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Fro word to word according with the note:
Twies a day it passed thurgh his throte,
To scoleward and homeward whan he wente:
On Cristes moder set was his entente.
As I have said, thurghout the Jewerie
This litel child, as he came to and fro,
Ful merily than wold he sing and crie,
• O Alma Redemptoris!' ever mo.
The swetenesse hath his herte persed so
Of Cristes moder; that to hire to pray,
He cannot stint of singing by the way.
Our firste fo, the serpent Sathanas,
That hath in Jewes herte his waspes nest,
Up swale and said; “ O Ebraike peple, alas !
Is this to you a thing that is honest,
That swiche a boy shal walken as him leste
In your despit, and sing of swiche sentence,
Which is again our lawes reverence?"
From thennesforth the Jewes han conspired,
This innocent out of this world to chace:
An homicide therto han they hired,
That in an aleye had a privee place;
And as the child gan forthby for to pace,
This cursed Jew him hent and held him fast,
And cut his throte, and in a pit him cast.
I say that in a wardrope they him threwe,
Wher as thise Jewes purgen hir entraille.
O cursed folk of Herodes alle-newe,
What may your evil entente you availle?
Mordre wol out; certein it wol not faille;
And namely, ther, the honour of God shal sprede;
The blood out crieth on your cursed dede.
O martyr souded in virginitee!
Now maist thou singe and folwen, ever in on,
The white Lamb celestial, quod she,
Of which the gret evangelist Seint John
In Pathmos wrote,—which sayth that they that gon
Beforn this Lamb, and singe a song al newe,
That never fleshly woman they ne knewe.
This poure widewe awaiteth al that night
After hire litel childe, and he came nought;
For which as sone as it was dayes light,
With face pale of drede and besy thought,
She hath, at scole and elles wher, him sought,
Til finally she gan so fer aspie,
That he last seen was in the Jewerie.
With modres pitee in hire brest enclosed
She goth, as she were half out of hire minde,
To every place, wher she had supposed
By likelihed hire litel childe to find;
And ever on Cristes moder meke and kinde
She cried; and, at the laste, thus, she wrought,
Among the cursed Jewes she him sought.
She freyneth, and she praieth pitously
To every Jew that dwelled in thilke place,
To telle hire, if hire child went out forth by;
They sayden Nay; but Jesu, of his grace,
Yave in hire thought, within a litel space,
That in that place after hire sone she cride,
Ther he was casten in a pit beside.
O grete God, that parformest thy laude
mouth of innocentes, lo here thy might!
of chastitee, this emeraude,
And, eke, of martirdome the rubie bright,-
Ther he with throte ycorven lay upright,
He Alma Redemptoris gan to singe
So loude, that all the place gan to ringe.
The Cristen folk that thurgh the strete wente,
In comen, for to wondre upon this thing,
And hastifly they for the provost sente.
He came, anon, withouten tarying,
And herieth Crist, that is of heven king,
And, eke, his moder, honour of mankind;
And, after that, the Jewes let he binde.
This child with pitous lamentation
Was taken up, singing his song alway:
And with honour and gret procession,
They carien him unto the next abbey;
His moder, swouning, by the bere lay:
Unnethes might the peple that was there
This newe Rachel bringen fro his bere.
With turment, and with shameful deth, eche on This provost doth thise Jewes for to sterve, That of this morder wiste; and that anon: He n'olde no swiche cursednesse observe: Evil shal he have, that evil wol deserve. Therfore, with wilde hors he did hem drawe; And, after that, he heng hem by the lawe.
Upon his bere ay lith this innocent
Beforn the auter while the masse last.
And, after that, the abbot with his covent
Han spedde hem for to berie him ful fast;
And whan they holy water on him cast, (water,
Yet spake this child, whan spreint was the holy
And sang 0 Alma Redemptoris Mater!
This abbot, which that was an holy man,
As monkes ben, or elles ought to be,
This yonge child to conjure he began,
And said; “ O dere child! I halse thee,
In vertue of the Holy Trinitee,
Tell me what is thy cause for to sing,
Sith that thy throte is cut to my seming?"
My throte is cut unto my nekke bon;"
Saide this child; “ and as, by way of kinde,
I shuld have deyd, ye longe time agon:
But Jesu Crist, as ye in bookes finde,
Wol that his glory last and be in minde;
And for the worship of his moder dere,
Yet may I sing 0 Alma loude and clere.
“ This welle of mercie, Cristes moder swete,
I loved alway, as after my conning ;
And whan that I my life shulde forlete,
To me she came, and bad me for to sing
This antem veraily in my dying,
As ye han herde; and, whan that I had songe,
Me thought she laid a grain upon my tonge.
“ Wherfore I sing; and sing I mote, certain,
In honour of that blissful maiden free,
Til fro my tonge of taken is the grain,
Aud, after that, thus saide she to me:
“ My litel childe, than wol I fetchen thee,
Whan that the grain is fro thy tonge ytake:
Be not agaste, I wol thee not forsake.”
This holy monk, this abbot him mene I,
His tonge out caught, and toke
Which (as me thought) was a right pleasaunt siglit;
And he yave up the gost ful softely.
And eke the birdes songes for to here,
And whan this abbot had this wonder sein, Would have rejoiced any erthly wight,
His salte teres trilled adoun as reyne:
And I, that couth not yet in no manere
And groff he fell, al platte upon the ground; Heare the nightingale of all the yere,
And still he lay, as he had ben y bound.
Full busily herkned, with hert and ere,
The covent lay, eke, upon the pavement,
If I her voice perceve coud any where.
Weping, and herying Cristes moder dere.
And, after that, they risen, and forth ben went And, at the last, a path of litel brede,
And toke away this martir fro his bere;
I found, that gretly had not used be ;
And in a tombe of marble stones clere
For it forgrowen was with gras and wede,
Enclosed they his litel body swete.
That well unnethes a wight might it se;
Ther he is now, God lene us for to mete.
Thought I, this path some whider goth, parde ;
Oyonge Hew of Lincoln! slain also
And so I followed, till it me brought
With cursed Jewes, as it is notable,
To a right pleasaunt herber wel ywrought,
For it n'is but a litel while ago,-
Pray eke for us, we sinful folk unstable,
Which that benched was, and with turfes new
That of his mercy God so merciable
Freshly turved; whereof the grene gras,
On us his grete mercie multiplie
So small, so thick, so short, so fresh of hew,
For reverence of his moder Marie.
That most like to grene woll, wot I, it was.
The hegge also—that yeden in compass,
And closed in alle the grene herbere-
With sicamor was set, and eglatere
THE FLOURE AND THE LEAFE.
When that Phæbus his chair of gold so hie Wrethen in fere so well and cunningly,
Had whirled up the sterrie sky aloft,
That every braunch and lese grew by mesure
And in the Bole was entred certainly;
Plain as a bord, of an height by and by ;-
When shoures sote of raine descended soft,
I se never a thing (I you ensure)
Causing the ground, fele times and oft,
So well ydone ; for he that toke the cure
Up for to give many an wholesome air;
It for to make, (I trowe) did all his peine
And every plain was yclothed faire
To make it pass all tho that men have seine.-
With newe grene; and maketh smale flours And shapen was this herber, rofe and all,
To springen here and there in field and mede, As is a pretty parlour; and also,
very gode and wholesom be the shoures,
The hegge as thick as is a castel wall,
That they renewen that was old and dede
That who that list, without, to stand or go,
In winter time; and out of every sede
Thogh he wold all day pryen to and fro,
Springeth the herbe; so that every wight
He should not se if there were any wight
Of this seson wexeth right glad and light.
Within or not; but one within, wel might
And I so glade of the seson swete;
Was happid thus: Upon a certain night
As I lay in my bed, slepe full unmete
Was unto me--but why that I ne might
Rest, I ne wist; for there n'as erthly wight
(As I suppose) had more of hertes ese
Than I, for I n'ad sicknesse nor disese;
Perceve all tho that yeden there without
Into the field, that was, on every side,
Covered with corn and grass, that, out of doubt,
Tho one would seken all the worlde wide,
So rich a felde could not be espyde,
Upon no cost, as of the quantity;
For of alle gode thing there was plenty.
And I, that all this pleasaunt sighte se,
Thought sodainly I felt so swete an air
Of the eglentere; that, certainly,
There is no hert (I deme) in such dispair;
Ne yet with thoughtes froward and contraire
So overlaid, but it should sone have bote,
If it had ones felt this savour sote.
Wherefore I mervaile gretly of my self,
That I so long withouten slepe lay,
And up I rose thre houres after twelfe,
About the springing of the gladsome day,
And on I put my gear, and mine array,
And to a pleasaunt grove I gan to pas,
Long or the bright sonne uprisen was,
In which were okes grete, streight as a line,
Under the which the grass, so freshe of hew,
Was newly sprong; and, an eight foot or nine,
Every tre well fro his fellow grew,
With braunches brode, laden with leves new,
sprangen out agen the sonne shene,
very rede, and some a glad light grene.
And as I stode, and cast aside mine eye,
I was ware of the fairest medlar tre
That ever yet in all my life I se,
As full of blossomes as it might be ;
Therein a goldfinch leping pretily
Fro bough to bough, and, as him list, he ete
Here and there of buddes and foures swete.
And to the herber side was adjoyning
As of grete perles, round and orient, This faire tre, of which I have you told,
And diamondes fine, and rubys red, And, at the last, the bird began to sing
And many other stone, of which I went (When he had eten what he eten wold)
The names now ; and everich on hire hede So passing swetely, that, by many fold,
A rich fret of gold, which, withouten drede, It was more pleasaunt than I coud devise :
Was full of stately rich stonys set; And whan his song was ended in this wise, And every lady had a chapelet,
The nightingale, with so mery a note,
Answered him, that alle the wode yrong
So sodainly, that, as it were a sote,
I stode astonied, and was, with the song,
Thorow ravished; that, till late and long,
I ne wist in what place I was, ne where ;
And ayen, methought, she song even by mine ere.
On hir hedes, of braunches fresh and grene,
So wele ywrought, and so marvelously,
That it was a right noble sight to sene;
Some of laurer, and some full plesauntly,
Had chapelets of wodebind; and, sadly,
Some of agnus castus weren also,
Chaplets fresh. But there were many of tho
Wherefore I waited about busily
On every side, if I hire might se;
And, at the last, I gan full well aspy
Where she sate in a fresh grene laurer tre,
On the further side, even right by me,
That gave so passing a delicious smell,
According to the eglentere full well.
Whereof I had so inly grete plesure,-
As methought, I surely ravished was
Into Paradise, wherein my desire
Was for to be, and no ferther passe
As for that day, and on the sote grass
I sat me down; for, as for mine entent,
The birdes song was more convenient,
And more richly beseen, by many fold,
She was also, in every maner thing ;
Upon hire hede, full plesaunt to behold,
A coron of gold rich for any king ;
A braunch of agnus castus eke bering
In hire hand. And, to my sight, trewely,
She lady was of all the company;
And she began a raundell, lustily,
That Sus le feuille devert moy (men call)
Sine ( Sous) et mon joly coeur est endormy.
And than the company answerid, all,
With voices swete entuned, and so small,
That methought it the swetest melody
That ever I herd in my life, sothly,
And thus they all came dauncing and singing
Into the middes of the mede, echone,
Before the herber where I was sitting.
And, God wote, I thought I was well bigone;
For than I might avise hem, one by one,
Who fairest was, who best could dance or sing,
Or who most womanly was in all thing.
And more pleasaunt to me by many fold,
Than mete or drink, or any other thing.
Thereto, the herber was so fresh and cold,
The wholsome savours eke so comforting,
That (as I demed) sith the beginning
Of the worlde, was never seen, er than,
So pleasaunt a ground of none erthly man.
And as I sat, the birdes herkening thus,
Methought that I herd voices, suddainly,
The most swetest, the most delicious
That ever any wight, I trow trewly,
Herden in hir life; for the armony,
And swete accord, was in so gode musike,
That the voices to angels most were like.
At the last, out of a grove, even by,
(That was right godely and pleasaunt to sight)
I se where there came singing, lustily,
A world of ladies; but to tell aright
Hir beauty grete, lyeth not in my might,
Ne hir array; nevertheless I shall
Tell you a part, tho’I speke not of all:
The surcoss, white, of velvet well fitting
They weren clad; and the semes eche one,
As it weren a manner garnishing,
Was set with emeraudes, one and one,
By and by; but many a rich stone
Was set on the purfilis, out of dout,
Of colours, sleves, and traines, round about;
Of hir array, whoso list to here more,
A fresh chaplet upon his haires bright; I shall reherse, so as I can, a lite:
And clokes white of fine velvet they were, Out of the grove, that I speke of before,
Hir stedes trapped and arrayed right, 1 se come first, all in hir clokes white,
Without difference, as hir lordes were; A company that wore, for hir delite,
And after hem, on many a fresh coursere, Chapelets fresh of okes cerial
There came, of armed knightes, such a rout, But newly sprong; and trumpets were they all. That they besprad the large field about.
On every trump hanging a broad bannere,
Of fine tartarium, full richly bete;
Every trumpet his lordes armes bere;
About 'hir neckes, with grete perles sete,
Collares brode; for cost they woud not lete,
As it would seem, for hir scochons echone
Were set about with many a precious stone :
And all they weren, after hir degrees,
Chappelets new, or made of laurer grene,
Or some of oke, or some of other trees;
Some in hir hondes baren boughes shene,
Some laurer, and some of okes bene,
Some of hawthorne, and some of wodebind,
And many mo which I have not in mind.
And so they came hir horses freshly stirring
With bloudy sownes of hir trompes loud.
There se 1 many an uncouth disguising,
In the array of thilke knightes proud.
And, at the last, as evenly as they coud
They take hir place, in middes of the mede;
And every knight turned his horses hede
Hir horses harneis was all white also.
And, after him next, in one company,
Camen kinges at armes, and no mo,
In clokes of white cloth with gold richly;
Chaplets of grene on hir heds on hye;
The crownes, that they on his scotchons bere,
Were set with perl, and ruby, and saphere,
And, eke, grete diamondes many one:
But all hir horse harneis, and other gere,
Was in a sute, according everichone,
As ye have herd the forsaid trumpets were ;
And by seming they were nothing to lere,
And hir guiding they did so manerly.
And, after hem, came a grete company
Of heraudes and pursevauntes eke,
Arrayed in clothes of white velvet;
And, hardely, they were nothing to seke
How they on hem shoulden the harneis set;
And every man had on a chapelet ;
Scotchones, and eke horse harneis in dede
They had, in sute of hem that 'fore hem yede.
To his felow, and lightly laid a spere
Into the rest; and so justes began,
On every part abouten, here and there.
Some brake his spere ; some threw down horse and
About the felde, astray, the stedes ran. [man ;
And to behold hir rule and governaunce,
I you ensure, it was a grete plesaunce.
And so the justes last an hour and more:
But tho that crowned were in laurer grene
Did win the prise; their dintes were so sore,
That there was none agenst hem might sustene:
And the justing alle was left off clene.
And fro hir horse the nine alight anon;
And so did all the remnaunt everichone.
Next after these, appere in armour bright,
All save hir hedes, semely knightes nine ;
And every clasp and nail, as to my sight,
Of hir harneis were of red gold so fine,
With cloth of gold; and furred with ermine,
Were the trappures of hir stedes strong,
Both wide and large, that to the ground did hong.
And forth they yede togeder twain and twain, That to behold it was a worthy sight, Toward the ladies on the grene plain, That sang and daunced, as I said now right. The ladies, as sone as they godely might, They braken off both the song and the daunce, And yede to mete hem with full glad semblaunce. And every lady toke, full womanly, By the hond a knight; and so forth they yede Unto a faire laurer that stode fast by, With leves laid, the boughes of grete brede; And to my dome ther never was indede, A man that had sene half so faire a tre, For underneth it there might well have be
And every boss of bridle, and peytrel
That they had on, was worth, as I would wene,
A thousand pound; and on hir hedes, well
Dressed, were crounes of the laurer grene,
The best ymade that ever I had sene.
And every knight had, after him riding,
Thre henchmen, still upon him awaiting;
Of which every first on a short trunchon
His lordes helmet bore so richly dight,
That the worst of hem was worth the ransaune
any king; the second, a shield, bright,
Bare at his back; the thred baren, upright,
A mighty spere, full sharp yground and kene,
And every child ware, of leves grenc,
An hundred persons, at his own plesaunce,
Shadowed fro the hete of Phæbus bright,
So that they shoulden have felt no grevaunce
Neither for rain, ne haile, that hem hurt miglit;
The savour eke rejoice would any wiglit
That had be sick, or melancholious,
It was so very gode and vertuous.
And with grete rev'rence they cnclined low
And when the storme was clene passed away, Unto tlo tre, so sote and fair of hew,
Tho in the white, that stode under the tre, And after that, within a litel throw,
They felt nothing of all this grete affray They began to sing and daunce of new ;
That they in grene, without, had in ybe; Some song of love, some plaining of untrew, To hem they yede, for routh and for pite, Environing the tre that stode upright;
llem to comfort after hir grete disese, And ever yede a lady and a knight;
So fain they were the helplesse for to esc.
And, at the last, I cast ininc ere asido,
And was ware of a lusty company
That came roming out of the felde wides
And, hond in hond, a knight and a lady;
The ladies all in surcotes, that richly
Purfiled were with many a rich stone;
And every knight of grene, ware mantles on,
Than I was ware, how one of hem, in
Had on a coron rich and well-fitting ;
Wherfore I demed well she was a quene;
And tho in grene on hire were awaiting.
The ladies then iu white, that were coming
Towards hem, and the knightes, in fere,
Began to comfort hem and make hem chere.
Embrouded well, so as the surcots were.
And everich had a chapelet on hire hed,
(Which did right well upon the shining here)
Maked of godely floures white and red s
The knightes eke that they in honde led
In sute of hem, ware chaplets everichone;
And before hem went minstrels many one:
The quene in white, that was of grete beauty,
Toke by the honde the quene that was in grene,
And seide: “ Suster! I have grete pity
Of your annoy, and of your troublous tene,
ye your company have bene
So long, alas ! and if that it you plese
To go with me, I shall do you the ese
* In all the plesure that I can or may."
Whereof that other, humbly as she might,
Thanked hire; for in right evil array
She was, with storme and hete, I you behight.
And every lady, then anon aright,
That were in white, one of hem toke in
By the hond. Which when the knightes had sene,
As harpes, pipes, lutes, and sautry;
Alle in grene; and on hir hedes bare,
Of diverse floures made full craftily,
All in a sute, godely chapelets they ware.
-And so dauncing into the mede they fare,
In mid the which, they found a tust that was
All oversprad with floures in compas.
Whereto they enclined everichone
With grete reverence, and that full humbly.
And, at the last, there tho began anon
A lady for to sing, right womanly,
A bargaret in praising the daisie:
For (as methought) among hir notes swete
She said Si douce est la Marguerite.
In like maner, eche of hem take a knight
Clad in the grene; and forth with hem they fare
To an hegge, where that they, anon right,
To maken these justes, they would not spare
Boughes to hew down and, eke, trees to square;
Wherewith they made hem stately fires grete,
To dry hire clothes, that were wringing wete: