Cleanness

Clannesse who so kyndly cowþe comende
  & rekken vp alle þe resounz þat ho by ri3t askez,
  Fayre formez my3t he fynde in for[þ]ering his speche
  & in þe contrare kark & combraunce huge.
  For wonder wroth is þe Wy3þat wro3t alle þinges
  Wyth þe freke þat in fylþe fol3es Hym after,
  As renkez of relygioun þat reden & syngen
  & aprochen to hys presens & prestez arn called;
  Thay teen vnto his temmple & temen to hym seluen,
  Reken with reuerence þay rychen His auter;
  Þay hondel þer his aune body & vsen hit boþe.
  If þay in clannes be clos þay cleche gret mede;
  Bot if þay conterfete crafte & cortaysye wont,
  As be honest vtwyth & inwith alle fylþez,
  Þen ar þay synful hemself & sulped altogeder
  Boþe God & His gere, & hym to greme cachen.
  He is so clene in His courte, þe Kyng þat al weldez,
  & honeste in His housholde & hagherlych serued
  With angelez enourled in alle þat is clene,
  Boþ withine & withouten in wedez ful bry3t;
  Nif he nere scoymus & skyg & non scaþe louied,
  Hit were a meruayl to much, hit mo3t not falle.
  Kryst kydde hit Hymself in a carp onez,
  Þeras He heuened a3t happez & hy3t hem her medez.
  Me mynez on one amonge oþer, as Maþew recordez,
  Þat þus clanness vnclosez a ful cler speche:
  Þe haþel clene of his hert hapenez ful fayre,
  For he schal loke on oure Lorde with a bone chere';
  As so saytz, to þat sy3t seche schal he neuer
  Þat any vnclannesse hatz on, auwhere abowte;
  For He þat flemus vch fylþe fer fro His hert
  May not byde þat burre þat hit His body ne3en.
  Forþy hy3not to heuen in haterez totorne,
  Ne in þe harlatez hod, & handez vnwaschen.
  For what vrþly haþel þat hy3honour haldez
  Wolde lyke if a ladde com lyþerly attyred,
  When he were sette solempnely in a sete ryche,
  Abof dukez on dece, with dayntys serued?
  Þen þe harlot with haste helded to þe table,
  With rent cokrez at þe kne & his clutte traschez,
  & his tabarde totorne, & his totez oute,
  Oþer ani on of alle þyse, he schulde be halden vtter,
  With mony blame ful bygge, a boffet peraunter,
  Hurled to þe halle dore & harde þeroute schowued,
  & be forboden þat bor3e to bowe þider neuer,
  On payne of enprysonment & puttyng in stokkez;
  & þus schal he be schent for his schrowde feble,
  Þa3neuer in talle ne in tuch he trespas more.
  & if vnwelcum he were to a worþlych prynce,
  3et hym is þe hy3e Kyng harder in her euen;
  As Maþew melez in his masse of þat man ryche,
  Þat made þe mukel mangerye to marie his here dere,
  & sende his sonde þen to say þat þay samne schulde,
  & in comly quoyntis to com to his feste:
  'For my boles & my borez arn bayted & slayne,
  & my fedde foulez fatted with scla3t,
  My polyle þat is penne-fed & partrykez boþe,
  Wyth scheldez of wylde swyn, swanez & cronez,
  Al is roþeled & rosted ry3t to þe sete;
  Comez cof to my corte, er hit colde worþe.'
  When þay knewen his cal þat þider com schulde,
  Alle excused hem by þe skyly he scape by mo3t.
  On hade bo3t hym a bor3, he sayde, by hys trawþe:
  'Now turne I þeder als tyd þe toun to byholde.'
  Anoþer nayed also & nurned þis cawse:
  'I haf 3erned & 3at 3okkez of oxen,
  & for my hy3ez hem bo3t; to bowe haf I mester,
  To see hem pulle in þe plow aproche me byhouez.'
  '& I haf wedded a wyf,' so wer hym þe þryd;
  'Excuse me at þe court, I may not com þere.'
  Þus þay dro3hem adre3with daunger vchone,
  Þat non passed to þe plate þa3he prayed were.
  Thenne þe ludych lorde lyked ful ille,
  & hade dedayn of þat dede; ful dry3ly he carpez.
  He saytz: 'Now for her owne sor3e þay forsaken habbez;
  More to wyte is her wrange þen any wylle gentyl.
  Þenne gotz forth, my gomez, þe grete streetez,
  & forsettz on vche a syde þe cete aboute;
  Þe wayferande frekez, on fote & on hors,
  Boþe burnez & burdez, þe better & þe wers,
  Laþez hem alle luflyly to lenge at my fest,
  & bryngez hem blyþly to bor3e as barounez þay were,
  So þat my palays plat ful be p
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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"Cleanness" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 6 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/3358/cleanness>.

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