The Wryghtes and Sklaters Plaie

On stage: Mary’s stool (SR); throne covered with sheepskin. Preset offstage: Manger (behind screen); Star (in choir stalls).

Entire cast comes onto stage from around body of the Church during opening music. At end all exit, revealing Mary sitting on stool and Gabriel standing USC. Sybil hidden in “cave”.

Hail be thou, Mary, mother free,1
Full of Grace. God is with thee.
Amongst all women blessed thou be,
And the fruit of thy body.
Ah Lord, that sittest up on high5
Wonderously now marvel I -
A simple maiden of my degree
To be greeted so graciously.
Mary, ne dread thee nought this case9
With Great God found that hast
Among all other special grace.
Therefore Mary, thou shall
Conceive and bear - as I tell thee
A child; Jesus his name shall be.
So great shall never none be as he,15
And call-ed Goddes Son.
And our Lord God, believe thou me,17
Shall give him David his father’s See
In Jacob’s house to reign shall he
With full might evermore.
And he that shall be born of thee
Endless life in him shall be
And such renown and royalty23
Had never none before
How may this be, thou beast so bright?25
In sin know I no worldly wight.
The Holy Ghost shall in thee light27
From God in majesty
And shade thee softly in sight
Therefore that holy one, as I have hight
That thou shalt bear through Goddes might
His Son shall call-ed be.

Elizabeth appears at altar and slowly approaches

Elizabeth that barren was33
As thou may see, conceiv-ed has
In age a son through Goddes grace;
His birth shall be of bliss.
The sixth month is gone now again
Since men did call her barren;
But nothing to Goddes might and main39
Impossible is.
Now since that God wills it so be41
And such grace hath sent to me,
Bless-ed evermore be he;
To please him I am glad.
Lo, Goddes Chosen meekly here -
And Lord God, prince of power
Let all things fall in such manner,47
This Word that thou has said.

The Angel leaves into pulpit and Mary greets Elizabeth

Elizabeth, Cousin, God be with thee.49
Mary, bless-ed shalt thou be,50
And the fruit that comes of thee
Among women all.
Wonderly now marvels me
That Mary, Goddes Mother free
Greets me thus in simplicity
Lord, how may this befall?56
When thou didst greet me, sweet Mary57
The child stirred in my body
For great joy of thy company
And the fruit that is in thee.
Bless-ed be thou ever and aye
That lived so well and steadfastly,
For what was said to thee, lady,63
Fulfilled and done shall be.
Elizabeth, therefore will I65
Thank the Lord, King of mercy
With joyful mirth and melody
And laud to his liking:
“Magnificat” while I have to me,
“Anima mea dominum”
To Christ that in my kind is come,71
Devoutly will I sing.

Et exaltavit spiritus meus in Deo etc. - Music - Magnificat

Joseph enters and sits

Mary, now rede I that we be gone73
To Joseph thy husband anon;
Lest he for missing thee make moan
That is now most of need,
Elizabeth, cousin, to do so good is77
Lest he suppose I make amiss.
But God that hath ordain-ed this
Will bear witness to my deed.
Joseph, God thee save and see,81
Thy wife have I brought to thee
Alas, alas and woe is me!83
Who has made her with child?
Well I wist December and May
Might not accord by no way.
For many years might I not play
Nor work no works wild.
Three months she hath been from me89
Now has she gotten her, as I see
A great belly like to thee i.e. Elizabeth
Since she went away.
And mine it is not, be thou bold,
For I am old, and never could
These thirty winters - though I would -95
No longer play no play.

Mary and Elizabeth exit up towards altar

Alas, where may I go97
For loath is me my wife to shend
Therefore from her will I wend
Into some other place.
For to deceive will I nought
Feebly though she have wrought,
To leave her privily is my thought103
That no man know this case.
God, let never an old man105
Take to wife a young woman
Nor set his heart upon her
Lest he beguil-ed be.
For accord there may be none,
Nor they never be at one
And that is seen in many a one111
As well as in me.
Therefore shall I sleep a while,113
My wife that me can thus beguile
For I will go from her; yet to fly
Me is loath, truth to say.
This case makes me so heavy
That needs sleep now must I
Lord, on her have thou mercy119
For her misdeed today.

Joseph sleeps. Angel speaks from pulpit

Joseph, let be thy feeble thought,121
Take Mary thy wife and dread thee nought,
For wickedly she hath not wrought;
But this is Goddes will.

Mary approaches from US during this

The child that she shall bear iwys
Of the Holy Ghost begotten it is,
To save mankind that did amiss127
And prophesy to fulfil.
Ah, now I know, Lord, it is so,129
I will no more be her foe;
But while I may on earth go,
With her I will be.
Now Christ in our likeness does alight
As the prophets before behight.
Lord God, most of might135
With weal I worship thee.

Music. Mary and Joseph exit down aisle. Angel leaves. Herald enters, throws sheepskin from throne. Stage Manager picks it up, together with Mary’s stool. Places stool in centre of screen, takes sheepskin offstage

Make room Lordings, and give us way137
And let Octavian come and play,
And Sybil the Sage, that full fair Maid
To tell you of prophesy.
The Lord that died on Good Friday
He have you all both night and day!
Farewell Lordings, I go my way143
I may no longer abide.

He stands aside as Octavian and Senators enter

I prov-ed Prince most of power,145
Under heaven highest am I here.
My name Octavian call-ed is -147
All me about full in my bliss,
For wholly all this world, iwys
Is ready at my own will.
No man on earth dare do amiss
Against me - I tell you this.
For I have multipli-ed more153
The city of Rome since I was bore
Than ever was any before
Since I had this kingdom.
For what with strength and strokes sore
Leading Lordship, lovely lore,
All this world has been yore159
Tributary unto Rome.
Therefore as Lord now likes me161
To prove my might and power free
For I will send about and see
How many heads I have.
All the world shall written be
Great and small in each degree
That dwell in shire or in city -167
King, clerk, knight and knave.
Each man one penny shall pay169
Therefore my beadle, do as I say: to the Herald
In the world’s middle by each way
This business shall begin.
And this is fully my intent,173
That each man appear present
His penny for to pay.
And by that penny, as well is meant,
All acknowledge to be obedient
To Rome, by gift of such a rent
From that time on for aye.179
Have done, boy! Art thou not gone?180
All ready, my Lord!181
Boy, therefore by my sword182
Thou must have thy reward.
The highest horse on Hampstead Heath
Take thou for thy travel
Grant mercy Lord, perdi186
This hackney will well serve me;
For a great Lord in your degree
Should ride in such array,
That be high in dignity.
And also high and swift is he:
Therefore that reverence take ye,192
My dear Lord I you pray.
But your errand shall be done anon!194
First into Judee I will be gone,
And summon the people everyone,
Both shire and eke city.
Boy, there be ladies many a one;198
Among them all choose thee one
Take the fairest - or else none -
And freely I give her thee. Herald leaves
1st Senator
My Lord Octavian, we be sent202
From all Rome with good intent;
Thy people there have each one meant
As God to honour thee.
And to that point we do assent,
Poor and rich in Parliament;
For so loved a Lord, verily208
Was never in this city
2nd Senator
Yea surely sir, their will is this:210
To honour thee as god with bliss.
For thou did never to them amiss
In word, nor thought nor deed.
Peace hath been long, and still is;
No man in thy time lost aught of his.
Therefore their will is so iwys216
To give you this your meed.
Welcome, my friends in good faith218
For you be obedient to my pay.
I thank you, all that ever I may,
The homage ye do to me.
But folly it were by many a way
Such sovereignty for to assaye.
Since I must die, I know not what day,224
To desire such dignity.
For of all flesh, blood and bone226
Made I am, born of a woman,
And surely no other matter, none
Sheweth itself in me.
Neither of iron, wood nor stone
Am I not wrought, you know each one.
And of my life the best is gone,232
Age shows himself in me.
And Godhead needs in all thing234
Time that hath no beginning
And never shall have ending
And none of this have I.
Wherefore by very proof shewing,
Though I be highest worldly King,
Of godhead have I no knowing240
But only of mankind.
But yet enquire of this will we,242
Of her that has grace to see
Things that afterward shall be
By grace of prophesy.
Sybil the sage, tell me this thing
For thou has wit as no man living
Shall ever be any earthly king248
To pass me in degree?

Sybil emerges from her “cave” Ethereal sound to accompany her prophesying

Yea sir, I tell you without lying250
A babe born shall be, bliss to bring.
The which that never has beginning
Nor never shall ended be.
Sybil, I pray thee specially254
By signs thou would me certify:
What time that Lord so royally
To reign he shall begin.
Sir, I shall tell you knowingly258
His signs when I see them verily
But when he comes, through his mercy
Mankind he will remember.
Well I wot, forsooth, iwys262
That God will bring mankind to bliss
And send from heaven - believe well this -
His son, our saviour.
But what time, sir in good faith266
That he will come can I not say.
Therefore in this place will I pray
To greatest God of might.
And if I see aught to your pay
Through His spirit in any way
Warn you I shall anon this day272
And show it in your sight

Sybil retreats into cave. Octavian & Senators exit. Music? Herald enters and calls out:

Peace, I bid, King and knight,274
Men and women and each wight;
Till I have told my tale aright,
Stand still, both strong and stout.
My Lord Octavian, much of might
Commands you should be ready right:
Tribute he will have in height280
Of all this world about.
He will have written each country282
Castle, shire and eke city -
Men and women, believe you me -
And all that be therein.
A penny of each man have will he:
The value of ten pence it shall be
To acknowledge that he has sovereignty288
Over all mankind.

Exits down aisle. Joseph enters SL

Ah Lord, what does this man now here?290
Poor men’s weal is ever in woe.
I wot by this boaster’s jeer
That tribute I must pay.
And for great age and small power
I earned no gold this seven year.
Now comes the Kinges messenger296
To get all that he may.
With this axe that I bear,298
This awl and augur,
And iron hammer
I have earned my meat.
Castle, tower, nor rich manor
Had I never in my power;
But as a simple carpenter304
Have made what I can get.
If I have saved, anything,
That must I pay unto the King.
But yet I fall to thinking:308
The Angel to me told
He that will man out of bale bring
My wife has in her keeping.
That seems all good to my liking
And makes me more bold.
Ah, lief sir, tell me I thee pray, to Herald314
Shall poor as well as rich pay?
In faith sir I hope nay,
That were a wondrous wrong.

Coming back onto stage

Good man, I warn thee in good faith318
To Bethlehem to make thy way,
Lest thou in danger fall today
If that thou be too long. Exits
Now since it may no other be, Mary enters SL322
Mary, sister, now hie we.
An ox I will take with me,
That there shall be sold.
The silver from him, so tell I thee
Shall lodge us in that city
And pay tribute for thee and me328
For so we are behold.

Music to cover their “journey to Bethlehem” - not too far upstage - during which Midwives cross to SR and Mary & Joseph are jostled by Senators.

Mary, sister, sooth to say,330
Harbour, I fear, get not we may,
For great Lords of stout array
Occupy this city.
Therefore we must, in good fay,
Lie in this stable till it be day.
Help me up, my brother dear336
For I hope my time be near
Christ in this stable that is here
I hope born will be.
Come to me, my sweet dear Settling Mary on the stool
The treasure of heaven free and clear
Welcome in full meek mannere
Him hope I for to see.
Mary, sister, I will assay344
To get two midwives if I may -
For though in thee be God indeed
No child of mere mankind -
For the custom of this city
And manners’ sake, as thinkes me,
Two I will I fetch anon to thee350
If I may any find.

Joseph exits SL. Music.

Angel enters and screens Mary from view. Midwives “freeze”. Mary retrieves manger and baby from behind screen and poses with baby on her knee. Angel withdraws to pulpit.

As music ends Joseph re-enters, sees and approaches Midwives.

Women, God you save and see!352
Is it your will to go with me?
My wife is comen into this city
With child, and time is near.
Help her now for charity
And stay with her till day be.
And for your travail, I promise ye358
I shall pay you right here.
All ready, good man, in good faith360
We will do all that ever we may.
For two such midwives, I dare well say,
Are not in this city.
Come good man, lead us away364
By Goddes help, ere it be day
That we know good thy wife shall say,
And that thou shalt well see.
Lo, Mary, dear heart, brought I have here368
Two midwives for the mannere,
To be with thee, my darling dear,
Till that it be day.
Sir, they be welcome, have no fear372
But God has worked of his power
Full soon for me, my dear brother
As best is now and aye.
See, Joseph, tidings aright!376
I have a son, a sweet wight.
Lord, thanked be thou, full of might
For prov-ed is thy power.
Pain felt I none this night
But right so as he in me light
Come he is here in this sight -382
God’s son, as thou may see.

The star appears held by Stage Manager dressed as Angel

Lord, welcome, sweet Jesu!384
Thy name thou haddest ere I thee knew.
I believe the angel’s word is true,
That thou art a clean maid.
For thou art comen man’s bliss to bring
To all that thy law will show
Now man’s joy begins all new390
Never to pass away.
Lord, bless-ed most thou be392
That pure born art, as I see.
To deprive the devil of his power
Comen thou art today.
Lodging is there none for thee,
Therefore thy sweet body free
In this manger shall sheltered be398
All lapped about with hay.
Ah, dear Lord, Heaven’s King,400
That this is a marvellous thing!
Withouten pain or travailing
A fair son she has borne.
I dare well say, forsooth iwys
That clean maiden this woman is:
For she has borne a child in bliss;406
So wist I never none.
Be still Tebell, I thee pray408
For that is false, in good faith!
Was never a woman a clean maid,
Bore child without man.
But nevertheless, I will assay
Whether she be a clean maid
And know it if I can.414

Salome attempts to examine Mary; her hand is withered and she cries out. Dramatic organ chord

Alas, alas, alas, alas415
To me has betide an evil case!
My hands are dried up in this place
And feeling none have I.
Vengeance on me doth alight
For I would tempt Goddes might
Alas that I came here tonight421
To suffer such annoy.

The Angel speaks from the pulpit:

Woman, beseech this child of grace423
That he forgive thee thy trespass
And ere thou go out of this place
Holpen thou may be.
This miracle that now thou seest here
Is of Goddes own power,
To bring mankind out of danger429
And mend them, believe thou me.
Ah, sweet child, I ask mercy431
For thy mother’s love, Mary,
Though I have wrought wretchedly,
Sweet child forgive it me.

Ethereal sound

Ah blessed be God! All whole am I!
Now believe I well and surely,
That God is comen, man to redeem.437
And thou, Lord, thou art he.

Nativity tableau remains, except for star (Stage Manager needs to change out of Angel costume). Possible music?

Sybil emerges, Octavian & Senators enter. Ethereal sound as Sybil prophesies.

Sir Emperor, God thee save and see!439
I tell you sure that born is he
That passes thee in power.
Look up on high after me.
That Bairn thou seest that great shall be -
To pass all kings and even thee,
That borne are or ever were445
Ah, Sybil, this is a wondrous sight446
For yonder I see a maiden bright
A young child in her arms held tight
A bright cross on his head.
Honour I will that sweet wight
With incense throughout all my might
For that reverence is most right452
If that be thy advice
Incense bring, I command, on high,454
To honour this child, King of mercy
Should I be God? Nay, nay, utterly
Great wrong iwis it were:
For this child is more worthy
Than such a thousand as am I,
Therefore to God most mighty460
Incense I offer here.

Music (angelic song)

Ah, Sybil, hears’t not thou this song,
My members all it goeth among
Joy and bliss makes my heart stromg
To hear this melody.
Surely it may none other be466
But this child Prince of Power must be
And I his subject, as I see.
He is most worthy.
Yea sir, you shall believe well this470
Somewhere on earth born he is
And that he comes for man’s bliss
His tokening this can show.
Reverence him, I say iwis
For other God there none is;
Who hopes otherwise does amiss,476
But him for Christ to know.
Sir Senators, go home anon478
And warn my men everyone
By me such worship is forgone,
As they would do to me.
But this child worship each man may
With full heart all day long.
For he is worthy to believe upon484
And that I now well see.
2nd Senator
Ah Lord, whatever this may be,486
This is a wondrous sight to see,
For in the star, as thinketh me
I see a full faire maid.
1st Senator
Sir, shall this child surpass thee490
In worthiness and dignity?
Such a Lord, by my loyalty
I wager never has been.

Music. All cast leave in a dignified manner. Stage Manager enters and commandeers Senators to help with scene change.

2018 Dec 02  22:52:45