A modernization


Alexandra F. Johnston

Based on an acting edition prepared by

David M. Parry

Copyright © A.F. Johnston Toronto, 1999


The manuscript of The Castle of Perseverance has been dated from about 1440. This dating makes it the earliest full length vernacular play manuscript to come down to us. All the other major manuscripts have been dated anywhere from 50 to over 150 years after this text. It is now housed in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C. The standard text is edited by Mark Eccles in The Macro Plays (Early English Text Society, OS 262, 1969). This modernization is based on an acting edition by the late David Parry (unpublished University of Toronto doctoral dissertation, 1985) which, in its turn, is grounded in a full-length production of the play in Toronto in August, 1979 by the Poculi Ludique Societas.

The dialect in which the play is written argues that it comes from East Anglia and the case has been made that it comes from Norfolk. There is external evidence from East Anglia and Essex (a neighbouring county) of a tradition of playmaking that would have fitted with the way this play is written and was performed. We cannot precisely say where the play was produced but we do know that, sometimes, several towns in these counties would band together to put on a long and lavish play like this one, hiring professional players and a professional "director/producer" called a "property player". It has been suggested that, since the sins of the central figure, Mankind, are those of the bourgeois middle class that this play was probably aimed at the wealthy middle class wool merchants who made the fifteenth century a period of great material prosperity in the south eastern counties of England.

The manuscript of the play contains a drawing, unique in the surviving evidence of early drama, that seems to provide a staging plan for the performance. Part of the purpose behind the PLS production was to test the viability of the stage drawing.

This modernization is, essentially, the text that was used for the production. However, one of the lessons learned in the course of the show was that many of the Latin lines -- particularly those that neither scan nor rhyme with the English verses -- are redundant to the acting text and were probably inserted at some point before the surviving copy was made by someone wishing to use the text, not as a play, but as a meditation text or a tool for learning the basic theological points made by the playwright. Almost all the "glosses" are scriptural verses reinforcing the action. These extraneous lines have been omitted from this text according to Dr Parry's arguments and placed in footnotes. This means that the line numbering of this text and the Eccles text will not match. A second major change from the Eccles text is the numbering separately of the Prologue, Proclamation or Banns. Dr Parry's analysis led him to believe that the Prologue, as it has a been copied into the manuscript, represents the Prologue to another version of this play. The major difference between the Prologue and the text is the omission from the Prologue of any mention of the important scene near the end where the Four Daughters of God debate the merits of the salvation of man's soul. The Prologue implies that Mankind will be saved by the intercession of the Virgin Mary rather than the decision of God based on the arguments of Mercy and Peace. The stage directions in italics are editorial based on our experience in production. Those in ordinary type are in the MS.

The modernization is based on the conviction that much of the flavour of the play is carried through the poetry. In the modernization, therefore, we have retained the rhymes wherever possible. From time to time, we found that there was no modern English equivalent that would fit the rhyme and metre. In those cases we have retained the sense of the passage by recasting the stanza. There are two places where there are breaks in the text because leaves have fallen from the manuscript -- one as Mankind enters the Castle and a second just after Mankind's death. Some bridging lines have been provided to cover the first break. These are printed in italics and numbered separately. No attempt has been made to fill in the lacuna near the end.


December 1998


1 HERALD     
Glorious God, in all degrees Lord most of might,   
That heaven and earth made of nought, both sea and land --   
The angels in heaven to serve him bright,   
And Mankind in middle-earth he made with his hand --   
And our lovely Lady, that is a lantern of light,           5   
Save our liege lord the king, the leader of this land,   
And all the nobles of this realm, teach them the right,   
And all the good commoners of this town that before us stand   
In this place.   
In all good faith we gather you,                           10   
Your generous hearts we crave of you,   
From every harm Christ save you,   
That will know of our case!   
The cause of our coming, you to declare,   
Everyman in himself truly may it find:                     15    
How Mankind into this world is born full bare                       
And bare shall be buried at his last end.   
God giveth him to angels, active and alert --   
The Good Angel and the Bad -- to him does he lend.   
The Good teaches him goodness; the Bad sin and hurt,       20   
When the one has the victory the other goes behind   
By St. Loy   
The Good Angel covets ever the more Man's salvation   
And the Bad attacks him ever to his damnation                      
And God hath given Man freedom of volition                 25   
Whether he will save himself or his soul destroy.   
Destroyed is Man piteously when he to sin assent!   
The Bad Angel then brings him three enemies so stout:   
The World, the Fiend, the foul Flesh so elegant,          
They lead him right lustily with sins all about;           30   
Blinded with Pride and Greed, to the World he is driven   
To maintain his manhood; men to him bend double!   
After Wrath and Envy, the Fiend hath to him given   
Backbiting, and  Informing with all men to make trouble    
Full even.                                                 35   
But the foul Flesh most familiar of all,   
Sloth, Lust and Lechery begin to him to call,   
Gluttony, and other sins both great and small.   
Thus is Man's soul soiled with sins more than seven.   
When Man's soul is soiled with sin to such cost,           40   
Then the Good Angel makes much mourning   
That this lovely likeness of God should be lost   
Through the Bad Angel's false enticing.   
He sends to him Conscience clothed full poor,   
And Clear Confession with Penance-doing.                   45   
They move Man to amendment that he misdid before.   
Thus they call him to cleanness and to good living,   
Without mischance.   
Meekness, Patience, and Charity,   
Soberness, Busyness and Chastity,                          50   
And Generosity, virtues of good degree,                       
Call Man to the Castle of Good Perseverance.   
1 HERALD    
When Mankind has entered the Castle of Perseverance,   
Well armed with virtues, and overcome all vices,   
There the Good Angel makes a merry dance,                  55   
For Mankind has conquered his spiritual enemies.   
The Bad Angel mourns that he has lost Man;   
He calls the World, the Fiend and the foul Flesh,   
And all the Seven Sins to do what they can   
To bring Mankind again to torment out of bliss             60   
With wrong.                                                         
Pride assails Meekness with all his might;   
Anger against Patience full fast begins to fight;   
Envy against Charity strives at the height;   
But Greediness against Generosity fights overlong.         65   
2 HERALD    
Greediness ever covets Mankind's fall; indeed,   
He gathers to him Gluttony against Soberness;   
Lechery with Chastity fights without heed;   
And Sloth-in-God's-Service against Busyness.   
Thus vices against virtues contend with all speed  --      70   
All struggle to bring Mankind to distress.    
Unless Penance and Confession with Mankind intercede,   
The Vices are full likely the Virtues to oppress,   
Without doubt.   
Thus, in the Castle of good Perseverance,                  75   
Mankind is muddled with much variance.   
The Good Angel and the Bad show opposite stance   
The Good holds him in, the Bad would bring him out.   
1 HERALD    
When Mankind will not come out of good Perseverance   
The Bad Angel with Greediness begins him to assail --      80   
Finding him in poverty and penance now so numb --   
And makes him believe in poverty he will fail.   
Then he offers him goods and gold, so great a sum,   
If he will wend to the World, wealth to enjoy.   
The Bad Angel to the World lures him to come,              85    
From the Castle of Perseverance to flee, from the joy    
And Bliss.   
Then the World begins his goods to restore   
Had he never so much, yet he would have more --   
Thus, the Bad Angel teaches him his lore:                  90   
The more a man ages, the harder he is.   
2 HERALD    
Hard is a  man in old age and covetous is his kind.   
When all other sins Man hath forsaken   
The more gold he has, the more is in his mind   
To gather and get goods though in evil it's taken.         95   
Thus, the Good Angel is left behind,   
And the Bad Angel takes Man to him,   
Who tricks him treacherously to his last end,   
'Til Death comes right dolefully, and in a ditch drops him   
Full low.                                                  100   
Then is Man on middle-earth vexed in his mind;   
He sends for his executors, full fickle to find,   
And his heir afterward comes ever behind --   
"I Wot Not Who" is his name, a man he does not know.   
1 HERALD    
Man knows now who shall be his heir and govern his goods.  105   
He cares more for his chattels than for his cursed sin.   
The governance of his goods, troubles his mood.   
He would it were meted out to his near kin.   
But there shall come a rascally lad with a torn hood --   
"I Wot Never Who" shall be his name, his clothes be full thin -- 110   
He shall inherit the goods, who never was of Man's blood.   
When all Man's life is shrunk on the point of a pin   
At the last,   
When life is to him no longer lent,   
"Mercy!" he shall call at his last end:                    115   
"Mercy, God! Be now my friend!"   
With that, Man's spirit is passed.   
2 HERALD    
When Man's spirit is passed, the Bad Angel so cruel   
Claims that, for greediness, Man's soul should be his,   
And bears it boisterously with him to hell.                120   
The Good Angel says, "Nay! The spirit shall to bliss,   
For at his last end, of mercy he did say,   
And therefore, of mercy shall he nought miss.   
And our lovely Lady, if she will for him pray,   
By  mercy and mediation in purgatory he is --              125   
A bitter place!"   
Thus his mouth's confession   
And his heart's contrition   
Shall save Man from damnation   
By God's mercy and grace.                                  130    
1 HERALD    
Grace, if God will grant us of his great might,   
On scaffolds with costumes the roles we will play   
This day sevennight, before you in sight   
At _____ on the green in richest array.   
Yea, haste you then, thitherward sirs, in delight,         135   
All good neighbours, full specially we you pray;   
And look that you move quickly, lithely and light,   
For we shall be ready by three of the day   
Dear friends,   
We thank you for all good listening,                       140   
And of your part in our playing,   
And pray you prosperous living   
Until our lives' ends.   
2 HERALD    
As our lives, we love you, thus taking our leave   
Ye men of ______,  may Christ save you all!                145   
He maintain your mirth and keep you from grief,   
That was born of mild Mary in an ox stall.   
Now, merry be all _______ and well may you thrive,   
To all our faithful friends may good luck now fall!   
Yea and welcome be you when you come to see us contrive,   150   
And worthy to be worshipped in bower and in hall,   
And in every place.   
Farewell, fair friends   
Who attention will lend.   
Christ keep you from fiends.                               155   
Trump up, let us pace!   


Worthy wights in all the world wide,   
Living by wild woods and in the by way,   
To his precious prince puffed up in pride   
Through his proper, plain place give silence and stay.               
Be ready bold bachelors under my banner to abide           5   
Where bright broadswords be battered and backs be played! --   
Yea, seemly sirs, who sit side by side --   
For both by sea and by land my boys have I sent.   
"All-the-World" my name is meant,                                       
And all about my rule is blown.                            10   
In every coast am I known,   
I make men in madness to moan,   
Until by my blows they be spent.   
Assyria, Achaia and Germany,   
Calvados, Cappadocia and Cananee1,
Babylon, Brabant, Burgundy and Brittany,                   16   
Greece and Gaul and to the Greekish sea;   
I move also Macedonia by my mighty blow,   
France and Flanders and Friesland and also Normandy,    
Pyncecras2, Paris, Pygmyland also;
Every town in Thrace bows unto me,                         21
Also Rhodes and rich Rome --   
All these lands of which I tell,   
Fall under my worldly spell;    
My treasurer, Sir Greed, right well,                       25   
Has seized them wholly for me!   
Therefore, my sport and my glee grow full glad;   
Is there is any one in this world to refuse my word?   
Every rich ruler runs as if he were mad,    
In lust and liking that my laws may be heard.              30   
With fair folk in the field freshly am I fed;   
I dance down like a doe in the darkling dell.   
Whoever bids to do battle or debate with a blade,   
Him were better to be hanged high in a corner of hell    
Or burnt with bright lightning!                            35   
Whoso speaks against the World,   
In prison he shall be hurled;   
My commands are held and heard   
Unto high heaven!   
BELIAL (Sitting on his scaffold, with Pride, Wrath, and 
Envy in attendance)   
Now sit I, Satan, steadfast in my sin,                     40   
As devil doughty, like a dragon on my sack.   
I champ and I chew and I thrust out my chin;   
I am boisterous and bold as Belial the black!   
The folk that I grasp they gasp and they groan,    
From Carlisle to Kent, my carping they take!               45   
Both the back and the buttocks burst burning unbound,   
With works of vengeance, them wretched I make:   
My delight is in woe!   
In care I am cloyed,    
And foully annoyed                                         50   
Unless Man be destroyed,   
And in ditch laid right low.   
Pride is my prince in pearls bedecked;   
Wrath, this wretch, with me shall go;    
Envy into war with me shall I fetch;                       55   
With these traitors I am fed, in faith am I so   
As a doughty devil in my den am I set   
Pride, Wrath, and Envy, I say in my saw,   
Kings, Kaisers and colonels and many keen knights,    
These lovely lords have taught them my law --              60   
To my den they will draw!   
But unless Mankind   
In hell I may bind   
In pain is my mind    
Disgrace does it gnaw!                                     65   
On Mankind is my trust in places I know   
Disguised thus so ghastly, glide I away   
Through Flanders and Friesland fast can I go   
Foolish folk in a flock to beat and to flay    
Where I grope on the ground, grim anger shall grow.        70   
Gather you together you boys in this green.   
On this broad bugle when I blast I shall blow   
All this world shall run mad , as I mean   
And to my bidding bend!    
But now on this side                                       75   
On this bench will I bide,   
This day, indeed   
To harm Mankind!   
FLESH (Sitting on his scaffold, with Gluttony, Lechery 
and Sloth in attendance)   
I bide like a broad-bursting gut, above on these towers.   
Everybody is better that to my bidding bows down.          80   
I am Mankind's fair Flesh, fashioned with flowers;    
My life with lust and lechery abounds.   
With tapestries of taffeta I trim up my towers;   
In mirth and in melody my mind is fair drowned.   
Though I be but base clay buried under bowers,             85   
Yet would I that my will in the world were found,    
Truly, for my part.   
I love well mine ease --   
In lusts me to please! --   
Though Sin my soul seize                                   90   
I give not a fart.    
In Gluttony, gracious now do I grow --   
Therefore he sits seemly here by my side.   
In Lechery-and-Liking am I sunk low;   
And Sloth, my sweet son, is bound to abide.                95   
These three are noble, truly I know,   
Mankind to trap in treachery's tide   
To get birds in my bower, my blast I will blow,   
By ways and by woods, through this world wide,   
The truth to make plain.                                   100   
But if Man's Flesh should thrive    
Be strong and alive,   
Down to grief would I dive,   
And be brought into pain!   
And after a good feast, in faith, though I fell,           105   
Though I dive down to dust, and am dragged in the deep,    
Though my foolish soul were harried to hell,   
Whoever will follow me, I know, he shall weep   
Ever without an end.   
Behold:  the World!  the Devil!  and me!                   110   
With all our might, we kings three    
Night and day, busy we be   
To destroy Mankind   
If that we may.   
Therefore on the hill,                                     115   
Sit you all still,   
And watch with good will    
Our rich array!   
MANKIND  (Rising from his bed under the Castle)   
After our fore-father's way,   
This night I was of my mother born.                        120   
From my mother I walk, I stray;    
Full faint and feeble I fare you before.   
Naked of limb and loin as well --   
As Mankind is shaped and shorn.   
I know now whether to go or to dwell,                      125   
To help myself, midday or morn.    
For shame I stand and tremble.   
Born bloody this night in misery.   
Naked I am, as you may see --   
Ah, Lord God in Trinity,                                   130   
How Mankind is feeble!    
Wherefore I was to this world brought,   
I know not; to woe and weeping   
I am born, and have right nought   
To help myself in any doing.                               135   
I stand bewildered, of thought I am full.    
Bare and poor is my clothing:   
A little chrism on my head is all,   
That I received at my christening.   
I have no more, certainly.                                 140   
Of earth I came, I know that well    
As earth I stand or fall;   
Here Mankind is on trial --   
Lord God I beg thy mercy!   
(The Good and Bad Angels enter, and stand on 
either side of Mankind)   
Two angels are assigned to me.                             145   
The one teaches me the good --    
On my right side you may him see --   
He came from Christ who died on rood.   
Another is ordained here to be,   
That is my foe by fen and flood;                           150   
He is about, in every degree    
To draw me to these devils mad   
That crowd together into hell.   
Two such has every man alive   
To rule him and his wits five.                             155   
When man does evil, one would him shrive    
The other draws him to ill.   
But, since these angels to me befall,   
Lord Jesus, from you I seek a boon:   
That I may follow whate'er befall                          160   
The angel that came from heaven's throne.    
Now, Lord Jesus in heaven's hall,   
Hear when I made my moan!   
Gracious Christ, to you I call --   
As feeble spirit, I sight and groan,                       165   
I think, I am full of thought.    
Ah, Lord Jesus, whither may I go?   
A baptism I have, and no more --   
Alas!  Men are troubled with woe,   
When they are first forth brought.                         170   
Yea, forsooth, that is so true:    
Of woeful woe man may sing --   
For each creature for himself can do,   
Save only man at his coming.   
Nevertheless, turn thee from woe,                          175   
And serve Jesus, heaven's king,    
And thou shalt, as we may show,   
Fare well in everything.   
That lord who life to thee has lent:   
Have him always in thy mind,                               180   
That died on cross for mankind,    
And serve him to thy life's end --   
And, surely, thou shalt not want!   
Peace,  Angel!  Thy words are not wise --   
Thou counselest him not aright!                            185   
He shall be drawn to the World's service,    
To dwell with Kaiser, King and Knight.   
There shall be assured his niche.   
Come on with me, Still-as-Stone!   
Thou and I to the World shall be gone,                     190   
And then thou shalt see anon    
How soon thou shalt be rich!   
Ah peace, angel -- thou speakest folly!   
Why should he covet World's good,   
Since Christ on earth, and his many                        195   
All in poverty here they stood?   
World's wealth, wherever you go    
Fails and fades as fish do in flood;   
But heaven's riches are good and true,   
There Christ sits, bright as blood,                        200   
Without any distress.   
To the World would He not flit,    
With him He would not sit --   
Example I find in holy writ:   
He will bear me witness3!
Mankind, Mankind, believe him not,                         206 
But come with me, by path or street!    
When thou a taste of the world have caught,   
Thou shalt find it good and sweet.   
A fair lady to thee shall be brought                       210   
Who will turn all thy sorrows to treat.   
With rich rents thou shalt be fraught    
With slippery silks to sit in seat.   
I urge thee, let thy beads be!   
If thou wilt have health good                              215   
And dine well with meat and food --   
In God's service thou never could --   
So come and follow me!   
Whom to follow, ye or ye!   
I stand and study, begin to rave.                          220   
I would be rich in great array --    
But yet I would my soul to save:   
As wind on the water I wave.   
(Turns to the Bad Angel)   
Thou wouldst I to the World me took --   
(Turns to the Good Angel)   
And he would that I it forsook.                            225   
Now, so God me help and the holy book,    
I know not which I should have!   
Come on Man!  Whereof hast thou care?   
Go we to the World, I advise, look alive   
For there thou shalt very well fare --                     230   
Assuming that you are keen to thrive.    
No lord shall reach thy pitch!   
Take the World to thine intent,   
And let thy love theron be lent;   
With gold and silver for rich rent                         235   
And soon thou shalt be rich!    
MANKIND (To the Bad Angel)   
Now, since thou hast promised me so,   
I will go with thee and essay.    
I won't stop for friend or foe,   
But with the World I will go play,                         240   
Yes, for a while I'll go.    
In this World is all my trust,   
To live in luxury and lust.   
When he and I have once kissed   
We shall not part, I know.                                 245   
Oh, nay, Man, for Christ's own blood!    
Return again, by street and stile.   
The World is wicked, and truly mad,   
Thou shalt live but a little while.   
What covetest thou to win?                                 250   
Man, think on thine ending day,    
When thou shalt be closed under clay --   
And if thou think of that array,   
Surely thou shalt not sin4!   
Oh, on thy soul thou shalt think soon enough --            255   
Come forth, Man, pay him no heed!   
Come on, let him mourn here and be in a huff,   
Thy flesh thou shalt foster and feed   
With lovely life's food.   
With the World thou mayest be bold                         260   
'Til thou art sixty winters old:   
When thy nose waxes cold   
Then mayest thou turn to good.   
I vow to God, and so I may   
Make merry for most of my life!                            265   
I may live for many a day --   
I am too young, as I believe,   
To do all that I ought.   
Might I ride by stream and fen,   
As do rich and lordly men,                                 270   
Surely joyful I would be then,   
Of death I should care not!   
Yes, by my faith, though shalt be a lord --   
Or else hang me by the neck!   
But thou must be at my accord:                             275   
Sometimes pleasures thou wilt wreck   
Among thy kith and kin.   
Now go forth, quick! anon!   
To the World we must be gone --   
And bear thee manly ever among                             280   
When thou comest out or in.   
Yes, or my neck you may nip in a knot,   
Unless I be manly wherever I go!   
And though I be false, I care not a jot,   
If I like a lord I can rule men so!                        285   
I will follow thee as I can;   
Thou shalt be my font of grace,   
For were I rich, wide in the world to pace,   
Then would I give not a space   
To God nor to a good man!                                  290   
(Turns away from the Good Angel, and begins to move with 
the Bad Angel in the direction of the World's scaffold)   
I wail, wring hands and make my moan --   
This man with torment shall be torn!   
I sigh sore and grievously groan,   
His folly surely shall make him forlorn!   
I know not whither to be gone --                           295   
Mankind has thus forsaken me.   
Alas, man, for love of thee!   
Yea, for thy sport and thy glee   
Thou shalt soon sigh sore and groan!    
                             Pipe up Music   
(World's scaffold. World enthroned, with Lust-Liking, 
Folly, and the Boy in attendance)   
Now I sit in my splendid salle;                            300   
I twist and tremble in my true throne;   
And a hawk, I hop in my handsome hall;   
King, knight and kaiser to me make moan;   
Of God nor of good men I give not a damn.   
As a loose-living lord I loll here alone;                  305   
Whoso brags any boast, wherever I am,   
Those rogues shall be terrified and pitifully groan   
For sure!   
Lust, Folly and Vainglory --   
All these are in my memory;                                310   
Thus begins the noble story   
Of this world's allure.   
(To his aides)   
Lust-liking and Folly --   
Comely knights of renown! --   
Quickly through this land do cry                           315   
All about, in tower and town,   
If any man be, far off or nigh,   
That to my service will set him down.   
If he will be trusty and true,   
He shall be king and wear the crown,                       320   
With richest robes of rays!   
Whoso to the World will draw,   
Of God nor of good man gives he not a straw --   
Such a man, by land's law,   
Shall sit on my dais.                                      325   
Lo, me! here ready Lord, to fare and to flee   
To seek thee a servant valued and dear!   
Whoso will by Folly ruled be,   
He is worthy to be a servant here,   
Who slips into the Sins Seven.                             330   
Whoso will be false and covetous,   
With this World he shall have land and house.   
This World's wisdom gives not a louse   
For God nor for high heaven!   
     Then he descends together (with Folly) into the 
       platea. (He speaks to the audience)   
Peace, people!  Of peace we you pray!                      335   
Sit still and listen to my saw:   
Whoso will be rich and in great array,   
Toward the World shall he draw!   
Whoso will be false, as much as he may,   
Of God himself no awe he had,                              340   
And lives in lechery night and day,   
The World of him will be right glad   
To dwell in his house.   
Whoso will with the World have his dwelling,   
And be a lord of his clothing                              345   
He must needs, over everything   
Evermore be covetous5.    
Ya! Covetous he must be,   
And me, Folly, must have in mind!                          
For whoso will always Folly flee,                          350   
Shall find this world all unkind.   
Through worldly wisdom of great degree.   
Mankind never shall thrive I fear   
Unless he have help from me         
That am Folly, handsome and fair --                        355   
He must be hanging on my hook!   
Worldly wit was never naught,   
Unless it were with Folly fraught:   
Thus the wise man has taught         
On this subject in his book. 6
Now all men that in this world would thrive --             361 
And ride upon a horse full high! --   
Come, speak with Lust-liking, look alive!       
And to his fellow, young Folly.       
Let's see who will us know!                                365   
Who will come to liking and lust,   
And, as a fool, in folly rust   
On us two he may trust          
And live handsomely, I know.   
(The Bad Angel comes forward to Lust-Liking and Folly, 
leaving Mankind a little way off)   
Now , Lust-liking and Folly!                               370   
Pay heed to me with good intent:   
I have brought along with me   
To the World a great present.       
I have tricked him craftily,   
For, since he was born, I've made him blind.               375   
He shall be servant good say I.   
Among you his will you'll find:   
To the World he will him take,         
For since he had wits, I understand,       
I have enticed him in every land.                          380   
His Good Angel, by street and strand   
I have made him forsake.   
Therefore, Lust, my own true friend --        
Thou art ready always, iwis! --   
Of worldly laws teach him to the end                       385   
That he were brought to worldly bliss.   
Look he be rich, the truth to tell;   
Help him, that quickly he may thrive;        
And when he rejoices most in living,   
Then shall he die and not be shriven,                      390   
And go with us to Hell!   
By Satan, thou art a noble knave   
To guide men first away from good!         
Lust and liking he shall have;   
Lechery shall be his food;                                 395   
Of meat and drink, all kinds he'll try,   
With a lust-loving lady so great,     
He shall sit in silks of state --          
And be caught behind hell's gate   
That day he shall die!                                     400   
With rich rents I shall him blind,   
With the World till he has a mount;   
And then shall I, long before his end,        
Make that caitiff to be bound   
To the World, when he is troubled sore.                    405   
(He calls to Mankind, still standing a little way 
Come on, Man!  Thou shalt not rue!   
For thou wilt be to us true,   
Thou shalt be clad in clothes new,             
And be rich evermore!   
(Mankind joins Folly, Lust-Liking, and the Bad Angel)   
Mary, fellow, gramercy!                                    410   
I would be rich and of great renown.   
Of God I take no account, truly,   
As long as I be lord of tower and town,        
By bushes and banks so brown.   
Since that thou wilt make me                               415   
Rich in both gold and fee,   
Go forth! for I will follow thee   
By dale and every town!        
    Trumpe vp.  Then Lust-Liking and Folly, the Bad Angel  
     and Mankind will go to the World and Lust-Liking will  
Now, lord, look out! for we have brought   
A servant of noble fame.                                   420   
Of worldly good is all his thought;   
Of Lust and Folly he had no shame.   
He would be great of name;     
He would be at great honour,   
For to rule in town and tower;                             425   
He would have to his paramour   
Some lovely, lofty dame.   
Welcome, sir, seemly in sight !          
Thou art welcome to clothing sweet!   
For thou wilt be my servant day and night,                 430   
In my service I shall thee foster and feed:   
Thy back shall be covered with gold, burnished bright;   
Thou shalt have building by banks broad;    
To thy state shall kneel kaiser and knight,   
Wherever thou walk at home or abroad,                      435   
And lovely ladies who stare.   
But God's service thou must forsake,   
And wholly to the World thee take;         
And then such a man I shall thee make   
That none shall be thy peer!                               440   
Yes, World, and thereto here's my hand,   
To forsake God and his service!   
In return, thou must give me house and land,       
So that I will reign richly in my enterprise --   
So that I go well by street and strand                     445   
While I dwell here in worldly wise.   
I care nothing for heaven's hand,   
Nor for Jesus, that gentle justice!         
Of my soul, I have no ruth:   
What should I care of doomsday,                            450   
If I can be rich and of great array?   
I shall make merry while I may,   
And thereto I plight thee my troth.        
Now, certainly, sir, thou sayst well!   
I hold thee to be true from top to toe.                    455   
To make you rich I will seal our deal --   
With you and all that will live so.   
Come up, my servant true as steel!         
                Then Mankind shall ascend to the World   
Thou shalt be rich, wherever you go;   
Men shall serve thee at meal,                              460   
With minstrelsy and the trumpets blow,   
With meat and drink so sly;   
Lust-and-liking shall be thine ease;        
Lovely ladies thee shall please;   
Whoso does thee displease,                                 465   
He shall be hung up high!   
Liking, be quick!   
Let's clothe him slick,     
In robes thick,   
With rich array!                                           470   
Folly, thou fool,   
By bench and by stool,   
Serve at his rule,     
Both night and day.   
LUST-LIKING (To World)   
Trustily!                                                  475   
(To Mankind, motioning him off the scaffold)   
Lord, ready,   
Je vous pry!   
(To World)   
Sir, I say,   
In liking and lust   
He shall rust,                                             480   
'Till death's dust   
Do him to die!   
And I, Folly,            
Shall lift him high,   
'Til some enemy                                            485   
Him overplay.   
In World's wit,   
That in Folly sit            
I think yet   
His soul to slay!                                          490   
(Lust-liking , Folly, and Mankind leave the scaffold)   
                      Trump up.   
(Backbiter enters into "the place")   
All things I cry against the peace   
To knight and knave -- that is my kind.     
Ya!  Worthy dukes upon their dais   
Into bitter torment I them bind!   
Crying and care, chidings full chill,                      495   
And sad sorrow to them I send.   
Ya,  what a bundle of lies I tell:   
Of tales untrue is my intent.    
Man's ruin around with me I bear!   
I want you to know, all those that be here --              500   
For I am known both far and near --   
I am the World's messenger:   
My name is Backbiter !   
With every man I walk, I go,   
And every man now loves me well.                           505   
But with loud lies (though he does not know)   
To death's blow I make him fall.   
To speak fair before, and foul behind,    
Amongst men at meat and meal,   
Truly, lords, this is my kind:                             510   
Thus I run upon a wheel!   
I am craftier than a fox:   
To flit about flattering is my lesson;   
With lies I harm both tower and town,   
With the letters of defamation                             515   
I bear here in my box!   
I leap lightly throughout every land;   
My huge success must not be unheard:     
Two men may not together stand   
Unless I, Backbiter, be the third.                         520   
I force you boys to shame and disgrace!   
They all will bow when I them bid,   
The law of the land here I deface.         
When tales untrue are being spread,   
Backbiter is wide-sprung.                                  525   
Through the world, by down and dales   
All about I make false sales;   
Everyman tells my tales    
After my false tongue!   
Therefore I am made messenger,                             530   
To leap along the land's lay   
Through all the world, far and near,   
Unsaid sayings for to say.   
In this grove I hunt here,    
For to spy out a secret play --                            535   
(He crosses the ditch into the Castle enclosure)   
For when Mankind is clothed so dear,     
Then shall I teach him the way   
To the Deadly Sins Seven!   
Here I shall wait and see what ensues,     
The wrong to make him straight to choose                   540   
For I think that he shall lose   
The light of high heaven.   
(Lust-liking, Folly, and Mankind -- now clothed in gold- 
trimmed garments -- re-enter the scaffold of the World)   
Worthy World, in your wealth found   
Here is Mankind, handsome, not old!   
In bright gold coins he is bound,                          545   
And ready to bow to you so bold.   
He lives in lechery no pleasure less,   
Wholly to you he doth him yield.   
Thou must make him go gay on grass,     
Worthy World, now him behold!                              550   
This World, is well at ease --   
For, to God I make a vow,   
Mankind would rather now   
Grieve God with sins raw    
Than thou, the World, to displease.                        555   
Displease thee he will for no man!   
On me, Folly, is all his thought.   
Truly, Mankind now never can   
Think on God, that hath him bought.   
Worthy World, white as swan,                               560   
In thy love he is truly caught.   
Since first he had knowledge, his life began,   
Thee he would forsake not,   
But has given himself to folly.         
And he has to thee been true,                              565   
I advise you, forsake him for no man new:   
Let us please him, until he rue   
In hell to hang high!   
Now Folly, fair luck you befall!   
And Lust, blessed be thou aye!                             570   
You have brought Mankind to my hall,   
Surely, in noble array.   
With the world's wealth within these walls   
I shall him endow if I may.    
(He turns to Mankind still at the foot of the 
Welcome, Mankind! To thee I call,                          575   
More cleanly clothed than any man,   
By hill, dale and ditch.   
(Mankind ascends to the World)   
Mankind, I advise you stand   
As it is best, here at my hand;             
Look thou obey World's command,                            580   
And ever thou shalt be rich.   
What should I do, but your rule hold?   
Thou controllest truly all my will;   
Thou endowest me with fen and field,          
And high halls, near wood and hill.                        585   
In worldly wealth all my wit I wield   
In joy and strut with jewels gentle   
On a blissful bank my bower I build;   
In vainglory I stand still.          
I am keen as a knight:                                     590   
Whoso against the World will speak,   
Vengeance Mankind shall on him wreak --   
In a strong prison I shall him stick,   
Be it wrong or right!     
Ah, Mankind, may luck you provide                          595   
That thy love on me is set!   
In my bowers thou shalt abide,   
And fare much the better yet.   
I endow you with all my dwellings wide,         
In the grave 'til thou be set;                             600   
I make thee lord of much pride.   
Sir, in what your own mouth utters,   
I find in thee no treason.   
In all this world, by sea and sand,   
Parks, places, glades and land,                            605   
Here I give thee with my hand,   
Sir, an open season.   
Go to my treasurer, Sir Greediness;   
Look thou tell him as I say:    
Bid him make thee master in his house,                     610   
With pennies and pounds for it play.   
Look thou give not a louse   
For the day that thou shalt die.   
Messenger! do now thy use!   
(Backbiter runs from the Castle to the World's 
Backbiter, teach him the way --                            615   
Thou art sweeter than mead!   
Mankind, take with thee Backbiting;   
Leave him not for anything --   
Flibbertigibbet, with his flattering,   
Will stand you in good stead.                              620   
Shall go with thee, from town to town.   
Have done, Mankind, and come down!   
I am thine own page.     
I shall bear thee witness, with my might,                  625   
When my lord, the World, tells me right.   
Lo! where Sir Greediness sits,   
And waits for us in his stage.   
(He gestures to Greediness's scaffold, across "the 
Sir World, I wend,     
In Greediness to follow my kind.                           630   
Obey him in each,   
And then, truly, thou shalt be rich!   
(Mankind descends from the World's scaffold to Backbiter, 
and together they begin to move across "the place" to  
Greediness's scaffold)   
Alas, Jesus, gentle justice,   
Wither may Man's Good Angel go?   
Now shall careful Greediness                               635   
Mankind truly overthrow.   
His spirit heavy will be with sighs   
Backbiting brings him to bitter bondage.   
Worldly wits, you are not wise --   
Your lovely life amiss you spend,                          640   
For that you shall sorely smart!   
Parks, pounds and many pence,   
They seem more sweet than rich incense --   
But God's service, nor his commandments     
Concern not your heart.                                    645   
Ya! When the fox preaches, keep well your geese!   
He speaks as he were a holy pope!   
Go, fellow, and pick off the lice   
That creep there upon they cope!   
Thy part is played all at the dice                         650   
That thou shalt have here, as I hope.   
'Til Mankind falls to worm's prize   
Greediness shall him grip and grope   
'Till some shame shall him rend   
'Til Man into the grave shall go                           655   
He'll never say he has enough   
Therefore, good boy, come blow   
At my nether end!   
(Mankind and Backbiter arrive at the foot of Greediness's 
Sir Greediness, God thee save   
Thy pence and thy pounds all!                              660   
I, Backbiter, thine own knave,   
Have brought Mankind into thine hall.     
The World bids thou shouldst him have,   
And endow him well, whatso befall,   
'Til gone he be to his green grave.                        665   
Dress him in thy rich royal mantle,   
Greediness  -- it were else a pity.   
While he walks on earthy mould   
I, Backbiter, to him will hold;    
Lust and Folly, those barons bold,                         670   
To them he has sworn his duty.   
Oh, Mankind, blessed might thou be!   
I have loved thee dearly many a day,   
And so, I know well, thou dost me.   
(He motions to Mankind to ascend his scaffold)   
Come up and see my rich array! --                          675   
It were a point of pity great   
But Greediness held you in awe.   
(Mankind ascends Greediness's scaffold, and Greediness 
motions him to be seated)   
Sit up right here in this seat!   
I shall thee teach the world's law   
That fadeth as a flood.                                    680   
Of wealth enough you shall make boast --   
And yet our game would be right lost   
Unless thou covet more and most   
Than ever shall do you good.   
Thou must give thyself to simony                           685   
Extortion and false assize;   
Help no man but thou knowest why;   
Pay not thy servants their service;   
Thy neighbours look that thou destroy;     
Tithe not in any wise;                                     690   
Hear no beggar, thou he cry --   
And then thou shalt full soon rise.   
And when you handle merchandise,   
Look that thou be subtle of sleights,   
And also swear all by deceits,                             695   
Buy and sell by false weights --   
For that is natural greediness.   
Be not afraid of the great curse --   
This lovely life may long last.    
If the penny is in thy purse                               700   
Let them curse and do their best!   
By the devil of hell, art thou the worse   
Though you break God's behest?   
Do as I do!  I am thy nurse!    
Always gather, and have no rest;                           705   
In winning wealth be all thy work;     
Of poor men, take no heed;   
For if you slacken in your greed --   
Your wealth can vanish all with speed.  
Thus sayeth Cato the great clerk. 7
Ah, Avarice, long may you live!                            711   
Of worldly wit you know, iwis.   
Thou carest for me, I believe    
And shouldst be cross if I did amiss.   
I shall never to a beggar give                             715   
Meat nor drink, by heaven's bliss.   
Rather, before I should him ever relieve,   
He should starve and rot, iwis!   
Greediness, as thou wilt, I will do:   
Wherever I go, by fen or flood,                            720   
I make a vow, by God's blood,   
From Mankind gets no man any good   
Unless he sings "si dedero"!   
Mankind, that was well sung!   
Certainly, now you know some skill.                        725   
Blessed be thy true tongue!   
In this bower thou shalt bide and dwell.   
More sins I would you would undertake:     
With greediness thee endow I will;   
And then some pride I'll for you make                      730   
High in thy heart, to hold full well,   
And abide in thy body.   
(He takes gold and silver from his "cupboard", and 
presents them to Mankind)   
Here I endow thee, in my heaven,   
With gold and silver, light as the leaven.   
The Deadly Sins, yes, all seven,                           735   
I'll quickly make to come to thee.   
Pride! Wrath! and Envy!   
Come forth, the devil's children three!     
Lechery! Sloth! and Gluttony! --   
To Man's Flesh you are fiends so free --                   740   
Hasten over dales to me!   
Be now as happy as any be!   
Over hills and groves haste ye,   
To Mankind come, and to me,   
From your hidden dens!                                     745   
As mighty dukes do you dress!   
When you six be come, I guess,   
Then be we seven, and no less   
Of the Deadly Sins.   
(Pride speaks from Belial's scaffold, with Belial, Wrath 
and Envy).   
Wondrous sharp shouts on high hill I heard!               750   
Greediness is calling -- his loud cries I know   
Some lord or some lordling now has been lured   
To be decked with the pearls of my proud show.   
Keen am I to brag and to bustle and bound   
Quickly caring riot to blow.                               755   
No duke do I fear, by den, dale or down!   
Also, fast to the job wherever I go,   
I roar when I rise!     
Sir Belial, bright of hue,   
I commend me unto you:                                     760   
Have good day for I go,   
My fair father, to Greediness.   
WRATH  When Greediness cried and complained of care,   
Then must I, mad Wrath, walk and go   
High over hills as hound after hare.                       765   
If I delayed and were the last he would give me a blow!   
I will flourish my staff by banks full bare!   
Some boy shall be beaten and brought to me bound:     
Wrath shall avenge him and measure all his ware.   
Destroyed shall all be, for gay games in land              770   
As a rascally page.   
Sir Belial, black and blue   
Have a good day! Now I go    
To destroy thy foe   
With a wicked wage!                                        775   
When Wrath begins to walk, on someone to pounce,   
Envy  flies as a fox, and follows fast.   
When you start, or stare, or stumble upon stones,   
I leap as a lion -- I am loath to be last!   
Ya! I breed bitter torments in body and in bones:          780   
I fret in my heart, I cast myself in care.   
Go we to Greediness, all three at once,   
With our grisly gear, a lad for to scare:     
This day shall he die!   
Beelzebub, now have good day!                              785   
For we will go in good array,   
All three together as I say --   
Pride, Wrath and Envy!    
BELIAL  Farewell now, children, have me in mind!   
Do now well your old use:                                  790   
When you come to Mankind,   
Make him wrathful and envious;   
Work fast, do him find --    
To his soul brew a bitter juice.   
When he is dead, I shall him bind                          795   
In hell, as a cat does a mouse.   
Hasten forth, do not abide!   
I am as gay as any may be,    
For Mankind in every country,   
Is ruled by my children three:                             800   
Envy, Wrath and Pride!   
(Pride, Wrath, and Envy descend from Belial's scaffold to 
"the place" but do not yet move towards the scaffold of 
Greediness. Gluttony begins to speak from Flesh's 
A lad has called out gaily over the ground;   
Of me, gay Gluttony was all his tale.   
I stamp, and leap, but then stagger around;   
To a certain death I swoon so pale.                        805   
Whatever boys with their bellies, in my bonds be bound,   
Both their bodies and blood through torment I trail.   
I incite folk to fight 'til their death be found;   
When some have drunk a drought, they drop down all pale --   
On me is all their mind!                                   810   
Man's flourishing flesh,   
Fair, frail, and fresh,   
I trap in my mesh,     
For that is my kind.   
In Man's loins I intend my castle to keep.                 815   
I, Lechery, with sexual pleasure am loved in each land.   
With my sweet honey-suckle, I sit and I sleep;   
Many ladies I bring to my bitter bond.     
In woe and in pain wicked wits shall weep,    
That from my wild dwellings out will not go.               820   
When Mankind is forced into his grave to creep,   
Then to those rascals, for their lechery, I shall deal a blow,   
Truly to tell.    
Sir Flesh, now I go,   
With lust down below,                                      825   
Mankind's way to show   
To the devil of hell!  
Ya!  What sayest thou of Sir Sloth, with my sour sight?      
Mankind loves me well, yes, as I know.   
Men of religion I rule as my right:                        830   
I hinder God's service, the truth forth to show.   
In bed I breed lechers with my ladies bright;   
Lords, ladies and lollabouts to my lore go.     
Much of Mankind in my cloaks shall be knit,   
'Till death drive them down to the pit below.              835   
We may no longer abide:   
Sir Flesh, comely king,   
In thee is all our breeding;    
Give us now thy blessing,   
For Greediness has cried.                                  840   
Gluttony and Sloth, go without fear!   
Joy and prosperity is now all your right.   
And Lechery, my daughter so dear,   
Hold you so haughty on height   
All three, my blessing ye shall have here.                 845   
Go now forth, for nought but your delight.   
Your way now is clear   
To drive Mankind to the scourge of Hell's spite   
Away from the bright bliss of heaven.   
(He turns to the audience)   
The World, the Flesh, and the Devil we know                850   
Are great lords, that much we owe;   
And in all mankind we set and sow   
The Deadly Sins Seven!    
     (Gluttony, Lechery, and Sloth descend from Flesh's 
          scaffold) Then Pride, Wrath, Envy, Gluttony, 
          Lechery and Sloth will go to Greediness and 
          Pride will say:   
What is thy will, Sir Greediness?   
Why hast thou after us sent?                               855   
When you cried out, we rushed to rise,   
And come to thee now par asent:   
Our love is on thee lend.    
I, Pride, Wrath and Envy   
Gluttony, Sloth and Lechery                                860   
We have come, all six, at thy cry   
To be at thy commandment.   
Welcome be you, brothers all --    
And my sister, sweet Lechery!   
Do you know why I began to call?                           865   
For you must give me help, quickly.   
Mankind is come now to my hall,   
With me to dwell, as you may see;   
Therefore you must, whate'er befall,   
Endow him with your folly --                               870   
Otherwise you do him wrong.   
For when Mankind by kind is covetous,   
He is proud, wrathful and envious;   
Gluttonous, slothful and lecherous   
Are ways he is also among.                                 875   
Thus every sin attracts another,   
And makes Mankind to be a fool.   
We seven fall in together,    
To chase Mankind to the ducking stool.   
Therefore, Pride, good brother --                          880   
And brethren all -- take each your tool.   
Let each go his own way or other,   
And set Mankind on a stumbling stool     
While he is here alive.   
Let us lull him with our lust                              885   
'Til he be driven down, damned to dust!   
Cold care shall be his only crust     
When him to death we drive.    
This glorious game makes me grow glad!   
Mankind! take good heed,                                   890   
And do as Greediness thee bad:   
Take me in thine heart -- precious Pride!   
Look thou be not over-lead;    
Let no young knight thee misguide;   
Make all hold you in fear and dread;                       895   
Beat your servants 'til they bleed;   
Make them suffer doleful days!   
Friend, father, or mother dear   
Obey them not in any manner;   
Consider that no man is thy peer  --                       900   
And live in these new ways:   
Look thou brag much in boast,   
And wear long toes upon thy shoes;         
Frill thy clothes whatever it cost,   
Lest men should think thee a silly goose!                  905   
It is thus, Man, well thou knowest.   
Therefore do as no man does;   
Insults at all men see thou throwest;        
And thyself thou must praise the most.   
Vaunt up thyself on every side:                            910   
All men insult, bend to thy will;   
Of every man see thou think ill,   
'Till death's blow thy body kill.   
Put wholly thine heart in Pride.   
Pride, by Jesus, thou sayst well --                        915   
Who allows it is pushed around all day!   
While I sit high on Fortune's wheel,   
I shall not allow it, if that I may.   
Much mirth, at meat and meal,   
I love right well, and rich array.                         920   
Truly, I think I'll make a deal,   
Each day to have clothes so gay,   
And of myself to take close guard.   
Much mirth thou wilt me make,   
To live like a lord, by land and lake;                     925   
My heart wholly to thee I take   
Into thine own award.   
In thy bower to abide,     
I come to dwell by your side.   
(Pride ascends to Mankind on Greediness'scaffold)   
Mankind and Pride                                          930   
Shall dwell together whate'er betide!   
Be also angry, as if you were mad;   
Make men dread thee, by deeds so slick;     
Whoso angers thee, by fen or flood,   
Look thou be avenged and that right quick;                 935   
Be ready to spill man's blood!   
Look that thou frighten them, with a nasty trick.   
Always, Man, have an angry mood;   
My loathsome laws look thou take,   
Be advise, for any thing.                                  940   
At once, take vengeance, by me be led,   
And no man shall be ahead of thee;   
But of thee they shall have much dread     
And bow to thy bidding.   
Wrath, to your gracious council I bend,                    945   
Have thou God's blessing, and my own   
That wretched man of my kind   
That will not bow, for that he'll groan!   
My vengeance shall I to him send,   
And avenge myself, by God's eye!                           950   
Sooner than I shall bow or bend,   
I should be stuck as swine in sty,   
With a loathly lance.     
Be it early or late,   
Whoso makes with me debate,                                955   
I shall him hit right on the pate,   
And take at once vengeance!    
With anger toward other,    
I come to thee, Mankind, my brother.   
(Wrath ascends to Mankind on the scaffold)   
MANKIND Wrath, my fair father                              960   
Makes each man to be avenged on other!   
Envy with Wrath along must drive   
To haunt Mankind also.    
When any of thy neighbours thrive,   
Look thou have Envy thereto;                               965   
In God's name, I charge thee: look alive   
And backbite him whatever you do!   
Kill him, anon without any knife,   
And tell tales of him wherever you go,   
By dales and meadows dry!                                  970   
Speak of thy neighbour much shame;   
Put on him some false fame;   
Look thou undo his noble name,   
With me, that am Envy!   
Envy, thou art both good and kind,                         975   
And shall be of my council chief.   
Thy counsel is known throughout mankind,   
For each man calls other "Whore!" and "thief!"   
Envy, thou art the root and rind,   
Throughout this world of much mischief.                    980   
In bitter sorrow I shall them bind,   
That slander thee, in my belief.   
Come up to me above,    
For more Envy than is now reigning   
There never was since Christ was king!                     985   
Come up, Envy, my dear darling --   
Thou hast all Mankind's love!   
I climb from this croft,    
With Mankind to sit aloft.   
(Envy ascends to Mankind on the scaffold)   
Come, sit here soft --                                     990   
For in abbeys thou dwellest full oft.   
(Envy sits himself beside Mankind)   
In gay Gluttony a game thou begin:   
Ordain thee meat and drinks so good;     
Look that no treasure thou part in twain,   
But thee endow and feed with all kinds of food.            995   
With fasting man never shall win!   
These great fastings, I hold them mad --     
Though thou eat and drink, it is no sin!   
Fast no day, I say by the rood,   
Though they chide, these fasting churls.                   1000   
Look thou have spices of good odour,   
To fill and feed fleshly flower  --   
Then mayst thou be bold in thy bower,     
And mount all thy gay girls!   
Ah, Gluttony, thee well I greet!                           1005   
Thy sayings are sure and full of truth:   
No day am I by sty or street,   
Till I have well filled my mouth!   
Fasting is kicked under feet;   
Though I never fast, I care not a straw;                   1010   
He does no good: by the rood, I'll eat!   
He only makes a man's guts to gnaw --   
To fast I just can't stand!    
I shall not spare, as I hope for rest,   
To have a morsel of the best --                            1015   
The longer then my life shall last,   
With great luxury in land.   
Wherever you lead     
Good vomit you speed!   
(Gluttony ascends to Mankind on the scaffold)   
While life I lead,                                         1020   
With fair food my flesh shall I feed!   
Ya, when thy flesh is fair fed,   
Then shall I, lovely Lechery,    
Bounce up and down with thee in bed.   
For this serve food and drinks so dry --                   1025   
In love thy life shall be led.   
Be a lecher 'til thou die:   
Thy needs shall be the better sped   
If thou give thee to fleshly folly   
'Til death's river thou shalt leap!                        1030   
Lechery, since the world began,   
Hath advanced many a man;   
Therefore, Mankind, my dear lemman     
Into my cunt thou shalt creep!   
Ah, Lechery, wealth follow thee!                           1035   
Man's seed in thee I'll sow.   
Few men will forsake thee,     
In any country that I know.    
Adultery is a friend right free --   
Men use it all the time now!                               1040   
Lechery, come sit by me;   
Thy words of wisdom all men know;   
Pleasure is in thy nether end.    
One nor other, I see no wight   
That will forsake thee, day nor night --                   1045   
Therefore come up, my lady bright,   
And rest thee with Mankind!   
(Lechery ascends to Mankind on the scaffold, and sits by 
I may truly sing,     
"Mankind is caught in my sling!"   
Let's not wait for any thing,                              1050   
To bed thou must me bring!   
Ya, When you be in bed both,   
Wrapped where your desires lead,   
Then I, Sloth, will be wroth   
Unless two lechers I may breed.                            1055   
When the mass-bell goes,   
Lie still, man, and take no heed;   
Lap your head then in a cloth,   
And take a chill, pills to need --   
Church going thou forsake!                                 1060   
Sluggards in land I lift,   
And put men to much unthrift;   
Penance that men are given in shrift     
Is powerless; and that I make!   
Oh, Sloth, you match my will!                              1065   
Men use thee much, God it wot.   
Men love well now to lie still   
In bed, to take a morning sweat;   
To go to church is not their will;   
Their beds they think good and hot.                        1070   
Harry, Geoffrey, Joan, and Jill,   
Are laid with each other in one cot,   
By your wicked charms.    
All mankind, by the holy rood,   
Are now slothful in works good.                            1075   
Come near, my friend, mine own fair food,   
And lull me in thine arms.   
I make men, I know,     
In God's service to be right slow.   
Come up, do not go  --                                     1080   
Such men you shall find here, you know!   
(Sloth ascends to Mankind on the scaffold, and sits by 
his side)   
"Mankind" I am called, by my kind --   
With cursedness of ways I sit.    
In sour sweetness my sight I send,   
With seven sins sadly beset.                               1085   
Much mirth excites my mind,   
With melody at my very lip.   
My proud power shall never end,   
'Til I be put in the painful pit  --   
To hell snatched from hence!                               1090   
In the vale of sorrow till we are down,   
We shall be clad in a gay gown.   
I see no man but they use some    
Of these seven Deadly Sins.   
For nowadays, it is seldom seen,                           1095   
That he who now is lecherous,   
By other men he is disdained,   
And he's proud and covetous:   
In sin each man is found.   
Neither poor nor rich by field nor fen                     1100   
Who all these seven will forsake  --   
But with one or other he shall be taken,   
And be in their bitter bonds fast bound!     
So much the worse -- waif full of woe!   
That ever Good Angel was assigned to thee!                 1105   
Thou art ruled by the fiend that is thy foe,   
And no way, surely, ruled by me.   
Wellaway!  Wither may I find my way?     
Man makes me pale for very shame;   
His sweet soul he will now slay;                           1110   
He shall regret his sport and game   
Time and again!   
You see well truly in sight,    
I strive so hard, both day and night,   
To bring his soul to bliss so bright  --                   1115   
But he himself will bring it to pain!   
No, Good Angel, thou art not in season!   
Few men in thee their faith they find,     
For thou has shown a threadbare reason.   
Good sir, come kiss my hole behind!                        1120   
Truly Man will not have chosen   
A pathway by thy God designed.   
For he that would know Christ's lesson,     
In penance his body he must bind,   
And forsake the World's mind.                              1125   
Men are loath on thee to cry,   
Or do penance for their folly --   
Therefore, now have I mastery   
Well nigh over Mankind.   
(He exits from "the place" triumphantly)   


Alas!  Mankind                                             1130   
Is mocked and misled as the blind!   
In faith, I find   
To Christ he cannot be kind.   
Alas! Mankind   
Is soiled and sogged in sin!                               1135   
He will not win   
When body and soul part in twain.   
Alas, God is offended!   
Amiss Man's life has been expended,   
By fiends defended.                                        1140   
Mercy, God, that Man were amended!   
(Shrift enters into "the place" and speaks to the Good  

What, Man's Angel, good and true   
Why sighest thou, and sobbest sore?   
Surely, sore it shall me rue,   
If I see thee make mourning more.                          1145   
May any cure now comfort you?   
Or anything thy state restore?   
For all fellowships, old and new,   
Why weepest thou more and more,    
Tormented wailings strange to thee?                        1150   
Why was this mourning here begun,   
With sore sighing under the sun?   
Tell me and I shall, if I can,   
Cure thee of thy misery.   

From bitter sorrow thou may me keep,                       1155   
Sweet Shrift, if that thou wilt,   
For Mankind it is that I weep:   
He is at the point of being spilt!   
He sits in the Seven Sins' seat,   
And surely will 'til he be killed.                         1160
With me he thinketh never more to meet;   
He hath forsaken me, I have no guilt --   
No man will him amend!   
Therefore, Shrift, so God me speed,   
Unless thou help at this need,                             1165
Mankind will get no other meed   
But pain without an end!   

What, Angel? Be of comfort strong,   
For thy Lord's love that dies on tree!   
For me, Shrift, it shall not be long --                    1170
Until thou shalt the truth see.   
If he will confess his wrong,   
No thing conceal but tell it me,   
And do penance these among,   
To joy he's be restored through me                         1175 
A joy that ever shall last.   
Whoso will confess his sins all,   
I promise him true heaven's hall.   
Therefore, go we hence, whate'er befall,    
To Mankind fast!                                           1180   
      (They then will go to Mankind and Shrift will say:)   

What, Mankind! How goes this?   
What dost thou do with these devils seven?   
Alas, alas, Man all amiss!   
Rejoice in the name of God in heaven,   
I urge, as I hope for rest.                                1185   
These loathly lords now cast adrift,   
And come down and speak with Shrift,   
And turn thee quickly unto thrift,   
Truly, it is the best!   
(Sloth has spoken some words into Mankind's ear. 
Mankind turns and speaks to Shrift)   

Ah Shrift! thou art well known                             1190   
To Sloth here, that sits herein.   
He says you should come to Man's home   
On Palm Sunday,  that's the time --   
Thou art come all too soon!   
Therefore, Shrift, come what may,                          1195   
Go forth until Good Friday!   
Listen to thee then I may --   
Now other things must be done.   

O that harlot Sloth is now too bold --   
In sorrow he binds Man, I believe.                         1200   
Tell Sloth I charge him that he should   
Find a pardon for thy life.   
Man! thou mayst be under mold   
Long ere that time, killed with a knife --   
With frogs and toads many-fold!                            1205   
Therefore prepare thee now to shrive,   
If thou wilt come to bliss!   
Thou sinnest!  Ere sorrow with thee dispense,   
Behold thine heart -- thy privy sense --   
And thine own conscience,                                  1210   
Or, surely, thou dost amiss.   

Ya!  Peter!  others do too --   
(He indicates the whole audience)   
We have eaten garlic everyone!   
Though I should to hell go,   
I know well I shall not go alone,                          1215   
I tell thee truly!   
I did never so evil, I am not so sly,   
But others have done as evil as I.   
Therefore, sir, let be thy cry   
And go hence from me!                                      1220   
(Penance enters into "the place" and travels across 
it to Greediness' scaffold as she speaks)   

With the point of penance I shall him pierce,   
Man's pride to fell.   
With this lance I shall disburse   
Truly a drop from mercy's well.   
Sorrow of heart is what I mean --                          1225   
Truly, there may no tongue tell   
What washes souls more clean   
From the foul fiend of hell   
Than sweet sorrow of heart!   
God, that sits in heaven on high,                          1230   
Asks no more, e'er that thou die,   
But sorrow of heart with weeping eye,   
For all thy sins smart.   
They that sigh in sinning,   
In sad sorrow for their sin,                               1235   
When they shall make their ending,   
All their joy is soon to begin.   
Then mingles there no mourning,   
But joy is joined with gentleness fierce.   
(She reaches Greediness' scaffold, and addresses  
Mankind, seated above)   
Therefore, Mankind, in this tokening,                      1240   
With point of spear  I will thee pierce:   
God's laws so dear instruct.   
With my dagger of sorrow sweet,   
I reach to thine heart's root.   
Thy shame shall show thee what is right --                 1245   
Mankind! go shrive thee quick!   
(She pierces Mankind's heart with her lance)   

A seed of sorrow in me is set;   
Certainly, for sin I sigh sore!   
The moans of mercy in me are met --   
For the world's mirth I mourn more!                        1250   
In weeping woe my joy is wet.   
Mercy! thou must my state restore!   
From our Lord's light thou had me kept,   
Wretched sin, thou grisly gore!   
Out on thee deadly sin!                                    1255   
Sin does Mankind's bliss prevent;   
In deadly sin my life is spent --   
Mercy, God omnipotent!   
In your grace I begin.   
For though Mankind has done amiss,                         1260   
If he will fall in repentance   
Christ shall him bring to the bower of bliss,   
If sorrow of heart prick him with lance.   
My lords, see well all this:   
Mankind has been in great mischance --                     1265   
I now forsake my sin, iwis,   
And take me wholly to Penance.   
On Christ I cry and call!   
Ah, Mercy, Shrift! I will no more --   
For deadly sin my heart is sore!                           1270   
Fill Mankind with thy store,   
And have him to thine hall.   

No man has Shrift ever forsaken.   
When Mankind cries, I am ready.   
When sorry of heart thee hath taken,                       1275   
Shrift profiteth, truly.   
Whoso for sin will sorry make,   
Christ heareth him when he will cry.   
Now, Man, let sorrow thy sin slake;   
And turn not again to thy folly,                           1280   
For that maketh mischance!   
And if thou turn again to sin,   
For God's love, lie not long therein;   
Always to do evil, and never restrain,   
That asks a great vengeance.                               1285   

Nay, certainly, that shall I not do!   
Shrift, thou shalt the truth see --   
For thou man towards sin is wont to go,   
I will now amend me:   
I come to Shrift, with my whole heart, lo!                 1290   
              (Then he descends to Shrift: he turns and 
                speaks to the Sins, who are still aloft on
                Greediness' scaffold)   
I forsake you, Sins, and from you flee!   
You make for man a sorry shore   
When he is beguiled in this degree:   
You mar him while you may!   
Sin, you bring a sorry store;                              1295   
You make Mankind to sink sore;   
Therefore of you I'll have no more --   
(He turns away from the Sins to Shrift)   
I ask Shrift, for charity!   

If thou wilt acknowledge here   
Each and every trespass,                                   1300   
I shall thee shield from hell fire,   
And put thee from pain, in a precious place.   
If thou wilt not make thy soul clear,   
But keep sins in thy heart's case,   
Another day their heads they'll rear,                      1305   
And sink thy soul to Satanas,   
In ghastly glowing coal!   
Therefore, Man, that here does grieve,   
If you would worthy in heaven live,   
At once yourself you now must shrive,                     1310   
Of thy misdeed all!   

Ah, yes, Shrift!  Truly,  I know,   
I shall not refrain nor any miss,   
I shall reckon them all on a row,   
My sins that I may enter bliss!                            1315.   
To my Lord God I acknowledge,   
That sits above in highest heaven,   
That I have sinned as you allege   
In the Deadly Sins Seven,   
Both in home and hall:                                     1320   
Pride, Wrath, and Envy,   
Greediness and Lechery   
Sloth and also Gluttony --   
I have used them all.   
The ten commandments broken I have,                        1325   
And my five wits used amiss;    
I was then mad and began to rave --   
Mercy, God, forgive me this!   
When any poor man alms did crave,   
I gave him nothing; that makes me repent, iwis.            1330   
Now Saint Saviour, ye me save,   
And bring me to your bower of bliss!   
All, I cannot say --   
But to the earth I kneel down   
(He kneels in front of Shrift)   
Both with beads and orison,                                1335   
And ask my absolution,   
Sir Shrift, I you pray.   

Now Jesus Christ, God holy,   
And all the saints of heaven kind --   
Peter and Paul, apostles be                                1340   
To whom God gave power to loose and bind --   
He forgives thee thy folly   
That thou hast sinned with heart and mind.   
And I by my power thee assoil   
That thou hast been to God unkind                          1345   
Quantum peccasti.   
In Pride, Ire, and Envy   
Sloth, Gluttony and Lechery   
And Greediness, continually,    
Vitam male continuasti                              1350   
I thee assoil, with good intent   
Of all the sins that thou hast wrought   
In breaking of God's commandment,   
In word, work, will and thought,   
I restore to thee the sacrament                            1355   
Of penance, for which thou gave not a jot;   
Thy five wits were so misspent   
In sin, which thou shouldest not;   
Quicquid gesisti,   
Seen with eyes, with ears hearing,                         1360   
Smelled with nose, with mouth speaking,   
And all thy body's bad working   
Vitium quodcumque fecisti.   
I thee assoil with mild mood,   
Of all that thou hast been, full mad                       1365   
In the forsaking of thine Angel Good,   
And thy foul flesh that thou hast fed,   
The World, the Devil of wicked brood,   
And followed thine Angel that is so bad.   
To Jesus Christ, that died on rood,                        1370   
I restore thee again indeed.   
Noli peccare!   
And all the good deeds that thou hast done,   
And all thy tribulation,   
Stand thee in remission:                                   1375   
Potius noli viciare!   
(He rises to his feet and looks around "the place")   
Now, sir Shrift, where may I dwell,   
To keep me from sin and woe?   
A comely counsel, kindly tell,   
To defend me now from my foe!                              1380   
If these Seven Sins hear tell   
That I am from them gone away,   
The World, the Flesh and the Devil of hell   
Shall seek my soul that they may it slay   
In hell's bower!                                           1385   
Therefore, I pray you, put me   
In some place of surety --   
That they may not harm me   
With no sins sore!   

To such a place I shall thee bring,                        1390   
Where you may dwell without mischance   
And always keep thee from sin --   
Into the Castle of Perseverance.   
If thou wilt to heaven win,   
And keep thee from the World's advance                     1395   
Go to yon Castle, and keep thee therein,   
For it is stronger than any in France.   
To yonder castle I thee send!   
That castle is a precious place,   
Full of virtue and of grace:                               1400   
Who liveth there his life's space   
No sin shall ever him rend.   

Ah, Shrift, blessed might thou be --   
This castle is here right at hand!   
Thither quickly will I be,                                 1405   
Surely over this solid land.   
Good perseverance God send me,   
While I live here in this land!   
From foul filth now I flee;   
Forth I go, oh gift so grand,                              1410   
To yonder precious port.   
Lord, but man has a merry living   
When he is of his sins full shriven!   
And all his grief away is driven --   
Christ is my comfort!                                      1415   
(He begins to walk towards the Castle. The Bad Angel 
re-enters "the place" and sees Mankind)   

Hey! what the devil Man! whither away?   
Would you draw now to holiness?   
Go, fellow, go thy way --     
Thou art forty winters old -- go well,   
Go again the to Devil's way                                1420   
And play thee awhile with Joan and Jill!   
Shrift would do nothing, the old hag,   
(He indicates Penance contemptuously)   
But put thee to penance and distress   
She cheats behind her smile!   
Let those who are on the pit's brink                       1425   
Forbear to have both meat and drink,   
And do penance as they good think --   
But come thou and play a while!   

Oh, Mankind! wend forth on thy way,   
Heed not his call.                                         1430   
He would thou lead so far astray   
In crooked paths to the grave.   
Of cursedness he keeps the key.   
To bake thee a bitter bread.   
In a vale of woe, 'til thou shouldst die                   1435   
In wickedness he would thee lead,   
In sin to have mischance.   
Therefore speed now thy pace   
Quickly, to yon precious place,   
That is all grown full of grace --                         1440   
The Castle of Perseverance!   

Good Angel, I will do as thou wilt,   
On land while my life may last --   
For I find well in holy writ   
Thou counselest ever for the best!                         1445   

(Here one complete leaf or approximately 96 lines are missing. The lines contain the entry of the Virtues into the lower level of the Castle or their appearance within it. Humility and Patience deliver their opening speeches to which Mankind, standing outside the moat or ditch replies. We have provided a bridge of only two stanzas (26 lines) in which Humility and Patience welcome Mankind and describes their essences.)


Welcome, Man, to Perseverance.   
Here may we help you grow in grace!   
I, Meekness, shall provide the chance   
For you to put your Pride in place.   
When Lucifer would his state enhance                       5   
And puff himself before God's face --   
He fell, and our deliverance   
Comes only through God's gentle grace.   
Jesus, the humble and the meek   
Showed us all the proper way                               10   
To live our lives through every day   
On the night he was betrayed --   
By washing his disciple's feet.   

I, Patience, lived in Christ as well.    
He taught Man how to handle Wrath                          15   
When standing bound in Herod's hall   
He nothing said.  The Man who hath   
Such Patience shown has saved us all.   
Therefore, when anger blocks thy path    
Think on His passion -- mark it well!                      20   
And think on bale and bliss both.   
Then shalt thou choose    
Which path that thou must go.   
But through faith thou'lt always know    
For His example doth thee show.                            25   
Through Patience thou canst not lose.]   

To Charity, Man, have an eye!   
In all things, Man, this concede:   
All thy doing, as dross, is dry   
Unless in charity thou dost thy deed.   
I destroy always Envy --                                   1450   
So did God when He began to bleed.   
For sin he was hanged so high,   
And yet sinned he never in deed,   
Of mild mercy the well.   
Paul in his epistle puts it best:                          1455   
'But Charity is the greatest'   
Therefore, Mankind, now request   
In Charity to dwell.   

In Abstinence lead thy life!   
Take but careful reflection,                               1460   
For Gluttony kills without a knife   
And destroys thy complexion.   
Whoso in eating is excessive,   
Swells up with corruption.   
This sin brought us all to strife,                         1465   
When Adam in sin down fell   
From precious paradise.   
Mankind learn now our lore:   
Who eats or drinks more   
Than will sensibly his state restore,                      1470   
I hold him nothing wise.   

Mankind, take heed of Chastity,   
And follow close the maiden Mary!   
Fleshly folly look thou flee,    
That courteous queen, what did she? 8 
Kept herself clean, and steadfastly;                       1476 
In her was enclosed the Trinity;   
Through spiritual grace she was worthy,   
Because she was so chaste.                                 1480   
Who keeps himself so, and will not sin,   
When he is buried deep earth within,   
All his joy will then begin --   
Therefore, come to me in haste!   

In Busyness, Man, look thou be,                            1485   
With worthy works, good and quick   
To Sloth if thou abandon thee,   
It shall thee draw to thoughts most sick;9    
It puts a man in poverty,    
And pulls him to hell's painful prick.                     1490   
Do something always for love of me --   
Though thou shouldst but whittle a stick.   
With prayer beads sometimes thee bless;   
Sometimes read, and sometimes write,   
And sometimes play at thy delight.                         1495   
The devil thee waiteth with keen spite   
When thou art in idleness!   

In Generosity, Man, lay thy love!   
Spend thy wealth as God it sent.    
In worship of Him that sits above                          1500   
On all men let your goods be spent.   
When to the grave men shall thee move,   
Little love is on thee lent.   
The executors shall say it's their behoof   
"Let's make us merry, for he is spent                      1505   
That all this wealth did rule."   
Lay thy treasure and thy trust   
In a place where no corroding rust   
May it corrupt to dross or dust   
But all to help thy soul.                                  1510   

Ladies in land, luminous, light,   
Lovely lilies, you be my leech!   
I will bow to your bidding bright --   
True doctrines you me teach!   
Dame Meekness, in your might                               1515   
I will me turn from the wicked wretch;   
All my purpose I order right,   
Patience to do as you do preach --   
From Wrath you shall me keep;   
Charity, you will me attend:                               1520   
From foul Envy you me defend!   
Man's mad mind you may amend,   
Whether he wake or sleep;   
Abstinence, in your I trust:   
From Gluttony you shall me draw;                           1525   
In Chastity to live, not lust,   
That is Our Lady's law;   
Busyness, we two have kissed --   
Sloth, I forsake your slippery maw!   
Generosity, in you I trust                                 1530   
Greediness right now to slay.   
This is a courteous company!   
Why should I more moans make?   
The Seven Sins I forsake,   
And to these Seven Virtues I me take.                      1535   
Maiden Meekness, now, mercy!   

Mercy may amend thy woes.   
Enter here at thine own will!   
We shall defend thee from thy foes,    
If thou keep in this castle still. 10 
                    (Then he will enter)   
Stand herein, as still as stone,                           1541
Then shall no deadly sin thee spill.   
Whether sins be come or gone,   
This place shall be thy dwelling still;   
With virtues we shall thee advance.                        1545   
This castle is crafted without and within   
That whoever holds himself herein,   
He shall never fall in deadly sin --   
It is the Castle of Perseverance! 11
      (Then they will sing  "Eternal King Most High" et cetera)   

Now blessed be Our Lady, of heaven empress!                1550   
Mankind from folly has taken his fall,   
And is in the Castle of Goodness.   
He haunts now a heavenly hall   
That shall bring him straight to heaven.   
Christ, that died upon the cross,                          1555   
Keep Mankind in this castle close,   
And put always in his purpose   
To flee the foul Sins Seven.   

Nay, by Belial's bright bones,   
There shall he no time dwell!                              1560   
He shall be won from here at once   
By the World, the Flesh, and the Devil of Hell --   
They shall my vengeance wreak!   
The Sins Seven, those kings three,   
To Mankind have enmity:                                    1565   
Fiercely they shall all help me   
This castle for to break!   
(He shouts for Backbiter)   
How! Flibberdigibit, Backbiter!   
(Backbiter runs to him)   
Fast our tidings look thou take!   
Quickly about look thou art!                               1570   
Say Mankind his sins forsakes;   
With yon wenches in dwelling fair   
All to holiness himself he takes.   
In my heart it hurts me dear,   
The boast those wenches make --                            1575   
My guts all in me grind!   
Flibberdigibit, run all in a rush:   
Bid the World, the Fiend, and the Flesh   
Come now to fight all fresh   
To win again Mankind!                                      1580   

I go! I go on ground full glad,   
Swifter than a ship with rudder!   
I make men mazed and mad,   
And every man to kill another,   
All men me fear!                                           1585   
I am glad, by Our Lady of Hailes,   
Of malice to spread foul tales,   
Both in England and in Wales --   
(He turns to the audience, and indicates them as the  
subject of the next line)   
In truth, at many I jeer!   
         (Then he will go to Belial. Backbiter addresses 
           Belial on his scaffold)   
Hail, set on thy throne, all hail!                         1590   
Hail, worthy devil in thy dell!   
Hail, lord of Hell!   
I come to thee, tales to tell.   

Backbiter, boy,   
You're excited forsooth!                                   1595   
Say now, I say,   
What tidings?  Tell me the truth!   

Terrible tales I may thee say,   
To thee no good, as I guess:   
Mankind is now gone away                                   1600   
Into the Castle of Goodness;   
There he will both live and die,   
In the grave till death shall him dress.   
He hath thee forsaken, forsooth I say,   
And all thy works both more and less!                      1605   
To yon castle he did creep.   
Yon mother Meekness, truth to maintain,   
And all those maidens on yon plain,   
For to fight they be full fain.   
Mankind for to keep!                                       1610   
       (Then he will call Pride, Envy and Wrath. Pride, 
         Envy and Wrath leave Greediness' scaffold, move 
         across "the place", and ascend Belial's scaffold)   

Sir king, what's up?   
We be ready throats to cut!   

Grief-begetters, the gods give you all evil grace!   
A dire death may you die!   
Why did you let Mankind from you pass,                     1615   
Into yon castle, from us away?   
With pain I shall you pay!   
Now I'll pounce!   
Away at once!   
(He drives them down from his scaffold)   
By Belial's bones                                          1620   
You shall obey!   
      (And he will beat them on the ground)   

Ya!  before God this was well done,   
Thus to work with backbiting!   
I work both wrack and ruin,   
And make each man at others  swing.                        1625   
I shall go about as you'll be shown   
And make more blows to ring!   
(Turns and directly addresses the audience)   
You backbiters, your work  must be done --   
Make discord about to spring   
Between sister and brother!                                1630   
If any backbiter here be left,   
He may learn from me his craft;   
Of God's grace he shall be bereft,   
And every man shall kill another!    
              (To Flesh)   
Hail, king, I call!                                        1635   
Hail, prince, well dressed with all!   
Hail, handsome in your hall!   
Hail, sir king! good luck you befall!   
FLESH  (Sitting on his scaffold)   
Boy Backbiting,   
Full loud your voice does ring,                            1640   
Full glad tiding,   
By Belial's bones, I trust you bring!   

Ya! Before God! Shame I cry   
On thy two sons, and thy daughter young!   
Gluttony, Sloth and Lechery                                1645   
Hath put me in great mourning.   
They let Mankind go up high,   
Into yon castle at his liking,   
Therein to live and die;   
With those ladies to make his ending --                    1650   
Those flowers fair and fresh!   
He is in the Castle of Perseverance,    
And has put his body to strong penance.   
Hard luck to you, lost is thy chance.   
Sir king, Mankind's Flesh.                                 1655   
     (Then Flesh will cry aloud to Gluttony, Sloth and 
       Lechery. Gluttony, Sloth, and Lechery leave 
       Greediness' scaffold, and approach Flesh)   

Say now thy will,   
Sir Flesh, why criest thou so shrill?   

Ah, Lechery, thou scurvy mare!   
And thou Gluttony, God give thee woe!   
And vile Sloth, evil may you fare!                         1660   
Why let you Mankind from you go   
Into yon castle go great?   
Bad luck hit you all in the snout!   
Now I am placed in great doubt!   
Why looked you not better about?                           1665   
By Belial's bones, I shall you beat!   
            (He descends from his scaffold driving 
                 them before him. Then he will flog 
                 them in the place)   

Now, by God, this is good game!   
I, Backbiter, now bear me well:   
If I had lost my fame,   
Pity it were in God's name!                                1670   
I drive those shrews to much shame:   
They fight each other hard, pell mell!   
I backbiter, with fake fame   
Do break and burst hoods of steel!   
All through this country men me know.                      1675   
Now will I begin forth to go,   
And make Greediness have a knock or two --   
And then, there'll be no more to do   
Of my job I'll have you know!   
                      (To the World )   
Hail, strong on thy mound!                                 1680   
Hail, gaily girt upon ground!   
Hail, fairest flower to be found!   
Hail, sir World, you dress me astounds!   
WORLD  (Sitting on his scaffold)   
Backbiter, come thou out,   
Thou tellest lies again, no doubt,                         1685   
You are so strong and stout.   
What tidings bring you about?   

Nothing good --  that thou shalt know!   
Mankind, sir World, hath thee forsaken;   
With Shrift and Penance he does go,                        1690   
And to yon castle he hath him taken,   
Among yon ladies; he's returned your token --   
Lo, Sir World! you should sigh with vexedness   
That you've been served in this distress!   
Go and play with Sir Greediness                            1695   
Until his crown is broken!   
            (Then he (World) will blow a horn for Greediness.
              Greediness leaves his scaffold and approaches

Sir, princeling proud,   
Tell me why you blow so loud?   

Loud, louse? the Devil burn thee!   
I pray God ill luck give thee!                             1700   
Say, why lettest thou Mankind   
Into yon castle to escape?   
I believe you're beginning to rave!   
See here as Mankind is now gone,   
Our gracious game cannot be won:                           1705   
Therefore a beating long,   
Harlot thou shalt have!   
    (He descends from his scaffold. Then he will beat him)   

Mercy! mercy! I can stand no more!   
Thou hast me pushed and pulled in pits!   
I scowl! I sob! I sigh sore! --                            1710   
My head is beaten all to bits!   
To all your state I'll you restore,   
If you'll abate your beastly blows:   
Mankind, now lost and more   
I'll make come out from yon cursed cows                    1715   
To your gracious hall.   
If you will no more mangle me   
I'll make Mankind come out freely.   
He shall forsake, as thou shalt see,   
The fair Virtues all.                                      1720   

Get to it, then, the devil thee tear!   
Thou shalt be pickled in hell pit!   
Hurry, my banner up thou bear,   
And besiege we the castle quick,   
Mankind for to steal!                                      1725   
When Mankind there grows good,   
I, World, am in mad mood!   
Those bitches we'll bind with their own blood,   
With sturdy strokes of steel!   
Quick, let my banner flutter free,                         1730   
And hold we high our hideous hand!   
Those bitches' bane I bear with me --   
There shall no virtues dwell in my land!   
Meekness is that mother that I mean:   
For her I brew a bitter bond!                              1735   
She shall die upon this green   
If she comes near my hand.   
Yon rascals with their rumps!   
I am the World!  It is my will   
The Castle of Virtue for to spill!                         1740   
Proclaim it high upon yon hill,   
You traitors, with your trumps!   
(A fanfare is blown for the World. Then World, 
Greediness, and Folly will go to the Castle with a banner 
and the Devil will say:)   

I hear trumpets in terror to tremble:   
The worthy World walks to war,   
Yon castle to crush and to crumble --                      1745   
Those maidens' mercies for to mar!   
Spread my pennon on the field,   
And strike we forth, now, under star!   
Shape up now your shining shield,   
Yon scurvy scamps for to scare                             1750   
Upon yon green grass!   
Come on boys, look alive,   
Forever now I'll greatly strive!   
While Mankind lives a holy life,   
I'll not be well at ease.                                  1755   
Make you ready, all three,   
Bold battle to boast in pride!   
To yon field let us flee,   
And bear my banner far and wide!   
At yon castle I will be.                                   1760   
Those murmuring mothers shall have their meed,   
Unless they yield up to me:   
With bitter blows they shall bleed;   
Of their rest I'll them bereave;   
In woeful waters I'll them wash!                           1765   
Have done fellows, be we brash,   
And go we thither, in a rush,   
That castle for to cleave!   

Now, now!  Now, go now! --   
On high hill let us shout!                                 1770   
For in Pride is my prowess you know,   
Thy bold banner to bear about.   
To Goliath I make a vow:   
For to shoot each of you scamps   
On her arse, so black and blue.                            1775   
I shall both strap and stamp,   
And give Meekness much mischance!   
Belial, bright, at thy behest   
I, Pride, go with thee next,   
And bear thy banner before my breast                       1780   
With a comely countenance!   
(Pride raises Belial's banner, and Belial and his 
lieutenants arm themselves and make preparation to go into battle, with shouts and much noise)   

I hear a hideous shouting on high!   
Quick, bid my banner forth to blaze!   
When I sit in my saddle, its a fabulous sight;   
I gape like Gog-magog when I start to gaze.                1785   
To this worthy, wild world I'll wager my weight   
I'll wreak them to rubble, their smiles I shall smash!   
Both with shot and with sling I'll cast with great sleight   
And yon comely castle I'll cause for to crash   
In my flood!                                               1790   
I am Man's Flesh: where I go   
I am Man's greatest foe;   
I'll bring him to woe   
When he turns to good.   
Therefore, you bold boys, burst from your bench!           1795   
Sharply on their shields your shafts you shiver!   
And Lechery, lady, attack thou a wench --   
Let us Mankind from yon castle recover!   
Help we must him win:   
Attack we all apace                                        1800   
With our gear and good grace,   
To snatch Mankind from that place,   
Into deadly sin!   

Lo, Sir Flesh, how I fare to the field,   
With a faggot in hand, those bitches to burn!              1805   
(Gluttony displays a bundle of sticks and a firebrand of  
wood intended for firing the Castle)   
With a wreath made of wood, my weapon I wield.   
From my long lance those ladies a lesson will learn!   
Go we with our gear:   
Those bitches shall blanch and blubber;   
I shall make each one shudder,                             1810   
With my smoke I'll them smother,   
They shall shit for fear!   
        (Then they will descend into the platea. When all the
        forces of the three great powers have come down into "the
        place" and are drawn up ready for battle, the Bad Angel 
        begins to speak)   
BAD ANGEL (He speaks to Belial:)   
Aux armes!  As a herald, high now I shout!   
Devil, dress thee as a duke, to cause those damsels doubts!   
Belial, as a bold boy, thy shield to bear I choose:        1815   
Help drive Mankind from the villains' house!   
Pride, spread thy banner of rage for to wreck:   
Make mother Meekness melt to a speck!   
Wrath, pester Patience, that silly sack!   
Envy, to Charity turn thy attack,                          1820   
Do not stare!   
With Pride, Wrath, and Envy,   
These devils, doughty three,   
As comely, king, I decree,   
Mankind will catch with care!                              1825   
                   (To Flesh:)   
Flesh, frail and fresh, fatly fed:   
With Gluttony, Sloth, and Lechery, Man's soul slay now!   
As a doughty duke, make them thee dread!   
Arm thee with arms from top to toe --   
Shoe this day thou art a king royally fed!                 1830   
Gluttony, slay thou Abstinence, with wicked woe!   
By Chastity,  thou -- Lecher --  must not be led!   
Sloth, beat thou Busynesss on the buttocks blue!   
Do now thy part, so all these may thee know.   
                   (To World:)   
Worthy, witty, well dressed and so wise,                   1835   
Let Greediness shout and yell his loud cries!   
(He turns to the audience)   
Here be bold bachelors all thy allies --   
Mankind to harm with a blow!   
MANKIND (On the battlements of the Castle)   
That great duke that died on rood,   
This day my soul keep and save!                            1840   
When Mankind draws to good,   
Behold what enemies he shall have!   
The World, the Devil, the Flesh are mad --   
For Mankind's soul they plot right well!   
Bitter woe they wish he had,                               1845   
Poor Man, in torment, sunk in hell,   
Sirs, the truth to say.   
Therefore each man, beware of this!   
For while Mankind full clean is,   
His foes shall tempt him to do amiss,                      1850   
If they can by any way!12   
Therefore, sirs, be now glad   
With alms-deeds and orison   
For to do so our Lord bade:   
Stiffly withstand your temptation.                         1855   
With this foul fiend I am near mad!   
(He indicates the Bad Angel)   
For battle they dress them down.   
Surely I should be over-led --   
(If I were not in this castle town) --   
With sins so sore they smart!                              1860   
Whoso will live out of distress,   
And lead his life in cleanliness,   
In this castle of virtue and goodness   
He must wholly have his heart.13    
GOOD ANGEL (In the Castle, with Mankind and the  
Ah, Meekness, Charity, and Patience --                     1865   
Joyous gentles that conscience pricks!   
Chastity, Business, and Abstinence   
My hope, ladies in you is bent!   
Help, thou beloved sweeter than incense,   
Red as the rose that from stalk has been rent!             1870   
This day, prepare ye a good defence!   
Although Mankind has a good intent,   
His wayward will defend.   
Mankind though now behind this wall   
(He indicates the Castle defences)   
Through weakness is inclined to fall;                      1875   
Therefore, ladies, I pray you all,   
Help this day Mankind!   

God, that sitteth in heaven on high,   
Save all mankind, by sea and sand!   
Let him swell here and be us by,                           1880   
And we shall give him a helping hand.   
Yet, forsooth saw never I   
That any fault in us he found,   
But that we saved him from sin so sly   
If he would by us stiffly stand,                           1885   
In this castle of stone.   
Therefore dread thee not, Man's Angel dear --   
If he will dwell with us here,   
The seven sins shall not him snare,   
Nor his enemies, each one!                                 1890   
Now, my seven sisters sweet,   
This day falls to us the fate   
Mankind for to shield and keep   
From deadly sin that God does hate.   
His enemies stray all around,                              1895   
To kill Mankind with cruel spite!   
Therefore, our flowers let us float down,   
And keep we him, as we have shown,   
Among us in this hall.   
Therefore, seven sisters sweet,                            1900   
Let our virtues like raindrops beat!   
This day we will our Mankind keep   
Against these devils all!   

This day the vanguard I will hold:   
Lift high my banner precious Pride!                        1905   
Mankind to drive to sorrows cold,   
Bold battle now will I bide.   
Bustle boys in every way! --   
All men that to me now do hold,   
Both the young and the old,                                1910   
Envy! Wrath! -- ye boys so bold --   
With battering blows rush on, I say!   

Aux armes!  Meekness I am thy fate,   
All with pride painted and dressed   
(He raises his pennon)   
What sayest thou, hypocrite, I thee so hate                1915   
With robes so rich and purely pressed --   
Great gowns! -- I shall thee hack.   
To mar thee, Meekness, I'm obsessed,   
No worldly wit I lack --   
Lo! thy castle is all beset!                               1920   
Mothers how shall ye do?   
Meekness, yield thee to me, do not bide!   
My name in land is precious Pride;   
My bold banner I do not hide:   
Mother what sayst thou thereto?                            1925   
MEEKNESS (Raising a banner of the Passion)   
Against thy banner of pride and boast,   
A banner of meekness and mercy   
I put, against pride, well thou knowest,   
That shall counter thy cursed cry!   
This meek king is known in every coast,                    1930   
That was crucified in Calvary.   
When he came down from the heavenly host.   
And I lighted with meekness in Mary,   
This Lord thus descended low.   
When he came from the Trinity,                             1935   
Into a maiden lighted he --   
And all was for to destroy thee,   
Pride, this shalt thou know! 14   
For when Lucifer fell to hell,    
Thou, Pride, were the sin chosen,                          1940   
And  -- thou devil with wicked will! --   
In Paradise trapped us with treason.   
So thou us bound in fetters ill --   
This may I prove by right reason:    
'Till this duke that died on hill,                         1945   
In heaven man might never have season.   
The Gospel says it right:   
"For, whoso loves him shall be high."   
Therefore, they shalt not come us nigh;    
And though thou be never so sly,                           1950   
I shall counter thy fight!15   

Dame Patience, what sayst thou to Wrath-and-Ire?   
Put Mankind from thy castle clear,    
Or I shall tear at thine attire   
With the stiff stones that I have here!                    1955   
I shall shoot my bolts at thee, higher and higher,   
And be avenged hastily here --   
Thus, Beelzebub, our great sire,    
Bad me burn thee with wild fire,   
Thou bitch black as coal!                                  1960   
Therefore, fast -- foul scum --   
Put Mankind thee from,   
Or I'll beat thee like a drum,    
Thou mother! thou suck-hole!.   

From thy beating, Christ me shield                         1965   
This same day and all mankind!16   
Thou wretched Wrath, mad and wild,   
Patience shall cause thy end!    
For Mary's son, meek and mild,   
Tore thee up, root and rind,                               1970   
When he stood, meeker than a child,   
And let boys him beat and bind.    
Therefore, wretch, be still!   
Of those despoilers he could dispose,   
For he is God, -- as Mankind knows --                      1975   
And yet, to be crucified on the cross   
He suffered all their will.    
Thousands of angels he might have had   
To avenge him there full quick;   
And yet, to die there he was glad,                         1980   
To teach us patience we should pick.   
Therefore, boy, with thy boisterous blade,    
Go away with thy thoughts so sick! --   
For I will do as Jesus bad:   
And ward off wretches from these walls thick               1985   
With a strong defence!   
If thou triest to come aloft,    
I shall drive you from this croft   
With these roses, sweet and soft,   
Painted with Patience!                                     1990   
(She shows to Wrath and the audience the roses which  
will be the Virtues' chief weapon in the ensuing battles)   

Out!  My heart begins to break!   
For Charity, that stands so stout,   
Alas, my vengeance now I'll wreak!   
Yield up this castle, thou dish clout!   
It is my manner, foul to speak --                          1995   
False slanders to bear about   
Charity! may the devil thee check   
Unless I strike thee with blows so stout,   
Thy shield for to tear!   
Let Mankind to us come down,                               2000   
Or I shall let fly to this castle town   
A full foul defamation! --   
Therefore this bow I bear!   

Although thou spread slanderous fame,   
I shall not fail to do my deed.                            2005   
Whoso smears falsely another man's name,   
Christ's curse he shall have indeed: 17   
"Whoso will not his tongue tame," --   
Take it as true as mass-creed --   
"Woe, woe to him and much shame!"                          2010   
In holy writ, this I read.   
Forever thou art a shrew   
Though thou speak evil, I don't care a curse --   
I shall do never the worse!   
At the last, the true verse                                2015   
Surely himself shall show.   
Our lovely Lord, without a flaw   
Gave example of Charity,   
When he was beaten, black and blue,   
For trespass that never did he:                            2020   
Nor any virtue did he lack,   
And yet for sin, for all to see,   
He took his cross upon his back,   
Sinful man, and all for thee!   
Thus he made defence.                                      2025   
Envy, with thy slanders thick,   
I live again his suffering sick;   
Yet I will do good against the wicked,   
And keep in silence.   

What!  for Belial's bones,                                 2030   
What about chatter ye?   
Have done, ye boys! All at once   
Beat down these wenches now, all three!   
Work wrack upon these walls!   
The vanguard is granted me:                                2035   
Make these wenches utter wails --   
Your doughty deeds now let's see!   
Sear them all with stripes!   
Beat them, boys, blue and black --   
Cause these wenches woe and wrack!                         2040   
Clarions! cry up at a crack!   
And blow your broad bagpipes!   
    (Then they will fight for a long while. At conclusion of
    this attack, which fails to breach the outer defences of the
    Castle, Pride, Wrath, and Envy are driven off by a shower
    of roses thrown down on them by Meekness, Patience, and

Out!  My proud back is bowed!   
Meekness beastly has me beat:   
Pride by Meekness has been cowed!                          2045   
I wail and weep, with wounds so wet --   
I am beaten in the head!   
My proud pride down is driven.   
So sharply Meekness hath me shriven   
That I may be no longer living:                            2050   
I feel that I am dead!   

All my enmity is not worth a fart:   
I shit and shake all in my sheet!   
Charity, that tawdry tart,   
With fair roses my head did break!                         2055   
My skin's in a scabrous manner!   
With worthy words, and flowers sweet,   
Charity makes me so meek   
I dare neither cry nor creep --   
Not a shout of slander.                                    2060   

I, Wrath, may cry for woe!   
Patience gave me a sorry dint:   
I am beaten all black and blue   
With a rose that from rood was rent!   
My speech is almost spent!                                 2065   
Her roses fell on me so sharp   
That my head hangs just like a harp;   
I dare neither cry nor carp,   
She is so patient!   
BAD ANGEL (To Belial and his forces)   
Go hence!  You are not worth a turd!                       2070   
Foul fall on you, all four!   
(He goes to Flesh and his forces)   
Attack now! sharp's the word!   
Sir Flesh, with thine eyes sour!   
For fear I shit and cower!   
Sir Flesh, with thy company,                               2075   
Quick, quick, make a cry!   
Help us hold up our villainy,   
That this day may be ours!   

Ware! Ware! Let Man's Flesh go to --    
I come with a company!                                     2080   
Have done, my children! now let's go!   
Gluttony, Sloth, and Lechery!   
Each of you must glory show!   
Let now Mankind win mastery --   
Let him be slung in a foul slough,                         2085   
Try to endow him with folly!   
Do now well your deed:   
Quick  let's see how you'll begin   
Mankind to tempt to deadly sin.   
If you can this castle win,                                2090   
Hell shall be your meed!   

Ware! Glutton's smoke shall make a stench   
Against the castle, I vow!   
Abstinence, though thou blanch,   
I look on thee with bitter brow!                           2095   
I have a firebrand here, thou fop!   
With it I'll set Mankind aflame!   
My foul flame thou shalt not stop,   
I vow to God, by name!   
Therefore put him out here                                 2100   
In disease-ridden Gluttony.   
With good meats and drinks you see   
I nourish my sister Lechery,   
'Til Man runs on fire!   

Thy meat and drink are all unkind                          2105   
When they the mean of measure lack:   
They make men mad and out of mind,   
And work them both woe and wrack.   
Though for her thou dost here kindle,   
Certain, thy sureness shall be shorn                       2110   
By the bread that brought us out of hell,   
And on the cross was rent and torn --   
I mean the sacrament!   
That same blissful bread   
That hung on high 'til he was dead                         2115   
Shall temper so my maidenhead   
That thy purpose shall be spent.   
(She addresses the audience)   
In abstinence this bread was brought,   
Surely, Mankind, and all for thee!   
For forty days ate he nought,                              2120   
And then was nailed to a tree. 18   
Example was us taught:   
In soberness he bad us be   
(She turns back to Gluttony)   
Therefore, Mankind shall not be caught,   
Gluttony and be like thee.                                 2125   
The truth shalt thou see:   
Though fattening with food is all thy way,   
Abstinence shall take it away   
'Till thou be closed all under clay   
And wishing thou couldst flee!                             2130   

Lo, Chastity, -- tight as a tick --   
This day here thou shalt expire!   
I make a burning in Man's prick,   
That leaps up as any fire!   
(She raises the firebrand she is carrying)   
These cursed coals I bear about,                           2135   
To put Man to pain for aye.   
Men and women have no doubt   
With pissing pockets they all play.   
I bind them in my chains!   
I have no rest, (by my Fame)                               2140   
With men and women all the same,     
'Til I, Lechery, be set aflame   
In all Mankind's loins!   

I, Chastity, have power in this place,   
Thee, Lechery, to bind and beat!                           2145   
Maiden Mary, well of grace,   
Shall quench that foul heat.19   
Our Lord God made thee no space   
When his blood flowed in the street.   
From this castle he did thee chase,                        2150   
When he was crowned with thorns great   
And green.   
When death's dart pierced our Lord so bright,   
And ruffians did him great despite,   
In Lechery had he no delight,                              2155   
And that was clearly seen!   
From Our Lady I learn my lesson:   
To lead a chaste life 'til I be dead.   
She is queen, and bears the crown --.   
And all was for her maidenhead!                            2160   
Therefore, go from this castle town,   
Lechery, now I thee bid,   
For Mankind bringest thou not down   
To sully him with sinful seed!   
In care thou wouldst him cast.                             2165   
And if thou come up to me,   
Truly, thou shalt beaten be   
With the rod of Chastity   
While my life may last!   

Ware!  Ware!  I dig with a spade!                          2170   
"Lord Sir Sloth" men call me.   
(Sloth digs at the bank or wall of the Castle moat with his spade)   
Ghostly grace I spill and spread:   
The water of grace from this ditch I empty!   
(He turns and addresses the other Sins)   
You shall come here right soon enough,   
By this dry ditch where springs no seed!                   2175   
(He then addresses Busyness as he continues to dig)   
Thirty thousand that I will know,   
In my life lovely I lead,   
Who had rather sit at the ale,   
Three part songs to sing aloud,   
Than toward the church for to crowd.                       2180   
Busyness, thou bitch, thou bawd! --   
I brew for thee thy bale!   

A, good men, beware now all   
Of Slug-and-Sloth, this foul thief!   
To the soul he is more bitter than gall --                 2185   
Root he is of much mischief!   
God's service that leads us to heaven's hall,   
This rascal's hinderings are rife.   
Whoso will shrive him of his sins all,   
Will put this rascal to much mischief,                     2190   
That Mankind would miscarry.   
Sloth proclaims penance worth not a piss!   
He would that man would never confess,   
But always he wants Mankind, as he,   
Forever in sin to tarry.                                   2195   
(She indicates Sloth, still digging at the bank or wall  
of the Castle moat)   
Therefore he makes this ditch dry,   
To put Mankind to great distress:   
He makes deadly sin a ready way   
Into the Castle of Goodness!   
But with pain I shall him tie,                             2200   
Through the help of heaven's empress,   
With my beads, for it he'll pay!   
And other occupations, more and less,   
I'll devise to shame him, indeed,   
For whoever will Sloth put down                            2205   
With beads and with orison   
Or some honest occupation --   
As a book that he may read.20   

Ye, for our Belial's bones, the King,   
Why stand you here about all day?                          2210   
Caitiffs, let be your cackling,   
And strike at them in good array!   
Gluttony, thou gut guzzling,   
Slay Abstinence, if thou may!   
Lechery, with thy working                                  2215   
To Chastity make a wicked way   
As well you know.   
And while we fight   
For our right   
From horns on height                                       2220   
Let blasts now blow!   
     (Then they shall fight a long time. During this second
     assault, the outer defences of the Castle -- the moat or 
     other barriers -- are breached by Sloth, but the Sins are 
     driven back by the Virtues from the Castle itself)   

Out,  Gluttony! down I drive!   
Abstinence has me so hurt!   
Sir Flesh, I shall never thrive --    
I am not worth the devil's turd!                           2225   
I've been beaten like a skivvy!    
I am all beaten, top and tail! --   
With Abstinence no more I'll deal!   
I will go hide and quail   
At home in your privy.                                     2230   

Out on Chastity, by the rood,   
She hath me beaten and drenched!   
May she have the curse of God,   
For all my fire the queen has quenched!   
For fear I fall on my face.                                2235   
At the end of a rope may she ride!   
Here dare I no longer abide --   
Somewhere my head I would hide,   
As an urchin in disgrace!   

Out, I die! -- lay on water!                               2240   
I swoon, I sweat, I faint, I'm ill!   
Yon whore with her pitter-patter   
Has dashed to bits my scabbed skull --   
It is as soft as wool!   
Ere I take another bash,                                   2245   
I'll creep away to find a splash,   
Where I may my balls wash,   
And play shall me rule.   

Ya!  The devil drive you to the pit!   
For sorrow I mourn here on ground!                         2250   
I carp, I cry, I curse, I shit!   
I fret, I fart with fearful sound!   
And myself befoul.   
                   (To the World)   
Now,  Sir World, whatever it costs,   
Help now, or this we will have lost:                       2255   
We must now not give up the ghost --   
That thought does make me howl!   

Now, Greediness! your banner advance!   
Here comes a battle, noble and new --   
For since thou was a small infant,                         2260   
Greediness, thou hast been true.   
Now end off that damsel -- do her daunt!   
Bitter torment for her brew!   
Thy reward, boy, I thee grant:   
On the Canwick gallows to hang in view --                  2265   
That would suit you well!   
Go, Sir Greediness!   
Work on in the best wise;   
Make Mankind come and rise   
From yon virtues all1                                      2270   

(Walks forward and shouts to an unseen Mankind within the Castle)   
How, Mankind! you me offend   
Because you are in that stronghold.   
Come, and speak with thy best friend,   
Sir Greediness -- thou knowest me of old.   
What, devil, will you live there longer                    2275   
With great penance, in that castle cold?   
In the world -- if thou wilt -- wander,   
Among men and bear you bold,   
Why not, by Saint Giles?   
Now,  Mankind, I thee say,                                 2280   
Come to Greediness, I thee pray!   
We two shall together play --   
If thou wilt -- a while.   

Ah, God help! I am dismayed!   
I curse thee, Greediness, as I can,                        2285   
For surely, traitor, thou hast betrayed   
Now nearly every earthly man.   
So many have been harassed   
By Greediness since the world began.   
God almighty is not pleased                                2290   
Since thou, fiend, are the World's bane.   
Thy net full wide thou cast!   
You prey on men till they are mad --   
They go to hell for World's good!   
But that Lord that rested on the rood                      2295   
Will make an end at last!   
There is no dispute nor debate   
Through this wide world so round,   
Day or night, early or late,   
But that Greed is the source.                              2300   
Thou nourishest Pride, Envy and Hate --   
Thou Greediness -- I give a curse!   
Christ ward you off from our gate,   
And keep us from thee safe and sound,   
That thou no good here win!                                2305   
Sweet Jesus, gentle justice,   
Keep Mankind from Greediness --   
For truly he is, in all wise   
The root of sorrow and sin!   

What ails thee, Lady Largité --                            2310   
Damsel so dainty upon thy dais?   
I didn't speak at all to thee,   
Therefore, I pray thee, hold thy peace!   
(He ignores her, and shouts again to Mankind, still  
unseen within the Castle)   
Now,  Mankind!  Come speak with me!   
Come, lay thy love here in my lease!                       2315   
Greediness is a friend right free,   
Thy sorrow, Man, to slake and cease.   
Greediness hath many a gift --   
Mankind thine hand hither thou reach!   
Greediness shall be thy leech:                             2320   
The right way I shall thee teach   
To prosperity and thrift.   

(Mankind appears on the battlements of the Castle, now an old man)   
Greediness, whither should I wend?   
Which way do you wish I should hold?   
To what place wouldst thou me send?                        2325   
I begin to grow hoary and old;   
My back begins to bow and bend;   
I crawl and creep and wax all cold.   
Age man's life does expend --   
Body, and bones, begin to fold!                            2330   
My bones are feeble and sore;   
I am arrayed in a slop;   
As a young man, I may not hop;   
My nose is cold and begins to drop;   
My hair grows grey and hoar.                               2335   

Peter!  Thou hast the more need   
To have some goods in thine age --   
Marks, pounds, lackeys to lead,   
Houses, homes, castle and cage!   
Therefore do as I caution:                                 2340   
With Greediness thou should engage.   
Come! I'll now present thy petition.   
To worthy World who'll give thee wage,   
Not a little, its true.   
Come on, old man! it is no disgrace                        2345   
That Greediness favours your face.   
If you die in distress,   
The blame is all on you.   

No, no,  these ladies of great goodness   
Will not let me go amiss;                                  2350   
And though I be a while in distress,   
When I die, I shall go to bliss.   
It is but folly, as I guess --   
All of this world's happiness,   
These lovely ladies, more and less,                        2355   
In wise words they tell me this --   
The Book of Nature is clear.   
I will not do these ladies despite,   
And forsake them all so light.   
To dwell here is my delight --                             2360   
My best friends truly are here!   

Ya!  Up and down if you take your way,   
Through this world to walk and wend,   
And thou shalt find, true to say,   
Thy purse shall be thy best friend!                        2365   
Though thou sit all day and pray,   
No man shall come to thee nor send.   
But if thou have a penny to pay,   
Men shall to thee then listen and tend,   
And cure all thy care.                                     2370   
Therefore to me cling, with me engage --   
Be covetous and so be sage!   
If thou be poor and needy in age,   
Thou shalt often evil fare.   

Greediness thou advisest well.                             2375   
So great God me advance,   
All thy bidding do I will:    
I forsake the Castle of Perseverance!   
With Greediness I will be kept   
For to get some sustenance.                                2380   
Before a meal, men must meat get;   
It is good, for all chance,   
Some goods somewhere to hide.   
(To the audience)   
Surely, this you will know:   
It is good, however the wind blow,                         2385   
A man to have somewhat of his own,   
What hap soever betide.   

A, ladies!  I pray you of grace!   
Help to keep here Mankind!   
He will forsake this precious place,                       2390   
And draw again to deadly sin.   
Help, ladies, lovely in lace --   
He goes from this worthy dwelling!   
Greediness away you chase,   
And shut Mankind somewhere herein,                         2395   
Among your worthy ways.   
               (Then he descends to Greediness)   
Oh, wretched Man!  Thou shalt be wroth --   
That sin shall be to thee full loth!   
A, sweet ladies, help!  -- he goeth   
Away with Greediness!                                      2400   

Good Angel, what may I do thereto? --   
Himself may his soul spill.   
Mankind to do what he will do,   
God hath given him a free will.   
Though he drown and his soul slay,                         2405   
We must let him do as he would.   
Since in this castle he came to stay   
We have done with him what we could --   
And now he hath us refused.   
As long as he was within this castle wall,                 2410   
We kept him from sin --  you saw well all;   
And now he wills again to sin to fall,   
I pray you hold us excused.   

Reason will excuse us all:   
He held the axe by the helve;                              2415   
Thou he will to folly fall,   
No one's to blame but himself.   
While he chose to dwell in this hall,   
From deadly sin we did him keep.   
He brews himself a bitter gall,                            2420   
When by death's dints he's stricken deep.   
This game he'll regret indeed!   
His is endowed with wits five   
For to rule him in his life.   
We virtues will not with him strive --                     2425   
He'll deserve what he will get!   

Of his deed there's nought to be done:   
He will no longer by us be led.   
When he asked ought, we heard his boon,   
And of his presence we were right glad.                    2430   
But, as thou seest, he's forsaken us soon --   
As Christ him bade, he will not do!   
Mary, thy Son above the moon   
Make Mankind both steady and true,   
In grace for to go!                                        2435   
For if he will to Folly flit   
We may not hinder it --   
(She now addresses the audience)   
He is of age, to use his wit   
You all of you well know!   
ABSTINENCE (To the audience)   
Every one, you know he is a fool,                          2440   
In Greediness to do his deeds.   
World's wealth is like a three-footed-stool:   
It fails a man at his most need!21    
When he is dead in Death's dole,   
The judgment book I shall him read.                        2445   
His pain shall take a terrible toll   
When he shall burn on coals so red.   
He shall him learn a new law!   
Be he never so rich with Worldly wealth,   
His executors shall help themselves:                       2450   
"Make us merry, let's drink our health --   
He was a good fellow."     
CHASTITY (To the audience)   
When he is dead, their sorrow is least.   
The one executor sayeth to the other,   
"Make we merry with a rich feast,                          2455   
And let him lie, in death's dark smother." -- 22   
So his part shall be the smallest.   
The sister servith thus the brother.   
I think a man no better than a beast,   
No man can learn by the faults of another                  2460   
Till his own web he has spun.   
(She addresses Mankind who has by now joined Greediness in "the place")   
Thou shalt see that day,  Man, a prayer bead   
Shall stand thee more in stead   
Than all the wealth you might get,   
Surely, under the sun!                                     2465   

Mankind, of one thing I have wonder --   
That thou takest not into thy mind,   
When body and soul shall be parted in sunder   
No Worldly wealth shall with thee wend. 23   
When thou art dead, and in earth laid under,               2470   
Ill-gotten wealth thee shall destroy:   
In the scales of justice, have no wonder,   
It shall weigh light at thy end,   
Thy soul in hell to bind!    
(She now addresses the audience)   
And yet, Mankind -- as it is seen --                       2475   
With Greediness goes on this green:   
This traitor all our harm has been   
And his at his life's end!   

Out, I cry! -- with roaring rough --   
On Greediness, as I well may.                              2480   
Mankind saith he hath never enough   
'Til his mouth be full of clay. 24   
When he is slain by death's blow,   
What help's riches or great array?   
It flies away as any snow,                                 2485   
At once after thy ending day,   
To World's wild service.   
Now,  good men -- all that here be --   
Have my sisters excused, and me.   
Though Mankind from this castle flee,   
Blame it on Greediness!                                    2490   
BAD ANGEL (In "the place", to Mankind)   
Ya!  Go forth, let the whores blether --   
Where women are, are many words!    
Let them go hop with their feathers --   
Where geese sit are many turds!                            2495   
With Greediness shalt thou now settle,   
And hang thine heart upon his hoards.   
Thou shalt be shaken in my shackle!   
Unbind thy bags on his boards,   
On his benches above.                                      2500   
By God thou art no part of mankind,   
Unless Greediness be in thy mind.   
If ever thou think to expand,   
On him lay thou thy love!   

Needs must my love to him be lost,                         2505   
With Greediness to toss and wave.   
I know no one of all my kind   
That wealth does not covet to have.   
Penny-man is much in mind --   
My love in him I lay as a slave!                           2510   
Where that ever I walk or wend,   
In weal or woe he will me have.   
He is great of grace:   
Whereso my footsteps do me lead,   
Penny-man best may speed;                                  2515   
He is a duke to do a deed   
Now in every place!   
(He begins to walk with Greediness, to Greediness' scaffold)   

Alas, that ever Mankind was born!   
On Greediness is all his lust.   
Night and day, midnight and morn,                          2520   
In Penny-man is all his trust.   
Greediness shall make him lorn   
When he is driven down to dust --   
To much shame he shall be shorn,   
With foul fiends he'll rot and rust!                       2525   
Alas!  What shall I do?   
Alas! Alas, so may I say   
Man goes with Greediness away!   
Have me excused, there is no way   
I can do aught thereto.                                    2530   

Aha!  This game goes as I would.!   
Mankind will never the World forsake;   
Till he be dead and under the mould,   
Wholly to me he will him take;   
By Greediness he hath him stood;                           2535   
With my wealth he will awake!   
For a thousand pounds I would   
That Greediness were Man's mate,   
For sure, in every wise!   
All these games he shall bewail,                           2540   
For I, the World, am of this entail:   
In his most need I shall him fail --   
And all is for Greediness!   
(The World and his retinue, and all the remaining forces on the battlefield in "the place", return to their scaffolds. Mankind and Greediness have reached the foot of Greediness' scaffold)   

Now, Mankind, take heed of this:   
Thou art now well on in age;                               2545   
I would thou not fare amiss.   
Let me show you my castle cage.   
(Mankind and Greediness ascend Greediness' scaffold)   
In this bower I shall thee bless:   
Worldly wealth shall be thy wage!   
More cash than is thine, iwis,                             2550   
Take thou at this special stage,   
And look that thou do wrong.   
Greediness, I'll show my lore:   
And thee endow with a full store,   
But always, always say "more and more" --                  2555   
And that shall by thy song   

Ah, Greediness, may you have good grace!   
Surely thou bearest the truest tongue:   
"More and more" in many a place,   
Surely that song is often sung.                            2560   
I never knew a many anywhere,   
Who said 'til he in the grave was flung,   
"Enough!" -- "enough" I never hear!   
That silly song 'twas never sung,   
Nor will I now begin.                                      2565   
Good Greediness, I thee pray   
That I might with thee play.   
Give me wealth enough before I die,   
The joy of the World to win!   

(Opens his "cupboard", and takes out money which he gives to Mankind)   
Have here, Mankind, a thousand marks!                      2570   
I, Greediness, have thee this got.   
Thou mayst buy with it both pond and park,   
Do with it much of note.   
Lend no man of this, for no one care,   
Thou he should hang by the throat! --                      2575   
Monk nor friar, priest nor clerk.   
Nor help with it church nor cot,   
Till death thy body fell.   
Though he should die in a cave,   
Let no poor man of it have.                                2580   
Till thou be in thy grave   
Keep all just for thyself.   

I vow to God, it is great husbandry!   
Of thee I take these coins so round.   
I shall hurry, so no man me spy,                           2585   
To hide this gold under the ground.   
There shall it lie until I die --   
It may be kept there safe and sound.   
Though my neighbour be hung so high,   
Of it gets he neither penny nor pound!                     2590   
Yet I am not well at ease:   
Now would I have castle walls,   
Strong steeds, sturdy in stalls.   
With tall words and high halls,   
For me Greediness, get these!                              2595   

All shalt thou have, all ready -- lo! --   
At thine disposition.   
All this wealth take thee to:   
(He gives Mankind the "cupboard" full of riches)   
Cliff and coast, tower and town,   
This hast thou got by sinful blow                          2600   
From thy neighbour by extortion.   
"More and more" say yet; to and fro!   
(Mankind begins to descend from the scaffold, carrying  
the "cupboard")   
Till thou be dead and dropping down,   
The World's deceptions you must make!   
"More and more" say yet with speed                         2605   
For more than enough thou hast need.   
All this world where'er you lead,   
Thy greediness may not slake!   

Slake? -- it never no man may!   
Great enough my pile will never grow!                      2610   
There's no Worldly Wealth, night nor day,   
But that I think it is too slow.   
"More and more" yet I say,   
And shall ever, while I may blow!   
In Greediness my faith I lay,                              2615   
And shall till death me overthrow.   
"More and more" -- as I am given.   
If I might always dwell in prosperity,   
Lord God then it were well with me:   
I would take my reward, and forsake thee,                  2620   
And never come to heaven.   
(Mankind has by this time reached his bed, under the castle. He puts the "cupboard" of riches from Greediness down at the foot of the bed, and takes out its contents in preparation for hiding them in the ground. Death enters into "the place", carrying a lance)   

Oh! now the time is nigh   
To fell Mankind with Death's dint!   
In all his works, he serves folly;   
Much of his life he has misspent.                          2625   
To Mankind I draw nigh;   
With bloody blows he shall be rent!   
When I come, each man dreads me,   
But I will not relent,   
On high hill, holt, nor heath.                             2630   
You shall me dread, everyone!   
When I come, you shall groan!   
My name on earth is left alone --   
I am called dreary Death.!   
Dreary is my death draught:                                2635   
Against me may no man stand.   
I lie in wait and bring to nought,   
Lords and ladies in every land.   
Those whom I have a lesson taught,   
Scarcely afterwards may he stand                           2640   
In my harmful clothes he shall be caught.   
Rich, poor, free, and bond --   
When I come, they go no more!   
In every land my way does lead,   
Every man of me has dread.                                 2645   
I will not cease, for reward indeed   
To smite sad and sore!   
Noble dukes are in dread   
When my blasts to them I blow;   
Princes of price are out-played --                         2650   
With this lance I lay them low!   
Kings keen and knights well bred,   
I do them bury by a throw;   
In the grave I make them a bed --   
Sad sorrow to them I sow!                                  2655   
I harm them, as I know.   
Though they fret like a foal at a fence,   
Against me is no defence.   
In the great pestilence,   
Then was I well known!                                     2660   
But now they me almost forget:   
Men to Death they pay no heed.   
In Greediness their Wealth they get --   
Great fishes eat the small, indeed!   
But when my deadly dart I deal,                            2665   
Those proud men I shall abase;   
Help them shall neither drink nor meal   
Till they're driven to death's dark place.   
My law they shall learn:   
There is neither penny nor pound                           2670   
That shall save you, safe and sound   
When you are buried under the ground --   
There may no man me spurn!   
(He turns towards Mankind)   
To Mankind now my arm I'll reach --   
He hath his whole heart on Greediness.                     2675   
A new lesson I will him teach,   
That shall him neither suit nor please!   
No living person shall be his leech.   
To him I'll prove my enterprise:   
With this point his flesh I'll breach,                     2680   
And strike him in a woeful wise!   
(He raises the lance, and moves towards Mankind)   
Nobody shall take his part.   
I shall thee shape to shame and shock:   
Now I kill thee, with my knock;   
I strike thee, Mankind, with my stroke                     2685   
Unto the root of my heart!   
(He strikes Mankind with the lance. At this blow, 
Mankind turns and sees Death for the first time. Death 
turns and walks out of "the place".)   

Ah Death! Death! Bitter is thy blow! --   
Dead is my destiny!   
My head is cleft all in two!   
For this shaft of sorrow now I cry.                        2690   
My eye-lids may I not lift;   
My brain has waxed all empty;   
I may not once my head uplift --   
With Death's blow now I die!   
 (He calls to World on his scaffold)   
Sir World! I am taken!                                     2695   
World! World, have me in mind!   
Good Sir World, help now Mankind!   
Unless thou help me, Death shall me end --   
His stern stroke has me stricken!   
World! my wit waxes wrong;                                 2700   
I change both hide and hue;   
My eyelids with tears are wrung --   
I shall grieve unless help come from you!   
Now, hold to what you've promised so long,   
For fellowship, both old and new:                          2705   
Release me of my pains strong;   
Some balm for me I would thou brew,   
That I may sing thy praise!   
World, for old acquaintance,   
Help me from this sorry chance!                            2710   
Death has struck me with his lance --   
I die but for thy grace!   
WORLD  (On his scaffold)   
Oh, Mankind!  Hath Death with thee been? --   
Against him there's no help in rage.   
I would thou were under grass so green,                    2715   
And another had thy heritage.   
Our bond of live I soon shall break;   
And cold clay shall be thy cage.   
Now shall the World on thee vengeance wreak:   
For thou hast done so great outrage,                       2720   
Thy wealth thou shalt forego.   
World's goods thou hast thee forsworn,   
And by devils dark thou shalt be torn --   
Thus have I left forlorn   
Hundred of souls before you!                               2725   

O World, World may you go in woe!   
(He turns to Greediness on his scaffold)   
And thou, sinful Greediness! --   
When that a man must from you go,   
You work with him in wondrous wise!   
The wit of this World is sorrow and woe.                   2730   
Beware, good men, of his disguise!   
Thus he hath served others too:   
Sorrow is all his final prize!   
He bears a harmful tongue:   
While I gave him all my lot,                               2735   
You see what joy from him I got --   
And now he would I were a clod,   
In cold clay for to cling!   
(He falls to the ground, under the Castle. World calls  
to the Boy sitting on or by his scaffold)   

Hey boy, arise! (The Boy jumps up) Now must thou wend   
On my errand, by step and stall:                           2740   
Go! -- brew Mankind a bitter bond,   
And put him out of his hall!   
Let him therein no longer stand,   
Burst to pieces may be his gall.   
For thou art not of his kind,                              2745   
All his heritage will to thee befall:   
Thus fare my fair confrères!   
Oft times to you I've said,   
Those men whose lives are led,   
Away from you, not near your bed,                          2750   
Shall be your next heirs.   

Worthy World, in wealth all wound,   
I thank thee for thy great gift!   
I go glad upon this ground,   
To put Mankind out of his thrift.                          2755   
Behold he stinks upon his mount.   
Into a pit I shall him lift;   
His parks, places and pennies round,   
With me shall stay, by this shift,   
In hap as they are bound.                                  2760   
For I think for to deal,   
I vow to God, neither corn nor meal.   
If he has a shroud, it suits him well,   
Wherein he may be wound.   
(Then he goes to Mankind.)   
How fare you Mankind?  Art thou dead?                      2765   
 (He lifts Mankind's fallen body with some  
By God's body, I'd say "yes" --   
He is heavier than any lead!   
(He carries the body out of the castle, and lets it fall  
to the ground)   
I would he were buried under grass!   
(He makes to return to the castle. Mankind raises his  
head and calls out to him)   

Wait!  I stir and raise my head!   
What art thou?  What do you intend?                        2770   
Do you come for evil or good?   
Grief's pricks do me torment,   
The truth to say.   
Tell me now, so God thee save,   
From whom comest thou, good knave?                         2775   
What dost thou here?  What wouldst thou have? --   
Tell me before I die.   

I am come to have all that thou hast --    
Ponds, parks and every place!   
All thou hast got, both first and last,                    2780   
The World has granted it me, of his grace,   
For I have been his page.   
He knows well thou shalt be dead,   
Nevermore to eat bread;   
Therefore he now has said                                  2785   
Who shall have thine heritage.   

What the devil!  Thou art not of my kin!   
Thou did me never so manner of good!   
I'd rather some nephew or some cousin,   
Or some man had it of my blood:                            2790   
My kin I would it had!   
If I must leave behind my wealth,   
And have no good of it myself.   
By God and by his apostles twelve,   
I think the World be mad!                                  2795   

Ya!  Ya!  Thy wish shall mean the least!   
Die on -- for I am master here!   
I'll make for thee a noble feast,   
Then get to work, I have no fear.   
(He takes the bags of riches Mankind received from 
The World bad me this gold arrest,                         2800   
Woods and halls and castles clear.   
The World's joy and his gentle jest   
Is now thine, now mine, both far and near.   
Go hence -- for this is mine!   
Since thou art dead -- must die today --                   2805   
By thy death, sir, I am made gay:   
Though thou know not the World's way,   
He has given me all that was thine!   

I pray thee now, since this wealth thou shalt get,   
Tell me thy name ere I go.                                 2810   

Look thou it not forget --   
My name is "I don't know who"!   
(He takes the bags of Mankind's riches, and leaves "the  
place". Mankind picks himself up from the ground, and speaks 
to the audience)   

"I don't know who?" -- so well away!   
Now am I sorry for my life!   
I have purchased, many a day,                              2815   
Lands and rents, with much strife.   
I have purchased woods and hay,   
Parks and ponds, and bowers blithe,   
Good gardens, with groves gay,   
For my children and my wife                                2820   
In death when I go to grave   
Of my purchase I make great woe! --   
For, what I thought, it is not so,   
But a gadabout, "I don't know who"   
Hath all the World said I should have.                     2825   
Now, alas, my heart is broke --   
Bitter sorrows being to brew!   
Surely, a verse that David spoke   
In the psalter, I find it true25    
"Treasure, treasure, thou hast shown:                      2830   
It is other men's, old and new."   
Oh!  Oh! -- My wealth goes all to ruin.   
Sore Mankind may rue.   
God keep me from despair!   
All my goods, without fail,                                2835   
I have gathered with great travail,    
The World has ordained, of his entail,   
"I don't know who" to be my heir!   
(Mankind moves towards his bed, under the Castle)   
Now, good men, take example by me:   
Provide for yourself, while you have space --              2840   
For many men thus served be,    
By the World in diverse places!   
I swell, turn pale, thus you may see,   
And as a flower fades my face.   
To Hell I shall both go and flee                           2845   
Unless God grant me of his grace.   
(He lies down on the bed)   
I die, certainly!   
Now my life is done for:   
My heart breaks --  I sigh sore!   
A word may I speak no more.                                2850   
I put me in God's mercy!    
(Mankind dies and, as he does so, the Soul emerges from  
beneath his bed)   

"Mercy"! --  This was my last tale   
That ever my body had here.   
But Mercy help me in this vale,   
Of damning drink, I sorely fear.                           2855   
(The Soul turns and addresses the body of Mankind)   
Body thou didest brew a bitter ale,    
When do your lusts you began to yield!   
Thy silly soul must freeze in hell:   
I pay for thy deeds with painful thrusts --   
And all it is for guile!                                   2860   
Ever thou hast been covetous,    
Falsely to get both land and house.   
For me thou hast brewed a bitter juice,   
So wellaway the while!   
(The Soul leaves the Castle, and moves towards the Good  
Angel in "the place")   
Now sweet Angel, what shall I do?                          2865   
With good advice now to me reach!    
Now my body to death shall go,   
Help me now and be my leech.   
Put thou me from the devil's dread --   
Thy worthy way thou me teach!                              2870   
I hope that God will help, and be my head,    
For "Mercy!" was my last speech:   
Thus made my body his end.   

(The second leaf is missing here. There was probably a longer lament by the Soul and possibly more exchange with the Bad Angel. Perhaps there was also some rejoicing by the Vices We have simply finished the Soul's speech and provided the beginning of that of the Bad Angel.)

[Thou, by sin defiled!   
Son of Mary mild,   
That heavenly child --   
Christ me defend!   

Oh soul of man, he'll do no good!                          5   
Thy corpse, thine angel did forsake   
And wallowed wild in flesh and blood!   
Whatever end that he did make   
For many years in sin he stood.   
There is no chance his doom to break!                      10   
Though virtues fed him with holy food.   
He them forsook for the World's sake   
And left the Castle good.]   
Witness of all who've been about,   
Sir Greediness, he had him out --                          2875   
Therefore he'll come, without a doubt   
With me to hell pit!   

Ya! Alas and wailful woe,   
'Gainst Greediness can I not tell!   
Reason wills I from thee go,                               2880   
For, wretched Soul, thou must to hell.   
Greediness he was thy foe.   
He hath thee shaped a shameful home --   
Thus hath he served many more,   
Till they be put to death's doom,                          2885   
To bitter sorrow's bower!   
Thou must to pain, by right reason,   
With Greediness -- for he was chosen.   
Thou are trapped, full of treason   
Unless Mercy be thy succour.                               2890   
For, this I have found right well:   
Against Righteousness may I not hold.   
Thou must with him to the cave of hell,   
For many reasons he hast told.   
(The Good Angel begins to move away from the Soul)   
From thee away I wander and weave;                         2895   
For thee I cry with cares so cold;   
Alone now I thee leave,   
While thou fallest in the fiend's hold,   
In hell to hide and dwell.   
Justice wills that thou must wend                          2900   
Forth away with the fiend.   
Unless mercy will to thee send,   
For thy help I have no skill.   
(The Good Angel leaves "the place")   

Alas!  Mercy I wait too long!   
Of sad sorrow now I sing.                                  2905   
Holy writ, it is all wrong,   
Unless Mercy surpass all thing.   
I am ordained to pains strong;   
In woe is prepared my dwelling;   
In hell on hooks I shall be hung!                          2910   
Unless Mercy from a well doth spring,   
This devil will have me away.   
(Indicating the Bad Angel)   
Wellaway! I was full mad   
That I forsook my Angel good,   
And with Greediness stood                                  2915   
Till the day that I should die.   

Ya!  Why wouldst thou be covetous,   
And to sin again thee turn?   
I shall brew thee a bitter juice!   
In swelling bonds thou shalt burn!                         2920   
In high hell shall be thine house,   
In pitch and tar to groan and ache!   
Thou shalt be drowned as a mouse --   
For it no man there may thee take!   
For that same will                                         2925   
That day the ladies thou forsook,   
And to my counsel thou thee took,   
Thou were set to hang on a hook   
Upon a gibbet hill!   
Foul farter!  Thou shalt be flayed                         2930   
Till thou be raw and bloody bleed!   
Foully thou wilt be dismayed   
That of thee such mastery shall be made!   
Since Greediness thou has sore tried,   
In bitter sorrow thou shalt roast!                         2935   
All mankind may be satisfied   
How Greediness makes good his boast.   
With blows I thee sting!   
(He beats the Soul)   
We shall to hell, both two --   
And suffer "in inferno                                  2940   
Nulla est redemptio"   
For no thing!   
Now, jog we hence, a dog-trot!   
In my dungeon I shall thee put:   
On thee is many a sinful spot;                             2945   
Therefore, away these spots I'll cut   
When thou comest to my nest.   
Why wouldst thou -- fool, happy thou'lt never be! --   
In thy life follow me,   
When thy Good Angel taught thee                            2950   
Always of the best?   
Ya!  Thou wouldst not him believe;   
To Greediness always thou drew!   
Therefore none shall thee relieve;   
Foul sin thy soul has slain --                             2955   
(He indicates Greediness)   
I shall seek thee to grieve,   
And harness thee in pain's plow.   
Have this!  There shall be no reprieve!   
(He beats the Soul)   
For thou saidst never "Enough, enough,"   
Thus lash I thee thus low!                                 2960   
(He beats him to the ground. The Soul cries out in pain)   
Though thou new as a cat,   
For thy covetise, have thou that!   
(He beats him again)   
I shall thee hit with my bat,   
And rough you up in a row!   
(He beats the Soul again, and then produces a written  
list of Mankind's sins, which he fastens on the Soul's back).   
Lo! -- sinful tiding,                                      2965   
Boy, on thy back bring!   
Speedily thou spring!   
(He forces the Soul to rise, and to jump onto his back)   
Thy Placebo I shall sing.   
To the devil's dell!   
I shall thee bear -- to hell!                             2970   
(He addresses the audience)   
I will not dwell:   
Have good day --  I go to hell!   
(The Bad Angel carries the Soul to Belial's scaffold,  
accompanied by Greediness, and they ascend. The Four 
Daughters of God enter into "the place")   

A moan I heard of "Mercy!" brief,   
And to me, Mercy, a cry and call.   
Unless it have mercy, sore it shall me grieve --           2975   
For else it shall to hell fall!   
Righteousness, my sister above,   
This ye heard -- so did we all.   
For we were made friends in love   
When the Jews offered Christ aloes and gall                2980   
On Good Friday,   
God grant that remission,   
Mercy, and absolution,   
Through virtue of his Passion,   
To no man should be said nay.                              2985   
Therefore, my sisters Righteousness --   
Peace and Truth -- to you I tell,   
When man cries "Mercy!" and will not cease,   
Mercy shall be his cleansing well --   
Witness by holy kirk.                                      2990   
For, the least drop of blood   
That God bled on the rood,   
It promised satisfaction good   
For all Mankind's work.   

Sister, you speak with special skill,                      2995   
That mercy surpasses Man's misdeed;   
But, take mercy whoso will,   
He must it ask with love and dread.   
Every man that will fulfil   
The Deadly Sins, and foul misdeed,                         3000   
To grant them mercy, I think it ill.   
And therefore, sister, pay you heed,   
Let him pay for his misdeed!   
For, thou he lie in hell and stink,   
It serves him right, as I think.                           3005   
As he brewed, so let him drink!   
The devil shall pay him just meed.26   
Believe you that when a man shall die,   
Then if that he mercy crave,   
That at once he shall have mercy? --                       3010   
Nay, nay, so Christ me save!27   
For should a man do no good   
All the days of his life,   
But expect mercy, by the rood,   
That would result in war and strife                        3015   
And cause great grievance!   
Whoever in hope doth Deadly Sin   
To his life's end, without ceasing   
Justly, then, he shall win   
Christ's great vengeance!                                  3020   

Righteousness, my sister free,   
Your judgment is good and true:   
In good faith, so thinketh me,   
Let him still his own deeds rue!   
I am "Veritas" and true will be,                           3025   
In word and work, to old and new.   
Was never man lacking me   
Damned or saved but it was due.   
I am ever at Man's end.   
When body and soul are cut in twain,                       3030   
Then weight I his good deeds and his sin --   
And which of them has greater been,   
He shall it right soon find!   
For I am Truth -- and truth will tell   
As great God himself us bid.                               3035   
There shall nothing the soul fell   
Except the sin that the body did.   
(Indicating Mankind's body on the bed under the  
Since that he died in greediness,   
I, Truth, will that he go to pain.   
Of that sin he could not cease;                            3040   
Therefore his soul shall be ta'en   
To the pit of hell! --   
Else should we, both Truth and Righteousness,   
Be put in over-much distress;   
And every man should be the worse                          3045   
That thereof might hear tell.   

Peace, my sister, Verity!   
I pray you, Righteousness, be still!   
Let no man by you damned be;   
Nor doom you no man unto hell!                             3050   
He is akin to us three,   
Though he have not now all his will.   
For his love that died on a tree,   
Let's save Mankind from all peril,   
And shield him from mischance!                             3055   
If ye two put him to distress,   
It should make great heaviness   
Between us two, Mercy and Peace --   
And that were great grievance!   
Righteousness and Truth by me be led --                    3060   
And Mercy; go we to yon high place.   
(She indicates God's scaffold)   
We shall inform the high Godhead,   
And pray him to judge this case.   
(She turns to Truth and Righteousness)   
You shall him tell of your intent   
Of Truth and Righteousness;                                3065   
And we shall pray that his judgment   
May be tempered by us, Mercy and Peace.   
All four now go we hence,   
Quickly to the Trinity,   
And there shall we soon see                                3070   
Just what his judgment shall be   
From which there is no defence.   
             (Then they all will ascend together to the Father 
             and Truth will say:)   

Hail, God of might!   
We come, thy daughters in sight:   
Truth, Mercy and Right,                                    3075   
And Peace, in a peaceable fight.   

We come to see   
If Man that was so dear to thee,   
If his home henceforth shall be   
In hell or heaven as judgeth thee.                         3080   

I, Righteousness   
Thy daughter, I confess,   
Let me nonetheless   
At thy judgment be expressed.   

Peaceable king,                                            3085   
I, Peace, thy daughter young   
May you hear my praying   
When I pray to thee, Lord, grace to bring.   

You are welcome here,   
Brighter than blossoms on briar,                           3090   
My daughters dear!   
Come forth and stand me near.   

Lord, as thou art king of kings, crowned with crown,   
As thou lovest me, Truth, thy daughter dear,   
Allow never me, Truth, to fall down,                       3095   
My faithful Father, without peer!28   
For in all truth stands thy renown   
Thy faith, thy love, and thy power,   
Let it be seen, Lord, now, at thy doom,   
That I may have my true prayer                             3100   
To do Truth by Mankind.   
For, if Mankind be judged by right   
And not by Mercy, most of thy might,   
Here, Lord, my troth I plight --   
In prison shall Man be confined!                           3105   
Lord, how should Mankind be saved,   
Since he died in deadly sin,   
And all thy commandments he depraved,   
False greediness had drawn him in?29    
The more he had, the more he craved,                       3110   
While there was life left within.   
Unless he be damned, I am betrayed;   
Truth should come of Justice's kin --   
And I am thy daughter, Truth!   
Though he cried "Mercy" moriendo,                          3115   
Nimis tarde paenitendo,   
Talem mortem reprehendo.30    
Let him drink as he brewith!   
If late repentance Man should save,   
Whether he worked well or wickedness,                      3120   
Then every man would be brave   
To trespass in trust of forgiveness!   
To sin in hope is damned, I hold --   
Forgiven is never his trespass!   
He sins in the Holy Ghost, many fold;                      3125   
That sin, Lord, thou wilt not release   
In this world nor in the other.   
Quia veritas manet in aeternum,   
Tendit homo ad infernum;   
Nunquam venit ad supernum, 31 
Thou he were my brother!                                   3131 
Man on earth hath wealth sublime,   
Lust and liking; his soul we prick   
By teaching and preaching at every time --   
But he forgets thee, Lord, full quick!                     3135   
High of heart, fortune, and health,   
Gold and silver, child and wife,   
Dainty drink at meat from wealth --   
Scarcely he thanks thee in his life   
In any manner of thing!                                    3140   
When Man's wealth begins to awake,   
Full soon, Lord, he thee forsakes.   
As he has brewed and baked,   
I, Truth, decree that he drink!   
For, if Man have mercy and grace,                          3145   
Then I, thy daughter Truthfulness,   
At thy judgment shall have no place,   
But be pushed aside, by wrong duress.   
Lord, let me never flee from thy face   
To make my power any less!                                 3150   
I pray thee, Lord, as I have space,   
Let Mankind have due distress --   
To hell-fire to be sent!   
In pain look he be still,   
Lord if it be thy will,                                    3155   
Or else I have no skill   
By thy judgment.   

O Pater misericordiarum et Deus totius consolationis,   
qui consolatur nos in omni tribulatione nostra!32     
O thou Father, of might most,   
Merciful God in Trinity,                                   3160   
I am thy daughter, well thou knowest,   
And Mercy from heaven thou broughtest me.   
Shew me thy grace in every coast!   
In this case my comfort be!   
Let me, Lord, never be lost                                3165   
By thy judgment, whatsoever it be,   
Of Mankind.   
Had man's sins not become a case   
I, Mercy should never on earth have place.   
Therefore, grant me, Lord, thy grace,                      3170   
That Mankind may be find!   
And mercy, Lord, have on this man,   
According to thy mercy, that great is,   
Unto thy grace that he be ta'en,   
Of thy mercy that he not miss!                             3175   
As thou descendest from thy throne,   
And alighted in maiden's womb, iwis --   
Incarnate was in blood and bone --   
Let Mankind come to thy bliss,   
As thou art King of Heaven!                                3180   
For Worldly vainglory,   
He hath been full sorry --   
Punished in purgatory33    
For all the sins seven.   
Did Adam not sin here before,                              3185   
And the highest in Paradise did offend,   
Never of thy mother would thou have been born --   
From heaven to earth to have been sent.   
But thirty winters here, and more,   
Bound, and beaten, back all bent,                          3190   
Scorned and scourged, sad and sore,   
On the rood rudely rent,   
Passus sub Pilato Pontio.34    
As thou hung on the cross,   
Aloud thou cried with thy voice --                         3195   
For Man's heath, as the Gospel says --   
When thou saidest "Scitio"35    
Then the Jews that thee did hate,   
Prepared thee drink of aloes and gall.   
To taste it there, it was thy fate,                        3200   
But said "Consummatum est,"36 was all.   
A knight with a spear so sharp,   
When you forgave your foe-men all,   
He struck thee, Lord, unto the heart.   
The water and blood began to well --                       3205   
Aqua baptismatis et sanquis redemptionis.37   
The water of baptism,   
The blood of redemption,   
That from thy heart ran down,   
Est causa salvationis.                              3210   
Lord, though that Man has done more wrong than good,   
If he die in very contrition,   
Lord, the least drop of thy blood   
For his sin makes satisfaction.   
As thou died, Lord, on the rood,                           3215   
Grant me my petition:   
Let me, Mercy, be his food,   
And grant him thy salvation.   
Quia dixisti "Misericordiam servabo."38    
"Mercy" shall I sing and say,                              3220   
And "Miserere"39 shall I pray   
For Mankind ever and aye!   
Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo!40    

Righteous king, Lord God of might,   
I am thy daughter Righteousness.                           3225   
Thou hast loved me ever, day and night,   
As well as other, as I guess.41    
If thou Man's kind from pain acquit,   
Thou dost against thine own process.   
Let him in prison now be put                               3230   
For his sin and wickedness!   
This boon I of thee pray:   
Full oft does he, Lord, thee forsake,   
And to the Devil he hath him take;   
Let him lie in hell's lake --                              3235   
Damned forever and aye!42   
For, when Man to the world was born,   
He was brought to holy kirk,   
Devoutly baptized at the font-stone   
And washed from original sin so dark.                      3240   
Satan and his devils he forsook as one   
All his pomp and all his work --   
And promised to serve thee alone.   
To keep thy commandments, do thy work.   
Sicut justi tui.43 
But when he was come to man's estate,                      3246 
All his promises he forgot,   
He should be damned just for that,   
Qui oblitus est Domini creatoris sui.   
For he hath forgotten thee, that him wrought               3250   
And formed him like thine own face,   
And with thy precious blood him bought,   
In this world to give him space.   
All thy benefits he set at nought,   
But took him to the Devil's place!                         3255   
The Flesh, the World, had he most in thought,   
And purpose to please them at every place,   
So grimly on ground!   
I pray thee, Lord lovely,   
Of Man have no mercy,                                      3260   
But, dear Lord, let him lie!   
In hell, let him be bound!   
Man hath forsaken thee, King of Heaven,   
And his Good Angel's governance,   
And sullied his soul with sins seven,                      3265   
By his Bad Angel's encumbrance.   
Virtues he put wholly away,   
When Greediness did him advance.   
He thought that he should live for aye --   
Till death tripped him in his dance!                       3270   
He lost his wits five.   
Too late he called confession;   
To little was his contrition;   
He made never satisfaction:   
Damn him to hell, as I live!.                              3275   
For if thou take Man's soul to thee   
Against thy righteousness,   
Thou dost wrong, Lord, to Truth and me,   
And rob us of our properness.   
Lord, let us never from thee flee,                         3280   
Nor constrain us never in duress,   
But let thy doom be by us three,   
Mankind in hell to press!   
Lord, I thee beseech,   
For Righteousness, dwell ever willing                      3285   
To judge Man after his deserving --   
For to be damned, it is his doing!   
On Man thy vengeance wreak!44   

Mercy, my sister Righteousness! --   
Through thee Mankind shall die!                            3290   
Dear sister, let by thy hardness;   
To save Mankind, let us try!   
For, if Man be damned to hell's darkness,   
Then must I wring my hands   
That ever my state shall be less,                          3295   
My freedom tied in bands.   
Mankind is of our kin!   
For I, Mercy, pass all things   
That God made at the beginning,   
And I am his daughter young,                               3300   
Dear sister, let be thy din!45   
Vengeance on Mankind do not wreak,   
By day nor by night,   
For God himself hath been his leech,   
Of his merciful might.                                     3305   
To us both God gave him -- each --   
Mercy and Right.   
For him will I pray and preach,   
To gain him free respite --   
And my sister, Peace.                                      3310   
For His mercy is without beginning   
And shall be without ending,   
As David sayeth, that worthy king --   
In Scripture are no lies!46   

Of Mercy is Mankind not worthy --                          3315   
Though thou the psalms recite and read! --   
For he would never the hungry   
Neither clothe nor feed,   
Nor drink give to the thirsty,   
Nor poor men help at need.                                 3320   
For if he did none of these, you see,   
In heaven he gets no meed --   
So sayeth the Gospel!   
For he hath been unkind   
To lame and to blind,                                      3325   
In hell he shall be pinned --   
Thus reason I with skill.   

Peaceable king in majesty,   
I, Peace, thy daughter, ask thee a boon   
For Man, howsoever it be.                                  3330   
Lord, grant me my asking soon,   
That I may evermore dwell with thee,   
As I have ever yet done;   
And let me never from thee flee;   
Especially at thy doom                                     3335   
Of Man, thy creature.   
Though my sisters, Right and Truth,   
For Mankind have no ruth,   
Mercy and I full sore us move   
To take him in our cure.                                   3340   
For when thou made earth and heaven,   
Ten orders of angels thou put in bliss,   
Lucifer -- was brighter than lightning --   
Till, when he sinned, he fell, iwis --   
To restore that place full even,                           3345   
Thou madest Mankind for this:   
To occupy his place in heaven.   
If thy reason it is   
That, he should in peace and rest   
Among thine angels bright                                  3350   
Worship thee before thy sight,   
Grant this,  Lord God of might! --   
And so I hold it best.   
For thou Truth, that art my sister dear,   
Argue that Man should dwell in woe,                        3355   
And Righteousness, with her power,   
Would earnestly wish that it were so,   
But Mercy and I, Peace, both together,   
Shall never, in conscience, agree thereto.   
Then shall we ever argue here,                             3360   
And stand at enmity, friend and foe,   
In heaven a great mischance.   
Therefore, my counsel is,   
Let us four sisters kiss,   
And restore Man to bliss,                                  3365   
As was God's ordinance!47   
For if ye, Right and Truth should have your will,   
I, Peace, and Mercy should ever have been transgressed.   
Then between us had been a great peril,   
That our joys in heaven should have been less.             3370   
Therefore, gentle sisters, consent to my will --   
Else between ourselves should never be rest!   
Where there should be love and charity, let there come no ill:   
Look that our joys be perfect -- and that I hold the best --   
In heavenly bliss!                                         3375   
For there is peace without war;   
There is rest without fear;   
And charity that is so clear --   
Our Father's will so is!48   
Therefore, gentle sisters, at one word --                  3380   
Truth, Right and Mercy kind --   
Let us stand at one accord   
In peace without an end!   
Let love and charity be at our board,   
All vengeance away wend.                                   3385   
To heaven that Man may be restored,   
Let us be all his friend.   
Before our Father's face   
We shall devoutly pray   
At dreadful doomsday --                                    3390   
And I shall for us say --   
That Mankind shall have grace!49   
(The Four Daughters kiss, and turn to address God once more)   
Lord, for thy pity, and distress   
Thou sufferest in thy Passion --   
Bound and beaten without redress,                          3395   
From the foot to the crown --   
Tanquam ovis ductus es50    
When guttae sanguinis ran a-down,   
Yet the Jews would not cease,   
But on thing head they trust a crown,                      3400   
And on the cross thee nailed --   
As piteously as thou were pained,   
Have mercy on Mankind,   
So that he may find   
That our prayer may him avail!                             3405   
FATHER (Sitting on his throne)   
Ego cogito cogitationes pacis, non afflictionis.51    
Well spoken, Peace, my daughter dear!   
On thee I think, and on Mercy.   
Since you all be accorded here,   
After your will shall my judgment be --                    3410   
Not after his deserving, nor as he fears,   
Not damning Man to torment.  See, --   
Bring him to my bliss full clear,   
In heaven to dwell endlessly.   
Your boon granted shall be,                                3415   
To make my bliss perfect,   
I mingle with my might   
All Peace, some Truth, and some Right    
And most of my Mercy!    
Misericordia Domini plena est terra. Amen.52
                   (He will say to his daughters)   
My daughters kind,                                         3421
Joyful in my consent,   
Go to yon fiend   
And from him take Mankind!   
Bring him to me                                            3425   
And set him here by my knee,   
In heaven to be   
In bliss, with joy and glee!   

We shall fulfil   
Thy commands, with reason and skill,                       3430   
From yon spirit ill   
Mankind to bring to you!   
       (The Four Daughters of God leave God's scaffold, and 
       cross "the place" to Belial's scaffold. Then they 
       will all ascend to the Bad Angel, and Peace will say:)   

Ah thou foul wight!   
Let go that soul thou holdst so tight!   
In heaven bright                                           3435   
Mankind soon shall be set.   

Go thou to hell --   
Thou devil bold as a bell! --   
Therein to dwell,   
In fire and brimstone to boil!                             3440   
       (The Bad Angel releases the Soul, and descends 
       to the pit of hell at the lowest level of Belial's 
       scaffold. The Soul descends with the Four Daughters 
       into "the place", and together they cross to the 
       scaffold of God. The Four Daughters remain in "the 
       place" while the Soul goes before the judgment seat. 
       Then he will ascend to the throne.)   

Lo here is Mankind!   
Lighter than leaf in the wind,   
That has been chained.   
Thy mercy, Lord, let him find!   
FATHER  (Sitting in judgment)   
Sicut scintilla in medio maris.53
My mercy, Mankind, give I thee.                            3446
Come -- sit at my right hand!   
(Mankind takes his place at the right side of God)   
Full well I have loved thee,   
Unkind though I thee found.   
As a spark of fire in the sea,                             3450   
My mercy is sin-quenching.   
Thou hast cause to love me   
Above all things in land,   
And keep my commandment.   
If thou me love and dread,                                 3455   
Heaven shall be thy meed;   
My face shall thee feed:   
This is my Judgment!   
Ego occidam and vivificabo, percutiam et sanabo; et nemo est qui      
de manu mea possit eruere.54   
King, kaiser, knight, and champion,                        3460   
Pope, patriarch, priest and prelate in peace,   
Duke doughtiest in deed, by dale and by down,   
Humble and mighty, the more and the less:   
All states of this world must serve my throne;   
To me shall they give reckoning at my high dais            3465   
When Michael blows his horn at my dread doom!   
The search of their conscience shall cause them distress,   
They must give a reckoning.   
Of their time, how they it spend,   
And of their true talent,                                  3470   
At my great Judgment   
An answer to me shall bring!   
Ecce, requiram gregem meum de manu pastoria.55    
And I shall inquire of my flock and their pastors,   
How they have lived and led their people subject.          3475   
The good on the right side shall stand full sure;   
The bad on the left side there shall I set.   
The seven deeds of mercy, whoso made sure   
To fill -- the hungry for to give meat,   
Or drink to the thirsty; the naked vesture;                3480   
The poor or the pilgrim home for to fetch;   
Thy neighbour that hath need;   
Whoso doth mercy with all his might   
To these sick, or in prisoner's slight,   
He doth to me -- I shall him requite:                      3485   
Heaven's bliss shall be his meed!   
Et qui bona egerunt, ibunt in vitam aeternam; qui vero mala, in    
Ignem aeternum.56    
And they that do well in this world, their joy shall awake:   
In heaven they will exalted be in bounty and in bliss.   
And they that evil do, they shall to hell lake,            3490   
In bitter sorrow to be burned -- my judgment it is.   
My powers in heaven then shall they quake;   
There is no man in this world that may escape this!   
All men example hereat may take   
To maintain the good and mend their miss.                  3495   
Here the actor playing God will remove his mitre and  
mask and address the audience)   
Thus end our games:   
To save you from sinning,   
Ever at the beginning   
Think on your last ending!   
Te Deum laudamus!                                   3500   

Copyright 1998 Alexandra F. Johnston.

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