“For certes many a predicacioun;
Cometh oft tyme of evel entencioun;
Som for plesaùns of folk and flaterie,
To be avauncèd by ypocrisie;
And some for veine glory, and som for hate.
For when I dar not other ways debate,
Than wil I stynge him with my tonge smerte
In preching, so that he shal nothing start
To be diffamèd falsly, if that he
Hath trespast to my bretheren or to me.
For though I telle not his propre name,
Men shal wel knowe that it is the same
By signes, and by other circumstances.
Thus quyt I folk, that do us dìsplesaùnces;
Thus put I out my venom under hewe
Of holynes, to semen holy and trewe.
But shortly myn entent I wil devyse,
I preche no thing but of coveityse.
Therfor my theem is yit, and ever was,
Radix malorum est cupiditas.

“Thus can I preche agayn the same vice
Which that I use, and that is avarice.
But though myself be gilty in the same,
Yit can I maken other folk to blame
Their avarice, and soone to repente,
But that is not my principal entente;
I preche no thing but for coveitise.
Of this matèr it ought i-nough suffise.

“Than telle I them ensamples many oon
Of olde stories longe tyme agon.
For silly people loven tales olde;
Which thinges can thay wel report and holde.
What? trowe ye, whiles that I may preche
And wynne gold and silver when I teche,
That I wil lyve in povert wilfully?
Nay, nay, I thought it never trewely.
For I wol preche and begge in sondry londes.
I wil not do no labour with myn hondes,
Nor make basketis and lyve therby,
Bycause I wil nought beggen idelly.
I wol noon of the apostles counterfete;
I wol have money, woolle, chese, and whete,
Though it were geven by the prestes page,
Or by the porest wydow in a villáge,
While that hir children sterve for famyn.
Nay, I wil drinke licour of the wyn,
And have a joly wenche in every toun.
But herkne, lordynges, in conclusioun,
Youre likyng is that I shal telle a tale.
Now that I dronk a draught of corny ale,
By God, I hope I shal telle you a thing,
That shal by resoun be at your liking;
For though myself be a ful vicious man,
A moral tale yit I you telle can,
Which I am wont to preche, for to wynne.
Now hold your pees, my tale I wil byginne.”

In Flaundres whilom was a companye
Of yonge folkes, that haunted al folye,
As ryot, hasard, brothels, and tavernes;
Wher as with lutes, harpes, and citherns,
Thay daunce and play at dice, bothe day and night,
And ete also, and drynk above their might;
Thurgh which thay do the devyl sacrifise
Withinne the develes temple, in cursèd wise,
By superfluitee abhominable.
Their othes be so greet and so damnàble ,
That it is grisly for to here them swere.
Our blisful Lordes body thay al tear;
They thoughte Jewes rent him nought y-nough;
And ech of them at otheres synne laugh.
And right anon ther come tumbelers,
With bodies smal and wommen fruiterers,
Singers with harpes, baudes, wafereres,
Whiche that be verray develes officeres,
To kyndle and blowe the fyr of leccherie,
That is anexid unto glotonye.
The holy wryt take I to my witnésse,
That lust is al in wyn and dronkenesse.
Lo, how that dronken Lot unkyndely
Lay by his doughtres tuo unwityngly,
So dronk he was he knew not what he wroughte,
Herodes, who-so wel the story soughte,
Whan he of wyn was répleet at his fest,
Right at his oune table gaf his hest
To slay the baptist John ful gilteles.
Seneca seith a good word douteles;
He saith he can no difference fynde
Betwyx a man that is out of his mynde,
And one that is al dronken in his witt;
But that madness when men have fallen on it,
Persevereth lenger than doth dronkenesse.

O glutonye, ful of al cursednesse;
O cause first of oure confusioun,
O originál of oure damnacioun,
Til Crist had bought us with his blood agayn
Look ye, how dere, and shortly for to sayn,
Abought was first this cursèd felonye;
Corupt was al this world for glotonye.
Adam our fader, and his wyf also,
From Paradys to labour and to wo
Were dryven for that vice, it is no drede.
For whilst that Adam fasted, as I rede,
He was in Paradis, and whan that he
Eet of the fruyt forbidden of a tree,
He was out cast to wo and into peyne.
O glotony, wel ought us on thee pleyne.
If a man knew how many maladyes
Follow excesse and wyn and glotonyes,
He wolde be the more mesuráble
Of his diete, sittyng at his table.
Allas! the shorte throte, the tendre mouth,
Maketh the Est and West, and North and South,
In erthe, in watir, in ayer, man to sweat,
To get a sely glotoun drynke and mete.
Of this matér, O Paul, wel canst thou trete.
Mete for the wombe, and wombe eke for the mete,
Shal God destroyen bothe, as Powel saith.
Allas! a foul thing is it by my faith
To say this word, and fouler is the dede,
When men so drynken of the whyt and rede,
That of his throte he makith his privee
Thurgh thilke cursed superfluitee.
The apostil wepyng saith ful piteously,
Ther walkith many, of which you told have I,
I say it now wepyng with piteous vois,
They are the enemeyes of Cristes cros;
Of which the ende is deth, wombe is their God.
O wombe, o bely, o stynkyng in thi load.
How gret cost and labour is thee to fill
These cokes how they stamp, and streyn, and spill,
And torne substaunce

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