42. The Tailors' Play: The Ascension

Almighty God, how stands it now?
My world was never this wild before.
But He appears - I don't know how -
And vanishes when he will fare.
And yet all this may help us now,
And all his workings, less and more.
Ah, King of comfort, good art thou,
And true, and lovely is your lore.

The missing of my master true
Who cannot stay here lastingly
Makes me forlorn each day anew
From longing for his company.
His peer in goodness I never knew
Or might, or wisdom, yet any.

We lose him sore; we may it rue
For he loved us full faithfully.

But yet in all my sorrowing
A word that Christ said comforts me
Our heaviness and deep mourning
To joy should all be turned, said he
That joy, he said in promising,
Could by no power taken be.
Therefore, above each other thing
That joy I long to know and see.

Good Peter, when my son was slain
And laid in grave, you were in fear
Of whether he would rise again.
But now you know through seeing clear:
Some things he said would come; they came.
Some yet will; but each thing you hear -
Whether it has come or nay -
We ought believe together here.

Almighty God, my father free,
On earth your bidding I have done
And clarified the name of thee;
To yourself now clarify your son.
As you gave unbridled power to me
Over all flesh, grant now this boon:
That I might with you living be,
In endless life, and dwelling soon.

This is the life that has no end
To know you, father, most in might,
And me, your son, whom you did send
To die for man to ease his plight
Mankind was yours, and you their friend
And they looked after me, alright
I died for man, his miss to mend,
I was done to death by means of spite.

And I have taught your will to he
Who would to all my lore incline;
And they have learned obediently -
None of them will waste their time.
For nothing else, you gave them me,
And they are yours as well as mine.
Part them not from our company,
Since thine are mine and mine are thine.

Since they are ours, if they need aught,
Do help them, if it be your will;
And as you know that I them bought,
For lack of help, don't let them spill.
From life to take them, I pray not,
But only keep them out of ill;
And also all who make their thought
On earth, my teachings to fulfill.

My tidings are taken by my many,
To teach the people where they fare.
On earth they shall live just like me
And suffer sorrows, sad and sore.
Despised and hated they shall be,
As I have been, by less and more;
And suffer death in different degrees -
But none, for steadfastness, will spare.

Therefore father, bless these men
In faith and trust, so that they may
Be one, as we are in heaven,
In will and work, both night and day.
And know that I, the son of men,
Am the way, the truth and life always.
So too, each willing man again
May win eternal life today.

But you, my apostles, gathered here,
That long have gone about with me:
Poor in faith you've lately been,
And wondrous hard of heart you be.
Worthy of reproof, I mean.
You've seen already, and yet shall see
As much again as you have seen:
My power proved to posterity.

When I was dead and lay in grave,
That I should rise, you were in doubt;
And some did my uprising crave,
While I was lying under clout,
So deep in earth.  But since I have
Been walking forty days about;
I've broken bread, your faith to save;
I've come among you, in and out.

And therefore, have you no more doubt
Of my uprising, day and night;
Your misbelief leaves all folk out.
For you know well: as man of might,
No death has power over me;
I shall be endless living light.
But so a figure clear you'll see
I show myself, within your sight,	

How man, by nature's course, will rise,
Although he's rotted unto naught,
Out of his grave.   In his same wise
To the day of doom he shall be brought,
Where I shall sit as true justice,
To deem man after what he's wrought:
The wicked with their enemies,
The good to bliss, shall all be brought.

Another argument is this:
In a tree through guile man was betrayed,
And therefore man, to mend that miss,
Bought mankind on a tree in trade,
Thus confounding him and his
Who happily forged that false fraud.
One man brings all again to bliss;
In endless pain the Fiend is paid.

And third in reasoning, I tell:
That just as I go, as well will seem,
So, clothed in flesh and blood, I shall
Return at doomsday, when I deem
The good in endless bliss to dwell,
My foes away from me to flee,
Eternally to boil in hell.
Each living man, now hear and heed!

But travelling into all the land
The gospel truly preach shall ye
To every living woman and man
Who know that, if they baptized be,
That they shall, as you understand
Be saved, and of all thralldom free.
Who thinks not so, he lacks faith and
For want of truth, then damned is he.

But other tokenings indeed,
Shall follow those believing right:
In my name, devils, cruel and keen,
Shall be cast out from every wight;
You'll speak in tongues, and snakes unclean
Destroy.  And if, by day or night
You poisoned be, undoubtedly
To hurt you, it shall have no might.

You will, on sick folk, your hands lay,
And health they'll soon enjoy and wield.
You shall have this power always,
My people, both in town and field.
And mind you well, so shall they
That work my will in youth or eld:
A place for them I shall purvey,
In bliss eternally to dwell.

Now my journey is brought to an end,
The time which I was so long lent
Now to my father up I wend
And your father, that down me sent
My God, your God, and all man's friend
Who to his teaching will consent,
To sinners by their sins condemned
Who'll ways amend and will repent.

But since I speak these words here now,
To you, your hearts have heaviness.
All is fulfilled on your account:
I must go hence; needful is this. 
You shall not know, unless I mount,
Comforter of the comfortless.
And if I go, you shall find how
I'll send him down, of my goodness.

Fulfilled, my father's will now be.
Therefore, farewell to each one here.
I'll go prepare a place for thee,
To dwell in endless joy up there.
Father, send down a cloud for me -
I come to you  my father dear.
The father's blessing, most mighty
I give to all whom I leave here.


Almighty God, the most in might,
This is a wondrous sight to see:
My son who thus is ravished right,
Wending in a cloud from me.
My heart is both heavy and light:
Heavy that this twinning must be,
And light, that he keeps his word aright,
And in great power ascends from me.

He's left us all his teachings clean
This comforts me in all my care
But unto whom shall I me mean?
At such a loss I was never, ere.
To dwell among these Jews so keen,
Despising me they will not spare -

Although he's not in presence seen
Yet he is salve of all despair.

But lady, since he undertook
That I should serve you as your son
You need do nothing now but look
What earthly thing you would have done
I'd be to blame if I forsook
To work your will, noon, mid-day, one,
Or any day or time of week.

With few words I will thank you John.

My motherhood, John, you shall have
And as my son, I shall you take.

That grace, dear lady, I would crave.

My son's proverbs I'll never forsake.
Unseemly it would be to strive,
Or speak contrary to what he spake
But John, until I'm in my grave,
You'll never see my sorrow slake.

Since our worthy master went
From us lady, as his will,
We thank him that has to us lent,
You now to live with us here still.
I say for me, with full consent,
Your every wish I will fulfill..

So will we all, with great intent
For this cause, lady, give no ill.

You men of the land of Galilee
Why wonder ye to see him ascend?
This Jesus, whom from you you see
Up-taken, you shall understand:
Come down again just so shall he
With bleeding wounds in feet and hands.
Those who lived well, full glad may be;
Those who lived ill, with dread shall stand.

You that have been his servants true,
Remaining with him night and day,
Such teaching as with him you knew,
Look now you preach it forth all ways.
Your reward in heaven is each day new,
And all who serve him well he'll pay.
Those who disbelieve shall rue
Their ever-increasing pain, for aye.

Praise the eternal Lord of might,
That thus, in all our great un-ease,
Gives comfort with his angels bright.
Now should the Jews their malice ease,
Who saw for themselves this wondrous sight
Wrought now under their noses.  These
Matters we'll preach both day and night,
Our God more than ever to pray and please.

Now the Jews may be all confused,
If they rethink this inwardly.
How falsely they have him accused,
And innocent killed, through their envy;
Their falsehood, which they long have used,
Now is proven openly.
With their delusions disabused,
They should be stirred to ask mercy.

They won't do that, Andrew, let be.
For they are full of pomp and pride.
There's no avail to you or me,
Nor none of us, with them to chide
To stay, I can no profit see;
Therefore, let us no longer bide,
But into various lands go we
To preach through all this world so wide.

That is our charge, for that is best
That we remain no longer here
For here we get no place of rest
Lingering with Jewish power so near
To overthrow us they will cast
Therefore, come forth my lady dear
And go with us.  I am full pressed
To wend with you with full good cheer.

My absolute trust now ever I feel
In you, to work after your counsel.

My lady, that trust you will ever feel
In whatever or any that may us avail
Our comfort is your cares to heal
While we may live we shall not fail

My brothers dear, I trust it well
My son shall reward all your travail.

To Jerusalem we go again
And see what things shall now befall.
Our Lord and master most of main
Protect you and be with you all.

Return to York Pageant List.