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Everyman and Other Old Religious Plays, with an Introduction
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"EVERYMAN"

WITH OTHER INTERLUDES, including EIGHT MIRACLE PLAYS



LONDON: PUBLISHED by J. M. DENT & SONS LTD. AND IN NEW YORK BY E. P. DUTTON & CO



First Issue of this Edition 1909 Reprinted 1910, 1912, 1914



INTRODUCTION

By craftsmen and mean men, these pageants are played, And to commons and countrymen accustomably before: If better men and finer heads now come, what can be said?



The pageants of the old English town-guilds, and the other mysteries and interludes that follow, have still an uncommon reality about them if we take them in the spirit in which they were originally acted. Their office as the begetters of the greater literary drama to come, and their value as early records, have, since Sharp wrote his Dissertation on the Coventry Mysteries in 1816, been fully illustrated. But they have hardly yet reached the outside reader who looks for life and not for literary origins and relations in what he reads. This is a pity, for these old plays hide under their archaic dress the human interest that all dramatic art, no matter how crude, can claim when it is touched with our real emotions and sensations. They are not only a primitive religious drama, born of the church and its feasts; they are the genuine expression of the town life of the English people when it was still lived with some exuberance of spirits and communal pleasure. As we read them, indeed, though it be in cold blood, we are carried out of our book, and set in the street or market-square by the side of the "commons and countrymen," as in the day when Whitsuntide, or Corpus Christi, brought round the annual pageantry to Chester, Coventry, York, and other towns.

Of the plays that follow, six come from the old town pageants, reflecting in their variety the range of subject and the contemporary effect of the cycles from which they are taken. They are all typical, and show us how the scenes and characters of the east were mingled with the real life of the English craftsmen and townsfolk who acted them, and for whose pleasure they were written. Yet they give us only a small notion of the whole interest and extent of these plays. We gain an idea of their popularity both from the number of them given in one town and the number of places at which regular cycles, or single pageants, were represented from year to year. The York plays alone that remain are forty-eight in all; the Chester, twenty-four or five; the Wakefield, thirty-two or three. Even these do not represent anything like the full list. Mr. E. K. Chambers, in an appendix to his Mediaeval Stage, gives a list of eighty-nine different episodes treated in one set or another of the English and Cornish cycles. Then as to the gazette of the many scattered places where they had a traditional hold: Beverley had a cycle of thirty-six; Newcastle-on-Tyne and Norwich, each one of twelve; while the village and parochial plays were almost numberless. In Essex alone the list includes twenty-one towns and villages, though it is fair to add that this was a specially enterprising shire. At Lydd and New Romney, companies of players from fourteen neighbouring towns and villages can be traced in the local records that stretch from a year or so before, to eight years after, the fifteenth century.

Mrs. J. R. Green, in her history of Town Life in that century, shows us how the townspeople mixed their workday and holiday pursuits, their serious duties with an apparent "incessant round of gaieties." Hardly a town but had its own particular play, acted in the town hall or the parish churchyard, "the mayor and his brethren sitting in state." In 1411 there was a great play, From the Beginning of the World, played in London at the Skinner's Well. It lasted seven days continually, and there were the most part of the lords and gentles of England. No copy of this play exists, but of its character we have a pretty sensible idea from various other plays of the Creation handed down from the north-country cycles. In the best of them the predestined Adam is created after a fashion both to suggest his treatment by Giotto in the medallion at Florence, and his lineaments as an English mediaeval prototype:—

"But now this man that I have made, With the ghost of life, I make him glad, Rise up, Adam, rise up rade,[1] A man full of soul and life!"

But to surprise the English mediaeval smith or carpenter, cobbler or bowyer, when he turns playgoer at Whitsuntide, assisting at a play which expressed himself as well as its scriptural folk, we must go on to later episodes. The Deluge in the Chester pageant, that opens the present volume, has among its many Noah's Ark sensations, some of them difficult enough to mimic on the pageant-wagon, a typical recall of the shipwright and ark-builder. God says to Noah:—

A ship soon thou shalt make thee of trees, dry and light. Little chambers therein thou make, And binding pitch also thou take, Within and out, thou ne slake To anoint it thro' all thy might.

In the York Noah's Ark pageant, which seems to be the parent-play in England of all its kind, we have this craftsman's episode much enlarged. "Make it of boards," God says, "and wands between!"

Thus thriftily and not over thin, Look that thy seams be subtly seen And nailed well, that they not twin: Thus I devised it should have been; Therefore do forth, and leave thy din

Then, after further instructions, Noah begins to work before the spectators, first rough-hewing a plank, then trying it with a line, and joining it with a gynn or gin. He says:—

More subtilely can no man sew;[2] It shall be clinched each ilk and deal, With nails that are both noble and new, Thus shall I fix it to the keel: Take here a rivet, and there a screw, With there bow,[3] there now, work I well, This work, I warrant both good and true.

To complete the pedigree of this scene we must turn to the old poem, the "Cursor Mundi," which, written in the fourteenth century, the time when the northern miracle-plays were taking decisive shape, appears to have served their writers as a stock-book. The following passage is own brother to that in the York miracle-play:—

A ship must thou needs dight, Myself shall be the master-wright. I shall thee tell how broad and long, Of what measure and how strong. When the timber is fastened well, Wind the sides ever each and deal. Bind it first with balk and band, And wind it then too with good wand. With pitch, look, it be not thin! Plaster it well without and in!

The likeness we see is startling: so near to the other indeed as to suggest almost a common authorship.

As for the pastoral plays in the same towns, we find the shepherds and countrymen were just as well furnished with rough cuts from the life. The most real and frankly illustrative, and by no means the least idyllic of them is perhaps the Chester play of the three shepherds. It was not played by countrymen but by townsmen, like the other plays in the town cycles, being in this case the "Paynters and Glasiors" play. The first shepherd who opens it talks of the "bower" or cote he would build, his "sheep to shield," his "seemly wethers to save:"—

From comely Conway unto Clyde Under tyldes[4] them to hide A better shepherd on no side No earthly man may have For with walking weary I have methought Beside thee such my sheep I sought My long-tail'd tups are in my thought Them to save and heal

In the Death of Abel, another Chester play, Cain comes in with a plough, and says:—

A tiller I am, and so will I be, As my daddy hath taught it me I will fulfil his lore

In the subsequent incident of the corn that Cain is to offer for his sacrifice, we hear the plain echo of the English farmer's voice in the corn-market mixing with the scriptural verse: "This standing corn that was eaten by beasts," will do:

God, thou gettest no better of me, Be thou never so grim

So throughout the plays the folk-life of their day, their customs and customary speech, are for ever emerging from the biblical scene.

In trying to realise how the miracle-plays were mounted and acted, we shall find the best witness at Chester. This was a rather late one. Archdeacon Rogers, who saw them in 1594, when they had been going on for something like three centuries in all. From his account (in the Harleian Miscellany) it appears the Chester plays were given on Whit-Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

"The manner of these plays were, every company had his pageant or part, a high scaffold with two rooms, a higher and a lower, upon four wheels. In the lower they apparelled themselves, and in the higher room they played, being all open on the top, that all beholders might hear and see them." They were played, he goes on to say, in every street:

"They began first at the abbey gates, and when the first pageant was played, it was wheeled to the high cross before the mayor, and so to every street. So every street had a pageant playing before it at one time, till all the pageants for the day appointed were played. When one pageant was near ended, word was brought from street to street, that so they might come in place thereof, exceeding orderly, and all the streets have their pageants before them, all at one time playing together, to see which plays was great resort and also scaffolds and stages made in the streets in those places where they determined to play their pageants."

The same writer explains elsewhere that these plays were divided into twenty-four pageants, according to the number of the city companies, and that each company brought out its own pageant.

At York, whose plays Miss L. Toulmin Smith edited in 1887, we can turn to Davies's two books[5] and the local records, to complete the Chester description. Those who travel to York by rail to-day, and there dismount, as most of us have often done, to walk through the city to the cathedral, will be interested to find that the railway station now stands where once was Pageant Green. Near it was formerly another kind of station, where stood the houses hired to keep the pageants stored and put away from one year's show to another. The word "pageant," (pagina, or plank), we ought to recall, was used for the stage, or wheeled car of two stories, before it was used for the show set forth upon it. Davies helps us, as we perambulate York to-day, to mark where the old pageants were performed in 1399, at twelve stations, which were fixed and stated beforehand. The first station was at the gates of the Priory of the Holy Trinity in Mickle Gate, and the pageants were moved on them in turn to places at Skelder Gate end, North Street, Conyng Strete, Stane Gate and the gates of the Minster, so to the end of Girdler Gate; while the last of all was "upon the pavement." But the stations were subject to change, and there was much competition among wealthy householders (one of whom may have been the Robert Harpham mentioned in a 1417 list) to have the pageant played before their windows. The highest bidder gained the coveted right.

Before the actual day came, a town-crier was sent round the city to proclaim the "banes" or banns.[6] Arms were forbidden: "We command that no man go armed in this city with swords ne with carlill-axes, in disturbance of the king's peace and the play, or hindering of the procession of Corpus Christi, and that they leave their harness in their inns, saving knights and squires of worship that ought to have swords borne after them!" The plays began betimes. We read that at York the players were to be ready "at the mid-hour betwixt the IVth and Vth of the clock in the morning." Finally, for the players themselves, care was taken to secure good ones for the several parts. Sometimes a player doubled or trebled the characters in a particular play.

All through the XIVth and XVth centuries miracle-plays went on being performed regularly, or irregularly, in most of the English towns and larger villages. One of the smaller cycles was that of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, played at Corpus Christi, from 1426 onwards. The Three Kings of Cologne is mentioned in 1536, which the goldsmiths, plumbers, glaziers, and others were to play. Here the pageants were not movable ones, but were given at fixed points. No doubt some of the spots associated with the Whitsuntide "shuggy-shows" (as I remember them in my time) were originally show-grounds of the town pageants too. Only one play of the Newcastle series has survived, and that fitly enough, having regard to the Tyneside shipbuilding, is a shipwrights' play. Unluckily it has been so modernised that not a vestige of the local colour or Tyneside dialect remains.

We come now to the date and origin of these town pageants. Of the three chief cycles earliest mention is to be found at Chester, and it carries us doubtfully back to 1268. Sir John Arnway was mayor in that year, according to one account: but the name recurs pretty positively in 1327-8, and about that time Randall Higgenet, a monk of Chester Abbey, wrote the plays. But in the text handed down they are of a much later style of diction, and no doubt later in date than the Towneley or York series.

About the real origin of these plays there can be no question. They began in the churches as liturgy plays, which were given at the Christmas, Easter, and other festivals, illustrating in chief the birth, life, death and passion of Christ. We owe to Professor Skeat the recovery of some fragments of liturgical plays in Latin, which have been reprinted by Professor Manly, in his Specimens of the Pre-Shaksperean Drama. The earliest example there is may be dated as early as 967, an important landmark for us, as it is often assumed that we have no dramatic record of any kind in these islands earlier than the Norman Conquest. Another generation or two of research, such as the pioneer work of Dr. Furnivall and the Early English Text Society has made possible, and we shall distinguish clearly the two lines of growth, French and Norman, English and Saxon, by which the town-pageants and folk-plays of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries came to a head. Then the grafting of the English pastoral on the church-play, after it had been carried out into the open town or market-place, may become clear. Then, too, one will know how charged with potential dramatic life was the mind of him who wrote that interlude in four lines of the "Three Queens and the Three Dead Men," which contains in it the essence of a thousand moralities.

1st Queen. I am afeard.

2nd Queen. Lo, what I see?

3rd Queen. Me thinketh it be devils three!

1st Dead Body. I was well fair

2nd Dead Body. Such shall thou be.

3rd Dead Body. For Godes love, be-ware by me!

These breathe, not a Norman, but an Anglo-Saxon fantasy, and they speak for themselves. But many tell-tale documents exist to mark the concurrent Norman and English development that went on in the English mediaeval literature, and was seen and felt in the church and guild plays, just as it went on in the towns themselves. It finds at last its typical expression in an interlude like the Coventry Nativity-play, reprinted in this volume. Long before the miracle-play was written in the form it finally took, and about the time when William of Rouen, after much trouble with his son Robert culminating at the battle of Gerberoi, was about to return to England, the new opening in the church in this country became one to tempt poor foreign students of some parts and some ambition. Among these was a graduate of the University of Paris, one Geoffrey, known to us now as Geoffrey of St. Albans. He had been offered the post of master of the abbey school at that place, but when he arrived after some delay—due perhaps to his going to see a mystery play at Paris—he found the post filled up. He then made his way to Dunstable, and while there proved his spirit by getting up a miracle-play of "Sancta Katarina." He borrowed copes from St. Albans in which to dress the actors; unluckily a fire took place, and the costumes were burnt. Thereupon he seems to have rendered himself up as it were in pious pledge for their loss, for he became a monk. In 1119 he was elected abbot, and if we give him about twenty-one years in which to rise to that dignity, we can date the St. Katharine play at 1098 or 9. This passage in a life of that time is a clue to the further history of the religious play in England. Geoffrey's attempt to present one at Dunstable, no doubt a reproduction of one he had seen in France, is an instance of the naturalisation process that slowly went on.

The distinct break in the history of the miracle-play that made it from a church into a town pageant occurred about the close of the thirteenth century. From a performance within the church building it went on then into the church-yard, or the adjoining close or street, and so into the town at large. The clerics still kept a hand in its purveyance; but the rise of the town guilds gave it a new character, a new relation to the current life, and a larger equipment. The friendly rivalry between the guilds, and the craftsmen's pride in not being outdone by other crafts, helped to stimulate the town play, till at length the elaborate cycle was formed that began with sunrise on a June morning, and lasted until the torch-bearers were called out at dusk to stand at the foot of the pageant.

The earliest miracle-plays that we can trace in the town cycles date back to the early years of Edward III. The last to be performed in London, according to Prynne, was Christ's Passion, which was given in James I.'s reign. It was produced "at Ely House, Holborn, when Gundomar lay there on Good Friday at night, at which there were thousands present." This was a late survivor, however, called to life by a last flicker of court sunshine on the occasion of the state visit of a Spanish ambassador. Here is an extreme range of over three centuries; and the old religious drama was still being performed in a more and more uncertain and intermittent fashion all through the dramatic reign of Shakspeare.

The ten plays that follow in this volume represent in brief the late remnant of this early drama, rescued at the point where it was ending its primitive growth, soon to give way to plays written with a consciously artistic sense of the stage. They are headed by the great and simple tragic masterpiece, in which they say their last word: the morality of Everyman, the noblest interlude of death the religious imagination of the middle ages has given to the stage. The two following Old Testament plays, The Deluge and the Sacrifice of Isaac, are the third and fourth pageants in the Chester series; played respectively by the Water-Leaders and Drawers of the river Dee, and by the Barbers and Wax-Chandlers. The next is from Coventry, a Nativity play, played by the Shearmen and Tailors. From the Wakefield series, preserved in the Towneley collection, we have three plays, the famous second shepherds' play, with the Crucifixion and the Harrowing of Hell, or extraction of souls from Hell (Extractio Animarum ab Inferno). Two Cornish mysteries of the Resurrection are included: The Three Maries at the Tomb, and Mary Magdalen bringing the News to the Apostles. Then follows Bishop Bale's oracular play of God's Promises, which is in effect a series of seven interludes strung on one thread, united by one leading idea, and one protagonist, the Pater Coelestis.

In these religious and moral interludes, the dramatic colouring, however crude, is real and sincere. The humours of a broad folk-comedy break through the scriptural web continually in the guild plays like those in which Noah the shipbuilder, or the proverbial three shepherds, appear in the pageant. Noah's unwilling wife in the Chester Deluge, and Mak's canny wife in the Wakefield shepherd's play, where the sheep-stealing scenes reveal a born Yorkshire humorist, offer a pair of gossips not easy to match for rude comedy. Mak's wife, like the shepherd's in the same pastoral, utters proverbs with every other breath: "A woman's avyse helpys at the last!" "So long goys the pott to the water, at last comys it home broken!"

Now in hot, now in cold, Full woeful is the household, That wants a woman!

And her play upon the old north-country asseveration, "I'll eat my bairn,"—

If ever I you beguiled, That I eat this child That lies in this cradle,

(the child being the stolen sheep), must have caused towns-folk and country-folk outrageous laughter. Mak's wife is indeed memorable in her way as the Wife of Bath, Dame Quickly, or Mrs. Gamp.

There is nothing so boldly drawn in the Coventry Nativity. But there you have a startlingly realistic treatment joined to an emotional lyricism of the simplest charm:

Neither in halls, nor yet in bowers, Born would he not be Neither in castles, nor yet in towers That seemly were to see.

and—

As I outrode this enderes night Of three jolly shepherds, I saw a sight; And all about their fold a star shone bright, They sang "Terli, terlow!" So merrily the shepherds their pipes can blow.

In this Coventry play we have nearly all the ingredients—foreign, liturgical, or homely English—of the composite miracle play brought together. It bears traces of many hands; and betrays in the dialogue of the formal characters the rubricated lines of the church play on which it was based. The chief characters live, move and act their recognised parts with the certainty of the folk in a nursery tale. Herod out-Herods himself with a Blunderbore extravagance:—

I am the cause of this great light and thunder; It is through my fury that they such noise do make. My fearful countenance, the clouds so doth incumber That oftentimes for dread thereof, the very earth doth quake.

"Fee, fi, fo, fum!" might be the refrain of this giant's litany. The other types are as plainly stamped. The shepherd's are from the life, and contrast well with the stilted and rather tiresome prophets. The scenes at the babe's crib when the offerings are made of the shepherds' pipe, old hat, and mittens, are both droll and tender.

The tragic counterparts of these scenes are those where the Three Executioners work their pitiless task to an end at the Crucifixion, or where the Three Maries go to the grave afterwards in the Cornish mystery, or where Isaac bids his father bind his eyes that he shall not see the sword. It was for long the fashion to say, as Sir Walter Scott did, that these plays had little poetic life, or human interest in them. But they are, at their best, truly touched with essential emotions, with humour, terror, sorrow, pity, as the case may be. Dramatically they are far more alive at this moment, than the English drama of the mid-nineteenth century.

In the Cornish mysteries we lose much by having to use a translation. But something of the spirit and life survive in spite of it, and one detached passage from another of the plays, that of the Crucifixion, is printed in the appendix, which loses nothing by being compared with the treatment in other miracle-plays. Also in the Appendix will be found an interesting note from Norris's Ancient Cornish Drama, on the mode in which the Cornish mysteries were played; and a brief account by Mr. Jenner of the trilogy contained in that work.

There remains John Bayle's play of God's Promises. Its author was born at the sea-doomed city of Dunwich in Suffolk, in 1495. Destined for the church, he showed his obstinacy early by marrying in defiance of his cloth. He was lucky and unlucky in being a protege of Thomas Cromwell, and had to fly the country on that dangerous agent's death. He returned when the new order was established, and became Bishop of Ossory, had to suffer and turn exile for his tenets again in Mary's reign; but found safe harbourage for his latter years at Canterbury, where he died. He wrote, on his own evidence, more than twenty plays, of which God's Promises, the Life of John the Baptist, and King John, a history play of interest as a pioneer, are best known. He himself called God's Promises a tragedy, but unless the sense of Sodom hanging in the balance, while Abraham works down to its lowest point the diminishing ratio of the just to be found there, or of David's appearing before the Pater Coelestis as the great judge, of dramatic or tragic emotion there is little indeed. But Bayle's rhetoric easily ran to the edge of suspense, as in the opening of his seventh act, where he puts the dramatic question in the last line:—

I have with fearcenesse mankynde oft tymes corrected, And agayne I have allured hym by swete promes. I have sent sore plages, when he hath me neglected, And then by and by, most confortable swetnes. To wynne hym to grace, bothe mercye and ryghteousnes I have exercysed, yet wyll he not amende. Shall I now lose hym, or shall I hym defende?

And what could be finer than the setting he gives to the antiphon, O Oriens Splendor, at the end of the second act?

To turn from Bayle's play to the heart-breaking realities of Everyman is like turning from a volume of all too edifying sermons to the last chapters of one of the gospels. Into the full history of this play, opening a difficult question about the early relations between Dutch and English writers and printers, there is no room here to go. The Dutch EverymanElckerlijk—was in all probability the original of the English, and it was certainly printed a few years earlier. Richard Pynson, who first imprinted the English play at the Sign of the George in Fleet Street, was printing at his press there from the early years of the sixteenth century. The play itself may have been written, and first performed, in English, as in Dutch, a generation or more before.

It was written, no doubt, like most of the plays in this volume, by a churchman; and he must have been a man of profound imagination, and of the tenderest human soul conceivable. His ecclesiastical habit becomes clear enough before the end of the play, where he bids Everyman go and confess his sins. Like many of the more poignant scenes and passages in the miracle-plays that follow it, this morality too leaves one exclaiming on how good a thing was the plain English of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

The relation of the several miracle-plays here printed to the town-cycles from which they come will be seen at a glance on reference to the tables of pageants that appear in the Appendix. We may take it that all these town and country plays represent continually used and frequently tinkered texts, that must in some cases have passed through many piecemeal changes. In making them easy to the average reader of to-day, who takes the place of the mediaeval playgoer at a Corpus Christi festival, their latest copyists have but followed in the wake of a series of Tudor scribes who renewed the prompt-books from time to time. In this process, apart from the change of spelling, the smallest possible alteration has been made consistent with the bringing of the text to a fair modern level of intelligibility. Old words that have been familiarised in Malory or Shakespeare, or the Bible, or in the Border Ballads and north-country books, or in Walter Scott, or the modern dialect of Yorkshire, are usually allowed to stand, and words needed to keep the rhyme, are left intact. But really hard words, likely to delay the reader, are glossed. One Towneley play, the Extractio Animarum, another and a most spirited example of the "Harrowing of Hell," mysteries that thrilled the people long ago, is given in the original spelling, as some test of the change effected in the others. Further, in the Appendix will be found a late example of a St. George and the Dragon doggerel Christmas play, which comes from Cornwall, and which in a slightly varying form has been played in many shires, from Wessex to Tyneside, within living memory. This shows us the last state of the traditional mystery, and the English folk-play as it became when it was left to the village wits and playwrights to produce it, without any co-operation from the trained eye and hand of a parson or a learned clerk. Of some other forms of our earlier drama, not omitting the Welsh interludes of Twm o'r Nant, it may be possible to give illustrations in a later book, companion to this. Only so much is given here as may interest the reader, who is a playgoer first of all, and asks for entertainment and a light in these darker passages of the old British drama.

* * * * *

Finally the amplest acknowledgments are due to those who have worked upon these present plays, including Mrs. C. Richardson, M.A., Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Roberts, Miss Hawkins, G. R., and Mr. Ezra Pound; and to the various editors of the "Early English Text Society," who have made this book possible. Especially should tribute be paid to Dr. Furnivall for his permission to make use of the Society's texts, and his interest in this uncertain attempt to capture the outer public too, and attract it to that ever-living literature to which he has devoted so many days of his young old-age.

E. R.

* * * * *

Everyman: a moral play otherwise called: A Treatyse how the hye fader of heven sendeth dethe to somon every creature to come and gyve a counte of theyr lyves in this worlde], translated from the Dutch play, Elckerlijk, 1520 (?); published in Dodsley's Select Collection of Old English Plays, etc., vol. I., 1874; reprint of one of Skot's editions, collated with his other edition and those of Pynson, Ed. H. Logeman, 1892; with an introduction by F. Sidgwick, 1902; reprinted by W. W. Greg from the Edition by John Skot preserved at Britwell Court, 1904; set to music by H. Walford Davies, etc. (with historical and analytical notes), 1904; J. S. Farmer, Six Anonymous Plays (Early English Dramatists), 1905; with designs by Ambrose Dudley, 1906; in Broadway Booklets, 1906; with introduction, note-book, and word list, J. S. Farmer (Museum Dramatists), 1906.

Miracle Plays: Towneley Mysteries, ed. by Surtees Society, 1836; Pollard, Early English Text Society, 1897. York Mysteries, ed. Lucy Toulmin Smith, 1885. Chester Mysteries, ed. Th. Wright, Shakespeare Society, 1843-47; Deimling, Early English Text Society, 1893, etc.; T. H. Markland (two plays), Roxburghe Club, 1818. Coventry Mysteries, ed. Halliwell, Shakespeare Society, 1841. See also Sharp, Dissertation on the Coventry Mysteries. For other Mysteries see Davidson, Modern Language Notes, vii.; E. Norris, Ancient Cornish Drama, 1859.

Selections, or Separate Plays: Harrowing of Hell, ed. Halliwell, 1840; Collier, Five Miracle Plays, 1867; Dr. E. Mall, 1871; A. W. Pollard, English Miracle Plays, 1895; Specimens of the Pre-Shakespearean Drama, 1897, 2 vols. (a third vol. to come), Prof. Manly. See J. H. Kirkham (Enquiry into Sources, etc.), 1885. Abraham and Isaac, ed. L. Toulmin Smith (Brome Hall MS.), 1886; R. Brotanek (Dublin MS.), Anglia, xxi.

General Literature: Ward, History of English Dramatic Literature, 1875-6; Payne Collier, The History of English Dramatic Poetry, 1879; K. Hase, Miracle Plays, trans. A. W. Jackson, 1880; C. Davidson, Studies in English Mystery Plays, 1892; A. W. Pollard, English Miracle Plays, Moralities, and Interludes, Specimens of pre-Elizabethan Drama, etc., 1895; K. Chambers, The Mediaeval Stage, 1903; A full bibliography is given in F. H. Stoddard, References for Students of Miracle Plays and Mysteries, 1887.



CONTENTS



Introduction vii Everyman 1 The Deluge 27 Abraham, Melchisedec, and Isaac 39 The Wakefield Second Shepherds' Play 55 The Coventry Nativity Play 79 The Wakefield Miracle-Play of the Crucifixion 105 The Cornish Mystery-Play of the Three Maries 127 The Mystery of Mary Magdalene and the Apostles 137 The Wakefield Pageant of the Harrowing of Hell 147 God's Promises 163 Appendices 193



CHARACTERS

Everyman God: Adonai Death Messenger Fellowship Cousin Kindred Goods Good-Deeds Strength Discretion Five-Wits Beauty Knowledge Confession Angel Doctor



EVERYMAN

HERE BEGINNETH A TREATISE HOW THE HIGH FATHER OF HEAVEN SENDETH DEATH TO SUMMON EVERY CREATURE TO COME AND GIVE ACCOUNT OF THEIR LIVES IN THIS WORLD AND IS IN MANNER OF A MORAL PLAY.

Messenger. I pray you all give your audience, And hear this matter with reverence, By figure a moral play— The Summoning of Everyman called it is, That of our lives and ending shows How transitory we be all day. This matter is wondrous precious, But the intent of it is more gracious, And sweet to bear away. The story saith,—Man, in the beginning, Look well, and take good heed to the ending, Be you never so gay! Ye think sin in the beginning full sweet, Which in the end causeth thy soul to weep, When the body lieth in clay. Here shall you see how Fellowship and Jollity, Both Strength, Pleasure, and Beauty, Will fade from thee as flower in May. For ye shall hear, how our heaven king Calleth Everyman to a general reckoning: Give audience, and hear what he doth say.

God. I perceive here in my majesty, How that all creatures be to me unkind, Living without dread in worldly prosperity: Of ghostly sight the people be so blind, Drowned in sin, they know me not for their God; In worldly riches is all their mind, They fear not my rightwiseness, the sharp rod; My law that I shewed, when I for them died, They forget clean, and shedding of my blood red; I hanged between two, it cannot be denied; To get them life I suffered to be dead; I healed their feet, with thorns hurt was my head: I could do no more than I did truly, And now I see the people do clean forsake me. They use the seven deadly sins damnable; As pride, covetise, wrath, and lechery, Now in the world be made commendable; And thus they leave of angels the heavenly company; Everyman liveth so after his own pleasure, And yet of their life they be nothing sure: I see the more that I them forbear The worse they be from year to year; All that liveth appaireth[7] fast, Therefore I will in all the haste Have a reckoning of Everyman's person For and I leave the people thus alone In their life and wicked tempests, Verily they will become much worse than beasts; For now one would by envy another up eat; Charity they all do clean forget. I hoped well that Everyman In my glory should make his mansion, And thereto I had them all elect; But now I see, like traitors deject, They thank me not for the pleasure that I to them meant, Nor yet for their being that I them have lent; I proffered the people great multitude of mercy, And few there be that asketh it heartily; They be so cumbered with worldly riches, That needs on them I must do justice, On Everyman living without fear. Where art thou, Death, thou mighty messenger?

Death. Almighty God, I am here at your will, Your commandment to fulfil.

God. Go thou to Everyman, And show him in my name A pilgrimage he must on him take, Which he in no wise may escape; And that he bring with him a sure reckoning Without delay or any tarrying.

Death. Lord, I will in the world go run over all, And cruelly outsearch both great and small; Every man will I beset that liveth beastly Out of God's laws, and dreadeth not folly: He that loveth riches I will strike with my dart, His sight to blind, and from heaven to depart, Except that alms be his good friend, In hell for to dwell, world without end. Lo, yonder I see Everyman walking; Full little he thinketh on my coming; His mind is on fleshly lusts and his treasure, And great pain it shall cause him to endure Before the Lord Heaven King. Everyman, stand still; whither art thou going Thus gaily? Hast thou thy Maker forget?

Everyman. Why askst thou? Wouldest thou wete?[8]

Death. Yea, sir, I will show you; In great haste I am sent to thee From God out of his majesty.

Everyman. What, sent to me?

Death. Yea, certainly. Though thou have forget him here, He thinketh on thee in the heavenly sphere, As, or we depart, thou shalt know.

Everyman. What desireth God of me?

Death. That shall I show thee; A reckoning he will needs have Without any longer respite.

Everyman. To give a reckoning longer leisure I crave; This blind matter troubleth my wit.

Death. On thee thou must take a long journey: Therefore thy book of count with thee thou bring; For turn again thou can not by no way, And look thou be sure of thy reckoning: For before God thou shalt answer, and show Thy many bad deeds and good but a few; How thou hast spent thy life, and in what wise, Before the chief lord of paradise. Have ado that we were in that way, For, wete thou well, thou shalt make none attournay.[9]

Everyman. Full unready I am such reckoning to give. I know thee not: what messenger art thou?

Death. I am Death, that no man dreadeth. For every man I rest and no man spareth; For it is God's commandment That all to me should be obedient.

Everyman. O Death, thou comest when I had thee least in mind; In thy power it lieth me to save, Yet of my good will I give thee, if ye will be kind, Yea, a thousand pound shalt thou have, And defer this matter till another day.

Death. Everyman, it may not be by no way; I set not by gold, silver, nor riches, Ne by pope, emperor, king, duke, ne princes. For and I would receive gifts great, All the world I might get; But my custom is clean contrary. I give thee no respite: come hence, and not tarry.

Everyman. Alas, shall I have no longer respite? I may say Death giveth no warning: To think on thee, it maketh my heart sick, For all unready is my book of reckoning. But twelve year and I might have abiding, My counting book I would make so clear, That my reckoning I should not need to fear. Wherefore, Death, I pray thee, for God's mercy, Spare me till I be provided of remedy.

Death. Thee availeth not to cry, weep, and pray: But haste thee lightly that you were gone the journey, And prove thy friends if thou can. For, wete thou well, the tide abideth no man, And in the world each living creature For Adam's sin must die of nature.

Everyman. Death, if I should this pilgrimage take, And my reckoning surely make, Show me, for saint charity, Should I not come again shortly?

Death. No, Everyman; and thou be once there, Thou mayst never more come here, Trust me verily.

Everyman. O gracious God, in the high seat celestial, Have mercy on me in this most need; Shall I have no company from this vale terrestrial Of mine acquaintance that way me to lead?

Death. Yea, if any be so hardy, That would go with thee and bear thee company. Hie thee that you were gone to God's magnificence, Thy reckoning to give before his presence. What, weenest thou thy life is given thee, And thy worldly goods also?

Everyman. I had wend so, verily.

Death. Nay, nay; it was but lent thee; For as soon as thou art go, Another awhile shall have it, and then go therefro Even as thou hast done. Everyman, thou art mad; thou hast thy wits five, And here on earth will not amend thy life, For suddenly I do come.

Everyman. O wretched caitiff, whither shall I flee, That I might scape this endless sorrow! Now, gentle Death, spare me till to-morrow, That I may amend me With good advisement.

Death. Nay, thereto I will not consent, Nor no man will I respite, But to the heart suddenly I shall smite Without any advisement. And now out of thy sight I will me hie; See thou make thee ready shortly, For thou mayst say this is the day That no man living may scape away.

Everyman. Alas, I may well weep with sighs deep; Now have I no manner of company To help me in my journey, and me to keep; And also my writing is full unready. How shall I do now for to excuse me? I would to God I had never be gete![10] To my soul a full great profit it had be; For now I fear pains huge and great. The time passeth; Lord, help that all wrought; For though I mourn it availeth nought. The day passeth, and is almost a-go; I wot not well what for to do. To whom were I best my complaint to make? What, and I to Fellowship thereof spake, And showed him of this sudden chance? For in him is all mine affiance; We have in the world so many a day Be on good friends in sport and play. I see him yonder, certainly; I trust that he will bear me company; Therefore to him will I speak to ease my sorrow. Well met, good Fellowship, and good morrow!

Fellowship speaketh. Everyman, good morrow by this day. Sir, why lookest thou so piteously? If any thing be amiss, I pray thee, me say, That I may help to remedy.

Everyman. Yea, good Fellowship, yea, I am in great jeopardy.

Fellowship. My true friend, show to me your mind; I will not forsake thee, unto my life's end, In the way of good company.

Everyman. That was well spoken, and lovingly.

Fellowship. Sir, I must needs know your heaviness; I have pity to see you in any distress; If any have you wronged ye shall revenged be, Though I on the ground be slain for thee,— Though that I know before that I should die.

Everyman. Verily, Fellowship, gramercy.

Fellowship. Tush! by thy thanks I set not a straw. Show me your grief, and say no more.

Everyman. If I my heart should to you break, And then you to turn your mind from me, And would not me comfort, when you hear me speak, Then should I ten times sorrier be.

Fellowship. Sir, I say as I will do in deed.

Everyman. Then be you a good friend at need: I have found you true here before.

Fellowship. And so ye shall evermore; For, in faith, and thou go to Hell, I will not forsake thee by the way!

Everyman. Ye speak like a good friend; I believe you well; I shall deserve it, and I may.

Fellowship. I speak of no deserving, by this day. For he that will say and nothing do Is not worthy with good company to go; Therefore show me the grief of your mind, As to your friend most loving and kind.

Everyman. I shall show you how it is; Commanded I am to go a journey, A long way, hard and dangerous, And give a strait count without delay Before the high judge Adonai.[11] Wherefore I pray you, bear me company, As ye have promised, in this journey.

Fellowship. That is matter indeed! Promise is duty, But, and I should take such a voyage on me, I know it well, it should be to my pain: Also it make me afeard, certain. But let us take counsel here as well as we can, For your words would fear a strong man.

Everyman. Why, ye said, If I had need, Ye would me never forsake, quick nor dead, Though it were to hell truly.

Fellowship. So I said, certainly, But such pleasures be set aside, thee sooth to say: And also, if we took such a journey, When should we come again?

Everyman. Nay, never again till the day of doom.

Fellowship. In faith, then will not I come there! Who hath you these tidings brought?

Everyman. Indeed, Death was with me here.

Fellowship. Now, by God that all hath bought, If Death were the messenger, For no man that is living to-day I will not go that loath journey— Not for the father that begat me!

Everyman. Ye promised other wise, pardie.

Fellowship. I wot well I say so truly; And yet if thou wilt eat, and drink, and make good cheer, Or haunt to women, the lusty company, I would not forsake you, while the day is clear, Trust me verily!

Everyman. Yea, thereto ye would be ready; To go to mirth, solace, and play, Your mind will sooner apply Than to bear me company in my long journey.

Fellowship. Now, in good faith, I will not that way. But and thou wilt murder, or any man kill, In that I will help thee with a good will!

Everyman. O that is a simple advice indeed! Gentle fellow, help me in my necessity; We have loved long, and now I need, And now, gentle Fellowship, remember me.

Fellowship. Whether ye have loved me or no, By Saint John, I will not with thee go.

Everyman. Yet I pray thee, take the labour, and do so much for me To bring me forward, for saint charity, And comfort me till I come without the town.

Fellowship. Nay, and thou would give me a new gown, I will not a foot with thee go; But and you had tarried I would not have left thee so. And as now, God speed thee in thy journey, For from thee I will depart as fast as I may.

Everyman. Whither away, Fellowship? will you forsake me?

Fellowship. Yea, by my fay, to God I betake thee.

Everyman. Farewell, good Fellowship; for this my heart is sore; Adieu for ever, I shall see thee no more.

Fellowship. In faith, Everyman, farewell now at the end; For you I will remember that parting is mourning.

Everyman. Alack! shall we thus depart indeed? Our Lady, help, without any more comfort, Lo, Fellowship forsaketh me in my most need: For help in this world whither shall I resort? Fellowship herebefore with me would merry make; And now little sorrow for me doth he take. It is said, in prosperity men friends may find, Which in adversity be full unkind. Now whither for succour shall I flee, Sith that Fellowship hath forsaken me? To my kinsmen I will truly, Praying them to help me in my necessity; I believe that they will do so, For kind will creep where it may not go. I will go say, for yonder I see them go. Where be ye now, my friends and kinsmen?

Kindred. Here be we now at your commandment. Cousin, I pray you show us your intent In any wise, and not spare.

Cousin. Yea, Everyman, and to us declare If ye be disposed to go any whither, For wete you well, we will live and die together.

Kindred. In wealth and woe we will with you hold, For over his kin a man may be bold.

Everyman. Gramercy, my friends and kinsmen kind. Now shall I show you the grief of my mind: I was commanded by a messenger, That is an high king's chief officer; He bade me go a pilgrimage to my pain, And I know well I shall never come again; Also I must give a reckoning straight, For I have a great enemy, that hath me in wait, Which intendeth me for to hinder.

Kindred. What account is that which ye must render? That would I know.

Everyman. Of all my works I must show How I have lived and my days spent; Also of ill deeds, that I have used In my time, sith life was me lent; And of all virtues that I have refused. Therefore I pray you go thither with me, To help to make mine account, for saint charity.

Cousin. What, to go thither? Is that the matter? Nay, Everyman, I had liefer fast bread and water All this five year and more.

Everyman. Alas, that ever I was bore![12] For now shall I never be merry If that you forsake me.

Kindred. Ah, sir; what, ye be a merry man! Take good heart to you, and make no moan. But one thing I warn you, by Saint Anne, As for me, ye shall go alone.

Everyman. My Cousin, will you not with me go?

Cousin. No, by our Lady; I have the cramp in my toe. Trust not to me, for, so God me speed, I will deceive you in your most need, Kindred. It availeth not us to tice. Ye shall have my maid with all my heart; She loveth to go to feasts, there to be nice, And to dance, and abroad to start: I will give her leave to help you in that journey, If that you and she may agree.

Everyman. Now show me the very effect of your mind. Will you go with me, or abide behind?

Kindred. Abide behind? yea, that I will and I may! Therefore farewell until another day.

Everyman. How should I be merry or glad? For fair promises to me make, But when I have most need, they me forsake. I am deceived; that maketh me sad.

Cousin. Cousin Everyman, farewell now, For verily I will not go with you; Also of mine own an unready reckoning I have to account; therefore I make tarrying. Now, God keep thee, for now I go.

Everyman. Ah, Jesus, is all come hereto? Lo, fair words maketh fools feign; They promise and nothing will do certain. My kinsmen promised me faithfully For to abide with me steadfastly, And now fast away do they flee: Even so Fellowship promised me. What friend were best me of to provide? I lose my time here longer to abide. Yet in my mind a thing there is;— All my life I have loved riches; If that my good now help me might, He would make my heart full light. I will speak to him in this distress.— Where art thou, my Goods and riches?

Goods. Who calleth me? Everyman? what haste thou hast! I lie here in corners, trussed and piled so high, And in chests I am locked so fast, Also sacked in bags, thou mayst see with thine eye, I cannot stir; in packs low I lie. What would ye have, lightly me say.

Everyman. Come hither, Good, in all the haste thou may, For of counsel I must desire thee.

Goods. Sir, and ye in the world have trouble or adversity, That can I help you to remedy shortly.

Everyman. It is another disease that grieveth me; In this world it is not, I tell thee so. I am sent for another way to go, To give a straight account general Before the highest Jupiter of all; And all my life I have had joy and pleasure in thee. Therefore I pray thee go with me, For, peradventure, thou mayst before God Almighty My reckoning help to clean and purify; For it is said ever among, That money maketh all right that is wrong.

Goods. Nay, Everyman, I sing another song, I follow no man in such voyages; For and I went with thee Thou shouldst fare much the worse for me; For because on me thou did set thy mind, Thy reckoning I have made blotted and blind, That thine account thou cannot make truly; And that hast thou for the love of me.

Everyman. That would grieve me full sore, When I should come to that fearful answer. Up, let us go thither together.

Goods. Nay, not so, I am too brittle, I may not endure; I will follow no man one foot, be ye sure.

Everyman. Alas, I have thee loved, and had great pleasure All my life-days on good and treasure.

Goods. That is to thy damnation without lesing, For my love is contrary to the love everlasting. But if thou had me loved moderately during, As, to the poor give part of me, Then shouldst thou not in this dolour be, Nor in this great sorrow and care.

Everyman. Lo, now was I deceived or I was ware, And all I may wyte[13] my spending of time.

Goods. What, weenest thou that I am thine?

Everyman. I had wend so.

Goods. Nay, Everyman, I say no; As for a while I was lent thee, A season thou hast had me in prosperity; My condition is man's soul to kill; If I save one, a thousand I do spill; Weenest thou that I will follow thee? Nay, from this world, not verily.

Everyman. I had wend otherwise.

Goods. Therefore to thy soul Good is a thief; For when thou art dead, this is my guise Another to deceive in the same wise As I have done thee, and all to his soul's reprief.

Everyman. O false Good, cursed thou be! Thou traitor to God, that hast deceived me, And caught me in thy snare.

Goods. Marry, thou brought thyself in care, Whereof I am glad, I must needs laugh, I cannot be sad.

Everyman. Ah, Good, thou hast had long my heartly love; I gave thee that which should be the Lord's above. But wilt thou not go with me in deed? I pray thee truth to say.

Goods. No, so God me speed, Therefore farewell, and have good day.

Everyman. O, to whom shall I make my moan For to go with me in that heavy journey? First Fellowship said he would with me gone; His words were very pleasant and gay, But afterward he left me alone. Then spake I to my kinsmen all in despair, And also they gave me words fair, They lacked no fair speaking, But all forsake me in the ending. Then went I to my Goods that I loved best, In hope to have comfort, but there had I least; For my Goods sharply did me tell That he bringeth many into hell. Then of myself I was ashamed, And so I am worthy to be blamed; Thus may I well myself hate. Of whom shall I now counsel take? I think that I shall never speed Till that I go to my Good-Deed, But alas, she is so weak, That she can neither go nor speak; Yet will I venture on her now.— My Good-Deeds, where be you?

Good-Deeds. Here I lie cold in the ground; Thy sins hath me sore bound, That I cannot stir.

Everyman. O, Good-Deeds, I stand in fear; I must you pray of counsel, For help now should come right well.

Goods-Deeds. Everyman, I have understanding That ye be summoned account to make Before Messias, of Jerusalem King; And you do by me[14] that journey what[15] you will I take.

Everyman. Therefore I come to you, my moan to make; I pray you, that ye will go with me.

Good-Deeds. I would full fain, but I cannot stand verily.

Everyman. Why, is there anything on you fall?

Good-Deeds. Yea, sir, I may thank you of all; If ye had perfectly cheered me, Your book of account now full ready had be. Look, the books of your works and deeds eke; Oh, see how they lie under the feet, To your soul's heaviness.

Everyman. Our Lord Jesus, help me! For one letter here I can not see.

Good-Deeds. There is a blind reckoning in time of distress!

Everyman. Good-Deeds, I pray you, help me in this need, Or else I am for ever damned indeed; Therefore help me to make reckoning Before the redeemer of all thing, That king is, and was, and ever shall.

Good-Deeds. Everyman, I am sorry of your fall, And fain would I help you, and I were able.

Everyman. Good-Deeds, your counsel I pray you give me.

Good-Deeds. That shall I do verily; Though that on my feet I may not go, I have a sister, that shall with you also, Called Knowledge, which shall with you abide, To help you to make that dreadful reckoning.

Knowledge. Everyman, I will go with thee, and be thy guide, In thy most need to go by thy side.

Everyman. In good condition I am now in every thing, And am wholly content with this good thing; Thanked be God my Creator.

Good-Deeds. And when he hath brought thee there, Where thou shalt heal thee of thy smart, Then go you with your reckoning and your Good-Deeds together For to make you joyful at heart Before the blessed Trinity.

Everyman. My Good-Deeds, gramercy; I am well content, certainly, With your words sweet.

Knowledge. Now go we together lovingly, To Confession, that cleansing river.

Everyman. For joy I weep; I would we were there; But, I pray you, give me cognition Where dwelleth that holy man, Confession.

Knowledge. In the house of salvation: We shall find him in that place, That shall us comfort by God's grace. Lo, this is Confession; kneel down and ask mercy, For he is in good conceit with God almighty.

Everyman. O glorious fountain that all uncleanness doth clarify, Wash from me the spots of vices unclean, That on me no sin may be seen; I come with Knowledge for my redemption, Repent with hearty and full contrition; For I am commanded a pilgrimage to take, And great accounts before God to make. Now, I pray you, Shrift, mother of salvation, Help my good deeds for my piteous exclamation.

Confession. I know your sorrow well, Everyman; Because with Knowledge ye come to me, I will you comfort as well as I can, And a precious jewel I will give thee, Called penance, wise voider of adversity; Therewith shall your body chastised be, With abstinence and perseverance in God's service: Here shall you receive that scourge of me, Which is penance strong, that ye must endure, To remember thy Saviour was scourged for thee With sharp scourges, and suffered it patiently; So must thou, or thou scape that painful pilgrimage; Knowledge, keep him in this voyage, And by that time Good-Deeds will be with thee. But in any wise, be sure of mercy, For your time draweth fast, and ye will saved be; Ask God mercy, and He will grant truly, When with the scourge of penance man doth him bind, The oil of forgiveness then shall he find.

Everyman. Thanked be God for his gracious work! For now I will my penance begin; This hath rejoiced and lighted my heart, Though the knots be painful and hard within.

Knowledge. Everyman, look your penance that ye fulfil, What pain that ever it to you be, And Knowledge shall give you counsel at will, How your accounts ye shall make clearly.

Everyman. O eternal God, O heavenly figure, O way of rightwiseness, O goodly vision, Which descended down in a virgin pure Because he would Everyman redeem, Which Adam forfeited by his disobedience: O blessed Godhead, elect and high-divine, Forgive my grievous offence; Here I cry thee mercy in this presence. O ghostly treasure, O ransomer and redeemer Of all the world, hope and conductor, Mirror of joy, and founder of mercy, Which illumineth heaven and earth thereby, Hear my clamorous complaint, though it late be; Receive my prayers; unworthy in this heavy life, Though I be, a sinner most abominable, Yet let my name be written in Moses' table; O Mary, pray to the Maker of all thing, Me for to help at my ending, And save me from the power of my enemy, For Death assaileth me strongly; And, Lady, that I may by means of thy prayer Of your Son's glory to be partaker, By the means of his passion I it crave, I beseech you, help my soul to save.— Knowledge, give me the scourge of penance; My flesh therewith shall give a quittance: I will now begin, if God give me grace.

Knowledge. Everyman, God give you time and space: Thus I bequeath you in the hands of our Saviour, Thus may you make your reckoning sure.

Everyman. In the name of the Holy Trinity, My body sore punished shall be: Take this body for the sin of the flesh; Also thou delightest to go gay and fresh, And in the way of damnation thou did me bring; Therefore suffer now strokes and punishing. Now of penance I will wade the water clear, To save me from purgatory, that sharp fire.

Good-Deeds. I thank God, now I can walk and go; And am delivered of my sickness and woe. Therefore with Everyman I will go, and not spare; His good works I will help him to declare.

Knowledge. Now, Everyman, be merry and glad; Your Good-Deeds cometh now; ye may not be sad; Now is your Good-Deeds whole and sound, Going upright upon the ground.

Everyman. My heart is light, and shall be evermore; Now will I smite faster than I did before.

Good-Deeds. Everyman, pilgrim, my special friend, Blessed be thou without end; For thee is prepared the eternal glory. Ye have me made whole and sound, Therefore I will bide by thee in every stound.[16]

Everyman. Welcome, my Good-Deeds; now I hear thy voice, I weep for very sweetness of love.

Knowledge. Be no more sad, but ever rejoice, God seeth thy living in his throne above; Put on this garment to thy behove, Which is wet with your tears, Or else before God you may it miss, When you to your journey's end come shall.

Everyman. Gentle Knowledge, what do you it call?

Knowledge. It is a garment of sorrow: From pain it will you borrow; Contrition it is, That getteth forgiveness; It pleaseth God passing well.

Good-Deeds. Everyman, will you wear it for your heal?

Everyman. Now blessed be Jesu, Mary's Son! For now have I on true contrition. And let us go now without tarrying; Good-Deeds, have we clear our reckoning?

Good-Deeds. Yea, indeed I have it here.

Everyman. Then I trust we need not fear; Now, friends, let us not part in twain.

Knowledge. Nay, Everyman, that will we not, certain.

Good-Deeds. Yet must thou lead with thee Three persons of great might.

Everyman. Who should they be?

Good-Deeds. Discretion and Strength they hight, And thy Beauty may not abide behind.

Knowledge. Also ye must call to mind Your Five-wits as for your counsellors.

Good-Deeds. You must have them ready at all hours.

Everyman. How shall I get them hither?

Knowledge. You must call them all together, And they will hear you incontinent.

Everyman. My friends, come hither and be present Discretion, Strength, my Five-wits, and Beauty.

Beauty. Here at your will we be all ready. What will ye that we should do?

Good-Deeds. That ye would with Everyman go, And help him in his pilgrimage, Advise you, will ye with him or not in that voyage?

Strength. We will bring him all thither, To his help and comfort, ye may believe me.

Discretion. So will we go with him all together.

Everyman. Almighty God, loved thou be, I give thee laud that I have hither brought Strength, Discretion, Beauty, and Five-wits; lack I nought; And my Good-Deeds, with Knowledge clear, All be in my company at my will here; I desire no more to my business.

Strength. And I, Strength, will by you stand in distress, Though thou would in battle fight on the ground.

Five-wits. And though it were through the world round, We will not depart for sweet nor sour.

Beauty. No more will I unto death's hour, Whatsoever thereof befall.

Discretion. Everyman, advise you first of all; Go with a good advisement and deliberation; We all give you virtuous monition That all shall be well.

Everyman. My friends, hearken what I will tell: I pray God reward you in his heavenly sphere. Now hearken, all that be here, For I will make my testament Here before you all present. In alms half my good I will give with my hands twain In the way of charity, with good intent, And the other half still shall remain In quiet to be returned there it ought to be. This I do in despite of the fiend of hell To go quite out of his peril Ever after and this day.

Knowledge. Everyman, hearken what I say; Go to priesthood, I you advise, And receive of him in any wise The holy sacrament and ointment together; Then shortly see ye turn again hither; We will all abide you here.

Five-Wits. Yea, Everyman, hie you that ye ready were, There is no emperor, king, duke, ne baron, That of God hath commission, As hath the least priest in the world being; For of the blessed sacraments pure and benign, He beareth the keys and thereof hath the cure For man's redemption, it is ever sure; Which God for our soul's medicine Gave us out of his heart with great pine; Here in this transitory life, for thee and me The blessed sacraments seven there be, Baptism, confirmation, with priesthood good, And the sacrament of God's precious flesh and blood, Marriage, the holy extreme unction, and penance; These seven be good to have in remembrance, Gracious sacraments of high divinity.

Everyman. Fain would I receive that holy body And meekly to my ghostly father I will go.

Five-wits. Everyman, that is the best that ye can do: God will you to salvation bring, For priesthood exceedeth all other thing; To us Holy Scripture they do teach, And converteth man from sin heaven to reach; God hath to them more power given, Than to any angel that is in heaven; With five words he may consecrate God's body in flesh and blood to make, And handleth his maker between his hands; The priest bindeth and unbindeth all bands, Both in earth and in heaven; Thou ministers all the sacraments seven; Though we kissed thy feet thou were worthy; Thou art surgeon that cureth sin deadly: No remedy we find under God But all only priesthood. Everyman, God gave priests that dignity, And setteth them in his stead among us to be; Thus be they above angels in degree.

Knowledge. If priests be good it is so surely; But when Jesus hanged on the cross with great smart There he gave, out of his blessed heart, The same sacrament in great torment: He sold them not to us, that Lord Omnipotent. Therefore Saint Peter the apostle doth say That Jesu's curse hath all they Which God their Saviour do buy or sell, Or they for any money do take or tell. Sinful priests giveth the sinners example bad; Their children sitteth by other men's fires, I have heard; And some haunteth women's company, With unclean life, as lusts of lechery These be with sin made blind.

Five-wits. I trust to God no such may we find; Therefore let us priesthood honour, And follow their doctrine for our souls' succour; We be their sheep, and they shepherds be By whom we all be kept in surety. Peace, for yonder I see Everyman come, Which hath made true satisfaction.

Good-Deeds. Methinketh it is he indeed.

Everyman. Now Jesu be our alder speed.[17] I have received the sacrament for my redemption, And then mine extreme unction: Blessed be all they that counselled me to take it! And now, friends, let us go without longer respite; I thank God that ye have tarried so long. Now set each of you on this rod your hand, And shortly follow me: I go before, there I would be; God be our guide.

Strength. Everyman, we will not from you go, Till ye have gone this voyage long.

Discretion. I, Discretion, will bide by you also.

Knowledge. And though this pilgrimage be never so strong, I will never part you fro: Everyman, I will be as sure by thee As ever I did by Judas Maccabee.

Everyman. Alas, I am so faint I may not stand, My limbs under me do fold; Friends, let us not turn again to this land, Not for all the world's gold, For into this cave must I creep And turn to the earth and there to sleep.

Beauty. What, into this grave? alas!

Everyman. Yea, there shall you consume more and less.

Beauty. And what, should I smother here?

Everyman. Yea, by my faith, and never more appear. In this world live no more we shall, But in heaven before the highest Lord of all.

Beauty. I cross out all this; adieu by Saint John; I take my cap in my lap and am gone.

Everyman. What, Beauty, whither will ye?

Beauty. Peace, I am deaf; I look not behind me, Not and thou would give me all the gold in thy chest.

Everyman. Alas, whereto may I trust? Beauty goeth fast away hie; She promised with me to live and die.

Strength. Everyman, I will thee also forsake and deny; Thy game liketh me not at all.

Everyman. Why, then ye will forsake me all. Sweet Strength, tarry a little space.

Strength. Nay, sir, by the rood of grace I will hie me from thee fast, Though thou weep till thy heart brast.

Everyman. Ye would ever bide by me, ye said.

Strength. Yea, I have you far enough conveyed; Ye be old enough, I understand, Your pilgrimage to take on hand; I repent me that I hither came.

Everyman. Strength, you to displease I am to blame; Will you break promise that is debt?

Strength. In faith, I care not; Thou art but a fool to complain, You spend your speech and waste your brain; Go thrust thee into the ground.

Everyman. I had wend surer I should you have found. He that trusteth in his Strength She him deceiveth at the length. Both Strength and Beauty forsaketh me, Yet they promised me fair and lovingly.

Discretion. Everyman, I will after Strength be gone, As for me I will leave you alone.

Everyman. Why, Discretion, will ye forsake me?

Discretion. Yea, in faith, I will go from thee, For when Strength goeth before I follow after evermore.

Everyman. Yet, I pray thee, for the love of the Trinity, Look in my grave once piteously.

Discretion. Nay, so nigh will I not come. Farewell, every one!

Everyman. O all thing faileth, save God alone; Beauty, Strength, and Discretion; For when Death bloweth his blast, They all run from me full fast.

Five-wits. Everyman, my leave now of thee I take; I will follow the other, for here I thee forsake.

Everyman. Alas! then may I wail and weep, For I took you for my best friend.

Five-wits. I will no longer thee keep; Now farewell, and there an end.

Everyman. O Jesu, help, all hath forsaken me!

Good-Deeds. Nay, Everyman, I will bide with thee, I will not forsake thee indeed; Thou shalt find me a good friend at need.

Everyman. Gramercy, Good-Deeds; now may I true friends see; They have forsaken me every one; I loved them better than my Good-Deeds alone. Knowledge, will ye forsake me also?

Knowledge. Yea, Everyman, when ye to death do go: But not yet for no manner of danger.

Everyman. Gramercy, Knowledge, with all my heart.

Knowledge. Nay, yet I will not from hence depart, Till I see where ye shall be come.

Everyman. Methinketh, alas, that I must be gone, To make my reckoning and my debts pay, For I see my time is nigh spent away. Take example, all ye that this do hear or see, How they that I loved best do forsake me, Except my Good-Deeds that bideth truly.

Good-Deeds. All earthly things is but vanity: Beauty, Strength, and Discretion, do man forsake, Foolish friends and kinsmen, that fair spake, All fleeth save Good-Deeds, and that am I.

Everyman. Have mercy on me, God most mighty; And stand by me, thou Mother and Maid, holy Mary.

Good-Deeds. Fear not, I will speak for thee.

Everyman. Here I cry God mercy.

Good-Deeds. Short our end, and minish our pain; Let us go and never come again.

Everyman. Into thy hands, Lord, my soul I commend; Receive it, Lord, that it be not lost; As thou me boughtest, so me defend, And save me from the fiend's boast, That I may appear with that blessed host That shall be saved at the day of doom. In manus tuas—of might's most For ever—commendo spiritum meum.

Knowledge. Now hath he suffered that we all shall endure; The Good-Deeds shall make all sure. Now hath he made ending; Methinketh that I hear angels sing And make great joy and melody, Where Everyman's soul received shall be.

Angel. Come, excellent elect spouse to Jesu: Hereabove thou shalt go Because of thy singular virtue: Now the soul is taken the body fro; Thy reckoning is crystal-clear. Now shalt thou into the heavenly sphere, Unto the which all ye shall come That liveth well before the day of doom.

Doctor. This moral men may have in mind; Ye hearers, take it of worth, old and young, And forsake pride, for he deceiveth you in the end, And remember Beauty, Five-wits, Strength, and Discretion, They all at the last do Everyman forsake, Save his Good-Deeds, there doth he take. But beware, and they be small Before God, he hath no help at all. None excuse may be there for Everyman: Alas, how shall he do then? For after death amends may no man make, For then mercy and pity do him forsake. If his reckoning be not clear when he do come, God will say—ite maledicti in ignem aeternum. And he that hath his account whole and sound, High in heaven he shall be crowned; Unto which place God bring us all thither That we may live body and soul together. Thereto help the Trinity, Amen, say ye, for saint Charity.

THUS ENDETH THIS MORALL PLAY OF EVERYMAN.



THE CHESTER PAGEANT OF THE WATER-LEADERS AND DRAWERS OF THE DEE CONCERNING NOAH'S DELUGE



CHARACTERS

God Noah Shem Ham Japhet Noah's Wife Shem's Wife Ham's Wife Japhet's Wife



THE CHESTER PAGEANT OF THE DELUGE



God. I, God, that all the world have wrought Heaven and Earth, and all of nought, I see my people, in deed and thought, Are foully set in sin. My ghost shall not lodge in any man That through fleshly liking is my fone,[18] But till six score years be gone To look if they will blynne.[19] Man that I made I will destroy, Beast, worm, and fowl to fly, For on earth they me annoy, The folk that is thereon. For it harms me so hurtfully The malice now that can multiply, That sore it grieveth me inwardly, That ever I made man. Therefore Noah, my servant free, That righteous man art, as I see, A ship soon thou shalt make thee, Of trees dry and light. Little chambers therein thou make And binding slich[20] also thou take Within and out, thou not slake To annoint it through all thy might. Three hundred cubits it shall be long, And so of breadth to make it strong, Of height so, then must thou fonge,[21] Thus measure it about. One window work though thy might; One cubit of length and breadth make it, Upon the side a door shall fit For to come in and out. Eating-places thou make also, Three roofed chambers, one or two: For with water I think to stow[22] Man that I can make. Destroyed all the world shall be, Save thou, thy wife, and sons three, And all their wives, also, with thee, Shall saved be for thy sake.

Noah. Ah, Lord! I thank thee, loud and still, That to me art in such will, And spares me and my house to spill As now I soothly find. Thy bidding, Lord, I shall fulfil, And never more thee grieve nor grill[23] That such grace has sent me till Among all mankind. Have done you men and women all; Help, for aught that may befall, To work this ship, chamber, and hall, As God hath bidden us do.

Shem. Father, I am already bowne,[24] An axe I have, by my crown! As sharp as any in all this town For to go thereto.

Ham. I have a hatchet, wonder keen, To bite well, as may be seen, A better ground one, as I ween, Is not in all this town.

Japhet. And I can well make a pin, And with this hammer knock it in; Go and work without more din; And I am ready bowne.[24]

Noah's Wife. And we shall bring timber too, For women nothing else to do Women be weak to undergo Any great travail.

Shem's Wife. Here is a good hackstock; On this you must hew and knock: Shall none be idle in this flock, Nor now may no man fail.

Ham's Wife. And I will go to gather slich,[25] The ship for to clean and pitch; Anointed it must be, every stitch, Board, tree, and pin.

Japhet's Wife. And I will gather chips here To make a fire for you, in fear, And for to dight[26] your dinner, Against you come in.

[Here they make signs as though they were working divers instruments.

Noah. Now in the name of God I will begin, To make the ship that we shall in, That we be ready for to swim, At the coming of the flood. These boards I join together, To keep us safe from the weather That we may roam both hither and thither And safe be from this flood. Of this tree will I have the mast, Tied with gables that will last With a sail yard for each blast And each thing in its kind. With topmast high and bowsprit. With cords and ropes, I hold all fit To sail forth at the next weete[27] This ship is at an end. Wife in this castle we shall be kept: My children and thou I would in leaped!

Noah's Wife. In faith, Noe, I had as lief thou had slept, for all thy frankishfare,[28] For I will not do after thy rede.[29]

Noah. Good wife, do as I thee bid.

Noah's Wife. By Christ not, or I see more need, Though thou stand all the day and rave.

Noah. Lord, that women be crabbed aye! And never are meek, that I dare say. This is well seen of me to-day In witness of you each one. Good wife, let be all this beere[30] That thou makest in this place here, For they all ween thou art master; And so thou art, by St. John!

God. Noah, take thou thy company And in the ship hie that you be, For none so righteous man to me Is now on earth living. Of clean beasts with thee thou take Seven and seven, or thou seake, He and she make to make Quickly in that thou bring. Of beasts unclean two and two, Male and female, without more; Of clean fowls seven also, The he and she together. Of fowles unclean two, and no more; Of beasts as I said before: That shall be saved through my lore Against I send the weather. Of all meats that must be eaten Into the ship look there be gotten, For that no way may be forgotten And do all this by deene.[31] To sustain man and beasts therein, Aye, till the waters cease and blyn.[32] This world is filled full of sin And that is now well seen. Seven days be yet coming, You shall have space them in to bring; After that it is my liking Mankind for to annoy. Forty days and forty nights, Rain shall fall for their unrights; And that I have made through my might, Now think I to destroy.

Noah. Lord, at your bidding I am bayne,[33] Since none other grace will gain, It will I fulfil fain, For gracious I thee find. A hundred winters and twenty This ship making tarried have I: If, through amendment, any mercy Would fall unto mankind. Have done, you men and women all. Hie you, lest this water fall, That each beast were in his stall And into ship brought. Of clean beasts seven shall be; Of unclean two, this God bade me; This flood is nigh, well may we see, Therefore tarry you nought.

Shem. Sir, here are lions, leopards in, Horses, mares, oxen, and swine, Goats, calves, sheep, and kine, Here sitten[34] may you see.

Ham. Camels, asses, men may find; Buck, doe, hart and hind, And beasts of all manner kind. Here be, as thinks me.

Japhet. Take here cats and dogs too, Otter, fox, fulmart also; Hares, hopping gaily, can ye Have kail here for to eat.

Noah's Wife. And here are bears, wolves set, Apes, owls, marmoset; Weasels, squirrels, and ferret Here they eat their meat.

Shem's Wife. Yet more beasts are in this house! Here cats come in full crowse,[35] Here a rat and here a mouse; They stand nigh together.

Ham's Wife. And here are fowls less and more, Herons, cranes and bittern; Swans, peacocks, have them before! Meat for this weather.

Japhet's Wife. Here are cocks, kites, crows, Rooks, ravens, many rows; Cuckoos, curlews, whoso knows, Each one in his kind. And here are doves, ducks, drakes, Redshanks, running through the lakes, And each fowl that language makes In this ship men may find.

[In the stage direction the sons of Noah are enjoined to mention aloud the names of the animals which enter; a representation of which, painted on parchment, is to be carried by the actors.

Noah. Wife, come in, why standest thou there? Thou art ever forward, that I dare swear: Come on God's half, time it were, For fear lest that we drown.

Noah's Wife. Yea, sir, set up your sail And row forth with evil heale, For, without any fail, I will not out of this town. But I have my gossips every one, One foot further I will not go; They shall not drown, by St. John! If I may save their life. They loved me full well, by Christ! But thou wilt let them in thy chest, Else row forth, Noah, whither thou list, And get thee a new wife.

Noah. Shem, some love thy mother, 'tis true; Forsooth, such another I do not know!

Shem. Father, I shall set her in, I trow, Without any fail. Mother, my father after thee sends, And bids thee unto yonder ship wend,[36] Look up and see the wind, For we be ready to sail.

Noah's Wife. Son, go again to him and say I will not come therein to-day!

Noah. Come in, wife, in twenty devils' way, Or else stand without.

Ham. Shall we all fetch her in?

Noah. Yea, sons, in Christ's blessing and mine, I would you hied you betime, For of this flood I am in doubt.

Japhet. Mother, we pray you altogether, For we are here, your children; Come into the ship for fear of the weather, For his love that you bought!

Noah's Wife. That I will not for your call, But if I have my gossips all.

Gossip. The flood comes in full fleeting fast, On every side it broadens in haste; For fear of drowning I am aghast: Good gossip, let me come in! Or let us drink ere we depart, For oftentimes we have done so; For at a time thou drinkst a quart, And so will I ere that I go.

Shem. In faith, mother, yet you shall, Whether you will or not!

[She goes.

Noah. Welcome, wife, into this boat!

Noah's Wife. And have them that for thy note![37]

[Et dat alapam victa.[38]

Noah. Aha! marry, this is hot! It is good to be still. My children! methinks this boat removes! Our tarrying here hugely me grieves! Over the land the water spreads! God do as he will! Ah, great God, thou art so good! Now all this world is in a flood As I see well in sight. This window will I close anon, And into my chamber will I gone Till this water, so great one, Be slaked through thy might.

[Noah, according to stage directions, is now to shut the windows of the ark and retire for a short time. He is then to chant the psalm, Salva me, Domine! and afterwards to open them and look out.

Now forty days are fully gone. Send a raven I will anon; If aught were earth, tree, or stone, Be dry in any place. And if this fowl come not again It is a sign, sooth to say, That dry it is on hill or plain, And God hath done some grace.

[A raven is now despatched.

Ah, Lord! wherever this raven lie, Somewhere is dry well I see; But yet a dove, by my lewtye[39] After I will send. Thou wilt turn again to me For of all fowls that may fly Thou art most meek and hend.[40]

[The stage direction enjoins here that another dove shall be ready with an olive branch in its mouth, which is to be dropped by means of a cord into Noah's hand.

Ah Lord! blessed be thou aye, That me hast comforted thus to-day! By this sight, I may well say This flood begins to cease. My sweet dove to me brought has A branch of olive from some place; This betokeneth God has done us some grace, And is a sign of peace. Ah, Lord! honoured must thou be! All earth dries now I see; But yet, till thou command me, Hence will I not hie. All this water is away, Therefore as soon as I may Sacrifice I shall do in faye[41] To thee devoutly.

God. Noah, take thy wife anon, And thy children every one, Out of the ship thou shalt gone, And they all with thee. Beasts and all that can flie, Out anon they shall hie, On earth to grow and multiply: I will that it be so.

Noah. Lord, I thank thee, through thy might, Thy bidding shall be done in hight,[42] And, as fast as I may dight[43] I will do thee honour. And to thee offer sacrifice, Therefore comes in all wise, For of these beasts that be his Offer I will this stower.[44]

[Then leaving the ark with his whole family, he shall take the animals and birds, make an offering of them, and set out on his way.

Lord God, in majesty, That such grace has granted me, When all was borne safe to be, Therefore now I am boune.[45] My wife, my children, my company, With sacrifice to honour thee, With beasts, fowls, as thou may see, I offer here right soon.

God. Noah, to me thou art full able, And thy sacrifice acceptable, For I have found thee true and stable, On thee now must I myn.[46] Curse earth will I no more That man's sin it grieves sore, For of youth man full of yore Has been inclined to sin. You shall now grow and multiply And earth you edify, Each beast and fowl that may flie Shall be afraid for you. And fish in sea that may flitt Shall sustain you—I you behite[47] To eat of them you not lett[48] That clean be you may know. There as you have eaten before Grasses and roots, since you were born, Of clean beasts, less and more, I give you leave to eat. Save blood and fish both in fear Of wrong dead carrion that is here, Eat not of that in no manner, For that aye you shall lett.[49] Manslaughter also you shall flee, For that is not pleasant to me That sheds blood, he or she Ought where among mankind. That sheds blood, his blood shall be And vengeance have, that men shall see; Therefore now beware now all ye You fall not in that sin. And forward now with you I make And all thy seed, for thy sake, Of such vengeance for to slake, For now I have my will. Here I promise thee a behest,[50] That man, woman, fowl, nor beast With water while the world shall last, I will no more spill. My bow between you and me In the firmament shall be, By very tokens, that you may see That such vengeance shall cease. That man, nor woman, shall never more Be wasted by water, as is before, But for sin that grieveth sore, Therefore this vengeance was. Where clouds in the welkin That each bow shall be seen, In token that my wrath or tene[51] Should never this wroken be. The string is turned toward you, And toward me bent is the bow, That such weather shall never show, And this do I grant to thee. My blessing now I give thee here, To thee Noah, my servant dear; For vengeance shall no more appear; And now farewell, my darling dear!



THE CHESTER PAGEANT OF THE BARBERS AND WAX-CHANDLERS REPRESENTING ABRAHAM, MELCHISEDEC, AND ISAAC



CHARACTERS

God Abraham Lot Isaac Melchisedec A Knight Expositor A Messenger



THE CHESTER PAGEANT OF ABRAHAM, MELCHISEDEC, AND ISAAC



Abraham, newly returned from the slaughter of the four kings, meets Melchisedec riding.



PRELUDE

Messenger. All peace, Lordings, that be present, And hearken now with good intent, How Noah away from us he went With all his company; And Abraham, through God's grace, He is come forth into this place, And you will give him room and space To tell you his storye. This play, forsooth, begin shall he, In worship of the Trinity, That you may all hear and see What shall be done to-day. My name is Gobbet-on-the-Green, No longer here I may be seen, Farewell, my Lordings, all by dene[52] For letting[53] of your play.

[Exit.

[Enter Abraham.]

Abraham. Ah! thou high God, granter of grace That ending nor beginning has, I thank thee, Lord, that to me has To-day given victory. Lot, my brother, that taken was, I have restored him in this case, And brought him home into his place Through thy might and mastery. To worship thee I will not wond,[54] That four kings of uncouth land To-day hast sent into my hand, And of riches great array. Therefore of all that I can win To give thee tithe I will begin, When I the city soon come in, And share with thee my prey. Melchisedec, that here king is And God's priest also, I wis, The tithe I will give him of this, As just is, what I do. God who has sent me victory O'er four kings graciously, With him my spoil share will I, The city, when I come to.

Lot. Abraham, brother, I thank it thee, Who this day hast delivered me From enemies' hands, and their postye,[55] And saved me from woe! Therefore I will give tithing Of my goods while I am living, And now also of his sending, Tithe I will give also.

[Then comes a knight to Melchisedec.

Knight. My lord, the king's tidings aright Your heart for to gladden and light: Abraham hath slain in fight Four kings, since he went. Here he will be this same night, And riches with him enough dight. I heard him thank God Almight For grace he had him sent.

Melchisedec (stretching his hand to heaven). Ah! blessed be God that is but one! Against Abraham I will be gone Worshipfully, and then anon, My office to fulfil, Will present him with bread and wine, For, grace of God is him within; Speeds fast for love mine! For this is God's will.

Knight (with a cup). Sir, here is wine withouten were,[56] And thereto bread, both white and clear, To present him in good manere That so us helped has.

Melchisedec. To God, I know he is full dear, For of all things his prayer He hath, without danger, And specially great grace.

Melchisedec (coming to Abraham and offering him a cup of wine and bread on a plate). Abraham, welcome must thou be, God's grace is fully in thee, Blessed ever must thou be That enemies so can make. I have brought, as thou may'st see, Bread and wine for thy degree; Receive this present now from me, And that I thee beseke.[57]

Abraham. Sir king, welcome in good say, Thy present is welcome to my pay. God has helped me to-day Unworthy though I were. He shall have part of my prey That I won since I went away. Therefore to thee thou take it may The tenth I offer here.

[He delivers to the King a laden horse.

Melchisedec. And your present, sir, take I, And honour it devoutly, For much good it may signify In time that is coming. Therefore horse, harness, and perye,[58] As falls to my dignity, The tithe of it I take of thee, And receive thy off'ring.

[Abraham receives the bread and wine, and Melchisedec the laden horse as tithe from Lot.

Lot. And I will offer with good intent Of such goods as God hath me sent To Melchisedec here present, As God's will is to be. Abraham, my brother, offered has; And so will I with God's grace: This royal cup before your face, Receive it now of me.

[Lot offers the wine and bread, which Melchisedec receives.

Melchisedec. Sir, your off'ring welcome is, And well I know forsooth, I wis, That fully God's will it is That is now done to-day. Go we together to my city, And now God heartily thank we That helps us aye through his postye,[59] For so we full well may.

Expositor (riding). Lordings, what may this signify, I will expound openly That all, standing hereby, May know what this may be. This off'ring, I say verament,[60] Signifieth the new Testament, That now is used with good intent Throughout all Christianity. In the old law without leasing,[61] When these two good men were living, Of beasts was all their off'ring And eke their sacrament. But since Christ died on the rood-tree, With bread and wine him worship we, And on Shrove Thursday in his maundy[62] Was his commandment. But for this thing used should be Afterward as now done we, In signification, believe you me, Melchisedec did so; And tithes-making, as you see here, Of Abraham beginning were. Therefore he was to God full dear, And so were they both too. By Abraham understand I may The father of heaven in good fay,[63] Melchisedec a priest to his pay To minister that sacrament That Christ ordained on Shrove Thursday In bread and wine to honour him aye; This signifieth, the truth to say, Melchisedec's present.

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