The Spicers' Play: The Annunciation and Visitation

Lord God, grete meruell es to mene1
Howe man was made withouten mysse,
And sette whare he sulde euer haue bene
Withouten bale, bidand in blisse;
And howe he lost that comforth clene
And was putte oute fro paradys,
And sithen what sorouse sor warr sene7
Sente vnto hym and to al his;
And howe they lay lange space
In helle, lokyn fro lyght,
Tille God graunted tham grace
Of helpe, als he hadde hyght.
Than is it nedfull for to neven13
How prophettis all Goddis counsailes kende,
Als prophet Amos in his steuen
Lered whils he in his liffe gun lende:
Deus pater disposuit salutem fieri in medio terre, etc.
He sais thus: God the fadir in heuen
Ordand in erthe mankynde to mende;
And to grayth it with Godhede euen,
His sone he saide that he suld sende
To take kynde of mankyn,
In a mayden full mylde;22
So was many saued of syn
And the foule fende begyled.
And for the feende sulde so be fedd
Be tyne, and to no treuth take tentt,
God made that mayden to be wedde
Or he his sone vnto hir sentte.28
So was the Godhede closed and cledde
In wede of weddyng whare thy wente;
And that oure blisse sulde so be bredde
Ful many materes may be mente:
Quoniam in semine tuo benedicentur omnes gentes, etc.
God hymself sayde this thynge
To Abraham als hym liste:
Of thy sede sall vppe sprynge
Wharein folke sall be bliste.
To proue thes prophettes ordande er,
Als Isay, vnto olde and yenge,38
He moued oure myscheues for to merr,
For thus he prayed God for this thynge:
Rorate, celi, desuper-
Lord, late thou doune at thy likyng
The dewe to fall fro heuen so ferre,
For than the erthe sall sprede and sprynge44
A seede that vs sall saue,
That nowe in blisse are bente.
Of clerkis whoso will craue
Thus may ther gatis be mente:
The dewe to the gode haly gaste
May be remened in mannes mynde,50
The erthe vnto the mayden chaste,
Bycause sho comes of erthely kynde.
Thir wise wordis ware noght wroght in waste,
To waffe and wende away als wynde,
For this same prophett sone in haste
Saide forthermore, als folkes may fynde:56
Propter hoc dabit dominus ipse vobis signum, etc.56
Loo, he sais thus: God sall gyffe
Hereof a syngne to see
Tille all that lely lyffe,
And this thare sygne sal be,
Ecce uirgo concipiett, et pariet filium, etc.60
Loo, he sais a mayden mon
Here on this molde mankynde omell,
Full clere consayue and bere a sonne,
And neven his name Emanuell.
His kyngdom that euere is begonne
Sall never sese, but dure and dwell;66
On Dauid sege thore sall he wonne,
His domes to deme and trueth to telle.
Zelus domini faciet hoc, etc.68
He says, luffe of oure lorde
All this sall ordan thanne;
That mennes pees and accorde
To make with erthely manne.
More of this maiden meves me;
This prophett sais for oure socoure74
Egredietur virga de Jesse-
A wande sall brede of Jesse boure,
And of this same also sais hee:
Vpponne that wande sall springe a floure
Wheron the haly gast sall be,
To governe it with grete honnoure.80
That wande meynes vntill vs
This mayden, even and morne,
And the floure is Jesus,
That of that blyst bees borne.
The prophet Johell, a gentill Jewe,
Somtyme has saide of the same thyng,86
He likenes Criste euen als he knewe
Like to the dewe in doune-commyng:
Ero quasi ros; et virgo Israell germinabit sicut lilium.
The maiden of Israell al newe,
He sais, sall bere one and forthe brynge
Als the lelly floure, full faire of hewe.
This meynes sa to olde and yoenge,
That the hegh haly gaste
Come oure myscheffe to mende94
In Marie, mayden chaste,
When God his sone walde sende.
This lady is to the lilly lyke-
That is bycause of hir clene liffe,
For in this worlde was never slyke
One to be mayden, modir, and wyffe.100
And hir sonne, kyng in heuen-ryke,
Als oft es red be reasoune ryfe,
And hir husband, bath maistir and meke,
In charité to stynte all striffe-
This passed all worldly witte,
How God had ordand thaim thanne106
In hir one to be knytte,
Godhed, maydenhed, and manne.
Bot of this werke grete witnes was
With forme-faders, all folke may tell.
Whan Jacob blyst his sone Judas
He tolde the tale thaim two emell:112
Non auferetur septrum de Juda,112
donec ueniat qui mittendus est.112
He sais the septer sall noght passe
Fra Juda lande of Israell,
Or he comme that God ordand has
To be sente feendis force to fell.
Et ipse erit expectacio gencium.116
Hym sall alle folke abyde,
And stande vnto his steuen.
Ther sawes wer signified
To Crist, Goddis sone in heuen.
For howe he was sente, se we more,
And howe God wolde his place puruay;122
He saide, sonne, I sall sende byfore
Myne aungell to rede the thy way-
Ecce mitto aungelum meum ante faciem tuam,124
qui preparabit viam tuam ante te.124
Of John Baptist he menyd thore,
For in erthe he was ordand ay
To warne the folke that wilsom wore
Of Cristis comyng, and thus gon say:
Ego quidem baptizo in aqua vos, autem128
baptizabimini spiritu sancto.128
Eftir me sall come nowe
A man of myghtis mast,
And sall baptis yoowe
In the high haly gast.
Thus of Cristis commyng may we see
How sainte Luke spekis in his gospell:134
Fro God in heuen es sent, sais he,
An aungell is named Gabriell,
To Nazareth in Galalé,
Where than a mayden mylde gon dwell,
That with Joseph suld wedded be;
Hir name is Marie-thus gan he telle.140
How God his grace than grayd
To man in this manere,
And how the aungell saide,
Takes hede, all that will here.
Hayle Marie, full of grace and blysse,145
Oure lord God is with the
And has chosen the for his,
Of all women blist mot thou be.
What maner of halsyng is this149
Thus preuely comes to me?
For in myn herte a thoght it is,
The tokenyng that I here see.
Ne drede the noght thou mylde Marie,153
For nothyng that may befalle,
For thou has fun soueranly
At God a grace ouer othir all.
In chastité of thy bodye
Consayue and bere a childe thou sall;
This bodword brynge I the, forthy159
His name Jesu sall thou calle.
Mekill of myght than sall he bee,
He sall be God and called God sonn.
Dauid sege, his fadir free,
Sall God hym giffe to sytte vppon;
Als kyng for euer regne sall hee,165
In Jacob house ay for to wonne,
Of his kyngdome and dignité
Shall noo man erthly knaw ne con.
Thou Goddis aungell meke and mylde,169
Howe sulde it be, I the praye,
That I sulde consayve a childe
Of any man by nyght or daye?
I knawe no man that shulde haue fyled
My maydenhode, the sothe to saye;
Withouten will of werkis wilde175
In chastité I haue ben ay.
The haly gast in the sall lighte,177
Hegh vertue sall to the holde,
The holy birthe of the so bright
God sonne he sall be calde.
Loo, Elyzabeth thi cosyne ne myght
In elde consayue a childe for alde;
This is the sexte moneth full ryght,183
To hir that baran has ben talde.
Thou aungell, blissid messanger,185
Of Goddis will I holde me payde;
I love my lorde with herte clere,
The grace that he has for me layde.
Goddis handmayden, lo me here
To his wille all redy grayd;
Be done to me of all manere191
Thurgh thy worde als thou hast saide.
Now God that all oure hope is in,
Thur the myght of the haly gaste,
Saue the, dame, fro sak of synne,
And wisse the fro all werkis wast.
Elyzabeth myn awne cosyne,197
Methoght I coveyte alway mast
To speke with the of all my kynne,
Therfore I comme thus in this hast.
A, welcome mylde Marie,201
Myne aughen cosyne so dere,
Joifull woman am I
That I nowe see the here.
Blissed be thou anely
Of all women in feere,
And the frute of thy body207
Be blissid ferre and nere.
This is joyfull tydyng
That I may nowe here see,
The modyr of my lord kyng
Thus-gate come to me.
Sone als the voyce of thine haylsing213
Moght myn neres entreand be,
The childe in my wombe so yenge
Makes grete myrthe vnto the.
Nowe lorde, blist be thou ay217
For the grace thou has me lente;
Lorde, I lofe the, God verray,
The sande thou hast me sente.
I thanke the nyght and day,
And prayes with goode entente
Thou make me to thy paye,223
To the my wille is wentte.
Blissid be thou grathely grayed225
To God thurgh chastité,
Thou trowed and helde the payed
Atte his wille for to bee.
All that to the is saide
Fro my lorde so free,
Swilke grace is for the layde231
Sall be fulfilled in the.
To his grace I will me ta,233
With chastité to dele,
That made me thus to ga
Omange his maidens feele.
My saule sall louying ma
Vnto that lorde so lele,
And my gast make ioye alswa239
In God that es my hele.

2018 Nov 25  22:07:40