From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 8 - Joachim and Anna and the Conception of Mary

1 CONTEMPLACIO. Cryst conserve þis congregacyon
2 Fro pereilys past, present, and future,
3 And þe personys here pleand, þat þe pronunciacyon
4 Of here sentens to be seyd mote be sad and sure;
5 And þat non oblocucyon make þis matere obscure,
6 But it may profite and plese eche persone present
7 From be gynnynge to be endynge so to endure,
8 þat Cryst and every creature with þe conceyte be content.

9 This matere here mad is of þe Modyr of Mercy:
10 How be joachym and Anne was here concepcyon
11 Sythe offred into þe temple, compiled breffly;
12 Than maryed to Joseph; and so, folwyng, þe Salutacyon,
13 Metyng with Elyzabeth, and þerwith a conclusyon,
14 In fewe wurdys talkyd, þat it xulde nat be tedyous
15 To lernyd nyn to lewd, nyn to no man of reson.
16 þis is þe processe, now preserve 3ow Jesus.

17 þerfore of pes I 3ow pray, all þat ben here present,
18 And tak hed to oure talkyn[g], what we xal say.
19 I beteche 3ow þat Lorde þat is evyr omnypotent
20 To governe 3ow in goodnes, as he best may.
21 In hevyn we may hym se.
22 Now God þat is Hevyn Kynge
23 Sende us all hese dere blyssynge,
24 And to his towre he mote vs brynge.
25 Amen for charyté.

26 YSAKAR The prestys of God offre sote ensens
27 Vnto here God, and þerfore they be holy.
28 We þat mynistere here in Goddys presens,
29 In vs xuld be fownd no maner of foly.
30 Ysakar, prynce of prestys, am I,
31 þat þis holyest day here haue mynystracyon,
32 Certyfyenge all tribus in my cure specyaly
33 þat this is þe hyest fest of oure solennyzacyon.

34 This we clepe Festum Encenniorum,
35 þe newe fest, of which iij in þe 3ere we exercyse.
36 Now all þe kynredys to Jerusalem must cum
37 Into þe temple of God, here to do sacryfyse.
38 Tho þat be cursyd my dygnyté is to dysspyse,
39 And þo þat be blyssyd here holy sacrefyse to take.
40 We be regal sacerdocium, it perteyneth vs to be wysse
41 Be fastyng, be prayng, be almes, and at du tyme to wake.

42 JOACHYM Now all þis countré of Galylé,
43 With þis cetye of Nazareth specyal,
44 þis fest to Jerusalem must go we
45 To make sacrefyce to God eternal.
46 My name is Joachym, a man in godys substancyall.
47 "Joachym" is to say, "He þat to God is redy."
48 So haue I be and evyrmore xal,
49 For be dredful domys of God sore drede I.

50 I am clepyd ryghtful, why wole 3e se,
51 For my godys into thre partys I devyde:
52 On to þe temple and to hem þat þer servyng be;
53 Anodyr to þe pylgrimys and pore men; be iijde for hem with me abyde.
54 So xulde euery curat in þis werde wyde
55 3eve a part to his chauncel, iwys,
56 A part to his parochonerys þat to povert slyde,
57 The thryd part to kepe for hym and his.

58 But, blyssyd wyff Anne, sore I drede
59 In þe temple þis tyme to make sacryfice;
60 Becawse þat no frute of vs doth procede,
61 I fere me grettly þe prest wole me dysspice.
62 Than grett slawndyr in þe tribus of vs xulde aryse.
63 But þis I avow to God with all þe mekenes I can:
64 3yff of his mercy he wole a childe us devyse,
65 We xal offre it up into þe temple to be Goddys man.

66 ANNA 3oure swemful wurdys make terys trekyl down be my face.
67 Iwys, swete husbond, þe fawte is in me.
68 My name is Anne, þat is to sey "grace;"
69 We wete not how gracyous God wyl to us be.
70 A woman xulde bere Cryst, þese profecyes haue we;
71 If God send frute and it be a mayd childe,
72 With all reuerens I vow to his magesté,
73 Sche xal be here footmayd to mynyster here most mylde.

74 JOACHYM Now lete be it as God wole, þer is no more.
75 Tweyn turtelys for my sacryfice with me I take.
76 And I beseche, wyff, and evyr we mete more,
77 þat hese grett mercy vs meryer mut make.

78 ANNA For dred and for swem of 3oure wourdys I qwake.
79 Thryes I kysse 3ow with syghys ful sad,
80 And to þe mercy of God mekely I 3ow betake.
81 And þo þat departe in sorwe, God make þer metyng glad.

82 SENIOR TRIBUS Worchepful Sere Joachym, be 3e redy now?
83 All 3oure kynrede is come 3ow to exorte
84 þat þei may do sacrifice at þe temple with 3ow,
85 For 3e be of grett wurchep, as men 3ow report.
86 JOACHYM All synfull, seke, and sory God mote comforte.
87 I wolde I wore as men me name.
88 Thedyr, in Goddys name, now late us all resorte.
89 A. Anne, Anne, Anne, God scheeld us fro shame!

90 ANNE Now am I left alone, sore may I wepe.
91 A, husbond, ageyn God wel mote 3ow brynge,
92 And fro shame and sorwe he mote 3ow kepe.
93 Tyl I se 3ow ageyn I kannot sees of wepynge.
94 SENIOR Prynce of oure prestys, if it be 3oure plesynge,
95 We be com mekely to make oure sacrefice.
96 YSAKAR God do 3ow mede, bothe elde and 3ynge.
97 Than devowtly we wyl begynne servyse.

There they xal synge þis sequens: "Benedicta sit beata Trinitas." And in þat tyme Ysakar with his ministerys ensensyth þe autere; and þan þei make her offryng, and Isaker seyth:

98 Comyth up, serys, and offeryth all now,
99 3e þat to do sacryfice worthy are.
100 Abyde a qwyle, sere; whedyr wytte þu?
101 þu and þi wyff am barrany and bare;
102 Neyther of 3ow fruteful nevyr 3ett ware.
103 Whow durste þu amonge fruteful presume and abuse?
104 It is a tokyn þu art cursyd fare.
105 Whereffore with grett indygnacyon þin offeryng I refuse!

Et refudit sacrificium Joachim.

106 Amonge all þis pepyl barreyn be no mo.
107 Therefore comyth up and offeryth here alle.
108 þu, Joachym, I charge þe, fast out þe temple þu go.

Et redit flendo

109 Than with Goddys holy wourde blysse 3ow I shalle.

Ministro cantando:

110 Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini,
111 CHORUS Qui fecit celum et terram.
112 MINISTER Sit nomen Domini benedictum
113 CHORUS Ex hoc nunc et usque in seculum.
114 EPISCOPUS Benedicat vos diuina majestas et vna Deitas,
115 Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.

116 CHORUS Amen.

Signando manu cum cruce sole[m]niter, et recedant tribus extra templum.

117 [YSAKAR] Now of God and man blyssyd be 3e alle.
118 Homward a3en now returne 3e.
119 And in þis temple abyde we xalle
120 To servyn God in Trinyté.

121 JOACHYM A, mercyfful Lord, what is þis lyff?
122 What haue I do, Lorde, to haue þis blame?
123 For hevynes I dare not go hom to my wyff,
124 And amonge my neyborys I dare not abyde for shame.
125 A, Anne, Anne, Anne, al oure joye is turnyd to grame!
126 From 3oure blyssyd felachepp I am now exilyd.
127 And 3e here onys of þis fowle fame,
128 Sorwe wyl sle 3ow to se me thus revylyd.

129 But s[e]n God soferyth thys, vs must sofron nede.
130 Now wyl I go to my she[p]herdys and with hem abyde,
131 And þer evyrmore levyn in sorwe and in drede.
132 Shame makyth many man his bed for to hyde.
133 Ha, how do 3e, felas? In 3ow is lytel pryde.
134 How fare 3e and my bestys, þis wete wolde I veryly.
135 PRIMUS PASTOR A, welcom hedyr, blyssyd mayster; we pasture hem ful wyde.
136 They be lusty and fayr, and grettly multyply.

137 How do 3e, mayster? 3e loke al hevyly.
138 How doth oure dame at hom? Sytt she and sowyht?
139 JOACHYM To here þe speke of here, it sleyth myn hert, veryly.
140 How I and sche doth, God hymself knowyth.
141 The meke God lyftyth up, þe proude overthrowyht.
142 Go do what 3e lyst, se 3oure bestys not stray.
143 SECUNDUS PASTOR Aftere grett sorwe, mayster, ever gret grace growyht.
144 Sympyl as we kan, we xal for 3ow pray.

145 TERCIUS PASTOR 3a, to pray for careful, it is grett nede;
146 We all wul prey for 3ow knelende.
147 God of his goodnes send 3ow good spede,
148 And of 3oure sorwe 3ow sone amende.

149 JOACHYM I am nott wurthy, Lord, to loke up to hefne.
150 My synful steppys an vemynyd þe grounde.
151 I, lothfolest þat levyth; þu, Lord hyest in þi setys sefne.
152 What art þu? Lord. What am I? Wrecche, werse þan an hownde.
153 þu has sent me shame which myn hert doth wounde--
154 I thank þe more herefore þan for all my prosperité.
155 þis is a tokyn þu lovyst me, now to the I am bounde;
156 þu seyst þu art with hem þat in tribulacyon be.

157 And hoso haue þe, he nedyth not care thanne.
158 My sorwe is feryng I haue do sum offens.
159 Punchyth me, Lorde, and spare my blyssyd wyff Anne
160 þat syttyth and sorwyth ful sore of myn absens.
161 Ther is not may profyte but prayour to 3oure presens;
162 With prayorys prostrat byfore þi person I wepe.
163 Haue mende on oure avow for 3oure mech magnyficens,
164 And my lovyngest wyff Anne, Lord, for þi mercy, kepe.

165 ANNA A, mercy, Lord! Mercy, mercy, mercy!
166 We are synfolest it shewyth þat 3e send us all þis sorwe.
167 Why do 3e thus to myn husbond, Lord? Why? Why? Why?
168 For my barynes? [3e] may amend þis þiself, and þu lyst, tomorwe.
169 And it plese so þi mercy, þe, my Lord, I take to borwe,
170 I xal kepe myn avow qwhyl I leve and leste.
171 I fere me I haue offendyd þe; myn hert is ful of sorwe.
172 Most mekely I pray þi pety þat þis bale þu wyl breste.

Here þe aungel descendith þe hefne syngyng, "Exultet celum laudibus, resultet terra gaudiis, archangelorum gloria sacra canun[t] solemnia."

173 JOACHYM Qwhat art þu, in Goddys name, þat makyst me adrad?
174 It is as lyth abowt me as al þe werd were fere!
175 ANGELUS I am an aungel of God com to make þe glad.
176 God is plesyd with þin helmes and hath herd þi prayere;
177 He seyth þi shame, þi repreff, and þi terys cler.
178 God is avengere of synne and not nature doth lothe;
179 Whos wombe þat he sparyth and makyth barreyn her
180 He doth to shewe his myth and his mercy bothe.

181 Thu seest þat Sara was nynty 3ere bareyn;
182 Sche had a son, Ysaac, to whom God 3aff his blyssynge.
183 Rachel also had þe same peyn;
184 She had a son, Joseph, þat of Egypt was kynge.
185 A strongere þan Sampson nevyr was be wrytynge,
186 Nor an holyere þan Samuel, it is seyd thus;
187 3ett here moderys were bareyn bothe in þe gynnynge.
188 þe concepcyon of all swych, it is ful mervelyous!

189 And in þe lyke wyse, Anne, þi blyssyd wyff,
190 Sche xal bere a childe xal hygth Mary,
191 Which xal be blyssyd in here body and haue joys fyff,
192 And ful of þe Holy Goost inspyred syngulyrly.
193 Sche xal be offryd into þe temple solemply,
194 þat of here non evyl fame xuld sprynge thus.
195 And as sche xal be bore of a barrany body,
196 So of here xal be bore without nature Jesus,

197 That xal be Savyour vnto al mankende.
198 In tokyn, whan þu come to Jherusalem, to þe Gyldyn Gate,
199 þu xalt mete Anne, þi wyff; haue þis in þi mende.
200 I xal sey here þe same, here sorwys to rebate.
201 JOACHYM Of þis imcomparabyl comfort I xal nevyr forgete þe date!
202 My sorwe was nevyr so grett, but now my joy is more!
203 I xal hom in hast, be it nevyr so late.
204 A, Anne, blyssyd be þat body of þe xal be bore!

205 Now farewel, myn shepherdys, governe 3ow now wysly.
206 PRIMUS PASTOR Haue 3e good tydyngys, maystyr? þan be we glad.
207 JOACHYM Prayse God for me, for I am not wourthy.
208 SECUNDUS PASTOR In feyth, sere, so we xal with all oure sowlys sad.
209 TERCIUS PASTOR I holde it helpiful þat on of vs with 3ow be had.
210 JOACHYM Nay, abyde with 3oure bestys, sone, in Goddys blyssynge.
211 PRIMUS PASTOR We xal make us so mery now þis is bestad
212 þat a myle on 3oure wey 3e xal here us synge.

213 ANNE Alas, for myn hushond me is ful wo.
214 I xal go seke hym whatsoevyr befalle.
215 I wote not in erth which wey is he go.
216 Fadyr of Hefne, for mercy to 3oure fete I falle.
217 ANGELUS Anne, þin husbond ryght now I was withall,
218 þe aungel of God þat bar hym good tydynge;
219 And as I seyd to hym, so to þe sey I xal:
220 God hath herd þi preyour and þi wepynge.

221 At þe Goldyn Gate þu xalte mete hym ful mylde,
222 And in grett gladnes returne to 3oure hous.
223 So be proces þu xalt conseyve and bere a childe
224 Whiche xal hyght Mary; and Mary xal bere Jesus,
225 Which xal be Savyour of all þe werd and us.
226 Aftere grett sorwe evyr grett gladnes is had.
227 Now myn inbassett I haue seyd to 3ow thus.
228 Gooth in oure Lordys name and in God beth glad.

229 ANNE Now blyssyd be oure Lorde and all his werkys ay!
230 All heffne and erthe mut blysse 3ow for this.
231 I am so joyful I not what I may say;
232 þer can no tounge telle what joye in me is!
233 I to bere a childe þat xal bere all mannys blys,
234 And haue myn hosbonde ageyn! Ho myth haue joys more?
235 No creature in erth is grauntyd more mercy, iwys.
236 I xal hy3e me to þe 3ate to be þer before.

Here goth þe aungel a3en to hefne.

237 A, blyssyd be oure Lord, myn husbond I se.
238 I xalle on myn knes and to hymward crepe.
239 JOACHYM A, gracyous wyff Anne, now fruteful xal 3e be.
240 For joy of þis metyng in my sowbe I wepe.
241 Haue þis kusse of clennesse and with 3ow it kepe.
242 In Goddys name, now go we, wyff, hom to oure hous.
243 ANNE þer was nevyr joy sank in me so depe.
244 Now may we sey, husbond, God is to us gracyous,
245 Veryly.
246 JOACHYM 3a, and if we haue levyd wel herebefore,
247 I pray þe, Lord, þin ore,
248 So mote we levyn evyrmore,
249 And, be þi grace, more holyly.

250 ANNE Now homward, husbond, I rede we gon,
251 Ryth hom al to oure place,
252 To thank God þat sytt in tron,
253 þat þus hath sent us his grace.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 8 - Joachim and Anna and the Conception of Mary. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.