the fourthe book begynneth,
of the grene tree and the drye,
and other wonderful syghtes
In this mene tyme that we
thus talked, me semyd that Helle wente awey fro me,
and that I also departid fer fro it. Neuertheles I
sawe hit contynuelly, so ferre ne passed I nought,
that it ne was sene of me what tyme that I retourned
my vyage thyderward. Neuerthelater, longe ne
was it nought, er that we were
retorned ayene abouen the Erthe, fro thens that we
departid. Thenne sawe I before me a thyng wherof I
wondred, for suche a maner syght hadde I not sene
byfore. I sawe in a fayre playn a multytude of
pylgryms pleyenge with an appell, bytwene twoo
greete trees, one of the whiche was fayr &
grene, full fresshe & lusty to loke vpon, &
that other drye, withoute ony maner lustynesse or
`Seest thou', quod myn aungel, `the yonder pylgrymes?' `Ye', quod I, `I see them wel, but it wold full gretely ease my herte yf that ye wold telle what that pleye meneth.'
`There nys', quod he, `no pylgrym so wyse, ne soo holy, that soo certeynly can holden his wey, that he ne shall fynde somtyme heuynesse and sorowe at his herte, wherfore hym nedeth of solace and disport, wherwith to appesen his herte, as who soo wold styllen a child with some maner of comfortable myrthe of recreacion. Wherfore wyte it well, that these that thus pleyen here to auoyden theyr heuynesse, they haue founden vnder the yonder grene tre an appel, wherof they hauen grete ioye and comfort, with the whiche appel they pleyen as oftymes as they ben annoyed.
`And wyte it wel, that this appel is nought withouten grete comfort, for this is nought the appel wherof Aristotiles46 wrote that merueylous book, ne this is nought sothely Adams appel47, by whiche so moche meschyef come to the world, but it is the appel that by cause of Adam and his lygnage was hanged vpon this drye tre, whiche that grewe before hand vpon this grene florisshynge tree. And fro one tree to another was he translated, and borne fro the grene tree and put vpon the drye tree, for to restoren this drye tree to verdure and to fresshenes, that was by lafte hym of old tyme by the surfet of youre fyrst fadre.