From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 6 - Moses and the Ten Commandments

Introitus Moyses

1 [MOYSES]. He þat made allthynge of nought,
2 Hevyn and erth, both sunne and mone,
3 Saue all þat his hand hath wrought.
4 Allmyghty God in hevyn trone,
5 I am Moyses þat make þis bone. I pray þe,
6 Lord God, with all my mende,
7 To us inclyne þi mercy sone.
8 þi gracyous lordchep lete us fynde.

9 The to plesyn in all degré,
10 Gracyous God and Lord ovyr all,
11 þu graunte us grace wherso we be,
12 And saue us sownd fro synfull fall.
13 Thy wyll to werke to us, þi thrall,
14 Enforme and teche us all þi plesans.
15 In purenesse put us þat nevyr [m]ot fall,
16 And grounde us in grace from all grevauns.

Hic Moyses videns [rubum] ardentem admirande dicit:

17 A, mercy, God, what menyth 3on syte?
18 A grene busch as fyre doth flame
19 And kepyth his colowre fayr and bryghte,
20 Fresch and grene withowtyn blame!
21 It fyguryth sum thynge of ryght gret fame;
22 I kannot seyn what it may be.
23 I wyll go nere, in Goddys name,
24 And wysely loke þis busch to se.

25 DEUS. Moyses! How, Moyses!
26 Herke to me anon þis stounde.
27 MOYSES. I am here, Lorde, withowtyn les;
28 3owre gracyous wyll to do I am bounde.
29 DEUS. Thu take þi schon anon ful rownde
30 Of þi fete in hast, lete se.
31 Ful holy is þat place and grownde
32 þer þu dost stonde, I sey to the.

33 MOYSES. Barfoot now I do me make
34 And pull of my schon fro my fete.
35 Now haue I my shon of take,
36 What is 3oure wyll, Lord, fayn wold I wete.
37 DEUS. Com nere, Moyses, with me to mete.
38 These tabellis I take þe in þin honde;
39 With my fynger in hem is wrete
40 All my lawys, þu vndyrstonde.

41 Loke þat þu preche all abowte;
42 Hooso wyll haue frenshipp of me,
43 To my lawys loke þei lowte,
44 þat þei be kept in all degré.
45 Go forth and preche anon, let se;
46 Loke þu not ses nyght nor day.
47 MOYSES. 3oure byddyng, Lord, all wrought xal be,
48 3oure wyll to werk I walk my way.

Custodi precepta Domini Dei tui: Deutronomini vj.

49 The comaundment of þi Lord God, man, loke þu kepe
50 Where þat þu walk, wake, or slepe.

51 Euery man take good hede,
52 And to my techynge take good intent,
53 For God hath sent me now indede
54 3ow for to enforme his comaundment.
55 3ow to teche God hath me sent
56 His lawys of lyff þat am ful wyse.
57 Them to lerne be dyligent;
58 3oure soulys may þei saue at þe last asyse.

59 The prcceptys þat taught xal be
60 Be wretyn in þese tablys tweyn.
61 In þe fyrst ben wretyn thre
62 That towch to God, þis is serteyn.
63 In þe secund tabyl be wretyn ful pleyn
64 þe tother vij, þat towch mankende.
65 Herk now well, man, what I xal seyn,
66 And prent þise lawys well in þi mende.

Ius Primum mandatum: non habebis deos alienos.

67 The fyrst comaundement of God, as I 3ow say,
68 Of þe fyrst tabyl, forsothe is this:
69 þu xalt haue neythyr nyght nore day
70 Noon other God but þe Kyng of Blysse.
71 Vndyrstonde wele what menyth this,
72 Euery man in his degré,
73 And sett nevyr 3oure hert amys
74 Vpon þis werdlys vanyté.

75 For if þu sett þi loue so sore
76 Vpon ryches and werdly good,
77 þi wurdly rycches þu takyst evyrmore
78 Evyn for þi God, as man ovyrwood.
79 Amend þe, man, and chaunge þi mood;
80 Lese not þi sowle for werdlys welth.
81 Only hym loue which bodyly food
82 Doth 3eve all day, and gostly helth.

2. Secundum mandatum: non [assumes] nomen Dei tui in vantum.

83 The secund precept of þe Fyrst tabyll:
84 þe name of God take nevyr in vayne.
85 Swere none othis be noon fals fabyll;
86 þe name of God þu nevyr dysteyn.
87 Bewhare of othis, for dowte of peyn,
88 Amongys felachepp whan þu dost sytt.
89 A lytyl othe, þis is serteyn,
90 May dampne thy sowle to helle pytt.

91 Man, whan þu art sett at þe nale
92 And hast þi langage as plesyth the,
93 Loke þin othis be non or smale,
94 And 3ett alwey loke trewe þei be.
95 But swere not oftyn, by rede of me.
96 For yf þu vse oftyntyme to swere,
97 It may gendyr custom in the.
98 Beware of custom, for he wyl dere.

3. Tercium mandatum: memento vt sabbatum sanctifice[s].

99 The iijde comaundment of God, as I rede,
100 Doth bydde the halwe well þin haly day.
101 Kepe þe well fro synfull dede,
102 And care not gretly for rych aray.
103 A ryght pore man, þis is non nay,
104 Of sympyl astat, in clothis rent,
105 Maybe bettyr than rych with garmentys gay
106 Oftyntyme doth kepe þis comaundment.

107 For rych men do shewe oftyntyme pompe and pride
108 On haly days, as oftyn is sene.
109 Whan pore men passe and go besyde,
110 At wurthy festys riche men woll bene.
111 Thyn haly day þu kepyst not clene
112 In gloteny to lede þi lyff.
113 In Goddys hous 3e xulde, bedene,
114 Honoure 3oure God, both mayden and wyff.

4. Quartum mandatum: honora patrem tuum et matrem tuam.

115 Off þe secunde tabyll þe fyrst comaundment,
116 And in þe ordyr þe iiijte, I sey in fay,
117 He byddyth þe euyrmore with hert bent
118 Both fadyr a[n]d modyr to wurchep alway.
119 Thow þat þi fadyr be pore of array,
120 And 3ow neuyr so rych of golde and good,
121 3itt loke þu wurchep hym nyght and day
122 Of whom þu hast both flesch and blood.

123 In þis comaundmente includyd is
124 Thi bodyli fadyr and modyr also.
125 Includyd also I fynde in þis
126 Thi gostly fadyr and modyr þerto.
127 To þi gostly fadyr evyr reuerens do;
128 þi gostly modyr is Holy Cherch.
129 These tweyn saue þi sowle fro Woo;
130 Euyr them to wurchep loke þat þu werch.

5. Quintum mandatum: non occides.

131 The fyfft comaundement byddyth all us
132 Scle no man, no whight þat þu kyll.
133 Vndyrstonde þis precept þus:
134 Scle no wyght with wurd nor wyll.
135 Wykkyd worde werkyht oftyntyme grett ill;
136 Bewar þerfore of wykkyd langage.
137 Wyckyd spech many on doth spyll;
138 Therfore of spech beth not owtrage.

6. Sextum mandatum: non makaberis.

139 The sexte comaundement byddith every man
140 þat no wyght lede no lecherous lay.
141 Forfeit neuyr be no woman
142 Lesse þan þe lawe alowe þi play.
143 Trespas nevyr with wyff ne may,
144 With wedow nor with non othyr wyght.
145 Kepe þe clene, as I þe say,
146 To whom þu hast þi trowth plyght.

7. Septimum mandatum: non furtum facies.

147 Do no thefte, no thynge þu stele
148 þe vijte precept byddyth þe ful sore.
149 Whyll þu arte in welth and wele,
150 Euyll-gett good loke þu restore.
151 Off handys and dede be trewe evyrmore.
152 For yf þin handys lymyd be,
153 þu art but shent, þi name is lore
154 In felde and town and in all countré.

8. Octauum mandatum: non loqueris contra proximum tuum falsum testimonium.

155 The viijte precept þus doth þe bydde:
156 Fals wyttnes loke non þu bere.
157 þe trowth nevyrmore loke þat þu hyde,
158 With fals wyttnes no man þu dere.
159 Nowther for love, ne dred, ne fere,
160 Sey non other than trowth is.
161 Fals wytnes yf þat þu rere,
162 A3ens God þu dost grettly amys.

9. Nonum mandatum: non desiderabis vxorem proximi tui, et cetera.

163 The ixte precept of lawe of lyff
164 Evyn þus doth bydde every man:
165 Desyre not þi neyborys wyff,
166 þow she be fayr and whyte as swan
167 And þi wyff brown; 3itt natt for-than
168 þi neyborys wyff þu nevyr rejoyse.
169 Kepe þe clene as evyr þu can
170 To þin owyn wyff and þin owyn choyse.

10. Decimum mandatum: non concupisces domum proximi tui, non seruum, non ancillam, non bo[vem], non asinum, nec omnia que illius sunt, et cetera.

171 The xde comaundement of God and last is þis:
172 Thi neyborys hous desyre þu nowth;
173 Maydon, nor servaunt, nor nowth of his,
174 Desyre hem nevyr in wyll nor thowth;
175 Oxe nere asse þat he hath bought,
176 Nere no thynge þat longyht hym to.
177 Godys lawe must nedys be wrought;
178 Desyre no thynge þin neybore fro.

179 The vjte comaundement of lechory
180 Doth exclude þe synfull dede.
181 But theys tweyn last most streytly,
182 Both dede and thought þei do forbede.
183 In wyll nere thought no lechory þu bede:
184 þi thought and wyll þu must refreyn,
185 All þi desyre, as I be rede;
186 In clennes of lyff þiself restreyn.

187 Frendys, þese be þe lawys þat 3e must kepe.
188 Therfore every man sett well in mende,
189 Wethyr þat þu do wake or slepe,
190 These lawys to lerne þu herke ful hynde,
191 And Godys grace xal be þi frende.
192 He socowre and saue 3ow in welth fro woo.
193 Farewell, gode frendys, for hens wyll I wende;
194 My tale I haue taught 3ow, my wey now I goo.

Explicit Moyses

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 6 - Moses and the Ten Commandments. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.