From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 9 - Joachim and Anne's Presentation of Mary at the Temple

1 CONTEMPLACIO. Sovereynes, 3e han sen shewyd 3ow before
2 Of Joachym and Anne here botherys holy metynge.
3 How oure Lady was conseyvid and how she was bore,
4 We passe ovyr þat, breffnes of tyme consyderynge;
5 And how oure Lady in here tendyr age and 3yng
6 Into þe temple was offryd, and so forth proced.
7 þis sentens sayd xal be hire begynnyng.
8 Now þe Modyr of Mercy in þis be oure sped.

9 And as a childe of iij 3ere age here she xal appere
10 To alle pepyl þat ben here present.
11 And of here grett grace now xal 3e here,
12 How she levyd evyr to Goddys entent
13 With grace.

14 That holy matere we wole declare
15 Tyl fortene acre how sche dyd fare.
16 Now of 3oure speche I pray 3ow spare,
17 All þat ben in þis place.

Here Joachym and Anne, with oure Lady betwen hem beyng al in whyte as a childe of iii 3ere age, presente here into the temple, thus seyng Joachym:

18 JOACHIM Blyssyd be oure Lord. Fayr frute haue we now.
19 Anne, wyff, remembyr wole 3e
20 þat we made to God an holy avow
21 þat oure fyrst childe þe servaunt of God xulde be.
22 The age of Mary, oure dowtere, is 3erys thre;
23 þerfore to thre personys and on God lete us here present.
24 þe 3onger she be drawyn, þe bettyr semyth me.
25 And for teryeng of oure avow, of God we myth be shent.

26 ANNE It is as 3e husbond, indede.
27 Late us take Mary, oure dowtere, us betwen,
28 And to be temple with here procede.
29 Dowtere, þe aungel tolde us 3e xulde be a qwen!
30 Wole 3e go se þat Lord 3oure husbond xal ben,
31 And lerne for to love hym and lede with hym 3oure lyff?
32 Telle 3oure fadyr and me her 3oure answere, let sen.
33 Wole 3e be pure maydyn and also Goddys wyff?

34 MARIA Fadyr and modyr, if it plesynge to 3ow be,
35 3e han mad 3oure avow, so ssothly wole I,
36 To be Goddys chast seruaunt whil lyff is in me.
37 But to be Goddys wyff I was nevyr wurthy:
38 I am þe sympelest þat evyr was born of body.
39 I haue herd 3ow seyd God xulde haue a modyr swete;
40 þat I may leve to se hire, God graunt me for his mercy,
41 And abyl me to ley my handys vndyr hire fayr fete.

Et genuflectet ad Deum.

42 JOACHYM Iwys, dowtere, it is wel seyd;
43 3e answere and 3e were twenty 3ere olde!
44 ANNE Whith 3oure speche, Mary, I am wel payd.
45 Can 3e gon alone? Lett se, beth bolde.
46 MARIA To go to Goddys hous, wole 3e now beholde,
47 I am joyful thedyrward as I may be.
48 JOACHYM Wyff, I [am] ryght joyful oure dowtere to beholde.
49 ANNE So am I, wys husbond. Now in Goddys name go we.

50 JOACHYM Sere prince of prestes, and it plese 3ow,
51 We þat were barreyn God hath sent a childe.
52 To offre here to Goddys service we mad oure avow;
53 Here is þe same mayde, Mary most mylde.
54 ISAKAR Joachym, I haue good mende how I 3ow revyled.
55 I am ryght joyful þat God hath 3ove 3ow þis grace.
56 To be amonge fruteful now be 3e reconsylid.
57 Com, swete Mary, com; 3e haue a gracyous face.

Joachym flectendo ad Deum sic dicens:

58 JOACHYM Now Fadyr, and Sone, and Holy Gost,
59 On God and personys thre,
60 We offre to þe, Lorde of myghtys most,
61 Oure dowtere, þi servaunt evyrmore to be.
62 ANNA Therto most bounde evyrmore be we.
63 Mary, in þis holy place leve 3ow we xall.
64 In Goddys name now up go 3e;
65 Oure fadyr, oure prest, lo, doth 3ow call.

66 MARIA Modyr, and it plese 3ow, fyrst wole I take my leve
67 Of my fadyr and 3ow, my modyr, iwys.
68 I haue a fadyr in hefne, þis I beleve;
69 Now, good fadyr, with þat fadyr 3e me blysse.

70 JOACHYM In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.
71 MARIA Amen. Now 3e, good modyr.
72 ANNE In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.
73 MARIA Amen.

74 Now oure Lord thank 3ow for this.
75 Here is my fadyr and my modyr bothe;
76 Most mekely I beseche I may 3ow kys.
77 Now for3eve me yfevyr I made 3ow wrothe.

Et [am] plexendo osculabit patrem et matrem.

78 JOACHYM Nay, dowtere, 3e offendyd nevyr God nor man.
79 Lovyd be þat Lord 3ow so doth kepe.
80 ANNE Swete dowtyr, thynk on 3oure modyr, An;
81 3oure swemynge smytyht to myn hert depe.
82 [MARIA] Fadyr and modyr, I xal pray for 3ow and wepe
83 To God with al myn hert specyaly.
84 Blysse me day and nyght, and evyr her 3e slepe,
85 Good fadyr and modyr, and beth mery.

86 JOACHYM A, ho had evyr suche a chylde?
87 Nevyr creature 3it þat evyr was bore!
88 Sche is so gracyous, she is so mylde--
89 So xulde childyr to fadyr and modyr evyrmore.

90 ANNE Than xulde thei be blyssyd and plese God sore.
91 Husbond, and it plese 3ow not hens go we xal
92 Tyl Mary be in þe temple above thore;
93 I wold not for al erthe se here fal.

94 EPISCOPUS Come, gode Mary. Come, babe, I þe call.
95 þi pas pratyly to þis plas pretende.
96 þu xalt be þe dowtere of God eternal!
97 If þe fyftene grees þu may ascende.
98 It is meracle if þu do! Now God þe dyffende.
99 From Babylony to Hevynly Jherusalem þis is þe way.
100 Every man þat thynk his lyf to amende,
101 þe fyftene psalmys in memorye of his mayde say.

Maria, et sic deinceps usque ad fine [in] xveimxxx psalinorum.

102 MARIA The fyrst degré gostly applyed,
103 It is holy desyre with God to be.
104 In trobyl to God I haue cryed,
105 And in sped þat Lord hath herde me.

Ad Dominum cum tribularer clamaui, et exaudiuit me.

106 The secunde is stody with meke inquysissyon, veryly,
107 How I xal haue knowynge of Godys wylle.
108 To þe mownteynes of hefne I haue lyfte myn ey,
109 From qwens xal comyn helpe me tylle.

Leuaui oculos meos in montes, vnde ueniat auxilium mihi.

110 The thrydde is gladnes in mende in hope to be
111 That we xall be savyd all thus.
112 I am glad of these tydyngys ben seyd to me,
113 Now xal we go into Goddys hous.

Letatus sum in hiis que dicta sunt mihi: in domum Domini ibimus.

114 The fourte is meke obedyence as is dette
115 To hym þat is above þe planetys sefne.
116 To þe I haue myn eyn sette
117 þat dwellys above þe skyes in hefne.

Ad te leuaui oculos meos, qui habitas in celis.

118 The fyfte is propyr confessyon,
119 þat we be nought withowth God thus.
120 But God in vs haue habytacyon,
121 Peraventure oure enemyes shulde swelle vs.

Nisi quia Dominus erat in nobis, dicat nunc Israel, nisi quia Dominus erat in nobis....

122 The sexte is confidens in Goddys strenght alon,
123 For of all grace from hym comyth þe strem.
124 They þat trust in God as þe Mownt Syon,
125 He xal not be steryd endles þat dwellyth in Jherusalem.

Qui confidunt in Domino sicut Mons Syon, non commouebitur in eternum, qui habitat in Hierusalem.

126 The sefte is vndowteful hope of immortalyté
127 In oure Lordeis grac[e] and mercy.
128 Whan oure Lord conuertyth oure captiuité,
129 Than are we mad as joyful mery.

In conuertendo Dominus captiuitatem Syon, facti sumus sicut consolati.

130 The eyted is contempt of veynglory in vs
131 For hym þat at mankende hath multyplyed.
132 But yf oure Lord make here oure hous,
133 They an laboryd in veyn þat it han edyfied.

Nisi Dominus edificauerit domum, in uanum laboraueru[n]t qui edificant eam.

134 The nynte is a childely fer indede
135 With a longyng love in oure Lorde þat ay is.
136 Blyssyd am all they þat God drede,
137 Whiche þat gon in his holy weys.

Beati omnes qui timent Dominum, qui ambulant in viis eius.

138 The tende is myghty soferauns of carnal temptacyon,
139 For þe fleschly syghtys ben fers and fel.
140 Ofte 3ough is fowth with with suech vexacyon.
141 þu, seynge God, say so, clepyd Israel.

Sepe expugnauerunt me a juuentute mea, dicat nunc Israel.

142 The elefnte is accusatyff confessyon of iniquite,
143 Of which ful noyous is þe noyis.
144 Fro depnes, Lord, I haue cryed to the;
145 Lord, here in sped my sympyl voys.

De profundis clamaui ad te, Domine; Domine, exaudi uocem meam.

146 The twelfte is mekenes þat is fayr and softe
147 In mannys sowle withinne and withowte.
148 Lord, myn herte is not heyned on lofte,
149 Nyn myn eyn be not lokynge abowte.

Domine, non est exaltatum cor meum, neque elati sunt oculi mei.

150 The threttene is feyth þerwith,
151 With holy dedys don expresse.
152 Haue mende, Lorde, of Davyth,
153 And of all his swettnes.

Memento, Domine, Dauid et omnis mansuetudinis eius.

154 The fourtene is brothyrly concorde, iwys,
155 þat norchyth love of creaturys echon.
156 Se how good and how glad it is
157 Bretheryn for to dwelle in on.

Ecce quam bonum et quam jocundum habitare fratres in vnum.

158 The fyftene is gracyous. With on acorde,
159 Whiche is syne of godly love, semyth me,
160 Se, now blysse oure Lord,
161 All þat oure Lordys servauntys be.

Ecce nunc benedicite Dominum, omnes serui Domini.

162 EPISCOPUS A, gracyous Lord, þis is a mervelyous thynge
163 þat we se here all in syght:
164 A babe of thre 3er age so 3ynge
165 To come vp frese grecys so vpryght!
166 It is an hey meracle and, be Goddys myght,
167 No dowth of, she xal be gracyous.
168 MARIA Holy fadyr, I beseche 3ow forthryght,
169 Sey how I xal be rewlyd in Goddys hous.

170 EPISCOPUS Dowtere, God hath 3ovyn vs comaundementys ten,
171 Which, shortely to say, be comprehendyd in tweyn.
172 And þo must be kept of all Crysten men,
173 Or ellys here jugement is perpetual peyn.
174 3e muste love God s[o]vereynly and 3oure evyn-Crystyn pleyn,
175 God fyrst for his hy3 and sovereyn dygnyté;
176 He lovyd 3ow fyrst, love hym ageyn,
177 For of love to his owyn lyknes he made the.

178 Love Fadyr, Sone, and Holy Gost:
179 Love God þe Fadyr for he gevyth myght;
180 Love God þe Sone for he gevyth wysdam, þu wost;
181 Love God þe Holy Gost for he gevyth love and lyght.
182 Thre personys and on God þus love of ryght
183 With all þin hert, with all þi sowle, with all þi mende,
184 And with all þe strenghthis in þe bedyght.
185 þan love þin evyn-Crystyn as þiself withowtyn ende.

186 Thu xalt hate nothynge but þe devyl and synne--
187 God byddyth the lovyn þi bodyly enmy,
188 And as for 3oureself here, þus xal 3e begynne;
189 3e must serve and wurchep God here dayly,
190 For with pray3er [come] grace and mercy.
191 Se the haue a resonable tyme to fede,
192 Thanne to haue a labour bodyly,
193 þat þerin þe gostly and bodely mede.

194 3oure abydynge xal be with 3oure maydenys fyve
195 Swyche tyme as 3e wole haue consolacyon.

196 MARIA This lyff me lyketh as my lyve;
197 Of here namys I beseche 3ow to haue informacyon.
198 EPISCOPUS There is þe fyrst, Meditacyon,
199 Contryssyon, Compassyon, and Clennes,
200 And þat holy mayde, Fruyssyon.
201 With these blyssyd maydenes xal be 3oure besynes.

202 MARIA Here is an holy felachepp I fele.
203 I am not wurthy amonge hem to be.
204 Swete systerys, to 3ow all I knele;
205 To receyve me I beseche 3oure charyté.
206 EPISCOPUS They xal, dowtere; and on þe tothere syde se
207 Ther ben sefne prestys indede
208 To schryve, to teche, and to mynystryn to the,
209 To lerne þe Goddys lawys, and Scrypture to rede.

210 MARIA Fadyr, knew I here namys, wele were I.
211 EPISCOPUS Ther is Dyscressyon, Devocyon, Dylexcyon, and Deliberacyon;
212 They xal tende upon 3ow besyly
213 With Declaracyon, Determynacyon, Dyvynacyon.
214 Now go, 3e maydenys, to 3oure occupacyon,
215 And loke 3e tende þis childe tendyrly.
216 And 3e, serys, knelyth and I xal gyve 3ow Goddys benyson
217 In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.

Et recede[t] cum ministris suis; omnes virgines dicent 'Amen'.

218 [MARIA] To 3ow, fadyr and modyr, I me comende.
219 Blyssyd be þe tyme 3e me hedyr brought.
220 JOACHYM Dowtere, þe Fadere of oure Feyth þe mot defende,
221 As he of his myght made allthynge of nowth.
222 ANNE Mary, to þi sowle solas he sende,
223 In whos wysdam all þis werd was wrought.
224 Go we now hens, husbonde so hende,
225 For owth of care now are we brought.

Hic Joachim et Anna recedent domum.

226 MARIA Be þe Holy Gost at hom be 3e brought.

Ad virgines:

227 Systerys, 3e may go do what 3e xall;
228 To serve God fyrst here is al my thought.
229 Beforn þis holy awtere on my knes I fall.

230 Lord, sefne petycyons I beseche 3ow of here:
231 Fyrst, þat I may kepe þi love and þi lawe.
232 þe secunde, to lovyn myn evyn-Crystyn as myself dere.
233 þe thrydde, from all þat þu hatyst me to withdrawe.
234 The fourte, all vertuys to þi plesauns [to] knawe.
235 þe fyfte, to obey þe ordenaryes of þe temple echon.
236 þe sexte, and þat all pepyl may serve þe with awe,
237 þat in þis holy tempyl fawte be non.

238 The sefnte, Lord, I haske with grett fere,
239 þat I may se onys in my lyve
240 þat lady þat xal Goddys sone bere,
241 þat I may serve here with my wyttys fyve,

242 If it plese 3ow; and ellys it is not þerwith to stryve.
243 With prayers prostrat for þese gracys I wepe.
244 O my God, devocyon depe in me dryve
245 þat myn hert may wake in þe thow my body slepe!

Here þe aungel bryngyth manna in a cowpe of gold lyke to confeccyons, þe hefue syngynge. þe aungel seyth:

246 [ANGELUS] Merveyle not, mekest maydon, of my mynystracyon.
247 I am a good aungel sent of God Allmyght
248 With aungelys mete for 3oure sustentacyon,
249 3e to receyve it for natural myght.
250 We aungellys xul serve 3ow day and nyght.
251 Now fede 3ow þerwith, in Goddys name.
252 We xal lerne 3ow be lyberary of oure Lordys lawe lyght,
253 For my sawys in 3ow shewyth sygnes of shame.

254 MARIA To thank oure sover[ey]n Lord not sufficyth my mende.
255 I xal fede me of þis fode my Lord hath me sent;
256 All maner of savowrys in þis mete I fynde,
257 I felt nevyr non so swete ner so redolent.
258 ANGELUS Eche day þerwith 3e xal be content;
259 Aunge[lys] alle howrys xal to 3ow apere.
260 MARIA Mercy, my Makere, how may þis be ment?
261 I am be sympelest creature þat is levynge here.

262 ANGELUS In 3oure name, Maria, fyve letterys we han:
263 M: mayde most mercyfull and mekest in mende.
264 A: auerte[r] of þe anguysch þat Adam began
265 R: regina of regyon, reyneng withowtyn ende.
266 I: innocent be influens of Jesses kende.
267 A: aduocat most autentyk, 3oure [anceter] Anna.
268 Hefne and helle here kneys down bende
269 Whan þis holy name of 3ow is seyd, Maria.

270 MARIA I qwake grettly for dred to here þis comendacyon
271 Good swete aungel, why wole 3e sey thus?
272 AUNGELL For 3e xal hereaftere haue a salutacyon
273 þat xal þis excede, it is seyd amonge vs.
274 The Deyté þat dede xal determyn and dyscus
275 3e xal nevyr, lady, be lefte here alone.
276 I crye þe mercy, Lorde, and þin erthe cus,
277 Recomendynge me to þat Godhyd þat is tryne in trone.

Hic osculet terram. Here xal comyn alwey an aungel with dyvers presentys, goynge and comyng, and in þe tyme þei xal synge in hefne þis hympne: 'Jesu Corona Virginum'. And aftyr, þer comyth a minister fro þe busschop with a present and seyth:

278 MINISTER Prynce of oure prestes, Ysakare be name,
279 He hath sent 3ow hymself his servyce, indede,
280 And bad 3e xulde fede 3ow, spare for no shame;
281 In þis tyme of mete no lenger 3e rede.
282 MARIA Recomende me to my fadyr, sere, and God do hym mede.
283 These vesselys a3en sone I xal hym sende
284 I xal bere it my systerys--I trowe þei haue more nede;
285 Goddys foyson is evyr to his servauntys hendyr þan we wende.

286 Systerys, oure holy fadyr Isakare
287 Hath sent vs hese servyce here ryght now.
288 Fede 3ow þerof hertyly, I pray 3ow nat spare.
289 And if owght beleve, specyaly I pray 3ow
290 That þe pore men þe relevys þerof haue now.
291 Fayn, and I myth, I wolde do þe dedys of mercy.
292 Pore folk faryn God knowyth how.
293 On hem evyr I haue grett pety.


294 CONTEMPLACIO. Lo, sofreynes, here 3e haue seyn
295 In þe temple of oure Ladyes presentacyon.
296 She was nevyr occapyed in thyngys veyn,
297 But evyr besy in holy ocupacyon.

298 And we beseche 3ow of 3oure pacyens
299 þat we pace fese materys so lythly away;
300 If þei xulde be do with good prevydens,
301 Eche on wolde suffyce for an hool day.

302 Now xal we procede to here dissponsacyon,
303 Which aftere þis was xiiij 3ere.
304 Tyme sufficyth not to make pawsacyon;
305 Hath pacyens with vs we besech 3ow her.
306 And in short spas,
307 The Parlement of Hefne sone xal 3e se,
308 And how Goddys sone com man xal he,
309 And how þe Salutacyon aftere xal be,
310 By Goddys holy gras.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 9 - Joachim and Anne's Presentation of Mary at the Temple. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.