Here He Seeth One
Peyned in Yse for Delycate Norysshynge of His Body
Now sothely shal I seye yow
that in al places where that I hadde forfetyd and foleyed in myn vnthryftynesse bifore hand
in my lyf tyme in euery manner synne, I was led and
punysshed, in somme more, in somme lesse, after the
quantite or qualyte, or elles the longe abydynge of
customme that I had in that synne.
Moche dysese and peyne I suffred in this wyse, and so sawe I other also suffre; somme in the places where they were born, some in stedes where they had before hand lordshyp and soueraynte had in theyr lyues, somme in howses, somme in feldes, somme in the see, somme in ryuers, somme in the erthe, somme in deserte, somme in wyld forestes. Somme brenden in the fyre, somme weren froren in the yse, so that amonges al other I saw one enclosyd eueridele in yse, & thus I herd hym seye to his Angel:
`Dere Wardeyne', quod he, `I biseche the, how is it that I am so peyned in this cold yse. The fyre was neuer to me by haluen dele so greuous, as me semyth. Yet I haue vsed bathes or steues for esement of my body that now lyeth and stynketh. It forthynketh me sore, and so me forthought or I deyde. And wel I wote I was therof clerely confessyd.'
Thenne answerd this Angel and sayde: `wel I wot', quod he, `I sawe the shryuen, for thou haddest nede, or elles haddest thou be rauysshed of Sathanas and cast in to endeles fyre. But vnderstande wel that thy confessionb only fordoth not the peyne that due is for thy synne, but it nedid after confession to doo satisfaction, whiche thou ne dydest nought at alle, ne shalt nought, for ought I wote, this thousand yere here after, but yf that Grace Dieu and Prayer helpe ther to. For thou haste yet but thre dayes abyden in this peyne. And thou al thy lyf tyme lyuedest in delyce, and vsedest suche maner of vanyte, where [45r] with thou dydest me ful grete despyte and puttest me oute of thy hous, and madest stoppen al my wyttes, that I ne shold nought see ne knowe of thyne horrible lyuynge, thy nyce wordes, thy wauntonc dedes, and suche other vnthryfty occupacions, and hast with holden Sathanas to thy party ageynst me, and dydest by his counseylled , fulfyllynge his desire.
`And I, standyng withoute, maade moche sorowe, abydyng thyne amendement, wherof, as it semed wel, thou tokest no reward, ne leftest nought for me.
`Therfore, yf thou suffrest now grete peynes and tormentes, and shal yet longe tyme duryng herafter, ne wyte thou nought me. But neuertheles, dyscomfort the nought, for when it is plesaunt to oure Lord Ihesu, al shal ben amended, therfore bere thou pacyently thy peyne and kepe wel thy burdon in to the tyme that thou be fully purged of al thy mysdedes. And though thoue the seme now dysesed & peyned with this grete cold, whanne oure Lord wyl, it shal ben amended. In my ne lyeth it nought to abredge thy peyne, but wel I wote they shal haue and ende, and hennes shal al pylgrymes passen when they ben purged.'
I sawe there many huge merueyles, for one whiche that I had knowen byfore hand in my flesshely lyf, I sawe there in peyne, whiche that had ben enclyned al to synne. Ne I ne sawe hym neuer doo no good dede, ne neuer herde I hym seye noo good word, but alle folke tolde of his vyces and his vnthryfty gouernaunce. He was dede sodenly withouten confession, and was iuged of alle men dampned and desperate, wherfore he lacked Crysten sepulture.
The same sawe I withouten his owne dore, where he was woned to duelle, standynge and cryenge mercy to tho that passeden forby. And with a yerd he bete hym self as oftyme as ony cometh ther forth. And so he dyde what tyme that I come, wherof I was somwhat abasshed.
Thenne asked I hym and seide `Art nought thou', quod I, `that same persone, that somtyme duelledest ther withynne, and thus was thy name?' `Yes, sothely', quod he. `I was the same man. And here I haue y be longe tyme in peyne, and shal be, whyle that God wylle. Blessid mote he be, that he graunted me that Grace that I am nought dampned. But putte me here he hath of his grete Mercy for to shewe my self to all other, and aske them foryeuenesse in as moche as I haue yeue to them wycked example of al maner synne. And this peyne I take ful pacyently for my purgacion, and bete my self thus openly, and aske alle men mercy of that I haue offendyd.'
`Soothly', quod I, `somme good dede [45v] hast thou done, that thou thus art saued fro dampnacion, and taxed in this wyse to a childes peyne to ben bete with yerdys.'
`Alas', sorowful quod he, `hast thou hadde a more greuous peyne than betyng of these yerdes! And yet withouten this am I eueridele enflammed with the brennynge, so greuously, that wonder is that I ne am torned in to nought. I haue none other comfort but only my burdon. And wyte it wel that I haue nought in knowynge that euer I dyd in my lyf ony good dede, ne was not shryuen of my synne, but I hadde repentaunce and contricion of herte, with purpoos of confession a lytel before my deth, wherfore the Gracious Lord sente me hyder to haue myn purgacion for my wykked lyuynge.'