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Pearl – Middle English


Perle, pleasaunte to prynces paye
To clanly clos in golde so clere,
Oute of oryent, I hardyly saye,
Ne proued I neuer her precios pere.
So rounde, so reken in vche araye,
So smal, so smoþe her syde3 were,
Quere-so-euer I jugged gemme3 gaye,
I sette hyr sengeley in synglere.
Allas! I leste hyr in on erbere;
þur3 gresse to grounde hit fro me yot.
I dewyne, fordolked of luf-daungere
Of þat pryuy perle wythouten spot.

Syþen in þat spote hit fro me sprange,
Ofte haf I wayted, wyschande þat wele,
þat wont wat3 whyle deuoyde my wrange
And heuen my happe and al my hele.
þat dot3 bot þrych my hert þrange,
My breste in bale bot bolne and bele;
3et þo3t me neuer so swete a sange
As stylle stounde let to me stele.
For soþe þer fleten to me fele,
To þenke hir color so clad in clot.
O moul, þou marre3 a myry iuele,
My priuy perle wythouten spotte.


þat spot of spyse3 mot nede3 sprede,
þer such ryche3 to rot is runne;
Blome3 blayke and blwe and rede
þer schyne3 ful schyr agayn þe sunne.
Flor and fryte may not be fede
þer hit doun drof in molde3 dunne;
For vch gresse mot grow of grayne3 dede;
No whete were elle3 to wone3 wonne.
Of goud vche goude is ay bygonne;
So semly a sede mo3t fayly not,
þat spryngande spyce3 vp ne sponne
Of þat precios perle wythouten spotte.
To þat spot þat I in speche expoun
I entred in þat erber grene,
In Augoste in a hy3 seysoun,
Quen corne is coruen wyth croke3 kene.
On huyle þer perle hit trendeled doun
Schadowed þis worte3 ful schyre and schene,
Gilofre, gyngure and gromylyoun,
And pyonys powdered ay bytwene.
3if hit wat3 semly on to sene,
A fayr reflayr 3et fro hit flot.
þer wonys þat worþyly, I wot and wene,
My precious perle wythouten spot.

Bifore þat spot my honde I spenned
For care ful colde þat to me ca3t;
A deuely dele in my hert denned,
þa3 resoun sette myseluen sa3t.

I playned my perle þat þer wat3 spenned
Wyth fyrce skylle3 þat faste fa3t;
þa3 kynde of Kryst me comfort kenned,
My wreched wylle in wo ay wra3te.
I felle vpon þat floury fla3t,
Suche odour to my herne3 schot;
I slode vpon a slepyng-sla3te
On þat precios perle wythouten spot.
Fro spot my spyryt þer sprang in space;
My body on balke þer bod in sweuen.
My goste is gon in Gode3 grace
In auenture þer meruayle3 meuen.
I ne wyste in þis worlde quere þat hit wace,
Bot I knew me keste þer klyfe3 cleuen;
Towarde a foreste I bere þe face,
Where rych rokke3 wer to dyscreuen.
þe ly3t of hem my3t no mon leuen,
þe glemande glory þat of hem glent;
For wern neuer webbe3 þat wy3e3 weuen
Of half so dere adubbemente.
Dubbed wern alle þo downe3 syde3
Wyth crystal klyffe3 so cler of kynde.
Holtewode3 bry3t aboute hem byde3
Of bolle3 as blwe as ble of Ynde;
As bornyst syluer þe lef on slyde3,
þat þike con trylle on vch a tynde.

Quen glem of glode3 agayn3 hem glyde3,
Wyth schymeryng schene ful schrylle þay schynde.
þe grauayl þat on grounde con grynde
Wern precious perle3 of oryente:
þe sunnebeme3 bot blo and blynde
In respecte of þat adubbement.

The adubbemente of þo downe3 dere
Garten my goste al greffe for3ete.
So frech flauore3 of fryte3 were,
As fode hit con me fayre refete.
Fowle3 þer flowen in fryth in fere,
Of flaumbande hwe3, boþe smale and grete;
Bot sytole-stryng and gyternere
Her reken myrþe mo3t not retrete;
For quen þose brydde3 her wynge3 bete,
þay songen wyth a swete asent.
So gracios gle couþe no mon gete
As here and se her adubbement.

So al wat3 dubbet on dere asyse
þat fryth þer fortwne forth me fere3.
þat derþe þerof for to deuyse
Nis no wy3 worþe þat tonge bere3.
I welke ay forth in wely wyse;
No bonk so byg þat did me dere3.
þe fyrre in þe fryth, þe feier con ryse
þe playn, þe plontte3, þe spyse, þe
And rawe3 and rande3 and rych reuere3,
As fyldor fyn her bonkes brent.
I wan to a water by schore þat schere3 —
Lorde, dere wat3 hit adubbement!


The dubbemente of þo derworth depe
Wern bonke3 bene of beryl bry3t.
Swangeande swete þe water con swepe,
Wyth a rownande rourde raykande ary3t.
In þe founce þer stonden stone3 stepe,
As glente þur3 glas þat glowed and gly3t,
As stremande sterne3, quen stroþe-men slepe,
Staren in welkyn in wynter ny3t;
For vche a pobbel in pole þer py3t
Wat3 emerad, saffer, oþer gemme gente,
þat alle þe lo3e lemed of ly3t,
So dere wat3 hit adubbement.
The dubbement dere of doun and dale3,
Of wod and water and wlonk playne3,
Bylde in me blys, abated my bale3,
Fordidden my stresse, dystryed my payne3.
Doun after a strem þat dry3ly hale3
I bowed in blys, bredful my brayne3;
þe fyrre I fol3ed þose floty vale3,
þe more strenghþe of ioye myn herte strayne3.
As fortune fares þer as ho frayne3,
Wheþer solace ho sende oþer elle3 sore,
þe wy3 to wham her wylle ho wayne3
Hytte3 to haue ay more and more.

More of wele wat3 in þat wyse
þen I cowþe telle þa3 I tom hade,
For vrþely herte my3t not suffyse
To þe tenþe dole of þo gladne3 glade;

Forþy I þo3t þat Paradyse
Wat3 þer ouer gayn þo bonke3 brade.
I hoped þe water were a deuyse
Bytwene myrþe3 by mere3 made;
By3onde þe broke, by slente oþer slade,
I hoped þat mote merked wore.
Bot þe water wat3 depe, I dorst not wade,
And euer me longed ay more and more.
More and more, and 3et wel mare,
Me lyste to se þe broke by3onde;
For if hit wat3 fayr þer I con fare,
Wel loueloker wat3 þe fyrre londe.
Abowte me con I stote and stare;
To fynde a forþe faste con I fonde.
Bot woþe3 mo iwysse þer ware,
þe fyrre I stalked by þe stronde.
And euer me þo3t I schulde not wonde
For wo þer wele3 so wynne wore.
þenne nwe note me com on honde
þat meued my mynde ay more and more.

More meruayle con my dom adaunt:
I se3 by3onde þat myry mere
A crystal clyffe ful relusaunt;
Mony ryal ray con fro hit rere.
At þe fote þerof þer sete a faunt,
A mayden of menske, ful debonere;
Blysnande whyt wat3 hyr bleaunt.
I knew hyr wel, I hade sen hyr ere.

As glysnande golde þat man con schere,
So schon þat schene an-vnder shore.
On lenghe I loked to hyr þere;
þe lenger, I knew hyr more and more.

The more I frayste hyr fayre face,
Her fygure fyn quen I had fonte,
Suche gladande glory con to me glace
As lyttel byfore þerto wat3 wonte.
To calle hyr lyste con me enchace,
Bot baysment gef myn hert a brunt.
I se3 hyr in so strange a place,
Such a burre my3t make myn herte blunt.
þenne vere3 ho vp her fayre frount,
Hyr vysayge whyt as playn yuore:
þat stonge myn hert ful stray atount,
And euer þe lenger, þe more and more.
More þen me lyste my drede aros.
I stod ful stylle and dorste not calle;
Wyth y3en open and mouth ful clos
I stod as hende as hawk in halle.
I hoped þat gostly wat3 þat porpose;
I dred onende quat schulde byfalle,
Lest ho me eschaped þat I þer chos,
Er I at steuen hir mo3t stalle.
þat gracios gay wythouten galle,
So smoþe, so smal, so seme sly3t,
Ryse3 vp in hir araye ryalle,
A precios pyece in perle3 py3t.


Perle3 py3te of ryal prys
þere mo3t mon by grace haf sene,
Quen þat frech as flor-de-lys
Doun þe bonke con bo3e bydene.
Al blysnande whyt wat3 hir beau biys,
Vpon at syde3, and bounden bene
Wyth þe myryeste margarys, at my deuyse,
þat euer I se3 3et with myn ene;
Wyth lappe3 large, I wot and I wene,
Dubbed with double perle and dy3te;
Her cortel of self sute schene,
Wyth precios perle3 al vmbepy3te.

A py3t coroune 3et wer þat gyrle
Of mariorys and non oþer ston.
Hi3e pynakled of cler quyt perle,
Wyth flurted flowre3 perfet vpon.
To hed hade ho non oþer werle;
Her here leke, al hyr vmbegon,
Her semblaunt sade for doc oþer erle,
Her ble more bla3t þen whalle3 bon.
As schorne golde schyr her fax þenne schon,
On schyldere3 þat leghe vnlapped ly3te.
Her depe colour 3et wonted non
Of precios perle in porfyl py3te.
Py3t wat3 poyned and vche a hemme
At honde, at syde3, at ouerture,
Wyth whyte perle and non oþer gemme,
And bornyste quyte wat3 hyr uesture.

Bot a wonder perle wythouten wemme
Inmydde3 hyr breste wat3 sette so sure;
A manne3 dom mo3t dry3ly demme,
Er mynde mo3t malte in hit mesure.
I hope no tong mo3t endure
No sauerly saghe say of þat sy3t,
So wat3 hit clene and cler and pure,
þat precios perle þer hit wat3 py3t.

Py3t in perle, þat precios pyece
On wyþer half water com doun þe schore.
No gladder gome heþen into Grece
þen I, quen ho on brymme wore.
Ho wat3 me nerre þen aunte or nece;
My joy forþy wat3 much þe more.
Ho profered me speche, þat special spece,
Enclynande lowe in wommon lore,
Ca3te of her coroun of grete tresore
And haylsed me wyth a lote ly3te.
Wel wat3 me þat euer I wat3 bore
To sware þat swete in perle3 py3te!
‘O perle’, quod I, ‘in perle3 py3t,
Art þou my perle þat I haf playned,
Regretted by myn one on ny3te?
Much longeyng haf I for þe layned,
Syþen into gresse þou me agly3te.
Pensyf, payred, I am forpayned,
And þou in a lyf of lykyng ly3te,
In Paradys erde, of stryf vnstrayned.

What wyrde hat3 hyder my iuel vayned,
And don me in þys del and gret daunger?
Fro we in twynne wern towen and twayned,
I haf ben a joyle3 juelere.’
That juel þenne in gemme3 gente
Vered vp her vyse wyth y3en graye,
Set on hyr coroun of perle orient,
And soberly after þenne con ho say:
‘Sir, 3e haf your tale mysetente,
To say your perle is al awaye,
þat is in cofer so comly clente
As in þis gardyn gracios gaye,
Hereinne to lenge for euer and play,
þer mys nee mornyng com neuer nere.
Her were a forser for þe, in faye,
If þou were a gentyl jueler.

‘Bot, jueler gente, if þou schal lose
þy ioy for a gemme þat þe wat3 lef,
Me þynk þe put in a mad porpose,
And busye3 þe aboute a raysoun bref;
For þat þou leste3 wat3 bot a rose
þat flowred and fayled as kynde hyt gef.
Now þur3 kynde of þe kyste þat hyt con close
To a perle of prys hit is put in pref.
And þou hat3 called þy wyrde a þef,
þat o3t of no3t hat3 mad þe cler;
þou blame3 þe bote of þy meschef,
þou art no kynde jueler.’

A juel to me þen wat3 þys geste,
And iuele3 wern hyr gentyl sawe3.

‘Iwyse’, quod I, ‘my blysfol beste,
My grete dystresse þou al todrawe3.
To be excused I make requeste;
I trawed my perle don out of dawe3.
Now haf I fonde hyt, I schal ma feste,
And wony wyth hyt in schyr wod-schawe3,
And loue my Lorde and al his lawe3
þat hat3 me bro3t þys blys ner.
Now were I at yow by3onde þise wawe3,
I were a ioyful jueler.’
‘Jueler’, sayde þat gemme clene,
‘Wy borde 3e men? So madde 3e be!
þre worde3 hat3 þou spoken at ene:
Vnavysed, for soþe, wern alle þre.
þou ne woste in worlde quat on dot3 mene;
þy worde byfore þy wytte con fle.
þou says þou trawe3 me in þis dene,
Bycawse þou may wyth y3en me se;
Anoþer þou says, in þys countre
þyself schal won wyth me ry3t here;
þe þrydde, to passe þys water fre —
þat may no ioyfol jueler.
‘I halde þat iueler lyttel to prayse
þat leue3 wel þat he se3 wyth y3e,
And much to blame and vncortayse
þat leue3 oure Lorde wolde make a ly3e,

þat lelly hy3te your lyf to rayse,
þa3 fortune dyd your flesch to dy3e.
3e setten hys worde3 ful westernays
þat leue3 noþynk bot 3e hit sy3e.
And þat is a poynt o sorquydry3e,
þat vche god mon may euel byseme,
To leue no tale be true to try3e
Bot þat hys one skyl may dem.

‘Deme now þyself if þou con dayly
As man to God worde3 schulde heue.
þou sayt3 þou schal won in þis bayly;
Me þynk þe burde fyrst aske leue,
And 3et of graunt þou my3te3 fayle.
þou wylne3 ouer þys water to weue;
Er moste þou ceuer to oþer counsayle:
þy corse in clot mot calder keue.
For hit wat3 forgarte at Paradys greue;
Oure 3orefader hit con mysse3eme.
þur3 drwry deth bo3 vch man dreue,
Er ouer þys dam hym Dry3tyn deme.’
‘Deme3 þou me’, quod I, ‘my swete,
To dol agayn, þenne I dowyne.
Now haf I fonte þat I forlete,
Schal I efte forgo hit er euer I fyne?
Why schal I hit boþe mysse and mete?
My precios perle dot3 me gret pyne.
What serue3 tresor, bot gare3 men grete
When he hit schal efte wyth tene3 tyne?

Now rech I neuer for to declyne,
Ne how fer of folde þat man me fleme.
When I am partle3 of perle myne,
Bot durande doel what may men deme?’

‘Thow deme3 no3t bot doel-dystresse’,
þenne sayde þat wy3t. ‘Why dot3 þou so
For dyne of doel of lure3 lesse
Ofte mony mon forgos þe mo.
þe o3te better þyseluen blesse,
And loue ay God, in wele and wo,
For anger gayne3 þe not a cresse.
Who nede3 schal þole, be not so þro.
For þo3 þou daunce as any do,
Braundysch and bray þy braþe3 breme,
When þou no fyrre may, to ne fro,
þou moste abyde þat he schal deme.

‘Deme Dry3tyn, euer hym adyte,
Of þe way a fote ne wyl he wryþe.
þy mende3 mounte3 not a myte,
þa3 þou for sor3e be neuer blyþe.
Stynt of þy strot and fyne to flyte,
And sech hys blyþe ful swefte and swyþe.
þy prayer may hys pyte byte,
þat mercy schal hyr crafte3 kyþe.
Hys comforte may þy langour lyþe
And þy lure3 of ly3tly fleme;
For, marre oþer madde, morne and myþe,
Al lys in hym to dy3t and deme.’


Thenne demed I to þat damyselle:
‘Ne worþe no wrathþe vnto my Lorde,
If rapely I raue, spornande in spelle.
My herte wat3 al wyth mysse remorde,
As wallande water got3 out of welle.
I do me ay in hys myserecorde.
Rebuke me neuer wyth worde3 felle,
þa3 I forloyne, my dere endorde,
Bot kyþe3 me kyndely your coumforde,
Pytosly þenkande vpon þysse:
Of care and me 3e made acorde,
þat er wat3 grounde of alle my blysse.

‘My blysse, my bale, 3e han ben boþe,
Bot much þe bygger 3et wat3 my mon;
Fro þou wat3 wroken fro vch a woþe,
I wyste neuer quere my perle wat3 gon.
Now I hit se, now leþe3 my loþe.
And, quen we departed, we wern at on;
God forbede we be now wroþe,
We meten so selden by stok oþer ston.
þa3 cortaysly 3e carp con,
I am bot mol and manere3 mysse.
Bot Crystes mersy and Mary and Jon,
þise arn þe grounde of alle my blisse.

‘In blysse I se þe blyþely blent,
And I a man al mornyf mate;
3e take þeron ful lyttel tente,
þa3 I hente ofte harme3 hate.

Bot now I am here in your presente,
I wolde bysech, wythouten debate,
3e wolde me say in sobre asente
What lyf 3e lede erly and late.
For I am ful fayn þat your astate
Is worþen to worschyp and wele, iwysse;
Of alle my joy þe hy3e gate,
Hit is in grounde of alle my blysse.’
‘Now blysse, burne, mot þe bytyde’,
þen sayde þat lufsoum of lyth and lere,
‘And welcum here to walk and byde,
For now þe speche is to me dere.
Maysterful mod and hy3e pryde,
I hete þe, arn heterly hated here.
My Lorde ne loue3 not for to chyde,
For meke arn alle þat wone3 hym nere;
And when in hys place þou schal apere,
Be dep deuote in hol mekenesse.
My Lorde þe Lamb loue3 ay such chere,
þat is þe grounde of alle my blysse.

‘A blysful lyf þou says I lede;
þou wolde3 knaw þerof þe stage.
þow wost wel when þy perle con schede
I wat3 ful 3ong and tender of age;
Bot my Lorde þe Lombe þur3 hys godhede,
He toke myself to hys maryage,
Corounde me quene in blysse to brede
In lenghe of daye3 þat euer schal wage;
And sesed in alle hys herytage
Hys lef is. I am holy hysse:
Hys prese, hys prys, and hys parage
Is rote and grounde of alle my blysse.’


‘Blysful’, quod I, ‘may þys be trwe?
Dysplese3 not if I speke errour.
Art þou þe quene of heuene3 blwe,
þat al þys worlde schal do honour?
We leuen on Marye þat grace of grewe,
þat ber a barne of vyrgyn flour;
þe croune fro hyr quo mo3t remwe
Bot ho hir passed in sum fauour?
Now, for synglerty o hyr dousour,
We calle hyr Fenyx of Arraby,
þat freles fle3e of hyr fasor,
Lyk to þe Quen of cortaysye.’

‘Cortayse Quen’, þenne sayde þat gaye,
Knelande to grounde, folde vp hyr face,
‘Makele3 Moder and myryest May,
Blessed bygynner of vch a grace!’
þenne ros ho vp and con restay,
And speke me towarde in þat space:
‘Sir, fele here porchase3 and fonge3 pray,
Bot supplantore3 none wythinne þys place.
þat emperise al heuen3 hat3,
And vrþe and helle, in her bayly;
Of erytage 3et non wyl ho chace,
For ho is Quen of cortaysye.

‘The court of þe kyndom of God alyue
Hat3 a property in hytself beyng:
Alle þat may þerinne aryue
Of alle þe reme is quen oþer kyng,

And neuer oþer 3et schal depryue,
Bot vchon fayn of oþere3 hafyng,
And wolde her coroune3 wern worþe þo fyue,
If possyble were her mendyng.
Bot my Lady of quom Jesu con spryng,
Ho halde3 þe empyre ouer vus ful hy3e;
And þat dysplese3 non of oure gyng,
For ho is Quene of cortaysye.

‘Of courtaysye, as sayt3 Saynt Poule,
Al arn we membre3 of Jesu Kryst:
As heued and arme and legg and naule
Temen to hys body ful trwe and tryste,
Ry3t so is vch a Krysten sawle
A longande lym to þe Mayster of myste.
þenne loke what hate oþer any gawle
Is tached oþer ty3ed þy lymme3 bytwyste.
þy heued hat3 nauþer greme ne gryste,
On arme oþer fynger þa3 þou ber by3e.
So fare we alle wyth luf and lyste
To kyng and quene by cortaysye.’
‘Cortayse’, quod I, ‘I leue,
And charyte grete, be yow among,
Bot my speche þat yow ne greue,
. . . . . . .
þyself in heuen ouer hy3 þou heue,
To make þe quen þat wat3 so 3onge.
What more honour mo3te he acheue
þat hade endured in worlde stronge,

And lyued in penaunce hys lyue3 longe
Wyth bodyly bale hym blysse to byye?
What more worschyp mo3t he fonge
þen corounde be kyng by cortayse?
‘That cortayse is to fre of dede,
3yf hyt be soth þat þou cone3 saye.
þou lyfed not two 3er in oure þede;
þou cowþe3 neuer God nauþer plese ne pray,
Ne neuer nawþer Pater ne Crede;
And quen mad on þe fyrst day!
I may not traw, so God me spede,
þat God wolde wryþe so wrange away.
Of countes, damysel, par ma fay,
Wer fayr in heuen to halde asstate,
Oþer elle3 a lady of lasse aray;
Bot a quene! Hit is to dere a date.’

‘þer is no date of hys godnesse’,
þen sayde to me þat worþy wy3te,
‘For al is trawþe þat he con dresse,
And he may do noþynk bot ry3t.
As Mathew mele3 in your messe
In sothfol gospel of God almy3t,
In sample he can ful grayþely gesse,
And lykne3 hit to heuen ly3te.
“My regne”, he sayt3, “is lyk on hy3t
To a lorde þat hade a uyne, I wate.
Of tyme of 3ere þe terme wat3 ty3t,
To labor vyne wat3 dere þe date.


‘”þat date of 3ere wel knawe þys hyne.
þe lorde ful erly vp he ros
To hyre werkmen to hys vyne,
And fynde3 þer summe to hys porpos.
Into acorde þay con declyne
For a pene on a day, and forth þay got3,
Wryþen and worchen and don gret pyne,
Keruen and caggen and man hit clos.
Aboute vnder þe lorde to marked tot3,
And ydel men stande he fynde3 þerate.
‘Why stande 3e ydel?’ he sayde to þos.
‘Ne knawe 3e of þis day no date?’

‘”‘Er date of daye hider arn we wonne’,
So wat3 al samen her answar so3t.
‘We haf standen her syn ros þe sunne,
And no mon bydde3 vus do ry3t no3t.’
‘Gos into my vyne, dot3 þat 3e conne’,
So sayde þe lorde, and made hit to3t.
‘What resonabele hyre be na3t be runne
I yow pay in dede and þo3te.’
þay wente into þe vyne and wro3te,
And al day þe lorde þus 3ede his gate,
And nw men to hys vyne he bro3te
Welne3 wyl day wat3 passed date.

‘”At þe date of day of euensonge,
On oure byfore þe sonne go doun,
He se3 þer ydel men ful stronge
And sade to hem wyth sobre soun,

‘Wy stonde 3e ydel þise daye3 longe?’
þay sayden her hyre wat3 nawhere boun.
‘Got3 to my vyne, 3emen 3onge,
And wyrke3 and dot3 þat at 3e moun.’
Sone þe worlde bycom wel broun;
þe sunne wat3 doun and hit wex late.
To take her hyre he mad sumoun;
þe day wat3 al apassed date.
‘”The date of þe daye þe lorde con knaw,
Called to þe reue: ‘Lede, pay þe meyny.
Gyf hem þe hyre þat I hem owe,
And fyrre, þat non me may reprene,
Set hem alle vpon a rawe
And gyf vchon inlyche a peny.
Bygyn at þe laste þat stande3 lowe,
Tyl to þe fyrst þat þou atteny.’
And þenne þe fyrst bygonne to pleny
And sayden þat þay hade trauayled sore:
‘þese bot on oure hem con streny;
Vus þynk vus o3e to take more.

‘”‘More haf we serued, vus þynk so,
þat suffred han þe daye3 hete,
þenn þyse þat wro3t not houre3 two,
And þou dot3 hem vus to counterfete.’
þenne sayde þe lorde to on of þo:
‘Frende, no waning I wyl þe 3ete;
Take þat is þyn owne, and go.
And I hyred þe for a peny agrete,

Quy bygynne3 þou now to þrete?
Wat3 not a pene þy couenaunt þore?
Fyrre þen couenaunde is no3t to plete.
Wy schalte þou þenne ask more?

‘”‘More, weþer louyly is me my gyfte,
To do wyth myn quat-so me lyke3?
Oþer elle3 þyn y3e to lyþer is lyfte
For I am goude and non byswyke3?’
þus schal I”, quod Kryste, “hit skyfte:
þe laste schal be þe fyrst þat stryke3,
And þe fyrst þe laste, be he neuer so swyft;
For mony ben called, þa3 fewe be myke3.”
þus pore men her part ay pyke3,
þa3 þay com late and lyttel wore;
And þa3 her sweng wyth lyttel atslyke3,
þe merci of God is much þe more.
‘More haf I of joye and blysse hereinne,
Of ladyschyp gret and lyue3 blom,
þen alle þe wy3e3 in þe worlde my3t wynne
By þe way of ry3t to aske dome.
Wheþer welnygh now I con bygynne —
In euentyde into þe vyne I come —
Fyrst of my hyre my Lorde con mynne:
I wat3 payed anon of al and sum.
3et oþer þer werne þat toke more tom,
þat swange and swat for long 3ore,
þat 3et of hyre noþynk þay nom,
Paraunter no3t schal to-3ere more.’


Then more I meled and sayde apert:
‘Me þynk þy tale vnresounable.
Godde3 ry3t is redy and euermore rert,
Oþer Holy Wryt is bot a fable.
In Sauter is sayd a verce ouerte
þat speke3 a poynt determynable:
“þou quyte3 vchon as hys desserte,
þou hy3e kyng ay pretermynable.”
Now he þat stod þe long day stable,
And þou to payment com hym byfore,
þenne þe lasse in werke to take more able,
And euer þe lenger þe lasse, þe more.’

‘Of more and lasse in Gode3 ryche’,
þat gentyl sayde, ‘lys no joparde,
For þer is vch mon payed inlyche,
Wheþer lyttel oþer much be hys rewarde;
For þe gentyl Cheuentayn is no chyche,
Queþer-so-euer he dele nesch oþer harde:
He laue3 hys gyfte3 as water of dyche,
Oþer gote3 of golf þat neuer charde.
Hys fraunchyse is large þat euer dard
To Hym þat mat3 in synne rescoghe;
No blysse bet3 fro hem reparde,
For þe grace of God is gret inoghe.

‘Bot now þou mote3, me for to mate,
þat I my peny haf wrang tan here;
þou say3 þat I þat com to late
Am not worþy so gret fere.

Where wyste3 þou euer any bourne abate,
Euer so holy in hys prayere,
þat he ne forfeted by sumkyn gate
þe mede sumtyme of heuene3 clere?
And ay þe ofter, þe alder þay were,
þay laften ry3t and wro3ten woghe.
Mercy and grace moste hem þen stere,
For þe grace of God is gret inno3e.

‘Bot innoghe of grace hat3 innocent.
As sone as þay arn borne, by lyne
In þe water of babtem þay dyssente:
þen arne þay boro3t into þe vyne.
Anon þe day, wyth derk endente,
þe niy3t of deth dot3 to enclyne:
þat wro3t neuer wrang er þenne þay wente,
þe gentyle Lorde þenne paye3 hys hyne.
þay dyden hys heste, þay wern þereine;
Why schulde he not her labour alow,
3ys, and pay hem at þe fyrst fyne?
For þe grace of God is gret innoghe.

‘Ino3e is knawen þat mankyn grete
Fyrste wat3 wro3t to blysse parfyt;
Oure forme fader hit con forfete
þur3 an apple þat he vpon con byte.
Al wer we dampned for þat mete
To dy3e in doel out of delyt
And syþen wende to helle hete,
þerinne to won wythoute respyt.
Bot þeron com a bote astyt.
Ryche blod ran on rode so roghe,

And wynne water þen at þat plyt:
þe grace of God wex gret innoghe.
‘Innoghe þer wax out of þat welle,
Blod and water of brode wounde.
þe blod vus bo3t fro bale of helle
And delyuered vus of þe deth secounde;
þe water is baptem, þe soþe to telle,
þat fol3ed þe glayue so grymly grounde,
þat wasche3 away þe gylte3 felle
þat Adam wyth inne deth vus drounde.
Now is þer no3t in þe worlde rounde
Bytwene vus and blysse bot þat he wythdro3,
And þat is restored in sely stounde;
And þe grace of God is gret innogh.

‘Grace innogh þe mon may haue
þat synne3 þenne new, 3if hym repente,
Bot wyth sor3 and syt he mot hit craue,
And byde þe payne þerto is bent.
Bot resoun of ry3t þat con not raue
Saue3 euermore þe innossent;
Hit is a dom þat neuer God gaue,
þat euer þe gyltle3 schulde be schente.
þe gyltyf may contryssyoun hente
And be þur3 mercy to grace þry3t;
Bot he to gyle þat neuer glente
And inoscente is saf and ry3te.


‘Ry3t þus I knaw wel in þis cas
Two men to saue is god by skylle:
þe ry3twys man schal se hys face,
þe harmle3 haþel schal com hym tylle.
þe Sauter hyt sat3 þus in a pace:
“Lorde, quo schal klymbe þy hy3 hylle,
Oþer rest wythinne þy holy place?”
Hymself to onsware he is not dylle:
“Hondelynge3 harme þat dyt not ille,
þat is of hert boþe clene and ly3t,
þer schal hys step stable stylle”:
þe innosent is ay saf by ry3t.
‘The ry3twys man also sertayn
Aproche he schal þat proper pyle,
þat take3 not her lyf in vayne,
Ne glauere3 her nie3bor wyth no gyle.
Of þys ry3twys sa3 Salamon playn
How Koyntise onoure con aquyle;
By waye3 ful stre3t ho con hym strayn,
And scheued hym þe rengne of God awhyle,
As quo says, “Lo, 3on louely yle!
þou may hit wynne if þou be wy3te.”
Bot, hardyly, wythoute peryle,
þe innosent is ay saue by ry3te.

‘Anende ry3twys men 3et sayt3 a gome,
Dauid in Sauter, if euer 3e sy3 hit:
“Lorde, þy seruaunt dra3 neuer to dome,
For non lyuyande to þe is justyfyet.”

Forþy to corte quen þou schal com
þer alle oure cause3 schal be tryed,
Alegge þe ry3t, þou may be innome,
By þys ilke spech I haue asspyed;
Bot he on rode þat blody dyed,
Delfully þur3 honde3 þry3t,
Gyue þe to passe, when þou arte tryed,
By innocens and not by ry3te.

‘Ry3twysly quo con rede,
He loke on bok and be awayed
How Jesus hym welke in areþede,
And burne3 her barne3 vnto hym brayde.
For happe and hele þat fro hym 3ede
To touch her chylder þay fayr hym prayed.
His dessypele3 wyth blame let be hem bede
And wyth her resoune3 ful fele restayed.
Jesus þenne hem swetely sayde:
“Do way, let chylder vnto me ty3t.
To suche is heuenryche arayed”:
þe innocent is ay saf by ry3t.

‘Iesus con calle to hym hys mylde,
And sayde hys ryche no wy3 my3t wynne
Bot he com þyder ry3t as a chylde,
Oþer elle3 neuermore com þerinne.
Harmle3, trwe, and vndefylde,
Wythouten mote oþer mascle of sulpande synne,

Quen such þer cnoken on þe bylde,
Tyt schal hem men þe 3ate vnpynne.
þer is þe blys þat con not blynne
þat þe jueler so3te þur3 perre pres,
And solde alle hys goud, boþe wolen and lynne,
To bye hym a perle wat3 mascelle3.

‘This makelle3 perle, þat bo3t is dere,
þe joueler gef fore alle hys god,
Is lyke þe reme of heuenesse clere:
So sayde þe Fader of folde and flode;
For hit is wemle3, clene, and clere,
And endele3 rounde, and blyþe of mode,
And commune to alle þat ry3twys were.
Lo, euen inmydde3 my breste hit stode.
My Lorde þe Lombe, þat schede hys blode,
He py3t hit þere in token of pes.
I rede þe forsake þe worlde wode
And porchace þy perle maskelles.’

‘O maskele3 perle in perle3 pure,
þat bere3′, quod I, ‘þe perle of prys,
Quo formed þe þy fayre fygure?
þat wro3t þy wede, he wat3 ful wys.
þy beaute com neuer of nature;
Pymalyon paynted neuer þy vys,
Ne Arystotel nawþer by hys lettrure
Of carped þe kynde þese properte3.
þy colour passe3 þe flour-de-lys;
þyn angel-hauyng so clene corte3.
Breue me, bry3t, quat kyn offys
Bere3 þe perle so maskelle3?’


‘My makele3 Lambe þat al may bete’,
Quod scho, ‘my dere destyne,
Me ches to hys make, alþa3 vnmete
Sumtyme semed þat assemble.
When I wente fro yor worlde wete,
He calde me to hys bonerte:
“Cum hyder to me, my lemman swete,
For mote ne spot is non in þe.”
He gef me my3t and als bewte;
In hys blod he wesch my wede on dese,
And coronde clene in vergynte,
And py3t me in perle3 maskelle3.’

‘Why, maskelle3 byrd þat bry3t con flambe,
þat reiate3 hat3 so ryche and ryf,
Quat kyn þyng may be þat Lambe
þat þe wolde wedde vnto hys vyf?
Ouer alle oþer so hy3 þou clambe
To lede wyth hym so ladyly lyf.
So mony a comly on-vunder cambe
For Kryst han lyued in much stryf;
And þou con alle þo dere out dryf
And fro þat maryag al oþer depres,
Al only þyself so stout and styf,
A makele3 may and maskelle3.’

‘Maskelles’, quod þat myry quene,
‘Vnblemyst I am, wythouten blot,
And þat may I wyth mensk menteene;
Bot “makele3 quene” þenne sade I not.

þe Lambes vyue3 in blysse we bene,
A hondred and forty fowre þowsande flot,
As in þe Apocalyppe3 hit is sene;
Sant John hem sy3 al in a knot.
On þe hyl of Syon, þat semly clot,
þe apostel hem segh in gostly drem
Arayed to þe weddyng in þat hyl-coppe,
þe nwe cyte o Jerusalem.
‘Of Jerusalem I in speche spelle.
If þou wyl knaw what kyn he be,
My Lombe, my Lorde, my dere juelle,
My ioy, my blys, my lemman fre,
þe profete Ysaye of hym con melle
Pitously of hys debonerte:
“þat gloryous gyltle3 þat mon con quelle
Wythouten any sake of felonye,
As a schep to þe sla3t þer lad wat3 he;
And, as lombe þat clypper in hande nem,
So closed he hys mouth fro vch query,
Quen Jue3 hym iugged in Jerusalem.”

‘In Jerusalem wat3 my lemman slayn
And rent on rode wyth boye3 bolde.
Al oure bale3 to bere ful bayn,
He toke on hymself oure care3 colde.
Wyth boffete3 wat3 hys face flayn
þat wat3 so fayr on to byholde.

For synne he set hymself in vayn,
þat neuer hade non hymself to wolde.
For vus he lette hym fly3e and folde
And brede vpon a bostwys bem;
As meke as lomp þat no playnt tolde
For vus he swalt in Jerusalem.

‘In Jerusalem, Jordan, and Galalye,
þer as baptysed þe goude Saynt Jon,
His worde3 acorded to Ysaye.
When Jesus con to hym warde gon.
He sayde of hym þys professye:
“Lo, Gode3 Lombe as trwe as ston,
þat dot3 away þe synne3 dry3e
þat alle þys worlde hat3 wro3t vpon.
Hymself ne wro3t neuer 3et non;
Wheþer on hymself he con al clem.
Hys generacyoun quo recen con,
þat dy3ed for vus in Jerusalem?”
‘In Ierusalem þus my lemman swete
Twye3 for lombe wat3 taken þare,
By trw recorde of ayþer prophete,
For mode so meke and al hys fare.
þe þryde tyme is þerto ful mete,
In Apokalype3 wryten ful 3are;
Inmyde3 þe trone, þere saynte3 sete,
þe apostel Iohn hym sa3 as bare,
Lesande þe boke with leue3 sware
þere seuen syngnette3 wern sette in seme;
And at þat sy3t vche douth con dare
In helle, in erþe, and Jerusalem.


‘Thys Jerusalem Lombe hade neuer pechche
Of oþer huee bot quyt jolyf
þat mot ne masklle mo3t on streche,
For wolle quyte so ronk and ryf.
Forþy vche saule þat hade neuer teche
Is to þat Lombe a worthyly wyf;
And þa3 vch day a store he feche,
Among vus comme3 nouþer strot ne stryf;
Bot vchon enle we wolde were fyf —
þe mo þe myryer, so God me blesse.
In compayny gret our luf con þryf
In honour more and neuer þe lesse.

‘Lasse of blysse may non vus bryng
þat beren þys perle vpon oure bereste,
For þay of mote couþe neuer mynge
Of spotle3 perle3 þat beren þe creste.
Alþa3 oure corses in clotte3 clynge,
And 3e remen for rauþe wythouten reste,
We þur3outly hauen cnawyng;
Of on dethe ful oure hope is drest.
þe Lombe vus glade3, oure care is kest;
He myrþe3 vus alle at vch a mes.
Vchone3 blysse is breme and beste,
And neuer one3 honour 3et neuer þe les.
‘Lest les þou leue my tale farande,
In Appocalyppece is wryten in wro:

“I seghe”, says John, “þe Loumbe hym stande
On þe mount of Syon ful þryuen and þro,
And wyth hym maydenne3 and hundreþe þowsande,
And fowre and forty þowsande mo.
On alle her forhede3 wryten I fande
þe Lombe3 nome, hys Fadere3 also.
A hue from heuen I herde þoo,
Lyk flode3 fele laden runnen on resse,
And as þunder þrowe3 in torre3 blo,
þat lote, I leue, wat3 neuer þe les.

‘”Nauþeles, þa3 hit schowted scharpe,
And ledden loude alþa3 hit were,
A note ful nwe I herde hem warpe,
To lysten þat wat3 ful lufly dere.
As harpore3 harpen in her harpe,
þat nwe songe þay songen ful cler,
In sounande note3 a gentyl carpe;
Ful fayre þe mode3 þay fonge in fere.
Ry3t byfore Gode3 chayere
And þe fowre beste3 þat hym obes
And þe aldermen so sadde of chere,
Her songe þay songen neuer þe les.

‘”Nowþelese non wat3 neuer so quoynt,
For alle þe crafte3 þat euer þay knewe,
þat of þat songe my3t synge a poynt,
Bot þat meyny þe Lombe þat swe;
For þay arn bo3t fro þe vrþe aloynte
As newe fryt to God ful due,
And to þe gentyl Lombe hit arn anioynt,
As lyk to hymself of lote and hwe;

For neuer lesyng ne tale vntrwe
Ne towched her tonge for no dysstresse.
þat moteles meyny may neuer remwe
Fro þat maskele3 mayster, neuer þe les.”‘
‘Neuer þe les let be my þonc’,
Quod I, ‘My perle, þa3 I appose;
I schulde not tempte þy wyt so wlonc,
To Kryste3 chambre þat art ichose.
I am bot mokke and mul among,
And þou so ryche a reken rose,
And byde3 here by þys blysful bonc
þer lyue3 lyste may neuer lose.
Now, hynde, þat sympelnesse cone3 enclose,
I wolde þe aske a þynge expresse,
And þa3 I be bustwys as a blose,
Let my bone vayl neuerþelese.

‘Neuerþelese cler I yow bycalle,
If 3e con se hyt be to done;
As þou art gloryous wythouten galle,
Wythnay þou neuer my ruful bone.
Haf 3e no wone3 in castel-walle,
Ne maner þer 3e may mete and won?
þou telle3 me of Jerusalem þe ryche ryalle,
þer Dauid dere wat3 dy3t on trone,
Bot by þyse holte3 hit con not hone,
Bot in Judee hit is, þat noble note.
As 3e ar maskele3 vnder mone,
Your wone3 schulde be wythouten mote.


‘þys motele3 meyny þou cone3 of mele,
Of þousande3 þry3t so gret a route,
A gret cete, for 3e arn fele,
Yow byhod haue, wythouten doute.
So cumly a pakke of joly juele
Wer euel don schulde ly3 þeroute,
And by þyse bonke3 þer I con gele
I se no bygyng nawhere aboute.
I trowe alone 3e lenge and loute
To loke on þe glory of þys gracious gote.
If þou hat3 oþer bygynge3 stoute,
Now tech me to þat myry mote.’
‘That mote þou mene3 in Judy londe’,
þat specyal spyce þen to me spakk,
‘þat is þe cyte þat þe Lombe con fon
To soffer inne sor for mane3 sake,
þe olde Jerusalem to vnderstonde;
For þere þe olde gulte wat3 don to slake.
Bot þe nwe, þat ly3t of Gode3 sonde,
þe apostel in Apocalyppce in theme con take.
þe Lompe þer wythouten spotte3 blake
Hat3 feryed þyder hys fayre flote;
And as hys flok is wythouten flake,
So is hys mote wythouten moote.

‘Of motes two to carpe clene,
And Jerusalem hy3t boþe nawþeles —
þat nys to yow no more to mene
Bot “cete of God”, oþer “sy3t of pes”:
In þat on oure pes wat3 mad at ene;
Wyth payne to suffer þe Lombe hit chese;

In þat oþer is no3t bot pes to glene
þat ay schal laste wythouten reles.
þat is þe bor3 þat we to pres
Fro þat oure flesch be layd to rote,
þer glory and blysse schal euer encres
To þe meyny þat is wythouten mote.’

‘Motele3 may so meke and mylde’,
þen sayde I to þat lufly flor,
‘Bryng me to þat bygly bylde
And let me se þy blysful bor.’
þat schene sayde: ‘þat God wyl schylde;
þou may not enter wythinne hys tor,
Bot of þe Lombe I haue þe aquylde
For a sy3t þerof þur3 gret fauor.
Vtwyth to se þat clene cloystor
þou may, bot inwyth not a fote;
To strech in þe strete þou hat3 no vygour,
Bot þou wer clene wythouten mote.
‘If I þis mote þe schal vnhyde,
Bow vp towarde þys borne3 heued,
And I anende3 þe on þis syde
Schal sve, tyl þou to a hil be veued.’
þen wolde I no lenger byde,
Bot lurked by launce3 so lufly leued,
Tyl on a hyl þat I asspyed
And blusched on þe burghe, as I forth dreued,
By3onde þe brok fro me warde keued,
þat schyrrer þen sunne wyth schafte3 schon.

In þe Apokalypce is þe fasoun preued,
As deuyse3 hit þe apostel Jhon.

As John þe apostel hit sy3 wyth sy3t,
I sy3e þat cyty of gret renoun,
Jerusalem so nwe and ryally dy3t,
As hit was ly3t fro þe heuen adoun.
þe bor3 wat3 al of brende golde bry3t
As glemande glas burnist broun,
Wyth gentyl gemme3 an-vnder py3t
Wyth bantele3 twelue on basyng boun,
þe foundemente3 twelue of riche tenoun;
Vch tabelment wat3 a serlype3 ston;
As derely deuyse3 þis ilk toun
In Apocalyppe3 þe apostel John.

As John þise stone3 in writ con nemme,
I knew þe name after his tale:
Jasper hy3t þe fyrst gemme
þat I on þe fyrst basse con wale:
He glente grene in þe lowest hemme;
Saffer helde þe secounde stale;
þe calsydoyne þenne wythouten wemme
In þe þryd table con purly pale;
þe emerade þe furþe so grene of scale;
þe sardonyse þe fyfþe ston;
þe sexte þe rybe he con hit wale
In þe Apocalyppce, þe apostel John.
3et joyned John þe crysolyt
þe seuenþe gemme in fundament;

þe a3tþe þe beryl cler and quyt;
þe topasye twynne-hew þe nente endent;
þe crysopase þe tenþe is ty3t;
þe jacynght þe enleuenþe gent;
þe twelfþe, þe gentyleste in vch a plyt,
þe amatyst purpre wyth ynde blente;
þe wal abof þe bantels bent
O jasporye, as glas þat glysnande schon;
I knew hit by his deuysement
In þe Apocalyppe3, þe apostel John.

As John deuysed 3et sa3 I þare:
þise twelue degres wern brode and stayre;
þe cyte stod abof ful sware,
As longe as brode as hy3e ful fayre;
þe strete3 of golde as glasse al bare,
þe wal of jasper þat glent as glayre;
þe wone3 wythinne enurned ware
Wyth alle kynne3 perre þat mo3t repayre.
þenne helde vch sware of þis manayre
Twelue forlonge space, er euer hit fon,
Of he3t, of brede, of lenþe to cayre,
For meten hit sy3 þe apostel John.

As John hym wryte3 3et more I sy3e:
Vch pane of þat place had þre 3ate3;
So twelue in poursent I con asspye,
þe portale3 pyked of rych plate3,

And vch 3ate of a margyrye,
A parfyt perle þat neuer fate3.
Vchon in scrypture a name con plye
Of Israel barne3, folewande her date3,
þat is to say, as her byrþ-whate3:
þe aldest ay fyrst þeron wat3 done.
Such ly3t þer lemed in alle þe strate3
Hem nedde nawþer sunne ne mone.
Of sunne ne mone had þay no nede;
þe self God wat3 her lombe-ly3t,
þe Lombe her lantyrne, wythouten drede;
þur3 hym blysned þe bor3 al bry3t.
þur3 wo3e and won my lokyng 3ede,
For sotyle cler no3t lette no ly3t.
þe hy3e trone þer mo3t 3e hede
Wyth alle þe apparaylmente vmbepy3te,
As John þe appostel in terme3 ty3te;
þe hy3e Gode3 self hit set vpone.
A reuer of þe trone þer ran outry3te
Wat3 bry3ter þen boþe þe sunne and mo

Sunne ne mone schon neuer so swete
As þat foysoun flode out of þat flet;
Swyþe hit swange þur3 vch a strete
Wythouten fylþe oþer galle oþer glet.
Kyrk þerinne wat3 non 3ete,
Chapel ne temple þat euer wat3 set;
þe Almy3ty wat3 her mynster mete,
þe Lombe þe sakerfyse þer to refet.

þe 3ate3 stoken wat3 neuer 3et,
Bot euermore vpen at vche a lone;
þer entre3 non to take reset
þat bere3 any spot an-vnder mone.

The mone may þerof acroche no my3te;
To spotty ho is, of body to grym,
And also þer ne is neuer ny3t.
What schulde þe mone þer compas clym
And to euen wyth þat worþly ly3t
þat schyne3 vpon þe broke3 brym?
þe planete3 arn in to pouer a ply3t,
And þe self sunne ful fer to dym.
Aboute þat water arn tres ful schym,
þat twelue fryte3 of lyf con bere ful sone;
Twelue syþe3 on 3er þay beren ful frym,
And renowle3 nwe in vche a mone.

An-vnder mone so great merwayle
No fleschly hert ne my3t endeure,
As quen I blusched vpon þat bayle,
So ferly þerof wat3 þe fasure.
I stod as stylle as dased quayle
For ferly of þat frelich fygure,
þat felde I nawþer reste ne trauayle,
So wat3 I rauyste wyth glymme pure.
For I dar say wyth conciens sure,
Hade bodyly burne abiden þat bone,
þa3 alle clerke3 hym hade in cure,
His lyf were loste an-vnder mone.


Ry3t as þe maynful mone con rys
Er þenne þe day-glem dryue al doun,
So sodanly on a wonder wyse
I wat3 war of a prosessyoun.
þis noble cite of ryche enpryse
Wat3 sodanly ful wythouten sommoun
Of such vergyne3 in þe same gyse
þat wat3 my blysful an-vnder croun:
And coronde wern alle of þe same fasoun,
Depaynt in perle3 and wede3 qwyte;
In vchone3 breste wat3 bounden boun
þe blysful perle wyth gret delyt.

Wyth gret delyt þay glod in fere
On golden gate3 þat glent as glasse;
Hundreth þowsande3 I wot þer were,
And alle in sute her liure3 wasse;
Tor to knaw þe gladdest chere.
þe Lombe byfore con proudly passe
Wyth horne3 seuen of red golde cler;
As praysed perle3 his wede3 wasse.
Towarde þe throne þay trone a tras.
þa3 þay wern fele, no pres in plyt,
Bot mylde as maydene3 seme at mas,
So dro3 þay forth wyth gret delyt.

Delyt þat hys come encroched
To much hit were of for to melle
þise aldermen, quen he aproched,
Grouelyng to his fete þay felle.

Legyounes of aungele3 togeder uoched
þer kesten ensens of swete smelle.
þen glory and gle wat3 nwe abroched;
Al songe to loue þat gay juelle.
þe steuen mo3t stryke þur3 þe vrþe to helle
þat þe Vertues of heuen of joye endyte.
To loue þe Lombe his meyny in melle
Iwysse I la3t a gret delyt.

Delit þe Lombe for to deuise
Wyth much meruayle in mynde went.
Best wat3 he, blyþest, and moste to pryse,
þat euer I herde of speche spent;
So worþly whyt wern wede3 hys,
His loke3 symple, hymself so gent.
Bot a wounde ful wyde and weete con wyse
Anende hys hert, þur3 hyde torente.
Of his quyte syde his blod outsprent.
Alas, þo3t I, who did þat spyt?
Ani breste for bale a3t haf forbrent
Er he þerto hade had delyt.

The Lombe delyt non lyste to wene.
þa3 he were hurt and wounde hade,
In his sembelaunt wat3 neuer sene,
So wern his glente3 gloryous glade.
I loked among his meyny schene
How þay wyth lyf wern laste and lade;
þen sa3 I þer my lyttel quene
þat I wende had standen by me in sclade.
Lorde, much of mirþe wat3 þat ho made
Among her fere3 þat wat3 so quyt!
þat sy3t me gart to þenk to wade
For luf-longyng in gret delyt.


Delyt me drof in y3e and ere,
My mane3 mynde to maddyng malte;
Quen I se3 my frely, I wolde be þere,
By3onde þe water þa3 ho were walte.
I þo3t þat noþyng my3t me dere
To fech me bur and take me halte,
And to start in þe strem schulde non me stere,
To swymme þe remnaunt, þa3 I þer swalte.
Bot of þat munt I wat3 bitalt;
When I schulde start in þe strem astraye,
Out of þat caste I wat3 bycalt:
Hit wat3 not at my Prynce3 paye.

Hit payed hym not þat I so flonc
Ouer meruelous mere3, so mad arayde.
Of raas þa3 I were rasch and ronk,
3et rapely þerinne I wat3 restrayed.
For, ry3t as I sparred vnto þe bonc,
þat brathþe out of my drem me brayde.
þen wakned I in þat erber wlonk;
My hede vpon þat hylle wat3 layde
þer as my perle to grounde strayd.
I raxled, and fel in gret affray,
And, sykyng, to myself I sayd,
‘Now al be to þat Prynces paye’.

Me payed ful ille to be outfleme
So sodenly of þat fayre regioun,
Fro alle þo sy3te3 so quyke and queme.
A longeyng heuy me strok in swone,

And rewfully þenne I con to reme:
‘O perle’, quod I, ‘of rych renoun,
So wat3 hit me dere þat þou con deme
In þys veray avysyoun!
If hit be ueray and soth sermoun
þat þou so styke3 in garlande gay,
So wel is me in þys doel-doungoun
þat þou art to þat Prynse3 paye.’
To þat Prynce3 paye hade I ay bente,
And 3erned no more þen wat3 me gyuen,
And halden me þer in trwe entent,
As þe perle me prayed þat wat3 so þryuen,
As helde, drawen to Godde3 present,
To mo of his mysterys I hade ben dryuen;
Bot ay wolde man of happe more hente
þen mo3te by ry3t vpon hem clyuen.
þerfore my ioye wat3 sone toriuen,
And I kaste of kythe3 þat laste3 aye.
Lorde, mad hit arn þat agayn þe stryuen,
Oþer proferen þe o3t agayn þy paye.

To pay þe Prince oþer sete sa3te
Hit is ful eþe to þe god Krystyin;
For I haf founden hym, boþe day and na3te,
A God, a Lorde, a frende ful fyin.
Ouer þis hyul þis lote I la3te,
For pyty of my perle enclyin,
And syþen to God I hit byta3te
In Kryste3 dere blessyng and myn,

þat in þe forme of bred and wyn
þe preste vus schewe3 vch a daye.
He gef vus to be his homly hyne
Ande precious perle3 vnto his pay.

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Pearl – Middle English - PEARL POET