From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

The Chester Cycle Play X (10) - The Slaying of the Innocents

Pagina Decima: De Occisione Innocensium ex Heredis Tirannica Persuasione

001 HERODES. Princes, prelates of price,
002 barronnes in blamner and byse,
003 beware of mee, all that binne wise,
004 that weldes all at my will.
005 Saye noe man anythinge is his
006 but onlye at my devyce;
007 for all this world lyes
008 to spare and eke to spill.

009 My subjectes all that here bine sett-
010 barrones, burges, and barronett-
011 bees bayne to mee, or you is lett,
012 and at my biddinge bee.
013 For leeves all this withouten lett,
014 that I will doe as I have hett,
015 marye that mysbegotten maremasett
016 that thinkes to marre mee.

017 And those false traytours that mee beheight
018 to have commen agayne this same nighte,
019 by another way have taken ther flight;
020 this waye darst the not take.
021 Therfore that boye, by God almight,
022 shall be slayne soone in your sight,
023 and-though it be agaynst the right-
024 a thousand for his sake.

025 Alas, what purpose had that page
026 that is Soe yonge and tender of age,
027 that would bereave my heritage,
028 that am so micle of might?
029 Forsooth that shrewe was wondrouse sage
030 agaynst me anye warre to wage!
031 That recked rybauld for all his rage
032 shall not reve mee my right.

033 But syth it may noe other bee
034 but these kinges are gone from me,
035 and that shrewe would have my soveraintye,
036 I thinke to put him agayne:
037 all the knave-children in this contree
038 shall by his guile, soe mote I thee.
039 Because I knowe not which is hee,
040 all for his sake shalbe slayne.

041 How, prettye Pratte, my messingere,
042 come hither to me withouten weare!
043 For thou must goe with hastye bere
044 into Judee this daye
045 after my doughtie and comely knightes,
046 and bydd them hye with all there myghtes
047 and that the lett for noe feightes.
048 Bringe them withouten delaye.

049 PRECO. Yes, my lord of great renowne,
050 to doe your hest I am bowne,
051 lightly to leape over dale and downe
052 and speede if I were there.
053 Farewell, my lord in majestee,
054 for on my jorney I will hye me.
055 HERODE. Now mightie Mahound be with thee,
056 and ever to dwell in feare.

057 PRECO. How, awake out of your sleepe,
058 syr Grymball and syr Lancherdeepe!
059 And to me you take good keepe,
060 for hether I am send;
061 my lord, kinge Herode, begines to sowne
062 for a shrewe would have his crowne
063 and thus bereave him of his renowne,
064 and soone would have him shend.

065 PRIMUS MILES. Welcome, messenger, that art soe gent.
066 This tydinges which my lord hath sent
067 they be welcome veryment.
068 With thee nowe will I wend.

069 SECUNDUS MILES. Messinger, I will in good faye
070 wend with you this ylke waye
071 to here what my lord will saye,
072 of this matter to make an end.

073 PRECO. Hayle, comly kynge sittinge on hye!
074 Here bynne thy knightes common to thee
075 that be men of greate degree
076 to here of your talent.

077 HEROD. Messingere, for thy good deede
078 right well shall I quite thy meede:
079 have here of mee to doe thee speede
080 right a gaye garmente.

081 PRECO. Grantmercye, lord regent;
082 well am I pleased to myne intent.
083 Mightye Mahound that I have ment
084 keepe you in this steede!

085 PRIMUS MILES. Sir Lancherdeepe, what saye ye?
086 This is the fayrest king that ever I see.

087 SECUNDUS MILES. This daye under the sunne shininge
088 is there non soe seemely a kinge.

089 PRIMUS MILES. Hayle, comely kinge crowned in gould!
090 Eche kinge and [kesar] kennes not your bett.
091 If anye weare that with your grace feight would,
092 such strokes for your sake sore should be sett.

093 SECUNDUS MILES. Yf him wee may take or gett,
094 the devill ought him debt;
095 and soe lice shalbe quitt
096 such maystryes for to make.
097 HERODE. Welcome, our knightes that be so gent.
098 Nowe will we tell you our intent,
099 what is the cause we for you sent
100 soe soone and hastelye.
101 Yesterdaye to this cittie
102 when wee weare in our royaltye,
103 there came to us kinges three
104 and tould us there intent

105 to seeke a child that borne should bee,
106 that was sayd by prophecye
107 that should be kinge of Judee
108 and manye another land.
109 We gave them leave to search and see
110 and come agayne to this cittie;
111 and if hee weare of such degree,
112 we would not him withstand.

113 But and they had commen agayne,
114 all three traytours should have binne slayne,
115 and alsoe that lyther swayne-
116 and all for his sake.
117 Out, alas, what may this bee?
118 For I knowe not which is hee,
119 therfore all knave-children in this contree,
120 on them shall fall the wreake.

121 For wee knowe not that child well,
122 though wee therfore should goe to hell,
123 all the children of Israel
124 wee deeme them to be slayne.
125 Counselour, what is thy reade?

126 DOCTOR. Deeme them, lord, for to be dead;
127 for that is best, as eate I bread,
128 to catch that lyther swayne.

129 Command your knightes anon to hye,
130 to goe to the land of Gallile
131 and into the land of Judye,
132 to slaye all that they may fynd.

133 HERODE. That was well sayd, my counselour.
134 But yett I burne as doth the fire-
135 what for wroth, what for yre- t
136 yll this be brought to end.

137 Therfore, my knightes good and keene,
138 have done belyve; goe wreake my teene.
139 Goe slaye that shrewe; lett yt be scene
140 and you be men of mayne.
141 Preeves manfully what they binne,
142 that non awaye from you fleene.
143 Dryve downe the dyrtie-arses all bydeene,
144 and soone that there were slayne!

145 So shall I keepe that vyle [congeon]
146 that this would reave mee of my crowne.
147 Therfore, my batchleres, make you bowne
148 and found to save my righte.
149 You must hye you out of this towne
150 to Bethlem as fast as you mon.
151 All knave-children, by my crowne,
152 you must sley this nighte.

153 PRIMUS MILES. Alas, lord and kinge of blys,
154 send you after us for this?
155 A villanye yt weare, iwys,
156 for my fellowe and mee
157 to sley a shitten-arsed shrowe;
158 a ladd his head [mighte] of hewe.
159 For rybbottes are not in this rowe,
160 but knightes of great degree.

161 SECUNDUS MILES. My leeffe lord of greate renowne,
162 we shall wreake you yf wee mon.
163 Whether hee be knight or champion
164 stiffer than ever Sampson was,
165 sickerly I shall dryve them downe.
166 But for to kyll such a conjoyne
167 mee shames sore, by saynct Mahound,
168 to goe in any place.

169 HERODE. Nay, nay, it is neyther on nor two
170 that you shall sley, as mott I goo,
171 but a thousand and yett moo;
172 takes this in your mynd.
173 Because I knowe not which this shrewe ys,
174 therfore, lest you of him mys,
175 you must slaye, forsooth iwys,
176 all that you may fynd.

177 You shall walke farre and neere
178 into Bethlem. Spare for no beere
179 all knave-children within two yeere
180 and on daye ould.
181 Slea them downe both on and all.
182 Soe shall you meete with that stall
183 that would my kingdome clayme and call,
184 and my welth alsoe welde.

185 PRIMUS MILES. Hit shalbe donne, lord, in hye;
186 shall non be lefte witterlye.
187 We shall goe search by and by
188 in Bethlem all about,
189 and wreake your teene full tenderly,
190 leave non unslayne syckerly.
191 Soe shall we soone that shrewe distroye,
192 and keepe him in the rowte.

Tunc ibunt milites simul.

193 But lookes you rich you to aray;
194 to Bethlem, that borrowe, I am bowne.
195 With this speare I thinke to assaye
196 to kyll manye a smale dongeon.
197 If anye blacke-lypped boyes be in my waye,
198 they shall rewe yt, by Mahound,
199 though all they world would saye nay,
200 I myselfe shall dinge them all downe.

201 If you will wytt what I height,
202 my name is syr Waradrake the knight.
203 Agaynst me dare no man fight,
204 my dintes they so dreade.

205 But fayne would I feight my fill,
206 as fayne as facoune would flye,
207 my lord to wreake at his will
208 and make those dogges to dye.
209 These congeons in there clowtes I will
210 kill and stowtly with strokes them destroye.
211 Shall never on skape by my will;
212 all babbes for that boye, full sore shall they bye.
213 Shall never non overpasse
214 of two yeres age and lesse;
215 and this boy that kinge crowned was-
216 shall non skape bout [scathe].

217 SECUNDUS MILES. And I alsoe, without boaste-
218 though the kingc of Scottes and all his hoste
219 were here-I sett by there boaste,
220 to dryve them downe bydeene.
221 I slewe ten thousand upon a daye
222 of kempes in there best araye;
223 there was not on escaped awaye,
224 my sword yt was so keene.

225 Therfore to me you take good keepe;
226 my name is syr Grymbald Lancherdeepe.
227 They that mee teene I laye to sleepe
228 on evirych a syde.
229 I slewe of kempes, I understand,
230 more then an hundreth thousand.
231 Both on water and on land
232 no man dare mee abyde.

233 Through Bethlem I will springe,
234 for I must nowe at your byddinge;
235 right all downe shall I dinge
236 these laddes everychone.
237 And then that false geldinge
238 that borne was soe yonge,
239 lice shall for nothinge
240 away from us gonne.

241 PRIMUS MILES. Farewell, my lord, and have good-daye.
242 For hardly thus dare I saye-
243 not for noe boast; in good faye,
244 yt is not my manere-
245 I would I might fynd in my waye
246 Sampsoun in his best araye,
247 to lookc whether I durst affraye
248 to fight with him right here.

249 HERODE. Nay, nay, I knowe well or thou sweare
250 that thou arte a doughtye man of warre;
251 and though Sampsoun were here,
252 soone bee should be slayne.
253 But yett, yett my witt is in a were
254 whether you shall fynd that losingere.
255 But speedes you fast for my prayer,
256 and hye you fast agayne.

Tunc ibunt milites et veniet Angelus.

257 ANGELUS. Josephe, aryse and that anon;
258 into Egipte thou must gonne-
259 and Marye alsoe-from your fonne.
260 This is my lordes will.
261 There stayc, lest this child be slayne,
262 tyll I warne thee to come agayne.
263 False Herode would have you fayne,
264 Jesus for to spill.
265 JOSEPHE. A, lord, blessed most thou bee.
266 Thyder anon we will flye.
267 Have we companye of thee,
268 we will hye one our waye.

269 ANGELUS. Yea, companyc we shall you beare
270 tyll that you be commen there.
271 Herode buskes him you to deare
272 as fast as ever lice maye.

273 JOSEPHE. Marye, sustcr, now we must flytt;
274 upon my asse shall thou sytt,
275 into Egipte that wee hitt.
276 The angell will us leade.

277 MARIA. Syr, evermore lowd and still
278 your talent I shall fulfill.
279 I wott yt is my lordes will;
280 I doe as you me read.

281 ANGELUS. Come nowe forth in Godes name.
282 I shall you shcild from all shame;
283 and you shall see, my leeffe dame,
284 a thinge to your likinge.
285 For mahometes both on and all,
286 that men of Egipt godes can call,
287 at your comminge downe shall fall
288 when I beginne to synge.

Tunc ibunt et Angelus cantabit, 'Ecce dominus ascendet super nubem levem,
et ingrediatur Egiptum, et moyebuntur simulachra Egipti
a facie domini exercituum'; et si fueri potent,
[cadet] aliqua statua sive imago.

289 PRIMUS MILES. Have donne, fellowes, [hie] fast,
290 that these queanes weare downe cast,
291 and the children in thrust;
292 and kyll them all to clowetes!

293 SECUNDUS MILES. Yea, syr, we dwell to longe;
294 therfore goe we them amonge.

295 They hopen to have some wronge
296 that gonne soe fast about us.

297 PRIMUS MULIER. Whom callest thou 'queane,' scabde dogge?
298 Thy dame, thy daystard, was never syche.
299 Shee burned a kylne, eych stike;
300 yet did I never non.

301 SECUNDUS MULIER. Bee thou soe hardye, I thee behett,
302 to handle my sonne that is so sweete,
303 this distaffe and thy head shall meete
304 or wee heathen gonne.
305 PRIMUS MILES. Dame, abyde, and lett mee see
306 a knave-child if that yt bee.
307 The kinge hase commanded me
308 all such for to areste.

309 PRIMA MULIER. Arest? Ribott, for-thee
310 thou lyes, by my lewtye.
311 Therfore I read fast that thou flee
312 and lett mee have my peace.

313 SECUNDUS MULIER. Saye, rotten hunter with thy gode,
314 stytton stallon, styck-tode.
315 I rcade that thou no wronge us bode
316 lest thou beaton bee.
317 Wherto should we longer fode?
318 Laye we on them large lode.
319 There bassnetts be bygge and broade;
320 beates on now, letts see.

321 SECUNDUS MILES. Dame, thy sonne, in good faye,
322 hee must of me learne a playe:
323 hee must hopp, or I goe awaye,
324 upon my speare ende.

325 PRIMA MULIER. Owt, owt, and weale-awaye,
326 that ever I abyd this daye!
327 One stroke yett I will assaye
328 to give or that I wend.

329 SECUNDA MULIER. Owt, owt on thee, theife!
330 My love, my lord, my life, my leife,
331 did never man or woman greiffe
332 to suffer such torment!
333 But yet wroken I will bee.
334 Have here on, two, or three.
335 Beare the kinge this from me;
336 and that I yt him sennd.

337 PRIMUS MILES. Come hither to me, dame Parnell,
338 and shewe me here thy sonne snell.
339 For the kynge hase byd mee quell
340 all that we fynd mon.

341 PRIMA MULIER. My sonne? Nay, stronge theiffe.
342 For as I have good preeffe,
343 do thou my child any greiffe,
344 I shall cracke thy crowne.

Tunc Miles trasfodiet primum puerum et super lancea accipiet.

345 Owt, owt, and woe is me!
346 Theeffe, thou shall hanged be.
347 My chyld is dead; now I see
348 my sorrowe may not cease.
349 Thow shall be hanged on a tree
350 and all thy fellowes with thee.
351 All the men in this contree
352 shall not make thy peace.
353 Have thou this, thou fowle harlott
354 and thou knight, to make a knott!
355 And on buffett with this bote
356 thou shalt have to boote.
357 And thow this and thou this,
358 though thou both shyte and pisse!
359 And if thou thinke we doe amysse,
360 goe buskes you to moote.

361 SECUNDUS MILES. Dame, shewe thou me thy child there;
362 hee must hopp uppon my speare.
363 And hit any pintell beare,
364 I must teach him a playe.

365 SECUNDA MULIER. Naye, freake, thou shalt fayle;
366 my child shall thou not assayle.
367 Hit bath two hooles under the tayle;
368 kysse and thou may assaye.

369 Be thou soe hardy, styck-toode,
370 to byde any wronge or boade!
371 For all thy speach and thy goade,
372 I read yee do but good.
373 For and thou do me any harme
374 or my child upon my arme,
375 I shall found to keepe thee warme,
376 bee thou never so wood.

Tunc Secundus Miles transfodict secundum puerum.

377 Owt, owt, owt, owt!
378 You shalbe hanged, the rowte.
379 Theves, be you never so stout,
380 full fowle you have donne.

381 This child was taken to me
382 to looke to. Theves, who binne yee?
383 Hee was not myne, as you shall see;
384 hee was the kinges sonne.

385 I shall tell while I may drey:
386 his child was slayne before my eye.
387 Theeves, ye shall be hanged hye,
388 may I come to his hail.
389 But or I goe, have thou one,
390 and thou another, syr John!
391 For to the kinge I will anon
392 to playne upon you all.

Tunc ibit ad Herodem.

393 Loe, lord, looke and see
394 the child that thou tooke mee.
395 Men of thy owne contrey
396 have slayne yt-here the bine.

397 HERODES (iratus) Fye, boore, fye! God give the pyne!
398 Why didest thou not say that child was myne?
399 But yt is vengeance, as drinke I wyne,
400 and that is now well scene.

401 SECUNDA MULIER. Yes, lord, they see well right
402 thy sonne was like to be a knight.
403 For in gould harnesse hee was dight,
404 paynted wonders gaye.
405 Yett was I never so sore afright,
406 when the theire speares through him thright;
407 lord, so little was my might
408 when they beganne to fraye.
409 HERODES. Hec was right sycker in silke araye,
410 in gould and pyrrie that was so gaye.
411 They might well knowe by this daye
412 he was a kinges sonne.
413 What the divell is this to saye?
414 Whye weare thy wyttes soe farre awaye?
415 Could thow not speake? Could thou not praye
416 and say yt was my sonne?

417 Alas, what the divell is this to meane?
418 Alas, my dayes binne now donne!
419 I wott I must dye soone.
420 Booteles is me to make mone,
421 for dampned I must bee.
422 My legges roten and my armes;
423 that nowe I see of feindes swarmes-
424 I have donne so many harmes-
425 from hell comminge after mee.

426 I have donne so much woo
427 and never good syth I might goo;
428 therfore I se nowe comminge my foe
429 to fetch me to hell.
430 I bequeath here in this place
431 my soule to be with Sathanas.
432 I dye now; alas, alas!
433 I may no longer dwell.

Tunc faciet signum quasi morictur et veniet Demon.

434 DEMON. Warre, warre, for now unwarely wakes your woo!
435 For I am swifter then is the rowe.

436 I am commen to fetch this lord you froe,
437 in woe ever to dwell.
438 And with this crocked crambocke your backes shall I clowe;
439 and all talse beleevers I burne and lowe,
440 that from the crowne of the head to the right tooe
441 I leave noe right whole fell.

442 From Lucifer, that lord, I am sent
443 to fetch this kinges sowle here present
444 into hell, there to bringe him, there to be lent,
445 ever to live in woe;
446 ther fyre burnes bloc and brent.
447 Hee shall there be, this lord, verament.
448 His place evermore therein is bent,
449 his bodye never to goe froe.

450 No more shall you trespas. By my lewtye,
451 that flies there measures falselye
452 shall beare this lord companye;
453 the gett none other grave.
454 I will you bringe thus to woe,
455 and come agayne and fetch moe
456 as fast as I maye goe.
457 Farewell, and have good-daye.

Exit Demon.

458 ANGELUS. Joseph, aryse, and that in hye,
459 for dead is now your enimye.
460 Take Jhesu, the child, and eke Marye
461 and wend into Judye.
462 Herode, that would have had you slayne
463 hee is marred, both might and mayne.
464 Therfore hyes you whome agayne;
465 in peace now you shall be.

466 JOSEPHE. A, lord that madest all of nought,
467 yt is skyll thy will be wrought.
468 Now is bee dead that us hase sought;
469 we shall never cease
470 tyll that we a whome bee
471 agayne in our countree.
472 Now hope we well to live in lee
473 and in full great peace.

474 Marye, sister, we must goe
475 to our land that we came froe.
476 The angell base bydden us soe,
477 my owne deare sweete.
478 On my asse thou shalt bee
479 and my mantell under thee,
480 full easylie, sister, leeve thou mee
481 and that I thee behett.

482 MARIA. I thanke you, syr, as I can.
483 Helpe me that I weare upon.
484 Hee that is both God and man
485 keepe us in this tyde.

486 JOSEPHE. Come hither, deare hart-roote;
487 I shall soone be thy boote.
488 Thou shalt soonne rydc eych foote,
489 and I will goe by thy syde.

490 ANGELUS. Nowe you be readye for to goe-
491 Josephe and Marye alsoe-
492 forsooth I will not departe you froe
493 but helpe you from your foe.
494 And I will make a melodie,
495 and singe here in your companye
496 a worde was sayd in prophecye
497 a thousands yeares agoe:

'Ex Egipto vocavi Filiummeum, ut salvum faciet populum meum.'

498 Finis

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. The Chester Cycle Play X (10) - The Slaying of the Innocents. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.