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Upon his bere ay lyth this Innocent Biforn the chief auter whyl masse laste, And after that, the abbot with his covent Han sped hem for to burien him ful faste; And whan they holy water on him caste, Yet spak this child, whan spreynd was holy water, And sang—O Alma redemptoris mater!

This abbot, which that was an holy man,
As monkes been, or elles oughten to be,
This yonge child to conjure he bigan,
And seyd; “O dere child, I halse thee
In vertue of the holy Trinitee,
Tel me what is thy cause for to singe,
Sith that thy throte is cut, to my seminge?"

“My throte is cut unto my nekke-boon,"
Seyd this child, “and, as by wey of kynde,
I sholde have deyèd, ye, longe tyme agoon:
But Iesu Crist, as ye in bookes fynde,
Wil that his glorie laste, and be in mynde,
And, for the worship of his moder dere,
Yet may I singe 'O Alma' loude and clere.

“This welle of mercy, Cristes moder swete,
I lovèd alwey, as after my conninge;
And whan that I my lyf sholde forlete,
To me she cam, and bad me for to singe
This antem veraily in my deyinge,
As ye han herd, and, whan that I had songe,
Me thoughte she leyde a grain upon my tonge.

• “Wherfor I singe, and singe I mote certeyn
In honour of that blisful mayden free,
Til fro my tonge of-taken is the greyn;
And after that thus seyde she to me,
‘My litel child, than wol I fetchen thee
Whan that the greyn is fro thy tonge y-take:
Be nat agaste, I wol thee nat forsake.'”

This holy monk, this abbot, him mene I, His tonge out-caughte, and toke away the greyn, And he yaf up the gost ful softely. And whan this abbot had this wonder seyn, His salte teres trikled doun as reyn. And gruf he fell al plat upon the grounde, And stille he lay, as he had ben y-bounde.

The covent eek lay on the pavement
Weping, and herying Cristes moder dere.
And after that they rise, and forth ben went,
And toke awey this martir fro his bere,
And in a tombe of marble-stones clere
Enclosen they his litel body swete;
Ther he is now, God leve us for to mete.


FLEE fro the prees, and dwelle with sothfastnesse,
Suffyce unto thy good, though hit be smal;
For hord hath hate, and clymbing tikelnesse,
Prees hath envye, and wele blent overal;3
Savour no more than thee bihove shal;
Werk wel thy-self, that other folk canst rede;*
And trouthe shal delivere, hit is no drede.

Tempest thee noght al croked to redresse,
In trust of hir that turneth as a bal;"
Gret reste stanto in litel besinesse.
And eek be war® to sporne" ageyn an al;"1
Strive noght, as doth the crokkel2 with the wal.
Daunte thy-self, that dauntest otheres dede;
And trouthe shal delivere, hit is no drede.

1 insecurity.
4 advise.
7 i. e., fortune.
10 kick.

2 the crowd.
6 doubt.
8 stands, resides.

3 prosperity blinds everywhere.
o disturb.
9 cautious.
12 crock, earthen pot.

11 awl.

That thee is sent, receyve in buxumnesse,13
The wrastling for this worlde axeth a fal.
Her nis non hom, her nis but wildernesse:
Forth, pilgrim, forth! Forth, beste, out of thy stal!
Know thy contree; lok up, thank God of al;
Hold the hye-wey, and lat thy gostł4 thee lede!
And trouthe shal delivere, hit is no drede.


Therfore, thou vache,15 leve thyn old wrecchednesse;
Unto the worlde leve now to be thral;
Crye Him mercy that of His hy goodnesse
Made thee of noght, and in especial
Draw unto Him, and pray in general
For thee, and eek for other, hevenlich mede;
And trouthe shal delivere, hit is no drede.

Explicit Le bon counseill de G. Chaucer

JOHN LYDGATE (1370?–1451?]


My Fader above, beholdyng thy mekenesse,

As dewe on rosis doth his bawme sprede, Sendith his Gost, most soverayne of clennesse,

Into thy breste, A! Rose of Wommanhede!

Whan I for man was borne in my manhede
For which, with rosis of hevenly influence
I me rejoyse to pley in thy presence.

Benygne Moder, who first dide inclose

The blessèd budde that sprang out of Jesse,
Thow of Juda the verray perfit Rose,

Chose of my Fader for thyn humylite

Without fadyng, most clennest to bere meFor which with roses of chast innocence

I me rejoyse to pley in thy presence. 13 willing obedience.

14 spirit.

16 cow.

16 cease

O Moder! Moder! of mercy most habounde,

Fayrest moder that ever was alyve, Though I for man have many a bloody wounde, Among theym alle there be rosis fyve,

Agayne whos mercy fiendis may nat stryve; Mankynde to save, best rosis of defence, Whan they me pray for helpe in thy presence.



This hindir yeir I hard be tald,

Thair was a worthy King;
Dukis, Erlis, and Barronis bald,

He had at his bidding.
The Lord was anceane, and ald,

And sexty yeiris cowth ring;
He had a Dochter, fair to fald,

A lusty lady ying.”

Off all fairheid schoo bur* the flour;

And eik hir faderis air;
Off lusty laitis, and he honour;

Meik, bot and debonair.
Scho wynnit in a bigly bour,

On fold wes non so fair;
Princis luvit hir par amour,

In cuntreis our all quhair.10

Thair dwelt a lyt besyde the King

A fowll Gyane" of ane;
Stollin he hes the Lady ying,

Away with hir is gane;

1 "to fald”: on earth. ? young. 3 she.
6" lusty laitis”: pleasant demeanour. 7 high.

10 i.e., everywhere.

4 bore.

6 heir. 8“ bot and”: but also, yet. 11 giant.

And kest hir in his dungering,

Quhair licht scho micht se nane: Hungir and cauld, and grit thristing,

Scho fand in to hir waine.12

He wes the laithliest on to luk

That on the grund mycht gang: His nailis wes lyk ane hellis cruk,

Thairwith fyve quarteris lang.
Thair wes nane that he our-tuk,

In rycht or yit in wrang,
Bot all in schondir13 he thame schuke;

The Gyane wes so strang.

He held the Lady day and nycht,

Within his deip dungeoun; He wald nocht gif of hir a sicht

For gold nor yit ransoun, Bot gifel4 the King mycht get a Knycht,

To fecht with his persoun, To fecht with him, bot day and nycht,

Quhill ane were dungin doun.

The King gart seik baith fer and neir,

Beth be se and land,
Off ony Knycht gife he micht heir,

Wald fecht with that Gyand.
A worthy Prince, that had no peir,

Hes tane the deid on hand,
For the luve of the Lady cleir;

And held full trew cunnand.15

That Prince come prowdly to the toun,

Of that Gyane to heir; And fawcht with him, his awin persoun,

And tuke him presoneir;

12 dwelling.

13 sunder.

14 “ Bot gife”: unless.

15 covenant

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