24. The Capmakers' Play: The Woman Taken in Adultery/The Raising of Lazarus

1 JEW:
Leap forth!  Let us no longer stand,
But quickly see our gear arrayed.
This woman that we with folly found,
Let's hasten, fast, to see her flayed.

2 JEW:
We will bear witness, and expound
How we found her all unarrayed,
Against the laws of this our land,
Where she was with her lover laid.

1 JEW:
Yes, and he a married man-
That was a wicked sin.

2 JEW:
She shall curse that bargain
With sorrow; let's begin.

1 JEW:
Ah!  False stud-mare, and stinking sty,
How dare you steal so still away
To do such vile adultery,
That so against the law does lay?

2 JEW:
Her whoredom she shall dearly buy,
For as we saw, so shall we say.
And also, her working is worthy-
She shall be doomed to death this day.

1 JEW:
The masters of the law
Are even here, at hand.

2 JEW:
Let's tell them what we saw-
Her faults, as we them found.

1 JEW:
God save you, masters of might and main,
Who scholarship do understand.

3 JEW:
Welcome friends, but will you deign
To say what you do with that woman?

2 JEW:
Ah, sirs, we shall you tell, certain,
Of awful sorrow since she began.
We have her taken with vileness plain;
Herself can not deny it then.

4 JEW:
What has she done?  Folly
In fornication and sin?

1 JEW:
No, no-in adultery
Full bold, and stays therein.

3 JEW:
Adultery!  Name it not, for shame!
It is so foul, curse it do I.
Is it true, what they say of you, dame?

2 JEW:
What?  Sir, this she cannot deny.
We would be worthy of much blame
To grieve her, unless she were guilty.

4 JEW:
Now, surely, this is a foul defame,
And great grief must she get, thereby.

3 JEW:
Yeah!  Sir, you spoke rightly there,
By law; wise words you've said.
There is no remedy therefore
But to stone her 'till she's dead.

1 JEW:
Sir, since you tell the law this tide,
And know the ways of this country,
Judge her in public; do not hide,
And after your words, work shall we.

4 JEW:
Be not so fast, good sirs; abide,
For something else occurs to me.
For I suggest, by God almight,
That we should take this wretched blight
Who was taken thus, tonight,
In foul adultery,
To this new prophet, in his sight;
Thus will we tempt him with her plight,
And see if he will judge her right,
Or else unlawfully.

3 JEW:
That is well said, good sir, as I say.
So may we catch him in this way.
For, if he's merciful today,
He acts against the law,
And if he says to punish her sore,
He acts against the very lore
That he has been preaching heretofore:
That towards mercy we should draw.

[Then between them they lead the woman before Jesus, and [one] says]

4 JEW:
Master, this woman that is here
Lives near a man, who was wedded this year;
And with that married man, we fear,
They saw her do amiss.
The Law of Moses bids us stone
All those who are thus unclean.
Therefore, to come to you we mean;
Now, judgement give on this.

[Jesus, while writing in the earth, says]

Now, of you four, whichever one
Is without sin, let him go on
And cast at her the first stone
At once; let him begin.

4 JEW:
Come on, now, master, something say;
Shall she be stoned now?  Yea or nay?
Or is there mercy, as you say,
To forgive her sin?

3 JEW:
Master?  Why sit you so still?
What write you, if it be your will?
Do you write that we should kill
This woman found in blame?
What write you, master?  Now let me see-
Ah!  Alas, and woe is me!
Here no longer dare I be,

For dread of worldly shame!

2 JEW:
What's wrong, good fellow, I you pray?
I will see soon and assay.
Alas, I wish I were far away,
Far beyond France!
The Sybils may stand him beside;
No longer here dare I abide
Against this woman for to chide;
I'll flee when there's a chance.


3 JEW:
Ah!  He writes my misdeeds, all my sin!
I advise you here, leave him alone.

4 JEW:
Oh!  Here will new tricks begin;
Give my regards, for I am gone.

1 JEW:
Well, since they are not bold,
No longer stay will I.

2 JEW:
Sh!  Let no tales be told.
Let's go forth quietly.

Woman, where are those strong men
Who accused you here so eagerly?
What person has condemned you then?

Lord, no man has condemned me.

For my part, your life shall not end.
Of all your sins I make you free;
Do not assent to sin again.

Ah, Lord, loved always must you be!
All earthly people here
Love him and his high name,
Who, me in this manner
Has saved from sin and shame.

Ah, Lord, we love you utterly,
And all your lore, both loud and still,
To grant your grace to those guilty,
And spare them that your folk would kill.

I shall tell you the reasons why.
I knew it was my Father's will,
And, I wished to make them aware thereby,
To know that they've done greater ill.
And evermore of this same
Example shall be seen:
Whoever shall others blame,
Let himself first be clean.

Ah, master, here may we see also
How humilty may much amend:
To forgive gladly, wherever we go,
All people that ourselves offend.

He who will not forgive his foe,
And be humble in heart and hand,
To the Kingdom he cannot go
That ordained is, without an end.
And more soon shall we see
Here, before we farther fare,
How that my Father free
Will show His might still more.

Jesus, true prophet, I say,
My ladies, Martha and Mary,
If you think fit, they would you pray
To come forth unto Bethany.
He whom you have loved always
Is sick, Lord, and like, Lord, for to die.
If you would come, cure him you may,
And comfort all that company.

I tell you that sickness
Is not to death alone,
But joy of God's goodness
In that place shall be shown,

And God's Son shall be glorified
By sickness and by signs clear.
Therefore, brothers, no longer abide;
Two days fully have we been here.
We will go sojourn here beside,
In Judea, with the people there.

Ah, Lord, you know that, on that side,
The Jews await you far and near
To stone you until dead,
Or put to peerless pain.
And you to that same stead
Wish now to go again?

You have enough skill to forecast
That day is now twelve hours long,
And while the light of day may last
It is good that we move along.
For when the day is gone and past,
Soon then you may go all wrong.
Therefore, take heed and toil fast,
While the light of life is you among.
And to you I say more:
How Lazarus, our friend,
Sleeps now, and I therefore
With you to him will wend.

We will do as you have said,
But if he sleeps, he shall be saved.

I tell you, Lazarus is dead,
And, for you all, great joy I have.
You knew that I was not in that stead
At the time that he was put in the grave.
His sisters both pray, with bowed head,
And for comfort they call and crave;
Therefore, let's go together
To make their joys the more.

Since he must needs go thither,
Let's go die with him there.

I curse all but God's will alone,
That I should live to see this sight!
For I may mourn and make my moan;
The world saw never such a plight.
The one I loved most is from me gone:
My dear brother Lazarus tonight
Is dead, and I think I'll be slain,
For now my mind fails, and my might.
My joy is gone forever;
No medicine mend me may.
Ah, death, do your endeavor,
And have me hence away.

Alas, for sorrow, now I rave,
And feebly go by wood and field.
Would God I buried were in grave,
That death had all my sorrow sealed!
For healing in heart may I never have,
Unless He helps, who all may wield;
Of Christ I will some comfort crave,
For he may be my help and shield.
To seek, I shall not cease
Until I my sovereign see.
Hail, peerless prince of peace,
Jesus, my master so free.

Martha, what mean you to make such cheer?
Lazarus, my brother, now is dead;
He would not have died had you been here.
[Have mercy, Lord, upon my head.]

Martha, your joy you shall regain;
Your brother shall rise and live again.

Lord, I know that he shall rise
And come before the great assize,
For at the dreadful Day of Doom
You must attend him when he comes
To decide what doom you will him give:
Then must he rise; then must he live.

I tell you all, man, maiden, wife:
I am the rising; I am the life,
And whoever believes in me,
That I always was, and ever shall be,
One thing I shall him give:
Though he be dead, yet shall he live.
Say now, woman, believe you this?

Yes, indeed, my lord of bliss,
Or I'd be worth reproof from you,
For all you say is ever true.

Go tell your sister, Magdalene,
That I am coming; be certain.

Sister, leave this sorrowful band;
Our lord comes.  He is here at hand,
And his apostles with him also.

Ah, for God's love, let me go!
Blessed be he that sent me grace
That I may see you in this place!
Lord, great sorrow may all see
Of my sister here, and me.
We are heavy as any lead
For our brother who thus is dead.
Had you been here, and had him seen,
Dead he never would have been.

Hither to you come we are
To make you comfort of your care.
But look that no feebleness or sloth
Bring you out of steadfast faith;
Then I shall do as I have said.
Where have you his body laid?

Lord, if it be your will,
I think he must smell ill;
For it is now the fourth day gone
Since he was laid beneath this stone.

I told you, just now, where you stood,
Your faith always should be good.
If that you can fulfil,
All shall be done as you will.

[And Jesus wept.]

See, he does weep and moan;
His love he does not hide.]

Then let us take this stone,
And set it to the side.

Father, who is in Heaven on height,
I thank you ever over all things,
Who willingly hears me, day and night,
And takes heed unto my asking:
Therefore, vouchsafe of your great might,
So that these people, old and young,
Who stand and wait to see that sight,
May have both faith and understanding,
This time, before I pass,
How that you have me sent.
Lazare, veni foras!
Come from your monument!

Ah, peerless prince, full of pity,
Worshipped be in every way
Who thus has shown such might in me,
Both dead and buried; this is the fourth day.
By certain signs here, men may see
How you are God's true son, and they
Who truly put their trust in thee
Shall never die; this dare I say.
Therefore, you people here,
Honour him with all your might.
To all his laws adhere;
Then he will lead you to his light.

Here may we find a faithful friend
Who has recovered us from our care.

Jesus, my lord so reverend,
Of this we thank you evermore.

Sisters, I may no longer stand;
To other folk now I must fare,
To Jerusalem my way does bend,
For things that must be fulfilled there.
Therefore, I tell you right,
My men, to come with me.
You that have seen this sight,
My blessing with you be.

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