The Towneley plays

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Title
The Towneley plays
Author
Anonymous
Publication
London ; New York: Published for the Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press
[1966]
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Oxford Text Archive number: U-1397-B

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http://name.umdl.umich.edu/Towneley
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"The Towneley plays." In the digital collection Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse. https://name.umdl.umich.edu/Towneley. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed June 13, 2024.

Pages

The Killing of Abel

Garcio
All hayll, all hayll, both blithe and glad, Line 1 ffor here com I, a mery lad; Line 2 be peasse youre dyn, my master bad, Line 3 Or els the dwill you spede. Line 4 Wote ye not I com before? Line 5 Bot who that Ianglis any more Line 6 He must blaw my blak hoill bore', Line 7 both behynd, and before, Line 8 Till his tethe blede. Line 9 ffelows, here I you forbede Line 10 To make nother nose ne cry; Line 11 Who so is so hardy to do that dede Line 12 The dwill hang hym vp to dry. Line 13

Page 10

Line 13 Gedlyngis, I am a fulle grete wat, Line 14 A good yoman my master hat, Line 15 ffull well ye all hym ken; Line 16 Begyn he with you for to stryfe, Line 17 certis, then mon ye neuer thryfe; Line 18 Bot I trow, bi god on life, Line 19 Som of you ar his men. Line 20 Bot let youre lippis couer youre ten, Line 21 harlottis, euerichon! Line 22 ffor if my master com, welcom hym then. Line 23 ffarewell, for I am gone. Line 24
Cain
Io furth, greyn-horne! and war oute, gryme! Line 25 Drawes on! god gif you ill to tyme! Line 26 Ye stand as ye were fallen in swyme; Line 27 What! will ye no forther, mare? Line 28 War! let me se how down will draw; Line 29 Yit, shrew, yit, pull on a thraw! Line 30 What! it semys for me ye stand none aw! Line 31 I say, donnyng, go fare! Line 32 A, ha! god gif the soro & care! Line 33 lo! now hard she what I saide; Line 34 now yit art thou the warst mare Line 35 In plogh that euer I haide. Line 36 How! pike-harnes, how! com heder belife! Line 37
Garcio
I fend, godis forbot, that euer thou thrife! Line 38
Cain
What, boy, shal I both hold and drife? Line 39 heris thou not how I cry? Line 40
Garcio
Say, mall and stott, will ye not go? Line 41 Lemyng, morell, white-horne, Io! Line 42 now will ye not se how thay hy? Line 43
Cain
Gog gif the sorow, boy; want of mete it gars. Line 44
Garcio
thare prouand, sir, for thi, I lay behynd thare ars, Line 45 And tyes them fast bi the nekis, Line 46 With many stanys in thare hekis. Line 47
Cain
That shall bi thi fals chekis. Line 48

Page 11

Garcio
And haue agane as right. Line 49
Cain
I am thi master, wilt thou fight? Line 50
Garcio
Yai, with the same mesure and weght Line 51 That I boro will I qwite. Line 52
Cain
We! now, no thyng, bot call on tyte, Line 53 that we had ployde this land. Line 54 harrer, morell, iofurth, hyte! Line 55 and let the plogh stand. Line 56
Abel
God, as he both may and can, Line 57 Spede the, brother, & thi man. Line 58
Cain
Com kis myne ars, me list not ban, Line 59 As welcom standis ther oute. Line 60 Thou shuld haue bide til thou were cald; Line 61 Com nar, & other drife or hald, Line 62 and kys the dwillis toute. Line 63 Go grese thi shepe vnder the toute, Line 64 ffor that is the moste lefe. Line 65
Abel
broder, ther is none here aboute Line 66 that wold the any grefe; Line 67 bot, leif brother, here my sawe- Line 68 It is the custom of oure law, Line 69 All that wyrk as the wise Line 70 shall worship god with sacrifice. Line 71 Oure fader vs bad, oure fader vs kend, Line 72 that oure tend shuld be brend. Line 73 Com furth, brothere, and let vs gang Line 74 To worship god; we dwell full lang; Line 75 Gif we hym parte of oure fee, Line 76 Corne or catall, wheder it be. Line 77 And therfor, brother, let vs weynd, Line 78 And first clens vs from the feynd Line 79 or we make sacrifice; Line 80 Then blis withoutten end Line 81 get we for oure seruyce, Line 82

Page 12

Line 82 Of hym that is oure saulis leche. Line 83
Cain
How! let furth youre geyse, the fox will preche; Line 84 How long wilt thou me appech Line 85 With thi sermonyng? Line 86 Hold thi tong, yit I say, Line 87 Euen ther the good wife strokid the hay; Line 88 Or sit downe in the dwill way, Line 89 With thi vayn carpyng. Line 90 Shuld I leife my plogh & all thyng Line 91 And go with the to make offeryng? Line 92 Nay! thou fyndys me not so mad! Line 93 Go to the dwill, and say I bad! Line 94 What gifys god the to rose hym so? Line 95 me gifys he noght bot soro and wo. Line 96
Abel
Caym, leife this vayn carpyng, Line 97 ffor god giffys the all thi lifyng. Line 98
Cain
Yit boroed I neuer a farthyng Line 99 of hym, here my hend. Line 100
Abel
Brother, as elders haue vs kend, Line 101 ffirst shuld, we tend with oure hend,, Line 102 and to his lofyng sithen be brend. Line 103
Cain
My farthyng is in the preest hand Line 104 syn last tyme I offyrd. Line 105
Abel
leif brother, let vs be walkand; Line 106 I wold oure tend were profyrd. Line 107
Cain
We! wherof shuld I tend, leif brothere? Line 108 ffor I am ich yere wars then othere, Line 109 here my trouth it is none othere; Line 110 My wynnyngis ar bot meyn, Line 111 No wonder if that I be leyn; Line 112 ffull long till hym I may me meyn, Line 113 ffor bi hym that me dere boght, Line 114 I traw that he will leyn me noght. Line 115

Page 13

Abel
Yis, all the good thou has in wone Line 116 Of godis grace is bot a lone. Line 117
Cain
Lenys he me, as come thrift apon the so? Line 118 ffor he has euer yit beyn my fo; Line 119 ffor had he my freynd, beyn, Line 120 Other gatis it had beyn seyn. Line 121 When all mens corn was fayre in feld, Line 122 Then was myne not worth a neld; Line 123 When I shuld saw, & wantyd seyde, Line 124 And of corn had full grete neyde, Line 125 Then gaf he me none of his, Line 126 No more will I gif hym of this. Line 127 hardely hold me to blame Line 128 bot if I serue hym of the same. Line 129
Abel
Leif brother, say not so, Line 130 bot let vs furth togeder go; Line 131 Good brother, let vs weynd sone, Line 132 no longer here I rede we hone. Line 133
Cain
Yei, yei, thou Iangyls waste; Line 134 the dwill me spede if I haue hast, Line 135 As long as I may lif, Line 136 to dele my good or gif Line 137 Ather to god or yit to man, Line 138 of any good that euer I wan; Line 139 ffor had I giffen away my goode, Line 140 then myght I go with a ryffen hood, Line 141 And it is better hold that I haue Line 142 then go from doore to doore & craue. Line 143
Abel
Brother, com furth, in godis name, Line 144 I am full ferd, that we get blame; Line 145 Hy we fast that we were thore. Line 146
Cain
We! ryn on, in the dwills nayme Before! Line 147 Wemay, man, I hold the mad! Line 148 wenys thou now that I list gad Line 149 To gif away my warldis aght? Line 150 the dwill hym spede that me so taght! Line 151 what nede had I my trauell to lose, Line 152 to were my shoyn & ryfe my hose? Line 153

Page 14

Abel
Dere brother, hit were grete wonder Line 154 that I & thou shuld go in sonder, Line 155 Then wold oure fader haue grete ferly; Line 156 Ar we not brether, thou & I? Line 157
Cain
No, bot cry on, cry, whyls the thynk good; Line 158 Here my trowth, I hold the woode; Line 159 Wheder that he be blithe or wroth Line 160 to dele my good is me full lothe. Line 161 I haue gone oft on softer wise Line 162 ther I trowed som prow wold rise. Line 163 Bot well I se go must I nede; Line 164 now weynd before, ill myght thou spede! Line 165 syn that we shall algatis go. Line 166
Abel
leif brother, whi sais thou so? Line 167 Bot go we furth both togeder; Line 168 blissid, be god we haue fare weder. Line 169
Cain
lay downe thi trussell apon this hill. Line 170
Abel
fforsoth broder, so I will: Line 171 Gog of heuen, take it to good,. Line 172
Cain
Thou shall tend first if thou were wood. Line 173
Abel
God that shope both erth and heuen, Line 174 I pray to the thou here my steven, Line 175 And take in thank, if thi will be, Line 176 the tend that I offre here to the; Line 177 ffor I gif it in good entent Line 178 to the, my lord, that all has sent. Line 179 I bren it now, with stedfast thoght, Line 180 In worship of hym that all has wroght. Line 181
Cain
Ryse! let me now, syn thou has done; Line 182 lord of heuen, thou here my boyne! Line 183 And ouer, godis forbot, be to the Line 184 thank or thew to kun me; Line 185 ffor, as browke I thise two shankys, Line 186 It is full sore, myne vnthankys, Line 187 The teynd that I here gif to the, Line 188 of corn, or thyng, that newys me; Line 189 Bot now begyn will I then, Line 190 syn I must nede my tend to bren. Line 191 Oone shefe, oone, and this makys two, Line 192 bot nawder of thise may I forgo: Line 193

Page 15

Line 193 Two, two, now this is thre, Line 194 yei, this also shall leif with me: Line 195 ffor I will chose and best haue, Line 196 this hold I thrift of all this thrafe; Line 197 Wemo, wemo, foure, lo, here! Line 198 better groved, me no this yere. Line 199 At yere tyme I sew fayre corn, Line 200 yit was it sich when it was shorne, Line 201 Thystyls & brerys, yei grete plente, Line 202 And all kyn wedis that myght be. Line 203 ffoure shefis, foure, lo, this makis fyfe- Line 204 deyll I fast thus long or I thrife- Line 205 ffyfe and sex, now this is sevyn, Line 206 bot this gettis neuer god of heuen; Line 207 Nor none of thise foure, at my myght, Line 208 shall neuer com in godis sight. Line 209 Sevyn, sevyn, now this is aght, Line 210
Abel
Cain, brother, thou art not god betaght. Line 211
Cain
We! therfor is it that I say, Line 212 ffor I will not deyle my good away: Line 213 Bot had I gyffen hym this to teynd Line 214 Then wold thou say he were my Freynd; Line 215 Bot I thynk not, bi my hode, Line 216 To departe so lightly fro my goode. Line 217 we! aght, aght, & neyn, & ten is this, Line 218 we! this may we best mys. Line 219 Gif hym that that ligis thore? Line 220 It goyse agans myn hart full sore. Line 221
Abel
Cam! teynd right of all bedeyn. Line 222
Cain
we! lo twelve, fyfteyn, sexteyn Line 223
Abel
Caym, thou tendis wrang, and of the warst. Line 224
Cain
we! com nar, and hide myne een; Line 225 In the wenyand wist ye now at last, Line 226 Or els will thou that I wynk? Line 227 then shall I doy no wrong, me thynk. Line 228 let me se now how it is- Line 229 lo, yit I hold me paide; Line 230 I teyndyd wonder well bi ges, Line 231 And so euen I laide. Line 232

Page 16

Abel
Came, of god me thynke thou has no drede. Line 233
Cain
Now and he get more, the dwill me spede! Line 234 As mych as oone reepe, Line 235 ffor that cam hym full light chepe; Line 236 Not as mekill, grete ne small, Line 237 as he myght wipe his ars with all. Line 238 ffor that, and this that lyys here, Line 239 haue cost me full dere; Line 240 Or it was shorne, and broght in stak, Line 241 had I many a wery bak; Line 242 Therfor aske me no more of this, Line 243 ffor I haue giffen that my will is. Line 244
Abel
Cam, I rede thou tend right Line 245 ffor drede of hym that sittis on hight. Line 246
Cain
How that I tend, rek the neuer a deill, Line 247 bot tend thi skabbid shepe wele; Line 248 ffor if thou to my teynd tent take, Line 249 It bese the wars for thi sake. Line 250 Thou wold I gaf hym this shefe, or this sheyfe; Line 251 na, nawder of thise [two] wil I leife; Line 252 Bot take this, now has he two, Line 253 and for my saull now mot it go, Line 254 Bot it gos sore agans my will, Line 255 and shal he like full ill. Line 256
Abel
Cam, I reyde thou so teynd Line 257 that god of heuen be thi freynd. Line 258
Cain
My freynd? na, not bot if he will! Line 259 I did hym neuer yit bot skill. Line 260 If he be neuer so my fo, Line 261 I am avisid, gif hym no mo; Line 262 Bot chaunge thi conscience, as I do myn, Line 263 yit teynd thou not thi mesel swyne? Line 264
Abel
If thou teynd right thou mon it fynde. Line 265
Cain
Yei, kys the dwills ars behynde; Line 266 The dwill hang the bi the nek! Line 267 how that I teynd, neuer thou rek. Line 268 Will thou not yit hold thi peasse? Line 269 of this Ianglyng I reyde thou seasse. Line 270 And teynd I well, or tend I ill, Line 271 bere the euen & speke bot skill. Line 272

Page 17

Line 272 Bot now syn thou has teyndid thyne, Line 273 Now will I set fyr on myne. Line 274 We! out! haro! help to blaw! Line 275 It will not bren for me, I traw; Line 276 Puf! this smoke dos me mych shame- Line 277 now bren, in the dwillys name! Line 278 A! what dwill of hell is it? Line 279 Almost had myne breth beyn dit. Line 280 had I blawen oone blast more Line 281 I had beyn choked right thore; Line 282 It stank like the dwill in hell, Line 283 that longer ther myght I not dwell. Line 284
Abel
Cam, this is not worth oone leke; Line 285 thy tend shuld bren withoutten smeke. Line 286
Cain
Com kys the dwill right in the ars, Line 287 for the it brens bot the wars; Line 288 I wold that it were in thi throte, Line 289 ffyr, & shefe, and ich a sprote. Line 290
God
Cam, whi art thou so rebell Line 291 Agans thi brother abell? Line 292 Thar thou nowther flyte ne chyde, Line 293 if thou tend right thou gettis thi mede; Line 294 And be thou sekir, if thou teynd fals, Line 295 thou bese alowed ther after als. Line 296
Cain
Whi, who is that hob-ouer-the-wall? Line 297 we! who was that that piped so small? Line 298 Com go we hens, for perels all; Line 299 God is out of hys wit. Line 300 Com furth, abell, & let vs weynd; Line 301 Me thynk that god is not my freynd, Line 302 on land then will I flyt. Line 303
Abel
A, Caym, brother, that is ill done. Line 304
Cain
No, bot go we hens sone; Line 305

Page 18

Line 305 And if I may, I shall be Line 306 ther as god shall not me see. Line 307
Abel
Dere brother, I will fayre Line 308 on feld ther oure bestis ar, Line 309 To looke if thay be holgh or full. Line 310
Cain
Na, na, abide, we haue a craw to pull; Line 311 Hark, speke with me or thou go; Line 312 what! wenys thou to skape so? Line 313 we! na! I aght the a fowll dispyte, Line 314 and now is tyme that I hit qwite. Line 315
Abel
Brother, whi art thou so to me in Ire? Line 316
Cain
we! theyf, whi brend thi tend so shyre? Line 317 Ther myne did bot smoked Line 318 right as it wold vs both haue choked. Line 319
Abel
Godis will I trow it were Line 320 that myn brened so clere; Line 321 If thyne smoked am I to wite? Line 322
Cain
we! yei! that shal thou sore abite; Line 323 with cheke bon, or that I blyn, Line 324 shal I the & thi life twyn; Line 325 So lig down ther and take thi rest, Line 326 thus shall shrewes be chastysed best. Line 327
Abel
Veniance, veniance, lord, I cry! Line 328 for I am slayn, & not gilty. Line 329
Cain
Yei, ly ther old shrew, ly ther, ly! Line 330 And if any of you thynk I did amys Line 331 I shal it amend wars then it is, Line 332 that all men may it se: Line 333 well wars then it is Line 334 right so shall it be. Line 335 Bot now, syn he is Broght on Slepe, Line 336 Into Som hole fayn wold I crepe; Line 337 ffor ferd I qwake and can no rede, Line 338 ffor be I taken, I be bot dede; Line 339

Page 19

Line 339 here will I lig thise fourty dayes, Line 340 And I shrew hym that me fyrst rayse. Line 341
God
Caym, Caym! Line 342
Cain
who is that that callis me? I am yonder, may thou not se? Line 343
God
Caym, where is thi brother abell? Line 344
Cain
what askis thou me? I trow at hell: Line 345 At hell I trow he be- Line 346 who so were ther then myght he se- Line 347 Or somwhere fallen on slepyng; Line 348 when was he in my kepyng? Line 349
God
Caym, Caym, thou was wode; Line 350 The voyce of thi brotheris blode Line 351 That thou has slayn, on fals wise, Line 352 from erth to heuen venyance cryse. Line 353 And, for thou has broght thi brother downe, Line 354 here I gif the my malison. Line 355
Cain
Yei, dele aboute the, for I will none, Line 356 or take it the when I am gone. Line 357 Syn I haue done so mekill syn, Line 358 that I may not thi mercy wyn, Line 359 And thou thus dos me from thi grace, Line 360 I shall hyde me fro thi face; Line 361 And where so any man may fynd me, Line 362 Let hym slo me hardely; Line 363 And where so any man may me meyte, Line 364 Ayther bi sty, or yit bi strete; Line 365 And hardely, when I am dede, Line 366 bery me in gudeboure at the quarell hede, Line 367 ffor, may I pas this place in quarte, Line 368 bi all men set I not a fart. Line 369
God
Nay, caym, it bese not so; Line 370 I will that no man other slo, Line 371 ffor he that sloys yong or old Line 372 It shall be punyshid sevenfold,. Line 373
Cain
No force, I wote wheder I shall; Line 374 In hell I wote mon be my stall. Line 375 It is no boyte mercy to craue, Line 376 ffor if I do I mon none haue; Line 377

Page 20

Line 377 Bot this cors I wold were hid, Line 378 ffor som man myght com at vngayn, Line 379 `ffle fals shrew,' wold he bid, Line 380 And weyn I had my brother slayn. Line 381 Bot were pike-harnes, my knafe, here, Line 382 we shuld bery hym both in fere. Line 383 How, pyke-harnes, scape-thryft! how, pike-harnes, how! Line 384
Garcio
Master, master! Line 385
Cain
harstow, boy? ther is a podyng in the pot; Line 386 take the that, boy, tak the that! Line 387
Garcio
I shrew thi ball vnder thi hode, Line 388 If thou were my syre of flesh & blode; Line 389 All the day to ryn and trott, Line 390 And euer amang thou strykeand, Line 391 Thus am I comen bofettis to fott. Line 392
Cain
Peas, man, I did it bot to vse my hand; Line 393 Bot Harke, boy, I haue a counsell to the to Say- Line 394 I slogh my brother this same day; Line 395 I pray the, good boy, and thou may, Line 396 to ryn away with the bayn. Line 397
Garcio
We! out apon the, thefe! Line 398 has thou thi brother slayn? Line 399
Cain
Peasse, man, for godis payn! Line 400 I saide it for a skaunce. Line 401
Garcio
Yey, bot for ferde of grevance Line 402 here I the forsake; Line 403 we mon haue a mekill myschaunce Line 404 and the bayles vs take. Line 405
Cain
A, sir, I cry you mercy; seasse! Line 406 and I shall make you a releasse. Line 407
Garcio
what, wilt thou cry my peasse Line 408 thrughout this land,? Line 409
Cain
Yey, that I gif god a vow, belife.
Garcio
how will thou do long or thou thrife? Line 410
Cain
Stand vp, my good boy, belife, Line 411 and thaym peasse both man & [w]ife; Line 412

Page 21

Line 412 And who so will do after me Line 413 ffull slape of thrift then shal he be. Line 414 Bot thou must be my good boy, Line 415 and cry oyes, oyes, oy! Line 416
Garcio
Browes, browes, to thi boy. Line 417
Cain
I commaund, you in the kyngis nayme, Line 418
Garcio
And in my masteres, fals Cayme, Line 419
Cain
That no man at thame fynd fawt ne blame. Line 420
Garcio
Yey, cold rost is at my masteres hame. Line 421
Cain
Nowther with hym nor with his knafe, Line 422
Garcio
What, I hope my master rafe. Line 423
Cain
ffor thay ar trew, full many fold,; Line 424
Garcio
My master suppys no coyle bot cold,. Line 425
Cain
The kyng wrytis you vntill. Line 426
Garcio
Yit ete I neuer half my fill. Line 427
Cain
The kyng will that thay be safe, Line 428
Garcio
Yey, a draght of drynke fayne wold I hayfe. Line 429
Cain
At thare awne will let tham wafe; Line 430
Garcio
My stomak is redy to receyfe. Line 431
Cain
Loke no man say to theym, on nor other; Line 432
Garcio
This same is he that slo his brother. Line 433
Cain
Byd euery man thaym luf and lowt, Line 434
Garcio
Yey, ill spon weft ay comes foule out. Line 435
Cain
long or thou get thi hoyse and thou go thus aboute. Line 436 Byd euery man theym pleasse to pay. Line 437
Garcio
Yey, gif don, thyne hors, a wisp of hay. Line 438
Cain
we! com downe in twenty dwill way, Line 439 The dwill I the betake; Line 440 ffor bot it were abell, my brothere, Line 441 yit knew I neuer thi make. Line 442

Page 22

Line 442
Garcio
Now old and yong, or that ye weynd, Line 443 The same blissyng withoutten end,, Line 444 All sam then' shall ye haue, Line 445 That god of heuen my master has giffen; Line 446 Browke it well, whils that ye liffen, Line 447 he vowche it full well safe. Line 448
Cain
Com downe yit in the dwillis way, Line 449 And angre me no more; Line 450 And take yond plogh, I say, Line 451 And weynd the furth fast before; Line 452 And I shall, if I may, Line 453 Tech the another lore; Line 454 I warn the lad, for ay, Line 455 ffro now furth, euermore, Line 456 That thou greue me noght; Line 457 ffor, bi Godis sydis, if thou do, Line 458 I shall hang the apon this plo, Line 459 with this rope, lo, lad, lo! Line 460 By hym that me dere boght. Line 461 Now fayre well, felows all, Line 462 ffor I must nedis weynd, Line 463 And to the dwill be thrall, Line 464 warld, withoutten end,. Line 465 Ordand ther is my stall, Line 466 with sathanas the feynd, Line 467 Euer ill myght hym befall Line 468 that theder me commend,, Line 469 This tyde. Line 470 ffare well les, & fare well more, Line 471 ffor now and euer more, Line 472 I will go me to hyde. Line 473
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