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430 [408]

K. Edward. 3. The complaynt and prayer of the ploughman. The Popes pride.

to helpe vs in this mischiefe, for thy great goodnes that is withouten end.

Lord, thou ne taughtest not thy disciples to assoylen men of her sinne, and setten them a penaunce for their sinne, in fasting ne in prayeng, ne other almous dede: ne thy selfe, ne thy disciples, vseden no such power here on earth. For Lord, thou forgeue men their sinnes, and bede him sinne no more. And thy disciples * Marginalia* Fulleden 

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i.e. 'baptise' or 'baptised'.

, that is, baptised. fulleden men in thy name in foreguenesse of her sinnes. Nor they toke no such power vpon them as out prestes dare nowe. And Lord, thou ne assoyledest no man both of his sinne and of his peyne, that was dew for his sinne, ne thou grauntedst no man such power here on earth.

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MarginaliaPurgatorie. And Lord, me thinketh that gif there were a purgatorye, and any earthliche man had power to deliueren sinfull men from the peynes of Purgatory, he shulde and he were in charitie, sauen euerich man that were in waye of saluation from thilke peynes, sith they make them greater than anye bodelich peynes of thys world Also gif the Bishop of Rome had such a power, he himselfe should neuer comen in purgatory ne in hell. And sith we see well that he ne hath no power to kepen himselfe ne other men nother out of these bodilych peynes of the world, and he may goe to hell for his sinne as an other man may: I ne byleue not, that he hath so great power to assoylen men of their sinne as he takth vpon hym abouen all other men. And I trowe that in this he higheth hymself aboue God.

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MarginaliaSelling of Byshopprickes and benefices. As touching the selling of Byshopricks & personages 

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i.e. 'parsonages'.

, I trow it be a poynt of falsehed. For agenst Gods ordinaunce he robbeth poore men of a porcion of theyr sustenaunce, and selleth it, other geueth it, to finde proud men in idlenes that done the lewd puple litell profite, but much harme as we told before. Thus ben thy commaundementes of treweth, of meekenes, and of poorenesse, vndone by him that clepeth himselfe thy vicar here vppon earth.

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MarginaliaMariage. A Lord thou gaue vs a commaundement of chastice that is aforsaking of fleshlich lustes. For thou broughtest vs to a liuing of soule that is ygouerned by the word. For Lord, thou ordeinedist woman more frele than man to ben ygouerned by mans rule & his help to please thee & kepe thine hests. Ne thou ne ordeinedist that a man should desire the company of a woman, and maken her his wife, to lyuen with her in hys lustis, as a swyne doth or a hors. And his wife ne like him not to his lustes, Lord thou ne gaue not a man leaue to departen hym from his wyfe, and taken hym an other.

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But Lord, thy marriage is a common accord betwene man & woman, to lyuen together to theyr liues ende, and in thy seruice eyther the better for others helpe, and thilke that thus ben ycome together, bene ioyned by thee, and thilke that God ioyneth, may no man depart. But Lord, thou sayest that gif a man see a woman to coueten her, than he doth with the woman lecherye in his hart And so Lord, gif a man desire his wife in couetise of such lustes, and not to flye from whoredome, his weddins is lechery, ne thou ne ioynest them not together. Thus was Raguels doughter ywedded to seuen husbandes that the deuill instrangled. But Toby tooke her to lyue with her in clennes, and brynging vp of her children in thy worship, and on him the deuill ne had no power. For the wedding was I maked in God, for God, and through God. MarginaliaA lesson how to marrye.

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A Lord, the people is farre ygo from this maner of wedding. For now men weddē theyr wyues for fairenes, other for riches, or some such other fleshlich lustes. And Lord, so it preueth by thē for the most part. For a man shall not finde two wedded in a lande, where the husband loues the wife, and the wife is buxum 

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i.e. 'submissive'.

to the man, as they shoulden after thy law of maryage. But other the mā loues not his wife, or the wife is not buxum 
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i.e. 'submissive'.

to her man. And thus Lord is the rule of prefe, that neuer fayleth no preue whether it be done by thee or no. And Lord, all is mischiefe is common among thy people, for that they knowe not thy worde, but theyr shepheardes and hyred men fedden them with their * MarginaliaSweuens, that is, dreames. sweuens and leasinges. And Lord, where they shoulden gon before vs in the field, they seggen theyr order is so holy for thy mariage. And Lord, he that calleth himselfe thy vicar vpon earth, will not suffren priestes to taken them wiues, for that is agaynst hys law: But Lord, he will dispensen with them to kepen horen for a certayne somme of mony. And Lord, all horedome is forfended in thy law. And Lord, thou neuer forfendest priestes their wiues, ner thy Apostles neyther. MarginaliaPriestes had wyues to the time of Anselmus.And well I wote in our land, priestes hadden wiues vntill Anselmus dayes 
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St Anselm was archbishop of Canterbury from 1089-1109 and imposed celibacy on the clergy in England.

in the yeare of our Lord God, a leuē hundred and twenty nyne, as Huntingdon writes 
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Henry of Huntingdon (c. 1088-c. 1157), a medieval chronicler.

. And Lord, this makes people for the most part beleuen, that lechery is no sinne. Therefore we lewd men prayen thee that thou wolt send vs shepheardes of thine owne that wolen feeden thy flocke in thy lesewe, and gon before thēselfe, and so written thy law in our harts, that from the least to the most all they mayen knowne thee. And Lord, geue our king and his Lordes, hart to defenden thy true shepheardes and thy sheepe from out of the wolues mouthes, and grace to know thee that art the true Christ, the sonne of they hea-uenly father, from the Antichrist, that is the sonne of pride. And Lorde, geue vs thy poore sheepe pacience and strength to suffer for thy law, the cruelnes of the mischieuous Wolues. And Lord, as thou hast promised, shorten these dayes. Lord we axen this now, for more neede was their neuer.

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I doubt not gentle reader, but in reading this goodly treatise aboue prefixed, the matter is manifest & playne of it selfe wtout any further explication, what is to be thought and iudged of this vicare of Christ, and successour of Peter, whome we call the Bishop of Rome: whose life here thou seest not onely to be so disordered in all poynts, swaruing from the steppes and example of Christ the Prince and Byshop of our soules, but also whose lawes and doctrine is so repugnant and contrary from the preceptes and rule of the Gospell, that almost there is no conueience betweene them: as in the perusiug of this complayning prayer, thou mayest notoriously vnderstand. Wherefore hauing no neede to stand in any further expressing of thys matter, but leauing it to thine own consideration, and discretion: I will speede myselfe (Christ willing) to proceede toward the time of John Wickliffe, and his fellowes taking by order of yeares as I go, suche thinges by the way as both happened before the said time of Wickleffe, and also may the better prepare the minde of the reader, to the entring of that story. Where first I think it not inconuenient to interre a propheticall parable 

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Johannes de Rupescissa (John of Roquetaillade - c.1310-c.1364) was a Franciscan friar, mystic and alchemist of the fourteenth-century.

, written about this time or not much before, which the author morally applieth vnto the Bishop of Rome. To what author this prophecie or morall is to be ascribed, I haue not certainly to affirme. Some say, that Rupescissanus 
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Jean Froissart (c.1337-c.1405), a fourteenth-century French chronicler.

(of whome mention is made before, pag. 390. was the author therof, & alledge it out of Froysard, but in Froisard as yet I haue not found it. In þe mean seasō, as I haue foūd it in Latin expressed, because it painteth out þe Pope so rightly in his fethers & colours, as I thought the thing not to be omitted, so I tooke this present place, as most fit (although peraduenture missing the order of yeares a litle) to insert the same The effect of which parable followeth here vnder written.

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In the time of Pope Innocent the 6. aboue specified, this Ioannes de Rupescissa: a Fryer among other hys prophecies merueilously forespake (as alledged Froysard, who both hard and saw him) of the taking of Iohn the Frenche king prisoner, and brought forth many other notable collections concerning the perils, mutations and chagings in þe Church to come. And at what time the pope kept hym at Auinion in prison (where Froysard is sayd to see hym and to speake with him) the sayd Froysard hard in þe popes Court this example and parable, recited by the foresayd Fryer Rupescissanus, to the two Cardinals, to wit, Cardinall Hostiensis, and Cardinal Auxercensis. Which followeth in these wordes.

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MarginaliaA parable prophecying the destruction of the Pope. ¶ When on a certayne time, a byrde was brought into the worlde all bare and without fethers, the other byrdes hearing thereof, came to visite her: & for that they sawe her to be a merueilous and beautifull byrd they counsailed together howe they might best do her good, sith by no meanes without fethers, she might eyther flee or liue commodiously. They all wished her to liue for her excellent forme and beauties sake, in so muche that among them all there was not one, that would not graunt some part of her own fethers to decke this byrde withall: MarginaliaThe Pope compared to a bird fethered with other birdes fethers.yea, and the more trim they sawe her to be, the more fethers still they gaue unto her, so that by this meanes she was passing well pēned and fethered, and began to flee. The other byrdes that thus had adourned her with goodly fethers, beholding her to flee abroad, were merueilously delighted therwith. In þe end, this byrd seeing her selfe so gorgeously fethered, & of al the rest to be had in honor; began to waxe proud & hauty. in so much that she had no regard at all vnto thē, by whōe she was aduaunced: yea she punged them with her beak, plucked them by the skinne and fethers, and in all places hurted them. MarginaliaThe first rysing of the pope.Wherupon the byrdes sitting in councell agayne, called the matter in question, demaūding one of an other what was best to be done touching this vnkind bird whom they louingly with their own fethers had decked & adourned: Affirming, that they gaue not theyr fethers to þe intent that she thereby puft vp with pride, MarginaliaThe proude prosperitie of the pope.shuld contemptuously dispise them all. The Pecocke therefore aunswereth first. Truely sayth he, for that she is brauely set forth with my paynted fethers, I wil againe take them frō her. Then sayth the Falcon, and I also will haue mine againe. This sentence at length took place among them all, so that euery one plucked frō her those fethers which before they had geuen, chalenging to them their owne agayne. MarginaliaThe decay of the pope described.Now this proude byrd seeing her selfe thus to be dealt wythall, began forthwith to abate her hauty stomacke, and humbly

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