The York plays
Lordingis, listenys nowe vnto me:
I comaunde yoou in ilke degré
Als domesman chiffe in this contré,
For counsaill kende,
Atte my bidding yoou awe to be
And baynly bende.
And sir Cayphas, chiffe of clergye,
Of youre counsaill late here in hye.
By youre assente sen we dyd dye
Jhesus this day,
THat yoe mayntayne, and stande therby
THat werke allway.
YOis sir, that dede schall we mayntayne,
By lawe it was done all bedene,
YOe wotte youreselue withouten wene
Als wele as we.
His sawes are nowe vppon hym sene
And ay schall be.
THe pepull, sir, in this same steede,
Before yoou saide with a hole-hede
THat he was worthy to be dede,
And therto sware.
Sen all was rewlid by rightis rede
Nevyn it no more.
To neuyn methinketh it nedfull thyng.
Sen he was hadde to beriyng
Herde we nowthir of olde ne yoing
Centurio, sir, will bringe thiding
Of all bedene. Page 345
We lefte hym there for man moste wise,
If any rebelles wolde ought rise
Oure rightwise dome for to dispise
Or it offende,
To sese thame till the nexte assise
And than make ende.
A, blissid lorde Adonay,
What may thes meruayles signifie
THat her was schewed so oppinly
Vnto oure sight,
THis day whanne that the man gune dye
THat Jesus highte?
Itt is a misty thyng to mene,
So selcouth a sight was neuere sene,
THat oure princes and prestis bedene
Of this affray
I woll go weten withouten wene,
What thei can saye.
God saue yoou sirs on ilke a side,
Worschippe and welthe in worldis wide;
With mekill mirthe myght yoe abide
Both day and nyght.
Centurio, welcome this tide,
Oure comely knyght.
YOe haue bene miste vs here among.
God giffe you grace grathely to gang.
Centurio, oure frende full lang,
What is your will?
I drede me that yoe haue done wrang
And wondir ill.
Wondir ill? I pray the, why?
Declare it to this company.
So schall I sirs telle yoou trewly
THe rightwise mane thanne mene I by
THat yoe haue slayne.
Centurio, sesse of such sawe,
THou arte a lered man in the lawe,
And if we schulde any witnes drawe
Vs to excuse,
To mayntayne vs euermore the awe,
And noyot reffuse. Page 346
To mayntayne trouthe is wele worthi.
I saide yoou whanne I sawe hym dy
THat he was Goddis sone almyghty
THat hangeth thore;
YOitt saie I soo, and stande therby
YOa sir, such reasouns may yoe rewe.
YOe schulde noght neueyn such note enewe
But yoe couthe any tokenyngis trewe
Vnto vs tell.
Such woundirfull cas neuere yoitt yoe knewe
As now befell.
We praye the telle vs of what thyng.
All elementis, both olde and yoing,
In ther maneres thai made mornyng
In ilke a stede,
And knewe be countenaunce that ther kyng
Was done to dede.
THe sonne for woo he waxed all wanne,
THe mone and sterres of schynyng blanne,
THe erthe tremeled and also manne
Began to speke;
THe stones that neuer was stered or thanne
Gune asondir breke,
And dede men rose, both grete and small.
Centurio, beware withall,
YOe wote oure clerkis the clipsis thei call
Such sodayne sight.
Both sonne and mone that sesoune schall
Lak of ther light.
YOa, and if dede men rose bodily
THat myght be done thurgh socery,
THerfore we sette nothyng therby
To be abaiste.
All that I tell for trewthe schall I
In this ilke werke that yoe did wirke
Nought allone the sonne was mirke, Page 347
But howe youre vaile raffe in youre kirke,
That witte I wolde.
Swilke tales full sone will make vs irke
And thei be talde.
Centurio, such speche withdrawe,
Of all thes wordes we haue none awe.
Nowe sen yoe sette noght be my sawe
Sirs, haue gode day.
God graunte you grace that yoe may knawe
THe soth alway.
Withdrawe the faste sen thou the dredis,
For we schall wele mayntayne oure dedis.
Such wondir reasouns as he redis
Was neuere beforne.
To neven this noote no more vs nedis,
Nowthere even ne morne.
THerfore loke no manne make ille chere,
All this doyng may do no dere.
But to beware yoitt of more were
THat folke may fele,
We praye you sirs, of thes sawes sere
Avise yoou wele.
And to this tale takes hede in hye,
For Jesu saide even opynly
A thyng that greues all this Jury,
And riyot so may:
THat he schulde rise vppe bodily
Within the thirde day.
And be it so, als motte I spede,
His lattar deede is more to drede
THan is the firste if we take hede
Or tente therto.
To neuyn this noote methynke moste nede
And beste to do.
YOa sir, if all that he saide soo,
He has no myght to rise and goo
But if his menne stele hym vs froo
And bere away.
THat were tille us and other moo
A foule fraye, Page 348
For thanne wolde thei saie euere-ilkone
THat he roose by hymselffe allone.
Therfore latte hym be kepte anone
With knyghtes hende,
Vnto thre daies be comen and gone
And broght till ende.
In certayne sirs right wele yoe saie,
For this ilke poynte nowe to purvaye
I schall ordayne if I may.
He schall not ryse,
Nor none schalle wynne hym thens away
On nokyns wise.
Sir knyghtis, that are in dedis dowty,
Chosen for chiffe of cheualrye,
As we ay in youre force affie
Bothe day and nyght,
Wendis and kepis Jesu body
With all youre myghte.
And for thyng that euere be maye
Kepis hym wele to the thirde day,
And latis no man take hym away
Oute of that stede-
For and thei do, suthly I saie
YOe schall be dede.
Lordingis, we saie yoou for certayne,
We schall kepe hym with myghtis and mayne.
THer schall no traitoures with no trayne
Stele hym vs froo.
Sir knyghtis, takis gere that moste may gayne
And lates vs goo.
YOis, certis, we are all redy bowne,
We schall hym kepe till oure rennowne,
On ilke a side latte vs sitte doune
Nowe all in fere,
And sone we schall crake his croune
Whoso comes here. Page 349
Allas, to dede I wolde be dight,
So woo in werke was neuere wight,
Mi sorowe is all for that sight
THat I gune see,
Howe Criste my maistir moste of myght
Is dede fro me.
Allas that I schulde se his pyne
Or yit that I his liffe schulde tyne,
Of ilke a myscheue he was medicyne
And bote of all,
Helpe and halde to ilke a hyne
THat on hym wolde call.
Allas, who schall my balis bete
Whanne I thynke on his woundes wete.
Jesu, that was of loue so swete
And neuere did ill,
Es dede and grauen vnder the grete,
Withowten skill the Jewes ilkone
THat louely lorde has newly slayne,
And trespasse did he neuere none
In nokyn steede.
To whome nowe schall I make my mone
Sen he is dede?
Sen he is dede my sisteres dere,
Wende we will on mylde manere
With oure anoynementis faire and clere
THat we haue broght,
To noynte his wondis on sides sere
THat Jewes hym wroght.
Goo we same my sisteres free,
Full faire vs longis his corse to see.
But I wotte noght howe beste may be,
Helpe haue we none.
And who schall nowe here of vs thre
Remove the stone? Page 350
THat do we noght but we wer moo,
For it is huge and heuy also.
Sisteris, a yoonge childe, as we goo
I see it sitte wher we wende to,
In white clothyng.
Sistirs, sertis it is noght to hide,
THe heuy stone is putte beside.
Sertis, for thyng that may betyde
Nere will we wende,
To layte that luffely and with hym bide
THat was oure frende.
YOe mournand women in youre thought,
Here in this place whome haue yoe sought?
Jesu, that to dede is brought,
Oure lorde so free.
Women, certayne here is he noght,
Come nere and see.
He is noght here the soth to saie,
THe place is voide that he in laye,
THe sudary here se yoe may
Was on hym laide.
He is resen and wente his way,
As he yoou saide.
Euen as he saide so done has hee,
He is resen thurgh grete poostee,
He schall be foune in Galilé
In flesshe and fell.
To his discipilis nowe wende yoe
And thus thame tell.
Mi sisteres dere, sen it is soo
THat he is resen dede thus froo,
As the aungell tolde me and yow too-
Oure lorde so fre-
Hens will I neuer goo
Or I hym see.
Marie, vs thare no lenger lende,
To Galilé nowe late vs wende. Page 351
Nought tille I see that faithfull frende
Mi lorde and leche,
THerfore all this my sisteres hende,
THat yoe forth preche.
As we haue herde so schall we saie.
Marie oure sistir, haue goode daye.
Nowe verray God as he wele maye-
Man most of myght-
He wisse you, sisteres, wele in youre waye
And rewle yoou right.
Allas, what schall nowe worthe on me.
Mi kaytiffe herte will breke in three
Whenne I thynke on that body free,
How it was spilte.
Both feete and handes nayled tille a tre,
Withouten gilte the trewe was tane,
For trespas did he neuere none,
THe woundes he suffered many one
Was for my misse.
It was my dede he was for slayne
And nothyng his.
How might I, but I loued that swete,
THat for my loue tholed woundes wete
And sithen be grauen vndir the grete,
Such kyndnes kithe?
THer is nothing to that we mete
May make me blithe.
What, oute allas, what schall I saie?
Where is the corse that herein laye?
What ayles the man? Is he awaye
THat we schulde tent?
Rise vppe and see.
Harrowe, for ay
I telle vs schente.
What deuill is this, what aylis yoou twoo,
Such noyse and crye thus for to make too?
Why is he gone? Page 352
Allas, whare is he that here laye?
Whe, harrowe! Deuill, whare is he away?
What, is he thus-gatis fro vs wente,
THat fals traitour that here was lente,
And we trewly here for to tente
Sekirlie, I telle vs schente
Allas, what schall we do this day,
THat thus this warlowe is wente his waye?
And sauely sirs I dare wele saie
He rose allone.
Witte sir Pilate of this affraye
We mon be slone.
Why, canne none of vs no bettir rede?
THer is not ellis but we be dede.
Whanne that he stered oute of this steede
None couthe it kenne.
Allas, harde happe was on my hede
Amonge all menne.
Fro sir Pilate witte of this dede,
THat we were slepande whanne he yoede,
He will forfette withouten drede
All that we haue.
Vs muste make lies, for that is nede,
Oureselue to saue.
YOa, that rede I wele, also motte I goo.
And I assente therto alsoo.
An hundereth schall I saie, and moo,
Come and toke his corse vs froo
And vs nere slayne.
Nay; certis I halde there none so goode
As saie the soth even as it stoode,
Howe that he rose with mayne and mode
And wente his way.
To sir Pilate if he be wode
THis dar I saie. Page 353
Why, dare thou to sir Pilate goo
With thes tydingis and saie hym soo?
So rede I; if he vs sloo
We dye but onys.
Nowe he that wrought vs all this woo
Woo worthe his bonys.
Go we thanne, sir knyghtis hende,
Sen that we schall to sir Pilate wende.
I trowe that we schall parte no frende
Or that we passe.
And I schall hym saie ilke worde tille ende,
Even as it was.
Sir Pilate, prince withouten pere,
Sir Cayphas and Anna in fere,
And all yoe lordyngis that are here
To neven by name,
God saue yoou all on sidis sere
Fro synne and schame.
YOe are welcome, oure knyghtis kene,
Of mekill mirthe nowe may yoe mene,
Therfore some tales telle vs betwene
Howe yoe haue wroght.
Oure wakyng, lorde, withouten wene,
Is worthed to noyot.
To noght? Allas, sesse of such sawe.
THe prophete Jesu that yoe wele knawe
Is resen and gone for all oure awe,
With mayne and myght.
THerfore the deuill hymselffe the drawe,
Fals recrayed knyght.
Combered cowardis I you call,
Haue yoe latten hym goo fro you all?
Sir, ther was none that did but small
When that he yoede.
We wer so ferde downe ganne we falle
And dared for drede.
Hadde yoe no strenghe hym to gaynestande?
Traitoures, yoe myght haue boune in bande Page 354
Bothe hym and thame that yoe ther fande,
And sessid thame sone.
THat dede all erthely men leuand
Myght noyot haue done.
We wer so radde euerilkone
Whanne that he putte beside the stone,
We wer so stonyed we durste stirre none,
And so abasshed.
What, rose he by hymselfe allone?
YOa sir, that be yoe traste.
We herde never sen we were borne,
Nor all oure faderes vs beforne,
Suche melodie mydday ne morne
As was made there.
Allas, thanne is oure lawes lorne
What tyme he rose goode tente I toke,
THe erthe that tyme tremylled and quoke,
All kyndely force than me forsoke
Tille he was gone.
I was aferde, I durste not loke
Ne myght had none,
I myght not stande, so was I starke.
Sir Cayphas, yoe are a connyng clerke:
If we amysse haue tane oure merke,
I trowe same faile-
THerfore what schalle worthe nowe of this werke?
Sais your counsaille.
To saie the beste forsothe I schall
That schall be prophete to vs all.
YOone knyghtis behoues there wordis agayne-call,
Howe he is miste.
We nolde for thyng that myght befall
THat no man wiste.
Now sir Pilate, sen that it is soo
THat he is resynne dede vs froo,
Comaundis youre knyghtis to saie wher thei goo
THat he was tane
With xxti ml. men and mo,
And thame nere slayne, Page 355
And therto of oure tresorie
Giffe to thame a rewarde forthy.
Nowe of this purpose wele plesed am I,
And forther thus:
Sir knyghtis that are in dedis dowty,
Takes tente to vs,
And herkenes what that yoe schall saie
To ilke a man both nyyot and daye,
That ten ml. men in goode araye
Come yoou vntill,
With forse of armys bare hym awaye
Agaynst your will.
Thus schall yoe saie in ilke a lande,
And therto on that same comenaunde
A thousande pounde haue in youre hande
To your rewarde-
And frenschippe sirs, yoe vndirstande,
Schall not be spared.
Ilkone youre state we schall amende,
And loke yoe saie as we yoou kende.
In what contré so yoe vs sende
Be nyght or daye,
Wherso we come wherso we wende
So schall we saie.
YOa, and whereso yoe tarie in ilke contré,
Of oure doyng in no degré
Dois that no manne the wiser be
Ne freyne beforne,
Ne of the sight that yoe gonne see
Nevynnes it nowthere even ne morne.
For we schall mayntayne yoou alwaye,
And to the pepull schall we saie
It is gretely agaynste oure lay
To trowe such thing.
So schall thei deme both nyght and day
All is lesyng.
Thus schall the sothe be bought and solde
And treasoune schall for trewthe be tolde,
THerfore ay in youre hartis yoe holde
THis counsaile clene.
And fares nowe wele both yonge and olde,
Haly bedene. Page 356