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(1837-

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The Child in the House,

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ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1850-1894)

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François Villon..

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And summe putten hem to pruide,

apparaylden hem ther-after,2 In cuntenaunce 3 of clothinge comen dis

gisid." To preyeres and to penaunce

putten hem monye,

25 For love of ur 6 Lord liveden ful streite, In hope for to have hevene-riche blisse; As ancres 8 and hermytes that holdeth hem

in heore ' celles, Coveyte 10 not in cuntre

to cairen 11

aboute, For non likerous lyflode 12 heore licam 13 to

plese. And summe chosen chaffare, 14

to cheeven 15 the bettre,

31 As hit semeth to ure sighte that suche men

thryveth. And summe, murthhes 16 to maken, as mun

strals cunne,17 And gete gold with here' gle, giltles, I

trowe; Bote japers 18 and jangelers, 19 Judas chil

dren, Founden hem fantasyes and fooles hem

maaden, And habbeth wit at heore o wille to worchen yif hem luste.20

37 That 21 Poul precheth of hem, I dar not

preoven 22 heere: Qui loquitur tur piloquium he is Luciferes

hyne. Bidders 24 and beggers faste aboute

eoden, Til heor bagges and heore balies 26 bretful i-crommet;

41 Feyneden hem 28 for hcore foode, foughten

atte ale; In glotonye, God wot, gon heo 30 to bedde And ryseth up with ribaudye 31 this roberdes

knaves : 32 Sleep and sleughthe 33 suweth 34 hem evere. Pilgrimes and palmers plihten 35 hem togederes

46 For to seche 36 Seint Jame and seintes at

Roome; Wenten forth in heore wey with mony wyse

tales, And hedden 37 leve to lyen al heore lyf aftir.

And some pranked them in pride, ap

pareled them accordingly, In quaint guise of clothing came they dis

figured. To prayers and to penance put themselves many,

25 All for love of our Lord lived they most

strictly, In hope of having heaven's bliss after; As nuns and as hermits that in their cells

hold them, Covet not careering about through the coun

try, With no lustful luxuries their living to pamper.

30 And some took to trade, to thrive by the

better, As to our sight it seemeth that such men

prosper. And some, merriments to make, with min

strels' cunning, And get gold with their glee, guiltless, me

thinketh; But jesters and jugglers, Judas' children, Forged them wild fantasies

as fools pretended,

36 Yet have wit at their will to work, were they

willing. What Paul preacheth of them prove here

I dare not: Qui loquitur tur piloquium he is Lucifer's

henchman. Bidders and beggars fast about bustled, Till their bags and their bellies were brimful and bulging;

41 Faking for their food, and fighting at the

alehouse, In gluttony, God wot, go they to slumber, And rise up with ribaldry, these robber

rascals; Sleep and sloth too pursue them forever. 45 Pilgrims and palmers pledged them to

gether To seek St. James's and saints' shrines at

Rome too; Went they forth on their way with many

wise stories, And had leave to be liars all their lives after.

23

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weren

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1 Grete lobres 2 and longe, that loth weore to swynke,

50 Clotheden hem in copes, to beo knowen for

bretheren; And summe schopen hem to * hermytes

heore ese to have. I fond there freres, all the foure ordres, 55 Prechinge the peple for profyt of heore

wombes, 6 Glosynge ? the Gospel as hem good liketh, For covetyse of copes construeth hit ille ; For monye of this maistres

mowen 10 clothen hem at lyking, For moneye

and heore marchaundie meeten togedere;

60 Seththe 12 Charite hath be 13 chapmon, and

cheef to schriven 15 lordes, Mony ferlyes han 16 bifalle in a fewe yeres. But Holychirche and heo 18 holde bet 19

togedere, The moste mischeef on molde 20 is mountyng

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11

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Great lubbers and long, that loth were to labour,

50 Clothed themselves in copes, to be counted

for “brethren"; And some entered as anchorites their ease

for to purchase. I found there the friars, all the four orders, Preaching to the people for profit of their bellies,

56 Glossing the gospel as good to them seemed, For coveting of copes construe it wrongly; For many of these masters

may dress at their fancy, For money and their merchandise meet oft together;

60 Since Charity hath been a chapman, and

chiefly to shrive nobles, Many freaks have befallen in a few seasons. Save Holy-Church and they hold better to

gether, The worst mischief in the world is mounting

up swiftly. There too preached a pardoner, as if he a priest were,

65 And brought forth a bull a bishop had

signed it And said that himself could absolve them

all fully Of falseness in fasting and of vows they had

broken. The unleitered believed him well and liked

what he told them, And came up kneeling to kiss his sealed

paper; He banged them with his brevet and

blinded their vision, And raked in with his rigmarole rings and

brooches. Thus ye give up your gold gluttons to

pamper; And rain it on rascals that revel in lewdness. Were the bishop blessed and worth both

up faste.

as

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31

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Ther prechede a pardoner,

21 he a prest were,

65 And brought forth a bulle with bisschopes

seles, And seide that himself mighte asoylen 22

hem alle Of falsnesse and fastinge and of vouwes

i-broken.23 The lewede 24 men levide 25 him wel and

likede his speche, And comen up knelynge to kissen his bulle; He bonchede 26 hem with his brevet and blered 27 heore eiyen,28

71 And raughte 29 with his ragemon ringes

and broches. Thus ye giveth oure gold glotonis to

helpen; And leveth hit to losels 33 that lecherie

haunten.34 Weore the bisschop i-blesset and worth bothe his eres, 35

75 His sel shulde not be sent to deceyve the

peple. Hit is not al bi 36 the bisschop that the boye

precheth, Bote the parisch prest and the pardoner

parte the selver 1 I have omitted two lines, which probably were not in the earliest version. 2 lubbers 3 labour 4 shaped them to, became 5 friars bellies interpreting & according to their own desire 9 many may

money since been 14 trader 15 shrive, confess

his ears,

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His seal should not be sent to deceive thus

the people. But the blame is not all on the bishop that

the boy preaches, But the parish priest and the pardoner part

the silver

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6

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24

17 many wonders have unless

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they the friars 19 better 20 earth 21 as if 22 absolve 23 broken vows ignorant 25 believed 26 banged 27 blinded 28

eyes 29 reached, got

31

your 32 gluttons rascals practice ears

36 it is not all the fault of

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30 license

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That the pore peple of the parisch schulde

have yif that heo ne weore. Persones and parisch prestes playneth ? to heore bisschops

80 That heore parisch hath ben pore seththe 3

the pestilence tyme, To have a lycence and leve at Londun to

dwelle, To singe ther for simonye, for selver is

swete. Ther hovide 4 an hundret in houves 5 of

selke, Serjauns hit semide to serven atte barre; 85 Pleden for pensó and poundes the lawe, Not for love of ur Lord unloseth heore lippes

ones.? Thou mightest beter meten 8 the myst

Malverne hulles Then geten a mom' of heore mouth til

moneye weore schewed ! I saugh ther bisschops bolde and bachilers

of divyne 10 Bicoome clerkes of acounte the king for to

serven. Erchedekenes and denis, 11 that dignite

haven To preche the peple and pore men to

feede, Beon lopen to Londun, bi leve of heore

bisschopes, To ben clerkes of the Kynges Benche, the

cuntre to schende.13 Barouns and burgcis 14 and bondages 15

on

on

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That the poor people of the parish should

have but for these two. Parsons and parish priests complain to their

bishops That their parish hath been poor since the

pestilence season, To have a license and leave in London to

linger, To sing there for simony, for sweet is silver. There hovered a hundred in hoods of silk

stuff; It seemed they were sergeants to serve in the law courts,

85 To plead for pennies and pounds for ver

dicts, Not for love of our Lord unloose their lips

ever. Thou couldst better measure the mist

Malvern hill sides Than get a mum of their mouths till money

were showed them. I saw there bishops bold and bachelors of divinity

90 Become clerks of account and king's own

servants. Archdeacons and deans, whose duty binds

them To preach to the people and poor men to

care for, Have lighted out to London, by leave of their

bishops, To be clerks of the King's Bench, the country

to injure. Barons and burgesses and bondmen also I saw in that assembly, as I shall show later;

97 Bakers, butchers, and brewers many; Woolen-weavers and weavers of linen; Tailors, tanners, and tuckers likewise; Masons, miners, and many other craftsmen; Dikers and diggers that do their deeds

badly, And drive forth the long day with Diers

save Dame Emme !" Cooks and their cookboys crying, “Hot

pies: hot! Good geese and piglets! Go we dine, go we!”

105 Tavern-keepers told them a tale of traffic,

12

alse 16

96

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I saugh in that semble,17 as ye schul heren

aftur; Bakers, bochers, and breusters 19 monye; Wollene-websteris 19 and weveris of lynen ; 99 Taillours, tanneris, and tokkeris bothe; Nasons, mind rs, and mony other craftes; Dykers, and delvers, that don heore dedes

ille 21 And driveth forth the longe day with “Deu

sare Dam Emme!22 Cookes and heore knaves 23

pies, hote! Goode gees and grys !

Go we dyne, go we!” Taverners to hem tolde the same tale, 106

cryen “Hote

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