A Friar Complains

Alas! what shul we freres do,
Now lewed men cun Holy Writ?
Alle aboute where I go
They aposen me of it.

Then wondreth me that it is so,
How lewed men cun alle wit.
Sertely, we be undo
But if we mo amende it.

I trowe the devil brought it aboute,
To write the Gospel in Englishe,
For lewed men ben nowe so stout
That they yeven us neither fleshe ne fishe.

When I come into a shope
For to say, " In principio,"
They bidene me, " Go forth, lewed " Pope " ,"
And worche and win my silver so.

If I say it longeth not
For prestes to worche whether they go,
They leggen for them Holy Writ,
And seyn that Seint Polle did so.

Than they loken on my nabite
And seyn, " Forsothe, withouten othes,
Whether it be russet, black or white,
It is worthe alle oure weringe clothes!"

I seye I bidde not for me
Both for them that have none:
They seyn, " Thou havest to or thre!
Yeven them that nedeth therof one."

Thus oure disceites bene aspiede,
In this maner, and many moo,
Fewe men bedden us abide,
But hey fast, that we were go.

If it go forthe in this maner
It wole doen us miche gile.
Men shul finde unnethe a frere
In Englonde within a while.
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