The Pewterers' and Founders' Play: Joseph's Trouble about Mary

Of grete mornyng may I me mene1
And walke full werily be this way,
For nowe than wende I best hafe bene
Att ease and reste by reasoune ay.
For I am of grete elde,
Wayke and al vnwelde,
Als ilke man se it maye;7
I may nowder buske ne belde
But owther in frithe or felde;
For shame what sall I saie,
That thus-gates nowe on myne alde dase
Has wedded a yonge wenche to my wiff,
And may noyot wele tryne over two strase?13
Nowe lorde, how lange sall I lede this liff?
My banes er heuy als lede
And may noyot stande in stede,
Als kende it is full ryfe.
Now lorde, thou me wisse and rede
Or sone me dryue to dede,19
Thou may best stynte this striffe.
For bittirly than may I banne
The way I in the temple wente,
Itt was to me a bad barganne,
For reuthe I may it ay repente.
For tharein was ordande25
Vnwedded men sulde stande,
Al sembled at asent,
And ilke ane a drye wande
On heght helde in his hand,
And I ne wist what it ment.
In-mange al othir ane bare I;31
Itt florisshed faire, and floures on sprede,
And thay saide to me forthy
That with a wiffe I sulde be wedde.
The bargayne I made thare,
That rewes me nowe full sare,
So am I straytely sted.37
Now castes itt me in care,
For wele I myght eueremare
Anlepy life haue led.
Hir werkis me wyrkis my wonges to wete;
I am begiled-how, wate I noyot.
My yoonge wiffe is with childe full grete,43
That makes me nowe sorowe vnsoght.
That reproffe nere has slayne me,
Forthy giff any man frayne me
How this thing miyot be wroght,
To gabbe yf I wolde payne me,
The lawe standis harde agayne me:49
To dede I mon be broght.
And lathe methinketh, on the todir syde,
My wiff with any man to defame,
And whethir of there twa that I bide
I mon noyot scape withouten schame.
The childe certis is noght myne;55
That reproffe dose me pyne
And gars me fle fra hame.
My liff gif I shuld tyne,
Sho is a clene virgine
For me, withouten blame.
But wele I wate thurgh prophicie61
A maiden clene suld bere a childe,
But it is nought sho, sekirly,
Forthy I wate I am begiled.
And why ne walde som yonge man ta her?
For certis I thynke ouer-ga hir
Into som wodes wilde,67
Thus thynke I to stele fra hir.
God childe ther wilde bestes sla hir,
She is so meke and mylde.
Of my wendyng wil I none warne,
Neuere the lees it is myne entente
To aske hir who gate hir that barne,73
Yitt wolde I witte fayne or I wente.
All hayle, God be hereinne.
Puella 1
Welcome, by Goddis dere myght.76
Whare is that yoonge virgine77
Marie, my berde so bright?
Puella 1
Certis Joseph, yoe sall vndirstande79
That sho is not full farre you fra,
Sho sittis at hir boke full faste prayand
For yoou and vs, and for all tha
That oght has nede.
But for to telle hir will I ga
Of youre comyng, withouten drede.85
Haue done and rise vppe, dame,
And to me take gud hede-
Joseph, he is comen hame.
Welcome, als God me spede.89
Dredles to me he is full dere;
Joseph my spouse, welcome er yhe.
Gramercy Marie, saie what chere,92
Telle me the soth, how est with the?
Wha has ben there?
Thy wombe is waxen grete, thynke me,
Thou arte with barne, allas for care.
A, maidens, wa worthe yoou,
That lete hir lere swilke lare.98
Puella 2
Joseph, yoe sall noyot trowe99
In hir no febill fare.
Trowe it noght arme? Lefe wenche, do way!101
Hir sidis shewes she is with childe.
Whose ist Marie?
Sir, Goddis and youres.103
Nay, nay,103
Now wate I wele I am begiled,
And reasoune why?
With me flesshely was thou neuere fylid,
And I forsake it here forthy.
Say maidens, how es this?
Tels me the sothe, rede I;109
And but yoe do, iwisse,
The bargayne sall yoe aby.
Puella 2
If yoe threte als faste as yhe can112
Thare is noght to saie theretill,
For trulye her come neuer no man
To waite the body with non ill
Of this swete wight,
For we haue dwelt ay with hir still
And was neuere fro hir day nor nyght.118
Hir kepars haue we bene
And sho ay in oure sight,
Come here no man bytwene
To touche that berde so bright.
Puella 1
Na, here come no man in there wanes123
And that euere witnesse will we,
Saue an aungell ilke a day anes
With bodily foode hir fedde has he,
Othir come nane.
Wharfore we ne wate how it shulde be
But thurgh the haly gaste allane.129
For trewly we trowe this,
Is grace with hir is gane,
For sho wroght neuere no mys,
We witnesse euere ilkane.
Thanne se I wele youre menyng is134
The aungell has made hir with childe.
Nay, som man in aungellis liknesse
With somkyn gawde has hir begiled,
And that trow I.
Forthy nedes noght swilke wordis wilde
At carpe to me dissayuandly.140
We, why gab ye me swa
And feynes swilk fantassy?
Allas, me is full wa,
For dule why ne myght I dy.
To me this is a carefull cas;
Rekkeles I raffe, refte is my rede.146
I dare loke no man in the face,
Derfely for dole why ne were I dede;
Me lathis my liff.
In temple and in othir stede
Ilke man till hethyng will me dryff.
Was neuer wight sa wa,152
For ruthe I all to-ryff;
Allas, why wroght thou swa
Marie, my weddid wiffe?
To my witnesse grete God I call,156
That in mynde wroght neuere na mysse.
Whose is the childe thou arte withall?158
Youres sir, and the kyngis of blisse.159
Ye, and hoo than?160
Na, selcouthe tythandis than is this,
Excuse tham wele there women can.
But Marie, all that sese the
May witte thi werkis ere wan,
Thy wombe allway it wreyes the
That thou has mette with man.166
Whose is it, als faire mot the befall?
Sir, it is youres and Goddis will.168
Nay, I ne haue noght ado withall-169
Neme it na more to me, be still!
Thou wate als wele as I,
That we two same flesshly
Wroght neuer swilk werkis with ill.
Loke thou dide no folye
Before me preuely175
Thy faire maydenhede to spill.
But who is the fader? Telle me his name.
None but youreselfe.178
Late be, for shame.178
I did it neuere; thou dotist dame, by bukes and belles!
Full sakles shulde I bere this blame aftir thou telles,
For I wroght neuere in worde nor dede
Thyng that shulde marre thy maydenhede,
To touche me till.
For of slyk note war litill nede,184
Yhitt for myn awne I wolde it fede,
Might all be still;
Tharfore the fadir tell me, Marie.
But God and yhow, I knawe right nane.188
A, slike sawes mase me full sarye,189
With grete mornyng to make my mane.
Therefore be noyot so balde,
That no slike tales be talde,
But halde the stille als stane.
Thou art yonge and I am alde,
Slike werkis yf I do walde,195
Thase games fra me are gane.
Therfore, telle me in priuité,
Whos is the childe thou is with nowe?
Sertis, ther sall non witte but we,
I drede the law als wele as thou.
Nowe grete God of his myght201
That all may dresse and dight,
Mekely to the I bowe.
Rewe on this wery wight,
That in his herte myght light
The soth to ken and trowe.
Who had thy maydenhede Marie? Has thou oght mynde?207
Forsuth, I am a mayden clene.208
Nay, thou spekis now agayne kynde,209
Slike thing myght neuere na man of mene.
A maiden to be with childe?
Thase werkis fra the ar wilde,
Sho is not borne I wene.
Joseph, yhe ar begiled,214
With synne was I neuer filid,
Goddis sande is on me sene.
Goddis sande? Yha Marie, God helpe!217
Bot certis that childe was neuere oures twa.
But woman-kynde gif tham list yhelpe,
Yhitt walde thei na man wiste ther wa.
Sertis it is Goddis sande221
[…     …]221
That sall I neuer ga fra.
Yha, Marie, drawe thyn hande,223
For forther yoitt will I fande,
I trowe not it be swa.
The soth fra me gif that thou layne,
The childe-bering may thou noyot hyde;
But sitte stille here tille I come agayne,
Me bus an erand here beside.229
Now grete God he you wisse,230
And mende you of your mysse
Of me, what so betyde.
Als he is kyng of blisse,
Sende yhou som seand of this,
In truth that ye might bide.
Nowe lord God that al thing may236
At thyne awne will bothe do and dresse,
Wisse me now som redy way
To walke here in this wildirnesse.
Bot or I passe this hill,
Do with me what God will,
Owther more or lesse,242
Here bus me bide full stille
Till I haue slepid my fille,
Myn hert so heuy it is.
Waken, Joseph, and take bettir kepe246
To Marie, that is thi felawe fest.
A, I am full werie, lefe, late me slepe,248
Forwandered and walked in this forest.
Rise vppe, and slepe na mare,250
Thou makist her herte full sare
That loues the alther best.
We, now es this a farly fare253
For to be cached bathe here and thare,
And nowhere may haue rest.
Say, what arte thou? Telle me this thyng.
I, Gabriell, Goddis aungell full euen257
That has tane Marie to my kepyng,
And sente es the to say with steuen
In lele wedlak thou lede the.
Leffe hir noyot, I forbid the,
Na syn of hir thou neuen,
But tille hir fast thou spede the263
And of hir noght thou drede the,
It is Goddis sande of heuen.
The childe that sall be borne of her,
Itt is consayued of the haly gast.
Alle joie and blisse than sall be aftir,
And to al mankynde nowe althir mast.269
Jesus his name thou calle,
For slike happe sall hym fall
Als thou sall se in haste.
His pepull saffe he sall
Of euyllis and angris all,
That thei ar nowe enbraste.275
And is this soth, aungell, thou saise?276
Yha, and this to taken right:277
Wende forthe to Marie thy wiffe alwayse,
Brynge hir to Bedlem this ilke nyght.
Ther sall a childe borne be,
Goddis sone of heuen is hee
And man ay mast of myght.
Now lorde God full wele is me283
That euyr that I this sight suld see,
I was neuer ar so light.
For for I walde haue hir thus refused,
And sakles blame that ay was clere,
Me bus pray hir halde me excused,
Als som men dose with full gud chere.289
Saie Marie, wiffe, how fares thou?
The bettir sir, for yhou.291
Why stande yhe thare? Come nere.
My bakke fayne wolde I bowe293
And aske forgifnesse nowe,
Wiste I thou wolde me here.
Forgiffnesse sir? Late be, for shame,296
Slike wordis suld all gud women lakke.
Yha, Marie, I am to blame298
For wordis lang-are I to the spak.
But gadir same nowe all oure gere,
Slike poure wede as we were,
And prike tham in a pak.
Till Bedlem bus me it bere,
For litill thyng will women dere;304
Helpe vp nowe on my bak.

2018 Nov 25  22:07:40