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He brandish'd like a beir; Boasters, braggers, and barganeris, After him passed into pairis,
All bodin in feir of weir.3
In jackis, scripis, and bonnets of steel,
Their legs were chenyiet 4 to the heel,
Froward was their affeir,5
Some upon other with brands beft, 6
Some jaggit? others to the heft 8
With knives that sharp could shear.
Next in the dance follow'd Envy,
Fill'd full of feud and felony,
Hid malice and despite,
For privy hatred that traitor trembled;
Him follow'd many freik 9 dissembled,
With feigned wordis white.
And flatterers into men's faces,
And backbiters in secret places
To lie that had delight,
And rowneris 10 of false lesings ; 11
Alas, that courts of noble kings
Of them can never be quite ! 12
Next him in dance came Covetice,
Root of all evil and ground of vice,
That never could be content,
. Caitiffs, wretches, and ockerars, 13
Hood-pikes," hoarders, and gatherers,
All with that warlock went.
Out of their throats they shot on other
Hot molten gold, methought, a fother, 2
As fire-flaucht 3 most fervent;
Aye as they tumit4 them of shot,
Fiends fill'd them new up to the throat
With gold of all kind prent.5
Syne 6 Sweirness 7 at the second bidding
Came like a sow out of a midding, 8
Full sleepy was his grunyie.
Many sweir bumbard 10 belly-huddroun,"
Many slute daw 12 and sleepy duddrour,13
Him served aye with sounyie.14
He drew them forth into a chenyie, 15
And Belial with a bridle-rennyie, 16
Ever lash'd them on the lungie.17
In dance they were so slow of feet
They gave them in the fire a heat,
And made them quicker of counyie.18
That had in sin been dead.
When they were enter'd in the dance,
They were full strange of countenance,
Like torches burning reid.
Then the foul monster Gluttony,
Of wame 1 insatiable and greedy,
To dance he did him dress;
Him followed many a foul drunkárt
With can and collep, cop and quart,2
In surfeit and excess.
Full many a waistless wally-drag 3
With wames unwieldable did forth drag,
In creish 4 that did incress;
Drink, aye they cried, with many a gape,
The fiends gave them hot lead to laip, 5
Their leveray6 was no less.
No minstrels play'd to them but ? doubt,
For gleemen there were holden out,
By day and eke by night,
Except a minstrel that slew a man;
So till his heritage he wan,
And enter'd by brief of right.
Far northward in a nook,
By he the Correnoch had done shout,1
Ersch-menso gather'd him about
In hell great room they took :
These termagants, with tag and tatter,
Full loud in Ersch began to clatter,
And roup 3 like raven and rook.
The devil so deaved 4 was with their yell,
That in the deepest pot of hell
He smored 5 them with smoke.
THE MERLE AND NIGHTINGALE.
In May, as that Aurora did upspring,
With crystal een6 chasing the cluddes sable.
I heard a Merle with merry notës sing
A song of love, with voice right comfortáble,
Against the orient beamis, amiable,
Upon a blissful branch of laurel green;
This was her sentence, sweet and delectable,
*A lusty life in Lovë's service been.'
Under this branch ran down a river bright,
Of balmy liquor, crystalline of hue,
Against the heavenly azure skyis light,
Where did upon the other side pursue
A Nightingale, with sugar'd notës new,
Whose angel feathers as the peacock shone;
This was her song, and of a sentence true,
All love is lost but upon God alone.'
With notës glad, and glorious harmony,
This joyful merle, so salust? she the day,
While rung the woodis of her melody,
Saying, “Awake, ye lovers of this May;
Lo, fresh Flora has flourish'd every spray,
As nature has her taught, the noble queen,
The fields be clothed in a new array;
A lusty life in Lovë's service been.'
Ne'er sweeter noise was heard with living man,
Than made this merry gentle nightingale;
Her sound went with the river as it ran,
Out through the fresh and flourish'd lusty vale;
O Merle!' quoth she, “O fool! stint of thy tale,
For in thy song good sentence is there none,
For both is tint,2 the time and the travail,
Of every love but upon God alone.'
*Cease,' quoth the Merle, “thy preaching, Nightingale:
Shall folk their youth spend into holiness?
Of young saintis, grow old fiendis, buts fable;
Fy, hypocrite, in yearis' tenderness,
Against the law of kind4 thou goes express,
That crooked age makes one with youth serene,
Whom nature of conditions made diverse:
A lusty life in Love's service been.'
The Nightingale said, · Fool, remember thee,
That both in youth and eild, 5 and every hour,
The love of God most dear to man should be;
That him, of nought, wrought like his own figour,
And died himself, from death him to succour;