The Fend Reherceth Vyces of Fals Iuges and Fals Witnesses

Capitulo v

`Also false iuges haue ben in defaute of moche vntrouthe, for when ye hauen clerely knowen whiche part hadde ryght, ye haue nought done therafter, but syttyng in youre iugement ye haue falsely sentenced ageyne the trewe parte, be cause that he was poure and made nought your purs peysen so heuy as did that other, namely ayenst suche, that durst not appele, ne withseyen your sentence.

`Ye sholden take in mynde of the kyng Cambyses
a42, that by cause a iuge had sold his iugementb for money, he lete hylde hym quyck, & fastned the skynne vpon the same sege ther the iugement was yeuen, to that ende thatc euery iuge after that shold take in mynd to beware for to iuge falsely, and that euery other souerayne, whiche that hath gouernanced, shold herof take ensample, but ye wold nought beware, ne none ensample take. There myght yow haue auayleth, wherfore here shal ye be in peynes euer withouten ende.

`Also ye lyers, forswerers and witnessers of falshede. For yeftes and for mede ye haue born fals record, lyed, and forsworen yow, affermynge falshede in stede of trouthe. Soo longe tyme haue ye putte your tonges to hyre, that now is the tyme come that ye shal wel knowe and vnderstande that I shal array newe your tonges, for I shal be youre bocher, and by venemous and cursyd tonges ye shal be an hanged, and so shalle ye no more with your fals tonges deceyuen the peple.

`Also ye herkeners of euil tales, that hauen made youre eres lyke to bagges for to gadren and kepen a maner of wyckednesse, and afterward reported it in place and tyme where ye may annoyen suche as yow lyketh. `To theuys ye haue ben felawes, and the theft wchich they haue stolen, ye haue your self receyued, folewyng and gladly heryng euery euel speker. I mene of yow backbiters, [54r] that stelyth the fame and the good loos of other, whiche for cause that they wold hyde the theft and the menure, whiche they haue stolen, and they hauen brought it to yow for to kepe, wytyng wel that ye ful gladly wold vnderfonge hit. And wyte it well: had it not be youre redy receyt, they had not be at al tymes so redy to stele. But the cursidnes of youre fals receyte hath made the theues bolde for to stele and robbe men of theyr good fame, soo that ful ryghtwysly by the same eres, that alwey were so redy to here euyl tydynges, now ye ben hanged.

`To yow also, theues of other mennes good, right it is that I speke. Ye haue had handes lymed euer redy for to catche. Noo thynge myght you escape; by tho false handes now be ye hanged. Now wold I sey that ye were subtile theues, yf that ye couthe escape and stele fro my presence, oute of these bitter boundes that I haue yow ynne.'

Thus wente aboute this bocher to this hanged peple, and lepte fro one to another, and smartely he descended for to righte the fire whiche that brent vnder them. And after that, ful spedly he stert vp ageyne; he ne was nothyng slowe for to visite this folk in encrecyng of theyr bytter peynes.