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"Art thou Thought?" quoth I then, wisse 2

and do me to know."

"Where that Do-wel dwelleth,
"Do-wel and Do-bet," quoth he, "and Do-best the third,
Beeth three fair virtues, and beeth not far to find.
and of his two hands,

Whoso is true of his tongue
And through leal3 labor liveth and loveth his em-Christian,*
And thereto is true of his tale and holds well his hands,
Not drunken nor disdainful, Do-wel him followeth.
Do-bet doth all this, ac yet he doth more :
He is low as a lamb and lovely of speech
And helpeth heartily all men
The bags and the by-girdles
That the Earl Avarous held
And of Mammons money
And is run into religion,
And preacheth to the people

Libenter suffertis insipientes, cum sitis ipsi sapientes.
Do-best bear should the bishop's cross
And hale with the hooked end
And with the point put down
Lords that liven as them lust 8
For their muck and their meuble

ill men to good,
prevaricatores legis,
and no law accounten,
such men thinken

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of that he may spare.
he hath to-broke them all
and his heirs,
made him many friends,
and rendreth his Bible,
Saint Paul's words:

That no bishop should their bidding withsit."
But Do-best should not dreaden them, but do as God

highte, 12

Nolite timere eos qui possunt occidere corpus.18

"thou couthest1 me

And so the Dreamer sets out on his journey to the dwelling of Do-wel, Do-bet, and Do-best. At the suggestion of Thought, he finds Wit and inquires the way. Wit, who was

Long and lean and like to none other,

1 canst.

2 show.

4

even or fellow Christian. 5 broken up.

pull, drag.

10 goods, property.

13 See Matthew x. 28.

8 please, choose.

11 withstand.

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answers his questions, and at the same time delivers a somewhat rambling lecture upon religious subjects and some pointed lessons regarding some of the moral virtues. Study, who is the wife of Wit, thereupon upbraids him for giving his wisdom to fools,

And said, Noli mittere, ye men,
Among hogges1 that haven haws at will.

margerie-pearls

And she cautions him to beware, also, of showing Holy Writ to swine. Finally, she directs the Dreamer to Clergy, whom he will find by the highway To-sufferboth-weal-and-much-woe. Clergy, when found, tells the Dreamer that in order to reach Do-wel he must obey the Ten Commandments and believe in Christ; and he delivers a moral lecture in which occurs a curious passage that has been regarded by some as a prophecy of the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, some two hundred years later:

Of Constantine's coffers,
That Gregory's godchildren
And than shall the abbot of Abingdon,

And there shall come a king, and confess your religions, And beat you as the bible telleth, for breaking of your rule: And amend moniales, monks, and canons.

And then friars in their freytor2 shall find a key

in which is the catal3

had it dispended.

and all his issue for

ever,

Have a knock of a king, and incurable the wound.
At the conclusion, the Dreamer exclaims :—

"This is a long lesson, and little am I the wiser." The visions which follow-there are nine in all - are of a similar kind, introducing new personifications of

1 See Matthew vii. 6.

2 refectory.

3 wealth.

moral and intellectual qualities and mildly satirizing the prevalent vices of society and the corruptions of the Church. In the end, Piers, the humble ploughman, is identified with Christ; and the poet describes the Saviour's passion, his descent into hell, the founding of the Church, and the coming of antichrist. The stronghold of the Church is attacked by an army of priests and monks, and Conscience, deserted and almost despairing, cries out for help. But, no one coming, he takes a pilgrim's staff and vows that he will wander over the wide world to seek Piers the Ploughman. "Now, Kind, avenge me, and send me hap and hele till I have Piers Ploughman!" And after that he cried aloud upon Grace, and the poet awoke.

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