From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 25 - The Raising of Lazarus

Hic incipit de suscitacione Lazari:

1 LAZARUS God, þat allthynge dede make of nowth
2 And puttyst eche creature to his fenaunce,
3 Saue thyn handwerke þat þu hast wrought,
4 As þu art Lord of hy3 substauns.
5 O gracyous God, at þi plesauns,
6 Of my dysese now comforte me,
7 Which þurowe syknes hath such penawnce
8 Onethys for heedache may I now se.

9 Systyr Martha, and Mawdelyn eke,
10 With hast helpe me in bedde to dresse.
11 For trewly I am so woundyrly seke
12 I may nevyr schape his grett seknes--
13 My deth is com now, I gesse.
14 Help into chawmere þat I be led.
15 My grett desesse I hope xal lesse
16 If I were leyd upon a bed.

17 MARTHA Lazarus, brother, be of good cher;
18 I hope 3oure syknes ryght wel xal slake.
19 Vpon þis bed rest 3ow rygh her,
20 And a good slep assay to take.
21 MAGDALYN Now, jentyl brothyr, for Goddys sake,
22 Lyfte up 3owre herte and be not feynt.
23 An hevy housholde with vs 3e make
24 If dedly syknes haue 3ow ateynt.

25 LAZARUS Forsothe, dere systeryn, I may not slepe;
26 My syknes so sore doth evyr encrese.
27 Of me I pray 3ow, take ryght good kepe
28 Tyll þat my peyne begynne relese.
29 MARTHA God graunt grace þat it may sese.
30 Of syknes God make 3ow sownde,
31 Or ellys oure joy wyll sone dyscres,
32 In so grett peynes if 3e ly bownde.

33 MAGDALYN A, brothir, brothir, lyfte up 3oure herte!
34 3oure hevy cher doth us grevaunce.
35 If deth from us 3ow xulde departe,
36 Than were we brought in comberaunce.
37 3e be oure brothyr, syb of alyaunce;
38 If 3e wore deed þan had we none.
39 3e do us brynge in distemperaunce
40 Whan 3e us telle 3e xal hens gone.

41 PRIMUS CONSOLATOR Dame Martha and Magdalyne,
42 How faryth 3oure brothire? Lete us hym se.
43 MARTHA He is ryght seke and hath grett pyne--
44 I am aferde deed he xal be.
45 MAGDALYN A man may haue ryght grett pete,
46 The fervent hete of hym to fele.
47 SECUNDUS CONSOLATOR Take 3e no thought in no degré;
48 I hope þat he xal fare ful wele.

49 MARTHA He may nat leve, his colowre doth chaunge.
50 Com to his bed, 3e xal hym se.
51 MAGDALYN Iff he longe leve it wyl be straunge,
52 But as God wole, so mut it be.
53 Chere hym, gode frendys, for charyté.
54 Comforte of hym we kan non gete.
55 Alas, alas! What eylight me?
56 Myne herte for wo is wundyr grete!

57 TERCIUS CONSOLATOR Al heyl, Syr Lazarus! How do 3e fare?
58 How do 3e fele 3ow in 3oure herte?
59 LAZARUS I am with syknes all woundyn in care
60 And loke whan deth me xulde departe.
61 QUARTUS CONSOLATOR ET NUNCIUS 3e xal haue hele and leve in qwart
62 If 3e wol take to 3ow good chere.
63 LAZARUS Whan deth on me hath shet his dart,
64 I xal haue hele and ly on bere.

65 PRIMUS CONSOLATOR Be of good comforte and thynke not so,
66 Put out of herte þat idyl thought.
67 3oure owyn mysdemynge may werke 3ow wo
68 And cause 3ow sonere to deth be brought.
69 SECUNDUS CONSOLATOR With gret syknes þow 3e be sought,
70 Vpon 3ouresylf haue no mystruste.
71 If þat 3e haue, I wundyr ryght nought
72 þow 3e be deed and cast in duste.

73 TERCIUS CONSOLATOR Many on hath had ryght grett syknesse
74 And aftyr hath had his hele agayn.
75 And many a man, þis is no lesse,
76 With his wantruste hymsylf hath slayn.
77 3e be a man of ryght sad brayn.
78 þow þat 3oure syknes greve 3ow ryght ill,
79 Pluk up 3oure herte with myght and mayn,
80 And chere 3ouresylf with all 3oure wyll!

81 LAZARUS Ageyn my syknes her is non ese
82 But Jesu Cryst, my maystyr dere.
83 If þat he wyst of my dyssese,
84 Ryght sone, I trust, he wolde ben here.
85 QUARTUS CONSOLATOR I xal go to hym, withoutyn dwere,
86 And of 3oure syknes telle hym, serteyn.
87 Loke þat 3e be of ryght good chere
88 Whyll þat I go and com ageyn.

89 MARTHA Now, jentyl frend, telle hym ryght thus:
90 He þat he lovyth hath grett syknes.
91 Hedyr to come and comforte us,
92 Say þat we prayd hym of his goodnes.
93 MAGDALYN Recomende us onto his hy3nes,
94 And telle hym all oure hertys wo.
95 But he comforte oure hevynes,
96 Oure werdly joy awey wyl go.

97 QUARTUS CONSOLATOR ET NUNCIUS The trewth, forsoth, all every dele
98 As 3e haue told, so xal I say.
99 Go to 3oure brothyr and cheryse hym wele,
100 For I walke forth streyte in my way.
101 MARTHA What chere, good brothyr? Telle me I pray,
102 What wele 3e ete? What wele 3e drynk?
103 Loke what is plesynge to 3oure pay;
104 3e xal haue what 3e wole thynke.

105 LAZARUS My wynde is stoppyd! Gon is my breth,
106 And deth is come to make myn ende.
107 To God in hevyn my sowle I qweth.
108 Farwell, systeryn, for hens I wende.
Hic Lazarus moritur, et cetera..
109 MAGDALYN Alas, for wo myn here I rende!
110 Myn owyn dere brothyr lyth here now ded!
111 Now haue we lost a trusty frende,
112 þe sybbest blood of oure kynreed.

113 MARTHA Alas, alas, and weleway!
114 Now be we tweyn bothe brotherles.
115 For who my hert is colde as clay!
116 A, hoo xal comforte oure carefulnes?
117 Ther had nevyr woman more doolfulnes.
118 A, systyr Magdalyn, what is 3oure reed?
119 What whith may helpe oure hevynes
120 Now þat oure brother is gon and deed?

121 MAGDALYN Alas, dere systyr, I cannot telle.
122 þe best comforte þat I can sey,
123 But sum man do us sle and qwelle,
124 Lete us ly down by hym and dey.
125 Alas, why went he alone awey?
126 If we had deyd with hym also,
127 Than had oure care all turnyd to pley
128 Ther now all joye is turnyd to woo.

129 PRIMUS CONSOLATOR Be of good comforte and thank God of al,
130 For deth is dew to every man.
131 What tyme þat deth on us xal fal
132 Non erthely wyght þe oure telle can.
133 MARTHA We all xul dye, þat is sertan.
134 But 3it be blood of kynde nature,
135 Whan deth be brothyr awey hath tan,
136 Must nedys murne þat sepulture.

137 SECUNDUS CONSOLATOR Good frendys, I pray 3ow, holde 3oure pes.
138 All 3oure wepynge may not amende itt.
139 Of 3oure sorwynge, þerfore, now ses,
140 And helpe he were buryed in a cley pitt.
141 MAGDALYN Alas, þat wurde myn herte doth slytt,
142 þat he must now in cley be graue.
143 I wolde sum man my throte wulde kytt
144 þat I with hym myght lyne in caue.

145 TERCIUS CONSOLATOR Bothe heed and foot now he is wounde
146 In a chete bothe fayr and clene.
147 Lete us bere hym streyte to þat grounde
148 Where þat 3e thynke his graue xal bene.
149 MARTHA We be full lothe þat pytt to sen.
150 But stondynge it may no bettyr be,
151 The coors take up 3ow thre betwen.
152 With carefull herte 3ow folwe xal we.

Hic portauit corpus ad sepelliendum.

153 MAGDALEYN Alas, comforte, I se non othyr,
154 But all of sorwe, and care, and woo!
155 We dulfull women must hurry oure brothir--
156 Alas, þat deth me wyl not slo!
157 If I to pitt with hym myght go,
158 þerin evyrmore with hym to abyde,
159 Than were my care all went me fro,
160 þer now grett sorwe doth wounde me wyde.

161 PRIMUS CONSOLATOR This coors we burry here in his pytte;
162 Allmyghty God þe sowle mut haue.
163 And with his ston his graue we shytte,
164 Fro ravenous bestys þe body to saue.
165 MAGDALYN He is now brought into his cave.
166 Myn hert for wo his syght doth kylle!
167 Lete us sytt down here by þe grave,
168 Or we go hens wepe all oure fylle.

169 MARTHA Vs for to wepe no man may left,
170 Beforn oure face to se his syght.
171 Alas, qwy doth deth us not fett,
172 Vs for to brynge to his same plyght?
173 SECUNDUS CONSOLATOR Arys! For shame, 3e do not ryght!
174 Streyth from his grave 3e xul go hens.
175 þus for to grugge ageyns Godys myght,
176 A3ens hy3 God 3e do offens.

177 MAGDALEN Syth I must nedys with 3ow hens gon,
178 My brotherys graue lete me fyrst kys.
179 Alas, no whith may helpe my mon.
180 Farewel, my brothyr. Farewel, my blys.
181 TERCIUS CONSOLATOR Hom to 3oure place we xal 3ow wysse.
182 For Goddys loue, be of good chere.
183 Indede, 3e do ryght sore amys,
184 So sore to wepe as 3e do here.

185 MARTHA Lete us go hom than to oure place.
186 We pray 3ow all with us to abyde,
187 Vs to comforte with sum solace
188 Tyl þat oure sorwe doth slake and sclyde.
189 PRIMUS CONSOLATOR 3ow for to comforte at every tyde
190 We xall dwelle here bothe nyght and day.
191 And God, þat made his werd so wyde,
192 Be 3owre comforte, þat best may.

Hic iiijus Consolator et Nuncius loquitur Jesu, dicens:

193 QUARTUS CONSOLATOR Heyl, holy prophete, Jesu be name!
194 Martha and Mawdelyn, þo systeryn too,
195 Recomende hem to 3oure hy3 fame,
196 And bad me sey to 3ow þus, loo:
197 How þat Lazare, qwhich þat 3e lovyd so,
198 With grett syknes is sore dyssesyd.
199 To hym they prayd 3ow þat 3e wolde goo,
200 If þat 3oure hy3nes þerwith were plesyd.

201 JESUS Dedly syknes Lazare hath non,
202 But for to shewe Goddys grete glorye,
203 For þat syknes is ordeynyd alon
204 þe Sone of God to gloryfie.
205 NUNCIUS They be in dowte þat he xal deye--
206 Grett syknes hym sore doth holde.
207 For veruent hete his blood doth dreye;
208 His colore chaungyth, as they me tolde.

209 JESUS Goo hom ageyn and telle hem thus:
210 I xal come to hem whan þat I may.
211 NUNC[IU]S At 3oure comaundement, O prophete Jesus,
212 I xal hem telle as 3e do say.
213 JESUS Come forth, bretheryn, walke we oure way,
214 Into Jurye go we anon.
215 I cam not there ful many a day;
216 þerfore thedyr now wyl I gon.

217 OMNES DISCIPULI The Jewys ageyn the were grym and grylle.
218 Whan þu wore there they wolde be a slayn!
219 With stonys they sowte þe for to kyll,
220 And wylt þu now go thedyr ageyn?
221 JESUS Xij owrys þe day hath, in certeyn,
222 In them to walke bothe clere and bryght.
223 He xal not stomble ageyn hyll nor pleyn
224 þat goth be wey whyl it is daylyght.

225 But if men walke whan it is nyght,
226 Sone they offende in þat dyrknes.
227 Becawse they may haue no cler syght,
228 They hurte there fete ofte in such myrkenes.
229 But as for this, 3itt nevyrþelesse,
230 The cawse þerfore I thedyr wyl wende
231 Is for to reyse from hedde expresse
232 Lazare, þat slepyth, oure althere frende.

233 OMNES DISCIPULI Of his syknes he xal be save.
234 If þat he slepe, good sygne it is.
235 JESUS Lazare is deed and leyd in grave;
236 Of his slepynge 3e deme amys.
237 I was not there, 3e knew weyl this.
238 To strengthe 3oure feyth I am ful glad.
239 þerfore I telle 3ow þe trewthe, iwys:
240 Oure frende is deed and vndyr erth clad.

241 THOMAS Than goo we all ryght evyn streyth thedyr,
242 Thereas oure frende Lazare is deed,
243 And lete us deye with hym togedyr,
244 þeras he lyth, in be same stede.
245 JESUS The for to deye haue þu no drede.
246 The wey streyth thedyr in hast we take.
247 Be þe grett myght of myn Godhede,
248 Oute of his slepe he xal awake.

249 NUNCIUS All heyl, Martha and Mawdelyn eke,
250 To Jesu I haue 3oure massage seyd.
251 I tolde hym how þat 3oure brothyr was seke
252 And with grett peyn in his bed leyd.
253 He bad 3e xulde not be dysmayde:
254 All his syknes he xal askape.
255 He wyll byn here within a brayde;
256 As he me tolde, he comyth in rape.

257 MAWDELYN That holy prophete doth come to late:
258 Oure brothyr is beryed iij days or this.
259 A grett [ston] stoppyth þe pyttys gate
260 Thereas oure brothere beryde is.
261 NUNCIUS Is Lazare deed? Now God his sowle blys.
262 3it loke 3e take non hevynes.
263 So longe to wepe 3e don amys;
264 It may not helpe 3oure sorynes.

265 MARTHA Out of myn herte all care to lete,
266 All sorwe and wo to caste away,
267 I xal go forth in be strete
268 To mete with Jesu if þat I may.
269 SECUNDUS CONSOLATOR God be 3oure spede bothe evyr and ay,
270 For with 3oure sustyr we wyl abyde.
271 Here to comforte we xal asay,
272 And all here care to caste asyde.

273 TERCIUS CONSOLATOR Mary Mawdelyn, be of good herte,
274 And wel bethynke 3ow in 3oure mynde,
275 Eche creature hens must depart:
276 þer is no man but hens must wende.
277 Deth to no wyht can be a frende.
278 Allþinge to erth he wyl down cast.
279 Whan þat God wol, allthynge hath ende;
280 Lengere than hym lyst, nothynge may last.

281 MAUDALYN I thanke 3ow, frendys, for 3oure good chere.
282 Myn hed doth ake as it xulde brest.
283 I pray 3ow, therfore, while 3e ben here,
284 A lytil whyle þat I may rest.
285 QUARTUS CONSOLATOR NUNC[IUS]þat Lord þat made bothe est and west
286 Graunt 3ow good grace suche rest to take
287 þat onto hym xulde plese most best,
288 As he his worlde of nought dyd make.

289 MARTHA A, gracyous Lord, had 3e ben here,
290 My brother Lazare his tyme had lyved.
291 But iiij days gon upon a bere
292 We dede hym berye whan he was ded.
293 3itt now I knowe, withowtyn drede,
294 What thynge of God þat þu do craue,
295 þu xalt spede of þe hy3 Godhede:
296 Whatso þu aske, þu xalt it haue.

297 JESUS Thy brothyr Lazare a3en xal ryse,
298 A levynge man a3en to be.
299 MARTHA I woot wel þat at þe grett last syse
300 He xal aryse, and also we.
301 JESUS Resurreccyon þu mast me se,
302 And hendeles lyff I am also.
303 What man þat deyth and levyth in me,
304 From. deth to lyve he xal ageyn go.

305 Eche man in me þat feythful is,
306 And ledyth his lyff aftere my lore,
307 Of hendeles lyff may he nevyr mys:
308 Euere he xal leve, and deye nevyrmore.
309 The body and sowle I xal restore
310 To endeles joye. Dost þu trowe this?
311 MARTHA I hope in the, O Cryst, ful sore.
312 þu art þe Sone of God in blys.

313 Thy fadyr is God, of lyff endeles;
314 þiself is sone of lyff and gras.
315 To sese these wordlys wrecchydnes,
316 From hefne to erth þu toke þe pas.
317 JESUS Of hevynly myght ryght grett solas
318 To all þis world me xul sone se.
319 Go calle þi systyr into his plas:
320 Byd Mary Mawdelyn come hedyr to me.

321 MARTHA At þi byddyng I xal here calle,
322 In hast we were here 3ow beforn.
323 MAWDELYN Alas, my mowth is bytter as galle.
324 Grett sorwyn my herte on tweyn hath scorn!
325 Now þat my brothyr from syth is lorn,
326 þer may no myrth my care releve.
327 Alas þe tyme þat I was born!
328 þe swerde of sorwe myn hert doth cleve.

329 PRIMUS CONSOLATOR For his dere loue þat all hath wrought,
330 Ses sum tyme of 3oure wepynge;
331 And put allthynge out of thought
332 Into þis care þat 3ow doth brynge.
333 SECUNDUS CONSOLATOR 3e do 3oureself ryght grett hyndrynge,
334 And short 3oure lyff or 3e be ware.
335 For Goddys loue, ses of 3oure sorwynge,
336 And with good wysdam refreyn 3oure care.

337 MARTHA Sustyr Magdalen, com out of halle.
338 Oure maystyr is com, as I 3ow say.
339 He sent me hedyr 3ow for to calle.
340 Come forth in hast, as I 3ow pray.
341 MAGDALEN Ha! Where hath he ben many a longe day?
342 Alas, why cam he no sonere hedyr?
343 In hast I folwe 3ow anon þe way.
344 Methynkyth longe or I come thedyr.

345 TERCIUS CONSOLATOR Herke, gode frendys, I 3ow pray,
346 Aftyr þis woman in hast we wende!
347 I am aferde, ryght in good fay,
348 Hereself for sorwe þat she wyl shende.
349 NUNCIUS Here brothyr so sore is in hire mende
350 She may not ete, drynke, nor slepe.
351 Streyte to his graue she goth on ende,
352 As a mad woman her for to wepe.

353 MAGDALEN A, souereyn Lord and maystyr dere,
354 Had 3e with us ben in presens,
355 Than had my brother on lyue ben here,
356 Nat ded but qwyk, þat now is hens.
357 Ageyn deth is no resystens.
358 Alas, myn hert is woundyrly wo
359 Whan þat I thynke of his absens
360 þat 3e 3oureself in herte lovyd so.

361 PRIMUS CONSOLATOR Whan we haue mynde of his sore deth,
362 He was to us so jentyl and good,
363 þat mend of hym oure hertys sleth.
364 þe losse of hym doth marre oure mood.
365 SECUNDUS CONSOLATOR Be bettyr neybore nevyr man stood,
366 To euery man he was ryght hende.
367 Vs he dede refresch with drynk and food,
368 Now he is gon, gon is oure frende.

369 JESUS 3owre grett wepynge doth me constreyne
370 For my good frend to wepe also.
371 I cannot me for wo restreyn,
372 But I must wepe lyke as 3e do.

Hic Jesus fingit se lacrimari.

373 TERCIUS CONSOLATOR Beholde his prophete, how he doth wepe, lo!
374 He louyd Lazare ryght woundyrly sore.
375 He wolde not ellys for hym þus wepe so,
376 But if þat his loue on hym were be more.

377 NUNCIUS A straw for þi tale! What nedyth hym to wepe?
378 A man born blynde dede he nat 3eue syght?
379 Myght he nat thanne his frende on lyve kepe
380 Be the uertu of þat same hy3 myght?
381 JESUS Where is he put? Telle me anon-ryght.
382 Brynge me þe weye streyth to his grave.
383 MARTHA Lord, at 3oure wylle we xal brynge 3ow tyght,
384 Evyn to þat place þer he doth lyne in caue.

385 MAGDALYN Whan þat we had þe massangere sent,
386 Or he had fullych half a myle gon,
387 Deyd my brother and up we hym hent;
388 Here in his graue we beryed hym anon.
389 JESUS be myght of þe Godhed xal glathe 3ow everychon,
390 Suche syght xal 3e se hens or 3e wende.
391 Sett to 3oure handys, take of þe ston.
392 A syght lete me haue of Lazare my frende.

393 MARTHA He stynkygh ryght fowle longe tyme or this.
394 Iiij days gon, forsothe, he was dede.
395 Lete hym ly stylle ryght evyn as he is.
396 þe stynke of his careyn myght hurte us, I drede.
397 JESUS As I haue þe tolde, syght of þe Godhede
398 Thyself xuldyst haue, feythful if þu be.
399 Take of þe ston, do aftyr my rede.
400 þe glorye of þe Godhede anon 3exal se.

401 PRIMUS CONSOLATOR 3oure byddynge xal be don anon ful swyfte.
402 Sett to 3oure handys and helpe, echon.
403 I pray 3ow, serys, help me to lyfte;
404 I may not reyse it myself alon.
405 SECUNDUS CONSOLATOR In feyth, it is an hevy ston,
406 Ryth sad of weyth and hevy of peys.
407 TERCIUS Thow it were twyes so evy as on,
408 Vndyr vs foure we xal it reyse.

409 NUNCIUS Now is þe ston take from be caue.
410 Here may men se a rewly sygth
411 Of his ded body þat lyth here graue,
412 Wrappyd in a petéfful plyght.

Jesus, eleuatis ad celum oculis, dicit:

413 JESUS I thanke þe, fadyr, of þin hy3 myght,
414 þat þu hast herd my prayour his day.
415 I know ful wel bothe day and nyght
416 Euyr þu dost graunt þat I do say,

417 But for his pepyl þat stondyth about
418 And beleue not þe power of þe and me,
419 Them for to brynge clene out of dowt,
420 This day oure myght thei all xul se.

Hic Jesus clamat voce magna dicens:

421 Lazare, Lazare, my frende so fre,
422 From þat depe pitt come out anon!
423 Be þe grett myght of þe hy3 magesté,
424 Alyve þu xalt on erth ageyn gon.

425 LAZARUS At 3oure comaundement I ryse up ful ryght.
426 Hevyn, helle, and erth 3oure byddyng must obeye.
427 For 3e be God and man, and Lord of most myght.
428 Of lyff and of deth 3e haue both lok and keye.

Hic resurget Lazarus ligatis manibus et pedibus ad modum sepult[i], et dicit Jesus:

429 JESUS Goo forthe, bretheryn, and Lazare 3e vntey,
430 And all his bondys, losyth hem asundyr.
431 Late hym walke hom with 3ow in þe wey.
432 Ageyn Godys myght þis meracle is no wundyr.

433 PETRUS. At 3oure byddynge his bondys we vnbynde.
434 Allthynge muste lowte 3oure magesté.
435 Be his grett meracle opynly we fynde
436 Very God and man in trewth þat 3e be.
437 JOHANNES. þat þu art very God, every man may se
438 Be this meracle so grett and so meruayll!
439 Allthynge vndyr hevyn must nedys obeye þe.
440 Whan a3ens be þowh Deth be, he may not preuayll.

441 OMNES CONSOLATORES We all with o voys for God do þe knowe,
442 And for oure Sauyour we do þe reverens.
443 All oure hool loue now in þe doth growe,
444 O sovereyn Lord of most excellens.
445 Helpe vs of 3oure grace whan þat we go hens,
446 For a3ens deth us helpyht not to stryve.
447 But a3en 3oure myght is no resistens:
448 Oure deth 3e may aslake and kepe vs stylle on lyve.

449 JESUS Now I haue shewyd in opyn syght
450 Of my Godhed be gret glorye.
451 Toward my Passyon I wyl me dyght:
452 The tyme is nere þat I must deye,
453 For all mankynde his sowle to bye.
454 A crowne of thorn xal perchyn myn brayn,
455 And on þe Mont of Caluarye,
456 Vpon a cros I xal be slayn.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 25 - The Raising of Lazarus. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.