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520 [520]

K. Edward. 3. The prayer and complaint of the Ploughman.

selfe a false god on earth, as Nabugodonosor dyd some tyme, that was kyng of Babilon.

But Lord, we forsaken such false gods, and beleuen that ther ne ben no mo gods then thou. And thoughe thou suffer vs a whyle to ben in disease for knowledging of thee: we thanken thee wyth our hart, for it is a token that thou louest vs, to geuē vs in this world some penaunce for our trespas.

Lord, in the old law, thy true seruauntes toke the death, for they would not eaten swines flesh that thou haddest forbid them to eate. O Lord, what truth is in vs to eatē vncleane mete of the soule, that thou hast forbid? Lord thou sayst, he that doth sinne is seruaunt of sinne, and then he that lyeth in forsweryng him selfe, is seruaunt of lesing, & then he is seruaunt to the deuill that is a lyer & father of lesings. And Lord thou sayst no man may serue two Lordes at ones. O Lord then euery lyer for the tyme that he lyeth, other forswereth him selfe, & forsaketh thy seruice for drede of hys bodyly death, and becommeth the deuils seruaunt.

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MarginaliaSeruant of seruantes, the popes stile abusedO Lord, what truth is in hym that clepeth hym selfe seruaunt of thy seruauntes, and in his doyng he maketh him a Lord of thy seruauntes. Lord thou were both Lord and maister, and so thou sayd thy selfe, but yet in thy warkes thou were as a seruaunt. Lord this was a great truth and a great mekenes: but Lord bid thou thy seruantes þt they should not haue Lordshyp ouer their brethren? Lord thou saydst kynges of the heathen men han Lordshyp ouer theyr subiectes, and they that vse their power be cleped well doers.

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But Lord, thou saydst it should not be so amongest thy seruaunts: But he that were most should be as a seruaunt. Thou Lord thou taughtest thy disciples to be meke. Lord in the old law thy seruants durst haue no Lordship of their brethren, but if that thou bid them. And yet they should not do to theyr brethren as they did to thrailes 

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i.e. 'slaves'.

MarginaliaThrailles, that is to say bond men.that serued them. But they should do to their brethren that were theyr seruauntes as to their owne brethren. For all they were Abrahams children. And at a certeyne tyme they should let their brethren passe frō them in fredome, but if they would willfullych abydē still in seruice.

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O Lord thou gaue vs in thy commyng a law of perfect loue, and in token of loue thou clepedst thy selfe our brother. And to make vs perfect in loue, thou bid that we should clepe to vs no father vpon earth, but thy father of heauen we should clepe our father. Alas Lord, how violently our brethren and thy children been now put in bodyly thraldome & in dispite as beastes euermore in greuous trauell to finde proude men in ease: But Lord, if we take this defoule 

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i.e. 'injury'.

and this desease in pacience and in mekenes and kepe thyne hestes, we hopen to be free. And Lord geue our brethren grace to come out of thraldome of sinne, that they be fall in thorough the desiryng and vsage of Lordship vpon theyr brethren. MarginaliaPryde of priestes.And Lorde thie priestes in the old law had no Lordshyps among theyr brethren, but houses & pastures for theyr beastes: but Lord our priestes now haue great Lordshyp, and put their brethren in greater thraldome then lewed men that be Lordes. Thus is mekenesse forsake.

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Lord thou biddest in the Gospell that when a man is byd to the feast he should sit in the lowest place, and then he may be set hyer with worship when the Lord of the feast beholdeth how his gestes sitteth. Lord it is drede that they þt sit now in the hyest place should be bidde in tyme commyng sit beneath. And that will be shame and vileny for thē. And it is thy saying, those that hyeth hym selfe shuld be lowed, and those that loweth them selues should be an heyghed. O Lord thou biddest in thy Gospell to beware of the phariseis, for it is a point of pride contrary to mekenes. And Lord thou saist that they loue the first sittings at supper, and also the principall chaires in churches, and gretinges in chepyng, and to be cleped maisters of men. And Lord thou sayst be ye not cleped masters, for one is your master, and that is Christ and all ye be brethren. And clepe ye to you no father vppon earth, for one is your father that is in heauen. MarginaliaMekenes commēded in ministersO Lord this is a blessed lesson to teach men to be meke.

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MarginaliaVicar in earth not tollerable in the pope.But Lord he that clepeth him selfe thy viker on earth he clepeth him selfe father of fathers agaynst thy forbiddyng. And all those worships thou hast forbad. He approueth them, and maketh them masters to many, that teach thy people their owne teachyng, and leaue thy teachyng that is medefull, and hiden it by quaynte gloses frō thy lewed people, and fede thy people with sweuenes MarginaliaSweuens, that is dreames.that they mete, and tales that doth litle profit, but much harme to the people. But Lord, these glosers obiecte that they desire not the state of mastry to be worshipped therby, but to profite the more to thy people when they preache thy worde. For as they seggen 

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i.e. 'say' or 'sayeth'.

the people wyll beleeue more the preachyng of a maister that hath take a state of schole, then the preachyng of another man that hath not take the state of maistry.

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¶ Lord whether it be any nede that maisters beren witnes to thy teaching that it is true & good? O Lorde whether may any maister mowe by his estate of maistrie, that thou hast forboden, draw any man from his sinne, rather then an other mā that is not a maister, ne wole be none, for it is forboden him in thy Gospell? Lorde thou sendest to maisters to preach the people, and thou knowlegist in the gospell to thy father that he hath hyd his wisedome from wisemen and redy men, and shewed it to litle children. MarginaliaMastership & lordship in prechersAnd Lord, maisters of the law hylden thy teaching folye, and seiden that thou wouldest destroye the people with thy teaching. Trulych lorde, so these maisters seggeth now: for they haue written many bookes against thy teaching that is treweth, and so the prophecie of Hieremie is fulfilled, when he sayth: Trulich the false poyntis of þe maisters of the law hath wrought lesing. And now is the time come that S. Paul speaketh of, where he sayth: time shal come when mē shall not susteine wholsome teaching. But they shullen gather to hepe  

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i.e. 'hear'.

maisters with hutching 
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i.e. 'listening'.

eares, & from truth they shullen turnen awaye their hearing, and turnen them to tales that maisters haue maked to showen their maistrye and their wisedome.

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¶ And Lord a man shall beleaue more a mans workes then his wordes, & the deede sheweth well of these maisters that they desirenmore maistrye for their own worshipe than for profit of the people. For when they be maisters, they ne preachen not so oft as they did before. And gif they preachen, cōmonlych it is before rich mē there as they mowen beare worshyp and also profite of their preaching. But before poore men they prechen but seldē, when they ben maisters: and so by their workes we may sene þt they ben false glosers.

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MarginaliaFalse glosers.And Lord, me thynketh that who so wole keepen thyne hestes, him needeth no gloses: but thilke that clepen them selfe Christen men, and lyuen agaynst thy teaching and thyne hestes, needelych they mote glose thine hestes after their liuing, other els men shoulden openlych yknow their hipocrisie and their falshod.

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But Lord, thou sayst that there ys nothing yhid that shall not be shewed some tyme. And Lord yblessed mote thou be. For somewhat thou shewest vs now of our mischiefes that wee bene fallen in through the wysdome of maysters, that haue by sleightes ylad vs away from thee and thy teaching, that thou that were maister of heauen taught vs for loue, when thou were here some tyme to heale of our soules, withouten errour or heresye. But maisters of worldes wysdome and their founder, haue ydamned it for heresye and for errour.

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O Lord, me thinketh it is a great pride thus to reproue thy wisdome and thy teaching. And Lord me thinketh that this Nabugodonosor Kyng of Babilon that thus hath reproued thy teachyng and thine hestes and commaūdeth on all wyse to kepen his hestes: maken thy people hearen him as a God on earth, and maketh thē hys thrals and hys seruauntes.

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But Lord, we lewd men 

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In this case, 'lewd' man means 'sinful' man..

knowen no God but thee, and we with thyne helpe and thy grace forsakē Nabugodonosor and his lawes. For he in his proude estate wole haue all men vnder him, and he nele 
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i.e. 'will not'.

MarginaliaNele, that is wyll not.be vnder no man. He ondoth thy lawes that thou ordeynest to ben kept, and maketh his own lawes as him liketh: and so he maketh him kyng aboue all other kinges of the earth, and maketh men to worshyppen him as a God, and thy great sacrifice he hath ydone away.

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O Lord, here is thy commaundement of mekenes, mischeflich to broke: MarginaliaPouerty of Christ not folowed.And thy blessed commaundement of poorenes is also to broken, and yhid from thy people. Lord, Zacharye thy prophet sayth, that thou that shouldest ben our king, shouldest bene a poore man, and so thou were: for thou saydest thy selfe, Foxes haue dens, and birdes of heauen nestes, and mans sonne hath not where to legge his head on. And thou saydest yblessed ben poore men in spirite, for thy kingdome of heauen is theiren. And wo to ryche men, for they han their comfort in this world. MarginaliaCouetise.And thou bade thy disciples to ben ware of all couetise, for thou saydest, in the aboundaunce of a mans hauing, ne is not his lyfelode. And so thou teachest that thilk that han more then them nedeth to their liuing, lyuen in couetyse. Also thou sayest, but gif a man forsake all thynges that he oweth, he ne maye not bene thy disciple. Lorde, thou sayest also that thy word that is sowē in rich mens hartes, bringeth forth no fruit: for riches, and the busines of this world maken it withouten fruit.

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MarginaliaPouertie counted foly.O Lord, here ben many blessed teachinges to teach men to bene poore and loue poorenes. But Lord harme is, poore men and poorenes ben yhated, and rich men ben yloued and honoured. And gif a man be a poore man, men holden him a man without grace, and if a man desireth poorenes, men holden him but a foole. And if a man be a rich man, men clepen him a gracious man, and thylke that ben busy in getting of riches, ben yholde wyse men and ready: but lord these rich men sayen that it is both lefull and meedefull to them to gather riches together. For they ne gathereth it not for themselfe, but for other men that ben needy, and Lord their woorkes shewen the truth. For if a poore nedy man would borowen of their riches, he nele MarginaliaNele, that is, wyll not.leane him none of his good, but gif he mow be seker to haue it agine by a certaine day.

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But Lord, thou bede that a man should lend, and not hoping yelding againe of him that he lendeth to: and thy father of heauen wol quite him his mede. And gif a poore aske a rich man any good, the riche man wole geue him but a lytle, and yet it shall be litle worth. And Lord me thinketh that here is litle loue and charitye, both to God and to our brethren.

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MarginaliaGod is serued of the worst.For Lord, thou teachest in thy Gospell, that what men do to thy seruauntes, they done to thee. A Lord, gif a poore man axe good for thy loue, men geueth him a litle of the wurst. For these riche men ordeynen both bread and ale for Gods men of the wurst that they haue. O Lord, sythe all the good that men haue commeth of thee: how dare any man geue thee of the wurst, and keepe to himself the best? How maye such men say that they gatheren riches for others neede, as well as himselfe, sithe their workes ben contrary to their wordes? and that is no great truth. And be ye seker these goods that rich men han, they bene Gods goods, ytake to your keepyng, to loke how ye wolen be setten thē to the worshipping of god. And Lord, thou sayest in the Gospell, that who so is true in litle, he is true in that thing that is more. And who that is false in a lyttle thing, who wole taken hym towarde thynges of a greater value? MarginaliaA lesson for thē that haue goods well to spend them.And therefore, be ye ware that han gods goods to kepe. Spend ye thilk trulich to the worship of God, least ye leesen the blysse of heauen, for the vntrue despending of Gods goods in this world.

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O Lord, these rich men seggen MarginaliaSeggen, that is, do say.that they done much for thy loue. For many poore labourers ben yfound by them, that shoulden fare febelich 

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i.e. 'poorly'.

, ne were not they and their readines: Forsooth me thynketh that poore laborers geueth to these rich men, more then they geuen them agayneward. For the poore man mote gone to his labour in cold and in heate, in wete and dry, and spend his flesh & his bloude in the richmens woorkes, vpon Gods ground, to finde the rich man in ease, and in liking, and in good fare of meate & of drink and of clothing. Here is a great gift of the poore mā, for he geueth his own body. But what geueth the rychman hym agaynwarde? Certes feable meate, and feable drinke, and feable clothing. What euer they seggen, such be thier werkes, and here is litle loue. And whosoeuer looketh well about, all the worlde fareth thus as wee

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seggen,
V.iiij.
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