From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

The Norwich Grocers' Play [TEXT B]

The Storye of the Temptacion of Man in Paradyce, being therin placyd, and the expellynge of
Man and Woman from thence, newely renvid and accordynge unto the Skripture, begon thys
yere Anno 1565, Anno 7. Eliz.

Item. Yt ys to be notyd that when the Grocers Pageant is played withowte eny other goenge befor
yt then doth the Prolocutor say in this wise:

B [First Prologue]

001 [PROLOCUTOR.] Lyke as yt chancyd befor this season,
002 Owte of Godes scripture revealid in playes
003 Was dyvers stories sett furth by reason
004 Of pageantes apparellyd in Wittson dayes;
005 And lately be fal[l]en into decayes;
006 Which stories dependyd in theyr orders sett
007 By severall devices, much knowledge to gett.

008 Begynny[n]g in Genesis, that story repleate
009 Of God his creacion of ech lyvynge thynge,
010 Of heaven and of erth, of fysh smalle and greate,
011 Of fowles, herbe and tre, and of all bestes crepynge,
012 Of angelles, of man, which of erth hath beynge,
013 And of the fall of angelles, in the Apocalips to se;
014 Which stories with the Skriptures most justly agree.

015 Then followed this owr pageant, which sheweth to be
016 The Garden of Eden, which God dyd plante,
017 As in the seconde chapter of Genesis ye se;
018 Wherin of frutes pleasant no kynde therof shulde wante;

019 Oh gyfte of God most goodlye, that hath us made so lyke,
020 *Of angelles, of man, which of erth hath beynge,
021 And of the fall of angelles, in the Apocalips to se;
022 Which stories with the Skriptures most justly agree.

023 Then followed this owr pageant, which sheweth to be
024 The Garden of Eden, which God dyd plante,
025 As in the seconde chapter of Genesis ye se;
026 Wherin of frutes pleasant no kynde therof shulde wante;

027 Oh gyfte of God most goodlye, that hath us made so lyke,*
028 Most lovynge spowse, I muche do here rejoyce of the.

029 WOMAN. And I lykewyse, swete lover, do much reioyce of the.
030 God therefore be praised, such comforte have us gyve
031 That ech of us with other thus pleasantly do lyve.
032 To walke abowt this garden my fantasye me meve;
033 I wyll the leave alone tyll that I turne ageyne;
034 Farewell, myn owne swete spouse, I leave the to remayne.

035 WOMAN. And farewell, my dere lover, whom my hart doth conteyn.

The Serpent speketh.

036 [SERPENT.] Nowe, nowe, of my purpos I dowght nott to atteyne;
037 I can yt nott abyde in theis joyes they shulde be.
038 Naye, I wyll attempt them to syn unto theyr payne;
039 By subtyllty to catch them the waye I do well se;
040 Unto this, angell of lyght I shew mysylfe to be;
041 With hyr for to dyscemble, I fear yt nott at all,
042 Butt that unto my haight some waye I shall hyr call.
043 Oh lady of felicité, beholde my voyce so small!
044 Why have God sayde to you, 'Eate nott of every tre
045 That is within this garden?' Therein now awnswere me.

046 WOMAN. We eate of all the frutte that in the grounde we se,
047 Exepte that in the myddest wherof we may nott taste,
048 For God hath yt forbydd, therfor yt may not be,
049 Lest that we dye the deth and from this place be caste.

050 THE SERPENT. Ye shall not dye the deth; he make you butt agaste;
051 Butt God doth know full well that when you eate of yt,
052 Your eys shall then be openyd and you shall at the last
053 As godes both good and evyll to knowe ye shal be fytt.

054 WOMAN. To be as God indede and in his place to sytt,
055 Thereto for to agre my lust conceyve somewhatt;
056 Besydes the tre is pleasante to gett wysedome and wytt,
057 And nothyng is to be comparyd unto that.

058 THE SERPENTE. Then take at my request, and eate, and fere yt natt.

Here she takyth and eatyth, and Man cumyth in and sayeth unto hyr:

059 MAN. My love, for my solace, I have here walkyd longe.
060 Howe ys yt nowe with you? I pray you do declare.

061 WOMAN. Indede, lovely lover, the Heavenly Kyng most stronge
062 To eate of this apple his angell hath prepare;
063 Take therof at my hande th'other frutes emonge,
064 For yt shall make you wyse and even as God to fare.

Then Man taketh and eatyth and sayethe:

065 [MAN.] Alack! alacke! my spouse, now se I nakid we ar;
066 The presence of owr God we can yt nott abyde.
067 We have broke his precepte he gave us of to care;
068 From God therfor in secrete in some place lett us hide.

069 WOMAN. With fygge-leavis lett us cover us, of God we be nott spyede.

070 THE FATHER. Adam! I saye Adam! Wher art thou nowe this tyde,
071 That here before my presence thou dost nott nowe apere?

072 ADAM. I herde thy voyce, Oh Lorde, but yett I dyd me hide.
073 For that which I am naked I more greatly dyd feare.

074 THE FATHER. Why art thou then nakyd? Who so hath cawsyd the?

075 MAN. This woman, Lord and God, which thou hast gyven to me.

076 THE FATHER. Hast thou eat of the frute that I forbyd yt the?
077 Thow woman, why hast thou done unto him thys trespace?

078 WOMAN. The Serpente diseayvyd me with that his fayer face.

079 THE FATHER. Thow Serpente, why dydst thou this wise prevente my grace,
080 My creatures and servantes in this maner to begyle?

081 THE SERPENTE. My kind is so, thou knowest and that in every case-
082 Clene oute of this place theis persons to exile.

083 THE FATHER. Cursed art for causynge my commandement to defyle,
084 Above all cattell and beastes. Remayne thou in the fylde,
085 Crepe on thy belly and eate duste for this thy subtyll wyle;
086 The womans sede shall overcome the, thus that have I wylde.
087 Thou, Woman, bryngyng chyldren with payne shall be dystylde,
088 And be subject to thy husbonde, and thy lust shall pertayne
089 To hym: I hav determynyd this ever to remayne.

090 And to the, Man, for that my voyce thou didst disdayne,
091 Cursed is the erth for ever for thy sake;
092 Thy lyvyng shall thou gett with swett unto thy payne,
093 Tyll thou departe unto the erth [wherof] I dyd the make.
094 Beholde, theis letherin aprons unto yourselves now take.
095 Lo! Man as one of us hath bene, good and evyll to knowe;
096 Therfor I wyll exempt hyrn from this place to aslake,
097 Lest of the tre of lyfe he eate and ever growe.
098 Myne angell, now cum furth and kepe the waye and porte,
099 Unto the tre of lyffe that they do not resorte.

100 THE AUNGELL. Departe from hence at onys from this place of comforte,
101 No more to have axcesse or elles for to apere.
102 From this place I exile you, that you no more resorte,
103 Nor even do presume ageyne for to corn here.

Then Man and Woman departyth to the nether parte of the pageant and Man sayeth:

104 [MAN.] Alack! myn owne sweteharte, how am I stroke with feare,
105 That from God am exiled, and browght to payne and woo.
106 Oh! what have we lost! Why dyd we no more care,
107 And to what kynde of place shall we resort and goo?

108 WOMAN. Indede into the worlde now must we to and fro,
109 And where or how to rest, I can nott say at all.
110 I am even as ye ar, what so ever me befall.

Then cumeth Dolor and Myserye and taketh Man by both armys and Dolor sayeth:

111 [DOLOR.] Cum furth, O Man, take hold of me!
112 Through envy hast lost thy heavenly lyght
113 By eatinge; in bondage from hence shall be.
114 Now must thou me, Dolor, have allways in sight.

115 MYSERYE. And also of me, Myserye, thou must taste and byte,
116 Of hardenes and of colde and eke of infirmitie;
117 Accordinge to desarte thy portion is, of right,
118 To enjoy that in me that is withoute certentye.

119 ADAM. Thus troublyd, nowe I enter into dolor and miserie.
120 Nowe, Woman, must we lerne owr lyvynges to gett.
121 With labor and with travell; ther is no remedye,
122 Nor eny thyng therfrom we se that maye us lett.

Then cumyth in the Holy Ghost comforting Man and sayeth:

123 [HOLY GHOST.] Be of good cheare, Man, and sorowe no more.
124 This Dolor and Miserie that thou hast taste,
125 Is nott in respect, layd up in store,
126 To the joyes for the that ever shall last.
127 Thy God doth nott this the away to cast,
128 But to try the as gold is tryed in the fyer;
129 In the end, premonyshed, shalt have thy desyre.

130 Take owte of the Gospel that yt the requyre,
131 Fayth in Chryst Jhesu, and grace shaIl ensewe.
132 I wyl be thy guyde and pay the thy hyer
133 For all thy good dylygence and doenge thy dewe.
134 Gyve eare unto me, Man, and than yt ys trewe,
135 Thou shalt kyll affectes that by lust in the reygne
136 And putt Dolor and Mysery and Envy to payne.
137 Theis armors ar preparyd, yf thou wylt turn ageyne,
138 To fyght wyth; take to the, and reach Woman the same;
139 The brest-plate of rightousnes Saynte Paule wyll the retayne;
140 The shylde of faythe to quench, thy fyrye dartes to tame;
141 The hellmett of salvacion the devyles wrath shall lame;
142 And the sworde of the Spright, which is the worde of God-
143 All theis ar nowe the offred to ease thy payne and rodd.

144 ADAM. Oh! prayse to The, Most Holye, that hast with me abode,
145 In mysery premonyshynge by this Thy Holy Spright.
146 Nowe fele I such great comforte, my syns they be unlode
147 And layde on Chrystes back, which is my joye and lyght.
148 This Dolor and this Mysery I fele to me no wight;
149 No! Deth is overcum by forepredestinacion,
150 And we attayned wyth Chryst in heavenly consolacion.
151 Therfor, myne owne swett spous, withouten cavylacion,
152 Together lett us synge, and left our hartes reioyse,
153 And gloryfye owr God wyth mynde, powre, and voyse. Amen.

Old Musick Triplex, Tenor, Medius, Bass:

154 With hart and voyce
155 Let us reioyce
156 And prayse the Lord alwaye
157 For this our joyful! daye,
158 To se of this our God his maiestie,
159 Who hath given himseilfe over us to raygne and to governe us.
160 Left all our harte[s] reioyce together,
161 And left us all lifte up our voyce, on of us with another.

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