30 The fabillis
For euer we steill, and euer alyk ar pure.
In dreid and schame our dayis we indure.
Syne widdinek, and crakraip callit als,
And till our hyre ar hangit be the hals.
Accusand thus his cankerit conscience,
In to ane craig he kest about his ee.
So saw he cummand ane lyttill than frome thence,
Ane worthie doctour of diuinitie,
Freir volff waitskaith, in science wonder ssle.
To preiche and pray wes new cum fra the closter
With beidis in hand sayand his pater noster.
Seand this volff this wylie tratour too,
On kneis fell, with hude in to his nek.
Welcome my gostlie father vnder God,
Quod he with mony binge and mony bek.
Ha quod the volff schir tod for quhat effek
Mak ze sic feir, ryse vp put on zour hude?
Father quod he I haif grit cause to dude.
Ze ar the lanterne, and the sicker way,
Suld gyde sic sempill folk as me to grace.
Zour bair feit, and zour russet coull off gray,
Zour lene cheik, zour paill and pietious face,
Schawis to me zour perfite halines.
For weill wer him that anis in his lyue,
Had hap to zow his sinnis for to schryue.
A selie lowrence quod the volf and leuch,
Off Esope. 31
It plesis me that ze ar penitent.
Off reif and stouth, schir, I can tell aneuch,
That causis me full sair for to repent.
Bot father byde still heir vpon the bent,
I zow beseik, and heir me to declair,
My conscience, that prikkis me sa sair.
Weill quod the volff sit doun vpon thy kne
And he doun bair heid sat full humilly.
And syne began with benedicitie.
Quhen I this saw, I drew ane lytill by.
For it effeiris nouther to heir, nor spy,
Nor to reueill thing said vnder that seill,
Bot to the tod this gait the volf couth mele.
Art thow contrite, and sorie in thy spreit,
For thy trespas? Na schir, I can not duid,
Me think that hennis ar sa honie sweit,
And lambes flesche that new ar lettin bluid,
For to repent my mynd can not concluid,
Bot off this thing, that I haif slane sa few.
Weill quod the volf in faith thow art ane schrew
Sen thow can not forthink thy wickitnes,
Will thow forbeir in tyme to cum and mend.
And I forbeir, how sall I leif allace,
Haifand nane vther craft me to defend.
Neid causis me to steill quhair euer I wend.
I eschame to thig, I can not wirk ze wait.