36. The Butchers' Play: The Death of Christ

Cease, citizens; see what I say:
Entirely to my talking attend.
Devoid all this din here today,
Follow me, as is befitting a friend.
Sir Pilate, a prince past compare.
My name now full namely I name.
As doomsman, dependably fair;
Full even with Jews, without blame
Am I.
Who causes oppression,
Does any transgression,
By my discretion,
Shall be deemed duly to die.

To die, I shall deem them to death:
Those rebels that rule them unright.
Those now to yon hill who pay heed,
May see there the truth in their sight:
Their cruel execution this night,
Who like not our laws now to hear.
Lo, thus by my main and my might,
These churls I shall chastise and cheer
By laws.
Each felon false,
So shall hang by the neck;
Transgressors also,
Should know they'll be knit to the cross.

To know I shall knit them on cross;
I'll wreck them with shame as they hap.
Their lives thus to lose it's no loss,
Such truants with troubles to trap.
Thus loyally the laws I unwrap,
And punish them pitilessly.
Of Jesus it is a mishap,
That hung on that hill should he be,
For guilt.
His blood to spill:
This was your will.
You've had your fill.
To speed him, with spite he was spilt.

To spill him, we spoke in great speed,
For falsehoods he followed, in faith;
With frauds all our folks he did feed,
And laboured to learn them his lay.

Sir Pilate, of peace we you pray;
Our laws would have likely been lorn.
He would not save our dear Sabbath day;
And that - to escape it - was scorn,
By law.

Sirs, before your sight,
With all my might,
I examined him right;
And in him then no cause I saw.

You know well, the cause in this case:
It touched upon treason untrue.
The tribute, to take or to trace,
He forbade, our bale to brew.

Of jests always jangled that Jew,
And cursedly called himself King.
To doom him to death was his due;
For treason it touches, that thing.

Yet principal,
And worst of all,
He would be called,
God's Son.  For that, foul may he speed!

He speeds now to spill in a space,
So wonderfully wrought is your will.
His blood shall your bodies embrace
To this end, you've taken yourselves.

From now on, we'll happily fulfill
This; to our credit we'll take it full fain.
Yon loser now likes it full ill.
We've turned all his tricks into pain,
I trow

He was called King.
Ill joy him wring;
Yeah, let him hang,
Full mad at the moon he'll moo now!

To moo at the moon thus he meant:
To hell with you, traitor, in faith!
Who trusts now your tales to attend?
You saggard, yourself you did say,
The temple you'd cast down today!
By the third day, though every stone falls,
You'd raise it again, you did say.
Look how it feels to be false.
Foul fall!
For presumption,
Reward you've won.
If you'll come down,
I shall "a comely King" you call.

I call you a coward again,
That marvels and miracles made;
Who mustered among many men,
But wretch, you spoke there without heed!
You saved them from sorrows, they said,
Now save yourself, let us see;
If you're truly God's son, as you said,
Deliver you down from that tree!
If you are found
To be God's son
We shall be bound
To follow you truly, each one!

Sir Pilate, your pleasure we pray;
Attend to our talking this tide,
And wipe yonder writing away;
It's not for the best that it bide.
It's more fitting, you set it aside,
And write what he said in his lies,
When he was imprinted with pride:
"Jews' King am I, recognize"
Full plain.

Quod scripsi, scripsi.
That same wrote I;
I stand thereby.
What gadfly will grouch there against?

Mankind, that of miss here has meant,
To me, all attention now take:
On rood I am ragged and rent,
You sinful souls, for your sake.
For your miss, amends I will make.
My back, now to bend will obey;
This pain, for your trespass, I take.
Who could you more kindness display,
Than I?
Thus, for your good,
I shed my blood.
Man, mend your mood.
Full bitter your bliss I must buy.

Alas, for my sweet son, I say,
That doleful, to death is thus done.
Alas, for full lovely he lay,
In my womb, this worthiest one.
Alas, that I should see my son,
My son, once so seemly to see.
Alas, that this bright blossom,
Untruly is tugged to that tree.
My lord, my lief,
With full great grief,
Hangs like a thief.
Alas, he did never trespass.

Woman, away with your weeping.
For me, you may nothing amend.
My father's will I am working,
For mankind my body I bend.

Alas, that you don't wish to stay,
How can I but weep for my woe?
My comfort, to care, turns today.
Alas, why should we twin thus in two,

Woman, instead of me,
John, your son shall be.
John, to your mother see;
For my sake make this your endeavor.

Alas son, sorrow and sight;
I wish I were closed in clay.
A sword of sorrow me smites;
To death I have come this day.

Oh mother, such things do not say,

I pray, in this crowd, be at peace.
For with all the might that I may,
Your comfort I'll ever increase.
Your son am I.
On me rely;
From this place by,
I pray that away you will speed.

My bidding - to stand or to steer -
How can I, such sorrow to see?
My son that is worthy and dear,
Now so doleful a death here dies he.

Dear mother, let go of this grief;
Your mourning may not this amend.

Dear mother, have faith now and see;
For succour to you he will send,
This tide.

Fair mother, fast
Away let us cast.

Until he has passed,
I shall willingly stay at his side.

With bitterest bale I have bought
Mankind.  Thus your misses I mend.
Look on me now and cease not:
How, willing, my body I bend.
No man in this world would have mind,
The sorrow I suffer for your sake.
Be taught now through kindness, mankind;
True attention to me, now take,
And trust.
For foxes, their dens have they;
Birds have their nests to pay;
But the son of man this day,
Has nowhere his head now to rest.

If you are God's son so free,
Why do you hang on this hill?
Save yourself now, let us see,
And us too, that speed now to spill.

Man, stop your speaking, be still!
Doubtless, your god you dread not.
Deserving, we've come to this hill,
For wrongs we have unwisely wrought.
But this:
No ill did he,
To die this way.
Remember me,
When you have come into your bliss.

In truth son, to you I say:
Because from your folly you'll fall,
With me you'll dwell this very day,
In paradise, placed principal.
Eloy, eloy,
My God, my God full free,
Lamma sabbacthane?
Why have you forsaken me,
In care?
When I did never ill,
This death to so fulfill;
But be it as you will.
Ah, I thirst sore.

A drink I'll prepare you, indeed;
A draft that is daintily done.
Full fast I shall spring for to speed,
I hope I shall hold for that one.

Sir Pilate, that most is in might,
Hark - "Healing" I heard that one cry.
He's going to that worthy wight,
In haste now to help him on high,
In his need.

If he does so,
He shall have woe.

He is our foe,
Who would dress him to do such a deed!

That deed, if he dress him to do,
For certain, he'll rue it full sore;
Nonetheless, if he likes it not - lo -
Pretty soon he'll recover that care.
Now sweet sir, if your will it were,
A draft of a drink I have dressed;
To suffer expense you may spare,
To imbibe it now boldly is best.
But why?
Vinegar and gall,
Are mixed in with all.
Drink it you shall -
Your lips, I can see, are full dry.

Your drink will not harm me up here.
Understand that of this I'll have none.
Now father, who formed all men here,
To your might most, I make moan;
In this place, all your will I have done.
Thus ragged, and rent on this rood,
With cruelty to death I am done.
Forgive them, by grace that is good,
For they do not know what it was.
My father, here are my bones;
Now are all things done.
To you, my spirit soon,
I commend:  in manus tuas.

Now dear son, Jesus so gentle,
Since my heart is as heavy as lead,
Please say something to me ere you wend -
Alas, now my dear son is dead!
Full ruefully rent is my head!
Alas, for my darling so dear!

Ah mother, now hold up your head.
Sigh not here with these sorrows severe,
I pray.

It gives her pain,
To see his pain.
Lead her away;
This morning, no one comfort may.

Sir Pilate, perceive, I now pray,
That to keep well our customs you can.
Tomorrow's our dear Sabbath day;
To mirth, now must move every man.
Yon warlocks now all wax full wan,
And must quickly buried all be.
Deliver them dead sir, and then,
We'll issue to said solemnity,

It shall be done,
In words but one.
Sir knights, go yon,
To those harlots, handily take heed:

Kill all those crooks with your knife;
Deliver them when they are dead.

My lord, I shall cut off their life,
Those wretches shall never bite bread.

Longinus, step forth in this stead;
This spear, now take hold in your hand.
To Jesus, go forth where you're led;
You'll stray not; but stiffly will stand,
A space.
In Jesus' side,
Shove it this tide.
No longer bide,
But promptly now go to that place.

Oh, maker unmade, full of might,
Oh Jesus, so noble and gentle,
You've suddenly sent me my sight!
Lord, loving to thee must be lent!
On rood, you are ragged and rent;
Mankind you now mend of his miss.
Spitefully spilled and now spent;
This blood, lord, will bring us to bliss,
Full free.
Ah, mercy, my succour,
Mercy, my treasure,
Mercy, my Saviour;
Your mercy's remembered in me.

What wonderful working is this?
The weather is waxing full wan.
I trust, a true token it is,
That mercy's extended to man.
Conceive this full clearly, I can.
No crime in this corpse could they know;
Yet doleful, they still doomed the man,
To lose thus his life by their law:
Not right.
I say truly,
God's son was he,
This man I see,
Who was done to the death here tonight.

May that loyal lord, ever-lasting in land,
Sir Pilate, full pressed in this place,
Save you, sir, by the sea and by sand,
And these worthy men on this dais.

Joseph the Loyal, no less;
You are welcome to me in this space.
Tell truly, before you decease,
Your worthy will here, what it is?

I pray to thee:
On high, give me
Jesus' body.
I'd give it a grave all alone.

Sir Joseph, I grant your request;
I will not begrudge him his grave.
Deliver, have done, get him dressed,
And be sure, sir, our Sabbath to save.

With heart and both hands that I have,
I thank you in faith, for my friend.
God keep, may you no comfort crave
Now swift on my way I will wend.	
On high.
To do that deed,
May he give speed,
Who these arms spread,
So man with his blood he might buy.

Well met sir.  In mind I was grieved
For Jesus, who was judged so unjust.
You laboured for licence and leave,
To return his dead body to dust?

Full mildly I meant, since I must,
And to do so, I now must address.

I would that together we went;
And nothing at all will stop us.
Here's why:
Our friend was he,
Faithful and free.

Therfore, go we
To bury that body on high.

All mankind may mark in their mind,
To see here this sorrowful sight.
No falseness in him could they find,
Who was done to a death so unright.

He was a full worthy wight,
Now blemished and battered with blood.

Yes, and because he had mustered his might,
Full falsely they felled this fair food.
I've seen -
His back and sides,
Have great wounds wide.
Now forth this tide,
We'll take him down us between.

Between us, we take him down,
And lay him at length on the land.

This reverent one, rich in renown;
Let us hold him and wash him by hand.
A grave here, I've recently ordered,
Which never held none; it is new.

To this corpse it's most comely accorded;
To dress him with all the deeds due
This land.

A sudary,
I've brought with me.
Wind him, shall we,
And soon we shall set him in sand.

In sand let us set him and go.
Quickly, let's lay him alone.
Now, saviour of me and of more,
Do keep us in cleanness each one.

To your mercy, now I make my moan:
As Saviour, by sea and by sand.
Guide me out of temptation alone,
To lead loyal life in this land,
With ease.

I've ointments - see?
For this body.
I anoint thee,
With the myrrh and with aloe of these.

This deed is now done and complete;
Well-wrought is the work of all this.
My King, on my knees here I kneel,
That I might behold you in bliss.

He told me with love to be his,
One night when I came very near.
Have mind Lord, and mend me of miss.
We've done all our deeds now, full dear,
This tide.

May this lord good,
Who shed his blood,
Now mend your mood,
And bring me to his bliss to abide.

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