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Cultor in Ecclesia


ABBREVIATIONS: CA: Gower, Confessio Amantis; CB: Gower, Cinkante Ballades; Cronica: Gower, Cronica Tripertita; CT: Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales; CVP: Gower, Carmen super multiplici viciorum pestilencia; IPP: Gower, In Praise of Peace; Mac: Macaulay edition; MO: Gower, Mirour de l'Omme; TC: Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde; Thynne: William Thynne, printer, The Works of Geffray Chaucer (1532) [prints IPP from Tr]; Traitié: Gower, Traitié pour essampler les amantz marietz; VC: Gower, Vox Clamantis.

All biblical citations are to the Vulgate text, and, unless otherwise noted, all biblical translations are from the Douai-Rheims. For a list of manuscript abbreviations, please see Manuscripts in the Introduction.


The marginal Latin glosses, identified by a capital L in the left margin next to the text, are transcribed and translated in the notes and can be accessed by clicking on the L at the corresponding line.

Cultor in ecclesia: In the manuscripts, inscribed after Presul but before Dicunt scripture -- hence a composition date of 1402-08 is perhaps as close as can be surmised safely. Seemingly addressing a topical situation, the conclusions -- and the corruptions cited -- are general enough to be applicable at almost any point in Gower's lifetime. (Indeed, they would be comfortable addressed to the church under Richard II, rather than under a restored Archbishop Arundel, whose authority Gower clearly respected.) The form is Leonines with disyllabic rhyme, lines 1-6 in elegiac distichs, 7-12 in hexameters.

The text here is based on C, read against H, G, and E.

1-6 Cultor . . . serat. Compare Matthew 21:33-44, the Parable of the Husbandmen, and 13:3-30, those of the Sower and of the Good Seed and the Tares.

8 Symon. Simon Magus; see De lucis scrutinio, note to line 8.

9 Querat . . . sine crimine puram. Compare John 8:7: "qui sine peccato est vestrum primus in illam lapidem mittat" ("He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone").




13. Cultor in ecclesia

Cultor in ecclesia qui, deficiente sophia,
   Semina vana serit, messor inanis erit.
Hii set cultores sunt quorum semina mores
   Ad messem Cristi, plura lucrantur ibi.
Qui cupit ergo bonus celorum lucra colonus,
   Unde lucrum querat, semina sancta serat.
Qui pastor Cristi iusto cupit ordine sisti
Non sit cum Cristo Symon mediator in isto.
Querat pasturam pastor sine crimine puram,
Nam nimis est vile pascat si Symon ovile.
Per loca deserta, quo nulla patet via certa,
Symon oves ducit, quas Cristo raro reducit.
13. The Husbandman in the Church

The husbandman in the Church, who, when wisdom is lacking,
   Sows seeds of vanity, will be a harvester of nothing.
But those husbandmen whose seeds are good morals
   Reap great gains there for Christ's harvest.
Therefore let the good farmer who desires profits of Heaven
   Sow seeds that are holy from which to await his gains.
In one who desires to stand upright as Christ's shepherd
Let not Simon be his mediator with Christ.
Let the shepherd guiltlessly seek a pure pasture,
For the sheepfold where Simon feeds is excessively vile.
Through the waste places, where no path lies open,
Simon leads his sheep, which he seldom leads back to Christ.
(see note)

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