The Chartre of Mercy
Ihesu Kyng of hye Heuen aboue
To Mychael my chyef Lyeutenaunt,
And al thyn assessours whiche I loue,
That in my seruyse ben perseueraunt,
Haue euermore - and to me ful plesaunt -
My gretyng, and vpon the peyne of drede
Vnto this present Chartre taketh hede.
Me hath besought this present lady here,
Myserycord, and at hyr grete instaunce
Also hath eke myn owne Moder dere,
That alwey redy is at hyr plesaunce
For synful men to make purueaunce
Aboue they haue me, whiche of my Grace
I graunted that theyr prayer haue his place.
Ther ben pylgryms, as they certyfye,
That toward me theyr weyes hadde take,
Whiche haue mysgon and erryd folyly
By styryng of the fowle fende blake
That somme of theyr iourney had forsake,
And efte theyr iourneye had ayene begonne,
But sodenly hath fayled them the sonne.
Somme haue be lette by fowle temptacion
And styryng of theyr flesshely wretchydnesse.
Somme by dysese and tribulacion,
And falle in to huge .heuynesse.
And somme also the worldes besynesse
Soo greuously theyr hertes ouersett
Of theyr iourney, soo that they haue be let.
But than they haue repentyd wonder sore.
Some of them but ryght at theyr lyues ende,
And somme of them a lytel what before,
Bygonne theyr lyues somwhat to amende.
In wylle therafter neuer to offende
Haue shryue them of al theyr old trespace,
And put them seluen holly in my Grace.
[28r] At instaunce of myn owne Moder swete,
To whome I maye no maner thyng denye -
And Mercy also may I not foryete -
Vnto theyr bone myself I wylle applye.
This Grace I graunt them of my Regalye,
That I shal them receyue vnto my pees;
Of helle peyne I graunt them ful relees.
Soo that they haue me, Ihesu, Mercy cryed
Or that the brethe oute of the body yede,
And al theyr ful lustes haue defyed
In veray feyth, as techeth them the Crede,
Soo that ye shal ayenst them nought procede
As to foriuge them to Helle peyne,
But that in this rygour ye refreyne.
And though theyr wycked werkes counterpeise
Theyr good dedes whan they shal be weye,
Soo that the better hym selue reyse
As for defaute of weyght, yet this I seye,
And wylle that to this Chartre ye obeye,
Whiche I haue grauntyd for my Moder sake.
To Mercy here I haue bytake
Of the tresour of my bytter Passyon,
And of the meryte of my Moder dere,
To whome none other hath comparyson,
With meryte of my seyntes al in fere,
That to my byddyng ful obeysaunt were
Of plente and of superhaboundaunce,
A forset ful, whiche putteth in the balaunce
To counterpeyse ageynst the fendes part,
Soo that he fayle of his entencion
To brynge them so with his subtyle art
To haue them iuged to dampnacion.
For that hath ben his occupacion,
With cursidnesse of al the Synnes Seuene,
Syth that tyme that he was chacyd out of Heuene.
And nought for thy this is not myn entent,
Ne for this cause my blood ne shed I nought,
That ony wyght in mysgouernement
Abyde shold, and truste in his thought
That hym this Chartre shold auayle ought,
And of this Pardon be partynere,
Or of this Grace that I haue grauntyd here.
Therfore, oute of this Chartre I except
Tho alle whiche in to theyr lyues ende
Haue euermore in cursyd synnes slept,
Purposyng nought theyr lyues to amende,
Vpon the trust them selue to defende
Fro Helle by this present Grace
Alle tho shal be exyled fro my face.
And these also whiche that ben obstynate
And neuer wylle to my Lawe obeye.
These also that ben veray desperate,
That wylle no Grace ne no Mercy preye,
But ryght soo in theyr cursyd synnes deye.
To them is dewe the hoote fyre of Helle,
With Sathanas eternally to dwelle.
Wherfor no man soo bold ne hardy be,
Trystyng vppon this present Pardonaunce,
To forfette or to synne in no degre
Vpon the tryst of fynal repentaunce
Whiche is my yeft. And after my plesaunce
I yeue it them that shal my Mercy haue,
Withoute whiche no wyght ne wyl I haue.