Of the Purificacion116

Capitulo Xi

`Of other festes I shalle seye more breuely than I haue don of these. It is no doute thata this gloriousb Quene in her concepcionc was fully sayntifyed & preseruyd fro al maner of synne, [101v] wherfore the purificacion that she made in the temple, she nedyd nought at al, but only of humylyte she wold done the obseruaunced ordeyned by Lawe, not for hir, but for other, that were with synne entatchyd.

`Neuertheles, in remembraunce of hyr lowely mekenes and of the presentynge of hyr Sone in to the temple, this feste of Purifycacion is holden in Heuen with hyhe solempnite. This day is the good Symeon
117 led with procession, & Dame Anne the prophetisse, and a full ryall assemble nobly arrayed for to meten with them, and cometh forth by cours of the Cercle in presence of the Kyng and the Quene, full lowely aloutyng, so passyng forth before them. Thenne maketh Symeon and Anne theyr solempne offryng, seyng ryght thus to that blessid Lady:

"Receyueth this offryng, Royall Vyrgyne, and taketh to yow agreabely of youre symple seruantes in remembraunce of that noble offryng that ye maden in the temple; grete ioye and gladness to vs and al mankynde."

`Thenne Cherubyn made moche ioye aboute this noble procession, eueriche of them berynge a flammynge lyght in his hand. And thus they began for to synge in this wyse:

Heryed be thou, Blysfull Heuen Quene,
And worshypped mote thou be in euery place,
That Moder art, and very Mayden Clene.
Of God oure Lord thou geten hast that Grace,
Thou Cause of ioyes arte, and of solace,
By meryte of thy grete Humylyte,
And by the floure of thy Vyrgynyte.

Honoured be thou, Blessyd Lady Bryght,
By thy Persone embellysshed is nature.
Of Heuen Blysse augmentid is the lyght
By Presence of so Fayre a Creature.
Thy Worthynesse passyth al mesure,
For vnto thyn Estate Imperyall
No preysynge is that may be peregal.

`The feste of Assumpcion118 is also ful hyhe and worshipful. And of this feste thou hast fourme in the Ascencion119 of oure Lorde Ihesu, for though the dede were nowhere nyghe soo greete, yett is hit a manere of resemblaunce. [102r] For at that one the Fader honoured the Sone, & at this feste the Sone honoured & worshyped his Moder. Of this feste will I nomore speke at this tyme, but for as moche as thou requyrest me to telle the of this forsaid sterred Cercle, whiche that we clepen the Kalender of Heuene, I wylle telle the somwhat.

`In this Cercle there is a Zodyak, that is to seyen, twelue sygnes set and subtylly expressid, in whiche sygnes the sonne moued alle his cours in all the hoole yere, soo that in eueriche moneth he abydeth. But parauentur thou thynkest in thy herte for to asken of me yf that in euery day in the yere he holden suche a feste as thou hast sene at this tyme.

`But thou shalt vnderstande that so solempne feste is there not alwey contynuelly. For seuen sygnes ther ben, in whiche the sonne is nought receyued so goodely as he shold of reson of his propre nature, for ther in is he ouershadowed & as it were enclypsed for the tyme. These ben tho contrary signes: Aries, Taurus, Leo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagitarius, et Capricornus. These seuen signes were malicious to oure Glorious Sonne and


`Also soone as Cryste the sonne of Ryghtwysnes was born of his moder, he mette with the signe of Taurus. Herodes the cruell horned boole sought hym soo besyly, that yf he myght haue founden hym, he wold ful malicyously haue smyten hym with his hornes and slayn hym to the deth. And soo it semyd well by thylke, that he hurtled with120 allee & smote in stede of hym, wherfore this bryght sonne enclypsed hym self, and hyd hym fro his malyce that was soo fyers vpon hym.


`But after this, whan that this sonne was thyrty yere of age, & comen by his cours entrynge in to the signe of Aries, that was to hym ful bytter and peyneful. The cursid sathanas121, with a shepes symplenes in semyng, come and hurteled with hym what tyme that he held hym feble of fourty dayes fastynge, and yaf hym the grete strokes of Temptacion for to assaye yf that he wold abasshe hym for his soore assaute, or whether he were myghty for to stande ageyne his malyce, supposyng for as moche as he was very man, that he myght haue drawe hym to synne by his fals deceyte.


`Ouerpassyng this in processe of tyme of two yere and an half, or nyhe there aboute, this precious sonne entred in to the Scorpion what tyme so solempnly he was receyued of the peple with braunches and palmes. And of that same people withynne a wyke after, whiche that shewede theym seluen venemous scorpyons, shewynge hym atte hys [102v] comynge soo good and frendely, he was stongen bytterly anone to the deth. And wonder wel may Iudas be lykened to the scorpyon, for he byteth and styngeth bothe two at ones. Soo dyde false Iudas: kyssyng oure Lord he betrayd hym to the Iewes. Suche maner kyssynge with treson may be callyd a ful bytter and venemous bytynge, who that euer it vseth.


`This sonne hasted hym thenne toward his reste, and sped soo fast of his cours, that erly by the morowe he entred the signe of Capricornus, that is the horned goote, what tyme that he was bryght before the false precydent Pylate, whiche that ful falsely feyned hym gyltles of Ihesu Cristes deth, but neuerthelater he admytted fals witnes vntrewely to accusen hym. And notwithstandyng that by this iugement he found in hym no cause wherfore he shold be dede, he foriuged hym falsely, ryght as the cursed Iewes had asked and desired. Euery fals and deceyuable iuge maye skilfully be cleped an horned goote. He is soothely horned by cause of his power and auctoryte. But a goote he may be cleped by cause of indiscrecion, fouly stynkynge, by cause that he will be corrupt by money and by yeftes, wherby he stynketh in the presence of God fouler than ony carayne or goot that is on erthe.


`After this, he hasted hym faster, perfourmynge nyhe a yerely cours in lesse than foure houres, entrynge in to Libra, that is cleped the Balaunce. Vppon the balaunce of the Crosse ther was the tresour weyen that muste be payd for the raunson of Adams lignage. There was neuer gold ne syluer soo besily examyned, for they enforcid hym soo sore to the weyght, tyll the cordys borsten of the balaunce, that were the senewes and the veynes of his Blessid Body. That nombred soo nyhe this payment, that, as Dauyd telleth122, in his name they tolde alle his bones.


`Sone after this, he entred in to the sygne of Sagitary, that is the Archer, whan that the Iewes with their venemous tonges blasfemyd hym, and shotte at hym many bytter wordes, whiche greued hym wel more than all his other woundes. Soo they examyned this metalle first with bytter scorges123, forgyng and betyng, that pyte was to see. They tasted the metalf with wonderg sharp grauours, the nayles & the thornes. And for they wold nedes see whiche it was within, with the sharp spere smyten hym to the herte, so that they myght no more doo. And alle this assaye made Sathanas be done, by cause he wold haue chalenge vpon this precious tresoure as for [103r] vnsuffysaunt, and nouht haue delyuerd the prysoners out of his baundon. thenne was this sonne enclypsed, as it was shewed to Seynt Denys124, that tyme beynge at Athenys in scole.


`After this, the sonne entred in to Leo what tyme that he descended in to helle, and sette oute fro thennes all the hooly faders, that longe tyme hadde abyden his Mercy. Of this infernal Leon byddeth vs beware the Apostel Seynt Paul125: waketh and ben sobre, for the fende, youre aduersarye, as a lyon rorynge, seketh in euery side whome he maye deuouren, whome ye shalle withstande with youre myghty feythe. This lyon also was fygured by the same lyon that Sampson126 slough, in whoos throte after that he founde swete hony. Soo this Blessid Lord slough the fendys power, and found in his gorge many swete soules, whiche were hym ful leef, and take them with hym, as Dauyd hadde besought long tyme before, seyng in his sawter: Delyuer me, lord, from the lyons mouth127.

`What tyme that this sonne is in these forsaid signes seuen, wite it wel, it is no couenable reson for to make feste, for thenne the instrumentes of musyke mote be leid a side. And for the blood that was drawen fro his Glorious Body soo cruelly that he was dede, euery Saynt and Holy Aungel must thenne be in orysons and hooly contemplacions, thankyng his Souerayn Mageste of the grete Grace that he wold done to the kynd of man.'

`Of the fyue last signes', quod I,`yet muste ye telle me, for of these rather seuen ye haue quyte yow well. But wonder it is to me yf the hooly instrumentes maketh not their feste.'

'Yes', quod this Aungel, `I wille nought sey, but that they make feste. But thou shalt wel vnderstande that what tyme the horned boole wold haue hurtled with the sonne and slayn hym in his risinge, and soo by this occasion he slough these yong childeren, wherfore was herd a vois in Rama128 of wepyng and of sorowe, we maye wel seyen that this sonne was slayn in their persone, that were his trewe membres, so that this sonne hid hym self at that tyme. And for this cause, the Angels maken no feste. And this is well signifyed in the Chirche alowe in many diuerse countres. They shalle nought synge that daye Te Deum Laudamus129

`Of this doute', quod I,`ye haue assoiled me, I holde me contente. Procedeth now forth in youre mater.'

`I haue', quod he,`told the here bifore of two grete festes what tyme that the sonne was entred the sygne of the Virgyne and also of Gemini, whiche festes ben holden ful hyhe and ful holy. But of thre other signes haue I for to speke.


`The first is Aquarius with his ewer, in to whiche he entred what tyme that he was wasshen in the flume Iordan of Saynt Iohan Baptist. For that tyme he entred the ewer for none other cause but for to blysse and halowe the water, for nede hadde he none to wesshen hym selue. In this day is holden a ful huge feste, with songe and al maner of melodye. Than gothe alle the assemble to the Welle of Lyf, and there they syngen and seyen in this wyse: