The Towneley plays
Almyghty god, ihesu! ihesu
That borne was of a madyn fre,
Thou was a lord and prophete trew,
whyls thou had lyfe on lyfe to be
Emangys thise men;
yll was thou ded, so wo is me
that I it ken! Page 326
I ken it well that thou was slayn
Oonly for me and all mankynde;
Therto thise Iues were full bayn.
Alas! why was thou, man, so blynde
Thi lord to slo?
On hym why wold thou haue no mynde,
bot bett hym blo?
Blo thou bett hym bare / his brest thou maide all blak,
his woundes all wete thay ware / Alas, withoutten lak!
That lord, alas, that leche / that was so meke and mylde,
So well that couth vs preche / with syn was neuer fylde;
he was full bayn to preche / vs all from warkes wylde,
his ded it will me drech, / ffor thay hym so begylde
Alas, why dyd thay so
To tug hym to and fro?
ffrom hym wold thay not go
To his lyfe was away.
Thise cursyd Iues, euer worth thaym wo!
Oure lord, oure master, to ded gart go,
All sakles thay gart hym slo
Apon the rode,
And forto bete his body blo
Thay thoght full good.
Thou says full sothe, thay dyd hym payn,
And therto were thay euer fayn.
Thay wold no leyf or he was slayn
And done to ded;
ffor-thi we mowrne with mode and mayn,
with rufull red.
yee, rufully may we it rew,
ffor hym that was so good and trew,
That thrugh the falshede of a Iew Page 327
was thus betrayd;
Therfor oure sorow is euer new,
Oure ioy is layd.
Certys, it was a wonder thyng
That thay wold for no tokynyng,
Ne yit for his techyng,
Trast in that trew;
Thay myght haue sene in his doyng
full great vertu.
ffor all that thay to hym can say
he answard neuer with yee, ne nay,
Bot as a lam meke was he ay,
ffor all thare threte;
he spake neuer, by nyght ne day,
No wordes greatte.
All if he wor withoutten plight,
Vnto the ded yit thay hym dight;
If he had neuer so mekill myght
he suffred all;
he stud as still, that bright,
As stone in wall.
Alas, for doyll! what was thare skyll
That precyous lord so forto spill?
And he seruyd neuer none yll
In worde, ne dede;
Bot prayd for theym his fader till
To ded when that he yede.
When I thynk on his passyon,
And on his moder how she can swoyn,
To dy nere am I bowne,
ffor sorow I sagh hir make;
Vnder the crosse when she fell downe,
ffor hir son sake.
Me thynk my hart is full of wo
when I sagh hym to ded go;
Th[e] wekyd Iues thay were so thro
To wyrk hym woghe,
his fare body thay maide full blo
with strokes enoghe.
Me thynk my hart droppys all in bloode
when I sagh hym hyng on the roode,
And askyd a drynk, with full mylde mode,
Right than in hy;
Asell and gall, that was not good,
Thay broght hym then truly.
was neuer man in no-kyns steede
That suffred half so greatt mysdede
As he, to ded or that he yede,
Ne yit the care;
ffor-thi full carefull is my red
where soeuer I fare.
where so I fare he is my mynde,
Bot when I thynk on hym so kynde,
how sore gyltles that he was pyynde
Apon a tre,
Vnethes may I hold, my mynde,
So sore myslykys me.
Pylgrymes, whi make ye this mone,
And walk so rufully by the way?
haue ye youre gates vngrathly gone?
Or what you alys to me ye say.
what wordes ar you two emange,
That ye here so sadly gang?
To here theym eft full sore I lang, Page 329
here of yow two;
It semys ye ar in sorow strang,
here as ye go.
what way, for shame, man, has thou tayn
That thou wote not of this affray?
Thow art a man by the alane,
Thow may not pleasse me to my pay.
I pray you, if it be youre will,
Those Wordys ye wold, reherse me tyll;
ye ar all heuy and lykys yll
here in this way;
If ye will now shew me youre [wyll]
I wold you pray.
Art thou a pilgreme thi self alone,
walkand in contry bi thyn oone,
And wote not what is commen and gone
within few dayes?
Me thynk thou shuld make mone,
And wepe here in thi wayes.
whi, what is done can ye me say
In this land this ylk day?
Is ther fallen any affray
In land awre whare?
If ye can, me tell I you pray,
Or that I farthere fare.
why, knowys thou not what thyng is done
here at Ierusalem thus sone,
Thrugh wykyd Iues, withoutten hone,
And noght lang syn?
flor the trewe prophete make we this mone,
And for his pyne.
yee for ihesu of nazarene,
That was a prophete true and clene,
In word, in wark, full meke, I wene, Page 330
And that fonde we;
And so has he full long bene,
As mot I the,
To god and to the people bath;
Therfor thise daies he has takyn skath,
Vnto the ded, withoutten hagh,
Thise Iues hym dight;
ffor-thi for hym thus walk we wrath
By day and nyght.
Thise wykyd Iues trayed hym with gyle
To thare high preestys within a whyle,
And to thare prynces thay can hym fyle,
Apon a crosse, noght hens a myle,
To ded he yede.
we trowyd that it was he truly
his awne lyfe agane shuld by,
As it is told in prophecy
Of Cristys doyng;
And, certys, thay will neuer ly
ffor noykyns thyng.
ffro he was of the crosse tayn
he was layde full sone agane
In a graue, vnder a stane,
And that we saw;
wheder he be rysen and gane
yit we ne knaw.
Pilgremes, in speche ye are full awth,
That shall I well declare you why,
ye haue it hart, and that is rawth,
ye can no better stand therby,
Thyng that ye here;
And prophetys told it openly
On good manere. Page 331
Thay saide a childe there shuld be borne
To by mankynde combryd in care;
Thus saide dauid here beforne
And othere prophetys wyse of lare,
Som saide he ded shuld be,
And ly in erth by dayes thre,
And sithen, thrugh his pauste,
Ryse vp in flesh and fell.
Now, sir, for sothe, as god me saue,
women has flayed vs in oure thoght;
Thay saide that thay were at his graue,
And in that sted, thay faunde hym noght,
Bot saide a light
Com downe with angels, and vp hym broght
Ther in thare sight.
we wold not trow theym for nothyng,
If thay were ther in the mornyng,
we saide thay knew not his rysyng
when it shuld be;
Bot som of vs, without dwellyng,
wentt theder to se.
yee, som of vs, sir, haue beyn thare,
And faunde it as the women saide,
Out of that sted that cors was fare,
And also the graue stone put besyde,
we se with ee;
The teres outt of myn ees can glyde,
ffor doyll I dre.
ye foyles, ye ar not stabyll!
where is youre witt, I say?
wilsom of hart ye ar vnabyll
And outt of the right way, Page 332
ffor to trow it is no fabyll
that at is fallen this same day.
he wyst, when he sat at his tabill,
that Iudas shuld, hym sone betray.
Me thynk you all vntrist to trow,
both in mode and mayn,
All that the prophetys told to you
before, it is no trane.
Told, not thay what wyse and how
That cryst shuld suffre payn?
And so to his paske bow
To entre till his ioy agane.
Take tent to moyses and othere mo,
that were prophetys trew and good;
Thay saide ihesus to ded, shuld go,
And pynde be on roode;
Thrugh the Iues he maide full blo,
his woundys rynyng on red blode;
Sithen shuld he ryse and furth go
before, right as he yode.
Crist behovid to suffre this,
fforsothe, right as I say,
And sithen enter into his blys
vnto his fader for ay,
Euer to won with hym and his,
where euer is gam and play;
Of that myrth shall he neuer mys
ffro he weynde hens away.
Now, sir, we thank it full oft sythes,
the commyng of you heder;
To vs so kyndly kythes
the prophecy all to geder.
By leyff now, sirs, for I must weynde,
ffor I haue far of my iornay.
Now, sir, we pray you, as oure freynde, Page 333
All nyght to abyde for charite,
And take youre r[est];
At morne more prest then may ye be
to go full prest.
Sir, we you pray, for godys sake,
This nyght penance with vs to take,
With sich chere as we can make,
And that we pray;
we may no farthere walk ne wake,
Gone is the day.
Dwell with vs, sir, if ye myght,
ffor now it waxes to the nyght,
The day is gone that was so bright,
No far thou shall;
Mete and drynk, sir, we you hight
ffor thi good tale.
I thank you both, for sothe, in fere,
At this tyme I ne may dwell here,
I haue to walk in wayes sere,
where I haue hight;
I may not be, withoutten were,
With you all nyght.
Now, as myght I lyf in qwarte,
At this tyme will we not parte,
Bot if that thou can more of arte
Or yit of lare;
Vnto this cyte, with good harte,
Now let vs fare.
Thou art a pilgreme, as we ar,
This nyght shall thou fare as we fare,
Be it les or be it mare
Thou shall assay;
Then to-morne thou make the yare
To weynde thi Way.
ffreyndys, forto fulfill youre will
I will abyde with you awhyle.
Sir, ye ar welcom, as is skyll,
To sich as we haue, bi sant gyle.
Now ar we here at this towne,
I red that we go sytt vs downe,
And forto sowpe we make vs bowne,
Now of oure fode;
we haue enogh, sir, bi my crowne,
Of godys goode.
lo, here a borde and clothe laide,
And breed, theron, all redy graide;
Sit we downe, we shalbe paide,
And make good chere;
It is but penaunce, as we saide,
That we haue here.
wemmow! where is this man becom,
Right here that sat betwix vs two?
he brake the breed and laide vs som;
how myght he hens now fro vs go
At his awne lyst?
It was oure lorde, I trow right so,
And we not wyst.
When went he hens, whedir, and how,
What I ne wote in warld so wyde,
ffor had I wyten, I make a vowe,
he shuld haue byden, what so betyde;
Bot it were ihesus that with vs was,
Selcowth me thynke, the sothe to say, Page 335
Thus preualy from vs to pas,
I wist neuer when he went away.
we were full blynde, euer alas!
I tell vs now begylde for ay,
ffor spech and bewte that he has
Man myght hym knaw this day.
A, dere god, what may this be?
Right now was he here by me;
Now is this greatt vanyte,
he is away;
We ar begylyd, by my lewte,
So may we say.
where was oure hart, where was oure thoght,
So far on gate as he vs broght,
knawlege of hym that we had noght
In all that tyme?
So was he lyke, bi hym me wroght,
Till oon pylgryme.
Dere god, why couth we hym not knawe?
so openly all on a raw
The tayles that he can till vs shaw,
By oone and oon;
And now from vs within a thraw
Thus sone is gone.
I had no knawlege it was he,
Bot for he brake this brede in thre,
And delt it here to the and me
With his awne hande;
When he passyd, hence we myght not se,
Wee ar to blame, yee, veramente,
That we toke no better tente
whils we bi the way wente Page 336
With hym that stownd,;
knowlege of hym we myght haue hentt,
Syttyng on grownd,.
ffro he toke breede full well I wyst,
And brake it here with his awne fyste,
And laide it vs at his awne lyst,
As we it hent;
I knew hym then, and sone it kyst
with good, intente.
That we hym knew wist he well enogh,
Therfor all sone he hym with-drogh,
ffro he saw that we hym knogh,
with in this sted;
I haue ferly what way and how
Away that he shuld glyde.
Alas, we war full myrk in thoght,
bot we were both full will of red,;
Man, for shame whi held, thou noght
when he on borde brake vs this breede?
he soght the prophecy more and les
And told it vs right in this sted,,
how that he hym self was
With wykid Iues broght to ded,,
we will go seke that kyng
That suffred woundes sore.
Ryse, go we hence from this place,
To Ierusalem take we the pace,
And tell oure brethere all the case,
I red right thus;
ffrom ded, to lyfe when that he rase
he apperyd till vs.
At Ierusalem I vnderstande,
Ther hope I that they be dwelland,
In that countre and in that land
We shall theym mete.
Weynd we furth, I dar warand,,
Right in the strete.
let vs not tary ne mare,
Bot on oure feete fast lett vs fare;
I hope we shall be cachid fro care
ffull sone, Iwys;
That blyssid childe that marie bare
Grauntt you his blys.