Of Dyuerse Peynes
Thanne after this sawe I
many peynes pertynent to dyuers synnes. I sawe hye
bemes and long, on which were many hanged. And
vndernethen was an huge fyre that brente on alle
sydes. Some of them were al fordryed
and lene withouten flesshe, that
nought apperyd of them but only the bones.
Somme were by the eyen hanged with hookes, and som by the tonges, whiche, as me semyd, were tonged double, among whiche one I sawe, wherof me merueyled. He hadde his mouthe cloos, shynyng as gold. And by the throte come out his double tonge, by whiche he was hanged.
And alle these whiche I sawe hangen in this maner wyse hadden sharp knyues and grete fitched thorugh oute theyr hertes. Many were ther merueilous peyned of such that were hanged, of whiche no creature can telle the nombre. Ful wel myght the bocher auauncen hym self, and seyn that al other bochers lyuyng in Erthe had nought so moch flesshe hangynge in their howses.
I sawe also many other caitifs in other dyuerse peynes. Some were hanged by chaynes of syluer, ful bytterly, by their tonges, and somme by the handes, and som by other membresa, ful shamefully. The parlementb wold be ouerlongc for to rehercen them by rowe.
Thenned wold I haue asked myn angel to telle me thee cause of al this maner hangyngf, which I ne knewe not my self. But it neded not, for this forsaide bocher taught me wele [51v] ynow by that I sawe and herde hym done to tho wretches. For fast he went about fro one to another, and good hede he took that none of them were loosid out of their hookes wherby they hanged, ne that cord ne chaine were nought myswent other wyse than it shold. And to eueriche of them he spak as he come by them.
Firste he spak to Enuye, and seide in this wise. `Ye cursid doughters of Enuy, that is doughter of the grete Tenebre, the cursid Prince of Helle, haueth mynde and bethynke yow, that hangeth by the eyen, of a iuste cause. For ye wold neuer with youre eyen see ne behold to thynges profitable, but al youre lokyng was ouerthwart and lothe for to see ony mannes profyte - so sharp & so cruel was youre eye syght. And nouther swerd ne spere maye so gretely greue, for only the harme and dysese of other ye loued for to see, and only that hath plesid oure hertes. Ye haueth youre ioye in other mennes sorowe, & youre game & youre solace of other mennes meschyef. Ye ben lene caitifs withouten flesshe, & that is of youre owne fretyng hertes. Here shall ye hold yow for euer withouten ony socour.
`Also ye backbiters, that haue ben robbers of mennes good names - of ryght I haue yow hanged by your enuenymed tonges - haue mynde how that ye haue deceyued Enuye, your cursid moder. Alle youre study & besinesse hath ben to defame tho that were better than ye, that more good couthe, & were of better wylle. A wonder wycked instrument is suche a tonge that bireueth another his good name, and at the laste bryngeth his maister to suche a perillous ende. Tho that stelen iewels, gold, or syluer, or drencheth in the see a grete somme of tresour, synneth not so sore as ye that steleth a mans good name. And yf ye ne leueth nought me, byleueth your peynes whiche ye haue therfore.
`Also ye that haue ben flaterours and traitours to youre frendes and soueraynes. Euer haue ye ben double and borne double tonges. Ye haue shewed them in presence good chere and semblaunt of loue & trouth, but behynde ye haue ben fals traytours. And thou, fals Iudas, though thou hangedest thy self when thou felle in despair in that thou haddest falsely bitraid thy Lord and thy Maister, and falsely delyuerd hym to the cursyd Iewes, thou art not by that peyne exemptyd ne excused. But al in another wise here art thou to be hanged. And as for as moche as that fals traitour tonge shalle not fele that mouthe that kyssed the Hyghe Kynge, wherof yet shyneth thy mouthe, nought of thy worthynesse, but of his owne clerte. Therfore is thy tonge drawen [52r] oute at thy throte and fastned vpon the gibet among suche other wretchis as thou, that hangest here in peynes. Here shalt thoug hangen perpetuelly withouten ony comfort or hope of delyueraunce.'
Thenne sawe I within that brennynge fyre two spirites standyngh al forwoundyd with knyues in theyr handes, whiche that liften vp a wondre hidous crye, and saiden in this wise. `O Treason! Cursid mote thou be of God and al his Seyntes, that euer thou were engendred or brought in to this world.'
Thenne said this bocher maister of these tormentis `Hit nedeth nought', quod he, `for to cursen Treson, ne bidde for Treson worse than it hath. For euer hit hath ben acursid, and shalle withouten ende, in hym and alle his lignage, wherfore I haue hym hanged vppon my gybet.'
In this poynt myn aungell speke to these spirites that maden this reuful crye. `I wold wite', quod he, `what Treson hath mysdone yow, that causeth yow to hym ward to synge suche a songe.'
`Soothly', quod they,`Treson hath brought vs in this meschyef. For sometyme we twoo lyued wel to geders and were in good estate. And Treson come to either of vs a parte by vs self, and helde his parlement, and counceiled that one of vs shold kepe hym seluen fro malice of that other, for sothly his deth was fore cast but if he the better sawe to hym self, for thylke that he loued & trusted vppon was his mortal enemy. And to that other of vs he wente and said in the same wyse, soo that he made vs to haten eueriche other that loued wel before. And either of vs wenyng that al had ben sothfastly trewe as he said, ther al was falshede and contryued malice. Hit befelle that we mette to geders and slowe eueriche other. And soo be we brought bothe in to this peyne. And grete cause haue we to curse that caitif that brought vs in this meschyef.' `Certes', quod myn aungel, `a grete cause ye haue for to curse Treson, and cursid mote he be euer withoute ende.'