How that Synderesys, Whiche Is Clepyd Here the Worm of Conscyence, Accuseth the Sowle

Capitulo xixº

Thenne come forth by me an old one that long tyme had hyd hym self neyhe me, whiche byfore that tyme I had not apperceyued. He was wonder hydous for to loke vpon and of ful cruel semblaunt. And fast he gan to grenne & shewid me his iowes and his gommesa, for teethe hade he none, but they were al forbroke, forweryd & forfaren.

And whan I had aspyed hym I was ful soore abashyd. He was wonder lothely and fowle to loke vpon, for he had vpon hym self no flesshe at al, ne no body had he vnder his hede, but only a tayl, whiche semyd the tayle of a worme and was despytously of lengthe & gretnesse.

To me this lothely beest ganne for to speke and sayd in this wise. `I am come', quod he, `for to acuse the, whiche am not acustomed for to make fables ne telle no gabbynges, but in al places [15v] I am byleuyd of trouthe. I knowe wel apertly al thy thoughtys, thy dedes and thy wordes, fro the fyrst tyme that euer thou haddest discrescyon & veray vnderstandyng. Thou myght ayenst me make none excepcyon, ne ageynseye me of no word, that Ib am sure ynowe. I am soo renommed that I shal be byleued better than thy self here in this Court.  And ful pryue haue I ben at al tymes with the. Ful oftymes haue I warned the of thy mysgouernaunce, as thylk that loueth the, awaytyng thy profyte and procuring thyn hele. I haue ful oftymes for thy mysdedys and mysgouernaunce of wordes and of thoughtes vndertake the and ful sore byten the so ferforth, that al my teethe ben wasted & forbroken. So hard and obstynate hath ben thy wykked herte, that for no sore bytyng that I couthe set vpon the ne myght I not ayene torne the of thyn vnthryftynesse.

`Soo is it ryght that I playne vppon the. And than thou here thy peyne, as thou hast ryghtwysly deseruyed. Bethynke the nowe whan I sawe the in a tyme goo to a certeyne place for to see and byhold a merueylous beest, and yafe thy money only for that syght. That tyme spak I to the, yf thou now record, and yafe the suche counseylle and sayde "Yf that thou werec auysed", quod I, "as thou be reson owest, thou sholdest goo noo fer for to byholde a wonderful beest, but to thyne owne persone. And there myght thou see a foul mysshapen monstre of thyne owne sowle, more merueylous than that other."

`And forther I said the "Yf thou haddest be subtyle and wise, thou sholdest haue hyed the to the preest, and shewyd hym that hydous beeste of thyne owne sowle, whiche thou hast so longe tyme kept in pryuete, that soo foule is blemysshed and deformed with thy synnes, to that ende, that thy preest for that syght shold haue yeuen the ful absolucyon, that ful gladly wyl yeue suche reward to tho that wylfully haboundoune theym selue to shewe hym suche a desguyse and horryble vysage.'