From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

The Chester Cycle Play V (5) - Mases and the Commandments

Incipit Pagina Quinta de Moyses et de lege sibi data.

001 DEUS (ad Moysen). Moyses, my servant leeffe and dere,
002 and all my people that bine here,
003 yee wotten in Egipte when yee weare
004 out of thraldome I you brought.
005 I will you have floe God but mee;
006 no false godes none make yee.
007 My name in vayne name not yee
008 for that liketh mee nought.

009 I wyll you hould your holy daye
010 and worshippe yt eke alwaye,
011 father and mother all that yee maye,
012 and slea noe man noewhere.

013 Fornication yee shall flee.
014 Noe meanes goodes steale yee,
015 nor in noe place lenge ne bee
016 false wytnes for to beare.

017 Your neighbours wyefe desyre you nought,
018 servante nee goodes that bee bath bought,
019 oxe nor asse, in deede nor thought,
020 nor nothinge that is his,
021 nor wrongefullye to have his thinge
022 agaynst his love and his likinge.
023 In all these keepe my byddinge,
024 that yee doe not amysse.

025 MOYSES. Good lorde that art ever soe good,
026 I will fulfill with mylde moode
027 thy commandementes, for I stood
028 to here thee nowe full styll.
029 Fortye dayes now fasted have I,
030 that I might bee the more worthye
031 to lerne this tokenn trulye.
032 Nowe wyll I worke thy will.

Tunc Moyses in monte dicat populo:

033 Good folke, dread yee nought.
034 To prove you with God bath this wrought.
035 Take theese wordes in your thought;
036 nowe knowne yee what ys sinne.
037 By this sight nowe yee may see
038 that bee is pearles of postee.
039 Therfore this token looke doe yee,
040 therof that yee ne blynne.

041 DOCTOR. Lordings, this commandement
042 was the firste lawe that ever God sent;
043 x poynctes there bine--takes intent--
044 that moste effecte ys in.
045 But all that storye for to fonge
046 to playe this moneth yt were to longe.
047 Therfore moste fruitefull ever amonge
048 shortly wee shall myn.

049 After, wee reden of this storye
050 that in this monte of Synaye
051 God gave the lawe witterlye
052 wrytten with his hand
053 in stonye tables, as reede I;
054 before, men honored mawmentrye.
055 Moyses brake them hastelye,
056 for that hee would not wond.

057 But after, played as yee shall see,
058 other tables owt carved hee
059 which God bade wrytten should bee,
060 the wordes bee sayde before.
061 The which tables [shryned] were
062 after, as God can Moyses leare;
063 and that [shryne] to him was deare
064 therafter evermore.

Here God appereth agayne to Moyses.

065 DEUS. Moyses, my servant, goe anon
066 and kerve owt of the rocke of stone
067 tables to wryte my byddinge upon,
068 such as thou had before.

069 And in the morninge looke thou hye
070 into the monte of Synaye.
071 Lett noe man wott but thow onlye,
072 of companye noe more.

073 MOYSES. Lord, thy byddinge shalbe donne
074 and tables kerved owt full soonne.
075 But tell mee--I praye thee this boone--
076 what wordes I shall wryte.

077 DEUS. Thou shalt wryte the same lore
078 that in the tables was before.
079 Hyt shalbe kepte for evermore,
080 for that is my delyte.

Tunc Moyses faciet signum quasi effoderet tabulas de monte et,
super ipsas scribens, dicat populo.

081 MOYSES. Godes folke of Israell,
082 herkens you all to my spell.
083 God bade ye should keepe well
084 this that I shall saye.
085 Syxe dayes bodely worke all;
086 the seaventh sabboath ye shall call.
087 That daye for ought that maye befall
088 hallowed shalbe aye.

089 Whoe doth not this, dye shall hee.
090 In howses forever shall noe man see
091 firste fruyctes--to God offer yee,
092 for soe himselfe beode;
093 purpur and [byse] both too
094 to him that shall save you from woo
095 and helpe you in your neede.

Tunc descendet de monte, et veniet rex Balaack equitando juxta montem et dicat.

096 BALAACK. I Balaack, kinge of Moab land,
097 all Israell and I had in hand,
098 I am soe wrath I would not wond
099 to slea them everye wight.
100 For there God helpes them so stowtly
101 of other landes to have mastery
102 that yt is boteles wytterly
103 agaynst them for to fight.

104 What natyon doth them anoy,
105 Moyses prayeth anon in hye;
106 then have the ever the victorye
107 and there cncmyes the worse.
108 Therfore, how I will wroken bee
109 I am bethought, as mote I thee:
110 Balaham shall come to mee,
111 that people for to curse.


112 Noe knife nor sworde maye not avayle
113 that ylke people to assayle.
114 That foundes to fight, hee shall fayle,
115 for sycker yt is noe boote.

Caste up.

116 All natyons they doe anoye,
117 and my folke commen for to distroye,
118 and oxe that graweth buselye
119 the grasse right to the roote.

120 Whosoever Balaham blesseth, iwys,
121 blessed that man sothlye is;
122 whosoever he cursys fareth amyse,
123 such name over all bath bee.

124 But yett I truste venged to bee
125 with dynte of sword or pollicye
126 on these false losells, leaves mee.
127 Leeve this withowten dowbte,
128 for to bee wroken is my desyre;
129 my heart brennys as whott as fyre
130 for vervent anger and for ire,
131 till this bee brought abowte.

'Surgite dei patriae et opitulamini nobis et in necessitate nos defendite.'

132 Therfore, my god and godes all,
133 O mightye Mars, one thee I call!
134 With all the powers infernall
135 ryse now and helpe at neede.
136 I am enformed by trewe reporte
137 how the mediators doeth resorte
138 to wynne my land to there comforte,
139 desended of Jacobs seede.

140 Now shewe your power, you godes mighty,
141 soe that these caytiffes I may destroye,
142 havinge of them full victorye,
143 and them brought to mischance.

144 Beate them downe in playne battell,
145 those false losells soe cruell,
146 that all the world may here tell
147 wee take on vengeance.

148 Owt of Egipte fled the bee
149 and passed through the Red Sea.
150 The Egiptians that them pursued trewlye
151 were drowned in that same fludd.
152 The have on God mickell of might
153 which them doeth ayde in wronge and right.
154 Whosoever with them foundeth to fight,
155 hee wynneth little good.

156 They have slayne--this wott I well--
157 through helpe of God of Israell
158 both Seon and Ogge, kinges so fell,
159 and playnly them distroye.
160 Thearefore ryse up, ye goodes eiche one!
161 Ye be a hundrethe godes for one.
162 I would be wroken them upon,
163 for all there pompe and pryde.

164 Therefore goe fetche hym, batchelere,
165 that he may curse these people heare.
166 For sycker on them in no manere
167 may we not wroken be.

Miles rex Balack loquitur:

168 Syr, on your errannde will I goon,
169 that yt shalbe donne anone.
170 And he shall wreake you on your fanne,
171 the peopell of Isarell.

172 REX BALACK. Yea, looke thou hett him gould great one
173 and landes for to live upon

174 to destroye them as bee cann,
175 these freekes that bine soe fell.

Tunc Miles regis Balack ibit ad Balaham et dicat:

176 Balaham, my lorde greetes well thee
177 and prayeth thee soone at him to bee,
178 to curse the people of Judee
179 that done him great anoye.

180 BALAHAM. Abyde a whyle there, batchelere,
181 for I may have noe power
182 but yf that Godes will were;
183 and that shall I wete in hye.

Tunc ibit Balaham ad consulendum dominum in oratione. Sedens dicat Deus:

184 Balaham, I commande thee
185 kinge Balackes byddinge for to flee.
186 That people that blessed is of mee
187 curse thou by noe waye.

188 BALAHAM. Lorde, I must doe thy byddinge
189 though yt to mee be unlikynge,
190 for therby mych wynninge
191 I might have had todaye.

192 DEUS. Yett though Balack bee my foe
193 thou shalt have leave thyther to goe.
194 But look that thou doe right soe
195 as I have thee taught.
196 BALAHAM. Lorde, yt shall be donne in hight.
197 This asse shall beare me aright.
198 Goe we together anon, syr knight,
199 for leave nowe have I caught.

Tunc Balaham et Miles equitabunt simul, et dicat

200 BALAHAM. Knight, by my lawe that I live one,
201 nowe have I leave for to gonne,
202 cursed they shalbe everyeychone
203 and I ought wynne maye.
204 Hould the hinge that hee beheight,
205 Godes hoste I sett at light.
206 Warryed the shalbe this night,
207 or that I wynd awaye.

208 MILES. Balaham, doe my lordes will
209 and of gould thou shalt have thy fill!
210 Spare thou nought that folke to spill,
211 and spume ther Godes speach.

212 BALAHAM. Frend, I have godes wonder fell;
213 both Ruffyn and Reynell
214 will worke right as I them tell.
215 Ther ys noe wyle to seeke.

Tunc Balaham ascendit super asinam et cum Milite equitabit;
et in obviam venit Angelus domini cum gladio extricto;
et asina videt ipsum et non Balaham, ad [terram] prostrata jacebit; et dicat

216 BALAHAM. Gooe forth, Burnell; goe forth, goe!
217 What the divell? My asse will not goe.
218 Served shee mee never soe,
219 what sarrowe soever yt is.
220 What the divell? Now shee is fallen downe.
221 But thou ryse and make thee bowne
222 and beare mee soone owt of this towne,
223 thow shalt abye iwys.

Tunc percutiet Balaham asinam suam.
Et hic oportet aliquis transformiari in speciem asinae;
et quando Balaham percutit, dicat asina:

224 Mayster, thow doest ill secerly,
225 soe good an asse as mee to nye.
226 Now hast thow beaten mee here thrye,
227 that bare the thus abowte.

228 BALAHAM. Burnell, whye begylest thow mee
229 when I have most neede to thee?

230 ASINA. That sight that before mee I see
231 maketh mee downe to lowte.

232 Am not I, mayster, thy owne asse
233 to beare thee whyther thow will passe,
234 and many winter readye was?
235 To smyte me hyt ys shame.
236 Thow wottest well, mayster, perdee,
237 that thow haddest never non like to mee,
238 ne never yett soe served I thee.
239 Now am I not to blame.

Tunc videns Balaham Angelum evaginatum gladium
habentem [adorans] ipsum dicat Balaham
(Balaham on his knees shall fall sodenly downe and speaketh to the Angell).

240 BALAHAM. A, lorde, to thee I make avowe
241 I had noc sight of thee or nowe.
242 Little wyste I that yt was thowe
243 that feared my asse soc.

244 ANGELUS. Why hast thow beaten thy asse, why?
245 Nowe am I commen thee to nye,
246 that changed thy purpose soe falsly
247 and nowe wouldest be my foe.

248 If this asse had not downe gonne,
249 I would have slayne thee here anon.

250 BALAHAM. Lord, have pittye mee upon,
251 for synned I have sore.
252 Lorde, ys yt thy will that I forth gonne?

253 ANGELUS. Yea, but looke thow doe that folke no woe
254 otherwaye then God bade thee doe
255 and sayde to thee before.

Tunc Balaham et Miles equitabunt simul
et in obviam veniet rex Balaack, et dicat rex

256 BALACK. Ah, wellcome, Balaham my frende,
257 for all my anger thow shalt ende
258 if that thy will bee to wende
259 and wreake mee one my foe.

260 BALAHAM. Nought may I speake, as I have wyn,
261 but as God putteth mee within
262 to forbye all the ende of my kyn.
263 Therfore, syr, me ys woe.

264 BALACK. Come forth, Balaham; come with mee.
265 For one this hill, soe mott I thee,
266 the folke of Israell shall thou see
267 and curse them, I thee praye.
268 Gould and silver and eke pearle
269 thou shalt have, great plentee,
270 to curse them that yt sonne may bee,
271 all that thou sayst todaye.

Tunc Balaack descendit de equo et Balaham de asina
et ascendent in montem, et dieat Balaack rex.

272 BALAACK. Lo, Balaham, now thow seest here
273 Godes people all in feare.
274 Cittye, castle, and ryvere--
275 looke now. How lykes thee?
276 Curse them now at my prayer
277 as thow wilt bee to mee full deare
278 and in my realme moste of powere
279 and greatest under mee.

Tunc Balaham versus austrem dicat.

280 BALAHAM. How may I curse here in this place
281 that people that God blessed hasse?
282 In them is both might and grace,
283 and that is ever well scene.
284 Wytnes may I none beare
285 agaynst God that them can were,
286 his people that noe man may dare
287 ne trowble with noe teene.

288 I saye this folke shall have there will,
289 that noe natyon shall them gryll;
290 the goodnes that they shall fulfyll
291 nombred may not bee.
292 Theire God shall them keepe and save
293 and other rcproffe shall they none wave;
294 but such death as they shall have
295 I pray God send to mee.

296 BALAACK. What the dyvell ayles thee, thow populart?
297 Thy speach is not worth a farte!
298 Doted I hope that thow arte,
299 for madly thou hast wrought.
300 I bade thee curse them everycheone
301 and thow blessest them blood and bone.
302 To this north syde thow shall gone,
303 for here thy deede is nought.

Tunc Balaack rex addueet Balaham ad borialem partem montis,
et dicat alta voce

304 BALAHAM. A, lord, that here is fayre wonninge:
305 halles, chambers great likinge,
306 valles, woodes, grasse growinge,
307 fayre yordes, and eke ryvere.

308 I wott well that God made all this,
309 his folke to lyve in joye and blys.
310 That eursys them, cursed bee is;
311 whoe blesseth them to God is deare.

312 BALAACK. Thow preachest, populard, as a pye;
313 the dyvell of hell thee destroye!
314 I bade thee curse my enimye;
315 therfore thow come mee to.
316 Now hast thow blessed them here thrye,
317 for the meanes mee to anoye.

318 BALAHAM. Syr hinge, I told thee ere soe thrye
319 I might none other doe.

Tunc Balaham vertit se ad orientalem in plagam montis,
et respiciens coelum spiritu prophetico dicit:
'Orietur stella ex Jacobb et exurget homo de Israell
et consurget omnes duces alienigenarum, et erit omnis terra possessio eius.'

320 BALAHAM. Now on thinge I will tell you all,
321 hereafter what shall befall:
322 a sterre of Jacobb springe shall,
323 a man of Israell,
324 that shall overcome and have in bond
325 all hinges and dukes of strange land;
326 and all this world have in his hand
327 as lord to dight and deale.

328 BALAACK. Goe wee hence; yt is noe boote
329 longer with this man to moote.
330 For God is both crop and roote,
331 and lorde of heaven and hell.
332 Now see I well noe man one lyve
333 agaynst him is able to stryve.
334 Therfore here, as mote I thrive,
335 I will noe longer dwell.

Here Balaham speaketh to Balaack: 'Abyde a while.'

336 BALAHAM. O, Balaack kinge, abyde a whyle.
337 I have imagined a mervelouse wyle
338 thy enimyes how thow shalt begyle,
339 my eounsell yf thow take.

340 Ther maye no pestylenee them dismaye,
341 neyther battell them affraye.
342 Plenteefull they shalbee aye
343 of gould, cattell, and corne.
344 There God of them takes the cure
345 from passions that hee makes them sure,
346 them to preserve in greate pleasure
347 as hee before hath sworne.

348 Yee shall not them distroye for aye,
349 but for a tyme vexe them yee maye.
350 Marke well now what I shall saye
351 and worke after my bore.
352 Send forth woomen of thy contrye--
353 namely, those that bewtyfull bee--
354 and to thy cnimyes lett them drawe nye,
355 as stales to stand them before.

356 When the yonge men that lustye bee
357 have percayved there great bewtye,
358 they shall desyre there companye,
359 love shall them soe inflame.

360 Then when they see the have them sure
361 in there love withowten cure,
362 the shall denye them theyre pleasure,
363 except the grante this same--

364 to love theyre great solempnitye
365 and worshipp the godes of thy contrye,
366 and all things commenlye
367 with other people to use.
368 Soe shall the theyre God displease
369 and tome themselves to great disease.
370 Then may thow have thy hartes ease,
371 there law when they refuse.

372 BALAAK. Balaham, thy counsell I will fulfill.
373 Hit shalbe done right as thow wyll.
374 Come nere, my knight that well can skyll
375 my message to performe.
376 Goe thou forth, thow valyant knight;
377 looke thow ne stopp daye nay night.
378 Briinge those women to [my] sight
379 that shall my enimyes destroye.

380 Spare thou neyther ryche ne poore,
381 wyddowe, mayde, ne ylke whoore;
382 yf shee bee fresh of coloure,
383 bringe her with thee, I saye.

384 MILES. My lord, I shall bye faste
385 to doe your wyll in goodlye haste.
386 Truste yee well, at the laste
387 your enimyes yee shall dismaye.

The Doctor speaketh:

388 Lordes and ladyes that here bine lente,
389 this messenger that forth was sente
390 as yee have hard--to that intente,
391 these women for to bringe--
392 soe craftelye bee hath wrought,
393 the fearest women hee hath owt sought;
394 and to Godes people bee bath them brought--
395 God knoweth, a perlouse thinge.

396 For when they had of them a sight,
397 manye of them agaynste might
398 gave themselfe with all theyre might
399 those women for to please.
400 And then soone to them they went;
401 to have theyre [love] was there intent,
402 desyminge those women of theyr consent
403 and soe to live in pease.

404 But those women them denyed
405 there love; the sayd yt should be tryed,
406 which they might not elles abyde
407 for fere of great disceyte.
408 Those blynde people sware many an othe
409 that neythcr for leeffe nor for lothe
410 at any tyme they would have them wrothe,
411 nor never agaynst them pleade.

412 Soe by these women full of illusion
413 Godes people were brought to great confusion
414 and his displeasure; in conclusion,
415 his law they sett at naught.

416 God to Moyses--leeve yee now--
417 bade him sett up a gallowes tree,
418 the princes of the tribes there hanged to bee
419 for sinnes that they had wrought.

420 With that Moyses was sore greved,
421 and generally hee them repryved.
422 Therfore the would him have mischived,
423 but God did him defend.
424 For the good people that tendered the lawe,
425 when they that greate mischyefe sawe,
426 wholye together the can them drawe
427 upon those wretches to make [an] ende.

428 Anon Phinees, a yonge man devowte,
429 captayne bee was of that whole rowte,
430 and of these wretches, withowt dowbt,
431 xxiiii thowsand the slewe.
432 And then God was well content
433 with Phinees for his good intent,
434 as the prophett wryteth verament,
435 and here wee shall yt shewe:

'Stetit Phinees, et placavit, et cessavit quassatio,
et reputatum est ei ad justitiam in generatione sua' etc.

436 Soone after, by Godes commandement,
437 to the Madianytes the went,
438 and ther they slewe verament
439 Balaham with fyve gyants moe.
440 Lordings, mych more mattere
441 is in this storye then yee have hard here.
442 But the substans, withowten were,
443 was played you beforen.

444 And by this prophecye, leeve yee mee,
445 three kinges, as yee shall played see,
446 honored at his nativitye
447 Christe when hee was borne.
448 Now, worthye syrs both great and smale,
449 here have wee shewed this storye before;
450 and yf hit bee pleasinge to you all,
451 tomorrowe nexte yee shall have more.

452 Prayenge you all, both east and west
453 where that yee goe, to speake the best.
454 The byrth of Christe, feare and honest,
455 here shall yee see; and fare yee well.

456 Finis

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. The Chester Cycle Play V (5) - Mases and the Commandments. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.