The Towneley plays
The Killing of Abel
All hayll, all hayll, both blithe and glad,
ffor here com I, a mery lad;
be peasse youre dyn, my master bad,
Or els the dwill you spede.
Wote ye not I com before?
Bot who that Ianglis any more
He must blaw my blak hoill bore',
both behynd, and before,
Till his tethe blede.
ffelows, here I you forbede
To make nother nose ne cry;
Who so is so hardy to do that dede
The dwill hang hym vp to dry. Page 10
Gedlyngis, I am a fulle grete wat,
A good yoman my master hat,
ffull well ye all hym ken;
Begyn he with you for to stryfe,
certis, then mon ye neuer thryfe;
Bot I trow, bi god on life,
Som of you ar his men.
Bot let youre lippis couer youre ten,
ffor if my master com, welcom hym then.
ffarewell, for I am gone.
Io furth, greyn-horne! and war oute, gryme!
Drawes on! god gif you ill to tyme!
Ye stand as ye were fallen in swyme;
What! will ye no forther, mare?
War! let me se how down will draw;
Yit, shrew, yit, pull on a thraw!
What! it semys for me ye stand none aw!
I say, donnyng, go fare!
A, ha! god gif the soro & care!
lo! now hard she what I saide;
now yit art thou the warst mare
In plogh that euer I haide.
How! pike-harnes, how! com heder belife!
I fend, godis forbot, that euer thou thrife!
What, boy, shal I both hold and drife?
heris thou not how I cry?
Say, mall and stott, will ye not go?
Lemyng, morell, white-horne, Io!
now will ye not se how thay hy?
Gog gif the sorow, boy; want of mete it gars.
thare prouand, sir, for thi, I lay behynd thare ars,
And tyes them fast bi the nekis,
With many stanys in thare hekis.
That shall bi thi fals chekis.
And haue agane as right.
I am thi master, wilt thou fight?
Yai, with the same mesure and weght
That I boro will I qwite.
We! now, no thyng, bot call on tyte,
that we had ployde this land.
harrer, morell, iofurth, hyte!
and let the plogh stand.
God, as he both may and can,
Spede the, brother, & thi man.
Com kis myne ars, me list not ban,
As welcom standis ther oute.
Thou shuld haue bide til thou were cald;
Com nar, & other drife or hald,
and kys the dwillis toute.
Go grese thi shepe vnder the toute,
ffor that is the moste lefe.
broder, ther is none here aboute
that wold the any grefe;
bot, leif brother, here my sawe-
It is the custom of oure law,
All that wyrk as the wise
shall worship god with sacrifice.
Oure fader vs bad, oure fader vs kend,
that oure tend shuld be brend.
Com furth, brothere, and let vs gang
To worship god; we dwell full lang;
Gif we hym parte of oure fee,
Corne or catall, wheder it be.
And therfor, brother, let vs weynd,
And first clens vs from the feynd
or we make sacrifice;
Then blis withoutten end
get we for oure seruyce, Page 12
Of hym that is oure saulis leche.
How! let furth youre geyse, the fox will preche;
How long wilt thou me appech
With thi sermonyng?
Hold thi tong, yit I say,
Euen ther the good wife strokid the hay;
Or sit downe in the dwill way,
With thi vayn carpyng.
Shuld I leife my plogh & all thyng
And go with the to make offeryng?
Nay! thou fyndys me not so mad!
Go to the dwill, and say I bad!
What gifys god the to rose hym so?
me gifys he noght bot soro and wo.
Caym, leife this vayn carpyng,
ffor god giffys the all thi lifyng.
Yit boroed I neuer a farthyng
of hym, here my hend.
Brother, as elders haue vs kend,
ffirst shuld, we tend with oure hend,,
and to his lofyng sithen be brend.
My farthyng is in the preest hand
syn last tyme I offyrd.
leif brother, let vs be walkand;
I wold oure tend were profyrd.
We! wherof shuld I tend, leif brothere?
ffor I am ich yere wars then othere,
here my trouth it is none othere;
My wynnyngis ar bot meyn,
No wonder if that I be leyn;
ffull long till hym I may me meyn,
ffor bi hym that me dere boght,
I traw that he will leyn me noght.
Yis, all the good thou has in wone
Of godis grace is bot a lone.
Lenys he me, as come thrift apon the so?
ffor he has euer yit beyn my fo;
ffor had he my freynd, beyn,
Other gatis it had beyn seyn.
When all mens corn was fayre in feld,
Then was myne not worth a neld;
When I shuld saw, & wantyd seyde,
And of corn had full grete neyde,
Then gaf he me none of his,
No more will I gif hym of this.
hardely hold me to blame
bot if I serue hym of the same.
Leif brother, say not so,
bot let vs furth togeder go;
Good brother, let vs weynd sone,
no longer here I rede we hone.
Yei, yei, thou Iangyls waste;
the dwill me spede if I haue hast,
As long as I may lif,
to dele my good or gif
Ather to god or yit to man,
of any good that euer I wan;
ffor had I giffen away my goode,
then myght I go with a ryffen hood,
And it is better hold that I haue
then go from doore to doore & craue.
Brother, com furth, in godis name,
I am full ferd, that we get blame;
Hy we fast that we were thore.
We! ryn on, in the dwills nayme Before!
Wemay, man, I hold the mad!
wenys thou now that I list gad
To gif away my warldis aght?
the dwill hym spede that me so taght!
what nede had I my trauell to lose,
to were my shoyn & ryfe my hose?
Dere brother, hit were grete wonder
that I & thou shuld go in sonder,
Then wold oure fader haue grete ferly;
Ar we not brether, thou & I?
No, bot cry on, cry, whyls the thynk good;
Here my trowth, I hold the woode;
Wheder that he be blithe or wroth
to dele my good is me full lothe.
I haue gone oft on softer wise
ther I trowed som prow wold rise.
Bot well I se go must I nede;
now weynd before, ill myght thou spede!
syn that we shall algatis go.
leif brother, whi sais thou so?
Bot go we furth both togeder;
blissid, be god we haue fare weder.
lay downe thi trussell apon this hill.
fforsoth broder, so I will:
Gog of heuen, take it to good,.
Thou shall tend first if thou were wood.
God that shope both erth and heuen,
I pray to the thou here my steven,
And take in thank, if thi will be,
the tend that I offre here to the;
ffor I gif it in good entent
to the, my lord, that all has sent.
I bren it now, with stedfast thoght,
In worship of hym that all has wroght.
Ryse! let me now, syn thou has done;
lord of heuen, thou here my boyne!
And ouer, godis forbot, be to the
thank or thew to kun me;
ffor, as browke I thise two shankys,
It is full sore, myne vnthankys,
The teynd that I here gif to the,
of corn, or thyng, that newys me;
Bot now begyn will I then,
syn I must nede my tend to bren.
Oone shefe, oone, and this makys two,
bot nawder of thise may I forgo: Page 15
Two, two, now this is thre,
yei, this also shall leif with me:
ffor I will chose and best haue,
this hold I thrift of all this thrafe;
Wemo, wemo, foure, lo, here!
better groved, me no this yere.
At yere tyme I sew fayre corn,
yit was it sich when it was shorne,
Thystyls & brerys, yei grete plente,
And all kyn wedis that myght be.
ffoure shefis, foure, lo, this makis fyfe-
deyll I fast thus long or I thrife-
ffyfe and sex, now this is sevyn,
bot this gettis neuer god of heuen;
Nor none of thise foure, at my myght,
shall neuer com in godis sight.
Sevyn, sevyn, now this is aght,
Cain, brother, thou art not god betaght.
We! therfor is it that I say,
ffor I will not deyle my good away:
Bot had I gyffen hym this to teynd
Then wold thou say he were my Freynd;
Bot I thynk not, bi my hode,
To departe so lightly fro my goode.
we! aght, aght, & neyn, & ten is this,
we! this may we best mys.
Gif hym that that ligis thore?
It goyse agans myn hart full sore.
Cam! teynd right of all bedeyn.
we! lo twelve, fyfteyn, sexteyn
Caym, thou tendis wrang, and of the warst.
we! com nar, and hide myne een;
In the wenyand wist ye now at last,
Or els will thou that I wynk?
then shall I doy no wrong, me thynk.
let me se now how it is-
lo, yit I hold me paide;
I teyndyd wonder well bi ges,
And so euen I laide.
Came, of god me thynke thou has no drede.
Now and he get more, the dwill me spede!
As mych as oone reepe,
ffor that cam hym full light chepe;
Not as mekill, grete ne small,
as he myght wipe his ars with all.
ffor that, and this that lyys here,
haue cost me full dere;
Or it was shorne, and broght in stak,
had I many a wery bak;
Therfor aske me no more of this,
ffor I haue giffen that my will is.
Cam, I rede thou tend right
ffor drede of hym that sittis on hight.
How that I tend, rek the neuer a deill,
bot tend thi skabbid shepe wele;
ffor if thou to my teynd tent take,
It bese the wars for thi sake.
Thou wold I gaf hym this shefe, or this sheyfe;
na, nawder of thise [two] wil I leife;
Bot take this, now has he two,
and for my saull now mot it go,
Bot it gos sore agans my will,
and shal he like full ill.
Cam, I reyde thou so teynd
that god of heuen be thi freynd.
My freynd? na, not bot if he will!
I did hym neuer yit bot skill.
If he be neuer so my fo,
I am avisid, gif hym no mo;
Bot chaunge thi conscience, as I do myn,
yit teynd thou not thi mesel swyne?
If thou teynd right thou mon it fynde.
Yei, kys the dwills ars behynde;
The dwill hang the bi the nek!
how that I teynd, neuer thou rek.
Will thou not yit hold thi peasse?
of this Ianglyng I reyde thou seasse.
And teynd I well, or tend I ill,
bere the euen & speke bot skill. Page 17
Bot now syn thou has teyndid thyne,
Now will I set fyr on myne.
We! out! haro! help to blaw!
It will not bren for me, I traw;
Puf! this smoke dos me mych shame-
now bren, in the dwillys name!
A! what dwill of hell is it?
Almost had myne breth beyn dit.
had I blawen oone blast more
I had beyn choked right thore;
It stank like the dwill in hell,
that longer ther myght I not dwell.
Cam, this is not worth oone leke;
thy tend shuld bren withoutten smeke.
Com kys the dwill right in the ars,
for the it brens bot the wars;
I wold that it were in thi throte,
ffyr, & shefe, and ich a sprote.
Cam, whi art thou so rebell
Agans thi brother abell?
Thar thou nowther flyte ne chyde,
if thou tend right thou gettis thi mede;
And be thou sekir, if thou teynd fals,
thou bese alowed ther after als.
Whi, who is that hob-ouer-the-wall?
we! who was that that piped so small?
Com go we hens, for perels all;
God is out of hys wit.
Com furth, abell, & let vs weynd;
Me thynk that god is not my freynd,
on land then will I flyt.
A, Caym, brother, that is ill done.
No, bot go we hens sone; Page 18
And if I may, I shall be
ther as god shall not me see.
Dere brother, I will fayre
on feld ther oure bestis ar,
To looke if thay be holgh or full.
Na, na, abide, we haue a craw to pull;
Hark, speke with me or thou go;
what! wenys thou to skape so?
we! na! I aght the a fowll dispyte,
and now is tyme that I hit qwite.
Brother, whi art thou so to me in Ire?
we! theyf, whi brend thi tend so shyre?
Ther myne did bot smoked
right as it wold vs both haue choked.
Godis will I trow it were
that myn brened so clere;
If thyne smoked am I to wite?
we! yei! that shal thou sore abite;
with cheke bon, or that I blyn,
shal I the & thi life twyn;
So lig down ther and take thi rest,
thus shall shrewes be chastysed best.
Veniance, veniance, lord, I cry!
for I am slayn, & not gilty.
Yei, ly ther old shrew, ly ther, ly!
And if any of you thynk I did amys
I shal it amend wars then it is,
that all men may it se:
well wars then it is
right so shall it be.
Bot now, syn he is Broght on Slepe,
Into Som hole fayn wold I crepe;
ffor ferd I qwake and can no rede,
ffor be I taken, I be bot dede; Page 19
here will I lig thise fourty dayes,
And I shrew hym that me fyrst rayse.
who is that that callis me?
I am yonder, may thou not se?
Caym, where is thi brother abell?
what askis thou me? I trow at hell:
At hell I trow he be-
who so were ther then myght he se-
Or somwhere fallen on slepyng;
when was he in my kepyng?
Caym, Caym, thou was wode;
The voyce of thi brotheris blode
That thou has slayn, on fals wise,
from erth to heuen venyance cryse.
And, for thou has broght thi brother downe,
here I gif the my malison.
Yei, dele aboute the, for I will none,
or take it the when I am gone.
Syn I haue done so mekill syn,
that I may not thi mercy wyn,
And thou thus dos me from thi grace,
I shall hyde me fro thi face;
And where so any man may fynd me,
Let hym slo me hardely;
And where so any man may me meyte,
Ayther bi sty, or yit bi strete;
And hardely, when I am dede,
bery me in gudeboure at the quarell hede,
ffor, may I pas this place in quarte,
bi all men set I not a fart.
Nay, caym, it bese not so;
I will that no man other slo,
ffor he that sloys yong or old
It shall be punyshid sevenfold,.
No force, I wote wheder I shall;
In hell I wote mon be my stall.
It is no boyte mercy to craue,
ffor if I do I mon none haue; Page 20
Bot this cors I wold were hid,
ffor som man myght com at vngayn,
`ffle fals shrew,' wold he bid,
And weyn I had my brother slayn.
Bot were pike-harnes, my knafe, here,
we shuld bery hym both in fere.
How, pyke-harnes, scape-thryft! how, pike-harnes, how!
harstow, boy? ther is a podyng in the pot;
take the that, boy, tak the that!
I shrew thi ball vnder thi hode,
If thou were my syre of flesh & blode;
All the day to ryn and trott,
And euer amang thou strykeand,
Thus am I comen bofettis to fott.
Peas, man, I did it bot to vse my hand;
Bot Harke, boy, I haue a counsell to the to Say-
I slogh my brother this same day;
I pray the, good boy, and thou may,
to ryn away with the bayn.
We! out apon the, thefe!
has thou thi brother slayn?
Peasse, man, for godis payn!
I saide it for a skaunce.
Yey, bot for ferde of grevance
here I the forsake;
we mon haue a mekill myschaunce
and the bayles vs take.
A, sir, I cry you mercy; seasse!
and I shall make you a releasse.
what, wilt thou cry my peasse
thrughout this land,?
Yey, that I gif god a vow, belife.
how will thou do long or thou thrife?
Stand vp, my good boy, belife,
and thaym peasse both man & [w]ife; Page 21
And who so will do after me
ffull slape of thrift then shal he be.
Bot thou must be my good boy,
and cry oyes, oyes, oy!
Browes, browes, to thi boy.
I commaund, you in the kyngis nayme,
And in my masteres, fals Cayme,
That no man at thame fynd fawt ne blame.
Yey, cold rost is at my masteres hame.
Nowther with hym nor with his knafe,
What, I hope my master rafe.
ffor thay ar trew, full many fold,;
My master suppys no coyle bot cold,.
The kyng wrytis you vntill.
Yit ete I neuer half my fill.
The kyng will that thay be safe,
Yey, a draght of drynke fayne wold I hayfe.
At thare awne will let tham wafe;
My stomak is redy to receyfe.
Loke no man say to theym, on nor other;
This same is he that slo his brother.
Byd euery man thaym luf and lowt,
Yey, ill spon weft ay comes foule out.
long or thou get thi hoyse and thou go thus aboute.
Byd euery man theym pleasse to pay.
Yey, gif don, thyne hors, a wisp of hay.
we! com downe in twenty dwill way,
The dwill I the betake;
ffor bot it were abell, my brothere,
yit knew I neuer thi make. Page 22
Now old and yong, or that ye weynd,
The same blissyng withoutten end,,
All sam then' shall ye haue,
That god of heuen my master has giffen;
Browke it well, whils that ye liffen,
he vowche it full well safe.
Com downe yit in the dwillis way,
And angre me no more;
And take yond plogh, I say,
And weynd the furth fast before;
And I shall, if I may,
Tech the another lore;
I warn the lad, for ay,
ffro now furth, euermore,
That thou greue me noght;
ffor, bi Godis sydis, if thou do,
I shall hang the apon this plo,
with this rope, lo, lad, lo!
By hym that me dere boght.
Now fayre well, felows all,
ffor I must nedis weynd,
And to the dwill be thrall,
warld, withoutten end,.
Ordand ther is my stall,
with sathanas the feynd,
Euer ill myght hym befall
that theder me commend,,
ffare well les, & fare well more,
ffor now and euer more,
I will go me to hyde.