From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 12 - Joseph's Doubt About Mary

1 JOSEPH How, dame, how! Vndo 3oure dore, vndo!
2 Are 3e at hom? Why speke 3e notht?

3 SUSANNA Who is ther? Why cry 3e so?
4 Telle us 3oure herand; wyl 3e ought?
5 JOSEPH Vndo 3oure dore, I sey 3ow to.
6 For to com in is all my thought.
7 MARIA It is my spowse þat spekyth us to.
8 Ondo þe dore, his wyl were wrought.

9 Wellcome hom, myn husbond dere.
10 How haue 3e ferd in fer countré?
11 JOSEPH To gete oure levynge, withowtyn dwere,
12 I haue sore laboryd for þe and me.

13 MARIA Husbond, ryght gracyously now come be 3e.
14 It solacyth me sore sothly to se 3ow in syth.
15 JOSEPH Me merveylyth, wyff, surely! 3oure face I cannot se,
16 But as þe sonne with his bemys quan he is most bryth.

17 MARIA Husbond, it is as it plesyth oure Lord, þat grace of hym grew.
18 Who þat evyr beholdyth me, veryly,
19 They xal be grettly steryd to vertu.
20 For þis 3yfte and many moo, good Lord, gramercy.

21 JOSEPH How hast þu ferde, jentyl mayde,
22 Whyl I haue be out of londe?
23 MARIA Sekyr, sere, beth nowth dysmayde,
24 Ryth aftyr þe wyl of Goddys sonde.
25 JOSEPH That semyth evyl, I am afrayd.
26 þi wombe to hy3e doth stonde!
27 I drede me sore I am betrayd,
28 Sum other man þe had in honde
29 Hens sythe þat I went!
30 Thy wombe is gret, it gynnyth to ryse.
31 Than hast þu begownne a synfull gyse.
32 Telle me now in what wyse
33 Thyself þu ast þus schent.

34 Ow, dame, what þinge menyth this?
35 With childe þu gynnyst ryth gret to gon.
36 Sey me, Mary, þis childys fadyr ho is?
37 I pray þe telle me, and þat anon.
38 MARIA The Fadyr of Hevyn and 3e it is--
39 Other fadyr hath he non.
40 I dede nevyr forfete with man, iwys.
41 Wherfore I pray 3ow, amende 3oure mon.
42 This childe is Goddys and 3oure.
43 JOSEPH Goddys childe! þu lyist, in fay!
44 God dede nevyr jape so with may!
45 And I cam nevyr ther, I dare wel say,
46 3itt so nyh þi boure.

47 But 3it I sey, Mary, whoos childe is this?
48 MARIA Goddys and 3oure, I sey, iwys.

49 JOSEPH 3a, 3a, all olde men to me take tent,
50 And weddyth no wyff in no kynnys wyse
51 þat is a 3onge wench, by myn asent,
52 For doute and drede and swych servyse.
53 Alas, alas, my name is shent!
54 All men may me now dyspyse
55 And seyn, "Olde cokwold, þi bowe is bent
56 Newly now aftyr þe Frensche gyse."
57 Alas and welaway!
58 Alas, dame, why dedyst þu so?
59 For þis synne þat þu hast do
60 I the forsake and from þe go
61 For onys, evyr, and ay.

62 MARIA Alas, gode spowse, why sey 3e thus?
63 Alas, dere hosbund, amende 3oure mod.
64 It is no man but swete Jesus.
65 He wyll be clad in flesch and blood
66 And of 3oure wyf be born.
67 SEPHOR Forsothe, þe aungel, þus seyd he,
68 þat Goddys sone in Trynité
69 For mannys sake a man wolde be
70 To save þat is forlorn.

71 JOSEPH An aungel! Allas, alas! Fy, for schame!
72 3e syn now in þat 3e to say,
73 To puttyn an aungel in so gret blame!
74 Alas, alas! Let be! Do way!
75 It was sum boy began þis game
76 þat clothyd was clene and gay.
77 And 3e 3eve hym now an aungel name.
78 Alas, alas, and welaway
79 þat evyr this game betydde.
80 A, dame, what thought haddyst þu?
81 Here may all men þis proverbe trow,
82 þat many a man doth bete þe bow,
83 Another man hath þe brydde.

84 MARIA A, gracyous God in hefne trone,
85 Comforte my spowse in þis hard cas.
86 Mercyful God, amend his mone,
87 As I dede nevyr so gret trespas.

88 JOSEPH Lo, lo, serys, what told I 3ow,
89 þat it was not for my prow
90 A wyff to take me to--
91 An þat is wel s[e]ne now!
92 For Mary, I make God avow,
93 Is grett with childe, lo.
94 Alas, why is it so?
95 To þe busshop I wole it telle
96 þat he þe lawe may here do,
97 With stonys here to qwelle.

98 Nay, nay, 3et God forbede
99 þat I xuld do þat ve[n]geabyl dede
100 But if I wyst wel qwy.
101 I knew nevyr with here, so God me spede,
102 Tokyn of thynge in word nor dede
103 þat towchyd velany.
104 Ncvyrþeles, what forthy,
105 þow she be meke and mylde,
106 Withowth mannys company
107 She myght not be with childe!

108 But I ensure, myn was it nevyr!
109 Thow þat she hath not don here devyr,
110 Rather than I xuld pleynyn opynly,
111 Serteynly 3itt had I levyr
112 Forsake þe countré forevyr
113 And nevyr come in here company.
114 For and men knew þis velany,
115 In repreiff ci wolde me holde.
116 And 3ett many bettyr than I,
117 3a, hath ben made cokolde!

118 Now, alas, whedyr xal I gone?
119 I wot nevyr whedyr nor to what place,
120 For oftyntyme sorwe comyth sone,
121 And longe it is or it pace.
122 No comforte may I haue here.
123 Iwys, wyff þu dedyst me wronge!
124 Alas, I taryed from þe to longe!
125 All men haue pety [on me] amonge,
126 For to my sorwe is no chere.

127 MARIA God, þat in my body art sesyd,
128 þu knowist myn husbond is dysplesyd
129 To se me in þis plight.
130 For vnknowlage he is desesyd,
131 And þerfore, help þat he were esyd,
132 þat he myght knowe þe ful perfyght.
133 For I haue levyr abyde [d]espyt
134 To kepe þi sone in privité
135 Grauntyd by þe Holy Spyryt,
136 þan þat it xulde be opynd by me.

137 DEUS. Descende, I sey, myn aungelle,
138 Onto Joseph for to telle
139 Such as my wyl is.
140 Byd hym with Mary abyde and dwelle,
141 For it is my sone ful snelle
142 þat she is with, iwys.
143 ANGELUS Almyghty God of Blys,
144 I am redy for to wende
145 Wedyr as þi wyl is,
146 To go bothe fer and hynde.

147 Joseph, Joseph, þu wepyst shyrle.
148 Fro þi wyff why comyst þu owte?
149 JOSEPH Good sere, lete me wepe my fylle;
150 Go forthe þi wey and lett me nowght.
151 ANGELUS In þi wepynge þu dost ryght ylle--
152 A3ens God þu hast myswrought!
153 Go chere þi wyff with herty wylle,
154 And chawnge þi chere, amende þi thought.
155 Sche is a ful clene may.
156 I telle þe, God wyl of here be born,
157 And sche clene mayd as she was beforn,
158 To saue mankynd, þat is forlorn.
159 Go chere hyre, þerfore, I say.

160 JOSEPH A, Lord God, benedicité.
161 Of þi gret comforte I thank the
162 þat þu sent me þis space.
163 I myght wel a wyst, pardé,
164 So good a creature as she
165 Wold nevyr a don trespace,
166 For sche is ful of grace.
167 I know wel I haue myswrought.
168 I walk to my pore place
169 And aske forgyfnes, I haue mysthought.

170 Now is þe tyme sen at eye
171 þat þe childe is now to veryfye,
172 Which xal saue mankende,
173 As it was spoke be prophesye.
174 I thank þe, God, þat syttys on hye,
175 With hert, wyl, and mende,
176 þat evyr þu woldyst me bynde
177 To wedde Mary to my wyff,
178 þi blysful sone so nere to fynde,
179 In his presens to lede my lyff.

180 Alas, for joy I qwedyr and qwake.
181 Alas, what hap now was this?
182 A mercy, mercy, my jentyl make,
183 Mercy, I haue seyd al amys!
184 All þat I haue seyd, here I forsake.
185 3oure swete fete now lete me kys.
186 MARY Nay, lett be my fete, not þo 3e take;
187 My mowthe 3e may kys, iwys,
188 And welcom onto me.
189 JOSEPH Gramercy, myn owyn swete wyff,
190 Gramercy, myn hert, my love, my lyff.
191 Xal I nevyrmore make suche stryff
192 Betwyx me and þe.

193 A, Mary, Mary, wel þu be,
194 And blyssyd be þe frewte in the,
195 Goddys Sone of Myght.
196 Now, good wyff, ful of pyté,
197 As be not evyl payd with me
198 þow þat þu haue good ryght.
199 As for my wronge in syght
200 To wyte þe with ony synne,
201 Had þu not be a vertuous wythe,
202 God wold not a be þe withinne.

203 I knowlage I haue don amys.
204 I was nevyr wurthy, iwys,
205 For to be þin husbonde.
206 I xal amende aftere thys,
207 Ryght as þin owyn wyl is,
208 To serve þe at foot and honde,
209 And þi chylde bothe to vndyrstonde,
210 To wurchep hym with good affeccyon.
211 And þerfore telle me, and nothynge whonde,
212 The holy matere of 3oure concepcyon.

213 MARIA At 3owre owyn wyll as 3e bydde me:
214 Ther cam an aunge[l] hyght Gabryell,
215 And gret me fayr, and seyd, "Aue!"
216 And ferthermore to me gan tell
217 God xulde be borne of my bodé,
218 þe fendys powsté for to felle.
219 þorwe þe Holy Gost, as I wel se,
220 þus God in me wyl byde and dwelle.

221 JOSEPH Now I thank God with spech and spelle
222 þat euyr, Mary, I was weddyd to the.
223 MARY It was þe werk of God, as I 3ow telle.
224 Now blyssyd be þat Lord so purveyd for me.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 12 - Joseph's Doubt About Mary. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.