William Langland

Here you will find the Long Poem The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 17 of poet William Langland

The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 17

'I am Spes, a spie,' quod he, 'and spire after a knyght 
That took me a maundement upon the mount of Synay 
To rule alle reames therewith - l bere the writ here.' 
'Is it asseled?' I seide. 'May men see thi lettres?' 
'Nay.' he seide. 'I seke hym that hath the seel to kepe - 
And that is cros and Cristendom, and Crist theron to honge. 
And whan it is asseled so, I woot wel the sothe - 
That Luciferis lordshipe laste shal no lenger!' 
' Lat se thi lettres,' quod I, 'we myghte the lawe knowe.' 
He plukkede forth a patente, a pece of an hard roche, 
Whereon was writen two wordes on this wise yglosed; 

Dilige Deum et proximum tuum - 
This was the tixte trewely - I took ful good yeme. 
The glose was gloriously writen with a gilt penne
In hiis duobus mandatis tota lex penhet et prophete. 
' Is here alle thi lordes lawes?' quod I. ' Ye, leve me,' he seide. 
'And whoso wet cheth after this writ, I wol undertaken, 
Shal nevere devel hym dere, ne deeth in soule greve. 
For though I seye it myself, I have saved with this charme 
Of men and of wommen many score thousand.' 
' He seith sooth,' seide this heraud, ' I have yfounde it ofte. 
Lo! here in my lappe that leeved on that charme - 
Josue and Judith and Judas Macabeus, 
Ye, and sixti thousand biside forth that ben noght seyen here!' 
' Youre wordes arn wonderfulle,' quod I tho. ' Which of yow is trewest, 
And lelest to leve on for lif and for soule? 
Abraham seith that he seigh hoolly the Trinite, 
Thre persones in parcelles departable fro oother, 
And alle thre but o God - thus Abraham me taughte - 
And hath saved that bileved so and sory for hir synnes, 
He kan noght siggen the somme, and some arn in his lappe. 
What neded it thanne a newe lawe to brynge, 
Sith the firste suffiseth to savacion and to blisse? 
And now cometh Spes and speketh, that hath aspied the lawe, 
And telleth noght of the Trinite that took hym hise lettres - 
To bileeve and lovye in o Lord almyghty, 
And siththe right as myself so lovye alle peple. 
'The gorne thit gooth with o staf - he semeth in gretter heele 
Than he that gooth with two staves, to sighte of us alle. 
And right so, bi the roode, reson me sheweth 
It is lighter to lewed men o lesson to knowe 
Than for to techen hem two, and to hard to lerne the leeste! 
It is ful hard for any man on Abraham bileve, 

And wel awey worse yit for to love a sherewe. 
In pace in is lighter to leeve in thre lovely persones 
Than for to lovye and lene as wel lorels as lele. 
Go thi gate, 'quod I to Spes; 'so me God helpe, 
Tho that lernen thi lawe wol litel while usen it!' 
And as we wenten thus in the wey, wordynge togideres, 
Thanne seighe we a Samaritan sittynge on a mule, 
Ridynge ful rapely the righte wey we yeden, 
Comynge from a contree that men called Jerico - 
To a justes in Jerusalem he [j]aced awey faste. 
Bothe the heraud and Hope and he mette atones 
Where a man was, wounded, and with theves taken. 
He myghte neither steppe ne stande, ne stere foot ne handes, 
Ne helpe hymself soothly, for semyvif he semed, 
And as naked as a nedle, and noon help abouten. 
Feith hadde first sighte of hym, ac he fleigh aside, 
And nolde noght neghen hym by nyne londes lengthe. 
Hope cam hippynge after, that hadde so ybosted 
How he with Moyses maundement hadde many men yholpe; 
Ac whan he hadde sighte of that segge, aside he gan hym drawe 
Dredfully, bi this day, as doke dooth fram the faucon! 
Ac so soone so the Samaritan hadde sighte of this leode, 
He lighte adown of lyard and ladde hym in his handes, 
And to the wye he wente hise woundes to biholde, 
And parceyved by his pous he was in peril to dye, 
And but he hadde recoverer the rather, that rise sholde he nevere; 
And breide to hise boteles, and bothe he atamede. 
With wyn and with oille hise woundes he wasshed, 
Enbawmed hym and bond his heed, and in his lappe hym leide, 
And ladde hym so forth on lyard to Lex Christi, a graunge 
Wel sixe mile or sevene biside the newe market; 
Herberwed hym at an hostrie and to the hostiler called, 

And [quod], ' Have, kepe this man, til I come fro the justes, 
And lo here silver,' he seide, 'for salve to hise woundes.' 
And he took hym two pens to liflode as it weere, 
And seide, 'What he [moore spendeth] I make thee good herafter, 
For I may noght lette,' quod that leode - and lyard he bistrideth, 
And raped hym to Jerusalemward the righte wey to ryde. 
Feith folwede after faste, and fondede to mete hym, 
And Spes spakliche hym spedde, spede if he myghte 
To overtaken hym and talke to hym er thei to towne coome. 
And whan I seigh this, I sojourned noght. but shoop me to renne, 
And suwed that Samaritan that was so ful of pite, 
And graunted hym to ben his groom. 'Graunt mercy,' he seide,