From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

Lusty Juventus


The Parsonages that speake:


Foure maye playe it easely, takyng such partes as they thinke best:
so that any one take of those partes that be not in place at once.


The Prologue of the Messenger.
For as much as man is naturally prone
To evil from his youth, as Scripture doth recite,
It is necessary that he be speedily withdrawn
From concupiscence of sin, his natural appetite:
An order to bring up youth Ecclesiasticus doth write,
An untamed horse will be hard, saith he,
And a wanton child wilful will be.
Give him no liberty in youth, nor his folly excuse,
Bow down his neck, and keep him in good awe,
Lest he be stubborn: no labour refuse
To train him to wisdom and teach him God's law,
For youth is frail and easy to draw
By grace to goodness, by nature to ill:
That nature hath ingrafted, is hard to kill.
Nevertheless, in youth men may be best
Trained to virtue by godly mean;
Vice may be so mortified and so supprest,
That it shall not break furth, yet the root will remain;
As in this interlude by youth you shall see plain,
From his lust by Good Counsel brought to godly conversation,
And shortly after to frail nature's inclination.
The enemy of mankind, Satan, through Hypocrisy
Feigned or chosen holiness of man's blind intent,
Forsaking God's word, that leadeth right way1
Is brought to Fellowship and ungracious company,
To Abhominable Living till he be wholly bent,
And so to desperation, if good counsel were not sent
From God, that in trouble doth no man forsake
That doth call, and trust in him for Christ's
Finally, youth by God's special grace [sake.
Doth earnestly repent his abhominable living
By the doctrine of good counsel, and to his
God's mercy entereth to him reciting [solace
God's merciful promises, as they be in writing:
He believeth and followeth, to his great consolation.
And these parts ye shall see briefly played in their fashion.

[Here entereth Lusty Juvenius, or Youth, singing as followeth:]

In a herber green, asleep where as I lay,
The birds sang sweet in the middes of the day;
I dreamed fast of mirth and play:
In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure.

Methought I walked still to and fro,
And from her company I could not go;
But when I waked, it was not so:
In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure.

Therefore my heart is surely pight,
Of her alone to have a sight,
Which is my joy and heart's delight:
In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure.

[Lusty Juventus, or Youth, speaketh.]

What, ho? Are they not here?
I am disappointed, by the blessed mass
I had thought to have found them making good cheer;
But now they are gone to some secret place.
Well, seeing they are gone, I do not greatly
Another time I will hold them as much, [pass;
Seeing they break promise, and keep not the tweche.
What shall I do now to pass away the day?
Is there any man here that will go to game?
At whatsoever he will play,
To make one I am ready to the same:
Youth full of pleasure is my proper name.
To be alone is not my appetite,
For of all things in the world I love merry company.
Who knoweth where is e 'er a minstrel?
By the mass, I would fain go dance a~fit.
My companions are at it, I know right well;
They do not all this while in a corner sit:
Against another time they have taught me wit:
I beshrew their hearts for serving me this,
I will go seek them, whether I hit or miss.

[Here entereth Good Counsel, to whom Youth yet speaketh.]

Well i-met, father, well i-met:
Did you hear any minstrels play,
As you came hitherward upon your way?
And if you did, I pray you wish me thither,
For I am going to seek them, and, in faith, I know not whither.

Good C. Sir, I will ask you a question by your favour:
What would you with the minstrel do?

Juv. Nothing but have a dance or two,
To pass the time away in pleasure.

Good C. If that be the matter, I promise you sure,
I am the more sorrier that it should so be;
For there is no such passing the time appointed in the Scripture,
Nor yet thereunto it doth not agree!
I wish that ye would so use your liberty,
To walk as you are bound to do,
According to the vocation which God hath called you to.

Juv. Why, sir, are you angry, because I ave spoken so?
By the mass, it is alone for my appetite.

Good C. Show me your name, I pray you heartily,
And then I will my mind express.

Juv. My name is called Juventus, doubtless:
Say what you will, I will give you the hearing.

Good C. For as much as God hath created you of nothing,
Unto his own likeness by spiritual illumination,
It is unmeet that ye should lead your living
Contrary to his godly determination.
Saint Paul unto the Ephesians giveth good exhortation,
Saying, walk circumspectly, redeeming the time;
That is, to spend it well, and not to wickedness incline.

Juv. No, no, hardily none of mine;
If I would live so strait, you might count me a fool;
Let them keep those rules, which are doctors divine,
And have be brought up all their days in school.

Good C. Moses in the law exhorteth his people,
As in the book of Deuteronomy he doth plainly write,
That they should live obedient and thankful;
For in effect these words he doth recite:
All ye this day stand before the Lord's sight,
Both princes, rulers, elders, and parents,
Children, wives, young, and old; therefore obey His commandments.

Juv. I am too young to understand his documents;
Wherefore did all they stand before his presence?
Good C. To enter with God peace and alliance,
Promising that they would him honour, fear, and serve:
All kind of people were bound in those covenants,
That from his law they should never swerve;
For God useth no partiality.
Juv. What, am I bound, as well as the clergy,
To learn and follow his precepts and law?

Good C. Yea, surely, or else God will withdraw
His mercy from you, promised in his covenant;
For, except -you live under his obedience and awe,
How can you receive the benefits of his Testament?
For he that submitteth himself to be a servant,
And his master's commandment will not fulfil nor regard,
According as he hath done, is worthy his reward.
Juv. It is as true a saying as ever I heard;
Therefore your name, I pray you now tell,

For, by my truth, your communication I like wonders well.

Good C. My name is called Good Counsel.

Juv. Good Counsel?
Now, in faith, I cry you mercy:
I am sorry that I have you thus offended;
But, I pray you, bear with me patiently,
And my misbehaviour shall be amended:
I know my time I have rudely spended,
Following my own lust, being led by ignorance;
But now I hope of better knowledge through your acquaintance.
Good C. I pray God guide you with his gracious assistance
Unto the knowledge of his truth, your ignorance to undo,
That you may be one of those numbered Christians,
Which followeth the lami, whither he doth go:
The lamb Jesus Christ my meaning is so,
By sure faith and confidence in his bitter death and passion,
The only price of our health and salvation.
Juv. Sir, I thank you for your hearty oration:
And now, I pray you, show me your advisement,
How I may live in this my vocation,
According to God's will and commandinent.

Good C. First of all, it is most expedient,

That you exercise yourself in continual prayer,
That it might please the Lord omnipotent
To send unto you his holy spirit and comforter,
Which will lead you every day and hour
Unto the knowledge of his word and verity,
Wherein you may learn to live most christianly.

Juv. 0 Lord, grant me of thy infinite mercy

[He kneeleth.]

The true knowledge of thy law and will,
And illumine my heart with spirit continually,
That I may be apt thy holy precepts to fulfil;
Strengthen me, that I may persever still

Thy commandments to obey:
And then shall I never slip nor fall away.

[He riseth.]

Good C. Full true be these words, which
Christ himself did say,
He that seeketh shall surely find.

[Knowledge entereth.]

Behold, Youth, now rejoice we may,
For I see Knowledge of God['s] Verity stand here behind:
He is come now to satisfy your mind
In those things which you will desire;
Therefore together let us approach him near.

Juv. Ah, Good Counsel, now it doth appear,
That God never rejecteth the humbles[t] petition.

Knowl. Now the Lord bless you all with his heavenly benediction,
And with his fiery love your hearts inflame,
That of his merciful promises you may have the fruition,
The subtlety of the devil utterly to defame.
Now, good Christian audience, I will express my name,
The True Knowledge of God's Verity, this my name doth hight,
Whom God hath appointed to give the blind their sight.

Good C. All praise be given to that Lord of might,
Which hath appointed you hither at this present hour;
For I trust you will so instruct youth aright,
That he shall live according to God's pleasure.

Juv. And I thank Jesus Christ my Saviour,
That he is come to my company.

Knowl. I thank you, my friends, most heartily
For your gentle salutation.

Juv. Sir, I will be so hold, by your deliberation,
To open my mind unto you now,
Trusting that, by your good exhortation,
I shall learn those things which I never knew:
This one thing chiefly I would learn of you,
How I may my life in this my vocation lead,
According as God hath ordained and decreed.

Knowl. The prophet David saith, that the man is blessed,
Which doth exercise himself in the law of the Lord,
And doth not follow the way of the wicked;
As the first psalm doth plainly record:
The fourscore and thirteenth psalm thereunto doth accord;
Blessed is the man whom thou teachest, 0 Lord, saith he,
To learn thy law, precepts, word, or verity.
And Christ in the gospel saith manifestly:
Blessed is he which heareth the Word of God and keepeth it;
That is, to believe his word and live accordingly,
Declaring the faith by the fruits of the spirit,
Whose fruits are these, as St Paul to the Galathi doth write,
Love, joy, peace, long suffering, and faithfulness,
Meekness, goodness, temperance, and gentleness.

Good C. By these words, which unto you he doth express,
He teacheth that you ought to have a steadfast faith;
Without the which it is impossible doubtless
To please God, as Saint Paul saith:
Where faith is not, godly living decayeth;
For whatsoever is not of faith, saith St. Paul, is sin,
But where a perfect faith is, there is good working.
Juv. It seemeth to me, that this is your meaning,
That, when I observe God "s commandments and the works of charity,
They shall prevail unto me nothing,
Except I believe to be saved thereby.
Knowl. No, no, you are deceived very blindly;
For faith in Christ's merits doth only justify,
And make us righteous in God's sight.
Juv. Why should I then in good works delight,
Seeing I shall not be saved by them?

Good C. Because they are required of all Christian men,
As the necessary fruits of true repentance.

Knowl. But the reward of the heavenly inheritance
Is given us through faith, for Christ's deservings;
As St. Paul declareth in the fourth chapter to the Romans,
Therefore we ought not to work as hirelings:
Seeing Christ hath purged us once from all our wicked living,
Let us no more wallow therein,
But persever, like good branches, bearing fruit in him.

Juv. Now I know where about you have been:
My elders never taught me so before.

Good C. 'Though your elders were blind, doubt not you therefore;
For Saint Peter saith, vain is the conversations
Which ye receive by your elders' traditions.

Juv. I will gladly receive your godly admonitions:
But yet, I pray you, show me the cause
That they, being men of great discretions,
Did not instruct me in God's laws,
According to his will and ordinance.

Knowl. Because they themselves were
wrapped in ignorance,
Being deceived by false preachers.

Juv. 0 Lord, deliver me from wicked teachers,
That I be not deceived with their false doctrine.

Good C. To God's word you must only indine;
All other doctrine clean set apart.

Juv. Surely that I will from the bottom of my heart;
And I thank the living God which hath given me the knowledge
To know his doctrine from the false and pervart,
I being yet young and full tender of age;
And that he hath made me partaker of the heavenly inheritage,
Of his own mercy, and not of my deserving,
For hell I have deserved by my sinful working.
I know right well, my elders and parents
Have of a long time deceived be
With blind hypocrisy and superstitious intents,
Trusting in their own works, which is nothing but vanity;
Their steps shall not be followed for me:
Therefore, I pray you, show me a brief conclusion,
How I ought to live in Christian religion.

Knowl. The first beginning of wisdom, as saith the wise Solomon,
Is to fear God with all thy heart and power;
And then thou must believe all his promises without any exception,
And that he will perform them both constant and sure:
And then, because he is thy only Saviour,
Thou must love him with all thy soul and mind,
And thy neighbour as thyself, because he hath so assigned.

Juv. To love my neighbour as myself? I cannot be so kind:
I pray you tell me, what mean you?

Knowl. My meaning is, as Christ saith in the sixth chapter of Matthew,
To do to him as you would be done to.

Juv. I pray God give me grace so for to do,
That unto his will I may be obedient.

Good C. Here you shall receive Christ's testament
To comfort your conscience, when need shall require,
To learn the contents thereof, see that you be diligent;
The which all Christian men ought to desire,
For it is the well or fountain most clear, [tion
Out of the which doth spring sweet consola
To all those that thirst after eternal salvation.
Knowl. Therein shall you find most whole some preservation
Both in troubles, persecutions, sickness, and adversity,
And a sure defence in the time of temptation,
Against whom the devil cannot prevail with all his army:
And, if you persever therein unfeignedly,
It will set your heart at such quietness and rest,
Which cannot never be turned with storms nor tempest.'

Good C. With this thing you must neither flatter nor jest,
But stedfastly believe it every day and hour,
And let your conversation openly protest,
That of your heart it is the most precious treasure,
And then your godly example shall other men procure
To learn and exercise the same also:
I pray God strengthen you so for to do.

Juv. Now for this godly knowledge which you have brought me to,
I beseech the living God reward you again:
From your company I will never depart nor go,
So long as in this life I do remain;
For in this book I see manifest and plain,
That he that followeth his own lu~ts and imagination,
Keepeth the ready path to everlasting damnation:
And he that leadeth a godly conversation
Shall be brought to such quietness, joy, and peace,
Which in comparison passeth all worldly gloriation,
Which cannot endure, but shortly cease.
Both the time and hour I may now bless,
That I met with you, father Good Counsel,
To bring me to the knowledge of this heavenly gospel.

Knowl. This your profession I like very well,
So that you intend to live according;
I pray God, your living do not rebel,
But ever agree unto your saying,
That, when ye shall make accounts or reckoning,
Of this talent which you have received,
You may be one of those, with whom the Lord shall be pleased.

Good C. For this conversation of Youth the Lord's name be praised:
Let us now depart for a season.


Knowl. To give God the glory it is convenient and reason:
If you will depart, I will not tarry.


Juv. And I will never forsake your company,
While I live in this world.


[Here entereth the Devil.]

Devil. 0, 0, all too late!
I trow this gear will come to naught;
For I perceive my power doth abate,
For all the policy that ever I have wrought:
Many and sundry ways I have fought,
To have the Word of God deluded utterly;
0 for sorrow! yet it will not be.
I have done the best that I can,
And my mistress also in every place,
To root it clean from the heart of man;
And yet for all that it flourisheth apace;
I am sore in dread to show my face,
My auctority and works are so greafly despised,
My inventions, and all that ever I have devised.
0, 0, full well I know the cause,
That my estimation doth thus decay;
The old people would believe still in my laws,
But the younger sort lead them a contrary way;
They will not believe, they plainly say,
In old traditions and made by men,
But they will live, as the Scripture teacheth them.
Out, I cry, upon them, they do me open wrong,
To bring up their children thus in knowledge;
For, if they will not follow my ways, when they are young,
It is hard turning them when they come to age:
I must needs find some means this matter to 'suage;
I mean, to turn their hearts from the Scripture quite,
That in carnal pleasures they may have more delight.
Well, I will go haste to infect this youth
Through the enticement of my son Hypocrisy,
And work some proper feat to stop his mouth,
That he may lead his life carnally:
I had never more need my matters to apply.
0 my Child Hypocrisy, where art thou?
I charge thee of my blessing appear before me now.

[Here entereth Hypocrisy.]

Hyp. 0, 0, quoth he, keep again the sow;
I come as fast as I can, I warrant you:
Where is he that hath the sow to sell?
I will give him money, if I like her well;
Whether it be sow or hog, I do not greatly care,
For by my occupation I am a butcher.

Devil. 0 my child, how dost thou fare?

Hyp. Sancti amen, who have we there?
By the mass, I will buy none of thy ware;
Thou art a chapman for the devil.

Devil. What, my son, canst thou not tell,
Who is here, and what I am?
I am thine own father Satan.

Hyp. Be you so, sir? I cry you mercy then;
You may say I am homely, and lack learning,
To liken. my father's voice unto a sow's groaning:
But, I pray you, show me the cause and why,
That you called me hither so hastily?

Devil. Ah, Hypocrisy, I am undone utterly.

Hyp. Utterly undone! nay, stop there hardily;
For I myself do know the contrary
By daily experience:
Do not I yet reign abroad?
And as long as I am in the world,
You have some treasure and substance.
I suppose I have been the flower
In setting forth thy laws and power
Without any delay:
By the mass, if I had not been,
Thou haddest not been worth a Flander's pin
At this present day.
The time were too long now to declare,
How many and great the number are,
Which have deceived be;
And brought clean from God's law
Unto thy yoke and awe,
Through the enticement of me.
I have been busied since the world began,
To graff thy laws in the heart of man,
Where they ought to be refused:
And I have so mingled God's commandments
With vain zeals and blind intents,
That they be greatly abused.
I set up great idolatry
With all kind of filthy sodometry,
To give mankind a fall:
And I [have] brought up such superstition,
Under the name of holiness and religion,
That deceived almost all.
As holy cardinals, holy popes,
Holy vestments, holy copes,
Holy hermits and friars,
Holy priests, holy bishops,
Holy monks, holy abbots,
Yea, and all obstinate liars:
Holy pardons, holy beads,
Holy saints, holy images,
With holy, holy blood,
Holy stocks, holy stones,
Holy clouts; holy bones;
Yea, and holy holy wood.
Holy skins, holy bulls,
Holy rochets and cowls,
Holy crouches and staves,
Holy hoods, holy caps,
Holy mitres, holy hats;
Ah good holy holy knaves.
Holy days, holy fastings,
Holy twitching, holy tastings,
Holy visions and sights,
Holy wax, holy lead,
Holy water, holy bread,
To drive away spirits.
Holy fire, holy palm,
Holy oil, holy cream,
And holy ashes also;
Holy brooches, holy rings,
Holy kneeling, holy censings,
And a hundred trim-trams mo.
Holy crosses, holy bells,
Holy relics, holy jewels,
Of mine own invention;
Holy candles, holy tapers,
Holy parchments, holy papers:
Had not you a holy son? [done,
Devil. All these things, which thou hast
My honour and laws hath maintained;
But now, 0 alas! one thing is begun,
By the which my kingdom is greatly decayed;
I shall lese all, I am sore afraid
Except thy help, I know right p!ain,
I shall never be able to recover it again.
God's Word is so greatly sprung up in youth,
That he little regardeth my laws or me;
He telleth his parents that is very truth,
That they of long time have deceived be:
He saith according to Christ's verity
All his doings he will order and frame,
Mortifying the flesh with the lusts of the same.

Hyp. Ah, sirrah, there beginneth the game:
What, is Juventus become so tame,
To be a New Gospeller?

Devil. As fast as I do make, he doth mar;
He hath followed so long the steps of Good Counsel,
That Knowledge and he together doth dwell;
For who is so busy in every place as youth,
To read and declare the manifest truth?
But, 0 Hypocrisy, if thou could stop his mouth,
Thou shouldst win my heart for ever.

Hyp. What would you have me to do in the matter?
Show me therein your advisement.

Devil. I would have thee go incontinent,
And work some crafty feat or policy,
To set Knowledge and him at controversy;
And his company thyself greatly use,
That God's Word he may clean abuse.

Hyp. At your request I will not refuse
To do that thing, which in me doth lie:
Doubt ye not, but I will excuse
Those things, which he doth plainly deny;
And I will handle my matters so craftily,
That, ere he cometh to man's state,
God's Word and his living shall be clean at the bate.

Devil. Thou shalt have my blessing both early and late;
And, because thou shalt all my counsel keep,
Thou shalt call thy name Friendship.

Hyp. By the mass, it is a name full meet
For my proper and amiable person.

Devil. 0, farewell, farewell, my son;
Speed thy business, for I must be gone.


Hyp. I warrant you, let me alone.
I will be with Juventus anon,
And that, ere he be ware;
And, i-wis, if he walk not straight,
I will use such a sleight,
That shall trap him in a snare.
How shall I bring this gear to pass?
I can tell now, by the mass,
Without any more advisement:
I will infect him with wicked company,
Whose conversation shall be so fleshly,
Yea, able to overcome an innocent.
This wicked Fellowship
Shall him company keep
For a while:
And then I will bring in
Abhominable Living,
Him to beguile.
With words fair I will him 'tice,
Telling him of a girl nice,
Which shall him somewhat move;
Abhominable Living though she be,
Yet he shall no 9ther ways see,
But she is for to love.
She shall him procure
To live in pleasure,
After his own phantasy;
And my matter to frame,
I will call her name
Unknowen Honesty.
This will I convey
My matter, I say,
Somewhat handsomely;
That, through wicked Fellowship
And false pretended Friendship,
Youth shall live carnally.
Trudge, Hypocrisy, trudge!
Thou art a good drudge,
To serve the devil:
If thou shouldest lie and lurk,
And not intend thy work,
Thy master should do full evil.

[Here entereth Youth, to whom Hypocrisy yet speaheth.]

What, Master Youth?
Well i-met, by my truth;
And whither away?
You are the last man,
Which I talked on,
I swear, by this day.
Methought by your face,
Ere you came in place,
It should be you:
Therefore I did abide
Here in this tide
For your Coming, this is true.

Juv. For your gentleness, sir, most heartily I thank you,
But yet you must hold me somewhat excused;
For to my simple knowledge I never knew,
That you and I together were acquainted:
But nevertheless, if you do it renew,
Old acquaintance will soon be remembered.
Hyp. Ah, now I see well, Youth is feathered,
And his crumbs he hath well gathered,
Since I spake with him last;
A poor man's tale cannot now be heard,
As in times past.
I cry you mercy, I was somewhat bold,
Thinking that your mastership would
Not have been so strange;
But now I perceive, that promotion
Causeth both man, manners, and fashion
Greatly for to change.

Juv. You are to blame this me to chal lenge;
For I think I am not he, which you take me for.

Hyp. Yes, I have known you ever since you were bore;
Your age is yet under a score,
Which I can well remember:
I-wis, i-wis, you and I
Many a time have been full merry,
When you were young and tender.

Juv. Then, I pray you, let us reason no lenger;
But first show your nomination.

Hyp. Of my name to make declaration
Without any dissimulation,
I am called Friendship:
Although I be simple and rude of fashion,
Yet by lineage and generation
I am nigh kin to your mastership.

Juv. What, Friendship?
I am glad to see that you be merry;
By my truth, I had almost you forgot,
By long absence brought out of memory.

Hyp. By the mass, I love you so heartily,
That there is none so welcome to my company:
I pray you, tell me whither are you going?

Juv. My intention is, to go hear a preaching.

Hyp. A preaching, quod-a? ah, good little one!
By Christ, she will make you cry out of the winning,
If you follow her instruction so early in the morning.

Juv. Full great I do abhor this your wicked saying;
For, no doubt, they increase much sin and vice:
Therefore I pray you, show not your meaning,
For I delight not in such foolish fantasies.

Hyp. Surely, then you are the more unwise:
You may have a spurt amongst them now and then;
Why should not you, as well as other men?

Juv. As for those filthy doings I utterly detest them;
I will hear no more of your wicked communication.

Hyp. If I may be so bold by your deliberation,
What will you do at a preaching?

Juv. Learn some wholesome and godly teaching
Of the true minister of Christ's gospel.

Hyp. Tush! what he will say, I know right well;
He will say that God is a good man,
He can make him no better, and say the best he can.

Juv. I know that, but what then?
The more that God's Word is preached and taught,
The greater the occasion is to all Christian men
To forsake their sinful livings, both wicked, vile and naught:
And to repent their former evils, which they have wrought,
Trusting by Christ's death to be redeemed:
And he that this doth shall never be deceived.

Hyp. Well said, master doctor, well said!
By the mass, we must have you into the pulpit:
I pray you be remembered, and cover your head;
For indeed you haye need to keep in your wit:
Ah, sirrah, who would have thQught it,
That youth had been such a well-learned man!
Let me see your portous, gentle Sir John!

Juv. No, it is not a book for you to look on,
You ought not to jest with God's Testament.

Hyp. What, man? I pray you be content;
For I do nothing else, but say my phantasy:
But yet, if you would do after my advisement,
In that matter you should not be so busy;
Was not your father as well-learned as ye?
And if he had said then as you have now done,
I-wis he had been like to make a burn.

Juv. It were much better for me than to return
From my faith in Christ and the profession of his word.

Hyp. Whether is better a halter or a cord,
I cannot tell, I swear by God's mother:
But I think you will have the one or the other:
Will you lose all your friends' good will,
To continue in that opinion still?
Was there not as well-learned men before as now?
Yea, and better too, I may say to you?
And they taught the younger sort of people
By the elders to take an example:
And if I did not love you, as nature doth me bind,
You should not know so much of my mind.

Juv. Whether were I better to be ignorant and blind,
And to be damned in hell for infidelity;
Or to learn godly knowledge, wherein I shall find
The right path-way to eternal felicity?

Hyp. Can you deny, but it is your duty
Unto your elders to be obedient?

Juv. I grant I am bound to obey my parents
In all things honest and lawful.

Hyp. Lawful, quod-a? ah, fool, fool!
Wilt thou set men to school,
When they be old?
I may say to you secretly,
The world was never merry,
Since children were so bold:
Now every boy will be a teacher,
The father a fool, and the child a preacher;
This is pretty gear:
The foul presumption of youth
Will turn shortly to great ruth,
I fear, I fear, I fear.

Juv. The sermon will be done, ere I can come there:
I care not greatly whether I go or no;
And yet for my promise, by God I swear,
There is no remedy but I must needs go:
Of my companions there will be mo,
And I promised them, by God's grace,
To meet them there as the sermon was.

Hyp. For once breaking promise do not you pass;
Make some excuse the matter to cease,
What have they to do?
And you and I were, I wot where,
We would be as merry as there,
Yea, and merrier too.

Juv. I would gladly in your company go;
But, if my companions should chance to see,
They would report full evil by me:
And peradventure, if I should it use,
My company they would clean refuse.

Hyp. What, are those fellows so curious,
That yourself you cannot excuse?
I will teach you the matter to convey;
Do what your own lust, and say as they say;
And if you be reproved with your own affinity,
Bid theni pluck the beam out of their own eye:
The old popish priests mock and despise,
And the ignorant people, that believe their lies,
Call them papists, hypocrites, and joining of the plough;
Face out the matter, and then good enough!
Let your book at your girdle be tied,
Or else in your bosom that he may be spied;
And then it will be said both with youth and age,
Yonder fellow hath an excellent knowledge.
I could so beat the bush,
That all should be flush,
That ever I did.

Juv. Now, by my truth, you are merrily disposed;
Let us go thither as you think best.

Hyp. How say you? shall we go to breakfast?
Will you go to the pie-feast?
Or, by the mass, if thou wilt be my guest,
It shall cost thee nothing;
I have a furny card in a place,
That will bear a turn besides the ace,
She purveys now apace
For my coming:
And if thou wilt sibber as well as I,
We shall have merry company:
And I warrant thee, if we have not a pie,
We shall have a pudding.

Juv. By the mass, that meat I love above all thing;
You may draw me about the town with a pudding.

Hyp. Then you shall see my cunning:
A poor shift for a living
Amongest poor men used is;
The kind heart of hers
Hath eased my purse,
Many a time ere this.

[Here entereih Fellowship.]

F'ship. I marvel greatly where Friendship is;
He promised to meet me here ere this time:
I beshrew his heart, that his promise doth miss;
And then be ye sure, it shall not be mine.

Hyp. Yes, Fellowship, that it shall be thine,
For I have tarried here this hour or twain;
And this honest gentleman in my company hath been,
To abide your coming, this thing is plain.

F'ship. By the mass, if you chide, I will be gone again;
For in faith, Friendship, I may say to thee,
I love not to be there, where chiders be.

Hyp. No, God it knoweth, you are so full of honesty,
As a mary-bone is full of honey:
But, sirrah, I pray you, bid this gentleman welcome,
For he is desirous in your company to come:
I tell you he is a man of the right making;
And one that hath excellent learning;
At his girdle he hath such a book,
That the Popish priests dare not in him look:
This is. a fellow for the nonce.

F'ship. I love him the better, by God's precious bones:
You are heartily welcome, as I may say,
I shall desire you of better acquaintance;
That of your company be bold I may,
You may be sure, if in me it lie
To do you pleasure, you should it find:
For, by the mass, I love you both with heart and mind.
And I thank you heartily for your kindness.

Juv. To say the same to you your gentleness doth me bind;

Hyp. Well you see this gentleman fines
Your gentleness and your kindness,
I thank him, and I thank you;
And I think, if the truth were sought,
The one bad and the other naught,
Never a good, I make God a vow!
But yet, Fellowship, tell me one thing,
Did you see little Bess this morning?
We should have our breakfast yesternight, she said,
But she hath forgotten it now, I am afraid.

F'ship. Her promise shall be performed and paid;
For I spake with her, since the time I rose,
And then she told me how the matter goeth:
We must be with her between eight and nine,
And then her master and mistress will be at the preaching.

Juv. I purposed myself there to have been;
But this man provoked me to the contrary,
And told me that we should haye merry company.

F'ship. Merry, quod-a? we cannot choose but be merry;
For there is such a girl where as we go,
Which will make us to be merry, whether we will or no.

Hyp. The ground is the better on the which she doth go;
For she will make better cheer with that little, which she can get,
Than many a one can with a great banket of meat.
Juv. To be in her company my heart is set;
Therefore, I pray you, let us be gone.

F'ship. She will come for us herself anon;
For I told her before, where we would stand,
And then, she said, she would beck us with her hand.

Juv. Now, by the mass, I perceive that she is a gallant:
What, will she take pains to come for us hither?

Hyp. Yea, I warrant you; therefore you must be familiar with her:
When she cometh in place,
You must her embrace
Somewhat handsomely;
Lest she think it danger,
Because you are a stranger,
To come in your company.

Juv. Yea, by God's foot, that I will be busy,
And I may say to you I can play the knave secretly.

[Here entereth Abhominable Living.]

Ab. Liv. Hem! come away quickly,
The back door is open; I dare not tarty:
Come, Fellowship, come on away!

Hyp. What, Unknown Honesty? a word!

[Draws A. L. aside.]

You shall not go yet, by God I swear;
Here is none but your friends, you need not to fray,
Although this strange young gentleman be here.

Juv. I trust, in me she will think no danger;
For I love well the company of fair women.

Ab. Liv. Who, you? nay, ye are such a holy man,
That to touch one ye dare not be bold;
I think, you would not kiss a young woman,
If one would give you twenty pound in gold.

Juv. Yes, by the mass, that I would;
I could find in my heart to kiss you in your smock.

Ah. Liv. My back is broad enough to bear away that mock;
For one hath told me many a time,
That you have said you would use no such wanton's company as mine.

Juv. By dog's precious wounds, that was
some whoreson villain;
I will never eat meat that shall do me good,
Till I have cut his flesh, by God's precious blood:
Tell me, I pray you, who it was,
And I will trim the knave, by the blessed mass.

Ab. Liv. Tush! as for that, do not you pass;
That which I told you was but for love.

Hyp. She did nothing else but prove,
Whether a little thing would you move
To be angry and fret;
What, and if one had said so?
Let such trifling matters go,
And be good to men's flesh for all that.

Juv. To kiss her since she came, I had clean forgot:
You are welcome to my company.

[He kisseth Abhominable Living.]

Ab. Liv. Sir, I thank you most heartily;
By your kindness it doth appear.

Hyp. What a hurly-burly is here!
Smick smack, and all this gear
You will to tick-tack, I fear,
If you had time:
Well, wanton, well;
I-wis, I can tell,
That such smock-smell
Will set your nose out of tune.

Ab. Liv. What, man? you need not to fume,
Seeing he is come into my company now;
He is as well welcome as the best of you:
And if it lie in me to do him pleasure,
He shall have it, you may ye sure.

F'ship. Then old acquaintance is clean out of favour:
Lo, Friendship, this gear goeth with a sleight;
He hath driven us twain out of conceit.

Hyp. Out of conceit, quod-a? no, no;
I dare well say, she thinketh not so:
How say you, Unknown Honesty?
Do not you love Fellowship and me?

Ab. Liv. Yea, by the mass, I love you all three;

But yet indeed, if I should say the truth,
Amongst all other, welcome Master Youth.

Juv. Full greatly I do delight to kiss your pleasant mouth:
[He kisseth Abhominable Living.
I am not able your kindness to recompence;
I long to talk with you secretly, therefore let us go hence.

Ab. Liv. I agree to that; for I would not for twenty pence,
That it were known where I have been.

Hyp. What, and it were known? it is no deadly sin:
As for my part, I do not greatly care,
So that they find not your proper buttocks bare.

Ab. Liv. Now much fie upon you! how bawdy you are!
I-wis, Friendship, it mought have been spoken at twice:
What think you, for your saying that the people will surmise?

Juv. Who dare be so bold us to despise?
And if I may hear a knave speak one word,
I will run thorough his cheeks with my sword.

F'ship. This is an earnest fellow, of God's Word!
See, I pray you, how he is disposed to fight!

Juv. Why should I not, and if my cause be right?
What, and if a knave do me beguile,
Shall I stand crouching like an owl?
No, no; then you might count me a very cow;
I know what- belongeth to God's law as well as you.

Ab. Liv. Your wit therein greatly I do allow;
For, and if I were a man, as you are,
I would not stick to give a blow,
To teach other knaves to beware,
I beshrew you twice, and if you do spare,
But lay load on the flesh, whatsoever befall,
You have strength enough to do it with all.

F'ship. Let us depart, and if that we shall ,
Come on, masters, we twain will go before.

Juv. Nay, nay, my friend, stop there;
It is not you, that shall have her away,
She shall go with me, and if she go to-day--

Hyp. She shall go with none of you, I dare well say;

Ab. Liv. To forsake any of your company I would be very loth;
Therefore I will follow you all three.

Hyp. Now I beshrew his heart, that to that will not agree;
But yet because the time shall not seem very long,
Ere we depart, let us have a merry song.

[They sing as followeth:]

Why should not youth fulfil his own mind,
As the course of nature doth him bind?
Is not everything ordained to do his kind?
Report me to you, report me to you.

Do not the flowers spring ftesh and gay,
Pleasant and sweet in the month of May?
And when their time cometh, they fade away.
Report me to you, report me to you.

Be not the trees in winter bare?
Like unto their kind, such they are;
And when they spring, their fruits declare.
Report me to you, report me to you.

What should youth do with the fruits of age,
But live in pleasure in his passage?
For when age cometh, his lusts will suage.
Report me to you, report me to you.

Why should not youth fulfil his own mind,
As the course of nature doth him bind? &C

[They go forth. Here entereth Good Counsel.]

Good C. 0 merciful Lord, who~can cease to lament,
Or keep his heart from continual mourning,
To see how Youth is fallen from thy word and testament,
And wholly inclined to Abhomin able Living?
He liveth nothing according to his professing;
But, alas ! his life is to thy word['s] abusion,
Except thy great mercy, to his utter confusion.
0, where is now the godly conversation,
Which should be among the professors of thy word!
0, where may a man find now one faithful congregation,
That is not infected with dissension or discord?
Or amongst whom are all vices utterly abhorred!
0, where is the brotherly love between man and man!
We may lament the time our vice began.
0, where is the peace and meekness, long suffering and temperance,
Which are the fruits of God's holy spirit?
With whom is the flesh brought under obedience,
Or who readeth the scripture with intent to follow it?
Who useth not now covetousness and deceit?
Who giveth unto the poor that which is due?
I think, in this world few that live now.
0, where is the godly example, that parents should give
Unto their young family by godly and virtuous living?
Alas! how wickedly do they themselves live,
Without any fear of God or his righteous threatening!
They have no respect unto the dreadful reckoning,
Which shall be required of us, when the Lord shall come,
As a rightful judge at the day of doom.
0, what a joyful sight was it for to see,
When Youth began God's word to embrace?
Then he promised Godly Knowledge and me,
That from our instruction he would never turn his face;
But now he walketh, alas! in the ungodly's chase!
Heaping sin upon sin, vice upon vice:

[Here entereth Juventus.]

He that liveth most ungodly is counted most wise--

Juv. Who is here playing at the dice?
I heard one speak of cinque and sice;
His words did me entice
Hither to come.

Good C. Ah, Youth, Youth, whither dost thou run?
Greatly I do bewail thy miserable estate;
The terrible plagues, which in God's law are written,
Hang over thy head both early and late:
0 fleshly Capernite, stubborn and obstinate,
Thou hadst liever forsake Christ, thy Saviour, and King,
Than thy fleshly swinish lusts and abhominable living.

Juv. What, old whoreson, art thou a-chiding?
I will play a spurt, why should I not?
I set not a mite by thy checking:
What hast thou to do, and if I lose my coat?
I will trill the bones, while I have one groat;
And, when there is no more ink in the pen,
I will make a shift, as well as other men.

Good C. Then I perceive you have forgotten clean
The promise, that you made unto Knowledge and me:
You said such fleshly fruits should not be seen;
But to God's word your life should agree.
Full true be the words of the prophet Hose,
No verity nor knowledge of God is now in the land,
But abhominable vices hath gotten the upper hand.

Juv. Your mind therein I do well understand:
You go about my living to despise,
But you will not see the beams in your own eyes.

Good C. The devil hath you deceived, which is the author of lies,
And trapped you in his snare of wicked Hypocrisy;
Therefore all that ever you do devise,
Is to maintain your fleshly liberty.

Juv. I marvel, why 'you do this reprove me;
Wherein do I my life abuse?

Good C. Your whole conversation I may well accuse,
As in my conscience just occasion I find;
Therefdre be not offended, although I express my mind.

Juv. By the mass, if thou tell not truth, I will not be behind
To touch you as well again.

Good C. For this thing most chiefly I do complain:
Have you not professed the knowledge of Christ's gospel?
And yet, I think, no more ungodliness doth reign
In any wicked heathen, Turk, or infidel;
Who can devise that sin or evil,
That you practise not from day to day?
Yea, and count it nothing but a jest or a play.
Alas! what wantonness remaineth in your flesh !
How desirous are you to accomplish your own will
What pleasure and delight have you in wickedness!
How diligent are you your lusts to fulfil!
St Paul saith, that you ought your fleshly lusts to kill :
But unto his teaching your life ye will not frame;
Therefore in vain you bear a Christian name.
Read the Five to the Galatians, and there you shall see,
That the flesh rebelleth against the spirit,
And that your own flesh is your most utter enemy,
If in your soul's health you do delight:
The time were too long now to recite,
What whoredom, uncleanness, and filthy communication
Is dispersed with youth in every congregation.
To speak of pride, envy, and abhominable oaths,
They are the common practices of youth,
To avance your flesh, you cut and jag your clothes,
And yet ye are a great gospeller in the mouth:
What shall I say for this blaspheming the truth?
I will show you what St Paul doth declare
In his Epistle to the Hebrews and the tenth chapter.
For him, saith he, which doth willingly sin or consent,
After he hath received the knowledge of the verity,
Remaineth no more sacrifice, but a fearful looking for judgment,
And a terrible fire, which shall consume the adversary;
And Christ saith that this blasphemy
Shall never be pardoned nor forgiven
In this world, nor in the world to come.

Juv. Alas, alas! what have I wrought and done!

[He lieth down.]

Here in this place I will fall down desperate;
To ask for mercy now, I know, it is too late.
Alas, alas! that ever I was begat!
I would to God I had never been born!
All faithful men, that behold this wretched state,
May very justly laugh me to scorn;
They may say, my time I have evil-spent and worn,
Thus in my first age to work my own destruction:
In the eternal pains is my part and portion.

Good C. Why, Youth, art thou fallen into desperation?
What, man, pluck up thine heart, and rise,
Although thou see nothing now but thy condemnation,
Yet it may please God again to open thy eyes:
Ah, wretched creature, what doest thou surmise?
Thinkest not that God's mercy doth exceed thy sin?
Remember his Merciful Promises, and comfort thyself in him.

Juv. 0 sir, this state is so miserable, the which I lie in,
That my comfort and hope from me is separated:
I would to God I had never been!
Woe worth the time, that ever I was created

Good C. Ah, frail vessel, unfaithful and faint-hearted,
Doest thou think that God is so merciless,
That when the sinner doth repent, and is converted,
That he will not fulfil his merciful promises?

Juv. Alas, sir! I am in such heaviness,
That his promises I cannot remember.

Good C. In thy wickedness continue no lenger;
But trust in the Lord without any fear,
And his Merciful Promises shall shortly appear.

Juv. I would believe, if I might them hear,
With all my heart, power and mind.

Good C. The living Go~ hath him hither assigned:
Lo, where he cometh even here by,
Therefore mark his sayings diligently.

[Here entereth God's Merciful Promises.]

God's Prom. The Lord, by his prophet
Ezekiel, saith in this wise plainly,
As in the thirty-third chapter it doth appear:
Be converted, 0 ye children, and turn unto me,
And I shall remedy the cause of your departure;
And also he saith in the eighteenth chapter,
I do not delight in a sinner's death,
But that he should convert and live: thus the Lord saith.

Juv. Then must I give neither credit nor faith according unto knowledge;
Unto St Paul's saying, which this man did I allege.
God's Prom. Yes, you must credit them,
For St Paul speaketh of those which resist the truth by violence,
And so end their lives without repentance.
Thus Saint Augustine doth them define,
If tinto the Lord's word you do your ears incline,
And observe these things which he hath commanded,
This sinful state, in the which you have lain,
Shall be forgotten and never more remembered:
And Christ himself in the gospel hath promised,
That he, which in him unfeignedly doth believe,
Although he were dead, yet shall he live.

Juventus riseth.

Juv. These comfortable sayings doth me greatly move
To arise from this wretched place.

God's Prom. For me his - mercy sake thou shalt obtain his grace,
And not for thine own desertes, this must thou know;
For my sake alone, ye shall receive solace;
For my sake alone, he will thee mercy show:
Therefore to him, as it is most due,
Give most hearty thanks with heart unfeigned,
Whose name for evermore be praised.

Good C. The prodigal son, as in Luke we read.
Which in vicious living his good doth waste,

As soon as his living he had remembered,
To confess his wretchedness he was not aghast;
Wherefore his father lovingly him embrac'd,
And was right joyful, the text saith plain,
Because his son was returnen again.

Juv. 0 sinful flesh, thy pleasures are but vain
Now I find it true, as the scripture doth say,
Broad and pleasant is the path which leadeth unto pain,
But unto eternal life full narrow is the way.
He that is not led by God's spirit surely goeth astray;
And all that ever he doth shall be clean abhorred;
Although he- brag and boast never so much of God's word.
O subtle Satan, full deceitful is thy snare;
Who is able thy falsehood to disclose?
What is the man, that thou doest favour or spare,
And doest not tempt him eternal joys to lose?
Not one in the world, surely I suppose.
Therefore happy is the man, which doth truly wait,
Always to refuse thy deceitful and crafty bait.
When I had thought to live most christianly,
And followed the steps of Knowledge and Good Counsel,
Ere I was aware, thou haddest deceived me,
And brought me into the path, which leadeth unto hell:
And of an earnest professor of Christ's gospel
Thou madest me an hypocrite, blind and pervert,
And from virtue unto vice thou hadst clean turned my heart.
First, by hypocrisy thou didest me move,
The mortification of the flesh clean to forsake,
And wanton desires to embrace and love;
Alas! to think on it my heart doth yet quake:
Under the title of Friendship to me ye spake,
And so to wicked Fellowship did me bring,
Which brought me clean to Abhominable Living.
Thus, I say, Satan did me deceive,
And wrapped me in sin many a fold;
The steps of Good Counsel I did forsake and leave,
And forgot the words which before to me he told:
The fruits of a true christian in me waxed cold;
I followed mine own lusts, the flesh I did not tame,
And had them in derision which would not do the same.
Yet it hath pleased God of his endless mercy
To give me respite my life to amend;
From the bottom of my heart I repent my iniquity,
I will walk in his laws unto my life's end:
From his holy ordinance I will never descend,
But my whole delight shall be to live therein,
Utterly abhorring all filthiness and sin.
All Christian people which be here present,
May learn by me hypocrisy to know,
With which the devil, as with a poison most pestilent,
Daily seeketh all men to overthrow:
Credit not all things unto the outward show,
But try them with God's word, that squire and rule most just,
Which never deceiveth them, that in him put their trust.
Let no flattering friendship, nor yet wicked company,
Persuade you in no wise God's word to abuse;
But see that you stand steadfastly unto the verity,
And according to the rule thereof your doings frame and use,
Neither kindred nor fellowship shall you excuse,
When you shall appear before the judgment seat,
But your own secret conscience shall then give an audit.
All you that be young, whom I do now represent,
Set your delight doth day and night on Christ's Testament:
If pleasure you tickle, be nOt fickle, and suddenly slide,
But in God's fear everywhere see that you abide:
In your tender age seek for knowledge, and after wisdom run,
And in your old age teach your family to doas you have done:
Your bodies subdue unto virtue, delight not in vanity;
Say not, I am young) I shall live long, lest your days shortened be:
Do not incline to spend your time in wanton toys and nice,
For idleness doth increase much wickedness and vice:
Do not delay the time, and say, my end is not near;
For with short warning the Lord coming shall suddenly appear.
God give us grace, his word to embrace, and to live thereafter,
That by the same his holy name may be praised ever.
Good C. Now let us make our supplications together
For the prosperous estate of our noble and virtuous king,
That in his godly proceedings he may still persevere,
Which seeketh the glory of God above all other thing:
0 Lord, endue his heart with true understanding,
And give him a prosperous life long over us to reign,
To govern and rule his people as a worthy captain.

Juv. Also let us pray for all the nobility of this realm;
And, namely, for those whom his grace hath authorised
To maintain the public wealth over us and them,
That they may see his gracious acts published;
And that they, being truly admonished
By the complaint of them which are wrongfully oppressed,
May seek reformation, and see it redressed.

Good C. Then shall this land enjoy great quietness and rest:
And give unto God most hearty thanks therefore,
To whom be honour, praise, and glory for evermore.

Imprynted at London, in Lothbury, auer agaynst
Sainct Margarits Church) by Wyllyam Copland. [40,

Imprinted at London in Paules churche yeard, by
Abraham Vele, at the sygne of the Lambe.

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Proper Citation: Wever, R. Lusty Juventus. At From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. NeCastro, Gerard, ed. Date Visited.