From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 33 - The Harrowing of Hell A

1 CHRISTI. Now all mankende in herte be glad
2 With all merthis þat may be had!
3 For mannys sowle, þat was bestad
4 In þe logge of helle,
5 Now xal I ryse to lyve agayn,
6 From peyn to pleys of paradyse pleyn.
7 þerfore, man, in hert be fayn,
8 In merthe now xalt þu dwelle!

9 I am þe sowle of Cryst Jesu,
10 þe which is kynge of all vertu.
11 My body is ded--þe Jewys it slew--
12 þat hangyth 3itt on þe rode.
13 Rent and torn al blody red,
14 For mannys sake my body is deed.
15 For mannys helpe my body is bred,
16 And sowle-drynk my bodyes blode.

17 þow my body be now sclayn,
18 þe thrydde day, þis is certayn,
19 I xal reyse my body agayn
20 To lyve, as I 3ow say.
21 Now wole I go streyth to helle
22 And feche from þe fendys felle
23 All my frendys þat þerin dwelle,
24 To blysse þat lestyth ay.

The sowle goth to helle gatys and seyth: "Attollite portas principes vestras, et eleuamini, porte eternales, et introibit Rex Glorie."

25 Ondothe 3oure 3atys of sorwatorie!
26 On mannys sowle I haue memorie.
27 Here comyth now þe Kynge of Glorye,
28 These gatys for to breke.
29 3e develys þat arn here withinne,
30 Helle gatys 3e xal vnpynne.
31 I xal delyvere mannys kynne;
32 From wo I wole hem wreke.

33 BELYALL. Alas, alas! Out and harrow!
34 Onto þi byddynge must we bow.
35 þat þu art God now do we know--
36 Of þe had we grett dowte!
37 A3ens þe may nothynge stonde;
38 Allthynge obeyth to thyn honde;
39 Bothe hevyn and helle, watyr and londe,
40 Allthynge must to þe lowte.

41 ANIMA CHRISTI. A3ens me it wore but wast
42 To holdyn or to stondyn fast.
43 Helle logge may not last
44 A3ens þe Kynge of Glorye.
45 þi derke dore down I throwe;
46 My fayr frendys now wele I knowe.
47 I xal hem brynge reknyd be rowe
48 Out of here purcatorye.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 33 - The Harrowing of Hell A. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.