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An Anglo-Norman Rhymed Sermon on Shrift

Edited by Robin F. Jones
Originally published in Modern Philology Volume 79 1981-2
Genre: Religious and Devotional
AND Bibliography: Serm DTC Shrift

Original work © 1982 The University of Chicago, which has granted permission for this electronic version of the article first published in Modern Philology Volume 79 1981-2 to be digitised, browsed and searched on this site. Any other use, including making copies of this electronic version, requires the prior written permission of the copyright holders, who may be contacted at The University of Chicago Press, Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637 USA

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The text presented below is one of two anonymous Anglo-Norman homilies in poetic form composed in the thirteenth century and preserved in MS C.4.2 (312), folios 46v-52r, of Trinity College, Dublin. 1 [1] For an edition of the companion sermon, see Robin F. Jones, An Anglo-Norman Rhymed Sermon for Ash Wednesday, Speculum 53 (1979): 71-84. The arguments brought forth in dating the Ash Wednesday text apply equally to the address here edited. It may well be that both sermons are by the hand of the same author. Not only do they exhibit more or less the same linguistic features, but also share a common form, the octosyllabic rhyming couplet, a common passage (verses 166-75 of the present text correspond to verses 242-43, 258-63 of the Ash Wednesday sermon), and a common source, the Petit Sermon, bk. 6 of the Manuel des péchés, on which see below, n. 13; see also Jones, p. 75.348 Only one copy is known. In the manuscript, these poems are run together and were at one time believed to form a single work. 2 [2] The separate existence of the two poems was first remarked by M. Esposito, Anglo-Norman Poems in a Dublin Manuscript, ,Modern Language Review 13 (1918): 312-18. In this article, Esposito reproduces verses 1-8 and 328-33 of the present text. The first of the two sermons is listed by J. Vising, Anglo-Norman Language and Literature (London, 1923), p. 58, but the second is not.348 They are quite distinct, however, and in subject and audience belong to different branches of pulpit oratory. The first appearing is a sermon de tempore. It was composed especially for Ash Wednesday and exploits the theme, Memento quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris. Since the audience addressed is the clergy, it is a sound conjecture that this sermon was intended for delivery at a visitation or synodal service. 3 [3] See Jones, p. 71.348 The second homily was written for a general audience of lais et clers (verse 1). It is an exposition of the points of shrift and therefore lies outside the usual province of the thirteenth-century pulpit. This comprised the sermones de tempore, based on the lesson for the day, and the sermones festivals, devoted to the saints. 4 [4] See A. Lecoy de la Marche, La Chaire française au moyen âge, spécialement au Xllle siècle: D'après les manuscrits contemporains (1868; rev. ed., Paris, 1886), p. 275.348 Following the Great Lateran Council of 1215-16, at which annual confession became obligatory for all Christians of discretionary age, there arose a pressing need for special sermons on shrift, a need echoed in numerous decretals of the period, to educate the faithful in their new duty and to promote observance of the recommendations of the canon pertaining to confession. 5 [5] See D. W. Robertson, Jr., Frequency of Preaching in Thirteenth-Century England, Speculum 24 (1949): 376-88. For the texts of the councils and synods of the English Church of the thirteenth century, see F. M. Powicke and C. R. Cheney, eds., Councils and Synods with Other Documents Relating to the English Church, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1964).348 Such a sermon is the Dublin homily here edited. Addresses of this sort would have been appropriate throughout the year, but in no period more so than during Easter, with which season confession had been associated for centuries. 6 [6] See H. C. Lea, A History of Auricular Confession and Indulgences in the Latin Church, 3 vols. (London, 1896), 1:187-96.348 By equal virtue of its form and content, the Dublin homily brings together the two sides of pastoral work which the reform-conscious Church of the thirteenth century had developed most vigorously in England, the pulpit and the confessional. It is of value both as an example of popular preaching and as an indication of the ideas on confession actually broadcast to the faithful to direct them in the efficient celebration of the sacrament of penance. The second matter was a subject of great controversy in the Middle Ages, for the Lateran ordinance which had made annual confession compulsory provided no guidance on the con

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ditions essential for its fruitful performance. Contemporary churchmen were not slow to debate the issue, and a great many decretals, summas, and treatises on sacramental theory and the points of shrift were brought forth. 7 [7] For a useful outline of this material, see E. J. Arnould, Le Manuel des péchés: Etude de littérature religieuse anglo-normande (Xllle siècle) (Paris 1940), pp. 1-59; W.A Pontin, The English Church in the Fourteenth Century (Cambridge, 1955), pp. 220-43. See also M. D. Legge, Anglo-Norman in the Cloisters (Edinburgh, 1950), pp. 77-90, and Anglo-Norman Literature and Its Background (Oxford, 1963), pp. 206-42; K. V. Sinclair, Anglo-Norman Studies: The Last Twenty Years, Australian Journal of French Studies 2 (1965): 141-55; and Vising, pp. 56-58. 349 These are an indication of the ideas on confession held in England in the thirteenth century. However, they may not be taken as a chronicle of the teaching funneled to the Christian community at large to educate the penitent in making a satisfactory declaration of his sins. It was the pulpit and the confessional which provided the principal channels through which the churchmen's thought could reach the laity's mind. Naturally, the former alone has left a register, in the form of sermons, of what was taught; these texts preserve the only reliable record of the ideas on confession which were in active circulation at the pastoral level of the reform movement in England.

In keeping with the needs and tastes of a general audience, the Dublin homilist favors a straightforward presentation of the fundamentals of his subject. Avoiding the subtle distinctions, complex arguments, and sophisticated points of style of the academic address, he casts his message in plain, familiar language, and illustrates and confirms it by similitude and example (verses 87-102, 198-201, 178-91, 208-33). Clearly designed to facilitate comprehension, these strategies are an indication of how, and indeed that, the widely published call for educational material for the laity was answered. In particular, they recall the instructions on popular preaching issued in the mid-thirteenth century by Bishop Roger Weseham, a man of broad pastoral experience, to the priests of his diocese of Coventry. 8 [8Instituta, ed. C. R. Cheney, English Synodalia of the Thirteenth Century (London, 1941), p. 150.349

The medieval popular sermon was composed as much to persuade as to enlighten. In the Dublin homily, there is an obvious leaning to exhortation, to the arousal of the emotions, to tactics designed less to explain than to predispose the audience to accept and act upon the message presented. The sermoner prefaces his address with a reminder that it is the duty of the Christian to confess (verses 13-16) and with a list of the faults that commonly render the sacrament of penance invalid (verses 21-60). In promotion of his view of dreit confession (verse 62), he harnesses to his purpose the powerful inducement of fear to hand in Christian dogma, which then as now threatened the recalcitrant impenitent with a retribution of nundisable ire (verse 241). Furthermore, he exploits the themes of the horrors of the grave and the graces of confession, developing them by variation and expansion into a compelling appeal to sinners to repent while there is yet time. It is with this appeal that the sermon, in a final admonitory crescendo, is concluded (verses 329-33). The need for such tactics may seem obscure, particularly since confession was inseparably requisite for salvation. In spite of its essentiality, however, popular resistance to the sacrament was widespread and to overcome it stern reminders and threats of the sort employed by the Dublin homilist were

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called for. They seem doubly appropriate in the present text, for in it a view of confession is presented which is unusual in its rigor.

In his exposition of the points of dreit confession, the sermoner lists as essential the requirements of repentance, confession, and amendment (verses 65-68). The condition that the penitent make a verbal declaration of his sins to his priest was universally recognized in the thirteenth century. In extraordinary circumstances, written and proxy confessions have been sporadically tolerated by the Church, but the position generally adopted at this time with regard to these practices was to view them as irregular and as contributing, therefore, to the invalidity of the act. 9 [9] Lea 1:362-64.350 Repentance and amendment enjoyed no such consensus. Both requirements remained subjects of active debate throughout the Middle Ages, and opinions differed greatly as to their interpretation and the resultant burden to be placed on the shoulders of the penitent.

In matters of repentance, the Middle Ages distinguished carefully between contrition and attrition, that is, between spontaneous acts of pure repentance resulting from the total conversion of the heart and mind to God, and baser remorse induced by awareness of the turpitude of sin and fear of its consequences for the life of the soul. Notwithstanding that contrition represents an ideal beyond the scope of ordinary human nature, it is this mode of repentance that is proposed as a model in the definition provided by the Dublin sermoner of dreit confession. The penitent, he maintains, should repent de queor (verse 65) and love Seinte confessioun (verse 13). Deathbed confession is consequently condemned, for the dying sinner's decision to unburden his soul is not a pure one, arrived at through love of righteousness and inner compunction, but one that has been thrust upon him by force of circumstance (verses 109-36). In short, the deathbed penitent is merely attrite. Yet in spite of the preference for contrition and disallowance of lesser repentance apparent in the sermon, a conflicting, if indirect, hint of attrition is inescapably present in the inducements to which the sermoner resorts to encourage the refractory to enter the confessional, namely, the vanity of earthly life (verses 168-77, 208-29, etc.), the horrors of the grave (verses 178-83, 308-26, etc.), the shame of public accusation and judgment after death (verses 139-61), and the threat of divine wrath (verses 234-49). Be this as it may, the author's insistence upon pure repentance is both more prominent and more explicit. This makes it difficult to interpret the goads to confession which he employs as involving a real concession to contrition's lesser counterpart. They are best regarded as the necessary tools of persuasion, the hint of attrition they suggest as the inevitable by-product of sermonizing. Certainly, as a prerequisite for reception of the sacrament and the mercy of God, the validity of attrition born of loathing and dread of punishment was staunchly contested by the rigorists of the Middle Ages; this mode of repentance was not to win general acceptance until the laxer times which preceded the Reformation. 10 [10] Ibid., 2:3-24.350

The author's remarks on amendment confirm the severity apparent in the view he presents of repentance, for he insists on abandonment of sin without recidivation (verses 37-44, 67-68). This had been the position of the Early Church,

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but by the thirteenth century it was generally accepted that amendment was a matter of desire and intention, rather than actual performance, and that relapse into sin did not indicate a lack of intent to abstain or of true repentance at the time of the original confession, but simply that the sinner was no longer penitent. 11 [11] Ibid., pp. 24-30. 351

In addition to the three rudiments of dreit confession, the sermoner imposes on the sinner the burden of making his disclosure simple and pure (verse 49). Other requirements for successful performance of the act may be inferred from the attitudes and practices censured in the course of the address. These are false shame (verses 21-24), insincerity (verses 29-34), and palliation (verses 45-52), together with divided (verses 53-60), postponed, and deathbed confession (verses 109-36). From the criticism passed on these shortcomings, it follows that, to be fruitful, the act should be free from false shame, sincere, accusatory, complete, and prompt, as well as pure, simple, contrite, aural, and permanently binding to goodness.

Although unusually demanding for a general audience, such a view of confession is not in itself unusual; for it is compounded of no more than the subjects of controversy which were current in the thirteenth century, and of the customary articles of penitential theory. The requirements of repentance, verbal declaration, and amendment, albeit variously interpreted, were established as the cornerstones of the sacrament at this time. As for the other qualities, lists of these and similar points of shrift began to circulate soon after the publication of the Lateran. canon, increasing in length and subtlety with the passage of time and deepening understanding of the conditions for the remission of sin. 12 [12] See ibid., p. 347; and Arnould, pp. 221-26. 351

By reason of their conventionality and wide currency, the ideas expressed in the Dublin sermon cannot be tracked with any confidence to a specific source. The debt incurred by the sermoner in composing the actual text of the address, however, is easier to trace and leaves little room for doubt. Extensive borrowings from two thirteenth-century Anglo-Norman works have been identified. These are a poem on the vanity of earthly life in MS 522, folios 192v-196r, of Lambeth Palace, London, and the Petit Sermon, book 6 of the Manuel des Péchés. Of the 333 verses which compose the Dublin sermon, only verses 1-108 and several brief authorial interventions cannot be accounted for by reference to one or other of these works. 13 [13] For an edition of the Lambeth Palace text, see R. Reinsch, Mittheilungen aus einer franz. Handschrift des Lambeth Palace zu London, Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 63 (1880): 72-73. The text of the Petit Sermon is given by F. J. Furnivall according to MSS Harl. 273 and 4657 in his edition of Robert of Brunne's Handlyng Synne, Handlyng Synne, with Those Parts of the Anglo-French Treatise on Which It Was Founded (London, 1862). A separate version of the Petit Sermon was in circulation in the thirteenth century, differing from the former in respect of the introduction and the order of the material. The text of this version according to MS Rawlinson Poetry 241 is given by P. Meyer in Romania 29 (1900): 5-21. Based on the Reinsch and Meyer editions, the following are the correspondences noted with the Dublin sermon: Lambeth Palace, verses 1-24, 73-76, 79-80, 41-60, 81-84, 87-94, and 103-20 correspond to verses 109-26, 133-36, 137-38, 178-91, 192-95, 196-203, and 208-29; Petit Sermon, verses 469-76, 511-30, 539-42, 495-97, 498-500, 545-56, 665-86, 389-422, and 361-88 correspond to verses 139-45, 146-61, 162-65, 234-36, 237, 238-49, 250-71, and 308-33. The contents, but not the text, of verses 105-30 of the Dublin sermon recall verses 33-50 of version T of La Vie de Sainte Marie l'Egyptienne, ed. P. F. Dembowski (Geneva, 1977). In spite of numerous differences of substance and violations of the order of material, the Dublin sermon is fairly close to its two principal sources. However, the lack of a critical edition of the Petit Sermon according to all known MSS has frustrated identification of the actual version and, indeed, of the branch of this work followed by the Dublin sermoner. The Lambeth Palace text is known in only one copy. Divergences between it and the Dublin address could be attributed to reliance upon memory rather than on a written text. The connection of the Dublin sermon with La Vie de Sainte Marie opens up other possibilities, however. Verses 109-26 of the passage which recalls the contents of verses 33-50 of La Vie de Sainte Marie occur also in the Lambeth Palace text. As regards the ideas expressed, verses 105-30 of the Dublin sermon are closer to La Vie de Sainte Marie; in the textual form they assume, they are closer to Lambeth Palace. Since the earliest copy of La Vie de Sainte Marie dates from the beginning of the thirteenth century, it is a reasonable assumption that the Dublin sermoner drew either on a contaminated version of Lambeth Palace, or complemented the existing version himself with borrowings from La Vie de Sainte Marie or from the source of verses 33-50 of this text.351 It is unlikely that this debt lies in the reverse direction, for the

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Lambeth Palace poem and the Petit Sermon share no readings which might suggest common provenance.

In spite of the extent of its dependence upon the Lambeth Palace text and the Petit Sermon, the Dublin homily is not a passive repetition of plagiarized passages. It is, on the contrary, an original composition in which what has been appropriated has been transformed by the deliberate process of excision and recombination. The control imposed by the sermoner on this material is manifest in the apparently original introductory verses in which the theme of the address and its development are set (verses 1-108). The result is a new work with a focus different from that of its sources. In the homilist's own words, the Dublin sermon is an exposition of Coment vous devietz estre confes (verse 3). In both the Lambeth Palace poem and the Petit Sermon, however, confession is incidental to the main theme. The former is a warning to the faithful to shun the vanities and temptations of worldly life. The latter, which circulated in two versions, has been described as an exhortation to avoid sin, based on the twin allurements of fear and love, and as a sermon on caritas, with a digression on fear as an inducement to embrace goodness. 14 [14] See Arnould, pp. 205-21.352

The fact that the Dublin sermon has been assembled, rather than created, suggests haste in composition and the paramountcy of practical considerations in the mind of its author. It tends to confirm the urgency of that need for material for instruction of the laity which had declared itself following the Lateran decision to render annual confession obligatory. As an example of how this need was met, the Dublin text is remarkable for the strictness of its views and the forcefulness with which they are presented. Toward the end of the thirteenth century, at which time this text was composed, attitudes on confession were beginning to soften among certain churchmen and religious, especially the Franciscans. The Dublin sermon is a valuable indication that the demands made of the penitent at the pastoral level had not been totally relaxed in this period, but that stringency and coercion were very much in favor in the pulpit to drive the flock to its salvation.

In establishing the text of the Dublin sermon, the editorial practices favored in preparing the edition of the already published Ash Wednesday address have been followed in all respects. Both works are copies by the same hand and appear to share a common system of abbreviations and of spelling. Peculiarities already noted for the earlier published text, the promiscuous use of final weak postconsonantal e, the representation of the e sounds, the confusion of qi and qe, le and la,

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for example, receive no special attention in the notes which accompany the text of the Dublin sermon which now follows.

                   Ore escutez lais e clers
                   Ceste romaunce qe vint apers,
                   Coment vous deviez estre confés
               4  Et de toutz voz pecchés aveir relés.Group1 [Group1] In the MS, the text appears without title or rubric. The first four lines have been underlined, however, and there is a chapter mark, a c minuscule, in the left-hand margin opposite the initial verse.353
                   Dieu, qi pur nous suffri passioun,
                   Servir lui devom od grant devociun.
                   En junes, en orisounes, en vellez, en plures,
               8  Devum nous despender totz noz labours:
                   Juner devum pur la chare daunter,
                   Orer devum pur veintre li adverser,
                   Veiler devum pur Nostre Sire loeer,
             12  Plurir devum pur noz pecchez laveir,
                   Seinte confessioun devum nous amer
                   Et devant Dieu tuz noz pecchez monstreir,
                   Car tut seit le pecché fet en priveté,
             16  A Dieu ne pouit estre celé.l.16 [l.16pouit, 3d sing. ind. pres. of poeir; the scribe employs a variety of spellings for this form: put 20; puit 84, 222; poit 113; and poet 128, etc.: cf. voit 64, 83, etc., lst and 3d sing. ind. pres. of voleir. On these spellings, see M. K. Pope, From Latin to Modern French with Especial Consideration of Anglo-Norman (1934; reprint ed., Manchester, 1966), 1223, 1227, and 1232.353
                   Verrai confessioun lave toz noz pecchez
                   Et espurge l'alme de toz iniquitez,
                   Car nul pecché est, ja ne soit il si ord,
             20  Qe par confessioun a Dieu put estre fet acord.
                   Mes une gent ad le deable tant lié
                   Qe par hount et vergoyne celent lour pecché.
                   Saunz nul doute li deble est en lour quor;
             24  Ceste hount met en lour penser.
                   Quant homme est confés de son ord pecché,
                   Le deble ad perdu de li sa poesté;
                   Pur ceo met le deble tut son poer
             28  Seinte confessioun delayer et desturber.
                   Une gent venent a confession
                   Santz repentance et sanz devocion;
                   De bouche countent lour pecchiez,
             32  De lez lesser ne sunt pas encoragez.
                   Ne plest pas a Dieu cest confessioun,
                   Mes ele est a l'alme grant dampnacioun.
                   Qi qe nous diomes de noz langages,l.35 [l.35qi qe = qe qe: although.353
             36  Dieu veit bien nos corages.
                   Une gent venent a confessioun,
                   Plurent pur lour pecchez, reqerent pardon,
                   Mes puis repairent a lour pecchez,
             40  En queux estoient avant soillietz;
                   Donk est lour pecchees a double greignour.
                   Quant il repairent a lour fol errouir,
                   Tut est donk renovelé [f.50r]
             44  Ceo qe primes fuist pardoné.l.44 [l.44fuist, 3d sing. pret. of estre; cf. verse 169. The form occurring at the rhyme is fu 141. On these spellings, see Pope, 1238.353
                   Une gent se font confés de lour pecchez,

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                   Mes il ne dient pas tut la veritez.
                   Par un beal parole se volent escusir,
             48  Le ordure del pecché ne volent pas montreir.l.48 [l.48montreir has been inserted above the line.354
                   Vostre confessioun serra simple et pure,
                   Nous ne devom fere nul coverture;
                   Descoverir devom tut le ordure
             52  Qe rien ne remaigne de l'ancien encloure.l.52 [l.52cloure in encl. has been inserted above the line.354
                   Une gent volent lour pecché regeir,
                   Mes a une homme ne volent tut descoverir.l.54 [l.54descoverir has been inserted above the line.354
                   A II prestres ou a III font lour confessioun,
             56  Pur reproce de lour pecché font acheson.
                   Cil ne font pas sagement,
                   Solom le mein entendement,
                   Car a un soul prestre et a un foitz
             60  Devo[m] nous monstrer noz pecchetz.l.60 [l.60] MS Devo9, presumably due to the attraction of no9, which follows immediately.354Group2 [Group2] The rhyme foitz: pecchetz is a rare example of the combination ei:ie before a final consonant other than the r of infinitives of verbs of the third conjugation. The value of the rhyme is presumably that of close e: cf. noblé 540 (:cité), La Vie des Set Dormanz, Anglo-Norman Text Society 35, ed. B. S. Merrilees (London, 1977); O. H. Prior, Cambridge Anglo-Norman Texts (Cambridge, 1924), 1:4-5; and P. Meyer, La Vie de saint Gregoire le Grand par frére Angier, Romania 12 (1883): 196.354
                   Toutz deivent saver qe entendent reson
                   Qe III choses aferent a dreit confession.
                   Ces III choses chescun dait saverl.63 [l.63dait, 3d sing. ind. pres. of deveir; cf. verse 65. Elsewhere the spelling deit is used; cf verses 68 and 73. On the representation of the e sounds in Anglo-Norman, see Pope, 1223.354
             64  Et pur ceo lez voit brevement montreir.
                   Primes dait li pecchor de queor repentir
                   Et puis ces pecchez de bouche regeirl.66 [l.66ces = ses; see Pope, 722 and 1231.354
                   Et aprés confessioun nent repaireir
             68  Et de illoqes en avant se deit amender,
                   Car totz ces qi sont en mortil pecché
                   Sont al deable et en sa poesté
                   Et si il murent desconfés en lour iniquitez,
             72  Sanz nul doute il sont dampnez.
                   Nul se deit afier en sa sancté
                   Ne en sa juvence ne en sa prosperité
                   Ne en ses richessez ne en sa bealté,
             76  Car quant qe nous veum tut est vanité.
                   Jesu Crist, Nostre Seignour,
                   Tant suffri pur noz peine et dolor,
                   Al deable ad doné trestut la poesté
             80  De ces qe sont en mortil pecché.
                   Certes, molt sont en vil servage
                   Des queux le deble ad seignurage,
                   Mes qi de son servage se voit aquitir,
             84  Par seinte confessioun se puit deliverer.
                   Pur ceo devum en confessioun monstrer
                   Noz ditz, noz faitz et tut nostre penser.
                   Saver devez q'il est ausi de pecché
             88  Com de l'ente qe est de novel enté;
                   Quant le pecché vient primes est penser,
                   Legerment put homme de li raceer,

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                   Mes cil qi norist le pecché
             92  Desqes il soit enraciné,
                   Quant il voudra le pecché lesseir,
                   A peine se purra deliverir.
                   Puis met le deble le pecché en penser
             96  Et puis comence la chare a deliter,
                   Au delit de la chare consent la volunté
                   Et aprés consentement fet homme le pecché.
                   Quant a ceo est venu, destruite est la cité,
           100  Pris est le chastel, le enemi est entré,
                   A donk li meigné com en sa poesté
                   Jesqes par seinte confessioun seit en jetté.
                   Pur ceo devum eschure eise de pecchier, [f.50v]
           104  Car eise fet laron, ceo dit li reprover.l.104 [l.104] Cf. J. Morawski, Proverbes français antérieurs au XVe siécle (Paris, 1925), p. 2, no. 39: Aise fait larron.355
                   N'est pas mervail tut fesom pecché,
                   Car nous sumes plein de freilté,
                   Mes de li est a merveiller
           108  Qe son pecché ne veut lesseir.
                   Grant mal est de peccher
                   Et pis est pecché molt ameer,
                   Mes uncore est plus grevous
           112  Quant le pecché torne en use,
                   Car a peine ne poit fol ne sage
                   Lesser ceo q'il ad en usage.
                   De jor en jour il entent
           116  De venir a amendement,
                   Mes quant vei la mort sur sei,l.117 [l.117vei 3d sing. ind. pres. of veir. On the fall of final unsupported consonants in Anglo-Norman, see Pope, 1223 and 1232.355
                   Donk il dit: Ceo pois moi
                   Qe jeo ai vesqui si malment:
           120  De totz mes mals me repent.
                   Ne sai qe dirrai de cesti
                   Qe repentance fet issi,
                   Car tiel repentance est mult tart
           124  Et doute de aler de mal part
                   Et sachez bien qe seint Austin
                   Ne praise mie tiel fyn,
                   Car quant homme est a la mort,
           128  Il ne poet fere dreit ne tort,
                   Mes donk de gerpir a son pecché,l.129 [l.129gerpir is usually constructed with a direct object in Old French; cf. examples cited by Tobler-Lommatsch, 4:737-41.355
                   Par defaut de poesté.
                   Par force est donk repentant
           132  Et pur ceo ad il doute grant,
                   Car ja plus tost de ceste vie
                   Qe l'alme ert del corps perie
                   Qe ne li serra trestut retret
           136  Tut le mal q'il ad fet.Group3 [Group3] Construed as elliptical, this passage may be rendered as follows: No sooner will he be deprived of this life, than the soul will be deprived of the body and reproached for all the evil it (he?) has done. A more satisfactory reading is provided by Lambeth Palace, verses 73-76: E ja plus tost de ceste vie / Le alme a l'homme n'iert partie, / Ke ne lui serra errant retrait / Tuit le mal k'il avra fait.355
                   Mult est donk fort le plet

Page 355

                   A celi qe ci nul bien ad fet.
                   Donc li serra trestut monstré
           140  Qe unqes fu fet, dit ou pensé;
                   Unqes si privé rien ne fu
                   Qe apertement li serra veu,l.142 [l.142] Here and in verse 145 the verb is being used impersonally. 356
                   Ou qe le fist et coment,
           144  Ou ou quant et com sovent;
                   Trestut li ert veu apertement.
                   De tut la rien qe soit criél.146 [l.146] De tut la rien: everything; cf, The Continuations of the Old French Perceval of Chrétien de Troyes, ed. W. Roach (Philadelphia, 1949), verses 12595-97: Bien se garnisse a son pooir / De tote la rien que sara / Qui a honor mestier ara. 356
                   Ert donc le alme encusé.
           148  Dieu meismes li encusera,
                   En qi presence il esterra,
                   Et les seintz li encuseront,
                   Car toutz a Dieu encorderont.
           152  Chescun autre creature
                   Li encusera a cel houre
                   Et de sa meismes concience
                   Encontre li dorra sentence.
           156  Si une pecché demene, li en couperal.156 [l.156couper: charge, accuse; rare in this sense, see Tobler-Lommatsch, 2:965. 356
                   Et il meismes se nigera.
                   Allas qe unkes furent neez
                   Qi issi celent lour peccheez!
           160  Par ount il donqes remeinderont
                   Et ou les debles s'en irront.
                   Mieutz vaut estre confés
                   A un soul homme et sauf aprés, [f.51r]
           164  Qe devant Dieu estre hony
                   Et puis dampné od le enemi.
                   Pur ceo pernez garde, jeo vous en pri,
                   De ceo qe vous dirrai yci.
           168  Vous avetz veu meint lu enveisé
                   Qe fuist molt tost besturné
                   Qe la joie et la do[c]ourl.170 [l.170] MS douour. 356
                   Torné estait a grant dolour.
           172  Si avetz veu meint corps vaillant,
                   Pruez, jolif et moult juaunte,
                   Qe aprés n'est pas longement;
                   L'em le poet ventre od vent.l.175 [l.175] This line has the quality of a proverb, but no parallel has come to light to indicate that it was in popular use.356
           176  Vus vetz bien qe jeo ne mente mie;
                   Pensez de ceo et ne le oblie.
                   Alés a ses monumentz,
                   La ou sont lez ossementz,
           180  Et veez ou sont lez corps entier
                   De ceux qi furent avant eer.
                   Vermine est ore lour delite
                   Et ore sont en grant despite
           184  Et ceo poetz veer legerment
                   Et jeo le vous mustray brevement.
                   I ad nul en monde vivant,

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                   Qe ama sa espouse ou sa amie tant,
           188  Qe vousist giser un soul nuth
                   En sepulture ou ele jut,
                   Pur nul amour q'il eust vers li;
                   Verreiment nul est tiel com jeo quie.
           192  Pur ceo pensez devant main
                   Quant vous estes halegre et seyn.
                   Curretz a confessioun
                   Et fetis satisfactioun
           196  Et si vous penez nuth et jour
                   De serveir Vostre Creatour,
                   Car bien savetz plai qe est grant
                   Longe cure molt demande
           200  Et grant mefait ensement
                   Demaunde grant amendement,
                   Car Jesu Criste en son rescet
                   Nul rescet s'il ne soit nette:
           204  Pur ceo vous die qe garde en prent.
                   Tut ceste vie n'est fors vent,
                   Qe ore s'en veint, ore s'en va,
                   Tut auxi est il par de cea.
           208  Quant ad vesqui ascun cent aunz,
                   Riches de aver, fiers et pussantz,
                   Et vent a dure trespas de mort,
                   Il ne poet fere dreit ne tort
           212  Et trestut la joie et le desporte
                   De tut ceo monde et le confort
                   Qe il en ceo secle ad eu
                   Est com par songe le eust veu.
           216  Nul rien li profist:
                   Sa joie est povre et petit,
                   Donc perde argent et auxi or,
                   Donc perde tut terien tresor,
           220  Delit de la char, glotonie,
                   Orgoil, hautesce, seignurye
                   Et quantqe il puit yci ameer
                   En ceo mond, ou coveiter, [f.51v]
           224  Trestut ensemble vois a nientl.224 [l.224vois, 3d ind. pres. of aler: on this spelling, see Pope, 1223 and 1232.357
                   Quant la dure mort veint.
                   Molt vaut poi son delit
                   Quant par un mot tres petit,
           228  Qe solement est mort nomee,
                   Est si grant chose a nient turné.
                   Mal hure fu unqes né
                   Cil qe murt en son pecché
           232  Et ne se amend devant sa mort,
                   Car aprés ne vaut nul recorde.
                   Donc ne ert pas temps de penance,
                   Mes de pecché dure veivaunce,
           236  Car Dieu, qe est ore si pacient,
                   Ert donckes irrous a molt gente;
                   Et sachiez bien de verité
                   Qe totz les hommes de mier neeGroup4 [Group4] The rhyme e:ee is possible in thirteenth-century Anglo-Norman; see Pope, 1133. However, nee is best read as graphical for qualifying an originally uninflected masculine plural noun in the nominative function.357

Page 357

           240  Ne vous saveroient la somme dire
                   De cel nundisable ire
                   Qe Nostre Seignur mustera
                   Quant al jugement vendra;
           244  Et qe de cel ne ad nul doute,
                   Jeu die qe de sa alme ne veit goute,l.245 [l.245] I say that he is blind to his soul. 358
                   Car en mond n'est quor si hardi,
                   Ne par pecché si soilli,
           248  Qe pensast bien de cel jour
                   Qe ne tremblerait de pouir;
                   Et ja nel savum tant contrester,
                   Ne qe a li purroms tant meffere,
           252  Qe si del mefeet repentoum
                   Et de queor perfist a li turnoum
                   Qe il ne est prest a pardonerl.254 [l.254ne has been inserted above the line.358
                   Et toutz lez mals veut oblier,
           256  Car issi trovum en escript
                   Qe Dieu par le prophete dit
                   En quel houre et quel jour
                   Sei repente li peccheour
           260  Et pur ces pecchez feet penance,
                   Trestut mettra en obliance,
                   Par qei qe aprés son fol delit
                   A li se turne de queor parfist.
           264  Pur ceo li servum leaument
                   Et ensure ser[v]um vereiment,l.265 [l.265] MS serum.358
                   Qe sa joie nous ad doné
                   Et ovesqe lui corouné,
           268  Car en cele est joie greignour
                   De un verrai peccheour
                   Et plus ount joie angeles de eus,
                   Qe de nonante dreitureles.
           272  Ore Jesu Crist, si verrayment
                   Com tu es roi omnipotent,
                   A toutz nous doigne amendement
                   De noz pecchez plenerement
           276  Et nous defend d'enfern les maus
                   Et par confessioun nous face saufs.
                   Saleman le sage dist
                   En ces proverbes qe il fist:
           280  En toutz voz fetes, fet il, penseez
                   De ta mort, et ja ne peccherez.
                   O mort! Com dure et com amere
                   Est ta memorie ad verselere.l.283 [l.283ad verselere = a verseillier: to celebrate in song. 358 [f.52r]
           284  Tu prens ceux sodeinement
                   Qe quident vivre lungement;
                   Tu as en un soule jourl.286 [l.286] This verse is elliptical: to complete the sense, pris should be understood; cf. verse 284.358
                   Li povre et li emperour.
           288  N'est al seicle rien qe vive
                   Qe countre tai seit poestive.
                   Tu tes fleccier la rose freche,
                   Tu fes lesser ju et tresche,

Page 358

           292  Tu prens le fitz avant le pier
                   Tu mettez avant ceo q'est dereir,
                   Tu fas valer sac et heire,
                   Tu fas portir herce et bere.
           296  Qe avant honour et richesce,l.296 [l.296avant, 3d sing. ind. pres. of avancer: to promote, favor. The form is attributable to the instability of final postconsonantal e in Anglo-Norman and to the slurring and confusion of final supported consonants within the phrase: on these matters, sec Pope, 1135 and 1202.9999
                   Ke avant beauté ou hautesce,
                   Quant ceste chose, qe ci ad,
                   En poi de hure tresu ad?
           300  Car ceo q'est ore joie dite,
                   Aprés la mort est quite et quite.
                   Allas! Pur quai est tant desiré
                   Joie charnele envenimé?
           304  A grant tort est joie dite
                   Qe nous de joie deserite.
                   Mort est et honi qe toi ne creit
                   Et en memorie qe tei ne eit.
           308  Seint Bernard a nous parle et dit,
                   Si com nous trovumes en escript,
                   Di moi, fet il, Ou sont la gent
                   Qi le mond amerent si tendrement?
           312  L'autre jour furent ovesqe nous,
                   Seins, haitez et joius.
                   Ad il riens de lour chare tendre
                   Fors vermin, veermes et cendre?
           316  Hommes furent com estes vous,
                   Mangerent et burent ovesqe nous;
                   Menerent lour vie en grant delit
                   Et puis en un point tres petit
           320  Decenderent en abisme,
                   L'alme au fu, la char a vermine.
                   Ou est ore devenu
                   Tut lour joie et lour vertue?
           324  Joie et delit qe eussent tant,
                   Or ount tristesce et dolour grant.
                   Chaïr purrom ensement.
                   Au plus tost qe poit chescun se ament,
                   Coment ne quant nous ne savum,
                   Car le temps de l'homme pase
                   Com la nue qe le vent chace
           332  Et qe ceo pensast poure avereit
                   Et le meutz de pecché se gardereit.
                   Explicit quidam tractatus.

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