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“All was closed, and I saw no more.” “For the folly of feeling a little bodily pain I unwisely lost for the time the comfort of all this blessed Shewing of our Lord God”
AND after this the good Lord shewed the Sixteenth [Revelation] on the night following, as I shall tell after: which Sixteenth was conclusion and confirmation to all Fifteen.
But first me behoveth to tell you as anent my feebleness, wretchedness and blindness.—I have said in the beginning: And in this [moment] all my pain was suddenly taken from me: of which pain I had no grief nor distress as long as the Fifteen Shewings lasted following. And at the end all was close, and I saw no more. And soon I felt that I should live and languish;273273"langiren." and anon my sickness came again: first in my head with a sound and a din, and suddenly all my body was fulfilled with sickness like as it was afore. And I was as barren and as dry as [if] I never had comfort but little. And as a wretched creature I moaned and cried for feeling of my bodily pains and for failing of comfort, spiritual and bodily.
Then came a Religious person to me and asked me how I fared. I said I had raved to-day. And he laughed loud and heartily.274274"inderly" = inwardly; so de Cressy; (Collins has "drolly "). And I said: The Cross that stood afore my face, methought it bled fast. And with this word the person that I spake to waxed all sober and marvelled. And anon I was sore ashamed and astonished for my recklessness, and I thought: This man taketh in sober earnest275275 "sadly" = solidly, soberly. the least word that I might say. Then said I no more thereof. And when I saw that he took it earnestly and with so great reverence, I wept, full greatly ashamed, and would have been shriven; but at that time I could tell it no priest, for I thought: How should a priest believe me? I believe not our Lord God. This [Shewing] I believed verily for the time that I saw Him, and so was then my will and my meaning ever for to do without end; but as a fool I let it pass from my mind. Ah! lo, wretch that I am! this was a great sin, great unkindness, that I for folly of feeling of a little bodily pain, so unwisely lost for the time the comfort of all this blessed Shewing of our Lord God. Here may you see what I am of myself.
But herein would our Courteous Lord not leave me. And I lay still till night, trusting in His mercy, and then I began to sleep. And in the sleep, at the beginning, methought the Fiend set him on my throat, putting forth a visage full near my face, like a young man’s and it was long and wondrous lean: I saw never none such. The colour was red like the tilestone when it is new-burnt, with black spots therein like black freckles—fouler than the tilestone. His hair was red as rust, clipped in front,276276"evisid aforn with syde lokks hongyng on the thounys" (or thowngs, or thoungs). Bradley's Dictionary of Middle English -- thun(?)wange = temple, evesed p. ple of efesian = to clip the edges (cf. eaves). The Paris MS. however reads: "His hair was rede as rust not scoryd afore, with syde lockes hangyng on the thouwonges." S. de Cressy gives this as: "his hair was red as rust not scoured; afore with side locks hanging down in flakes." with full locks hanging on the temples. He grinned on me with a malicious semblance, shewing white teeth: and so much methought it the more horrible. Body nor hands had he none shapely, but with his paws he held me in the throat, and would have strangled me, but he might not.
This horrible Shewing was made [whilst I was] sleeping, and so was none other. But in all this time I trusted to be saved and kept by the mercy of God. And our Courteous Lord gave me grace to waken; and scarcely had I my life. The persons that were with me looked on me, and wet my temples, and my heart began to comfort. And anon a light smoke came in the door, with a great heat and a foul stench. I said: Benedicite Domine! it is all on fire that is here! And I weened it had been a bodily fire that should have burnt us all to death. I asked them that were with me if they felt any stench. They said, Nay: they felt none. I said: Blessed be God! For then wist I well it was the Fiend that was come to tempest me. And anon I took to that [which] our Lord had shewed me on the same day, with all the Faith of Holy Church (for I beheld it is both one), and fled thereto as to my comfort. And anon all vanished away, and I was brought to great rest and peace, without sickness of body or dread of conscience.
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