From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 21 - Christ Disputes with the Scholars in the Temple

Modo de doctoribus disputantibus cum Jesu in templo

1 PRIMUS DOCTOR Scripture sacre esse dinoscimur doctos,
2 We to bere þe belle of all maner clergyse

3 SECUNDUS DOCTOR Velud rosa omnium forum flos,
4 Lyke onto us was nevyr clerke so wyse.
5 PRIMUS DOCTOR Loke what scyens 3e kan devyse
6 Of redynge, wrytynge, and trewe ortografye,
7 Amongys all clerkys we here þe prysse
8 Of gramer, cadens, and of prosodye.

9 SECUNDUS DOCTOR No clerke abyl to bere oure book
10 Of versyfyeng nor of other scyens.
11 Of swete musyke whoso wyll look,
12 Seke no ferther but to oure presens.
13 Of dyaletyk we haue be hy3 excellence,
14 Of sophestrye, logyk, and phylosophye.
15 Ageyn oure argemente is no recystence
16 In metaphesyk ne astronomye.

17 PRIMUS DOCTOR Of calculacyon and negremauncye,
18 Also of augrym and of asmatryk,
19 O lynyacyon þat longyth to jematrye,
20 Of dyetis and domys þat longyth to phesyk.
21 In all þis scyens is non us lyke
22 In Caton, Gryscysme, nor Doctrynal.
23 And for endytynge with retoryke,
24 þe hyest degré is oure be call.

25 SECUNDUS DOCTOR In grett canon and in cevyle lawe,
26 Also in scyens of polycye,
27 Is non to us wurthe an hawe.
28 Of all cunnynge we gere þe maystrye.
29 Therfore in þis temple we sytt on hye
30 And of most wurchep kepe þe souereynté.
31 þer is on erthe no man so wurthye
32 þe hy3 stat to holdyn as we tweyn be.

33 JESUS Omnis sciencia a Domino Deo est:
34 Al wytt and wysdam, of God it is lent.
35 Of all 3oure lernynge withinne 3oure brest
36 Thank hyghly þat Lord þat hath 3ow sent.
37 Thorwe host and pryde 3oure soulys may be shent.
38 Of wytt and wysdome 3e haue not so mech
39 But God may make at hese entente
40 Of all 3oure connynge many man 3ow lech.

41 PRIMUS DOCTOR Goo hom, lytyl babe, and sytt on þi moderys lappe!
42 And put a mokador aforn þi brest,
43 And pray þi modyr to fede þe with þe pappe.
44 Of þe for to lerne we desyre not to lest.
45 SECUNDUS DOCTOR Go to þi dyner, for þat behovyth the best!
46 Whan þu art athreste, þan take þe a sowke.
47 Aftyr, go to cradyl, þerin to take þi rest,
48 For þat canst þu do bettyr þan for to loke on book.

49 JESUS Stondynge þat 3e be so wytty and wyse,
50 Can 3e owth tellyn how þis werde was wrought?
51 How longe xal it laste can 3e devyse
52 With all þe cunnynge þat 3e han sought?
53 PRIMUS DOCTOR Nay, all erthely clerkys þat telle can nought:
54 It passyth oure wytt þat for to contryve.
55 It is not possyble abought to be brought:
56 þe worldys endyng no man kan dysscryve.

57 JESUS How it was wrought and how longe it xal endure,
58 þat I telle be good delyberacyon.
59 Not only þerof but of every creature,
60 How it is wrought I knowe be plasmacyon.
61 SECUNDUS DOCTOR Of þi wurdys I haue skorne and derys[y]on.
62 How schulde a chylde þat nevyr lettyr dude lere
63 Com to be wytt of so hy3 cognysion
64 Of þe grete werkys þat so wundyrfull were?

65 JESUS Allthynge is brought to informacyon
66 Be thre personys, oo God in Trynité.
67 And on of þo thre hath take incarnacyon,
68 Bothe flesch and blood, of a mayd fre.
69 And be þat myght of þo personys thre
70 Hevyn, and erth, and allthynge is wrought.
71 And as it plesyth þat hy3 mageste,
72 Allthynge xal leste, and lenger nowght.

73 PRIMUS DOCTOR I grawnt weyl allthynge þat God dyde make,
74 And withowtyn hym nothynge may be.
75 But o thynge þu seydyst and þat I forsake:
76 þat oo God alone was personys thre.
77 Ryght onpossyble þat is to me:
78 That on is thre I kannot thynke.
79 If þu canst preve it, anon lett se,
80 For in oure hertys it may nevyr synke.

81 JESUS In þe sunne consydyr 3e thyngys thre:
82 The splendure, þe hete, and þe lyght.
83 As þo thre partys but oo sunne be,
84 Ryght so thre personys be oo God of Myght.
85 SECUNDUS DOCTOR In very feyth, þis reson is ryght!
86 But 3itt, fayr babe, oo thynge we pray 3ow:
87 What do all þo thre personys hyght?
88 Vs to enforme 3e sey to me now.

89 JESUS The fyrst is calde þe Fadyr of Myght,
90 þe secunde þe Sone of Wysdam and Wytt,
91 þe Holy Gost þe iijde, of grace he is lyght;
92 And in oo substauns all these iij be knyt.
93 PRIMUS DOCTOR Another questyon I aske 3ow 3itt:
94 3e seyd on of þese iij toke fiesch and blood,
95 And sche a clene mayde--I kannot beleue it!
96 Clene mayde and modyr nevyr 3it in oo persone stood.

97 JESUS Lyke as be sunne doth perysch be glas,
98 þe glas not hurte of his nature,
99 Ryght so be Godhede entryd has
100 þe Virgynes wombe, and sche mayd pure.
101 That maydonys childe xal do grett cure,
102 Convicte þe devyl in þe opyn felde,
103 And with his bolde berst fecch hom his creature.
104 Mankende to saue, his brest xal be þe shelde.

105 SECUNDUS DOCTOR This childys doctryne doth passe oure wytt!
106 Sum aungel of hevyn I trowe þat he be.
107 But, blyssyd babe, of oo dowte 3itt
108 We pray 3ow enforme us for charyté:
109 Which toke flesch of þe personys thre
110 Ageyn be fende to holde such batayle?
111 JESUS The secunde persone, forsothe, is he
112 Xal fray þe fende withowte fayle.

113 PRIMUS DOCTOR Why rather he than any of þat tother?
114 The fyrst or þe thyrde, why come they nowth?
115 JESUS This is þe cawse why, sertys, and non other:
116 Ageyn þe secunde þe trespas was wrought.
117 Whan þe serpent Adam to synne browth,
118 He temptyd hym nowght be þe Faderys myght;
119 Of þe Gostys goodnes spak he ryght nowght;
120 But in connynge he temptyd hym ryght.

121 Myght is þe Faderys owyn propyrté,
122 To þe Gost aproperyd is goodnes.
123 In none of these tweyn temptyd he,
124 Mankende to synne whan he dede dresse.
125 To þe Sone connynge doth longe expres;
126 Therwith þe serpent dyd Adam asay.
127 "Ete of þis appyl," he seyd no lesse,
128 "And þu xalt haue connynge as God verray"

129 þus be secunde person attrybute
130 Was only towchyd be temptacyon.
131 Wherfore hymself wyl holde þe sewte
132 And kepe his propyrté fro maculacion.
133 SECUNDUS DOCTOR This is an hevynly declaracyon:
134 Oure naturall wytt it doth excede.
135 So 3onge a childe of such informacyon,
136 In al þis werld nevyr er non 3ede.

137 PRIMUS DOCTOR We be not worthy to kepe þis sete
138 Whyll þat oure mayster is in presens.
139 þe maystry of us þis childe doth gete;
140 We must hym wurchep with hy3 reverens.
141 Come forth, swete babe of grett excellens,
142 þe whysest clerke þat evyr 3ett was born.
143 To 3ow we 3eve þe hy3 resydens,
144 Vs more to teche as 3e haue done beforn.

Hic adducunt Jesum inter ipsos et in scanno altiori ipsum sedere faciunt, ipsis in inferioribus scannis sedentibus, et ait ijus doctor:

145 SECUNDUS DOCTOR So 3onge a chylde suche clergye to reche,
146 And so sadly to sey it, we woundyr sore
147 Who was 3oure mayster, who dede 3ow teche?
148 Of what man had 3e þis wurthy lore?
149 JESUS My wytt and my lernynge is no 3onge store:
150 Or þis worde was wrought all þinge dede I knowe.
151 Fyrst, or 3e wore borne, 3erys many score
152 Thorwe þe myght of my fadyr my wytt in me dede flowe.

153 PRIMUS DOCTOR Or þat we weryn born? Nay, þat may nat be!
154 þe 3ongest of us tweyn is iij score 3ere of age.
155 And þiselfe art but a chylde, al men may wel se;
156 Late camst out of cradyl, as it semyth be þi vesage.
157 JESUS I am of dobyl byrth and of dobyl lenage:
158 Fyrst be my fadyr I am without gynnynge.
159 And lyke as he is hendeles in his hy3 stage,
160 So xal I also neuyrmor haue endynge.

161 For be my fadyr, Kynge Celestyall
162 Without begynnyng, I am endles.
163 But be my modyr, þat is carnall,
164 I am but xij 3ere of age, þat is expres.
165 My body of 3ough3 doth shewe wyttnes,
166 Which of my modyr here I dude take.
167 But [be] myn hy3 godhede, þis is no lesse,
168 Allthynge in þis worlde, forsothe, dude I make.

169 SECUNDUS DOCTOR Be 3oure fadyr, þat endles is,
170 Who is 3oure modyr? Telle us we pray.
171 JESUS Be my fadyr, þe hy3 Kynge of Blys,
172 A modyrles chylde I am, veray.
173 PRIMUS DOCTOR Who was 3oure fadyr, to us than say.
174 Be 3oure modyr a woman þat was?
175 JESUS I am fadyrles. As for þat may,
176 Of fleschly luste she dude nevyr trespas.

177 SECUNDUS DOCTOR Telle us, I pray 3ow, what is 3oure name?
178 What hyght 3oure modyr, telle us also.
179 JESU Jesu of Nazareth, I am þe same,
180 Born of a clene mayd, prophetys seyd so.
181 Ysaye seyd bus: Ecce virgo,
182 A mayd xal conceyve in clennes a chylde,
183 3itt ageyn nature and al kende, loo,
184 From all wem of synne pure and vndefylde.

185 Mary, þe chylde ofJoachym and Anne,
186 Ys þat clene mayd, and here childe am I.
187 þe frute of here wombe xal saue euery manne
188 From þe grett dowte of þe fyndys tormentry.
189 PRIMUS DOCTOR All þe clerkys of þis worlde, trewly,
190 Cannot brynge this to declaracyon
191 Lesse þan þei haue of God Almyghty
192 Sum influens of informacyon.

193 SECUNDUS DOCTOR No[w], jentyl Jesu, we 3ow pray,
194 Whyl þat we stodye, a whyle to dwelle,
195 In cas mo dowtys þat we fynde may,
196 þe trewth of hem 3e may us telle.
197 JESU Goo take 3oure stodye and avyse 3ow well,
198 And all 3oure leysere I xal abyde.
199 If any dowtys to me 3e mell,
200 þe trewth þerof I xall vnhyde.

201 MARIA Alas, alas, myn hert is wo!
202 My blyssyd babe awey is went.
203 I wott nevyr whedyr þat he is go.
204 Alas, for sorwe myn hert is rent!
205 Jentyl husbond, haue [3ou] hym sent
206 Out on herrande to any place?
207 But yf 3e knowe were [he] ys bent,
208 Myn hert for woo asondyr wyl race.

209 JOSEPH On my massage I hym not sent,
210 Forsothe, good wyff, in no degré.
211 How longe is it þat he hens went?
212 What tyme dude 3e 3oure childe last se?
213 MARIA Trewly, gode spowse, not þese days thre.
214 þerfore myn herte is cast in care.
215 Hym for to seke wherso he be,
216 In hast, good husbonde, lete us forth fare.

217 JOSEPH Than to Hierusalem lete us streyte wende,
218 For kynred gladly togedyr wole gon.
219 I hope he [is] þer with sum good frende;
220 þer he hath cosynys ryght many on.
221 MARIA I am aferde þat he hath fon
222 For his grett wyttys and werkys good.
223 Lyke hym of wytt forsoth is non;
224 Euery childe with hym is wroth and wood.

225 Alas, my babe, my blys, my blood,
226 Whedyr art þu þus gon fro me?
227 My sowle, my swetyng, my frute, myn food,
228 Send me ssum wurd where þat þu be.
229 Telle me, good serys, for charyté,
230 Jesu, my childe, þat babe of blysse,
231 Amonge þis compayné dude 3e hym se?
232 For Godys hy3 loue, telle where he is.

233 PRIMUS DOCTOR Of oo qwestyon I am bethought,
234 All of 3oure modyr, þat blyssyd may:
235 In what governauns is she brought?
236 How is sche rewlyd be nyght and day?
237 JESU An old man, Joseph, as I 3ow say,
238 Here weddyd be meracle onto his wyff,
239 Here for to fede and kepe alway,
240 And bothyn in clennesse be maydonys o lyff.

241 SECUNDUS DOCTOR What nede was it here to be wedde
242 Onto a man of so grett age
243 Lesse þan þei myght bothe a go to bedde
244 And kept þe lawe of maryage?
245 JESUS To blynde þe devyl of his knowlache,
246 And my byrth from hym to hyde;
247 þat holy wedlok was grett stopage
248 þe devyl in dowte to do abyde.

249 Also whan sche xulde to Egypte gon
250 And fle from Herowde for dowte of me,
251 Becawse she xulde nat go alon,
252 Joseph was ordeyned here make to be,
253 My fadyr, of his hy3 magesté,
254 Here for to comforte in þe way.
255 These be be cawsys, as 3e may se,
256 Why Joseph weddyd þat holy may.

257 MARIA A, dere childe, dere chylde, why hast þu þus done?
258 For þe we haue had grett sorwe and care.
259 Thy fadyr and I thre days haue gone
260 Wyde þe to seke, of blysse ful bare.
261 JESUS Why haue 3e sought me with evy fare?
262 Wete 3e not wele þat I muste ben
263 Amonge hem þat is my faderys ware,
264 His gostly catel for to ovyrsen?

265 MARIA 3oure faderys wyl must nedys be wrought,
266 It is most wurthy þat it so be.
267 3itt on 3oure modyr haue 3e sum thought,
268 And be nevyrmore so longe fro me.
269 As to my thynkynge, these days thre
270 þat 3e absente haue ben away
271 Be more lengere in þer degré
272 þan all be xx space of xij 3ere day.

273 JESUS Now for to plese my modyr mylde
274 I xal 3ow folwe with obedyence.
275 I am 3oure sone and subjecte childe,
276 And owe to do 3ow hy3 reverence.
277 Home with 3ow I wyl go hens,
278 Of 3ow clerkys my leve I take.
279 Euery childe xulde with good dyligens,
280 His modyr to plese, his owyn wyl forsake.

281 PRIMUS DOCTOR O blyssyd Jesu, with 3ow we wende,
282 Of 3ow to haue more informacyon.
283 Ful blyssyd is 3oure modyr hende,
284 Of whom 3e toke 3oure incarnacyon.
285 We pray 3ow,Jesu, of consolacyon
286 At oure most nede of 3oy to haue.
287 All þat hath herd þis consummacyon
288 Of þis pagent, 3oure grace þem saue.

289 Amen

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 21 - Christ Disputes with the Scholars in the Temple. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.