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though he may nought pisse, yet wil he heve up his leg and make a countenaunce to pisse. And for that many man weneth he may not synne for no licorousnes that he doth with his wif, certis that oppinioun is fals ; God wot a man may sle himself with his owne knyf, and make himself dronke of his oughne tonne. Certis, be it wif, or child, or eny worldly thing, that he lovyth biforn God, it is his maumet, and he is an ydolastre. Man schulde love his wyf by discrescioun, paciently and attemperelly, and thanne is sche as it were his suster. The fyfte fynger of the develes hond, is the stynkynge dede of leccherie. Certes the fyve fyngres of glotonye the devel put in the wombe of a man; and his fyve fyngres of lecchery bygripeth him by the reynes, for to throwe him into the fourneys of helle, there as they schuln have the fuyr and the wormes that ever schal lasten, and wepyng and wayling, and scharp hunger and thurst, and grislines of develes, that schul al to-tere hem withoute respit and withouten ende. Of leccherie, as I sayde, sourdren divers spices ; as fornicacioun, that is bitwen man and womman that ben nought maried, and this is dedly synne, and against nature. Al that is enemy and destruccioun to nature, is agayns nature. Par fay the resoun of a man tellith him wel that it is dedly synne ; for als moche as God forbad leccherie. And seint Poule gevith hem that regne that is due to no wight but hem that doon synne dedly. Another synne of lecchery is, for to bireve a mayden of hir maydenhede; for he that so doth, certes he casteth a mayden out of the heighest degré that is in the present lif, and birevith

hir thilke precious fruyt that the book clepith the hundrid fruyt--I can geve it noon other name in Englisch, but in Latyn it is i-clepid centesimus fructus (secundum Hieronymum contra Jovinianum). Certes he that so doth, is cause of many harmes and vilenyes, mo than eny man can rekene; right as he som tyme is cause of alle the damages that bestis doon in the feeld, that brekith the hegge of the closure, thurgh which he destroyeth that may not be restored; for certes no more may maydenhode be restored, than an arm, that is smyten fro the body, retourne agayn to waxe; sche may have mercy, this wot I wel, if sche have wille to do penitence, but never schal it be but that sche nas corrupt. And al be it so that I have spoke somwhat of advoutré, yit is it good to speke of mo perils that longen to advoutré, for to eschiewe that foule synne. Advoutrie, in Latyn, is for to sayn, approaching of other mannes bed, thorugh the which tho that whilom were oon fleisch, abandone here bodyes to other per

Of this synne, as saith the wise man, many harmes cometh therof; first, brekyng of faith; and certes faith is the keye of cristendom, and whan that faith is broke and lorn, sothely cristendom is lorn, and stont veyn and withouten fruyt. This synne is eek a theef, for thefte is generally to speke to reve a wight his thing agayns his wille. Certis, this is the foulest thefte that may be, whan a womman stelith hir body from hire housbonde, and giveth it to hire holour to defoule hire, and stelith hir soule fro Crist, and gevith it to the devel. This is a fouler thefte than for to breke a


chirche and stele chalises, for these advouterers breke the temple of God spirituelly, and stelen the vessel of grace, that is the body and the soule ; for which Jhesu Crist schal destroyen hem, as saith seint Poule. Sothely of this thefte doubtyd gretly Joseph, whan that his lordes wyf prayde him of vilonye, whan he saide, * Lo, my lady, how


lord hath take to me under my warde al that he hath in this world, ne no thing of his power is oute of my power, but oonly ye that ben his wyf; and how schuld I do thanne this wikkidnes, and synne so horribly agayns God, and my Lord? God it forbede !" Alas! al to litel is such trouthe now i-founde. The thridde harm is the filthe, thurgh which thay breken the comaundement of God, and defoule the auctour of here matrimonye, that is Crist. For certis, in so moche as the sacrament of mariage is so noble and so digne, so moche is it the gretter synne for to breke it; for God makid mariage in Paradis in thestat of innocence, to multiplie mankynde to the service of God, and therfore is the brekyng therof the more grevous, of which breking cometh fals heires ofte tymes, that wrongfully occupien mennes heritage; and therfore wolde Crist putte hem out of the regne of heven, that is heritage to goode folk. Of this breking cometh eek ofte tyme, that folk unwar wedden or synnen with her kynrede; and namely these harlottis, that haunten bordels of these foule wommen, that mowe be likened to a comune gonge, whereas men purgen here entrayles of her ordure. What say we eke of putours, that lyven by the orrible synne of putrie, and constreyne wymmen,

ye, som tyme his oughne wyf or his child, as don these baudes, to yelde hem a certeyn rente of here bodily putrie? certes, these ben cursede synnes. Understonde eek that avoutrie is set gladly in the ten comaundements bitwixe manslaughter and thefte, for it is the grettest thefte that may be, for it is thefte of body and soule, and it is lik to homicidie, for it kerveth a-tuo hem that first were makid oon fleisch. And therfore by the olde lawe of God thay scholde be slayn, but natheles, by the lawe of Jhesu Crist, that is the lawe of pité, whan he sayde to the womman that was founde in advoutri, and schulde have ben slayn with stoones aftir the wille of the Jewes, as was her law, “Go," quod Jhesu Crist, “ and wilne no more to do synne;” sothely, the vengeance of avouterye is awardid to the peyne of helle, but if be destourbed by penitence. Yit ben ther mo spices of this cursed synne, as whan that oon of hem is religious, or ellis bothe, or for folk that ben entred into ordre, as sub-dekin, or dekin, or prest, or hospitalers; and ever the higher that he be in ordre, the gretter is the synne. The thinges that gretly aggreggith her synne, is the brekyng of here avow of chastité, whan thay resceyved the ordre; and fortherover is soth, that holy ordre is chefe of alle the tresor of God, and is a special signe and mark of chastité, to schewe that thay ben joyned to chastité, which that is the moste precious lif that is. And eek these ordred folk ben specially tytled to God, and of the special meyné of God; of whiche whan thay don dedly synne, thay ben the special traytours of God and of his poeple, for thay lyven of the poeple to praye

for the poeple, and whil thay ben suche traytours here prayer avayleth not to the poeple. Prestis ben aungels, as by the dignité of here misterie ; but for sothe seint Poul saith, that Sathanas transformeth him in an aungel of light. Sothely, the prest that hauntith dedly synne, he may be likened to the aungel of derknes, transformed into the aungel of light; and he semeth aungel of light, but for sothe he is aungil of derknes. Suche prestes ben the sones of Helie, as schewith in the book of Kinges, that thay were the sones of Belial, that is, the devel. Belial is to say, withoute juge, and so faren thay; thay thynke hem fre, and han no juge, no more than hath a fre bole, that takith which cow that him liketh in the toun. So faren thay by wommen; for right as a fre bole is y-nough for al a toun, right so is a wikked prest corrupcioun y-nough for al a parisch, or for al a contray. These prestes, as saith the book, ne conne not ministere the mistery of presthode to the poeple, ne God ne knowe thay not; thay holde hem nought apayed, as saith the book, of soden fleissh that was to hem offred, but thay tooke by force the fleissch that is raw.

Certes, so these schrewes holde hem not appayed with rosted fleissh and sode fleissh, with whiche the poeple feeden hem in gret reverence, but thay wil have raw fleisch of folkes wyves and here doughtres. And certes, these wommen that consenten to here harlotrie, don gret wrong to Crist and to holy chirche, and to alle halwes, and to alle soules, for thay bireven alle these hem that schulde worschipe Crist and holy chirche and praye for cristen soules. And therfore han suche prestis, and here lemmans eeke that consenten

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