Poems » gilbert white » the pardoner s introduction prologue and tale in the hengwrt manuscript of the canterbury tales


{{Folio 195r}}

¶The myry talkyng/ of the hoo{s}t/ to the Phi{s}cien

Oure hoo{s}t gan to swere / as he were wood
Harrow quod he / by nayles and by blood
This was a fals cherl / and a fals Iu{s}ti{s}e
As shameful deeth / as herte may deuy{s}e
Come to thi{s}e Iuges / and hir aduocatz
Algate this sely mayde / is slayn allas
Allas / to deere boghte she beautee
Wherfore I seye alday / |þt| men may {s}e
That yiftes of ffortune / and of nature
Been cau{s}e of deeth / to many a creature
Of bothe yiftes / |þt| I speke of now
Men han ful ofte / moore for harm than prow
¶But trewely / myn owene mai{s}ter deere
This is a pitous tale / for to heere
But nathelees pa{ss}e ouer/ is no fors
I pray to god / so saue thy gentil cors
And eek thyne Vrynals / and thy Iurdones
Thyn Ypocras / and eek thy galyones
And euery boy{s}te / ful of thy letuarie
God ble{ss}e hem / and oure lady Seinte Marie
So mote I then / thow art a |prop|re man
And lyk a |pre|lat / by Seint Ronyan

{{Folio 195v}}

Seyde I nat wel / I kan nat/ speke in terme
But wel I woot/ thow doo{s}t myn herte to erme
That I almoo{s}t/ haue caught/ a Cardynacle
By corpus bones / but if I haue triacle
Or ellis a draghte / of moy{s}te and corny ale
Or but I heere anon / a murye tale
Myn herte is lo{s}t/ for pitee of this mayde
¶Thow beel amy / thow Pardoner he sayde
Tel vs som myrthe / or Iapes right anon
¶It shal be doon quod he / by Seint Ronyon
But fir{s}t quod he / heere at this ale stake
I wol bothe drynke / and eten of a Cake
¶And right anon / thi{s}e gentils gonne to crye
Nay lat hym telle vs / of no ribawdye
Tel vs {s}om moral thyng/ / |þt| we may leere
Som wit / and thanne wol we gladly heere
¶I graunte ywis quod he / but I moot thynke
Vp on som hone{s}te thyng/ whil |þt| I drynke

¶Radix |o{_mi}| malo|rum| / e{s}t Cupiditas // Ad Thimoth|_eu| .6^{0}^.

¶Here bigynneth / the {^}{{|pro|loge of the}} Pardo|ner|s tale

LOrdynges quod he / in chirches whan I |pre|che
I peyne me / to han an hauteyn speche
And rynge it out/ as round as gooth a belle
ffor I kan / al by rote that I telle
My theme is alwey oon / and e|uer|e was
Radix malo|rum| / e{s}t cupiditas
¶ffir{s}t I |pro|nounce / whennes |þt| I come
And thanne my bulles / shewe I alle |&| some
Oure lige lordes seel / on my patente
That shewe I fir{s}t/ my body to warente
That no man be so boold / ne pree{s}t ne clerk/
Me to de{s}tourbe / of Cri{s}tes holy werk/
And after that/ thanne telle I forth my tales
Bulles of Popes / and of Cardynales

{{Folio 196r}}

Of Patriarkes / and Bi{ss}hopes I shewe
And in latyn / I speke a wordes fewe
To saffron with / my |pre|dicacio|un|
And for to stire hem / to deuocio|un|
¶Thanne shewe I forth / my longe |cri|{s}tal {s}tones
Ycrammed ful / of cloutes and of bones
Relikes been they / as wenen they echon
Thanne haue I in a lato|un| / a shulder bon
Which |þt| was / of an holy Iewes sheep
Goode men I seye / tak of my wordes keep
If |þt| this boon be wa{ss}he / in any welle
If cow / or calf/ or sheep / or Oxe swelle
That any worm hath ete / or worm y{s}tonge
Taak water of that welle / and wa{ss}h his tonge
And it is hool anoon / and forther moor
Of pokkes / and of Scabbe / and e|uer|y soor
Shal e|uer|y sheep be hool / |þt| of this welle
Drynketh a draughte / taak kepe eek what I telle
¶If |þt| the goode man / |þt| the be{s}tes oweth
Wol euery wike / er |þt| the cok hym croweth
ffa{s}tynge / drynken of this welle a draghte
As thilke holy Iew / oure eldres taghte
Hi{s}e be{s}tes and his stoor / shal multiplie
And sire al{s}o / it heeleth Ialou{s}ie
ffor thogh a man / be falle in Ialous rage
Lat maken with this water / his potage
And neuere shal he moore / his wyf my{s}tri{s}te
Thogh he the {s}oothe / of hir defaute wi{s}te
Al hadde she / taken pree{s}tes / two or thre
¶Heere is a Miteyn eek / |þt| ye may se
He |þt| his hand / wol putte / in this Mitayn
He shal haue / multiplyyng/ of his grayn
Whan he hath sowen / be it whete or Otes
So |þt| / he / offre pens / or ellis grotes
¶Goode men and wommen / o thyng warne I yow
If any wight/ be in this chirche now
That hath doon synne horrible / that he
Dar nat for shame / of it y{s}hryuen be
Or any womman / be she yong or old
That hath ymaked / hir hou{s}bond Cokewold

{{Folio 196v}}

Swich folk / shal haue no power / ne no |gra|ce
To offren to my Relikes / in this place
And who so fyndeth hym / out of swich blame
He wol come vp / and offre a goddes name
And I a{ss}oille hym / by the auctoritee
Which |þt| by bulle / ygraunted was to me
¶By this gaude / haue I wonne / yeer by yeer
An hundred mark/ sith I was Pardoner
I stonde lyk a Clerk / in my pulpet/
And whan |þt| lewed peple / is doun y{s}et/
I |pre|che so / as ye han herd bifore
And telle / and hundred fal{s}e Iapes more
Thanne peyne I me / to {s}trecche forth the nekke
And E{s}t and We{s}t/ vp on the peple I bekke
As dooth a dowue / sittyng on a berne
Myne handes / and my tonge goon {s}o yerne
That it is ioye / to se my bi{s}yne{ss}e
Of Auarice / and of swich cur{s}edne{ss}e
Is al my |pre|chyng/ for to make hem free
To yeuen hir pens / and namely vn to me
ffor myn entente is nat/ but for to wynne
And no thyng/ for correccio|un| of synne
I rekke ne|uer|e / whan |þt| they been beryed
Thogh |þt| hir soules / goon a blakeberyed
ffor certes / many a |pre|dicacio|un|
Comth ofte tyme / of yuel entencio|un|
¶Som for ple{s}ance of folk/ and flaterye
To been auanced / by ypocri{s}ie
And som for veyne glorie / and som for hate
ffor whan I dar / noon oother weyes debate
Thanne wol I {s}tynge hym / |with| my tonge s|mer|te
In |pre|chyng/ so |þt| he shal nat a{s}terte
To been diffamed fal{s}ly / if |þt| he
Hath tre{s}pa{s}ed / to my bretheren / or to me
ffor though I telle noght/ his |prop|re name
Men shal wel knowe / that it is the same
By {s}ignes / and by othere circum{s}tances
Thus quyte I folk/ that {^}{{doon}} vs di{s}ple{s}ances
Thus spete I out/ my venym vnder hewe
Of holyne{ss}e/ to seme holy and trewe

{{Folio 197r}}

But shortly / myn entente I wol deuy{s}e
I |pre|che of no thyng/ but for coueiti{s}e
Ther fore my theme is yet/ and e|uer|e was
Radix malo|rum| / e{s}t Cupiditas
¶Thus kan I |pre|che / agayn that same vice
Which |þt| I v{s}e / and that is Auarice
But though my self/ be gilty in that synne
Yet kan I make / oother folk to twynne
ffrom Auarice / and soore to repente
But that is nat/ my principal entente
I |pre|che no thyng/ but for coueiti{s}e
Of this matere / it oghte ynow suffi{s}e
¶Thanne telle I hem / en{s}amples many oon
Of olde stories / longe tyme agoon
ffor lewed peple / louen tales olde
Swiche thynges / kan they wel reporte |&| holde
What trowe ye / |þt| whiles I may |pre|che
And wynne / gold and siluer / for I teche
That I wol lyue in pouerte / wilfully
Nay nay / I thoghte it ne|uer|e trewely
ffor I wol |pre|che / and begge / in sondry landes
I wol nat do no labour / |with| myne handes
Ne make ba{s}kettes / and lyue ther by
By cau{s}e / I wol nat beggen ydelly
I wol / none of the Apo{s}tles countrefete
I wol haue moneye / wolle / che{s}e / and whete
Al were it yeuen / of the pouere{s}t page
Or of the pouere{s}te widwe / in a village
Al sholde hir children / {s}terue for famyne
Nay I wol drynke / licour of the vyne
And haue a ioly wenche / in euery toun
But herkneth lordynges / in conclu{s}ioun
¶Youre likyng is / |þt| I shal telle a tale
Now haue I dronke / a draghte of corny Ale
By god I hope / I shal yow telle a thyng/
That shal by re{s}o|un| / been at youre likyng/
ffor thogh my self be / a ful vicious man
A moral tale / yet I yow telle kan
Which I am wont to |pre|che / for to wynne
Now holde youre pees / my tale I wol bigynne

{{Folio 197v}}

 [H]ere bigynneth / the Pardo|ner|s tale

IN fflandres / whilom was a compaignye
Of yonge folk/ that haunteden folye
As Riot/ ha{s}ard / Stewes / and Tauernes
Where as with harpes / lutes / and gyternes
They daunce / and pleyen at dees / bothe day |&| nyght/
And ete al{s}o and drynke / o|uer| hir myght/
Thurgh which / they doon the deuel sacrifi{s}e
With Inne that deueles temple / in cur{s}ed wi{s}e
By su|per|fluytee / abhomynable
Hir othes been {s}o grete / and so dampnable
That it is gri{s}ly / for to heere hem swere
Oure bli{ss}ed lordes body / they to tere
Hem thoughte / that Iewes / rente hym noght ynough
And eech of hem / at otheres synne lough
And right anon / thanne coomen Tombe{s}teres
ffetys and smale / and yonge ffrute{s}teres
Syngeris with harpes / Baudes / waufereres
Whiche been / the verray deueles Officers
To kyndle and blowe / the fyr of lecherye
That is annexed / vn to glotonye
The holy writ take I / to my witne{ss}e
That luxure / is in wyn / and dronkene{ss}e

¶Nolite inebriari vino in quo e{s}t luxuria

¶Lo how |þt| dronken loth / vnkyndely
Lay by his doghtres two / vnwityngly
So dronke he was / he ny{s}te what he wroghte
Herodes / who so wel the stories soghte
Whan he of wyn was replet/ at his fe{s}te
Right at his owene table / he yaf his he{s}te
To sleen the Bapti{s}t/ |Iohan| / ful giltelees
Senec/ seith a good word doutelees


¶He seith / he kan no difference fynde
Bitwix a man / that {`,}is out of his mynde
And a man / which |þt| is dronkelewe
But that woodne{ss}e / yfallen in a sherewe
|per|{s}euereth lenger / than dooth dronkene{ss}e
O glotonye / ful of cur{s}edne{ss}e
O cau{s}e fir{s}t/ of oure confu{s}io|un|
O original / of oure dampnacio|un|
Til Cri{s}t hadde boght vs / with his blood agayn
Lo how deere / shortly for to sayn

{{Folio 198r}}

Aboght was / thilke cur{s}ed vileynye
Corrupt/ was al this world for glotonye
Adam oure fader/ and his wyf al{s}o
ffro Paradys / to labour and to wo
Were dryuen for that vice / it is no drede
ffor whil |þt| Adam fa{s}ted / as I rede

 / /|Ieronimus| |contra| Iouinian|um| / / Q|Am| diu Ieiuna[uit Adam] duxit vxorem

He was in Paradys / and whan |þt| he

in paradi{s}o fuit / comedit |&| eiect|us| e{s}t/ {s}ta[tim]

Eet of the frut/ defended on a tree

duxit vxorem

Anon he was out ca{s}t/ to wo and peyne
O glotonye / on thee wel oghte vs pleyne
¶O wi{s}te a man / how manye maladies
ffolwen of exce{ss}e / and of glotonyes
He wolde been / the moore me{s}urable
Of his diete / sittyng at his table
Allas the shorte throte / the tendre mouth
Marketh / |þt| E{s}t/ and We{s}t/ and North and South
In erthe / in Eyr / in Water / men to swynke
To gete a gloton / deyntee mete and drynke
Of this matere / o Paul / wel kan{s}tow trete
Mete vn to wombe / and wombe eek vn to mete

 / / e{s}ca ventri et venter e{s}cis

Shal god de{s}troyen bothe / as Paulus seith

deus aut|em| |&| |hunc| |&| ill|am| de{s}truet

Allas a foul thyng/ is it by my feith
To seye this word / and fouler is the dede
Whan man so drynketh / of the white |&| rede
That of his throte / he maketh his pryuee
Thurgh / thilke cur{s}ed su|per|fluite
¶The Apo{s}tle wepyng/ seith ful pitou{s}ly

 / / Ad Philipen{s}es ca^{0}^. 3^{0}^.

Ther walken manye / of whiche yow toold haue I
I seye it now wepyng/ with pitous voys
Ther been enemys / of Cri{s}tes croys
Of whiche the ende is deth / wombe is hir god
O wombe / o bely / o stynkyng cod
ffulfilled of dong/ and of corrupcioun
At either ende of thee / foul is the soun
How greet labour / and co{s}t/ is thee to fynde
Thi{s}e Cokes / how they stampe / |&| streyne / |&| grynde
And turnen sub{s}tance / in to accident/
To fulfillen al / the likerous talent/
Out of the harde bones / knokke they
The mary / for they ca{s}te nat awey

{{Folio 198v}}

That may go thurgh the golet/ softe and soote
Of Spicerie / of lief / and bark / and roote
Shal been his Sauce / ymaked by delit
To make hym yet/ a newer appetit/
But |cer|tes / he that haunteth swiche delices

¶qui aut|em| in delicijs e{s}t viuens/ mortuus e{s}t

Is deed / whil |þt| he lyueth in tho vices
¶A lecherous thyng is wyn / / and dronkene{ss}e

¶luxurio{s}a res/ vinum {?}

Is ful of stryuyng/ and of wrecchedne{ss}e

¶et contumelio{s}a ebrietas

O dronke man / di{s}figured is thy face
Sour is thy breeth / foul artow to embrace
And thurgh thy dronke no{s}e / {s}emeth the {s}oun
As thogh thou seyde{s}t ay / Samp{s}o|un| Samp{s}oun
And yet god woot/ Samp{s}on drank ne|uer|e no wyn
Thou falle{s}t/ as it were a stiked swyn
Thy tonge is lo{s}t/ and al thyn hone{s}t cure
ffor dronkene{ss}e / is verray sepulture
Of mannes wit/ and his di{s}crecio|un|
In whom |þt| drynke / hath domynacio|un|
He kan no con{s}eil kepe / it is no drede
Now kepe yow / fro the white and fro the rede
And namely / fro the white wyn of lepe
That is to selle / in ffi{ss}h{s}trete / or in Chepe
This wyn of Spaigne / crepeth subtilly
In othere wynes / growynge fa{s}te by
Of which/ ther ri{s}eth swich fumo{s}itee
That whan a man / hath dronken draghtes thre
And weneth |þt| he be at hom in Chepe
He is in Spaigne / right at the toune of lepe
Nat at the Rochel / ne at Burdeux toun
And thanne wol he seyn / Samp{s}on Samp{s}oun
¶But herkneth lordynges / o word I yow preye
That alle the souereyn actes / dar I seye
Of victories / in the olde te{s}tament/
Thurgh verray god / that is o|_mi|potent/
Were doon in ab{s}tinence / and in prayere
Looketh the Bible / and ther ye may it leere
¶Looke Attilla / the grete conquerour
Deyde in his sleep / with shame and di{s}hon|our|
Bledyng at his no{s}e / in dronkene{ss}e
A Capitayn / sholde lyue in sobrene{ss}e

{{Folio 199r}}

¶And o|uer| al this / auy{s}eth yow right wel
What was comaunded / vn to Lamwel

Noli vin|um| dare |&c'|

Nat Samuel / but Lamwel seye I
Redeth the Bible / and fynd it ex|pre|{s}ly
Of wyn yeuynge / to hem |þt| han Iu{s}ti{s}e
Namoore of this / for it may wel suffi{s}e
¶And now / that I haue spoken of glotonye
Now wol I / yow defende ha{s}ardrye
Ha{s}ard / is verray moder of le{s}ynges

¶|Poli|rum|| li^{0}^. 1^0^. ¶Mendacio|rum|

And of deceite / and cur{s}ed for{s}werynges

|&| |per|iuria|rum| ma|ter| e{s}t Alea

Bla{s}pheme of Cri{s}t/ man{s}laughtre / and wa{s}t/ al{s}o
Of catel / and of tyme / and forthermo
It is reproue / and contrarie of honour
ffor to ben holden / a c|om|mune ha{s}ardour
And euere the hyer / he is of e{s}taat/
The moore is he holden de{s}olat/
If |þt| a Prynce / v{s}eth ha{s}ardrye
In alle gouernance / and policye
He is / as by c|om|mune opynyo|un|
Yholde / the la{ss}e in reputacio|un|
¶Stilbon / that was a wys Emba{ss}adour
Was sent to Corynthe / in ful gret honour
ffro lacedomye / to make hi|re| allia|un|ce
And whan he cam / hym happed |per| chaunce
That alle the grette{s}te / |þt| were of that lond
Pleiynge at the ha{s}ard / he hem fond
ffor which as {s}oone / as it myghte be
He stal hym hom agayn / to his contree
And seyde / ther wol I nat le{s}e my name
Ny wol nat take on me / so greet defame
Yow for to allie / vn to none ha{s}ardours
Sendeth / othere wi{s}e Emba{ss}adours
ffor by my trouthe / me were le|uer|e dye
Than I yow sholde / to ha{s}ardours allye
ffor ye that been / {s}o glorious in honours
Shal nat allye yow / with ha{s}ardours
As by my wyl / ne as by my tretee
This wi{s}e Philo{s}ophre / thus seyde he
¶Looke eek / that to the kyng Demetrius
The kyng of Parthes / as the book seith vs

{{Folio 199v}}

Sente hym a paire of dees / of gold in scorn
ffor he hadde v{s}ed / ha{s}ard ther biforn
ffor which / he heeld his glorie / or his renoun
At no value / or reputacioun
Lordes may fynden / oother ma|ner|e pley
Hone{s}te ynow / to dryue the day awey
¶Now wol I speke / of oothes fal{s}e and grete
A word or two / as olde bokes trete
¶Greet sweryng/ is a thyng abhomynable
And fals sweryng/ is yet moore repreuable
The heighe god / forbad sweryng at al
Witne{ss}e on Mathew / but in special

¶Nolite iurare o|mn|ino / Mathei .5.

Of sweryng/ seith the holy Ieremye

¶Ieremie .4^{0}^. Iurabis in veritate

Thow shalt swere sooth thyne othes / |&| nat lye

in Iudicio |&| Iu{s}ticia

And swere in doom / and eek in rightwi{s}ne{ss}e
But ydel sweryng/ is a cur{s}edne{ss}e
¶Bihoold and se / |þt| in the fir{s}te table
Of heighe goddes he{s}tes honurable
How |þt| the seconde he{s}te of hym / is this
Take nat my name / in ydel or amys
Lo rather he forbedeth / swich sweryng/
Than homycide / or many a cur{s}ed thyng/
I seye / |þt| as by ordre / thus it standeth
This knoweth / that hi{s}e he{s}tes vnder{s}tandeth
How that the seconde he{s}te of god / is that/
And forther ouer/ I wol thee telle al plat/
That vengeance / shal nat parten from his hous
That of hi{s}e othes / is to outrageous
By goddes |pre|cious herte / and by his nayles
And by the blood of Cri{s}t/ that is in hayles
Seuene is my chance / and thyn is cynk |&| treye
By goddes armes / if thow fa[{s}]ly pleye
This dagger / shal thurgh out thyn herte go
This frut cometh / of the bicche bones two
ffor{s}weryng/ / Ire / fal{s}ne{ss}e / homycide
Now for the loue of Cri{s}t/ that for vs dyde
Lete youre othes / bothe grete and smale
But sires / now wol I / telle forth my tale
¶Thi{s}e Riotours thre / of whiche I telle
Longe er{s}t/ er Pryme ronge of any belle

{{Folio 200r}}

Were set hem / in a Ta|uer|ne to drynke
And as they sat/ they herde a belle klynke
Biforn a cors / was caryed to his graue
That oon of hem / gan callen to his knaue
Go bet quod he / and axe redily
What cors is this / that pa{ss}eth heer forby
And looke / |þt| thow reporte his name wel
¶Sire quod this boy / it nedeth ne|uer| a del
It was me told / er ye cam heer two houres
He was |per|dee / an old felawe of youres
And sodeynly / he was y{s}layn to nyght/
ffordronke / as he sat on his bench vp right/
Ther cam a |pri|uee theef/ / men clepeth deeth
That in this contree / al the peple sleeth
And with his spere / he smoot his herte atwo
And wente his wey / with outen wordes mo
He hath / a thou{s}and slayn this pe{s}tilence
And mai{s}ter / er ye come in his |pre|{s}ence
Me thynketh / that it were nece{ss}arie
ffor to be war / of swich an Ad|uer|{s}arie
Beeth redy / for to meete hym e|uer|e moore
Thus taughte me my dame / I sey namoore
¶By Seinte Marie / seyde this Tauerner
The child seith sooth / for he hath slayn this yer
Henne ouer a myle / with Inne a greet village
Bothe man and womman / child and hyne |&| page
I trowe / his habitacio|un| be there
To been auy{s}ed / greet wi{s}dom it were
Er that he dide / a man a di{s}honour
¶Ye goddes armes / quod this Riotour
Is it swich |per|il / with hym for to meete
I shal hym seke / by wey / and eek by Strete
I make avow / to goddes digne bones
Herkneth felawes / we thre been al ones
Lat ech of vs / holde vp his hand to oother
And ech of vs / bicome ootheres brother
And we wol sleen / this fal{s}e traytour deeth
He shal be slayn / he |þt| so manye sleeth
By goddes dignytee / er it be nyght/
¶Togidres han thi{s}e thre / hir trouthes plyght/

{{Folio 200v}}

To lyue and dyen / ech of hem with oother
As thogh he were / his owene ybore brother
And vp they stirte / al dronken / in this rage
And forth they goon / towardes that village
Of which the Ta|uer|ner / hadde spoke biforn
And many a gri{s}ly ooth / thanne han they sworn
And Cri{s}tes ble{ss}ed body / they to rente
Deeth shal be deed / if they may hym hente
¶Whan they han goon / nat fully half a myle
Right as they wolde / han treden o|uer| a style
An old man and a poure / with hem mette
This olde man / ful mekely hem grette
And seyde thus / now lordes god yow se
¶The proude{s}te / of thi{s}e Riotours thre
An{s}werde agayn / what carl |with| sory |gra|ce
Why artow al forwrapped / saue thy face
Why lyue{s}tow so longe / in {s}o greet age
¶This olde man / gan looke in his vi{s}age
And seyde thus / for I ne kan nat fynde
A man / thogh |þt| I walked in to Inde
Neither in Citee / ne in no village
That wolde chaunge / his youthe for myn age
And ther fore moot I han / myn age {s}tille
As longe tyme / as it is goddes wille
¶Ne deeth allas / ne wol nat haue my lyf
Thus walke I / lyk a re{s}telees caytyf/
And on the ground / which is my modres gate
I knokke with my staf/ bothe erly and late
And seye / leeue moder leet me In
Lo how I vany{ss}he / fle{ss}h |&| blood |&| skyn
Allas / whan shal my bones / been at re{s}te
Moder / with yow / wolde I chaunge my che{s}te
That in my chambre / longe tyme hath be
Ye for an heyre clowt/ to wrappe me
But yet to me / she wol nat/ do that |gra|ce
ffor which ful pale / and welked is my face
But sires / to yow / it is no curtei{s}ye
To speken / to an old man vileynye
But he tre{s}pa{s}e in word / or ellis in dede
In holy writ/ ye may your {s}elf wel rede

{{Folio 201r}}

¶Agayns an old man / hoor vp on his heed

¶coram canuto capite con{s}urg[e]

Ye shal ari{s}e / wher fore I yeue yow reed
Ne dooth vn to an old man / noon harm now
Namoore than |þt| ye wolde /. men dide to yow
In age // if |þt| ye so longe abyde
And god be with yow / wher ye go or ryde
I moot go thider / as I haue to go
¶Nay olde cherl / by god thow shalt nat so
Seyde / this oother ha{s}ardour anon
Thow |per|te{s}t nat {s}o lightly / by Seint |Iohan|
Thow speeke right now / of thilke traytour deeth
That in this contree / alle oure freendes sleeth
Haue here my trouthe / as thow art his e{s}pye
Tel wher he is / or thow shalt it abye
By god / and by the holy sacrament
ffor {s}oothly / thow art oon of his a{ss}ent/
To sleen vs yonge folk/ thow fal{s}e theef/
¶Now sires quod he / if |þt| yow be {s}o leef/
To fynde deeth / turn vp this croked wey
ffor in that groue / I lafte hym by my fey
Vnder a tree / and ther he wol abyde
Nat for youre boo{s}t/ he wol hym no thyng hyde
Se ye that ook/ right ther ye shal hym fynde
God saue yow / that boghte agayn man kynde
And yow amende / thus seyde this olde man
¶And euerich / of thi{s}e Riotours ran
Til he cam to that tree / and ther they founde
Of floryns fyne / of gold / ycoyned rounde
Wel ny an .viij. bu{ss}hels / as hem thoughte
No lenger thanne / after deeth they soughte
But ech of hem / so glad was of the sighte
ffor |þt| the floryns / been {s}o faire and brighte
That doun they sette hem / by this |pre|cious hoord
The wor{s}te of hem / he spak the fir{s}te word
¶Bretheren quod he / taak kepe / what |þt| I seye
My wit is greet/ thogh |þt| I bourde and pleye
This tre{s}or hath ffortune / vn to vs yeuen
In myrthe and iolitee / oure lyf to lyuen
And lightly as it cometh / {s}o wol we spende
Ey goddes precious dignytee / who wende

{{Folio 201v}}

To day / that we sholde han / so fair a |gra|ce
But myghte this gold / be caried fro this place
Hoom to myn hous / or ellis vn to youres
ffor wel ye woot/ that al this gold is oures
Thanne were we / in height felicitee
But trewely / by daye it may nat be
Men wolde seyn / |þt| we were theues {s}tronge
And for oure owene tre{s}or / doon vs honge
This tre{s}or / mo{s}te ycaried be by nyghte
As wi{s}ly / and as sleyly / as it myghte
Ther fore I rede / that/ cut amonges vs alle
Be drawe / and lat se / wher the {`,}cut/ wol falle
And he |þt| hath the cut/ with herte blithe
Shal renne to towne / and that ful swithe
And brynge vs / breed / and wyn / ful |pri|uely
And two of vs / shal kepen subtilly
This tre{s}or wel / and if he wol nat tarye
Whan it is nyght/ we wol this tre{s}or carye
By oon a{ss}ent/ wher as vs thynketh be{s}t/
That oon of hem / the cut broghte in his fe{s}t/
And bad hem drawe / and looke wher it wol falle
And it fel / on the yonge{s}te of hem alle
And forth toward the town / (he wente anon)
And al{s}o soone / as |þt| he was agon
That oon of hem / spak thus vn to that oother
Thow knowe{s}t wel / thow art my sworn brother
Thy |pro|fit/ wol I telle thee anon
Thow woo{s}t wel / |þt| oure felawe is agon
And heere is gold / and that ful greet plentee
That shal departed been / among vs thre
But nathelees / if I kan shape it {s}o
That it departed were / among vs two
Hadde I nat doon / a freendes torn to thee
¶That oother an{s}werde / I noot how that may be
He woot/ |þt| the gold / is with vs tweye
What shal we doon / what shal we to hym seye
¶Shal it be con{s}eil / seyde the fir{s}te shrewe
And I shal telle / in a wordes fewe
What we shul doon / and brynge it wel aboute
¶I graunte quod that oother / out of doute

{{Folio 202r}}

That by my trouthe / I wol thee nat biwreye
¶Now quod the fir{s}te / thow woo{s}t wel we be tweye
And two of vs / shul {s}trenger be than oon
Looke whan |þt| he is set/ that right anon
Arys / as though thow wolde{s}t/ with hym pleye
And I shal ryue hym / thurgh the sydes tweye
Whil that thow {s}trogele{s}t with hym / as in game
And with thy daggere / looke thow do the same
And thanne shal {`,}al this gold departed be
My deere freend / bitwixe thee and me
Thanne may we bothe / oure lu{s}tes al fulfille
And pleye at dees / right at oure owene wille
And thus acorded been / thi{s}e sherewes tweye
To sleen the thridde / as ye han herd me seye
¶This yonge{s}te / which that wente to the toun
fful ofte in herte / he rolleth vp and doun
The beautee of thi{s}e floryns / newe |&| brighte
O lord quod he / if so were |þt| I myghte
Haue al this tre{s}or / to my self allone
Ther is no man / |þt| lyueth vnder the trone
Of god / that sholde lyue / {s}o myrie as I
And at the la{s}te / the feend oure enemy
Putte in his thoght/ |þt| he sholde poy{s}on beye
With which he myghte sleen / his felawes tweye
ffor why / the feend foond hym / in swich lyuynge
That he hadde leue / hym to sorwe brynge
ffor this was outrely / his ful entente
To sleen hem bothe / and neuere to repente
¶And forth he goth / no lenger wolde he tarye
In to the toun / vn to Apothecarye
And preyed hym /|þt| he hym wolde selle
Som poy{s}o|un| / that he myghte his rattes quelle
And eek ther was / a polcat/ in his hawe
That as he seyde / his capons hadde y{s}lawe
And fayn he wolde / wreke hym if he myghte
On |ver|myn / that de{s}troyed hym by nyghte
¶The Pothecarie an{s}werde / and thow shalt haue
A thyng/ that al{s}o god / my soule saue
In al this world / ther is no creature
That ete / or dronke / hath of this confiture

{{Folio 202v}}

Nat but the monta|un|ce / of a corn of whete
That he ne shal his lyf / anoon for lete
Ye sterue he shal / and that in la{ss}e while
Than thow wolt goon a paas / nat but a myle
The poy{s}on / is {s}o {s}trong / and violent/
This cur{s}ed man / hath in his hand yhent/
This poy{s}on in a box / and sith he ran
In to the nexte Strete / vn to a man
And borwed hym / large Botels thre
And in the two / his poi{s}on poured he
The thridde / he kepte clene for his drynke
ffor al the nyght/ he shoop hym for to swynke
In cariyng/ of the gold / out of that place
And whan this Riotour / with sory |gra|ce
Hadde filled with wyn / hi{s}e grete Botels thre
To hi{s}e felawes / agayn repaireth he
¶What nedeth it/ to sarmone of it moore
ffor right as they / hadde ca{s}t his deeth bifore
Right {s}o / they han hym slayn / and that anon
And whan this was doon / thus spak that oon
Now lat vs sitte and drynke / and make vs merye
And afterward / we wol his body berye
And with that word / it happed hym |per| cas
To take the Botel / ther the poy{s}on was
And drank / and yaf his felawe drynke al{s}o
ffor which anon / they storuen bothe two
¶But certes I suppo{s}e / that Auycen
Wroot neuere in no Canon / ne in no fen
Mo wonder signes / of empoy{s}onyng/
Than hadde thi{s}e wrecches two / er hir endyng/
Thus ended been / thi{s}e homicides two
And eek / the fal{s}e empoy{s}one|re| al{s}o
¶O {.} cur{s}ed synne / of alle cur{s}edne{ss}e
O {.} traytours homicide / o wikkedne{ss}e
O {.} glotonye / luxure / and ha{s}ardrye
Thou bla{s}phemour of Cri{s}t/ with vileynye
And othes grete / of v{s}age / and of pryde
Allas mankynde / how may it bityde
That to thy Creatour / which |þt| thee wroghte
And with his |pre|cious herte blood / the boghte

{{Folio 203r}}

Thow art {s}o fals / and {s}o vnkynde allas
¶Now goode men / god foryeue yow youre |ter|pas
And ware yow / fro the synne of Auarice
Myn holy pardo|un| / may yow alle wari{ss}e
So that ye offre nobles / or starlynges
Or ellis siluer broches / spones / rynges
Boweth you|re| heed / vnder this holy bulle
Cometh vp ye wyues / offreth of youre wolle
Youre name I entre /{^}{{here}} in my rolle anon
In to the bli{ss}e of heuene / shul ye gon
I yow a{ss}oille / by myn heigh power
Ye |þt| wol offre / as clene and eek as cler
As ye were born / and lo sires thus I |pre|che
And |Iesu| cri{s}t/ that is oure soules leche
So graunte yow / his pardo|un| to receyue
ffor that is be{s}t/ I wol yow nat deceyue
¶But sires / o word / forgat I in my tale
I haue Relikes / and pardon in my male
As faire / as any man in Engelond
Whiche were me yeuen / by the Popes hond
If any of yow / wol of deuocio|un|
Offren / and han myn ab{s}olucio|un|.
Com forth anon / and kneleth here adoun
And mekely / receyueth my pardoun
Or ellis / taketh |per|do|un| as ye wende
Al newe and fre{ss}h / at euery myles ende
So |þt| ye offren alwey / newe and newe
Nobles / or pens / whiche |þt| been goode |&| trewe
It is an honour / to euerich that is heer
That ye mowe haue / a suffi{s}ant |per|doner
Ta{ss}oille yow / in contree as ye ryde
ffor auentures / whiche |þt| may bityde
|per|auenture / ther may falle oon or two
Doun of his hors / and breke his nekke atwo
Looke which a seuretee is it to yow alle
That I am / in you|re| felawe{s}hip yfalle
That may a{ss}oille yow / bothe moore |&| la{ss}e
Whan |þt| the soule / shal fro the body pa{ss}e
I rede / that oure hoo{s}t/ shal bigynne
ffor he is moo{s}t/ envoluped in synne

{{Folio 203v}}

Com forth sire hoo{s}t / and offre fir{s}t anon
And thow shalt ki{ss}e / the Relikes e|uer|ychon
Ye for a grote / vnbokele anon thy purs
¶Nay nay quod he / thanne haue I Cri{s}tes curs
Lat be quod he / it shal nat be {s}o thee ich
Thow wolde{s}t/ make me ki{ss}e thyn olde breech
And swere it were / a Relyk of a Seint/
Thogh it were / with thy fondement depeynt/
But by the croys / which |þt| Seint Eleyne foond
I wold I hadde / thy coylons in myn hond
In {s}tide of Relikes / or of Seintuarie
Lat cutte hem of / I wol thee hem carie
They shul be shryned / in an hogges toord
¶This pardoner / an{s}werde nat a word
So wrooth he was / no word ne wolde he seye
¶Now quod oure hoo{s}t/ I wol no lenger pleye
With thee / ne with noon oother angry man
¶But right anon / the worthy knyght bigan
Whan |þt| he saugh / |þt| al the peple lough
Namoore of this / for it is right ynough
Sire Pardoner be glad / and murye of cheere
And sire hoo{s}t/ that been to me so deere
I pray yow / |þt| ye ki{ss}e the Pardoner
And Pardoner / I pray thee / drawe thee neer
And as we diden / lat vs lawe and pleye
Anon they ki{s}te / and ryden forþ {`,}hir weye

¶Here is ended the Pardoners tale