The Towneley plays

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The Towneley plays
London ; New York: Published for the Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press

Oxford Text Archive number: U-1397-B

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"The Towneley plays." In the digital collection Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed June 13, 2024.


The Aunnunciation

Sythen I haue mayde all thyng of noght, Line 1 And Adam with my handis hath wroght, Line 2 Lyke to myn ymage, att my devyse, Line 3 And gyffen hym Ioy in paradyse, Line 4 To won therin, as that I wend, Line 5 To that he dyd that I defend; Line 6 Then I hym put out of that place, Line 7 Bot yit, I myn, I hight hym grace Line 8 Oyll of mercy I can hym heyt, Line 9 And tyme also his bayll to beytt. Line 10 ffor he has boght his syn full sore, Line 11 Thise fyfe thowsand yeris and more, Line 12 ffyrst in erthe and sythen in hell; Line 13 Bot long therin shall he not dwell. Line 14 Outt of payn he shall be boght, Line 15 I wyll not tyne that I haue wroght. Line 16 I wyll make redempcyon, Line 17 As I hyght for my person, Line 18 All wyth reson and with right, Line 19 Both thrugh mercy and thrugh myght. Line 20 he shall not, therfor, ay be spylt, Line 21 ffor he was wrangwysly begylt; Line 22 he shall out of preson pas, Line 23 ffor that he begyled was Line 24 Thrugh the edder, and his wyfe; Line 25 Thay gart hym towch the tree of lyfe, Line 26 And ete the frute that I forbed, Line 27 And he was dampned for that dede. Line 28 Ryghtwysnes wyll we make; Line 29 I wyll that my son manhede take, Line 30

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Line 30 ffor reson wyll that ther be thre, Line 31 A man, a madyn, and a tre: Line 32 Man for man, tre for tre, Line 33 Madyn for madyn; thus shal it be. Line 34 My son shall in a madyn light, Line 35 Agans the feynd of hell to fight; Line 36 wythouten wem, os son thrugh glas, Line 37 And she madyn as she was. Line 38 Both god and man shall he be, Line 39 And she moder and madyn fre. Line 40 To abraham I am in dett Line 41 To safe hym and his gett; Line 42 And I wyll that all prophecye Line 43 Be fulfyllyd here by me; Line 44 ffor I am lord and lech of heyle, Line 45 My prophetys shall be funden leyle; Line 46 As moyses sayd, and Isay, Line 47 Kyng dauid, and Ieromy, Line 48 Abacuk, and daniell, Line 49 Sybyll sage, that sayde ay well, Line 50 And myne othere prophetis all, Line 51 As thay haue [said] it shall befall. Line 52 Ryse vp, gabriell, and weynd Line 53 vnto a madyn that is heynd, Line 54 To nazareth in galilee, Line 55 Ther she dwellys in that cytee. Line 56 To that vyrgyn and to that spouse, Line 57 To a man of dauid house, Line 58 Ioseph also he is namyd by, Line 59 And the madyn name mary. Line 60 Angell must to mary go, Line 61 ffor the feynd was eue fo; Line 62 he was foule and layth to syght, Line 63 And thou art angell fayr and bright; Line 64 And hayls that madyn, my lemman, Line 65 As heyndly as thou can. Line 66 Of my behalf thou shall hyr grete, Line 67 I haue hyr chosen, that madyn swete, Line 68

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Line 68 She shall conceyf my derlyng, Line 69 Thrugh thy word and hyr heryng. Line 70 In hyr body wyll I lyght, Line 71 That is to me clenly dyght; Line 72 She shall of hyr body bere Line 73 God and man wythouten dere. Line 74 She shall be blyssyd wythouten ende; Line 75 Grayth the gabriell, and weynd. Line 76
hayll, mary, gracyouse! Line 77 hayll, madyn and godis spouse! Line 78 Vnto the I lowte; Line 79 Of all vyrgyns thou art qwene, Line 80 That euer was, or shall be seyn, Line 81 wythouten dowte. Line 82 hayll, mary, and well thou be! Line 83 My lord of heuen is wyth the, Line 84 wythouten end; Line 85 hayll, woman most of mede! Line 86 Goodly lady, haue thou no drede, Line 87 That I commend; Line 88 ffor thou has fonden all thyn oone, Line 89 The grace of god, that was out gone, Line 90 ffor adam plyght. Line 91 This is the grace that the betydys, Line 92 Thou shall conceyue within thi sydys Line 93 A chyld of myght. Line 94 When he is comen, that thi son, Line 95 he shall take cyrcumsycyon, Line 96 Call hym ihesum. Line 97 Mightfull man shall be he that, Line 98 And godys son shall he hat, Line 99 By his day com. Line 100 My lord also shall gyf hym tyll Line 101 hys fader sete, dauid, at wyll, Line 102

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Line 102 Therin to sytt: Line 103 he shall be kyng in Iacob kyn, Line 104 hys kyngdom shall neuer blyn, Line 105 lady, well thou wytt. Line 106
What is thi name? Line 107
gabriell; godys strengthe and his angell, Line 108 That comys to the. Line 109
fferly gretyng thou me gretys; Line 110 A child to bere thou me hetys, Line 111 how shuld, it be? Line 112 I cam neuer by man's syde, Line 113 Bot has avowed my madynhede, Line 114 ffrom fleshly gett. Line 115 Therfor I wote not how Line 116 That this be brokyn, as a vow Line 117 That I haue hett; Line 118 Neuer the les, well I wote, Line 119 To wyrk thi word and hold, thi hote Line 120 Mightfull god is; Line 121 Bot I ne wote of what manere, Line 122 Therfor I pray the, messyngere, Line 123 That thou me wysh. Line 124
lady, this is the preuate; Line 125 The holy gost shall light in the, Line 126 And his vertue, Line 127 he shall vmshade and fulfyll Line 128 That thi madynhede shall neuer spyll, Line 129 Bot ay be new. Line 130 The child that thou shall bere, madame, Line 131 Shall godys son be callid by name; Line 132 And se, mary, Line 133 Elesabeth, thi Cosyn, that is cald, geld,, Line 134 She has conceyffed a son in elde, Line 135 Of zacary; Line 136

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Line 136 And this is, who wyll late, Line 137 The sext moneth of hyr conceytate, Line 138 That geld, is cald,. Line 139 No word, lady, that I the bryng, Line 140 Is vnmyghtfull to heuen kyng, Line 141 Bot all shall hald,. Line 142
I lofe my lord all weldand, Line 143 I am his madyn at his hand, Line 144 And in his wold,; Line 145 I trow bodword that thou me bryng, Line 146 Be done to me in all thyng, Line 147 As thou has told,. Line 148
Mary, madyn heynd, Line 149 me behovys to weynd, Line 150 my leyf at the I take. Line 151
ffar to my freynd, Line 152 Who the can send, Line 153 ffor mankynde sake. Line 154
All-myghty god, what may this be! Line 155 Of mary my wyfe meruels me, Line 156 Alas, what has she wroght? Line 157 A, hyr body is grete and she with childe! Line 158 ffor me was she neuer fylyd, Line 159 Therfor myin is it noght. Line 160 I irke full sore with my lyfe, Line 161 That euer I wed so yong a wyfe, Line 162 That bargan may I ban; Line 163 To me it was a carefull dede, Line 164 I myght well wyt that yowthede Line 165 wold, haue lykyng of man Line 166 I am old,, sothly to say, Line 167 passed, I am all preuay play, Line 168

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Line 168 The gams fro me ar gane. Line 169 It is ill cowpled, of youth and elde; Line 170 I wote well, for I am vnwelde, Line 171 som othere has she tane. Line 172 she is with chyld, I wote neuer how, Line 173 Now, who wold, any woman trow? Line 174 Certys, no man that can any goode; Line 175 I wote not in the warld, what I shuld, do, Line 176 Bot now then wyll I weynd hyr to, Line 177 And wytt who owe that foode. Line 178 hayll, mary, and well ye be! Line 179 why, bot woman, what chere with the? Line 180
The better, sir, for you. Line 181
So wold, I, woman, that ye wore; Line 182 Bot certys, mary, I rew full sore Line 183 It standys so with the now. Line 184 Bot of a thyng frayn the I shall, Line 185 who owe this child, thou gose with all? Line 186
Syr, ye, and god of heuen. Line 187
Myne, mary? do way thi dyn; Line 188 That I shuld, oght haue parte therin Line 189 Thou nedys it not to neuen; Line 190 wherto neuyns thou me therto? Line 191 I had neuer with the to do, Line 192 how shuld it then be myne? Line 193 whos is that chyld,, so god the spede? Line 194
Syr, godys and yowrs, with outen drede. Line 195
That word, had, thou to tyne, Line 196 ffor it is right full far me fro, Line 197 And I forthynkys thou has done so Line 198 Thise ill dedys bedene; Line 199 And if thou speke thi self to spyll, Line 200 It is full sore agans my wyll, Line 201 If better myght haue bene. Line 202

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At godys wyll, Ioseph, must it be, Line 203 ffor certanly bot god and ye Line 204 I know none othere man; Line 205 ffor fleshly was I neuer fylyd. Line 206
how shuld thou thus then be with chyld? Line 207 Excuse the well thou can; Line 208 I blame the not, so god me saue, Line 209 woman maners if that thou haue, Line 210 Bot certys I say the this, Line 211 well wote thou, and so do I, Line 212 Thi body fames the openly, Line 213 That thou has done amys. Line 214
yee, god he knowys all my doyng. Line 215
we! now, this is a wonder thyng, Line 216 I can noght say therto; Line 217 Bot in my hart I haue greatt care, Line 218 And ay the longer mare and mare; Line 219 ffor doyll what shall I do? Line 220 Godys and myn she says it is; Line 221 I wyll not fader it, she says amys; Line 222 ffor shame yit shuld, she let, Line 223 To excuse hir velany by me; Line 224 with hir I thynk no longer be, Line 225 I rew that euer we met. Line 226 And how we met ye shall wyt sone; Line 227 Men vse yong chyldren for to done Line 228 In temple for to lere; Line 229 Soo dyd thay hir, to she wex more Line 230 Then othere madyns wyse of lore; Line 231 then byshopes sayd to hir, Line 232 "[Mary, the behowfys to take Line 233 Som yong man to be thi make, Line 234

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Line 234 As thou seys other haue, Line 235 In the temple which thou wyll neuen;"] Line 236 And she sayd, none, bot god of heuen, Line 237 To hym she had hir tane; Line 238 She wold none othere for any sagh; Line 239 Thay sayd she must, it was the lagh, Line 240 She was of age thertill. Line 241 To the temple thay somond old and ying, Line 242 All of Iuda ofspryng, Line 243 The law for to fulfill. Line 244 Thay gaf ich man a white wand, Line 245 And bad vs bere them in oure hande, Line 246 To offre with good intent; Line 247 Thay offerd thare yerdys vp in that tyde, Line 248 ffor I was old, I stode be syde, Line 249 I wyst not what thay ment; Line 250 Thay lakyd, oone, thay sayde in hy, Line 251 All had offerd,, thay sayd, bot I, Line 252 ffor I ay withdrogh me. Line 253 ffurth with my wande thay mayd, me com, Line 254 In my hand, it floryshed with blome; Line 255 Then sayde thay all to me, Line 256 "[If thou be old, meruell not the, Line 257 ffor god of heuen thus ordans he, Line 258 Thi wand shewys openly; Line 259 It florishes so, withouten nay, Line 260 That the behovys wed mary the may;"] Line 261 A sory man then was I; Line 262 I was full sory in my thoght, Line 263 I sayde for old I myght noght Line 264 hir haue neuer the wheder; Line 265 I was vnlykely to hir so yong, Line 266 Thay sayde ther helpyd, none excusyng, Line 267 And wed vs thus togeder. Line 268

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Line 268 when I all thus had wed hir thare, Line 269 we and my madyns home can fare, Line 270 That kyngys doghters were; Line 271 All wroght thay sylk to fynd them on, Line 272 Marie wroght purpyll, the oder none Line 273 bot othere colers sere. Line 274 I left thaym in good peasse wenyd I, Line 275 Into the contre I went on hy, Line 276 My craft to vse with mayn; Line 277 To gett oure lyfyng I must nede, Line 278 On marie I prayd them take good hede, Line 279 To that I cam agane. Line 280 Neyn monethes was I fro that myld,; Line 281 when I cam home she was with chyld,; Line 282 Alas, I sayd, for shame! Line 283 I askyd ther women who that had done, Line 284 And thay me sayde an angell sone, Line 285 syn that I went from hame; Line 286 An angell spake with that wyght, Line 287 And no man els, bi day nor nyght, Line 288 "[sir, therof be ye bold,."] Line 289 Thay excusyd hir thus sothly, Line 290 To make hir clene of hir foly, Line 291 And babyshed, me that was old,. Line 292 Shuld, an angell this dede haue wroght? Line 293 Sich excusyng helpys noght, Line 294 ffor no craft that thay can; Line 295 A heuenly thyng, for sothe, is he, Line 296 And she is erthly; this may not be, Line 297 It is som othere man. Line 298 Certys, I forthynk sore of hir dede, Line 299 Bot it is long of yowth-hede, Line 300

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Line 300 All sich wanton playes; Line 301 ffor yong women wyll nedys play them Line 302 with yong men, if old, forsake them, Line 303 Thus it is sene always. Line 304 Bot marie and I playd neuer so sam, Line 305 Neuer togeder we vsid, that gam, Line 306 I cam hir neuer so nere; Line 307 she is as clene as cristall clyfe Line 308 ffor me, and shalbe whyls I lyf, Line 309 The law wyll it be so. Line 310 And then am I cause of hir dede, Line 311 ffor thi then can I now no rede, Line 312 Alas, what I am wo! Line 313 And sothly, if it so befall, Line 314 Godys son that she be with all, Line 315 If sich grace myght betyde, Line 316 I wote well that I am not he, Line 317 which that is worthi to be Line 318 That blyssed, body besyde, Line 319 Nor yit to be in company; Line 320 To wyldernes I will for thi Line 321 Enfors me for to fare; Line 322 And neuer longer with hir dele, Line 323 Bot stylly shall I from hir stele, Line 324 That mete shall we no mare. Line 325
Do wa, Ioseph, and mend thy thoght, Line 326 I warne the well, and weynd thou noght, Line 327 To wyldernes so wylde; Line 328 Turne home to thi spouse agane, Line 329 look thou deme in hir no trane, Line 330 ffor she was neuer ffylde. Line 331 wyte thou no wyrkyng of Werkys wast, Line 332 She hase consauyd the holy gast, Line 333

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Line 333 And she shall bere godys son; Line 334 ffor thy with hir, in thi degre, Line 335 Meke and buxom looke thou be, Line 336 And with hir dwell and won. Line 337
A, lord, I lofe the all alon, Line 338 That vowches safe that I be oone Line 339 To tent that chyld so ying; Line 340 I that thus haue vngrathly gone, Line 341 And vntruly taken apon Line 342 Mary, that dere darlyng. Line 343 I rewe full sore that I haue sayde, Line 344 And of hir byrdyng hir vpbrade, Line 345 And she not gylty is; Line 346 ffor thy to hir now Wyll I weynde, Line 347 And pray hir for to be my freynde, Line 348 And aske hir forgyfnes. Line 349 A, mary, wyfe, what chere? Line 350
The better, sir, that ye ar here; Line 351 Thus long where haue ye lent? Line 352
Certys, walkyd aboute, lyke a fon, Line 353 That wrangwysly hase taken apon; Line 354 I wyst neuer What I ment; Line 355 Bot I wote well, my lemman fre, Line 356 I haue trespast to god and the; Line 357 fforgyf me, I the pray. Line 358
Now all that euer ye sayde me to, Line 359 God forgyf you, and I do, Line 360 With all the myght I may. Line 361
Gramercy, mary, thi good wyll Line 362 So kyndly forgyfys that I sayde yll, Line 363 When I can the vpbrade; Line 364 Bot well is hym hase sich a fode, Line 365 A, meke wyf, withouten goode, Line 366 he may well hold, hym payde. Line 367

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Line 367 A, what I am light as lynde! Line 368 he that may both lowse and bynde, Line 369 And euery mys amend, Line 370 leyn me grace, powere, and myght, Line 371 My wyfe and hir swete yong wight Line 372 To kepe, to my lyfys ende. Line 373
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