The cōuercyon of swerers.

THe fruytfull sentence & the noble werkes
To our doctryne wryten in olde antyquyte
By many grete and ryght notable clerkes
Grounded on reason & hyghe auctoryte
Dyde gyue vs example by good moralyte
To folowe the trace of trouthe and ryghtwysnes
Leuynge our synne and mortall wretchednes
By theyr wrytynge dothe vnto vs appere
The famous actes of many a champyon
In the courte of fame renowned fayre and clere
And some endyted theyr entencyon
Cloked in coloure harde in construccyon
Specyally poetes vnder cloudy fygures
Coueryd the trouthe of all theyr scryptures
So hystoryagraphes all the worthy dedes
Of kynges and knyghtes dyde put in wrytynge
To be in mynde for theyr memoryall medes
How sholde we nowe haue ony knowledgynge
Of thynges past / but by theyr endytynge
Wherfore we ought to preyse them doubteles
That spente theyr tyme in suche good besynes
Amonge all other my good mayster Lydgate
The eloquent poete and monke of bery
Dyde bothe contryue / and also translate
Many vertuous bookes to be in memorye
Touchynge the trouthe well and sentencyously
But syth that his dethe was intollerable
I praye god rewarde hym in lyfe perdurable
Amonge all thynges nothynge so prouffytable
As is scyence with the sentencyous scrypture
For worldly rychesse is often transmutable
As dayly dothe appere well in vre
Yet scyens a bydeth and is moost sure
After pouerte to attayne grete rychesse
Scyens is cause of promocyon doubtles
I lytell or nought expert in poetrye
Remembrynge my youth so lyght and frayle
Purpose to compyle here full breuyatly
A lytell treatyse wofull to bewayle
The cruell swerers whiche do god assayle
On euery syde his swete body to tere
With terryble othes as often as they swere
But also for drede plonged in neclygence
My penne doth quake to presume to endyte
But hope at laste to recure this scyence
Exorteth me ryght hardely to wryte
To deuoyde ydlenesse by good appetyte
For ydlenesse the grete moder of synne
Euery vyce is redy to lette ynne
I with the same ryght gretely infecte
Lykely to deye tyll grace by medecyne
Recured my sekenes my payne to abiecte
Commaundynge me by her hye power deuyne
To drawe this treatyse for to enlumyne
The reders therof by penytencyall pyte
And to pardon me of theyr benygnyte
Ryght myghty prynces of euery crysten rygyon
I sende you gretynge moche hertly & grace
Right wel to gouerne vpryght your dominyon
And all your lordes I greete in lyke cace
By this my lettre your hertes to enbrace
Besechynge you to prynte it in your mynde
How for your sake I toke on me mankynde
And as a lambe moost mekely dyde enclyne
To suffre the dethe for your redempcyon
And ye my kynges whiche do nowe domyne
Ouer my comons in terrestryall mancyon
By pryncely preemynence and Iuredyccyon
In your regall courtes do suffre me be rente
And my tender body with blode all be sprente
Without my grace ye maye nothynge preuayle
Though ye be kynges for to mayntene your see
To be a kynge it may nothynge auayle
But yf my grace preserue his dygnyte
Beholde your seruauntes how they do tere me
By cruell othes now pvon euery syde
Aboute the worlde launcynge my woūdes wyde
All the graces whiche I haue you shewed
Reuolue in mynde ryght ofte ententyfly
Beholde my body with blody proppes endewed
Within your realmes nowe torne so pyteously
Towsed and tugged with othes cruelly
Some my heed some myn armes and face
Some my herte do all to rente and race
They newe agayne do hange me on the rode
They tere my sydes and are nothynge dysmayde
My woundes they open and deuoure my blode
I god and man moost wofully arayde
To you complayne it maye not be denayde
ye nowe to tug me / ye tere me at the roote
yet I to you am chefe refuyte and boote
Wherfore ye kynges reygnynge in renowne
Refourme your seruauntes in your courte abused
To good example of euery maner towne
So that theyr othes whiche they longe haue vsed
On payne and punysshement be holly refused
Meke as a Lambe I suffre theyr grete wronge
I maye take vengeaunce thoughe I tary longe
I do forbere I wolde haue you amende
And graunte you mercy and ye wyll it take
O my swete brederne why do ye offende
Agayne to tere me whiche deyed for your sake
Lose my kyndenes and frome synne awake
I dyde redeme you frome the deuylles chayne
And spyte of me ye wyll to hym agayne
Made I not heuen the moost gloryous mansyon
In whiche I wolde be gladde to haue you in
Now come swete brederne to myn habytacyon
Alas good brederne with your mortall synne
Why flee ye frome me / to torne agayne begynne
I wrought you I bought you ye can it not denye
Yet to the deuyll ye go nowe wyllyngly
Be (kynde
¶ Agayne
My payne
Reteyne (in mynde
¶ My swete bloode
On the roode
Dyde the good (my broder
¶ My face ryght red
Myn armes spred
My woundes bled (thynke none oder
¶ Beholde thou my syde
Wounded so ryght wyde
Bledynge sore that tyde (all for thyn owne sake
¶ Thus for the I sinerted
Why arte yu harde herted
Be by me conuerted (and thy swerynge aslake
¶ Tere me nowe no more
My woundes are sore
Leue swerynge therfore / and come to my grace
¶ I am redy
To graunte mercy
To the truely / for thy trespace
¶ Come nowe nere
My frende dere
And appere / before me
¶ I so
Iu wo
Dyde go sese
¶ I
Hy (the
Unto me dere broder my loue and my herte
Turmente me no more with thyn othes grete
Come vnto my Ioye and agayne reuerte
Frome the deuylles snare and his subtyll net
Beware of the worlde all aboute the set
Thy flesshe is redy by concupyscence
To burne thy herte with cursed vyolence
Thoughe these thre enmyes do sore the assayle
Upon euery syde with daungerous iniquite
But yf thou lyst / they may nothynge preuayle
Nor yet subdue the with all theyr extremyte
To do good or yll / all is at thy lyberte
I do graunte the grace thyn enemyes to subdue
Swete broder accepte it theyr power to extue
And ye kynges and prynces of hye noblenes
With dukes and lordes of euery dygnyte
Indued with manhode wysdome and ryches
Ouer the comons hauynge the soueraynte
Correcte them whiche so do tere me
By cruell othes without repentaunce
Amende by tyme lest I take vengeaunce
Exodi vicesimo / non accipies nomen dei tui in van [...].
Unto the man I gaue commaundement
Not to take the name of thy god vaynfully
As not to swere but at tyme conuenyent
Before a Iuge to bere recorde truely
Namynge my name with reuerence mekely
Unto the Iuge than there in presence
By my name to gyue to the good credence
I my brederne yf that I be wrothe
It is for cause ye falsly by me swere
Ye knowe your selfe that I am very trothe
Yet wrongfully ye do me rente and tere
ye neyther loue me nor my Justyce fere
And yf ye dyde ye wolde full gentylly
Obeye my byddynge well and perfytely
The worldly kynges hauynge the soueraynte
ye do well obey without resystence
ye dare not take theyr names in vanyte
But with grete honoure and eke reuerence
Than my name more hye of magnyfycence
ye ought more to drede whiche am kynge of all
Bothe god and man and reygne celestyall
No erthely man loueth you so well
As I do / whiche mekely dyde enclyne
For to redeme you from the fendes of hell
Takynge your kynde by my godhede dyuyne
you were the fendes I dyde make you myne
For you swete bretherne I was on the rode
Gyuynge my body my herte and my blode
Than why do ye in euery maner of place
With cruell othes tere my body and herte
My sydes and woundes it is a pyteous cace
Alas swete brederne I wolde you conuerte
For to take vengeaunce ye do me coherte
From the hous of swerers shall not be absent
The plage of Justyce to take punysshement
¶ Unde. Ecclesiastici .xxxiii. Uir multam iurans implebitur iniquitate et non discendet a domo eius plaga.
A man moche swerynge with grete iniquite
Shall be replete / and from his mancyon
The plage of vengeaunce shall not cessed be
Wherfore ye brederne full of abusyon
Take good hede to this dyscrypcyon
Come nowe to me and axe forgyuenes
And be penytente and haue it douteles
Angustinns. Non potest male mori qui bene vixit et vix bene moritur qui male vixit.
Who in this worlde lyueth well and ryghwysly
Shall deye well by ryght good knowlegynge
Who in this worldely ueth yll and wrongfully
Shall hardly scape to haue good endynge
I do graunte mercy but no tyme enlongynge
Wherfore good brederne whyles that ye haue space.
Amende your lyfe and come vnto my grace
My wordes my prelates vnto you do preche
For to conuerte you from your wretchednes
But lytell auaylleth you nowe for to teche
The worlde hathe cast you in suche blyndnes
Lyke vnto stones your harres hathe hardnes
That my swete wordes may not reconsyle
Your hertes harde with mortall synne so vyle
Wo worthe your hartes so planted in pryde
Wo worthe your wrath and mortall enuye
Wo worthe slouth that dothe with you abyde
Wo worthe also in mesurable glotony
Wo worthe your tedyus synne of lechery
Wo worthe you whome I gaue free wyll
Wo worthe couetyse that dothe your soules spyll
Wo worthe shorte Ioye cause of payne eternall
Wo worthe you that be so peruerted
Wo worthe your pleasures in the synnes mortall
Wo worthe you for whome I sore smerted
Wo worthe you euer but ye be conuerted
Wo worthe you whose makynge I repente
Wo worthe your horryble synne so vyolente
Wo worthe you whiche do me forsake
Wo worthe you whiche wyllyngely offende
Wo worthe your swerynge whiche dothe not aslake
Wo worthe you whiche wyll nothynge amende
Wo worthe vyce that dothe on you attende
Wo worthe your grete vnkyndenes to me
[Page]Wo worthe your hertes withouten pyte
Wo worthe your falshode and your doublenesse
Wo worthe also your corrupte Iugement
Wo worthe delyte in worldely rychesse
Wo worthe debate without extynguyshement
Wo worthe your wordes so moche impacyent
Wo worthe you vnto whome I dyde bote
And worthe you that tere me at the rote
Blessyd be ye that loue humylyte
Blessyd be ye that loue trouthe and pacyence
Blessyd be ye folowynge werkes of equyte
Blessyd be ye that loue well abstynence
Blessyd be ye vyrgyns of excellence
Blessyd be ye whiche loue well vertue
Blessyd be ye whiche do the worlde eschue
Blessyd be ye that heuenly Ioye do loue
Blessyd be ye in vertuous gouernaunce
Blessyd be ye whiche do pleasures reproue
Blessyd be ye that consyder my greuaunce
Blessyd be ye whiche do take repentaunce
Blessyd be ye remembrynge my passyon
Blessyd be ye makynge petycyon
Blessyd be ye folowynge my trace
Blessyd be ye louynge trybulacyon
Blessyd be ye not wyllynge to trespace
Blessyd be ye of my castycacyon
Blessyd be ye of good operacyon
[Page]Blessyd be ye vnto me ryght kynde
Blessyd be you whiche haue me in your mynde
Blessyd be ye leuynge yll company
Blessyd be ye hauntynge the vertuous
Blessyd be ye that my name magnefy
Blessyd be ye techynge the vycyous
Blessyd be ye good and relygyous
Blessyd be ye in the lyfe temperall
Whiche applye yourselfe to Ioye celestyall
The brytyll worlde ryght often transmutable
Who wyll in it his lyfe and tyme well spende
Shall Ioye attayne after inestymable
For in the worlde he must fyrst condyscende
To take grete payne as his power wyll extende
Agaynst the worlde the flesshe and the deuyll
By my grete grace for to withstande theyr euyll
For who can be a gretter fole than he
That spendeth his tyme to hym vncertayne
For a breuyat pleasure of worldly vanyte
Than after that to haue eternall payne
Who of the worlde delyteth and is fayne
Shall after sorowe and cry ve ve
In another worlde quante sunt tenebre
Who is wyser than he that wyll applye
In the worlde take payne by due dylygence
After shorte payne to come grete glorye
Whiche is eterne moost hye of excellence
Where he shall se my grete magnyfycence
[Page]With many aungelles whiche for theyr solace
Insacyately do beholde my face
Regarde no Ioye of the erthly consystory
For lyke as Phebus dothe the snowe relente
So passeth the Ioyes of the worlde transytory
Tyme renneth fast tyll worldely lyfe be spente
Consyder this in your entendemente
Blessed be they that my wordes do here
And kepe it well / for they are to me dere
Therfore good brederne your hertes enclyne
To loue and drede me that am omnipotent
Bothe god and man in Ioye celestyne
Beholde my body all to torne and rente
With your spytefull othes cruell and vyolente
I loue you ye hate me ye are to harde herted
I helpe you ye tere me lo how for you I smerted
Mercy and peace dyde make an vnyte
Bytwene you and me but trouth & ryghtwysnesse
Do nowe complayne byddynge my godheed se
How that ye breke the lege of sothfastnesse
They tell me that by Iustyce doubtelesse
I must take vengeaunce vpon you sykerly
That by your swerynge / agayne me crucefye
For at the request of good mercy and peace
I haue forborne you longe and many a daye
yet more and more your synnes do encrease
Wherfore my Iustyce wyll no more delaye
[Page]But take vengeaunce for all your proude araye
I warne you ofte ye are nothynge the better
But ye amende my vengeaunce shall be gretter
¶ Contra iutatores [...] in celo crucifigentes per bernardū dixit domintia. Nonne satis pro te vulneratus sum? nonne satis pro te afflictus sum? de sine amplius peccare. qr magis aggrauat vuinus yeccau q vulnus lateris mei
Am not I wounded for the suffyeyent
Haue I not for the ynoughe afflyccyon
Leue more to synne by good amendement
The wounde of synne to me is more passyon
Than the wounde of my syde for thy redempcyon
Thoughe I do spare I shall not desteny
But ye amende to brenne eternally
With my blody woundes I dyde your chartre seale
Why do you tere it / why do ye breke it so
Syth it to you is the eternall heale
And the releace of euerlastynge wo
Beholde this lettre with the prynte also
Of myn owne seale by perfyte portrayture
Prynte it in mynde and ye shall helthe recure
And ye kynges and lordes of renowne
Exhorte your seruauntes theyr swerynge to cease
Come vnto me and cast your synne adowne
And I my vengeaunce shall truely releace
With grace and plente / I shall you encreace
[Page]And brynge you whiche reuolue inwardly
This my complaynt / to eternall glory


¶ The Auctor.
Go lytell treatyse deuoyde of eloquence
Tremblynge for drede to approche the maieste
Of our souerayne lorde surmountynge in excellence
But vnder the wynge of his benygnyte
Submyttynge the to his mercyfull pyte
And beche his grace to pardon thy rudenes
Whiche of late was made to eschewe ydylnes
¶ Thus endeth the conuersyon of swerers

Enprynted at London in Flete strete at the sygne of the sonne by Wynkyn de Worde. prynter vnto ye moost excellent pryncesse my lady the kynges graūdame. The yere of our lorde a. M. CCCCC. and .ix. The fyrst yere of ye reygne of our souerayne lorde kynge Henry the .viii.


wynkyn de worde

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