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521 [521]

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

seggen. And all men studieth on euery syde, howe they maye wexe rich. And euerich man almost is a shamed to ben holden a pore mā.

MarginaliaThe pouertie of Christ rightly considered And Lord, I trow for thou were a poore man, men token lyttle regarde to thee, and to thy teaching. But Lord thou came to geue vs a new testament of loue, and therfore it was semelich that thou came in poorenes, to proue who would loue thee, and kepen thyne hestes. For gif thou haddest ycome in forme of a riche man and of a Lord, men woulde rather for thy dread then for thy loue, haue ykept thine hestes. And so Lord now thou might well ysee whych louen thee as they should in keeping thyne hestes. For who that loueth thee in thy poorenes and in thy lownes, nedes he more loue thee in thy lordship and thy highnes.

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MarginaliaA poore kyng, and a proud Vicar, how ioyne these two together.But Lord, the world is turned vpse downe, and men loue poore mē but a litle ne poorenes neither. But mē be ashamed of poorenes, and therfore Lord, I trow that thou art a poore kyng. And therfore I trow that he that clepeth him selfe thy vicare on earth, hath forsake poorenes, as he hath do the remnaūt of thy law: and is become a rich man and a Lord, and maketh hys treasure vpon the earth, that thou forbiddest in the Gospell. And for his right and his riches he will plete, and fight and curse. And yet Lord, he will segge that he forsaketh all thynges that he oweth, as thy trewe disciple mete done after thy teachyng in the Gospell.

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MarginaliaChrist a seruant vpon earth: the pope a Lord.But Lord thou ne taughtest not a man to forsaken his goodes, & plete for thē and fight, and curse. And Lord he taketh on hym power to assoyle a man of all maner thynges, but if it be of dette. Truly Lord, me thinketh he knoweth litle of charitie. For who that beth in charitie, possesseth thy goods in common and not in proper at his neighbours nede. And then shall there none of them segge this is myne, but it is goods that God graunteth to vs to spendē it to hys worship. And so if any of them boroweth a porcion of those goodes, and dispendeth them to Gods worship: God is apayed of 

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i.e. 'repaid'.

this spendyng, and aloweth him for his true doyng. MarginaliaThe pope for hys right and riches wil plead fight, and curseAnd if God is apayed of that dispēdyng that is the principal Lord of those goodes, how dare any of his seruauntes axen thereof, accountes, other chalenge it for dette? Sertē, of one thyng I am incerteine, that these þt charge so much det of worldly cattel, they know litle of Christes law of charitie. For if Ich am a bayly of gods goods in the world, if I se my brother in nede, I am hold by charitie to part wt him of these goods to his nede: and if he spendeth them well to the worship of God, I mote be well a payed as though I my self had spended them to the worship of God. And if the principall Lord is well payed of my brothers doyng, and the despendyng of his goodes: how may I segge for shame that my brother is dettour to me, of the goodes that I tooke hym to spende in Gods worship at his nede? MarginaliaProprietie of goods here, is not take away, but charitie is required to helpe the nede of our neyghbour.And if my brother spendeth amys the goodes that I take him, I am discharged of my deliueraunce of the goodes, if I take hym in charitie thilk goodes at his nede. And I am hold to be sory of his euil dispending, ne I may not axen the goods, that I toke him to his nede in forme of dette, for at his nede they weren his as wel as myne. And thus is my brother yholde to done to me gif he see me in neede, and gif we ben in charitie, litell shoulde we chargen of dette. And ne we should not axen so dettes, as men that knowen not God. And than be we poore in forsaking all thinges that we owen. For gif we ben in charite, we wolen nother fight nor curse, ne plete for our goodes with our brethren.

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O Lord thus thou taughtest thy seruauntes to lyuen. And so they lyueden while they hadden good shepherdes, that fedden thy sheepe and ne robbed them not of their lyfelode, as Peter thy good shepherd and thy other Apostles. But Lord, he that clepeth hym selfe thy viker vpon earth and successour to Peter: he robbeth thy puple of their bodylich lyfelode, for he ordeneth proude shepherdes to lyuen in ese by the tenth party of pore mens trauell. And he geueth them leue to lyuen where them liketh. And gif men no wolen not wilfullych geuen them the tythinges, they wolen han them agaynst their will by maystrye and by cursing, to maken them rich.

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¶ Lord, how may any man segge that such shepeherdes that louen more the wolle then the sheepe, and feden not thy sheepe in bodie ne in soule, ne ben such rauenours and theeues? MarginaliaThe pope a mainteynour of theues and robbers.And who may segge that the maintainour of such shepeherdes, ne is not a maintenour of theeues and robbers? How wole he assoyle shepeherdes of their robbing without restitution of their goodes, that they robben thy sheepe of against their will? Lorde, of all sheepeherdes, blessed mote thou be. MarginaliaChrist a good shepeheard in deede.For thou louedest more the sheepe thē their wole. For thou fedest thy sheepe both in body and in soule. And for loue of thy sheepe thou toke thy death to bring thy sheepe out of wolues mouthes. And the most charge that thou goue to Peter, was to feede thy sheepe. And so he did truelich, and tooke the death for thee and for thy shepe. For he came in to the folde of sheepe by the that were the dore. MarginaliaComparison betwene the popes shepe herdes and Christ.And so I trowe a fewe other did as he did, though they clepen hemself successours to Peter For their workes showē what they ben. For they robben and sleen and destroyen: they robben thy sheepe of the tenth part of their trauell, and feden them self in ease. They sleen thy sheepe, for they pyenen them for hunger of their soule to the death. They distroyen thy sheepe, for with might and with sterneship they rulen thy sheepe: that for drede they ben disparsed abrode in mountaines, and there the wilde beastes of þe field distroyeth them, and deuoureth thē for default of a good shepeherd.

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¶ O Lord, gif it be thy will deliuer thy sheepe out of such shepeherdes warde that retcheth not of thy sheepe, they han their wolle to make them selfe rich. For thy sheepe ben in great mischiefe and foule accombred with their shepeherdes.

Marginalia* But for, that is but because.* ¶ But for thy shepeherdes wolden ben excused, they haue ygeten them hyredmen to feede thy people, and these comen in sheepes clothing. But dredeles, their workes shewen that MarginaliaWithin forth 

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i.e. ' inwardly'.

, i. inwardly.* with in forth they ben but wolfes. For han they their hyre, they ne retcheth but a litle how sorlich thy sheepe ben kept. For as thei seggen themself, they ben but hyrid men that han no charge of thy shepe. And when they shulden feden thy sheepe in the plentuous MarginaliaLesew, pasture* lesewe of thy teaching, they stonden betwene them & their lesewe, so that thy sheepene han but a sight of thy lesewe, but eten they shalle not therof. But they feden them in a sorry sowre lesewe of lesinges & of talys. And so thy sheepe fallen into greuous sicknes through thys euilll lesewe. And gif any shepe breake ouer into thy lesewe to tasten the swetenes theron, anon these hyred mē driue him out with houndes. And thus thy shepe by these hyred men, ben ykept out of ther kindlich lesewe, and ben yfed with soure grasse and sory baren lesewes. And yet they feden them but seldē, and when they han sorylych fed them, they taken great hyre, and gone awaye from thy sheepe and letten them a worth. And for drede lest thy sheepe wolden in their absence go to thy sweete lesewe, they han enclosed it all aboute so stronglich & so high, þt there may no shepe comen there with in, but gif it be a Marginalia* A Welche leaper 
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i.e. 'a Welsh leaper'.

.
* walisch leper of the mountains that may with his long legges lepen ouer the wallys. For the hyridmen ben ful certayne, that gif thy sheepe hadden ones tasted the swetenes of thy lesewe: They ne would no more ben yfed of these hirid men in their soure lesewes, and therfore these hyrid men kepen thē out of that lesewe. For hadden the sheepe ones ytasted well of thy lesewe, they wolden without a leder go thider to their mete, and then mote these hired men sechen them a nother labour to liue by thā keping of shepe. MarginaliaWolfes in lamb skins described.And they ben fel and ware ynowe therof, and therefore they feden thy sheepe with soure meate that naught is & hyden from thy shepe the swetenes of thy lesewe. And so though these hyred men gone in sheepes clothing, in their workes they ben wolues, þt much harme done to thy sheepe as we haue ytold.

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¶ O Lorde, they comen as sheepe, for they seggen that they ben poore and haue forsaken the worlde to liuen parfetlich as thou taughtest in the gospell. Lord this is sheepes clothing. But Lord thou ne taughtest not a man to forsakē the trauelous liuing in porenesse in the world, to liuen in ese with riches by other mennes traueile, and haue Lordship on their brethren. For Lord this is more to forsaken thee and go to the world.

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MarginaliaHe complaineth against the valiant beggers the Friers.¶ O Lord thou ne taughtest not a man to forsake the worlde to liuen in poorenes of begging by other mennes trauaile that ben as feble as they ben. Ne Lord thou ne taughtest not a man to liuen in poorenesse of begging, that were stronge inough to trauayle for his lyfelode. Ne Lord thou ne taughtest not a man to bene a begger to beg of men more then him nedeth, to build great castels and make great feastes to thilk þt han no neede.

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¶ O Lord thou ne taughtest not men this poorenes, for it is out of charitie. But thy poorenes that thou taughtest, nourisheth charitie. Lord syth Paul sayth, that he þt forsaketh the charge of thilke that ben MarginaliaHomelich that is, of his household.* homelich with him, hath forsaken his fayth and is worse then a misebleued man: How then now these men seggen that they beleuen in Christ, that han forsake their poore feble frendes, and let them liue in traueile and in disese, that traueiled ful sore for thē, when they weren younge and vnmightie to helpen them self? And they wolen liue in ese by other mennes traueile euermore begging withouten shame.

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MarginaliaWilfull pouertie abhorred.¶ Lord thou ne taughtest not this maner poorenes, for it is out of charite. And all thy lawe is charite and thyng that norisheth charite. And these hyridmen these shepherdes sende about to kepe thy shepe, & to feden them other whiles in sorry bareyne lesewes. Lord thou ne madest none such shepherdes, ne kepers of thy sheepe that weren irēners 

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An 'irener' is a vagabond; this clause was omitted, probably inadvertently, from the 1576 edition and all subsequent editions..

about countreis, and woldē ones, oder twyes a yere fede sorylich thy shepe, and for so litle traueyle taken a great hyre, and sithen all the yere afterward, do what them liketh, and let thy shepe perish for defaute of kepyng.

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MarginaliaThe propertie of good shepeherds.But thy shepherdes abiden still with their sheepe, and feden thē in thy plentuous lesewe of thy teachyng, and gone byfore thy shepe, and teachen them the waye into the plentuous and swete lesewe, & kepen thy flocke from rauenyng of the wilde beastes of the feelde.

O Lord deliuer thy sheepe out of the warde of these shepherdes & these hyred men, that stonden more to kepe their riches that they robben of thy sheepe, than they stonden in kepyng of thy sheepe.

O Lord, when thou come to Ierusalem, some tyme thou droue out of the temple sellers of bestes and of other chaffre, and saydest: Myne house shouldē ben cleped an house of prayers: but they madē a den of theues of it. O Lord, thou art the temple in whom we shoulden prayen thy father of heauen. And Salomons temple that was ybelded at Ierusalem, was figure of this temple. MarginaliaThe pope is a chapman in gods tēple.But Lord, he that clepeth him selfe thy viker vpon earth, and saith that he occupieth thy place here on earth: is become a chapmā in the temple, and hath hys chapmen walkyng in diuerse countries to sellen hys chaffare, & to maken him rich. And he sayth, thou gaue him so great a power abouen all other men, that what euer he byndeth other vnbyndeth in earth, thou byndest other vnbyndest the same in heauē. And so of great power he selleth other men forgeuenes of their sin. And for much money he will assoylen a man so cleane of his sinne, that he Marginalia* Behoteth, that is, promiseth.* behoteth 

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i.e. 'promises'.

mē the blesse of heauen withouten any payne after that they be deed, that geuen him much money.

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Bishopriches & cherches, & such other chaffares he selleth also for money, and maketh him selfe rich. And thus he bigileth the puple.

O Lord Iesu, here is much vntruth and mischief, and matter of sorow. Lord thou saydst some tyme, that thou wouldest be with thy seruauntes into the ende of the world. MarginaliaNote good reader, yf Christ hym self be, ii. or iii gathered in his name what neede is there of a lieuetenāt.And thou saydst also, there as tweyne or three ben ygadred to gedder in thy name, that thou art in the midle of them. A Lord, then it was no nede to thee to maken a leftenaunte, sith thou wolte be euermore amongest thy seruaūts.

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Lord thou axedest of thy disciples, who they trowed that thou were. And Peter aunswered and sayd, that thou art Christ Gods sonne. And thou saydest to Peter. Thou are yblessed Symon Bariona, for flesh and bloud ne showed not this to thee, but my father that is in heauen. MarginaliaThe place of geuyng to Peter his keyes, expounded.And I say to thee, that thou art Peter, and vpon this stone ych wole byld my church, and the gates of hell ne shullen not auailē agens it. And to thee ych wole geue the keyes of heauen, and what euer thou bindest vpon earth, shal be bonde in heauē: and what euer thou vnbyndest on earth, shalbe vnbonden in heauē. This power also was graunted vnto the other disciples as well

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