A Medieval Song

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A Medieval Song : Full of Alliterations : The Field Full of Folk

In a somer seson whenne softe was the sunne
I shop me into a shroud as I shep were,
In habite as an hermite unholy of werkes,
Wente wide in this world wondres to here.
But on a May Morwening upon Malverne hilles
Me befel a ferly, or fairye me thoughte.
I was wery of wandred and went me to reste
Under a brod bank by a bournes side.
And as I lay and lenede and lookede on the Watres,
I slomerede into a sleeping, it swyede so merye.

Thenne gan I mete a merveillous swevene:
That I was in a wilderness, wiste I nevere where.
Ac as I beheld into the Est on high to the sunne
I saw a towr on a toft tryely y-maked.
A deep dale benethe, a dungeoun thereinne
With deepe dikes and derke and dredful of sight.
A fair feeld ful of folk fand I there-betwene,
Of alle maner of men, the mene and the riche,
Worching and wandringe as the world asketh.
Some putte hem to plow, playede ful seIde,

In setting and sowing swunk ful harde,
Wonne that these wastours with glotonye destroyeth.
And some putte hem ta pride, aparailede hem thereafter,
In countenaunce of ckothing comen disgised.
In prayers and penaunce putten hem manye,
Al for love of oure Lord livede wel straite,
In hope for to have hevene-riche blisse,
As ancres and hermites that holden hem in celles,
Coveite not in cuntre to cairen aboute
For no likerous liflode here likam to plese.

And some chosen to chaffare, they chevede the betere.
As it seemeth to our sight that suche men thriven.
And some merthes to make, as minstrales cunne,
And gete gold with here glee giltles, I trowe.
Ac japeres and jangleres, Judas Children,
Fonden hem fantasies and fooleshem make,
And have wit at wille to worche if hem list.
That Poule percheth of hem I dar not prove it here;
Qui lowuitur turpiloquium is Luciferes hine,
Bidderes and beggeres faste aboute yede

Til here bely and here bagge were bratfuly-crammed;
Flite thenne for her foode, foughten at the ale;
In glotonye, God wot, go they to bedde,
And risen up with ribaudrye as Robertes knaves;
Sleep and sleuthe seweth hem evere,
Pilgrimes and palmeres plighten hem togedere
For to seke Saint Jame and Saintes at Rome;
Wenten forth in here way with many wise tales,
And hadde leve to lye al here lif after.
Hermites on an heep, with hooked staves,

Wenten to walsingham, and here wenches after;
Grete lobies and longe, that loth were to swinke,
Clothe de hem in copes to be knowen from othere,
Shopen hem hermites here ese to have.
I fand there freres, aIle all the foure orders,
Preching the peple for profit of the wombe;
Glosede the gospel as hem good likede,
For coveitise of copes construe de it as they wolde.
Many of these maistres may clothe hem at liking.
For here mony and here Marchaundise meten togedere.

Si then charite hath been Chapman chief to shrive lordes.
Manye ferlies han fallen in a fewe yeres.
But Holy church and hy holded bet togedere,
The most michief on molde is mounting up faste.
There prechede a pardoner, as he a preest were,
Brought forthe a bulle with bishopes seeles,
And saide that himself mighte assoile hem alle
Of falsnesse of fasting and of arowes broken.
Lewede men levede it wel and like de his speche,
Comen up kneelinge to kissen his bulle.

He buncheth hem with his brevet and blereth here eye,
And raughte with his raggeman ringes and broches.
Thus they given here gold glotones to helpe
And leneth it loseles that lecherie hauten.
But were the bishop y-blissed and worth bothe his eres.
His seel shulde not be sent to deceive the peple.
It is not al by the bishop that the boy precheth,
Ac the parish preest and the pardoner parte the silver
That the pore peple of the parish shulde have if they ne were.
Persones and parish preeetes plained hem to Gere bishop

That here parish was pore sithe the pestilence time,
To have a licence and leva at Londoun to dwelle,
To singe for simonye- for silver is swete.
There hovede and hundred in houves of silk,
Serjauntes it seemede that serve de at the barre;
Pleten for penies and poundes the lawe,
And nought for love of oure Lord unlose here lippes ones.
Thou mightest bestere mete mist on Malverne hiles.
Thanne gete a mom of here mouth til mony be shewed.
I saw bishopes bolde and ba cheleres of divin,

Become clerkes of a countes the king for to serve,
Archedekenes and denes, that dignites haven
To preche the peple and pore men to feede,
Been y lope to Londoun by leve of here bishop.
And been clerkes of the Kinges Bench the cuntre to shende.
Barouns and burgeis and bondage also.
I saw in that semble, as ye shulen here after.
Baxteres and brocheres and brewsteres manye,
Wollene websteres and weveres of linen,
Taillours and tanneres and tokkeres bothe,

Masones, minours, and manye othere craftes,
As dikeres and delveres that doth here deede ille,
And driveth forth the longe day with

Djeu lave Dame Emme!

Cookes and here knaves crieth 'hote pies, hot!
Goode gees and gris! Go we dine, go we!'
Taverners to hem tolde the same.
'Whit wyn of Osay and wyn of Gascoyne,
Of the Ryn and of the Rochel, the rost to defye!'
AI this I saw sleeping and seven sithes more.

By Willjam Langland c. 1375

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