Saints of Christmas: Thomas a Becket


LESTENTYTZ lordyngs bothe grete and smale,
I xal zu telyn a wonder tale,
How holy cherche was browt in bale,
Cum magna injuria.

The gretest clerk of al this lond,
Of Cauntyrbery ze under-stond,
Slawyn he was be wykkyd hond,
Demonis potentia.

Knyts keymn fro Hendry kyng,
Wykkyd men with-oute lesyng,
Ther they dedyn a wonder thing,
Feruentes insania.

They sowtyn hym al a-bowtyn,
With-inne the paleys and with-outyn,
Of Ihesu Cryst hadde they non dowte,
In sua malitia.

They openyd here mowthis wonder wyde,
To Thomeys they spokyn mekyl pryde,
Here, tretour, thu xalt a-byde,
Ferens mortis tedia.

Thomas answerid with mylde chere,
If ze will me slon in this manere,
Let hem pasyn alle tho arn here,
Sine contumelia.

Be-forn his aunter he knelyd adoun,
Ther they gunne to paryn his crown,
He sterdyn the braynus up and doun,
Optans celi gaudia.

The turmentours a-bowtyn sterte,
With dedly wondys thei gunne him hurte,
Thomas deyid in moder cherche,
Pergens ad celestia.

Moder, clerk, wedue and wyf,
Worchepe ze Thomeys in all your lyf,
For lij poynts he les his lyf,
Contra regis consilia.