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.”
The Regynall of the Fullers Pagyant
Go To Play 5, The Fall