From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 4 - Noah and the Flood

1 NOE God of his goodnesse and of grace grounde,
2 By whoys gloryous power allthyng is wrought,
3 In whom all vertu plentevously is founde,
4 Withowtyn whos wyl may be ryth nought,
5 Thy seruauntys saue, Lord, fro synful sownde
6 In wyl, in werk, in dede, and in thouht.
7 Oure welth in woo lete nevyr be fownde;
8 Vs help, Lord, from synne þat we be in brought,
9 Lord God ful of myght.
10 Noe, serys, my name is knowe,
11 My wyff and my chyldere here on rowe;
12 To God we pray with hert ful lowe
13 To plese hym in his syght.

14 In me, Noe, þe Secunde Age
15 Indede begynnyth, as I 3ow say:
16 Afftyr Adam, withoutyn langage,
17 The Secunde Fadyr am I, in fay.
18 But men of levyng be so owtrage,
19 Bothe be nyght and eke be day,
20 þat lesse þan synne be soner swage,
21 God wyl be vengyd on vs sum way,
22 Indede.
23 Ther may no man go þerowte,
24 But synne regnyth in every rowte;
25 In every place rownde abowte
26 Cursydnes doth sprynge and sprede.

27 VXOR NOE Allmyghty God of his gret grace
28 Enspyre men with hertely wyll
29 For to sese of here trespace,
30 For synfull levyng oure sowle xal spyll.
31 Synne offendyth God in his face
32 And agrevyth oure Lorde full ylle.
33 It causyth to man ryght grett manace
34 And scrapyth hym out of lyvys bylle,
35 þat blyssyd book.
36 What man in synne doth allwey sclepp,
37 He xal gon to helle ful depp.
38 Than xal he nevyr aftyr crepp
39 Out of þat brennyng brook.

40 I am 3oure wyff, 3oure childcryn þese be.
41 Onto us tweyn it doth longe
42 Hem to teche in all degré
43 Synne to forsakyn, and werkys wronge.
44 Therffore, fere, for loue of me,
45 Enforme hem wele evyr amonge
46 Synne to forsake, and vanyté,
47 And vertu to folwe þat þei fonge,
48 Oure Lord God to plese.
49 NOE I warne 3ow, childeryn, on and all,
50 Drede oure Lord God in hevy[n] hall,
51 And in no forfete þat we ne fall,
52 Oure Lord for to dysplese.

53 SHEM A, dere fadyr, God forbede
54 þat we xulde do in ony wyse
55 Ony werke of synful dede
56 Oure Lord God þat xulde agryse.
57 My name is Shem, 3oure son of prise;
58 I xal werke aftere 3oure rede.
59 And also, wyff, be weyll awyse
60 Wykkyd werkys þat þu non brede,
61 Nevyr in no degré.
62 VXOR SEEM Forsothe, sere, be Goddys grace,
63 I xal me kepe from all trespace
64 þat xulde offende Goddys face
65 Be help of þe Trynyté.

66 CHAM I am Cham, 3oure secunde son,
67 And purpose me, be Goddys myght,
68 Nevyr suche a dede for to don
69 þat xuld agreve God in syght.
70 VXOR CHAM I pray to God, me grawnt þis bone:
71 That he me kepe in such a plyght,
72 Mornynge, hevenynge, mydday, and none,
73 I to affendyn hym day nor nyght.
74 Lord God, I þe pray,
75 Bothe wakynge and eke in slepe,
76 Gracyous God, þu me keppe
77 þat I nevyr in daunger crepe
78 On dredfull Domysday.

79 JAPHET Japhet, þi jjjde sone, is my name.
80 I pray to God wherso we be
81 þat he vs borwe fro synfull shame,
82 And in vertuous levynge evyrmore kepe me.
83 UXOR JAPHET I am 3oure wyff and pray þe same,
84 þat God vs saue on sonde and se;
85 With no grevauns þat we hym grame,
86 He grawnt vs grace synne to fle.
87 Lord God, now here oure bone.
88 NOE Gracyous God, þat best may,
89 With herty wyl to the we pray
90 þu save us sekyr bothe nyght and day,
91 Synne þat we noon done.

92 DEUS. Ow! What menyht this myslevyng man
93 Whiche myn hand made and byldyd in blysse?
94 Synne so sore grevyht me, 3a, in certayn,
95 I wol be vengyd of þis grett mysse!
96 Myn aungel dere, þu xalt gan
97 To Noe, þat my servaunt is.
98 A shypp to make on hond to tan
99 þu byd hym swyth for hym and his,
100 From drynchyng hem to save.
101 For, as I am God of myght,
102 I xal dystroye þis werd downryght.
103 Here synne so sore grevyht me in syght,
104 þei xal no mercy haue.

105 Fecisse hominem nunc penitet me:
106 þat I made man sore doth me rewe.
107 Myn handwerk to sle sore grevyth me,
108 But þat here synne here deth doth brewe.
109 Go sey to Noe as I bydde þe:
110 Hymself, his wyf, his chylderyn trewe,
111 Tho viij sowlys in shyp to be,
112 Thei xul not drede be flodys flowe;
113 þe flod xal harme them nowht.
114 Of all fowlys and bestys thei take a peyre,
115 In shypp to saue bothe foule and fayere
116 From all dowtys and gret dyspeyre,
117 This vengeauns, or it be wrought.

Angelus ad Noe:

118 Noe, Noe, a shypp loke þu make,
119 And many a chaumbyr þu xalt haue þerinne.
120 Of euery kyndys best a cowpyl þu take
121 Within þe shyppbord, here lyvys to wynne.
122 For God is sore grevyd with man for his synne,
123 þat all þis wyde werd xal be dreynt with flood;
124 Saff þu and þi wyff xal be kept from þis gynne,
125 And also þi chylderyn with here vertuys good.

126 NOE How xuld I haue wytt a shypp for to make?
127 I am of ryght grett age: VC 3ere olde!
128 It is not for me þis werk to vndyrtake;
129 For feynnesse of age my leggys gyn folde!
130 ANGELUS This dede for to do be bothe blythe and bolde.
131 God xal enforme þe and rewle þe ful ryght.
132 Of byrd and of beste take, as I þe tolde,
133 A peyr into þe shypp and God xal þe qwyght.

134 NOE I am ful redy, as God doth me bydde,
135 A shypp for to make be myght of his grace.
136 Alas, þat for synne it xal so be betydde
137 þat vengeauns of flood xal werke þis manase.
138 God is sore grevyd with oure grett tresspas,
139 þat with wylde watyr þe werd xal be dreynt.
140 A shypp for to make now lete us hens pas,
141 þat God a3ens us of synne haue no compleynt.

Hic transit Noe cum familia sua pro naui, quo exeunte locum interludii sub intret statim Lameth conductus ab adolescente; et di [cit]:

142 LAMETH Gret mornyng I make and gret cause I haue!
143 Alas, now I se not: for age I am blynde.
144 Blyndenes doth make me of wytt for to rave;
145 Whantynge of eyesyght in peyn doth me bynde!
146 Whyl I had syht þer myht nevyr man fynde
147 My pere of archerye in all þis werd aboute.
148 For 3itt schet I nevyr at hert, are, nere hynde
149 But yf þat he deyd, of þis no man haue doute.

150 Lameth þe good archere my name was ovyrall;
151 For þe best archere myn name dede evyr sprede.
152 Record of my boy here, wytnes þis he xal:
153 What merk þat were set me, to deth it xuld blede.
154 ADOLESCENS It is trewe, maystyr, þat 3e seyn, indede.
155 For þat tyme 3e had 3oure bowe bent in honde,
156 If þat 3oure prycke had be half a myle in brede,
157 3e wolde þe pryk han hitte if 3e ny had stonde.

158 LAMETH I xuld nevyr a faylid what marke þat evyr were sett
159 Whyl þat I myght loke and had my clere syght.
160 And 3itt, as methynkyht, no man xuld shete bett
161 Than I xuld do now, if myn hand were sett aryght.
162 Aspye som marke, boy, my bowe xal I bende wyght;
163 And sett myn hand euyn to shete at som best.
164 And I dar Icy a wagour his deth for to dyght.
165 þe marke xal I hitt, my lyff do I best.

166 ADOLESCENS Vndyr 3on grett busche, maystyr, a best do I se.
167 Take me þin hand swyth and holde it ful stylle.
168 Now is þin hand evyn as euyr it may be.
169 Drawe up þin takyll 3on best for to kylle.
170 LAMETH My bowe xal I drawe ryght with herty wylle;
171 This brod arwe I shete, þat best for to sayll.
172 Now haue at þat busch 3on best for to spylle.
173 A sharppe schote I shote; þerof I xal not fayll.

174 CAYM Out, out and alas! Myn hert is onsondyr!
175 With a brod arwe I am ded and sclayn!
176 I dye here on grounde, myn hert is all to tundyr;
177 With þis brod arwe it is clovyn on twayn!
178 LAMETH Herke, boy, cum telle me þe trewth in certeyn,
179 What man is he þat þis cry doth þus make?
180 ADOLESCENS Caym þu hast kyllyd, I telle þe ful pleyn;
181 With þi sharp shetyng his deth hath he take.

182 LAMETH Haue I slayn Cayme? Alas, what haue I done?
183 þu stynkynge lurdeyn, what hast þu wrought?
184 þu art þe why I scle hym so sone;
185 þerfore xal I kyll þe here--þu skapyst nowght!

Hic Lameth cum arcu suo verberat adolescentem ad mortem, dicente adolescente:

186 ADOLESCENS Out, out, I deye here! My deth is now sought!
187 þis theffe with his bowe hath broke my brayn!
188 þer may non helpe be, my dethe is me brought.
189 Ded here I synke down as man þat is sclayn.

190 LAMETH Alas, what xal I do, wrecch wykkyd on woolde?
191 God wyl be vengyd ful sadly on me:
192 For deth of Caym I xal haue vij-folde
193 More peyn þan he had þat Abell dede sle!
194 These to mennys deth ful sore bought xal be:
195 Vpon all my blood God wyll venge þis dede.
196 Wherefore, sore wepyng, hens wyl I fle,
197 And loke where I may best my hede sone heyde.

Hic recedat Lameth et statim intrat Noe cum naui cantantes.

198 NOE With doolful hert, syenge sad and sore,
199 Grett mornyng I make for this dredful flood!
200 Of man and of best is dreynte many a skore;
201 All þis werd to spyll þese flodys be ful wood.
202 And all is for synne of mannys wylde mood
203 þat God hath ordeyned þis dredfull yengeaunce.
204 In þis flood spylt is many a mannys blood.
205 For synfull levynge of man we haue gret grevauns!

206 All þis hundryd 3ere ryght here haue I wrought
207 This schypp for to make as God dede byd me.
208 Of all maner bestys a copyll is in brought,
209 Within my shyppborde on lyve for to be.
210 Ryght longe God hath soferyd amendyng to se;
211 All þis hundryd 3ere God hath shewyd grace.
212 Alas, fro gret syn man wyl not fle;
213 God doth þis vengeauns for oure gret trespase.

214 VXOR NOE Alas, for gret ruthe of þis gret vengeaunce!
215 Gret doyl it is to se þis watyr so wyde.
216 But 3it thankyd be God of þis ordenaunce,
217 þat we be now savyd, on lyve to abyde.
218 SEEM For grett synne of lechory all þis doth betyde.
219 Alas, þat evyr such synne xulde be wrought!
220 þis flood is so gret on every a syde
221 þat all þis wyde werd to care is now brought.

222 VXOR SEEM Becawse [þe] chylderyn of God, þat weryn good,
223 Dede forfete ryght sore what tyme þat þei were
224 Synfully compellyd to Caymys blood,
225 Therfore be we now cast in ryght grett care.
226 CHAM For synful levynge þis werde doth forfare;
227 So grevous vengeauns myght nevyr man se.
228 Ouyr all þis werd wyde fer is no plot bare;
229 With watyr and with flood God vengyd wyll be.

230 VXOR CHAM Rustynes of synne is cawse of þese wawys.
231 Alas, in þis flood þis werd xal be lorn!
232 For offens to God, brekyng his lawys,
233 On rokkys ryght sharp is many a man torn.
234 JAPHET So grevous flodys were nevyr 3ett beforn.
235 Alas, þat lechory þis vengeauns doth gynne!
236 It were well bettyr euyr to be vnborn
237 Than for to forfetyn evyrmore in þat synne.

238 VXOR JAPHET Oure Lord God I thanke of his gret grace,
239 þat he doth us saue from þis dredful payn.
240 Hym for to wurchipe in euery stede and place
241 We beth gretly bownde with myght and with mayn.
242 NOE XIti days and nyghtys hath lasted þis rayn,
243 And xlti days þis grett flood begynnyth to slake.
244 This crowe xal I sende out to seke sum playn;
245 Good tydyngys to brynge þis massage I make.

Hic emittat coruum et, parum expectans, iterum dicat:

246 This crowe on sum careyn is fall for to ete;
247 þerfore a newe masangere I wyll forth now sende.
248 Fly forth, þu fayr dove, ovyr fcse watyrys wete
249 And aspye afftere sum drye lond oure mornyng to amend.

Hic euolet columba, qua rede[u]nte cum ramo viridi oliue:

250 Joye now may we make of myrth þat yet were frende.
251 A grett olyve bush þis dowe doth us brynge.
252 For joye of þis tokyn ryght hertyly we tende
253 Oure Lord God to worchep: a songe lete vs synge.

Hic decantent has versus: Mare vidit et fugit, Jordanis conuersus est retrorsum. Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. Et sic recedant cum naui.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 4 - Noah and the Flood. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.