From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

The Norwich Grocers' Play [Text A]

The Story of the Creacion of Eve, with the expellyng of Adam and Eve out of Paradyce.

001 PATER. Ego principium Alpha et O in altissimis habito:
002 In the hevenly empery I am resydent.
003 Yt ys not semely for man, sine adjutorio,
004 To be allone, nor very convenyent.
005 I have plantyd an orcheyard most congruent
006 For hym to kepe and to tylle, by contemplacion:
007 Let us make an adjutory of our formacion

008 To hys symylutude, lyke in plasmacion.
009 Into Paradyce I wyll nowe descende
010 With my mynysters angeicall of our creacion
011 To assyst us in owr worke that we intende,
012 A slepe into man be soporacion to sende.
013 A rybbe out of mannys syde I do here take;
014 Bothe flesche and bone I do thys creatur blysse;
015 And a woman I fourme, to be his make,
016 Semblable to man; beholde, here she ys.

017 ADAM. O my Lorde God, incomprehensyble, withowt mysse,
018 Ys thy hyghe excellent magnyficens.
019 Thys creature to me ys nunc ex ossibus meis,
020 And virago I call hyr in thy presens,
021 Lyke onto me in natural preemynens.
022 Laude, honor, and glory to the I make.
023 Both father and mother man shall for hyr forsake.

024 PATER. Than my garden of plesure kepe thou suer.
025 Of all frutes and trees shall thou etc and fede,
026 Except thys tre of connyng, whyle ye bothe indure;
027 Ye shall not touche yt, for that I forbede.

028 ADAM. Thy precept, Lorde, in will, worde, and dede
029 Shall I observe, and thy request fulfyll
030 As thou hast commandyd, yt ys reason and skyll.

031 PATER. Thys tre ys callyd of connyng good and yll;
032 That day that ye ete therof shall ye dye,
033 Morte moriemini, yf that I do you aspye.

034 Showe thys to thy spowse nowe bye and bye.
035 I shall me absent for a tyme and space;
036 A warned man may live: who can yt denye?
037 I make the lord thereof; kepe wyll my place;
038 If thou do thys, thou shall have my grace;
039 Into mortalité shall thou elles falle.
040 Looke thow be obedyent whan I the calle.

041 ADAM. Omnipotent God and hygh Lord of all,
042 I am thy servante, bownde onder thyn obedyens,
043 And thou my creatour, one God eternall;
044 What thou commandest, I shall do my dylygens.

045 PATER. Here I leve the, to have experyens,
046 To use thys place in vertuse occupacion,
047 For nowe I wyll retorne to myn habitacion.

048 ADAM. O lovely spowse of Godes creacion,
049 I leve the here alone, I shall not tary longe,
050 For I wyll walk a whyle for my recreacion
051 And se over Paradyce, that ys so stronge.
052 Nothyng may hurt us nor do us wronge;
053 God ys owr protectour and soverayn guyde;
054 In thys place non yll thyng may abyde.

055 SERPENS. O gemme of felicyté and femynyne love,
056 Why hathe God under precept prohybyte thys frute,
057 That ye shuld not ete therof to your behofe?
058 Thys tre ys plesant withowten refute.

059 EVA. Ne forte we shuld dye, and than be mortall;
060 We may not towche yt, by Godes commandement.

061 SERPENS. Nequaquam, ye shall not dye perpetuall,
062 But ye shuld be as godes resydent,
063 Knowyng good and yll spyrytuall;
064 Nothyng can dere you þat ys carnall.

065 EVA. For us than nowe what hold you best,
066 That we do not owr God offende?

067 SERPENS. Eate of thys apple at my requeste.
068 To the Almyghty God dyd me send.

069 EVA. Nowe wyll I take therof; and I entend
070 To please my spowse, therof to fede,
071 To knowe good and ylle for owr mede.

072 ADAM. I have walkyd abought for my solace;
073 My spowse, howe do you? tell me.

074 EVA. An angell cam from Godes grace
075 And gaffe me an apple of thys tre.
076 Part therof I geffe to the;
077 Eate therof for thy pleasure,
078 For thys frute ys Godes own treasure.

079 PATER. Adam, Adam, wher art thou thys tyde?
080 Byfore my presens why dost thou not apere?

[There is a gap in the manuscript at this point.]


Aftyr that Adam and Eve be drevyn owt of Paradyse they schall speke thys foloyng:

081 ADAM. O with dolorows sorowe we maye wayle and weepe!
082 Alas, alas, whye ware we soo bolde?
083 By owr fowle presumpsyon we are cast full deepe,
084 Fro pleasur to payn, with carys manyefold.

085 EVA. With wonderous woo, alas! it cane not be told;
086 Fro Paradyse to ponyschment and bondage full strong.
087 O wretches that we are, so euer we xall be inrollyd;
088 Therfor owr handes we may wrynge with most dullfull song.

And so thei xall syng, walkyng together about the place, wryngyng ther handes.

089 Wythe dolorous sorowe, we maye wayle and wepe
090 Both nyght and daye in sory sythys full depe.

N.B. These last 2 lines set to musick twice over and again, for a chorus of 4 pts.

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Proper Citation: The Norwich Grocers' Play [Text A]. At From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. NeCastro, Gerard, ed. Date Visited.