After this, yet sawe I many
moo tormentys wherof I was abasshed.
But euerichone taught me myn angell. I sawe a furnoys brennynge alle flammed
with fyre, and al aboutes in euery side therof, many
fowle assembles of ful lothely ghoostes.
Somme of them besyed them for to make cordis, and whan they were made, delyuerd them to other, whiche that maden faggots of sowles, and bounden them to geders by ten and by twelue. These sowles, as me semyd, were al ful of pryckes, lyke to a portpen: so sharp and soo pryckynge, that no man myght neyhen them. And thenne were there other, that with fyre pykes cast them in the forneis, that al was enflammed with smokyng fyre.
`Here', quod myn aungel, `myght thou see and knowe folke that nought ne couthe suffren, but were yreful and inpacyent to al men aboute them, that alwey hauen sought vengeaunceb by wordes and by dedes, to be wroken vppon tho that ought haue mysliked them. And euer haue they in theyr hertes holden wrecche & rancour, ne neuer wold foryeuen, for prayer ne for plesaunce, that myght be done to them.
This is the wretchid lygne of malicious peple; such folke it nedeth thus for to bynde in fagottes, and cast them with forkes in to the fyre. And better is it, that they brenne, than that they hurt other folke with their sharp pryckyng. So moche haue they woundyd and forprycked other folk about them, that now it is hye tyme that they brenne, and poynte no more.'
Ioynyng to this forneys ther stood a huge whele, vpon whiche were many caitifs tatched with hookes. This whele two fendes torned ful smartely, and tho that hanged ther vppon, they [55v] maden them for to hurtlen ageyn a pyler that stood besides that whele, so that at the hurtlynge hit was theyr brayne sturt oute, and theyr eyen also felle oute of theyr places.
Of this whele myn angel told me euery dele the soothe, that made me sore adred. `These ben', quod he, `the children of tristesse, that slepyn in slouthe and lachesse, veyne and ful of ydelnes, and al maner vnthrifte. And these it ben, that haue borne theyr burdons withoute cause, for they wold nought therby reysen them self ne releuen, but sloutheful haue they ben aboute theyr owne hele, when they were fallen, and leyen defyled in the donge of synne. Ne they haue not for theyr forfet taken noo penaunce. Al be hit that for somtyme theyr lewd lyf displesid to them seluen; and sothely somme of them haue had suche maner of displesauncec rooted in theyr hertes, that for very heuynesse they cast doun their burdon thorugh foly of despeyr. So haue they ben forfaren with indscrete sorowe, as was cursyd Cayn, the fyrst borne child.
`To that ende thenne, that they be waked of theyr heuy slepe, they ben sette vpon this whele, here in the peyne of Helle, and soo despytously torned aboute, that none of them shal be soo fast slepynge, that he ne shal awake; namely whan he cometh to this pyler, where that they so strongly bend hurtlyd with theyr heedes. So who that ne lyst nought awake in that one side, he shal in that other. Grete encheson hath euery synful wreche for to flee slouthe and wake in good werkes that they kepe them fro pleyenge of this peryllous whele.'