"And to the abbot of that place Foure hondred pounde I must pay; And but I be there upon this nyght 15 My londe is lost for ay."
The abbot sayd to his covent, There he stode on grounde, "This day twelfe moneth came there a knyght And borowed foure hondred pounde. 20
"[He borowed foure hondred pounde,]
Upon all his londe fre, But he come this ylke day Dysheryte shall he be."
"It is full erely," sayd the pryoure,[L25] 25 "The day is not yet ferre gone; I had lever to pay an hondred pounde, And lay it downe anone.
"The knight is ferre beyonde the see, In Englonde is his ryght, 30 And suffreth honger and colde, And many a sory nyght.
"It were grete pyte," said the pryoure, "So to have his londe; And ye be so lyght of your conseyence, 35 Ye do to him moch wronge."
"Thou art euer in my berde," sayd the abbot, "By god and saynt Rycharde;"
With that cam in a fat-heded monke, The heygh selerer. 40
"He is dede or hanged," sayd the monke, "By god that bought me dere, And we shall have to spende in this place Foure hondred pounde by yere."
The abbot and the hy selerer, 45 Sterte forthe full bolde, The high justyce of Englonde The abbot there dyde holde.
The hye justyce and many mo Had take into their honde 50 Holy all the knyghtes det, To put that knyght to wronge.
They demed the knyght wonder sore, The abbot and hys meyne: "But he come this ylke day 55 Dysheryte shall he be."
"He wyll not come yet," sayd the justyce, "I dare well undertake;"
But in sorowe tyme for them all The knyght came to the gate. 60
Than bespake that gentyll knyght Untyll hys meyne, "Now put on your symple wedes That ye brought fro the see."
[They put on their symple wedes,] 65 And came to the gates anone; The porter was redy hymselfe, And welcomed them everychone.
"Welcome, syr knyght," sayd the porter, "My lorde to mete is he, 70 And so is many a gentyll man, For the love of the."
The porter swore a full grete othe, "By god that made me, Here be the best coresed hors, 75 That ever yet sawe I me.
"Lede them into the stable," he sayd, "That eased might they be:"
"They shall not come therin," sayd the knyght, "By god that dyed on a tre." 80
Lordes were to mete isette In that abbotes hall; The knyght went forth and kneled downe, And salued them grete and small.
"Do gladly, syr abbot," sayd the knyght, 85 "I am come to holde my day:"
The fyrst word the abbot spake, "Hast thou brought my pay?"
"Not one peny," sayd the knyght, "By god that maked me;" 90 "Thou art a shrewed dettour," sayd the abbot; "Syr justyce, drynke to me.
"What doost thou here," sayd the abbot, "But thou haddest brought thy pay?"
"For god," than sayd the knyght, 95 "To pray of a lenger daye."
"Thy daye is broke," sayd the justyce, "Londe getest thou none:"
"Now, good syr justyce, be my frende, And fende me of my fone." 100
"I am holde with the abbot," sayd the justyce,[L101]
"Bothe with cloth and fee:"
"Now, good syr sheryf, be my frende:"
"Nay for god," sayd he.
"Now, good syr abbot, be my frende, 105 For thy curteyse, And holde my londes in thy honde Tyll I have made the gree;
"And I wyll be thy true servaunte, And trewely serve the, 110 Tyl ye have foure hondred pounde Of money good and free."
The abbot sware a full grete othe, "By god that dyed on a tree, Get the londe where thou may, 115 For thou getest none of me."
"By dere worthy god," then sayd the knyght, "That all this worlde wrought, But I have my londe agayne Full dere it shall be bought. 120
"God, that was of a mayden borne, Lene us well to spede![L122]
For it is good to assay a frende Or that a man have nede."
The abbot lothely on him gan loke, 125 And vylaynesly hym gan call;[L126]
"Out," he sayd, "thou false knyght, Spede the out of my hall!"
"Thou lyest," then sayd the gentyll knyght, "Abbot in thy hal; 130 False knyght was I never, By god that made us all."
Up then stode that gentyll knyght, To the abbot sayd he, "To suffre a knyght to knele so longe 135 Thou canst no curteysye.
"In joustes and in tournement Full ferre than have I be, And put myselfe as ferre in prees As ony that ever I se." 140
"What wyll ye gyve more," said the justyce, "And the knyght shall make a releyse?
And elles dare I safly swere Ye holde never your londe in pees."
"An hondred pounde," sayd the abbot; 145 The justyce said, "Gyve him two;"
"Nay, be god," said the knyght, "Yet gete ye it not soo.[L148]
"Though ye wolde gyve a thousande more, Yet were ye never the nere;[L150] 150 Shall there never be myn eyre, Abbot, justyse, ne frere."
He sterte hym to a borde anone, Tyll a table rounde, And there he shoke out of a bagge 155 Even foure hondred pounde.
"Have here thy golde, syr abbot," sayd the knyght, "Which that thou lentest me; Haddest thou ben curteys at my comynge, Rewarde sholdest thou have be." 160
The abbot sat styll, and ete no more, For all his ryall chere; He caste his hede on his sholder, And fast began to stare.
"Take me my golde agayne," sayd the abbot, 165 "Syr justyce, that I toke the;"
"Not a peny," sayd the justyce, "By god, that dyed on a tree."
"Syr abbot, and ye men of lawe, Now have I holde my daye, 170 Now shall I have my londe agayne, For ought that you can saye."
The knyght stert out of the dore, Awaye was all his care, And on he put his good clothynge, 175 The other he lefte there.
He wente hym forthe full mery syngynge, As men have tolde in tale, His lady met hym at the gate, At home in Uterysdale.[L180] 180
"Welcome, my lorde," sayd his lady; "Syr, lost is all your good?"