From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 34 - The Burial of Christ and the Guarding of the Sepulchre

1 CENTURIO. In trewth, now I knowe with ful opyn syght
2 That Goddys dere sone is naylid on tre.
3 These wundyrful tokenys aprevyn ful ryght
4 Quod vere Filius Dei erat iste.

5 ALIUS MILES. The very childe of God I suppose þat he be,
6 And so it semyth wele be his wundyrful werk:
7 þe erth sore qwakyth, and þat agresyth me;
8 With myst and grett wedyr it is woundyr dyrk.

9 ALIUS MILES 3 Soch merveylis shewe may non erthely man!
10 þe eyr is ryght derke þat fyrst was ryght clere;
11 The erthqwave is grett, þe clowdys waxe whan.
12 These tokenys preue hym a lorde without any pere.

13 CENTURIO His fadyr is pereles kyng of most empere,
14 Bothe Lorde of þis World and Kynge of Hevyn hy3e.
15 3it out of all synne to brynge us owt of daungere,
16 He soferyth his dere sone for us all to dye.

17 NICHODEMUS. Alas, alas, what syght is this,
18 To se þe Lorde and Kynge of Blys,
19 þat nevyr synnyd ne dede amys,
20 þus naylid vpon a rode!
21 Alas, 3ewys, what haue 3e wrought?
22 A, 3e wyckyd wytys, what was 3oure thought?
23 Why haue 3e bobbyd and þus betyn owth
24 All his blyssyd blood?

25 SENTURYO. A, now trewly telle weyl I kan
26 þat þis was Goddys owyn sone.
27 I knowe he is both God and man
28 Be þis wark þat here is done.

29 þer was nevyr man but God þat cowde make þis werk
30 þat evyr was of woman born,
31 Were he nevyr so gret a clerk;
32 It passeth hem all, þow þei had sworn.

33 Hese lawe was trewe, I dare wel saye,
34 þat he tawth us here amonge.
35 þerfore I rede 3e, turne 3oure faye,
36 And amende þat 3e han do wronge.

37 JOSEPH OF ARA[MATHIE]. O good Lord Jesu, þat deyst now here on rode,
38 Haue mercy on me and forgyf me my mys.
39 I wold þe worchep here with my good,
40 þat I may come to þi blysse.

41 To Pylat now wole I goon
42 And aske þe body of my Lord Jesu.
43 To bery þat now wold I soon
44 In my grave, þat is so new.

45 Heyl, Sere Pylat, þat syttyth in sete!
46 Heyl, justyce of Jewys men do þe calle!
47 Heyl, with helthe I do þe grete!
48 I pray þe of a bone whatso befalle.

49 To bery Jesuis body I wole þe pray,
50 þat he were out of mennys syth.
51 For tomorwyn xal be oure holy day;
52 þan wole no man hym bery, I þe plyth.

53 And yf we lete hym hange þer stylle,
54 Some wolde seyn þerof anow.
55 þe pepyl þerof wold seyn ful ylle
56 þat nother xuld be 3oure worchep nor prow.

57 PYLAT Sere Joseph of Baramathie, I graunt þe;
58 With Jesuis body do þin intent.
59 But fyrst I wole wete þat he ded be,
60 As it was his jugement.

61 Sere knytys, I comawnd 3ow þat 3e go
62 In hast with Josepht of Baramathie;
63 And loke 3e take good hede þerto
64 þat Jesu suerly ded be.

65 Se þat þis comawndement 3e fulfylle
66 Without wordys ony mo.
67 And þan lete Joseph do his wylle,
68 What þat he wyl with Jesu do.

Here come to knytys beforn Pylat atonys, þus seyng:

69 PRIMUS MILES Sere, we xal do oure dylygens,
70 With Joseph goyng to Caluerye.
71 Be we out of þi presens,
72 Sone þe trewth we xal aspye.

73 JOSEPH [ARAMATHIE] Gramercy, Pylat, of 3oure jentylnesse,
74 þat 3e han grawntyd me my lyst.
75 Anythyng in my province
76 3e xal haue at 3oure [request].

77 PYLAT Sere, all 3oure lest 3e xal haue.
78 With Jesuis body do 3oure intent.
79 Whethyr 3e bery hym in pyt or grave,
80 þe powere I grawnt 3ow here present.

The ij knygtys go with Joseph to Jesus, and stande and heldyn hym in þe face.

81 SECUNDUS MILES Methynkyth Jesu is sewre anow--
82 It is no ned his bonys to breke.
83 He is ded, how þinkyth 3ow?
84 He xal nevyr go nor speke.

85 PRIMUS MILES We wyl be sure or þan we go.
86 Of a thyng I am bethowth;
87 3ondyr is a blynd knyth I xal go to,
88 And sone a whyle here xal be wrowth.

Here þe knyth goth to blynde Longeys and seyth:

89 Heyl, Sere Longeys, þu gentyl knyth.
90 þe I prey now ryth hertyly
91 þat þu wylt wend with me ful wyth.
92 It xal be for þi prow, veryly.

93 LONGEUS Sere, at 3oure comawndement with 3ow wyl I wende
94 In what place 3e wyl me haue.
95 For I trost 3e be my frend;
96 Lede me forth, sere, oure Sabath 3ou save.

97 PRIMUS MILES Lo, Sere Longeys, here is a spere
98 Bothe long and brood, and sharp anow.
99 Heve it up fast þat it wore þere,
100 For here is game. Show, man, show!

Here Longeys showyth þe spere warly; and þe blood comyth rennyng to his hand, and he auantotysly xal wype his eyn.

101 LONGEYS O good Lord, how may þis be,
102 þat I may se so bryth now?
103 þis thretty wyntyr I myth not se
104 And now I may se, I wote nevyr how!
105 But ho is þis þat hangyth here now?
106 I trowe it be be [maydonys] sone.
107 And þat he is. Now I knowe wel how
108 þe jewys to hym þis velany han don.

Here he fallyth down on his knes.

109 Now, good Lord, forgyf me that
110 þat I to þe now don have.
111 For I dede I wyst not what.
112 þe Jewys of myn ignorans dede me rave.
113 Mercy! Mercy! Mercy, I crye!

[þan] Joseph doth set up þe lederys, and Nychodemus comyth to help hym.

114 NICODEMUS Joseph ab Aramathy, blyssyd þu be,
115 For þu dost a fol good dede.
116 I prey the, lete me help þe,
117 þat I may be partenere of þi mede.

118 JOSEPH Nychodemus, welcome indede.
119 I pray 3ow 3e wole help þerto.
120 He wole aqwyte us ryth weyl oure mede,
121 And I haue lysens for to do.

Here Joseph and Nychodemus takyn Cryst of þe cros, on on o ledyr and þe tother on another leddyr. And quan [he] is had down, Joseph leyth hym in oure Ladys lappe, seyng þe knytys turnyng hem, and Joseph seyth:

122 JOSEPH Lo, Mary, modyr good and trewe,
123 Here is þi son, blody and bloo.
124 For hym myn hert ful sore doth rewe.
125 Kysse hym now onys eer he go.

126 MARIA VIRGO. A, mercy! Mercy, myn owyn son so dere,
127 þi blody face now I must kysse.
128 þi face is pale, withowtyn chere;
129 Of meche joy now xal I mysse.
130 þer was nevyr modyr þat sey this,
131 So here sone dyspoyled with so gret wo.
132 And my dere chylde nevyr dede amys.
133 A, mercy, Fadyr of Hefne, it xulde be so.

134 JOSEPH Mary, 3oure sone 3e take to me;
135 Into his grave it xal be browth.
136 MARIA Joseph, blyssyd evyr mot þu be
137 For þe good dede þat 3e han wrowth.

Here þei xal leyn Cryst in his grave.

138 JOSEPH I gyf þe þis syndony þat I have bowth
139 To wynde þe in whyl it is new.
140 NICHODEMUS Here is an onyment þat I haue browth
141 To anoynt withall myn Lord Jhesu.

142 JOSEPH Now Jesu is withinne his grave,
143 Wheche I ordeyn somtyme for me.
144 On þe, Lord, I vowche it save;
145 I knowe my mede ful gret xal be.

146 NICHODEM[US] Now lete us leyn on þis ston ageyn,
147 And Jesu in þis tombe stylle xal be.
148 And we wyl walke hom ful pleyn;
149 þe day passyth fast I se.
150 Farewel, Joseph, and wel 3e be;
151 No lengere teryeng here we make.
152 JOSEPH Sere, almythy God be with þe;
153 Into his blysse he mote 3ou take.

154 MARIA Farewel 3e jentyl princys kende.
155 In joye evyr mote 3e be.
156 þe blysse of hefne withowtyn ende
157 I knowe veryly þat 3e xal se.

Here þe princys xal do reuerens to oure Lady and gon here way, and leve þe Maryes at þe sepulcre. Cayphas goth to Pylat, seyng þus:

158 CAYPHAS Herk, Sere Pylat, lyst to me.
159 I xal þe telle tydyngys new.
160 Of o thyng we must ware be,
161 Er ellys hereafter we myth it rewe.

162 þu wotyst weyl þat Jesu,
163 He seyd to us with wordys pleyn,
164 He seyd we xuld fynd it trew,
165 þe thryd day he wold ryse agey[n].

166 Yf þat hese dyscyplys come, serteyn,
167 And out of his graue stele hym away,
168 þei wyl go preche and pleyn seyn
169 þat he is reson þe thryd day.

170 þis is þe cowncel þat I gyf here:
171 Take men and gyf hem charge þerto
172 To weche þe grave with gret power
173 Tyl þe thryd day be go.

174 PYLAT Sere Cayphas, it xal be do,
175 For as 3e say, þer is peryl in.
176 And it happend þat it were so,
177 It myth make oure lawys for to blyn.
178 3e xal se, sere, er þat 3e go,
179 How I xal þis mater saue,
180 And what I xal sey þerto,
181 And what charge þei xal haue.

182 Come forth 3e, Sere Amorawnt
183 And Sere Arphaxat; com ner also,
184 Sere Cosdram and Sere Affraunt,
185 And here þe charge þat 3e must do.
186 Serys, to Jesuis grave 3e xal go
187 Tyl þat þe thryd day be gon,
188 And lete nother frend nor fo
189 In no wey to towche þe ston.

190 Yf ony of hese dyscipelys com þer
191 To fech þe body fro 3ou away,
192 Bete hym down! Have 3e no fere--
193 With shamful deth do hym day!

194 In payn of 3oure godys and 3oure lyvys
195 þat 3e lete hem nowth shape 3ou fro,
196 And of 3oure chyldere and 3oure wyfys--
197 For al 3e lese and 3e do so.

198 PRIMUS MILES Sere Pylat, we xal not ses.
199 We xal kepe it strong anow.
200 SECUNDUS MILES 3a, and an hunderyd put hem in pres,
201 þei xal dey, I make avow!

202 TERCIUS MILES And han honderyd? Fy on an C and an C þerto!
203 þer is non of hem xal us withstonde.
204 QUARTUS MILES 3a, and þer com an hunderyd thowsand and mo,
205 I xal hem kylle with myn honde!

206 PYLAT Wel, serys, þan 3oure part 3e do.
207 And to 3oure charge loke 3e take hede,
208 Withowtyn wordys ony mo,
209 Wysly now þat 3e procede.

Here þe knytys gon out of þe place.

210 Lo, Sere Cayphas, how thynkyth 3ow?
211 Is not þis wel browth abowth?
212 CAYPHAS In feyth, sere, it is sure anow.
213 Hardely, haue 3e no dowth.

214 ARFAXAT ij Let se, Ser Amaraunt, where wele 3e be?
215 Wole 3e kepe þe feet or þe hed?
216 AMERAUNT At þe hed, so mote I the.
217 And hoso come here, he is but ded.

218 ARFAXAT ij And I wole kepe þe feet þis tyde,
219 þow þer come both Jakke and Gylle.
220 COSDRAM iij And I xal kepe þe ryth syde;
221 And hoso come, I xal hym kylle.

222 AFFRAUNT 4 And I wole on þe lefte hand ben,
223 And hoso come here, he xal nevyr then.
224 Ful sekyrly his bane xal I ben
225 With dyntys of dowte.
226 Syr Pylat, haue good day!
227 We xul kepyn þe body in clay.
228 And we xul wakyn wele þe way,
229 And wayten all abowte.

230 PYLATUS Now, jentyl serys, wele 3e vowchsaffe
231 To go with me and sele þe graffe,
232 þat he ne ryse out of þe grave
233 þat is now ded?
234 CAYPHAS We graunte wel; lete us now go.
235 Whan it is selyd and kepte also,
236 Than be we sekyr, withowtyn wo,
237 And haue of hym no dred.

Tunc ibunt ad sepulcrum Pilatus, Cayphas, Annas, et omnes milites, et dicit:

238 ANNAS Loo, here is wax ful redy dyght;
239 Sett on 3oure sele anon ful ryght.
240 þan be 3e sekyr, I 3ow plyght,
241 He xal not rysyn agayn.
242 PILATUS On þis corner my seal xal sytt,
243 And with þis wax I sele þis pytt.
244 Now dare I ley he xal nevyr flytt
245 Out of þis grave, serteayn.

246 ANNAS Here is more wax ful redy, loo.
247 All þe cornerys 3e sele also,
248 And with a lokke loke it too.
249 Than lete us gon oure way.
250 And lete þese knytys abydyn þerby;
251 And yf hese dysciplys com preuyly
252 To stele awey þis ded body,
253 To vs they hem brynge without delay.

254 PILATAS On every corner now is sett my seale;
255 Now is myn herte in welthe and wele.
256 Th[er] may no brybour awey now stele
257 þis body from vndyr ston.
258 Now, syr buschopp, I pray to the,
259 And Annas also, com on with me.
260 Evyn togedyr all we thre,
261 Homward þe wey we gon.

262 As wynde wrothe,
263 Knyghtys, now goht
264 Clappyd in cloth,
265 And kepyth hym well!
266 Loke 3e be bolde
267 With me for to holde.
268 3e xul haue gold
269 And helme of stele.

Pylat, Annas, and Cayphas go to þer skaffaldys, and þe knyghtys sey[n]:

270 AFFRAUNT 4 Now in þis grownnde
271 He lyth bounde
272 þat tholyd wounde
273 For he was fals.
274 þis lefft cornere
275 I wyl kepe here,
276 Armyd clere,
277 Bothe hed and hals.

278 COSDRAM 3 I wyl haue þis syde
279 Whatso betyde.
280 If any man ryde
281 To stele þe cors,
282 I xal hym chyde
283 With woundys wyde,
284 Amonge hem glyde
285 With fyne fors.

286 AMERAUNT/PRIMUS The hed I take
287 Hereby to wake.
288 A stele stake
289 I holde in honde
290 Maystryes to make.
291 Crownys I crake,
292 Schafftys to shake
293 And schapyn schonde.

294 ARFAXAT/SECUNDUS I xal not lete
295 To kepe þe fete;
296 They ar ful [wete],
297 Walterid in blood.
298 He þat wyll stalke
299 Be brook or balke
300 Hedyr to walke,
301 þo wrecchis be wood.

302 PRIMUS MILES Myn heed dullyth,
303 Myn herte fullyth
304 Of slepp.
305 Seynt Mahownd,
306 þis beryenge grownd
307 þu kepp!

308 SECUNDUS MILES I sey þe same;
309 For any blame,
310 I falle.
311 Mahownd whelpe,
312 Aftyr þin helpe
313 I calle.

314 TERCIUS MILES I am hevy as leed;
315 For any dred,
316 I slepe.
317 Mahownd of myght,
318 þis ston tonyght
319 þu kepe!

320 QUARTUS MILES I haue no foot
321 To stonde on root
322 By brynke.
323 Here I aske
324 To go to taske
325 A wynke.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 34 - The Burial of Christ and the Guarding of the Sepulchre. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.