28. The Cordwainers' Play: The Agony in the Garden and the Betrayal

Behold, my disciples, that grave are and dear,
My flesh shivers and shrinks for the doubt of my deed.
My enemies soon will be drawing full near me,
With all their might, if they may, to mar me indeed.
But since through your wandering and watching you're weary,
I counsel you sit now, and rest in your need.
Don't be heavy in heart, but hold you right here,
And stay awhile still in this stead now with me.
Be witty and wise in your fears,
So that you awaking may stay.
And look that now promptly you pray,
To my father, that you fall not into error.

Yes Lord, at your bidding we'll willingly bide,
You are cure of our ills and you bid for the best.

Lord, all our help and our health, naught to hide:
In you - our faith and our food - is all holiness.

What way does he will, in this world wide?
Where will he walk, eastward or west? 

Yea sirs, I shall say you, sit down on each side,
And let us right now and right here take our rest.
My limbs are heavy as any lead.

And I must sleep, down must I lie.

In faith fellows, right so must I;
I can no longer hold up my head.

Our Lord, of his truth, his life he shall lose,
Shall unkindly be crucified, nailed to a tree...

Obeying my counsels, your eyes please unclose:
Avoid the temptation for naught that may be, 
But pray fast.

Lord, teach us a prayer to attend thus,
That somewhat might mirth us or mend us.

From unfaithful temptation defend us,
In the life of this world while we last.

I'll teach you and comfort you, keep you from care.
You shall be brought, mark my words, from bale to bliss.

Yes, but Lord, we would know more of this prayer,
Of this prayer so precious, let us not miss.
We humbly beseech thee.

For my fellows and me gathered here,
Some prayer that is precious to hear.

To you father in heaven, in power no peer,
Some solace of succor to send thee.
Pray thus:
Pater noster qui est in coelis,
Father ours, who are in heaven,
Santificetur nomen tuum. 
Hallowed be your name.
Adveniat regnum tuum, 
Let your kingdom come,
Fiat voluntas tua, 
Let your will be done,
Et in terra sicut in coelo. 
On the earth just as in heaven.
Panem nostrum quotidianum, 
Our daily bread,
Da nobis hodie; 
Give us today;
Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, 
And forgive us our debts,
Sicut et dimittemus debitoribus nostris. 
As we forgive our debtors.
Et nos inducas in tentationem, 
Lead us not in temptation
Sed libera nos a malo. 
But deliver us from evil.

You know it draws near me, I'll not name that hill;
You know full and well all the ways I have went.
Restore me and strengthen me with a voice still,
I pray you wholeheartedly, give your attent.
Imbue me in manhood with strength of your will.
My flesh is full drenched now with dread.
For this task of my manhood,
I sweat now water and blood.

These Jews have intent in their minds full of malice,
Pretending to take me without any trespass;
But Father, you know, I meant never amiss:
In my word, nor in work, never unworthy was.
As you are pain's help, and protector of bliss,
And help and salvation you have in your hands,
Attend to your manhood, you mender of miss,
And if it may be, let this pain overpass.
And Father, if you see it may not,
Be it worthily wrought,
Just as you will.
Ever meekly and still,
With worship always be so.

Unto my disciples I'll go now again,
Kindly to comfort them, caught in their cares.
What?  Are you fallen asleep now, each one?
And my passion you keep in your minds no more?
What?  Will you leave me thus lightly and let me alone?
In sorrow and sighing that sinks in full sore?
To whom may I move me and make now my moan?
I wish you'd awaken, if you will yet some more.
Come Peter, sit up now, let's see - 
You're strongly settled in this struggle;
Might you not, for the space of an hour,
Stay awake now mildly with me?

Yes Lord.  With your leave, we'll learn right here,
With awareness to guard you from doubting.

Wake up and pray fast, each one who is near,
To my Father, to keep you from sleeping.
For the evil one's drawing near here,
So you'll tarry this time in his tempting,
And unguarded, I'll fall into fear;
But bide by your will in my blessing.
Again to the mountain I'll go;
Yet once more to where I was ere,
But look you don't fall into care;
Not much longer shall here be my dwelling.

Oh Father, who formed everything and its food:
I feel in my terror my flesh would full fain
Be turned from this tournament and taken to you.
For God's manhood's bewildered in body and mood.
But if you say truly that your son will,
Without surfeit of sin, innocently be slain,
Let it worthily be done, just as you will;
For Father, your bidding I'm willingly obeying.
Now I'll go briskly again,
To my disciples so dear.
What, sleeps now everyone here?
I'm afraid that you'll fail your friend.

But yet, I will leave you and let you alone,
And return where I was once again.
To my Father of might, now I make all my moan;
As the salver of sores, now some succor me send:
The passion they purpose to put me upon;
My flesh is in dread and it wants to defend.
On this earth, at your will, Father let it be done.
Remember I'm human, help me my mood mend;
Show me some comfort in this case.
Father, death I shall taste, and I will not defend;
Yet, if your will be, spare me a space.

Take heed Father, soon they'll do all their delight;
With raps full rude on the rood I'll be rent.

To the Maker unmade, that most is in might,
Be love everlasting in light that is lent.
Thy father in heaven the highest in height,
To sober thy sorrows has me to thee sent.
For deeds that man's done shall be your sacrifice;
Assaulted with torments you'll be - but attend -
Your pain will be for the best.
Through that, man's miss shall be mended.
Then shall thou, without end,
Reign in thy realm full of rest.

Now, though my flesh is afraid, I am fain
That my anguish and troubles were near at an end.
To my disciples I'll go once again,
Kindly to comfort distress in their minds.
Do you sleep again safely?  Now to you I say:
Wake up quickly, and let us go hence;
Forthwith I'll be taken, with treason betrayed.
My flesh is afraid and it wants to defend.
Full cruelly my deeds they'll indict;
As soon as I'm taken,
By each I'll be forsaken,
You'll say you never saw me in sight.

No, truly, I shall never my sovereign forsake!
If I should, wretchedly, let me here die!

No, they'll never us into fools like that make!
We'd rather die first all at once -

					In faith fellows, so should I!

Yes, but when the time comes, the men shall me take.
Despite your heartfelt promise, you'll hide yourselves high.
Like freshly sheared sheep, far away you will shake:
None of you will be bold enough then to stand by.

No, truly, while I may give aid,
I shall warn and wake,
And if all these forsake,
I shall never faintly fade.

Ah Peter, of such boasting, I suggest you let be
For all your keen carping, full keenly I know,
That for fear of my enemies you will deny me:
Three times, and sincerely, before the cock crow.
For fear of my foes, you'll want only to flee,
And for doubt of your deeds, to withdraw.

Sir Caiaphas of your counsel, do soon let us see.
In loyalty we're obliged to look to our law;
And therefore, sir, hastily I pray you,
Since in council agreed we, each one,
That Jesus, that traitor, be taken -
Do tell us soon sir, I pray you.

Certainly, soon I shall say you:

I discern by my wit that this work will go well.
Let us justly adjourn to Judas the gent.
For he knows his master's movements full well,
And best, I will warrant, knows which way he is went.

As wisely said, I certify, as ever I can tell.
Now sir, to your saying, I soberly consent.
Let's take all our knights, as steadfast as steel,
And forthwith let Judas lead them to where Jesus went.

Full well sir.  Now Judas, dear neighbor, come reach us.
Look Judas, in mind we have meant
To take Jesus - it's all our intent.
Now you must lead us and teach us.

Sirs, I shall show you the way at your will,
But look that you have many mighty men,
Both strong and keen, to hold him stock still.

Yeah, Judas, but by what sign shall we know him then?

Sirs, a signal that time I shall give of my will.
But look, by your truth, you no lenience extend.
The man I shall kiss, that corpse you shall kill.
Beware that he does not escape - I shall show you all then.

Nay Judas.  We intend that this page will not pass.
Sir knights in high -

			Lord, we are here.

Call out your fellows, come here.
And go justly with gentle Judas.

Come fellows, by your faith, come forth fast,
And hear from Sir Caiphas, he commands me to call.

I curse him for life, whoever is last.

Go we hence then on high in haste to the hall.

Lord, your worthy will I would know - what was't?

To take Jesus, that saintling, together you shall.

Lord, to that purpose I'd rather we passed.

Yeah, but look you be ready and well-armed all.
The most gentle of Jewry shall guide you.

Cause each knight in degree,
Armed and harnessed to be,
To protect you and willingly bide you.

Yeah.  And therefore Sir Caiphas, hie you.
Your worship you'll win in this case,
Because you're the lord the most lovely in face,
Under Sir Pilate, that lives in this empire.
Yon braggart that calls himself a sire,
With treasure and harm we shall test him.
The pain of that wretch, Sir Pilate shall brew.
Do trot on for that traitor apace, in haste.

Now sirs, since you say that my power is best,
And you have this assignment to work at my will,
Now certainly, I shall not rest,
But solemnly your will shall fulfill.  Right soon.
Full tightly shall that traitor be taken;
Sir knights, hie you now, each one.
For certain will that wretch be slain;
Sir Anna, I pray you, have done.

Full ready quick I shall be bound,
For on this journey, go I will.
As you're a lord of great renown,
You must spare him not to spill.
The devil him speed!
We're going with our knights all here.
Lo, all arrayed and armoured clear!
Sir knights, be now of full good cheer;
When you see him, take heed!

1 JEW:
Good heed of him, lord, we shall take,
He shall curse the day that he was born.
And all his kin shall come too late.
He'll not escape without the scorn,
Of all us here.

2 JEW:
We'll seek him out both even and morn,
Early and late, with full good cheer,
Is our intent.

3 JEW:
From sty and street we'll spare not one;
Not field, nor town, thus have we meant,
And bound in cord.


		Ay! And I think I should have reward;
It would be right and fair.
For lo - I bear light for my lord.

Sir, stop your speech, and let us speed
A space, and let all speaking spare.
And Judas, go guide now before,
And wisely you show them the way.
For truly, soon we shall say:
He'll trouble us no more.

Now will this be drawing near,
Which proves the truth of what I've said.

Go fetch forth the freak for his forfeit.

Hail master in faith, and fellows here.
With great gracious greeting on ground you are graced.
I would ask you a kiss, master, and your will were,
For all my love and my liking upon you is laid.

Full heartily, Judas; have it right here.
For with this kissing is man's son betrayed.

Stand traitor, you're under arrest now I say!

Knights! Now fall on before!

Yes master, move you no more,
But lightly now let us alone.

Alas, he is lost in the glare of this light -

Tell me whom you seek, do explain now to me.

1 JEW:
One Jesus of Nazareth, as he's called aright.

Behold, over here - I am he whom you seek.

Stand wretch!  So miserably are you to die,
I'll not be upset if you blanch and turn weak.

1 JEW:
Hey! Out!  I am shaken in body and might!

2 JEW:
And I'm afraid, by my faith; I'd rather just flee.
For such a sight I've never seen.

3 JEW:
That light it shone so bright,
I never saw such a sight.
I wonder what it can mean?

Tell me whom you seek, I say.

1 JEW:
Jesus of Nazareth - we'd take him now.

And I am truly he.

			And that shall I assay.
For you shall die, wretch, if he be thou.

And by my faith, I intend you to flay!

Hey!  Ouch!  All my duties are done.

Nay!  Traitor, truly, I'll trap you somehow!

Peace, Peter, I bid thee;
Meddle and move you no more.
You know perfectly well, if my will it were,
I could have great power and plenty

Of angels full many to muster my might.
So put up your sword full goodly again,
For he that avenges, although he be right,
Will be answered with vengeance, which renders it vain.
You, the man who was unfairly hurt in the fight -
Come hither now safely, and I shall be saying,
In the name of the father, of heavenly height,
Of your hurts be now whole and together again.
Your veins have their virtue - be once more at avail.

What!  Hail!  I hope I am whole!
Now at any who bother, I rail,
To touch you for doing this travail.

1 JEW:
My fellows, for your faith, let's resume where we were,
For I have a hold on this man.

And I have a lock on him now - draw near.

By the boons that he's granted, this game he will ban.

Like a heinous thief, you hurl me down here.
I taught in your temple - why moved you not then?
Now, let darkness on earth have all power!

1 JEW:
Lay your hands quickly on this wretch!

3 JEW:
We have.  Hold this hawk in your hand.

Yes fellows, in faith, he is fast.

4 JEW:
To Sir Caiaphas he must be passed.
Farewell, for now we will wend.

Return to York Pageant List.