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Mundus et Infans

Here Beginneth a Proper New Interlude of the World and the Child, Otherwise Called Mundus et
Infans, and it Showeth of the Estate of Childhood and Manhood.
[Enter MUNDUS]
MUNDUS
1Sirs, cease of your saws, what so befall,
2And look ye bow bonerly to my bidding!
3For I am ruler of realms, I warn you all,
4And over all foods I am king;

5For I am king, and well known in these realms round;


6I have also paleis i-pight,
7I have steeds in stable, stalworth and strong,
8Also streets and strands full strongly i-dight.

9For all the World wide, I wot well, is my name.


10 All richesse redely it runneth in me,
11All pleasure worldly, both mirth and game.
12Myself, seemly in sale, I send with you to be,

13For I am the World, I warn you all,


14Prince of power and of plenty.
15He that cometh not when I do him call
16I shall him smite with poverty,

17For poverty I part in many a place


18To them that will not obedient be.

112

19I am a king in every case;


20Methinketh I am a god of grace;
[Sits on his throne]

21The flower of virtue followeth me.


22Lo, here I sit seemly in see!
23 I command you all obedient be,
24And with free will ye follow me.
[Enter INFANS]
INFANS
25 [To the audience] Christ, our king, grant you clearly to know the case!
26To move of this matter that is in my mind,
27Clearly declare it, Christ grant me grace!

28Now, seemly sirs, behold on me


29How mankind doth begin:
30I am a child, as you may see,
31 Gotten in game and in great sin.

32Forty weeks my mother me found;


33Flesh and blood my food was tho;
34When I was ripe from her to found,
35In peril of death we stood, both two.

36Now to seek death I must begin,


37For to pass that strait passage

113

38 For body and soul, that shall then twin


39And make a parting of that marriage.

40Forty weeks I was freely fed


41Within my mother's possession;
42Full oft of death she was adread,
43When that I should part her from.

44 Now into the World she hath me sent,


45Poor and naked—as ye may see;
46I am not worthily wrapped nor went,
47But poorly pricked in poverty.

48Now into the World will I wend,


49Some comfort of him for to crave.
[Approaches MUNDUS]

50All hail, comely crowned king!


51God, that all made, you see and save!
MUNDUS

52Welcome, fair child! What is thy name?


INFANS

53I wot not, sir, withouten blame;


54But oftime my mother in her game
55Called me Dalliance.

114

MUNDUS
56Dalliance, my sweet child!
57It is a name that is right wild,
58For when thou waxest old,
59It is a name of no substance.
60But, my fair child, what wouldest thou have?
INFANS

61Sir, of some comfort I you crave,


62 Meat and cloth my life to save,
63And I your true servant shall be.
MUNDUS
64Now, fair child, I grant thee thine asking;
65I will thee find, while thou art ying,
66 So thou wilt be obedient to my bidding.
67These garments gay I give to thee;
[Gives him clothes]

68And also I give to thee a name,


69And clepe thee Wanton in every game,
70Till fourteen year be come and gone;
71And then come again to me.
WANTON

72 Gramercy, World, for mine array,


73For now I purpose me to play.

115

MUNDUS

74Farewell, fair child, and have good day.


75 All recklessness is kind for thee.
[Withdraws to his throne]
WANTON
76 Aha! Wanton is my name.
77I can many a quaint game.
78Lo, my top I drive, in same—
79See, it turneth round!
80I can, with my scourge-stick,
81My fellow upon the head hit,
82And wightly from him make a skip,
83And blear on him my tongue.

84If brother or sister do me chide,


85I will scratch and also bite;
86I can cry and also kick,
87And mock them all by row.
88If father or mother will me smite,
89I will wring with my lip,
90And lightly from him make a skip,
91And call my dame shrew.

92Aha! A new game have I found!


93See this gin? It runneth round.
94And here another have I found!
95And yet mo can I find.
96I can mow on a man,

116

97And make a leasing well I can,


98And maintain it right well then—
99This cunning came me of kind.

100Yea, sirs, I can well geld a snail,


101And catch a cow by the tail—
102This is a fair cunning!
103I can dance and also skip,
104I can play at the cherry-pit,
105And I can whistle you a fit,
106Sirs, in a willow rine.

107Yea, sirs, and every day,


108When I to school shall take the way,
109Some good-man's garden I will assay,
110Pears and plums to pluck.
111I can spy a sparrow's nest;
112I will not go to school but when me list ,
113For there beginneth a sorry feast,
114When the master should lift my dock.

115But, sirs, when I was seven year of age,


116I was sent to the World to take wage,
117And this seven year I have been his page,
118And kept his commandment.
119Now I will wend to the World, the worthy emperor.
[Goes to MUNDUS]

117

120Hail, lord of great honour!


121This seven year I have served you in hall and in bower
122With all my true intent.
MUNDUS

123Now welcome, Wanton, my darling dear!


124A new name I shall give thee here:
125 Love-Lust-Liking, in fere;
126These thy names they shall be—
127All game and glee and gladness,
128All love-longing in lewdness.
129This seven year forsake all sadness,
130And then come again to me.
LUST AND LIKING
131 [To the audience] Aha! Now Lust and Liking is my name.
132 I am as fresh as flowers in May;
133I am seemly shapen in same,
134And proudly apparelled in garments gay;
135My looks ben full lovely to a lady's eye,
136And in love-longing my heart is sore set;
137Might I find a food that were fair and free,
138 To lie in hell till doomsday for love I would not let
139My love for to win.
140All game and glee,
141All mirth and melody,

118

142All revel and riot,


143And of boast will I never blin.

144But, sirs, now I am nineteen winter old,


145 Iwis, I wax wonder bold.
146Now I will go to the World
147A higher science to assay.
148 For the World will me advance,
149I will keep his governance,
150 For he is a king in all substance,
151His pleasing will I pray.
[Goes to MUNDUS]
152All hail, master full of might!
153I have you served both day and night.
154Now I comen, as I you behight.
155One and twenty winter is comen and gone.
MUNDUS
156Now welcome, Love-Lust and Liking!
157For thou hast been obedient to my bidding,
158I increase thee in all thing,
159And mightily I make thee a man.

160Manhood mighty shall be thy name.


161 Bear thee prest in every game,
162And wait well that thou suffer no shame,
163 Neither for land nor for rent;
164If any man would wait thee with blame,
165Withstand him with thy whole intent;
166Full sharply thou beat him to shame
167With doughtiness of deed!

119

168 For of one thing, Manhood, I warn thee:


169I am most of bounty,
170For seven kings suen me,
171Both by day and night:
172One of them is the king of Pride;
173The king of Envy, doughty in deed;
174The king of Wrath, that boldly will abide,
175For mickle is his might;

176The king of Covetise is the fourth;


177The fifth king, he hight Sloth;
178The king of Gluttony hath no jollity
179 There poverty is pight;
180Lechery is the seventh king—
181All men in him have great delighting,
182Therefore worship him above all thing,
183Manhood, with all thy might.
MANHOOD

184Yes, sir king, without leasing,


185It shall be wrought.
186Had I knowing of the first king,
187Well joyen I mote.

120

MUNDUS

188The first king hight Pride.


MANHOOD

189Ah, lord, with him fain would I bide.


MUNDUS

190Yea, but wouldest thou serve him truly in every tide?


MANHOOD

191Yea, sir, and thereto my troth I plight


192That I shall truly Pride present;
193I swear by Saint Thomas of Kent
194To serve him truly is mine intent,
195With main and all my might.
MUNDUS
196Now, Manhood, I will array thee new
197In robes royal right of good hue;
[Revests MANHOOD]

198And I pray thee principally be true,


199And here I dub thee a knight,
200And haunt alway to chivalry.
201I give thee grace and also beauty,
202Gold and silver great plenty,
203Of the wrong to make the right.

121

MANHOOD

204Gramercy, World and emperor!


205Gramercy, World and governor!
206Gramercy, comfort in all colour!
207And now I take my leave. Farewell!
MUNDUS

208Farewell, Manhood, my gentle knight!


209Farewell, my son, seemly in sight!
210I give thee a sword, and also strength and might,
211In battle boldly to bear thee well.
MANHOOD

212Now I am dubbed a knight hend.


213Wonder wide shall wax my fame.
214To seek adventures now will I wend,
215To please the World in glee and game.
MUNDUS
216Lo, sirs, I am a prince perilous i-proved,
217I-proved full perilous and pithily i-pight.
218As a lord in each land I am beloved.
219Mine eyen do shine as lantern bright.

220I am a creature comely, out of care.


221Emperors and kings they kneel to my knee;
222Every man is afeard when I do on him stare,
223For all merry middle-earth maketh mention of me.

224 Yet all is at my handwork, both by down and by dale,


225Both the sea and the land, and fowls that fly.

122

226 And I were once moved, I tell you in tale,


227There durst no star stir that standeth in the sky;

228For I am lord and leader, so that in land


229All boweth to my bidding bonerly about.
230Who that stirreth with any strife or waiteth me with wrong,
231I shall mightily make him to stammer and stoop,
232For I am richest in mine array;
233I have knights and towers,
234I have ladies brightest in bowers.
235Now will I fare on these flowers.
236Lordings, have good day!
[Exit MUNDUS]
MANHOOD
237 Peace, now peace, ye fellows all about,
238Peace now, and harken to my saws!
239For I am lord both stalworthy and stout;
240All lands are led by my laws.

241Baron was there never born that so well him bore,


242A better ne a bolder nor a brighter of blee,
243For I have might and main over countries far,
244And Manhood mighty am I named in every country.

123

245For Salerno and Samers, and Inde the Lois,


246Calais, Kent, and Cornwall I have conquered clean,
247Picardy, and Pontoise, and gentle Artois,
248Florence, Flanders, and France, and also Gascoigne—
249All I have conquered as a knight.
250There is no emperor so keen,
251That dare me lightly teen,
252For lives and limbs I lean,
253So mickle is my might.

254For I have boldly blood full piteously dispilled,


255 There many have left fingers and feet, both head and face.
256I have done harm on heads, and knights have I killed,
257And many a lady for my love hath said 'Alas!'

258 Brigand harness I have beaten to back and to bones,


259And beaten also many a groom to ground;
260Breastplates I have beaten, as Stephen was with stones,

124

261So fell a fighter in a field was there never i-found;


262To me no man is maked,
263For Manhood Mighty, that is my name.
264Many a lord have I do lame—
265Wonder wide walketh my fame—
266And many a king's crown have I cracked.

267I am worthy and wight, witty and wise;


268I am royal arrayed to reaven under the rice,
269I am proudly apparelled in purpur and bice;
270As gold I glister in gear.
271I am stiff, strong, stalworth, and stout;
272I am the royallest, redely, that runneth in this rout;
273There is no knight so grisly that I dread nor doubt,
274For I am so doughtily dight there may no dint me dere.

275And the king of Pride full prest with all his proud presence,
276And the king of Lechery lovely his letters hath me sent,
277And the king of Wrath full worthily with all his intent—
278They will me maintain with main and all their might;
279The king of Covetise, and the king of Gluttony,
280The king of Sloth, and the king of Envy—
281All those send me their livery.
282Where is now so worthy a wight?

125

283A wight—
284Yea, as a wight witty,
285Here in this seat sit I;
286 For no loves let I
287Here for to sit.
[Sits. Enter CONSCIENCE]
CONSCIENCE
288Christ, as he is crowned king,
289Save all this comely company,
290And grant you all his dear blessing,
291That bonerly bought you on the rood-tree!

292Now pray you prestly, on every side,


293To God omnipotent,
294To set our enemy sharply on side,
295That is the devil and his covent;

296And all men to have a clear knowing


297Of heaven bliss, that high tower.
298Methink it is a necessary thing
299For young and old, both rich and poor,

300Poor Conscience for to know—


301For Conscience clear it is my name.
302Conscience counselleth both high and low,
303And Conscience commonly beareth great blame—
304Blame,
305Yea, and oftentimes set in shame!
306Wherefore I rede you men, both in earnest and in game,
307Conscience that ye know;

308For I know all the mysteries of man—


309They be as simple as they can.
310And in every company where I come
311Conscience is out-cast;
312All the world doth Conscience hate.

126

313Mankind and Conscience ben at debate.


314For if mankind might Conscience take
315My body would they brast—

316 Brast,
317Yea, and work me much woe!
MANHOOD

318Say, ho, fellow! Who gave thee leave this way to go?
319What! Weenest thou I dare not come thee to?
320Say, thou harlot, whither in haste? [Seizes him]
CONSCIENCE

321What! Let me go, sir! I know you nought!


MANHOOD

322No, bitched brothel, thou shalt be taught!


323For I am a knight, and I were sought;
324The World hath advanced me.
CONSCIENCE

325Why, good sir knight, what is your name?


MANHOOD

326Manhood, mighty in mirth and in game.


327All power of Pride have I tane.
328I am as gentle as jay on tree.
CONSCIENCE

329Sir, though the World have you to manhood brought,


330To maintain manner ye were never taught;
331No, Conscience clear ye know right nought,
332And this longeth to a knight.
MANHOOD

333Conscience? What the devil man is he?


CONSCIENCE

334Sir, a teacher of the spirituality.


MANHOOD

335Spirituality? What the devil may that be?

127

CONSCIENCE

336Sir, all that be leaders into light.


MANHOOD

337Light? Yea, but hark, fellow, yet! Light fain would I see.
CONSCIENCE

338Will ye so, sir knight? Then do after me.


MANHOOD

339Yea, and it to Pride's pleasing be,


340I will take thy teaching.
CONSCIENCE
341Nay, sir, beware of pride, and you do well.
342For pride Lucifer fell into hell—
343Till doomsday there shall he dwell,
344Withouten any outcoming—
345For pride, sir, is but a vain glory.
MANHOOD

346Peace, thou brothel, and let those words be!


347For the World and Pride hath advanced me;
348To me men lout full low.
CONSCIENCE

349And to beware of pride, sir, I would you counsel;


350And think on King Robert of Cisell,
351How he for pride in great poverty fell,
352For he would not Conscience know.
MANHOOD

353Yea, Conscience, go forth thy way,


354For I love Pride, and will go gay;

128

355All thy teaching is not worth a stray,


356For Pride clepe I my king.
CONSCIENCE

357Sir, there is no king but God alone,


358That bodily bought us with pain and passion,
359 Because of man's soul redemption—
360In scripture thus we find.
MANHOOD

361Say, Conscience, sith thou wouldest have Pride fro me.


362What sayest thou by the king of Lechery?
363With all mankind he must be,
364And with him I love to leng.
CONSCIENCE

365Nay, Manhood, that may not be;


366From lechery fast you flee.
367For in cumbrance it will bring thee
368And all that to him will lend.
MANHOOD

369Say, Conscience, of the king of Sloth;


370He hath behight me mickle troth;
371And I may not forsake him for ruth,
372For with him I think to rest.
CONSCIENCE

373Manhood, in scripture thus we find


374That Sloth is a traitor to Heaven King;
375Sir knight, if you will keep your king,
376 From sloth clean you cast.

129

MANHOOD

377Say, Conscience, the king of Gluttony—


378He sayeth he will not forsake me,
379And I purpose his servant to be,
380With main and all my might.
CONSCIENCE

381Think, Manhood, on substance,


382And put out gluttony for cumbrance,
383And keep with you good governance,
384For this longeth to a knight.
MANHOOD

385What, Conscience? From all my masters thou wouldest have me!


386But I will never forsake Envy,
387For he is king of company,
388Both with more and less.
CONSCIENCE

389Nay, Manhood, that may not be;


390 And ye will cherish envy,
391God will not well pleased be
392To comfort you in that case.
MANHOOD

393Ey, ey! From five kings thou hast counselled me;


394But from the king of Wrath I will never flee,
395For he is in every deed doughty;
396 For him dare no man rout.
CONSCIENCE

397Nay, Manhood, beware of wrath,


398For it is but superfluity that cometh and goeth;
399Yea, and all men his company hateth,
400For oft they stand in doubt.

130

MANHOOD
401Fie on thee, false flattering friar!
402Thou shalt rue the time that thou came here.
403 The devil mote set thee on a fire
404That ever I with thee met!
405For thou counsellest me from all gladnest,
406And would me set unto all sadness;
407But, ere thou bring me in this madness,
408The devil break thy neck!

409But, sir friar—evil mote thou thee—


410From six kings thou hast counselled me,
411But that day shall thou never see
412To counsel me from Covetise.
CONSCIENCE
413No, sir, I will not you from Covetise bring,
414For Covetise I clepe a king.
415Sir, Covetise in good doing
416Is good in all wise.

417But, sir knight, will ye do after me,


418And Covetise your king shall be?
MANHOOD

419Ye, sir, my troth I plight to thee


420That I will work at thy will.
CONSCIENCE

421Manhood, will ye by this word stand?


MANHOOD

422Yea, Conscience, here my hand.


423I will never from it fang,
424Neither loud ne still.

131

CONSCIENCE
425 Manhood, ye must love God above all thing;
426His name in idleness ye may not ming;
427Keep your holy day from worldly doing;
428Your father and mother worship aye;
429Covet ye to slay no man;
430Ne do no lechery with no woman;
431Your neighbour's good take not by no way,
432And all false witness ye must denay;

433Neither ye must not covet no man's wife,


434Nor no good that him belieth.
435This covetise shall keep you out of strife.
436These ben the commandments ten;
437Mankind, and ye these commandments keep
438Heaven bliss I you behete;
439For Christ's commandments are full sweet,
440And full necessary to all men.
MANHOOD

441What, Conscience, is this thy Covetise?


CONSCIENCE

442Yea, Manhood, in all wise.


443And covet to Christ's service,
444Both to matins and to mass.
445 Ye must, Manhood, with all your might
446Maintain holy church's right,
447For this longeth to a knight
448Plainly in every place.

132

MANHOOD

449What, Conscience? Should I leave all game and glee?


CONSCIENCE

450Nay, Manhood, so mote I thee;


451All mirth in measure is good for thee;
452But, sir, measure is in all thing.
MANHOOD

453Measure, Conscience? What thing may measure be?


CONSCIENCE

454Sir, keep you in charity,


455And from all evil company,
456 For doubt of folly doing.
MANHOOD

457Folly? What thing callest thou folly?


CONSCIENCE

458Sir, it is pride, wrath, and envy,


459Sloth, covetise, and gluttony;
460Lechery the seventh is—
461These seven sins I call folly.
MANHOOD
462 What? Thou liest! To this seven the World delivered me,
463And said they were kings of great beauty,
464And most of main and mights.

465But yet I pray thee, sir, tell me.


466May I not go arrayed honestly?
CONSCIENCE

467Yes, Manhood, hardily,


468In all manner of degree.
MANHOOD

469But I must have sporting of play?


CONSCIENCE

470 Sickerly, Manhood, I say not nay;

133

471But good governance keep both night and day,


472And maintain meekness and all mercy.
MANHOOD

473All mercy, Conscience? What may that be?


CONSCIENCE

474Sir, all discretion that God gave thee.


MANHOOD

475 Discretion I know not, so mote I thee!


CONSCIENCE

476Sir, it is all the wits that God hath you send.


MANHOOD

477Ah, Conscience, Conscience! Now I know and see


478Thy cunning is much more than mine.
479But yet I pray thee, sir, tell me,
480What is most necessary for man in every time?
CONSCIENCE

481Sir, in every time beware of folly;


482Folly is full of false flattering;
483In what occupation that ever ye be,
484Alway, ere ye begin, think on the ending,
485For blame.
486Now farewell, Manhood; I must wend.
MANHOOD

487Now farewell, Conscience, mine own friend.


CONSCIENCE

488I pray you, Manhood, have God in mind,


489And beware of Folly and Shame.
MANHOOD
490Yes, yes, yea, come wind and rain,
491God let him never come here again!

134

492Now he is forward, I am right fain,


493For in faith, sir, he had near counselled me all amiss.
[Exit CONSCIENCE]

494 Ah, ah, now I have bethought me! If I shall heaven win,
495 Conscience teaching I must begin,
496And clean forsake the kings of sin
497That the World me taught;
498And Conscience servant will I be,
499And believe, as he hath taught me,
500Upon one God and persons three,
501That made all thing of nought;

502For Conscience clear I clepe my king,


503And am his knight in good doing;
504For right of reason, as I find,
505Conscience teaching true is.
506The World is full of boast,
507And saith he is of might's most;
508All his teaching is not worth a cost,
509For Conscience he doth refuse.

510But yet will I him not forsake,


511For mankind he doth merry make;
512Though the World and Conscience be at debate,
513Yet the World will I not despise,
514For both in church and in cheaping,
515And in other places being,
516The World findeth me all thing,
517And doth me great service.

135

518Now here full prest


519I think to rest;
520Now mirth is best.
[Enter FOLLY]
FOLLY

521What, heigh-ho! Care away!


522 My name is Folly; I am not gay.
523Is here any man that will say nay,
524That runneth in this rout?
525Ah, sir, God give you good eve!
MANHOOD

526Stand utter, fellow! Where dost thou thy courtesy preve?


FOLLY

527What? I do but claw mine arse, sir, by your leave.


528I pray you, sir, rive me this clout.

136

MANHOOD

529What! Stand out, thou sained shrew!


FOLLY

530 By my faith, sir, there the cock crew;


531For— I take record of this row —
532My theedom is near past.
MANHOOD

533Now, truly, it may well be so.


FOLLY

534By God, sir, yet have I fellows mo,


535For in every country where I go
536Some man his thrift hath lost.
MANHOOD

537But hark, fellow, art thou any craftsman?

137

FOLLY

538Yea, sir, I can bind a sieve and tink a pan,


539 And thereto a curious buckler-player I am.
540Arise, fellow; will thou assay?
MANHOOD

541Now truly, sir, I trow thou canst but little skill of play.
FOLLY

542Yes, by Cock's bones, that I can.


543I will never flee for no man
544That walketh by the way.
MANHOOD

545Fellow, though thou have cunning,


546I counsel thee leave thy boasting,
547For here thou may thy fellow find,
548Whither thou wilt, at long or short.
FOLLY

549Come, look, and thou darest! Arise and assay!


MANHOOD

550Yea, sir, but yet Conscience biddeth me nay.


FOLLY

551No, sir, thou darest not, in good fay!


552For truly thou failest no false heart!
MANHOOD

553What sayest thou? Have I a false heart?


FOLLY

554Yea, sir, in good fay!

138

MANHOOD
555Manhood will not that I say nay.
556Defend thee, Folly, if thou may!
557For, in faith, I purpose to wit what thou art.
[They fence. FOLLY is hit]

558How sayest thou now, Folly, hast thou not a touch?


FOLLY

559No, iwis; but a little on my pouch—


560On all this meinie I will me vouch
561That standeth here about.
MANHOOD

562And I take record on all this row,


563Thou hast two touches, though I say but few.
FOLLY

564Yea, this place is not without a shrew!


565 I do you all out of due.
MANHOOD

566But hark, fellow, by thy faith; where was thou bore?


FOLLY

567By my faith, in England have I dwelled yore,


568And all mine ancestors me before;
569But, sir, in London is my chief dwelling.
MANHOOD

570In London? Where, if a man thee sought?

139

FOLLY

571Sir, in Holborn I was forth brought,


572And with the courtiers I am betaught.
573To Westminster I used to wend.
MANHOOD

574Hark, fellow; why dost thou to Westminster draw?


FOLLY

575For I am a servant of the law.


576Covetise is mine own fellow;
577We twain plead for the king;
578And poor men that come from upland,
579We will take their matter in hand;
580Be it right or be it wrong,
581 Their thrift with us shall wend.
MANHOOD

582Now hear, fellow, I pray thee; whither wendest thou then?


FOLLY

583By my faith, sir, into London I ran,


584To the taverns to drink the wine;
585And then to the inns I took the way,
586And there I was not welcome to the ostler,
587But I was welcome to the fair tapster,
588And to all the household I was right dear,
589For I have dwelled with her many a day.
MANHOOD

590Now I pray thee, whither took thou the way then?

140

FOLLY

591In faith, sir, over London Bridge I ran,


592And the straight way to the stews I came,
593And took lodging for a night;
594And there I found my brother, Lechery.
595There men and women did folly,
596And every man made of me as worthy
597As though I had been a knight.
MANHOOD

598I pray thee, yet tell me mo of thine adventures.


FOLLY
599In faith, even straight to all the friars,
600And with them I dwelled many years,
601And they crowned Folly a king.
MANHOOD

602I pray thee, fellow, whither wendest thou tho?


FOLLY

603Sir, all England to and fro,


604Into abbeys and into nunneries also;
605And alway Folly doth fellows find.
MANHOOD

606Now hark, fellow; I pray thee tell me thy name.


FOLLY

607I wis, I hight both Folly and Shame.


MANHOOD

608Aha! Thou art he that Conscience did blame,


609When he me taught.
610I pray thee, Folly, go hence, and follow not me.
FOLLY

611Yes, good sir, let me your servant be.


MANHOOD

612Nay, so mote I thee!


613For then a shrew had I caught.
FOLLY
614Why, good sir, what is your name?
MANHOOD

615Manhood mighty, that beareth no blame.

141

FOLLY

616By the rood, and Manhood mistereth in every game


617Somedeal to cherish Folly,
618For Folly is fellow with the World,
619And greatly beloved with many a lord;
620And if ye put me out of your ward,
621The World right wrath will be.
MANHOOD

622Yea, sir, yet had I liefer the World be wrath,


623Than lose the cunning that Conscience me gave.
FOLLY

624A cuckoo for Conscience! He is but a daw;


625He cannot else but preach.
MANHOOD

626Yea, I pray thee leave thy lewd clattering,


627For Conscience is a counsellor for a king.
FOLLY
628I would not give a straw for his teaching.
629He doth but make men wrath.
630But wottest thou what I say, man?
631By that ilk truth that God me gave,
632Had I that bitched Conscience in this place,
633I should so beat him with my staff
634That all his stones should stink.
MANHOOD

635I pray thee, Folly, go hence and follow not me.

142

FOLLY

636Yes, sir, so mote I thee,


637Your servant will I be;
638I axe but meat and drink.
MANHOOD

639Peace, man! I may not have thee for thy name,


640For thou sayest thy name is both Folly and Shame.
FOLLY

641Sir, here in this clout I knit Shame,


642And clepe me but proper Folly. [Removes his cloak]
MANHOOD

643Yea, Folly, will thou be my true servant?


FOLLY

644Yea, Sir Manhood, here my hand.


MANHOOD
645Now let us drink at this comnant,
646For that is courtesy.
FOLLY
647Marry, master, ye shall have in haste.
648 [Aside] Aha, sirs, let the cat wink!
649For all ye wot not what I think.
650 I shall draw him such a draught of drink
651That Conscience he shall away cast.

[Gives him a drink]143

652Have, master, and drink well,


653And let us make revel, revel!
654For I swear by the church of Saint Michael,
655I would we were at stews!
656For there is nothing but revel-rout;
657And we were there, I had no doubt
658I should be knowen all about,
659Where Conscience they would refuse.
MANHOOD

660Peace, Folly, my fair friend,


661For, by Christ, I would not that Conscience should me here find.
FOLLY

662Tush, master! Thereof speak nothing,


663For Conscience cometh no time here.
MANHOOD

664Peace, Folly! There is no man that knoweth me?


FOLLY
665Sir, here my troth I plight to thee;
666And thou wilt go thither with me,
667For knowledge have thou no care.
MANHOOD

668Peace! But it is hence a great way?.


FOLLY

669 Pardie, sir, we may be there on a day.


670Yea, and we shall be right welcome, I dare well say,
671In Eastcheap for to dine:
672And then we will with Lombards at passage play,
673And at The Pope's Head sweet wine assay.
674We shall be lodged well a-fine.

144

MANHOOD

675What sayest thou, Folly; is this the best?


FOLLY

676Sir, all this is manhood, well thou knowest.


MANHOOD

677Now, Folly, go we hence in haste.


678But fain would I change my name;
679For, well I wot, if Conscience meet me in this tide,
680Right well I wot, he would me chide.
FOLLY
681Sir, for fear of you his face he shall hide.
682I shall clepe you Shame.
MANHOOD

683Now gramercy, Folly, my fellow in fere!


684Go we hence–tarry no longer here–
685Till we be gone, methink it, seven year.
686I have gold and good to spend.
FOLLY

687Aha, master, that is good cheer!


688 [Aside] And ere it be passed half a year,
689 I shall thee shear right a lewd friar,
690And hither again thee send.
MANHOOD

691Folly, go before, and teach me the way.


FOLLY

692Come after, Shame, I thee pray,


693And Conscience clear ye cast away.
694 [To the audience] Lo, sirs, this Folly teacheth aye;
695For where Conscience cometh with his cunning,
696Yet Folly full featly shall make him blind.
697Folly before, and Shame behind–
698Lo, sirs, thus fareth the world alway!
[Exit FOLLY]

145

MANHOOD
699 Now I will follow Folly, for Folly is my man;
700Yea, Folly is my fellow, and hath given me a name.
701Conscience called me Manhood: Folly calleth me Shame.

702Folly will me lead to London to learn revel:


703Yea, and Conscience is but a flattering brothel,
704For ever he is carping of care.
705The World and Folly counselleth me to all gladness:
706Yea, and Conscience counselleth me to all sadness;
707Yea, too much sadness might bring me into madness!
708And now have good day, sirs. To London to seek Folly will I fare.
[Enter CONSCIENCE]
CONSCIENCE

709 Say, Manhood, friend, whither will ye go?


MANHOOD

710Nay, sir, in faith my name is not so.


711Why, friar, what the devil hast thou to do
712Whether I go or abide?
CONSCIENCE

713Yes, sir, I will counsel you for the best.


MANHOOD

714I will none of thy counsel, so have I rest;


715I will go whither me list,
716For thou canst nought else but chide.
[Exit MANHOOD]
CONSCIENCE
717Lo, sirs, a great ensample you may see—
718The frailness of mankind,
719How oft he falleth in folly
720Through temptation of the fiend;

146

721For when the fiend and the flesh be at one assent,


722Then Conscience clear is clean out-cast.
723Men think not on the great judgment
724That the seely soul shall have at the last;

725But would God all men would have in mind


726Of the great day of doom,
727How he shall give a great reckoning
728Of evil deeds that he hath done.

729But natheless, sith it is so


730That Manhood is forth with Folly wend,
731To seek Perseverance now will I go,
732With the grace of God omnipotent;

733 His counsels ben in fere.


734Perseverance counsel is most dear;
735Next to him is Conscience clear
736 From sinning.
737Now, into this presence, to Christ I pray,
738To speed me well in my journey.
739Farewell, lordings, and have good day!
740To seek Perseverance will I wend.
[Exit CONSCIENCE and enter PERSEVERANCE]
PERSEVERANCE
741 Now, Christ, our comely creator, clearer than crystal clean,

147

742That craftily made every creature by good recreation,


743Save all this company that is gathered here bedene,
744And set all your souls into good salvation!

745Now, good God, that is most wisest and wielder of wits,


746This company counsel, comfort, and glad,
747And save all this simplitude that seemly here sits!
748Now, good God, for his mercy, that all men made–

749Now, Mary, mother, meekest that I mean,


750Shield all this company from evil inversation,
751And save you from our enemy, as she is bright and clean,
752And at the last day of doom deliver you from everlasting damnation.

753Sirs, Perseverance is my name,


754Conscience born brother that is;
755He sent me hither mankind to indoctrine,
756That they should to no vices incline;
757For oft mankind is governed amiss,
758And through Folly mankind is set in shame.
759Therefore in this presence to Christ I pray,
760Ere that I hence wend away,
761Some good word that I may say
762To borrow man's soul from blame.
[Enter AGE, who does not see PERSEVERANCE]

148

AGE
763Alas, alas, that me is woe!
764My life, my liking I have forlorn;
765My rents, my richesse–it is all i-go;
766Alas the day that I was born!

767For I was born Manhood most of might,


768Stiff, strong, both stalworthy and stout;
769The World full worthily hath made me a knight;
770All bowed to my bidding bonerly about.

771Then Conscience clear, comely and kind,


772Meekly he met me in seat there I sat;
773He learned me a lesson of his teaching,
774And the seven deadly sins full loathly he did hate:

775Pride, wrath, and envy, and gluttony in kind–


776The World all these sins delivered me until–
777Sloth, covetise, and lechery, that is full of false flattering;
778All these Conscience reproved both loud and still.

779To Conscience I held up my hand,


780To keep Christ's commandments.
781He warned me of Folly, that traitor, and bade me beware,
782And thus he went his way;
783But I have falsely me forsworn.
784Alas the day that I was born!
785For body and soul I have forlorn.
786 I cling as a clod in clay.

787In London many a day


788At the passage I would play;
789I thought to borrow and never pay.

149

790Then was I sought and set in stocks;


791In Newgate I lay under locks;
792If I said aught I caught many knocks.
793Alas, where was Manhood tho?

794Alas, my lewdness hath me lost.


795 Where is my body so proud and prest?
796I cough and rout; my body will brest,
797Age doth follow me so.
798I stare and stacker as I stand,
799I groan grisly upon the ground.
800Alas, Death, why lettest thou me live so long?
801I wander as a wight in woe

802And care,
803For I have done ill;
804Now wend I will,
805 Myself to spill ,
806I care not whither nor where.
[PERSEVERANCE comes forward]
PERSEVERANCE

807Well i-met, sir, well i-met; and whither away?


AGE

808Why, good sir, whereby do ye say?

150
PERSEVERANCE

809Tell me, sir, I you pray,


810And I with you will wend.
AGE

811Why, good sir, what is your name?


PERSEVERANCE

812Forsooth, sir, Perseverance, the same.


AGE

813Sir, ye are Conscience brother, that me did blame!


814I may not with you leng.
PERSEVERANCE

815Yes, yes, Manhood, my friend in fere.


AGE

816Nay, sir, my name is in another manner;


817For Folly his own self was here
818And hath cleped me Shame.
PERSEVERANCE

819 Shame? Nay, Manhood, let him go–


820Folly and his fellows also;
821For they would thee bring into care and woe,
822And all that will follow his game.
AGE
823Yea, game whoso game!
824Folly hath given me a name,
825So, wherever I go,
826He cleped me Shame.
827Now Manhood is gone,
828Folly hath followed me so.

829When I first from my mother came,


830The World made me a man,
831And fast in riches I ran,
832Till I was dubbed a knight;
833And then I met with Conscience clear,
834And he me set in such manner
835Methought his teaching was full dear,
836Both by day and night.

151

837And then Folly met me,


838And sharply he beset me,
839And from Conscience he fet me;
840He would not fro me go.
841Many a day he kept me,
842And to all folks Shame he cleped me,
843And unto all sins he set me;
844Alas, that me is woe!

845For I have falsely me forsworn.


846Alas, that I was born!
847Body and soul, I am but lorn,
848 Me liketh neither glee nor game.
PERSEVERANCE
849Nay, nay, Manhood, say not so!
850Beware of Wanhope, for he is a foe.
851A new name I shall give you to:
852I clepe you Repentance;
853For, and you here repent your sin,
854Ye are possible heaven to win;
855But with great contrition ye must begin,
856And take you to abstinence;

857 For though a man had do alone


858The deadly sins everychone,
859And he with contrition make his moan
860To Christ our heaven king,
861God is also glad of him,
862As of the creature that never did sin.

152

AGE

863Now, good sir, how should I contrition begin?


PERSEVERANCE
864Sir, in shrift of mouth, without varying;

865And another ensample I shall show you to:


866Think on Peter and Paul, and other mo,
867Thomas, James, and John also,
868And also Mary Magdalene.
869For Paul did Christ's people great villainy,
870And Peter at the Passion forsook Christ thrice,
871And Magdalene lived long in lechery,
872And St Thomas believed not in the Resurrection;
873And yet these to Christ are darlings dear,
874And now be saints in heaven clear.
875And therefore, though ye have trespassed here,
876I hope ye be sorry for your sin.
AGE

877Yea, Perseverance, I you plight,


878I am sorry for my sin both day and night.
879I would fain learn, with all my might,
880How I should heaven win.

153

PERSEVERANCE

881 Sir, to win heaven five necessary things there ben,


882That must be known to all mankind:
883The five wits doth begin,
884Sir, bodily and spiritually.
AGE

885Of the five wits I would have knowing.


PERSEVERANCE
886Forsooth, sir, hearing, seeing, and smelling,
887The remnant tasting and feeling—
888These ben the five wits bodily;

889And, sir, other five wits there ben.


AGE

890Sir Perseverance, I know not them.


PERSEVERANCE

891Now, Repentance, I shall you ken:


892They are the power of the soul:
893Clear in mind—there is one—
894Imagination, and all reason,
895Understanding, and compassion;
896These belong unto Perseverance.
AGE

897Gramercy, Perseverance, for your true teaching.


898But, good sir, is there any more behind
899That is necessary to all mankind
900 Freely for to know?

154

PERSEVERANCE
901Yea, Repentance, more there be,
902That every man must on believe:
903 The twelve articles of the faith,
904That mankind must on trow.

905The first, that God is in one substance,


906And also that God is in three persons,
907Beginning and ending without variance,
908And all this world made of nought.
909The second, that the Son of God sickerly
910Took flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary,
911Without touching of man's flesh-company–
912This must be in every man's thought.
913The third, that that same God Son,
914 Was born of that holy Virgin,
915And she after his birth maiden as she was before,
916And clearer in all kind.
917Also the fourth, that same Christ, God and man,
918He suffered pain and passion
919Because of man's soul redemption,
920And on a cross did hang.

921The fifth article I shall you tell:


922Then the spirit of Godhead went to hell,
923And bought out the souls that there did dwell,
924By the power of his own might.

155

925The sixth article I shall you say:


926Christ rose upon the third day,
927 Very God and man, withouten nay,
928That all shall deem and dight.

929 He sent man's soul into heaven,


930 Aloft all the angels everychone,
931 There is the Father, the Son,
932And the soothfast Holy Ghost.
933The eighth article we must believe on:
934That same God shall come down
935And deem man's soul at the day of doom,
936And on mercy then must we trust.

937The ninth article, withouten strife:


938Every man, maiden, and wife,
939And all the bodies that ever bore life,
940 At the day of doom, body and soul, shall pear.
941Truly the tenth article is:
942All they that hath kept God's service
943They shall be crowned in heaven bliss,
944As Christ's servants to him full dear.

945The eleventh article, the sooth to sayn:


946All that hath falsely to God guided them,
947They shall be put into hell pain—
948There shall be no sin-covering.

156

949Sir, after the twelfth we must work,


950And believe in all the sacraments of holy church,
951That they ben necessary to both last and first
952To all manner of mankind.

953Sir, ye must also hear and know the commandments ten.


954Lo, sir, this is your belief and all men;
955 Do after it and ye shall heaven win–
956Without doubt I know.
AGE
957Gramercy, Perseverance, for your true teaching,
958For in the spirit of my soul will I find
959That it is necessary to all mankind
960Truly for to know.
[To the audience]
961Now, sirs, take all ensample by me,
962How I was born in simple degree;
963The World royal received me,
964And dubbed me a knight;
965Then Conscience met me;
966So after him came Folly;
967Folly falsely deceived me;
968Then Shame my name hight.
PERSEVERANCE

969Yea, and now is your name Repentance,


970Through the grace of God almight.
971And therefore, without any distance,
972I take my leave of king and knight;
973And I pray to Jesu, which has made us all,
974Cover you with his mantle perpetual. Amen.

Here endeth the Interlude of Mundus et Infans, Imprinted at London in Fleet Street at the
Sign of the Sun by me, Wynkyn de Worde, the year of our Lord MCCCCC and xxii, the xvii
day of July.

157