1KYNGE JOHAN. To declare the powres and their force to enlarge
The scripture of God doth flow in most abowndaunce,
And of sophysters the cauteles to dyscharge
Bothe Peter and Pawle makyth plenteosse utterauns,
5How that all pepell shuld shew there trew alegyauns
To ther lawfull kyng, Christ Jesu dothe consent,
Whych to the hygh powres was ever obedyent.
To shew what I am, I thynke yt convenyent.
Johan Kyng of Ynglond the cronyclys doth me call:
10My granfather was an empowr excelent,
My father a kyng by successyon lyneall,
A kyng my brother, lyke as to hym ded fall:
Rychard curdelyon they callyd hym in Fraunce,
Whych had over enymyes most fortynable chaunce.
15By the wyll of god and his hygh ordynaunce
In Yerlond and Walys, in Angoye and Normandye,
In Ynglond also I have had the governaunce:
I have worne the crowne and wrowght vyctoryouslye,
And now do purpose by practyse and by stodye
20To reforme the lawes and sett men in good order
That trew justyce may be had in every border.
[Enter] YNGLOND vidua.
ENGLANDE. Than I trust yowr grace wyll waye a poore wedowes cause,
Ungodly usyd as ye shall know in short clause.
25KYNGE JOHAN. Yea that I wyll swere, yf yt be trew and just.
ENGLANDE. Lyke as yt beryth trewth so lett yt be dyscust.
KYNGE JOHAN. Than, gentyll wydowe, tell me what the mater ys.
ENGLANDE. Alas, yowr clargy hath done very sore amys
In mysusyng me ageynst all ryght and justyce,
30And for my more greffe therto they other intyce.
KYNGE JOHAN. Whom do they intyce for to do the injurye?
ENGLANDE. Soch as hath enterd by false hypocrysye,
Moch worse frutes havyng than hathe the thornes unplesaunt,
For they are the trees that God dyd never plant,
35And as Christ dothe saye blynd leaders of the blynd.
KYNGE JOHAN. Tell me whom thou menyst to satysfy my mynd.
ENGLANDE. Suche lubbers as hath dysgysed heads in their hoodes,
Whych in ydelnes do lyve by other menns goodes,
Monkes, chanons, and nones in dyvers coloure and shappe,
40Bothe whyght blacke and pyed, God send ther increase yll happe.
KYNGE JOHAN. Lete me know thy name or I go ferther with the.
ENGLANDE. Ynglond, syr, Ynglond my name is, ye may trust me.
KYNGE JOHAN. I mervell ryght sore how thow commyst chaungyd thus.
[Enter] SEDWSYON.
45SEDWSYON. What, yow ij alone? I wyll tell tales by Jesus,
And saye that I se yow fall here to bycherye.
KYNGE JOHAN. Avoyd, lewde person, for thy wordes are ungodlye.
SEDWSYON. I crye you mercy, sur, pray yow be not angrye,
Be me fayth and trowth I came hyther to be merye.
50KYNGE JOHAN. Thou canst with thy myrth in no wysse dyscontent me,
So that thow powder yt with wysdome and honeste.
SEDWSYON. I am no spycer, by the messe ye may beleve me.
KYNGE JOHAN. I speke of no spyce, but of cyvyle honeste.
SEDWSYON. Ye spake of powder, by the holy trynyte.
55KYNGE JOHAN. Not as thow takyst yt of a grosse capasyte,
But as seynt Pawle meanyth unto the Collessyans playne.
So seasyne yowr speche, that yt be withowt disdayne.
Now, Ynglond, to the; go thow forth with thy tale,
And showe the cawse why thow lokyst so wan and pale.
60ENGLANDE. I told yow before the faulte was in the clergye
That I, a wedow, apere to yow so barelye.
SEDWSYON. Ye are a wylly wat, and wander here full warelye.
KYNGE JOHAN. Why in the clargye do me to understande?
ENGLANDE. For they take from me my cattell, howse, and land,
65My wods and pasturs, with other commodyteys,
Lyke as Christ ded saye to the wyckyd Pharyseys,
Pore wydowys howsys ye grosse up by long prayers,
In syde cotys wandryng lyke most dysgysed players.
SEDWSYON. They are well at ese that hath soch soth sayers.
70KYNGE JOHAN. They are thy chylderne, thou owghtest to say then good.
ENGLANDE. Nay, bastardes they are, unnaturall by the rood.
Sens ther begynnyng they ware never good to me.
The wyld bore of Rome, God let hym never to thee,
Lyke pygges they folow in fantysyes dreames and lyes,
75And ever are fed with hys vyle cerymonyes.
SEDWSYON. Nay, sumtyme they eate bothe flawnes and pygyn pyes.
KYNGE JOHAN. By the bore of Rome, I trow, thou menyst the pope.
ENGLANDE. I mene non other but hym, God geve hym a rope.
KYNGE JOHAN. And why dost thow thus compare hym to a swyne?
80ENGLANDE. For that he and hys to such bestlynes inclyne.
They forsake Gods word, whych is most puer and cleane,
And unto the lawys of synfull men they leane;
Lyke as the vyle swyne the most vyle metes dessyer,
And hath gret plesure to walowe them selvys in myre,
85So hath this wyld bore with his church unyversall,
His sowe with hyr pygys, and monstros bestyall,
Dylyght in mennys draffe and covytus lucre all,
Yea, aper de sylva the prophet dyd hym call.
SEDWSYON. Hold yowr peace, ye whore, or ellys by masse, I trowe,
90I shall cawse the pope to curse the as blacke as a crowe.
KYNGE JOHAN. What art thow, felow, that seme so braggyng bolde?
SEDWSYON. I am Sedycyon, that with the pope wyll hold
So long as I have a hole within my breche.
ENGLANDE. Command this felow to avoyd, I you beseche,
95For dowghtles he hath done me great injury.
KYNGE JOHAN. A voyd, lewd felow, or thou shalt rewe yt truly.
SEDWSYON. I wyll not a waye for that same wedred wytche,
She shall rather kysse where as it doth not ytche.
Quodcunque ligaveris, I trow, wyll playe soch a parte,
100That I shall abyde in Ynglond, magry yowr harte.
Tushe, the pope ableth me to subdewe bothe kyng and keyser.
KYNGE JOHAN. Off that thow and I wyll common more at leyser.
ENGLANDE. Trwly of the devyll they are that do ony thyng
To the subdewyng of any christen kyng;
105For be he good or bade, he is of godes apoyntyng,
The good for the good, the badde ys for yll doyng.
KYNGE JOHAN. Of that we shall talke here after: say forth thy mynd now,
And show me how thou art thus be cum a wedowe.
ENGLANDE. Thes vyle popych swyne hath clene exyled my hosband.
110KYNGE JOHAN. Who ys thy husbond, telme, good gentyll Ynglond.
ENGLANDE. For soth God hym selfe, the spowse of every sort
That seke hym in fayth to the sowlys helth and comfort.
SEDWSYON. He is scant honest that so many wyfes wyll have,
KYNGE JOHAN. I saye hold yowr peace, and stand asyde lyke a knave.
115Ys God exylyd owt of this regyon tell me?
ENGLANDE. Yea that he is, ser, yt is the much more pete.
KYNGE JOHAN. How commyth yt to passe that he is thus abusyd?
ENGLANDE. Ye know he abydyth not where his word ys refusyd,
For God is his word, lyke as seynt John dothe tell
120In the begynnyng of his moste blyssyd gospell.
The popys pyggys may not abyd this word to be hard,
Nor knowyn of pepyll, or had in anye regard:
Ther eyes are so sore they may not abyd the lyght,
And that bred so hard ther gald gummes may yt not byght.
125I, knowyng yowr grace to have here the governance
By the gyft of God, do knowlege my allegeance,
Desyeryng yowr grace to waye suche injuryes
As I daylye suffer by thes same subtyll spyes,
And lett me have ryght, as ye are a ryghtfull kyng
130Apoyntyd of God to have such mater in doyng.
For God wyllyth yow to helpe the pore wydowes cause,
As he by Esaye protesteth in this same clause,
Querite judicium, subvenite oppresso,
Judicate pupillo, defendite viduam:
135Seke ryght to poore, to the weake and faterlesse,
Defende the wydowe whan she is in dystresse.
SEDWSYON. I tell ye, the woman ys in great hevynes.
KYNGE JOHAN. I may not in nowyse leve thi ryght undyscuste,
For God hath sett me by his apoyntment just
140To further thy cause, to mayntayne thi ryght,
And therfor I wyll supporte the daye and nyght:
So long as my symple lyffe shall here indewer
I wyll se the haue no wrong, be fast and swer.
I wyll fyrst of all call my nobylyte,
145Dwkis, erlyes and lords, yche one in ther degre;
Next them the clargy, or fathers spirituall,
Archebysshopes, bysshoppes, abbottes, and pryers all;
Than the great Juges and lawers every chone,
So opynyg to them thi cause and petyfull mone,
150By the meanys wherof I shall their myndes vnderstande:
Yf they helpe the not, my selfe wyll take yt in hande,
And sett such a waye as shall be to thi comforte.
ENGLANDE. Than, for an answere I wyll shortly ageyne resort.
KYNGE JOHAN. Do, Ynglond, hardly, and thow shalt have remedy.
155ENGLANDE. God reward yowr grace, I beseche hym hartely,
And send yow longe dayes to governe this realme in peace.
KYNGE JOHAN. Gramercy, Ynglond, and send the plentyus increse.
Go owt YNGLOND, and drese for CLARGY.
SEDWSYON. Of bablyng matters, I trow, yt is tyme to cease.
160KYNGE JOHAN. Why dost thow call them bablyng maters, tell me?
SEDWSYON. For they are not worth the shakyng of a pertre,
Whan the peres are gone: they are but dyble dable.
I marvell ye can abyd suche byble bable.
KYNGE JOHAN. Thow semyst to be a man of symple dyscrescyon.
165SEDWSYON. Alas, that ye are not a pryst to here confessyon.
KYNGE JOHAN. Why for confessyon? lett me know thi fantasye.
SEDWSYON. Becawse that ye are a man so full of mercye,
Namely to women that wepe with a hevy harte
Whan they in the churche hath lett but a lytyl farte.
170KYNGE JOHAN. I perseyve well now thow speakyst all this in mockage,
Becawse I take parte with Englandes ryghtfull herytage.
Say thu what thow wylt her maters shall not peryshe.
SEDWSYON. Yt is joye of hym that women so can cheryshe.
KYNGE JOHAN. God hathe me ordeynned in this same princely estate
175For that I shuld helpe such as be desolate.
SEDWSYON. Yt is as great pyte to se a woman wepe
As yt is to se a sely dodman crepe,
Or, as ye wold say, a sely goose go barefote.
KYNGE JOHAN. Thou semyste by thy wordes to have no more wytt than a coote.
180I mervell them arte to Englond so unnaturall,
Beyng her owne chyld: thou art worse than a best brutall.
SEDWSYON. I am not her chyld, I defye hyr by the messe.
I her sone, quoth he! I had rather she were hedlesse.
Thowgh I sumtyme be in Englond for my pastaunce,
185Yet was I neyther borne here, in Spayne, nor in Fraunce,
But under the pope in the holy cyte of Rome,
And there wyll I dwell unto the daye of dome.
KYNGE JOHAN. But what is thy name, tell me yett onys agayne?
SEDWSYON. As I sayd afore, I am Sedycyon playne:
190In euery relygyon and munkysh secte I rayne,
Havyng yow prynces in scorne, hate and dysdayne.
KYNGE JOHAN. I pray the, good frynd, tell me what ys thy facyon?
SEDWSYON. Serche and ye shall fynd in euery congregacyon
That long to the pope, for they are to me full swer,
195And wyll be so long as they last and endwer.
KYNGE JOHAN. Yff thow be a cloysterer, tell of what order thow art?
SEDWSYON. In euery estate of the clargye I playe a part.
Sumtyme I can be a monke in a long syd cowle,
Sumtyme I can be a none and loke lyke an owle:
200Sumtyme a chanon in a syrples fayer and whyght,
A chapterhowse monke sumtyme I apere in syght.
I am ower syre John sumtyme with a new shaven crowne,
Sumtyme the person and swepe the stretes with a syd gowne:
Sumtyme the bysshoppe with a myter and a cope;
205A graye fryer sumtyme with cutt shoes and a rope:
Sumtyme I can playe the whyght monke, sumtyme the fryer,
The purgatory prist and euery mans wyffe desyer.
This cumpany hath provyded for me morttmayne,
For that I myght ever among ther sort remayne:
210Yea, to go farder, sumtyme I am a cardynall;
Yea, sumtyme a pope and than am I lord over all,
Bothe in hevyn and erthe and also in purgatory,
And do weare iij crownes whan I am in my glorye.
KYNGE JOHAN. But what doeste thow here in England, tell me shortlye?
215SEDWSYON. I hold upp the pope, as in other places many,
For his ambassador I am contynwally,
In Sycell, in Naples, in Venys and Ytalye,
In Pole, Spruse, and Berne, in Denmarke and Lumbardye,
In Aragon, in Spayne, in Fraunce and in Germanye,
220In Ynglond, in Scotlond, and in other regyons elles;
For his holy cawse I mayntayne traytors and rebelles,
That no prince can have his peples obedyence,
Except yt doth stond with the popes prehemynence.
KYNGE JOHAN. Gett the hence, thow knave, and moste presumptuows wreche,
225Or as I am trew kyng thow shalt an halter streche.
We wyll thow know yt, owr power ys of God,
And therfore we wyll so execute the rod
That no lewde pryst shall be able to mayneteyne the.
I se now they be at to mych lyberte:
230We wyll short ther hornys, yf God send tyme and space.
SEDWSYON. Than I in Englond am lyke to have no place.
KYNGE JOHAN. No, that thow arte not, and therfor avoyd apace.
SEDWSYON. By the holy masse, I must lawgh to here yowr grace.
Ye suppose and thynke that ye cowd me subdewe:
235Ye shall never fynd yowr supposycyon trewe,
Thowgh ye wer as strong as Hector and Diomedes,
Or as valyant as ever was Achylles.
Ye are well content that bysshoppes contynew styll?
KYNGE JOHAN. We are so in dede, yf they ther dewte fullfyll.
240SEDWSYON. Nay than, good inowgh, yowr awtoryte and power
Shall passe as they wyll, they have sawce bothe swet and sower.
KYNGE JOHAN. What menyst thow by that? shew me thy intente this hower.
SEDWSYON. They are Godes vycars, they can both save and lose.
KYNGE JOHAN. Ah, thy meening ys that they maye a prynce depose.
245SEDWSYON. By the rood they may, and that wyll appere by yow.
KYNGE JOHAN. Be the helpe of God we shall se to that well inow.
SEDWSYON. Nay, ye can not, thowgh ye had Argus eyes,
In abbeyes they haue so many suttyll spyes;
For ones in the yere they have secret vysytacyons,
250And yf ony prynce reforme ther ungodly facyons,
Than ij of the monkes must forthe to Rome by and by
With secrett letters to avenge ther injury.
For a thowsand pownd they shrynke not in soch matter.
And yet for the tyme the prynce to his face they flater.
255I am ever more ther gyde and ther advocate.
KYNGE JOHAN. Than with the bysshoppes and monkes thu art checke mate.
SEDWSYON. I dwell among them and am one of ther sorte.
KYNGE JOHAN. For thy sake they shall of me have but small comforte.
Loke wher I fynd the, that place wyll I put downe.
260SEDWSYON. What yf ye do chance to fynd me in euery towne
Where as is fownded any sect monastycall?
KYNGE JOHAN. I pray God I synke yf I dystroye them not all.
SEDWSYON. Well, yf ye so do, yett know I where to dwell.
KYNGE JOHAN. Thow art not skoymose thy fantasy for to tell.
265SEDWSYON. Gesse, at a venture ye may chance the marke to hytt.
KYNGE JOHAN. Thy falssed to shew no man than thy selfe more fytt.
SEDWSYON. Mary, in confessyon under nethe benedicite.
KYNGE JOHAN. Nay tell yt agayne, that I may understond the.
SEDWSYON. I say I can dwell, whan all other placys fayle me.
270In ere confessyon undernethe benedicite;
And whan I am there, the pryst may not bewray me.
KYNGE JOHAN. Why wyll ere confesshon soch a secret traytor be?
SEDWSYON. Whan all other fayle he is so sure as stele.
Offend holy churche and I warrant ye shall yt fele,
275For by confessyon the holy father knoweth
Throw owt all Christendom what to his holynes growyth.
KYNGE JOHAN. Oh, where ys Nobylyte, that he myght knowe thys falshed?
SEDWSYON. Nay he is becum a mayntener of owr godhed.
I know that he wyll do holy chyrche no wronge,
280For I am his gostly father and techear amonge.
He belevyth nothyng but as holy chyrch doth tell.
KYNGE JOHAN. Why, geveth he no credence to Cristes holy gospell?
SEDWSYON. No, ser, by the messe, but he callyth them heretyckes
That preche the gospell, and sedycyows scysmatyckes,
285He tache them, vex them, from prison to prison he turne them,
He indygth them, juge them, and in conclusyon he burne them.
KYNGE JOHAN. We rewe to here this of owr nobylyte.
But in this be halfe what seyst of the spretuallte?
SEDWSYON. Of this I am swer to them to be no stranger,
290And spesyally, whan ther honor ys in dawnger.
KYNGE JOHAN. We trust owr lawers have no such wyckyd myndes.
SEDWSYON. Yes, they many tymys are my most secrett fryndes.
With faythfull prechers they can play leger demayne,
And with false colores procure them to be slayne.
295KYNGE JOHAN. I perseyve this worlde is full of iniquite.
As God wold have yt here cummyth Nobylyte.
SEDWSYON. Doth he so in dede, by owr lord than wyll I hence.
KYNGE JOHAN. Thow saydest thu woldyst dwell where he kepyth resydence.
SEDWSYON. Yea, but fyrst of all I must chaunge myn apparell
300Unto a bysshoppe, to maynetayene with my quarell;
To a monke or pryst, or to sum holy fryer.
I shuld never elles accomplych my dysyre.
KYNGE JOHAN. Why art thow goyng? naye, brother, thow shalte not hence.
SEDWSYON. I wold not be sene as I am for fortye pence.
305Whan I am relygyouse I wyll returne agayne.
KYNGE JOHAN. Thow shalt tary here, or I must put the to payne.
SEDWSYON. I have a great mynd to be a lecherous man:
A wengonce take yt, I wold saye a relygyous man.
I wyll go and cum so fast as evyr I can.
310KYNGE JOHAN. Tush, dally not with me. I saye thow shalt abyde.
SEDWSYON. Wene yow to hold me that I shall not slyppe asyde?
KYNGE JOHAN. Make no more prattyng, for I saye thu shalt abyde.
SEDWSYON. Stoppe not my passage, I must over see at the next tyde.
KYNGE JOHAN. I will ordeyne so, I trowe, thow shalt not over.
315SEDWSYON. Tush, tush, I am sewer of redy passage at Dover.
KYNGE JOHAN. The devyll go with hym: the unthryftye knave is gone.
Her go owt SEDWSION and drese for CYVYLL ORDER.
[Enter] NOBELYTE.
NOBELYTE. Treble not yowr sylfe with no such dyssolute persone;
320For ye knowe full well very lyttell honeste
Ys gote at ther handes in every commynnalte.
KYNGE JOHAN. This is but dallyaunce: ye do not speke as ye thynke.
NOBELYTE. By my trowthe I do, or elles I wold I shuld synke.
KYNGE JOHAN. Than must I marvell at yow of all men lyvynge.
325NOBELYTE. Why mervell at me? tell me yowr very menyng.
KYNGE JOHAN. For no man levynge is in more famylyerite
With that wycked wrech, yf it be trew that he told me.
NOBELYTE. What wrech speke ye of, for Jesus love intymate?
KYNGE JOHAN. Of that presumtous wrech that was with me here of late,
330Whom yow wyllyd not to vexe my selfe with all.
NOBELYTE. I know hym not I, by the waye that my sowll to shall.
KYNGE JOHAN. Make yt not so strange, for ye know hym wyll inow.
NOBELYTE. Beleve me yff ye wyll: I know hym not I assuer yow.
KYNGE JOHAN. Ware ye never yett aquantyd with Sedission?
335NOBELYTE. Syns I was a chyld both hym and his condycyon
I ever hated for his iniquite.
KYNGE JOHAN. A clere tokyn that is of trew nobelyte,
But I pray to God we fynde yt not other wyse.
Yt was never well syns the clargy wrowght by practyse,
340And left the scripture for mens ymagynacyons,
Dyvydyng them selvys in so many congrygacyons
Of monkes, chanons, and fryers of dyvers colors and facyons.
[Enter] THE CLARGY.
THE CLARGY. I do trust yowr grace wyll be as lovyng now
345As yowr predysessowrs have bene to us before yow.
KYNGE JOHAN. I wyll suer wey my love with yowr be havers,
Lyke as ye deserve, so wyll I bere yow favers.
Clargy, marke yt well, I have more to yow to say
Than, as the sayeng is, the prest dyd speke a sonday.
350THE CLARGY. Ye wyll do us no wrong, I hope, nor injurye.
KYNGE JOHAN. No, I wyll do yow ryght in seyng yow do yowr dewtye.
We know the cawtelles of yowr sotyll companye.
THE CLARGY. Yf ye do us wrong we shall seke remedy.
KYNGE JOHAN. Yea, that is the cast of all yowr company.
355Whan kynges correcte yow for yowr actes most ungodly,
To the pope, syttyng in the chayer of pestoolens,
Ye ronne to remayne in yowr concupysens.
Thus sett ye at nowght all princely prehemynens,
Subdewyng the order of dew obedyens.
360But with in a whyle I shall so abate yowr pryde
That to yowr pope ye shall noyther runne nor ryde,
But ye shall be glad to seke to me yowr prynce
For all such maters as shall be with in this provynce,
Lyke as God wyllyth yow by his scripture evydente.
365NOBELYTE. To the church, I trust, ye wyll be obedyent.
KYNGE JOHAN. No mater to yow whether I be so or no.
NOBELYTE. Yes, mary is yt, for I am sworne therunto.
I toke a great othe whan I was dubbyd a knyght
Ever to defend the holy churches ryght.
370THE CLARGY. Yea, and in her quarell ye owght onto deth to fyght.
KYNGE JOHAN. Lyke backes in the darke ye always take yowr flyght,
Flytteryng in fanseys and ever abhorre the lyght.
I rew yt in hart that yow, Nobelyte,
Shuld thus bynd yowr selfe to the grett captyvyte
375Of blody Babulon, the grownd and mother of whordom,
The Romych churche I meane, more vyle than ever was Sodom,
And to say the trewth a mete spowse for the fynd.
THE CLARGY. Yowr grace is fare gonne: God send yow a better mynd.
KYNGE JOHAN. Hold yowr peace, I say, ye are a lytyll to fatte:
380In a whyle, I hope, ye shall be lener sumwhatte.
We shall loke to yow and to Sivyll Order also:
Ye walke not so secrett but we know wher a bowght ye goo.
[Enter] CYVYLL ORDER.
CYVYLL ORDER. Why, yowr grace hath no cawse with me to be dysplesyd.
385KYNGE JOHAN. All thyngs consyderyd, we have small cause to be plesyd.
CYVYLL ORDER. I besech yowr grace to graunt me a word or too.
KYNGE JOHAN. Speke on yowr pleasure, and yowr hole mynd also.
CYVYLL ORDER. Ye know very well to set all thynges in order
I have moche ado, and many thynges passe fro me
390For yowr common welth, and that in euery border
For offyces, for londes, for lawe and for lyberte,
And for transgressors I appoynt the penalte;
That cytes and townes maye stand in quiotose peace,
That all theft and murder, with other vyce maye seace.
395Yff I have chaunsed for want of cyrcumspeccyon
To passe the lymytes of ryght and equite,
I submyte my selfe unto yowr graces correccyon,
Desyryng pardon of yowr benygnyte.
I wot I maye fall throwgh my fragylyte,
400Therfore I praye yow tell me what the mater ys,
And amends shall be where as I have done amyse.
KYNGE JOHAN. Aganste amendement no resonnable man can be.
NOBELYTE. That sentence rysyth owt of an hygh charyte.
KYNGE JOHAN. Now that ye are here assembled all to gether,
405Amongeste other thynges ye shall fyrst of all consyder
That my dysplesure rebonnyth on to yow all.
THE CLARGY. To yow non of us ys prejudycyall.
KYNGE JOHAN. I shall prove yt; yes, how have ye usyd Englond?
NOBELYTE. But as yt becommyth us, so fare as I understond.
410KYNGE JOHAN. Yes, the pore woman complayneth her grevosly,
And not with owt a cawse, for she hath great injurye.
I must se to yt, ther ys no remedy,
For it ys a charge gevyn me from God all myghtye.
How saye ye, Clargye, apperyth it not so to yow?
415THE CLARGY. Yf it lykyth yowr grace all we know that well ynow.
KYNGE JOHAN. Than yow, Nobelyte, wyll affyrme yt I am suer.
NOBELYTE. Ye, that I wyll, sur, so long as my lyfe indure.
KYNGE JOHAN. And yow, Cyvyll Order, I thynke wyll graunte the same?
CYVYLL ORDER. Ondowghted, sir, yea, elles ware yt to me gret shame.
420KYNGE JOHAN. Than for Englondes cawse I wyll be sume what playne.
Yt is yow, Clargy, that hathe her in dysdayne,
With yowr latyne howrs, serymonyes, and popetly playes:
In her more and more Gods holy worde decayes;
And them to maynteyn unresonable ys the spoyle
425Of her londs, her goods, and of her pore chylders toyle.
Rekyn fyrst yowr tythis, yowr devocyons, and yowr offrynges,
Mortuaryes, pardons, bequests, and other thynges,
Besydes that ye cache for halowed belles and purgatorye,
For juelles, for relyckes, confessyon, and cowrts of baudrye,
430For legacyes, trentalls, with scalacely messys,
Wherby ye have made the people very assys.
And over all this ye have browght in a rabyll
Of latyne mummers and sects desseyvabyll,
Evyn to dewore her and eat her upp attonnys.
435THE CLARGY. Yow wold have no churche, I wene, by thes sacred bones.
KYNGE JOHAN. Yes, I wold have a churche not of dysgysyd shavelynges,
But of faythfull hartes and charytable doynges;
For whan Christes Chyrch was in her hyeste glory
She knew neyther thes sectes nor their ipocrysy.
440THE CLARGY. Yes, I wyll prove yt by David substancyally.
Astitit Regina a dextris tuis in vestitu
Deaurato, circumdata varietate.
A quene, sayth Davyd, on thy ryght hand, Lord, I se
Apparrellyd with golde and compassyd with dyversyte.
445KYNGE JOHAN. What ys yowr meanyng by that same scripture, tell me?
THE CLARGY. This quene ys the Chyrch, which thorow all cristen regions
Ys beawtyfull dectyd with many holy relygyons,
Munks, chanons and fryers, most excellent dyvynis,
As Grandy Montensers and other Benedictyns,
450Primostratensers, Bernards, and Gylbertynys,
Jacobytes, Mynors, Whyght Cannes, and Augustynis,
Sanbenets, Cluniackes, with holy Carthusyans,
Heremytes and Ancors, with most myghty Rodyans;
Crucifers, Lucifers, Brigettis, Ambrosyanes,
455Stellifers, Ensifers, with Purgatoryanes,
Sophyanes, Indianes and Camaldulensers,
Clarynes and Cohimbynes, Templers, newe Ninivytes,
Rufyanes, Tercyanes, Lorytes and Lazarytes,
Hungaryes, Teutonykes, Hospitelers, Honofrynes,
460Basyles and Bonhams, Solanons and Celestynes,
Paulynes, Hieronymytes, and Monkes of Josaphathes Valleye,
Fulygynes, Flamynes, with bretherne of the black alleye,
Donates and Dimysynes, with Canons of S. Marke,
Vestals and Monyals, a worlde to heare them barke;
465Abbotts and doctors, with bysshoppes and cardynales,
Archedecons and pristes, as to ther fortune falles.
CYVYLL ORDER. Me thynkyth yowr fyrst text stondeth nothyng with yowr reson,
For in Davydes tyme wer no such sects of relygyon.
KYNGE JOHAN. Davyd meanyth vertuys by the same diversyte,
470As in the sayd psalme yt is evydent to se,
And not munkysh sects; but it is ever yowr cast
For yowr advauncement the scripturs for to wrast.
THE CLARGY. Of owr holy father in this I take my grownd,
Which hathe awtoryte the scripturs to expond.
475KYNGE JOHAN. Nay, he presumyth the scripturs to confownd.
Nowther thow nor the pope shall do pore Englond wronge,
I beyng governor and kyng her peple amonge:
Whyle yow for lucre sett forth yowr popysh lawys
Yowr selvys to advaunce, ye wold make us pycke strawes.
480Nay, ipocryts, nay, we wyll not be scornyd soo
Of a sort of knavys, we shall loke yow otherwyse too.
NOBELYTE. Sur, yowr sprytes are movyd, I persayve by yowr langage.
KYNGE JOHAN. I wonder that yow for such veyne popych baggage
Can suffyr Englond to be impoveryshyd
485And mad a begger: yow are very yll advysyd.
NOBELYTE. I marvell grettly that ye say thus to me.
KYNGE JOHAN. For dowghtles ye do not as becummyth Nobelyte.
Ye spare nouther lands nor goods, but all ye geve
To thes cormerants: yt wold any good man greve
490To se yowr madnes, as I wold God shuld save me.
NOBELYTE. Sur, I suppose yt good to bylde a perpetuite
For me and my frendes to be prayed for evermore.
KYNGE JOHAN. Tush, yt is madnes all to dyspayre in God so sore,
And to thynke Christs deth to be unsufficient.
495NOBELYTE. Sur, that I have don was of a good intent.
KYNGE JOHAN. The intente ys nowght whych hath no sewer grounde.
THE CLARGY. Yff yow continue, ye wyll Holy Chyrch confunde.
KYNGE JOHAN. Nay, no Holy Chyrch, nor feythfull congregacyon,
But an hepe of adders of antecrists generacyon.
500CYVYLL ORDER. Yt pyttyth me moche that ye are to them so harde.
KYNGE JOHAN. Yt petyeth me more that ye them so mych regarde.
They dystroye mennys sowlls with damnable supersticyon,
And decaye all realmys by meyntenaunce of sedycyon.
Ye wold wonder to know what profe I have of this.
505NOBELYTE. Well, amenment shalbe wher anythyng is amysse;
For undowtted God doth open soche thyngs to prynces
As to none other men in the crystyen provynces,
And therfor we wyll not in this with yowr grace contend.
CYVYLL ORDER. No, but with Gods grace we shall owr mysededes amend.
510THE CLARGY. For all such forfets as yowr pryncely mageste
For yowr owne person or realme can prove by me
I submytte my selfe to yow bothe body and goods.
Knele.
KYNGE JOHAN. We pety yow now consyderyng yowr repentante modes,
515And owr gracyous pardone we grawnte yow upon amendment.
THE CLARGY. God preserve yowr grace and mageste excelent.
KYNGE JOHAN. Aryse, Clargy, aryse, and ever be obedyent,
And as God commandeth yow take us for yowr governer.
THE CLARGY. By the grace of God the pope shall be my ruler.
520KYNGE JOHAN. What saye ye, Clargy, who ys yowr governer?
THE CLARGY. Ha! ded I stomble? I sayd my prynce ys my ruler.
KYNGE JOHAN. I pray to owr Lord this obedyence maye indewre.
THE CLARGY. I wyll not breke yt, ye may be fast and suer.
KYNGE JOHAN. Than cum hether all thre: ye shall know more of my mynde.
525THE CLARGY. Owr kyng to obeye the scriptur doth us bynde.
KYNGE JOHAN. Ye shall fyrst be sworne to God and to the crowne
To be trew and juste in every cetye and towne,
And this to performe set hand and kysse the bocke.
CYVYLL ORDER. With the wyffe of Loth we wyll not backeward locke,
530Nor turne from owr oth, but ever obeye yowr grace.
KYNGE JOHAN. Than wyll I gyve yow yowr chargys her in place,
And accepte yow all to be of owr hyghe councell.
THE CLARGY, NOBELYTE & CYVYLL ORDER. To be faythfull, than, ye us more streytly compell.
KYNGE JOHAN. For the love of God loke to the state of Englond.
535Leate non enemy holde her in myserable bond:
Se yow defend her as yt becummyth Nobilite;
Se yow instrutte her acordyng to yowr degre;
Fournysh her yow with a cyvyle honeste:
Thus shall she florysh in honor and grett plente.
540With godly wysdom yowr matters so conveye
That the commynnalte the powers maye obeye,
And ever be ware of that false thefe Sedycyon,
Whych poysenneth all realmes and bryng them to perdycyon.
NOBELYTE. Sur, for soche wrecches we wyll be so circumspecte,
545That neyther ther falsed nor gylle shall us infecte.
THE CLARGY. I warrant yow, sur, no, and that shall well apere.
CYVYLL ORDER. We wyll so provyde, yff anye of them cum here
To dysturbe the realme, they shall be full glad to fle.
KYNGE JOHAN. Well, yowr promyse includeth no small dyffyculte,
550But I put the case that this false thefe Sedycyon
Shuld cum to yow thre, and call hym selfe Relygyon,
Myght he not under the pretence of holynes
Cawse yow to consent to myche ungodlynes?
NOBELYTE. He shall never be able to do yt veryly.
555KYNGE JOHAN. God graunt ye be not deceyvyd by hypocresye.
I say no more I: in shepes aparell sum walke,
And seme relygeyose that deceyvably can calke.
Be ware of soche hypocrites as the kyngdom of hevyn fro man
Do hyde for a wantage, for they deceyve now and than.
560Well, I leve yow here: yche man consyder his dewtye.
NOBELYTE. With Gods leve no faute shall be in this companye.
KYNGE JOHAN. Cum, Cyvyle Order, ye shall go hence with me.
CYVYLL ORDER. At your commandmente: I wyll gladlye wayte upon ye.
Here KYNG JOHAN and SIVILE ORDER go owt, and SYVILE ORDER drese hym for SEDWSYON.
565NOBELYTE. Me thynke the Kyng is a man of a wonderfull wytt.
THE CLARGY. Naye, saye that he is of a vengeable craftye wytt,
Than shall ye be sure the trewth of the thyng to hytt.
Hard ye not how he of the Holy Church dyd rayle?
His extreme thretynyngs shall lytyll hym avayle:
570I wyll worke soch wayes that he shall of his purpose fayle.
NOBELYTE. Yt is meet a prince to saye sumwhat for his plesure.
THE CLARGY. Yea, but yt is to moch to rayle so withowt mesure.
NOBELYTE. Well, lett every man speke lyke as he hathe a cawse.
THE CLARGY. Why, do ye say so? yt is tyme for me than to pawse.
575NOBELYTE. This wyll I saye, sur, that he ys so noble a prynce
As this day raygneth in ony cristyen provynce.
THE CLARGY. Mary, yt apereth well by that he wonne in Fraunce.
NOBELYTE. Well, he lost not there so moche by martyall chaunce,
But he gate moche more in Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
580THE CLARGY. Yea, God sped us well, crystmes songes are mery tales.
NOBELYTE. Ye dysdayne soche mater as ye know full evydent.
Are not both Ireland and Wales to hym obedyent?
Yes, he holdyth them bothe in pessable possessyon,
And by cause I wyll not from yowr tall make degressyon,
585For his lond in Fraunce he gyveth but lytell forsse,
Havyng to Englond all his love and remorse;
And Angoye he gave to Artur his nevy in chaunge.
THE CLARGY. Our changes are soch that an abbeye turneth to a graunge.
We are so handled we have scarce eyther horse or male.
590NOBELYTE. He that dothe hate me the worse wyll tell my tale.
Yt is yowr fassyon soche kyngs to dyscommend
As yowr abuses reforme or reprehend.
You pristes are the cawse that Chronycles doth defame
So many prynces, and men of notable name,
595For yow take upon yow to wryght them evermore.
And therfore Kyng Johan ys lyke to rewe yt sore,
Whan ye wryte his tyme, for vexyng of the Clargy.
THE CLARGY. I mervell ye take his parte so ernestlye.
NOBELYTE. Yt be comyth Nobelyte his prynces fame to preserve.
600THE CLARGY. Yf he contynew, we are lyke in a whyle to starve.
He demaundeth of us the tenth parte of owr lyvyng.
NOBELYTE. I thynke yt is then for sum nessessary thyng.
THE CLARGY. Mary, to recover that he hath lost in Fraunce,
As Normandy dewkedom, and his land beyond Orleaunce.
605NOBELYTE. And thynke ye not that a mater nessesary?
THE CLARGY. No, sur, by my trowth, he takyng yt of the Clergy.
NOBELYTE. Ye cowde be content that he shuld take yt of us.
THE CLARGY. Yea, so that he wold spare the Clargy, by swet Jesus.
This takyng of us myght sone growe to a custom,
610And than Holy Churche myght so be browght to thraldom,
Whych hath ben ever from temporall prynces free,
As towchyng trybute or other captyvyte.
NOBELYTE. He that defendeth yow owght to have parte of yowr goodes.
THE CLARGY. He hath the prayers of all them that hathe hoodes.
615NOBELYTE. Why, ys that inowgh to helpe hym in his warre?
THE CLARGY. The churche he may not of lyberte debarre.
NOBELYTE. Ded not Crist hym selfe pay trybutt unto Ceser?
Yf he payd trybute, so owght his holy vycar.
THE CLARGY. To here ye reson so ondyscretlye I wonder.
620Ye must consyder that Crist that tyme was under;
But his vycar now ys above the prynces all,
Therfor be ware ye do not to herysy fall.
Ye owght to beleve as Holy Chyrche doth teche yow,
And not to reason in soche hygh maters now.
625NOBELYTE. I am vnlernyd: my wytts are sone confowndyd.
THE CLARGY. Than leve soch maters to men more depely growndyd.
NOBELYTE. But how wyll ye do for the othe that ye have take?
THE CLARGY. The keyes of the Church can all soche maters of shake.
NOBELYTE. What call ye those keyes, I pray yow hartly tell me?
630THE CLARGY. Owr holy fathers power, and hys hygh autoryte.
NOBELYTE. Well, I can no more say; ye are to well lernyd for me.
My bysynes ys soche that here now I must leve ye.
THE CLARGY. I must hence also so fast as ever maye be
To sewe vn to Rome for the Churches lyberte.
635
Go owt NOBYLYTE and CLARGY.