¶ Here after folow [...] the hystorye of Gesta-Romanorum.


SOmtyme there dwelled in Rome a myghty Emperour, whyche had a fayre creature to hys doughtar named Atle [...]ta, whome dy­uerse great lordes & many noble knyghtes desyred to haue to wyfe. Thys Atlēta was wounders swyfte on fote, wherfore suche a lawe was ordeyned yt no mā sholde haue her to wyfe but suche as myght ouer renne her & take her by strengthe of fote. And so it befell that many came & ranne wyth her, but [Page] she was so swyfte that no [...] course of reunynge. At ye last [...] Pomeys vnto her father & sayd to hym thus [...] lorde yf it myght please you to gyue me your doughter to wyfe, I wyll gladly renne wyth her. Than sayd her father, there is suche a lawe ordeyned & set, that who so wyll haue her to wyfe, must fyrst renne wyth her, & yf he fayle in hys course, yt he ouertake her not, he shall lese hys heed, & yf it fortune hym to ouertake her, than shall I wedde her vnto hym. And whā the Emperoure had tolde hym all the peryll that myght▪ fall in ye wyn­nynge of her, the knyght wylfully graunted to abyde that ieopardye. Than the knyght let ordeyne hym thre balles of golde agaynst the rennynge. And whan they had begon to renue a lyttel spare, the yonge lady ouer ranne hym, than ye knyght threwe forth before her the fyrst ball of golde. And whan the damoysell sawe ye bal she stouped and toke it vp, and that whyle the knyght wanne before her, but that auayled lyttell, for whā she perceyued that, she ranne so fast that in shorte space she gate before hym agayne. And than he threwe forth the seconde hall of golde, and she stouped as she dyd before to take it vp, and in that whyle the knyght wanne be­fore her agayne, whyche thys yonge damoysell seynge cōstrayned herselfe and ranne so fast, tyll at the last she had hym at a vauntage agayn, & was afore hym, and by that tyme they were nygh the marke where they sholde abyde, wherfore ye knyght threwe forth ye thyrde ball before her, and lyke as she had done before s [...]ouped downe to take vp the ball, & whyle she was in takynge vp the thyrde ball the knyght gate afore her, and was fyrst at the marke. And thus was she wonne.

[Page]¶By this Emperour is vnderstande the father of he­uen; and by thys damoysell is vnderstande the soule of man, with whome many deuylles desyre to renne, and to deceyue her thrugh theyr tēptacyons, but she wyth­standeth them myghtyly and ouercōmeth them. And whan they haue done theyr power, and may not spede than make they thre balles of golde, and casteth them before her in the thre ages of man, that is to saye, in youth, in manhode, & in olde age. In youth he casteth the ball of lechery before her, that is to saye, the desyre of the flesshe, neuerthelesse for all this ball oftentymes man ouercōmeth the deuyll by confessyon, contrycyon and satisfaccyon. The seconde ball is the ball of pryde, the whyche the deuyll casteth to man in hys manhode, that is to saye, in hys myddle age, but thys ball man oftentymes ouercōmeth as he dyd ye fyrst. But let hym beware of the thyrde ball, whyche is ye ball of couetyse that the deuyll casteth to man in hys olde age, whyche is dredefull. For but yf a man may ouercōme this ball wyth these other two, he shall lese hys honour, that is to saye, the kyngdome of heuen. For whan man bren­neth in couetyse, he thynketh not on goostly rychesse, for euer his hert is set on woorldly goodes, and recketh not of prayers ne of almes dedes, and thus leseth he hys herytage, to ye whyche god hath bought hym wyth hys pre [...]yous blode, vnto the whyche our lorde Iesu Chryst brynge bothe you & me & al mankynde. Amen.

THere dwelled somtyme in Rome a myghty Emperour & a wyse named Anselme, whyche bare in his armes a shelde of syluer wt fyue reed roses. This Emperour had thre sones, whome he loued moche, he [Page] had also contynuall warre wyth the kynge of Egypte, in the whyche warre he lost all hys temporall goodes, excepte a vertuous tree. It fortuned after on a daye that he gaue batayle to ye sayd kyng of Egypte, wher­in he was greuously woūded. Neuerthelesse he optey­ned the vyctory, notwythstandynge he had hys deedly woūde, wherfore whyle he lay in poynt of deth he cal­led vnto hym his eldest sone & sayd. My moost dere and welbeloued sone, al my tēporal rychesse I haue spente & almoost nothynge is lefte me, except a vertuous tree the whyche standeth in the myddes of myne Empyre, I gyue to the all that is vnder the erth & aboue ye erth of ye same tree. O my reuerent father (ꝙ he) I thanke you moche. Than sayde themperour, call to me my se­cond sone. Anone his eldest sone greatly gladded of his fathers gyfte called in hys brother, and whan he came than sayd themperour. My dere sone (quod he) I may not make my testament for as moche as I haue spent all my goodes, excepte a tree whyche standeth in myne Empyre, of the whyche tree I bequethe to the all that is greate and small. Than answered he & sayd. My reuerent father I thanke you moche. Than sayd ye Em­perour, call to me my thyrde sone, and so it was done. And whā he was cōme, the Emperour sayd. My dere sone I must dye of these woundes, & I haue but onely a vertuous tree, of the whyche I haue bequethed thy bretherne theyr porcyon, and to the I bequethe thy porcyon, for I wyll that thou haue of the sayd tree all that is wete & drye. Than sayde hys sone. Father I thanke you. Soone after that ye Emperour had made hys be­quest he dyed. And the eldest sone anone toke season of the tree. Whan the seconde brother herde thys, he sayde [Page] My brother, by what lawe or tytel occupy ye thys tree. Dere brother quod he I occupy it by thys tytell, my father gaue me all that is vnder the erth & aboue of the sayd tree, & therfore by reason thys tree is myne. Un­knowynge to the quod the seconde brother, he gaue me all that is in brede, lengthe & depnes of the sayd tree, & therfore I haue as great▪ ryght in ye tree as thou. This hearyng the thyrde sone came to them & sayd. O ye my best beloued bretherne, it behoueth you not to stryue for this tree, for as moche ryght haue I in this tree as ye, for well ye wote by ye lawe, that the last wyll & testament ought to stande, for sothly he gaue me of the sayd tree all that is wete & drye, & therfore by ryght the tree is myne, but for as moche as your tales ben greate, & myne also, my coūseyle is that we be iustyfyed by rea­son, for it is not good nor cōmendable that any stryfe or dyssencyō shold be amonge vs. Here besyde dwelleth a kyng of reason, for it is not good to stryue, go we there vnto hym, & eueryche of vs laye hys ryght before hym and lyke as he wyll iudge, let vs stande to hys iudge­ment. Than sayd hys bretherne, this coūseyle is good, wherfore they wente all thre vnto the kyng of reason, & eueryche of them syngularly shewed sorth hys ryght vnto hym, lyke as it is sayd before. Whan ye kynge had [...]erde theyr tytels, he rehersed them all agayn [...]yngu­larly, fyrst sayenge to the eldest sone thus. Thou sayst for the quod the kyng that thy father gaue the all that is vnder the erth & aboue the erth of the sayd tree. And to the seconde brother he bequethed all that is in brede length & depnes of that tree. And to the thyrde brother he gaue all that is wete & drye. And with that he layde the lawe for them, and sayd that the last wyll ought to [Page] stande. Now my dere sones, breuely I shall satisfye all your reasons. And whan he had thus sayde, he turned hym vnto ye eldest brother, sayinge thus. My dere sone yf the lyst to abyde ye iudgement, of ryght the behoueth to be letten blode of the ryght arme. My lorde quod he your wyll shal be done. Than called the kynge forth a dyscrete physycyon, cōmaūdyng hym to let hym blode. Whan the eldest sone was thus letten blode, the kyng sayd to them all thre. My dere sones quod he where is your father buryed. Than answered they & sayde. For­sothe my lorde in suche a place. Anone the kyng cōmaū ded to delue vp the body, and to drawe out a bone of his brest, & to bury the body agayne, & so it was done. And whan the bone was drawen out, the kynge cōmaūded that it shold be layde in the blode of the elder brother, & that it shold lye tyll it had receyued kyndly the blode, & than to be layde in ye sonne & dryed, & after that it shold be wasshen with clere water, hys seruauntes fulfylled al that he cōmaūded. And whan they began to wasshe the blode vanysshed clene away. Whan the kyng sawe this, he sayd to the seconde sone. It behoueth yt thou be letten blode as thy brother is. Than sayd he. My lorde thy wyll shall be fulfylled, & anone he was serued lyke as hys brother was in all thynge, & whan they began to wasshe the bone, the blode vanysshed awaye. Than sayd the kyng to the thyrde sone. My dere chylde it be­houeth the also to be letten blode. He answered & sayd. My lorde it pleaseth me well so to be. Whan ye yongest brother was letten blode, & serued in al thynge lyke as his two bretherne were serued before, whan ye kynges seruaūtes began to wasshe ye bone, they might neyther for wasshynge ne for fretynge do away the blode of the [Page] bone, but euer it appered blody. Whan the kynge sawe thys he sayd. It appereth openly yt this blode wythout doubte is of the nature of thys bone, thou art hys true sone, and these other two ben bastardes, I gyue to the that tree for euermore.

¶Dere frēdes thys Emperour is our lord Iesu chryst whyche bare a sheelde of syluer wyth fyue reed roses, that is ta saye, hys body that is so fayre so clere & more radiant than ony syluer, according wt psalmist sayinge thus. Speciosus forma pre filijs hominū. That is to saye, he was more specyall & fayrer of shape than all ye chyldren of men. By these .v. roses we vnderstande hys fyue woundes, whyche he suffred for mankynde. And by the kynge of Egypte we vnderstande the deuyll, agaynst whome he fought all the tyme of hys lyfe, & at the last he was slayne for mākynde. Neuerthelesse be­fore hys deth he made hys testament to hys thre sones. By the fyrst to whome he gaue of the tree all that was vnder ye erth & aboue, we shall vnderstande the myghty men & states of thys worlde, to whome he hath gyuen power in erth, in water and in ayre, so that they be obe­dyent at theyr wyll, & all thynge vnder heuen. By the seconde sone to whome he gaue ye tree in lenght, brede & depnes, we may vnderstande the wytty men of thys worlde, as Iustyces, atturneys and men of lawe, these men haue power in lengthe, brede & depnes vpon gen­tylmen of myddle degre, and vpon poore men, them to deme & iudge as they lyst. By ye thyrde sone to whome he gaue all that was wete & drye of the tree, we shall vnderstande good chrysten men, whyche haue & suffre bothe wete an drye, that is to saye, now pouerte, now trouble, now solace, now care, now cold, now hete, and [Page] all this they receyue of god thankfully to haue this no­ble tree yt was thus bequethed them. Thys tree is the tree of paradyse, yt is to saye, euerlastyng iaye of heuen whyche is gyuē to vs all, yf we wyl take it thankfully, neuerthelesse it is heuen in dyuerse wyse, & not egally, for some hath more, & some hath lesse, after theyr me­rytes, thys notwithstādyng euery man opteyneth not, therfore it behoueth them to go vnto ye kyng of reason, that is to saye, vnto the father of heuen, that knoweth all thyng or they be made. The fyrst sone was let blode and in his blode the bone was wrapped. By this blode we shall vnderstande our merytoryous dedes, & by the whyte & heuy almes dede whych is ful heuy to thē that gyue almes, neuerthelesse it maketh the soule whyte, wherfore whan these myghty men gyue almes, or do a merytoryous dede, though it be made drye & stablys­shed wyth the sonne, & by the wynde of dyuyne predicacyon, neuerthelesse whan the water of pryde, enuye, wrath, & suche other, all the merytoryous dedes done before is brought to nought, & the blode, that is to saye the almes dedes by ye whyche they sholde cōme to euer­lastynge lyfe, begynneth to vanysshe awaye. For why as the apostle sayth, he that offendeth in one synne, is gylty in all. Thys blode letter whych let them blode is a discrete confessour, though the myghty men of thys worlde do good dedes & fulfyl theyr penaūce, neuerthelesse whan the water of couetyse, that is to saye, whan the purse is full of money anone they gyue true iudge­ment, agaynst whome it is wryten thus. The wyse­dome of this worlde is nothyng els but foly afore god And agaynst the myghty men of thys worlde speketh holy scrypture and sayth. Where be those myghty men [Page] whych were praysed among the byrdes of heuen, eate and drynke, and often descēded to hell. The thyrde sone of thys Emperour is a good chrysten man, whyche all the tyme of hys lyfe dyd good dedes, & lyued wythout pryde, enuy and lechery, from the bone of suche a man the blode may not be wasshen awaye, that is to saye, hys merytoryous dedes may not be put away from penaunce, suche a man is ye true chylde of god, of whome our lorde speketh thus. Ye the whyche haue forsaken all thynge for me, all, that is to saye, ye that haue for­saken the wyll of synne, shall receyue an hōdred tymes more, that is to saye, ye shall not onely receyue the tree of paradyse, but also the heritage of heuen. These two other sones ben bastardes, for why, that they behote in theyr baptym they wrought all the contrary thrugh theyr wycked lyuynge. And therfore he that desyreth to optayne the ioyes of heuen, hym behoueth to abyde stedfastly in werkynge of good werkes, and than by reason may he optayne the tree of paradyse, vnto the whyche that lorde brynge vs whyche lyueth & regneth eternally worlde wythouten ende. Amen.

IN Rome there dwelled somtyme a noble Emperour named Dyoclesiā, whych aboue all worldly goodes loued the vertue of charyte, wherfore he desyred greatly to knowe what fowle loued her byrdes best to the entent that he myght therby growe to more perfyte charyte. It fortuned after vpon a daye that thys Em­perour walked to the forest to take hys dysporte, where as he foūde the nest of a great byrde that is called in latyn strutio wyth her byrde, the whyche byrde thempe­rour toke wyth hym, & closed hym in a vessell of glasse. [Page] The mother of thys lyttell byrde folowed after vnto ye Emperours place, and entred into the hall where her byrde was closed. But whan she sawe her byrde and myght by no meanes cōme to her, ne gete her out, she returned agayn to ye forest, & there she abode thre dayes and at ye last she returned agayne to ye palays, bearyng in her mouth a worme that is called thumare. Whan she came where her byrde was, she let the worme fall vpon ye glasse, thrugh vertue of whyche worme ye glasse brake, & the byrde escaped & s [...]ewe forth wt hys mother. Whan themperour sawe thys, he praysed moche ye mo­ther of thys byrde, whyche so dylygently laboured for the delyueraunce of her byrde.

¶ My frendes thys Emperour is the father of heuē, whyche greatly loueth them that ben in perfyte loue & charite. Thys lytel byrde closed in the glasse & takē fro the forest was Adam our forefather, whyche was exi­led fro paradyse, and put in the glasse, that is to say, in hell. Thys hearyng the mother of the byrde, that is to wyte, the sone of god descended fro heuen & came to the forest of the worlde, and lyued here thre dayes & more, bearyng wyth hym a worme, that is to say, manhode accordyng wt the psalmyst, sayinge. Ego sum vermis etnō homo. That is to saye, I am a worme & no man. Thys manhode was suffred to be slayne amonge the iewes, of whose blode ye vessel eternall was brokē, and the byrde went out, that is to saye▪ Adam wente forth wyth hys mother the sone of god & flewe vnto heuen.

SOmtyme dwelled in Rome a worthy emperour and a wyse, whyche had a fayre doughter and a gracyous in the syght of euery man. Thys Emperour [Page] bethought hym on a daye to whome he myght gyue his doughter in maryage, saying thus. Yf I gyue my doughter to a ryche man, & he be a foole than is she lost and yf I gyue her to a poore man & a wytty, than may he gete hys lyuynge for hym and her by his wysdome. There was that tyme dwellynge in the cite of Rome a phylosopher named Socrates, poore & wyse, whyche came to themperour & sayd. My lord displease you not though I put forth my petycyon before your hyghnes Themperour sayd, what so euer pleaseth the tell forth Than sayde Socrates. My lorde ye haue a doughter whome I desyre aboue al thyng. Themperour answered & sayd. My frende I shall gyue the my doughter to wyfe vpon thys condicyon, that yf she dye in thy felawshyp after that she be wedded to the, thou shalte wyth­outen doutelese thy heed. Than sayd Socrates. Upō thys condicyon I wyll gladly take her to be my wyfe. Themperour hearyng thys, let call forth all ye lordes & states of his Empyre, and made a greate feest at theyr weddynge. And after ye feest Socrates ledde home his wyfe to hys owne house, where as they lyued in peace and helth longe tyme. But at the last thys Emperours doughter syckned to deth. Whan Socrates perceyued thys, he sayde to hym selfe. Alas and woo to me, what shall I doo, and whether shall I flee, yf themperours doughter that is my wyfe sholde dye, & for sorowe this Socrates wente to a forest there besyde & wepte byt­terly. The whyle he thus wepte & mourned there came an aged man bearyng a staffe in hys hande, & asked ye cause of Socrates why he mourned. Socrates answered and sayde. I wedded themperours doughter vpon thys cōdycyon, yt yf she dyed in my felowshyp, I sholde [Page] lese my lyfe, now she is syckened vnto the deth, & I can fynde no remedy nor helpe, & therfore I mourne more than any creature can thynke. Than sayde the olde mā be ye cōforted, for I shall be your helper, yf ye wyll do after my counseyle. In this forest be thre herbes, yf ye make a drynke of the fyrst to your wyfe, & of the other two a plaester, & yf she vse thys medicynall drynke and plaester in due tyme, wythout doubte she shall recouer to perfyte helth. Socrates fulfylled al as the old man had taught hym. And whā hys wyfe had vsed a whyle that medicynall drynke & pleaster, wythin shorte tyme she was perfytly hole of al her sycknes. And whan the Emperoure herde that Socrates wrought so wysely, and how dylygently he laboured for to heale his wyfe he promoted hym to great dyngnyte and worshyp.

¶Dere frēdes this Emperour is our lord Iesu chryst hys doughter so fayre & so gracyous is the soule, made at the similitude of god, whych is full gracyous & glo­ryous in the syght of hym & of hys aūgels, whyle that she is not defouled & abydeth in her owne propre clen­nesse. Thys soule god wolde not gyue it to a ryche man but to a poore man, that is to say, a man that is made of the slyme of the erth. Thys Socrates is a poore mā for why, euery man cōmeth poore and naked in to this worlde from hys mothers bely, & euery mā taketh hys soule in wedlocke vpon suche cōdicyon, that yf she dye in hys felawshyp by deedly synne, wythout doubte he shal lese eternal lyfe. Therfore o thou man yf thy wyfe sycken so thrugh deedly sinne, do thā as Socrates dyd go vnto the forest, that is holy chyrche, and thou shalte fynde there an olde man with a sta [...]e, that is a discrete cōfessour, whyche shall tell the of these thre herbes, for [Page] he hath power to bynde & to vnbynde. The fyrst herbe is contricyon, of whome thou sholdest make thy drynke of teares. Ambrose sayth that teares wassheth awaye synne, where shame is to knowlege it, and these two other herbes ben confessyon and satysfaccyon, yf these herbes be vsed in plaester, the synner wythout doubte shall receyue his helth, and his soule shall be delyuered from synne, and by al ryght he shall haue euerlastyng lyfe. Vnto the whyche brynge vs our lorde Iesus.

SOmtyme there regned in Rome a myghty Em­perour and a wyse named Frederyke, whyche had an onely sone, whome he loued moche. Thys Em­perour whan he laye at the poynt of deth, he called vn­to hym his sone & sayd. Dere sone I haue a ball of gold whych I gyue the vpon my blessyng, that thou anone after my deth shalt gyue it to the moost foole that thou mayst fynde. Than sayd hys sone. My lorde wothout doubte your wyll shall be fulfylled. Anone thys yonge lorde after the deth of hys father went & sought in many realmes & founde many recheles fooles, bycause he wolde satysfye hys fathers wyll laboured farther tyll he came in to a realme where the lawe was suche, that euery yere a newe kyng was chosen there, & thys kyng had onely the guydynge of ye realme but a yere, & at the yeres ende he was deposed & put in exile in an ylande, where as he shold wretchedly fynysshe hys lyfe. Whan themperours sone came to thys realme the newe kyng was chosen wt great honour, & all maner of mynstral­sye wente afore hym, & brought hym wyth great reue­rence and worshyp vnto hys regall sete. And whan the Emperours sone sawe that, he came vnto hym and sa­lewed [Page] hym reuerently & sayd. My lorde loo I gyue the thys ball of gold on my fathers behalfe. Than sayd he I praye the tell me the cause why thou gyuest me thys ball. Thā answered thys yonge lorde and sayd. My father charged me in hys deth bedde vpon payn of forfeytynge of his blessynge, that I sholde gyue this ball of ye moost foole ye I coude fynde, wherfore I haue sought many realmes, & haue founde many fooles, neuerthe­lesse a more foole than thou art founde I neuer, & therfore thys is the reason. It is not vnknowen to the that thou shalt regne but a yere, and at the yeres ende thou shalte be exiled into suche a place where as thou shalte dye a myscheuous deth, wherfore I holde the for the moost foole that euer I founde, that for the lordshyp of a yere thou woldest so wylfully lese thy selfe, & therfore before all other I haue gyuen to the thys ball of gold. Than sayd the kyng, wythout doubte thou sayst sothe and therfore whan I am in full power of thys realme I shall sende before me greate treasoure and rychesse wherwyth I may lyue and saue my selfe from my sche­uous deth whan I shall be exiled & put downe. And so thys was done, wherfore at the yeres ende he was exi­led, & lyued there in peace vpon suche goodes as he had sente before, and he dyed afterwarde a good deth.

¶Dere frendes thys Emperour is the father of heuen the whych byquethed the ball, that is to saye, worldly rychesse to fooles and ydyottes, whyche sauoureth no thynge but that is erthly. This Emperours sone, that is to saye, a precher and a discrete cōfessour serched a­bout many realmes & landes to shewe to mysbyleuing men & fooles theyr peryll. The realme wherin no kyng myght regne but a yere is this worlde. For who so had [Page] lyued an hondred yere, whan he commeth to the deeth hym shall seme that he hath lyued but the space of an houre, therfore do as the kyng dyd, whyle that ye be in power of lyfe sende before you your treasour, that is to say, almes dede & other merytoryus dedes, & certayn­ly whā ye be put in exile out of thys world, ye shall lyue in peace, & shall fynde ye mercy of god plentefull, wher­by ye shall optayne euerlastynge lyfe. Unto the whych brynge vs he, that for vs dyed on the rode tree. Amen.

DIoclesyan regned in the cyte of Rome, in whose empyre dwelled a noble phylosopher, ye whych let vp by hys crafte an ymage in the myddes of ye [...]ite of Rome, the whyche ymage stretched out hys arme & hys formest fynger, whervpon stode thys posy wryten in latyn. Percute hic. Smyte here. Thys ymage after the deth of thys phylosopher stode styll a longe tyme, & many greate clerkes came thyder for to rede the super­scripcyon that was on ye fynger, but none of them vn­derstode what it mente, wherfore there was greate wondrynge amonge the people. And at the last a longe tyme after there came a straūge clerke out of ferre coū ­trees, & whan he sawe thys ymage he redde ye scripture Smyte here. And than vpon a daye whan he sawe the shadowe of the hande, he toke a mattocke & brake vp ye grounde vnder the hande where the shadowe was, ac­cordyng to the vnderstandyng of the superscripcyon, & anone he founde an house al of marble vndernethe the grouode, wherin he entred, & came in to a hall, where he founde so moche rychesse, so many yewelles, and so great meruayles that he neuer sawe ne herde of suche nor so many before that tyme. At ye last he sawe a borde [Page] couered, and all maner of thynges necessary therto set ther vpon. He be helde farther and sawe a carbuncle in a wall that lyghtened all ye hous. And anenst thys car­buncle on that other syde stode a man holdynge in hys hande a bowe wyth an arowe redy to shote. The clerke merualled moche whan be sawe all these thynges, and thought in hymself, yf that I t [...]ll thys forth there wyll no man byleue me, & therfore I wyll haue somwhat of these goodes in token of profe. And wyth that he sawe a knyfe of golde vpon ye borde, whyche he toke & wolde haue put it in his bosome. But anone the archer smote the carbuncle and brake it, wherwyth all the hole hous was shadowed & made darke. And whan ye clerke per­ceyued it, he wept more bytterly than ony man myght thynke, for he wyst not by what way he myght go out, for as moche as the hous was made darke thrugh the brekynge of the carbuncle. And that darknesse abode styll for euermore after. And so fynisshed the clerke his lyfe there in that darknesse.

¶ Dere frendes thys ymage so standyng is the deuyll whyche sayth euermore. Smyte here. That is to saye take hede to erthly ryche [...]se, & not to heuenly treasour. Thys clerke that smote with the mattocke betokeneth the wyse men of thys worlde, as pleders of ye lawe, at­turneys, and other wordly men that euer be smytyng what by ryght & what by wronge, so yt they may gete the vanytees of thys worlde, & in theyr smytynge they fynde great wonders & meruayles, that is to say, they fynde therin the delytes of the worlde, wherin many men reioyseth. The carbuncle that gyueth lyght is the youth of man, whyche gyueth hardynes to take theyr pleasure in worldly rychesse. The archer wt hys arowe [Page] is deth, whyche layeth watche anenst man to slee hym. The clerke that toke vp ye knyfe is euery wordly man that weneth euer to haue all thynge at hys wyll. Deth smyteth the carbuncle, that is to saye youth, strength and power of man, and than lyeth he wrapped in darknes of synne▪ in whyche darknes oftentymes he dyeth. Therfore study we to flee the worlde and hys desyres, and than shall we be sure to wynne euerlastynge lyfe, vnto the whyche Iesu brynge bothe you & me. Amen.

IN Rome dwelled somtyme a myghty Emperoure named Tytus, a wyse man & a dyscrete, whyche or­deyned in his dayes suche a lawe, that what knyght dyed in hys empyre, sholde be buryed in hys armure, & who so euer presumed to spoyle any knyghtes armure after he were deed, he shold dye wythout ony withstandyng or gaynsaying. It befell after within fewe yeres that a cyte of ye empyre was besyeged of themperours ennemyes, wherfore that cyte was in peryll of lesyng▪ for n [...]ne that was wythin that cyte myght not defend [...] themselfe by no maner of crafte, therfore great sorowe and lamentacyon was made thrugh out all ye cite. But at the last win fewe days there came to the cite a yonge knyght and a fayre and doughty to do dedes of armes, whome the worthy men of the cite beholdyng & vnder­standyng his doughtynes [...], cryed wt one voyce. O thou most noble knyght, we beseche the yf it please thy worthynesse to helpe vs now at our most nede, loo ye may so this cyte in is peryll of lesynge. Than answered he & sayd. [...] ye not syrs th [...] I haue none armure, & yf I had armure I wolde gladly defende your cyte. Thys [...]earynge a myghty man of the cyte sayd to hym in se­crete [Page] wyse. Syr here was somtyme & doughty knyght whyche now is deed and buryed within this cite ac [...]or [...]dynge to the lawe, & yf it please you to take his armure ye myght defende thys cite & delyuer vs fro peryll, and that shall be honour vnto you and profyte vnto all the empyre. Whan thys yonge knyght had herde thys, he wente to the graue & toke ye armure & arayed hym selfe therwyth, & fought myghtyly agaynst hys ennemyes, and at the last he opteyned & had the vyctory, & delyue­red ye cite from peryll. And whan he had so done, he put the armure agayne in to the graue. There were some men in the cite that had great indignacion and enuy at hym, bycause he had opteyned the vyctory, and accused hym to the iudge, saying thus. Syr a lawe was made by themperour, yt who so euer despoyled a deed knyght of hys armure sholde dye, thys yonge knyght founde a deed knyght & toke away hys armure, therfore we be­seche ye that thou procede in the lawe agaynst hym, as agaynst hym yt is breker of ye lawe. Whan the Iustyce herde this, he made ye knyght to be takē & to be brought a fore him. And whā he was examyned of this trespace agaynst the lawe, he sayd thus. Syr it is wryten in the lawe▪ that of two harmes the leest is to be chosen, it is not vnknowen to you that this cite was in peryll to be lost, & but I had taken thys armure I had neyther sa­ued you ne the cyte, therfore me thynketh ye ought ra­ther to honour & worshyp me for thys good dede that I haue done, than thus shamefully to repreue me, for I am ledde as he that is redy to be hāged, and also good syrs an other reason I may laye for myne excuse. He yt steleth or robbeth vyolently, purposeth not to restore ye thynge that he robbeth, but it is not thus wyth me, for [Page] though I toke the armure of the deed knyght for your saluacyon, whan I had opteyned the victory I bare it agayne to ye same place, & so the deed knyght hath that is hys by the lawe. Than sayd the Iustyce, a thefe that breketh a hous that he may stele & bere away suche as he may fynde, & though he brynge agayn that he hath taken, I aske of the yf that the brekyng of the hous be lawfull or not. The knight answered, somtyme the brekynge of an hous may be good, where as it is made in feble place, whych sholde cause the lorde of the hous to make hys wall stronger, that the theues after ye breke not the walles so lyghtly in auoydyng of more harme. Than sayd the Iustyce, yf the brekyng of the hous be good, neuerthelesse in that brekyng violence is done to the lorde of the hous. And so though thou dydest good wyth the armure of ye deed knyght, neuerthelesse thou dydest wronge to the deed knyght in takyng away hys armure. The knyght sayd, I haue tolde you how that of two harmes the leest is to be chosen, and that harme where thrugh great goodnes cōmeth, ought not to be called harme, but it sholde rather be called good. For yf that ony hous wythin the cite were on fyre & began to brenne, it were more better to throwe it to the grounde and thre or foure houses therby, than they sholde be set on fyre, also wherby all ye cyte myght be brente. Ryght so, yf the armure oft ye deed knyght had not ben taken the cyte and ye all had ben lost. And whan the Iustyce herde yt he answered so well & so reasonably, he myght gyue no iudgemēt agaynst hym. But the whyche had accused thys knyght slewe hym, for whose deth there was great wepyng thrugh out all the cyte, & hys body was worshypfully buryed in a nee [...] tombe.

[Page]¶Dere frendes thys Emperour is the father of heuen and thys cite is ye worlde, the whych is besyeged of the deuyll and deedly synne. And as many as were within this cyte, were al in peryl to be lost. This yong knyght that came to the cyte, is our lorde Iesu Chryst, whyche had not the armure of our manhode tyll he went to the graue, that is to saye, to the wombe of ye gloryous vyr­gyn Mary: by the annūciacyon of the aungell, sayinge The holy goost shall lyght in the. &c. Lo thou shalt con­ceyue & bere a sone. And thus in the wombe of the vyr­gyn he toke the armure of ye deed knyght, that is to say he toke the manhode of Adam ourfore father, & saued the cyte, that is the worlde wyth mākynde from peryll by hys blessed passyon whych he suffred on the crosse, & than he put hys armure agayn in to ye graue whan his blessed body was buryed, but ye cytezyns enuyed hym, that is to saye, the iewes of Iury accused hym to Py­late, and layde the lawe agaynst hym, saying. Yf thou suffre hym thus, thou arte not the Emperour Cesars frende, we haue a lawe & after ye lawe he ought to dye. And thus our lorde Iesu Chryst of his ennemyes was cōdempned to the deth of the crosse, & after ascended vp to heuen, where our lorde Iesu brynge vs all. Amen.

THere regned somtyme in Rome a myghty Em­perour and a wysed named Betolde, whych or­deyned a lawe, that what woman were taken in anoutry her husbande beynge alyue, she sholde be cast in to ꝑpetuall pryson. There was that tyme a knyght that had a sayre lady to hys wyfe, whyche dyd a [...]outry her husbande beynge alyue, & was wyth chylde, therfore by ye [...] in pryson, where wythin shorte [Page] tyme after she was delyuered of a fayre sone. Thys chylde grewe vp tyll he was .vij. yere olde, hys mother dayly wepte hertely. And whan the chylde herde thys he sayd to hys mother. O mother why wepe ye thus, & for what cause is your body thus turmented. Than sayd hys mother. O thou my swete sone, I haue great cause to mourne, and thou also, for aboue our hedes is people walkyng, & ye sonne shyneth in clerenes, & great solace haue all men yt are aboue vs, & we be here contynually in suche darknes that I may not se the, ne thou me, alas that euer I conceyued the. Than sayd ye sone suche ioye ne suche lyght as ye speke of sawe I neuer, for I was borne here in thys darknes, therfore yf I had meate and drynke ynough, here wolde I lyue all the dayes of my lyfe, therfore mother wepe ye not, but shewe me solace. This lamētacyon that was bytwene the mother and the sone, herde themperours stewarde that stode abo [...] theyr hedes, wherof he had great compassiō, & wente vnto ye Emperour, & knelyng besought hym of hys grace, that the mother and the sone myght be delyuered out of pryson. The Emperour as a mercyfull lorde graūted yt they sholde be delyuered. Neuerthelesse yf they trespaced so in tyme to cōme, they shold be punysshed wyth double payne, & after that they were delyuered, thys woman ended her lyfe in that cyte.

¶Dere frendes thys Emperour is the father of heuen that made thys lawe that what wedded woman, that is to say, what soule that is wedded to our lord & doth auoutry, that is to say, deedly synne, sholde be cast in ye pryson of hell, therfore a synfull soule hath great cause to wepe, for she is departed from lyght, that is to saye, from the ioyes of heuen. Her sone that desyred meate & [Page] drynke, ben the myghty men of thys worlde, that saye to the prelates of the chyrche & to the prechers yt preche vnto them the ioyes of heuen, that whyle we may lyue and haue all ye solace of ye worlde, we desyre none other heuen. The stewarde that herde theyr lamentacyon is our lorde Iesu, that knoweth all the preuytees of our hertes & contricyon of our synnes, besought the father of heuen for vs, that we myght be delyuered from the pryson of synne, & that we myght cōme to euerlastyng lyfe, to the whyche brynge vs our lorde Iesus. Amen.

SOmtyme in Rome dwelled an Emperoure na­med Pomper, whyche aboue all other thynges was mercyful. Thys Emperour let crye thrugh our al hys empyre a great feest, and that poore & ryche sholde cōme to thys feest. And who so euer came to that feest sholde not onely be well fedde, but also he sholde haue great gyftes. Whan the herawde had warned all ma­ner of men to comme to thys feest, at ye tyme there were two poore men lyenge by the waye, that one was lame and that other was blynde. Thys blynde man sayd to the lame man. Alas and woo to me & the, how shall we do, for themperour hath let crye a feest, & who so euer cōmeth there shall not onely be well fedde, but also he shall haue greate gyftes, and I am blynde, & thou art lame, how shall we do. What sayd the lame man to the blynde man, I shall tell the good counseyle, yf ye wylte do after me, thou shalte let for nothynge, I am lame & feble & may not go, neuerthelesse I may se, & thou art blynde & stronge & mayst not se, take thou me vpon thy backe & bere me, and I shall lede the the ryght waye, & thus shall we bothe come to themperours feest. Than [Page] sayd the blynde, after thy counseyle let vs do, cōme on my ba [...]k and I shall bere the, & thou shalt lede me the ryght waye, & so they dyd that they came bothe to that feest, and receyued greate rewardes & gyftes amonge other men. And thus ended theyr lyues in peace.

¶Dere [...]rendes thys Emperour is our sauyour Iesu Chryst, that let crye a generall feest, that is to saye, the ioyes of heuen, vnto ye whiche ioyes he calleth all man­kynde, & forsaketh ii [...] man that wyll cōme vnto hym. This lame man betokeneth the prelates of the chyrche prechers and confessours that haue nothynge of theyr owne, but lyuen by techynge and almes of other men. And thys blynde man betokeneth the laye men whych knowe not the ryght waye to heuen. It behoueth that the blynde man, that is to say, the laye men to bere the lame man, that is to saye, the prelates of the chyrche susteynynge & fedyng them wyth the tythyng of almes and other oblacyons, than the prelates be beholden to teche & to enforme vs the waye to heuen, where as we shal not onely haue a feest, but also great rewarde and ioye, vnto the whyche god brynge vs all. Amen.

SOmtyme in Rome dwelled an Emperoure na­med Follyculus, the whyche was ryght wyse, mercyfull & ryghtfull in all hys werkes. Thys Empe­rour buylded in the eest a noble cyte, wherin he put all hys treasour & precyous stones & rychesse to be kepte. Unto thys cyte the waye was stony & full of brymbles and sharpe thornes, & thre knyghtes were armed redy to fyght wyth them that wolde cōme to that cyte. Therfore themperour ordeyned that who so euer ouercame these knyghtes, sholde entre the cite, & take at his wyll [Page] of themperours treasour. After that thys Emperour let make in the northwest a cite wherin he ordeyned all maner of payne, turmentyng, sorowe & myschefe, to ye whyche was a brode waye, full delectable, growynge full of roses & fayre lyllyes, and in that way were thre knyghtes, euer waytynge yf ony man came towarde the cyte of the north, to serue hym wyth al maner of de­lycates and thynges necessary. And yf it fortuned ony man to entre wythin that cyte, the custome was suche that the people sholde take & bynde hym handes & f [...]te and cast hym in pryson, there to abyde the cōmynge of the Iustyce. Whan thys was cryed thrugh out all the empyre, there were two knyghtes dwellynge in a cyte there besyde, one hyght Ionatas, and he was a wyse man, that other hyght Pyrrius, & he was a foole, ne­uerthelesse there was bytwene them great loue. Thys Ionatas sayd to Pyrrius. Dere frende there is a commune crye made thrugh all landes, that themperoure hath made a cyte in the eest, wherin he hath put all his treasour, & who so euer may entre that cyte, shall take of the treasour what hym lyst, therfore my coūseyle is that we go to ye cyte. Than sayd Pyrryus, thy coūseyle is good, & I desyre to fulfyll it. The wyse knyght sayd yf it be so that thou wylte folowe my coūseyle, I praye the that faythfull frendshyp may cōtynue bytwene vs and in token of loue that thou wylt drynke my blode, & I shall drynke thyne, that none of vs departe ne fayle other in this iourney. The folysshe knyght sayd, it pleaseth me ryght well all that ye say, wherfore they were bothe letten blode, and eueryche of them dranke others blode. Whan thys was done they wente forth togyder on theyr iourney, and whan they had gone thre dayes [Page] iourneys towarde the cyte where ye treasour was, they came to a place where was two wayes, one was shar­pe, stony & full of thornes, that other way was playne and fayre and full of swetnes & delytes. Than sayd the wyse knyght to hys felowe. Dere frende here be two wayes, one sharpe and thorny, neuerthelesse yf we go thys waye, we shall cōme to thys cite that is so ryche, & there shall we haue that we desyre. Than sayd thys fo­lysshe knyght to hys felowe. I wonder greatly of you that ye speke suche thynges, for I wyll rather byleue myne eyen than your wordes, I se here openly, & so do ye, that here is an harde waye & full of thornes, & as I haue herd say, there be thre champyons armed in thys waye, redy to [...]yght agaynst all men that go that waye towarde the cite of ye eest, & therfore I wyll not go that waye, but here is (as ye may se) an other waye playne and easy to walke in, and in thys waye there ben thre knightes redy to serue vs & gyue vs al maner thynges necessary to vs, and therfore by this waye wyll I go, & not by that other waye. Than sayde the wyse knyght, certaynly yf we go by that way, we shall be ledde in to the cyte of the north, wherin there is no mercy, but per­petuall payne & sorowe, and there shall we be taken & bounde and cast in pryson. Certaynly sayd the folysshe knyght, thys waye is ye redy waye, & as I byleue it is more profytable than ye other waye. Than wente they bothe forth ye fayre waye, & anone thre knyghtes mette wyth them, whyche receyued them reuerently as for a nyght, & gaue them all maner of thynge that was ne­cessary to them. And on ye morowe they toke theyr iour­ney forth to warde ye cyte. And whan they were wythin the cyte, anone the Emperours offycers mette wt them [Page] & sayd. Dere frendes why cōme ye hyther, in so moche that ye knowe ye lawe of this cite so cruell of longe time here before, sothly ye shall be serued now after ye lawe. Anone they toke the wyse knyght and boūde hym and put hym in pryson▪ and after that they toke the folysshe knyght & bounde hym fast and kest hym in to a dyche. Soone after it befell that the Iustyce came to the cyte to gyue iudgement on them that had trespaced ye lawe and anone all the prysoners were brought forth before the Iustyce, amonge whome these two knyghtes were brought forth, one from pryson, and that other frō the dyche. Than sayd the wyse knyght to the Iustyce. Re­uerende lorde I complayne of my felowe that is gylty of my deth, for whan we two came to the two wayes wherof that one ledde to ye cyte in the eest, & that other to thys cyte, I tolde hym all the peryll of this cite, & the rewarde of that other cyte, & he wolde not byleue me, & sayd to me in thys wyse. I byleue myne owne eyen bet­ter than thy wordes, and bycause he was my felowe, I wolde not let hym go alone in thys waye, & thus came I wyth hym, wherfore he is cause of my deth. Than sayd the folysshe knyght, I complayne that he is the cause of my deth▪ for it is not vnknowen to you all that I am a foole, & he a wyse man, & therfore he sholde not so lyghtly haue folowed my foly, for yf he had forsaken thys waye, I wolde haue folowed hym, & therfore he is cause of my deth. Than sayd the Iustyce to ye wyse knyght, bycause that thou wyth all thy wysdome and great vnderstandyng so lyghtly cōsented & folowed the wyll of the foole & his folys [...]he werkes, & thou foole bycause thou woldest not do after the counseyle ne fulfyll the holsome wordes of thys wyse man & byleue hym, [Page] I gyue iudgement that ye be bothe hanged for your trespace. And so it was done, wherfore al men praysed greatly the Iustyce for hys dyscrete iudgement.

¶Dere frendes thys emperour is almyghty god, & in the eest is ye cyte of heuen, wherin is treasour infynyte. And vnto this cyte is an harde waye & full of thornes, that is to say, the waye of penaūce, by ye whyche waye full fewe walketh, for it is harde & strayte, accordynge to holy scrypture, saying thus. Est arta via que ducit ad vitā. It is a strayte way that ledeth to euerlastyng lyfe. In thys waye ben thre armed knyghtes, that is to saye, the deuyll, the worlde, & the flesshe, wt whome it behoueth vs to fyght, & to optayne the vyctory or we may cōme to heuen. The seconde cyte that is in ye north is hell. And to thys accordeth scrypture, sayinge thus. Ab aquilone pondetur oē malū. Out of the north cō ­meth all euyll. Certaynly to this cyte is ye waye playne & brode, & walled aboute on euery syde wyth all maner delycates, wherfore many men walke by thys waye. The thre knyghtes yt gyueth to euery man goynge this waye what thynge them nedeth, ben these. Pryde of lyfe, couetyse of eyen, & concupyscence of the flesshe, in whyche thre the wretched man greatly delyteth, & at ye last they lede hym in to hell. Thys wytty knyght beto­keneth the soule, & the folysshe knyght betokeneth the flesshe, the whyche is alway folysshe, & at all tymes re­dy to do euyl. These two be felowes & knytte in one, for eueryche of them drynketh others blode, that is to say they shall drynke of one cup, eyther ioye or payne shall they haue after the day of dome. The soule chosech the waye of penaūce, & in as moche as, she may she s [...]ereth the flesshe to do ye same. But the flesshe thynketh neuer [Page] what shall cōme after, & therfore she goth in the delyte of this worlde, & fleeth the delyte of penaūce. And thus the soule after the deth is cast in to hell, & the flesshe is cast in to the dyche, that is to saye, in to the graue. But than the Iustyce cōmeth, that is our lorde Iesu chryst at the day of dome to deme al mankynde. Thā ye soule shal complayne vpon the flesshe, & the flesshe vpon the soule. But whan ye Iustyce that wyll not be deceyued neyther by prayer ne by pryce, shall condempne ye soule bycause she folowed ye fraylte of ye flesshe, & also he shal condempne the flesshe bycause it wolde not byleue the soule, wherfore let vs study to tame our flesshe, that we may obey god, and than shal we haue euerlastyng lyfe Unto the whyche brynge vs our lorde Iesus. Amen.

THere dwelled somtyme in Rome a myghty Emperour named Frederyke, whyche had no chyl­dren saue a doughter, tho whome this Emperour after his decese bequethed all hys empyre. Thys vnderstan­dynge an erle that dwelte there besyde, came vnto thys yonge lady & wowed her, & stered her to synne all that he myght, wherfore thys yonge lady in shorte processe of tyme enclyneh to the erle, & this erle anone lay with her & defouled her, & after that he put her frō her hery­tage, and chaced her out of her empyre, wherfore she made great lamentacyon, & fledde vnto a realme there besyde, where as she dayly wept & mourned. It befell after on a day that whyle she sate mournynge besyde a waye there came rydyng by her a fayre yonge knyght vpon a good hors, whyche came towarde her a greate p [...]ce, & worshypfully salewed her, and asked the cause why she mourned so sore. Than answered she & sayd. [Page] My reuerend lord, I am an Emperours doughter, cō ­men of a royall kynne, my father is deed whyche lefte me all hys empyre, bycause he had none other heyre, & after his decese an erle there besyde deceyued me & toke from me my maydenhe [...]e, & after that he put me vyo­lētly out of myne herytage, so that now I am fayne to begge my breed from dore to dore, & this is the cause of my sorowe. Than sayd the knyght, fayre damoysell I haue great cōpassyon on thy beaute and on thy gentyl­nes, therfore yf thou wylte graunte me one thynge, I shall fyght for the agaynst ye erle, and I behote the the victory, Than sayd she, alas alas, I haue nothynge yt I may gyue to the but my selfe. And I aske no more of the sayd the knyght but that thou woldest be my wyfe and loue no man so moche as me. Than sayd she. Reuerende syr that wyll I do gladly, & more yf I myght. Than sayd the knyght, I wyll that thou do for me one thynge, that yf it fortune me to dye in batayle for the, & opteyne the victory, thou shalte take my blody sherte & hange it vpon a perche in thy chambre, and thys shalte thou do for two thynges. The fyrst is, yt whan so euer thou beholdest the sherte, thou shalt wepe for me. The seconde is, that what so euer man comme to wowe the to be his wyfe, than shalte thou hastely renne vnto thy chambre, & beholde my blody sherte, & thynke hertely wythin thy selfe thus. The lorde of this sherte dyed for my loue in batayle, the whyche recouered my herytage god forbede that I sholde take ony other mā after his deth. Than sayd she. Reuerende syr all thys I shall fulfyll bi the grace of god. And whan ye knyght he [...]de this he gaue batayle agaynst the erle & o [...]teyned the victory and ye erle was ouercome & [...]ledde. And thys yonge la­dy [Page] was brought & receyued agayne in to her herytage. Neuerthelesse thys knyght was deedly woūded in that batayle, wherof he dyed, but or he dyed he bequethed hys blody sherte vnto this damoysell, desyrynge her to kepe her promesse. Whan thys yonge lady herde of his deth, she wepte sore & made great lamentacyon for his deth. And in hys sherte was wrytē this verse. Thynke on hym & haue mynde, that to ye was so kynde. Anone whan she had receyued the sherte, she hanged it vpon a perche in her chambre, & as oftentymes as she behelde it, she wepte bytterly. It befell not longe after that the states of her Empyre came to her & desyred her to take a husbande. But than she wente to her chambre & be­helde the blody [...]herte, than waxed she sorowfull & sayd oftentymes alas alas thou suffred deth for my loue, & thou also recouered agayn myne heritage, god forbede that I shold take ony other man but the. And thus she answered euery man that came to her, & so they wente away vnsped, and she ended her lyfe in peace and rest. ¶ Dere frendes this Emperour is the father of heuen and his doughter is the soule of man, made at the similitude of god, to whome god gaue & bequethed the em­pyre of paradyse. But ther came an erle, yt is the deuyl and styred her to synne, whan she ete of the apple & sayd to her thus. In what houre ye [...]ate of ye apple, ye shall be lyke goddes, wherfore we brekyng goddes comaundement we were all exiled out of paradyse, & chased to the realme of thys worlde, here to lyue in greate wret­chednes, lyke as the psalmyst sayth. In sudore vultus tui. &c. In the swete of thy vysage thou shalte eate thy breed. But than came a fayre yonge knight & a stronge that is to saye, our lorde Iesu Chryst, whych had com­passyon [Page] vpon mankynde, & toke our flesshe & our blode and gaue batayle to the deuyl and ouercame hym, and thus wanne he agayne our herytage. Therfore let vs do as thys yonge lady dyd, put we thys blody sherte, that is to saye, the mynde of ye passyon of Chryst on the perche of our hert, and thynke we how [...]ur lorde Iesu Chryst shed hys precyous blode for vs. And yf ony mā that is to saye, the deuylt or ony other wolde styre vs to synne, anone thynke we on ye passyon of Chryst, & saye we thus. I shall take none other but the whyche hast shedde thy blode for me, & thus shall we wynne euerla­styng lyfe. Unto the whyche god brynge vs all. Amen.

SOmtyme dwelled in Rome a myghty Empe­rour named Apolloninus, whyche ordeyned for a lawe that euery man vpon payne of deth sholde wor­shyp the day of his natiuite. This Emperour called to hym a clerke yt hyght Uirgyll & sayd. My dere mayster there be many heed synnes done contrary to the lawe, therfore I praye the that thou by thy connynge wolde make some craft wherby I myght knowe who trespa­ceth agaynst ye lawe pryuely or pertly. Than sayd Uirgyll. My reu [...]ēde lord your wyll shall be done. Anone thys Uirgyll thrugh hys crafte made an ymage in the myddes of the cyte of Rome, whyche dysceuered & tolde themperours messengers who trespaced agaynst the lawe, & who not. There was that tyme dwellyng in ye cyte of Rome a smyth that hyght Focus, whych for no thynge wolde worshyp the natyuyte of the Emperour. It befell vpon a nyght as the smyth laye in hys bedde he thought vpon the ymage that had accused so many men before, & dred leest the ymage wolde accuse hym. [Page] wherfore he rose & went to the ymage & sayd. I make a vowe to god yf thou accuse me I shall breke thy heed And whan he had thus sayd, he went home. The Em­perour on the morowe after folowynge sent hys messē gers to the ymage as he was wont before, to knowe & to vnderstande who had trespaced agaynst the lawe. And to them than sayd the ymage, lyfte vp your eyen & behold what is wryt [...]n in my foreheed. And than they loked vp & sawe thys posey wryten. Tēpore mutantur homines determinātur. Tymes ben chaunged, & men ben worse & worse. For who wyll saye the trouth, shall haue his heed broken, therfore go ye forth to your lorde and tell hym all that ye haue redde & seen. The messen­gers wente forth & tolde ye Emperour all that they had herde & seen. Than sayd ye Emperour, arme your selfe and go to the ymage, & yf that ye fynde ony man that hath bosted or thretened the ymage, bynde hym hande and fote & brynge hym to me. Than wente the messen­gers forth to ye ymage & sayd vnto it. Tell vs ye trouth yf ony mā hath thretened the, and we shall auenge the anone. Than sayd the ymage. Take the smyth Focus, for he is the man that wyll not honour the natyuyte of the Emperour. Anone the messengers ledde forth that smyth before thēperour, & anone examyned hym why he kepte not the daye of themperours natiuyte in reue­rence & honour accordyng to the lawe. Than answered the smyth & sayd. Reuerend lorde I beseche you that ye wyl heare myne excuse, & yf I answere not reasonably to all maner of poyntes yt ye wyll aske me, I wyll put me fully to your grace. Than sayd themperour, I shal heare the, and that that is ryghtfull I shall do. Than sayd the smyth. It behoueth me to haue .viij.d. euery [Page] day in the weke, & that I can not gete wythout greate labour, & therfore I may in no maner wyse kepe ye day holy day more than other dayes: Than sayd the Emperour. Why behoueth it the to haue these. viii.d. Than sayd ye smyth. I am boūde to pay dayly .ij.d. and .ii.d. I lende, and .ii.d▪ I lese, and .ii.d. I spende. Than sayd the Emperour. Tell me more expresly of these .viij.d. Than sayd the smyth. I am bounde euery day to paye ii.d. to my father, for whan I was yonge, my father spent on me .ii.d. dayly, & therfore am I boūde to helpe hym, & paye hym agayn hys .ii.d. for hys sustentacyon Also .ii.d. I lese on my wyfe. Than sayde themperour why lesest thou that .ii.d. on thy wyfe. Than sayd he, where se ye euer woman but she had one of these poyn­tes, eyther she is wylfull or contrary to her husbande, or of hote cōpleccyon, & therfore that I gyue her I lese Also .ii.d. I lende to my sone, wherwyth he is sustey­ned, that whan I cōme to age & pouerte, that he may paye me agayn .ii.d. lyke as I do to my father. Also I spende .ii.d. on my [...]elfe in meate & drynke, and that is lytell ynough. Than sayd themperoure, thou hast an­swered well & wisely. Not longe after it befell that the Emperour dyed, & thys smyth Focus was chosen to be Emperour, bycause he spente hys .viii.d. so wysely & so profytably, & thus he ended hys lyfe in peace and rest. ¶Dere frendes thys emperour is our blessed sauyour Iesu Chryst, whych ordeyned by hys holy lawe yt eue­ry man sholde worshyp the sondaye. This Uirgil that made thys ymage, is the holy goost, whyche is set vp amonge vs, a precher to teche vertues, & to repreue vi­ces, & that he sholde not spare the poore ne ye ryche. But now yf a precher wolde saye trouth agaynst ony man, [Page] anone he shall be thretened of the ennemyes of Chryst, that is to saye, by euyll men that neyther loue god nor man, wherfore the precher may saye now a dayes that posey whyche was wryten in the fore heed of the ymage. Tymes ben chaunged from good to yll, & men ben dayly worse and worse. For who so wolde saye the trewth now a dayes, shall haue his heed broken. Therfore it is nede they be armed, that is to say, that euery precher be armed wt good dedes in ensample of other, & than it nedeth not to drede, in so moche that they haue god & trewth to stāde by them, accordyng to ye apostles sayenge. Si deus nobiscū: quis contra nos. Yf god be wyth vs who may be agaynst vs. By thys smyth Fo­cus is vnderstande euery good chrysten man, whyche dayly sholde werke merytoryous dedes, & than ought he to be presented before the heuenly Emperour. Thys Focus payde .ii.d. to hys father, & so we sholde paye to our father of heuen .ii.d. that is to saye, honour & loue. For whan we were the chyldren of wretchednes & put in bondage, almyghty god sente downe to the erth hys sone to redeme vs, accordyng to saynt Iohn̄ the euan­gelyst, sayenge. Deus dilexit mundū vt filiū suū vni­genitū daret pro minido. God loueth the worlde so well that he wolde gyue hys onely sone for the saluacyon of the worlde. Also this Focus lente .ii.d. to his sone, that is to saye, euery chrysten man ought to lende to ye sone of god our lord Chryst Iesu good wyll & merytoryous dedes in our lyfe, that the may paye vs agayn at ye day of dome, whan soule & body shal be gloryfyed, & in that he is our brother, & it may well be proued by ye texte of Esaie, saying thus. [...]uer natus est nobis. &c. A chylde is borne to vs. This Focus lost .ii.d. on hys wyfe. Thy [Page] wyfe betokeneth thy flesshe, vpon whom thou hast lost ij.d. that is to saye, vnlawfull loue & consent to synne, for why, the flesshe is cōtrary to ye goost, & euer is redy to harme. Thys Focus also spente .ij.d. on hym selfe, yt is to saye, by ye fyrst peny ye shall vnderstande penaūce done, in whyche the soule greatly delyteth in heuē, and there is gloryfyed. And by the seconde peny we ought to vnderstande the stedfast abydynge in doynge of pe­naunce, for he that abydeth vnto the ende, shall be sa­ued. And who that spendeth well these two pens, shall optayne euerlastynge lyfe. Unto the whych brynge vs our lorde Iesu Chryst. Amen.

SOmtyme in Rome dwelled a noble Emperour whyche among all other vertues loued best mercy, wherfore he ordeyned a lawe that euery blynde man sholde haue an hondred shyllynges by yere of hys treasour. It befell on a daye that there came certayne men to a tauerne to drynke wyne, & after that these men had sytten in the tauerne thre dayes, the fourth daye they were greatly in the tauerners dette, and had no money to paye for theyr wyne, wherfore the tauerner came to them & charged them yt they sholde not voyde tyll they had payde for theyr wyne. Thā sayd one of ye drynkers to hys felowes. Syrs quod he, themperour hath made suche a lawe that euery blynde man shall haue an hon­dred shyllynges of his treasour, therfore let vs cast lottes amonge vs, & to whom the lot falleth, let hys eyen be put out, and so may he go to themperours palays & gete an hondred shyllynges. And this greatly reioysed them, & sayd that the coūseyle was ryght good, wher­fore they cast lottes amonge them, & the lot fell on hym [Page] that gaue the counseyle, & than hys felowes forthwith put out hys eyen. And whan he was blynde, he wente to themperours palays, & asked of ye stewarde an hon­dred shyllynges, accordyng to thēperours lawe. Dere frende sayd the stewarde, thou myghtest se wyth bothe thyne eyen yesterday, & thou also vnderstandest ye lawe amys, for ye lawe is made for men yt are blynde thrugh infirmytees, or by ye wyll of god, & yesterday yu haddest thy syght in the tauerne, but wylfully yu hast lost thyne eyen, therfore go yu to the tauerne agayn to thy felowes & make thy peace & quyte thy selfe, for here getest thou not a farthyng. Than went this wretched man forth & tolde hys felowes of ye stewardes answere, & wyth that came in ye tauerner & despoyled them of al theyr clothes and bette them, & thus droue them wt shame out of the cyte, and so were they neuer sene ther after.

¶Dere frendes thys emperour is our sauyour Chryst whych ordeyned for a lawe yt euery blynde man sholde haue an hōdred shyllinges of his treasour. This blinde man betokeneth euery synner, whyche synneth thrugh infirmytees, or entysyng of the deuyl, the worlde & the flesshe, whyche shall receyue an hondred shyllynges, yf he be inwardly repentaūt of hys synnes, that is to saye he shall haue an hondred tymes more ioye, accordynge to scrypture, saying thus. Centuplū accipietis et vitā eternā possidebitis. Ye shall receyue an hondred tymes more ioye, yf ye be repentaunt & turne frō synne, & also ye shal haue euerlastyng lyfe. These men that came to the tauerne & dranke the wyne, be synners, whyche of­tentymes cōme to ye tauerne of our aduersary ye deuyll and drynke, that is to say, they there consume & waste away al goostly vertues, whyche they receyued whan [Page] they toke christendom at ye font stone, wherfore ye deuyl our ennemy despoyleth them & maketh them to lese all theyr good dedes yt euer they wrought before they cast lottes, that is to say, the cast amonge them ye custome of synne, & this lot of sinne falleth on them that is worshypfull & wythout mercy, & suche a man wylfully be­cōmeth blynde, that is to saye, he becōmeth wylfully a foule synner, lyke Iudas that betrayed our lord wtout ony suggestyon or entysing, & therfore suche men synne more greuously whan they cōme before the stewarde, that is to saye, before the prelates of the chyrche, they may not lyghtly optayne the ioyes of heuen, for why, they be not in ye ryght waye to leue theyr synne. Ther­fore study we wyth all our diligence to please god, that we may optayne euerlastyng rewarde. Unto ye whych brynge vs our lorde Iesus. Amen.

IN Rome dwelled somtyme a myghty Emperoure named Pylomyus, whyche had onely a doughter a fayre damoysel & a gracyous in ye syght of euery mā and was named Aglaes. There was also in thempe­rours palays a gētyll knyght yt loued thys lady aboue all thynge in ye worlde. It befell after vpon a daye that thys knyght talked wyth thys lady, & vttred in secrete wyse hys desyre to her. Thā sayd she curteysly, syth ye haue vttred to me the preuytees of your herte, I shall in lyke wyse for your loue vtter to you ye secretes of my hert, & truly I say that aboue all other I loue you best. Than sayd ye knyght, I purpose to visyte ye holy lande, & therfore gyue me your trouth, that thys .vij. yere ye shal take none other man, but onely for my loue to tary me so longe, and yf I cōme not agayne to this day .vii. [Page] yere, take thā what man ye lyke best. And in lyke wyse I shall promyse you that wythin thys .vij. yere I shall take no wyfe. Than sayd she, thys couenaunt pleaseth me well. Whan thys was sayd, eueryche of them be­trouthed other, & thā this knyght toke hys leue of this lady & went forth to the holy lande. Anone after that ye Emperour treated wyth the kyng of Hungary of ma­ryage for hys doughter. Than came the kynge of Hungary to themperours palays to se his doughter, & whā he had seen her, he lyked meruaylously wel her beaute and her goodnes, so that themperour & the kyng were accorded in all thynges as touchyng ye maryage, vpon the condicyon that the damoysell wolde consent. Than called themperour the yonge lady to hym & sayd. O my fayre doughter I haue prouyded for the yt a kyng shall be thy husbande, yf the lyst to assent, therfore tell me what answere thou wylte gyue to thys. Than sayd she to her father, it pleaseth me well, but of one thyng dere father I you beseche yf it myght please you to graunt me for ye loue of god, I haue auowed my chastite onely to god for thys .vij. yere, therfore dere father I beseche you for al the loue yt is bytwene your gracyous father­hode & me, that ye name no man to be my husband tyll these .vij. yere be ended, and than I shall be redy in all thynges to fulfyll your wyll. Than sayd themperour, syth it is so that thou wylt no husband haue these .vii. yere, I wyll not breke thy vowe, but whā the .vii. yere ben passed, thou shalt haue ye kynge of Hungary to thy husbande. And than themperour sent forth hys lettres to ye kyng of Hungary, praying hym yf it myght please hym to abyde .vii. yere for ye loue of his doughter, & thā sholde he spede of his entent without fayle. Hereof the [Page] kynge was pleased, and graūted to abyde. And whan these .vij. yere were ended saue a daye, the yonge lady stode in her chambre wyndowe & wepte sore, sayinge thus. Alas alas as to morowe my loue promysed to be wyth me agayne fro the holy lande, & also the kynge of Hungary to morowe wyll be here for to wedde me, ac­cordyng for my fathers promyse, & yf my loue cōme not at a certayne houre, than am I vtterly deceyued of the inwarde loue of hym. Whan the daye came, the kynge arayed hym towarde themperour wt a great company to wedde hys doughter, & was royally besene & arayed in purple. And whyle ye kyng was rydyng on hys way there came a knyght sodeynly ryding bi hym, to whom he sayd thus. Dere frende whens arte thou, & whens cōmest thou. The knyght answered and sayd, I am of thempyre of Rome, and now am cōme late fro the holy lande, & am redy to do your seruyce suche as I cā. And as they rode talkyng by the waye, it began to rayne so fast, that all the kynges aray was almoost loost. Than sayd ye knyght. My lorde quod he, ye haue done folysshly, for as moche as ye brought not wt you your hous. Than sayd the kyng, how spekest thou so, my hous is large & brode & made of stones & morter, how sholde I than beare wyth me my hous, thou spekest to me lyke a foole. Whan thys was sayd they rode farther tyll they came to a great water and a depe, the kyng smote hys hors wyth hys spurres & lepte in to ye water, so that he was almoost drowned. Whan the knyght sawe thys, & was ouer on that other syde of the water wtout peryll, he sayd to ye kynge. Ye were in peryll, & therfore ye dyd folysshly bycause ye brougt not wyth you your brydge. Than sayd the kynge, thou spekest meruaylously, my [Page] brydge is made of lyme & stone, & cōteyneth in quantite more than halfe a myle, how sholde I than beare with me my brydge, therfore yu spekest folysshly. Well sayde the knyght, my folysshnes may turne the to wysdome. Whan the kyng had rydden a lyttell farther, he asked ye knyght what tyme of the daye it was. Than sayd the knyght, yf ony man haue lust to eate, it is tyme of the daye to eate, & therfore my reuerent lorde I praye you to take a sop wyth me, for that is no disworshyp to you but great honour to me before ye states of this Empyre Than sayd ye kyng, I wyll gladly eate with the. They sate bothe downe in a vyne gardyn, & all yt were wyth the kynge & wyth the knyght dyned. And whan dyner was done & that ye kyng had wasshen, the knyght sayd to the kynge. My lorde quod he, ye haue done folysshly for that ye ledde not wt you your father & your mother. Than sayd the kynge, what sayst yu, my father is deed, and my mother is olde & may not trauayle, how sholde I than brynge them wyth me, therfore to the I saye ye trouth, a folyssher man than thou arte sawe I neuer. Than sayd the knyght, euery werke is praysed at the ende. Whan ye kyng had rydden a lyttell farther, & was ny hande themperours palays, the knyght asked leue to go from hym, for thys cause he knewe a nerer waye to the palays to the yonge lady, yt he myght cōme fyrst and lede her wyth hym. Than sayd the kynge, I praye the syr tell me by what place purposest thou to ryde. Than sayd ye knyght, I shall tell you trouth, this daye vii. yere I lefte a nette in a place, & now I purpose to visyte it & drawe it to me, & yf it be broken I wyll leue it, & yf it be hole than wyl I take it to me, & kepe it as a precyous iewell, and whan he had sayd what hym lyst [Page] he toke hys leue of the kyng & rode forth, and the kyng kepte the brode hye waye. Whan themperour herde of the kynges cōmynge, he went agaynst hym wt a great company, & worshypfully receyued hym, & let do of his wete clothes, & arayed hym agayn wyth newe clothes. And whan themperour & the kynge were set to meate themperour dyd hym all ye ch [...]e & [...]lace that he coude. And whā they had dyned th [...]mperour asked tydynges of the kyng. My lorde sayd he, I shall tell you what I herde thys day by ye waye. There came a knyght to me & reuerently [...]alewed me, & anone after that there came a great raine, & cōfoūded greatly my clothing, & anone the knyght sayd, syr y hast done folyshly, for so moche thou brought not wt the thy hous. Than sayd thempe­rour, what clothing had y knight on him. A cloke quod the kynge. Than sayd themperour, for sothe that was a wyse man, for the hous wherof he spake was a cloke & therfore he sayd to you that ye dyd folysshly bycause ye came wtout your cloke, for yf ye had brougt wt you a cloke, thā had not your clothes ben defouled wyth the rayne. Than sayd ye kyng, whan we had rydden a lyt [...]l farther, we came to a depe water, I smoote my hors wt the spurres & almoost I was drowned, & he rode on the other syde of the water & founde no peryll, & than sayd he to me, ye haue done folysshly, for so moche y ye ledde not wyth you your brydge. Forsothe sayd themperour he sayd trouth, for he called the brydge your squyers, yt sholde haue rydden before & assayed the depnes of ye water. Than sayd the kyng, we rode farther, & at the last he prayed me to dyne wyth hym, & whan we had dyned he sayd I dyd vnwysely, for I ledde not wt me my fa­ther & my mother. Sothly sayde themperour he was [...] [Page] wyse man & sayd trouth, for he called your father & mother breed & wyne & other vytayles. Than sayd ye kyng we rode farther, and anone after he asked me l [...]ue to go fro me, & I asked dylygently whether he went. And he answered agayn & sayd. Thys daye .vij. yere I lef [...]e a nette in a preuy place, & now I wyll ryde to vysyte it, & yf it be broken or torne, thā wyll I [...]eue it, & yf it be hole as I lefte it, than shall it be to me ryght precyous, & I shall beare it wyth me. Whan themperour herde thys he cryed with a lowde voyce & sayd. O ye my knyghtes and my seruauntes, go ye lyghtly vnto my doughters chambre, for sothly that is the nette wherof ye knyght spake. And anone hys knyghtes and hys seruauntes wente vnto hys doughters chambre & founde her not, the sore sayd knyght had take her with hym. And thus the kyng was deceyued of the damoysell, and he went home agayne to hys owne countree confounded.

¶Dere frēdes this emperour is our lord Iesu Chryst and hys fayre doughter is euerlastyng lyfe, the whych thēperour had ordeyned for kynges, knyghtes & other men. The knyght that loued thys yonge lady, is euery good christē soule, which holdeth hymselfe not worthy to cōme in the syght of god vnto suche ioye as ye apostle sayth. Non est condigne passionis huiꝰ tēporis ad fu­turā gloriā. They be not so worthy of suffryng to cōme vnto the glory that is to cōme. Thys knyght went .vii. yere on pylgrymage, lyke as a good chrysten man al ye dayes of his lyfe sholde labour & trauayle ī fulfyllyng the .vii. werkes of mercy. By thys kynge y came wtout a cloke in the rayne, is to vnderstande the myghty men of this worlde as Iustyces, Mayres & Baylyes, that haue no clokes to couer all theyr other clothes. By this [Page] cloke is vnderstāde charite, as the apostle sayth. Cha­ritas cooperit multitudinē pctō (rum). Charyte couereth al our synnes. But many men haue not thys cloke, wherfore they be wete in ye rayne of pryde, auaryce & lechery This kyng also was almoost drowned, bycause he lacked hys brydge, that is to say, perfyte fayth. For we s [...] dayly that there may no man passe ouer a great water brode & depe wythout a brydge, or some other thynge yt is able to beare hym. Ryght so wythout fayth it is im­possyble to please god. And thus may no man be saued wythout fayth whan they set theyr lyfe in worldly ioye or worldly helpe, more than in the helpe of god, whyche is mighty to do al thinges, wherfore he sayth hymselfe thus. Saluator si habueritis fidē sicut granū sinapis poteritis. &c. Yf ye haue fayth as ye grayne of mustarde than may ye saye to ye hylles, go thou forth & it shall go But many of vs now a dayes hath ouer feble fayth, & therfore they shall sodeynly fall in the claye of despera­cyon, & by deedly syn [...]e oftentymes they offende god. Also thys kynge had not brought with hym his father and hys mother. By the father whych is cause of gene­racyon is vnderstāde humylite, wythout whome there is no vertue in no mā. And therto accordeth saynt Gregory, sayinge thus. Si qis ceteris virtutes sine humi­litate congregat. &c. He that gadereth al other vertues wythout humilite, is lyke a man that casteth dust in ye wynde. Hys mother betokeneth hope, therfore he that wyll optayne euerlastyng lyfe, hym behoueth to haue the cloke of charyte, brydge of fayth, a father of meke­nes, & a mother of hope, as ye apostle sayth. Spe salui facti sumus. Also thys knyght wente the strayte path waye, & the kynge the brode waye. For he that wyll be [Page] saued behoueth to go a strayte waye, that is to say, the waye of fastynge, almes dedes, chastyte & penaūce. Of the whyche waye speketh the apostle. Stricta est via que ducit ad vitā eternā. The waye is strayte ye ledeth to euerlastyng lyfe. But many men go that other way whyche ledeth to hell, that is to say, by ye waye of flesshly lust, & suche men ben gone out of the waye of euerla­stynge lyfe, but suche men be deceyued thrugh y waye Therfore study we to walke that waye, wherby we may optayne euerlastynge lyfe. Amen.

SOmtyme dwelled in Rome a noble Emperour named Agyas, whyche had with hym a knyght called Gerarde, whyche was a doughty warryour, ne­uerthelesse he was as meke as a lambe in the Empe­rours hall, but in ye felde he was lyke a lyon. Thys Emperour had a fayre doughter, whome the stronge and myghty erle of palester rauysshed & defouled, neuerthe­lesse it displeased more themperour ye defoulyng of his doughter than the rauysshynge, wherfore he called vnto hym his counseyle & sayd. Dere frendes it is not vn­knowen to you the despyte & violence done to me in de­foulyng of my doughter, & therfore I purpose to gyue batayle to the erle, wherfore I praye you to be redy at a daye set to procede with me in batayle. And they sayd lorde we be redy to lyue & dye wt you in batayle. Whan the daye of batayle came, they mette on bothe sydes, & a cruell harde batayle was gyuen on bothe sydes, & all that were of themperours party were slayne. And as themperour sholde haue ben byheded, the knyght Ge­rard put hymselfe amonge hys ennemyes before thēperour & fought manfully, & so themperour escaped, and [Page] the knyght abode and slewe the erle. neuerthelesse thys knyght had dyuerse woūdes. This not withstandyng he abode & fought styl tyl the blode ranne down to hys heles. And whan hys ennemyes sawe that ye erle was slayne, they [...]edde, and the knyght wyth hys people fo­lowed on y chace tyll he came to ye place where themperours doughter was, & ledde her wyth hym. And thus wyth triumphe & vyctory he returned agayn to themperour. For y whiche victory & getyng agayne of themperours doughter he was greatly praysed of all people. Not longe alter it befell that thys knyght had to do in themperours courte, wherfore the knyght came vnto themperour & prayed hym mekely to be fauourable in hys cause, & farthermore he prayed hym to do ye rayson asked. Whan themperour had herde hym, he called to hym a iustyce and sayd. Go thou and do iustyce to thys knyght, & that that the lawe wyll. And whan ye knyght herde thys, he cryed wt a lowde voyce. Alas alas who herde euer suche a thynge of an Emperour, thou were sayd he in batayle where thy heed shold haue ben smytten of, and I in myne owne persone & none other men put mi selfe in ieopardy for the & saued the, & now thou hast assigned an other mā to be iudge in my cause, alas that euer yu were borne. And wyth yt worde the knyght dyd of all hys clothes, & shewed ye woundes that he had receyued in the batayle vnto all ye men that were there present, & sayd. Lo what I haue suffred for the, and I put none other man in my stede, & now thou assygnest an other man in my cause. Forsothe I saye to ye that I neuer serued suche a lorde before. Whan themperour herde thys, beynge almoost cōfoūded in hymselfe sayd thus. O dere frende all that thou sayth is trouth, thou [Page] saued me frō deth thou wonnest my doughter agayne and for my sake yu hast suffred many woūdes. Forsothe it is ryght that I comme downe & make an ende of thy cause, suche as may be honour & ioye to the. And than themperour laboured besyly in thys mater, and made therof an ende accordyng to ye knyghtes entent, wher­fore all men greatly cōmended the Emperour.

¶ Dere frendes thys Emperoure may be called euery chrysten man, or else al mankynde, whyche had a fayre doughter, that is to saye, the soule made to the symily­tude of god. Thys erle betokeneth ye deuyll, whyche rauysshed and defouled by synne the soule of man thrugh eatyng of the fruyte of ye tree knowynge good & euyll, wherfore al mankynde was in seruage tyll a stronge & valyaunt knyght came & put hymselfe on the crosse bytwene the deuyll & mankynde. For yf that had not ben we had all ben dampned euerlastyngly, & thys knyght brought agayn the foule of man vnto ye chyrche, wher­fore he suffred many great woundes in hys body. And now thys knyght, that is to say, our lorde Iesu Chryst hath a mater to do amonge vs, that is to saye, to fynde in vs p [...]rfyte lyfe, wherfore he calleth on vs dayly that we sholde be redy at all tymes, saying thus in the apo­calipse .iii. Ecce sto ad hostium et pulso: si qs mihi aparuerit in troibo et cenabo. That is to saye. Lo I stande and knocke at the dore, yf ony man wyll open to me I shall cōme in & soupe wyth hym. But many men dothe as thys Emperour dyd, the whyche gaue ye ynyght an other iudge than hymselfe. But now a dayes there ben some men that wyll do no penaūce for the loue of hym, whyche assygned no man but hymfelfe to fyght for vs. And therfore agaynst vnkynde mē it shal be sayd thus [Page] Lo he hangeth on ye crosse despoyled of all his clothyng and sheweth to vs all hys woundes yt he suffred for vs. Be we therfore kynde, that we may suffre for hys loue some penaunce, and that at the daye of dome we may saye thus. Haue we not done penaunce in our lyfe. For he that suffreth payne for the loue of god, shall receyue an hondred tymes more rewarde, and also he shall op­tayne euerlastynge lyfe, vnto the whyche brynge bothe you and me and all mankynde. Amen.

THere dwelled somtyme in Rome a wytty Emperour named Pōpey, whyche had a fayre doughter called Aglas. Thys doughter had many vertues a­boue all other women of that Empyre. Fyrst she was fayre & gracyous in the syght of euery man. She was also swyfte in rennynge, that no man myght ouertake her by a great space. Whan the Emperour vnderstode these two vertues in hys doughter, he was ryght ioy­full, wherfore he made to proclayme thrugh out al hys Empyre, that what man poore or ryche wolde renne wyth hys doughter, shold haue her to wyfe wyth great ryches, yf he myght ouer renne her & cōme sooner to ye marke than she, & yf she ouer renne hym & cōme sooner to the marke than he, hys heed sholde be smytten of. Whan the states of ye empyre, as dukes, erles, barons and knyghtes herd this crye, they offred them selfe one a [...]ter an other to renne wt her, but euer this yonge lady ouer ranne them al, wherfore they lost theyr hedes ac­cordynge to ye lawe. That tyme there was a poore man dwellynge in Rome, whyche thought within hymselfe I am a poore man and cōme of poore kynrede, there is made a cōmune crye, yt what man so euer myght ouer [Page] renne the Emperours doughter by ony wyse, sholde be promoted to greate honour and rychesse, therfore yf I myght ouercōme her by ony maner waye, I shold not onely be ꝓmoted to great honour but also al my kynne Thys poore man prouyded hymselfe of thre Iewelles, wherby he myght wynne her. Fyrst he made a garlād of reed roses and of whyte. Secondly he made a fayre gyrdell of sylke craftely wrought. Thyrdly he made a purse of sylke set full of precyous stones, & wythin the purse was a ball of thre colours, and vpon thys purse was wrytē thys posey, who playeth wt me, shall neuer be wery of my playe. Than puthe these thre thynges in hys bosome, & went forth to ye palays gate cryenge & sayinge. Cōme forth fayre lady comme forth, for I am redy to renne wyth you & fulfyll ye lawe in all thynges. Whan themperour herd this, he cōmaūded his dough­ter to renne wyth hym. Thys yonge lady wente to her chambre wyndowe, & whan she sawe hym, she despy­sed hym, and sayd. I haue ouercōmen sayde she many worthy knyghtes, & now must I renne wyth a chorle, neuerthelesse I shall fulfyll my fathers cōmaūdement Anone the damoysel arayed her for to renne wyth hym And at ye last they ranne togyder, & within shorte space the damaysell wente ferre afore hym. Whan thys iug­ler sawe thys, he threwe forth the garlande of floures before her. And whan ye damoysell behelde & sawe that she stouped downe & toke it vp, & set it vpon her heed, & that whyle the iugler went afore her. And whan thys yonge damoysel sawe this, she wepte sore, & for sorowe she threwe ye garlande in a dyche & ranne after hym dy­lygently, & at the last ouertoke hym, & lyft vp her ryght hande & gaue hym a buffet, saying to hym thus. Abyde [Page] thou wretche, it besemeth not thy fathers sone to haue me to hys wyfe. And this yonge lady went before hym a great space. And whan the iugler sawe thys, he toke out the gyrdel of his bosom & threwe it before her. And whan she sawe that, lyghtly she stouped downe & toke it vp & anone gyrde her therwyth, and than the iugler wente agayne before her. And whan she sawe that, she made greate lamentacyon, & toke the gyrdell wyth her tethe & tare it in thre peces, & than threwe it from her, and than she ranne fast after hym, & at ye last ouertoke hym, & than she toke vp her hande & gaue hym a great blowe, saying these wordes. O wretche, wenest thou to ouercōme me, & with that she ranne before hym a great space. The iugler was slye & subtyll, & abode tyll that she was almoost at the marke, & than he threwe forth before her the purse. And whan she sawe thys purse, anone she stouped downe & toke it vp, and opened it, & founde the ball, and redde the posey, who playeth wyth me, shall neuer be wery of my playe. And than began she to playe, and so longe she contynued in playinge tyll that the iugler was before her at the marke. And thus he wanne the Emperours doughter.

¶Dere frendes thys emperour is our [...]auyour Chryst and hys fayre doughter is mannes soule, whyche was made clene wyth the water of the holy font, & was also full lyght to renne, that is to say, in vertue whyle that she is in clennes, so yt no deedly synne myght ouercōme her. Thys iugler that is cōme of so whyly blode, is the deuyll, the whyche studyeth day & nyght to deceyue in­nocētes. He prouydeth hym of thre thynges. Fyrst of ye garlande whych be tokeneth pryde by thys reason, for why a garlāde of floures is not set vpon the arme nor [Page] vpon the fote, but vpon the heed, that it may be seen. Ryght so pryde wolde be seen, agaynst proude men speketh saynt Austyn, saying thus. Quecū (que) suꝑb [...]ū vide­ris filiū diaboli dicinō dubitetis. That is to say, what proude man that ye mayst se, doubte ye not to call hym the sone of the deuyll. Do thou therfore as the mayden dyd, be wepe thy synne & drawe of the garland of pryde and cast it in the dyche of contrycyon, & so shalte yu gyue the deuyll a great buffet & ouercōme hym. But whan thys iugler, that is to say, our goostly ennemy ye deuyll seeth hymselfe ouercōme in one synne, thā he returneth and tempteth a man in an other synne, & casteth before man the gyrdel of lechery. But alas there be full many gyrde wyth the gyrdell ef lechery, of the whych gyrdell speketh saynt Gregory, saying thus. Gyrde we our loynes wyth ye gyrdell af chastyte, for who so euer is gyrte wyth thys gyrdell shal not lese the course of lyfe. Than casteth the iugler forth, yt is to say the deuyll, the purse wyth the ball. The purse that is open aboue & close vn­der betokeneth ye hert, whyche euermore sholde be close vnder agaynst erthly thynges, & open aboue to heuēly ioye, & the two strynges yt openeth & shytteth the purse betokeneth the loue of god & of our neyghbours. The ball whych is rounde & mouable to euery parte of hys dyfference betokeneth couetyse, whyche moueth euer bothe in yonge & in olde, & therfore the posey was good and true that was wryten on the purse, who so playeth wyth me, that is to say wyth couetyse, they shall neuer be fulfylled. Therfore sayth Seneca. Cū oīa p [...]tā se­nescunt, sola cupiditas inuenescit. Whan yt all synnes waxe olde, than couetyse al onely waxeth yonge. Therfore let vs take hede yt we playe not wt this bal of coue­tyse, [Page] & than wythout doubte we shall optayne & wynne the game with ye tenes ball in ye blysse of heuen yt neuer shall haue ende. Unto the whyche blysse brynge vs he, that shedde hys blode for vs vpon the rode tree. Amen.

SOmtyme in Rome dwelled a myghty Empe­rour & a wyse named Theodose, whyche aboue all thynge loued best melody of harpe & huntynge. It befell after vpon a day as thys Emperour hunted in a forest he herde so swete a melody of harpes that thrugh the swetnes therof he was almoost rauyshed frō hym selfe, wherfore he sought about the forest to fynde that melody, & at the last he espyed at the ende of the forest a poore man syttyng besyde a water playing on a harpe so swetely, that themperour before ye daye herde neuer so swete a melody. Than sayd themperour, good frēde cōmeth this melody of thy harpe or no. The poore man answered & sayd. My reuerende lorde I shal tell you ye trouth. Besyde this water my wyfe & my chylde and I haue dwelled .xxx. yere, and god hath gyuen me suche grace, that whan so euer I touche my harpe, I make so swete melody that ye fysshes of thys water cōme out to my hande, and so I take them, wherwyth my wyfe my chylde and I ben fedde dayly in great plenty. But alas & welaway, on the other syde of thys water there cōmeth a whysteler & whysteleth so swetely, that ma­ny tymes the fysshes for sake me & go to his whysteling and therfore my reuerende lord I beseche you of helpe agaynst his hyssyng & whystelyng. Than sayd themperour, I shall gyue the good helpe and coūseyle, I haue here in my purse a golden hoke whyche I shall gyue ye take thou it and bynde it fast at the ende of a roode, and [Page] wyth ye smyte thy harpe, & whan yu seest the fysshe stere drawe them vp to the lande wyth that hoke, & than his whystelyng ne hy [...]syng shall not auayle. Whan ye poore mā herd thys, he reioysed hym greatly, & dyd al thynge as he had taught hym. And whan thys poore man be­gan to touche hys harpe ye fysshe moued, & than he toke them vp wyth hys hoke, & lyued therby longe tyme, & at the last ended gracyously hys lyfe in peace and rest. ¶Thys Emperour betokeneth Iesu Chryst, whyche greatly delyteth to hunte the soule of mankynde in the forest, that is holy chyrche. He loueth also the melody of the harpe, that is to saye, he loueth moche those yt teche the holy worde of god. This poore man that sate bithe water syde betokeneth the prelates of the chyrche & the prechers of ye worde of god, whyche ought to syt besyde the worlde. & not in the worlde, yt is to saye, they sholde not set theyr delyte in worldly thynges. The prechers ought to haue the harpe of holy scrypture, wherwt they may prayse & honour god, & also therwith drawe out of this worlde ye synners. Therfore sayth ye psalmist thus Prayse ye god in timpanes & crowdes, and synge ye to hym on the harpe & the psalter of .x. strenges, But now adayes the precher may say alas, for whan I preche & teche holy scripture, the deuyll cōmeth & whysteleth so swetely that ye synners drawe to hym, & wyll not heare the worde of god, but they turne themselfe onely to the delyte of synne. The deuyll deceyueth also mākynde by dyuerse wayes. Fyrst in tyme of prechynge he maketh some to slepe, & them that he can not make to slepe, he causeth them to talke & clatter, & them that he can not make to clatter, he maketh them so dull that they may not sauour ne vnderstande what the precher sayth, & [Page] them that he can not begyle by these meanes, he put­teth in them be synesse, & causeth them to go out of the chyrche. Lo so many wayes the deuyll hath to deceyue mankynde, & to let ye worde of god. Therfore euery prelate & euery precher behoueth ye golden hoke of goddes grace agaynst thys whysteling, by ye whych grace they may drawe synners out of this worlde vp to heuen, vnto the whyche brynge vs our lorde Iesus. Amen.

THere dwelled somtyme in Rome a myghty Emperour & a wyse man named Polemus, whyche had no chylde saue onely a doughter, whome he loued so moche that dayly & nyghtly he ordeyned to kepe her wyth armed knyghtes. And aboue these knyghtes he ordeyned a mayster well taught in euery connynge for to teche them & to enferme them how they shold do. He ordeyned also a steward for to guide his houshold. And whan all thys was done, on a nyght as he laye in hys bedde he be thought hym yt he wolde go vysyte the holy lande. And than whā all thynge was redy for his iour­ney accordynge to hys purpose, he called vnto hym his stewarde & sayde. Dere frende I purpose to se the holy lande, & therfore I leue my doughter in thy kepyng, & also I charge the that she lacke nothynge, but that she haue all maner of ioye & gladnes that pertayneth to a vyrgyn. Secondly I leue in thy kepyng fyue knightes that ben her kepers, that they lacke nothyng yt to them behoueth. Also I leue to the my greyhoūde, that thou nourysshe & fede hym as it apperteyneth, & yf yu fulfyll all thys that I haue sayd, thou shalt at my cōmynge a­gayne receyue a great rewarde. Than sayd ye stewarde My dere lorde in all yt I may I shal fulfyll your wyll. [Page] Whan thys was sayd the Emperour toke hys iourney to warde the holy lande, and the stewarde a longe tyme kepte well & truly themperours ordynaūce. But at the last it befell vpon a daye that this stewarde had espyed this yonge lady walkyng alone in an orcheyarde, with whose loue he was sodeynly taken, wherfore anone a­gaynst her wyll he defloured her. And whā he had syn­ned wyth her, he gaue her yll lāguage & hated her more after than euer he loued her before, & droue her out of ye palays, wherfore this damoysel for great pouerte and defaute wente fro dore to dore & begged her breed. But whan the knyghtes that were her kepers herde of thys they reproued shamefully the steward of yt synful dede. Than the stewarde waxed wroth, & for great hate that he had in his herte he despoyled ye knyghtes of al theyr goodes, & droue them fro the palays. And whan they were thus robbed & exyled, some for defaute of goodes became theues, & some manquellers, that thrugh thys incōuenyent they wrought great harme. Soone after thys there came tydynges that themperour was arry­ued in farre landes cōmynge homewarde. And whan the stewarde herde thys, he was greatly troubled and moued in hymselfe, & thus thynkynge in hymselfe he sayd thus. Thys may not be but nedes I shall be accu­sed for my trespace that I haue done agaynst thempe­rours cōmaūdement, he is my lorde & mercyable, ther­fore better it were that I go & mete wt hym wyth all honour & humylyte, & accuse my selfe to hym, & aske hym mercy, than ony other sholde go before to accuse me to my lord of my treason. Than this stewarde anone dyd of all his clothes saue his breche & his sherte, and toke thre ropes wysh hym in his ryght hande, and bare fote [Page] wente & mette the Emperour. But whan themperour had espyed hym cōmynge a ferre in such a wyse, he wō ­dred greatly. And whan the steward was cōme so nere that he myght speke to themperour, he fell downe on hys knees & salewed hym reuerently. Than sayd ye Emperour, what is befallen ye that thou metest me in thys araye, for as moche as ye art my stewarde thou sholdest haue mette me wt a great company of knyghtes. A my lorde quod he, there is befallen me an heuy case, for the whyche it behoueth me thus to mete your hyghnes. Than sayd themperour, what case is that that is be­fallen the. My reuerend lord quod he, it behoueth fyrst your hyghnes to aske of me why I brynge wt me these thre ropes. Than sayd themperour, why bearest thou these thre ropes in thy hande in suche a wyse. Than answered this wofull steward & sayd. This fyrst corde I brynge wyth me to bynde my handes & fete so harde tyll the blode brest out on euery syde, for yt I haue well deserued. The second rope I brynge wyth me [...]o drawe me by hors tayle vpon ye pauement tyll that my bones de bare wythout flesshe, for that shal profyte me for the great treason yt I haue done agaynst you. The thyrde rope yt I haue brought is to hange me wt vpō an hygh galous so longe that the byrdes lyght on my heed & on my body, & fede themself of my flesshe, & these thynges ben due to suche trespacers & brekers of the lawe as I am, & therfore my reuerende lorde haue mercy on me, for I dare not knowlege my trespace tyl I be certayne of thy mercy & pyte. Than sayd themperour, I se in the great mekenes & contricion, therfore tell forth thy tres­pace, & sothly yu shalte fynde mercy & grace. Alas alas than sayd he, I haue defouled thy doughter, & put her [Page] out of thy palays, & now for great defaute she beggeth her breed from dore to dore. I haue also despoyled thy knyghtes of all theyr goodes, & now some of them for defaute of goodes ben theues, & some manquellers, & the mayster of ye knyghtes I haue slayne. But I haue fedde thy greyhounde wt the best as longe as I myght and tyed hym wyth a chayne, but at ye last he brake hys [...]hayne & wente hys waye, so yt now he renneth aboute in the countre. Whan themperour herde thys, he was sore astonyed & sayde. Hast thou defouled my doughter whome I loued so well, & also exiled my knyghtes and slayne theyr mayster, & the greyhoūde whyche I loued best, of whome I gaue the charge is gone also, sothly were it not that I had forgyuen it the, & that ye mekest thy selfe so greatly, I sholde put the to the moost vylest deth that coude be thought. Therfore go thou anone & brynge agayne my doughter, than mayst thou wedde her, and yf ony harme here after befall to her in thy de­faute, than shall I double thy payne. Also brynge thou agayn my knyghtes, & restore to them theyr goodes, & set them in theyr state and offyce as they were before. And also seke diligētly my greyhoūde tyll yu fynde hym and than bynde hym fast, so that in the here after may be founde no defaute. And whan ye stewarde herde this he bowed downe hys heed & thanked the Emperour of hys great mercy. And than he wente forth and sought thrugh out all the Empyre so longe tyll he had founden the Emperours doughter and the knyghtes, and also they greyhoūde, and brought them agayne. And after that wedded the yonge lady wyth great honour & ioye▪ and also restored agayne the knyghtes goodes. And at the last he ended hys lyfe in peace and rest.

[Page]¶Thys Emperour betokeneth our lorde Iesu Chryst Hys doughter betokeneth ye soule of man, made at the similytude of our lorde god. And the .v. knyghtes betokeneth the .v. wyttes, armed wyth ye vertue of baptym to kepe▪ the soule. The mayster of ye knyghtes is reason whyche ought to rule the wyttes. The greyhounde is the flesshe of man. The steward betokeneth euery man to whome god hath gyuen lyfe and soule to kepe vnder payne of lesyng euerlastyng lyfe. But a wretched man remēbrynge that is to cōme full often corrupteth & de­fouleth hys soule by synne, & dryueth her from her pa­lays of heuen, & than goth she frō dore to dore, that is to say, frō synne to synne. He despoyled these .v. knyghtes of theyr goodes, that is to saye, the .v. wyttes of theyr vertues, takynge away the lawfull syght fro the eyen, exhortynge them vnlawfully, & also steryng the eares to heare sclaūder & backbytyng, & so forth of al ye other wyttes, & thus some be made theues, & some māquel­lers. The mayster of these .v. wyttes is slayne whan so euer man is ruled by wyll, & not by reason. The grey­hoūde, that is the flesshe, wherin a man delyteth was fedde, & bounde wt the chayne of reason, whyche he breketh full ofte & renneth out, & doth moche harme. The cōmynge agayne of thys Emperour from ye holy lande betokeneth the cōmynge of our lord Iesu Chryst at the daye of dome to deme all mākynde. Therfore do we as the steward dyd, accuse we fyrst our selfe of our synnes leest the deuyl & the worlde accuse vs, & than it were to late to aske mercy, therfore do we of our clothes betime that is to saye, our synfull lyfe, & take we thre ropes in our handes. The fyrst rope yt sholde bynde our handes and fete, betokeneth the rope of contrycyon, whych not [Page] onely ought to bynde our handes and fete, but also our other membres, bothe wythin and wythout so harde, that the blode brast out on euery syde, that is to saye, that the synne might voyde. Hereto accordeth Ezechiel saying thus. In quacū (que) hora egerit penitentiā p [...]tō (rum) saluus erit. Whan so euer ye synfull man doth penaūce he shall be saued. The seconde corde for to drawe ye tres­pacer, is confessyon, whyche sholde drawe vs from the begynnynge of our lyfe vnto this daye by ye penaūce of our mouth vnto the tyme that the flesshe be fallen frō the bones, that is to saye, tyll the lust of ye flesshe be turned away by the stones of penaūce. For in lyke wyse as the stone by nature & kynde is harde, ryght so penaūce ought to be harde. The thyrde rope that sholde hange the felon, is ye rope of satisfaccyon, of whych hangyng speketh the apostle, saying. Suspende elegit a īa mea. My soule hath chosen to be hanged. For lyke as a man is lyfte vp from the grounde by hangynge, ryght so a synner is lyfte vp fro synne towarde heuen vnto god by the hāgynge of satisfaccyō vpon thys galous, we shold hange tyll the byrdes of heuen came downe, yt is to say tyll the apostles cōme downe to fede vs wyth our good dedes. For there is more ioye of one synner doynge hys penaūce a fore the aūgels of god in heuen. &c. Lyke as the stewarde brought agayne themperours doughter. So it behoueth vs to seke about by dyuerse werkes of mercy, & fynde our soule yt we lost, & brynge her agayn to the chyrche, & rule well our .v. wyttes, and fede our greyhounde as we sholde, & make our lyfe so clene and pure, that we fall not agayne to synne for drede that it fortune to vs worse, & yt we haue no leyser to aske mer­cy agayn at our nede. And yf we fulfyll al this truly vnto [Page] to our lyues ende, wtout doubte we shall optayne euer­lastyng lyfe. To ye whych our lord brynge vs all. Amē.

IN Rome dwelled somtyme a myghty Emperoure and a wyse named Edfenne, whych ordeyned for a law that who so euer rauysshed a mayde, shold be at her wyll, whether she wolde put hym to deth, or yt she wolde haue hym to her husbande. It befell after that a man rauy [...]shed in a nyght two fayre maydēs, ye fyrst damoysell desyred that he sholde dye, & the second desy­red weddyng. The rauyssher was taken & [...]edde before the iudge, that sholde satisfye bothe these damoyselles thrugh hys wysdome & ryghtfulnes. The fyrst damoysell euer desyred the deth accordyng to the lawe. Than sayd the seconde, I desyre hym to be my husbande, for in lyke wyse as thou hast the lawe for the, in lyke wyse I haue it for me, & neuerthelesse my petycyon is more better than yours, for it is more charytable, therfore me thynketh in my reason that the iustyce sholde gyue sentence wyth me. Than the iustyce vnderstādyng the greate mercy of the seconde damoysell, gaue iudgemēt that he sholde wedde her, and so it was done.

¶Thys Emperour betokeneth our lord Iesu Chryst. The rauyssher betokeneth euery synner, whyche ra­uyssheth goddes mercy as often as he defouleth the cō ­maūdemētes of god by synne, for the deuyl may neuer ouercōme man but yf it be suffred by wyll. For saynt Austyn sayth. Non est peccatū nisi sit volūtariū. It is no synne but yf it be voluntary. The synner rauyssheth the mercy of god as oft as he hath very cōtricyon. The rauysher also is called afore the Iustyce whan ye soule is departed from the body, and anone the fyrst damoy­sell [Page] (that is the deuyll) layde agaynst the synner that he ought to dye euerlastyngly by ye lawe of ryghtwysnes. But that other mayden (that is Chryst) layde for her how ye mercy of god ought to helpe by cōtricyon & cōfessyon, whyche is ye hygh waye to euerlastyng lyfe. Un­to the whyche god brynge bothe you & me. Amen.

SOmtyme dwelled in Rome a myghty emperour and a ryche named Lypodyus, whyche toke to wyfe a fayre vyrgyn & a gentyll, and was the kynge of Assyryens doughter. This yonge lady cōceyued & bare a chylde, & in the byrth of her sone she dyed. And anone after her decese thys Emperour wedded an other wyfe and begate her wyth chylde also. And anone after that these chyldren were borne, he sente them bothe in to a straūge lande for to be nourysshed. Than sayd the mo­ther of the seconde chylde. My reuerende lorde .x. yeres ben passed syth I bare my chylde, and yet sawe I hym neuer but ones, & that was the fyrst daye of hys byrth, therfore I beseche you my lorde to sende for hym, that I may ones reioyce me of hys syght. Than sayd ye Emperour, I haue an other chylde by my fyrst wyfe, & yf I sende for thy sone than must I sende for bothe, & thā anone he sente for them. And whan they were cōmen they were passyng fayre & wel nourysshed, wel taught and passynge lyke in al maner thynges, that vnnethes that one myght be knowen fro that other but yf it were onely of the father. Than sayd the mother of ye seconde chylde. A my lorde tell me whyche of these is my sone, & he called hym her sone that he begate on hys fyrst wyfe Whan thempresse herde thys, she gaue all her cure to nourysshe & to eeche hym, & despysed that other. Whan [Page] the Emperour sawe thys, he sayd to hys wyfe. Sothly I haue deceyued the, for hym that ye louest so moche is not thy sone but that other is thy sone. Than set she all her cure vpon the second, & forsoke the fyrst. Whan the Emperour sawe thys, he sayd. Truly I haue deceyued the yet, without doubte this is not thy sone, but one of them two is thy sone. Than sayd ye mother. A my lorde for hys loue that dyed on ye rode tell me wythout cauel­lacyon whyche of them is my sone. The Emperour answered & sayd, certaynly I wyl not tell you tyll they be cōme to māhode, for this reason. Fyrst I tolde you that thys was thy sone, & hym thou nourysshest as thy sone and forsokest that other, & whan I tolde you that thys was thy sone, than ye despysed the fyrst & cherysshedest the seconde, therfore I wyll that thou cherysshe & nour­rysshe them bothe tyll they cōme to that ye mayst haue ioye of them. Whan thempresse herde thys▪ she nourys­shed them bothe a lyke. And whā they were bothe cōme to age, themperour made a great supper, and before all hys gestes he tolde hys wyfe openly whyche of them was her chylde. Than reioyced she greatly, & wyth her sone she ended her lyfe in peace and rest.

¶Thys Emperours sones betokeneth those yt be cho­sen to euerlastyng lyfe, & those ye be not chosen. The mother of them is the chyrche yt nouryssheth them bothe. Therfore our lorde wyl not yt the chyrche sholde knowe whyche be chosen and whyche be not chosen. For yf she knewe that, than wolde she loue ye one & hate ye other, & so sholde charyte be ouerthrowen amonge vs, & sholde lyue in discorde & stryfe, but trouth at the daye of dome shall tell vs whyche of them shall be saued, and whyche shall be dampned. Therfore praye we in thys worlde [Page] that we may cōme to the euerlastynge feest in heuen. Unto the whyche god brynge bothe you & me. Amen.

SOmtyme dwelled in Rome a myghty emperour named Polēnus, whyche had thre sones whom he loued moche. It befell vpon a daye whan thys Em­perour lay vpō hys bedde, he bethought hym to whych of hys sones he myght gyue hys empyre after hys de­cese. Than called he to hym hys thre sones and sayde. Whyche of you thre yt is slowest, shall haue myne Em­pyre after my decese. The fyrst sone answered & sayde. Thyne Empyre by reason shall be myne, for I am so slowe, that yf my fote were in the fyre, I had leuer yt it sholde be brent than to take it out. Than sayd ye second I am quod he more apte to the Empyre than thou, for though there were a rope aboute my necke wherwyth I sholde be hanged, & yf I had a sharpe swerde in my hande for greate slouth that I haue I wolde not put forth my hande to cutte the rope in sauynge of my lyfe. And whā these two bretherne had sayd, the thyrde said for him thus. I ought to be emperour before you bothe for I passe you in slouth, & that wyll I preue thus I lye vpryght in my bedde, & there droppeth water vpon bothe myne eyen, & for greate slouth yt I haue I mene not my heed neyther to the ryght syde of the bedde nor to the lefte syde for sauynge of my selfe. Whan the Emperour herde thys, he byquethed the Empyre vnto the yongest sone as to the slowest of the bretherne.

¶Thys Emperour betokeneth the deuyll, whyche is lorde & father ouer ye chyrche of pryde. By the fyrst sone is vnderstande a man that cōmeth in euyll felawshyp by whome he falleth in mysgouernaūce, & had leuer to [Page] be brente in the fyre of synne, than departe from them. The second sone betokeneth hym yt knoweth hymselfe bounde wyth the bande of synne, wherwyth he is to be hanged on the galous of hell, & is so slouthfull that he wyll not cut them away wyth the lawfull swerde of cō fessyon. By the thyrde sone is vnderstande a man that heareth the techynge of ye ioyes of heuen & of ye paynes of hell, and wyl not m [...]e hymselfe to the ryght syde for loue & desyre of rewarde, nor to the lyfte syde to forsake hys synnes for drede of turmēt. Suche a man wythout doubte for hys slouth shall optayne the realme of hell. From ye whych realme kepe vs our lorde Iesus. Amē.

THere dwelled somtyme in Rome a myghty Em­peroure named Alexander, the whyche besyeged a cyte of the kyng of Egypte wyth a great hoost, neuer­thelesse thys Emperour lost many myghty knyghtes without ony hurte of stroke. And thus from day to day hys people dyed sodeynly, wherat thys Alexander wondred greatly & was ful sorowful therof in his mynde, & anone let cal afore hym ye wysest philosophers yt myght be founde, and prayed thē to tell hym why hys people dyed thus sodeynly wtout wounde. The phylosophers answered & sayd. My lorde it is no wonder, for vpon ye walles of that castel wtin the cite is a cocatryce, thrugh whose syght your men dye, for they ben infected wt the venym that cōmeth of hys eyen, & anone the dye. Than this Alexāder asked yf there were ony remedy agaynst that cocatryce. The philosophers answered and sayd. My lord there is a good remedy, whych is thys, let set vp a large myrrour of clere glasse ouer agaynst thys cocatryce bytwene your hoost & the wall of the cyte, and [Page] whan the [...] beholdeth hymselfe in the myrrour the deed [...] [...]ture of his venymous syght shal reboūde agayn [...] to hymselfe, and thus he shall dye, and your men shalbe saued. The Emperoure wrought by the counse [...]l [...] of the phylosophers, and let set vp anone a large myrrour of glasse, and thus was thys cocatryce slayne, and the Emperour wyth hys hoost made an as­sa [...]te to the cyte, and optayned the vyctory.

¶This Emperour may be, called ony chrystē man, the whyc [...] [...]ght to gader an hoost of vertues, for wyth­out [...] more may no man fyght goostly. The cyte agaynst whome ye shall fyght is the worlde, wherin there is an [...] castell, that is to saye, vanite of vany­tees. [...] vanitatū. And al vanite, in thys vanite standeth th [...] [...]atryce, that is to saye, pryde of lyfe, de­syre of [...] [...]istes of flesshe, wherfore thys pryde in­fectet [...], that they dye at the last euerlastyngly Therfore the greatest remedy agaynst thys pryde, is ye cōsyderacyon of our vnclennes, how we came naked in to thys worlde, & yf it be asked why a man is proude, certaynly it may be answered thus, for ye defaute of clothyng of vertues, what shall we do whan we dye thus goostly but set vp a poore myrrour of conscyence, & by that conscyence we may consyder our wyll & our bryt­tylnes as in a glasse, where then mayst se thyne owne defaute, & yf we do thus wythout doubte ye cocatryce, yt is pryde of lyfe, desyre of eyen, & lust of flesshe, we shall vtterly destroye & optayne ye victory of this worldly ci­te, & than be we s [...]re to wynne euerlastynge lyfe, vnto the whych god brynge [...]othe you and me. Amen.

A Myghty emperour somtyme [...] named Archelaus, the whyche [...] [Page] wedded a fayre yonge lady, whome a yonge knyght lo­ued, & had to do wyth her as ofte as hym lyst. It befell on a nyght that thys Emperour bethought hym in his bedde to visyte ye holy lande, wherfore wtout ony more delay he ordeyned al thynge necessary to his iourney, & toke hys leue of thempresse & of the states of thempyre & went towarde ye holy lande. Whan thempresse herde thys, she toke the mayster of the shyppe & sayd. Yf thou wylte consent to me & be true, aske of me what ye wylte & thou shalte haue it. The mayster of the shyppe was smytten wyth couetyse & sayd. O my dere lady what so euer ye wyll cōmaūde me I shall wythout fayle fulfyll it, so that ye wyll rewarde me for my labour. Thā sayd thempresse, or ye do ought for me I shall gyue the what the lyst to haue, so that yu wylte swere to be true to me and kepe my coūseyle. The mayster of ye shyppe anone made hys othe to be true to her. Than sayd thempresse My lord goth wyth you in your shyppe, therfore whan he is in the myddes of the see, cast hym out that he may be drowned, & ye shall optayne your rewarde wythout ony wythsaying. Than the mayster of ye shyppe sware a greate othe & sayd. By god after he cōmeth ones win my shyppe, ye shall neuer se hym more. Than the lady payde hym as moche golde as he wolde haue, & forth he wente to hys shyppe. And wythin shorte tyme after the Emperour take hys shyppe, & whan he was in the myddes of ye see, the mayster of ye shyppe toke thempe­rour & threwe hem ouer borde in to the see. Than the mayster returned agayne & tolde the Empresse that the Emperour was casten in to ye see, wherof she was full glad. Thys Emperour that thus was cast in to the see had lerned in hys youth to swymme, & swamme forth [Page] tyll he sawe an ylande in the see, but euer in hys swym­mynge whā he was faynt & lyke to haue ben drowned he prayed god to be hys helpe & wepte sore, tyll at ye last he came in to a lyttel ylande wherin was nothyng but lyons & lybbardes & dyuerse other beestes, that swam thyder from other landes. Whan thys Emperour had taken lande in that yle he espyed a yonge lyon fyghting with an olde lybbarde, & the lyon was almoost ouercō ­men. The Emperour had great cōpassyon on ye lyon, & drewe out his swerde & slewe ye lybbard. The lyon euer from that tyme forth folowed the Emperour, & wolde not leue hym for nothynge, but euery day yt praye that this lyon toke he brought & layde it afore themperours fete, & anone themperour smote fyre on the flynt stone, and boyled the body in the skynne, & thus was he fedde longe tyme, tyll at the last as he walked to ye see strande he sawe a shyppe cōme saylynge by, & anone wt an hye voyce he cryed. And whan ye shypmen herde thys voyce they wondred what it myght be, wherfore they sayled towarde hym, & whan they were cōme to hym he sayde Good frendes take me wt you, & I shal paye you a good freyght. And anone they toke hym in to theyr shyppe, & the lyon folowed hym swymmynge in the see after the shyppe. And whan the lyon was in poynt to haue ben drowned, the shypmen had pyte on hym, & toke hym in to the shyppe. And whan the Emperour came to lande he payde hys freyght, & whan he had payde them, he wente forth tyll he came nere hys owne palays, where he herde trōpettes & claryons, wyth all maner of other mynstralsye, & as he herkened what it myght be, there came fro the palays a squyer toward hym that was of his knowlege, but ye squyer knewe not hym, to whome [Page] the Emperour sayd thus. Good frende I praye the tell me what melody is thys that I heare. The squyer an­swered & sayd. The Empresse is maryed thys day, and there ben all the states of thempyre at her feest, & ther­fore they make suche melody to make her gestes mery. Than sayde themperour to ye squyer, where is her hus­bande that was Emperour before. The squyer sayde yt he was gone to the holy lande, & was drowned by the waye in the see. Than sayd themperour, I praye ye syr that thou woldest do myne erande to thempresse & to ye lorde that wolde be her husbande, that I may cōme in to ye palays & playe afore them wt my lyon▪ The squyer graunted to do his erande, & went in & tolde the lorde & the lady that at ye gate was a goodly olde man that de­syreth to cōme in & play with his lyon afore you. Than sayd the newe wedded lorde, brynge hym in, & yf he be worthy percase he myght gete hys meate for hys playe Whan the Emperour wt hys lyon was brought in, the lyon anone wtout ony cōforte or settyng on, ranne vpō the yonge knyght yt was newly maryed & slewe hym, & whan he had so done, he ranne vpon the Empresse & d [...] noured her to the harde bones before all ye lordes of the Empyre. And whan the states sawe thys, they were greatly agast & began to flee. But the emperour wt hys fayre speche cōforted them & sayd. Loo thys is the vengeaunce of god, for thys is my wyfe yt hath vsed auou­try longe tyme wyth thys knyght that lyeth here deed, and she ymagyned my deth wt the mayster of ye shyppe, and here vpon the mayster threwe me in to the see, but god saued me fro ye deth, & bycause I holpe ones ye lyon at a nede, he forsoke me neuer syth, and now as ye se al whan I came in to my palays wtout ony cōforte of me [Page] he hath slayne bothe the auouterers, & therfore vnder­stande ye for trouth that I am your lorde ye Emperour Anone whan they herde thys, they lyft vp theyr eyen & behelde hym, and at the last they knewe hym for theyr lorde, wherfore they were greatly reioyced, & praysed god for that myracle, whyche had saued theyr lord and Emperour. And they lyued after in rest and peace.

¶By thys Emperour ye may vnderstande euery chry­sten man that purposeth to vysyte ye holy lande, that is to saye, to gete euerlastynge lyfe thrugh the workes of mercy. But hys wyfe, that is the wretched flesshe murmureth agaynst the soule, & loueth better her lemman that is deedly synne, than her husbande. Thys Empe­rour went in to the shyppe takyng hys iourney toward the holy lande, that is to [...]aye, he wente to holy chyrche whyche is ye waye to god. But the wyfe, that is to saye flesshly men accused hym to ye mayster of ye shyppe, that is to saye, to the prelates of the chyrche for great mede whyche oftentymes blyndeth ye syght of many iustyces where thrugh many ꝑfyte men ben cast out of ye shyppe in to the see to be drowned, yt is to saye, out of ye chyrche in to the see of thys worlde. But what shall he do than that is thus casten to be troubled in thys worlde, cer­taynly thus ought he to do, let hym lerne to swymme, that is to say, let hym put al hys hope in god, & than by hys grace he shall cōme to an ylande, that is to say, the religyon of clene herte, & that he shall loue euer ye better to kepe hymselfe out of thys worlde, and therfore sayth saynt Iames thus. A clene relygyon & vndefy [...]ed is a precyous thynge in ye syght of god, & he yt is in this religyon shall fynde a lyon, whome hym behoueth to gyue agaynst the deuyl. This lyon is our lorde Iesu Chryst [Page] that came of ye kynrede of Iude, whyche fyghteth euer agaynst the deuyll, & yf a man hath holpen this lyon at ony tyme, trust well than that he wyll not forsake hym but be wt hym at all his nede, accordyng to the psalmist saying thus. Cū ipso sū in tribulatione. I am wt hym in trouble. By thys lyon▪ thou mayst take thy wyfe, yt is to say, thy flesshe wyth penaūce & [...]lee thy synne, & than wythout doubte yu shalt optayne the Empyre of heuen. Unto the whych brynge vs our lorde Iesus. Amen.

SOmtyme in Rome dwelled a myghty emperour named Gorgony, whych had maryed a curteys lady & a fayre to hys wyfe. This yonge lady in due processe cōceyued & bare hym a sone, a fayre chylde and an amyable. Whan thys chylde was .x. yere olde, hys mo­ther the Empresse dyed. And anone after ye Emperour wedded an other wyfe. Thys seconde wyfe loued in no wyse themperours sone, but dyd hym al the shame and reprefe that she myght. Whan the Emperour ꝑceyued thys, wyllyng to please hys wyfe, exiled his sone out of hys empyre. And whā thys chylde was exyled, he went and lerned physyke, so that wythin shorte tyme he was a subtyll & a co [...]ynge phisycyan. It befell soone after that the Emperour his father syckened & was almoost deed, wherfore whan he herd that hys sone was suche a phisycyan, he sente for hym by lettres, prayinge hym that he wolde cōme to hym wtout ony delaye. And than the sone wyllynge to obey, & fulfyll his fathers cōmaū ­dement, in all haste came vnto hym. And whan he had seen his father & felte hys poulces & his vaynes, all the sycknes he had was soone healed wyth his medycynes from all maner of daūgers. Soone after that the Em­presse [Page] hys stepmother began to waxe sycke. And many physicyans sayd that she wold dye. And whan thempe­rour herde thys, he prayed hys sone to helpe her of her sycknes. Than sayd hys sone, certaynly father I wyll lay no hande on her. Than ye Emperour began to waxe wroth & sayde. Yf ye wylte not obey my cōmaundement thou shalte voyde my felawshyp. Hys sone answered & sayd, yf ye do so dere father, ye do vnrightfully, for well ye knowe that ye exiled me out of your Empyre thrugh her suggestyon, & myne absence was cause of your so­rowe & sycknes, & in lyke wyse my presence is cause of her sycknes, & therfore I wyll not meddle wt her, & also I wyll vse no more medicynes, for oftentymes physy­cyans ben deceyued, & therfore I dare not lay hande on her, leest men wold saye (yf it fortuned her to dye) that I were cause therof. Than sayd the Emperour. She hath ye same sycknes that I had. Hys sone answered & sayd. Though she haue ye same sycknes, neuerthelesse ye be not of one cōpleccyon. For what so euer I dyd to you, ye helde you content, and whan ye sawe me cōme wythin ye palays, ye reioysed of my cōmynge, & greatly were eased to se hym that ye begate. But whā my step­mother sawe me she swelled for anger and waxed euyl at ease, and therfore, yf I shold speke to her, her sorowe wolde encrease, & yf I sholde touche her, she wolde be from her selfe. And also a physycyan profyteth nought but where as ye sycke man delyteth in hym. And whan the chylde had sayd, he escaped & wente hys waye.

¶ Thys Emperour betokeneth euery chrysten man, whyche is wedded to his chrystendom at the font stone Forwhā ye soule is made ye spouse of Chryst, on whome man begeteth a sone, yt is reason. But thys wyfe, that [Page] is to say, chrystendome dyeth whā so euer a man lyeth in deedly synne, & after her a man weddeth a stepdame that is to saye, wyckednes as oftentymes as he is ru­led by wyll, & not by reason, wherfore a man yt lyueth by flesshly lust oftētymes exyleth reason, & than anone the soule waxeth sycke, for the absence of reason is the cause of the sycknes of the soule. But whā reason that is bothe goostly & bodyly the physycyan is bryngynge agayne by workes of mercy, than anone man is healed of his sycknes. But than the stepmother waxeth sycke, that is to saye, whan frowarde wyll waxeth sycke, thā is the flesshe oppressed by penaunce. And therfore study we to oppresse our flesshe so by penaunce, that we may comme to euerlastynge ioye. Amen.

SOmtyme in Rome dwelled a myghty emperour named Folemus, whych had wedded ye kynges doughter of Germany, a fayre lady & a curteys, which wythin shorte tyme conceyued and bare a sone. Whan thys chylde was borne, the states of the Empyre came to the Emperour, & eueryche of them besought the Emperour to nourysshe hys sone. The Emperour answe­red & sayd. To morowe shall be a tourney, & there shall ye all be, and whyche of you dothe best & optayneth the vyctory, shall haue the kepynge of my sone, & yf he nou­rysshe hym well, I shall promote hym to great dignite and honour. And yf he do the contrary, he shall dye the foulest deth that can be thought. Thā sayd they. Dere lorde all thys pleaseth vs well. On the morowe whan euery man was cōme to the tourney, the states iusted and scarmysshed full manfully longe tyme, tyll at ye last there came a doughty knyght named. Iosyas, that so [Page] manfully bare hymselfe amonge them, that he wanne the vyctory. And anone whan all thys was done, this Iosias toke ye chylde & ledde hym forth with hym. And bycause this Emperours sone shold be receyued in his countree, he sente before to his castell, & cōmaūded his offycers that it sholde be dyght bothe wtout & within, & that the chyldes bedde shold be made in the myddes of the castell, & also the seuen scyences sholde be paynted aboute the chyldes bedde, that whan the chylde wake­ned out of hys slepe, he myght lye in his bedde and rede his lesson. This knyght had a fruytfull and a holsome well by ye chyldes beddes syde, wherin he vsed to bathe hymselfe, & the knyghtes wyfe bare ye key of this well and there wss a wyndowe yt the sonne myght cōme in and shyne. It fortuned on a daye that the lady yt kepte the key lefte ye wyndowe open thrugh neclygence. And whan the lady had so done, there came a bere and sawe the wyndowe open and went to the well & bathed hym therin, of whose bathynge the well sauoured after for the greate hete that was that tyme, wherfore who so euer dronke therof waxed lepre wtin short tyme. And so it fortuned within a lyttell space after that ye lord & the lady & al theyr houshold were lepers, & not wtstandyng it appered not sodeynly. And in the meane tyme there came a great egle in at ye wyndowe where as the Em­perours sone laye, and bare the chylde away out of his cradell. And whan the knyght ꝑceyued this, he wepte bytterly & sayd. Alas alas & woo to me wretched crea­ture that euer I was borne, what shall I do, for now I am the sone of deth, for I am a foule leper, & so is my wyfe & all my housholde. And the whyle he was thus mournynge theere came to hym a phisycyan & sayd to [Page] hym Syr yf ye wyll do after my counseyle, it shall not repent you. Fyrst it behoueth you & your wyfe and all your housholde to be letten blode, & after yt to be bathed and wasshen clene, & than shall I laye to my medicyne And whan ye are hole, than shall you & your wyfe & all your housholde walke to the mountaynes and seke the Emperours sone, for the egle hath let hym fall in some place. The knyght wrought all thynge by the coūseyle of thys phisycyan, & anone after was letten blode & receyued the medicyne, & than he was al hole & hys wyfe and all his housholde, wherfore he lepte on his horse, & toke wyth hym thre squyers, & rode forth and sought ye chylde. And at the last he founde hym hole and sounde lyenge in a valey, & than was he greatly reioysed. And for the great ioye & gladnes that was in hym for ye fyndynge of themperours sone he made a great feest, & af­ter the feest he ledde the chylde home to hys father. And whan themperour sawe his sone in good helth, he was ryght glad, wherfore he promoted hym to great wor­shyp, whych lyued after ye longe tyme in great honour and worshyp, & at ye last ended hys lyfe in peace & rest.

¶Thys Emperour betokeneth the father of heuē, his sone betokeneth our lorde Iesu Chryst, whome many men desyre to nourysshe at eester whan they receyue ye sacrament. He nouryssheth hym that best iusteth wyth the deuyll and ouercōmeth hym thrugh penaūce. The knight that toke this chylde wt hym betokeneth a good chrysten man that fasteth truly and blyssedly all ye lente before. Therfore do we as ye knyght dyd, sende we be­fore messengers to dyght & to make clene ye castel of our herte from al spottes of synne by workes of mercy, & so shall this chylde Iesu rest & lyght in the myddes of our [Page] herte. The well betokeneth mercy, whyche ought to be nexte our lord. For who so euer is wtout mercy & trewth may not nourysshe that blessed chylde Iesu. But it happeneth ofte yt the knyghtes wyfe (yt is ye flesshe of man) bereth the key of mercy, and ofte leueth ye wel open and than cōmeth the bere (that is the deuyll) and casteth venym in to ye well of mercy, and who that tasteth therof shall be infected wyth ye lepry of synne. The wyndowe wherin the sonne shyneth is ye grace of ye holy goost, by whom men lyue and are cōforted goostly, by this wyn­dowe the egle cōmeth in, that is to say, the power of al­mighty god, and toke away ye chylde Iesu from ye herte of man, & thā man hath great cause to wepe, but what shall he do whan ye chylde is gone but sende for a subtyl phisycyan, that is to saye, a discryte cōfessour, whyche shall gyue hym coūseyle to let hym blode & all his housholde, that is to saye, to put out synne thrugh cōfessyō of tonge before his goostly father. Than must he bathe hymselfe wt teares of cōtricyon & cōpunccion of tonge, & after yt take the medicyne of satisfaccyon, & than shal he be made clene frō al maner of synne. And whan he hath done thus, he must lepe on ye palfray of good lyfe, & ryde forth wt his thre squyers, that is to say, fastyng, prayer & almes dede, & than wtout doubte he shal fynde the chylde Iesu in the valey of humilite, & not on a hyll that is to saye, pryde. And yf he do thus, doubtles he shall haue myght and power to nourysshe that blessed chylde Iesu, for whose nourysshynge the father of he­uen shall promote hym vnto euerlastynge ioye. Unto the whych ioye god brynge vs all. Amen.

SOmtyme dwelled in Rome a myghty Emperoure named Fulgentius, whyche gouerned hys people [Page] nobly, & loued thē so moche that he made to proclayme thrugh out all nacyons, that who so euer wolde cōme to hym ryche or poore at a certayne daye, sholde haue theyr petycyons what so euer [...] were. Whan ye myghty men herde thys, they were glad, & came at the daye as­sygned, & euery man put forth th [...]yr peticions vnto the Emperour, & anone theyr petycyons were graunted & fulfylled, in so moche that almoost all the empyre was departed amonge them. And than euery man was ioy full & went home agayn & toke s [...]a syne of suche landes & castels as the Emperour had gyuen them, Anone af­ter the poore men gadred them togyder and sayd. A cō mune crye was made that all men bothe poore & ryche shold cōme to ye Emperours palays, & theyr they shold haue what so euer they asked, & ye ryche men haue ben there lately and optayned theyr peticiōs. Therfore go we now & wyte yf we may optayne ony good of ye Em­perour. That coūsel was approbate & alowed amonge them all, wherfore they went forth tyll they came to ye Emperours palays, & there they put forth theyr pety­cyons accordynge to thēperours proclamacyon. And whan the Emperour had herde them, he sayde to them Dere frendes I haue herde all your peticyons, & it is trouth that my proclamacyon was, yt euery man in­differently sholde cōme & haue theyr peticyons, but the ryche & mighty men haue ben here afore you, to whom I haue gyuen all that I had, saue onely the royalte of my lor [...]shyp, and so haue I nothyng lefte to gyue you. A good lorde haue mercy vpō vs, & let vs not go voyde agayne, for we knowe well that is our owne defaute that we came not rather wt these other ryche & myghty men, but syth it is so, we aske your grace that we may [Page] optayne somwhat by the whyche we may lyue. Than sayd the Emperour. Good frendes though I haue gy­uen all my landes, rentes & tenementes, & all ye castels to the ryche men that came before you. Neuerthelesse I haue kepte styll in myne owe handes the lordshyp ouer thē, and that lordshyp I gyue to you, and so shall they be your seruauntes, & be obedyent to you all. And whan the poore men herde thys, they were greatly re­ioysed, & kneled downe to the Emperour & thāked hym saying. [...]o though we cōme late, yet we be made lordes ouer all these other, And with this they toke theyr leue and wente home agayne. But whan the ryche and the myghty men herde that, they were greatly moued, and set a cōmune parlyament among them selfe. And thus it was spoken amonge them. Alas alas how may we serue them that somtyme were but chorles & our sub­iectes in al maner thynges, & now they be made lordes ouer vs. Therfore go we al wyth one assent to thempe­rour & praye we hym of remedy. Whan thys was sayd theyr coūseyle was cōmended, & forth they went to the Emperour & sayd to hym. Reuerende lorde what may this be, those yt were our seruaūtes be made our lordes we beseche you mekely that it may not be so. Thā sayd the Emperour. Good frendes I do you no wronge, for my crye was cōmune, that what so euer ye asked of me ye sholde optayne your peticyon, & ye asked nothyng of me but landes, rentes & honours, and all that haue I graūted you at your owne wyll, in so moche yt I kepte nothynge for my selfe, & eche of you were well content at your away goynge, & after yt came symple and poore men & asked of me some goodes accordynge to my pro­clamacyon, & I had nothynge to gyue them, for I had [Page] gyuen you all that I had, saue onely the lordshyp ouer you, whyche I kepte in my handes, & whan the poore men so cryed on me, I had nothyng to gyue them, saue onely the lordshyp ouer you, and therfore ye sholde not blame me, for that ye asked ye had. Than sayde they. A good lorde we praye you effectuously of your coūsell in thys case, & of your helpe. The Emperour answered & sayd, Syrs yf ye wyll werke after me, I shall gyue you good & profytable coūseyle. Than sayd they. Lord we be redy to fulfyll what so euer ye saye to vs for our profyte. Than sayd themperour. My good frendes ye haue of me bothe landes and tenementes, wyth other mouable goodes, and that great plente, the whyche by my coūseyle ye shall departe wt the poore men, that they may graunte you the lordshyp. And anone these ryche men gladly graūted to this, & departed al theyr goodes amonge the poore men, & than they gaue them agayne the lordshyp ouer thē, lyke as they had of ye ryche men And thus were they bothe content, & themperour was greatly cōmended of al the people, bycause he accorded bothe the partyes so wysely.

¶By thys Emperour is vnderstande our lorde Iesu Chryst, whych made a proclamacyon by hys ꝓphetes patriarkes, apostles & prechers, that euery man bothe poore & ryche sholde cōme & aske euerlastynge ioye, and wythout doubte they shall optayne theyr peticion. But ye ryche and myghty men asked none other thynge but worldly honour & transytory rychesse, for thys worlde shall passe & all his couetyse, wherfore he gaue them so moche of worldly goodes, that he had nothinge lefte to hymselfe, accordyng to scripture. The byrdes of heuen haue nestes, & ye foxes in erth haue caues; but ye sone of [Page] god hath nothyng in erth where he may put hys heed. The poore men be suche as be meke in herte. Of the whyche poore men speketh our lorde, saying. Blessed be the poore in herte, for the kyngdom of heuen is theyrs. And yf it sholde seme that they haue lordshyps aboue myghty men of thys worlde, therfore these ryche men ought to departe theyr rychesse wyth poore men, accor­dynge to the scrypture, saying thus. Gyue ye almes, & all thynge shall be cleue to you. And thus may ye gete a lordshyp in heuen, vnto ye whyche lordshyp I beseche almyghty god to brynge vs all. Amen.

SOmtyme in Rome dwelled a myghty emperour named Domicyan, whyche had two doughters of whome one was passynge fayre, & that other foule & vgly to beholde, wherfore he let crye thrugh out all his empyre, that what man wolde haue hys fayre dough­ter to wyfe, sholde haue nothynge wt her but her fayr­nes. And who that wedded hys foule doughter, sholde haue all hys empyre after hys deth. And whan the proclamacyon was made, there came many lordes yt desyred to wedde hys fayre doughter. Tho whome the Emperour answered thus. Syrs ꝙ he, ye wote not what ye desyre, ryght well ye knowe that yf ye wedde her, ye shall haue nothynge wt her but her fayrnes, & farther­more yf I gyue her to one of you & not to another, than wyll ye stryue for her, therfore yf ye wyll nedes haue her & forsake my foule doughter, you behoueth fyrst to iust for her, and he that wynneth her, shall wedde her. Than were the greatest states of ye empyre greatly re­ioyced, & anone onely for he loue they wolde iust & also fyght, wherfore they set a day of batayle, & many worthy [Page] men were slayne on bothe sydes, neuerthelesse one optayned the victory and wedded that fayre lady. The seconde doughter that was foule and vgly sawe thys that her syster was wedded wt great solempnite mour­ned & wepte dayly, wherfore the Emperour her father came to her and sayde. Dere doughter why mournest thou thus. Alas dere father quod she, it is no wonder though I mourne, seynge my syster wedded wyth so great honour & gladnes, & euery man is fayne of her, & no man loueth my felawshyp, and therfore dere father what I may best do sothly I wote not. Than sayd the emperour. O my dere doughter, all yt is myne is thyne and it is not vnknowen to you that he whyche wedded thy syster had nothynge wt her but her fayrnes, & ther­fore I shall proclayme in myne owne ꝑsone thrugh all myne Empyre, that what man weddeth you, I shall make hym sure by let [...]re patēt of al myne empyre after my deth. Thā this yonge lady though she was foule & vgly, neuerthelesse she reioyced in ye promesse of her fa­ther, & anone after the proclamacyon was made, than there came a yonge knight & a gentyll & wedded ye lady & after the deth of the Emperour he seased all the Em­pyre and was crowned Emperour and she Empresse. ¶This Emperour betokeneth our lorde Iesu Chryst which hath two doughters, that one fayre & that other foule. That one fayre betokeneth thys worlde, whych is ful fayre & delectable to many mē. That other foule betokeneth pouerte & trouble, whome fewe men desyre to wedde. Neuerthelesse a cōmune crye was made by holy scripture, that who so wold haue his fayre doughter, that is the worlde, sholde haue nothynge wyth her but her fayrnes, that is to saye, the worldly vany [...]ees [Page] whyche fade & fall a waye lyke as the fayrnes of man. But who that wyll wedde the foule doughter, that is to say, wylfully to receyue pouerte & trouble for goddes loue, wythout doubte he shall optayne ye empyre of he­uen, accordyng to scrypture, saying. Ye that haue forsaken all thyng for my loue to folowe me, shall haue euer­lastyng lyfe. Many noble and worthy men haue iusted for the fayre doughter, that is to saye, haue foughten bothe by see & by lande for thys worlde for couetyse of worldly rychesse, & at the last there be many slayne, for there is nothing here but pryde of lyfe, couetyse of eyen or of the flesshe, where thrugh all the worlde is put to great myschefe. But he that weddeth the fayre dough­ter, that is ye worlde, is he that setteth all hys affeccyon & desyre in the wrecchednes of thys worlde, & wyll not for nothyng forsake thys worlde, lyke a wretche & couetous man. But he that weddeth the foule doughter, is a good chrysten man, whych for the loue of ye kyngdom of heuē forsaketh all this worlde, & not onely doth thus but also despyseth hymselfe, bodyly obeyinge vnto his soueraynes in all thynge. Suche a man certaynly shall optayne the Empyre of heuen. Unto the whyche Iesu Chryst brynge bothe you and me. Amen.

SOmtyme in Rome dwelled a myghty emperour named Andromyke, whych aboue all thynge loued melody. Thys Emperour had wythin hys castell a well of suche vertue, that who so euer were dronken & dranke of the water of that well, sholde incontynent be fresshe agayn, & be delyuered frō all maner of drōken­nes. There was also dwellynge in thys Emperours courte a knyght named Ydrony, whome ye Emperour [Page] loued moche, but oftentymes he was dronken, whych vyce the emperour hated aboue all thynge. And whan thys knyght perceyued hymselfe dronken, than wolde he go to the well & drynke of the water & refresshe hym selfe, so that what so euer the Emperour sayde to hym he wolde answere hym so reasonably, that no dronkē ­nes myght be seen in hym, & for hys wytty answere he was grea [...]ly beloued of the Emperour. Neuerthelesse his felowes of the courte enuyd hym moche, & ymagy­ned amonge themselfe how they myght departe ye Emperours loue fro hym. It fortuned on a daye that this Emperour went to the forest and herde a nyghtyngale synge so merely, that oftentymes after he wolde ryse erly in ye mornynge, & somtyme frō hys meate & walke to the wode for to heare the swetnes of her songe, wherfore many of his men sayd amonge thēselfe. Our lorde delyteth so moche in the nyghtyngales songe, that he recketh lytell of our profyte, in so moche yt thrugh two thynges his loue is withdrawen frō vs, that is to say by Ydrony the knyght & by the swete songe of the nyghtyngale. Than sayd an olde knyght that was amonge them. Syrs quod he, yf ye wyll do by my counseyle, I shall delyuer you of the knyght Ydrony & of the nygh­tyngale wtout hurte or deth. They sware & sayd, what so euer ye bydde vs do, we shal anone fulfyll wt all our herte. Whan thys knyght herde thys, wythin a whyle after he espyed this Ydrony droken, wherfore he locked fast ye well, & as thys knyght Ydrony came to refresshe hymselfe, he founde ye well fast locked. The Emperour had a great mater to treate, wherfore in haste he sente for this knyght, bycause of hys great wysdom to haue hys counseyle. And whan he came before ye Emperour [Page] he was so dronken that he myght not ones moue hys tonge, neyther had wytte, reason, nor vnderstandynge to answere the Emperour to hys mater. But whan the Emperour sawe thys, he was greatly greued, for so moche as he hated that vyce, wherfore he cōmaunded anone that frō that day forth he sholde no more be seen wythin hys lande vpon payne of deth. Thys hearynge hys fomen greatly were gladded, & sayd vnto the olde knyght. Now be we delyuered of thys knyght Ydrony, there is no more to do but yt we myght fynde the waye to be delyuered of the nyghtyngale, in whyche the Emperour delyteth so moche. Than sayd thys olde knyght your eares shall heare and your eyen shall se that thys nyghtyngale shalbe destroyed in shorte tyme. Not long after thys olde knyght espyed that ye nyghtyngale vsed to syt vpon a tree euen aboue the foresayd well, where as her make came & grendred with her, neuerthelesse in the absence of her make she toke oftentymes an other make & dyd auoutry, & whan she had thus done, than wolde she descende to the well and bathe her selfe, that whan her make came, he sholde fele no sauour ne euyll odour of yt she had done. Whan ye knyght had seen thys on a tyme he locked the well, & whan the nyghtyngale wolde haue descended to bathe her selfe after her auou [...]ry, she founde the well closed, wherfore she flewe vp to the tree agayne & mourned sore in her maner, & lefte of her swete songe. Than came her make & sawe that she had trespaced agaynst her nature, he returned agayne and in shorte tyme brought a great multitude of nygh­tyngales whych slewe hys make, & tare her al to peces And thus was the wyse knyght put away & the nygh­tyngale slayne, & the Emperour put from his pleasure [Page] and solace suche as he was wonte to haue.

¶Thys Emperour betokeneth our lorde Iesu Chryst which loueth greatly the songe of perfyte deuocyon, for whan we praye we speke wt god, & whan we rede, god speketh wyth vs. The well that was in ye palays beto­keneth confessyon that is in the chyrche, therfore yf ony man be dronken wyth synne, let hym drynke of ye well of confessyon, & wythout doubte he shall be safe. Thys ydrony betokeneth euery man that wylfully returneth agayne to synne after his confessyon, lyke as a dogge yt maketh a vomyte & casteth out the meate that he hath eaten afore, & after whā he is hungry cōmeth & eateth it agayne. Neuerthelesse yf a man yt hath synned thus wyll drynke of ye well of confessyon, he shall receyue his goostly strengthes. The nyghtyngale yt sate on the tree betokeneth the soule ye sytteth on ye tree of holy doctryne And her songe betokeneth the soule that sytteth on the tree in deuoute prayers to god. But thys soule dothe a­uoutry as oftentymes as she consenteth to synne. Ne­uerthelesse yf she renne to confessyon & bathe her wt the water of contricyon, god shall loue her. But her fomen that be the fendes of hell seyng thys that god is so mercyfull, they stoppe the well of confessyon, that is to say, the mouthes of them that wolde shryue thēselfe, wyth shame & drede of penaunce, that they dare not tell forth theyr synnes. And thus ben many exiled & put to deth euerlastyng. And therfore study we to bathe our lyfe in the well of confessyon wyth ye water of contrycyon, and than may we be sure to cōme to euerlastyng lyfe. Unto the whyche god brynge bothe you and me. Amen.

IN Rome dwelled somtyme a myghty Emperoure named Darmes, whyche had a myghty stronge cyte [Page] and strongly walled aboute, & a bell hangynge in the myddes of ye cyte, & whan so euer thys Emperour went to batayle wythout ye cyte, this bel sholde be ronge, but there sholde no man rynge ye bell but a virgyn. Wythin shorte tyme after it befell that dragons & serpētes and many other venymous beestes empoysoned moche people, so that ye cyte was almoost destroyed, wherfore the states of the cyte went wt one assent to the Emperour & sayd. Lorde what shall we do, lo our goddes & our cyte is almoost destroyed, & ye & we be in peryll to perysshe throgh these fell beestes that cōsume vs, therfore take we good counseyle, or else we are but lost. Than sayde the Emperour, what saye you is best to be done in thys mater, and how may we best be defended. Thā answe­red one of ye wysest & sayd. My lorde heare my coūseyle & do therafter, & ye shall not forthynke it, ye haue quod he in your place a lyon, and set vp a crosse & hange thys lyon ther vpon wyth nayles, & whan other venymous beestes se hym thus hangynge on the crosse, they wyll drede, & so shall they forsake this cite, and we shall be in rest & ease. Than sayd ye Emperour, it pleaseth me well that he be hanged in sauynge of you. Than toke they ye lyon & henge hym on the crosse fast nayled. And other lyons & venymous dragons came towarde the cyte & sawe the lyon thus hangynge, they fledde awaye for drede, and durst cōme no nere.

¶Thys emperour betokeneth the father of heuen, the cyte well walled wt ye bell in ye myddes betokeneth the soule walled aboute wt vertues. The bell betokeneth a clene conscyence that warneth a man to batayle whan he sholde fyght agaynst the deuyll, that he myght arme hymselfe before wt vertues. The virgyn yt sholde rynge [Page] thys bell is reason, the whyche as a virgyn declyneth all to ryghtfull clennes. The venymous dragon yt bea­reth fyre betoken [...]th the flesshe of man; whych beareth the fyre of glotony & lechery, yt whych brent. Adam our fore father whan he ete of the forboden apple. The ve­nymous be [...]stes that poysoned the men betokeneth the fendes of hell▪ whych for ye moost parte hath destroyed mankynde. The states of the cite betoken patriarkes & prophetes, whyche besought god of good coū [...]eyle & re­medy that mankynde myght be [...], & anone it was coūseyled for the best [...], that a lyon (yt is Chryst) sholde be hanged vpon a crosse accordynge to scripture saying thus. Expedi [...] vnus mori [...]tur homo ꝓ populo et nongens peroat. &c. That is to saye. It behoueth a man to dye for the people, leest all folkes be perysshed. Than toke, they Chryst & henge hym on ye crosse, for the whych the deuyll dredeth christen people, and dare not ny [...]h them. And thus, by the grace of god chrysten men shall cōme to euerlastyng blysse. Unto ye whych brynge vs he, that for vs dyed on the rode tree. Amen.

IN Rome dwelled somtyme a myghty Emperoure and a mercyfull named Menalay, whych ordeyned suche a lawe, that what mysdoer w [...]re taken & put in pryson; yf he myght escape & cōme to the emperours palays, he shold be there safe for all maner felony, treason, or ony other trespace that he had done in hys lyfe. It was not longe after but it befell yt a knyght trespa­ced, wherfore he was takē & put in a stronge & a darke pryson, where he lay longe tyme, & had no l [...]ght but at a lyttell wyndowe, where as skante lyght shone in that lyghtned hym to eate the symple meate yt was brought [Page] hym by hys keper, wherfore he mourned greatly and made great sorowe that he was thus fast shette vp frō the syght of men. Neuerthelesse whan the keper was gone there came dayly a nightyngale in at yt wyndowe & sange full swetely, of whose songe this woful knyght oft tyme was fedde with ioye, & whā thys byrde seased of her songe than wold she flye in to ye knyghtes bosom and there thys knyght fedde her many a day of the vy­tayle that god sente hym. It befell after on a day that this knight was greatly desolate of cōforte. Neuerthelesse the byrde sate in his bosom eatyng nuttes, & thus he sayd vnto the byrde. O good byrde I haue susteyned the many a day, what wylte thou gyue me now in my desolacyon to cōforte me, remembre the well that ye art the creature of god, and I also, therfore helpe me now in my great nede. Whan the byrde herde this, she flewe forth from hys bosom, & taryed from hym thre dayes. But the thyrde day she came agayne, & brought in her mouth a precyous stode, & layde it in the knyghtes bo­some. And whan she had so done, she toke her flyght & flewe from hym agayne. The knyght meruayled of ye stone & of the byrde, & therwyth he toke the stone in his hande & touched his gyues & fetters therwith, & anone fell of all his fetters & chaynes wherwt he was boūde. And than he arose & touched the dores of the pryson, & anone they opened, & so he escaped & ranne fast to ye Emperours palays. Whan the keper of ye pryson perceyued thys, he blewe a horne thryse & reysed vp al the folke of the cyte, & ledde them forth cryenge wyth an hye voyce Lothe thefe is gone, folowe we hym al. And with that he ranne before all his felowes towarde the knyght, & whā he came nygh hym, ye knyght be [...] his bowe & dyd [Page] shote an arowe, wherwt he smote the keper in ye lunges and slewe hym, & than he ranne to ye palays, where as he founde socour accordynge to the lawe.

¶ Thys Emperour betokeneth our lorde Iesu Chryst whyche ordeyned a lawe that what mysdoer, that is to saye, what synner myght escape & cōme to the palays of holy chyrche thrugh confessyon and cōtricyon sholde fynde there ꝑpetuall socour & helpe. Thys knyght betokeneth euery synner that is taken in deedly synne, and iudged vnto the pryson of hell by ye lawe of god, & he is straytly bounde wt chaynes of synne, wherfore he we­peth & mourueth dayly for hys trespace. The keper of thys pryson betokeneth the deuyll that kepeth suche a man harde boūde in synne, & serueth hym wt rychesse & delytes of thys worlde, that he sholde not escape from hym. The byrde that syngeth so swetely betokeneth the voyce of heuen that sayth to the synner. Reuertere re­uertere sunamitis. Turne agayne now turne agayne thou prysoner, that is to say, turne agayne thou synner and I shall receyue the [...]o grace. For whan mankynde was in limbo patrū whyche was a certayne pryson of hell before the cōmynge of Chryst. Than came a byrde that is to saye, the godhede bearyng wyth hym a stone that betokeneth our lorde Iesu Chryst, accordynge to holy scrypture, saying. Ego sū lapis. &c. I am a stone. The soule of Chryst descēded wt the godhede & brought wyth hym all mankynde out of the pryson of hell, ther­fore yf ony of vs be in the pryson of deedly synne, touche we our synnes wyth the stone, that is to saye, wyth the vertue of our lorde Iesu Chryst by confessyon & contri­cyon, & than wtouten doubte the chaynes of our synnes wyth his stone shall be broken & fall from vs, & ye dores [Page] of heuenly grace shall be opened, and we shall optayne helpe & socour in the palays of ye chyrche. And yf the ke­per of ye pryson, that is to saye, the deuyll whyche is the blower of the horne of pryde, lechery, or couetyse, stere vp ony synners, than turne we agayne towarde hym manly & shote at him ye arowe of penaūce, & withouten doubte he shall flee from vs. And thā by ye grace of god we may optayne the palays of heuen. Unto ye whyche brynge vs our lorde Iesu Chryst. Amen.

THere dwelled somtyme in Rome a myghty Emperour & a mercyful named Ebolydes. It fortuned on a daye that thys Emperour walked vnto the forest, where as he mette sodeynly wyth a poore man, & anone whan thys Emperour sawe hym, he was great­ly moued wyth mercy & sayde. Good frende whens art thou. My souerayn lorde quod he, I am yours & borne in your lande, & now I am in great pouerte and nede. And than sayd the Emperour, yf I knewe that ye were true in euery thynge, I sholde promote the to great ry­ches, therfore tell me what is thy name. My lord ꝙ he I am called Lentyculus, & I behote you my trouth & true seruyce, & yf I do other wyse I submyt me to you and to all maner of payne that ye can put me to. Whan the Emperour herde thys, he ꝓmoted hym anone vnto great rychesse, & anone after yt he made hym a knyght & stewarde of hys lande. And whan he was thus exal­ted to rychesse & honour, he waxed so proude yt he despy­sed them that were worthyer than he, & despysed suche as were symple & poore. It was not longe after that it befell that thys stewarde rode by a forest, where as he mette wyth the foster, & charged hym yt he sholde make [Page] an hondreth pyttes in the groūde, and couer them ouer wyth grene grasse & smal bowes, that yf wylde beestes fortuned to go in the forell that waye, that they sholde than fall in, and so shold they be taken & brought to the Emperour. The foster answered & sayd, syr as ye haue sayd it shall be done. Not longe after it fortuned yt this stewarde rode to thys forest agayne to se yf these pyt [...]es were made, & as he rode he be thought hym how great a man & how myghty he was made & how all thynge in ye Empyre obeyed to hym and was redy at his wyll. And as he rode thus thynkynge, he sayd to hymselfe. There is no [...] saue onely I, and wyth that he smote hys horse wyth his spur [...]es, & sodeynly he fell in to one of ye depe pyttes that he had ordeyned before hymselfe for the wylde beestes, and for ye great depnes therof he myght not aryse agayne by no maner of crafte, wher­fore he mourned greatly. And anone after hym came a hūgry lyon and fell in to ye same pyt, & after the lyon an ape, and after ye ape a serpent. And whan the stewarde was thus walled wt these thre beestes, he was greatly moued, and dred sore. There was that tyme dwellyng in the cyte a poore man named Guy, that had no good saue onely an asse, wherwt dayly he caryed styckes and fallen wode & suche as he coude gete in ye forest, & those he brought to ye market and solde thē & in this wyfe he susteyned hymselfe & hys wyfe as well as he myght. It fortuned that this poore Guy went to this forest as he was wont, and as he came by ye depe pyt he herde a man crye & saye. O dere frende what art yu, for goddes sake helpe me, & I shall quyte the so well that yu shalte euer after be the better. Whan thys poore Guy herde yt it was ye voyce of a man, he meruayled greatly, & stode [Page] styll on the pyttes brynke & sayd. Lo good frende I am cōme for yu hast called me. Than sayde the knyght, dere frende I am stewarde of all the Emperours landes, & thus by fortune I am fallen in to thys pyt, & here be wt me thre beestes, that is to say, a lyon, an ape, & an hor­ryble serpent, whych I drede moost of all, & I wote not of whych of them I shall be fyrst deuoured, therfore I praye the for goddes sake gete me a longe corde wher­wyth thou mayst drawe me out of this depe pyt, and I shall waraūt ye to make the ryche in all thynge for euer more hereafter, & but I haue ye rather helpe I shall be deuoured of these beestes. Than sayd this poore Guy, I may ful [...] yll entende to helpe ye, for I haue nothynge to lyue on but that I g [...]der wode, & cary it to ye market to sell, wherwyth I am susteyned, neuerthelesse I shal leue my labour & fulfyl thy wyl, & yf ye rewarde me not it shall be great hyndraunce to me & to my wyfe. Than the stewarde made a great othe and sayd that he wolde ꝓmote hym & al his to great rychesse. Than sayd Guy yf thou wylt fulfyll thy promesse I shall do yt ye byd me And with that went agayn to the cyte & brought with hym a longe rope & came to ye pyt & sayd. Syr stewarde lo I let downe a rope to the, bynde thyselfe aboute the myddle therwyth, that I may pull the vp. Than was the steward glad & sayd. Good frende let downe ye rope. And with yt he cast the ende of the rope downe into the pyt. And whan the lyon sawe that, he caught the rope & helde it fast, & Guy drewe ye lyon vp, wenynge to hym he had drawen vp the stewarde, & whan he had so done the lyon thanked hym in his maner & ranne to ye wode. The seconde tyme this Guy let downe the rope, the ape lepte to it & caught it fast, & whan he was drawen vp [Page] he thanked Guy as he coude & ranne to the wode. The thyrde tyme he let downe the rope & drewe vp ye serpent whyche thanked hym & went to ye wode. The stewarde cryed wyth an hye voyce. O dere frende now am I de­lyuered of thre venymous beestes, now let downe the corde to me, that I may cōme vp. And thys poore Guy let downe the rope, & the stewarde boūde hymselfe fast abouthe the myddle, & anone Guy drewe hym vp. And whan he was thus holpe he sayde to Guy. Cōme to me at thre of the clocke to the palays, & than I shal make the ryche for euer. Thys poore Guy reioyced therof, & went home wythout ony rewarde. Than hys wyfe de­maunded hym why he gadered no wode wherwt they myght lyue that day. Than tolde he her all the processe as it befell, how the stewarde fell in to ye pyt, & also the lyon, the ape, & the serpent, that he had made in ye sayd forest, & how he had holpen hym out wyth a corde & sa­ued hym from deuouryng of ye thre venymous beestes & how he sholde go to the stewarde & sethe hys rewarde on ye morowe. Whan hys wyfe herde this, she reioyced greatly and sayd. Yf it shall be so, good syr aryse to mo­rowe at a due houre & go to the palays & receyue your rewarde, that we may be conforted therby. So in the mornynge Guy arose & wente to ye palays & knocked at the gate. Than came the porter & asked the cause of his knockyng. I praye the quod this Guy go to ye stewarde and saye to hym that here abydeth a poore man at the gate that spake wyth hym yesterday in the forest. The porter went in & tolde the steward as ye poore man had sayd. Than sayd the stewarde, go thou agayne and tell hym that he lyeth, for yesterday spake I wyth no man in the forest, & charge hym that he go hys waye, & that [Page] I se hym there neuer after. The porter went forth and tolde poore Guy how the steward had sayd, & charged hym to go his waye. Than was this Guy sorowfull & wente home, & whan he came home he tolde hys wyfe how the stewarde answered hym. Hys wyfe conforted hym in al that she myght & sayde. Syr go ye agayne & proue hym thryse. Than on ye morow this Guy arose & went to the palays agayne, praying the porter ones to do hys erande agayn to the stewarde. Than the porter answered & sayd, gladly I wyl do thyne erande, but I drede me sore that it shall be thy hurte. And than went he in & tolde ye stewarde of ye cōmynge of thys poore mā Whan ye stewarde herde that, he went out & all to bette thys sely Guy, & lefte hym in peryll of deth. Whan hys wyfe herde thys, she came wt her asse & ledde hym home as she myght, & all yt she had she spente vpon surgyens & phisyciens to helpe hym. And whan he was perfytly hole, he went to the forest as he was wont for to gader styckes & small wode for hys lyuynge. And as he went aboute in that forest he sawe a stronge lyon, dryuynge before hym asses that were charged wt chaffer and marchaūdyse. Thys lyon droue forth the asses before Guy whyche dred sore the lyon leest he wold haue deuoured hym, neuerthelesse whan he behelde the lyon better, he knewe well that he was the same lyon yt de drewe out of the pyt. This lyon lefte not Guy tyll all ye asses with the marchaūdyse were entred in to hys hous, and than the lyon dyd hym obeysaunce & ranne to ye wode. Thys Guy obteyned these fardels and founde great rychesse therin, wherfore he made to ꝓclayme in dyuerse chyr­ches yf ony man had lost suche goodes, but there was none that chalenged them. And whan Guy sawe thys [Page] he toke the goodes, bought therwyth hous & lande, & so was made ryche. Neuertheles [...]e he haūted the forest as he dyd before. And after yt as he walked in the forest to gader wode he espyed the ape in the top of a tree, the whyche brake bowes besyly with her tethe & clawes▪ & threwe them downe, so that in shorte tyme Guy had laden hys asse. And whan the ape had so done, she wente her waye, & Guy went home. And on the morowe Guy went to the forest agayne, & as he sate byndyng hys fagottes, he sawe the serpent that he drewe out of the pyt cōme towarde hym, bearyng in hys mouth a precyous stone of the colours, the whych stone yt serpent let fall at Guyes sete, an [...]ad so done, she kyssed hys fete & wente her [...] Guy toke vp the stone, & meruayled greatly [...] vertue it myght be, wher­fore he arose [...] went to a seller of precyous stones named Peter, & sayd. [...] brother I praye [...]he tell me the vertue of this p [...]ecyous stone, & I shal rewarde the well for thy labour. Whā thys stone seller had well be­holden and vnderstode the nature of this stone, he sayd Good frende yf the ly [...] [...]o s [...]ll thy stone, I shal gyue the an. C. marke. Than sayd Guy, I wyll not sell my stone tyll thou tell me truly the vertu [...] [...]erof. Than sayd the marchaunt, wythout doubte this none hath thre ver­tues, the fyrst vertue is thys, that who so beareth thys stone vpon hym, shal haue ioye wyth [...]u [...] sorowe, the se­conde vertue is, that he shall haue plente wtout defante the thyrde vertue is, he shall haue lyght wtout darknes and it hath also another vertue, that no man may sel it but for as moche as it is worth & yf he do the contrary the stone returneth agayn to ye fyrst owner. Whan Guy herde thys, he was ryght ioyful, & sayd to hymselfe, in [Page] a good houre I drewe these beestes out of the pyt. Not longe after it befell that this Guy by the vertue of this stone was made passyng ryche, & bought great posses­syons & lyuelode, wherfore wtin a whyle he was made knyght. It was not longe after ye emperour had knowlege how syr Guy had a stone of suche vertue, wherfore he sent for syr Guy, cōmaundyng hym to cōme to hym in all haste, & so he dyd. And whan syr Guy was cōme to ye emperour, the Emperour sayd to hym. My frende I haue herde say that somtyme thou were in great po­uerte, & now art made ryche by ye vertue of a lytel stone therfore I praye the that thou sell me that stone. Syr Guy answered and sayde, yt may I not do, for so longe as I haue that stone I am sure of thre thynges, that is to saye, of ioye without sorowe, plente wtout defaute, & lyght wtout derknes. Whan the Emperour herde thys he had greater desyre to bye that stone than he had be­fore, & sayd. Syr Guy of two thynges thou must chose one, that is, chose whether thou wylt forsake thys em­pyre and all thy kynrede, or else sell me thy stone. Than sayd syr Guy. My lorde yf it must nedes be thus, be it at your wyll, neuerthelesse I shall tell you the peryll of thys stone, yf ye paye not therfore as it is worth, wtout doubte it wyll cōme to me agayn. Than sayd ye Empe­rour, sothly I shall gyue the suffycyent, for thou shalte receyue of me therfore a thousande pounde, & so it was done, syr Guy receyued the money & wente home. On ye morowe erly he opened his cofer and foūde the stone, & than he tolde to the lady hys wyfe how he had solde the stone to ye Emperour and delyuered it, & how he foūde it agayn in hys cofer. Than sayd his wyfe, good syr in all ye haste ye can go agayne to the Emperour and take [Page] hym the stone, for drede that he be not wroth, & thrugh malyce put some fraude in vs. Than wente forth syr Guy agayne to the Emperour & sayd to hym. My lord yesterday I solde you a stone, yt whyche yf it please you I wolde fayne se. The Emperour went for the stone to hys treasour & foūde it not, wherfore he was ryght so­rowfull, & came agayn & tolde syr Guy how it was lost Than sayd syr Guy. My lord greue you not, for I told you yesterday that I myght not sell it but yf I had the value therof, & yesterday I receyued a thousand poūde of you therfore, & this day I foūde it in mi cofer agayn and therfore yf I had not brought you the stone agayn perauenture ye wold haue shewed me your heuy lord­shyp, & wyth that he shewed forth the stone, wherat the Emperour meruayled greatly & sayd. Syr Guy by thy trouth that thou owest to me tell me how thou camest by thys stone. Than sayd syr Guy. By my fayth that I owe to you I shall tell you ye very trouth as touchynge thys stone. Your steward that is ꝓmoted vp of nought let make many depe pyttes in your forest, & it fortuned not longe after that he fell downe in to one of them hym selfe, & myght not ryse agayne for depnesse of the pyt, it fortuned also the same daye that a lyon, an ape & a ser­pent fell in to the pyt wt hym, that tyme was I a poore man, & as I walked in to the forest wyth myne asse for to gather wode he cryed to me that I sholde helpe hym out of the pyt, & saue hym fro deth, for there were in the pyt wyth hym thre venymous beestes, that is to saye, a lyon, an ape, & a foule serpent, & than he behyght me by mouth to ꝓmote me & all my kynne to great rychesse And whan I herde that, I was glad, and let downe a corde, supposyng to haue drawen vp hym, & than I ha­led [Page] v [...] a lyon, & after that an ape, & than a serpent, and at the last your stewarde. The lyon gaue me ten asses charged wt marchaundyse, the ape gaue me as moche wode as myne asse myght beare, & the serpent gaue me this stone yt I haue solde you, but your stewarde bette me & woūded me so sore for my good dede, that I was borne home vpon myne asse. Whan ye Emperour herde thys, hys herte was greatly moued agaynst ye steward wherfore he examyned hym of that false dede, but he was dombe & wolde not speke, for so moche yt he coulde not deny his falshede. Than sayd ye Emperour. O thou wretched creature, vnreasonable beestes, as the lyon, the ape, & the serpent rewarded hym for hys good dede and thou that art a reasonable man hast almost beaten hym to deth that saued the and toke the out of the pyt, therfore for thy falshede & wyckednes I iudge the to be hanged this daye on the galowes, and all thy goodes & landes I graunte to syr Guy, & also I ordeyne that syr Guy shall occupye thy place and be stewarde, and so it was done. Whan syr Guy was thus rewarded by the Emperoure and made stewarde, he was well beloued of euery man as longe as he lyued, and at ye last ended hys lyfe wyth honour and good peace.

¶Thys emperour betokeneth the father of heuen, the poore man betokeneth euery mā that cōmeth in to this worlde feble & naked from his mothers bely, & at ye last is promoted to great rychesse & worldly honour, as the psalmyst sayth. Destercore erigens pauperē. God lyf­teth vp the poore man out of fylthe, & many suche men knowe neyther god ne thēselfe, but cause to make depe pyttes, that is to saye, vnkyndnes and malyce they or­deyne agaynst symple men, in the whyche pyt ye deuyll [Page] causeth them ofte to fall, accordyng to a texte in Ecclesiastico. Houeā qui alteri facit, ipse incidit in eā. That is to saye, who maketh a pyt to an other man, oft tyme he falleth therin hymselfe, whyche texte was well pro­ued by Mardocheus. Thys Guy that went dayly to ye forest wt his asse to gader wode betokeneth euery ryght full man, dredyng god in ye forest of this worlde, yt wode that he gadereth betokeneth his mery [...]oryous werkes that he caryeth on hys asse, whyche betokeneth ye body of man, wherwith his soule may ioye & lyue in ye tabernacle of heuen. And as the steward, the lyon, the ape & the serpent that fell in to the pyt, ryght so whan a syn­full man falleth in ye pyt of synne. The lyō of ye kynrede of Iude (that is Iesu Chryst) descendeth with hym as oftentymes as the synner hath wyll to cōme to grace. Therfore sayth the psalmyst. Cum ipso sum in tribu­latione. That is ta saye, I am with hym in tribulaciō. Thys Guy draweth vp ye lyon, yt is to say Iesu Chryst out of the pyt by the rope of vertues. He drewe vp ye ape also, that is to say contrary wyll to reason, yt he myght obey to reason. For of all maner beestes the ape is most lyke to man, ryght so amonge all the strengthes of the soule wyll ought to be lykened vnto reason, and to obey reason. He drewe vp also a serpēt, by the whych is vn­derstande penaūce for two causes. For the serpent bea­reth in hys mouth venym, and his tayle is a medicyne Ryght so penaunce beareth at the begynnynge bytter­nes to the doer, neuerthelesse it is full swete & medicy­nable vnto the soule at ye ende, & therfore euery ryght­wyse man sholde drawe to hym the serpent of penaūce. And at the last he drewe vp the steward from the pyt of synne, accordynge to Chrystes saying. I am not cōme [Page] onely to call ryghtwyse men, but synners to penaunce. Also it is wryten that Seneca whyche taught an Em­perour many lores & vertues of trewth, and at the last lyke thys stewarde caused to slee his mayster Seneca. Also Chryst gaue power to Iudas to werke myracles, lyke as he dyd to other dyscyples, neuerthelesse he be­trayed hym at the last. Ryght so now a dayes be many chyldren of Belial whych delyte more to do harme thā good, in especyall to them yt wolde [...]eche them perfytly bothe for the soule & for the body. The lyon gaue to the ryghtwyse man .x. asses charged with marchaundyse, that is to saye, our lorde Iesu Chryst gyueth to euery ryghtwyse man .x. cōmaūdementes charged wyth ver­tues, by the whyche he groweth to ye rychesse of heuen. The ape also gadereth hym wode as ofte as the ryght­full mā werketh wylfully ye dedes of charite. For wode is profytable for two thynges, that is to saye, to make fyre & to buylde houses. Ryght so [...]fy [...] charite heateth the aungell, accordyng to scrypture, saying. Quia magis gaudiū est angelis. &c. That is to say. More ioye is to aungels for one synner doynge penaūce. &c. Charite also reyseth the hous of heuen agaynst the cōmynge of the soule. The serpent also gaue hym a stone of thre dy­uerse colours, the whyche he betokeneth our lorde Iesu Chryst, whome we seke by penaunce. Therfore sayth saynt Ierome in the seconde table thus. [...]ost naufra­gi [...] est premiā. That is to saye. We sholde do penaunce after our trespace. That Chryst is a stone, may be pro­ued by hymselfe, saying thus. Ego sum lapis viuus. That is to saye, I am a lyuyng stone. Chryst hath thre colours, whyche betokeneth yt myght of the father, the wysdome of the sone, & the mekenes of the holy goost. [Page] Therfore who that may gete thys stone, shall haue the empyre of heuen, & ioye without sorowe, & plente wtout ony defaute, & lyght wythout darknes. Unto whyche lyght brynge vs our lorde Iesu Chryst that dyed for you and me and all mankynde. Amen.

IN Rome dwelled somtyme a myghty Emperour named Anselme, whych had wedded ye kynges dough­ter of Iherusalem, a fayre lady and a gracyous in the syght of euery man, but she was longe tyme wyth the Emperour or she wa [...] cōceyued wyth chylde, wher­fore the nobles of ye Empyre were ryght sorowfull by­cause theyr lorde had none heyre of hys body begoten. Tyll at the last it befel that this Anselme walked after supper in an euenynge in hys gardeyn, and bethought hymselfe how he had none heyre, and how the kynge of Ampluy warred on hym cōtynually for so moche as he had no sone to make defence in hys absence, wherfore he was ryght sorowfull, & wente to hys chambre and slepte. And at the last hym thought he sawe a vysyon in hys slepe, that ye mornynge was more clerer thā it was wont to be, & that the mone was moche more paler on that one syde than on that other. And after he sawe a byrde of two colours, & by that byrde stode two beestes whych fedde that lytel byrde wyth theyr heate, & after that came many moo beestes and bowed theyr heedes towarde the byrde & went theyr waye. And than came there dyuerse byrdes that songe so swetely & so meryly that the Emperour awaked. In ye mornynge erly this Anselme remēbred his visyon & wondred moche what it myght sygnyfye, wherfore he called to hym hys phy­losophers & also the states of hys Empyre, & tolde thē [Page] hys dreme, chargyng them to tell hym the sygnyfyenge therof vpon payne of deth, & yf they tolde hym the true interpretacyon therof, he behyght them great rewarde Than sayd they. Dere lorde tell vs your dreme, and we shall declare vnto you what it betokeneth. Thā ye Em­perour tolde them frō the begynnynge to the endynge as it is afore sayd. Whan the phylosophers herde thys wyth a glad chere they answered & sayd. Lord ye dreme that ye sawe betokeneth good, for the Empyre shall be more clerer than it is. The mone that is more pale on ye one syde than on ye other betokeneth the Empresse, that hath lost parte of her colour thrugh the cōcepcyon of a sone yt she hath conceyued. The lytell byrde betokeneth the sone that she shal beare. The two beestes that fedde thys byrde betokeneth all the wyse men & ryche men of this Empyre shall obey thy sone. These other beestes yt bowed theyr heedes to the byrde betokeneth that many other nacyōs shall do hym homage. The byrde ye songe so swetely to thys lytell byrde betokeneth ye Romayns whyche shall reioyce and synge bycause of this byrthe. Lo this is ye very interpretacyon of your dreme. Whan the Emperour herde this, he was right ioyfull. Soone after that the Empresse trauayled & was delyuered of a fayre sone, in whose birth was great ioye made wtout ende. Whan ye kyng of Ampluy herde thys, he thought in hymselfe thus. Lo I haue warred agaynst the Em­perour all the dayes of my lyfe, and now he hath a sone the whych wyll reuenge all thre wronges that I haue done & wrought agaynst his father whan he cōmeth to full age, therfore it is better that I sende to the Emperour and beseche hym of trewse & peace, that hys sone may haue nothynge agaynst me whan he commeth to [Page] manhode. Whā he had thus sayd to hymselfe, he wrote vnto the Emperoure, besechynge hym to haue peace. Whan the Emperour sawe that the kynge of Ampluy wrote to hym more for drede than for loue, he wrote a­gayne to hym, that yf he wolde fynde good & suffycient surety to kepe the peace, & bynde hymselfe all the days of hys lyfe to do hym seruyce & homage, & to gyue hym yerely a certayne trybute, he wolde receyue hym to the peace. Whan the kynge had redde the tenour of ye Em­perours lettres, he called his counseyle, praying thē to gyue hym coūseyle how he myght best do as touchyng thys mater. Than sayd they. It is good that ye obey ye Emperours wyll & cōmaundement in all thynges. For in the fyrst he desyreth of you surety for the peace, & as to thys we answere thus. Ye haue but a doughter, and the Emperoure but a sone, wherfore let a maryage be made bytwene them, & yt may be a perpetuall sykernes of ye peace. And also he asketh homage & rentes whych is good to fulfyll. And than the kynge sente hys messengers to the Emperour, sayinge that he wyll fulfyll his entēt in al thynge, yf it myght please his hyghnes that his sone & the kynges doughter myght be wedded togyder. All thys pleased well the Emperour, neuerthelesse he sente agayne, that yf his doughter were a clene vyr­gyn from her byrth vnto that daye, he wolde consent to that maryage. Than was the kyng ryght glad, for his doughter was a clene vyrgyn. Therfore whā ye lettres of couenauntes & sykernes were sealed, the kynge dyd do make araye a fayre shyppe, wherin he myght sende hys doughter with many noble knyghtes, ladyes and great rychesse vnto the Emperour for to haue hys sone in maryage. And whan they were saylynge in the see [Page] towarde Rome, a storme arose so feruētly & so horrybly that the shyppe al to brast agaynst a rocke of stone, and they were all drowned saue onely ye yonge lady, whych set her hope & her herte so greatly on god, that she was saued. And aboute thre of the clocke the tempest seaced, and the lady droue forth ouer the wawes in that brokē shyppe whyche was cast vp agayn, but an huge whale folowed after, redy to deuoure bothe the shyppe & her, wherfore thys fayre yonge lady whan nyght came she smote fyre wyth a stone, wherwt the shyppe was great­ly lyghtned, & than ye wale durst not auēture towarde the shyppe for drede of the lyght. At the cocke crowynge thys yonge lady was so wery of the great tempest and trouble of the see that she slepte, & wythin a lytel whyle the fyre was out, & than came ye whale & deuoured her And whan she wakened and vnderstode her selfe in the whales bely she smote fyre, & wythin a lytell whyle she wounded the whale wyth a knyfe in many places, and whan ye whale felte hymselfe wounded, accordynge to hys nature began to swymme to lāde. There was that tyme dwellyng in that coūtree an erle that was a noble man named Pyrrys, the whych bycause of recreacyon walked by the see strande, & as he was walkyng thus he sawe where as the whale was cōmynge towarde ye lande, wherfore he returned home agayne, & gadered many stronge men & women & came thyder agayne, & fought wyth thys whale, & wounded hym sore, and as they smote the mayden that was in hys bely cryed wt a hye voyce & sayd. O gentyll syrs haue mercy & compas­syō on me, for I am a kynges doughter & a true virgyn from the houre of my byrth vnto thys daye. Whan the erle herd thys he wondred greatly, & opened the syde of [Page] the whale & founde the yonge lady, & toke her out. And whan she was thus delyuered, she tolde hym forthwt by ordre whose doughter she was, & how she had lost all her goodes in the see, & how she sholde haue ben maryed vnto the Emperours sone. And whan ye erle herde thys he was ryght glad, wherfore he conforted her the more, & kepte her styll wyth hym tyll she was well re­freshed. And in the meane tyme he sente messengers to the Emperoure, lettynge hym wyte how thys kynges doughter was saued. Than was the Emperour ryght glad of her saluacyon & cōmyng, & had great cōpassyon on her, saying. A good mayde for ye loue of mi sone thou hast suffred moche woo, neuerthelesse yf thou be wor­thy to be hys wyfe▪ soone shall I preue. And whan he had thus sayd, he let brynge forth thre vessels, the fyrst was made of pure golde well couched wyth precyous stones wythout & wtin, full of deed mennes bones, and thervpon was wryten thys posey. Who so choseth me shall fynde that he deserueth. The seconde vessell was made of fyne syluer, fylled wyth erth & wormds, and ye superscripcyon was thus. Who so choseth me, shall fynde that hys nature desyreth. The thyrde vessel was made of lede, full wythin of precyous stones, and ther­vpon was wryten thys posey. Who so choseth me, shall fynde that god hath disposed for hym. These thre ves­sels the Emperour shewed to the mayden and sayd. Lo here doughter, these be noble vessels, yf thou cose one of these wherin is profyte to the & to other, than shalte thou haue my sone. And yf thou chose that wherin is no profyte to the nor to none other, sothly thou shalt not wedde hym. Whan the mayden sawe thys, she lyfte vp her handes to god & sayd. Thou lorde whych knowest [Page] all thynges, graunte me grace thys houre so to chose that I may receyue the Emperours sone. And wt that she behelde the fyrst vessel of golde whyche was forged and grauen royally, and redde thys scrypture. Who so choseth me▪ &c. sayinge thus. Though thys vessel be full precyous and made of pure golde, neuerthelesse I knowe not what is wythin, therfore my dere lorde this vessell wyll I not chose. And than behelde she the se­conde vessell that was of clere syluer, & redde the super­scrypcyon, who so choseth me, shall fynde that hys na­ture desyreth. Thynkynge thus wythin her selfe, yf I chose thys vessell, what is wythin I knowe not, but well I wote there shall I fynde that nature desyreth, and my nature desyreth the lust of the flesshe, and ther­fore thys vessell wyll I not chose. Whan she had seen those two vessels & gyuen an answere as touchynge to them, she behelde the thyrde vessell of lede, & redde the suꝑscripcyon, who so choseth me, shall fynde that god hath disposed. Thynkyng within her selfe, thys vessell is not passyng ryche ne precyous without forth, neuer­theless ye suꝑscrypcyon sayth, who so choseth me, shall fynde ye god hath dysposed, & without doubte god neuer disposed ony harme, therfore as now I wyll chose this vessell. Whā the Emperour sawe thys he sayd. O good mayden open thy vessell, for it is ful of precyous stones and se yf yt hast well chosen or no. And whā thys yonge lady had opened it, she foūde it full of golde & precyous stones, lyke as the Emperour had tolde her afore. And than sayd the emperour. O my dere doughter bycause thou hast wysely chosen, therfore shalt thou wedde my sone. And whan he had so sayd, he ordeyned amaryage and wedded them worthyly togyder wyth moche ioye [Page] and honour, & so contynued to theyr lynes ende.

¶ Thys Emperour betokeneth the father o [...] heuen the whyche was longe tyme wythout a [...], wherfore many men were perysshed and wente to h [...]l. The Empresse conceyued whan the aungell Gabryel [...] sayd. Lo thou shalte conceyue & beare a chylde. And than the fyrmamēt began to clere whan this lytell chylde lyghtned ye worlde wyth his byrth. The mone than began to wexe pale whan the face of ye vyrgyn Mary was ouer shadowed by vertue of the grace of the holy goost, & not onely her face was thus shadowed, but also her body for she was great wt chylde an other woman, wher­fore Ioseph wold haue forsaken her pryuely and gone away. The lyttell byrde that came from the one syde of the mone betokeneth our lorde Iesu Chryst, whych at mydnyght was borne of our lady, wrapped in clothes and layde in an oxe stall. The two beestes betokeneth ye ore & the asse that Ioseph brought wyth hym▪ whyche honoured hym in hys byrthe. These other beestes that came from farre betokeneth the herdes in the felde, to whome the aūgell sayd thus. Ecce nuncio vobis gan­diū magnū. Lo I shewe to you great ioye. The byrdes that songe so swetely betokeneth the aungels of heuen whyche songe at his byrth thys mery songe. Gloria in excelsis. Ioye to god aboue, and peace to men in erth. The kynge of Ampluy whyche helde warre agaynst ye Emperour betokeneth al mankynde, that was contra­ry to god as longe as he was in the deuyls power. But anone whā our lord Iesu Chryst was borne he bowed hymselfe to god, & besought hym of peace whan he re­ceyued hys baptym, for at our baptysyng we behote [...]o drawe onely to god, & forsakr ye deuyl & all his pompes [Page] This kynge gaue hys doughter in maryage to ye Em­perours sone. Ryght so eche of vs ought to gyue hys soule in maryage to goddes sone, for he is euer redy to receyue our soule to his spoule, accordynge to scripture saying. [...]sponsabo ipsam mihi. I shall spouse her to me. But or the soule may cōme to ye palays of heuen her behoueth to sayle by ye see of this worlde in ye shyppe of good lyfe, but oftentymes there aryseth a tempest in the see, that is to saye, the trouble of thys worlde, the temptacyon of the flesshe, & the suggestyon of the deuyl aryseth sodaynly & drowneth the vertues that ye soule receyueth at the font stone, neuerthelesse yet falleth she not out of ye shyppe of charite, but kepeth her selfe sure­ly therin by fayth & hope. For as ye apostle sayth. Spe salui facti sumꝰ. By hope we be saued. For it is impossyble to be saued wout hope or fayth. The great whale that folowed the mayden betokeneth ye deuyll, whyche by nyght and by daye lyeth in a wayte to ouercōme the soule by synne, therfore do we as dyd ye mayden, smyte we fyre of charite & loue out of the stone, that is Chryst accordyng to hys saying. Ego sū lapis. I am a stone. And certaynly the deuyll shall haue no power to greue vs. Many men begyn well as dyd ye mayde, but at the last they be wery of theyr good werkes, & so slepe they in synne. And anone whan the deuyll perceyueth thys he deuoureth the synner in euyll thoughtes, delytes, consent & we [...]ke. Therfore yf ony of vs fele our selfe in suche lyfe vnder the power of the deuyll, let hym do as the mayde dyd, smyte the deuyll wyth the knyfe of byt­ter penaūce, than kyndell the fyre of charite, & without doubte he shal cast the on ye londe of good lyfe. The erle that came with hys seruauntes to slee the whale beto­keneth [Page] a discrete confessour, whych dwelleth besyde the see, that is to say, besyde the worlde, & not in ye worlde, that is to saye, not drawynge to worldly delectacyons, but euer is redy wyth good wordes of holy scripture to slee the denyl and destroye his power, we must all crye wyth an hye voyce as dyd thys mayden, knowlegynge our synnes, & than shall we be delyuered from ye deuyll and nourysshed wyth good werkes. The Emperoure sheweth thys mayden thre vessels, that is to saye, god putteth before man lyfe & deth, good & euyll, & whyche of these that he choseth he shall optayn. Therfore sayth Sampson. Ante hominē mors et vita. Deth and lyfe is set before man, chose whyche hym lyst. And yet man is vncerteyn whether he be worthy to chose lyfe vefore deth. By the fyrst vessell of golde full of deed mennes bones we shall vnderstande worldly men, as myghty men & ryche, whyche outwarde shyneth as golde in ry­chesse & pompes of thys worlde. Neuerthelesse wythin they be full of deed mennes bones, that is to saye, the werkes yt they haue wrought in thys worlde ben deed in ye syght of god thrugh deedly synne. Thefore yf ony man chose suche lyfe, he shall haue yt he deserueth, that is to saye, hell. And suche men be lyke toumbes that be whyte & royally paynted & arayed wythout, & couered wyth cloth of golde & sylke, but wtin there is nothynge but drye bones. By ye seconde vessel of syluer we ought to vnderstāde the Iustyces & wyse men of thys worlde whyche shyne in fayre speche, but wythin they be full of wormes and erth, that is to saye, theyr fayre speche shall auayle them no more at ye day of dome than wor­mes or erth, and perauenture lesse, for than shall they suffre euerlastynge payne, yf they dye in deedly synne. [Page] By the thyrde vessell of lede full of golde and pecyous stones we ought to vnderstande a symple lyfe & a poore whych the chosen men chose, that they may be wedded to our blessed lorde Iesu Chryst by humilite and obey­saunce, & suche men beare wyth them precyous stones that is to saye, merytoryous werkes pleasynge to god by the whyche at ye daye of dome they be wedded to our lorde Iesu Chryst & optayne ye herytage of heuen, vnto the whyche brynge vs he, yt dyed on ye rode tree. Amen.

SOmtyme in Rome dwelled a myghty Empe­rour named Calopodu, whyche wedded a fayre lady to hys wyfe, they were not longe togyder but that thys Empresse cōceyued and bare hym a sone a goodly chylde and a fayre, & whan he was of age he was set to scole. And whā he came to .xx. yere of age he desyred hys fathers herytage, sayinge. Dere father ye are an olde man, & may not gouerne your Empyre, therfore yf it please you to gyue it me, it shal be to your profyte. Than answered the Emperour and sayd. Dere sone I drede me sore that whan the Empyre is in thy power thou wylte not fulfyll my wyll ne my desyre. Than an­swered the empresse (for so moche as she loued her sone better than her husbande) and sayd. My lord quod she that may not be, for thou hast but one sone, & therfore as I byleue he wyll fulfyll thyne entent in all thynge, and thys Empyre may helpe hym well, & therfore it is best to graunte hym the Empyre. Than answered the Emperour and sayd. I wyll fyrst haue of hym a lettre obligatory, that whan so euer he dothe ony thynge a­gaynst my wyll, that than I shall depryue hym of the Empyre wythout ony withstandynge. The sone graū ­ted [Page] to thys, & let make the obligacyon, & sealed it. And whan this was done, thys yonge Emperour waxed so proude, that he dredde neyther god nor man, & dyd very moche harme. But euer his father suffred it pacyently for he wold not be corrected by no man. Tyll at the last there fell a great derthe in that Empyre, so that many men dyed for de [...]aute. Thys olde Emperoure was by hymselfe & began to haue nede, wherfore he wente to his sone for to haue some sustenaunce, whych his sone graūted & suffred for a whyle. But wythin shorte tyme hys father began to ware syeke, wherfore he called his sone, and prayed hym to gyue hym a draught of muste Hys sone answered & sayd. That wyll I not do, for my muste is not good for thy complec [...]yon. Than sayd the Emperour. I praye the sone gyue me a draught of thy wyne. His sone answered and sayd that he sholde haue none, for my wyne is not yet fyned, & yf I touche it, it wyll trouble, and therfore I wyll [...]t bro [...]he it tyll it be clere & fyned. Than sayd hys father. Gyue me some of thy seconde tonne. That wyl I not be quod [...]e, for that wyne is passynge myghty & stronge, & suche wyne is not good for a sycke man. Thā hys father prayed hym hertely for a draught of the fourth tonne. Than answered he & sayd, therof gete ye none, for it is feble & wtout ony sustentacyō, & suche wyne is not good for you, for it is not confortable. Than sayd hys father, new good sone gyue me than of the fyfth tonne. That wyll I not quod he, for that tonne is full of lyes & dregges, & suche is not for men nor vnnethes for hogges. Whan hys father sawe he myght gete nothyng of hym, & after was as hole as euer he was, than wente he to the kynge of Iherusalem end made hys complaynt of his sone, and [Page] sh [...]wed hym the lettre obligatory whyche his sone had ma [...], wherfore hys father myght put hym out of the Empyre wythout ony wythsayinge. Whan the kynge herde thys, he called ye Emperours sone to answere his father. And whan he came he coude not answere to his father wyth no reason, wherfore the kyng put hym frō hys Empyre, and seasoned hys father therin agayne, & so he contynued all the dayes of hys lyfe.

¶Thys Emperour betokeneth our lorde Iesu Chryst accordyng to the psalmi [...]t, saying. He is thy father that hath the in possessyon, & made the of nought. The lo [...]e betokeyeth man, to whome he gaue all the Empyre of thys worlde, accordynge to thys scripture. Celum celi dn̄o. &c. That is to say. Heuen he hath gyuen our lorde and erth to man. Mankynde made an obligacyō vnto our lorde Iesu Chryst whan he receyued hys chrysten­dome at ye font stone, where he behyght hym surety to serue hym truly, & to forsake ye deuyll & all his pompes and vaynglory. This Emperour began to waxe sycke on a daye, that is to say, our lorde Iesu Chryst is trou­bled as oftētymes as a chrystē man synneth & breketh hys cōmaundementes, wherfore he thursteth greatly the helpe of our soule, & than he asket a draught of the fyrst tonne, that is to say, he asketh of man the fyrh age of hys chyldhode to be spente in his seruyce. But a none the wycked man answereth & sayth. I may not do so, formy chyldhode is muste, that is to say, it is so tendre and so yonge that it may not attempte so soone to serue god, whyche is openly false, for the chylde of a daye is not without synne. For saynt Gregory sayth in his dialogues, that chyldren of .v. yeres of age put out fendes frō the bosomes of theyr fathers. And whan god seeth [Page] that he may not haue of ye muste of his chyldhode, than desyreth he the wyne of ye seconde tonne. Than answe­reth the wycked man & sayth, that hys wyne is not yet clere ynough, that is to saye, he is not apte to serue god And whan god may not haue of the second tonne, than asketh he of the thyrde tonne, that is to say, of ye thyrde tonne of hys youth. Than answereth the wycked man and sayth, that wyne is to stronge & myghty, and ther­fore hys youth ought to be spente aboute dedes of this worlde, and not in penaunce, whyche sholde make hym feble & weyke. Whan god seeth that he may not haue of thys tonne, than asketh he of the fourth tonne. And than answereth the wycked man & sayth, that an aged man is feble & may not fast, ne do no harde penaunce, & yf he dyd, he shold be cause of hys owne deth. And than asketh our lorde of the fyfth tonne, that is to say, of his olde age whan he dothe crepe & may not go wythout a staffe. But the wycked man excuseth hymselfe & sayth that thys wyne is to feble to gyue suche a feble man, for yf he sholde fast one day, it were tyme on ye morowe to make hys graue. And whan our lorde seeth that he may not haue of the fyfth tonne, than asketh he of the syxth tonne, that is to saye, whan a man is blynde and may not go to synne no more, yet desyreth he of suche a man drynke, that is to saye, the helpe of hys soule. But the wretched man lyenge in despeyre sayth. Alas alas to me bycause I serued not almyghty god my maker & redemer her in tyme past whyle I was in youth & in prosperyte, but now there is nothynge lefte but onely ye lyes & the dregges of all wretchednes, therfore what sholde it auayle me now to turne towarde god. But for suche men we sholde mourne. Neuerthelesse god is so [Page] mercyfull, that though he myght haue no seruyce of man in all hys tyme, yet is he cōtent to haue the lyes of hys tonne, that is to say, his good wyll, though he may not serue hym otherwyse, & so shal his good wyll stāde hym in stede of penaūce. For in what houre the synner doth hys penaunce, he shall be saued, as Ezechiel wyt­ne [...]seth. The apostle sayth. Alas alas & welawaye, for there be many that wyll gyue no wyne, ne none other thynge to hym, wherfore god shal complayne vnto the kyng of Iherusalem, that is to saye, to hys godhede at the day of dome, & than god & man shal gyue a sentence defensable agaynst suche men, saying. Esuriui et non dedistis. &c. I haue hungred, & ye gaue me no meate. I haue thursted, and ye gaue me no drynke. Loo thus shall he reherse to the the seuen werkes of mercy. And whan this is done than shall they be put to euerlastyng payne, and the ryghtfull men into euerlastynge blysse, where they shall haue ioye wythouten ende. Unto the whyche brynge vs our lorde Iesu Chryst. Amen.

IN Rome dwelled somtyme a myghty Emperoure named Antony, vnder whose reygne the rowers on the see had taken prysoner a myghty mannes sone of an other regyon, & brought hym to ye Emperours pry­son fast boūde. Whan this yonge man was thus in pryson, he wrote to hys father for hys raūsome, but his father wold no raūsome paye, ne none other thyng sende to conforte hym. This hearynge hys sone, wepte sore & myght not be cōforted for the vnkyndnes of his father Thys Emperour had a fayre doughter whych visyted euery daye this prisoner, & conforted hym as moche as she myght. To whome the prysoner answered & sayd. [Page] How shal I be mery, or how may I ioye, thus for to lye fast bounde in pryson frō the syght of man, & notwith­standyng thys, it greueth me more that my father wyll not paye my raunsom. Whan thys mayden herde thys she was moued wyth pyte and sayd. Dere frende I am sory for the, neuerthelesse yf thou wylte graūte me one thynge, I shall delyuer the frō this anguysshe & payne What thynge is that quod he. That thou wylte take me to thy wyfe. Than sayde the prysoner, I promyse you surely to fulfyll your entent and desyre, and for the more sykernes I plyght you my trouth. Whan he had so done, it was not longe after the damoysell delyuered hym out of pryson, and fledde awaye wyth hym home to hys fathers hous. Whan the father sawe hys sone & the mayden togyder, he asked ye cause why he brought her wyth hym. Than sayd hys sone. Syr thys da [...]oy­sell delyuered me out of pryson, and therfore she shal be my wyfe. Than sayd hys father. I wyl not cōsent that she shal be thy wyfe, for two reasonable causes whych I shall shewe the. The fyrst is this, it is not vnknowen to the that the Emperoure her father myght haue had for thy delyueraunce great good, and for as moche as she was vntrue to her owne father and true to the, it semeth well that thou sholde not trust longe in her, for who is false to her owne father, by reason shold be ve­ry false and vntrue to an other man. The second reason is thys. The cause why she delyuered the out of pryson it was neyther for pyte nor for loue, but for flesshly lust that she had to the. For at thy delyueraunce she made couenaunt wyth the to be thy wyfe, and had of the thy trouth, and therfore sone it is not reason that she shold be thy wyfe. The mayden answered to thys questyō & [Page] sayd. As for the fyrst reason which thou layest agaynst me that I sholde be vntrue to my father, that is false, for my father hath plente of rychesse, & thy sone is but poore, and therfore I holpe hym for pyte, and for none other cause, and neuerthelesse thou that art hys father wolde not paye hys raunsome that he myght be delyuered out of pryson. Loo for thys cause I haue delyue­red hym, therfore I am kynder to hym than thou that art hys owne father, & he is more beholden to me than to the. Unto that other reason, where as ye sayst that I delyuered hym bycause of flesshly lust. I answere and saye playnli that it is not trouth. For al maner of flesshly loue is cause of strengthe, or else of fayrnes, but thy sone is not stronge, for his enprysonment hath done a­waye hys strengthe. He is not fayre, for by the payne that he hath had in prison he is made lowe and vnlusty to the syght, and therfore pyte onely moued me to dely­uer hym, and not flesshly lust. Than sayd the sone vnto hys father. Dere father for as moche as I was in pe­ryll of deth, and wrote vnto the that thou woldest paye my raunsome that I myght be delyuered, and thou woldest not helpe me, but this damoysel of her gentyl­nes and for pyte hath saued me from deth, and delyue­red me out of pryson, and therfore sothly she shal be my wyfe, wherfore forth wyth he wedded her wyth great honour, and wyth her ended hys lyfe.

¶Dere frendes thys Emperour betokeneth the father of heuen. The yonge man whyche was taken wyth the rowers of ye see betokeneth all mankynde, whych was taken wyth the deuyll by the synne of our fore father Adam, and was cast in to the pryson of hell wyth great sorowe and payne. His father wolde not raūsome hym [Page] that is to saye, the worlde wolde do nothynge for hym. Thys fayre doughter betokeneth the godhede, whych came downe from heuen and toke manhode of the vyr­gyn Marye, and so made a goostly maryage bytwene hym and man. And vpon thys condicyon he delyuered mankynde out of thys pryson of hell whan he came fro heuen and forsoke the felawshyp of aūgels for to dwell wyth vs in thys wretched valey of teares. But the fa­ther that betokeneth ye worlde, grutched euer agaynst hym, and wolde not suffre that the soule of man sholde becōme the spouse of Iesu Chryst, but that she sholde alway serue hym and forsake our lord. Therfore yf we folowe the worlde & hys vanytees, sothly we shall fall in to the snare of the deuyll. Fro the whyche defende vs our blessed sauyour Iesu Chryst. Amen.

SOmtyme in Rome dwelled a noble Emperoure of great lyuelode named Alexander, the whyche aboue all vertues loued ye vertue of largesse, wherfore he ordeyned a lawe for great curiosite, that no man vn­der payne of deth sholde turne a playce in his dysshe at hys meate, but onely eate the whyte syde, and not the blacke, and yf ony man wolde attempte to do the con­trary, he sholde dye wythout remedy, but or he dyed he sholde aske thre bones of the emperour what hym lyst (excepte hys lyfe, whyche sholde be graunted hym. It befell after on a daye that there came an erle & his sone of a straunge countree to speke wyth the Emperoure. And whan thys erle was set to meate, he was serued wyth a playce, and he whyche was hungry and had an appetyte to his meate▪ after he had eaten ye whyte syde he turned the blacke syde & began to eate therof, wher­fore [Page] anone he was accused to the Emperoure, bycause he had offended agaynst the lawe. Than sayd the Em­peroure. Let hym dye accordynge to the lawe wythout one delaye. Whan the erles sone herde that hys father sholde dye, anone he set hym downe on bothe his knees tofore the Emperour and sayd. O my reuerende lorde for hys loue that henge vpon the crosse, let me dye for my father. Than sayd the Emperoure. It pleaseth me well that one dye for the offence of the lawe. Than sayd thys erles sone, syth it is so that I shall dye, I aske the benefytes of the lawe, that is to saye, that I may haue thre peticyons graunted or I dye. The Emperour an­swered and sayde. Aske what thou wylte there shall no man saye the nay. Than sayd thys yonge knyght. My lorde ye haue but one doughter, the whyche I desyre of your hyghnes that she may lye wyth me a nyght or I dye. The Emperour graūted, though it were agaynst his wyll in fulfyllynge of his lawe. Neuerthelesse this knyght defouled her not as that nyght. Therfore plea­sed he greatly the Emperour. The seconde peticyon is thys, I aske al thy treasour. And anone the Emperour graunted, bycause he shold not be called a breker of his owne lawe. And whan thys erles sone had receyued ye emperours treasour, he departed it bothe to poore and ryche, wherfore he optayned theyr good wylles. My thyrde peticyon is thys. I aske my lorde that all ye eyen may be put out incontynent whyche sawe my father eatynge of the blacke playce. Wherfore the Emperour let make an inquisicyon anone who it was that sawe the erle turne ye playce. And they that sawe hym turne the playce bethought them and sayd wythin themselfe Yf we knowlege that we sawe hym do thys trespace [Page] than shall our eyen be put out, and therfore it is better that he holde vs styll. And so there was none founde that wold accuse hym. Whan the erles sone sawe thys he sayd to the Emperour. My lorde quod he, ye se that there is no man accuseth my father, therfore gyue ye ryghtfull iudgemēt. Than sayd the Emperour. For as moche that no man wyl knowlege that they sawe hym turne the playce, therfore I wyll not yt thy father shall dye. Lo thus the sone saued his fathers lyfe, & after the decese of the Emperour wedded hys doughter.

¶Dere frendes this Emperour betokeneth the father of heuen, whyche ordeyned a lawe that no man sholde turne the blacke syde of the playce, that is to say, there sholde no man labour for rychesse or lordshyp by coue­tyse and falshede. The erle that came to the Emperour betokeneth Adam our for father, whyche came out of the lande of Damasse to the courte of paradyse and turned vp the blacke syde of the playce whan he ete of the apple, wherfore he sholde haue ben dampned to euer­lastynge deth. But hys sone that betoke [...]eth our lorde Iesu Chryst. For he toke flesshe of Adam, and profered hymselfe wylfully to dye for hym. The father of heuen graunted that he sholde go downe to dye for mankynde Neuerthelesse or he dyed he asked thre peticyons of his father of heuen. The fyrst was thys, yt he myght haue by hym hys doughter, whyche betokeneth the soule of man, and brynge her wyth hym into the bosome of he­uen, accordyng to ye wordes of Osee, saying. Despon­sabo eam michi. That is to saye, I shall wedde her to my wyfe. The second peticyon was thys. All the Em­perours treasour, whyche betokeneth the treasour of heuen, accordynge to thys scrypture. Sicut disposuit [Page] michi pater. That is to saye. Lyke as my father hath disposed for me, so I dyspose for you. The thyrde pety­cyon was thys, that al theyr eyen shold be put out, that is to saye, that the deuyll whyche dayly accuseth man that he myght be put fro the lyght of heuenly grace. And thus saued he mankynde and ledde hym vp wyth hym vnto the palays of heuen. Unto the whyche pa­lays brynge vs our lorde Iesus. Amen.

IN Rome dwelled somtyme a myghty Emperour named Lemycyus, whyche on a daye rode to a forest for to sporte hym, where as he mette sodeynly wyth a poore man, to whome he sayde thus. Frende whens cōmest thou, & who art thou. My lord quod he, I cōme fro the nexte cyte, and your man I am. Than sayd the Emperoure, thou semest poore, therfore yf thou wylte be good and true, I shall promote the to great rychesse and honour. Than answered this poore man and sayd My lorde I promyse you faythfully to be true to you as longe as I lyue. The Emperour anone made hym knyght, and gaue hym greate rychesse. Whan he was thus promoted, he waxed so proude that he thought hymselfe more able to be an Emperour than hys lord, wherfore he made suggestyon to dyuerse lordes of that Empyre that he myght vsurpe & take vpō hym thrugh strength of them to be Emperour. Whan ye Emperour herde thys, anone he exiled hym and al those that were cōsentyng to hym, so that they were put in great wret­chednes and sorowe, and than the Emperour ordeyned other men in theyr stedes, and gaue them all the posses­syons of the traytours. And whan the banysshed men harde that straūgers had taken possessyō of theyr lande [Page] and goodes, anone they conspeyred agaynst them, and thrugh treason prayed them to a feest. And they as in­nocentes thynkyng no treason, came at ye day assygned and were serued wyth fyue messes, whyche were poy­soded, wherfore as many as tasted of that viteyle dyed incontynent. Whan the Emperour herde thys, he was greatly moued, and called hys counseyle to wyte what was best to be done of thys treason and of theyr dethe. Than sayd the Emperours sone. My lorde I am your sone, & ye be my father, and therfore I shall gyue you good coūseyle and profytable to all men. Not far hens is a lyttell realme, wherin dwelleth a fayre mayde and a gracyous in the syght of euery man, whyche hath an orcharde wherin is a well, wherof ye water is of suche vertue, that yf it be cast vpon a deed man, anone he shall lyue agayne & recouer his lyfe. Therfore my lord I shall descende vnto that realme and seke that water by the whyche they that were slayne at the feest myght ryse agayne to lyfe. And whan ye Emperour herde thys he was greatly reioysed and sayd. Sone thy counseyle is good. And anone the Emperours sone went in to the sayd realme, and fell in conceyte wyth the mayden, in so moche that he entred in to the gardyne and assayed of the well. And whan he had so done, he made fyue depe trenches in the grounde, in the whyche the water ranne tyll it came where the deedmen lay buryed, and anone whan the water touched them, they arose from deth to lyfe. And than the Emperours sone ledde them vnto hys father. And whan the Emperour sawe thys he was ryght ioyfull, wherfore he crowned hys sone wyth a laureate crowne, in token of vyctory, and so he ended hys lyfe in rest and peace.

[Page]¶ Thys Emperoure betokeneth the father of heuen. The poore man that was promoted betokeneth Luci­fer, the whych was made of nought and exalted in the Empyre of heuen in so greate ioye and clerenes, that hym semed thrugh hys pryde that he wolde be lyke al­myghty god, and not onely lyke hym but more than al­myghty god, wherfore the father of heuen expled hym and all them that consented vnto hym to hell, & in theyr place man was exalted to great ioye and honour. The deuyll seynge thys, enuyed hym that man sholde cōme to suche glory and honour, and badde Adam & Eue to a feest whan they ete of the apple agaynst goddes com­maundement, and counseyled them thus, sayinge. In what houre ye eate of ye apple, ye shall be lyke goddes. And at thys cursed feest they were serued wyth fyue messes that were poysoned, that is to saye, theyr fyue wyttes were accorded in eatynge of the apple, wherof man was infecte and dyed. Thys hearynge the Emperours sone moued wyth mercy came downe frō heuen in to this worlde and acqueynted hym so wel wyth the blessed vyrgyn Mary, that he founde in her the well of manhode, & conioyned it to his godhede, accordynge to scrypture. I am ye well of lyfe, who drynketh of it shall not thurst. After that he let make fyue trenches in the grounde, that is to saye, fyue woundes in hys body, of the whyche ranne bothe blode and water, wherby all mankynde was reysed fro deth to lyfe, and ledde them vp in to the palays of heuē. Unto the whych brynge vs our blessed sauyour Iesu Chryst. Amen.

SOmtyme in Rome dwelled a myghty emperour named Dunstane, in whose empyre dwelled a [Page] gentyll knyght that had two sones. One of hys sones wedded hymselfe agaynst hys fathers wyll vnto a cō ­mune woman of the bordell. The knyght hearing this exyled hys sone from hym. And whan he was thus exi­led he begote on thys woman a sone. And soone after that he wexed sycke & nedefull, wherfore he sente mes­sengers to hys father, besechynge hym of hys mercy. Thys hearynge hys father, had compassyon and rushe on hym, wherfore he was reconsyled. And whan he was thus brought agayne vnto hys fathers grace, he gaue hys sone whych he had begoten to fore on this cō ­mune woman to hys father. And he full kyndly recey­ued it as hys sone, and nourysshed it. Whan hys other sone herde this, he sayd to hys father. Father quod he, it semeth that thou art out of thy ryght mynde, whych I wyll proue by this reason. For he is out of his ryght mynde that receyueth a false heyre, & nouryssheth hym whose father hath done hym anguysshe and disease to­fore. For my brother whyche begate thys chylde hath done the great iniury whan he wedded ye cōmune wo­man agaynst thy wyll and cōmaūdement, therfore me semeth that thou arte out of thy ryght mynde. Than answered the father and sayd. Bycause thy brother is reconsyled thou art enuyous to me & also vnkynde to thyne owne brother, wyllynge to put hym from my fe­lawshyp for euermore, and sothly none vnkynde man shall haue myne herytage but yf he be reconsyled. But yet thou neuer reconsyled hym of hys vnkyndnes, for thou myght haue reconsyled hym, but thou woldest not therfore of myne herytage getest thou no parte.

¶The father of the two bretherne betokeneth the fa­ther of heuē. And his two sones betokeneth the nature [Page] of aungels and the nature of man. For man was wed­ded to a cōmune woman of the bordell whan he ete of the apple agaynst the commaundement of god, wher­fore he was exyled by the father of heuen and put fro the ioyes of paradyse. The sone of the cōmune woman betokeneth mankynde. This knyghtes sone, that is to saye Adam began to be nedefull, for after hys synne he was put from ioye in to thys wretched valey of teares and wepynge, accordynge to thys scripture. In sudore vultus. &c. In the swete of thy vysage thou shalte eate thy breed. But after by the passyon of Chryst he was reconsyled. But the other sone that betokeneth the de­uyll was euer vnkynde, & grutched dayly agaynst our reconsylynge, sayinge that by synne we ought not to comme vnto the herytage of heuen. Unto the whyche brynge vs our lorde Iesus. Amen.

SOmtyme dwelled in Rome a myghty Empe­rour named Donate, whyche dyd do make thre ymages, of yt whyche one helde out hys hande streyght vnto the people, and had on his fynger a rynge of gold The seconde ymage had a berde of golde. And ye thyrde had a mantell of purple, cōmaundynge vpon payne of deth that no man sholde robbe these ymages of ye rynge the herde, nor the mantell. It befell afterwarde vpon a tyme that one Dionyse a tyraunt came in to the temple and toke awaye the rynge from the fyrst ymage, the berde from the seconde, & the mantell from the thyrde. And anone whan he had thus done, he was forthwyth accused vnto the Emperoure and brought before hym, and was examyned of that trespace, why he despoyled the ymages agaynst the Emperours cōmaundement. [Page] Than answered this Dionyse and sayd. My lorde it is lawfull to answere for my selfe, where as none wyll answere for me, whan I entred in to the temple ye fyrst ymage helde forth hys hande streyght to me, as who sayth, I gyue ye thys rynge, and therfore I toke the rynge at the gyfte of the ymage. And whan I sawe the seconde ymage hauyng a berde, I thought thus wyth in mi selfe. I knewe somtyme the father of this ymage whyche had no berde, and now hys sone hathe a berde whych is agaynst reason, the sone to haue a berde and the father none, & therfore I toke from hym hys berde that he sholde be lyke hys father. After that whan I sawe the thyrde ymage closed in a mantell of golde, I thought that a mantell of golde was not behouable to hym in wynter, for golde is naturally colde, whyche myght because of his deth, and therfore I toke it from hym bycause it was to colde in wynter, and to hote in somer. Whan Dyonyse had excused hym by these rea­sons, the Emperoure answered and sayde. Thou hast answered wyckedly for thy selfe, what sholde cause the rather than ony other man to despoyle these ymages▪ for as moche as I cōmaunded that no man shold take ony thynge awaye fro them, and thyne owne mouth hath condempned the. And anone the Emperour cal­led to hym one of hys squyers, & charged hym to smyte of hys heed, and so it was done.

¶ Thys Emperour betokeneth almyghty god the fa­ther of heuē. The thre ymagenes betokeneth the poore men, the ryche men, & the myghty men of thys worlde. The tyraunt Dyonyse betokeneth iustyces, sheryffes, baylyes, sergeauntes and catchpolles, and al other of­fyces, whyche take away from poore men the rynge of [Page] theyr fyngers, and saye thus. I may take that is gy­uen me. But whan the poore man hath ought to do, he must nedes put forth hys hande to gyue whether he wyll or no, yf he shall spede. They take also the [...]erde from the ryche men, and saye thus. Thys man is ry­cher than hys father was, therfore take we hys lyue­lode fro hym and make hym lyke his fore father. They take also the mantell of golde from the myghty men, whan they se ony man of honour and of good lyuynge wyllynge to correcke suche mysdoers, than saye they. This man is to colde, for he enclyneth nothynge to our opynyōs, and also he is to hote of power in werkynge agaynst vs, therfore go we & take from hym the man­tell of myght, and so they accuse hym and put hym out of offyce. But certaynly all suche men stande in peryll of euerlastyng deth. From the whyche saue vs he, that dyed for vs vpon the rode tree. Amen.

THere dwelled somtyme in Rome a myghty Emperour named Euas, whych had a fayre yonge lady to hys wyfe, vpon whome he had begoten a fayre sone. Whan the states of the Empyre herde thys, they came vnto the Emperoure and besought hym to haue the kepynge ef hys sone. Anone the Emperoure sente a sergeaunt thrugh out the Cyte, sayinge that in whose house were fyrst founde fyre and water, the good man of that house sholde haue his sone in kepynge & to nou­rysshe. And than the Emperour made a proclamacyon that who so euer had his sone to kepe sholde nourysshe hym clenly, and fede hym wt holsom meates & drynkes And whan the chylde came to age, than sholde ye keper be promoted to greate honour, wherfore many men let [Page] make redy fyre and water, in hope to haue the chylde. But on the nyght whan euery man was a slepe, there came a tyraunt named Sulapius that quenched ye fyre and threwe out the water. Neuerthelesse amonge all other there was a man named Ionathas that labou­red so diligently that he kepte bothe daye & nyght fyre and water. In a mornynge erly the sergeaunt at the Emperours cōmaundement wente thrugh the Cyte & sought in euery house for fyre and water, but he coude fynde none tyll he came to Ionathas house, where as he founde bothe fyre and water redy, wherfore he was brought before the Emperour, and delyuered hym hys sone accordyng to hys proclamacyō. Whan Ionathas had the Emperours sone he ledde hym home vnto hys house. And soone after he sente for masons and carpenters, and let make a stronge chambre of lyme & stone. And whan the chambre was made, he sente for payn­ters, and let paynt on the wall wythin the chambre .x. ymages wyth thys posey wryten aboue theyr heedes. Who so defouleth these ymages shall dye a foule deth. And than he let drawe on the dore a galous, and a fy­gure of hymselfe hangynge thervpon wyth thys posey wryten aboue hys heed. So shall he be serued that nouryssheth the Emperours sone amysse. Also he let make a chayre of golde, and hymselfe syttynge therin crow­ned wyth a crowne of golde, wyth thys superscripcyon aboue hys heed. Who that nouryssheth the emperours sone clenly, thus shall he be honoured. Whan this was done, oftentymes in his slepe he was tempted to defyle these ymages, but anone he redde the superscrypcyon aboue theyr heedes, & than all the temptacyons seaced And whan the Emperours sone was euyll kepte, than [Page] wēte he to the galowes and redde they posey that was wryten aboue hys owne heed, and for drede therof he kepte the chylde the better, & was dylygent to gyue at­tendaunce on hym. And whan he behelde the chayre & hymselfe syttynge therin crowned wt a crowne of golde he was right ioyful, thynkyng to haue a good reward for kepynge of the Emperours sone. Whan the Empe­rour herde of hys diligent demeanour about hys sone he sente for hym & for hys sone, thankynge hym for his well kepynge & nourysshynge of hym, and after promoted hym to greate honour and worshyp.

¶ This Emperour betokeneth ye father of heuen. The Empresse betokeneth the blessed virgyn Marye. The Emperours sone betokeneth our lorde Iesu Chryst. The sergeaunt that was sente thrugh out the Cyte be­tokeneth saynt Iohan Baptyst, whyche was sente be­fore our lorde, to make redy for hym, accordynge to holy scripture. Ecce mitte angelū. &c. Lo I fende myne aungell before me. &c. The states that desyred the Em­perours sone to nourysshe betoken the patriarkes and ꝓphetes, which desyred greatly to nourysshe our lorde Iesu Chryst, and also to se hym, but they myght not se hym ne nourysshe hym, for fyre, & water whych sholde haue ben cause of theyr syght, was not wyth them per­fytly. The fyre betokeneth the holy goost, whyche had not yet appered in them, for they were not wasshen wt the water of the font. Also ye may vnderstande by the fyre perfyte charyte, and by the water true contricyon, whyche two now a dayes fayleth in many men, & ther­fore they may not haue the lyttel chylde Iesus in theyr hertes. Ionathas that watched so dylygently betoke­neth euery good chrysten man, whych studyeth euer to [Page] watche in doynge of good werkes, yeldynge to god for synnes the fyre of charyte, and the water of contricyon But aftētymes the tyraunt whyche betokeneth the de­uyll, putteth out the fyre of charyte fro mennes hertes, and casteth out ye water of contricyon, so that they may not nourysshe the lyttel chylde Iesus. Therfore let vs watche as Ionathas dyd, that we entre not in to tem­ptacyon. And call we vnto vs masons, that is to saye, dyscrete confessours, whyche can make in our hertes a chambre of stone, that is to saye, a sure fayth and hope Than call we to vs paynters, that is to saye, prechers of goddes worde, whyche can paynt in our hertes ten ymages, that is to saye .x. cōmaundementes, whyche yf thou kepe and obserue dayly, wythout doubte thou shalte be honoured in heuen. And yf thou kepe well the Emperours sone, thou shalte syt in a chayre of golde, crowned with a crowne of gold. And yf that thou nou­rysshe hym not well, wythout doubte thou shalt be hā ­ged on the galous of hell. From the whych preserue vs our blessed sauyour Iesus. Amen.

IN Rome dwelled somtyme a myghty Emperoure named Menaly, whyche had wedded the kynges doughter of Hungary, a fayre lady & a gracyous in all her werkes, and specyally she was mercyfull. On a tyme as the Emperour lay in hys bedde, he bethought hym that he wolde go vysyte the holy lande. And on ye morowe he called to hym the Empresse hys wyfe & hys owne onely brother, & thus he sayde. Dere lady I may not ne I wyll not hyde from you the preuytees of my herte, I purpose to vysyte the holy lande, wherfore I ordeyne the princypally to be lady and gouernour ouer [Page] all myne Empyre & all my people. And vnder the I or­deyn here my brother to be thy stewarde for to prouyde all thynges that may be profytable to myne Empyre & to my people. Than sayde the Empresse. Syth it wyll none otherwyse be but that nedes ye wyll go to the ho­ly lande, I shall be in your absence as true as ony tur­tyll that hath lost her make, for as I byleue ye shal not escape thens wyth your lyfe. The Emperour anone cō forted her wyth fayre wordes and kyssed her, and after that toke hys leue of her and of all other, and so wente forth towarde the holy lande. And anone after that the Emperour was gone, hys brother became so proude that he oppressed poore men, & robbed ryche men, & yet dyd he worse thā thys, for dayly he s [...]er [...]d the Empresse to synne wyth hym. But euer she answered agayne as an holy and a deuoute woman, and sayd. I wyll quod she, neuer consent to you ne to none other as longe as my lorde lyueth. Neuerthelesse thys knyght wolde not leue by thys auswere, but euer whan he founde her a­lone he made hys complaynt to her, and stered her by all the wayes that he coude to synne wyth hym. Whan thys lady sawe that he wolde not cease for no answere ne wolde not amende hymselfe, whā she sawe her tyme she called to her thre or foure of ye worthyest men of the Empyre, and sayd to them thus. It is not vnknowen to you that my lorde the Emperour ordeyned me pryn­cipall gouernour of this Empyre, and also he ordeyned hys brother to be stewarde vnder me, and that he shold do nothynge wythout my conseyle, but he dothe all the contrary, for he oppresseth greatly poore men, and rob­bet ryche men, and yet he wolde do worse, yf he myght haue hys entent, wherfore I commaunde you in my [Page] lordes name that ye bynde hym fast & cast hym in pry­son. Than sayd they. Sothly he hath done many euyll dedes syth our lord themperour wente, therfore be we redy to obey your cōmaūdement, but in thys mater ye must answere for vs to our lorde the Emperour. Than sayde she, drede ye not, for yf my lorde knewe what he hath done as welles I, he wolde put hym to ye foulest deth that coude be thought. Anone these men set hande on hym, and bounde hym fast wyth yron chaynes, and put hym fast in pryson, where as he laye longe tyme after, tyll at the last it fortuned there came tydynges that the Emperour was cōmynge home, and had optayned great worshyp and victory. Whan his brother herde of hys cōmynge he sayd. Wolde to god my brother myght fynde me in pryson, for than wolde he enquyre ye cause of myne enprysonment of the Empresse, & she wyll tell hym all the trouth, & how I desyrey her to synne, and so for her I shall haue no grace of my brother but lose my lyfe, thys knowe I well, therfore it shall not be so. Than sente he a messenger vnto ye Empresse, prayinge her for Chrystes passyon that she wolde vouchesafe to cōme vnto ye pryson dore, that he myght speke a worde or two wyth her. The Empresse came to hym, & enquy­red of hym what he wolde haue. He answered & Tayde. O lady haue mercy vpon me, for yf the Emperoure my brother fynde me in thys pryson, than shall I dye with out ony remedy. Than sayd the Empresse, yf I myght knowe that thou woldest be a good man & leue thy foly thou sholdest haue grace. Than dyd he promyse her sy­kerly to be true, and to amende all hys frespace. Whan he had thus promysed, the Empresse delyuered hym a­none, and made hym to be bathed and shauen, & arayed [Page] hym worshypfully accordynge to hys estate, and than she sayd vnto hym thus. Now good brother lepe on thy stede and cōme wyth me, that we may mete my lorde. He answered and sayd. Lady I am redy to fulfyl your wyll and cōmaundement in all thynges. And than the Empresse toke hym wyth her & many other knyghtes, and so rede forth to mete wyth the Emperoure, and as they rode togyder by ye waye, they sawe where a great harte ran afore them, wherfore euery man wyth suche houndes as they had chased hym on horsbacke, so that wyth ye Empresse was lefte no creature, saue onely the Emperours brother, whyche seynge that no man was there but they two, thus he sayd vnto ye Empresse. Loo lady here besyde is a preuy forest, and longe it is agone that I spake to the of loue, cōme now and consent vnto me that I may lye wyth the. Than sayd the Empresse Al foole what may thys be, yesterdaye I delyuered the out of pryson vpon thy ꝓmesse, in hope of amendment, and now thou arte returned to thy foly agayne, wher­fore I say now to the as I haue sayd before, there shal no man do suche thynge wyth me saue onely my lorde the Emperour, whyche oweth of very duty so for to do. Than sayd he, yf thou wylte not consent to me, I shall hange the here vpon a tree in this forest, where no man shall fynde the, and so shalt thou dye an euyll deth. The Empresse answered mekely and sayde. Though thou smyte of my heed and put me to deth wyth all maner of turment, thou shalte neuer haue me to consent to suche synne. Whan he herde thys, he vnclothed her all saue her smocke, and henge her vp by the heare vpon a tree, and [...]yed her stede besyde her, and so rode forth to hys felowes, & tolde them that great hoost of men me [...]te [Page] hym, & toke the Empresse away from hym. And whan he had tolde them thys, they made all greate sorowe. It befell on the thyrde daye after there came an erle to hunte in that forest, and as he rode beatyng the brakes there started a foxe, whome hys houndes folowed fast tyll they came nere the tree where the Empresse henge And whan the dogges felte the sauour of her, they left the foxe & ranne towarde the tree as fast as they coude. The erle seynge this wondred greatly, and spurred his horse and folowed them tyll he came where as the Empresse henge. Whan the erle sawe her thus hangynge he meruayled greatly, for as moche as she was ryght fayre and gracyous to beholde, wherfore he sayd vnto her in thys maner wyse. O woman who art thou, and of what countree, and wherfore hangest thou here in thys maner wyse. The Empresse that was not yet ful­ly deed, but in poynt redy to dye answered & sayd. I am quod she, a straunge woman, and I am comme out fro farre countree, but how I came hyther god knoweth. Than answered the erle and sayd. Whose horse is thys that standeth here by the boūde to thys tree. Than an­swered the lady▪ and sayde that it was hers. Whan the erle herde thys, he knewe well that she was a gentyl­woman, and cōme of some noble kynrede, wherfore he was the rather moued wyth pyte, and sayde vnto her. O fayre lady thou semest of gentyll blode, and therfore I purpose to delyuer the from thys myschefe, yf thou wylte promyse to go wyth me and nourysshe my fayre yonge doughter, and teche her at home in my castell, for I haue no chylde but onely her, & yf yu kepe her well thou shalte haue a good rewarde for thy labour. Than sayd she. As farforth as I can or may, I shall fulfyll [Page] thyne entent. And whan she had thus promysed hym he toke her downe of the tree and ledde her home to his castell, and gaue her the kepynge of hys doughter that he loued so moche, and she was cherysshed so well that she laye euery nyght in the erles chambre & his dough­ter wyth her, & in hys chambre euery nyght there brent a lampe, the whyche henge bytwene ye Empresse bedde and ye erles bedde. Thys lady bare her so gentylly, that she was beloued of euery creature. There was that tyme in the erles courte a stewarde, whyche moche lo­ued thys Empresse aboue al thynges, and oftentymes spake to her of his loue But she answered hym agayne & sayd. Knowe ye dere frende for certayne that I haue made a solempne vowe, that I shall neuer loue man in suche wyse but onely hym whome I am greatly beholden to loue by goddes cōmaundement. Than sayd the stewarde. Thou wylte not than consent vnto me. My lorde quod she, what nedeth the ony more to aske suche thynge, the vowe that I haue made, truly shall I kepe and holde by the grace of god. And whan the stewarde herde thys, he wente hys waye in greate wrathe and angre, thynkynge wythin hymselfe, yf I may I shall bewroken on the. It befell vpon a nyght wythin shorte tyme after that the erles chambre dore was forgoten and lefte vnshette, whych the stewarde had anone per­ceyued. And whan they were all a slepe, he wente and espyed by the lyght of the lampe where the Empresse and the yonge mayden laye togyder, and wyth that he drewe out his knyfe & cutte the throte of ye erles dough­ter, and put the blody knyfe in to the Empresse hande she beynge a slepe & nothynge knowynge therof, to the entent that whan the erle awaked he sholde se ye knyfe [Page] in her hande, & that he sholde thynke that she had cutte hys doughters throte, wherfore she sholde be put to a shameful deth for his myscheuous dede. And whā this damoysell was thus slayne, and the blody knyfe in the Empresse hande, the countesse awaked out of her slepe and sawe by the lyght of the lampe the blody knyfe in the Empresse hande, wherfore she was almoost out of her mynde, and sayd to the erle. O my lorde beholde in yonder ladyes hande a wonderfull thynge. Anone the erle awaked and behelde on the Empresse bedde & sawe the blody knyfe as the countesse had sayd, wherfore he was greatly moued, and cryed to her and sayd. Awake woman of thy slepe, what thynge is thys that I se in thy hande. Anone ye Empresse thrugh hys crye awaked out of her slepe, and in her wakyng the knyfe fell out of her hande, and wyth that she loked by her & founde the erles doughter deed by her syde, and all the bedde full of blode, wherfore wyth an huge voyce she cryed & sayd Alas alas & welaway my lordes doughter is slayne. Than cryed the countesse vnto the erle wyth a pyteous voyce and sayd. A my lorde, let that deuyllysshe womā be put to the moost foule deth that can be thought that thus hath slayne our onely chylde. And whan the countesse had sayd thus to the erle, she sayd to the Empresse in thys wyse. The hygh god knoweth that thou mischeuous woman hast slayne my doughter wt thyne owne handes, for I sawe the blody knyfe in thy hande, and therfore thou shalt dye a foule deth. Than sayd the erle in thys wyse. O thou woman, were it not that I drede god greatly, I shold cleue thy body wyth my swerde in two partes, for I delyuered the from hangynge, & now thou hast slayne my doughter, neuertheles for me thou [Page] shalte haue no harme, therfore go thy waye out of this ci [...]e without ony delay, for yf I fynde the here this day thou shalte dye an euyll deth. Than arose thys wofull Empresse and dyd on her clothes, and after lepte on her palfray & rode towarde the eest alone without ony safe conduyte. And as she rode thus mournynge by ye waye she espyed on the lefte syde of ye waye a payre of galous and seuen sergeauntes ledyng a man to the galous for to be hāged, wherfore she was moued wyth great pyte and smote her horse wyth the spurres and rode to them prayinge them that she myght bye that mysdo [...]r, yf he myght be saued frō deth for ony mede. Than sayd they Lady it pleaseth vs well that thou bye hym. Anone the Empresse accorded wyth them & payed hys raunsom, & than he was delyuered. Thus sayde she to hym. Now dere frende be true tyl thou dye, syth I haue delyuered the from dethe. On my soule quod he, I promyse you euer to be true. And whā he had thus sayd▪ he folowed the lady styll tyll they came nygh a cyte, and than sayd the empresse to hym. Good frende quod she, go forth thy waye afore me of the cyte and take vp for vs an honest lodgynge, for there I purpose to rest a whyle. Thys man wente forth as she cōmaūded, and toke vp for her a good lodgynge & an honest, where as she abode lōge tyme. Whan the men of the cyte perceyued her fayrnes they wondred greatly, wherfore many of them spake vnto her of vnlawfull loue, but all was in vayne, they myght no spede in no wyse. It fortuned after on a day that there came a shyppefull of marchaundyse, & arryued in the hauen of that cyte. Whan the lady herde this she sayde vnto her seruaunt. Go to the shyppe and se yf there be ony cloth for myne vse. Her seruaūt went forth [Page] to the shyppe, where as he founde many precyous clo­thes, wherfore he prayed ye mayster of the shyppe that he sholde cōme in to the cite & speke with hys lady. The mayster graunted hym, and so he came home to his la­dy before and warned her of the cōmynge of ye mayster of the shyppe. Anone after ye mayster of ye shyppe came and saluted the lady worthly. And the lady receyued hym accordynge to hys degree, prayinge hym that she myght haue for her money suche cloth as myght be profytable for her werynge. Anone he graunted that she sholde haue, & soone they were accorded, wherfore the seruaunt wente agayne wyth the mayster to ye shyppe. And whan they were bothe wythin the shyppe borde, the mayster sayd to ye ladyes seruaunt. My dere frende to the I wolde open my counseyle, yf I myght trust in the, and yf the lyst to kepe my counseyle and helpe me, thou shalte haue of me a great rewarde. Than answe­red he and sayd. I shall (quod he) be sworne vnto the on the holy gospels that I shall kepe thy coūseyle & fulfyll thyne entent, as farforth as I can. Thā said ye mayster of the shyppe, I loue thy lady more than I can tell the, for her fayrnes is so greate, that I wolde gyue for the loue of her all the golde that I haue, and yf I may op­tayne the loue of her thrugh thy helpe, I shall gyue the what so euer thou wylte desyre of me. Than sayd the ladyes seruaunt. Tell me by what meanes I may best spede. Than sayde the mayster of the shyppe. Go home to thy lady agayne and tell her that I wyll not delyuer the my cloth but yf she comme her selfe, but brynge her not to my shyppe but yf the wynde be good & able, for than I purpose to lede her away. Thy coūseyle is good quod the ladyes seruaunt, the [...]fore gyue me some re­warde, [Page] and I shall fulfyll thyne entent. And whan he had thus receyued hys mede, he wente agayne to hys lady, and tolde her that by no meanes ye mayster of the shyppe wold not delyuer hym the cloth but yf she came her selfe. The lady byleued her seruaunt and wente to the shyppe. And whan she was wythin ye shyppe borde her seruaunt abode wythout. Whan the mayster sawe that she was wythin the shyppe, & that the wynde was good, he drewe vp the sayle and sayled forth. Whan the lady perceyued thys, thus she sayde to the mayster. O mayster (quod she) what treason is thys that thou hast done to me. The mayster answered and said. Madame certaynly it is so that I must nedes lye wyth the, & [...]f­ter wedde the. Forsothe quod [...]he, I haue made a [...] that I shall neuer do suche synne but wyth hym vnto whome I am bounde by ryght and by the lawe. Sothly quod he, yf ye wyll not graunte me wyth your good wyll, I shall cast you out into the myddes of the see, & there shal ye dye an euyl deth. Yf it be so (quod she) that I must nedes consent or else dye, than praye I the to araye a preuy place in the ende of the shyppe, where as I may fulfyll thyne entent or I dye, but fyrst I praye the that I may saye my or [...]yso [...]s vnto the father of heuen, that he may haue mercy on me. The mayster byle­ued her, wherfore he let ordeyne her a cabon in the ende of the shyppe, and in she gothe & set her downe on bothe her knees and made her prayers, sayinge in thys wyfe O thou my lord god that hast kepte me from my youth in clennes, kepe me now that I be not defouled, so that I may serue the euer wyth clene herte & mynde. Whan she had thus ended her oreyson, there arose sodeynly a great tempest in the see, so that the shyppe all to brast, [Page] and all that were wythin perysshed, saue the lady that caught a cable and saued herselfe, and the mayster of ye shyppe an other, neuerthelesse she knewe not of hym, ne he of her, for they were dryuen to dyuerse coostes. This lady landed in her owne Empyre befyde a no [...]ry wherin she was worshypfully receyued, and she lyued so holy a lyfe, yt god gaue her grace to heale sycke folke of all maner diseases, wherfore there came moche people to her bothe croked, blynde and lame, and euery man thrugh the grace of god and her holy prayer were healed, wherfore her name was knowen thrugh dy­uerse regyons▪ Neuerthelesse she was not knowen as Empresse. In the same tyme the Emperours brother (that had hāged her before b [...] the heare) was smytten wyth a foule lepry. The knight yt slewe the erles doughter, and put the blody knyfe in her hande, was blynde, defe, and had the palsey▪ The thefe that betrayed her to the mayster of the shyppe was lame and full of the crampe. And the mayster of the shyppe was distraught out of hys mynde. Whan the Emperoure herde that so holy a woman was in suche a nonry, he sayd to his brother thus. Go we dere brother vnto thys holy woman that is dwellynge in the nonry, that she may heale the of thy lepry. Wolde to god quod he that I were healed. Anone the Emperour wyth hys brother went towarde the no [...]ry. And whan the nonnes herde of his cōmyng they receyued hym worshypfully wyth procession. And than ye Emperour enquyred of ye pryoresse yf ony suche holy woman were among them that coude heale sycke folke of theyr dyseases. The pryoresse answered & sayd that suche one was there. Than was ye Empresse cal­led forth before the Emperour, but she muffled her face [Page] as well as she coude, that the Emperour her husbande sholde not knowe her, and whan she had so done, she salewed hym wyth greate reuerence as it apperteyned to hys estate. And he agayne in lyke wyse, sayinge thus. O good lady, yf ye lyst of thy grace to heale my brother of hys lepry, aske of me what thou wylte, and I shall graūte it the for thy rewarde. Whan ye Empresse herde thys, she loked aboute her & sawe there the Emperours brother, that was a foule lepre. She sawe there also the knyght that slewe the erles doughter blynde & defe The thefe that she saued fro the galowes lame and al­so the mayster of ye shyppe distraught out of his mynde and all were cōme to her for to be healed of theyr syck­nes, but they knewe not her, for al that they knewe not her, she knewe them well. Than sayd she vnto the Emperour thus. My reuerend lord, though ye wolde gyue me al your Empyre I may not heale your brother, nor none of these other, but yf they knowlege openly what they haue done. Whan the Emperoure herde thys, he turned hym towarde hys brother and sayde vnto hym. Brother knowlege opēly thy synne before al these men that thou mayst be healed of thy sycknes. Than anone he began to tell how he had ledde hys lyfe, but he tolde not how he had hanged the Empresse in the forest by ye heare. Whan he had knowleged all that hym lyst, the Empres [...]e sayd. Sothly my lorde, I wolde gladly laye vnto hym my medicyne, but I wote ryght well it is in vayne, for he hath not made a full confession. The Emperoure hearynge thys, turned hym towarde hys bro­ther and sayd agayne in thys wyse. What euyll sorowe or vnhappy wretchednes is in the, seest thou not that thou [...] foule lepre, therfore knowlege thy synne truly [Page] that thou mayst be hole, or else auoyde my felawshyp for euermore. A lorde quod he, I may not tell my lyfe openly but yf I be fyrst sure of thy grace. What hast thou trespaced agaynst me quod the Emperour. Than answered his brother and sayd. Myne offence agaynst the is greuous, and therfore I aske mercy. The Em­peroure thought not on the Empresse, for as moche as he supposed that she had ben deed many yeres before, he cōmaunded his brother to tell forth what he had of­fended hym, and he sholde be forgyuen. And whan the Emperoure had thus forgyuen hys brother, he began to tell openly how he had desyred the Empresse to synne wyth hym, and how he had hanged her by the heare in the forest, bycause she wolde not consent to hym. And whan the Emperoure herde thys, he was almoost be­syde hymselfe, and in hys woodnes sayd thus. O thou moost wretched creature, the vengeaunce of god is fal­len vpon the, and were it not that I haue pardoned the thou sholdest dye the moost shamefull deth that coude be thought. Than sayd the knyght that [...]lewe the erles doughter. I wote not quod be of what lady ye meane. but well I wote that my lorde founde on a tyme suche a lady hangyng by the heare in the forest, and brought her home to his castell, and betoke her hys doughter to kepe, & stered her as moche as I coude to synne wyth me, but she wolde in no wyse consent to me, wherfore I slewe the erles doughter that laye wyth [...]er▪ & whan I had so done, I put the blody knyfe in ye ladyes hande that the erle sholde thynke she had slayne his doughter wyth her owne handes, and than was she exiled thens but where she became I wote not. Than sayd the thefe I wote not of what lady ye meane, but well I wote [Page] that seuen sergeauntes were ledynge me to the galous and suche a lady came rydynge by, and bought me of them, and than wente I wyth her, and afterwarde I betrayed her vnto a mayster of a shyppe. Suche a la­dy (quod ye mayster of the shyppe) receyued I, & whan we were in the myddes of the see, I wolde haue layne wyth her, but she sate downe to her prayers, and anone there arose suche a tempeest that ye shyppe all to brast, & were all drowned saue I, but what afterwarde befell of her wote I not. Than cryed ye Empresse wyth a hye voyce & sayd. Sothly dere frendes ye are now clene confessed, wherfore I wyll now laye to my medycyne, and anone they receyued theyr helthe. Whan the lady had thus done, she opened her face vnto ye Emperoure, & he anone knewe her, & ran to her & enbraced her in hys armes & kyssed her oftentymes, & for ioye wepte bytterly sayinge. Blessed be god, now haue I founde that I de­syred. And whan he had thus sayde, he ledde her home to his palays wyth great ioye, and after whan it plea­sed god, they ended bothe theyr lyues in peace.

¶ Thys Emperour betokeneth our lorde Iesu Chryst The empresse betokeneth a holy soule. The emperours brother betokeneth the flesshe, to whome our lord hath gyuē charge of thys Empyre, but moo [...] pryncipally to the soule. Neuerthelesse the wretched flesshe oft steret [...] the soule to synne. But the soule that loueth god aboue all thynges wythstandeth that temptacyō, & calleth to her, her goostly power, that is to saye, reason, wyl, vn­derstandynge & conscyence, & maketh them to enpryson the flesshe that is disobedyent to the [...]oule, in the prison of penaūce, vnto yt tyme he obey to reason in al thynge And thus ī hope of mercy he synneth agayn to whome [Page] holy scripture sayth. Maledictꝰ homo [...] peccat in s [...]e. Cursed be that man that synneth in hope. And at ye last the soule enclyneth to the flesshe, and letteth hym out of the pryson of penaunce, & wasshetht hym from the fylth of synne, & arayeth hym wyth good vertues, & maketh hym lepe on the palfraye of charite, and so rydeth forth to mete our lorde an ester daye. But alas full ofte the synner trespaceth agaynst holy scripture, wherfore the herte, that is to saye, the lust of the flesshe & of synners aryseth before hym, and after renneth great houndes, that is to saye▪ euyl thoughtes, and so longe they chase tyll the body & the soule be lefte alone, & thā the flesh se stereth that noble soule the spouse of almyghty god to hym. But the blessed soule that is so well beloued wyth god, wyll not forsake her lorde & cōsent to synne, wher­fore ye wretched flesshe ful ofte despoyleth her of al her clothynge, that is to saye, of all her vertues, & hangeth her vp by the heare on an oke, that is to saye, on lustes and delytes, and there she hangeth vnto the good erle cōmeth, that is to saye, a dyscrete confessour in the fo­rest of thys worlde, to preche & teche the worde of god, and taketh her downe and ledeth her forth to ye chyrche to nourysshe his doughter, that is to saye, to nourysshe conscyence wyth werkes of mercy. The erle had in his chambre a lampe, ryght so euery discrete confessour or precher sholde haue afore hym the lampe of holy scryp­ture, wherby he may se bothe the greuaunce & the pro­fyte of the soule, in techynge of vertues, and puttynge awaye of vyce. The stewarde that stereth her to synne is not else but pryde of lyfe, whych is stewarde of thys worlde, by whome many men be deceyued. But whan the soule that is so well beloued with Chryst, wyll not [Page] consent vnto the synne of pryde, than taketh thys euyll stewarde the kny [...]e of couetyse, wherwyth he sleeth the erles doughter, that is to saye, conscyence, accordynge to scripture, saying. Golde and syluer hath blynded the eyen of iudges, & hath ouerthrowen wyse men, so that equite and ryghtwys [...]es myght not entre, but stode a­ferre and turned theyr backes. Thys lady also bought a man frō hangynge, that is to saye, from euerlastyng deth, whyche he had deserued by deedly synne. Ther­fore do we as dyd thys lady, smyte we our horse, that is to say, our flesshe wyth the spurres of penaunce, & so ryde we [...]orth in all haste to saue our neyghbour from the galous of deedly synne, helpynge hym bothe body­ly and goostly, as Salomon sayth. Wo be to that man lyenge in deedly synne, that hath no man to lyfte hym out therof. Therfore awake thy neyghbour and helpe hym. For a brother that is holpen of an other is lyke a sure cyte, & yf he gyue no more but a cuppe of colde water to hym in the waye of helpe, he shall not lose hys re­warde. But many now a days be full vnkynde as was thys thefe, whyche falsly deceyued hys lady after yt she had saued hym frō hangyng. The mayster of ye shyppe betokeneth ye worlde, by whome many men be decey­ued. But neuerthelesse as ofte as a man taketh on hym wylfully the charge of pouerte, & obeyeth vnto the cō ­maundementes of god, and forsaketh the worlde, than breketh the shyppe. For it is impossyble to please god & man and the worlde at ones. Whan thys lady had escaped the tempest of the see, she wente to a nonry, that is to saye, the soule after ye troubles of thys worlde wente to the holy lyfe, & than she healed all maner sycke folke, that is to saye, euery man that is troubled in hys soule [Page] that is to say, infecte wyth dyuerse sycknesses that this lady healeth thrugh holy lyfe. But the soule myght not be seen of Chryst her husbande, tyll she had knowleged openly all her .v. wyttes how she had spent them. But whan she had made a pure cōfessyō, than ye Emperour our lord god her husbande knewe her, & toke her in his armes, & ledde her home to the palays of heuen. Unto the whyche almyghty god brynge vs all. Amen.

IN Rome dwelled somtyme a myghty Emperour named Martyn, whyche for loue kepte wyth hym hys brothers sone, whome men called Fulgētyus. Wyth thys Martyn dwelled also a knyght that was steward of hys Empyre and vncle vnto the Emperour, whyche enuyed thys Fulgētius, & studyed day & nyght how he myght brynge the Emperour & thys chylde at debate, wherfore the stewarde on a daye wente vnto the Em­perour & sayd. My lorde quod he, I that am your true seruaūt owe of duty to warne your hyghnes yf I heare any thynge yt toucheth your honour, wherfore I haue harde suche thynges that I must nedes vtter it in se­crete vnto your lordshyp bytwene vs two. Than sayde the Emperour. Good frende quod he, saye on what the lyst. My moost dere lorde quod the stewarde, Fulgen­tius your cosyn and your nye kynsman hath defamed you wonderfully and shamefully thrugh out all your Empyre, sayinge that your breth stynketh, and that it is deth to hym to serue you of your cup. Than the Em­perour waxed wrothe, and was almoost besyde hym selfe for anger, and sayde to hym thus. I praye the my good frende tell me the very trouth yf that my breth so stynketh as he sayth. My lorde quod the stewarde, ye [Page] may byleue me, I neuer perceyued a sw [...]ter breth in my dayes than yours is. Than sayde the Emperoure, I praye the good frende tell me how I may brynge thys thynge to a good profe. The stewarde answered and sayd. My lorde quod he, ye shall ryght well vnder­stande the trouth, for to morowe nexte whan he ser­ueth you of your cuppe, ye shall se that he shall turne awaye hys face from you bycause of your brethe, and thys is the moost veray profe that may be had of thys thynge. Forsothe quod the Emperoure, a truer profe can not be had of thys thynge. Wherfore anone whan the stewarde herde thys, he wente streyght to Fulgen­tius, and toke hym asyde, sayinge thus. Dere frende thou art my kynsman, and also nenewe vnto my lorde the Emperoure, therfore yf thou wylte con me thanke I wyll tell the of the vyce wherof my lorde the Empe­roure complayneth ofte, and thynketh to put the from hym (but yf it be the rather amended) and that myght be a greate reprofe to the. Than sayd thys Fulgentius A good syr for hys loue that dyed vpon the crosse tell me why my lorde is so sore moued wyth me, for I am redy to amedde my defaute in all that I can or may, and for to be ruled by your good and dyscrete coūseyle. Thy breth quod the stewarde stynketh so sore, that hys drynke dothe hym no good, so greuous is vnto hym the stynkynge breth of thy mouth. Than sayde Fulgentyus vnto the stewarde. Truly that perceyued I ne­uer tyll now, but what thynketh you of my brethe, I praye you to tell me the very trouth. Sothly quod the stewarde, it stynketh greatly and foule. And this Fulgentius byleued all that he sayde, and was ryght so­rowfull [Page] in hys mynde, and prayed the stewarde of hys counseyle and helpe in thys wofull case. Than sayd the stewarde vnto hym. Yf that thou wylt do by my coun­seyle, I shall brynge thys mate to a good conclusyon, therfore do as I shal tell the. I counseyle the for ye best and also warne the, that whan thou seruest my lorde the Emperoure of hys cuppe, that than thou turne thy face away from hym, so that he may not fele thy styn­kynge brethe, vnto the tyme that thou hast prouyded the of some remedy therfore. Than was Fulgentyus ryght glad, and sware to hym that he wolde do by hys coūseyle. Not longe after it befell that thys yonge man Fulgentyus [...]erued hys lorde as he was wonte to do, and therwyth sodeynly he turned his face frō hys lorde as the stewarde had taught hym. And whan the Em­peroure perceyued the auoydyng of hys heed, he smote thys yonge Fulgentius on the brest wyth hys fote, and sayd to hym thus. O thou noughty rybawde, now se I well it is true that I haue herde of the, and therfore go thou anone out of my syght, that I se the no more in thys place. And wyth that thys yonge Fulgentyus wepte full sore, and auoyded the place and wente out of hys syght. And whan thys was so done, the Empe­rour called vnto hym hys steward and sayd. How may I put thys rybawde from the worlde that thus hath defamed me. My moost dere lorde quod the stewarde, ryght well ye shall haue your entent. For here besyde wythyn these thre myle ye haue bryckmakers, whyche dayly make greate fyres for to brenne brycke, and also they make lyme, therfore my lorde sende to them thys nyght, and charge them vpon payne of deth, that who [Page] so euer cōmeth to them fyrst on the morowe, sayinge to them thus. My lorde commaundeth you to fulfyll hys wyll, that they take hym and cast hym in the forneys wyth the stones, and thys nyght cōmaūde ye thys Fulgentius that he go erly in the mornynge to your werk­men, and that he aske them whether they haue ful­fylled your wyll or not, and than shall they accordynge to your cōmaundement cast hym in the fyre, and thus shall he dye an euyll deth. Sothly quod the Emperour thy counseyle is good, therfore call to me that rybaude Fulgentyus. And whan thys yonge man was cōme to the Emperour, he sayde to hym thus. I charge ye vpon payne of deth that thou ryse erly in the mornynge and go to the brenners of lyme and brycke, and that thou be wyth them before ye sonne ryse thre myles from this house, and charge them on my behalfe that they ful­fyll my commaūdement, or else they shall dye a shame­full deth. Than sayd thys Fulgētius. My lorde yf god [...]ende me my lyfe I shall fulfyll your wyll, though I sholde go to the worldes ende. Whan Fulgentyus had thys charge, he coude not slepe for thought, but that he must aryse erly for to fulfyll hys lordes cōmaunde­ment. The Emperoure aboute mydnyght sente a mes­senger on horsbacke vnto his brycke makers, cōmaundyng them vpon payne of deth, that who so euer came to them fyrst in the mornynge, sayinge vnto them the Emperours commaundement (whych is before reher­sed) that they sholde take hym & cast hym in to the fyre and brenne hym to the bare bones. The bryckmakers answered & sayd it sholde be done. And than the messenger rode home agayne, and tolde the Emperoure that [Page] hys cōmaūdement sholde be fulfylled. Erly in the mor­nynge folowynge Fulgentyus arose and arayed hym towardes hys waye, and as he wente he herde a bell rynge to masse, wherfore he went to that chyrche for to heare masse, and after the eleuacyon of the blessed sacrament he fell a slepe, & there he slepte a longe whyle, so that the preest ne none other myght awake hym. The stewarde desyryng inwardly to heare of hys deth and how he dyd, aboute one of the clocke he wente vn­to the workmen and sayd to them thus. Syrs quod he haue ye done the Emperours cōmaundement or not. They answered hym agayn and sayde. Nay sothly we haue not yet done hys commaundement, but anone it shall be done. And wyth that they set handes on hym. Than cryed the stewarde wyth an hygh voyce & sayde. Good syrs saue my lyfe, for the Emperour commaun­ded that Fulgentyus sholde be put to deth. Than sayd they, the messenger tolde not vs so, but he bade vs tha who so euer came fyrst to vs in the mornynge, saying as is before rehersed, that we sholde take hym and cast hym in to the farneys and brenne hym to asshes. And wyth that worde they threwe hym in to the fyre. And whan he was brente, Fulgentyus came to them and sayd. Good syrs haue ye done my lordes commaunde­ment. Ye sothly sayde they, and therfore go ye agayn to the Emperour and tell hym so. Than sayd Fulgentius For Chrystes loue tell me that commaundement. We had in commaundement sayd they vpon payne of deth, that who so euer came to vs fyrst in the mornyng, and sayd lyke as thou hast sayde, that we sholde take hym and cast hym in to the forneys. But afore the came the [Page] the whyche brynge vs our lorde Iesu Chryst. Amen.

THere dwelled somtyme in Rome a myghty Emperour named Delphinus, whych had no chyl­dren saue onely a doughter, whyche was a fayre crea­ture, and greatly beloued of her father. As thys Emperour walked vpon a daye on huntynge in the forest, so­deynly he rode forth out of hys waye, and lost his men, wherfore he was greatly disconforted, [...]or he wyst not whether he rode, ne in what place he was, tyll at the last whan he had rydden thus al the daye alone, in the euenynge he sawe a house, and thyder he rode a great pace, and knocked at the gate. Anone the good man of the house herde hym, and asked the cause of hys knoc­kyng, and what he wolde haue. Dere frende quod the Emperoure, lo it is nyght as ye may se, therfore I de­syre you of lodgynge for the loue of god. Whan he had thus sayde, the good man of the house vnware that he was the Emperoure, answered thus and sayde. Good frende quod he I am the Emperours foster, and haue plente of venyson and other vyteylles for you. Whan the Emperoure herde thys, he was ryght glad in hys mynde, neuerthelesse he tolde hym not that he was the Emperoure. And than the foster opened the gate, and receyued hym as worshypfully as he coude, & set hym to hys supper, and serued hym honestly. And whan he had supped, the foster brought hym to hys chambre, and whan tyme was he wente to bedde. In the same nyght it befell that the fosters wyfe was trauaylynge of chylde in an other chambre fast by, and was delyue­red that same nyght of a fayre sone. And as the Emperour [Page] laye in hys bedde slepynge, hym semed he herde a voyce saying to hym thryes these wordes. Take, take, take. And wyth that he awoke, and meruayled greatly what it myght be, sayinge to hymselfe thus. A voyce bydde [...]h me take, take, take, what shall I take. And anone he fell a slepe agayne, and the seconde tyme he herde a voyce, sayinge vnto hym these wordes. Yelde, yelde, yelde. And wyth that he wakened agayne, and wondred greatly, sayinge vnto hymselfe. What may thys sygnyfye. Fyrst I herde a voyce that sayde, take, take, take, and nothynge I receyued. And ryght now I herde another voyce that sayde, yelde, yelde, yelde, what sholde I yelde. And as he laye thus thynkynge in hym selfe he fell a slepe agayne. And than he herde the thyrde voyce, sayinge these wordes thryes. Flee, flee, flee, for this nyght is a cyylde borne that after thy decese shall be Emperour. Whan the Emperoure herde thys, he wakened and wondred greatly what it myght be. In the mornynge erly folowynge the Emperoure arose, and called to hym the foster & sayd. Dere frende I praye the that thou wylte tell me yf ony chylde be borne thys nyght to thy knowlege. My wyfe quod the foster thys nyght is delyuered of a fayre sone. I praye the sayd the Emperoure, shewe me thy sone. Whan the Emperoure had seen the chylde, he sawe a token in the chyldes visage, wherby he myght knowe hym an other tyme, and than he sayde to the foster thus. Dere frende knowest thou who I am. Nay sothly quod the foster, for I sawe you neuer before thys tyme, as farre as I am remembred, neuerthelesse it semeth that ye sholde be a gentylman. Than answered the Emperoure and [Page] sayd. I am quod he the Emperour your lorde, whome ye haue lodged thys nyght, wherfore ryght hertely I thanke you. This hearynge the foster fell downe vpon bothe hys knees at his fete, and besought hym of mer­cy, yf that he had offended hys hyghnes in ony thynge prayinge hym of forgyuenes. Than answered ye Em­perour & sayde. Drede the not, for I thanke the hertely of thy good chere, & thy sone that was borne to nyght I wyll haue for to nourysshe & brynge vp in my courte and to morowe I shall sende for hym. A my gracyous lorde quod the foster, it is not agreable that suche a noble Emperour sholde nourysshe the chylde of hys sub­gecte and seruaunt, neuerthelesse your wyll be fulfyl­led, for whan your messengers comme I shall delyuer them my sone. Whan thys was sayde, the Emperoure toke hys leue and rode home towarde his palays. And whan he was comme home, he called vnto hym suche seruauntes as he trusted best, and sayde to them thus. Go ye quod he vnto my foster, wyth whome I was lodged thys nyght in the forest, and receyue of hym his sone, of whyche hys wyfe was delyuered thys nyght, and vpon payne of deth I commaunde you that ye flee hym by the waye, and cast hys flesshe to the dogges, but brynge wyth you the herte to me. And but ye ful­fyll my commaūdement, ye shall dye the moost foulest deth that can be thought. Anone hys seruaūtes wente to the forest and receyued the fosters sone, and brought hym wyth them. And whan they were comme nere vn­to the palays, one of them sayde. How shall we do that we may fulfyll our lordes cōmaundement in sleynge of thys chylde. Some answered & sayde that the chylde [Page] sholde be slayne, and some wolde haue saued hys lyfe, and whyle they stroue thus amonge themselfe, one of them that was moost mercyfull sayde vnto the other. O my good frendes heare my counseyle, and ye shall not forthynke it. Yf we murther thys innocent chylde we shall greatly offende almyghty god, therfore here be yonge pygges, sle [...]we one of them, and than may we beare wyth vs hys herte, and present it vnto the Emperoure, sayinge that it is the herte of the chylde, and thus shall we not shede the chyldes blode. Than sayde they, thy coūseyle is good, but what shall we do wyth the chylde. Good frendes quod he, let vs wrappe hym in some clothes & laye hym in some holowe tree, for perauenture god wyl helpe hym and saue hys lyfe. And whan he had thus sayd, they dyd gladly after hys counseyle in all thynges, and slewe the pygge, & wente theyr waye and bare home with them the pygges hert [...] to the Emperoure, sayinge vnto hym thus. Loo gra­cyous lorde we haue slayne the chylde as ye commaū ­ded vs, and wyth that they shewed hym the pygges herte. The Emperoure supposynge that it had ben the chyldes herte, toke it & kest it in to the fyre, despyteous­ly sayinge. Loo that is the herte of hym whyche sholde haue ben Emperoure after me. Loo what is to byleue in dremes & vysyons, whyche be nought else but fanta­syes and vayne thynges. The seconde daye after that the chylde was put in to the holowe tree, th [...]re came an erle for to hunte in the forest, and as hys houndes chaced an harte they came to thys holowe tree where the chylde laye, and whan they felte the sauour of the chylde, they wolde go no farther. The erle seynge thys [Page] meruaylled greatly why hys hoūdes abode there, and smote his horse with the spurres and rode a great pace tyll he came to them. And whan he came vnto the tree wherin the chylde was layde, he loked in at an hole & sawe there the chylde lyenge, and than was he ryght glad, and toke vp the chylde in hys armes full louyng­ly, and bare hym home vnto hys castell, sayinge vnto the countesse hys wyfe. Loo my dere wyfe, thys daye by fortune I haue [...]ounde a full fayre chylde in an ho­lowe tree as I hunted in ye forest, wherof I am ryght glad. And bycause that I neuer begate sone ne dough­ter on the, ne thou neuer yet conceyued a chylde, ther­fore I exhorte the that thou wylte feyne thy selfe tra­uaylynge of chylde, and saye that thou hast borne thys chylde. The countesse fulfylled ryght gladly the erles wyll and desyre, and sayde. My moost dere lorde, your wyll in thys thynge shall be done. Not longe after this tydynges wente thrugh out all that countree that the countesse was delyuered of a fay [...]e sone, wherfore eue­ry man made great ioye. The chylde began to growe and was ryght well beloued of euery man, and moost specyally of the erle and of the countesse. It befell after whan the chylde. was .xv. yere of age, the Emperoure made a solempne feest vnto all ye lordes of hys Empyre vnto the whyche feest thys erle was called. And at the daye assygned he came and brought the chylde wt hym whyche was at that tyme a fayre yonge squyer, & car­ued at the borde before the erle. The Emperour great­ly behelde hym, and espyed the token in hys for [...]heed whyche he had seen before in the fosters house▪ wher­fore he was greatly moued & vexed wythin [...] [Page] and sayd vnto the erle in this wyse. Whose sone is this Sothly sayd the erle, he is my sone. Than sayd ye Em­perour. By the fayth and trouth that thou owest vnto me, tell me the trouth. The erle seynge that he myght not excuse hymselfe by no maner wyse, but that nedes he must tell hym the trewth, than tolde he hym al togyther, how he had founde hym in the forest in an holowe tree. Thys hearyng the Emperoure, was almoost out of his ryght mynde for anger, and called vnto hym his seruauntes whyche he had sente before to slee ye chylde. And whan they came before hym, he made them for to swere vpon a boke that they sholde tell hym the trouth what they had done wyth the chylde. Gracyous lorde sayde they, we put vs vnto your grace & goodnes, for wythout doubte, pyte so moued vs, that we myght not [...]lee hym, and than we put hym in an holowe tree, but what afterwarde befell of hym, sothly we knowe not, and in his stede we slewe a pygge, and brought you the herte therof. Whan the Emperoure had herde the very trewth of thys mater, he sayd vnto ye erle. Thys yonge man quod he, shal abyde here wyth me. The erle anone graunted, though it was greatly agaynst hys wyll. And whan the feest was ended, euery man toke hys leue at the Emperoure, and wente where as them lyst. And at that tyme it fortuned that the Empresse & her doughter soiourned in a greate countre farre fro thens by the cōmaundement of the Emperoure. It befell not longe after the Emperour called vnto hym that yonge squyer and sayde. The behoueth quod he, to ryde vnto the Empresse my wyfe wyth my letters. I am redy at your cōmaundement my lorde sayde he, to fulfyll your [Page] desyre. Anone the Emperoure let wryte letters, wher­of the entent was thys. That the Empresse sholde take the bearer of these letters, and let hym be drawen at a horse tayle, and after that she sholde let hym be hanged tyll he were deed, and that vpon payne of deth. Whan the letters were all made and sealed, than the Empe­roure toke them vnto the yonge squyer, cōmaundynge hym to spede hym on hys iourney. And anone ye yonge squyer receyued them gladly, and put them sure in a boxe, and rode forth on his iourney. Whan he had ryd­den thre or foure dayes on his iourney, in an euenynge he came vnto a castell where as dwelled a knyght, and prayed hym mekely of a nightes lodynge. The knyght seynge and beholdynge the good fauour of thys yonge squyer, he graunted hym lodgynge, & made hym good chere and well to fare, and afterwarde brought hym vnto hys chambre. And whan he was there he wente to bedde, and anone fell on slepe, for he was full wery of hys iourney, and forgate hys boxe wyth the letters lyenge openly in hys chambre. Whan the knyght sawe the boxe, he opened it, & founde the letters sealed wyth the Emperours sygne manuell, and was greatly tem­pted to open them, and at the last he opened them full subtylly, and than he redde how the Empresse vpon payne of dethe sholde put the bearer of them to dethe, and than he was ryght sorowfull, & sayde wythin hym selfe. Alas quod he, it is great pyte to slee suche a fayre yonge man, and therfore yf I may, it shall not be so. And anone the knyght scraped awaye that wrytynge and wrote in ye same paper a letter sayinge these wor­des. Upon payne of deth I commaunde the that thou [Page] take the yonge squyer bearer of these letters, and let hym be wedded wythout ony delay vnto my doughter and yours, whyth al the honour & solempnyte that can be tought, and whan they be wedded that ye take hym as your owne sone, and that he kepe my rowme tyll I comme vnto you my selfe. Whan the knyght had thus wryten, he closed the letters subtylly & put them in to the boxe agayne. Erly in the mornynge the yonge squyer arose and hastely made hym redy, and toke hys leue of the knyght, and rode forth on hys iourney, and the thyrde daye after he came vnto the Empresse, and salewed her ryght worshypfully in the Emperours be­halfe, and toke her the letters. And whan the Empresse had redde them, anone she sent her messengers thrugh the countree, cōmaundynge the states and gentylmen to comme vnto her doughters weddynge at a certayne daye assygned. Whan they day was cōme thyder came many greate lordes and ladyes, and anone this yonge squyer wedded the Emperours doughter wyth great honour and worshyp, accordynge to the tenoure of the letters, and was ryght well beloued and moost honoured amonge ye people. Not longe after it befell that the Emperoure came in to that countre. And whan ye Em­presse herde of her lordes cōmynge, she toke wyth her her sone in lawe wyth moche other people, and wente agaynst ye Emperoure for to welcōme hym. Whan the Emperoure sawe thys yonge squyer ledynge the Em­presse hys wyfe, he was greatly moued wythin hym selfe, and sayde. O thou cursed woman, bycause thou hast not fulfylled my cōmaundement, thou shalte dye an euyll deth. A my dere lorde quod she, all that ye com­maunded [Page] me to do I haue fulfylled. Nay cursed [...] man sayd the Emperour, it is not so, for I wrote to the that thou sholdest put hym to deth, and now I se hym alyue. My lorde quod ye Empresse, sauynge your grace ye wrote to me that I sholde gyue hym your doughter to wyfe, and that on payne of deth, in wytnes wherof loo here your letters wyth your owne seale manuell. Whan the Emperoure herde thys, he wondred greatly and sayd. Is he wedded than to my doughter. Ye soth­ly sayd the Empresse, longe agone wt great solempnite and worshyp, and as I byleue your doughter is wyth chylde. Than sayd the Emperoure. O thou lorde Iesu Chryst, it is great foly to s [...]yne agaynst thyne ordy­naunce, therfore syth it is so, thy wyll must nedes be fulfylled. And with that he toke his sone in lawe in his armes & kyssed hym, whyche after hys deth was Em­perour, and ended hys lyfe in rest and peace.

¶ Thys Emperour may betoken Herode, or else euery synner, whyche walked alone wythout trouth, tyll he came to the fosters house, that is to saye, the chyrche whyche is the house of god. Thys Herode wolde haue slayne thys chylde Iesu, wherfore he sente messengers to seke hym, accordynge to the scrypture of saynt Ma­thewe, tellyng how he cōmaūded ye thre kynges to seke hym, and brynge hym tydynges agayne where he was yt he myght cōme & worshyp hym also, but thys sayde he not for loue, but for deceyte. The foster betokeneth Iosep our ladyes husbande whyche kepte hym. But whan the messengers came, that is to saye, whan the thre kynges came, they slewe hym not, but worshyp­ped hym on theyr knees, and lefte hym in the holowe [Page] tree of hys godhede. The erle that came & foude thys chylde betokeneth the holy goost, whyche warned Io­seph by the aungell in hys slepe, that he sholde take our lady and her sone and flee in to the lande of Egypte. Thys moralyte may be vnderstande of yer wy [...]e. Thys Emperoure may betoken a synner that walketh in the forest of thys worlde sekyng vanytees and nought els vnto the tyme he comme to the house of god, and there he is receyued benygnely of the prelate of the chyrche, yf he wyll obey the cōmaundementes of god. But ma­ny of vs now a dayes slepeth in the chyrche whan they obserue not the werkes of mercy, and therfore ought they to drede the voyces whyche I haue rehersed by ye fyrst take, that may be vnderstande the great benefyte that he gaue the whan he put in the a soule, made at hys owne symylytude. By the seconde take is vnder­stande the sone of the father of heuen, whyche was borne of the blessed virgyn Mary. By the thyrde take is vnderstande the same sone of god, whych dyed vpon the crosse. By the fyrst yelde is vnderstande, that we ought to yelde our soule vnto almyghty god as clene & as fayre as he gaue it vs after the wasshynge of our baptysme. By the seconde yelde is vnderstande, that we ought dayly to yelde honour and worshyp and loue vnto almyghty god. By ye thyrde yelde is vnderstande that we ought to yelde to god true confessyon, contry­cyon and satisfaccyon. The fyrst flee betokeneth synne whych we sholde flee. The seconde flee betokeneth the worlde whyche we sholde flee for the greate falshede & temptacyons that ben therin. The thyrde flee betoke­neth euerlastynge payne, the whyche we ought to flee [Page] thrugh merytoryous workes, by the whyche we may cōme the rather vnto euerlastyng ioye and blysse. Un­to the whyche brynge vs our lorde Iesus. Amen.

THere dwelled somtyme in Rome a myghty Emperour named Sauracinus, whyche ordeyned for a lawe, that who so euer rauysshed a virgyn sholde dye, & yf she were rescowed, than he that rescowed her sholde haue her to wyfe, yf hym lyst, and he wolde not wedde her, than sholde she be guyded and wedded by hys coūseyle. It befell vpon a daye that a tyraunt na­med Poncianus wolde rauysshe a virgyn, & ledde her wyth hym into a forest, and defouled her of her may­denhede. And whan he had so done, he wolde haue slayne her, and as he was despoylynge of her clothes there came rydyng by that forest a curteys & a gentyll knyght whych herde the cryenge, and lamentynge of a damoysell, wherfore he smote hys horse wyth hys spurres, and rode a greate pace in to the forest, to wyte what it myght be. And than he sawe a woman stan­dynge naked saue her smocke, & than sayd the knyght. Art thou she (sayd he) that cryed so lamentably. Than answered the damoysell and sayde. Ye sothly, for thys man that standeth here hath rauysshed me and defou­led me of my maydenhede, and now he wolde slee me, and therfore he hath despoyled me of my clothes that he myght smyte of my heed, for the loue of god gentyll knyght helpe me now. Than sayde the tyraunt. She lyeth, for she is my wyfe, and I haue founde her in auoutry wyth an other man, and therfore I wyll slee her. Than sayde the knyght. I byleue better the wo­man [Page] than the, for lo the tokens of trouth appere open­ly in her vysage that thou hast rauysshed h [...]r, and ther­fore wyll I fyght wyth the for her delyueraunce. And anone they sterte togyther and fought egerly tyll they were bothe sore wounded. Neuerthelesse the knyght optayned the vyctory, and put the tyraunt to flyght. Than sayde the knyght vnto the woman. Loo I haue suffred for thy loue many sore woundes, and haue sa­ued the from ye deth, wylte thou therfore be my wyfe. That I desyre you quod she wyth all my herte, & ther­vpon I betake you my teouth. Whan she was thus en­sured, than sayde the knyght. Here besyde is my castell go ye thyder and abyde there tyll I haue vysyted my trendes and my kynnesmen, to prouyde for al thynges nedefull for our weddynge, for I purpose to make a greate feest for thyne honour and worshyp. My lorde quod she, I am redy to fulfyll your wyll. Than wente she forth vnto the castell, where as she was worshyp­fully receyued. And the knyght went vnto hys frendes for to make hym redy agaynst the daye of maryage. In the meane whyle came Poncyanus the tyraunt to the knyghtes castell, and prayed her that he myght speke wyth her. Than came she downe from the castell to hym. Thys tyraunt subtylly flatered her, and sayd. Gentyll loue yf it please you to consent to me, I shall gyue you bothe golde and syluer and greate rychesse, and I shall be your seruaunt, and ye my souerayne. Whan the woman herde thys, full lyghtly she was de­ceyued thrugh hys flateryng language, and graunted hym to be hys wyfe, and toke hym in wyth her into the castell. It was not longe after but that thys knyght [Page] came home, and foūde the castell gate she [...]e & [...] therat, but longe it was or he myght haue an answe [...] And at the last the woman came and demaunded why [...] knocked so harde at the gate. Than sayde he to her. [...] [...]ere lady why hast thou so soone changed my loue [...] comme in. Naye sothly sayd she, thou shalte not [...] here, for I haue here wyth me my loue whyche [...] [...]oued before. Remembre quod the knyght that thou gaue me thy trouth to be my wyfe, and how I saued the from deth, and yf thou ponder not thy fayth, be­holde my woundes whyche I haue suffred in my bo­dy for thy loue. And anone he vnclothed hymselfe na­ked saue hys breche, that he myght shewe hys woūdes openly. But she wolde not se them, ne speke more wyth hym, but shette fast the gate and went her waye. And whan the knyght sawe thys, he wente to the Iustyce and made hys complaynte to hym, prayenge hym to gyue ryghtwyse iudgement on thys tyraunt and thys woman. The iudge called them before hym, and whan they were cōme, the knyght sayd thus. My lorde quod he, I aske the benefytes of the lawe, whyche is thys. Yf a man rescowe a woman from rauysshynge, the recower shall wedde her yf hym lyst, and thys woman delyuered I from the handes of the tyraunt, therfore I ought to haue her to my wyfe, and farthermore she gaue me her fayth and trou [...]h to wedde me, and ther­vpon she wente to my castell, and I haue done great cost agaynst our weddynge, and therfore as it semeth me she is my wyfe, as by the lawe. Than sayd ye iudge to the tyraunt. Thou knowest well that thys knyght delyuered her from thy handes, and for her loue he suf­fred [Page] many greuous woundes, and therfore [...] thou wotest that she is hys wyfe by the lawe, yf [...] lyst. But after her delyueraūce wyth [...]aterynge speche thou hast deceyued her, therfore thys daye I iudge [...] to be hanged. Than sayde the iudge to the woman [...] lyke wyse. O woman thou knowest how thys [...] saued the from deth, and therupon thou betokest [...] thy fayth and trouth to be hys wyfe, therfore by [...] reasons thou art hys wyfe, fyrst by the lawe and a [...] by thy fayth and trouth. Thys notwythstandyng thou cōsented afterwarde to the tyraunt, and brought hym in to the knyghtes castell, and shette the gate agaynst the knyght, an wolde not se hys woundes whyche he suffred for thy loue, and therfore I iudge the to be hanged. And so it was done, bothe the rauyssher and she that was rauysshed were dampned to the deth, wher­fore euery man praysed the iudge for hys ryghtwyse iudgement.

¶ Thys Emperoure betokeneth the father of heuen whyche ordeyned for a lawe, that yf the soule of man were rauysshed from god by synne, the sauer of the soule sholde wedde hym, yf hym lyst. The woman that was rauysshed betokeneth the soule of man, whyche was rauysshed by synne of our fore father Adam, and ledde out of paradyse in to the forest of thys wretched worlde by the tyraunt Poncyanus, whych betokeneth the deuyll, and he not onely defouled her by lesynge of the herytage of heuen, but also he wolde slee her wyth euerlastyng payne. But the soule cryed wyth an hygh voyce, whose crye our lorde Iesu Chryst herde. Thys crye was made whan Adam cryed after ye oyle of mer­cy. [Page] [...] tyll [...] was nedefull, [...] the ascencyon daye [...] a dwellynge place of [...] sholde dwell after the daye [...] in honour and glory. But alas in [...] the deuyll and begyled the wretched [...] synne, & so he entred in to ye castell of our [...] sholde be the castell of god. The knyght I [...] at the gate of our herte, accordynge to [...] Eccesto ad hostium et pulso. Lo I stande [...] and knocke, yf ony man wyll open that I [...] But where as the deuyll is, god may not entre, but y [...] the synner wyll receyue hym by penaunce, whyche se­ynge the gentyll knyght Iesu, shewed hymselfe naked [Page] [...]

[...] of Ge [...]a Roman [...]rum, [...] London in Crede lane, by [...] Kynge. In the yere of our [...] god. M. [...].LUII.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.