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This carpenter to blessen him bigan,
And seyde, ‘help us, seinte Frideswyde!
A man woot litel what him shal bityde.
This man is falle, with his astromye,
In som woodnesse or in som agonye;
I thoghte ay wel how that it sholde be!
Men sholde nat knowe of Goddes privetee.
Ye, blessed be alwey a lewed man,
270That noght but oonly his bileve can!
So ferde another clerk with astromye;
He walked in the feeldes for to prye
Upon the sterres, what ther sholde bifalle,
Til he was in a marle-pit y-falle;
He saugh nat that. But yet, by seint Thomas,
Me reweth sore of hende Nicholas.
He shal be rated of his studying,
If that I may, by Iesus, hevene king!
The carpenter began praying and said, “Help us, St. Frideswide! Look what’s happened all of a sudden! Nicholas has gone insane from all that astrology he does. I knew this would happen, I just knew it! People shouldn’t mess around with divine power. Yes siree, blessed be the ignorant who stick to what they already know. Nicholas isn’t the first astrologer to suffer the consequences. Why, once I heard about another astrologer who fell into a ditch while walking through the fields with his eyes fixed on the sky. All that knowledge, but he sure didn’t see that coming! All the same, God knows I pity Nicholas. By God, I’ll give him a good scolding for wasting all his time studying.
Get me a staf, that I may underspore,
280Whyl that thou, Robin, hevest up the dore.
He shal out of his studying, as I gesse’—
And to the chambre-dore he gan him dresse.
His knave was a strong carl for the nones,
And by the haspe he haf it up atones;
In-to the floor the dore fil anon.
This Nicholas sat ay as stille as stoon,
And ever gaped upward in-to the eir.
This carpenter wende he were in despeir,
And hente him by the sholdres mightily,
290And shook him harde, and cryde spitously,
‘What! Nicholay! what, how! what! loke adoun!
Awake, and thenk on Cristes passioun;
I crouche thee from elves and fro wightes!’
Ther-with the night-spel seyde he anon-rightes
On foure halves of the hous aboute,
And on the threshfold of the dore with-oute:—
“Go grab me a crowbar, Robin, and I’ll pry the door while you shove it open. That’ll wake him up, I bet.” And with that he worked on prying the door while Robin, who was a pretty strong guy, worked the knob with all his might until the door finally broke down. Nicholas kept sitting there through it all with his mouth agape as if he were oblivious. The carpenter thought Nicholas had gone insane, so he grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him hard, saying, “Hey! Nicholas! Look at me! Wake up and think of Christ’s Passion.” He then strode around the room muttering prayers to ward off elves and other spirits. He said things like: