excerpt from Pearl – Anon.

lines 588-600. translated by Marie Borroff.

Then with more discourse I demurred:
“There seems small reason in this narration:
God’s justice carries across the board
Or Holy Writ is prevarication!
In the psalter of David there stands a word
Admits no cavil or disputation:
‘You render to each his just reward,
O ruler of every dispensation!’
Now he who all day kept his station,
If you to payment come in before,
Then the less, the more remuneration,
And ever alike, the less, the more.”

(original text)

Then more I meled & sayde apert,
“Me þynk þy tale vnresounable,
Godde? ry?t is redy and euermore rert,
Oþer holy wryt is bot a fable;
In sauter is sayd a verce ouerte
Þat speke? a poynt determynable,
‘Þou quyte? vchon as hys desserte,
Þou hy?e kyng ay pretermynable.’
Now he þat stod þe long day stable,
& þou to payment com hym byfore,
Þenne þe lasse in werke to take more able,
& euer þe lenger þe lasse, þe more.”

(14th century)

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