From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

N-Town Cycle, Play 38 - Christ's Appearance to Cleophas and Luke on the Way to Emmaus, and Thomas' Doubt

Hic incipit Aparicio Cleophe et Luce.

1 CLEOPHAS My brothir Lucas, I 3ow pray,
2 Plesynge to 3ow if þat it be,
3 To þe castel of Emawus a lytyl way
4 þat 3e vowchesaf to go with me.
5 LUCAS All redy, brother, I walke with the
6 To 3one castell with ryght good chere.
7 Euyn togedyr anon go we,
8 Brother Cleophas, we to in fere.

9 CLEOPHAS A, brother Lucas, I am sore mevyd
10 Whan Cryst, oure mayster, comyth in my mynde.
11 Whan that I thynke how he was grevyd,
12 Joye in myn herte kan I non fynde.
13 He was so lowlye, so good, so kynde,
14 Holy of lyf and meke of mood.
15 Alas, þe Jewys, þei were to blynde
16 Hym for to kylle þat was so good.

17 LUCAS Brothyr Cleophas, 3e sey ful soth:
18 They were to cursyd and to cruell.
19 And Judas, þat traytour, he was to loth,
20 For golde and sylvyr his maystyr to selle.
21 The Jewys were redy hym for to qwelle,
22 With skorgys bete out all his blood.
23 Alas, þei were to fers and felle;
24 Shamfully thei henge hym on a rood.

25 CLEOPHAS 3a, betwen to thevys--alas, for shame--
26 They henge hym up with body rent.
27 Alas, alas, they were to blame!
28 To cursyd and cruel was þer intent.
29 Whan for thurste he was nere shent,
30 Eyzil and galle þei 3ovyn hym to drynke.
31 Alas, for ruthe, his deth thei bent
32 In a fowle place of horryble stynke.

33 LUCAS 3a, and cawse in hym cowde they non fynde.
34 Alas, for sorwe, what was here thought?
35 And he dede helpe bothe lame and blynde,
36 And all seke men þat were hym browght.
37 A3ens vice alwey he wrought;
38 Synfull dede wold he nevyr do.
39 3it hym to kylle þei sparyd nought.
40 Alas, alas, why dede they so?

41 JESUS Well ovyrtake, 3e serys in-same.
42 To walke in felachep with 3ow I pray.
43 LUCAS Welcom, ser[e], in Goddys name;
44 Of good felachep we sey not nay.
45 JESUS Qwat is 3oure langage, to me 3e say,
46 That 3e haue togedyr, 3e to?
47 Sory and evysum 3e ben aiway--
48 3oure myrthe is gon; why is it so?

49 CLEOPHAS Sere, methynkyth þu art a pore pylgrym
50 Here walkynge be þiselfe alone,
51 And in þe ceté of Jerusalem,
52 þu knowyst ryght lytyl what þer is done.
53 For pylgrymys comyn and gon ryth sone;
54 Ryght lytyl whyle plygrymes do dwelle.
55 In all Jerusalem, as þu hast gone,
56 I trowe no tydyngys þat þu canst telle.

57 JESUS Why, in Jherusalem what thynge is wrought?
58 What tydyngys fro thens brynge 3e?
59 LUCAS A, ther haue they slayn a man for nought,
60 Gyltles he was, as we telle the.
61 An holy prophete with God was he,
62 Myghtyly in wurde and eke in dede;
63 Of God he had ryght grett poosté.
64 Amonge þe pepyl his name gan sprede.

65 He hyght Jesu of Nazareth,
66 A man he was of ryght grett fame.
67 The Jewys hym kylde with cruel deth,
68 Without trespas or any blame.
69 Hym to scorne they had grett game,
70 And naylid hym streyte ontyll a tre.
71 Alas, alas, methynkyth grett shame
72 Without cawse þat this xulde be.

73 CLEOPHAS 3a, sere, and ryght grett troste in hym we had,
74 All Israel countré þat he xulde saue.
75 The thrydde day is this þat he was clad
76 In coold cley and leyd in grave.
77 3itt woundyrful tydyngys of hym we haue
78 Of women þat sought hym beforn daylyth.
79 Wethyr they sey truthe or ellys do raue,
80 We cannot telle þe trewe verdyth.

81 Whan Cryst in grave þei cowde not se,
82 They comyn to us and evyn thus tolde:
83 How þat an aungell seyd to them thre
84 That he xuld leve with brest ful bolde.
85 3itt Petyr and Johan preve this wolde:
86 To Crystys graue they ran, thei tweyne.
87 And whan they come to þe graue so coolde,
88 They fownde þe women ful trewe, serteyne.

89 JESUS A, 3e fonnys and slought of herte
90 For to beleve in Holy Scrypture!
91 Haue not prophetys with wurdys smerte
92 Spoke be tokenys in signifure
93 That Cryste xuld deye for 3oure valure
94 And syth entre his joye and blys?
95 Why be 3e of herte so dure
96 And trust not in God, þat myghtful is?

97 Bothe Moyses and Aaron, and othyr mo--
98 In Holy Scrypture 3e may rede it--
99 Of Crystis deth thei spak also,
100 And how he xuld ryse out of his pitt.
101 Owt of feyth than why do 3e flitte
102 Whan holy prophetys 3ow teche so pleyne?
103 Turne 3oure thought and chaunge 3oure witte,
104 And truste wele þat Cryst doth leve ageyne.

105 LUCAS Leve ageyn? Man, be in pes.
106 How xulde a ded man evyr aryse?
107 I cowncell þe such wurdys to ses
108 For dowte of Pylat, þat hy3 justyce.
109 He was slayn at þe gre[t] asyse
110 Be councell of lordys many on.
111 Of suche langage take bettyr avise
112 In every company þer þu dost gon.

113 CHRISTUS Trewth dyd nevyr his maystyr shame.
114 Why xulde I ses than trewth to say?
115 Be Jonas þe prophete I preve þe same,
116 þat was in a whallys body iij nyghtis and iij day.
117 So longe Cryst in his grave lay
118 As Jonas was withinne þe se.
119 His grave is brokyn, þat was of clay;
120 To lyff resyn a3en now is he.

121 CLEOPHAS Sey nott so, man! It may not be,
122 Thow thyn exaunple be sumdele good.
123 For Jonas on lyve evyrmore was he,
124 And Cryst was slayn vpon a rood.
125 The Jewys on hym, they wore so wood
126 þat to his herte a spere they pyght!
127 He bled owt all his herteblood.
128 How xulde he thanne ryse with myght?

129 CHRISTUS Take hede at Aaron and his dede styk,
130 Which was ded of his nature.
131 And 3it he floryschyd with flowrys ful thyk
132 And bare almaundys of grett valure.
133 The dede styk was signifure
134 How Cryst, þat shamfully was deed and slayn,
135 As þat dede styk bare frute ful pure,
136 So Cryst xuld ryse to lyve ageyn.

137 LUCAS That a deed styk frute xulde bere,
138 I merveyle sore þerof, iwys.
139 But 3itt hymsylf fro deth to rere
140 And leve ageyn, more woundyr it is.
141 That he doth leve, I trost not this,
142 For he hath bled his blood so red.
143 But 3itt of myrthe evyrmoor I mys
144 Whan I haue mende þat he is ded.

145 CHRISTUS Why be 3e so harde of truste?
146 Dede not Cryste reyse thorwe his owyn myght
147 Lazare, þat deed lay vndyr þe duste
148 And stynkyd ryght foule, as I 3ow plyght?
149 To lyff Cryst reysid hym a3en ful ryght
150 Out of his graue, þis is serteyn.
151 Why may nat Cryste hymself þus qwyght,
152 And ryse from deth to lyve ageyn?

153 CLEOPHAS Now trewly, sere, 3oure wurdys ben good,
154 I haue in 3ow ryght grett delyght.
155 I pray 3ow, sere, with mylde mood,
156 To dwelle with vs all þis nyght.
157 CHRISTUS I must gon hens anon ful ryght
158 For grett massagys I haue to do.
159 I wolde abyde yf þat I myght,
160 But at þis tyme I must hens go.

161 LUCAS 3e xal not gon fro us þis nyght.
162 It waxit all derke, gon is þe day;
163 þe sonne is downe, lorn is þe lyght.
164 3e xal not gon from vs away.
165 CHRISTUS I may not dwelle, as I 3ow say;
166 I must þis nyght go to my frende.
167 þerfore, good bretheryn, I 3ow pray,
168 Lett me not my wey to wende.

169 CLEOPHAS Trewly, from vs 3e xal not go!
170 3e xal abyde with us here stylle.
171 3oure goodly dalyaunce plesyth us so,
172 We may nevyr haue of 3ow oure fylle.
173 We pray 3ow, sere, with herty wylle,
174 All nyght with us abyde and dwelle,
175 More goodly langage to talkyn vs tylle,
176 And of 3oure good dalyaunce more for to telle.

177 LUCAS 3a, brothyr Cleophas, by myn assent,
178 Lete us hym kepe with strenth and myght!
179 Sett on 3owre hand with good entent
180 And pulle hym with us þe wey well ryght.
181 The day is done, sere, and now it is nyght.
182 Why wole 3e hens now from us go?
183 3e xal abyde, as I 3ow plyght--
184 3e xal not walke þis nyght vs fro.

185 CLEOPHAS This nyght fro us 3e go not away!
186 We xal 3ow kepe betwen us tweyne.
187 To vs, þerfore, 3e sey not nay,
188 But walke with us; þe wey is pleyne.
189 CHRISTUS Sythyn 3e kepe me with myght and mayn,
190 With herty wyll I xal abyde.
191 LUCAS Of 3oure abydyng we be ful fayn,
192 No man more welkom in þis werd wyde.

193 CLEOPHAS Off oure maystyr, Cryst Jesu,
194 For 3e do speke so mech good,
195 I loue 3ow hertyly, trust me trew.
196 He was bothe meke and mylde of mood,
197 Of hym to speke is to me food.
198 If 3e had knowe hym, I dare wel say,
199 And in what plyght with hym it stood,
200 3e wold haue thought on hym many a day.

201 LUCAS Many a day. 3a, 3a, iwys.
202 He was a man of holy levynge.
203 Thow he had be be childe of God in blys,
204 Bothe wyse and woundyrfull was his werkynge.
205 But aftere 3oure labour and ferre walkynge,
206 Takyth þis loff and etyth sum bred.
207 And than wyl we haue more talkynge
208 Of Cryst, oure maystyr, þat is now ded.

209 CHRISTUS Beth mery and glad with hert ful fre,
210 For of Cryst Jesu, þat was 3oure frende,
211 3e xal haue tydyngys of game and gle
212 Withinne a whyle, or 3e hens wende.
213 With myn hand þis bred I blys,
214 And breke it here, as 3e do se.
215 I 3eve 3ow parte also of þis,
216 This bred to ete and blythe to be.

Hic subito discedat Christus ab oculis eorum.

217 [CLEOPHAS] A, mercy, God! What was oure happ?
218 Was not oure hert with loue brennynge
219 Whan Cryst, oure mayster, so nere oure lapp
220 Dede sitt and speke such suete talkynge?
221 He is now quyk and man lyvenge
222 þat fyrst was slayn and put in grave!
223 Now may we chaunge all oure mornynge,
224 For oure Lord is resyn his seruauntys to saue.

225 LUCAS Alas, for sorwe, what hap was this?
226 Whan he dyd walke with vs in way,
227 He prevyd by Scripture ryght wel, iwys,
228 þat he was resyn from vndyr clay.
229 We trustyd hym not, but evyr seyd nay--
230 Alas, for shame, why seyd we so?
231 He is resyn to lyve þis day;
232 Out of his grave oure Lord is go!

233 CLEOPHAS Latt us here no lengere dwelle,
234 But to oure bretheryn þe wey we wende.
235 With talys trewe to them we telle
236 That Cryst doth leve, oure maystyr and frende.
237 LUCAS I graunt þerto with hert ful hende:
238 Lete us go walke forthe in oure way.
239 I am ful joyfull in hert and mende
240 þat oure Lord levyth, þat fyrst ded lay.

241 CLEOPHAS Now, was it not goodly don
242 Of Cryst Jesu, oure mayster dere?
243 He hath with us a large wey gon,
244 And of his vprysyng he dede us lere.
245 Whan he walkyd with us in fere,
246 And we supposyd hym bothe deed and colde,
247 þat he was aresyn from vndyr bere
248 Be Holy Scripture þe trewth he tolde.

249 LUCAS Ryght lovyngely don, forsothe, this was.
250 What myght oure mayster tyl us do more
251 Than us to chere, þat forth dede pas?
252 And for his deth we murnyd ful sore;
253 For loue of hym oure myrthe was lore;
254 We were for hym ryght hevy in herte.
255 But now oure myrth he doth restore,
256 For he is resyn bothe heyl and qwert.

257 CLEOPHAS That he is þus resyn I haue grett woundyr!
258 An hevy ston ovyr hym þer lay.
259 How shulde he breke þe ston asoundyr
260 þat was deed and colde in clay?
261 Euery man þis mervayle may,
262 And drede þat Lorde of mekyl myght.
263 But 3it of þis no man sey nay,
264 For we haue seyn hym with opyn syght.

265 LUCAS That he doth leve, I woot wel this;
266 He is aresyn with flesch and blood.
267 A levynge man, forsothe, he is,
268 þat rewly was rent upon a rood.
269 All heyl, dere brothyr, and chaunge 3oure mood,
270 For Cryst doth levyn and hath his hele!
271 We walkyd in wey with Cryst so good
272 And spak with hym wurdys fele.

273 CLEOPHAS Evyn tyll Emawus, þe grett castell,
274 From Jerusalem with hym we went.
275 Syxti furlonge, as we 3ow telle,
276 We went with hym evyn passent.
277 He spak with us with good entent;
278 þat Cryst xuld leve he tolde tyll us,
279 And previd it be Scripture, verament.
280 Trust me trewe, it is ryght thus.

281 LUCAS 3a, and whan he had longe spokyn vs tylle,
282 He wold from vs a gon his way.
283 With strenght and myght we keptyn hym stylle,
284 And bred we tokyn hym to etyn, in fay.
285 He brak þe loff as evyn on tway
286 As ony sharpe knyff xuld kytt breed.
287 þerby we knew þe trewth þat day:
288 þat Cryst dede leve and was not deed.

289 PETRUS. Now trewly, serys, I haue grett woundyr
290 Of these grete merveylis þat 3e vs telle!
291 In brekynge of bred ful evyn asoundyr
292 Oure mayster 3e knew and Lord ryght well.
293 3e sey Cryst levith, þat Jewys dyd qwelle.
294 Tyll us glad tydyngys þis is, serteyn!
295 And þat oure maystyr with 3ow so longe dede dwelle,
296 It doth wel preve þat he levith ageyn.

297 A, brother Thomas, we may be ryght glad
298 Of these gode novell þat we now haue.
299 þe grace of oure Lorde God is ouyr vs all sprad;
300 Oure Lord is resyn his se[r]uauntys to saue.
301 THOMAS Be in pes, Petyr, þu gynnyst to rave!
302 Thy wurdys be wantowne and ryght vnwyse.
303 How xulde a deed man þat deed lay in grave
304 With qwyk flesche and blood to lyve ageyn ryse?

305 PETRUS. 3is, Thomas, dowte þe not oure maystyr is on lyve.
306 Record of Mawdelyn and of here systerys too;
307 Cleophas and Lucas, þe trewthe for to contryve,
308 Fro Jerusalem to Emaws with hym dede they go
309 THOMAS I may nevyr in hert trust þat it is so!
310 He was ded on cros and colde put in pitt,
311 Kept with knyhtys iiij, his grave sealyd also.
312 How xulde he levyn ageyn þat so streyte was shitt?

313 PETRUS. Whan Mawdelyn dede tell us þat Cryst was aresyn,
314 I ran to his graue, and Johan ran with me.
315 In trewth, þer we fownde he lay not in presyn--
316 Gon out of his grave and on lyve þan was he.
317 Therfore, dere brother Thomas, I wole rede the,
318 Stedfastly þu trust þat Cryst is not deed.
319 Feythffully beleve a qwyk man þat he be,
320 Aresyn from his deth by myght of his godhed.

321 THOMAS I may nevyr beleve these woundyr merveles
322 Tyl þat I haue syght of euery grett wounde,
323 And put in my fyngyr in place of þe nayles.
324 I xal nevyr beleve it ellys for no man on grownnde.
325 And tyll þat myn hand be sperys pytt hath fownnde,
326 Which dede cleve his hert and made hym sprede his blood,
327 I xal nevyr beleue þat he is qwyk and sownde,
328 In trewth whyl I knowe þat he was dede on rood.

329 PETRUS. Cryst be þi comforte and chawnge þi bad witt,
330 For feyth but þu haue, þi sowle is but lorn.
331 With stedfast beleve God enforme þe 3itt,
332 Of a meke mayde as he was for us born.
333 CHRISTUS Pees be amonge 3ow! Beholde how I am torn.
334 Take hede of myn handys, my dere brothyr Thomas.
335 THOMAS My God and my Lorde, nyght and every morn
336 I aske mercy, Lorde, for my grett trespas!

337 CHRISTUS Beholde wele, Thomas, my woundys so wyde,
338 Which I haue sufferyd for all mankynde.
339 Put þin hool hand into my ryght syde,
340 And in myn hertblood þin hand þat þu wynde.
341 So feythffull a frend were mayst þu fynde?
342 Be stedfast in feyth, beleve wel in me.
343 Be þu not dowtefful of me in þi mynde,
344 But trust þat I leve, þat deed was on a tre.

345 THOMAS My Lord and my God, with syght do I se
346 þat þu art now quyk, which henge deed on rode.
347 More feythful þan I ther may no man be,
348 For myn hand haue I wasch in þi precyous blode.
349 CHRISTUS For þu hast me seyn, þerfore þi feyth is good.
350 But blyssyd be tho of þis þat haue no syght
351 And beleve in me. They, for here meke mood,
352 Shall com into hefne, my blysse þat is so bryght.

353 THOMAS As a ravaschyd man whos witt is all gon,
354 Grett mornynge I make for my drediful dowte.
355 Alas, I was dowteful þat Cryst from vndyr ston
356 Be his owyn grett myght no wyse myght gone owte.
357 Alas, what mevyd me thus in my thought?
358 My dowtefful beleve ryght sore me avexit.
359 The trewthe do I knowe þat God so hath wrought:
360 Quod mortuus et sepultus nunc resurrexit.

361 He þat was bothe deed and colde put in grave
362 To lyve is aresyn by his owyn myght.
363 In his dere herteblood myn hand wasch I haue,
364 Where þat þe spere-poynt was peynfully pyght.
365 I take me to feyth, forsakynge all vnryght;
366 þe dowte þat I had ful sore me avexit.
367 For now haue I seyn with ful opyn syght:
368 Quod mortuus et sepultus nunc resurrexit.

369 I trustyd no talys þat were me tolde
370 Tyl þat myn hand dede in his hertblood wade.
371 My dowte doth aprevyn Cryst levynge ful bolde
372 And is a grett argument in feyth us to glade.
373 þu, man þat seyst þis, from feyth nevyr þu fade.
374 My dowte xal evyr chere the, þat sore me avexit.
375 Truste wele in Cryst; þat such meracle hath made.
376 Quod mortuus et sepultus nunc resurrexit.

377 The prechynge of Petir myght not conuerte me
378 Tyll I felyd þe wounde þat þe spere dyde cleve.
379 I trustyd nevyr he levyd, þat deed was on a tre,
380 Tyll þat his herteblood dede renne in my sleve.
381 Thus be my grett dowte oure feyth may we preve.
382 Behold my blody hand, to feyth þat me avexit;
383 Be syght of þis myrroure, from feyth not remeve
384 Quod mortuus et sepultus nunc resurrexit.

385 Thow þat Mary Magdalyn in Cryst dede sone beleve -
386 And I was longe dowteful, 3itt putt me in no blame.
387 For be my grett dowte oure feyth may we preve
388 A3ens all þo eretykys þat speke of Cryst shame
389 Truste wel Jesu Cryst, þe Jewys kyllyd the sam
390 The fende hath he feryd, oure feyth þat evyr avexit.
391 To hevyn 3ow brynge, and saue 3ow all in-same
392 That mortuus et sepultus iterum resurrexit.

393 Amen.

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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. N-Town Cycle, Play 38 - Christ's Appearance to Cleophas and Luke on the Way to Emmaus, and Thomas' Doubt. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. Date Visited.