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And summe putten hem to pruide,1 apparaylden hem ther-after,2 In cuntenaunce3 of clothinge comen disgisid.4

To preyeres and to penaunce putten hem monye,5


For love of ur Lord liveden ful streite,
In hope for to have hevene-riche blisse; 7
As ancres 8 and hermytes that holdeth hem
in heore celles,

Coveyte 10 not in cuntre to cairen 11 aboute, For non likerous lyflode heore licam 13 to plese.



And summe chosen chaffare,

the bettre,

As hit semeth to ure sighte thryveth.

And summe, murthhes 16 to maken, as munstrals cunne,17


And gete gold with here gle, giltles, I trowe; Bote japers 18 and jangelers,19 Judas children,

Founden hem fantasyes and fooles hem maaden,

And habbeth wit at heore9 wille to worchen yif hem luste.20 37

That 21 Poul precheth of hem, I dar not preoven heere: Qui loquitur turpiloquium he is Luciferes hyne. 23

faste aboute

Bidders 24 and beggers eoden,25


Til heor bagges and heore balies 26 bretful i-crommet; Feyneden hem 28 for hcore foode, foughten atte 29 ale;

In glotonye, God wot, gon heo 30 to bedde And ryseth up with ribaudye 3 this roberdes knaves;



Sleep and sleughthe 33 Pilgrimes and palmers

14 to cheeven 15 31 that suche men


suweth 34 hem evere. plihten 35 hem 46 For to seche 36 Seint Jame and seintes at Roome; Wenten forth in heore wey tales, And hedden 37 leve to lyen al heore lyf aftir.

with mony wyse


9 their 10 desire 11



weren 4I


1 pride 2 accordingly fashion came disguised





the joy of the kingdom of heaven roam 12 luxurious food




body trade thrive 16 amusements know how 18 jesters 19 buffoons 20 to work if they pleased


And some pranked them in pride, appareled them accordingly,

In quaint guise of clothing came they disfigured.

To prayers and to penance put themselves many,


All for love of our Lord lived they most strictly,

In hope of having heaven's bliss after;

As nuns and as hermits that in their cells hold them,

Covet not careering about through the coun

try, With no lustful luxuries their living to pamper.' And some took to trade, better,

As to our sight it seemeth that such men prosper.

And some, merriments to make, with minstrels' cunning,

And get gold with their glee, guiltless, methinketh;

But jesters and jugglers, Judas' children, Forged them wild fantasies as fools pretended, 36

Yet have wit at their will to work, were they willing.

What Paul preacheth of them prove here I dare not:

Qui loquitur turpiloquium he is Lucifer's henchman.

Bidders and beggars fast about bustled,

Till their bags and their bellies were brimful and bulging;


to thrive by the


Faking for their food, and fighting at the alehouse,

In gluttony, God wot, go they to slumber, And rise up with ribaldry, these robber

rascals; Sleep and sloth too pursue them forever. 45 Pilgrims and palmers pledged them together

To seek St. James's and saints' shrines at

Rome too;

Went they forth on their way with many wise stories,

And had leave to be liars all their lives after.

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1 Grete lobres 2 and longe, that loth weore to swynke,3 Clotheden hem in copes, bretheren;

50 to beo knowen for

And summe schopen hem to hermytes
heore ese to have.
I fond there freres,
Prechinge the peple
Glosynge the Gospel
For covetyse of copes
For monye


as hem good liketh, 8 construeth hit ille; of this maistres mowen




clothen hem at lyking, 11 moneye and heore meeten togedere; Seththe 12 Charite hath be 13 chapmon,14 and cheef to schriven 15 lordes, Mony ferlyes han 16 bifalle in a fewe yeres. But 17 Holychirche and heo 18 holde bet 19 togedere, The moste mischeef on molde 20 is mountyng up faste.

Ther prechede a pardoner,

all the foure ordres, 55 for profyt of heore

as 21 he a prest


65 with bisschopes

And brought forth a bulle seles,

And seide that himself mighte asoylen hem alle

Of falsnesse and fastinge and of vouwes i-broken.23 The lewede 24 men levide 25 him wel and likede his speche,

And comen up knelynge to kissen his bulle; He bonchede 26 hem with his brevet



30 ringes



blered 27 heore eiyen,28

And raughte 29 with his ragemon and broches.

Thus ye giveth oure 31 gold glotonis 32 to helpen;

And leveth hit to losels 33 that lecherie haunten.34

Weore the bisschop i-blesset and worth bothe his eres,35 75

His sel shulde not be sent to deceyve the peple.

Hit is not al bi 36 the bisschop that the boye precheth,

Bote the parisch prest and the pardoner parte the selver


1 I have omitted two lines, which probably were not in the earliest version. 2 lubbers labour shaped them to, became friars bellies 8 according to their own desire 13 been 14 trader




9 15


Great lubbers and long, that loth were to labour, Clothed themselves in copes, to be counted for "brethren";

And some entered as anchorites their ease for to purchase.

I found there the friars, all the four orders, Preaching to the people for profit of their bellies, 56


shrive, confess

Glossing the gospel as good to them seemed,
For coveting of copes construe it wrongly;
For many of these masters
their fancy,

may dress at

For money and their merchandise meet oft together;


Since Charity hath been a chapman, and chiefly to shrive nobles,

Many freaks have befallen in a few seasons. Save Holy-Church and they hold better together,

The worst mischief in the world is mounting up swiftly.

There too preached a pardoner, as if he a priest were, 65 And brought forth a bull a bishop had signed it And said that himself could absolve them all fully

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many wonders have unless they the friars 19 better 20 earth 21 as if 22 absolve 23 broken vows interpreting ignorant believed 26 banged 27 blinded 28 eyes



10 may




reached, got license 31 your gluttons ras


cals 34

practice ears 36 it is not all the fault of

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