Comforteth the Sowles that Lyen in the Fyre of
Alweyes a ful longe tyme me
thoughte that I hadde abyden in this greuous peyne.
I apperceyued at the laste a glemmyng
of lyght comynge fro Heuen. And thenne sawe I come
the Auterer fro thennes in that lyght. And anone myn
Aungel wente ageynst here, and brought hyr euen to
me. She brought with her a paner
ful of boystes. I sawe also of
other Angels a grete multitude, whiche I had nought
sene byfore hand, that weren wardeyns
of other pilgryms that with me were in peynes
abydyng Goddes Grace.
Thenne herd I bytwene hyr and these Aungels a long parlement, whiche I took ful good hede to. Thenne sayd this Lady Auterer `I was send', quod she, `by Holy Chirche in message to the Souerayne Kyng for to gete and purchace what help that I myght in comfort of these pylgryms that here lyen in prison in grete peyne and torment. And wel I wote that they would fayne knowe and fele what I haue y brought, wherfore I saye yow soothly that Grace Dieu hath made her many dyuerse oynementes that hauen general vertue, that who soo euer is anoynted therwith, hit shal alledgen his peynes and decrecyn theyr fardels.
`I haue also other messages, whiche that were bitake me of dyuerse persones, frendys to the prysoners that praide me for to doo theyr message in to Heuene. Somme of them, as I wel byheld, withouten ony affection, only with a fewe wordes haue sente theyr legacion. Somme also hauen with hoole affection bytaken me theyr message, but they were lette by cause of custome of synne, wherof they hadde not amended them by veraya repentaunce. And alle their boystes haue I brought voyde, for [40r] why I fond the gates of Heuen sparryd ayenst me. And there I was repreuyd and clepyd one of the foole maydens36 that lacked bothe oyle and lyghte in theyr lampes at entrynge of the spouse, soo that thylk message auayleth nought at al.
Somme other ther were, that with hole herte and clere affection and clennesse of conscyence after theyr estate and power bitoke me of their goodes for to done my deuoyr, soo that my weye ne shold nought be in veyne ne my labour spylt. Andb shortely for to seye, som frendes & parentes of these peyned pilgrymes preyede me for to purchacen, for somme more, for somme lesse Grace, after that them semyd necessary and after the affection that they hadden to them. Soo haue I for tho that more hertely bysought, more frendely purueyed, and specially for them that haue had masses sayd for them & thec Holy Sacramentd offred with special mynd vpon thee same prisoners.
`Lo, I shal vnclose my paner. Here ben the boystes eueriche of them marked to whome they apperteynen. And yf ye finde ony boystes marked for them that ben dampned, or elles for tho that ben escaped theyr peynes of Purgatory, soo that it may nought auaylen for them to whome they ben assigned, departeth therof to tho that moost neden. For skyle it is that I bere the boystes voyde ageyne with me. One boyst haue I brought generally for alle, that was bytaken me by the band of Holy Chirche. Now maketh your distribucion, as yow semyth best to eueryche that hym oweth.'
And so thenne anone this messager retorned ageyne, and oftymes she come and yede with hyr messages. That plesyd me ful moche, for why her comyng auayleth me gretely, and so it dyde to all other that were in my company. And gretely were they gladyd as often as they sawe her.
Soo thenne whan she was flowen thus in hyr weye, euery Aungel took his boyst, whiche he sawe marked to his owne pilgrym. But to thylk boyst that was sent in general to alle the company, alle these Angels at ones putten to theyr handes, and eueryche took his parte and wenten abouen vs ther we were syttynge in the hote fyre.
`Now hyder pilgryms', quod they, `and enclynynge yow self receyueth the Grace and the oynement that Holy Chirche hath sent yow in general. And after that shal ye be serued of the specyal, whiche is sente yow by your synguler frendes.'
And wyte it wel, there was neuer sene a gretter assemble of fysshes in the see, ne in no lusty ryuer of fresshe rennynge water, that sheweth them self in euen tydes to take the lusty dewe that fallyth vpon the water, that more lusty auauncedf [40v] them to geders than we sely prysoners precyng forth at ones for to receyuen what that wold byfalle vs of this forsaid Grace, leftyng vp our eyen to God & cryeng to oure Souerayn Kyng & seyng `Swete God Ihesu, mercy'.
Thenne these Angels casten these oynementes vpon vs, that was to vs more swete and lusty than ony licour thatg euer we felte before. & hyely it refresshed vs in alledgyng of oure peynes. Oure syght was ful gretely troublyd of dysease, which was therby amended.
In this wyse this noble Lady come to vs oftymes, vysytynge vs with these noble oynementes, soo that I felte and wel apperceyued that my torment and my dysese was gretely withdrawen, and myn encomberous fardel was also decrecyd.