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Prik of Conscience: Part Four: Of Purgatory where Souls are Cleansed of their Folly


1 A day for a year I have appointed to thee. Ezechiel 4:6

2 For a just man shall fall seven times. Proverbs 24:16

3 Lines 855–56: For even though it is with regard to the doer dead [of no credit], With regard to the one who asks it stands in stead [to his credit]

4 Lines 1017–19: 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; see explanatory note.

5 Lines 1050–57: For those who keep it (pardon) may not deal (distribute) it to foes of holy church, know you well, which [foes] are they that dwell in deadly sin here, not otherwise. Friends of holy church may win pardon for they are within [the church], [and] without and free from deadly sin in perfect love and charity


Abbreviations: CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; MED: Middle English Dictionary; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; PL: Patrologia Latina, ed. Migne.

8 Venial sin - as opposed to deadly, or mortal, sin - while still serious, did not require the same degree of penance. Chaucer discusses the distinction in The Parson's Tale X.357-60: "For sothe, synne is in two maneres; outher it is venial or deedly synne. Soothly, whan man loveth any creature moore than Jhesu Christ oure Creatour, thanne it is deedly synne. And venial synne it is, if man love Jhesu Christ lasse than hym oughte. For sothe, the dede of this venial synne is ful perilous, for it amenuseth [diminishes] the love that men shold han to God moore and moore. And therfore, if a man chargeth hymself with manye swiche venial synnes, certes, but if so be that he somtyme descharge hym of hem by shrift, they mowe ful lightly amenuse in hym al the love that he hath to Jhesu Christ; and in this wise skippeth venial into deedly synne."

54 The first hint of a theological problem, the equality of the heavenly reward, that the poet takes up later (4.767 ff.). Can there logically be degrees of blessedness in heaven? In other words, can one soul be “more saved” than another? Line 49 indicates that pain in purgatory does nothing to increase the heavenly reward, but line 54 appears to indicate that penace in this life can. The Pearl-poet undertakes the same question by retelling the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1–16) and by having the maiden conclude “‘Of more and lasse in Godes ryche’, / Þat gentyl sayde, ‘lys no joparde, / For þer is vch mon payed inlyche, / Wheþer lyttel oþer much be hys rewarde’” (ed. Gordon, lines 601–04, and see his note).

69 In Dante’s cosmos, purgatory is a mountain in the middle of a sea in what we would call the southern hemisphere. Here purgatory is below the earth but still above limbo (see below line 87) and hell. What seems to be a harsh penalty for the souls of stillborn children indicates the importance of baptism for salvation. Still, they are placed outside and above purgatory itself and, though denied sight of Christ’s countenance, are not tormented, either.

88 fre prysoun. That is, a prison in which the inmates are not punished and have freedom of movement.

91 Working down, the four places are the lymbus patrum (line 87), site of the Harrowing of Hell, when Christ liberated the souls of the “holy fathers” (and mothers) who lived before His incarnation; purgatory, where souls are cleansed for entry into heaven; the limbus infantium (though not so called here), for unbaptized children; hell proper (>i is a border; modern English limbo derives from the Latin ablative). The status of the souls in each category was highly contested by medieval theologians.

94–95 Berno Augiensis, >i (PL 142:1146A).

104 Petrus Blesensis, Compendium in Job (PL 207:823) . See also Part 6, line 761.

113–14 Augustine, City of God, not exact (PL 41:737).

123–26 Purgatory is contingent, in that at the end of time there will be no more sinning, and thus no longer a need for purgation. The fate of souls becomes stark: heaven or hell. See Entre.33–40.

134 Here “earth” contains purgatory and hell; that is, everything that is not heaven.

149_62 Purgatory is further differentiated into two places, common (on earth) and special (above earth). The common category apparently allows contact between the spirits and humans: hence ghosts.

151 studes. This could be a variant spelling of stede, “place,” but it is more likely a mental condition. See MED stude (a).

209 Here “country” refers to the people of a country and in a legal context means “jury” (MED contre, meaning 6; OED country, meaning 7).

222 For “thar,” see note to 3.322.

237_52 The poet lists the seven deadly sins and their punishments, beginning with pride (the most intellectual, and thus most serious sin) and ending with lechery (often regarded as the least serious because it is the most physical). These sins are further differentiated below in lines 574–89.

280 None of the senses in the MED of the gerund “lesinge” (“gleaning,” “lying,” “losing” or “loosening”) fits the context here. Cotton Galba E.ix reads “For felyng may be in na dede thyng” (ed. Morris, line 3031).

304 The poet returns to the question of the form of the heavenly body (see above, 3.840–63). Dante struggles with the same question throughout his ascent of Mount Purgatory (e.g., Purgatorio 25.67–108).

364 fuyres of Crystyantee. Whereas up until this point fire has been a means of torment (in malo), here fire becomes a means of purification (in bono). See MED fir (13).

389 lasse and moree. That is, the fire differs in kind, not in degree.

409–11 Augustine, City of God (PL 41:746). Not exact.

433 Shul bren swyftely as hay. “Shall burn as swiftly as hay,” i.e., not too swiftly. Cotton Galba E.ix reads “brin mar slawly as hay brynnes” (line 3192).

450 bounden by heede and feet. Cotton Galba E.ix reads “by hend and fete” (line 3214), which makes better sense, athough the extremity of the Osborn Manuscript’s reading has its appeal, too, and may be more than a simple misreading of the earlier manuscript.

451 For “bydoven” see MED bidene, adverb, meaning 1(a): “Of an action or process . . . completely, entirely, utterly.” Compare 7.497 below.

465 Given how harsh the punishments in purgatory are, a soul might forget that just being in purgatory is a guarantee of (eventual) salvation.

471 wyn. See MED winnen (11.d). In line 496, meaning 2.d applies.

546–47 Bot thatte fyre shal fynde to brynne / Er thay passe somme venyal syn. In this couplet “venial sin” is the object of the infinitive “to burn”: “but that fire shall find some venial sin to burn ere they pass.”

597 The formula for salvation here is convoluted. Those guilty of deadly sins must endure purgatory, but only if the penance begins in this life. Otherwise, hell is unavoidable.

610–11 “Housel” is a Middle English word for Holy Communion (from a root meaning “sacrifice”). The Pater Noster is the Latin name of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13, Luke 11:2–4). It would be well known to medieval audiences in both Latin and English from its appearance in catechisms and other devotional books and practices. See Morey, Book and Verse, pp. 302–05.

626–27 Alanus de Insulis (Alan of Lille, d. 1203), Liber Parabolarum (PL 210:581B).

646–48 The holy man is Saint Augustine (line 689). The list of sins consists partly of failures to fulfill the Seven Works of Bodily Mercy (Matthew 25:35–40). See Morey, Book and Verse, pp. 306–07; and for an extract of this passage, “Augustinus de peccatis venialibus,” see Raymo, "Works," Manual 7:2309.

715 To “go wolwarde” is to wear a wool garment with the hair side “toward” the skin.

762 As the holy mon Seynt Austyn sayeth. The manuscript omits Augustine’s Latin: “Neque negandum est defunctorum animas pietate suorum viventium relevari” (Enchiridion, caput 110 [PL 40:283]).

769-70 Almsdeeds can only decrease the pains of purgatory and not increase the heavenly reward. See above, 4:50 ff. and 4:745.

778 Salvation by grace versus salvation by works (righteousness) continues an old debate which culminated in Martin Luther’s doctrine of “sola fides.” The practice of “buying” penance (line 793) is also morally ambiguous, though a neutral reading would simply regard the giving of money as a good deed.

786 That is, by the prayers of holy men that go toward God. Praying by various parts of Christ’s body, especially in connection to the Crucifixion, was common. See the OED under “God,” meaning 14.

822 Compare 1 Corinthians 12:12–27.

843-44 Even the prayers of the sinful will be efficacious if they are asked for by someone “in charity.” In this and the following examples the critical factor is the goodness of the motivator of the deed, not the doer of the deed.

870–72 The priest is in “sacred orders” (i.e., ordained).

879-82 Priests, known as “chantry priests” (i.e., priests who chant), could be hired to sing masses on behalf of the departed. This is one reason why medieval churches and cathedrals have multiple altars, and why separate “chantry chapels” were constructed.

903-22 The poet covers more contested ground regarding the efficacy of prayer. Those in heaven need no help, but are made happier if more souls arrive to swell their ranks; those in hell cannot be helped, but are not as miserable if hell is less crowded.

932 Another tack: good deeds done for those already in heaven redound to the credit of those in purgatory.

950 An expression familiar to readers of The Miller’s Tale (CT I[A]3164, 3454), that God works in mysterious ways. Compare below, 7.678. Note the pun in line 947 since to be “happy” is to be favored by chance.

954-56 An anticipation of the Reformation position that works are a signifi­cation of, not a qualification for, salvation.

973 “Purchase” in Middle English could mean “to buy” in a mercantile sense, but the principal meaning was simply “to acquire” or “to gain by asking.”

1004 The “treasure of Holy Church” (also known as the “treasury of merit”) gained by Christ’s passion and the blood of the martyrs was controlled by the Church and could be earned through contrition and penance. This system of pardons was open to abuse, as Chaucer demonstrates through his Pardoner. For the steps required in confessing a sin, see the Introduction, p. 3.

1017–19 Christ gives Peter the “keys of the kingdoms,” that is, of heaven and of hell. These crossed keys form part of the papal seal. Here the poet extends the key metaphor to include the opening and closing of the treasury of merit.

1104–11 The poet refers to Pope Innocent III, Augustine (with an unusual spelling for his name), the Catalan theologian Raymond Lull (d. 1315), and the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274).


Abbreviations: see Explanatory Notes

92 fore. A letter is erased between the “o” and the “r.”

95 defunctorum. The manuscript reads defuctorum.

111 her. The manuscript reads he.

233–34 The paraph mark actually heads the next line, but should logically head this one to introduce the fourth pain and not to interrupt the couplet.

280 felyng. The manuscript reads leesyng.

356 fuyr of. “he” appears between these words.

462–63 An “a” in the bottom left margin marks lines 462–63, which are written at the bottom of the leaf. A “b” in the left margin just above line 464 indicates where to insert them.

508 This line is missing in the manuscript and is supplied from Cotton Galba E.ix (ed. Morris, line 3288).

551 A stray “hat” appears between “that” and “he.”

789 peyn. The manuscript reads pey.

811 are . The manuscript omits.

849–920 These lines are missing on what would have been folio 55; supplied from Cotton Galba E.ix (ed. Morris, lines 3672–3743).

938 may. An otiose mark with no obvious expansion sits above and to the right of “y.” Compare 5.212.

1052 and. The manuscript reads that.

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The ferthe parte is of purgatorye
There soules ben clensed of her folye

Purgatory is no thing ellus
Bot a clensyng sted clerkes tellus
Wher Cristen soules shul peyne fele
That here ha ben not clensud wele
And of her syn had contrycyoun
And been in way of salvacioun.
There shul they be clensud cleen
Of alle venyalle synnus bydeen
That they in this worlde han wrought
In word and dede, wille and thought.
So fynly pured nevere gool was
As they shul be er they then pas
For the leeste of her peynes there
Is hardere thenne the most peyne here.
As a greet clerke ful openlye
Speketh of the peynes of purgatory:
Minima pars purgatori est ma-
jor maxima pena mundi.
“The leest peyne there is more,” seith he,
“Then the mest peyne here may be.”
And som clerkes seyn and proven by skil
As bokes wittenes leve whoso wol
That bytwene the peynes of helle nomly
And the peynes of purgatory
Is no difference bot that the toon
Hath ende and the tother hath noon.
The peyne of helle shal nevere cees
Ny soules there never have relees
And in purgatory dwelle thei styl
Tyl they be clensed alle of her ille.
They have oo day as greet peynes sere
As a mon myght have here alle a yeer
And also miche in fourty dayes
As in fourty yeer here the bok sayes.
So is the peyne there a day to see
As myche as a yeer here may be
Bot ever o day of penaunce here
May stonde in stede of an yeere,
As God seyth openly and wele
By the prophete Ezechyele:
Diem pro anno dedi tibi.1
That is on Englysshe thus to saye,
“I gif a yeer for oon daye.”
The peyne there the soule avayleth nought
When hit to purgatorye is brought
Bot for to clense hit of that synne
And for no mede in heven to wyn
Though they a thousand yeer were thore
Here mede in heven were nevere the more.
Bot penaunce here doon with good wil
Serveth to two thingus by skille:
Oon is to clense the soule wele
Of dedly synne and venyele,
Anothur to have in heven more mede;
To thes two may penaunce us leede.
The soule for penaunce doon here
Shal in heven have joyes seere
That withouten ende shul laaste
Yif they hit holde with herte stedfast.
Nowe wole I shewe yow openly
Where clerkes seyn is purgatory.

Where purgatorye es

The stede that purgatory is toolde
Undur erthe we moun hitte holde.
Aboven that stede as clerkes tellus
That dede borne children inne dwelluth
That from the syght of Goddes faace
Are dampned for ever withoute grace.
That stede is aboven helle pitte
Bytwene purgatory and hitte.
Thus stondeth the place of purgatory
Aboven hem bothe in that paarty.
Alle that been there peyn mot have
Yif they have grace and shul be save
Fro othur stede tyl the day of dome
Shul never soules oute coome.
Then shul they come to juggement
And with the bodyes ageyn be sent
Bot fro purgatory may soules wyn
To blysse when thay be clensed of syn.
Aboven that yitte there is a steed
That God vyseted when he was deed;
Alle that there were with hym he toke
And lafte there noon as seyth the boke
And fro that tyme as clerkes telle
Come never oon thidur to dwelle
Ny never more thidur shul come.
That stude is called lymbus patrum
That on Ynglyssh a fre prysoun es
There holy fadres were in merkenes.
These foure studes hel menne calle
For in erthe are they closed alle.
Holy chirche that fore soules prayeth
Calleth purgatory helle that thus sayeth:
Domine Ihesu Criste, rex glorie, libera animas omnium
fidelium defunctorum de manu inferni.
“Lorde delyver oute of helle bande
Alle Crysten soules therein dwelland.”
That is to say, purgatorye
There soules are clensud of here folye.
Fro the loweste helle withouten doute
No soule may be delyvered oute
For of mercy is there noon hope
For thus seyth the holy mon Jope,
In inferno nulla est redempcio.
“In helle,” he seyth, “is no raunsom.”
No hoop may be in that dongeoun
That is in the lowest helle
There the dampned soules shul dwel;
Masse ne preyer helpeth nought
Unto hem that thidur be brought;
No thyng may abate her pyne,
And therfore seyth seynt Austyne:
Si scirem patrem meum aut matrem
in inferno pro eis non orarem.
“Yif my fadur or modur were
In helle and I wyste hem there,
I wolde nouther nyght ny daye
For hem do almesdede ny praye.”
For almesdede ny preyeres
Helpeth hem not bot rathur deres.
¶Two lowest stedes seyd byfore
Are helles that shul laste evermore
Bot purgatory the sothe to saye
Lasteth not bot tyl domes daye;
Aftur that day as clerkes con se
Shal there no purgatorye bee
Bot helle ful of fendes withinne
Shal laste ay for vengeaunce of syn.
¶Somme men wondren and aske why
That Godde ordeyned purgatorye
And helle amyd the erthe so lowe.
That skil whi is thus to knowe:
The synne that is in erthe wrought
Fro erthe unpunysshed passeth nought
Thenne moste punysshyng of synne
Be outher above erthe or within
That is to say here where we dwel
Or in purgatory or in helle.
For syn is so hevy and haarde
That hit draweth the soule dounward
Tyl penaunce have purged that syn
The soule may never to heven wyn.
¶Yitte seyen thes clerkes namelye
That two stedes ben of purgatory:
That oon is comun for to telle
Within the erthe aboven helle;
That othur is specyally by grace
Aboven the erthe in some place.
In the comune som ben not aye
Bot here ben punysshed nyght or day
In diverse studes specially in goost
There they haunten her synne most.
They may be thorowe helpe and spede
Of preyere and of almesdeede.
To som they ofte in gooste appere
By special grace in som sted here
For to haste her delyveraunce
Oute of her peyne and her penaunce,
That as I sayde gretely greeveth
And to warne frendes that here leveth.
Here may men kyndely knowe and see
Where purgatory oweth to bee.

Of the peynes of purgatory

Nowe wole I rede forthermor
And telle what maner peynes are thore.
In purgatory as bokes wittenesse
Ben diverse peynes more and lesse
And mony mo then I con nevene.
Bot I fynde wryten of peynes seven
Of wheche men shul fele and see
Als sone as deth comyng shal be.
¶The fyrst peyne of sevene
As yee me herde befor nevene
Is grete drede that the soule is inne
When hit and the body shul twyn,
For the soule shal then see stande
Grysly develes on hit raumpande
As wode lyouns to wayte her praye
Yif they myght have the soule awaye.
Yif any syghe the soule thenne sees
For fere he shule his witte sone lese.
A greet peyne thenne aught this to be
Unto the soule that hitte shal see.
¶The secounde peyne thenne nexthande
Is greet drede to undurstaande
That soule shal have with deol and care
Til dome be geven how hitte shal fare
For aungeles shul there redy bee
And grysly develes upon to see
That shul desputen all his lyfe
Bytwene hem there with myche stryfe.
The soule shal thenne bytwene hem stond
And the aungelles on hys ryght hond
The develes also on his lyfte syde;
Then moste hitte nede there abyde
Til that stryfe be brought to ende
And tyl hitte wyte whidur to wend
And whether hitte shalle be dampned or save
Thenne aught the soule greet drede to have.
As a mon that is amydde thee see
In greet perel and may not flee
When tempest falleth and stormes smert
Then hath that mon greet drede in herte.
He maketh avowes and calles on Cryst
For drede leste he be peryste;
That drede to hym is ful greet peyne
For of his lyf he is uncerteyne.
And as a monne dredeth bodyly
That is accused of felony
Byfore kynges justyse and the contré
That ben charged yif he gulty bee.
He not whether he shal be spylt
Or be delyvered of that gylte
Tyl they have geven here verdyte
And outhur maad hem foul or quyte.
Ful of drede thenne is that monne
Bot the soule hathe more drede thonne
Tyl dome be geven that hitte may se
Whethur hit shal dampned or saved be;
Yif hitte the dome of dampnacyoun here
Hitte goth to helle withouten recovere.
The soule that passeth to that place
Thar never hope for to have grace.
¶The thrid peyne is an exile by skil
When soules here ageyne her wil
Are exiled ffro this to peyne
Withouten any turnyng ageyne.
Then shal the soule ha greet mournyng
So to be exiled fro hyre lykyngge
Fro hyre frendus leeve and deere
And fro the delyte that heo had here;
This mournyng certus on this wyse
Shal be to hem a greet angwyse.
¶The feerthe is sore maladye
That soules shul have in purgatory:
They shul have there eveles seere
For dyverse synnes unclensed here.
Somme for pryde they have inne been
Shul have a fever cotidieen,
That soule shal peyne more bytturly
Thenne fever doth here any body,
Som shul have there for coveytyse
A dropesye for to echen her anguyse,
Som shul have in lymes aboute
For sleuthe a podagre and a goute,
Som for envye shal have in lymes
As byles, felouns, and postumees.
Som for wratthe shal ha palesy
That shal the soule greve greetly,
Som for gloteny shal have thore
As a squynacye that greveth sore,
Somme for the synne of leccherye
Shul have the evel of meselrye.
Thus shal the soule as God vouchethsave
For dyverse synnes mony evels have
That here have hadde repentaunce
And not fulfilled here penaunce.
Tho maladies more the soule greveth
Then any sekenes may the body that lyveth.
Thenke we what peyne hath a bodye
That here hath bot oon maladye
In this lyf lastyng ane yeere
Or ellus bot thre dayus heere,
That malady greveth the body sore
Bot hit greveth the soule wel more
In purgatory there hit is pynde
For hit is of more tendre kynde
As a lytul thing in thoo yghe lokande
Greveth more then in the hande
So tholeth the soule more penaunce
Then the bodye that hath grevaunce
¶Bot somme men seyen here ageyn
Howe shulde the soule suffre peyn
That is nought bot a spiryt?
Hit may not be felte suche is hit
And to this onswere menne may
As men may here clerkus say:
The soule lyf of the body esse
Of uche monne both more and les.
Withouten lyf is no felyngge
For felyng is in no deed thing.
Then is the felyng alle hoolye
In the soule and not in the body.
For when the soule is paste away
The body is nought bot erthe and clay
And hitte is deed as a stoon
And may not fele by hit alloon.
¶Also yitte may menn asken more
Howe may the soule that dwelleth thore
Be pyned with sore maladye
With eveles longyng to the bodye
Syth hit hath nouther body nor hede
Ny lym to occupye that steede?
¶To this may mon onswere shortly
The soule though hitte have no body
Hit shal be pyned in lymes sere
In whiche he hath moste synned here.
Thus shal the soule fele pyne and woo
And to othur soules hitte shal seme so.
Uche oon to othur shal seme thon
As they had shap and body of mon;
Uche soule shal there othur see
Bot non of hem may feled bee
No more then monnes breth may
Be hitte paste fro the mouth away.
And this is preved by the gospel
By the ryche mon that was in hel
And by Lazar that he warned mete
That in Abrahames bosomme sete.
Abrahames bosomme is nought ellus
Bot heven that holy inne dwellus.
When the ryche mon in helle laye
And Lazar in Abrahames bosom say
He cryed to Abraham preying with al
That a droope of watur myght doun fal
As in the gospelle is contenedde
On his tonge fro his fyngur end.
Bot though he thus speke to hym
Yit had he nouthur tong ny lym
Ny Lazar yee shul undurstande
Had nouther fyngur foot ny hande,
For bothe were thay spiritus oonly
Thatte nouther hadde lym ny body:
That oon was in blisse sovereyne,
That othur was in endeles peyne
The ryche monne soule had peyne in hel
As he had bene in flesshe and felle,
And Lazar soule to his syght thonne
Had bodye and lymes as shap of mon.
¶Yitte han men herde clerkes mayntene
Suche opiniounes as I wene
That soules in helle and purgatorye
Of the eyre uche oon hath a bodye
To suffre peyne in lymes seere
For that that thay hanne synned here,
Bot wher the soule ha body or nought
Hitte shal suffre as hitte hath wrought.
¶The fyfthe is fyre brennyng
That may be slaked with no thyng
Bot almesdede messe and pryere
That frendus doon for soules heere.
To slake the fyur thes are the beste
For they may bryng the soule to reste.
That fyre is hattere and more keene
Then alle the fyre that here is seene
As fyre of erthe where we wonne
Is hatter then the beem of sonne,
Ryght so on the same maneere
Hit is hatter then fyur is here.
Alle the wateres that mon may reken
A sparke therof myght not sleken,
This fyur here wolde greeve sore
The body that thereinne wore.
The fiur more greveth of purgatory
The soule thenne here may that the body,
For fyre here of strengthe is lees
Then the fuyr he of purgatory es
And body is harder of flessh and bone
Then is tha soule by hitte selfe oon.
Sythen the fyur is more hote thore
Then fyur is here as I sayde ore
And the soule is tendur of kynde
Thenne semeth that hitte is more pynde
With the fyur thenne a body may be
With alle the fuyres of Crystyantee.
A sparke therof is more hoote
Then alle fuyr here as clerkes wote.
There soules dwellen in peynes strong
Somme shorte while and som long
Aftur hor synne is more or lees
And aftur hor penaunce fulfilled es,
And no soule shal thennes passe
Tyl hitte as clene be as hitte was
When he come oute of the funtstaan
And had there his Cristendome taan.
¶Clerkes that speken of purgatory
Seyen there the fyre is bodyly
And not goostly as the soule es,
For soules as the book wittenes
Are pynde with fyur boodylye
As thay may be with the bodye.
Bot that fyur worcheth not by kynd
In the soule that therewith is pynd
As doth the fyur that brenneth here
Bot hit worcheth on wondur maner.
As God ordeyned fforwhi hitte es
An instrument of his ryghtwisnesse
For the fyur thatte there is inne
Is bot a clensyng unto synne
And not dyverse lasse and moree
Bot a maner fyre as I sayde ore
That alle synnes wasteth seere
Wheche that are unclensed here.
¶For as a fyre that chaf may bryn
Melteth good that is thereinne,
So that fyre thorowe longe heete
Wasteth synnes smale and greete.
As hete of synne that comune es
Greveth som more and somme les
So the fyur pyneth that is thore,
Somme soules lasse and som more;
For the soules shul dwelle thereinne
Aftur the charges of here synne
And som shul be delyvered soone
That large penaunce here have doon;
Somme shul be there mony a yeere
That lytul penaunce ha doon here
And long leyn in her synne,
And therfore seyth seynt Austynne:
Necesse est quod tantum urat dolor quantum erat
amor, tanto enim quisquis torquetur diucius quanto
affectus eius venialibus adherebat forcius.
He seyth that “sorow nedeful es
To be as mychel and no les
For every synne and uche trespas
As love and luste in that syn was.”
Also he seyth on this maneere,
“The styflyer that uche mon here
Gyveth his lykyng and his wil
To venial synnes loude or stille
The lenger pyned shal he bee
In purgatory,” thus seyth hee.
¶Er soules Goddes face shul se
As thre thingus mot thay brent be,
That is to say as wood and hay
And stoble that sone wol waste away.
So venyal synnes that folke in fal
Mychel and lytul and mene with al.
¶The moste venyal shal brenne longly
As wode that sadde is and hevye.
¶The secounde then shul bren sone
As stobul that is hastyly done.
¶The thrid of tho venyal synnes
Shul bren swyftely as hay brennes.
Thus shul be brente and wasted thore
Alle venyalle synnes lasse and more
And dedely synnes that here are shryven
Of whiche God hath the gylte forgeven.
And penaunce is nought fulfilled here
Shul there be wasted in that manere,
And when the soules are maad so bryght
They shul be brought to Goddes syght
To paradyse that blesful place
There joy and reste is with solace.
¶The sixte peyne is this to telle
That unclene soules shul in dwel
In purgatory bounden ful faste
With bondes of synne that moun last
As thay be bounden in prysoune
That noon may helpe for no raunsoune.
Thay are bounden by heede and feet
Alle bydoven in that greet heete.
No peyne may be ymagined more
Then soules han whil thay ben thore;
Greet deol thay make and myche sorow
For thay moun no thing beg ny borow
To helpe that thay were thennes brought,
Ny her preyer hem helpeth nought,
For there is nouther steed ny place,
Helpe ny frenship unto purchace;
Here goodes here then shul thay fele,
Or yif her frendus love hem weele
For her preyer and almesdede
These moun helpe at her neede.
Som tyme so myche peyne thay have
Thay take no kepe that thay are save.
Therfore shul we thenken heere
What there is with sorowes sere
Among the develes that have leeve
To turmente soules and to greeve.
While they have any spotte of syn
Fro that peyne may thay not wyn
Til they ben pured and maad so clene
That no kynnes spot on hem be sene.
When thay ben so then shul thay wende
To that blys that hath noon eende.
¶The seventhe peyne of purgatory es
That soules beene as in wyldurnes
There defaute is of alle thyngge
That myght be to monnes lykyngge;
Her peyne is turned ful mony foolde
As nowe in hete and nowe in colde,
Somtyme thay shul be pyned longe
With hete and aftur with colde among.
Thay shul have bothe hungur and thrist
And greet travayle withouten reste,
And thertoo be beten to eche her pyne
With stoormes greet and wynde and reyne
With shoures and hayle smerte and kene
Suche shoures here were never seen
Suche peynes shul thay have thore
With othur moo to greve hem soore.
¶Bot the grettest peyne shal thys bee
The greet yernyng that thay have to se
The face of God that is so bryght
And the longe tarying fro that syght
And to that syght may thay not wyn
Tyl they be clensed of that synne.
Now have I toolde yowe a partye
Of somme peynes of purgatorye.

Wheche soules goon to purgatorye

Nowe shul yee here as bokes tellen
Wheche soules in purgatory dwellen.
The soules that thidur shulle wende
Aftur deth when lyf maketh ende
Shulle pyned be with greet destres
Aftur here synnes more or les.
Alle soules come not to that steed
For somme als sone as thay be deed
Sal wend strykly til heven blis
As innocentes that never dyd mys,
And othur soules of men parfyte
That in no thyng here had delyte
Bot alle in God that bought hem dere
And ever lyved in penaunce here.
¶And tho that sodeynly dyen anoon
In dedly synne to helle thay goon
And this for sothe is no ferlye,
For dedly synne is soo hevye
That hit draweth in lytul stounde
A soule doun to helle grounde.
¶Bot who of dedly syn is shryven
So that the gylte be here forgyven
And penaunce here that is ajoynt
Is not fulfilled atte dethes poynt
And soules that are not clensed wele
Of smale synnes that been venyele,
Thes two maner soules be saave
And in purgatory penaunce have
Tyl thay be also cleen uche oon
As thay were taken up of fontestoon.
¶Yitte sayen clerkes on this manere
So clene of synne is no mon here
Ny so parfyte in the lawe of Cryste
Nor no childe newelyche baptyste
That shal to heven aftur his dede
Bot yif he passe by thatte steede
And se the peynes ever yche oon.
Bot innocentes shul suffre noon
For thay couthe no synne wyrche
And passe in treuthe of holy chirche
For they swyp thorowe purgatory sweep
As any bryd that fleeth lyghtlye
Withouten peyne hem to dere
Or any syghte that hem may fere.
Botte unnethe any othur may
So lyghtlye passe by that waye
Bot thatte fyre shal fynde to brynne
Er thay passe somme venyal syn,
For mony thinken on somme veyn thought
That he forgeteth and chargeth nought
Of wheche he moste there clensed be
Er that he the face of God shal se.
¶For ryght as golde that shyneth bryght
Semeth clene to monnes syght
Were hitte fyur and fyned more
Yitte shuld hitte leeve som dros thore;
Ryght so the soule the same manere
Of parfyte men that clene seme here,
Yitte shal that fyur there do brynne
In her soule somme drosse of synne
As ydel speche or thought in veyne
For wheche thay shal suffre peyne.
So clene fyned never goolde was
As thay shul be thenne or thay pas.

Whi soules been in purgatorye

Nowe wole I synnes som specyfye
For wheche are soules in purgatorye.
Synnes that greven on mony manere
Among men regnen that lyven here,
Of whiche som are dedly to fele
And som are not bot venyele.
The synnes that are called dedlye
Shul not be pyned in purgatorye
They shul be pyned ay in helle;
Wheche thay bene I shal yow telle.
¶These are synnes that aren dedlye:
Pryde, hatereden, and envye
Gloteny, sleuthe in Goddes servyse
Leccherye and fals coveytyse,
Sacrylege and fals witnessyng
Manslaughtere and forsweryng
Thefte also and wicked ravynne
Uche oon of thes is dedly synne.
Wratthe is dedly synne among
Yif hitte be helden in hert long;
Dronkenes eke wete thowe wele
Yif hitte be over continuele;
Who so feleth hymselfe gultye
In any of thes synnes dedlye
He shal not aftur his lyves ende
Bot he amende hym er he wende,
To purge hym go too purgatorye
Bot even to helle withoute mercye
Bot he repente hym and eke shryve
Of suche synnes in his lyve.
Fro helle pyne then is he saave
And peyne in purgatorye shal have,
Penaunce for synne as I sayde ore
Shal be fulfylde here or thore.
Venyalle synnes are hevy to bere
Bot not so as dedely they dere
For as men here thes clerkes say
Uche a mon here lyghtlye may
Suche remedye by grace wynne
That may fordo uche venyal syn,
That is to say yif he clene bee
Of dedly synne and wole hit flee.
¶I fynde wryten of ten thingus seere
That fordoon venyal synnes heere;
Tho are thes as I wole nowe reede:
Haly watur and almesdede
Fastyng, housul, and Goddes bodye
The pater noster prayer nomelye
Shryfte that uche day comune may be
Bysshopes blessyngge of dygnuyté,
And preestes blessyng that gyven es
In the laste ende of the mes,
Knockyng of brest yif he be meke
And laste anoyntynge of the seke;
Thes putten venyal synnes a waye
As men may here thes clerkus saye.
So mony venyalle synnes seere
Moun be gedered togedur here
On a soule to wey als hevye
That at the laste hitte semeth dedly
The soule to greve and God myspaye,
Therfore the poete thus con saye:
De minimis granis fit maxima summa caballe,
de breuibus mendis non veniale malum.
“As of many smale cornes is made
A myche charge an hors to laade
So moun venyal synnes manye
Make a soule to synne dedlye.”
For they comen on soule ful thicke
And cleven togedur as any picke
Bot yif they soon be doon awaye
When thay comen withouten delaye,
For uch day synneth that here dwelleth
As the booke on this wyse telleth,
Septies in die cadit iustus.2
“The ryghtwyse mon falleth,” I say,
“Seven sythus on every day”
In dyverse synnes that are veniele
Somme lasse somme more to fele.
¶In so many venial synnes we falle
That no mon con reken hem alle
Bot somme of hem reken I conne
As afturward telleth the holy monne.
In a booke he reherseth somme
That moste are used of customme,
Hem to shewe thus he bygynnes
And seyth that tho are venyal synnes.
¶When mon drynketh or eteth more
Any tyme thenne mystur woore,
Sharpely to speke unto poore
That asketh somme good at thi doore;
When thou arte hool and may wel laste
And eteste when tyme were at faste,
Yif thee lust slepe and wyl not ryse
And come to late to Goddes servise,
When thou arte in good astate
And seyste thi preyere over late,
When thou seyste preyere or orysoun
With over lytul devocyoune,
When mon luste to dele in bedde
Wyth his wyf that he dyd wedde
His luste oonly to fulfille
And childe to geet is not his wille,
Yif thou visite menne over laate
That seke are and in feble staate
Or men that lyen in strong prysoun
Or any othur trybulacyoune
Or men that seeke bene or sorye
Or soules that bene in purgatorye,
To vyseten hem hitte were greet nede
With preyere and with almesdeede.
When thou ne wolte aftur thi staat
Acorde hem that ben atte debaat,
When thou spekest over bytturlye
To any lyf with noyse or crye,
When thou preyseste a mon more
With flateryng then myster wore;
When thou in chirche makest janglyng
Or thinkest on any veyne thing,
When thou arte over lyghtly wrothe
And swerest and may not hold thine othe,
When thou bannoeste any mon
In whom thou fyndeste no gylt upon,
When thou supposeste wyckednesse
By suspesyoun there as noon esse,
For thes thingus Seyn Austyn telleth
Mony a soule in purgatorye dwelleth
And suffren ful myche pyne and wo
And yitte there been wel mony mo
Of venyal synnes mony a skore
Over that I have toolde byfore.
¶For so witty is noon erthely monne
That venyal synnes alle reken konne,
For ofte sythes oon day men falle
In synne that clerkes venyal calle
Thorow werke worde or thought in veyne
And every synne is worthy peyne
Wheche moste fordoon clenlye
Here or ellus in purgatorye.
Forthy uche monne that lyveth here
Owe uche day to use ten thingus sere
That fordoon as I seyde byfoore
Alle venyalle synnes lasse and more.
And whoso falleth in dedely synne
Ryse and lye not longe therinne,
To a preste sone he hym shryve
And take his penaunce in his lyve
And have forthynkyng in his thought
For the synne thatte hath wrought
And do penaunce at alle hys myght
And lye in preyere day and nyght,
Faste and go wolwarde and wake
And suffre harde for Goddes sake,
For to heven may no mon wynne
Bot he have sorowe for his synne.
¶When God sendeth a mon angwyse
He shulde hitte take withoute feyntyse
Be hitte sekenes or ought that greveth
As frendus or catelle that he leseth,
Unkyndenes falshede or tresoune,
Or any kynnes othur tribulacioune,
Hitte thole mekely and thinke in thought
Withouten enchesoun is hitte nought,
Good wote wele the enchesoun whye:
Paraunter hitte es for thi folye
To chastise thee on suche maneere
For the synnes thou haste doon here.
Therfore sithe God so voucheth save
That thou shalte here suche noyes have
Or for thi synne or thee to fonde;
Thanke hym then of alle his sonde
And take mekely that God thee sendeth
And flee alle thing that he forfendeth.
For by noyes and angres seere
He maketh a mon his prysoun heere
To suffre peyne for his folye
In his lyf as he is worthye.
Yif he thole hitte nought grucchande
For his penaunce hitte may hym stande,
And God wole more yitte to hym do
He wole gif hym mede thertoo
That his joye in heven shal eke
Yif he hitte thole with herte meke
And often also do almesdeede:
Naked to clothe, hungry to fede
And othur werkus of mercye wirche
Aftur the techyng of holy chirche
And kepe hym to his lyves eende,
Fro syn then shal his soule wende
To blys and lyghtly passe alle peyne
Of purgatorye this is certeyne.
Here han ye herde on this wyse
Synnes that Austyn specifyse.

What helpeth soules in purgatory

Now shul yee here the helpe certeyne
For hem in purgatory in peyn.
Soules that to purgatory wendus
May be holpen thorowe good frendus
That almes dooth and for hem prayeth,
As the holy mon Seynt Austyn sayeth.
Denye men shulde on no manere
That the soules of deed men here
Of her peyne moun relesed be
By frendus lyvyng that han pyté.
Alle that men doonere lasse and more
For the soules that dwellen thore
Encreseth not in heven her mede
Bot to heven fro peyne hem spede.
¶Foure helpes there are generalle
That in purgatory helpe soules alle,
That is preyere and eke fastyng
Almesdede and mas syngyng.
¶On two maneres clerkes con se
Howe soule fro peyne helpen may be:
That oon by way of grace esse,
That othur by way of ryghtwysnesse.
¶By waye of grace on two manere
As is wryten in this booke heere:
By preyer of Cryste that is oure hede
When he is offered in fourme of brede
In prestes honde atte the messe
When the sacrament maad esse.
¶By preyere of his lymes also,
Holy menne that towarde hym go.
Thus may the soule in purgatory
Thorowe way of grace specially
Delyvered be of peyn that deres
With messe and holy mennes preyeres.
¶By ryghtwisnesse may helpyng be
On two maneres as men may se:
Oon to bye penaunce that greveth
With almes that men to pore geveth;
An othur by asseeth makyngge
By penaunce of frendus and fastyngge.
Thus may the soule as boke wittenes
Be holpen by way of ryghtwisnes
Ryght as a mon that is in prysoun
Tyl he have payde certeyn raunsoun
Delyvered may be and brought away
By frendus that for hym wole pay.
On this wyse may soules that wendes
To purgatory by holpen by frendes.
¶Bot somme moun helpe and som nought
Soules that to purgatorye be brought.
Thorow hem moun thay holpun be
That here lyven in ryght charytee,
Bot helpe of hem that charyté fayleth
To the soule no thing avayleth,
For alle are lymes of oon bodye
That here been and in purgatorye.
And as we uche day seen here
A body have mony lymes sere
And uche of hem both lasse and more
May helpe othur that feleth sore,
Bot yif oon dyghe his myght mot fayle
That lyme may not the othur avayle.
So hitte is on the same wyse
By hem that in purgatory lyse
And by us here for men moun calle
Sothely as lymes of oo body alle.
Whoso in dedely synne is brought
And charyté in herte hath nought
He nys bot deed in soule withinne;
Ay while he is in dedely synne
Alle his helpe is thenne in veyne
To the soules that be in peyne.
Bot never the lattere though he be
In synne and oute of charytee
Yute may he helpe the soules thus
To pore to gyven here almus
For here preyeres specially
Helpen the soules in purgatory.
¶Yitte may bysynes and travayle
Of somme synful men avayle
Yif by byddyng hitte be doon be
Of frende that is in charytee,
For the dede that hath moste nede
Of pryere and of almes dede
That thing helpeth the soule sone
For his sake that maad hitte done
That in herte hath charytee knytte
Not for his sake that dooth hytte.
¶This may byfalle I undurstande
Bytwene a loorde and his servande,
Thereas the loorde is ryghtwyse
And the servaunte useth folyse.
If the servand do anythyng
That es gude at his loverdys bydyng
Yhit may it availle to a gude use
Alle if he be ille that it duse,
And that by reson of the gudenes
Of hym of wham the bygynnyng es
For alle be it onence the doer dede
Onence the bidder it standes in stede.3
Bot if thai bathe in charité ware
The helpe til the dede war wele the mare.
Alswa a prest alle if he be
Synful and out of charité
He es Goddes minister and haly kirkes
That the sacrament of the auter wirkes
The wilk es never the les of myght
Alle if the prest here lyf noght right.
For if a prest that synges mes
Be never swa ful of wykednes,
The sacrament that es swa haly
May noght apayred be thurgh his foly.
Than may mes saules fra payn bring
Alle if a synful prest it syng.
For in Goddes name he synges the mes
Under wham in order he es.
Bot speciel prayers with gude entente
That es made besyde the sacramente,
Of a gude prest er wele better
Than of an ille and to God swetter.
Bot the offeryng of Goddis body
Helpes the saules principaly,
Wharfor it semes that mes syngyng
May titest the saul out of payn bryng
That passes hethen in charité
And in purgatory clensed suld be.
Bot til tham that er dampned for ay
Na gude dede avayle ne help may
Nouther almus dede prayer ne messe
For thai er als the buke bers witnesse
Departed halely fra the body of Criste
And the saules for ever er periste,
For als lymmes that er dede er thai
That er hewed fra the body oway
And als nathyng may help kyndely
The lymes that er cutted fra the body
Right swa alle helpes that men can telle
Availles tham nought that er in helle.
Yhit help of frendes here on sum wyse
Availles tham that er in paradise
And alswa tham that in helle duelles
Als a grete clerke in boke telles.
Than availles almus, messe, and bedes
To the saules that er in alle thre stedes.
Thai availe the saules in purgatory
To spede tham out mare hastily;
Thai vaile tham that in heven er,
For thai multiplie thar the titter
And the ma that gaders to that place
The mare thair joy es and solace.
Thai avail til tham that er in helle
For the foner shuld com thider to duelle
And the foner that thider commes for syn,
The les payn thai have that duelles thar in,
And ay the ma saules that thider wendes
The mare thair payne es that never endes.
Thus may help here and availe be skille
Til the saules that duelles ay in helle stille,
And til the saules that er in heven namly
And til tham that er in purgatory.
Bot help may na saules out of payn spede
Bot tham that has charité and nede,
For in helle es na charité
And in heven na ned may be.
The soules they han bothe two
In purgatory that suffren wo.
¶And as a mon may her with hande
Make gree for anothur lyvande
Wheche is not over pore therto,
Ryght so may mon for the dede do.
¶Soules that to paradyse be goon
Nede of helpe here have thay noon;
Yif monne for hem do any good dede
Hitte may hem helpe that han nede.
Oure helpe here doon speciallye
Avayleth the soules in purgatorye,
Somme more and som lesse
Aftur thay been of worthinesse,
And aftur that the charyté is clere
Of hem that been lyvyng here.
Bot when monne fro hethen shal flytte
Noon in certeyn here may wytte
To purgatory whethur he wende
To blysse or peyne withouten ende.
¶Somme semen here good and parfyte
That aftur deth ben dampned tyte,
For happely they ben yvel withinne
And passen away in dedly synne.
Som synful seme as they dyd mys
That shul be save and wende to blys;
Happly byfore here laste endyng
They have mendud her mys lyvyng
Of this no mon may certeyne bee
For hitte is Goddes pryvetee.
Bot we suppose and trowen ay
That thoo bee save and in good way
That we seen goode werkes wirche
In ful byleeve of holy chyrche,
For we shul praye bothe loude and stil
For alle soules so charytee wil.
¶Aske men may why syngge men mes
For a yong childe that here deed es
That of pryere hath noon neede,
For hitte couthe never do synful deede.
Bot this may be skille why:
God to worshipen pryncypallye
And for the usage of holy chirche
That office for deed there to wirche,
For yitte may that in soom caas
The soules helpe that need haas.
Here have ye herde by good wittenes
Howe almes, penaunce, preyere, and mes
That by frendus be doon certeyne
May helpe soules that are in peyne.
Nowe wole I shewe yow more therto
What pardoun may to soules do
That is purchased on good manere
While that men ben in clene lyf here.

How pardoun helpeth soules

Pardoune hem helpeth as clerkes sayes
That purchase hit in her lyf dayes.
Pardoun of popes and bysshopes
That is graunted as men hopes
The soule may helpe in purgatorye
That purchasen hitte here witturlye,
Yif they of syn had contricioune
And were shryven before the pardoune
Thenne pardoun may certeyne
The dede releesen of here peyne,
As ferforthe as hitte may reche
Thus have I harde greet clerkus preche.
¶Propurly pardoune nought elles es
Bot of dewe penaunce forgevenes
Noon may hitte have bot he wel wirche
For hitte is tresoure of holy chyrche
That gedered is for need of pardoun
Of the vertue of Cristes passyoune
And of worthynesse and of dedes
Of his halowes and of her medes.
And eke of peynes mony and sere
That goddes martyres tholed here
And penaunce, travayle of confessours
And of prechyng of holy doctoures;
Of chastitee als of virgynes clene
That in her lyf here chaste ha bene,
Of fruyt of holy chirches werkes
And of preyeres of prestes and clerkes.
Of alle this as I sayde byfoore
Is gedered holy chirches tresore
Of whiche the pope keyes beruth
And with hym openeth and speruth.
That falleth hym by offyce to holde,
For Goddes vyker he is toolde.
The keyes are nought ellus to se
Bot power of his dygnyté
By whiche he may by lawe and skil
Louse and bynde at his wil.
The same powere falleth hym to have
That Cryste in erthe to Petur gave.
Cryste to Petur gave greet powere
And sayde to hym on this manere:
Quodcunque ligaueris super terram erit
ligatum et in celis, et quodcunque sol-
ueris super terram erit solutum et in celis.4
“What thou byndest in erthe,” seyth he,
“In heven bounden shal hitte be
And that thou lousest in erthe ryght
Loused shal be in heven bryght.”
Tille alle popes this power gaf he
That aftur Petur in erthe shuld be
As sheweth the exposicyoune
Of this gospelle in a lessoune.
Hitte semeth thenne by this skil here
That the pope hath large powere
To assoyle and for to forgeve
Alle dette of peyne that may greve,
Yif he that is assoyled fulfille
Alle the lawe and the gospel wil
To yeelde yif that he be myghtye
Alle thatte he wonnen hath wrongfullye,
For when he the pope that grace wold do
He byddeth and alle holy chirche therto
For hym to whom that grace avayleth
To fulfille alle that hym fayleth.
¶Bot of lowere staat bysshopes be
And han lasse powere wel wyte we
For her dignyté is wel lesse,
Her powere restreyned esse.
Though hitte be not so suffisaunt
As the popes, yitte may thay graunte
Of here power pardoun apertelye
To her undurloutes alle oonlye.
No mon may here pardoune wynne
Bot he that is oute of dedly synne.
For that hitte kepeth may hit not dele
To foon of holy chirche wyte thou wele
Wheche been thay and noon ellus
That here in dedly synne dwellus.
Frendus of holy chirche moun wyn
Pardoune for thay are within
Withouten dedly synne and fre
Inne parfyte love and charytee.5
To hem pardoun shal notte fayle
Bot in purgatory hitte shal avayle
The soules to relesen of her peyne
Als ferre as hitte recheth certeyne.
¶Pardoune som say shal be sette.
For remanent of peyne that is dette.
Wheche is lafte and not doon here.
That falleth often in sere manere..
Som for penaunce that is ajoynte.
And not fulfilled atte dethes poynte:.
Som for venyal synnes meten.
Som for synnes here forgeten.
And som for to lytul penaunce.
And som for to lytul repentaunce.
Som for penaunce enjoynt and doone.
To recheleslye and over soone,.
Som for penaunce enjoynt that es.
And is forgeten by rechelesnes..
Alle thes remanent moun be calde.
Of penaunce dedes as I halde.
Wheche moten be fulfilde hooly.
Outher here or ellus in purgatory,.
Botte alle that dette may be quitte.
By large pardoun whoso hath hitte,
For so myche pardoune may a mon
Here purchace that he may thon
In purgatory quite al the det
That hym fro blis may tary or let:
So large is hooly chirche tresore
That is inow to paye therfore.
¶In purgatory thus pardoune avayleth
Bot never the lees som clerkes counsayleth
That we hitte spare and kepe hooly
Tyl that we come to purgatorye
And do penaunce while we maye,
For us shal thinke there a daye
then ever us thought here
Fully the space of an hool yeere;
Thenne is a dayghes pardoun to gesse
More thenne alle worldes rychesse.
A soule had lever in peyne that dwelles
A dayghes pardoune thenne ought elles,
For alle the worlde yif hitte his were
For oo day reste he wolde gif there.
Of this matere that maketh mencioun
Of helpe of frendus and of pardoun.
Speken Innocent and Ostyene
In bokes there hitte may be sene
And Raymound speketh of the same
In a booke that is calde his name
And Thomas Alquyne speketh also
Of this matere and othur mo
In a boke the whiche maad he
That hete Verytas Theologie.
¶Here have I mony materes red
And of this book the ferthe part sped
The whiche ye herde me specyfye
The condiciouns of purgaatorye
What hitte is to fele and see
And where God ordeyned hit to bee
And whatte peyne there is lasse and more
And wheche soule shul be pyned thore
And eke for whatte manere of synne
And what may helpe hem out to wynne.

suffer greatly
have been

venial sins completely; (see note)


attest believe whoso will


[in] one; various



(see note)


(see note)



Came never a one thither

(see note)

(see note)

(see note)


(see note)


(see note)



truth; (see note)
until judgment day

reason why

(see note)

state of perplexity; spirit; (see note)
practiced their
good fortune

(see note)




standing erect
mad; wait for their prey
So that; steal
[such] sight

judgment be given


Then must needs it [the soul] there abide

amid the sea


[the] king’s judge; jury; (see note)
he knows not; condemned


either; guilty or excused



need never hope; (see note)
for this reason


beloved and dear




dropsy to increase their

sloth; podagra; gout

ulcers, felons (whitlows); abcesses


leprosy; (see note)


the eye looking



wholly; (see note)



tormented; various

may be felt

once it has passed; (see note)

to whom he [the rich man] denied food
[Luke 16:19–31]

that the holy dwell in

As [if]; skin

various limbs


mass and prayer

more hot



than here it may [grieve] the body


by nature

(see note)

According [to whether] their sin

baptismal font




for this reason it is

pertinent to
less and more; (see note)

That all various sins waste [away]

[just] as; chaff may burn
Melts the good [grains] that are
[Just] so; intense heat

[Just] as

[Just] so; punishes

Who; here [while alive]


(see note)

[more] determined



Much and little and medium
greatest of venial sins
(i.e., the least); quickly
consumed (burnt up)

[as] swiftly as (i.e., not too swiftly); (see note)


wasted [away]


[be] bound

(see note)
All utterly; (see note)



Their goods here then shall they fail
Unless their friends

(see note)

escape; (see note)


beaten to increase their pain


in part

According to their

straight; (t-note)

dearly (for a high price)






baptismal font

every each one


(see note)



were it [put in] fire and refined



punished forever


also know you well

Except; himself; departs

Unless; confessv

(see note)





housel; (see note)



(see note)

great load; lade

cleave together just like pitch



(see note)


than need were



according to thy ability

life (living person)

need be

too easily [made] wroth



Beyond what
wise; person

oftentimes in one day

be done away with

completely cleanses

at once he himself shrive


miserably; (see note)

it; faintness
property; loses

Suffer it; thoughtfully
a reason
God knows; cause

since; vouchsafes
Either; or you to test
for all that he sends

forbids (forfends)

endures it without complaint
Instead of

give him a corresponding reward


go (wend)

Who give alms; them
(see note)
Men should not deny

suffering may

hasten; (see note)


(see note)


made is
(see note)

harms; (t-note)



be helped by

them (friends)


one (limb)


(see note)

No matter how late though he be


If it be done by the bidding

For the dead [person] who has most need

at once

(see note)

Whereas the lord is righteous


Even if he is ill (bad) who does i

to the dead would be well the more
Even if

holy church’s
The which
Even if

mass help to deliver souls from
Even if; (see note)

are much

that passes hence
(see note)
But to those who

wholly from

by nature

alms, mass, and prayers



ever the more


they have both [charity and need]
(see note)

Do a favor
over poor (completely destitute)

(see note)

according to how clear the charity is

from hence shall pass
know; (t-note)

at once

as [if] they did amiss

amended their faulty

(see note)

That those are saved

loudly and silently
as charity wills; (see note)

[the] reason


obtained; (see note)


to the exent that it may reach

But forgiveness due to penance


saints and of their rewards


(see note)



Loose and bind

(see note)

To all



All [that]; wills (requires)


that he fails [to fulfill]
state (status)

Their; is

subjects; in their own right

those [who]; share
To foes

within [the church]
[And] without


That befalls




quit all the debt



A soul dwelling in pain would rather

(see note)

is called True Theology

punished there

Go To Part 5 Of the Day of Doom and of the Tokens that before shall come