The First Shepherds' Play

Primus Pastor
Lord, what thay ar weyll / that hens ar past!1
ffor thay noght feyll / theym to downe cast.2
here is mekyll vnceyll / and long has it last,3
Now in hart, now in heyll / now in weytt, now in blast,
Now in care,5
Now in comforth agane,6
Now is fayre, now is rane,7
Now in hart full fane,8
And after full sare.9
Thus this Warld, as I say / farys on ylk syde,10
ffor after oure play / com sorows vnryde;11
ffor he that most may / When he syttys in pryde,12
When it comys on assay / is kesten downe wyde,13
This is seyn;14
When ryches is he,15
Then comys pouerte,16
hors-man Iak cope17
Walkys then, I weyn.18
I thank it god / hark ye what I mene,19
ffor euen or for od / I haue mekyll tene;20
As heuy as a sod / I grete with myn eene,21
When I nap on my cod / for care that has bene,22
And sorow.23
All my shepe ar gone,24
I am not left oone,25
The rott has theym slone;26
Now beg I and borow.27
My handys may I wryng / and mowrnyng make,28
Bot if good will spryng / the countre forsake;29
ffermes thyk ar comyng / my purs is bot wake,30
I haue nerehand nothyng / to pay nor to take;31
I may syng32
With purs penneles,33
That makys this heuynes,34
Wo is me this dystres!35
And has no helpyng.36
Thus sett I my mynde / truly to neuen,37
By my wytt to fynde / to cast the warld in seuen;38
My shepe haue I tynde / by the moren full euen;39
Now if hap will grynde / god from his heuen40
Send grace.41
To the fare will I me,42
To by shepe, perde,43
And yit may I multyple,44
ffor all this hard case.45
Secundus Pastor
Benste, benste / be vs emang,46
And saue all that I se / here in this thrang,47
he saue you and me / ouertwhart and endlang,48
That hang on a tre / I say you no wrang;49
Cryst saue vs50
ffrom all myschefys,51
ffrom robers and thefys,52
ffrom those mens grefys,53
That oft ar agans vs.54
Both bosters and bragers / god kepe vs fro,55
That with thare long dagers / dos mekyll wo;56
ffrom all byll hagers / with colknyfys that go;57
Sich wryers and wragers / gose to and fro58
ffor to crak.59
Who so says hym agane,60
were better be slane;61
Both ploghe and wane62
Amendys will not make.63
he will make it as prowde / a lord as he were,64
With a hede lyke a clowde / ffelterd his here;65
he spekys on lowde / with a grym bere,66
I wold not haue trowde / so galy in gere67
As he glydys.68
I wote not the better,69
Nor wheder is gretter,70
The lad or the master,71
So stowtly he strydys.72
If he hask me oght / that he wold, to his pay,73
ffull dere bese it boght / if I say nay;74
Bot god that all wroght / to the now I say,75
help that thay were broght / to a better way76
ffor thare sawlys;77
And send theym good mendyng78
With a short endyng,79
And with the to be lendyng80
When that thou callys.81
how, gyb, goode morne / wheder goys thou?82
Thou goys ouer the corne / gyb, I say, how!83
Primus Pastor
Who is that? John horne / I make god a vowe!84
I say not in skorne / thom, how farys thou?85
Secundus Pastor
hay, ha!86
Ar ye in this towne?87
Primus Pastor
yey, by my crowne.88
Secundus Pastor
I thoght by youre gowne89
This was youre aray.90
Primus Pastor
I am euer elyke / wote I neuer what it gars,91
Is none in this ryke / a shepard, farys wars.92
Secundus Pastor
poore men ar in the dyke / and oft tyme mars,93
The warld is slyke / also helpars94
Is none here.95
Primus Pastor
It is sayde full ryfe,96
“a man may not wyfe97
And also thryfe,98
And all in a yere.”99
Secundus Pastor
ffyrst must vs crepe / and sythen go.100
Primus Pastor
I go to by shepe. /101
Secundus Pastor
nay, not so;
What, dreme ye or slepe? / where shuld thay go?102
here shall thou none kepe. /103
Primus Pastor
A, good sir, ho!
Who am I?104
I wyll pasture my fe105
where so euer lykys me,106
here shall thou theym se.107
Secundus Pastor
Not so hardy!108
Not oone shepe tayll / shall thou bryng hedyr.109
Primus Pastor
I shall bryng, no fayll / A hundreth togedyr.110
Secundus Pastor
What, art thou in ayll / longys thou oght whedir?111
Primus Pastor
Thay shall go, saunce fayll / go now, bell weder!112
Secundus Pastor
I say, tyr!113
Primus Pastor
I say, tyr, now agane!114
I say skyp ouer the plane.115
Secundus Pastor
wold, thou neuer so fane,116
Tup, I say, whyr!117
Primus Pastor
What, wyll thou not yit / I say, let the shepe go?118
Secundus Pastor
abyde yit. /
Primus Pastor
Will thou bot so?
knafe, hens I byd flytt / as good that thou do,120
Or shall I the hytt / on thi pate, lo,121
shall thou reyll;122
I say, gyf the shepe space.123
Secundus Pastor
Syr, a letter of youre grace,124
here comys slaw-pase125
ffro the myln whele.126
Tercius Pastor
What a do, what a do / is this you betweyn?127
A good day, thou, and thou.128
Primus Pastor
Hark what I meyn130
You to say:131
I was bowne to by store,132
drofe my shepe me before,133
he says not oone hore134
shall pas by this way;135
Bot and he were wood / this way shall thay go.136
Tercius Pastor
yey, bot tell me, good / where ar youre shepe, lo?137
Secundus Pastor
Now, sir, by my hode / yit se I no mo,138
Not syn I here stode. /139
Tercius Pastor
god gyf you wo
and sorow!140
ye fysh before the nett,141
And stryfe on this bett,142
sich folys neuer I mett143
Evyn or at morow.144
It is wonder to wyt / where wytt shuld, be fownde;145
here ar old, knafys yit / standys on this grownde,146
these wold, by thare wytt / make a shyp be drownde;
he were well qwytt / had sold, for a pownde148
sich two.149
thay fyght and thay flyte150
ffor that at comys not tyte;151
It is far to byd hyte152
To an eg or it go.153
Tytter want ye sowll / then sorow I pray;154
Ye brayde of mowll / that went by the way-155
Many shepe can she poll / bot oone had she ay-156
Bot she happynyd full fowll / hyr pycher, I say,157
Was broken;158
“ho, god”, she sayde,159
bot oone shepe yit she hade,160
The mylk pycher was layde,161
The skarthis was the tokyn.162
Bot syn ye ar bare / of wysdom to knawe,163
Take hede how I fare / and lere at my lawe;164
ye nede not to care / if ye folow my sawe;165
hold, ye my mare / this sek thou thrawe166
On my bak,167
Whylst I, with my hand,168
lawse the sek band;169
Com nar and, by stand170
Both gyg and Iak;171
Is not all shakyn owte / and no meyll is therin?172
Primus Pastor
yey, that is no dowte. /173
Tercius Pastor
so is youre wyttys thyn.
And ye look well abowte / nawther more nor myn,174
So gose youre wyttys owte / evyn as It com In:175
Geder vp176
And seke it agane.177
Secundus Pastor
May we not be fane!178
he has told vs full plane179
Wysdom to sup.180
Iak Garcio
Now god gyf you care / foles all sam;181
Sagh I neuer none so fare / bot the foles of gotham.
Wo is hir that yow bare / youre syre and youre dam,
had she broght furth an hare / a shepe, or a lam,184
had bene well.185
Of all the foles I can tell,186
ffrom heuen vnto hell,187
ye thre bere the bell;188
God gyf you vnceyll.189
Primus Pastor
how pastures oure fee / say me, good pen.190
Iak Garcio
Thay ar gryssed to the kne. /191
Secundus Pastor
fare fall the!
Iak Garcio
If ye will ye may se / youre bestes ye ken.192
Primus Pastor
Sytt we downe all thre / and drynk shall we then.193
Tercius Pastor
yey, torde!194
I am leuer ete;195
what is drynk withoute mete?196
Gett mete, gett,197
And sett vs a borde,198
Then may we go dyne / oure bellys to fyll.199
Secundus Pastor
Abyde vnto syne. /200
Tercius Pastor
be god, sir, I nyll!
I am worthy the wyne / me thynk it good skyll;201
My seruyse I tyne / I fare full yll,202
At youre mangere.203
Primus Pastor
Trus! go we to mete,204
It is best that we trete,205
I lyst not to plete206
To stand in thi dangere;207
Thou has euer bene curst / syn we met togeder.208
Tercius Pastor
Now in fayth, if I durst / ye ar euen my broder.209
Secundus Pastor
Syrs, let vs cryb furst / for oone thyng or oder,210
That thise wordis be purst / and let vs go foder211
Oure mompyns;212
lay furth of oure store,213
lo, here! browne of a bore.214
Primus Pastor
Set mustard afore,215
oure mete now begyns;216
here a foote of a cowe / well sawsed, I wene,217
The pestell of a sowe / that powderd has bene,218
Two blodyngis, I trow / A leueryng betwene;219
Do gladly, syrs, now / my breder bedene,220
With more.221
Both befe, and moton222
Of an ewe that was roton,223
Good mete for a gloton;224
Ete of this store.225
Secundus Pastor
I haue here in my mayll / sothen and rost,226
Euen of an ox tayll / that wold, not be lost;227
ha, ha, goderhayll! / I let for no cost,228
A good py or we fayll / this is good for the frost229
In a mornyng;230
And two swyne gronys,231
All a hare bot the lonys,232
we myster no sponys233
here, at oure mangyng.234
Tercius Pastor
here is to recorde / the leg of a goys,235
with chekyns endorde / pork, partryk, to roys;236
A tart for a lorde / how thynk ye this doys?237
A calf lyuer skorde / with the veryose;238
Good sawse,239
This is a restorete240
To make a good appete.241
Primus Pastor
yee speke all by clerge[te],242
I here by your clause;243
Cowth ye by youre gramery / reche vs a drynk,244
I shuld be more mery / ye wote What I thynk.245
Secundus Pastor
haue good ayll of hely / bewar now, I wynk,246
ffor and thou drynk drely / in thy poll wyll it synk.
Primus Pastor
A, so;248
This is boyte of oure bayll,249
good holsom ayll.250
Tercius Pastor
ye hold, long the skayll,251
Now lett me go to.252
Secundus Pastor
I shrew those lyppys / bot thou leyff me som parte.
Primus Pastor
be god, he bot syppys / begylde thou art;254
Behold, how he kyppys. /255
Secundus Pastor
I shrew you so smart,
And me on my hyppys / bot if I gart256
Be thou wyne, be thou ayll,258
bot if my brethe fayll,259
I shall sett the on sayll;260
God send the good gayte.261
Tercius Pastor
Be my dam saull, alyce / It was sadly dronken.262
Primus Pastor
Now, as euer haue I blys / to the bothom it is sonken.
Secundus Pastor
yit a botell here is. /264
Tercius Pastor
that is well spoken!
By my thryft we must kys. /265
Secundus Pastor
that had I forgoten.
Bot hark!266
Who so can best syng267
Shall haue the begynnyng.268
Primus Pastor
Now prays at the partyng269
I shall sett you on warke;270
We haue done oure parte / and songyn right weyll,271
I drynk for my parte. /272
Secundus Pastor
Abyde, lett cop reyll.
Primus Pastor
Godys forbot, thou spart / and thou drynk euery deyll.
Tercius Pastor
Thou has dronken a quart / therfor choke the the deyll.
Primus Pastor
Thou rafys;275
And it were for a sogh276
Ther is drynk enogh.277
Tercius Pastor
I shrew the handys it drogh!278
ve be both knafys.279
Primus Pastor
Nay! we knaues all / thus thynk me best,280
so, sir, shuld, ye call. /281
Secundus Pastor
furth let it rest;
we will not brall. /282
Primus Pastor
then wold I we fest,
This mete Who shall / into panyere kest.283
Tercius Pastor
syrs, herys;284
ffor oure saules lett vs do285
Poore men gyf it to.286
Primus Pastor
Geder vp, lo, lo!287
ye hungre begers ffrerys!288
Secundus Pastor
It draes nere nyght / trus, go we to rest;289
I am euen redy dyght / I thynk it the best.290
Tercius Pastor
ffor ferde we be fryght / a crosse lett vs kest,291
Cryst crosse, benedyght / eest and west,292
ffor drede.293
Jesus onazorus,294
Morcus, andreus,296
God be oure spede!297
herkyn, hyrdes, awake! / gyf louyng ye shall,298
he is borne for [y]oure sake / lorde perpetuall;299
he is comen to take / and rawnson you all,300
youre sorowe to slake / kyng emperiall,301
he behestys;302
That chyld is borne303
At bethelem this morne,304
ye shall fynde hym beforne305
Betwix two bestys.306
Primus Pastor
A, godys dere dominus! / What was that sang?307
It was wonder curiose / with small noytys emang;308
I pray to god saue vs / now in this thrang;309
I am ferd, by ihesus / somwhat be wrang;310
Me thoght,311
Oone scremyd on lowde;312
I suppose it was a clowde,313
In myn erys it sowde,314
By hym that me boght!315
Secundus Pastor
Nay, that may not be / I say you certan,316
ffor he spake to vs thre / as he had bene a man;317
When he lemyd on this lee / my hart shakyd than,318
An angell was he / tell you I can,319
No dowte.320
he spake of a barne,321
We must seke hym, I you warne,322
That betokyns yond starne,323
That standys yonder owte.324
Tercius Pastor
It was meruell to se / so bright as it shone,325
I wold haue trowyd, veraly / it had bene thoner flone,
Bot I sagh with myn ee / as I lenyd to this stone;327
It was a mery gle / sich hard I neuer none,328
I recorde.329
As he sayde in a skreme,330
Or els that I dreme,331
we shuld go to bedleme,332
To wyrship that lorde.333
Primus Pastor
That same childe is he / that prophetys of told,334
Shuld make them fre / that adam had sold.335
Secundus Pastor
Take tent vnto me / this is inrold,336
By the wordys of Isae / a prynce most bold337
shall he be,338
And kyng with crowne,339
Sett on dauid trone,340
Sich was neuer none,341
Seyn with oure ee.342
Tercius Pastor
Also Isay says / oure faders vs told343
That a vyrgyn shuld pas / of Iesse, that wold344
Bryng furth by grace / a floure so bold;345
That vyrgyn now has / these wordys vphold,346
As ye se;347
Trust it now we may,348
he is borne this day,349
Exiet virga350
De radice iesse.351
Primus Pastor
Of hym spake more / Sybyll as I weyn,352
And nabugodhonosor / from oure faythe alyene,353
In the fornace where thay wore / thre childre sene,
The fourt stode before / godys son lyke to bene.355
Secundus Pastor
That fygure356
Was gyffen by reualacyon357
That god wold haue a son;358
This is a good lesson,359
Vs to consydure.360
Tercius Pastor
Of hym spake Ieromy / and moyses also,361
Where he sagh hym by / a bushe burnand, lo!362
when he cam to aspy / if it were so,363
Vnburnyd was it truly / at commyng therto,364
A wonder.365
Primus Pastor
That was for to se366
hir holy vyrgynyte,367
That she vnfylyd shuld be,368
Thus can I ponder,369
And shuld haue a chyld / sich was neuer sene.370
Secundus Pastor
pese, man, thou art begyld, / thou shall se hym with eene,
Of a madyn so myld / greatt meruell I mene;372
yee, and she vnfyld / a virgyn clene,373
So soyne.374
Primus Pastor
Nothyng is inpossybyll375
sothly, that god wyll;376
It shalbe stabyll377
That god wyll haue done.378
Secundus Pastor
Abacuc and ely / prophesyde so,379
Elezabeth and zachare / and many other mo,380
And dauid as veraly / is witnes therto,381
Iohn Baptyste sewrly / and daniel also.382
Tercius Pastor
So saying,383
he is godys son alon,384
without hym shalbe none,385
his sete and his trone386
Shall euer be lastyng;387
Primus Pastor
Virgill in his poetre / sayde in his verse,388
Even thus by gramere / as I shall reherse;389
Iam noua progenies celo demittitur alto,
Iam rediet virgo, redeunt saturnia regna.
Secundus Pastor
weme! tord! what speke ye / here in myn eeres?390
Tell vs no clerge / I hold you of the freres,391
ye preche;392
It semys by youre laton393
ye haue lerd, youre caton.394
Primus Pastor
herk, syrs, ye fon,395
I shall you teche;396
he sayde from heuen / a new kynde is send,397
whom a vyrgyn to neuen, oure mys to amend,398
Shall conceyue full euen / thus make I an end;399
And yit more to neuen / that samyne shall bend400
vnto vs,401
With peasse and plente,402
with ryches and menee,403
Good luf and charyte404
Blendyd amanges vs405
Tercius Pastor
And I hold it trew / ffor ther shuld be,406
When that kyng commys new / peasse by land and se.407
Secundus Pastor
Now brethere, adew! / take tent vnto me;408
I wold, that we knew / of this song so fre409
Of the angell;410
I hard by hys steuen,411
he was send downe ffro heuen.412
Primus Pastor
It is trouth that ye neuen,413
I hard hym well spell.414
Secundus Pastor
Now, by god that me boght / it was a mery song;415
I dar say that he broght / foure & twenty to a long.
Tercius Pastor
I wold, it were soght / that same vs emong.417
Primus Pastor
In fayth I trow noght / so many he throng418
On a heppe;419
Thay were gentyll and small,420
And well tonyd with all.421
Tercius Pastor
yee, bot I can thaym all,422
Now lyst I lepe.423
Primus Pastor
Brek outt youre voce / let se as ye yelp.424
Tercius Pastor
I may not for the pose / bot I haue help.425
Secundus Pastor
A, thy hart is in thy hose! /426
Primus Pastor
now, in payn of a skelp
This sang thou not lose. /427
Tercius Pastor
thou art an yll awelp
ffor angre!428
Secundus Pastor
Go to now, begyn!429
Primus Pastor
he lyst not well ryn.430
Tercius Pastor
God lett vs neuer blyn;431
Take at my sangre.432
Primus Pastor
Now an ende haue we doyn / of oure song this tyde.433
Secundus Pastor
ffayr fall thi growne / well has thou hyde.434
Tercius Pastor
Then furth lett vs ron / I wyll not abyde.435
Primus Pastor
No lyght makethe mone / that haue I asspyde;436
Neuer the les437
lett vs hold, oure beheste.438
Secundus Pastor
That hold I best.439
Tercius Pastor
Then must we go eest,440
After my ges.441
Primus Pastor
wold, god that we myght / this yong bab see!442
Secundus Pastor
Many prophetys that syght / desyryd veralee443
to haue seen that bright. /444
Tercius Pastor
and god so hee
wold shew vs that Wyght / we myght say, perde,445
We had sene446
That many sant desyryd,447
with prophetys inspyryd,448
If thay hym requyryd,449
yit I-closyd ar thare eene.450
Secundus Pastor
God graunt vs that grace. /451
Tercius Pastor
god so do.
Primus Pastor
Abyde, syrs, a space / lo, yonder, lo!452
It commys on a rase / yond sterne vs to.453
Secundus Pastor
It is a grete blase / oure gate let vs go,454
here he is!455
Tercius Pastor
Who shall go in before?456
Primus Pastor
I ne rek, by my hore.457
Secundus Pastor
ye ar of the old store,458
It semys you, Iwys.459
Primus Pastor
hayll, kyng I the call! / hayll, most of myght!460
hayll, the worthyst of all! / hayll, duke! hayll, knyght!
Of greatt and small / thou art lorde by right;462
hayll, perpetuall / hayll, faryst wyght!463
here I offer!464
I pray the to take-465
If thou wold, for my sake,466
with this may thou lake,-467
This lytyll spruse cofer.468
Secundus Pastor
hayll, lytyll tyn mop / rewarder of mede!469
hayll, bot oone drop / of grace at my nede;470
hayll, lytyll mylk sop! / hayll, dauid sede!471
Of oure crede thou art crop / hayll, in god hede!472
This ball473
That thou wold resaue,-474
lytyll is that I haue,475
This wyll I vowche saue,-476
To play the with all.477
Tercius Pastor
hayll, maker of man / hayll, swetyng!478
hayll, so as I can / hayll, praty mytyng!479
I cowche to the than / for fayn here gretyng;480
hayll, lord! here I ordan / now at oure metyng,481
This botell-482
It is an old by-worde,483
It is a good bowrde,484
for to drynk of a gowrde,-485
It holdys a mett potell.486
he that all myghtys may / the makere of heuen,487
That is for to say / my son that I neuen,488
Rewarde you this day / as he sett all on seuen;489
he graunt you for ay / his blys full euen490
He gyf you good grace,492
Tell furth of this case,493
he spede youre pase,494
And graunt you good endyng.495
Primus Pastor
ffare well, fare lorde! / with thy moder also.496
Secundus Pastor
we shall this recorde / where as we go.497
Tercius Pastor
we mon all be restorde / god graunt it be so!498
Primus Pastor
Amen, to that worde / syng we therto499
On hight;500
To Ioy all sam,501
With myrth and gam,502
To the lawde of this lam503
Syng we in syght.504

2016 Nov 11  15:38:41