Here Iustyce Pledyth ageyne the Sowle

Capitulo xxii

But thenne with an hye voys herd I one speke to my ful grete empesshement: one that hade spoken byfore, Iustyce, it was.

`I vnderstood it wel, Syr Prouost' quod she. `Ye haue here herde and vnderstande that he hath confessyd here openly in presence of this Court al that Sathan and Synderesys haue putte vppon hym, ne he can in no wyse denyen hit.

`But now it is come to excusacyon, it auayleth nought - witnesse vpon Reson and Trouth, whiche be two worthy ladyes of this Court, and knoweth wel al the old vsages and custommes of this present Court - wherfor I shal seye as touchyng this mater, vnder theyr correctyon, somwhat of myn aduys. And yf ought be mysseyed, I wylle that by them it be redressyd and amendyd.

`I seye at the begynnyng that this pylgrym oweth nought to be herd of his excusacyon, for why he knew the lawes in what wise he shold haue gouerned him self at al tymes, and by [18r] what weyes sholde passe al good pilgrims to that Soueraigne Cyte.

`He alledgeth for his excusacyon that his owne flesshe hath deceyued hym and meued hym to euyl. But this excusacyon auayleth nought at al, for why this myght he ful wel haue amended yf he had wel gouerned hym selue after the Lawe that was bytake hym, whiche was clerely shewyd and taught hym in the Ten Commaundementes, and also in the counseyls conteyned in the Gospels of Criste, whiche ben in a maner renouellynges of the forsayd hestes, of which there is noo mortal wyght that may ben excused.

`On that other syde he hath redde and knowen bothe wordes and werkes of the rather sayntes, and in what wyse they kepte Goddes Lawe, for kepynge of whiche Lawe they putte theyr bodyes in ful many greuous distressys, wherfor some of them haue ben slayn and martyred in many dyuerse wyse, whoos peynes and anguysshes no tong suffyseth to seye, ne ere for to here, and ony herte may skylfully agryse for to thynke.

`Some other haue loken them self within lytel place as recluces and anachorites, some exyled them self in wylde heremytages, some closyd and bounden them self in dyuerse relygyons and taken vpon them soore afflyctyons and rygour of penaunce, that by reson who that hereth it shal ful lytel sette by hym selue.

`He hath also herd and red theyr lores & their wrytynges in what wyse a man oweth to subdue the body to the soule, and how al that they wryte and seyde they perfourmed veryly in theyr owne persones. In this wyse, yf he wold, he myght haue done hym self, but sothe it is, he hath alwey ben slowe and rekeles & soo cherysshed his caytyf careyn, and soo moche suffred hym for to haue his lustes, and seruyd hym to his plesaunce soo ferforth, that the wretchyd bodye, that oweth to haue ben seruaunt, hath had the soueraynte and maystre ouer the sowle, that shold haue be mayster and souerayne.

`What excusacyon may hym in this caas helpe or auayle for to reherce, whan that Grace Dieu
18 brought hym to her owne place, and ther bytoke hym armoure and taught hym in what wyse he shold haue had hym self ageyn his aduersaryes. And how he ne apprysed nought hyr doctryne, ne dyd no thyng therafter. I sawe hit, and apperceyued wel my selue.

`Yet ferthermore that he ne shall by no weye excuse hym, hyt byfelle ones when he laye in his bed cortined lyke a lord, this same noble lady she dide hym so grete honour that she [18v] send hym her owne specyal lettres, whiche when he hadde redde, he sette at lytel prys, but cast them anone fro hym to the Erthe. But I sought them vp, and haue them here present, whiche I shal rede in youre audyence. And wyteth wel, Syr Prouost, though he wold denye it, sothely his name is wryten in the begynnynge. He may not desauowe it.'

Soo thenne Iustyce toke oute these lettres oute of hyr bosom and radde theym word for word, wherof this is the veray content: