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Jesus, fountain of compassion,
By thy pangs, oh! deign to fashion

This vile heart to mourn with thee.

Holy Father, hear my crying,
Bid me watch my Saviour's dying,

Bid me feel his agony.

Since for me, by foes surrounded,
Thine eternal Son hung wounded,

In his wounds some part I crave.

Let me by his cross lie weeping,
Still with him sad vigil keeping,

Let me in her anguish shar

There, by his blest Mother bending,
Tears with tears so holy blending,

On my pathway to the grave,

Make me, each ill lust denying,
Inly bear my Saviour's dying-

Of his stripes some impress wear.

Jesu! from the death eternal,
From the fiends and flames infernal,

Save me in the day of doom ;

When the worms this flesh inherit,
Call to rest my wearied spirit-

Rest and light from toil and gloom.

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ENGLISH POETRY.

PART THE FOURTH.

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERS OF

ENGLAND,

IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY.

а

THER was also a Nonne, a Prioresse, That of hire smiling was full simple and coy; Hire gretest othe n'as but by Seint Eloy; And she was cleped' Madame Eglantine. Ful wel she sange the service devine, Entuned in hire nose ful swetely; And Frenche she spake ful fayre and fetisly, After the schole of Stratford attè Bowe, For Frenche of Paris was to hire unknowe. At metè was she wel ytaughte withalle; She lette no morsel from her lippès fall, Ne wette hire fingres in hire saucè depe. Wel coude she carie a morsel, and wel kepe, Thattè no drope ne fell upon hire brest. In curtesie was sette ful moche hire lest. Hire over lippè wiped she so clene, That in hire cuppe was no ferthing* sene Of gresè, when she dronken hadde hire draught. Ful semely after her mete she raught.”

1 Called.

2 Neatly.

3 Her pleasure.

4 Smallest spot.

5 Rose.

And sikerly she was of grete disport,
And ful plèsant, and amiable of port,
And peined' hire to contrefeten chere
Of court, and ben estatelich of manère,
And to ben holden digne' of reverence.

But for to speken of hire conscience,
She was so charitable and so piteous,
She woldè wepe if that she saw a mous
Caughte in a trappe, if it were ded or bledde.
Of smalè houndès hadde she, that she fedde
With rosted flesh, and milk, and wastel brede.
But sore wept she if on of hem were dede,
Or if men smote it with a yerdè* smert,"
And all was conscience and tendre herte.

Ful semely hire wimple ypinched was;
Hire nose tretis ;' hire eyen grey as glass;
Hire mouth ful smale, and therto soft and red ;
But sikerly she hadde a fayre forehed.
It was almost a spannè brode I trowe;
For hardily she was not undergrowe."

Ful fetise® was hire cloke, as I was ware.
Of smale corall about hire arm she bare
A pair of bedès, gauded all with grene;
And thereon heng a broche of gold ful shene,
On whiche was first ywritten a crouned A,
And after, Amor vincit omnia.
Another Nonne also with hire hadde she,
That was hire chapelleine, and Preestès thre.

9

A Monk ther was, a fayre for the maistrie,
An outrider, that loved venerie;'
A manly man, to ben an abbot able.
Ful many a deinté hors hadde he in stable :
And whan he rode, men might his bridel here

Gingeling in a whistling wind as clere, 1 Took pains.

3 Worthy.

5 Smartly, adv. 6 Straight.

9 Hunting

2 To imitate.
7 Of low stature.

4 Stick.
8 Neat.

1

2

a

6

And eke as loude, as doth the chapell belle,
Ther as this lord was keeper of the celle.

The reule of Seint Maure and of Seint Beneit, ·
Because that it was olde and somdele streit,
This ilkè monke lette oldè thingés pace,
And held after the newè worlde the trace.
He yave' not of the text a pulled hen,
That saith, that hunters ben not holy men;
Ne that a monk, when he is rekkeles,
Is like to a fish that is waterles;
This is to say, a monk out of his cloistre.
This ilké text held he not worth an oistre.
And I say his opinion was good.
What shulde he studie, and make himselven wood
Upon a book in cloistre alway to pore,
Or swinken with his hondès, and laboure,
As Austin bit?' how shal the world be served ?
Let Austin have his swink to him reserved.
Therfore he was a prickasoure a right:
Greihoundes he hadde as swift as foul of flight:
Of pricking and of hunting for the hare
Was all his lust, for no coste wolde he spare.

I saw his sleves purfiled at the hond With gris,' and that the finest of the lond. And for to fasten his hood under his chinne, He had of gold ywrought a curious pinne; A love-knotte in the greter end ther was. His hed was balled, and shone as any glas, And eke his face, as it hadde been anoint. He was a lord ful fat and in good point. His eyen stepe,' and rolling in his hed, That stemed as a fornëis of led. His botès souple, his hors in gret estat ; Now certainly he was a fayre prelàt. ? Mr. Tyrwhitt supposes that this should be righelles, i. e. out of the

8

5 Biddeth. 7 Wrought on the edge. 8 A fine kind of fur. 9 Deep in the

head.

1 Gave. rules by which the monks were bound.

0 Hard rider.

3 Mad.

4 Toil.

He was not pale as a forpined gost.
A fat swan loved he best of any rost.
His palfrey was as broune as is a bery.

A Frere there was, a wanton and a mery,
A Limitour,' a ful solempnè man.
In all the ordres foure is none that can?
So muche of daliance and fayre langàge.
He hadde ymade ful many a mariage
Of yongè wimmen, at his owen cost,
Until his ordre he was a noble post.
Ful wel beloved, and familiar was he
With frankeleins over all in his contrée,
And eke with worthy wimmen of the tour:
For he had power of confession,
As saide himselfè, more than a curat,
For of his ordre he was licentiat.
Ful swetely herde he confession,
And plesant was his absolution.
He was an esy man to give penance,
There as he wiste to han a good pitànce:
For unto a poure' ordre for to give
Is signè that a man is well yshrive.'
For if he gave, he dorstè make avant,
He wistè that a man was repentànt.
For

many a man so hard is of his herte,
He may not wepe although him soré smerte.
Therfòre in stede of weping and praières,
Men mote give silver to the pourè freres.

His tippet was ay farsed' ful of knives,
And pinnès, for to given fayrè wives.
And certainly he hadde a mery note.
Well coude he singe and plaien on a rote.

1 A Limitour was a Friar who had a license to beg within a certain district. 2 Knew. 3 Have. 4 Poor.

5 Shriven. 6 Durst make a boast.

7 Stuffed.

8 A stringed instrument.

M

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