Tuit li fysicïen ne sunt adès bon mire ;
Tuit clerc ne sevent pas bien chanter ne bien lire ;
Asquanz des troveürs faillent tost a bien dire ;
Tel choisist le nualz ki le mielz quide eslire,
5 E tel quide estre mieldre des altres, est li pire.
Si nuls voelt contruver u traitier u escrire,
De bien dire se peint, que nuls n’en puisse rire
U par alcune rien s’uvraine descumfire ;
Mette le sen avant, e li mals seit a dire :
10 Del bien amende l’um e nuls huem n’en empire.
Pur ceo l’ai comencié ke jeo voldrai descrire,
Se Jesu Crist le sueffre, ki de nus tuz est sire,
La vie saint Thomas, celui de Cantorbire,
Ki pur sa mere iglise fu ocis par martyre.
15 Or est halz sainz el ciel, nul nel pot contredire.
De mult divers curages e de diverse vie
Sunt en cest siecle gent, n’est nul hom kil desdie.
Plusurs unt povreté, li alquant manantie ;
Alquant aiment le sen e plusur la folie ;
20 Li alquant aiment Deu, Sathan les plusurs guie.
Seignurs, pur amur Deu e pur salvatiun,
Leissiez la vanité, entendez al sermun.
N’i ad celui de vus ki n’entende raisun.
Leissiez del tut ester le conseil al felun :
25 Malveis est li guaainz ki turne a dampneisun.
E Deu e seinte iglise e les clers honurez ;
Les povres herbergiez e peissiez e vestez,
E voz dismes del tut dreituralment dunez ;
Des pechiez criminals, de trestuz, vus guardez :
30 Veirement le vus di que Damnedeu avrez.
Mult par fu seint’iglise de primes defulee
E del cunseil le rei a grant tort demenee.
Deus en seit mercïez, ki or l’a reguardee !
Par cestui resera trestute relevee
35 Ki en suffri de mort, de sun gré, la colee.
Faire soleit li reis as clers e force e tort.
S’a forfait fussent pris, ja n’i eüst resort
K’il nes feïst jugier as lais a lur acort.
Cist Thomas les maintint ; n’orent altre comfort.
40 Pur els se combati tant k’en suffri la mort.
Se li clerc mesfunt rien, laissiez lei Deu vengier.
Il sunt vostre prelat ; nes avez a jugier.
E tant repoent il oriblement pechchier
Ke les ordres perdrunt ; nes poëz plus charger.
45 S’a mesfait sunt puis pris, purrez les justisier.
Ç’otreia saint Thomas, senz decré e senz lei,
Pur le rei refrener d’irë e de desrei.
Mes nul des sainz nel volt, ne jeo pas ne l’otrei :
Cument eveskes puise a clerc tolir ne vei
50 Le sacrement k’il ad del celestïen rei.
Par la preiere Helie fist Deu pluie chaïr
Sur terre, ki deveit pur suffraite perir :
Car quarante – dous meis n’en pot gute sentir.
Mes tant ne soüst puis li prophetes flecchir
55 K’il poïst cele pluie de la tere partir.
Mult poëz bien veer mal conseil ot li reis.
Il ne deit fere a clerc n’a iglise defeis
Ne tolir rien del lur, mes mettre i pot acreis.
De l’iglise prent il la corone e les leis.
60 Mes Deus l’ament, ki est uns en persones treis !
Bien est aparissant saint Thomas aveit dreit,
Ki pur les clers suppris einsi se combateit.
Pur amur Deu le fist, si cum feire deveit.
Deus li ad bien rendu, ki nullui ne deceit ;
65 Desdire nel pot nuls, car tut li munz le veit.
Tut li mund curt a lui, eveskë e abé
E gentil e vilain e li prince chasé ;
E nuls nes en sumunt, ainz i vont de lur gré.
Mult s’i haste d’aler ki ainc n’i a esté ;
70 Nis li petit enfant i sunt em berz porté.
Li muët i parolent, li surt i unt l’oïe,
E de lepre i guarissent maint, e d’ydropisie
Li contreit i redrecent, li mort i unt la vie,
Li avogle i alument ; seint Thomas tost aïe
75 Celui ki par bon quer le requiert e deprie.
Mes merveille veums, e si est veirs pruvez,
De l’eve u est lavez ses dras ensanglentez :
Dedenz l’ume e defors sane les enfertez ;
Par beivre e par laver mil en i ad sanez,
80 E plusurs morz i ad par ceo resuscitez.
Reis e cuntes e ducs, poi les veum saintir ;
Deus les refuse mult, car nel volent servir.
Coveitise les fait suvent del dreit guenchir ;
Ne funt rien se ceo nun que lur vient a plaisir ;
85 Leis funt a lur talent, n’unt poür de morir.
Les reis n’eslit pas Deus ne ne choisist ne prent,
Ne les ducs ne les haltes persones ensement ;
Mes chescun ki Deu crient e ki vit lealment,
U il seit de halt lin u seit de basse gent,
90 Deus le munte e eshalce, s’a lui servir entent.
Saül, ki des Geius fu reis premierement,
De basse gent fu nez ; Deu l’eslist veirement :
Sur les enemis Deu chevalcha lungement,
Tant que il trespassa le Deu comandement,
95 E tut pur coveitise. Deus em prist vengement.
Deus relist en sun liu David, le fiz Jessé,
Un rus vadlet berchier, d’asez basse gent né.
Le prophete l’enuinst, reis fu tut sun eé,
Mult vassals e senez e de grant poesté.
100 Humlement amenda, quant il ot meserré.
Fols est ki en pechié volt lungement gesir ;
Mes a Deu crit merci, ne s’i lest endormir !
Bien pot l’um par pechié sa vie davancir ;
E meint est si suppris ne pot la buche ovrir
105 N’a pruveire parler, quant il vient al morir.
Les umles aime Deus, les povres ensement,
Car de lur travail vivent, tut dis sunt en turment ;
E aiment seint’iglise e clers e povre gent,
E dreites dismes donent e vivent nettement :
110 Itels eshalcera Deus parmanablement.
E Pieres e Andreus furent frere frarur ;
A batel e a reiz esteient pescheür,
Quant Deus les apela de cel povre labur ;
Puis furent mis en croiz e mort pur sue amur :
115 Apostre sunt el ciel e glorius seignur.
Pur ceo vus començai a traiter cest sermon
Del martyr saint Thomas, cel glorius baron
Ki tuit li munz requiert a la seinte maison
De Seinte Ternité, u suffri passion,
120 Par ceo que il maintint verité e raison.
Ohi, mal eüré ! Pur quei l’avez ocis,
Cel seintisme arceveske ? N’i avez rien conquis.
Il n’aveit rien mesfet ; trop i avez mespris.
Car vus repentez tost ; volez en estre pris ?
125 A amender avez, se vivïez tuz dis.
Pur le pudlent de cors l’anme perdre volez,
Ainz que mot en saciez, qui ert mort e alez.
La glorie d’icest mund n’est pas fiu n’eritez ;
U vus voliez u nun, tute la guerpirez.
130 Vers Deu ne vus guarra chastel ne fermetez.
Li pius Deus e li veir ot saint Thomas mult chier.
Ocis fu en bel liu e en un saint mustier,
Si l’ocistrent baron e vassal chevalier.
La perdirent lur pris. N’i poent repairier ?
135 Bien se poent vers Deu, s’il volent, amaisier.
Nul pechiere ne pot faire pechié si ord,
Si tost cum s’en repent e del tut s’en resort,
Ke Deus ne li pardoinst e ke il nel cumfort.
Kar pur ceo suffri Deus pur pecheürs la mort,
140 Quant se prendront a li, ke il les maint a port. –
Si volez esculter la vie al saint martyr,
Ci la purrez par mei plenierement oïr ;
N’i voil rien trespasser, ne rien n’i voil mentir.
Quatre anz i ai pres mis al feire e al furnir ;
145 D’oster e de remettre poi la peine suffrir.
Primes traitai d’oïe, e suvent i menti.
A Cantorbire alai, la verité oï ;
Des amis saint Thomas la verité cuilli,
E de ces ki l’aveient des enfance servi.
150 D’oster e de remettre le travail ensuffri.
Mes cel premier romanz m’unt escrivein emblé,
Anceis que je l’oüsse parfet e amendé
E l’amer e le dulz adulci e tempré ;
E la u j’oi trop mis, ne l’oi uncore osté,
155 Ne le plus ne le mains n’erés ne ajusté.
Par lius est mençungiers e senz pleneireté ;
E nepurquant i a le plus de verité.
E meint riche umme l’unt cunquis e achaté ;
Mes cil en deivent estre, ki l’emblerent, blasmé.
160 Mes cestui ai del tut amendé e finé.
Tut cil autre romanz ke unt fait del martyr
Clerc u lai, muine u dame, mult les oï mentir,
Ne le veir ne le plain nes i oï furnir.
Mes ci purrez le veir e tut le plain oïr ;
165 N’istrai de verité pur perdre u pur murir. –
1 Not all physicians are good practitioners; not all clerics know how to sing Mass or read well; some writers prove themselves lacking in the art of narrative rhyme, and as such choose the most mediocre trick, believing themselves to be the best, when in fact they are the worst.
2 If any one wants to compose, dissert, or write, strive to do it well, so that his work does not lend itself to any mockery or tyranny by putting the emphasis on wisdom and silencing wrong. Good improves man, and does no harm to anyone.
3 I took up the pen because, if it at all pleases Jesus Christ, our Lord, I intend to retrace the life of St. Thomas of Canterbury, this martyr who was put to death for his mother the Church and who is now, without doubt, a great saint in Heaven.
4 No one would deny that in this world there are people of diverse souls and different lives: many are poor, some are rich; some love wisdom, and much madness; some love God, most are guided by Satan.
5 Lords, for the love of God and for your salvation, leave behind vanities, and be attentive to this sermon. There is none among you who does not listen to reason. Absolutely renounce the advice of the Evil One: evil is the prize that leads to damnation.
9 If clerics commit wrongdoings, leave vengeance to God. They are set above you; you do not have the right to judge them. On the other hand, they may sin so horribly that they will lose their holy orders, but it is not for you to punish them further. But if after that they are commit another offence, you can bring them to [lay] justice.
10 Saint Thomas conceded this in spite of the provisions of the Decretal, to put an end to the king's anger and fury, and arrogance. But the authority of any saint cannot justify this measure; and as for me, I do not approve of it either, for I do not see how a bishop could take from a cleric the sacrament which he holds from the King in heaven:
11 At the prayer [of Elijah] God caused the rain to fall upon the earth, which was about to perish from famine for not having received a drop of rain in forty-two months. But then all the invocations of the prophet to God would not have succeeded in causing this rain to be removed by Him from the earth.
12 You can well see that what the king had conceived was wrong. He ought not to have opposed the clergy or the church, nor to take away from them their possessions, which he ought rather to have increased, for it is from the Church that he receives his right to the crown and make laws in his court. May God who is One in three Persons help him to comprehend this.
13 It is quite evident that St. Thomas was right to fight thus for those clerics who had been seized. He did this for God, as it was his duty, and God, who deceives no one, has restored it to him. No one can deny this, since the whole world sees it [here]:
14 All the people come to him, bishops and abbots, nobles and villains, and great feudatories. Nobody urges them, but they go there of their own free will. Such is the precipitate which was not there before. but now come, and even the smallest children are brought in their cradles.
15 Here dumb people are made to speak, the deaf to hear, the lepers and those with dropsy are healed, the cripples stand up, the dead restored to life, and the blind are made to see. St. Thomas quickly helps those who invoke him and pray to him with good heart.
16 Indeed, we are witnessing an extraordinary and yet well-established phenomenon, produced by the water in which his blood-stained clothing was washed: it cures internal and external diseases: a thousand are cured, have drunk or been washed, And thanks to it, many dead are resurrected.
18 It is not kings that God chooses and takes as His elect, any more than dukes or other great people. It is the man who fears the Lord and lives righteously by his law, whether he be of high lineage or of low extraction. God raises him up high and makes much of him, if he applies himself to serving him.
19 Saul, the first king of the Jews, was born to a very humble family; and God chose him; he never ceased to subdue the enemies of God till he transgressed His commandment, and all this for greed. God took vengeance.
20 And He chose David, son of Jesse, a young red haired shepherd who was of low birth, who received the anointing from the prophet, and was a very wise and very powerful king all his life. He humbly repented after committing a bad act.
21 A fool is he that lieth long in sin; That he rather implore the divine mercy so as not to fall asleep! Man may shorten his life through sin, and he is often so surprised in the hour of his death that he can not open his mouth or speak to the priest.
22 God loves the little ones and the poor because they live by their work and are always ready to serve God. And, besides, they love the holy Church, the clergy and the needy, give just dith? And have an irreproachable conduct; God will glorify them per? sustainably.
23 So Peter and Andrew, were two brothers in their boat, they were fishing with nets, when God called them to leave their humble labours. Later they were crucified and put to death because of their love for Him. They are now in Heaven as apostles and lords full of glory.
24 For this reason I have undertaken to compose for you this sermon on St. Thomas the martyr, on the glorious man whom everybody invokes in the House of the Holy Trinity [in Canterbury], where he suffered his passion because he supported truth and justice.
25 Ah, unhappy man, why did you kill him, this most holy archbishop? You have gained nothing; he has committed no wrongdoing, and you have committed an abominable act. Repent therefore quickly! Would you be surprised by death in this state? You have something to repent, even if you still live.
26 For this stinking body, which will soon be dead and rotten before you know anything about it, will you lose your soul? The glory of this world is not a fief or an inheritance; whether you like it or not, you will leave it, and neither castle nor fortress will protect you when you stand before God.
27 The God of truth and piety had great love for St. Thomas. He was killed in a fine place within a holy minster. As for the barons and banneret knights who killed him, they lost their honour there Can they not recover it? St. Thomas may well come to reconcile them with God.
28 No sinner can commit so abominable a sin that God cannot forgive him and strengthen him if he himself repents and turns away from it. It is for the sinners [pun fishermen] that He suffered death , to lead them back to port if they convert.
29 If you wish to listen to the life of the holy martyr, you will be able to hear it from me in full, for I will omit nothing, and nor do I wish to tell untruths, as I have spent nearly four years writing and perfecting it. I like to take pains [making amendments] removing and adding to it.
30 I worked first on hearsay and made many errors. I went to Canterbury and learned the truth: I gathered it from the friends of St. Thomas and those who had served him from his childhood. I have taken the trouble [making amendments] removing and adding to [my narrative].
32 In places it is inaccurate and incomplete, and yet in it is there often much that is true. And many rich people have sought for and bought it. But it is those who have stolen it who must be blamed. As for this later edition, I have entirely revised and perfected it.
33 All the other narrative works which have written on the martyr, whether they are by clerics or laymen, monks or noble women [or nuns], I have often found they have either lied. or are incomplete. But here you will be able to hear the plain truth in all its entirety: I shall not stray from the truth, even if I am lost or die.