–68.

452 Asay thi frynd or thou have nede. See E. Whiting, p. 231, for other instances of this proverbial expression.

456–68 This stanza on friars projects, for Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 143, a tone of “enigmatic irony." According to Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 402, “Both Langland and Audelay are . . . orthodox critics of ecclesiastical covetousness, whose principal target is the friars, and whose principal solution to the problem of mendicancy is a ‘fyndyng’ [compare Piers Plowman B.20.384]." Countering Simpson’s argument, Pearsall,“Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," pp. 141–45, finds Audelay’s treatment of friars to be distinctly unlike Langland’s: “Where for Langland the friars’ systematic practice of begging is what inevitably leads to scandalous abuse, for Audelay it is the proper traditional basis of their livelihood" (p. 145).

458 On Audelay’s concern that each ecclesiastical order properly maintain its household, see the explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 190.

465–68 On how these lines relate to the Marcolf frame, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 66–69.

469–81 Audelay’s attack is upon covetous abuses committed by individual friars, who are therefore like Judas because for monetary gain they pervert the fraternal traditions. See Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," pp. 142, 143, 145; and Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 396.

473 On Judas’s treason, compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 753a and 758; Prayer on Christ’s Passion, lines 4–5; O Deus qui voluisti, lines 4–5 and 18; Virtues of the Mass, lines 103–08; Seven Hours of the Cross, lines 13–18; and The Vision of Saint Paul, line 234.

485 Compare Piers Plowman C.13.8, C.21.67 (Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 151n26).

490–95 These lines may allude directly to Piers Plowman. If so, Audelay seems here to respond to antifraternal satirists such as Langland (with his figure of the plowman) by offering a gentler counterargument: that society should support with its charity the institution of fraternal mendicancy while condemning those individual friars who commit covetous acts.

495–503 Forrest, Detection of Heresy, p. 144, reads these lines as pertaining to a “latent suspicion of mendicants" as heretics: “Audelay’s desire that his readers beware of false prophets, both mendicant and Lollard, is indicative of the early fifteenth-century atmosphere in which anti-heresy legislation could be misinterpreted as pertaining to the friars." There is an ominous and secretive quality to this stanza. Audelay appears to feel liable to attack for speaking against covetous clergy. Scribe B sharpens this sense when he emends Scribe A’s wold, line 499, to hold.

501 to stond at a stake. Green, “Marcolf the Fool," p. 566, sees this direct reference to the burning of heretics (compare line 676) as an indicator of the poem’s date: “The specificity . . . suggests that it was composed after the promulgation of the statute De Heretico Comburendo and the death of the Lollard William Sawtry in 1401, and quite possibly after John Badby’s gruesome death in 1410, but its references to the dangers of Lollardy and its dark hints that clerical venality and discord might offer an occasion for popular rebellion would surely have been rendered less urgent by Oldcastle’s abortive rising at St Giles’ Fields on January 10, 1414." See also explanatory notes to lines 242 and 503.

503 Blynd as Y am. Audelay drops the mask here. The present tense verb am leads Green to conclude that Audelay was blind in the period to which he dates the poem, 1410–13. It is possible, however, that references to Audelay’s blindness (as well as some of the signature stanzas) were edited into poems during the compiling of MS Douce 302. On the dating of Marcolf and Solomon, see explanatory notes to lines 242 and 501, and discussions by Green, “Marcolf the Fool," pp. 566–67; Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 391; Meyer-Lee, “Vatic Penitent," pp. 65–66; Pickering, “Make-Up," pp. 118–19; and Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 140. Compare also Audelay’s second signature at the end of the poem (line 1008).

504–06 These lines recur in Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 374–76.

507 On this insertion of a mixed Latin-French line, see E. Whiting’s note, p. 231, and compare Marcolf and Solomon, line 701 (explanatory note).

526 soulehele. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, line 798. Soulehele is the stated purpose for Audelay’s The Counsel of Conscience, the larger “book" to which this poem apparently belongs. See explanatory notes to Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 105 and 248–60.

533 Scribe B inserts here in red ink a marginal illustration of a pointing hand, hence emphasizing Audelay’s edict against hypocrites preaching. The idea that a person will be judged by his deeds is a commonplace in Audelay, though Forrest, Detection of Heresy, p. 165, points to line 533 as directed at the detection of heresy; see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 678–88.

534 E. Whiting, p. 231, notes that this line provides “an awkward paraphrase" of the Latin heading.

543 On Audelay’s frequent citation of the Golden Rule, which appears in the first stanza of Marcolf and Solomon, see the explanatory note to True Living, line 231.

549 bescherewd. MED bishreuen, v.2(a): “To make wicked, deprave, corrupt."

560 to Oxford to scole. Halliwell, pp. 85–86, adds this note: “These curious lines have already been quoted by Mr. James Heywood in his edition of the Merton College Statutes."

562 On how these lines relate to the Marcolf frame, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 66–69.

566 personache. See MED personage, n.(2), “A benefice or maintenance granted to a parson; property or residence associated with a parson’s benefice; parsonage." On Audelay’s concern that households be properly maintained by the ecclesiastical orders, see the explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 190.

583 houshold. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 190.

612 This line is similar to Marcolf and Solomon, line 408.

614 clene calender. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, line 410.

622 Thai schuld never be at dyscord. See explanatory notes to Marcolf and Solomon, incipit and line 390.

630 lanterns lyght. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 71.

644 the treuth of here toung. The phrase true of [one’s] tongue occurs frequently in Piers Plowman (Green, “Langland and Audelay," pp. 158, 166).

651 ground of al goodnes. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 315.

664 Compare Piers Plowman C.9.107–14 (Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 402).

669–88 On Audelay’s anti-Lollardism, see explanatory notes to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 131–43, and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 248–60. For comments specifically on lines 669–76, see Green, “Marcolf the Fool," p. 568; Simpson, “Saving Satire," pp. 399, 401 (the “stanza is unquestionably an attack on the broad brush and draconian punishment of anyone who dares to criticize the Church"); and Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 144 (“Audelay warns of the dangers faced by laymen who speak out and tell the truth").

676 On this reference to the burning of heretics, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 501.

678–88 This interesting stanza describes the deeds that mark a Lollard, with Audelay also declaring that heretics will be judged — principally by God — by their own actions and words. He notes how unmistakably Lollardy may be detected, because the heretic “refuses his obligations to the Church, to worship the Cross, or to attend services" (Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 144). Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 401, observes that “the stanza is, plausibly, less an attack on Lollardy than on those who would persecute Lollards." Forrest sees here the reconfiguration of an existing debate, that is, the “latent suspicion of mendicants" as heretics: “Audelay’s desire that his readers beware false prophets, both mendicant and lollard, is indicative of the early fifteenth-century atmosphere in which anti-heresy legislation could be misinterpreted as pertaining to the friars" (p. 144). It is noteworthy that Audelay elsewhere applies the wording of line 678 to wicked priests and friars (see Marcolf and Solomon, lines 95, 533), thus showing that, as Forrest puts it, “heresy would be manifested and revealed" for persons of any office or profession (p. 165). Hudson, Premature Reformation, notes, though, that Audelay’s attitude seems relatively tolerant — “Audelay’s only response to these crimes is to forbid his flock to pray for their perpetrators" (p. 435); she compares Audelay’s statement to the behavioral latitude granted to someone like Margery Kempe. The stanza itself is short by one line, and Stanley, “Verse Forms," p. 118n49, proposes a numerological reason. His explanation may, however, be flawed because it is possible that the poem lacks its full ending; one cannot know for certain how many lines it originally possessed (see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 1013).

679 take good eme. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 53.

682 on what deth he dye. The word deth (MS deþ) may be a mistake for dey (“day"); compare Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 355, but see also True Living, line 23.

693 Slus is a plural form for the monetary unit shilling (MED shilling, n.1[a]). Schof is the preterite of the verb shouven and means “reject, refuse." See E. Whiting’s note, p. 231.

695 sorche. This verb, unattested elsewhere in Middle English, is queried in the MED under sorchen and is supposed to be either derived from Old French sorchëoir, v., “to fall on, attack," or an error for Middle English serchen, v.2(a), “to seek out." The meaning given by the lexicographers for Audelay’s word is “to inflict (excommunication on sb.)."

701 The French of this line is similar to the mixed Latin-French of line 507; both seem whispered conspiratorially, as if simultaneously hiding and betraying a secret. Marcolf/Audelay may be alluding to a specific scandal involving illicit sexual behavior. Lechery, which is personified at the end of the stanza, can buy its way out of punishment from the consistory courts.

705 Mede the maydyn. Lady Mede is an allegorical figure who represents the seductive corruption of money and reward in society; she appears in Passus 2 and 3 of Langland’s Piers Plowman, e.g., B.2.20 (Hudson, “Legacy of Piers Plowman," p. 262; Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 403). Her appearance twice in Audelay’s works (here and On the World’s Folly, line 17) may derive from a common cultural usage or from Audelay’s direct knowledge of Langland’s work. For differing opinions on this question, see Green, “Langland and Audelay," and Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon."

709–13 Audelay deplores the fact that priests will sanction divorce, against God’s law, for the sake of money. For Audelay’s views on marriage, see also True Living, lines 65–115, Virginity of Maids, and Chastity of Wives.

718 Compare Piers Plowman B.6.39–40 (Green, “Langland and Audelay," p. 154).

728 castun in the new fayre. The phrase new fayre seems to denote a place of corrupt modern practice; see MED feire, n.1(b), where the instances, one from Piers Plowman and one from a Lollard text, refer to the “new fair," perhaps an event in London, as a site of immoral diversion. E. Whiting, p. 232, discusses the term as an idiom referring to bartering, seeing in the passage a condemnation of curates who make deals for multiple benefices. Compare Piers Plowman B.5.321 (Green, “Langland and Audelay," pp. 154–55) and C.6.377 (Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 146).

730 permetacion. The MED defines Audelay’s word as “the exchange of offices or benefices." See permutacioun, n.(b). The next line makes it clear that he condemns a contemporary practice of holding multiple benefices. Compare Piers Plowman B.Prol.29 (Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 403) and C.3.33 (Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 146).

731 pluralytis. The MED defines pluralite, n.(c), as follows: “the simultaneous tenure by one cleric of more than one benefice; especially ones in which he has spiritual charge of people in a district." Audelay even blames the pope for permitting this abuse. Pollard, Late Medieval England, p. 209, provides a succinct description of the practice.

753a This Latin heading is written by Scribe B. On Judas’s treason, compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 473, 753a, and 758; Prayer on Christ’s Passion, lines 4–5; O Deus qui voluisti, lines 4–5 and 18; Virtues of the Mass, lines 103–08; Seven Hours of the Cross, lines 13–18; and The Vision of Saint Paul, line 234.

779a Scribe B inserts what seems to be a marker of topic (“confession and the sacrament of the altar") beside Scribe A’s typical liturgical/biblical heading.

780–805 In arguing for the poem’s “para-Lollardy," Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 395, notes here how the fictional voice of the poem “sometimes encourages lay disobedience of sorts: after one stanza (beginning at line 780) encouraging obedience, Marcol changes his tack rather in the next: do as the curates command, he directs his lay readers, but ‘do not as þei don’, unless they practice what they preach." See also Green, “Marcolf the Fool," p. 575n42; Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 140.

785 grownd of al goodnes. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 315.

790–92 These lines echo one of Audelay’s recurrent biblical allusions (from Ezechiel 18:23, 18:32, 33:11), one which may have had a special resonance in regard to the correction of Lollards. See explanatory note to True Living, line 127.

798 soulehele. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, line 526, and see explanatory notes to Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 105, 248–60.

805a This heading invokes the biblical passage (Matthew 16:19) traditionally understood to sanctify papal and priestly authority as granted directly from Christ. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 238, 869, 961a, and Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 199. See also Simpson, “Saving Satire," pp. 396–97, and Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," pp. 140–41.

809 mese. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 215.

820 Audelay’s dictum to the laity to be shriven at least once a year adheres to orthodox practice (see Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 146).

828–31 The sense of these lines is: They (i.e., the curates) must answer, by law, for your soul if you are confessed; however, if you don’t confess, you will have to answer for yourself, and be doomed.

832–96 These stanzas expound orthodox doctrine. Audelay “defends the efficacy of the mass, even when celebrated by a sinful priest, and gives an orthodox account of transsubstantiation" (Green, “Marcolf the Fool," p. 575n42; see also Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 393; Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 141). Compare Audelay’s Devotions at the Levation of Christ’s Body and Virtues of the Mass.

848 defouteryng. For this word meaning “faltering, failure," related to either defauten or falteren and found only in Audelay, see MED defoutering, ger.

849 On how these lines relate to the Marcolf frame, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 66–69.

858–83 On Audelay’s exposition of the Trinity in terms of the sun, compare Piers Plowman B.17.204–44 (Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 403; Green, “Langland and Audelay," pp. 160–61). One should also compare Audelay’s metaphorical similitude to that in another 13-line alliterative poem, that is, the exposition of the Trinity and Mary by means of a botanical conceit, in The Four Leaves of the Truelove (Fein, Moral Love Songs, p. 180–96).

869 louse and bynde. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 805a.

897–922 Citrome offers a penetrating analysis of the medical metaphor elaborated in these two stanzas, noting how the medieval distinction between surgeon and physician is played out theologically. The stanzas compare “the urgency of confession to that of surgical treatment, and the total authority of the priest over matters of the soul to the surgeon’s over those of the body. . . . While the ‘surgeon’ of the first stanza is clearly the priest, the implied physician of the second is none other than Jesus Christ, or Christus Medicus" (Surgeon, pp. 90–92).

902 penetawnsere. Compare Piers Plowman C.22.320 (Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 146). See also E. Whiting, p. 232; Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 393.

917 know kyndlé. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 13.

923–44 These lines were reworked by Audelay when he composed God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 137–59 (Pickering, “Make-Up," p. 130).
923 wayt. “Take heed, consider." See MED waiten, v.1b(b) and 2b(a).

925 yeesy penans. Compare God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 113, 139.

927–28 Audelay’s belief in the salvific effect of the Paternoster is enacted by its actual presence (Paternoster, an alliterative English exposition of the prayer’s seven points) towards the end of MS Douce 302.

937–43 This brief allegory of the Four Daughters of God (Psalm 84:11), which is developed further in lines 974a–80, comprises the climactic moment of Audelay’s poem — itself being a general call for harmony (i.e., a loveday; see explanatory notes to Marcolf and Solomon, incipit and line 390) among the ecclesiastical orders so that they may direct full energy toward their sacred joint purpose, the saving of souls. Audelay repeats the trope in God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 144a–51 (borrowing from Marcolf and Solomon). The figure holds importance in Piers Plowman (Passus B.18 and C.20), where it delivers the climax of the Harrowing of Hell scene (Alford, “Design of the Poem," pp. 56–58). E. Whiting, p. 232, provides more citations on the Four Daughters of God.

938–39 Audelay’s treatment of the allegory is not without problems, which may be problems of scribal transmission. In line 938, Audelay seems to render the Daughter Mercy (Misericordia) as a doublet: “Mercy and grace"; in line 939, the sense would be better if rest were cest, i.e., “kissed" (compare Psalm 84:11). Similar problems exist, however, in God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 147–48, which is apparently a direct reworking of this passage: there Grace, not Peace, appears with Mercy as one of the Daughters. Faced with these discrepancies, I have let the manuscript readings stand without emendation. The rendering of the biblical text is much more precise at Marcolf and Solomon, lines 975–82.

949 For the proverb resonating in this line, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 42–43.

952 blustyrne . . . Bayard. Here and at Marcolf and Solomon, line 993, and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 381, Audelay uses a proverb about blind Bayard, a horse, “blustering forth" as a figure for blind recklessness (s.v. MED baiard, n.(1)(c), and blusteren, v.2). The proverb may have held a special resonance for Blind Audelay. References to blind Bayard as a “blusterer" also occur in Piers Plowman B.5.514 and Cleanness, line 886. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, line 123 (another reference to Bayard).
952–56 Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 381–85, appears to be a reworking of these lines.

961a On this invocation of Matthew 16:19, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 805a.

963–65 Of this passage, Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 401, comments: “The whole poem announces itself as requiring interpretive skill."

974 loveday. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 390.

975–87 Compare Piers Plowman B.18.418–23a (Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 403; Pearsall, “Audelay’s Marcolf and Solomon," p. 142). On the Four Daughters of God in Audelay’s poem, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 937–43.

987a This proverb is also appears in Audelay’s Conclusion, line 39a (explanatory note), at the end of MS Douce 302.

988–89 On Solomon as the ultimate speaker of this poem, see explanatory notes to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 66–69, 70, 430–42.

990–91 On Audelay’s prophetic and apocalyptic tone, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 237–40.

993 Bayard the blynd. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 952.

997–99 These lines resemble The Remedy of Nine Virtues, lines 90–93, and Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 391–94. On the phrase take good eme in line 997, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 53.

1001 Of this line, Green, “Marcolf the Fool," pp. 570–71, comments: “Though [Audelay] is quick to boast of the risks he is taking . . . I think it highly unlikely that he really believed he was putting his life in danger by criticizing the ecclesiastical hierarchy; nor can he really have imagined that Marcolf’s persona could have offered him much protection even if he had been. Though the persona is maintained with reasonable consistency, he is quite ready to drop it on occasion (i.e., at l. 503) and he signs off the poem with a version of his usual signature." See also Simpson, “Saving Satire," pp. 392, 400; and Citrome, Surgeon, pp. 92–93.

1003 parté. Simpson, “Saving Satire," p. 395, comments: “Marcol . . . implies that each ‘party’, including the lay party, has a legitimate voice and deserves to be heard."

1005 Favel. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 394.

1008–13 On Audelay’s self-naming here and at line 503, see Meyer-Lee, “Vatic Penitent," pp. 65–66, who proposes that “all mention of Audelay’s blindness represents material added during the compilation of the codex" and that “virtually all acts of self-naming were also included during this process." See also explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 503.

1013 The last line is written as the catchphrase (and thus it is formally lacking from the stanza). The next folio (the beginning of a new quire) is missing. If the poem is complete, then the missing next recto would have contained only its last line. That the scribe would have deliberately ended his copy of the poem in this manner is unlikely.

Audelay crafts this poem from a Latin source, Novum virtutes, a text loosely associated with Richard Rolle (Horstmann, Yorkshire Writers, 2:455). The poem purports to reveal nine chief virtues handed down by Christ himself, and thus, like Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday and God’s Address to Sinful Men, it is couched as an address by God to humanity. E. Whiting, p. 233, estimates that at least five stanzas are missing at the beginning, where it seems that four leaves are gone from the manuscript. The text here begins with the sixth virtue. The nine virtues are: (1) to give alms, (2) to weep for Christ’s Passion, (3) to suffer a word for Christ, (4) to break sleep to say orisons, (5) to have compassion, (6) to say no word of backbiting, (7) to give good counsel, (8) to pray, and (9) to love God. Because the poem as we have it opens with the detail of going barefoot in the street in penance (a detail also found in the source and analogues), Bennett, “John Audelay: Life Records," suspects that the missing folios had a political resonance recalling the outrage of 1417, which may account for their removal (pp. 41–41, 47; see also Bennett, “John Audley: Some New Evidence").

[Fol. 8ra–b (acephalous). IMEV *71; Suppl., NIMEV *3780.5. MWME 7:2537–38 [157]. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, explicit in red. Audelay Signature: Line 102 (Scribe A). Meter: The poem has eight 13-line stanzas, ababbcbc4d2eee3-4d2. Latin Source: Novum virtutes, extant in MS Caius College 140, fol. 132r. Middle English Verse Analogues: “Nine Points" (Horstmann, Yorkshire Writers, 2:455–56; NIMEV 1188); “A Good Lesson of IX Vertewis" (Bowers, “Middle English Poem"; NIMEV 212). Middle English Prose Analogues: “Points Best Pleasing to God" (Horstmann, Yorkshire Writers, 1:110–12, from MSS Vernon, Rawlinson C.285, and Harley 1704). Editions: Halliwell, pp. 51–54, 87–88; E. Whiting, pp. 46–49, 233.]
14 On Audelay’s special interest in the sin of slander and backbiting, which he habitually adds to the Ten Commandments, see the explanatory note introducing Ten Commandments.

17 stydest. For the sense “strive toward a higher or more perfect spiritual, moral, or intellectual state," see MED stien, v.6(a).

32 fre choyse. On the doctrine of free will in Audelay’s works, see the explanatory note to True Living, lines 203–07.

43 E. Whiting, p. 233, notes that “The reference is to the pillar hermits of whom St. Simeon Stylites was the most famous."

44 rayssors. MED rasour(e, n.(c), “an instrument of torture."

51–102 E. Whiting, p. 233, notes that this portion of the poem does not appear in the analogues. Much of it does appear, however, in other Audelay poems (see explanatory notes below). For example, most of the last two stanzas resurface in Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy.

60 On Audelay’s frequent citation of the Golden Rule, see the explanatory note to True Living, line 231.

73–76 These lines are formulaic; compare True Living, lines 156–59, and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 244–46.

77–89 This is Audelay’s typical signature stanza. Compare Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 378–90; Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, lines 196–208; The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 353–65; and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 495–507. The closest match to lines 85–89 is to be found in Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 490–94.

80 salutary. The MED cites this line as the only known instance of the noun salutari, “remedy."

90–97 These lines are repeated in Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 391–98. Lines 90–92 are similar, too, to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 997–99. On the phrase take good eme in line 90, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 53.

99–102 Compare On the World’s Folly, lines 61–66; Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, lines 202–08; and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 504–07. Line 99 also appears in Salutation to Saint Bridget, line 204. On the word laust in line 99, see MED losen, v.3(1a), “to free, untie, let loose," with Audelay’s line cited among the examples.

This piece is an indulgence prayer on the name of Jesus, comprised of three introductory stanzas, fifteen stanzas in address to Jesus, and five instructional stanzas. Its purpose is to bring “remedy" for the seven deadly sins by means of reciting the seven bleedings of Christ, methodically matched to the sins and then to seven tokens of the Crucifixion. Woolf, English Religious Lyric, pp. 222–23, notes the confused history of this theme and others “firmly rooted in the emotive meditation on the Passion." Hirsh, Boundaries of Faith, pp. 91–110, especially pp. 99–100, describes the ways the theme was featured in indulgences. One of the venerated tokens is the Veronica cloth (lines 67–72) so prominently hailed later in MS Douce 302 (fol. 27va) by a drawing, a salutation, and a prayer (all of which also carry an indulgence). The worshiper is to follow a reading of Seven Bleedings of Christ with a recitation of fifteen Paternosters and fifteen Aves. Moreover, one should recite it every day; and — to “be sekyr" of salvation — one should teach it to “another mon" (lines 134–35). The structural likeness between this lyric and the popular indulgence prayer the Fifteen Oes — sometimes associated with St. Bridget, sometimes with Rolle — is striking. As in the prose prayer, there are fifteen addresses to Jesus (each prefixed “O") with a prescribed recitation of fifteen Paternosters and fifteen Aves to achieve a specific outcome. On the Fifteen Oes, see Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, pp. 218, 249–56. On devotion to the Holy Blood elsewhere in Audelay, also carrying an indulgence, see Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, lines 89–120.

The analogous poem printed by Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XVth Century, consists of eight stanzas with stanzas 1–6 matching Seven Bleedings of Christ, stanzas 4–10. The wording is often quite similar and the meter is the same. Wrath and Envy have been reversed, as in the fourteenth-century poem printed by Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XIVth Century (see explanatory note to lines 19–60). The evidence suggests that there was a common Latin original for this prayer

[Fols. 8rb–9ra. IMEV (“An orison of the Wounds and the ‘Arms of Christ’ by Audelay"), NIMEV 292. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, incipit and explicit in red. Initials: Large A in blue with red filigree (three lines high). In many stanzas beginning “O Jhesu," the initial black O is marked in red (stanzas 4–16); the O of line 58 is so marked by accident. Meter: Twenty-three 6-line stanzas, aa4b3cc4b3. Middle English Analogue (stanzas 4–10 only): “A Prayer by the Wounds against the Deadly Sins" (Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XVth Century, pp. 95–97 [no. 62]). Editions: Halliwell, pp. 55–60, 88; E. Whiting, pp. 50–54, 233–34.]
19–60 This petition for deliverance from the seven sins in a meditation upon seven holy occurrences parallels the petition in Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, lines 5–12. To these seven stanzas on the seven deadly sins, compare “A Prayer to be delivered from the Deadly Sins" (Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XIVth Century, pp. 218–19 [no. 123]), an indulgence prayer that appears to be translated from the same source. The verse form is the same, but the wording is different. A Paternoster and an Ave are to be said between each stanza. The second petition is for deliverance from Wrath, while in Audelay it is for deliverance from Envy. The last petition is for Charity; in Audelay it is for deliverance from Wrath. For other variants on what was probably a widespread indulgence, see Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XVth Century, pp. 283–84, and E. Whiting, pp. 233–34. On Audelay’s treatment of the seven deadly sins elsewhere in MS Douce 302, see Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, lines 5–12; Prayer of General Confession, lines 5–8; Seven Deadly Sins, lines 1–24; and Childhood, lines 1–15.

67–72 Compare Salutation to the Holy Face, lines 1–7, the drawing next to it, and the prose prayer that follows it, Deus qui nobis. That salutation and image also appear to function as an indulgence.

93 The tradition of the blind “knyght" Longinus tells of his piercing the side of Christ during the Crucifixion and regaining eyesight when touched by drops of Christ’s blood. The story is based on John 19:24 and the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, and it influenced the Holy Grail legend of Arthurian romance. For Blind Audelay, the story may carry a personal resonance. Compare Prayer on Christ’s Passion, line 24; O Deus qui voluisti, line 30; Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 68; and Seven Hours of the Cross, line 48.

103–09 This stanza contains an extra line.

110–17 The saying of a specified number of Paternosters and Aves, along with daily recitation, indicates the status of this piece as carrying an indulgence. Compare the Passion poem printed by Bühler, “Middle English Prayer Roll," pp. 558–61, where each stanza is punctuated with “Pater noster ave Maria," as well as similar forms described by Hirsh, Boundaries of Faith, pp. 96–100. Audelay emphasizes the spiritual efficacy of the poem: it is a tool for salvation. Compare too the indulgence prayers on the instruments of the Passion printed by R. Morris, Legends of the Holy Rood, pp. 170–96. On the arma Christi tradition, see Robbins, “‘Arma Christi’ Rolls"; Gray, “Middle English Illustrated Poem," pp. 187; Hirsh, Boundaries of Faith, pp. 124–49, especially pp. 129–36; and A. Nichols, “O Vernicle."

The first half of this poem (lines 1–24) translates loosely the Latin verse prayer O Deus qui voluisti, which is soon to follow (on fol. 9rb).

[Fol. 9ra–b. IMEV, NIMEV 2452. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, incipit in red. Initials: Small O in red and blue (one and a half lines high). The black initial letters of stanzas are marked in red, with one error: the D of line 29 is marked instead of the A of line 31. Meter: Seven 6-line stanzas, aa4b3cc4b3. Editions: Halliwell, pp. 60–61, 88; E. Whiting, pp. 54–56, 234.]
4–5 On Judas’s treason elsewhere in MS Douce 302, see Marcolf and Solomon, lines 473, 753a, and 758; O Deus qui voluisti, lines 4–5 and 18; Virtues of the Mass, lines 103–08; Seven Hours of the Cross, lines 13–18; and The Vision of Saint Paul, line 234.

16–17 Compare O Deus qui voluisti, line 25, and Seven Hours of the Cross, lines 21–22.

23 Compare O Deus qui voluisti, line 29; Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, lines 61–62; Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 51; and Seven Hours of the Cross, line 39.

24 By tradition Longinus thrust the spear into Christ’s side. On the tradition of blind Longinus in Blind Audelay’s works, see the explanatory note to Seven Bleedings of Christ, line 92, and compare O Deus qui voluisti, line 30; Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 68; and Seven Hours of the Cross, line 48.

31–35 Audelay alludes elsewhere in this section of the manuscript to the thief redeemed by Christ; see Tu Domine and Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, lines 25–30.

37–38 This is a mnemonic formula. Compare Instructions for Prayer 1, Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, line 109, and Instructions for Prayer 8.

The seven items under this numeral and heading together form a devotional prayer sequence designed to bring remission of sin to the petitioner. It mixes prayers with instructions, building up to and then focusing on the details of Christ’s persecution and suffering. Its seven parts are:
(1) English instructions for prayer (four lines);
(2) A well-known Latin hymn and prayer, Anima Christi sanctifica me;
(3) More English instructions for prayer (two lines);
(4) A short Latin verse prayer (four lines), petitioning Christ naked on the cross for mercy (to be substituted for the Paternoster and Ave);
(5) More English instructions for prayer with a rosary (along with hours of the Virgin and saying the Creed);
(6) A Latin prayer in remembrance of the Passion, seemingly to be recited with a rosary (the scribe denotes its mnemonic repetition by copying it twice);
(7) A final prayer in Latin prose petitioning for deliverance from the pains of hell, in the name of Christ’s pains on the cross.
[Fol. 9rb. IMEV, NIMEV 3888. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, incipit (for everything under the numeral XVIII.) in red. Ornament: These four lines are underlined in red and marked with a blue paraph in the left margin. I have kept the underlining, though not in red. Meter: Two tetrameter couplets. Edition: E. Whiting, p. 56.]
1 Wele is him that wele can is a formula used by Audelay at the beginning or end of a devotion that leads to remission of sin. Compare Prayer on Christ’s Passion, line 37; Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, line 109; and Instructions for Prayer 8.

Audelay opens the devotion with a familiar Catholic hymn (Daniel, Thesaurus Hymnologicus, 1:345). He omits the seventh line and changes the eleventh line. The fifth line, “Passio Christi conforta me," resurfaces elsewhere in Audelay’s poetry, becoming the refrain for Dread of Death and appearing in Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 9. On the prayer’s use in medieval English devotions, see Duffy, Marking the Hours, p. 28.

[Fol. 9rb. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, initial letter of each line marked in red. Edition: E. Whiting, pp. 56 (lines 5–16), 234.]
[Fol. 9rb. Not in IMEV, NIMEV. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, red mark on I (initial made by Scribe A). Meter: One tetrameter couplet. Edition: E. Whiting, p. 56 (lines 17–18).]
[Fol. 9rb. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, red mark on O (initial made by Scribe A). Edition: E. Whiting, p. 56 (lines 19–22).]
[Fol. 9rb. Not in IMEV, NIMEV. Hand: Scribe A, poem in black. Meter: Three tetrameter couplets. Edition: E. Whiting, p. 57 (lines 23–28).]
Audelay translates this Latin prayer loosely in his Prayer on Christ’s Passion, which appears earlier on fol. 9ra–b. It is a memorized recitation, in which lines 15–26 replicate, roughly, lines 1–14. The initials of lines 6 and 13 are not tipped in red because Scribe A did not begin these lines with capital letters.

[Fol. 9rb–va. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, half of the initial letters marked in red (i.e., lines 1–5, 7–12, 14–17); red paraphs mark lines 1 and 15. Edition: E. Whiting, pp. 57–58 (lines 29–58), 234.]
1–26 Compare Prayer on Christ’s Passion, lines 1–20.

4–5 On Judas’s treason, repeated at line 18, compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 473, 753a, 757; Prayer on Christ’s Passion, lines 4–5; Virtues of the Mass, lines 103–08; Seven Hours of the Cross, lines 13–18; and The Vision of Saint Paul, line 234.

27–30 Compare Prayer on Christ’s Passion, lines 21–24.

[Fol. 9va. Hands: Scribe A, in black; Scribe B, red marks on T and Q (in Qui) (initials made by Scribe A). Edition: E. Whiting, p. 58.]
Woolf, English Religious Lyric, p. 222, praises the genuine meditative spirit expressed in this poem: “Audelay’s style has a tender lucidity that catches excellently the force of so much love, whilst gently relating it to the meditator’s prayer." She also summarizes the Latin devotional tradition of Seven Words in works attributed to Bede, Arnold of Bonneval, and Bonaventure. See also Barratt, “Prymer and Its Influence," pp. 276–78; and Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, pp. 248–49. In the poem the number seven mystically and mnemonically guides the devotion, a template that occurs elsewhere in The Counsel of Conscience, i.e., in Seven Bleedings of Christ and Seven Hours of the Cross. Most stanzas have an anaphoric first line — “O, Jhesu" — as a salutation, evocative of fifteenth-century cults of the Holy Name. The instruction to adorn the poem saying seven Paternosters and seven Aves (lines 97–101) indicates that it is to an indulgence.

The stanzas are composed in pairs:
1–2. Introduction, with a pairing of the seven words to the seven sins (i.e., the sins to be remitted);
3–4. Luke 23:34, and a petition for God to forgive the petitioner’s enemies;
5–6. Luke 23:42–43, and a petition for grace as was received by the two thieves;
7–8. John 19:26–27, and a petition for compassion;
9–10. Matthew 27:46/Mark 15:34, and a petition for mercy;
11–12. John 19:28–29, and a petition for contrition through weeping and a thirst for everlasting life;
13–14. Luke 23:46, and a petition for one’s spirit to be commended into God’s hands;
15–16. John 19:30, and a petition for gaining heaven upon death;
17–18. A reminder to say seven Paternosters and seven Aves, and to seek confession, contrition, and satisfaction;
19. Conclusion, reminding the reader that worship of these words will bring remission of sin.
[Fol. 9va–10ra. IMEV, NIMEV 2468. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, incipit and explicit in red. Initial: Large O in blue with red filigree (three lines high). Meter: Nineteen 6-line stanzas, aa4b3cc4b3. Latin Source:De septem verbis Christi in cruce," attributed to Bede (PL 94.562) and standard in books of hours (Woolf, English Religious Lyric, pp. 220–22). Middle English Analogues: “A Prayer on the Words of Christ on the Cross" (Person, Cambridge Middle English Lyrics, pp. 6–8 [no. 4]); “The Seven Words from the Cross" (Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XVth Century, pp. 142–44 [no. 96]). Editions: Halliwell, pp. 62–66, 88; E. Whiting, pp. 58–62, 234–35.]
5–12 This petition for deliverance from the seven deadly sins in a meditation on seven things parallels the petition in Seven Bleedings of Christ, lines 19–60 (see explanatory note).

25–30 Audelay alludes elsewhere in this section of the manuscript to the thief redeemed by Christ; see Prayer on Christ’s Passion, lines 31–35, and the Latin prayer Tu Domine.

40–42 Compare Seven Hours of the Cross, lines 42–44, and Day of Saint John the Evangelist, lines 7–16.

45 dere derlyng. Compare Day of Saint John the Evangelist, line 7.

50–54 Compare Seven Hours of the Cross, line 47.

62–63 Compare Prayer on Christ’s Passion, line 23; O Deus qui voluisti, line 29; Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 51; and Seven Hours of the Cross, line 39.

74–75 Compare Dread of Death, line 50.

85 Compare Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 54.

109–10 These lines are a mnemonic tag. Compare Prayer on Christ’s Passion, lines 37–38, Instructions for Prayer 1, and Instructions for Prayer 8.

The entire sequence is called a “salutation" in Scribe B’s incipit (fol. 10ra) and explicit (fol. 10va), and he assigns it the numeral XX. Halliwell omits this sequence from his edition, but Ella Keats Whiting felt it to be “of interest because of the instruction it gives for the celebration of the sacrament" (p. 235). This mostly vernacular, liturgically based exercise seems designed for a layperson’s instruction. It consists of:
(1) Instructions to the layperson on how to prepare oneself in mind and gesture (kneeling); (2) A salutation to Christ’s body (to be said or read during the Levation itself); (3) Further instructions on how one’s utterance of the next prayer will bring remission of sin; (4) A prayer for pardon (to be said after the Levation); (5) A prayer of adoration (in Latin prose); (6) A prayer of praise and benediction (in Latin verse).
The sequence progresses through the sacrament, spiritually advancing the participant in prayer and wonder, from English to Latin. One may compare the service depicted here to an explication of the Levation during mass found in The Lay Folks Mass (Simmons, Lay Folks Mass Book, pp. 38–60). The prayers found there do not resemble those recorded here by Audelay, who seems to lead this devotion in his capacity as chaplain. The whole sequence is very like those dedicated to Christ and the saints found in the salutations section of MS Douce 302. It is evidently positioned here as a preface to the next poem, Virtues of the Mass. One may also compare this sequence to Audelay’s exposition of the mass in Marcolf and Solomon, lines 832–96. On salutations and prayers conjoined with didactic instructions for following the mass — a subject also worked by Lydgate — see Rubin, Corpus Christi, pp. 155–63, especially p. 160, and on the Levation specifically, pp. 63–82.
[Fol. 10ra. IMEV, NIMEV 4052 (both indexes combine this item with the next three items). Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, incipit in red (referring to entire sequence XX) and underlining of poem in red. Initial: Large W in blue with red filigree (three lines high). Meter: One 6-line stanza, aa4b3cc4b3. Edition: E. Whiting, p. 62 (lines 1–6).]
Called a salutation by Scribe B’s incipit for section XX, this poem may be compared to the series of salutary poems later in the manuscript (fols. 22v–27v). It is metrically unlike any other poem in the Audelay manuscript. A shift to septenary a-lines occurs in stanzas 3–5, where the articles of belief are affirmed. Compare Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 300–20, a paraphrase of the Apostles’ Creed.

[Fol. 10ra–b. Not in IMEV, NIMEV as a separate item (see 4052). MWME 7:2559–61 [204]. Hand: Scribe A, poem in black. Initials: Scribe A’s black initials T and A in lines 14–15 are marked in red. Meter: Seven 8-line stanzas, aaa4-7b3ccc4b3, with “Haile" anaphora in many a- and c-lines. Middle English Analogues: Verse prayers on the Levation are numerous; see IMEV, p. 763, s.v. “Levacion prayers." Many are gathered in Robbins, “Levation Prayers," pp. 131–46. One occurs in the Vernon Manuscript (Horstmann, Minor Poems of the Vernon MS, p. 25). Edition: E. Whiting, pp. 62–64 (lines 7–62).]
7 Halnere. See MED aumener, n. (1), “One who distributes alms for another; an official distributor of alms; a servant at a meal who distributes food," with this line cited among the examples.

26 An early reader (whose style is unlike that of either of the scribes) highlights the word assencion (or perhaps all of lines 25–28) by drawing a sleeved hand pointing upward at it, in the right margin. This drawing seems to point to the sacred moment of Levation, a point that marks the center of the poem as well. The drawing is the best-formed of several small, crude figures made by the same hand on fols. 3rb, 5rb, 6rb, 7rb (a flower?), 9rb, 10rb, 11rb, 13rb (a vertical line), 18rb (marking the climax of Vision of Saint Paul, lines 236–40), 27vb, and 28va. On the nonscribal hands in the manuscript, see the textual notes.

36 gloryouse face. Compare Salutation to the Holy Face, which dramatically expresses this idea accompanied by a drawing.

[Fol. 10rb. IMEV unnumbered (p. 186); not in NIMEV as a separate item (see 4052). Hand: Scribe A, poem in black. Meter: One 8-line stanza, aaa4b3ccc4b3. Edition: E. Whiting, p. 64 (lines 63–70).]
[Fol. 10rb–va. Not in IMEV, NIMEV as a separate item (see NIMEV 4052). Hand: Scribe A, poem in black. Meter: Three 6-line stanzas, aa4-7b3cc4b3. Edition: E. Whiting, pp. 64–65 (lines 71–88).]
1–5 O Lord Jhesu Crist . . . Hongyng on cros. These words open Prayer for Forgiveness in the sequence that follows Virtues of the Mass. Audelay’s Prayer for Forgiveness is the only piece listed in the IMEV and NIMEV with the first words “O Lord Jhesu Crist," suggesting that this prayer opening is an Audelay mannerism.

[Fol. 10va. Hand: Scribe A, prayer in black. Initials: The black initials A (Adoramus) and E (Ecce) are marked in red. Edition: E. Whiting, p. 65.]
[Fol. 10va. Hands: Scribe A, prayer in black; Scribe B, explicit (referring to the entire sequence XX) in red. Initials: The black initial Q (Qui) is marked in red, as are the A, M, and N of A. M. [E.] N. Edition: E. Whiting, p. 65 (printed as prose).]
Audelay’s Virtues of the Mass is a verse sermon that expounds the utility of the mass if properly observed. Rubin calls it a “religious poem and a manual in one." She notes how Audelay “gives the participant in communion an active role, reciting the Pater noster and the Ave Maria; he also surveys the rudiments of knowledge codified by Pecham in the Lambeth Council of 1281" (Corpus Christi, p. 108). Audelay’s emphasis upon lay participation may be compared to similar instructions promulgated in verse and prose by orthodox churchmen of the early fifteenth century — e.g., Lydgate, Mirk, and the compilers of the Vernon Manuscript and the Lay Folks Mass Book; for more sentiments of this type, see the “Schematic Approach to the Mass" (late 1470s) found in “A York Priest’s Notebook" (Shinners and Dohar, Pastors and the Care of Souls, pp. 154–55; compare pp. 165–70). Audelay’s beliefs about the mass, also expressed in Marcolf and Solomon, lines 832–96, are thus informed by traditional Church doctrine. The concern for propriety exhibited by him and other writers existed in a contemporary context of rituals growing more elaborate: “the mass was becoming more and more of a spectacle and less and less of a communion" (Beckwith, Christ’s Body, p. 36; see also Catto, “Religious Change under Henry V," especially p. 109; and Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, pp. 91–130). On social conflict over the mass in late medieval society, amid Wycliffite disputes about transubstantiation, see Beckwith, especially pp. 33–37.

As sermon, Audelay’s poem contains an oft-told, amusing exemplum about a man of great piety (here Augustine of Canterbury, not bishop of Hippo) who is able to see a devil record the sinful words of gossips during mass. Because there is so very much to record, the devil quickly runs out of parchment. Seeing the frustrated devil’s slapstick antics (he tugs at the parchment with his teeth and bangs his head against the wall), the great man laughs aloud — a scandalous thing to do during mass. The devil is here named Ruffin, as in Harley 3954; the same devil-name surfaces in the alliterative stanza Over-Hippers and Skippers copied later in Audelay’s manuscript. In other sources the recording demon is usually Tutivillis. While the Vernon poem cites numerous authorities on the virtues of the mass, e.g., Ambrose, Augustine, Bede, Bernard, Gregory, and Jerome, the primary figure in Audelay’s version is Augustine (Bede and Bernard are just mentioned), with Gregory granting the final pardon enacted by one’s hearing the poem (lines 410–11). In Audelay’s telling of the exemplum, Gregory, who sent Augustine to England to convert the English (lines 274–82) is also Augustine’s questioner. One may note that Haughmond was an Augustinian house, and that Augustine seems to be designated a member of the order.

Audelay’s Virtues of the Mass contains many 12-line stanzas derived from a source shared with the West Midland Vernon analogue (c. 1390), but the passages not corresponding to the Vernon poem are generally composed in 6-line stanzas. (On the 12-line stanza of the Vernon “How to Hear Mass," see Fein, “Twelve-Line Stanza Forms," p. 394.) The Audelay passages not found in the Vernon poem are: lines 31–36, 67–86, 91–168, 205–10, 223–52, and 352–414. The late fifteenth-century version found in MS Harley 3954, in East Midland dialect with some Northernisms, is closer to Audelay’s Virtues of the Mass than to Vernon. Putter, “Language and Metre," pp. 505–06, 510, suggests that Audelay and Harley derive from a common antecedent. There is, nonetheless, much variation between them. The Harley version consists of fifty-three 6-line stanzas. In that version stanzas 30–44 deliver the exemplum, which is formally marked off with an incipit (Narracio seint augustinum) and explicit (finis).

[Fols. 10va–12rb. IMEV, NIMEV 1986 (mistakenly counts “fifty-three 6 line st."); compare IMEV 1988, 4276. MWME 7:2557 [197], 9:3265. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, incipit and explicit in red. Initials: Large L in blue with red filigree (three lines high). Black O (Or) of line 30 is marked in red. Meter: Sixty-nine 6-line stanzas, aa4b3cc4b3, with thirty-six stanzas combinable as 12-line stanzas, aa4b3cc4b3dd4b3ee4b3, indicating the form of Audelay’s model. Analogues: “How to Hear Mass," in fifty-seven 12-line stanzas (aa4b3cc4b3dd4b3ee4b3), Vernon MS, fols. 302va–303vc (Simmons, Lay Folks Mass Book, pp. 128–47; Furnivall, Minor Poems of the Vernon MS, pp. 493–511); London, BL MS Harley 3954, fols. 74r–76r (unedited, except for an extract corresponding to lines 271–348; see Wright and Halliwell, Reliquiae Antiquae, 1:59–60). Editions: Halliwell, pp. 66–81, 88; E. Whiting, pp. 65–79 (lines 50–414 misnumbered), 235–37.]
1–12 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 2 (lines 13–24).

3 helth. The references here and in line 10 to the healing powers of the mass reinforce Audelay’s stated purpose for his book The Counsel of Conscience, that is, soulehele (see explanatory notes to Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 105, 248–60).

13–24 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 3 (lines 25–36).

25–30 Compare “How to Hear Mass," half of stanza 4 (lines 37–42).

37–42 Compare “How to Hear Mass," half of stanza 7 (lines 33–84).

41 For another admonition on how to say mass, compare the alliterative stanza Over-Hippers and Skippers that appears later in the Audelay manuscript, and also Marcolf and Solomon, lines 196–98, and The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 83–88 (explanatory note).

43–54 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 9 (lines 97–108).
43–65 Rubin, Corpus Christi, p. 108, summarizes the “stock of benefits accruing from the mass" that Audelay lists here: “the company of angels all day, freedom from the threat of being struck blind on that day or suffering death, and from the need for food or drink." E. Whiting, p. 236, calls the image of line 47, of angels painting the faces of mass-goers, a “meaningless line," but it is like a tale in Handlyng Synne in which a priest knows the worthiness of those receiving the sacrament when God transforms their faces to pure brightness, or black, or red, or swollen, etc. This exemplum appears in the Vernon Manuscript (Horstmann, Minor Poems of the Vernon MS, pp. 206–07) and in Speculum Sacerdotale (Weatherly, pp. 123–25).

55–66 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 10 (lines 69–73).

67 The emphasis upon Augustine’s authority is a feature of this poem; lines 66–86 do not appear in the Vernon text.

79–84 Rubin, Corpus Christi, p. 108, summarizes these lines: “Belief in the sacrament is stressed, as well as proper kneeling at the sacring with clasped hands and with thoughts intent on Christ."

87–90 Compare “How to Hear Mass," part of stanza 6 (lines 69–72).

103–08 “Here, the reader is reminded that the eucharist was founded at the Last Supper by Christ and that Judas had received it unworthily" (Rubin, Corpus Christi, p. 108). On Judas’s treason, compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 473, 753a, 758; Prayer on Christ’s Passion, lines 4–5; O Deus qui voluisti, lines 4–5, 18; Seven Hours of the Cross, lines 13–18; and The Vision of Saint Paul, line 234.

124 Compare the exposition of these seven points in Paternoster.

138–43 Audelay enumerates the Ten Commandments in True Living, lines 143–54, as well as in Ten Commandments.

160–62 Audelay repeats these verses at lines 364–66.

169–80 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 12 (lines 133–44).

181–92 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 13 (lines 145–56). Compare, too, line 181 to Vernon’s “Of Austin, Ambrose, Bernard, and Bede" (line 91).

193–204 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 22 (lines 253–64).

211–16 Compare “How to Hear Mass," second half of stanza 14 (lines 163–68).

217–22 Compare “How to Hear Mass," first half of stanza 14 (lines 157–62). In line 217 Saint Augustine is substituted for the Vernon text’s Saint Jerome. E. Whiting offers this translation: “St. Austin says that for a thousand souls, if thou wouldst here (on earth) sing a single mass, it counts for neither more nor less than a mass for every soul." Compare Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 92–93.

253–64 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 11 (lines 121–32).

265–76 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 24 (lines 277–88). The reason for Saint Augustine’s order of silence during the mass will be illustrated by the upcoming exemplum, which demonstrates how devils record every word said. On the pastoral tradition of the recording demon, see Jennings, “Tutivillus"; Lee, “‘This is no fable,’" pp. 743–60; and Rubin, Corpus Christi, p. 154.

275 gyn. See MED ging(e, n.1(b), “a body of retainers or followers, a retinue, household." E. Whiting glosses the word as “kin," a less likely derivation and meaning.

277–88 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 25 (lines 289–300).

283 The word the is used as an article in the phrase the Austyn, not as a second-person pronoun, as E. Whiting’s punctuation indicates. Compare line 311. Audelay refers to Augustine as a monk, that is, “the Austin" and thus as one who shares the name of the order of monks residing in Haughmond Abbey.

289–300 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 26 (lines 301–12).

298–342 Augustine and Gregory appear in the Vernon version as well, but the actors differ in the analogues; see E. Whiting, p. 237. Analogues appear in Robert of Brunne’s Handlyng Synne (Furnivall, pp. 290–93, lines 9261–9314) and The Book of the Knight of La Tour-Landry (Wright, pp. 41–42, amidst several more exemplary tales about the mass’s virtues). For further commentary, see Fein, “Thirteen-Line Alliterative Stanza," p. 72n14–15; and Greene, Early English Carols, p. 443, note to no. 372, stanza 3.

301–12 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 27 (lines 313–24).

309 grone. The manuscript reading grame does not rhyme and anticipates the same word in the next line. The Vernon reading is adopted here.

311 the Austyn. See explanatory note to line 283.

313–24 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 28 (lines 325–36).

325–36 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 30 (lines 349–60).

337–48 Compare “How to Hear Mass," stanza 31 (lines 385–96).

349 Compare “How to Hear Mass," line 370.

364–66 These lines repeat Virtues of the Mass, lines 160–62.

411 This statement that Saint Gregory has established a pardon for those who hear “this sermon" prepares for the next item in MS Douce 302, Saint Gregory’s Indulgence.

This sequenced item, which follows directly from the ending of Virtues of the Mass, is identified as carrying an indulgence sanctioned by Saint Gregory the Great, pope from 590 to 604. Numbered XXII by Scribe B, it is a soul-cleansing devotional exercise designed to lessen one’s time in purgatory. The sequence is composed entirely in English couplets. Its sections are differentiated by underlining, paraphs for stanzas or divisions, Latin rubrics, and three large initials. The first twenty-two lines are underlined in red, and paraphs mark Saint Gregory’s Indulgence as two 10-line stanzas, followed by a couplet of instruction. In all, there are five sections:
(1) An introduction (underlined in red), explaining how what follows carries an indulgence established by Saint Gregory when Christ’s figure appeared before him; (2) An instructional couplet (also underlined in red) asking the participant to pray the next item with sincerity; (3) A standard prayer of confession; (4) A second instruction to pray devoutly; (5) A prayer for forgiveness.
In the left margin Scribe B has written in red: here within for / . . . eye [or eyd] a fygur[e]. This partially cut-off fragment appears to be the remnant of an instruction directed to the reader; it may refer the reader to the drawing on fol. 22va, or to some other image now lost. It is an indication that Audelay had an image in mind to accompany this sequence.

[Fol. 12va. IMEV, NIMEV 3834. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, all lines underlined in red, and incipit in red. Initial: Large A in blue with red filigree (three lines high). Meter: Ten tetrameter couplets, marked by blue paraphs as two 10-line stanzas. Edition: E. Whiting, pp. 79–80 (lines 1–20).]
incipit The word papa is written in red after Gregorio and deleted in black ink. Because there is no evidence elsewhere in the book of a later hand with a reformist agenda, I take this deletion to be by Scribe B. Compare textual note to Latin Instructions Quicumque hanc salutacionem, line 2.

1–4 “According to the legend, Pope Gregory, while celebrating Mass in the church of Santa Croce in Gerusaleme in Rome, had experienced a vision of Christ, seated on or standing in his tomb, displaying his Wounds and surrounded by the Implements of the Passion. The legend almost certainly derives from an early medieval Byzantine icon displayed in the church of Santa Croce, which had a chapel dedicated to St Gregory" (Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, p. 238; compare pp. 108–09). The story developed into the image of Christ as the Man of Sorrows, “appearing naked on the altar bleeding into the chalice" (Rubin, Corpus Christi, p. 310). It also developed as a devotion (often illustrated), offering promises of indulgence and effectively popularized in primers (Barratt, “Prymer and Its Influence," pp. 268–71). For specimens of the image, see Duffy, Marking the Hours, pp. 27, 39, 43, 72.

[Fol. 12va. Not in IMEV, NIMEV as a separate item (see 3834). Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, both lines underlined in red and marked by a red paraph. Meter: One tetrameter couplet. Edition: E. Whiting, p. 80 (lines 21–22).]
This Middle English prayer survives in many variants and copies. For another version in seven manuscripts, see NIMEV 3231; a copy of this variant appears in the Vernon Manuscript (Horstmann, Minor Poems of the Vernon MS, pp. 19–20; Patterson, Middle English Penitential Lyric, pp. 50–53, 162–63), where it opens (in twenty-two couplets) a longer poem of confession. There is a good degree of minor verbal variation among the manuscripts, but the rhymes tend to be consistent.

[Fol. 12va–b. IMEV, Suppl., NIMEV 3233. Brown, Register of Middle English Religious and Didactic Verse, 1:114. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, incipit in red. Initial: Medium S in blue with red filigree (two lines high). Meter: Nineteen tetrameter couplets. Other MSS: Cambridge, CUL Ii.6.43, fols. 90v–91v (twenty couplets; Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XIVth Century, pp. 109–10, 271–72 [no. 87]); London, BL MS Addit. 47663 (L), fol. 84r (eighteen couplets; Furnivall, Minor Poems of the Vernon MS, pp. 785–86); olim Fellowes, fol. 166v (sold Sotheby’s, July 6, 1964, lot 231). Edition: E. Whiting, pp. 80–81 (lines 23–60), 237–38.]
2 Coubabil. Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XIVth Century, pp. 271–72, notes that surviving copies of the Prayer of General Confession divide into two groups: those with the word copable at this point, and those with the word gulti. The Vernon version belongs to the latter group. The three manuscripts listed above belong, with MS Douce 302, to the copable group.

5–8 The Vernon text arranges the sins differently: “In Pruide, in Envye, In lecherye, / In Sleuþe, In Wraþþe, In Glotenye, / In al þis worldus Couetyse" (Horstmann, Minor Poems of the Vernon MS, p. 19, lines 5–7). On Audelay’s treatment of the seven deadly sins elsewhere, see explanatory note to Seven Bleedings of Christ, lines 19–60.

6 The poem printed by Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XIVth Century (based on the Cambridge and London manuscripts), has the order of sins reversed: “yn glotonye, yn lecherye" (p. 109, line 6).

10–16 On sinning with the five wits, Patterson notes a parallel passage in a prose confession from an Office of the Visitation of the Sick: “I knowleche to god and to owre lady seynte marie and to alle þe halwen of heuene, that I have senned, with mowth spoken, with feet goon, with eyen seyen, with eren hered, with nose smelled, with herte þowht, and with al myn senful body myswrowth" (Littlehales, English Fragments, p. 8, qtd. Patterson, Middle English Penitential Lyrics, p. 162 ). Compare Audelay’s Five Wits, and see also E. Whiting’s note, p. 238.

24 Audelay uses this line elsewhere, in contexts of sincere petition, in Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, line 20, and Saint Winifred Carol, line 164.

30 The poem printed by Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XIVth Century, inserts a couplet after this line: “For sennes þat ich habbe / yn al my lyue hider-" (p. 110, lines 31–32).

[Fol. 12vb. Not in IMEV, NIMEV. Hand: Scribe A, poem in black. Meter: One tetrameter couplet. Edition: E. Whiting, p. 81 (lines 61–62).]
Audelay concludes the sequence for remission of sins with this prayer for forgiveness, written in a “stanza" of five couplets, as was Saint Gregory’s Indulgence (see above). The scribe inserts a blue paraph to the left of the initial O, as he did earlier for Saint Gregory’s Indulgence and Instructions for Prayer 6. The entire sequence is fitted onto one page (fol. 12va–b), and the final Amen (written by Scribe A) closes the devotion.

[Fol. 12vb. IMEV, NIMEV 2489. Brown, Register of Middle English Religious and Didactic Verse, 1:114. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, incipit in red. Initials: Medium O in red (two lines high). Black A (Amen) after line 10 is marked in red. Meter: Five tetrameter couplets. Edition: E. Whiting, p. 81 (lines 63–72).]
In this poem the concept of “visiting" involves both a pastoral consolation of the “needy" and the metaphysical afflictions God rains upon the sinful soul. The inspiration from Anselm, mentioned often (lines 1, 105, 119, 380), seems to be his office for visiting the dying, Admonitio morienti et de peccatis suis nimium formidanti (PL 158.685–88). Several stanzas appear to be borrowed from other poems by Audelay (as indicated below). Citrome, Surgeon, pp. 93–94, notes how “This poem conflates two common genres, the consolatio (consolation) and the visitation of the sick, both of which presented physical affliction as issuing directly from God."

In structure this work displays symmetry: stanzas 1–15, upon the hardship yet value of being afflicted in this life, as a means to expiate one’s sinfulness, with Peter, Mary Magdalene, and Thomas made the exemplars of God’s mercy extended to sinners; stanza 16 (the center), on Peter exalted as heaven’s gatekeeper and on the establishment of Holy Church and her priests; and stanzas 17–31, on the tenets and sacraments of Holy Church as the way to salvation. The basic message is to be prepared for “soden deth" (line 395) and to trust the Church’s teachings and servants, not leaving the welfare of one’s soul to one’s executors. Audelay’s use of a symmetrical structure, however fleeting in effect, in a poem of thirty-one 13-line stanzas shows him to be working consciously within a tradition reserved primarily for 13-line alliterative poems (see explanatory note to lines 196–204). This fact offers some insight on Audelay’s thoughtful metrics, and particularly on his craftsmanlike knowledge of verse styles matched to content.

[Fols. 12vb–14va. IMEV, NIMEV 2853. MWME 7:2568 [219]. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, incipit and explicit in red. Marginal symbols (possibly misplaced paraphs) appear at lines 202 and 229. Initials: Large S in blue with red filigree (three lines high). Black A (Amen) in line 403 is marked in red. Audelay Signature: Line 390 (Scribe A). Meter: Thirty-one 13-line stanzas, ababbcbc4d3eee3-4d3. Edition: E. Whiting, pp. 82–94, 238–39.]
9–13 Audelay repeats these lines in Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, lines 178–82, and The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 258–61.

29–34 These lines are virtually identical to Audelay’s Conclusion, lines 16–21.

48–49 On Audelay’s attitude about social rank, see the explanatory note to True Living, lines 130–33.

71–73 For the sentiment of this passage, that one should take care of one’s own soul and not trust others to care for it after one’s death, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 89.

87–91 See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 89.

89 For other warnings by Audelay not to trust one’s affairs to an executor, see Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 99, 345–47, and Marcolf and Solomon, line 89 (explanatory note).

92–94 A single mass during one’s lifetime is more effective than a thousand after one’s death. Compare Virtues of the Mass, lines 217–22, which may refer to the same tenet, though the wording is somewhat different.

99 On executors, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 89.

106–13 Citrome notes in these lines echoes of Audelay’s many autobiographical references to his own afflictions, as well as signs of the “uneasy interdependence" that connects spiritual sin to bodily illness (Surgeon, p. 94).

145 For this reference to Mary Magdalene being forgiven, E. Whiting, p. 239, cites Luke 7:47, which occurs in the story of the sinful woman anointing Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:37–50); this unnamed woman was often associated with Mary Magdalene (mentioned later, at Luke 8:2). Compare The Vision of Saint Paul, explicit (and explanatory note).

156–64 These lines and the sense of the whole stanza recur in God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 33–39, where the reference to Luke 15:7 is explicit.

161 Four score is eighty men, but Luke 15:7 references ninety-nine men.

170–78 These lines repeat a stanza in Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 157–65. Line 171 is a formula that recurs in other contexts; compare Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 207; Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 102; and The Vision of Saint Paul, line 332.

196–204 Audelay designs this poem so as to create this central stanza — on the foundation of Holy Church and its priesthood — flanked by fifteen stanzas on either side. It is quite interesting to note Audelay’s deployment of an older tradition in Middle English 13-line stanzaic verse: the opening of a portal at the center of the poem. In The Four Leaves of the Truelove, the event is the Harrowing of Hell. In The Dispute between Mary and the Cross, it is the rebirth of mankind through Mary during the Harrowing. Here, Christ opens the gate of heaven, with Peter made porter. See my discussion in Fein, “Form and Continuity in the Alliterative Tradition," and in my editions of The Four Leaves of the Truelove and The Dispute between Mary and the Cross (Fein, Moral Love Songs).

199 louce and bynd. The words evoke the biblical passage seen to sanctify priestly authority as granted directly from Christ. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 238, 805a, 961a.

202 A scribal symbol in the margin, resembling a paraph, is inserted to the left of this line, which occurs at the exact center of the poem. The same symbol appears next to line 229.

209–11 With the Church established and heaven’s gates opened, the joy expressed in these lines follows the tradition described above (explanatory note to lines 196–204). In keeping with this sacred joy, Audelay evokes the cross in line 211: “Est and west, north and south." This line recalls one like it at the exact center of Thomas of Hales’ Love Rune (Fein, Moral Love Songs, p. 35, line 100; Fein, “Roll or Codex?" p. 18).

218 he token. The idea that God plants sacred signs in nature to betoken his impending judgment recurs in Audelay’s The Counsel of Conscience; compare On the World’s Folly, lines 31–42, and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 57–58.

229 A scribal symbol resembling a paraph marks this line in the left margin. The same symbol appears next to line 202.

287–94 On these lines, Hirsh, Boundaries of Faith, p. 100n20, comments: “Audelay’s linking of Christ’s blood with the Eucharist and with redemption is graceful and conventional, insisting upon the salvational nature of the Passion, as well as the biblical linking of sacrifice and salvation." Compare, too, Audelay’s Seven Bleedings of Christ.

295–96 And beware. . . that uncriston be. Forrest, Detection of Heresy, p. 72, detects in these lines an echo of Chancery proceedings against heresy, which prodded the reporting of heretics to the authorities.

345–47 On executors, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 89.

355 that day when ye schul dee. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 682.

378–90 This is Audelay’s typical signature stanza. Compare The Remedy of Nine Virtues, lines 77–89; Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, lines 196–208; The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 353–65; and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 495–507. The last two stanzas of Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy borrow closely from the last two stanzas of The Remedy of Nine Virtues.

391–98 Compare The Remedy of Nine Virtues, lines 90–97. Lines 391–93 are similar, too, to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 997–99. On the phrase take good eme in line 391, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 53.

Blind Audelay’s English Passion carries an indulgence much like the other devotional sequences in The Counsel of Conscience. It consists of:
(1) Instructions (underlined in red) readying the reader for the whole sequence; (2) A meditation on the vanity of the world; (3) A meditation on the Passion according to the Gospel of John, closing with worship of the five wounds of Christ, to be followed by a recitation of five Paternosters, five Aves, and the Creed (this poem is said to carry an indulgence granted by Pope John XXII of Avignon); (4) A prayer explicit; (5) A meditation on the Seven Hours of the Cross.
Audelay provides the title for this section in Audelay’s Prayer Explicit to Pope John’s Passion. At this point in the manuscript, Scribe B’s guideposts do not entirely agree with the program set out by Scribe A. Scribe B underlines instructions in red, but he does not insert a new numeral, as would be expected by internal signs that Audelay here introduces a devotional sequence honoring the Passion and bringing remission of sins. Instead, Scribe B’s numeral heads Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, the longest item in the sequence.

Audelay uses a generic term to name the sequence — it is a “Passion" (Instructions for Reading 2, line 3) — and later he will repeat the term and call the sequence his own composition in English (Audelay’s Prayer Explicit to Pope John’s Passion, lines 2–3). It is unusual for Scribe B not to follow the program evidently in place when Scribe A began his work. The error seems the result either of inadvertency or of a confusing layout. Scribe B assigns a numeral to Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord because of its visual prominence; it possesses the only large blue-and-red initial in the series. Thus, by layout, Instructions for Reading 2 and On the World’s Folly join as a preface (on fol. 14va–b, with only a red initial I squeezed into a margin) to Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord (opening on fol. 15ra), and the two subsequent red initials on fol. 15v (“O Jhesu" and “Crist") aid one’s meditative progress to Seven Hours of the Cross.
The instructions preface the rest of the sequence, referring to its parts.

[Fol. 14va–b. IMEV unnumbered (p. 213); not in NIMEV. Brown, Register of Middle English Religious and Didactic Verse, 1:114. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, all lines underlined in red. Initial: Large I in black (three lines high, set in the margin at the base of fol. 14va). Meter: Three tetrameter couplets, with red paraphs marking lines 1 and 5. The rhymes may borrow from those of the next item. Edition: E. Whiting, p. 94 (these lines are not numbered).]
3 this Passion. The phrase refers to the whole sequence and most particularly to Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord.

4 This line advertises Seven Hours of the Cross by citing its eighth line.

6 This line summarizes On the World’s Folly, lines 7–15.

ON THE WORLD’S FOLLY          [W12]
Despite E. Whiting’s presentation of this poem in 3-line stanzas, Scribe B’s red paraphs and flourishes, and the syntactical breaks, indicate strophes of 6 lines. Stanza 1 is in Latin, and stanza 2 translates the Latin. Most of the English stanzas employ similar rhyme-sounds, that is, a-rhymes on -e or -ay; b-rhymes on -on, -yn, or -ent. This poem opens the meditation by asking the meditant to reject worldly desires because God’s laws are “turnyd up-so-doun" (line 13). Later the poet refers to “Mede, that swet maydyn" (line 17), a phrase that suggests Audelay’s familiarity with Piers Plowman.

[Fol. 14vb–15ra. IMEV, NIMEV 1211 (both indexes list line 5 as the first line). Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, line 3 in red. Initials: The black initial letters of all lines except lines 1 and 3 (which is all in red) are marked in red. Audelay Signature: Line 72 (Scribe A). Meter: Twelve 6-line stanzas, aa4b3aa4b3. Edition: E. Whiting, pp. 94–97 (the Latin lines are not numbered), 239.]
17 Mede, that swet maydyn. Lady Mede is an allegorical figure that may derive from a common cultural usage or from direct knowledge of Langland’s work. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 705.

25–27 Variants of these lines also occur in Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 110–12, and Ten Commandments, lines 29–32.

31 he. E. Whiting notes that “several illegible letters [are] interlined after he," but the letters here are legible: he token is corrected by Scribe B to hede õe tokyn. This appears to be a rare instance in which Scribe A’s copy is better. Scribe B may have intended to write þe for õe and expects an to be read as and: “Here may you see and heed the token." I have retained the copy of Scribe A, as did E. Whiting.
31–42 Natural portents of God’s judgment (he tokyn and trew tokyn) are a recurrent element in Audelay’s works; compare Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 218, and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 57–58.

58–60 For Audelay’s opinion that one should take care of one’s own soul before death and not entrust it to others, see explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 89.

67–72 This stanza is a condensed variant of Audelay’s signature stanza. Compare lines 67, 71–72, to Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, lines 205, 207–08, and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 504, 506–07, and see also The Remedy of Nine Virtues, lines 101–02.

Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord is to become part of one’s daily spiritual discipline. It is a meditative exercise focused upon the Passion as told in the Gospel of John, the “central text of the Good Friday liturgy" (Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, p. 237), with a few standard details from the other Gospels. It ends by turning the worshiper’s thoughts to the five wounds, and it is to be concluded by a saying of five Paternosters, five Aves, and the Creed (lines 105–20). He or she is also to pair it with the next poem, Seven Hours of the Cross, another mental re-enactment of the Passion, for the two are linked in Scribe B’s incipit, in Scribe A’s Instructions for Reading 2, and by the numeral given to both pieces. Seven Hours of the Cross ends, likewise, as a means for “ful remyssion" (line 85). As further evidence of the connection, the Vernon analogue to Seven Hours of the Cross ends by referring to an indulgence granted by Pope John (see explanatory note to Seven Hours of the Cross, lines 82–90).

[Fol. 15ra–va. IMEV, NIMEV 2764 (both indexes combine this item with Audelay’s Prayer Explicit to Pope John’s Passion). MWME 7:2571–73 [227]. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, first stanza (lines 1–8) underlined in red, and incipit in red. Initials: Large P in blue with red filigree (three lines high), and medium O in red (two lines high), with face drawn in it (line 89). Meter: Fifteen 8-line stanzas, ababbcbC4, with two refrains interchanged: “al hit was for love of thee" and “on thi Passion to have peté." The last stanza does not have either refrain. Edition: E. Whiting, pp. 97–101, 239–40.]
incipit The incipit, written by Scribe B, sets this item in sequence with the next item.

1 XXII. The manuscript reading, xij, is erroneous and has here been emended (though the error may be Audelay’s). The reference is to John XXII, pope at Avignon from 1316 to 1334. On this indulgence, see Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, pp. 237–38.

9 Compare Anima Christi sanctifica me, line 5, and Dread of Death.

16 Used here as a refrain, this line occurs in God’s Address to Sinful Men, line 45, and it is echoed in several Middle English lyrics that voice Christ’s emotional appeal to humankind from the cross. See, for example, Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XIVth Century, pp. 2 (no. 3, line 5), 67 (no. 51, line 4), and 227 (no. 127, line 28).

17 Gospel of Jon. The order of events follows the Passion as told in John 19, with exceptions at lines 30, 57–63, which come from the other Gospels.

41–46 This gruesome detail is common in medieval Passion plays, though it is not found in the Gospels.

50–52 Compare Prayer on Christ’s Passion, line 23; O Deus qui voluisti, line 29; Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, line 40–42; and Seven Hours of the Cross, line 39.

65–66 Compare Seven Hours of the Cross, lines 50–51.

67 On the tradition of blind Longinus in Blind Audelay’s works, see the explanatory note to Seven Bleedings of Christ, line 92, and compare Prayer on Christ’s Passion, line 24; O Deus qui voluisti, line 30; and Seven Hours of the Cross, line 48.

89 The red initial O has a face drawn inside it, as elsewhere when a prayer opens with an address to God. Compare Salutation to Jesus for Mary’s Love, line 91, and Deus qui beatam Annam, line 1. The poem turns at this point to a consideration of the five wounds (compare Audelay’s Seven Bleedings of Christ) and the indulgence created when they are addressed by five Paternosters, five Aves, and the Creed.

110 On Audelay’s conservative attitude on upholding one’s station, see the explanatory note to True Living, lines 130–33.

[Fol. 15va. Not in IMEV, NIMEV as a separate item (see 2764). Hand: Scribe A, poem in black. Audelay Signature: Line 2 (Scribe A). Meter: Two tetrameter couplets. Edition: E. Whiting, p. 101.]
This poem follows the canonical division of the seven stages of the Passion, an ancient Christian trope appearing frequently in medieval English literature (Woolf, English Religious Lyric, pp. 234–37; Barratt, “Prymer and Its Influence," pp. 272–76; Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, pp. 225, 237). The first and last stanzas are Audelay’s original compositions; the second through ninth stanzas are based on Latin originals, which Audelay translates into English verse. Audelay has used the first lines of Latin stanzas for his headings. In addition to the Vernon poem, which bears persistent though loose verbal similarities to Audelay’s poem, other Middle English treatments of the topic can be found in Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XIVth Century, pp. 39–44 (no. 30), 50–51 (no. 34; see also R. Morris, Legends of the Holy Rood, pp. 222–24), and 69–70 (no. 55). Seven Hours of the Cross represents the second time in The Counsel of Conscience that Audelay positions a seven-part mnemonic meditation at the end of a long devotional Passion sequence; earlier in MS Douce 302, Seven Words of Christ on the Cross followed The Psalter of the Passion. Compare also Seven Bleedings of Christ.

[Fols. 15va–16ra. IMEV, NIMEV 623. Hand: Scribe A, poem and incipit in black, and Latin stanza headings in red. Initial: Medium C in red (two lines high), with quatrefoil drawn in it. Meter: Ten 9-line stanzas, aaaa7b3ccc4b3. Latin Source: Simmons, Lay Folks Mass Book, pp. 83, 85, and 87. Middle English Analogues: Vernon MS “The Hours of the Cross," in fourteen 8-line stanzas, aaaa7b3b7cc4 (Horstmann, Minor Poems of the Vernon MS, pp. 37–42); “York Hours of the Cross" (Simmons, Lay Folks Mass Book, pp. 82, 84, 86). Edition: E. Whiting, pp. 101–04, 240.]
1 Red initial C has a quatrefoil drawn inside it. With the O of Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 89, this ornament brings meditational focus to fol. 15v.

8 This line is cited in the fourth line of Instructions for Reading 2.

9a–14 The heading alludes to an anonymous fourteenth-century Latin hymn: “Patris sapiencia, veritas diuina, / Deus homo captas est hora matutina, / A notis discipulis cito derelictus, / A iudeis traditus, venditus, afflictus" (Simmons, Lay Folks Mass Book, p. 83, lines 8–11). Lines 10–14 paraphrase the hymn itself, which was well known by English readers because books of hours incorporated it into the Office of the Virgin and from there it was adapted to vernacular primers (Woolf, English Religious Lyric, p. 235; Barratt, “Prymer and Its Influence," pp. 272–76). Littlehales, Prymer or Lay Folks’ Prayer Book, p. 15, prints a specimen: “The wisdom of þe fadir, / þe treuþe of þe hiõ king, / God and man was takun / In þe morenyng. / Of hise knowun disciplis / Soone he was forsak; / Sold & put to peyne, / Mankynde saaf to make." For another Middle English version, see Simmons, p. 82, lines 12–17.

13–18 On Judas’s treason, compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 473, 753a, 757; Prayer on Christ’s Passion, lines 4–5; O Deus qui voluisti, lines 4–5, 18; Virtues of the Mass, lines 103–08; and The Vision of Saint Paul, line 234.

39 Compare Prayer on Christ’s Passion, line 23; O Deus qui voluisti, line 29; Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, lines 61–62; and Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 50.

42–44 Compare Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, lines 40–42, and Day of Saint John the Evangelist, lines 7–16.

47 Compare Seven Words of Christ on the Cross, lines 50–54.

48 On the tradition of blind Longinus in Blind Audelay’s works, see the explanatory note to Seven Bleedings of Christ, lines 92, and compare Prayer on Christ’s Passion, line 24; O Deus qui voluisti, line 30; and Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 68.

50–51 Compare Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, lines 65–66.

57 Cited by Woolf, English Religious Lyric, p. 236.

82–90 The pronoun shifts from he/him to ye in this stanza (line 88). The Vernon analogue provides a concluding stanza (in a shortened 6-line form) that connects the piece to an indulgence granted by Pope John: “Þe Pope Ion haþ graunted: A ful feir pardoun / To alle þat siggen þis Matyns: Wiþ good deuocioun: / A õer in purgatorie: Of Remissioun, / So þat heo ben clene i-schriuen: Wiþ verrey Contricioun, / Þorwh Grace. / God send us lyues fode: And in heuene a place. AMEN" (Horstmann, Minor Poems of the Vernon MS, p. 43, lines 113–18). On this indulgence, see Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, pp. 237–38.

The archetype of this poem had a widespread distribution in the Middle Ages, according to Priebsch, ranging from Latin, Welsh, Old English, Old French, and Old Czech. Thirteenth-century English chronicles record its use by Abbot Eustace of Flay, a religious reformer and preacher of the crusade, as an eccentric instrument of popular devotionalism (W. R. Jones, “Heavenly Letter," pp. 166–75). The only verse version in Middle English is this one by Audelay, though the tradition does appear in an anonymous sermon edited from Durham University Library MS Cosin V.IV.2 by V. M. O’Mara (Study and Edition of Selected Middle English Sermons, pp. 115–40). Priebsch prints a Latin text from an English manuscript (Royal that must be closely related to Audelay’s own source text. Only a few points in Audelay’s poem do not correspond to material in this Latin copy, and some of these gaps were probably supplied by his actual source. The tradition is that the letter descended from Christ’s own hand directly to Saint Peter named bishop, sometimes of Antioch, sometimes of Nimes, sometimes of Gaza. Audelay’s version derives from the Gaza tradition. Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday explains the importance of Sunday in God’s own stern voice. Many manuscripts pair this text with The Vision of Saint Paul, as does Audelay. Latin texts of these two works appear side by side in MS Royal, with the Visio (fols. 23r–24r) preceding the Epistle (fol. 24r–v). This fifteenth-century manuscript was copied by an English scribe who signs himself Thomas Brewse. It contains sermons, miracles, tales, and homilies (some set in England) chiefly in Latin with some English notes.

Two other works in The Counsel of Conscience adopt the speaking voice of God: The Remedy of Nine Virtues and God’s Address to Sinful Men (the work that follows The Vision of Saint Paul).

[Fols. 16ra–17ra. IMEV, NIMEV 2324. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black, and long incipit (fol. 16ra, base) in red; Scribe B, short incipit (fol. 16rb, top) in red. Initial: Large N in blue with red filigree (three lines high). Audelay Signature: Line 208 (Scribe A). Meter: Sixteen 13-line stanzas, ababbcbc4d3eee4d3. Latin Source: “Second Redaction of the Epistle," as found in London, BL MS Royal, fol. 24r (Priebsch, “John Audelay’s Poem," pp. 400–06). Editions: Priebsch, “John Audelay’s Poem," pp. 397–407; E. Whiting, pp. 104–11, 240–41.]
incipits The order of incipits is reversed because the one by Scribe B provides the topical “title" for the piece, while Scribe A’s incipit provides an introduction spoken by “Peter of Gaza." One can compare the double incipit for the Salutation to Jesus for Mary’s Love and the long incipit and explicit for The Vision of Saint Paul.

1–13 These lines paraphrase and expand Scribe A’s incipit. They do not appear in the Latin text of MS Royal, which opens with a phrase similar to Scribe B’s incipit: “Incipit epistola de Cristo filio dei et de sancto die dominico."

46 loveday. See explanatory note to Marcolf and Solomon, line 390.

86–91 This passage does not appear in the Latin text of MS Royal

99 word of wordis. “forever and ever, to all eternity." The MED provides many examples of this Middle English phrase deriving from translation of the Vulgate phrases “in saeculum," “in saeculum saeculi," “in saecula saeculorum"; see world, n. 6. (b). Audelay uses the phrase elsewhere in Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, line 142; God’s Address to Sinful Men, line 259; and Song of the Magnificat, line 91.

114–17 This is a difficult passage, but the emendation of Priebsch and E. Whiting (for for fro in line 114) does not help it significantly. The idea expressed comes from one of Audelay’s favorite biblical phrases, in which God declares he does not wish the death of a sinner (Ezechiel 33:11, and also Ezechiel 18:23, 18:32). Compare the Nolo mortem peccatoris refrain in God’s Address to Sinful Men, the parallel use of this biblical passage in the The Vision of Saint Paul, explicit, as well as its occurrences in True Living, line 128, and Marcolf and Solomon, line 790. Interestingly, the passage is cited in a Suffolk priest’s 1429 confession of Lollardy (Shinners and Dohar, Pastors and the Care of Souls, p. 280).

142 word of wordis. See explanatory note to Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, line 99.

144–48 These lines do not appear in the Latin text of MS Royal Priebsch locates a corresponding passage in “the corrupt Todi MS" (“John Audelay’s Poem," p. 405), which he does not further identify.

170–205 These three stanzas do not correspond to anything in the Latin text.
170–82 This stanza on the joys of heaven contains elements found in other Audelay 13-lines poems. The closest corresponding stanza is The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 249–61. Compare lines 174–75 to The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 253–54, and God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 253–54; and lines 178–82 to The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 258–61, and Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 9–13.

196–208 This is Audelay’s signature stanza. Compare The Remedy of Nine Virtues, lines 77–89; Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 378–90; The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 353–65; and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 495–507.

The Vision of Saint Paul is Audelay’s translation from Latin of “the most influential of all the medieval accounts of journeys to the otherworld" (Easting, “‘Choose yourselves,’" p. 170; see also Silverstein, Visio Sancti Pauli). Many other Middle English writers also translated this popular narrative, including one poet whose work appears in the Vernon Manuscript (see below). Amid many warnings in The Counsel of Conscience about the pains of hell, this piece makes them visually real, as gazed upon by an astonished Paul, a figure to whom Audelay gives prominence elsewhere. The apostle is invoked in the first poem that survives in MS Douce 302, True Living, line 215, for his letter on faith, hope, and charity (as safeguards against Doomsday), and again in the last item of The Counsel of Conscience, Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 16, where Paul’s visitation of blindness seems a model for Audelay’s own condition. Paul’s journey through hell is led by the archangel Michael. One may note that a feather-winged effigy of Michael stands between the outside arches of the chapter house in the remains of Haughmond Abbey. There he is depicted holding a shield and a cross-staff, with which he pierces a dragon at his feet.

The poem possesses an unusually long incipit and explicit, both written by Scribe A, and there is no opening initial. These departures from normal layout may be part of the way in which Audelay formally joins this piece to Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday. The linkage was traditional: with both pieces moralizing upon the value of the Sabbath, their Latin texts appear side by side in other manuscripts. The long incipit of the Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday along with the long incipit and explicit for The Vision of Saint Paul may also suggest a shared exemplar. While Audelay’s Latin original can be speculatively reconstructed, no known manuscript has been shown to match all its features (Easting, pp. 170–71). Audelay also adds many lines of his own — 155 out of 365 by Easting’s estimate. His general method is “to start a new stanza with a new movement in the Latin, but then to elaborate in the later part of the stanza, perhaps when the demands of the rhyme scheme make it easier to invent freely than to translate faithfully" (Easting, p. 177).

As with Seven Hours of the Cross, The Vision of Saint Paul has an analogue in the Vernon Manuscript, a 346-line poem in tetrameter couplets (fols. 230rc–231ra; R. Morris, Old English Miscellany, pp. 223–32), but in this case verbal correspondences are negligible. Seven Audelay stanzas — including his signature stanza and another borrowed from True Living — have no parallel in the Vernon text. The narrative affinities may be charted as follows:
Audelay Stanza     
1 (1–13)
2 (14–26)
3 (27–39)
4 (40–52)
5 (53–66)
6 (67–79)
7 (80–92)
8 (93–105)
9 (106–18)
10 (119–31)
11 (132–44)
12 (145–57)
13 (158–70)
14 (171–83)
15 (184–96)
16 (197–209)
17 (210–22)
18 (223–35)
19 (236–48)
20 (249–61)
21 (262–74)
22 (275–87)
23 (288–300)
24 (301–13)
25 (314–26)
26 (327–39)
27 (340–52)
28 (353–65)
Vernon Lines
V 1–12
V 13–20
V 37–54
V 21–36
V 55–86
V 87–102
V 103–14
V 115–28
V 129–50
V 151–62
V 163–72
V 173–88
V 189–200
V 201–14
V 215–30
V 231–54
V 255–72
V 273–90
V 291–314
V 315–30
V 331–40
[Fols. 17ra–18vb. IMEV, NIMEV 3481. MWME 2:646 [320d]. Hand: Scribe A, poem in black, long incipit and long explicit in red. Audelay Signature: Line 365 (Scribe A). Meter: Twenty-eight 13-line stanzas, ababbcbc4d3eee4d3. A nonrhyming Latin line is inserted in the fifth stanza, breaking the pattern. Latin Prose Source: “Vision of Saint Paul Latin Redaction IV," as found, e.g., in London, BL MS Harley 2851 (Brandes,“Über die Quellen," pp. 44–47; Perman, “Henri d’Arci," pp. 316–19; for a translation, see Barber and Bate, Templars, pp. 111–15). Gardiner, Medieval Visions of Heaven and Hell, pp. 179–94, surveys scholarship on the tradition, which appeared in many cultures and languages. Other Versions in Middle English: Three in verse, two in prose (Easting, Annotated Bibliographies, pp. 31–42). Editions: R. Morris, Old English Miscellany, pp. 210–22; E. Whiting, pp. 111–23, 241–42.]
21–26 Easting notes that these lines are added by Audelay: “Presumably, Audelay is being sufficiently careful here that we should also match up heads and tongues with gluttony, and hands and feet with sloth" (“‘Choose yourselves,’" p. 173).

30 stod on a lye. See MED lei(e, n.2(g), “on fire, ablaze, alight," for which Audelay’s line is cited.

36–51 Audelay here converts a Latin narrative passage into the archangel Michael’s direct speech.

37 monslers. This word, meaning “manslayers," is added by Audelay, and “one might claim it is a significant (uncensored?) moment, given Audelay’s involvement in his patron’s fatal fracas in St. Dunstan’s in the East on Easter Sunday 1417" (Easting, “‘Choose yourselves,’" p. 173).

39 deseredyn. See MED disheriten, v.1(a). “To dispossess (sb.) of an inheritance." E. Whiting’s gloss of the word — “desired" — is incorrect.

43 broudun. See MED brouden, v.1(b), “to writhe, twist." The MED provides only three instances of the verb’s appearance, one being this one and another by Lydgate.

49 Audelay speeds up the revolutions of the whirling, burning wheel from one thousand per day, in the source, to one thousand per hour (Easting, “‘Choose yourselves,’" p. 174; Barber and Bate, Templars, p. 112).

54–56 “This demonic scene of sheep-eating fish is less surreal when the Latin shows that Audelay may have missed a crucial link" (Easting, “‘Choose yourselves,’" p. 174): in the Latin the fish are likened by simile to wolves that devour sheep (Barber and Bate, Templars, p. 112). Compare Vernon: “Of hem tok I no more kep, / But as a lyun doth of a schep" (lines 63–64). While the word chep seems best explained as a translation of oves, one might perhaps construe Audelay’s sense to be “as if it were a bargain (i.e., cheap)." The difficulty with this solution is that in Audelay’s day chep was a noun only (MED chep, n.1(a), “bargaining, dickering"), and it generally had to appear in a phrase such as to god chepe to denote “at low cost."

83–88 Easting notes that there is much elaboration by Audelay throughout this section, and especially here on “the unneighborly prevention of others from hearing Mass by chattering" (“‘Choose yourselves,’" p. 175). On Audelay’s concern for the problem of disrespect shown for God’s service, compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 196–98; Virtues of the Mass, lines 40–42; Over-Hippers and Skippers, lines 1–13; and the explanatory note to Cur Mundus, line 40.

139–44 Here Audelay elaborates on “unchaste girls who slew their infants" (Easting, “‘Choose yourselves,’" p. 177), and he is somewhat less harsh than the Latin writer. Audelay portrays such girls as victims whom the devil blinds with despair. This softens somewhat the Latin original, rendered in lines 135–38, where they abjure penance and throw their infants to both hounds and pigs (Barber and Bate, Templars, p. 113).

146 kamels. The tantalized fast-breakers ride camels in Audelay and also in some Latin versions. The mistranslation of “super canalia amnis" (above channels of water) was therefore something that Audelay inherited and did not invent. See Easting “‘Choose yourselves,’" p. 177; Barber and Bate, Templars, p. 113.

165 neclygent mon. Easting, “‘Choose yourselves,’" explains that many texts indicate that the man was a negligent bishop; Audelay may be changing this detail, or he may have had a exemplar that lacked the word episcopus (p. 178).

173 gret payn. The phrase needs to be construed as superlative: “greatest pains." See Easting, “‘Choose yourselves,’" p. 179.

209 The emphasis on the church’s necessary sacraments is added by Audelay.

216–35 This passage is Audelay’s longest addition within the body of the narrative (Easting, “‘Choose yourselves,’" pp. 180–81). In the original, Michael speaks a one-line sentence. On the doctrine of free will (line 218) in Audelay’s works, see the explanatory note to True Living, lines 203–07.

234 On Judas’s treason, compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 473, 753a, 757; Prayer on Christ’s Passion, lines 4–5; O Deus qui voluisti, lines 4–5, 18; Virtues of the Mass, lines 103–08; and Seven Hours of the Cross, lines 13–18.

236–40 An early reader, probably the same one who noted the climax of Audelay’s Levation sequence, has marked this passage with two large xs in the left margin. See explanatory note to Salutation to Christ’s Body, line 26.

249–61 This stanza on the rejoicing of those in heaven is Audelay’s addition, and he builds it from units used in other 13–line poems in The Counsel of Conscience, especially the companion poem Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday. Compare Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 10–13; Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, lines 174–75, 179–83; and God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 253–54.

275–87 Lines 277 and 282 are Audelay’s own additions. He is elaborating on the depth of Christ’s sacrifice for humankind and God’s own appeal for human repentance. By filling out this stanza with God’s direct address to people, Audelay appears to be preparing for the content of the next poem in the The Counsel of Conscience series: God’s Address to Sinful Men. He is also borrowing from a lyric tradition of Christ’s appeal from the cross; in Middle English, see, for example, Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XIVth Century, pp. 2 (no. 3, line 5), 67 (no. 51, line 4), 227 (no. 127, line 28), and In a Valley of This Restless Mind (Fein, Moral Love Songs, pp. 57–86). Compare also Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, lines 49–56.

293–300 On the Sunday respite, see Silverstein, Visio Sancti Pauli, pp. 79–81.

314–26 E. Whiting, p. 241, claims that this passage is not found in the Latin, but Easting, “‘Choose yourselves,’" pp. 171, 182, shows that it is.

317 The number 4,140 is a corruption of 144,000 (Apocalypse 7:4). Easting, "Choose yourselves," p. 182, discusses how this number was often garbled in transmission. Compare the number of slain innocents in Audelay’s Day of the Holy Innocents, line 13 (and explanatory note).

340–52 This stanza corresponds to True Living, line 13–25.

353–65 This is another variation of Audelay’s usual signature stanza. Compare The Remedy of Nine Virtues, lines 77–89; Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 378–90; Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, lines 196–208; and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 495–507. Lines 361–65 also occur in Audelay’s Conclusion, lines 35–39.

explicit This item, written by Scribe A, appears at the base of fol. 18vb. I therefore include it with The Vision of Saint Paul, varying from E. Whiting, who made it the incipit for God’s Address to Sinful Men. It serves usefully as a bridge between the two works, concluding the vision of hell’s pains with God’s promise that sinners can be saved. It also has God speak in direct address, using the words from Ezekiel 33:11 (“I do not wish the death of a sinner, but rather that he turn and live") that will be the refrain of the next poem. Note too that God speaks in direct address in The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 275–87. Audelay uses the Ezekiel passage frequently (see explanatory note to Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, lines 114–17). The poet here references numerous other biblical passages. Compare Isias 45:22: “Return to me, for I have redeemed thee"; Mark 3:18: “For he called the Cananaean and the publican to repentance"; and Psalms 33:12: “And so you also, unbelievers, come and hear, because I will teach you the fear of the Lord." The reference to “the one who wept for [her] sin" alludes to Mary Magdalene (compare Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 145, and explanatory note). The final sentence of this long explicit readies the reader for the next item: “And so you also, unbelievers, come and hear."

XXVII. THE LORD’S MERCY          W17–W18]
Scribe B’s incipit and numeral at the top of fol. 19ra seem intended to embrace the final three works of The Counsel of Conscience and provide a topical name for this closing movement:
(1) God’s Address to Sinful Men; (2) Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience; and (3) Finito libro colophon.
With the spectacles witnessed in The Vision of Saint Paul creating a point of emotional climax, the rest of The Counsel of Conscience reminds the reader of God’s mercy — first, as granted to sinners in general, and then, more directly, as will be delivered to Audelay and to users of his book. The lack of a distinguishing large initial to signal the beginning of Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience connects it visually to God’s Address to Sinful Men, though the two poems are metrically different.
Combined with Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, this piece frames The Vision of Saint Paul with God’s direct injunctions and appeals. (For another piece adopting God’s voice, see The Remedy of Nine Virtues.) It also prefaces Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, highlighting the broad final movement of The Counsel of Conscience in which Audelay’s exhortations for penance merge with a personal belief that his own physical afflictions betoken God’s mercy. Lacking about forty percent of its original length (because of a missing folio), this poem contains many phrases and passages found elsewhere in Audelay’s works. While the sequence of composition cannot be fully ascertained, it does seems likely that this work borrows from True Living (as do several carols), the apparently earlier work (see Pickering, “Make-Up," pp. 129–30). There are also many interesting correspondences with Marcolf and Solomon.

[Fols. 19ra–20rb. IMEV, NIMEV 171. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black and Latin stanza headings in red; Scribe B, incipit (for everything under the numeral XXVII) and one stanza heading (on fol. 19rb) in red. Initial: Large A in blue with red filigree (three lines high). Meter: Thirty-three 8-line stanzas (with several missing; see explanatory note to line 189), ababbcbC4, with a Latin refrain: “Nolo mortem peccatoris." One irregular 12-line stanza (lines 221–32) rhymes ababababbabA4 with all b-lines in Latin. Edition: E. Whiting, pp. 123–33, 242–43.]
8 On Audelay’s frequent use of this biblical passage, compare True Living, line 128; Marcolf and Solomon, line 790; Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, line 115; and the explicit to The Vision of Saint Paul. It may hold a contemporary resonance in regard to correction of Lollards; it occurs in a confession of heresy made by a Suffolk priest in 1429 (Shinners and Dohar, Pastors and the Care of Souls, p. 280).

33–39 These lines also appear in Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 157–64.

45 Audelay uses a variant of this line elsewhere as a refrain; see explanatory note to Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 16. Compare also The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 275–87.

52 The importance of Sunday as God’s own day is the central topic of Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday and an important subsidiary topic in The Vision of Saint Paul, where the souls in hell receive a Sunday reprieve from torment.

84–87 Citrome notes the tension inherent in these lines on God’s vengeance upon the unrepentant, written by the chaplain whose ailments remain unabated (Surgeon, p. 95).

98 Noting “the cultural primacy of the rhetoric of confession" pervasive in Audelay’s works, Citrome cites this symbolic action of kneeling before the priest as enjoined by manuals of confession (Surgeon, p. 87).

113 esy penans. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, line 925; the proper administration of penance is further developed in God’s Address to Sinful Men, lines 137–44, a passage borrowed from Marcolf and Solomon.

137–59 These three stanzas derive from two stanzas of Marcolf and Solomon. Lines 137–43 correspond to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 923–28; lines 145–51 to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 936–44; and lines 153–59 to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 931–35.

145–51 On the trope of the Four Daughters of God (Psalm 84:11), which is a bit confused here (Peace, not Grace, should be one of the Daughters), see the explanatory notes to Marcolf and Solomon, lines 937–43, 938–39.

170–71 These lines correspond to True Living, lines 175–76. On the seven works of mercy theme, compare, more broadly, True Living, lines 173–79, and Seven Works of Mercy, lines 1–4, 8–10.

189 The loss of a folio after line 189 indicates that an estimated twenty-two stanzas are missing.

197–220 Here Audelay borrows quite directly from True Living, lines 238–58; compare also Seven Works of Mercy, lines 15–32.

213–20 Audelay borrows these lines from True Living, lines 251–58, and they also appear as two stanzas of Seven Works of Mercy (lines 22–25, 29–32).

233–39 For the legend of Saint Martin, bishop of Tours, see Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend, trans. Ryan, 2:292–300. The story alluded to here tells of Martin cutting his cloak in two in order to share it with a poor stranger, whom he learns later by a vision was Christ himself (2:292). On this story as a reinforcement to the seven works of mercy, see Goldberg, Medieval England, p. 230.

253–54 Compare Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, lines 174–75, and The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 253–54.

259 word of wordis. “forever and ever, to all eternity." The MED provides many examples of this Middle English phrase deriving from translation of the Vulgate phrases “in saeculum," “in saeculum saeculi," “in saecula saeculorum"; see world, n. 6. (b). Audelay uses the phrase elsewhere in Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, lines 99, 142, and Song of the Magnificat, line 91.

This poem possesses a rudimentary chanson d’aventure framing device at lines 27 and 482, and this frame draws attention to what may be Audelay’s plan for structural elegance: an introduction (two stanzas), a main body (thirty-five stanzas), a conclusion (two stanzas). He uses symmetry by stanza count in at least one other 13-line poem, Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy (see explanatory notes for that poem). In the central stanza of Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience (lines 248–60), Audelay defends himself from charges of Lollardy, feeling himself beseiged by “Godis enmys" (line 249). The chanson d’aventure opening is a feature of Three Dead Kings (appearing later in MS Douce 302) and other Middle English poems in the 13-line stanzaic tradition (e.g., The Four Leaves of the Truelove, Summer Soneday, Awntyrs off Arthure). It is also, of course, the opening mode for Piers Plowman, Pearl, and many short lyrics (catalogued by Sandison).

The poem is important both for the presence of many autobiographical details — matched in the manuscript only by the Finito libro colophon and Audelay’s Conclusion — and for its naming of the manuscript to this point: The Counsel of Conscience or The Ladder of Heaven (lines 417–48). The poem serves as an encouragement to those who seek “soulehele" (line 105), the same term used, interestingly, by the compiler of the Vernon Manuscript to characterize its contents.

[Fols. 20rb–22vb. IMEV, NIMEV 1200. Hands: Scribe A, poem in black; Scribe B, Latin stanza headings in red. Initials: None, but see explanatory note to line 27. Audelay Signatures: Lines 6, 507 (both by Scribe A). Meter: Thirty-nine 13-line stanzas, ababbcbc4d3eeed3-4. Edition: E. Whiting, pp. 133–49, 243.]
1 This poem begins with no capital or break from the preceding poem, except for the change in meter, which is marked in red at lines 10 and 12 here and in the succeeding stanzas (as are all 13-line stanzas in the manuscript). There is an indicator for a break at line 27. Citrome reads this opening line as marking a transition from the last poem, with Audelay framing himself as “interced[ing] with God on behalf of his sinful race to prevent an impending onslaught of divine vengeance. . . . [The line] suggests not only an author bringing an extended project to a close but a man at the end of life settling his affairs" (Surgeon, p. 95).

14–26 Citrome comments: “In this single passage Audelay rationalizes his illness in three distinct ways: as an example to others to reform their lives, as a manifestation of Christ’s mercy, and as an early purgatory here in the world" (Surgeon, p. 96). On the idea of illness as an earthly purgatory, compare Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 478–79, and the explanatory note to Childhood, lines 43–46.

27 This line reads as the opening of a chanson d’aventure, and line 482 indicates the frame’s closure. That Audelay depicts himself supine upon a bed, visited by a divine messenger with a prophetic warning, evokes the feel of a dream vision. A marginal mark indicates that a large initial was to appear at the head of this stanza. The same mark appears beside completed initials on fols. 15r and 16r.

57 hye tokenyng. The idea that God plants sacred signs in nature to betoken his impending judgment recurs elsewhere in Audelay’s The Counsel of Conscience; compare Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 218, and On the World’s Folly, lines 25–36. Later in Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience these signs are taken as the signs of Doomsday foretold in Luke 17:24–30 (see lines 185–208).

105 soulehele. This term (also given in Latin, Salus anime) is the title applied to the Vernon Manuscript by its compiler (Doyle, “Shaping," p. 3). Pearsall, Old English and Middle English Poetry, takes its sense there to be “a comprehensive library of religious reading for every use" (p. 140), which is much like the aim of Audelay’s The Counsel of Conscience. The term was widespread in devotional and literary use; see MED soule-heil, n., and soule-hele, n. Compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 526, 798; Virtues of the Mass, line 3 (explanatory note); and Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 248–60 (explanatory note).

110–12 Variants of these lines also occur in On the World’s Folly, lines 25–27, and Ten Commandments, lines 29–32.

115 Audelay reiterates this grouping of “word, will, deed, and thought" — the four “treasures" that we take with us when we die — two more times in Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, at lines 146 and 281; twice in Salutation to Saint Bridget, at lines 35 and 38; Chastity for Mary’s Love, line 7; Virginity of Maids, line 1; and Dread of Death, line 32.

146 On “word, will, deed, and thought," see the explanatory note to Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 115.

154 Falling into sin through “frailty" is a formulaic thought for Audelay. Compare Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 300; Salutation to Jesus for Mary’s Love, line 71; Song of the Magnificat, line 77; and Salutation to the Holy Face, line 13.

155 gren. See MED grin(e, n.(b), “a trick, strategem, deceit; temptation."

157–65 These lines repeat a stanza in Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 170–78. Line 158 is a formula that occurs in other contexts; compare Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 207; Pope John’s Passion of Our Lord, line 102; and The Vision of Saint Paul, line 332.

185–208 See explanatory note to Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 57.

202–03 The incompleteness of these lines is peculiar. E. Whiting notes that they cannot be read because of an “imperfection in the parchment" (p. 139). The absent words would occupy the space where there is a sewn hole. Scribe A avoided the patched hole entirely when he wrote text on fol. 21va. However, when he had earlier arrived at this point on fol. 21rb, it appears that he left the lines incomplete. The lacuna may itself enact the terror of beholding the signs of Doomsday. Scribe B does not add any corrections, and there are signs of erasure to the right of the sewn hole.

218 This proverb is the burden for Audelay’s Seven Deadly Sins (see explanatory note), and it also underlies Marcolf and Solomon, lines 42–43.

220–21 “Heaven or hell — it’s your choice." Audelay repeats this idea later in the poem, at lines 398–99. On Audelay’s discussions of free will elsewhere, see explanatory note to True Living, lines 203–07.

244–46 Audelay uses this formula in True Living, lines 156–59, and The Remedy of Nine Virtues, lines 73–75.

248–60 This stanza is the central one of Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience. It points to the orthodoxy that Audelay claims for himself and his writings (and especially, here, for the works contained in The Counsel of Conscience). It is intriguing that Audelay has used the concept of seeking soulehele (see explanatory note to line 105) to describe his endeavor, because that earlier vast compendium of “Sawlehele," the Vernon Manuscript, seems to have been likewise an effort to affirm the Church’s true teachings against a rising Lollard threat (Blake, “Vernon Manuscript," pp. 58–59; Heffernan, “Orthodoxies’ Redux," pp. 79–80). Audelay speaks elsewhere, especially in Marcolf and Solomon, lines 131–43, 669–88, of how different true belief is from Lollardy, and how dangerous it has become to speak out fervently in defense of authorized Church teachings. Hudson, Premature Reformation, characterizes Audelay’s position here — that “enthusiasm for virtue" might be taken for Lollardy — as an “extreme" stance among early fifteenth-century clerical writers (pp. 22–23).

281 On “word, will, deed, and thought," see explanatory note to Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 115.

300 On the formula of falling into sin through frailty, see explanatory note to Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, line 154.

321 Jean Beleth, a twelfth-century Parisian doctor of divinity, was the author of Rationale divinorum officiorum (PL 202.1–166; see also Douteil, Iohannis Beleth). Orthodox English preachers of the fifteenth century frequently cited Beleth as an authority on Church ritual and liturgical observance; see, for example, Speculum Sacerdotale (Weatherly, pp. xxvii–xxx); and Wenzel, Latin Sermon Collections, pp. 61, 320.

352–55 On God speaking through Holy Writ, compare Marcolf and Solomon, lines 1–9 (explanatory note), 210–11. Audelay’s rhetorical style, amply salted with Scripture, exemplifies this belief.

374–76 These lines occur in Marcolf and Solomon, lines 504–06.

381 Audelay uses the proverb about blind Bayard (a horse) “blustering forth" as a sign of someone’s recklessness. The comparison here is to Audelay himself as blind prophetic poet. The proverb also occurs in Marcolf and Solomon, lines 952 (explanatory note) and 993.
381–85 These lines occur in Marcolf and Solomon, lines 952–56.

398–99 See explanatory note to Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 220–21.

417–18 The Cownsel of Conseans . . . The Ladder of Heven. Audelay names his “book" here. The makeup of MS Douce 302 indicates that this dual title refers to all the preceding matter, apparently, that is, everything contained on fols. 1r–22v, the first section of the manuscript. The colophon repeats this dual title.

478–79 On Audelay’s notion that his illness constitutes an early purgatory, see the explanatory note to Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, lines 14-26.

482–85 Lines 482–83 close the chanson d’aventure frame initiated at line 27, and they also refer directly to Audelay’s daily existence in an abbey “here be west," that is, Haughmond Abbey, as identified in the Finito libro colophon. Audelay portrays himself as a sick man who, although bedridden, is often wakeful and stricken in conscience (i.e., lacking in “rest"). In this state he diligently and dolorously “makes" his book. Compare Audelay’s Conclusion, lines 40–52. Line 484 appears in Dread of Death, line 43. Haberly uses these four lines to preface an illustrated woodcut edition (Alia Cantalena de Sancta Maria by John Awdlay) of Audelay’s Jesus Flower of Jesse’s Tree. Haberly’s accompanying woodcut depicts the poet supine in his bed with a monk-scribe seated next to him, writing at a desk.

489–90 Citrome sees an emphasis on Christ’s righteous vengeance (rather than mercy) in this passage; he also reads the passage as highly personalized to Audelay’s situation as an ill old man (Surgeon, p. 97).

495–507 This stanza is another variant of Audelay’s signature stanza. Compare The Remedy of Nine Virtues, lines 77–89; Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, lines 378–90; Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, lines 196–208; and The Vision of Saint Paul, lines 353–65.

499 quoth. It is possible that the word and meaning intended here is cowth, “am able to do"; compare the similar wordings of The Remedy of Nine Virtues, line 81; Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, line 382; Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, line 200; and The Vision of Saint Paul, line 357.

[Fol. 22vb. Hand: Scribe B, in red. Ornament: The final word “Amen" is written on a banner, which is drawn around it. Audelay Signature: Written by Scribe B. Edition: Coxe, pp. 50–51; Halliwell, p. vi; E. Whiting, p. 149.]
Finito libro. Sit laus et gloria Christo. These words are a tag frequently written by scribes when the copying is done (Schaff, Middle Ages, p. 550); compare Audelay’s Conclusion, line 39a.
Cuius anime propicietur Deus. Compare Audelay’s Conclusion, explicit.


The following notes record readings of the manuscript at those points where other editors have made different assessments of the textual evidence, as well as at points of important physical detail.

In general, Scribe A copied texts, and Scribe B later added incipits and explicits and acted as proofreader. Wherever Scribe B played a significant, uncharacteristic role in the textual copying, the affected lines are noted. Not noted, however, are the many correcting marks made by the scribes. Wherever final readings are determinate, those readings are adopted without comment. On how the scribes divided their work on particular items, see the explanatory notes.

Modernized editions with altered spellings and wordings (Chambers and Sidgwick 1907, Davies, Haberly, Sisam and Sisam, and Sitwell) are not recorded in the textual notes. Hands that date later than those of the two scribes are also not recorded. In MS Douce 302 there are two significant early hands, both probably medieval:
(1) An inexperienced writer who copies stray phrases in the margin (fols. 16rb, 16va, 29ra, 34rb, and 35ra).

(2) A doodler, whose simple drawings and occasional crosses appear most frequently on upper recto pages, b-column, perhaps to record his reading progress (fols. 3rb, 5rb, 6rb, 7rb, 9rb [two marks], 10rb, 11rb, 13rb, 18rb [the climax of The Vision of Saint Paul], 27vb, and 28va). The involvement of this reader is evident in his drawing of a sleeved hand pointing to the word “assencion" in Salutation to Christ’s Body, line 26 (fol. 10rb), a line that marks the raising of the host in the Levation.
There are also two modern readers whose hands appear on the pages of MS Douce 302:
(1) A reader who notes the correspondence of True Living, line 78, and Chastity of Wives, line 8, by inserting in fine-line black ink the cross-reference in the margins of fols. 1rb and 30va. This may be the same hand that numbers the folios in the upper right-hand corners. It may also be the hand that “corrects" the reading Hontis in Three Dead Kings, line 11.

(2) A reader who marks texts in pencil, using left-hand marginal crosses and long vertical squiggles to highlight passages of interest. This reader was perhaps an early cataloguer. He is especially interested in political comments and in Audelay’s self-identifications in signatures and autobiographical moments. His hand pervades the book, appearing beside the texts of True Living, Marcolf and Solomon, Visiting the Sick and Consoling the Needy, Instructions for Reading 2, Audelay’s Prayer Explicit to Pope John’s Passion, Our Lord’s Epistle on Sunday, The Vision of Saint Paul, Audelay’s Epilogue to The Counsel of Conscience, Song of the Magnificat, Salutation to Saint Bridget, Saint Winifred Carol, King Henry VI, Joys of Mary, Virginity of Maids, Chastity of Wives, Dread of Death, Saint Francis, Over-Hippers and Skippers, An Honest Bed, Paternoster, Three Dead Kings, and Audelay’s Conclusion.
In addition to these extraneous hands, the book contains a few marks of early ownership. Erased notes on fol. 35rb (visible by ultraviolet light) record that a Coventry minstrel named William Wyatt once possessed the book, and that he passed it on to an Augustinian canon named John Barker in Launde, Leicestershire. These transactions likely took place in the fifteenth century. On fol. 35v, which looks like an original outside cover of the book, the name “John" appears many times amid doodles and verse jottings unrelated to the contents of MS Douce 302. A much later owner was late eighteenth-century bibliophile Richard Farmer, master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, whose handwritten sheet catalogue was bound with the book in 1803 by Francis Douce, its next owner. Douce contributed the woodcut pasted into the back inside cover of the bound book, which makes reference to Three Dead Kings (Fein, “Life and Death," pp. 90–91; Fein, “John Audelay and His Book," pp. 5, 24n13). Later, in 1834, Douce’s vast collection of manuscripts, charters, books, and antiquarian holdings transferred to the Bodleian Library, Oxford. A detailed history of ownership and printed descriptions of MS Douce 302 is provided in Fein, “John Audelay and His Book," pp. 4–15.

Abbreviations: C: Cumming; CS1: Chambers and Sidgwick 1910; CS2: Chambers and Sidgwick 1911; Di: Dickins (lexical comments); Do: Doyle; F1: Fein 1985; F2: Fein 1994; G1: Greene 1962; G2: Greene 1977; Ha: Halliwell; Hi: Hirsh 2005; K: Kaiser; M: McIntosh (lexical comments); Mo: R. Morris 1872; MS: Douce 302; P: Priebsch; Pu: Putter; R: Robbins 1959; S: Sandys; Sa: Saupe; Si: Silverstein 1971; SJ: Storck and Jordan; St: Stanley 2009 (lexical comments); T: Turville-Petre 1989; W: Whiting.

[X.] TRUE LIVING          [W1]
9 comaundment. So MS, Ha. W: comanndment.

13 mon. MS: me. Ha, W: men.

19 Ther. So MS, Ha. W: þe.

23 deth. So MS, W. Ha: dey.

26 sodom, into. So MS, W. Ha: sodomi to.

53 sacrement. So Ha, W. MS: sacremet.

61 choson. So MS, W. Ha: chosen.

68 womon. So MS, W. Ha: wemon.

83 Evan . . . evan . . . evan. So Ha, W. MS: euran . . . euran . . . euran (ra abbreviation written above eun).

87 ayres. So MS (ayrs corrected to ayres by Scribe B). Ha, W: ayrs.

93 houne. So MS, W. Ha: honne.

96 fleschely. So Ha, W. MS: flschely.

120 nother. So MS. Ha, W: no other.

135 ressayvd. So MS. Ha, W: ressayued.
sacrement. So Ha, W. MS: sarcement.

167 brennyng. So Ha, W. MS: brennyg.

178 cunnyng. So Ha, W. MS: cunnyg.

195 wittis. So MS. Ha, W: wyttis.
bynn welle. So MS (interlined by Scribe B). Ha: hym well. W: byn well.

201 Bott. So MS, W. Ha: Better.

218 chif. So MS (erasure before word), W. Ha: the chif.

241 the. So Ha, W. MS: de.

255 weleway. So MS (letter a after second e has been erased). Ha, W: weleaway. Compare God’s Address to Sinful Men, line 217, and Seven Works of Mercy, line 29.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR READING 1          [not in W]
3 thirtenth. MS: xiii.

1 lernyng. So Ha, W. MS: lernyg.

2 fyndon. So MS, Ha. W: fynden.
Holé. So Ha, W. MS: hele.

17 Criston. So MS. Ha, W: Cristen.

19 crysum. So W. MS: criysum (ri and m abbreviated). Ha: crysun.

29 schuln. So MS. Ha, W: schulun.

30 schale. So MS (e abbreviated). Ha, W: schal.

37 grauntud. So MS, W. Ha: grauntid.

43 wo. So MS, W. Ha: won.

50 forwarde. So Ha, W. MS: fowarde.

52a meum. So Ha. MS, W: meam.

58 Soferayns. So MS, Ha. W: soferayn.

64 rewarde. So MS. Ha, W: reward.

70 Do. The initial D is marked with red.

81 foluyn. So MS (u written by Scribe B). Ha: fowyn. W: foloyn.

91a Averte. So MS (er abbreviated), W. Ha: Ante.

92 A marginal indicator for a large initial appears at the opening of this line.

97 reume. So Ha, W. MS: reuerme (er abbreviated).

110 comaundmentis. So MS, Ha. W: comanndmentis.

111 ale. So MS (e abbreviated). Ha, W: al.
Hwere. So MS (h inserted by Scribe B). Ha, W: were.

114 your. So Ha, W. MS: õoõ.

118 A marginal indicator for a large initial appears at the opening of this line.

125 prest. So MS (re abbreviated), W. Ha: prist.

129 ale. So MS. Ha, W: al.

133 lekon. So MS. Ha, W: likon.

143 beth. So Ha, W. MS: boþ.

143a declinant a mandatis tuis. So W. MS: declinat amantis. Ha: declinant amantis.

147 spend. So MS (e abbreviated), W. Ha: spund (Ha, W read the same abbreviation as e at line 146; compare textual note to line 748).

150 selver. So MS. Ha, W: silver.

153 schale. So MS (e abbreviated). Ha, W: schal.

156 Y pray. So MS, Ha. W: Y-pray.

157 vanité. So MS (i dotted), Ha. W: vanete.

165 fulfyle. So MS (e abbreviated), W. Ha: fulfyl.

169a Relegio. So MS, W. Ha: Religio.

170 A marginal indicator (I) for a large initial appears at the opening of this line.

173 penawns. So W. MS, Ha: penaws.

181 lest. So Ha, W. MS: leost (o interlined).

197 hom. So MS. Ha, W: ham.

199 Sovereyns. So MS, Ha. W: souereyn.

200 praysy. So MS, Ha. W: prayse.

208a A Latin heading inserted in the left margin is trimmed away and mostly lost; only the fragmentary phrase remains.

211 redon. So MS. Ha, W: reden.
speke. So MS, Ha. W: spekes.

219 comawndoun. So MS (final n abbreviated); Ha, W: comawndon.

221a intellegit. So MS, W. Ha: intelligit.

223 sokeron. So MS. Ha: sokere. W: sokeren.

226 yclunggun. So W. MS, Ha: ycluggun.

228 ale. So MS (e abbreviated). Ha, W: al.

240 Y dred. So MS, W. Ha: That did.
reeme. So MS (e interlined). Ha, W: reme.

244 ye. So Ha, W. MS: õef.

246 farewelle. So MS (final e abbreviated). Ha, W: farewell.

258 mon. So Ha, W. MS: mom (extra minim).

265 ale. So MS, W. Ha: word omitted.

266 sayd. So MS (y inserted by Scribe B). Ha, W: sad.

273a Scribe A writes this heading before line 248, and then indicates that it should be moved to this location. Ha, W do not detect this scribal correction.

280 ale. So MS (e abbreviated). Ha, W: al.

289 bodys. So W. MS: bodyius. Ha: bodyms.

293 is. So MS, Ha. W: his.

301 visis ale. So MS, W. Ha: visibal.

302–12 you leede . . . sodenly. Lines written by Scribe B.

303 vanygloré. So MS. Ha, W: vaynglorie.

319 fore. So MS, W. Ha: for.

321 lytyl. So W. MS, Ha: lyty. Lines 320–21 are written around a hole in the parchment.

325 Anon gurd. So MS, W. Ha: and gud.

329 covernour. So Ha, W. MS: coverour.

332 devour. So Ha, W. MS: dedevour.

338 Line written by Scribe B.

342 Thomas. So Ha, W. MS: Thomans (n abbreviated).

345–46 Scribe B writes these lines vertically in the margin, adding in red here com in.

346 thrale. So MS (e abbreviated). Ha, W: thral.

350–51 Marginal drawing of hand with pointing finger highlights these lines.

358 gestlé. So MS, Ha. W: gostle.
holénes. Scribe A’s a is corrected to o by Scribe B in red ink.

384 myry. So Ha, W. MS: myrþ.

388 ey ever encresse. MS, Ha: eõever encresese. W: õever encrese.

405 covetyse. MS, Ha, W: govetyse. Emended for alliteration.

431 four bernes. So Ha, W. MS: iiii. be...nes (erasure).

447 unkynd. So Ha, W. MS: unnkynd(second n abbreviated).

449 have, Y thee. So MS. Ha: Have I the. W: haue þe.

450 ale. So MS. Ha, W: al.

452 Asay. So MS, Ha. W: Assay.

457 say. So MS (first letter is uncertain), Ha. W: lay.

462 prayes. So MS, Ha. W: prayers.

463 governyng. So Ha, W. MS: goveryng.

468a Dingnus. So MS. Ha, W: Dignus.

476 Redelé. So W. MS, Ha: Rededele.

488 wyttlé. MS, Ha: wytle and wyttle. W: wytle.

489 Here mys and here. So MS, W. Ha: Her mys and her.

499 agayns. So Ha, W. MS: aõang.
hold. So MS (w corrected to h). Ha, W: wold.

506 han. So MS (n abbreviated), Ha. W: ham.

507 sonn gelo cuiuscam. So MS, W. Ha: songe locum acam.

512 ye. So MS, Ha. W: wen õe.

532–33 The scribe inserts here a marginal illustration of a pointing hand.

533a Nulli. MS, Ha, W: nullum (m abbreviated).

534 wyle. So MS (e abbreviated). Ha, W: wyl.

535 Wyle. So MS (e abbreviated). Ha, W: Wyl.

538 ale. So MS, Ha. W: al.

543 Do. So Ha, W. MS: Doer (er abbreviated).

549–55 These lines are heavily corrected by Scribe B.

550 daunse. So MS, W. Ha: daunce.

551 Fore. So MS, Ha. W: For.

554 att. MS: at att (att is in Scribe B’s hand). Ha: and att. W: al att.

559a neclegere. So MS. Ha: non legere. W: nec legere.

573 A black marginal mark by Scribe A seems to indicate that the heading is to be inserted; it was later supplied by Scribe B.

577 ye. So MS (õe), Ha. W: þe.

579 gef. So MS. Ha, W: õif.

580 soulys. So Ha, W. MS: souly.

586 A black marginal mark by Scribe A seems to indicate that the heading is to be inserted; it was later supplied by Scribe B.

598a irascatur. So MS. Ha, W: nascatur.

599 A black marginal mark by Scribe A seems to indicate that the heading is to be inserted; it was later supplied by Scribe B.

624a Erant. So Ha. MS, W: Erat.

628 ale. So MS (e abbreviated). Ha, W: al.

642 tak. So MS. Ha: toke. W: tok.

652 ale. So MS. Ha, W: al.

654 dystory. So MS. Ha: dystroy. W: dystry.

676a Ve vobis. So MS, W. Ha: De vobis.

686 One scribe marks the position of the omitted line, but it is not supplied.

688a intelligere. So Ha, W. MS: intellere.

691 ale. So MS, W. Ha: al.
reprevyng. So Ha, W. MS: repreuyg.

697–701 Scribe B inserts here a large marginal drawing of a horn to signal the passage.

701a Christianas. So Ha, W. MS: Christiani.

706 neyre. So Ha. MS: neyõe. W: next.

714a vult. So Ha, W. MS: vlt.

739 take. So MS. Ha, W: tak.
mo. So W. MS, Ha: more.

747 Yit. So MS, Ha. W: õif.

748 ben. So MS (e abbreviated), Ha. W: bun (Ha, W read the same abbreviation as e at line 146; compare textual note to line 147).
rekynyng. MS: rekynyg. Ha: rekenys. W: rekenyng.

753a This Latin heading is written by Scribe B on eight lines that were left blank by Scribe A; the final words are squeezed in.
meum. So MS (second m abbreviated). Ha, W: mei.
temperale. So MS (er abbreviated). Ha, W: temporale.
simulis. So MS. Ha, W: similis.

754 I fynd. These words are inserted by Scribe B.

756 Yef. So MS. Ha, W: Õif.

773 ressayve. So MS, Ha. W: reassayue.

779a Scribe B inserts what seems to be a marker of topic (“confession and the sacrament of the altar") beside Scribe A’s typical liturgical/biblical heading.
Nota. So MS (written in margin). Ha, W: omitted.

779b Dominum. So MS (abbreviated dm), W. Ha: suum.

780 ale. So MS. Ha, W: al.

795 sauus. So MS (us abbreviated). Ha, W: saus.

797 doun. So MS (n abbreviated), Ha. W: don.

808 sacrementte. So MS. Ha, W: sacremente.

813 telle. So MS, Ha. W: tell.

818a constitucionis. So W. MS: constituconis (both ns abbreviated). H: constitutiones.

828 fore youe. MS, W: fre õoue. Ha: fre õeve.

834 his owne. So MS (i dotted). Ha, W: hes owne.
ressayvs. So MS (ressayus), W. Ha: ressayns.

838 auuctoreté. So MS. Ha: auctoreté. W: aunctorete.

860 Bohold. So MS. Ha, W: Behold.

864 Ho. So MS, Ha. W: He.

882 have. So MS, Ha. W: hane.

925 Engeyne. So MS, Ha. W: Engoyne.

933 qwensche. So MS. Ha: quench. W: quenche.

938 dele and tok. So MS (written by Scribe B over an erasure, & interlined). Ha: ale tok. W: dele to (reading deletok).

943 turrne Treth. So MS. Ha: turne treuth. W: turrnes treuþ.

954 Frerys. Ha, W; MS: F...erys. (r under an erasure).

964 have. So MS, Ha. W: hane.

993 Blust. So MS. Ha, W: Bluster.

1000a quia. MS (ui abbreviated), Ha, W: qui.

1001 trouth. So MS, Ha. W: treuþ.

1003 heere. So MS (re interlined). Ha, W: here.

1004 ne lykyng. So MS. Ha, W: no lykyng.

1012 ma. So MS, Ha. W: may.

1013 The last line is written as the catchphrase. The next folio (the beginning of a new quire) is missing.

11 curst truly. MS: cursetrly. Ha: cursed trly. W: cursed truly.

45 my. MS, Ha, W: me.

67 body. So Ha, W. MS: bedy.

2 seven. So Ha, W. MS: seue.

48 seyled. So MS, Ha. W: soyled.

61 strong. So Ha, W. MS: storng.

91 Spere. So MS, W. Ha: spore.

94 contricion. So Ha, W. MS: cotricion.

incipit Scribe B inserted the wrong incipit (“De salutacione corporis Christi"; see Salutation to Christ’s Body), crossed it out, and then wrote the correct one.

16 redemcionem. So W. MS: redemconem.

20 Anni. So MS. W: Ann.

30 vulnerare. So W. MS: vilnerare.

1 indignis. So MS. W: indignus.
latronem. So W. MS: latrone.
vivis. So W. MS: vivi.
regnas. So W. MS: regnans.

1 cros. So MS, Ha. W: croys.

4 tho. So MS, Ha. W: þe.

8 Glotony. So W. MS, Ha: glotonry.

14 elé. So MS, W. Ha: els.

61 thou. So Ha, W. MS: omitted.
Citio. So W. MS, Ha: cicio.

62 drynke. So MS, Ha. W: drynk.

73 spiritualy. So MS, W. Ha: specialy.

75 Comendo. So MS, W. Ha: Commendo.

80 antwyn. So MS, W. Ha: entwyn.

93 oure. So MS, Ha. W: houre.

104 very. So MS, W. Ha: every.

108 schenchip. So MS, W. Ha: scenchip.

114 remyssion. So MS, W. Ha: remyssioun.

incipit Christi Jhesu. So MS. W: Ihesu Christi.

1 seyst. MS, W: scyst.

16 Carnacion. So W. MS: carnacon.

17 lady. So MS, W (reads lidy).

26 assencion. So W. MS: þou assencion.

29 everé. So W. MS: euer (er abbreviated).

49 ai. So MS. W: ay.
Governowre. MS, W: couernowre. Emended for alliteration.

51 seke. So MS. W: sek.

7 fynd ewretyn. So MS. W: fynde wretyn.

incipit benedecimus. So MS. W: benedicimus.

text vivorum et. So W. MS: vivorum &e &.
benignissime. So W. MS: bengnissime.

7 A. M. E. N. So W. MS: A. M. N.

33 synys. So MS, W. Ha: synnys.

40 mon. So MS. Ha, W: men.

49 lest. So MS, W. Ha: lost.

51 W misnumbers this line as 50 and continues the error until the end of the poem.
In thi. So MS (in interlined). Ha, W: Thi.

54 Sothlé. So MS, W. Ha: Soyle.

55 yeve. So MS, W. Ha: yene.

56 schreve. So MS, W. Ha: schrene.

58 day. So W. MS, Ha: eday.

90 discipilis. So MS (second i interlined). Ha, W: disipilis.

92 prestis. So MS (re abbreviated), W. Ha: pristis.

117 spesialy. So MS, W. Ha: specialy.

127 worchipis. So Ha, W. MS: wo ...chipis (a dark blot obscures the r).

141 Crist. So Ha, W. MS: cristis (final s erased).

142 ham. So MS, W. Ha: tham.

146 schew. So Ha, W. MS: sechew.

184 he. So MS (interlined), W. Ha: be.
wold. So MS (w interlined), W. Ha: hold.

187 expone hit opres. So MS, W. Ha: exponere habit opus.

193 yo. So MS, W. Ha: you.

210 en. So MS (n abbreviated), Ha. W: in.

223 herst. So MS, W. Ha: herist.

232 ye. So MS, W. Ha: he.

239 masse. So MS, W. Ha: mass.

245 syngyng. So W. MS, Ha: synyng.

246 ever. So Ha, W. MS: eu (lacks er abbreviation).

252 bryng. So MS, W. Ha: bring.

258 be. So Ha, W. MS: b.

260 Lese. So MS (written in left margin by Scribe B), W. Ha: omitted.

261 Half. So MS, W. Ha: Lese.

265 bedth. So MS (bedþ). W: bed (reads bedn); Ha: bede.

266 ye. So W. MS, Ha: he.

280 dernes. So MS, W. Ha: dirnes.

285 Cospel. So MS, W. Ha: gospel.

286 red. So MS, W. Ha: rod.

292 witin. So MS. Ha, W: within.

295 that he ded. So MS (written over an erasure; ded is difficult to read). Ha: ther he did; W: þat he dyd.

297 speke. So MS, W. Ha: speek.

298 teth. So MS, W. Ha: tethe.

299 as. So MS (corrected from aice), W. Ha: alfe.

300 began. So MS, W. Ha: bigan.

303 marbys stone. So MS, W. Ha: marbystone.

309 grone. MS: grame, Ha, W. See explanatory note.

311 the. So MS, Ha. W: þen.

312 myldelé. So MS, W. Ha: mysdele.

314 wytles. So W. MS, Ha: wytytles.

325 adevyd. So MS, W. Ha: adenyd.

326 stoned. So W. MS, Ha: stonede.

332 wyndow. So Ha, W. MS: wydow.

334 Tho. So MS, W. Ha: The.

338 everé masse. So MS, W. Ha: evenmasse.

355 hard. So MS, W. Ha: hand.

356 proferbe. So MS (ro abbreviated), W. Ha: prefende.
prove. So Ha. MS: preve (re abbreviated); W preue.

359 to. So MS, W. Ha: for to.

368 wemen. So MS, W. Ha: women.

369 Cristyndam. So MS, W. Ha: Crystyndam.
an han. So MS (han interlined), W. Ha: an omitted.

379 seven to. So MS (vii to), W. Ha: unto.

404 parfyte. So MS (ar abbreviated), W. Ha: perfyte.

412 schal. So Ha, W. MS: sch.

413 Jhesu. So MS, W. Ha: Jeshu.

414 bryng. So MS, W. Ha: bring.

incipit Gregorio in tale. So W. MS: Gregorio in papa in tale (papa marked for deletion, probably by Scribe B; see explanatory note).

9 nowmbur. So W. MS: nowbur.

10 Twenty thousand. So MS (abbreviated Xx Ml). W: Xx.iij. Compare The Vision of Saint Paul, line 317.

2 confession. So W. MS: confessicion.

5 Pride. So W. MS: pridy (ri abbreviated, d interlined).

29 hereof. So MS. W: here oft.

1 O Lord. So W. MS: O ord (Scribe B inserts a capital O instead of an L).

40 boonys. So MS (first o interlined). W: bonys.

41 What. So W. MS: wkat.
boone. So MS (first o interlined). W: bone.

59 payn. So W. MS: pan.y (n. interlined).

89 cecatoure. So MS. W: cekatoure.

91 When. So W. MS: werhen (er abbreviated).

106 agayns. So W. MS: aõayng.

148 Thomas. MS: tohnaias. W: Tohmas.

153 With watere. MS: Wt atere. W: Watere.

164 Bot. MS, W: Boþ.

171 his. So W. MS: hisis.

214 dight. So W. MS: diþõt.

219 lyght. MS: layõt or lgyõt (a or g interlined). W: lygõt.

224 penans. So W. MS: penas.

225 wil. So W. MS: and wil.

230 Jugement. So W. MS: in jugement.

241 And to. So MS (& to written in left margin by Scribe B). W: To.

298 not borne. So MS. W: borne.

299 redemcion. So W. MS: redemcon.

301 thorghe. So W. MS: þoõõe.

315 Sone. So MS. W: Son.

321 conclucion. So W. MS: coclucion.

361 prayers. So MS. W reads praye... but the letters ers are visible in the manuscript.

376 grete cause. So MS. W: cause grete.

398 amend it. So MS. W: amend.

1–6 W does not number these lines.

4 mon. MS, W: men.

ON THE WORLD’S FOLLY          [W12]
1–6 W does not number the Latin lines and prints the poem in 3-line stanzas, but the scribe’s paraphs indicate 6-line stanzas.

3 Videte. Written in red in the right margin by Scribe B.

15 And. Written by Scribe B; the black F of Fore is marked in red.

31 he tokyn. So W. MS: hede õe tokyn. See explanatory note.

36 hathe be. Written by Scribe B.

1 A marginal indicator for a large initial appears at the opening of this line.
XXII. MS: xij, W. See explanatory note.

18 entent. So W. MS: enten.

31 a rodde. So MS (de interlined). W: rodds.

33 hed. So MS. W: had.

67 knyght. So W. MS: kynõt.

3 synus. So MS. W: synnus.

12 dyspilis. So MS. W: dysiplis.

36a conclavatus. So W. MS: conclauatis.

41 Hongyng. So W. MS: Honyng.

48 knight. So W. MS: knõt.
throst. So W. MS: thrast.

50 senterio. So MS. W: sentorio.

66 prophcy. So MS. W: prophecy.

67 mynyng. So MS, W (reads mynyg).

84 contricion. So W. MS: contricon (ri abbreviated).

incipits The two incipits appear in reverse order in the manuscript. See explanatory note.
sivitatem. So MS (first i written over a c), W. P: scivitate.

1 A marginal indicator for a large initial appears at the opening of this line.

13 perdecion. So MS, W. P: perdicon.

16 syrus. So MS, W. P: Syris.

33 That the. So W. MS: þat þat þe.
swolewd. So MS. P, W: swolewed.

40 seris. So MS, W. P: Siris.

47 bryng mon. So MS, W. P: bring men.

61 serys. So MS, W. P: Sierys.

68 alle. So MS, W. P: all.

71 generacions. So MS, W. P: generacons.

80 ale. So MS, W. P: al.

88 alle. So MS, W. P: all.

90 schale. So MS, W. P: schal.

102 lobors. So MS. P, W: labors.

114 fro. So MS. P, W: for.

122 knouth. So MS, W. P: knov.

134 the. So MS, W. P: þus.

144 then. So MS (interlined by Scribe B). P, W: omitted.

150 honlé. So MS, W. P: houle.

153 prophetus. So W. MS: prohetus.
postlius. So MS. P: postlis; W: postilus.

155 holy. So MS, P. W: hole.
ther. So MS, W. P: þat.

160 wike. So MS. P, W: wik.

162 in. So W. MS, P: of in.

164 toke. So MS (ke interlined by Scribe B), W. P: tok.

190 Sounonday. So W. MS: sounoday. P: Suneday. 202 thonke. So MS. P, W: thonk.

16 wemen. So MS. Mo, W: women.

22 then. So MS, W. Mo: þon.

25 lechory. So MS, W. Mo: lechery.

59 mancion. So MS. Mo, W: moncion.
ordent ther. So MS, W. Mo: þer ordent.

79 lyvus. So MS, W. Mo: lyues.

80 armus. So MS, W. Mo: armes.

99 them. So MS (m abbreviated), Mo. W: þe.

121 blake. So MS. Mo, W: blak.

157 thrust. So MS, Mo. W: þurst.

179 quod. So MS (abbreviation), Mo. W: quoþ.

182 payns. So MS, W. Mo: payne.

216 Quod. So MS (abbreviation), Mo. W: Quoþ.

224 wrat. So MS, W. Mo: wrath.

227 disperacion. So MS (er abbreviated), W. Mo: disparacion.

230 synnud. So Mo, W. MS: synund (second n abbreviated).

241 anglis. So MS, W. Mo: angelis.

253 hert. So MS, W. Mo: ne hert.

268 Loke. So MS, Mo. W: omitted.

305 worthenes. So MS, W. Mo: worthines.

309 thonke. So MS. Mo, W: thonk.

311 worchipful. So MS, W. Mo: worch it ful.

313 schale. So MS. Mo, W: schal.

317 Four thousand a hundred. So MS (Iiii. Ml. a C.), Mo, W.

318 hunder. So MS, Mo. W: hunderd.

319 bekynyng. So Mo, W. MS: bekynyg.

334 have. So MS, Mo. W: hane.

341 fore. So MS, Mo. W: for.

explicit Whiting prints this explicit (in the hand of Scribe A) with the next item.

1 Alle. So MS. W: All.

36 four score and twenty. MS: iiij score and xxy (y may be deleted). W: iiij score.

37 nedis. So MS. W: þer is.

57 with. So W. MS: we.

101 Hwen. So W. MS: Hwom.

114 injoyns. MS, W: inyoyns.

120a secundum Augustinum. So MS (inum abbreviated). W: omitted.

123 confusion. So W. MS: cofusion.

125 yf. So MS (õf). W: õif.
levyng. So MS. W: leuying.

137 curatours. So MS. W: curateours.

144a This Latin heading is mistakenly written by Scribe A at the base of the stanza, as noted by W. Compare line 152a.

148 Ryghwysnes. So MS. W: ryghtwysnes.

151 mo. So MS. W: mot.

152a This Latin heading is mistakenly written by Scribe A at the base of the stanza, as noted by W. Compare line 144a.

182 your. So W. MS: õour õour.

189 A folio is missing at this point in the manuscript.

202 cowntys. So W. MS: cowtys (tys interlined).

220 playn. So W. MS: plany (n interlined).

225 Querite. So MS (e corrected to i). W: Querete.

231 sene. So MS. W: sone.

238 clothyd. So W. MS: cloþy.
iwys. So MS. W: i-wis.

242 lying. So W. MS: ly.

1 A change in meter marks the beginning of this poem, but there is no enlarged initial.

27 A marginal mark indicates that a large initial was to appear at the head of this stanza.

30 nyght. So MS, W (reads n ...t).

34 overe. So MS. W: ouer.

38 covetyse. So W. MS: couese.

41 fryght. So W. MS: fyõt.

78 soche. So MS. W: seche.

92 spirytualy. MS: spiytualy. W: sprytualy.

104 forth. So W. MS: foreþ.

106 ston. So MS. W: stond.

109 pra. So MS. W: pray.

144 loke. So MS. W: lok.

146 thoght. So W. MS: oþoõt.

147 whent. So MS. W: when.

156 covetys. So W. MS: covety.

166 wil not. So W. MS: wil.
twice. MS: ii.

172 deth. So MS. W: doþ.

199 amende. So MS. W: amend.

200 takyns. So MS. W: tokyns.

202–03 These verses are incomplete, apparently because of a sewn hole in the parchment.

312 don. So W. MS: dn.

340 levyng. So W. MS: leyng.

366 lebors. So MS. W: labors.

407 wold. So W. MS: wol.

491 lordis. So W. MS: lordist.

505 reverens. So W. MS: reuers.




































































































































































































. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
In hel ne purgatoré non other plase,
Thes synnes wold make you schamyd and schent,
And lese your worchyp in erth and grace.
Al day, with ene, sene thou has
Hou men bene slayne fore dedlé synne
And han vengans fore here trespace;
Both lyve and goodes thay lesyn then,
             Bi londys law.
       Yif thai had kept Cristis comaundment,
       Thai schuld never be schamyd ne chent,
       Ne lost here lyfe ne lond ne rent,
             Nouther hongud ne draw.

Hel is not ordent fore ryghtwyse mon,
Bot fore hom that here serven the Fynd;
No more ys a preson of lyme and ston
Bot to hom that the lauys thai done offend,
Fore wyckyd dedys makys thevys ischent,
Hye on galouys fore to heng.
Ther rightwyse men thai han god end,
Fore thay bene treue in here levyng —
             Trust wel therto!
       He that levys here ryghtwysly,
       On what deth that ever he dy,
       His soul never schal ponyschyd be,
             Ne never wyt of wo.

The syn of sodom, into heven
Hit crys ever on God Almyght!
And monslaght, with a rewful steven
Hit askys vengans day and nyght!
Extorcyons agayns the ryght,
And huyrus that with wrong holdon be:
Damnacion to ham hit is ydyght
That usyn these, and avowteré —
       These synnys a mon thai done blynde,
       Fore thai be don agayns kynde,
       And bene the werkys of the Fynde
             Of damnacion.

Thre synns princypaly a man doth mare —
Murthyr, theuft, and avoutré —
Thai wyl you schend ore ye be ware!
Be thai done never so prevely,
The Fynd wyl schew ham hopunly,
That al the word schal have wyttyng,
Fore thai bene cursyd in heven on hye.
Ale that usus that cursid doyng,
             Thai wyl be schent.
       Fore morther, Cayme cursud of God was he,
       And fore theft, thevys al day hongud thay be;
       Fore avoutré, vengans had Kyng Davé
             Fore brekyng of the sacrement.

Avowtré ne lechory, men set not by
To breke the bond of the sacrement;
Thay schul aby ful sekyrly,
Bot thai have spase ham to repent.
Herefore, ye curatis, ye wyl be schent,
And prestis that bene lewyd in here levyng,
Fore to this syn ye done asent
With evyl ensampyl to other yeveng!
             And wretyn hit ys:
       Ye were choson to chastyté,
       To kepe your holy order and your degré
       In parfyt love and charité,
             And mend ale other that done amys.

Kepe youre wedloke, ye weddid men!
In paradyse God furst hit mad
Betwene Adam and Eve, with trew love then,
Both mon and womon therwith to glad;
Therwith he is both plesud and payd
Yif hit be kept laufully.
Hymselfe was borne of a mayde
To fulfyl that sacrement princypaly;
             Into herth he come
       To make ther eyrus of heven blys;
       That Lucefyr lost and al hys,
       Monkynd schal hit agayne encrese
             Or the Day of Dome.

Nou yif a woman maryd schal be,
Anoon sche schal be boght and sold;
Hit is fore no love of hert, treuly,
Bot fore covetyse of lond or gold.
This is Goddis wyle, and his lau wolde:
Evan of blood, evan good, evan of age,
Fore love togeder thus cum thai schalde,
Fore thes makus metely maryage
             Here in al wyse.
       Thai schal have ayres ham betwene,
       That schal have grace to thryve and thene;
       Ther other schul have turment and tene
             Fore covetyse.

Ther is no cryatour, as wreton Y fynde,
Save only mon that doth outrage;
Thai chesun here makus of here houne kynd,
With treu love makun here mareage.
Nou a ladé wyl take a page
Fore no love bot fore fleschely lust,
And al here blood dysparage;
Thes lordys and lordchips, thay ben ilost
             In moné a place!
       Lordys and lorchypus, thay wastyn away,
       That makys false ayris, hit is no nay,
       And wele and worchyp, foreever and ay,
             Onour and grace.

Now yif that a man he wed a wyfe
And hym thynke sche plese hym noght,
Anon ther rysis care and stryfe;
He wold here selle that he had boght,
And schenchypus here that he hath soght,
And takys to hym a lotoby.
These bargeyn wyle be dere aboght
Here ore henns he schal aby!
             He is foresworne:
       When he as chosyn hyr to his make,
       And plyght here trowth to here ytake,
       Hy schulde never here foresake,
             Even ne morne.

Agayns ale this, remedy I fynde:
Foresake youre syn, Y you pray!
To God and mon loke ye be kynde
(To heven ther is nother way),
And make amendis wyle that ye may!
Yif ye wyl have remyssyon,
God ye most both plese and pay
(Or ellus have damnacion)
             Wyle ye han space.
       Thus graciously says the Kyng of Blys,
       “Yeff ye wyl mend that ye do mysse,
       Nolo mortem peccatoris,1
             Ye schul have grace.”

In what order or what degré
Holé Cherche hath bound thee to,
Kepe hit wel, I counsel thee;
Dyssyre thou never to go therfro,
Fore thou art boundon, go were thou goo.
When thou hast ressayvd the sacrement,
Ther is no mon may hit undoo,
Bot he be cursid, verament.
             In the Gospel thou sist
       That God be law byndus yfyre,
       Ther is no mon that hath pouere
       Hit to undo in no manere,
             Bot he be curst.

Love your God over al thyng,
Youre neghbore as yourselfe, as I you saye.
Let be youre othis, youre false sweryng.
In clannes kepe youre haleday.
Youre fader, youre moder, worchip ay.
Sle no mon fore wordlé thyng.
Bakbyte no mon, nyght ne day,
Ne say no word to hym sklaunderyng;
False wytnes, loke thou non bere.
Dysseyte ne theft, loke thou do non,
And lechory, thou most foreswere;
Here beth the comaundmentis, everychon —
             Loke ye kepe hem wele!
       I rede ye serven Heven Kyng,
       Fore ané loust or lykyng,
       Have mynd apon youre endyng,
             Of the payns of helle.

Another remedé yet ther is —
Gentyl seres, herkens to me! —
The Seven Werkys of Mercé, so have I blys,
I wyl declare ham oponlé.
Thai schul be schewed ful petuysly
At Domysday, at Cristis cumyng,
Ther God and mon present schal be,
And al the world on fuyre brennyng,
             A reuful aray!
       Then wele is hym, and wele schal be,
       That doth these werkys with peté;
       He schal have grace and mercé
             On Domysday.

The hungré, gif mete; the thorsté, gif dryng.
Cleth the nakyd, as I thee say.
Vysyte the seke in preson lying,
And beré the ded, as I thee pray.
And herbere the pore that goth be the way,
And teche the unwyse of thi cunnyng.2
Do these werkys both nyght and day
To Goddis worchip and his plesyng —
             This is his wylle! —
       Ever have this in thi mynd:
       To the pore, loke thou be kynd,
       Then in heven thou schalt hit fynd
             Thou schalt never spyle.

Thi Fyve Wyttis thou most know —
Thonke thi God that land ham thee! —
Thi heryng, thi seyng (as I thee schewe
Thi syght), thi smellyng, here be thre;
Thi touchyng, thi tastyng, here fyve ther be,
To reule thee withyn thi levyng.
God hath thee graundid ham graciously,
Hym to love over al thyng.
             His wyl hit is.
       Yif thi fyve wittis here bynn welle spend,
       Thi God thou schalt noght afend,
       Bot bryng thiselfe to good end
             Into heven blys.

Ellys a mon, he were unablle
As a best ys of kynd;
Bott mon ys made resnabyle,
Good and evyl to have in his mynd,
And has fre choys, as we fynde,
Weder he wyl do good or ylle,
Owther ysavyd or ellys yschent.
Owther have heven or ellus have helle,
             Thou hast fre choys!
       Then, I red, foresake the Fynd!
       To God and mon, loke thou be kynd,
       And have his Passyon in thi mynd,
             That dyed on cros.

Thou most have Fayth, Hope, and Charyté.
This is the ground of thi beleve,
Ellys isavyd thou maght not be.
Thus Poul, in his pystyl, he doth preve.
Then God and mon thou schalt never greve;
This is the ground of good levyng.
Then Charyté, he is chif;
Herfore he lovys God over al thyng.
             This wyl I preve:
       Lok in thi merour —
       Yif thou love thi neghtboure,
       Then thou lovyst thi Savyoure;
             Thou art trew in thi beleve!

Thi beleve is the Fayth of Holé Cherche.
Soule, in Hope God hath ordynd thee
Ever good werkys that thou schuld werche
And be rewarded therfore in heven on hye.
Then Charyté chif callid is hee,
Fore he counselys uche mon that is levyng
To do as thou woldest me dud by thee,
And bryng thi lyf to good endyng,
             Here and hen.
       Do fore youreself ore ye gone,
       Or mede of God get ye none,
       Bot sone be foregetone
             Of kyth and of kyn.

Ever have peté of the pore
Of the goodus that God thee sende.
Thou hast non other here tresoure
Agayns the Day of Jugyment,
Or ellys thou schalt be schamyd and chent
When thou art callid to thi rekynyng.
Ther God and mon schal be present,
And al the world on fuyre brenyng,
             Thee to afray!
       Yif thou have partyd with the pore,
       God wyl thonke thee therfore,
       And in his kyngdom thee restore
             The lyf that lastyth ay.

The pore schul be made domysmen
Apon the ryche at Domysday;
Let se houe thai cun onswere then
For al here ryal, reverent aray!
In hunger, in cold, in thurst — weleway! —
Afftyr here almes ay waytyng:
“Thay wold not vysete us, nyght ne day!”
Thus wyl thai playn ham to Heven Kyng,
             That is above:
       “Thus we dydon myschyvysly;
       Fore hungyr and thurst, ful petuysly
       Thai nold not on us have no peté,
             Ny for thai love.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Day of Dome shuld come in here;
Ver the defawte of the wrytere;
At the thirtenth leef afore hyt ys;
Seche hyt there, thou shalt nott mys.


[Lines 1–65: Introduction]

De concordia inter rectores fratres et rectores ecclesie.1

God hath grauntyd grace unto oure lernyng
Al that we fyndon fayfully wrytyn in Holé Wryt,
That be our pacyens, princypaly, and holy wrytyng,
We schuld have consolacion and comford — byleve truly in hyt!
I schal say you the soth, that wele schul ye wyt,
Hit is Godys Word and his werke and his worchyng.
Be the grace of the Holé Gost, togedyr hit is yknyt,
Redlé us to remembyr in oure redyng,
             And hold hit in mynde:
       Ther is no mon that saved may be,
       But he have Faythe, Hope, and Charité,
       And do as thou woldust me dud by thee,
             To God and men, be kynde.

Hec est fides catholyca.2

This foreward furst we mad at the fontston,
Tofore owre fader faythfely, that folowed us in fay,
To forsake Syr Sathanas — his werkus everychon —
And become Criston men to byleve in God veray,
And kepe his comawndmentis kyndly, nyght and day.
Ther we were croysid in a crysum, with a carful krye;
To this covenant was callud to wytnes, Y say,
Oure godfars, oure godmoders, to stond ther us by.
             When we myght not speke,
       Ther thai answerd fore us
       In the name of Jhesus,
       Al thre with one woys.
             This bond we schuld noght breke!

Time Dominum, et mandata serva.3

Hwoso brekys this bond, bare thai bene of blys —
Bot thai ben salvyd of here syn or thai hense passe,
Thai schuln wytt of wo, Y warne youe ywys!
Hit schale be ponyschid here, ore hennus evere trespasse;4
Men have not this in mynd, nowther more ne lasse.
Thai most obey obedyans that thai be boundon to,
And mend here here mysdedys, and here matens and masse,5
And kepe the comawndmentis of Crist. This deuté most thai doo
             With devocion,
       Fore thai beth ayres of heven blis!
       The Fader of Heven hath grauntud ham this,
       Yif thai wyle mend that thai do mys
             To have remyssyon.

Sapiencia huius mundi stulticia est aput Dominum.6

“Alas, al the wyt of this word fallus to foly!”
Thus sayth Sapyens, forsoth, in the Boke of Lyfe.
He has wysdam and wyt, I tel yow trewly,
That can beware or he be wo and leve in clene lyve.
Who mai kepe hym unkyt fro a kene knyfe
Yif he boldly that blad touche in his tene?
No more may a mon here, maydon, ne wyfe
Plese God unto his pay bot his consyans be clene.
             Ensaumpil I make:
       Who may here serve a lorde?
       Bot yif he hold hym forwarde,
       He getys never reward,
             Y dare undertake!

Si quis diligit me sermonem meum servabit.7

He that sayth he lovys his Lord — on hym take good eme —
And kepus not his comawndmentis as a Cristyn mon,
Leve he is a lyere! His dedis thai done hym deme,
Fore he schuld walke the same wayes his Lord had igone.
Ellys, lely, hit is like that treu love ys ther non,
Fore he schuld sew his Soferayns and his Saveour.
This may ye kyndlé know. Hit is treu as ané ston!
He lese ale his lyve-days and his labour,
             And stondis in gret drede.
       He that is untreu to his Lorde,
       Outher in dede or in word,
       The law wyl hym rewarde —
             Deth to his mede.

[Lines 66–169: Criticism of those who neglect souls]

Vox populi vox Dei.8

I, Marcol, the more fole mon, on my mad wyse,
I send thee, broder Salamon, to say, as I here,
Hou homlé hosbondusmen, here hertis thai aryse,
Thai woldon thai wroghton wysely, that schuld ham lede and lere.9
Do thi message mekely to pryst and to frere;
Thai are the lanternys of lyf, the leud men to lyght,
Bot thai be caght with covetyse, with consians unclere,
Ageyns the lauys of here Lord, reson and ryght.
             Hit is noght unknow.
       Comawnd hem in al wyse —
       Never onother thai dar dyspyse! —
       Fore here cursid covetyse,
             Here horne is eblaw.

Ubi est tesaurus tuus, ibi et cor tuum erit.10

Counsel ham fro Covetyse. Cursid mot he be!
He wyl hem lede to here lost and lyke to be lore;
Yif thai foluyn his fare, thai fallyn to foly.
He wyl ham gyde gylfully and goo hem before;
Have thai never so mekyl mok, he wyl have more;
With wylis and with wrongus, he wyl hit ay wyn.
He is unkynd and uncurtes. He kepis not to restore
That he takys amys, to no maner mon,
             Hent his endyng.
       Then is he a traytour
       Fore he trustys to his secatour;
       He schuld his soule socour
             Here in his levyng.

Averte oculos tuos, ne vidiant vanitatem.11

Dispise thou no pristhod, broder, I thee pray,
Bot Veynglory, and here vysis and here vanité;
Bed ham mend that thay do mys — spare not to say! —
Fore her dedus wyl hem deme, yif thai be gylté.
Thai schuld rader repreve the synnys that thai se
Rennyng and reynyng in the reume al aboute,
And clanse here consyans clene, and kepe charité;
Then myght thai say a sad soth, and stond out of doute
             In al mens syght.
       Therof the pepul wold be fayne
       Fore to cum home agayne,
       That hath goon gatis ungayne
             For defaute of lyght.

Quod natura didit nemo tollere poterit.12

Uche best that ys blest, togeder thai wyl draw
Be kynd to the cuntré that thai come fro,
Yet thai ben unleryd, unwyse in the law,
Bot as nature has ham noryschid, hit nedus no noder to do.
We were put in paradise to have wele withoutyn woo,
Hent we had, unblest, brokyn the comaundmentis of our Kyng,
That is Lord of ale lordys. Hwere bene oné moo
That mai us salve of oure sore, oure botyng to us bryng?
             That Lord, be he blest!
       I rede, ye draun to your Kyng,
       Fore oné lust or lykyng!
       Pray hem with here prechyng
             To set mon soule in rest.

Filius non portabit iniquitatem patris, etc., set unusquisque onus suum portabit.13

What was Abel the worse, thagh Kayme his borne broder 14
Were cursid for his covetyse and his creuel dede?
No more ys a good prest the worse fore another,
That wyle love his Lord God, hym serve and drede.
Make moche of a good mon! On hym, take good hede!
Loke ye bete not Bayard for bryd ne fore brend!
Ale a seté may be savyd and schal the better spede
Throgh the prayere of a good prest, an holé and an hynd,
             That kepys his ordore.
       He whot never hou sone
       God wyl here his bone,
       And ale that here wele done,
             Heryd ys here prayoure.

Declinate a me, malingni, etc.15

Yif ther be a pore prest, and spirituale in spiryt,
And be devoute with devocion, his servyse syng and say,
Thay lekon hym to a Lollere and to an epocryte.
Yif he be besé in his bedus, the Prince of Heven to pay,
And holde hym in Holé Cherche, dulé uche day,
Oute of the curse of cumpané, and kepe his concyans clene,
He ys a nythyng, a noght, a negard, thai say.
Bot yif he folou his felows, his chekys mai be ful lene —
             On hym, men han no mynde.
       A holy prest men set not by!
       Therfore ther bene bot feu, truly!
       Thai kepe not of here cumpany —
             To hom, men beth unkynde.

Increpasti superbos. Maledicti qui declinant a mandatis tuis.16

Oure gentyl Ser Jone — joy hym mot betyde! —
He is a meré mon of mouth among cumpané.
He con harpe! He con syng! His orglus ben herd ful wyd!
He wyl noght spare his purse to spend his selaré —
Alas, he ner a parsun or a vecory!
Be Jhesu, he is a gentyl mon, and jolylé arayd —
His gurdlis harneschit with selver, his baslard hongus bye —17
Apon his perte pautener, uch mon ys apayd,
             Both maydyn and wyfe.
       Ifayth, he schale noght from us gon,
       Fore oure myrth, hit were edon,
       Fore he con glad us everychon!
             Y pray God hold his lyve!

Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas.18

Thus this wyckyd world is plesid with vanité,
And wrathyn God wyttyngly, unwysely evermore;
God, of his gret grace, graunt hem that beth gulté
Here mysse and here mysdedus, to mend here therfore;
And let hem never fore here lust, Lord, be forelore,
Bot send soreue in here hert, here synnus to slake;
Into thi curte and thi kyngdam, Lord, hem restore;
From ale temtacion and tene, the Treneté us take,
             His hestis to fulfyle.
       Here schul ye here anon
       Of men of relegyon —
       What lyfe thay leedon,
             Goddus heest to fulfyl.

[Lines 170–390: On monks]

Relegio munda et inmaculata. Hoc est preceptum meum: ut diligatis invicem.19

I move these mater to monkys in a meke maner,
And to al relegyous that beth iblest by Goddis ordynans.
Forst Saynt Benet hom enformyd to kepe her cloyster,
In povert and in prayerys, in prevé penawns;
And to abeyde abstinens, and foresake abundans,
To sle the lust of hore lycam and hore lykyng;
And obey obedyans, and kepe observans;
Both in cloystyr and in quere, holdyth sylens fore ané thyng.
             And to God and mon, be kynde,
       And ryse at mydnyght out of here ryst,
       And pray fore here good-doers, as breder iblest,
       And depart here almys, lest hit be lest,
             Fore the founders that hem fynd.

Fore in the rewle of relygyous, ther may ye rede
Hou the graceous goodys of God schuld be spend;
Uche person schuld have his part after that he had ned,20
And cast hit al in comyn, the goodys that God ham send,
And leve not lyke leud men fore schame, lest ye be schent,
That storon stryf and wrath because of covetyng.
Ye schuld have no propurté; on the pore hit schuld be spend!
And hold up youre houshold and youre housyng,
             And let hem not adoune,
       And herbore the pore, pur charyté,
       And yef mete and dreng to the nedé,
       And cumford hom that woful be —
             Ellis be ye no relegyon!

Servite Domino in timore, et exultate ei cum tremore.21

Both in cloyster and in quere, when that thai syng and rede
Aperte et distincte,22 han mynd for hom thay pray,
And kepun her pausus and her poyntis — ellus myght thai gete no mede! —23
Fore thus sayth here Sovereyns, sothly to say:
“Mi pepyl praysy me with here lyppus; here hertis ben far away,24
Fore thai be caght with covetyse, that schal ham cast in care.
To the worchip of this world, thai wryn fro me away;
Thai han no lykyng ne no lust to lerne apon my lare.
             To me, thai beth unkynd —
       Agayns my gret goodnes,
       Thai chewyn me unbuxumnes,
       And I graunt ham foregifnes —
             Thai have not this in mynd.”

. . . rat in vanum . . . t

Thus he prevys youre prayers and your spiritualté,
For when ye prayyn to your God, ye spekyn with hym in spyrit,
And yif ye redon in Holé Wryt, he speke agayn with thee.
Remembyr you redely when ye red — ther may ye wyle wyt! —
Take knoulache at youre consians, fore ther hit is yknyt;25
Thus sayth Marke, sothely, Mathou, Louke, and Jon.
No mon mese in this mater ny in Holy Wryt,
For ale the four doctors acordon ale in hon,
             And clerkys of deveneté,
       Thai conferme the same,
       And comawndoun in Cristis name:
       Holé Wryt no mon blame;
             Hit is Goddis preveté.

Beatus qui intellegit super egenum et pauperem.26

Fayne mai be the fadyrs and al the fonders
That sustyne or sokeron relygious in oné way,
And so mai be, sothli, ale here good-doars,
That prayn for hom besyly, both nyght and day.
When your caren is yclunggun and cast into clay,
Hore matyns, here masse, fore ham, thai red and syng.27
When ale the welth of this word is went from hem away,
Then the bedis of Holé Cherche, thai beth abydyng
             Foreever and for ay.
       And do you dredles out of drede:
       Thai schal have heven to here mede,
       That socures relegyous at nede,
             Her in ané way.

Da tua dum tua sunt; post mortem tunc tua non sunt.28

Lokys, lordus, to youre lyffe and to your levyng —
For I am touchid upon the tong, the soth for to say! —
Thagh ye be leders of the lond, gete you lovyng,
And cale the clargé to your counsel, that beryn Cristis kay,29
And holdist up Holé Cherche, the Prinse of Heven to pay.
Y dred lest dedlé sun this reeme wyl dystry,
Fore the lauys of this lond ben lad a wrong way,
Both temperale and spirituale, Y tel you treuly,
             Even up-so-doune!
       Yif Goddes lawys ye dystry,
       And Holy Cherche set not by,
       Then, farewelle, the clergy!
             Hit is your damnacion.

Takys fayre ensampyle be your faders that were you before,
Hou thai worchypd Holé Cherche hyly to Godys honore:
Therfore thai blessun her burth and the bodys that ham bare,
For thai knouyn wel in her consians hit was her tresoure;
For al har lordchip and here londys, hit farys as a floure —30
This day hit ys fresche, tomorow hit is fadyng!
A sad ensampyl, forsoth, your soule to socour,
And do as youre faders ded before, here in here levyng.
             Hit is fore the best —
       Do fore youreself or ye gone;
       Trust not to another mon
       (Ellus med of God get ye non!),
             Bot then ye be eblest.

Qui perceveraverit usque in finem, hic salvus erit.31

Redelé these relegyos men schul have hygh reward
Yif thai kepyn her cloyster and here comawndment.
Fore oné fondyng of the Fynd, fulfyl your forward,
And castis awai covetyse, that is cause of cumberment,
And kepe youe clene in chastyté. To chareté ale asent.
What sayd your Soveren to his dyssiplis, when he dyd wasche hem,
And knelud louly apon his knen tofore his blessid covent,32
And betoke hom this tokyn, diligatis invicem?33
             “As I have lovyd yow,
       Then joyful schal ye be,
       For in my kyngdom ye schul me se,
       And sit apon my dome with me.
             My counsel schale ye knoue.”

Honora Deum tuum de tuis substanciis.34

Withdraw ye not fro Holé Cherche your faderes han yeven before 35
To the prelatis and the prystis, fore hom fore to pray;
Bot ye han grace of God hit to restore,
Ye schul yild a carful counte on dredful Domysday.
Y rede ye mend your mysdedus here wyle ye may,
And let no cursid counsel cast you in care,
Fore ale the worchyp of this word, hit wyl wype sone away —
Hit falls and fadys forth, so doth a cheré fayre!
             Thenke wel on this:
       Thai bene acursid be Goddis law,
       The goodys of Holé Cherche that withdrawe,36
       That other han geven in holdon daw
             To mayntyn Godys servyse.

Quid prodest homini, si universum mundum lucretur?37

Thus have I cumford you, covens, and counsel you fro care!38
I rede ye obey obedyens that ye bene bowndon to.
Then schul ye bles your byrth and the bodys that youe bare,
For ye forsake this wyckyd word, to have wele without woo.
This may ye know kyndlé, yfayth, both frynd and fo.
Remember you of the ryche mon, and redlé on his end,
What is reches, his reverans, his ryot broght hym to:
Sodenlé was send to hele with moné a foul fynde 39
             To serve Ser Satanas,
       Fore to his God he was unkynd;
       The lazar he had not in his mynd,
       Fore worldys worchip, hit con hym blynd,
             Therfore he syngys, “Alas!”40

Humilitas est radix omnium virtutum.

Eever have mekenes in your mynd, relegyouse, I you rede,
And use vertuys, and leve visis ale vayne, and vaneté;
For yif ye love your Lord God his lauys, thai wyle yow leede
Into his court and his coindam, were ys no vanygloré —
That unfyttyng sun, forsothe, al verteus hit duystry!
Hit lad Lusyfer to his los, that was an angel clere —
God had claryfyud hym so clene of his cortesy,
He sygh the Trinyté apere within his body clere;
             Then enterd in hym envy —
       Whan he hade seyne this gloryis syght,
       He wolde arast hym his myght;
       Anoon he fel downe ryght
             Into hel sodenly.

Qui se exaltat umeliabitur.41

A sad ensampyl, forsoth, to ale relygyous men
That bene caght with covetyse, to be sit in hye astate:
Thai most hem ground furst in grace, hemselve know and ken,42
Ellys the worchip of this world, hit wyle sone abate.
Ye most have mekenes and mercé, hyghnes of hert hate,
And werche not hafter wylsumnes, bot wysdam to youe cale.
After chec fore the roke, ware fore the mate,
For yif the fondment be false, the werke most nede falle
             Withyn a lytyl stounde.
       No mon make a covernour
       Bot yif hit be to Godys honour;
       His worchip wyl fare as floure,
             Anon gurd to grounde!

Non honor sed honus accepere nomen honoris.43

Ther is no worchyp wyt hit, bot a gret charche,
To take the name of astate and of hye honour,
Fore both to God and to mon, thou most ned be large,
Fore thou are choson fore chif and made here covernour;44
Then loke thou grounde thee in God and drede thi Saveoure
That wyle cale thee to thi countus and to thi rekynyng —
Hou thou hast done thi deuté and, treuly, thi devour,
And spend his goodys princypaly to His plesyng —
             Fore this most thou nede.
       Yif thou hast spend more fore the worde
       Then fore love of thi Lord,
       The law wyl thee reward —
             Deth to thi mede!

Concilium meum non est cum impiis.45

A foul defaute, feythfuly, in Holé Cherche we fynde:
To let lordis or leud men make election;
Thai schul not know your consel. Hit is agayn kynde!
Fore this cause Saynt Thomas soferd deth and passyon.
Your chapytre schuld be Cownsel and Confession,
And now boldly theryn, thay mon thee both halle!
Thus these preletus, of her prevelache, thay deprevon;46
There Holy Chirche was fre, now they make hit thrale,
             And leson worchip and grace.
       To let lord or leud men
       Know of youre corexeon,
       Ye men of relegyon
             Beth cursid in that case.

Leges meas custodite, dicit Dominus.47

Ye schuld rather sofyr deth, payn, and passyon,
Then lese the love of youre Lord and let down his laue.
Corsid covetyse, hit is the cause, prid, presomseon.
Ye beth ungroundid in grace; your God ye con not knowe;
Your dedus demeys youe, dredles! Devocion hit is withdraw.
Ye han chasid away charyté and the reule of relegyon;
Al gestlé grace and holénes, hit is layd fule lowe.
Thus have ye pot Holé Cherche to gret confusion,
             And made yourselfe thral!
       Godys lauys ye han suspend,
       Herefore ye wyl be schamyd and chend;
       Bot ye han grace you to amend,
             Ful dere aby ye schal!

Quid prodest homini si universum mundum lucretur?48

Thenke on the cursid covetyse mon that to hymself gon say:
“Ete and drenke and make thee meré; this word is at thi wyle!”49
A voyse onswerd hym anon: “Tomorw or hit be day,
Thi soule sodenly schal be send into the fouyre of hele,
Fore thou trustis more to thi tresoure and to thi catele
Then in the love of thi Lord, that ale thi wele hath wroght.”
Thou carful caytyf, the curst, hit is treu that I thee telle:
Thou schuldyst thonke thi Lord God that with his blod thee boght —
             To hym, thou art unkynd;
       Therfore damnyd schalt thou be
       Into hele perpetualy,
       Withoutyn grace and mercy,
             World withoutyn end.

Qui vult venire post me abneget semetipsum.50

Bot he that wyl come after Crist, and kyndlé bere his cros,
And crucyfé his caren with love and charyté,
Leve thou me that his love schal not turne to losse;
Both fore his meryd and his mede, rewardyd schal he be.
Ther is no tong that con tele, hert thenke, ne ye se
That joye, that jocundnes, that Jhesus wyle joyn hym to,
Ne the melodé, ne the myry minstrasye!
Hit is without comparisoun, wele withouton woo,
             And love that lastis ay!
       That joy hit schal never sesse,
       Bot ever endoyre and ey ever encresse;
       Thus with rest and with pesse,
             I make a loveday.

[Lines 391–546: On friars]

Pacem et veritatem diligite ait Dominus omnipotens.51

My blessid broder, Salamon, spesialy I thee pray,
Meve this mater maysterfully to prest and to frere;
Spare not to say the soth, and make a loveday.
Loke thou coré not favele ne be no flaterer.
I am hevy in my hert, and chaunget al my chere,
To wyt leud men, unleryd, lagh ham to scorne.
Thai were better unborne and broght on a bere,
Bot yif thai mend here mysdede — Y lykyn hem be lorne! —
             And kepe charyté.
       Fore mon soule thai schuld save;
       No spot of sun thai schuld have;
       Alas, I trou that thai rave!
             Lord, benedyceté!

Fore schryfte and fore trentale, thai scorne ale this stryf;
Yif hit be cause of covetyse, cursud then thai be!
Yif thai loven more here lucour then the soule lyve,
Lytul deynteth of here doctrine and of here dyngnité.
Fore thai were chosun to be chast and kepe charyté,
And cast away covetys, is cause of cumberment,
And be clene kalender, the sekelers on to see,
Ellys with chenchip and with chame, thai wyle be echent.
             Thai stond in gret drede!
       Pray ham ale, for charyté,
       To save mon soule, spesialy,
       Ellys woful schale thay be
             Fore her falshede.

Si linguis hominum loquar et angelorum caritatem autem non habeam.52

I say thee, broder Salamon, tel in thi talkyng
Furst of the frerys; thus meve thou may
Of here prevelache and of here prayrys and here prechyng,
And of here clergé and clannes and onest aray.
Yif thou say not the soth, then may won say
That thou art leud and unlerd, and letter canste thou non.53
Yif thou touche the treuth, truly thou hem pray
Fore to holde thee excusid, evereche mon,
             Yif hit be here wyle.
       I hold hit bot a leude thyng
       Fore to make a lesyng —
       To God hit his displesyng,
             Outher loud or style.

Vos amici mei estis si feceritis quae precepio vobis.54

The furst founders of the freres and of the four oordyrs
Weron four bernes iblest of oure Saveour, I say,
And betokyn here bokys and baggus to be beggers,
To preche the pepul apert the Prince of Heven to pay,
To borou, to beg, to put schame bothe away,
To by and to bylde with here beggyng,
And pray fore here good-doerys both nyght and day,
That sendus ham here sustynans and here levyng
             Here in this worlde —
       Nyght and day, contynualy,
       Fore hom thai prayn spesealy,
       In matyns, messe, and memoré,
             To here lovely Lord.

Petite et accipietis.

Whosoever sparys fore to speke, sparys for to spede,
And he that spekys and spedys noght, he spellys the wynd;
I do youe clene out of dout and dredles out of drede,
Better is to speke and sped then hold hit in mynd,
Fore moné hanne moné maners, and moné beth unkynd,
Unclene in here consyans because of covetyse.
Spek and have, Y thee hete; seche and thou schalt fynd,55
Ellys may thou fal in myschif and fare ale amysse;
             Nyk not this with nay.
       Asay thi frynd or thou have nede,
       And of his answere take good hede;
       Thou getyst no good, withoutyn drede,
             Bot yif thou byd or pray.

Querite et invenietis.

Yif ye wyle yef ham of your good without beggyng,
Thai wold nowther begge ne borou, thus dare I say;
And fynd hem here houshold and here housyng,
Nouther by ne byld — I red ye asay!56
Behold, syrus, apon here chyrche, now I you pray,
Apon here bellys, on here bokys, and here byldyng,
Apon here prechyng, here prayes, her reverent aray;
Thai pase ale other men in here governyng —
             I whot hit is no nay!
       Thai play not the fole,
       Contenualy thai gon to scole;
       Lordys worchip han thai wole,
             And poton folys away.

Dingnus est mercenareus mercede sua. Ego autem mendicus sum et pauper.57

Sum men sayn these selé frerys thai han no consyans —58
A mon to take seven salerys, ten trentale, yif thai may,
And cast ham in a hogpoch togedur fore to daunce —
Hit ys no ferly thagh the folke in hom thai han no fay!
I lekyn ham to Judas that Crist he con betray —
Because of his covetyse, he sold his Soferayn —
So to begyle the selé pepul and greve God — weleaway! —59
Redelé thai ben ravenourys and non relegyous men,
             That schal han reuful sore.
       Hit is agayns Godys ordenans
       To covet more then youre sustynans;
       This makys debat and dystans —
             And mend you, syrus, herefore!

Ego autem mendicus sum et pauper.60

Sothly, hit is wel beset, at my wetyng,
The grace and the goodnes that men done hem here;
Hit prevys wel apert by here levyng
To pot hom to povert in soche a manere.
Yet thai makyn moné men ful mekusly chere
With the grace and the goodys that God here hom sende;
Wyselé and wyttlé the leud thai wyle lere
Here mys and here mysdedis her to amende;
             Why schuld men be wroth,
       Sethyn God sendys hom of His sond —
       Withoutyn plogh or londe
       Ore saleré of kovenande —
             Mete and drenke and cloth?

Fratres, nolumus vos ignorare veretatem.61

I wyl not faver youe, frerys, with no flateryng;
Ye were better unborne then fore to be to bolde!
Passe not youre prevelege because of covetyng,
Fore this tale treulé apon youe hit is told.
Of soche that knouen hom gulté, agayns me thai hold,62
And I repreve no presthod bot here leud levyng;
Fore to stond at a stake, bren ther Y wolde
Yif I say falslé at my wyttyng —
             Blynd as Y am,
       To me hit were a slawnder
       To lye apon my broder;
       I wold han fayn forther,
             Bot sonn gelo cuiuscam.63

Attendete a falsis prophetis.64

Beth faythful, ye frerys, in your fay. Let be your flateryng.
Preche the pepul pryncypaly the Prince of Heven to pay.
Pil not the pore pepule with your prechyng,
Bot begge at abundand and at ryche aray.
Ye may mete moné men ye walkyn be the way,
That bene nedé and nedful and woful begoon,
That ave a peny in here purse — thagh ye beg and pray,
Agayns twenty of yours, Y trou, thai have not hone.
             This is no charyté!
       Fore to beg at the pore,
       Ye schuld haven here socoure
       Of that ye potyn in tresoure,
             On ham have peté.

Estote micerecordes, sicut Pater vester miserecors est.65

Thus ye techyn truly to ale maner men
Fore to part with the pore — on ham have peté!
As ye counsel other, Y counsel you then,
To solans ham, to socour ham in here fyrmeté —
Ellys, lelé, hit is lyke ye have no chareté.
Ye schul schew good ensampyl to the soulehele;
Men waytyn apon your werkys, Y tele you wytterly.
As ye techen other to do, ye don never a dele!
             Beth seche as ye seme.
       A prechur schuld lyve parfytly,
       And do as he techys truly,
       Ellys hit is ypocresy —
             Your dedus, thai doth you deme.

Nulli malum pro malo reddentes.66

He that wyle not forther these frerus wyllun hom no harme;
Wyle thai loven her Lord God, thai mow not fare amys.
Thenk on the leyth Lazar was borne into Abraamus barme;67
With ys povert and his payne, he boght hym heven blys,
Fore the ryche mon hym refusid, he faryth ale amys,
And lyus law with Lucefyr, leghyst in hele!68
Parte with these pore frerus — your Fader wyle hit his! —
Last the case on youe fal that on hym befelle.
             Ye schuld fynde hit fore the best.
       Do as thou woldus me dud be thee;
       Apon thi broder thou have peté;
       Depart with hym and he with thee,
             Then be thai both yblest.

[Lines 547–857: On secular clergy]

Ingnorancia non excusat saserdotem.

Moné men of Holé Cherche thai ben ale to lewd;
I lekyn ham to a bred is pynud in a cage.
When he hath shertly hymselfe ale bescherewd,
Then he begynys to daunse, to harpe, and to rage,
Fore he is leud and understond not his oune langwage;
Therfore he settys therby bot a lytyl prise,
Fore he lerd hit in his youthe and in his yenge age,
And castis hym never to lerne more att here oune devyse.
             I say you forewhy —
       Thus leud men thai can say,
       He is an honest prest in good faye,
       Yif his goune be pynchit gay,
             He getis a salary.

Legere et non intellegere est quasi neclegere.69

Now yif a pore mon set hys son to Oxford to scole,
Both the fader and the moder hynderyd thay schal be;
And yif ther falle a benefyse, hit schal be gif a fole,
To a clerke of a kechyn, ore into the chaunceré.70
This makys the worchip of clerkys wrong fore to wry,
Seth sekeler men schul have mon soulys in kepyng,
And pytton here personache to ferme to a baylé,71
And caston doune here howsold and here housyng,
             Here paryschun dystroy.
       Clerkys that han cunyng
       Schuld have monys soule in kepyng,
       Bot thai mai get no vaunsyng
             Without symony!

Qui intrat in ovile nisi per hostium, . . . ille fur est et latro.72

Symony is a sun forbedun be the laue
Hyly in Holy Cherche — no mon hit use!
And fro that dredful dede ye schul you withdraw,
Ellus the lauys of God ye doth not bot dyspyse.73
Curatis that beth unkunyng, hem ye schuld refuse,
And aspy pore prevyd clerkys among the clergy,
And gef hem awaunsment and a benefyse
To save synful soulys with here feleceté.
             Goddys wyl hit ys:
       Curatus resident thai schul be,
       And ald houshold oponly,
       And part with the pore that beth nedé,
             And mend that ye do mys.

In tres partes dividite rerum ecclesie substanciam.74

The furst princypale parte lungus to your levyng;
The secund part to Holé Cherche, to hold his honesté;
The third part to your parechyngs that ale to youe bryng,
To hom that faylun the fode and fallun in poverté.
Thus the goodys of Holé Cherch schuld be spend specyaly;
Both your meryt and your mede in heven schul ye have.
Al Cristyn men on Crist wold thai crye,
Fore the bodé and the soule bothe do ye save
             Here in this word;
       That susteyne ham both nyght and day,
       And techyn to heven the redé way,
       Pryncepal fore youe thai wold pray
             To here gracious Lord.

Aprehendite disciplinam, ne quando irascatur.75

Trulé, I trow this rewme where chamyd and chent
Nere the foretheryng of the frerys and here prechyng,76
Fore the seculars prestis take non entent
Bot to here leudnes and her lust and here lykyng;
Thai beth nothyng covetese to lerne no conyng,
The laus of here Lord God to know and to ken.
Hit demys wele be here dedys thay have no lovyng,
Nowther to God, ne goodnes, ne non to odyr men.77
             This is a gret peté!
       Here holé order when that thai toke,
       Thai where exampnyd apon a boke,
       Godys lauys to lerne and to loke,
             And kepe charyté.

Accipite jugum castitatis.

Clerkys were choson to be chast and kepe charyté,
With alle here wyt and here wyle and here worchyng,
And be a clene calender, the leud men on to se,
And not to stere stryf and wrath fore here covetyng.
Hit is a schenchyp and a schame and a sclawnderyng
Agayns the order of Holé Cherch and Goddys ordenawns,
Prestis fore to covet ale, the frerys to han nothyng!
This dole is undeulé dalt. Hit maketh dystans,
             And al thai beth breder.
       And sethen thai serven won Lord,
       Thai schuld never be at dyscord,
       Nouther in ded nor in word,
             Bot ychon part with othyr.

Erant illis omnia communia.

In Actibus Apostolorum ther may ye rede
Hou the goodys of Holé Cherche sumtyme were isempde;
Uche postyl had his part, ryght as he had nede;
Thai cast hit ale in comyn, the goodys that God hym sende.
Curst Covetyse, foresoth, the clergé hath yblynd,
That schuld be lanterns lyght in Holé Cherche to bren,
And chasud away Charyté! Therfore thai wyl be chent,
And turne hemself fro the treuth and marrun other men.
             More arme is!
       Thai pottyn hamselfe in gret parel,
       Fore treuly the pepul thai schuld tele,
       And warne ham of the payns of hele,
             And mend that thai do mys.

Ecce quam bonum et quam jocundum.
Take tent to this tyxt, prestis, I you pray.
Habitare semper fratres in unum,78
Thus Davit in the Sauter, sothlé con he say.
Crist of his curtessé to curatis tak his kay,
Mon soul with mekenes to have in kepyng,
With the treuth of here toung to teche hem the way,
Throgh the seven sacrementis here soule to blis bryng.
             God grantyth hem his pouere
       To asoyle that wyl repent,
       And schryve hem clene with good entent,
       And do here penans verament,
             Wyle that thei ben here.

Ego sum pastor bonus.

The ground of al goodnes, curatis schuld be the cause,
And knyt hem kyndly togeder, ale the clergé,
And leve here leudnes and here lust and lern Godys laues,
With hare conyng and clannes, dedlé synnus dystory,
Both the flesche and the Fynd, false covetys defye,
With mercé and with mekenes, the treuth for to teche,
The comawndmentis of Crist to kepe kyndly
Tofore the pepul apart. Thus schuld he preche!
             Fore ye ben schepardys ale one.
       Then Crist to Peter, what sayd he?
       “My keyis I betake to thee;
       Kepe my schepe fore love of me,
             That thai peresche never on.”

The prophecy of the prophetus, ale nowe hit doth apere,
That sumtyme was sayd be the clergy:
That leud men, the laue of God that schuld love and lere,
Fore curatis fore here covetyse, wold count noght therby,
Bot to talke of here teythys, Y tel you treuly.
And yif the secular say a soth, anon thai bene eschent,
And lyen apon the leud men and sayn, “Hit is Lollere!”79
Thus the pepul and the prestis beth of one asent;
             Thai dare no noder do,
       Fore dred of the clergé,
       Wold dampnen hem unlaufully
       To preche apon the peleré,
             And bren hem after too.

Ve vobis qui dicitis malum bonum et bonum malum.80

Lef thou me, a Loller his dedis thai wyl hem deme.81
Yif he withdraue his deutes fro Holé Cherche away,
And wyl not worchip the cros, on hym take good eme,
And here his matyns and his masse apon the haleday,
And belevys not in the sacrement, that hit is God veray,
And wyl not schryve him to a prest on what deth he dye,
And settis noght be the sacrementus, sothly to say,
Take him fore a Loller, Y tel you treuly,
             And false in his fay!
       . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
       Deme hym after his saw;
       Bot he wyl hym withdraw,
             Never fore hym pray.

Corripite inquietos, quod nolunt intelligere ut bene facerent.82

Thagh the pepyl be never so leud in here levyng,
And brekun the comawndementis of Crist, and wykud werk worch,
Thay may go mery ale the yere for ané reprevyng
Outher of parsun or of prest or men of Holé Cherche;
Bot yif thai fayle slus or schof, anon therwith thai groche,
Comawnd in Cristis name here tethyng to hem bryng,
Ellis a letter of sentens thai wyle on hem sorche;
Hit cemys that to the celé soule thai have no lovyng.83
             Thus may ye wel knowe!
       Y pray, serys, that ye aspye
       Houe contenuys Lechoré —
       Have he cordit with the consteré,
             Vola veredé voo?84

Videte, rectores ecclesie, ne propter lucrum dampnatis animas Christianas.85

Alas, that thes offecers of Holé Cherchis laue
Lettyth these leud men lye in here syn,
That dredun nothyng here domus hem to withdrawe,86
Fore Mede the maydyn mantens hem therin,
Because of Ser Covetys, is neyre of here kyn,
May do with mon of Holé Cherche hollé his entent;
The wyf and the hosbond he mai part atwyn;
Thagh thai be boundon togeder be the sacrement,
             He wyle dessever hem two,
       And yet the Gospel hom dos lere,
       That God juins togeder yfere,
       Ther is no mon that hath pouere
             That sacrement undoo.

nor; nor any other place
ashamed; disgraced
lose your honor on earth
eyes, you have seen

receive retribution; their
life; lose
law of the land
Nor be hanged nor drawn (executed)

ordained; righteous man; (see note); (t-note)
them; Devil
prison; limestone
Only for them; laws
thieves disgraced
These; have a good end; (t-note)
(see note)

lives here righteously
(see note); (t-note)
experience woe

sodomy; (t-note)
manslaughter; rueful voice

them; ordained

These sins do blind a man
against nature

Murder; theft; adultery
disgrace you before you know [it]
them openly
world; knowledge

use; doing

[Genesis 4:11]

adultery; David received punishment

men fear not
be punished most certainly
Unless; space themselves; (see note)
curates; disgraced




(see note)

[Genesis 2:21–24]

[God] himself

their (Adam and Eve’s) heirs [gain]
What Lucifer and all his [company] lost

married; (see note)

This [instead]; law’s command
Equal; (t-note)
For thus shall they come together for love
these [equal conditions] suitably make
in every way
heirs; (t-note)
These others; trouble

perverts nature
[Animals] choose their mates; own; (t-note)

disparage by marrying low


[By those] who; heirs


embarrasses; (see note)
paramour; (see note)
This bargain; dearly bought
or later he will pay
has broken his oath
has; mate
plighted his troth to marry her

Evening or morn

(see note)
no other; (see note); (t-note)

please and satisfy

If; amend; amiss; (see note)

religious order or estate; (see note)


wherever you go
received; (t-note)

Unless he be damned, truly
That what God by law binds together

above; (see note)

[Matthew 19:19]
Forsake; oaths
sinlessness; holy day
Slay; worldly
Gossip about
Look that you do not bear false witness

every one
[Exodus 20:1–17]

counsel; (see note)
any desire or pleasure
Be mindful of

shown; pitiably

fire burning; (t-note)


food; thirsty; drink; (see note)
Visit; sick
ignorant; knowledge; (t-note)

be destroyed

(see note)
lent them

rule; existence
[So that you might] love him

are; spent; (t-note)

Suppose; incapable [of reason]
beast; by nature
able to reason; (t-note)

free choice; (see note)
Whether; evil
Either to be saved or else ruined

free choice

(see note)

[1 Corinthians 13:13]; attest

chief; (t-note)


[Matthew 19:19]


[Matthew 7:12]; (see note)

before; go
[you will be] forgotten
people and kinsmen

Always; compassion; (see note)
By [sharing] the goods
treasure here


fire burning

judges; (see note)

royal, dignified array
alas!; (t-note)
always waiting


would not
Nor; thy; (see note)

[not in W]

(see note)
On account of the writer’s mistake; (see note)
before [this folio]; (t-note)
Search for


(see note)

(see note); (t-note)
by; patience

truth; know
It (i.e., Holy Writ); making
By; composed
For us to recall easily

[1 Corinthians 13:13]
[See Matthew 7:12]; (see note)
courteous (as nature demands); (see note)

(see note)

agreement; baptismal font
Before our father; sought; faith
every one of his deeds
truly; (t-note)
by natural instinct
crossed; chrism; anxious cry; (see note); (t-note)


(see note)

Whoso; barren; are
Unless; absolved; before
shall know woe; indeed; (t-note)
nor less
rules; (see note)


are heirs
has granted them this; (t-note)
amend what they do amiss

wisdom; world; (see note)
(i.e., Solomon, in Ecclesiastes)
(see note)
Who; before; woeful; (t-note)
himself uncut
blade [should] touch wrongfully
here a man, maiden, nor wife
Satisfy; debt; unless; conscience

abides by an agreement; (t-note)


heed; (see note)

Believe; liar; will him judge; (see note)

[Or] else, truly
follow; (see note); (t-note)
instinctively; any; (see note)
[shall] lose; life-days

Death [is] his reward

Marcolf; more fool; way; (see note)
enjoin; brother Solomon; hear
humble husbandmen, their

Take; priest; friar; (see note); (t-note)
illiterate; (see note)
Unless; are entangled in avarice
(i.e., It is well known)

(i.e., They will listen only to you)
horn (i.e., judgment); blown; (see note)

them [to turn away] from
loss and likely damnation
follow; path; fall; (see note); (t-note)
guide guilefully
much muck (i.e., property)
always acquire [more]
unnatural; uncourteous; (see note)
What; wrongfully

executor; (see note)
Here in his life


priesthood; (see note); (t-note)
Vainglory; their vices; their vanity
Bid them amend; (see note)
guilty; (see note)
rather; reprove
Running and flourishing; realm; (t-note)
sober truth; guiltless

pleased; (see note)

[on] unpleasant roads

beast; blessed; (see note)
By nature; region
Though; unlearned
Nourished; other
happiness; (see note)
Until; (t-note)
Where is [there] any other; (t-note)
Who; heal; health

draw; (t-note)
By a [natural] desire
Bid them (i.e., priests)


[Genesis 4:11]


beat; rashness nor for passion; (see note)
city; prosper
a holy one and a servant; (t-note)
Who upholds his sworn duties
knows; soon
do well; (t-note)
Heard is their

humble; (see note)

Lollard; hypocrite; (t-note)
busy; prayers; satisfy
conforms to; duly
course; company
Unless; cheeks


are discourteous; (t-note)


noble Sir John; may come to him; (see note)
instruments are (see note)
salary; (t-note)
he seems not; vicar; (see note)
By; jollily
(see note); (t-note)
open purse; (see note)

For [then] our mirth would be over
shield his life; (t-note)

vanity; (t-note)
[it] angers; knowingly, foolishly
sins; misdeeds; repent
desires; damned
trouble; Trinity
commands; (t-note)



address this subject; (t-note)
First; Benedict informed them; (see note)
private penance; (t-note)
slay; body; pleasure
monastic rule; (see note)
choir; silence
naturally harmonious
their; brethren blessed
disperse; lost; (t-note)
On behalf of the donors

rule; (see note)

Live; ignorant
stir strife

(i.e., maintain your standards); (see note)

shelter; for
give food; drink
comfort; miserable
Or else you are no [man of] religion

choir; (see note)
whom; (t-note)


teaching; (see note)

show; disobedience


(see note)
read; speaks; (t-note)
readily; well learn

No one [may] dispute; nor; (see note)
(i.e., Gospels) accord entirely in unity

divine mystery


Pleased; fathers; founders (lay patrons)
sustain; support; men of religion; (t-note)
truly; their good-doers
For whom [those monks] pray busily
flesh; withered; (t-note)

prayers; are permanent

(i.e., And do believe this)

[They] who help

(see note)
tongue; truth; (see note)
leaders; acquire [Christian] loving; (see note)
(see note)
support; satisfy
sin; realm; destroy; (t-note)
are led
temporal; (see note)
upside down
destroy; (t-note)


(see note)

somber example
did; their; (see note)

before; go
(see note); (t-note)

maintain; monastic rule
Against any temptation; agreement
wholly assent; (t-note)

[John 13:5]; (t-note)

gave them


(see note)
them (i.e., your fathers)
yield an accurate account
advise; repent
wicked; (see note)
world; (see note); (t-note)
cherry fair; (see note)


What others have given in former days

(see note)
rules; (see note)
bodies that bore you; (see note); (t-note)
For [then] you [shall]; joy; (see note)
instinctively, in faith; (see note)
actively [think] upon
his riches; dignity; extravagance; (t-note)

poor man

Humility is the root of all the virtues.

humility; advise
practice; abandon vices; vanity; (t-note)
laws; (t-note)
kingdom, where; vainglory; (t-note)
unfitting sin (i.e., Pride); destroys
fall; pure
purified; courtesy

wrest from

seated; high
(see note)
soon; (see note)
[and] hate pride of heart
after willfulness; call
check; rook; beware; checkmate; (t-note)
time; (t-note)
No man can be a governor
pass as a flower
fall; (t-note)

with it (i.e., high office); responsibility
[high] estate
(see note)
call; accounts; (see note)
duty; obligation; (t-note)



ignorant; election [of prelates]
against nature
suffered; (see note); (t-note)
chapter [of religious order]
they both shall haul you in; (see note)
Where; [once] free; enslaved; (t-note)


suffer; torment

(see note)
deeds judge you, indeed

spiritual; holiness; (t-note)

dearly buy [it]

property; (see note)
wretched caitiff

mortify; flesh
merit; award
tongue; heart conceive, nor eye see
merry minstrelsy; (t-note)

endure; always increase; (t-note)
day of accord; (see note)

(see note)
Stress this subject
(see note)
curry not duplicity nor; (see note)
changed entirely in my countenance
teach ignorant; unlearned, [and] laugh
Unless they repent
practice charity

Lord, your blessing

Despite shrift; strife
on account of avarice; doomed; (t-note)
lucre; than; soul’s immortality
[They] think little; dignity
(see note)
sinning; (see note)
[a] pure example, for the laity to view; (see note)
disgrace; shame; ruined

(see note)
friars; talk about
learning; honest garment; (see note)
one; (see note)

you [may] bid them
To excuse you, every man
corrupt; (see note)
Either aloud or silent

orders (see note)
men blessed by; (t-note)
[who] carried; in the way of beggars
[to] the people openly; please
buy; build
good-doers (i.e., benefactors)
sustenance; living


Ask, and you shall receive
[John 16:24]

fails to speak; prosper; (see note)
spills the wind

many; unnatural; (t-note)
friend (confessor or God) before; (see note); (t-note)

Unless; ask

Seek and you will find
[see Matthew 7:7]

(see note)
(see note)

prayers; (t-note)
surpass; governance; (t-note)
know it is undeniable
fool (i.e., honest truth-teller); (see note)
Lords’ worship they wish to have
put foolishness


(see note)
salaries; trentals
[these pluralities]; hodgepodge
wonder; faith
(see note)

Certainly; plunderers; (t-note)
Who shall have miserable pain

dispute and disagreement

by my understanding
that people grant friars here
It shows quite openly in their way of life
put themselves in poverty; (see note)
In addition; meek countenance

knowingly; laity; teach; (t-note)
sins; (t-note)
(see note)
Since; gifts

salary of covenant (i.e., employment)

curry your favor; (see note)
brazenly corrupt
Neglect; greediness

reprove; except for their lewd behavior
burn; (see note)
by my understanding
(see note)
(see note)
(see note); (t-note)

from the wealthy and richly dressed
[as] you walk; (t-note)
have [barely]
I believe; one

Whom you should aid
With what you put


solace; infirmity
soul’s health; (see note)
observe; surely
at all

hypocrisy; (t-note)
(see note)

(see note); (t-note)

support; wishes them; (t-note)
While; may; (t-note)

While the rich man refused him; (t-note)
lies low; most deceitful
Share; Father’s will; is
Lest; fate

[Matthew 7:12]; (see note); (t-note)
brother (i.e., a friar)

Ignorance does not excuse a priest [see Hebrews 9:7]

too unlearned
bird; confined
quickly; befouled; (see note); (t-note)
rave; (t-note)
poorly literate; (t-note)
on his own; (t-note)

Thus do common men say

pleated stylishly
[And] he


(see note)
financially deprived
Yet if; benefice; given to a fool; (see note)

honor; turn
Since laymen
(see note)
neglect; household
[And thus] their parish

ecclesiastical bribery

sin forbidden by the law; (t-note)
Sacredly; [may] no one

are untrained; (t-note)
notice; trustworthy scholars
advancement; benefice; (t-note)
blessedness; (t-note)

Curates should be in residence
hold; (see note)
share; are in need
amend what you do amiss

share; belongs; benefice; (t-note)
maintain its honor
lack food
spent specifically

You (honest curates) who
direct [them]; straight


believe; realm is shamed; disgraced; (t-note)

pay no attention
To anything other than; stupidity
not at all willing to learn any doctrine
laws; understand

were examined

Accept the yoke of chastity

(see note)
knowledge; will; work
pure example; laity; (see note)
stir strife; avarice
disgrace; slandering

portion is unduly dealt; discord
since; one
(see note)

each one [should] share

All things were common to them [see Acts of the Apostles 4:32]; (t-note)

Acts of the Apostles
Each apostle
Cursed Covetousness; blinded
burn; (see note)
put; peril
preach [to]

[to] repent; amiss

Behold, how good and how pleasant
[Psalm 132:1]
Pay attention

David; Psalter truly did
courtesy; bestowed; key; (t-note)

tongue (i.e., preaching); (see note)

absolve [them]


I am the good shepherd
[John 10:11; see John 10:14]

(see note)
bring together naturally; (t-note)
forsake; stupidity
knowledge; purity; destroy; (t-note)
[and] false avarice

Before; plainly

[Matthew 16:19]
perish; one

is now wholly fulfilled; (see note)

(see note)

do nothing else

[Who] would accuse them of heresy
preach (ironic); pillory
burn; (see note)


duties; (see note)
heed; (see note)
hear; holy day
confess; when he dies; (see note)
cares nothing about


Judge him according to his words; (t-note)
Unless; recant


wanton; behavior
do wicked work
without any reproof; (t-note)
From either
(see note)

(see note)


(How) he has accorded; consistory
(see note)


Allow; lay folk [to] remain

maintains them (i.e., the clergy); (see note)
near; (t-note)
allow to divorce (i.e., for payment)
(see note)
does teach them
What; in companionship

  Episcopus debet esse sine crimene, et corrigere rectores ecclesie. Sicut vult respondere coram summo Judice.87; (t-note)








Thus oure blessud byschop, dene offecialle,
Sofers thes sekelers in here syght to sun opynly,
Thagh thai to here constri, hom to here court calle,
Thai mercyn hem with moné and med prevely.88
Thai schuld put hom to prayers and to penans opunly,
Fore “opun syn, opun penans,” this is Godys laue —
Yif ye wyl serche the soth, here is remedé!
Then wold thai dred your domys and sone hom withdraw,
             And kepe Godys laus.
       Curatis the soth thai dar not say,
       Fore thai be worse levers then thai,
       And leven in syn fro day to day,
             So thai beth the cause.

Inclina cor meum, Deus, in testimonia tua, et non in avariciam.89

Ye curatis, fore your covetys ye castun in the new fayre
The churches that ye byn chosun to, be Godus ordenauns,
And callun hit “permetacion,” cuntreys about to kayre,90
Bot yif ye han pluralytis, hit is not plesans.
I preve the pope principaly ys worthy to have penaunce
That grauntus ané seche grace because of covetyng;
Hit dous dysese in Holé Cherch, and makys bot dystauns —91
A mon to have four benefyse, anoder no lyvyng.
             This is not Godys wyle!
       The furst benefyce ye ben bound to —
       Ye schuld not desyre to go therfro,
       And take a levyng and no mo,
             Lest ye your soulis spyle.

Nemo potest duobus dominis servire.92

Ye schul make no marketys ne no marchandyse,
Nouther for to by ne sel for lucur, I say;
Hit chasis away charyté, your covetyse,
Alle your goostly grace hit wypis clene away.
Who may serve two lordis, and bothe to here pay —93
That is, this wyckyd word and God — to plesyng?
Yit ye serve not your God! The Fynd wyl you fray
When ye ben callud to your countys and to your rekynyng,
             That most ye nede.
       Yif ye have servyd the worlde,
       And be untreue to your Lorde,
       The laue wyle youe rewarde:
             Deth to your end!
Allows; laity; sin

(see note)



(i.e., barter and trade); (see note)
(see note)
two or more benefices held at once; proper; (see note)
declare; is suited for penance


But take one benefice and no more; (t-note)

markets; merchandise
buy or sell for lucre

Thus; confront; (t-note)
are called; accounts; (t-note)

  Hoc quocienscunque feceritis, in meum memoriam faciatis. Qui vero propter lucrum quodlibet temperale officium Dominicum presumit celebrare prossus quidem simulis proditore Jude qui Christum Judeis propter denarios XXXta, non dubitavit vendere. Qui ergo hoc modo accedit ad corpus Dominicum indigne vere sibi id ipsum accipit et sanguinem Dominicum non ad salutem sed ad judicium et juste. Nullus itaque propter lucrum hoc agat ne Jude proditore sociis in penis fiat.94; (see note); (t-note)














A foule defaute, faythfully, I fynd in Holy Cherche,
Prestis to syng twyse a day fore here leucur,
Yef thai schuld fore Cristis sake, anon then thay groche,95
And thus thai sellyn here Soverayn and here Saveour;
I lekyn hem to Judas that was a traytoure —
Because of his covetyse, his Soveren he solde.
Boldlé the byschop is to blame that doth ham favour,
Fore this tale, treuly, on hem hit is tolde.
             This is a gret schame.
       And yet the laue hit doth hem lere
       Thai schuld syng bot twyse a yere,
       At Crystymas and Astere,
             Ellys thai beth to blame.

Sicut aqua extinguit ignem, ita elemosina extinguit peccatum.96

Prestis, ye schul preve yourselfe and princypalé in dede:
Ever depart with the pore. On hem have peté.
Cownsel ham and cumford ham, and cloth hem at here nede,
In presun and in poverté and infyrmety.
Thus ye prechyn the pepul in the pylpit opynlé
The seven werkys of mercé mekelé to fulfyl,
And to ressayve here reward, remissyon redelé
At the dredful Dai of Dome, fore this is Godis wyle,
             Ore ellus schul thai rew!
       As ye techon other to do,
       Do yourselve also,
       Ore ellis men wyl part youe fro,
             And say ye bene untrew.

Nota. De confescione et de sacramento altaris.97

Subjecti estote omnis humane creature propter Dominum.98

I counsel youe, ale Cristun men, and comawnd in Cristis name
That ye obey your curatis that ye ben boundon to;
Yif oné be fallyn be frelté in ané febel fame,
God graunt hem of his grace no more so to do;
And beth in ful charyté with frynd and with foo,
Fore that is the grownd of al goodnes, with contricion,
And serve that Lord of al lordys. Where ben ané mo
That may soyle youe of your sunne and graunt you remyssyon?
             In fayth, no mo bot hee.
       Of al lordis, be he blest!
       He wold no mon where elost
       That wyl in his mercé trust,
             And in his benyngneté.

Yif your curatis comaund you to kepe Cristis lawus,
Then do aftyr here doctrine, and ye bene out of drede,
Fore, serys, thai may save your soule throgh here soth sauus,
Then in heven schale ye have your meryd and your mede;
Bot do not as thai doun — therof take good hede! —
Bot yif thai schowe youe good ensampil to the soulehele,99
Fore God in the Gospel, thus he forebed.
After here werkus, worche ye never a dele,
             Ellus schul ye reue!
       Fore as thai techyn you to do,
       Bot yif thai don hamselve also;
       Ellus Y rede ye gon hem fro,
             And say thay bene untreu.100

Quodcumque ligaveris super terram.101

Fore God hath graunt of his grace to curatis his pouere —
Thagh thai ben synful men — to asoyle youe of your synne,
Thorgh vertu of the sacrementte, sothlé I yowe enseure;
No mon mese in this matere yif he wyl savyd bene.
Everé prest he hath pouere to asoyle you then,
And to here confession in your nesescyté;
Yif to your curatis ye mai not cum, that beth your soveren,
Thai may do youe ryghtus, Y telle youe treuly.102
             Thai have this pouere,
       To asoyle that wyl repent,
       And schryve ham clene with good entent,
       Be vertu of the sacrement,
             Both prest and frere.
fault; (t-note)
twice; payment

truth-telling tale



in good action
Always share

prison; infirmity
pulpit; plainly
receive; remission straightaway; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)


(see note); (t-note)

frailty; poor repute

(see note)
[may] be any others
absolve; sin
[there is] no other but he

wants; to be lost [see Ezechiel 33:11 and note]


you are secure
their true sayings; (t-note)
merit; reward
(see note)

regret [it]

(see note)

assure; (t-note)
[should] dispute; (see note)

hear; necessity
sovereign (confessor)

[those] who


Nota secundum decretalis et constitucionis ecclesie quod omnis homo utriusque sexus tenetur confitere suo proprio saserdoti semel in anno ad minus, nisi habeat licenciam vel dispensacionem, vel prevelegium a superiori.103; (t-note)









Bot ye most come to your curaturus be the comen laue,
And schryve youe sothely of your synne at the lest enns a yere;
Ye stonden in doute and in dred yif ye you withdraw
Without lysens or leve, outher to prest or frere.
Thai most your counsel knoue, that schal youe led and lere,
That have the charche of youre soule in here kepyng;
Ye byth princypaly under here pouere —
Go not ungoodly away without here wytyng,
             And know your entent:
       Thai may not answere fore youe
       Your consel bot thai know;
       Thai beth excusid be the laue,
             And ye schul be schent.

Quicumque enim manducaverit . . . vel biberit calecem Domini indigne.104

Yif the prest unworthelé presume to syng his mas,
Serus, Y say the sacrement enpayrd hit may not be,
Bot his owne deth and his dome he ressayvs — alas! —
Yif in his consians he knaw that he be gulté.
Thagh he syng and say his mas, the prest, unworthelé,
Both your meret and your mede in heven ye schul have,
Fore God hath grauntyd of his grace, be his auuctoreté,
Be he never so synful, youre soulys may he save.
             Have this in thoght:
       The masse is of so hye degré
       Apayryd, forsoth, hit mai not be,
       Ne no mon mend hit may,
             Theron doctours han soght.

Nichil imposebele apud Deum.105

Take ensampil by the sunne ye syne here with syght.
Wha may depreve hym of his pouere and let his lyghtyng,106
That schenus apon a synful man as wele as on a ryght?
Alse wele on fouele as on fayre, without defouteryng?
Alse wel apon a knave as apon a kyng?
A sad saumpil, foresoth, her may ye se:
Hit is Godys Word and his werke and his worchyng.
The sacrement of the autere defoulyd mai not be,
             I do youe out of drede.
       His Godhed may not be sayne
       With no fleschlé eyne,
       Bot in the sacrement ye may hit sene
             In fegure and fourme of bred.
common law
once a year; (see note)
(i.e., neglect confession)
license; permission either from
guide and teach

understand your duty
(see note); (t-note)
Unless they know your counsel


unworthily presumes; (see note)
receives; (t-note)
knows; is guilty

merit; reward
his (the priest’s) authority; (t-note)
he (the priest)

learned men have inquired

sun; see

shines; righteous
foul; fair; faltering; (see note)
(see note)
serious example; here

altar; desecrated
assure you

figure; form; bread


[Lines 858–1013: Exhortations to adhere to the faith: the Trinity, the sacraments, and penance]






















I se, sothlé, in the sune knyt thre maner kynde,
His clerté and his clerenes, what clerke can declare;
Bohold the hete in thi hert, and have hit in mynd;
The conselacion and the comford, thai thre what thai are.
Fore al that levys in this lond, ful evyl schul hit fare
Nere that gloreus Gleme that fro the heven glydis;
Ho that servyth not that Soverayn, his hert may be ful sare,
That lenus of his love seche a lyght that ale this word gladis
             In everych a place.
       A, synful mon! Have this in mynde!
       To that Lord, be not unkynde,
       Fore he may both louse and bynde,
             Graunt mercé and grace.

I declare the clerté to the Fader of myghtis most;
The heete hylé therof to his onlé Sunne;
The consolacion and the comford to the Holé Gost;
Kyndly yknyt togeder, without devesioun.
The Fader, the Son, the Holé Gost, al thai beth bot hone —
Thre persons prevyd in the Treneté —
That never had begynyng, ende have thai none,
That now is, and ever was, and ever schal be,
             Lord of myghtys most!
       Thus the Fader oure lyght us broght;
       With the hete of his blod, his Son us boght;
       Consolacion and cumford thus have thai wroght
             Throgh the grace of the Holé Gost.

Fides non habet meretum.107

Ryght as ye se all this world is glorefyd with one sunne,
Serrs, so is mons soule with the sacrement:
Als moné men at a mas as ye acount con,
Uche person has his part that is ther present,
And ale hit is bot hone Good — beleve this verament! —
That is sacyrd on the autere betwen the prestis honde,
That schal you deme at Domysday at his Jugement,
After your dedis, dredles, thus schul ye understonde.
             Thagh ye have done amys,
       Yif fore your synnus ye be soré,
       Then ye resseyven hem worthelé,
       And schul have grace and mercy
             And joy in heven bliss.

Estote fortes in bello.

Dredles, uche dedly sunne Y declare a wounde,
That when the Fynd hath foght with youe, and hath the maystré,
Then most ye seche a surgoun yif ye wyl be save and sound,
That con sothlé serche your sore and make youe hole.
Confession and contresion, thi salve schal hit be,
The penans of thi penetawnsere, thi satisfaccion;
Then feghtust with the Fynd agayne, and hast the maystré,
And dost hym schenchip and schame, foreever confucyon,108
             Thi soule fore to save!
       Thus thi wondis helyd schul be,
       With gret worchip to thee —
       Because of thi victoré,
             Reward schalt thou have.

Misere mei, Deus, quia infirmus sum.109

I lekyn uche a synful soule to a seke mon
That is yschakyd and schent with the aksis;
Ther is no dayntet edyght that pay hym thai con,
Bot al that is agayns hym that wyl hym pleese.110
So hit farus by a mon that ys recheles,
That is seke in his soule — the soth he nel not here,
Bot wrys away fro Godys Word to his wyckydnes.
Here may ye know kyndlé yif your consians be clere,
             The soth verament.
       Cristyn men yif that ye be,
       Then loke ye done cristynlé,
       Ellus ye berun that nome in veyne, treuly;
             Ye wyl be shamed and yshent!

I counsel ale youe, ale curators, that wyselé you wayt,
That han the cure of mons soule in youre kepyng,
Engeyne ye not to yeesy penans, ne to strayt alegat,111
Lest ye slene both bodé and soule with youre ponyschyng,
Fore better is a Paternoster with repentyng
To send hem, to the mercé of God, to purgatoré,
Fore Crist enjoynd no nother penans in his levyng,
Bot vade in pace, amplius noly peccare.112
             Fore as possebel hit were
       Here, with a tere of thyn nye,
       To qwensche the foyre of purgatoré,
       As al the water in the se,
             To qwench a blase of foyre.

Ye that be chosun to ben chif and sittyng in Cristis place,
Ye most have Treuth and Ryghtwysnes in your demyng;
Then let Treuth dele and tok hym both Mercé and grace,
And Ryghtwysnes rest Pes, fore dred of perechyng.
These four sistyrs made acord betwene Heven Kyng
And Manse Soule, that was forjuggyd to damnacion,
Fore Pes agayns Ryghtwysnesche was ever pletyng,
Hwyle Mercé with his mekenes turrne Treth to remyssioun.113
             Herewith God plesid was,
       And send doune his Son from heven an hye
       To leght in the vergyn mayde Mary,
       In herth to be boren of here body,
             To graunt mercé and grace.

Qui praemunitur non falletur.114

I hold hym wyse that wyl beware whan he has warnyng —
Have this mater in your hert, and hoolde hit in mynd!
Bot never honé whyl beware in here levyng,
Bot al blustyrne furth unblest, as Bayard the blynd.115
Agayns the goodnes of God, men bene unkynde.
Frerys fekul and freel and false in here fay,
Amonke the men of Holé Cherche, feu ther I fynd
That worchyn wysly hemselfe to wyse men the way.
             This is a carful case.
       To curatis sayth Saynt Gregoré,
       That thai schal answere, trewlé,
       Fore mon soul specyalé
             Tofore Goddis face.
sun [are] joined three types of nature; (see note)
clarity; brightness, as
heat; heart; (t-note)
consolation; comfort
lives; evil shall it go
Were it not for; glides
Whoever; unhappy; (t-note)
Who lends by; gladdens

[see Matthew 16:19, 18:18]; (see note)

assign; clarity
heat spiritually; only
Holy Ghost
Intrinsically joined; division
are but one
proved; Trinity



glorified; sun

many; mass; count
Each; share
one; truly
consecrated; altar
receive him worthily

Be valiant in war
[See Wisdom 8:15, Hebrews 11:34]

Indeed, each; sin; [to be] a wound; (see note)
Fiend; mastery
seek a surgeon; safe
truly search your wound; whole
contrition; remedy
priest appointed to assign penance; (see note)


liken; each; sick
shaken; harmed; aches
dainty [thing] prepared; satisfy

will not hear
by nature; conscience; clear; (see note)

Or else; bear; name in vain

curates; wisely; take heed; (see note)
(see note); (t-note)
slay; punishing
(see note)
other penance; life

possible it is
tear of your eye
quench the fire; (t-note)

chief [officials]; [are] sitting
Righteousness; judgment; (see note)
allow; deal and give; (see note); (t-note)
Justice rest [with] Peace; perishing

[Psalm 84:11]
destined for
pleading [her case]
earth; born

(see note)
subject; heart
[they who are] never any while
(see note)

fickle; frail; faith; (t-note)
Among; few
apply themselves wisely to show

be called to account


Verbi gratia, qui sicut dicit papa episcopo, episcopus rectoribus eclesie qui resipiunt potestatem ligandi atque solvendi et curam animarum: fratres in Christo, habet, trado vobis curam animarum parachanorum vestrorum ut respondiatis pro me et pro nobis coram summo Judice in die judicii.116; (see note)








I meve this mater mekelé fore murmur of men,
Wherefore I pray you spesyaly that ye wyl aspye
At clerkus that have conyng, that can this know and ken,
Houe thus Treuth is he touchid, wherefore and hwy.
I red ye, rede hit aryght. Remembyr you redlé.
Fore the love of our Lord, nouther lagh ne gren.
As God, of my mysdedis, He have mercé,
I meve this to amend me and ale other men,
             My God to plese and pay.
       No mon deney this
       Yif that he thynke to have blys;
       Betwene prestis and frerys, ywys,
             I make this loveday.

Misericordia et veretas obbeaverunt sibi; pax et justecia osculati sunt.117

Thus sayth David, foresoth, in the Sautere,
And verefyus in a verse the love of our Lord:
Misericordia et Verytas han thai met efere
That long tyme before had bene at dyscord;
Ther was faythfolé made a feneal corde,
Fore Justicia et Pax mad ham to kus,
Fro that day furth to fulfyl that forward,
Never that mater to have in mynd, tofore was amys.
             So I you pray,
       Fore Godis wyl, forsoth, hit is,
       That ye amend ye han do mys,
       And hoch on other here ye cusse,
             Forever and for ay.

Cuius finis bonum, ipsum totum bonum.118

Thus Salamon hath sayd the soth, verement,
As Marcol, the more fole, warned hym, I wene;
Bot yif this draght be draun wel, thai goun wil be schent,119
And schal turne treulé to turment and to tene.
Have mynd on this mater; ye wot what I mene.
Blust not furth unblest, as Bayard the blynd,
Bot cal agayne charyté with consians clene,
And wry not fro Godis word, as the wroth wynd —
             Herkyns hit as the hynd.
       Apon your levyng, take good eme,
       And beth seche as ye schul seme,
       Fore be your dedis men wyl you deme.
             Here I make an end.
broach this subject; grumbling
notice; (see note)
understand; (t-note)
How; affected; why
counsel; correctly; readily
neither laugh nor grin


day of accord; (see note)

Psalter; (see note)
Mercy and Truth have met together

faithfully; final accord
Justice and Peace; kiss
[Psalm 84:11]
[which] before

what you have done amiss
each other; kiss

(see note)

truth, truly; (see note)
Marcolf, the very fool; believe
(see note)
truly; torment; trouble
Pay attention to; know; mean
(see note); (t-note)
call again [for]; conscience
turn; like the angry [who] twist away
good servant
behavior; heed; (see note)
deeds; judge


Si veretatem dico, quare non creditis mihi? Qui ex Deo est, verba Dei audit. Ideo non auditis quia ex Deo non estis.120; (t-note)



Fore I have towchid the trouth, I trow I schal be schent,
And said sadlé the soth without flateryng;
Hald me fore no parté that beth heere present;
I have ne lykyng ne lust to make no lesyng.
Fore Favel with his fayre wordis and his flateryng,
He wyl preche the pepul apert hem for to pay;
I nel not wrath my God at my wetyng,
As God have mercé on me, Syr Jon Audlay,
             At my most ned.
       I reche never who hit here,
       Weder prest or frere,
       For at a fole ye ma lere,
             Yif ye wil take hede.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Because; disgraced; (see note); (t-note)
Assign me to no faction; (see note); (t-note)
liking nor pleasure; any lies; (t-note)
Flattery (i.e., one who curries favor); (see note)
openly to please them
will not anger; with my knowledge
(see note)

care; hears
from a fool you may learn; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)



























































. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“To thi neghbour fore love of me,
To make debate ny dyscorde,
And thou dust me more cumford,
Then thagh thou wentust barefote in the strete,
For love of me that ys thi Lorde,
That stremus of blood folewed thi fete.
             I sai forwi:
       A wekid worde a mon may schame,
       To lese his godes and hys good name;
       Whoso falsly duth men fame
             Beth curst truly.

“The seventh vertu ys good conselyng;
Entyse not thi neghbour to wekednes,
Ny say no worde to hym ni sklanderyng,
But consel hym to al goodenes,
And this thou myght me more plese
Then thagh thou stydest ones a day
Into heven, thi sowle to sese
Into that joy that lastus ay,
             Withowten drede!
       For bi this goodenes and this consele,
       Thou may pytte thi neghbour fro gret perele,
       And save hym fro the peynes of hele,
             And encrese thi mede.

“The eighth vertu is holé prayere
Dyssyre, and aske of me ryghtwesly.
Thiselfe thou schalt be messangere,
And do thi message dewoutly;
And thou plesust me more speciali,
Then thagh my moder and sayntis alle
Praydyn in heven on hy fore thee —
For thou ast fre choyse to ryse or falle,
             Both thou may.
       Yif thou fall, aryse anon,
       And call to me with contricion;
       Then my moder and sayntis uchon
             Wil fore thee pray.

“The ninth vertu is thou schalt only
Love me in hert over al thyng,
Then gold or selver, or lond or fee,
Or wyf or child, or wordlé thyng;
And thou dost me then more plesyng
Then thagh thou styedust upon hygh peleré
Folle of rayssors kene stekyng
Fore my love, thi flesche to tere.
             Bileve wyl this!
       Love plesis me over al thyng,
       Fore Chareté with hym is ever dwellyng;
       Mon soule to joy hit doth hit bryng
             Into my blis.

“These nine vertus son soth thou schalt fynd —
Lerne this lesson now, I thee pray.
To God and mon, loke thou be kynd,
And make amendis wyle thou may,
For to heven ther ys noon oder way,
Yyf thou wolt have salvasyon;
Me thou most nede plese and pay,
Or ellus have damnacyon.
             Hit ys for the best.
       Do as thou woldust me dud by thee,
       Ucheon of oder ye have pyté,
       And leves in love, in charyté —
             Then be ye blest.

“Sum men ther ben that stelon heven
With penans, prayers, and poverté,
And sum goon to hele ful even
For lust and lykyng of here body.
Here twey wayes, my sone, ther be;
Thou hast fre choyse wedur to passe.
Chese the better, Y consel thee,
Lest thou syng the sung ‘alasse’
             Forever and ay.
       I rede thou serve Heven Kyng —
       For any lust or lykyng,
       Have mynde apon thi endyng,
             And dredeful Domusday!”

Mervel ye not of this makyng;
I me excuse, hit ys not Y.
Hit ys Goddus worde and his techyng,
That he taght a salutary,
For Y kowthe never but hye foly.
God hath me chastest for my levyng.
I thonk my God, my Grace, trewly,
Of his gracyouse visetyng,
             Ellus were Y lore.
       Ever that Lorde, be he blest!
       Al that he duth ys for the best,
       Ellus were ye lyke to be lost,
             And better unbore.

Upon your lyfe take good eme;
Bewar lest God that ye offende.
As he fyndes yow, he wil you deme,
Owther be saved, or ellus be schent.
For soden deth, loke ye amende,
And settus no trist where noon ys,
For al ys good that hath good ende
When ye han mended ye han do mys —
             This ys no nay!
       Y made this wit good entent,
       In hope the rather ye wolde repent.
       Prayes for me that beth present —
             My name hyt ys the Blynde Awdelay.

Explicit de salutare.


De effusione sanguinis Christi in remissione peccatorum.1

An holy prayer here bygynnes
In remedy of seven dedly synnes.
       Seven blodes, Crist he bled,
The fyrst in his Circumsycyoun;
The secund in holé Oresown,
       The deth when that he dred.

The thred in his Flagellacion;
The fourth in his Coronacion;
       The fyfth in his Hondis also;
The sixth in his holé Fete;
The seventh blood ran out of his Hert wete
       To wasche us out of our wo.

With moné another enstrement,
He suffyrd tene and turmentyng
       In his Monheed;
In tyme of his Passion,
Here fore oure redemcion,
       His blesful blod he bled.

O Jhesu, fore the blod thou bledyst,
And in the furst tyme thou cheddust
       In thi Circumcecion,
That I have synnyd in Lechoré,
That stynkyng syn, foreyif thou me,
       And my delectacion.

O Jhesu, at the Mount of Olefete,
There blod and water thou con swete,
       To thi Fader when thou dydist pray
So, Fader, yif thi wyl hit be,
Put Envy away from me,
       And temtacions nyght and day.

O Jhesu, thi payns were ful strong,
When the skorgis both scharp and long,
       Mad thi body to bled;
To thee, Lord, mercé I cry,
Thou kepe me out of Glotoné,
       And helpe me at my ned.

O Jhesu, fore thi scharp croune,
That mad the blod to ren adoune
       About thi fayre face,
Ther Proud in Hert I have be,
Lord, unbuxum to thee,
       Grawnt mercé and grace.

O Jhesu, as I understond,
Thou ched blod at both thi hond
       When thai were naylid;
Thou cast me out of Covetyse,
And graunt me grace sone to aryse
       Of syn when I am seyled.

O Jhesu, thou bledyst more blod
Wen thou wast nayld apon the rood
       Throgh thi fete with naylis;
Let me never in Slouth stynke,
Bot grawnt me grace fore to swynke
       Thyng me avaylis.

O Jhesu, blessid be thi bones,
Fore blod and water thou chedist at ones
       Out of thi pressious hert;
Out of Wrath kepe thou me,
And grawnd me love and charyté,
       Fore thi woundis smert.

O Jhesu, for the Peler strong,
Thi bodi was bound therto with wrong,
       Ybuffet and yblend;
That Holé Cherche as bound me to,
Grawnt me grace that fore to do,
       Lest I be chamyd and schent.

O Jhesu, fore thi blesful Face,
Thou betoke Veroneca bi grace
       Upon here sudaré;
That Face be me consolacion,
And to the Fynd confusion,
       That day when I schal dye.

O Jhesu, fore thi holé Cros,
Thi body sprad theron was
       Fore our syn sake;
That Cros be my proteccion,
Agayns myn enmys everychon,
       Weder I slepe or wake.

O Jhesu, fore thi Naylis thre,
That persid thee to the rod-tre,
       Ydrevyn with gret distres;
Thou grawnt me repentawns,
Fore my syns to do penans,
       My payns to relesse.

O Jhesu, fore the Vessel also,
That aysel and gal thai broght thee to,
       That drenke, hit was unsete;
That I have synd in gloteney,
That stynkyng syn, foreyif thou me,
       That me hath thoght ful swete.

O Jhesu, fore the charp Spere,
That throgh thyn hert Longyus can bere,
       That was a blynd knyght,
Thou perse me hert with contricion
Fore the syns I have edone,
       As thou yif him his syght.

O Jhesu, fore the lovelé Ladder,
And fore the Tongis and fore Hamyr,
       That laust thee fro the tre,
Thou graunt me contemplacion,
To thong thee for thi Passion,
       That thou soferest fore me.

O Jhesu, as Josep of Haramathé 2
Beryd thee ful onestlé
       In his monument,
Fore thi gloryous Resurexion,
And thi marvelis Assencion,
Thou grawnt me remyssion
       Tofore thi Jugement.

In worchip of thi holé Passion
And of my syns remyssion,
       Fiftene Paternoster Y say,
And fiftene Aves to our Lady,
Fore heo is the wel of al pyté,
       That heo wil fore me pray.

He that says this prayere
Everé day in the yere,
       He worchips everé wonde
That Crist sofyrd fore his sake,
Fore his syns amendis to make;
       Iblessid be that stounde!

Wherefore Y pray youe specialy
That ye say hit dewoutly —
       Youre souls ye may save;
Fore Crist hath grawndtid seche a grace;
In heven he schal have a plasse,
       That other schal noght have.

That fulfyld not this prayere,
And worchipd not his Passion wyle thai bene here,
       With devocion,
Thes that to him be unkynd,
He wil not have ham in mynd
       In here trebulacion.

He that techis another mon this,
He schal be sekyr of heven blis —
       Thus wretyn I fynde —
Fore thai be blessud of our Lord,
That heren and don after Godis word,
       And holdyn hit in mynd.

Explicit de sanguine Christi.


Quomodo Jhesu fuit reprobatus a Judeis.

O God, the wyche thou woldust, Lorde,
Fore the redempcion of the worlde
       Of Jewis to be reprevyd,
And to be betrayd of Judas,
Of that traytur with a cos,
       Strayt boundyn and dispilid.

And as a lomb and ennosent,
To be lad to sacrefyce tofore present
       Of Ann and Kayface,
Of Pilate, Erod, and moné mo,
Unsemelé to be offyrd up so,
       That never didist trespace.

And to be acusid of false witnes,
Reprevyd and scorgid with creuelnes,
       And to be crownd with thorns,
And to be spit in the face,
And to be bofet and blyndfuld — alas! —
       With moné schamful skorns.

And to be throullid hond and food
With charp naylus to the rod,
       And to be lift up in the cros,
Betwene two thevys for to hyng;
Of aysel and gal thai propherd thee drynke;
       With a spere thi hert persid was.

Be these most holé payns, Lord,
Fore me, synful, that thou soffyrd,
       I worchip with hert and wylle;
Also, fore the holé cros,
Delyver my soule, Lord, fro losse,
       Fro the payns of helle.

And led me, Lord, graciously,
Synful wreche and onworthé,
       Into that some plasse
Thou ladist the thefe hongyng thee by,
And grauntust him grace and thi mercy;
       Foregif me my trespace.

Wele is him that wil and may
Say this oreson everé day
       Of Cristis Passion;
Out of this word or that he wynd;
Of al his synnus, as wretyn I fynd,
       Schal have remyssion.


De psalterio passionis.


Wele is him that wele can
Sai the Sauter of the Passion;
Here thus thou schalt begyn
In the remission of thi synne.



give; comfort
Than if; walked

explain why

lose; goods

Entice; wickedness
nor slander; (see note)

ascend (i.e., meditate) once; (see note)
Than if; establish

remove; from



Than if

hast; (see note)

[More] than

Than if; ascended; pillory; (see note)
Full of spikes sharply protruding; (see note)
tear; (t-note)

soon true; (see note)

no other

[Matthew 7:12]; (see note)
Of one another have compassion

very directly
desire and pleasure; (t-note)


advise; (see note)

(see note)
excuse myself

remedy; (see note)
know nothing but high folly

visiting (i.e., affliction)


heed; (see note)
lest ye offend God
finds; judge
Either; else
For [fear of]

amended [what]; amiss
cannot be denied
with; (see note)

Pray; (you) who are

[Here] ends the remedy.



Orison (i.e., Paternoster)



many other instruments


(see note)
shed [blood]

[When] that; lechery

Mount of Olives

(i.e., the Paternoster)






From; assailed; (t-note)

[For] what profits me

shed simultaneously


Pillar (i.e., for the Flagellation); (t-note)

Buffeted and made blind
What; has
to do that
shamed and ruined

(see note)





Driven; pain

vinegar; gall

has seemed to me

[John 19:34]
(see note)
pierce my; (t-note)

Tongs; Hammer


(see note)
Buried; honestly

Before; (i.e., Doomsday)

(see note)

well of all compassion


granted such

Those who have not fulfilled



they shall be

[Here] ends the blood of Christ.


How Jesus was tortured by the Jews; (t-note)

because you willed, Lord

(see note)
[Matthew 26:48–49]
Tightly; despoiled

led; before [those]
Annas; Caiaphas
[John 18:13–14]
Herod; many

Reproved; scourged; cruelty

[Matthew 27:30, Mark 15:19]; (see note)

pierced; foot
sharp; cross

[Luke 23:33]
vinegar; proffered [John 19:29]; (see note)
[John 19:34]; (see note)

(see note)
same place

[Luke 23:42–43]

wishes to and can; (see note)

world before he departs

[He] shall


Concerning the Psalter of the Passion


(see note)




Anima Christi sanctifica me,
Corpus Christi salva me,
Sanguis Christi inebrea me,
Aqua latris Christi lava me,
Passio Christi conforta me.
O bone Jhesu exaudi me,
Et ne permittas me seperare a te.
Ab osti maligno defende.
In hora mortis voca me,
Et pone me juxta te
Ut cum angelis tuis laudem te
In saecula saeculorum. Amen, pur chareté.

Spirit of Christ, sanctify me,
Body of Christ, save me,
Blood of Christ, inebriate me,
Water from the side of Christ, bathe me,
Passion of Christ, fortify me.
O good Jesus, hear me,
And do not let me be separated from you.
Defend me from the wicked enemy.
In the hour of death call me,
And place me next to you
So that with angels I may praise you
Forever and ever. Amen, for charity.



Instid of thi Paternoster, this thou take,
And this thi Ave, fore Cristis sake.



O pendens dudum
In hara crucis nudum
Pro nostro scelere,
Jhesu, nostri miserere. Amen.

O long hanging
On the altar of the cross naked
For our sin,
Jesus, have mercy on us. Amen.




And say on thi bedis in this manere
As thou didist our Ladé Sautere;
When the Sauter hit is edone,
Then say thi Crede with hit anon;
Then in the worchip of Cristis Passion,
Say this holé oresoune.


rosary beads
Lady’s Psalter (i.e., Hours of the Virgin)








O Deus qui voluisti
Pro redemcionem mundi
A Judeis reprobare,
A Juda traditory
Osculo dare,
Vinculis aligary,
Et sicut agnus innocens ad victimam, eia!
Ante conspectum Anne, Cayfe, Pilate, et Herodis,
Indecenter offerri,
Falsis testibus accusary,
Flagellis et oprobryis vexare,
Spinis coronare,
Cholafiis cedi,
Clavis aculeys perforari.

O Deus qui voluisti
Pro redemcionem mundi
A Judeys reprobari,
A Juda traditory,
Et sicut angnus innocens ad victimam duci,
Ante conspectum Anni, Cayfe, et Pilati,
Et Erodes, indecenter offerre,
A falsis testibus acusare,
Flagellis et oprobryis vexari,
Spinis coronari,
Sputis conspui,
Colaphiis aculeys perforari,
In cruce levari,
Inter latrones deputare,
Felle et aceto potare,
Lance vulnerare.

O God, you who were willing [see note]
For the sake of the salvation of the world
To be condemned by the Jews,
By the traitor Judas [see note]
To be given a kiss,
To be bound in chains,
And to be led as an innocent lamb to sacri­fice, ah!
In the sight of Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, and Herod,
To be profanely offered up,
To be accused with false witnesses,
To be tormented with whips and abuse,
To be crowned with thorns,
To be struck with blows,
To be pierced with points of nail.

O God, you who were willing
For the salvation of the world [t-note]
To be condemned by the Jews,
(And) by the traitor Judas,
And to be led as an innocent lamb to the sacrifice
In the sight of Annas, Caiaphas, and Pilate, [t-note]
And Herod, to be profanely offered up,
And to be accused by false witnesses,
And to be tormented with whips and abuse,
To be crowned with thorns,
To be spat upon,
To be pierced with blows and points (of nails),
To be raised onto the cross, [see note]
To be accounted among thieves
To drink gall and vinegar,
To be wounded with the spear. [t-note]


  Tu Domine per has sanctissimas penas tuas, quas ego indignis etiam recolo, et per sanctum crucem tuam, libera me de penis inferne et perducere me digneris, indignum, quo perduxisti latronem tecum crucifixum, Qui vivis et regnas.1; (t-note)








































De septem verbis Jhesu Christi pendentis in cruce.1

O Jhesu Crist, hongyng on cros,
Seven wordis thou saydest with myld voys
       Unto the Fader of Heven.
Be the vertu of tho wordis, foregif thou me
That I have trespast here to thee
       In the dedlé syns seven.

In Pride, in Wrath, and in Envy,
In Lechory, in Glotony,
       With gret unkyndnes,
In Slouth, Lord, in thi servyse,
And in this wordis Covetyse,
       Graunt me foregifnes.

O Jhesu, this word furst ye sayde:
“Fader, I am elé apayd;
       Graunt ham remission
That don me al this turmentré,
On ham, Fader, have peté,
       That wot not what thai done.”

O Jhesu, so I thee beseche,
Ryght with herfulli speche,
       Thou graunt myn enmes grace;
Here mysdedis here to mende
Out of this word or thai wynde,
       Fader, thou gif ham space.

O Jhesu, the theff to thee con say:
“Have mynd on me, Lord, I thee pray,
       When thou cumyst to thi kyngdam.”
“Amen, I say thou schalt be
This day in paradyse with me,
       Without syn and schame.”

O Jhesu, my Soveren and my Lord,
Have mynd on me with that word
       In that same wyse;
When my soule schal wynd away,
Graunt me part, I thee pray,
       Of the joys of paradyse.

O Jhesu, thi moder had gret peté
When heo se the turment on rod-tre;
       To here thus con thou say:
“Womon, lo, here thi sune,
Take here to thi moder, Jon,
       And kepe here now, I thee pray.”

O Jhesu, for thi moder love,
That is cround in heven with thee above,
       And Jon, thi dere derlyng,
Fore the love thai hadyn to thee,
Uppon my soule thou have peté,
       And graunt me good endyng.

O Jhesu, thou saydyst ful petuysly,
Eloy lama zabatani?2
       With a rewful voyse —
“My God, my God,” hit is to say,
“Wy foresakis thou me this day?” —
       Hongyng apon the croyse.

O Jhesu Lord, I thee pray,
Graunt me grace that I may say
       In tyme of temptacion,
“Fader, thou have mercé on me,
As thou chadist thi blood on rod-tre
       Fore my redempcion.”

O Jhesu, thou saydist “Citio”;
Eysel and gal thai propherd thee to;
       Thou foresoke that bittere drynke.
Hit were the soulis that were in payn,
To delyver ham, thou wast ful fayne,
       Out of that darke dwellyng.

O Jhesu, graunt me grace to thorst
The water of lyve that ever schal last,
       The wel that is ever lyghtyng,
With al the dessire of my hert
To foresake my synns with terys smert
       Here in my levyng.

O Jhesu, thou saydist ful spiritualy:
In manus tuas, Domine,
       Comendo spiritum meum.”3
Out of this word when I schal wynd,
My soule to thee I recomend;
       Fader, to thee I cum.

O Jhesu, my Lord and my Soveren,
When bodé and soule schal part antwyn,
       My speryt I comende
In manus tuas, Domine,
In thi blis with thee to be,
       Word without ende.

O Jhesu, thou saydist, “Al endyd is.”
Labors, sorowys wooful, iwys,
       Thou sofyrd fore synful men.
To us, Lord, thou wast ful kynd;
Graunt us grace to have in mynd,
       To thonke thee here and hen.

And make me worthé, Fader dere,
Thi swete voyse that I may here
       In the oure of my partyng —
“Cum to me, my chosun blest” —
And have the blis that ever schal last,
       Word without endyng.

In the worchip of these wordis seven,
Devoutlé to the Fader of Heven,
       Seven Paternosters ye say,
And seven Aves to our Lady,
Fore sche is the wel of al peté,
       That heo wyl fore me pray.

And graunt me trew confession,
And very contrecion,
       Hens ore I wynd,
That Cristis holé Passion
May be my satisfaccion,
       And schenchip to the Fynd.

Welle is him that wil and may
Worchip these wordis everé day
       With devocion.
Ful secur then may he be,
Yif he be in love and charyté,
       Hath playn remyssion.

Explicit septem verba Domini nostri Jhesu Christi.4


De salutacione corporis Christi Jhesu.


When thou seyst the sacrement,
Worchip hit with good entent.

       Thus thou schalt begyn:
Knele on thi kneys; then mekely
Beceche him, of grace and mercy,

       Foregifnes of thi synne.


Hayle, gracious Lord in thi Godhede,
Hayle, faythful Fygur in forme of bred,
Hayle, matryal Mater in thi Monhede,
       Worchip mot thou be.
Hayle, Fader and Son and Holé Gost,
Hayle, Maker of medylerd of myghtis most,
Hayle, Halnere of this holé Host,
       Thre Persons in Trenité.

Hayle, thi gloryous Godhede, hit may not be sene,
Hayle, with no freelté of flesly yene.
Hayle, I beleve truly in this bred that ye bene
       Verey God and Mon.
Hayle, of a maydyn ye were borne
To save thi pepul that was forelorne.
A, seche another was never beforne
       In thi Carnacion!

Hayle, I beleve lelé in that lady ye lyght.
Hayle, I beleve ye were conseyvyd in here body bryght.
Hayle, throgh the grace of the Holé Gost and thi Fader myght,
       Borne of hyre thou was.
Hayle, thou sofyrdst ther payne and passion
Here fore our redempcion,
And graunt us now remissione
       Fore our trespase.

Hayle, I beleve in thi gloryous resureccion.
Hayle, I beleve in thy mervelus assencion.
Hayle, I beleve the Holé Gost thou sendist here adowne
       Among the postillis alle.
Hayle, he enspyrus everé spirite,
And gewes hem wysdam and wit
That wille reule ham affter hit,
       And to his grace calle.

Hayle, I beleve faythfulé ye beth Fader Omnipotent.
Hayle, I beleve thou schalt me deme at thi Jugement.
Hayle, I beleve body and soule schal be ther present
       Tofore thi gloryouse face.
Hayle, I beleve savyd to be,
And al Cristyn men, treuly,
That fore here syns here beth soré.
       Thou grawntis mercé and grace.

Hayle, pereles Prince withowton any pere,
Hayle, blesful Blood and Flesche both yfere,
Hayle, thus I worchip youe with al my pouere,
       With hert and good entent.
Hayle, graunt me grace goostely
To ressayve thi blessid body
In parfyte love and charité,
       That is here present.

Hayle, Ground ai of my goodnes and my Governowre,
Hayle, Sustenans to my soule and my Saveour,
Hayle, Cumforder of the seke and al here socour
       In the Lord hit is.
Hayle, Solans to hom that beth sory,
Hayle, Help to hom that beth gulté,
Hayle, Hope of grace and of mercy,
       Thou grawnt us al thy blys.


He that wyl say this oreson
With good hert and dewocion
Afftyr the Levacion
       Of that sacrement,
He schal have this pardon
Of his synns, remyssione;
Thus I fynd ewretyn
       Of Pope Enocent.


O Lord Jhesu Crist, fore thi holé flesche most worthi,
And thi presious blood thou toke of the vergyn Mari,
       And that same blod be grace
Thou chidist out of thi presious syde,
Hongyng on cros with wondis wyde,
       Fore our hele hit was.

And in that same flesche thou rose fro deth to lyve,
And stydist up to heven with joyis, with joyful ryve;
       For thens thou art to cum
To deme the pepul both quyk and dede,
In that same flesche, withoutyn drede,
       At the Dai of Dome.

Lord, delyver me, both gracious and good —
Fore thi holé flesche and blod
       Is sacred in this autere —
From alle unclenes of bodé and soule,
And payns and perellis both seke and hole,
       And graunt me my prayere.



power; (t-note)
What; (see note)


world’s Avarice

ill paid; (t-note)

[Luke 23:34]


thief; (see note)


[Luke 23:42–43]


she saw

(see note)
[John 19:26–27]

(see note)

(see note)



“I thirst”
[John 19:28]; (t-note)
Vinegar; gall; proffered [John 19:29]; (see note); (t-note)

thirst [for]

painful tears

(see note)
world; depart

in two; (t-note)

Into your hands, Lord

[See John 19:30]; (see note)
sorrows woeful, indeed


hour; (t-note)
chosen [one]


true contrition; (t-note)
Before I depart hence

disgrace; (t-note)

wishes to and can; (see note)


full remission; (t-note)


Concerning a salutation to the body of Jesus Christ; (t-note)


see; (t-note)


maternal Matter

middle-earth (i.e., earth)
Alms-Giver; eucharistic Host; (see note)

frailty; fleshly eyes

thy Incarnation; (t-note)

loyally [that] you alighted in that lady; (t-note)
conceived in her


(see note); (t-note)

breathes life into; (t-note)
rule them[selves] by these gifts
calls [them] to his grace


(see note)
[myself] saved

their; sorry

sacred; together


Foundation always; (t-note)
succor; (t-note)

Solace to those





(see note)
Virgin Mary



from; life
ascended; abundance
thence; come
judge; quick


perils; sick; whole

  Adoramus te Christe et benedecimus tibi quia per sanctam crucem tuam.1; [t-note]

Ecce Angnus Dei. Ecce qui tollis peccata mundi. Ecce Deus noster, ecce Deus justus. Ecce Deus vivorum et mortuorum. Ecce vita vivencium, spes moriencium, salus omnium in te credentium quem adoramus, quem gloreficamus, cui benedicamus. Dominum omnipotentem Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu laudemus et superexaltemus eum in secula. Adiutor et protector et defensor sis, Judice benignissime et gloriosissime. Amen.2; [t-note]




Laudes Deo dicam per secula,
Qui me plassmavit manu dextera,
Atque redemit cruci
Propria sanguine nati.
Spiritus Sancti assit nobis gracia,
Soli Deo remanet honor virtus et gloria.
A. M. E. N.

Explicit salutacio.

Let me speak praises to God forever,
The One who formed me with his right hand,
And redeemed me by the cross
With his Son’s own blood.
May the grace of the Holy Spirit be with us,
May honor, power, and glory be for God alone.
Amen. [t-note]

[Here] ends the salutation





















































































De meritis misse, quomodo debemus audire missam.1

Lordis, yif ye wil lythe
Of a thyng I wil you kythe,
       Is helth to al monkynd,
Of the medis of the masse,
Hou everé mon, more and lasse,
       Schuld have hem in mynd.

How ye schul your servyse say,
Your prayers prevelé to pray
       To hym that mai unbynd,
In salvyng of your synis seven,
To Jhesu Godis Son in heven,
       Oure Fader that we schul fynd.

Your faythful Fader he schal be fond
To everé mon that is ebonde
       In syn, fore to say;
Be hys soferens we may se
How he provys thee and me,
       And letys us wyle he may.

Fore he is boune our bale to bete
Yef we wyl of our syn lete
       Into our deth-day;
And yif we wyl leve our synne,
He wyl wys us fore to wyne
       To heven the redé way.

What mon long Y wold sofir to se,
Fore hys syn himselfe to sle,
       Yif he myght lif agayne;
Fore yif he were fore traytre take,
Then he most amendis make,
       Or ellis to be slayne.

Ryght, serus, soo most we
In our hertis soré be
       Fore our synys sake,
And to the prest schryve thee,
And do thi penans devoutly,
       And this amendis make.

Holeer thyng may no mon here,
Ne lyghtyr thyng fore to lere,
       To lerne men of lore,
To teche mon in what wyse
Hou thay schal say here servyse
       In chorche, when thai be thore.

Yif thou to the cherche go,
Toward, froward, or ellis cum fro,
       To here masse, yif thou may,
Al the way that thou gase
An angel payntus thi face
       The Prynce of Heven to pay.

So in that oure thou lest noght
That thou hast ther in thi thoght,
       In thi prayers fore to praye;
Blynd that day thou schalt noght be,
The sacrement yif thou may se,
       Sothlé, as I thee say.

And seche grace God hath thee yeve,
Yif thou be clene of syne schreve
       When thou his bodé ast yseyne,
Yif thou dey that ilke day,
Thou schalt be found in the fay
       As thou houseld hadust bene.

And both thi mete and thi drynke
Thou schalt wyn with lasse swynke,
       Without travayle or tene,
And yif thou stond in oné drede,
Alle day thou schalt the bettyr spede
       To kever thi cars kene.

Saynt Austyne comawndis youe spesialy
That ye beleve truly
       In that sacrement:
That he is ther, God veray,
That schal you deme at Domysday,
       At his Jugement.

That sofyrd payn and passione
Here fore your redempcion
       Apon the rod-tre,
And grawntis you remission
Yif ye have contresion,
       When schrevyn that ye be.

When that thai knele to the sacreyng,
Knelis adoune fore oné thyng,
       And hold up your hond,
And thonk that Lord of his grace,
That al thyng land you he has,
       Throgh his swet sond.

Then glad mai ye be
Your Saveour so to se,
       Tent and ye wold take,
Fore hit is the same brede
That he dalt or he was dede,
       Fore his discipilis sake,

And lafft hit with hem in memoré,
And to ale other prestis truly,
       To have hit in mynd,
Yevery day of the yere,
To ofur hit upon his autere
       In salvacion of al monkynd.

And he that ressayvs hit worthely,
At that day wen he schal dye,
       Hit is his salvacion;
And he that is in dedlé syn,
Anon as hit enters him withyn,
       Hit is his dampnacion.

Take ensampil be Judas:
At Cristis soper, Y wot, he was,
       And ete of that blessid bred,
Bot fore he was in didlé syn,
The Fynd entyrd anon him yn,
       Fore his Lord he had betrayd.

Therfore loke that ye be
In parfite love and charyté,
       And out of dedlé syn.
Loke what bone that ye crave;
Aske God and ye may have,
       And heven blis to wyn.

Youre Paternostere, loke ye con,
And your Ave, everé mon,
       And spesialy youre Crede,
Ellis esavyd ye may not be;
Bot ye con your beleve, truly,
       Ye stond in gret dred.

For al that ever nedis to thee,
And to thi nyghtbore, truly,
       In the Paternoster hit is.
Seven petecions ther be in,
That getis you foregifnes of your syn,
       And bryngis your soule to blis.

Fyve worchipis thou dost to our Lady,
When that thou sayst thyn Ave —
       Blessid mot heo be!
Thus angel Gabreel, he con say:
“Hayle! Ful of grace, thou swet may,
       God he is with thee.”

Twelve arteklus of thi beleve —
Thus clerkis thai don ham preve —
       That beth in this Crede,
That getyn thee salvacion,
And of thi syns remission,
       And heven to thi mede.

Your Ten Comawndmentis ye most con,
And kepe hem wel, everé mon,
       Thus Crist he bede;
Thi gostlé Fader schal teche ham thee,
Or ellis ful woful schal ye be;
       Thai stond in gret dred.

The seven dedlé synns ye most know,
Wyche thai bene I wyl you schew,
       Ryght here anon —
Pride, covetyse, wrath, envy,
Lechoré, slouth, and glotoné —
       Here thai bene echon.

Yif any of these that ye in falle,
Anon on Crist loke that ye calle
       With contricion;
Anon schryve you of your syn
Be frelté, yif ye fal theryn,
       And ye schal have remission.

Then in the cherche ye knele adowne,
With good hert and devocion,
       Hold up your hondis then;
Furst fore yourselfe ye schul pray,
Sethen fore fader and moder, as I thee say,
       And then fore al thi kyn,

And fore thi frynd and fore thi foo,
And fore thi good-doeres also,
       Alse moné as thou mai myn,
And fore the prest that syngis masse,
That God forgif him his trespasse,
       And al the cherche beth in.

Yif that the prest the masse doth syng
Be not at thi lykyng,
       Therfore let thou noght,
For thee, his masse is as good to here
As ané monkis ore ané frere;
       Have this in thi thoght.

Bot his prayers and his bone
Be not hard half so sone
       As the mon that wele hath wroght,
Y do you out of dispaire —
The sacrement no mon may mend ne payre;
       Theron doctors han soght.

Both Saynt Barnard and Saynt Bede
Sayne the masse is of so gret mede
       That no mon mend hit may;
Weder that he were wold or yong,
He myght tel with no tung,
       Thagh he myght leve fore ay,

Ne expone hit opres,
Half the medis of the masse,
       Into his last day;
Were he never so wyse of art,
He schuld fayle the fifth part
       Of the soth to say!

I pray yo, serrys, more and lasse,
When ye stond at your masse,
       Sum good word ye say
Fore as moné as ye prayn fore —
Securly fore moné a score
       At masse myn ye may.

All thyng, thagh ye myn noght,
Hold ham stil in your thoght,
       Hom that ye fore pray;
I do you clene out of dout
Ther is non the masse without
       Bot he be in hel for ay.

Fore alse moné as ye may myn
When ye beth the cherche withyn,
       Ther is non a masse without,
Bot yif he be in dedlé syn,
And thynke to contenu theryn,
       Then he stondis en dowte.

When that ye bene in the kerke,
Thenke theron, and thenke not erke,
       Hent to the last endyng.
Then have no dout of thi doole —
Thou hast a masse, thiselfe, al hole;
       Hit is so hy a thyng!

Saynt Austyn sayth, fore soulis here
A thousand and thou woldist, here,
       Do a masse fore to syng,
Hit is nouther more ny lasse,
Bot everé soule he hath a masse;
       Hit is to Godis plesyng.2

In that houre thou herst thi masse,
Soules hit doth gret solas,
       That byth in payns bidyng;
Of that oure thai beth ful fayne,
Fore hit delyvers hem of here payne;
       This is a gracious thyng.

Fore his love that you dere boght,
Have mynd of this. Foregete hit noght!
       Ye not when ye schul passe.
Yif ye will be sekyr and sere,
Everé day in the yere,
       Loke thou here thi masse.

Yif thou may not thi masse here,
Then this lesson Y rede thou lere:
       When thai to masse do knyle,
Pray God, of his gret grace,
To send thee part of that masse,
       Yif hit be his wylle.

I do thee clene out of dout
Thou art not that masse without,
       Seche grace is gif to thee;
Fore thi hert dissiryng,
Thou hast part of beedis and masse syngyng,
       Where that ever thou be.

Fore the prest that syngis the masse
For al astatus, more and lasse,
       That is here levyng;
He takis hem in his memoré,
And soulis that beth in purgatoré,
       That God to blis hem bryng.

Herefore, serys, more and lasse,
Everé day here your masse,
       On morowe, yif ye may.
And yif ye mai not on morwe,
Loke ye do be undorne,
       Or ellis be mydday.

Sertenly, without fayle,
Lese thou schalt not of thi travayle
       Half a fote of thi way;
Al dai thou schalt be the lyghtur,
And have grace to do thee better,
       Foresoth, as I thee say.

Yet Saynt Austyn bedth take tent
That ye hold no parlement
       With no levyng mon,
Fro tyme the cherche ye ben within,
And the prest he doth begyn
       His vestmentus to take on.

Fore wyckid gostis, thai wyl hit wyt,
And your wordis thay wil ham wryte
       In here bokis, everechon.
That witnes wele Saynt Austyne,
That furst in Englond with his gyn
       The treuth to preche began.

Tofore that Awstyn in Englond come,
With Saynt Gregoré in gret Rome
       Ful derelé con he dwel,
Hent on a day of gret dernes,
Saynt Gregoré wold syng his masse,
       So fayre as him befelle.

To the Austyn, he mad a syne
Fore to be his dekyn dene
       To red his Cospel,
And as he red, he sau sit
Thre fyendys, as ye may wit,
       And talis con thai telle.

What thai sayd, he herd hit alle
Throgh a wyndow of the walle,
       No fer fro his face.
He se a fynd sit witin,
With pen and enke and parchemen,
       As God gif him grace.

He wrot so lung that he ded want,
And his parchement wex scant —
       To speke, thai had space —
With is teth he con hit tug,
And as Rofyn begon to rug,
       His rolle began to rase.

So hard Rofyn rogud his rolle,
That he smot with his choule
       Agayns the marbys stone;
Of that dynt, thai had gret doute —
Al that setyn ther aboute —
       Fore thai herd hit echon.

When the fynd so hard drou,
Saynt Austyn stod and low.
       Saynt Gregoré then con grone;
Neverthelees, fore grame he get.
Sone after masse the Austyn he met,
       And myldelé mad his mone.

He sayd to him with myld mode:
“What aylid thee, thou wytles woode,
       Todai to do this dede?
Seche a dede was never done.”
Then he answerd him ful sone,
       Fore of him he had gret drede:

“Sere, greve ye noght or ye wyt,
Fore yonder I se a satanas sit —
       Hit semyd his hed did blede —
What he wrot tofore he brayd,
That thre wyvys seton and sayde,
       As I stode to rede.

“I was adevyd of that dynt;
Hit stoned me and mad me stont,
       Styl out of my steven!
I schal you tel what I se,
And word therof I wyl noght lye;
       Be Godis Son in heven,

“Syr, ye may wyl trow.”
He lad him to the wyndow.
       “Cum nere, syr, and sene!”
Tho Saynt Gregoré was adred,
Fore blak blood he se espred
       Apon the aschelere even.

Then this good mon grevyd him lasse,
And comawndit at everé masse
       Of this mater to myn.
Kepe you out of Godis wreke,
Fore ther is no word that ye speke,
       Bot ye don syn!

Therfore, serys, with good wyl,
Loke that ye hold you styl
       The cherche when ye bene in;
A prest, to stone in his masse,
Al a lond may fare the worse,
       Out of wo to wyn.

The chorche is a house of prayere;
Hold hilé to Godis honoure,
       To worchip hym therin.
What ryghtful bone that ye crave,
Aske God and ye schul have,
       And be foregevyn of your syn.

Hit were hard, to oure behove,
Uche proferbe fore to prove,
       Of our awntros alle;
Here schortlé I wyl chew hit,
Lewd men to know hit,
       Crist on fore to calle.

In the cherche thou knele adown,
With good hert and devocion;
       Hold up thi hondis then —
Fore thiself, furst thou pray,
Fore fader and moder, as I thee say,
       And sethyn fore al thi kyn,

And fore the weder, and fore the pes,
And fore men and wemen, mo and lees,
       That Cristyndam an han tane.
In the name of the Treneté,
Then Paternoster say thou thre —
       Say furst in Cristis name.

Then fyve Paternoster thou schalt say,
To pray him that best may
       To gyf thee wit and grace,
Thi fyve wyttis so to spende,
Thi synful soule here to amend,
       To heven to folou the trasse.

Sethin seven to the Holé Gost
To kepe thee out of werkis wast,
       And out of dedlé syn.
Ten Paternoster say thou then
Fore brekyng of thi Hestis Ten;
       And thus thou schalt begyn.

On the werkeday yif that thou be
About thi labor, treuly,
       In word, as thou most nede,
On the haleday thou fulfyl
Ryght as I have sayd thee tyll,
       And thou art out of drede.

And oche a day thi masse thou here,
And take halé bred and halé watere
       Out of the prestis hond;
Seche grace God hath gif thee,
Yif that thou dey sodenly,
       Fore thi housil hit schal thee stond.

Fore suche power that blessyng hit has,
That God blessud the bred in wildernes,
       And two fyschis also,
And fedd therwith fyve thosand men,3
Twelve lepus of relef laft affter then;
       Soche lordis ther be no moo.

And also loke that ye be
In parfyte love and charyté
       And out of dedlé syn;
What ryghtful bone that ye crave,
Aske God and ye schul have,
       And heven blis to wyn.

Alle that han herd this sermon,
A hundred days of pardon,
       Saynt Gregoré grauntis you this.
Out of this word wen ye schal wynd,
Jhesu save you from the Fynd,
       And bryng your soule to blis!

Explicit meritis misse.


if; listen; (see note)
(see note)


spiritual healing

(see note)

hinders us while

prepared; relieve
If; desist


I would endure a long time to see; (see note)
[Who would] for his sin slay himself
taken for a traitor

In the same manner, sirs

Holier; hear; (see note)
Nor more delightful; learn
[Than] to teach; (t-note)
(see note)

(see note)
away from


So that in that hour you do not fail to; (t-note)
[Remember] what


such; given; (see note); (t-note)
shriven; (t-note)
have seen
same; (t-note)

travail; trouble
relieve; sharp cares

specifically; (see note)




consecration; (see note)

loaned [to] you

If you would take heed; (see note)

disciples’; (t-note)


offer; altar


As soon as

by; (see note)
supper; know
[Matthew 26:23–25]


especially; (t-note)
Unless; know

is needful

petitions; (see note)
get [for] you

honors; (t-note)


[Luke 1:28]

articles; belief
have proven them

(see note)

must know

commanded; (t-note)
spiritual; (t-note)



commit (fall into)

By frailty

(see note)

As many; mention

all who are in the church

(see note)
In a manner not pleasing to you
be not apprehensive
As [that] of any monk or any friar

Even if; petition
heard; soon
well has performed [the service]
I do [counsel]
improve; impair
theologians; confirmed

(see note)
Say; benefit
Whether; old; (t-note)
express [it]; tongue
live forever

Nor expound it exactly; (t-note)


you, sirs; (see note); (t-note)

many; pray

though; mention

advise you full assuredly
[who is] without the mass

as many; mention

none [of them] without a mass
doubt; (t-note)

church; (see note)
with annoyance
a whole mass to yourself

(see note)

hear; (t-note)

are in pains abiding
hour; glad
[out] of

know not; die
secure and sure; (t-note)

advise you [to] learn


I do advise you full assuredly

Such; given
heart’s desiring
prayers; (t-note)
Wherever; (t-note)

their vocation


Therefore, sirs; (see note)


by undern (9 a.m.)

Lose; travail; (t-note)
foot; (t-note)
lighter [of sin]

Augustine bids [you]; heed; (see note); (t-note)
conversation; (t-note)


wicked spirits; note

every word
witnessed well
followers; (see note)

Before; (see note)

reverently did
Until; reverence; (t-note)

So fairly as befell to him

sign; (see note)
presiding deacon
read; Gospel; (t-note)
saw sitting; (t-note)
fiends; understand
gossip did they tell

(see note)

saw; within; (t-note)
ink; parchment

wrote; long; want [more room]; (t-note)
had space (i.e., they gabbed on); (t-note)
his teeth; did; (see note); (t-note)
Ruffin (the devil’s name); pull; (t-note)
tear; (t-note)

pulled; (see note)
struck; jowl
marble; (t-note)
blow; were startled
For each of them heard it

fiend; fell down
did groan [with dismay]; (see note); (t-note)
Furthermore, he became irritated
(see note); (t-note)
mildly; complaint; (t-note)

demeanor; (see note)
ailed; foolish madman; (t-note)

before you know
saw; demon
before he cried out
[All] that three wives sat
stood to read [the Gospel]

deafened; noise; (see note); (t-note)
astonished; stupefied; (t-note)
Speechless; voice
not lie

well believe
led; (t-note)
Then; afraid; (t-note)
spread out
ashlar directly

was less aggrieved; (see note)
speak [in church]

be quiet
When you are in church
A priest, to astonish
[Can mean that] an entire land
[Rather than] be won out of woe

(see note)


properly speaking; (t-note)
Each maxim to demonstrate; (t-note)
briefly; explain
Laymen; (t-note)

(see note)


weather; peace
Who have accepted Christianity; (t-note)

the first one

give; understanding


Afterwards [say] seven [prayers]; (t-note)
wasteful deeds

Ten Commandments


the world
holy day
Just; to you

each; hear

Such; given
die suddenly
received eucharist; protect

baskets of relief [were] left over


proper boon

(see note)
world when; depart; (t-note)

[Here] ends the virtues of the mass





Quomodo Dominus Jhesus Christus apparuit Sancto Gregorio in tale effugie.1; (see note); (t-note)































































































Apon a day Saynt Gregoré
Song his mas at Rome, truly;
Crist to him he con apere
In the fegure of his autere;
Then Gregoré had conpassion,
And grawntis fourtene thousand yere of pardon,
And other bischops, moné mo,
Grawntyd more pardon therto;
The nowmbur hit is of al efere
Twenty thousand and six days and thirty-six yere.

Say fyve Paternoster and fyve Ave
In reverens of this holé peté
With good herd and devocion,
In worchip of his Passion,
Knelyng down apon your kne,
Askyng grace of this peté.
Yif ye be out of dedlé syn,
Then this pardon may ye wyn,
In what plase hit payntid is,
The same pardon therto ther is.


Then loke thou say anon
Dewowtlé this confession.


De confesione generali.

Swete Jhesu Crist, to thee,
Coubabil wreche, Y yild me;
Of al the syns I have edo
In al my lyve hederto,
In Pride, in Wrath, and in Envy,
In Lechoré and in Glotony,
In Slouth, Lord, in thi servyce,
And in thi worldis Covetyse,
To oft I have in my lyve
Isynnud with my wyttis fyve —
With eren her, with eyne syght,
Wyth synful speche, day and nyght,
With clepyng and with cussyng bo,
With hond ehandild, with fete ego,
With hert synfulli I have thoght,
With al my bodi mys ewroght —
Here, of al my foly,
Lord, mercé to thee I cry!
Ale thagh I have synyd ever,
Lord, I foresoke thee never;
No nother god toke I non,
Fader of Heven, bot thee alone;
Herefore, Fader, I thee beseche,
Ryght with hertful speche,
That thou gif me no mede
After my synful dede,
Bot, Lord, fore thi gret mercy,
Have reuth and peté apon me,
And send me hereof, er Y dye,
Sorou of hert with tere of ye,
And let me never heft begyn
Fore to do no dedlé syn,
So at myn endyng day,
Clene of syn dey I may,
With schryft and housil at myn end,
So that my soule mai wynd
Into that blis withoutyn pere,
Ther ye dwel, Lord and Syre. Amen.


Loke ye say this oresoun
Dewoutlé with devocion.


Quomodo Jhesus in cruce rogabat Patrem pro inimicis. Oracio.1

O Lord Jhesu Crist, hongyng on cros —
Fore our syn I wot hit was —
Ther thou praydist thi Fader alhone
To foregif thyn enmys everechon;
I beseche thee, fore that holé word,
Foregif myn enmys, Y pray thee, Lorde,
That han trespassid here to me,
And grawnt ham love and charyté.
I pray thee, Lord, that hit so be
And that ye wil foregif me.



De visitacione infirmorum et consolacione miserorum.1

Saynt Ancelyne, that holé bischop,
He med this tretys be Godis grace,
Hou ye schul set in God your hope,
Out of this word wen ye schul passe,
And to foresake al that thou has —
Wyfe and child, al wordlé thyng —
And to dissyre to have that plas
Were joy and blis is ay bydyng,
             And have this in thi mynd —
       Fore that joy schal never sese,
       Bot ever endure, and ever encres,
       And ever in love, rest, and pesse,
             In joy and blis, without end!

Thus to thi God, thou schalt thee yild,
And knowleche to him al thi trespas —
His comawndmentis not fulfillid;
Thi fyve wittis myspend thou has —
And aske him mercy loulé and grace.
The werkis of mercy thou hast not don —
Vesid the pore in evereche plase;
Ne done the seke consolacion.
             Then thus schal thou say:
       “I knowleche me, Lord, gilté,
       In pride, covetys, wrath, envy,
       In lechoré, slouth, and glotony.
             I have esynyd both nyght and day.”

Thus alle men he doth cumford,
And cowncelis you, pur charité,
Settis noght be the joy of this word —
Hit is bot vayn and vaneté! —
Fore youre namys wretyn thay be
In the boke of lyve in heven blis,
To have joy ther perpetualy!
Al erthlé joy hit schal vanysche
             Within a lytil stound,
       Fore ale this wordlé honor
       Schal fal and fade as doth a floure.
       Pope, kyng, duke, emperoure —
             Al schul thai go to grounde.

Behold a charnel ful of boonys —
What clerke con therowte a boone
Of lord ore ladys, schete al at ones?
Of ryche, of pore, of gentilmon?
So bredern and sisterne we beth echone;
And he that doth best in his levyng
Schal have most mede when he is goon,
And most thonk of his Fader Heven Kyng.
             Uche mon in his degré,
       As he hath kept his oune astate,
       To Godis worchip, erlé and late,
       He schal have reward algate —
             Bale or blis — wedersoever hit be.

Allas, that we con not beleve
That we felyn and sen with syght!
How lytil a thyng mon may greve
When eny syknes is on him dyght!
Anon he has lost al his myght;
Then hard on Crist he wyl crye!
Fore payn of deth, he is afryght,
That al wordlé joy he settis not by.
             Then comford is ther non.
       A, synful mon! Have this in mynd —
       Thi mysdedis betyme amend,
       And serve thi God; forsake the Fynd.
             Then schal thou have remyssion.

Fore cursid be he that trustis in mon
And doth not affter Cristis wil,
More then he doth in God alone,
That bodé and soule may save and spil;
Fore Cristis bidyng we schuld fulfil,
And do fore ourself or we passe hen,
And pot oure soulis out of parelle,
And trust not ale to other men.
             Fore thou getyst no more with thee
       Save thi good dydis, withoutyn drede,
       Holé prayers, masse, and almusdede.
       After thi meryd and thi mede
             Rewardid schal thou be.

Fore Cristis love, doth almesdede —
In thi good lyve, gif a pené
To the pore that hath gret nede,
Or mete, drynk, clothis, or herbar fre —
And thou plecyst God more specyaly
Then a thowsond hillis of gold, as I thee say,
Were made in mynt and in money
To dele after thi deth day.
             Fore mede getis thou none
       Bot yif thiselfe thi soule sokoure,
       Ellis may not thi cecatoure.2
       Hit is the wordis — alle thi tresoure —
             When thou art goon.

More med is a mas here in thi lyve
Then to have a thausand after thi day;
Yif to the prest thou wylt thee schryve,
And do thi penans here wyl thou maye,
Thus thou myght God plese and pay,
Yif that thou wold thi soule socour
Or thi caren be cast in clay,
And trost not to thi secatoure.
             Gregoré thus con he say:
       “Better hit is now fore thee
       To wenche the fuyre of purgatoré —
       Therin cast or that thou be —
             Thiselfe here wyle thou may.”

Thus Seynt Ancellyne to youe he sayd:
“Dissyre ye not agayns Godis wile,
Bot ever ald you wel apayd,
What vesetacion he send you tylle,
Fore his mercé in you he wil fulfil
When tyme is cum at his lykyng;
Fore wom he lovys, he chastest wele,
And save his soule fro perescheng
             Fro the payns of helle —
       Fore his grace and his goodnes,
       His benyngnyté and his blessidnes,
       His hye mercé and his mekenes,
             Con no tung here telle!”

“Thus clepth agen yusterday,”
Saynt Ancellyne, he cownsellis thee,
“And mesure thi wynde, Y thee pray,
And wy the foyre of purgatoré!”
These thre wordis declared schal be
What thai beth to understond;
Lerne this lesson, pur chareté,
And thonke thi God of his swet sond —
             Fore hit is fore the best
       To have thi payne, thi purgatorye,
       Out of this word or that thou dye,
       Fore God ponysche not twyse, truly!
             Take hede mekelé; then art thu bleste.

Thus yistyrday thou clepe agayne,
And take knoulesche of thi consians —
Hou thou hast spend thi lyve in vayn,
Agen Godis wil and his plesans.
Then mesoure thi wynd with repentans,
And schryve thee clene of alle thi synne.
Then wey the fouyre with trew balans —
What purgatoré thou schuldist have then.
             Fore this is Godis oune wyll,
       That everé good dede rewardid schal be
       In erth or ellis in heven on he,
       And uche syn eponyst, truly,
             In erth, in purgatoré, or ellis in helle.

Bot above his warkis is his mercy.
Thenke what did Maré Mawdleyn,
And Peter, that foresoke him thry,
Fore the ways of twey wemen,
And Thomas of Ynd, that mysbelevyd then —
Al thai had mercy and grace.
And so schul have al Cristyn men
That wil repent wyle thai han space.
             Fore as possibil hit were
       With watere of thi ne
       To wenche the fuyre of purgatory,
       As al the water in the se
             To wenche a gnost of fuyre.

Fore more joye in heven ther is
Of a mon that foresakis his syn,
And wil amende he dothe amys,
And do his penans is enjunyd then,
Then of four score of ryghtwys men —
In the Gospel wretyn hit is —
Fore hom ned is heren oune medsyn,
Bot thai that beth seke in soule, iwys.
             Cryst sayth thus, graciously:
       “I come not to clepe ryghtwyse men,
       Bot tho that in erth synful bene;
       Hom I cal to penans then
             To graunt hom grace and my mercy.”3

For he that wil himselve here loue,
And forsake his syn and be soré,
And to the prest him schryve and chewe,
And do his penans dewoutly,
He never rehersid schal be
When he is callid to his rekynyng,
Fore Crist hath foregifne him throgh His mercy,
Here in erth in his levyng,
             Throgh his specyale grace.
       Yif thou wilt sekyr savyd be,
       Foresake thi syn or hit do thee,
       Ellis thai schul be cheuyd opynlé,
             At Domysday before Cristis face.

Fore Peter wept ever aftur moore
When he herd eny koke crowe;
And Maré Mawdlyan, wepeng ful sore,
Askid grace of Crist with hert so low;
And Thomas of Ynd mad us to know
Hou false he was in his beleve,
Fore Crist his wondis to him con shew —
The soth himselve he mad him preve:
             “Thomas, to thee I say,
       Blessid be thai that never seyn,
       And trewlé in my werkis belevyn,
       Fore thai schul have the blis of heven,
             And my blissyng, nyght and day.”

Affter Crist made Peter of paradyse porter,
And betoke him the kyis of heven gate,
And yif him fullé his pouere
To louce and bynd, erlé and late,4
And bede him thynke on his astate —
How freel he was, and eth to falle —
And he him graunt mercé, allegate,
To al that in erth his grace wyl calle,
             With sorow of ert and confession:
       “Peter, as I geve thee mercy,
       So on other thou have peté;
       That foresakis his synus and beth sory,
             Thou graunt hem ale remission.”

Thus we ben bleste of Godis mouth!
Al that beleven in him truly —
Est and west, north and south —
Thai schal have grace and mercy,
And no nother sekyrly.
Dampnacion to hom al is dight
That wol witt how and wy
That al thyng Crist do he myght.
             Ensampil ale day we se,
       Fro the heven, on he token —
       The lyght, the thonder, and ster, mone, and son —
       That he is Almyghté God alhon,
             And no nother Lord bot he!

Fore Holé Cherche prays fore no mo
Bot tho that belevyn and dye in Crist;
Al other to penans thai schal goo,
That to his mercé and grace wil not trost,
Bot leven after here flesschelé lust
As bestis don, unresnabelé;
Hur lyve days thai han elost;
Here dedis schul deme hem openly
             At Cristis Jugement.
       Fore Cristyn men callid thagh ye be,
       Bot yif ye done Cristynly,
       Ye bere that name in wayn, truly —
             Ye wil be schamyd and schent!

Herefore, beleve in Crist truly,
And foresake youre lust and your lykyng,
And set your trust in him, truly,
To have that joy that is everlastyng;
And let this be al thi wylnyng,
Yif that thou turne to lyve agayn,
And to amend thi myslevyng,
And him to serve be glad and fayn —
             And have this in thi mynd! —
       And aske him grace and his mercy,
       Fore his moder love, maydyn Maré,
       And al the sayntis in heven on hye,
             To graunt thee grace to make good end.

Thus in thi God thou cumford thee,
And thenk apon his Passion —
That fore thi love here wold he dey
With cros, spere, nayle, and croune —
Fore in him is al consolacion,
And may thee hele of thi sekenes,
And grawnt thee here now remission,
And of thi syns foregifnes.
             Loke thou beleve wel this!
       Thagh thou have grevyd Crist here before,
       His mercé is mekil more,
       Fore he hath salve fore everé sore,
             And may amend thou dost mys.

Thi baptim and thi confyrmacion,
Thes be his salvys, verament;
And holé order, and matremon,
And schreft, and housil that sacrement;
Then the last anelyng with good entent,
Hit may thee clens, both out and yn.
The prest hath pouere that is present
To asoyle thee of al thi syn —
             Of God he hath pouere,
       Thorghe vertu of the sacrement,
       To asoyle al that wil repent,
       And chryve him clene, verament,
             And do here penans wyle thay beth here.

Fore this is Godis ordenans,
Thes sacrements to save monkynd,
Fore in hom is al sofecians,
Both fore to loos and fore to bynd.
Then to that Lord, be never unkynd,
That hath grawnt his spesial grace;
Thow we al day him offend,
Remedé thus ordend he has.
             Thow we han don amys,
       Yif fore our syns we beth sory,
       And ressayve his pressious body,
       We schul have grace and mercy,
             And part of heven blis.

Then aske thi sacrements, pur charyté,
And when thou ressayvst that sacrement,
Beleve in hert, truly,
That he is that Lord Omnipotent,
And Crist is God Son, verament,
That with his blod thee dere hath boght,
That schal thee save at his Jugement.
Have this in mynde — foreget hit noght!
             And beware, uche Cristin mon,
       Fore heretekis and renegatis that uncriston be,
       That beleve not in that sacrement, treuly —
       That Crist was not borne of the vergyn Mari —
             Of hom is no redemcion!

Herefore beleve in Crist, treuly,
That thorghe the Holé Gost conseyvd he was,
And borne of the vergyn Mari,
And sofyrd payn and passion, crucifid on cros,
Ded and beryd fore oure trespace.
Into hel he dissendid, with myght and mayn,
And toke Adam and Eve out of here place;
The thrid day he ros to lyve agayn;
             Into heven he stid up then,
       And syttus there on his Fadur ryght honde.
       Fro thens he is to cum, thus understond,
       To deme his pepil, ded or lewand,
             After here dedis, al maner men.

Also beleve in the Holé Gost,
As Holé Cherche hath informed thee,
And in the Fader and Sone of myghtis most,
Thre Persons in Treneté,
And in comenecacions with sayntis to be,
And to have foregifnes of thi syn,
And the uprysyng of thi flesche, treuly,
And to have everlastyng lyve. Amen.5
             Here is the conclucion.
       These beth the artecelis of thi beleve;
       Kepe hem wele without repreve,
       And thou schalt never have myschife.
             Hit is the wel of salvacion!

And beleve and hope and trust also
As thy gostlé faders cownsels thee;
Loke thou never go herefro
Thagh thou have fal throgh thi freelté,
Bot aske God grace and his mercé,
And foregifnes of al other men,
And foregif thou, pur charyté,
And thou art savyd, my soule fore thyn,
             And stondis clene out of dred,
       Fore Crist he says thus to thee:
       “Yif thou foregif fore love of me,
       Then foregifne schalt thou be
             Of al thi mysdede.”6

And let make thi testment and thi last wil.
Furst pay thi dettis alle treuly,
And remembir thee, fore that is skil,
What thou hou and other to thee;
Then let hit be selid opynlé,
And make thi soule a sekyr way,
Lest thi sekatours don not treuly.
Ensampil be other, se thou may:
             Beware, ye sekators —
       The dedis wil loke that ye done,
       Out of the word when thai bene gon,
       That setyn here trust in youe alone,
             Ellis to God and mon ye be traytours.

Yif ye do trewly your devor,
Ful wele rewardid schal ye be,
Of Jhesu that is your Saveour,
At that day when ye schul dee;
Fore hit is a dede of charité
To do treuly unto the dede,
That lyen in the paynes of purgatori,
After your help, ther to abyde.
             No nother sokyr thai han, treuly,
       Save holy prayers, mas, and almesdede,
       That qwenchyn here synus and here mysdede
       As water doth foyre, without drede,
             And al the payns of purgatory.

Ye that wepe for childer and frynd
Wen thai schul dey, have this in mynd:
Hyly ye ofend swet Jhesus,
As childer uncurtes and unkynd;
In Holé Wret thus wretyn I fynd
That joyful and glad schal ye be
When your Fader wold after youe send —
Ever to him make youe redy
             As blessid childer then.
       Fore when fader and moder has you foresake,
       Then Jhesus oure soulus to him wil take,
       Bot they him grete cause sorou to make,
             That dyen in det and dedlé syn.

Mervel ye not of this makyng,
Fore I me excuse — hit is not I;
This was Seynt Ancelme cownselyng,
That was a bischop ful holy.
Fore I couth never bot hye foly;
Crist has me chastist fore my levyng.
I thonke me God, my Grace, trewly,
Of hys graciouse visetyng.
             Ye curatis here, I you pray,
       That han mon soule in your kepyng,
       Let red this treté fore oné thyng
       To the seke at here endyng.
             Thus counsels you the Blynd Audley.

And of your lyve, take good eme.
Beware lest God ye offend,
Fore as he fyndis youe, he wil you deme,
Other be savyd or ellis be schent;
Fore soden deth, lok ye amend,
And set not your trust were non is,
Fore al is good that good end,
When ye amend it ye han do mys.
             This is my cownselyng —
       How Godis wesitacion ye schuld take,
       Fore your mysdedis and your syns sake,
       And howe ye schul amendis make,
             To have that joy that is everlastyng. Amen.

Explicit visitacio infirmorum et consolacio miserorum.7



I pray you, serys, pur charyté,
When ye han red this, treuly,
Then redis this Passion,
What Cryst sofyrd fore synful mon.

Here schul ye here a treu lessoun
Hou fayth and charyté away is gon.

(see note)

did appear
In the painted image on his altar

many more

in total; (t-note)




Devoutly; (t-note)


Concerning general confession

A culpable wretch, I yield myself; (see note)
(see note); (t-note)
(see note)

Too often
Sinned; (see note)
ears’ hearing, eyes’ sight

embracing; kissing both
hands’ having handled; feet’s having gone

having misdone

heartfelt; (see note)
give; reward
Accordant to my sinfulness
But rather
compassion; pity
here (i.e., to confession); before; (t-note)
Sorrow of heart; (see note)

Clean; die
penance and Holy Communion
There [where]




prayed [to]; alone


world when; pass (die)

desire; place
Where; ever abiding
(see note)

yield yourself
[how you have] not

every place
Nor given the sick consolation



does comfort
counsels; for
by; world; (see note)
book of life in heaven’s bliss



burial place; bones; (t-note)
recognizes there; (t-note)
enclosed all together
brothers; sisters; each one
living actions
most esteem from
Each; rank; (see note)
in any case

What; feel and see
may grieve a man
any sickness; ordained

afraid; (t-note)
values not

misdeeds in time

acts not according to

Who; or destroy

act on our own behalf before; hence; (see note)
put; peril
other men
shall bring
Other than; deeds, doubtless
According to

living, give a penny

food; clothes; lodging
please; significantly
thousand hills

reward; (see note)

(see note); (t-note)
It belongs to the world

More meed [accrues from] a mass; (see note)
thousand [said for your soul]
please and requite

Before; body; earth
trust; executor; (see note)

quench the fire
[To save] yourself here while

Desire not against; (see note); (t-note)
hold yourself well paid
Whatever visitation he sends to you

whomever; chastises well
[Hebrews 12:6]
saves; perishing


“Thus think upon yesterday”
be careful what you say
weigh; fire

As they are to be understood

punishes; twice

think upon
knowledge; conscience
Against; liking
speak carefully

weigh the fire; balance


Mary Magdalene; (see note)
[Matthew 26:69–75]
doubted [John 20:25]; (t-note)

while; time

your eye; (t-note)
quench; fire
As [it would be]
spark; (see note)

amend [what]
[as he] is enjoined
Than [there is]
[see Luke 15:7]; (see note)

For whom need is their own medicine
Unless; sick; indeed; (t-note)

those who

bow down [in humility]; (see note)
sorry; (t-note)
shows [his sins]

before it forsakes you
shown openly

evermore afterwards
any cock
[Matthew 26:69–75]

humble [see John 20:11–18]

[John 20:25]
did show

witness [the wounds]

[John 20:29]

gatekeeper; (see note)
gave; power
loose; bind, early; (see note)
bid; estate
frail; susceptible
in any case; (see note)



(see note)

prepared; (t-note)
wish to understand

a high token; (see note)

only for
Those who believe
live by their fleshly desire
beasts; unreasonably
days of life; lost
(see note)

shamed; disgraced


entirely your intent

misbehavior; (t-note)

For love of his mother


heal; sickness

amend [what]; amiss

penance; Holy Communion
extreme unction

shrive; truly




receive; precious

request; for; (see note)


each; (see note)
heretics; renegades

For them; (t-note)

conceived; (t-note)

buried; sin
descended; strength

judge; dead or living
According to their deeds, all kinds of men



resurrection; body


spiritual fathers

fallen; frailty

give forgiveness yourself for

fully; doubt


debts; honestly
settled openly
executors act dishonestly; (see note)
you may see
[of the] executors
dead will see what


die; (see note)
Who lie
[Seeking] after
quench; sins
fire; assuredly

weep; children; friends
When; die
Greatly; offend

to [dwell with]


cause him to make great sorrow; (t-note)
die; debt

Marvel; (see note)
excuse myself

could never [make anything] but great folly

visiting [of affliction]

Let [them] read this treatise

heed; (see note)

Either; else; destroyed
For [fear of]
that [has a] good end
what; amiss; (t-note)

adversity (visitation)



for; (t-note)

(see note)
(see note); (t-note)

(see note)



Multis diebus iam peractis,
Nulla fides est in pactis.
Mel in ore verbis lactis,
Fel in corde, fraus in factis.

When many days have already passed, [t-note]
There is no reliance in agreements.
       See. [t-note]
Honey in the mouth with words of milk,
Gall in the heart, deceit in deeds.

























































Moné days now agone
Fayth ne covenant is ther non —
       Behold and se!
In mouth is honé swet wordis uchon;
In hert is galle, in dede, tresoun.
       Ware now be!

Godis laus beth turnyd up-so-doun,
In Holé Cherche devocion,
       And fore chareté.
Fore trew corexion is ther non,
Fore love of Mede, that swet maydyn,
       In non degré.

Fore ale that clerkis now prechon,
Of holé Cristis Passion,
       Is no peté,
To make here satisfaccion,
With wrong that men here geten
       With sotelté.

Ye schul acownt everechon
Fore your goodis, when ye bene gone,
       Ful sekyrlé,
Yif ye have dissayvyd oné mon,
Bot ye make satisfaccion
       Or that ye dye.

Here may ye se an he tokyn
That God he is wroth with mon,
       In heven on hye:
Now werris then don awakyn,
The erth we fele quakyn,
       Honger hathe be.

Pestlens we sen raynen,
Men al day thai dyen,
       Sum sodenlé!
Fore al that trew tokyn,
Oure wittis yet we wantyn
       To make us redy.

Nou excusacion hath we non
Out of this word when that we gon —
       Leve ye me!
Godis bedyng bot we done,
We schul have confucion,
       Ful ryghtwysly.

Fore men wil not beleven
That heven nor hel ther is non,
       Ne turmentré.
And sekyr thou schalt have thet on —
Joy or ellis dampnacion —

I red that nowe we amend
To God and mon, that we offend,
       Here specialy;
And do fore oreselve or we goon,
And trust not to another mon —
       Hit is foly!

Fore other cownsel nede ye non,
Yif ye wil have salvacion
       Or that ye dee:
Schryve youe clene with contrition,
And make treu satisfaccion —
       Then blessid ye be!

I mad this with good entent,
In hope the rather ye wold repent,
       The soth to say,
Fore I say soth, I am eschent.
Prays fore me, that beth present,
       The Blynd Audlay.


De passione Domini nostri Jhesu Christi et de horis canonicis.1

Pope Jon the XXII at Avyon was.
Ther, in the worchip of Cristis Passion,
He made this gospel, be Godis grace,
And gaf therto a gret pardoun —
Thre hundred days of remyssion —
The thred day before or he schuld dye,
To al that sayd or herd hit with dewocion,
And on Cristis Passion had peté.

Passio Christe conforta me2
Out of this word when I schal wynd;
A, synful mon! Make memory:
Of Cristis Passion have in thi mynd.
To that Lord, be never unkynd,
That after his fegur he formyd thee,
And bond himselve thee to unbynd,
And al hit was fore love of thee.

This is the Gospel of Jon truly —
To this passion take good entent!
Pilat, Jhesu, fore gret envy,
Toke that Lord Omnipotent,
And scorgid him nakud in his present,
Fro top to too with turmentry,
That skyn and flesche, hit was torent,
And al hit was fore love of thee.

His knyghtis mad a croun of thorne
And set on his hede — hit persid his brayn! —
And clothid him in purpul with chamful scornns:
“Hayle, Kyng of Jewys,” to him con sayn.
To boffet him, thai were ful fayn,
And spit in his face welansly,
And smot him on his hed with a rodde agayn,
And al hit was fore love of thee.

When thai hed don him this turmentry,
The knyghtis tokon swete Jhesus
And drou him to the Mownt of Calvaré,
Apon his schulder beryng a cros.
Both hondis and fete naylid on ther was,
Betwene two thevys hongud to be,
That were damnyd fore here trespace,
And al hit was fore love of thee.

Then up thai lyft that hevé tre,
And gurdid into a mortes of stone;
That grevys Jhesus more grevesly
Then al the turment thai had him done,
Fore vayns and seneus, hit brast, and bone,
That everé joynt men myght ese —
He was most lyke a leperus mon,
And al hit was fore love of thee.

Then Jhesus wyst after what was cummyng
And sayd, “Now I thorst ful sore.”
Of aysel and gal thai geven him drynk,
And put hit in a sponge his mouth before;
When he hit tastid, he wold no more,
And sayd, “Al endid is now treuly,”
And bowd doun his hed with sekyng sore,
And gif up his spiryt fore love of thee.

Then the herth anon con quake,
And also the sun, he lost his lyght;
The stons of the tempil, on pesis thai brake,
The vayle therof, atwyn was twyght;3
Gravys thai opend, anon ther ryght
Ther ros up moné a ded body
Of men and wemen, were seyn with syght,
And al hit was fore love of thee.

When sentoreo this syght had sene,
He sayd, “This is verey Godis Son.”
A blynd knyght with a spere ful even
Smot Jhesus into the hert anon.
Blod and water out ther ron;
A drop therof fel in his hee.
He had his syght, this synful mon,
Fore on Crystis Passion he had peté.

He that al this sorous se,
He bers treu witnes hereon,
That was keper to mayd Mary,
The holé evangelyst, swete Saynt Jon;
And bedis you beleve this everechon
Yif that ye wil savyd be,
That Crist sofyrd this for synful mon
Apon his Passion to have peté.

A, synful mon! Have this in mynd,
Weder that thou slepe or wake:
To that Lord, be never unkynd,
That sofyrd these sorous for thi syn sake.
Hou schalt thou amendis make?
What sofyrd thou fore him? Onswere me!
Into his mercé, loke thou thee take,
And say this prayour with gret peté.

O, Jhesu, that bothe thi holy hond
And thi blessid fyet, also,
And al thi body, I understonde,
Fore me, synful, on cros was do,
And cround of the Jewis with thornes, thi fo,4
In dispite of thi holy body —
Apon thi hed, thou sofyrd gret wo,
And alle hit was fore love of me!

With fyve captel wondis fore me, synful,
Thou were ipaynd apon the cros,
Me to agayn by, Lord merceful,
With thi precyous blood, throgh thi gret grace.
Of repentans thou gif me spase
To foresake my synnus and be sory,
And foregif hem here trespase,
That on thi Passion han peté.

And grawnt me, Lord, that I may
Everé day do sum penans,
With sobirnes thee plese and pay,
And kepe me chast with abstenans,
And gif me wit and wisdam with perseverans
To kepe my state and my degré,
Thee to serve to thi plesans,
And on thi Passion to have peté.

Fyve Paternoster nou thou schalt say
In the worchip of Cristis Passion,
And grete our Lady nou, I thee pray,
With fyve Aves knelyng adoune;
In reverens of his fyve wondis alon,
Spesialy, thou say thi Crede,
That Crist graunt thee remission,
That fore thi synnus, thi blod con schede.


Amen, Jhesu, now I thee pray,
Have mynd and mercé on Blynd Audlay,
That mad in Englesche this Passion,
Fore synful men to have mynd theron.


Hic incepiunt hore canonice passionis Jhesu Christe.1

Crist, that was crucifyd on cros for our synnus sake,
Lord, on our mysdede no vengans thou take,
Bot send sorou into our hert, our synus fore to slake,
And let thi mercy be medysyn, our mendis for to make —
             Lord, we thee pray.
       Here schul ye here anon,
       What hard payn and passion,
       That Crist sofyrd fore synful mon —
             Gret dole here ye may!

Patris sapeencia, veritas divina.2

The wysdam of the Fader above ben the treuth of his Godede;
God and Mon, he was ytakun in the oure of morotyde,
His fryndis and his dyspilis sun him had elevyde;
When he was takyn of the Jewys, to deth he was betrayde —
             Judas had him sold.
       Fore thyrty pens of lytil pryce,
       With Jewys he mad his marchandyce,
       Because of cursid covetyse,
             As a traytur bold!

Hora prima ductus est Jhesus ad Pilatum.

At prime Jhesus out thai lad; to Pilat thai cun him draw.3
Moné was the false wetnes thai saydyn in here saue;
Thai blynfeld him, thai buffet him, and bond him agen law,
And spit in his fayre face — his chere myght no mon know! —
             And spulid him al nakyd,
       And cast loot fore his cote anon,4
       And bondon him to a peler of ston,
       And betin him with scorgis fro top to ton.
             The red blod fro him strakid!

“Crucifige” clamatant hora terciarum.5

At undor thai droun him to his deth; loud cun thai cri:
“Crucifi him on the cros. Dispoyle we him in hye!”
Thai cround him with a croun of thornes; the blood ran in his ye.
He bere his cros on his chulder to the Mount of Calveré,
             That his Monhod lost his myght.
       Thai drown him forth with ropis then;
       Tho wept the wyfis of Jerusalem;
       His moder, and Jon, Maré Maudlene,
             Thai swonyd ther in his syght!

Hora sexta est cruce conclavatus.

At mydday thai nayld him on the cros, and crucifid Heven Kyng,
And lift him up apon the tre betwen two thevus to hyng.
Because of turment he thurstid; then of aysel thai gif him dryng.6
Thus the Lombe he did away our synn, his Godhed gloryfyyng,
             Hongyng apon the cros.
       To his moder, he sayd anon:
       “A, womon, lo! Here thi sun;
       Take here to thi moder, Jon.”7
             He swonyd before his face!

Hora nona Dominus Jhesus experavit.

At the heour of non Jhesus gif up the gost.
His spyrit cryd “Eloy” to the Fader of myghtis most.
A blynd knight with a scharpe spere, to the hert him throst.
The stons tobreke, the erth con quake, the son his lyght had lost.8
             Then senterio con he say:
       “This is veray Godis Sun,
       To deth that ye han here don,
       Was borne of a maydyn,
             Schal deme you at Domysday!”

De cruce deponetur hora vespertina.

At the oure of evensong of the cros thai toke him doun.
The strenkth of his Godhed, in him was hit alleone.
Seche a deth he sofyrd then, of our syn to be medysyn.
Alas, that the croun of joy was cast up-so-doun!
             Thai toke him of the tre —
       Necodeme, he was thet one,
       And Josep of Barmathé, that holé mone —
       Thai beren him to his tombe of stone,
             Therin beryd to be.

Hora completore datur sepulteure.

At the hore of cumplyn in grave thai cun him bryng —
Then was the nobil body of Crist, our hope of lyfe comyng.
Thai beryd hym with blessid bamus, the prophcy fullyng.
Ever have we his delful deth in our hertis mynyng.
             Hereof we schul be fayne!
       When he had fulfillid the prophesé,
       That was sayd of hym, trewly,
       The thyrd day he ros with gret maystry,
             Fro deth to lyve agayn.

Has hororas canonicas cum devocione.

These holé hours have we in mynd with devocion,
And worchip we Jhesu Crist with these meke oresoun,
That fore our sak, with brenyng love, sofyrd payn and passioun.
In the hour of our deth, be he our solacion!
             Lord Omnipotent,
       Fore thi holé Passion,
       That thou sofyrd fore synful mon,
       Thou graunt us alle remyssion
             Tofore thi Jugement.

He that these ours wil say with devocion,
In reverens and worchip of Crist Passion,
And schryve him clen to a prest with contricion,
God he grauntis him, of his grace, ful remyssion
             Of al his trespace.
       Then joyful may ye be
       Agens the day that ye schul dye,
       To have grace and mercé,
             In heven foreever a place!


De epistola Domini nostri Jhesu Christi de die Dominica.1

honey sweet words each one
deed, treason
Beware now


Material Reward; (see note)
To no degree


Is not heartfelt


account every bit; (see note)

deceived any
[Take care that] you

see a great token; (see note); (t-note)

wars; do arise


Pestilence we see raining [down]

wits; lack

Unless we do God’s bidding

Full assuredly

That there is [any] heaven or hell
Or [eternal] torments
certainly; one of them
[Either] joy or else damnation


ourselves before; (see note)

Before you die
Confess yourself

(see note)

Were I not to speak truth; disgraced


(see note)

Avignon; (see note); (t-note)




(see note)


(see note)

(see note)

scourged; presence
[John 19:1]
toe; torture
torn to pieces

[Pilate’s] knights
purple; shameful
[John 19:2]
[they] did say [John 19:3]
villainously [Matthew 27:30; Mark 15:19]
rods; (t-note)

[John 19:17]
were nailed on there
to be hung
[John 19:18]

heavy tree; (see note)
fastened [it] into a mortise
caused Jesus to suffer; grievously

veins; sinews; burst
every joint; might have seen

knew what came next
[John 19:28]; (see note)
vinegar; gall
[John 19:29]

bowed; grievous sighing
gave [John 19:30]

earth soon did
it; its
into pieces; broke

Graves; immediately
many a dead
[Matthew 27:51–53]

centurion; (see note)
[Matthew 27:54, Mark 15:39]
sharp; (see note); (t-note)
ran out there
[John 19:34]

He who sees all these sorrows



look that you entrust

hands; (see note)

done (i.e., nailed)

put in pain
to buy again

By means of; give me space

forgive them

soberness; please and requite

estate (i.e., social place); (see note)


[So] that Christ [may] grant
did shed



(see note)
sorrow; (t-note)
medicine; amends


suffered; (see note)

(see note)

hour; morning
disciples soon; left; (t-note)
from; (see note)


[Matthew 26:14–16]

In the first hour, Jesus was brought to Pilate

Many; witness; said; sayings

bound; pillar
beat; scourges; toe

undern (9 a.m.); drew; did
shoulder; Calvary
Then; women
John [the Evangelist]; Mary Magdalene

At sext he was nailed to the cross; (t-note)

thieves; hang
(see note)
(see note)

They swooned

At none Lord Jesus breathed his last

none (3 p.m.); spirit
(see note)
(see note); (t-note)

centurion did; (see note); (t-note)
[Matthew 27:54, Mark 15:39]
have here brought


At vespers he is taken down from the cross

off; took
strength; alone
medicine; (see note)
upside down
[see John 19:38–42]

At compline he is given to the tomb

compline; did
noble; future life
buried; balms; fulfilling; (t-note)
doleful; hearts’ remembrance; (t-note)

[Remember] these canonical hours with devotion

humble prayers
burning; suffered

remission [of sin]

hours; say; (see note)

confess; (t-note)


[And] in heaven forever


(see note); (t-note)
  Audite hec, omnes gentes: hanc epistolam scripsit Dominus Jhesus Christus manibus suis et misit in sivitatem Gazon ubi ego Petrus primum episcopatum accepi.2










































Now here this pistil, I you pray,
Fore Crist hit wrot with his oun hond —
Hou ye schul halou the Sonday,
Al Cristin men in everé lond —
And send hit to Petir, thorogh his swete sond,
To preche the pepul with good entent,
And do ale curatours to understond
That hit is Cristis comawndment —
             Beleve this, everechon!
       He that belevys this treuly
       Schal have grace and mercy,
       And no nother, securly,
             He is the child of perdecion.

Fore ye con not of God this holeday
Kepe clene out of dedlé syn,
Therfore his wrath, syrus, Y yow say,
Schal fal on youe, false Cristyn men!
Your enmys and aleans schal over you ren,
And lede youe to thraldam foreever and ay,
Both ryful, rob, sle, and bren.
Bot yif ye kepyn that holeday,
             Herefore ye wil be chent!
       Raveners sodenly schal fal on you,
       And wyckid terantis cast you ful loue,
       Fore gracyous God ye wyl not know,
             Ne kyndlé kepe his comawndment.

“Herefore fro you I wil turne my face,
And betake you into your enemyse hond,
And withdraw fro you mercé and grace,
And blynd you both with schame and schond,
And drown you within a lytyl stownd —
As I did Sodom and Comor,
That the erthe swolewd to hel ground
Sodenly or thai were ware!
             Have mend, seris, here apon,
       Beware betyme, or ye be schend!
       And your mysdedis, loke ye amend,
       And serve your God. Foresake the Fynd!
             Then schul ye have remyssion.

“Hwosoever wil go, seris, truly,
Into ony other plase, I say,
Bot to Holé Cherche, specialy,
In the fest of that holeday,
Or on pilgremage, seyntis to pray,
Or vesid the seke that woful be,
Ore make acord and treu loveday
To bryng mon into charyté,
             And serve your Saveour —
       Ellis I schal bete youe with scorgis sore,
       And send into your place, herefore,
       Sorou and sekenes foreevermore,
             Swerd, pestlens, hongir with gret dolour!

“He that on any erand wil ryd or goo
In the fest of that holeday
Fore oné cause he hath to do,
Or schave heerus of heed or berde away,
Bot go to the cherche, yif that ye may,
And hold him ther in his prayere —
Al evylis Y wil send him, soth to say,
And chortyn his days he schuld have here!
             Beware, serys, I you pray,
       Or he that waschis clothis or hed,
       On Sunday breuys or bakus bred,
       Y schul him blynd with carful red,
             Nother have my blessyng, nyght ne day.

“Bot my curse have he schal:
Y wyl send sekenes and sorous sore
Apon you, and your childer alle,
That ye schul curse that ye were bore!
Ye unbelevyd pepul, herkyns more,
And schreud generacions that nyl beleve,
Your days schal be ful schort therfore,
Fore ye set noght by your God to greve.
             I am among you, ever-present,
       And synful men I wyl abyde,
       Yif thay wil turne in oné tyde,
       Foresake cursid covetyse, envy, and pride,
             And here mysdedis betyme repent.

“In six days, al thyng I made;
On the Sunday, Y rest of my werkis ale.
The same do ye. Then schul ye glad
Of your labors both gret and smale!
Non other thyng do ye schal
Bot go to the cherche, to Godis servyse,
Alse wel your servandis that beth youe thral;
Non other warkis loke that thai use.
             Then ful joyful schul ye be —
       Your corns, your vynes, and creaturs alle
       Schul bryng forth froyt, both gret and smale —
       That nothyng to Cristyn men wont hit schale
             Bot pese and rest in uche contré!

“Bot yif ye kepyn this holeday
Fro Setterday at non, Y say you then,
Into the furst our of Monday,
In reverens and worchip of your Soveren,
I schal curse youe tofore my Fader in heven;
Ye schul have no part therin with me,
Ne with my angelys that with me bene
In the word of wordis perpetualy.
             Bot Y wyl send youe herefore
       Gret fuyrus and leytis, youe fore to bren,
       Al evelys to perysche your lobors then —
       Your cornes, your froytis, your vynus, your tren —
             And never rayn schal fal on you more.

“Your tethis, your offryngis, yevyn treuly
To my prestis, I you pray,
That serven me in Holé Cherche spesialy,
And prayn fore you both nyght and day.
Hwosoever his tethys defraudys away,
His froyttis in erth defraudid schuld bene,
And never se lyght bot derkenes ay,
Ne never have your lastyng lyve hen,
             Bot hungyr in erthe among Cristin schal be.
       Fore I kepe my dome fro unbelevyd men,
       And yet I nold dampne hem then,
       My comawndmentis to kepe and ken,
             And foresake here synus, and aske mercy.

“Treulé, yif ye wil haloue this holeday,
The rakkis of heven I wil opyn
And multyplé you in me foreever and ay,
Yif ye wil do after my tokyn,
And knouth wel that I am God alone,
And non other ther is save Y
That may you grawnt remyssion,
And gif you grace and mercy.
             Loke ye leven treuly this!
       Amen, foresoth, to you I say,
       Yif ye wil halou this haleday,
       Al evelis fro you, Y wyl do away —
             Then schul ye never fare amys!

“What prest this pistil nyl not teche
To my pepil, as I ham pray —
In cetis, in tounus, in cherche hem preche
How thai schal halow the holeday,
To have hit in memory foreever and ay —
My domys apon my prestis schal passe!
I schal ham ponys treuly, in fay,
Both without mercy and grace.
             Bot yif thai techen this pistil, treuly,
       And make men to haloue this holeday,
       I schal ham curse in herth, I say,
       And in the word of wordis that lastyth ay
             And in myn oun trone in heven on hye.”

This pistil then our Lord Jhesu Crist
Send into the seté of Gason,
Ther Y, Petur, was made bischop furst
In the present yere tofore agoone —
That hit be trewe and leosyng non,
Y, Peter, swere be Goddus pouere,
And be Jhesu Crist, his honlé Sone,
And be the Holé Treneté, in fere,
             And be the four evaungelistis, this is no nay,
       And be the patryarchis and prophetus and postlius holy,
       And be angelis and archangelis and Mary,
       And be al the holy seyntis in heven ther be,
             That hit is soth that I you say.

Ryght as the sun hath more clerté
Then ané ster of the fyrmant,
So the Sunday is worthear of dyngneté
Then ané day in the wike present:
That day mad angeles omnipotent,
The nine orders in heven on hye;
That day Noys flod sesud, verament —
His schip toke rest of the hil of Armony.
             I swere to youe that beth present,
       This pistil was never ordent of erthlé mon,
       Bot transelat out of heven trone —
       Crist wrot hit with his fyngers alon
             To warne his pepel lest thay were chent.

Fore he callis you to his grace echon:
“Cum to me fore giftis, I you pray,
Fore I grawnt you remission,
And joy and blis foreever and ay.”
No hert may thenke, tung tel hit may,
The lest joy Jhesus wil joyne you to;
Yif ye halou the Sunday,
Ye schul have wel without wo!
             A, synful mon! Hereof have mynde:
       That joy, hit schal never sees,
       Bot ever endeuer and ever encrese,
       And ever in love, rest, and pes,
             In joy and blis withouton ende!

To that blis, Crist he us bryng —
Was crucefyd on cros and croned with thorne —
And foregif us oure myslevyng,
That we han offendid here beforne,
And let us never, Lord, be forlorne,
Bot graunt us grace that we may —
As ye were of a maydyn borne —
In clannes to halou the Sounonday.
             Lord Omnipotent,
       Fore thi Passion, thou have peté
       Apon our soulis when we schul dey,
       And grawnt us thi grace and thi mercy,
             Fadur, tofore thi Jugement.

Mervel ye noght of this makyng —
Fore I me excuse, hit is not I.
Fore this of Godis oun wrytyng
That he send doun fro heven on hye,
Fore I couth never bot he foly.
He hath me chastist for my levyng;
I thonke my God, my Grace, treuly,
Of his gracious vesetyng.
             Beware, serys, I you pray,
       Fore I mad this with good entent,
       Fore hit is Cristis comawndment;
       Prays for me that beth present —
             My name hit is the Blynd Awdlay.

hear; epistle; (see note); (t-note)
wrote; own


who believes

anyone else, indeed
perdition; (t-note)

If you do not know how to
sirs; (t-note)

enemies; strangers; overrun
plunder; slay; burn
Unless; keep
Therefore; ruined
tyrants; low


[away] from

with both; disgrace
swallowed; (t-note)
Suddenly before they
Think, sirs, upon this
in time before; ruined

Whosoever; (t-note)
Than; specifically
On the feast
day for the settlement of difference; (see note)


Sorrow; sickness
War, pestilence, hunger

any reason
shave hair from [his] head or beard
Rather than

Before; washes clothes or head
brews; bakes
blind; sore punishment
Never [to] have

grievous sorrows
children; (t-note)
unbelieving; listen
wicked; will not; (t-note)

convert at any time

in time

be glad

God’s service (i.e., the mass)
As well [as should]; who are to you bound
labor; (see note)

grains; (t-note)
want; (t-note)
peace; country

Saturday at noon

forever and ever; (see note)

fires; lightnings; burn
evils; destroy; labors; (t-note)
grains; fruits; vines; trees

tithes; offerings give


eternal life henceforth
hunger on earth among Christians
withhold my reward from unbelieving; (see note); (t-note)
wish not to damn them
[But rather I want them] my; learn
[see Ezechiel 33:11]


know; (t-note)


go amiss

will not
people; them
cities; towns

punish; indeed


through all eternity; (see note)

(see note); (t-note)
city of Gaza

year before gone by
lying not
swear; power
only; (t-note)
apostles; (t-note)


any; firmament
worthier of reverence
week; (t-note)
angels were made
ended truly
came to rest on; Armenia; (t-note)

created by
was translated; heaven’s

each one of you; (see note)

conceive, [no] tongue may it tell
least; bring to you
keep holy

endure; increase


utterly lost

cleanness; hallow Sunday; (t-note)



(see note)
excuse myself
this [work is created] by; own

high folly
chastised; living
visitation (i.e., affliction)

  Incipit narracio quo Michel duxit Paulum ad infernum. Interogandum est quis primus rogavit ut anime haberent requiem in infernum, i.e., Paulus apostolus et Michael archangelus. Dies Dominicus est dies electus.1









































































The Sononday is Godis oun chosyn day,
The wyche angelis in heven, thai worchipyn thore.
Gret sorow and dole here ye may,
Hou Mychael and Poule thay went in fere
To se what payns in hel were ther,
And ther thay se a sorouful syght!
Herkyns to me! Now moy ye here
What payns to synful mon be dyght
             Because men nel not beleve.
       Therefore, hit was Godis oune wyl
       That Mekel schuld led Poule to hel
       To se the payns, the gret parel,
             The soth himselve he myght hit preve.

Tofore hel-gatis furst thai se then
Moné an orebil brenyng tre
Hengyng ful of wemen and men —
That was a sorouful syght to se!
Sum be the hed, sum be the tungus, treuly,
Sum be the fyt, sum be the hond,
Sum be the membirs of here body,
That thai han sunnyd within herthe levand.
             The angel to Poule, he sayd then:
       “These grevyn God ful grevously
       With al the lymys of here body,
       In lechory, slouth, and glotoné,
             And dyed in det and dedlé syn.”

Withyn the gatis wen thay were passid,
A mervelis fournes ther thai se:
Moné a synful soule were therin cast —
Four flamys o foyre stod on a lye,
Of dyvers colours wonderfully!
About that fournes, seven sorous ther were:
Gret snow, gret yse, gret cold greslé,
Gret eddyrs, gret stenche, gret leyte, gret foyre.
             Then the angel sayd to Poule, treuly,
       “These were proud men, raveners echon,
       Extorcioners, monslers, robbid moné one;
       Satisfaccion in erth thai wold do non,
             And deseredyn treu ayrs unryghtfully.

“Here thai schal have here payns, therfore.
Fore al the synns thai han don cursidly,
Sum wepin, sum waylin, sum gron ful sore,
Sum broudun, sum brennen, dissyryn to dye —
Hou dredful is hel, here may ye se!
In the whyche is hevenes without gladnes;
In the wyche is sorou of hert contenualy;
In the wych of wepyng is gret plenteuesnes;
             In the wych ther is a brenyng wel —
       A thosand tymys an our about doth ren,
       Uche day an angel, foresmytis him then,
       A thousand soulis therin thai bren.”
             “Alas!” sayd Poule, “Here is gret deel!”

Affter, Poule se an orebbil flood
In the wyche moné develis bestis were in fuyre:
As feschis in the se, about thai yod,
Devowreng soulis as hit chep were.
A brygge was over that gret water,
That soulis passud over after here meryt;
Moné an evyl mancion was ordent ther
As Crist in the Gospel reherse het:
Lygate faceculus ad comburandum similis cum similibus2
             Bynd bundels togeder to be ibrent;
       Bynd spouse-brekers with awouters,
       And ranegates with raveners,
       And cursid levers with here cumpers,
             And cast ham in the fuyre without end.

Ther Poule, moné soulis he se
That were dround in that watere —
Sum stod up to the kne,
And sum to the armes, a lytil layghere,
And sum to the lippis, moche deppere,
And sum to the brouys oche day were paynd!
Then Poule sykud and wept with gret doloure,
And at the angel anon he fraynd:
             “What soulis ben these, bene drownyd here?”
       “Tho that stodyn up to the kne
       Bakbidit here neghtbore fore envy,
       And sklaundird hem in erth ful falseley —
             That loston here goodis, hir lyvus yfere.

“And tho that stodin up to the armus
Weron spouse-brekers and levyd in lechory.
And tho that stod up to the leppis,
Be the servys of God, thai set noght by,
And did no reverens to Cristis body,
In Holé Cherche were ever changilyng,
And sayd here prayers undevoutly,
And let other men of mas hereng —
             Herefore thai have passyng payn!
       And tho that stod up to the elbow,
       At here neghtbors harmes thay low —
       Yif thai ferd wel, her hertis hit slow,
             And of here losse, were glad and fayne.”

Holé Cherche is a house of prayere —
The gat of heven, Crist doth hit calle —
To worchip therin our Saveour.
Whatever thou askis ther, have thou schal
Yif that ye bene in chareté alle,
And serve your God in love and dred.
No myschif on them hit schal falle;
In al your werkis, wel schul ye spede!
             A, synful mon! Hereof have mynd:
       In Holé Cherche, nothyng thou say,
       Bot with holé prayers to God ye pray,
       He grawnt youe grace, both nyght and day,
             Him to serve, that al you send.

Then Poule wept and sayd in good sothnes:
“Wo is him to these payns ben ordent!”
Then he se a plase of gret darknes
In the wyche men and wemen wern in gret turment,
That etyn here tongis, here torent!
Then the angel sayd to Poule, treuly:
“These were makers of moné with cursid entent,
With wrong mokerers, false mesurs, and useré;
             Ther, fore wo, thai etin here tung,
       Fore thai foreswere ham wettanly
       On Cristis Passion, have no peté
       To part with the pore that were nedé,
             Bot holdun hit fast thai geten with wrong.”

Then after, Poule a plase he se
In the wyche were moné damselse blake,
Iclothid in blake al cresly,
In pych and brymston, fuyre and smoke;
About here nekis were nedirs and snake,
Fore wickid angelus reprevyd hem ther,
With horns of fyre, here heedus to schake,
And went about hom with hedus bere,
             And saydon to hom with carful cry:
       “Cnow ye now the Sun of God
       That agayn boght the word,
       That ye han grevyd in dede and word,
             And slayn his creatours, your childer distrye?”

Then Poule he askid: “What ben these?”
The angel onswerd without tareyng:
“Hylé God these con displese,
And kept hem not chast to here wedyng,
And slowyn here childer in burth-beryng,
And cast ham to houndis in prevé place,
In watirs, in pittis, about drounyng,
And never wold shryve hem of that trespase,
             Fore dred of sklawnder and penans doyng.
       So the Fynd, he con hem blynd
       With disperacion — hem schame and schend! —
       Lest here mysdedis thai wold amend,
             And broght hem ta evyl endyng.”

Then after, Poule he se moche more:
Men and wemen on kamels rydyng —
Moch froyt ther was here face before;
To ete therof was here lykyng;
Thai myght not hit touche, fore no thyng!
Then the angel to Poule con say:
“These brekyn the tymys of here fastyng,
And wold not fast the Good Fryday
             That Crist sofyrd deth apon,
       Bot wastin here goodis in glotoné
       Fore fleschelé lust of here body.
       Fore thai wold not parte with the pore nedy,
             Thai schil have hongir and thrust wereever thai gon.”

Then after, Poule in plase he se
A sorouful syght: a horé hold mon
Betwene four fyndis, in turmentré —
And gryd and wept with ful gret mon!
Then Poule he askid the angel anon
What maner of mon hit myght be.
The angel answerd him ful sone:
“A neclygent mon, foresoth, was he,
             And kept not obedyans he was bound to,
       Ne levyd not chast in his bodé,
       In word, in dede, in thoght, treuly,
       Bot covetis, prude, ever out of charyté —
             To al payne ent Domysday, he schal go.”

Then Poule he weppid with hevé chere.
The angel sayd: “Why wepis thou soo?
Thou sest not the gret payn that beth here!
Come, on with me now thou schal goo.”
He lad him to the blak pit tho,
With seven selys was selid treuly;
Therin was care, sorow, and wo,
Stenche, and al maner turmentry!
             “Stond uttir, Poule,” quod the angel then.
       Anon he unselid the pit thore —
       With a stynche, gurd out a rore —
       Al the payns hit passid before!
             Hit wold have slayn al Crystin men!

Then Poule he askid the angel in hye:
“What pepul in this pit ben don?”
“These belevid not in vergyn Mary,
Ne treuly in Cristis Carnacione.
Thai beth uncristynd, everechon,
And never resayvyd Cristis body.
Al tho, into that pet thay gon —
Of hem, schal never be memory
             On him in heven, tofore Godis Son,
       Fore hit is Godis wil, specialy,
       Of eretekis schal be no memoré,
       Ne false Cristin men — renegatis that dyed curstly,
             Of hom is no redempcion!

Then after, Poule, forsoth, he se
In a wonderful depe plase —
As fro the erth to heven on hy —
Uche soule on other couchid ther was;
For fader and moder thai had dispisid, alas,
Orebil wormys devouryd hem there!
Then Poul he herd a dolful noyse —
As layte or thonder that hit were —
             Then was he ware of a soule anon:
       Between four fendes, borne he was.
       He rored and cryd, “Alas! Alas!” —
       That ever his bodé con forth passe
             Without shrift, housil, contricion!

The angelis of God agayns him criud:
“Alas, wrechid soule, what hast thou done
In erth?” The fyndis them verefyd:
“Dispisid Godis laus, everechon.”
Tofore him, thai red his dedis anon,
And cast him into derkens, deppist of alle.
Quod angel to Poule: “Beleve uche mon,
As ye do in erthe, so have ye schal.
             He hath fre choys to do good or elle,
       Fore uche good dede rewardid schal be
       In erth, or ellis on even on hei,
       And uche cursid dede ponyschid, truly,
             In erth, in purgatoré, or ellis in hel.

“For this schal be here ponyschyng:
Pride, covetyse, wrat, envy —
These be the brondis in hel brenyng! —
Lechoré, slouth, and glotery,
Then disperacion of Godis mercy.
Of al the payns in hel, hit is most,
Fore thai soght no grace, ne no mercy,
Bot synnud agayns the Holé Gost.
             That sin schal never foregeven be.
       To God, hit is most hye trespace
       To mystrost his mercy and grace —
       So ded that traytur false Judas
             And dampned himself perpetualy.”

Anon, Poule a joyful syght gon se:
A ryghtful soule angelis beryng —
That oure was ravyschid fro his body —
Up taward heven thai con him bryng.
Then Poule herd a voyse — a hevenlé thyng! —
A thousand anglis, togeder holy,
That said and song in his heryng:
“Be glad, blesful soule, perpetualy,
             Fore the wil of thi God thou hast edon!”
       Thai beryn hym up before oure Lord.
       Then Mychael let him to gret cumford,
       In joy and blis to have reward.
             “Laudes Deo!” thai song, ucheon!

Then sayd Poule with gret gladnes:
“Wele is ham to even may go!”
The angel answerd in good sothnes:
“Thai schul have wele without wo!
No tong con tel, hert thynke therto,
The lest joy that is in paradyse!
In heven bene a thousand underde mo —
Was never clerke couth ham devyse
             The lest joy to mon God hath ordend!
       Fore tho joys schul never sese,
       Bot ever enduyre and ever encres,
       And ever leve in rest and pese —
             That joy and blis schal never have ende!”

Then al the sorouful soulus in hel
That were ther in turmentyng,
Thai crydyn: “Holé archangel Mechael,
Have mercy on us, in payne bydyng!
And thou, Poul, belovyd with Heven Kyng,
To that Lord for us thou pray!”
Then sayd the angel: “Loke!” — with sore wepyng —
“Prays with Poule yif that ye may
             Gete you grace of oné mercé.”
       When he had sayd this word, anon
       Thay wept and cryd out, everechon:
       “A, the Sun of David, in heven trone,
             Have mercé on us, fore thi gret peté!”

A voyse fro heven answerd agayn:
“What good dedes have ye nou done?
Ye did me to deth with passion and payn —
Hwy aske ye me now remyssioun?
I was crucifid on cros fore you alon;
With spere and nayles, Y sched my blood.
Of aysel and gal, ye yeven me drenkyn
When I was on therst, hongyng on the rode,
             And I put myself to the deth fore yow,
       That ye schul ever have levyd with me.
       Bot ye were proud, covetyse, ful of envy,
       And wold do no good dede, bot cursid, treuly,
             And false lyers in your lyve, as wel ye cnow.”

Then, sore wepyng, Poul knelid adowne,
And al the angelis in heven ther,
And prayd hylé to Godis oune Sun
Fore the soulis in hel, sum ryst have ther.
Oure Lorde he made hem this honswere:
“Throgh the besechyng of myn angelis alle,
And of Poule, myn apostil, leve and dere,
This special grace graunt ham, I schal,
             Fro Setterday at non, Y say treuly,
       And al the fest of the Sununday
       Into the fyrst our of Monday,
       In reverens that ye here fore ham pray,
             Thai schal have rou and rest perpetualy.”

Then al the soulis in hel with one steven,
Thai cryd and sayd with gret gladnes:
“The Sun of God on hi in heven,
We bles thi grace and thi goodnes,
That thou woldist, of thi worthenes,
Graunt us thi grace and thi mercy,
Oure gret payns fore to reles
Uche Sunday perpetualy!
             Herefore, we thonke the Lord of al!”
       Wosoever wil halou this Sununday
       Wele and worchipful, as I youe say,
       With angelis of God in heven, fore ay,
             Joy and blis ther have ye schale!

Then Poule askid the angel anon
Houe moné payns in hel ther be.
The angel answerd him ful sone:
“Four thousand a hundred and fourté.
And hunder men thagh ther were truly
Fro the bekynyng of world ay spekyng,
And uche a hundred tungis had, sothly,
Thai myght not tel the payns in hel duryng,
             For thai may not be noumbyrd, treuly.”
       Herefore, dere breder that beth present,
       That heren these payns, these gret turment,
       Torne you to God Omnipotent
             That we mow reyng with him in heven perpetualy.

Alas, that ever oné Cristyn mon
Wil not have that mater in mynd!
What schame and chenchip, confucion,
Thai schal have that serven the Fynd!
That here mysdedis thai nyl not mend,
And foresake here synnus and be sory,
And sen al day what chamful end
Thay have, that levyn here unryghtwysly —
             To God this is a he trespas!
       That never on be other ware wil be,
       And wrath here God wetyngly,
       That dyud fore hom on rod-tre —
             Thai bene acursid, syrs, in thys case!

Fore hel is not ordend fore ryghtwyse mon,
Bot fore hom that serven the Fynd,
No more than is a preson of lyme and stone
Bot fore hom the lawis offend.
Cursid dedis makis men al day eschend
And theffys on galous on hye to hyng.
Ther ryghtwys men, thai han good end,
That servyn here God in here levyng.
             Y pray you, seris! Trest wele hereto!
       Fore he that levys here ryghtwysly,
       On what deth ever he dey,
       His soule never paynd schal be,
             Ne never after wit of wo.

Mervel ye not of this makyng —
Y me excuse, hit is not I.
Thus Mychael lad Powle, be Goddis bedyng,
To se in hel the turmentré,
Fore I couth never bot hy foly.
God hath me chastyst fore my levyng;
I thonke my God, my Grace, treuly,
Of his gracious vesityng.
             Beware, serys, I you pray,
       And your mysdedis loke ye amend
       Betyme, lest ye be chamyd and schend!
       Fore al is good that hath good end.
             Thus counsels youe the Blynd Audlay.
On which; there


may you hear

will not

[archangel] Michael
[So that] the truth; witness and relate

Before hell-gates
horrible burning tree

head; tongues

sinned; earth [when] alive; (see note)


marvelous furnace

fire were ablaze; (see note)

adders; light

robbers each one; (see note)
manslayers; (see note)

disinherited; heirs; (see note)

weep; wail; groan
writhe; burn; desire; (see note)


burning well
hour around [it]; run; (see note)
[who] strikes them to pieces


Next; saw; horrible sea
many devils’ beasts; (see note)
fish; swam
Devouring; as if they were sheep
according to their
dwelling spot in hell; ordained; (t-note)

renegades; robbers
sinners with their companions


brows; pained


They; goods; together; (t-note)

service (i.e., mass); (see note)

prevented; from hearing mass

fared; slew


It shall not go badly for them; (t-note)

[if] you refrain from speaking

who gives you all

honest sincerity
saw; place
were; great torment
They ate their tongues, here torn to pieces

makers of money (i.e., counterfeiters)
hoarders; measures; usury
forswore; knowingly
[and] had no compassion
kept what they stole wrongfully

place; saw
damsels black
grisly; (t-note)
pitch and brimstone
necks; adders and snakes
hideous noise

redeemed the world
Whom; sinned against
slay; children destroy

Who are
answered; delay
Supremely did these displease God

slew; at birth
in order to drown [them]
confess; (see note)
doing of penance
did blind them
desperation; ruin

to an evil end

camel; (see note)
fruit; before their faces

broke the times


Because; share
thirst wherever; (t-note)

white-haired old

[he] cried out; moan

rule; (see note)


[in] avarice [and] pride


see; greatest; (see note)

led; then
seals; sealed

all types of torment
Stand back; (t-note)

stench, a roar rose [from there]
It surpassed all the pains [seen] before; (t-note)

They shall be forgotten
By those

renegades; accursed

deep place


Horrible worms


confession, eucharist; (see note)

The fiends verified them [his earthly sins]
[He] despised; laws
Before; read his deeds
darkness, deepest
Believe that each man; (see note); (t-note)


in heaven on high
[shall be] punished

[For] pride; (t-note)
brands burning in hell

desperation for; (t-note)

sinned against; (t-note)

did; traitor; (see note)

(see note)

[same] hour [in which he]

wholly; (t-note)

led; comfort

Praise God

(see note)

[no] heart may conceive; (t-note)
hundred more
able to devise them
those; cease
remain; peace

[who are] abiding in pain


(see note)


vinegar; gall; gave
[John 19:29]
afflicted with thirst

accursed [deed]
[were] false liars; lives; know

(see note)
beloved and dear

feast; Sunday








(see note)

4,140 [for 144,000]
[Apocalypse 7:4]; (see note); (t-note)
[a] hundred; (t-note)
beginning; always speaking; (t-note)
enduring in hell

Who hear [about]



[They] that

see; shameful
live here unrighteously; (t-note)
never will one beware of another
[will] anger their; knowingly
Who died for them

ordained; (see note)
Except for them; (t-note)
prison; limestone
them that break the laws
thieves; gallows

their lives
lives; righteously


(see note)



  Hec dicit Dominus Deus convertimini ad me et salvi eritis. Nolo mortem peccatoris set ut magis convertatur et vivat. Quia Cananeum et puplicanum vocavit ad penitenciam et peccatum lacrimantem. Ita et vos venite et audite incredoli quod timorem Domini docebit vos.3 [(see note); (t-note)]



De misericordia Domini.1


Alle Cristyn men, Y bid you cum —
Ye unbelevyd, cum wyle ye may,
And thenkis apon my dredful dome!
Hit schal you teche — hit is no nay! —
Hou dredful then is Domysday,
In the wyche nowther grace ne mercé is.
Ther is no saynt may fore youe pray.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.1


come; (t-note)
unbelievers; while
I shall teach it to you

[there is] neither

(see note)

  Ego sum Deus judex et justus, et do uniquique secundum opera sua.2




Thenke that I am God ryghtwyse,
And yif uche mon after his wark:
To my blissid, I have orden blis,
And to the cursid, dampnacion darke.
Leud and lerd, prest and clerke,
Thai schal be rewardid, ywis,
Affter here dedis — this word ye mark!
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

The valey of wepyng, this word I cal,
I say you, serys, foresoth, forehwy:
Fore al day in myschif of syn ye fal
And greven me, ful grevosly!
Ucheon for other may be sory,
Fore anon ye lesin heven blis,
Savyng my grace and mercy.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.
Know; righteous
give each; accord to his labor
blessed [ones]; ordained

Ignorant and learned

weeping; world
tell; the reason why

Each; another
Unless [you have]

  Non veni vocare justos, sed peccatores ad penitenciam.3





I come not to cal ryghtwys men
To penans, as I you say,
Bot thos that in erth synful bene —
Hem I clepe, both nyght and day! —
With disese and sekenes, yif that I may
Make ham to mend thai done amys.
Cum to me now, I you pray!
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Magis gaudium est in celo super unum.4

For ther is more joy, iwys,
Of a synner that foresakis his syn,
And wil mend he doth amys,
Then four score and twenty of ryghtwys men —
Fore hom nedis no medesyne.
Bot he that in soule seke he is,
Hom I clepe to my grace then!
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Tradide me ipsum pro vobis ad mortem ut mecum . . .5

Fourté days fore you I fast
To fulfil my Fader law.
Fore my deth I was agast;
I wist ryght wel I schuld be slaw —
And al hit was fore love of yow
Lest that ye schuld fare amys.
My grace, my goodnes, now ye schul know!
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

[what] they have done amiss

indeed; (see note)

(i.e., one hundred); (t-note)
medicine; (t-note)
that is sick in soul

Forty; fasted

(see note)
wander astray

  Sic oportet vos jejunare propter peccata vestra et pro amore passionis Jhesu Christe.6















So fourté days ye schul fast
Fore love of my Passion, I you pray,
In the tyme that holé Lentyn last,
Save onlé apon the Sunnday;
In the clensyng days, hom fast ye may,
The fourté days to fulfil hit is;
This is my comawndmentis, hit is no nay.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Save wemen with child, and sekelou men,
And laborers that worchyn both nyght and day,
And pilgrems and palmers, and yong childer then,
Al other schuld fast, as I you say.
Yif a resnabil mele have thai may,
Relegeus, prestis, and seculers,
Non excusacion have thai may!
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Qui cum jejuneo visia comprimis mentem elevas, etc.7

Fore, serys, I say that bodélé fast
Lifftis up your mynd to heven on hye,
And visis and synnus adown doth cast,
And getis youe vertus and mede with me,
And putis away the Fyndis pousté,
And distroys your thre enmys,
Curst Pride, false Covetis, and Glotoné,
And bryngis you into heven blis.

On Aske Wenesday ye schul come
To Holé Cherche, serus, I you pray,
And takis askis, al and sum,
Fore thus the prest to youe wil say:
“Umthynk thee, mon, thou are pouder of clay,
And in to askis schal turne, iwis.”
Have mynd hereon both nyght and day,
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Fore clansyng days I do hom calle,
In hom to clanse your concians
Of al your synnus, both gret and smal,
And schryve youe clene with repentans,
And with good wil, do youre penans
Fore al the yere ye han don amys;
Then I wil withdraw my venchance.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Fore ye most nede do your penans
In the tyme of holé Lentyn,
And shryve youe clene of repentans
In the clansyng days, yif that ye mouen,
To make a syth satisfaccion
Fore al the yere ye han don mys,
Fore then I grawnt remyssion.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Now ye schul schryve youe, I wil youe telle:
Mekelé to the prest, ye knele adoune;
Hele no thyng, bot truly spel
Hou and were that ye han done,
Hwen, to hwom, outher God or mon;
Tellis forth treuly, ryght as hit is,
Then this is treue confession.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Thre thyngys longis to confession —
Beware, seris, now I you pray! —
Tru schryft of mowth, contricion,
And then satisfaccion, hit is no nay!
Never on without other be ther may,
Yif ye wil bryng your soule to blis —
To heven ther is no nother way.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Trust ye not to esy penans
That the prest injoyns you to;
Bot yif ye have veré repentans,
And thynke never more so to do,
And make satisfaccion also —
Ellis the pop asoylis no mon, iwys —
To purgatoré or to hel ye most nede go.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

(see note)
them (i.e., in those days)


Except [for]; unhealthy; (t-note)

If they should have a moderate meal
Men of religion; secular clergy




Ash Wednesday

ashes, everyone

Remember; powder
Be mindful of this

In which to clean your conscience

confess yourself clean; (see note)


holy Lent
confess yourself

Now [how]
Humbly; (see note)
Hide; recount
where what
When; whom, either; (t-note)



too easy penance; (see note)
Unless; true repentance

Or else; pope; absolves

  Penetentes penitentes et non irritentes, si estis penitentes imitate mores corigite vitam et convertemini ad Dominum secundum Augustinum.8; (t-note)




Bot ye have very contricion,
To me hit is a he scornyng:
Your schryft is bot confusion!
Ye schul have schame at your endyng;
Bot yf ye change your maners, your cursid levyng,
And clanse your consians of al malis,
To evel end hit wel you bryng.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Ye that foregete me in your levyng,
And on my Passion hath no peté,
I wil foregete youe in your dyyng,
And withdraw my grace and my mercy,
And your good angel fro you schal fle
And betake yow into the honde of your enmys;
Then ful woful schul ye be,
That nyl not mend that thai do mys.
Unless; true contrition
strong repudiation
confession; (t-note)
Unless; cursed way of life; (t-note)
conscience; malice



will not amend what; amiss

  Quia numquam peccatum diluatur nisi satisfaccio operis restituatur.9


Ye curatours, wysely ye wayt,
That han mon soule in your kepyng;
Enjoyne ye not penance to strayt,
Lest ye slen mon soule with ponyschyng!
A Paternoster with repentyng
To send ham to purgatoré, better hit is,
And save bodé and soule fro peryschyng.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.
curates; take heed; (see note); (t-note)
too rigorous
slay; punishment


  Misericordia et veritas obviaverunt sibi; justicia et pax osculate.10; (t-note)
























Ye that sittyn here, in my place,
Ye most have treuth and ryghtwysnes.
Then let Treuth, Mercy, and Grace,
And Ryghwysnes take rest and pese;
These four sistyrs mad me pese
Of my vengans and my males,
Fore mercé and grace hit you mo ples.
Nolo mortem peccatorys.

Qui sola contricion deluit peccatum.

Fore as possebil, foresoth, hit is,
With a tere of thyn ye,
To quenche al the synns thou hast do mys,
Yif fore thi synns thou be sory,
As al the water is in the se
To qwenche a gnost of fuyre, iwys,
Fore to hom I grawnt mercy.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Dimittite et demittetur vobis.11

And loke ye bene in charyté,
And foregif ucheon other then,
And quetis your det, treuly;
Then brekis your bred to my pore men,
And gif ham drynk that thorsté bene,
And clethe nakid, that nedé is,
And harbare the pore, that woful ye syn.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Date elemosenam et omnia nobis munda.12

And vysette the seke that in preson be,
And beré the dede, I you pray,
And cownsel the unwyse, pur charyté,13
And here my Word when that ye may,
And do therafter, both nyght and day,
Fore this wil bryng you to my blis;
To heven hit is the hyewaye.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Convertimini ad me in toto corde vestro.

And turne you to me fore oné thyng
In al your hartis, with myght and mayn,
In fastyng, in wepyng, with sorowyng,
Yif ye have gon mys, cum home agayn!
Then of youe I wil be fayne.
And kuttus your hertus with contrecion hit is,
Bot kutt not your clothis, let hem be playne.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Anima que peccaverit, ipsa moreatur.14

A soule hit doth a dedlé syn,
He schal dye in good sothnes,
Bot the fader of the child then
Schal not bere his synns, his wyckidnes;
Be the Fader of the Sun,

That for my love han forsakyn this word,
That nyght and day knelis on knen,
Thai pray for you to me your Lord;
Then loke that ye han here cumford,
And wit ye han not fare amys,
Fore in heven I wil you rewarde.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

And ever depart with the pore
Of the gracis and goodis that God you send;
Ye have non other sycur tresoure
Agayns the Day of Jugement;
Ellis wil ye be chamyd and chent
When I cal youe to your cowntys, iwys,
How wordlé goodis ye han spend.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Meche be ye aldyn to the pore
That ye geven here oné thyng,
Fore that is your trew trusté tresoure,
Ye gif hit to me is Heven Kyng;
Fore thai get no more bot here levyng,
And ye schul have therfore heven blis,
And that lyve that is everlastyng.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Fore the pore schal be mad domysman
Apon the ryche on Domysday;
Let se how thai con answere then
Fore al here reverent ryal aray,
In hungere, in thorst, in gold — welay! —
Affter here almes ay waytyng:
“Thai wold not us vesit, nyght ne day!”
Thus wil thai playn to me, Heven Kyng.

Date et dabetur vobis
To my pore that leven in payne;
Dimitte, et dimittetur vobis,
And then foregifyn schul ye ben;
Querite, et invenietis,
Taré not to long bot cum betyme,
Pulsate, et aperietur vobis,
Or I me gatis for you tyne,
Yif ye wil oné thyng that is myne,
Petete, et accepietis;
Here may ye know wel and sene,
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Take ensampil be Saint Martyne:
The nakid he clothid with gret peté —
With his swerd he swapt atwyn
His mantil, and said, “This gif I thee.”
Anon in heven, he con hit se —
Myselve therin was clothyd, iwys,
And sayd: “Martyne, this gif thou me.”
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Thenke on the ryche mon, had no peté
On the lazare lying on the gate,
And ther he dyed myschifusly;
The ryche mon sterve in his astate,
Hes soule, to hel hit toke the gate;
The lazar was borne to heven blis!15
Have mynd on this, erlé and late.
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Thus I cal youe to my grace, ucheon —
Cum to me for giftis, I you pray,
And I wil gif you remissiown,
And joy and blis foreever and ay!
No hert con thonke, ne tung tel hit may
The lest joy in heven ye schul have, iwys,
Yif ye wil do as I you say!
Nolo mortem peccatoris.

Joy be to the Fader and to the Sun,
And to the Holé Gost, al thre efere,
That in the word of wordis togeder thai were,
That now is, and was, schal be ever!
To that perles Prince without pere
Be worchip and joy in heven blis,
That says to us with so good chere,
Nolo mortem peccatoris!

(see note)

bring about; peace; (t-note)
[Psalm 84:11]
From; vengeance; malice
may; (t-note)

Because only contrition washes away a sin; (t-note)

done amiss

spark of fire, indeed

forgive each other
repay your debt
break your bread [with]
thirsty are
whom you see are woeful

visit; prison
bury; (see note)


Be converted to me with all your heart
[Joel 2:12]

before anything [else]

pierce; hearts; (t-note)
clothes; unadorned

(see note); (t-note)

[They] who; world
Who; kneels; knees

be certain [that]

share; (see note)

shamed and disgraced
accounts, indeed; (t-note)

You are much beholden
their living [sustenance]


made judges; (see note)
they (i.e., the rich)
dignified royal array
cold; alas
alms always waiting


Give and it shall be given to you
[Luke 6:38]
who live
Forgive, and you shall be forgiven
[Luke 6:37]
Seek, and you shall find [Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9]; (t-note)
Tarry not too long; in time
Knock, and it shall be opened to you [Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9]
I will myself close [heaven’s] gates to you
wish for any
Ask, and you shall receive
[John 16:24]
soon; (t-note)

example; Martin; (see note)

sword; cut in two
cloak; give

clothed, indeed; (t-note)

leper; (t-note)
died miserably
died; estate
His; made its way

each one [of you]

conceive; (see note)

forever and ever; (see note)

peerless; peer



























































































Here I conclud al my makyng,
In the mercé of God, I have sayd before;
God grawnt ham grace of good endyng
That done theraftir, both lasse and more,
And let ham never, Lord, be forelore,
That prayn for Jon the Blynd Audlay.
Into the kyngdam thou ham restore,
Unto that blis that lasteth fore ay,
             In word without end!
       Fore blessid be thai that heren the Word
       And don therafter here in this word,
       Fore in heven thou wilt hem reward,
             That here mysdedis here wil amende.

Fore al that is nedful to bodé and soule
Here in this boke then may ye se,
And take record of the apostil Poule
That Crist callid to grace and his mercé,
Fore so I hope he hath done me
And geven me wil, wit, tyme, and space,
Throgh the Holé Gost, blynd, def to be,
And say this wordis throgh his gret grace.
             So synful a wreche, unworthély,
       Y pray you, seris, fore Cristis sake,
       Ensampil at me that ye wil take,
       And amendis betime ye make
             Wile ye han space here specialy.

Fore as I lay seke, in my dremyng,
Methoght a mon to me con say:
“Let be thi slouth and thi slomeryng!
Have mynd on God both nyght and day!
Bohold and se a reuful aray —
Al the word on foyre brenyng!
Warne the pepul now, I thee pray —
Thai lovyn here God overe al thyng.
             Aryse anon, and awake!
       Fore thus God wil take venchans on thee,
       Apon his pepil sodenly,
       Fore pride, covetyse, wrath, envy,
             Fore God is wroth fore here syne sake!”

Herewith I woke of my dremyng,
And al fore fryght I was afrayd.
Anon I barst on wepyng;
With soroue of hert, to Crist I prayd:
“Take no venchanche, Lord!” I sayd,
“Bot send the pepul sum warnyng,
As thou was borne al of a mayde,
And withdraw thi wenchanse that is comyng,
             And grawnt me, Lord, throgh thi gret grace,
       Sum good word that I may say
       To thi worchip, Lord, I thee pray,
       To help mon soule, that hit may,
             That hit heren in honé plase!”

I pray youe al, in Cristis name —
Beware, seris, ye han warnyng!
Fore I say soth. No mon me blame.
God hath me grawntid myn askeng.
He hath youe send a hye tokenyng,
And erthquake the last day,
That Domysday is nygh cumyng,
Fore to his dissiplis, thus con He say:
             “I pray you, seris, tent herto take —
       Tofore my dome this tokyn schal fal:
       Vengans fore syn my pepil se chal —
       Werrs and pestelens, hungir with ale,
             That, fore drede, the erth schul quake.”

A, thenke on, mon! Thou art made of erth;
In thi hert, fore, thou may quake!
Moche payn and penans thou art wele worthe
To greve thi God so, fore thi syn sake;
Herefore, wo hit wil awake
Fore the brekyng of Cristis comawndment
Betyme, amendis bot ye make
And seche grace tofore His Jugement,
             Wile ye han tyme and spase.
       Of al lordis be He blessid!
       He wold not mon were lost,
       That wil in His mercé trost,
             And foresake His syn and soche His grace.

Alas, in my hert sore I drede
Lest men beleve not faythfully,
Fore to prechyng and techyng, thai take non hede!
Here dedis, hom demys ful opynly —
To bye and sel thay be besy,
Bot feu to purches heven blis;
Thai have no trest therin, treuly,
Ellis wold thai mend that thay do mys.
             Bot, seris, ther is cause:
       Curatis the soth thai dare not say —
       The soth yourselve, se ye may —
       How thai lye in syn fro day to day
             And been the furst that breken Cristis laws!

Fore and curatis lyved spirytualy,
Ful evel durst ané mon offend
The laws of God in oné degré;
Anon therfore thai schul be chent!
Alas, our bischopis thai ben yblynd
That to this myschif thai cun not se!
Fore few ther be that wile amend
Fore oné corexion now trewly
             Of Holé Cherche, I say.
       I pray you, seris, that ye aspie
       Howe contenwes Lechoré —
       Have he cordid with Constery —
             Leve forth in syn thai may.

Few ther bene that sechen soulehele —
Herefore ye ston in gret drede! —
Bot moné ther ay sechen ryches and wele,
That schal youe fayle here at your nede.
Y pra youe, seris, that ye take hede:
Ye schul acownt ful securly
Fore al your goodus, withoutyn dred,
How ye han getin and spend, treuly;
             Foresoth, acownt ye schul
       Tofore that Lord that you dere boght —
       Fore word, fore wil, fore dede, fore thoght,
       Your synys loke excuse ye noght;
             That greveth God most of alle.

Now ye callyn pride honesté.
Whrath, envy, hardénes.
False covetys, wisdam callid his he.
Lecheouré, a lover of lustenes.
Glotoné, a felaw of gentilnes.
Slouth, ye callyn onest levyng.
Thus have ye cullord your wickidnes
Agayns Godis hest and his bedyng!
             I say you, seris, forewy:
       Thus the Fynd he hath you blynd
       Lest your mysdedis ye schuld amend —
       With pride, wrath, covetyse, envy, you schend,
             With lechoré, slowth, and glotoné!

Thenke to the Fynd, when ye were boren,
Ther ye foresokyn the werkis of the Fynd,
Ellis I lekyn you to be forelorne,
Bot your mysdedis that ye amend.
Thus Adam, your fader, furst con affend,
And excusid him of the appil etyng,
And sayd Eve, his wyf, so had him kend,
And soght no grace of Heven Kyng,
             Herefore God was wroth hylé.
       An angel with a swerd brenyng bryght
       Drof him out of paradyse anon ryght,
       Fore he had synyd in Godis syght
             With pride, covetyse, and glotoné.

Your synus, loke excuse ye noght —
He is above that knowis ale,
Your werd, your wil, your dede, your thoght.
Ye wot never whent he wil on you calle,
Fore at his bar, stond ye schal;
Your consians schal cuse youere cursid levyng
And al your dedis, both gret and smale;
Ther schul ye here a hard rekenyng!
             Beware, seris, hereby!
       Anon schryve youe of your syn
       Be frelté, yif ye fal therin,
       Fore the Fynd he takis youe in his gren
             With pride, covetys, and glotony.

Fore he that wil himself here lowe,
And foresake his syn, and be sory,
And to the prest him schryve and chewe,
And do his penans dewoutly,
He never reprevyd schal be
When he is callid to his rekenyng,
Fore God hath foregeven him throght his mercé,
Here in herth in his levyng,
             Throgh his special grace.
       He wil not ponyche youe twice then —
       Yif ye han don your penans fore your syn,
       Ye schul never have penans hen,
             When God hath foregifyn you your trespace.

Non est verior probacio quam oculorum demonstracio.1

Thus Experiens treulé me tolde,
That walkis amongis youe ever spyyng,
What ye deth, both yong and hold,
And al the maner of your levyng;
He bede me, in the name of Heven Kyng,
I schuld not spare the soth to say,
Ne faver youe with no false flateryng —
That nygh hand is Domysday,
             Fore al the tokens beth efalle!
       Thus sayth Luke in his Gospele, truly,
       That Domysday schal cum sodenly
       When men in erth ben most besi,
             That never onother help thai schal.

Qui praemunitur non fallitur.2

Reght as in the tyme of Noyé
Sodenly al the word was drownd,
And as Sodom and Gomor, that gret ceté,
Sodenlé was sonkyn to hel grownde,
So within a lytil stownd,
Domsday schal fal, treuly!
In Lukis Gospel thus I fond —
Seche hit, serys, and ye may se.
             Herefore, beth redé nyght and day!
       Alas, ye dred not God to greve!
       Alas, ye bene false in your beleve!
       Alas, your dedis thay don youe preve!
             Alas, alas, and waylaway!

Alas, swerde and pestelens al day doth falle!
Beware lest froytis withdrawn be!
Alas, erthquake is comen with al!
Alas, amende yow, pur charyté!
These takyns fro the heven ye se
That God sendis youe in fayre war.
Alas, bot fewe ware . . .
Alas, for . . .
             Alas! Thus sayth the profecé:
       Was never more better purchesyng
       Then schal be agayns Cristis cumyng,
       Ne never alf so cursid levyng;
             Herefor this word God wil distroye.

Alas, that ye con not beleve
That ye felyn and se with syght!
Hou lytil a thyng a mon may greve
When oné sekenes is on him light!
Anon he has lost al his myght —
Then ard on Crist wil he cry,
Fore payne and deth he is afryght.
Al wordlé good he settis noght by.
             A, thynke on this, thou synful mon!
       In wele beware, or thou be wo,
       And thynk weder that thou wilt go —
       To hel or heven, on of tho —
             Fore other joyse is ther non.

Fore to lye I have no lust,
Fore yif I did, I schuld hit rew;
Bot to this tale, treulé ye tryst,
Fore wil I wot that is trew.
The soth I wold, seris, that ye knewe —
At your concians take knowlescheng!
Among Cristyn men ther be to fewe
That lovyn here God over al thyng,
             And as amselve here trew neghtboure,
       Fore al the lawys of our Lord,
       In this two comawndmentis hengus uche worde;
       Herefore, al the wo of this worde
             Is fore we kepe not the wyl of your Savyour.

Al Cristin men, Y cownsel youe
That ye wil do as Y youe say,
Then in yore conseans ye schul wele know
That schal youe deme at Domysday —
Weder hit be soth, ore ellis nay.
Yif hit be trew, at your wittyng,
Then doth therafter, I youe pray,
And lovys your God over al thyng —
             Y hwolde hit for the best.
       I rede ye loven Heven Kyng,
       And your neghtbore fore oné thyng,
       Fore oné lost ore lykyng.
             Then, seris, al ye beth eblest.

I wot ryght wel I schal be chent
Of Godis enmys — hit is no nay! —
Fore to the treuth thai take no tent;
The soth fore hem, Y dar not say;
Herefore the Fynd he wil hem fray,
Fore thay cal trew Cristyn men Lollard,
That kepyn Cristis comawndmentis nyght and day,
And don Godis wil in dede and worde.
             Agayns ham, I take Crist to wytnes;
       Here is non error ne Lollardré,
       Bot pistill and gospel, the Sauter, treuly;
       I take witnes of the treue clargy
             That han Godis lauys fore to redres.

Yet I wil say more yif I bere grame —
Fore wele I wot that hit is trewe —
Fore Holé Wryt ye may not blame,
Nowther the Hold Lawe ne the Newe;
God gif you grace your synnys excuse;
The treuth to preche, men may be bold,
Ore ellis, ye curatis, ye schul sore rew,
That han the kepyng of Christis folde
             In Holé Cherche, in heveré place —
       Fore to curatis, sayth Saynt Gregory,
       Thai schul onswere treuly
       Fore mons soule specialy,
             At Domusday tofore Crystis face.

Of al the createurs that ever God mad,
Mon soule was most pressious —
A prynt of the Treneté that never schal fade,
Partener and eyre of even blis!
Al erthelé thyng hit schal vanysche.
Into the erth we schul be broght.
Thou getist no more with thee, iwys,
Save good werd, good wil, good dede, good thoght;
             Fore these four, specialy,
       In heven thou shalt have joy and blis,
       After thi merit have mede, iwis;
       Beware, seris, fore nede hit is,
             Lest bodé and soule ye distroy!

Fore God, mon soule he hath betake
To curaturs in ilke lond,
To kepe hem wel fore his love sake.
He wil hem seche out of here hond
Fore to his face thai schal stond,
And yild ther a hard rekynyng
Fore everé soule, both fre and bond,
Yif oné be peryschid throgh here kepyng.
             Fore God hath grawnt youe his pouere,
       Be the vertu of the sacrement,
       To asoyle al that wil repent,
       And chryve ham clene with good entent,
             And do here penans wyle thai bene here.

Then yif ané fal throgh here frelté
In ané maner dedlé syn,
What maner man that ever hit be,
Anon corect im as law wil then,
And take no mede of no maner men.
Fore opyn syn, gif opin penans.
In the decretals, ther ye may sene,
Hit is Godis law, his ordenans,
             That ye schul bryng mon soule to blis —
       Fore treuly the pepil ye schuld telle,
       And warne ham of the payne of helle,
       And to put hem out of the parel,
             And make ame amend that thai don mys.

Fore a holé curate, he schal have
In heven coronacion
Fore everé soule that he doth save
And bryngis ham to salvacion;
And other schul have confucion,
Under fyndis of hel turmentré,
That bryngth mon soule to dampnacion
Throgh evyl ensampil in prestis thay se.
             Thus Jon Belet, he gon you tele
       How mon soule that ye schuld save —
       No spot of syn ye schuld have.
       Alas, I trow now that ye rave,
             Fore ye dred nowther heven ne hel!

Ye prestis, I pray youe take good kepe,
That mas ne matens nyl say ne syng:
Ye deprevyn the Treneté of his worchip,
And al sayntis in heven with him dwellyng,
And al Cristin soulis in payne bydyng
Affter your prayors in purgatory,
And al your god-doers of here helpyng.
Alas, this is a gret peté —
             To God and mon a hye trespace! —
       To take your hoyre, your salaré,
       Bot yif ye levyn spyretwaly,
       And sayne your servyse dewoutly!
             Ye ben Godis traytors in this case!

Dissyre ye nowther wyke ne dede;
Beth holé prestis in your levyng;
In trust ther schuld be no falsode;
Men in your prayours, thai bene hopyng,
Ellis schuld ye yild ard rekenyng,
Fore your hoyre, your selaré.
Mon soule to blis bot ye hit bryng
With your prayors specialy,
             Fore God hath geven thee pouere
       To be mens betwene God and mon,
       That al day agayns his laus thai don,
       To get ham grace, remyssion,
             Throgh here halmys and your prayere.

Fore oche day ye spekyn with Crist asyt
When ye dewotlé to him pray,
And yif ye reden in Holé Wryt,
He spekis to youe, hit is no nay;
Remembyr, youe prestis, I you pray,
And say your servys dewoutly;
Then the sothe ther se ye may.

             Thys ensampul Y pray yow leve:
       Yif ye schuld do omache to a kyng,
       Ye most with reverens, adown knelyng,
       Say your mesache without faylyng,
             Ellis that lord wil youe repreve.

Fore wyle hert worchipis noght,
The tong foresoth lebors in vayne;
Have mynd on him that youe dere boght,
That sofyrd both passion and payne —
Fore him to plese ye schuld be fayne,
And in your prayers, specialy,
Have mend on hom fore hom ye prayne,
I pray youe, seris, fore charyté!
             I say you, breder, in Cristis name,
       To me hit were a hy slawnder
       To lye apon my blessid breder;
       Y wold youe fayne here forther,
             Bot your wyckid dedus thay don you fame.

A sad ensampil her may ye se;
I pray youe, breder, have hit in mynd.
Thagh I say soth, blamys not me —
I blustur forth as Bayard blynd.
Fore to Crist, ye bene unkynd,
Freris, and freel, false in your fay;
Among men of Holé Cherche, fewe men fynd
That worchyn wysely to wyse men the way
             Into the courte of heven blis —
       Fore as ye techyn other to do,
       Yourselfe ye gon clen therfro!
       Thus be ye wercher of al our wo
             Hent ye wil mend that ye do mys.

Beware hereby, bothe frynd and foo,
A sad soth I wil youe say —
This is the cause of al our woo:
We beleve not treuly in Cristis fay,
Ellis wold we dred God both nyght and day,
And kepe the comawndment of our Kyng,
That wot never how sone we schul wynd away,
To hel or even at our endyng,
             Fore ther is non other joyse;
       And yet wil ye serve the Fynd,
       To God and mon both, be unkynd;
       Ye have not his Passion in your mynd,
             That dyid fore youe apon the cros.

I pray you al, pur charyté,
That heryn or redin in this boke,
Doth therafter specialy;
Cownsel therat I wold ye toke,
Fore here is nowther wyle ne croke.
I faver you noght with no flateryng;
The hyeway to heven I wold ye toke,
To joy and blis without endyng,
             Fore other cownsel nedis you non.
       Doth therafter then, I youe pray,
       Fore to heven ther is no nother way.
       Then meré in hert be ye may
             To go to the way of salvacion.

The Cownsel of Conseans this boke I calle,
Or The Ladder of Heven, I say, forewy:
Ther is no mon may clym up a walle
Without a ladder, sekyrly;
No more may we to heven on hye
Without treu cownsel of consians.
Clyme up this ladder — then may ye se
What ye schul do to Godis plesans,
             And weder ye wil have wele or wo.
       Clyme up this ladder — then may ye se
       What joys in heven that ther be,
       And what payns in hel and turmentré.
             Then chese yourselve weder to go.

Al Cristyn men, I cownsel yow
No mon deme other specially,
Fore oche mon schuld himselve here know,
And deme himselve whatever he be,
Fore a lytil mote ye con sone se
In another mons ye then,
Bot in your owne ye con not se,
Thagh ther be fallyn in nine or ten.
             Alas, thus bene ye blynd!
       Lest he be gilté in the same,
       No mon be to bold to blame,
       Bot uche mon mend hymselve fore chame.
             Yif ye deme mys, ye wil be chent!

(see note); (t-note)



their misdeeds

(see note)



amends in good time

sick; (see note); (t-note)
It seemed to me; did say
sorrowful sight
world; fire burning

They [who]; (t-note)


their sins’

burst out


as it may
Who it hears in any place

powerful sign; (see note)
coming nigh

take heed hereto
Before; sign
shall see

you thoroughly deserve
[Because you] grieve

Soon, unless you make amends


does no desire that a man be lost

seek; (t-note)

They are judged by their deeds
few [work] to purchase

repent what they do amiss
a reason
Curates dare not say the truth

they (i.e., the curates)

For if curates; (t-note)
Very evilly (fearfully) would anyone dare
any manner
are made blind

By means of any reprimand
take note
Lechery continues
He has joined with Consistory [courts]
They may live forth in sin; (t-note)

soul’s health; (see note)
stand; (t-note)
always seek; wealth

pray; (t-note)
certainly; (see note)

gotten and spent [it]
shall [make]

(see note)

[You call] wrath [and] envy hardiness
lustiness (i.e., high spirits)
companion of nobility
honest living
command and bidding

you are damned

At that time you forsook
Or else I depict you as
did offend (i.e., sinned)


highly enraged


Look not to excuse your sins; (t-note)

word; (see note); (t-note)
know; when; (t-note)
bar (i.e., court)
conscience; excuse


frailty; (see note)
Before; snare; (see note)

be humble; (see note)

confess and show [sin]

forgiven; through
on earth


hence (i.e., later)

Who; spying
do; old; (t-note)


near at hand
signs have happened

[When] they shall never help another

Just as; Noah

city; (see note)
to the ground of hell

[Luke 17:24–30]

become your test

fruits (i.e., rewards)

for; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

Nothing was ever better purchased
Than [safeguards taken] against
Nor [against] half so cursed a living
Soon; world

How little a thing may grieve a person


worldly; gauges as nothing

before you grow woeful; (see note)
which way
one of those; (see note)

well; know

In your conscience acknowledge


hang in each word
Therefore; world
[Occurs] because

What shall be your verdict
or else not [true]
by your understanding

hold (i.e., declare)
(see note)
Despite any desire or pleasure
all of you are blessed

destroyed; (see note)
By God’s enemies
pay no heed
on account of them

heresy; Lollardy
epistle; Psalter

Whose duty it is to redress God’s laws

righteous anger

to excuse


answer (i.e., be held to account)
man’s soul

Partner; heir; heaven’s

(see note)

reward, indeed

For God has committed man’s soul
curates; every

He will seek them from the curates’ hand
[When] before

their (i.e., the curates’)


frailty; (see note)

Whatever sort of person he is
him; decrees
reward; no man whatsoever
open penance


them; what they do amiss; (t-note)

fiends; hell’s torments

Beleth; he did tell you; (see note)

pay close attention
neither mass nor matins will not

good-doers; their share [of salvation]

hire; salary
Unless you live spiritually

Desire neither living nor dead
expectant (i.e., trusting)
receive a hard judgment

means (i.e., mediator)


in privacy; (see note)
if you read in the Bible

service (i.e., mass)

example; believe


labors; (t-note)


Be mindful of them for whom

(see note)

I would gladly advance you here
defame you

bluster; (see note)

frail; faith


fully away from there
Until; amend; amiss



Who know (referring to “we”)
heaven; (see note)


Follow its counsel specifically
I want you to take; (t-note)
wile nor trick


Counsel of Conscience; (see note)
may we [climb]

whether; weal


each; should [know]


nine or ten [motes] [Matthew 7:1–5]

ought to be too eager to blame
each; ought to amend; shame
amiss; ruined

  Nolite judicare et non judicabimini. . . . Eadem messure qua messi fueritis messietur vobis.3














Fore Crist sayth, the same mesere
That ye metin to other men,
The same ye schul have to your hoyre —
Outher joy or fuyre that ever schal bren.
Ye wot never what day ne wen
Ye schul be callid to your rekenyng;
Ryght as ye demon other men,
Ye schul be dampnyd at your endyng.
             In the Gospel thus wretyn hit is;
       To this ensampil takys good yeme:
       Uche mon his dedis, thai schul him deme,
       Then be seche as ye schuld deme,
             And deme ye never onother amys.

Takis no venchans, this Crist forebede:
“Your venjans ye schul yif to me,
Fore I wil elde uche mon after his mede.”
In everé state whatever he be,
What cyté or rem devidid ye se,
Hit schal be distroyd, wretyn hit is;
Bot yif ye leve in charyté
And foregif uche onother, ye don amys.
             Thus in this Gospel wretyn I fynd,
       He that lovys here rust and pese,
       He is Godis child without lese,
       And he that sterys debate with his males,
             Thai be the chylder of the Fynd.

To the Treneté I me recomend,
That al this word at his wil wroght,
That myght and grace he hath me send,
And to Crist his Sun that me dere boght,
And to the Holé Gost foregete I noght,
Fore him I thonke specialy,
That wit and wysdam to me hath broght
To foresake my syn and my foly.
             In this word here levyng,
       To have my payne, my purgatory,
       Out of this word or that I dy,
       A, gracyus God, gramarsy,
             To grawnt me grace of good endyng!

As I lay seke in my langure,
In an abbay here be west,
This boke I made with gret dolour
When I myght not slep ne have no rest.
Offt with my prayers I me blest,
And sayd hilé to Heven Kyng:
“I knowlache, Lord, hit is the best
Mekelé to take thi vesetyng,
             Ellis wot I wil that I were lorne.”
       Of al lordis be he blest!
       Fore al that ye done is fore the best,
       Fore in thi defawte was never mon lost,
             That is here of womon borne.

Mervel ye not of this makyng,
Fore I me excuse — hit is not I;
This was the Holé Gost wercheng,
That sayd these wordis so faythfully,
Fore I quoth never bot hye foly.
God hath me chastyst fore my levyng;
I thong my God, my Grace, treuly,
Fore his gracious vesityng.
             Beware, seris, I youe pray,
       Fore I mad this with good entent,
       In the reverens of God Omnipotent.
       Prays fore me that beth present —
             My name is Jon the Blynd Awdlay.


mete out
know; when





requite; deserved reward
realm divided

Unless; believe
forgive one another

rest; peace
stirs discord; evil intentions

commend myself

in particular

[I pray that] in this world
(see note)
before I die out of this world
grant mercy

illness; (see note)


blessed myself
meekly; visitation; (see note)
know I well; lost


Marvel; (see note)
excuse myself
Holy Ghost’s making

say; high folly; (see note)
visiting (i.e., by affliction)

[those] who are

  Finito libro. Sit laus et gloria Christo. Liber vocatur Concilium conciencie, sic nominatur, aut Scala celi et vita salutis eterni. Iste liber fuit compositus per Johannem Awdelay, capellanum, qui fuit secus et surdus in sua visitacione, ad honorem Domini nostri Jhesu Christi et ad exemplum aliorum in monasterio de Haghmon. Anno Domini millesimo cccc visecimo vj. Cuius anime propicietur Deus.1; (see note)


Go To Salutations