From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

The Chester Cycle Play IX (9) - The Visitation of the Magi

THE MERRCERS PLAYE
Pagina Nona: De Oblatione Trium Regum

001 PRIMUS REX. Myghtie God and moste of mayne,
002 to honour thee wee may bee fayne:
003 the starre I see yt common agayne
004 that was owt of our sight.

005 SECUNDUS REX. Thy lordshippe to us thou ney layne,
006 that for mankynde would suffer payne.
007 Thou send us grace, if thou be gayne,
008 to come to thee tonight.

009 TERTIUS REX. A, lord, honored be thou aye,
010 for nowe we shall knowe well the waye.
011 I will followe yt in good faye,
012 my forward to fulfill.

013 [PRIMUS REX]. I hope withowt dreade todaye
014 to see that childe and his araye.
015 But methinkes, lordes, by my faye,
016 the starre yt standeth still.

017 SECUNDUS REX. That is a signe wee be neare,
018 but high hall see I non here.
019 To a child of such powere
020 this howsinge standeth lowe.

021 TERTIUS REX. Nowe wott I well, withouten were,
022 without pryde hee will apere
023 to make men meeke, in such manere
024 an example us to shewe.

025 PRIMUS REX. The starre yonder over the stable is.
026 I wotte wee be not gonne amys,
027 for yt hath sterred ever or this
028 and nowe there yt is glent.

029 SECUNDUS REX. I wotte hee wonnes here, iwysse,
030 and this simple house is his.
031 Ordeyne we nowe that kinge of blys
032 appertly our present.

033 TERTITJS REX. What present best will for him fall
034 cast we here amongest us all;
035 for though hee lye in an oxe stall,
036 his might is never the lesse.

037 PRIMUS REX. 'Kinge of Jewes' wee shall him call;
038 therfore of mee have hee shall-
039 that am his subjecte and his thrall-
040 gould, or I passe.

041 For in our land is the manere
042 to approache noe kinge neare
043 but dayntye giftes rich and deare
044 after his dignitie.
045 And for a kinge gould cleane and cleare
046 is moste commendable. Therfore nowe here
047 hee shall have that of mee.
048 Alsoe yt seemes by this place
049 that little treasure his mother hasse.
050 Therfore to helpe hir in this case
051 gould shall be my present.

052 SECUNDUS REX. And I will offer through Godes grace
053 incense that noble savoure hasse.
054 Stynke of the stable yt shall wast,
055 theras they be lent.

056 TERTIUS REX. And myrre is best my offeringe to bee:
057 to anoynte him, as thinkes mee,
058 the childes members-head and knee,
059 and other lymmes all.
060 Thus shall we honour him all three
061 with thinges that falles to his degree,
062 towchinge manhoode and deitie.
063 These giftes will well befall.

064 PRIMUS REX. You saye well, lordes, witterlye.
065 As towchinge gould, prove maye I,
066 yt should be given him dewlye
067 because of temporalitye.
068 Syth hee shall be kinge most mightye,
069 trybute hee must have trulye;
070 and gould therfore witterlye
071 is beste, as thinkes me.

072 SECUNDUS REX. And syth hee hath in him godhead,
073 methinkes best-as eate I bread-
074 incense to give him through my reade
075 in name of sacrifice,

076 for that may noe waye be lead.
077 Syth hee of Holy Church is head,
078 more dewe giftes, yf I should be dead,
079 I cannot devise.

080 TERTIUS REX. You saye full well, syrs, both two.
081 And myrre is good, methinkes alsoe.
082 Syth hee for man will suffer woo
083 and dye on roode-tree,
084 myrre-that puttes sinne him fro
085 and saves man from rowtinge woo;
086 for yt is best to balme him thoo,
087 that shall hee have of mee.

088 PRIMUS REX. By these giftes three of good araye
089 three thinges understand I maye:
090 a kinges powere, sooth to saye,
091 by gould here in my hand;
092 and for his godhead lastlye aye
093 incense wee must give him todaye;
094 and bodely death alsoe in good faye
095 by myrre I understande.

096 SECUNDUS REX. Gould love alsoe may signifye,
097 for yt men given not commonlye
098 but these they loven hartfullye-
099 this chyld as wee donne all;
100 and incense tokeneth, leeve I,
101 orysons and prayers done devoutlye;
102 myrre death that man hath bodelye.
103 And all these him shall fall.
104 TERTIUS REX. By gould that wee to bringe are bowne,
105 that rychest mettall of renowne,
106 skyllfullye understand wee mon
107 most pretiouse godhead;
108 and incense may well be sayd
109 a roote of great devotyon;
110 by myrre, that waves corruptyon,
111 cleane flesh both quicke and dead.

112 And sycerlye this knowen wee:
113 hee wantes non of these three;
114 for full godhead in him hasse hee,
115 as gould maye signifie.
116 And sowle devout in him must bee
117 to come owt of the Trynitie;
118 and cleane flesh we hopen to see
119 in him full hastelye.

120 PRIMUS REX. Nowe we have proved yt here
121 these giftes to him bee most deare,
122 goe wee forth in good manere
123 and make we our present.

124 SECUNDUS REX. The starre yt shines fayre and cleare
125 over this stable aye entyre.
126 Here is his wonninge withowten were,
127 and herein is hee lent.

128 TERTIUS REX. A fayre mayden yonder I see,
129 an ould man sittinge at hir knee,
130 a child alsoe; as thinkes mee,
131 three persons them are.

132 PRIMUS REX. I saye in certayne this is hee
133 that we have sought in farre countree.
134 Therfore now with all honestye
135 honour I will that baron.

Tunc appariet sciatuum cum auto.

136 PRIMUS REX. Hayle be thou, lord, Christe and messie,
137 that from God art common kindly,
138 mankynd of bale for to forbye
139 and into blys bringe.
140 We knowe well by prophecye-
141 of Moyses, Davyd, and Esaye,
142 and Balaam of our auncetrye-
143 of Jewes thou shalt bee kinge.

144 Therfore, as falleth for thy crowne,
145 gould I have here readye bowne
146 to honour thee with greate
147 renowne after thy royaltye.
148 Take here, lord, my intentyon
149 that I doe with devotyon,
150 and give mee here thy benesoun
151 ere that I goe from thee.
152 SECUNDUS REX. Hayle be Christe Emanuell!
153 Thou common art for mans heale
154 and for to wynne agayne that wayle
155 that Adam put awaye.
156 Prophets of thee every one saye,
157 both Esaye and Ezechiell;
158 and Abraham might not conceale
159 the sooth of thee to saye.
160 Bushoppe I wotte thou must bee;
161 therfore now, as thinkes mee,
162 incense will fall best for thee;
163 and that nowe here I bringe
164 in tokninge of thy dignitie
165 and that office of spiritualtye.
166 Receave here, lord, at mee
167 devoutly my offeringe.

168 TERTIUS REX. Hayle, conquerour of all mankynd!
169 To doe mercye thou hasse mynde,
170 the devils band to unbynd
171 and releive all thyne.
172 A full fayre waye thou can fynd
173 to haunce us and put him behind,
174 though thy Passyon to unbynd
175 thy people that be in pyne;

176 for thou shalt mend us throgh thy might,
177 dye and ryse the thyrd night,
178 to recover agayne our right
179 and breake the devils bande.
180 Myrre to thee here have I dight
181 to balme thy bodye fayre and bright.
182 Receive my present, sweete wight,
183 and blesse mee with thy hand.

184 MARIA. You royall kinges in rych araye,
185 the high Father of heavon I praye

186 to yeeld you your good deede todaye,
187 for his micle might;
188 and give you will now and alwaye
189 to yerne the liefe that lasteth aye,
190 and never to fall out of the faye
191 that in your hartes is pight.

192 And leeves, lordes, withouten were,
193 that to my sonne you shall be deare,
194 that him todaye hath honored here
195 and me alsoe for his sake.
196 When tyme is come entyre
197 to prove his strenght and his powere,
198 to him you shall bee leeffe and deare-
199 that darre I undertake.

200 JOSEPHE. You kynges all comely of kynd,
201 full faythfully you shall yt fynd-
202 this menskie that God will have in mynd
203 and quyte you well your meede.
204 And leeves well: of noe mans strynde
205 ys hee, not gotten by leefe of kynde;
206 that soe beleevon are full blynde,
207 for I knowe yt in deede.

208 This mayden was betaken mee
209 when I had lost my jollitie,
210 and fayled might and postie
211 sinne for to assaye.
212 But for God would in chastitie
213 that we should together bee,
214 keeper of her virginitie
215 I have binne manye a daye.
216 Therfore I wott, forsooth iwys,
217 cleane mayden that shee ys
218 and with man did never amysse;
219 and therof be you bould.
220 But of the Holye Ghost this ys
221 for to bringe mankynde to blys.
222 And this child is verey his;
223 soe Gabriel! me tould.

224 ANGELUS. I warne you comely kynges three,
225 my lord would you not spilled bee.
226 Therfore hee sendes you word by mee
227 to tome another waye.
228 Herodes felowshippe you shall flee;
229 for you, harme ordayne hasse hee.
230 Therfore goes not through his countree,
231 ne the gate you come todaye.

232 PRIMUS REX. A, high lord that wee honour here,
233 that warnes us in thys manere-
234 elles had we wend without were
235 to him that would us spill.

236 SECUNDUS REX. Yea, lord, as thou can us lere,
237 we will doe to our powere.

238 TERTIUS REX. Goe we hethen all in fere,
239 and his byddinge fullfill.

240 PRIMUS REX. Farewell, syr Jasper, brother, to you,
241 kinge of Tharsis most worthye.
242 Farewell, syr Baithasar; to you I bowe.
243 I thanke you of your companye.
244 Hee that made us to meete on playne
245 and offered to Marye in her jesayne,
246 send us saffe and sound agayne
247 to the land we came froo.

248 SECUNDUS REX. You kinges, I saye you verament:
249 syth God of his grace you hyther sent,
250 wee will doe his commandement
251 whatsoever may befall.
252 Therfore stand we not in doubt
253 for to walke our land about,
254 and of his byrth that wee maye moote
255 both to great and smale.

256 TERTIUS REX. Farewell, syr kynges, both in fere;
257 I thanke you both of your good chere.
258 But yett my witt in a were
259 lest Herode make us some trayne.
260 Hee that shoope both sea and sand,
261 send us saffe into our land.
262 Kynges to, give me your hand;
263 farewell and have good daye!

264 Finis

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. The Chester Cycle Play IX (9) - The Visitation of the Magi. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.