How the Ploughman Learned his Paternoster


STC 20034
Brown and Robbins 3182. Ringler 20034 and TP 1622. Ptd. James O. Halliwell in Thomas Wright and James O. Halliwell[-Phillipps], _Reliquiae Antiquae_, 1 (1841), 43-47; ed. Hazlitt, _Remains of the Early Popular Poetry of England_, 1 (1864), 209-16. No MS. extant (Brown and Robbins). Signature nos. wanting. UMI microfilm reel 1114

Here begynneth a lytell geste how the plowman lerned his pater noster
London: [W. de Worde],[1510].

Composition Date: ante 1510.

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¶Here begynneth a lytell geste how the plowman lerned his pater-noster.

SOmtyme in fraunce dwelled a plowman
Whiche was myghty bolde and stronge
Good [skyll] he coude in husbondry copytext blotted
And [gate his l]yuynge full merely copytext blotted
5 He coude eke sowe and holde a plowe
Bothe dyke hedge and mylke a cowe
Thresshe fane and gelde a swyne
In euery season and in tyme
To mowe and repe bothe grasse and corne
10 A better labourer was neuer borne
He coude go to plowe with oxe and hors
With whiche it were he dyde not fors
Of shepe the wolle of for to shere
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His better was founde no-where
15 S[tr]ype hempe he coude to cloute his shone Strype] Srtype 1510
And set gese a_brode in season of the mone
Of fruyte he graffed many a tre
Fell wode and make it as it sholde be
He coude theche a hous and daube a wall
20 With all-thynge that to husbondry dyde fall
By these to ryches he was brought
That golde ne syluer he lacked nought
His hall-rofe was full of bakon flytches
The chambre charged was with wyches
25 Full of egges butter and chese
Men þat were hungry for to ease
To make good ale malte had he plentye
And martylmas befe to hym was not deyntye
Onyons and garlyke had he I_nowe
30 And good creme and mylke of the cowe
Thus by his labour ryche was he in-dede
Now to the mater wyll I procede
Grete good he gate and lyued yeres fourty
Yet coude he neyther pater-noster nor aue
35 In lenten-tyme þe parsone dyde hym shryue
He sayd syr canst thou thy byleue
The plowman sayd vnto the preste
Syr I byleue in Ihesu_cryste
Whiche suffred deth and harowed hell
40 As I haue herde myne olders tell
The parsone sayd man late me here
The saye deuotely thy pater-noster
That thou in it no worde do lacke
Than sayd the plowman what thynge is that
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45 Whiche ye desyre to here so sore
I herde neuer therof before
The preest sayd to lerne it thou arte bounde
Or elles thou lyuest as an hounde
Without it / saued canst thou not be
50 Nor neuer haue syght of the deyte
From chyrche to be banysshed aye
All they þat can not theyr pater-noster saye
Therfore I meruayll ryght gretly
That thy byleue was neuer taught the
55 I charge the vpon payne of deedly synne
Lerne it / heuen yf thou wylte wynne
I wolde thresshe sayd the plowman yeres ten
Rather than I it wolde leren
I praye the syr persone my counseyll kepe
60 Ten wethers wyll I gyue þe of my best shepe
And thou shalte haue in the same stounde
Fourty shelynges in grotes rounde
So ye me shewe how I may heuen reche
Well sayd the preest I shall the teche
65 Yf thou do by my counsell
To heuen shalte thou come ryght well
The husbonde sayd yf ye wyll so
What-euer ye bydde me it shall be do
Well sayd þe persone syth thou haste graunt
70 Truly to kepe this couenaunt
To do as I shall warne the shortly
Marke well the wordes that I saye to the
Thou knowest that of corne is grete skarsnesse
Wherby many for hungre dye doubtlesse
75 [B]y_cause they lacke theyr dayly brede 'By': initial letter wanting
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Hondredes this yere I haue sene dede
And thou haste grete plentye of whete
Whiche men for moneye now can not gete
And yf thou wylte do after me
80 Fourty poore men I shall sende the
And to eche of them gyue more or lasse
Or they awaye fro the passe
I shall the double for thy whete paye
Se thou bere truly theyr names awaye
85 And yf thou shewe them all and some
Ryght in ordre as they do come
Who is serued fyrst and who laste of all
In fayth sayd the plowman so I shall
Go whan ye wyll and sende them hyder
90 Fayne wolde I se that company togyder
The parsone wente to fetche the route
And gadred poore people all aboute
To the plowmans hous forth he wente
The husbonde-man was well contente
95 By_cause the parsone was theyr surety
That made his herte moche m[o]re mery more] mere 1510
The preest sayd se here thy men echone
Serue them lyghtly that they were gone
The husbonde-man sayd to hym agayne
100 The lenger they tary the more is my payne
Fyrst wente pater feble / lene and olde
All his clothes for hungre had he solde
Two busshelles of whete gate he there
Uneth for age myght he it bere
105 Than came noster ragged in araye
He had his backe-burden and so wente his waye
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Two peckes were gyuen to qui_es_in_celis
No wonder yf he halted for kybed were his helys
Than came sanctificetur and nomen_tuum
110 Of whete amonge them they gate an hole tunne
How moche was therin I can not saye
They two laded a carte and wente theyr waye
In ordre folowed them other thre
Adueniat_regnum_tuum that was deed nye
115 They thought to longe þat they abode
Yet eche of them had an hors-lode
The plowman cryed syrs come a_waye
Than went Fiat_voluntas_tua / sicut_in_celo_et_in_terra
Some blere-eyed and some lame with botell and bagge
120 To couer theyr arses they had not an hole ragge
Aboute ten busshelles they had them amonge
And in the waye homewarde full merely they songe
Than came Panem_nostrum_cotidianum_da_nobis_hodie
Amonge them fyue they had but one peny
125 That was guyen them for goddes sake
They sayd therwith that they wolde mery make
Eche had two busshelles of whete þat was gode
They songe goynge homewarde a gest of robyn_hode
Et_dimitte_nobis_debita_nostra came than
130 The one sonburned another blacke as a pan
They preased in the hepe of corne to fynde
No wonder yf they fell for they were all blynde
Eche of them an hole quartre they had
And streyght to the ale-hous they it lad
135 Sicut_et_nos_dimittimus_debitoribus_nostris
Came in anone and dyde not mys
They had ten busshelles withouten fayle
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And layde fyue to pledge for a kylderkyn of ale
Than came Et_ne_nos_inducas_in_temptationem
140 Amonge them all they had quarters ten
Theyr brede was baken in a tankarde
And the resydue they played at the hasarde
By and by came Sed_libera_nos_a_malo
He was so wery he myght not go
145 Also Amen came rennynge in anone
He cryed out spede me that I were gone
He was patched torne and all to_rente
It semed by his langage þat he was borne in kente
The plowman serued them euerychone
150 And was full gladde whan they were gone
But whan he sawe of corne he had no more
He wysshed them at the deuyll therfore
So longe had he meten his corne and whete
That all his body was in a swete
155 Than vnto his hous dyde he go
His herte was full of payne and wo
To kepe theyr names and shewe them ryght
That he rested but lytell þat nyght
Euer he patred on theyr names faste
160 That he had them in o[r]dre at the laste ordre] odre 1510
Than on the morowe he wente to the parsone
And sayd syr for moneye am I come
My corne I delyuered by the counseyll of the
Remembre thy promes thou arte theyr suretye
165 The preest sayd theyr names thou must me shewe
The plowman rehersed them on a rewe
How they were called he kepte in mynde
He sayd that amen came all behynde
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The parsone sayd man be gladde this daye
170 Thy pater-noster now canst thou saye
The plowman sayde gyue me my monaye
The preest sayd I owe none to the to paye
Thoughe thou dyde thy corne to poore men gyue
Thou mayst me blysse whyle thou doost lyue
175 For by these may ye paye cryste his rente
And serue þe lorde omnipotente
Is this the answere he sayd þat I haue shall
I shall sommon the afore the offycyall
So to the courte wente they bothe in-dede
180 Not best of all dyde the plowman spede
Unto the offycyall the parsone tolde all
How it bytwene them two dyde fall
And of this pater-noster lernynge
Many to his wordes gaue herkenynge
185 They la[u]ghed and made sporte I_nowe
The plowman for angre bended his browe
And sayd this poore men haue a_way all my corne
And for my labour the parsone dothe me skorne
The offycyall praysed gretly the parsone
190 And sayd ryght well that he had done
He sayd plowman it is shame to the
To accuse this gentylman before me
He badde hym go home fole as he was
And aske god mercy for his trespas
195 The plowman thought euer on his whete
And sayd agayne I shall it neuer gete
Than he wente and to his wyfe sayd
How that the parsone had hym betrayde
And sayd whyle that I lyue certayne
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200 Preest shall I neuer truste agayne
Thus for his corne that he gaue there
His pater-noster dyde he lere
And after longe he lyued withouten stryfe
Tyll he wente from his mortall lyfe
205 The persone disceased after also
Theyr soules I truste to heuen dyde go
Unto the whiche he vs brynge
That in heuen reygneth eternall kynge.