Here begins John the Baptist
JOHN Ecce vox clamantes in deserto I am the voice of wilderness That here speaketh and preacheth to you. Look ye forsake all wretchedness! Forsake all sin that works woe, 5 And turn to virtue and holiness. Be clean of living in your soul also. Then shall ye be saved from painfulness Of fire burning in hell. If that ye forsake sin, 10 Heaven bliss shall ye win. Dread ye not the devil's gin, With angels shall you dwell. Penitenciam nunc agite Appropinquabit regnum celorum 15 For your trespass, penance do ye And ye shall win heaven, dei deorum. In heaven bliss ye shall win to be. Among the blessed company omnium supernorum There as is all mirth, joy and glee. 20 Inter agmina angelorum In bliss to abide. Baptism I counsel you for to take And do penance for your sin's sake. And for your offense amends ye make 25 Your sins for to hide. I give baptism in water pure That is called Flumjordan. My baptism is but a signifier Of his baptism that his like hath none. 30 He is lord of great valour I am not worthy to unbuckle his shoes. For he shall baptize, as seyth scripture, That cometh of them all, everyone, In the holy ghost. 35 He may damn and he may save All goodness of him we have. There may no man his works deprave For he is lord of mights most.
Here Jesus approaches John. Seeing him John says gesturing towards Jesus:
Ecce agnus dei qui tollit peccata mundi 40 Behold the lamb of God is this That comes now here before The which shall wash the world's miss And save all that that was forlorn. This same lamb, for sooth it is, That of a maid full clean was born. 45 Shameful death this lamb, iwis, Shall suffer for us and be all to-torn And rent on a rood. He shall suffer for man's sake. Little rest and much great sorrow he'll take 50 His back shall be bounden to a stake And beaten out all his blood. JESUS John Baptist, my own good friend, That faithfully doth preach my will, I thee thank with all my mind 55 For that good service thou dost me till. Thy desire is sin to bind, All sinful life thou wouldst spill. Thine intent has a good end. The law of God thou dost fufil 60 This time. Baptism to take I come to thee And confirm that sacrament that new shall be. In Flumjordan thou baptize me In water that is wide. 65 JOHN My lord God, this behooves me not With mine hands to baptize thee. I should rather of thee have sought Holy baptism, than thou of me. JESUS Suffer now, John, my will be wrought 70 All righteousness thus fulfil we Me to baptize. Take thou no doubt, The virtue of meekness here taught shall be. That every man may learn And take example here by me 75 How meekly that I come to thee. Baptism confirmed now shall be, Me to baptize take thou no fear. JOHN All men may take example, lo, Of lowly meekness even right here 80 By our lord God that cometh me to, His poor servant and his suitor. Every man learn to work right so Both King and Kaiser and great Emperor Be meek and low the poor man to, 85 And put out pride in all manner. God doth here the same To thy bidding, lord so dear. I thee obey with gladsome cheer And baptize thee with water clear. 90 Ever hallowed be thy name.
The Holy Spirit here descends over him and God the father of Heaven speaks in heaven
[GOD] This is my wellbeloved child Over whom my spirit doth ever spread. Clean and pure and undefiled Of body, of soul, for thought, for deed. 95 That he is obedient meek and mild, I am well pleased, without dread. Wisely to know you from ways wild To listen to his lore, all men take heed And your ears to hear. 100 Take good heed what he doth preach And follow the laws that he doth teach For he shall be your special leech To save you from the devil's dark. JOHN THE BAPTIST Here I see with open sight 105 The son of God that thou art. The holy ghost over thee doth light. Thy father's voice I hear full smart. The child of God, as I thee plight, That thou be, none may me thwart. 110 I shall witness to every wight And teach it truly with all my heart. To cease it were a great sin. For God's son I worship thee. From heaven, thine high majesty 115 Thou comest hither from dignity Man's soul to win. JESUS John Baptist, thou be witness The truth look that thou not hide For now I pass forth to the wilderness 120 The holy ghost shall be my guide.
Here Jesus crosses into the desert saying,
In this wild place of desertness Forty days, a term full wide And forty nights both more and less Without bodily food there to abide. 125 For man, thus do I swink. Into the desert I pass my way. For man's sake as I you say Forty nights and forty days I shall neither eat nor drink. 130 JOHN THE BAPTIST In place where I pass, witness I bear The truth shall I tell wheresoever I go That Christ the son of God has come to us here Clad in our clothing to suffer for us woe. I baptized with my own hands, Christ Jesus, right here 135 And now he is to wilderness, penance there to do Informing us all, that lord that hath no peer To do for our trepass, penance here also. Of penance do I preach, In witness right by this 140 That what man for his miss Doth penance here, iwis, His soul he doth well leech. All men on ground that be yet alive, For your great offense, look ye be repentant. 145 Of all your vicious sin I urge that ye you shrieve For God is full ready, mercy for to grant. Be contrite for your trespass and penance do believe. Reconcile yourself and be to God pleasant. With contrition, shrift and penance the devil may ye drive. 150 For from your fellowship, he shall not be errant You for to move To penance and sin forsake. Shrift of mouth, look that ye make And then the fiend in hell so black, 155 He shall you never more grieve. A tree that is barren and will bear no fruit The owner will hew it down and cast it on the fire. Right so it be man that followeth the foul suit Of the devil of hell and worketh his desire. 160 God will be avenged on man that is both dumb and mute That will never be shriven, but act as a liar. Clothe thee in cleanness, with virtue be imbued And God with his grace, he will thee soon inspire To amendment of thy miss. 165 Shrift of mouth may best thee save, Penance for sin, what man will have When that his body is laid in grave His soul shall go to bliss. Corn that is good, man keep it full clean. 170 Chaff that is simple is set well near at nought. So good men of living, to God chosen be. When sinful man is like chaff he to hell shall be brought. Good penance you preach, full heartily do I mean Shrift and satisfaction ever more to have in thought. 175 What man in good penance and shrift of mouth be seen, Of God he is wellbeloved, that all this world hath wrought And all thing of nought did make. Now have I taught you good penance God grant you grace at his pleasance 180 To have of sin deliverance For now I take my leave.
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