From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 28 - The Agony in the Garden and the Arrest of Jesus

Here Jesus goth to Betany-ward, and his dyscipulys folwyng with sad contenawns, Jesus seyng:

1 Now, my dere frendys and bretheryn echon,
2 Remembyr þe wordys þat I xal sey.
3 þe tyme is come þat I must gon
4 For to fulfylle þe prophesey

5 þat is seyd of me, þat I xal dey,
6 þe fendys power fro 3ow to flem;
7 Weche deth I wole not deney
8 Mannys sowle, my spovse, for to redem.

9 þe oyle of mercy is grawntyd playn
10 Be þis jorné þat I xal take.
11 Be my fadyr I am sent , sertayn,
12 Betwyx God and man an ende to make.

13 Man for my brother may I not forsake,
14 Nor shewe hym vnkendenesse be no wey.
15 In peynys for hym my body schal schake,
16 And for love of man, man xal dey.

Here Jesus and his discipulys go toward þe Mount of Olyvet; and whan he comyth a lytyl þerbesyde in a place lych to a park, he byddyt his dyscipulys abyde hym þer, and seyth to Petyr or he goth:

17 Petyr, with þi felawys here xalt þu abyde
18 And weche tyl I come ageyn.
19 I must make my prayere here 3ou besyde.
20 My flesch qwakyth sore for fere and peyn.
21 PETRUS. Lord, þi request doth me constreyn;
22 In þis place I xal abyde stylle,
23 Not remeve tyl hat þu comyst ageyn,
24 In comfermyng, Lord, of þi wylle.

Here Jesu goth to Olyvet and settyth hym down on his knes, and prayth to his fadyr, þus seyng:

25 JESU. O fadyr, fadyr! For my sake
26 þis gret Passyon þu take fro me,
27 Wech arn ordeyned þat I xal take
28 3yf mannys sowle savyd may be.
29 And 3yf it behove, fadyr, for me
30 To save mannys sowle þat xuld spylle,
31 I am redy in eche degré
32 þe vyl of þe for to fulfylle.

Here Jesus goth to his dyscipulis and fyndyth hem sclepyng, Jesus þus seyng to Petyr:

33 Petyr, Petyr, þu slepyst fast!
34 Awake þi felawys and sclepe no more.
35 Of my deth 3e are not agast--
36 3e take 3oure rest and I peyn sore.

Here Cryst goth ageyn þe second tyme to Olyvet, and seyth knelyng:

37 Fadyr in hevyn, I beseche þe,
38 Remeve my peynes be þi gret grace,
39 And lete me fro his deth fle,
40 As I dede nevyr no trespace.
41 The watyr and blood owth of my face
42 Dystyllyth for peynes þat I xal take.
43 My flesche qwakyth in ferflul case
44 As þow þe joyntys asondre xuld schake.

Here Jesus goth a3en to his discipulis and fyndyth hem asclepe; Jesus þus seyng, latyng hem lyne:

45 Fadyr, þe thrydde tyme I come ageyn
46 Fulleche myn erdon for to spede:
47 Delyuere me, fadyr, fro þis peyn,
48 Weche is reducyd with ful gret drede.
49 Onto þi sone, fadyr, take hede;
50 þu wotyst I dede nevyr dede but good.
51 It is not for me, his peyn I lede,
52 But for man I swete bothe watyr and blode.

Here an aungel descendyth to Jesus and bryngyth to hym a chalys with an host þerin.

53 ANGELUS Heyl, bothe God and man indede,
54 The Fadyr hath sent þe his present.
55 He bad þat þu xuldyst not drede,
56 But fulfylle his intent.
57 As þe Parlement of Hefne hath ment
58 þat mannys sowle xal now redemyd be,
59 From hefne to herd, Lord, þu wore sent--
60 þat dede appendyth onto the.

61 þis chalys ys þi blood, þis bred is þi body,
62 For mannys synne evyr offeryd xal be.
63 To þe Fadyr of Heffne þat is almythty
64 þi dyscipulis and all presthood xal offere fore the.

Here þe aungel ascendyth a3en sodeynly.

65 JESU Fadyr, þi wyl fulfyllyd xal be;
66 It is nowth to say a3ens þe case.
67 I xal fulfylle þe prophesye
68 And sofre deth for mannys trespace.

Here goth Cryst ageyn to his dyscipulys and fyndyth hem sclepyng stylle.

69 Awake, Petyr, þi rest is ful long!
70 Of sclep þu wylt make no delay.
71 Judas is redy wit h pepyl strong,
72 And doth his part me to betray.
73 Ryse up, serys, I 3ou pray,
74 Onclose 3oure eyne for my sake.
75 We xal walke into þe way
76 And sen hem come þat xul me take.

77 Petyr, whan þu seyst I am forsake
78 Amonge myn frendys, and stond alone,
79 All þe cher þat þu kanst make
80 Geve to þi bretheryn everychone.

Here Jesus with his dyscipulis goth into þe place; and þer xal come in a x personys weyl beseen in white arneys and breganderys, and some dysgysed in odyr garmentys,. with swerdys, gleyvys, and other straunge wepoun, as cressettys, with feyr, and lanternys, and torchis lyth; and Judas formest of al, conveyng hem to Jesu be contenawns; Jesus þus s[eyng]:

81 Serys, in 3oure way 3e haue gret hast
82 To seke hym þat wyl not fle.
83 Of 3ow I am ryth nowth agast.
84 Telle me, serys, whom seke 3e?

85 LEYON Whom we seke here I telle þe now:
86 A tretour, is worthy to suffer deth.
87 We knowe he is here among 3ow;
88 His name is Jesus of Nazareth.

89 JESU Serys, I am here, þat wyl not fle.
90 Do to me all þat 3e kan.
91 Forsothe, I telle 3ow I am he,
92 Jesus of Nazareth, þat same man.

Here all þe Jewys falle sodeynly to þe erde whan þei here Cryst speke; and quan [he] byddyth hem rysyn, þei rysyn a3en, Cryst þus seyng:

93 Aryse, serys, whom seke 3e? Fast haue 3e gon.
94 Is howth 3oure comyng hedyr for me?
95 I stond beforn 3ow here echon
96 þat 3e may me bothe knowe and se.

97 RUFYNE Jesus of Nazareth we seke,
98 And we myth hym here aspye.
99 JESU I told 3ow now with wordys meke
100 Beforn 3ou all þat it was I.

101 JUDAS Welcome, Jesu, my maystyr dere,
102 I haue þe sowth in many a place.
103 I am ful glad I fynd þe here,
104 For I wyst nevyr wher þu wace.

Here Judas kyssyth Jesus; and anoon all þe Jewys come abowth hym and ley handys on hym and pullyn hym as þei were wode, and makyn on hym a gret cry all atonys. And aftyr þis Petyr seyth:

105 PETRUS. I drawe my swerd now þis sel.
106 Xal I smyte, maystyr? Fayn wolde I wete.

And forthwith he smytyth of Malchus here, and he cryeth, 'Help! Myn here, myn here!'And Cryst blyssyth it and 'tys hol.

107 JESUS Put þi swerd in þe shede fayr and wel,
108 For he þat smyth with swerd with swerd xal þe smete.

109 A, Judas, þis treson cowntyrfetyd hast þu,
110 And þat þu xalt ful sore repent!
111 þu haddyst bettyr a ben vnborn now;
112 þi body and sowle þu hast shent.

113 GAMALYEL Lo, Jesus, þu mayst not þe cace refuse:
114 Bothe treson and eresye in þe is fownde.
115 Stody now fast on þin excuse
116 Whylys þat þu gost in cordys bownde.
117 þu kallyst þe kyng of þis werd rownde;
118 Now lete me se þi gret powere,
119 And saue þiself here hool and sownde,
120 And brynge þe out of þis dawngere.

121 LEYON Bryng forth þis tretoure, spare hym nowth!
122 Onto Cayphas, þi jewge, we xal þe lede.
123 In many a place we haue þe sowth,
124 And to þi werkys take good hede.

125 RUFYNE Come on, Jesus, and folwe me!
126 I am ful glad þat I þe haue.
127 þu xalt ben hangyn upon a tre;
128 A melyon of gold xal þe not save!

129 LEYON Lete me leyn hand on hym in heye!
130 Onto his deth I xal hym bryng.
131 Shewe forth þi wychecrafte and nygramansye;
132 What helpyth þe now al þi fals werkyng?

133 JESU Frendys, take hede. 3e don vnryth
134 So vnkendely with cordys to bynd me here,
135 And þus to falle on me be nyth,
136 As thow I were a thevys fere.
137 Many tyme beforn 3ow I dede apere--
138 Withinne þe temple sen me 3e have--
139 þe lawys of God to teche and lere
140 To hem þat wele here sowlys sawe.

141 Why dede 3e not me dysprave,
142 And herd me preche bothe lowd and lowe?
143 But now as woodmen 3e gynne to rave
144 And do thyng þat 3e notwth knove.

145 GAMALY[EL] Serys, I charge 3ow, not o word more þis nyth,
146 But onto Cayphas in hast loke 3e hym lede.
147 Have hym forth with gret dyspyte,
148 And to his wordys take 3e non hede.

Here þe Jewys lede Cryst outh of þe place with gret cry and noyse, some drawyng Cryst forward, and some bakward, and so ledyng forth with here weponys alofte and lytys brennyng. And in þe menetyme, Marye Magdalene xal rennyn to oure Lady and telle here of oure Lordys takyng, þus seyng:

149 MARIA MAGDELENE O inmaculate modyr, of all women most meke.
150 O devowtest , in holy medytacyon evyr abydyng.
151 þe cawse, lady, þat I to 3oure person seke
152 Is to wetyn yf 3e heryn ony tydyng

153 Of 3oure swete sone and my reverent Lord, Jésu,
154 þat was 3oure dayly solas, 3oure gostly consolacyon.
155 MARYA I wold 3e xuld telle me, Mawdelyn, and 3e knew;
156 For to here of hym, it is all myn affeccyon.
157 MARIA MAGDALENE I wold fayn telle, lady, and I myth for wepyng.
158 Forsothe, lady, to þe Jewys he is solde!
159 With cordys þei haue hym bownde, and haue hym in kepyng.
160 þei hym bety[n] spetously and haue hym fast in holde.
161 MARIA UIRGO A! A! A! How myn hert is colde.
162 A, hert hard as ston, how mayst þu lest
163 Whan þese sorweful tydyngys are þe told?
164 So wold to God, hert, þat þu mytyst brest!

165 A, Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, Jesu!
166 Why xuld 3e sofere his trybulacyon and advėrcyte?
167 How may thei fynd in here hertys 3ow to pursewe
168 þat nevyr trespacyd in no maner degré?
169 For nevyr thyng but þat was good thowth 3e;
170 Wherefore þan xuld 3e sofer his gret peyn?
171 I suppoce veryly it is for þe tresspace of me.
172 And I wyst þat, myn hert xuld cleve on tweyn.

173 For þese langowrys may I [not] susteyn,
174 þe swerd of sorwe hath so thyrlyd my meende!
175 Alas, what may I do? Alas, what may I seyn?
176 þese prongys, myn herte asondyr þei do rende.

177 O Fadyr of Hefne, wher ben al þi behestys
178 þat þu promysy[d] me whan a modyr þu me made?
179 þi blyssyd sone I bare betwyx tweyn bestys,
180 And now þe bryth colour of his face doth fade.

181 A, good Fadyr, why woldyst þat þin owyn dere sone xal sofre al þis?
182 And dede he nevyr a3ens þi precept, but evyr was obedyent;
183 And to every creature most petyful, most jentyl and benyng, iwys;
184 And now for all þese kendnessys is most shameful schent.

185 Why wok bu, gracyous Fadyr, þat it xal be so?
186 May man not ellys be savyd be non other kende?
187 3et, Lord Fadyr, þan þat xal comforte myn wo
188 Whan man is savyd be my chylde and browth to a good ende.

189 Now, dere sone, syn þu hast evyr be so ful of mercy
190 þat wylt not spare þiself for þe love þu hast to man,
191 On all mankend now have þu pety--
192 And also thynk on þi modyr, þat hevy woman.


193 PRIMUS DOCTOR O thou altitude of al gostly ryches!
194 O þu incomperhensibele of grete excyllence!
195 O þu luminarye of pure lyghtnes,
196 Shete oute þi bemys ontyl þis audyens.

197 SECUNDUS DOCTOR O fily altissimi clepyd by eternalyté,
198 Hele þis congregacyon with þe salve of þi Passyon.

199 And we prey þe, Spiritus Paraclyte,
200 With þe fyre of þi love to slake all detraccyon.

201 PRIMUS DOCTOR To þe pepyl not lernyd I stonde as a techer,
202 Of þis processyon to 3eve informacyon;
203 And to them þat be lernyd as a gostly precher,
204 That in my rehersayl they may haue delectacyon.

205 SECUNDUS Welcome of þe apostelys þe gloryous qwere:
206 Fyrst Petyr, 3oure prynce, and eke 3oure presydent;
207 And Andrewe, 3oure half-brother, togedyr in fere,
208 That fyrst folwyd Cryst be on assent.

209 PRIMUS O 3e tweyn luminaryes, Jamys and Jhon,
210 Contynualy brennyng as bryght as þe sonnbem,
211 With þe chene of charyté bothe knyt in on,
212 And offeryd of 3oure modyr to Cryst in Jherusalem.

213 SECUNDUS Welcome, Phelypp, þat conuertyd Samaryan,
214 And conuertyd þe tresorere of þe Qwene Cavdas
215 With Jamys þe Lesser, þat apud Jherosolyman
216 Was mad fyrst patryarke by þe ordenauns of Cephas.

217 PRIMUS Heyl, Mathew the Apostel and also Evangelyst,
218 That was clepyd to þe flok of gostly conuersacyon
219 From thyrknes of concyens þat 3e were in fest,
220 With Bertylmew, þat fled all carnall temptacyon.

221 SECUNDUS Heyl, Symeon Zelotes, þus be 3oure name,
222 And Judas, þat bothe wel lovyd oure Lord.
223 Thereffore 3e haue bothe joye and game
224 Wher nevyr is sstryff, but good acorde.

225 PRIMUS Heyl, Poul, grett doctour of þe feyth,
226 And vessel chosyn be trewe eleccyon.
227 Heyl, Thomas, of whom þe gospel seyth
228 In Crystys wounde was 3oure refeccyon.

229 SECUNDUS Heyl, Johan Baptyst, most sovereyn creature
230 That evyr was born be naturall conseyvyng,
231 And hyest of prophetys, as wytnessyth Scrypture;
232 Heyl, [v]oys þat in desert was allwey cryeng.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 28 - The Agony in the Garden and the Arrest of Jesus. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.