From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 29 - The Second Passion Play: Herod's Boasting and the Trial Before Annas and Caiphas

What tyme þat processyon is enteryd into þe place and þe Herowdys takyn his schaffalde, and Pylat, and Annas and Cayphas here schaffaldys also, þan [xal] come þer an exposytour in doctorys wede, þus seyng:

1 CONTEMPLACIO. Sofreynes and frendys, 3e mut alle be gret with gode!
2 Grace, love, and charyté evyr be 3ou among.
3 þe maydenys sone preserve 3ou þat for man deyd on rode;
4 He þat is o God in personys thre defende 3ou fro 3oure fon.

5 Be þe leue and soferauns of allmythty God,
6 We intendyn to procede þe matere þat we lefte þe last 3ere.
7 Wherefore we beseche 3ow þat 3oure wyllys be good
8 To kepe þe Passyon in 3oure mende, þat xal be shewyd here.

9 The last 3ere we shewyd here how oure Lord for love of man
10 Cam to þe cety of Jherusalem mekely his deth to take;
11 And how he made his Mawndé, his body 3evyng þan
12 To his apostelys, evyr with us to abydyn for mannys sake.

13 In þat Mawndé he was betrayd of Judas, þat hym solde
14 To þe Jewys for xxxti platys, to delyvyr hym þat nyth.
15 With swerdys and gleyvys [to] Jesu they come with þe tretour bolde,
16 And toke hym amongys his apostelys about mydnyth.

17 Now wold we procede how he was browth þan
18 Beforn Annas and Cayphas, and syth beforn Pylate,
19 And so forth in his Passyon, how mekely he toke it for man;
20 Besekyng 3ou for mede of 3oure soulys to take good hede þeratte.

Here þe Herowndys xal shewe hymself and speke:

21 HEROWDYS Now sees of 3oure talkyng and gevyth lordly audyence!
22 Not o word, I charge 3ou þat ben here present;
23 Noon so hardy to presume in my hey presence
24 To onlose hese lyppys ageyn myn intent!
25 I am Herowde, of Jewys kyng most reverent,
26 þe lawys of Mahownde my powere xal fortefye;
27 Reverens to þat lord of grace moost excyllent,
28 For by his powere allþinge doth multyplye.

29 3ef ony Crystyn be so hardy his feyth to denye,
30 Or onys to erre ageyns his lawe,
31 On gebettys with cheynes I xal hangyn hym heye,
32 And with wylde hors þo traytorys xal I drawe!
33 To kylle a thowsand Crystyn I gyf not an hawe!
34 To se hem hangyn or brent to me is very plesauns;
35 To dryvyn hem into doongenys, dragonys to knawe,
36 And to rend here flesche and bonys onto here sustenauns!

37 Johan þe Baptyst crystenyd Cryst, and so he dede many on;
38 þerfore myself dede hym brynge o dawe.
39 It is I þat dede hym kylle, I telle 3ou everychon,
40 For and he had go forth, he xuld a dystroyd oure lawe.

41 Whereas Crystyn apperyth, to me is gret grevauns;
42 It peynyth myn hert of tho tretowrys to here
43 For þe lawys of Mahownde I have in governawns,
44 þe which I wele kepe--þat lord hath no pere;
45 For he is god most prudent.
46 Now I charge 3ou, my lordys þat ben here,
47 Yf any Crystyn doggys here doth apere,
48 Bryng þo tretorys to my hey powere,
49 And þei xal haue sone jewgement!

50 PRIMUS MILES My sovereyn lord, heyest of excillens,
51 In 3ou all jewgdment is termynabyle.
52 All Crystyn doggys þat do not here dyligens,
53 3e put hem to peynes þat ben inportable.

54 SECUNDUS MILES Noþing in 3ou may be more comendable
55 As to dysstroye þo traytorys þat erre
56 Ageyn oure lawys, þat ben most profytable.
57 Be rythwysnesse þat lawe 3e must proferre.

58 REX HEROW[DE] Now be gloryous Mahownd, my sovereyn savyour,
59 These promessys I make as I am trewe knyth:
60 þoo þat excede his lawys be ony errour,
61 To þe most xamefullest deth I xal hem dyth!
62 But o thyng is sore in my gret delyte:
63 þere is on Jesus of Nazareth, as men me tellyth.
64 Of þat man I desyre to han a sythte,
65 For with many gret wondrys oure lawe he fellyth.

66 The Son of God hymself he callyth,
67 And Kyng of Jewys he seyth is he;
68 And many woundrys of hym befallyth.
69 My hert desyryth hym for to se.
70 Serys, yf þat he come in his cowntré,
71 With oure jurresdyccyon loke 3e aspye,
72 And anon þat he be brouth onto me;
73 And he trewth myself þan xal trye.

74 PRIMUS MILES Tomorwe my jorné I xal begynne,
75 To seke Jesus with my dew dilygens.
76 3yf he come 3oure provynce withinne,
77 He xal not askape 3oure hey presens.

78 SECUNDUS MILES Myn soverdyn, þis is my cowncel þat 3e xal take:
79 A man þat is bothe wyse and stronge
80 Thurwe all Galylé a serge to make
81 Yf Jesu be enteryd 3oure pepyl among.
82 Correcte hese dedys þat be do wronge,
83 For his body is vndyr 3oure baylé--
84 As men talkyn hem among
85 þat he was born in Galylé.

86 Thanne of þese materys, serys, take hede.
87 For a whyle I wele me rest.
88 Appetyde requyryth me so, indede,
89 And fesyk tellyth me it is þe best.

Here xal a massanger com into þe place rennyng and criyng, "Tydyngys! Tydyngys!," and so rowndabowth þe place, "Jesus of Nazareth is take! Jesus of Nazareth is take!" and forthwith heylyng þe prynces, þus seyng:

90 MASSANGER All heyle, my lordys, princys of prestys!
91 Sere Cayphas and Sere Annas, lordys of þe lawe,
92 Tydyngys I brynge 3ou, reseyve hem in 3oure brestys:
93 Jesus of Nazareth is take! þerof 3e may be fawe.

94 He xal be browth hedyr to 3ou anon,
95 I telle 3ou trewly, with a gret rowth.
96 Whan he was take, I was hem among,
97 And [þat I was] ner to kachyd a clowte:

98 Malcus bar a lanterne and put hym in pres;
99 Anoon he had a towche, and of went his ere!
100 Jesus had his dyscyple put up his swerd and ces,
101 And sett Malcus ere ageyn as hool as it was ere.

102 So moty the, methowut it was a strawnge syth.
103 Whan we cam fyrst to hym he cam vs ageyn
104 And haskyd whom we sowth þat tyme of nyth.
105 We seyd, "Jesus of Nazareth; we wolde haue hym fayn,"

106 And he seyd, "It is I þat am here in 3oure syth."
107 With þat word we ovyrthrowyn bakward everychon,
108 And some on here bakkys lyeng upryth;
109 But standyng upon fote manly þer was not on.

110 Cryst stod on his fete, as meke as a lom,
111 And we loyn stylle lyche ded men tyl he bad us ryse.
112 Whan we were up, fast handys we leyd hym upon;
113 But 3et methought I was not plesyd with þe newe gyse.

114 Therfore takyth now 3oure cowncel and avyse 3ou ryth weyl,
115 And beth ryth ware þat he make 3ou not amat.
116 For, be my thryfte, I dare sweryn at þis seyl,
117 3e xal fynde hym a strawnge watt.

Here bryng þei Jesus beforn Annas and C[ayphas], and on xal seyn þus:

118 Lo, lo, lordys, here is þe man
119 þat 3e sent vs fore.
120 ANNAS. þerfore we cone 3ou thanke than,
121 And reward 3e xal haue þe more.

122 Jesus, þu are welcome hedyr to oure presens.
123 Ful oftyntymes we han þe besyly do sowth.
124 We payd to þi dyscyple for þe thretty pens,
125 And as an ox or an hors we trewly þe bowth.

126 þerfore now art oure as þu standyst us before.
127 Sey why þu ast trobelyd us and subuertyd oure lawe.
128 þu hast ofte concludyd us, and so þu hast do more;
129 Wherefore it were ful nedful to bryng þe a dawe.

130 CAYPHAS. What arn þi dysciplys þat folwyn þe aboute?
131 And what is þi doctryne þat þu dost preche?
132 Telle me now somewhath and bryng us out of doute
133 þat we may to othere men þi prechyng forth teche.

134 JES[US]. Al tymes þat I haue prcchyd, opyn it was don
135 In þe synagog or in þe temple, where þat all Jewys com.
136 Aske hem what I haue seyd, and also what I haue don;
137 þei con telle þe my wordys, aske hem everychon.

138 PRIMUS JUDEUS What, þu fela, to whom spekyst þu?
139 Xalt þu so speke to a buschop?
140 þu xalt haue on þe cheke, I make avow,
141 And 3et þerto a knok!

Here he xal smyte Jesus on þe cheke.

142 JESUS Yf I haue seyd amys,
143 þerof wytnesse þu mayst bere.
144 And yf I haue seyd but weyl in þis,
145 þu dost amys me to dere.

146 ANNAS Serys, takyth hed now to þis man,
147 þat he dystroye not oure lawe.
148 And brynge 3e wytnesse a3ens hym þat 3e can,
149 So þat he may be browt of dawe.

150 PRIMUS DOCTOR Sere, þis I herd hym with his owyn mowth seyn:
151 "Brekyth down þis temple without delay,
152 And I xal settyn't up ageyn
153 As hool as it was be þe thrydde day."

154 SECUNDUS DOCTOR 3a, ser, and I herd hym seyn also
155 þat he was þe Sone of God.
156 And 3et many a fole wenyth so!
157 I durst leyn þeron myn hod.

158 TERCIUS DOCTOR 3a, 3a! And I herd hym preche meche þing
159 And a3ens oure lawe every del,
160 Of wheche it were longe to make rekenyng
161 To tellyn all at þis seel.

162 CAYPHAS What seyst now, Jesus? Whi answeryst not?
163 Heryst not what is seyd a3ens þe?
164 Spek, man, spek! Spek, þu fop!
165 Hast þu scorn to speke to me?
166 Heryst not in how many thyngys þei þe acuse?

167 Now I charge þe and conjure be þe sonne and þe mone
168 þat þu telle us and þu be Goddys sone.

169 JESUS Goddys sone I am, I sey not nay to þe;
170 And þat 3e all xal se at Domysday,
171 Whan þe Sone xal come in gret powere and magesté
172 And deme þe qweke and dede, as I þe say.

173 CAYPHAS A! Out! Out! Allas, what is þis?
174 Heryth 3e not how he blasfemyth God?
175 What nedyth us to haue more wytness?
176 Here 3e han herd all his owyn word.

177 Thynk 3e not he is worthy to dey?

Et clamabunt omnes:

178 [OMNES. ] 3ys, 3ys, 3ys! All we seye he is worthy to dey! 3a, 3a, 3[a]!

179 ANNAS Takyth hym to 3ow and betyth hym somdel
180 For hese blasfemyng at þis sel!

Here þei xal bete Jesus about þe hed and þe body, and spyttyn in his face, and pullyn hym down, and settyn hym on a stol, and castyn a cloth ouyr his face; and þe fyrst xal seyn:

181 PRIMUS JUDEUS. A, felawys, beware what 3e do to þis man,
182 For he prophecye weyl kan.

183 SECUNDUS JUDEUS. þat xal be asayd be þis batte.

Et percuciet super caput.

184 What, þu Jesus, ho 3aff þe þat?

185 TERCIUS JUDEUS. Whar, whar! Now wole I
186 Wetyn how he can prophecy--
187 Ho was þat?

188 QUARTUS JUDEUS. A, and now wole I a newe game begynne
189 þat we mon pley at, all þat am hereinne:

190 Whele and pylle, whele and pylle,
191 Comyth to halle hoso wylle--
192 Ho was þat?

Here xal þe woman come to [þe] Jewys and seyn:

193 PRIMA ANCILLA What, serys, how take 3e on with þis man?
194 Se 3e not on of hese dysciplys, how he beheldyth 3ou þan?

Here xal þe tother woman seyn to Petyr:

195 SECUNDA ANCILLA A, good man, mesemyth be þe
196 þat þu on of hese dysciplys xulde be.

197 PETRUS. A, woman, I sey nevyr er his man
198 Syn þat þis werd fyrst began.

Et cantabit gallus.

199 PRIMA ANCILLA What? þu mayst not sey nay--þu art on of hese men!
200 Be þi face wel we may þe ken.

201 PETRUS. Woman, þu seyst amys of me;
202 I knowe hym not, so mote I the.

203 PRIMUS JUDEUS A, fela myn, wel met,
204 For my cosynys ere þu of smet.

205 Whan we þi maystyr in þe 3erd toke,
206 þan all þi felawys hym forsoke;

207 And now þu mayst not hym forsake,
208 For þu art of Galylé, I vndyrtake.

209 PETRUS. Sere, I knowe hym not, be hym þat made me!
210 And 3e wole me beleve for an oth,
211 I take record of all his compayné
212 þat I sey to 3ow is soth.

Et cantabit gallus. And þan Jesus xal lokyn on Petyr, and Petyr xal wepyn; and þan he xal gon out and seyn:

213 A, weelaway! Weelaway! Fals hert, why whylt þu not brest,
214 Syn þi maystyr so cowardly þu hast forsake?
215 Alas, qwher xal I now on erthe rest
216 Tyl he of his mercy to grace wole me take?

217 I haue forsake my maystyr and my Lord, Jesu,
218 Thre tymes, as he tolde me þat I xuld do þe same.
219 Wherfore I may not haue sorwe anow--
220 I, synful creature, am so mech to blame!

221 Whan I herd þe cok crowyn, he kest on me a loke
222 As who seyth, "Bethynke þe what I seyd before."
223 Alas þe tyme þat I evyr hym forsoke!
224 And so wyl I thynkyn from hens evyrmore.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 29 - The Second Passion Play: Herod's Boasting and the Trial Before Annas and Caiphas. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.