The Spicers' Play: The Annunciation and Visitation

Lord God, great marvel is to mean1
how man was made withouten miss,
and set where he should ever have been
withouten bale, biding in bliss;
and how he lost that comfort clean
and was put out from Paradise,
and sithen what sorrows sore were seen,7
sent unto him and to all his,
and how they lay long space
in hell, locken from light,
till God granted them grace
of help, as he had hight.
Then is it needful for to name13
how prophets all God’s counsels kenned,
as prophet Amos in his steven
taught while he lived in land:

Reading from the book

Deus pater disposuit salutem fieri in medio terre
God, the father in heaven18
ordained in earth, mankind to mend;
and to graith it with Godhead even,
His son he said that he should send
to take kind of man-kin,
in a maiden full mild;
so was many saved of sin24
and the foul fiend beguiled.
Isaiah the prophet, as I see,26
says these words for our succour:

Reading from the book

Egredietur virga de Jesse
A wand shall breed of Jesse’s bower,29
and of this same a sign to see:
upon that wand shall spring a flower
whereon the Holy Ghost shall be,
and govern it with great honour.
That wand means unto us
this maiden, even and morn,35
and the flower is Jesus,
of that blest maiden born.
And how he was sent, say we more,38
and how God would his place purvey:
He said, “Son, I shall send before
mine angel to show thee the way” –
of John Baptist he meant there,
for in earth he was ordained aye
to warn the folk that wilful were44
of Christ’s coming, and thus says he:

Reading from the book

Ego quidem baptizo in aqua vos,
autem baptizamini spiritu sancto

After me shall come now48
a man of mights most,
and shall baptise you
in the Holy Ghost.
Thus of Christ’s coming we may see52
how Saint Luke speaks in his gospel:
“From God in heaven is sent,” says he,
“an angel is named Gabriel,
to Nazareth in Galilee,
where the maiden mild did dwell,
that with Joseph should wedded be.58
Her name is Mary” – thus he did tell.
How God his grace displayed
to man in this manner,
and how the angel said,
take heed, all that will hear.

Angelic singing

Hail Mary, full of grace and bliss!64
Our Lord God is with thee,
and has chosen thee for his;
of all women blessed thou be.
What manner of hailing is this,68
thus privily comes to me?
For in mine heart a thought it is,
the tokening that I here see.

Angelic singing: “Ne timeas Maria”

Dread thee not, mild Mary,72
for nothing that may befall,
for thou has found sovereignly
from God a grace over other all.
In chastity of thy body
conceive and bear a child thou shall.
This bidding bring I thee:78
His name Jesu shall thou call.
Mickle of might then shall he be;80
he shall be God, and called God’s son.
David’s seat, his father free,
shall God him give to sit upon.
As king for ever reign shall he,
in Jacob’s house aye for to dwell.
Of his kingdom and dignity86
Shall no man earthy know nor tell.
Thou God’s angel meek and mild,88
how should it be, I thee pray,
that I should conceive a child
of any man by night or day?
I know no man that has defiled
my maidenhood, the sooth to say;
withouten will of works wild94
in chastity I have been aye.
The Holy Ghost shall in thee light;96
high virtue shall to thee hold.
The holy birth of thee so bright
God’s son he shall be called.
Lo, Elizabeth, thy cousin, might
not in her age conceive a child;
but this is the sixth month, full right,102
for her that barren has been told.

Exit Angel

Thou angel, blessed messenger,104
Of God’s will I hold me paid;
I love my Lord with heart clear,
the grace that he has for me laid.
God’s handmaiden, lo me here,
to his will all ready arrayed.
Be it done to me in all manner110
through thy word as thou hast said.

Meeting Elizabeth

Elizabeth, mine own cousin,
methought I covet alway most
to speak with thee, of all my kin,
therefore I come thus in this haste.
Ah, welcome, mild Mary,116
mine own cousin so dear.
Joyful woman am I
That I now see thee here.
Blessed be thou only
of all women without peer,
and the fruit of thy body122
be blessed far and near.
This is a joyful tiding,124
that I may now here see
the mother of my lord king
in this wise come to me.
As soon as the voice of thy hailing
might in mine ears be,
the child in my womb so young130
makes great mirth unto thee.
Now, Lord, blessed be thou aye132
For the grace thou has me lent;
Lord, I love thee, God verray,
for the tidings thou hast sent.
I thank thee night and day,
And pray with good intent
thou make me to thy way;138
to thee my will is bent.
Blessed be thou, best arrayed140
to God through chastity;
thou trowed and held thee paid
at his will for to be.
All that to thee is said
from my lord so free,
such grace as is for thee laid146
shall be fulfilled in thee.
To his grace I will me take,148
in chastity to deal
that dwelleth for his sake
among his maidens all.
My soul shall loving make
unto that lord so loyal,
and my joy shall never slake154
in God that is my heal.

Singing: “Magnificat”

2021 Aug 24  19:58:26