14. The Tile Thatchers' Play: The Nativity

Almighty God in Trinity,
I pray, oh Lord, for your great might:
Unto your simple servant see
Here, in this place where we are set
Alone, alas.
Lord, grant us good harbour this night
Within this place.

For we have sought both up and down,
Through diverse streets in this city.
So many people have come to town	
That we can nowhere harboured be,
There is such press.
Indeed, I can no succour see
But to board us with these beasts

And if we here all night abide,	
Exposed we shall be, in this shed.
The walls are down on every side;
The roof is rent above our heads.
As I hope for peace too,
Say Mary, daughter, what's your advice?	
What shall we do?

For in great need we now are led,
As you yourself the truth may see.
For here are neither cloth nor bed,
And we are weak, and all weary,	
And need to rest.
Now gracious God, for your mercy,
Advise us best.

God will advise full well, you'll see;
Therefore, Joseph, be of good cheer.	
For born in this place He will be
Who shall save us from sorrows severe,
Both even and morn.
Sir, you know well, the time is near
He will be born.	

Then we shall need to stay here still
Here in this same place all this night.

Yea sir, in truth,, it is God's will.

Then I wish we had some light,
Whatever befall.
It grows full dark within my sight
And cold withal.

I will go get us light to see
And try some fuel with me to bring.

May Almighty God you govern and lead
As he is sovereign of every thing
By his might and main;
And lend me grace by his loving
Myself to ordain.

Now in my soul great joy have I;	
I am all clad in comfort clear.
Now will be born of my body
Both God and man together here.
Blessed must he be.
Jesus my son that is so dear,
Now born is he.

Hail, my lord God, hail prince of peace;
Hail, my father, and hail, my son;
Hail, sovereign Lord, all sins to cease;
Hail, God and man on earth to run;
Hail, through whose might
All this world was first begun:
Darkness and light.

Son, as I am a simple subject of thine
Permit, sweet son, I pray to you
That I might take thee in these arms of mine,
In this poor weed to cover you.
Grant me your bliss,
As I am your mother chosen to be
In faithfulness.

Ah, Lord God, but the weather is cold!
The frostiest freeze that ever I felt.
I pray, God help those that are old;
Especially those that are unwell
So may I say.
Now good God, be now my help,
As best you may.

Ah, Lord God, what light is this,
That comes shining thus suddenly?
I cannot say, as I have bliss.
When I come home unto Marie
Then shall I ask her.
Ah, now come I, God praised be.

You are welcome sir.

Say Mary, daughter, what cheer with thee?

Right good, Joseph, as was always.

O Mary, what sweet thing is that on your knee?

It is my son, the truth to say,
That is so good.

I'm glad I lived to see this day,
To see this food.

I marvel much at this, His light
That shines so brightly in this place.
In truth, it is a wondrous sight.

This has he ordained of grace,
My son so young:
A star to be shining out a space
At his birthing.

For Balaam told full long before,
How a star should rise full high
And of a maiden should be born;
A son that shall our saving be
From cares keen.
It is my gracious son indeed,
Whom Balaam had foreseen.

Now welcome, flower fairest of hue.
I honour you with main and might.
Hail, my maker; hail, Christ Jesu;
Hail, royal king, root of all right;
Hail, saviour;
Hail, my lord, gleamer of light;
Hail, blessed flower.

Now, lord that all this world shall win
To you, my son, this do I say:
Here is no bed to lay you in.
Therefore my dear son, I do pray,
Since it is so,
That here in this crib I might you lay
Between these beasts two.

And I shall wrap you, my own dear child,
With such poor clothes as we have here.

O Mary, behold these beasts so mild:
They offer praise in their manner,
Like they were men.
In truth, it seems well by their cheer,	
Their lord they ken.

Their lord they know, I witness well.
They worship him with might and main.
The weather is cold, as you can tell
They want to warm him where he's lain
With their warm breath;
And breathe on him as it is plain
To warm him with.

O, now sleeps my son; blessed must he be
And lies full warm, these beasts between.

O now is fulfilled, indeed I see
What Habbacuk in mind did mean,
And preached by prophecy:
He said our Saviour should be seen
Between the beasts to lie,

And now I see the same in sight.

Yea sir, indeed this same is he.

Honour and worship both day and night,
Everlasting lord, be done to thee,
Always as worthy;	
And Lord, to your service I promise me
With all my heart wholly.

You merciful maker most mighty,
My God, my Lord, my son so free,
Your hand-maiden in truth am I;
And to your service I promise me
With all my heart entire.
Your blessing now I beseech,
Now grant all those who are here.

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