From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 31 - Satan and the Dream of Pilate's Wife, and Christ's Second Trial Before Pilate

Here enteryth Satan into þe place in þe most orryble wyse. And qwyl þat he pleyth, þei xal don on Jesus clothis and ouyrest a whyte clothe, and ledyn hym abowth þe place, and þan to Pylat be þe tyme þat hese wyf hath pleyd.

1 SATHAN Thus I reyne as a rochand with a rynggyng rowth!
2 As a devyl most dowty, dred is my dynt!
3 Many a thowsand develys, to me do þei lowth,
4 Brennyng in flamys as fyre out of flynt!

5 Hoso serve me, Sathan, to sorwe is he sent,
6 With dragonys in doungenys, and develys ful[l] derke!
7 In bras and in bronston þe brethellys be brent
8 þat wone in þis werd my wyl for to werke!

9 With myschef on moolde here membrys I merke
10 þat japyn with Jesus, þat Judas solde!
11 Be he nevyr so crafty nor conyng clerke,
12 I harry þem to helle as tretour bolde!

13 But þer is o thyng þat grevyth me sore,
14 Of a prophete þat Jesu men calle.
15 He peynyth me every day more and more
16 With his holy meraclis and werkys alle.

17 I had hym onys in a temptacyon
18 With glotenye, with covetyse, and veynglorye.
19 I hasayd hym be all weys þat I cow[de] don,
20 And vttyrly he refusyd hem and gan me defye.

21 þat rebuke þat he gaf me xal not be vnqwyt!
22 Somwhat I haue begonne, and more xal be do.
23 For all his barfot goyng, fro me xal he not skyp,
24 But my derk dongeon I xal bryngyn hym to!

25 I haue do made redy his cros þat he xal dye upon,
26 And thre nayles to takke hym with, þat he xal not styrte.
27 Be he nevyr so holy, he xal not fro me gon,
28 But with a sharpe spere he xal be smet to þe herte!

29 And sythyn he xal come to helle, be he nevyr so stowte.
30 And 3et I am aferd and he come he wole do som wrake.
31 þerfore I xal go warnyn helle þat þei loke abowte,
32 þat þei make redy chenys to bynd hym with in lake.

33 Helle, helle, make redy, for here xal come a gest!
34 Hedyr xal come Jesus, þat is clepyd Goddys sone.
35 And he xal ben here be þe oure of none,
36 And with þe here he xal wone,
37 And han ful shrewyd rest.

Here xal a devyl spekyn in helle:

38 DEMON Out upon þe! We conjure þe
39 þat nevyr in helle we may hym se.
40 For and he onys in helle be,
41 He xal oure power brest.

42 SATHAN A, a, than haue I go to ferre!
43 But som wyle help, I have a shrewde torne.
44 My game is wers þan I wend here;
45 I may seyn my game is lorne!

46 Lo, a wyle 3et haue I kast:
47 If I myth Jesus lyf save,
48 Helle gatys xal be sperd fast
49 And kepe stylle all þo I haue.

50 To Pylatys wyff I wele now go,
51 And sche is aslepe abed ful fast,
52 And byd here withowtyn wordys mo
53 To Pylat þat sche send in hast.

54 I xal asay, and his wol be,
55 To bryng Pylat in belef.
56 Withinne a whyle 3e xal se
57 How my craft I wole go pref.

Here xal þe devyl gon to Pylatys wyf, þe corteyn drawyn as she lyth in bedde; and he xal no dene make, but she xal sone after þat he is come in makyn a rewly noyse, comyng and rennyng of þe schaffald, and here shert and here kyrtyl in here hand. And sche xal come beforn Pylat leke a mad woman, seyng þus:

58 VXOR PILATY Pylat, I charge þe þat þu take hede:
59 Deme not Jesu, but be his frende.
60 3yf þu jewge hym to be dede,
61 þu art dampnyd withowtyn ende.

62 A fend aperyd me beforn
63 As I lay in my bed slepyng fast.
64 Sethyn þe tyme þat I was born
65 Was I nevyr so sore agast.

66 As wylde fyre and thondyrblast
67 He cam cryeng onto me.
68 He seyd þei þat bete Jesu or bownd hym fast,
69 Withowtyn ende dampnyd xal be.

70 þerfore a wey herein þu se
71 And lete Jesu from þe clere pace.
72 þe Jewys, þei wole begyle þe,
73 And put on þe all þe trespace.

74 PYLAT Gramercy, myn wyf, for evyr 3e be trewe;
75 3oure cowncel is good, and evyr hath be.
76 Now to 3oure chawmer 3e do sewe,
77 And all xal be weyl, dame, as 3e xal se.

Here þe Jewys bryng Jesus a3en to Pylat.

78 PRIMUS DOCTOR Sere Pylat, gode tydandys þu here of me:
79 Of Herowd þe kyng þu hast good wyl,
80 And Jesus he sendyth a3en to the,
81 And byddyth þe chese hym to save or spylle.

82 SECUNDUS DOCTOR 3a, sere, all þe poer lyth now in þe,
83 And þu knowyst oure feyth he hath ner schent.
84 þu knowyst what myschef þerof may be--
85 We charge þe to gyf hym jwgcment.

86 PYLAT Serys, trewly 3e be to blame
87 Jesus þus to bete, dyspoyle, or bynde,
88 Er put hym to so gret schame.
89 For no defawth in hym I fynde.

90 Ne Herowdys nother, to whom I sent 3ow,
91 Defawte in hym cowde fynde ryth non,
92 But sent hym a3en to me be 3ow,
93 As 3e knowe wel everychon.

94 Therfore vndyrstande what I xal say:
95 3e knowe þe custom is in þis londe
96 Of 3oure Pasche day, þat is nerhonde:
97 What þeff or tretore be in bonde
98 For worchep of þat day xal go þe away,

99 Without any price.
100 Now þan methynkyth it were ryth
101 To lete Jesus now go qwyte
102 And do to hym no mo dyspyte.
103 Serys, þis is myn avyse.

104 I wolde wete what 3e say.

Here all þei xul cryen:

105 Nay! Nay! Nay!

106 PRIMUS DOCTOR Delyvere us þe þeff Barabas,
107 þat for mansclawth presonde was!

108 PYLAT What xal I þan with Jesu do?
109 Whethyr xal he abyde or go?

110 SECUNDUS DOCTOR Jesus xal on be cros be don!
111 Crucifigatur, we crye echon!
112 PYLAT Serys, what hath Jesus don amys?

Populus clamabit:

113 Crucifigatur, we sey atonys.
114 PYLAT Serys, syn algatys 3e wolyn so
115 Puttynjesu to wo and peyn,
116 Jcsus a wyle with me xal go;
117 I wole hym examyne betwyx us tweyn.

Here Pylat takyth Jesu and ledyth hym into þe cowncel hous and seyth:

118 Jesus, what seyst now, lete se.
119 This matere now þu vndyrstonde:
120 In pes þu myth be for me,
121 But for þi pepyl of þi londe.

122 Busshoppys and prestys of þe lawe,
123 þei love be not, as þu mayst se;
124 And be comoun pepyl a3ens be drawe.
125 In pes þu myth a be for me,

126 þis I telle be pleyn.
127 What seyst,Jcsus? Whispekyst not me to?
128 Knowyst not I haue power on be cros be to do?
129 And also I haue power to lete be forth go.
130 What kanst þu hereto seyn?

131 JESUS On me poer þu hast ryth non
132 But þat my fadyr hath grawntyd beforn.

133 I cam my faderys wyl to fullfylle,
134 þat mankynd xuld not spylle.

135 He þat hath betrayd me to þe at his tyme,
136 His trespas is more þan is þine.

137 PRIMUS DOCTOR 3e pryncys and maysterys, takyth hed and se
138 How Pylat in þis matere is favorabyl.
139 And þus oure lawys dystroyd myth be,
140 And to vs alle vnrecurabyl.

Here Pylat letyth Jesus alone and goth into þe Jewys and seyth:

141 PYLAT Serys, what wole 3e now with Jesu do?
142 I can fynde in hym but good
143 It is my cownce[l] 3e lete hym go--
144 It is rewthe to spylle his blood.

145 CAYPHAS Pylat, methynkyth þu dost gret wrong
146 A3ens oure lawe þus to fortefye.
147 And þe pepyl here is so strong
148 Bryngyng þe lawful testymonye.

149 ANNAS 3a, and þu lete Jesu fro us pace--
150 þis we welyn upholdyn alle--
151 þu xalt answere for his trespas,
152 And tretour to þe emperour we xal þe kalle!

153 PYLAT Now þan, syn 3e wolne non other weye
154 But in alwyse þat Jesus must deye,

155 Artyse, bryng me watyr, I pray þe,
156 And what I wole do 3e xal se.

Hic vnus afferet aquam.

157 As I wasche with watyr my handys clene,
158 So gyltles of hese deth I mut ben.

159 PRIMUS DOCTOR þe blod of hym mut ben on vs,
160 And on oure chyldyr aftyr vs.

Et clamabunt, "3a! 3a! 3a!" þan Pylat goth a3en to Jesu and bryng[yth] hym, þus seyng:

161 PYLAT Lo, serys, I bryng hym here to 3oure presens,
162 þat 3e may knowe I fynde in hym non offens.

163 SECUNDUS DOCTOR Dylyuere hym, delyvere hym, and lete us go,
164 On þe crosse þat he were do!

165 PILAT Serys, wolde 3e 3oure kyng I xulde on be cros don?
166 TERCIUS DOCTOR Sere, we seyn þat we haue no kyng but þe emperour alon.

167 PILAT Serys, syn algatys it must be so,
168 We must syt and oure offyce do.

169 Brynge forth to be barre þat arn to be dempt,
170 And þei xal haue here jugement.

Here þei xal brynge Barabas to þe barre, and Jesu, and ij þewys in here she rtys, bareleggyd, and Jesus standyng at þe barre betwyx them. And Annas and Cayphas xal gon into þe cowncell hous quan Pylat sytty[th]

171 PYLAT Barabas, hold up þi hond,
172 For here at þi delyveré dost þu stond.
And he halt up his bond.

173 Serys, qwhat sey 3e of Barabas, thef and tretour bold?
174 Xal he go fre or [xal he] be kept in holde?

175 PRIMUS DOCTOR Sere, for þe solennyté of oure Pasche day,
176 Be oure lawe he xal go þe away!

177 PYLAT Barabas, þan I dymysse þe,
178 And 3eve þe lycens to go fre.

Et curret.

179 Dysmas and Jesmas, theras 3e stondys,
180 þe lawe comawndyth 3ou to hald up 3oure hondys.

181 Sere, what sey 3e of þese thevys tweyn?
182 SECUNDUS DOCTOR Sere, þei ben both gylty, we seyn.

183 PYLAT And what sey 3e of Jesu of Nazareth?
184 PRIMUS DOCTOR Sere, we sey he xal be put to deth.

185 PYLAT And kone 3e put a3ens hym no trespas?
186 SECUNDUS DOCT[OR]. Sere, we wyl all þat he xal be put upon þe crosse.

Et clamabunt omnes voce magna, dicentes, "3a! 3a! 3a!"

187 PYLAT Jesu, þin owyn pepyl han dysprevyd
188 Al þat I haue for þe seyd or mevyd.

189 I charge 3ou all at þe begynnyng,
190 As 3e wole answere me beforn,
191 þat her be no man xal towch 3oure kyng
192 But yf he be knyght or jentylman born.

193 Fyrst his clothis 3e xal of don,
194 And maken hym nakyd for to be.
195 Bynde hym to a pelere as sore as 3e mon,
196 þan skorge hym with qwyppys þat al men may se.

197 Whan he is betyn, crowne hym for 3oure kyng;
198 And þan to þe cros 3e xal hym bryng.

199 And to þe crosse þu xalt be fest,
200 And on thre naylys þi body xal rest:

201 On xal thorwe þi ryth hand go,
202 Anothyr thorwe þi lyfte hand also;

203 þe thred xal be smet þour bothe þi feet,
204 Whech nayl þerto be mad ful mete.

205 And 3et þu xalt not hange alone,
206 But on eyther syde of þe xal be on.

207 Dysmas, now I deme þe,
208 þat on hese ryth hand þu xalt be.

209 And Jesmas on þe left hand hangyd xal ben,
210 On be Mownth of Caluerye, þat men may sen.

Here Pylat xal rysyn and gon to his schaffald, and þe busshoppys with hym; and þe Jewys xul crye for joy with a gret voys and arryn hym, and pullyn of his clothis, and byndyn hym to a pelere and skorgyn hym, on seyng þus:

211 PRIMUS JUDEUS Doth gladly, oure kyng,
212 For þis is 3oure fyrst begynnyng.

And quan he is skorgyd þei put upon hym a cloth of sylk, and settyn hym on a stol and puttyn a keroune of þornys on hese hed with forkys; and þe Jewys knelyng to Cryst, takyng hym a septer, and skornyng hym; and þan þei xulpullyn of þe purpyl cloth and don on ageyn his owyn clothis, and leyn þe crosse in hese necke to beryn't, and drawyn hym forth with ropys. And þan xal come to women wepyng and with here handys wryngyn, seyng þus:

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 31 - Satan and the Dream of Pilate's Wife, and Christ's Second Trial Before Pilate. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.