the Body Speketh to the Sowle

Capitulo lviii

Thenne lyft he vp a lytel his fowle lothely vysage, and beganne to opene his horrible mouthe, seyng in this wyse. `Wat seist thou?', quoda he. `Euel comen be thou that now begynnest thus to despysen me, that oweth for to comfortenb me as moche as were in the. Ne thynketh thou nought that thou somtyme were mayster and gouernour of my flesshe, and that thou shalt in that same flesshe come in to Iugementc at the General Resurrexion of me & of al other dede?

`Hast thou not vnderstanden here bifore the wordes of Ezechyel
40, that somtyme was here in the same feld and in this same place, seynge in this wyse: "the drye bones, here ye the word of God", at whiche voys euery bone went to other, ioynynge them self in theyr propre places, and sewyngly the spyrytes repayred to the bones, soo that they stoden vp as men in the same persones, ryght as they were byfore, withouten ony spot or vylonye, wherfor thou owest nought so fowle to despyse me, ne soo rudely for to blame me. For sothly this syght that Ezechyel sawe in spyryte, it shal be fulfylled at the Day of Iugement, veryly bodely withouten, ony doute. Therfor sholdest thou not soo shortely sette me at nought, for cause that I am now thus fowle deformed and thus greuously tormentid in stynke and fylthe amonges wormes and al fowle corrupcion, for thou hast better ryght to blame thy self than to pleyne on me, for of al my fowle horribilite thy self art the cause.

`What reson hath the fyre to pleyne vpon the wode, whiche, when hit had caught hit, brenneth in to asshes. Why shold these asshes be blamed or rebuked for theyr vnthryftynesse?

`Noo cause', quod I, `of skyle hath no wyght for to blame the asshes, but bytwene the and me this maner of lykenes is [47r]d not comparable.'

`Sothly',quod this body, `this lykenes is acordaunte. Vnderstandist thou not that when I was departid fro my moder wombe, with me thou were, and after that tyme alweyes occupyedest me, til I was thus vtterly wasted, and whan thou fondest in me nomore for to waste, thou forsoke me and leftest me like vnto asshes. And I suppose wel that yf thou haddest lefte me sodenly in my helthe, or els that thou haddest by vyolence be cast oute fro me, thenne woldest thou nought haue despysed me as askes, but parauenture called me black forbrent coles.'