The Shipwrights' Play: The Building of the Ark

Fyrst qwen I wrought this world so wyde,1
Wode and wynde and watters wane,
Heuyn and helle was noght to hyde,
Wyth herbys and gyrse thus I begane.
In endles blysse to be and byde.
And to my liknes made I man,
Lorde and syre on ilke a side7
Of all medillerthe I made hym than.
A woman also with hym wroght I,
Alle in lawe to lede ther lyffe,
I badde thame waxe and multiplye,
To fulfille this worlde, withowtyn striffe.
Sythn hays men wroght so wofully13
And synne is nowe reynand so ryffe,
That me repentys and rewys forthi
That ever I made outhir man or wiffe.
Bot sen they make me to repente
My werke I wroght so wele and trewe,
Wythowtyn seys will noght assente,19
Bot euer is bowne more bale to brewe.
Bot for ther synnes thai shall be shente
And fordone hoyly, hyde and hewe;
Of tham shal no more be mente,
Bot wirke this werke I wille al newe.
Al newe I will this worlde be wroght25
And waste away that wonnys therin,
A flowyd above thame shall be broght
To stroye medilerthe, both more and myn.
Bot Noe alon, lefe shal it noght
To all be sownkyn for ther synne;
He and his sones, thus is my thoght,31
And with ther wyffes away sall wynne.
Nooe, my seruand sad an cleyn,
For thou art stabill in stede and stalle,
I wyll thou wyrke withowten weyn
A warke to saffe thiselfe wythall.
O, mercy lorde, qwat may this meyne?37
I am thi Gode of grete and small38
Is comyn to telle the of thy teyn,
And qwat ferly sall eftir fall.
A, lorde, I lowe the lowde and still41
That vnto me-wretche vnworthye-
Thus with thy worde, as is thi will,
Lykis to appere thus propyrly.
Nooe, as I byd the, doo fulfill:45
A shippe I will haue wroght in hye;
All-yf thou can litill skyll,
Take it in hande, for helpe sall I.
A, worthy lorde, wolde thou take heede,49
I am full olde and oute of qwarte,
That me liste do no daies dede
Bot yf gret mystir me garte.
Begynne my werke behoves the nede53
And thou wyll passe from peynes smerte,
I sall the sokoure and the spede
And giffe the hele in hede and hert.
I se such ire emonge mankynde
That of thare werkis I will take wreke;
Thay shall be sownkyn for thare synne,59
Therfore a shippe I wille thou make.
Thou and thi sonnes shall be therin,
They sall be sauyd for thy sake.
Therfore go bowdly and begynne
Thy mesures and thy markis to take.
A, lorde, thi wille sall euer be wroght65
Os counsill gyfys of ilka clerk,
Bot first, of shippe-craft can I right noght;
Of ther makyng haue I no merke.
Noe, I byd the hartely haue no thought,69
I sall the wysshe in all thi werke,
And even to itt till ende be wroght;
Therfore to me take hede and herke.
Take high trees and hewe thame cleyne,
All be sware and noght of skwyn,
Make of thame burdes and wandes betwene75
Thus thrivandly, and noght ouer-thyn.
Luke that thi semes be suttilly seyn
And naylid wele that thei noght twyne;
Thus I deuyse ilk dele bedeyne,
Therfore do furthe, and leue thy dyne.
iij C cubyttis it sall be lang,81
And fyfty brode, all for thy blys;
The highte, of thyrty cubittis strang,
Lok lely that thou thynke on this.
Thus gyffe I the grathly or I gang
Thi mesures, that thou do not mysse.
Luk nowe that thou wirke noght wrang87
Thus wittely sen I the wyshe.
A, blistfull lord, that al may beylde,89
I thanke the hartely both euer and ay;
Fyfe hundreth wyntres I am of elde-
Methynk ther yoeris as yestirday.
Ful wayke I was and all vnwelde,
My werynes is wente away,
To wyrk this werke here in this feylde95
Al be myselfe I will assaye.
To hewe this burde I wyll begynne,
But firste I wille lygge on my lyne;
Now bud it be alle inlike thynne,
So that it nowthyr twynne nor twyne.
Thus sall I june it with a gynn101
And sadly sett it with symonde fyne:
Thus schall I wyrke it both more and mynne
Thurgh techyng of God, maistir myne.
[…     …]104
More suttelly kan no man sewe;
It sall be cleyngked euerilka dele
With nayles that are both noble and newe,
Thus sall I feste it fast to feele.
Take here a revette, and there a rewe,
With ther the bowe nowe wyrke I wele;110
This werke I warand both gud and trewe.
Full trewe it is who will take tente,
Bot faste my force begynnes to fawlde.
A hundereth wyntres away is wente
Sen I began this werk, full grathely talde,
And in slyke trauayle for to be bente116
Is harde to hym that is thus olde.
But he that to me this messages sent
He wille be my beylde, thus am I bowde.
Nooe, this werke is nere an ende120
And wrought right as I warned the.
Bot yit in maner it must be mende,
Therfore this lessoun lerne at me:
For dyuerse beestis therin must lende,
And fewles also in there degree,
And for that thay sall not sam blende126
Dyuerse stages must ther be.
And qwen that it is ordand soo
With dyuerse stawllys and stagis seere,
Of ilka kynde thou sall take twoo,
Bothe male and femalle fare in fere.
Thy wyffe, thy sonnes, with the sall goo132
And thare thre wyffes, withowten were;
There viij bodies withowten moo
Sall thus be saued on this manere.
Therfore to my biddyng be bayne,
Tille all be herberd haste the faste;
Eftir the vij day sall it rayne138
Tille fowrty dayes be fully paste.
Take with the geere sclyk os may gayne
To man and beeste thare lyffes to laste.
I sall the socoure for certeyne
Tille alle thi care awey be kaste.
A, lorde, that ilka mys may mende,144
I lowe thi lare both lowde and stille,
I thanke the both with herte and hende,
That me wille helpe fro angrys hill.
Abowte this werke now bus me wende
With beestys and fewlys my shippe to fill.
He that to me this Crafte has kende,150
He wysshe vs with his worthy wille.

2018 Nov 25  22:07:40