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   11
 

   It befel upon a Fryday on Mydsomyr Evyn in rygth hot wedyr, as this creatur was
komyng fro Yorkeward beryng a botel wyth bere in hir hand and hir husbond a cake in
hys bosom, he askyd hys wyfe this qwestyon, "Margery, if her come a man wyth a
swerd and wold smyte of myn hed les than I schulde comown kendly wyth yow as I
have do befor, seyth me trewth of yowr consciens for ye sey ye wyl not lye
whether wold ye suffyr myn hed to be smet of er ellys suffyr me to medele wyth yow
agen as I dede sumtyme?" "Alas, ser," sche seyd, "why meve ye this mater and have
we ben chast this eight wekys?" "For I wyl wete the trewth of yowr hert." And than
sche seyd wyth gret sorwe, "Forsothe I had levar se yow be slayn than we schuld turne
agen to owyr unclennesse." And he seyd agen, "Ye arn no good wyfe." And than sche
askyd hir husbond what was the cawse that he had not medelyd wyth hir eight wekys
befor, sythen sche lay wyth hym every nygth in hys bedde. And he seyd he was so
made aferde whan he wold a towchyd hir that he durst no mor don. "Now, good ser,
amend yow and aske God mercy, for I teld yow ner three yer sythen that ye schuld be
slayn sodeynly, and now is this the thryd yer, and yet I hope I schal han my desyr.
Good sere, I pray yow grawnt me that I schal askyn, and I schal pray for yow that ye
schul be savyd thorw the mercy of owyr Lord Jhesu Cryst, and ye schul have mor
mede in hevyn than yyf ye weryd an hayr or an haburgon. I pray yow, suffer me to
make a vow of chastyté in what bysshopys hand that God wele." "Nay," he seyd, "that
wyl I not grawnt yow, for now may I usyn yow wythowtyn dedly synne and than
mygth I not so." Than sche seyd agen, "Yyf it be the wyl of the Holy Gost to fulfyllyn
that I have seyd I pray God ye mote consent therto; and, yf it be not the wyl of the
Holy Gost, I pray God ye nevyr consent therto." Than went thei forth to
Brydlyngtonward in rygth hoot wedyr, the fornseyd creatur havyng gret sorwe and gret
dred for hyr chastité. And, as thei cam be a cros, hyr husbond sett hym down
undyr the cros, clepyng hys wyfe unto hym and seyng this wordys onto hir, "Margery,
grawnt me my desyr, and I schal grawnt yow yowr desyr. My fyrst desyr is that we
schal lyn stylle togedyr in o bed as we han do befor; the secunde that ye schal pay my
dettys er ye go to Jherusalem; and the thrydde that ye schal etyn and drynkyn wyth me
on the Fryday as ye wer wont to don." "Nay ser," sche seyd, "to breke the Fryday I
wyl nevyr grawnt yow whyl I leve." "Wel," he seyd, "than schal I medyl yow ageyn."
Sche prayd hym that he wold geve hir leve to make hyr praerys, and he grawntyd it
goodlych. Than sche knelyd down besyden a cros in the feld and preyd in this maner
wyth gret habundawns of teerys, "Lord God, thu knowyst al thyng; thow knowyst
what sorwe I have had to be chast in my body to the al this three yer, and now mygth
I han my wylle and I dar not for lofe of the. For, yyf I wold brekyn that maner of
fastyng whech thow comawndyst me to kepyn on the Fryday wythowtyn mete or
drynk, I schuld now han my desyr. But, blyssyd Lord, thow knowyst I wyl not
contraryen thi wyl, and mekyl now is my sorwe les than I fynde comfort in the. Now,
blyssed Jhesu, make thi wyl knowyn to me unworthy that I may folwyn theraftyr and
fulfyllyn it wyth al my myghtys." And than owyr Lord Jhesu Cryst wyth gret swetnesse
spak to this creatur, comawndyng hir to gon agen to hir husbond and prayn hym to
grawntyn hir that sche desyred. "And he schal han that he desyreth. For, my derworthy
dowtyr, this was the cawse that I bad the fastyn for thu schuldyst the sonar opteyn and
getyn thi desyr, and now it is grawntyd the. I wyl no lengar thow fast, therfor I byd the
in the name of Jhesu ete and drynk as thyn husbond doth." Than this creatur thankyd
owyr Lord Jhesu Cryst of hys grace and hys goodnes, sythen ros up and went to hir
husbond, seyng unto hym, "Sere, yf it lyke yow, ye schal grawnt me my desyr, and ye
schal have yowr desyr. Grawntyth me that ye schal not komyn in my bed, and I grawnt
yow to qwyte yowr dettys er I go to Jerusalem. And makyth my body fre to God so
that ye nevyr make no chalengyng in me to askyn no dett of matrimony aftyr this day
whyl ye levyn, and I schal etyn and drynkyn on the Fryday at yowr byddyng." Than
seyd hir husbond agen to hir, "As fre mot yowr body ben to God as it hath ben to me."
Thys creatur thankyd God gretly, enjoyng that sche had hir desyr, preyng hir husbond
that thei schuld sey three Pater Noster in the worshep of the Trinyté for the gret grace
that he had grawntyd hem. And so they ded, knelyng undyr a cros, and sythen thei
etyn and dronkyn togedyr in gret gladnes of spyryt. This was on a Fryday on Mydsomyr
Evyn. Than went they forth to Brydlyngtonward and also to many other contrés and
spokyn wyth Goddys servawntys, bothen ankrys and reclusys and many other of owyr
Lordys loverys, wyth many worthy clerkys, doctorys of dyvynyté, and bachelers also
in many dyvers placys. And this creatur to dyvers of hem schewyd hir felyngys and hyr
contemplacyons, as sche was comawndyd for to don, to wetyn yf any dysseyt
were in hir felyngys.