Page images
PDF
EPUB

therd therin. Wherefore, cosyn, byd my lord the kynge, that he doo you right. I wote wel he wil not warne you, for the right is hevy ynough to every man.

My lord the kynge, whan I herde this I lawhed : and wyth grete gladnes cam hether, and haue told

you

alle trouthe. Yf ther be ony in this court, that can leye on me, ony other mater, wyth good witnesse, and preue it, as ought to be, to a noble man, late me thenne make amendes, acordyng to the lawe: and yf he wil not leue of herbi, thenne sette me day and feld, and I shal make good on hym, also ferre as he be of as good birth as I am, and to me lyke ; and who that can wyth fyghtyng gete the worship of the felde, late hym haue it. This right hath standen yet hetherto ; and I wil not it shold be broken by me. The lawe and right doth no man wrong.

Alle the beestis, both poure and riche, were alle stylle whan the foxe spak so stoutly. The cony Laprel, and the roek, were so sore aferde, that they durste not speke ; but pyked and stryked them out of the court bothe two, and whan they were a room, fer in the playne, they saide, God graunte that this felle murderare may fare evyl. He can bywrappe and covere his falshede, that his wordes seme as trewe as the gospel ; herof knoweth no man than we : How shold we brynge wytnesse ? it is better that we wyke and departe, than we sholde holde a felde, and fyghte with hym; he is so shrewde, ye thaugh ther of us were fyve, we coud not defende us, but that he shold sle vs alle.

Isegrym the wulf, and Bruyn the bere, were woo in hemself, whan they sawe thise tweyne rume the court. The kynge sayde, Yf ony man wil complayne, late hym come forth, and we shal here hym. Yesterday camen here so many, where ben they now ? Reynart is here.

The foxe saide, My lord, ther ben many that complayne, that and yf they sawe their aduersarye, they wold be stylle, and make no playnte. Witnes now of Laprel the cony, and Corbant the roek, which haue complayned on me to yow, in my absence : but now that I am comen in your presence, they flee away, and dar not abyde by theyr wordes. Yf men shold byleue false shrewes, it shold do moche harme and hurte to the good men. As for me, it skylleth not. Nevertheles, my lord, yf they had by your commandement, axed of me forgyfnes, how be it they haue gretly trespaced, yet I had for your sake pardoned and forgyue them. For I wil not be out of charyte, ne hate ne complayne on myne enemyes. But I sette alle thyng in Goddes hand; he shal werke and auenge it as it plesyth hym. The kynge sayde, Reynart, me thynketh ye be greued, as ye saye : Ar ye withinforth, as ye seme outward. Nay, it is not so cleer, ne so open nowher nyghe, as ye here haue shewed. I muste saye what my gryef is, which towcheth your worship and lyf, that is to wete, that ye haue don a foul and shameful trespaas. Whan I had pardoned you alle your offencis, and trespacis, and ye promysed to goo ouer the see on pylgremage, and gaf to you, male and staf, and after this, ye sente me by

Bellyn the rame the male agayne, and theryn Kywarts heed. How might ye do a more reprouable trespass ? Now were ye so hardy to dore to me doo suche a shame. Is it not euyl don to send to a lorde, his seruaunts heed ? Ye can not saye nay, here agaynst ; for Bellyn the rame whiche was our chapelayn, tolde vs al the mater, how it happed. Suche reward as he had whan he brought vs the message, the same shal ye haue or right shal faylle. Tho was Reynart so sore aferd, that he wist not

He was at his wittes ende ; and lokyd aboute him pytously ; and sawe many of his kyn and alyes that herde alle this, but nought they saide. He was al pale in his visage, but noman proferd hym hand ne foot to helpe hym. The kinge said, Thou subtyl felaw and fals shrewe, why spekest thou not, now dombe. The foxe stode in grete drede, and syghed sore, that alle herde him. But the wulf and the bere were glad herof.

what to saye.

HOW DAME RUKENAWE ANSWERD FOR THE FOXE TO THE KYNGE.

CAPITULO XXIX.

Dame Rukenawe, the she ape, Reynart's aunte, was not wel plesyd. She was grete wyth the quene, and wel belouyd. Hit happed wel for the foxe that she was there, for she vnderstood alle wysedom; and she durste wel speke, where as it to doo was. Where euer she cam euerich was glad of her. She sayde, My lord

the kyng, ye ought not to be angry whan ye sytte in jugement; for that becometh not your noblesse. A man that sytteth in jugement ought to put fro hym alle wrath and angre.

A lorde ought to have dyscrecion that shold sytte in justyse. I knowe better the poyntes of the lawe than somme that were furred gownes, for I haue lerned many of them, and was made connyng in the lawe. I had in the pope's palays of Woerden, a good bedde of heye, where other beestes laye on the harde grounde; and also whan I had there to doo, I was suffred to speke, and was herde to fore another, by cause I knowe so wel the lawe. Seneca wryteth that a lorde shal oueral doo right and lawe, he shal charge none to whom he hath gyuen his saufgarde to, aboue the right and lawe; the lawe ought not to halte for no man; and euery man that stondeth here wolde wel bethynke hym what he hath doon and bydryuen in his dayes ; he shold the better haue pacience and pyte on Reynart. Late euery man knowe hym self, that is my counseyl. Ther is none that stondeth so surely, but otherwhyle he falleth or slydeth. Who that neuer mysdede ne synned, is holy and good, and hath no neede to amende hym. Whan a man doth amys, and thenne by counseyl amendeth it, that is humaynly and so ought he to doo, but alway to mysdo and trespace, and not to amende hym, that is euyl, and a deuely lyf.

Merke thenne what is wreton in the gospel, Estote misericordes, be ye mercyful; yet standeth ther more, Nolite iudicare, et non iudicabimini, deme ye no man,

and ye

shal not be demed. Ther standeth also how the pharisees brought a woman taken in aduoultrye, and wold haue stoned her to deth : they axed our Lord what he said therto. He said, Who of yow alle is withoute synne, late hym caste the fyrst stone. Tho abode no man, but lefte her there stondyng.

Me thynketh it is so hyere. Ther be many that see a strawe in an others ye, that can not see a balke in his owne.

Ther be many that deme other, and hym self is werst of alle. Thaugh one falle ofte, and at laste aryseth vp and cometh to mercye, he is not therof dampned. God receyueth alle them that desyre his mercy; Late no man condampne another; though they wyste that he had don amys, yet late them see theyr own defautes, and thenne may they them self correcte fyrste; and thenne Reynart my cosyn shold not fare the werse: for his fadre and his graunfadre, haue alway ben in more loue and reputacion in this court, than Isegrym the wulf or Bruyn the bere, with al theyr frendis and lignage. Hit hath ben here to fore an vnlyke comparison. The wysedom of Reynart my cosyn, and the honour and worship of hym, that he hath doon, and the counseyl of them ; for they know not how the world gooth. Me thynketh this court is al torned vp so doon. Thise false shrewes, flaterers, and deceyuours arise and wexe grete by the lordes and ben enhaunsed vp; and the good, triewe, and wyse been put doun. For they haue ben woned to counseylle truly, and for thonour of the kyng : I can not see how this may stonde longe.

« PreviousContinue »