Here begins John the Baptist


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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. 


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.


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


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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