From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 30 - The Death of Judas, and the Trials of Christ Before Pilate and Herod

1 CAYPHAS Massangere! Massangere!
2 MASSANGERE Here, lord, here!

3 CAYPHAS Massanger, to Pylat in hast þu xalt gon,
4 And sey hym we comawnde us in word and in dede;
5 And prey hym þat he be at þe mot-halle anoon,
6 For we han a gret matere þat he must nedys spede.

7 In hast now go þi way,
8 And loke þu tery nowth.
9 MASSANGER It xal be do, lord, be þis day;
10 I am as whyt as thought.

Here Pylat syttyth in his skaffald, and þe massanger knelyth to hym, þus seyng:

11 Al heyl, Sere Pylat, þat semly is to se,
12 Prynce of al his Juré and kepere of þe lawe!
13 My lord, Busshop Cayphas, comawndyd hym to þe,
14 And prayd the to be at þe mot-halle by þe day dawe.

15 PYLAT Go þi way, praty masanger, and comawnde me also.
16 I xal be þere in hast, and so þu mayst say.
17 Be þe oure of prime I xal comyn hem to;
18 I tery no lenger, no make no delay.

Here þe massanger comyth a3en and bryngyth an ansuere, þus seyng:

19 MASSANGER Al heyl, myn lordys, and buschoppys, and princys of þe lawe!
20 Ser Pylat comawndyth hym to 3ou and bad me to 3ou say
21 He wole be at þe mot-halle in hast sone after þe day dawe;
22 He wold 3e xuld be þer be prime withouth lenger delay.

23 CAYPHAS Now weyl mote þu fare, my good page.
24 Take þu his for þi massage.

Here enteryth Judas onto þe Juwys, þus seyng:

25 JUDAS I, Judas, haue synnyd, and treson haue don,
26 For I haue betrayd his rythful blood.
27 Here is 3oure mony a3en, all and som.
28 For sorwe and thowth I am wax wood!

29 ANNAS What is þat to us? Avyse þe now,
30 þu dedyst with us counawnt make:
31 þu seldyst hym us as hors or kow,
32 þerfore þin owyn dedys þu must take.

þan Judas castyth down þe mony, and goth and hangyth hymself.

33 CAYPHAS Now, serys, þe nyth is passyd, þe day is come;
34 It were tyme þis man had his jewgement.
35 And Pylat abydyth in þe mot-halle alone
36 Tyl we xuld þis man present.

37 And þerfore go we now forth with hym in hast.
38 PRIMUS JUDEUS It xal be don, and þat in short spas.
39 SECUNDUS JUDEUS 3a, but loke yf he be bownd ryth wel and fast.
40 TERCIUS JUDEUS. He is saff anow. Go we ryth a good pas.

Here þei ledyn Jesu abowt þe place tyl þei come to þe halle.

41 CAYPHAS Sere Pylat, takyht hede to þis thyng:
42 Jesus we han beforn þe browth,
43 Wheche oure lawe doth down bryng,
44 And mekyl schame he hath us wrowth.

45 ANNAS From þis cetye into þe lond of Galylé
46 He hath browth oure lawys neyr into confusyon,
47 With hese craftys wrowth be nygramancye
48 Shewyth to þe pepyl be fals symulacyon.

49 PRIMUS DOCTOR 3a! 3et, sere, another, and werst of alle,
50 A3ens Sesare, oure emperour þat is so fre:
51 Kyng of Jewys he doth hym calle,
52 So oure emperourys power nowth xulde be.

53 SECUNDUS DOCTOR Sere Pylat, we kannot telle half þe blame
54 þat Jesus in oure countré hath wrowth.
55 þerfore we charge þe in þe emperorys name
56 þat he to þe deth in hast be browth.

57 PYLAT What seyst to these compleyntys, Jesu?
58 These pepyl hath þe sore acusyd
59 Because þu bryngyst up lawys newe
60 þat in oure days were not vsyd.

61 JESUS Of here acusyng me rowth nowth,
62 So þat þei hurt not here soulys, ne non mo.
63 I haue nowth 3et founde þat I haue sowth;
64 For my faderys wyl, forth must I go.

65 PYLAT Jesus, be þis þan I trowe þu art a kyng.
66 And þe Sone of God þu art also,
67 Lord of erth and of allþing.
68 Telle me þe trowth if it be so.

69 JESUS In hefne is knowyn my faderys intent,
70 And in þis werlde I was born.
71 Be my fadyr I was hedyr sent
72 For to seke þat was forlorn.

73 Alle þat me heryn and in me belevyn
74 And kepyn here feyth stedfastly,
75 þow þei weryn dede, I xal hem recuryn,
76 And xal þem bryng to blysse endlesly.

77 PILATE Lo, serys, now 3e an erde þis man, how thynk 3e?
78 Thynke 3e not all, be 3oure reson,
79 But as he seyth it may wel be,
80 And þat xulde be, be þis incheson?

81 I fynde in hym non obecyon
82 Of errour nor treson, ne of no maner gylt.
83 The lawe wole in no conclusyon
84 Withowte defawth he xuld be spylt.

85 PRIMUS DOCTOR Sere Pylat, þe lawe restyth in þe,
86 And we knowe veryly his gret trespas.
87 To þe emperour þis mater told xal be,
88 Yf þu lete Jesus þus from þe pas.

89 PYLAT Serys, þan telle me o thyng:
90 What xal be his acusyng?

91 ANNAS Sere, we telle þe al togedyr,
92 For his evyl werkys we browth hym hedyr;

93 And yf he had not an evyl-doere be,
94 We xuld not a browth hym to þe.

95 PYLAT Takyth hym þan aftyr 3oure sawe,
96 And demyth hym aftyr 3oure lawe.

97 CAYPHAS It is not lefful to vs, 3e seyn,
98 No maner man for to slen.
99 þe cawse why we bryng hym to þe,
100 þat he xuld not oure kyng be.

101 Weyl þu knowyst, kyng we have non
102 But oure emperour alon.

103 PYLAT Jesu, þu art Kyng of Juré?
104 JESUS So þu seyst now to me.

105 PYLAT Tel me þan,
106 Where is þi kyngham?

107 JESUS My kingham is not in þis werld,
108 I telle þe at o word.

109 Yf my kyngham here had be,
110 I xuld not a be delyveryd to þe.

111 PYLAT Serys, avyse 3ow as 3e kan;
112 I can fynde no defawth in þis man.

113 ANNAS Sere, here is a gret record; take hed þerto!
114 And knowyng gret myschef in þis man
115 (And not only in o day or to--
116 It is many 3erys syn he began),
117 We kan telle þe tyme, where and whan,
118 þat many a thowsand turnyd hath he,
119 As all þis pepyll record weyl kan,
120 From hens into þe lond of Galylé.

Et clamabunt, "3a! 3a! 3a!"

121 PILAT Serys, of o thyng than gyf me relacyon:
122 If Jesus were outborn in þe lond of Galelye.
123 For we han no poer ne no jurediccyon
124 Of no man of þat contré.
125 Therfore þe trewth 3e telle me
126 And another wey I xal provyde.
127 If Jesus were born in þat countré,
128 þe jugement of Herowdys he must abyde.

129 CAYPHAS Sere, as I am to þe lawe trewly sworn,
130 To telle þe trewth I haue no fer.
131 In Galelye I know þat he was born;
132 I can telle in what place and where.
133 A3ens þis no man may answere,
134 For he was born in Bedlem Judé.
135 And þis 3e knowe now all, and haue don here,
136 þat it stant in þe lond of Galelye.

137 PYLAT Weyl, serys, syn þat I knowe þat it is so,
138 þe trewth of þis I must nedys se.
139 I vndyrstand ryth now what is to do:
140 þe jugement of Jesu lyth not to me.
141 Herowde is kyng of þat countré,
142 To jewge þat regyon in lenth and in brede.
143 þe jurysdyccyon of Jesu now han must he;
144 þerfore Jesu in hast to hym 3e lede.

145 In hall þe hast þat 3e may, spede,
146 Lcde hym to þe Herownde anon present;
147 And sey I comawnde me with worde and dede,
148 And Jesu to hym þat I haue sent.
149 PRIMUS DOCTOR This erand in hast sped xal be,
150 In all þe hast þat we can do.
151 We xal not tary in no degré,
152 Tyl þe Herowdys presens we com to.

Here þei take Jesu and lede hym in gret hast to þe Herowde. And þe Herowdys scafald xal vnclose shewyng Herowdys in astat, all þe Jewys knelyng except Annas and Cayphas; þei xal stondyn, et cetera.

153 PRIMUS DOCTOR Heyl, Herowde, most excyllent kyng!
154 We arn comawndyd to þin presens.
155 Pylat sendyth þe be us gretyng,
156 And chargyth us be oure obedyens
157 SECUNDUS DOCTOR þat we xuld do oure dylygens
158 To bryng Jesus of Nazareth onto þe;
159 And chargyth us to make no resystens,
160 Becawse he was born in þis countré.

161 ANNAS We knowe he hath wrowth gret folé
162 Ageyns þe lawe shewyd present.
163 Therfore Pylat sent hym onto þe
164 þat þu xuldyst gyf hym jugement.

165 HEROWDE REX Now be Mahound, my god of grace,
166 Of Pylat þis is a dede ful kende.
167 I forgyf hym now his gret trespace
168 And schal be his frend withowtyn ende,

169 Jesus to me þat he wole sende.
170 I desyred ful sore hym for to se.
171 Gret ese in þis Pylat xal fynde.
172 And, Jesus, þu art welcome to me.

173 PRIMUS JUDEUS My sovereyn lord, þis is þe case:
174 þe gret falsnesse of Jesu is opynly knawe.
175 þer was nevyr man dede so gret trespas,
176 For he hath almost dystroyd oure lawe.

177 SECUNDUS JUDEUS 3a, be fals crafte of soserye
178 Wrowth opynly to þe pepyll alle,
179 And þe sotyl poyntys of nygramancye,
180 Many thowsandys fro oure lawe be falle.

181 CAYPHAS Most excellent kyng, 3e must take hede:
182 He wol dystroye all þis countré, both elde and 3yng,
183 Yf he ten monthis more procede,
184 Be his meraclys and fals prechyng.

185 He bryngyth þe pepyl in gret fonnyng,
186 And seyth dayly among hem alle
187 That he is Lord, and of þe Jewys kyng,
188 And þe Sone of God he doth hym calle.

189 REX HEROWDE Serys, alle þese materys I haue herd sayd,
190 And meche more þan 3e me telle.
191 Alle togedyr þei xal be layde,
192 And I wyl take þeron cowncelle.

193 Jesus, þu art welcome to me!
194 I kan Pylat gret thank for his sendyng.
195 I haue desyryd ful longe þe to se,
196 And of þi meracles to haue knowyng.

197 It is told me þu dost many a wondyr thyng;
198 Crokyd to gon and blynd men to sen;
199 And þei þat ben dede, gevyst hem levyng,
200 And makyst lepers fayre and hool to ben.

201 These arn wondyr werkys wrougth of þe,
202 Be what wey I wolde knowe þe trew sentens.
203 Now, Jesu, I pray the, lete me se
204 O meracle wrougth in my presens.

205 In hast now do þi dylygens,
206 And peraventure I wyl shew favour to the.
207 For now þu art in my presens,
208 Thyn lyf and deth here lyth in me.

And here Jesus xal not speke no word to þe Herowde.

209 Jesus, why spekyst not to þi kyng?
210 What is þe cawse þu stondyst so stylle?
211 þu knowyst I may deme allthyng,
212 Thyn lyf and deth lyth at my wylle.

213 What! Spek, Jesus, and telle me why
214 þis pepyl do þe so here acuse.
215 Spare not, but telle me now on hey
216 How þu canst þiself excuse.

217 CAYPHAS Loo, serys, þis is of hym a false sotylté.
218 He wyl not speke but whan he lyst!
219 þus he dysceyvyth þe pepyl in eche degré--
220 He is ful fals, 3e veryly tryst.

221 REX HEROWDE What, þu onhangyd harlot, why wylt þu not speke?
222 Hast þu skorne to speke onto þi kyng?
223 Becawse þu dost oure lawys breke,
224 I trowe þu art aferd of oure talkyng.

225 ANNAS Nay, he is not aferde, but of a fals wyle,
226 Becawse we xuld not hym acuse.
227 If þat he answerd 3ow ontylle,
228 He knowyth he kannot hymself excuse.

229 REX HERO[WDE] What! Spek, I say, þu foulyng! Evyl mot þu fare!
230 Loke up, þe devyl mote þe cheke.
231 Serys, bete his body with scorgys bare,
232 And asay to make hym for to speke.

233 PRIMUS JUDE[US] It xal be do withoutyn teryeng.
234 Come on, þu tretour, evyl mot þu þe!
235 Whylt þu not speke onto oure kyng?
236 A new lesson we xal lere þe.

Here þei pulle of Jesus clothis and betyn hym with whyppys.

237 SECUNDUS JUDE[US] Jesus, þi bonys we xal not breke,
238 But we xal make þe to skyppe.
239 þu hast lost þi tonge, þu mayst not speke--
240 þu xalt asay now of þis whippe!

241 TERCIUS JUDEUS Serys, take þese whyppys in 3oure honde,
242 And spare not whyl þei last,
243 And bete his tretoure þat here doth stonde;
244 I trowe þat he wyl speke in hast.

And quan þei han betyn hym tyl he is all blody, þan þe Herownd seyth:

245 [REX HEROWDE] Sees, serys, I comawnde 3ou be name of þe devyl of helle!
246 Jesus, thynkyst þis good game?
247 þu art strong to suffyr schame;
248 þu haddyst levyr be betyn lame
249 þan þi defawtys for to telle.

250 But I wyl not þi body all spyl,
251 Nor put it here into more peyn.
252 Serys, takyth Jesus at 3oure owyn wyl
253 And lede hym to Pylat hom ageyn.
254 Grete hym weyl and telle hym serteyn
255 All my good frenchep xal he haue.
256 I gyf hym powere of Jesus, þus 3e hym seyn,
257 Whether he wole hym dampne or save.

258 PRIMUS DOCTOR Sere, at 3oure request it xal be do;
259 We xal lede Jesus at 3oure demaw[n]de,
260 And delyver hym Pylat onto,
261 And telle hym all as 3e comawnde.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 30 - The Death of Judas, and the Trials of Christ Before Pilate and Herod. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.