The Bowers and Fletchers' Play: Christ Before Annas and Caiaphas

Pees bewshers, I bid no jangelyng yoe make,1
And sese sone of youre sawes and se what I saye,
And trewe tente vnto me this tyme that yoe take,
For I am a lorde lerned lelly in youre lay.
By connyng of clergy and casting of witte
Full wisely my wordis I welde at my will,
So semely in seete me semys for to sitte7
And the lawe for to lerne you and lede it by skill,
Right sone.
What wyte so will oght with me
Full frendly in feyth am I foune;
Come of, do tyte late me see
Howe graciously I shall graunte hym his bone.13
Ther is nowder lorde ne lady lerned in the lawe,
Ne bisshoppe ne prelate that preued is for pris,
Nor clerke in the courte that connyng will knawe,
With wisdam may were hym in worlde is so wise.
I haue the renke and the rewle of all the ryall,
To rewle it by right als reasoune it is.19
All domesmen on dese awe for to dowte me
That hase thaym in bandome in bale or in blis;
Wherfore takes tente to my tales, and lowtis vnto me.
And therfore sir knyghtis-
Tunc dicunt Lorde.23
I charge you chalange youre rightis,
To wayte both be day and by nyghtis
Of the bringyng of a boy into bayle.
Miles 1
Yis lorde, we schall wayte if any wonderes walke,27
And freyne howe youre folkis fare that are furth ronne.
Miles 2
We schall be bayne at youre bidding and it not to-balke
Yf thei presente you that boy in a bande boune.
Why syr, and is ther a boy that will noght lowte to youre biding?
Ya sir, and of the coriousenesse of that karle ther is carping,
But I haue sente for that segge halfe for hethyng.
What wondirfull werkis workis that wighte?34
Seke men and sori he sendis siker helyng-35
And to lame men-and blynde he sendis ther sight.
Of croked crepillis that we knawe
Itt is to here grete wondering,
How that he helis thame all on rawe,
And all thurgh his false happenyng.
I am sorie of a sight41
That egges me to ire,
Oure lawe he brekis with all his myght,
That is moste his desire.
Oure Sabott day he will not safe
But is aboute to bringe it downe,
And therfore sorowe muste hym haue47
May he be kacched in felde or towne,
For his false stevyn,
He defamys fowly the Godhed
And callis hymselffe God sone of hevene.
I haue goode knowlache of that knafe:52
Marie me menys his modir highte,
And Joseph his fadir as God me safe
Was kidde and knowen wele for a wrighte.
But o thyng me mervayles mekill ouere all,
Of diuerse dedis that he has done-
With wicche-crafte he fares withall58
Sir, that schall yoe se full sone.
Oure knyghtis thai are furth wente
To take hym with a traye,
By this I holde hym shente,
He can not wende away.
Wolde yoe, sir, take youre reste-64
This day is comen on hande-
And with wyne slake youre thirste?
Than durste I wele warande
Ye schulde haue tithandis sone
Of the knyghtis that are gone,
And howe that thei haue done70
To take hym by a trayne.
And putte all thought away
And late youre materes reste.
I will do as yoe saie,74
Do gette vs wyne of the best.
Miles 1
My lorde, here is wyne that will make you to wynke,
Itt is licoure full delicious my lorde, and you like.
Wherfore I rede drely a draughte that yoe drynke,
For in this contré, that we knawe, iwisse ther is none slyke,
Wherfore we counsaile you this cuppe sauerly for to kisse.
Do on dayntely and dresse me on dees81
And hendely hille on me happing,
And warne all wightis to be in pees
For I am late layde vnto napping.
My lorde, with youre leue, and it like you, I passe.
Adiew be unte, as the manere is.86
Sir knyghtys, do kepe this boy in bande,87
For I will go witte what it may mene,
Why that yone wighte was hym folowand
Erly and late, morne and ene.
He will come nere, he will not lette,
He is a spie, I warand, full bolde.
Miles 3
It semes by his sembland he had leuere be sette93
By the feruent fire to fleme hym fro colde.
Ya, but and yoe wiste as wele as I95
What wonders that this wight has wrought,
And thurgh his maistir sorssery,
Full derfely schulde his deth be bought.
Miles 4
Dame, we haue hym nowe at will99
That we haue longe tyme soughte,
Yf othir go by vs still
Therfore we haue no thought.
Itt were grete skorne that he schulde skape103
Withoute he hadde resoune and skill,
He lokis lurkand like an nape,
I hope I schall haste me hym tille.
Thou caytiffe, what meves the stande
So stabill and stille in thi thoght?
Thou hast wrought mekill wronge in londe109
And wondirfull werkis haste thou wroght.
A lorell, a leder of lawe,
To sette hym and suye has thou soght.
Stande furth and threste in yone thrawe,
Thy maistry thou bryng vnto noght.
Wayte nowe, he lokis like a brokke115
Were he in a bande for to bayte,
Or ellis like an nowele in a stok
Full preualy his pray for to wayte.
Woman, thy wordis and thy wynde thou not waste,119
Of his company never are I was kende.
Thou haste the mismarkid, trewly be traste,
Wherfore of thi misse thou the amende.
Than gaynesaies thou here the sawes that thou saide,
How he schulde clayme to be callid God sonne,
And with the werkis that he wrought whils he walked
Baynly at oure bydding alway to be bonne.
I will consente to youre sawes, what schulde I saye more?
For women are crabbed-that comes them of kynde.
But I saye as I firste saide, I sawe hym neuere are,
But as a frende of youre felawschippe shall ye me aye fynde.
Herke, knyghtis that are knawen in this contré as we kenne,
Howe yone boy with his boste has brewed mekill bale.
He has forsaken his maistir before yoone womenne,
But I schall preue to yoou pertly and telle you my tale.
I was presente with pepull whenne prese was full prest
To mete with his maistir with mayne and with myght,
And hurled hym hardely and hastely hym arreste,137
And in bandis full bittirly bande hym sore all that nyght.
And of tokenyng of trouth schall I telle yowe
Howe yone boy with a brande brayede me full nere-
Do move of thez materes emelle yowe-
For swiftely he swapped of my nere.
His maistir with his myght helyd me all hole,143
That by no syne I cowthe see no man cowthe it witten,
And than badde hym bere pees in euery-ilke bale,
For he that strikis with a swerd with a swerde schall be smitten.
Late se whedir grauntest thou gilte:
Do speke oon and spare not to telle vs
Or full faste I schall fonde the flitte,149
The soth but thou saie here emelle vs.
Come of, do tyte late me see nowe,
In sauyng of thyselffe fro schame
[…     …]152
Ya, and also for beryng of blame.
I was neuere with hym in werke that he wroght,154
In worde nor in werke, in will nor in dede.
I knawe no corse that yoe haue hidir brought,
In no courte of this kith, yf I schulde right rede.
Here sirs howe he sais, and has forsaken158
His maistir to this woman here twyes,
And newly oure lawe has he taken-
Thus hath he denyed hym thryes.
Petir, Petir, thus saide I are162
When thou saide thou wolde abide with me
In wele and woo, in sorowe and care,
Whillis I schulde thries forsaken be.
Alas the while that I come here,166
That euere I denyed my lorde in quarte,
The loke of his faire face so clere
With full sadde sorrowe sheris my harte.
Miles 3
Sir knyghtis, take kepe of this karll and be konnand
Because of sir Cayphas, we knowe wele his thoght.
He will rewarde vs full wele, that dare I wele warand,
Whan he wete of oure werkis how wele we haue wroght.
Miles 4
Sir, this is Cayphas halle here at hande,174
Go we boldly with this boy that we haue here broght.
Miles 3
Nay sirs, vs muste stalke to that stede and full still stande,
For itt is nowe of the nyght, yf thei nappe oght.
Say, who is here?
Miles 1
Say who is here?178
Miles 3
I, a frende,178
Well knawyn in this contré for a knyght.
Miles 2
Gose furthe, on youre wayes may yee wende,180
For we haue herbered enowe for tonyght.
Miles 1
Gose abakke bewscheres, yoe bothe are to blame182
To bourde whenne oure busshopp is boune to his bedde.
Miles 4
Why sir, it were worthy to welcome vs home,184
We haue gone for this warlowe and we haue wele spedde.
Miles 2
Why, who is that?186
Miles 3
The Jewes kyng, Jesus by name.186
Miles 1
A, yee be welcome, that dare I wele wedde,187
My lorde has sente for to seke hym.
Miles 4
Loo, se here the same.188
Miles 2
Abidde as I bidde and be noght adreed.189
My lorde, my lorde, my lorde, here is layke and yoou list.
Pees, loselles. Leste yoe be nyse?191
Miles 1
My lorde, it is wele and ye wiste.192
What, nemen vs no more, for it is twyes.193
Thou takist non hede to the haste that we haue here on honde,
Go frayne howe oure folke faris that are furth ronne.
Miles 2
My lorde, youre knyghtis has kared as ye thame commaunde
And thei haue fallen full faire.
Why, and is the foole fonne?197
Miles 1
Ya lorde, thei haue brought a boy in a bande boune.
Where nowe sir Anna, that is one and able to be nere?
My lorde, with youre leue me behoues to be here.200
A, sir, come nere and sitte we both in fere.201
Do sir bidde tham bring in that boy that is bune.202
Pese now sir Anna, be stille and late hym stande,203
And late vs grope yf this gome be grathly begune.
Sir, this game is begune of the best,205
Nowe hadde he no force for to flee thame.
Nowe in faithe I am fayne he is fast,207
Do lede in that ladde, late me se than.
Miles 2
Lo sir, we haue saide to oure souereyne,209
Gose nowe and suye to hymselfe for the same thyng.
Miles 3
Mi lorde, to youre bidding we haue ben buxom and bayne,
Lo, here is the belschere broght that ye bad bring.
Miles 4
My lorde, fandis now to fere hym.213
Nowe I am fayne,213
And felawes, faire mott ye fall for youre fynding.
Sir, and ye trowe thei be trewe withowten any trayne,
Bidde thayme telle you the tyme of the takyng.
Say felawes, howe wente ye so nemely by nyyot?217
Miles 3
My lorde, was there no man to marre vs ne mende vs.
Miles 4
My lorde, we had lanternes and light219
And some of his company kende vs.
But saie, howe did he, Judas?221
Miles 3
A, sir, full wisely and wele,221
He markid vs his maistir emang all his men
And kyssid hym full kyndely his comforte to kele,
By cause of a countenaunce that karll for to kenne.
And thus did he his deuere?225
Miles 4
Ya lorde, euere-ilke a dele,225
He taughte vs to take hym the tyme aftir tenne.
Nowe be my feith a faynte frende myght he ther fele.
Miles 3
Sire, ye myght so haue saide hadde ye hym sene thenne.
Miles 4
He sette vs to the same that he solde vs229
And feyned to be his frende as a faytour,
This was the tokenyng before that he tolde vs.
Nowe trewly, this was a trante of a traytour.232
Ya, be he traytour or trewe geue we neuer tale,233
But takes tente at this tyme and here what he telles.
Now sees that oure howsolde be holden here hole,235
So that none carpe in case but that in court dwellis.
Miles 3
A, lorde, this brethell hath brewed moche bale.237
Therfore schall we spede vs to spere of his spellis.
Sir Anna, takis hede nowe and here hym.
Say ladde, liste the noght lowte to a lorde?240
Miles 4
No sir, with youre leue we schall lere hym.241
Nay sir, noght so, no haste,242
Itt is no burde to bete bestis that are bune.
And therfore with fayrenes firste we vill hym fraste
And sithen forther hym furth as we haue fune.
And telle vs som tales truly to traste.
Sir, we myght als wele talke tille a tome tonne.247
I warande hym witteles, or ellis he is wrang wrayste,
Or ellis he waitis to wirke als he was are wonne.
Miles 3
His wonne was to wirke mekill woo250
And make many maystries emelle vs.
And some schall he graunte or he goo,252
Or muste yowe tente hym and telle vs.
Miles 4
Mi lorde, to witte the wonderes that he has wroght,
For to telle you the tente it wolde oure tonges tere.
Sen the boy for his boste is into bale broght256
We will witte or he wende how his werkis were.
Miles 3
Oure Sabott day we saye saves he right noght,258
That he schulde halowe and holde full dingne and full dere.
Miles 4
No sir, in the same feste als we the sotte soughte260
He salued thame of sikenesse on many sidis seere.
What than, makes he thame grathely to gange?262
Miles 3
Ya lorde, even forthe in euery-ilke a toune263
He thame lechis to liffe aftir lange.
A, this makes he by the myghtis of Mahounde.265
Miles 4
Sir, oure stiffe tempill that made is of stone,266
That passes any paleys of price for to preyse,
And it were doune to the erth and to the gronde gone
This rebalde he rowses hym it rathely to rayse.
Miles 3
Ya lorde, and othir wonderis he workis grete wone,270
And with his lowde lesyngis he losis oure layes.
Go lowse hym, and levis than and late me allone,272
For myselfe schall serche hym and here what he saies.
Herke, Jesus of Jewes, we will haue joie274
To spille all thy sporte for thy spellis.
Do meve, felawe, of thy frendis that fedde the beforne,
And sithen, felowe, of thi fare forther will I freyne;
Do neven vs lightly. His langage is lorne!
Miles 3
My lorde, with youre leve, hym likis for to layne,279
But and he schulde scape skatheles it wer a full skorne,
For he has mustered emonge vs full mekil of his mayne.
Miles 4
Malkus youre man, lord, that had his ere schorne,282
This harlotte full hastely helid it agayne.
What, and liste hym be nyse for the nonys,284
And heres howe we haste to rehete hym.
Nowe by Beliall bloode and his bonys,286
I holde it beste to go bete hym.
Nay sir, none haste, we schall haue game or we goo.
Boy, be not agaste if we seme gaye.
I coniure the kyndely and comaunde the also,
By grete God that is liffand and laste schall ay,
Yf thou be Criste, Goddis sonne, telle till vs two.
Sir, thou says it thiselffe, and sothly I saye293
That I schall go to my fadir that I come froo
And dwelle with hym wynly in welthe allway.
Why, fie on the faitoure vntrewe,296
Thy fadir haste thou fowly defamed.
Now nedis vs no notes of newe,
Hymselfe with his sawes has he schamed.
Nowe nedis nowdir wittenesse ne counsaille to call,
But take his sawes as he saieth in the same stede.
He sclaunderes the Godhed and greues vs all,
Wherfore he is wele worthy to be dede-
And therfore sir, saies hym the sothe.
Sertis so I schall.304
Heres thou not, harlott? Ille happe on thy hede!
Aunswere here grathely to grete and to small
And reche vs oute rathely som resoune, I rede.
My reasouns are not to reherse,308
Nor they that myght helpe me are noyot here nowe.
Say ladde, liste the make verse?310
Do telle on belyffe, late vs here nowe.
Sir, if I saie the sothe thou schall not assente,312
But hyndir, or haste me to hynge.
I prechid wher pepull was moste in present,
And no poynte in priuité to olde ne yoonge.
And also in youre tempill I tolde myne entente;
Ye myght haue tane me that tyme for my tellyng
Wele bettir than bringe me with brondis vnbrente,318
And thus to noye me be nyght, and also for nothyng.
For nothyng, losell? Thou lies!320
Thy wordis and werkis will haue a wrekyng.
Sire, sen thou with wrong so me wreyes,322
Go spere thame that herde of my spekyng.
A, this traitoure has tened me with tales that he has tolde,
Yitt hadde I neuere such hething of a harlott as hee.
Miles 1
What, fye on the, beggar, who made the so bolde326
To bourde with oure busshoppe? Thy bane schalle I bee.
Sir, if my wordis be wrange or werse than thou wolde,
A wronge wittenesse I wotte nowe ar yoe;
And if my sawes be soth thei mon be sore solde,
Wherfore thou bourdes to brode for to bete me.
Miles 2
My lorde, will yoe here? For Mahounde,332
No more now for to neven that it nedis.
Gose dresse you and dyng yoe hym doune,334
And deffe vs no more with his dedis.
Nay sir, than blemysshe yee prelatis estate,336
Ye awe to deme no man to dede for to dynge.
Why sir? So were bettir than be in debate,338
Ye see the boy will noyot bowe for oure bidding.
Nowe sir, ye muste presente this boy vnto sir Pilate
For he is domysman nere and nexte to the king,
And late hym here alle the hole, how ye hym hate,
And whedir he will helpe hym or haste hym to hyng.
Miles 1
My lorde, late men lede hym by nyght,344
So schall ye beste skape oute o skornyng.
Miles 2
My lorde, it is nowe in the nyght,346
I rede yoe abide tille the mornyng.
Bewschere, thou sais the beste and so schall it be-
But lerne yone boy bettir to bende and bowe.
Miles 1
We schall lerne yone ladde, be my lewté,350
For to loute vnto ilke lorde like vnto yowe.
Ya, and felawes, wayte that he be ay wakand.352
Miles 2
Yis lorde, that warant will wee,352
Itt were a full nedles note to bidde vs nappe nowe.
Miles 3
Sertis, will ye sitte and sone schall ye see354
Howe we schall play popse for the pages prowe.
Miles 4
Late see, who stertis for a stole?356
For I haue here a hatir to hyde hym.
Miles 1
Lo, here is one full fitte for a foole,358
Go gete it and sette the beside hym.
Miles 2
Nay, I schall sette it myselffe and frusshe hym also.
Lo here a shrowde for a shrewe, and of shene shappe.
Miles 3
Playes faire in feere, and ther is one and ther is-ij;
I schall fande to feste it with a faire flappe-
And ther is-iij; and there is-iiij.
Say nowe with an nevill happe,
Who negheth the nowe? Not o worde, no!
Miles 4
Dose noddill on hym with neffes that he noght nappe.
Miles 1
Nay, nowe to nappe is no nede,368
Wassaille! Wassaylle! I warande hym wakande.
Miles 2
Ya, and bot he bettir bourdis can byde370
Such buffettis schall he be takande.
Miles 3
Prophete, Y saie, to be oute of debate,372
Quis te percussit, man? Rede, giffe thou may.
Miles 4
Those wordes are in waste, what wenes thou he wate?
It semys be his wirkyng his wittes were awaye.
Miles 1
Now late hym stande as he stode in a foles state,376
For he likis noyot this layke my liffe dare I laye.
Miles 2
Sirs, vs muste presente this page to ser Pilate,378
But go we firste to oure souerayne and see what he saie.
Miles 3
My lorde, we haue bourded with this boy380
And holden hym full hote emelle vs.
Thanne herde ye some japes of joye?382
Miles 4
The devell haue the worde, lorde, he wolde telle vs.
Sir, bidde belyue thei goo and bynde hym agayne,384
So that he skape noght, for that were a skorne.
Do telle to sir Pilate oure pleyntes all pleyne,386
And saie this ladde with his lesyngis has oure lawes lorne.
And saie this same day muste he be slayne
Because of Sabott day that schal be tomorne,
And saie that we come ourselffe for certayne,
And for to fortheren this fare, fare yee beforne.
Miles 1
Mi lorde, with youre leve, vs muste wende,392
Oure message to make as we maye.
Sir, youre faire felawschippe we betake to the fende,
Goose onne nowe, and daunce forth in the deuyll way.

2018 Nov 25  22:07:40