And we are told "Robin loved our dere lady; For doute of dedely synne Wolde he never do company harme That ony woman was ynne."
When he wrote Handlyng Synne he had been (11.63-76) fifteen years in the priory, beginning to write in "englysch rime in 1303."
Handlyng Synne, a poem of nearly 13,000 lines, is a free translation, with many additions and amplifications, from William of Waddington's Manuel des Pechiez.
The Cursor Mundi had turned religious history into something not very different from a romance of chivalry, and in the stories of Handlyng Synne the influence of the fabliaux is not far to seek.
Mannyng wrote in the English tongue not for learned but for "lewd" men, "that talys and ryme wyl blethly here," to occupy the leisure hours during which they might otherwise fall into "vylanye, dedly synne or other folye."
A third work, usually ascribed to Mannyng, chiefly on the ground of its existing side by side with the Handlyng Synne in the Harleian and Bodleian MSS., is the Medytacyuns of the Soper of oure lorde Jhesu, And also of hys passyun And eke of the peynes of hys swete modyr, Hayden marye, a free translation of St Bonaventura's De coena et passione Domini....
Of Handlyng Synne there are complete MSS.
5, 47-53]; see Furnivall, Robert of Brunne'sHandlying Synne (Roxb.