From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 5 - Abraham's Sacrifice of Isaac

Introitus Abrahe et cetera.

1 [ABRAHAM] Most myghty makere of sunne and of mone,
2 Kyng of Kyngys and Lord ouyr all,
3 Allmyghty God in hevyn trone,
4 I þe honowre and evyrmore xal.
5 My Lord, my God, to þe I kall;
6 With herty wyll, Lord, I þe pray,
7 In synfull lyff lete me nevyr fall,
8 But lete me leve evyr to þi pay.

9 Abraham my name is kydde,
10 And patryarke of age ful olde.
11 And 3it be þe grace of God is bredde
12 In myn olde age a chylde full bolde.
13 Ysaac, lo, here his name is tolde,
14 My swete sone þat stondyth me by.
15 Amongys all chylderyn þat walkyn on wolde
16 A louelyer chylde is non, trewly.

17 I thanke God with hert well mylde
18 Of his gret mercy and of his hey grace,
19 And pryncepaly for my suete chylde,
20 þat xal to me do gret solace.
21 Now, suete sone, fayre fare þi face;
22 Ful hertyly do I love the.
23 For trewe herty love now in þis place,
24 My swcte childe, com kysse now me.

25 YSAAC. At 3oure byddynge 3oure mouthe I kys.
26 With lowly hert I 3ow pray,
27 3oure fadyrly love lete me nevyr mysse,
28 But blysse me, 3oure chylde, both nyght and day.
29 ABRAHAM. Almyghty God þat best may,
30 His dere blyssyng he graunt þe.
31 And my blyssyng þu haue allway
32 In what place þat evyr þu be.

33 Now, Isaac, my sone so suete,
34 Almyghty God loke þu honoure,
35 Wich þat made both drye and wete,
36 Shynyng sunne and scharpe schoure.
37 Thu art my suete childe and paramoure;
38 Ful wele in herte do I þe loue.
39 Loke þat þin herte in hevyn toure
40 Be sett, to serve oure Lord God above.

41 In þi 3onge lerne God to plese,
42 And God xal quyte þe weyl þi mede.
43 Now, suete sone, of wordys these
44 With all þin hert þu take good hede.
45 Now fareweyl, sone, God be þin spede,
46 Evyn here at hom þu me abyde.
47 I must go walkyn, for I haue nede;
48 I come a3en withinne a tyde.

49 YSAAC. I pray to God, Fadyr of Myght,
50 þat he 3ow spede in all 3oure waye.
51 From shame and shenshipp day and nyht
52 God mote 3ow kepe in 3oure jornay.
53 ABRAHAM. Now fareweyll, sone. I þe pray,
54 Evyr in þin hert loke God þu wynde.
55 Hym to serue bothe nyght and day
56 I pray to God send þe good mynde.

57 Ther may no man love bettyr his childe
58 þan Isaac is lovyd of me.
59 Almyghty God, mercyful and mylde,
60 For my swete son I wurchyp þe.
61 I thank þe, Lord, with hert ful fre
62 For þis fayr frute þu hast me sent.
63 Now, gracyous God, wherso he be,
64 To saue my sone evyrmore be bent.

65 Dere Lord, I pray to þe also,
66 Me to saue for þi seruuaunte,
67 And sende me grace nevyr for to do
68 Thyng þat xulde be to þ[e] displesaunte.
69 Bothe for me and for myn infaunte
70 I pray þe, Lord God, vs to help.
71 Thy gracyous goodnes þu us grawnt,
72 And saue þi serwaunt from helle qwelp.

73 ANGELUS Abraham! How, Abraham!
74 Lyst and herke weyll onto me.
75 ABRAHAM. Al redy, sere, here I am.
76 Tell me 3oure wyll, what þat it be.
77 ANGELUS Almyghty God þus doth bydde þe:
78 Ysaac þi sone anon þu take,
79 And loke hym þu slee anoon, lete se;
80 And sacrafice to God hym make!

81 Thy wel-belouyd childe þu must now kylle.
82 To God þu offyr hym, as I say,
83 Evyn vpon 3on hey hylle
84 þat I þe shewe here in þe way.
85 Tarye not be nyght nor day,
86 But smertly þi gate þu goo.
87 Vpon 3on hille þu knele and pray
88 To God, and kylle þe childe þer and scloo.

89 ABRAHAM. Now Goddys comaundement must nedys be done--
90 All his wyl is wourthy to be wrought.
91 But 3itt þe fadyr to scle þe sone,
92 Grett care it causyth in my thought!
93 In byttyr bale now am I brought,
94 My swete childe with knyf to kyile.
95 But 3it my sorwe avaylith ryght nowth,
96 For nedys I must werke Goddys wylle.

97 With evy hert I walke and wende,
98 My childys deth now for to be.
99 Now must þe fadyr his suete sone schende.
100 Alas, for ruthe, it is peté!
101 My swete sone, come hedyr to me.
102 How, Isaac, my sone dere!
103 Com to þi fadyr, my childe so fre,
104 For we must wende togedyr in fere.

105 ISAAC All redy, fadyr, evyn at 3oure wyll,
106 And at 3oure byddyng I am 3ow by.
107 With 3ow to walk ovyr dale and hill
108 At 3oure callyng I am redy.
109 To þe fadyr evyr most comly
110 It ovyth þe childe evyr buxom to be.
111 I wyl obey ful hertyly
112 To allthyng þat 3e bydde me.

113 ABRAHAM. Now, son, in þi necke þis fagot þu take,
114 And þis fyre bere in þinne honde.
115 For we must now sacrefyse go make,
116 Evyn aftyr þe wyll of Goddys sonde.
117 Take þis brennyng bronde,
118 My swete childe, and lete us go.
119 Ther may no man þat levyth in londe
120 Haue more sorwe than I haue wo.

121 YSAAC. Fayre fadyr, 3e go ryght stylle.
122 I pray 3ow, fadyr, speke onto me.
123 ABRAHAM. Mi gode childe, what is þi wylle?
124 Telle me thyn hert, I pray to the.
125 YSAAC. Fadyr, fyre and wood here is plenté,
126 But I kan se no sacryfice.
127 What 3e xulde offre fayn wold I se,
128 þat it were don at þe best avyse.

129 ABRAHAM. God xal þat ordeyn, þat sytt in hevynne,
130 My swete sone, for þis offryng.
131 A derere sacryfice may no man nempne
132 þan þis xal be, my dere derlyng.
133 YSAAC. Lat be, good fadyr, 3oure sad wepynge;
134 3oure hevy cher agrevyth me sore.
135 Tell me, fadyr, 3oure grett mornyng,
136 And I xal seke sum help þerfore.

137 ABRAHAM. Alas, dere sone, for nedys must me
138 Evyn here be kylle, as God hath sent!
139 Thyn owyn fadyr þi deth must be--
140 Alas, þat evyr þis bowe was bent!
141 With þis fyre bryght þu must be brent,
142 An aungelle seyd to me ryght so.
143 Alas, my chylde, þu xalt be shent;
144 þi careful fadyr must be þi fo.

145 YSAAC. Almyghty God of his grett mercye,
146 Fulhertyly I thanke þe, sertayne.
147 At Goddys byddyng here for to dye
148 I obeye me here for to be sclayne.
149 I pray 3ow, fadyr, be glad and fayne
150 Trewly to werke Goddys wyll.
151 Take good comforte to 3ow agayn,
152 And haue no dowte 3oure childe to kyll.

153 For Godys byddyng, forsothe, it is
154 þat I of 3ow my deth schulde take.
155 A3ens God 3e don amys
156 His byddyng yf 3e xuld forsake.
157 3owre owyn dampnacyon xulde 3e bake
158 If 3e me kepe from þis r[o]d.
159 With 3oure swerd my deth 3e make,
160 And werk evyrmore þe wyll of God.

161 ABRAHAM. The wyll of God must nedys be done--
162 To werke his wyll I seyd nevyr nay.
163 But 3it þe fadyr to sle þe sone
164 My hert doth clynge and cleue as clay!

165 YSAAC. 3itt werk Goddys wyll, fadyr, I 3ow pray,
166 And sle me here anoon forthryght.
167 And turne fro me 3oure face away,
168 Myne heed whan þat 3e xul of smyght.

169 ABRAHAM. Alas, dere childe, I may not chese:
170 I must nedys my swete sone kylle.
171 My dere derlyng now must me lese--
172 Myn owyn sybb blood now xal I spylle!
173 3itt þis dede or I fulfylle,
174 My swete sone, þi mouth I kys.
175 YSAAC. Al redy, fadyr, evyn at 3oure wyll.
176 I do 3oure byddyng as reson is.

177 ABRAHAM. Alas, dere sone, here is no grace,
178 But nedis ded now must þu be.
179 With þis kerchere I kure þi face;
180 In þe tyme þat I sle the
181 Thy lovely vesage wold I not se,
182 Not for all þis werdlys good.
183 With þis swerd þat sore grevyht me
184 My childe I sle and spylle his blood.

185 ANGELUS Abraham, Abraham, þu fadyr fre!
186 ABRAHAM. I am here redy. What is 3oure wylle?
187 ANGELUS Extende þin hand in no degré--
188 I bydde þu hym not kylle!
189 Here do I se by ryght good skylle
190 Allmyghty God þat þu dost drede.
191 For þu sparyst nat þi sone to spylle,
192 God wyll aqwhyte þe well þi mede.

193 ABRAHAM. I thank my God in hevyn above
194 And hym honowre for þis grett grace.
195 And þat my Lord me þus doth prove,
196 I wyll hym wurchep in every place.
197 My childys lyff is my solace,
198 I thank myn God evyr for his lyff.
199 In sacrifice here or I hens pace,
200 I sle þis shepe with þis same knyff.

201 Now þis shepe is deed and slayn,
202 With þis fyre it xal be brent.
203 Of Isaac my sone I am ful fayn
204 þat my swete childe xal not be shent!
205 This place I name with good entent
206 þe Hill of Godys Vesytacyon,
207 For hedyr God hath to us sent
208 His comforte aftyr grett trybulacyon.

209 ANGELUS Herke, Abraham, and take good heyd.
210 By hymself God hath þus sworn:
211 For þat þu woldyst a done þis dede,
212 He wyll þe blysse both evyn and morn.
213 For þi dere childe þu woldyst haue lorn
214 At Goddys byddyng, as I the telle,
215 God hath sent þe word beforn,
216 þi seed xal multyplye wherso þu duelle.

217 As sterrys in hevyn byn many and fele,
218 So xal þi seed encrese and growe.
219 þu xalt ovyrcome in welth and wele
220 All þi fomen reknyd be rowe.
221 As sond in þe se doth ebbe and flowe,
222 Hath cheselys many vnnumerabyll,
223 So xal þi sede, þu mayst me trowe,
224 Encres and be evyr prophytabyll.

225 For to my spech þu dedyst obeye,
226 Thyn enmyes portys þu shalt possede.
227 And all men on erthe, as I þe seye,
228 Thei xal be blyssed in þi sede.
229 Almyghty God þus þe wyll mede
230 For þat good wyll þat þu ast done.
231 þerfore thank God in word and dede,
232 Both þu þiself and Ysaac þi sone.

233 ABRAHAM. A, my Lord God to wurchep on kne now I fall.
234 I thank be, Lord, of þi mercy.
235 Now, my swete childe, to God þu kall,
236 And thank we þat Lord now hertyly.
237 ISAAC With lowly hert to God I crye.
238 I am his seruuant both day and nyght.
239 I thank þe, Lord in hevyn so hy3e,
240 With hert, with thought, with mayn, with myght.

241 ABRAHAM. Gramercy, Lord and Kyng of Grace!
242 Gramercy, Lord ouyr lordys all!
243 Now my joye returnyth his trace.
244 I thank þe, Lorde in hevyn, þin halle.
245 ISAAC Ovyr all kyngys crownyd kyng I þe kalle.
246 At þi byddyng to dye with knyff
247 I was ful buxvm evyn as þi thralle.
248 Lord, now I thank the, þu grauntyst me lyff.

249 ABRAHAM. Now we haue wurchepyd oure blyssyd Lorde
250 On grounde knelyng upon oure kne.
251 Now lete us tweyn, sone, ben of on acorde,
252 And goo walke hom into oure countré.
253 YSAAC. Fadyr, as 3e wyll, so xal it be;
254 I am redy with 3ow to gon.
255 I xal 3ow folwe with hert full fre.
256 And þat 3e bydde me sone xal be don.

257 ABRAHAM. Now God, allthyng of nowth þat made,
258 Evyr wurcheppyd he be on watyr and londe.
259 His grett honowre may nevyrmore fade
260 In felde nor town, se nor on sonde.
261 As althyng, Lord, þu hast in honde,
262 So saue us all wherso we be.
263 Whethyr we syttyn, walk, or stonde,
264 Evyr on þin handwerke þu haue pyté.

Explicit

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 5 - Abraham's Sacrifice of Isaac. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.