Wednesday, October 27, 2004


There was laughynge and lourynge and " Lat go the cuppe!'
[Bargaynes and beverages bigonne to arise;]
And seten so til evensong, and songen umwhile,
Til Gloton hadde yglubbed a galon and a gille.
His guttes bigonne to gothelen as two gredy sowes;
He pissed a potel in a Paternoster-while,
And blew his rounde ruwet at his ruggebones ende,
That alle that herde that horn helde hir nose after
And wisshed it hadde ben wexed with a wispe of firses!
He myghte neither steppe ne stonde er he his staf hadde,
And thanne gan he to go like a glemannes bicche
Som tyme aside and som tyme arere,
As whoso leith lynes for to lacche foweles.
And whan he drough to the dore, thanne dymmed hise eighen;
He [thr]umbled on the thresshfold and threw to the erthe.
Clement the Cobelere kaughte hym by the myddel
For to liften hym olofte, and leyde hym on his knowes.
Ac Gloton was a gret cherl and a grym in the liftyng,
And koughed up a cawdel in Clementes lappe.
Is noon so hungry hound in Hertfordshire
Dorste lape of that levynge, so unlovely it smaughte!

(The vision of Piers Plowman, Passus 5, Lines 337 - 357)

There was laughing and lowering · and `Let go the cup!'
They sat so till evensong · singing now and then,
Till Glutton had gulped down · a gallon and a gill.
His guts 'gan to grumble · like two greedy sows;
He pissed a pot-full · in a paternoster-while;
And blew with the bugle · at his backbone's end,
That all hearing that horn · held their nose after
And wished it were stopped up · with a wisp of furze.
He could neither step nor stand · before he had his staff;
Then began he to go · like a gleeman's bitch,
Sometimes aside · sometimes astern
As whoso layeth lines · for to snare fowl.
And when he drew to the door · then dimmed his eyes;
He stumbled on threshold · and fell to the earth.
Clement the cobbler · caught him by the middle
For to lift him aloft · and laid him on his knees;
Glutton was a great lout · and lumpish to lift
And coughed up a caudle · in Clement's lap:
No hound is so hungry · in Hertfordshire
Dare lap up those leavings · so unlovely they smelt.

This modern English translation is from William Langland, The Book Concerning Piers the Plowman, tr. Donald and Rachel Attwater, ed. Rachel Attwater (Everyman, 1957)

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