Of the Thre
with Roses, Rodys, and Lylyes
I told the', quod this
Aungel, `within al lytel tyme passid, when we spake
of Seynt Poule of these thre corounes. And yet shall
I telle the more pleynly. Thou shalt vnderstande
that they ben ordeyned of the Hyhe Kynge for thre
manere of folke, and yeuen them by cause of grete
loue, whiche ben cleped aureoles. And these folk ben
Martyres, Prechours, and Vyrgynes. The corowne with
the rede rosys, that is yeuen to martires, whiche
ben the knyghtes of the Good Lord, and took dethe
wylfully for the lordes sake
`The second corowne of rodys, that bylongeth to Prechours that well haue done theyr deuoyre, ne neuer abasshed them seluen for to sey the trouthe and publisshe the feythe of Crist to alle manere of peple.
`The thyrd coroune of prymerosis and lylyes entermellyd, that is graunted vyrgynes that myghtely haue fought ageyne theyr flesshely lustes, and wonne the faire vyctory that passeth aboue the ordynaunce of nature. Chyuetayne of the nombre is that Blysful Lady Mary very Moder & Noryce of Ihesu Goddes Sone. Ful wel besemeth hyre to bere the aureole, for she was the fyrst that was byfound with [93v] the vertu of Vyrgynyte to plesen the Lord. These ben the thre worldes and Heuens, to whiche Seynt Powle was rauysshed, as is before said.
`This other world, whiche thou seest sowen with sterres of charbouncle that is the noble habitacion of Apostles and Euangelistes, in which is Seynt Peter Pryncipal Chyuetayne, whiche pryncipalte was graunted hym of Criste here in Erth. Neuertheles, yet ben they all fel felawes, neuer one vnder other, but ben partyners of that Blysse eueriche after his merytes as they haue deseruyd.
`Another world yet myght thou see also, ful thick sette of grene emarawdes, that is of the prophetes and of the Patriarkes, of whiche Saynt Iohn Baptist is the Pryncipal, in that place is none, that he ne hath grete haboundaunce of ioye and of solace; noo tonge maye telle the blisse that they haue.
`Yet another world myght thou see bynethen, which that is sowen with sterres of cristalle. That is the habytacion of Hooly Ankers and Heremytes, and all other that beren the name of Confessours. The first Heremyte Pawle99 therynne he dwelleth, and all hooly bisshops and prelates, whiche that somtyme dyden well theyr deuoyre, and ledden their lyues in preyers and in penaunce, conformynge them self to the Lawe and the Lore of oure Lord Ihesu.
`Amonge alle the company of these syxe worldes ben holden froo day to day many hyhe festes, eueryche of these estates vysytynge other, ryght as they ben entermellyd in theyr merytes. For full many ther were of tho before rehercid that hadden places and weren partyners in alle these forsaid worldes. For Seynt Powle the apostel claymed by the deth that he suffred the Aureole of Martirs, by Gods word that he preched and taught besily, he must also as one chyef and pryncipate were also the Aureole of Prechours. And in as moche as he wrastled with his flesshely lustes, and kepte hym self chaste to his lyues ende, he must as wele bee partyner of the coroune of prymerose and lylyes, which that is cleped the Aureole of Vyrgyns.
`And he that was cleped of specialte fro his first erroure, departid with Barnabas by the election of the Hooly Ghoost fro worldly occupacion to worche Goddes werke in fortherynge of the Feyth, wherof he fayleth neuer to his lyues ende, he muste nedes haue a place amonge the Apostles, though soo be that of mekenes he cleped hym self the lest and the [94r] last. Soo that none of alle these estates is restreyned within his propre habitacion, whiche is to hym specially assigned for a maner dignyte of merites. But also they ben entermellyd eueriche with other, and taken theyr disportes in signe of parfyte loue & vnyte, that there is amonges them. For though that theyr dignytees ben appropred to them eueriche as he hath deseruyd, yet be theyr merytes euerichone in commune, and euerich hath ioye & gladnes of others blysse.
`This Countre and these souerayn worldes ben wonder large and wyde, ne there is no laboure ne besynes, but eueriche auaunteth hym self for to preysen God, and doo hym due worship. The vision of the Good Lord, that is al their ioye, theyr reste, and their refection, to knowen hym, louen hym, and hauen hym by parfyte fruicion. That ben the yeftes whiche they haue reward for theyr good laboure, withouten other foure that propirly ben graunted to the body when they shall be reioyned, whiche ben these sewyng: subtilite, clerte, inpassibilite, and agylyte, whiche that ben cleped the dowerys of the body.
`By subtilite they shalle ben able to percen al maner of obstacles to passen where them lyst, without ony lettyng. By clernesse they shal be bryght and transparaunta , that neuer none shal letten other for to see as ferre as he wylle desire. By inpassibilite they ben soo myghty that alle peynes and tormentes that mowe ben deuysed in Erthe or in Helle ne mowe no thyng anoye them, though that they were amyd amonges them. By the yefte of agylyte they shalle be soo lyght for to moue smartely, that where so theym lyste to be, anone they shalle ben there withoute ony taryenge or processe or lettyng in the wey. and these four yeftes ben thynges of grete ioye and plesaunce to tho creatures that shalle enhabyten this noble blisful countre.