This yongling answerd than, and saide `I haue wel and pleynly herd and vnderstonde thy wordys, and wel I wote that there neuer was of these, ne of none other no malyce purposyd ne perfourmed, but only thurgh thy wykkednes. And yf thou haddest ony good conneb, such maner of malyce had neuer be purposyd.'
`How myht thou sey', quodc he, `that I ne couth no good, sith that the prophete preyseth me so moche that he sayde I was ful of wysedom and of beaute. Yf I was ful of wysedome, how was I, vnconnyng, so that myn vnconnyngd, as thou seyst, was cause of al meschyef?'
To this answerd this yonglyng, myn Aungel. `These wordes', quod he, `whiche were sayd of the prophete Ysaye3, apperteyneth to thy mayster Lucifer, but he and his mynystres ben one in effect, wherfor I admytte these wordes seyd to the. And I graunt wel, that thou were ful of wysedom, as the prophete seyth. And yet couthest thou no good, but thou were of thylke that he spekyth of elles were and seith sapientes sunt vt faciant mala. Bonum autem facere nescierunt4. Thou and thy felaushyp were wyse ynowe, ye veray ful of wysedom for to done euyl thynges, but good thynges couthe ye neuer doo, for wysedom is taken there but for an abylyte of connyng, whiche abylyte is indyfferent to good and to euyl. And thou applyedest thyne abylyte to the werse partye. And soo couthest thou neuer good, but moche malyce and wyckednes. And so thou techyst other, so that had nouht [3v] thy cursyd wysedom be, ther had neuer malyce be purposyd. For veray sothe it is that the performyng of malyce standyth nought in thy power, but only in Goddes suffraunce. But the purposyng of malyce is thyne owne properte, whiche God ne oweth not of ryght to byreuen the. Soo thenne thow besyest the after thy propyrte to purpose malyce, and for to torne good purpoos in to euyl. And so thou done alwey syth thou bygan. So is that cursyd nombre encrecyd, whiche thou clepest thy creatures, that is the cursyd multitude of synnes acursyd of the Souerayne Creatour that seyth maledicta creatura eorum, quia inutilis5. Acursyd be the creature of them, for it is vnprofytable. And so yf that my pylgrim hath ought done that is vnprofytable, that is by the, and of thyne excytyng, in that thou hast steryd ayenst hym all that cursyd company. Nought so, that I purpose ne enforce me nought for to excuse hym of al, ne for to mayntene hym in ony maner errour. But as touchyng that I wil bringe hym bifore Mychael the Prouost of Heuene, to whome I wyl presenten hym as fast. And yf thou canst ought alledgen that may ben ageynst hym, wherby thou woldest clayme hym for thy prysoner, come fast byfore the iuge and he shal do the ryght, for I my self am no iuge for to doo iustyce, but only I am wardeyn of this pilgrim for to gouerne hym, and kepe in to the ende of iugement.'
Thenne said this Sathanas `Now certaynly', quod he, `thou dost me open wrong for to assygne me a Iuge that is, and euer hath ben, my capital enemy: Michael, that drofe me out of Heuene. And wel it semeth that thou purposist vtterly to byreue me my praye with wrong, & to mayntene hym in his errour, sithe thou assignest a iuge that is nought indifferent, but frend to your partye.'
Of this quod this Angel `I do the no wrong, for the Iuge is of the Souerayne Kynge assigned to that office, nought for this pilgrym, but generally for alle. And though me ryght loth be', quod he, `thider wol I go, for my cause is good, and grete right haue I in myn askyng.