Here He Seeth a Wonderful Peyne for Treson

Capitulo iiii

Thenne sawe I a wonderfull engyne of a grete whele tornyng aboute, of whiche whele one parte was abouen erthe & that other binethen, so that it roos oute of a little dore, & and torned doun at another. The compasa of this whele was fitched ful of hokes of yren. These hokes to renten & a racid two caitifs thatb stode at this forsaid litel dores & werenc charchid in euery side with [52v] bagges ful of gold and syluer.

On hye vppon a towre besides this whele I sawe a stately persone lyke to a kyng, that lened hym on the walle. And wonder wrothe he semyd toward these caytyfs that thus were in theyr torment, and seyden to them thus. `Acursyd mote ye be of God and his Sayntes; suche fals treson and vntrouthe haue I founden in yow. For I trysted yow and loued yow, wenynge for to fynde in yow sadnes and trouthe.

`I had made yow sometyme offycers in my royamme; one of yow Chaunceler, and another Tresorer, in whiche offyces specially hanged alle the gouernaunce. To me ye comen and seyden that yf I wold suffre yow alone with the gouernaunce of your offices, ye wold encrecen my tresour in a lytel tyme, so that I shol be suffysaunt of good to kepe and defenden my land fro peryl of al myn enemyes, and haue ynow wherof to mayntene myn estat in honour and worshyp. I, wenynge veryly that ye had ben trewe men and feythful, tryste to your wordes, and lete yow do your best.

`Thenne went ye forth and maden this whele, and hanged it ful of bagges whiche ye filden ful of tresour, for whiche ye pilled my peple by dyuerse extorcions, makyng and contryuyng newe statutes and custommes, auaylynge to your purpoos, whiche, as I supposed by your owne seyng, al had ben for the best.

`Wonder subtyle was this whele, and of merueylous engyn. For wel I sawe these bagges by tornynge of this whele entre in to my tresory, supposynge for certeyne that to my grete auauntage by the hye subtilyte of your wyttes - accursyd mot it be! But when I was my self entred in to my tresory, trowyng for to fynde ther ynne this good that was in this wyse carryed by this whele, but ther fond I nought. For this subtyle whele with his merueylous tornynge caryed this good forth under the erthe. Well I sawe the bagges of gold whyle hit was aboue, but when hit cam binethen, al went another wey, in to your owne cofres, wherwith ye yow seluen and many other brybours were made rial and ryche, and I my self poure er that I wyst.

`Ful gladde were myn enemyes, that knewen al youre counceylle, that I my self affyed soo moche vppon yow - I thought nought but good, but wende haue hadde therof ynow to defende me fro myne enemyes - and with myn owne good y reysed them and strengthed ageyne myn owne hede. Ye sworen to me for to be trewe and feythful. But al I found contrary, and nought as ye behyghte, for ye were tornynge aboute subtylly yow seluen as this whele [53r] yede. Ye were nought in presence as ye were in absence. In my syght only ye torned to the ryght hand, but vnder erthe pryuely ye torned to the lyft hand.

`And soo was I deceyued and my reame more wasted and forfaren by werres and other dyuerse weyes than euer hit was before. And sothly the people aspyed wele youre subtilyte, and saide that ye had another whele pryue vnder this forsaid, whiche whele was meuyd by tornynge of this other, that one fast, that other soft, by leyser and processe lyke to the maner of an orologe.

`Soo was it seyd me, that by your cursyd engynes ye weren ryght as cogges confedered and entendyd with other suche brybours, whiche that were your vnder offycers, and other of youre assent: traytours and conspyratours, whiche that weren with yow enterlacid to geders, soo that by suche maner of confederacye my counceyl and my pryuytees were knowen by lettres oute of my reame, wherfore ye receyued gold of myn enemyes, makyng them syker where and what tymes, to what profyte and auaylyng of them seluen, they myght falsely entre in to my land and doo what them lyst.

`Thus haue ye stolen my tresour, discouered my counceylld, and by your fals confederacy destroubled my royamme, and done me grete dysese by the pestylence of your cursyd treson. Now wolde I hold yow subtyle, ye, more subtyle than euer I held byfore, yf ye couthe with al that tresour, whiche that ye so subtilly haue assembled, make youre redempcion of these peynes, and be deliuerd oute of this torment.

`But sothely, that shal neuer be, for right as euery craft seweth his maister, be it good or bad, right soo youre subtyl engyn of this wonder whele is comen hider with yow, for to doo you seruyse that liketh you but litell. And all the while that God is in Heuen, here ye mote abide.

`Hider am I comen to telle and repreue of youre fals sleigtes, doyng yow to wite, that ye ben now wretchid poure caitifs at the vttrest meschyef. And I shal haue ynowe of al that me nedeth, for better counceille wille I haue, and better beware of suche fals traitours and fals conspiratours.'

After this thenne this mayster tormentour and bocher, that I spak of bifore, spake to these caitifs that hangen in their tormente. `Now haue ye', quod he, `youre ioye and youre solace, suche as ye haue sought and rightwisly deserued; ye traitours, ye pledours, ye aduocates, ye consystoryesf, and of the popes court, ye laweours and maynteners of wrong, bryngers of bribes, norisshers of discencion, ye lyers and forsworen men, that hauen doone soo grete peyne and besinesse to susteyne fals causes to make it semen right, [53v] that was very wrong, hynderyng the trewe quarell, and fortherynge the false, lettynge with delayes the ryght to be knowen, ne suffred nought the sentence sone to be yeuen, for cause that ye wold putte youre clyentes at the more cost in fyllynge of youre pourses, and oftymes takynge mede of bothe two partes, knowyng bothes counceyl, and bothe ye deceyued.