From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

The Chester Cycle PLAY 6 - The Nativity

THE WRIGHTES PLAYE
Pagina Sexta: De Salutatione et Nativitate Salvatoris Jesu Christi

001 GABRIELL. Hayle be thow, Marye, mother free,
002 full of grace. God is with thee.
003 Amongst all women blessed thow bee,
004 and the fruite of thy bodye.

005 MARIA. Ah, lord that syttes high in see,
006 that wondrouslye now mervayles mee--
007 a simple mayden of my degree bee
008 greete this gratiously.

009 GABRIELL. Marye, ne dread thee nought this case.
010 With greate God found thow hase
011 amongst all other specyall grace.
012 Therfore, Marye, thow mone
013 conceyve and beare--I tell thee--
014 a childe. Jesus his name shalbe--
015 soe greate shall never non be as bee--
016 and called Godes Sonne.

017 And owr lord God, leeve thow mee,
018 shall give him Davyd his fathers see;
019 in Jacobs howse rayninge shall hee
020 with full might evermore.
021 And hee that shalbe borne of thee,
022 endlesse life in him shalbe,
023 that such renowne and ryaltye
024 had never non before.

025 MARIA. How may this bee, thow beast so bright?
026 In synne knowe I noe worldly wight.

027 GABRYELL. The Holye Ghoste shall in thee light
028 from God in majestee,
029 and shadowe thee seemely in sight.
030 Therefore that holye one, as I have height
031 that thow shalt beare through Godes might,
032 hee Sonne shall called bee.

033 Elizabeth that barren was
034 as thow maye see conceyved has
035 in age a sonne through Godes grace,
036 the [bedill] shalbe of blysse.
037 The sixte moneth is gone now agayne
038 seeth men called her barren;
039 but nothinge to Godes might and mayne
040 impossible is.

041 MARIA. Now syth that God will yt soe bee,
042 and such grace hath sent to mee,
043 blessed evermore bee hee;
044 to please him I am payde.
045 Loe, Godes chosen meekelye here--
046 and lorde God, prince of powere,
047 leeve that yt fall in suche manere
048 this word that thow hast sayde.

Tunc Angelus ibit, et Maria salutabit Elizabeth:

049 Elizabeth, nece, God thee see.

050 ELIZABETH. Marye, blessed mote thow bee,
051 and the fruites that commes of thee,
052 amonge weomen all.
053 Wonderlye now mervayles mee
054 that Marye, Godes mother free,
055 greetes mee thus of simple degree.
056 Lord, how may this befall?

057 'When thow mee greetest, sweete Marye,
058 the childe stirred in my bodye
059 for great joye of thy companye
060 and the fruite that is in thee.
061 Blessed bee thow ever forthy,
062 that lived soe well and stedfastly;
063 for that was sayde to thee, ladye,
064 fulfilled and done shalbee.

Maria gaudiens incipiet canticum 'Magnificat' etc.

065 MARIA. Elizabeth, therefore will I
066 thanke the lord, kinge of mercye,
067 with joyful! myrth and melody
068 and laud to his likinge.
069 'Magnificat,' while I have toome,
070 'anima mea dominum'
071 to Christe that in my kind is come,
072 devoutly I will singe.

'Et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo' etc.

073 And for my ghost joyed hase
074 in God, my heale and all my grace--
075 for meekenes hee see in mee was,
076 his feare of meane degree--
077 therfore blesse mee well maye
078 all generacons for aye.

079 Mych has that lord done for mee,
080 that moste is in his majestye.
081 All princes hee passis of postee,
082 as sheweth well by this.
083 Therefore with full hart and free
084 his name allway hallowed be;
085 and honored evermore be bee
086 one height in heaven blysse.

087 Mych hase God done for me today;
088 his name eye hollowed be,
089 as he is bound to doe mercy
090 from progenye to progenye.
091 And all that dredene him veryly,
092 his talent to fullfill,
093 bee through his myght gave maystery.
094 Disparcles proud dispytuusly
095 with myght of his harte hastely
096 at his owne will.

097 Deposethe myghty oute of place,
098 and mylde allso he hansed hasse;
099 hongry, nydy, wanting grace
100 with god bee hath fullfellede.
101 That rych power he bath forsakene;
102 To Iseraell, his Sonne he bath betakene.
103 Wayle to man throughe him his wakinge,
104 and myrcy hasse of his guylte--

105 as he spake to our fathers before,
106 Abrahame and his syde full yore.
107 Joy to the Father evermore,
108 the Sone, and the Holy Ghoste,
109 as was from the begininge
110 and never shall have endinge,
111 from world to world aye wendinge.
112 Amen, God of might most.

113 ELIZABETH. Marye, now redd I that wee gone
114 to Joseph thy husband anon,
115 lesse hee to misse thee make mone;
116 for now that is moste neede.

117 MARIA. Elizabeth, nece, to doe so good is,
118 leste bee suppose one mea amysse;
119 but good lord that hath ordayned this
120 wyll witnes of my deede.

121 ELIZABETH. Joseph, God thee save and see!
122 Thy wife here I brought to thee.

123 JOSEPH. Alas, alas, and woe is mee!
124 Whoe hasse made her with chyld?
125 Well I wist an ould man and a maye
126 might not accord by noe waye.
127 For many yeares might I not playe
128 ne worke noe workes wild.

129 Three monethes shee bath bine from mee.
130 Now hasse shee gotten her, as I see,
131 a great bellye like to thee
132 syth shee went away.
133 And myne yt is not, bee thow bould,
134 for I am both ould and could;
135 these xxxtie winters, though
136 I would, I might not playe noe playe.
137 Alas, where might I lenge or lende?
138 For loth is mee my wife to shende,
139 therfore from her will I wende
140 into some other place.
141 For to dyscreeve will I nought,
142 feeblye though shee have wrought.
143 To leave her privelye is my thought,
144 that noe man knowe this case.

145 God, lett never [an] ould man
146 take to wife a yonge woman
147 ney seet his harte her upon,
148 lest bee beguyled bee.
149 For accorde ther maye be none,
150 ney the may never bee at one;
151 and that is seene in manye one
152 as well as one mee.

153 Therfore have I slept a while,
154 my wife that mee can thus beguyle,
155 for I will gone from her; yt to fyle
156 mee ys loth, in good faye.
157 This case makes mee so heavye
158 that needes sleepe nowe muste I.
159 Lord, one hir thow have mercye
160 for her misdeede todaye.

161 ANGELUS. Joseph, lett bee thy feeble thought.
162 Take Marye thy wife and dread thee nought,
163 for wickedly shee hath not wrought;
164 but this is Godes will.
165 The child that shee shall beare, iwys
166 of the Holy Ghost begotten yt is
167 to save mankynd that did amisse,
168 and prophecye to fulfill.

169 JOSEPH. A, nowe I wott, lord, yt is soe,
170 I will noe man bee her foe;
171 but while I may one yearth goe,
172 with her I will bee.
173 Nowe Christe is in our kynde light,
174 as the prophetes before hight.
175 Lord God, most of might,
176 with weale I worshipp thee.

177 NUNTIUS. Make rowme, lordinges, and give us waye
178 and lett Octavian come and playe,
179 and Sybell the sage, that well fayre maye,
180 to tell you of prophecye.
181 That lord that dyed on Good Frydaye,
182 bee have you all both night and daye.
183 Farewell, lordinges. I goe my waye;
184 I may noe lenger abyde.

185 OCTAVIANUS. I, preeved prince most of powere,
186 under heaven highest am I here;
187 fayrest foode to fight in fere,
188 noe freake my face may flee.
189 All this world, withowten were--
190 kinge, prynce, baron, batchlere--
191 I may destroy in great dangere
192 through vertue of my degree.

193 My name Octavian called is--
194 all me about full in my blys,
195 for wholey all this world, iwys,
196 is readye at my owne will.
197 Noe man one mould darre doe amisse
198 agaynst mee--I tell you this--
199 nay no man saye that ought is his
200 but my leave be thertyll.

201 For I halfe multiplyed more
202 the cittye of Rome sythe I was bore
203 then ever did any before,
204 syth I had this kingdome.
205 For what with strenght and strokes sore,
206 leadinge lordshipp, lovely lore,
207 all this world has bine yore
208 tributarye unto Rome.

209 Segneurs, tous si assembles a mes probes estates!
210 Jeo posse fayre lerment et leez, et mette in languoure!
211 Vous tous Si prest ne sortes
212 de fayre intentes ma volentes,
213 car je su soveroyne ben sages et de mande emperoure.

214 Jeo si persone, nulle si able; jeo sa tent fayre et leable.
215 En treasoroce ne treasagyle, mes de toyle plerunt.
216 Destret et sage sua en counsell--ami, ou dame, et ou pusele.
217 De clare et sanke mater frayle, un teell n'est paas viva.

218 Kinge, coysell, clarke, or knight,
219 saudens, senatoures in sight,
220 princes, pryest here nowe dight
221 and present in this place, peace!
222 Or here my truthe I plight--
223 I am the manfuist man of might--
224 takes mynde on my manece.

225 All leedes in land bee at my likinge:
226 castle, conquerour, and kinge
227 bayne be to doe my byddinge;
228 yt will non other bee.
229 Right as I thinke, soe must all bee;
230 for all the world dose my willinge
231 and bayne bine when I bydd bringe
232 homage and feoaltye.

233 Sythen I was lord, withowten lesse
234 with my witt I can more increase
235 the empire here then ever yt was,
236 as all this world yt wiste.
237 Syth I was soverayne, warre cleare can cease,
238 and through this world now is peace,
239 for soe dreade a duke sate never on dayes
240 in Rome--that you may trust.

241 Therfore as lorde nowe likes mee
242 to preeve my might and my postee,
243 for I will send about and see
244 how many heades I have.
245 All the world shall written bee,
246 great and smale in eych degree
247 that dwell in shire or in cittye--
248 king, clarke, knight, and knave.

249 Eych man one penye shall paye.
250 Therefore, my bedell, doe as I saye

251 In middest the world by anye waye
252 this gammon shall begine.
253 The folke of Jewes, in good faye,
254 in myddest bine; that is noe naye.
255 Therefore thyder, daye by daye,
256 and travayle or thow bline.

257 Warne him that there ys president
258 that this is fully myne intent:
259 that eych man appere present,
260 his penye for to paye.
261 And by that penye as well appent
262 knowledge to bee obedyente
263 to Rome, by gifte of such a rent,
264 from that tyme after aye.

265 When thus is done thus in Judye,
266 that in the middest of the world shalbe,
267 to eych land, shire, and cyttye
268 to Rome make them soe thrall.
269 Warne them, boye--I commande thee--
270 they doe the same, saye thus from mee;
271 soe all this world shall witt that wee
272 bine soveraygne of them all.

273 Have donne, boye! Art thow not bowne?

274 P RECO. All readye, my lorde, by Mahounde.
275 Noe tayles tupp in all this towne
276 shall goe further withowten fayle.

277 OCTAVIANUS. Boye, therfore by my crowne
278 thow muste have thy warrysoun!
279 The highest horse besydes Boughton
280 take thow for thy travell.

281 PRECO. Grauntemercye, lord, perdye;
282 this hackney will well serve mee,
283 for a great lord of your degree
284 should ryde in such araye.
285 The bine bye in digthtye,
286 and alsoe high and swifte is hee.
287 Therefore that reverans takes yee,
288 my deare lord, I you praye.

289 But your arrand shalbe donne anone.
290 First into Judye I will gonne
291 and sommon the people everychone,
292 both shire and eke cyttye.

293 OCTAVIANUS. Boye, there bine Iadyes manye one;
294 amonge them all chose thee onne.
295 Take the fayrest or els none,
296 and freely I give her thee.

297 PRIMUS SENATOUR. My lord Octavyan, wee be sent
298 from all Rome with good entent.
299 Thy men there have eychone iment
300 as God to honour thee.
301 And to that poynct we be assent,
302 poore and ryche in parleament.
303 For soe loved a lord, veramente,
304 was never in this cyttye.
305 SECUNDUS SENATOR. Yea sicker, syr, ther will is this:
306 to honour thee as God with blys,
307 for thow did never to them amysse
308 in worde, thought, ne deede.
309 Peace bath bine longe and yett is.
310 Noe man in thy tyme lost ought of his.
311 Therfore there wyll is soe, iwys,
312 to quite you this your meede.

313 OCTAVIANUS. Welcome, my frendes, in god faye,
314 for you bee baynable to my paye.
315 I thank you, all that ever I maye,
316 the homage yee doe to mee.
317 But follye yt were by manye a waye
318 such soveraygntye for to assaye,
319 syth I must dye I wotte not what day,
320 to desyre such dignitye.

321 For of all flesh, blood, and bonne
322 made I am, borne of a womane;
323 and sycker other matter nonne
324 sheweth not right in mee.
325 Neyther of iron, tree, ne stonne
326 am I not wrought, you wott eycbone.
327 And of my life moste parte is gone,
328 age shewes him soe in mee.

329 And godhead askes in all thinge
330 tyme that hath noe begininge
331 ne never shall have endinge;
332 and none of this have I.

333 Wherfore by verey proofe shewinge,
334 though I bee highest worldly kinge,
335 of godhead have I noe knowinge.
336 Hit were unkynde.

337 But yett enquyre of this will wee
338 of hir that hase grace to see
339 thinges that afterward shalbe
340 by ghoost of prophecye.
341 And after bir lore, by my lewtye,
342 discussinge this difficultye
343 worke; and take noe more one mee
344 then I am well worthye.

345 Sybbell the sage, tell mee this thinge,
346 for thow wytt hase as noe man livinge:
347 shall ever be any earthlye kinge
348 to passe mee of degree?

349 SYBBELL. Yea, syr, I tell you withowt leasinge
350 a bab borne shalbe, blys to bringe,
351 the which that never base begininge
352 ne never shall ended bee.

353 OCTAVYANUS. Sybbyll, I praye thee speciallye
354 by signe thow would me certyfye
355 what tyme that lord soe royallye
356 to raigne bee shal beginne.

Sybyll speaketh:

357 Syr, I shall tell you witterlye
358 his signes when I see verelye;
359 for when bee comes, through his mercye
360 one mankynde hee will mynne.

361 Well I wott, forsooth iwys,
362 that God will bringe mankinde to blys,
363 and send from heaven--leeves well this--
364 his Sonne, our savyour.

365 But what tyme, syr, in good faye
366 that hee will come can I non saye.
367 Therfore in this place I will praye
368 to greatest God of might.
369 And yf I see ought to your paye
370 ghoostlye by anye waye,
371 warne you I shall anon this daye,
372 and shew yt in your sight.

Tunc orat Sibilla, et dicat Preco alta voce.

373 PRECO. Peace I byd, kinge and knight,
374 men and weomen and eych wight;
375 tyll I have tould that I have tight,
376 stonde styll, both stronge and stoute.
377 My lord Octavyan, myche of might,
378 commandes you should be readye dight:
379 trybute bee wyll have in height
380 of all this world about.

381 Hee wyll have written eych countree,
382 castle, shyre, and eke cyttye--
383 men and weomen, leeve you mee--
384 and all that bee therin.
385 A penye of eych man have will hee--
386 the valewe of ten pences hit shalbee--
387 to knowledge that hee hase soverayntee
388 fullye of all mankynd.

389 JOSEPHE. A, lord, what doth this man nowe here?
390 Poore mens weale ys ever in were.
391 I wott by this bosters beere
392 that trybute I muste paye.
393 And for greate age and noe powere,
394 I wan noe good this seaven yere.
395 Nowe comes the kinges messinger
396 to gett all that hee maye.

397 With this axe that I beare,
398 this perces and this naugere
399 and hammer, all in fere,
400 I have wonnen my meate.
401 Castle, towre, ney riche manere
402 had I never in my power;
403 but as a symple carpenter
404 with those what I might gett.

405 If I have store, anye thinge,
406 that must I paye unto the kinge.
407 But yett I have a likinge,
408 the angel to mee towlde:
409 hee that should man owt of bale bringe
410 my wife had in her keapinge.
411 That seemes all good to my likinge,
412 and makes mee more bowld.

413 A, leeffe syr, tell mee I thee praye:
414 shall poore as well as rych paye?
415 My faye, syr, I hoope naye;
416 that were a wonders wronge.

417 PRECO. Good man, I warne thee in good faye
418 to Bethiem to take the waye,
419 leste thow in danger falle todaye
420 if that thow bee to longe.

421 JOSEPHE. Nowe syth yt may non other bee,
422 Marye, sister, now hye wee.
423 An oxe I will take with mee
424 that there shalbe soulde.
425 The silver of him, soe mote I thee,
426 shall fynde us in that cyttye,
427 and paye tribute for thee and mee;
428 for therto wee bine howlde.

429 MARIA. A, lord, what may this signifye?
430 Some men I see glad and merye
431 and some syghinge and sorye.
432 'Wherfore soever yt bee?
433 Syth Godes Sonne came man to forbye--
434 is commen through his great mercye--
435 methinke that man should kindlye
436 be glad that sight to see.

437 ANGELUS. Marye, Godes mother dere,
438 the tokeninge I shall thee lere.
439 The commen people, as thow seest here,
440 are glad--as they well maye--

441 that they shall see of Abrahams seede
442 Christe come to helpe them in there neede.
443 Therfore the joyen witbowten dreede
444 for to abyde this daye.

445 The morneinge men--take this in mynde--
446 are Jewes that shalbe put behinde,
447 for they passed owt of kinde
448 through Christe at his comminge.
449 For they shall have noe grace to knowe
450 that God for man shall light soe lowe;
451 for shame on them that soone shall showe.
452 Therfore they bine mourninge.

453 JOSEPH. Marye, suster, sooth to saye
454 harbour, I hope, gett wee ne maye;
455 for great lordes of stowte araye
456 occupye this cyttye.
457 Therfore wee muste in good faye
458 lye in this stable tyll yt bee daye.
459 To make men meeke, leeve I maye,
460 shew him here will hee.

461 MARIA. Helpe me downe, my leeffe fere,
462 for I hope my tyme bee neere.
463 Christe in this stable that ys here,
464 I hope borne wilbee.

Tunc Joseph accipiet Mariam in brachia sua.
465 JOSEPH. Come to me, my sweete dere,
466 the treasure of heaven withowten were.
467 Welcome in full meeke manere.
468 Him hope I for to see.

Tunc statuet Mariam inter bovem et asinam.

469 Marye, sister, I will assaye
470 to gett too middwives yf I maye;
471 for though in thee bee God verey--
472 and commen agaynst kynde--
473 for usage here of this cittye
474 and manners sake, as thinkes mee,
475 too I will fetch anon to thee
476 yf I may any fynde.

477 JOSEPH (ad obstetrices) Weomen, God you save and see!
478 Is yt your will to goe with mee?
479 My wife ys commen into this cyttye
480 with child, and tyme is nere.
481 Helpes her nowe for charytee,
482 and bee with her tyli day bee;
483 and your travayle, soe mote I thee,
484 I shall paye you right here.

485 TEBELL. All readye, good man, in good faye.
486 Wee will doe all that ever wee maye.
487 For too such middwives, I dare well saye,
488 are not in this cyttye.

489 SALOME. Come, good man, leade us awaye.
490 By Godes helpe or hit bee daye

491 that we can good thy wife shall saye;
492 and that thow shalt well see.

493 JOSEPH. Loe, Marye, harte, brought I have here
494 too middwives for the mannere,
495 to bee with thee, my darlinge deare,
496 tyll that hit bee daye.

497 MARIA. Syr, the be welcome withowt were.
498 But God will worke of his power
499 full sonne for mee, my lefe fere,
500 as best is nowe and aye.

Tunc paululum acquiescunt.

501 A, Joseph, tydinges aright!
502 I have a sonne, a sweete wight.
503 Lord, thanked bee thow, full of might,
504 for preeved is thy postee.
505 Payne felte I non this night.
506 But right soe as bee in mee light,
507 commen hee is here in this sight--
508 Godes Sonne, as thow maye see.

Tunc stella apparebit.

509 JOSEPH. Lord, welcome, sweete Jesu!
510 Thy name thow haddest or I thee knewe.
511 Nowe leeve I the angells worde is trewe,
512 that thow arte a cleane maye.
513 For thow arte commen mans blys to brewe
514 to all that thy lawe will shewe.
515 Nowe mans joy beginns to newe
516 and noye to passe awaye.

517 MARIA. Lord, blessed most thow bee
518 that [symple] borne art, as I see;
519 to preeve the divell of his postee,
520 commen thow arte todaye.
521 Diversorye is non for thee.
522 Therfore thy sweete bodye free
523 in this cratch shall lye with lee,
524 and lapped abowt with haye.


525 TEBELL. A, dere lord, heaven kinge,
526 that this is a marvelous thinge!
527 Withowten teene or travaylinge,
528 a fayre sonne shee hasse one.
529 I dare well saye, forsooth iwys,
530 that cleane mayden this woman ys,
531 for shee bath borne a chyld with blys;
532 soe wiste I never none.

533 SALOME. Be styll, Tebell, I thee praye,
534 for that is false, in good faye.
535 Was never woman cleane maye
536 and chyld withowt man.
537 But never the latter, I will assaye
538 whether shee bee cleane maye,
539 and knowe yt if I cann.

Tunc Salome tentabit tangere Mariam in sexu secreto,
et statim arentur manus eius, et clamando dicit:

540 Alas, alas, alas, alas,
541 mee ys betyde an evyll case!
542 My handes bee dryed up in this place,
543 that feelinge none have I.
544 Vengeance on mee ys nowe light,
545 for I would tempte Goddes might.
546 Alas, that I came here tonight
547 to sufer such anoye.

Tunc apparet stella et veniet Angelus, [dicens] ut sequitur.

548 [ANGELUS]. Womann, beseech this childe of grace
549 that hee forgive thee thy trespasse;
550 and ere thow goe owt of this place
551 holpen thou maye bee.
552 This miracle that now thow seest here
553 is of Godes owne powere,
554 to bringe mankinde owt of dangere
555 and mende them, leeve thow mee.

556 SALOME. Ah, sweete child, I aske mercye
557 for thy mothers love, Marye.
558 Though I have wrought wretchedlye,
559 sweete childe, forgive yt mee.
560 Ah, blessed bee God! All whole am I!
561 Nowe leeve I well and sickerlye
562 that God is commen, man to forbye.
563 And thou, lord, thou art bee.
564 EXPOSITOR. Loe, lordings all, of this miracle here
565 freere Bartholemewe in good mannere
566 beareth wytnes, withowten were,
567 as played is you beforne.
568 And other myracles, yf I maye,
569 I shall rehearse or I goe awaye,
570 that befell that ilke daye
571 that Jesus Christ was borne.

572 Wee reade in cronicles expresse:
573 somtyme in Rome a temple was
574 made of soe greate ryches
575 that wonder was witterlye.
576 For all thinges in hit, leeve you mee,
577 was silver, gould, and rych perlye;
578 thryd parte the woride, as read wee,
579 that temple was worthye.

580 Of eych province, that booke mynde mase,
581 ther goddes image sett there was;
582 and eych on abowt his necke has
583 a silver bell hanginge,
584 and on his brest written also
585 the landes name and godes too.
586 And sett was alsoe in middest of tho
587 god of Rome, right as a kinge.

588 Abowt the house alsoe mevinge there
589 a man on horse--stoode men to steare--
590 and in his hand hee bare a spere,
591 all pure dispituouslye.
592 That horse and man was made of brasse;
593 torninge abowt that image was.

594 Save certayne preystes ther might non passe
595 for devylls phantasie.

596 But when that any lande with battell
597 was readye Rome for to assayle,
598 the godes [image] withowten fayle
599 of that land range his bell
600 and torned his face dispituouslye
601 to god of Rome, as reade I,
602 in tokeninge that there were readye
603 to feyghtinge freshe and fell.

604 The image alsoe above standinge,
605 when the bell beneath begane to ringe,
606 torned him all sharpely, shewinge
607 towarde that lande his spere.
608 And when they see this tokeninge,
609 Rome ordayned withowt tareinge
610 an oste to keepe there comminge,
611 longe or they came there.

612 And on this manere sothlye,
613 by arte of neagromancye,
614 all the world witterlye
615 to Rome were made to lowt.
616 And in that temple there dowbtles
617 was called therfore the Temple of Peace,
618 that through.his sleyt battell can cease
619 throughowt the world, the woride abowte.

620 But hee to coyntly this worke caste
621 asked the devyll or bee paste
622 howe longe that temple hit should laste
623 that bee there can buylde.
624 The devill answered suttillye,
625 and sayd yt should last sickerlye
626 untyll a mayden wemmostlye
627 had conceyved a chylde.

628 They hard, and beleeved therfore
629 yt should endure for evermore.
630 But that tyme that Christ was bore,
631 hit fell downe soone in hye.
632 Of which howse is scene this daye
633 somewhat standinge, in good faye.
634 But noe man dare well goe that waye
635 for feendes phantasye.

636 That daye was scene verament
637 three sonnes in the firmament,
638 and wonderslye together went
639 and torned into one.
640 The oxe, the asse, ther they were lent,
641 honored Christe in theyr intent;
642 and moe miracles, as wee have ment
643 to playe right here anon.

Tunc ostendet stellam, et veniet Sibilla ad imperatorem.

644 SIBILLA. Syr emperour, God thee save and see.
645 I tell you sicker that borne ys bee
646 that passeth thee of postee.
647 Looke up on height after mee.
648 That baron thow seest that great shalbee--
649 to passe all kinges, and eke thee,
650 that borne are or ever were.

651 OCTAVYAN. A, Sibbell, this is a wondrouse sight,
652 for yonder I see a mayden bright,
653 a yonge chylde in her armes clight,
654 a bright crosse in his head.
655 Honour I wyll that sweete wight
656 with incense throughowt all my might,
657 for that reverence is most right,
658 if that yt bee thy reade.

659 Incense bringe, I command, in hye
660 to honour this child, kinge of mercye.
661 Should I bee God? Naye, naye, witterlye!
662 Great wronge iwys yt were.
663 For this childe is more worthye
664 then such a thowsande as am I.
665 Therfore to God moste mightye
666 incense I offer here.

Tunc Angelus cantabit 'Haec est ara Dei caeli'
fiat notam secundum arbitrium agentis, etc.

667 A, Sybbell, heres not thow this songe?
668 My members all yt goeth amonge.
669 Joy and blys makes my harte stronge
670 to heare this melody.
671 Sycker yt may non other bee
672 but this childe is prince of postye
673 and I his subject, as I see.
674 Hee is moste worthye.

675 SYBBELL. Yea, syr, thow shalt leeve well this:
676 somewhere one yearth borne he is;
677 and that bee comes for mans blys,
678 his tokeninge this can shewe.
679 Reverence him, I read iwys,
680 for other God there none ys;
681 that hopes otherwise, doth amys,
682 but him for Christe to knowe.

683 OCTAVYAN. Syr senators, goes home anone
684 and warne my men everychone
685 that such worshipp I must forgonne
686 as they would doe to mee.
687 But this child worshipp eych maye
688 with full harte all that you [can],
689 for bee is worthye to leeve upon;
690 and that nowe I wyll see.

691 [PRIMUS SENATOR]. A, lord, whatever this may bee,
692 this is a wondrous sight to see;
693 for in the stare, as thinkes mee,
694 I see a full fayre maye.
695 Syr, shall this child passe yee
696 of worthines and dignitee?
697 Such a lord, by my lewtye,
698 I wend never bad binne.

699 EXPOSITOR. Lordings, that this is verey
700 by verey sygne knowe yee maye;
701 for in Rome in good faye,
702 thereas this thinge was scene,

703 was buyld a church in noble araye--
704 in worshipp of Marye, that sweete maye--
705 that yett hastes untyll this daye,
706 as men knowe that there have binne.

707 And for to have full memorye
708 of the angells melodye
709 and of this sight sickerlye
710 the emperoure ther knewe,
711 the church is called St. Marye.
712 The surname is Ara Caeli,
713 that men knowe nowe well therby
714 that this was fullye trewe.

715 Another miracle I fynd also,
716 at Christes byrth that fell thoo:
717 when Sahome attempted to knowe
718 whether shee was a maye,
719 hyr hand roted, as you have scene.
720 Wherby you may take good teene
721 that unbeleeffe is a fowle sinne,
722 as you have scene within this playe.

723 Finis

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. The Chester Cycle PLAY 6 - The Nativity. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.