The Barbers' Play: The Baptism

John the Baptist
Almyghty God and lord verray,1
Full woundyrfull is mannys lesyng,
For yf I preche tham day be day
And telle tham, lorde, of thy comyng,
That all has wrought,
Men are so dull that my preching
Serues of noght.7
When I haue, lord, in the name of the
Baptiste the folke in watir clere,
Than haue I saide that aftir me
Shall he come that has more powere
Than I to taste;
He schall giffe baptyme more entire13
In fire and gaste.
Thus am I comen in message right
And be fore-reyner in certayne,
In wittnesse-bering of that light,
The wiche schall light in ilka man
That is comand19
Into this worlde; nowe whoso can
May vndirstande.
Thez folke had farly of my fare
And what I was full faste thei spied;
They askid yf I a prophette ware
And I saide nay, but sone I wreyede-25
High aperte
I saide I was a voyce that cryede
Here in deserte.
Loke thou make the redy-ay saide I-
Vnto oure lord God most of myght,
That is that thou be clene haly31
In worde, in werke ay redy dight
Agayns oure lord,
With parfite liffe that ilke a wight
Be well restored.
For if we be clene in levyng,
Oure bodis are Goddis tempyll than,37
In the whilke he will make his dwellyng.
Therfore be clene, bothe wiffe and man,
This is my reed;
God will make in yowe haly than
His wonnyng-steed.
And if yoe sette all youre delyte43
In luste and lykyng of this liff,
Than will he turne fro yow als tyte
Bycause of synne, boyth of man and wiffe,
And fro yoou flee,
For with whome that synne is riffe
Will God noght be.49
Angel 1
Thou John, take tente what I schall saye,50
I brynge the tythandis wondir gode:
My lorde Jesus schall come thys day
Fro Galylee vnto this flode
Ye Jourdane call,
Baptyme to take myldely with mode
This day he schall.56
John, of his sande therfore be gladde
And thanke hym hartely, both lowde and still.
John the Baptist
I thanke hym euere, but I am radde59
I am noyot abill to fullfill
This dede certayne.
Angel 2
John, the aught with harte and will62
To be full bayne
To do his bidding, all bydene.
Bot in his baptyme John, take tente,
The heuenes schalle be oppen sene,
The holy gost schalle doune be sente
To se in sight,68
The fadirs voyce with grete talent
Be herde full riyot,
That schall saie thus to hym forthy
John the Baptist
[…] with wordes fewne72
I will be subgett nyght and day
As me well awe,
To serue my lord Jesus to paye
In dede and sawe.
Bot wele I wote, baptyme is tane
To wasshe and clense man of synne,78
And wele I wotte that synne is none
In hym, withoute ne withinne.
What nedis hym than
For to be baptiste more or myne
Als synfull man?
John, kynde of man is freele84
To the whilke that I haue me knytte,
But I shall shewe the skyllis twa
That thou schallt knawe by kyndly witte
The cause why I haue ordand swa,
And ane is this:
Mankynde may noyot vnbaptymde go90
Te endles blys.
And sithen myselffe haue taken mankynde,
For men schall me ther myrroure make
And haue my doyng in ther mynde,
Also I do the baptyme take.
I will forthy96
Myselfe be baptiste for ther sake
Full oppynly.
Anodir skill I schall the tell:
My will is this, that fro this day
The vertue of my baptyme dwelle
In baptyme-watir euere and ay,102
Mankynde to taste,
Thurgh my grace therto to take alway
The haly gaste.
John the Baptist
All-myghtfull lorde, grete is thi grace,106
I thanke the of thi grete fordede.
Cum, baptise me John, in this place.108
John the Baptist
Lorde, saue thy grace that I forbede109
That itt soo be,
For lorde, methynketh it wer more nede
Thou baptised me.
That place that I yarne moste of all,
Fro thens come thou lorde, as I gesse.
How schulde I than, that is a thrall,115
Giffe the baptyme, that rightwis is
And has ben euere?
For thow arte roote of rightwissenesse,
That forfette neuere.
What riche man gose from dore to dore
To begge at hym that has right noght?121
Lorde, thou arte riche and I am full poure,
Thou may blisse all, sen thou all wrought.
Fro heuen come all
That helpes in erthe, yf soth be sought,
Fro erthe but small.
Thou sais full wele John, certaynly,127
But suffre nowe for heuenly mede
That rightwisnesse be noyot oonlye
Fullfillid in worde but also in dede,
Thrughe baptyme clere.
Cum, baptise me in my manhed
Appertly here.133
Fyrst schall I take, sen schall I preche,
For so behovis mankynde fulfille
All rightwissenesse, als werray leche.
John the Baptist
Lord, I am redy at thi will,137
And will be ay
Thy subgett lord, both lowde and still,
In that I may.
A, lorde, I trymble ther I stande,
So am I arow to do that dede.
But saue me, lord that all ordand,143
For the to touche haue I grete drede
For doyngs dark.
Now helpe me lorde, thurgh thi Godhede,
To do this werk.
Jesus, my lord of myghtis most,
I baptise the here in the name149
Of the fadir and of the sone and holy gost;
But in this dede lorde, right no blame
This day by me,
And bryngis all thase to thy home
That trowes in the.
John, for mannys prophyte-wit thou wele-155
Take I this baptyme certaynely.
The dragons poure ilk a dele
Thurgh my baptyme distroyed haue I,
This is certayne,
And saued mankynde, saule and body,
Fro endles payne.161
What man that trowis and baptised bes
Schall saued be and come to blisse.
Whoso trowes noyot, to payne endles
He schal be dampned sone, trowe wele this.
But wende we nowe
Wher most is nede the folke to wisse,167
Both I and thou.
John the Baptist
I loue the, lorde, as souereyne leche169
That come to salue men of thare sore,
As thou comaundis I schall gar preche
And lere to euery man that lare,
That are was thrall.
Now sirs, that barne that Marie bare
Be with yoou all.175

2018 Nov 25  22:07:40