The Players of St Peter
at
St Saviour Hampstead
 
Scenes from the
Wakefield
Mystery Cycle
(Towneley Plays)
 
2016 December
 
Contents
  1.  The Annunciation
  2.  The Second Shepherds’ Play
  3.  The Flight into Egypt
  4.  Herod the Great
  5.  Epilogue

The Annunciation

God
Since I have made all thing of nought1.1
And Adam with my hands I wrought.
Like to mine image at my devising,
To give them joy in Paradise
To dwell therein as I had planned -
Until they did what I forbade.
Then I put them out of that place.
But yet, I mind, I promised them grace;
Now they have felt their sin full sore1.11
These five thousand years and more
First on earth, and then in hell:
But long therein shall they not dwell.
Out of pain they shall be brought,
I will not lose what I have wrought.
I will make redemption!1.17
Righteousness will we make:1.29
I will that my Son manhood take.
My prophets words are true and loyal
As they have said, it shall befall.
My Son shall in a maiden light,1.35
Agains’ the fiend of hell to fight.
Withouten spot as sun through glass
And she a maiden as she was.
Both God and man shall He be
And she, mother and maiden free.
Rise up, Gabriel, and wend1.53

[Gabriel approaches]


Unto a maiden that is kind
To Nazareth in Galilee
There she dwells in that city.
To that virgin and to that spouse
To a man of David’s house.
Joseph, the man is named by.1.59
And the maiden named Mary.
On my behalf thou shall her greet
I have her chosen, that maiden sweet,
She shall conceive my darling
Through thy word and her hearing.
She shall of her body clean1.73
Bear God and man withouten pain.
She shall be blessed withouten end
Prepare thee, Gabriel, and wend!

[Here Gabriel goes to Mary]


Gabriel
Hail Mary gracious1.77
Hail, maiden and Godes spouse
Unto thee I bow.
Of all virgins thou art queen
That ever was - or shall be - seen,
Withouten doubt.
Hail, Mary, and well thou be;1.83
My Lord of Heaven is with thee
Withouten end.
Hail, full of grace of God indeed.
Goodly lady, have thou no dread
That I commend.
This is the grace that thee betides:1.92
Thou shall conceive within thy sides
A child of power.
When he is comen, this thy son
He shall take circumcision.
Call him Jesus.
Mightful man shall he be indeed1.98
God’s true son he shall be called,
A throne to sit.
He shall be king of David’s line;
His kingdom never shall decline
Lady, well thou wit.
Mary
What is thy name?1.107
Gabriel
Gabriel, Godes strength and his angel1.108
That comes to thee.
Mary
Wondrous greeting thou me greets1.110
Of a child to bear thou me speaks -
How should this be?
I came never by man’s side1.113
But have avowed my maidenhood
From fleshly fate.
Therefore I know not how
This may be broken; it is a vow
That I have made.
Nevertheless, well I see1.119
To work this word as thou has said
God full able is.
But I know not how, of what manner;
Therefore I pray thee, messenger,
That thou me guide and tell.
Gabriel
Lady, this is the mystery:1.125
The Holy Ghost shall light in thee
God’s word to fulfil -
His virtue shall thee overshade
That thy maidenhood shall never fade
But be ever new.
The child that thou shall bear, madam,1.131
Shall God’s Son be called by name,
And see, Mary,
Elizabeth - thy cousin, who is barren called
She has conceived a son in elde
Of Zachary. [Elizabeth appears in a vision]
And this is - now have knowing -1.137
The sixth month of her conceiving
That barren was called.
No word, lady, that I thee bring
Is impossible to heaven’s King
But all shall hold.
Mary
I love my God almighty1.143
I am his servant here at hand
And at his call.
I believe the promise thou me bring
Be done to me in all thing
As thou has told!
Gabriel
Mary, maiden kind1.149
My way to God I wend
My leave of thee I take.
Mary
Go to my friend1.152
Who did thee send
For mankind’s sake.

[Gabriel and then Mary withdraw to singing]


[Joseph enters]


Joseph
Almighty God, what may this be!1.155
Of Mary my wife I marvel me;1.156
Alas, what has she wrought?1.157
Ah, her belly is great and she with child!1.158
By me was she never defiled,1.159
Therefore mine is it nought.1.160
Full of sorrow is my life,1.161
That ever I wed so young a wife:1.162
That bargain was a bane.1.163
To me this deed was full of care,1.164
I might well wot a young girl fair1.165
Would have liking of man.1.166
I am old, soothly to say,1.167
Past I am all pleasant play,1.168
The games from me are gone.1.169
We are ill coupled, young and old:1.170
For I could not with her make bold1.171
Some other has she ta’en.1.172
She is with child, I know never how;1.173
Now, who would any woman trow1.174
For wicked ways so wild?1.175
I wot not in the world, what I should do;1.176
But now then will I wend her to,1.177
And learn whose is that child.1.178
Hail, Mary, and well ye be!1.179
But why, woman, what cheer with thee?1.180
Mary
The better, sir, for you.1.181
Joseph
So would, I, woman, that ye were;1.182
But certain, Mary, I rue full sore1.183
How stand things with thee now.1.184
And of a thing chide thee I shall:1.185
Whose is this child, thou go’st withal?1.186
Mary
Sir, yours, and God’s in Heaven.1.187
Joseph
Mine, Mary? do way thy din;1.188
That I should have a part therein1.189
Thou needs it not to feign.1.190
Why falsehoods spin’st thou me thereto?1.191
I had never with thee to do:1.192
How should it then be mine?1.193
Whose is that child, so God thee speed?1.194
Mary
Sir, God’s and yours, withouten dread.1.195
Joseph
Be still those words of thine,1.196
For it is nought with me to do.1.197
And I repent me thou has done so1.198
These ill deeds I ween.1.199
And if thou thought thyself to kill,1.200
It were full sore against my will,1.201
But better might have been.1.202
Mary
At God’s will, Joseph, must it be,1.203
For certainly, but God and ye1.204
I know no other man;1.205
My flesh has never been defiled.1.206
Joseph
How should thou thus then be with child?1.207
Excuse thee well thou can.1.208
I blame thee not, so God me save,1.209
Woman’s weakness if that thou have;1.210
But certes I say thee this:1.211
Well wot thou, and so do I,1.212
Thy body shames thee openly,1.213
That thou hast done amiss.1.214
Mary
I tell you, God knows all my doing.1.215
Joseph
Wey! Now, this is a wonder thing:1.216
I can nought say thereto.1.217
But my heart does ache full sore,1.218
And aye the longer more and more,1.219
For dole what shall I do?1.220
God’s and mine she says it is -1.221
I will not father it, she speaks amiss.1.222
It were shame if I should her let,1.223
To hide her villainy by me.1.224
With her I can no longer be;1.225
I rue that ever we met.1.226
I left her in good peace thought I;1.275
Into the country I went on high,1.276
To work with might and main.1.277
To get our living I must need;1.278
Of Mary I prayed our friends take heed,1.279
Till that I came again.1.280
Nine months was I from Mary mild;1.281
When I came home she was with child,1.282
Alas, I said, for shame!1.283
I asked her women who that had done,1.284
And they me said an angel came,1.285
Since that I went from home.1.286
An angel spake with that wight,1.287
And no man else, by day nor night,1.288
“Sir, thereof be ye bold.”1.289
They excused her thus soothly,1.290
To make her clean of her folly,1.291
Mocked like a baby, me that was old.1.292
Should an angel this deed have wrought?1.293
Such excuses help nought,1.294
Nor no cunning that they can.1.295
A heavenly thing, forsooth, is he,1.296
And she is earthly; this may not be,1.297
It is some other man.1.298
Yet soothly, if it so befall,1.314
God’s son that she be withal,1.315
If such grace might betide,1.316
I wot well that I am not he,1.317
Which that is worthy to be1.318
That blessed body beside,1.319
Nor yet be in her company.1.320
To wilderness I will forth hie1.321
Alone my fate deplore,1.322
And never longer with her deal,1.323
But softly shall I from her steal,1.324
That meet shall we no more.1.325

[An Angel appears]


Angel
Go way Joseph, and mend thy thought,1.326
I warn thee well, so wend thou not,1.327
To wilderness so wild.1.328
Turn home to thy spouse again,1.329
Look thou see in her no shame,1.330
She never was defiled.1.331
Wot thou no wicked work here was,1.332
She has conceived by Holy Ghost,1.333
And she shall bear God’s son.1.334
Therefore with her, in thy degree,1.335
Meek and obedient look thou be,1.336
And with her make your home.1.337
Joseph
Ah, Lord, I love thee all alone,1.338
That vouchsafest I be the one1.339
To tend that child so young.1.340
I, that thus have ingrately done,1.341
And foul falsehood cast upon1.342
Mary, that dear darling.1.343
I rue full sore what I have said,1.344
And of her birthing her upbraid,1.345
When she not guilty is.1.346
Forthwith to her now will I wend,1.347
And pray her for to be my friend,1.348
And ask of her forgiveness.1.349
Ah, Mary, wife, what cheer?1.350
Mary
The better, sir, that ye are here;1.351
Thus long where have ye went?1.352
Joseph
Certes, walked about, all wobegone,1.353
And wrongfully did thee bemoan;1.354
I wist never what I meant;1.355
But I wot well, my love so free,1.356
I have trespassed to God and thee;1.357
Forgive me, I thee pray.1.358
Mary
Now all that ever ye said me to,1.359
God forgive you, and I do,1.360
With all the might I may.1.361
Joseph
Gramercy, Mary, thy goodwill1.362
Forgives so kindly all I said ill,1.363
When I did thee upbraid.1.364
But happy who has such a child,1.365
Ah, gentle wife, he needs not gold,1.366
But may hold him well paid.1.367
Ah, I am light as leaf on wind!1.368
He that may both loose and bind,1.369
And every ill amend,1.370
Give me grace, power, and might,1.371
My wife and her sweet young wight1.372
To keep, to my life’s end.1.373

2016 Sep 23  23:13:35

The Second Shepherds' Play

Coll
Lord, how these winter storms are cold2.1
And I am ill-wrapped;
I am near hand-dead, so long have I napped;
My legs they fold, my fingers are chapped;
All is not as I would, for I am all lapped
In sorrow.
We simple shepherds that walk on the moor2.10
No wonder, as it standis, if we be poor!
We are so lamed, for-taxed and be-yoked;
We are hand-tamed with these gentry-folk!2.18
These lords of the land, they rob us of our rest.2.19
They cause the plough to tarry-and say “for the best”.
Thus are husbandmen oppressed, held under and starved -
It were great wonder
That ever we should thrive!2.27
For if man gets a painted sleeve or a brooch nowadays
Woe to shepherd that grieves him or against that man says!
No man may reprove him, for lordship he claims
Yet none can believe one word he may say - not a letter!
He can make purveyance with boast and with bragance
And all with connivance of men that are greater!
Comes a swaggering swain as a peacock proud -2.37
He must borrow my wain, my plough good!
If I should forbid it, I were better hanged, so
Thus live we, in pain, in anger and woe!
It does me good as I walk thus alone2.46
Of this world for to talk, in manner of moan.
To my sheep will I stalk and harken anon.
There abide on a stone more company full soon.

(He removes himself some distance. Enter 2nd Shepherd)


Gib
Lord, this weather is spiteful and the winds full keen,
And the frosts so hid’eus they water mine eeyn -
No lie!2.59
Now in dry, now in wet, now in snow, now in sleet.
When my shoes freeze to my feet - it is not all easy!
We poor wedded men endure mickel woe2.64
Simple Capel, our hen, cackles to and fro
But when she (be)gins to crow, our cock is fear-shackled!
We men that are wed have not all our will
God knows we are led full hard and full ill.
Now thus late in my life, here’s a marvel to me:2.82
Some men will have two wives, and some men three, in store.
Some are sad who have any, but as far as I see
Woe is him that has many, for he feels sore!
This have I learnt on.2.90
Now be well ’ware of wedding, and think in your thought
“Had I known” is a thing that serves you but nought -
I know my lesson!
I have one to my mate as sharp as a thistle!2.100
She is brown as a bristle, with a sour-looking cheer.
Had she once wet her whistle, she can sing full clear!
She is great as a whale with a gallon of gall -
I would I had run till I had lost her!

(1st Shepherd joins him)


Coll
Gib, saw ye aught of that fool Daw?2.109
Gib
Yea, on a lea-land
Heard I him blow his pipe. He comes here at hand.
Coll
He will tell us both a lie ’less we beware.

(They settle down to wait. Enter 3rd Shepherd from the field)


Daw
Who knows should take heed and let the world pass.2.118
It is ever in dread and brittle as glass - and slithers!
It is worse than it was and all thing withers!
These floods so they drown, it is a wonder!2.127
How God turn all to good, I say as I mean, and ponder.
We that walk in the night our cattle to keep2.136
We see strange sights when other men sleep.
Yet me think my heart lightens: I see two men peep!

(He comes up to the other shepherds)


Ah, sirs, God you save and masters mine!2.145
Drink fain would I have and somewhat to dine!
Coll
Thou art a sluggish knave, Daw!
Gib
He lists to dine, though he comes late!
Daw
Such servants as I that sweat and toil2.154
Eat our bread full dry and that stakes me boil!
We are oft wet and weary when our masters sleep take
Then our dame and our sire can nip at our hire -
And pay us full late!
For the fare that ye make, I shall work at my pace.
Masters, little and lacking!
Gib
Peace, boy, I bid no more jangling!2.174
Where are our sheep?
Daw
Sir, this same day at morn
I left them in the corn - in pasture good.2.181
Coll
That is right, by the rood.
Now give us a song! (Daw begins to sing. Mak enters)
Mak
Lord.who made the stars, what is thy will?2.190
Now would God I were in heaven so still
For there weep no bairnes there!
Coll
Who is, that pipes so poor?
Mak
Lo, a man that walks on the moor -
And has not all his will!
Gib
Mak, what has befallen? Tell us tidings.2.199
Daw
Is Mak come? Then take heed to your things!

(Here he takes Mak's cloak from him. Mak changes his accent)


Mak
What, ich be a yeoman, I tell you, of the king!
The self-same sent from a great lording.
Goeth hence! from my presence! I must have reverence!
Coll
Mak, why make ye words so quaint?2.208
Gib
He means to show off ... a boast he makes
Daw
I think he can paint! The devil him take!

(They demonstrate aestheticism)


Mak
Of what ye doeth, ich shall make complaint
Ye shall all be beaten blue2.211
And confined close at my word in sooth!
Coll
How, Mak, is that “sooth”?
Now take out that southren tooth.
Gib
Mak, know ye not us? By God, I could thwang ye!2.217

(He shakes Mak who relapses into his ordinary accent)


Mak
Me thought I had seen ye all three.
Ye are a fair company!
Gib
Thus late as thou goes, what will men suppose?
For thou art ill news of stealing of sheep!
Mak
I am true as steel2.226
But my belly fares not well. It is out of its state.
Daw
“Seldom lies the devil starved by the gate.”
Mak
Full sore I am and ill
I eat not a needle this month and more!
Coll
How fares thy wife, Mak, how fares she?2.235
Mak
Gill? She lies waltering by the fire, lo!
With a house-full of brood by her, too.
Eats as fast as she can
And each year that comes to man
She brings forth a lakan -
And some years two!
I were eaten out of house and of harbour,2.244
And she’s a foul dowse if ye come too nigh her
None worse do I know!

(Depressed with the sad state of the world, the shepherds become weary)


Gib
I wot so forwakid with watching is none in this shire!
I would sleep!
Daw
I am cold and naked and would have a fire!
Coll
I am weary, forwakid with walking in mire —2.253
Wake thou!2.257
Daw
Nay, as good a man’s son was I as any of you!
But Mak, come hider. Between shall thou lie down!2.262
Mak
No dread!
From my top to my toe “Manus tuas commendo
Poncio pilato!
” Christ cross me speed!

(The shepherds settle for sleep. Mak hatches his plan)


Now it were time for a man that lacks what he would
To stalk privily then into a fold2.272
And nimbly to work, but be not too bold!
For he might pay for the bargain, if tales were told.
Now were time for to do’t
With little spending to’t!
Now about you a circle as round as the moon2.280
That ye lie stone still till I have done what’s to do’n!
Now I shall say some good words on high.
Over your heades my hands I lift
Out go your een and close up your sight!
But yet I must make better shift2.287
And it be right! (Snoring is heard)
Lord, what they sleep hard! That may ye all hear!2.289
Was I never a shepherd yet shall 1 nip near.

(Mak seizes a sheep)


A fat sheep by the morrow2.294
A good fleece dare I lay
I’ll pay back when I may
Now this will I borrow! (Mak goes home)
How, Gill, art thou in? Get us some light!2.298
Gill
Who makes such a din this time of the night?
I am set for to spin; to rise I cannot.2.300
Mak
Good wife, open the hatch; sees thou not what I bring?
Gill
I will let thee draw the latch. Ah, come in, my sweeting!
Mak
Yee, thou have no care of my long standing!
I am worthy my meat for I can get more2.312
Than they that work the long day’s chore!
Thus this fell to my lot, Gill, of grace a token!2.316
Gill
It were a foul blot to be hanged for the deed!
Mak
I have ’scaped, Gillot, oft as right a need.
Gill
But so oft goes the pot to the water indeed
At last comes it home broken!2.321
Mak
Well know I the token.
Let that never be spoken!
But come and help fast.
I would he were slain, I list well to eat.2.325
Gill
Come they afore he be slain, they’ll hear the sheep bleat!
Mak
Then might I be ta’en; that were a cold sweat!
Go, bar the gate door!
Gill
Come they at thy back?
Mak
I’ll get the devil from that pack!
Gill
A good jest have I spied, for thou knows none:2.334
Here, shall we him hide till they be far gone!
In my cradle abide and I lie beside in childbed - and groan!
Mak
And I shall say thou was made light
Of a boy child this night!
Gill
Yet a woman’s advice helps at the last!
This is a good gyse; now again go thou fast!2.343
Mak
If I come ’ere they rise, I’ll get a cold blast!

(He returns and resumes his place in the midst of the shepherds)


Yet sleeps all this company and I shall stalk privily
As it had never been I that carried their sheep!
I will go sleep! (The shepherds rouse up)
Coll
Here, have a hold of my hand.2.352
My foot sleeps, by Jesus, I may not well stand.
I thought that we laid us full near Engeland!
Gib
Lord, what, I have slept well!
As fresh as an eel
As light I me feel as leaf on a tree!
Daw
My heart leapt out of my skin, so it quakes!2.361
We were four - see ye ought of Mak - now wakes he?
Me thought he was wrapped in a wolf skin!2.370
Gib
Yet went he nowhere!
When we had long napped, me thought in a gin
A fat sheep had he trapped, but he made no din.
Daw
This dream is but phantom …
Gib
Rise Mak for shame, thou lies right long!2.379
Mak
Now Christ’s holy name be us among
I hope I be the same! Ah, my neck has lain wrong.
I was flayed with a dream since yestereven.
I thought Gill began to croak and travail full sad,
Well nigh to first cockcrow had a young lad
For to add to our flock. I be never glad
To have many bairnes but little bread!
I must home to Gill; I am loath you to’ grieve2.397
I pray you look up my sleeve
That I steal from you nought!
Coll
Now would I we sought for our flock.2.400
I will go before; let us meet!
Gib
Where?
Daw
At the crooked thorn.

(They part. Mak arrives at his house)


Mak
Undo the door, it is I, Mak.2.405
What cheer this morn?
Gill
I may not sit at my work a moment, I ween!
Mak
She does nought but nag and claw her toes.2.414
Gill
What! who brews, who bakes, why make me this hose?
But what of these herdsmen? How goes that game?2.423
Mak
The last word that they said when I turned my back
They would look that they had their sheep in a pack.
When they a sheep lack, they will cry out on my track
Thou must do as thou said.2.432
Gill
I shall swaddle him right in my cradle.
I will lie down straight, come hap me!
Mak
I will.2.435
Gill
Behind! Come Coll and his crew
They will nip us full narrow!
Mak
They’ll make me cry “harroo”
Their sheep if they find!
Gill
Sing lullay thou shall for I must groan.2.441
Come now, sing on thine own!

(Mak starts “singing” a lullaby. Meanwhile, the shepherds gather at the crooked thorn)


Coll
Hey! A fat wether ram have we lorne!2.451
Gib
Coll, who should do us that scorn?
Coll
Some shrew! I have sought with my doggis
All Horbury shoggis
And of fifteen young hoggis
Found I but one ewe.
Daw
I would say it were Mak or Gill
Who did this sore ill, By St Thomas of Kent!2.460
Coll
Peace man, be still, I saw when he went
Thou scandals him ill, thou ought to repent.
Gib
I would say it were he that did this same deed!
Coll
Go we thither I rede, the truth to track.2.469

(They all run to Mak's house. Singing rises)


Daw
Will ye hear how they hack:?2.478
Coll
So clear out of tune heard I never none crack.
Call on him! Mak!
Gib
Mak! Undo your door on loft!
Mak
O’er a sick woman’s head I pray ye speak soft.2.487
Gill
I may not well breathe or wheeze
Each foot ye tread goes through my nose!
Coll
How fare ye, Mak, I say?
Mak
Are you all in town today?
Ye have run in-the mire and are wet yet.2.496
I shall make you a fire, if ye will sit.
A nurse will I hire, if ye think fit.
A new bairn I have, my dream it is quit!
Well more than enough, if ye knew.
But we must drink as we brew!
Will ye dine ’ere ye go? Methink that ye sweat.2.505
Coll
Nay, our sheep are stolen as they ate.
Our loss it is great!
Mak
Had I been there, some should have bought it sore!
Coll
Some trow that ye were there!
Gib
Mak, some men trow that it be ye!2.514
Daw
Either ye or your spouse, so say we!
Mak
Now come rip our house and then may ye see.

(The shepherds enter the house)


As I am true and loyal to God here I pray2.523
That this be the first meal that I shall eat this day!
Coll
Mak, advise thee, I say.
“He learns early to steal who cannot say nay!”

(They search the house, disturbing animals and babies as they do so)


Gill
Out thieves, come to rob us. I swelt!2.532
Mak
Hear ye not how she groans! Your hearts should melt!
Gill
Ah, my middle! If ever I you beguiled
I shall eat here the child in this cradle!

(The shepherds search the house.)


Gib
I trow our sheep be slain. What find ye two?2.543
Daw
All work we in vain
I can find no flesh, but two empty platters!
Gib
No cattle smelled high as this boy!2.550
Gill
Nay, God of my son give me joy!

(Gill cuddles him and they find nothing)


Coll
We have markèd amiss, I hold us mista’en.
Mak, friends will we be for we are all one.2.568
Mak
Farewell all three! All glad were ye gone.

(The shepherds leave the house)


Daw
Fair words may there be, but trust is there none.
Coll
Gave ye the child anything?
Gib
I trow, not one farthing.2.574
Daw
Fast again will I fling! (He returns to the house)
Mak, with your leave, let me give your bairn but sixpence.

(A dog barks)


Mak
Nay, do way: he sleeps.
Daw
Methink that he peeps.2.583
Mak
When he wakens, he weeps.
I pray you go .hence!

(The other shepherds enter the house)


Daw
Give me leave him to kiss and lift up the clout.2.586
What the devil is this? He has a long snout!
Coll
He is markèd amiss. We wait ill about.2.588
Gib
“Ill-spun weft, I’wis, aye comes foul out!”
Ay! He is like to our sheep.
Daw
How, Gib, may I peep?2.592
Gib
This was a fine fraud; thou’ll be hanged as reward!
Will ye see how they swaddle four feet in the middle.
Saw I never in cradle a horned lad ere now!
Mak
I am he that begat and yond woman him bear!2.604
Coll
Have ye made him your heir?
Gill
Ow! A pretty child is he, a dillydown yare!
As ever sat on woman’s knee,
Fit for a lord’s son is he!
Daw
I know him by the earmark: that is good token.2.613
Mak
I tell you, sirs, hark: his nose was broken.
Gill
He was taken with an elf; I saw it myself!
When the clock struck twelve was he mis-shapen!
Gib
Ye two are well-weft!2.622
Daw
Since they maintain their theft Let’s do them to death!

(They chase around after Mak. Animals are disturbed)


Mak
If I trespass more, gird off my head - With you let me be left.
Coll
Sirs, do now as I say, indeed:
For this trespass let us toss him in a canvas!

(They toss Mak in a blanket, a medieval method of hastening delivery in childbirth. He returns home helped by Gill. Shepherds laugh, rescue sheep and move off to the fold)


Coll
What! I am sore, fit to burst!2.631
In faith, I may no more; to rest I mean!
Gib
As a sheep of seven score he weighed, I wist.
For to sleep anywhere methink that I list.
Daw
Lie us down on this green!

(They lie down. The angel enters and sings a Gloria, the star appears above)


Angel
Rise herdsmen kind! For now is he born2.640
That shall take from the fiend what Adam had lorn.
God is your friend now at this morn
He asks you to Bethlehem go see
For there he lies, the lord free
In a crib full poorly between two beasts!

(The angel withdraws)


Coll
This was a marvel to knowen that ever I heard!2.649
Of God’s Son of Heaven she spoke up there.
Gib
All the wood on a lightning methought she made appear!
Daw
She spoke of a bairn born in Bethl’hem.
Col
That betokens yond star. Let us seek him there.
Gib
I am full feared for too long we tarry.2.668
Coll
Hie we thither, be we wet or weary!
Daw
Lord, well were we for once and for aye2.687
Might we kneel on our knee
Some word for to say to that child this day.

(They set off for Bethlehem)



(The shepherds near the end of their journey)


Daw
The angel said in a crib
He would be laid
A child both meek and mild and poorly arrayed.
Coll
When I see Him and feel2.697
Then know I full well
It is as true as steel
What prophets have spoken:
To so poor as we are that2.703
He would appear first,
As declared by his messenger.
Gib
Go we now, let us fare.
The place is us near! (They enter the stable)
Coll
Hail, comely and clean!2.712
Hail, young child! Hail,
Maker - as I mean - from a maiden so mild.
The false bringer of ill now goes he beguiled!
Lo, the babe merry is!
Lo, He laughs, my sweeting
A welcome meeting:
Have a bob of cherries!
Gib
Hail, sovereign Saviour,2.721
for thou has us sought!
Hail, full of favour that made all of nought!
Hail, I kneel and cower.
A bird have I brought
To my bairn.
Hail, little tiny mop!
Of our creed thou art top,
Little day-star!

(Mary takes the baby from the crib)


Daw
Hail, darling dear!2.730
Full of godhead!
I pray thee, be near when that I have need.
Hail, sweet is thy face!
My heart would bleed
To see thee sit here in so poor weed
With no pennies.
Hail, put forth thy hand:
I bring thee but a ball
To have and play thee withall
And go to the tennis!
Mary
The Father of Heaven,2.739
God omnipotent
Made all in days seven;
His Son has he sent
And now He is born.
He keep you from woe;
I shall pray Him so.
Tell forth as you go -
Have mind on this morn!
Coll
Farewell, lady, so fair to behold!2.748
With thy child on thy knee.
Gib
But He lies full cold!
Lord, well is we, now we go, thou behold!
Daw
In truth, already it seems to be told
Full oft!

(They leave the stable)


Coll
What grace we have found!2.753
Gib
Come forth, now are we won!
Daw
To sing are we bound:
Let us sound it aloft!

(Exit singing and rejoicing)




2016 Sep 23  23:07:21

The Flight into Egypt

Angel
Awake, Joseph, and take intent!3.1
Thou rise, and sleep no more!3.2
If thou will save thyself unshent3.3
Fail not fast to fare.3.4
I am an angel to thee sent,3.5
That thou shall harm prevent,3.6
And catch thee out of care.3.7
If thou dost not to leave assent,3.8
For loss thou shall’st lament,3.9
And rue it wonder sore.3.10
Joseph
Ah! Mighty God,3.11
What can this voice have meant,3.12
So sweet of tone?3.13
Angel
Lo, Joseph, it is I,3.14
An angel sent to thee.3.15
Joseph
Wey! Lord, I pray thee why?3.16
What is thy will with me?3.17
Angel
Hence hastily thee hie,3.18
And take with thee Mary,3.19
Also her child so free;3.20
For Herod does to die3.21
All boy children, certainly,3.22
Within two years that be3.23
Of age.3.24
Joseph
Alas, full woe is me!3.25
Where may we find refuge?3.26
Angel
To Egypt shall thou fare3.27
With all the might thou may;3.28
And, Joseph, hold thee there,3.29
Till I will thee gainsay.3.30
Joseph
This is a feeble fare,3.31
A sick man and a sere3.32
To hear of such a fray;3.33
My bones are bruised and bare.3.34
This to do, I would it were3.35
Comen my last day3.36
Of life.3.37
I know not which is the way:3.38
How shall we thrive?3.39
Angel
Thereof have thou no dread;3.40
Wend forth, and ease thy mind.3.41
The way he shall you lead,3.42
The King of all Mankind.3.43
Joseph
May Heaven of us take heed,3.44
For I had little need3.45
Such bargains to begin.3.46
No wonder my wits bleed:3.47
I that can do no deed,3.48
How should I this begin3.49
So old?3.50
I am full weak and thin,3.51
My courage cold.3.52
My force me fails to fare,3.53
And sight that I should see.3.54
Mary, my darling dear,3.55
I am full woe for thee!3.56
Mary
Ah, dear Joseph, what cheer?3.57
Your sorrow on this gear3.58
It does much marvel me.3.59
Joseph
Misery is nigh and near3.60
If we dwell longer here;3.61
Therefore behoves us flee,3.62
And flit.3.63
Mary
Alas! how may this be?3.64
Whatever means it?3.65
Joseph
It means of sorrow enow.3.66
Mary
Ah, dear Joseph, how so?3.67
Joseph
As I lay in a swound,3.68
Asleep full fast and sound,3.69
An angel near me drew,3.70
As blossom bright on bough,3.71
And told betwixt us two,3.72
That Herod wrought great woe,3.73
And all boy children slew3.74
Wherever he might go,3.75
That fiend!3.76
And he thy son would slay3.77
And shamely shend.3.78
Mary
My son? alas, for care!3.79
Who may my dolours dull?3.80
Woe worth false Herod are!3.81
My son why should he kill?3.82
Alas! I faint with fear!3.83
To slay this bairn I bore,3.84
What wight in world had will?3.85
His heart should be full sore3.86
To such a one ensnare,3.87
That never yet did ill,3.88
Nor thought.3.89
Joseph
Now dear Mary, be still!3.90
This helps us not;3.91
It boots us not to greet,3.92
Truly, I tell you plain.3.93
It nought relieves our lot3.94
But will more make our pain.3.95
Mary
How should my cries abate?3.96
My son that is so sweet3.97
Is sought for to be slain;3.98
Full fierce may I greet,3.99
My foes if I them meet;3.100
Your counsel, Joseph, plain,3.101
I need.3.102
Joseph
Swiftly swaddle us this swain,3.103
And flee this deed.3.104
Mary
His death would I not see,3.105
For all this world to win.3.106
Alas! full woe were me,3.107
In two if we were torn;3.108
My child, so fair and free,3.109
To slay him were pity,3.110
And a full hideous sin.3.111
Dear Joseph, what say ye?3.112
Joseph
To Egypt wend shall we;3.113
Therefore let be thy din3.114
And cry.3.115
Mary
The way how shall we win?3.116
Joseph
Full well wot I3.117
The best wise that we may3.118
Haste us away from here.3.119
There is nought else to say3.120
But fast pack up our gear.3.121
For fear of this affray,3.122
Let us wend hence away,3.123
Ere any find us here.3.124
Mary
Great God, as he well may,3.125
That made both night and day,3.126
From woe may he us ware,3.127
And shame;3.128
My child, how should I bear3.129
So far from home?3.130
Alas! I am full woe!3.131
Was never mother so mad!3.132
Joseph
God wot I may say so,3.133
My case is just as bad;3.134
For I may scarcely go3.135
To lead from land these two.3.136
No marvel if I be mad,3.137
Thus beset by many a foe.3.138
Death, when will you me o’er throw?3.139
My life I like ill3.140
And sore;3.141
He that all doles may dull,3.142
May he cure my care!3.143
So weary a wight as I3.144
In world, was never man.3.145
Household, and husbandry3.146
Would that I never began:3.147
That bargain dear I buy.3.148
Young men, beware, say I:3.149
Wedded life makes me all wan.3.150
Hand me thy bridle, Mary;3.151
Tend thou to that page gently3.152
With all the skill thou can3.153
And may.3.154
He that this world began3.155
Wish us the way!3.156
Mary
Alas, full woe is me!3.157
Is none so lost as I!3.158
My heart would break in three,3.159
My son to see him die.3.160
Joseph
Wey! Dear Mary, let be,3.161
And nothing dread thou thee:3.162
In haste hence let us hie.3.163
To save thy child so free,3.164
Fast forth now let us flee,3.165
Dear love.3.166
To meet with his enemy,3.167
It were a great mischief,3.168
And that would I not were,3.169
Away if we might wend.3.170
My heart would be full sore,3.171
Should he in two you rend.3.172
To Egypt let us fare;3.173
This pack, till I come there,3.174
I shall not halt to haul.3.175
Therefore have thou no care:3.176
If I may help thee more,3.177
Thou’ll find me not to fail,3.178
I say.3.179
God bless you, great and small,3.180
And have now all good day!3.181


2016 Sep 21  00:13:08

Herod the Great

Herald

[Entering onto a crowded marketplace


May most mighty Lucifer / meet you with mirth!
Both of borough and town / from the fells and the firth,
Both king with crown / and barons of birth.4.3
We hear rumours abound / that peace upon earth
Is foretold;4.5
Give ear and attend4.6
What I say to this end,4.7
Lest woeful you wend4.8
And harms you enfold.4.9
Herod, the good king / by the devil’s reknown,
All Jewry surmounting / sternly with crown,4.11
Of all life now living / in tower and town,4.12
Graciously greets you, / commands you bow down
At his bidding;4.14
Love him with loyalty,4.15
Dread him, that is doughty!4.16
He charges you be ready4.17
To learn of his liking.4.18
Whoever on earth / against him complain,4.19
And grievance give forth / be he knight, squire, or swain;
Whatever his worth, / the price must he pay4.21
Twelve thousand fold, / yea, more I say4.22
May ye trust.4.23
He is wonderly woeful,4.24
Weeping full sorely;4.25
For a boy that is born here by4.26
Stands he aghast.4.27
Folk call him a king / and that we deny;4.28
That it should it so fall / great marvel have I.
Therefore over all / shall I make a cry.4.30
Neither bellow nor bawl / nor look not to lie
This tide!4.32
Carp of no king4.33
But Herod, our lording,4.34
Or hie home to your dwelling,4.35
Your heads for to hide.4.36
He is King of Kings / kindly I know,4.37
Chief lord of lordings / chief leader of law,
Throughout all the town / and unto the shore,
Great dukes drop down / for his great awe,4.40
And revere him.4.41
Tuscany and Turkey,4.42
All India and Italy,4.43
Sicily and Syria,4.44
Dread him and fear him.4.45
From paradise to Padua / to Mount Flascon;4.46
From Egypt to Mantua / as far as Camden;4.47
From Sarceny to Sousa / to Greece all bow down;
Both Normandy and Norway / kneel to his crown.
His reknown4.50
Can no tongue tell;4.51
From heaven unto hell4.52
None can praise him so well4.53
But his good friend Sir Satan.4.54
He is the worthiest of all / bairns ever born;
Free men in his thrall / in terror are torn.4.56
Begin he to brawl / many men feel his scorn;4.57
Obey must we all / or else be forlorn4.58
At once.4.59
Drop down on your knee,4.60
All that him see,4.61
Displeased is he,4.62
And may break your bones. [Herod approaches
Here he comes now, I cry / that lord, I of spake;
Fast afore will I hie / and make no mistake,4.65
But welcome him worshipfully / and merriment make,
As he is most worthy, / and kneel for his sake
So low,4.68
Down demurely to fall4.69
As rank most royal.4.70
Hail, the worthiest of all!4.71
To thee must I bow!4.72
Hail, loved lord! lo / thy letters have I laid;
I have done all I could do / and peace have I prayed;
Much more than I should do / I plainly assayed;
But rumours do run so / that boldly they brayed
Amongst themselves.4.77
They carp of a king;4.78
They cease not such chattering.4.79
Herod
But I shall tame their talking,4.80
And let them go hang them.4.81
Stint, wretches, your din / yea, every one!4.82
Till I have gone in / make never a moan;4.83
For if I begin / I will break every bone,4.84
And pull from thy skin / the carcass anon;4.85
Yea, perdi!4.86
Cease all this wonder,4.87
And make you no blunder,4.88
For I rip you asunder,4.89
Be ye so hardy.4.90
Peace both young and old / at my bidding, I said,
For I own all the world, / I can strike you all dead;
Whoever is too bold, / I brain him through the head;
Speak not, or I have told, / what I will in this stead.
You know not4.95
What grief I will give.4.96
Stir not till ye have leave;4.97
For if ye do, I will you cleave4.98
Small as meat for the pot.4.99
My mirth is turned to pain / my meekness into ire,
This boy burns my brain / within I feel fire4.101
If I see this young swain / I shall give him his hire;
Should my will I not gain / Call me a soft silly sire
On my throne.4.104
Had I that lad in hand,4.105
As I am king in land,4.106
I should with this steel brand4.107
Break all his bones.4.108
My name springs far and near; / the doughtiest, men me call
That ever wielded with spear; / A lord and king royal.
What joy is me to hear / A lad to seize my stall!
If I this crown may bear / that boy shall pay for all.
I anger;4.113
I know not what devil me ails,4.114
They torment me with tales,4.115
That by God’s own nails,4.116
I’ll be silent no longer.4.117
What devil! Methink I burst / for anger and for spleen;
I fear these kings be past / that here with me have been.
They promised me full fast / ere now here to be seen,
Or else I should have cast / another plot, I ween;
I tell you.4.122
A boy they said they sought,4.123
with offerings that they brought;4.124
It troubles my heart right nought4.125
To break his neck in two.4.126
But be they passed me by / by Judas in heaven,
I shall soon by and by / set all on six and seven.
Think you a king as I / will let them believe in
Any to have mastery / but what my self is given
By my right?4.131
The devil me hang and draw,4.132
If I that lurden know,4.133
But I give him a blow;4.134
That life I shall him smite.4.135
For pity’s sake I would / know if they were gone;
And ye therof were told / I pray you say anon;
For if they be so bold, / by God that sits on throne,
The pain cannot be told, / that they shall have each one,
For ire.4.140
Such pains hard, never man tell,4.141
So wicked and so cruel,4.142
That Lucifer in hell4.143
Shall burn their bones in fire.4.144
First Soldier
Lord, think not ill if I / tell you how they are passed;
I cannot lie, truly: / since they were with you last,
Another road to fly / they sought, and that full fast.
Herod
Why, and are they passed me by? / Wey! Out! for fury I burst!
Wey! Fie!4.149
Fie on the Devil! Where may I bide?4.150
But fight for fury and at all traitors chide!
Thieves, I say ye should have spied4.152
And told when they went by.4.153
Fine knights to trust! / Nay, rougues ye are, and thieves;
I could yield up my ghost, / so sore my heart grieves.
Second Soldier
What need you be downcast? / There are no great mischiefs
That should make you aghast. /
Third Soldier
Why make ye such reproofs4.157
Without pause?4.158
Thus should ye not threat us,4.159
Unseemly to beat us.4.160
Ye should not mistreat us,4.161
Without other cause.4.162
Herod
Fie, lumpish liars! / lurdans each one!4.163
Traitors and criers! / knaves, and knights none!
Had ye been worth your hire / thus had they not gone;
If I catch those caitiffs / I break ev’ry bone.
First, vengeance4.167
Shall I see on their bones.4.168
If they bide here at home4.169
I shall ding them with stones.4.170
Yea, never dare doubt me.4.171
I know not where I may sit / for anger and despite;
We have not done all yet / if it be as I indite.
Fie! devil! now how is it? / As long as I have sight
I think not for to flit, / but king I will be right
For ever.4.176
But stand I apart,4.177
I tell you my heart:4.178
I shall snare them fast,4.179
Or else trust me never.4.180
First Soldier
Sir, they went suddenly, / ere any man wist.4.181
Else had we had them, perdi / ye take my gist.
Second Soldier
So bold, nor so hardy / in all the list4.183
Was none of that company / durst challenge my fist
For fear.4.185
Third Soldier
They durst not abide,4.186
But ran them to hide.4.187
If I had them spied,4.188
I had humbled their pride.4.189
What could we more do / to save your honour?4.190
First Soldier
We were ready thereto, / and shall be each hour.
Herod
Now since it is so / ye shall have favour;4.192
Go where ye will, go / by town and by tower,4.193
Go from me!4.194
I have matters to mull4.195
with my privy counsel;4.196
Clerks, you must me tell4.197
Some words that will cheer me.4.198
One spake in mine ear: / A wonderful talking,
And said a maiden should bear / a boy to be king;
Sirs, I pray you inquire / in all your writing,
In Virgil, in Homer / And all other thing4.202
Both legend,4.203
And poetical tales.4.204
Epistles and missals;4.205
Mass and matins, will never avail,4.206
And ye need not attend;4.207
I pray you tell quickly / now what ye find.4.208
First Counsellor
Truly, sir, prophecy / It is not blind;4.209
We read thus in Isaiah / he shall be so kind,
That a maiden, soothly / which never sinned,4.211
Shall him bear:4.212
“virgo concipiet,4.213
Natumque pariet;4.214
Emanuell” is set4.215
His name, as told there:4.216
“God is with us,” / that is for to say.
Second Counsellor
Another says thus- / trust me ye may:4.218
“Of Beth’lem a gracious / Lord shall spring,
That of Jewry courageous / shall aye be King
Lord mighty;4.221
And him shall honour4.222
Both King and emperor.”4.223
Herod
Why, and should I to him cower?4.224
Nay, thou tell’st lies too lightly!4.225
Fie! the devil thee speed / and me, make I moan!
This has thou done indeed / to anger me alone:
And thou, knave, thou thy fee / shall have, by cock’s bone!
Thou know not half thy creed! / Out, thieves, from my throne!
Fie, knaves!4.230
Fie, dotty-pols, with your books!4.231
Go cast them in the brooks!4.232
Your wiles and your tricks4.233
Make my wit rave!4.234
Heard I never such a rant: / that a knave so slight
Should come like a saint, / and rob me my right;
Nay, he shall recant: / I shall ding him down straight.
Beware! I say, let me pant; / now think I to fight
For anger;4.239
My guts will out burst4.240
But I this lad crush;4.241
Without I have a vengeing4.242
I may live no longer.4.243
Should a carl in a cave / but one year of age,
Thus make me to rave? /
First Counsellor
Sir, peace this outrage!4.245
Away let you wave / all such language.4.246
Your worship to save, / is he ought but a page
Of a year?4.248
We two could him truss4.249
with our mere wits between us;4.250
So, that if ye say thus,4.251
He shall die on a spear.4.252
Second Counsellor
For fear that he reign, / do as we set forth:
Throughout Bethlehem / and all over the earth,
Make knights to run, / and put unto death4.255
All male children / from time of their birth,
Till years two;4.257
This child may ye kill4.258
Thus at your own will.4.259
Herod
Thou show’st here great skill4.260
Such a plot to brew!4.261
If I live in this land / a long life, as I hope,
By this dare I warrant / to make thee Pope.4.263
O, my heart is rising / for joy it does hop!4.264
For this noble tiding / thou shall have a drop
Of my good grace;4.266
Marks, moneys, and pounds,4.267
Great castles and grounds;4.268
Through all seas and sands4.269
I give thee the choice.4.270
Now will I proceed / and take vengeance.4.271
All the flower of knighthood / call to allegeance.

[Calling the Herald]


See to it, I thee bid: / it may thee advance.
Herald
Lord, I shall make speed / and bring them, perchance,
To thy sight. [Goes to the Soldiers]4.275
Hark, knights, I you bring4.276
Here new tiding.4.277
Unto Herod the King4.278
Haste with all your might!4.279
In all the haste that ye may / in armour full bright,
In your best array / look that ye be dight.4.281
First Soldier
Why should we stray? /
Second Soldier
This is not all right.4.282
Third Soldier
Sirs, without delay / I dread that we fight.4.283
Herald
I pray you,4.284
As fast as you may,4.285
Come to him this day.4.286
First Soldier
What, in our best array?4.287
Herald
Yea, sirs, I say you.4.288
Second Soldier
Somewhat is in hand / whate’er it may mean.
Third Soldier
Tarry not for to stand / there, where we are bidden.
Herald
King Herod all worshipful / well be ye seen!4.291
Your knights are come / in armour full sheen,
To do your will.4.293
First Soldier
Hail, mightiest of all!4.294
We are come at your call4.295
For to do what we shall,4.296
your wish to fulfill.4.297
Herod
Welcome, lordings, Iwys, / both great and small!
The cause now is this / that I send for you all:
A lad, a knave, born is / that should be king royal;
But I kill him and his / my spirit quite will fail.
Therefore, Sirs,4.302
Vengeance shall ye take,4.303
All for that lad’s sake.4.304
Of your fame man shall speak4.305
Wherever you go, Sirs.4.306
To Beth’lem go your way / through the countryside scout,
All male children to slay: / look you be stern and stout.
If their years are but two / that you find round about,
Leave none living this day / that lie in swaddlingclout,
I say you;4.311
Spare no babe’s blood:4.312
Let all run in flood,4.313
If women wax mad.4.314
I warn you, sirs, to speed you;4.315
Hence! Now go your way / and get you there.4.316
Second Soldier
This may mean great affray; / but I will go before.
Third Soldier
Ah, think, sirs, I say / I will bite like a boar.
First Soldier
When I start my play / I shall kill me a score;
Herod all hail!4.320
We shall for your sake4.321
This massacre make.4.322
Herod
Now if you do well my work4.323
My reward shall not fail.4.324
Second Soldier
Play our parts now by rote / and handle them well.
Third Soldier
I shall strike at their coats / and make them to yell.

[First Woman enters


First Soldier
Hark, fellows, you dote / yonder comes trouble;
I wager a groat / she likes me not well;4.328
Let us part.4.329
Dame, think it not ill,4.330
Thy child if I kill.4.331
First Woman
What, thief! against my will?4.332
Lord, save his dear heart!4.333
First Soldier
Abide now, abide / no farther thou goes.4.334
First Woman
Peace, thief! shall I chide / and make here a noise?
First Soldier
I shall humble thy pride / when kill we these boys!
First Woman
May evil betide / look well to thy nose,4.337
False thief!4.338
Let me have at thy hood.4.339
First Soldier
What, whore, art thou mad?4.340

[He kills the child


First Woman
Out, alas, my child’s blood!4.341
I cry in my grief!4.342
Alas for shame and sin! / Alas that I was born!
Of weeping who may stint / to see her child forlorn?
My comfort and my kin, / my son thus dead and torn!
Vengeance for this sin / I cry, both even and morn.
Second Soldier
Well done! [Second Woman enters4.347
Come hither, thou old stry!4.348
That lad of thine shall die.4.349
Second Woman
Mercy, lord, I cry!4.350
It is my own dear son.4.351
Second Soldier
No mercy you merit: / your moans move me naught!
Second Woman
Then thy skull shall I cleave! / Will’st thou be clawed?
Leave, leave, now I bid! /
Second Soldier
Peace, bid I, bawd!4.354

[He kills the child


Second Woman
Fie, fie, for pity! / Fie, full of fraud!4.355
No man!4.356
Have at thy tabard,4.357
Harlot and holard!4.358
Thou shall not be spared!4.359
I cry and I ban!4.360
Out! murder! Man, I say / cruel traitor and thief!
Out! alas! and welaway! / My dear child and life!
My joy, my blood, my play / that never gave man grief!
Alas, alas, this day! / I would, my heart should cleave
In sunder!4.365
Vengeance I cry and call,4.366
On Herod and his knights all!4.367
Vengeance, Lord, upon them fall,4.368
And make the world wonder!4.369
Third Soldier
This is sure greatest game / that ever may be;

[Third woman enters


Come hitherward dame! / ye need not to flee!4.371
Third Woman
Will ye do any harm / to my child, and me?4.372
Third Soldier
He shall die, I thee swear / his heart’s blood shall thou see.

[He kills the child


Third Woman
God forbid!4.374
Thief! thou shed’st my child’s blood!4.375
Out, I cry! I go near mad!4.376
Alas! my heart is all on flood,4.377
To see my child thus bleed!4.378
By God, thou shall rue / this deed that thou has done.
Third Soldier
I bid thee not stray, / by sun and by moon.4.380
Third Woman
Have at thee say I! / this dagger for thy loins!
Out on thee cry I / have at thy groin4.382
Another!4.383
This keep I in store.4.384
Third Soldier
Peace now, no more!4.385
Third Woman
I cry and I roar,4.386
Out on thee, man’s murderer!4.387
Alas! my babe, my innocent; / flesh of my flesh! for sorrow
That God me dearly sent, / torment as sharp as arrow!
Thy body is torn and rent, / I cry both even and morrow,
Vengeance for thy blood, thus spent / out! I cry, and harrow!
First Soldier
Go lightly!4.392
Give over these groans!4.393
Haste, trollopes, hence to your homes,-4.394
Or by cock’s bones4.395
I shall not ask politely!4.396
They are fled now; I wot / they will not abide.
Second Soldier
Let us run hot-foot; / now would I we hied,4.398
And tell of this lot, / how we have betide.4.399
Third Soldier
Thou can nothing do here / that have I descried;
Go forth and wend,4.401
Tell thou Herod our tale!4.402
For all our avail,4.403
I tell you, sans fail,4.404
He will us commend.4.405
First Soldier
I am best of you all / and ever have been;4.406
The devil have my soul / if I be not first seen;
It fits me to call / on my lord, as I ween.4.408
Second Soldier
What needs thee to brawl? / Be not so keen4.409
In this anger;4.410
I shall say thou did best -4.411
Save myself, as I guessed.4.412
First Soldier
Wey! that is most honest.4.413
Third Soldier
Go, tarry no longer! [They go back to Herod
First Soldier
Hail Herod, our King / full glad may ye be!4.415
Good tiding we bring: / harken now to me4.416
We have been riding / throughout all Jewry:4.417
Now know ye one thing- / that murdered, have we,
Many thousands.4.419
Second Soldier
I held them full hot,4.420
I struck them and smote;4.421
Their dams now, I wot,4.422
Cannot bind them in bands.4.423
Third Soldier
Had ye seen how I fared / when I came among them!
There was none that I spared, / but I laid on and dang them.
I am worthy a reward, / where I was among them.
I stood and I stared / no pity to hang them4.427
Had I.4.428
Herod
Now, by mighty Mahowne,4.429
That is good of reknown!4.430
If I wear this crown.4.431
You shall each have a lady,4.432
Fully fairly arrayed, / to wed at your will.4.433
First Soldier
So have ye long said, / but have not paid the bill!
Second Soldier
And I was never flayed / for good nor for ill.
Third Soldier
Ye might hold, you well paid / our wish to fulfill,
Thus think me:4.437
with treasure untold,4.438
If it like that ye would,4.439
Both silver and gold,4.440
To give us great plenty.4.441
Herod
As I am king crowned / I think it good right!
There goes none on ground / of such main and might
A hundred thousand pound / is good wage for a knight,
Of pennies good and round: / now may ye go light
With store.4.446
And ye knights of ours4.447
Shall have castles and towers,4.448
Both to you and to yours,4.449
For now and evermore.4.450
First Soldier
Was never none born / by down nor by dale,4.451
Nor none ever before / that thus did prevail.
Second Soldier
We have castles and corn, / much gold in our mails.
Third Soldier
It will last evermore / I tell you no tales;4.454
Hail in the highest!4.455
Hail lord! Hail King!4.456
We are forth faring! [They leave4.457
Herod

[Addressing the crowd/audience


Now may Lucifer bring you4.458
Where he is lord friendly;4.459
Now in peace may I stand / I thank thee, each one!
And give of my land / that belongs to my crown.
So come close at hand / both of burgh and of town;
Marks each one a thousand / when next I am come,
Shall ye have.4.464
I shall make no delay4.465
To give that I say!4.466
When next I come this way,4.467
And then may ye crave.4.468
I set by no good, / now my heart is at ease,4.469
That I shed so much blood / I may rule as I please!
For to see this flood / from the feet to the knees
Methinks it is good / yea, I laugh till I wheeze;
By God’s moon!4.473
So light is my soul,4.474
That to honey turns my bile;4.475
I may do what I will,4.476
And bear up my crown.4.477
I was cast into care, / so frightly afraid;4.478
But I no more despair: / for low is he laid4.479
That I most did I fear; / so have I him flayed.
It would great wonder be / where so many strayed
In harm’s way,4.482
That one should escape,4.483
And unharmed take flight,4.484
When so many childer4.485
For their blows have no balm.4.486
A hundred thousand, Iwis / and forty are slain,
And four more thousand; this / makes glad my heart plain;
Such murder in the land / shall never be again.
Had I had but one bat / at that sweet swain4.490
So young,4.491
The deed had been spoken4.492
And not been forgotten,4.493
were I dead and rotten,4.494
Told by many a tongue.4.495
Thus shall I teach knaves / example to take:4.496
If any man rave, / other masters to make,4.497
Be they boastful and brave, / think not I shall quake!
False sovereigns shall none save, / your necks shall I strike
In sunder.4.500
None King shall ye call4.501
But Herod the royal;4.502
And if any man shall,4.503
He suffers for that blunder.4.504
For if I hear it spoken / when I come again,4.505
Your brains shall be broken / so have heed of pain;
What it may betoken / it shall be so plain;4.507
I say without joking, / I have but disdain4.508
For the squeamish.4.509
Sirs, this is my counsel-4.510
Be not too cruel,4.511
But adieu - to the devil!4.512
I know no more French!4.513


2016 Sep 21  13:10:49

Epilogue

Christ
Every creature take intent5.386
What message I shall you bring:
This wicked world away is went,
And I am come as crownèd King.
My Father in Heaven has me down sent,
To weigh your works and make ending.
Comen is the day of Judgement;
Of sorrow may every sinner sing.
The day is comen of wretchedness,5.394
All those to cull that are unclean.
The day of battle and bitterness,
Full long awaited has it been.
The day of dread to more and less,
Of joy, of trembling, and of pain.
Every wight that wicked is
May say, alas this day is seen!
Here may ye see my Wounds wide5.403
That I suffered for your misdeed.
Through heart, head, foot, hand and hide;
Not for my guilt but for your need.
Behold, both back, body, and side:
How dear I bought your brotherhood.
These bitter pains I would abide,
To buy you bliss thus would I bleed.
On cross they hanged me on a hill;
Bruised and bloody thus was I beat,
With crown of thorn thrust on full ill.
A spear into my heart they set;
My heart's blood spared they not to spill.
Behold, mankind, that same am I5.422
That for thee suffered such mischief.
This was done me for thy folly:
Man, lo, thy love was all my life.
Thus was I dealt, thy hurt to heal;
To redeem thee, man, was this done to me.
In all my woe was all thy weal:
My will it was for love of thee.
All this suffered I for thy sake:5.432
Say, man, what suffered, thou for me?5.433
Come now forth, my children all,5.500
I forgive you your amiss;
With me now go ye shall
To Joy and endless bliss.


2016 Sep 16  18:43:09