From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 22 - The Baptism of Christ

1 JOHANNES. Ecce vox clamantes in deserto.
2 I am þe voys of wyldirnese
3 þat her spekyth and prechy[t]h yow to.
4 Loke 3e forsake all wrecchidnesse;
5 Forsake all synne þat werkyth woo,
6 And turne to vertu and holynese.
7 Beth clene of levyng in your sowle also.
8 Than xall 3e be savyd from peynfulnese
9 Of fyere brynnyng in hell.
10 If þat 3e forsak synne,
11 Hevyn blysse xall 3e wyne.
12 Drede 3e not be devyllys gynne,
13 With angellys xall yow dwell.

14 Penitenciam nunc agite
15 Appropinquabit regnum celorum:
16 For your trespas penaunce do 3e
17 And 3e xall wyn hevyn Dei Deorum.
18 In hevyn blyse ye xall wyn to be
19 Among þe blyssyd company omnium supernorum,
20 þeras is all merth, joye, and glee
21 Inter agmina angelorum,
22 In blyse to abyde.
23 Baptyme I cowncell yow for to take
24 And do penaunce for your synnys sake.
25 And for your offens amendys 3e make,
26 Your synnys for to hyde.

27 I gyff baptym in watyr puere
28 þat is callyd Flom Jordon.
29 My baptym is but sygnyfure
30 Of his baptym þat his lyke hath non.
31 He is a lord of gret valour;
32 I am not worthy to onbokyll his schon.
33 For he xall baptyze, as seyth Scryptour,
34 þat comyth of hem all euerychone,
35 In þe Holy Goost.
36 He may dampne and he may save,
37 All goodnese of hem we haue.
38 þer may no man his werkys deprave,
39 For he is Lord of myghtys most.

Hic accedit Jesus ad Johannem, quem intuens Johannes dicat, digito demonstrans Jesum:

40 Ecce Agnus Dei qui tollit peccata mundi.

41 Beholde, þe Lombe of God is this
42 þat comyth now here beforne,
43 þe wich xall wasch þe worldys mys
44 And save all þat that was forlorne.
45 This same lombe, forsoth, it is
46 þat of a mayd full clene was borne.
47 Shamfull deth þis lambe, iwys,
48 Xall suffer for us, and be all to-torne
49 And rent on a roode.
50 He xall suffer for mannys sake
51 Lytyll rest and moch gret sorow and wrake:
52 Hys bake xall be bowndyn to a stake
53 And betyn owt all his bloode.

54 JESUS Johan Baptyste, myn owyn good frende
55 þat feythffully doth prech my wylle,
56 I the thanke with all my mende
57 For þat good servyse þu dost me tylle.
58 Thy desyre is synne to shende,
59 All synful lyff þu woldyst spylle.
60 Thyn entente hath a good hende;
61 þe lawe of God þu dost fulffylle
62 þis tyde.
63 Baptym to take I come to the,
64 And conferme þat sacrement þat nowe xal be.
65 In Flom Jordon þu baptyze me,
66 In watyr þat is wyde.

67 JOHANNES. My Lorde God, þis behovyth me nought,
68 With myn hondys to baptyze the.
69 I xulde rather of the haue sought
70 Holy baptym þan þu of me.
71 JESUS Suffyr now, Johan, my wyl were wrought;
72 All ryghtffullnes þus fulfyll we.
73 Me to baptyze take þu no dowth;
74 þe vertu of mekenes here tawth xal be,
75 Euery man to lere
76 And take ensawmple here by me,
77 How mekely þat I come to þe.
78 Baptym confermyd now xal be;
79 Me to baptyze take þu no dwere.

80 JOHANNES. All men may take exaunple, lo,
81 Of lowly mekenes evyn ryght here
82 Be oure Lorde God þat comyth me to,
83 Hese pore servaunt and his su[w]tere.
84 Euery man lere to werke ryght so,
85 Bothe kynge, and caysere, and grett empere;
86 Be meke and lowe þe pore man to,
87 And put out pryde in all manere--
88 God doth here þe same.
89 To þi byddynge, my Lord so dere,
90 I me obey with gladsum chere,
91 And baptyze the with watyr clere.
92 Euyr halwyd be þi name.

Spiritus Sanctus hic descendat super ipsum, et Deus, Pater Celestis, dicet in celo:

93 [DEUS] This is my wel-belovyd chylde,
94 Ouyr whom my Spryte doth ouyrsprede,
95 Clene, and pure and vndefylyd
96 Of body, of sowle, for thought, for dede.
97 That he is buxhum, meke, and mylde
98 I am wel plesyd, withowtyn drede,
99 Wysly to wysse 3ow from weys wylde.
100 To lysten his lore all men I rede,
101 And 3oure erys to herke.
102 Take good heed what he doth preche
103 And folwyth þe lawys þat he doth teche.
104 For he xal be 3oure altheris leche,
105 To saue 3ow from deuelys derke.

106 JOHANNES BAP[TYST] Here I se with opyn syght
107 The Sone of God þat þu erte:
108 The Holy Goost ouyr the doth lyght,
109 þi faderys voys I here ful smerte.
110 The childe of God, as I þe plyght,
111 þat þu be, whilys I am qwerte,
112 I xall wyttnes to every whyght
113 And teche it trewly with all myn hert.
114 To sese, it were grett synne.
115 For Goddys sone I wurchypp the,
116 From hevyn þin hy3 magesté.
117 Thu comyst hedyr from dygnité,
118 Mannys sowle to wynne.

119 JESUS Johan Baptyste, þu be wyttnes,
120 The trewth loke þat þu nat hyde.
121 For now I passe forth into wyldernes,
122 The Holy Gost xal be my gyde.
Hic Jesus transit in desertum dicens et cetera:

123 In whylsum place of desertnes
124 XIti days, a terme ful wyde,
125 And fourty nyghtys, both more and lesse,
126 Withowtyn bodyly fode þer to abyde--
127 For man þus do I swynke.
128 Into deserte I passe my way
129 For mannys sake, as I 3ow say.
130 XIti nyghtys and xlti day
131 I xal nowther ete nor drynke.

132 JOHAN BAPTYST In place where I passe wyttnes I bere,
133 The trewth xal I telle wheresoevyr I go:
134 þat Cryst, þe Sone of God, is become oure fere,
135 Clad in oure clothynge to sofer for us wo.
136 I baptyzid with myn owyn handys Cryst Jesu ryght here.
137 And now he is to wyldyrnes, penawns þer to do,
138 Informyng so all us, þat lord þat hath no pere,
139 To do for oure trespace penawnce here also.
140 Of penawnce do I preche.
141 In wyttnes ryght be this
142 þat what man for his mys
143 Doth penawns here, iwys,
144 His sowle he doth wel leche.

145 All men on ground þat be 3itt on lyue,
146 For 3oure grett offens loke 3e be repentaunt.
147 Of all 3oure venym synne, I rede þat 3e 3ow shryve,
148 For God is ful redy mercy for to graunt.
149 Be contryte for 3oure trespas and penauns do belyve;
150 Reconsyle 3oureself and be to God plesaunt.
151 With contryscyon, schryffte, and penauns, þe devil may 3e dryve;
152 Fer fro 3oure felachep he xal not be erraunt,
153 3ow for to meve.
154 Do penauns and synne forsake,
155 Shryfte of mowth loke þat 3e make;
156 And þan þe fende in helle so blake,
157 He xal 3ow nevyrmore greve.

158 A tre þat is bareyn and wyl bere no frute,
159 þe ownere wyl hewe it down and cast it on þe fyre.
160 Ryght so it be [þe] man þat folwyth þe fowle sute
161 Of þe devyl of helle, and werkyth his desyre.
162 God wyl be vengyd on man þat is both dum and mute,
163 þat Wyl nevyr be shrevyn, but evyrmore doth delyre.
164 Clothe the in clennes, with vertu be indute,
165 And God with his grace he wyl be sone inspyre
166 To amendynge of þi mys.
167 Schryfte of mowthe may best be saue,
168 Penauns for synne what man wyl haue,
169 Whan þat his body is leyd in grave,
170 His sowle xal go to blys.

171 Corne þat is good, men kepe it ful clene;
172 Chaff þat is sympyl is sett wul nere at nought.
173 So good men of levynge to God chosyn bene
174 Whan synful men be lyke chaff, and to helle xul be brought.
175 Good penauns 3ow to preche ful hertyly do I mene,
176 Shryfft and satysfaccyon evyrmore to haue in thought.
177 What man in good penauns and schryfte of mowth be sene,
178 Of God he is wel-belovyd, þat all þis worlde hath wrought,
179 And allþinge of nowth dede make.
180 Now haue I tawght 3ow good penauns.
181 God graunt 3ow grace at his plesauns
182 To haue of synne delyverauns,
183 For now my leve I take.

© Copyright, 2007. From Stage to Page and Gerard NeCastro. All Rights Reserved.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 22 - The Baptism of Christ. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.