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519 [519]

K. Edward. 3. The prayer and complaint of the Ploughman. Actes and Mon. of the church.

Lord, what dome is it to curse a lewed man if he smite a priest, & not curse a priest that smiteth a lewed man 

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A lay man, not an evil or obscene man.

, MarginaliaA leud mā, that is, a lay man.and leeseth his charitie.

Lord, what dome is it to curse the lewed people for tythings, and not curse the parson that robbeth the people of tythinges, and teacheth them not Gods law, but fedeth them with payntyng of stone walles, and songes of Latin that the people knowen not?

Lord, what dome is it to punishe the poore man for his trespas, and suffer the rich to continue in his sinne for a quantitie of mony?

Lord, what dome is it to slayne an vncunyng lewed man for hys sinne, and suffer a priest, other a clerk that doth the same sinne, scape a lyue? Lord the sinne of the priest or of the clerk is greater trespas then it is of a lewed vncunning man, and greater ensample of wickednesse to the common people.

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MarginaliaAgainst the canon law.Lord, what maner people be we, that neither kepe thy domes and thy rightfulnes of the olde testament that was a law of drede, nor thy domes and thy rightfulnes of thy new testament that is a law of loue and of mercy: but haue an other lawe, & taken out of both thy lawes that is lykyng to vs, and the remnaunt of heathen mennes lawes, and Lord this is a great mischief.

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O Lord thou sayest in thy law, deme 

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'Judge not, lest you also be judged'.

ye not and ye should not be demed, for the same measure that ye meten to other men, men shal meten to you agaynward. And Lord thou saist that by their worke we should know them. And by that we knowe that thou commaūded vs not to deme 
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i.e. 'judge'.

n mens thoughts, nor theyr workes þt wer not agaynst thy law expresly. MarginaliaThe popes law against gods law, in causing men to accuse themselues.And yet Lord he that sayth he is thy vicar, will demen our thoughts and aske vs what we thinke, not of the lord, of thy hestes, for they carē litle for them, but of him & of his whilke they set aboue thyne, & makē vs accusē our selfe, or els they willē acursē vs, for our accusers mowen 
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i.e. 'adultery'.

MarginaliaMowen, that is, may. we not knowen. And Lord þu saidst in thine old law, that vnder two witnes at the least or thre, should stand euery matter. And that the witnes shouldē euer be the first that shoulden helpe to kill them.

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And when the scribes and the Phariseis some time brought beefore thee a womā that was itake in spous-breakyng, and axeden of the a dome, thou didst write on the earth, and then thou gaue this dom: He that is without sinne, throw first at her a stone, and Lord they went forth away from thee and the woman, and thou forgaue the woman her trespas, and bad her go forth and sinne no more.

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Swete Lord, if the priestes toke kepe MarginaliaTooke kepe that is, toke hede. to thy dome, they would be agast to demen men as they done. O Lord if one of them breake a cōmaundement of thy law, he wil axe mercy of thee, & not a peine that ys dewe for the sinne, for peyne of death were to litle. MarginaliaThe breakyng of the popes law more punished, then the breakyng of gods law.O Lord, how daren they demen any man to the death for breakyng of theyr lawes, other assent to such lawe? for breakyng of thy law they wyll set men penaunce or pardon them, & maintayne them as oft as they trespassē. But Lord, if a man ones breake theyr lawes or speake agaynst them, he may done penaunce but ones, and after be burnt. Trulych Lord thou saist, but if euery of vs forgeue other his trespas, thy father will not forgeuen vs our sinnes. And Lord when thou honge on the crosse, thou praydest to thy father to haue mercy on thine enemyes.

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And yet they sain Lord, that they demen 

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i.e. 'took heed'.

no man to the death, for they sain they ne mowen by their law demen any man to death. A leeue lord, euen so saidē their forfathers the pharises, that it ne was not lawfull for them to kill any man. And yet they bidden Pilate to done thee to the death agaynst hys owne conscience, for he would gladly haue iquitte thee, but for that they threatned hym with the emperour, and broughtē against thee fals witnes also. And he was an heathen man.

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¶ O Lord, how much truer dome was there in Pilate þt was an heathen iustice, than in our kinges and iustices that woulen demen to the death and berne in the fire him, that the priests deliueren vnto them withouten witnes or prefe? For Pilate ne would not demen thee: for that the Pharisees sayden that gif thou ne haddest not bene a misdoer we ne woulde not deliuer him vnto thee: for to, MarginaliaFor to, that is therfore.they broughten in their false witnesses against thee. But Lord, as thou saydest sometime that it should ben lighter at domes daye to Tyro and to Sydon and Gomorra, than to the cities where thou wrought wonders and myracles: MarginaliaPilate more cōmended then the pope.so I dred, it shall be more light to Pilate in the dome, then to our kinges & domes men that so demen without witnesse and prefe. For Lord, to demen thy folke for heretikes, is to holden thee an hereticke: and to brennen 

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i.e. 'burn'.

them, is to brennen thee, for thou saidest to Paule whē he persecuted thy people: Saule, Saule, wherfore persecutest thou me, and in the dome thou shalt say, þt ye haue done to the lest of mine ye haue done to me.

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Thus Lord, is thy mercy & iustice foredone by him that sayth he is thy vicar in earth: for he neither keepeth it himselfe nor nill not suffer other to doe it.

¶ The third commaundement, that is pacience & sufferaunce, is also ibroken by this vicar. Lord thou biddest sufferen both wrongs and strokes withouten againstanding, and so thou diddest thy self to geuen vs ensample to sufferen of our brethren. For suffering norisheth loue, and againstandeth debate. And all thy lawe is loue or els the thing that draweth to loue.

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¶ But Lord, men teachen, þt men shoulden pleten 

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i.e. 'plead'.

for their right and fighten also therfore, and els they seyn, men ben in peril: & thou byd in the olde lawe men fight for their countrey. And thy self haddest two swordes in thy company whē thou shouldest go to thy passion, that as these clerkes seyn, betokeneth a spiritual sword, and a temporall sworde. that thou gaue to thy vicar to rule with, thy church. MarginaliaThe pope breaketh patience.Lord this is a slight 
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i.e. 'cunning' or 'subtle'.

speche: but lord we beleuen that thou art kyng of blisse, and that is thyne heretage and mankindes countrey, and in this worlde we ne bene but straungers and pilgrimes. For thou Lord ne art not of this world ne thy law neither, ne thy true seruauntes that kepen thy law. And Lord, thou were king of Iuda by enheritage if thou wouldest haue ihad it, but thou forsoke it and pletedest not therfore ne fought not therfore.

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¶ But Lord, for thy kinde heretage & mankindes countrey, that is a land of blisse, thou foughtest mightilich: In battaile thou ouer-came thy enemie, and so thou wonne thine heretage. For thou that were a lorde mightiest in battail, & also lorde of vertues, art rightfullich king of blisse, as Dauid sayth in the Psalter But lord, thine enemie smote the dispitefullich, and had power of thee and hange thee vpon the crosse as thou haddest ben a thefe, and benomyn thee all thy clothes, and sticked thee to the hart with a spere.

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¶ O Lord, this was an hard assault of a battaile, and here thou ouercome by pacience mightilich thine enemies, for thou ne wouldest not done against the will of thy father. And thus Lorde thou taughtest thy seruauntes to fight for their countrey. And Lord this fighting was in figure itaught in the olde law. But lord men holdē now the shadowe of the olde fighting & leuen the lighte of thy fighting, that thou taughtest openlych both in word and in deede.

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¶ Lord thou gaue vs a sword to fighten against our enemies for our countrey, that was thine holy teaching, & christen mens lawe. But Lord thy sworde is put in a shethe and in priestes warde, that haue forsake the fighting that thou taughtest. For as they seyn it is against their order to ben men of armes in thy battail, for it is vnsemelich, as they seyn, þt thy vicar in earth, other his priests shoulden suffer of other men. MarginaliaChristes vicare & his priestes wyll suffer nothyng.And therfore gif any man smyte him other any of his clerkes, he ne taketh it not in pacience, but anon he smiteth with his sworde of cursing, and afterward with his bodylich sworde, he doth them to death. O Lord, me thinketh that thys is a fighting agaynst kinde and much agaynst thy teaching.

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O Lord whether axsedist thou after swerdes in tyme of thy passion to again stond thine enemies? nay forsooth thou Lord For Peter that smote for great loue of thee, had no great thanke of thee, for hys smiting. And Lord thou were mightye ynough to haue againe stonde thyne enemies, for throughe thy looking they fellen downe to the ground. Lord iblessed more thou be. Here thou teachest vs that we shulden suffren: For thou were mighty ynow to haue agaynestande thine ennemies, and thou haddest wepen, and thy men weren harty to haue smitten.

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O sweete Lord, how may he for shame clepen him selfe thy Vicker and head of the church, that maye not for shame suffer. Sythe thou art a Lord, and suffredist of thy subiects, to geuen vs ensample, and so dyd thy true seruantes.

O Lord, whether geue thou to Peter a spiritual sword to curse and a temporal swerd to sle mens bodies? MarginaliaNo temporall sword geuen to Peter.Lord I trow not for thē Peter that loued thee so much would haue smit with thy swerds. But Lord, he taught vs to blessen them that cursen vs, and suffren, and not smiten. And Lord he fed thy people as thou bed him, and therefore he suffred the death as thou dydst.

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O Lord, why clepeth any man him Peters successor, that hath forsaken pacience, and feedeth thy people wyth cursing and wyth smiting? Lord thou saydest in thy gospell, when thy disciples knewen well that thou were Christ, and that thou mustest go to Ierusalem, and sufferen of the Scribes and Pharisees, spittinges, reprofes, and also the death. And Peter tooke thee asyde, and sayde God forbyd that. And Lorde þu saydest to Peter, go behynde me Sathanas, thou sclaundrest me in Israel. For thou ne sauourest not thilke things MarginaliaThilke thinges, those thinges. that ben of God, but thilke that ben of men. Lord to mens wyt it is vnreasonable, that thou or thy Vicar, gif thou madest any on earth, shoulden suffren of your sugettes.

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MarginaliaFaith commeth not by outward force.A Lord, whether thou ordeynest an order of fighters to turne men to the beliefe? Other ordeinest that knightes shoulden swear to fyght for thy wordes?

A Lord, whether bede thou, that gif a man turne to the fayth, that he shoulde geue hys goods and cattell to thy Vicar that hath great lordships, and more then him needeth? Lord I wot well that in the beginning of the church men that weren cōuerted, threwen adowne their goods before the Apostles feete. For all they weren in charitie, and none of them sayde this is myne, ne Peter made hym selfe no Lord of these goods.

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MarginaliaPope breaketh the rule of charitie, of mercy and of patience.But Lord, now he that clepeth him selfe thy vicar vpon earth, and successor to Peter, hath ybroke thy commaundement of charitie, for he is become a Lord. And he hath broken also thy cōmaundement of mercy, and also of pacience. Thus Lord we be fallen into great mischiefe and thraldome, for our chieftayne hath forsaken war and armes, and hath treated to haue peace with our enemies.

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A Lord, gif it be thy wyl, draw out thy swerd out of his shethe, that thy seruantes may fight therewith against their enemies, and put cowardise out of our hartes. And comfort vs in battayle, or than 

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Before that.

MarginaliaOr then, before that.thou come with thy sword in thy mouth, to take vengeaunce on thyne enemies. For gif we bene accorded with our enemies tyl that tyme come, it is dread least thou take vengeaunce both of thē and of vs together. A Lorde, there ys no helpe now in thys great mischiefe, but onelych in thee.

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MarginaliaThe pope breaketh the law of swearyng.Lord, thou geuest vs a commaundement of truth, in bydding vs say yea, yea, nay, nay and sweare for nothing. Thou geue vs also a maundement of mekenes, and an other of poorenes But Lorde, he that clepeth hym selfe thy vicar on earth, hath ybroken these cōmaundementes, for he maketh a law to compel men to sweare, and by hys lawes he teacheth that a man to saue his life, may forswere and lye. And so Lord, through comfort of hym and hys lawes, the people ne dreadeth not to swere and to lye, ne oft tymes to forsweren them. Lord here is lytle truth.

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O Lord, thou hast ybrought vs to a lyuing of soule that standes in beleuing in thee and kepyng thyne hestes, and when we breaken thyne hestes, than we slen our soule. And lesse harme it were to suffer bodylich death.

Lord, kyng Saule brake thyne hestes, and thou tooke hys kingdome from hys heires euermore after hym, & gaue it to Dauid thy seruaunt, that kept thyne hestes. And thou saydst by Samuel thy prophet to Saul king, þt it is a manner of worshipping of fals gods to breake thyne hestes. For who that loueth thee ouer althinges, and dreadeth thee also: he nole MarginaliaNele 

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i.e. 'would not'.

, i would not.for nothing breake thyne hestes.

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O Lord, gif breakyng of thine hestes be heryeng of false gods, I trow that he that maketh the people breake thyne hestes, and commaundeth that hys hestes ben kept of the people, maketh him-

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