If the poor human race Were not so arrogant It would have been given much good From my mother’s heritage, But because the human race will not take heed It lies in such straits And must be held in prison. And yet my dearest mother Will not regard their mischief, She leaves her lovely gifts That many a man might come to the light, Though this may chance but seldom That they be better prized Nor reckoned as mere fable. Therefore in honor of the feast Which we shall hold today, That her grace may be multiplied A good work will she do: The rope will now be lowered Whoever may hang on to it He shall be freed He   had   scarcely   finished   speaking   when   an   ancient   matron   commanded   her   servants   to   let   down   the   cord   seven times into the dungeon, and draw up whosoever could hang upon it. Good   God!   that   I   could   sufficiently   describe   the   hurry   and   disquiet   that   then   arose   amongst   us;   for   everyone   strove to get to the cord, and yet only hindered each other. But after seven minutes a sign was given by a little bell, whereupon at the first pull the servants drew up four. At   that   time   I   could   not   get   very   near   the   cord,   having   (as   is   before   mentioned)   to   my   huge   misfortune,   I   took   myself to   a   stone   at   the   wall   of   the   dungeon;   and   thereby   I   was   made   unable   to   get   to   the   cord,   which   descended   in   the middle. The   cord   was   let   down   the   second   time,   but   many,   because   their   chains   were   too   heavy,   and   their   hands   too   tender, could   not   keep   their   hold   on   the   cord,   but   with   themselves   beat   down   many   another   who   else   perhaps   might   have held   fast   enough;   nay,   many   a   one   was   forcibly   pulled   off   by   another,   who   yet   could   not   himself   get   at   it,   so mutually envious were we even in this our great misery. But   they   of   all   others   most   moved   my   compassion   whose   weight   was   so   heavy   that   they   tore   their   very   hands   from their bodies, and yet could not get up. Thus   it   came   to   pass   that   at   those   five   times   very   few   were   drawn   up.   For   as   soon   as   the   sign   was   given,   the servants   were   so   nimble   at   drawing   the   cord   up,   that   the   most   part   tumbled   one   upon   another,   and   the   cord,   this time   especially,   was   drawn   up   very   empty.   Whereupon   the   greatest   part,   and   even   I   myself,   despaired   of   redemption, and   called   upon   God   that   he   would   have   pity   on   us,   and   (if   possible)   deliver   us   out   of   this   obscurity;   who   then   also heard some of us. For   when   the   cord   came   down   the   sixth   time,   some   of   them   hung   themselves   fast   upon   it;   and   whilst   being   drawn up,   the   cord   swung   from   one   side   to   the   other,   and   (perhaps   by   the   will   of   God)   came   to   me,   and   I   suddenly   caught it, uppermost above all the rest, and so at length beyond hope came out. At   which   I   rejoiced   exceedingly,   so   that   I   did   not   perceive   the   wound   which   during   the   drawing   up   I   had   received   on my   head   from   a   sharp   stone,   until   I,   with   the   rest   who   were   released   (as   was   always   done   before)   had   to   help   with the   seventh   and   last   pull;   at   whichtime   through   straining,   the   blood   ran   down   all   over   my   clothes,   which   I nevertheless because of my joy did not take notice of. Now   when   the   last   drawing   up   on   which   the   most   of   all   hung   was   finished,   the   matron   caused   the   cord   to   be   laid aside,   and   asked   her   aged   son   to   declare   her   resolution   to   the   rest   of   the   prisoners,   who   after   he   had   thought   a   little spoke thus unto them. Ye children dear Ye who are here, It is completed What long hath been known, The great favor which my mother Hath here shown you twain Ye should not disdain: A joyful time shall soon be come When each shall be the other’s equal, No one be poor or rich, And who was given great commands Must bring much with him now, And who was much entrusted with Stripped to the skin will be, Wherefore leave off your lamentation Which is but for a few days. As   soon   as   he   had   finished   these   words,   the   cover   was   again   put   to   and   locked   down,   and   the   trumpets   and   kettle- drums   began   afresh,   yet   the   noise   of   them   could   not   be   so   loud   but   that   the   bitter   lamentation   of   the   prisoners which   arose   in   the   dungeon   was   heard   above   all,   which   soon   also   caused   my   eyes   to   run   over.      Presently   afterwards the   ancient   matron,   together   with   her   son,   sat   down   on   seats   before   prepared,   and   commanded   the   redeemed   should be   told.   Now   as   soon   as   she   had   demanded   everyone’s   name,   which   were   also   written   down   by   a   little   page;   having viewed   us   all,   one   after   another,   she   sighed,   and   spoke   to   her   son,   so   that   I   could   well   hear   her,   “Ah,   how   heartily   I am grieved for the poor men in the dungeon! I would to God I could release them all.” To which her son replied, “It is, mother, thus ordained by God, against whom we may not contend. If   we   were   all   of   us   lords,   and   possessed   all   the   goods   upon   Earth,   and   were   seated   at   table,   who   would   there   then be to bring up the service?” Whereupon   his   mother   held   her   peace,   but   soon   after   she   said,   “Well,   however,   let   these   be   freed   from   their fetters,”   which   was   likewise   presently   done,   and   I   was   the   last   except   a   few;   yet   I   could   not   refrain   (though   I   still looked   upon   the   rest)   but   bowed   myself   before   the   ancient   matron,   and   thanked   God   that   through   her,   he   had graciously   and   fatherly   vouchsafed   to   bring   me   out   of   such   darkness   into   the   light...After   me   the   rest   did   likewise,   to the satisfaction of the matron. To   each   of   us   a   golden   travelpenny   was   given   with   on   one   side   the   rising   sun   and   on   the   other   side   the   letters   D.L.S and   each   of   us   was   given   permission   to   go   his   way   with   the   instruction   that   we   should   serve   our   neighbours   in   the honour   to   God   end   remain   silent   about   all   we   had   witnessed,   which   we   all   promised   and   so   each   of   us   went   his way.   But   because   of   the   wounds   which   the   fetters   had   caused   me,   I   could   not   well   go   forward,   but   halted   on   both feet, which the matron presently espying, laughing at it, and calling me again to her said thus to me: “My   son,   do   not   let   this   defect   afflict   you,   but   call   to   mind   your   infirmities,   and   therewith   thank   God   who   has permitted   you   even   in   this   world,   and   in   your   state   of   imperfection,   to   come   into   so   high   a   light;   and   keep   these wounds for my sake.” Whereupon   the   trumpets   began   to   sound   again,   which   gave   me   such   a   shock   that   I   woke   up,   and   then   first   perceived that   it   was   only   a   dream,   but   it   so   strongly   impressed   my   imagination   that   I   was   still   perpetually   troubled   about   it, and   I   thought   I   still   felt   the   wounds   on   my   feet.   Howbeit,   by   all   these   things   I   understood   well   that   God   had vouchsafed   that   I   should   be   present   at   this   mysterious   and   bidden   wedding.   Wherefore   with   childlike   confidence   I returned   thanks   to   his   Divine   Majesty,   and   besought   him   that   he   would   further   preserve   me   in   fear   of   him,   that   he would   daily   fill   my   heart   with   wisdom   and   understanding,   and   at   length   graciously   (without   deserting   me)   conduct me to the desired end.  
The Letter II (Continuation)