Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.

Download links will be available after you disable the ad blocker and reload the page.

English Satires

Download options:

  • 377.16 KB
  • 1.04 MB
  • 537.18 KB




This opening satire constitutes the whole of the Eighth Passus of Piers Plowman's Vision and the First of Do-Wel. The "Dreamer" here sets off on a new pilgrimage in search of a person who has not appeared in the poem before—Do-Well. The following is the argument of the Passus.—"All Piers Plowman's inquiries after Do-Well are fruitless. Even the friars to whom he addresses himself give but a confused account; and weary with wandering about, the dreamer is again overtaken by slumber. Thought now appears to him, and recommends him to Wit, who describes to him the residence of Do-Well, Do-Bet, Do-Best, and enumerates their companions and attendants."

Thus y-robed in russet · romed I aboute Al in a somer seson · for to seke Do-wel; And frayned full ofte · of folk that I mette If any wight wiste · wher Do-wel was at inne; And what man he myghte be · of many man I asked. Was nevere wight, as I wente · that me wisse kouthe Where this leode lenged, · lasse ne moore. Til it bifel on a Friday · two freres I mette Maisters of the Menours · men of grete witte. I hailsed them hendely, · as I hadde y-lerned. And preède them par charité, · er thei passed ferther, If thei knew any contree · or costes as thei wente, "Where that Do-wel dwelleth · dooth me to witene". For thei be men of this moolde · that moost wide walken, And knowen contrees and courtes, · and many kynnes places, Bothe princes paleises · and povere mennes cotes, And Do-wel and Do-yvele · where thei dwelle bothe. "Amonges us" quod the Menours, · "that man is dwellynge, And evere hath as I hope, · and evere shal herafter." "Contra", quod I as a clerc, · and comsed to disputen, And seide hem soothly, · "Septies in die cadit justus". "Sevene sithes, seeth the book · synneth the rightfulle; And who so synneth," I seide, · "dooth yvele, as me thynketh; And Do-wel and Do-yvele · mowe noght dwelle togideres. Ergo he nis noght alway · among you freres: He is outher while ellis where · to wisse the peple." "I shal seye thee, my sone" · seide the frere thanne, "How seven sithes the sadde man, · on a day synneth; By a forbisne" quod the frere, · "I shal thee faire showe. Lat brynge a man in a boot, · amydde the brode watre; The wynd and the water · and the boot waggyng, Maketh the man many a tyme · to falle and to stonde; For stonde he never so stif, · he stumbleth if he meve, Ac yet is he saaf and sound, · and so hym bihoveth; For if he ne arise the rather, · and raughte to the steere, The wynd wolde with the water · the boot over throwe; And thanne were his lif lost, · thorough lackesse of hymselve. And thus it falleth," quod the frere, · "by folk here on erthe; The water is likned to the world · that wanyeth and wexeth; The goodes of this grounde arn like · to the grete wawes, That as wyndes and wedres · walketh aboute; The boot is likned to oure body · that brotel is of kynde, That thorough the fend and the flesshe · and the frele worlde Synneth the sadde man · a day seven sithes....