The Chandlers' Play: The Shepherds

Shepherd 1
Brother, in haste take heed and hear1
What I will speak and specify;
As we walk thus, withouten fear,
What moves in my mind now tell it will I.
Our forefathers who faithful were,
Both Hosea and Isaiah,
Proved that a prince withouten peer7
Should descend down - in a lady,
And take a man’s shape clearly,
To comfort them that are forlorn.
And in Bethlehem hereby
Shall that same bairn be born.
Shepherd 2 (Hudd)
Ere he be borne in burgh hereby,13
I have heard prophet Balaam say,
A star should shine and signify
With radiant rays like any day.
Also the text it tells clearly
Through witty learned men of our lay,
With his blessed blood he should us buy,19
My father often said,20
When she that babby bore,
She should be as clean a maid
As ever she was before.
Shepherd 3 (Coll)
Ah, merciful maker, mickle is thy might,24
That thus will to thy servants see,
Might we once look upon that light
Gladder brethren might no men be.
I have heard say, by that same light
The children of Israel should be made free,
The force of the fiend to fell in fight,30
And all his power excluded should be.
Wherefore, brethren, I rede that we

Noticing the sheep has sneaked off

Flit fast over these fells,
To frayste to find our sheep,
And talk of summat else.

Shepherd 2 goes down aisle asking audience if they have seen any sheep

Shepherd 1
Wey, Hudd!36
Shepherd 2 (Hudd)
Wey, how?37
Shepherd 1
Harken to me.38
Shepherd 2 (Hudd)
Wey, man, yow run mad all out of might.39
Shepherd 1
Wey, Coll!40
Shepherd3 (Coll)
What care is comen to thee?41
Shepherd 1
Step forth and stand by me right,42
And tell me then
If yow saw ever such a sight.
Shepherd 3 (Coll)
I? Nay, certes, nor never no man.45
Shepherd 2 (Hudd)
Say fellows, what - find ye any feast?46
Some part should fall to me, pardi!
Shepherd 1
Wey, Hudde, behold into the east,48
A wondrous sight then shall yow see
Upon the sky.
Shepherd 2 (Hudd)
Wey, tell me men, among us three,51
What makes yow stare thus sturdily?
Shepherd 3 (Coll)
As long as we have herdsmen been53
And kept this cattle in this valley,
So wondrous a sight was never none seen.
Shepherd 1
Wey, no Coll. Now comes it new again56
Shepherd 3 (Coll)
It means some marvel us among,57
Full hardily I you foretell.
Shepherd 1
What it should mean that wot not yow,59
For all that yow can gape and gawk.
I can sing it as well as (s)he,61
And on assay it shall be soon
Proved ere we pass.
If yow will help, lat’s see, hold on,
For thus it was:

He sings in imitation of the Angel. The others are not impressed. Coll leads them (and the sheep) in a more tuneful song and a dance.

Shepherd 2 (Hudd)
Ha! Ha! this was a merry note,66
I have so cracked in my throat
That my lips are near dry.
Shepherd 3 (Coll)
Yet what it was fain know would I69
That to us made this noble noise.
Shepherd 1
An angel brought us tidings new71
A babe in Bethlehem should be born,
- Of him then spake our prophesy true -
And bade us meet him there this morn
That babe so mild.
I would give him both hat and horn
If I might find that fair young child.77
Shepherd 3 (Coll)
How to him find we need not dread,78
I shall you tell the reason why:
Yon star to that lord shall us lead.
Shepherd 2 (Hudd)
Yea, yow says sooth. Go we forthy81
Him to honour,
And make mirth and melody,
With song to seek our saviour.


Shepherd 1
Brothers, be all blithe and glad,85
Here is the burgh where we should be.
Shepherd 2 (Hudd)
In that same stead now are we stood,87
Therefore I will go seek and see.
Such hap of joy never herdsmen had;
Lo, here is the house, and here is he.
Shepherd 3 (Coll)
Yea forsooth, this is the same,91
Lo, where that lord is laid
Betwixt two beasts tame,
Right as the angel said.
Shepherd 1
The angel said that he should save95
This world and all that lives therein,
Therefore, if later I should aught crave
To worship him I will begin:
Since I am but a simple knave,
Though I come of courtly kin,
Lo, take this trinket that I have -101
A bauble on a bell of tin
At your bosom to be;
And when you shall rule all
Good son, forget not me
If any favour fall.
Shepherd 2 (Hudd)
Thou son that shall save both sea and sand,107
See to me, since I have thee sought;
I am too poor to make present
As my heart would, and as I ought.
Two hazelnuts upon a band,
Lo, little babe, what I have brought,
And when yow shall be lord in land113
Do good again, forget me not,
For I have heard declared
By cunning clerks and clean,
That bounty earns reward;
Now wit yow what I mean?
Shepherd 3 (Coll)
Now look on me, my lord dear,119
I meet you meekly on my knees,
Ye are a prince withouten peer,
I have no present that you may please.
But lo, a horn spoon that have I here -
And it will harbour forty peas!
This will I give you with good cheer,125
Such novelty may not displease.
Farewell thou sweet swain,127
God grant us living long,
And go we home again
And make mirth as we go.

2017 Nov 30  12:53:23