Sowles Ben Led in to Helle
But now to my purpoos.
These foule fendes ledden these forsayd sowles with
suche solempnyte as they ben
woned to usen toward the fyre of
Helle, the sely sowles wepyng and them seluen
yellyng with a carful
melodye. Grete horrour and heuynesse
was it for to here. And so they departyd fro my
syght. I sawe nomore of them, saue only my Sathanas
was euer abydynge me, byholdyng alweye what wey that
I wold take. For wel had he herd my Iugement, wherof
hym ne lyked neuer a dele at al.
Soo at the last this fardel was trussed on my necke, my scrip and burdon was me bytake ageyne. And thenne myn Angel sayd to me thus:
`Come on', quod he. `Thou must to Purgatory. I haue hadde for the in to this tyme grete heuynesse and laboure, for thou woldest not be rewlyd after me whyle thou myghtest chese. But nowe myghte thou none other chese, but go there as [37r] thou art assigned in to the tyme of thy ful purgacion. Longe tyme haue I be taryed fro the Souerayne Blysse by cause of thy mysgouernaunce, for al though I haue presently byfore me the sight of the Souerayne Fader, yet is my ioye in so moche dystracted that thou art not there thou sholdest be: on hye in ful felycyte.
Thenne Sathanas auauncyd hym self byfore, thretyng me, and seyd `Withouten me thou ne shalt passen.' And so alwey he wente kepyng and costeying a fer as he durst, for drede of myn Angel, to whome he wold not neyghen. But with ful heuy chere I neyhed to the fyre which I sawe byfore me, al black and hydous, enflammed al aboute. But alweyes it semyd transparaunt, that I myght see thorugh as it had ben a glas. There sawe I also many other pylgryms that suffred greuous tormentes of this brennyng fyre that was wondera sharp, as semyd me, for therin was I cast with my wretchid fardel, wherof me lyked but lytel.
O swete Crist, who is it that may bethynke or seye the tormentes & the peynes that I there suffred, and that I sawe other also suffren in that fyre. Ther is no tonge may tellen, ne wryter descryue, ne none ere of man suffyseth for to here, ne herte to conceyue, ne vtterly to byleue. It may no creature, but yf he had assayed, as I and other dyde. In euery parte and in euery side the fire was hote brennynge, within and withoute. Ne ther is no mortal creature that wolde suppose or trowen that ony fyre myght be half so hote, for sykerly al this erdely fyre is but thyng depeyntyd in regard of that other, and that shal he conceyuen that hath bothe assayed.
In this fyre I was abydynge ful longe, as me thoughte, aboute for to brenne this vnthryfty fardel, wherwith I my self also brente contynuelly. Hit semyd me sothely, that I was in that peyne passynge a thousand yere, and ouer al my grete and greuous peyns it dysplesyd me most in parte the presence of this Sathanas, that alweye continuelly shewid me so vnthrifty semblaunt. That dyde me grete discomfort, for fayne he wold haue noyed me yf he myght. Yet it nedith noo thynge, for I felte ynowe of that I suffred vpon myn owne persone al withoute hym. And sothely to me ne myght he not neyhen, ne done none disese as to my owne propre persone. Myn Angel alweye soo besily defended me fro his malice, and often comfortid me, abiding euer before me ful neye to my persone. And elles shold I nought, as me semyd, neuer haue endured the tenthe parte of the peyne.
And oftyme thus said he to me `Loo, now myght thou by this wel [37v] vnderstande and see how moche hit harmeth and annoyeth a pylgrym for to leue the ryht wey & the trew path that oure Lord God hath shewed to pylgrymes bothe in the Olde Lawe and also newe late establyssed in the Newe, so that for as moche as thou haste erryd and myswent, now arte thou thus in peynes that greuen the I wote wel wonderly sore, and soo thou hast ful ryghtwisly deserued. And no doute had not the hye Mercy of oure Lord God sparid the and forborne, thou haddest yet deseruid moche more.
`Wherfore ne be thou nought desmayed, for when thou art fully purged of thy fylthe and dyscharged of thy fardel, soo that hit be wasted vtterly and euery dele forbrent, thenne shalt thou be fynally deliuerd oute of these peynes after thy desire. For wyte it wel: ful heuy is to me so long iourneyng out of my ioyeful felaushyp, and wonder fayne wold I be fro hennes. But soothly, sith I haue thus fer brought the on thy wey, I wol not departe fro the tyl that thy self be purged and thou go euen streyght with me in to the Hye Blysse, for I abyde nought elles but only thy persone.'