Play 4, The Prohibition of the Tree of Knowledge

Play 4, THE PROHIBITION OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE: EXPLANATORY NOTES


ABBREVIATIONS: AV: Authorized (“King James”) Version; Meditations: Meditations on the Life of Christ, trans. Ragusa and Green; MED: Middle English Dictionary; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; RB: Richard Beadle, ed., York Plays; REED: Records of Early English Drama; YA: Davidson and O’Connor, York Art; York Breviary: Breviarium ad usum insignis ecclesie Eboracensis; York Missal: Missale ad usum insignis ecclesiae Eboracensis.

References to the Ordo paginarum are to REED: York, 1:16–27.

Although the Fullers, or Walkers, who were an integral craft essential to the cloth industry, had been involved with this pageant as early as 1415 when their participation was noted in the Ordo paginarum, their play was not copied into the Register until 1559 (see textual notes).1 Their play, in ten-line stanzas, is very short and rather undramatic, though it sets forth an important view that has been maintained by some until the present day: the idea of man as in charge of the imperium. In line 16, all other creatures are recognized as man’s subjects, and in lines 60–64 he is told to see himself as the master and lord of all things; see Genesis 1:29–30. A detailed discussion of gestures appropriate to the present play and subsequent plays in the Garden of Eden is contained in Natalie Crohn Schmitt, “The Body in Motion.”2

31–36 The description of the Garden is abbreviated and general in nature. Was there an elaborate stage set with a full-scale garden setting?

68 The frute of it negh none. God’s command denies Adam and Eve the right even to approach the fruit of the tree upon pain of death. The source is in the second Creation story (Genesis 2:17).


Play 4, THE PROHIBITION OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE: TEXTUAL NOTES


ABBREVIATIONS: Bevington: David Bevington, ed., Medieval Drama (1975); Köbling: E. Köbling, “Beiträge zur Erklärung und Textkritik der York Plays”; LTS: Lucy Toulmin Smith, ed., The York Plays (1885); RB: Richard Beadle, ed., The York Plays (1972) (incorporating numerous emendations from other sources); RB2: Richard Beadle, “Corrections to The York Plays,” in Gerald Byron Kinneavy, A Concordance to the York Plays (1986), pp. xxxi–xxxii; s.d.: stage direction; Sykes: A. C. Cawley, ed., “The Sykes MS of the York Scriveners’ Play”; Towneley: Martin Stevens and A. C. Cawley, eds., The Towneley Plays.

The base text for this edition is London, British Library, MS. Add. 35290, called the “Register” in the York civic records and here identified by the abbreviation Reg. Some variations in lineation from the manuscript are not noted here; see RB and Beadle and Meredith’s The York Play: A Facsimile. In most cases the line numbering in the present text is consistent with RB. Lineation of alliterative verse throughout is based on Reg, with line numbering adjusted accordingly to account for half lines. Scribes are identified as follows: Scribe A; Scribe B: main scribe; JC: John Clerke; LH: later scribal hand (unidentified).

The Fullers’ pageant was entered by JC in 1559 (see REED: York, 1:330).

1 Adam. Reg: strapwork initial A.

35 on haugh. So RB; Reg, LTS: on to haugh.

40 ay. So LTS, RB; Reg: a.

44 Reg: line following omitted by copyist.

86 Forwhy. RB: For-why; LTS conjectures: “For-why [do my byddyng].”


Play 4, THE PROHIBITION OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE: EXPLANATORY NOTE FOOTNOTES


Footnote 1 The heading Regynall presumably indicates that the text was copied directly from the guild’s original copy.

Footnote 2 See also C. Davidson, “Gesture.”
















 
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Play 4, The Prohibition of the Tree of Knowledge

The Regynall of the Fullers Pagyant
 




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DEUS   Adam and Eve, this is the place
That I have graunte you of my grace
To have your wonnyng in.
Erbes, spyce, frute on tree,
Beastes, fewles, all that ye see
Shall bowe to you, more and myn.
This place hight paradyce;
Here shall your joys begynne,
And yf that ye be wyse
Frome thys tharr ye never twyn.

All your wyll here shall ye have,
Lykyng for to eate or sayff
Fyshe, fewle, or fee,
And for to take at your owen wyll
All other creatours also theretyll.
Your suggettes shall they bee.
Adam, of more and lesse
Lordeship in erthe here graunte I thee;
Thys place that worthy is,
Kepe it in honestye.

Looke that ye yem ytt wetterly,
All other creatours shall multeply,
Ylke one in tender hower.
Looke that ye bothe save and sett
Erbes and treys, for nothyng lett,
So that ye may endower
To susteyn beast and man
And fewll of ylke stature.
Dwell here yf that ye cann:
This shall be your endowre.

ADAM   O Lord, lovyd be thy name,
For nowe is this a joyfull hame
That thowe hais brought us to:
Full of myrthe and solys faughe,
Erbes and trees, frute on haugh
Wyth spysys many one hoo.
Loo, Eve, nowe ar we brought
Bothe unto rest and rowe,
We neyd to tayke no thought,
But loke ay well to doo.

EVE   Lovyng be ay to suche a Lord
To us hais geven so great reward
To governe bothe great and small,
And mayd us after his owen read
. . .
Emonges these myrthes all.
Here is a joyfull sight
Where that wee wonn in shall.
We love thee, mooste of myght,
Great God, that we on call.

DEUS   Love my name with good entent
And harken to my comaundement,
And do my byddyng buxomly.
Of all the frute in parradyce
Tayke ye therof of your best wyse
And mayke you right merry.
The tree of good and yll,
What tyme you eates of thys
Thowe speydes thyself to spyll
And be brought owte of blysse.

All thynges is mayd, man, for thy prowe;
All creatours shall to thee bowe
That here is mayd erthly.
In erthe I mayke thee lord of all,
And beast unto thee shall be thrall.
Thy kynd shall multeply;
Therefore this tree alone,
Adam, this owte take I,
The frute of it negh none,
For an ye do, then shall ye dye.

ADAM   Alas, Lorde, that we shuld do so yll,
Thy blyssed byddyng we shall fulfyll
Bothe in thought and deyd.
We shall no negh thys tre nor the bugh
Nor yit the fruyte that thereon groweth,
Therewith oure fleshe to feyd.

EVE   We shall do thy byddyng.
We have none other neyd;
Thys frute full styll shall hyng,
Lorde, that thowe hays forbyd.

DEUS   Looke that ye doe as ye have sayd.
Of all that there is hold you apayd,
For here is welthe at wyll.
Thys tre that beres the fruyte of lyfe,
Luke nother thowe nor Eve thy wyf
Lay ye no handes theretyll.
Forwhy it is knowen
Bothe of good and yll,
This frute but ye lett hyng
Ye speyd yourself to spyll.

Forthy this tree that I owt tayke,
Nowe kepe it grathly for my sayke
That nothyng negh it neyre.
All other at your wyll shall be;
I owte take nothyng but this tree
To feyd you with in feare.
Here shall ye leyd your lyffe
With dayntys that is deare.
Adam and Eve thy wyfe,
My blyssyng have ye here.
(t-note)

dwelling
Herbs
fowls
less
is called


need you never separate [yourself]


save (maintain)
fowl; livestock



subjects




attend to; entirely

Each; hour


endeavor

fowls

living

praised; (see note)
home

happy solace
on hill; (t-note)
spices; on hill

peace

(t-note)

Praise


created; own plan
[line missing, see textual note]


live in



Praise (Worship)

obediently





hastens; destroy


good






take out (except)
approach not; (see note)
if

ill (wrong)

deed
not approach; bough

feed


needs
hang
have


contented


See to it that neither

Since; (t-note)

hang
hasten; destroy

disallow
truly; sake
come near it


altogether

dainties (lovely things)



Go To Play 5, The Fall