How Sathanas WrytetH the Accusement by Tellyng of Synderesys, and How the Sowle ANSWERYTH THERTO

Capitulo xxi

Thenne was it cryed as faste in the Courte and sayd in this wyse: `This Court wylle, as is the olde vsage, who that wyl mayntene therin ony iust quarel, he ne shal not be refusyd by no maner of excepcyon, except that lesyng shal here haue nought to do.'

Thenne byganne to crye this cursyd sathanas and sayde `Thenne am I nought forclosyd oute of this Court but that I may frely accuse and sey myn auys. But for cause that I ne knowe not soo moche as doth this subtyl Synderesys, I leue to hym al myn accyon. And I my self wyl only be wryter and tabellyon of al that he wyl sey and in this present Court wyl openly purposen.'

Tho this forsayd Sathanas satt for to wryte and Synderesys byganne for to telle and sayde to the Iuge: `Syth tyme that I took fyrst reward or entent to pilgryms iourneyes, I ne sawe ne knewe none that more vnthriftyly hath hym self gouerned than hath this same pilgrym that present is byfore yow. For suche day and tyme he dyde thus and thus....'

(And soo he rehercyd in specyal al that I hadde done fro my youthe, that was not purged with penaunce.)

`....And wyteth wel of certeyne', quod he ,`That I neuer dyd ne thought pryue or aperte, ne seyd no thyng that shold be to his harme or ony dysauauntage.'

This shortely for to sey, he told forth his tale, & Sathan sat wrytyng contynuelly, whiche tale were ouerlong to be rehercyd here, to grete shame and confusyon of my persone. And euermore also fast as this worm told, as fast wrote alwey this cursid Sathanas in a grete paper.

Ful moche myslyked me the wordes, and the writyng also me plesyd nought. Ful grete necessyte that tyme hadde [17r] I of an aduocate for to haue spoken for me, for I ne durste ne couthe no thyng seye at al for the grete shame that I hadde.

Alweyes I was boden by the Iuge hym self that I shold haue answerd and defended my cause yf ony right were where by to defende it. But I ne couthe ne myght than seye none other but that, as I supposed, sothe it was wherof I was accused.

Neuertheles I was auysed of somwhat that I hadde for to seye, and hym besought of audyence. `Syre Iuge', quod I, `vouchesauf to haue reward vnto my symplenesse with pyte to ward my persone in determynyng my cause by youre Iugement, considerynge, al be hit soo that I haue mysdone, I haue att al tymes borne scrip and burdon - that is, sad feyth and hope - ne I ne caste neuer yet my scrip fro my shulder that was bitaken me what tyme that I firste bygan my pilgremage, ne I ne dyde neuer thyng in contempt of my Creatour. But al that I haue forfetyd and mysdone was by inclynacion of naturel frealte that so deceyued, for as the Scripture seyth of Goddes owne sentence in the book of Genesis
17 the wytte and the thought of man is alwey enclynate to synne and to corrupcion.

`And though it soo be that this excusacion hath none suffysance, I adde this therto, that this writer is none acceptable tabellyon, in specyal ayenst my persone, for he is the same whiche sith I had first knowyng of good and euyl hath be to me so inportune and seten me soo nye, that I ne myght neuer haue good leyser ne veray free choys to the better parte. But with soo many subtyl deceytes he bilappyd the euyll in semblaunce of good, and somtyme couered the good vnder colour of euyl, that I ne couthe nought clerely wyte to whiche I shold set to my hand. And so ful oftentymes ther I nought purposid ne thought vppon euyl at the begynnyng, I was caught therinne er that I myght haue leyser to bysene my self.

`Also ferthermore what tyme that I had purposid to amende me by penaunce, anone he put Slouthe byfore me, whiche that so lette me that I ne myght nought performe my purpoos ne confesse me whyle it was in my mynd. And alwey when I was moued with ony good entent, anone he hath putte another in my herte, and occupyed soo my wyttes with other thynges for to enpechen this wel bygane purpoos, and suffred me nought in noo weye for to sette hand vppon the maylet of contricion [17v] wherwith I sholde haue broken and for brused these that thus accuse me now, wherof ful sore me a thynketh, and not without cause, nought for thy as now it wol not be amendyd.

`And also Syr Iuge, the wykked world bynethen hath alweyes ben my greuous enemy, for he hath me shewed me his rychesse & his vanytees, his honours and wretchydnesse, and made my flesshe that now lyeth and roteth to delyte therynne, soo that by my folye that one of vs, that is to saye the flesshe and the sowle, hath eueryche deceyued other whyle we were to gyders. This false worlde behyghte vs moche thyng whiche that he ne wold yeue. And yf it so were that he had ony tyme perfourmed his promysse, no doute ful soone after ageyne he withelde it. And sothely, of suche nature is he, that ther nys no wyght may demene a sure ne clene lyf, excepte Souerayne Grace, that moche hath to medle therwith. Soo thenne yf that ony excusacyon myght here auayle in as moche as al that I haue y done amys, is nought only of my self, but by mouynge and instaunce of other. I wold gladly, Syr iuge, that it were acceptyd.'