The Towneley plays
Sythen I haue mayde all thyng of noght,
And Adam with my handis hath wroght,
Lyke to myn ymage, att my devyse,
And gyffen hym Ioy in paradyse,
To won therin, as that I wend,
To that he dyd that I defend;
Then I hym put out of that place,
Bot yit, I myn, I hight hym grace
Oyll of mercy I can hym heyt,
And tyme also his bayll to beytt.
ffor he has boght his syn full sore,
Thise fyfe thowsand yeris and more,
ffyrst in erthe and sythen in hell;
Bot long therin shall he not dwell.
Outt of payn he shall be boght,
I wyll not tyne that I haue wroght.
I wyll make redempcyon,
As I hyght for my person,
All wyth reson and with right,
Both thrugh mercy and thrugh myght.
he shall not, therfor, ay be spylt,
ffor he was wrangwysly begylt;
he shall out of preson pas,
ffor that he begyled was
Thrugh the edder, and his wyfe;
Thay gart hym towch the tree of lyfe,
And ete the frute that I forbed,
And he was dampned for that dede.
Ryghtwysnes wyll we make;
I wyll that my son manhede take, Page 87
ffor reson wyll that ther be thre,
A man, a madyn, and a tre:
Man for man, tre for tre,
Madyn for madyn; thus shal it be.
My son shall in a madyn light,
Agans the feynd of hell to fight;
wythouten wem, os son thrugh glas,
And she madyn as she was.
Both god and man shall he be,
And she moder and madyn fre.
To abraham I am in dett
To safe hym and his gett;
And I wyll that all prophecye
Be fulfyllyd here by me;
ffor I am lord and lech of heyle,
My prophetys shall be funden leyle;
As moyses sayd, and Isay,
Kyng dauid, and Ieromy,
Abacuk, and daniell,
Sybyll sage, that sayde ay well,
And myne othere prophetis all,
As thay haue [said] it shall befall.
Ryse vp, gabriell, and weynd
vnto a madyn that is heynd,
To nazareth in galilee,
Ther she dwellys in that cytee.
To that vyrgyn and to that spouse,
To a man of dauid house,
Ioseph also he is namyd by,
And the madyn name mary.
Angell must to mary go,
ffor the feynd was eue fo;
he was foule and layth to syght,
And thou art angell fayr and bright;
And hayls that madyn, my lemman,
As heyndly as thou can.
Of my behalf thou shall hyr grete,
I haue hyr chosen, that madyn swete, Page 88
She shall conceyf my derlyng,
Thrugh thy word and hyr heryng.
In hyr body wyll I lyght,
That is to me clenly dyght;
She shall of hyr body bere
God and man wythouten dere.
She shall be blyssyd wythouten ende;
Grayth the gabriell, and weynd.
hayll, mary, gracyouse!
hayll, madyn and godis spouse!
Vnto the I lowte;
Of all vyrgyns thou art qwene,
That euer was, or shall be seyn,
hayll, mary, and well thou be!
My lord of heuen is wyth the,
hayll, woman most of mede!
Goodly lady, haue thou no drede,
That I commend;
ffor thou has fonden all thyn oone,
The grace of god, that was out gone,
ffor adam plyght.
This is the grace that the betydys,
Thou shall conceyue within thi sydys
A chyld of myght.
When he is comen, that thi son,
he shall take cyrcumsycyon,
Call hym ihesum.
Mightfull man shall be he that,
And godys son shall he hat,
By his day com.
My lord also shall gyf hym tyll
hys fader sete, dauid, at wyll, Page 89
Therin to sytt:
he shall be kyng in Iacob kyn,
hys kyngdom shall neuer blyn,
lady, well thou wytt.
What is thi name?
godys strengthe and his angell,
That comys to the.
fferly gretyng thou me gretys;
A child to bere thou me hetys,
how shuld, it be?
I cam neuer by man's syde,
Bot has avowed my madynhede,
ffrom fleshly gett.
Therfor I wote not how
That this be brokyn, as a vow
That I haue hett;
Neuer the les, well I wote,
To wyrk thi word and hold, thi hote
Mightfull god is;
Bot I ne wote of what manere,
Therfor I pray the, messyngere,
That thou me wysh.
lady, this is the preuate;
The holy gost shall light in the,
And his vertue,
he shall vmshade and fulfyll
That thi madynhede shall neuer spyll,
Bot ay be new.
The child that thou shall bere, madame,
Shall godys son be callid by name;
And se, mary,
Elesabeth, thi Cosyn, that is cald, geld,,
She has conceyffed a son in elde,
Of zacary; Page 90
And this is, who wyll late,
The sext moneth of hyr conceytate,
That geld, is cald,.
No word, lady, that I the bryng,
Is vnmyghtfull to heuen kyng,
Bot all shall hald,.
I lofe my lord all weldand,
I am his madyn at his hand,
And in his wold,;
I trow bodword that thou me bryng,
Be done to me in all thyng,
As thou has told,.
Mary, madyn heynd,
me behovys to weynd,
my leyf at the I take.
ffar to my freynd,
Who the can send,
ffor mankynde sake.
All-myghty god, what may this be!
Of mary my wyfe meruels me,
Alas, what has she wroght?
A, hyr body is grete and she with childe!
ffor me was she neuer fylyd,
Therfor myin is it noght.
I irke full sore with my lyfe,
That euer I wed so yong a wyfe,
That bargan may I ban;
To me it was a carefull dede,
I myght well wyt that yowthede
wold, haue lykyng of man
I am old,, sothly to say,
passed, I am all preuay play, Page 91
The gams fro me ar gane.
It is ill cowpled, of youth and elde;
I wote well, for I am vnwelde,
som othere has she tane.
she is with chyld, I wote neuer how,
Now, who wold, any woman trow?
Certys, no man that can any goode;
I wote not in the warld, what I shuld, do,
Bot now then wyll I weynd hyr to,
And wytt who owe that foode.
hayll, mary, and well ye be!
why, bot woman, what chere with the?
The better, sir, for you.
So wold, I, woman, that ye wore;
Bot certys, mary, I rew full sore
It standys so with the now.
Bot of a thyng frayn the I shall,
who owe this child, thou gose with all?
Syr, ye, and god of heuen.
Myne, mary? do way thi dyn;
That I shuld, oght haue parte therin
Thou nedys it not to neuen;
wherto neuyns thou me therto?
I had neuer with the to do,
how shuld it then be myne?
whos is that chyld,, so god the spede?
Syr, godys and yowrs, with outen drede.
That word, had, thou to tyne,
ffor it is right full far me fro,
And I forthynkys thou has done so
Thise ill dedys bedene;
And if thou speke thi self to spyll,
It is full sore agans my wyll,
If better myght haue bene.
At godys wyll, Ioseph, must it be,
ffor certanly bot god and ye
I know none othere man;
ffor fleshly was I neuer fylyd.
how shuld thou thus then be with chyld?
Excuse the well thou can;
I blame the not, so god me saue,
woman maners if that thou haue,
Bot certys I say the this,
well wote thou, and so do I,
Thi body fames the openly,
That thou has done amys.
yee, god he knowys all my doyng.
we! now, this is a wonder thyng,
I can noght say therto;
Bot in my hart I haue greatt care,
And ay the longer mare and mare;
ffor doyll what shall I do?
Godys and myn she says it is;
I wyll not fader it, she says amys;
ffor shame yit shuld, she let,
To excuse hir velany by me;
with hir I thynk no longer be,
I rew that euer we met.
And how we met ye shall wyt sone;
Men vse yong chyldren for to done
In temple for to lere;
Soo dyd thay hir, to she wex more
Then othere madyns wyse of lore;
then byshopes sayd to hir,
"[Mary, the behowfys to take
Som yong man to be thi make, Page 93
As thou seys other haue,
In the temple which thou wyll neuen;"]
And she sayd, none, bot god of heuen,
To hym she had hir tane;
She wold none othere for any sagh;
Thay sayd she must, it was the lagh,
She was of age thertill.
To the temple thay somond old and ying,
All of Iuda ofspryng,
The law for to fulfill.
Thay gaf ich man a white wand,
And bad vs bere them in oure hande,
To offre with good intent;
Thay offerd thare yerdys vp in that tyde,
ffor I was old, I stode be syde,
I wyst not what thay ment;
Thay lakyd, oone, thay sayde in hy,
All had offerd,, thay sayd, bot I,
ffor I ay withdrogh me.
ffurth with my wande thay mayd, me com,
In my hand, it floryshed with blome;
Then sayde thay all to me,
"[If thou be old, meruell not the,
ffor god of heuen thus ordans he,
Thi wand shewys openly;
It florishes so, withouten nay,
That the behovys wed mary the may;"]
A sory man then was I;
I was full sory in my thoght,
I sayde for old I myght noght
hir haue neuer the wheder;
I was vnlykely to hir so yong,
Thay sayde ther helpyd, none excusyng,
And wed vs thus togeder. Page 94
when I all thus had wed hir thare,
we and my madyns home can fare,
That kyngys doghters were;
All wroght thay sylk to fynd them on,
Marie wroght purpyll, the oder none
bot othere colers sere.
I left thaym in good peasse wenyd I,
Into the contre I went on hy,
My craft to vse with mayn;
To gett oure lyfyng I must nede,
On marie I prayd them take good hede,
To that I cam agane.
Neyn monethes was I fro that myld,;
when I cam home she was with chyld,;
Alas, I sayd, for shame!
I askyd ther women who that had done,
And thay me sayde an angell sone,
syn that I went from hame;
An angell spake with that wyght,
And no man els, bi day nor nyght,
"[sir, therof be ye bold,."]
Thay excusyd hir thus sothly,
To make hir clene of hir foly,
And babyshed, me that was old,.
Shuld, an angell this dede haue wroght?
Sich excusyng helpys noght,
ffor no craft that thay can;
A heuenly thyng, for sothe, is he,
And she is erthly; this may not be,
It is som othere man.
Certys, I forthynk sore of hir dede,
Bot it is long of yowth-hede, Page 95
All sich wanton playes;
ffor yong women wyll nedys play them
with yong men, if old, forsake them,
Thus it is sene always.
Bot marie and I playd neuer so sam,
Neuer togeder we vsid, that gam,
I cam hir neuer so nere;
she is as clene as cristall clyfe
ffor me, and shalbe whyls I lyf,
The law wyll it be so.
And then am I cause of hir dede,
ffor thi then can I now no rede,
Alas, what I am wo!
And sothly, if it so befall,
Godys son that she be with all,
If sich grace myght betyde,
I wote well that I am not he,
which that is worthi to be
That blyssed, body besyde,
Nor yit to be in company;
To wyldernes I will for thi
Enfors me for to fare;
And neuer longer with hir dele,
Bot stylly shall I from hir stele,
That mete shall we no mare.
Do wa, Ioseph, and mend thy thoght,
I warne the well, and weynd thou noght,
To wyldernes so wylde;
Turne home to thi spouse agane,
look thou deme in hir no trane,
ffor she was neuer ffylde.
wyte thou no wyrkyng of Werkys wast,
She hase consauyd the holy gast, Page 96
And she shall bere godys son;
ffor thy with hir, in thi degre,
Meke and buxom looke thou be,
And with hir dwell and won.
A, lord, I lofe the all alon,
That vowches safe that I be oone
To tent that chyld so ying;
I that thus haue vngrathly gone,
And vntruly taken apon
Mary, that dere darlyng.
I rewe full sore that I haue sayde,
And of hir byrdyng hir vpbrade,
And she not gylty is;
ffor thy to hir now Wyll I weynde,
And pray hir for to be my freynde,
And aske hir forgyfnes.
A, mary, wyfe, what chere?
The better, sir, that ye ar here;
Thus long where haue ye lent?
Certys, walkyd aboute, lyke a fon,
That wrangwysly hase taken apon;
I wyst neuer What I ment;
Bot I wote well, my lemman fre,
I haue trespast to god and the;
fforgyf me, I the pray.
Now all that euer ye sayde me to,
God forgyf you, and I do,
With all the myght I may.
Gramercy, mary, thi good wyll
So kyndly forgyfys that I sayde yll,
When I can the vpbrade;
Bot well is hym hase sich a fode,
A, meke wyf, withouten goode,
he may well hold, hym payde. Page 97
A, what I am light as lynde!
he that may both lowse and bynde,
And euery mys amend,
leyn me grace, powere, and myght,
My wyfe and hir swete yong wight
To kepe, to my lyfys ende.