From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 18 - Herod and the Magi, and the Adoration of the Magi

1 HERODE[S REX] As a lord in ryalté, in non regyon so ryche,
2 And rulere of all remys, I ryde in ryal aray!
3 Ther is no lord of lond in lordchep to me lyche,
4 Non lofflyere, non lofsummere, evyrlestyng is my lay!

5 Of bewté and of boldnes I bere evermore þe belle.
6 Of mayn and of myght I mastyr every man!
7 I dynge with my dowtynes þe devyl down to helle,
8 For bothe of hevyn and of herth I am kynge, sertayn!

9 I am þe comelyeste kynge clad in gleterynge golde,
10 3a, and þe semelyeste syre þat may bestryde a stede!
11 I welde att my wyll all wyghtys upon molde,
12 3a, and wurthely I am wrappyd in a wurthy wede.

13 3e knyghtys so comely, bothe curteys and kene,
14 To my paleys wyl I passe full prest, I 3ow plyth.
15 3e dukys so dowty, folwe me bedene.
16 Onto my ryal paleys þe wey lyth ful ryght.

17 Wyghtly fro my stede I skyppe down in hast,
18 To myn hey3 hallys I haste me in my way.
19 3e mynstrell, of myrth blowe up a good blast
20 Whyll I go to chamere and chaunge myn array.

21 PRIMUS REX Heyl be 3e, kyngys tweyne,
22 Ferre rydyng out of 3oure regne!
23 Methynkyth be 3oure presentys seyne
24 3e sekyn oure Sauyour.
25 Fro Saba haue I folwyd ferre
26 The glemynge of 3on gay sterre.
27 A chyldys blood xal bye vs dere
28 þat þer is born in bestys boure.

29 My name is Kynge Baltazare.
30 Of prophetys speche I am ware.
31 Therfore a ferre wey I fare,
32 A maydenys childe to seche.
33 For he made man of þe moolde,
34 And is kynge of hevyn holde.
35 I wyl hym offere þe rede golde,
36 As reson wyl me teche.

37 SECUNDUS REX Melchizar, þat my name is kydde.
38 In hote loue myn herte is hydde
39 To þe blosme upon his bedde,
40 Born by bestys bynne.
41 In Tarys I am kynge with crowne
42 By bankys and brymmys browne.
43 I haue trauaylid by many a towne
44 My lordys love to wynne.

45 I seke hym with ensens sote.
46 Of all prestys he xal be rote.
47 His bryght blood xal be oure bote,
48 To brynge us out of bende.
49 The childe xal be chosyn a preste,
50 In all vertuys fownden meste.
51 Beforn his faderys fayr breste
52 Ensens he xal up sende.

53 TERCIUS REX In Ypotan and Archage
54 I am kynge knowyn in kage.
55 To seke a childe of semlant sage
56 I haue faryn ryght ferre.
57 Jasper is my name knowyn
58 In many countrés þat are myn owyn.
59 Thorwe byttyr blastys þat gyn blowyn
60 I stryke aftere þe sterre.

61 I brynge myrre to my present,
62 A byttyr lycour verament.
63 For he xal tholyn byttyr dent
64 In a maydonys flesch is clad.
65 On byttyr tre he xal be bent,
66 Man and God omnypotent;
67 With byttyr betynge his flesch be rent
68 Tyl all his blood be bledde.

69 HER[ODES REX] Now I regne [as þi] kynge arayd ful rych,
70 Rollyd in rynggys and robys of array.
71 Dukys with dentys I dryve into þe dych,
72 My dedys be ful dowty demyd be day!
73 I xall marryn þo men þat r__yn on myche,
74 And þerinne sette here sacrementys sottys ___ say!

75 þer is no lorde in þis werde þat lokygh me lyche.
76 For to lame l___ of þe lesse lay
77 I am jolyere than þe jay,
78 Stronge thevys to steke,
79 þat wele oure lawys breke.
80 On þo wrecchis I wyll be wreke,
81 And hont hem vndyr ha[y].

82 In kyrtyl of cammaka kynge am I cladde,
83 Cruel and curryd in myn crowne knowe!
84 I sytr in ondyr Sesar in my se___e sadde.
85 Sorwyn to sottys, such seed wyll I sowe!
86 Boys now blaberyn, bostynge of a baron bad,
87 In bed[de] is born be bestys, suche bost is blowe.
88 I xal prune þat pap-hawk and preuyn hym as a pad
89 Scheldys and shaftys sh__h__ sowe!
90 My knyghtys xaln rydyn on rowe,
91 Knave chylderyn for to qwelle!
92 Be Mahound, dyngne duke of helle,
93 Sowre deth his lyff xall selle
94 Such thrett wolde me throwe!

95 Styward bolde,
96 Walke þu on wolde
97 And wysely beholde
98 All abowte.
99 Iff anythynge
100 Shuld greve þe kynge,
101 Brynge me tydynge
102 If þer be ony dowte.

103 SENESCALLUS Lord kynge in crowne,
104 I go fro towne.
105 By bankys browne
106 I wyll abyde,
107 And with erys lyste
108 Est and west
109 Iff any geste
110 On grownde gynnyth glyde.

Tunc ibit Senescallus et obuiabit tribus regibus, et dicit eis:

111 Kyngys iij
112 Vndyr þis tre,
113 In þis countré
114 Why wyll 3e abyde?
115 Herowde is kynge
116 Of þis wonynge.
117 Onto his dwellynge
118 Now xul 3e glyde.

119 PRIMUS REX Now lede us alle
120 To þe kyngys halle.
121 How it befalle,
122 We pray to the,
123 Wyttys to wete
124 He may us pete
125 In flesshe be glete
126 Godys frute fre.

127 SENESCALLUS Folwyth in stownde
128 Vpon þis grownde.
129 To þe castel rownde
130 I xal 3ow tech,
131 Where kynge gynny[th] wyde
132 Vp in þis tyde
133 In pompe and pryde
134 His myght gynnyth reche.

135 Sere kyng in trone,
136 Here comyth anone
137 By strete and stone
138 Kyngys thre.
139 They bere present.
140 What thei haue ment,
141 Ne whedyr they arn bent
142 I cannot Se.

143 HERODES REX I xal hem craue
144 What they haue.
145 Iff they raue
146 Or waxyn wood,
147 I xal hem reve,
148 Here wyttys deve,
149 Here hedys cleve,
150 And schedyn here blood!

151 PRIMUS REX Heyl be þu, kynge in kage ful hye!
152 Heyl, we nyghe þin halle ryght nye.
153 Knowyst þu ought þat chylde slye?
154 He is born hereabowth.
155 He is born of a mayd 3ynge,
156 He xal be kynge ouyr every kynge.
157 We go to seke þat louely thynge,
158 To hym fayn wolde I lowth.

159 SECUNDUS REX Babaam spak in prophecye
160 A sterre xulde ful louelye
161 Lythtyn upon mayd Marye,
162 Comyn of Jacobys kynne.
163 þe childe is born and lyth hereby,
164 Blomyd in a maidenys body.
165 A sterre hath strekyn upon þe sky
166 And ledde us fayr be fenne.

167 TERCIUS REX The sterre hath ledde us out of þe est
168 To seke a baron born best.
169 He xal be kynge of myghtys mest,
170 As prophecy gynnyth spelle.
171 We be kyngys in wey wery.
172 Syr kynge, for þi curtesy,
173 Telle us to þat childe so louely;
174 In what town gynnyth he dwelle?

175 HERODES REX 3e thre kyngys rekenyd be rowe,
176 Ley now downe 3oure wurdys lowe.
177 Such a carpynge is vnknowe,
178 Onrekenyd in my regne!
179 I am a kynge of hy3 degré,
180 þer xal non ben above me!
181 I haue florens and fryhthis fre,
182 Parkys and powndys pleyne.

183 But goth to fynde þat 3e sech;
184 And yf 3e knowe such a lech
185 And 3e hym fynde, I 3ow besech,
186 Comyth a3en be me.
187 And I xal be both blyth and bowne
188 þat all worchep to hym be done;
189 With reuerens I xal seke hym sone
190 And honour hym on kne.

191 And þerfore, kyngys, I 3ow pray,
192 Whan 3e haue don 3oure jurnay,
193 Come a3en þis same way,
194 þe trewth to me to telle.

195 Come and telle me as 3e spede,
196 And I xal qwyte ryght wel 3oure mede,
197 With gold, and tresour, and rych wede,
198 With furrys rych and wurth pelle.

199 PRIMUS REX Kynge, haue good day!
200 I go my way
201 To seche
202 Lord of Myght;
203 He xal be ryght
204 Oure leche.

205 SECUNDUS Kynge ful sterne,
206 REX Be felde and ferne
207 I goo
208 To sekyn a kynge,
209 He takyth wonynge
210 In woo.

211 TERCIUS REX If we hym fynde
212 Oure kynge ful kynde
213 Be a may,
214 From kynge and qwen
215 We comyn a3en
216 þis day.

217 HERODES REX A, fy, fy on talys þat I haue ben tolde
218 Here beforn my cruel kne!
219 How xulde a barn wax so bolde
220 Be bestys yf he born be?
221 He is yong and I am old,
222 An hardy kyng of hye degré.
223 This daye tho kynggys xal be kold
224 If þey cum ageyne be me!
225 My goddys I xall vp reyse!
226 A derke devyll with falsnese, I saye,
227 Shall cast a myst in þe kynggys eye;
228 Be bankys and be dalys drey,
229 þat be derk þei xall cum this weyys.

230 PRIMUS [REX] Go we to sek owr Lord and our lech,
231 Yon stere will us tech þe weyis full sone.
232 To saue vs from myschyff God I here besech,
233 Onto his joyis þat we may rech;
234 I pray hem of this bone.

Tunc ibunt reges cum muneribus ad Jesum, et Primus Rex dicit:

235 Heyle be þou, kyng cold clade!
236 Heyll, with maydynnys mylk fade!
237 Heyll, I cum to þe with gold glade.
238 As wese wrytyng bere it record,
239 Gold is þe rycheste metall,
240 And to weryng most ryall.
241 Gold I gyffe in this hall
242 And know fre for my Lorde.

243 SECUNDUS R[EX]Lorde, I knele vpon my kne,
244 Sote encence I offere to the.
245 Thow xalte be þe fyrst of hy3 degré,
246 Non so mekell of myght!
247 In Goddys howse, as men xall se,
248 Thow xalt honour þe Trynité;
249 Iij personys in oon Gode free,
250 And all oo Lord of Myght.
251 TERCIUS R[EX] Lord, I knele downe be thy bede,
252 In maydyns fleshe þou arte hede.
253 Thy name xal be wyde rede,
254 And kyng ouyr all kynggys.
255 Byttyr myre to þe I brynge,
256 For byttyr dentys on þe þei xall dyng;
257 And byttyr deth xall be þy endyng,
258 And ferfor I make mornyng.

259 Kynggys kynde,
260 Frome þe fende
261 God yow defende.
262 Homwarde 3e wende,
263 And to your placys 3e lende
264 þat 3e xulde tende.

265 PRIMUS REX Now haue we þe place fownde,
266 To Herode go we this stownde.
267 With owr wordys we were bownde
268 That we xulde cum ageyne.
269 Go we apace and sey owr spech,
270 For we haue fownde oure Lord and lech.
271 All þe truth we wyll hem tech,
272 How þe kyng is borne of a quene.

273 SECUNDUS REX Myn hede is hevy as lympe of leede,
274 But yf I slepe I am adrede
275 My witt xall fare þe warse.
276 I wax hevy in lyme and fla[n]ke,
277 Downe I ley me vpon this banke,
278 Vnder this bryght sterre, iwys.

279 TERCIUS REX Broþer, I must lye þe bye,
280 I will go neuyr ouyr þis stye
281 Tyll I haue a slepe.
282 The yong kyng and his moþyr Mary
283 Save vs all frome euery velany.
284 Now Cryst vs save and kepe.

285 PRIMUS REX Such hevynese haue vs cawght,
286 I must drynk with yow a drawght,
287 To slepe a lytyll whyle.
288 I am hevy heed and footte,
289 I xulde stumbyll at resch and root
290 And I xuld goo a myle.

Hic dormiunt reges, et venit angelus et dicit eis:

291 ANGE[LUS] 3e kynggys on this hill,
292 Werk 3e not aftyr Herodys wyll.
293 For yf 3e do he wyll yow kyll
294 þis day or nyght.
295 My Lorde yow sent this tydyng
296 To rest yow, kynggys in rych clothyng.
297 And whan 3e rysyn and goo to your dwellyng,
298 Tak home þe wey full ryght.

299 Whether þat 3e be wakyn or slepe,
300 My Lorde God xall yow keppe.
301 In goode tyme 3e dede down drepe
302 To take yowr rest.
303 Herowdys, to Je devyl he tryste
304 To marre 3ow in a myrke myste.
305 My Lord God is ful of lyste
306 To glathe 3ow for his geste.

307 And þerfore, kyngys, whan 3e ryse,
308 Wendyth forth be weys wyse
309 þer 3oure hall be sett in syse
310 In dyverse londe.
311 Fadyr of God in allthynge
312 Hath 3ow grawntyd his swete blyssynge.
313 He xal 3ow saue from all shendynge
314 With his ryght honde.

Tunc surgant reges, et dicat Primus Rex:

315 [PRIMUS REX] A bryght sterre ledde us into Bedleem;
316 A bryghtere thynge I saw in drem,
317 Bryghtere than þe sunnebeem;
318 An aungell I saw ryght here.
319 þe fayre floure þat here gan falle,
320 From Herowdys Kynge he gan vs kalle.
321 He taught us hom tyll oure halle
322 A wey by another mere.

323 SECUNDUS REX I sawghe a syght,
324 Myn hert is lyght
325 To wendyn home.
326 God, ful of myght,
327 Hath us dyght
328 Fro develys dome.

329 TERCIUS REX Oure God I blysse.
330 He sent us, iwys,
331 His aungel bryght.
332 Now we wake
333 þe wey to take
334 Home full ryght.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 18 - Herod and the Magi, and the Adoration of the Magi. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.