From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 13 - Mary and Joseph's Visit to Elizabeth

1 MARIA Bvtt, husbond, of oo thynge I pray 3ow most mekely:
2 I haue knowyng þat oure cosyn Elyzabeth with childe is.
3 þat it plese 3ow to go to here hastyly,
4 If owught we myth comforte here, it wore to me blys.

5 JOSEPH A, Godys sake! Is she with childe? Sche?
6 Than wole here husbond, Zakarye, be mery.
7 In Montana they dwelle, fer hens, so moty the,
8 In þe cety of Juda, I knowe it veryly.
9 It is hens, I trowe, myles two and fyfty_
10 We are lyke to be wery or we come at þat same.
11 I wole with a good wyl, blyssyd wyff Mary;
12 Now go we forthe, than, in Goddys name.

13 MARIA [Good] husbond, þow it be to 3ow peyne,
14 This jurny, I pray 3ow, lete us go fast;
15 For I am schamfast of þe pepyl to be seyne,
16 And namely of men þerof I am agast.
17 Pylgrymagys and helpyngys wolde be go in hast.
18 þe more þe body is peynyd þe more is þe mede.
19 Say 3e 3oure devocyonys and I xal myn icast.
20 Now in þis jurny God mote us spede.

21 JOSEPH Amen, amen, and evyrmore,
22 Lo, wyff lo how starkly I go before.

Et sic transient circa placeam.

23 CO[N]TEMPLACIO Sovereynes, vndyrstondyth þat Kynge Davyd here
24 Ordeyned foure and twenty prestys of grett devocyon,
25 In þe temple of God aftere here l[o]t [to] apere.
26 þei wer[e] clepyd summi sacerdotes for here mynistracyon.
27 And on was prynce of prestys, havynge domynacyon;
28 Amonge whiche was an old prest clepyd Zakarye,
29 And he had an old woman to his wyff of holy conversacyon,
30 Whiche hyth Elizabeth, þat nevyr had childe, verylye.

31 In hese mynistracyon, the howre of incense,
32 The aungel Gabryel apperyd hym to.
33 þat hese wyff xulde conscyve he 3aff hym intelligence,
34 [He, seinge] hese vnwurthynes and age, not belevyd so;
35 The plage of dompnesse hise lippis lappyd, lo.
36 Thei wenten hom and his wyff was conseyvenge--
37 This concepcyon Gabryel tolde oure Lady to--
38 And in soth, sone aftere, þat sage sche was sekynge.

39 And of here tweyners metyng
40 Here gynnyth þe proces.
41 Now God be oure begynnynge,
42 And of my tonge I wole ses.

43 JOSEPH A, a, wyff, in feyth I am wery.
44 Therfore I wole sytt downe and rest me ryght here.
45 Lo, wyff, here is þe hous of Zakary;
46 Wole 3e I clepe Elyzabeth to 3ow to apere?
47 MARIA Nay, husbond, and it plese 3ow, I xal go ner.
48 Now þe blyssyd Trynité be in þis hous.
49 A, cosyn Elizabeth, swete modyr, what cher?
50 3e grow grett! A, my God, how 3e be gracyous!

51 ELIZABETH Anon as I herd of 3ow þis holy gretynge,
52 Mekest mayden and þe Modyr of God, Mary,
53 Be 3oure breth þe Holy Gost vs was inspyrynge;
54 þat þe childe in my body enjoyd gretly
55 And turnyd down on his knes to oure God reverently.
56 Whom 3e here in 3oure body, þis veryly I ken.
57 Fulfyllyd with þe Holy Gost þus lowde I cry:
58 Blyssyd be þu amonge all women!

59 And blyssyd be þe frute off þi wombe also,
60 þu wurthyest virgyne and wyff þat evyr was wrought.
61 How is it þat þe Modyr of God me xulde come to,
62 þat wrecche of all wrecchis, a whyght wers þan nought;
63 And þu art blyssyd, þat belevyd veryly in þi thought
64 þat þe wurde of God xulde profyte in the.
65 But how þis blyssydnes abought was brought,
66 I cannot thynk nyn say how it myght be.

67 MARIA To þe preysynge of God, cosyn, this seyd mut be:
68 Whan I sat in my lytyl hous onto God praynge,
69 Gabryel come and seyde to me "Ave."
70 Ther I conceyvyd God at my consentynge,
71 Parfyte God and parfyte man at onys beynge.
72 Than þe aungel seyd onto me
73 þat it was sex monethys syn 3oure conseyvynge;
74 þis cawsyth my comynge, cosyn, 3ow to comfort and se.

75 ELIZABETH Blyssyd be 3e, cosyn, for 3oure hedyrcomynge.
76 How I conseyvyd I xal to 3ow say:
77 þe aungel apperyd þe howre of incensynge
78 Seynge I xulde conseyve, and hym thought nay!
79 Sethe for his mystrost he hath be dowm alway.
80 And þus of my concepcyon I haue tolde 3ow sum.
81 MARIA For þis holy psalme I begynne here þis day:

82 Magnificat anima mea Dominum,
83 Et exultauit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo.
84 ELIZABETH Be þe Holy Gost with joye Goddys son is in þe cum,
85 þat þi spyryte so injouyid þe helth of þi God so.

86 MARIA Quia respexit humilitatem ancille sue.
87 Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generaciones.
88 ELIZABETH For he beheld þe lownes of hese handmayde, 3e.
89 [L]o, ferforthe for þat, all generacyonys blysse 3ow in pes.

90 MARIA Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est,
91 Et sanctum nomen eius.
92 ELIZABETH For grett thyngys he made, and also myghtyest,
93 And ryght holy is þe name of hym in vs.

94 MARIA Et misericordia eius a progenie in progenies
95 Timentibus eum.
96 ELIZABETH 3a, þe mercy of hym fro þat kynde into þe kynde of pes,
97 For all þat hym drede now is he cum.

98 MARIA Fecit potenciam in brachio suo,
99 Disspersit superbos mente cordis sui.
100 ELIZABETH The pore in his ryght arme he hath mad so,
101 þe prowde to dyspeyre [in] þe thought of here hertys only.

102 MARIA Deposuit potentes de sede,
103 Et exaltauit humiles.
104 ELIZABETH The prowde men fro hey setys put he,
105 And þe lowly vpon heyth in þe sete of pes.

106 MARIA Esurientes impleuit bonis,
107 Et diuites dimisit inanes.
108 ELIZABETH Alle þe pore and þe nedy he fulfyllyth with his goodys,
109 And þe ryche he fellyth to voydnes.

110 MARIA Suscepit Israel puerurn suum,
111 Recordatus est misericordie sue.
112 ELIZABETH Israel for his childe vp toke he to cum,
113 On his mercy to thynk, for hese þat be.

114 MARIA Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros,
115 Abraham et semini eius in secula.
116 ELIZABETH As he spak here to oure forfaderys in clos,
117 Abraham and to all hese sed of hym in þis werd, sa.

118 MARIA Gloria Patri, et Filio,
119 Et Spiritui Sancto.
120 ELIZABETH Preysyng be to þe Fadyr in hevyn, lo!
121 þe same to þe Son here be so,
122 þe Holy Gost also to ken.

123 MARIA Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,
124 Et in secula seculorum, amen.
125 ELIZABETH As it was in þe begynnynge, and now is, and xal be forevyr,
126 And in þis werd in all good werkys to abydyn then.

127 MARIA This psalme of prophesye seyd betwen vs tweyn,
128 In hefne it is wretyn with aungellys hond,
129 Evyr to be songe and also to be seyn
130 Euery day amonge us at oure evesong.

131 But, cosyn Elyzabeth, I xal 3ow here kepe,
132 And þis thre monethis abyde here now,
133 Tyl 3e han childe; to wasche, skore, and swepe,
134 And in all þat I may to comforte 3ow.
135 ELIZABETH A, 3e Modyr of God, 3e shewe us here how
136 We xulde be meke þat wrecchis here be.
137 All hefne and herthe wurchepp 3ow mow,
138 þat are trone and tabernakyl of þe hy3 Trinité.

139 JOSEPH A, how do 3e, how do 3e, fadyr Zacharye?
140 We falle fast in age, withowte oth.
141 Why shake 3e so 3oure hed? Haue 3e þe palsye?
142 Why speke 3e not, sere? I trowe 3e are not wroth.
143 ELIZABETH Nay, wys fadyr Joseph, þerto he were ful loth.
144 It is þe vesytac[y]on of God; he may not speke, veryly.
145 Lete us thank God þerffor, both.
146 He xal remedy it whan it plesyth his mercy.


147 JOSEPH Of 3oure dissese thynkys no greff,
148 Thank God of al aduersyté;
149 For he wyl chastyse and repreff
150 þo þat he lovyth most hertylé.

151 Mary, I hold best þat we go hens;
152 We haue fer hom, withowt fayl.
153 MARIA Al redy, husbond, without defens,
154 Iwyl werke be 3oure counsayl.
155 Cosyn, be 3oure leve and 3oure lycens,
156 For homward now us must travayl.
157 Of þis refreschynge in 3oure presens
158 God 3eld 3ow, þat most may avayl.

159 ELIZABETH Now, cosynes bothe, God 3ow spede.
160 And wete 3ow wele withowtyn mo,
161 3oure presens comfortyth me indede.
162 And þerfore now am I ryght wo
163 That 3e, my frendys and my kynrede,
164 þus sone now xul parte me fro.
165 But I pray God he mote 3ow lede
166 In every place wherso 3e go.

Here Mary and Elizabet partyn, and Elizabeth goth to Zakarie and seyth:

167 Good husbond, ryse up I beseke 3ow,
168 And go we to þe temple now fast
169 To wurchep God, with þat we mow,
170 And thank hym bothe, this is my cast,
171 Of þe tyme þat is comynge now.
172 For now is cum mercy, and venjauns is past!
173 God wyl be born for mannys prow
174 To brynge us to blysse þat evyr xal last.


175 Come, I pray 3ow specialy.
176 Iwys, 3e are welcome, Mary.
177 For þis comfortabelest comynge, good God, gramercy.

178 CONTEMPLACIO. Lystenyth, sovereynys, here is a conclusyon.
179 How þe Aue was mad here is lernyd vs:
180 þe aungel seyd, "Aue, gracia plena. Dominus tecum,
181 Benedicta tu in mulieribus."
182 Eiyzabeth seyd, "Et benedictus
183 Fructus uentris tui." Thus þe Chirch addyd "Maria" and "Jesus" her.
184 Who seyth oure Ladyes Sawtere dayly for a 3er þus,
185 He hath pardon ten thowsand and eyte hundryd 3er.

186 Than ferther to oure matere for to procede,
187 Mary with Elizabeth abod þer stylle
188 Iij monthys fully, as we rede,
189 Thankynge God with hertly wylle.

190 A, Lord God, what hous was þis on
191 þat [held] þese childeryn and here moderys to
192 As Mary and Elizabeth, Jesus and John,
193 And Joseph and Zakarye also.

194 And evyr oure Lady abod stylle þus
195 Tyl Johan was of his modyr born.
196 And þan Zakarye spak, iwus,
197 þat had be dowm and his spech lorn.

198 He and Elizabeth prophesyed as þus:
199 They mad "Benedictus" them beforn.
200 And so "Magnificat" and "Benedictus"
201 Fyrst in þat place þer made worn.

202 Whan all was don oure Lady fre
203 Toke here leve than aftere this
204 At Elizabeth and at Zakarie,
205 And kyssyd Johan and gan hym blys.

206 Now most mekely we thank 3ou of 3oure pacyens
207 And beseke 3ou of 3oure good supportacyon.
208 If here hath be seyd ore don any inconuenyens,
209 We asygne it to 3oure good deliberaci[on],
210 Besekynge to Crystys precyous Passyon
211 Conserve and rewarde 3oure hedyrcomynge.
212 With "Aue" we begunne and "Aue" is oure conclusyon:
213 "Ave Regina Celorum" to our Lady we synge.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 13 - Mary and Joseph's Visit to Elizabeth. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.