From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

The Chester Cycle Play XI (11) - The Purification of the Virgin

THE BLACKSMYTHES PLAYE
Pagina Undecima: De Purificatione Beatae Virginiis

001 SYMEON. Mightie God, have mynd on me,
002 that most art in majestee.
003 For many a winter have I bee
004 preist in Jerusalem.
005 Mych teene and incommoditie
006 followeth age, full well I see;
007 and nowe that fytt may I not flee,
008 thinke me never so swem.

009 When I am dead and layd in claye,
010 wend I mote the same waye
011 that Abraham went, the sooth to saye,
012 and in his bosome be.
013 But heaven-blysse after my daye-
014 tyll Godes Sonne come, the sooth to say,
015 to ransome his folke, in better araye
016 to blysse come never wee.

017 That Christe shall come well I wott,
018 but daye nor tyme may noe man wott.
019 Therfore my booke looke I mott,
020 my hart to glad and light.
021 When Esaye sayth I will see,
022 for well I wott how yt shalbe;
023 or I deed, well were me
024 of him to have a syght.

Tunc respitiens librum legat prophetiam:
'Ecce virgo concipiet et pariet fllium' etc.

025 A, lord, mich is thy power;
026 a wonder I fynd written here.
027 It sayth a mayden clean and cleare
028 shall conceive and beare
029 a sonne called Emanuell.
030 But of this leeve I never a deale;
031 it is wronge written, as have I heale,
032 or elles wonder yt were.

033 He that wrote this was a fonne
034 to writte 'a virgin' hereupon
035 that should conceive without helpe of man;
036 this writinge mervayles me.
037 I will scrape this awaye anon;
038 thereas 'a virgin' is written on
039 I will write 'a good woman'-
040 for so yt should be.

Tunc fabricabit librum quasi deleret hoc verbum (virgo);
et post ponit librum super altare.
Et veniet Angelus et accipiet librum, faciens signum quasi scriberet;
et claudet librum et vuanesset; et dicat Anna Vidua.

041 ANNA VIDUA. Simeon, father, sooth I see
042 that Christe shall come, our boote to be,
043 from the Father in majestie
044 on mankynd for to myne.
045 And when he comes, leeves you mee,
046 hee will have mercye and pittie
047 on his folke, to make them free
048 and salve them of there synne.
049 SIMEON. The tyme of his comynge knowe I nought;
050 yett manye bookes have I sought.
051 But wonderlye hee that this writinge wrought,
052 and marvell thinkes mee.
053 My booke to looke yf I fynde ought
054 what maner mankynde shalbe
055 bought and what tyme yt shalbe.

Tunc accipiet librum et admirando dicat:

056 A, lord, how may this be? Todaye
057 that I wrote last I fynd awaye
058 and of red letters in stowte araye
059 'a virgin' written therin.
060 Nay, faye, after I will assaye
061 whether this miracle be verey,
062 and scrape this word written so gaye
063 and write 'a good woman.'

Tunc iterum fabricat ut antea.

064 Dame Anne, thou may se well here
065 this is amended in good manere;
066 for a wonder thinge yt weare
067 to fall by any waye.
068 Therfore, as yt was amisse,
069 I have written that soother ys:
070 that 'a good woman' shall iwys
071 conceive, and not a maye.

Tunc ponit librum super altare, et faciet Angelus ut antea.

072 ANNA. Syr, marvayle yoe nothinge thereon;
073 forsooth God will take kynd in man.
074 Through his godhead ordayne hee can
075 a mayd a child to beare.
076 For to that high comly kinge
077 impossible is nothinge.
078 Therfore I leeve yt no leasinge,
079 but sooth all that is here.

080 SIMEON. My faye, yet eft will I see
081 whether my letters changed be.

Accipiet librum.

082 A, hye God in Trinitee,
083 honored be thou aye.
084 For goulden letters, by my lewtye,
085 are written through Godes postie
086 syth I layd my booke from mee
087 and my writinge awaye,

088 thereas 'a good woman' written was
089 right nowe here before my face;
090 yet stirred I not owt of this place,
091 and my letter changed is.

092 This must be needes by Godes grace,
093 for an angell this written hase.
094 Nowe leeve I a mayd in this case
095 shall beare a barron of blysse.

096 Now, lord, syth that yt so is-
097 that thou wilt be borne with blisse
098 of a mayd that never did amysse-
099 on mee, lord, thou have mynd.
100 Lett me never death tast, lord full of grace,
101 tyll I have seene thy childes face
102 that prophecied is here in this place
103 to kever all mankinde.

104 ANGELUS. Simeon, I tell thee sickerly
105 that Godes owne ghost am I,
106 common to warne thee witterly:
107 death shall thou never see
108 tyll thou have seene Christe verey
109 that borne is of meaden Marye
110 and common mankynd for to forbye.

111 SIMEON. A, lord, I thanke thee of thy grace
112 that thy goste sent to mee hase.
113 Nowe hope I syckerlye in this place
114 thy Sonne for to see,
115 that of a virgin must be borne
116 to save mankynd that was forlorne,
117 as Esaues bookes tould me beforne.
118 Lord, blessed must thou bee.

Tunc Simeon sedebit expectans consolationem;
de alio loco [procull] a templo

119 MARIA. Joseph, my owne trewe fere,
120 now redde I-if your will weare-
121 syth fortye dayes are gonne entere,
122 the temple that wee goe to
123 and, Moyses lawe for to fulfill,
124 my sonne to offer Simeon tyll.
125 I wott well that yt is Godes will
126 that we nowe soe doe.

127 JO S EPHE. Yea, Marye, though yt be no neede-
128 syth thou art cleane in thought and deede-
129 yett yt is good to do as God bade
130 and worke after his sawe,
131 and to the temple that we goe
132 and take with us dove-byrdes two
133 or a turtle to offer too,
134 and soe fulfill Goddes lawe.

135 MARIA. Ryghtwise Simeon, God thee see!
136 Here am I common here to thee
137 purified for to be
138 with myld harte and meeke.
139 Receave my sonne nowe at mee
140 and to my offringe bryddes three,
141 as falles, syr, for your degree
142 and for your office eke.

143 JOSEPHE. A signe I offer here alsoe
144 of virgin waxe, as other moo,
145 in tokeninge shee hase lived oo
146 in full devotion.
147 And, syr Simeon, leeve well this:
148 as cleane as this waxe nowe is,
149 as cleane is my wife, iwys,
150 of all corruption.

Tunc Simeon accipiet puerum in ulnas.

151 SIMEON. Welcome, Christ my saviour!
152 Welcome, mankyndes conqueroure!
153 Welcome, of all fruites the flowre,
154 welcome with all my harte!
155 To thee worshippe, joye, and honour!
156 For nowe I see my saviour
157 is commen to leech my langour
158 and bringe me unto blys.

159 Though I bere thee nowe, sweete wight,
160 thou rulest mee as yt is right;
161 for through thee I have mayne and myght
162 more then through waye of kynde.
163 Therfore a songe, as I have tyght,
164 and laudes to thee with hart right
165 I will shewe here in thy sight;
166 of mee, lord, thou have mynde.

Tunc cantabit 'Nunc dimittis servum tuum, domine' etc.

167 Nowe, lord, lett thy servant bee
168 after thy word in peace and lee,
169 for with my eyes nowe I see
170 thou art mankyndes heale.
171 And thou hast ordayned there thy postie
172 to people which thou hast pittie.
173 Lightninge is commen nowe through thee
174 and joye to Israell.

175 And Marye, mother, to thee I saye:
176 thy sonne that I have scene todaye
177 is commen-I tell thee in good faye-
178 for fallinge of many fonne;
179 and to releeve in good araye
180 manye a man, as hee well maye,
181 in Israell or hee wend awaye
182 that shall leeve him upon.

183 Manye signes hee shall shewe
184 in which untrewe shall non trowe.
185 And suffer thou shalt many a throwe,
186 for sword of sorrowe it shall goe
187 through thy hart, that men shall knowe
188 thoughtes in harte-on a rowe-
189 of men that shall contrarye you
190 and found to worke thee woe.

191 ANNA VIDUA. And I acknowledge to thee, lord, here:
192 to leeve on thee through thy power,
193 that fore score and fore yeares
194 hase send me might and grace
195 to live in pennance and prayer.
196 Nowe wott I well withowten were
197 that thou art Christ in godhead cleare,
198 in thee wholey thou hast.

199 And openly here sooth I saye
200 to all thy people that I see maye-
201 the which have wayted many a daye
202 after thee, saviour-
203 that thou art commen, Christ verey;
204 this wott I well by many a way.
205 Therfore I honour thee now and aye,
206 my Christ, my creatour.

207 MARIA. Josephe, husband leeffe and deare,
208 our child is gonne upon his waye.
209 My harte were light and hee weare here;
210 lett us goe seech him, I thee praye.
211 For sodenlye hee went his waye
212 and left us both in Jerusalem-
213 greatly in likinge manye a day-
214 that wilbe lord over all the realme.

215 [JOSEPH]. Marye, of myrthes we may us meane,
216 and truely tell betwixt us two
217 of fearly sightes that wee have seene
218 syth wee came the cittye froe.

219 [MARYE]. Deare Josephe, you will not weene
220 syth our child hath binne us with-
221 homward I read, I read we hye-
222 hee kept us both from growne and gryth.
223 In all the might that ever we maye-
224 for dread of wicked companye,
225 lest any us meete upon the waye-
226 homwarde therfore I read wee hye.

227 PRIMUS DOCYOR. Here our reason right on a rowe,
228 you clarkes that be of great cunninge:
229 methinkes this child will learne our lawe;
230 hee taketh great tent to our talkinge.
231 DEUS. You clearkes that be of great degree,
232 unto my talkinge you take good heede.
233 My Father that sitteth in majestie,
234 hee knowes your workes in thought and deede.
235 My Father and I together bee
236 in on godhead withouten dread.
237 We be both on in certayntie,
238 all these workes to rule and reade.

239 PRIMUS DOCYOR. Hearkes this child in his bourdinge!
240 Hee weenes hee kennes more then hee knowes.
241 Certes, sonne, thou art over-yonge
242 by cleargie cleane to knowe our lawes.
243 Therefore, if thou wouldest never so fayne,
244 further in age tyll thou have drawe-
245 yett art thou neither of might nor mayne
246 to knowe yt as a clarke might knowe.

247 SECUNDUS DOCYOR. And thou wilt speake of Moyses lawe,
248 take good heede and thou may see,
249 in case be that thou can knowe,
250 here in this booke that written bee.

251 DEUS. The kingdome of heaven is in me light
252 and hath me annoynted as a leach,
253 and given me playne power and might
254 the kingdome of heaven to tell and teach.

255 SECUNDUS DOCYOR. Behould how hee hase learned our lawes,
256 and he learned never on booke to reade.

257 Methinkes hee sayes suttle [sawes]
258 and very trueth, if you take heede.

259 TERTIUS DOCYOR. Lett him wend forth on his wayes;
260 for and he dwell, withouten dread,
261 the people full sonne will him prayse
262 well more then wee, for all our deede.

263 PRIMUS DOCYOR. This is nothinge to my entent;
264 such speach to spend I read we spare.
265 And wyde in world as I have went,
266 yett found I never so farrely fare.

267 SECUNDUS DOCYOR. By matters that this child hath ment
268 to knowe our lawes, both lesse and more,
269 owt of heaven I hope him sent
270 into the earth to salve our sore.

271 DEUS. You that be maisters of Moyses lawe
272 and worthye doctours of great degree,
273 one commandment you to me shewe
274 that God on earth bade kept should be.

275 PRIMUS DOCYOR. I read this is the first biddinge,
276 and is the most in Moyses lawe:
277 to love our God above all thinge
278 with all our might and all our lawe.

279 DEUS. That for to do, looke yee be bayne
280 with all your harte with good intent.
281 Take you not his name in vayne;
282 this is my Fathers commandment.

283 Alsoe you honour your holye daye;
284 no workes save almes-deedes you doe.
285 These three, the certayne for to saye,
286 the first table belongen to.
287 Alsoe father and mother worshippe aye.
288 Take no mans goodes without the right.
289 All false witnesse you put awaye,
290 and slea no man by day nor night.

291 Envy do by no woman,
292 to do her shame by night or daye.
293 Other mens wives desyre you not;
294 all such desyres you put awaye.
295 Looke ye ne steale by night nor daye,
296 whatsoever that you be lent.
297 These wordes understand you maye;
298 they are my Fathers commandment.

299 TERTIUS DOCYOR. Syr, this child of mycle pryce
300 which is yonge and tender of age,
301 I hould him sent from the high justice
302 to wynne agayne our heritage.

303 MARIA. Nowe blessed be hee us hither brought;
304 in land lyves non so bright.

305 See where hee sittes thatt wee have sought
306 amonge yonder maisters micle of might.
307 Wend forth, Josephe, upon your waye
308 and fetch our sonne-and lett us fare-
309 that sytteth with yonder doctours gaye;
310 for we have had of him great care.

311 JOSEPHE. Marye, wife, thou wottes right well
312 that I must all my traveyle teene;
313 with men of might I cannot mell,
314 that syttes soe gaye in furres fine.

315 MARIA. My deareworthy sonne, to mee so deare,
316 wee have you sought full wonder wyde.
317 I am right glad that you be here,
318 that we found you in this tyde.

319 DEUS. Mother, full ofte I tould you tyll:
320 my Fathers workes, for wayle or woe,
321 hither was I sent for to fuffill;
322 that must I needes doe or I goe.

323 MARIA. They sawes, sonne, as have I heale,
324 [I] can nothinge understand.
325 I shall thinke on them full well
326 and fownd to doe that the command.

327 ANGELUS. Now have you hard, all in this place,
328 that Christ is commen through his grace-
329 as holye Esau prophecied hase-
330 and Symeon hase him seene.
331 Leeve you well this, lordes of might,
332 and keepe you all his lawes of right,
333 that you may in his blisse so bright
334 evermore with him to leene.

335 Finis

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. The Chester Cycle Play XI (11) - The Purification of the Virgin. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.