The Saddlers' Play: The Harrowing of Hell

Manne on molde, be meke to me,1
And haue thy maker in thi mynde,
And thynke howe I haue tholid for the
With pereles paynes for to be pyned.
The forward of my fadir free
Haue I fulfillid, as folke may fynde,
Therfore aboute nowe woll I bee7
That I haue bought for to vnbynde.
The feende thame wanne with trayne
Thurgh frewte of erthely foode;
I haue thame getyn agayne
Thurgh bying with my bloode.
And so I schall that steede restore13
For whilke the feende fell for synne,
Thare schalle mankynde wonne euermore
In blisse that schall neuere blynne.
All that in werke my werkemen were,
Owte of thare woo I wol thame wynne,
And some signe schall I sende before19
Of grace, to garre ther gamys begynne.
A light I woll thei haue
To schewe thame I schall come sone.
My bodie bidis in graue
Tille alle thes dedis be done.
My fadir ordand on this wise25
Aftir his will that I schulde wende,
For to fulfille the prophicyes,
And als I spake my solace to spende.
My frendis that in me faith affies,
Nowe fro ther fois I schall thame fende,
And on the thirde day ryght vprise,31
And so tille heuen I schall assende.
Sithen schall I come agayne
To deme bothe goode and ill
Tille endles joie or peyne;
Thus is my fadris will.
Mi bretheren, harkens to me here,37
Swilke hope of heele neuere are we hadde;
Foure thowsande and sex hundereth yoere
Haue we bene heere in this stedde.
Nowe see I signe of solace seere,
A glorious gleme to make vs gladde,
Wherfore I hope oure helpe is nere43
And sone schall sesse oure sorowes sadde.
Adame, my husband hende,45
This menys solas certayne.
Such light gune on vs lende
In paradise full playne.
Adame, we schall wele vndirstande-49
I, Ysaias, as God me kende,
I prechid in Neptalym, that lande,
And Zabulon, even vntill ende.
I spake of folke in mirke walkand
And saide a light schulde on thame lende.
This lered I whils I was leuand,55
Nowe se I God this same hath sende.
This light comes all of Criste,
That seede to saue vs nowe.
Thus is my poynte puplisshid-
But Symeon, what sais thou?
Thhis, my tale of farleis feele,61
For in the temple his frendis me fande.
I hadde delite with hym to dele
And halsed homely with my hande.
I saide, ‘Lorde, late thy seruaunt lele
Passe nowe in pesse to liffe lastand,
For nowe myselfe has sene thy hele67
Me liste no lengar to liffe in landé.
This light thou hast purueyed
To folkes that liffis in leede,
The same that I thame saide
I see fulfillid in dede.
John the Baptist
Als voyce criand to folke I kende73
The weyes of Criste als I wele kanne.
I baptiste hym with bothe my hende
Euen in the floode of flume Jordanne.
The holy goste fro heuene discende
Als a white dowue doune on hym thanne;
The fadir voice, my mirthe to mende,79
Was made to me euen als manne:
‘This is my soné, he saide,
‘In whome me paies full welé.
His light is on vs laide,
He comes oure cares to kele.
Of that same light lernyng haue I:85
To me, Moyses, he mustered his myght,
And also vnto anodir, Hely,
Wher we were on an hille on hight.
Whyte as snowe was his body,
And his face like to the sonne to sight;
No man on molde was so myghty91
Grathely to loke agaynste that light.
That same light se I nowe
Shynyng on vs sarteyne,
Wherfore trewly I trowe
We schalle sone passe fro payne.
Diabolus 1
Helpe, Belsabub, to bynde ther boyes-97
Such harrowe was neuer are herde in helle.
Diabolus 2
Why rooris thou soo, Rebalde? Thou royis-99
What is betidde, canne thou ought telle?
Diabolus 1
What, heris thou noyot this vggely noyse?101
Thes lurdans that in Lymbo dwelle,
Thei make menyng of many joies
And musteres grete mirthe thame emell.
Diabolus 2
Mirthe? Nay, nay, that poynte is paste,105
More hele schall thei neuer haue.
Diabolus 1
Thei crie on Criste full faste107
And sais he schal thame saue.
Ya, if he saue thame noght, we schall,109
For they are sperde in speciall space.
Whils I am prince and principall
Schall thei neuer passe oute of this place.
Calle vppe Astrotte and Anaball
To giffe ther counsaille in this case,
Bele-Berit and Belial,115
To marre thame that swilke maistries mase.
Say to Satan oure sire,
And bidde thame bringe also
Lucifer, louely of lyre.
Diabolus 1
Al redy, lorde, I goo.120
Attollite portas, principes,121
Oppen vppe, yoe princes of paynes sere,
Et eleuamini eternales,
Youre yendles yoatis that yoe haue here.
What page is there that makes prees125
And callis hym kyng of vs in fere?
I lered leuand, withouten lees,127
He is a kyng of vertues clere,
A lorde mekill of myght
And stronge in ilke a stoure,
In batailes ferse to fight
And worthy to wynne honnoure.
Honnoure? In the deuel way! For what dede?133
All erthely men to me are thrall.
The lady that calles hym lorde in leede
Hadde neuer yoitt herberowe, house, ne halle.
Diabolus 1
Harke Belsabub, I haue grete drede,137
For hydously I herde hym calle.
We, spere oure yoates, all ill mot thou spede,139
And sette furthe watches on the wall-
And if he calle or crie
To make vs more debate,
Lay on hym than hardely
And garre hym gange his gate.
Telle me what boyes dare be so bolde145
For drede to make so mekill draye.
Diabolus 1
Itt is the Jewe that Judas solde147
For to be dede this othir daye.
Owe, this tale in tyme is tolde,149
This traytoure traueses vs alway.
He schall be here full harde in holde,
Loke that he passe noght, I the praye.
Diabolus 2
Nay, nay, he will noyot wende153
Away or I be ware,
He shappis hym for to schende
Alle helle or he go ferre.
Nay faitour, therof schall he faile,157
For alle his fare I hym deffie.
I knowe his trantis fro toppe to taile,
He leuys with gaudis and with gilery.
Therby he brought oute of oure bale
Nowe late Lazar of Betannye;
Therfore I gaffe to the Jewes counsaille163
That thei schulde alway garre hym dye.
I entered in Judas
That forwarde to fulfille,
Therfore his hire he has
Allway to wonne here stille.
Sir Sattanne, sen we here the saie169
That thou and the Jewes wer same assente,
And wotte he wanne Lazar awaye
That tille vs was tane for to tente,
Trowe thou that thou marre hym maye,
To mustir mightis what he has mente?
If he nowe depriue vs of oure praye,175
We will yoe witte whanne thei are wente.
I bidde yoou be noyot abasshed,177
But boldely make youe boune
With toles that yoe on traste,
And dynge that dastard doune.
Principes, portas tollite,181
Vndo youre yoatis, yoe princis of pryde,
Et introibit rex glorie,
The kyng of blisse comes in this tyde.
Owte, harrowe! What harlot is hee185
That sais his kyngdome schall be cryed?
That may thou in my Sawter see,187
For that poynte I prophicied.
I saide that he schuld breke
Youre barres and bandis by name,
And on youre werkis take wreke-
Nowe schalle yoe see the same.
This steede schall stonde no lenger stoken:193
Opynne vppe, and latte my pepul passe.
Diabolus 1
Owte! Beholdes, oure baill is brokynne,195
And brosten are alle oure bandis of bras-
Telle Lucifer alle is vnlokynne.
What thanne, is Lymbus lorne? Allas,198
Garre Satan helpe that we wer wroken;
This werke is werse thanne euere it was.
I badde yoe schulde be boune201
If he made maistries more.
Do dynge that dastard doune
And sette hym sadde and sore.
Ya, sette hym sore-that is sone saide,205
But come thiselffe and serue hym soo.
We may not bide his bittir braide,
He wille vs marre and we wer moo.
What, faitours, wherfore are yoe flayd?209
Haue yoe no force to flitte hym froo?
Belyue loke that my gere be grathed,
Miselffe schall to that gedlyng goo.
Howe, belamy, abide,
With al thy booste and bere,
And telle to me this tyde215
What maistries makes thou here?
I make no maistries but for myne,217
Thame wolle I saue I telle the nowe.
Thou hadde no poure thame to pyne,
But as my prisounes for ther prowe
Here haue thei soiorned, noght as thyne,
But in thy warde-thou wote wele howe.
And what deuel haste thou done ay syne223
That neuer wolde negh thame nere or nowe?
Nowe is the tyme certayne225
Mi fadir ordand before,
That they schulde passe fro payne
And wonne in mirthe euer more.
Thy fadir knewe I wele be sight,229
He was a write his mette to wynne,
And Marie me menys thi modir hight-
The vttiremeste ende of all thi kynne.
Who made the be so mekill of myght?
Thou wikid feende, latte be thy dynne.234
Mi fadir wonnys in heuen on hight,
With blisse that schall neuere blynne.
I am his awne sone,
His forward to fulfille,
And same ay schall we wonne
And sundir whan we wolle.240
God sonne? Thanne schulde thou be ful gladde,241
Aftir no catel neyd thowe crave!
But thou has leued ay like a ladde,
And in sorowe as a symple knave.
That was for hartely loue I hadde245
Vnto mannis soule, it for to saue;
And for to make the mased and madde,
And by that resoune thus dewly to haue
Mi Godhede here, I hidde
In Marie modir myne,
For it schulde noyot be kidde251
To the nor to none of thyne.
A, this wolde I were tolde in ilke a toune.253
So, sen thou sais God is thy sire,
I schall the proue be right resoune
Thou motes his men into the myre.
To breke his bidding were thei boune,
And, for they did at my desire,
Fro paradise he putte thame doune259
In helle here to haue ther hyre.
And thyselfe, day and nyght,
Has taught al men emang
To do resoune and right,
And here werkis thou all wrang.
I wirke noght wrang, that schal thow witte,265
If I my men fro woo will wynne.
Mi prophetis playnly prechid it,
All this note that nowe begynne.
Thai saide that I schulde be obitte,
To helle that I schulde entre in,
And saue my seruauntis fro that pitte271
Wher dampned saulis schall sitte for synne.
And ilke trewe prophettis tale
Muste be fulfillid in mee;
I haue thame boughte with bale,
And in blisse schal thei be.
Nowe sen the liste allegge the lawes,277
Thou schalte be atteynted or we twynne,
For tho that thou to wittenesse drawes
Full even agaynste the will begynne.
Salamon saide in his sawes
That whoso enteres helle withynne
Shall neuer come oute, thus clerkis knawes-283
And therfore felowe, leue thi dynne.
Job, thi seruaunte, also
Thus in his tyme gune telle
That nowthir frende nor foo
Shulde fynde reles in helle.
He saide full soth, that schall thou see,289
That in helle may be no reles,
But of that place than preched he
Where synffull care schall euere encrees.
And in that bale ay schall thou be
Whare sorowes sere schall neuer sesse,
And for my folke therfro wer free,295
Nowe schall thei passe to the place of pees.
Thai were here with my wille,
And so schall thei fourthe wende,
And thiselue schall fulfille
Ther wooe withouten ende.
Owe, thanne se I howe thou menys emang301
Some mesure with malice to melle,
Sen thou sais all schall noyot gang,
But some schalle alway with vs dwelle.
Yaa, witte thou wele, ellis were it wrang,305
Als cursed Cayme that slewe Abell,
And all that hastis hemselue to hange,
Als Judas and Archedefell,
Datan and Abiron,
And alle of thare assente,
Als tyrantis euerilkone311
That me and myne turmente.
And all that liste noght to lere my lawe
That I haue lefte in lande nowe newe-
That is my comyng for to knawe,
And to my sacramente pursewe,
Mi dede, my rysing, rede be rawe-317
Who will noght trowe, thei are noght trewe.
Vnto my dome I schall thame drawe,
And juge thame worse thanne any Jewe.
And all that likis to leere
My lawe and leue therbye,
Shall neuere haue harmes heere,323
But welthe, as is worthy.
Nowe here my hande, I halde me paied,325
This poynte is playnly for oure prowe.
If this be soth that thou hast saide
We schall haue moo thanne we haue nowe.
This lawe that thou nowe late has laide
I schall lere men noyot to allowe;
Iff thei it take thei be betraied,331
For I schall turne thame tyte, I trowe.
I schall walke este and weste,
And garre thame werke wele werre.
Naye, feende, thou schall be feste,335
That thou schalte flitte not ferre.
Feste? That were a foule reasoune-337
Nay bellamy, thou bus be smytte.
Mighill myne aungell, make the boune339
And feste yone fende that he noght flitte.
And, Deuyll, I comaunde the go doune
Into thy selle where thou schalte sitte.
Owt! Ay herrowe! Helpe, Mahounde!343
Nowe wex I woode oute of my witte.
Sattan, this saide we are,345
Nowe schall thou fele thi fitte.
Allas for dole and care,347
I synke into helle pitte.
A, Jesu, lorde, mekill is thi myght,349
That mekis thiselffe in this manere,
Vs for to helpe as thou has hight,
Whanne both forfette, I and my feere.
Here haue we leuyd withouten light
Four thousand and vi c yoere;
Now se I be this solempne sight355
Howe thy mercy hath made vs clere.
A, lorde, we were worthy357
Mo turmentis for to taste,
But mende vs with mercye
Als thou of myght is moste.
John the Baptist
A, lorde, I loue the inwardly,361
That me wolde make thi messengere
Thy comyng in erth for to crye,
And teche thi faith to folke in feere;
And sithen before the for to dye
And bringe boodworde to thame here,
How thai schulde haue thyne helpe in hye.367
Nowe se I all thi poyntis appere
Als Dauid, prophete trewe,
Ofte tymes tolde vntill vs;
Of this comyng he knewe,
And saide it schulde be thus.
Als I haue saide, yoitt saie I soo,373
Ne derelinquas, domine,
Animam meam in inferno,
Leffe noght my saule, lorde, aftir the
In depe helle where dampned schall goo;
Ne suffre neuere saules fro the be,
The sorowe of thame that wonnes in woo379
Ay full of filthe, that may repleye.
We thanke his grete goodnesse381
He fette vs fro this place.
Makes joie nowe, more and lesse.
We laude God of his grace.384
Adame, and my frendis in feere,385
Fro all youre fooes come fourth with me.
Ye schalle be sette in solas seere
Wher yoe schall neuere of sorowes see.
And Mighill, myn aungell clere,
Ressayue thes saules all vnto the
And lede thame als I schall the lere,391
To paradise with playe and plenté.
Mi graue I woll go till,
Redy to rise vpperight,
And so I schall fulfille
That I before haue highte.
Lorde, wende we schall aftir thi sawe,397
To solace sere thai schall be sende.
But that ther deuelis no draught vs drawe
Lorde, blisse vs with thi holy hende.
Mi blissing haue yoe all on rawe,401
I schall be with youe wher yoe wende,
And all that lelly luffes my lawe,
Thai schall be blissid withowten ende.
To the, lorde, be louyng,405
That vs has wonne fro waa.
For solas will we syng
Laus tibi cum gloria etc.

2018 Nov 25  22:07:40