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The Fox and the Wolf
Leif we this wedow glaid, I yow assure, Of Chantecleir mair blyith than I can tell, And speik we of the fatal aventure And destenie that to this foxe befell Quhilk durst na mair with miching intermell Als lang as leme or licht wes of the day Bot bydand nicht full styll lurkand he lay Quhill that Thetes the goddes of the flude Phebus had callit to the harbery And Hesperous put off his cluddie hude Schawand his lustie visage in the sky, Than Lourence luikit up quhair he couth ly And kest his hand upon his ee on hicht, Merie and glade that cummit wes the nicht. Out of the wod unto ane hill he went Quhair he micht se the twinkling sternis cleir And all the planetis of the firmament, Thair cours and eik thair moving in the spheir, Sum retrograde and sum stationeir And off the zodiak in quhat degree Thay wer ilkane as Lowrence leirnit me: Than Saturne auld wes enterit in Capricorne And Juppiter movit in Sagittarie And Mars up in the Rammis heid wes borne And Phebus in the Lyoun furth can carie, Venus the Crab, the Mone wes in Aquarie, Mercurius the god of eloquence Into the Virgyn maid his residence. But astrolab, quadrant, or almanak, Teichit of nature be instructioun, The moving of the hevin this tod can tak Quhat influence and constellatioun Wes lyke to fall upon the eirth adoun And to himself he said withoutin mair, “Weill worth thee, father, that send me to the lair. “My destenie and eik my weird I wait, My aventure is cleirlie to me kend. With mischeif myngit is my mortall fait, My misleving the soner bot I mend. Deid is reward of sin, and schamefull end. Thairfoir I will ga seik sum confessour And schryiff me clene of all sinnis to this hour.” “Allace,” quod he, “richt waryit ar we thevis. Our lyif is set ilk nicht in aventure. Our cursit craft full mony man mischevis For ever we steill and ever alyk ar pure. In dreid and schame our dayis we indure, Syne ‘Widdinek’ and ‘Crakraip’ callit als And till our hyre ar hangit be the hals.” Accusand thus his cankerit conscience, Into ane craig he kest about his ee, So saw he cummand ane lyttill than frome thence Ane worthie doctour of divinitie, Freir Wolff Waitskaith, in science wonder sle, To preiche and pray wes new cum fra the closter With beidis in hand, sayand his Pater Noster. Seand this wolff, this wylie tratour tod On kneis fell with hude into his nek. “Welcome, my gostlie father under God,” Quod he with mony binge and mony bek. “Ha,” quod the wolff, “schir tod, for quhat effek Mak ye sic feir? Ryse up, put on your hude!” “Father,” quod he, “I haif grit cause to dude: “Ye ar the lanterne and the sicker way Suld gyde sic sempill folk as me to grace. Your bair feit and your russet coull of gray, Your lene cheik, your paill and pietious face, Schawis to me your perfite halines For weill wer him that anis in his lyve Had hap to yow his sinnis for to schryve.” “Na, selie Lowrence,” quod the wolf and leuch, “It plesis me that ye ar penitent.” “Of reif and stouth, schir, I can tell aneuch That causis me full sair for to repent. Bot father, byde still heir upon the bent, I yow beseik, and heir me to declair My conscience that prikkis me sa sair.” “Weill,” quod the wolff, “sit doun upon thy kne.” And he doun bairheid sat full humilly And syne began with “Benedicitie.” Quhen I this saw, I drew ane lytill by, For it effeiris nouther to heir nor spy Nor to reveill thing said under that seill But to the tod thisgait the wolf couth mele, “Art thow contrite and sorie in thy spreit For thy trespas?” “Na, schir, I can not duid. Me think that hennis ar sa honie sweit And lambes flesche that new ar lettin bluid, For to repent my mynd can not concluid Bot of this thing that I haif slane sa few.” “Weill,” quod the wolf, “in faith thow art ane schrew. “Sen thow can not forthink thy wickitnes, Will thow forbeir in tyme to cum and mend?” “And I forbeir, how sall I leif allace, Haifand nane uther craft me to defend? Neid causis me to steill quhairever I wend. I eschame to thig, I can not wirk ye wait, Yit wald I fane pretend to gentill stait.” “Weill,” quod the wolf, “thow wantis pointis twa Belangand to perfyte confessioun. To the thrid part of pennance let us ga. Will thow tak pane for thy transgressioun?” “A, schir, considder my complexioun, Seikly and waik and of my nature tender; Lo, will ye se, I am baith lene and sklender. “Yit nevertheles I wald, swa it wer licht, Schort, and not grevand to my tendernes, Tak part of pane, fulfill it gif I micht, To set my selie saull in way of grace.” “Thow sall,” quod he, “forbeir flesch hyne to Pasche To tame this corps, that cursit carioun, And heir I reik thee full remissioun.” “I grant thairto swa ye will giff me leif To eit puddingis or laip ane lyttill blude Or heid or feit or paynchis let me preif In cace I faut of flesch unto my fude.” “For grit mister I gif thee leif to dude Twyse in the oulk, for neid may haif na law.” “God yeild yow schir, for that text weill I knaw.” Quhen this wes said, the wolf his wayis went. The foxe on fute he fure unto the flude. To fang him fisch haillelie wes his intent Bot quhen he saw the walterand wallis woude, All stonist still into ane stair he stude And said, “Better that I had biddin at hame Nor bene ane fischar in the devillis name. “Now man I scraip my meit out of the sand For I haif nouther boittis, net, nor bait.” As he wes thus for falt of meit murnand, Lukand about his leving for to lait, Under ane tre he saw ane trip of gait. Than wes he blyith and in ane hewch him hid, And fra the gait he stall ane lytill kid, Syne over the heuch unto the see he hyis And tuke the kid be the hornis twane And in the watter outher twyis or thryis He dowkit him and till him can he sayne, “Ga doun schir kid, cum up schir salmond agane,” Quhill he wes deid, syne to the land him drewch And of that new-maid salmond eit anewch. Thus fynelie fillit with young tender meit, Unto ane derne for dreid he him addrest Under ane busk quhair that the sone can beit To beik his breist and bellie he thocht best And rekleslie he said quhair he did rest, Straikand his wame aganis the sonis heit, “Upon this wame set wer ane bolt full meit.” Quhen this wes said, the keipar of the gait, Cairfull in hart his kid wes stollen away, On everilk syde full warlie couth he wait Quhill at the last he saw quhair Lowrence lay. Ane bow he bent, ane flane with fedderis gray He haillit to the heid, and or he steird The foxe he prikkit fast unto the eird. “Now,” quod the foxe, “allace and wellaway. Gorrit I am and may na forther gane. Methink na man may speik ane word in play Bot now on dayis in ernist it is tane.” The hird him hynt and out he drew his flane And for his kid and uther violence He tuke his skyn and maid ane recompence. Moralitas This suddand deith and unprovysit end Of this fals tod without contritioun Exempill is exhortand folk to mend For dreid of sic ane lyke conclusioun For mony gois now to confessioun Cannot repent nor for thair sinnis greit Because thay think thair lustie lyfe sa sweit. Sum bene also throw consuetude and ryte Vincust with carnall sensualitie. Suppose thay be as for the tym contryte, Cannot forbeir nor fra thair sinnis fle. Use drawis nature swa in propertie Of beist and man that neidlingis thay man do As thay of lang tyme hes bene hantit to. Bewar, gude folke, and feir this suddane schoit Quhilk smytis sair withoutin resistence. Attend wyislie and in your hartis noit, Aganis deith may na man mak defence. Ceis of your sin, remord your conscience, Do wilfull pennance here and ye sall wend Efter your deith to blis withouttin end.
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